***Part Nineteen***

"Well, look who we have here." Angelus recognized the voice immediately and wondered how he had been so careless as to come to the one place he knew Spike would frequent. Angelus had not needed to come to The Bronze for donors in weeks. He was here tonight in search of his mate. She was not at home or patrolling, so Angelus started looking for her at The Bronze figuring she was allowing herself a night out.

"Spike," Angelus said with disdain.

"If it isn't my sire. And here I thought you'd left town. It appears Drusilla was right," the peroxide blonde said. "Care to grab a bite with an old chum, mate?"

"Not right now," Angelus said gruffly, hoping Buffy did not walk past about now. Angelus could feign nonchalance with her but he was not very good at fooling Spike, at least where his mate was concerned.

"Drusilla and I have a delicious treat picked out, Angelus, I think you should join us. You might find it very," he paused as if for dramatic effect. Spike had always been into theatrics. "Enlightening."

They had Buffy, though he did not think that was true. He would know it, feel it, she would have tried to call out to him if Spike and Drusilla had her. If not to try and save her, she would have wanted him to get Ryan out of harm's way. He spared The Bronze's door another glance and then decided he should see what Spike had up his sleeve tonight. If Drusilla was in on the game, there was no telling what it might be. "I guess I have nothing better to do. I see you're out of that pesky wheelchair, Spike. Has Dru returned to your bed?"

"That's none of your business, Angelus, now is it?"

"I'll take that as a no. Your problem, William my boy, is that you're too damned nice. Dru likes it rough and not so nice. She doesn't want your love."

"Shut up, or I'm not going to bring you to see what our special treat is, Angelus. And this is one surprise I think you are going to want to be in on."

Angelus had to force himself to lay off Spike in the event they had Buffy somewhere. He had sworn his days for fighting for her side of the game were over, but he could not let Spike or Drusilla get their hands on her. Was defending her, wanting her to live fighting for the side of good? He was probably splitting hairs by thinking it was not, but it really did not matter. "Lead the way, William the Bloody," he said sardonically.

//Buffy?// Angelus tested the connection he had with his mate as he followed Spike. He had nothing to say to the other vampire anyway, and if he got all conversational on him Spike would find it odd. She did not respond to him, but he was able to see her at Giles' surrounded by her friends. They all seemed upset and agitated about something, even Giles which was odd for his mate's watcher. Did Spike's surprise have something to do with this? Did he know about Ryan and was trying to separate them from the babe so that he could take him? He did not have the same type of connection with his son as he had with his mate, so he would not be able to tap into the boy's mind as he could Buffy's. He breathed a little easier knowing she was all right, at least for now.

Angelus entered the factory behind Spike and felt little when he saw Drusilla. She was dressed as if she was royalty and Angelus wondered just what was going on.

"Look who I found, pet, your sire."

"Angelus," Drusilla said in a dreamy, far-off sounding voice.

"Dru," he said evenly in response. "Where's the surprise then Spike? I'm not here to reminisce with you and your girlfriend."

"Branched out on your own, did you, Angelus?" Spike queried. There had been a surge in murder and mayhem in Sunnydale of late, Spike was apparently assuming Angelus was behind it.

"I guess I just got used to being on my own."

"Well, even though you haven't been sharing with us, we're willing to share with you," he said, gesturing to a set of curtains that were drawn closed.

Angelus sniffed the air, which was filled with the scent of something vaguely familiar, whoever it was they were human and female, but beyond that Angelus had no clue as to who was behind the curtain. "Get on with it, boy. I don't have time for all this pomp and circumstance, when knowing you it's nothing worth getting all excited about anyway. At least that's what Dru says about you."

"Angelus," Dru faux protested as she licked her lips and gave him a wink. She was trying to be seductive, but Angelus just did not get into sharing anymore. He had grown accustomed to having a woman who would be loyal to him no matter what. Drusilla could not be loyal to one of her dolls let alone a man.

Spike drew on the cord, the curtains slowly parted horizontally. He was so focused on the fact that the evidence of Spike and Drusilla's torture to the woman had very little effect on him that he did not take the time to truly focus on who the duo's victim was. "Is this supposed to be impressive, Spike?"

Truly, it should have been impressive. She was bound and gagged tightly enough that circulation in places was a problem. There was visible evidence that she had been subject to being burned, cut up, and beat on with fists and larger things. Her face was beyond recognition it was so bruised and bloodied. And for some strange reason instead of Angelus wanting to join in on the fun he found he wanted to look away, to look at anything but the woman bound to the chair.

"You don't know who she is, do you?" Spike drawled, obviously proud for some reason and so Angelus regarded the woman. Spike would surely realize that Angelus would know who Giles' lady friend had been. She was no harlot, though, she was no cheap whore. He had sensed that Jenny Calendar was a decent person. Why had Spike chosen her?

"She was the Slayer's Watcher's squeeze, so what of it?"

Spike laughed loudly, an insane tone to it and shook his head as he stalked toward Jenny Calendar. "No, Angelus, she is not the watcher's main squeeze. She's what stands in between you and being cursed with your soul again."

{It's about time someone figured out how to put it back.}

"Shut up," Angelus hissed in an effort to silence both Spike and Soul Boy. He frowned, curious now what Spike meant.

"Angelus, meet Janna Kalderash," Spike said with obvious pride.

"Those magicks have been lost long ago, I'm quite sure of it." Angelus said. Of course he recognized the name, Kalderash was the clan of people who had cursed him with the soul all those years ago.

"Then why did Dru get one of her visions that something was about to happen to you?"

"I don't know, Spike, maybe Dru just didn't want you to know she missed me."

"I'm trying to do you a favor here, mate, but she's a tough bird this one is. She hasn't said a damned thing other than she was buying supplies."

Angelus glanced at the unconscious Jenny Calendar and made a decision. "I'll take her to the watcher's house and leave her on the doorstep. They'll take the hint not to toy with my soul again."

"Are you mad?"

Yes he probably was mad Angelus could not help but think. He did know one thing, though, if something happened to one of Buffy's circle of friends and helpers she would come after Angelus full force, Ryan or not. "As far as the Slayer and her little crew go they think I'm still here with you, so yes, I think the message will be received loud and clear. They'll know we went easy on her," he said evenly. She'll live to tell them that Angelus was not a part of tonight's games.

"You're serious?" Spike spat.

"Angelus, the lady teacher's up to no good, I feel it here," she said, placing a hand over her heart. "And here," she continued, placing the other hand against her forehead.

"I'm telling you both this will work," he scowled and gazed at them both intently. "It's my soul, why are you both standing here arguing with me?"

"Because we don't know where you've been or what you've been up to the past few weeks, Angelus."

"Oh Christ," he muttered under his breath. "I left town for a little while trying to do you a favor, Spike my boy. I knew the longer I stayed around the more your girl would want to be with me. Sloppy seconds are fine temporarily, but I don't want to handcuff myself to the loon again."

"You'll bloody well talk about her with some respect, Angelus. You're the one who turned her into that loon."

{And we're going to put an end to that problem very soon.}

Angelus had no idea Soul Boy had thoughts like that but did not have time to think on that matter just now. "Give me the watcher's woman and let me get on with my evening. I've got places to be."

"I want to go with you."

"No," Angelus roared, game face dropping into place. He was across the room with his hand around Spike's throat in a matter of seconds. "I'll do this one by myself."

"Right, whatever, she's of no use to us in this condition anyway."

"I'll make sure the message to leave well enough alone is gotten loud and clear," he spat before kissing Spike on the forehead and drawing away. "It's a good thing you stopped her before she could do anything, just in case," he said as he strode toward Jenny Calendar.

"Where can we find you, Angelus?" Drusilla asked.

"No where, Dru. I know where to find you if I need to."

"You're leaving us again," she pouted.

"Yeah, Dru, I'm leaving again. Spike will take care of you." Angelus gathered Jenny Calendar into his arms, trying to be careful without being obvious about the care he was giving her. He tugged on one of the velvet curtains, pulling it from the rod and used it to cover her.

"You're taking a lot of care for a measly message, Angelus."

"I don't want anyone to see the condition she's in, Spike. The less people see the better." Angelus was not sure Spike was buying it, but Angelus could not stay any longer. He could tell by Jenny's breathing that she was not fully unconscious anymore, which meant she could come to at any moment. It would not do for her to see him here with Spike and Dru. He walked to the door and turned around to back out the door with Jenny Calendar in his arms. "I appreciate your help, Spike, but if I ever find out you were trying to help without my permission or knowledge again I'll come back and kill you. Are we clear?"

"We're clear, Angelus," Spike said though he did not look happy about it. Angelus would have to remember to tell Buffy to be even more careful than normal, particularly where Ryan was concerned.

Angelus left taking the sewer tunnels as far as he could before he had to go up to the streets and walk in plain view the rest of the way to Giles' apartment. Jenny Calendar had remained unconscious so far, thankfully. Her injuries were abundant and would take her some time to heal from. There was a gash at her temple that Angelus knew would leave a wide and long scar.

He paused by a tree in the courtyard outside of Giles' apartment. //Buffy, I need you out here in the courtyard now.// There was little question he expected her to obey him in this without question. Moments later she appeared, alone and he was deeply relieved.

"What is it, Angelus?"

"I needed you to see me before I went in there."

"What? You're so not going into Giles' apartment, Angelus."

He stepped into the light then, though he had to wonder why she did not notice he was obviously carrying something body sized in his arms. "I think you'll let me in," he said, his voice low. "I can smell her blood, Buff, let me in before I have too much time to sit here and hold her and think about how tasty she would be."

"Who?" she asked and Angelus could read the fear in her eyes clearly. "Who is it?"

He walked up to her, game face fully in place. "It's your watcher's woman, Buff. I had nothing to do with it, but I managed to get her away from Spike and Dru. They thought they were doing me a favor."

"A favor?"

"You don't know?" he asked


He looked at her, really looked at her and read the sincerity there. "She's a part of the clan of gypsies I told you about who cursed me."

"I knew she knew something, but I didn't know that."

"Can I bring her in? We'll talk later if you want to, but she needs medical attention, Buffy, she's badly hurt."

"I'll take her from here Giles and the rest can't see you, Angelus, they'll flip out."

"No, they'll think I'm involved if they don't see I'm the one bringing her."

"Why are you worried about what they'll think?"

"Because I don't want them to convince you that I'm no good for Ryan."

"I don't know that they'd have to say much to convince me of that, Angelus. I let you see him because he's your son not because I think you're going to win any father of the year awards."

"Buffy," he contested.

"Thank you, Angelus, for saving her. Give her to me and I'll come by tonight and make it up to you."

He handed a still unconscious Jenny Calendar to his mate and scowled as he looked into her eyes. "Now who's ashamed," he said before stalking off into the night.

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