CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO



The days slowly passed, and over the course of the next week, life gradually found its stride again for the various Scoobies. At one point Giles made mention of moving into one of the local motels, citing the increasing awkwardness of being the only male in a house full of women, but that idea was quickly squashed by of all people, Buffy, who pointed out that there was no telling what kind of mischief the Watcher would get into if he wasn’t kept under constant supervision. There were certainly no lack of vigilant eyes around the Summers house. Every time Giles turned around he found his slayer watching him, waiting for him to do something wrong. The unrelenting scrutiny quickly began to take it toll on his nerves, which were already taxed enough by his own insecurities. He was finding it nearly impossible to maintain a proper behavior that Buffy would consider respectable.


It wasn’t easy task, and Giles felt his sanity slipping as he analyzed every action, every simple moment in his life, trying to determine whether he was being ruled by his humanity, or merely demonic biology. Depraved demon urges assaulted him night and day without end, and it wasn’t long before the Watcher’s days became an unending dismal misery of denial and guilt. He gave up all alcohol, keeping his liquid consumption restricted to water, juice, and plenty of tea. He reviewed his food intake with all the paranoia of an anorexia driven dieter, avoiding anything that had sugar in it, filling up instead on vegetables and fresh fruits, lean proteins, and whole grain products. To his chagrin, the healthy menu did little to appease his unremitting hunger. Giles watched in dismay as pound after pound fell from his slim frame, until within days his ribs began to show and his belly grew more hollow with every missed calorie.


But Giles was determined to see his efforts through. With little to do around the house but research, and that growing more frustrating with every failed passing hour, he decided the best use of what free time he had was to spend it training at the Magic Box, helping Anya with getting the shop back in order. Xander came by for a few hours each night after work, and together the two men worked at repairing any questionable damage to the store’s interior structuring and putting up new shelving. Between sparring with weapons and venting his frustrations upon the punching bag in the back room, Giles kept himself busy nailing and painting and inventorying new incoming merchandise. By the time the following weekend finally rolled around, the Magic Box was ready to open for business, and Anya was bubbling with excitement, her nerves stretched to a frazzled pitch as she buzzed over the expected success of her upcoming “renovation” sale.


Meanwhile, Giles found himself dreading the mere arrival of each new day as a non-human. He had never been one to complain, and so kept what was becoming a growing litany of ill and miseries to himself in order to spare the others any undue worry. Not that he was actually ailing - at least that was what he tried to convince himself. He was merely out of sorts, not quite himself. There were the migraines, of course, but that was normal. He’d had them on and off for years now, though lately they seemed to come with more frequency and were getting steadily stronger, lasting longer, and no amount of medication would make them go away. When they finally got to the point of becoming unbearable, he would slink away to some quiet corner of the house away from the others, and there he would retreat, waiting for the episodes to eventually pass.


As bad as the migraines and the food cravings were, the intense sexual frustration that Giles suffered from was much worse by far. Day and night he was plagued with inappropriate thoughts, and his demon persona was near obsessed with the gratification of those most wicked of his desires. The most innocent thing was often responsible for awakening his urge for sex. A commercial on the telly. The sound of one of his female house companions’ laughing. A smile or a lingering look. The scent of his slayer after a night out on patrol. These all inspired constant visits to the bathroom, where shut behind the door he would spend long hours chastising his body in icy showers, or simply taking a direct hand to his problem to relieve the tortured pressure that weighed so heavily within his loins.


The one part of his new demon life that Giles begrudgingly allowed himself to take satisfaction in was his nightly patrol. The first few times he went out with Buffy. They swept through the cemeteries, working in tandem, staking vampire after vampire in quick succession. It was exhilarating work, dusty and exhausting, at times bloody, but satisfying nonetheless. His biggest complaint was Buffy. She kept trying to hold him back, as if she were afraid of something. When he questioned her, she claimed it was because they couldn’t afford him getting hurt. He was a demon, after all, and it wasn’t like they could just waltz into any hospital to get him fixed up. But Giles suspected there was more to his slayer’s cautioning motives. He felt it was jealousy, rather than any concern for his well being, that influenced her over-protectiveness.


It took several days of arguments, but the Brit finally managed to convince his slayer that they would both do better if they went on separate patrols. She was reluctant to accept the idea at first, but eventually gave in, and only after extracting a promise from him that he would take along a cell phone and call her the moment things even looked like they might get out of hand.


For two nights now Giles had been on his own, patrolling the town and taking out any demon lacking the sense to stay out of harm’s way. Tonight he was cruising through the Heaven’s Rest Cemetery. Just who comes up with these ridiculous sodding names anyway? He had staked three vampires already that evening, and was in the process of thrashing the stuffing out of two younger newbies smelling fresh from the grave, when things decided to take a turn for the worse.


A second pack of vampires arrived on the scene. There were five in the gang, which was made up of older and more experienced demons. Their leader, a strapping power house of a female with long raven-colored curls and an obvious penchant for skin-tight leather, knew a thing or two about martial arts, much more than the average vampire. She had apparently instructed her acolytes well, and withing minutes of their engagement, Giles began to realized that he was in trouble.


Giles finished off one of the newly risen fledglings with a quick staking, then turned to devote his attention to the others. He had his hands full, barely keeping the gang at bay. There were vampires attacking him from every direction. Singly and in pairs, they lashed out at him with a vengeful fervor. It took every ounce of his strength and skill to stay that one step beyond their reach, and even then there were so many of them that he couldn’t avoid all of their blows.


Kicking out with his leg, Giles could feel himself sliding into that strange gray area where reason and humanistic cognizance gave way to raging demonic instinct. He had nearly been lost there before, on that afternoon at the university, when he and the girls had fought those brutish demons. Fortunately, Buffy had rescued him from his spiral of self-destruction, bringing him back from the brink of his demonic possession. Otherwise, he might not have recovered on his own, for who knew if, once he had crossed over that last line, it was even possible to reclaim his humanity again.


That was why, since that day, Giles had made a conscious effort to reign in his temper. He fought smart, using strength and technique, pushing passion aside as best he could. It was difficult. The moment he started in swinging, he was overwhelmed by the sheer exhilarating thrill of the violence. Every crunch of bone, each bruising thud of flesh against flesh sent a rush of adrenaline racing hot through his veins. Still, he held back, struggling to stay on the human side of that final frightening line. And thus far he had, though he feared that he wouldn’t be able to make such a claim for very much longer.


With a snarl Giles hammered his fist forward, burying his stake deeply into the chest of a young, acne-scarred vampire. The demon gave a startled yelp and jerked backward, falling with such force that Giles felt his weapon stripped from his fingers. He looked on in dismay and watched as the wooden stick crumbled into dust, disintegrating along with his vampire foe. As the moldering ash was swept away by a brief gust of wind, the Englishman found himself with no weapons except for his fists. With an inward curse, Giles finally conceded he had reached that point Buffy had spoken of, where he was in serious trouble indeed.


Blocking a punch, Giles whirled and aimed a kick toward his nearest opponent’s head. As the demon ducked back, the Watcher reached into his pocket and fumbled with his cellphone, anxiously hitting the speed dial. He heard it ring as he swung around, taking out a short vampire with a roundhouse kick. A flash of foot snapped out on his right and he dodged, narrowly avoiding the heel that swooshed past his cheek. Another from his left quickly followed, this one aimed lower, clipping the edge of his hand and knocking the receiver free of his grip.


Giles watched helplessly as the phone sailed through the air, flying off into the dark oblivion beyond. A second later he heard the unmistakable sound of plastic shattering against hard stone, and with a doleful sigh, pondered how angry his slayer would be when he informed her that he had broken her phone. But there was no time to dwell on such matters now. The vampires were charging again, and this time they were attacking in full force.


He didn’t know how long he fought. There were so many vampires, all hitting him at once. No matter which way he turned, a fist, a foot, a growling gnash of teeth jumped out to meet him. He was running on exhausted reserves now, striking out blindly, just hoping to connect. The vampires battered him, ripping away pieces of his clothes, tearing at the flesh beneath until it was bleeding and criss-crossed with deep gouges.


Still Giles refused to give up. Rallying his strength, he threw punch after kick, his heart pounding, his blood boiling hotter with every new assault. He no longer had the luxury of worrying about the source of his new found power. It simply was, and he used it, crowing gleefully as it fueled his tired body with a fresh reserve of energy.


Like the demon that he was, Giles hit back hard and fast, renewing with vigor his attack on the vampire gang as they swarmed over him. Because of his companion’s help, the second newbie had managed to survive the battle to this point, but the initiate’s luck changed in an instant when Giles got his hands on a fallen branch. With a wicked grin, the Brit drove the makeshift stake through the creature’s undead heart, immediately reducing the number of his foes from five down to four. Then leaping back, Giles swished his weapon through the dusted remains with a flourish, scattering them to the wind as he turned to face what was left of the vampire gang.


His four adversaries had spread out to surround him, one to each point of the compass. There was the leather clad leader, and another female, a young dirty blonde that carried more than a few extra pounds on her compact frame. The other two vampires were both males, and both tall and well-muscled in build. One looked to be just a little younger than Giles, with short hair and a bristling mustache, while the other was barely out of his high-school years, and wore a numbered jersey in team colors that the Watcher recognized from his former place of employment.


Giles shifted, slowly turning in a tight circle, his eyes flitting back and forth, trying to track all four vampires at once. His body quivered, anticipating the attack to come, his blood roaring in his ears as he waited impatiently to see who make the first move.


It was the older male. With a guttural bark, the demon leapt at him, rushing forward like a great charging tank. Giles chortled, and raised his hand with his stake, preparing to meet his foe head on.


A feint and a dodge kept the Brit just out of harm’s way. He followed with a swift kick to the vampire’s passing backside, a move that sent the creature stumbling forward to fall, sprawling on its belly in the grass. Another vampire jumped in to take his place, and Giles launched himself into the air with a nimble spring, twisting around to land safely atop a nearby headstone. Balancing lightly on his toes, the Englishman waited, glancing around to see where the next charge would come from. It happened quickly. With a rolling lurch, the hefty female flung herself at his ankles, but he easily hopped away, somersaulting over the demon’s head, and carefully avoiding its frustrated efforts to capture one of his ankles.


One after another they came at Giles, and his heart raced with excitement as he led them in a merry dance. He kicked and he punched, crowing in glorious triumph as yet another vampire went up in a cloud of moldy dust under his stake.


The minutes flew by as Giles fought, his demonic reflexes growing more acute with every traded blow. He could sense his humanity fading, but he was helpless, unable to stop the savage tide of emotion that swelled and rose within him. Avoiding a clumsy tackle, he vaulted over a tall tombstone and leapt up into the low branches of a tree, swinging upward and over in a flourishing grace that befitted a well-trained Olympic athlete. At the height of his arc, when he stood balanced on his hands, toes pointing up to the night sky, Giles suddenly twisted around, switching the direction that he faced. Gravity took over and the lower half of his body came rushing down again, his feet catching the young male vampire in his chest as he ran under him. The youth was propelled backward through the air by Giles’ kick and landed several yards away, his bottom skidding across the grass like a toboggan on snow.


Giles swung himself up and over the branch again, this time releasing his hold during the downward arc, catapulting himself at the shorter female. He hit her hard and fast, wiping out the stocky blonde in one fell swoop, sending her to the ground with a complaining “oomph!" Together they tumbled, rolling end over end across the soft ground, bouncing like a tangled ball of arms and legs. They finally crashed to a halt against a grave marker with Giles on top, and as the Brit bound to his feet, he let his pointed stick do its job, eliminating yet another vampire from the rapidly diminishing gang.


The two remaining vampires were on his back in a heartbeat, tackling him in tandem. With a roar Giles lashed out and belted the young male with a backhand upper cut, while simultaneously grabbing a fistful of the female’s hair to pull her forward, throwing her over his shoulder. The pair quickly recovered, returning with a furious flurry of jabs and kicks that Giles skillfully reciprocated until his sharp weapon once again managed to find a target, and the male vampire dissolved in a whiff of decaying must.


Whirling around, Giles confronted his final foe. He was panting heavily, his shoulders and back fairly aching, his wings straining to be free from the constricting bind of his shirt. His body was bashed and bruised, his clothing ripped askew, and he was bleeding from multiple cuts, but none of those were life threatening. Still, the gory dribblings added an impressive touch to his visage as he faced down his opponent with a blood lusting glare.


“You’re not a human,” the vampire frowned, regarding him with an apprehensive curiosity. “No pathetic mortal could ever fight the way you do.”


Giles’ reply was a contemptuous snarl as he postured, his muscles flexing in a threatening gesture.


The leather clad female narrowed her eyes, a sly smile playing on her lips. Cautiously, she approached the Brit, and began to circle him slowly, her gaze raking over his lean and bloodied form.


“Hmmm, if not human, then that would mean you’re a demon,” she coyly surmised. “But exactly what kind of demon would that be, I wonder?” She chuckled, her voice taking on a sultry tone as she licked her lips suggestively, directing her intense scrutiny toward the area of his crotch. “You certainly could pass for a man,” she purred provocatively. “That is, assuming all the right parts are there.”


Giles growled. He had picked up the unmistakable musk of arousal emanating from the female. Her blatant body language was more than sufficient invitation to encourage the Englishman’s interest, while the tarty gleam in her eye easily confirmed that her desire was based on more than just hunger for her next meal. Suddenly, the Brit felt his former obsession with battle begin to shift, his body quickly reciprocating his change in interest with a very physical demonstration.


“Well, I suppose that answers my question,” the vampire retorted, nodding at the noticeable bulge in the Watcher’s trousers. “Unless, of course, that’s another spare stake you’re packing in your pocket there.”


Encouraged by the Brit’s lecherous sneer, the vampire glided in closer and sidled up against Giles’ side. She was nearly as tall as he was, her eyes on a level with his own as she reached down with a hand to boldly cup his swelling groin.


“Mmmm, definitely not a stake,” she cooed.


A throaty rumble tickled through the Watcher’s vocal chords, but try as he might, Giles couldn’t bring a single articulate word forth. Unbridled rage had proven a more effective intoxicant than any alcoholic drink, and vampire’s brazen seduction was merely the final impetus required to send him plummeting into the treacherous quagmire that was his demon self.


“What say you and me declare ourselves a little mutual truce here?” the vampire whispered, her lips now only inches away from his own. She smiled, pulling him in closer, her hand continuing to stroke him down below. “Tell you what, sweetie. I’ll make you a deal. You forget about fighting me...” The vampire’s tongue licked out, swiping across his lips to punctuate her words. “...and I promise I’ll only hurt you in ways that you’ll enjoy.”


Giles’ reply was to grab the woman, his mouth pressing back to devour hers in a ravaging kiss. She chortled, obviously pleased with this reaction, and rewarded the display of enthusiastic ardor with some passionate and vigorous tongue play of her own.


This was the ultimate catalyst Giles had required. His last button had been pushed, his inconstant self-control finally rocking past the point of any possible return. In a torrential rush, a barrage of instantaneous stimuli assaulted the Watcher’s brain, drowning his nervous system in a whirling vortex of sensations. Higher cerebral function became an impossibility, his senses reeled within the flood of information, his body hopelessly overloaded with both divine and disquieting confusion. Disjointed thoughts flitted across synaptic connections, never reaching a destination where order or some semblance of reason could make something of them. He groaned, wondering how a mouth so cool and clammy could kiss with such heated desire? It went against every law of nature, but then, she was a supernatural being, so he accepted it, as he did the vampire’s snaking tongue, burying away his question to ponder at some later time.


There were other disturbing anomalies niggling at his mind. He couldn’t taste one frail sigh of life on the lips that kissed him, though he did notice a definitely detectable flavor of souring decay. And then there was the pungent odor of the grave that seemed to cling to the vampire’s flesh, reeking like a cheap perfume or some artificially scented oil used in candle making and chemical air fresheners.


The curves beneath his groping hands, now those were another matter entirely, and one that his frazzled mind found blissfully reassuring. The woman in his arms might be a souless creature of the night, but her undead body was soft and round in all the right places, and Giles’ heart raced, his lust growing as he eagerly ran his fingers over every wonderfully ripe bump, testing them each out with great delight.


And the Watcher was not the only one anxious to better acquaint themselves with their newest “friend”. What began as a tongue duel quickly progressed into full blown body contact wresting between the vampire and Brit. Dropping to his knees, Giles dragged the woman down with him, pulling her into his lap with a desperate embrace. This only made her laugh, and with a sensuous toss of her head, she rubbed her belly against his, her vampiric features twisted in a grimly feral mask. The squirming pressure of her leather clad front against his own wrenched a groan from Giles’ throat, and the vampire sneered wickedly, her clawing fingers ripping at his shirt, tearing it away to bare his chest to her greedy exploring touch.


Freed at last of their cumbersome restraints, Giles’ wings sprang open and unfolded, spreading outward in a majestic, fluttering wave. The vampire gasped, her fangs glistening as she took in the feathery display, and with a cheeky purr, she flashed the demon Brit an appreciative smirk.


“Well, look at you!” she chuckled, gracing the Watcher with a coy, saucy wink. “I knew there was more to you there than meets the eye.” Her gaze shifted downward, her eyes sparking with a satyric relish as she noted the expanded distension pushing out at his crotch. “Much more,” she throatily growled, her sly smile broadening as she reached down, a teasing finger further encouraging his tumescence. “Can’t wait to see what else you’ve been hiding from me.”


A lusty grumble thrummed deep within Giles’ chest. He was breathing heavily, his fingers fumbling as he attempted to divest his partner of her top. He eagerly tore at the resilient material, peeling it from her breasts to expose the desired flesh trapped beneath. Time became an inconvenience, a frantic blur of frustration as he impatiently tossed aside the leather blouse and then turned his attentions next to the vampire’s skin-tight trousers.


Giles’ hands were shaking, his pulse was pounding in his effort to get to the coveted treasure within those pants. The blood in his veins flowed hot and heavy in his lust, and every breath was a torture of yet unfulfilled need. His body trembled, shivering with the virulent intensity of his desire, and he instinctively bucked his hips, thrusting them upward against the naked woman that sat straddled across his thighs.


His excitement elicited a guttural hiss from the female. A sly grin split her mutated vampiric features, and with a shameless wriggle, she obligingly raised her loins, positioning them over his. Her long legs stretched out to encircle his lean waist, her thighs hugging his ribs as she brought her knees up and clamped them firmly into his sides. With a seductive pout, she grazed a tempting breast across the Watcher’s lips, an invitation Giles accepted without hesitation as he grunted and ravenously attacked the offered treat.


An ambitious hunch of his pelvis prompted a devilish chortle from his partner. To his delight, the female arched her back, her thighs spreading wider, opening her damp core to his now fully tumescent erection. Barking out a throaty cluck, Giles reached down and hurriedly undid his pants, then with one deep penetrating thrust sank his turgid manhood into the welcoming folds of her flesh.


A thousand sensations at once tore through Giles’ body, and he gasped, his every nerve gripped in the throes of a gut-wrenching explosion. The raging conflagration of indescribable ecstasy left him reeling, his lungs breathless from the force of such a powerful and mind numbing hit. Somewhere deep inside him, a biological memory recognized its cue to awaken within his demon cells, but just as quickly as the trigger had come, it was gone again, and Giles was left, kneeling in the grass, his heart imploding in its agony as a shower of dust rained gently down upon him.


Giles blinked, unable to comprehend the sudden emptiness of his arms. The vampire was gone, the only proof of her existence the cloud of ash settling over his naked lap. An anguished wail rose from his throat, and he shivered, his wings automatically sweeping around to wrap his despair, shielding him in a protective, feathered cocoon. His unappeased lust quickly shifted focus, mutating into blind raging fury as he slowly lifted his eyes to look upon the visage hovering above him that was responsible for his pain.


“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” demanded the blonde figure standing over him. “Are you crazy? That was a vampire, Giles!”


The Watcher growled, his green eyes blazing with a menacing resentment. So entrenched his instincts in his demon mind set that it was only because he registered Buffy’s presence as a desirable female that he managed to refrain from attacking her immediately.


“This is it, Giles,” the slayer peevishly chastised her mentor. “This time you’ve gone too far. That little fling with the demonic Doublemint Twins Plus One? That I can understand. Sort of. I mean, it was disgusting, but at least they were friendly types. A little too friendly if you ask me,” she grumbled. “But, hey, that’s not the point here. Which is...you were boffing a vampire, Giles! In the middle of a cemetery! God, have you no respect for the dead?”


The unintelligible sound that answered from Giles’ mouth was almost animalistic. Startled, Buffy took a cautious step back, and unconsciously tightened the grip on her stake. She regarded the demon Watcher with wary caution, her “Spider Senses” on red alert status as the Brit pulled his body into a pre-attack crouch position and hunkered down between the rows of grave markers before her.


“Okay...!” Buffy frowned, disturbed by what she saw. The beast huddled at her feet may have worn the comfortingly familiar face of her friend, but there the resemblance stopped. This was not Giles. This was the thing inside him, the creature that had nearly got out that afternoon when he’d killed all those demons at the university lab. And it was the sexy beast that had enthralled her and stolen her heart with its passionate kiss.


Buffy knew that Giles probably wouldn’t understand her, that anything she said could well be unintelligible babbling to his demon brain, but she hoped that there was some truth to all those stories about animals calming at the tone of your voice, and the words began to flow from her as she slowly backed away.


“Well, I can see that we’re not in any mood for moral discussions at this moment. So, hey! How about I give you some space, and we can continue this thing later? You know, like when you’re feeling less, uhm, homicidal, or whatever.”


Buffy gulped, her heart picking up the tempo of its nervous beat. That was definitely a ‘I’m Thinking Naughty Things About You’ look Giles just gave her. The demon Watcher grinned at her, his body undulating with a cat-like grace as he dropped to all fours crawled across the ground toward her.


“Uh, Giles?”


Another step backward, and Buffy ducked to the other side of a headstone, putting a barrier between her and the advancing Brit. Chewing anxiously at her lip, she continued to retreat. The last thing she wanted to do was to hurt Giles, but the wild look in his eye told her that he was expecting something she wasn’t about to give.


A strange tingle began to tickle was down deep inside her belly. The sensation grew steadily warmer, and soon was spreading deliciously throughout her body. Buffy gasped, her flesh wakened to a compulsive desire as she felt herself falling under the Watcher’s powerful hypnotic thrall.


Turning away, Buffy threw an arm up to shield her eyes from Giles’ gaze. “Big mistake,” she muttered, shaking her head to dismiss the lingering influence of the penetrating stare. “Look at something else. Anything else but the eyes. Not the eyes, not the eyes, not the...whoa, momma!” She swallowed in disbelief, noting a glimpse of intricate tracery on Giles’ lower back peeking out between the long, feathered tips of his wings. “Please tell me that’s not a tattoo...on your butt!”


Her anatomical observations were suddenly distracted by a small vibration under her feet. The ground was moving. Not trembling as in This Is California, Home of Earthquakes kind of moving. This was subtle, more like a shifting within the dirt, as if something beneath her were trying to find its way out.


Jumping aside, Buffy glanced down at the newly laid sod of a grave plot. The grass was splitting open, and several clawing fingers were desperately attempting to work their way to the surface. As a hand thrust upward, she snapped her eyes toward the carved lettering marking the granite stone sitting at the grave’s head.



AMANDA JANINE PRESTLEY
Beloved Wife and Respected Teacher
May You Rest In Peace
May 12, 1975 - November 1, 2001



The appearance of the flailing hand had apparently diverted her Watcher’s agenda from the pursuit of his amorous intentions. A snuffled grunt further confirmed her suspicions, and the fickleness of his demon nature as Giles’ wings fluttered with anticipation of the violent encounter to come.


Buffy watched as the Brit’s half-naked body coiled, preparing to pounce at the first sign of provocation. Every lithe sinew was tensed, and Giles was panting lightly, his muscles quivering as he retrained himself from rushing his prey too soon. He gave her a look, his expression pure unadulterated excitement as he shot her a devilish Now We’re Going To Have Us Some Real Fun smile.


“Oh, goodie. A vampire!” Buffy breathed. She was grateful for the distraction, and adjusting the grip on her stake, she took a deep breath and slipped into Ready To Slay mode. A second hand punched its way up through the earth. She took a moment, and threw one last glance toward her Watcher, reassuring herself that he was all right. Giles was poised like a hunting dog on point, his wings fluttering, his glare fixed on the breaking earth before him. The Watcher was clucking away furiously, his bottom twitching like an over-stimulated puppy on Christmas morning as he hunched his pelvis at the empty air beneath his belly and humped some invisible force that only his crazed fevered mind could see.


A head popped up through the dirt. Twisting around, the deformed vampire face of what had once been Amanda Prestley raised its baleful yellow glare and saw an unusual couple waiting at the side of its grave. She searched the memories of her former human host, but didn’t recognize either the petite young blonde or the man in the angel costume crouching beside her. In fact, the last thing she could remember clearly was going out to a bar with her adult Karate class. She had taken them out to celebrate the recent conference of black belt status on one of her star pupils.


Amanda Prestley blinked, the hairs at the back of her neck prickling instinctively in warning.


“Who are you?” she snarled.


“Oh, we’re the local cemetery greeting committee,” the slayer quipped with a cheery smile. “Welcome to the Hellmouth.”







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