Giles walked up to Aurelia and Willow standing just in front of the doors to the library. "What are you saying?" Xander and Cordelia sat at the table behind him.
"The curse." Aurelia held out a printout. "This is it."
"Looks like Ms. Calendar was trying to replicate the original curse. To restore Cassius's soul again." Willow said.
Giles took the printout and stared at it. "She said it couldn't be done."
"She tried and it looks like it might have worked." Aurelia said.
"So he killed her…. before she could tell anyone about it." Xander said. "What a prince, huh?"
"This is good, right?" Cordelia asked. "I mean, we can curse him again."
"Um, well, this, um…. certainly points the way, but…." Giles couldn't look at Aurelia. "The ritual itself requires a greater knowledge of the black arts than I, I, I can claim."
"Well, I've been going through her files and, and researching the black arts, for fun, or educational fun, and I may be able to work this." Willow said.
"W-Willow…. channeling…. such potent magicks through yourself, it could open a door that you may not be able to close."
"I don't want you putting yourself in any danger, Willow." Aurelia said.
"And I don't want danger." Willow said. "Big 'no' to danger, but I may be the best person to do this."
"Hi!" Xander said, shooting up out of his chair. "For those of you who have just tuned in, everyone here is a crazy person. So this spell might restore Angel's humanity? Well, here's an interesting angle. Who cares?"
"I care." Aurelia said.
"Is that right."
"Let's not lose our perspective here, Xander." Giles said.
"I'm Perspective Guy. Angel's a killer."
"Xander…." Willow warned.
"It's not that simple." Aurelia said.
"What? All is forgiven? I can't believe you people!"
"Xander has a point." Cordelia said.
"You know, just for once, I wish you'd support me, and I realize right now that you were, and I'm embarrassed, so I'm gonna get back to the point, which is that Angel needs to die."
"Curing Angel seems to have been Jenny's last wish." Giles said.
"Yeah? Well, Jenny's dead."
"Don't you ever speak of her in that tone again!"
"Can't you hear what I'm saying?"
Aurelia rushed over and got between them. "Stop it! Stop it!" They all shut up and glared at each other for a moment. Aurelia turned away and went over to Willow as Giles paced away.
Willow touched Aurelia's shoulder. "What do you wanna do?"
"What happened to Cassius wasn't his fault." Aurelia said quietly.
"Yeah, but what happened to Ms. Calendar is." Xander said. "You can paint this any way you want. But the way I see it is that you wanna forget all about Ms. Calendar's murder so you can get your boyfriend back."
Aurelia refused to listen to any more and walked out of the library. The curse had been a curveball in her plans. Once Angelus was dead, she could finally die too and be reborn with Cassius once again. He wouldn't be trapped in whatever place souls went to when they're body was taken over by a demon. Now she had the chance to call his soul back and restore him to Liam's body. She didn't know what to do anymore.
Aurelia piled a bunch of stakes and crosses into her bag while talking on the phone with Willow. "I'll do a couple of sweeps and then I'll stop by for more tutoring. Yeah, Xander was pretty much being a…. Willow! Where did you learn that word? Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" She went over to her desk while listening to Willow talk some more and grabbed a couple more stakes from the top left drawer. "I don't know. I don't know what I want to do." At the bottom of the drawer was the claddagh ring that Angel had given her. It was the same ring Liam had given her as Elizabeth. She stared at it sadly for a moment and reached in for it to hold it gently with her fingers. "I'll…. I'll see you in a little while, ok?" Aurelia turned off the phone and set it down. She held the ring with both hands again and gazed at the design: two hands for friendship, a crown for loyalty, and a heart for love. The band represented an unending circle that connected the three elements.
Aurelia sighed and put the ring back. She couldn't bring herself to wear it. Not while Angelus still walked the Earth. She headed out with her bag of weapons and headed for the park. As she strolled into some bushes something snapped behind her. Slowly, she took a few more steps to investigate. She heard another sound behind her and spun around to look. Nothing again. She took a couple of steps and suddenly Kendra came out of the bushes to stand right behind her.
"Polite people call before they jump out of the bushes and attack you." Aurelia scolded.
"Just wanted to test your reflexes." Kendra said.
"How about testing my face-punching? I think you'll find it's improved."
"I was on my way to your house. Saw you walking. Couldn't help meself."
"Which begs the question, and don't think I'm not glad to see you, but, why are you here? Oh, wait. No, please let me guess. Your watcher informed you that a very dark power is about to rise in Sunnydale."
"Dat's about it."
"Great. So, you have any idea what this dark power is?"
Kendra laughed. "Certainly not you, Aurelia."
"So you know?"
"Yes. Your watcher told my watcher that you'd regained your memories. How are you?"
Aurelia looked down. "It'll be over soon, so it doesn't matter how I feel, right?"
Kendra touched Aurelia's shoulder. "A wise Slayer once told me that feelings give you power. You've got 200 years of pent up anger. That's a very big power boost." She grinned broadly and Aurelia sighed.
"Come on. Let's go tell Giles you're in town."
Giles came out of his office into the main room where Aurelia and Kendra were waiting at the table. Willow was behind the counter, researching in a book. "I've been on the phone to the museum. The artifact in question is missing, and the curator has been murdered. Vampires."
"And you're sure this was the tomb of Acathla?" Aurelia asked.
"Yes, the information provided by Kendra's Watcher seems conclusive."
Willow walked out from behind the counter. "Ok, somebody explain the whole 'he will suck the world into Hell' thing, because that's the part I'm not loving."
"Well, the, uh, the Demon Universe exists in a dimension separate from our own. With one breath, Acathla will create a vortex, a-a kind of, um…. whirlpool that will pull everything on Earth into that dimension, where any non-demon life will suffer horrible and…. eternal torment."
"So that would be the literal kind of 'sucked into Hell'." Aurelia sighed. She didn't want to ask this of Willow. She wanted everything to finally end with Angelus' death, but this new threat needed to be subdued quickly. "Willow, I think you should try the curse."
"I tend to side with your friend Xander on this one. Angel should be eliminated." Kendra said.
"I'll fight him and I'll kill him, but if I don't get there in time, or if I lose, then Willow might be our only hope."
"I don't wanna be our only hope! Uh, I crumble under pressure! Let's have another hope." Willow begged.
"We have." Kendra pulled a sword from her bag. "Blessed by the knight who first slew the demon. If all else fails, this might stop it. I tink."
"Ooh. May I? May I?" Giles took the sword from Kendra. "Thank you. Well, l-let's, uh, hope all else doesn't fail. Um, how close are you to f-figuring out the ritual of the curse?"
"I need about a day, and…." Willow picked up some papers and read. "An 'Orb of Thesulah'? Whatever that is."
"A spirit vault for rituals of the undead." Aurelia said. "My grandmother when I was Mya owned one. She used it to curse Angelus."
"And I've got one." Giles said. "I-I've been using it as a…. paperweight." He disappeared into his office.
"This means I can't help you study for tomorrow's final." Willow said.
"I'll think I'll be ok. Of course, if we go to Hell by then, I won't have to take them. Or maybe I'll be taking them forever." Aurelia said with a giggle.
Giles came back out with the Orb. "Angel has a ritual of his own to perform before he can remove the sword and awaken Acathla. With any luck, it should take some time."
In the library, Xander, Cordelia, and Willow were researching at the table. Kendra approached with her sheathed sword. Giles and Aurelia were up on the mezzanine level talking. Angelus had sent a vampire messenger to annihilate herself in front of Aurelia's testing class.
"She said more would die. I have to go." Aurelia said.
"Den I should go wit you." Kendra said.
"No. I need you here just in case. I can take care of myself. As long as Angelus is fighting me, then he can't do this end-of-the-world ritual and that's good. Willow, what do you think?"
"I just want to cross-check…." Willow started.
"We don't have time. If this is going to work, it has to work now."
"Ok. Then I need maybe half an hour once we're all set up."
"Which means you just have to hold Angel off." Giles said. "Don't let him close on you. If the curse succeeds, you'll, you'll know."
"Why don't you just wait here to find out if it worked, see if he phones you?" Cordelia asked.
"I can't risk him killing any more people. I better go." Aurelia started out.
"Be careful." Xander called.
"Here…." Kendra grabbed a stake from the table and went over to Aurelia. "In case de curse does not succeed, dis is my lucky stake. I have killed many vampires wit it. I call it Mr. Pointy."
"You named your stake?"
Aurelia smiled. "Remind me to get you a stuffed animal." She accepted the stake from Kendra and looked it over. "Thanks."
"Watch your back."
Aurelia left the library. She made it to the cemetery where Angelus was waiting and stopped when he walked out from behind a small mausoleum. "Hello, lover. I wasn't sure you'd come." He said.
"After your kamikaze messenger? I had to come. Shouldn't you be out destroying the world right now, pulling the sword out of Acathla?"
"There's time enough. I wanted to say goodbye first. You are the one thing in this dimension I will miss."
Aurelia rolled her eyes. "Can we please fight?"
"I didn't come here to fight."
"Gosh, I was hoping we could get back together. What do you think? Do we have a shot? Alright. We'll fight." He rushed at her.
She ducked a punch from him and came up behind him. He spun around to block her return swing. He blocked another jab from her and punched her in the face. He followed up with a left hook and Aurelia lost her balance and nearly fell down. Angelus grabbed her by the back of her coat and threw her over onto the grounds. She rolled away and onto her back, looking up at him. She swiftly got back to her feet to continue fighting. She punched Angelus, but he took it in stride. She swung again, but he grabbed her arm and held on tight. She swung with the other one, but he grabbed it, too and then pushed her away.
"Jeez, is it me, or is your heart not in this?" Angelus said as Aurelia pulled out Kendra's stake. "Maybe I'll just go home, destroy the world."
"I think Mr. Pointy will have something to say about that. Come on. Let's finish this. You and me."
Angelus chuckled. "This wasn't about you. This was never about you."
Aurelia realized the trap was set for the others and began to run. She ran for all she was worth. The halls of the school seemed longer and more maze like than before. Finally, she barged into the library and stopped. She looked around at the damage and then saw Kendra lying on the floor. She ran to her and skidded down next to her on her knees. Kendra was gone. Aurelia took her hand and reached up to Kendra's face with her other hand to stroke it gently.
Behind her a police officer raised his gun at her. "Freeze! Put your hands up. Back away from the girl slowly." Another officer came in behind the first, gun drawn and surveying the scene.
Aurelia slowly got to her feet and raised her hands. "I didn't do anything."
"Do it! Now!"
The second officer holstered her gun and crouched down to feel for Kendra's pulse, but couldn't find one. "This one's dead."
"What about up there?" The first officer nodded toward the mezzanine. Aurelia and the second officer looked up at the stacks and saw Xander lying unconscious on the floor behind the railing.
"Xander…." Aurelia started to go to him, but the second officer grabbed her and pushed her back.
"Get her out of here!"
"Wait! Just see if he's ok! Please!" The second officer handed her off to the first and then went to check on Xander. Aurelia offered no resistance and let herself be led out. "Please. You don't understand."
"You'd do well to keep your mouth shut, missy." They turned down the hall and saw Snyder coming down followed by two more officers.
"But I didn't do anything."
"Why do I find that so very hard to believe?" Snyder said.
"You know this girl?" The officer asked.
"Buffy Summers. If there's trouble, she's behind it."
"You stupid little troll." Aurelia growled. "You have no idea!"
"Attitude problem. Serious."
Aurelia gave up on Snyder and looked at the officer. "Look, I just wanna know if my friends are ok."
"All right, that's enough." He spun her back around and got out his handcuffs. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and…."
Aurelia didn't have time to be arrested. She glanced over her shoulder and without warning, punched the officer in the face. He grunted in pain and stumbled backward into the lockers. She grabbed him by the neck and pushed his head down, flipping him over onto his back. Snyder took a shocked step back. He was too stunned by what he'd just seem her do to move and just let her run down the hall without even looking. The second officer came out of the library and saw her partner on the floor and Aurelia running away.
She raised her gun and took aim. "Stop! Get down!"
Aurelia looked back and turned down an adjacent hall as the officer took a shot. The bullet shattered the window of the hall door. The other two officers came out of the library, guns drawn and ready. That was the last Aurelia saw of the officers as she ran out and blended with the nighttime.