***Part Three***

Angelus was growing more furious by the minute. Three nights now he had scoured Sunnydale looking for his Slayer and three nights he had not seen her. He had seen her do gooder friends, but no sign of his Slayer and he was not exactly in a position to ask where she was. He focused on the emotion he could identify with best, fury, dismissing the others, like concern, attributing those to Soul Boy. He chose to believe his Slayer and her friends were deliberately toying with him over there being something actually wrong with his mate.

One thing Angelus was confident of, he would know with every fiber of his being if his Slayer was dead. He did not need the soul or a beating heart to have such a connection to her. He had no doubt the reverse was true and that she would know if her beloved Angel was no more. He did not dwell on why they had such a connection or how, it was one part of Soul Boy's one hundred year reign that Angelus accepted.

He stood outside the front of her house, smoking a cigarette watching for some sign of movement in the house. Where was she? Joyce's Jeep was not on the driveway and the house was dark. It had been this way the prior night, too. It was too early for her to be sleeping but she was not patrolling or at the Bronze. He had seen her friends there, which was what sent Angelus to Buffy's house. One night seeing them at the Bronze sans Slayer was not altogether unusual, but three nights in a row was.

Curiosity getting the better of him, Angelus walked to the back door and went inside. It had been a while since he had entered the house this way instead of via her bedroom window. In truth, Soul Boy had rarely entered his mate's home this way. He took a moment to take in his surroundings, smelling the air to be assured there was no one else here. His Slayer was not here either, which meant she was not here with the boy. Angelus had sort of hoped that had been the case so that he could torment Soul Boy just a bit more. "Oh well," he murmured.

He walked through the dining room and went upstairs taking the steps two at a time. The nightlight in the bathroom was on and Angelus took in the sight before him. The toilet seat was up, which sent him into a jealous rage considering no men lived in the Summers' home. His jealous rage was tempered a bit as the rancid stench that came from someone getting ill assaulted his nose. Towels were spread out and arranged on the floor around the base of the toilet as if someone had been lying there. Clearly, the toilet seat was up because someone had been retching into it, and with some regularity it would appear from the setup of the towels in the bathroom.

The light in her bedroom was off when he entered it, unsurprising given she was not at home, but still he knew there was something wrong. Her room while not military neat in general was in a state of disarray. Her bed was unmade, clothes were on the floor, dresser drawers remained ajar and her closet doors were open as well. It looked as if she had left in a hurry and that sent Angelus into a rage based on fury not jealousy. Was she trying to escape him? Had his gift the other night at the high school sent her running? Did she not realize that if he wanted her dead he would come after her, not kill innocent school boys who happened to look similar to her date?

He took a quick inventory of her things, a few were missing but nothing more than a few days worth had been taken. A return to the bathroom told him that all of her toiletries were there. What seventeen-year-old girl would leave without taking hairspray and makeup?

A tour of Joyce's bedroom only served to confuse Angelus further. Joyce had obviously prepared for her trip. More than a few days worth of clothes were missing and her bathroom was devoid of the toiletry items Angelus would have found there.

"Where in the hell is she?" he roared in frustration.

A fairly thorough search of the house revealed nothing beyond the fact that Joyce had prepared for her departure and Buffy had not. If Spike had organized a raiding party on his Slayer behind his back he would see that the fiasco at the abandoned church was a moment of pleasure for Spike by the time Angelus finished with him.

He let himself out the front door not bothering with discretion since it appeared Joyce at least was not coming back tonight. He stood on the front lawn and lit a cigarette, taking a drag off of it while he contemplated where his Slayer could be. He did not like the dread he felt at the idea that something had actually happened to her. Her friends were at the Bronze, which left her Watcher's house or the library. Both good places to start his search for her.

The school netted him little information beyond the fact that she and Giles were not there. Angelus had entered the library through the stacks, so he was certain neither his Slayer nor her Watcher was hidden among them. It did not take Angelus long to walk to Giles' townhouse once he left the school. He stood in the courtyard, leaning against a tree as he peered through the Watcher's living room window. Light emitted from the living room, but there was no movement apparent.

He tossed his cigarette onto the ground and stomped on it, twisting his foot to crush it into oblivion as he debated the wisdom of standing outside the house of a more than likely pissed off Watcher. Angelus doubted either his Slayer or her Watcher would expect Angelus to show up at Rupert's house so he felt fairly safe from a staking tonight.

His head jerked up when he saw movement inside Rupert's house. He hated that he was relieved to see her, even if it was evident that his mate was not well. She walked sluggishly from the direction of the bathroom or Rupert's kitchen, holding something over her face. The tree branch he had been holding snapped under the pressure of his grip when he saw her stumble and fall out of view.

{Get to her now.}

"On it, Soul Boy," he hissed in response, only to see Rupert come from the same direction Buffy had walked from a moment ago. He stopped and stood at the window and let out a low but nonetheless primal growl when he saw her lying on the floor. "Buffy," he bit out for once feeling helpless that the soul was gone. His mate was lying on the floor and he needed to know what was wrong with her.

"Angel?" he heard her call out when Rupert wiped her brow with the cloth she had been holding over her face. He growled softly at her use of Soul Boy's name, but was pleased to know that it was still his touch she sought.

"No, Buffy, it's Giles," her Watcher said, in a tone Angelus imagined was intended to be soothing but Angelus found more patronizing than anything.

"I'm okay, Giles, I'm sorry," she said, sitting up with Rupert's assistance.

"It's okay, Buffy, but I really think that you need to swallow your pride and talk to Angel about this. I've looked through my books and contacted those I can trust, but have come up with nothing. I realize it's early on yet, but you're continuing to get worse every day."

"I refuse to talk to him about this, Giles, he's not Angel anymore."

"He's the same man, Buffy," Rupert corrected and Angelus had to smile at the Watcher's assertion of the truth.

"No, he's not. That demon is not my boyfriend, Giles. I refuse to talk to that," she stammered, "that thing about this."

Angelus growled again upon hearing her describe him as a thing. Her mate was no longer a man now but a thing? He would show her the next time he found her alone just how much of a man he was capable of being.

"But Buffy, my research has come up with nothing and we're not on speaking terms with any other vampire to ask. And you've forbidden me from using the Council's resources. If he wanted to hurt you he would have by now if that's what you're afraid of."

"No, that's not what I'm afraid of," Buffy spat back.

"You should be," Angelus whispered from the other side of the window. He wondered if Rupert was aware the window was open a crack, allowing Angelus to hear the conversation his Slayer was having with her Watcher rather well.

"Then what, Buffy? We need to know if this has happened before and if it has what the repercussions were. I don't think you understand the implications."

"I think I understand the implications perfectly, Giles. I don't want to tell him because I'm afraid he would keep me alive only long enough to have the baby and then kill me."

Angelus did not need the benefit of a reflection to know that his human disguise had given way to his true demonic visage. His Slayer, his mate, was pregnant? He was tempted to think that Buffy was saying these things because she was aware of his listening to their conversation. But what would Rupert have to gain by Angelus believing his Slayer was pregnant with Angelus' child? That made no sense, not that Soul Boy getting her pregnant made much sense either.

"But Buffy, if this has happened before we need to know about it. What if the child were to be born with vampiric qualities?"

"I just don't know how I can look the demon wearing my boyfriend's face in the eye and tell him I'm pregnant. What if this bit of information pushes him over the edge and he stops stalking me and moves into kill mode?"

Angelus had heard enough and knew if he stayed a moment longer he would burst through Rupert's door out and take his Slayer with him there and then. Things over the past few weeks were beginning to make more sense he realized as he stormed out of the courtyard. He had recognized that her scent was off, but had not been able to place a reason for the change. Now he knew. Angelus was quite familiar with all aspects of Buffy's cycle and had, for lack of anything better to attribute it to, reasoned that perhaps she smelled different because she was no longer a virgin. In his educated mind he knew that was not right, but the idea that he had knocked her up never entered his mind.

"I wonder if Harris knows that Dead Boy was apparently not so dead after all," Angelus taunted to an awfully quiet Soul Boy. "Oh, come on, Soul Boy, you just found out you're going to become a father and you choose now to be silent?"

His taunting was met with nothing but silence on Soul Boy's part, which left a soulless Angelus alone with his thoughts. What to do with his Slayer now if what he had overheard was true? He had to find out somehow if it was. Her friends were not going to tell him, if they even knew. Chances were his Slayer and her Watcher had not told her friends anything, she would only be about five weeks pregnant. From the sounds of it, his Slayer's Watcher was trying to convince her to rid herself of the pregnancy. Over his dead body would he allow his mate to do that. It was not all that long ago when women died from aborting babies.

He could not risk going back to the factory so soon after hearing the news. Drusilla's visions could sometimes be sparked by actual thoughts, and the last thing Angelus needed to do was flood Drusilla's minds with images of a pregnant Slayer. Drusilla would want his Slayer dead with more urgency.

He walked and stayed away from the citizens of Sunnydale, not in the mood to live up to his reputation as the Scourge of Europe at the moment. He found himself in front of a vacant mansion outside of town and looked for a way to get inside, figuring it would at least be an interesting place to do some thinking in. As far as Angelus knew, vampires could not have babies. Soul Boy had made a point of telling his Slayer that earlier in the year when she was doing that faux baby project for class. His Slayer's Watcher wanted her to seek out Angelus for information when Angelus had none to offer her.

He entered the mansion and started to walk around, appreciating the layout even if his mind was on other things. Darla and The Master were both gone, both would have access to such historical information better than Angelus would. One hundred years of living on your own, away from your people tended to render you out of the loop as far as information went. Still, there were people he could contact, he would just have to do it without Dru or Spike finding out about it. No matter what he did to resolve this issue, Drusilla and Spike could not know about it.

He finished walking through the third floor and stepped out onto one of the bedroom's balconies facing the east. The sun was getting ready to rise, he could smell it, and he knew he should head back to the factory but he did not want to. He still, hours later, had difficulty getting his mind wrapped around the fact that his Slayer was pregnant. If Soul Boy were in charge, Angelus would taunt him and suggest the baby was not his, but Angelus did not believe she had sex with anyone else. He did not believe she had even kissed the boy he had seen her with.

Killing her or driving her mad was out of the question if what he had overheard at Rupert's house was true. He would not leave his child without a mother or with an insane mother. He had left a lot of children orphans and a lot of parents childless in his day, but those children were not his. Killing his family had not given him the satisfaction he believed it would, and he did not believe that killing his child and its mother would satisfy him either.

So, that left leaving her alone, but could he leave his Slayer, his mate, alone? And even if he could he was not sure how he could explain to his minions that the Slayer was never to be touched.

He could leave Sunnydale, leave Drusilla and Spike behind as some sort of offering or sacrifice for her, and setup shop somewhere else. It would probably be best if he did that. Eventually, she would grow tired of his feeding on the good citizens of Sunnydale, get over Soul Boy and seek him out to end his life for good. Would she kill the father of her child? He believed she would, because she believed he and Soul Boy were two different people. That was not the case, but it was difficult to explain. Soul Boy was here inside of him, with him, just as Angelus had been inside and with Soul Boy the entire time he had control of the reins.

He had to find out for sure it was true before he decided. He liked Sunnydale and liked taunting his Slayer, he would not give those things up for any other reason. Angelus was fairly certain that if her Watcher believed she was pregnant that she was pregnant.

With daybreak coming rapidly and Angelus' lack of desire to return to the factory just yet, he decided to find a habitable room in the mansion he had spent the last few hours in to get his day's rest in. Unfortunately, a more scrutinizing walk through revealed most rooms were not conducive to a vampire and his inability to be in direct sunlight. On the first floor, he found a room with no windows and a full-sized sofa that he availed himself of. It would not be the most comfortable respite, but he had certainly experienced worse.

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