Aurelia and Xander walked into the funeral home and into the room where Theresa was laid out in her coffin with a scarf around her neck. Aurelia reached in and delicately pulled the scarf back to reveal a bite mark. She didn't say anything because she recognized the bite.
"So…. Vampire." Xander said. "That's good, right? I mean in the sense of the werewolf didn't get her, and…." Aurelia shot him a glare. "No. There is no good here."
"No good." Aurelia echoed. "Instead of not protecting Theresa from the werewolf, I was able to not protect her from something just as bad. Something I could've stopped." She walked over to the guest book and looked at all the signatures. "She had a lot of friends."
"Buff…. Aurelia, you can't blame yourself for every death that happens in Sunnydale. If it weren't for you, people would be lined up five deep waiting to get themselves buried. Willow would be Robbie the Robot's love slave, I wouldn't even have a head, and Theresa's a vampire."
Theresa sat up and looked over at them, growling. Aurelia turned around and saw her hop out of the coffin. She lunged at Theresa, grabbed her, and tried to wrestle her to the floor, but Theresa threw her down instead. She dove after Aurelia and tried to pin her, but Aurelia rolled her over and got on top. She made a quick grab for a wooden easel holding a flower wreath and broke off a leg. She was about to thrust it into Theresa's chest when she spoke.
"Cassius sends his love."
Aurelia was caught off guard by that and hesitated a moment. Theresa kicked Aurelia's arm and sent the stick flying away. She grabbed Aurelia by the shoulders and pinned her down. Aurelia struggled to keep her at bay. Behind her, Xander had grabbed the easel and jammed one of its legs through Theresa's back. She burst into ashes and Aurelia stared up at Xander. He tossed the easel aside and looked down at her.
Aurelia looked aside sadly and then rolled over. "He's not Cassius."
Xander leaned down to her. "Are you ok?"
"This is not happening." She pulled herself up and allowed herself to be hugged by Xander. "I'm so tired of this game."
"Don't let him get to you. He's not the same guy you knew."
"That's just the problem. I do know him. I've known him for centuries. This is just the beginning." She let go of Xander, picked up her backpack, and walked out.
Aurelia walked up behind Giles in the book cage. "Forgive me for being late. I had to slay a vampire."
Giles stopped assembling the tranq gun to look at her. "Theresa?" Aurelia nodded. "She's a vampire?"
"Was. Angelus sent her to me as a token of his affection."
"Buffy…. Aurelia I'm so sorry."
"Not now, Giles. We may all have a good sob after we capture the werewolf." Giles plugged in the laser sight and held the tranquilizer gun up to check the scope. Aurelia took it from him and checked the gun herself. When Giles stared at her in confusion, she smiled slightly. "My father, when I was Elizabeth, he loved to hunt. Since I was his only child, he taught me a small amount about guns. This gun is similar to the muskets he used." She handed it back to Giles.
"All set. Let's go find this thing."
"One question before we leave. How exactly do we find this thing? We've exhausted…."
Willow came barging into the library. "It's Oz! It's Oz!"
"What is Oz?"
"Are you certain?" Giles asked.
"Can't you just trust me on this? He-he said he was going through all these changes. Then he went through all these…. changes."
"Where is he now?" Aurelia asked.
"In the woods."
"Let's go." Giles started out again.
Willow grabbed him. "Go where? You're not gonna kill Oz! Yeah, he's a werewolf, but he doesn't mean to be."
Buffy took Willow's hand. "Do not worry, Willow. We are not going to hurt him."
"I put enough Phenobarbital in this thing to sink a small elephant. It should be enough for a large werewolf." Giles said, grabbed his coat from the counter and holding the door open for the girls.
Aurelia heard a gun cock a few more feet ahead of her and she barreled through the trees to find Cain pointing his gun at the werewolf Oz. She grabbed Cain's gun and wrestled it away. She flipped the rifle over and he followed, landing on his back and letting go of the gun in the process. As he tried to get up, Aurelia swung the butt of the rifle around and knocked him down and out.
Werewolf Oz came at her and she ducked his lunge as Giles and Willow arrived. Werewolf Oz grabbed Aurelia and lifted her off of her feet. She pushed him back using Cain's gun to keep from being bitten. Giles tried to get a clear shot, but the werewolf turned and held Aurelia up between them.
"Careful!" Willow cried.
Giles kept looking for an opening, but was quickly getting frustrated. Aurelia raised the rifle high and smashed it down on the werewolf's head. It dropped her and fell back, stunned. It quickly got up and swiped at her, knocking the gun from her hands. The werewolf shoved Aurelia away and right into Giles and Willow, bowling them over. It started to come at them, but Willow scrambled for the tranquilizer gun. She pulled the trigger and the dart hit the werewolf in the chest. He staggered backwards before falling over unconscious.
"I shot Oz." Willow cried.
"You saved us." Aurelia said gently, taking the gun from Willow and handing it to Giles.
Cain got to his feet and straightened his coat as Aurelia picked up his gun. "No wonder this town's overrun with monsters. No one here's man enough to kill 'em."
"I wouldn't be too sure of that." Aurelia said. She grabbed the end of the barrel and bent it into a nice arc right in front of him before thrusting it at his chest. "Please let the door hit you in the backside on the way out of town."
"You think it'll be ok?" Willow asked Aurelia as she knelt down next to werewolf Oz.
"He'll be a little sore in the morning, but…. he'll be Oz." Giles said.
Xander and Aurelia walked past the trophy case in a hallway at school and headed into the lounge. "This is all so weird. I mean, how are we supposed to act when we see him?" Xander asked.
"Just remember, it's got to be strange for him, too."
"All I know is I'll never be able to look at him the same again."
"He is still a human being most of the time."
"Who are we talking about?"
"Oz. Who were you talking about?"
Across the hall, Larry's jock friends by the stairs knocked a girl's books out of her hands and laughed. Larry came down the stairs behind her and quickly reached down to help her pick up her books. "Hey, let me get those."
"Thanks." The girl said.
Larry's friends gave him a surprised look as Larry walked over to Aurelia and Xander. "Hey! Xander, look, about what you did. I, I owe you."
"What did you do?" Aurelia asked.
"It's really nothing we should be talking about. Ever."
"I know, I know." Larry said. "It's just, well," He patted Xander on the arm. "Thanks."
"That was odd." Aurelia commented after Larry had walked off.
"What, it's not ok for one guy to like another guy just because he happened to be in the locker room with him when absolutely nothing happened and I thought I told you not to push."
"All I meant is that he didn't try to look up my skirt."
"Oh, oh, yeah, that's, that's the weirdness."
"Weirdness abounds lately. Maybe it's the moon. It affects people in the oddest ways."
"I've heard that."
"It is certainly going to put a strain on Willow and Oz's relationship."
"What relationship? I mean, what life could they possibly have together? We're talking obedience school, paper training, Oz is always in back burying their things, and that kind of breed can turn on its owner."
Aurelia giggled. "I think Oz is the loyal type."
"All I'm saying is she's not safe with him. If it were up to me…."
"But it is not up to you."
Xander sighed. "All right, Miss Wise Gal."
Aurelia smiled. "Yes, I am."
"So how's the weaving coming along?"
"I'm sorry, the what?"
Xander laughed. "The weaving of your two selves."
"Oh! Actually, it's starting to make better sense. The Buffy you knew is quite like me."
"Yes. Though the family situation is very tragic."
"What were your parents like?"
Xander was a little taken aback for a second. "Oh, um…. How about your first parents?"
Aurelia smiled. "I was the youngest of five children and the apple of my father's eye. He was the Emperor at the time."
"Yes. Does that surprise you?" Xander shrugged. "My father doted on me quite a lot. There was nothing he could deny me. Except one thing…."
Aurelia smiled slightly at the memory. "Cassius."
Aurelia's eyes darkened slightly. "Cassius."
"My father thought the eldest son of a Senator wasn't good enough for me, especially not Cassius's father!"
"How did you two meet?"
"Cassius's father arranged it for us. He wanted his son to marry well and help him move up in the favor of my father, though that would never have happened. I was the only one of my father's children that hadn't married yet. I don't think my father ever wanted me to get married. I wouldn't be his little girl anymore if I did."
"And did you?"
"Yes. The goddess of love married us herself and made us eternal." Aurelia laughed. "Cassius and I inspired one of Shakespeare's plays."
"Oh yeah! Which one?"
"Romeo and Juliet." Xander's jaw dropped open and the soda he'd just poured into his mouth spilled out. He quickly mopped it up as Aurelia explained. "It was actually a true story, though Shakespeare changed the names and places. Cassius and I were born to two feuding families in Spain. The part in Shakespeare's play where Romeo and Juliet meet was actually my thirteenth birthday party at the time. I'd just gotten my memories back. Cassius had had his for a few years by then. We saw each other and just knew. It was all quite dramatic after that."
"Well, yeah! You killed yourselves."
Aurelia laughed. "Such a horrible mix up there, but at least we inspired a great love story."
"Glad you can laugh about it. I found it traumatic! You guys were so young and you killed yourselves."
"For love! But truly, it was destined to happen. We always die together."
"Until he was…." Xander stopped, remembering that it was a touchy subject for Aurelia. "What if you don't get him back?"
Aurelia sighed. "The way I look at it, I will get him back. I have the power to destroy this demon now. One way or another, I will put an end to this demon that took my Cassius away from me and then I will die too and the cycle will begin again. I'll be with him again after all these years of loneliness."
"And on that note!"
Aurelia laughed. "I like you so much, Xander. You make me laugh."
"That's what I'm here for. So, we're all going out this weekend to the Bronze. Would you like to join us?"
"Of course! I would love to. I love the Bronze!"
"Yes. It's so much fun! I love to dance. I always have."
Xander laughed. "Good. You need some fun in your life. Or should I say lives?"
Aurelia smiled brightly. "I miss fun. And fun is what we shall have this weekend. Party hardy my friend!"