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Italics refers to internal monologue or to when Buffy and Spike speak to each other telekinetically.
Angelus was back.
Buffy's mind rolled that fact around every minute of her days in the past week. Angelus was back, and, from what she and Spike could deduce, he was planning on picking off their children one at a time, for whatever demented purpose his demon had come up with.
Buffy and Spike, mated now for fifty years, sat next to each other on a loveseat, surrounded by all but three of their immortal children. Their youngest, Colette, had been missing for a week, absconded with by their daughter, Althea, before the rest of Buffy and Spike’s brood congregated in the French manor. Fearing the worst, Buffy had sent their twelve-year-old son, Dylan, to stay with his elderly aunt Dawn in London, after she was assured by several of her demon contacts that Angelus was indeed in France. A tall strawberry blonde with full lips paced the large drawing room.
“Gods! How could Althea do this to you? To us? To Colette?”
Spike rubbed Buffy’s neck tenderly as he looked at their children.
“Tara Lyn, poppet, she’s been killing innocents for years, just because she could. Althea has always been easily persuaded by handsome blokes, and if she’s teamed up with Angelus...well, that would explain it.”
“But Papa, why would they want to hurt Colette? She’s barely three….”
Buffy took a deep breath and sighed.
“Because, Angelus is after your father and me. He…this isn’t the first time he’s done something like this….”
Spike took her hand in his.
“But it’s the first time he’s been able to have something to really barter with.”
A curly haired blonde man, who looked more cherubic than human, stood up in a huff from his seat next to his longer-haired twin sister.
“Papa, there’s nine of us and only two of them…why don’t we all just go in there and rescue her?”
“Because, William, Angelus isn’t like any demon you’ve faced before. He’s…he’s insane is what he is….”
Joyce fidgeted on her seat on the couch.
“Then what’ll he do to Colette?”
“I don’t know, poppet.”
“Surely Althea wouldn’t let him hurt Colette…right? For all of her faults, Althea truly loves her,” offered a demure, golden-haired woman with shining green eyes.
“Anya,” Spike said, “with Angelus around, I’m afraid Althea could be persuaded to do anything.”
“So now what?”
A dark-haired waif with coal-black eyes sat on a stiff chair across from the small couch Angelus lounged on, molesting her with his gaze.
“Now we wait.”
Colette had long since ceased her incessant wailing and had drifted off to sleep on the cot Althea had prepared for her days before. A few stuffed animals stolen from various shops in town kept the room from looking military grade. A bright pink pig was locked in a death grip in the child’s small arms.
Angelus rose to look out of the flat’s darkly tinted window at the slowly rising sun.
“But they’ll come…and soon too. Your mother isn’t one to wait for anything.”
Althea remained silent, staring at Angelus while absent-mindedly stroking her thick, dark locks. Angelus lustily eyed her up, his lecherous gaze hovering first at her full bosom, then at her neck. His grin was malicious and well practiced.
“Care to retire?”
When she shook her head in denial, he grabbed her wrist, wrenching it in his strong hand. A loud crack confirmed to him that it did, indeed, snap.
“That wasn’t really a question.”
As she was dragged by her shattered wrist into the seclusion of a dark, filthy bedroom, Althea regretted her choice to help Angelus in his evil intentions, but didn’t make a sound. Better to receive Angelus’ lust than his wrath, she thought. The first time they had been intimate, Althea had gone willingly; but his rough and torturous manner of sex made her wary of being involved again. Her wariness did her no good, as she had already been raped twice by Angelus, despite her willingness to give in on other occasions.
In spite of her attempts, Althea could not contrive a dense enough image of England to distract her from the pain and disgrace Angelus was thrusting into her. For a brief moment, all she could think was “I want my Mummy.”
Angered by her own weakness, a new surge of hatred filled Althea, and she took charge over Angelus’ rape, flipping on top of him and changing his pace to please herself. Once her inner beast was satiated through enraged lust, she allowed an enthralled Angelus to regain control and finish.
Sliding out from underneath his heavy form, Althea silently walked into Colette’s makeshift room, and curled up on the floor next to her cot. Even if she hated the rest of her family, she would die protecting Colette from anyone, her mother, her father, Angelus, or even herself. She was determined to keep Colette from the life she was “gifted” with by her parents.
Immortal life is worthless if you have no one to spend it with.
Her determination sank into her stomach as a pale, jet-black haired woman cooed at Colette from the doorway. Cradled in her arms was a porcelain doll.
“Oooh! You were right Miss Edith! Look at the pretty child! My William did well, didn’t he Miss Edith?”
Frightened as she was at the obviously crazed woman before her, Althea couldn’t help but be entranced by her dark beauty. Had she not known who this woman was, Althea would have assumed she was a close relation.
Well, perhaps Papa’s Sire is a close relation.
Three identical faces, aside from eye color and hair length, stared blankly at the walls of the kitchen in their parent’s French home. Though the cobblestone and mortar was decidedly different from that of Buffy’s Revello Drive home, the décor and furnishings were almost identical. The smallest of the three spoke first, pushing the dirty blonde hair out her green eyes.
"We can’t just sit here wondering where Althea has taken her! Colette needs to be at home with Mother and Father.”
“I realize that, Anya, we all do, don’t we Rupert? It’s just a matter of where to start,” a blue eyed, shaggy haired woman replied, looking to their male replica who was pacing the kitchen.
“Roxie…we need to go now,” the small girl said. “I can’t bear waiting around.”
“Anya, you’re never impulsive…you have to realize that going out blindly will get you or Colette killed!”
Anya’s green eyes filled with tears as she plopped down on a wooden chair. Her longhaired male replica, who had his blonde locks tied back in a fashion that was in vogue 200 years previously, knelt before her, holding her trembling hand in his.
“Don’t worry…we’ll figure it out, yeah? Mum and Papa have lived after fighting Angelus, and we’ll all be no different. We just have to find them so we can save Colette and rid the world of that monster.”
“And what about Althea, Rupert? She’s still our sister,” Anya choked.
Rupert’s handsomely chiseled face grew stern.
“No sister of mine would betray our family like that. We’re supposed to protect the world, but more importantly each other. She’s been a danger since she could walk. I don’t know what Mum and Papa plan to do with her, but I’d be happy to be rid of her once and for all as well.”
Anya and Roxanne both gasped. Anya began to sob and Roxanne shook her head.
“Rupert…hush. You know no one would allow that. Althea just needs to be taught a lesson. She’s young…she has time to mend her ways.”
“Can we really take that risk, Roxie? It’s not like she’ll die in forty years…she’s immortal, like the rest of us. What if we have to deal with an eternity of her attacks on our family? It’s only a matter of time before she loses all of her love, even for Colette. And all because she can’t find a guy! She’ll kill us all if we don’t kill her first.”
“That’s enough Rupert,” Spike said, slamming an empty but blood-stained mug down on the counter. “What if your Mother heard you, eh? Heard you talking about killing your own sister? If you think that’s an option, you’re no better than Angelus.”
Rupert shut his open mouth and hung his head down.
“I’m sorry Papa, you’re right. I just….”
“I know son. ‘M worried about her too. We’ll find her though. I know we will. Anya, your namesake is trying to get all the information she can in the other realms and from The Powers That Be, and William and Joyce should be home any moment with whatever they’ve found out from town.”
The two identical cherubs burst through the kitchen’s door, heaving. Spike smiled slightly.
“Speak of the devils….”
Joyce’s face was whiter than normal, which caused Spike’s grin to fall. William replicated her pained look.
Anya rose, with fear speckling her face, and quickly returned to the kitchen with Buffy, Tara, and Conrad. Buffy’s normally lean, muscular frame was now emaciated and frail.
“What did you find out?”
Joyce looked sadly at her mother before speaking.
“Mama, it’s not just Angelus we have to worry about….”
“What do you mean Joyce?”
“It’s Drusilla…she’s with them.”
Spike gripped Buffy’s shoulders in his hands.
“Did you see her poppet?”
“She looked just as you described her Papa. She was carrying a doll and a basket full of food, walking into a little abandoned farm house about fifteen miles south of Paris. I’m sure Colette is there…I could feel her.”
“But we didn’t want to go in there without everyone else…without letting you know where we were, and where they were,” William interjected.
Buffy and Spike sighed in unison. Spike walked to the refrigerator and took out a pot roast that had been marinating and shoved it in the oven.
“We’ll leave in the morning. Everyone needs to eat tonight,” he said, casting a glare at Buffy.
“We’ll all need our strength to be up if we have to deal with Angelus, Althea, and Drusilla.”
“We can do it Mama. I know we can,” a tall, dark brown haired man said.
Buffy kissed his forehead before sitting down at the table.
“If we keep our spirits up, Conrad, we might have a chance.”
Tara Lyn began to set the table as the others say in a determined silence.
“We’ll get them back, pet. Both of ‘em.”
“I know. I just don’t want to risk anyone else.”
“The kids are stronger than we know, Buffy. Especially when they’re worried about one of our own. You remember when Roxie broke her finger? You couldn’t cut the tension in the room with a knife. I’m surprised Rupert didn’t snap that bicycle in half after she fell off of it.”
“I know. You and our children are my everything, Spike…I don’t know what I would do if….”
“Well, love, you know you won’t have to live a life without me…you go, I go, and vice versa.”
Buffy smiled for the first time since Colette disappeared, at Spike’s snarky comment.
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