"Oh, give me a BREAK. You're married?" Angel asked in disbelief.
"Yup," Buffy said, squeezing Tom's arm. "Isn't it great?"
"Great? What about us? I thought we -"
"At least he was able to walk me down the aisle IN A CHURCH without bursting into flames."
"In a church?" Tom asked. "That's right, you're a vampire, aren't you?"
"Yes," Angel said angrily, displaying his game face. "Want me to prove it?"
"Sure!" Tom said, clearly not getting that Angel was threatening to grind Tom's bones to make his bread. "Come on down to the swing club and show us what you're made of! That's where Buffy and I are headed off to after dinner."
Swing dancing?! SWING DANCING?!"
"Honey," Buffy said, turning to Tom, "Why don't you go wait in the car? Angel and I have a few things to . . . discuss." The tone in that last voice, Angel noted, indicated that the imminent discussion would likely involve punching, kicking, and the occasional heavy object being broken over the back of his skull.
"Sure!" Tom said cheerfully. Tom, it had to be noted, was as dense as a London fog. "Just remember to bring the keys with you when you come - you've got the only housekey."
"Will do, sweetie," Buffy said, kissing her husband briefly but passionately. Angel could feel his gorge rising, and remember, vampires swallow blood and dismember corpses, so it takes an awful lot to make one nauseated. Tom smiled and left.
"Now, then," Buffy said, turning towards Angel, voice deceptively sweet. "What precisely is wrong with swing dancing?"
Buffy chuckled. "Can't do it, huh?"
"Not a move."
"Well, we'd teach you -"
"No thanks." Then pain entered his voice "Buffy, why did things have to turn out like this?"
"Because you took that arm, left town, and spent the next three months sitting at Willy's getting drunk off your ass."
"Oh, sure, blame it on me."
"Why - " the horn honked. Buffy looked up at Angel and said, "Look, I have to go. Don't trash the house and lock up when you leave."
Then the door closed and she was gone.
Things could not end like this.
Angel wouldn't let them.
* * * * *
Two weeks later, one of the swing clubs started to burn. A mysterious brooding stranger dressed in black rushed inside and yelled, "Fire! Everyone out!" No one, demon, human or otherwise, was killed, but the club was a total loss.
It was chalked up to sheer bad luck.
A few days after that, an almost identical occurrence: Thirty couples were swinging away to "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" when a fire broke out. Sadly, this time things weren't as lucky, and two vampires were turned into ashes and one suffered severe burns when somehow one of the fire trucks was discovered to be shooting out holy water.
Also gone in this fire were all the swing CDs in the building. Tom had thought he'd brought them out, but they apparently leapt back into the fire when no one was looking.
Even worse, Tom suddenly couldn't keep his hands of Willow - almost like a love spell had been cast on him, or something. Everyone immediately blamed Amy Madison, and a burning at the stake was scheduled for the following week.
Also, every CD store in town was cleaned out of its swing section, the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddies were somehow convinced to become bluegrass acts, and perhaps worst of all, the only sheet music left in the entirety of Sunnydale detailed how to play the Macarena.
Things came to a head one night at the last remaining swing parlor, repeatedly playing "In the Mood" because that was the only swing tune the Sunnydale High School Marching Band knew. Someone had been telling the vampires that all this swing club stuff was actually a plot by the Slayer and her friends - lull the vampires into a false sense of security and then wipe them out. If it hadn't been for the mysterious demon wearing black -
The humans countered angrily that it had in fact all been a demon-cast spell - crispy-fry all of them in pursuit of a mass sacrifice to some depraved vampire overlord. If it hadn't been for that brooding hunk dressed all in black -
"Hold it, hold it!" Buffy said. "Mysterious, broody hunk wearing black?" Nods all around. "ANGEL!!!!!"
A muffled "uh-oh" could be heard emanating from near the door; Angel was standing there carrying a gas can and a pack of matches.
Everyone in the room charged towards him at once.
Angel, quite wisely, ran for his life.
* * * * *
The exhausted vampire, beaten to within an inch of his life by pretty much everyone in Sunnydale - including, to his everlasting horror, Principal Snyder - crept once again down to the docks, this time really intending to leave town for good.
A dark-haired woman with a sardonic smile stood there. "Blew it, didn't you?" she asked.
Not knowing why he was answering, Angel told her, "Yes."
"Screwed around with people's lives, broke the heart of the woman you loved . . ."
"Pretty much covers it." Then he added, "Who are you anyway?"
"A typical girl, just doing her job, and deciding to go about it a little differently this time."
Not really understanding, Angel looked around at the docks. "Damn this place," he said. "And damn me for getting out of here. If only I'd stayed in town -"
"If only?" the young woman asked. "So, what? You wish something hadn't happened?" She turned her back on him for a minute.
"Yes," Angel said bitterly. "I wish I'd never left this damn town."
And as she turned around, fingering her necklace, Anya said "Done."
And so . . . Angel didn't leave Sunnydale. And so Spike and Drusilla survived, Angel became Angelus and murdered Jenny Calendar, Buffy had to send the man she loved to hell and also never found her one true love in Tom the frat guy, and saddest of all, the people and vampires of Sunnydale never discovered the unspeakable ecstasy that is swing dancing.
And now you know . . . the rest of the story.
This is Paul Harvey - good day!