House of The Setting Sun: Day Terrors
Episode Three of the House of the Setting Sun Series

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, nor do I make any profit from writing about them. No copyright infringement intended.
Rating: R
Summary: Episode Three in the House of the Setting Sun series.


Episode Three

Act Four

"Okay I'll show you," he said standing up fully and coming around the edge of her desk where both she and the chair were sprawled across the floor. He kicked the chair into her side, making her groan loudly. Smiling his friendly teachery smile, he did it again.

"Owwwhh," she groaned as she tried to pull herself up. 'Ow, God that hurts, but he's just hit me in front of the camera, which is good. Maybe need just a little bit more, if my lungs haven't been punctured by the chair, and then the screaming starts in earnest.'

Mr. Roberts noticed she was struggling to get up and kindly gave her a hand . . . by yanking her up by her hair. He used his other hand to punch her hard in the stomach.

"That's for the kick to the 'nads you little bitch," he hissed.

The breath rushed out of her and she reflexively doubled over but his hand in her hair kept her upright and brought tears to her eyes.

Mr. Roberts used his body to push her back into the desk and pulled her backwards by her hair so she was leaning awkwardly with a lot of his weight pinning her in place. She struggled as best she could but it just caused him to laugh and push against her harder.

'Okay this is not part of the plan. May-day, frickin' may-day. Time to call in the back up,' she thought as she struggled mentally to counter her fear. She opened her mouth to scream, but only managed a muffled shriek when he clapped his large hand over her mouth. She bit down hard but it just made him laugh harder as he untangled his other hand from her hair and pinched her nose.

'Oh God, official panic status has been reached. I can't breathe, can't breathe, can't breathe.' She bucked under him and shook her head from side to side trying to dislodge his hands from blocking her airways.

"You gonna be a good girl?" The teacher asked roughly.

Hysterically she nodded her head.

"Good," he said before removing his hands and kissing her hard on her mouth.

Sethos sauntered casually back towards the school's main entrance. As much as he didn't want to spend the afternoon in detention with sleazy Mr. Roberts, he also couldn't take the risk of the educator following through on his threat to phone his father. That would just be unpleasant and he was dealing with enough unpleasantness already since moving to Boudenver. America in general had been a real let down so far and each town they moved to seemed to be that much further down the scale.

Shaking his head at the unfairness of it all, he opened the main doors and silently said goodbye to the sunshine outside. He was half an hour late for detention so the teacher would probably keep him all evening just to punish him. The sun would be on its way down before he got to see it again.

He walked past the staff office and spared a curious look for the blonde girl sat there. He couldn't remember her name, Jenny or something; he knew they were in the some of the same classes. She was shaking a little and anxiety was pouring off her in waves. He wrinkled his nose.

"You okay?" He asked in his exotic accent.

She visibly jumped at the sound of his voice. "Uh...yeah, I...I'm good." She didn't sound very convincing and her eyes kept darting to the door he was heading for and back to him again.

It was pretty clear she was lying, but hey that wasn't his problem. He nodded at her and carried on to the door when something else made him stop. His head jerked to the wall beside him that was covered in flyers and class schedules. His lips curled back revealing his teeth and he clenched and unclenched his hands a few times to keep himself under control.

The blonde sitting on the chairs jumped up and shouted something as he burst through the classroom door but he didn't hear what she said over the noise of the splintering wood as the lock gave. He grinned horribly when he saw Mr. Roberts looming over a terrified, crying Dawn Summers.

'Does this Summers kid live for trouble?' He thought before animalistic rage overtook him and he pounced at the evil teacher.

Mr. Roberts had looked up the second he heard the crash of the door and for a second was frozen with indecision. He knew this couldn't be looking too good for him right now, but hell what a chance to give the Sethos boy one hell of a beating before he skipped town. There was nothing he'd like more.

He watched gleefully as Sethos' face seemed to change as the emotions flowed across it. Dawn was still held down across the desk by his strong hands, but now he pulled her upright roughly and back handed her across the face before shoving her away from him hard. "Later Sweetheart," he mocked and then he had his arms full of the hissing, scratching senior and together they fell to the floor.

Fen had rushed to the doorway as soon as Seth had broken down the door and she watched as Mr. Roberts hit Dawn hard across the face and then pushed her away. She was at her side just as she finished falling and had the unfortunate luck to hear the cracking sound of her ribs smacking into the side of a desk before she tumbled to the floor dazed.

Dawn felt her head being cradled in Fen's lap and she blearily looked up at her, blinking her eyes a few times to rid them of stars. "What happened?" She'd heard the smashing of the door but hadn't been able to see who or what it was.

"Seth," Fen told her as if it explained everything. The blonde glanced at the shelf where earlier she had placed the camera and then looked down and wiped up the blood that had been trickling from her new friends nose with her own sleeve. The damn camera better had recorded it all. If this was all for nothing...

The man and the boy were still rolling around on the floor fighting. Mr. Roberts had managed to get the upper hand thanks to his superior weight and height and was laying a few good punches on the senior's face, all the time grinning manically. Fen wondered if she should go and help, maybe wrap a chair around his head, but she didn't want to leave Dawn's side.

Chairs were knocked over and desk legs scraped across the floor as the two rolled around the room locked together in a messy struggle, each trying to dominate the other. Fen lost sight of them as another chair crashed to the floor on its side and blocked her view.

"Can you stand?" She asked, thinking now might be a good time to get out.

"Uh huh, just give me a minute." Dawn, with her friend's help, was able to sit, but her head swam a little and her ribs felt too tight to stand just yet.

A scream from Mr. Roberts brought the girls attention back to them and they both looked over to find the teacher trying to scramble away from the student who was holding him firmly around the back of the neck, preventing him from going anywhere.

"Get offa me," the teacher squealed before he was pulled back out of sight.

The new truck skidded to a halt out the front of school and Xander leapt out of the door and started to run across the grass to the main doors, only to realize he didn't have a clue where he was going. He had no idea where Dawn's class might be.

He was still deciding whether it was better to run blindly through the halls looking for her or check at the front desk when another vehicle skidded to a stop next to his truck. He turned and saw Alex in full cop uniform racing across the grass to him.

"Xander, what's going on?" He called out.

"Dawn's in trouble, but I don't know where she is," he replied frantically.

Alex pushed past him, through the main doors and down the hall, looking through the little windows set into the doors. He pointed for Xander to take the doors on the other side of the hall to speed things up, but it was unnecessary because at that moment someone screamed and they both charged to the end of the hall where it came from.

The two men reached the busted open door at the same time but Alex shot out a big hand and pushed Xander away from it.

"Stay here a minute," he instructed before heading through it himself.

'Yeah right,' thought Xander. He could hear the crashing around going on inside and from where he stood he could just make out the top of Dawn's head; she was sitting on the floor, being held by a blonde girl. 'Dawn + floor probably not good,' he decided and went straight in anyway.

"Xander!" Dawn smiled weakly up at him as he bent down next to her and gathered her in his arms. She hugged him tightly and he carefully helped her to her feet.

The sounds of the fight stopped abruptly and all three looked over to see Alex kneeling on Mr. Roberts' back while he snapped some handcuffs on him. Sethos was lying close by, his arms up shielding his face.

"Sethos, are you hurt?" Dawn tried to move towards the boy on the floor, but her side hurt too much and she slumped against Xander again.

Slowly, very slowly, Sethos removed his arms and peered up at them. His face was already coming out in bruises and his hands had blood on them but he shook his head. He looked up at the teacher, who had been dragged to his feet by Alex, who towered over him. Mr. Roberts was sobbing and wincing in pain. He had deep gashes in one cheek and blood was seeping through his shirt from another deep cut in his chest.

"The little brute has a knife!" Mr. Roberts accused, still sobbing and looking pathetic.

Sethos was up and out the door before anyone could comment further. Everyone looked at the door but no one moved to go after him.

"It's a pity he didn't use it on your throat then," said Fen with a shaky voice, which earned her a small smile from Dawn and a shoulder squeeze from Xander.

"You're just going to let him get away after he attacked me?" the teacher asked, incredulous. "He burst in here, startling both myself and Miss Summers. He needs to be locked up; he's obviously completely deranged. Angry because I issued him with detention, no doubt, and violence is all his generation understand"

Alex stood there and listened to the man's rant, then took out his notebook and began writing everything he said down.

"I understand you're just doing your job here sheriff, and I was wrong to engage in a brawl with a student, but really, it was only self-defense. He caught me off guard, pouncing on me like that. There's no need for the handcuffs. I'll happily come down to the station and answer any questions you have."

Alex just nodded and put away his notebook. Dawn's eyes bugged out. He didn't think he was really gonna get away with this did he? She really hoped the camera had worked or else there were no guarantees he wouldn't. She and Fen exchanged a glance.

"No way," the blonde said quietly. "Even if the camera didn't work, you're all beat up and he can't say Seth started on you too, can he."

Dawn nodded, but she was still a little anxious. Xander heard the exchange and looked over to where he had seen their gazes travel. Just hidden under a pyramid of old text books he could see the tiny black eye of the lens peeking out.

"Well I think I've heard enough for now," Alex boomed, shutting Mr. Roberts up with sheer volume. He pushed the teacher a little closer to the other three, then holding him straight-armed out to one side so he was nowhere near Dawn, he asked, "Are you okay?"

She nodded.

"You look hurt; maybe Xander should take you to the hospital."

"No really, I'm okay, just bruised," she assured him.

He nodded. "Okay. Mr. Roberts is going to be spending the night in the cells for hitting a minor." Mr. Roberts started to protest self-defense again, but Alex shook him hard, obviously making his cuts hurt because he grimaced and stayed quiet. "You'll have to come by and talk to me tomorrow, tell me the full story. Got it?"

She did get it. He was giving her a chance to calm down before she had to go through the ordeal of questioning, which meant he knew this was more than just a fight between Mr. Roberts and Sethos. How did he know though? How come he was even here? And Xander? Somehow she thought maybe Andrew might be able to help her answer those questions. The real stumper was - Did she make him pay for it, or did she give him a big hug? And oh God, did that mean she owed Sethos a big hug too, 'cause that was just wrong.

Xander had been quietly standing next to Dawn, making sure she was okay, but now she stepped over to Alex and offered his hand. Alex had to let go of Roberts to shake, but the teacher wasn't going to risk running off and wrecking his 'all innocent' act.

"Thanks for getting here so quick," he said.

"No problem Xander. I just wish it hadn't been necessary. McKinley used to be such a good school but I guess standards are slipping."

Xander nodded amiably and took a very deliberate step back before catching Mr. Roberts' eye.

"Hey pal. That was my kid sister you messed with," he told him.

"Messed with, what do you mean...?" The teacher began, but was cut off by Xander yanking on his ripped shirt, making him stumble forward. "Hey what are you...OW! My nose!"

Xander wiped his blood-splattered fist on the teacher's shirt before pushing him lightly back towards Alex, who caught him by the arm again before he could fall over.

"He broke my nose!" Mr. Roberts whined miserably.

"I'm pretty sure that happened before we got here," Alex said jovially as he started to push the man out of the classroom. "In fact I'm almost certain that was due to an unfortunate incident with a board eraser." Alex looked back over his shoulder and winked at Xander, who grinned back. Then quite sternly he spoke to Dawn. "The sheriffs department is here so you don't put yourselves in unnecessary danger. Try to remember that the next time you feel like playing hero. I'll see you tomorrow."

She nodded sheepishly. The cop and the teacher left the room and Dawn hobbled over to the bookshelf and carefully pulled the tiny camera out.

"Do you think we got?" Fen asked.

"I think someone's going to catch it when they get home," Xander put in.

"Andrew told you, right?"

"He didn't want to. It involved sand paper." Xander said with a straight face.

"Does Buffy know?"

"Not yet." The carpenter went to stand in front of her and looked her face over carefully. She had a hand-shaped bruise appearing on one cheek and her nose had been bleeding. "Are you really..? Did he... did he hurt you?"

Dawn hung her head. "No. He wanted to but...No. He just roughed me up a little, it was kinda scary," she mumbled.

"Kinda scary? I was packing it," said Fen.

"Yeah 'cause you had the hard job waiting outside," Dawn teased.

"Hey, don't knock it. Andrew told me your crazy plan and I was so scared that I wouldn't get here in time to stop it." Xander touched her face gently. "I guess I didn't."

"Yeah you did. Big brother," she smirked at him. The fear washing away and just leaving the adrenaline in its place. A familiar feeling despite the situation being a new one.

Xander put an arm gently around her waist and started to lead her out of the classroom. "Yeah well I figured that sounded more threatening than, 'Hey that's my friend's little sister.' Besides there's nothing I wouldn't do for you that I wouldn't do for my own sister if I had one, so if the cap fits you're stuck with me. That okay?"


"Hey I wish I had a sexy older pretend brother like you," said Fen, who had fallen into step beside them.

Dawn rolled her eyes at Fen and grinned at Xander when she realized he was blushing. "Fen - Xander, Xander - Fen."

He removed his arm from Dawn to shake Fen's hand. "Always nice to meet Dawn's new friends, especially the ones with good taste."

"Huh, you never said that about Janice."

"I said good taste Dawnie." He turned back to Fen. "It's the eye patch, isn't it?"

Fen giggled.

Dawn did a double-take and thought 'Did leather-jacket wearing, class-skipping Fen just giggle?'

Willow hit stop on the remote and silence descended, which was broken quickly by a strangled sob from Buffy and a strangled plea for her bruised ribs from Dawn as Buffy gathered her in a Slayer strength bear hug and sniffled into her shoulder.

After a second she relaxed her hold but she didn't let go completely. "You are a stupid, stupid, stupid idiot."

"I know," Dawn admitted quietly.

"You should have told someone. You should have told me, but if I was really that unapproachable then you should have told someone else."

"I told Andrew...and Fen."

"You should have told an adult, Andrew doesn't count. I'm just glad he had more sense than you on this occasion."

"I get it Buffy. I know I screwed up, but everyone seemed to have so much going on and I thought I could handle it. It wasn't like it was a supernatural nasty, just a regular human."

"It doesn't matter how much we have going on, Dawn, you can still come to us if you need to. Anytime, ever," Willow said.

"I'm sorry you didn't feel like you could talk to me. I know I've been preoccupied and letting other stuff - stuff not important - get in the way of our new life here. I know I said when we closed the Hellmouth we'd have time for you and me, proper sister quality time and I've been too busy being a misery-guts to follow through on it and I promise, that changes now. Right now." Buffy let another sob escape her. "I'm so sorry I let you down."

"You didn't. Not really," said Dawn. "I wanted to deal with it myself. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could. I figured I could lure him into my trap and video him being a bit nasty then call for help and hey presto, I beat the bad guy. I was an idiot because I thought I could stop it before it got out of control and I couldn't. Both Andy and Fen warned me it could get out of hand but I thought just because I made a plan, it would actually work out that way. Like yours always do."

"Whoa. Since when did all of our plans work out?" Buffy chuckled.

"Yeah, it's normally plan B, or C or even D that works. Plan A's never work," agreed Willow with a grin.

"Well why didn't someone tell me that?" Dawn groaned.

"Well maybe we would have if you'd told us plan A." Buffy twirled some of Dawn's hair through her fingers like she used to when they were younger. "Anyway the plan itself wasn't so crazy, it was the part that put you in danger that we would have vetoed."

"But Alex said they could use the video?" Willow asked.

"Uh-huh. They won't even need me to go to court because once Mr. Roberts found out about it he confessed everything, and then said that a voice inside his head made him do it. Xander said Alex thinks he's hoping for a lighter sentence, but Alex is going to throw everything he can at him. He was at another school teaching last year and they think he might have messed with a few girls there too and then left before they got up enough courage to tell anyone."

"And the boy, the one that helped you?" Buffy asked.

"Well I haven't spoken to him yet what with not going to school today, but Alex said they spoke to him at home and he's off the hook for attacking Roberts. There was no way he had a knife 'cause they would have seen it on the video. They were fighting in front of it the whole time. Sethos apparently said that he must have scratched him with his fingernails by accident while they were struggling. He must have had pretty sharp nails though. Those cuts were deep."

Willow rewound the video a little until it showed Mr. Roberts and Sethos rolling around on the floor. They all watched Seth carefully for any sign of a knife or anything else that could have made the cuts. They watched as Sethos took a swipe at Mr. Roberts and the man screamed silently. When he fell back, four rips in his shirt were clearly visible and blood was already staining the material.

"Very sharp," said Buffy.

Seconds later on the tape Alex and Xander ran in. Xander ran off screen while Alex went over to the fight. There was a little more struggling before the cop got the teacher on his stomach with his hands behind his back and Sethos rolled away, flinging his arms up over his face.

"Will, rewind that bit and hit slow-mo," Buffy said.

Willow did as she was told wondering what Buffy had spotted; the fight was over after all. Buffy moved to the edge of her seat for a closer look.

"There, just as he rolls over before he raises his hands." She pointed at the screen. "Do his ears look normal to you?"

Willow hit rewind again and slow-mo again just as the boy rolls away.

"They look a little..I don't know, pointy, maybe?" Willow said hesitantly.

"Do they normally look like that?" Buffy asked her sister.

Dawn thought about it. "I don't think so," she said slowly. "And I'm pretty sure the tail's new too."

Buffy slapped her hand over her sister's eyes. "That's not a tail."

Willow hit rewind again for a closer look.

"Well I'm not an expert, but if it's not a tail, I think the guy is seriously deformed." Dawn tried to wriggle away from her sister's hand.

"Buffy. I think she's right," Willow said.

Buffy let Dawn go to stare at the screen again herself. There was definitely a blur of movement at the back of his pants as he rolled over. The angle was off but it looked as if something about two feet long had quickly retracted into his..., well the angle really was off, maybe they were imagining it.

"If it's not a tail, that boy is really talented," Buffy remarked.

The three girls rewound the video over and over again trying to catch another glimpse of the "tail" but there was only that quick sighting.

The phone rang, disturbing them and Willow got up to get it.

"Well I'm going outside with the girls to do something normal," Dawn said, getting to her feet.

"Yeah 'cause trying to teach a baby demon to play catch is really normal behavior," Buffy sarcastically pointed out.

"Hey, Goorzar is cute, you think so too." Dawn grinned and disappeared.

Buffy shook her head. 'What next?' she wondered.

Willow walked back through to the living room, an uneasy look on her face.

"Who is it Wills?" Buffy asked, rewinding the tape again for another look at Dawn's strange classmate.

Willow hesitated. "It''s..."

"Spit it out." Buffy looked up at her friend with a smile.

"It's Faith."

Buffy went pale. " I can't. Will..." Buffy stood up and started backing towards the front stairs. "I can't speak to her."

"It's okay Buf, she asked for you or Giles, but I'll just say you're not here." Willow was concerned at her reaction. Something definitely wasn't right. Buffy had seemed okay today, well since last night really. The slayage with Kennedy the afternoon before had seemed to knock some of the chip off of her shoulder and then news of Dawn's escapades had freaked her so much that once she realized that her sister really was just bruised she'd seemed to bounce back to her old self. Willow didn't want Faith sending her back to the land of crazy again.

She went to the phone. "Sorry Faith, I can't find either of them. Can I help at all?"

Buffy retreated to half way up the front stairs and hugged her knees as she rocked backwards and forwards. It occurred to her that she'd done the same thing when she lived in L.A. and her parents would fight all the time. She didn't know why; it wasn't particularly comforting, but she didn't stop.

Why was Faith calling her just when she'd made up her mind to put all that behind her for good? She'd accepted that Faith didn't want her. It took a week of drinking alone in a dingy hotel and then a couple of days of arguing with friends and family to finally accept that, but she had. What had happened yesterday made her realize that she had a family here, a life here, the fresh new start she'd always wanted and she was destroying it all over a woman who didn't even care.

'And is Faith calling really gonna make me forget all my wonderful resolutions?' she wondered. 'I should talk to her and tell her to go to hell. How dare she phone me after the stuff she said last week?'


"I'm out here Will," she called quietly in case Faith was still on the phone.

Willow came out into the hall and saw Buffy sitting halfway up the stairs. "Don't go away."

She disappeared, and then reappeared with a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream and two spoons. She came up the stairs and squeezed onto the same step as Buffy and handed her a spoon.

Buffy accepted it with a weak smile. "What did she want?"

Willow dug her spoon in the brown-flecked green ice cream. "To talk to Giles. Seems her new cell mate is a Slayer. She wanted to know what to do."

"So she didn't call to talk to me," Buffy said around a mouthful of ice-cream. "Okay, that's even worse."

"She really hurt you, didn't she." It wasn't a question. "You don't have to talk about this Buf, if you don't want to, but my ears are yours if you do."

"There's nothing to tell," Buffy said in a flat tone. "She doesn't love me, that's it. What she said in the letter she really meant, it wasn't about her needing to do stuff, not even jail stuff, it was about her trying to let me down easy. Of course I went and messed up that noble plan by visiting her." She took another scoop of ice-cream. "She doesn't even know if she wants to come back here if she gets out. She said she will for a bit to talk, which I assume means she'll be expecting to get some, and then she'll take off again."

"You're not going to though, are you?" Willow wanted to make sure that Buffy wasn't just gonna jump into bed with Faith and start this whole sad Slayer merry-go-round again.

Buffy ducked her head and shrugged. "I'm not planning on it. Never planned on sleeping with Spike either, or falling in love with Faith in the first place. Dawn didn't plan on nearly getting raped by a teacher. Plans fall through all the time."

"But Buffy..."

"Look Will, I spent the last week in a motel room drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle and crying over Faith."

"You weren't in L.A. all week then?" Willow asked shocked. They'd all assumed.

"Hell no. Faith told me she didn't want me visiting again or hanging around 'til the appeal and Angel, Gunn and Wes are all visiting her. I didn't want to hear them talking about her all the time. I jumped on the first plane to Cleveland I could find and didn't sober up until a few hours before my taxi brought me back here."

"Why didn't you come home?"

"I was a mess...and I wanted to stay a mess. I really did a number on myself about Faith. I convinced myself that we were the Chosen Two and that meant we were supposed to be together, you know? One of those destiny things." She laughed bitterly at herself. "Shoulda known they never work out. I needed to time to wallow; I guess I should have taken more time." She looked at Willow sadly. "I'm sorry; I didn't mean to come home all bad and moody. I meant what I said earlier about this being a new start. I've neglected all of you since...well, since Sunnydale fell off the face of the earth. Before that, even, and I'm going to make it up to you. I don't really want to go back to patrol full time, but maybe I can work with the girls around here and I'll totally help Kennedy with any strategies she wants help with. And you, me, Xander and Giles have to spend some quality time together. Like we used to. I'm sure this place is a party town behind its dead as a dodo facade."

Willow looked skeptical and both women started laughing.

Willow stopped first and smiled fondly at her friend. "It's good to have you back Buffy."

Buffy smiled back. "Yeah well I've told you why I'm all bad and moody, what was your excuse this morning? Or was it just a knock on affect from me?"

Willow grimaced. "I've been a bit preoccupied all week," she said cryptically.

"Why?" Pushed the Slayer

"Uh, werewolves mostly."

"I thought that was all sorted, in a 'Plan gone wrong' kind of way." Buffy chuckled. "Don't worry, Ken will get them next time and we'll all help."

Willow didn't look any happier.

"Ohh, it's the Oz thing isn't it? Werewolves remind you of him, which is fair enough and totally justifies the distractedness and if you wanna talk about him, well, my ears are open for Willow business too."

Willow looked pained. "I think he may be here in Boudenver. In fact I think he may have kind of saved my life last week."

"Well that's okay, isn't it? I mean you and Oz were cool last time he left, and if he's all with the life save-age then he's obviously still cool now. Hang on, what do you mean you think he saved your life? Surely you'd recognize him. I know it's been a while but..."

"He was a wolf at the time."

Buffy nodded, "Okay confusion clearing... a little. Are you sure it was him?"

"Pretty much. He looked at me - I mean the wolf looked at me - and I just felt something go through me when I looked into his eyes, but it was all over too quick to really tell. Kennedy went to kill him and I had to stop her and then he was gone."

"Kennedy tried to slay your ex-boyfriend? You know, Will, sometimes I swear we live in a soap opera. What did she say when you told her you thought it was Oz? Did she freak that she almost killed him or did she freak that your ex was there? She seems like the jealous type."

"Well that's the thing; I've never told her about Oz at all, and now I don't know where to start what with him being here and all."

Willow looked so dejected that Buffy leaned over and around the slowly melting tub of ice-cream and gave her a hug.

"It'll be okay Will. You'll see. I mean if we can face apocalypses then surely our tumultuous love lives can't be that much trouble."

"Pah," Willow said into Buffy's hair.

Kennedy came out of the living room carrying a grunting baby demon. "Hey if it's cuddles time don't leave me and Goorzy out," she said lightly, pleased to see Buffy and Willow making up at last. Willow had been pout-y and distracted for a week; maybe now things could get back to normal.

Buffy pulled out of the hug and shook her head at the younger Slayer. "I can't believe you've become so attached to that thing."

"Don't call her a thing, you'll hurt her feelings. I think she needs a kiss from Auntie Buffy now to make it better."

Kennedy held the small ape-like demon out towards Buffy's face who squealed and jumped over the side of the stairs to get away. Goorzar squealed back and Kennedy burst out laughing.

"Chicken," Kennedy shot after Buffy. "You okay honey?" She asked Willow who was still sitting on the stairs holding the ice-cream tub.

Willow looked down at Buffy who gave her a silent thumbs up and she looked back at her girlfriend.

"Can we talk?"

Kennedy's face instantly became guarded. "What about?"

"Oh it's not a break-up talk, nothing like that." The redhead said quickly to reassure her. "There's just some stuff I need to tell you." She patted the step which Buffy had just vacated.

Kennedy sat down. "Shoot."

Willow took a deep breath and began to tell her everything from meeting Oz at the career fair to his capture by the Initiative and the reason he had left town again.

Kennedy listened intently and Goorzar, unnoticed by the two women, used her finger to scoop out the melty green ice cream and slurp it off with her long blue tongue.

Continue to Episode Four

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