A young drunk Liam stumbled out of a tavern in Galway with his drunk friend Connor. They were laughing and cheering and had their arms around each other. "Your wife's gonna be sour with you when she sees how drunk you are!" Connor crowed.
"My wife's having a baby!" Liam yelled.
"And now you're stuck with her for life!"
"No more nights like tonight!"
"Good! You're abandoning us…. You're abandoning ME for a baby!"
"Yes, Connor, I am. I'm going to be a father finally and nothing, NOTHING will stop me from being the best father I can possibly be!" Liam looked around. "Connor?" He looked down and found his friend passed out on the street. Liam let out a loud laugh. "I always knew you couldn't hold your drink!"
"Do you need help?" A smooth voice said behind Liam. He turned to find a beautiful blonde woman standing there.
"Ah, darling, you go on ahead." Liam laughed. "I'll get him home."
"Oh, please, let me help." She gracefully swooped down and lifted Connor up.
"You're a strong one!" Liam said, ducking under Connor's other arm.
"Where're we taking him?"
Liam sighed and looked around. "Well, this is embarrassing. I can't seem to remember where my friend lives."
The woman laughed. "Let's put him over here."
"That's an alley.
"Yes, but it's full of hay for the horses. He'll be comfortable." The woman pulled on Connor and Liam had no choice but to follow. They dumped Connor on a soft pile of hay.
"So, I'd ask myself…. What's a lady of your station doing alone out here at such a late hour?"
"Maybe she's lonely."
"Is there somewhere I can escort you? Some safe haven for yourself?"
"You're very gracious."
"So I've been told."
"Are you married?"
"And expecting our first child."
"That's too bad."
"Why's that now?"
"Because they'll miss you when you're gone." The woman attacked, her face contorting into the countenance of a vampire. She sunk her teeth in and drank him nearly dry. "Now, I can give you a choice. I can leave you here to die, but that would be such a waste. Or I can bring you into my world. I can show you things you've never dreamed of." A tear fell out of one of Liam's eyes. "Don't cry. It won't hurt." She lifted her hand to her chest and drew a sharp fingernail across the skin above her breasts, allowing blood to trickle out. She grabbed him by the back of the neck and pulled him in to her so that his lips fell directly onto the cut, forcing him to taste of her blood. He didn't want to die and if this was the only way to get back to his Elizabeth…. His Aurelia…. Then he had to take it.
Aurelia took her aggressions out on a pair of vampires in the cemetery. She kicked one and then the other before the first one of the vampires rushed her and she flipped him over onto his back. "Nice try." She said. The other one came at her again with a swing. She ducked it and punched him in the face, in the gut, and again in the face. He fell to the ground, dazed. The first one came at her again with a kick, but she blocked it with her arm, punched him in the face, and grabbed his arm, twisting it up high and forcing him to his knees in pain. The second vampire got back up and rushed her. Without letting go of the first one, she cleanly jammed her stake into the other one's chest and he crumbled into ashes.
Aurelia turned her attention back to the one she was holding and punched him in the face, making him roll away. "I want you to get a message to Angelus for me. Tell him I'm done with the waiting. I'm taking the fight to him." The vampire got up and charged her. She grabbed him and pulled him around and down to the ground, immediately plunging her stake home. "Alright, I'll tell him myself." She got up and walked over behind a gravestone where Xander was laying on the ground.
"I'm good." Xander said as she helped him up. "Don't worry about me."
"You don't have to patrol with me."
"I had that guy under control until he resorted to fisticuffs. Oh! What is that, um…. Five vampires in three nights?"
"But no Angelus."
"Are you, uh, really that anxious to come up against him?"
"After 200 years, I'm more than ready. I want it over with."
"I hear that."
"Oh, we better leave. I haven't even started studying for finals yet."
"Oh, yeah, finals! Why didn't you let me die?"
"Look on the bright side. It'll all be over soon."
"Why are you even studying! Don't you already know, like, everything already?"
"Well, there is a couple of lifetimes I missed out on and for some reason, they decided to put those decades on the history finals!"
"What a crime! You should write an angry letter!"
Aurelia laughed. "I think I will! How dare they!"
Xander laughed. "Here's the bright side: It's only five wars! There was some fighting and some dying and then peace talks. So, I've helped you study for your history finals."
She sighed dramatically. "Well, what about chemistry? Could you help me with that?"
"Um…. Sorry. No can do. You're going to have to slave away with Willow on that one."
"What is the point of chemistry? I've never once used it in any of my lifetimes. There's no big call to arms for chemists. Why does one have to base their entire school career, and their sanity for that matter, on a subject no one uses?"
Xander shrugged. "You know, I've been asking that for years, but no one can give me a straight answer."
The next day, Aurelia and Xander were sitting in the cafeteria at Sunnydale High with Willow, Oz, and Cordelia. Xander was using two fish sticks, one with a toothpick stuck through the middle, like puppets, moving the one with the toothpick around. "Tell Angel I'm gonna kill him! No, wait. I'm gonna kill you!" He started to repeatedly stab the toothpick into the other fish stick. "Die! Die! Die!" He made an anguished sound and let the fish stick fall. "Aah! Mother!"
"Is that it?" Cordelia asked.
"Yeah. That's it. Scene!"
"That's exactly how it happened." Aurelia laughed.
"Well, I thought it was riveting." Oz said. "Uh, I was a little unclear about some of the themes."
"The theme is Angelus is too much of a coward to take me on tete-a-tete."
"And the other theme was 'Buy American', but it, uh, got kind of buried." Xander added.
"Do you think you're ready to fight Angelus?" Willow asked Aurelia.
"I truly wish people would stop asking me that. Yes, I'm ready. I'm also willing and able. As I told Xander, I've had 200 years to be ready for it. It's the one test I might actually pass."
"Don't say that! You're gonna pass everything. You're so smart! I will get you through the history test and the chemistry test if I have to sweat blood."
"Do you think you're likely to? Cause I'd like to be elsewhere." Xander said.
"It was only metaphor blood."
"I think you'd sweat cute blood." Oz said.
"Sixth period, after my computer class, we'll rock on chemistry first."
"Ready to rock." Aurelia said.
"Boy, Willow, you've really got the teaching bug: taking over computer class, tutoring…." Cordelia said.
"I love it. I really do." Willow said with a big grin.
"I think it's great to do that before you go out and fail in the real world. That way you're not falling back on something. You're falling…. well, forward."
"And almost sixty-five percent of that was actual compliment." Xander said. "Is that a personal best?"
"Gee, Xander, what are you gonna teach when you fail in life? Advanced loser-being?"
"I will teach…." Xander dropped into a phony French accent. "Zee Language of Love!"
"Don't touch me! You have fish hands!"
"Come, let me caress you!"
"Let me in!"
"No!" Cordelia laughed. "Don't!"
Snyder came into the cafeteria behind them. "That's enough of that. And you!" He snapped at Willow. "Are we having a chair shortage?"
"I didn't read anything about…. Oh." Willow slid off of Oz's lap and into her chair. "I get it."
"These public displays of affection are not acceptable in my school. This isn't an orgy, people. It's a classroom."
"Yes! Where they teach lunch." Aurelia retorted.
"Just give me a reason to kick you out, Summers. Just give me a reason." Snyder walked off.
"How about because you're a tiny, impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu?" Cordelia said.
"That really sums it up." Aurelia laughed.
"Don't you think?"
"Do you wanna come by my house tonight and study, too?" Willow asked Aurelia.
"Maybe. I do have to patrol." Aurelia said.
"Again? Do you really expect Angel to turn up tonight?"
"No, I do not expect him to. But that's usually when he does."
Aurelia sat with Willow in the computer science classroom after school trying to take in everything about chemistry that she could. She gave up in frustration and slapped down her pencil. "This doesn't make any sense."
"Well, sure it does." Willow said. "See…." She took the paper and looked at Aurelia's work. "Oh, no, this doesn't make any sense."
"It is, but at least you know that, so you're learning."
"Huzzah for me. Well, it doesn't matter anyway. I mean, when in the real world would I ever need chemistry? Truly? I've made it this long without knowing it."
"Ok. I see your problem."
"I'm a moron at this high school thing?"
"Will you stop that? You're not stupid! You've just had a lot on your mind…. For 200 years. You can learn this real easily, but if you're just gonna give up, then don't waste my time."
"Wow. You really are a good teacher." Aurelia smiled.
"Ok. Look at this. A covalent bond, which means these two atoms are linked by this…."
Aurelia put her pencil down on her open book and it rolled off of the desk and into the space between it and the filing cabinet next to it. "Oh! Hold that thought." She reached down and in with her fingers and pulled the pencil out. "Ok. I'm ready to learn more."
"Ok. So, see here…."
"Deja vu."Aurelia held up her hand.
"Yes. I have this perfect memory of the pencil and…." She dropped the pencil onto her book again. It rolled off of the desk again, fell, and hit something. She looked over into the space and saw a yellow disk. She reached down again for it and her pencil. "Oh…." Aurelia pulled up the disk and pencil. "You dropped this." She handed the unlabeled yellow disk to Willow, who looked at it curiously.
"It's not mine. It might be something of Ms. Calendar's." Willow inserted the disk into her laptop's floppy drive.
"This feels morbid."
"I've gone through most of her files already."
"Does that make it less morbid or you really morbid?" The program on the disk started up and Rumanian text scrolled into the left-hand window.
"I had to, to teach her class…." Willow started.
"Oh my god…."
"What?" Willow looked at the text.
"I know that language…." Aurelia touched the screen.
"What does it say?"
Before Aurelia could answer, the English translation scrolled up on the right hand side of the screen. "Restoration?"
"It's one of her spells, I think. Ms. Calendar wasn't a practicing witch, but she did dabble…."
Willow looked back at the screen and began reading more. She quickly realized what they'd found. "Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Oh, boy."
Aurelia stood up and moved away. "She translated the spell…. He killed her because she could restore Cassius…."
"How could he have known?"
"My sister…. Drusilla. She probably saw it and he…."
"We've gotta show Giles."
Aurelia was too shocked now to answer.
The dead body of Mya was ceremonially laid on a table dressed in white and lying on an intricately patterned quilt with candles burning around the perimeter. Members of the clan were laying rose petals on her. An elder woman, Mya's grandmother, was sitting beneath a tent canopy and chanting over an Orb of Thesulah surrounded by candles within a sacred circle.
Angelus broke through the trees into the clearing of the camp. He tripped and fell by the great bonfire raging near the center of the camp. After a moment, he got to his hands and knees and looked over at the elder woman, still chanting. He spotted Mya's beautiful body just before the Orb suddenly glowed very bright for an instant and went dark.
Cassius reentered the last body he'd been in before Darla had changed him. His eyes grew bright for a moment, then returned to normal. Mya's father stepped up to him as Cassius sat back on his ankles. "It hurts, yes? Good. It will hurt more."
"Where am I?" Cassius asked. "Where's Aurelia?"
"You don't remember…. everything you've done for a hundred years. Everything you've ever done to her…. In a moment, you will. The face of everyone you killed…. Most especially hers…. our daughter's face…. All the faces of the woman you loved…. they will haunt you, and you will know what true suffering is."
"Killed? I… I don't…." Slowly the memories came back to him: all the people in Budapest after the earthquake that he and Darla had killed for their blood; all the people he'd turned into demons; the gypsy girl that proved to be his downfall…. She'd been Aurelia. He'd hurt her…. Tortured her…. Killed her so many times over in the hundred or so years since she'd been Elizabeth. "No!" He looked away from the man and over to Aurelia's recently inhabited body. Cassius crawled over to her body and began to sob as he fell on top of her. "No…. No…. No…. I'm sorry…. Aurelia…. My love…. My Aurelia…."