Loud techno music was playing this time. A bright blue neon sign was pointing to a club that read "Tatoo Nachtlocal." Germany. Aurelia was in Germany this time. She heard a scream and looked up to the third floor of the building where she could see through a glass hallway. A girl was running and looked scared. She had hot pink hair with black bangs at her forehead, a nose ring, and a metal collar. She was wearing all black, with a skeleton shirt, long pants, a leather jacket, and boots.
Aurelia was suddenly in the hallway and chasing after the two cloaked men chasing after the girl. They went through an interior door and jumped down to the next level. It was two cloaked people that were chasing her. Again, Aurelia couldn't see any details of their bodies, just the hooded cloaks that completely covered them.
The girl ran out through an exterior door and proceeded to scale down the building. Finally, she thought she was safe when she went through a doorway to the outside near a crowd of club patrons, but she was pushed back inside by her pursuers. They closed the door behind them and started to fight with her. Aurelia once again tried to join, but she went right through the girl's attackers.
The girl was knocked to the ground, lying on her back. Finally, one of the robed people pulled out the same curved silver dagger and tried to stab her. She managed to block his move. The other robed person also had a dagger though and stabbed her. She winced and the men sheathed their daggers and left. Aurelia dropped to her knees and tried to help, but her hands went right through the girl. After the girl appeared dead, she turned her head to look directly at Aurelia to speak in a low, unnatural sounding voice.
"From beneath you, it devours."
Aurelia shot up in bed screaming. Cassius rushed into the bedroom and grabbed her shoulders. "Aurelia!"
She looked at him, confused slightly. "I heard screaming."
"That was you."
"There was a girl."
Aurelia looked past Cassius as a chill shot through her. "From beneath you, it devours. That's what she said after they…. There's more like her, Cassius…. Out there somewhere. And they're going to die if Giles and I can't figure out what's going on."
He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to him. "You will. We'll stop it."
"I'll have to call him in the morning." She sighed. "I know he had to go see some people in London, but he could've taken me too. I'm the one having the dreams about these murders."
"He had to leave one Slayer behind to guard the Hellmouth and since Faith isn't the Slayer in school, she was the best choice."
"I know that. But, I just feel…. Lost."
"Everything will work out."
Aurelia sighed and looked around. "How did I end up in your bedroom?"
"You fell asleep studying on the couch this afternoon. I thought you would be more comfortable in here."
"Thanks. Oh, what time is it?"
Aurelia nodded. "I'd better go do a quick patrol and get home. Mom is probably worried to death."
Aurelia slowly strolled along the perimeter of a small Sunnydale park. She wandered into an area surrounded by bushes and heard a rustling sound coming from the bush directly in front of her. She stopped instantly, her gaze fixed on the shaking branches. She pulled out her stake and got ready to fight, when suddenly she heard a voice to her left.
"Is it a vampire?"
Aurelia snapped her head to the left and saw her mother walk toward her carrying a bag in one hand and a large thermos in the other. "Mom, what are you doing here?"
"I brought you a snack. I thought it was about time for me to come out and watch. Y-you know, the slaying."
"The slaying is kind of an alone thing."
"But it's such a big part of your life, and I'd like to understand it. It's, um, you know, something we could share."
"Actually, it's pretty dull." Aurelia's attention was back on the rustling bush and she nudged her mother to the side a bit.
Suddenly a vampire jumped out at her and ran straight for her. She ducked as the vampire lunged at her with his arms outstretched. She got back up and delivered a right hook to his face followed by a backhand punch on the backswing and a left to the face, making him take a step back.
Her mother cheered her on. "Good, honey! Kill him!"
Aurelia kicked at the vamp, but he easily ducked. She tried to punch him in the face again, but he grabbed onto her shoulders and rolled onto his back, sending her rolling over him and onto her back. She let out a pained grunt and looked around to get her bearings.
"Buffy, he-he's over here!" Joyce said. The vampire faced her and roared. "Oh, my God! It's Mr. Sanderson from the bank!"
The vampire went at Aurelia with a front kick, but she blocked it. He tried to punch her, but she ducked it. Aurelia did a half spinning kick followed swiftly by a leg sweep, knocking the vampire's legs out from under him. She stood back up and got ready to punch him, but he'd had enough. He scrambled to his feet and hightailed it out of there.
"And he's getting away!" Joyce said, pointing with the thermos.
"Stay!" Aurelia ordered as she ran off after the vampire. The vampire tackled her and landed on top. She grabbed him and pulled him over and down onto the ground next to her. She scrambled to her knees and jammed her stake home. The vampire exploded in a cloud of ashes. Aurelia sighed and stood up. "Mom?" She called, going to search.
Several police cars and a coroner's van had arrived and the detectives were looking over the scene. Joyce had stumbled on the bodies of two children in the little park. Aurelia was finishing an interview with a police officer while her mother stood a few feet away, looking dazed. Aurelia asked the officer if she and her mother could leave.
"Yes, ma'am." The officer said.
Aurelia walked over to her mother. "They said we can go home now."
"They were little kids." Joyce said. "Did you see them? They're so tiny."
"Who could do something like this? I just…."
"I'm so sorry that you had to see this. But I promise, everything is going to be ok."
"Because I'm going to find whatever did it."
"I guess. It's just you can't…. you can't make it right."
Aurelia hugged her mother closely as Joyce began to sob. "I know. I'm sorry. But I'll take care of everything. I promise. Just try and calm down."
Aurelia stood in Giles' office the next morning talking to him on the phone. "Don't tell me to calm down!"
"I-I-I only meant…." Giles stuttered.
"They were kids, Giles. Little kids! You don't know what it was like to see them there. My mom can't even talk."
"I'm sorry. I…. I just want to help."
"I know." Aurelia sat down.
"Do we know how? Uh…. It wasn't a vampire?"
"No. There were no marks. Wait. I-I mean, there, there was a mark, um, a-a symbol. I-it was on their hands. The police are keeping it quiet, but I got a good look at it."
"Is Willow there?"
He sighed. "Could you describe this symbol? Maybe there's something here…."
"The library at Council Headquarters."
"Ok, uh…. It was an upside down triangle with a bent line through it. At the end of the lines, it swirls under once."
"Hmm." Giles murmured.
She could hear him drawing it out. After a long moment of silence from him, she couldn't take it anymore. "Hmm. What? Giles, speak."
"What? Oh, sorry. Um, no, it…. I just wonder if we're looking for a thing. The use of a symbol o-o-on a victim like this suggests a, a ritual murder and a cult sacrifice by a group."
"A group of…. human beings? Someone with a soul did this?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so."
"Ok. Then while you're looking for the meaning of that symbol, could you also find a loophole in the rule that 'Slayers don't kill people'?"
"Aurelia, this is a dreadful crime, I know, and you have every right to be upset, but…. I-I wonder if you're not letting yourself get a shade, uh…. more personal because of your mother's involvement."
"It's completely personal. Giles, find me the people that did this. Please."
He sighed. "I'll do my best."
The warning bell rang. "I'll call you back at lunch."
Aurelia hung up and walked off to class. She'd forgotten to tell Giles about the dream the night before and to get an update on that front. She sighed sadly. Her plate was becoming almost too full.
Willow saw Aurelia approaching the lunch table that she, Oz, Xander, and Amy were all sitting at. "Hi, Aurelia."
"Aurelia! What's up?" Xander said, offering his chair to her.
She took it and sat down while he grabbed one from a neighboring table. "You all didn't hear?"
"A murder. Somebody killed two little kids."
"Oh, no." Willow said.
"They were seven or eight years old. My mom found the bodies during patrol last night."
"Oh, my God." Amy said.
"Kids?" Oz asked.
"Why was your mom there?" Xander asked.
"She picked last night, of all nights, for a surprise bonding visit."
"God, your mom would actually take the time to do that with you?" Willow asked. Aurelia shot Willow a look. "That really wasn't the point of the story, was it?"
"No. The point is, she's completely upset."
"Who's completely upset?" Joyce asked behind Aurelia.
Aurelia snapped her head around. "Um…. everyone. Because of what happened."
"Oh, it's so awful. I-I had bad dreams about it all night."
"Hi, Mrs. Summers." Willow said.
"Oh, hi, everybody."
"Hi." Xander said.
"Hi, Mrs. Summers." Amy said.
"Buffy, have you talked to Mr. Giles yet about who could have done this?" Joyce asked.
"Yes. He thinks it might be something ritual. A cult. He's still looking. In the meantime, we're going to add to my patrol and keep an eye out."
"A cult. Like witches." Joyce said.
Willow coughed and Amy looked away. "Sorry." Willow said. "Phlegm. Too much dairy."
"Oh, I-I-I know you kids think that stuff's cool. Buffy told me you dabble."
"Right. Absolutely. That's me. I'm a dabbler."
"But anybody who could do this isn't cool. Anybody who could do this has to be a monster. It's…."
"Would you all excuse us for a little bit?" Aurelia asked.
"Uh, n-nice to see you." Aurelia led her mother out of the cafeteria. "Are your friends gonna help with the investigation, too?"
"Mom, I really think…. Maybe this isn't the best place to talk about this."
"Are you embarrassed to be hanging out with your mother? I didn't hug you."
"It's just, I keep thinking about who could have done such a thing. I have to help. I called everybody I know in town. I told them about the dead children. They're all just as upset as I am."
"You called everybody that you know?"
"And they called all their friends. And guess what? We're setting up a vigil, for tonight, for City Hall. The Mayor is even gonna be there. Now we are gonna get some action."
"Uh-huh. That's great. Uh…. But you know what? A lot of times when we're working on things like this, we like to keep the number of people that know about it kind of…. small."
"Oh. Right. Well, I-I'm sure there won't be all that many people." Joyce waved her hands as if to swat away the thought that there would be lots of people.