Author's Note: Thanks to John, who pointed out all of my bad spelling. To Rob, who can be credited for his scene. To Joel and Windrider, who both pitched me some great ideas. And to Violator, who had a great time thinking up dialogue ideas for his big scene.

"Okay, I think this might be it." 

Joel began to read off of the fourth pad of paper something that sounded a *little* like directions, but halfway through realized that it was actually a recounting of Dru teaching Windrider how to tango. Skimming through the rest of it, he decided that there were some things that he really *didn't* want to know, and tossed the whole pad out the window. 

He took a short nap while Windrider continued to coax her, and finally Dru told him how to get to get to the warehouse, but not before she channeled the spirit of Jimmy Hendrex for twenty minutes. Nudging Joel awake, he handed him the directions. 

Ten minutes and two wrong turns later, they pulled up in front of the warehouse. Windrider was just saying goodbye to Dru (and politely refusing to be made immortal) when TJ came tearing out of the warehouse. Seeing them, he sprinted up to the car, opened the back door, jumped in, and shoved Dru out. She landed on the pavement in an ungaily heap, and made an interesting 'squak'ing noise. 

"Drive!" he ordered Joel. The urgency in his tone convinced Joel to ask his questions later (the most prominent being what TJ had donw with his shirt). Joel floored it, and for lack of anywhere else to go he began heading back to the graveyard. 

"No," TJ said, "Go back to the Bronze." 

"Are you NUTS???" asked Joel and Windrider in perfect unison. They were both card-carrying members of various insane asylums, and tended to give everyone a rather large benefit of the doubt, but what TJ was suggesting was tantamount to suicide. 

"Maybe, but the others are still stuck there, and we can't just leave them behind." TJ said nobley. Then, his voice took on a slightly embarrassed tone. "Besides, I left my gym bag there, and it has a spare set of clothes in it." 

With a sigh, Joel turned the car around, narrowly missing a stop sign. 

*       *       *
MeK trdged back towards the Bronze, lugging a heavy bag of weapons. She had no idea what she was going to do when she got there, but she hoped that by that time she would have some kind of plan beyond 'be afraid and die'. Walking along, she waited patiently for a plan to form itself. 

She was so caught up in her own thoughts that she didn't notice the car speeding at her until it was almost too late. As it came tearing up to her, she managed to throw herself backwards just as it swerved to avoid her. As she lay on the pavement, she was amazed to see Joel, Windrider, and TJ pour out of it. Joel was flipping out at nearly having made roadkill of her, but calmed down a bit after she assured him that she was fine. Still a bit worried, he helped her into the back seat. Windrider snagged her bag, and began distributing crosses, stakes, and bottles of holy water. It turned out that they were also on a rescue mission to the Bronze. As they drove off again, she turned to TJ. 

"TJ," she asked in puzzlement, "What happened to your shirt?" 

He started to mutter something, but she was distracted when Windrider screamed, "Pull over!" 

Joel seemed to be getting used to back-seat drivers, and pulled onto the curb without asking any questions. In doing so, though, he nearly ran down Stone Cold. Stone Cold looked pretty annoyed at it, but apart from a few comments about reckless driving, he didn't complain. TJ and MeK shoved over to make room for him in the back seat, and began to fill him in on what had happened since he'd left the Bronze. At one point, TJ halted his narrative to ask, "What happened to those mice that you 'borrowed' from Kirbyclause?" 

In response, Stone Cold burped. 

"Sorry," he said, "must've been something I ate." Poking around the backseat a bit, he found that he was seated on some very thick manilla folders marked in huge red letters: 'Top Secret: Do Not Read.' Flipping through them, all he saw were some fuzzy pictures of UFOs. Tossing them to the floor, he was struck by a sudden thought. 

"Hey," he asked, "do we have a plan here?" 

The other four people blinked for a long moment, looked at each other for an even longer moment, and then all the passengers looked to Joel. 

"PULL OVER!" they yelled en masse. He did so, nearly running down a little old lady walking a chow-chow dog. 

Ignoring the screeching from the lady, they all piled out of the car. Standing around on the sidewalk, they all got down to the serious business of thinking up a Plan. 

Wandering by, the blue fairy of inspiration happened to notice this group. Taking pity on them, she gave the nearest fanficer a firm *thwap* across the head with her magical wand. 

"I've got a great idea for a fanfiction!" yelled MeK happily. 

Frowning slightly, the annoyed fairy gave the next fanficer a good *swap* with her wand. 

"Mad cows! Yes! That's the key!" said a delighted Joel. 

"To the plan?" asked Windrider. 

"No, to my story." 


The fairy was getting pretty frustrated by now, and so this time she took time to properly aim, and used both hands to give the fanficer a hard *WHACK* with her wand. 

"Ow!" yelled Stone Cold, rubbing his head. 

"What?" asked TJ. 

"Oh, it felt like someone hit me with a flyswatter...wait...that gives me an idea!" 

"Woo hoo!" 

*       *       *
Seated in Sunnydale's one Starbucks, two men in trenchcoats were arguing quietly. While this was nothing new in Sunnydale (very little was new in Sunnydale), most of the customers had left to avoid the fumes from the cigarettes of one of the men. The other one was clearly wishing that he could follow their example, but settled on simply glaring at his chain-smoking companion. 

*       *       *
Xander lugged Mediancat back down the alley. There were occasions that he wished that he had Buffy's strength, and this was definitely one of them. 

At the end of the alley, a figure appeared in the shadows. A very short figure. 

"Need a hand, Harris?" the short figure asked harshly. 

"Principal Snyder!" Xander gasped. "What are you--" 

"What, you think that I don't have feelings, Harris? You think it doesn't hurt me when I see fanfic writers insult me?" 


"Well, it doesn't, but I never pass up the chance for a legal way to hurt people." Snyder picked up Mediancat's legs and he and Xander continued down the alley. After a few steps, the principal asked, "Say, Harris, mind if we slam him into the wall a few times?" 

"Not at all!" So, whistling a Billy Idol song, they carried Mediancat to the Bronze, not being to careful about what the writer's body 'accidentally' hit along the way. 

*       *       *
John, Robyn, and Jeanie assembled the ingredients for the spell as closely as possible. They found all the stuff needed in Ms. Calendar's filing cabinet, except one. The Orb. After several minutes of fruitless searching, they gave up and used a snowglobe. 

"All right," John said at last, admiring his chalk circle, "stand together in the circle and say the magic words." 

"Ni!" chirped Robyn. 

"Not *those* words." 

Stepping into the circle they began to read the words. "Let thy true and inner self be revealed." The first lines were simple, but then the spell required some Latin, which Robyn (who had taken two years of high school Latin) volunteered to provide. 

Rummaging through her pockets, she came up with a scrap of paper. Brightening up considerably, she read it aloud. 

"Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." 

"What was that?" Jeanie asked curiously. 

"Oh, just a phrase that I heard once and liked." 

The ritual continued without a hitch until they came to the last words, which were a bit complex. "Klatuu, veritaa, nict--", having no clue whatsoever on how to pronounce them, they all sort of mumbled through them. 

'Cough, cough, choke, choke' was how they finished the spell. 

For a moment, they looked at each other and wondered if it had worked, but then there was a huge surge of power, and all three fell into unconciousness. 

*       *       *
Kirby was jogging to the Bronze when he was knocked over by a huge, magical shock-wave. It vanished as quickly as it had appeared. Getting up and brushing himself off, he continued towards the Bronze, but at a quicker pace. While things like this were common in Sunnydale, they rarely meant anything good. 

*       *       *
Angelus was glaring at Violator when the magical wave hit him. His face began to go through some interesting contortions, as though his two halves were duking it out. Violator stared in wonder as the humor and a great deal of the intelligence drained from Angelus' face. His leather pants somehow transmogrified themselves into normal black slacks, and the gel in his hair completely dissapered, which had the upside of getting rid of that new 'spiked' look his evil side had been experimenting with. Soon, all that was left of the once ruthless villain was a very handsome and very tortured guy who took himself *way* too seriously. 

Violator had nerves of steel, but he still couldn't help jumping when the vampire gave a rather piercing and slightly feminine shriek. 

"Oh my God, what have I done? It's all my fault! I am *so* sorry for all that's happened." Angel whimpered. He loooked like he was about to start crying at any moment. "You don't know what it's like, to have done all things that I've done and to c-" 

Violator cut him off. "Oh, shut up." He shook his head in annoyance and disgust. "Get the hell out of here." 

Unfortunately, Angel seemed bent on having an angst-attack right there. 

"How could I have ever said those things to Buffy?" he whined, "Or eaten Theresa? Or biten that swim-jock? Or kill Jenny? Or gut Willow's fish? Or put Buffy in the hospital? Or...well, I can see saying those things to Xander. But how could I ever have told Mrs. Summers that Buffy and know. And, oh dear God, I put *gel* in my hair and wore leather! Arg!" 

Angel was working himself into quite a frenzy, and at the thought of the gel had actually started foaming at the mouth. Violator finally got fed up. 

"Oh, quit your bellyaching." he snapped. Angel looked at him in amazement. Clearly, this was the first time that anyone had said something like this to him when hearing all about his troubles. Violator continued. "You can have any woman on Earth. Out of said women, you have one of the best looking ever to walk said Earth." Violator was pretty partial to Buffy. "Furthermore, since you can only lose your soul when you are completely happy, and you now know this, you'll always have that nagging doubt, even when with Buffy, which by its own nature will prevent you from ever being truly happy." Violator's reasoning was sound, even though the idea that any guy who was sleeping with Buffy *could* be less than completely happy defied his imagination. Of course, he was dealing with *Angel*, here. 

Clearly this thought had never occured to the brooding hero. While it really interrupted his angst attack, he still perked up a bit at the thought that he could still resume his relaitionship with Buffy. After a suitable period of angst, UST, and some brooding on his part, of course. 

Angel looked out into the night, striking a pose that just screamed 'tortured love'. "I have to got to her, to try and explain what has happened." he said mournfully, looking at Violator with dark, soulful eyes. With another tortured sigh, he left. 

Violator watched him go. "I'm probably going to regret not shooting him and just putting him out of his misery." he mused. 

*       *       *
The darkness receded and the three awoke. 

"What happened?" asked Robyn, twitching her ears. 

"Yeah." buzzed Jeanie. 

"I'm not sure," John said, flicking his tail, "I mean, we said the words. Well, not every *single* little syllable, but we said most of 'em." 

Glancing up at the desk, which seemed much higher than before, he watched as Robyn hopped over to him, and what looked like a mutant cross between a tortoise and a fly darted around the room. 

"Oh my God!" Jeanie buzzed excitedly. "The spell! When we turned Angel back into his true self we must've caught some of the backblast and gotten turned into our animal namesakes!" 

"No shit, Sherlock." Robyn said. An optimist at heart, though, always seeing the Sprite can as half full, she tried to look for the good in their present situation. "It could be worse," she said hopefully. 

"And how could it possibly be worse?!" demanded a seriously brassed off Jeanie. 

*BRRRAAAAAAPPPPPPP*! An extremely foul stench filled the room. 

"Me and my big mouth," moaned Jeanie. Robyn buried her sensitive nose in her paws and glared at the sheepish-looking skunk. 
Part Six