Hellmouth Christmas Carol, Part IV

Author: LelaRose and Gia, with contribution from Rehatha

Author’s Notes: This was mean to Angel, but oh-so-funny. We tried to come up with all of the things opposite of Angel – tacky, cluttered, pink… Even Angelus was appalled.  See previous parts for other notes.

Rating: Adult; explicit sex

Disclaimer: Own nothing. All belongs to Joss, ME, Fox, et.al.

Pairing: B/A, mentions of C/A, B/S.

Distribution: My site, EverySixSeconds; sites currently with permission to host my fics; all others please ask.

Originally posted: Dec 22, 2002

Angel’s Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

When the clock struck three, an ominous presentiment filled the air. Even Doyle, who had been cheerful and joking for much of the night, was now tensely somber. The very air seemed to be filled with dread.

Angel waited patiently, but Doyle neither moved nor spoke for what seemed like an eternity. Finally Angel spoke, breaking the silence. “Let me guess, Christmas Yet to Come?”

Doyle swallowed hard and nodded, his nervousness obvious.

His ghostly friend’s hesitation gave Angel pause. He suddenly didn’t want to follow, he didn’t want to know what was going to happen.

Doyle noticed Angel’s reluctance and took a deep breath. “I will show you shadows of the things that have not yet come to pass, but will happen some time in the future. Are you ready?”

Angel’s trepidation increased at Doyle’s obvious reluctance. He steeled himself for what was to come. He had come this far though; he’d see the rest of it through. He knew somehow, the he had more to fear with the future than anything he had seen in the past. He also knew though, that possibilities existed for change.

“Let’s go.” The tall vampire nodded, wanting to get it over with. They moved quickly and quietly until they were once more back in Sunnydale, winding their way through the dark and empty streets, through the back alleys and side doors until they came to a stop just inside Willie’s pub. The air was jovial and filled with laughter.

They stopped by a group of demons crowded around a small table. Angel recognized the D’ebrak demon, but none of the others. They waited, listening to the demon’s conversation.

“No,” the great fat, yellowish-green demon with the monstrous chin shook his head. “I don’t know much about it, either way. I only know she’s dead.”

“When? What happened? When’d she die?” The snake-like demon hissed, his voice high-pitched with curious excitement.

“Last night, I believe.”

“What happened?” asked the D’ebrak, slime oozing off him and dripped to the floor. “I thought she’d never die.”

“Hell-god. That’s what I heard,” the first fat demon replied, yawning.

“What about Angelus? Any word?” The red-faced crab-like demon joined the conversation, his pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose shaking like the waddle of a rooster.

“Nah.” The D’ebrak answered, grinning. “He hasn’t been interested in the Slayer for years. Moved on to a new cunt. That’s all I know.”

The demons around the table laughed heartily, offering speculation as to what the new girl would have that the former Sunnydale Slayer did not.

“I’d love to be at the funeral.” The red-faced crab demon changed the topic. “I could spit on the Slayer’s grave.”

“Or dance on it!” the fat yellowish green demon grinned manically.

“Or piss on it!” The D’ebrak raised his glass, as they all laughed again.

Their conversation then shifted on to other topics as Angel looked to Doyle for an explanation. He knew of course, that this would happen. He wasn’t sure why he was meant to hear this particular conversation.

Doyle said nothing, instead moving them along in a glide. Then he pointed to the two girls who were walking quietly along the street.

Angel knew them. Willow and Tara.

“So, how’re you doing?” Tara quietly asked Willow.

“I’m okay. I just can’t believe it.” The red-haired girls’ eyes clouded with tears again.

Tara put her arm around Willow, hugging her close. “W-well, she did save the world.”

“Again.” Willow sighed, wiping at her eyes. “It didn’t have to be like this though. The prophecy said that a warrior of shadow and one of light joined together would prevent it.”

Tara considered her words. “But Buffy managed to do it on her own. Besides, she said she didn’t know any ‘warrior of shadow’.”

“Yes, she did. She didn’t want to ask him for help. Not *now* anyway.” Willow’s voice was bitter as she choked back the tears again. Her friends’ stubborn determination was something that they all loved about Buffy, but it might just have been the thing that had gotten her killed. Not that anyone expected that Angel would have made a difference had Buffy sought him out.

“Oh.” Tara had nothing else to say and the girls continued their slow journey along the street.

Angel considered their words with no small amount of guilt, searching for meaning. Was he the ‘warrior’ that Buffy was supposed to seek out for help? Had things between then grown so distant that she was unwilling or unable to do so? The contempt in Willow’s voice was so strong that Angel felt it. That alone disturbed him. Willow, of all of Buffy’s friends, had always been the most supportive of him. What *had* changed?

<Together you were strong, apart you are divided and weak.>

The words echoed through his mind again. He was finally beginning to understand the powerful messages that he had been seeing. Thoughts had been revolving through his mind and he knew that he needed to make some changes in his life. With thought and hope, these new resolutions would correct what had gone wrong before it was too late.

Doyle still stood besides him in the shadows, quiet and dark. When Angel met his eyes, Doyle lifted a brow in question.

“Okay, Doyle. I get it. Do you have anything else to show me?”

“Just one more thing.”

They left, gliding into what appeared to be LA. Angel recognized the Hyperion as they approached. As they crossed through his suite of rooms, Angel noted that the surroundings seemed quiet different. Every wall had a bookcase or curio cabinet against it filled with ornaments and knick-knacks. There were dolls of all shapes and sizes, Faberge eggs, beanie-babies (were those even still a fad?) and even, Angel noted with a shiver of distaste, porcelain doll heads. Pink and rose colors dominated the room, along with a massive floral print couch.

<Oh, Christ. What the fucking hell have you done?> The demon, who had been quiet for so long, now stirred.

Angel was still avidly looking around the room, shocked at the changes in his former dark and masculine abode, when the door opened and Fred entered, carrying several heavily laden shopping bags. Just behind her, a woman with short blond hair that resembled Cordelia followed. She too was carrying a multitude of packages. Gunn, also carrying more packages, followed the two women though the door. When they reached the sofa, they women dropped their packages and burst into laughter.

Gunn shook his head and took another deep breath, only one of many that had been required to maintain his patience and sanity on the shopping trip this afternoon. He tolerated it for Fred, knowing how close she had grown to Cordelia, one of her only friends. It was that relationship and his loyalty to Angel that kept him at Angel Investigations, when otherwise he’d have preferred to move on. Keeping the forces of evil in check had become more about money and prestige, and less on fighting the good fight because it was the right thing to do. He’d even considered moving to Sunnydale and joining up with Angel’s slayer. Of course, he’d never dared to even mention that to Fred for fear that she’d tell Cordelia and then he’d be subject to the terrible temper tantrums that appeared whenever anything Sunnydale or Slayer was mentioned.

“Did you see the look on that salesman’s face when I said I would take them – and in all three colors?” Cordelia squealed, her delight in the purchase of the expensive Manolo Blahnik shoes obvious, regardless of the cost. She knew Angel would be upset when he found out that she had just spent over $1200 on shoes just for her, but she didn’t really care. She’d simply hide the bill when it came and then write the check out for “weapons” or “groceries” as she always did. She thought it hysterically funny that he never seemed to question their outrageous expenditures in these two categories.

“I can’t believe you actually did it.” Fred grinned, her eyes bright from the champagne lunch that Cordelia had insisted on at Chauteau Marmont.

“Girl, you know he’s not going to be pleased.” Gunn admonished Cordelia.

“Hey, I warned him that I was shopping today. Besides, I deserve it.” Cordelia ran her hand over her hair, soothing the imaginary out-of-place strand. . “He dripped blood on my last pair of Manolos when he came in with that cut from the demon fight. I couldn’t exactly wear them after that.” Leaning down, Cordelia drew out an opened box of Godiva chocolates. Opening the box, she greedily selected two of the rich chocolates and stuffed them in her mouth before offering them to Fred and Gunn.

Angel took a closer look. He was shocked. It was, in fact, Cordelia – only, much, much, larger and with a body that was rapidly turning to fat. He wouldn’t have recognized her.

The svelte seer he remembered had disappeared completely, buried beneath the corpulent mounds of flesh that stretched her white leggings to near-transparent thinness across her heavy thighs and behind, and her breasts – the lush breasts he had suckled upon only hours ago – were swollen to the size of two basketballs, both threatening to topple out of her obscenely tight red top. The seems of her clothes bulged threateningly, but the stretchy fabrics valiantly held up beneath her expanding flesh.

He felt nearly ill at this evidence of her laziness and greed.

Angelus laughed. <Nice! Another chocolate, sweetie?>

“Where is Mr. Broody anyway?” Cordelia picked another chocolate out of the box after the other two declined. “And don’t forget, not a word about the death of slay gal, Buffy. I don’t want to ruin Christmas”

Her eyes darted to Fred and Gunn as if they might question how she had known about the death of the slayer. She’d mentioned it to them casually this morning after calling friends in Sunnydale to confirm her vision, the vision that she had chosen not to share with anyone, particularly Angel.

“And Fred – remember! You were going to tell him about that emerald and diamond necklace at Winstons. I sooo want that for Christmas.”

“Cordy, you checked the price tag on that. It’s over 10g’s.” Gunn shook his head as he headed out the door, his job as package delivery carrier done for the day. “Since when are we pulling in that kind of cash?”

“So, he picks up a few more clients. No big.” Cordelia sniffed, watching as Gunn closed the door behind him.

“Now let’s see…” Cordelia rifled through her bags, pulling out her new M.A.C. lipsticks. She couldn’t decide on which color she liked best so she bought all 5. “Now, I have to hide my purchases and wrap these gifts before the large, dark and solemn one gets wind of what I spent. God forbid I have to give him another blowjob as a distraction.”

“Cordelia!” Fred gasped, then laughed.

“Well, last time he wanted to talk about the bills, I just changed the subject to, uh, that.” Cordelia wrinkled her nose in distaste. “He’s just so cold to touch at times. It’s a little ew. I don’t mind if he wants to give me a little oral gratification… but I so do not like to return the favor.”

“You don’t mean that.” Fred challenged, her voice a giggle.

“Well, I do kinda. I mean, that belly is no real turn on. Who knew blood would be so fattening?” Cordelia snorted, ignoring the fact that her own waistline had increased drastically in the last few years. Her once svelte size 4 figure was now easily a size 14. She thought of it as pleasingly plump, but still cut the tags out of her clothing. “And that ass! Have you seen him from behind? Honestly, Fred, we may have to start buying loveseats for all our chairs!” They erupted in a peal of laughter. “You think there’s such a think as lean pig’s blood? Or maybe there’s a zone diet plan for vampires?” Cordelia laughed loudly again, amused at her own wit.

Angel listened to their dialogue with something akin to revulsion. As they sat amidst the largess from their shopping spree, he viewed Cordelia with new eyes.

Just then he saw the shadow of his future self enter the room and he recoiled in terror. It was all true. Did he- was that- did he really almost have double chins? Angel stared at his future self wondering what happened. Not only was he – well, to be perfectly blunt – fat – but he seemed so worn down, tired and defeated.

<Holy fuck! You simpering, lazy, mindless idiot!!> This time the demon’s roar was so loud, so angry that Angel almost suspected that Doyle could hear his thoughts.

Amazingly enough, he had returned to the leather pants he had favored as his demonic counterpart, but where could he possibly have found a size to encompass his own large ass. His once muscled chest had given way to indolent flab and he – Angel flinched and even the demon within bellowed in outrage and disgust – he had man breasts; certainly they were not of a size to rival Cordelia’s large double Ds but…he had man breasts!

<Out. I want out of this body.>

He had always been aware of the fact that he was an attractive man; females over the centuries had willingly thrown themselves to the non-tender mercies of both the man and the beast, but he had always believed that as a vampire, he had been suspended forever at the height of his masculine prime. He had always believed that other than muscle mass, he would be unchanged and untouched by the ravages that time and modern living could wage: he had been wrong.

Now he understood why Buffy hadn’t called on him in her time of need. He doubted that his future self would have been able to serve as a capable partner at her side, let alone survive a life or death battle. He was no longer the Warrior that he had been. Now it appeared that he fought for the money to keep Cordelia supplied with her extravagant purchases, not because he was needed nor to make amends. He sighed with disgust.

<Capable partner? Hell, I’d be surprised if this fat ass could run half a block much less handle any sort of weapon.>

Angel glanced towards Doyle, uneasy. Doyle returned Angel’s look. He too was disturbed by the image of his once beautiful Cordelia’s true character. Had he been so blinded by her beauty that he hadn’t seen the woman inside?

“Hi Honey. How was the demon business today?” Cordelia didn’t move, waving absently in Angel’s direction. Her voice was flat and artificially caring.

“Good.” Angel kissed Cordelia’s cheek, aiming for her lips but she anticipated and turned her head just in time. When he looked away she absently wiped at her cheek.

“You’re not dripping any demon slime or blood on my new carpets are you?” Not that she minded redecorating, but she had just put this particular shade of rose in last month and thought it perfectly complimentary to her skin tone. She didn’t want to bother changing it for at least another couple of months.

“No.” Angel replied.

His own voice was so sufficiently reticent that Angel thought he imagined it. When had he begun to be cowed by Cordelia?

<Stake me. Stake me now.> Even the beast within recoiled in horror.

“That’s a change.” Cordelia snorted, shooting Fred with an exasperated look.

Angel said nothing, only went about his business in putting away his weapons. Even his future self regarded the case of doll-heads with suspicion and avoided it.

“Well, I hope you paid my cell phone bill. I need it. Where’s the mail? Did my issue of W come? Oh, and did you pick up my dry cleaning while you were out?”

“Uh, no, I-”

“No!? I asked you for a simple favor and you can’t even do that? And I did all the Christmas shopping for us – again – by myself – again – and you can’t even do a simple favor for me and pick up the dry cleaning. Angelllll.” Cordelia’s voice increased to a nagging whine. “It’s just three blocks away. You could even walk there. Tell me, just how on earth could you possibly forget it? Please, assure me that you are not that stupid. Or that inconsiderate of me.”

“Well, there was a demon and-”

“There’s always a demon. Or vampire. Or some other excuse. I *needed * that dress to wear tomorrow on Christmas day to church. You know,*church*? And don’t give me that excuse about the crosses and holy water again. We’ve been over this before and you know how important it is to me to have a little spirituality in life at least once a year. I’ll bet you deliberately didn’t pick up my dress so you wouldn’t have to go. It would be just like you to do that to me. Now what am I going to do, huh? What am I going to wear? What about me?” Her voice had risen to near high-pitched squeal.

Angel put his hand to his eyes, squeezing the bridge of his nose to shut out the sounds of her voice. When had she gotten so selfish? Or had she always been that way and he hadn’t seen it?

<Always been there, moron. You missed signals the size of your future fat ass.>

“Tell me something, Doyle, are these things that *will* be or are they things that *might* be?” Angel felt a pounding in his head as Cordelia’s voice droned on and on and yet, his future self stood there and listened to her with that lifeless look in his eyes.

“Life is a series of paths. You follow one path, then it leads where it may.”

Angel turned away from Doyle then, considering his words. Finally he turned back. “Is it past hope, then? Why show me this if there is no way to change it?”

“If you change paths, get off, turn around, whatever, then things change.”

Angel waited.

“The Powers that Be are giving you three days back. Three days in which you must decide what you are going to do. Remember, Angel my friend, there is no amount of regret that can make amends for lost opportunities.”

In the next instant Doyle was gone and Angel was back in his room, on his bed just as it had been when he had gone to sleep.

**** Buffy’s Christmas Yet To Come ****

The mist swirled, thick and heavy; Buffy was used to it now.

She knew where they were; they were inside Spike’s crypt. She glanced around the stone chamber; if possible, it was even more decrepit than before. And Spike…


Buffy couldn’t remember ever seeing the bleach-haired vampire looking anything but sexy. He had had the whole leather-clad bad boy look that had drawn women to him like bees to honey for over a century. Not anymore.

Even Kendra was taken aback by the blond vampire’s transformation.

He still wore his trademark black jeans and tight red t-shirt. There was just one problem though: the jeans wouldn’t fasten over his expanding gut and the t-shirt had gone beyond tight to too small, and couldn’t cover the milky pale roundness of his beer belly. His once carefully tended hair looked as if it hadn’t been dyed in months and it may well have been that long since it had been touched by either scissors or comb.

Spike stood in front of the refrigerator he pushed past the protein shakes and bottled water to pull out a beer. He slammed the fridge shut, popped the top and guzzled the 40 ounce beverage in nearly one swallow.

Releasing a loud belch of satisfaction, he walked toward his recliner, pausing only to scratch the blubbery roundness of his ass and then his crotch, as an after-thought.

The once Big Bad had just become Big.

Buffy could feel the apathy radiating from the once proud and vibrant predator. He had given up on his life – or rather his unlife. His once sleek and muscular body was nothing more than fat and sagging skin. His pale blue eyes had lost their luster and were now dull. And worst of all, the cocky and confident swagger had disappeared from his step and was now a slow wobble.

He was a broken demon, not even a shadow of his former self. He had long since stopped caring, even about the things that all demons cared about: torture, pain, lust, passion; the hunt, the kill. Nothing moved him anymore.
She watched as Spike plopped his overweight self down into his tattered recliner and then searched avidly for the remote for the TV, spotting it out of reach.

He called for his mate. “Luv, can you come here? I need you.”

Buffy glanced at her ghostly guide quizzically, wondering who he was calling to; Kendra jerked her chin toward the sleek, muscled blond woman that entered from the other room.

The blond Slayer blinked in disbelief and stared at her future self in bemused shock.

All the softness in her, in body and in emotion was gone. Her future self was a warrior, a stone-cold killer who did what had to be done without hesitation and without regret. Her eyes were flat and cold, as expressionless as a shark’s…and about as merciful.

The soft curves of her breasts and hips had been swallowed into sleek sinew, hardened planes and defined musculature. Clad in black leather pants and a black tank top, the fabrics clung to her lean body, showing off the long hard muscles of her thighs, and revealing the taut lines of her shoulders, biceps and triceps. Even her once generous bust line had given way to the hardened splendor of her amazon’s body.

She was old. Oh her skin was still clear, healthy and unlined, but it lacked softness. Her hair – the last feminine trait left to her – was still gold and untouched by grey, but the eyes, the windows to the soul, the those beautiful hazel green eyes that use to be lit with brilliance and fire were now cold, old and tired.

“What do you want Spike?” she asked indifferently, binding the length of her blond ponytail into an unfussy leather thong.

“Give me that remote. It’s about time for Passions.”

The warrior released a sigh of exasperation. “You called me in here to get you a remote that is less than three feet from you, so you can watch that dumb soap opera?”

It’s not a dumb soap opera,” Spike whined in defense of his choice of tv programming.

“You know it’s melodramatic crap. No self-respecting creature of the night would be caught dead watching that. But then again, you’re not a self-respecting vampire anymore, are you?” she commented pityingly. “Look at yourself. The chip made you an object of pity to the demon community, but you made yourself into a laughingstock. I’d say it was unhealthy, but you’re already dead. Just because you don’t have a reflection doesn’t mean you can’t see how overweight you are. Your ass is the same size as your imitation E.T. potbelly. You even have the beginnings of man-breasts. Spike, don’t you even care about yourself anymore?”

He flinched, stung by her words. “Well at least I have an ass and some breasts. You’re nothing but hard angles and harder muscles. Nothing a man would want to snuggle up to in the night. All the soft curves I loved before, are gone, Slayer. And so is the fire that made you special. You’re nothing but a frigid machine. When we’re making love, I’m more tempted to feel myself than you!”

“I wish you would,” she growled in annoyance. “It’s no picnic having your blubbery belly rubbing against me as you strain to get off – and that’s when you work up enough energy to do anything other than watch the damn TV.”

He struggled out of the chair and advanced on her angrily. “My blubbery belly!” he roared in outrage. “You liked it well enough when you found out your precious Angel was sportin’ the same girth!”

The fire that had begun to burn in her eyes went cold at the mention of his name. “Maybe because on him it’s still appealing to me.” She eyed him in disgust, “You’re an empty shell, Spike.”

“I’m an empty shell? That’s a laugh. I ain’t the one who’s turned into a bleedin’ machine. And tell me why I should care about anything. For the last few years the only thing you’ve given a damn about was training. And,” he added, “why should I want to fuck a woman who continues to call out the name of a demon she only fucked once. A demon who found you so lacking he dumped you, moved to another city and took up with another woman. And you still carry a torch for him.” He laughed contemptuously. “And you call me pitiful,” he sneered. “It’s been years Slayer, let it go. He doesn’t want you. And truthfully, neither do I.”

The pain flared as it always did at the mention of him. The pain and the sense of betrayal. She forced herself to remain cold. “I would’ve thought after Drusilla panting after him for a hundred years you would’ve been used to being second choice. I don’t need you, Spike. I never have. You were a way to hurt him back, but it was never you I wanted. Only him. You were a substitute – and a poor one at that. Did you know? Of course you did,” she taunted ruthlessly. “I kept calling his name. Do you know why I chose you, Spike? He hates you, your skin is cool and you’re of his bloodline. Those were the only reasons I was with you. You didn’t think it was for love, did you?”

The cold taunt hit it’s mark. “Get the Hell out Slayer and never come back.” He turned and stalked contemptuously away from her.

She smiled mirthlessly. “That was the plan for the night anyways, Spike. Never coming back.” Her hand flashed in a quick movement.

Spike staggered and turned around, clutching his chest in shocked bewilderment. “Buffy?” he whispered and collapsed in a rain of ash.

“I didn’t want to fight before I ended it, Spike,” she commented to the pile of ash. “But loose ends are loose ends. I don’t want to leave any behind for the next girl. And I’ll be more than glad to leave this moldy crypt behind.”

Buffy watched her future self walk uncaringly through her lover’s ashes and turned to Kendra, sickened by the scene she’d just witnessed. “Please don’t let this be my life,” she whispered.

“There is more,” Kendra told her.

The mist began to swirl around them. Buffy let out a sigh of resignation. “Oh Goody,” she mumbled sarcastically.

When the mist cleared she was standing in the lobby of a Hotel. She vaguely remembered Giles informing her that Angel’s apartment blew up and he’d bought a hotel.

She looked around at the occupants of the lobby. Wesley and a large woman were sitting on a round sofa. There was something vaguely familiar about the woman. As Buffy continued to stare she recognized the woman. It was Cordelia. She let out an unladylike whoop. Cordelia was the svelte beauty queen any more. She’d gained a lot of weight. And those breast even accounting for the weight gain were enormous. She had to have gotten implants. Of course her taste in clothes was still impeccable even if she was stretching the fabric to its limits.

A skinny brunette and a handsome tall black man were standing near by. The mood seemed to be very somber. She looked closely at Cordelia and her mascara and eyeliner seemed to be smeared. She had been crying real tears. Buffy walked closer to the group Kendra on her heels.

“Gunn where did you find these?” Cordelia addressed the Black man. Buffy leaned in to see what Cordelia had in her hands. She was holding Angel’s Claddagh ring and a in a velvet box was another smaller Claddagh ring.

“They were just sitting there in the court yard on bench surrounded by dust. I gathered up all the dust and placed it in the small vase over there,” he motioned his head towards a hand pained vase sitting on the counter.

“What I want to know is who in the hell told him about Buffy had died,” Cordelia snapped.

Buffy gasped she’d died. She looked at Kendra. Kendra nodded *yes*. Dead for some reason after seeing her Christmas present and future the thought of death didn’t bother her Angel’s death on the other hand was causing her chest to tightened. She felt like someone had wrapped a fist around her heart and was squeezing.

“Did you tell him Fred?” Cordelia accused angrily.

“N-No. I-I promised you wouldn’t tell him and I didn’t.” The skinny brunette defended herself against Cordelia’s attack.

“Well did you Gunn? Wesley?”

Wesley answered, “Cordelia it doesn’t matter how he learned. He learned,” Wesley paused, “He was a little quite after he came back from picking up your dry cleaning. Someone may have told him. There are any number of demons who could have told him.”

“Well it doesn’t matter now,” Cordelia screeched. “Without him we are going to have to work twice as hard to turn the profit that we now make. I can’t believe this. Just when I thought my future was set Angel pulls a stunt like this. Hell he hasn’t seen her in years and he commits suicide just because the little bitch dies.”

Buffy didn’t know she was crying. The tears were falling rapidly. Her hand was over her heart and the other over her mouth. Her beautiful Angel was dead. She couldn’t believe it. Dead. She never thought it would happen. She always thought that he’d out live her. She hadn’t seen him in years but his death cut through her.

“Kendra there has to be a way to change this. A way to unmuck the mess Angel and I have made out of our lives.” She beseeched desperately squeezing Angel’s hand.

“Life is a series of paths. You have the power to change your path.” Kendra decided it was now time to tell Buffy why she had come. She turned to Buffy and chose her words carefully as Cordelia bemoaned her fate in the background.

“Because you have shown yourself as superior warrior the Powers That Be are giving you a change to your path. To reclaim the life you should have. The life you should lead. You will go to sleep and when you awake it will be December 22. Three days before Christmas. Three days to change your path, your life.”

The mist began to swirl. Buffy held Kendra’s words close to her. Three days to change her path. Change her life.

“Thank you Kendra.” She whispered as the mist enveloped them.

“You are welcome Sister Slayer,” Kendra said her voice drifting through the mist.

In the next instant Kendra was gone and Buffy was back in her room Mr. Gordo sleeping peacefully.