"Hey," I said softly when I entered Buffy's room and saw her awake. Willow, Xander, Joyce, and Justin trailing not far behind me.
Buffy smiled at me. "Hey."
"You okay?" I asked.
"I'll live," she answered with a shrug. A shrug she seemed to regret making as she winced in pain.
Joyce walked past me and unto Buffy's bed. "Don't you ever scare me like that again, you here me? What were you thinking taking on all those vampires like that? You could've been killed!"
Buffy rolled her eyes. "I'm fine, Mom," she replied. "And I didn't think there were more than two. Angel and I were doing just fine until their back-up showed up."
With a sigh, Joyce nodded. "If something like that happens again, I want you to run, okay? I know your pride is important to you, and as the Slayer it's not your job to run, but..."
I suddenly remembered that Justin was standing right there with us in the room. Slashing my hand across my neck as sign for Joyce to stop, I cleared my throat. Joyce frowed slightly and then saw Justin. She nodded in understanding and tightened her lips together.
"Who's that?" Buffy asked.
"He was down there all by himself and I figured we should tell someone about it so that they can find his parents," I explained.
I crouched down in front of Justin and looked straight into his eyes. What I saw startled me. His eyes were a chocolate brown, and just like mine, had a penetrating, almost brooding look. I felt a sudden, unexplainable connection to him that overwhelmed me.
Blinking myself out of my reverie, I tried to focus on him again. "What happened to your parents? Do you remember anything? How you got here?" I questioned.
He frowned slightly and considered. I studied his face, which look disturbingly like Buffy's when she was pensive. "Two strange people," he said finally.
I glanced at Buffy, who was staring at him just as intensely as I must've been before, and then turned to Justin again. "Strange people? Were you kidnapped? Taken away from your parents?"
Justin's frown got deeper. "I guess," he replied with some uncertainty. "I was sleeping, and then I saw a man and a woman talking. And then the woman leaned down, put a hand on my shoulder, and I was here."
"What were they talking about?" Buffy asked.
Again, Justin considered. "They said something about it not yet being his time or something."
I stared at him for a moment. It seemed strange that this kid-- this little boy-- could be so smart. He looked barely older than five, yet he seemed incredibly perceptive of everything.
"Who's he?" Willow spoke up, breaking into my thoughts.
Justin shrugged. "Daddy?"
I frowned. "Did your daddy die?"
An abrupt, confused sob escaped Justin as he nodded. "He was supposed to."
"What do you mean?" Xander asked as he crouched down next to Justin and me.
Justin's face looked so confused, that I just wanted to hug him to me and comfort him so that he wouldn't have to talk about it. But I knew I had to get him back home.
"My daddy died," he said softly. "Only, he's not dead."
I looked at him strangely. That had made no sense whatsoever. Well, except maybe if his father was now a vampire. That could be a reasonable explanation. I shook my head and glanced at Buffy to see her even more confused than I was.
I figured the little boy was too confused to really let us know what has happened, so I stood up again. Just as I was about to tell Xander that we should report this to the police, Justin tugged on my pants and looked up at me with a haunted expression. I knew that a kid his age should never have expressions like that.
So I crouched down again, sensing he had more to say.
"He was killed by bad men with weird faces," Justin whispered. "Only, he's here. Not gone."
I looked up at Buffy again.
"Angel, we can't hand him over," she told me quietly. "The police can't help him."
Willow walked over to sit on Buffy's bed. "You think we can?"
Buffy nodded. "I think his daddy was killed by V-A-M-P-I-R-E-S."
"Vampires?" Justin questioned.
I glanced at him again. So he could spell. I guess he was a lot smarter than I had realized.
"So what do we do?" Willow asked.
"I think we let him get some rest," I answered. "Then, tomorrow, when his head is a little clearer, we can get more out of him so that we can help."
Everyone in the room seemed to agree with me.
"We might wanna let Giles know about this," Buffy said. "He is my Watcher. Or kinda, anyway."
I smiled. "Of course."
Suddenly, all of my worry over whether or not Buffy would be okay vanished. I walked over to her bed and kissed her lips softly. She smiled up at me and touched my cheek. I knew there were other people in the room, but lately, I hadn't really been caring about displaying public affection.
We stayed several more minutes in the room with Buffy, then it was decided that Justin could stay with me in my new apartment. Buffy and I had picked it out several weeks back and I had moved in just last week. Sometimes, Buffy would stay with me when she was too tired after parol to walk back home. And for some unexplainable reason, Joyce didn't seem to mind.
As we left, I took Justin's hand and I once again felt that strange connection. His dark brown eyes and dirty blonde hair, his pouting lips and intense look... it was-- as Buffy would say-- wiggy.
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