Awaken the Inu

Author: DhampyrX2 <princemoon_2000[at]>


Rating: PG-13

Timeframe: prologues are btw seasons 3 and 4. The rest starts season seven.

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Poverty is my constant friend. Please don't sue. I make no money from this.

Note: Evil plot bunnies have invaded my brain again, and the demons of writer's block are spreading. Instead of Starting with a Buffy or Star Wars sequel, or adding to 'The One Who Sees", I feel compelled to work on this. Sorry. Blame the bunnies. Anya's right, they're EVIL. I also changed this from a season five idea, to a season seven idea. Just because I hate Caleb, and want Xander to have a bigger role in the proceedings.

Summary: Xander's father is not who he thought. His real father has decided to inform him of his heritage, leaving Xander with some tough choices.


In a room filled with shadows, a figure obscured by the darkness is addressing a woman in a formal kimono kneeling in front of him. All that can be seen of the man is a while kimono, a few strands of silver hair, and the hilts of two swords at his hip. The woman is exceptionally beautiful, with her black hair in a traditional bun, bound be a single, impossibly perfect white feather. Upon closer inspection one would notice that this woman had elfin ears, red eyes, and small fangs in her mouth. These features, however, added to her otherworldly allure. At least in her opinion they did.

"Things have grown dire, Kagura. He has left his home, and still has no idea of his heritage. Without the Hellmouth to mask his youki, he will become a target.", the figure said, his voice the very essence of power and grace.

The woman, now identified as Kagura, bowed her head respectfully as she answered, "With all due respect, milord, he has been fighting without his heritage for years beside the Slayer and her Watcher. Beside three slayers, in fact." The respect in her voice was easy for all to hear.

The shadowed man nodded in response to her reply, but showed no other emotion. "Even so, that was against low level weaklings like vampires. He has truly faced only two demons...the Judge, and the Ascended Mayor. Although I hardly consider a man who desired to become a snake youkai a real threat.", he responded.

Kagura smiled as she said, "Still it is amusing that both threats were handled by Alexander, and not the Slayer. She would be quite lost without him."

"That is what worries me. He may reject our ways because she needs him. Even if the ningen champion does not see it. She needs him, and he will see it. I...worry for him. Since the return of Onigumo at the solstice time at the hands of the First, things have been strained. The war we fight already threatens to spread fully into the ningen world. That can not be permitted. Alexander MUST be protected. Either by the Hellmouth's concealment, or by the power of his blood. I will not let that bastard hurt him. I will NOT let him take the last thing I have of RIN!"

Kagura's cheeks flushed at the show of emotion from her Lord. Since the death of his wife's most recent incarnation, and the subsequent rise in demon activity that forced him to hide the boy with his wife's sister on the Hellmouth, he had retreated almost fully into the emotionless shell that made him the most feared youkai in existence five hundred years ago. In many ways, it was good to see some passion from him again. Over the centuries, she had gone from conspiring with him to kill her 'creator', to being his servant, to becoming his friend.

Still, the insult to Alex's abilities irked her. She had watched him long enough from the shadows to know what the boy could do. "Calm yourself, Sesshomaru. He will survive because he is strong! He is your son, and rightful heir to the Tai Inu-youkai of the West. That bastard Naraku would not kill him even if he DID manage to find him."

Sesshomaru's tone was like ice as he replied, "We both once would have said the same of my brother, Kagura. Inu-Yasha killed Onigumo once. Your 'father' returned the favor when he chose humanity with his mate in this time over his blood right. I do not desire to see the same happen to Alexander."

Kagura bowed her head at that. She had never developed the fondness for her Lord's half brother that he himself had over time, but she still mourned his death from a cowardly sniper's bullet. A warrior capable of besting Sesshomaru on occasion deserved a far better end. The man that freed her from Naraku should not die without a fair fight.

"I know.", she replied, her voice hollow. "If you desire me to tell him, I will, but it will still be his choice. I will I can NOT force this upon him. I will tell him everything, but where he goes from there is ultimately his decision.", she replied, showing an unusual amount of resolve against Sesshomaru's orders.

The Lord of the West stepped forward at that, revealing his amber eyes, elfin ears, and demonic face markings, consisting of a purple crescent moon on his forehead, and twin purple stripes on each cheek. He took Kagura's chin in his hands, and peered deeply into her red eyes with his amber ones. After several tense seconds, he said, "You have feelings for the pup." His voice betrayed no emotion as he spoke.

"Yes.", Kagura admitted freely. There was no sense denying it. Her control over air currents as a wind sorceress would not conceal her scent this close, even if they weren't trapped in an enclosed room. "When he was small it was as one should for a child. But, as your own experiences with Rin showed, feelings can change over time when one is ageless. I've come to admire him a great deal from afar. Does this upset you, my Lord?", she asked, her eyes daring to condemn her in an ultimate act of hypocrisy.

He released her gently as he replied. "No. It does not. I am not so old, or foolhardy, as to spite you for mirroring my own actions. Just heed your own words, Kagura. ANYthing that happens will be his decision."

"Of course. Truth be told, I'd wait until he had a least a couple of more years before I tried to pursue him. People look strangely upon apparent age differences in these times. I would not desire to cause undue trouble, or attention, for him.", she replied, her voice showing she had been considering this matter in private for some time.

"Do you intend to take him as your mate someday?", the dog demon asked bluntly.

"Perhaps, if he is willing. I can't predict the future. That was Kanna's ability. But I will try, when he is ready.", she replied.

"If your feelings are genuine, and he accepts, then you have my blessings. But, for now, I want you to inform him of his heritage and prepare him for the dangers he might face.", Sesshomaru said, his voice totally even once more.

Kagura's eyes lit with joy, but her tone was even and respectful as she stood and bowed to her Lord. "Your will be done, milord.", she said, before turning to leave the room and find her quarry.

She was almost out the door when she heard, "Oh, and Kagura...take Jaken with you. He needs the exercise, and I'd hate to think you were left traveling all the way to Oxnard bored and alone on ningen travel methods.

She left her back to Sesshomaru as she scowled deeply. She should have known he'd get even with her for backtalking to him like that. Lesser demons would have been slain outright. She was stuck with that slimy bootlicking old toad youkai. Life just wasn't fair sometimes. "Yes, milord.", she replied mildly, still scowling as she let the door close behind her.

Sesshomaru let himself chuckle for a second after she left. Nothing like a little petty revenge to lighten his mood in the midst of this war with Naraku. His face sobered as he thought of the danger his son was in. In truth, sending both Kagura and Jakken was more for Alex's safety than just to annoy the wind sorceress. With the Staff of Souls in hand, the ancient toad youkai was surprisingly deadly, and he would defend the pup to his last breath.

That thought made the Lord walk to a small table hidden behind a Japanese style screen in the back of the room. There, in this innermost sanctum of Sesshomaru's current Los Angeles estate, were his most prized possessions. There, displayed proudly, were his brother's sword, the Tetsusaiga, forged from their father's fang, with his brother's fire-rat hide kimono folded neatly beneath it. Next to the blade and clothes were pictures of his wife in the three different reincarnations he had found her in since the invention of the camera, a picture of his brother and his brother's mate at their wedding, and a pair of pictures prized above all the others. The first, was Rin holding young Alex on the day of his birth, Sesshomaru standing proudly beside them as the photo was taken. The other, was a grad photo for Sunnydale High School, the name Alexander Lavelle Harris engraved in the pure silver frame.

"Be safe my son. Be safe until you are ready to fight at my side, and even then, show a level of luck and skill that would make that bakayaro brother of my green with envy. This Sesshomaru does not want to see another bearer of the Tetsusaiga dead in his lifetime.", he whispered, before turning and leaving the room himself, intent on seeing to the most recent developments in the war.

Prologue 2

Alexander 'Xander' Lavelle Harris had just spent six of the most embarrassing hours of his life in the Fabulous Ladies Night Club of Oxnard California, where he had, until tonight, worked as a dishwasher. One of the male strippers had broken his ankle, and the manager, in near desperation had...well. No power on this Earth is meant to finish that story. One should not defy such a declaration.

Still, the most unsettling thing for Xander wasn't the hooting, and pawing, of primarily middle-aged and older women, while giving him money for actions that would have got him laughed at in high school. No, the most unsettling thing was a strange feeling of familiarity in the air that he couldn't place. It was like he felt a piece of something he had been missing all his life, but hadn't realized he had been without it. And, whatever it was, it certainly wasn't caused by his stripping. It was something internal and external at the same time. In fact, if Xander went with his gut, he would say it had to be what Buffy felt with her 'Spidey Sense', only in reverse. All in all, the whole thing was giving the Zeppo a Wiggins.

He tried to put the comfortable/yet unsettled feeling aside as he made his way back to the cheap motel room he was renting in Oxnard. The one good thing about this trip through the land of the mortally embarrassed was that he could finally afford to pay for a new car, and get back on his road trip. He was getting restless.

He was almost to his temporary lodgings, when the same sensation he felt in the club assailed him again, only much stronger. It was accompanied this time by a gentle summer breeze that seemed to comfort him, and, strangely enough, feel him up at the same time. The young man stood there in confusion at how wind could get fresh with him, when his musings were cut short by a high-pitched and cracked voice behind him, causing him to turn around.

"Kagura! Behave yourself. Have you no shame, to treat someone of his status in such a way. Why, in my day, we had respect for our betters. You had best stop this foolishness right now or I'll...", the rant was cut short as a beautiful woman, apparently named Kagura, rapped what looked like an ancient midget in a monks robe on the head.

"Quiet Jakken. You'll scare the young man. And after that...performance, the last thing I want to do is scare you off.", Kagura said, first as she reprimands Jakken, then to address, and wink playfully at, Xander.

Xander, for his part was staring intently at the pair, trying to place the strange sensations their presence created in him. Well that, and fight down the blush Kagura's wink had elicited. The red eyed beauty was certainly stunning. Although, Xander would later wonder why the fact she had red eyes didn't seem at all odd to him, especially after growing up in Sunnydale. "Ahh..l.uhhh, thanks. I guess. But that wasn't a regular thing. Just a one time deal. Uh, I'm Xander, by the way.", he replied, still trying to place what seemed strange, and right, about them.

"And as you may have heard, my name is Kagura, and this irritating toad is Jakken. We are friends of your family sent to discuss something of great importance to you.", she said, her face and tone growing serious.

"You're both demons." Xander said in reply to that, not sure just why he said it. But, somehow, it seemed right, and resolved the odd feeling inside of him.

"Hai. We are. But not the kind of demons you are familiar with. Jakken here is a toad youkai," she answered, removing said toad's hood to reveal his features, similar to Yoda with smaller ears, "and I, am a wind sorceress youkai. We mean you no harm, Xander, but we must speak to you. If you would prefer a public place, I'd understand."

Xander took a step back at what she said, wondering just why he wasn't running in terror like a sane man without a Slayer nearby should. Still, he couldn't shake the feeling that there was something...right about them, and that he should trust them. "I don't know why I trust you, but I do. We can talk in the place I'm renting. It's private.", he said finally, motioning for them to follow him.

"Why that is easy to explain. You feel at ease with our youki because we were there when you were sealed, and we mean you no harm. Even without you're full strength you'd feel the intent in our youki at this range, such is your power, milord.", Jakken rambled as he followed after Xander.

"Huh?", the unknown Prince of the West said in reply to the strange answer.

Kagura looked irritated as she smacked the toad, who Xander now noticed as carrying a large walking stick with a burlap sack tied to the top with him. "Idiot. You speak without thought. At least give me a chance to explain what youki is, and why he would sense it before you start trying to shine his shoes with your tongue.", he harped. "Forgive him Xander, he'd old and senile. He forgets how much we have to cover with you.", Kagura said to Alex with a reassuring grin.

"Yeah...sure. Whatever.", Xander replied, wondering again why he wasn't running away screaming, but for totally different reasons. "Anyway, come on in, and let's hear what you have to say.", he said, as he opened the door to his motel room, and held it open for them.

"Why Alex, how forward of you to invite me in. I'll just send Jakken on an errand, and we all you want.", Kagura purred, trailing a delicately clawed finger across his chin as she made her way inside.

"Confound you woman! Why you were sent on this task when you behave like this is beyond me. You only know of pride and decorum when they suit you. Even Lord Inu-Yasha at his worst would not show such disrespect as you have. Know that I will report this upon our return..." Jakken rambled on as he made his way past Xander, who had to fight down another blush at Kagura's actions.

"Yeah, this better be one HELL of a good explanation. Because even if they weren't demons, I have to crazy to be seen with them.", Xander muttered too low for either to hear as he closed the door and followed them in...

If one were standing across the street that night, one would have sworn they heard a young man loudly shriek "I'M A WHAT!!!!" at the top of his lungs.


Xander sat quietly in his room the next morning, as he pondered all that he had learned. He was apparently some kind of half-dog demon. And a prince of some kind besides. His mom was actually his aunt, and he was sent to the Hellmouth to protect him after an assassin had killed his real mother. Apparently the Hellmouth concealed the little bit of demon energy, or youki, he still let out under his seal with its background radiation of evil, thus hiding him from his father's enemies. It was all so much to take in.

Even greater was what Kagura and Jakken offered, to remove the seal totally, and release his power. Apparently, as a half-demon, or hanyou as Jakken insisted he was called, he was entitled to some mystical weapon his half-uncle had possessed once upon a time. Xander thought for many hours on the ramifications that could bring in Sunnydale. He also though about his past fighting the good fight with Buffy and the others.

Finally, at around noon, he went to his cell phone, and called the number Kagura had given him.

"Yeah, hi, it's me. I've made my decision for now. I'm returning to the Hellmouth, and staying human."

"No, it's not that. I'm not afraid of my friends. I trust them with all my heart. But, the thing is...I keep them grounded. I remind them what they fight for. If I show up demony and powered, they might forget that, and I can't let that happen. They need a normal guy to keep things in perspective. I'm the key guy for now."

"Yes, I promise that I'll keep in touch in the ways you showed me. And if I change my mind, LA isn't too far to go to do it. You have my word, Kagura."

"You really are a pervert, you know that right? Are you sure my dad knows you talk to me like this?"

"^laughs^ Fair enough. Good Bye."

Chapter 1

*"Xander, I want you to get Dawn out of here...I need to know that she's at least safe, and you're the only one I can count on to protect her if this goes bad...*" Xander kept replaying all the crappy excuses General Buffy was giving to order him to the rear of the war. For almost seven years now, he'd given his all, and now she's trying to relegate him to babysitting the only other remaining regular human. It was bad enough she was sending him away again, but to ask him to betray Dawn like that too? He had alot to consider now, and not much time to think it over.

For over three years, he'd kept himself human by choice, putting himself in mortal danger and worrying his father, to keep her and the others grounded in reality. He'd taken innumerable abuses for his unknown sacrifice. Now, the threat seemed big enough that Xander though his choice was showing diminished returns. His humanity seemed to have it's last great stand when he talked a distraught Willow down. A Willow who he still didn't have the guts to admit his mixed heritage to.

"Hell, I didn't even have the guts to tell Ahn, or invite Dad to the wedding. It's like I knew it could never happen right.", he muttered to himself as he brooded.

Really, he knew he didn't even need to keep people together like he had. Dawn did a better job keeping Buffy human by all rights, and she was trying to get rid of her, too. The potentials were all regular humans as well, no matter what Buff seemed to think. Truthfully, she was getting more erratic, and it was scaring Xander breathless.

The First was moving this war on all fronts, including the war between Sesshomaru and Naraku. Turok-hahn had been added to baboon boy's army, which meant the First had more than one active portal to access them. Really, that was the only tactical move that made sense on the FE's part. Taunting Buffy into taking a weapon that could potentially turn the tide made no sense. Something had to be going on he was missing, and he doubted it was good. there was a trap here, Xander just couldn't figure out what it was.

Now, though, he had more immediate concerns. How was he going to handle things? Finally, Xander stood with a sigh. There was only one choice. He reached into his jacket pocket and hit a speed dial key on his phone.

"Hi, it's me.", he said.

"Xander! It's good to hear from you. We were all concerned for you. How are things? Do you need any help?", Kagura said, clearly excited to talk to him. She hadn't heard from him in almost a month, and after the strange happenings in Sunnydale and LA, his voice was a welcome sound.

"Yeah, I do. But I'll meet you. Uh, actually, could you meet me just past the interference point of the Hellmouth with some kind of rapid way to Dad's? Preferably one that works for me and Dawn. I'll be bringing her along."

The sudden concern in Kagura's voice was obvious as she replied, "Of course. The three of us can travel on Ah-Un's chariot. A few spells to conceal him from sight and La is just a half hour flight away. Why are you bringing Dawn, though."

"Buffy wants her fray adjacent, and me with her.", Xander said, his voice dead.

"Well, I suppose staying with Lord Sesshomaru is as safe as you can get.", Kagura said in understanding.

"No. That's not it. Buffy wants her with me, and that's where she'll be, but I'm not leaving a job half done.", he interjected. After a pause, he said. "It's time, Kagura. I'm ready, and we need the help. Circumstances are forcing me to grow up. I've hidden long enough."

The excitement in Kagura's voice returned as she said, "Are you sure, Xander-sama? What about Dawn?"

"I'm sure. I'll fill Dawnie in on the way out of town. Oh, and have Jaken arrange enough troop weapons for three dozen people, lightweight armor, light infantry weapons, and a few surprises set to handle bringers and Uber-vamps. I'm not letting the Potentials fight in the dark ages anymore. we need to smarten up, and if I'm going to Dad, I'm not going half-way. Oh, and arrange for Dawn to get a hotwash on twenty-first century demon fighting while we get the ceremony ready. We're short on time, and she should get as much prep as she can.", he ordered,, is voice sounding eerily like his father's as Sesshomaru planned a battle.

"Of course. I'll have two loaded vans ready for you.", she answered, fighting off a shiver at his tone. The fact he was old enough to pursue seriously rattled in the back of her mind. *Later. War first, pleasure when we have time.*, she chided herself mentally.

"Ship them as soon as they're loaded. I want them to arrive ASAP. They should be here by the time I'm back in the 'Dale. Can you spare any youkai troops?" Xander asked.

"Maybe Jaken and I. And that's just because your father worries so for you. Every troop, ningen, hanyou, and youkai alike are tied up cleaning up after the Jasmine mess and shoring up for Naraku's next attack.", she replied.

"That's still better than I expected with the way things are. Make sure Jaken and the other's at the estate know to treat Dawn properly. She's family as far as I'm concerned, and I'll test the Tetsusaiga on the first idiot who harasses her.", The Prince of the Western Lands said.

"Should I be jealous?", Kagura asked playfully.

"Nah, she's too young for me. I've always been into older demon women.", he flirted back slyly.

Kagura laughed amusedly at that. "Don't I know it. I guess I'll have to work with that, ne?"

Xander was serious as he answered, "Maybe later. We have too much to worry about already."

"I know.", Kagura replied somberly. "A youkai can still hope, though. Either way. I'll meet you where I picked you up last year to visit us."

"We'll be there. Be safe, Kagura.", Xander said.

"Be safe, Xander-sama.", Kagura replied, before hanging up. She turned to set to the arrangements, only to be confronted by Sesshomaru, who had been clearly listening for quite a while.

"This Sesshomaru will make the arrangements he asked for. Get yourself ready, and have the stables prepare Ah-Un.", he said emotionlessly, before turning and leaving the room.

"Yes, milord.", she replied, bowing her head.


"Dawn, I need your help looking for...uh, crossbows in my car. Can you join me outside.", Xander asked.

"Sure thing, captain Blood.", Dawn said, glad to escape Andrew's current speech about Babylon 5.

Once they were outside, Dawn began looking through the car's trunk. Xander, crouched down next to her, seeming to search as well. "Dawn," he whispered, "I need you to trust me. Buffy thinks I'm getting you out of here. When we get to the main part of the car, I'm going to put a clean hanky up to your nose. Pretend it's full of chloroform and act like you're passed out. I'll explain on the way, but I've got a surprise to set up for the First Evil."

"What?" Dawn asked quizzically, not believing what she was hearing. "Xander that's..."

He cut her off as he asked, "Do you trust me, Dawn?"

"Yes.", she said without hesitation.

"Then trust me now.", he said, as he went to the passenger side door and opened it.

Dawn closed the trunk and followed him after a moment's hesitation to think things over. Bottom line, she trusted Xander too much not to agree to hear him out. "Do it, but this better be good.", she said, pantomiming telling a joke, before reaching into the car, and leaving her back unprotected.

"Thank you.", he said, as he 'knocked her out' with his clean handkerchief.


OOC: I'll leave it there for now. Just because it's getting long. I'll post the next chapter soon.

Chapter 2

"Alright, Xander, so what's the deal.", Dawn asked, sitting up from her false slumber one Xander gave her the okay.

"Buff wants us out of the fight, for our own safety. You'll have to add your own sarcastic air quotes at that, since I'm driving. I'm letting her think we're agreeing. Here's the not she wrote you to 'explain'", Xander said calmly, handing her the note as they drove.

Dawn read the stupid brush off from Buffy, then mulled over everything for a while before she said, "Alright. This officially proves that Buffy can be declared legally stupid by any court in the land. Now that that's established, what's really going on?"

"The First's leading us into a trap, but Buff will never believe that without proof. She's to high on that axe-stake she insists on calling a scythe to listen to me without proof. Hell, even with it, she might ignore me. And since I don't even have everything fleshed out yet, much less proof of a trap on hand, the ancient mind control technique known as 'lying through my teeth' was needed to deal with Buffy.", he replied as they drove calmly out of SunnyD.

"Ok. A.) Duh to the trap thing, now that I think of it, and B.) how do I know you're not using your 'ancient mind control technique' on me, and C.) what are we doing?", the sister of the elder Slayer asked, making her air quotes on 'ancient mind control technique'. "And notice that I did include Cordy's patented air quotes."

"Well, you'll have to trust me on B.", he replied.

"I wouldn't be in the car thank to my acting skills if I didn't Xand.", Dawn interjected.

"I know.", he said, reassuring her. "And I'll need you're trust when I explain the next part. We're making a quick trip to handle some family business of mine, and pick up a magic weapon that makes Buffy's not-a-scythe look like a cheesy TV prop."

"Why do I get the feeling you aren't referring to either the drunks we're rapidly leaving in the 'Dale, or the mob when you say 'family'.", she asked suspiciously.

"Because you're as wise as you are beautiful. Easily eclipsing Buffy in every way...", Xander rambled before he was cut off.

"Now I know you're hiding something. Spill. Or things get ugly.", she ordered, crossing her arms in determination.

Xander looked intently at the road as be began, "Well, you see..."

If one was on a road out of Sunnydale that night with only one car on it driving out of town, one might have heard an attractive you woman shriek "YOU'RE A WHAT?!?", cutting through the night.


Kagura was waiting patiently, her arms held demurely in front of her as she waited at the nearest point to Sunnydale Xander could go to and be free of the Hellmouth's interference protection. Sesshomaru's personal steed, the two-headed dragon beast Ah-un waited with her beside the road, a chariot mounted to him. As she waited, Kagura attempted to sort her conflicting emotions. The excitement at Xander's arrival was warring with her worry over the circumstances. She also felt relief that it was Dawn coming with him and not any of the others. From what Lord Sesshomaru's spies reported, the youngest Summers was the most tolerable of the bunch now, with the Wicca running a close second. Still, even if she was just a ningen, Dawn would be the most readily accepting of Xander's heritage and responsibilities.


"I still can't believe you never told us about this.", Dawn said, clearly pouting as they neared their destination. "Especially ME. I've always thought we trusted each other. And here I find out you're a demon..."

"Half-demon.", Xander interjected.

Dawn continued as if uninterrupted. "...and you've had this chance at having powers and all for years and never mentioned it. Why, Xander?"

"Buffy needed to remember who she was fighting for. I kept her grounded as a human. Now, she doesn't see that anymore. And things are too dangerous to leave alone.", he said, his emotions seeming to close off as he spoke.

"Xander that's...THE DUMBEST THING I'VE EVER HEARD! You needed to be powerless to help Buffy? It's only dangerous now? And it wasn't dangerous before? You froob! How many times did you nearly die for my sister's sake? God you're feeble sometimes. You have nearly died more than once to satisfy your White Knight complex, and all this time you could have been like 100 times safer.", she scolded, glaring intently at the one-eyed carpenter.

Xander sighed heavily as he replied, "It had to be that way, Dawn. And you're not saying anything I haven't heard before from my Dad...or Kagura...or even Jaken. It was my call. Still is. Besides, I'm letting you in now. I could have just drugged you for real, and left you safe with my Dad to wait things out."

His counter softened her anger some as Dawn responded, "Fair enough. But you're still a big stupid dork for not telling me sooner. I would have supported you no matter what."

"I know.", he said, before gesturing ahead of them with his chin. "We're here.", he said, as he pulled the car off the road and just behind Ah-Un, placing it behind a bush to conceal it from the road.

Dawn studied the demon woman Xander had described as 'Kagura' on the way to their meeting as she got out of the car. The red eyed youkai was gorgeous, as most women around Xander were, and seemed to exude power and confidence. That was again, practically a Xander-girl trademark. She was dressed fashionably, in a functional pantsuit well suited to combat, with a Japanese fan in her right hand. Her black hair was in a complicated Japanese bun, bound by a single white feather. "Hi." Dawn said mildly by way of greeting.


Kagura felt joy swell in her heart as she saw Xander's car approach, and felt his muted youki draw near. That joy turned to shock, and then to rage, as she saw his eye. "Xander-sama. It is good to see you. Did you happen to forget to mention something when you called?", she asked, clearly seething.

Xander shrugged as if the whole thing was unimportant as he replied, "Jackass minion of the First poked out my eye. Buffy killed him. Twice. We have more important things to deal with." He looked intently into the eyes of the wind sorceress as he asked, "Is everything arranged?"

"Hai, Xander-sama. Just as you asked. Your father will have everything ready upon our arrival."

"Good.", he said with a nod. His face and tone grew lighter as he said, "Kagura, allow me to introduce Dawn Summers. Dawnie, this is the wind sorceress Kagura, and my Dad's personal steed Ah-Un."

"Hello, Dawn-san. Forgive my rudeness. Xander's condition was a bit of a shock.", she said with a bow. Xander had called the girl 'family'. That meant politeness was a primary priority until they got to know one another. She didn't want to alienate Sesshomaru's heir by seeming rude to his little ningen friend.

"No problem. Sorry the big Oaf didn't warn you. He has this thing about no telling women things if they'll either upset them, or make him look good. All attempts to break him of the habit have failed.", Dawn replied with a grin.

Kagura smirked wickedly as she responded, "Believe me, I know what you mean. We'll have to keep working on him, I suppose."

Dawn matched Kagura's grin with one of her own at that.

*Wonderful, just what I need. Two of them on my case at once. They just had to like one another.*, Xander groused in his head, rolling his eye to the heavens. "You two ready to go?", he asked exasperatedly, as he headed for Ah-Un. "Or would you rather berate me for wanting to be modest and protective?"

"Can't we do both.", Dawn asked with an innocent expression as she headed for the chariot as well.

Kagura giggled behind her hand as she followed them. "Dawn-san, I think you an I will get along quite well.", she said as they took off into the air on the demon chariot, appearing to fade from sight as the concealment spell kicked in.

Chapter 3

Dawn watched the passing ground beneath them with muted awe as the demonic chariot flew them to LA. She was amazed, even knowing as much as she did about magic from Willow, that nobody could see the wondrous, comet-like trail Ah-Un left as he flew. The total lack of dangerous wind resistance as the went so fast also had her slightly off balance. This new world of Xander's was going to take some getting used to, if her first impressions were anything to go by.

Xander, seeming to read her mind, grinned as he said, "You'll get used to it in no time. I was pretty wowed the first time I rode the Ah-Un express to visit my father, too."

Dawn faced the carpenter and asked, "So, what's your father like, Xander?"

Xander looked pensive as he answered, "He's cold alot of the time. He's been hurt more than any human can really picture over the years. He has a sense of humor that's wicked when he lets it out, and he can be the cruelest and most merciless demon in existence if you piss him off."

Kagura interjected from where she was guiding their flight, "He wasn't always that bad, Xander. Well, he was when I first met him. Slightly worse, actually, if you can imagine that. Nobody knew he knew how to smile, much less that he had a sense of humor then. Rin snapped him out of it. Well, her, and making peace with his brother. He only got like this again after your mother was killed. It got worse when Naraku used an assassin to kill Inuyasha. That's when he put you into protective custody on the Hellmouth. He was scared you'd be next when you were too young to defend yourself. It was better to seal you and hide you, and leave you to become too tempting a target."

"I know. We talked alot of that over last summer when I visited. Still, I wish I could lighten him up some more.", Xander replied.

"You will, in time. Now that you'll be safer, he should relax a little. Once we kill Naraku, he might even let himself go for a bit. Hopefully, he'll find your mother's reincarnation in a few years. Her presence has always calmed him."

"It will be nice to meet her.", Xander said, looking out over the night sky.

Dawn was wisely quiet for the rest of the trip. The conversation was far to heavy and mind blowing to attempt to get them to explain it. She'd get the expanded story from Xander later. Instead, even as the two older occupants of the chariot switched their conversation to catching up on each other's lives, she just kept an eye on the view, and kept her thoughts to herself.


As they finally arrived and set down near the stables, the first thing that crossed Dawn's mind was *Xan wasn't kidding when he referred to it as an ESTATE. This place is huge!* Her thoughts were cut short, as she saw the approach of a man that could only be Sesshomaru. He was dressed in his formal white with red trim kimono, his sacred blades displayed for all to see. It took all Dawn had not to let out an 'eeep' when he reached them and spoke. This man, no demon, personified power.

"Welcome home, my son. All is nearly ready, including arrangement for the girl. Will Shippo be suitable to instruct her.", Sesshomaru said formally, his voice detached as usual. He gave no apparent mention or notice to his son's missing eye.

Kagura and Xander bowed, with Dawn following suit a half second later, before Xander replied. "Hello, Father. It's good to see you. I'm sorry to arrive because of such dire circumstances. Yes, Shippo will be fine. Thank you for arranging it.", he said in a similar tone.

"Excellent. Welcome to you as well, Miss Summers.", Sesshomaru said to Dawn, which earned a timid 'thankyou' from the girl. A ghost of an impression of a grin appeared for a fraction of a second on the Tai Inu Youkai of the Western Lands' face at that. It was the most emotion he's shown to someone beside Jaken, Kagura, or Xander in quite some time. It was obvious to the few that knew him that he had taken an instant liking to the girl. "Kagura, take the girl on a small tour while you lead her to Shippo. My son and I have much to discuss before the ceremony. And see that the Kitsune is aware she should have time to attend as well. This Sesshomaru knows his son would want her there.", Sesshomaru then said to the wind sorceress.

"Yes milord.", Kagura replied, dipping her head in servitude to his orders.

Xander hugged Dawn and said his quick goodbyes before he left with his father. "See you in a little while, kiddo. Don't worry, you'll like Shippo. He's got a real wicked sense of humor. And stick close to him or Kagura until I see you again."

"I will.", she promised as she hugged him back. "Good luck."

Xander just smiled as he let her go and watched her leave with Kagura. When his eyes met with his father's again, he nodded once, and they headed off in another direction.

They walked for a few minutes before either spoke again. Not surprisingly, it was Xander that started the conversation. "I meant what I said. I'm sorry it took this to make me visit. I wanted a reunion to be a happy thing with us.", he said.

"I know. You would have visited over the summer again, regardless. Do not worry yourself over it. I understand.", Sesshomaru replied. "I just wish it wasn't circumstances forcing you to this. I wanted it to be your choice if this day came or not. Not the First's."

"It was time. I had no reason to cling to my humanity. I had no human mate like Uncle Inuyasha did, none of my friends are normal enough to complain about this, save Dawn, and she'll be behind me 110%. Circumstances just made me grow up faster, is all.", Xander said.

"As they do for us all.", Sesshomaru commented. After another pause, he added, "I meant what I said as well, pup."

"Hmm?", Xander inquired, not quite sure what his father meant.

"It is good to have you home.", The Lord replied, placing his hand on Xander's shoulder and giving the young man a rare grin. They soon reached his private audience chambers, where Jaken was waiting for them.

"Welcome back Lord Sesshomaru, and you as well young Master. I am pleased to announce that the Awakening ceremony will be prepared within the hour. It does this demon's heart good to see you in good health.", the toad youkai rambled, before actually bothering to look up from his groveling to see Xander's eye-patch. "Ahhh! What happened you, Lord Alexander? Who would attack you so heinously? Surely we must mobilize to destroy the foul cur!"

Xander cut off Jaken with a gesture. "It's handled, Jaken. He's dead, and I'll take my revenge on his troops after the ceremony.", he said.

"Jaken, leave us. Return when all is ready. And be prepared to go with Xander, Kagura, and young Dawn when they leave.", Sesshomaru ordered.

"As you wish, milord.", the toad youkai answered feebly as he bowed, before heading out of the room. As he passed them, both could hear his mutter to himself. "Who could maim the young master like that? Even with healing spells he'll be scarred. I swear, the very sight took another hundred years off my life. I'm getting too old for this.", he groused as he left.

Xander grinned, and Sesshomaru nearly did as they watched him go, closing the door behind him. "Good to see some things never change.", Xander said.

Sesshomaru's good humor fled as he replied, "And some thing do, my son. What happened?"

Xander sighed, he knew this was coming. "A jackass minion of the first was ripping through during in a poorly planned assault on our part. I was helping the evac, and he caught me as I was saving a potential Slayer's life. But, like I told Kagura earlier, Buffy killed him already. Twice. If he comes back again, I'll introduce him to the Kaze no Kizu."

"Assuming this Sesshomaru doesn't reach him fist and show him the Dokkaso.", his father said in reply. "Either way, I will have healer rectify what they can. And you can rest assured this will not go uncontested." After a moment to think things over, Sesshomaru sighed. "Wounded helping a human in a situation she wasn't ready have too much of your uncle in you.", he said.

"Maybe. It doesn't matter much after the fact, anyway. The important thing is that we get everything together for my return.", Xander said evenly.

"The vans are loaded and on their way to Sunnydale. They will precede you be a good couple of hours. I've had a pair of fire rat outfits in modern styles made for you and your little ningen friend to use as armor. Beyond that, all that needs to be done is to release your seal, and teach you what I can of a few basic Inuyoukai attacks before you have to leave. The Kaze no Kizu for the Tetsusaiga should be easy to cover. You should also read the notes Inuyasha made later in life about the Sankon Tesso, and the blood blade technique. Both will serve you well later, even if they can not be mastered now.", Sesshomaru said, leading his son to a small, comfortable sitting area away from the main chamber where he had a pot of makai tea, and a pot of human green tea, each, waiting.

"Now, in the meantime, tell this Sesshomaru about his son's life. I want to hear about your happenings where I can see you, instead of using a phone, or spies, or Kagura.", he said once they were seated.

Xander smiled warmly at his father as he heard that. He settled in, and poured them each a cup of tea from their respective pots as spoke. "Well, to start off, I made site foreman at work, starting with the rebuilding of the high school. Thanks for letting me work my way, instead of just buying the company for me or something, by the way...", he said, as be began to spend some quality catching up time with his father.

Chapter 4

"That's the way, Dawn, fry those suckers!", Shippo crowed enthusiastically as he helped the girl learn the ins and outs of a fire-ball burst flamethrower nicknamed by Sesshomaru's army, appropriately enough, the "Super Mario", or the "SM", for short. The small, techno-wizard developed weapon literally shot baseball sized fireballs at a target. It was an ideal weapon for killing regular vampires and Turok-han alike.

Dawn smiled as she holed and fried another cardboard uber-vamp on the firing range. This was her third, and probably last, weapon to review the use and operation of in the last thirty minutes, and she was loving it. She had already met Shippo's standards for use of an MP-5 sub-machine gun, and a modified remote detonation claymore mine that actually fired blessed shrapnel at demons. The youngest Slayerette never considered how modern weapons could be modified to fight demons before, even after meeting the Initiative. Leave it to a group of demons to figure out how to fight other demons more effectively.

Of course she also realized that she really only had time to learn how to fire and reload the SM and the MP-5, and she was nowhere as skilled as anyone else in the range, especially Shippo. The five-hundred+ year old Kitsune used each weapon he demonstrated, minus the claymores, which were more about explaining the remote, and how to avoid getting caught in the crossfire, with a casual ease. Dawn took a moment to look over her eager instructor again, as he took the SM from her, to show her how to change the fuel packs.

He stood about five foot nine, and he weighed a solid 190. He was built lean, like a gymnast, and like every other partially human looking demon here, seemed to radiate almost casual power. He was also a jokester and sweets junky of such amazing proportions that she was sure he could have taught a teenage Xander a thing or two about eating candy. Well, maybe not. Anyway, the young auburn haired fox boy, with his laughing green eyes, and easy going personality, certainly reminded Dawn of Xander. It was hard to believe he was centuries older than either she or her surrogate big brother.

"So, did you get that, Dawnie?", Shippo asked, as he finished his demonstration.

"Huh?", she replied intelligently, as she was pulled out of her musings.

"I think you need to go over it again, brat. She was too preoccupied with your dashing good looks, and gently swishing tail to see what you did.", Kagura interjected with a giggle from where she was sitting behind them.

This caused Dawn to sputter in shock, and stammer about what she had really been considering, which only made her look more guilty. Shippo just blushed crimson.

Kagura favored Dawn with a grin as she said, "I'm just teasing you, Dawn. Relax." She then turned her head to Shippo, and in Japanese said "[I see you getting attached already, fox. Tread lightly, the young Lord thinks of her as family, and I doubt he'd settle for knocking you on the head the way Inuyasha did if things turned sour. You need to think things over carefully. Just think of her as Sango, and think of what Inuyasha would have done to another kitsune that threatened his pack with romantic overtures.]"

"[Relax, Kaggy-chan. It's not like that. I'm not looking to make you into a my mother-in-law.]", the fox boy replied, giving her the red eye, which made Dawn giggle. In English, he added, "You're too uptight too, wind girl. You need to get laid or something. Why don't you go find Xander-san and see to that?"

This made Dawn laugh so hard, she went red faced, which went nicely with the shade of red that Kagura's face had turned in her combination of embarrassment and anger.

"You ill tongued little brat! Someone needs to start tossing you off into the horizon again. You're getting too saucy in your old age.", Kagura screeched as she rose and hit the now wildly laughing kitsune repeatedly in the head with her fan.

After a few minutes, which caused all three to begin laughing, the levity finally dies down enough for Shippo to explain the reload for the SM again, and get Dawn to demonstrate it. They were going to go into the use of side-arms, when they got a call on the intercom from Jaken announcing that the ceremony would be ready shortly.

Shippo smiled easily to Dawn as he said, "Well, that's all we can cover for now. Hopefully we can go over a couple of more while Lord Sesshomaru shown Xander what he can before you have to leave. And you can always join Xan when he visits this summer for a refresher course. I know you'll send the First Baka's army packing."

Dawn smiled at the kitsune as she asked, "Will you be at the ceremony?"

Shippo looked a little sad as he replied, "Nah. I have to go over some casualty reports from the local Kitsune population. With our disguise magics, we're mostly Spec Ops teams, but with the First, we're seeing alot of front line skirmishes. I'll catch you later. If not now, then after you guys bloody intangible lad's nose on the Hellmouth."

"Ok. Thanks again Shippo. I'll see you later.", Dawn replied, before following Kagura out of the basement sub-level firing range, and heading toward an elevator. "So, Kagura. What are we doing, how much time do we have until the ceremony? Are you interested in Xander? What should I wear? And is my make-up still ok.", Dawn asked, trying to sneak an honest answer out of the wind sorceress.

"Well, Dawn, we're going to my chamber to get dressed for the ceremony, which should happen in a few minutes, none of your business, I'll lend you a kimono, and your make-up looks fine, but you should touch up your lipstick a little once you're dressed.", Kagura replied with a grin.

"I'll get the other answer out of you eventually, you know.", Dawn said with a pout.

"If I play my cards right, it won't exactly be a secret for you to question. You'll know, one way, or another.", Kagura replied with a smirk.

Dawn just 'Hmmphed' in indignation at that.


Sesshomaru and Xander were enjoying their tea, and their time to get reacquainted, when Jaken came in to announce that all was ready, and escort them to the chambers Sesshomaru had arranged for Xander, where the already waiting servants could help him dress in his ceremonial kimono.

"This Sesshomaru will see you soon my son. Jaken will alert Kagura and the girl, and have them meet us there. Until we see each other again", his father said, his voice emotionless again.

Xander nodded his acquiescence, before subjecting himself to the tittering female servants, a kitsune girl, two lesser inu youkai women, and a human, who helped prepare him according to ancient traditions. They all nattered on about how exciting this must be for him, and how happy they were to see the heir to the throne return to his position of power. Xander just endured it with as much dignity a man being dressed by four young women can. They were obviously not warriors, and did not understand the sacrifices he, and the others in this war, made to stay alive, and keep the world safe.

When they had finished preparing him, he was dressed in a kimono like his father's, only his was white with royal purple trim. On the back of the kimono was the crest of the Tai Inu youkai of the Western Lands. As Xander was lead to the room where the Awakening was to take place, he kept his eyes to the floor, simply following the servants to where he needed to be.

When they stopped in front of an ornate oak door, eh did as well. "We can escort you no further, milord. Good luck.", the kitsune girl, clearly the most senior of the servants in status said, with a bow, before escorting herself and the other away.

Xander took a deep, steadying breath outside the door. "Take it easy, cyclops. It's only you're whole life that's about to change. You do stuff this important on practically a yearly basis. At least this family isn't full of drunks.", he whispered to himself, psyching himself up.

With a final, deep breath, he opened the door and entered, his head help high, and his whole bearing as regal as he could make it. On the far end of the room stood his father, holding the Tetsusaiga, his stoic face unchanging. Next to Sesshomaru, on his right, stood Jaken, the Staff of Souls in his hand. On his father's left stood Kagura, dressed in her formal kimono, as she was when he first met her. Dawn was dressed similarly in a noble woman's kimono, her hair up in an intricate bun.

At the center of the room was a ritual circle, surrounded by five robed priest carrying incense stick, and chanting in ancient Japanese.

"Alexander Harris, you have entered the court of the Tai Inu-Youkai of the Western Lands, your honored father Lord Sesshomaru, son of Inutaisho, brother to the legendary hanyou warrior Inu Yasha to claim your birthright and release your true self. Do you come freely, and of your own true will?", Jaken asked, stepping forward as he spoke, before returning to Sesshomaru's side.

"I do. This Son of Sesshomaru comes to reclaim his true power. To awaken the blood in my veins.", Xander replied with a nod.

Kagura then stepped forward and said, "Then enter the ritual circle, and become yourself one more.", before returning to her place.

Xander did so, stepping into the circle, which caused the priests to chant louder, as he waited for the next step.

That step came when Sesshomaru stepped forward, entering the circle and facing his son. He held out his right hand, and Xander put his own right hand in it face up. Sesshomaru held the hand at the wrist, as a priest handed him an ornate dagger. Their eyes stares emotionlessly into each other as the Lord of the West cut a deep gash into his son's hand, then released him and cut one into his own, before clasping their two hands together. "Alexander, first son the Inu youkai throne, blood of my blood. Stand now and claim your birthright.", he said, before releasing Xander, and returning to his place to get the Tetsusaiga. He returned to the circle, where Xander had not moved, placing the Tetsusaiga on the floor in front of him. He then exited for the final time and returned to the others. Once there, he said, "Now say your name and release your true self. This Sesshomaru allows. So let it be done."

Xander showed no fear or hesitation as he said, "I am Alexander child of Lord Sesshomaru, and Lady Rin, known as Xander Lavelle Harris. I am the Prince of the Western Lands. I am hanyou."

Once the words were uttered, an unnatural wind picked up, as red lightning began to arc over Xander's body, as if it were chains holding him. As the winds picked up, the lightning flickered more and more violently, and it was clear it was taking all of Xander's strength to stay standing. Finally, with an unearthly how, the red lightning chains broke and dissipated, and Xander fell to his hands an knees still breathing wildly. Dawn tried to run to him then, but was restrained with a gentle grab and nod to the negative from Kagura.

As Xander knelt there, heaving his breaths, a change began to overtake him. His ears seemed to recede into his head first, followed by his hair growing slightly longer and thicker. As his hair seemed to grow, it turned a silver white, matching his father's. Eventually, two dog like ears poked out of the top of his head. His nails turned to iron hard claws on his hands next, and his canines grew into fangs. Finally, his eye turned from a chocolate brown, to as deep amber. Once the change was done, Xander remained there heaving, proud he hadn't screamed at the pain it had caused.

"Now, my son. Take your grandfather's fang, the sword of your uncle, and claim it. Take it, and with it your birthright.", Sesshomaru commanded.

Xander nodded tiredly, as he grabbed the sword with his right hand. There was a flash of light as white lightning seemed to arc over him, as if inspecting him, before disappearing in another flash. He was found worthy. Tetsusaiga had a new bearer. Once he had taken the sword properly, Xander struggled to his feet. Looking over the assembled court before him. "I am whole.", he said, staggering out of the circle to them. "I am finally whole.", he repeated in a whisper, as he collapsed again at their feet.

This time, the whole group rushed to him. Dawn and Kagura checked him from the sides, as Jaken muttered useless encouragements. Sesshomaru, for his part, just knelt in front of his son, and stroked his now white hair. "Indeed you are, Alexander. And I am proud of you.", the Lord said with a gentle smile.

Chapter 5

The first sensations to assert itself on Xander's consciousness were the smells. There were so many his mind couldn't process them and sort them all. The two most predominant, however seemed to be the unique scent that he inhaled from Dawn each time she hugged him, and...Sakura blossoms? That didn't seem right. Why would he smell Sakura blossoms?

The next sensations to filter in were sounds. Those, too, came in a huge, nearly indecipherable wave. He eventually tried to focus on the nearest. The two most prevalent seemed to be a pair how heartbeats. That couldn't be right either. How could he hear a heartbeat?

Finally, the mind of Alexander Harris resigned itself to the fact that he would have to fully wake up and open his eyes. The first thing he saw was a field of white, which was quickly filled with two blurs in his left and right periphery. Wait. Was that right? Wasn't there something wrong with his left periphery? Oh well, he'd remember it after he had woken up. He eventually stirred, trying to sit up with groan.

This alerted the two blurs, now recognizable through the fog of sleep as Kagura and Dawn, who sat on either side of the bed he was resting in. Strange, he didn't remember going to bed. The two women immediately proceeded to glomp him and fuss over his general condition. As his head cleared more, he finally remembered just what had happened, and why he was unconscious. His father had clearly had him brought to his rooms at the estate to sleep off the effect of his Awakening.

He brought his hands up to rub his eyes, as he opened his mouth in huge, fang exposing, yawn. As he pulled them back, he realized what was wrong with his left side. He could see from it. His newly restored dog ears flattened against his head in consternation as he looked questioningly at Dawn and Kagura, who were both still trying to mother him.

Dawn just nodded happily, seeming to pay strange attention to the top of his head, as Kagura answered, "You're father had the healers do what they could while your change was still settling. You have your eye back and minimal scarring to the area. The only problem will be that it will always be its natural amber. Even disguise magicks and your one day a month as a human won't conceal it.", she said, brushing his bushier white hair back in a tender gesture.

This caused his ears to perk up as he let out as he let out an Oz- like "Cool."

Finally, at this sight, Dawn could take it no longer, and gave into a temptation she had resisted since Xander's transformation. She HAD to play with those cute puppy ears. Her hands began to pull, stoke and scratch them as he squealed and said, "Xander, these are SOOO cute. The SiT's will be lining up around the block just to touch them when we get back."

This caused Xander to grimace, and flatten said appendages again, which brought out another squeal, from Dawn, and a giggle from Kagura. Xander took Dawns hands gently at the wrists, careful of his new claws, and placed them in her lap as he sat up more fully. "Dawnie. I love you, you know that. But I have a few ground rules now. One, my hearing is a good as a dog demon, which is really really good. So please try not to squeal loud and high whenever my ears move. It hurts. Second, I don't play with your body parts, so please don't play with mine. And finally, please promise to enforce those rules with the mini Slayers.", he pleaded.

Dawn blushed in mild embarrassment as she nodded guiltily.

Kagura smirked wickedly as she added, "Milord, you never specified which body parts you want Dawn to guard. I'd like to volunteer my services to guard she'd by uncomfortable seeing."

This made Dawn giggle madly, and Xander roll his eyes. "Great. You're corrupting Dawn with your ditty mind, Kagura. That was supposed to be Willow's and my job. We called it.", he said with a fake pout. This made all three laugh lightly.

The levity of the moment was broken slightly as a knock came to the door, and Jaken called through, "Kagura, Lord Sesshomaru bids me to tell you that once the young Master is awake and recovered properly, he is to head to the training room three to go over what preparations we have time for while you make you preparation to leave, and I entertain the ningen girl until Shippo is free again."

Xander cleared his throat, then called out, "C'mon in, Jaken. I just woke up."

Jaken entered as he was bade, and said, "Lord Alexander! It does this old youkai good to see you in proper health again."

Xander smiled at the toad youkai, as he motioned for Dawn to get up, so that he could stand up out of his bed. Once he was up, he stretched, then addressed the youkai retainer. "Jaken, I have a task for you."

Jaken's impossible large eyes boggled as he practically fell over himself to accept whatever task Xander set forth. "Of course milord. I live to serve your family, as I have since I first came into your father's service centuries ago. Simply command me, and I will do whatever you ask. It is the least I can do after you father has saved me from the very jaws of death on so many times over the years..."

Xander cut the toad youkai off with a gesture. "That's enough for now Jaken. Actually, I know that dawn was interested in my family's history. I was hoping you could escort her to the private drawing room until Shippo can instruct her again, and tell her some of the Inu Youkai family history."

Jaken looked shocked as he asked, "y mean the young lady actually wants to hear my stories?"

Dawn grinned happily as she replied, "I'd love to hear then, Jaken. Xander has a tendency to get strong and silent about his own family. I'd really appreciate getting some backstory."

Jaken stood as tall as he could as he replied, "well then, young lady, follow me, and I will regale you with the honored tales of Lord Sesshomaru and his family.", as he headed out the door.

Dawn smiled at Xander, kissed his cheek, and scratched his ears again. "Later Xander. I'll see you after you talk to your dad.", she said, before jogging off after Jaken.

Once Dawn and Jaken had left, Kagura stood from where she had been sitting on the opposite side of the bed, and walked over to Xander. "I should go as well. I'll see you later, Xander.", she said, whispering and blowing in his ear. As she pulled back, she licked her lips, and trailed a finger across the tip of his ear, before winking saucily at him. As she strode out, Xander swore he saw an extra sway in her hips.

He had to suppress a shiver at Kagura's actions as she left. Where before he could write things off as playful flirting with the she-demon, he could smell, and instinctively recognize her attraction and arousal. He'd have to take the time to think over what he thought about that after the situation in the 'Dale was handled.

Once Kagura had left, Xander closed his door, and removed his ceremonial kimono. He searched the room for appropriate training clothes, and found a wrapped bundle on the dresser with a note in his father's handwriting.

/These are the clothes I mentioned earlier, my son. Try them on, and wear them for training. Remember to bring keep the Tetsusaiga with you. Love, Father./

Xander unwrapped the bundle and took out the clothes. They consisted of a pair of black dyed, cargo style, baggy pants, a red, long sleeve pullover shirt, and a long red-brown leather trenchcoat with a pocket inside for the Tetsusaiga's sheath.

Once he was dressed, he found that everything fit perfectly, and that even the position of the Tetsusaiga was comfortable. The only problem was his shoes, which would never stand up to his new foot claws. He'd have to go barefoot, or get some sandals until he could have proper shoes made. Xander, now as dressed as he was going to get, headed off to meet his father.


Sesshomaru sat in meditation, waiting for his son to arrive. He heard and smelled the hanyou long before he saw him. "Hello, my son, I see you armor fits you well. The alteration for your ningen friend's will be done before you leave.", he said.

"That's, Dad. Yeah, they fit well, but I'll need some new shoes made of tougher stuff. My sneaks won't stand up to my claws.". Xander replied with a shrug.

"I will see to it a few pairs are made for you in time for your next visit.", Sesshomaru replied evenly. "Now, this Sesshomaru will give you lessons on youki, and your new sword. I will also show you how I perform my youki whip, and let you read your uncle's notes on the Sankon Tessou. From there, you will eventually develop your own youki claw techniques, as we did emulating our father's. Most important, however, will be the lessons on the history and use of the Tetsusaiga, for the blade will defend you both from demon threats, and from the power of your own blood..."


As Xander was getting his history lesson and instruction, Dawn was getting a lesson of a different kind.

"...and so, Lord Inuyasha used the fearsome power of his father's fang, and removed Lord Sesshomaru's paw to protect his future mate.", Jaken said.

This puzzled Dawn, as she asked, "They were enemies? From what I've heard, I though Xander's dad and uncle were close?"

"Oh, they were. later in life. Even then Lord Sesshomaru only sought the fang to improve his own power. He never bore any true malice toward his brother. In truth, he was just trying to toughen him up and force him rely less on humanity. After all the last time he had trusted a ningen, Lord Inuyasha was sealed to a tree in a state of living death for fifty years. Lord Sesshomaru sought to protect his brother from the pains of humanity again. In truth, he did not gain his current respect for humanity until he first met Lady Rin.", Jaken explained.

This caused Dawn, a not so closet romantic to look at a portrait of Sesshomaru and Rin and sigh. "So, it was love at first sight, then."

Jaken laughed, an irritating sound at the best of times, as he replied. "Oh heavens no. Rin was no more than seven when Lord Sesshomaru first encountered her. He was lying, wounded in the forest after a skirmish with Lord Inuyasha when she happened upon him. Although he mostly ignored the child, she continued to bring him food and aid she had stolen from the local village, despite the beatings they gave her for it. This sacrifice began to touch the Master's hardened heart. So much so, that later, when young Rin was killed by wolves, he revived her with the holy power of the Tenseiga. From that day forward, she never left our side."

Dawn scrunched her face at Jaken's words. It was hard to picture Xander's father as some kind of sick demon pedophile.

Jaken seemed to sense where her mind was going, and he scolded her for it. "Get your mind out of the gutter, girl! Lord Sesshomaru cared for her a father cared for a daughter, and that was all, in those days. She was well over sixteen summers when things began to change between them, and that was a HER insistence." Jaken then went into another story, this about how an older Rin conquered and captured the heard of the Prince of the Western Lands.

Dawn paid rapt attention to the romantic story, which went on until the time of Sesshomaru's and Rin's marriage, when another voice interrupted them. "Jeeze, Jaken. We're supposed to be nice to Dawnie, not bore her to death. You still like the sound of your own voice way too much.", Shippo said from where he was leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed.

Jaken huffed indignantly, sticking his pointed chin high into the air, as her replied, "I'll have you know the young lady was enjoying my stories."

Dawn smiled gently as she replied, "I really did, Shippo. It was nice to hear about Xander's family history like this. Jaken's a great story teller."

The kitsune merely rolled his eyes at this as he responded, "You haven't had to listen to the over and over again for five centuries. Trust me, they don't change, and the toad still likes to talk.", eliciting a giggle from Dawn.

Jaken shook his tiny fist angrily as he cried, "Impudent fox! You should show respect to your elders. To think one raised by Lord Inuyasha and his mate could hold such little regard for their history is deplorable."

"I respect their history Jaken. But fir now I'm concerned for their future.", Shippo said. He then turned to Dawn and said, "Speaking of the future, I see learning side arms in yours. We have time. Come on, a good pistol can save your tail." With that, he turned and headed toward the firing range, trusting Dawn to catch up.

Dawn quickly said her goodbyes and thank yous to Jaken, getting him to promise to consider with the story later (Not that took any effort. He loved to prattle on about Sesshomaru's history.), and hurried off to match Shippo's pace. As she reached him, he gave him a puppy dog look as she asked, "Shippo? How can a pistol save my tail when I don't have one?", looking toward his own bushy fox tail.

The kitsune just grinned mischievously as he made a show to stare at her butt before replying, "I don't know. It looks like you have a nice tail to me.", and running off laughing toward the firing range.

Dawn stood there in stunned shock for half a second, before taking off after him, shouting playful insults and threats all the way.


"And now, my son, you can see the wind scar. With that you can perform the Kaze no Kizu, the stroke that can slay a hundred youkai with a single pass.", Sesshomaru said to Xander.

"Yes father.", Xander replied respectfully, his brow wet with sweat.

"Then all that remains, is to test your new skills.", his father replied, as he turned and headed toward an adjoining room. "Follow me."

Xander did as he was ordered, and followed his father to a room filled with various wards. Back against the wall was a Turok-han, also dubbed an uber vamp by the Scooby Gang, chained in place with magick.

"This is the last test for your use of the blade. To see the wind scar between us is simple, for we have great and powerful youki. Now you must find it on this lowly Turok-han, and use the Kaze no Kizu to strike him down. Do not worry about the walls. The wards will protect them. That is what they are there for.", Sesshomaru instructed.

Xander nodded his acquiescence as he stepped forward, raising the transformed fang that was the Tetsusaiga in front of him. He concentrated on the differing energy patterns between him and the uber, after finally finding the uber much smaller energy. It took almost a full minute, but eventually he had it. Once he did, he looked to hoe each patter clashed against the other, creating ethereal 'winds'. Between them was a golden light, the wind scar. As soon as Xander found it, he readied the Tetsusaiga, and called out an attack that had not been hear in nearly five hundred years.

"Kaze no Kizu!"

The poor uber never stood a chance.

Chapter 6

Dawn stood relaxed, feet shoulder width apart, arms extended, and both eyes open. After a long moment, five set of three loud ^CRACK^s filled the air, piercing the night.

"Nice set Dawn. You hit center mass on twelve of fifteen rounds at thirty paces, with five in the heart. For a rookie, that's phenomenal.", Shippo complimented, as Dawn ejected the clip, and replaced it as she had been shown.

"Yeah, that's the best set I've seen", a voice shouted from behind them, startling Dawn, but not seeming to affect the kitsune.

"Xander!", she cried, as she safetied and set down the 9mm Glock she as training on, before she rushed to and and hugged the White Knight.

Shippo just huffed and crossed his arms as he said, "You cheated, Mr. Military training through possession. You're better with an M-16 that I am."

"When you've got it flaunt it, Ship." Xander said with a shrug as he returned Dawn's hug. "You guys just about ready? I think Kagura and Jaken have their stuff together.", he asked as he let Dawn go.

"As ready as I can get.", Dawn answered. "How about you? This go good learning the mystery that is Tetsusaiga?"

Xander lowered his voice as he replied, "My skills are complete. Indeed I /am? powerful, as the Emperor has foreseen."

"Nerd.", Dawn commented as she backhanded the hanyou lightly on the chest.

"Brat.", he answered, sticking his tongue out.

Shippo cleared his throat to break up the moment, but was smiling ruefully as he said, "Good luck, Xander. I wish I was going with you."

Xander nodded in understanding, but Dawn asked, "Why can't you? I mean I know things here are tight with the First being a general pain, but why can't you come along?"

"Sesshomaru's only letting Kagura and Jaken go because he worries about Xander alot. Not that Kagura might not go anyway. She's been in charge of watching our newest puppy and keeping him alive for a while." Shippo said with a teasing grin at Xander, which was answered with an indignant snort that made the kitsune think of Inuyasha. This made him smile sadly for a second before he continued. "Actually, we've been having real problems with Turok- han being added to bolster the ranks of the local clans of the Scourge. The FE is using them as its front line shock troops to either recruit or kill off all the unaligned demons in the area. We've lost three friendly clans, and four safehouses in two weeks. I need to stay to coordinate my fellow kitsune.", he explained.

"Good luck, fox boy.", Xander said, his voice colored heavily with respect.

"You too, Xander. Give 'em hell. Just like oto...Inuyasha would have.", Shippo said, his eyes growing misty.

The newly reawakened hanyou nodded solemnly, before grinning to lighten the mood. "I'll practice saying 'Feh!' for the next time I see you."

This made Shippo bark a laugh as he replied, "Man, Jaken really does talk too much."

"Tell me about it.", Xander replied.

Finally, they finished their goodbyes, and Dawn and Xander exited the firing range, Dawn securing the pistol behind her back in the holster Shippo had given her earlier.

"So what's the plan?", she asked Xander as they headed back toward the bedchambers area of the estate.

"Dad said your fire rat armored clothes should be done by now. He had them sent to Kagura's room, so I'll take you there, and let you try them on. Then we all head to the stable to meet Jaken and head back to SunnyD. From there, we get my car, and hope the eight or so hours we've been here are enough time for the vans to have arrived safely. Then...I guess we figure out intangible lad's game, and spoil it. Hopefully without Buffy embarrassing herself by attacking me.", Xander replied, his voice slipping unconsciously into 'assault plan mode'.

"Someone has a high opinion of himself, even if Buffy is a vampire trusting froob at the moment.", Dawn said with a raised eyebrow.

"I can move in bursts too fast for anything short of another hanyou or youkai to see now, Dawn. Granted I look like a crippled old man compared to my dad in that area, but I could still outrun Buff's best shot. And is peroxide boy gets involved, I might have a new chew toy.", Xander replied, his voice sinking into a growl at the end.

"Not complaining with a game of hurt the Spike, but we have other things to worry about Xan. You know she'll blow several gaskets over this.", Dawn countered.

"I know. Look, despite everything, I love Buffy like a sister. Granted, she's the still hot, but seriously deranged necrophiliac sister now, but she's still family. A part of my pack. I'll find a way to make her deal. Besides who argues with Buffy better than me?", Xander responded.

"Giles", Dawn promptly responded cheekily. After a moment, she asked, "And if this goes as spectacularly as the last time Buffy and Giles argued, what's plan B?"

"We dope her up real good?", Xander suggested.

This made Dawn giggle and laugh all the way to Kagura's door.


Kagura was inspecting the material for Dawn's new combat clothes. They consisted of a tasteful pair of fire rat leather pants, capable of stopping most edged weapons, and quite a few projectiles, as well as being impervious to fire and heat, as all fire rat clothes were, along with their wearer. The outfit also had a dark red turtle necked top, sure to frustrate any biting vampire, and a black, waist length, fire rat leather jacket filled with packet to secret weapons and ammo. With it all were the slings and harnesses for Dawn to easily carry her MP-5, or her flamethrower with her. All in all it was a good set. It was dark enough to give some camouflage at night, and looked modern enough not to stick out.

The armor was very similar to what Kagura now wore, minus the fact her shirt was a deep green that brought out the red in her eyes. She only wore her kimono for special occasions now, even if she did still prefer her fans and wind attacks to modern weapons. Armor was always a nice fall back for a youkai to have.

She smiled as a knock came to her door. Her smile widened when she saw Xander and Dawn there. "Why hello you two. Dawn, Lord Sesshomaru delivered your armor. It's on my dresser.", she said to the only full human of the trio.

"Ok, I'll get it and change, and we can get gone.", the former key replied with a grin.

"Take your time. I can give Xander a tour of my room while we wait.", Kagura responded, eying the hanyou up and down, and licking her lips, causing Xander to blush.

Dawn smiled wickedly as she said, "If you need time, I'm sure Jaken has more stories to tell me. I could get dressed quick, them meet you two at the stables after the...tour."

"Why that's a wonderful idea, Dawn! You're such a thoughtful friend to give Xander a little more time to get to know every inch of the estate...personally.", Kagura replied with a predatory grin.

"More like biblical.", Xander mumbled uncomfortably, his blush increasing. Damned pheromones from Kagura were leaving him tongue tied.

This made both women giggle in unison, before Kagura put on a fake shocked expression, and placed her right palm to her face as she exclaimed, "Why Lord Alexander, you're not suggesting anything...improper, are you?"

Xander smirked sarcastically as he replied, "Nah, that's you're job. I'll just wait for you ladies at the stables, and try to salvage some of my dignity while I still have it."

"See you in a few, Lassie!", Dawn said with a grin, at his retreating back, making Xander flatten his ears and increase his pace, muttering about bad influences.

Once he was gone, Kagura closed the door, and tuned to Dawn as she asked, "Lassie?"

"We all made pirate jokes when he lost his eye. I'm just helping him cope the best way I can. Thought taunting him as any good Little Sis should.", Dawn replied as she changed.

"You do know that Lassie was always a female right?, Kagura inquired with a raised eyebrow.

"Oops.", Dawn responded flatly, making Kagura laugh heartily.


Xander arrived at the stable to find his father and Jaken waiting for him. "Dawn changing. Once she's ready, the girls will meet us here, and we'll be ready to kick this pig.", Xander said, earning a look of puzzlement from Jaken, and a small grin from his father.

"Down Periscope.", Sesshomaru said emotionlessly, his eyes shining with mirth as he looked upon his properly hanyou son.

Xander barked in pleased laughter as he responded, "You've been practicing."

"I've always enjoyed Kelsey Grammar's work.", the Tai Inu Youkai if the rest said, his voice still an unchanging deadpan.

Xander decided it would be too hard to figure out if Sesshomaru was joking or not, so merely shrugged and said, "I heard from Shippo that things here are awfully hairy. Will you need any help after we settle things in Sunnydale?"

"No. Once we find the Scourge's lair, this Sesshomaru will show them his power at the end of the Tokijen. They will know the folly of defying our house and the laws we have set. You will be able to rest until you come for you regular visit."

"Just be careful, father. I've only had a few years to get to know you. I don't want them to end prematurely."

"Hmmph, as if those face rotted weaklings could harm Lord Sesshomaru. you should know better than that, young master.", Jaken exclaimed, though hew was mostly ignored by father and son.

"Will it be alright if I come a little early? I...kind of want to spend more time with you when we can.", Xander asked.

Sesshomaru merely nodded, his face breaking into a small grin again, before moving toward Xander and surprising both his son, and his retainer, by hugging the White Knight publicly. Ashe held his son, he whispered, "Take care, pup.", which was answered with a "You too, pop.", before they stepped away from each other.

Sesshomaru growled low in his throat as he admonished, "Never call me that again, boy." It was hard to keep the angered facade in place, however, in the face of his son's open and unrepentant grin.

Jaken looked on in silent amazement at the interaction between his Lord, and his Lord's son. *Truly, Alexander's return was a gift from the heavens. Lord Sesshomaru seems happier than I have seen him in over two decades.*, the old toad youkai thought to himself.

The moment of silent camaraderie was broken by the arrival of Kagura and Dawn, an arrival easily heard and smelt long before it was seen by the descendants of Inutaisho in the stable.

"Please forgive the wait, milord.", Kagura said with a bow, an action followed uncertainly by Dawn.

"It is of no concern. This Sophomore enjoyed the extra moments to speak with my son.", Xander's father said in reply. "Ah-Un is ready with a larger chariot to accommodate you all, but will return after he has dropped you off.", he said, addressing the group as a whole, as Dawn moved to stand beside Xander.

"Thank you for having me in your home, Sesshomaru-sama.", she said with a bow.

"Thank you for watching over my pup.", The Lord said in reply to her. "You are free to visit these estates whenever you wish as an honored guest, Miss Summers." His attention moved to Kagura as he said, "A word, Kagura."

The wind sorceress nodded her acquiescence, moving off to speak with her lord in tones too low for even Xander to hear.

"Kagura. You have been my friend for many years, so this Sesshomaru will only say this. Take care of them, and yourself. And come back alive.", the Lord said, his voice as steady as it always was.

"I will, Sesshomaru. I swear it.", she said solemnly, before heading toward the group, and the Lord of the Western Lands left the stable to attend to his business.

"What was that about?", Xander asked, concerned as she returned to them.

"Just a promise to an old friend. Now, let's get going. I keel like showing the First Evil what it stirred up when it attacked Xander.", She said.

Jaken, who was controlling Ah-Un, nodded in agreement from the crate he was standing on to see over the lip of the chariot. "Well spoken, Kagura. We shall show that foolish ball of mist the true power of the youkai.", he said, as he snapped the demon dragon's reigns, making it take off into the sky.

Chapter 7

Xander looked pensively out over the sky night sky as Ah-Un took them on their trip back to Boca del Infierno. The sight was awe inspiring, but that wasn't what concerned him. No, he was thinking of how to handle the others. Should he try to hide his new features at first? Should he just come out, bold as brass and say 'Here I am, deal with it?' Truthfully, he just wasn't sure how the group would take things, and that worried him a little. After all, they were as much family to him as his father.

"They'll deal, Xan. I did, and so will they. If they don't, I'll zap 'em with the tazer you gave me for my birthday.", Dawn said, sensing his thoughts.

"I know they'll deal, eventually. I'm just not sure how to introduce it all to them.", he replied, not turning from where he was watching the stars.

Dawn shrugged and said, Just wing it. It's worked for us in the past."

"Luck has to run out sometime.", Xander replied mirthlessly.

"You don't need luck, Xander, I've got your back.", Dawn said back.

"Then I'm worried over nothing", he replied with a grin.

"Yep." Dawn answered cheerfully. "Now onto more interesting topics. Kagura was telling me yesterday about a certain job you had taken when she first met you..."

This made both Kagura, who couldn't help but hear them, and Xander, both go red in the face, but for totally different reasons.

"Kagura! How could you tell Dawn about things like that. No power on this Earth was meant to tell that story. We've talked about this!", Xander cried, outraged.

Dawn just smiled, sure that Xander would no longer have time to brood for the rest of the trip to Sunnydale.


As for those still in Sunnydale, the majority of them were staying at the Summers house, most of them being potential Slayers that Giles had saved from the First's minions. Those potentials were mostly asleep wherever they could find space for it in the house, or patrolling to escape the choking feeling they had.

Things at the Summers house had deteriorated steadily since the 'General' had set Xander away with her sister. Not only were things he would have repaired broken, but there was a sense of failure and hopelessness that permeated the house. It was as if Buffy had said, "We're all going to lose and die horribly, so I'm making your one steadying influence and confidant hide with my little sister instead of helping you in your last hours. You don't need him anyway."

As a result, there were a dozen more injuries at the hand of Bringers encountered on patrol than there should have been. When you coupled that with Buffy acting as if her new toy was the second coming to save them all, and Spike being his usual non help self, the whole atmosphere seemed to choke off any hope in the house.

It was in the hope of finding ways to rectify this that brought Rupert Giles, Faith, Willow Rosenberg, and Robin Wood to the Summers kitchen table that night. Buffy was out searching out some ancient temple thingy connected to her new Power Ranger weapon, and nobody knew where Spike was, thankfully.

"It just doesn't make sense. It's like Buffy can't relate at all to human beings. She sent away what amounted to our repair crew, morale officers, and counseling department all in one. We need to do something.", Wood said in frustration.

Willow just sat there looking small. She felt like she was missing her other half of her soul and it showed. She was miserable. Kennedy tried to console her as best she could, and that did help, but Willow still wanted Xander back. "I can kind of agree with what she was afraid of. I..I mean we've tried to do this before. I just...never thought he'd actually leave.", she said despondently.

This made Faith snort derisively. "B played him wicked good. If it was just X, no way in hell he'd 'a split. He'd probably just go hunting for bringers to run over at the last second to save our shapely asses. But she brought the Pip into it. You know he'd sell his soul to watch out for Dawnie. So did Buffy.", the still recovering Dark Slayer said.

"Indeed. I don't think any of us realized how bad would be to go without Xander in a serious situation. We are paying the price for our folly now. However, that is not the purpose of this meeting. Finding a way to rectify the vacuum his absence leaves is our primary concern.", Giles said, his eyes tired and sad.

Silence reigned for several minutes before Willow broke it by saying, "I wonder what he and Dawnie are doing right now?"


It was doubtful any of the Scoobies could guess what Xander was doing, namely shouting at an old toad youkai as they passed the welcome to Sunnydale sign. "Damn it Jaken! Why didn't you mention you get carsick before now? NO! Lean out the window if your going to do that. My GOD! Ugh! How many flies did you eat?"

"My urp apologies, milord.", Jaken replied uneasily, as Dawn tried to soothe the poor sick creature that now had his head out of the window.

Xander just shook his head in disgust, cursing his new sense of smell to himself as he asked Kagura, "So, where are the vans with all the weapons for the baby Slayers supposed to be?"

"Parked across from your apartment complex. You'll have to have them driven over.", she replied.

"Good. I'll see if Wood and Giles are up for that after we settle the introductions. Hopefully something can go smoothly tonight.", Xander responded with a nod, trying to breathe through his mouth. "Yuck.", he muttered.


The planned morale meeting had continued to degenerate into a combination remember Xander and Dawn/gripe at Buffy's foolishness at sending them away session.

"So then, X comes barreling into this hell bitch with his uncle Rory's '57 Chevy, and plows her, totally saving my bacon.", Faith recounted.

"Then what happened?", asked Giles, who had never gotten an official telling of the happenings of Xander's night when the others had faced off with the Sisterhood of Jhe.

"Well, he yells at me to get in, and the blue chick was getting up, so I got in, and he peeled out. I tell ya' one of the kiddies would be B's second right now if it hadn't been for him that night.", Faith recalled fondly.

This made Xander and Willow grin, and Wood adopt a look of deep respect. Anyone that made the habit of saving Slayer lives that Xander did was OK in his book.

"He always does that. Finds the way to make things right. I remember when he talked me down last year. I've never seen anyone so brave in my life. I was totally crazed, and he was just like "World's gonna end, where else am I gonna' be?'", Willow added with a bittersweet smile.

"Wow, Xan, I never knew you were so cool.", Dawn said from where she had slipped in silently through the broken front door, looking behind her into the living room.

"I have hidden depths.", Xander's voice called out calmly, from the next room, where he was inspecting the damage.

It took nearly five seconds for everyone at the table to register just what they had seen and heard. Then, en masse', they stood up, with various welcomes to, and questions for, Dawn, with the exception of Willow. The Wicca ran straight for the living room, barreling into Xander, who was bent over to look at the front doorframe, making him grunt as he caught her.

"XANDER! You'rebackI'msogladyou'rehereweallmissedyousomuchI'msorryIletBuffytal kmeintoagreeingwithhertomakeyouandDawnieleaveit'sbeenhorriblewithouty ouanddon'tyoueverleaveusalonelikethisAGAIN!", she babbled, snuggled into his protective embrace, never even looking up. If she had she would have noticed the other's staring at Xander's new features in wide eyes shock.

After a few seconds, contented ones for Willow, and tense ones for the others, it was Giles that broke the stunned silence. "Xander?", he asked tentatively.

"Yeah G-Man.", the answered with his patented grin, a look that mollified Faith that it was him, no matter what his hair, eyes, ears, and fingernails looked like. "What the bloody devil have you done NOW!?!", the Englishman asked, making Willow look up questioningly.

"Eeep.", she eeped, stepping back to take in Xander's new appearance.

The former Zeppo placed his right hand behind his head sheepishly, and scratched his head as he affected a bad Cuban accent and said, "I guess I got some 'splaining to do, huh Lucy?", which caused Dawn, Willow, and the still unintroduced Kagura who was waiting outside to giggle.

"Xander.", Giles said, brooking no argument with his recently frayed nerves.

"I made a choice, Giles. We needed help, firepower, and support. I got them. Any way I could.", the White Knight said.

Silence reigned for a few minutes before Willow raised her hand, as if back in her high school classes, and asked, "Umm, Xander?"

"Yeah Wills?", Xander queried in curiosity.

"Can I touch your ears?", she asked timidly.

"What?", Xander, Giles, and Wood asked simultaneously, as Kagura and Dawn laughed out loud.

"I'm sorry. It's just that...I want to see if they're real. And they're so cute."

Chapter 8

It took about ten minutes for things to settle down enough for everyone to hold a civilized conversation, five of which were spent keeping Faith or Kennedy, who had been awakened by all the commotion, from attacking Jaken when Xander invited him and Kagura to come in. But, after a couple of small scuffles, and much cleaning of glasses by Giles, things were...mostly sorted out.

On one side of the table sat Xander, with Kagura, and Jaken standing behind him on the right and left, respectively. Kagura affected the aloof air of a powerful youkai noblewoman, which she was, while Jaken stood there with his usual hunched over posture, the Staff of Souls in hand, waiting for commands as any good retainer should. Dawn sat beside Xander, totally unaffected by his appearance, something that worried Kennedy and Wood, but helped ease Faith, Giles, and Willow's nerves a bit.

On the other side of the table sat Giles and Wood. Willow sat in the middle, Kennedy standing protectively behind her, and Faith was leaning against the dining room doorframe, arms crossed, acting as if the whole explanation to come would be too boring to listen to.

Xander took a beep breath before he started to explain. "Okay, first off allow me to introduce Kagura and Jaken. They'll be helping us until this matter with the first is settled."

"At the very least.", Kagura interjected, her face set in emotionless stone.

Xander nodded minutely at that, accepting that she might not desire to leave immediately. He was about to further elaborate when Wood asked, "And, what, exactly, ARE they? What are you for that matter?"

The accusatory tone from high school principal earned him angry glares from everyone in the room. Of course everyone else there, with the exception of Kagura and Jaken, who were upset for their own reasons, owed their lives to Xander Harris personally. Many of them had been saved more than once, not counting the impersonal times he helped save all human life on the planet.

Xander merely cleared his throat meaningfully, drawing away all glares, except for those coming from the youkai. "I was getting to that. Now first off, the good news. Tony Harris, drunken bastard, and waste of human genetic material that he is, is not my father. He's my uncle. By marriage. I'll reserve time for Willow to do the dance of joy with me over that fact later. Jessica Harris, likewise, is not my mother, she's my aunt. My current appearance is a result of a decision I came to recently, and executed with the help of my father.", Xander said. He paused for a moment to gather his thoughts, and smiled at Dawn as she put her hand on his shoulder to reassure him.

"My father, is not a human. His name is Sesshomaru and...", he started, but was interrupted be the loud "Good Lord!", that came from Giles, and sudden paling of Wood's skin.

This made Faith curious as she asked, "What's so special about Xand's pop G?"

Giles stuttered for a few seconds, too befuddled to speak, so Jaken answered her inquiry. "Lord Sesshomaru is the current Tai Inu Youkai of the West, rightful lord of the youkai of the western lands, and heir to the throne of the great Inutaisho, dog demon of...", he started haughtily, but stopped when Xander raised his hand to interrupt his usual spiel to discuss his Lord.

", that's quite accurate. Sesshomaru is a well known and powerful youkai, a classification of Japanese demons, said to be descended from a first one. He is remarkably powerful, and writings about him in the council's archives always discussed him with the utmost fear and respect."

"So he's some kind of uber Big Bad, then.", Faith asked, looking back and forth between Giles and Xander. X might look different, but he didn't seem evil, or the type to go to a baddy for help.

"No.", Wood replied, finally finding his voice. "He's a champion for humanity, actually. He and his forces have stopped several demon invasions and apocalypses over the last five hundred years."

This made Xander chuckle. "Champion of Humanity. He'd love that. Truth is, he's pretty neutral toward the human race in general. He just likes the planet the way it is, and he cares about certain humans, like my mother, for example. Or, to a lesser degree, the humans that work for him. If the world goes, they go, and he won't let that happen. He's a Lord, with all that entails, good and bad. Don't make him sound like the second coming. Hell, until five hundred years ago, he'd have executed anything, human, youkai, whatever, that stood in his way without batting an eye.", he admonished with a grin.

Faith nodded at that. It made sense to her. This Sesshomaru guy was just protecting his interests. She could trust that.

Giles decided to take over the questioning again as he asked, "I take it then from your appearance, and the mention of your mother, that you are a hanyou? How is it then that you always appeared so...human?"

"Yep. I'm a full 1/2 inu youkai. And well, I was human. Kinda. See, after my mom was killed, the First, who's been pulling stuff way longer than we thought, had my uncle, Inu Yasha killed as well. So, dad, who is neck deep in a war with some other minions of the First right now, knew I'd be a tempting target. So he came up with an ingenious plan. He had me sealed, binding all my youkai powers and making me effectively human, then shipped me to my Aunt and Uncle here on the bad old Hellmouth. That way, the center for mystical convergence energy stuff would mask any youki I was still leaking out and hide me from his enemies. I never even knew I wasn't fully human until Jaken and Kagura found me and told me after high school.", Xander replied evenly.

"When?", Willow asked quietly.

"When I left the Hellmouth after graduation, Wills.", Xander replied quietly, wincing at what he knew was coming.

"Over three years, then.", Willow responded, as if in shock. "Over three years you've known about this, AND YOU NEVER TOLD ME?!? Goddess, Xander, I'm you're best friend, why couldn't you trust me with this? Didn't you think it was kind of important, and that I might want to know!? How could you just keep this to yourself like that?!?", she yelled.

Xander flattened his ears to try to protect his hearing at the verbal barrage, which had attracted the curious looks, and occasional gasps, of several SiT's. They all kept their distance however, after a stern glance from Faith. Andrew, who had likewise been attracted to the yelling, cowered back from the dark Slayer's warning glare.

"It didn't matter at the time, Will. I chose to keep the seal in place and stay human, so who my father really was didn't change anything. I didn't want to bother you with my problems.", he finally said, looking down at the table, giving him all the appearance of a kicked puppy.

His innate cuteness did not deter Willow, however. "That's another thing, mister! You're all half-demon and stuff. O..okay, a little weird, but I can deal. But then you stay human, but keep throwing yourself in fights that could kill you when you could have easily had help? Are you feeble or something? What is the matter with you!?! Goddess, if you had this power against Caleb, or Glory, or ADAM. For Gaia's sake Xander didn't you ever think about all that?"

This raised the hackles of the hanyou, as his ears flattened now from ire, rather than to protect them. "I made my choice, Willow. I knew what I was doing, and what I was sacrificing. But, I though we needed a regular guy in the group to keep us grounded. Keep us all somewhat sane. Did I fantasize about what I could have done with my full strength from time to time? Sure. I'm not stupid. I know how it could have helped. And I got a damn good reminder of the danger when that sheep screwing preacher freak gouged out my eye. But, bottom line, I always had a reason to stay human. Either to remind us all just who and what we were fighting for, or for Anya, so I wouldn't outlive her be a few millennia, or just because you all needed a shoulder to lean on instead of another heavy hitter. I've always preferred small ball to home runs, Willow. Details are important.", he spat back, actually forcing Willow back a bit.

"But, Xander, why couldn't you at least tell...", Willow began.

"When has he ever gone to someone else for something that was bothering him, Willow? Something big, I mean?", Dawn asked from her seat beside the upset hanyou.

Willow just looked at the table, knowing Dawn was right about this. "He's still a big, stupid dork, for not saying anything."

"Dawn mentioned that, in those exact words, when I filled her in on the way to my Dad's last night.", Xander replied dryly, before breaking out into a small grin. "And hey, you know now. That's the important thing, right, Wills?"

Willow stared intently at him for a few seconds before nodding in agreement. "This doesn't mean you're off the hook here, mister! We'll talk this over later.", she finally said.

"I know", he said with an almost nostalgic grin.

"Yes, well now that that's somewhat settled, you were going to explain things more thoroughly, I believe, Xander.", Giles said, trying to get things back on track.

"Sure G-man. Like I said, I was hanyou, but I stayed human by choice. Anyway, things changed over time. Buffy's pushing us away and letting herself be led around by the nose by the First, and well, let's face it, we needed the extra fire power on this fight. So, after Buffy told me to get take Dawnie and get gone, I agreed. I just never said where, or for how long. I went to Dad, and had the seal lifted, and some modern demon hunting gear that Dawnie can train the girls on shipped to town. It's across from my apartment, btw. We need to get those vans here soon so we can start training tomorrow. And well, that's everything, I guess.", Xander said, before perking up and looking at Wood. "Oh yeah. You wanted to know who and what Jaken and Kagura were. Jaken here is a toad youkai, and my father's personal retainer for like five hundred year plus. Kagura is a wind sorceress youkai and one of Dad's staunchest friends ad allies.", the former Zeppo said, nodding toward each youkai as he spoke about them.

"Plus Kagura's trying to do the horizontal mambo with Xander.", Dawn added helpfully, her face alight with a huge grin. This caused Xander to groan, Giles to polish his glasses, Willow to sputter and look back and forth between the hanyou and the wind sorceress, and Faith, Kagura and Kennedy to grin.

"You always pick the hot ones, X. Or rather, they pick you.", Faith said with a grin.

Xander had the decency to blush as he scolded, "What have I taught you about how to break the tension in a room young lady?"

"To attack the strongest person here, preferably Angel or Spike. Unfortunately you're the new big power in town, so you're the it guy. Buffy's not here to make fun of, and nobody could embarrass Faith. I didn't make the rules, I just follow them like a good little sister.", Dawn replied.

Xander merely rolled his eyes at that, as everyone else in the room, save Jaken, who grumbled to himself about impertinent youths, smiled at her quip.

"Speaking of the Buffinator, where is she? I expected her to show up and attack me five minutes ago.", Xander asked.

From there Willow and Giles explained what they had discovered about the scythe, and the crypt, and how Buffy went to find it.

"So let me get this straight. The only place to explain this weapon, that was buried here in bedrock for millennia so that it could never be found, happens to be here a couple of miles away from where the scythe was.", he said in a deadpan. After a few seconds, he finally said, "OK, so Buff is walking headfirst into trap number three in as many weeks. Nice to know. Wills, if you'll give me the approximate location, I'll go keep her from getting killed...again.", he said, as Willow, now slightly pale went to do as he asked.

"Dawn? Could you take Giles and Wood to my place and get the vans with the gear. Oh, and stop by Ahn's and fill her in too, please? Then try to start outfitting everyone with what you can?", Xander asked.

Dawn just nodded her acceptance of Xander's request.

As he got up and took the printout Willow handed him, he headed for the door, with Jaken and Kagura following him. "Uh, where are you two going?"

"Why with you, milord." Jaken replied, as if confused.

"Uh, not so good an idea. Buffy's action gal. She might attack, and I want to try to avoid hurting her. Besides we shouldn't rush into one area all at once. Jaken, you go with Dawnie and watch her back for me. And Kagura? Could you stay here with Faith and back up the SiT's?", he said.

Kagura and Jaken both looked uneasy, but nodded their acceptance of his orders.

"Cool, I'll see you guys in a few then.", Xander replied, before heading out to find Buffy.

Chapter 9

"You know, I gave you ample warning. Told you not to interfere, but you chose not to heed.", Caleb admonished Buffy, taunting the Slayer.

Buffy answers this taunt by rushing at the evil preacher with a kick. He blocked it and lifted her by her lapels, hurling her into a pillar with enough force to knock the stones loose and stun her. The minion of the First was moving in for the kill, picking up the sought after scythe as he did, when a voice rang out.

"You know, asshole, I keep finding you trying to hurt girls. You must never have had even the tiniest bit of sex to be this angry. You need some serious therapy.", the voice said.

Caleb recognized it immediately. "Well well, the one who sees. Come to let me finish what I started boy? Or just to watch this whore get her comeuppance?"

Xander strode calmly down the steps, stopping so that the shadows concealed his new features from Caleb and the still groggy Buffy. "I think I'll take door number three instead, Wink.", Xander replied sarcastically.

"Oh? And what id that?" Caleb mocked, his voice sounding amused.

There was a blur to fast to see by human eyes, as a white haired, dog eared, pissed as hell and growling Xander Harris appeared in front of Caleb, and punched him so hard his body hit the opposite wall hard enough to leave a spider web pattern. "I kill you.", Xander answered with a smile.

"Xan?", Buffy asked, uncertain, groggy, and most likely suffering from a concussion.

"Yup. Sorry, Buff. Couldn't stay gone, Dawnie forgot her lipstick, and you know how Summers women get from make-up withdrawal. I'd rather face my looks for a date in the sheep pasture again, than face that.

"Huh? Xand...your hair. What?", she mumbled.

Xander merely rolled her eyes and called out. "Hey, captain hairgel! Do me a favor and get Buffy fray adjacent while I clean house. Preacher man and I have unfinished business."

"Xander?", Angel asked bewildered from where he was lurking in the shadows to pull this guy off of Buffy. He was far more wary then the still recovering Slayer, he could feel and smell the demonic power POURING off the White Knight.

"Yes, Deadboy. We've just covered this. Now get Buffy clear. I have a score to settle." Xander replied, his voice laced with annoyance.

"Uh, right.", Angel intelligently replied, coming over to Buffy and pulling her against the wall when she refused to leave the crypt all together up the stairs.

"Well, look at you, all done up like the Beast." Caleb said as he righted himself and stood up. "Someone stopped playing by the old rules. You think you're new look will stop me, boy? I have the scythe now. I am her right hand, shearing down the wicked to make way for her glorious victory. I am..."

"A powered up redneck, holding a questionable melee weapon with powers you can't access, going against a pissed off hanyou lord that has a remarkable powerful weapon with powers I can access.". Xander finished in a bored tone as he drew the Tetsusaiga, which changed into its giant fang form as he took it out of its sheath.

"Nice toy. Want to see how it measures up?", Caleb asked, his eyes crazed.

"Yeah, it's a family heirloom. Named Tetsusaiga. I'm going to cut you in half with it." Xander replied conversationally.


"So, you and the Xman, huh?", Faith asked Kagura as they, along with Willow and Kennedy, sat at the table relaxing.

"Not yet. He still needs time to adjust to his awakening, and to settle things here. I can wait.", Kagura replied easily, as she ignored the hoard of potentials trying to eavesdrop on them.

Willow was eyeing the demon speculatively, and in more than the lesbian looking over a gorgeous female way. "So you're just here to protect him for right now, then?", she asked, uncertain what to say.

"I'm here to do whatever he asks mo to do.", Kagura replied with a wicked grin.

This made Kennedy laugh at how that statement sounded, and Willow blush.

Faith ignored that as she said, "So you got him in the sack yet? Cause from what Anya says, and what I remember from his first time, it should be one hell of an experience."

Willow looked ready to swallow her tongue at that point, as she got a shade redder.

"Not yet. Like I said, I can wait. And as for the deed itself. You have no idea. Being returned to his hanyou form will increase everything about him, strength, stamina...endurance. Trust me, I've never heard of a human woman complaining. There's a reason people came up with the expression a 'demon' in the sack", Kagura replied with a predatory gleam in her eye. Most of the potentials who were listening in broke out into mad giggles as they heard what Kagura said, giving the whole house a relaxed atmosphere it had been severely lacking.


Xander and Caleb stood calmly facing each other, each with their mystical weapon of choice in their hand. The only sound in the tomb was Buffy trying to shake free of Angel to help Xander, to which Angel would reply he would be fine and didn't need any help, and try to restrain the girl more tightly.

"You ready to meet the Lord boy?", Caleb asked.

"Already did. His name's Sesshomaru. He's my pop.", Xander replied, charging in at full speed.

It was obvious within the first few moments that Xander was toying with Caleb. As far as the preacher had been above the Slayers, and he didn't seem to be at that level now, for whatever reason, Xander was that much and more beyond him. The White Hanyou never even used the Tetsusaiga in each pass, except to block Buffy's scythe-axe- stake thingy. He was content to scratch Caleb up with his claws, delaying his death, in payback for his loss of an eye.

Finally, frustrated beyond sense, Caleb, took two steps back, then charged at Xander full speed, blade in front of him.

The Prince of the Western Lands just snorted at the slow and clumsy attack. He dodged it like a matador, finally swinging his blade at the preacher's unprotected back to end this fight once and for all.

It seemed at first that he had missed, as Caleb turned around, smiling and laughing. "Not too good with that fancy butter knife are you?" he asked snidely.

"Actually, I'm alright with it. You're just too dumb to realize I just cut you in half from shoulder to hip.", Xander replied, sheathing the blade.

"Wha?" was the last thing Caleb ever uttered as he tried to take a step toward Xander, and promptly fell into two neatly cut, but horrible gory pieces.

Buffy and Angel had watched the spectacle in equally stunned shock, never moving since the first few blows had been exchanged. They were still like that as Xander looked over to where they were standing. After the silence continued, and grew far too awkward for the hanyou, he felt like he had to say something to wake them up.

"Hey, Angel. Long time no see. You in town for a forehead reduction, or just felt like visiting?", he asked with a lop sided grin

Chapter 10

Buffy stared at the changes in Xander blankly, trying to convince herself that he was here, and that this was, in fact, him. "Xander?", she asked, still confused, as she stepped toward him.

Angel just tried to blend into the background as Buff stepped forward. Whatever was going on, he knew two things, Xander had changes alot in a short time, and Xander and he had never got along. Angel was also a study of demonic history, which explained Angelus' knowledge of Acathla. The names Sesshomaru and Tetsusaiga were well known in demonic circles the world over. Angel wanted no part of upsetting anyone with ties to Sesshomaru if he could help it.

Xander looked curiously into her face as he asked, "Yeah, Buff?"

"How the, white ears...yellow eye, wha?", she babbled as she got within arms reach of his, studying his new features.

Xander grinned his trademark open grin, the best kind of identification he had as he replied, "Wow, that was almost three or four sentences without actually finishing one. You trying to become the next Oz of something? Or are you imitating classic Deadboy? Cause I got to say, that was more bad grammar the cryptic."

This snapped Buffy a bit out of her stupor, as she found an emotion to ride back to sanity. Unfortunately, it was anger. "Xander what the HELL is going on, here? I'm come here to get info, Caleb starts handing me my butt, then you and Angel show up out of nowhere! And that's ignoring the fact that you hate Angel, you're supposed to be far away with Dawn safe from all this, and you sure weren't some white haired, ears on the top of his head, needs to trim his fingernails guy the other day!" Xander shrugged, but was cut off from replying immediately when Buffy said, "And if you give me that joke about Dawn forgetting her lipstick again I swear I'll hit you."

Xander smiled nervously, holding his hands up in surrender as he replied, "Calm down, Buff. Bottom line, I don't know where Angel came from, I just smelled his hair gel from the shadows, I don't really know how anyone could miss it. As for the rest...well we needed some extra power, so I tapped a source I had in reserve. So now, no more Zeppo, hello power Xander. Dawn's helping Giles, Wood, and a couple of friends I brought back with me outfit everyone with some new weapons. was too important to stay away from. Dawn would have nailed my with her stun gun if I even tried, and you know it. It was or choice each, individually. We made it."

"Okaaayyyy. That explains a little, and raises alot more questions. Like you calling yourself a handjob, or talking about some weird guy being your father, or your new super sword that shouldn't fin in its sheath, but does.", she said with a pout, crossing her arms to show she demanded an explanation.

"Hanyou." Xander and Angel replied together, making Buffy swivel back and forth to try to see them both at once. The eyes of the two males met, before Xander nodded to Angel to continue. "He's called a hanyou. It means he's half demon. And if Lord Sesshomaru is really his father, he's an amazingly powerful hanyou at that." the vampire said, walking tentatively toward them, his hands in the pockets of his trenchcoat.

"He is, and I am." Xander confirmed, his voice sounding like he didn't are much about that fact either way.

Buffy's voice sounded just half an octave short of whining as he said, "But you're Mr. Joe normal. You always have been. Since when are you a demon...And when did you get your eye back?"

Xander shrugged as he replied, "I was born a half demon. I didn't know until after high school, though. My powers were sealed for a witness protection program type of thing. Willow and Dawnie can fill you in on the full details. Or Jaken, if you want the long long version. My pop's people restored my eye while I was waking up from getting unsealed." Xander said in reply.

"How'd you get the Tetsusaiga? I though it belonged to the hanyou Inuyasha?", Angel asked.

""Uncle Inuyasha used a magical wish thingy to be human with his wife in this time. Unfortunately, that not only meant the Tetsusaiga was useless for him, but a minion of the First covered its bases and hired a sniper to put a bullet in the back of his skull. He's been gone since I was a baby. That's what ultimately made Dad hide me on the Hellmouth with the Harris'", Xander responded.

"And now that that's out of the way, why are you here Deadboy? Because if it really is a forehead reduction, I figure LA would have better plastic surgeons." Xander added a beat later.


"...and that's the whole story, Anya." Dawn finished. Luckily for the former Key, the former vengeance demon had been at Xander's apartment to sulk about him not being in town on Buffy's orders. It was a good thing Dawn decided to visit the apartment to make a pit stop.

Anya was there originally because she had wanted some end of days make up sex with the carpenter, and decided to pout over the lack of opportunity where they had had the most orgasms together. Now, she had a different take on things.

"You mean that filthy alter leaving...male was a...a hanyou all this time and never told me? How dare he? Did he think I was some sort of plaything for his amusement? 'Oh look, I have a former demon who's been made into a lowly human to have orgasms with while I kill time, then activate my powers whenever I feel like it'.", she mocked, clearly fuming.

"Anya, it's not like that! He had reasons to stay human once he knew, and you were at the top of the list!" Dawn cried, trying to calm the woman down.

Anya narrowed her eyes dangerously at the former Key and lowered her voice as she ground out, "Then why didn't he invite his real father to our supposed wedding? He knew his family then, right? You tell that, that...mutt that he can go die for all I care. I'm leaving this accursed town for good, and I'll have the good sense to never return."

Dawn stood there shocked at Anya's declaration, as the irate former demon brushed past her, out into the hall, and on her way out of Sunnydale. Her eyes met the eyes of Giles, Wood, and Jaken, none of whom Anya acknowledged as she strode out of the hall, never to be seen by the Scoobies again.

"I think she took it well.", Dawn said, wincing at the sound of screeching tires Anya's car made as she pulled out.


Xander held up his hand, as if doing his Colombo impression, as Angel finished his explanation of what went on in LA recently, and where he had got the amulet he brought. "Ok, Angel. That's real nice. Let me just ask you a couple of things. Are you using alcohol based gel, and are you aware that it goes on your head, and you're not supposed to drink it?"

"What are you talking about Xander?", Buffy asked, confused at his reaction.

"We've been getting led around by the nose here Buffy. the Firsts tactics here are nothing like they are on any other front. We keep getting these wonderful breaks to keep us in the game at just the right moment, that don't really come from anything the group did. I don't buy it.", he explained, as both former love birds stared intently at the hanyou, wanting him to continue. "OK, first we have the scythe, which Caleb basically digs out for us, and hands to you. Granted, from what you said, it seems all made for you to use and stuff. So what does my preacher do? He taunts you with it 'till you find it. But if all that's true, and the FE, who is older than time itself knows that, then why let him dig it up? Why risk giving us any potential help. Now, we have this talisman. It came from the law firm that's been trying to kill or corrupt Deadboy for four years, as part of a thank you, and just happens to need someone that as far as they know, only he fits the bill for. I smell a rat. It's too convenient, and too complicated at the same time." Xander explained in calm tones.

"What if its legit?", Buffy countered, her voice a little desperate.

"Buff, we're talking the fate of the planet here. I don't want to pin our last hopes on what ifs." Xander he replied evenly.

The Slayer nodded in agreement to that, which made Xander smile. She was actually listening to him. It felt like old times for a second. Speaking of which..."Look, just to be sure we should bring this up to Giles, and Willow, and the others. I don't want to risk it on ether of us alone, OK? And two have something face. so I'm guessing you want welcome back smoochies or something. So, this hanyou will just exit, stage stairs out of the crypt and meet you back at the house. Oh, and when you get there, if you see an incredible hot woman with red eyes and a japanese fan, or a little two foot toad man in a bathrobe with a staff that has two human faces on it, they're with me.", he said, heading out toward the stairs. He paused there for a moment to look at Buffy and ask, "We good, Buff?"

"For now. But I still want some full explanations. With pictures, and graphs.", she replied.

"How about we settle for good words and donuts and cookies?", Xander countered.

"Sounds workable. See you at home Xand.", Buffy called out.

"Later you two.", he answered, making his exit.

Chapter 11

Xander was whistling a jaunty tune as he walked back toward his car, proud of his accomplishments. Caleb was dead, Buffy was willing to see reason, and nobody on his side had tried to kill him. Put it all together, and it almost made up for Jaken puking three ponds worth of flies in his car on the way into town.

He was close enough to see his car when he heard, "Hey, bro. Looking...hairy."

Xander didn't pause for a second at the sound. To anyone watching it looked like he went from calmly walking, so finishing a swipe behind him with the transformed Tetsusaiga.

"Dude! What's the matter with you? You trying to kill me again? God, it's only been seven years, Xander. You could at least say hi or something.", the specter of Jesse said, annoyed.

"Hi, Mr. First Evil wearing the face of my oldest friend beside Willow. Or should it be miss from the way our dead hillbilly talked?", Xander said sarcastically as he tried swiping through the First with his claws. Like his sword, they passed through with no effect.

Xander tried several different combinations of attacks, each as ineffective as the last, until the false Jesse let out an annoyed sigh and asked, "Is that supposed to do something? Because from where I'm, standing, not working, bro."

The hanyou finally gave up, and sheathed the weapon in annoyance. "Nobody's attacked your intangible ass with the Tetsusaiga or, youki charged claws yet. Figured I'd give it a shot?", Xander replied with a shrug.

"Wasn't enough for you to stake me, buddy?", the FEJesse asked with a hurt look.

"I killed a vampire. Jesse was dead.", Xander responded flatly.

"Whatever helps you sleep at night, Mr. Half demon.", The First replied glibly, strolling around Xander, who had now folded his arms in his irritation. "Well, look at you. All big and powerful. Too bad you didn't have all that before, huh? Maybe I might have lived."

"Is this the best you could come up with?", Xander asked in a bored voice. You raised Naraku from the dead, for heaven's sake. You have to be better than this at getting to people. I mean, he should at least be trying to give you pointers. Although, I must admit, I'm flattered. I guess I count as worthy to bother, now.", Xander said, tuning back toward his car, and walking to it.

"You can't run from me, Xander." the not-Jesse called appearing in front of him. You can't run from us." the First added, morphing first into the mummy girl, then Teresa, then Ms. Calendar, then Buffy, then Tara, and finally Jesse again. "You let us die Xander. You ready for some more?" the first asked.

"Wow, a slide show of people I cared for that all died at the hands of someone else. How moving." the hanyou said in a deadpan, walking through the first to his car, and getting in.

the first was not done, however. As Xander drove back to the Summers home, he appeared as Jesse again in the passenger's seat. "I really am all of them, you know. Ask Faith. That's how it works.", it said, before it turned into Buffy again, "Lucky for me I had you to bring me back. I hope you realize this is all your fault, Xander, and nothing will make up for it. You freed me, creating the second slayer line, and the imbalance that let me loose. Every death here is your fault. No matter how many you save, that won't change."

Xander snorted as he replied, "Right. I guess you really can't see though Dad's wards at the estate. You were alive, and killing my family members when I was still a baby, intangible lad. Go sell your crap elsewhere. I'm not buying it.", his voice growing angry toward the end.

The first changed again, this time into an Hanyou that looked similar to Xander. He was slightly shorter, and he was wearing a red fire rat haori, but his hair and eyes were a spot on match for the White Knight. "Feh, you are stubborn, I'll give you that. So, you enjoying taking my sword, and trying to live my life, brat? Are you going to track down and screw Kagome for me after you bed that bitch Kagura?" Inuyasha asked sarcastically.

Xander just glanced at the first and said, "Huh. Shippo was right. Dad and I do look alot like him."

"How dare you ignore me you stupid pup! Your new power won't help you, brat! It sure as hell didn't save me.", the FE scolded.

"Uncle Inuyasha was human when he was killed, jackass. My releasing the seal is the exact opposite of what you used against him.", Xander replied, annoyed. "And come up with some new material at least. This turning up as dead people is getting lame. What are you going to try next, Willow's old fish Angelus killed? Oooh. Scary. Not."

"This isn't over pup.", the first replied, transforming into Inuyasha's red eyed full youkai form. "You and your friends will die, and I will rule this world."

"Yeah yeah. I'll get you my pretty, and your little do too...oh. Wait. I am the little dog. And you haven't managed to get to me. Must suck to be you.", Xander said, rolling his eyes.

The first, angered but unable to directly affect Xander, just faded from view, an angry scowl on it demonic Inuyasha face.

"You could at least have the decency to say 'screw you guys, I'm going home!', Xander yelled out loud. "It might of thrown me off balance to see you with an actual personality! Baka.", he added, snorted the last part to himself.


As Xander was frustrating an entity older than time with his supreme powers of common sense, Buffy and Angel had gone from hellos, to thank you smoochies, to Angel crying out in disbelief that she would touch, as Angel himself called him, 'Peroxide Boy'.

They had just finished the one day to be infamous cookie dough argument when they decided to discuss the amulet again.

"So, what do you think we should do about the medal do-hickey the evil lawyers left for you?", Buffy asked.

Angel brooded over that for a second (what a shock) before he replied, "Xander made a good point. A couple of them, actually. Even if W&H did give me the LA branch as a thank you, it's too easy for them to have had what we need, with me being the go to guy. Something isn't adding up."

"Yeah. He does that. He sees things we miss. That's what Caleb said as he was poking out his eye the first time we faced him.", Buffy said, her face darkening.

"What happened?", Angel asked gently, trying to be her sounding board, as he once was.

"We, no I led us into the Vineyard priest boy and his minions were holed up in. Caleb tossed our whole group, including me, Faith, Spike, and a dozen potentials around like rag dolls. He killed tow of the girls, and would have killed at least two more, if not for Xander. He shot Caleb in the arm with a bow the first time, the helped get Kennedy away from him as we were retreating. Caleb put his thumb through his eye for his trouble, and Spike had to save Xander, or we'd have lost him, too.", Buffy said, hugging herself against the sudden chill she felt at the memory.

Angel put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her, then, and she turned to him, grabbing him at the waist, and sobbing into his shirt as he murmured whatever soothing things he could, holding her close.

"It was all my fault, Angel. We keep dying, and Xander had to go and change himself, and things are all screwed up, and it's all my fault. I keep trying to do right, and I'm hurting everybody.", she wailed as she sobbed.

"Shhh. It'll be all right, Buffy. It's the First's fault. And you'll handle it because you're not alone in this, and the others won't let you down. When you, Giles, Willow, and, god help me for admitting it, Xander, work together there's nothing you can't stop. You just need to sit back and work with them. They won't make you face this alone.", Angel said a she continued to cry out her pain in his embrace.

Once she finally settled down and let go, she stepped back, still sniffling a little, but looking alot more like herself, especially in her eyes. They had a spark that had been missing for some time. "Thanks Angel.", she said, a little embarrassed at her outburst, but feeling better for it.

"Anytime.", the vampire responded with a small smile, wiping away an errant tear. "You ready to head back and plan this out with the others?", he asked.

Buffy was about to tell him no, that he should stay in LA in case they failed, and the needed a next line of defense, but she held her piece. Instead she thought about what Angel had said He had forgotten to include himself when he mentioned the original Scoobies. The more she thought about it, the more certain she was he should at least be there for the planning. If they were going down, they'd go down fighting, and they'd be together. "Sure. I'm sure you want to hear Xander's explanation, anyway.", she said with a small smile.

Angel returned her smile with one of his own as he stuffed his hands in his pockets, and fell into step beside her. "I might ne nice.", he said.

"Although, I have to admit, I'm almost as eager to see this two foot toad man in in a bathrobe as I am to hear what Xan has to say.", she said her voice growing fainter a they made their way to Slayer Central.

From where he was watching upwind in the shadows, Spike scowled. The First appeared next to him in the shape of Buffy, scowling as well. "That Bitch.", the FEBuffy sneered.

Chapter 12

The scene that met Xander's eyes as he returned to house was one that would raise his hackles in worries for years to come. Dawn was handing out and explaining weapons with Wood in the front yard, as Giles looked on, his face a cross of horror and interest. In the living room sat Jaken, the Staff of Souls leaning against the recliner he had claimed, reminding Xander of memories of seeing Kermit the Frog sitting on a chair on television. Around the toad youkai, sat several SiT's looking like eager little kids, obviously already outfitted with their gear, listening with rapt attention as the retainer told tales of warring states period of Japan. But, the sights, and sounds, that would worry Xander the most came as he entered the dining room to announce his return to the girls, who he could smell were in there.

Kagura was smiling and laughing with Faith and Kennedy, Willow was so red and twitchy he almost thought she was having a stroke, and several SiT's were either looking embarrassed, glaring at Kagura like she stole their favorite toy, or grinning evilly. The whole effect was completed as he said hello, announcing his presence. With the exceptions of Willow and Vi who both got extremely red(or more red in Willow's case), every single woman in the room, sitting or standing turned to look at him and giggled.

It took every ounce of will power he possessed not to run for his life at that moment. Forget the First, this was scary. "I so don't want to know.", he said finally, heading to the kitchen to make himself some instant ramen. It wasn't as good as the imported ramen his dad had at the estate, but at 10 cents a pack, the price was right.

He shuddered as he heard another well up of laughter from the dining room.


Spike paced angrily back and forth through the remains of the warehouse as he thought over what he had seen. Droopy boy, who hated him, had come back some kind of super demon, Buffy, HIS Buffy was crawling right back to his grand poof, and now she had gone and invited him back into the fold.

How dare she? She was HIS! He had fought for her, killed for her, gotten a god damned soul for her, and this...THIS was her thanks? Ohh no. This wouldn't stand, not by a long shot.

"Bloody stinking poof. I'll show him who the real vamp in this town is. Better watch out Angelus. The real Big Bad is back.", Spike muttered with a snarl.

The FE, who watched this all with amusement turned into Drusilla as she commented, "Welcome home, my boy. You will take the fallen preacher's place, and we will destroy them all. Oh Spike! This will be the best party ever."

Spike smiled cruelly as he added, "I remember, Ducks. Because this will be the last."

"Such a good boy, my Spike is.", the FE said with Dru's usual insane air.


Everyone was armed to the teeth with guns, SM's, and flat black body armor chest plates that they were obviously adjusting to get it to fit right. The sight compelled her to cry, "What is going on, here? Where did you all get guns? We don't use guns!"

"Oh, hey Buffy. You missed the weapon orientation, so I put the gear we set aside for you in your room. I'll go over it with you in the morning, since it's getting kind of late, and Jaken's story is just getting to the good part. Oh, and hi, Deadboy" Dawn said, barely glancing behind her from where she was sitting on the couch, listening to the aforementioned youkai.

"Dawn! Where did you get those? And what do you mean orientation. Take those off this instant, they're dangerous.", Buffy screeched, obviously distressed.

"So's a sword or a medieval crossbow. These just have built in safeties to keep them from going off by accident. No more killing bad lamps.", Dawn replied, before tuning back to Jaken.

"That was Kendra!", Buffy cried out indignantly. She was going to continue to bring up the matter of her little sister being covered in dangerous stuff when Xander stuck out from the dining room. "Buff, Dawnie, Deadboy, could you join us in here? We want to talk over the magic do hickey Wolfram and Hart sent with Lord Foreheadroy before those of us that might combust can hide properly from the sun in time.", he said.

"Captain Foreheadroy?", Angel asked, annoyed.

"He'd had years to practice. He probably has hundreds now.", Buffy said with a shrug.

"Wonderful." the vampire replied sarcastically.

Jaken piped up, calling Buffy's attention fully to him, and making her stare as the toad said, "Milord, will you require me there for this as well?"

"Nah, keep your adoring public entertained Jaken. We'll probably save the tactical debate until tomorrow and just discuss the amulet. It's no problem." Xander called back from the dining room.

"Very well milord." Jaken answered.

So it was that only Buffy, Angel, and Dawn went into the dining room, Dawn grumbling and muttering about missing a good story the whole way. Already in the room were Willow, Faith, Giles, Wood, Xander, and a red eyed women dressed similar to Dawn that neither Buffy or Angel recognized.

"Buff, Deadboy, allow me to introduce the youkai Kagura, the wind sorceress." Xander said, as Kagura inclined her head at the introduction from where she was standing demurely behind Xander.

Buffy waved shyly, her face confused, and Angel just nodded back, standing behind Buffy in a similar posture. Dawn smiled, and sat next to Xander or the right, as Willow occupied his left, impulsively scratching at his ears playfully with a "Hi Xand", as she sat.

This action made Xander roll his eyes as he hissed, "Dawn, we've had the ear discussion before. I don't fondle your body parts, please don't fondle mine."

This made Buffy, Dawn, and Willow chuckle, as Kagura and Faith smiled lasvicsiously. Once the tension that was threatening to mount was broken, Buffy crossed her arms and said, "You promised doughnuts and cookies, Xander."

"That was for explaining me. This is to talk of Angel's magical thingamajig. Besides, Dawn and Willow will explain everything better.", the hanyou replied.

"OK. Than I have one thing left to ask before we get started...can I touch your ears?", Buffy asked, attacking him with the dreaded Summers girl puppy dog pout.

Chapter 13

"Now Buffy, I just explained this to Dawn. But since you're friend, and since you're hot, and well, since it will piss off Deadboy and I'm strong enough he can't hurt me now, I guess it's a fair trade. What are you going to trade for me to touch in return?", Xander replied, wagging his eyebrows an exaggerated way.

Buffy merely laughed as she replied, "Nice try, perv. I remember what goes on in your head from when I could read minds. Sell it elsewhere, mister." As she spoke, Buffy sat down opposite the hanyou, Angel standing behind her. Strangely, there was a small smile on the vampire's lips.

"I hate to admit it, Xander, but I think I actually missed your mouth.", he said ruefully.

"Aww, that's Sweet, overbite. But if you think of breaking out your leather pants in any context other than being evil, I swear I'll dust you.", Xander replied cheekily.

It was Kagura that next spoke up, as she said, "Well, if your going from warnings to trades, Xander-sama, I'm sure we can work something out later." as she ran her right hand delicately over his left ear. IT was clear to the whole room that Xander was fighting to hold back a reaction from her touch.

"Damn K-girl. How'd you do that? He looks ready to melt with one finger stroke.", Faith commented, her voice impressed.

"I've spent alot of years around inu youkai, inu hanyou, and their mates. It's amazing how many inu youkai women in Sesshomaru's court like to brag about how to tease their men. Girl talk among youkai can always be...informative.", the wind sorceress replied her eyes twinkling with amusement as she stroked the other ear, making Xander go red in the face, before stepping back to her previous position.

Xander coughed, trying to regain his composure as the assembled men looked on with sympathy, and the women all either smiled wickedly, or giggled. "Uh, yeah, so anyway. Now that I've been made a public spectacle of..."

"Some things never change." Angel said, interrupting him.

Xander scowled at the vampire and replied "Like your choice in clothes, Brooderella." He turned his attention back to the table at large as he said, "Now, captain cryptic here brought us a doo dad of questionable origin and unspecified ability that was given to him by his enemies, along with the LA offices of an evil LA law firm. I think the table's open to discuss this before we should decide on what to do with it. Angel, tell what you know so far..."

"When did Xander get all take charge and leadery", Buffy asked, looking at Willow directly.

"I think it started the summer after Acathla." the wicca mused idly.

"Uh, ladies, amulet? Possible trap. Can we discuss my ability to organize stuff later? Besides, it was part post Acathla, and part Grad war planning, along with a few lessons from my dad, and some recommended reading from him. 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu had alot of interesting tidbit we could have used from time to time."

"Wow. Research boy comes through with the knowledge again.", Buffy joked, making Kagura scowl at the girl.

The wind youkai much preferred Faith to Buffy. Over the last years Faith had only tried to kill him once, while under extreme mental duress, which was nothing more than Willow had done. Buffy, on the other hand, had treated him poorly on several occasions Kagura knew of from Sesshomaru's network of spies and informants. In her opinion, the elder Slayer was severely lacking and had no right to mock her Lord's son.

Thankfully for the flow of the conversation, Buffy missed the scowl directed at her because she was looking at Willow, and Kagura schooled her features back to a neutral state before she looked Xander's way again. The same could not be said for Angel, but he thought it prudent to discuss it later with Xander, and possibly Kagura herself. The amulet was an important issue they had to address.

Xander flushed again with mild embarrassment, looking to the table self consciously, as Buffy and Willow broke out into light laughter. Willow hugged him affectionately as she said, "Aww, you know we're just kidding you Xander."

It was finally Giles who got the room back on track as he cleared his throat. "Yes, now, this is all very well and good, but could we please get to the amulet in question, and save the friendly banter for a more appropriate moment?", he asked, bringing three automatic "Sorry Giles"s from the three friends in unison. From there, Angel proceeded to explain what he knew of the medallion, and set the file on it he had brought from Wolfram and Hart, and placed it on the table. Once that was done, discussions over the amulet began in earnest.


"So, let me get this straight. You have a few thousand super uglies under the ol' Hellmouth that you want loose, plus, more importantly, you want to convince Buffy to make all potentials into Slayers with her new toy. What's the part 'm I missin 'ere? Cause it sounds to me like givin her a whole new army of Slayers works against you, love.", Spike said as he lit a cigarette.

"Oh, Spike, you never were a big picture guy. You always live in the here and now. Truthfully, it's one of the reasons I always liked you. I have others to think long term. You're the best to deal with things that pop up unexpectedly.", the FE replied, fluffing the bleached vampires ego as much as possible. It once again wore Buffy's form, now dressed in a tight string bikini. This frustrated and excited the vampire equally because of the FE incorporeal nature.

"I know I'm good, pet. I'm the Big Bad here, after all.", he responded cockily. "That still doesn't explain why you want an army of Slayers walkin' around."

"Do you have any idea how many potential Slayers elude both the Watcher's council, and me, since I can only find them with the spell the Watchers used? I'll tell you. Hundreds. Possibly thousands. Now, picture this...with that many Slayers, and no Watchers to guide them, I can corrupt and turn the majority of them to our cause. Those that I can't, will end up demon magnets without even knowing why, and will be killed off quickly. Not to mention the hysteria and fear that will pop up with the introduction of so many super powered women. With a little careful nudging, I can set off a whole new set of modern witch hunts, and thin out the wicca contingent for the forces of good as well. Best of all, it will go uncontested, because the Slayer and her little friends will think it was a victory until it's too late to stop." the FE explained.

"Alright, then. What about my grand poof? It'll be harder to talk her into things with Angelus sniffing 'round her skirts again.", Spike said, the jealousy of Angel tainting his voice practically tangible.

"Please, Spike. You know better than that. Just play the hurt puppy for her and she'll walk right into your arms. Then I'll taunt the little priss, and you go in for the kill. One little comment and she'll be all yours. Literally. Since after I win, I'll make sure you look like the big hero that sacrificed everything to save her, and came out alive." the FE responded with a patronizing grin.

"Now that's a plan I can get behind. Well, I'm off then", the cockney vampire said, as he headed for the exit to the factory.

"One thing Spike. Remember, there's someone to be careful of, now." The First called out to his back.

"I know Angel's there, pet. I won't let anythin' slip to tip the poofter off.", the vampire replied in exasperation, insulted at her insinuation of his stupidity.

"Not Angel. Xander. He's more than you know, and he brought friends. Don't push him, Spike. He might...see...through you if you do.", the First Evil said, her voice growing heated as she spat the word 'see'.

"You're worried about Captain Bricklayer?", Spike crowed with a laugh. "That's hilarious. He's dead weight, pet. The biggest contribution Droopy ever made was getting doughnuts for the real fighters. He's just a...", Spike elaborated, until he was cit off by the First.

"A hanyou. An incredibly powerful Inu Hanyou carrying one of the most destructive personal youki based weapons in existence, who happens to be the Prince of the western lands, and who could literally tear you apart as you are now without an effort. I'll take care of that later, but for now, tread lightly.", the false Buffy warned.

Spike rolled his eyes as he replied, "Fine. I'll ignore the wanker like any same woman in the world would, so he'll never notice I exist. Happy?" He then left before waiting for a response.

As he made his way to the Summers home, Spike muttered to himself. "Me, be afraid of the damned Pizza Boy? Not a bloody chance in Hell."


The meeting about the amulet went on for about twenty minutes before it was decided not to use the thing. It came form too questionable a source, and wasn't worth the risk at that point in time. The groups had then broken up to various parts of the house. Kagura and Xander went to to make a perimeter sweep of the house and surrounding area. Well, Xander went to make the sweep. Kagura just went to keep the hanyou company. Giles went to have a conversation with Jaken, who he had to admit, had a plethora of knowledge about youkai and other eastern demons the likes of which the Watcher was never likely to find again. Wood and Faith retreated to the back yard to talk, having made some inroads into conversing on a regular basis since the FE tried to convince Faith to kill herself in the form of the Mayor.

As for Buffy, Willow, and Dawn, they went to Buffy room to talk about Xander. Well, they did after Dawn blistered her sister's ears for five minutes about how useful the weapons Xander brought were, how they'd be stupid to discard any advantage, and how short sighted the senior Slayer seemed to be acting recently.

"...all right, fine. I'll admit that demons would know alot more about how to fight each other than I would, and I should be happy they're willing to share. Okay?", Buffy finally said, her voice frustrated and a little sad.

"That's all I wanted to hear, Sis. Besides, Shippo was way too cute to refuse training from. I had no choice but to learn...eeep.", Dawn replied, suddenly concerned with the interested looks of the faces of the other two girls in the room.

"Shippo, eh? And who is this Shippo?", Buffy asked, her voice far too teasing for Dawn's taste.

"Uh, nobody. Now, weren't we supposed to be discussing Xander, here?", Dawn answered nervously.

"All in due time Dawnie. Now, does this Shippo have adorable ears you want to bother like Xander does?", Willow asked, her voice perky enough that one would think she had downed several mochaccinnos.

"NO! He's not a dog demon. He's a fox!", Dawn protested hotly, before blushing at how that sounded.

"Ooooh. Now I'm really interested. Tell us more." Buffy teased.

"NO! I meant that literally, he's a kitsune, a fox youkai. And he doesn't have dog ears, he just has this adorable plush tail, not that I looked or anything. And not that I think he's really handsome, or anything. Well, he is, but I sooo wasn't dwelling on it. Besides, this isn't the point of being here, so can we please drop it?" Dawn babbled nervously.

"Awww, baby sister has her first real demon crush. Wait until I tell Xander. He'll be so PROUD! Our little Dawnie's growing up so fast.", Buffy said, cupping her hands to her heart to further embarrass her little sister.

"Aaack! You can't tell him! He and Shippo are friends, 'cause they're alot alike in personality, and besides, Xander'd go into big brother mode and chop him into fox bits, and he doesn't deserve that.", Dawn cried in outrage.

"Well, I don't know...what's our silence worth to you?", Willow asked with a mischievous smirk.

And so, the taunting of the youngest Summers girl went on like that for quite a while before she could get around to explaining what she could of Xander's situation and history, as the females of the Scoobies bonded long into the night.

Chapter 14

Dawn had finally finished her own abridged version of Xander's life, and a recount of her their time at Sesshomaru's estate. Soon after she fled the room, claiming a need to get plenty of rest. In truth, all three girls knew it was just a ploy to avoid another round of 'tease the little sister'.

Once she was safely away and out of earshot, Buffy leveled the question burning hottest on her mind.

"So, Wills, what do you think of this Kagura woman Xander brought with him?" the Slayer asked.

"I don't know. I mean, she's a little blunt sometimes, but not like Anya. It's like she just doesn't care if she embarrasses people. With Anya, it was always like she just didn't know any better. She seems nice enough besides that. And at least Xander knows she's a demon. Of course he kind of is now too, so that works out well." the redhead responded.

"Yeah." Buffy agreed. "You know, this explains alot about Xander. I mean it was no wonder he was attracting demon hotties like flies to honey. He was this hunk of burning demon guy the whole time and never knew it."

Willow smiled at that comment as she replied, "And his dating Cordy at first made sense because, he was well, a dog. And she was well..."

"...a bitch." Buffy finished with a smile. "Yeah. But, getting back on track. The issue isn't just what we think of Kagura. It's if we think she's good enough for Xander."

"Well, Dawnie likes her, and she didn't like Anya at first, so that's a big one for the yay column." Willow responded. "Faith and Kennedy seem to like her fine, too. She's a little aloof with everyone else, really, but that's more just her staying near Xander, I think, and the potentials still being weirded out by his new look."

"Yeah. Nothing like that would bother Faith. I noticed Kagura seemed a little cold to everyone but Xander at the meeting. But I haven't had much of a chance to get to know her, I guess." Buffy replied.

"She's good with Dawnie. They've spent time talking and stuff from what Dawn said. I think she might be a little uncomfortable being around so many you know...humans. I mean it's like a cross between a boot camp and a sorority here half the time. That can't be easy to adjust to." Willow countered.

"So we're deciding to hold off judgment until we get more info then?" Buffy asked.

"Sounds like a plan. Not that it will matter to Xander. We never seem to like his girlfriends, and he still keeps them until they manage to grow on us." Willow answered.

"Yeah. He does have a knack for finding hidden depths in women." Buffy agreed.

"Plus, they're all really hot." Willow said with a grin.

"Willow!" Buffy cried out in mock outrage.

"What? Just because I'm off the market doesn't mean I can't look and appreciate." the wicca replied innocently.

"God. You're as bad as he is. Sometimes I think you two were separated at birth or something." Buffy replied with a laugh.

Willow just shrugged and grinned, before she said, "Now, on to another, equally important topic. How cute are Xander's new ears?"

Buffy's laughter rang threw the house unchecked as the girl talk went on into the early hours of the morning.


Xander and Kagura stalked easily through the night, making certain nothing was lurking about their current base of operations when the met up with a vampire.

"Xander. Kagura." Angel said in his customary deadpan.

"Deadboy." "Captain Hairgel." they answered respectively, their voices in a similar deadpan.

It took an act of will on Angel's part not to roll his eyes at their antics, and as Xander congratulated the wind sorceress on taunting him so easily. He had to remind himself that these were powerful creatures that could pulp him with a gesture. No matter how annoying they got, he had to keep his cool.

"I was just walking out here, and I was wondering why Kagura seemed upset with Buffy?" he asked his voice still neutral.

Xander looked questioningly to the demoness at that, as she shrugged and replied, "I've been watching over Xander-sama from a distance for years. I've seen her constantly abuse him emotionally, and try to push him away. Now it looks like she's ready to accept him with open arms just because his powers were awakened. I can't think of much of a reason to like the little ningen."

"Kagura, it's not like that. We've just been under stress for a while. It's not all on Buffy's head." the White Knight explained, his voice compassionate.

Kagura nodded in acknowledgement as she replied, "Perhaps. You've seen and experienced things with her up close, Xander-sama. And you would understand how her mind works better than I. Regardless, I doubt I will ever come to like her. But I will tolerate her. For your sake." she responded.

Angel nodded his head at both their reactions. There wasn't any real problem here then. That was good. The last thing they needed was an upset youkai...

"You got a problem with Buffy, bint? Then why don't you take it up with me?" an annoying cockney voice called out, dispelling the illusion of things going simply.

"Spike." Xander and Angel spat in unison, as Kagura looked the bleached blonde over like one would an annoying bug.

"I don't recall asking for your opinion in this conversation, vampire." she said coldly, her voice laced with disgust.

"A I didn't recall asking for your permission to speak there, pet." the vampire sneered.

Xander growled low in his throat, a sound he never could have made as a human. This attracted everyone's attentions as he said, "This is a private conversation, Billy. We don't want you here."

"Nice look Droopy. You raid a costume shop? Besides I don't take orders from pathetic bricklayers like y..." Spike answered, before being cut off as a surprising hand grabbed his throat and lifted him off the ground.

"Listen, childe." Angel sneered, his vampire visage revealed, from where he held Spike like a rag doll, much to Xander and Kagura's amusement. "I came here to discuss something with them like adults. You are not involved in that. Now you're insulting and embarrassing me in front of your betters. So I suggest you leave before I make Buffy upset and dust your sorry ass like I should have the day Dru turned you."

"You can't tell me what to do." Spike growled, as he kicked Angel in the face, forcing him to release his grip, as Spike rolled backward, coming to his feet with his own true features showing.

He was about to charge at his grandsire when he was stopped, first be a white blade made out of wind that struck the concrete of the sidewalk in front of him, that cut through it like it was never there, then by the gigantic sword at his throat, help by a growling Xander.

"Get it through your head fangless. You're outclassed. Now leave." the hanyou sneered coldly, only stopping himself from dusting the vampire for Buffy's sake.

Spike took a moment to take stock of his situation then, and found it inordinately bad. Droopy was ready to cut his head off, and was at said throat so quickly that Spike never noticed him move. The bint with the fan could apparently throw distance attack that could easily decapitate him, and Angel was at least at, if not past, his level of prowess and power in an old fashioned donny brook. Not to mention the demonic energy Xander and Kagura were flooding the area with was enough to make him want to soil himself. It was time for a tactical retreat.

"Alright then. No need to get upset, Droops. If anyone needs me, I'll be in my room." Spike said his hands raised in surrender. The vampire made certain not to turn his back on any of the demons outside until he was safely in the house.

Angel sighed deeply once Spike was gone. "Sorry about that. He always was an ass. But, are you sure he has a soul, because I'm not seeing any change?"

Xander realized he was taking responsibility for one of his brood, a nod to his position as a youkai prince, so he replied, "Don't worry about it Angel. His actions are his own. They don't reflect on you. And Buffy swears he has a soul now. Got to admit, I'm not certain about how good of a soul it is, though. I will tell you this. I don't trust the bastard. Never have, never will."

"I don't blame you. So, other than my grand childe being a total waste and embarrassment, are we good?" the vampire asked.

Kagura nodded, appreciative of his gestures and attempts to make amends as she replied, "We are fine, Angel-san. You have my word that I will be civil to Buffy, unless she attack or hurts Xander- sama. After that, I promise nothing."

Angel bowed formally to the pair in thanks for their time, knowing he could get no better offer. They returned the bow, and then the vampire faded off into the shadows and his own designs.

Once Angel was gone, Xander and Kagura continued their patrol. As they walked, Xander said, "Kagura, I don't need you to protect me. I have enough issues with women saving my ass already, and Spike is a joke of a vampire at this point."

"I know Xander. Please forgive me assumptions." she replied demurely.

"Still, it was sweet of you. Thanks for caring." the hanyou said, a blush rising to his cheeks.

Kagura merely smiled, leaning over to kiss his cheek, which made the blush intensify before she replied, "You're welcome."

Chapter 15

Buffy felt some trepidation as she made her way toward Spike's basement room after she had said her good-byes to Willow for the evening. She still hadn't told him what was going on, and she should have, in her opinion. After all, Angel's arrival and return to the fight on the Hellmouth, however temporary it was, and Xander's transformation were major issues. Spike was a major player in the group now, (again in her opinion) and he should be briefed. She didn't want the bleached vampire to think she was trying to replace him.

As she made her way down, she found Spike sitting on his bed, shirtless, smoking a cigarette, and placing a bandage on a small wound on his neck. As she got closer, her enhanced slayer hearing couldn't help but pick up his words as he complained. "Damned Droopy and his damned sword. Tell me to but out of a conversation. Like that stupid bricklayer is worth enough of a damn to even talk to me. The second I get that promised power up and that stupid mutt and his bitch turn their backs, I'll gut them right pretty. I'll show those wankers why I'm called Spike."

Buffy gasped at Spike's words, shocked to hear them. It sounded like the old, soulless version of the vampire talking. Still she had to hear both sides of this before she judged. Spike did like to talk big, and he was...important to her now. She thought.

With that idea in mind, she walked the rest of the way down the stairs, to where Spike had turned to look at her wide eyed, his expression showing the fear of being caught at something as he had heard her gasp. That expression filed into the back of Buffy's sub- conscious as she crossed her arms and looked the vampire over. "Care to clarify that Spike?" she asked, her tone neutral.

The vampire took a moment to reign in his shock before he answered. He took a deep drag of his cigarette before he replied, "Hey, there, Buffy. What bring you to my parts? Tired of kissin' Angel? Or are you here to keep me distracted before new and improved Droopy attacks me again?"

"Xander attacked you?" Buffy asked incredulously as she looked over the extremely minor wound he had bandaged with a huge piece of gauze.

"I didn't get this little trinket shaving, ducks. I was just comin' home, nice as could be, when I hear the bricklayer, Angelus, and some hyped up demon bint talkin'. The demon was talking trash about you, and I figured, what the 'ell, you weren't kissing my grandsire right then, so I'd at least be a decent bloke and stick up for you. Next thing I know, all three of 'em are threatening me, and Xander, who looks like a freaking dog demon now, has a huge ass sword to my throat growling at me." Spike said, making sure to put just enough hurt in his tone to make him seem like the wronged party. He chuckled ruefully as he added, "Funny, I always though of Droops as a loyal guy. Never expected him to side with some bitch I ain't never seen before that was insulting you. I guess you can't trust nobody these days."

Buffy narrowed her eyes as he said that. She thought over how cold Kagura seemed toward her, how much Xander had changed, and catalogued that with what she had seen so far tonight. Two major facts Spike was ignoring stood out, though. The first was that Angel, who she knew was on her side, as surely as she was certain Xander would never betray her, was there, and sided with Xander and Kagura. The other was something Spike had said in his rantings...'The second I get that promised power up'. She was missing something here, and she had a sneaking suspicion she wouldn't like it. The best option for now was to keep the vampire talking and see what he showed.

"I can't believe that Xander would do something like that. I mean I knew Kagura was cold, and didn't seem to care if I lived or died, but I never thought he'd let her talk bad about me. What all did she say?" Buffy asked, feigning outrage.

Spike smirked to himself as he replied, "She was talkin about how you were manipulative, and treated Droops lie dirt, at first. Then she started on how she didn't like humans in general and you were the worst of 'em, and how she hated the Bit too. Truth be told, I think she might be plannin' on hurting Dawn. You should get the bitch out of here while it's safe."

Buffy knew he was full of it then. Everyone in the house could tell Kagura adored Dawnie. Hell, Xander wouldn't have let the demoness near Dawn if he didn't trust her implicitly. The first part, admittedly, sounded like something she could picture the demoness thinking from the way she acted, but the second? Why would she hate humans if she worked for Xander's dad and helped them often? There were only a couple of things left to ask before she called Spike on his lies.

"God, Spike. I just...I never imagined. She must be manipulating Xander. I'll have to take care of it. Thank you so much for telling me.", she said, as she took another step closer to him. As Spike took the opportunity to wrap her in a 'reassuring' hug she asked, "Spike?"

"Yeah pet?" the bleached vampire responded.

"What did you mean when you said 'since I wasn't kissing Angel at the time?", she asked innocently.

Spike did not have to feign his hurt and anger as he let her go and replied, "Oh, I almost forgot about that in all this business. I saw you two playin' tonsil hockey while I was out for my little stroll tonight. You two were real cozy, you were."

"Spike that was nothing. I...It was just a thank you." she replied defensively.

"Oh yeah, because you thank everybody like that. I know I do" he answered sarcastically. "So what were you thankin' the poof for?"

"For helping me to realize a few things." she replied as she slapped the vampire, her voice the determined tone it was in high school for the first time in a very long time. "Like how I shouldn't turn my back on my friends. Or maybe how I should listen to what's going on around me."

"Buffy what?" Spike asked, stunned.

"Or maybe how you can't be trusted. So Spikey, where are you getting a big power up from so you can show Xander and his friend how you got your name? I especially like how you were talking about waiting until their backs were turned. stupid do you think I am. Xander and Angel, together, siding with someone who hates Dawn and is openly insulting me? If Xander has any problem with me, he's never been afraid to air it out himself, and he'd conquer Hell itself to protect Dawnie if he had to! I'm not sure if I should be insulted at how dumb you think I am, or grateful that you couldn't keep your mouth shut!" she said, her voice growing into an angry shout toward the end.

"Now, ducks." Spike said nervously, unsure just where everything had gone to seed on him, but still realizing it had.

"Get out." Buffy said, her voice dead.

"What? Buffy, listen, you're blowin' stuff out of..." he tried to reason.

"I said leave, traitor. Now. Before I change my mind and let Wood and the others finish you off. Tell the First I'm tired of being played, and that we're going to beat It." she interrupted firmly.

Spike knew the jig was up then. He let his full anger come to the surface as he sneered, "This isn't over by a long shot, Slayer. You be sure and tell Droopy, and the Poof, and all your little friends that they've got a real fight comin'. You'd need an army of Slayers to beat somethin' like the First. Hell, you'd need to activate every bloody potential on earth to have a chance. I'm just smart enough to side with a winner. And when this is over, you'll see that, and come crawling back to me on hands and knees. 'Cause I'll be all you have left."

Buffy scowled at the vampire as she said, "I can't believe I ever let you touch me. You're still the same bastard that tried to kill me all those years. I just refused to see it."

"You loved every second of it, Buffy. See you soon, love." Spike replied evilly, before turning and running out of the basement and off into the night. Since it was nearly four a.m., he had to find shelter relatively soon.

Buffy fell to her knees, held herself tightly, and cried once the vampire was gone. She couldn't understand what she had ever seen in the monster, now. Still she wept over what a fool she had been, and at what kind of dangers she had brought trusting him. "Why can't I ever find a good person and keep him?" she whispered miserably.

"Because you're an evil, selfish whore, and God hates people like that." the First replied wearing Caleb's form.

Buffy stood angrily and rounded to face him as she sneered, "I've sent you're little spy packing. Now get out of my house before I do the same to you."

FECaleb sighed as he replied, "I know. I should have known better than to trust Spike to be subtle. He might be a good manipulator, but he's too impatient sometimes. I'll have to work on that with him. Still having someone that knows you all intimately and how you all think is all I really need."

"I thought I asked you to leave." Buffy said flatly.

"I suppose you did. But, you can't get rid of me, Buffy. I'm always here, and I always will be. Spike was right, I will win, and you will come crawling to him. Or you'll die. Either works out for me." FECaleb gloated.

It was then that Buffy came to a realization. "You're scared of us."

"Oh please. Grasping at false hope now?" the First replied sarcastically. "I was expecting more from you in the face of your ultimate destruction."

"It's not false. I know we're going to win. You're terrified of what we can do together. That's why you had Spike trying to break us up. It's just like ADAM all over again. It'll be the same result, too." Buffy replied with a smile of realization. "We're going to kick your incorporeal ass."

"Keep dreaming schoolgirl." the FE responded as it shifted into Angelus' form. "You don't have what it takes to defeat me."

"Wanna bet?" Buffy replied with a content sense of purpose.

The First just sneered at her, before disappearing, certain that the sees of its plan had been properly planted, even if Spike had been discovered too soon.

Chapter 16

The next morning brought a plethora of suppressed emotions to the surface in the house. News of Spike's betrayal had come around five in the morning, when Angel had come in to discover Buffy weeping in the basement, expecting to only fine Spike, and endure waiting out the day with him. To say the eldest vampire among those called the Scourge of Europe was upset was to say the surface of the sun was slightly warm. It was only the approaching Dawn that kept him from tearing out of the house to rip apart Sunnydale until he had discovered Spike and eviscerated him.

The reactions of the others were not much better. Giles, Faith and Wood all looked on coldly furious as Dawn and Willow surrounded the still silently crying Buffy on the couch. The blonde Slayer herself was spending her time looking at the floor in shame, occasionally whispering that she was sorry for trusting the bleached idiot, after she had recounted what had happened. The Sit'S were showing varying degrees of fear, anger, and worry at events. Kagura and Jaken both seemed relatively neutral to everything, but it was obvious there were warily eyeing the last Scooby.

One would expect Xander, an emotive person by nature, to be seething and railing, looking to run through the streets in a fury, using the Kaze no Kizu to level entire city blocks until he had found the vampire. Instead, he had gone totally cold. His eyes and face were eerily reminiscent of Sesshomaru, as he stood still in the room. To the others it was like watching a nuclear bomb drop in the middle of the room and waiting for it to detonate. "Buffy. It wasn't your fault. The son of a bitch made his choice. He played us. He'll get his in return. For now, we need to concentrate on the First." the White Knight said, his voice emotionless.

"Xander I...god, how can you be so calm?" the Slayer asked piteously.

"Calm? I'm so furious, I'd probably snap without the Tetsusaiga right now. I want to call Riley to get him to drop a nuke on the accursed town just to fry the bastard. That doesn't change the fact that the FE is the main priority. We need to plan for it. I need to stay calm, no matter how much I don't want to." he answered in a dead tone.

Angel's voice had grown equally cold as he added, "And the fact that Spike is working for the First, and will be there when we go after it makes it easier to concentrate."

"Exactly." the hanyou replied with a nod. "So, other than properly arming ourselves against the first's foot attacks, what do we have so far?" he then asked the room.

"The key to the region seems to be the Hellmouth seal. That's where the First is getting its Turok-hahn for this theater. He likely has them stockpiled there as shock troops." Jaken said from where he sat on what the house now called 'Jaken's story chair'.

"So we can take out the Firsts army there, and end this?" Buffy asked as she began to compose herself.

"Perhaps. But we'd need time to prepare, and a good plan." Giles commented with a thoughtful nod.

"It wouldn't be the whole army anyway, Giles. Just an advance force, at best. Remember, my dad is fighting armies that include uber vamps, too. The first has more than one way to access them." Xander replied.

"Indeed." Giles answered in deep thought.

"I might have an idea, if Willow can run with it. It came to me last night after Spike took off..." Buffy said, raising her hand tentatively.


Spike paced back and for angrily inside the new warehouse the First had insisted they relocate to. He was seething at Buffy's rejection and, in his twisted perception, betrayal. It didn't help that the FE was scolding like a five year old wearing Buffy's face.

"How could you be so careless? For love of all that's unholy, William, she has a heartbeat and a scent. You're a vampire. You should have smelled her coming, even with the smoke! And if you couldn't, you should have kept your mouth shut! You're just luck we managed to still plant the idea in her mind." the FE raged.

"Now wait just a damned minute! This isn't my fault! How the bloody 'ell was I supposed to know she'd trust Droopy like that? She's ignored the sod for as long as I've known them!" he yelled back angrily.

"She's always trusted him, she was just afraid for him you idiot! And what was that about him siding with someone who would attack her sister? Even she wouldn't fall for that?" the FE screeched.

"I was playin' her emotions! She's got blinders for Dawn, and I never said the damned delivery boy was plottin against her, just that that demon bitch couldn't be trusted! I was trying to make her sent the fan girl off and make 'em all upset with each other! It's worked before!" he shouted back.

"And you never thought to check how she got along with Dawn first before telling your tall tales?" the First asked in a deadpan, crossing her arms. "Much less that the hanyou would let anyone near the child that would willingly hurt her that he brought here? You went too far without any facts to back it up, Spike. Fortunately I doubt it will cost us anything." it added evenly.

"Alright then. So, when do I get the power up to make me a match for Angelus and the dog faced boy?" he sniffed huffily, still upset at being scolded.

"Right now." FE Buffy said with an evil smile, as she literally leapt into the vampire's body, causing him to scream out in pain until he fell to the floor in agony.


The room looked at Buffy silently as they digested her suggestion.

"It's a unique idea." Wood commented evenly

"It's insane." Dawn said.

"But it could work." Willow added thoughtfully.

"I'm inclined to agree with Dawn on this, Buffy. It sounds..." Giles interjected before trailing off unsure how describe what he felt about her plan.

"That's the beauty of it Giles. I mean, who said it has to be only one slayer? A bunch of old men that wanted to control her? This way we have an army to attack full force." she replied with look of determination.

"I kind of agree with both sides here." Xander said, drawing the attention of the room. "Having a few dozen slayers here on the Hellmouth is of the good, assuming the girls agree to it. But activating all the potentials sounds too good to be true." he said.

"But Xander, if we do this we would..." Willow cut in getting excited at the prospect of such a noble endeavor.

"Be taking away their choices. I was always grateful to Dad and the others that they let me choose whether or not I wanted to awaken my demon powers, even though it was like letting me sentence myself to a quick death by human lifespan in their eyes. This...we'd be taking away their lives, and forcing a destiny on them. Not to mention the logistical problems with it. I mean, do we have any idea how many unclaimed SiT's there are? Could we rally the resources to find and train them one they all became slayers? Sure, with my Dad's help and what's left of the Council we might pull it off, but it's iffy." he said.

"Xander, this could be the blow to end the war!" Buffy replied hotly.

He looked at Buffy sadly and asked, "And what about the one's that have bad lives? Without any guidance they'll make Faith's trip to the darkside look tame. No offense Faith."

"Hey, it happened, Boytoy. I'm here trying to make up for it." the Dark Slayer replied with a shrug.

Xander nodded in thanks before continuing. "Or, what about the young potentials? Will this spell affect them? How do we explain to a little girl that hugged mommy as tight as she could around the neck to show how much she loves her why mommy's head popped off? Or the grade school tomboy who gets into a fight and suddenly breaks some boy in half without meaning to? It's just too much for us to be ready to deal with, Buff. I'm not saying it's a total wash as an idea. I'm just saying it needs a little revision. Maybe we can revise a spell to only activate the potentials here on a volunteer basis? That way we can split the difference." he suggested.

Buffy had gone from pale, to green as Xander laid out potential long term flaws to her idea. "Ok, point taken. Excuse me while I go think about what I just tried to do and throw up." she said weakly.

Giles looked on with sympathy as he said, "It wasn't a bad idea itself, Buffy. It just needed to be scaled back. That's probably why the Powers waited until child bearing age, what was considered adulthood until a century ago, to activate the Slayer essence in the first Slayer. TO avoid problems like Xander described." The watcher voice took on a defensive and irritated tone as he added, "And for the record, the bunch of old men, who I'll assume you referring to the Watchers, did not exist at the time of the first Slayer, much less create her. That was a force well beyond and before the Council."

"Sorry Giles." Buffy added sheepishly.

"Ok, so we're agreed then? We try to activate the girls here only on a volunteer basis, then launch a preemptive strike on the FE's advanced force at the Hellmouth?" Xander asked the room, and getting nods from all assembled. "Then all that remains is to plan the actual assault. Turok-hahn are extremely flammable and stupid, so I was thinking of a spearhead starting with me using the Tetsusaiga's Kaze no Kizu attack, coupled with some SM and napalm satchel charge cover, while those that test best with the MP-5s take out any bringers..."


Meanwhile, the First, who had been watching the proceedings without the Scoobies knowing was raging to itself in a near tantrum.

"DAMN THAT HANYOU TO THE LOWEST PITS OF HELL!!! He's managed to screw up all my plans in a matter of days! I swear I'll have that filthy meddling pup's head on a pike when this is all over with!" the FE cried in frustration.

"Easy there, pet. I'll take care of Droopy for you. He's messed with us for the last time, I promise you", Spike said from behind her.

As the First, who still wore Buffy's form, turned to him she smiled cruelly. "I know we will. Do you like the second half of your present?" she asked impishly.

"I love it." Spike answered as his looked over the broadsword with the ebony colored blade he held in his hands. The whites of his eyes had gone a dark, blood red from his empowerment from the First, and he seemed to exude a level of power and menace that would send most demons, including the half dozen Turok-hahn around him, scurrying back in terror. "Be sure to thank that Naraku bloke for it. I'll enjoy gutting the little doggy and bint with this." he added as tiny arcs of red lightning danced across the blade.

"I know you will." FEBuffy replied with a knowing grin.

Chapter 18

As the Scoobies got their act together for their assault, Spike was doing the same with the army of Bringers and Turok-hahn he had inherited. "Right then, we keep a perimeter of Bringers so we know when the Slayer an' her crew are comin'. I want all the uglies waitin' in the sewers so we can cut them off inside the Hellmouth. From there, we'll have us a right good slaughter. Jus' remember, You can hurt Angel and the pup all you want, but I get to off 'em. And Buffy's mine. Anyone gets creative here, they answer to me." the bleached blonde vampire stated.

The Bringers and Turok-hahn, either mute, or incapable of human speech, respectively, just nodded in agreement.


As night fell over the Summers home, a feast had been set up by the original Scooby Gang to feed the multitudes. It was Xander's opinion that everyone should have a good meal to help them stay loose and calm the night before the big battle. He was quickly seconded by Faith and Buffy both, whose Slayer metabolisms required large quantities to begin with.

Strangely, this was also the first time Jaken and Kagura got to formally meet Andrew. He'd always seemed to fall into the background, hearing and seeing things, but not really making a major difference. It was Kagura, who had hardly left Xander's side since what the house was calling the 'big kiss' (much to their annoyance and Jaken's squawking about propriety), finally who asked, "Xander, who is that strange little man again?", as she watched Andrew extol the virtues of Star Trek to a half dozen bored potentials.

Xander shrugged indifferently from where he was eating his third cup of ramen as he replied, "Andrew Wells. Small time demon summoner, sci-fi nerd, and former pawn of the First. He somehow went from being a prisoner to being well...that."

At his words Kagura and Jaken shared a look. They both knew of Andrew from the spy reports about the so called Trio last year, and their triggering of Willow's rage. They had never really looked at what Andrew's contributions to the groups were, though. Something was wrong about the lad. For one, how could such a weak, sniveling little ningen summon and control demons? they'd eat him within minutes. They were missing something.

Kagura started to look over Andrew more closely then, causing the seemingly unaware blonde to sweat visibly. His increased heart rate and scent caught Xander's attention as he finished his ramen. Finally the hanyou asked, "Why do you want to know? I figure you'd know all about the trio and their actions."

Kagura did something totally against her personality and ignored Xander as she calmly said, "Jaken."

The toad youkai nodded in reply as he replied, "Of course, Kagura." He then walked up to Andrew and cleared his throat loudly. "Uhm, excuse me, everyone." the retainer croaked.

"Uh, yes?" Andrew asked nervously as le looked over the toad youkai next to him, while the girls just looked on curiously. "Can I help you?"

Jaken's only reply was to wind up the Staff of Souls, which glowed with power, and strike Andrew full force in the face, knocking him across the room, and making him glow with a purple light.

This got the attention of the rest of the house, who either cried out in shock, of yelled their displeasure at the demon's actions, which looked intentionally lethal. Well, a few laughed, but would deny it later.

"What the Hell did you lay into the geek like that for, Froggy?" Faith asked in shock, as Buffy looked as if she was getting ready to attack the youkai.

It was not Jaken who answered, thus stopping Buffy's motion, but Kagura, who moved forward from her place next to a bewildered Xander.

"The very idea that so scrawny and pathetic a human could survive this long while trying to summon demons is ludicrous. Jaken hit him with a spell that will show what this little ningen is hiding." she said coldly, glaring at Andrew the whole time, as she drew her fan.

Willow was the first to protest where they thought the demons were going as she said, "But he can't be the First! He's all solid and stuff, and Jaken just hit him."

"Foolish witch! We never said he was the First. If Lord Alexander had more time to grow into his senses, and if he was not already used to this one from before his transformation, he'd have picked up on it too." the toad youkai admonished stubbornly.

"What are you talking about?" Xander asked seriously, as he flexed his claws and eyes Andrew more suspiciously.

"You wouldn't be old enough to recognize it, Xander. Even Jaken and I needed to confirm each other's suspicions before we acted. It was quite a good concealing spell. If Jaken wasn't so old, and I was not his daughter, we might have missed the deception." Kagura replied evenly, making Xander go pale, and confusing the others.

A sense of sudden dread filled the room as a red-eyed Andrew began to chuckle darkly as he looked up from where he was slumped over. "Finally figured it out, eh, sis? Took you long enough."

"I knew they needed a proper spy for a scrying focus, just as we used a Xander's nature to pierce the natural interference of the Hellmouth. I just never imagined Naraku would create something so...pathetic." she sniffed indignantly.

"Oh, but I am the perfect spy. And Father and the First do like to plan ahead. I think it worked out quite nicely. I corrupted a potentially powerful magic wielder in Jonathan, then killed him, nearly led their pet witch to true madness, and kept an eye on things while worming into their hearts. Not bad for someone so weak." he replied to the stunned horror of the room in general, as be began to stand.

Xander was growled low in his throat, advancing toward Andrew when Kagura spoke. "Save your effort, milord. I'll be happy to handle this. I've never been fond of Naraku's willing puppets." she said as she threw Andrew out the door in a controlled gust of Gale force wind.

It was once outside that Andrew showed his one demonic power, speed. He took off running at a pace that nobody but Xander could hope to match among them. Unfortunately for Andrew, he wasn't faster than the wind.

"Dance of the Wind!" Kagura shouted as she went into her favorite technique, launching dozens of razor sharp wind blades at the fleeing demon spy. What was left of Andrew after they struck could barely be classified as messy roadkill. It certainly wouldn't be enough to bother to bury. "Be sure and give my regards to Naraku when we send him to meet you in Hell." she sneered at the distant mass of flesh.

The watching Scoobies, minus Xander, who had seen her practice when he first visited his father, were in awe at the display of power.

"Damn." Faith said succinctly.

"Quite." Giles added, a bit befuddled and unnerved.

"Uh, Xander? Remind me to thank you for asking her to avoid violence the next time she argues with me." Buffy said meekly.

"No problem Buff. And hey, if she does kill you, I'll just bring you back. It's what I do." he replied flippantly.

At that, both Willow and Buffy rolled their eyes and backhanded him across the chest simultaneously. "Dork." they said in unison.

"And proud of it." he responded cockily, as he strode forward to see if Kagura was alright. She hated Naraku with a passion, and the thought that he had a spy here she had missed for over a year would shake her deeply.

As he strode toward the demoness, he called over his shoulder, "Willow, get the spell components together. We'll do it here, in the morning before we leave, to prevent party crashers and to get an early drop on Spike. Is that good for you?"

"Yeah, Xan. That's fine. Now go take care of your girlfriend, mister I couldn't wait until that night so my best friend will loose both her private bet with Kennedy, and in the pool." she replied with a grin

"Well, faith owes me fifty for the Yankees/Boston game that first night I was in the hospital. Fate smiles of those that owe me money." Xander replied casually.

As Xander went and hugged his demon girlfriend, Willow remembered the game in question, and turned to Faith with a gasp. "You bet against Boston?"

The Dark Slayer shrugged as she replied. "It was the Yankees, and I'm from Boston. I figured I'd know if my boys were due or not. Serves me right, I guess." she said.

Chapter 19

Kagura awoke with a smile as the early morning sun peered in through a crack in the curtains in the room of the Summers home where she rested. The primary reason for that smile was still resting comfortably beneath her, making little whining/mewling noises in his sleep, as his ears flicked back and forth randomly. The wind sorceress snuggled in deeper to her lover's unconscious embrace and sighed happily. She took the time she had until Xander woke up to study his hanyou features. If possible, she found them even more attractive than his human features were. His silver hair and proper ears seemed to compliment his features remarkably well. Those, coupled with his amber eyes made him a true vision in her opinion. She was enamored with everything about him, from his gentle hands, despite their razor sharp claws, to his fangs.

Thinking about Xander's fangs made the wind sorceress smile ever wider, as she rolled her left shoulder lightly, where a bite was still in the last stages of healing. That make would be a badge of honor and love that she would cherish deeply. It meant, even if Xander was unaware of it in any way beyond instinct, that he had claimed, and accepted, her as his mate. Kagura never dreamed he would do something like that their first time together. She barely let herself dream of it happening at all. Now, at least by youkai standards and traditions, they were as one. She was his, and he was hers, and nobody could break that bond.

As she contemplated just what Xander's unthinking gesture meant, the hanyou himself was finally waking up from the sensations her minor movements were eliciting. His eyes fluttered open to a most welcome sight as he awoke to Kagura's smiling visage. "Good morning." he commented sleepily.

"Good morning yourself, koi. How are you feeling?" the wind youkai replied lazily, even as she propped herself up better to address him.

This was a motion Xander was quite happy with, since it gave him a better view of her still naked form beneath the sheet they had thrown over them. "Surprisingly rested, considering last night. Uh, sorry about your neck/shoulder area. I guess I got a little carried away with the..."

"Wild demon sex?" she suggested as a finish, her smile growing even more pronounced, if at all possible.

"Well, I would have gone with a monkey for reverence, but your way sounds better", he replied.

"Yes well, regardless, trust me, I didn't mind at all. Last night was...more perfect than I could have ever imagined." she replied happily. Her tone grew wry as she added, "Even with Faith and Dawn hooting at us about the noise through the walls, and arguing over the other pool's winnings at one point."

"Let them hoot, as long as you're happy." the White Knight replied languidly, as he leaned up for a kiss, glad he had not upset her.

"My thoughts exactly." the demoness replied with a grin as she leaned down to meet him half way.

They would have probably began to accomplish much more than kissing that morning, if Willow had not taken that moment to open the door, for wake them up and get them ready for the activation spell. "Good, Morning you two. It's time to get up...OH MY GODDESS!" the Wicca exclaimed, frozen temporarily in place by the sight of her best friend and the demoness Kagura making out while naked.

The pair barely broke apart as Xander exclaimed, "I was already up, Wills, as you can see."

This caused Willow to go red and stammer incoherently, even as Kagura smirked, and Faith, who was behind Willow in the hall, popped her head in to take a leer and remark, "I'll say. I'd definitely call this a revival of your 'Up with People' tour boytoy."

Xander likewise went red as he thought over his last statement and exclaimed. "That's not what I meant. And could you two please give us some privacy to get dressed? You know, before Dawn shows up, and Buffy tries to kill us for flashing her baby sister?"

"But Xander-sama, I was hoping for another set of being 'up with people'" Kagura commented, her voice the epitome of a seductress.

"Uh, maybe after things are settled, Kagura-chan.", Xander stammered absent mindedly, especially as she leaned in to begin playing with his ears, clearly unashamed to do so while Willow and Faith were standing there. It should be noted that youkai have much different standards of modesty than humans, even if Xander didn't realize that.

"Yeah, B would be a real bummer here, even if the Pip will never forgive us for letting her miss this. C'mon Red, let's book before things get ugly. You can ogle X-man's lady later." Faith said as she pulled Willow out the door.

"Eeep. I mean. Uh yeah, we...should be going. Bye guys. Sorry." the red head replied meekly as she shut the door while Faith dragged her out. Seeing Xander and Kagura naked had really freaked her. Despite her long time crush of the boy, and her attraction to women, there were just some sights you are never really prepared for. Seeing what equated to a member of your family, in your mind, having sex was definitely a mental shut down occurrence.

The Wicca was only really snapped out of her stupor by the sounds of several girls, including Dawn, lamenting missing the sight for themselves, and a red faced Buffy subsequently scolding them for it after Faith related the status of the two lovers.


"Do we really have to get dressed, Xander" Kagura asked with a pout, as the hanyou squired out from under her.

The silver haired half breed looked sorely tempted to give in her request to stay in bed for am moment, before sighing in resignation. "Yeah. We need to get the spell going, and iron out the last details of the assault. Look at it this way, though. Now, we'll have something to look forward to after the battle."

"Oh very well. But I'm holding you to that, anata." the wind sorceress responded exasperatedly, as she got up and began to search the room for her discarded clothes/armor.


It was an embarrassed and red faced Xander, along with a wholly unabashed Kagura, that left the room about ten minutes later, and entered the living room.

As they made their appearance, Faith and Dawn both handed twenty dollars over to Willow and Buffy, respectively. "Told you he'd have some self control after getting caught like that." the eldest Slayer said smugly.

"Must you guys constantly make bets on my sex life?" the hanyou asked incredulously.

"Yes." was the reply of the four women in question, as well as about a dozen potentials hanging out within earshot."

Giles, who was polishing his glasses furiously, and trying to pretend none of this was happening, as any good father figure would in his place, took the opportunity Xander's stunned silence had created to say, "Yes, well, now that we've finished with the mortifying sex talk, can we please discuss the spell and our final plans of attack?"

"Well put, Mister Giles. Time is of the essence. You can save your improper prying into the young Master's affairs for a safer moment." Jaken added primly.

The girls all either rolled their eyes, or laughed at the two even as Willow said, "I think we have everything ready. We'll use the back yard since it's pretty easily defended, and with it being the day time, only the Bringers can really bother us anyway. And Xander, Dawn, Kagura, Wood, Buffy, Faith and Giles can protect us while I work."

Xander took the opportunity to tsk reproachfully as he remarked, "You forgot someone in all that, Wills."

"Huh? Who did she forget, Xander? Angel can't be outside with us in the sun. He'll have to hide under a blanket as it is to get into the school." Buffy commented.

"Jaken. He might look harmless, but with his staff, he's more dangerous to Turok-hahn than most youkai. He can literally take out a small army all by himself, Buff. Don't let the Sugar Smacks looks and Keropie size fool you." Xander replied seriously, in spite of the disbelieving looks on several faces.

"Thank you for the vote of confidence, milord. I will not fail you" the toad youkai gushed eagerly. "Although I'd prefer never to hear about that weakling half frog Keropie ever again. He's a disgrace to proper toad youkai the world over." he added darkly.

"You mean Keropie's real?" Dawn exclaimed incredulously.

"Of course he is! The disgusting fool marketed his freakish looks into the current cutesy images sold, and made proper toad youkai the laughing stalks of the demonic community." Jaken replied sagely.

"Is he serious?" Xander asked Kagura in a whisper.

She looked on incredulously at the toad as she replied, "I have no idea."


While the Scoobies prepared for the spell and got everything for the assault together, Spike was making his own final preparations.

"You sure they'll still attack today after findin' out about the weakling?" the cockney vampire asked the first, as he leaned against the wall of the basement, looking over the bringers and Turok-hahn nearby, while they scurried to do his bidding.

"Of course they will." the FE replied, wearing Buffy's form yet again. "They don't want to give us time to prepare a proper counter offensive. Lucky for us, they have no idea what they're walking into." she added cruelly.

Spike just laughed at that as he replied, "True enough pet. I'm looking forward to showin' them, though. You sure this blade will do the job, though? Swords were never really my raison detre, you know."

"The spells on it will provide whatever skills in actual swordplay you lack, Spike. And my power will provide the rest. You'll slaughter them all, I promise." FE Buffy answered.

"I never get tired of hearin' you say that." the vampire replied with a smirk, as he watched the purple energy dance across the black blade again.


Willow was situated around the polaroids of all the assembled potentials, with each potential kneeling in from of her respective picture, after pricking her finger and placing a drop of blood each on both the photo, and into a chalice in front of the Wicca.

"Ancient powers who forged this blade, hear my pleas. Unseal these willing disciples, and release their true power. Let their potential be awakened to aid us in the coming storm. Mother Earth, I beseech thee, unseal your worthy children so that they may champion your cause against the darkness. By their blood, and this hold weapon, may they awaken to their true selves." Willow chanted to the heavens, as she poured the collected blood onto the Slayer Scythe.

"Free us!" the girls chanted in reply.

"Let the bonds be released so that those assembled make take up the cause! Let our will be done!" Willow chanted three times, as the scythe began to glow.

"Release them! Release them! Release them! Release them! Release them!" Willow cried, until finally, the glow seemed to explode outward into tendrils of power from the scythe, striking first the drops of blood on each picture, then the forehead of the girls depicted.

The energies seemed to transfer for several long moments, before finally finishing in a bright explosion, which left Willow with glowing white hair, reminiscent of Xander's, and a euphoric high that left her giggling on the grass in a prone position.

"That was nifty." she remarked through her giggles.

"So, did it work?" Dawn asked uncertainly.

Kennedy just smiled in response to her as she got up to check in Willow. "Yeah, I think it did. I feel...whole." she said. Her sentiment was backed with the nodding of the other newly called Slayers.

"Well, there's one way to test it, I suppose." Xander remarked with a shrug, before taking a rubber practice knife he had stored behind his back, and throwing it at Vi's head. Everyone was relieved when she caught it easily.

"Xander! I never told you about that test from Merrick so you could try it yourself someday? What if it hadn't worked?" Buffy cried out in shock.

The hanyou just shrugged as he replied, "Actually, I can feel the difference in their auras. I knew they were Slayers, Buff. I've just always wanted to see that since you first told me about it. It's really cool. Besides, it's a training knife, it wouldn't have hurt her."

"We are so talking about this after we kick the First's ass, Xander." the Slayer said darkly, which was backed up be several glares from newly called Slayers, although most seemed to be trying to hold in a few chuckles.

"Yes, well, Xander's attempt to emulate the Watchers aside, Are we all ready and prepared to head out?" Giles remarked before things could turn ugly.

"The vans are loaded, and Dawn and Wood know where to set up claymore trap zones from the blueprints. Buffy, Deadboy, me, Kagura, Jaken, and the best of us with the SM's are going into the Hellmouth itself, and we'll be taking down some varying satchel charges. Faith will coordinate the above ground sweeper teams with you until we're sure we're clear, and then send all but the assigned guard units down with a fresh run of ammo. From there, we alternate supply teams to make sure we've got a steady stream going until their either all dead, or we have to fall back after bloodying their noses and resealing the Hellmouth, possible even caving a part of it in with some dynamite I relieved from my construction company. Plus Willow will be outside in contact with us by radio to back us up in case of emergency." Xander recited from memory.

"Very good. Then, if everybody is certain of their assignments and is ready, we'll assemble at the bus and vans as soon as Willow recovers." the Watcher responded with a pleased nod of his head.

Nobody raised an issue, for all knew their assigned duties, as the Slayer army prepared for its First great battle.

Chapter 20

Once the strike force reached the newly rebuilt Sunnydale High, they quickly broke into their respective teams and prepared for the final fight. The teams gathered for one final pep talk at the front of the school before going to meet their destinies.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, Sunnydale High School, home of the not so famous Hellmouth, and out alma mater. We blew it to pieces years ago, and the damned thing still won't stay dead. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that the bathrooms are located on you left as you head toward the basement. Please feel free to use them before the death and carnage starts, as it may be your last opportunity to do so for some time." Xander stated, eliciting giggles from the nervous neo Slayers. "Now, you all know your jobs and locations, good luck, and good slaying."

Buffy took the opportunity to use the silence Xander's speech had created to add, "Once, a few years back, I told Faith that the first rule of being a Slayer id 'Don't Die.' Follow that rule today, and make the First pay for what it has done."

"You heard her, ladies, get moving." Faith snapped saucily, before tuning and making her way inside, along with Xander, the youkai, a blanket covered Angel, Buffy, and Giles.

The Slayer teams snapped into action then, with some mild direction from Dawn and Wood on where to go to set things up. Once they seemed to understand everything, Dawn went inside to join the main group for one last pow-wow.


Xander looked slightly nervous as he rubbed his hands together and commented, "Well, looks like this is it. The big showdown. So where are we going to celebrate after we win?" he asked.

"I was thinking a small...private celebration at home, Xander-sama." Kagura replied with a naughty grin.

"Kagura! Have you no shame woman? We're about to go into battle at Lord Alexander's side. This is no time to be thinking like that!" Jaken squawked indignantly, making most of the group, minus Giles who seemed to agree, smile.

"I don't know Jaken, that will give me some incentive to come back." the hanyou joked slyly.

"Just as long as you try keep it down this time. I couldn't sleep last night with all the noise." Dawn mock-chided at the pair.

"I'll say. K-girl wasn't kiddin' about the boost in stamina, boytoy. You had baby Slayers drooling in their sleep." Faith added with a wink.

"And this is what we call a scary visual place." Buffy remarked in a tone reminiscent to a tour guide.

"Aww, Buff, you're just sorry you missed the show this morning. After all, Faith and Will were more ogley that freaking outey." Xander responded with a grin.

"Xander!" Willow cried in embarrassment.

"Just kidding Wills." he replied.

"So, that aside, and deeply repressed, I was thinking the mall, then maybe the Bronze." Buffy said to change the subject.

"Sounds like fun. We come, we slay, we party." Xander added.

"A time honored tradition." Willow chimed in.

With that a quiet hush settled over the crowd for a moment as they each mentally prepared themselves. Finally, it was Dawn that broke the silence. "Well, I guess we should each get going to our places. Stay safe everyone." she said as she moved in to hug her fellow Scoobies.

This started a round of hugs and pleas to stay safe, until Dawn, and Wood went to their predetermined locations, each unslinging their MP- 5's as they went, and Faith and Willow went to their own assigned places.

As the groups broke up, Giles went to his own location, shaking his head as he heard Xander and Angel begin to bicker lightly, as Buffy tried to break them up. "The Earth is still doomed." he lamented playfully as he went.


As they reached the door to the basement, Buffy asked, "Is everyone ready to heat things up?"

"You know it, Buff." Xander replied, as he lifted up one of the three satchel charges he had carried in to prove his point.

Buffy nodded in acknowledgement, before opening the door and heading in, her scythe drawn and ready. As the groups made their way in, they surveyed the room, which was surprisingly empty. "Think the First doesn't know we were coming?" Rona asked the group nervously.

Xander took a moment to sniff experimentally before he replied, "Nah, I smell bleach, cigarettes, and desperation. Three guesses who's nearby."

"Spike." Angel growled angrily, his vampiric visage coming to his face in his agitation.

"Well, we can worry about Deadboy Jr. after we settle things here." Kagura commented idly, gaining affirmative nods from the rest of the team.

"You said it, Kagura." Xander replied, as he activated the comm unit he had placed on his right ear, causing the others to do the same. "This is team one. We're in position and ready to open the door. Is everything ready?"

"Team two is set, Xand." Dawn replied over the network.

"Team three is in position." came Wood's voice.

"Team four is ready as well, Xander." came Giles' response.

"And I'm ready too. Good luck, guys." came Willow's response.

"All right, we're a go people. Buffy, ladies, do your mojo." Xander responded with a nod, as the Slayers took positions around the Hellmouth seal, and cut open their hands, allowing their blood to fuel the incantation to open the Hellmouth.

The mouth opened with a piteous wail, making more than one rookie slayer cringe. Still they began to step bravely forward, Buffy in the lead. Half the group was in when those outside the Hellmouth heard a muffled gurgle followed by a voice behind them.

"Aww. Am I late? You buggers are really rude to start this little shindig without me. Lucky for all of you I'm not the vengeful type. Oh, wait. I am." Spike said conversationally, as he dropped the corpse of a random Slayer, as a team of Bringers and Turok-hahn moved in to engage the Slayers.


Xander knew immediately that something was up when they reached heavy resistance the second they had entered the mouth. The area was literally teeming with Ubervamps, although he was cutting through them easily with his claws and speed. Likewise, Buffy, Angel, Kagura, and Jaken were having little trouble dispatching the deformed demons. In fact Jaken, with the flamethrower like attack of the staff of souls, had the highest initial kill numbers.

Still it was all too prepared for the hanyou's suspicions to feel at ease, a fact that was backed up when their TAC net came to life with combat sounds on all channels. It appeared Spike had planned a counter assault of his own, and Slayers were meeting them at all quarters. The worst news came from Rona, though, who reported that Spike was there, just before she gave what sounded like a death cry over the radio. Buffy, Xander, and Angel's eyes all met over the carnage, before the hanyou yelled, "I'm nearest the door. I'll handle it." and tossed his charges over the cliffs, igniting dozens of Turok-Hahn on the lower levels, as he took off up out of the Hellmouth, cutting a swath through any bringer of ubervamp in his way.


The sight that reached the son of Sesshomaru was a grisly one. Eight Slayers lay dead on the ground, five of them, including Rona, at Spike's feet. The others were all fighting against Bringers and Turok-hahn in a minimum of three to one odds apiece, as the bleached vamp looked on with amusement.

The hanyou growled low in his throat as he rushed back and forth through the basement, tearing apart Spike's nearby troops in a matter of seconds. Soon, only Xander, the Slayers, and Spike remained.

"You broke my new toys Droopy. You know, I never thought of it, but that nickname really suits you now." the vampire said with a grin.

"Hello, all you happy people." Xander replied in a deadpan, as he faced Spike. "Girls, head down and help the others. I'll handle this." he said a moment later to the surviving Slayers.

Both vampire and hanyou watched the group move into the mouth before facing each other again.

"Where's your bint, whelp. I figured she wouldn't want to be out of your sight." Spike sneered.

"I can take care of myself, Bleach Brain. And she's taking care of your master's cannon fodder underground." the White Knight sneered back.

"Well then. I guess it's just you and me. Pity. I was looking forward to killing Peaches, then the bint, then you. You screwed up my order." Spike responded.

"Whatever. I'm going to dust your ass, you know?" Xander queried.

"We'll see Droops." Spike taunted back, as he took out his black bladed broadsword.

"Oohh, you have a new sword. Watch me tremble. Not." Xander scoffed as he unsheathed the Tetsusaiga.

"Let's have a go, then, and see who the real Big Bad here is." Spike challenged.

"My pleasure." Xander replied, as he rushed in for a quick kill, only to be blocked handily by Spike, who used his momentum to toss him aside into some crates.

"What the hell?" the hanyou asked, from where he climbed up out of the debris just in time to block Spike's follow up strike.

"Not gonna be that easy, boy. I'll have your guts for garters." Spike sneered as they traded strikes and parries at speeds no human could follow, much less achieve. This went on for several seconds, until Xander was forced to jump back to get some room. "What's the matter, Droopy? Things not goin' as easy as you'd like." the vampire taunted.

"Alright. No more mister nice hanyou." Xander growled. "Kaze no Kizu." he cried as he went in for his wind scar attack.

He was thoroughly shocked and worried when Spike's sword spat out violet lightning that blocked the attack, and left Xander open for a bloody claw strike to the side from his opponent.

"I told you it wouldn't be easy whelp." Spike sneered, his hands dripping with hanyou blood. "Your little armor clothes and toy blade won't save your arse, boy. The First made sure I was more than a match for the likes of you, and Naraku made sure my sword was better'n yours."

It was a much more calm and cautious Xander that replied, "We'll see." his voice dropping into the emotionless timbre his father was known for.

Chapter 21

"Dance of the Wind!" Kagura cried as she destroyed another throng of Turok-hahn with apparent ease using her signature attack. The effect was instantaneous, although not as disturbing as the way she animated dead Bringers, and used them as her own personal back up to clean up any ubervamps that got too close.

From a point nearby, Buffy and Angel were slugging it out with the super vampires at a more sedate pace, watching each other's backs, as they demonstrated just how deadly of a team they were.

Jaken had taken a position near the rocky stairway that was the main access to the cliff they defended in the Hellmouth, an alternating team of Slayers backing up his fire spewing with their SM's.

As Buffy staked another Turok-hahn with her scythe, she tuned to Angel and asked, "What's taking Xander so long? The next wave of Slayers got here a few minutes ago."

"I don't know, but the girls seemed shook up. I wouldn't worry, though. Even when he was human, he could take care of himself. I can't see Spike being too much trouble for him." Angel replied, as he cut a Bringer down at the gut, only to have it rise from the dead and aid them, along with four others that had fallen before him.

"I will never get over how creepy that is." the Slayer commented idly as she continued to fight.

"I don't know, it feels like a nice change to have them come back to help us for a change." the vampire replied with a small shrug.


Xander, the topic of their conversation, was having a bit of trouble with Spike, however. It seemed that the First had empowered him with enough speed and strength to match the hanyou, and that his cursed sword was designed to turn and best each of the Tetsusaiga's movements, while leaving Xander open for a vicious counter.

"What's the matter, Whelp? You seem to be gettin' all bloody and beaten." Spike crowed as he cut a moderate slash into the White Knight's gut with his sword.

"You talk way too much Spike. And I don't need a sword with spells on it to help me cheat to fight you. It's only a matter of time before I kill you." the Prince of the Western Lands replied flippantly.

"Whatever works, Droopy." the vampire responded with a smile, as he got in a massive uppercut powerful enough that it hurled Xander not only into the ceiling, but through it to the first floor.

"Oh, that sucked." Xander groused from where he eventually landed in a heap of concrete and steel. The only consolation he felt was in the fact that he landed in the sun, and should therefore be afforded a breather.

That comfort was stolen from him as Spike leapt up through the hole Xander made, and seemed totally unaffected by the light. "Sorry Droops. No breathers unless you tag out." the vampire mock chided, his face covered with an evil grin. "The First fixed me up right nice, don't you think?"

"Too bad it didn't improve your personality." Xander spat tiredly as he struggled to his feet.

"Can't improve on perfection, doggy. And once this is over, the Slayer will come back to me on her hands an knees, beggin' for some of this new and improved Big Bad. After all, I'll be all she has left." Spike ranted.

"Over my dead body, fangless." the hanyou growled.

"That's kind of the idea, Whelp." Spike commented as he moved in for another lightning quick attack.


"Run faster! Move it! This way, hurry!" Dawn directed as a team of three Slayer ran for their lives, a swarm of ten Turok-hahn, and half a dozen Bringers hot on their heels. Once the Slayers passed through the threshold of the doorway Dawn led them to, the youngest Summers just waited with an icy calm, the only thing between the minions of the First and their prey. The ancient priests of evil and horrors drew ever closer, until they were near enough that Dawn could smell their stench.

Finally, when it seemed certain she would be overwhelmed, she smiled beatifically, and raised her right hand outward, a small metal stick with a red button on the end covered by her thumb. "Watch the birdie, boys. Oh, and to quote an anime Xander made me watch once...Omae o korosu." Dawn said in a deadpan as she depressed the detonator, activating the pair of strategically placed Claymore mines.

The mines spewed forth their deadly blessed payload in an explosion of unbridled carnage. The sixteen minions were reduced into their component weight in dust and mutilated flesh in less than a second.

"This is Dawn, Team Two is set and clear." the young woman declared over the TAC net.

"This is team three. We're clear too." Wood returned after a moment's silence.

"Team four is clear as well." Giles followed after that.

Gunfire erupted over the net for several seconds before Faith responded, "I think that was the last of the ones trying to back bite us here. We're all five by five."

"Then set up and redeploy for phase two support and resupply for the forces in the mouth, Faith. We'll cover you as we set up. Just watch out for stragglers." Dawn replied.

"Gotcha Pip. Watch your back too." the Dark Slayer replied.

Dawn punctuated that warning by opening up on a slower ubervamp, crippling it at the knees, and allowing the Slayers near her to decapitate it easily. "No problem. We'll be there in a few. Meet us at the vans for resupply." she said.

"On our way, kiddo." Faith replied.

"You just have to love it when everything goes according to plan..."Dawn replied, before shouting in alarm as Xander crashed through a wall in a cloud of drywall."

Dawn was at his side instantly, checking him over and finding him covered in bloody wounds and bruises. "Xander, are you all right? What happened?" she asked frantically.

"First suped up Spike. I'll be fine once someone finds my spine wherever I left it." Xander replied groggily.

"Ohhh Drooooppppyyyyy? Come out and plaaaaayyyyy!" Spike's heinous voice echoed through the halls in a sing song tone.

"That son of a... Don't worry, Xand. We're clear. We've got your back." Dawn said with a scowl as she readied her MP-5.

"No. If you're clear, help the others. There were more than expected, and they're better prepared. They'll need the supply line. I can handle Spike." Xander argued as he fought back to his feet yet again.

"But..." Dawn tried to reply, only to be cut off.

"GO! I'll handle it. Trust me." Xander pleaded.

After a moments hesitation, Dawn nodded. "You know someday I'll get old and stubborn enough that that line won't work anymore." she chided.

"Look forward to it." he responded with a grin. "Now get. I have a suped up jackass to kill."

"Stay alive." Dawn replied, kissing him on the cheek, before taking her Slayers and moving out.

"You too." he countered, as he took a ready stance with the Tetsusaiga.


The resupply line began easily once Dawn arrived to support Faith's team. The eldest Slayer's sister did make sure to announce Xander's status over the TAC net, however, and make sure the group knew that Spike had an apparently huge power up.

If Kagura and Jaken weren't stuck in the mouth of Hell, in the biggest melee fight of their lives, they would have hurried to his side, along with most of the now concerned Slayer army. Unfortunately, all elements had a job to do, and they had to trust Xander to handle his own affairs.


Xander stood defiantly as Spike made his appearance in the halls in front of the hanyou.

The vampire chuckled ruefully as he approached at a sedate walk, his ebon blade slung carelessly over his shoulder. "I've got to hand it to you, Droops. You must have the biggest set of wrinklies I've ever seen to take this abuse and stand there ready for more. Anyone else would have ran when they had the chance, assuming they could stand after the thrashin' I gave you. It's almost a pity I have to kill you."

"You're the one that's going to die, Spike. I promise you that." Xander replied calmly. "And, as for my 'wrinklies', I've never had a complaint from the ladies, either. Too bad you can't say the same, Mr. 'My Looney Bitch left me for a Fungus Demon'." he added with a cheeky grin.

Spike's face lost all semblance of humor as he sneered, "I'll make you suffer for that one, boy."

"Bring it, Peroxide Boy." Xander spat back with equal venom.

With that said, the two demonic sword wielders clashed again at super-human speeds. This time, Xander got in several deep, but ultimately superficial cuts to Spike body, as rage make the vampire sloppy. Unfortunately for the hanyou, Spike got in just as many cuts, of a far more serious nature, compounded with the ones Spike had inflicted earlier.

Eventually, the clash of blades led to Xander losing the Tetsusaiga, which flew too far out of reach to recover with Spike's enhanced speed, skill, and strength.

It was all Xander could do to move enough to the side that he only took the blade in the shoulder, instead of the heart, as Spike moved in to run him clean through and pin him up to the wall.

Once Xander was pinned, bleeding and apparently defeated, the vampire took the opportunity to stand back and gloat. "Looks like I've got you good there, dog-boy. It's almost a pity, really. You gave me one Hell of a good fight, and I've always been a fan of a good spot a' violence. I'm kind of sad to see it end. Oh well, at least I'll get to do this an' more to Peaches and your slut both after this." the bleached vampire said philosophically. His further taunts and rants were cut short as Xander began to emanate a whuffing sound.

At first he thought it was a death rattle, as Xander finally bled to death. Eventually, though, he identified it as laughter. Figuring the hanyou had cracked up, and was trying to laugh in the face of death, Spike crept closer, until their faces practically touched. Finally, he grew tired enough of the sound, to pick Xander's slumped head up viciously be the ears, and yank it until their eyes met.

"And just what's so funny about me kickin' you're arse, Whelp? You finally see just how pathetic and funny you look to the rest of the world?" the vampire cruelly asked.

"Nah. I was just remembering some advice a friend gave me once." Xander replied in a whisper so low, spike had to lean in with his ear to Xander's mouth to hear it.

"And what was that?" Spike responded, his voice half curious, and half mocking.

"A good sidearm can save your tail." Xander replied in a much stronger voice, as he lifted the quietly unholstered .45 caliber pistol he had secreted in his fire rat jacket, placed it under Spike's far too close chin, and then pulled the trigger.

The last thing to go through Spike's mind, other than the soft-tip, blessed silver hollow point that blew open the top of his skull, was the thought, *Bloody Hell. I can't believe he got me like this.*

As the vampire's forcefully lobotomized carcass fell to the ground, Xander dropped his pistol, and took hold of Spike's sword as forcefully as he could, wrenching it out of his shoulder with a supreme act of will along with a painful bellow. From there, he tossed it aside like a piece of trash, and stumbled over to the Tetsusaiga. He half dragged the sword forged from his grandfather's fang over to Spike's still unliving corpse, and lifted it over his head.

"Told you I'd kill you. Loser." Xander exclaimed with a deep satisfaction, as he brought the sword down on Spike's neck, decapitating the vampire and dusting him for good.

Chapter 22

The death of the enhanced Spike seemed to be the major turning point in the battle, despite the fact that noone but Xander knew it had occurred at the time. It seemed as if the Turok-hahn grew ever dumber the moment their theoretical leader was killed, and the few remaining bringers still alive tried to make a break for it, only to be cut down and summarily wiped out by rear defense posts throughout the school.

But even when things grew exponentially easier, the fighting went on unimpeded.


Xander stood in front of the dust pile that was Spike, his breathing heavy, as he tried to take a moment for his demonic healing to help him regain his breath before joining the others for the final push. He was infinitely pleased with himself, but he wasn't about to let the others continue to fight for long while he rested.

Just as the hanyou took his first step toward the Hellmouth, a voice stopped his progress.

"I have to hand it to you, Xander, you certainly showed Spike who was boss. I hate to admit it, but I'm impressed. I never thought you'd best him." the First commented, retaining Buffy's form again.

The White Knight rolled his eyes in exasperation as he sarcastically remarked, "Oh thank you for your praise. Now are you just here to bitch, or are you going to make useless threats on top of your whining?"

The FE actually chuckled as it replied, "Neither. I just wanted to tell you job well done. Oh, don't get me wrong, you only won because Spike was too prideful, but it was still impressive. So much so, that it makes we wonder what I could offer to get you to join me?"

"Please tell my that you're joking." the hanyou retorted in a tired deadpan.

"Nope. I could really use someone as resourceful as you on my side, Xander. Think about it. I enhanced Spike as far a he could go, far enough that a lowly revenant vampire could surpass a hanyou prince. Imagine what I could do for you." the FE wheedled.

Xander replied with an annoyed snort as he said, "Sell it elsewhere, intangible lad. I'm sooo not interested."

"Maybe not now. But what about the future? You know, when Buffy realizes you're a demon and betrays you. She will eventually. You know that. And the war it will start among you will take quite a toll. Dawn won't know where to turn, Buffy and Giles will be out for your blood...half of the new Slayers will side with her, and half will side with you. It will be the first true war in history to pit slayers on both sides full time. All thanks to you." the FE replied smugly.

"You really are pathetic, you know that? Even if Buffy did turn on me, I'd never let it get that far. I'd make damn sure it stopped with me and her dying together." he spat back.

"That sounds intriguing too. But I'd rather have you with me. You're a demon, after all. You already belong to me, technically. Especially when you get accustomed enough to your blood to transform into a killing machine without the Tetsusaiga." FEBuffy countered.

Xander stared blankly at the immortal entity before finally replying, "Bite my hairy hanyou ass," as he turned back toward the location of the Hellmouth and stomped off, ignoring the calls, taunts and offers the FE called out behind him.

Once he was far out of earshot, FEBuffy scowled angrily at his back. "This isn't over, pup. Not by a long shot." it sneered, before breaking into a sinister grin, as it waved at Spike's discarded sword, causing a portal to open up below it and suck it in.


The fresh influx of Slayers and supplies was helping tremendously to keep the dumbed down ubervamps at bay, even if they were hard pressed to control them die to sheer numbers. The current team in the mouth, including Buffy, Faith, Angel, Kagura, Jaken, and about a dozen Slayers were about to fall back and call for Willow to close up the seal when a voice was heard over the din of battle.

"Kaze no Kizu!" Xander cried, as the Tetsusaiga took out will over a hundred Turok-hahn oh the level below them in a single pass. This pass was followed by a dozen like it, each punctuated with the yellow glow of the blade's signature attack, as a bruised and bloodied Xander angrily cut down the what he could of the First's remaining troops. The hanyou sneered hatefully, his face a mast of barely suppressed rage as his attacks turned the final waves of ancient vampires back, as they caused deep valleys to appear in the cavern walls.

His attacks were soon joined by Kagura's and Jaken's, who rushed to his side to support the injured hanyou, as the others mopped up the handful of ubervamps that were fortunate enough to reach them before Xander's return.

Within a matter of 30 minutes, it was over, and the shock force of Turok-hahn were dead. An eerie calm settled on the ledge where the fighters for humanity stood, broken only by their heavy breathing, and the occasional shriek of something too far away to identify off in the distance of the Hell dimension.

"Nice timing, and mop up, boytoy." Faith complimented after a moment to catch her breath. "Boy you look like hell. Royally pissed off, too." she added tactlessly after a moment to look Xander over.

"Thanks. Spike was suped up beyond reason. And the First tried a 'Come to the Dark side, Luke' routine with me. It made me a little cranky." the hanyou returned with a strained grin.

"No sweat, X-man. Been there, done that, forgot to get the T- shirt." Faith replied with a wave of her hand.

"I take it Spike's dead, then?" Angel asked as he took a few steps nearer to the hanyou and two youkai, followed by an exhausted Buffy.

"Yep." Xander replied with Oz-like succinctness.

"Are you going to be alright, Xand? You look a little worse for wear." Buffy asked in concern.

"I'll be fine in a few days." the hanyou responded.

"Oh. Ok. just don't expect this to get you out of shopping with Willow, Dawnie, and I. We can wait." the Eldest Slayer replied with a mock wag of her fingers.

Xander groaned in response to that, followed by his best Snidely Whiplash impression as he said, "Drat my fiendish plot has been discovered." which caused all the others in the Hellmouth to laugh in relief as their accomplishments began to sink in.

The laughter was cut short as an unearthly shriek echoed off the walls much louder than its predecessors.

"All those in favor of leaving before whatever that is decides to say hi in person?" Xander asked. Then, without waiting for a response, he added, "All opposed? OK. Motion carries, let's get the hell out of here and close the door back up."

With that, the groups scrambled out of the Hellmouth, and were al to happy to call in Giles and Willow to reseal it behind them.


It was two weeks later that found the Sunnydale veterans assembled for a somewhat bittersweet occasion. Over half were being teamed up in pairs to track down surviving watchers to help rebuild the decimated Council under Giles' direction. On top of that, those that remained in Sunnydale were experiencing a great deal of melancholy over the departure of comrades, coupled with the memorial services they had had for the fallen a few days before.

The most heart wrenching for the Scoobies, though, was the fact that they were breaking up for the time being. Buffy, Willow, and Kennedy were heading off with Giles to England to coordinate the search and check over the remains of the Council on their native soil. Faith and Wood were heading a team to investigate and prepare to defend a Hellmouth in Cleveland. Xander, Dawn, Kagura, Jaken, and Angel were heading back to Los Angeles. Angel to his law firm, to decide how to run things, and the others to Sesshomaru's estates to recuperate.

"You take care of yourself.", Buffy said tearfully as she pulled back from the hug she had mauled Dawn with the night of their departure.

Willow was doing much the same to Xander, before the women of the original Scoobies switched to embrace Xander and Dawn again, much to Kagura's annoyance.

"Don't sweat it you two. We're just heading to Dad's for some R&R, and maybe some training. You'll be joining us in two months after you sort things with the Council's accounts in Tea and Crumpet Land." Xander said flippantly, even though his own eyes were a bit misty as well.

"I know. It's just that we worry." Buffy retorted tearfully.

"No sweat, Buff. We'll be sure to call and everything once we get there. I promise." Xander replied with his trademark grin.

"You better. And you better watch out for Dawnie. If you don't she might get a crush on some guy named Shippo or something." the Blonde Slayer replied with a teasing grin, as both Xander and Dawn began to stutter, but for totally different reasons.

"Shippo?!? That's sick, he's like five hundred, and one of my friends! I'll, uh, have to have a little talk with him." Xander commented with a sideways glance at Dawn.

As he said this, Dawn indignantly cried, "Buffy! How could you say something like that. Now he'll get all big brothery and never leave my side!"

"That's why I said it." the Slayer responded smugly.

"Don't worry, Dawn. I'm sure I can keep Xander-sama occupied for you from time to time. Isn't that right, anata?" Kagura interjected with a lecherous grin.

"Um Uhh. That is to say." Xander babbled uncomfortably, torn between his natural urges, and his desire to protect Dawn.

"I think you broke him, Kagura." Buffy said with a laugh.

"Don't worry, I intend to comfort him later tonight to make up for it." the demoness replied with a smirk.

"Kagura! How can you speak so scandalously about Lord Alexander! You shameless tart! Where is your dignity? You are supposed to be a proper paramour to him, why when we get home I'll be sure to inform Lord Sesshomaru of your behavior and..." Jaken ranted, until the wind sorceress and Xander both bopped him on the head to shut him up.

"Not now, Jaken." Xander admonished at the stunned toad youkai.

"Seriously, though. Take care of each other." Buffy said after the ensuing laughter died down.

From there, another round of tearful good-byes began as the Scoobies prepared to break away for their impending interludes.


Meanwhile, in a hidden location covered in shadows, the FE, now in the form of the deceased priestess Kikyo was addressing her primary general.

"I still can't believe how that worthless hanyou destroyed all my hard work. You'll have to make certain he suffers greatly for this, Naraku!" FEKikyo screeched.

"Oh, I intend to. When this is all over, I assure you I will be victorious. Although I can't say the endeavor was a total loss." Naraku replied, as he sat there covered in his traditional white baboon pelts, looking over the sword he had forged for Spike.

"Must you constantly fondle that useless blade?" the FE sneered at the resurrected hanyou.

"It is not useless. It served its purpose perfectly, in fact." Naraku replied evenly.

"Or really, it wasn't enough to destroy Sesshomaru's heir. I'd call that a failure." FEKikyo retorted nastily.

"That was the fault of your vampire, not the Kage no Ken." Naraku responded. "Besides, that was not what I forged it for. I forged it to collect certain ambient energies, along with working a few spells that required the blood of a hanyou Prince to complete, spells that have finally germinated over the last few weeks. The combat spells were just in place to make the activation of the others possible." Naraku countered with an evil smile.

"Really. And just what do these spells do, my servant?" FEKikyo asked, her voice showing her now piqued curiosity.

Naraku's reply was to stab the blade into the FE's incorporeal form, causing black lightning to erupt from the blade as the once invulnerable entity screamed in pain. "They bind and trap you, freeing me, and allowing me to harness your power for myself." Naraku answered with a chuckle as the immaterial for of Kikyo was sucked into the sword with an unearthly wail.

Once the First Evil was well and truly trapped, now merely a power source for the one it resurrected, Naraku stood and removed his pelts, revealing the sinister grin upon his lips. "Foolish wraith. did you really think I would serve you? You are merely a source of energy, a means to the end. It takes a proper mind, my mind, to put you to use. And now, I will use that energy to destroy all my enemies, Sesshomaru, his bastard pup, and my traitorous daughter especially. Then, I shall rule this realm, as I was always meant to. And, with Inuyasha gone, noone will have the power to stop me." the creature once known as Onigumo crowed, his chilling and wicked laughter echoing off into the distance.

The End