The Haunted Vampire
Every night has a
day... Every challenge has a risk... Every case has a lesson.
Sisters have disappeared on a dare, and its up to the PP team to save
them. But what if they find something that they weren't expecting?
Could a lesson await them perhaps? And maybe things aren't always as they
appear to be...
The Haunted Vampire
"You go first," the frightened teenager
said, pushing her sister in front of her.
"Why me?" she asked in a hushed whisper
as she dug her heels in and pushed back.
"This was your idea."
Jane and her twin sister Chloe were
dressed in black from head to toe. The
Goth look had sounded like a good idea in the brightness of the pub, but now
Jane was thinking it was a little stupid.
And for the first time in her life she was sorry that she and Chloe
weren't identical twins. Jane's blonde
hair shone like a spotlight against the ϋber black ensemble and she envied Chloe's dark tresses
that seemed to blend into the rest of her outfit, but upon closer inspection
Jane figured it didn't matter. She was
pretty sure that her face looked as ghostly-pale in the moonlight as Chloe's
"Yeah, but you agreed to do this with
me," Jane finally said. Their mom was
always telling Jane that her name meant gracious gift. Jane was beginning to think her name
actually meant ungracious git. What
in the heck was she doing out here in the middle of the night with her sister!
"Shh," Chloe said. "Did you hear that?"
"What?" Jane asked, her heart beating a
little faster than it had been a moment before. Maybe they should just go back to the car. She was starting to regret hiding it in the
thickest part of the trees. It sounded
like a good idea at the time, but now that the moon had gone behind some
clouds, the trees suddenly looked a little scary.
"Over there," Chloe said, pointing
toward the back of the building.
"If you keep talking, I won't be able to
hear anything," Jane said, trying to keep her voice quiet and calm. She had a feeling it wouldn't take much for
the two of them to freak out and go off running into the night in opposite
directions. And if Jane got separated
from Chloe out there, she'd just about curl up and die.
Jane strained to see if she could hear
what Chloe was talking about, but the only thing she could hear was her own
heartbeat beating wildly in her ears.
Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves and steady her heart, she listened
closer. That's when she heard a
rustling noise coming from behind the house.
"Okay, maybe this wasn't such a good
idea," Jane finally admitted.
"Now you tell me. Let's just go."
"Maybe the guys followed us. Maybe they're just trying to spook us," Jane
said, not sounding convincing even to her own ears.
She was such an idiot. She had been bored, and the guys had been
talking about the haunted manor. And
before she knew what she was getting herself in to, dragging Chloe along for
the ride, she had told them that they were full of it. And to prove that they were full of it, she
and Chloe would not only find the place, but they'd stay the night there. And once they changed into their appropriate
night stalking attire, the girls were on their way.
It was all Jason's fault. He kept taunting her with those big brown
teddy bear eyes and that pretty smile of his.
He got her heart beating in an entirely different manner, and she wished
she could blame him for all of this, but she couldn't. It was her own pride and big mouth that had
gotten her into trouble and now she and Chloe were going to pay for it.
Jane's eyes squinted into the
darkness. The clouds were now only
partially covering the moon, but somehow that didn't help. It just gave everything an even eerier
quality. She quickly switched on her
torch and aimed it in the direction the noise was coming from.
"Jane!" Chloe screamed, her voice
sounding even louder in their quiet surroundings.
As she followed Chloe's gaze, Jane's
blue eyes grew wider and rounder. She
didn't have time to let out her own scream.
Chloe had beaten her to it yet again.
As soon as Giles hung up the phone call
with Collins, the blasted thing rang again.
"Ah yes, Mr. Morris. I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you,"
Giles said. "Things have been a bit
hectic as of late to say the least."
"I'm sorry, Andy," he said as he moved
a stack of papers and notes from his previous phone conversation out of the
way. His desk was a little messier than
he liked and he was having a hard time finding the sketch Angel had made at the
"Have you found out anything yet?" Andy
asked. "The thought that the contents
of the box could wind up being dangerous is making my wife nervous. And the fact that Sherry won't even go by
the room anymore sure isn't helping.
Could we perhaps just sell it and be done with it?"
"I really don't think it would be a
good idea to sell anything until we know what we're dealing with. I've been comparing the sketch against texts
and I have yet to come up with anything pertinent," Giles said. "I would require a little more time I'm
Giles heard Andy sigh into the
phone. "We could really use the money
and if it's worth anything at all we'd really like to sell."
"I understand, but I must insist that I
don't believe it to be in your best interest at this time," Giles said, wishing
that he had more information on what they had found. If he had that and some extra money lying around, or a quick way
to earn some, he could've made the Morrises an offer himself.
"How much time would you need?" Andy
Giles was just about to answer when the
door to his office opened. Seeing Buffy
standing there, he motioned for her to come inside. She sat down in the leather chair just in front of his desk.
"Not much longer. There is another case that needs our
immediate attention and once that is finished I will look into this in further
detail," Giles said.
Giles feared Andy was going to say no,
but then he said, "Okay. I don't want
to rush you. We're just a little
anxious, but you are the expert. Just
let me know as soon as you can, okay?"
"I guarantee it," Giles said and after
a few pleasantries and a goodbye, he hung up the phone.
"It's been over a month you know,"
Giles' mind was reeling with too much
information and he was having a hard time following what she was talking
about. "I'm sorry, Buffy. What exactly are you referring to?"
"Since your date with Alex."
"Just over a month," he said as he leaned
back in his chair and sighed. His mind
hadn't been anywhere near his date with Alex.
"You should plan something else."
He glanced at her over the rim of his
glasses. It wasn't that he hadn't had a
wonderful time at the concert with Alex.
It was more along the lines of not wanting to rush anything. He didn't want to take the chance of ruining
it. And if he were being honest with
himself, he wasn't quite ready to get emotionally involved with someone at this
"Buffy, I do believe I am quite capable
of planning social activities for myself."
"I'm supposed to be going to London in
a few days to go shopping with her. Is
there anything you want me to tell her?"
It wasn't hard to miss the sparkle in
her eyes, or the teasing tone that tinged her voice, and Giles knew in an
instant they would be gone. The laid
back, relaxed atmosphere they had been sharing the last few days was about to
come to an end.
"I'm sorry, Buffy," he began and not
knowing any other way to say it, said, "But I do believe you will need to
postpone your trip. DCI Collins
called. He is on his way here. You see, two teenage girls, sisters, have gone
missing in Wales."
Detective Chief Inspector Collins was a
good ally to have. Especially with the
kind of cases Project Paranormal took on, and he was becoming a friend. When he had called Giles asking for help,
Giles hadn't hesitated.
"Sisters?" she asked, all business now.
"Yes, Buffy. The girls are Dawn's age and their mother is frantic with
worry. They have been missing a couple
of days now." It wasn't hard for either
of them to make the connection between the missing girls and Dawn. If something bad could happen to other
girls, something bad could happen to Dawn.
It was a recurring thought that floated in and out of their
consciousness from time to time. The
fact that Buffy hadn't seen her sister in quite a while didn't help matters
"How does he know what's going on in
Wales?" Buffy asked.
"It's a friend," Giles said. "The girls missing are the twin daughters of
someone with whom he went to university."
Buffy stood up. "I'll go pack."
He put his hand up to stop her and to
try calming her down. "Collins is on
his way. We need to discuss the details
before we leave and I believe it'd be better if we all discussed it together,
as a group."
Heaving a sigh, she sat back down. "So you knew all about this before I even
got here. This is why you called me
down to talk." A statement, not a
Giles had a pretty good idea where the
root of her disappointment lay. She had
the preposterous notion of her, Angel, Alex, and himself going out
together. Giles knew there would be no
way that would happen. He would be far
too uncomfortable being under the continuous scrutiny of his Slayer - the Slayer
that only wanted to improve his love life.
Fortunately, this was one area that he could handle himself. Add that to the fact that one never knew
what could happen out in public. If for
some reason Buffy had to take on her Slayer role, or heaven forbid, Angel his
vampire one, Giles wasn't ready to explain all that to Alex. He wasn't sure if he ever would be.
"I'm sorry, but yes," he said.
"So we wait for Collins."
"So we do."
"I'll get Angel."
Buffy's anxiousness was beginning to take
its toll on Giles. "Buffy, pacing
around the room will not make him magically appear," he said. "Please sit down."
She stopped mid-pace and then flopped
back down in the chair she had been occupying only moments before.
When the knock on the door finally
came, she sprang from her chair and raced to the front door.
"I was waiting for her to physically
burst," Giles said, looking at Angel.
"Yeah, so was I," Angel agreed.
"Collins!" Giles said as Buffy escorted
him into the room. "Are you all right?"
DCI Ian Collins looked more than a
little stressed. His dark hair was
disheveled beyond anything Giles had ever seen, and the usually candid grey
eyes were tinged with worry and surrounded by dark circles. It appeared as though he hadn't slept in days.
"I'm fine, thank you." After Giles motioned for him to sit, he
began to speak again, "I suppose that's a lie.
I'm not anywhere near the vicinity of fine."
"What happened?" Buffy asked.
"Where are my manners?" Collins asked
as he acknowledged Angel. "I'm
sorry. I'm a little distracted."
"Understandable," Angel said.
"Where should I start?" he asked.
"The beginning, Ian," Giles said. "Just start at the beginning."
"I would go myself--" he began, but
Giles didn't let him finish.
"We understand," he said.
After Collins shared with them what he
knew, he let out a huge sigh. "It could
be nothing. It could be something," he
said. "Things aren't like they used to
be, I know better now. And their mother
is beside herself."
"This is something we can do for you,"
Giles said. "It will take us
approximately four hours to get there by car, and if we get started at first
light we could arrive there in plenty of time to meet the boys and get any additional
"I believe them," Collins said. "I do believe they are telling the truth."
"And I'm sure you're correct," Giles
said. "But we have our ways."
Everyone pretty much ignored the way
Collins' gaze rested briefly on Angel.
"We really didn't think they'd do it,"
the tall, dark haired young man said.
"We figured they'd pretend and then laugh it off."
Buffy, Angel, and Giles sat at a dark
wooden table in the back of the Sailor's Return Pub and Restaurant, closest
to the fireplace. The décor was a
little much for Buffy's taste. Burgundy
flowered wallpaper with a crème background adorned the top half of the walls,
while forest green solid wallpaper hung on the lower half. The two distinctive decorating styles were
separated by four-inch dark wood trim.
The pictures they had hanging around weren't bad. Brass and wooden frames depicted various
scenes out of a sailor's life, but she figured it was a little too much and if
you looked at it too long it made you dizzy.
"Yeah," another said. "Chloe and Jane are fun to hang out
with. We were just harassing them. We didn't think they'd do it."
"I'm pretty sure the double-dog dare
had a lot to do with it, Dane," Jason said.
"You know how competitive Jane can be."
Jason and Dane, Dane a smaller version of
his older-by-one-year brother, had been the last ones to see Jane and Chloe
before they had taken off for the Welsh manor house. And when they hadn't shown up once the pub had closed, and after
the boys had driven by their flat and didn't see their car, they had begun to
"I mean we know there are no such
things as vampires or ghosts. I mean
come on... But nowadays?" Jason shrugged
his shoulders. "There's a bunch of
whackos out there. Anything could've
happened to them."
"It's all your fault," Dane said.
"Hey!" Buffy said. "Can we not go there? Let's just focus."
Through downcast eyes Dane said, "I'm
sorry. I'm just worried about them."
"What time did they leave?" Giles
"I don't know," Jason said. "Around 9:30pm. It's about an hour's drive from here if you can find it. If you get lost you could be driving out
there for hours. That's why we didn't
worry when they didn't come back at first.
Figured they had gotten lost or something."
"Their mom is pretty mad at us," Dane
"Jeez, Dane, I wonder why," Jason said.
Once the boys had realized that the
girls hadn't returned home the next day either, they had fessed up to Jane and
"Their mom," Jason said. "She's into weird stuff, like the meaning in
names. Jane's means she's gracious.
Chloe's means blooming. I'm
supposed to be a healer."
"She never told me what mine meant,"
"That's because she doesn't like you,"
Jason said matter-of-factly.
"Please, can we get back on task?"
"You'll be able to find them, right?"
"We will do our best," Giles said. "Is there anything else that you can add
that might help?"
"Just this map." Jason handed Giles a
folded up piece of paper. "Just find
them," he said, eyeing Angel suspiciously.
It wasn't lost on anyone that Angel hadn't uttered a word the entire
"So did you intend to be all
intimidating?" Buffy asked as she opened the car door.
"I did what Giles asked me to do."
"Vampire lie detector," she said. "I get that, but you could've said
something. Did you see the way Jason
kept looking at you?"
Angel shrugged his shoulders and then
grabbed the flashlight out of the bag in the backseat of the SUV. Handing it to Buffy he said, "You and Giles
had it covered. You didn't need me."
"I'll always need you, silly." She planted a quick kiss on his lips.
"Buffy! Angel!" Giles called out.
"If you'd be so kind."
That's when Buffy noticed that Giles
had moved quite a bit beyond where they had parked and that he was already on
his way to the house - if that's what you wanted to call it.
"Well, isn't this... nice," Buffy said,
struggling to find the words to describe the scene in front of her as she and
Angel met up with Giles.
"We've seen worse," Angel said,
stuffing his hands into his pockets.
Buffy was cold, she could only imagine how chilled he must be by
now. The fireplace at the ugly pub was
starting to sound really good about now.
"I do believe Angel has a point," Giles
They stood in front of the antiquated
manor house. Nightfall wasn't supposed
to be for a couple hours yet, but due to the intensity of the gray clouds that
hung from the sky like a grimy beard on a fake Santa, it had become a non-issue
The manor itself had been hard to find
even with Jason's hand drawn map, and Buffy had been about ready to scream out
of total frustration when they found the road they were looking for. One winding lane had led to another, and it
wasn't like there had been anyone around to ask for directions - not like Giles
or Angel would've asked anyway, but they eventually found it hiding in plain
sight and looming up in the distance like the Psycho house - and let's
be honest, her comparison wasn't exactly an exaggeration.
"Does the word creepy mean anything to
anyone?" she asked.
"This way," Giles said, pushing open an
old, rusty gate. He led the way up a
short flight of steps that were overgrown with different types of foliage, most
of it dead and dried out.
"Ouch!" Buffy said as she tried to
untangle her boot. Angel reached down
and grabbed the offending fibrous root, scattering dirt and plant parts
everywhere, immediately freeing her foot.
At the top of the steps, and through
another metal gate supporting a broken lock, was a small cement path that led
to a securely locked iron front door that was made even more secure with iron
bars that ran from the bottom all the way to the top. It was easy to tell that somebody didn't want anyone getting
"Are we breaking in?" Angel asked. Buffy knew that between the both of them
they could've made short work of all the ironclad security.
"I'm not sure if that would be the
course of action to take at this juncture," Giles said, giving the door the
once over. "It'd make one hell of a
racket and it most assuredly would alert someone of our presence." And then almost as an afterthought added,
"And not necessarily someone whose presence we'd want to alert."
Buffy looked around. "Should we try the back?"
"It wouldn't hurt," Giles said. "It will be dark soon."
"Soon?" Buffy asked, not expecting a
reply. "Darker is more like it." The little dingy light they had seemed to be
fading quicker than it should have, so she grabbed the flashlight Angel had
given her and switched it on. "Come
As she led them around the side of the
manor, she tripped over something and it began to roll. Angel reached down and picked it up before
it could get any further away.
"Guess we're on the right track," he
said, holding up a broken flashlight.
"Guess we are," she agreed. "Anyone else have a bad feeling about this?"
The grounds were littered with even
more overgrown brush that carefully hid pieces of masonry that were no longer
connected to the old building. After
she tripped for the second time, Angel reached out and steadied her, leaving
his hands on her elbow.
"Anyone ever hear of a lawnmower?" Buffy asked. She was starting to feel like a major klutz. "Thanks again. Are you my savior today or what?"
His answer was one of those
kinda-smirks that she loved so much and then she didn't feel quite as
Looking beyond his shoulder, she
noticed a cement arbor that resembled a narrow tunnel more than anything else
in the distance. The beam of her
flashlight barely penetrated the inky darkness that stood between her and the
custom piece of architecture, so she quickened her pace to get a better
As her light moved over the uneven
landscape, she made sure to watch her step.
There was no way she was going to trip again, especially since Angel had
loosened his grip once she began walking faster, eventually releasing her arm
One step into the tunneled entranceway
set her slayer senses into overdrive.
Angel was directly behind her and Giles beyond that. "You feel that?" she asked Angel.
"Yeah," he said.
The bolted door didn't exactly lead
into the house. It led into what Buffy
would've called a breezeway, but made out of concrete and mortar. "I'm thinking this is a first for me," she
said as she flashed her light through the small window on the door, and zeroed
in on at least two marble-like coffins that were clearly visible.
"I assume that they contain the remains
of people who had lived in the house," Giles said as he peered over her
"Don't they know what crypts are?" she
"I believe they consider this the
family vault," he said, taking a step back.
"Have you noticed?" Angel asked Giles.
"Yes, as a matter of fact I have," he
Buffy watched the look that passed
between the two of them, and not quite understanding what it meant asked,
"There aren't any religious symbols
anywhere," Angel said.
She wasn't surprised that he had picked up on that before anyone else
had. If this was the place where a
family was laid to rest, one would think there would be some type of religious
icons to signify that. How could two
girls come out here just for the fun of it?
She shuddered at the thought.
"Cold?" Angel asked.
"No, I'm okay," she said, working up a
smile for his benefit, although she suspected he knew better.
"That leads one to assume that they
have been interred on unconsecrated ground. Of course," Giles continued, "if
that is the case it has probably given rise, or served as a reason, for the
vampire stories that seem to be running amuck in this area lately."
Buffy arched her brow at his reference
to ‘amuck' and genuinely smiled. "Well,
this door doesn't seem to be as tightly secured as the one in the front..."
"Probably figured anyone in their right
mind would be too scared to walk past the sarcophagi," Angel added.
"But not too scared to wander out here
in the middle of the night to impress a guy," Buffy said. "So do we break in or take in the perimeter
of this monster and see if we can find another way?"
"My suggestion would be-" Giles began.
Before he could answer she kicked the
door in. "Never mind." She walked inside, missing the look the two
men behind her exchanged.
As soon as Buffy entered the family
vault, her sense of smell was assaulted by mold and mildew. "Ew.
It smells like feet."
"Worse than," Angel said, crinkling up
his nose as he came in behind her.
"I really don't want to know," she
said. "And no invitation required
either I see."
"I guess that means it's truly
deserted," Giles said. "By anyone
She tipped her head in the direction of
the concrete coffins. "Too easy?"
"Probably," Giles said.
They checked the two coffins and by the
time the lids had been pushed aside they were standing in the middle of a lot
of dust and two skeleton filled caskets, one male and one female.
"Guess we look around," Angel said.
"Guess we do," Buffy agreed.
The manor itself was huge, and half the
roof was missing at one end of the building. It was probably fifty or sixty
feet high and it originally had contained four or five floors. None of the
upper floors were intact. The ground
level seemed to be the only one that still was.
"What's over there?" Buffy asked.
Her light shone on a short flight of
stairs to the left of the main floor; at the end of the stairs stood two
massive great oak doors. A quick look
to see what was on the other side was out of the question. Even though Buffy suspected a crypt or
dungeon of some sort could lie beyond, there was no easy access. Lying in front of the doors were great big
chunks of even more masonry.
"Taking all the dust and masonry debris
into consideration, my guess would be that the girls are not down there," Giles
"Good point," Angel said.
"Is it just me or is it getting colder
in here?" Buffy asked, wrapping her arms around herself. It wasn't the kind of cold that some old
stone buildings could hold onto, making it feel like a cooler. It was the kind of cold that seeped all the
way into your bones and made the slayer part of you feel even edgier.
"It's colder," Angel said.
"So what are we dealing with?" Buffy
asked. "Ghosts or vampires? Last time I checked, vampires didn't cause
sudden temperature changes."
"I'm sorry, but I really don't know,"
"With all the undisturbed dust and
cobwebs in this place," Angel said.
"The girls never made it inside."
Buffy sighed in defeat. Why did she think it'd be that easy? "Back outside?" she asked.
"I'm afraid so," Giles said.
The grounds were massive. Even larger than Buffy had thought when they
first pulled up to the place. It was full on dark now, but with the three flashlight
beams coming from them, and an enhanced sense here and there, they could still
see the overgrown orchard that must have taken up two or three acres. There
were out buildings that were derelict and had long since been deserted. There was a huge ornamental fish pond with a
cracked bottom, which had long dried up. And using the term ‘fish pond' was
pushing it. It was wider than Revello
Drive had been long.
"What is that?" Angel asked.
Buffy followed his gaze and found
herself staring at the strangest, hugest dead plant leaves she had ever
seen. They almost appeared to have once
been tropical, which didn't make any sense to any of them.
Giles reached down and picked up one of
the dead leaves. "I could be wrong, but
I do believe this is the biggest leaf I've ever seen."
Angel gingerly took it from him. "It's got to be six feet across."
The stem itself was the size of a small
sapling tree and it was covered in spikes.
She didn't know what they were, and she didn't think Giles did either.
"I don't know what this is," Giles
said, confirming her suspicions. "Out
here in the middle of nowhere they could've been doing anything. It is possible that they were experimenting
with various forms of vegetation. "
"Now it sounds like we're dealing with
witches," Buffy said. "What? We have a ghostly vampire that likes to
dabble in magic?"
"Anything's possible, Buffy," Giles
"Didn't Chloe's name mean blooming?"
"Yes," Giles said.
"There's nothing blooming here," she
said. "They're all dead."
"I'm sure it' s nothing more than a coincidence," Giles
said, trying to reassure her.
Too bad Buffy didn't believe in
"Chloe?" Jane called out in a harsh
whisper. "Are you there?" Shuffling sounds from her right, and then a
huge sigh of relief. Something had
woken her up, she just wasn't sure what it had been. A loud noise maybe?
"I'm here," Chloe said. "Wherever here is."
Jane couldn't see a thing. Wherever she and Chloe had ended up was
blacker than a witch's hat. "I don't know either. Are you hurt?"
"Me neither." Jane's first thought was that they were being held captive, but
she wasn't tied up. Didn't kidnappers
tie you up and then toss you into a blackened pit? Did that mean they could get out?
"Chloe, do you know how to get out?"
"I'm afraid to move. I can't see a thing," she said.
"Did you see who put us down here?"
"I—I don't remember," she
stammered. "It was too dark and it
happened too fast."
"Yeah, me too." There was only one thing left to do. "You go to the left and I'll go to the
right. See if you can find a door." Jane began crawling, hands splayed out in
front of her. She wasn't sure what she
expected to feel, but the dirty, cement-like substance under her hands and
knees wasn't it. For some reason she
was thinking cold and dank equaled slime.
Reaching out she found that the surrounding walls were made of the same
type of substance. She could feel the
grit on her hands; she pulled them away, wiping them on her jeans.
"It's like a cellar or something," Jane
said. She had continually worked her
way around the room, Chloe moving in the opposite direction, until they had met
up with each other again.
"If this is a cellar, wouldn't the door
be on the ceiling?" Chloe asked.
Jane rolled her eyes in the dark. Grateful that Chloe couldn't see her. "Excellent point," she said. She stood up slowly, her arm stretched out
above her. She was afraid if she stood
up too quickly she might crack her head on the ceiling. The slow movement, the inability to see
anything, and not knowing where they were was starting to have a claustrophobic
She didn't find door handles, knobs, or
latches. "All I feel is an
indentation." Jane's hands trailed the
notch, but it didn't help much. It was
hard to tell because she couldn't see it, but the channel seemed to span seven
or eight feet, longer than it was wide.
"This is hopeless," she said as she sat on the floor, her back leaning
against the cool wall.
"It can't be hopeless," Chloe
whispered. "I have to go to the
"Oh, thanks for bringing that up," Jane
said, squeezing her own thighs a little tighter together.
"We're missing something," Angel said.
"You think?" Buffy shot back and then
immediately regretted it. "I'm
sorry. I'm just frustrated."
"You think?" Angel asked, a small smile
toying about his lips and he squeezed her hand.
They were back to square one. They had checked the grounds and neither she
nor Angel had found or sensed anything unusual. It didn't help that nothing had caught Giles' attention either.
"I'm open to suggestions," Giles said
as he leaned against their car.
"Maybe they found their way back home?"
"Collins told me he'd call if the girls
arrived home safely." Giles reached
into his jacket pocked and pulled out his cell phone. The look on his face told Buffy all she needed to know. "Sorry, Buffy, but there aren't any messages
or missed calls."
"Where's their car?" Angel
"Okay, who wants to be president of
club ‘Duh'?" Buffy asked, raising her hand.
Giles raised his hand too, saying, "Of
"Hey!" Buffy said.
"Not that," he said. "But that should've been one of the very
first things we looked for."
"Well, we know they're not parked on
the drive," Buffy said. "And we also
know they made it this far. Flashlight
has got to be theirs--"
"Not necessarily," Angel said.
"Humor me," she said. "Please."
"Which means they've parked somewhere
their car couldn't be seen," Giles deduced.
"Why?" Buffy asked.
"Why do teenage girls act strangely and
do things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever?" Giles asked, arching a
"Point taken," Buffy conceded and
"One could also assume that they
wouldn't want to park too far away," Giles continued.
"And since we haven't actually seen
their car..." Buffy said.
"It must be close, but hidden."
"But easy access," Angel said.
"So if I was still a teenage girl..."
Buffy said as she began walking down the drive.
"Which isn't as big a stretch of the
imagination as one would think," Angel said in a hushed tone.
It didn't matter, she heard him
anyway. "Hey! I'm in my twenties
now. My teenage years are now behind
me. I need to focus."
"The high school cheerleader getup?" he
Apparently it was also loud enough for
Giles to hear. "There is some
information in which I do not need to be made privy," he said, pushing past
"I can't believe you said that," Buffy
said, nudging Angel in the side.
"You haven't worn it in a while." He shrugged his shoulders. "I got a visual."
"Try to keep your visuals to yourself oh-big-mean-virgin-hunting-vampire-man-with-the-long-black-cape.
Oh, that's still at the dry cleaners.
Remind me that I need to pick it up, okay?"
She was pretty sure if he could blush,
he would have.
They had finally moved far enough
away. The girls were waiting for her
and the uninvited three were making it impossible for her to go to them.
She tipped her head and listened. The girls were awake. Now all she had to do was keep them safe
until morning. Keep them safe from the
Other that was and wasn't she.
The Other wouldn't be gone long. It had hidden upon the arrival of the
three. She needed to move quickly, and
perhaps find out why the three had scared the Other so.
Maybe she could use it to her
"I mean it, Jane. I really gotta go."
"And talking about it is only going to
make it worse."
Their voices drifted up to her, but she
couldn't help them. They had to help
"Girls," she called out to them. "Can you hear me?"
The sudden quiet told her that they
could. "I will not harm you. I'm here to help, but I need your assistance
in order to do that." Silence. "Do you understand?"
A tentative ‘Yes' floated up to her.
"You'll need to push."
"Push on what?" Jane mumbled.
"The ceiling," Chloe said.
Jane searched for the groove she had
found earlier, her bladder protesting against the sudden movement. "On three, Chloe."
As Jane felt her sister standing next
to her, she began to count. "One. Two.
Three." Both girls began to push
as hard as they could.
"It won't budge," Chloe said.
"Push harder," the woman's voice
said. Jane didn't know who she was, or
why she was listening to her, but it wasn't like she had a choice.
"We are," Jane said. "It's too heavy."
"Can you help us?" Chloe asked.
"Not in the way you'd require," the
woman responded. "Are you sure you
can't try harder?"
"Yeah, pretty sure," Jane said. She was beyond confused. The woman wanted to help them, but she
wasn't. What good did it do to stand there
and say, ‘Push'?
"We'll need to find another way," the
"I'm not sure who you mean by ‘we',"
Jane said. "But there's not much we can
"I'll be back," the woman said.
"Who are you?" Chloe called out.
"Pheodora. I'll be back."
"That was easier than I thought it
would be," Buffy said as she slammed the car door shut. "Finding the car I mean."
"Too bad it didn't help," Angel added.
"This is bloody ridiculous!" Giles
said. "How hard can it be to find two
lost girls with the assistance of a vampire and a vampire slayer?"
"Hey!" Buffy said, falling short in the
quippy comeback department yet again.
"I'm sorry, Buffy. I wasn't implying that it was either your or
Angel's fault," he said.
"Good to know," Angel said.
"I feel like a rat in a maze," Buffy
said. "You know, wandering around aimlessly
while someone watches you. Or maybe
even a bug under a magnifying glass.
Small bug. Big glass."
"As long as they keep it away from the
sun," Angel said.
"No kidding..." she began, but then her
voice trailed off. For the first time
since they entered the breezeway-thingy, her slayer sense was going off.
She had trusted her instincts up to
this point. The odds of them failing
her now were low.
The uninvited three were moving in the
wrong direction. They could help, but
they needed to know how to do so first.
The girl spoke before Pheodora had the
chance to introduce herself. "We're not
alone anymore," she said.
"I mean you no harm," Pheodora
said. She would've offered her hand as
a sign of good will, but she knew that wasn't the way.
"Why are you here?" the older man
asked. If she had still been human, she
would've thought of him as being attractive, but she didn't allow herself those
thoughts anymore. They only reminded
her of how lonely she truly was.
Before she could answer, her attention
was directed to the third of the uninvited three. She hadn't realized what he was until she had gotten closer to
them. He was one of those whom she
despised. "Why do you travel with the
likes of this one?" she asked the girl.
The young woman jumped in between
Pheodora and the one that walks the night.
"Back off," she said.
"Buffy, it's okay," the undead one
"No one disses the boyfriend, Angel."
"Angel? An odd name for a vampire," Pheodora said. "One would assume they'd be associated more
with a devil." But she didn't get that
impression from the vampire. There was
something different about this one.
"They're not all the same," the older
man said. "I would be Rupert
Giles. And you are?"
She stood up proudly. "I am Pheodora and I insist that you help
me." Before they could respond to her,
she turned and moved away.
"We're following a ghost why?" Buffy
asked. "And what is it lately with them
being all Casper-like?"
Pheodora had the gracefulness of a
ballerina, but the fact that her feet never actually touched the ground
probably had something to do with that.
Buffy had been surprised at first in the ethereal quality of their
hostess. Pheodora was dressed in the
same type of clothing that the woman from Angel's time had been dressed
in. The royal blue dress swayed as the
ghost floated, and Buffy would've sworn if she listened close enough she
could've heard the fabric rustling.
"I'm not sure," Giles said
quietly. "But I suggest we follow her
and keep our questions for later. It's
not like she can physically hurt us at this point."
It was kind of hard to tell what color
her eyes were, but Buffy guessed they were blue. And the long, blonde ringlet curls completed the ensemble. Buffy hated to admit it, but Pheodora had
been a beautiful woman once upon a time and now she made an even prettier
When they rounded the next corner,
Pheodora was gone.
"Inside?" Buffy asked.
"Most likely," Giles agreed.
Buffy switched her flashlight on again
as they found themselves standing in the middle of the room that contained the
opened sarcophagi from earlier.
Pheodora was standing by one of them.
"Here," she said.
"We've been here," Buffy said. "We didn't find anything."
"Look closer," Pheodora insisted.
Buffy stood there feeling like an
idiot. She wasn't seeing anything and
it wasn't like there was anything left to check out. She looked at Giles out of the corner of her eye and she didn't
see any sudden realization on his face either.
It was Angel who pointed out what she
had been missing. "There," he said,
pointing to the open coffin.
Buffy went and stood at one end while
Angel stood at the other. On the count
of three they pushed the entire coffin aside.
"That," Buffy said pointing, "so wasn't
what I was expecting."
"What was that?" Chloe asked, beating
Jane to the question.
"Someone's up there," Jane said. "I can hear talking and there's more than
one this time."
Oh God, whoever had kidnapped them was
coming to kill them now, she just knew it.
"We're dead aren't we?" Chloe asked.
"Shut up, Chloe," Jane ordered, tipping
her head toward the ceiling. If someone
was coming to kill them, they were pretty much dead. The inactivity and cramped space had taken its toll. She was stiff, sore, hungry, and
scared. And being in the pitch
blackness wasn't helping.
She kept looking up, not sure why since
she couldn't see anything, and then she was suddenly blinded by a bright light.
The beam of the torch was
horrible. "Get that out of my face!"
she yelled as she tried to stand up.
"Kill me if you want, but I don't need to be blind too." She blinked rapidly trying to get her sight
to return to normal as quickly as possible.
If she was going to die, she wanted to see who was going to kill her.
"It's all right." It was Pheodora that spoke. "They're here to help you."
"Then can someone help me get out of
this hole in the ground," Chloe demanded.
"I gotta pee."
Before Jane could reprimand Chloe for
her latest outburst, a large, cool hand had grabbed her wrist and pulled Jane
up. "Thanks," she said as she looked up
and saw an older guy - who was still pretty hunky in an older guy kind of way.
"What about me?" Chloe said, and before
Jane could respond a blonde girl standing next to her reached in and hauled her
"Damn," Jane said, getting a good look
at the woman who called herself Pheodora.
"You're a ghost."
"That I am," Pheodora said.
"A ghost didn't toss us into that
hole," Chloe said.
"Then who did?" the blonde girl
asked. "Oh, I'm Buffy and this is
Angel," (the hunky guy,) "and Giles," (the old guy).
Pheodora turned to Giles and said, "She
is strong for a female."
"Yes, she is," Giles agreed.
The ghost appeared thoughtful for a
moment and then said, "That is good. We
will be needing strength."
"With?" Giles asked.
"Vampire," Pheodora said. "A nasty one to say the least."
"Wait a minute," Chloe said. "First ghosts and now vampires? Are you people crazy? There's no such thing! No way."
She shook her head from side to side adamantly.
Jane rolled her eyes. Jane was going into denial mode and that was
always fun. "Chloe? Ours is not to question why. Just go with it."
"Fine!" Chloe said. "But could someone please take me somewhere
so I can pee?"
Buffy led the girls to the side of the
manor, away from Giles, Angel, and Pheodora.
In mere moments both girls emerged, a look of relief on their faces.
"You need to get out of here," Buffy
said. "You know where your car is
"Yes," Jane said, but her face looked
like she had more to say.
"What?" Buffy asked.
"It's kind of creepy. Can you walk us to our car?"
"God yes," Buffy said. "It took us this long to find you. No way I'm going to lose you now. Come on."
"Did everything come out all right?"
"Tell me you didn't just say that?"
Stammering, Giles said, "I-I-I think we
need to get the girls back into their car where they'll be safe."
"Way ahead of you," Buffy said, but
then the hairs on the back on her neck stood at attention. "But maybe not this very moment." She moved and stood in front of them.
"It is here!" Pheodora shouted. She had been quiet since the girls had been
"Will you ever stop trying to ruin
everything?" the vampire asked, shifting into game face.
The similarities between Pheodora and
the vampire weren't hard to miss. The
only difference was the way in which they were dressed. The vampire wore tight blue jeans and a black
leather jacket instead of the flowing 18th century gown, and her
hair, except for a few strands that had come loose, was pulled back into a
"I must commend you though," the
vampire said. "This is the first time
you almost succeeded."
"I'll succeed," Pheodora said. "I have help and they'll stop you once and
for all. You will stop making my home a
place of death."
The vampire laughed. "You sure got stuck in a time warp didn't
you? Too bad you couldn't leave this
place. You could've seen the world, but
I guess that would've been a little too weird even for you."
"Not that this isn't really interesting
and all," Buffy said. "I'm getting kind
of tired and I'm already cold." She
flashed the stake she had taken out of her jacket pocket so the vamp could see
it, but she shielded it from the girls.
"So let's get this done so I can go home."
The vampire glared at her. "You do not speak to me like that. I am a master vampire, little girl."
"Master vampire? Look, I met Dracula." Buffy firmly planted her hands on her
hips. "After that? Any other vampire is pretty much
anticlimactic." Angel, standing behind
her, cleared his throat softly. "In a
manner of speaking," she quickly added.
Buffy heard Chloe whisper, "Dracula's
And then Jane added, "What's a master
Buffy didn't acknowledge the sisters
because she had bigger fish to stake.
Specifically, the one standing in front of her, and Buffy was more than
ready to call it a night.
"I don't believe I've ever seen
anything like this before," Giles said, the Watcher side of him taking
over. "Are you twins?"
"That would be the logical choice,"
Pheodora said, moving next to the vampire.
"I would like you to meet... Pheodora."
"Maybe if it was 200 years ago,"
vampire Pheodora said. "I dropped that
name centuries ago."
"And apparently got a makeover," Buffy
"Pheo isn't even a name," ghost
Pheodora said. "You disrespect my
"Do I care what you think?" Pheo
asked. "And I wouldn't be bragging
about Pheodora either."
Buffy said, "I don't get it. If they're not twins, what are they?"
"Pheodora is a ghost," Angel said. "And Pheo is a vampire."
"Yeah, I kind of got that," Buffy
said. "But I'm still confused."
"What are ghosts?" Angel asked.
Buffy just looked at him.
"Okay then, what are vampires?"
"Come on, Angel. You know that I know what they are," she
She heaved a sigh. She just wanted to stake the dumb thing and
"Fine," she said. "A vampire is a corpse animated by a
demon. A demon that drinks blood to
survive until it's staked, burned with fire or sunlight, or has its head
"A ghost is a spirit. The soul separates from the body at death
and if it doesn't move on..." If
realization was a 200 year old vampire, it would've bitten her.
"I think she's starting to get it,"
Pheo said, smirking and crossing her arms over her chest.
"You mean to tell me--" Buffy began.
"Dear Lord!" Giles said, cutting her
"Has this ever happened before?" Buffy
"Not to my knowledge. I've never known a person's soul to hang
about in a ghostlike state once having been turned."
"One or the other," Angel said, shaking
his head. "Not both."
"I guess you do learn something new
everyday," Jane said.
"I thought geometry was hard," Chloe
"Chloe--" Jane didn't have a chance to
finish her most-probable admonition of Chloe.
With vampire-quick speed Pheo had snatched Jane right out from under
Grabbing the teenage girl, Pheo wrapped
her arms around Jane's waist and pulled her close. "These girls were to be mine.
I was going to play and then feed.
Pheodora not only tried to ruin my fun, she has succeeded. Now, if you all leave I'll keep this one and
the other one can go with you. She
whines too much anyway." A thoughtful
expression came over her face and then she added, "In a way she reminds me of
Pheodora." She ran her tongue down the
Buffy hadn't enough time to get her
brain around the entire ghost/vampire scenario before Pheo had snatched Jane,
treating her neck like it was a Tootsie Pop.
And Buffy knew time was limited.
Who could just lick a Tootsie Pop?
Everyone knew the enjoyment came from chomping down and getting to the
part where the chocolaty goodness was.
As Pheo spoke and eyed Jane's neck like
the chewy morsel it wasn't, Angel began to slowly move behind the preoccupied
vampire. Buffy glanced at him out of
the corner of her eye and an unspoken plan was made.
"Master vampire, huh?" Buffy said,
moving closer to Pheo. "What are the
criteria for one of those nowadays anyway?"
Pheo regarded her, her eyes appearing
over the top of Jane's head. "I'm not
stupid. And you're not getting any
closer. So stop where you are or I'll
kill her now."
"You won't kill her!" Chloe shouted
out. "You are so outnumbered it isn't
even funny. And your hair's stupid."
Buffy was beginning to see how the
dark-haired twin could start getting on anyone's nerves, and Buffy was also
pretty sure that if Jane wasn't currently in a life or death situation she
would've reminded Chloe of that fact.
Pheo's brow arched in mock humor. "Outnumbered? You don't say?" Her gaze
rested on Pheodora. "Impressive, but it
still doesn't matter. One day you will
need to tell me how you got these people to come here, but for now..." Without any warning, the vampire's fangs
slid into Jane's neck.
"Jane!" Chloe cried out as she
unsuccessfully tried to rush to her sister's defense. Giles grabbed her as she ran by and held onto her firmly. Her feet dangled above the ground.
"You might want to reconsider the
Master comment," Buffy said, as she rushed the vampire.
Pheo pushed Jane at Buffy as Pheo took
off running. The teenager crashed into Buffy
so hard that they both hit the ground - hard.
"Are you all right?" Buffy asked,
getting up and helping Jane to her feet.
"She bit me!" Jane said, her
blood-covered hand coming away from her neck as her breathing came in short,
Taking that as a Yes, thank you for
asking, Buffy, Buffy threw a look at Giles who had already let Chloe
go. The twins were now clinging to each
other like socks fresh from the dryer.
Buffy could relate to them perhaps a little more than she cared to admit.
Shaking her head to clear her thoughts,
and once she made sure that Jane and Chloe were all right and that Giles was
going to stay with them, she raced around the manor to see where Pheo and Angel
might have gone. She didn't see anyone.
"Into the orchards," Pheodora said as
she materialized beside Buffy. "Pheo
might be a vampire now, but once, she was me and that was the place I felt the
safest... before I was turned anyway."
She looked at Buffy thoughtfully for a moment. "You are The Slayer aren't you?"
Buffy nodded and then took off after
Angel ran after Pheo, trench coat
billowing behind him. Once she was
within arm's length, he reached out and grabbed her from behind. He picked her up high over his head and then
tossed her through a rundown, crumbling building that stood in the middle of
the orchard. The loud crack she made as
she collided with the crumbling building was quickly replaced by a loud crash
as her body kept going through the wall, half the building crashing down around
her. By the time Angel had rushed
through the hole her body had created, she was standing up and brushing herself
She was cornered now. Her eyes held the frantic movement of a
caged animal. "I smell a soul on you,
vampire," she hissed.
"Think I'd rather have it on me then
running around on its own," he said.
"At least I know where mine is."
"I can do as I please," she spat.
"Funny, so can I."
She lunged toward him. He sidestepped her easily and helped her
along by giving her a good, hard shove back out the way they had come.
Pheo landed spread-eagled on the hard
ground at Buffy's feet. Before she
could get up, Buffy planted her booted heel in the small of the vampire's back.
"Does this one belong to you?" Buffy
Angel nodded his head. "I think it does."
"Let me up you bitch," Pheo shouted to
Angel could tell by the look in Buffy's
eyes that she wasn't going to let the vamp go anywhere anytime soon.
"And actually, it's Vampire
Slayer. Not nearly as entertaining as bitch,
but it'll have to do," Buffy said.
She tossed him the stake she had at the
ready, and he caught it mid-flight.
"I'll tell your better half you had to run," he said.
Buffy moved her foot and Angel staked
Pheo through the back so hard the stake was still lodged in the ground when the
"How weird was that?" Buffy asked,
accepting the stake Angel had handed back to her. She shoved it in the waistband of her pants.
"Which part exactly?" Angel asked as he
wiped the dust from his coat.
"All of it."
Giles waited anxiously with Jane and
Chloe. He hadn't expected Buffy and
Angel to be gone as long as they had been.
He jumped when Pheodora appeared along
side him and said, "They are fine. It
"Over?" he asked.
"All over?" Jane asked, stilling
pressing her palm to her neck. Giles
had told her that the puncture wound wouldn't cause her any further distress
and it would heal if she'd just leave it be and stop poking at it.
"Can we leave now?" Chloe asked.
"In a moment," Giles said to her. "What has happened?" he asked Pheodora.
"They have sent the demon to hell where
it belongs," Pheodora said.
Giles detected a note of sadness in her
voice. "That should make you happy and
I'm sensing that it does not."
A small smile played about Pheodora's
mouth. "No. I am happy. I have wanted
to rest for a long time now, but I could not.
I needed to destroy the beast that was created the night I died. Although I was bound to this place and it
was not, it would always come home.
Each time it returned I would try to end its existence mostly through
the spoken word; however, it was extremely difficult to get people to listen to
"I can imagine," Giles said.
"It tried to banish me. All those homegrown, mixed up botany
experiments never worked. If it
couldn't find an herb, it would try to grow one, but all it ended up with was
bizarre looking vegetation that did nothing at all."
"I must say I'm glad she failed," Giles
said. "You stopped her."
"But not soon enough," she said. "The demon killed my parents in front of my
very eyes. And once they were blessed
and buried, it removed them from their holy tomb and brought them here. Just killing them wasn't enough for it. It had to desecrate their graves as
well. There was nothing I could do."
There was no missing the sadness in her
eyes at the last statement. "I am so
sorry," Giles said and the twins echoed his condolences. "Not from lack of trying I'm quite sure."
Pheodora smiled softly. "Thank the... Buffy and her friend for
me. I think I'm going to leave
now." She glanced at Jane and Chloe. "I'm glad you are safe and that you were not
yet even more victims of mine."
Pheodora dissolved into mist and then
"How cool was that?" Chloe asked.
"I was thinking it was pretty sad,"
"Quite," Giles agreed.
"It was sad, too," Chloe said. "But still kinda cool."
"I spoke with Collins."
"And?" Buffy was flipping through a
"Apparently Jane and Chloe shared their
entire ordeal with their mother--"
"And she believed them?" she asked,
looking up, this year's fashions suddenly losing their appeal.
"Yes, she did."
"I guess a vampire bite can be pretty
convincing. What about Angel and me?"
"Your secret identities are safe."
She looked at him out of the corner of
her eye. "Did you just say ‘secret
Giles smiled. "As a matter of fact..."
She met his smile. "I'm going to find Angel and let him know
"One more thing you may find
interesting," he said.
"During their retelling of the events,
they mentioned Pheodora by name. Their
mother looked it up. Do you know what
that name signifies, Buffy?"
"You mean like Chloe being blooming and
Jane being gracious?" Giles nodded his
agreement. "Not a clue."
"Pheodora means God's gift."
"Quite. Their mother is considering everything that happened fate. Her daughters were sent there to set
Pheodora's spirit free."
"So not a coincidence?"
She believes that Jane and Chloe's disappearance led to people who could
stop a vampire and free Pheodora's spirit.
A spirit that remained earthbound to try and rid the world of an evil
that was created the night she died," he said.
"Everything happens for a reason."
Giles nodded his head again. "Even if at the time we don't always know
what that reason is."
Buffy tried to tell herself that those
were words to live by, but she kept coming up short. She had seen and done too much.
And the fact that Pheodora's spirit or soul or whatever you wanted to
call it hadn't moved on and that the vampire self had still been here had
freaked Buffy out. How could that
"Are you okay?" Giles asked.
"Peachy," she said, standing up. She suspected even more that the events of
the previous day had affected Angel more than he was letting on.
Angel watched as the shadows of the
room became darker. The sun had set
moments before and it wouldn't be long before he was bathed in the velvety
blackness of the night where he belonged.
The thought of the soul lingering in
this dimension once a person had been turned was something he had never thought
about or even deemed possible.
What made Pheodora so special? What had given her the strength to fight and
not move on? The question that was
replaying in Angel's head over and over as though on a timeless loop was: If she had been strong enough to fight it,
why hadn't he been?
Angelus might be anchored, but he was
still there. He was still part of
Angel. The reoccurring dream of turning
Buffy over and over again had been proof of that. The demon side of him was there and would always be there. A fate he couldn't change now that the
Shanshu was no longer an option. What
would happen if he ever came face-to-face with Angelus? Orpheus notwithstanding. What would Angel do?
He had told Pheodora that he could do
what he wanted, but now he wasn't so sure about that.
Giles had referred to Pheodora as the
vampire haunter, and Pheo as the haunted vampire on the way back to
Westbury. Angel wasn't so sure she was
the one that was truly haunted.
"Angel?" Buffy asked, opening the door
to their flat. Her slim figure outlined
from the light outside and the sight of her stirred him instantly. "Is there any reason why you're sitting here
in the dark?"
"Waiting for you," he said, which in
part was true.
"How'd you know I'd come?" she asked,
closing the door behind her.
He knew she was waiting for her eyes to
adjust to the dark, and he was glad she didn't turn on the light. He wasn't sure what she'd see on his face
and he really didn't want to talk about it anymore.
"You always come," he said, reaching
out and pulling her to him.
"Good point." Her lips found his in the dark and as she pulled away she asked,
"Are you okay?"
"I'm good," he said.
"Why don't I believe you?"
They sat down on the bed. "It was a little weird," he said.
She heaved a sigh and he felt her
breath on his neck, causing an uncontrollable shiver. "To say the least."
"What made Pheodora so special?" he
"Yeah, I was pretty much wondering the
"Why was she the only vampire that
could split themselves apart like that?" he asked, wanting the answer, but
knowing that there wasn't one.
Shaking her head she said,"I don't know
and we probably won't ever know. Giles
told me something that could help though, if you believe in that kind of stuff
"Pheodora's name means God's gift. Maybe she was special in that way. Maybe it was her thing." Buffy laid her head on his shoulder. "Probably the best explanation we'll ever
She ran her finger down his cheek. "Are you sure you're okay?"
Letting out an unnecessary breath he
said, "You're here. How could I not
be?" And the proclamation was sealed
with a kiss.
~ The End ~
Location: Beaumaris (Wales) - Baron Hall
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local tale says that this old manor house is home to a
female vampire, though many believe the entity to be ghostly in nature