Always A Higher Price

Book 1: Evil Rising

Author: Joe T <eojt665em[at]>

Disclaimer: If I owned BTVS, S6 would have ended as Buffy woke up with food poisoning from some poorly cooked Lo Mein, shaking her head and muttering that she would never in a million years think about sleeping with the creature that had tried to kill her friends.

Rating: Let's go with an R, just in case.

Story Notes: The story takes place immediately as Dirty Girls ends, and is Au after that. Cordelia is in her coma, but will soon be out.

Author's notes: I don't like Spike. If you like Spike, you should probably look at other fics. If you like Spike with Buffy, then you should definitely read other fics, and avoid any I've written.

I tend to jump around a bit here, I'm trying to show dreams that are occurring at the same time as reality.

Feedback: Constructive criticism is always welcome, flames will be used to make fun of the flamer.

Latest addition

Part 1

'We're all here Xander, Buffy just went to get some things, a few of the girls are down the hall…'

Slowly the words seep into his consciousness, as if the speaker is very far away, or he is underwater.

'Although I do feel like I'm floating.' Xander thinks, suppressing a giggle. It might scare some of the girls to see him cackling. 'Scary things are out there, and in here too kiddies!' The laughter gets harder to hold back as he begins letting his imagination take over.

The haze surrounding everything seems to lift a little as he remembers the wine cellar… "You're the one who sees everything, aren't you? Well, let's see what we can't do about that." Before the preacher can reach his face however, Buffy and Faith, wearing matching black leather pants and tight black tops, attack him. Working together, they send a barrage of kicks and punches into Caleb, ending with a massive double roundhouse that launches him across the cellar.

"That isn't what happened." Xander hears from all around him. 'Whoa, stereo-Buffy. Surround sound even.' "That's the drugs. You're high on a mix of painkillers, and the neat thing is that it puts you here, not quite awake, not quite asleep. We can talk privately now."

'Buffy, no, Not Buffy, the First.' Xander realizes, all desire to laugh quickly dying. 'Go away. Please.' "Oh come on, are you just a little interested in why I'm here?"

'I heard, weakness in the slayer line. Lucky you. I have a headache, so could you come back about ten minutes after never?' "The Slayer line huh? Is that all you heard?"

'I tend to let my mind wander when Giles starts lecturing, Willow always gives me the cliff notes version after.' "Ok, we can talk about something else then. How's your eye? Does it feel kinda dirty, since it's still laying there on the floor back in the wine cellar?"

'…and once Buffy gets back I'm going to go, just for a minute to get some food for us, I'll get every Twinkie I can find, I don't know if the hospital will have any though…" Willow's voice cuts through the haze just a bit, but enough for Xander to focus on. Something to lift the haze again, so he could watch what might have happened in the wine cellar… "You're the one who sees everything, aren't you? Well, let's see what we can't do about that."

This time the wall behind Caleb explodes, revealing Giles and Willow. Willow send bolts of electricity into Caleb as she floats towards them. Once Caleb has been weakened, Giles begins reading out of an ancient looking book, and a blue light seems to surround the two of them. They then fire greenish light into Caleb, who fades, screaming, out of existence.

"Come on, that didn't happen either. Although I have to say I like where this is going. You think up anything else that didn't happen, or hasn't happened yet?"

'No, what are you talking about? I don't care. Go away."

"You know exactly what I'm talking about." Xander doesn't need to open his eye to know the First is smiling.

'…Dawn and some of the other girls will be coming by once we figure out how to get them here, unless we can get you home first, and then they'll be waiting there, cause they won't have left obviously…' 'It's getting easier.' Xander thinks, as he watches himself being grabbed roughly by the preacher.

"You're the one who sees everything, aren't you? Well, let's see what we can't do about that."

"Ready. Aim. FIRE!"

Turning at the shout, Caleb is surprised to see Dawn and nearly a dozen Potential Slayers, just as they fire crossbows, turning him into a large pincushion. His body convulsing in pain, he drops to the ground as Xander and the last of the girls run up the stairs.

"Now that is just so far out there, you've seen the aim Dawn and some of those girls have. More arrows would have hit you than Caleb.

You're really reaching now aren't you? Why won't you just talk to me? I just want to know what you've seen."

'Maybe someone else could have shown up, anybody else. It didn't have to happen' Xander mumbles to himself, as the casks of wine spring up around him again… "You're the one who sees everything, aren't you? Well, let's see what we can't do about that." Even as his fingertip reaches Xander's eyelashes, Oz and Angel drop through a trapdoor above them. Even as they land, Angel grabs Caleb's arm, and Oz, turning into a werewolf, grabs his other. Cordelia runs out of the shadows once they have him, and begins beating him in the head with her purse.

Giggling, the First adds her two cents, "Ok, I'll let that one slide, it was fun to watch, but I haven't got all day, err, no, actually I have all eternity. You however, don't. Face it, no one saved you.

You're eye was poked out of it's socket by one of my servants. And not a single one of your friends had even thought to look back."

Speaking each word slowly now, the First finishes, "Because they don't care about you."

Sighing, the false Buffy continues, "Why keep hiding things from me? I've shown you more concern in the past two minutes than they have in the past two months. Just tell me if you've seen anything. Or is it something else your hiding, something about not seeing anymore…"

'I didn't have to let him poke out my eye…' Xander welcomes the sights that come to him now, hoping the First didn't catch what he'd just thought.

"You're the one who sees everything, aren't you? Well, let's see what we can't do about that."

Reaching his free hand behind his back, Xander grabs the pistol he'd tucked into his belt. Shooting earlier would have risked a bullet missing a Bringer, or even hitting one and going all the way through, and hitting one of the girls.

But now, this close, with no one behind Caleb, he could fire at will. "Hey, Spike's real name was Will…" he says out loud as he jams the gun under the preacher's chin, Calebs eyes widening as he stops reaching for Xander's face and goes for the gun.

"Maybe I'll put a couple shots into him too, what do you think?"

Xander asks as he pulls the trigger, the massive boom ending any answer Caleb might have been thinking up.

"Nice, I like that touch at the end, where you waited until the gun was under his chin to cock the hammer. Very gutsy, but the fear that sound gives is so worth it. That's why they do that in movies, the bad guy chases someone into a corner, points the gun at them, and then cocks the hammer. Obviously he should have done it while chasing him, but it wouldn't have the same effect would it? What were we talking about though? Oh yeah, what have you seen lately?"

'Seen? Seen what?' Xander practically shouts in his mind, knowing every word is a lie, 'I don't know what you're talking about.' "I think you do. Little bursts of insight, flashes of knowledge that don't make any sense immediately, but later on you realized were right on the money the whole time. Stuff like that."

Whispering now, more to himself than the First, Xander answers, 'No, not in a long while, why?' "Hmmm." The First mumbles, still in Buffy's form. "I can't tell if you're lying. I can tell that you've been taken care of, as far as seeing things is concerned. I just want to be sure you were taken care of in time, just in case."

'Taken care of, I still have one eye, and that's all I'll need to put my shoe in your minion's butt."

Outright laughing now, The First answers as it fades away, "I doubt you'll last long enough to see him again, not without some serious help, but if you do, give it your best shot, I could always use a good laugh."

Part 2

Walking into the kitchen, Rhona wasn't surprised to find Kennedy there. Rather, she wasn't surprised to find someone there. An empty room was almost impossible to come across, given how many girls were now in the house.

But the fact Kennedy was just sitting there, staring into space was a little off-putting.

"Hey." Rhona gently spoke, trying not to surprise her too much.

Her head whipping around at the sound, Kennedy almost runs at the sight of the other Potential.

Something Rhona spots. Looking her in the eyes, she sees a few emotions before Kennedy looks down. Fear, anger, and shame are the main three.

"What happened?" she asks, thinking 'Better to take care of this now before it bites us on the ass.' "I…"

"What happened? It might be important." Rhona presses when Kennedy starts to clam up, 'Don't need to find another girl offed herself either. Cause that would be a gigantic bite.' "I froze."

"When? Now?"

"No, in the wine cellar. I just froze. We were losing and I just sat there. I couldn't move until Xander pulled me up and then…"

"He got hurt."

"He lost his eye. I heard Mr. Giles on the phone, before he left, and he called again from the hospital. He coming back with Faith and Buffy, they managed to get a lot of cots and other supplies. I asked him if it was true."

Sighing, Rhona asks, "And you think Xander lost his eye because of you?" This was something she had seen before, during a quick weekend stay in Juvenile Detention.

One girl had been there for drugs, arriving just an hour later the same Friday Rhona had been picked up. The girl had been smoking weed in the backseat when the car her friends had been driving ran a stop sign and hit someone else. Her parents were away, so she'd been put into juvie.

Someone had told the girl the other driver had died, a lie, but no one knew that until Monday.

When the girl wasn't crying, her hands had shook, until she learned everyone was fine, nobody had even needed to go to the hospital.

But the look she'd had until then had made Rhona nervous.

"If I hadn't froze, then he wouldn't have had to come and get me, he must hate me right now."

"You've never really lost at anything before have you?" she asks, causing Kennedy to look at her.

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"Shit happens. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. That's life. Maybe if you'd gotten up things would've been better. And maybe Caleb would have gutted you too, and then killed Xander when he was trying to help you out of there, and you'd both be dead. Xander knew people could get hurt, that's why he went in there. He saved me from a Bringer, and you from Caleb, who knows who might have died if he hadn't been there. He's been doing this a long while, this time he got hurt."


"If he's pissed with you when he gets back from the hospital, deal with it then. Don't just sit here wondering what could have been. It doesn't change anything. I really don't think he's holding this against you. Personally I'm pissed at Buffy. If she finds ambushes by walking into them we aren't going to last very long." Rhona finishes, looking out the window as a car door slams, Giles had apparently backed a van all the way into the driveway.

"We should probably help, Mr. Giles said they had quite a bit."

Kennedy says from next to her, just as the back doors open and Faith and Buffy hop out of the cramped space. As Giles comes around the side with another Potential Buffy speaks to him, softly but audible to the girls in the kitchen.

"I was just going to get some things from the school, I wouldn't be gone long."

"Buffy, going anywhere alone right now is a terrible idea."

Sighing, the blonde slayer asks, "Is going in there with everyone else a good idea? I just screwed up royally Giles."

"Buffy, you took the best available personnel, and walked into an ambush, from which there were some severe casualties and losses.

Everyone's morale took a serious blow, and I don't think Xander will be up for making anyone feel happier for a while." As he says this Giles can see Buffy's face tighten as if she'd been slapped. "Many of the girls are upset, and while separating yourself might make you and them feel a little better now, it will be worse in the long run.

Please, help Faith unload the supplies, Xander and some of the girls will be here soon, and I'd like to make them as comfortable as possible."


Watching as Buffy nods her head and begins helping Faith, Rhona says to herself, "Well, at least she knows she screwed…"

"The hospital is letting him out already?!" Kennedy interrupts.

"I guess. Maybe you should help them set up some cots."

"A bed would be better for him, somebody is going to be moving to a cot."

Smiling, Rhona says under her breath, "You could let him sleep in Willow's room, I'm sure he wouldn't mind being in the same room when you two…"

"What?" Kennedy asks, turning red at what she managed to hear.

"Nothing, how about some food? Hospital food sucks."

"What does he like?" Opening the door and taking in the barren shelves of the refrigerator, she adds, "What do we have?"

"I already cooked before you girls got back." Both Potentials jump at the voice directly behind them.

Glaring at Andrew as he collects silverware, Rhona tells him, "Don't do that."


"Just make some noise when you move, alright?"

"I made noise, I made plenty of noise, you two were just paying too much attention to the conversation outside."

"You made food?" Kennedy asks.

"Yup. I made this mix of potatoes and cheese, it's like au gratin, but I added some bread so there would be enough for everyone, and there wasn't much chicken left, so I cut it into little pieces and added it to the rice that we had." Thinking for a moment, he adds, "We're probably going to need to go shopping soon, at the rate of food consumption, we have enough for breakfast, maybe lunch if we all have smaller portions."

"And that would be a very bad thing." The three all gasp as Xander, being lead by Willow comes into the kitchen.

"You're back!" Kennedy exclaims.

Looking over his shoulder, Xander smiles and says, "My back. It's still there."

"Are you Ok? Do you need anything?" she asks.

"Naw, I'm good, are you Ok?" At her nod he asks Rhona, "How's your wrist?"

"It could be worse." She answers, showing him the cast as the phone rings, and Andrew quickly answers.

"It's for you Xander." He says, holding out the phone.

As he makes his way over to Andrew, Xander quips, "Oh, it will get worse, just wait till it starts itching. Then you'll be in your own private heck."


"Not quite hell, but bad enough." Taking the phone, Xander identifies himself, and then listens for a few seconds before speaking. "Hey, I'm on some painkillers right now that are absolutely groovy, so I need you to explain this carefully. What do you mean by 'You're not sure'? Cause it sounds like you'd rather sit at home, hoping that a bunch of guys with sewn up eyes and knives don't realize you're in there."

Listening to the reply, he sighs before answering, "What I'm saying is you can hide and hope for the best, which might work. Or you can get over here and probably make a big difference whether we win or the world goes swirling down the porcelain bowl. It's your choice." Hanging up he turns to the others, "She'll be here."

Entering from the backdoor as Xander speaks, while Buffy rushes to give him a hug, Giles asks, "Anya?"

Andrew quickly shakes his head, "Nope, that wasn't her."

"What about Anya?" Xander asks.

"Ahh, Xander, you see, she umm, Anya left."

"Oh. Well…" Seeing the look Giles has, Xander stops what he was saying and asks, "When you said left, you didn't mean she went to her place for a shower and clean clothes did you?"

"Err, no."

"You meant shower and clean clothes on her way out of town?"

"Yes. She claimed she couldn't deal with what was happening, that she wasn't being targeted and had somewhere she could go. She wished the girls the best of luck with surviving, expounded some of you greater traits, and left."

"I see. Huh." Xander answers as he disentangles from Buffy and Willow, and turns to the sink, getting himself a glass of water. "Ok, umm. Ok then."

"Greater traits?" Willow asks Giles softly, as he averts his eyes she adds, "Oh, Viking in the sack stuff."

"Actually she said Xander was a sexual tyrannosaurus and any girl here would be lucky to be his prey, and that he…"

Choking a little around his drink, Xander begs, "Enough, Andrew, please."

"Ok, well, I kept the food in the stove so it would stay warm, we should probably eat soon."

"I suppose we should start un-piling the girls in the truck." At the quizzical look on Giles face, Xander explains, "I borrowed a truck from the work site. Most of the girls fit in the back no problem."


The desire for food quickly drew everyone in the Summers' house together, within five minutes food was on plates and about to be eaten. A few girls gave Buffy dirty looks as she sat with them, but nothing was said.

Just as Xander was closing his mouth around a spoonful of rice, the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it." He says, getting to his feet.

Before he can take a step though, Kennedy had already gotten up and was moving, "No, I'll get it, you finish eating."

Her angry shout a second later has him standing again, however, and as Kennedy is sent tumbling up to the landing of the stairs Xander mutters under his breath, "I knew I should have answered the door." Running forward, Willow catches sight of the figure in the doorway and shouts, "AMY!" as she raises her hand and sends a stream of magic at her.

Raising both hands, Amy uses the same move, effectively blocking the attack, and making the fight is easier to see as the point where the two streams meet begins to brightly glow. As Amy moves one hand to the side, the glowing ball of energy clearly moves toward her, but before it reaches her she gestures up the stairs where Kennedy is just beginning to rise.

Jerked off her feet as if a wire was around her waist, Kennedy flies down the stairs, crashing into Willow from behind, disrupting the spell. As the spell is broken, the ball of energy flashes outwards, causing the potential slayers who had been moving to wince, most of them opening their eyes and seeing only spots.

Coming from the side, Xander tries to grab Amy's arm, but she doesn't even look as she sends him flying, right through the doorway into the kitchen, shouting "Get OFF!" as she does.

"Wrong move." Buffy hisses, as she grabs Amy by the blouse, pushing her against the wall and draws back her fist for a punch. She holds back the blow when she sees the look of horror on Amy's face, looking past her shoulder.

"I didn't hit him that hard, I swear, I didn't."

Turning slightly, and keeping a firm grip on Amy's shoulder, Buffy sees Xander as he comes out of the kitchen, placing the bandaging back over his eye. "No you didn't, but jeez Amy…"

Suddenly indignant, now that she knows she didn't maim him, Amy answers, "Hey, you called me here…"

"Not for a fight." Xander interrupts.

"Tell that to Ms. Rambo. She tried to hit me first."

As Willow and Kennedy get off the floor, Kennedy muttering, her breath, "Bitch." Willow asks, "You called her here? Why?"

"I want her to do something for me, it might help."

"Another love spell?" Amy asks.

A grin slowly crossing his face, Xander answers, "No, this is more like invisible homework."


Part 3

Sitting on the bed she and Willow had been sharing, Kennedy watched the man in front of her carefully as he put the finishing touches to his uniform. Giving Xander and Andrew time to change without bothering them hadn't been a problem. The hardest part had been keeping any of the other potentials from knowing what they were doing. The closer they got to actually going out and putting his plan into action, though, the more she needed to bring up an important subject. It wasn't that she thought his plan was a bad one, given that she didn't quite know what his plan was, she was certain however, that he could have picked better people to take with him.

Finally speaking up, she asks, "Are you sure this is a good idea?"

Not answering her question, Xander turns around and asks, "How do I look?"

"Good. Now, back to my question, is this a good idea?"

"As opposed to a bad one?"

"What is the plan, exactly?"

Taking a deep breath, Xander answers, "I run point. Rhona and Andrew are the shills; Amy is going to make us look legit for a little while. You…" he points at her while tossing a few scraps of clothing onto the bed, "…are the opening distraction."

Picking up the clothing, Kennedy asks, "Do you think you've got the right people for this?"

"You mean should I be bringing Amy along?" He answered with a slight smile.

"I don't like her and I don't think you can trust her. Do you really think she won't decide to just run off if things get difficult?"

"No, she probably will run, which is why I'm keeping her as close to me as possible."

"Probably the worst place to have her."

Leaning against the dresser, Xander answers, "If I leave Amy outside the base, and she gets nervous, she might drop the spell. Then we get caught. As long as she's right smack in the middle of things, she'll be concentrating on not getting caught, instead of looking for the nearest exit."

"The base?"

Before Xander can reply, a hesitant knock at the door interrupts them. "Enter." He calls out.

Carrying several sheets of paper, Andrew enters, dressed similarly to Xander. At a distance, their clothing could pass as military uniforms, although Andrew has less than half the patches Xander has fixed to his jacket.

"Here's everything I could get." At Xander's expectant look he winces, "Sorry, um, Sir, here is the intel you wanted Sir."

"Andrew, what happens if we get caught?"

"Sir, prison time, Sir. And maybe the world ends cause we can't help out."

Looking through the papers Andrew brought, Xander replies "Don't forget that, and if you think you're going to screw up, then just don't say anything." Finding something, Xander checks it against a different sheet, before looking up, "Good work. We'll see you and Rhona out at the truck."

Beaming at the praise, Andrew salutes and leaves.

"The Base? And why couldn't we have Willow come instead of Amy? And should we even be bringing Rhona? Her wrist is broken."

"The Base is the Army base that's about a half hour away. I plan on borrowing something from them, hopefully without them knowing. We aren't bringing Willow for the same reason I had Andrew checking for stuff on the computer for me. Willow is working on her own stuff. If this works, then it'll give us one hell of an edge. If it doesn't pan out, and we all make it home, then no big loss. But if we get caught, we are screwed. Like you said, Amy probably is going to take off the second she thinks it won't be a big deal. I'm missing an eye, Rhona has a busted wrist, and Andrew is great at grunt work, but I honestly don't like how he reacts when the heat is on. So if we get caught and sit out this apocalypse in a cell, well, it could be worse. Right now you'd be the worst loss if a fight happens while we're gone."

Sighing, not entirely agreeing but having no real argument against the plan, Kennedy holds up the rather small pieces of clothing and asks, "Alright, but what is this supposed to be?"

"It's a pair of shorts and a T-shirt that Ms. Summers put in a box a couple years ago cause they don't fit Dawn anymore. She was going to give them to the Salvation Army but didn't get the chance."

"And they're supposed to fit me?"

"Barely I hope. You're the distraction remember."

"My panties will show with these shorts, and this shirt is going to be see-through."

"Find a thong or don't wear any, and good." At her slight glare he smiles, after Anya, Xander has no difficulty discussing a sexual based topic. "The more the guards stare at your chest, the less they'll be thinking about your story. Put on my coat when your dressed, it should cover you up enough to get you out the door."

"Not the lower half, what's Willow going to say when she sees this?" "She won't."

"How are you going to keep her…"

Interrupting, Xander says, "Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, this is possibly the best lesson you can learn before becoming a Slayer.

Never face down a superior opponent head on."

"And Willow is a superior opponent?"

"As far as getting you out the door unnoticed goes, yes. She's observant, intelligent, and in full worry mode. So I'll be dipping into the old school bag of tricks."


"Until you become a Slayer Ken, you're just a regular human, just like me. Everything we fight is either stronger, faster, tougher, uses more magic, or all of the above. So deception is our natural weapon."

Nodding her head in agreement, she asks, "And how are you going to deceive her?"

"Someone I know is smarter than me? By keeping things as simple as I can. I'll be right outside, let me know when your ready."


A few minutes later, Kennedy slowly exits the room, peering to each side she catches sight of Xander waiting by the stairs.

"Ok, now when you here me talking to Willow, start down the stairs. Don't try to be quiet, just walk normally, and she won't even look up. Just head right out the door, don't look in any direction but at the door. Once you're outside, get in the truck. Alright?"

"Got it."

Practically jumping down the stairs, Xander loudly calls out to Willow as he reaches her at the living room table. "HEY! WILLOW!"

"Hey, Xander. You aren't still high from those painkillers are you?" she asks as he pulls her into a tight hug, turning her slightly so she is faced away from the stairs.

"No, Rhona and I are heading to the store, Amy too. And we're taking Andrew along before any of the girls use him for target practice. You want anything?"

"No, I'm Ok, do you want me to go with you? Or maybe I could ask Buffy or Faith?"

Seeing Kennedy almost halfway down the stairs, Xander keeps on hand on Willow's arm as he sits on the couch, causing her to sit with him, "Don't trust us on our own?" he asks with a small grin.

"You, yes. Amy though, is at the other end of the trust spectrum."

"There's a spectrum?"

"Well, not really, I just made that up now. I'll figure out the different shades later."

Looking down at the various printouts and scribbling Willow had in front of her he asks, "Hey, figured anything out?" The slight glance down and clenching of her fingers gives Willow away. "Something bad?" "Yeah. It seems that the seal is designed to bypass the Hellmouth's usual opening. Do you remember when the Master opened it for a minute or two?"

"Barely, I was mostly trying to keep up with Buffy and Angel."

"Well, there was this thing that was made of huge tentacles and…"

"That I remember." Xander interupts, not mentioning that he actually got a good look at the beast a couple years later.

"Well, it turns out that it's not really a bad demon."

"It's on our side?"

"No, it just has a job to do. Protect the Hellmouth from being opened. It keeps the lesser demons trapped by the Hellmouth from rushing out if it opens, and kills whoever might have opened it. The First is going to us the seal as a back door, and let everything out. The Turok Han will come rushing out first, and then the bigger, more powerful demons. Eventually demons that would swallow the Mayor in one gulp will be coming out."

"How could they fit?"

Holding up a paper with a spiral drawn on it, Willow answers, "The Seal will fall away once it is opened completely, and make a spiral leading down into the true portal of the Hellmouth. According to Giles' calculations, every hour it stays open it will suck in some more of the earth itself, making the hole larger. That's where the whole 'From beneath you it devours' thing came from. It'll look like the portal is eating the world. And coughing up really big, mean demons."

"Damn." The only word Xander could say, strangely it felt enough.

"But we're working on a few ideas. And there is good news."

"I sure hope so."

"This will make the Hellmouth vulnerable. While it's open, we can mess with it while we close it."

"And messing with it is good in what way?"

"We could make it bigger."

For a second Xander just stares at her. "I mean a lot bigger, maybe five times as big."

Given this new information, Xander can only continue to stare. "The Hellmouth will still be putting out the same amount of energy, but it'll be spread over a much bigger area."

This Xander could understand, "Ahh, like replacing a pipe with a larger diameter one, not as much pressure."

"Maybe so little pressure that it can't be popped open anymore."

"That is good. That would be incredibly good. I think that reaches a new level of goodness." Looking out the window as the truck's horn is blown, Xander stands, "Ok, keep coming up with these good ideas. I'll be back in a little while."

"You want me to get Faith or Buffy?"

"Nah, ever since the vineyard, whenever she thinks I'm leaving the house Kennedy attaches to my hip. She's probably waiting in the truck, so if anyone else goes then someone will have to stay."

"Ok, you two are getting along good?" Willow asks, the hopeful tone in voice can't be missed.

"Yeah, we're getting along alright. We'll be back soon."

Walking to the truck, Xander considers what he just learned, as he gets in the passenger side he begins muttering to himself, "Ok, a spiral, a descending spiral. We'll need to keep a section blocked off long enough for Giles and Willow to fix things. We'll need something anti-infantry, something suppressive. Claymores are out. It'll need to be sustained." Turning to Amy, who is in the driver's seat, he adds, "Can't use flame-throwers, all it'll take is one Turok Han to pull a kamikaze and it's game over. Ahh, I've got it."

"You're talking to yourself."

"Just needed to think out-loud. Let's roll"