Images flashed through Willow's mind as she felt the spell flow through her. When it broke, she was breathing heavily. "What was that?"
"It's not here," Anya said, looking around the floor. "It's not here!"
"Ok," Willow said, standing. "That's a little blacker than I like my arts."
"Don't be such a wimp," Anya said.
"That-that-that wasn't some temporal fold, that was some weird hell place. I don't think you're telling me everything," Willow replied.
"I swear I am just trying to find my necklace."
"Well did you try looking inside the sofa in Hell?"
Anya gave her a smile. "We'll just try it again and.."
"I think emphatically not," Willow told her.
"I can't do this by myself," Anya said.
"That's a relief," she replied, picking up her books and backpack.
"Fine! Go!" Anya snapped. "Idiot child."
"I believe these chicken feet are mine," Willow responded, picking up her magickal items. "Look, magick is dangerous, Anya. It's not to be toyed with. Now, if you'll excuse me I have someone else's homework to do." With that, she turned and quickly left the classroom.
Across town, in an old factory, someone expected to feel the bolt he jumped in front of pierce his heart. Instead, he found himself falling backwards onto the hard floor, the room empty.
Slowly, Puppy raised his head, looking around the room in pain and confusion. "What the..."
He winced as he pushed himself to his feet. His whole body was on fire from the exertion of the fight. Having been chained up and tortured for as long as he had, he was anything but physically fit. He was lucky he could walk at all, but the Master had kept him fed, giving him the ‘leftovers' so he wouldn't die. His demon wouldn't allow him to pass up the meal, even though his soul screamed with each life he ended. Not that they wouldn't have died anyway, there was barely enough blood left in their bodies to allow his to heal. Heal only to be tortured again.
Carefully, he made his way out of the factory and found himself in a whole other world.
Humans. Walking down the street. At night. Their blood singing to him, calling him. Puppy could feel his bloodlust rising, not having been fed recently, as he made his way down the street. His eyes were wide with wonder. This was how Sunnydale had been when he first arrived over two years ago, before the Harvest, before the Master rose.
Stumbling, he ducked into an alley and waited, the demon overcoming his soul, wanting to feed. He saw an old woman come towards him. "Excuse me," she said.
Puppy grabbed her and yanked her into the alley, sinking his fangs into the delicate skin of her neck. His soul let out an agonizing scream as she slumped in his arms, lifeless. He gently set her to the ground and checked her pulse. Thready, but still there.
Putting on his human mask, he left the alley quickly and got the attention of some passer byers. "There's someone hurt in the alley," he said. "She's bleeding..." When they hurried away, he quickly left the area, heading for the one place that would tell him if this was all a dream.
Music, loud and throbbing, came out of the club. Puppy followed a group of teens in and stopped suddenly when he saw the number of people in the place dancing, playing pool or video games, lounging around at tables or on the couches talking with each other. Everywhere there were humans -- living, breathing and free.
Slowly, he walked further into the club, his disheveled, beaten appearance in sharp contrast to the healthy youth around him. His semi-tattered blue shirt and dirty pants clashed with the perfectly coiffed teens, as his eyes flitted from person to person. He bumped into someone and was suddenly grabbed by the arm. Panicking, he brought his arms up and shoved away from the person.
"Angel? Oh my god, are you ok?"
He looked down at the blond woman and did a double-take. "You. It's you," he whispered, backing away from her. "But-but..."
"Angel," Buffy said with worry, reaching out to touch him again. He looked down at her hand on his arm, then back to her face. "What happened?"
"I...Buffy?" Puppy asked, confusion etched on his face. "But you..."
"Buffster, Deadboy, what's shakin'?" Xander asked, practically bouncing up to Buffy's side.
Puppy looked at the newcomer, his eyes going wild. Spinning, he charged towards the exit as fast as he could. He looked back over he shoulder at the boy and promptly crashed into wall next to the door, banging his head. He heard muffled laughter as he fell to the floor, then all went dark.
"Ok, is it me, or did Angel just wig for no reason?" Xander asked, as he helped lift the unconscious vampire off the floor.
"Xander, not now," Buffy said, managing to get him over her shoulder in a fireman's carry.
"What's going on?" Oz asked as he ambled over, having just arrived.
"Deadboy kissed the wall," Xander informed him. "The wall didn't like it and hit him."
"Ouch," Oz said.
"Oz, can you give us a ride to the library?" Buffy asked, glaring at Xander.
"Sure, I don't need to set up just yet," Oz replied, leading the way out the door and to his van. Once there, Buffy laid Puppy gently down next to the music equipment, then climbed in. The short ride to the high school was punctuated by Xander's running commentary on nothing in particular while the Slayer gently stroked the vampire's hair, a worried frown marring her face.
Oz pulled up as close to the doors as possible, then helped Buffy shoulder Puppy again. Xander hurried ahead to hold open the doors. "Giles!" Buffy called out, as the trio entered the library.
Willow looked up from the computer behind the check out counter and gasped. "What happened?" she asked, jumping down from her stool and running around to the main portion of the library, Giles right behind her.
Oz and Xander cleared off the table and Buffy laid Puppy down. "He ran into a wall," Buffy answered, unbuttoning her coat and dropping it on a chair.
"It was really not very Deadboy, G-man," Xander said, as Giles came closer to examine the vampire. "He freaked."
"Freaked?" Willow said, moving to the other side of the table by her boyfriend. "Hi, Oz."
"Hey," Oz greeted. "I need to get back to the Bronze."
"Thank you, Oz," Buffy said to the guitarist. Oz nodded, half-smiled at Willow, then left.
"What did you mean by freaked, Xander?" Willow repeated.
"Just that. He was standing with Buffy, I came over, and he freaked, then got personal with a wall," Xander explained.
"Well, I do not see anything wrong with him other than this cut on his head," Giles said, then turned to go retrieve the first aid kit.
Buffy took Giles' place and began to unbutton the shirt. "I think he hit the fire alarm thingy, too. There's some blood on hi-" She stopped speaking with a gasp, her hand moving to her mouth in horror.
"Oh, man, that doesn't look pretty," Xander commented, looking at the burns, cuts and bruises marring his chest, some of which were slightly bleeding.
"Giles, get over here!" Buffy said in a panicked voice. "Xander, help me get this shirt off."
The two lifted the unconscious vampire to a sitting position and Willow pulled the shirt off his arms. She gasped as well when she saw his back. "Oh, Angel," she said in sympathy.
Buffy looked at his back and flinched, her face showing a mixture of anger and tears. Gently, the two laid him back down as Giles returned with the first aid kit. "Oh dear," Giles said when he saw the injuries. His eyes traced one wicked cut that led from his navel down below his pants. "Do you know wh-what happened?"
"No," Buffy whispered. "But whoever did this is going to pay."
Giles opened the kit and took out the gauze and iodine, then began to dab at the wounds. "Willow, would you mind getting me some water? There is a bowl in my office."
"Sure," Willow said, leaving to do as asked.
"Xander, would you please get Oz's towel," Giles instructed. "Buffy, we are going to have to remove h-his...er, pants."
"Ok," Buffy said without hesitation. She carefully removed the pants and Xander draped the towel over him. "Did anyone see his shoes?"
"Weren't they on his feet?" Xander asked.
"No," Buffy answered. She returned to the side of the table, near Puppy's head and gently rubbed her thumb over his cheek as Giles worked. The injuries ran down both legs, some healed over, some fresh.
"Here's the water," Willow said, walking carefully over to the table and setting it down. She started blushing when she saw the vampire sans clothing save for a strategically placed towel.
"Thank you, Willow," Giles said, taking a fresh piece of gauze and dipping it in the water to cleanse some of the cuts.
"I thinks he's coming around," Buffy said as Puppy's eyelids starting fluttering. He let out a quiet groan before his eyes opened and met hers. "Hi."
His features softened when he saw her, his heart expanding. He had fallen in love with her the moment he saw her, in winter of 1996. But then she never came to Sunnydale like he was told she would, and then the Master had risen, and then...
"This is how I pictured you would be like," he whispered, seeing the concern and worry in her eyes. She seemed so different than the hard woman that let him out of the cage, and if this was a dream, he didn't want to wake up. He needed to tell her how he felt before the horror returned. "I don't care if you're not real. I love you, Buffy. I have since the moment I saw you in that red jacket when you were called. I'm sorry. I was trained to watch over and help you, but then you didn't come and I had to do it on my own and I failed..."
"Shh," Buffy said, brushing her fingers over his lips. "You're hurt and not making any sense, but I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere."
Puppy's lips barely tilted at the corners, his version of a smile. He slowly became aware of someone tending him and he moved his gaze to see an older gentleman with glasses.
"Angel? Can you tell us what happened?" Willow asked, hovering near his head on the opposite side of the table.
Puppy turned his head to the voice and froze. Standing beside him were his two tormentors, the female vampiress who was more cruel than he had ever been and her consort. He suddenly rolled off the table, knocking into the Slayer, before scrambling to his feet in an attempts to get away. He became tangled with Buffy and he went down hard, smashing into a wooden chair, upending it. New pain shot through him as he started pulling himself across the floor, trying to get free. He was whimpering by now, but he didn't care. All his thoughts were centered on getting away.
"Angel!" Buffy yelled, getting to her own knees and capturing him by wrapping her arms around his waist. "Angel!" She held on tighter as he began to struggle against her, but he was no match for her strength, his being sapped from years of being locked up. His whimpering had turned into a combined sob and scream as he clawed against her fingers. "Giles, help me!"
Giles got in front of the vampire and slapped him across the face. Puppy stopped moving suddenly with the contact and Buffy used that distraction to flip him on his back then straddle his waist, holding his arms pinned above his head. "Angel, look at me," she commanded, bending closer to his face.
Puppy's eyes were wild and unseeing, as he writhed futilely under her. Buffy clamped her thighs tightly around his hips, wrapping her feet over his legs and pulling them apart. "Angel!" she yelled in his face, her voice cracking with emotion. "Angel, it's me."
He slowly stopped struggling when he realized that he was caught. Tears streaming down his face, he stared up towards the ceiling, not making eye contact with his captor. Buffy wanted to give him back to the vampires, send him back to the nightmare that was his life. He knew it had to be only a dream.
"Angel?" Buffy asked softly. "Angel, look at me. Please?"
Puppy brought his gaze to hers and saw the tears in her eyes. He wondered why she was crying. He was the one who was caught.
"Nod your head if you recognize me," Buffy said. He nodded imperceptibly. "Do you know who he is?" She gestured with her head to Giles, who was crouched near them. Puppy shook his head no. "What about Willow and Xander?" She turned her head to look over at the two hovering on the other side of the table still. "Guys, come here so he can see you."
They both walked over into Puppy's line of sight and he whimpered, his lower lip trembling in uncontrollable fear. His eyes returned to Buffy's and pleaded with her silently to let him go.
"Angel, do you recognize them?" Buffy asked. He slowly nodded in affirmation. "But you're afraid of them." Nod.
"Why would Angel be afraid of us?" Willow queried, frowning. She crouched down next to Giles, pulling her skirt over her knees. Puppy hissed in fear and turned his head away, holding back another sob.
"Angel, Willow is not going to hurt you. She's your friend," Buffy explained quietly. She looked up at Giles. "Giles, what's wrong with him?"
"I don't know, Buffy," Giles replied. "When was the last time you saw him?"
"Just last night," she told him. "He was fine."
"Willow, why don't you and Xander wait in my office," Giles said. Willow nodded and stood, heading for the office with Xander right behind her. "Buffy, I'm going to give you a-a-a few moments with him."
"Ok," Buffy said. Giles stood and joined the other two in the office, closing the door behind him. She looked back down at Puppy. "Sweety? Look at me."
Puppy turned his head so he was looking back up at her. His eyes flicked around the room, searching for the others. When he did not see anyone, he concentrated on listening for them. He was completely surprised when he heard four distinct heartbeats, one right above him and three close together further away from him.
"Angel, I need you to tell me what happened," Buffy said, shifting to release her feet from over his legs.
Puppy's eyes widened when he felt her rub against him. He mentally cursed himself as he started to become aroused. Despite the fear he was feeling, having the woman of his dreams pressing herself to him like this was rather...nice.
"Angel, are you going to answer me-oh!" Buffy's eyes widened, as well, when she felt his hardness. She looked down and saw the top of his shaft peeking out from between her legs. She started to flush, her breathing increasing as her heart rate did. "Um..."
Oz lifted the amp, setting it into the correct place on the stage. Leaning over the back, he grabbed the cords and started to unravel them, his thoughts focused on what they were always focused on - Willow.
"Hey Oz," he heard a quiet greeting coming from his left.
He looked up. "Hey Angel," he replied when he saw the vampire. "You're looking conscious."
Angel gave the werewolf a questioning look. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"Last time I saw you, the wall won," Oz said.
"I'm going to sound like Buffy when I say ‘huh'?" Angel said, confused.
"You don't remember running into that wall over there," he gestured. "Knocking yourself out? It was only a half-hour ago, maybe a little more."
"No, I just got here," Angel replied. "I was checking up on Faith and the new Watcher."
"Well, then your double is at the library getting fixed up by Buffy," Oz told him. He shrugged at Angel's ‘yeah right' look. "This is the Hellmouth."
Angel's eyes widened slightly. "Thanks," he said in lieu of goodbye, then hurriedly left the club. He made good time running there, then slowed when he got by the library doors. He could hear Buffy speaking in low tones to someone. He looked through the round window and saw her on the ground on top of someone, an overturned chair blocking his view of the person. Silently, he went through the swinging door.
"If I get up, do you promise not to run?" Buffy was saying, as Angel entered the room, sticking to the shadows. He didn't hear an answer, but whoever it was must have nodded because she stood, then bent to help whoever it was up. The dim light from the lamps set on the bookshelves illuminated the naked and very aroused man who was assisted to his feet, then led back over to the table where he took a seat. Buffy draped a pinkish towel over his lap, then giggled. "Sorry. It's been awhile since I created that problem with you. That I know of, that is."
"Buffy?" Angel said, coming out of the shadows slowly so as not to startle her.
"Oh, hey Angel," Buffy said offhandedly, barely glancing at him. Then her head shot up, her eyes huge. She looked back and forth between the man on the table and the one standing halfway across the library. Then she did as any Slayer would do in a time like this - she fainted.
Angel leapt across the room as she went down, catching her before she hit the leg of the chair. He heard the door to the office open and glanced up from his love to see Giles come out of the room and stop suddenly, Willow and Xander running into his back. It would have been comical at the omphs they made if it weren't for the pale look on the former Watcher's face.
Giles removed his glasses and stared at the vampire holding Buffy, then up at the vampire sitting on the table. The latter vampire was looking nervously between Buffy and the office.
"Next time, put on the break lights, Giles," Xander said as he managed to get past the man blocking the doorway. "Rear ending librarian is not top on my list of-of-of..." He trailed off when he took in the scene.
"Xander, move," Willow piped up from behind him. Xander stepped out of the way in a slight daze and she squeezed out of the office. "I need to go to the... eep!" The hacker's eyes grew large, her head moving back and forth rapidly.
"Is this giving anyone else the wiggins?" Xander asked. Willow nodded and raised her hand.
"Er...A-Angel?" Giles said questioningly. Both men looked at him. "Oh dear."
"Giles, do you have any smelling salts?" Angel asked, as he shifted Buffy in his arms. He didn't understand the reason for their actions, but he knew it had something to do with why the Slayer fainted.
"What? Oh...y-yes," Giles replied, walking over to the table where the kit had miraculously not fallen from the table, nor had the water. The vampire on the table looked at him curiously and with slight fear, as he retrieved the smelling salts and handed them to the vampire on the floor. He looked between the two again. "This is most remarkable."
Angel uncapped the smelling salts and held the bottle under Buffy's nose. "Nyagh," she said, her eyes blinking rapidly before she opened them. She saw Angel's worried face staring down at her. "What happened?"
"You fainted," Angel told her, helping her sit up on her own on the floor.
Her head shot up and her head flew back and forth as she remembered why she fainted. "Angel, this is going to sound like a really strange question, but why are there two of you?"
"What?" Angel asked, looking up at the other vampire. A sense of deja vu washed over him and he frowned.
"You know, one Deadboy was quite enough to handle," Xander said, still over by the office with Willow. "But two? How unfair is that?"
Puppy watched and listened to the goings on with trepidation. The two he was most afraid of hadn't tried to come near him or attack in any way. The new person who'd come into the room and caught Buffy as she fainted seemed very familiar to him, but he didn't know why. The one highlight of all the activity was that his erection went away.
"Ok, whoever is named Angel, raise their hand," Buffy said as she stood.
Angel looked at the other vampire in surprise when his hand went up as well. Then a feeling of dread washed over him and he moved to look at the other's back. He saw the same tattoo that had adorned his back for well over two hundred years, when he was still human. He walked slowly to stand directly in front of the other man on the table, next to Giles. "This is me?"
"It w-w-would appear so," Giles stammered, putting his glasses back on. "I, uh, take it you're the real Angel?"
"I don't know," Angel frowned again. He looked over at Buffy. "How would we be able to tell?"
"I know," Willow said. "We ask a question that all of us know the answer to. Well, not all of us, because the not-real Angel wouldn't know the answer. Unless both Angels did. Then it wouldn't work. But I think it will work."
"When did you lose your soul?" Buffy asked the second Willow stopped talking, her eyes on both of them. She saw the Angel who was standing wince with the question. The Angel sitting on the table looked at her in confusion. "That answers that question," she said, coming over to stand next to her Angel to ask the sitting Angel, "Who are you?"
Puppy was totally confused. "Pup...uh, A-Angel. I thought...I..." He looked at Buffy's frowning face, to the men standing on either side of her. "Will you please tell me what's going on?"
"You started to say something else," Buffy said, her voice hardening. "Another name. What was it?"
He bent his head as her tone struck him. "Puppy," he answered in barely a whisper. He raised his eyes to Willow, then back down quickly. "That's what she calls me."
"What?" Willow squeaked. "I call you a puppy?"
"Is anyone else as lost as I am?" Xander asked. "We have two Angels, one of who is all scarred up and thinks Wills calls him puppy. Why am I thinking Hellmouth?"
"Ang-Pup-Ang," Buffy growled. "What the hell do I call you? Angel number two?"
Puppy winced at her words, thinking that she hated him once again. If he wasn't so confused and afraid, he'd run out of there. "Just call me Puppy, like her. That's what I've been called for over two and a half years now," he replied, not raising his head. He shifted on the table and groaned as pain shot through him. He must have broken his ribs falling on the chair.
"Why don't we let Giles finish fixing you up, then we can figure out what's going on," she said, her voice softening once again. She reached forward and tilted Puppy's chin up to look in his eyes. "Is that ok?"
"Yes," Puppy answered.
Buffy let go and turned to Angel. "Why don't you go back to the mansion and get him some clothes. He's a lot skinnier than you, but they should fit enough."
"Alright," Angel said, turning to go. When he got to the door he called Buffy over.
"Giles, do your thing," Buffy instructed as she walked over to Angel. "What's up?"
"Is that what I look like?" Angel asked quietly, his eyes flicking to the other vampire.
"Minus the injuries," Buffy answered. She turned her head to look at Puppy. "That's you. Now you can see why girls fawn all over you."
Angel chuckled, then kissed her on the forehead. "I'll be back," he said, then disappeared out the door.
"I think he's terrified of you two," Buffy said a few minutes later in the bathroom with Willow.
"From his reaction when he first saw me, I'd say that was a yes," Willow replied. "I don't know why, though. I mean, he's not Angel. Well, he is, but he's not our Angel...I mean your Angel. He's a different Angel."
"I think we better start referring to him as ‘Puppy' before I get a headache," Buffy told her as they made their way back to the library. "I had no Angel for months, now I have two. Some girls would call me lucky."
"Yeah, but you can't touch him...er, them. Either of them. The curse, remember?" Willow said. "Unless this Ang- uh, Puppy doesn't have it. But the only way to find out if he has a happiness clause would be to sleep with him, and I don't think I'm helping matters, am I?"
"No, Will, but I love you anyway," Buffy replied. She gave her friend a smile. When they entered the library, they both noted that Angel had returned and Xander was sitting up on the check out counter, his eyes continuously jumping between the two vampires. Willow hopped up next to him as Buffy continued over to Giles. "How's it going?"
"I'm finished," Giles answered, taping the last bandage to Puppy's chest. The vampire had put on the loose running pants that Angel had brought and was watching Giles' fingers as he worked.
Buffy sent a reassuring smile to Angel, then took the other vampire's hand. "Puppy? I'm going to introduce you to everyone, ok?"
"Ok," Puppy replied, sliding the borrowed white T-shirt over his head.
"The guy who fixed you up is Giles," Buffy started, gesturing to the man. "He is...was...is....ugh...my Watcher."
"Hello," Giles said, giving Puppy a small smile.
"The vampire behind you is...well, you," Buffy continued. "But since we're calling you Puppy, we'll keep his name as Angel."
"Is that what I look like?" Puppy asked.
Buffy laughed, sharing a look with Angel. "Yeah. That's what you look like."
"I have good taste," he commented, sliding off the table as Buffy pulled on his hand. "I'm glad to see that this me doesn't dress like Whistler."
"You know Whistler?" Angel asked.
"I did," Puppy answered slowly. "I haven't heard from him since he brought me to Sunnydale to wait for Buffy." His lips curled up in a sneer. "Then again, no one would be caught alive in Sunnydale."
"Isn't the saying ‘no one would be caught dead'?" Xander asked from his perch.
Puppy's head shot to the teen with a combination of a fearful and angry glare. "Everyone is dead in Sunnydale."
"Wow, I'm sensing hostility," Xander said, putting up his hands.
"That is Xander. Ignore him, we do," she said, practically dragging Puppy towards them. "And this is Willow."
"Buffy, no, don't. They're vampires," Puppy said frantically, trying to break her grip on his hand.
Buffy stopped and looked at him, as did the others in the room, in confusion. "They're what?"
"Me? A vampire?" Willow said. "No, no, no. I'm definitely not a vampire. Unless someone didn't tell me?"
Puppy's eyes flicked back and forth between the two on the counter and he concentrated. Sure enough, he could hear their hearts beating and the blood rushing beneath their skin. He felt his canines elongating and he forced himself to look at the blond Slayer. "They're alive."
"Yes, they are," Buffy reaffirmed. "And they're not going to hurt you."
"Much," Xander said under his breath. Buffy glared at him and he gave her an innocent look.
Puppy reached out a hand and touched Willow's pink covered knee. She grinned shyly at him. "Hi, I'm Willow, the not-a-vampire."
"I think we should find out from...er, Puppy where he came from," Giles said, cleaning up the first aid kit. "Especially before Wesley arrives," he muttered with a sneer. Angel covered his grin at the librarians words.
Buffy led Puppy back to the table and had him sit in a chair. She motioned to Willow and Xander to join them, then settled herself between the two vampires, with her friends across the table from her. Giles stood off to one side, going into his Watcher mode, even if he was no longer one. "First we must discover how much of Puppy is-is Angel, and I think we may be able to ascertain that by comparing memories by picking a date at random and ask both what they remember."
"What did he say?" Puppy asked Buffy quietly. She snickered.
"Angel, why don't we start with you," Giles continued. "When did you first see Buffy?"
"When she was called," Angel answered. "She was sucking on a lollipop, wearing this bright red jacket."
"Then she sat on the steps and her first Watcher came up to her," Puppy continued, looking at Angel. "Then later, I saw her first slaying, then watched as she cried..."
"...and I told Whistler that I wanted to help," Angel finished. "Then he trained me and brought me to Sunnydale." Puppy nodded.
"What happened then, Angel?" Giles prompted.
"I followed Buffy that first night she came to town and she knocked me flat," Angel said with a smile to the Slayer. "I told her she was short."
"Well, you were annoying," Buffy shot back, but a smile on her face as well.
Puppy was looking at both of them in confusion. "Er...Puppy, is something wrong?" Giles asked the vampire.
"Buffy never showed up," Puppy answered. "I waited, but she never came."
"Why didn't I show up?" Buffy asked.
"I don't know," Puppy replied. "But you didn't come, and the Master rose."
All eyes widened with that statement. "You mean...the Harvest occurred?" Giles said.
"Yes," Puppy said. "I tried to stop it, but I was only one person."
"Jeez," Willow said. "Is that when we...died?"
Puppy shrugged. "I don't know. You were both vampires when I was captured. Even before I was cursed, I wasn't as vicious or sadistic as Willow and her consort, Xander."
Willow paled and Xander swallowed nervously, looking first at each other, then over at Angel who was staring at them in surprise, then back at Puppy. "I don't think I like the sound of that," Xander said.
"Are they the ones who hurt you?" Buffy asked quietly. He nodded. "What happened next?"
"You finally came," Puppy said to her. "But you didn't look like this. You had two cuts, across your mouth." He rubbed his thumb over her lips where the cuts had been, much to her surprise. "And you were not as nice as you are now. You were going to leave me chained up because I was a vampire. The only reason you let me out was because I could lead you to the factory where the Master's invention was set up."
"In-invention?" Giles said.
"He made a machine to draw all the blood out of humans," Puppy replied. "Like a soda fountain, only for vampires." Giles removed his glasses and the others shivered in revulsion. Even Angel looked slightly ill. "I led you there, then tried to do what I was trained by Whistler to do - help you. We got into a fight with the other vampires and I suddenly ended up in an empty warehouse."
Willow's mind suddenly flickered over the images that had run through her when she was preforming the spell with Anya. "Oh my god, I think I brought you here," she said, covering her mouth with her hand. She shot her gaze to Giles. "I was helping with a spell and I saw a big fight and this machine, but the spell screwed up somehow and the necklace Anya was trying to retrieve didn't come back. I think Puppy did, instead."
"Willow, how many times have I warned you against using black magick?" Giles scolded, replacing his glasses to glare at her.
"Sorry," she said meekly, ducking her head.
"If what you say is true, I think we're talking about an alternate time line," Angel spoke up.
"Like in Back to the Future, part two?" Xander asked. "Where Marty's copy of all the sports scores is stolen by Cliff and he brings it back to the 1950's and gives it to young Cliff who uses it to become the most powerful and richest man in the United States, corrupting the time line. Then Marty has to go back to the 1950's without running into his other self, who is also there from the first movie, and steal the book back to make things right again?"
"What did he say?" Puppy asked Buffy, just as he asked her about Giles earlier. She burst out laughing, as did Willow.
"Oh, look, if it isn't a meeting of the losers club," Cordelia sneered as she came into the library, dressed to the nines, carrying a couple of books.
"Wow, Cordy," Xander said, looking her over. "Are you on call?"
"At least some of us have better things to do than hang around a library all night," Cordelia shot back.
"Then why are you here?" Xander asked sweetly.
Cordelia narrowed her eyes at him, then looked at Giles. "I left these in my car and figured while I was picking it up, I'd return them," she said, holding out the books. She returned her gaze to the people sitting around the table, then did a double take. "Ok, does everyone know that there are two Angels sitting there?"
"Where?" Xander said, looking around like she was nuts. "I only see one Deadboy."
"Xander," Buffy said. She turned to Cordelia. "Cordelia, this is Puppy."
Cordelia arched a brow at this. "Puppy? Is he housebroken?"
Puppy gave her a scathing look and stood. "I'll be back," he told Buffy, then left the library, his bare feet making no noise as he crossed the floor.
"Angel, you forgot shoes," Willow said as she watched the door swing shut.
"He didn't have shoes?" Angel asked with a frown.
"No shoes," Buffy replied.
"Only with you people can there be two identical hotties who are both blood sucking vampires," Cordelia said as she turned on her expensive heels. "What a waste of male." With that, she left the library.
"Anybody else wondering why she was really in the library dressed like that?" Willow asked after the cheerleader left.
Cordelia walked down the hallway, her heels clicking on the tile floor in an even pattern. She was trying to convince herself that she had really gone to the library to return the books, not to see if a certain young Watcher was there.
She heard her name being called softly and she shivered. *Ignore it. Keep going,* she thought, picking up her pace.
"Cordelia, I want to talk to you."
A shadow detached itself from the wall near the exit and she realized it was Angel. "Angel! You scared me."
Puppy smirked. "Sorry." He could hear her blood pounding under her skin from fear and he licked his lips.
"What did you want?" Cordelia asked. "By the way, was that Puppy your brother or is something weird going on again?"
"Oh, it's definitely weird," Puppy replied. He leaned forward slightly, the demon just under the surface. He was hungry again, his body wanting blood to heal itself, and this insulting girl would do fine. "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure," she said. "But I really need to get going. I'm suppose to be at the Country Club by ten."
"Do you taste as good as you look?" Puppy asked.
His lips curled up slightly as her face paled and her heartbeat picked up. He felt his face change and he grabbed her, pulling her snug against him. "By the way, I'm not housebroken," he sneered.
Cordelia let out a loud, ear-piercing scream, and she kicked at his shins. She managed to get a hand between them and clawed at his chest under the T-shirt he wore. Breaking away, she turned and started running towards the library, still screaming.
Puppy chuckled humorlessly, then took off after her. Her heels were making it difficult to run and he managed to cut her off. She was slowly backing away from him towards a dead end. "No where to run?"
"Puppy, I'm sorry. I talk like that all the time, it doesn't mean anything," Cordelia pleaded.
"I don't care," Puppy replied. "I'm hungry, you're here." He took a predatory step towards her...and flinched back when a cross was suddenly shoved in his face.
"Get back, demon of the night!" Wesley said, holding a large, white cross at him. Puppy flinched and took a step back. Wesley grabbed a bottle of holy water from his pocket and held it as if he was going to throw it at him.
Puppy snarled, then turned and jogged away.
Cordelia touched Wesley's shoulder and he jumped around with a shriek, holding out the cross. "Oh, Miss Chase. I do apologize. Heat of battle and all. Grr."
"You saved me," Cordelia gushed, throwing her arms around the Watcher.
"Well," he said, hugging her back. "Well." Cordelia let go and smiled up at him. "Um...was that Angel?"
"No. It was Puppy," she replied.
Buffy ran around the corner and saw Cordelia talking with Wesley. "Did either of you scream?" she asked, having just covered the back half of the school.
"Took you long enough," Cordelia snapped. "I would have been Puppy chow if it wasn't for Wesley."
"What?" Buffy said, confused.
"You're Angel look-alike turned Angelus on me," Cordelia said.
Buffy's eyes widened. "Did you see which way he went?"
"That way," she pointed back the way the Slayer came.
"Um...are you going to be ok?" Buffy asked.
"I am because Wesley is here," Cordelia said, latching her arm and smiling up at the man.
Wesley adjusted his collar and cleared his throat. "Er...yes. I shall escort Miss Chase. You go slay this vampire."
Buffy rolled her eyes and took off. She ran into Angel in the hall. "Hey, have you seen Puppy?"
"No," Angel replied. She frowned. "What's wrong?"
"Cordelia said it was him who attacked her, looking for a little snack," Buffy explained.
It was Angel's turn to frown. "How is that possible? My soul should prevent that from happening."
"I think maybe he's a lot more different than you than we think," she said. "Come on, let's go find him."
After a fruitless search, Buffy and Angel returned to the library to see the object of their hunt sitting calmly at the library table, their friends talking with him. The Slayer met Giles' eye and went right into his office, grabbing Wesley's arm and hauling him behind her. "Did you tell Giles?" Buffy asked Wesley.
"Yes, I informed him," Wesley said. "He insisted we do nothing until you returned."
"Good," Buffy said with a nod of her head. She turned and left the office, noting that Angel was crouched next to Puppy's chair, talking quietly with him. "Angel? Why don't we take Puppy to the mansion, get him settled in for the night. Willow, Xander, I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
"Bye, Buffy," Willow said.
"Bye, Buff, Deadboy, Deadboy," Xander said.
Buffy sighed, then turned and walked out, followed by the two vampires. They headed towards the old mansion where Angel made his home silently, enjoying the peacefulness of the night. When they arrived, Angel showed Puppy to the room Spike had used, then rejoined Buffy out by the fire that was always burning.
"Will you find out why he tried to eat Cordelia?" Buffy asked him, looking worriedly towards the back of the mansion.
"Of course," Angel replied. "But Buffy, if he turns out to be a killer..."
"I know," she said sadly. "You'd have to do it, though. I couldn't do it when you were him."
Angel pulled Buffy into his embrace. "I know, sweety," he said. "I'll take care of it if we have no other choice."
Buffy smiled weakly up at him. "I'd better get home."
"Yeah," he replied, giving her a brief kiss on the lips.
She stood, her hand holding onto his for as long as possible. "Goodnight. Say goodnight to Puppy for me."
"I will," Angel said. He watched as she headed out of the mansion. "I love you, Buffy," he said before she got out the door.
Buffy turned, her smile a little brighter. "I love you, too."
"You are lucky," Puppy said, emerging from the shadows after the Slayer had left the garden.
Angel looked at the vampire identical to him and sighed. "I know."
Puppy came and sat on the edge of the fireplace. "What's she like?"
"Sunshine," Angel answered simply.
He smiled the only way he knew how. "I wish I got to know her," Puppy said. "Well, you know I loved her the instant I saw her."
"Yeah," Angel replied. "I know."
"Yeah," Puppy repeated with the same inflection.
"About what happened tonight...with Cordelia," Angel began. Puppy shifted nervously. "What was that about? You know with your soul you can't kill anyone."
"Tell that to all those humans over the past two and a half years," Puppy said. "The Master only fed me‘leftovers.' When they remembered."
He shrugged. "Don't be. You got the better deal. But a vampire's got to eat."
"In this time line, you don't need to feed off humans," Angel told him. "There's plenty of other options, like Whistler explained. Remember?"
"Butcher's shop, blood bags," Puppy replied. "Anyone from 90210."
Angel laughed. "Now I'm certain we had the same past."
"Giles wants to send Puppy back," Willow said the next morning as they walked to their first class.
"What? Why?" Buffy asked.
"He thinks that by bringing Puppy here we're cheating fate," she explained. "That he may have had something important to do in that time line."
"Like dying?" Buffy said. "That's what you told me was happening when you did that spell with Anya."
"We don't know that, Buffy," Willow said. "Maybe he was crucial in stopping that Buffy from dying."
"But this is the real time line," Buffy replied. "I did come to Sunnydale, the Harvest did not occur, I killed the Master. I even sent Angel to hell to save humanity. If I've done all this for nothing, I'm going to be really pissed."
"Are you sure you just don't want to keep two Angel's around?" Willow asked slyly.
"Think about it, Will. Two guys that I can't touch with a ten foot pole," she answered. "Now instead of surround-sound smoochies, it's surround-sound celibacy."
"No. I'm not going," Puppy said firmly. "I'd rather you kill me now then send me back to that Hell."
Buffy gave Giles an ‘I told you so' look. "But-but what if by coming here, you disrupted something important in the fabric of-of-of time?"
"Giles, I was about to get a bolt in the heart when I appeared here. By sending me back, you seal my death," Puppy said. "I'm finally free in what the world should have been like. I can do what I was suppose to do - help Buffy."
Giles removed his glasses and began to clean them. "But what about the attack on Cordelia?"
"He's not use to being able to get blood like he use to," Buffy spoke up, looking over at Angel standing unobtrusively by the check out counter. "But now he knows how easy it is and he won't feed on anyone, right?"
"Right," Puppy agreed. "My soul hated it, anyway. I had no choice, now I do."
"I am no longer your Watcher, Buffy," Giles sighed, sliding the glasses back in place. "Therefore, it is not my ultimate decision."
"You mean, I have to ask Sir Wesley?" Buffy asked. "Thrill."
"No, it is your choice. You are the Slayer that is effected by Puppy being here instead of the time line he came from," Giles said. With that, the former Watcher retreated to his office.
"Pressure much?" Buffy said to the two vampires.
"Buffy, I don't want to go," Puppy said, looking at her with the same soul-filled eyes of her Angel.
"Tell me the truth, do you honestly think something bad would happen if you don't take that bolt?"
"You would die," Puppy answered. "Xander shot it at you."
Buffy looked at him with surprise. "But I thought you told us that me in that time line didn't like you, didn't even know you. Why did you jump in front of that bolt?"
"It's what I was suppose to do," he said. "Plus, I loved you. Or at least, the image I held of you in my head. I had no choice. But now I'm not too sure. You're nothing like that Buffy, the differences are tremendous, even though I only knew her for a half hour. I am betting she would have died that night by the Master's hand. Xander's bolt would have just made it happen sooner."
"So you're basically saying that because I didn't come to Sunnydale in that time line, I was a sucky Slayer?"
Puppy nodded. "I heard about you from the Master sometimes, when I was brought out to be ‘played with.' He said that you relied only on your strength, and that would be your downfall. No ingenuity."
"But I have lots of ‘nuity here," Buffy said. "I improvise all the time. In fact, that's what I excel at."
"Different worlds, different Slayers," he said with a shrug.
"Angel, what's your opinion?"
"I don't think he should have to go back," Angel said quietly.
That answer surprised Buffy. She thought for sure he'd be on the side of saving that Buffy. "Why?"
"One, this is the time line where humanity has been saved on many occasions. Two, he's right in saying that you would be defeated by the Master. You were before, and it was only with the help of your friends that you killed him. In that line, it sounds as though you have no friends. And three, I think we can use him on our side," Angel said.
"And that last reason was in no way selfish," Buffy replied with a smile. "Admit it, you always wanted a twin brother."
"At least, now I'll be able to look in a mirror," he joked back.
"So I don't have to go?" Puppy asked with hope in his voice.
"Nope, you don't have to go back," Buffy said. "Welcome to the Hellmouth, Puppy."
"I've lived on the Hellmouth before," he replied.
"Yeah, but this one is way better," Buffy told him. "It's home of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer."