Part 9


I want you

The truth can't hurt you it's just like the dark

It scares you witless

But in time you see things clear and stark

Elvis Costello, "I Want You"


She sat on her throne in the center of hell and kept very, very, still. She did not scream, and she did not move. Not when the blood spurted like a fountain from the throat of the fat bastard who was the leader. Not when the other two men were forced to crawl on hands and knees and beg her pardon. She did not acknowledge them, no matter how they begged. She didn't forgive them. Even if it would have helped them, she wouldn't say it. She sat silent until Spike tired of the game and released the minions upon the men. Even when their warm blood spattered her ankle she never moved.

Spike came to her, blood painting the lower half of his face, yellow demon eyes gleaming with bloodlust. He kissed her, and smeared blood into her mouth. Someone else's blood. She ignored him. He grabbed her face in his bloody hands and searched her eyes. She felt a trickle of blood run down her cheek where his talon scratched her. He laughed, and pulled her to her feet.

"Deirdre!" He snapped. A thin female vampire with blue streaks in her blond hair pulled her mouth away from her dinner's hairy wrist and hurried over, wiping her mouth. She stood waiting at the foot of the dais, waiting for Spike to speak. Spike was pleased, Deirdre was one of the brightest of the minions, one of the older ones as well. He knew he could trust her to follow orders, which was why he had chosen her.

"Take her to my room. Get her cleaned up and ready. Stay with her, I don't want her left alone." He noticed the flicker of discontent in her eyes before Deirdre nodded, and stepped up to grab Joyce's hand. She pulled at her and Joyce stumbled down the steps, off-balance, almost falling. Spike growled softly, and Deirdre flinched.

"Sorry," she said, to Spike. "Come on," she wheedled. She had to fight to keep her disgust at being appointed the human's babysitter out of her voice. "We'll get you all cleaned up. That'll be nice, right?" Joyce looked at her but made no response. Experimentally, Deirdre tugged at her again and to her relief the human did not resist. Deirdre was aware of Spike watching them as they left the room.

Deirdre led her charge to Spike's quarters, and took her into the bathroom where she stripped off the passive human's clothes and pushed her *very gently* into the shower. She turned on the water *not too hot*. She stood watching as the water sluiced down over the woman's head, streaming over her slack face.

When it became obvious that the woman was not going to scrub herself, Deirdre sighed, stripped off her clothes and stepped into the shower. It took all the control she'd learned in 30-odd years of un-life to not simply snap the neck of Spike's new toy as she carefully scrubbed the blood and dirt off. She hated humans, the dirt, the warmth, the frailty of them. Except for their blood, she'd never have anything to do with them. Find, feed, and finish. The idea of fucking her food was enough to turn her stomach. Sex was for equals, for hard cold flesh on hard cold flesh. What could Spike see in this feeble, smelly, *old* piece of meat? It was sick, sick, sick...

She was wet and someone was trying to scrub her skin off. Joyce shoved away the offending sponge and the hand holding it. The hand was attached to a naked female vampire who snarled at her, yellow-eyed.

"Get out," Joyce snarled back and snatched the sponge from the vamp's hand. Deirdre hissed, and showed her fangs. Joyce realized that at one time she would probably have found this scary. Joyce looked her in the eye, and smiled. "Get the fuck out!" she snapped.

Deirdre trembled with rage, one quick wrench and this mouthy human bitch would be dead. And maybe she could get away before Spike found out. Maybe. And maybe she could run far and fast enough that he never caught her. Because if she didn't... Deirdre looked into the human's glittering eyes and got out of the shower. She picked up her clothes and left the bathroom, to wait.



Buffy lay alone in the too-quiet house, staring at her bedroom ceiling. She was tired of watching the shifting leaf shadows cast by the spotlight moon. She couldn't sleep. She wanted to be out there, searching for her mother but Giles had sent her home.

"You're no good to anyone in this condition," he said. "Go home, get some rest."

So she'd come home, but she couldn't sleep. How the hell could she sleep? Her mother was lost, alone in the dark at the nonexistent mercy of Spike. Every time she thought about what her mother had gone through, was probably going through right now...

"Buffy," said a voice, soft and familiar. Buffy froze. Turned towards the window.


"Buffy, dear, I'm home. Let me in." Perched on the branch of the tree, her mother smiled in at her. "Let me in dear, it's cold out here," the shadows around her eyes were gone, the lines around her eyes erased. She looked ten years younger, she looked like Buffy's childhood memories of her mother, when she had the prettiest mommy in the world.

"Mom?" her voice trembled as she stared through the glass into her mother's face, her mother's eyes looking for the demon she knew was hiding behind them. But the mask never shifted.

"Buffy, what's the matter?" she asked, a little line of worry creased her forehead. A perfect imitation. How far would the demon take the charade once she let it in? Would it cry? Would it hold her, tell her everything was alright now, and tuck her safely into bed before ripping out her throat?

Could she stand to kill it before it did?

"AAAAAAGRH! Let me go! You bastards! Let me go!"

Buffy's eyes snapped open and she jumped to her feet ready to fight. She experienced a moment of sickening disorientation before reality snapped into focus and she remembered where she was. Sunnydale Emergency. She watched three orderly's struggle to subdue the biker whose screams had jerked her out of her doze. They were having a tough time and Buffy's instincts urged her to go over and help them out, but she forced herself to sit back down and stay out of it. With the help of a security guard they finally managed to get the patient strapped down on the gurney and wheeled him away.

She'd fallen asleep sitting in the molded plastic chair where she'd been waiting since-- she checked the clock, 9:30 p.m. She'd gotten to the motel a little after 6, to find the door shattered and ajar. Giles was lying quietly bleeding into the carpet. She'd checked his pulse, then ran into the bedroom. No Mom. She dialed 911 and screamed for help, the paramedics had arrived less than 5 minutes later, and the police. She'd watched the ambulance take Giles away into the dark as the police closed in with their questions. It didn't take long; Sunnydale's finest (motto: "Did you see anything? Nope, I didn't see anything.") didn't seem to suspect her of anything, and were ready and willing to accept her claim of ignorance and chalk it up to "armed intruders". They'd even given her a ride to the hospital when they were done.

Giles was still in surgery when she arrived. The admit clerk sent her the waiting room where she waited for more than an hour until a Doctor Nguyen came to tell her that her 'father was out of surgery, and in recovery, doing fine. She could see him as soon as he was moved to a regular room.

More waiting, her thoughts chasing themselves in vicious circles. Miss Callender, Kendra, Mom, and now Giles, she was the Slayer, her fate was to die young. But it was the people around her that kept getting hurt. Mom. She was probably dead by now, or worse. Buffy had killed more vampires in the past week than in the past year. She'd barely slept, ate only when Giles or someone reminded her to. And she'd still failed. She had to cling to the hope that the dream hadn't felt like prophecy. Just a logical projection. No, he wouldn't kill her, not yet. If he'd wanted to kill her he'd had more than enough chances. She had to keep believing that even though Mom had attacked him, had run from him, he still wouldn't kill her before she could get to her.

"Buffy?" She looked up to see Willow, Oz and Xander coming through the automatic glass doors. Willow ran to her and wrapped her arms around her. The two friends stood for a moment, giving and taking comfort.

"Oh God, Buffy, what happened? I went to the motel and there were police, and yellow tape, and no-one would tell us anything except that someone had been shot..."

"Spike." Xander said quietly. Buffy nodded.

"Oh god. Your mom...."

"Gone," Buffy confirmed.

" Oh no. Oh, Giles, is he..." Willow's voice trailed off fearfully. Oz took her hand.

"The doctor came out to talk to me about an hour ago," she lowered her voice a little. "I told them I was his daughter. The doctor says he should be fine." Buffy checked the clock and "He should be out by now, I'll find out what room he's in."

"Excuse me," Buffy said, a little bit louder than she'd meant to be. The desk clerk, a hard looking bleached blond who looked like she should have been standing behind the bar at the Dew Drop Inn instead of an admitting desk looked up from the keyboard. "Yes?" She said a little impatiently at first. Then she recognized the tired looking girl who'd come in with the gunshot victim.

"Can I help you hon?" she asked sympathetically.

"My father, Rupert Giles came out of surgery an hour ago. Can I go see him now?" The nurse nodded.

"Just a moment, I'll find out," she said. She quickly entered the information into the terminal, studied the screen.

"He's in room 410. He's doing fine, they have him on standard care." She lowered her voice and leaned towards Buffy. "It's not strictly visiting hours, but if you're quiet, I'm sure there won't be any problem. Take the elevator up to the 4th floor, follow the yellow line."

"Thank you," Buffy said sincerely.

"You're welcome."

Buffy went back to her friends and they all headed for the elevators. They walked past the empty 4th floor desk trying to look as though they were supposed to be there and quickly ducked into room 410.

The room was dim, and very quiet. The monitor by the bed showed a reassuringly steady pattern. Giles lay on his back, his eyes closed, still out of it. Willow made a little sound and looked ready to cry. Xander's eyes were dark and angry.

"Giles," Buffy said softly, going over to the bed. Without his glasses, his tweedy librarian's clothes, he looked fragile, and years older than when she'd seen him that morning. There was a bandage coring his shoulder "not too bad," Dr. Nguyen had said. "He'll probably recover full use of the arm." She kissed him on the forehead and came away.

Out in the hallway, they stood looking at each other. Willow clinging to Oz, stared in shock as Buffy sat down on the floor and started to cry. Xander immediately slid down beside her and hugged her tight.

"Buffy -- we'll find her," Xander said grimly. Buffy shook her head.

"How? We've turned this town upside down for a week looking for Spike, and haven't found him. He's got her, he's not going to stick around waiting for me to find him, he's won."

"No, not yet. Buffy, I can find him," Willow said.

"More hacking?" Buffy asked doubtfully.

"No, magic. A finding spell. I'll need some of your mom's hair, and some of yours, and some other stuff."

Buffy sighed. "O.K." she said. "Could you have found Spike this way?" Willow shook her head quickly.

"No, it only works on people. Human people."

"You think it will work?"

"Uh-huh. As long as..." Willow slammed her mouth shut on the rest of the sentence. Buffy looked at her, "As long as Mom's still alive." she finished for her. Willow nodded "Yes," she whispered unhappily.

"It's OK. At least I'll know one way or the other. Let's do it."

"Someone should stay here, in case Giles wakes up," Xander pointed out.

"I'll stay," Oz volunteered. They looked at him in surprise. "It's too close to the full moon. Not good for me to be around magic. Sorry." he explained.

"Thanks, call us if there's any change?" Buffy said. Oz nodded and gave Willow a last encouraging squeeze before watching them walk away.



"The bells of hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling for you but not for me," Spike sang happily as the blood went swirling down the drain. He wondered idly just how and when the Master had managed to have modern plumbing installed. "And the little devils how they sing-a-ling-a-ling, For you but not for me." He dried himself off and walked over to the lone chair with tonight's ensemble draped over the back. "O death where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling, O grave thy victoreeee?" He was going with all black tonight, white silk shirt, black leather pants. Tonight was special. "The bells of hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling, for you but not for me." Times like this he really missed having a reflection.

Joyce stared at herself in the mirror feeling utterly detached from what she saw there. Who was this woman crammed and cinched into a white leather bodice that had very little front and even less back? A white satin skirt was full and hung to her ankle but it was slit on both sides, for easy access she supposed. Then there were the shoes. They made her five inches taller and made her feel like she was on stilts. She'd laughed when she'd come out of the bathroom and seen the outfit laid out on the bed. "Where the hell did he find this? Frederick's of Transylvania?" she'd said. The comment seemed to offend the bitch who'd been assigned to baby-sit her.

"He wants you to wear it," she stated flatly. Joyce raised an eyebrow and picked up the garter, it was crotchless panties. It was just all too weird. How was she supposed to take this seriously? Playing dress-up. This room, with the table, set for one but with two chairs, candles, roses. Dracula's Bride '99. She was tired of playing games.

In the end in a combination of numbness and bloody-mindedness, she allowed herself to be dressed. Stood passively while her hair was combed, her face painted by Deirdre; she could feel the vampire itching to rip out her throat through every minute of it, damn her to hell for being too cowardly to do it. She turned away from the grotesque in the mirror meaning to sit down when the door opened and Spike came in.

Perfect. She was perfect. Her skin glowed with life against the white leather, and his demon roared to life inside him, crazy to touch her, to tear at the white breasts spilling over the top of the leather bodice. As he came closer the smell of her blood, the familiar beat of her pulse pulled at him. He wanted to throw her down on the floor, rip her open and take her all into him in one great gulp. He wanted to throw her onto the bed and bury himself in her. Only the knowledge that he had her, that she was *his* gave him the control to settle for one deep kiss.

He certainly looked happy to see her, a big pumpkin grin nearly splitting his head in half. He was all dressed up as well. Very pretty. He looked at her like she was made of chocolate, hunger and lust warring in his eyes. She knew he could hear her heart speeding up, her muscles tensing, wanting to run even as she withstood his long probing kiss. She managed not to gag at the taste it left in her mouth.

"Cor, you look tasty in that," he said, letting her go. She looked at him, something odd in her gaze.

"You picked it," she said.

He led her to the table, pulled the chair out for her. She shivered as his cool fingers slid down her bare back all the way down to her ass. He sat down opposite her and snapped his fingers. She stared as another minion came in with a wheeled cart and brought in her dinner: steak, potato, vegetables, a roll, and a bottle of wine. He placed it carefully in front of her and at a nod from Spike, went away. She winced at the blood that had pooled under the very rare steak, at her sudden urge to lick it off the plate.

"Eat up Luv, you need to keep your strength up," Spike purred picking up the wine and a corkscrew.

His eyes never left her. She remembered Hank looking at her like that, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, fascinated, as though if he blinked she might slip away. She'd craved that look again, imagined she'd found it with Ted, and for a brief moment, with Rupert. She wished Spike would stop looking at her.

Despite his unnerving surveillance, she was ravenous so she ate. She figured she might as well enjoy her last meal. She managed half the steak, some of the potato, and most of the vegetables.

"Just want to say one thing, luv." Spike said as he refilled her glass. She looked up. He reached over and captured her hand, holding it gently, eyes intent. "I don't blame you for tryin' it. But it's over. You're mine. Understand?" He kissed her wrist, and she felt a fang press against the vein, a promise of pain...

"Yes," she said. He let her hand go.

"Dessert?" he asked.

Dessert was 'death by chocolate' and she ate every bite, making it last. But eventually it was gone, and the wine. Spike drained the half-glass of wine he'd been fiddling with while she ate and stood up. He offered his hand and she let herself be pulled up into his enveloping embrace. "Mine," he murmured before into her ear. He picked her up and carried her over to the bed.

She watched with a kind of sick fascination as he undressed. Though he knew her body intimately, inside and out; and she had felt that hard, perfect body against her, she'd never seen him naked before. He was beautiful, like a statue in ancient Greece, carved of white marble, with polychrome details of yellow hair, dark eyes, red mouth. He saw her watching and grinned. Nestled in the dark curls beneath his flat stomach his large, uncut cock stirred under her gaze. She looked away, her body clenching on the memory of pain.

He could smell the fear rising in her, intoxicating and dangerous. He bent down to kiss her breasts and plucked at the laces, releasing them into his hands. They were so warm, so soft. So easy, so tempting, to make them bleed. She had turned her face away from him, and wouldn't look at him; but he was determined to be patient, determined to have all of her. They had time. Eternity. He rolled her nipples between his fingers, deliberately gentle, felt them stiffen. Ahh. He buried his face between them, losing himself in the smell of her, her living heat. His, forever.

Her fingers were slippery with sweat, she tightened her grip and drove the steak knife into Spike with all of her strength. Spike roared and knocked her away, and the next thing she knew she was lying against the wall on the other side of the bed. She tried to sit up and a shadow fell over her. She looked up expecting the demon and was surprised to find Spike's face still human, his expression only mildly annoyed.

"That fucking hurt," Spike said pulling the knife out, "don't do it again." He dropped the knife. "Now, where were we?" He reached out to help her up but she shook her head.

"Don't touch me!" she spat, evading his hand and reaching out for the wall's support.

"What?" He looked puzzled.

"Don't. Touch. Me. Goddammit, Spike you're pathetic. You really can't take a hint can you?" Joyce snapped. She watched his face become expressionless as the words hit him.

"You don't have a choice. I decide. You're mine. Forever." He said petulantly. Joyce shook her head in denial as she got to her feet.

"I'm not yours, and I never will be, even if I go as bugfuck as Drusilla. Hell, even she wasn't crazy enough to want you!" His mouth had thinned and eyes were beginning to pale.

"I think you need to shut up now Pet. You're startin' to make me angry!"

"The only reason she ever stayed with you was because she was sick. Soon as she was better, she left you. Dumped you. And if you turn me, I'll dump you just as quick."

"I said shut up!" Spike growled grabbing her throat.

"I don't want you! *No one* fucking wants you, you creep," she hissed.

"I would have made you my queen." he said softly, leaning closer. He let his true face surface and licked her cheek, savoring the fear he tasted on her skin. "But have it your own way," he said his voice as cold as the black ice he felt enveloping his heart.

Joyce fought him as he dragged her up onto the bed and threw her down on it. All it accomplished was to enraged He let go of her throat and ripped white satin, delicate silk, aside, forced her legs apart and shoved his cock inside her with a grunt of satisfaction. She screamed in pain and rage, tried to push him off. He grabbed her throat, paused for a moment to savor the terror in her eyes then wrenched her head back, exposing the white throat, the pulsing vein he'd denied himself all these weeks. She was wrong, either she was his, or nothing at all. This wasn't the way he'd wanted it, but he'd have her all the same. He came down on her slowly, wanting to prolong it, letting his fangs ease slowly into the unmarked skin, so slowly, the blood oozing into his mouth, excruciating ecstasy. Her sweet blood. He groaned and began to thrust, slowly, he wanted to last until the last drop of her rolled down his throat, until she was entirely gone, entirely his.

She'd stopped fighting he realized. Was simply lying there, limp, accepting as he pulled out her life. That was wrong. He knew it hurt. He remembered the pain, the feeling of being stretched thin and agonizingly unraveled into nothingness. Dying with his face pressed into a wet stone wall in a stinking alley with Angelus' cock up his ass and his teeth in his throat. Angelus had chuckled quietly the whole time and never missed a stroke. William had fought until there was nothing left to fight with. Angelus had turned him on a whim, dripping the blood into his slack mouth, almost too late.

Her wonderful rich blood flowed down his throat, so good. Always so good. He might not miss her, vicious bitch, but he would miss her blood. He could feel her heart starting to flutter, as it struggled to cope with the falling volume of blood. She wouldn't last much longer. He began to speed up his thrusts, even as he slowed his drinking. He would come and she would go...

Spike stopped. Withdrew his teeth, pulled away from her, to look into her face. She was white, cheeks sunken but something gleamed in her half-lidded eyes. Triumph.

"No," he whispered, realizing. This was what she had wanted. To die. To leave him. She smiled and closed her eyes. "NO!" he shouted.



The sickle moon hung overhead in the black sky, casting its faint cold light. Buffy shivered, as much time as she spent under the moon, she'd never learned to like it much. She shivered again, it was chilly out on the old Sunnydale high school track, especially when you were naked, or 'sky-clad' as Willow insisted on calling it.

"Uh, Willow, is this absolutely necessary?" Buffy had asked when Willow got to that part of the ceremony.

"Yeah, you have to come before the Goddess as she made you. As much as possible anyway. Caps and uh contact lenses are O.K. I think. But clothes are a big no-no."

"Cough" They both turned to look at Xander, who had turned bright red. "Just call me open-minded," he said cheerfully.

"Sorry Xan, you're not invited. It's a girls only kind of thing,"

"Oh," Buffy watched with amusement as the dream faded from his eyes. "So what do I do?"

Xander was on guard at the gate against the unlikely chance that someone would come by the ruined high school. He was on his honor not to peek. Buffy gave it 50-50 but Xander catching a glimpse of the promised land wasn't something she had time to worry about right now.

Willow took a deep breath and reverently raised the polished stone bowl to the sliver of moon overhead. A full moon would have been better, she'd explained, but they didn't have time to wait. A few more days and they'd have been entirely out of luck.

"Hail Selene, Moon goddess, mother of us all, this child beseeches you, reunite this daughter" she gestured for Buffy to come into the circle "with the one that bore her. She brings you this gift and this sign. Willow lowered the bowl nodded and Buffy stepped forward and carefully placed the two twists of hair - her own, and her mother's rescued from her hairbrush - into the bowl.

"Uh, Hail Selene, Goddess grant me this boon," Buffy said uneasily, feeling foolish. "Show me she who bore me, she who shares my heart, Hey!" she jumped back, almost leaving the circle as a blue flame shot out of the bowl. The smell of burnt hair tickled her nose, then a familiar smell of Halston, her mother's perfume, the smell of her earliest safety.

"Mom," Buffy whispered. Willow carefully offered the bowl to her again. In the bowl where there should have been ashes, or nothing at all, a pool of clear water reflected first the moon, the stars and then another place. A entirely too familiar place.

"Oh no," Willow whispered.

"The Master's lair," Buffy said flatly as the image rippled and was gone.



Oz's nostrils flared as the smell of blood reached his nose. He growled and Xander jumped, banging the nozzle of the flame-thrower against his belt. Buffy looked back at both of them. After dressing and explaining things to Xander they had picked up Oz at the hospital, leaving Willow to stay with Giles and explain to him what was going on.

"We're close," Oz said. Buffy nodded grimly and picked up the pace. Too soon, they were there. She stood in the tunnel, at the entrance to the Master's lair. "Deja vu all over again," she thought her heart pounding in her ears. She slid the katana, Kiro-san her new best friend, out of its sheath. Against vampires, stakes were good, but a nice sharp sword was way better. Even if she didn't decapitate them right away, losing an arm or a leg tended to take the vamp out of the fight. She took a deep breath, and centered herself, then turned to look at Oz and Xander. Xander, in his fatigues, looked scared but resolute. Oz looked pretty much like Oz always did, but his fingers were tight on the sawed-off. Same principle as the sword -- might not dust, would definitely slow them down.

"One, two, three...Go!"

They rushed into the cavernous room. Water dripped from the ceiling, and the torches flickered. There were corpses in one corner. Buffy checked them out, three men, who she didn't recognize. Very, very, dead. No, vampires, no Mom.

"Oz?" Buffy asked. The werewolf flared his nostrils, went directly to the roughly hewn stone chair in the middle of the floor. Sniffed loudly.

"She was here," he said, Buffy watched as he shut his eyes and let the wolf's nose lead him out of the main room. Buffy and Xander followed him, weapons at the ready but no-one molested them as he led the way to a drier and considerably more comfortable room. Buffy's stomach clenched when Oz went directly to the bed. He stood there, shivered and opened his eyes and looked at her. Shook his head.

He left the bed and walked in widening circles around the room. Stopped.

Oz lowered the shotgun, "Sorry. She was here, but I can't track them. Too many people." Buffy wilted.

"Can you tell, if..." her voice trailed off. Oz shook his head again.

They searched the lair but found nothing. Oz thought he caught Joyce's scent in one of the tunnels leading outside, but he couldn't be sure. Exhausted they trailed back into the throne room.

"What do we do now?"

Someone cleared their throat behind them. They spun around to find a woman with blue streaked hair peeking out from behind a pillar, her hands raised in appeasement. Kiro-san hissed as Buffy pulled it free. Changing her mind the vamp and tried to duck back and run, but Buffy had her by the collar, and slammed her face first into the damp stone before she'd made two feet.

"Hiya," Buffy said. She spun her around, slammed the vampire her into the pillar again and placed the katana's point just under her jaw. "Where's the party?"

"If you kill me, I can't tell you anything," she whined, trying levitate away from the sharp point.

"True. Better talk fast then," Buffy suggested.

"Let me go, and I'll tell you where they went."

"And I would believe you because?" Buffy asked, letting the sword slip upwards a little.

"I was waiting for you," she hissed. "Just so I could tell you where he took the bitch!" She yelped as Buffy deliberately jabbed her again.

"Language. So, why so helpful? Do I know you?"

"No," the vampire ground out. Buffy stared at her.

"Personal problem huh?" she said. She heard Xander make a small sound of protest as she let the vamp go and stepped back, lowering the sword. The vampire stood rubbing her throat, not speaking.

"So where is he?" Buffy asked.

"Sunnydale Airport. They left an hour ago. He said they were getting out of Sunnydale, for good."

"Thanks. Maybe you should try somewhere else." The vamp nodded, turned and ran into the darkness. Buffy let her shoulders sag for a moment. The airport. Oh god. "He has at least an hour's lead on us. He could be anywhere." Buffy moaned.

"Buffy, it's Sunnydale Airport. Not LAX. No scheduled flights after 10 p.m." Xander said coming up behind her.

"What? You sure?"

"It was in the paper. Settlement between the neighbors and the airport. No scheduled flights after 10. If they left here an hour ago, they still can't have made the last flight."

"We've got a chance then," Buffy said.

"Always," Oz said.

END Part 9




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