Buffy Z

The Super Saiyan Xander Saga

Episode 10 - 13

Author: 3D Master <3d.master[at]chello.nl>

Website: http://members.chello.nl/~jg.temolder1/

Rating: R

Keywords: X-Over Dragonball/Z/GT, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angst, Drama, Action.

Summery: Xander turns out to be a Saiyan in disguise.

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its characters do not belong to me, but Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions. Dragonball Z, its characters and the concept of the Saiyan race belong to Akira Toriyama.


Episode 10
Faith's Trial Begins

And A Short Trip To San Francisco

Xander-Anya Love Theme: Shakira - Underneath Your Clothes

[Play Xander-Anya Love Theme]

'Regeneration complete,' was spelled out on the console. It was followed by, 'Draining Nutrient Fluid.' Once the fluid was lowered enough, Xander removed the oxygen mask, then patiently waited for the regeneration pod to be completely emptied of the fluid he had been suspended in. Once that was done and the pod opened automatically he stepped out of it. He closed the pod and looked at it for a moment, grinning. He walked over to the small shower head he used to quickly rinse off the excess nutrient fluid, then grabbed a towel from a rack and proceeded to dry himself off. Then he walked out of the small room of his apartment furnished with only the pod and the tiny shower.

He walked into the living room and saw Anya sitting in front of the tv and yawning. "Tired?" Xander asked with a smile. Anya looked back, trying to look over the couch to see him. Finally she saw him in all his glory . . . well, he still wore his underpants. Anya got aroused immediately. Aroused <again> would be more accurate; the flight over took care of the first part. She had just been sitting there on the couch waiting for Xander to come out.

"Not nearly enough," Anya answered with a grin. Standing up, she revealed she was only wearing one of Xander's blouses, a partially see-through, lacy, black bra, and matching panties.

Xander smiled, and took her into his arms once he reached her. His hands grabbed the bare flesh of her ass, and stimulated it gently. *G-string,* he noted, approvingly. "Gimme some sugar, baby."

"I love it when you talk romantic," Anya answered him, her eyes glittering with pleasure. Their lips and tongues met passionately, and Anya mumbled while kissing him, "Processed or unprocessed."

Xander broke the kiss briefly, and happily commented, "That's what I love about you, babe. Nicely uncomplicated, and a sense of humor." If Xander knew Anya, and he knew Anya, she'd be drenched by now. His hands moved from Anya's butt to her bra-encased breasts. Anya's lips attacked his ferociously as he gently massaged her tits through the bra. He felt her hard nipples press against the fabric, and grinned. When he felt her crotch pressing against his upper leg, as she pressed herself against him, he grinned as he noticed he was correct.

Anya broke the kiss, their heads passionately rubbing against each other. "I get so hot when you call me 'babe'. Take me, Xandbear." Xander attacked her lips even more ferociously as she did his and pulled her along toward the bed room.

"You know," he said, interrupting their passion for a short moment. "I've always wanted to say that."

Anya's eyes glittered with happiness as she answered him, "I figured as much. You always do get more alert when that part of the movie comes up." Quickly Xander scooped her up, and she squealed in delight. A moment later he dumped her unceremoniously on the bed. She grinned up at him as he lowered himself on top of her. Then he grabbed her bra and tore it to shreds as she wiggled out of his blouse.

"Sorry, 'bout that. No time to waste," Xander said, smiling at her with a glint in his eye that turned her on even more. He kissed her breasts, rubbing her belly and sides with his hands. Then as he kissed upward across his neck, back to her sexy lips he pulled the g-string down from her legs. Hungrily kissing Xander, Anya, drunken with lust, pulled his underpants down moments later. Only seconds went by before they joined in a blissful union.


Forty-five minutes later Xander collapsed on top of Anya. "Hmm," she murmured in blissful approval. "Wow, Xander. That was just . . . wow," she said, breathing heavily. Xander had brushed and stimulated her body with his energy was a whole new experience for her.

Xander grinned and kissed her gently in the neck and said, "No more need to limit the use of my power."

"Can we have sex flying next time?" Anya asked exhausted but enthusiastically, remembering the sensations she had just flying from Buffy's house to Xander's.

"Hmm, oh yes, hadn't even thought of that. So glad you're my girlfriend, kitten," Xander whispered in her ear and gently started to nibble on it.

Anya gasped softly then said, "Unless you want to go again, I suggest you stop, Xandy."

Xander gently took his mouth away from her ears and said, "Yeah, I think it's about time we find out if the slayers and witch get along. Then go plan for our trip tomorrow and the party at night."

Anya smiled, "I love parties. Time for a shower." [Stop Xander-Anya Theme]


Xander and Anya came through the door of Buffy's house. They walked to the living room and looked around it. The rest of the group was present, Willow and Buffy sitting next to each other, Tara to Willow's right and next to her Faith. The blonde witch and the dark-haired slayer giggled to each other, much to Willow's annoyance. Xander asked, "So, you three civil?"

"The bitch actually had the audacity to forgive <us>!" Willow exclaimed indignant.

"Oh . . . So does that mean you're civil or not?" Xander asked again.

Buffy nodded while Faith said with a bright smile, "Yeah."

"Good," he grinned. "Now if you two would forgive her, then everything will be great."

Buffy stood up and crossed her arms, "Xander, I'm civil with her only because you threatened us with something I don't particularly want to experience, and I have the feeling you'd actually do what you said you would. I thought about forgiving her once and it blew up in my face, remember? So, I will <never> <ever> forgive her. Not even if she saves the world all by herself."

Xander saw Faith flinch and a pain go across her eyes. Tara seemed to have seen it as well; she slung a supportive arm around the raven-haired girl's back.

"Too bad," Xander said evenly. Anya shrugged and sat down on the couch, she couldn't care less about what Buffy did or did not want to do. Xander joined her.

Off to the side, Willow dragged Tara away so they could have a private conversation. "What are you doing?" Willow asked a little angry when they reached the dinner chamber.

Tara looked a bit dumbfounded and having no idea what Willow was talking about, answered, "Uh . . . breathing?"

"With Faith," Willow clarified a little annoyed.

"Oh, I'm talking to her, enjoying her company, joking around a bit, befriending her. Yeah, I think that about sums it up," Tara answered, not quite understanding what this was all about.

"Tara, Faith is a killer . . ." Willow started.

"Was a killer," Tara corrected without thought.

"I don't care," Willow told Tara with a pain-filled grimace. "She's killed, and I won't be surprised if she starts killing again. I don't want you to get hurt, I don't even want you anywhere near her, if I can help it."

"You can't help it, Willow. And I'm surprised and disappointed in you. You're acting nothing like the forgiving Willow, I know. And it seems, you have never acted like the Willow I know toward Faith," Tara said with a hint of accusation, it broke her heart to see the surprise and hurt on her girlfriend's face.

"She's not someone I can forgive," Willow said, afraid of Tara's behaviour, several terrifying break-up scenarios flashed through her mind.

Tara took a step forward and placed her hands gently around Willow's waist. "Well, I never believed a person needed approval from her partner to make a friend, so this will just be a friend all for me alone, one you don't approve of. It is my life and my decision." Tara smiled as she talked to Willow, then started a loving french kiss with her girlfriend, one eagerly returned after a start. When they broke the kiss Willow felt relieved and happy; the worst scenarios were nothing like what really happened. Tara said, "I have forgiven Faith, and I've long forgiven you for your silliness."

"But this is Faith . . ." Willow tried to start, but Tara silenced her with a finger on her lips and shook her head.

"Willow, you know I've been psychologically abused by my family. They made me believe I was a demon, a creature of pure evil. The only reason I crawled out of that is because I had a girlfriend with friends, who trusted in me, believed in me and supported me," Tara said remembering back when her parents tried to drag her back home. "Faith had physical abuse to boot, she's had people telling her all her life she's worthless, pathetic, not able to do anything but get people killed, and the real slayer Buffy is so much better, and she's just a cheap knock off. Even while she was trying to be better, she's had people trying to kill her, or beat her to a pulp in the guise of Buffy and that watcher assassination squad, and who knows what while she was in jail, while the only two people who, it seems, had treated her well were outside the walls, one of them over a hundred miles away, and despite all of that she's found it in her to believe she's not that evil, worthless piece of shit, people have told her she is, that she's actually a good person who can make difference and has found a way to become that. I barely made it out with more help than I could possibly have asked and hoped for, she's had it much worse and did it all on her own. I'm not that strong, Willow, I could never have done what she did, if I had her hand dealt to me, I would have been dead by now, probably by suicide."

"No, no, baby," Willow answered, distraught. "You would have done much better, I know . . ."

Tara cut Willow off by lifting up her index finger in a signal to listen. "Don't give me more credit than I'm due, Willow. I know I'm strong, I know I have a lot to be proud of, a lot I did others might never have managed, but I could <not> have done what Faith managed to do. That makes me admire her all the more, and I want to be her friend, one of only a few. Even if you disapprove."

Willow looked down, a little guiltily, as she went over Tara's words. Then looked up and said, determined but not without wishing it wasn't true, "I still can't forgive her."

Tara smiled wistfully, then gave her girlfriend a kiss and hugged her close, saying, "I don't mind, I still love you, I never expected we would agree on every last little thing." Willow felt relieved, and happy in Tara's arms, realizing they just hit a whole new level in their relationship. "Let's get back," Tara whispered. Willow nodded and they returned to the living room, where they found Anya and Faith sitting next to each other on the couch, discussing something and grinning as they did so - from the few words Willow and Tara  managed to pick up they knew it was a discussion on sexual positions. Buffy looked at them annoyed, and she gasped as she noticed the same thing the witches did: Dawn, sitting on a chair on the far side of the room, was intently listening in on the girls, a smile and a blush on her face, she was obviously getting ideas. Xander sat off to the right, listening in with a neutral face.

"Quit it!" Buffy yelled.

"Why?" Anya asked innocently. Buffy nodded toward Dawn, which seemed to make the younger sister angry. "So?" Anya asked. Buffy looked at the fake blonde in shock and anger. That she was open about her sexual life to a fault was one thing, but she had to understand about the age thing, only fourteen and what it would mean if she got pregnant at such a young age in this age, the diseases that were out there and all the other dangers.

"She's only fourteen," Buffy exclaimed indignant.

"Going on fifteen," Dawn piped in, crossing her arms in defiance.

Buffy didn't pay her any attention. Anya decided to explain, with the same happy tone she always had when she talked about sex. "Better give some things to fantasize about and masturbate to, then have her feel the need to go out and experiment." Apparently the ex-demon did know about how the world worked. Willow had once told Tara she suspected just talking about sex made the ex-demon hot, and Tara considered for a moment if that was true. As no one except Willow and Tara was facing Dawn and the others were intent on the discussion, only they saw Dawn blush deeply. They looked at each other and smiled, silently telling each other they both figured out, that was actually what Dawn had been planning to do. Buffy's jaw dropped in disbelief, looking at Anya, who unperturbed continued, "You did teach her about condoms, didn't you? With all the diseases like AIDS out there, when she does decide to loose her virginity, you really want her to be safe." Buffy's jaw stayed dropped, staring at Anya in disbelief then slowly turned to Xander, hoping the woman's boyfriend had some control over her.

Sheepishly Xander shrugged and said, "She got a point with that last part." Buffy knew she had a point, but that didn't mean she had to blurt it out in the middle of the room, something that was between her and her sister. Her expression said so, and Xander said, "Well, you kind off started the discussion."

"Do you know about condoms, Dawn?" Anya asked happily concerned.

Dawn refolded her arms and said, "Of course I do." She was starting to get nervous, getting a taste of what she asked for, whined about wanting, wasn't what it was all cracked up to be. This was almost embarrassing.

"Do you carry them with you, Dawn? Just in case? You should, you know," Anya stated with big wide innocent eyes.

"Anya!" Buffy called out hysterically, as Dawn was completely freaked out by now.

Anya looked back at Buffy with innocent eyes, "Well, do you carry them around? You are single, you know. You never know when the urge gets you. I can just call up Xander, but you don't have a boyfriend to call. You want to be safe don't you?" Buffy, shocked, started to blush deeply.

Dawn jumped up and ran out the room and bolted up the stairs, screaming hysterically, "All right! This has just become way to freaky. Call me for dinner." Buffy's jaw stayed wide open, looking at Anya and stuttered disbelieving. Willow and Tara walked in concerned, Buffy had never been so in shock, if she'd regained her composure she might very well attack Anya.

Suddenly, just as Buffy's sensitive hearing heard Dawn's door close, Buffy closed her jaw and, still blushing, grinned widely, saying, "Thanks, Anya."

"No problem, Buffy," Anya answered smiling proudly at herself.

Willow and Tara abruptly turned toward Buffy and shock and ploffed down on two chairs. Faith and Xander looked as stunned and surprised as the two witches, seeing all their faces on her Buffy grinned, "Something I concocted with Anya this morning before your story, Xand. Dawn is all going on about she's grown up and needs to be treated that way, I thought the best way to handle that was give her a taste of the medicine. Although this wasn't exactly how I'd pictured it." She hoped the others weren't really noticing her still blushing. They had agreed Anya would be improvising, but that last remark about her having no condoms on her herself, was definitely nowhere in any agreement. Problem was, Buffy wasn't carrying condoms with her, and being single and this day and age and carrying no condoms was quite irresponsible in her view. It wasn't like she was cruising for a piece of ass every night, (except the kind to kick), but if she did meet a really fantastic guy, who she could consider dating, she knew she really shouldn't be unprepared, yet she was.

"Well, it worked . . . it seems," Tara commented, eyebrows raised in nervousness.

Giles took that moment to interrupt as he walked into the living room from someplace else, where he had been studying the book he was holding. It was folded open and he switched it to his left hand freeing his right to remove his glasses subconsciously and placing it in his side, all the while going, "Hmhm, mhm, hmm, emhem, mmm." Then he replaced his glasses absentmindedly and said, "Well, this makes a lot more sense now."

The group looked up at him, each emitting a groan. "Don't tell me," Tara said meekly. "The world is coming to an end?" Tara was beginning to understand how this town worked.

"Ehm, no actually." Giles paused for a moment, intently looking at the pages, his brows frowned up in uncertainty, "Well, at least not right away."

"Then what is it?" Faith asked, dreading the answer. For all she knew, Giles had found a new recipe for 'fish and chips'.

The gang looked up at the man expectantly and he said, "I think this pertains to you Xander, it's what you said about changing prophecies that rang familiar to me." Giles was silent for a moment, then realized the gang was still waiting for him to continue. "Ah, well, I better read it to you then:

'The fulfiller and destroyer of prophecies will emerge to levels unprecedented, the battles will be long and hard, but in the end, freedom will be victorious.

Magic will not be enough, even blessed as they are, three will become two, and the cascade will cause much death.

The destroyer must apply great speed to change this, if he does, three will become four, and the damage done will be mended.'

"Nobody knows how old the prophecy is, or who wrote it down initially. Most have postulated this is about the Soviet Union and the US: the destroyer often seen as the US, since they beat the Nazi's who were occultists and into fulfilling their personal prophecies, and Soviet Union where fulfilling the Christian prophecies of the end of the world as the followers of evil. Freedom being victorious described the end of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, and then the next two paragraphs would hint to some nuclear weapon going off, and a way to stop it from happening. Others have switched the fulfiller and destroyer roles for the two nations, but basically the gist stayed the same. There's a different view, this one has many less supporters is that the fulfiller and destroyer are not two different entities but one and the same, but they haven't been able to really come up with anything that fits the rest of it."

"What's that got to do with me?" Xander asked indignant.

"I think you're the fulfiller and destroyer of prophecies," Giles stated with a flippant expression. "Think about it, you've just emerged to levels unprecedented, legendary Super Saiyan and all, well, almost unprecedented, you've fought long and hard to become one, and you just beat two gods, and thus made freedom victorious."

Xander looked up at him and said, "Hey, I may destroy prophecies, but I don't fulfill them. I don't like prophecies at all."

"And what's the rest supposed to mean," Buffy asked, unable to make heads nor tails from the entire prophecy. It was probably the most cryptic one ever.

Over on the other side of the table the two witches had been looking at each other in astonishment. "Three . . ." Willow said.

"Magic," Tara added just as bewildered.

"Blessed . . ." Willow supplied

And Tara finished,  ". . . also Charmed."

The two witches turned to Giles and said, "The Charmed Ones, Giles?"

*No definitely no need to stay here,* Giles thought, while he answered, adjusting his glasses again, "Indeed. I came to the same conclusion."

"Who in blazes are the Charmed ones?" Faith asked, folding her arms across her chest. Buffy nodded in agreement, as did Xander.

"The Charmed Ones are a Wiccan legend," Tara started to explain. "At the Salem witch trials one of the witches burned at the stake told those that burned her that in the future her descendants, three sisters, would become the most powerful witches ever, they would be The Charmed Ones."

"And they're real?" Buffy more stated than asked with an interested tone.

"Yes," Giles said, adjusting his glasses once more and realizing his arm was getting tired and he didn't need the book anymore, he placed it on the table. "Prudence, Piper, and Phoebe Halliwell. Before my dismissal from the council they appraised me that they had been found in San Francisco and they started using magic to fight demons. The Council found it prudent to keep them under surveillance."

"Oh, I know this one, they tried to do it with me," Faith answered with a grimace. "Just in case they find something they don't like so they can eliminate the sisters - say they turned to evil, or they forgot to take their tea at four o'clock sharp - right?"

"Uhm, well, yes, quite. Unfortunately the council neglected to give me an address," Rupert continued a little uncomfortable under the Slayer's angry glare.

"I have the address," Willow piped up proudly. Tara grinned at her girlfriend's enthusiasm. "Well, I was kind of intrigued when Tara told me about them. So I figured I do some research on them. I found their address and figured it could come in handy someday knowing where to find the Charmed Ones."

"I guess that means you hacked into a governmental mainframe and 'retrieved' the addresses from there?" Xander asked with a grin, leaning forward to peer around Giles's legs.

"UPS's actually," Willow said, grinning guiltily.

Xander smiled. As he sat back, he announced, while crossing his arms to indicate there was no way he could be swayed.,"I'm still not fulfilling any prophecies, I hate the things, destroy 'em, make sure they don't come true, fine, but I'm not fulfilling them. Besides it's not me in the prophecy, even if I fulfilled this one, I will have fulfilled only one prophecy not multiple. Let's not even talk about the fact that whoever had the prophecy was probably manipulated by the damn gods. And then who knows how bad things get if I fulfill it."

"Actually you'd be fulfilling two, Xander," Tara said, a little timid still, looking at the guy, who she'd seen had enough power to level a city. She hadn't been entirely comfortable inside the group to begin with, and remember his capabilities didn't help any. "This one, and the original of the Charmed Ones. If you save them, you would allow that prophecy of the three of them becoming the three most powerful witches to come, or stay true as well, that makes two, and it this prophecy is correct." Tara then frowned and thought it over again, "Of course you would also be destroying that prophecy at the same time, because apparently three Charmed Ones will become four Charmed Ones for some strange reason."

"You're not leaving me to join them, will you?" Willow joked, slinging an arm around her girlfriend and overacted a sad pout.

Tara grinned, and placed her arm in turn around Willow's shoulders as she answered, "Not a chance."

"As for the gods' manipulations, although we don't know who actually made this prophecy it's rumored to be made by the oracle Shiniza: an Amazon oracle from the early third Millennium BC, and she was notorious for defying and cursing the gods, and I don't mean a 'God damn' here and there," Giles said imperiously.

"There's something else." This from Faith who had been thinking for a while. Surprised the gang looked at the dark-haired Slayer, fallen from grace. "You will always fulfill the prophecy, no matter what you do. It doesn't show one event, it shows both sides, do nothing/do something, both. So no matter what you do, that prophecy is already fulfilled, it's . . . self-fulfilling."

"Yeah, hate to admit it, but she's right," Willow told Xander, with an annoyed pout. "Only choice now is, which option will you choose: more death or no death . . . at least in the short run."

Xander hung his head in defeat, looked back up and said, "Fine, fine, I'll do it. I'll save the twits." He shook his head in irritation and continued, "I should hang up a sign: 'Xander Littica. Sucker for hire. Now will do prophecies.' Address?"

"Gotta go get it from my computer, which is still at the magic shop . . . we'll be right back," Willow said, and she and Tara went out the door to get the laptop.

"You know?" Anya commented with a smile. "Even if I don't have anything to contribute, it is still great to be with one of these meetings. The dynamic of the group and you just switch from person to person homing in on . . ."

"Shut up, Anya," Buffy interrupted the babbling ex-demon.

"Hey, I helped out with Dawn, you should be grateful to me!" Anya exclaimed indignant.

"I am, but gratitude won't keep me from getting a migraine," Buffy commented, and Anya sank back in the couch with a pout that said, 'No fair.'

Xander got up and said, "Come on, you two. If I'm gonna be off saving three little witches, I don't want you wasting that time. Outside, on the front lawn." The slayers obeyed, and got up walking to the front door and opening it. Xander gestured to Giles and Anya and asked, "Wanna join or watch."

"I'll watch," Giles said and followed the slayers outside.

"Me too," Anya said, and followed as well.

"Dawn!" Xander called.

"What!?" she yelled back annoyed from her room.

"Get down here, I'll teach you some stuff. So you can keep yourself alive if someone or something ever attacks you," Xander called.

"Cool! Finally!" Dawn yelled and came bounding down the chairs, as fast as her stitched wounds allowed her too. Ever since Buffy got slayer training, she had been paying close attention, but nobody had ever considered giving her training, even when she asked for it. Xander smiled at the enthusiastic mid-teen and pointed to the front lawn.

Xander followed the girl outside and watched as Giles and Anya sat down in a chair on the pavement directly encircling the house. He walked down into the lawn joining the two Slayers and the once mystical, power source.

"Xander, I'm not so comfortable with Dawn being taught," Buffy stated with a concerned look as she made a few stretches to warm up.

"Buffy, I'm not saying she should go in the thick of it. But if Dawn's attacked I'd like her to be able to defend herself, plus what we're doing now should speed up her recovery from the burns as well," Xander said he stood in front of them.

"Ok," Buffy answered, not really having any other arguments.

"All right, Buffy, Faith, pay attention. We're going to test those slayer-abilities of yours! I'm going to do all the Tai Chi moves in super speed, than you'll show them to me at your fastest ok?" Xander said, smiling at them. The slayers nodded. "Ok, here goes." Xander moved at what he thought was the fastest speed the slayers could still see him clearly. In less than half a minute he performed every Tai Chi move in existence, and a couple of his own creations, even though he wasn't certain it would do a Human any good. They might only work with a Saiyan's physiology, but they wouldn't find out until they tried. "Now you," Xander said. With satisfaction, Xander watched as they performed all of them perfectly within three minutes. "All right, now that you know the moves, I'll teach you how to use them." Xander went over the how, why and when of the moves and how they should follow one another. Then when the Slayers started performing again he said, "Slower, much slower. See this more as meditation then fighting. That's right, now focus all your senses inward, I want you to continue doing this until you can feel your energy, your life force, your chi flowing through every vein, and crackling between every cell in your body, got that?" The Slayers nodded only, focused on their training. "Good."

Xander took a few steps to his right, and smiled at Dawn. "Time for you. First show me what you can do, and be careful with your stitches, ok?" Xander told Dawn. She nodded and threw a punch that Xander deflected, then she kicked and followed with a left hook. "Very good, Dawn, you surprise me."

Dawn grinned and explained, "Whenever Buffy lets me watch a training session with Giles, I pay very good attention."

"Smart," Xander commented, and then ordered, "Punch." Dawn did so and Xander caught the punch then turned it slightly. "That way you should do it for Tai Chi, it aligns the electrical pathways better. Kick." Xander did the same for her kicking technique, then had her do a few until they were correct for both legs and arms. "Now we correct your breathing, always in through the nose out through the mouth and be aware of how the air circles your entire body, focus your senses into your body, forget as much of the outside as possible." Xander waited for Dawn to finish. "Ok, now follow my every move." Dawn did, Xander stopped whenever she did something wrong and he corrected her. Once she did one full kata, a set of moves naturally following each other Xander had her repeat that kata over and over, so her muscles would never forget. Soon it became repetitious, and Xander allowed his mind to wander and he looked at Buffy's house and something occurred to him.

"Say, Buffy," Xander said, as he continued the routine with Dawn. "Would you mind if I build an extra room of about three by three meters to your house?"

"Whatever for?" Buffy asked, frustrated that she still didn't feel her life force as Xander said she eventually would; even if it had only been twenty minutes since she started.

"Well, one thing they had in my birth dimension was artificial gravity, and they placed it in a room, sort of a gym really, and cranked it up," Xander started, keeping a close eye on Dawn, making sure she did everything right, and didn't let herself slip in mistakes. "They trained under 10, 100, even 500 gs as opposed to the standard 1 g of the Earth. Above five hundred even a Saiyan can't go much further, not without becoming Super Saiyan at least, but you train under that and you'll get stronger and faster much sooner. I've got a feeling a slayer should be able to handle g forces like that as well after enough training. Added bonus is, you won't develop all that much muscle mass, but you'll still get stronger. Gravity will push down on all your muscles everywhere, and in order to keep growing stronger they'll have to adapt and get stronger, better without adding mass. If one simply added muscles mass, you couldn't keep walking, the added strength increase wouldn't be enough to lift the added mass."

"Isn't three by three meters a little small, a meter's like a yard, right?" Buffy asked dubiously.

"A bit more, but basically yeah. But trust me, it'll be more than enough," Xander grinned at her, and then continued to elaborate. "I can't very well build it to my apartment, I just rent the place, the building doesn't belong to me, and the way I see it, this is where we'll train the most anyway so . . ."

"Sure, I guess so, don't you need something of a permit or something?" Buffy asked, continuing her Tai Chi routine.

Xander smiled, "I work for a construction company, remember, as a foreman. Getting that permit won't be a problem, and some of the guys won't mind helping out building the exterior, that should be finished soon enough, I'd say it'll be completely ready in about two weeks or so."

"Cool," Faith said, a little air of dejection around her, she didn't question Xander's intentions, but she had great reservation about him actually being able to get her out of jail. After all, she didn't even believe she deserved to be out of jail. She thought she deserved to be in jail. So she would never find out what this gravity gym could do.

Xander stopped his routine and Dawn asked, stopping as well, "What's the matter?"

"Keep going," Xander said. She nodded her consent and yawned as she started again.

A short time later Willow and Tara walked onto the front lawn. Xander grinned.

"Got it," Willow said, she opened her laptop carry bag and removed a sheet of paper she gave Xander. "Address including map," Willow added. Xander took it off her hand and looked at it.

"Great," he commented and turned around to say his 'see you later's and noticed Dawn was yawning again, and her eyes seemed unfocused. "Dawn! Don't dose of now!"

Dawn startled and looked around for a moment and said, "Sorry, it's been a long night and day, and doing the same thing over and over is getting boring."

"Buffy, Faith, once I've left, teach her some of the other stuff I showed you," Xander said, then he was shocked himself. Before either of the slayers answered he added, slapping the palm of his hand against his forehead, a little more loudly so Anya and Giles could hear clearly as well, "Man! We almost forgot. We still have to decide on Faith's sleeping arrangements, the way I see it, there are three options."

"I'll just go into a motel," Faith answered without thinking, feeling her throat constrict on the notion.

"That's not an option," Xander, Anya and Tara said at the same time, and loudly. All were resolute. Xander was commanding at the same time. Tara was shocked at the notion of dumping someone who had so obviously become part of the family in the past twenty-four hours in a motel, she still didn't feel entirely at home in this group, but she knew she was considered part of the gang, part of the family, and she would never be dumped in a motel room, so her new-found friend wouldn't be either. Anya was surprised, she felt she had only skimmed the tip of Faith's sexual knowledge, and there was no way someone that valuable would spend her time in a motel room.

"And I don't just mean because that's where the cops are going to be looking first," Xander said. "I've seen her motel room, have any of you? Giles?" Giles looked down ashamed, he hadn't seen her motel room, not once, he should have. "For a night or two it's doable, but more than that. Prison is most certainly worse, but it can't be by much, and she's been in such a motel room and prison for over two years in a row now. Whatever reprieve we can give her, we have to." He looked around the gang, in the warm summer day and slight breeze, a few birds chirping, and the nice shade from the trees. Everything seemed perfectly fine. Willow made a motion to say something, that Xander could see from her face wasn't nice, probably something like 'she got what she deserved', with an angry look he silenced her before she could even speak. "Option one, is the guest room here."

*At Buffy's place!?* Faith thought, incredulous. If that did become the decision, she vowed she would sleep with one eye open.

"I'm not so certain, that's a good idea," Buffy said as neutrally as she could, but it was obvious her rejection didn't come from any practical reason.

"Why not!?" Dawn asked perplexed, before Buffy could go into more detail. She remembered some really bad moments with Faith and she had to consciously remind herself of didn't happen, and she wasn't about to judge a person by the fantasy memories given to her by some stupid monks. Who knew what would have happened if she had been <really> there, perhaps they would have become friends at the night she come over for dinner, instead of rub each other the wrong way, perhaps she had gone to look up Faith in what Xander just said was basically a hell hole, perhaps she had persuaded, or demanded mom to put Faith up in the guest room, and things never would have gotten as bad as they did. No, this time, things would be different, or rather this time would be their first try.

"For one thing you," Buffy told Dawn. Dawn was about to interrupt, Buffy's train or thought with an objection, but Xander interrupted the both of them.

"Second option, at Giles's, I'm certain he's got a bed or a couch to spare. Giles?" Xander said, loudly enough to quell the starting argument between Buffy and Dawn.

"Sure, she can sleep in my house," Giles said neutrally, no show of a particular fondness or aversion for the idea.

"Ok, that's one choice for you, Faith. And the last possibility, one that I'm particular fond of, is the couch in my place," Xander offered, smiling at Faith.

"Hey!" Anya exclaimed indignant, slightly jealous and sitting up to see and hear better what was going on down on the lawn . "As your fiance, don't I have something to say in this?" Faith felt a small stab of emotional pain at Anya's remark, so close to staying at Xander's place, whatever that was these days. The only place she considered the possibility of feeling secure and warm and unconcerned about hurting anyone's feelings.

"Only if you move in," Xander answered immediately without thought. Faith's hopes rose.

And were promptly squashed as Anya answered with the same immediacy, "Then I'm moving in." The gang looked at her in surprise.

"Ok," Xander stated grinning happy and amused. "We start packing when I get back from saving the Charmed Twits . . ."

"Charmed Ones," Willow and Tara corrected without thinking.

"That's what I said." Xander looked and grinned at them for a moment then turned back to Anya and asked, "So moving-in fiance, what do you think of Faith staying on the couch."

*Here it comes,* Faith thought, a lump forming in her throat she couldn't swallow no matter how hard she tried. *And I deserve it too.*

"Only for one night," Anya said boldly.

*Yes, of course, who would want me longer than one night in their house,* Faith thought. It took all her self-control to keep from crying out. Faking she had something in her eye to wipe out, she managed to keep Buffy and friends from seeing the tear she couldn't keep inside.

"Tomorrow where shopping anyway, we'll go get a mattress and a sleeping bag," Anya said, proud she just made the first decision for the both of them as a couple living together; the tone of voice told everyone that that was not negotiable.

Faith's eyes widened in surprised, *Did she just say they would buy a mattress and sleeping bag just for me? I can stay with them!?*

"Now that I think about it," Anya continued thoughtfully. "Better make it two of both, we'll probably get other house guests and more than one along the way."

She did! Faith couldn't suppress the grateful smile on her face. Xander looked at Anya open pride. *God, how I love her!* he thought. And she just kept surprising him too, he was expecting a simple yes or no, hoping for yes, but definitely planning to argue the point if she said no. But this was quite unexpected and practical too. Anya sank back down smugly, quite proud of herself. Not only was she moving in with her lover, but she had made as much a compassionate as a practical decision for the both of them, and top of that, she would have the opportunity of exchanging notes with the sex-knowledgeable slayer, and . . . well, she wasn't exactly a second Xander, but Anya had, if lucky, only eighty years left, and the way Anya figured things, it was better to find out early you don't like something, then find out late you like something and you realize you could have been doing that for decades.

"Well, Faith, Giles' or m- our place?" Xander asked. Smiling contently, he folded his arms gently across his chest.

"You don't have to buy a mattress, I'll be spending tomorrow night until at least the trial is over in jail," Faith said, sad, but too proud to show it.

"I'd say you're right, chances are you will spend the days in jail until the trial after the trial, but I wouldn't be too sure, we just might get lucky," Xander said, thinking about one possibility on how to get her to stay with him for the duration of the trial.

"I hate to interrupt this lovely living arrangement conversation," Giles said, adjusting his glasses as always when he had something important to delegate. "But the prophecy did say something about speed being of utmost importance."

Xander grinned, and said, "Want speed, Giles? I'll give ya speed." He balled his fists and he with a scream his hair stood up and turned yellow, the emerald green eyes returned and the golden aura erupted around him. The group looked at him astonished, it was only the second time they saw the transformation and last time it was much farther away. Now, all could feel the staggering amount of energy Super Saiyan Xander Littica was exuding, at this range it was almost physical, as if grabbing a charged barbed wire. "San Francisco about three hundred and fifty miles, I'd say I'll be back in about an hour, depending on how long it takes me to find the damn address." And then Xander winked at them and burst into the sky. He was out of sight within half a second, only a golden stream through the air a testimony to the fact he was flying away, and soon that too dissipated.


Xander grinned as the wind blasted past him, his aura of energy protecting him from it and any solid matter that came on his way, like insects. It was absolutely fantastic to finally let all of his power out, smiling he sped up exerting more energy. He flew too low for radar to detect him, and far too fast at such a low altitude for anyone to see him, especially since his energy field hardly made any sound. By the time anyone would have noticed, seen or heard, something of him, he'd be long gone.

Grinning he made a few stunts, ducking into narrow canyons and flying around narrow, sharp bends. It was nothing to a Super Saiyan to fly like that, and to think he was barely exerting a small fraction of his power. He appreciated the view from his position, an ever changing vista of beautiful trees, small streams, houses once in a while, very few people, even less cars, a lot more animals of all kinds, interspersed with stretches of almost barren waste land. Eventually the almost untouched stretches of nature gave way to the view of a large stretched-out city.

Reaching the city he powered down to his normal self and flew rapidly across the city. Not caring whether anyone saw, those who did he knew, would rationalize it away, and the few with video cameras would be too close to be able to latch onto him, or so far away he would be an indistinguishable blur.

After a while of searching, trying to figure out his highly detailed vista with the much less detailed schematic map he gave up. He really wished Willow had given him a description of what the place looked like, preferably from the sky, so he had some idea what to look out for. He saw somebody walking below him and he landed behind the man, making sure there was no one else who could see him, then he jogged back to closer behind the man and called, "Hey, mister."

The man turned around and asked, "Yes?"

*Good, he hadn't noticed a thing,* Xander thought and pulled out the paper with the address, then asked, "Do you know where this address is?"

"Aah, yes," the man said and proceeded with explaining where the place was, and after Xander asked what it looked like.

"Thanks," Xander said, and jogged off in the direction, the man had indicated.

The man grinned at the disappearing form of Xander and whispered, "Last little piece of help." Then he turned into electricity and disappeared into the ground.

A few minutes later Xander appeared near the Halliwell mansion. The slightly higher power levels of the three witches were obvious to Xander. A fourth life force, an ordinary human obviously was inside as well. *<They> are supposed to be the most powerful witches in the world? Willow could take them with ease on her own, I wouldn't be surprised if Tara could take at least one of them out. Ok, come on big shot demon, you make me wait more than fifteen minutes, I'm leaving.*


A few minutes later, Prue and Piper looked up on the stairs, and saw the blue and purplish demon Shafts unexpectedly appear on them. Only moments before when the demon had burst through the door they had saved the life of the dear doctor - who was now luckily unconscious and out of harms way - from the demon. The demon seemed to have a perpetual evil smirk plastered on his face, and someone should give him some fashion advice: when you've got blue skin, you should not be wearing blue clothes.

The two sisters grabbed each other in reflex and they yelled out, "Phoebe! We could use some help here!"

The demon pointed a hand and them and fired an energy bolt at the sisters. Then, suddenly out of nowhere, there was a blur in front of them, which quickly solidified into a male form, hands outstretched. The sisters' eyes widened in surprise as they saw the Shaft's energy ball harmlessly impact on a blue sphere of seemingly solid energy a foot away from the man's chest. The sisters looked up and noticed the sphere envelop both him and them. Then the sphere disappeared and the man lowered his arms.

"That's it!?" Xander exclaimed in disbelief. The demon was supposed to be powerful enough to take out at least one of the three most powerful witches in the world, so for safety's sake he had actually generated a chi shield, but he could have taken that blast head on and survive when he was but a seven-year-old boy. Shafts fired another, this time much more powerful blast, Xander didn't even flinch when it impacted on his chi field. "That's all you can do!? You're supposed to be the demon that kills a Charmed One and this is it!? I'm practically kicked all the way out here to save the damn witches, and I start to get excited at the prospect of a fight and this is the best you've got!?" The demon now looked at Xander in shock, no-one should have been able to take that blast without even a flinch, at least not anything that was supposed to be around here. A moment later the demon felt Xander's fist smash into his stomach, he hadn't even seen it coming, and he doubled over in excruciating pain. Xander picked the demon of his feet and he ran out the door with him.

The two Charmed Ones looked astonished and listened in shock as the strange man actually complained the most powerful demon they had ever faced wasn't powerful enough. Their eyes widened even more when the man doubled the demon over with nothing more but a punch and then picked him up and ran outside with him, faster than they could ever hope to move. They started running after the man and the demon and gave each other a questioning look, too stunned to say anything. Once outside they looked on astonished as the man proceeded with beating the crap out of the demon with ease. More than once he punched the demon, sending it flying backward yards and yards and simply ran around the demon fast enough to smash an elbow or fist in the demon's back and sending it flying backward. Several cracks made it obvious the demon's bones were being broken, so was the ninety-degree angle of Shafts' lower right leg with his upper right leg after the man kicked Shafts' knee in, sending it crashing to the ground.

"What's going on, guys?" a winded Phoebe asked bringing up the rear. Her sisters didn't come further than a stutter and a point.

Xander picked up the revolting excuse for a demon and lifted him off the ground with his right hand. "Pathetic," he commented, "I know vampires who could have beaten you to a pulp." Then he simply kicked Shaft up in the air with his right foot, he went higher than Halliwell Manor. Shafts' eyes shot open in shock and fear as he saw Xander fire an energy blast at him. A second later the demon was vaporized.

"Whoa," Phoebe commented perplexed. "Now that's what I call a vanquish."

Xander thought for a moment, then decided to go the mysterious route. He turned until he was facing ninety degrees away from the sisters and looked over his shoulder at them with a mischievous smirk. "Three would have become two, but I used my speed, now three will become four." He grinned deviously as he saw the three witches look at him in puzzlement, then he gave them a two-fingered salute, while he said in a calm business-like voice, completing his ridiculous rhyme, "Sorry, I wasn't on time to save the door." Then he blasted off into the sky.

"Woaw," Prue exclaimed completely flabbergasted.

"He flew! Phoebe! Prue! He flew away! Like Superman!" Piper exclaimed even more shocked, and downright disbelieving. "That's not possible!"

As Phoebe motioned her sisters back into the house she said, "Yes, and magic only exists in fairy tales." Closing whatever was left of the door behind them, Phoebe said, "What I'd like to know is what he meant with, with . . . 'Three would have become two . . .'"

While Phoebe tried to remember the rest of the rhyme, Piper finished it for her, "'But I used my speed, now three will become four.'" She looked at her older sister for any insights.

"Not a clue," Prue said, folding her arms across her chest in frustration. "But I have this strange feeling our lives are about to become a whole lot more interesting."

"I was afraid you were going to say that," Piper answered irritated. They reached the living room and saw the unconscious doctor lying there.

"Leo!" Prue called out. A moment later the angel to witches sparkled into view.

"You guys all right?" he asked, concerned when he saw them all looking quite a bit forlorn.

"Yeah," Prue answered, frowning with concentration. "Is he still with us?" Leo checked the doctor and nodded. "Ok, heal him, and orb him back to the hospital, but leave him unconscious. With any luck when he wakes up, he'll think it was just a dream."

"And hurry back," Piper added, concern edged on her face. "Something really freaky is going on." Leo nodded, and he and the doctor disappeared in a sparkly light.

Prue started scratching an itch behind her air, but keeping the other arm in front of her chest and started, "Phoebs, where were you? What took . . . Phoebs?" Prue and Piper noticed Phoebe's far off look. They took several steps closer to their sister, concerned for her well being.

Piper waved a hand in front of Phoebe's face and called out, "Phoebe!"

"Huh . . . yeah, I'm here," Phoebe startled back into focus.

"Are you all right?" Prue asked.

"I felt it again, I felt it when we went to get the doctor, and all the way back, I got distracted by it upstairs. I decided not to tell, until the more immediate matters were handled," Phoebe said, starting to pace around the room nervously, trying unsuccessfully to quell the sensation.

"What? You mean the power that killed Xiara?" Piper asked, getting even more concerned for her sister. Leo re-emerged behind them. The sisters ignored him for the moment, focusing on Phoebe.

Phoebe started waving her hand in her face like a fan, hoping the air would calm her down a bit. "It got steadily more pronounced, as if it was moving toward us, eventually the energy felt so thick it was as if I could touch it. My mind was drawn to it irresistibly, then, poof, it was gone."

"Poof?" Prue asked.

Phoebe nodded, "Poof, like a switch being thrown, for several minutes it was gone. Then that guy came, he left, and just now it was back. Now it's slowly becoming weaker, as if it's moving away."

"Wait a minute, there was somebody here?" Leo asked astonished.

Prue nodded, turning toward him and trying to relieve some stress by massaging a shoulder. "Shafts was about to kill us, we called for Phoebe but she didn't show, then there was a blur and there was this guy in between Shafts and us. First he had some shield envelop all of us, it took Shafts' blast easily. He lowered it, complaining Shafts was too weak, took another blast of Shafts without the shield, didn't even flinch, and then proceeded with pummeling the demon to a pulp. One punch here, the rest outside."

Piper completed the story, "And then he vaporized Shafts with an energy beam he fired from his hands." Leo's eyes widened in bewilderment. "Wait a minute, you feel the large power coming, then the guy saves us, he leaves and you feel the large power leave."

"Coincidence, if the guy who saved us is the power Phoebe is feeling, he killed Xiara, that makes him evil. Why would someone evil save our lives?" Prue said, sitting down on the back rest of the couch.

The half-demon Cole aka Belthazor blinked into existence, his face showed he was anything but happy.

"Cole, what's wrong?" Phoebe asked with concern, forgetting about the power she felt receding.

"What I found out, is <not> good," Cole said with a grimace.

Piper saw Leo's face darken and she asked, "Leo?"

"I've got a feeling he found the same thing as I did. I've been doing some unauthorized digging myself," Leo said softly, a dark serious look on his face.

The two men looked at each other, both reluctant to share, and much rather take their respective others far away from anything, then in unison they said, "The Sedra Soli."

"What's the Sedra Soli?" Prue asked confused.

"The end of the world," Cole said gravely.

"Ok, no big deal, we've faced the end of the world before," Piper tried, bluffing her way through the thick haze of doom that seemed to hang in the room.

"Not like this," Leo said, sitting down almost in defeat. "You've face the end of the human world, this is different. This the end of the entire world, natural, supernatural, darkness, light, good, evil, demons, white lighters, dark lighters, humans, angels, gods, everyone and everything will end."

Phoebe looked at Cole, hoping he'd say Leo was wrong. Cole nodded though and said, "About 10,000 years ago the Sedra Soli appeared on the planet. Nobody knows where he came from, or where he went. While he was here, he destroyed everything in his path, no god, or demon could stand before him. And then he left, or disappeared, but not before leaving a promise or a prophecy; 10,000 years from then, he or someone like him would return to finish the job. Destroy the entire planet and everything on, in, or around it. I'll quote the prophecy: 'On the day of his arrival, two gods will die by his hand, one born in darkness, the other born in light, and darkness will not belong. After that all and encompassing will come to an end.' Xiara and Glorificous, Glorificous did not belong here, she was exiled from her own dimension."

"If it really is that bad, there's nothing we can do about it," Prue stated resolutely. "And I'm not going to worry about something I can't do anything about. We'll just have to keep our eyes open, and hope the one more powerful than us who was placed on the case succeeds, or our eyes find something useful to stop this Sedra Soli. In the mean time, our saviour left somewhat of a riddle or prophecy of his own on our doorstep."

"Saviour?" Cole asked concerned, tightening his support arm around his girlfriend's shoulders.

"Guy came in and saved at least one of our lives," Phoebe explained softly in a nutshell. She gently pulled away from him, saying, "'Splain later."

"How did it go again?" Prue asked. Then Piper and Phoebe started together and Prue joined in, making it a three-voice quire, saying in unison, "'Three would have become two, but I used my speed, now three will become four.'"

"'Sorry, I wasn't on time to save the door,'" Phoebe added for good measure.

"Any idea what that could mean?" Piper asked, looking at her husband. He looked dumbfounded.

"If we're the 'three'," Prue began speculating, "That could mean one of us could have died, and from my point of view it seemed that way. Would that mean there'll be a fourth Charmed One? And how would that happen?"

"I don't see how that could work, the Charmed Ones always have been three and no more," Leo explained.

"I'm not so sure," Prue said thoughtfully, once more scratching her head in nervousness. "We brought our ancestor, the one who made the prophecy to us, in this time. And we told her about us and the prophecy. Our knowledge of the future was and is not spotless, which could mean we were not totally correct, which would make our ancestor and the prophecy was not totally correct. What if there is a fourth one out there waiting for us. I mean she doesn't even need to be a sister, she or he could be a wiccan friend who joins us, and we still have to meet."

"I'll go check upstairs, what they think of this," Leo said pointing upward.

The Charmed Ones nodded and the white lighter sparkled out of existence. "Well, anyway," Phoebe said, feeling better now that the presence had moved out of range, "I've got a feeling the future is going to be a lot more unpredictable than before."


Dawn had her tongue out of her mouth as she tried to get the new Tai Chi moves flawless the way Faith had shown her moments before. She was startled along with everybody else as suddenly a golden being stood in front of them. The glow dissipated and so did the golden hair and green eyes.

Xander looked at his watch and commented, "One hour and ten minutes, considering I did some sightseeing not all together bad."

"So you saved the Charmed Ones?" Tara asked from a reclining leisure chair. She took a sip from a cool drink through a straw and looked at Xander through her sunglasses. She was the middle of three bikini clad girls all lying on a chair, enjoying the sun, left from her was Willow and to her right was Anya. The two slayers and Dawn were still working themselves out and sweating heavily.

"Yes, they're nice and safe, and rather pathetic. Willow, you could mop the floor with them," Xander commented off handedly, gently allowing his gaze to go over all the nubile, female bodies, forcing himself not to grin. The Slayers were still mostly clothed, apparently they figured working up a real sweat was a better work-out and one their enhanced physiologies could take. *Then again,* Xander thought. Dawn had changed into a bikini as well, but was still sweating just as hard as the Slayers, the bandages didn't make it any easier. The smell of the sweat drove Xander almost crazy. The pungent, pleasant smell of the ointments that had been rubbed on Dawn's healing wounds, deluded by sweat added only more. A Saiyan's better sense of smell could be as much a blessing as a curse, getting worked up just standing here was definitely a curse. Dawn's bikini's left as little to the imagination as Willow and Tara's, but the bandages covered the rest up. Anya's was just as revealing, but he didn't need to imagine her naked, he just had to remember it. He grinned and focused his gaze safely on his fiance.

"Well, that's good," Giles commented, sitting in his own recliner, wearing a mostly unbuttoned blouse and the pipes of his pants rolled up for cooling comfort. He, though, had placed himself safely in the shadow.

"Are we going to move now?" Anya asked enthusiastically, the trash romance novel Buffy had lent her wasn't keeping her attention, it was far too tame for her tastes. Besides, she already had Xander, she didn't need to read some sappy book about romance, she had all the romance she needed.

Xander shook her head, "Have to make a few phone calls first: lawyer for Faith, building permit, getting a cutting edge technology catalogue to get the parts for the gravity room, stuff like that. And I think I'd like to enjoy the sun a bit before we move."

"Oh?" Anya asked, pouting.

"You guys keep going. Be back out in a minute." Xander grinned at Anya and walked into the house, hearing several mutterings about 'that's easy for him to say'. As he continued walking into the house, he called back, "You can put on lighter clothing, or even a bikini as well, you know. I never said you had to be uncomfortably hot." Two groans and Dawn's laughter followed his comment. That settled that question. First thing he called was information for a specific number. Then he called the number he just gotten.

<<Donnell, Young, Dole and Frutt. How may I help you?>> a lovely female voice sounded faraway over the phone.

"I'd like to talk to the boss man himself, please," Xander said.

<<You'll have to hold, he's in a phone call at the moment,>> Lucy said.

"Sure," Xander answered.

After listening to some music for a few minutes, Xander heard the phone go over again. <<Robert Donnell. Who are you?>>

"I'm Xander Littica," Xander said. Robert 'Bobby' Donnell lifted an eyebrow at the name but said nothing. "And I think you would want to take a case down here in LA, California."

<<If you don't mind me asking, which case?> Donnell asked, mystified as to why someone would call them from LA.

"The woman you have to defend is named Faith Williams," Xander said with a grin, he could practically here the other man's wheels grinding, figuring out where he had heard the name before. Xander grinned as he heard something creek suddenly, the man had sat up abruptly in expense of his chair.

<<Faith Williams, self-confessed, multiple murders, three-state manhunt under the guidance of the FBI, the whole police and prison system is under attack because they let a teenage girl escape who didn't even graduate high-school, the whole country, potentially the world is following the story on CNN. <That> Faith Williams?>> Bobby saw the head lines of the Boston newspapers now, 'Local attorney office defends Faith Williams', 'Local attorney office defends world wide known case'. If this was a cartoon; dollar signs would be in his eyes.

"Yes," Xander grind, thinking, *Gotcha!*

<<I was under the impression she still wasn't found yet,>> Bobby said, this was getting weirder by the second.

"Oh, she isn't. They're searching for her under the wrong assumption that Faith is running," Xander said grinning, he bent back a bit, yep the slayers had switched to bikinis as well for the hot Californian sun. Buffy's bikini was at least one size to small for Faith, which caused her to look very sexy, as her breasts were pressed together more and the bottom showed more of her buttocks. It didn't seem to bother the Slayer much, she was more than glad to continue her training out of the hot clothes she had been wearing. In the back of her mind Xander wondered what the others had to do to convince Buffy to lend one of her bikinis to Faith. "She's right out side getting a nice tan, wearing a very becoming bikini. She'll turn herself back in tomorrow."

There was silence at the other end of the line for a few seconds, then the lawyer asked, <<Before we go over the details of this case, why don't you just hire a lawyer from that area?>>

"Aah, here come the bumps in the road," Xander said, took a deep breathe and hoped he wouldn't scare the man off. "First of all, because several months back you beat the Californian justice system at their own game, managing to get an innocent victim off even when he was already convicted years earlier, which seemed impossible, with the ridiculous procedures here, that impressed me a great deal."

"Second, there is a law firm in LA called Wolfram & Hart."

<<I've heard of it, very big firm,>> Bobby commented.

"Yes, well, they're evil. They'll torture, maim, murder, bribe and a whole lot of other creative stuff to make sure they win their cases, they don't give a damn about anybody's life. In one such instance they hired Faith to do the maiming and murdering. Instead of fulfilling her contract she turned herself in. I think you can understand they don't want her to talk, and if they can't have her under their complete control, they'd like to see her burn in hell, but they'll settle for rotting in prison for the rest of her life," Xander explained grimly.

<<If that's so, we could get a reduced sentence for . . .>> Bobby starting, thinking out loud about how to handle the case.

"Uh, uh," Xander interrupted him, then lied partially, "They're resources are too great. That firm prefers their dealings unknown, but if you force their hand, that they're secret is going to be lifted no matter what, they'll stop at nothing. They won't just try to kill Faith, they'll simply blow up the entire prison, potentially with gun ships. You wanna take them on, like us, you have to cut them off from their resources first."

<<You're serious?>> Donnell asked.

"Yes," Xander said. "Will you still take the case?"

<<Let me hear the details, and then I have to talk to my partners first, then I'll call back,>> Donnell said.



Xander came back out of the house once he was done with the phone calls. He had rolled up the pipes of his trousers and he had removed his shirt. He grinned when he walked into the sun and he pretended not to notice the reaction of all but one girl.

"So," he said. "Any of you feel your energy yet?"

"Yeah, actually," Faith said sheepishly, it was rather an odd sensation. She felt like she was aware of every molecule in her body, although that probably wasn't actually the case. She could almost imagine seeing the energy radiate off her body interacting with the energy currents in the atmosphere. Buffy shook her head no, a little in annoyance.

"Don't worry about it, Buffy, you'll feel it soon enough," Xander said, smiling.

"Uhm," Dawn said, shyly raising a finger, "I can feel my chi too." Buffy looked first astonished, then embarrassed she hadn't, then angry, cause Dawn just had to be lying.

"Really?" Xander wasn't sure, perhaps Dawn was just joking. "What does it feel like?"

"Like, like," Dawn started, not quite know how to put this. "It feels like a river is flowing through my body, constantly changing direction and course. I feel it flowing through every pore of my skin, I feel some of it bleeding out. It's almost like I feel all the . . ." Dawn struggled for a moment to remember. They had had the lesson in physics class just a few months ago, and it was also mentioned in biology. Now she remembered, smiling, " . . .ions flowing between and in the cells, not each one individually, but they're re- res-"

"Resonating?" Xander supplied.

"Yeah, resonating through my body," Dawn finished, and she looked around proudly and saw Faith slowly nod.

"Now this is surprising. I guess carrying around all that extra key-energy inside of you must have made you more sensitive to energy. Allows you the feel it much quicker than the average person, it took me a lot longer," Xander said, smiling at the girl. Buffy looked at her sister thinking, *Damn!*

"Say, can you two feel your life force?" Xander asked the two witches.

Willow sat up, rolling her eyes, invisible through the sunglasses and said, with a little hint of pride, "Tara could sense the discontinuity of Faith's life force in Buffy's body, remember? Compared to that, sensing your own life force is peanuts. Of course we can feel our own energy."

Tara smiled humbly and said, "Oh, it isn't that difficult."

Xander grinned, thinking, *She's right, this time.* Then he said, "Buffy, you have to continue until you can feel your energy. Faith, punch me and when you do, I want you to try and focus your energy on the position where you want to punch. Try to do the same with the energy in the air that's not yours. Try to make your energy entangle itself with the energy around you. Go." Faith punched, giving a small yell, Xander blocked it with an open palm. "Again, other hand." Faith once more punched, and Xander once again blocked. "You'll get there soon enough. First, don't force it, do it gently, simply let it happen, it has to happen without thought and strain eventually. Practice in the air." Xander stepped aside and smiled at Dawn. "Your turn." Dawn smiled and position herself in a fighting stance she saw her big sister often favor and punched. Xander blocked it just as before with an open palm. "Pretty good."

"Really?" Dawn asked with a proud smile. Faith next to her made her practice punches.

"Hmm, hmm. Less physical strain, Faith. Be subtle," Xander said, not removing his eyes from Dawn. "Ok, Dawn. Take a different stance, face me fully, legs slightly apart and bend through them just a bid, arms bend next to your body, waist height, hands open. All right, breath in gently, exhale through the mouth. You aware of your energy?" Dawn nodded. "Okay, focus the middle of your energy together, keep it in the middle, not until you throw your arm forward for the punch will you focus it on your punch hand, ok?" Dawn nodded. "Go." Dawn threw the punch and embarrassedly yelled with it, thinking she made a fool out of herself when she did so. Xander blocked the punch and raised an eyebrow. Perhaps he had to adjust his theory a little.

At that moment Xander's cell phone rang and Xander went inside after excusing herself, he picked it out of his jacket and turned it on. "Xander Littica here."

<<Mr. Littica, your friend has got herself two lawyers,>> Donnell said through the phone with a little excitement. <<You'll tell her, her and us will still need an in depth talk, about all her life, unfortunately.>>

"I'll tell her that," Xander said.

<<If the trial date will be set tomorrow afternoon, we won't be able to make that. Depending on how full the planes are and whether we can get some people to exchange tickets with us if we have bad luck, we'll either arrive late tomorrow evening, or the morning after that,>> Donnell explained.

"Got it, no problem, she'll have a pro-bono lawyer assigned for that session if it's scheduled for that afternoon," Xander answered, smiling everything was going to go all right.

<<Good, we'll see you soon, we'll call to let you know with which flight we're arriving,>> Bobby answered.

"Bye," Xander said and they hung up the phone. Xander knew he was rather short paced, but something had been bugging him. Now that he hung up the phone and listened intently he knew what it was. That sound was a helicopter and it was approaching rapidly. He got a bad feeling, his brain was nagging him with an uneasy feeling, there was something bad about a helicopter.

Outside Faith and Buffy had jumped up at the sound of the helicopter. Both remembering last time they tangled with one. A moment later the helicopter roared overhead and the both of them ordered at the same time, "Inside the house, now!" Yes, the familiar side-mounted machine gun, manned by a familiar leather-clad figure was there.

"God damned watchers!" Faith cursed, she knew what they wanted, her dead so a nice new Slayer would be called. It seemed they meant business and go for the two new slayers for the price of one deal, not to mention eliminating an ex-demon, an ex-key, and a rogue watcher, because as the helicopter lowered into the position the man was already squeezing the trigger, apparently not caring which bodies were falling as long as bodies were falling. Faith froze in fear, realizing that there was no way they were fast enough to get inside on time. The deafening roar of machine gun fire rang in Faith's ears, and then nothing. She was expecting to hear at least some of her re-found friends drop to the floor. Astonished she saw energy light up and the bullets ricochet off it.

"God damned watchers!" Xander echoed Faith's comment. Then to the rest of the gang, "Stay inside the shield!" Xander flew forward passed through the shield and landed on the pavement. The gunner trained his gun desperately on Xander, but once the bullets encountered the resistence of Xander's chi field they slowed down rapidly. By the time they hit his body they just bounced off and dropped to the floor. Xander roared up to the helicopter, "YOU FUCKERS TRIED TO KILL MY FRIENDS! THAT MAKES ME ANGRY! AND WHEN I GET ANGRY!!" Xander raged out and he turned into the Super Saiyan. His body hair now could be seen turning the same golden color as the hair on his head. The watchers looked with horror as Xander flew up and easily grabbed the gunner and threw him out the craft.

The gunner flew through the air and crashed heavily against Xander's shield. The gang looked as some of the shield's energy sizzled through him before he dropped to the floor with a dull thud, unconscious, potentially dead.

"Bollocks!" the pilot cursed at this unexpected turn of events. He banked the helicopter sharply in the hope to loose Xander. It worked only because Xander jumped off, making the move serve only to bring the tail and tail rotor in Xander's reach. He grabbed it, and crushed the rotor and tail with his hand. Terrified the pilot shouted, "Jump!" He and his two remaining passengers jumped out of the helicopter.

Xander held the helicopter tightly and he moved downward, swinging the aircraft back and smashing it to pieces on the asphalt in anger, causing the fuel to ignite in an explosion on impact. The rotor blades flung away from the craft and Xander flashed in front of the one that would have cut the house of the neighbour across the street from Buffy in two and caught it in his left hand, crushing and bending it out of shape easily. The other blade bounced of the shield before Xander did the same to it. He dumped the two crumpled on top of the pile of burning rubble that once was a helicopter and he placed himself right smack in the middle. With a roar he raised his energy level, the updraft it produced lifted the wreckage in the air. Xander brought it together in a tight sphere in front of him and performed a Tanekakosa wave that vaporized most of what was left of the helicopter and sent the rest into outer space, far away from the Earth.

Xander turned to the three conscious occupants of the craft in blazing anger. Two of them panicky got out pistols and fired them at him. They didn't do any more good than the .50 that had been mounted on the helicopter. Xander walked slowly to them without flinching, and once in reach he ripped the two pistols out of their hands, crumpled them to a ball and flung them away sending some of his energy along with the metal ball, so it wouldn't land until it was well into the desert. Xander looked down at the two watcher's assassins in front of them and saw them look up at him in fear. He ignored the one to his left. He just stood there for a long while looking down at them, letting them bask in his anger and power, letting their fear grow as they spat profanities at him. Then he picked the pilot up and brought the man's face very close to his and he growled, "If you watchers ever try to hurt Faith or my other friends again, whether you succeed or not, I will fly over to England, find your headquarters and vaporize it and anyone who happens to be inside. Do you understand?"

"Yes," the man managed weakly.

"Good, then go, and relay my message," Xander told roughly and dropped him to the floor unceremoniously. He lowered the shield, and de-transformed as he walked back to the gang who looked at him astonished. Fighting gods with some abstract power was something different from taking out a metal monster that you knew exactly of how destructive and powerful it was.

Inside the house that almost had been cut in two, a man commented, "Dang, these movie special effects just keep getting better and better."

"Indeed, honey," his wife said dumbfounded, picking up the coffee pot. "Some more coffee?"



Xander landed on the outskirts of LA. Buffy's mom's, now Buffy's, car, with Willow behind the wheel, touched down gently on Xander's left, Giles' car did the same on his right. Willow, Tara, Buffy and Dawn were in the family's car, Giles, Faith, and Anya were sitting in Giles's car. All of them were wearing loose cool clothes, Faith was wearing something borrowed from Anya. With the push of a button, the top of Giles' red convertible started lowering itself into aside.

"That was so cool!" Dawn exclaimed from her family's car back seat.

Windows were turned down and Xander said, "First we go by Angel's right?" The drivers nodded. Xander got in the back of Giles' car and said, "Let's go then."

"Are you certain they're not going to pick us up?" Faith asked a little nervously.

"Trust me, Faith, the cops are only looking for people leaving LA. They're not expecting you to go right back here, and definitely not with a whole group of happy friends, when they're expecting somebody who's a notorious loner," Xander said, alleviating her fears. Faith nodded in acceptance, but still felt nervous.

About a quarter of on hour later they arrived at the Hyperion Hotel. After Willow opened the place with her key and they looked around finding no one, they discussed what they would do next. "We could wait for them, they're bound to show up sooner or later," Willow suggested.

"Yes, but later might very well be tomorrow," Giles said sensibly.

"I agree with G-man," Xander said, smiling. "I say we split up in two groups; me, Anya and Faith, then the rest of you. We'll handle the business end of the trip, do Faith's returning run, go get and commission parts for the gravity gym, pick up stuff to decorate the apartment with that Anya said she couldn't live without, get the name change through, stuff like that. While we do that, you guys can go enjoy yourself, do some shopping. I say we reconvene here in about two hours, just in time for lunch with Angel Investigations, OK?" The gang nodded at the good idea and then Xander asked, "Can I have the car keys, G-man?"

Giles looked at him and his expecting hand stricken. He waited a moment, but Xander's hand stayed open. Then he gave in, and startled fumbling for his keys. Once he had them he held them over Xander's hand and said, "If the paint has so much as a scratch. . ."

"Relax, Giles," Xander interrupted sarcastically. "We know you've got a beautiful shiny new convertible. We won't harm the baby girl."

"You better not," Giles muttered and watched as the group of three got into his car and drove of.

Giles turned around and saw he was the only one still left outside the car. He opened the right back door and looked inside. He saw Willow sitting at the steering wheel and he said, "I'm driving."

"No," Willow answered, and smiled back. "I and Tara are the only couple in here. That makes us the parents, and the parents always sit in the front. So we have to sit in the front."

Giles mouth went agape, he had never heard such a ridiculous train of logic, or un-logic. He decided he didn't want to tangle with someone who could come up with such totally warped reasons. "Scoot over, Buffy," he said and got in the car.


"Ok, Faith, point me to the antique shop," Xander said.

"Next left," Faith said, looking out on the street, sitting on the back seat from between Xander and Anya. "So, once I've returned the sword, we'll go to the cops?"

"No!" Anya almost squealed. "We have to go get mattresses and sleeping bags first. You have to sleep in one Faith, so you should pick at least one out."

Faith got annoyed, shopping was one thing she never learned to enjoy, and she still couldn't believe they could keep her out of jail.

"And you're going to need clothes, Faith, you only have one set," Xander commented with a smile.

"Right, here," Faith said, not quite knowing what else to say, and feeling a little uncomfortable. Shopping! For clothes! You didn't go shopping for that, you simply grabbed what you liked, payed for them and got out of there. She was hoping Xander changed his mind and dropped her off at a police department first until he started talking about her needing to get clothes.

"Yeah, all kinds of clothes," Anya commented as Xander made the right turn. "Summer clothes, normal clothes, some casual clothes . . ."

" . . . slaying clothes, some evening dresses for if you have to attend some more formal thing . . ." Xander continued from Anya's sentence seamlessly.

" . . . and a bathing suit, definitely a bathing suit, Buffy won't lend you hers again, that's for sure. How did she put it this morning?" Anya asked Xander, she twisted her body constantly to face Faith and back to Xander as much as the seat belt allowed.

"'Look at it, it's ruined. I just tried it on, it's all stretched, it's not snug at all anymore. I'm telling you, Willow; hell will freeze over before that bitch ever wears anything from me again!'" Xander mimicked Buffy's way of talking.

Thinking that Xander could impersonate Buffy pretty good, she commented, "Deep down, B's just a giant exhibitionist."

Xander grinned to Faith in the rear view mirror, as Anya came up with the next item, "Underwear, mustn't forget underwear, it just wouldn't be hygienic. We should get you at least one set of lingerie, Faith. If you get a boyfriend - and I'm certain you will sooner or later - you'll want to spoil him on occasion."

Faith looked at Anya surprised, she was slowly starting to become used to Anya's completely uninhibited way of saying everything out loud, but it was still difficult getting used to someone who was actually even more blunt than herself. Hell, Anya made Faith look downright closed off. Faith wasn't really the wearing lingerie type, unless you count her normal, mostly leather attire, she just took off her clothes and went for it, it seemed to work quite well. Then Faith considered the notion, showing off to Xander, having him help pick out a set, perhaps . . .

"We have to go to a lingerie shop anyway, we still got to pick out what <I> call a engagement present for each other," Xander said with a suggestive grin.

"Ooh, I get to pick out yours, and you mine?" Anya cooed in delight. Xander nodded. Anya turned around and told Faith, "Showing off the different sets is seventy percent of the foreplay, another twenty is not giving into the temptation all day, we're going to be so hot for each other after the party." Anya frowned thinking, then a bright smile crossed her face, "Say, Xander's a guy, he would know best what looks good on you, he could decide if you show the sets to him, it would probably get him even more pumped for tonight."

"No, I won't mind," Faith said, looking astonished, this was one time that Anya managed to shock even her. In the rear view mirror she saw Xander gently shake his head as he smiled. He loved it! He loved what Anya did and say! *Who are you kidding, Faith!* she admonished to herself. *They're getting married! They finish each others sentences, and they have foreplay in the middle of a lingerie shop, for all to see if they just look hard enough! And he loves Anya's attitude completely! There's no way in hell you can get him go for you instead! You shouldn't even try; they belong together!* "Here left, and then it's halfway up the street," Faith said, a little dejected.

Xander stopped the car in front of the antique store. Its window was already repaired. Faith got out of the car and took the sword wrapped in cloths from the trunk. The man behind the counter looked up as the little bell by the door chimed. "Can I be of serv . . .?" He stopped in mid-sentence looking at Faith and recognizing her from the pictures.

"Hi," Faith said, presenting the sword, still not visible because of the cloths in front of her. "I'm sorry I had to take your sword." The man had been about to pull a shotgun from behind the counter, but that sentence surprised him too much to do so. "Did you get the letter and the money? Nobody took it away did they?"

"Actually they did take it away. Evidence, inappropriately acquired money and stuff, but they gave me replacement so I could pay for the damages, until the insurance company pays up," the man said quite a bit in awe of the beautiful girl.

"Oh, good," Faith commented and placed the sword on the counter in front of the shop owner, unwrapping it from the cloths so he could see it. "Sorry again. Well, I'm going now," Faith said, not knowing what else to do, so she turned around and started to leave.

"Wait a minute! You're just leaving? I could call the cops and collect the reward you know," the man blurted out, and the moment he said it, he realized how stupid that was. He wanted to pound his head into a whole, hoping he hadn't given the girl any ideas.

Faith turned half back around, smiled and said, "Nah, by the time the cops get here, I'll be at the nearest police station turning myself in. I wonder if you'll get your own reward." Faith was about to turn back when she remembered something, "Oh, almost forgot. Don't put the sword there at night. It's not a modern day replica, that sword is ancient. If you don't believe me, have it dated, with carbon-dating or something. Some of the blood still on it will give you a mighty big surprise." Then Faith walked out the shop and got back into the car.


"Ooh, ooh. Clothes, beautiful clothes. Can we go there?" Dawn exclaimed enthusiastically pointing at a shop with admittedly beautiful clothes.

"No," Buffy said exasperated. Shopping for clothes was great, but not now, they had presents to get.

"Why not?" Dawn asked defiantly.

"We said we were going to look for Xander and Anya's engagement presents, didn't we?" Tara asked gently.

"Yeah," Dawn said reluctantly, somehow knowing she wasn't going to like the outcome of this explanation.

"Well, if we go shopping for stuff for ourselves first, we might not have any time or money left to buy them. Do you want to show up at the party tonight and have no present for either Xander or Anya?" Tara asked Dawn, smiling with gentleness.

She had been right, Dawn didn't like the second part, she could only agree with Tara's reasoning. "No, I don't want to come empty handed," Dawn said with a pout, then she smiled again looking out the window for a moment.

Buffy was relieved, Dawn was chastised and she still seemed happy, not in some depressed mood that she could wake up from yelling bloody murder. Willow voice the same emotions in a slightly different matter, "I so want to raise kids with you one day?"

Tara smiled, a flattered smile of someone in love and she said, "But those were beautiful clothes. Can you remember where it was? That way when we're done with the necessities, we can go back there later on."

"Yeah, I can remember it," said Willow, wishing she didn't have to watch the traffic, so she knew what had her girlfriend and Dawn so exited.

Buffy brightened as well, "Did you guys see that halter top . . ."

Giles rubbed his forehead in frustration. "Oh, brother," he muttered. He knew he should have insisted on going with the others. If the chance hadn't been there that Faith's trial date was going to be set this afternoon, and thus the first trial day started, he wouldn't even be here at all. He felt that he should be there to show her every bit of support she deserved - support he had only realized he hadn't given her two years ago after Faith held up the mirror to his face yesterday.


Getting the mattresses and the sleeping bags had been easy. Since they wouldn't fit in the car they had them delivered at home the next day.

Ordering the parts, and have the non-existing ones to be built from scratch at a high-tech company's head quarters didn't take much longer with the blue prints Xander had made. His Swiss bank account would be halved afterwards, but it would be worth it.

"So how much is this going to cost?" Faith asked confused.

"About 35 million," Xander answered.

"And how much did you say you had in that bank account?" Faith asked, looking at Xander, come alien, come super rich guy.

"About 70 million," Xander answered with a grin.

"Xander's rich," Anya commented, nodding to Faith in the rear view mirror.

"Where did you get this kind of money Xander?" Faith asked astonished.

"Hey, when you're from a species that flies through space faster than the speed of light, you've got some technology to turn into patents . . . I made a nice lucrative deal selling one, they now use on most communications and weather satellites. I still get about 30,000 dollars in royalty checks every year. Luckily I figured I might need an amount like that some day, to have something in reserve," Xander said, he rested his arm on the driver's door, and looked passed the wind shield, checking the traffic jam they were in. "That lingerie shop was just up ahead, right?" Anya nodded, rechecking the address on the printout they made earlier at an internet cafe, just to be sure. "Then I'll park right here," Xander said, pointing at a parking space where a car was just leaving. "It took a whole lot of juggling to keep everyone in the dark I was an eight-year-old and not an adult."

A few minutes later they walked into the lingerie shop and Anya whispered to Faith, as much an instruction for now, as some advice for later, "Always let him go first, if you don't - and in this case, me, you, or both of us go first - he would have some problems showing his skimpy underwear and hiding his arousal at the same time. Not that I or you, or he would mind, it's just that you can get kicked out of a shop. I don't understand, it is an adult shop after all, I would think getting aroused is necessary, but still . . ." Faith eyes lighted up in surprise, obviously the both of them had done this before.

The two of them sat down and after picking a few male lingerie pieces with potential Xander disappeared in a dressing room. He came out wearing only a see-through Speedo and his underwear that showed under the Speedo. Xander struck a pose, both his arms a long his shoulders and curled up flexing his muscles: the traditional strong guy pose, and said with an overly exaggerated Arnie accent, "I'll be back to win next year's Mr. Universe contest as wall." He continued with some ridiculous flexing-his-muscle poses and made exaggerated sounds and faces of exertion. The two girls started laughing hard, barely able to stay seated on the circular couch they were sitting on to watch. A sales person who was busy with a female customer barely kept her laughter in, much to the client's annoyance.

Barely managing though her laughter Anya said, "Oh . . . we're definitely . . . taking . . . that one."

*God, those muscles,* Faith and Anya thought in desire. Xander showed a few more pieces, eventually they would take the Speedo and a set that included a top that left his nipples bare, completely leather.

Anya got herself a tight fitting corset with a matching g-string and entire set with stockings and garter belt. When it was Faith's turn she tried to refuse.

"You're going in there, and fit and show," Anya said mock angry, pushing Faith forward and giving her the first set her hands could reach. "You can't expect Xander and me to give you your jollies and then not put out yourself!"

"All right, all right!" Faith said in submission. Faith let herself be pushed into getting herself a similar set, the second though was different, all tough girl, leather and only a little lace body, knee-length boots with four inch heals, it had just enough lace worked in there, to steer from a total dominatrix-costume to a bit more neutral.

Faith was blushing with embarrassment as Xander paid for the clothes: here she was, self-appointed tough girl, who's said men were good for only one thing, and she had allowed herself to be dragged into a lingerie shop, and persuaded to actually buy some. *It did feel kind of sexy wearing it,* a little voice inside her said, which caused her to blush even more. The embarrassment faded quickly, after all Faith didn't do embarrassment and she had this damnable feeling her re-found and newfound friends would be able to get her to do a whole lot more things she never contemplated before.

"Come one, babes," Xander said, with a grin. "Time to clothe Faith completely."


"Ooh, do you think Anya would like that?" Dawn asked pointing at a beautifully crafted and painted porcelain teapot.

"I doubt that, I don't see Anya as the tea type," Willow commented as she went through other items that had her interest. Dawn nodded and looked further around the shop.

"Yeah, Anya is more the sex type," Tara commented, searching for a present to give.

Dawn latched onto that comment and suggested, "Perhaps we should just buy her some lingerie . . . or a good porno."

"Dawn!" Buffy exclaimed in a correcting tone.

"Ok, I admit it; the porno was a bad idea," Dawn answered apologetically, going toward the next rack.

Willow commented, as she picked up something that looked interesting, "Although knowing Anya she'd probably like it better than what we can come up with. I mean, what do you give a twelve-hundred-year-old ex vengeance demon?"

Tara peered through a glass covering to something that looked promising, while she said, "And the lingerie would be more of a wedding present, wouldn't it? Besides we don't know her measurements. Hey, Willow, perhaps we should make a point of finding out, than at least we've got something we can go buy her for the wedding."

Willow nodded and then said, "Tara, come look at this, this could be a nice present from us two." Tara came over and looked at what Willow meant. A beautiful, cute ceramic kitten looked back at Tara. Her face lightened up immediately. Tara agreed immediately, they called a store clerk and he took out the statuette and they bought, with a dejected Dawn and Buffy watching: they still hadn't found anything.

"I've got it!" Buffy suddenly exclaimed with a smile. "Say, you don't have a statuette of a naked woman or man, or them making love do you?" she asked, slightly embarrassed.

"No," the clerk answered, "But they have them across the street."

"Now, I still don't have present," Dawn said in sadness.

"You chip in, and we'll give the present together," Buffy suggested.

"Ok," Dawn agreed, a smile back on her face.

"Well," Giles said, joining back up with them, and lifting two bags with the store logo on it a little higher. "It was a lot easier getting something for Xander, let me tell you. Have you found anything yet?"

"Yep," Willow answered, showing the bag.

"Ours we can find across the street," Dawn told Giles.


"We've reached the bathing suit section," Xander announced. They had bought several ensembles of clothing in the shop they were in before this one, and had already had the clerk set aside a few more here they would buy.

Faith picked a lovely bikini, studied it, and doing so turned it around. She grinned and said, "Hey, guys, look at this." Xander and Anya looked around and saw the g-string bikini bottom.

"Ooh!" Anya called out, ran over to the rack with more g-string bottoms and said, "I've got to have me one of those. You know, Faith, guys would love you in that!"

"I know I would," Xander teased. He got an elbow in his ribs from Faith for his trouble. "What was that for?"

"Men," Faith commented to Anya who was busy going through the different g-string bathing suits.

"I like 'em just the way they are," Anya said, holding one bikini in front of her to check if it looked good. Faith smiled, and turned to Xander when he talked.

"If you want to buy one like that, better get one that'll cover your butt as well, in some places you could be arrested or at least removed for indecent exposure. If you have something else to put on, they might just give you a warning and make you put the other on," Xander told Faith as he started looking through the bathing suits himself. If he could find something he and Anya liked, both of them would be happy.

"You're not serious, isn't this standard these days?" Faith asked, astonished. She wasn't into legal mumbo jumbo, and this just seemed ridiculous to her.

"Yeah, tell me about it," Anya commented with some exasperation. "You know, in Europe you can go topless, and plenty women do over there. I've suggested to Xander we should go on vacation there, but we haven't yet decided to go."

"I love topless," Xander grinned and placed a favorite bikini bottom minus the top in front of Anya to test if it looked as good as he imagined. Anya smiled and pulled the top in front of her as well to check out the complete set.

"Men," Faith said again, and then added with an afterthought, "And you like 'em this way." Anya nodded grinning, checking out Xander's second suggestion after he purposefully but the first away as a big no, no.

"Well, this is new," Faith commented, picking out a one piece bathing suit, with a 'decent' bottom she liked. "A heterosexual man giving a woman clothing advice."

"Hey," Xander exclaimed insulted. "We straight guys may not know everyday fashion, but we know bathing suits. When it comes to bathing suits for women, straight guys have the keenest fashion sense."

"He never steered me wrong," Anya said with a grin, as she went to fit the one Xander had silently suggested she should try.

"Of course, I should have known," Faith said, and went to try out her one-piece bathing suit and bikini, both 'decent'.


The five of them looked at the different statuettes of naked people. From mini-replicas of ancient Greek and Roman classics, to just as beautiful and possibly more so modern sculptures. Buffy stopped at one that her gaze was drawn to. The female clerk waited dutifully close by. The sculpture was beautiful, a man was sitting on a chair, with a woman straddling him, her head and upper bart of her back was arched backward in ecstasy while he kissed her on the upper part of her breasts, his hands were holding her hips tightly, her long hair hung down, almost touching her buttocks. For a moment Buffy felt like Dawn away, but then it passed, no genitalia were visible, she had breasts of her own and a naked chest could be seen anywhere.

"That's beautiful," Tara said in awe. "That's not pornographic, that's downright art."

"All of the works here on this wall are hand sculpted. Nothing mass produced in a factory," the woman explained patiently, then indicated one on a higher shelf than Buffy was looking at. "Although this one the sculptor sold to a company allowing them to be mass produced, so you might see more of them, but there are only five real marble ones. The ones from the factory will be from some more pliable material."

"What do you think, Dawn?" Buffy asked looking up at her younger sister. Dawn nodded, a gleam in her eyes.

"This was an engagement present right?" the woman asked, thoughtfully.

"Yeah," Buffy answered.

Tara added, "We moved her stuff into his apartment last evening."

The woman raised an index finger and said, "Then I've got something that might interest you more. It's got something extra." And the woman walked away, expecting the gang to follow her. They did, wondering what the woman meant with 'something extra'. To their surprise they went into a more high tech section of the store, and soon reached a section with CD and DVD stacks.

The woman stopped and pointed, "From the same sculptor, in conjunction with a friend of his who's a wood craftsman." She squinted her eyes, and then said, nodding, "And I think the same models, has a little practical use as well." The gang looked, there it stood a beautiful wooden DVD and/or CD stack for 10 of them, which looked like a cupboard with the couple using it for support, the man with his back against it, lowered, his legs making a low angle with the ground, muscles tight, so the woman could use them for support, she rode him there, back arched pressing her breasts forward to the face she held tightly in loving ecstasy, her head hung back just like the former statuette, hair hanging down again, her legs war crossed beneath the man's legs, thus locking him in between her legs. It was made of grey stone, certain features of the couple, which couldn't be done with sculpting, like a flushed chest and face of exertion were light brushed unto the grey stone in pink. "It is quite expensive."

"No problem," Dawn said with a confident grin, "We're paying for it together and I'm blowing two months allowance on this."

"You're not getting more allowance," Buffy answered the lightly veiled request.

"Why not?" Dawn whined.

"Because I say so," Buffy answered, not willing to go into any detail in front of the store employee. Then to the woman, "So how much is it."

"420 dollars," she said. Dawn gasped, and Buffy audibly swallowed.

"So?" she said. "Any cheap factory knock-offs?"

The woman smiled and started to turn away, pointing toward another part of the store, "Not with the media stack, it's unique."

Tara sucked in some air in disappointment, it was so beautiful, then she got an idea and she turned to Willow and saw she had the same idea. "Wait a minute, our gift was pretty cheap," Willow said. "How much is your budget?"

Buffy looked at her best friend in surprise and said, "A hundred and thirty, plus Dawn's is . . ."

"A hundred ten," Dawn supplied with some hope in her voice.

" . . . makes two hundred forty, leaves a hundred and eighty," Giles completed the calculation for the gang.

Willow frowned and started calculating, and felt sadness get to her."I still had sixty of my budget for Xander's gift left, that leaves a hundred and twenty, Tara still had forty left that makes eighty dollars short."

"I'll pay that," Giles stated confidentially. The girls looked up at him surprised.

"You don't have . . ." Buffy started to protest, but was cut of by Giles with a gesture.

"He just saved our butts, I believe that means he deserves something extra," Giles stated resolutely.

With an amazed quality to her voice, Buffy said, "We'll take it." The woman smiled and took the statuette slash CD and DVD stack and took it to the cash register.

Several minutes later the group stood outside with Buffy holding a gift-wrapped statuette delicately. "All right," Buffy said, determined. "Now we go back to Angel's and place this somewhere where a bumpy car ride can't harm it. We'll wait for Angel to return. We can go shopping for clothes after lunch, for those of you who have money left."


The two bathing suits fit and so Faith had made her selection. She saw Anya coming out of her fitting room with a happy smile, and placing all but one of the bathing suits back on the rack. Xander was smiling as well.

"Done?" Xander asked Faith relatedly.

"Yeah," Faith answered. When they were about to go pay for their clothes, Faith reluctantly looked at the less decent bathing suits; they were more her style, but could she risk getting arrested for that if she was on parole? With all the good things happening to her, Faith was starting to want to be out of jail again, and Xander's confidence in her release was rubbing off. Subconsciously she gave Xander a puppy-dog-eyed face and pleaded, "Could I . . .?" Xander nodded his go ahead, and ten minutes later Faith had added a one piece thong bathing suite and a g-string bikini to her choices, grinning in amusement. "Now I'm ready."

Once Xander paid for Faith's closes, and Anya paid for hers, she insisted, they went outside the store and Xander stated, "We can go to police now, or go see if Angel is back and give him a quick hello first." He looked at Faith, letting her make the decision.

"Angel first," Faith said.


Angel ran toward the door of his hotel with every little bit he had. The coat he was holding above himself to keep the sun off him would not keep him from bursting into flames forever. Smoke was already coiling up from his body. *Damn!* he cursed. Why did they have to go through the portal with the top down! Why did he forget back there he wouldn't survive in the sun over here! He cursed himself several more times before he reached his door and reached for the handle. "Bloody damnable shit!" he cursed himself, he had actually reverted to some of his roots, as he began sizzling. The door should still be locked! And the keys were in his coat, the coat he couldn't move or he'd burst into flames. Just as he was about to start shouting for his friends, hoping they were right behind him, the handle slid down nicely and the door swung open. In that first moment relief flooded him, then concern. Who had opened the door?! Simple burglar's? Wolfram & Hart!? Somebody who he'd given a key!? That thought flooded him with dread and scenarios he really didn't want to have crawling through his mind. *Please,* he pleaded, *Let us just have forgotten to lock up, or just some burglars!*

Angel slammed the door closed behind him took several more steps until he was in the shade and he stopped smoking. Only then he lowered his coat down and looked. There was the group that fondly called themselves the scooby gang and they were looking at him in surprise, apparently they had expected him to make a neater entrance, preferably via the sewers. He barely glanced across the group, terror gripped his heart: where was . . . "Buffy!" he exclaimed softly. He heard someone bound down the stairs and then a familiar voice calling.

"Angel! This is some place you've got here!" He looked at the stairs. Yes! It was Buffy! Relief like he never felt before flooded him and he released a useless breath he hadn't been aware of he was holding.

"Yeah, it's nice and roomy," Dawn commented from the other side of the room and she laughed slightly at her own pun. The rest of the gang didn't come further than a smile. Angel didn't know where to look, the entire gang seemed to be here, so he turned his head from talker to talker.

"Definitely," Buffy continued Dawn's train of thought. "You're in luck Xander still has some pressing business, or Anya would have persuaded him to try out every bed in here."

"And I'm still angry about that by the way," Anya commented from somewhere.

Buffy reached the bottom of the stairs, which made Xander come into view. He was leisurely leaning against the pillar at the bottom of the stairs, arms gently across his chest and he gave Angel a cool, measuring look. He gave a salute and said gently, "Dead Boy, how've you been?" Ok, how many things were wrong with that picture. *About a billion,* Angel answered himself.

*Stay cool, Angel. Think of the image and reputation,* Angel thought to himself. "Eh . . ." he cringed inwardly, "The usual, saving a life, having a pint of cow's blood." *Oh, god! I can't believe I punned those stupid commercials,* Angel thought.

*Oh, god, I can't believe he punned those commercials!* Xander thought, snorting almost unperceptibly.

"I must say, you have done quite well for yourself," Giles commented with his classical British stiff upper lip, looking another time around the lobby.

"Thanks," Angel said a little dumbfounded. Had he forgotten a birthday? And he knew all but one of the smells that his vampire nose detected, but one of them felt like it didn't belong, or shouldn't be here. He just couldn't pinpoint it yet. At that moment, Gunn, Cordelia, Wesley, Lorne and the freshly liberated Winifred, aka Fred, walked into the lobby.

"Whoa!" Gunn exclaimed surprised. Wesley became decidedly uncomfortable, there were the people that had been part of his great fiasco. Fred shied away behind Angel, grabbing one of his sleeves for support.

"I didn't know there would be a homecoming party. You're popular, Angel," Lorne commented smoothly.

"Don't worry, Fred. They're friends," Angel said gently, and nudged her back out in the open. She fearfully stepped next to him, still holding to a sleeve.

"Well," Tara said shyly, and walked forward, it took every bit of courage she had. She stuck out her hand, while stroking some stray hairs behind her ear with her other hand, and Angel took it, "I'm Tara, Willow's girlfriend, you must be the vampire with a soul."

"Angel," he introduced himself. Tara went over to Fred and gently extended her hand. "I'm Tara."

Fred took the hand with a shaking one of her own, and sputtered, "F . . . F . . . Fred."

Cordelia stepped forward and grasped Tara's hand. "I'm Cordelia. It's nice to finally meet you. Willow talks about you a lot in our e-mails."

Tara blushed and said, "Thanks." Then she went over to Gunn and introduced herself there, did the same with Wesley, and finally introduced herself to Lorne, completing a circle and standing in front again. "Tara," she said, starting to shake his, but he held hers gently in between both of his hands.

"Lorne, and I must say, the redhead witch chose very well indeed. I'm blessed for having looked at you, sunshine." Tara didn't know what to do as she blushed all over, and nervously looked over to Willow for support. Willow just smiled at her girlfriend.

When Lorne was done with his usually smooth operating procedure, Wesley said, "I hate to interrupt this lovely introduction round but why exactly are you here, it's not another end of the world thing, is it?" Now Angel recognized the 'wrong' smell, for what, or more accurately for who it was, and his eyes widened.

Faith got up from the chair she'd been sitting on. She had been obscured by view, by Willow on the table, who Faith was exactly behind. "Take a wild guess, Wes. It's me of course, bad slayer Faith, who else?" Faith answered, with a grin Then she softened just a little, "I apologize . . . <again> . . . for torturing you."

"Torturing . . .?" Fred murmured in fear and tried to cower back behind Angel. At the same time Wesley reached for the axe underneath his coat and jumped forward with such speed, nobody, not even Angel had time to react . . . except Xander.

"Uh, uh!" he exclaimed, something in his tone of voice stopped Wesley cold. He looked to the guy he never saw more in than a joker, and he held up a warning finger, his eyes relaxedly closed, the rest of his body stance unchanged. He opened his eyes and trained a clear gaze on Wesley, smirked and said, "Now that wouldn't be a good idea. Faith is one of the good guys now. She escaped from prison only to help save the world she saw ending in some prophetic dreams, and since we're all here you can see she did very good. She's on her way back to the cops to turn herself back in."

Faith walked closer to Wesley and looked into his eyes, pain etched in hers, "Sorry, Ok?" She walked over to Angel, brushing by Tara and hugged him then pulled back quickly, slightly embarrassed and said, "You haven't been by in the past few weeks, you haven't slipped back into your 'who cares about friends'-place have you?"

Angel shook his head and said, "Stuck in another dimension with the rest of them."

"So you picked up the alley cat over there, huh?" Faith commented with her usual lack of tact.

"Yeah, she got sucked in there five years ago," Angel answered as Faith moved over to Fred.

"Hi, I'm Faith. Previously evil, bad-girl, good slayer," Faith said, placing herself in front the new girl and sticking out her hand, without trying to move gently or non-threatening at all.

"Faith," Angel admonished.

"Hey," Faith said harshly. "If she can shake my hand now, she can shake anyone's hand. Consider it a face your fears thingy."

Angel looked at Fred who squeaked up at him, "Evil? Torture?"

Angel smiled gently and said, "Go ahead, she won't harm you."

Fred slowly pushed her hand forward. Faster than she could react, Faith grabbed it and shook it, then after a pointed look at Xander she moved over to Lorne.

Xander understood, she wanted to go, there were too many people for Faith's liking. As Faith made her introduction to Lorne, he walked over to Fred and pulled the frightened girl's hand to his lips and gently kissed the back of her hand, he grinned at her and said, "I'm Xander. You're very beautiful."

"I'm still angry here," Anya commented with an edge to her voice, as Cordelia, Angel and Wesley looked with mild shock to Xander's uncharacteristic behaviour.

"Second only to my fiance," Xander added, and looked back at Anya giving her a smile she returned immediately.

Faith had reached Gunn by now, and as Xander was about to go to Lorne, Angel stopped him by grabbing his hand and said, "Congratulations."

"Thanks," he answered and he turned to Lorne. "Xander. Your name sounds familiar, but I don't think I've heard of you before."

"Congratulations, seems like a great girl from here," Lorne answered Xander's greet.

"Sure, you have," Willow piped up, "the karaoke-demon who reads people when they sing?"

Xander looked surprised at Lorne, as he commented, "Great, now I'm reduced to a 'karaoke-demon'." Which earned him a few laughs, and an apology from Willow.

Then Xander grinned and whispered, "I'll keep your secret."

"What secret!?" Lorne exclaimed in surprise. Xander just smiled and turned toward Gunn.

The black-skinned man grabbed Xander's outstretched hand and said, "You must be Xander Harris. I'm Gunn. Congrats with the engagement."

"Littica. Xander Littica, still gotta go get the name changed." Xander then turned towards the door that Faith had already gone through and placed a stylish pair of sunglasses he'd gotten that morning on his nose, even while the three who already knew him looked like he had sprouted antennae. "Wesley. Cordy," Xander nodded to them.

"Congrats, Xand," Cordelia said, with some surprise in her voice.

"Same here," Wesley said, shock in his.

"Hold on a moment, I'm going with you two," Giles called as he walked forward to make his own introductions.

Xander opened door and said, "Hurry up, then." Then as an after thought he looked at Buffy's side of the gang and told them, "Oh, and you can fight over who gets to explain and tell the story, because I'm not telling the whole thing a second time in two days." Then Xander stepped outside, and smiled at the lovely almost summer day.


"Hi," Faith greeted the cop behind the counter, Xander and Giles were standing behind her in encouragement. "I'm here to turn myself in." The department was quite large, tiled in gleaming grey, and the upper half of the walls were white, the lower half had wood on it. The counter was also made of wood.

"Name and offense," the man stated bored.

"Faith Williams. Jailbreak, and break in and borrow," she answered, trying to sound totally cool. The man's head shot up wide-eyed in surprise.

After a moment his look became dark and dangerous and he picked up the intercom, "I've got Faith Williams here, she's turning herself in."

A moment later Faith had several armed cops around her and one of them handcuffed her, with cuffs she could break easily. "Is this really necessary?" Xander asked with a frown.

"Yes," one of the cops said. Faith was pulled along and placed in a holding cell, as they dragged her along, she looked back and flashed Xander and Giles a smile that tried to be cool and friendly but failed totally.

Giles and Xander followed her with their gazes and once she was out of sight moved to the counter and asked, "So when will her trial date be set."

The cop said, "Hold on, I still have to transmit to the courts, we've got one for 'em." He started tapping the keyboard of his computer, tapped some more, and some more, and then said. "Should be scheduled in fifteen minutes."

"And she gets a lawyer, right?" Giles asked this time.

"He should be here in twenty," the cop answered dutifully.

"Can we stay with her for that time?" Xander asked, smiling friendly at the man.

"All right," he said, and sent them to a different place.

A few minutes later they were led into a holding cell. It was white and it contained a table, for a defendant and her lawyer to have some room to talk. Faith sat on one stool and they took two stools as well. Faith smiled weakly at them. She was still wearing the cuffs, but now she was also chained via her ankle to the wall.

"Let's see, if you still remember the stuff you have to tell the lawyer that they will send over in a short while, Faith," Xander started, giving her a smile.

Faith smiled and asked, "Are you certain those lawyers of yours can get me out of jail?"

"Nothing is certain, Faith. But I'm pretty damn certain, and when I'm pretty damn certain, that says a lot," Xander answered her smiling.

Faith felt embarrassed and weak as it happened, but she couldn't keep the tears from flowing out of her eyes, "When I went in there last year, I wanted to, because I deserved it, needed it . . . I don't care how much I deserve it still, Xander. I don't want to go back in there."

"You don't deserve it," Xander said. He stepped forward and held her gently, letting her sob. He and Giles went over with her what she had to tell the lawyer, gently as she slowly regained her composure.

Then a cop came into the room and he relayed emotionless, looking darkly at Faith, "Your trial date will be set this afternoon at three thirty, in court room 5. Just so you know." The cop turned around and walked away.

"Why are they all so angry?" Faith asked confused.

"You humiliated them twice over," Giles explained simply.

"We'll be there this afternoon, but I've got to get my name changed, and then have lunch, ok?" Xander explained, smiling at the dark-haired girl.

"Ok," Faith said, then she and Giles greeted each other and the two left.


"How may I help you, sir?" the girl behind the plexiglass asked.

"I'm here to change my name," Xander said, smiling back at her.

"Ok, do you have an ID on you?" she asked smiling politely. Xander gave her his driver's license. "Thank you, sir. Please fill out this form." Xander did and the girl returned his driver's license as he returned the form. "Xander Littica? That's an odd name," the girl commented.

"I'm an odd guy," Xander told her with a grin. The girl smiled and placed the form into a machine that started printing things out on it. Once done, a slip was ripped off it. "That will be five hundred dollars, sir," the girl told him. Xander took five hundred dollars from his wallet, glad he had checked the price on before hand, and had come prepared. He placed it under the small opening, and the girl took the money and gave him his receipt. "In about two weeks you'll get a notification you can pick up your new ID, driver's license, etc. Then you'll have to notify your bank, your employer, basically everybody who needs your name that your name has changed. You'll get new passes and stuff from them after that, very good change you'll have to pay them for making change as well. Here's a brochure that tells you who you'll have to notify. Have a nice day, sir."

"Thank you," Xander said and went back to Giles.


Faith stood off to the side of the court room, along with several other defendants. The court room was filled with people and she watched with disinterest as the judge decided the court date, court room and presiding judge for one defendant after another. In regular intervals she looked at the door, she had already seen enough people, friends, family or enemies of a defendant come in here, but not hers. *What did you expect!? They'd help a worthless piece of ass like you,* a tiny hateful voice told her in her head. *That they're suddenly nice and sweet!? They just played nice long enough to dump you off here!?* Faith shook her head angrily trying to rid herself of her self doubt.

The door opened and Xander and the gang walked in. The judge didn't even look up, apparently used to people walk in when the time came near people they knew were going to be up. Xander looked at her instantly and flashed her a smile, before pointing to the back benches and going to a more forward bench himself as the gang got seated where he pointed. She looked and was astonished, only Lorne, Angel and Fred weren't here, for obvious reasons. Of course from the looks of some, they didn't all come here to see her be set free, but still.

She walked forward when her name was called, and saw the lawyer she had met this afternoon come to the front standing next to her.

"Faith Williams escapee, stole a battle ready sword, imprisoned for several accounts of violence, abuse and murder," the judge made a quick recap of the file in front of him. "A three-state manhunt before you turned yourself in, Ms. Williams. You've cost the government quite a lot of money. I don't think you can blame the DA for wanting this over quickly do you?"

"No, your honor," Faith answered nervously.

The judge turned to the lawyer and asked, "Got a problem with it if I start this one first thing in the morning?"

"Yes, your honor. I'm her lawyer just for this session, her lawyers aren't arriving until at least tonight, if they've got bad luck not until tomorrow morning," the man answered the judge. The judge looked at him dumbfounded. The lawyer elaborated, "They're from Boston, sir."

"Can you please tell me, why lawyers are coming all the way from Boston, Mr. Denisof?" the judge asked harshly. The lawyer didn't quite know how to explain that, he had heard some stuff from Faith, but where to begin.

Xander stood up and said, "I can explain that, your honor?"

"And who the hell are you, Mister?" the judge exclaimed.

"A friend of Faith, your honor. I'm Xander Littica . . . well, Alexander Lavelle Harris officially, the name change is still going through the system. I'm the one who hired the lawyers," Xander said, cringing at his old name that pretty much meant 'Dipshit' in his own language, and slightly embarrassed he had to mention it.

The judge massaged his forehead in frustration and then beckoned Xander forward with two fingers. Xander shimmied out of the bench and walked passed the little wooden swinging gates. Passing Faith he whispered, "Sorry about cutting it so close; women and shopping." Faith couldn't help but grin, and watched as Xander went to stand in front of him. The judge kept beckoning so Xander stepped forward all the way to the bench. The judge held his hand on the mike and asked in a low voice, "Why in hell did you hire lawyers from Boston?"

"Them specifically because they've litigated a case in California before where they had the entire system against them, a guy was wrongly convicted years before, I thought it best to get people who knew how things go around here," Xander started, and saw the judge getting a little annoyed. Xander smiled and continued, "I chose people far away from here because there is a law firm in town. You should know it, one of the biggest: Wolfram & Hart. This law firm has a rather big grudge against my friends, Faith included. She failed to finish something they hired her for. Wolfram & Hart; they bribe, steal, murder, maim, and have corrupted men everywhere in this town, and I don't trust any lawyer that they could have gotten to. Having a potential corrupt judge and DA is more than enough, I wanted to level the playing field just a little. If you'll look over there, you'll see the vultures are already here."

The judge looked and saw a well-dressed black man and Caucasian woman sitting in the crowd. He remembered Lilah deMorgan she defended someone in his court once, and that was woman heard to forget, beautiful as well as cold blooded. He nodded, he had heard rumors about Wolfram & Hart. "You're in luck," he told Xander. And the judge thought to himself, *You've got someone who was not corrupted as judge.*  "All right then," the judge started, removing his hand from the mike so he was addressing the room again. "Three days should be enough. We'll start this Friday, the fifteenth of June, court room 11, and I will be the judge presiding." Xander looked at him in surprise. "Ok, with you Mr. Schwartz?" the judge asked the DA.

"Yes, your honor," the DA answered.

"Goo . . ." the judge started, but was interrupted by Xander who raised his finger.

"One little thing," Xander said to the judge. "Would it be allowed for Faith to stay with me and my fiance until after the trial?"

The judge's eyes grew wide with disbelief, and said, "I'd like to here this one."

"Your honor," Xander started, looking up at the man with the smirk he always faced a challenge with. "Faith doesn't belong in a prison, there are lots of pieces of evidence and testimonials that have never been heard before. Mine, and some of my and her friends have never been on the witness stand the last time; it is because Faith didn't think she deserved to be anywhere else but in prison, so she just said she was guilty and never gave her lawyer anything to work with. This time that's going to be different."

"Mister," the judge offered. "She's been convicted for her crimes before, this trial will only go over the jail break and the burglary and nothing more."

"Your honor, that's not possible," Xander answered, unperturbed by the murmurings behind him he continued and they silenced quickly. "The reasons for her jailbreak and burglary now are so intrinsically linked together with her crimes before, they will come up, whether you like it or not. Even if you let the previous sentence stand, it will automatically be judged by the jury in this case. Besides, I believe if there is new evidence, one can get a reopening of the case, and I know, that I and none of my friends have been on the witness stand, that's a lot of new evidence. Consider it a delayed appeal, so I would appreciate it, if Faith here has the opportunity to look a little presentable, not like she just came through a sludge pool. And second, Faith isn't like she was two years anymore. I can guarantee you, she will not flee. She will be here when the trial starts. I guarantee you, that even if she gets the jitters and tries, she won't be able to leave. We <will> all be here on Friday."

Xander saw the judge hesitate, he smirked up at him and said, "<Trust> <me>."

The judge was hesitating and then looked into the Xander's face. And he smirked up at him, with an intense gaze. What was it about that face and smirk? The judge knew he could trust the guy seemingly instinctively. He felt willing to trust him with his life. That smirk, something called to him, to his deepest being, this man was completely trustworthy, he just knew it. "Agreed," the judge said. A sigh of shock went through the entire room. Even the young man in front of him looked surprised for an instant, and then his smirk deepened. The next part he added solely for the ease of the public's mind and the DA. "But, she'll wear and ankle bracelet the whole time. She so much as moves a pinky outside the area in which she's confined, I'll throw her back in jail, got that?"

"Your honor!" the DA started in out rage, but the judge silenced him with a gesture when he noticed the man had something to add.

"A tiny request, could that area contain Sunnydale and LA and not just my apartment," Xander said, giving the judge a sad and annoyed look. "Else when we come to LA for the trial we'll get a 50 police car escort, and I don't think that's very productive."

After thinking over the request for a short while, the judge answered him, "Very well."

"Your honor, with all due respect, she's a convicted murderer who escaped from prison," the DA started planning to say a lot more, but the judge interrupted him sternly.

"<Yes>, and that's what concerns me," the judge said powerfully. "Here's a seventeen-year-old girl, who escaped from prison. The first time you didn't even know she committed some of the crimes until she turned herself in. Now all of you, police departments of three states, and the FBI couldn't apprehend her, the only reason she's here, is because she turned herself in again. Ms. Williams, first time you turned yourself in who were with you last, your friends I'm releasing you to perhaps?"

"Yes, sir, not all of 'em, but yes," Faith answered a little startled the judge asked her something.

"And this time?" the judge asked.

"All of them, your honor," Faith answered nervously.

The judge turned back to the DA and said, "I don't know about you, Mr. Schwartz, but it seems her friends are a lot better equipped to handle this girl than the justice department. Will you agree with me?"

The DA was extremely embarrassed, disagreeing would call more attention to the police's and FBI's fiasco, and leaving him only one choice, "Yes, your honor."

"I thought so. Next!" the judge said and tapped with his hammer.

The temporary lawyer turned to Faith, shook her hand said, "Good luck, miss Williams." Then he walked toward the exit of the room. Xander grinned and pulled a lightly surprised Faith along.

Once they were outside with the rest of the group, most of whom congratulated Faith and Xander on this minor victory, two people had to come and spoil their good time. "Congratulations Faith," Lilah's silky smooth voice said, sticking out a hand. When Faith didn't take it, she retracted it as best as she could without losing face, but failed. "We would like you to know that our services are always there for you to use, free of charge."

"That's strange Lilah, I didn't see much of them last time," Faith returned with a cold tone.

"I'm Gavin Park, and that was an unfortunate oversight by a former colleague of ours. I'm here to rectify that," Gavin said, slick as oil.

Gunn jumped forward, got into the black man's face and hissed, "If there weren't so many witnesses around to testify in your lawsuit, I'd cock you one in the nose."

"Come on, Gunn," Wesley said. "They're not worth it."

The scooby gang started to walk toward the exit, when Lilah called after them, sounding concerned, but whether she really was, was anyone's guess, "Faith, think about it. It's not a good idea to decline our generous offer."

Xander turned around and told them from afar, "They only way you'll get to represent Faith, is over my dead body."

"That could be arranged, Mr. Harris," Gavin nudged subtly.

Xander turned around again and start walking to Gavin and Lilah. The group looked after him, not knowing what he'd do. Lilah looked at him, she was expecting running, anger, threats mostly empty, but this Harris, or Littica guy just walked at them, slowly and deliberately. With each step he took, the temperature seemed to drop, and chills of fear started running down her spine. Instinct told her this guy was different then Angel and his pals, this guy might just make good on anything he told them he'd do. Xander reached the two, bend forward lightly so his face was closer to Gavin's and said, with an ice cold, yet neutral voice, as if he was relaying some boring facts, "Trust me, it can't." Then he straightened up, and looked at her, and he said, with a silky smooth voice that sent the impulse to run away as fast as she could through Lilah's brain, "Don't worry, Lilah. I'm not going to hurt you two . . . yet." Then he turned around and walked as calmly back to his group of friends as that he came here.

"We'll have to report this . . . development," Gavin said, with a tiny hint of concern.

When the group of demon hunting friends came outside the courthouse, a horde of reporters attacked them, all trying to get a quote from Faith. Wesley said immediately, "Don't answer anything, just get to the cars."

Episode 11 Faith's Trial

Opening Statements

Xander Super Saiyan Level 2 Theme: Glenn Campbell - The Four Horsemen Author's Notes on music: Why this song? The Lyrics have got nothing to do with it, it's the music, I wish there was an acoustic version somewhere, but alas. Just think away the lyrics and you'll find the gentle almost ethereal music fits Xander's Super Saiyan 2 pretty damn good.

Xander and Cordelia were sitting on a terrace enjoying the sun. Cordelia had asked Xander to talk with her privately, so they had come here.

"So you're not from this planet huh?" Cordelia asked with a nervous smile, and soft enough nobody could overhear.

Xander saw a delaying tactic anywhere, but he didn't say anything about it, "Yes."

"When Oz and me found you and Willow, were you already able to do all these things. Sense energy?" Cordelia asked, some pain was in her eyes.

Xander cringed, and felt guilty again, answering her, "Yes, most of them. Sensing energy was one of them."

"So when you kissed Willow, you must have known we were coming?" Cordelia said with a slight hint of accusation.

"Yes," Xander answered weakly, quickly taking a sip from his cola.

"So why did you do it?" Cordelia asked, pain edged in her face.

Xander looked down guiltily. Cordelia couldn't get over how different Xander seemed from when she knew him before, yet at moments like these, how much the old Xander was still in there. Xander now seemed like an amalgam of two different persons. Xander looked up, steeling himself and he said, "Because I knew Willow and Oz would overcome a little kiss, and I didn't have the heart to break up with you normally."

"But what was with all the flowers and the phone calls afterwards?" Cordelia asked confused.

Xander answered her, gently, "I had to break up with you I know that, but I couldn't, I didn't want to lose you, I loved you too much for that. So then came the opportunity, Willow was into me anyhow, so she'd get it out of her system as well, I did have a small crush on her too, and then for a moment I let my intellect dictate my actions. Later emotionally though, I wanted you back all the same."

"But why did you have to break up with me?" Cordelia started, then suddenly she knew. "Wait, I know, because sooner or later I would have found out your secret, wouldn't I? And unlike Anya, I wouldn't have been able to handle it, right? Queen C almighty, would never have been able to take that her boyfriend was really ten times cooler, stronger, faster, and smarter then her, and didn't use to be popular, but stay the looser everyone thought he was. And then what would I have done? Am I right?" Xander nodded lightly. "I was such a bitch back then," she commented.

Xander grinned and said, "True. Ok, now that the pleasantries are exchanged, what did you really ask me here for?" Cordelia looked down, but before she did, he still saw the sudden pain flash across her face. "What is it, Cordy?"

Cordelia slowly looked up and said softly, "I'm dying." Xander looked at her stunned. "I'm pretty damn sure it's the visions. They hurt like hell, and they're getting worse. When my head started hurting even when I didn't get visions, I went to see the doctors. My brain is dying, cell by cell. Every time I get a vision, a few more die off. The doctors don't know how it happens, and certainly don't know how to treat it, they've given me some general medication and painkillers, but apart from the painkillers, they barely help. I've been to a few mystical healers but they don't have an answer either. Since you're from outer space, I was hoping you'd have medical technology the Earth doesn't have."

"Yeah, I have more medical technology," Xander said, looking in her face sadly, hating he'd had to crush that beautiful, hopeful, happy face. "But they're developed for Saiyans, it could kill you."

Cordelia's hopeful face disappeared, and she said dejectedly, "Don't tell Angel and the others, I haven't told them, and I plan on keeping it that way. I'll perform my function until I die. It isn't like I have any . . ."

"I'm not going to let you die," Xander interrupted her. She looked up and saw a determined look in his eyes. "There are a few options. I've started studying human physiology recently, too many close calls, so I can modify our medical technology to work on humans as well. It's just jumped a few levels in priority. Second, since it seems your mind isn't strong enough to handle those visions, we're going to train it to become stronger. I'm somewhat telepathic, obviously you too, at the latest you got it with the visions, so if we learn to find each other's minds always, I wouldn't even need to leave Sunnydale or you LA to train, we can just do it telepathically."

"You can train my mind?" Cordelia blurted out astonished, cutting off Xander.

Xander nodded and said, "Which reminds me." He pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number. "Xander Littica here, I placed that order with you remember? . . .That one yes, double it, I'll be needing the second batch about a week, to two weeks from now at Hyperion hotel here in LA . . . Yes, I know I'm going to be out of money; just do it. . . . All right, good bye."

"What was that about?" Cordelia asked a little perturbed.

Xander grinned and said, "Parts for a gravity gym. Increase g forces, improve training dramatically. That's where you'll train most of the time, once I'm done building the one at Buffy's house, one of the Hyperion's rooms is going to be transformed into one. I'll teach you how to fight and use your chi as well."

"You certain? I'm not exactly a good fighter," Cordelia started uncertain herself.

"You can't have a strong mind without having a strong body. We're going to focus mostly on your mind, but your body is going to have to get stronger as well," Xander said, grinning at her. Cordelia was a little startled when he saw Xander's look darken, and he said, "Then there's option number three, me and the gang are going to be looking for who it exactly is that's sending you these visions, and when we find 'em, I'll kill 'em. No more visions, won't make you better, but it'll make sure as hell you won't get any worse."

Cordelia looked at him shocked, "Xander, they're the good guys."

"No, Cordy. They're all the bad guys," Xander said darkly. "Why did they send you visions that kill you, huh? The slayers' prophetic dreams don't kill them, the visions countless others are having, not in the least of which is a witch over in San Francisco, aren't killing them, so why would they, The Powers That Be, so-called defenders of good and of humanity send you a type of vision that will kill a human. They shouldn't be using a vision that kills humans at all."

"There is probably a good reason for that," Cordelia answered, unsure of what it could be.

"That mortals don't understand?" Xander asked, and snorted. "I understand the reason perfectly, it's simple, they're a bunch of evil bastards who don't give a damn about your life. As long as you provide them with some good entertainment you'll be in their favor. 'Ooh, let's see what lovely Cordelia does if we kill her with visions piece by piece, that would be fun.' They wanted Buffy dead Cordelia. One of the bitches came down to Earth to kill her, and all her friends because we defied her will and saved Buffy's life. She was supposed to jump off a tower to her death. You call that good? Wanting one of the greatest champions of good to die?"

"No," Cordelia answered disappointed in who she thought were humanity's protectors.

"They're evil, Cordy, and me and the rest of the Scooby Gang have decided to bring 'em down, all of them," Xander told her with an intense gaze. Cordy nodded in agreement, she had been angry before about her predicament, but this was something else, this was something new. Before she had blindly accepted that this had to be for the best, now though, as she heard Xander tell the truth, and she instinctively knew it for true she went beyond anger, and a cold hatred started to blossom. "I'm going to make them pay for what they've done," Xander said with an angry voice. "Cordelia, please rethink about keeping this a secret. If they don't know what's going on they can't help you either, even if it's as little as buying new medicine when you forgot to bring any and you're having some kind of seizure or something."

Cordelia nodded slowly and said, "Ok, I promise. I will think it over."

"Good." Xander looked at his watch and commented, "Time to go, I think Anya is getting impatient for the engagement party." Cordelia grinned.

As they got up, leaving a few bucks to pay for their drinks, Xander's phone rang and he picked up, "Xander Littica here, formerly Harris. Ah, good . . . Do we need to come pick you up? . . . Ok, we're in Sunnydale . . . Faith too . . . No, courtesy of a just judge; you gotta love 'em . . . All right, see you tomorrow."

"Who was that?" Cordelia asked as they walked toward the Hyperion.

Xander answered with a smile, "Faith's lawyers, their plane arrives at around eight in the morning."


"Great place, Xander," Angel commented, looking around Xander's apartment.

"Yeah," Cordelia commented, doing the same. Anya smiled with contentment as she opened the bag of chips they bought this afternoon especially for this occasion and emptied it into a bowl.

"Well, it's great if you're into this sort of thing," Gunn commented disinterested, grabbing some chips and stuffing them into his mouth, as Anya opened another bag.

As Xander walked in with some chairs, and the neighbours he borrowed them from, who carried some as well, Cordelia answered him sarcastically, "If you're into a nice clean apartment with a nice hygienic bathroom and toilet, and a nice kitchen to cook food in."

"Exactly," Gunn answered smiling, as Anya came back from the kitchen with her arms filled with glasses.

The bell rang and Xander went to open the door. "Bugger, Xander," Spike commented angrily, his cigarette wobbling in his mouth. "You could have called sooner you were running late you know, I walked over here for nothing an hour ago." Xander shrugged. Spike pushed a present in Xander's hands and used his now free hand to remove the cigarette from his mouth. "Here, hope you like it," Spike commented with a tone that said he couldn't care less.

"No smoking," Xander told him in a no uncertain tone, as Spike passed him by.

"What!?" Spike said, surprised.

Xander nodded his head slowly, saying, "Not everybody here is immortal, Spike."

"Oh, fine," Spike said, and he threw his cigarette into the nearest dustbin after putting it out.

"Hold on, foreman," Xander heard and he looked outside, smiling he saw his buddies from work entering the building.

"Oh, sure, <them> you call on time," Spike commented with sarcasm, as he hung up his coat on the coat rack.

"Sooner or later, Spike, I'm going to give in to this urge to rip off your head that I'm getting from time to time," Xander said with a hiss.

Spike shrugged disinterested and moved into the apartment as Xander's friends from the construction company walked through the door. The Scooby Gang, Angel Investigations Team and Xander's Neighbours were getting acquainted behind Xander, producing a nice chatter. "Congratulations, boss. This is something else than poker night eh?" a giant, slightly over two meter tall man said, as he stuck out his hand to Xander. The man was a few years older than Xander but still in the first half of his twenties. He had sandy curly hair.

Xander nodded. "Ed, for the life of me, I can't figure out why you keep calling me boss, even after work," he told Ed with a grin.

"You really wanna know, huh? It's because that way, when I call you by your nick name, the higher up won't fire me if he overheard," Ed grinned widely at Xander and squeezed his boss's hand.

Xander shook his head as he squeezed back, saying, "Ed, I don't think the big boss cares if you call me by a nickname."

Ed bent forward, and told Xander as he smiled widely and tapped the side of his head, "That's because you haven't heard the nicknames I use in my head."

Xander gave a short laugh at Ed. When he didn't move immediately, Xander told him, "You know where the coat hangers are Ed."

Ed snorted, jokingly making it clear that way to Xander what he thought of parties where one had to hang his own coat. When he went to do that, he told Xander with a smile, "You know the missus."

Xander nodded to his wife, sticking out his hand and greeting her, "Diana." Her 1.75m, relatively tall, frame seemed positively tiny compared tot the giant, even if she almost could look Xander directly in the eyes.

"Xander," she greeted back, taking his hand. "I tell Ed he's smart and good enough to be a foreman himself, and you obviously prove he isn't too young."

"Don't start that again, especially not here," Ed said warningly, returning from the coat rack and starting to take his wife's coat.

As she took her coat off, revealing a nice dress, she explained a little exasperated, "Yes, I know. You just want to work with your hands and don't want the extra hassle." Ed nodded and went to hang up his wife's coat. "You should come by more often, Xander. I hardly see you."

Before Xander could say something, Ed exclaimed in surprise, "What!? I thought you said I shouldn't bring the guys over so often."

"That's because after 'the guys' leave, the only solution to the mess is, buy new interior. Xander never left that kind of a mess," Diana answered a little irritated, which caused Ed to grin sheepishly, before he and his wife moved further into the apartment.

The second guy was a thirty-something guy in a leather jacket, sporting a stubble-filled, half-shaven face. His appearance said, 'eternal bachelor'. "Xander," the man greeted smiling.


"Anya!" Ed bellowed through the apartment for everyone to hear. Anya came running out of the kitchen and looked around for the trouble, not seeing any she placed herself in front of the giant.

"Ed? Is something wrong?" Anya looked up and saw the man's dark frown, and became nervous. Then he broke out a big smile and picked her up easily and held her in a bear hug. Anya squealed in surprise.

"Everything's right, Anya," Ed said, before putting her back down. "Answering him yes, was the best thing you could have done." Ed looked over to the assembly of people, who were all gaping at him. "What's with them?" Ed asked to no one in particular.

"You're making a fool out of yourself, as usual, honey," Diana said, pulling up next to her husband. She stuck out her hand and said, "You must be Xander's fiance." Anya a little perturbed shook it and introduced herself, smiling broadly.

Ed snorted as he looked over the assembled group who slowly came back to their senses. "You only make a fool out of yourself if you feel like one." His wife shook his head. "So you must be Xander's high school friends, he talks so much about," Ed continued, assessing each and everyone, he then saw a few people he recognized, "And his neighbours."

"Ed," they greeted him.

"Your boss's neighbours know you by name?!" Diana blurted out in disbelief and a little anger. "What did you do to manage that!?"

Ed looked at his wife in confusion then shrugged and said, "Honest, I have no idea."

Diana started shaking her head, muttering, "There are times . . ."

"Just introduce yourself and take a seat, Di," Ed commented with a soothing voice.

"Xand-man," the third friend greeted. He was Xander's age, with blond highlights and twinkling green eyes. "Congratulations, pal."

"Thanks, Danny," Xander greeted back, as they shook each other's hand.

"I'd like you to meet my girlfriend, Melissa," Daniel said, pulling a beautiful dark-haired girl forward.

"Hi, congratulations on the engagement," she said, shaking Xander's hand.

Xander greeted her with, "I'm Xander, nice to finally meet the girl he's been raving about the last two weeks. Well, Daniel. I see you've taken my advice and went with a college girl." Xander grinned at the two of them.

"How did you know . . ." the two started simultaneously and stopped realized they said the same thing.

"It's the eyes, there's intelligence there. Not to criticize his former girlfriends, but they lacked a certain something called a brain," Xander told her softly, and she laughed. Xander closed the door behind them, as they proceeded with taking off their coats.

"Let's see," Ed announced, at a normal tone this time, looking around the circle, settling finally on Tara. "Buffy Summers?" he asked uncertain.

"No, Tara," she answered, standing up and shaking the big man's hand with a smile.

"Ah, the lesbian witch, girlfriend of . . ." Ed turned to her right and saw the only redhead in the group. "Obviously Willow, I should have known." Ed shook Willow's hand.

"You told them about us?" Willow asked Xander looking back at him. Xander shrugged and pointed Daniel and his girlfriend to two free chairs, when Anya called him from the kitchen.

"Coming," he said and went to help his fiance.

Ed turned and found Buffy, he walked to her, gave her his hand and said, "Then you must be Buffy Summers." Buffy took and shook it, squeezing his hand as much as he did, smiling. "You're right, Boss. She is strong."

"And little Dawn," Ed said, going to the next chair.

"I'm not little," Dawn said indignant. Despite the bad taste she got the day before, she still had enough of being treated like she was seven instead of almost fifteen, so she folded her arms across her chest defiantly.

"Dawn," Buffy warned her.

Ed just grinned and grabbed her arm and forced her to shake his, telling her, "Tough luck kid, compared to me everyone here is little."

"Xander, Xander, Xander," Michael commented, standing in the middle of the room, turning around in undisguised awe. He continued when Xander walked back in, carrying some glasses. "This is not cool, pal, not cool at all. You've been holding out on us. You said your friends were lookers, but you didn't tell us they were super models." He stopped when he looked directly at Buffy. "You should have introduced us a lot sooner, Boss Man."

"And have you scare them off?" Xander commented as he put the glasses down on the table.

Michael scowled briefly at him, then took Buffy's hand and as she stood up he gently kissed the back of it. "Buffy Summers, beautiful. I'm Michael, and I'd like to get to know you a lot better."

"You're just a little too old for me," Buffy said politely smiling. Angel coughed hard, to the Scooby Gang it was obvious he wasn't really coughing. Cordelia played along and hit him on his back.

"Come on, Angel. You haven't hit the age where you can't drink without coughing have you? Or have you started smoking again?" she said sweetly. Buffy blushed, he was obviously making fun of her and her choice of words, as well as making it clear he felt a little insulted. The non-oldest friends of Xander looked confused, but the Scoobies and the Angel investigations team snickered in amusement, with Buffy's blush deepened.

"How old is baby-face here?" Michael asked, picking up on the joke.

"Thirty-five," Giles lied, grinning.

"That just isn't fair," Daniel commented, looking at Angel jealous, who gave him an apologizing shrug.

Michael grinned and shook his head at Buffy. He shook his finger at her and gave her a few tuts, and said, "Naughty, naughty, lying. You're asking for a spanking." Buffy was speechless, how could Angel and Cordelia do that to her, and she was blushing like mad now, not knowing how to save herself from this mess. "I like that in a woman." Buffy's jaw dropped in shock. Luckily the man decided he had laid on enough charm and moved to her sister. "Ah, the younger Summers," he commented and gave the back of her hand a kiss as well. "If only you were a few years older, beautiful. Dang, I wish I was sixteen again."

Dawn blushed almost as deep as Buffy and answered, "Thanks, Mr. . . ."

"Michael, just Michael," he told her grinning and moved toward Xander's neighbours. Dawn grinned and looked at her sister smugly, there were people who saw her for who she really was.

Ed had passed the neighbours and reached Cordelia, introducing himself and chatted with her for a short while, before he arrived at Angel. Angel took up and shook the big guy's head, giving the big man a powerful grip, as he had seen the man liked. He saw Ed's appreciative look and introduced himself, "Angel."

"The private investigator. Xander's told a lot about you too," Ed said grinning. Angel told him he was sure Xander did, giving the Saiyan in question a poisonous look. Ed moved over to Fred who looked a little fearfully up at the giant. Ed looked at her thinking then said, "That's strange, I can't place you."

"Winifred Burkle," Angel introduced Fred to Ed, and he gestured for Fred to offer him her hand.

"She's new, Ed," Xander explained, taking a seat, since he was done with giving everyone a glass and something to drink, except those still introducing themselves around the room. "Didn't meet her myself until around lunch this afternoon."

"Fred," Fred introduced herself intimidated. Ed told her his name superfluously and then moved on, to the next person.

"Ah, the celebrity," Ed grinned at Faith, who looked up at him with uncertainty. They squeezed each other's hands and Ed continued, raising an eyebrow and looking back at Xander for a moment, "You're obviously Faith Williams."

"She's not as bad as they make her out to be," Xander said with a grin.

"Nice to meet you," Ed stated with a grin.

"You're not afraid I'm going to . . ." Faith started with an astonished look, softly because she didn't want the others to listen in.

Ed interrupted her, softly as well, for her benefit, "Nah, you wouldn't do that."

"Because I'm a girl?" Faith asked incredulous.

Ed shook his head, "Because of your eyes. Besides if the Boss says you're ok, then you're ok. I've learned to trust him in matters like this." Faith smiled as Ed moved further.

"Bloody gits," Spike muttered under his breath. "If it weren't for this chip."

An hour later when everybody was talking and getting to know one another, some standing around the room, others sitting down; Michael working his charm around the entire room, Ed suddenly had an epiphany. "Boss!" he called loud enough for everyone to stop talking immediately. "Have you two set a date yet?"

Anya answered him, frowning a little, "Actually, no. I guess in all the hectic we kind of forgot."

"I was thinking February or March," Xander answered thoughtfully.

"That long?" Buffy asked a little surprised. Many of the others nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, that is rather long, Xander," Anya answered disappointed.

Xander grinned at her, before explaining. "Well, we can go the traditional route, and get priest or a rabbi, or just a public service guy at the town hall, or . . . we can have a real life prince of not just a country, but an entire species . . . there aren't many left of the species, just me and said prince, but still . . . it's a prince. Of course he's in another dimension with a very different time flow, so if he and his family and friends want to get here on time, we'll have to have time to measure the exact difference and synchronize our watches so to speak." Xander had been fed up with lying when he started making friends at the construction yard, and since he had been feeling the stirring of the Super Saiyan and he figured it would be time to stop hiding what he really was soon anyway, he had just told them the entire truth, which resulting in his friends laughing at his great 'joke'. Of course, he considered it still prudent to keep his true self away from strangers and the government, but he had decided people he was getting to know he would tell the truth.

Anya's jaw dropped but with a gleam in her eyes: a prince! The only other living full-blooded Saiyan. The Scooby Gang and the Angel Investigations Team looked at him with a shocked look that asked whether he was insane. His neighbours and other friends looked at him, silenced by disbelief, then suddenly Ed started a bellowing laugh, quickly the others followed suit, unable to keep in their own laughter. "Damn, Boss, you just keep cracking me up. Where do you keep coming with this stuff?" The other set of Xander's friends, looked astonished at the laughing group for a moment then quickly faking it, joined in the laughter.

"Yeah, he's a real kidder," Wesley said in a bad acting voice.

Xander grinned around the ground then said, "They don't believe, I just don't understand it." Which resulted in another round of laughter.

He turned to Anya and asked, softly, "Well?"

Anya smiled broadly as she nodded in agreement.


At around twelve, Ed and his wife, and one of Xander's neighbours were the last to leave, with the exception of the Scooby Gang and Angel's Team.

"Well, that was that," Xander commented after he closed the door. He looked at his oldest friends and he asked, "The mattresses and sleeping bags won't be arriving until tomorrow, so you'll have to either sleep on the naked floor, or go over to Buffy's."

"I'm probably not sleeping anyway, I could just go sit in a chair," Angel answered.

"I'm sleeping at Buffy's," Cordelia commented, "And Fred's definitely coming with me, she's slept on the floors of caves and stuff enough."

"I couldn't care less," Gunn said as he placed himself back down on the couch.

Spike had heard enough, "Well, I'm leaving. I really don't want to listen to sleeping arrangements." Spike got his coat and left without saying goodbye.

"Well, I'd prefer a nice mattress or bed underneath my back," Wesley told everyone in his British accent.

"Ok, I'll stay here, you go over to Buffy's," Angel made the decision quickly, he was getting bored of the conversation as well.

"Ah," Dawn wined, looking at Buffy with pleading eyes from the arm rest.

In the chair, Buffy, answered, "No, Dawn. You need to go to bed, your sounding even more whiny then usual."

"I'm not whiny. And why not?" Dawn asked annoyed. Buffy sighed, she really didn't want to go into it here, of course that's why Dawn had chosen to bring it up here, at least she had had the decency to wait till Xander's other friends had left.

Buffy looked up at her friends looking at them, and she explained, "She's whining about her allowance again."

"I'm not whining, do you have any idea how much it costs being a teenager these days?" Dawn asked, with big questioning eyes.

"Let's see," Gunn answered her, starting count off his hands, "Rent. Gas. Electricity. Food. Television. Radio. I'd say a lot less than being an adult."

"Thank you, Gunn," Buffy told him with a relieved smile. Dawn looked down a little perturbed. The rest of the group still looked at her, silent, patiently waiting. They felt there was more. Buffy sighed, might as well come clean. "Remember what I've been doing the last few months, Dawn?"

"Uhm," her sister started, getting cut off by an annoyed sister.

"That's right, keeping your but safe from a hell goddess," Buffy explained, and continued sarcastically, "Now, apart from your undying love, that doesn't pay much." Dawn looked at her sister perplexed. "Dawn, even if I wanted to give you a raise, we can't afford it." Dawn looked stunned, the others only surprised.

"That's it; the statuette goes back," Xander said, receiving a pleading look from Anya, it had been the best gift of all. He got up, ready to put the statuette back into its protective case.

Buffy interrupted Xander's motion, "You will not dare bring that gift back, it's my and Dawn's gift, and it belongs here and nowhere else. Now let me finish." Xander looked Buffy in the eyes and he saw she meant it. He sat down dejected.

"There's still enough we can last a few months if we don't start spending much more money, but then . . . we need something else, and I was hoping I could go back to college, perhaps catch up during summer vacation as much as possible from what I missed, but that means a part time job, and that won't pay all of it. The mortgage payments alone are fifteen hundred dollars a month," Buffy said, not all too happy. "I've even seriously considered the possibility that I'm going to be forced to sell the house."

The group looked just at Buffy not quite knowing what to say to Buffy, then Faith smiled and asked, "Say, Xander, why don't you just pay off the mortgage. That's peanuts to you."

Xander shook his head, "Now that I'm building a second gravity gym in the Hyperion, and bought or had the parts made that I need for that one, and paying your lawyers I'm flat broke. I still get royalty checks every month, but that's nowhere near enough to pay for the mortgage." Then Xander grinned, he had it! "Say, Willow, Tara, how much rent do you pay in a month."

The two witches looked at each other, calculating. "About six hundred dollars, right?" Tara asked a little astonished. The rest of the group looked at Xander with interest.

Willow nodded, "You about 250, and me 350, makes about 600."

"How would you guys like to have fifty bucks a month more to spend, and have your own two-person bed and bedroom?" Xander asked with a grin.

"You mean, my mom's room?" Buffy asked a little shocked. Xander nodded.

"Move in together?" Willow asked a little apprehensive. "That's a big step." She looked at Tara, who looked at her with glittering eyes.

"But think about it, it'll be easier with Dawn if there are three people who live there, and I'd be willing to pick her up from school if necessary, Anya could drive her to school. With Willow and Tara there instead of spending money on food three times, you only have to pay once for a little more, you'd be saving money on that as well," Xander said enthusiastically, showing the parts of his old self that were part of the new self as well.

"Let's do it," Tara told Willow.

Willow smiled then and said, "Yeah. Yeah, why not!?"

"That leaves 950 a month," Xander said, eyes glittering, on a roll, thinking about other ways to get the money.

"We should go by the bank first," Angel said, smiling, getting caught up in the enthusiastic atmosphere Xander was creating.

Xander smacked himself on the forehead, "Of course, stupid!"

"For a loan?" Buffy asked confused.

"No!" Xander exclaimed smiling. "If you go to the bank and say, I have to sell the house, and you sell the house, an auction might very well result in a buyer who pays much less than the mortgage. Since your mother died, they can't make you pay off the difference in monthly payments either, they'll potentially loose money, and the bank doesn't want that."

Giles took over, "Your mother had mortgage construction that was best for her, limited her tax payments, etc, what was cheapest for her now paying off, and at the end when she finished with the mortgage, but that most definitely isn't the cheapest and easiest one for you."

"So," Angel finished. "They'll be more than willing to change the construction so you can make the payments."

"Cool," Dawn said, sleepily.

"Let's see what we can do with those 950, now eh, and see what the bank manages later?" Xander grinned, thinking a little. "Let's see, those royalty payments, I never did anything with that, they're about 250 dollars a month. I can help with that, that leaves 700."

"You don't have to . . ." Buffy started, but Xander interrupted.

"Uh, uh, we do. Your house is the only place I can build the gravity gym. You know, the thing that will allow at least you two Slayers to reach enough power to take on the entire American army and come out on top," Xander disagreed. "We need that house, Buffy."

"The Magic Box is going good, I could chip in a little, like a hundred and fifty," Giles said with thoughtful look, calculating.

"550," Xander said. "We're getting there." He turned his head and looked at Anya.

"What?" Anya asked with some dread.

"Giles pays good wages," Xander said with a grin.

"But, but, it's my money," she pleaded.

Xander already knew she'd chip in, "Oh, come on. You like <having> money, you don't do anything with it, you just put it in the bank, and spend as little as possible. If it's just sitting in a bank, you might as well throw the money out the window, there's no difference. Our rent just split in half. Might as well use if for something, and you'll be helping a friend."

"All right," Anya said sadly. "I can chip in a hundred."

"450," Xander grinned, and turned to the Angel team.

"Don't look at me," Gunn said. "I had to make my axe from a wheel cap."

"Yeah, we're mostly helping non-paying clients," Cordelia gave Angel a quick glare. "We can get by, but definitely don't have anything extra."

"Ok," Xander said, looking up calculating. "Rent just halved, I can probably stand to chip in another hundred perhaps two hundred bucks off my foreman salary. If Willow and Tara get a part time job as well, you could almost even go back to college. Ooh, if we find a way to make your father pay up, and see if there's some student financial aid program for cases like these at the college, you could very well go back to school. And we haven't even seen what the bank can do for you, Buffy. Well? What do you guys say?"

The group smiled with satisfaction, and a few gave exclaims of enthusiasm. "Does that mean I can get a higher allowance after all?" Dawn asked with a smile.

"NO!" All of them called out loud to her.

"It was just a question," Dawn shrank back in alarm.


After a quick clean up once over, Faith had gone out patrolling, while the rest, except Gunn and Angel, went over to Buffy's.

Now, hours later, at about five a.m., Xander snuck across the living room to the exit door, fully dressed. He looked at Faith sleeping on the couch for a moment and smiled. He looked over to Gunn - sleeping in a chair - briefly, and gently walked forward.

"Where are you going?" Angel whispered, startling Xander almost making him exclaim out loud.

"Ssshh," Xander shushed, a finger in front of his mouth. "People are asleep. Don't wake them."

"Why aren't you?" Angel whispered again.

Xander got annoyed, and hissed, "I've got some errands to run. Go back to sleep."

"It's night, I'm a vampire, it's pretty difficult for me to go to sleep," Angel whispered again.

Xander reached the door and now more annoyed opened it, causing it to screech for a moment. Xander bit back, "Go to sleep, don't go to sleep, knit a sweater for all I care, just don't wake anybody." Xander passed through the door and wanted to close it behind him, but it was held open and Angel stepped outside with him.

"What are you doing?" Xander asked, getting even more annoyed.

"I'm coming with you," Angel said.

Xander looked at him incredulously and whispered, "You're not coming with me."

"Yes, I am."

"Look, you can't come with even if I wanted you to," Xander started, exasperated, looking at the silhouette in the dark corridor. "I'm going to run those errands, then I'm directly going to the construction yard and by then the sun will be up. 'Vampire, extra crispy' mean anything to you." Angel didn't say anything he just looked at Xander. "For crying out loud," Xander said a little louder this time, getting more frustrated. Xander had planned to simply take the car, but now changed his mind. "Catch," he said, throwing his apartment keys in the air, he turned around and walked to the building exit. "I expect them back tonight."

Angel reflexively caught the keys, by which time Xander was almost out the door. "What do I need these for," Angel said, trying to catch up with Xander.

"To lock the door, duh," Xander told him. He exited the building and blasted off. Angel looked at the flying figure of Xander and was shocked. Hearing the guy can fly just was a very different thing than actually seeing him do it. Realizing there was no way he could catch up with Xander, he turned around and went back into the house.


Spike walked through the graveyard toward his crypt. He fumbled with a match, an unlit cigarette in his mouth, and dropped it. "Bloody hell," he muttered and went to pick it up. He got a hard kick in the back and he tumbled across the floor several times.

"Well, hello, Spike," sounded a sinister voice.

Spike righted himself, sitting in the grass and looked at the fifteen or so demons standing in front of him. "It has come to my attention you're still killing demons and helping the slayer. And you know what, we just got word there's a pretty good chance a super powered being is going to wipe every living thing off the face of existence, from good to bad, from ancient to young, and from mortals to angels to gods. And you know what, Spikey, we figured, before we get killed by the bastard at least let us have the pleasure of killing a filthy piece of shit traitor like you."

Spike just had enough. He got up, anger burning through him, adrenaline pumping through his undead veins. "That's it, you bloody bastards," Spike raged, vamping out. "I've had enough. Enough of your crap of demons sticking together, we don't stick together, we stab each other in the back the moment we get the chance, and don't bloody deny it. Do you have any idea who I am? I'm Spike, aka William the Bloody, also known as The Slayer Of Slayers I was killing even before I got turned, I killed three slayers, and took on demons that if you dipshits would look at them you'd piss and shit your pants in fear! I even killed one of the First Ones, one of the Ancient Ones. Ever heard of Skrymir ancient Viking Ice Demon? No? That's because I sliced and diced his arse with this here axe!" Spike yanked out the axe from under his coat and showed it to them. Then he raged on, "You filthy wankers got lucky last time, didn't have much will to live and to fight, but that just changed. I just found a guy I thought was a half-witted oaf turn out to be the most powerful being on the sodding planet, instantly ruining any chance I've had with the girl I'm in love with and I had to sit through the most boring engagement party this side of the Atlantic with my ensouled sire, I just really feel like a good blood bath. And guess what? You just pulled the unlucky number. Consider it an honor being killed with the axe that killed an Ancient One."

The group started laughing. "Hah, ha, ha, Spike. You've lost it. You're nothing more but a Vamp . . ." At that moment the leader demon's speech turned to sputtering as his head got severed from the rest of his body with slice of Spike's axe.

"Yeah, and I'm losing it on you!" Spike roared, hacking the axe into another demon's chest. Spike kicked a yellow demon in the gut, sending him flying backwards. He kept spinning and smashed his fist into a red skinned one, and sending it tumbling backward. He hacked off the head of an insect-like demon in another smooth flowing movement. The fight turned into a brawl. Spike took hits, but Spike's bloodlust propelled him forward, decapitating, disemboweling, and amputating limbs left and right. Eventually, when only a few were left, one decided it was best to flee.

"Oh, no you don't, wanker!" Spike screamed and threw the axe. It stuck itself into the demon's back and it dropped to the ground dead. Spike grabbed the yellow demon's head, which had managed to survive so far, and snapped its neck with a roar. As spike grabbed a demon with horns, bit his neck and began to drain him, the yellow demon's flesh dissolved into an ugly yellow gas that quickly went up into the air, leaving only it's bones to fall to the floor. Barely two seconds after Spike had bit the demon he was empty. Spike dropped him to the floor and roared: real life sustenance even if it tasted disgusting. The last three, remaining demons tried to run, but Spike didn't let them; they were dead before a minute was over.

Spike looked at the remaining corpses and wondered what to do with them. He couldn't just let them lie here, people would notice. "Impressive," he heard a voice say from behind him and up, accompanied by some clapping. "Allow me," the voice added and several energy balls shot from the air, each one vaporizing a body.

"Harris," Spike spat out the name.

Xander floated into view and corrected, "Littica."

"Whatever," Spike said, getting a new cigarette and match.

"I have to disappoint you Spike, I killed Skrymir, about eight years ago. Ice Demon, gas in middle, fun to kill, not much of a conversationalist though, did tell me his name," Xander commented grinning.

Spike lit the cigarette and said annoyed, "Sodding wanker must have been able to reconstitute himself. Took him fifty years, I say that's close enough. Now what do you want?"

Xander gestured to Spike's crypt, with the sigh the neutered vampire walked into his crypt Xander following with a frown. "Say," he said, "I thought you killed two slayers. Giles said so at least."

Spike pulled a chilled bottle from the fridge, took a drag from his cigarette, pulled it from his mouth as he let himself drop in a chair and said, "China 1890s, Denmark Second World War and New York in the 70s. Stupid watchers must not know about the one in New York. Too many vamps crawling around there for them to keep track of I guess. Killing a slayer isn't that difficult, you know. They've all got a death wish, you just have to draw it out in them." Spike grinned evilly and took another swig of the blood.

Xander grinned and stood up, walked to a tiny flattened window and looked up at the moon. "God damn, watchers. Slayers are like us, Spike. Hunters, predators, killers, warriors. And the halfwits, what do they do? They go on about imprinting them with these ridiculous morals, obey us always, you can't kill a demon if it's not necessary, in battles you must always suppress your emotions, never allow your instincts to truly roam free . . ."

Spike snorted in disgust, taking another drag from his cigarette.

" . . .don't look at boys and men, they're just a distraction, killing is bad, but necessary when it comes to demons who kill humans. They have no idea themselves what it's like to fight, what's it like to feel the adrenaline and blood flow through your veins. The urge fight, to kill . . ." Xander pauzed for a moment. "They're basically telling the slayers, you're evil, you're worthless, you should do nothing but kill and be killed and obey me always. It's no wonder the slayers have got a death wish. They're taught to hate what they deep down are. They're holding them back in so many ways. It's sickening."

"What do you want?" Spike said, silently agreeing with Xander in every way, seeing in his mind eye a fantasy of Buffy letting loose, taught to fully go with her instincts, shivers ran down his spine.

"Unlike you and me, Spike, and potentially Angel, Gunn and Faith, Buffy and the rest have no idea what war means," Xander looked at Spike with a smirk. "Now Spike, I'd prefer it, if some of the Gods' followers - Powers That Be or Demon Gods, just faithful people, manipulated, or downright bastards like the people at Wolfram and Hart - attack, say Dawn, with magic, guns, rocket launchers you can rip their throats out and disembowel them before they succeed."

Spike took a sip, looked at Xander uncomprehending and asked, "What do you mean?"

"I've got a deal for ya, Spike," Xander grinned darkly. "I'll remove the chip."

Spike looked at Xander stunned and then asked, "What's the catch?"

"The catch is, Spike. I'm going to be your new chip, and I'm going to be a lot worse than your old one, I won't cause any pain," Xander smirked at Spike, sending chills down his spine. "I'll just kill you. You hurt so much as a hair on an innocent person's head against their will, and you're dust."

"And if you win this little war of yours?" Spike asked, dragging from his cigarette afterwards.

"You're dust."

That didn't matter to Spike, he didn't believe Xander could succeed before he died of old age anyway, if he even had the power, he just had to wait until the git died of old age and then . . . "Wait a minute. What did you mean with against their will?" Spike suddenly said his interest peaked.

"I know that there are people out there who like to get bitten by a vampire, masochists from the sm scene, etc. etc. Hell, we Saiyans find beating each other up in a good sparring match great foreplay," Xander told him, the smirk unable to leave his face. "You find yourself a willing victim, who am I to complain or judge. Of course, kill her no matter how much she wants to; you're dust. Turn her, no matter how much she wants to be a vampire; you're dust and so is she. Look at it this way Spike, if you can stay on the right sight without a chip to hold you back, you might just get Buffy to love you after all." Xander grinned, thinking, *It will never happen.*

"Deal," Spike said, immediately.

"Ok, hold still," Xander grinned evilly, balling his fist.

"What for?" Spike blurted out.

"Your tranquilizers," Xander said, grinning deeper. Spike's eyes widened in understanding too late. Xander's fist connected with the fake blonde's head.


"There, all done," Xander grinned, holding the chip between tweezers above Spike's slowly opening eyes. "That's the bad thingy, Spike," grinned showing a small sphere.

"Cssl," Spike said, his eyes flew open, that's not what he meant to say.

"Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, I'm not a brain surgeon, I probably did some damage here and there, probably didn't reconnect your speech center right," Xander said with an evil grin.

"Wlllll?!" Spike tried to exclaim, his eyes completely wide. He struggled and suddenly dropped off the stone coffin, dropping unceremoniously to the floor.

"And I'm pretty certain I've destroyed a connection to your right side when I ripped the chip out," Xander said grinning, studying the chip for a while before dumping it in his pocket for later analysis. Spike squiggled on the floor, his right side uncooperative, blurting indecipherable things that were probably some expletives that could make a sailor blush. Xander squatted down, "For the life of me, I can't figure out why that Initiative doctor was so worried about your brain. You're a vampire, Spike, you're Immortal, you'll heal. It'll take a day or two, the damage is incredibly tiny, but hey, who cares?" Xander got up and started walking away, "Oh, yeah, I'll give you the knowledge on chi fighting from the computer, that way you don't waste your days. I expect you to learn quickly, Spike. Oh, and try to follow some of my lessons once the gravity gym is finished, you'll learn much faster with a living, breathing teacher than from theory. See ya, Spike!"

"Bwsssy lstrwd!!!"


"This mus be it," Lindsay commented, pointing at Xander's apartment building.

"All right," Bobby answered and parked their rented car. They got up, walked to the building and rang the bell.

"Hello, who's there?" a cheerful woman's voice answered through the intercom.

"Uh, this is Robert Donnell and Lindsey Doyle. Miss Williams' attorney's, we were hired by a Mr. Xander . . ." Bobby started.

"Yes, yes, come in," the voice said, and the glass door they were standing for clicked open.

The two looked at each other and went inside. The door to the apartment opened just before they reached it and a young, woman stood in the doorway. She stretched out her hand and shook Bobby's first, saying, "Hello, nice to meet you. I'm Anya, Xander's fiance." Anya was as cheerful as usual, but she had a little jittering in her matter, her first performance as a host.

"Robert Donnell," he introduced himself.

"Lindsey Doyle," Lindsey introduced herself as the girl switched hands.

"Come in," Anya beckoned the couple in and they followed her. "I myself did not know Faith two years ago, when she went bad, I knew of her, but that was it. Xander and I started a relationship not until four months later." Anya showed the couple into the living room, while she explained herself. She pointed to Gunn and introduced, "This is Charles Gunn. He joined Angel Investigations last fall." Robert and Lindsey shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with Charles. Anya continued, "This is Angel, he did know Faith two years ago, he's for a large part responsible for Faith's turn around, and I think one of the very few people, she'd call a good friend." Robert and Lindsey did the same with Angel. Once they were done greeting each other, Anya finished, "And finally, this is Faith Williams."

Faith nervously stepped forward from the side of the living room and first shook Robert's hand saying, even more nervously, "Hello, I'm Faith. The bad girl." Bobby introduced himself first, Lindsay followed suit.

"May I ask why it's so dark in here?" Bobby asked turning to Anya.

"Angel has a sun allergy, if there's anymore light he'll get blistered all over," Anya explained rapidly, distorting the truth just a little. At that moment the phone rang, and Anya went and picked it up. After a short conversation she said, "Faith, it's Xander he wants to talk to you."

Faith picked the horn and said, "Hi, Xander."

<<Hey, I'm sorry I had to leave so early this morning,>> Xander said with a gentle voice.

"No problem, Xander," Faith answered, relieved he had bothered to call. "They're here."

<<Yeah, Anya told me. You're probably wondering what to do, right?>>

Faith answered, "Yeah, big time. I don't think Angel has an exact answer either."

<<Faith,>> Xander started, sounding serious, gentle and commanding all at the same time. <<they're going to ask you to tell you about your life, so they can find something that they can use in court, I want you to tell them everything.>>

"Everything?" Faith asked with a little fear.

<<Everything, your bad childhood, your calling, the supernatural, the whole enchilada,>> Xander said. Faith could hear the good-natured tone with which he said it, and it made her smile.

"But they won't understand," Faith started, concerned.

<<They don't have to Faith. They just have to try your case. Confidentiality means they can't tell anyone either what you tell, not without losing their jobs and income,>> Xander explained, patiently. <<As for the people of Sunnydale and LA, and thus the jury, they perfectly well know what's going on. It's just that they can't do anything about it, they don't have the power you, me and the rest of our little gang have. So they can choose between accepting the concept of demons roaming the street and having them for lunch, potentially go insane after a while, or just ignore the problem exists. A lot choose the last.>> Faith stayed silent, contemplating what Xander had told her. <<I'm sorry I can't be there with you right now, Faith, even I have to work,>> Xander said.

"What about the trial?" Faith asked with a little trepidation.

<<Monday I get three weeks vacation. At most I'll miss Friday, but the project is a little ahead of schedule, if we work our butts off, we should be done a day early,>> Xander answered her.

Faith smiled, breathing relieved. Angel would hardly be able to be there during the day and all, perhaps he could get there through the sewers, but that would leave him vulnerable and she didn't exactly have much faith in the rest of the group. Anya didn't seem world wise enough yet to handle comforting her in a court case, and Tara just seemed too timid, and she didn't know them long enough, she needed someone bigger than life. Other than Angel only one person applied. "Ok, I'll do what you say," Faith told him, getting more apprehensive now that the moment of truth was rapidly coming nearer.

"All right, Faith. I'll see tonight at dinner, Ok?" Xander said.

"Ok, bye," Faith said, and hung up the phone. She steeled herself, pushed all her emotions away, turned around and told the lawyers with a bright cocky smile, "So what are we gonna do first?"

"First it would be good if we hear the whole story in, what will undoubtedly be, painful detail. We have to, if we want to mount a good defense," Lindsey said gently, she knew a bluff when she saw one. "You'll probably have to repeat it in court."

"No prob, I'm a big girl, I can handle it," Faith said, smiling at them.

Bobby saw the girl's eyes turn left and right, giving the tall, dark and brooding type of fella several rapid looks in the process. The fake cool voice was barely hiding the behavior of a caged animal, nowhere to go but through a nightmare of memories, if Xander Littica's quick recap had been anywhere near partially right. "I prefer to do this in private, Miss Anya. Is there a room we can use?" Bobby started, seeing Faith's face visible relax with relief.

"Of course," Anya said, pointed them toward's Xander's office. It was a tiny room, barely more than a closet, but just big enough for a desk, and a cupboard to keep and handle paper work like taxes and such. Anya took a chair from the living room and took it with her into the small office that had only two chairs. Angel followed the lawyers and Faith into the room, dragging his own chair along. He had seen Faith give him an almost pleading look, when Anya had started leading them to the small room. Faith really didn't fancy telling her life story, she had so carefully worked at hiding from others, and suppressing and pushing away from herself, to two strangers alone. She had to have at least one good friend there, and Anya and Gunn weren't all that much less strangers than the two lawyers. At least the lawyers were bound by law and professional ethics to keep their mouth shut.

Once the four of them were seated and Anya had left, closing the door behind her, Faith asked, with false bravado, "So where do you want me to begin?"

"How about at the beginning?" Lindsey asked with a soft voice, knowing this was going to be tough on all of them and especially Faith.

"Ok," Faith said. She took a deep breath and started, "When I was four, my mother beat me black and blue for the first time . . ."

Let's leave Faith some privacy, and not go over how despite her best efforts she couldn't keep herself from breaking down in tears at moments, especially at some of the more horrific rapes, or how Anya - much to Faith's humiliation walked in on it once - stuttering a question about whether they wanted refreshments, or how Angel felt a whole bucket load of additional guilt drop on him, when Faith relayed how close she'd been to breaking when she was strangling Xander, or how at times Lindsay couldn't keep a tear from rolling down her cheeks, and how the lawyers listened in disbelief to the more fantastic parts of the story.

Let's just listen in to the conversation of the two lawyers, after Faith was done with her story, and they decided to leave the Littica residence so Faith could calm down, and they could do other things required for the case.

"That girl does not belong in jail," Lindsay stated firmly and passionately, turning to her husband. "In a psychiatric institution probably, but not in jail."

Bobby nodded and then turned to her, a smile on his face. "This is one of them," he said, smiling in satisfaction. "This is one of those cases that made us become lawyers, one of the rare ones."

"Do you think she's insane?" Lindsay asked, nodding in agreement with Bobby.

"No, plenty of people demonize their assailants. The concept that it was a human being who did things to them is too threatening to them, that just anyone can walk up to you and do those things. The slayer persona is an additional layer of protection. It's similar to a case I once tried, the psychiatrist I had on the stand had to explain it in detail," Bobby said, his smile gone, totally serious now.

"I think we should have a talk with, Mr. Littica himself. What do you think?" Lindsay asked, a frown on her face. Bobby nodded.


"Mr. Littica!" Bobby called across the construction yard of an almost complete house. It was quite big, a villa, with a lovely driveway of blue stone, and the first beginnings of a lawn in the still mostly black surface of the ground.

Xander, who just finished giving some people new assignments, turned around and looked questioningly at the origin of the voice. Then he offered his hand, and said, as Bobby took the hand and shook it, "You must be Robert Donnell. I'm Xander Littica."

"Lindsay Doyle," said Lindsay and shook Xander's hand as well.

"What did you think of Faith's story?" Xander asked, totally cool.

"To be honest, I think she is quite disturbed," Lindsay answered him, frown deeply.

"Hey! Look out with that damn wheelbarrow, will ya!?" Xander yelled at some of his men, as a wheelbarrow was about to fall from a scaffolding. They corrected their mistakes and yelled back an apology. Xander nodded in satisfaction and turned back to the lawyers, "Indeed she is, and the things she's seen as well. But if you were implying she's insane and she was seeing things that aren't there, sorry, no, they are very real."

"What!?" Bobby exclaimed, he couldn't believe what he just heard. Lindsay eyes widened in total disbelief.

"Yep, I don't mind if you believe I'm crazy or not, and it doesn't matter. What does matter is that the large majority of the LA population believes it, that's the ticket to getting justice done, you see," Xander told them, folding his hands across his chest thoughtfully. "When you get to LA, you should ask around, keep your ears open, you'll find out below the surface people don't call LA the City Of Angels, but the City Of Demons. A lot of people won't acknowledge, even to them selves, all of it is very real. Most people though, know perfectly well it is real, acknowledge it, at least to themselves, and then just ignore it's there. As long as you make sure the jury is comprised of people that at least acknowledge the super natural exists, things should work out."

"That's what you want us to do? Go to court with the entirety of that story? People will think her insane, which she probably is, she says she doesn't want to plead insanity. Bringing all this up will make the judge think her insane no matter what," Lindsay tried empathically.

"Do it anyway," Xander told them, giving them a smile.

"Ok," Bobby answered, frowning as he thought over the possibilities. "Can you get all those involved two years ago at your house this evening, we'd like to have an informal word with them, you included."

"Better make that Buffy Summers house, makes everything easier, here, let me write her address down," Xander answered, he pulled out a pen and found himself a piece of paper and started writing Buffy's address down. He gave it to Lindsay.

"Ok, thank you. Then we're off to the courthouse, get the transcript of the first trial," Lindsay said, looking at Bobby, silently communicating with him on that option. Bobby nodded.

"That won't do. Faith wasn't tried in Sunnydale, she was tried in LA," Xander answered them with a knowing grin, what would they say about that.

"Her crimes were committed here, she should have been tried here. This town is big enough for its own court," Bobby called out in surprise.

Xander nodded an affirmative. "You see, the truly bad guy that Faith was working for was Mayor of Sunnydale Richard Wilkins the third, and the second and the first, but who's counting? He's the one who had Faith do all the dirty deeds, and was planning on leveling Sunnydale with the ground and kill anyone living there. This obviously required planning and cover-ups, which required loyal men in high places, like the cops. Faith is a scape goat, she was hunted down and locked away for all the crimes, Faith's gone, crime gone, people have a criminal; nobody will come looking with them, out of sight, out of mind. When Faith just confessed and tried to minimize any and all defense she could try, because she thought whatever she got wasn't nearly harsh enough, they took the opportunity with both hands, put her through a sham of a trial, far away from any of those directly involved with the exception of one person who can't walk through daylight, and two people she terrorized. Not exactly people who can be expected to help her out much. And if you never get a supine and the trial is never announced, you aren't exactly able to get to the trial on your own in order to testify either. Nice huh?"


The sun had almost set, only a small orange line was left. Sitting outside in the summer night, the two lawyers were interviewing Wesley. In the middle of the garden Dawn, Faith and Buffy were training their Tai Chi movements, all of them doing punches and kicks.

In the back yard Xander's friends were constructing the outer wall of what would become the gravity gym. Giles and Angel came outside, now that Angel no longer had to worry about igniting and sat down next to each other in chairs. "So she no longer has to pay the whole amount?" Angel asked Giles.

"Only nine hundred," Giles answered him.

Xander and Cordelia sat in the grass in a lotus position across from each other, their fingers touched. "Yikes!" Cordelia exclaimed as she felt Xander's mind brush her own.

*Relax,* his mind told her inside her own.

*Ok, so is this like the brain meld or something?* Cordelia beamed back, trying to conceal her apprehension.

*Mind Meld. Vulcan Mind Meld, and no, then you and me wouldn't be talking like this, our minds would be one, you would see everything I saw and vice versa,* Xander explained to her. She felt him smile.

*Well, this is impressive enough as it is,* Cordelia thought back, her apprehension was slowly fading. *I guess this is all you, huh?*

*No, I made the initial connection, but you're as active as I am, you're not just hearing what I say and I listen to what you think, you're actually beaming, actually talking to me,* Xander thought to her, smiling as he felt her amazement.

*Really?* Cordelia asked.

*Oh, yeah, Cordy, you've got a quite nice telepathic center there, and the instinct to use it. It's undisciplined, rather weak from disuse and abuse, but it's there,* Xander beamed backed. He was proud and Cordelia felt it, she blushed a little.

*Do you think it was always there, or did it come with the visions?* Cordelia asked once more, smiling as she felt some of Xander's emotions brush and envelope her mind.

*It's yours, if you didn't have any telepathic potential of your own, the visions would already have killed you or made you at least insane,* Xander answered back.

"Wow," Cordelia thought and said out loud. She felt Xander's presence envelope her and decide to push back along the link and try to do the same. She failed, but did get to touch his mind on the other side for a moment.

*Very good, let's see if you can do that when we're apart,* Xander said and separated their hands and got up. *Well, can you hear me?*

*Yes,* Cordelia answered.

*Good,* Xander told her, *I'm glad you told her at least part of the truth about why I'm training you, I still want you to reconsider not just telling them you want to better handle your visions.*

Xander felt the smile in his mind, *I'll think about it.* She opened her eyes seeing Xander turn around and walk towards his building friends. "Hey, where are you going?"

"To help out, can't very well ask them to come over and help and then do nothing myself, now can I?" Xander asked, turned around to look at her for a moment.

"Aren't you going to teach . . ." Cordelia stopped, she felt Xander's mind, and saw him give her a pointed look. "Oh, yeah, remote training."

Xander started to help build the walls and at the same time he and Cordelia worked with each other, this first lesson, just a conversation. Cordelia went back to sit in a lawn chair and chatted with Angel, Giles, Anya and the two witches.

Just as the last of the orange disappeared behind the horizon, a familiar British voice sounded and rapidly became louder as he approached, "SODDING BASTARD! GOD DAMN, BLOODY SON OF A BITCH! THAT FUCKING DICK HEAD!" Spike walked onto the lawn and didn't bother to acknowledge all the people on the lawn that stared at him like he'd gone insane. "HARRIS, YOU LOUSY WANKER, I'M GONNA MAKE YOU PAY FOR...." Xander's fist connected with Spike's jaw, and the vampire slumped over.

Xander grabbed him by the collar keeping him upright and said, "I'm sorry, guys. But I've got to bring the drunkard home. I'll hurry back." Xander's friends from construction told him not to worry. He hung Spike over his shoulder, then gave the Scooby Gang and the lawyers a quick greeting and he went over to his car parked at the curb in front of Buffy's house. He opened it and dumped Spike inside.


"Wake up!" Xander shouted shaking the vampire. Spike opened his eyes and looked at the object of his hatred, then the object's right hand started slapping him from cheek to cheek. "ARE YOU NUTS!!? You almost told them I removed your chip!" Xander stopped slapping the vampire around and let him get up, while he told Spike, "What do you think they're gonna do if they found out you don't have a chip anymore, before you had a chance to prove yourself huh!? Does the term vacuum cleaner ring a bell!?"

"YOU FILTHY BASTARD! I could have been like that for the rest of eternity, you bugger!" Spike raged.

"Do I look like I care, Blondie? Besides, I'd've killed you long before that," Xander told him calmly. Spike looked at Xander in disbelief. "What!? I'm the guy, who swore to wipe out all the evil demons and gods, remember!? You're an evil demon. I may have nicely removed your chip, but it doesn't make us friends! . . . Why does this conversation sound familiar?" Xander shook his head, it was a useless thought, no need to go dig into his memory for that.

"Bloody hell!" Spike raged angrily.

Xander picked up the laptop from the coffin where he had placed it and gave it to Spike. "There," he said, giving it to Spike. "The same knowledge is in there that allowed me to do the things I do, teach yourself."

As Xander turned around and walked out the crypt, a dark thought crossed Spike's mind, *Oh, I will, Harris! Count on it! I won't rest until I'm more powerful than you, then I will kill you and your precious slayers. And then <I> will <rule> this world!*

Xander stepped out Spike's crypt and thought, *Cordy, the fact that you're still with me, all the way over here, gives me very high hopes.*

*Really!?* she asked in thought.

*Oh, yes, the gods are going to be mighty pissed off when they notice your mind getting stronger and stronger,* Xander thought, as he walked toward his car and grinned.


A few hours later

Xander's friends had left for home, they'd come back the next few nights to finish it. The lawyers too, had gone to their motel. The next day they would go to LA for the transcript, so they had to get up early. Xander was moving across the garden, with the two slayers and the former key, blindfolded, following him, running around, thus training their energy sense. He was doing mental exercises with Cordelia at the same time, now doing very gentle thrust and defensive maneuvers inside their minds.

"It's getting late," Anya commented, looking at the three girls running around. Dawn usually turned to the right direction first, but the Slayers arrived close to Xander due to their speed. "Isn't it about time we get to bed?"

"You're right, Anya," Xander said and stopped moving around. The girls removed their blind folds. "Pretty good," Xander commented. "We're going to do one little test." Xander ran behind the house, and came back moments later with a stand and a large piece of marble. It was easily a half meter wide and thirty centimeters high. Xander put the stand down, and placed the marble on it. It was now about chest high for the girls. "Show me what you've got. Buffy, you first."

Buffy's face contorted and said, "You want me to try and destroy a piece of marble!?"

Xander nodded and gestured to the block, "Use what I taught you."

Buffy swallowed nervously, and placed herself in front of the marble. She focused and punched as hard as she could. A tiny crack appeared in the marble, and the block moved back slightly. Buffy pulled her hand away and shook it to get rid of the tingling and slight pain, looking at the marble in disappointment. She had hoped Xander had somehow thought she could break it, if he had, he was definitely wrong. Xander, though, nodded as if his suspicions had been confirmed. "Faith," he suggested.

Faith placed herself in front of the stone, focused like Buffy did, performed the same with her energy and punched with a scream. The tiny crack, turned into a tiny star. Faith looked at the stone with irritation, she had the urge to pick it up smash it on the floor and go medieval on it, until was reduced to tiny little pieces.

Once more Xander nodded, "Dawn." The whole group gasped in shock.

"Xander!" Wesley called horrified, his British accent increases. "You can't let her do that. She'll break every bone in her hand."

Xander's eyes glittered with mirth and gave them a deep smirk. "Dawn," he said again. Dawn remembered what her answer was to trusting him on top of the tower, so what if he was wrong and broke a few fingers, big deal, she was still alive wasn't she.

"Dawn," Buffy called out concerned. "I forbid it, Dawn." Dawn gave Xander a look and he nodded a 'go ahead' to her. Buffy bit her lip, she had the urge to pull Dawn away, but she saw the look Xander gave her now, 'I'll hold you back.'

"Xander," Giles snapped, he didn't respond.

Wesley and Willow tried simultaneously with the same result. "Go, Dawn!" Anya cheered. The whole group looked at her like she was crazy. She sat back in her chair, Xander knew what he was doing when it came to this stuff.

"Go on, Dawn. Just like I showed you yesterday, slightly through your knees, face the stone fully, hands at your side and focus your energy. You know how to do it, let it flow, don't force it," Xander said, and watched Dawn do exactly as he said. The Scooby Gang looked with extreme tension. Suddenly Dawn screamed, pulled her arm back, started the punch, focused her chi and smashed her fist into the block. With an audible bang the block of marble shattered down the middle, sending shards flying everywhere, and leaving to pieces to the side intact but flying off the pedestal as if they weighed nothing.

The whole group of doubters and Dawn looked on in shock. Dawn looked at her hands, she had felt the impact but there was no pain or tingling. She tested her hand by flexing it. No ill effects.

Faith suddenly closed her dropped jaw, placed her arms across her chest and said, not willing to believe little Dawn was stronger than her, "It's because we weakened it for her."

Xander grinned at her. "I knew someone would bring that up." He disappeared back behind the house, where the construction materials for the outer wall of the gravity gym lay, and came back with a bigger, more-indestructible-looking piece of marble. He placed it on the stand and said, "Dawn." In astonishment the Scooby Gang looked as she managed the feat a second time.

Xander grinned, "Yep, I'm right, I was wrong the first time. Having the key in her didn't sensitize her to energy, it's more like she's had almost a year of intense energy training. She must constantly have been equalizing the - to her body - alien energy subconsciously in order to keep it from crushing her own life force and killing her. With the speed you two are going you'll surpass her in say a week or two, but at the moment Dawn can kick your butts."

"Hmm, that's good to know," Dawn said with a big mischievous smile. "Now what shall I be doing in the next week or so."


Two days later

"We're done people! One and a half days ahead of schedule, no safety compromises. What do we do!?" Xander called to his crew.

"WE RULE!" they shouted. They laughed afterwards, their foreman was weird, but a good kind of weird.

"That's what I want to hear! All right then, for those who have vacation coming up, like me, enjoy your extra one and a half day of vacation. For those of you who don't, the big boss expects you to come get your new assignment tomorrow. See you all in three weeks," Xander called and the crew started to leave the finished house.


Out in the desert
Afternoon, two hours later

Tara and Willow sat down on a few stones nearby, they had insisted on coming, even when Xander had told them it would probably be boring.

"Ok, guys, today we learn how to fly," Xander said, looking at the three girls standing in front of him. They made several exclaims of joy and excitement. Especially Dawn, flying had been what she had been looking out for, to do.

"You want to go up," Xander said sternly, silencing the girls, "You simply push your energy downward, you'll ride the wave. Don't strain, don't push yourself, just do it gently. And think happy thoughts, the less happy you are, the more dark and brooding you're thinking, the more in interferes with your energy flow, and as long as you haven't figured out yet how to do it, it will keep you from learning. Go for it."

"That's it?" Buffy asked disbelieving. "That's all you're going to tell us, push downward, be happy and go for it."

Xander grinned and leisurely let himself move into a horizontal position, back downward and relaxed. "Would you prefer, that I picked you up, flew you to where planes fly, let you go and told you, if you don't learn how to fly before you land, you're dead?"

Buffy grumbled, the three girls started to focus. Dawn tried a jump and landed back down. She jumped again, and again, her tongue sticking out her mouth in concentrations. The two witches stifled a laugh audibly. "This isn't working," Buffy commented, as Faith started jumping up as well, much higher than Dawn though.

"Hey, it took me two years," Xander said, looking out from under the arm he had placed across his eyes to shield them from the sun. "I'm not expecting you to actually do it today."

"What!?" Willow exclaimed in shock, they were going to sit here and watch them do nothing the whole afternoon.

"I warned you two it would be boring," Xander told them with a grin. The witches looked at each other for a moment and then returned to watching the girls as Buffy tried her sister's and fellow Slayer's tactic. The witches couldn't keep from laughing out loud at the sight of the three girls jumping up and down and a guy leisurely lying in mid air. Xander peaked from under his arm again and grinned, "You can jump all you want, girls, but that won't do you any good."


One and a half hour later the girls were still jumping up and down or concentrating really hard while standing on the floor.

"Xander was right," Tara commented, lying flat on her stomach, her head supported on her under arms. "This is boring."

"Uh, huh," Willow agreed next to her.

Tara looked at the girls for a few more seconds and then got an epiphany. She rolled up and over and then jumped off the rock. "What are you doing?" Willow asked, too lazy to get up.

Tara grinned back and whispered to herself, "Let's see . . . push energy down and think happy thoughts. Shouldn't be too hard." Tara focused, stood on the ground for a short time without anything happening. Willow sat up, intrigued. Suddenly Tara flew up into the air. Tara smiled, this was fun. Then she realized something, she shrieked and started flapping her hands. "XANDER! HOW DO YOU STOP!?!?!?!?"

The Slayers and Dawn stopped their rather sweaty efforts and looked up at the flying and flapping witch. Xander removed his hand and looked at the girl as well, as she screamed in fear again. "Just push your energy in the opposite direction!"

*Duh!* Tara thought to herself, embarrassed she hadn't figured that one out herself. She slowed down and looked around herself and then downward. She felt a shock go through her, if she lost it now she'd drop to her death. She calmed herself nothing the matter, she was just flying! She shuddered once and then started to experiment, very soon she was making screws, loops and everything else could think off. "THIS IS SO FANTASTIC!!" she screamed in pleasure. She was so free! "Willow! Get up here, you'll love it. It's easy, just like floating a pen, only far more fun!" she yelled down.

Willow - who had been looking upward in astonishment and pride - yelled back, "OK!" She stood up, and mumbled to herself, "Just like floating a pen. Push energy down and . . ." Willow flew up, looking down and the rock that was getting smaller. "WHOOOW!" she exclaimed in pleasure. She was starting to make the same stunts as Tara, then Tara swooped in and took her girlfriend in an embrace. They were floating upside down and Tara gave Willow a passionate kiss, their energy fields embracing each other just like their bodies were. The invisible energy prickled along each other's bodies quickly aroused Willow. "Mmm," she said, reducing the kiss to just the lips, "Now I know why Anya was going on about flying sex all day yesterday. If just kissing is this good." Tara smiled as she felt herself blush in reaction to Willow's comment.

"Figures," Buffy commented in frustration, she put her hands in her side. "We're jumping here and trying like a bunch of chickens without a head for over an hour, and the witches do it without even trying."

Dawn scratched her head, if they could do it, so should she. Like Xander had said, she actually had a lot more chi, life force that the others. She bent through her knees a little, closed her eyes and focused, energy down. Yes! It was happening, she felt herself getting lighter. A bit more, just a little change in the frequency of the energy she was emitting and . . . Dawn flew slowly up in the air. She opened her eyes and screeched, "YES!!!" She exerted more energy, she was getting the hang of it. Tara was right, this wasn't difficult at all, now that she was doing it. She tried a few stunts and squealed in delight.

"Of course, my kid sister magically created by Russian monks, learns how to fly before I do . . . what am I saying?! I'm about ready to throw myself in the loony bin," Buffy muttered almost imperceptibly, shaking her head in frustration.

"THAT'S IT!" Faith raged, all her anger erupting, fists that she balled above her head snapped down. Between standing and jumping there like an idiot, having two witches do what she had been trying to do without effort, B's kid sister upstaging her in more ways than one, and that ankle bracelet that was annoying the hell out of her, giving her the urge to scratch the skin underneath it every two seconds, Faith had reached her boiling point. A white chi flame erupted around her and she shot into the air like a rocket.

"Slow down a bit, Faith!" Xander called after her, as all the others just looked up in awe.

Faith looked down at Xander's calling and she got the shock of her life. They were all but dots to her. She screamed in fear, then she remembered; push you energy the other way. She shot back downward, and she yelled out her fear, the ground was coming closer rapidly and her whole body had jarred from the g forces. She pushed her energy to her right, and shot to her left only ten meters above the floor. Faith screamed again and started to bounce around the air like a pinball in a pinball machine.

"Faith, calm down!" Xander yelled at her upright now. "You have to stop putting so much energy in your movements."

After fifteen seconds of bouncing around and a group of people's heads following Faith around, she finally calmed down enough to gently come to a stop in front of Xander. The fear on her face slowly ebbed away. "Hey, that was kind of fun," she said, now grinning. The Scooby Gang threw their heads in their necks and groaned in frustration.

"Well," Xander commented, a little at a loss for words. "I guess I over estimated Dawn's lead a bit. You haven't produced a visible chi flame yet, Dawn." Dawn nodded and looked in astonishment at Faith. "Violently increasing your energy output using your emotions was something I had been planning on teaching you after the trial, but you just did it all on your own. This pretty much makes it obvious The Slayer has an edge when it comes to energy battles." Xander looked back down at Buffy, who was still behind Dawn and Faith before her outburst.

Faith looked at her hands in astonishment, looking at the energy field surrounding them, and the low hum it generated, as she calmed down it faded out. She forced her energy, without using her emotions this time, in the same configuration and the chi flame returned. "Whoa," she blurted out.

Buffy had had enough, she was the only one still on the ground. She tried in frustration again and nothing happened. *Happy thoughts, happy thoughts. Think, I must have had happy thoughts in the past,* she suddenly gave an mischievous grin. *Ghost induced super sex endurance, now those are <good> thoughts.* Buffy tried again and gently lifted off the ground. "Oooh," she cooed, and only afterwards realized she was flying. She blushed and hoped Xander wasn't reading her mind at that moment, or that it was obvious to the others which 'happy thoughts' she was using. She was soon joining the others in their areal acrobatics.

Xander smiled in satisfaction, now this were fast learners. It was starting to get time to teach them basic energy blasts.

Suddenly, Xander felt like he was being restricted. As he looked downward, he saw several rings of green plasma enveloping him and he felt his strength being zapped. Soon it was difficult to even speak.

"Xander!" Buffy who was closest exclaimed as she saw Xander trapped in some green fluorescent rings of plasma. In horror she watched how Xander seemed to slump and then slowly turned around his axis. Fifteen people came out of hiding a short distance away.

The Scooby Gang shot downward and placed themselves in between Xander and the group of people, men and women. "I can't feel their energy," Faith said, getting worried.

"Masking spell," Tara and Willow said in unison.

"Out of our way," the female leader of the group commanded. "We have to eliminate him."

"Screw you," Dawn told them, angrily.

"You don't understand who you're dealing with. He's the Sedra Soli, he's pure evil, he'll destroy the world. He's already killed a god, her name was Xiara," one of the other witches told them.

"Yeah, we know, we were there, and the bitch tried to kill us and him first," Buffy told them starting to lose her patience. "Let Xander go."

The group of witches were surprised, this wasn't in the script. The ultimate evil destroyer of the world has friends? Or at least some brainwashed cretins? "Get out of the way, we're on a time table here," the leader ordered.

Willow got angry, she walked forward, allowing her power to spark, her eyes turned black, and she said, "You will release Xander now, or I'll release my anger on you." The leader involuntarily took a step back and Willow's display, she had to be a very powerful witch if she could change her eyes like that, but then recovered, she was surrounded by fourteen of the most powerful witches in America, her Coven, one witch no matter how powerful could never stand against them.

"Or I'll release Xander, and he'll show you his anger," Tara added with a grim look on her face. "What he'll do to you will be infinitely worse than what Willow can do."

"Listen," the leader said, this time she sounded actually angry. "You've got fifteen seconds to get out of the way and then we'll go straight through you, understand?"

"No," Faith added her two cents worth. She continued, angrily, "You've got five seconds to release Xander and leave, before I get angry, and believe me, you don't want me angry. . . 5 . . ." Faith's white chi flame burst forth around her, her anger slowly taking control. The witches looked at her in astonishment, she was actually giving them an ultimatum. They were unsure of the white flame around her though, they'd seen her use it flying, but they had no clear idea where it came from and how powerful it was. "4 . . ." They did feel that with every number the girl counted she got angrier and the energy the white flame was exuding went up along with it. "3 . . ."

Xander laughed, hard. He had finally beaten the little things, they still kept him bound and powered down, but at least he was talking now. "You, fools actually think this pathetic stuff can hold me?" The Scooby Gang looked back at him startled, they powered down automatically.

"I say it's holding you pretty good," she answered him grimly, this was starting to look bad.

"No, it isn't," Xander grinned mischievously. He turned slightly so he was facing her. "What's the matter? Scared?"

"We don't have to scare you . . ." the woman started.

"Let me guess," Xander interrupted her. Grinning evilly, put all his might in a simple predatory stare that was starting to get her very worried. "Because I'm worn out right? I wasted all my energy fighting two gods and now I can't defend myself. Quick, hurry, before he regenerates, now's your only chance to kill me," Xander said, smirking at her, the stare stayed. Something was wrong if his mind was still able to put all the pieces together. The rings were not affecting him as they should. With a mental command to her coven, they increased the power to the rings, horrifically he only shuddered once and continued with that eery smirk on his face. "The arrogant mortal burned himself out in his evil conquests, and now you must finish him off to save the world. Am I right? Is that what your god told you? Or did a disembodied force of nature tell you to kill me while you were communing with it, well?" Xander kept his smirk, and pauzed dramatically then said, "There is only one flaw in that theory . . . I didn't burn out, I powered down." Xander roared, and the golden glow of the Super Saiyan enveloped him, his eyes turned emerald green and as his hair stood up and turned golden as well, the green rings shattered under the raw amount of power.

The Scooby Gang looked astounded again, the transformation just never ceased to amaze them. Dawn, Faith and Buffy staggered under its power, their new energy senses unprepared for such a sudden increase in power. As the power stayed up, their senses slowly adapted to handle it. Xander floated forward, his chi flame pulsing constantly. The witches backed up in fear and awe. His power was so immense. Once Xander was in front of his friends, the witches regained their composure. "Attack," the woman in command ordered, and all fifteen witches started firing all kinds of energy balls and beams at Xander. All of them after whispering our saying a spell out loud. Xander took the attacks without even bothering to raise a shield. He just looked at them with his unyielding terrifying green stare.

Once the dust settled, and Xander stood there without an ounce of damage, the witches looked more fearful. "All together," the leader announced and they pointed their hands at Xander. "Goddess Hecate," they all chanted together in union. "Work thy will, before thee make the unclean thing crawl."

Willow only managed to mutter, "They're going to turn Xander into a rat." But it was too late, the witches' beams - each having pink, yellow, red and white in it - shot out from their hands combined to become one big giant beam and shot forward hitting Xander. He was instantly cocooned by the magic light, as it tried to penetrate his chi flame. Where it started to, the combination of his flame and the magic light turned into a bright light green glow. Xander assessed the situation and then screamed, his power jumped upward rapidly, the chi flame grew and it burned the magic light away. The beam of magic light disintegrated under Xander's power and the witches staggered back under the influence of the feedback. The desert sand that Xander's power blasted away from him didn't help either, it even flung the Scoobies back a bit.

"Magic," Xander grinned as he lowered himself to the floor, then slowly started walking toward the group of witches as they pulled themselves free of the sand. "Definition: the change of reality in a hyper-dimensional or quantum mechanical manner caused by pure mental ability. You want to perform it, you need to create a hyper-dimensional connection or quantum mechanical entanglement, or both. Guess what all this raw energy prevents, hmm? You want to overcome this, you'll have to become a whole lot more powerful."

[Start Xander Super Saiyan Level 2 Theme] Xander stopped in the middle of the group, and said, "I don't think you understand what you're up against. This is the level of power I used to kill your precious Xiara, before was the power I needed to kill the hell goddess Glorificous. Now to make you understand." Xander screamed and his power with up a fifty fold, the glow around him intensified, sand blasted away instantaneously revealing the rocky ground underneath it. The witches grabbed onto everything they could grab onto. The rocky ground cracked into a star under the onslaught of this new power, and a powerful shockwave rocked the desert. Super Saiyan Level 2 was unleashed onto the Earth.


San Francisco

" . . .and . . ." Prue Halliwell was saying, as she got interrupted.

Phoebe's knees buckled as she grabbed her head. She howled in pain and landed on all fours. Their sisters cried out her name and knelt down seeing what was going on.

"Incredible," she whispered as the pain lessened.


Sunnydale, cemetery

Spike performed an punch in the empty air, as his own newly awakened senses got assaulted.

He looked toward where Xander was and saw only the walls of his crypt. "That bloody, bastard! He wasn't only toying with Glory, but . . ."


The desert

" . . .he was toying with Xiara, too," Faith said in awe looking at the newly transformed Xander, as she got back up and dug herself from the pile of sand. The rest of the Scoobies were just sitting or lying down looking and Xander in shock. Powerful electric discharges coursed through the once tranquil golden flame, which had now seemed to become alive and angry. Xander's hair stood much straighter on his head and two hairs waved in front of his face, both starting in the middle and then each going off in another direction, one hanging to the left the other to the right. They were not unlike Gohan's singular hair in front of his face.

Xander turned his head down to look at the leader of the witches crawling out of a pile of sand deposited around a rock. She looked up him, still on her hands and knees, as the other witches slowly appeared from the sand as well. Her eyes showed fear at the new transformation, the aura was so much more intense it was visible, the electric discharges gave him an air of untouchability. The hair that now stood much more straighter relayed more of the new power to the woman's visual cortex, it made Xander look extremely angry, which he was, the eyes showed the same; they were colder, more deadly. With the new power there came a new level of anger and ruthlessness that was all too present in the transformation, making the witches shudder in fear.

"Do you understand now? <I> <do> <not> <burn> <out>," Xander told her forcibly. His powerful gaze drilled straight into the woman's eyes. "Now, to make you really understand." Xander powered up further, the roar sent chills through all of them. His power surged further making the witches look at him in terror. The rock beneath Xander's feat cracked more, then where his feet stood the rock just snapped in a vertical position. Xander bend lightly forward reaching deep withing himself where the power for Super Saiyan 3 resided. He knew there was no way he could reach that level, but the additional power boost would make an impressive show.

"No, way. This is insane," Tara yelled over the sound of Xander's energy. She actually needed the technique necessary to fly to keep standing. Was that a vibration in the ground she felt? She looked down and saw the others do the same. They were all correct! It started as a low hum, then a gentle throbbing, then it felt like a small Earthquake. The ground was shaking and now they needed all their focus to keep standing on the shaking ground.


Seismography Center LA

"What in blazes!?" the man exclaimed looking at the paper read out. He checked the computer, "Huh!?"

"What's going on?" his supervisor asked.

"I've got an Earthquake, but it isn't an Earthquake. It's on the surface," he explained dumbfounded.

"Impact?" his supervisor asked.

"No, it's still going on. An impact would be one bang and then it would go away rapidly," the man said.

"You're right," the supervisor said looking astonished at the computer readout. "Pinpointed on a position within a twenty by twenty meter square?"

The man nodded, "It's like with the experiment of the British schoolchildren all jumped up and down at the same time a few months back, only all those few million children are jumping in one spot."

In other seismography centers around the world, similar conversations were held.


Xander stopped his power up and he turned toward the leader of the witches. He walked a few steps and then squatted down. "Do you understand? You don't stand a chance against me. I can stay like this whole days, I can go to sleep like this, and whenever I start losing power, some food and rest is all I need to replenish it." Xander told her. She looked at the compact figure and the enormous amount of power he was putting out. The electrical discharges were terrifying. The cold, angry look in his eyes sent chills down her spine. This would be the end, wouldn't it? Then he smiled and his face softened. "You've been had, whoever told you I should be eliminated is playing you like fools. Whoever wanted me dead, and was planning this assault must have known I wasn't burned out, I've gone Super before today and after I killed Xiara. He or she knew your chances were virtually nothing, but better send in some cannon fodder and hope they get lucky than attack me themselves. That's what the Powers That Be are you know: pure evil, the earth and all those on it that they manipulate is just their ultimate version of Big Brother. I don't blame you for not knowing, they have been manipulating the Earth for at least eleven thousand years. And I'm going to make them pay for it, all the demons and all the gods are going down. Humanity will finally be free." Xander looked across the planes for a moment and said, "You're free to go." He turned around and started walking back to his friends. All the witches looked stunned at his revelation. Then he stopped and turned around, suddenly his dark, cold and angry expression was back on his face, "But make no mistake, you ever attack me again or get in my way, I will wipe you out. Understand?" The witches nodded silently, now that there was nothing left to do but contemplate Xander's words and evaluate their actions and the gods they obeyed, they teleported back home.

"Incredible," Dawn whispered, now looking at the new and improved Xander.

"Super Saiyan 2," Xander told his friends with a smile. He allowed himself to stay powered up for a while, so everybody could see, then powered down to his normal self. "Well, since everyone can fly, once the trial is over, we start learning how to fire energy attacks." [End Xander Super Saiyan Level 2 Theme]


Court Room 11
Friday, early morning

"Your honor," Bobby started, as he walked up to the judge. "I must protest to the way my client has been treated. It is downright scandalous. She was tried here in LA, while she should have been tried in Sunnydale. On top of that, none of the witnesses we'll see during these proceedings have been present during the first trial, in fact they weren't even appraised that there was a trial. It seems my client was quickly stuffed away, because she knows things that can get some very well known people and certain people in Sunnydale in a lot of trouble. In light of these facts . . ." He placed a folder with papers on the Judge's desk, containing the transcript and several papers concerning Faith's first trial. ". . . I feel, before we continue with this trial, we should remove the first trial's verdict, call it a miss trial and make this one a trial that includes the crimes that she was tried for a year ago."

"Mr. Donnell," the judge started, delicately. "I agree with you that the first trial was horrifically handled, and I intend to find out how it could possibly have happened in such a matter, but since she confessed and did not allow her attorney to do much more than use that confession, I cannot just remove that verdict, however . . ."

"Your honor," Bobby interrupted the judge. "I would like to point out that my client was back then and still is a minor, she could never be expected to fully grasp what the consequences of her decisions were."

"Mr. Donnell, do not interrupt me again," the judge told the lawyer sternly. "Now, since this state allows minors to be tried as adults if the offense is grave enough, and multiple murder is grave enough, I agree with that policy and since she confessed I cannot remove that verdict. If she hadn't confessed I'd consider that miss trial in a heart beat, but she did. Now, I'll continue where you so rudely interrupted me, <however> I will take what happened, or rather what didn't happen in the first trial, and whatever circumstances you will undoubtedly present to us, into account where it comes to her sentence. That means I might very will shorten, or change the form of the sentence she's been given in the first trial. I'm certain that's acceptable, Mr. Donnell."

When Xander noticed Donnell was about to argue the point he leaned forward in between Faith and Lindsay. "Accept it, now!" he hissed softly.

Lindsay felt the certainty in Xander's voice and she quickly stood up and said, "That is acceptable, your Honor." Bobby turned around and raised a questioning eye brow.

The DA stood up and started, "Your honor . . ."

"Mr. Schwarz," the judge snapped already knowing what he would be going on about. He picked up the pile of transcript papers, "I'm certain you have read the same transcript I have, and I'm certain you have the same misconceptions about these. Consider yourself lucky I haven't removed this completely, I'm certain some judges would have. Would you like me to turn this case over to one of them?"

"No, your honor," the DA answered.



Two hours later

Faith was bored. She sat in the defendant's seat, doing nothing, but she managed to pay attention anyhow, this was too important to miss. For an hour she had seen her lawyers and the prosecution ask questions to potential jurors and eliminating or picking them according to their answers. She was clothed in a business suit, skirt ending just above her knees, a shiny, tight top with just a little cleavage, a jacket, and high heeled shoes. It actually felt pretty comfortable even after wearing it for over an hour, which was something she hadn't expected after trying it on for the first time in the store. The skirt and jacked were a matching dark, pale green. She was made up immaculately, courtesy of Anya, light red lipstick. Her eyes were lightly done, but enough so her eyes looked light and beautiful, not like the heavy black she usually wore. Her cheeks were kept mostly natural.

"Do you believe in a god?" Bobby asked one of the potential jury members.

"Yes," the man answered.

"Do you believe in multiple gods, or consider the possibility of entities so vastly powerful they are everything but a god," Bobby asked.

"No," he answered.

"Have you ever been attacked or seen others get attacked by something you could not explain?" Bobby asked neutrally.

"No," the man answered. Bobby shook his head at the judge and he motioned the man away.

"Rather odd questioning," the judge commented with a lifted eyebrow, finally unable to keep his curiosity down.

"It's not," Bobby answered with a smile. He went on to the next one, a woman. After asking the standard question he asked, "Do you have a faith?"

"Yes, I'm a Wiccan," the woman answered with a lovely smile.

"So you believe in . . ." Bobby started.

She interrupted him already knowing what he was going to ask, "Yes, I believe in the existence of supernatural forces of nature, and on occasion the embodiment of those forces in a god. I also believe in the existence of demons."

"Thank you, she can stay," Bobby answered.

"Mr. Schwartz?" the judge asked.

"No problem, your honor," he answered.

Bobby went to the next man, a big man obviously with muscles. "Do you believe in a god?"

"Yes, but I do not believe in any of the crap you just mentioned," the man answered.

"Take him," Xander leaned forward and whispered to whispered to Lindsay. Lindsay looked at him disbelieving. "Trust me."

"We'll take him your honor," Lindsay answered as she stood up. The judge looked at the DA and he nodded his agreement.

"Good, that was fourteen wasn't it?" the judge asked.

"Yes, your honor," the bailiff answered.

"Anything else before the trial starts?" the judge asked.

"Yes, you honor," Lindsay said, standing up. The judge gestured for her to continue. "We would like to do this without any press in the room, your honor. Some of the things in this trial do not belong on the six o'clock news. Especially some parts of Faith's life that she would prefer to keep as private as possible."

The judge looked at the DA who answered, "I would prefer no press as well, your honor."

"Good, we reconvene in two hours. Give everybody some time to get lunch and smear the throats. Bailiff, the press stays out then," the judge ordered and the courtroom started emptying after the bailiff gave an acknowledgment.

"Was there something I didn't know," Bobby asked Lindsay who was getting up out of the bank.

She nodded toward Xander and said, "He knows something we don't know."

Xander grinned mysteriously and answered, "Something I didn't know until I saw the guy."

They walked out the courtroom, the rest of the gang waiting for them there. Bobby asked, "What about accepting the judge's offer? I think I should have argued the point."

Xander shook his head, "This is the same guy that allowed Faith to stay with me for the past few days." Lindsay and Bobby widened their eyes in comprehension, Xander didn't have to explain any further, as smiles appeared on the lawyers' faces, but he did anyway. "He's the kind of judge that considers justice his primary concern, following every little rule isn't. He's the kind of judge that would set a precedent or overturn an older precedent with a new one. If he says he'll reconsider Faith's sentence based on what he heard, trust me, he'll do it and then some."


Two hours later the bailiff announced, "Case of the people vs. Faith Williams, honorable judge Daniel Killian presiding. All rise."

Everybody rose and the judge took his seat. Everybody sat back down. "Mr. Schwartz, you have the room."

The DA stood up and walked to in front of the jury. "Ms. Williams has murdered several people. She confessed to these crimes herself, and was convicted for them. She broke out of the penitentiary she was placed in, only to steal a razor sharp battle ready sword. Ms. Williams would like you to overlook those facts, just because she returned the sword, and turned herself back in. This is unacceptable, she knew what she did was wrong, and that any such actions would mean increase in the time she'd be incarcerated. Just saying 'I'm sorry' must not become an instant way of sentence reduction. If Jeffrey Dahmer, Jack the Ripper or Hannibal Lector after escaping came to you and said, 'I'm sorry', would you tell them, 'Hey, no problem. You're innocent, go back and have nice time in prison?' I didn't think so, and neither should you with that girl, no matter how nice she looks, or whether she flashes you an innocent look." The DA went back to his seat.

Lindsay stood up and went to the same place as the DA. "We do not contest she committed those crimes, and neither does Ms. Williams, if she did, she wouldn't have turned herself in, and she wouldn't be sitting here. We will not say, 'I'm sorry' and expect you to just do nothing about the new crimes, or even recommend the judge he should reduce the sentence because she did. What we are going to do, is give you glimpse of a life you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy. We'll show you why she escaped prison, and why she stole that sword, and what she needed it for, and what she did while out of prison. We will also show you which circumstances led to her choosing a criminal path in the first place, and why she turned herself in. We are convinced, you will look upon Ms. Williams with very different eyes, with the same eyes that we see her: a very disturbed girl that requires psychiatric therapy, and no prison." Lindsay returned to her seat.

Episode 12
Faith's Trial 2

It's All Real!!

The DA sat down, satisfied with Wesley's testimony, from Faith's murders, attempted murder of one Liam O'Rourke aka Angel to her torturing him once she was out of a coma.

Bobby got up and walked over to Wesley and asked, "What was your occupation two and half years ago, Mr. Wyndam-Price?"

"Uh . . ." Damn! How to explain this. Wesley thought quickly and answered, "Consultant for an overseas organization."

"That organization is the Watchers, or the Watchers' Council with headquarters in London, correct?" Bobby asked smoothly.

How the hell did he know that! Wesley quickly looked at Faith and Xander, Faith was looking intently and gravely at him. Xander gave him a smirk, and a glint that made it obvious. If he'd denied Bobby's question he knew that when Xander got to the stand, he would tell, and he didn't like facing charges of perjury. "Yes."

"Would you tell the court what the Watchers do?" Bobby asked calmly.

"Objection, your honor. What's the relevance of this?" Schwartz asked with annoyance.

The judge just looked at Bobby. "It's very relevant, your honor. Just give me a little time."

He gestured he should continue, and said, "Hurry it up."

Bobby inclined his head and turned back to Wesley, and gave him a gesture that he should answer. Wesley had enough time to figure out his answer and said, "The Watchers' Council specializes in finding, identifying and on occasion fighting the super natural."

"Ghostbusters, basically?" Bobby asked innocently.

Wesley gave Xander a dark look, who wiggled his eyebrows back. "No, more like demons, most notably vampires." Whispers and louder talk chorused through the court room.

"Order!" the judge called and slammed his hammer several times. Things became quite again.

"Yes, and the main way of battling these things in the Council's eyes is to find a specific set of girls, correct? Sometimes they even take them away from the parents, and then the Watchers train these girls to become perfect killers, correct? They are trained in martial arts, the most deadliest of weapons, how to rip people's hearts out with their bare hands?" Bobby asked allowing a little outrage to creep in his voice.

"Yes," Wesley answered irritated.

"What's so special about these girls?" Bobby asked gravely.

"Your honor!"

The judge looked at Bobby and said, "I told you to make it quick."

"This is where things get interesting, your honor," Bobby said, with an imploring look.

"Hurry up," the judge said.

Bobby turned back to Wesley. "They are all potential slayers," he answered, defeated. The guy knew everything.

"Is Faith such a girl?"

"Not any more," Wesley answered grimly.

Bobby looked thoughtful for a moment and asked, "So she's a slayer then." Wesley nodded. "What is a slayer, Mr. Wyndam-Price?"

Wesley sighed and said, "Every generation one girl is chosen. One girl in all the world. She's given the power to fight the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is The Slayer."

"How are they chosen, Mr. Wyndam-Price?" Bobby asked interested.

"When The Slayer dies, one of the potential ones is simply activated," Wesley answered, snapping his fingers once. "Nobody knows exactly how it happens." While Bobby continued to question Wesley there was a gently murmur of people whispering. The judge was too surprised to do anything about it.

"And once they are chosen?" Bobby asked.

"When they're chosen, we send them on patrol, they fight the vampires and the demons. We also look through old books of wisdom, for signs of something big, ways to beat demons, etc. etc.," Wesley explaining, hating to be put into this position. The noise level increased still.

"Quiet!" the judge ordered, finally fed up with the slowly increasing noise level. "You can't keep quiet, I'll throw you out!" That did it, everyone became quiet again.

"A watcher basically is to these girls," Bobby starting counting them off on his fingers, "father, mother, confidante, psychiatrist, laundry service, provider, trainer, and once called, general, leader, information provider . . . basically they watch over them in every shape and form, correct?"

"Hence the name watcher," Wesley answered.

"What was your function for the Council exactly, Mr. Wyndam-Price?" Bobby asked, his tone became less friendly.

"I was sent here from London to be Faith's and Buffy Summers' Watcher," Wesley answered dreading what was to come next.

"I though there was only one slayer?" Bobby asked, feigning confusion.

"Buffy drowned, a new slayer was called - who incidently died somewhat later and caused Faith to be called - before Buffy's death became permanent, however, she was brought back with CPR. It's a rather unique case, unprecedented in at least seven millennia," Wesley answered uncomfortable. A gasp when through the courtroom, from the jury to the audience to the judge. Xander eyes went wide, thinking, *Seven millennia!*

"So you were sent to watch over those girls, teach them, train them, be their father and mother, etc., etc.," Bobby asked, then his tone became dead calm, serious and almost cold. "Mr. Wyndam-Price, could you tell me Faith's birth date?"

Wesley blinked, he hadn't expected that question. "Uh . . . well . . ."

"Do you even know her birth date?" Bobby prodded sternly.

Wesley shifted in his seat uncomfortable and was forced to answer, "No, I don't. Everything went rather fast when I was sent over here. I didn't have the time to pick up her file and read through it."

Bobby looked at him incredulously, "Let me get this straight: you were sent here to watch over two girls, teach them, provide them with everything they need, render any help or assistance, and you didn't even bother to ask her, her birth date?"

"Oh, you two are good," Xander whispered in Lindsay's ear. She smiled.

"Not really, no," Wesley answered, swallowing uncomfortable and a blush formed on his face.

"That's why you hired us," Lindsay whispered back. Bobby arrived at the table and picked a paper and a photograph off it. He returned to the center of the room.

"Your honor," Bobby started and turned the two papers in plain sight of the Judge for a moment. "I'd like to enter into evidence, exhibits A and B, Faith's birth register and a photograph."

"You still think you won't get out, Faith?" Xander whispered, smiling. She gave him an uncertain smile back.

The judge nodded, and the secretary performed the required actions. "Mr. Wyndam-Price would you please read out loud Faith's birthdate?"

Wesley took the birth register and read, "August 17, 1983."

"That would make her seventeen, now, eighteen in two months," Bobby started calculating. "You arrived to be her watcher two and a half years ago, she was then . . ."

"A little under fifteen and a half," Wesley supplied even more ashamed, he was starting to get where this was going. The jury whispered over the young age a bit, as a few gasps came from the back of the room. Buffy and co had finally realized how young Faith really had been.

"Do you recognize what's in this picture, Mr. Wyndam-Price?" Bobby asked coldly.

Wesley looked, he saw several pictures printed on one leaf. They showed a barren room, barely the basics, nothing you would put you pets in and answered, "No."

Bobby turned toward the jury and give the picture to one of them. She looked at it and then passed it on. "That," Bobby explained, "is a picture of the motel room Faith stayed in for over half a year, at the young age of fifteen, there's a tv, if that's what one can call it, a bed, a cupboard, a closet, no hot water, cockroaches and a total coldly, barely decorated, utter loneliness. Good to spend a night or two, but you wouldn't even want a grown up in there for much longer, let alone a young girl."

"Why didn't you recognize it, Mr. Wyndam-Price?" Bobby asked a little angry.

"I've never been there," he answered ashamed.

"You're assigned to protect, watch over, teach, train, give therapy to a young teenage girl and you don't even go over where she lives even once? Did you even know her address?" Bobby asked angrily and incredulously.

"I did know her address and telephone number of the motel," he answered solemnly.

"Well, that's at least one plus," Bobby commented and then walked toward the table and picked up a third paper Lindsay had laid out for him and took it to the judge. "Exhibit C, your honor," Bobby said. The judge looked at the pictures on it and nodded.

Bobby went to Wesley, as the bailiff took the picture of Faith's motel room from the last juror to the evidence table. "Do you recognize these?" Bobby asked Wesley.

He nodded and answered guiltily, "That was my apartment in Sunnydale."

Bobby looked at the picture for a moment and nodded appreciatively, then gave it to a juror, and it was once more past around. "Nice, perfect place to watch over a girl, wouldn't you say?"

"Objection your honor," the DA exclaimed.

"Sustained, the jury will ignore that last remark," Judge Killian said.

Bobby waited until the jury was done with the picture. "After Faith tortured you, and Mr. O'Rourke came to your rescue, you freed yourself from your bindings, didn't you?" Bobby asked softer smiling grimly.

"Yes," Wesley answered.

"Then what did you do?" he prodded.

"I took a knife and went outside," Wesley answered severely.

"Outside?" Bobby prompted.

"They had fallen through the window," Wesley explained.

Bobby smiled slightly, "What did you find outside?"

Wesley grimaced, remembering, "Her in his arms, crying."

"Did she say anything? If so, what?" Bobby asked, the energy was out of the questions he was almost done.

"I couldn't hear everything," Wesley started, looking up at Bobby and turning toward the jury he continued, "but the basic gist was, 'I'm bad, I'm evil, you need to kill me, I don't deserve to live.'"

"Last question Mr. Wyndam-Price, you're one of her victims, do you think she belongs in a jail?" Bobby asked openly.

"Objection, your honor. You can't ask him where she does, or does not belong, he's not a judge," Mr. Schwartz got up and called.

"In some states we're asking family of victims to tell whether a guy should stay in jail when he's asked for hearing on whether he should get a new trial, and whether the guy has legitimate grounds and new evidence or not, the people on that little board usually let the guy speak but they've already made up their mind just on the testimony of the family, plus I'm interested, I'll allow it. Mr. Wyndam-Price," the judge told the DA.

"No, your honor. She belongs in a mental institution, but not a jail," Wesley answered gravely.

"No, further questions, your honor," Bobby told.

Judge Killian looked on his watch, "Nice, I say we adjourn until tomorrow morning 9:15. I'll see you all than."

When they walked out of the courtroom, Xander placed his sunglasses on his nose and said, "Well, then I'll be off to Sunnydale. The parts should be arriving before the evening. I'll start building the gym. Be back tonight."

The Scooby Gang nodded their ascent and then Xander walked off to find a private spot to blast off. "So, do you have a place to stay?" Tara asked the lawyers.

"Yes, and we've got some leads to follow up on," Lindsay answered them coolly. "We'll see you tomorrow."


That night

Lindsay walked into the seedy bar and looked around it. Men and women sat around the bar and at tables, some were chatting each other up. She saw two girls at a table with a guy on a turned-around chair, who just couldn't belong in this place, they were far too well made-up and dressed. Lindsay decided to ignore it, if they wanted to be here, that was their business. The bar was on the right of the room, covering about three quarters of the wall, leaving open an eighth on one side and an eighth on the other. Several rough looking men sat around the bar. The rest of the room was filled with tables. The floor was carpeted with something brown and the room was bathed in a low, yellowish light. The bar wasn't exactly packed, but it was filled enough not to consider it empty. There were at least a few people wherever she looked. She walked over the near side of the bar and tapped one of the men on the shoulder, nervously. "Excuse me," she said.

The man turned around and smiled gently, saying, "Yes, ma'am."

Well that was a relief. He wasn't as ill-mannered as he appeared. She sat down on the stool next to him, wishing again that Bobby had been with her, but they couldn't afford not to split up and double their chances. The just didn't have enough time. "I'm looking for a couple, that might have mentioned they were attacked a short time ago."

"Well, damn, lady. In this city people are getting attacked all the time," the Latin man with the big black mustache said. "You're going to have to be more specific than that."

Lindsay's eyes widened in surprise. Of all the possible answers she had never expected that. She gave the guy a once over, black jeans, heavy boots, and a blouse. The guy seemed to come straight out of a western, lacking only a hat. "They were attacked," she started, thinking to herself that, that was so, providing Faith hadn't hallucinated the whole deal. "In the night from Friday to Saturday, exactly a week ago, around five to six o'clock. A couple, man and woman, they would have told they were saved by a girl, the woman had highlights."

"Sorry," the man answered her sympathetically. "Haven't seen anyone fitting that description, or heard that story."

"Thanks," she said, and got off the stool. She walked over to the long side of the bar and put herself on an empty stool to the left of another guy. She asked him the same question and he answered with the same answer: he hadn't seen them or heard the story.

Lindsay was about to get off the stool and try the next guy when something caught her ear. She turned around, looked at the guy playing the two girls from better parts of town and yes there it was again. Her eyes widened in surprise. The guy got off his stool and turned around. This guy was wearing a cowboy hat, but the rest of his outfit was more for a biker. Tight leather pants, that were just loose enough so he could move around with ease. His jacket was leather as well and he was wearing a white tight fitting shirt underneath, which was probably a t-shirt. His hair, that was long enough to reach the back of his neck, but no further, had blonde highlights and he had a stubble beard. All in all, he was very attractive.

The man stopped next to her and said, "Ben, I wanna pay . . . add the girls' drinks to my bill."

"Got it, Andy," the bartender answered and started tapping his cash register.

"Isn't this city called The City of Angels?" Lindsay asked the leather clad guy.

The guy smiled and looked at her. He asked, "Tourist?"

Lindsay shook her head, "Lawyer."

"You're one of Faith Williams' lawyers?" a man sitting at the left short side of the bar asked.

Lindsay nodded. "Oh," the man said, in a tone that said, 'she needs to know'.

Andy stuck out his hand and Lindsay took it, "Andrew Dickenson," he introduced himself.

"Lindsay Doyle," she did. The bartender came to stand with them and placed his bill on the bar.

Andy pulled out his wallet and as he started getting out the right amount of money he told her, "Up town they call it The City of Angels, mostly for the tourists, although I'm pretty certain they know what's going on. Down here, we call it something different."

The big-mustached Latin guy she had asked first piped up from the right, "The City of Demons. The place is infected with it. Vampires, green demons, yellow demons, the works. Don't know why they're all here though."

The bartender took the money Andy had counted off and said, "There's supposed to be some sort of mystical convergence upstate and they're all drawn to it. Most demons stay here because they prefer the anonymity of the big city."

Andy signaled the two lovely girls he'd be with them soon, and added, "I've also heard there's something there that is seriously kicking their butts."

"The Hellmouth, the Slayer," Lindsay said, softly and dumbfounded. She was still considering the possibility these people had all lost it, but that were an awful lot of people who lost it in exactly the same manner.

"You're better informed than us, why did you bother asking?" Andy asked surprised.

"Simple," the second guy she had asked, sitting directly next to her answered, smiling. "She was told, didn't believe, now she wants confirmation."

Lindsay nodded embarrassedly. "There are four types of people in this city you see, one: the person who just doesn't believe, and doesn't want to believe and so will ignore and deny anything and everything he sees. Two: these people believe, they accept the super-natural, but since they don't have the knowledge or power to deal with it, ignore it's there, deny the existence to others, especially those who could dump you into an insane asylum and they simply keep going through the motions of life . . ."

The man to her left, who had guessed her job right earlier, continued, "Three: the people who know about the super-natural, acknowledge it's there and basically make it part of their everyday lives. Witches, practitioners of magic, users of talismans, and other stuff, they are however not powerful or desperate enough to fight the good fight against the bad things, and just generally try to avoid the things."

"Then there's us," the guy to Lindsay's right said, and Lindsay turned to face him. "Category number 4: the people who know about the stuff, and are too desperate, or washed-up, general losers, to care about their lives. Or they're too good to have to have to worry about it, or they feel that sacrificing their life is worth it, if they take out enough of the bad things before they go. We fight these things, we try to understand these things and how to kill them, then we go do it. We leave the harmless ones alive, we don't have the numbers or the powers to actually try to take all of them out, and they give us some interesting information now and ten."

"Top dogs in our category, Angel Investigations. And than there are them," Andrew grinned and pointed at the two rich girls. "Too rich, protected and spoiled to heed the warnings about this part of town. They come here looking for thrills, and we're happy to oblige. Give them a little tour of the forbidden part of town, demon often comes in, we kill, perform the part of Knight in Shining Armor, and arousing violence, and they are very happy, if you know what I mean." Andy grinned mischievously and Lindsay couldn't help but smile up at him, giving the girls a quick look.

"You don't suppose you could show me, do you?" Lindsay asked a small part of her still demanding proof.

"Sorry," Andy answered grinning. "Ask one of the others. I've never had a threesome before, I'm not passing up this opportunity." He was about to go join his girls and then turned back at her with an erotic smile and added, "Unless you want to make it a foursome?"

Lindsay looked up at him in surprise, then answered, "Uh . . . no." Andrew shrugged, smiled and then walked away. She watched him and the two girls go. Angel Investigations! Faith's friends, she was intrigued. "Tell me about Angel Investigations," she asked to no-one in particular.

"Ah," the guy to the left answered. "The pros. You see, these are in it for the long run. They specialize in taking these things out. They're the best. They've been here what? Two years?"

Several of the other people around the bar nodded. "Ever since they got here, the demon population and the number of deaths and disappearances have gone down. These guys take on whole hordes of demons, I wouldn't dare face one of, and they come out on top. They wipe out whole nests of vampires like they're nothing, and there're only four of them, one of them a girl who's more the secretary, making them only three active members."

The Latin guy to Lindsay's right piped up, "Oh, yeah. What sets them apart is, they know how to kill these things, all of those things. These things aren't easy to kill, some are downright indestructible. They might not even feel the impact of a bullet, they have hides your average stakes or axes just bounce off of, things that if we go up against them alone, or even en mass, we'd be dead, simply because we can't kill 'em. But Angel Investigations, they know how to kill these things and do. Case in point, up until a couple of months ago there was a giant monster living in the sewers must have been a hundred feet at least; saw it once a couple of years ago when I was chasing a vampire. I got out of there and never went back down. A couple of months ago I hear stories it's dead. I go check, it was dead all right, axe- and sword-cuts, is all I could find on the pieces of the corpse. Now I can't prove it, but I tell you, it was them." The people nodded in consent.

Lindsay felt like her whole world had been put upside down. "Thanks, guys," she said and started to get off the stool.

"Hey, Lady," the man to her right stopped her with his call. "Keep Faith out of jail. You know Wolfrom & Hart and what they do?" Lindsay nodded. "Well, they own at least one guard at Faith's jail. My cousin is locked in there as well. The halfwit says he thought the white powder was powdered sugar." He snorted disbelieving, he apparently didn't have much faith in his cousin. "Anyway they sent in two demons to kill her, demons I wouldn't want to tangle with if I had everyone here as backup. Both came back out dead. The second with a warning, send in another one and she'd escape prison, kill the entirety of Wolfram & Hart and then she'd go back in prison. They haven't dared send in another. Whoever that girl is, she'll do a lot more good out here."

The rest of the people at the bar nodded. Lindsay blinked, gave her ascent and left the bar. She started toward their hotel, thinking constantly about what she had heard. It just couldn't be just crazy people. Yet how do you believe ridiculous claims like that. A hundred meters further, just as she was about to convince herself those people were nuts after all, a strong hand grabbed her arm, pulled her inside an alley and roughly bounced her against the wall. She felt how the wind left her lungs and she couldn't keep standing. She sank down to her buttocks and looked up in fear. The white man, dressed all in leather, looked down with a bloodthirsty grin.

"Oh," he sneered. "You are <really> nice. I may just keep you and make you my slave. But first, food." The man's face twisted in a horrible visage, teeth elongated turning in a mouthful of vicious, bloodsucking tools, his brows and nose became more pronounced and the eyes became an eery hollow golden. Lindsay looked on in shock, frozen in fear. The vampire dipped downward to get at her jugular.

He was interrupted by a voice calling, "Hey, dick head, how about you try that with me."

The vampire got back up and looked deeper into the alley directly at Charles Gunn. "Listen, nigger," the vampire growled in annoyance. "You leave now, before I eat you too."

"That's it," Gunn growled back. Nobody called him that word, definitely not some white, undead, demonized vampire of pure evil. He pulled out a stake and attacked. He threw a punch and the vampire caught it easily, then squeezed.

"I don't know what you've been facing, nigger," the vampire grinned and growled at the same time, as he saw the pain in Gunn's face. "But if you think that will do against me, it must not have been much." Gunn kicked his foot in the vampire's stomach. The vampire let go of Gunn's fist, but other than that, it didn't make the vampire do anything, but grab the stake out of Gunn's other hand and giving him a right cross. Gunn went down hard as he heard the stake being crushed. "I'm over two hundred years old, I've fought in the War of Independence, what makes you think a two-bit punk like you can beat me?"

Gunn kicked back and got the vampire in his right knee. The vampire cried out in pain and grabbed his knee for a moment, giving Gunn the time to get up as he quipped, "I've got good aim."

"That's it," the vampire roared and attacked. It was a feint, and the vampire grabbed Gunn's arm that he had thrown forward in a counter punch. The vampire whirled around, pulling Gunn along and smacked him up against the wall with all his might. Gunn felt his breath leaving him and his ribs get at least bruised. He then fell down and landed on the floor hard, before he had time to recover the vampire smashed several punches in Gunn's face and then picked him off the floor with one hand by the throat. The vampire turned around into the direction of the ally and grinned evilly. "What have you got to say for yourself now?" the vampire grinned evilly.

Gunn managed to choke out, "For these situations my grandfather always told me to make sure you have a spare." The vampire looked at Gunn confused and then felt a stabbing pain in his side. He let Gunn go, who landed with all the effort he could muster on his feet. The vampire staggered back for a moment, and then roared, "You're gonna pay . . ." That's as far as he came, at that moment Gunn smashed his spare stake through the vampire's rib cage and into its heart, before pulling it out and sinking to the floor in agony.

Lindsay looked on in shock, right in front of her, the black man that had come to her rescue smashed some kind of weapon into the disfigured man's chest. Then horror on horror, the man simply exploded into dust. She saw the flesh go first, leaving an impression of a skeleton before that to whirled the floor. "It's real!" she whispered, realization hitting her full on. "It's all real!"

Gunn coughed and pushed himself on his hands and knees, then turned toward Lindsay and asked with a little difficulty, "Are you all right?"

"Yeah . . ." Lindsay blinked, looked again and said, "Charles Gunn."

Gunn looked closer, then, as he slowly stood up - Lindsay following him - he smiled and said, "The lawyer. Fancy meeting you here."

Lindsay stepped closer to him, and saw him wince and grab his ribs. She stepped forward some more and helped support him. "Fuck," he commented angry at himself. "I really need to learn not to start underestimating those things. Just because nine of ten doesn't know you shouldn't block a fist with your head, doesn't mean the other one can't kill you." He stretched a bit and then gently made Lindsay let go. "I'm fine," he said, "Let's get you to your hotel."


Across the street

"Yes, sir. A different vampire got to her before mine could," a purple demon said into the phone. The tiny, razor-sharp spikes that covered his entire body bristled in irritation. He wore nothing but some shorts and shoes. He looked left at the vampire that stood next to him in a trance-like state.

"No, sir. She was rescued by a bald, black man," the demon told to the phone.

<<Damn it! Charles Gunn,>> the voice on the other side called out in frustration. <<She's under their protection . . . that was unexpected, we had thought, they hated Faith enough they wouldn't bother with her lawyers. One dead wife would most likely have sent Donnell packing. Well, tomorrow night, bring out the big guns. Kill one of them, kill both of them, I don't care, Faith Williams may not be set free. You'll get double the money we promised if you succeed tomorrow night.>>

"And for tonight?" the demon asked with an annoyed grin and a slightly dangerous edge to his voice. He did not like being jerked around, and then not getting payed.

For a moment there was silence, then the decision was made, "You'll get paid the full amount."

"Ah. Good, Mr. Park," the demon answered with a grin, and turn off his cell phone. With a nod to the vampire he said, "You can go."

The vampire turned around and started to walk away, after a few meters it suddenly jerked, looked around, and - getting a fear-stricken face when it saw the purple demon - bolted away. The demon grinned.


"What were you doing out here all alone anyway?" Gunn asked as he walked beside Lindsay. They were starting to get close to the hotel the lawyers were staying at. Lindsay had been asking him questions about the supernatural, and Gunn had been dutifully answering the ones he could answer.

"Well, Bobby and me split up to cover more ground and possibilities. We're looking for a couple that Faith saved the night she escaped, if we can get them to testify . . ." Lindsay trailed off, leaving the obvious unsaid. She blushed a bit at the disapproving look Gunn gave her.

"Do you usually go out and do all the investigative work yourselves?" he asked with a stern tone.

"No, we get outside agencies to do the more difficult things. But with your description of Wolfram and Hart and their reach, and Park and deMorgan's constant hovering around, and you told us about the death threat the other day, we figured we couldn't really trust any private investigative agency not to be on W&H's payroll," Lindsay explained hastily.

"And what about us?" Gunn asked astonished. "Angel Investigations. Emphasis on 'Investigations'?"

Lindsay shrugged a little helplessly and said, "With Mr. Wyndam-Price being the head of your company and he having a grudge against Faith, we figured that might not be a too good of an idea."

Gunn smiled. "Wesley would have and will help, even if he and Faith aren't on the best of terms. I don't know her long enough to be her enemy, so I'd do it, and Angel, apart from Xander it seems, is her only friend. Even if Wesley wouldn't have helped, we would have. Hell, if I know Angel, after hearing Faith tell her tale, he's probably out looking for the couple already."

Lindsay gave a self-criticizing chuckle and said, "I guess we'll hire your help then."

"For Faith, I doubt Angel would ask payment . . . of course Wesley may want some," Gunn asked smiling, then his face turned into a frown when he realized Wesley's grudge may get in the way of free service.

The two had reached the hotel and went inside. They rode the elevator up and she blurted out suddenly, figuring out Angel's sunlight allergy, "Angel is a vampire!"

"Yeah," Gunn answered her with a grin. "A couple of gypsies cursed him a century ago. Gave him back his soul, his conscience. He's a good guy, drinks cows' blood from a butcher. Nothing to worry about." Lindsay nodded, going things over again.

A few minutes, and a short walk later, Lindsay opened their hotel room door and walked inside. Bobby lay on his bed, switching channels on his tv leisurely. He looked over at the two disheveled persons coming into the room and he said bolt upright in bed, saying, "What happened!?"

Lindsay walked over to him and fell into his arms, finally unable to keep the emotions, the fear, inside. She was a strong woman that could handle almost everything, but almost dying and her whole sense of reality crashing in on top of her was just a little too much. "It's real, Bobby," Lindsay answered, crying lightly, then babbling everything out in a stream of words, "It's all real. I was attacked by a vampire, I saw his face change, the fangs. Gunn saved my life just in time. When he plunged a stake through the monster's heart, he went poof. All dust."

"You're kidding me," Bobby blurted out, before he could catch himself. He felt Lindsay tense, and look up at him with horror-stricken eyes, she was about to break down further. She couldn't handle it if Bobby didn't believe her now. "You're not kidding," Bobby corrected himself looking in his wife's eyes. He looked up at Gunn who had sat himself down on a chair.

"No more going out alone," Gunn stated with conviction. "From now on you <will> tell us you're going out and at least one of us <will> come along. We've warned you about this before, now you <will> abide by that warning, all right?"

"All right," Bobby answered softly.

Gunn got up, "You want visual proof yourself, we could show some things tomorrow night. I'll leave you two to your privacy." Then Gunn left the hotel room.

An hour later Lindsay had calmed enough to suggest, "We should go to that same bar tomorrow night. When they started revealing to me, the secrets of The City of Demons I got a little sidetracked. I haven't asked them all yet, plus you could hear them talk yourself." Lindsay looked up in her husband's eyes and saw some disbelief there. "You don't believe me," she told shocked.

"I do believe you, but couldn't it have a trick of light, it was dark . . ." Bobby said weakly, fully realizing how bad it sounded to his wife.

Lindsay snorted. "Fine, don't believe. When we go out tomorrow with Angel and co., I'll have 'em show you." She told him with a grim tone, and stalked into the bathroom to get ready for bed.


Gunn staggered into the hotel. "Gunn, what the hell happened to you?" Angel called out in concern as he saw the hurt black man stumble in. Angel and Wesley quickly walked over to him, on the way Wesley grabbed the first aid kit from the cabinet.

"If I'm ever about to underestimate a vampire again, punch me in the face, will you?" Gunn commented with an embarrassed grimace.

"A vampire did this to you?" Wesley asked incredulously; Gunn usually could handle a vampire. He gestured to Gunn he should take of his coat and shirt. Gunn complied.

"Don't worry, he's dust," Gunn said, as Wesley started treating his wounds. "Bastard was a soldier in the War of Independence before he was turned." Gunn looked around, it was pretty quiet. "Where's everybody?"

Angel put his hands in his pockets. As he watched Wesley treat Gunn, he answered, "Cordy is over there, Buffy and Faith are out patrolling and the rest is to bed."

"Already?" Gunn asked surprised.

"It's midnight, Charles," Wesley answered with an educating tone. Gunn looked at him blankly.

Angel clarified, "That's when the average person is fast asleep."

Gunn looked up at him for a few moments and then said, "Oh."

From her desk, Cordy suddenly piped up, "I know that! You don't have to tell me again! Yes, yes, I'll pay extra mind to it!" Then she sighed.

"She on the phone?" Gunn asked curiously.

"No, telepathic contact with Xander," Wesley answered wryly.

"But he's all the way in Sunnydale," Gunn blurted in astonishment. Wesley finished bandaging the bruised ribs and leaned back up.

"Yep," Angel said, as Gunn started dressing himself again.

"Whoaw," Gunn exclaimed once he was done. "You know, if I wasn't on time to get that vampire, Faith's lawyer, Lindsay, would have been vampire chow."

"What!?" Angel exclaimed concerned.

Gunn nodded. "They're doing some clandestine research, and they didn't listen to our warnings. It seems they're looking for a couple Faith saved the night she escaped prison."

"I'm already looking for them," Angel said frustrated, placing his hands in his sides.

"Yeah, I figured you would," Gunn answered, then grinned. "We shouldn't worry, they've learned their lesson."


"The prosecution calls Buffy Ann Summers to the stand," the DA called. It was the next morning and everyone was once again present in the court room. Lindsay and Bobby looked at each other for moment. That one was unexpected, but very good for their case.

Buffy looked around a little confused, she hadn't expected to be called this early. She got up and walked to the front of the court room and then on the stand. Buffy swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth with the bailiff.

Schwartz walked to in front of Buffy and asked, "Did Faith Williams kill the Sunnydale's Mayor's assistant over two years ago?"

"Yes, she did," Buffy answered grimly.

"Objection your honor, my client has been on trial for this already," Bobby called smoothly as he stood up. He grinned inwardly, this was going to be good, he practically felt the DA's anger and frustration over how this trial was going.

"Your honor, if he can drag that trial out in the open in order to get his client of the hook, I can damn well can use it, to show the jury, that girl belongs in jail!" Schwartz seethed. Bobby grinned inwardly allowing a small smile to decorate his face: a DA losing it always was good.

"Overruled," judge Killian called, then turned to the DA. "Schwartz . . ." The DA jerked and realized what he had just said. The judge continued, calmly, "If you ever curse at me again, I will damn well make sure you spend a night in jail, understand?"

Schwartz composed himself, steadying his emotional state. "Yes, your honor. I apologize."

The judge nodded. Schwartz turned to Buffy and asked, "You were with her, when she did?" Buffy nodded, blushing a little. "What did you want to do afterwards?"

"I wanted to turn ourselves in. Come clean," Buffy answered, fidgeting nervously in the chair. She had never actually done it herself, things had gone down hill too fast after that, and later it was simply too late.

"And Miss. Williams?"

"She got rid of the body. Wanted to act like nothing happened. She told me she didn't care whether somebody had died, after that she became evil, and went to work for it," Buffy told, her voice slowly turned hard as she remembered the events, and the disgust and hatred she felt toward Faith over it.

The DA smiled just slight, "And when she did, what happened then?"

Buffy grimaced even more and answered, "She tried to steal my boyfriend, killed some people, a scientist who had dug up an ancient fossil I'm sure of. Then she tried to kill my boyfriend, before going into a coma."

"When she came out of the coma, what was the first thing she did?" the DA asked seriously, showing his focus on his job.

"Beat a girl half to death for some clothes, and then tried to get to me. She attacked my mother at her own house, when I stopped her she was just about to kill my mother," Buffy spat out vehemently, getting more worked up. She felt pangs of anguish at mentioning her deceased mother. "Then she slept with my then, new boyfriend."

"Do you think she belongs in jail?" the DA asked.

"Objection," Lindsay called, standing up. "You can't ask this woman filled with anger and thirst for revenge what she wants to happen to her!"

"I allowed yours, Mrs. Doyle," Killian answered, and nodded his ascent to Buffy.

As Lindsay sat down, Buffy answered, glowering in anger, "Prison is too good for her, she should be burning in hell for all eternity, and it still would be too good for her." Only Xander noticed Faith flinch, and he laid his left hand gently on Faith's shoulder for a moment.

"Thank you, Miss Summers," Schwartz said and formally turned around.

Lindsay stood up, buttoning the jacket of her business suit up, unconsciously. Then she gently, but purposefully stepped to in front of Buffy. "Ms. Summers," she started. "You testified you were being Faith's friend when she just arrived correct?"

"Yeah," Buffy answered guardingly, there was something in the lawyer's tone.

"Would you say throwing a surprise birthday party, or buying birthday present is part of being a friend?" Lindsay asked innocently.

Buffy felt dejected and lightly ashamed, she knew where this was going, they'd done it with Wesley already. "Yes," she answered timidly.

"What's Faith's birthday, Ms. Summers?" Lindsay asked neutrally.

After thinking about what had been said for a moment, Buffy answered, "August seventeen, 1983."

"What if had asked you that question two days ago?" Lindsay asked, smiling friendly at Buffy.

"I . . . wouldn't have known," Buffy answered dejectedly.

"Why not?" Lindsay prompted.

Buffy hesitated for a moment, and said, "I never asked her." The people in the courtroom whispered for a few moments.

"Three to four months before Faith became a criminal and you never asked when her birthday is?" Lindsay asked, letting her tone become that of controlled outrage. Buffy suddenly found something very interesting crawling around on her shoes. "Nice friend," she added sarcastically.

"Objection," Schwartz called from his chair.

The judge nodded and said, "The jury will disregard that last remark."

Lindsay went to the evidence tray and grabbed the photo's of Faith's motel room and showed them to Buffy. "Recognize these?"

"Yes, that's Faith's motel room back then, I have visited there," Buffy answered, not wanting to go through the whole 'and two days ago?' part again.

Lindsay turned around and pointed at Dawn, who was sitting halfway the benches with the rest of the gang. "That girl over there, young, long brown hair, who's that?"

"My sister, Dawn," Buffy answered, dreading where this was heading.

"How old is she?"

There it was! "Fourteen, almost fifteen."

Lindsay turned back and looked Buffy directly in the eyes, and questioned, "Would you let her spend even so much as one night in this place?"

"No," Buffy answered.

"Did you ask your mother if Faith could stay at your place at least temporarily?" Lindsay penetrated Buffy's eyes with her own.

"No," Buffy answered guiltily.

"Why not?"

Buffy looked up and said, "I never considered it."

"You're a slayer, I suppose you had a watcher then?" Lindsay asked calmly.

"Yes," Buffy answered.

"Did you go to him and tel him about Faith's living conditions, ask him if he could ask this council Mr. Wyndam-Price spoke about, could fork over a few more bucks so she could live somewhere decent?" Lindsay asked, she leaned on the witness cubicle with an air of superiority.


"Why not?"

"I never considered it."

"So Faith, a girl barely older then your sister, that's not a problem then, if she lives in this place?" Lindsay asked sharply.

"Listen, she looked like she was seventeen, eighteen, ok?" Buffy almost exclaimed, giving the jury an imploring look, they had to understand! "She looked like my age, I never considered she was younger than that."

"So not only didn't you ask for her birthday, but you didn't even bother to ask her age?" Lindsay stated, incredulously. Lindsay made a thoughtful circle in front of Buffy then asked, "If you are a slayer, I take it you were 'called' as well right?"

"Yes," Buffy asked, trying to figure what the lawyer was on about.

"How old were you when you were 'called'?" Lindsay asked tranquilly.

"Late fourteen," Buffy answered, still not getting it.

"And you never figured out that all Slayers are probably called around that age, and that thus Faith had to be around that age?" Lindsay asked sweetly. Buffy looked stricken. "Let me guess," Lindsay continued. "You never considered it?" Buffy looked in shock at Lindsay. "I'll take that as a yes. Are you certain you were Faith's friend?"

"Yes, I was," Buffy stated vehemently. She had been Faith's friend. So she screwed up. She told everybody as much, "I'm not perfect, I had a lot of other things on my mind back then." Angel's return from hell, mending her and Xander's and Willow's friendships came to mind.

Lindsay added, "You just weren't a very good friend then, huh?" That stung. Buffy looked down in shame.

"Objection," the DA called, standing up.

"Overruled. I see that as a question, and her silence is answer enough for me," the judge said solemnly.

"Ms. Summers, you testified Faith killed the Mayor's assistant, would you care to tell me who attacked him first?" Lindsay asked with a steel gaze, trained on Buffy.

Buffy hesitated, and then reluctantly answered, "I did." The whole room went up with noise, causing the judge to smack the hammer on his desk and call for order.

"What happened that night?" Lindsay asked, gestured for Buffy to tell her tale.

Buffy was silent for a few seconds figuring out where to begin, and then started, "We were in a fight with a group of vampires. Then suddenly the assistant comes out of nowhere, I was in battle mode, my instincts considered him a possible threat, I grabbed him, threw him over to Faith, who smashed him against a trash container, and rammed the stake through his heart. I tried to stop her, I noticed our mistake just before her stake plunged into his heart."

"So it was an accident?" Lindsay guessed.


"And if your positions had been reversed, Faith was closer to the man and she had thrown him to you, you were probably the one who would have killed him?" Lindsay continued.

Silence . . . "Yes," Buffy answered weakly.

"Buffy, would you care explaining how Faith ended up in a coma?" Lindsay questioned, changing the subject because all was said and done about the accidental killing.

"I put her in it," Buffy answered, grimly. A new whisper went through the crowd.

"Like in an accident, or were you trying to kill her?" Lindsay asked, looking directly at the girl.

Buffy sighed in frustration. "I was trying to kill her, a Slayer's blood - all of it - was the antidote to the poison she used on Angel. Since she poisoned him in the first place . . ."

"You told us Faith slept with your new boyfriend, shouldn't you've been as angry with him then, as with her?" Lindsay asked friendly.

Buffy looked at her with an angry look and answered hesitantly, "Yes."

Lindsay looked at her and asked, "Were you?"


Lindsay grinned and asked, "Why not?"

"Because he didn't know it was her," Buffy answered, narrowing her eyes in frustration.

Lindsay walked a thoughtful round in front of Buffy, and then asked, "What should that matter? Cheating is cheating isn't it? I understand it's worse with your greatest enemy, but still . . ."

Buffy answered, angry with frustration this time, "Because he thought it was me, all right? I was in her body, and she was in mine, she destroyed the switching device afterwards." The people's voices raised up at that admission, the DA rubbed his forehead in frustration. How could he try a case if your witnesses were lunatics, or at least the people that would make Marvel comics seem sane?

"Ah, so you couldn't really be angry with your boyfriend, so you projected even more anger onto Faith," Lindsay needled.

"Objection! Speculation!" the DA called.

"Sustained," the judge said and turned to toward the jury. "Scratch that, and Mrs. Doyle, keep conclusions to yourself."

"Yes, your honor," Lindsay answered him, and nodded. She turned back to Buffy and asked, "It seems you managed to switch back."

"A friend of mine is a witch, she made a reversal spell," Buffy answered with irritation, what was she getting at.

"Where did that happen?" Lindsay asked.

Buffy replied, with a little trepidation, "In one of Sunnydale's churches."

"What was happening at the church?" Lindsay asked deceptively friendly.

"Vampires had invaded it, and taken the church goers hostage," Buffy answered, in irritation, she had an idea at what was coming, and she did not like it.

"So was Faith helping them? She was evil, you said," Lindsay asked, a tone of almost disinterest.


Lindsay prompted, "Then what?"

"She was fighting the vampires," Buffy answered, starting to grind her teeth together, a few whispers went through the crowd.

Lindsay walked back and forth for a moment, then stopped, looking at Buffy. "Thus saving the hostages lives?"

"Yes," Buffy reluctantly admitted.

"So what happened when you two met?" Lindsay asked interested.

"She attacked me, quite frankly she went ballistic, she tried to kill me," Buffy answered smugly, leaning back and folded her hands across her chest in satisfaction. Her mood turned dark again when she saw Lindsay smile an irritating smile at her.

Lindsay looked at her for a moment, letting the tension built and asked, "So you were in Faith's body; you were Faith when she attacked you, did she call you anything?"

Buffy's eyes widened, and thought, *Oh, my god.* She had never quite figured out what happened back then, but it was starting to make sense now, and she hated it, again she was forced to help the younger slayer. Buffy took an irritated breath and said, "She said she wasn't afraid of me, said she hated me, that I was a filthy, murdering bitch who needed to be . . . some very bad things."

Lindsay stated silent for a few moments, letting the fact sink into everybody's minds and then asked with curiosity, "Buffy, why did you follow Faith to LA the first time around?"

"I was the only one strong enough to stop her," Buffy answered, glowering at Lindsay.

Lindsay returned the gaze unflinching and asked, "In short, you were going to kill her?"

"If it proved absolutely necessary." Some light whispers were triggered by the statement.

Lindsay smiled predatorily, took a note from her pocked, and asked, "When she escaped, she came straight to you. You tried to kill her with 'a very powerful and heavy hammer that would have crushed her skull like it was a raw egg'. Correct?"

Buffy's fist clenched. Hating that the lawyer used her own words against her, hating to admit it, she did it anyway, "Yes." The whole room burst into chatter.

The judge smashed his hammer several times, very hard and called, "ORDER!" The chatter died down

Satisfied, Lindsay asked one last question, "What exactly did she do when she was with you, Ms. Summers?" Buffy continued to clench and unclench her fist in frustration. How to answer this? She didn't want to make Faith look good, and be set free. She wanted her safely out of the way in a prison, she had enough problems as it was to add a free rogue slayer. "She helped save your sister's life didn't she?"

"Yes," Buffy answered and clenched her teeth together. It took all of Buffy's self control to make sure she told the truth, she wanted so bad to just lie. "And probably mine, and my friends, most likely the whole of Sunnydale and potentially the world." Buffy felt like smashing her hand down onto the edge of her cubicle and satisfyingly shatter it with the force, but decided against it. Once again the room burst into sound, and once again the judge had to order 'order'. Once the room quieted down, the judge give Faith an appreciative look.

"No more questions, your honor," Lindsay told and returned to her seat.

The judge looked at the DA, who shook his head; he had no counter questions, what really was there? "All right, reconvene in one and a half hour. Enjoy your lunch," the judge said, and got off his seat.


The Scooby Gang sat around the table on the terras. The lawyers were there as well.

"I doubt the DA will call many more witnesses," Giles said thoughtfully as the rest ate. "The Chief Investigator perhaps, and that's it."

"Really?" Faith prompted, with as much hope as dread. The sooner the DA was done, the sooner they were finished with the trial, but also the sooner she was going to be sitting in that cubicle.

"Yeah," Lindsay cut in, temporarily stopping with biting into the tasty sandwich. "Now that he knows what Faith did in Sunnydale, he'll know the rest of you will be answering with the exact same truth . . . and constantly rubbing it into the jury's face that you saved lives . . ."

"That's the problem with not really having a case," Bobby added, smiling, eating his yoghurt. "That's why he offered the plea bargain with the least bit added punishment, which we didn't take, remember, because that we wouldn't have been able to do anything about your earlier sentencing."


Two hours later

"Was there anything else you found at the crime scene?" Lindsay asked curiously of the chief investigator. "Something out of the ordinary? Other than the stolen money."

"Yes, a letter," the man answered.

Lindsay walked to the table and picked up a prepared piece of paper. She returned to the man and gave it to him. "Is this it?"

The man skimmed across the piece of paper and answered, "A copy of it, yes."

"Would you read it out loud, please?" she prompted, smiling friendly.

The man started reading the letter, "'Hi, I'm sorry for the damage and taking your sword without permission, but I need it very badly to save a lot of lives. Here's some money that should cover the damages. When I'm done, I'll bring back the sword. Faith Williams'." Whispers went through the crowd, which prompted the judge once more to demand 'order'.

"Thank you," Lindsay said. She walked back to the table and placed the paper there. Once back in front of the police chief she asked, "Do you know where the money was stolen from?"

"The National Depository," the man answered smoothly.

Lindsay looked at him with an astounded face, "You want us to believe, that not only did Faith escape jail in a miraculous fashion, but now she went all the way across the country, broke into one of the most heavily guarded facilities in the country undetected, stole only 4,000 dollars, and then went all the way back to LA to steal a sword by smashing in a grating and the window behind it, all within the space of about half an hour?"

"Obviously not," the man said. "We suspect some of the employees are smuggling the money out and using it to make themselves rich. From there, through several underground connections it must have gotten into Faith's hands. We are heading an investigation in cooperation with the FBI."

Lindsay nodded thoughtfully, "Working close enough to know when the last inventory was?"

The man answered, confidently, "A little less than a week before."

"Anything missing then?"

"No," the man answered, then added, "But we're making the assumption that they managed to fool the counters somehow, or changed the counting results."

"Was an inventory done in the mean time? If so, how many's missing," Lindsay asked, smiling at him.

"It was done. 4,000 dollars," the man answered. Some of the attendees made some audible comments which quieted down quickly.

"So you want to make us believe, employees managed to smuggle the stellar amount of 4,000 dollars out of the National Depository; then handing it from one person to another, get the money all the way across the country in one week, and conveniently and coincidently at the night Ms. Williams escaped, she somehow managed to meet the one who had it and he or she gave her all of their just stolen 4,000 dollars, so she could put it in a window to pay off some damages she unfortunately had to make while stealing a sword?" Lindsay said. He stayed silent not quite knowing how to answer that one.

"Objection," Schwartz called.

"Sustained," the judge answered automatically.

"All right then, do you know where the stolen sword is, Detective?" Lindsay asked smiling slyly.

"Yes," the man answered uncomfortably.

"Where is it?" Lindsay urged, when he didn't answer immediately.

"Back at the antique store," the detective answered, causing a murmur to go through the attendees.

Lindsay walked back to her seat, while saying, "Thank you. No further questions, your honor."

The judge looked at Schwartz, and he shook his head. "You can step down, sir," the judge told the police officer, who followed the suggestion. "Call anyone else?" the judge prompted the DA.

"The persecution rests your honor," the DA was forced to answer.

The judge raised his eyebrows in surprised, then said, "In that case, we'll continue this Monday morning. This court is adjourned."


That night

Angel, Gunn, Bobby and Lindsay walked into the bar. They looked around for a moment, before Lindsay called, "Hey, Andrew!"

"Well if it isn't the lawyer," Andrew answered, looking at Lindsay, as she and the group approached him. "So how's the trial going, babe?"

Lindsay smiled appreciatively, she barely ever got called that, not even Bobby did. Some women would consider it degenerative, but since she was hardly ever given that title, and Andrew's tone was completely appraising, no hint of any kind of being talked down to in his voice, she took the praise graciously, and answered, "Pretty good."

"Hey!" Bobby called a little jealously.

Andy looked Bobby over quickly and grinned, "Brought the hubby, huh?" Gunn and Angel give each other an annoyed look.

"He doesn't believe," Lindsay explained.

Angel looked at Gunn again, telling him silently, 'That's why we're here? I could have made him believe a lot easier.' Andrew, and the others around the bar - for a large part the same people as the day before - snickered. "And I forgot to ask everyone last night," Lindsay added.

"Hey, pal," the guy who had told Lindsay about Wolfram & Hart's attempts on Faith's life the night before, said, raising his voice above the snickering. "You want to get that girl out of jail, and you really want to get her out, you better accept it." The room went quiet for a bit, looking at Bobby expectantly.

Lindsay decided to continue with what she came here to do, "Everybody may I have your attention, please? Have any of you heard a couple tell you their lives were saved in the past six days?"

No one in the establishment, regulars around the bar, and people sitting at the tables answered. Andy payed a little more attention to Lindsay's escorts and his eyes widened. He got up and walked over to Angel and said, "You're Angel, right? The guy Angel Investigations is named after?"

Surprised, Angel muttered, "Uh . . . yeah."

"It's an absolute honor meeting you, my friend," he continued, grinning. Angel looked at him in surprise.

Then a window shattered and another and another. Inhuman arms came through them, grasping for the humans sitting at the windows. They shrieked and jumped away from the demon claws. An instant later the men around the bar were up on their feet, several guns, including one shotgun were pulled out in the open. The sounds of them cocking, could be heard. Angel and Gunn had their stakes out at the same time, soon after the guns were out, those who had free hands pulled out stakes and blades as well.

"Everybody to the far wall," Angel commanded automatically, ushering Bobby and Lindsay with the other unarmed patrons. The owner jumped over his bar, a shotgun now in his hands as well.

"Babe!" Andy called, and Lindsay and Bobby looked around at him. "Hold on to this," he said and threw several clips for the magnum .45 in his right hand at her. Then he pulled out a stake from his coat with his left hand. The demons had cleared away enough glass for them to start coming through the windows. The others followed his example and gave their ammo to the mostly frightened people.

When the first demon came into full view, Bobby exclaimed an uncharacteristic curse, "Fuck me! It <is> real!" Lindsay give him a grim a smile as armed men formed a tight perimeter. With a crash the door into the bar flew inward and off its hinges landing at the bottom of the five steps downward. The vampire that was now revealed, being flanked by several other demons, walked grinningly into the bar.

"God damn, don't vampires need an invitation?" the owner called.

"Public place," Angel answered.

And Gunn clarified, "That means an automatic invitation."

The demons eyed the armed humans suspiciously, before an orange one lunged first. Angel jumped forward facing the demon head on, side stepping it and snapping its neck in the process. It slumped satisfactorily to the floor.

The demons now positively started poring into the bar, from the windows and the door. Vampires, two chaos demons, and things that others had never seen before. From yellow, to green, to red, they were of all colors. And they all advanced on the group, rapidly. Gunfire went off and some of the demons went down fast.

A guy lined up his shotgun with a vampire and Gunn commented, "That won't help much against a vampire."

The man looked at Gunn and said, "You see this?" Then he pulled the trigger and a powerful blast went off. The vampire's head was splattered in an instant and it turned to dust. "This is my boomstick," the man continued, eliciting a few grunts and groans from the men beside him, while Gunn raised his eyebrows appreciatively. The man placed the gun on a green demon's chest that had come that close and pulled the trigger again. The demon flew back, with a whole in his chest where is heart was moments before. "The twelve gage double-barreled Remmington. S Mart's top of the line!" the man cocked the gun, and blew away another demon. "You find this in the sporting good's department!" the man added, as he smashed a stake through a vampire's heart. As it turned to dust he continued, "That's right, this baby was made in grand rapids Michigan. Retails for about a 109.95." Another blast and another demon went down. "It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel and a hair trigger! That's right, shop smart . . ." The guy blew away another demon, and finished, "shop S Mart!" Then he turned around rapidly and called, "Hey, lawyer boy!" Bobby looked at him abruptly. The guy then threw the shotgun at him and commanded, smiling almost insanely, "Reload!"

Gunn and Angel were a show of efficiency, both had pulled out an additional blade - Gunn his self-made axe, Angel a short sword. They fought with grace in precision. Demons dropped everywhere and Vampires turned to dust. But the more demons they and the others killed, the more came poring inside. A demon with very long vicious arms and large claws charged Andy. It growled loudly, and Andy started firing his gun at the thing's chest over and over, but it just kept coming. "Fuck, go down, you chicken shit," Andy yelled in frustration, backing up while he kept firing, raising the gun upward. At least vampires flinched. "What the hell does it take!?" Just as the demon was about to get Andy, he had raised his gun high enough to shoot a bullet through the thing's brain. It dropped down instantaneously.

"Lindsay," Andy called and threw the Magnum to her. "Reload." By now, there was no more tight perimeter. The combatants, both human and demon, were spread throughout the bar in an all out free for all.

As Andy got back into a fighting stance he speared the demon he just shot down a quick look and he called out, "Does anyone know whether these things stay down or not!?"

"Better not take the chance," his comrade in arms said to him and cut off the demon's head with his sword. "You never know with these fuckers."

"This is way to fucking familiar!" a powerful guy said, who was fighting close to the windows.

"Something's wrong," Angel said out loud as he beheaded another demon. "Some of these species hate each other's guts, they never work together, not without something really bad behind them."

Bobby threw the shotgun back to its owner. He caught it and tried to aim it at a snarling demon but it was faster. The demon knocked the shotgun out of his hands, and then proceeded to do the same with his stake. The demon punched the guy and he landed on the floor with a thud. The demon laughed maniacally and jumped through the air, in an effort to land on the guy and devour him. The guy felt his fear rage through him, but as he landed he saw something out of the corner of his eye. "Lady, here!" he called. Lindsay turned to him, and without really thinking about it threw the newly reloaded magnum .45. The guy snatched it out of the air, brought it forward, and pulled the pin back, he brought the gun upward as well as his knees. The demon came above him and got his teeth ready for some food, but instead felt the impact of the knees in his lower region and he banged his head against the barrel of the gun. The guy grinned and told him, "Who's laughing now!?" A moment later the demon's brains splattered across the floor.

"Will you please quit with the Evil Dead quotes already!?" Andy shouted. "They're starting to get boring."

"Hey," the guy called out with a warning tone. "Nobody talks bad about Ash. He taught me everything I know about killing demons."

Andy snorted. The powerful guy suddenly called out, "I knew it!" Angel quickly joined the man and saw him pint at a tranquil looking purple demon standing across the street and having no trouble with what had inflicted the other demons. "God damn Mysrakal demon!" he yelled angrily, "Damn things have the annoying ability to telepathically control demons. That's the way they destroyed my home town." The guy turned to Angel and said, "There's one good thing about this, controlling this many will drain them, he'll barely be able to keep an eye on his surroundings." As the fighting continued, he made a decision, "All right people, there are too many of them, their numbers outweigh ours four to two. I'm going out there, and eliminate the cause of this all."

The man started for the exit, when Andy made him stop, with a shout, he said, "Hey, Paul, you'll need it." The next moment the shotgun he in turn had borrowed from the other guy, flew through the air. Paul grinned as he caught it and started fighting his way out the bar through the exit.

Once outside Paul continued to fight the hordes of demons that were there as well. Heavily outnumbered it was only a matter of time before one, then two and even more got to him. Finally reaching across the street, blood flowing from his wounds he took the shotgun and ran alongside the building. When he reached the corner he jumped, moving passed the Mystakal demon and with a vicious grin he blew away the head of the surprised-looking purple demon. Suddenly the hordes of demons looked around in astonished and then most of them started to run, too freaked out to think clearly. Once the guy landed, he managed to drag himself on the sidewalk and then sat down against the building.

A few minutes later his fellow defenders joined him and looked sadly at him. "I'm going to die, aren't I?" he coughed out. His friends nodded grimly. "Do me a favor will you? Make sure I can't . . .turn in . . . any o . . ." then he died.

The group looked at the body for a moment and then one of them stepped forward. He saluted Paul with a blade and said, "My friend." Then he sliced cleanly through Paul's neck.

Andy looked at the scene for a moment and then turned to Lindsay and Bobby. "Wolfram & Hart. They came for you. Let's start cleaning up here, people. This is a bit too much for the local cops to handle."

Episode 13
Faith's Trial 3

Faith's Testimony


Willow pulled Xander away from the rest, and into Wesley's office. The rest of their friends, and the lawyers were out in the lobby and office section of the former hotel. Xander sat down on Wesley's table, and looked at Willow expectantly.

"Xander, Faith was fifteen and a half when you had sex with her," Willow hissed. How could he act like nothing was the matter. She still hated the bitch, on a whole range of reasons, but . . . this was serious.

"And?" Xander answered, unconcerned or even lightly interested in what Willow was getting at.

"You were eighteen at the time," Willow said again, baffled by Xander's cool attitude.

"And?" Xander prompted again.

"Fifteen, don't you think that's a little young?" Willow asked incredulously.

Xander shrugged, "Nope." When Willow eyes bugged out he added, "We don't have the same hangups about sex as you do. Saiyans usually have sex earlier in life, once your equipment functions, you're old enough." Xander shrugged non-committally again and said, "Saiyan pragmatism. Besides, a lot of the people here seem to agree on the subject. Most of Europe has an official minimum age of sixteen. Hell, in Denmark you can buy porn at that age. And fifteen and a half wouldn't raise an eyebrow, especially not with another teenager, and if they're both below sixteen, and one even below fifteen, they wouldn't raise an eyebrow either. In Jewish custom you're even considered a full adult by the age of twelve, the males at least . . ." Xander shrugged again. "Besides, it wasn't like she was a virgin, or that I seduced her without any care, then once done, dumped her and shattered her heart in a thousand pieces. She took me, rather forcefully, quite enjoyable by the way," Xander explained, grinning at the memory.

Willow face contorted in disgust at the image her mind conjured up. "Ugh, you really know how to disgust someone, Xan. Enjoy sex with Faith, eew." Willow pauzed for a moment, then knowing she couldn't change his mind, she said, "I still think it's young. What about the cops or the DA? 'Statutory rape' sound familiar?"

Xander shrugged, as he jumped off the table and started back toward the lobby. "I don't think they want to stick their nose in their embarrassment's business any more than they need to." Xander opened the door and stepped through, grinning. He could have stayed in Sunnydale for the duration of Sunday, but he felt that he should have at least some R and R. And with a Saiyan that could mean only one of very few things. "All right, girls," Xander said, a smirk forming on his face. Buffy and Faith turned to him. "The three of you, what do you say to a couple of martial arts lessons?"

"Yes!" Faith exclaimed excitedly, and jumped into the middle of the lobby, as Willow joined the others in the office section. Faith had been getting bored, and the ankle bracelet was irritating her again; she more than welcomed a good fight. Dawn came as well, smiling, it was good to actually be allowed to do something other than sit around and hope for the others to notice she was there at all. Buffy walked over a little less enthusiastically.

The white halo burst around Xander as he grinned. "What the!?" Gunn and Wesley exclaimed at the sight. Cordy watched with a grin, the telepathic contact had more than prepared her for the chi flame. Xander's mind was downright scary if you got to know it. And not Xander's thoughts or beliefs as much as the most primitive parts of his brain, that giant ape she'd seen was terrifying, she was really glad he no longer had a tail. The lawyers - who had been shaken from their discussions on the details of the next court session by the sudden sound of Xander's chi - dropped their jaws. Angel having seen Xander blast off a week earlier, wasn't surprised.

Faith's chi flame burst around her, and grinned. A moment later, with an intense face of concentration a much less powerful flame burst around Dawn. She grimaced with determination to keep it up. Buffy looked at her sister in surprise and focused all her energy to the best of her ability. It wasn't enough to create a flame but a faint glow came from her.

This time the Scoobies looked as astonished as the others, Dawn too? And Buffy seemed close on her heels to form such a flame as well. Xander smirked. "Okay, try to hit me." The three girls attacked.

Angel looked on astonished. Were his eyes betraying him? The speed with which Xander was moving was incredible. He had heard what his former companions had told him about Xander's power, but his mind just hadn't been able to comprehend what that meant, even if he had seen him fly. Now he could see with his own eyes, it caused his mind to reel. Two Slayers, faster and more powerful than any Slayer he had ever seen or known about and another girl - just as powerful - were trying to hit him. They didn't land a single punch or kick. Xander didn't even need to block them, he just made sure they missed. They jumped, flew, and ran across the lobby, on occasion he became blurry, but they didn't hit him. Only one Slayer like that would have ripped Angel to shreds without any effort, and now two of them, three he might as well call it, couldn't even land a punch.

Tara and Willow looked at the spectacle with a smile. The flights reminded Tara. She just couldn't keep from getting totally giddy, and shocked herself that she would do this. She leaned over to Anya and whispered in her ear, "You're right about the flying." Anya turned to look at her in surprise before breaking into a smile. Tara blushed, not believing she just did that and grinned back at the bleach blonde ex-demon embarrassedly.

"He's flying," Lindsay muttered in disbelief. Bobby nodded in confirmation.

Suddenly Xander stopped in mid-air, hovering a little above the ground, back turned toward the pursuing girls and ordered, "Stop!" They did, and he turned around his axis. Facing the girls he said, "Now I'm going to teach you the two most important lessons you will ever get. Tell me something, Faith, did you learn something from this?" Xander looked up at the others and told them, "You too by the way." Then he looked back at the girls.

"Uh," Faith managed, hesitating with doubt. "You're too fast to hit?" She shrugged apologetically.

"Not general enough," Xander said with a grin. He looked at the others and they drew a blank. Then he announced, "He or she who cannot be hit, cannot be beaten. All other lessons and rules derive from this one truth. It has some rather nice consequences, for one if you can't hit somebody, you'll lose that fight, it also means if you're facing somebody much more stronger than you, but you are too fast for him to hit you, you will win, and he will lose. Derived from it also come the three pillars of power: Strength, Speed, and Skill. If you're not strong enough to hit him, if your opponent can just grab your fist and crush it, you can't hit him. If you're not fast enough, you won't hit him. If you're good enough, if you have the skill, you are able to use your opponent's strength and speed against him, you'll be able to anticipate what he'll do next, and you can start your answer earlier, giving you just enough time to outmaneuver or counter him." The Slayers and Dawn looked up at him, nodding in understanding. Xander lowered himself to the floor and continued. "Skill in turn is a composite of another three components: Ability, Capability, and Experience. Ability is what your body is capable of performing, in such it's closely related to Strength and Speed but it is not the same, it also includes maneuverability and supplety of your body. Capability is what you can actually do, skills you've been taught: can you throw a punch? Can you fly? Can you fire energy blasts? Do you know counters to an attack? Finally. Experience speaks for itself."

Xander looked at all of them meaningfully then continued, "Lesson number 2, almost as important; Never ever underestimate your opponent, nor overestimate him." The girls nodded in confirmation. "You underestimate someone, you'll take things to lightly, get arrogant; you will make mistakes if you do, and mistakes will get you killed. If you overestimate someone - or underestimate yourself - you'll be fighting with the expectation to lose, to die; when you expect that to happen, you will." Xander closed his eyes and his chi flame lowered and became less intense. "All right, now I'm at your energy levels, let's go," Xander said with a smirk, getting into a ready stance. The girl's attacked again and this time Xander blocked and fought back. Between the three of them, the girls managed to hit Xander, but it didn't slow him down any. After several minutes of this, giving them pointers as they went, Xander suddenly fired an energy ball at Dawn. It wasn't anything damaging, just enough to render her instantly unconscious.

Bobby and Lindsay looked bug-eyed. "Did he just . . .?" Bobby muttered.

"Yes," Wesley answered a little surprised himself.

Buffy looked stricken at Xander. "That's not fair, we don't know how to do that!" she called out in indignation. Faith nodded, biting her lower lip.

"Congratulations, Buffy," Xander answered, grinning as he pointed his hand at her, forming another energy blast. "You just learned lesson number 3; no fight is ever fair." An instant later she went down unconscious as well. Then Xander turned toward Faith and fired one at her as well. Faith flared her energy to the max holding her arms in front of her as a shield, she went down anyway.

Xander smiled and started to turn around when he heard Faith say, "Not so fast." He turned back around, and looked at her astonished, with difficulty she stood back up and went into a ready stance.

"Very good, Faith," Xander said grinning and attacked normally. They traded punches and kicks until Xander suddenly side-stepped an overextended punch and kicked her hard into her stomach, immediately following up with a punch to her face that sent her crumbling into oblivion. Xander smiled and turned to the rest of the group. When he saw them looking at him in shock he said, "They'll be up in about half an hour." *Which leaves you and me half an hour to continue our training, Cordy,* Xander communicated to Cordelia.

Gratifyingly she felt her mind brushing his with an answer, *Finally.*


The Next Day

"The defense calls to the stand, Professor Doctor Kagan Tynes," Bobby said, standing in front of the Judge's desk.

A man got up in one of the benches and walked forward. He went to sit in witness cubicle and got sworn in. Bobby went to stand in front of the cubicle and requested, "For the record, please state your name and occupation."

"Professor Doctor Kagan Tynes. I'm a teacher at UCLA and on occasion advise local high tech companies. My specialty is Quantum Mechanics," the doctor answered calmly.

"Doctor, if I were to ask you, whether teleportation - transportation in Star Trek jargon - of objects was possible, what would you answer?" Bobby asked again, he was as calm, as the doctor was, and friendly.

"No," the man answered calmly. When the two lawyers had asked him a week earlier on what subject they wanted to testify and what for, he had answered them resolutely he wouldn't help them out. Even if they wanted to pay him for coming here. Then the lawyers had said - the man looking through a few papers with a satisfied smile - they wouldn't train him on the answers, and they required nothing more than the truth; he couldn't even torpedo their case if he wanted to, he accepted their offer. Seeing the lawyer smile that told the doctor the lawyer knew something he didn't, made him curious at what the lawyer could pull out of his hat.

"Objection, your honor, what has this got to do with this case?" DA Scwartz said, standing up.

"Your honor, they pull a ridiculous nation-wide smuggling conspiracy out of a hat, and try to shove it in my client's shoes. I think I'm entitled to show there's another way that money could have gotten there, seemingly instantaneously," Bobby implored.

The judge stayed silent for a few seconds, weighing his options, before reluctantly saying, "I'll allow it." The DA sat back down.

"In 1997 Swiss scientists managed to transport a photon, did they not?" Bobby asked with a smile. "It disappeared on one floor and reappeared a floor up?"

"That is correct, but it's not matter," Dr. Tynes answered calmly.

"And a few months ago they did it with an entire beam of light, correct?" Bobby urged with a smile.

"Still not matter," the scientist added calmly, not reacting to some of the people's whisperings; those who apparently didn't keep up with science.

"And a month ago they announced they had figured out the theory on how to do it with matter, did they not? And they were expecting to transport the first atoms within five to eight years?" Bobby asked once more, he leaned on the cubicle leisurely and surveyed the room with a pointed look, finally resting it on the jury.

"That is correct," the scientist answered, still calm.

Bobby turned back to him, "So why would you say it is impossible to transport an abject?"

"Because, with an object - in this case as you're obviously suggesting; four one-thousand-dollar bills - you don't just transport a few atoms, you transport billions of 'em, in order to make the calculations necessary a super computer would take longer than the universe exists," the man answered, giving a smug smile.

"Hmm," Bobby said and walked back to the table, grabbing a computer technology magazine. "Would you please skim over this article and tell us the gist of it?"

Dr. Tynes complied after a minute, a little surprise in his voice, with so many publications across the world even he couldn't have read all of them, "It basically says, if they put transportation technology in computer chips, and transport the electrons in stead of have them pass through a medium, they get an enormous speed boost."

"How big of a boost?" Bobby asked grinning, once more giving the room a pointed look.

"Something that still took a super computer longer than the universe exists, could be done in a few hours," the man answered, wide-eyed.

"We're down to a few hours," Bobby continued just a little smugly. He took the magazine and placed it on the evidence table. "I take it you do know about quantum computing, right?"

"Of course."

Bobby told him, "Explain it please."

"Quantum Mechanics holds that a particle doesn't have an absolute value, it is a quantum mechanical function in which all of its possible values are contained. Some scientists have theorized that each of the possible outcomes become real in different universes," the scientist explained. He noticed he was starting to digress so he returned to the subject, "Anyway, with a quantum computer you don't see the bits as a one or a zero, but the entire quantum mechanical function and thus all of the millions, or even billions of different values a bit can take between one and zero. That way, you can get far more done in the same amount of instructions."

"Is this theory?"

"No, a four qubit - quantum bit - quantum computer is fully operational," the doctor answered, spreading his hands a little at the explanation of 'qubit'.

"So what will the speed increase be over a normal computer, when these things get bigger and more complex?" Bobby asked smiling.

"About the same ratio as the transport-technology enhanced chip," the man answered seeing where this was going.

"So if you take a quantum computer and transport-enhance it, three hours become . . . a millionth of a second," Bobby made the quick calculation.

"Yeah," the man answered.

"So physics doesn't only preclude teleportation, but practical test show it is fully possible, in fact we've been doing it for four years?" Bobby concluded.

"Yes," Dr. Tynes answered reluctantly. He could hardly believe it, he had told nothing but the truth and ended up helping them anyway.

"Thank you," Bobby answered and went back to his table.

The DA stood up and answered, "Dr. Tynes, is anyone one the planet, currently, a week ago or even in the near future capable of transporting four one-thousand-dollar bills across the country."

"No, nobody can do that for at least fifty years," Tynes answered. The DA sat back down satisfied.

Lindsay stood up and smiled at the doctor, "Doctor, if I would want to bet you a hundred bucks that somewhere, on the planet, in the solar system, the countless billions of stars in the galaxy, the countless billions of galaxy's in this universe, the countless dimensions the most cutting edge of science - Quantum Mechanics, string theories - suggest there are, someone or something can teleport objects, living beings even, presumably all the way to the Earth as well, would you take that bet?" The implication was clear, if someone could do that, then someone could teleport to Earth, teleport the money, and teleport back out without anyone noticing.

"No," the scientist answered resolutely; he wasn't deluding himself, the human race knew so little about the universe, one could question they knew anything at all, and betting against all that vastness was only a fool's game.

Lindsay sat big down, saying, "No more questions, your honor."


The scooby gang was returning from lunch as they stepped into the court room building. They were talking softly to each other. All this was getting surreal. The press was again hounding them as they stepped inside and they had to battle them off. Those in the court room, that didn't actually need to be there, were talking to the press, but - as the news reports showed - they didn't say anything beyond the absolute basics. Apparently they were to wrapped in their own thoughts about the revelations of that court room, for as far they didn't already know some of those things. Once they were finally past the press, and managed to get passed the guarded doorway that led deeper in the court building, <and> kept the press out, they sighed in relief. Starting forward again, easily this time, Xander's eyes suddenly went wide.

"Demon," he hissed and ran forward faster than anyone could follow leaving the Scooby Gang and the Angel Team in his wake. A minute later he found the source. He was standing at the end of a corridor and looked out the window. There outside the court building, in the alley along side it, was a demon, and it was talking to judge Daniel Killian.

Xander tested the window a bit, and found it bolted down. With a few tiny blasts the nails holding the window in place were gone and he silently opened the window and listened in.

"You will make sure Faith Williams goes back to jail and you will be handsomely rewarded," the demon growled. It was dressed in leather, typically biker-style. It was red and had yellow horns, no lips and a subdued nose.

"Tell Wolfram & Hart, I'm not interested," judge Killian told it. The man was all bravado, but Xander, and obviously the demon as well, could tell he was scared.

"If you don't takes this offer . . ." the demon left the threat hanging there.

"I'd die first," Daniel Killian answered.

"So be it," the demon said, raising a hand, and like a cat his nails shout out. Xander acted instantly. He jumped out the window, landed in between the demon and the judge and caught the demon's arm by its wrist, before the claws would send the judge to the grave. The demon's eyes went wide with surprise. Then Xander grabbed the demon by its throat and lifted him off the floor.

"Who are you working for?" Xander asked angrily. He knew the answer, but if he got the demon to tell, they just might get around to get the evidence to put the law firm out of business once and for all.

"I will never tell," the demon blurted out. "Not now, not when I die, and not even if you torture me."

*He'd probably like it,* Xander thought in disgust. He looked back over his shoulder at the judge, saying, "Demons with a sense of loyalty, don't you just hate them." In alarm, the demon felt him himself being lifted higher and then let go. The next moment its breath and consciousness was knocked out of him as Xander's fist found its gut, and sent it flying backward. It smashed into the wall behind it, and sank to the ground.

"You know," the judge commented, as he pulled alongside Xander, "I've always known something was fishy in this town. This case brought to light some of it, not everything as believable as the next thing. The moment I saw this thing though, that changed."

"Hmm," Xander answered, turned to look at the judge answered with a smirk, "You go back into the courtroom. Don't hold it against me if I'm a little late . . . " Xander turned back around to look at the unconscious demon. "I'll go return him to his employers and have a little word with them."


Xander landed in front of the Wolfram & Hart building. He ignored the astonished looks from people in the street, they would think they were imagining things anyway. The demon - after waking up in mid-flight one time - was once more unconscious. Xander held him up by its neck with his right hand and stepped through the doors.

"HI, GUYS!!" he called out overly friendly, holding his hand down for a moment to look over his stylish sunglasses. The people in the lobby looked astonished, and Xander surveyed the room. His grin turned more evil when he laid his eyes upon Gavin and Lilah. Raising his head to regard them through the reflective glasses, he said, "Well, what are you guys still doing here? Isn't there a trial you have to be, after all, you've been present at Faith's trial all the time . . . it's almost as if you're expecting there wasn't going to be a trial." Xander leisurely threw the demon with an underhand throw. It flew with a nice arc through the air until it crashed into the wall on the other side of the lobby, about twenty-five meters away from Xander. It then crumpled to the floor.

"Mr. Littica," Lilah started, swiftly to hold of Gavin, who she knew would call the guy 'Harris' which might cause an explosive reaction. "I do not understand why you brought this . . . guy in a Halloween costume here."

"Hm," Xander grinned and took a few steps toward them. "You didn't actually think you could pull one over on me, did you? Especially after your little en masse attack on my friends and the lawyers two days ago? I'll give you a suggestion: don't try to interfere with this trial again, or you'll be sorry." Xander's voice lowered to a dangerous level at the last sentence, then he turned around ready to leave, when Gavin interjected.

"We did no such thing, Mr. Harris," he said, stopping Xander in his track, his eyes narrowed unseen behind the glasses as he turned his head to regard the black man. "And your accusation is an outright case of slander, what makes you think we won't sue you and reduce you to a man living on the streets?"

Xander grinned, then without warning pointed his hand at the two and fired an energy ball. Lilah's eyes went wide with shock and fear as the energy ball flew barely past them. It just wasn't possible, the guy fired that energy ball as if it was his second nature, no long time to power up, no muttering of a spell. In the past when she saw energy balls being fired, it was either by a demon who was born with the ability, or a human magician who took ages, nothing like this. "Now how are you going to produce that witness, when someone asks you to?" Gavin and Lilah turned around, along with the other people in the lobby and saw nothing but a damaged wall and a scorch mark where the demon had lain moments before.

Xander turned back around and took a few steps toward the exit, pushing the sunglasses up into the right position with his left index finger. Then he stopped and turned his head to regard them. "Oh, one more thing. Tell anyone who works at this place, especially your superiors: once I'm done with the senior partners; you're next." Xander walked forward and opened the door, then halted holding the door open. "Until then, you still have time to change your ways."

Park watched the man leave, blasting off into the sky again, if he had any emotion about Xander's astounding abilities, none of them showed on his cold face. If Vulcans were real, he would give them a run for their money. Lilah was different, although her face was mostly composed, her eyes betrayed her feelings completely, she had never been so afraid in her entire life. She was absolutely certain now, this guy was different, and something had to be done about him, but what?

"Sir," Gavin said respectively, as a grey-haired man stepped into the lobby. "Did you catch that, Mr. Murrow."

"Yes," the man answered, annoyance slipping into his voice.

"Now what?" Lilah asked. It took her more than a little effort to keep her voice from cracking.

"Now, Lilah? Check mate, that's now. You two go to that trial, perhaps there's still some legal means out of this mess," the man told them, his eyes angry, but his voice betrayed nothing of his anger.


When Xander returned, giving the judge a curt nod, Lindsay was just starting to question the owner of the Antique shop.

"Mr. Caster, the detective in charge of the investigation said the stolen sword was back in your possession. Is this true?" Lindsay asked. She stood serenely before the witness cubicle hands clasped in front of her.

"That is true," the man answered her.

"Would you please tell the court how that came to be?"

"Well," the man said, then looked at Faith for a moment and pointed at her, "the girl stepped into my shop Monday morning, and brought it back. She just placed it on my counter, apologized for taking it, and walked back out."

"Thank you," Lindsay said and walked back to the table.

"No questions, your honor," the DA said as the judge looked at him. The judge hadn't expected any, and told the shop owner he could go sit down. Once he was seated, Bobby stood up and was about to call the next witness, when the court doors burst open. Angel walked in, heavily cloaked, and bent over, making him look like somewhat of an old man. Fearfully he looked at the large open windows to his left, through which the dreaded, glaring mid-day sunlight streamed. He hoped he had covered up enough; starting to smoke in the middle of a courtroom that had just found out about vampires, if they didn't know about them already, couldn't lead to good things, but this was too important.

"Who are you?" the judge called, irritated at the interruption.

"The name's Angel, and I have some very important information for Faith's lawyers, your honor," he said, grimacing, all his instincts screamed at him to run away and find a place out of direct sunlight.

"Hurry this up, Mr. O'Rourke," the judge told him.

Surprise washed over Angel for a moment and quickly walked to the Faith's table. "I found them," he whispered to Bobby.

"Your honor, we would like to request a recess, something important has come up," Bobby said hastily.

"All right, this court is in recess until tomorrow morning at ten," Judge Killian stated, and tapped his hammer once.

As the people started to file out of the courtroom, Faith managed to get over to the shop owner and, smiling politely and a little mysteriously, she asked, "So, have you had the sword checked out yet?"

"Actually, I sent it to a cousin of mine, he's somewhat of a scientist. He called me this morning to get over there as fast as possible, said something about finding something big," the man said. Faith smiled knowingly and turned to rejoin the group. "Say, why don't you come with me, you are the one after who had me check it out."

Faith turned back at him in surprise, and then smiled at him and answered, "I'd like that. Let me go tell my friends."


"So, what did you find?" Caster asked his cousin, looking around the lab without too much interest. His cousin, dressed in a white lab coat, came toward him, he too was not showing anything on the out side. Unlike the two, Faith looked around in wonder, half the equipment she saw standing in the university laboratory, was totally unknown to her. The cousin looked surprised at Faith. "She's trustworthy, Charly, she brought the sword back and pointed me to this. She probably already knows whatever you found out. And I've been at her trial, trust me," Caster explained.

"Besides," Faith added, pointing down to her stockinged lower leg, and the bracelet hanging there. "I try to leave, I get the entire nation's law enforcement agencies after me."

"It's your sword," Charly answered and then exited gestured to follow him. As they did, the man enthused, "You're not going to believe this."

"How old is it then?" Caster asked impatient once they reached the sword.

"A lot of the blood is strangely enough not human, I have absolutely no idea what they were from, until much later," Charly continued with a wide grin.

"Demon blood?" Caster supplied. Faith nodded, and so did Charly.

"Anyway, there are many different blood stains on it, some as short a time ago as contemporary, like last week?" Charly pauzed for a moment and looked at Faith, who shrugged. He continued, "Again not human though, but the oldest blood I found is seven and a half thousand years old."

Caster's eyes bugged out, "Seven and a half thousand? But . . . that's not possible."

"It is thirteen thousand years old," Faith added calmly.

Caster turned to Faith and looked at her in disbelief. "I'm not surprised. It's not all, though," Charly continued. "The blade is titanium." Caster looked back and looked at his cousin too stunned to say anything. Charly picked the sword up, walked toward a set-up and gestured for them to follow him, saying, "Watch this." Once they reached the intended destination, Charly explained, "This is a block of solid titanium." He gestured to a block at least ten centimeters wide and high. He raised the sword and let it descend. It cut smoothly through the block and it fell into two separate parts.

"Are you nuts?" Caster exclaimed in shock, concerned for his priceless sword.

"Don't worry," Charly added pointing at several more blocks lying a few feet away. "That and this one was once one block. We've cut them all up, not a scratch on the blade." Charly grinned. "One of the other lab technicians almost cut his own thumb off, while it was cleaning it and held the sword at the hilt with his other hand. This sword has been forged with an electro magnetic field grafted into every part of it. It is built, so that when a human hand picks it up, the field changes. If you don't hold it, the field acts like a shield, protecting your sheath, your fingers etc. But hold it, and it reconfigures itself, turning it in the deadliest sword ever created. The blade's edge is only fifty molecules thick. We can't duplicate this, even if we throw a billion dollars at trying to do recreate this sword, we'd fail miserably. Nobody on the planet can recreate this sword.

"George, if I were you I'd ensure this sword for as high as you can afford, and lock it away in a vault or something, because this thing is worth billions," Charly beamed. Caster's eyes widened at the number, while Faith just smiled. "Not to mention, all the established, traditional archeologists are going to want to destroy it, or hide it, if they can't destroy it."

Caster and Charly looked at each other for a long minute. Caster slowly bit by bit was starting to grasp that this was real and what it meant. Billions! He was rich! If he ever needed money, selling this sword would make him one of the wealthiest men in all the world. "That's not all," Charly answered with a big grin. Caster looked at him astonished, and then he and Faith followed him toward a different part of the lab. They walked into a room with a plexiglass window. "Stay behind this," Charly said, and went behind the glass in the other part of the room, there he placed the sword on a pedestal and returned. Then he opened a drawer, took out a gun, and loaded it.

"What are you going to do?" Caster asked stricken.

Charly grinned, then held is arm around the doorway, and said, "We bought the gun especially for this, we never did this before, the room is usually closed up for potentially volatile experiments." He aimed the gun and pulled the trigger. A powerful bang could be heard, then a moment later, a faint field of light sizzled around the sword, and Faith and Caster flinched back, as the bullet impacted and bounced back off the window in front of them. They looked at the slight smudge where the bullet had impacted for a few moments before comprehension dawned.

"You hit the sword," Caster stated.

"Yeah," Charly said, went in the room and retrieved the sword. He showed it to them, it had no damage. "George, with the exception of mass-destruct weapons, this is the most powerful weapon in the world. You've seen it, it'll cut through the armor of a tank like it isn't even there. You give a man this sword and have him go up against a squadron of tanks, I'm betting on the guy with the sword. It's still not everything." Caster saw his cousin stock off after he told them to stay here. A few moments later, he placed a thick book on the counter and gestured for them to read the cover. 'A comprised encyclopedia on Mythological, Legendary and Magical Weapons and Artifacts.' Charly opened it at the page he had book marked, removing the bookmark he showed the page. In thick letters the title read, Methudei, then beneath it as a subtitle the translation: The Slayer Of Gods. Then there was a picture covering the upper-left quarter of the page. Of course less detailed than the actual sword, it was still obviously the same blade. They read the subscript: 'Picture taken from Merlini's Dictionary of Magical Weapons, circa 800 AD.*'

"Hey," Faith said surprised, "That's the book Giles has." The two looked at her and she shrugged. They followed the footnote referral to the bottom of the page and read, 'Author's notes: This sword and its history has captivated me, even more so than Excalibur aka the Viking Balmung aka Caliburn; the sword that prompted me to write this book. The full history of Methudei is beyond the scope of this book, however if I ever get green light from my publisher I will endeavor to write a volume on this sword alone, perhaps turn it into story form, perhaps even multiple novels.'

"Read the first five sentences," Charly said with a grin.

Faith and Caster did as he suggested, 'Similar to Excalibur, and unlike most of the other artifacts and weapons in this book, this weapon has a history that leads back thousands of years, and appears in one shape or another in many separate mythologies and stories. The name it has now is Akkadian; 'Methu' meaning 'death', and 'dei' meaning 'god', hence the loose translation given in Merlini's: The Slayer Of Gods. A more accurate translation would be Death To The Gods, but The Slayer Of Gods will do; it fits its history well enough. Whether this name is the earliest name given to it is unknown. It is fabled to be able to cut through anything, and capable of deflecting almost any attack, including magical and energy attacks.'

"Well," Caster said in amazement. "That seems to be true enough."

Charly went on, "If you read the rest of the article, it'll tell you, that Adam has supposedly used it destroy the supreme God El, the Biblical Adam and the Biblical god El, Kain used it to kill the goddess Ishtar, it brought upon the Dusk of the Viking Gods, destroyed most of their magical weapons, supposedly only Balmung the later Excalibur survived its onslaught, the Egyptian god Seth used it to kill his brother Osiris, it might have been Jean d'Arc's sword, it might even have been the sword used to defeat King Arthur in seemingly its second clash with Excalibur. This sword is Myth, and Legend. If it comes out in the open, it will rewrite the entire history of Earth, the Human race and our civilization. Without this last part that sword is worth at least a hundred billion, with it, it's priceless, literally. There isn't enough money in the entire world to pay for it."

Caster looked down at the sword his eyes wide. Faith looked at it as well, she had known it was an enormous weapon, but this went a little beyond what she had considered it to be. "And all your colleagues know about it?"

Charly shook his head 'no', "The moment I found how sharp and old it was, I kept everybody as far away from as possible, when I needed them to help, no one got more than one piece of information."

"I think you better keep this sword a secret, and not ensure it with too large an amount," Faith thought out loud. "If you've secured a sword for billions people are going to notice, and they will come for it. And the world isn't ready for the knowledge of this sword, people are still too busy killing each other because of what's written in some stupid books, or over the color of one's skin, over the shoes one is wearing. A sword that can cut tanks to ribbons, and proves without the shadow of a doubt everything people have believed for the past fifteen hundred years is at most only half true, is something this volatile world can't handle."

Caster nodded, than looked at her stricken and asked, "What in god's name did you need a weapon like this for?"

"To slay an evil goddess," Faith answered.


Lindsay heart pounded nervously in her chest, as she watched Bobby knock on the motel door. Gunn and Wesley were behind them and their presence made her feel safer in the scary city.

The door opened and revealed a barely dressed man, his right hand was in bandages. "Hello?" he greeted with uncertainty.

"Hello, sir," Lindsay greeted. "I'm Lindsey Doyle and this is Bobby Donnell."

"Hello," Bobby greeted and held up a picture of Faith. "Do you recognize this girl?"

The face on the man betrayed his anger, "Yeah, that's the girl who saved our lives a week ago."

"May we come in?" Lindsay asked.

"Uh, okay," the man answered, hesitating for a moment to check whether it was wise. The group went inside, and saw a woman lying in bed, who quickly covered herself with the blankets.

"The girl that saved your lives," Bobby started, thinking about how to phrase this, and in the end decided on blunt, "had escaped prison, and is now on trial for it. We were hoping you were willing to testify on what happened that night."

"That sweet girl is a convict!?" the woman asked incredulously.

Wesley listened in disbelief and questioned them, "Haven't you been watching the news?"

The woman, barely more than a girl, blushed. The man laughed and explained, "We're on our honeymoon, between the days on the beach and our . . . uh . . . nightly activities, we haven't had much time to watch the news."

The lawyers and their bodyguards looked at each other in amazement.


The next day

"The defense calls to the stand, Mr. Norman Brennan," Bobby stated with confidence lacing his voice.

The man stood up and took his seat. He was sworn in and then Bobby asked him, "What happened in the night of Saturday to Sunday a week ago to you an your wife, Mr. Brennan?"

"We were attacked," the man stated with conviction. "It was early in morning, we were coming back from a night at the local disco, and were sidetracked by . . . uhm . . . honeymoonal duties." The people in the courtroom chuckled or laughed out loud. "Anyway," Norman continued, "when we . . . uhm . . . finished, we were ready to go back to our motel. We managed about fifty meters before a group of what could only be considered monsters, attacked us. Ten in all."

"What did they want from you?" Bobby asked him with an encouraging grin.

"Well, they started some weird ritual once they subdued us. They were all chanty and stuff and one of 'em stood above each of us and were about to rip our hearts with their bare claws," the man explained with heated animation, his eyes betrayed the fear he felt that night. The people, watching the proceedings listened intently.

"Then what happened?" Bobby asked.

"Then we were saved . . . by a young girl no less," Norman started, looking around the room to see if anyone wished to challenge him or laugh at him on that. Nobody did. "She came out of nowhere, I've never seen a more beautiful sight in my entire life . . . except my wife of course," he told, nodding his head apologetically when he had to make an amendment. "Anyway, the first monster lost his head to the sword she had with her, and then she proceeded to kick those things' asses in a dance of martial arts that would have made Bruce Lee jealous."

"Is this girl present today?" Bobby asked with a little pride.

"Oh, yeah," Norman answered with certainty. He pointed directly at Faith and said, "That girl. The brunette at the defendant table, Faith Williams."

"Thank you, Mr. Brennan. No further questions, your honor." Bobby walked back to his seat, smiling at his wife and Faith.

"Mr. Schwartz, your witness," the judge answered thoughtfully. He looked at Faith assessing her, he was starting to consider the sentence he would put on her, if the jury found her guilty.

"Mr. Brennan," Schwartz started as he stepped in front of Norman. "Are you certain they were monsters? After all it was dark, you could have been mistaken, perhaps we can add another tenfold murder to Ms. Williams record." Schwartz was actually started when he heard an angry growl coming from Faith. She stayed otherwise silent though so he turned back to then man in front of him.

"Hmm," Norman snorted in indignation. "I don't like being called a liar, pal. Trust me, when two beings try to rip your and your wife's heart out through your chest, you know their faces, no matter how dark it is. Besides, the city conveniently presented us with a street light three meters away."

"And that couldn't have been a man in a Halloween costume, or some scary make-up?" the DA asked trying to cast doubt on the man's own memories.

"Oh, no. You see when you're a guy and you and your brand-spanking new wife are attacked by a horde of whatevers - I don't care if they were demons, aliens, some previously undiscovered type of animal, or some geneticist's experiment escaped from a government research center for super soldiers - you try to protect yourself and your wife. You might not understand the concept, but I'm sure others here do. I smashed my fist into one of the things' jaws; it felt like hitting a medieval knight wearing armor," Norman said, then raised his bandaged right hand above the table and pulled the bandages down showing heavily bruised knuckles. "That's just in case you don't believe me." He put the bandage back in place, and while doing that he continued talking, "And before you talk to me about helmets and such, I've never heard of a human being that decomposed into a green goo thirty seconds after they were killed, have you?"

The DA seethed from inside, outside he managed to show just an amazed face, which wasn't all too difficult, because he was amazed as well. He returned to his seat, and said, "No more questions."


Giles, Xander, Faith and the two lawyers had separated themselves from the rest of the group and were sitting in a stark room, holding only a table and a few chairs. They were going over the testimony Faith would have to give that afternoon. "You can do this, Faith, I've got faith in you," Xander said with a powerful certainty in his voice. He smiled lightly at his pun then reached out his hand across the table. She grasped it, drawing strength from him, and he continued, "This is no more difficult than when you did it the first time with them. Just breathe deeply and go through it, okay?"

Faith nodded, of course it was just as easy, there was only an entire courtroom of complete strangers listening in instead of only two, and this time her story might very well mean the difference between incarceration and freedom, on top of that she would have to bare all her insecurities and weaknesses to a few people who seemed determined to stay her enemies. Thankfully there wasn't any press present. Then again, the fact that she had already gone through the whole thing, would mean the difficulty level would lower itself back down to be equal to the first time. "Thanks for the support Xander," she whispered with difficulty, trying to get her nerves back under control.

Giles placed his own hand on the table and said, "Faith, I would like again to convey my deepest regrets about what I perceive as utter failure on my part . . ."

Faith grasped his hand and interrupted him, she really didn't want to hear the every detail of his failure speech for the fifth time. "I know, Giles, I'm glad you're here now."

"Faith," Xander said insistent. "Remember, if you can always draw strength from me if you need it. From Giles as well, and I'm pretty sure from Gunn, Tara obviously, she's somewhat thrown herself up to be your personal friend and ambassador to Willow and Buffy . . ." Xander smiled at the little blonde witch's fierce defense of the dark slayer last night. Then he continued, "I'd think you'd scare Fred, if you try looking at her, but then I think anyone will scare Fred if they look at her . . ." The four people laughed lightly, which was exactly the effect Xander was going for. " . . . Anya of course, she's become somewhat of your biggest fan, at least of your sexual exploits . . ." The laughter was harder now, Faith couldn't keep a broad smile off her face afterwards. " . . . and then there's Dawn, I've got the feeling she's decided to disregard any memories she has about the time before her actual creation. . ."

"Huh!?" the two lawyers blurted out.

"That," Giles explained, his English accent increasing with his nervousness, "is a rather long winded story."

Lindsay decided to disregard that and asked gently, "So . . . you ready?"

Faith nodded nervously, "As ready as I'll ever be."


Faith felt like throwing up and gulping down buckets full of boiling water at the same time as she took small step after determined small step toward the witness cubicle that seemed to grow to giant size the closer she got to it. Her legs trembled as she climbed the imposing chair and sat down in it.

The bailiff held the bible in front of her and gestured for her to place her right hand on it. "Raise your right hand." Faith did so. "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

"No," Faith answered actually feeling strength flowing into her with that answer. The whole courtroom seemed to burst into uproar, at least the Christian attendees in it. The judge had a hard time getting the room under control, nothing short of threatening to have them all removed quieted them down. "I've got some bad memories of that book, your honor. I will not swear to anything on that book. And the concept that I need a god - any god - to help me tell the truth, I find rather insulting."

The judge gestured for the bailiff to get the bible away, there had been others not of the Christian faith who had refused to swear on the book; that wasn't a problem, but he hadn't ever heard anyone object to the god clause. "So leave the 'help me' away and you will swear to it?"

Faith nodded. "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" the bailiff asked this time.

"I do," Faith answered.

The bailiff sat back down and Bobby stood in front of Faith and said, "Go ahead."

"When I was four, I accidentally pushed over a cup with milk, my mother beat up over that for the first time in my life," Faith started and for some reason thought about something for the first time in her life. "Well, actually she might have hit me earlier in life, but then I just can't remember it."

"Objection, your honor! This has got nothing to do with the case," the DA interrupted, startling Faith.

Bobby saw the flinch and answered coldly, "Yes, it does. You'll find that out soon enough." He had grown a liking to the girl in front of him.

The judge thought for only a small moment, his curiosity demanding only one answer; "Go ahead, Ms. Williams."

Faith nodded, "A few months later I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. I walked to my parents room, crying with distraught and woke up my mother, and asked whether I could sleep in bed with them. She opened the night stand and picked out the bible she kept there. Then while quoting some shit about respecting your elders she used the book the smash me around in the head with, and calling me worthless and worse while she did. I must have said 'sorry' at least fifty times before she stopped hitting me. I dragged myself back to my room and my bed, without seeing anything, which wasn't because it was dark, before I was half-way out of the bedroom my eyes were swollen closed. By the time I got up to my room and continued crying, trying to go to sleep that way, I could hear my parents making noises. I know now people make them when they are having sex. My father apparently hadn't slept through it, he stayed quiet and gotten off on it, not that I understood that back then. My eyes were closed for three days, and for about the same time I had trouble breathing." The entire courtroom's eyes were wide open in shock and revulsion, except Lindsay, Bobby and Xander. The first two had heard the story before, and Xander had closed his eyes, a tear flowing across his cheek as he remembered similar episodes from his own parents.

Faith's eyes had watered up by now, and as she continued with the next part, she couldn't keep the tears from flowing gently alongside her face anymore. "This went on for about six years, for every little thing I did accidentally, she would beat me up. There were times when I couldn't walk for hours after she was done with me. When we were with other people and I did something, she would act like any other mom, until we got home. Then my punishment would begin again. Her vocal abuse became worse as well, I was worthless, I was worth nothing, if people hadn't rejected me she would have sold me into slavery a long time ago, that's how worthless I was. I have the distinct impression she eventually started to believe her own tirades. And afterwards, I would always hear my parents rut. I was too afraid of more punishment, too ashamed of my situation, and too convinced my mother was completely right to tell anyone. I had started to believe her rants after about three years." Faith looked around the silent room through teary eyes. With some effort she forced herself to continue, "When I was ten, perhaps eleven, a new component was added. My father came to me one night, and started this lovely speech . . ."


" . . . so you understand, Faith; you're mother is a very busy woman, and she can't be there for me all the time, sweety," Faith's father explained, as ten-year-old Faith trembled lightly on the bed. Why was daddy acting so strange? "And now that you're old enough, you can fill in for her can't you, baby?" Faith nodded lightly, not understanding what he meant, but for fear of mother's wrath she would do whatever daddy asked of her. "Come here, sweetheart, get between daddy's legs. That's a good girl, you don't have to worry, daddy won't hurt you. See the nice lollipop? That's right, open your mouth and gently suck it, baby. Just don't bite it like you do with a regular one, Faithy. Oah, oh, yeah, that's the way . . ."


" . . .lovely . . . good girl," Faith finished, and was shaken out of her revery by a loud noise. The noise was unmistakable. A woman scrambled to her feet, holding her right hand in front of her mouth and scrambled past the other people in the bench, who hastily made way for her to get past. The woman ran to the doors and as she fumbled with them, the noise could be heard a second time. Once the door opened she ran past them, only she and the janitor know whether she reached the bathrooms in time.

"Bailiff," the judge stated, subdued in humility and shame that he had to order the next thing. "Get some buckets, we can't have the jury run out in a similar manner."

"Yes, your honor," the bailiff answered and scurried away. The judge nodded to Faith.

"A few months later," Faith started again, with a grim smile. "My father made me a new compliment. 'Faith,' he said while he ejaculating into my mouth and on my face, 'your mother is wrong, you are good for one single thing. This.' It's something he used it all through the time he used me, I was only a tiny notch less worthless than my mother made me out to be: I was good for one thing and for one thing only: sex. The first time he penetrated me he did with gently coaxing and some veiled threats. The second time though, like times before while I was still only orally gratifying him, he didn't bother with the niceties, he simply forced me . . ."


"That's it, you little slut," Faith's dad grunted, as he forced himself inside of his daughter. Grinning with satisfaction he held her legs open, his right hand had grabbed her face on either cheek, and squeezed them together forcing her lips apart. It kept Faith from an understandable protest, not that her father paid them any heed before he held her face like that. Faith moaned and groaned in pain and humiliation. Her father pushed her head backwards, until her neck was so stretched it became difficult to breath. Faith's dad grunted in pleasure and told, "You love this don't ya, bitch. Oh, yes you do. I'll bet you even love the beatings your mom gives ya, right, sweetheart. Of course you do, why else wold keep agitating her, you, lovely slut of mine? I'll bet you frig yourself to orgasm after orgasm every time she's done with you. Yeah, you love this shit, you love it." And on that note he blasted his seed into her.


"He just got up and left," Faith told. She took a few moments to gather herself. The bailiff returned and placed several buckets near the jury bench. She looked at Xander, but his eyes were closed and she saw a few tears coming from them, she turned to the rest of the Scooby Gang and found Dawn first. The little girl had tears staining her cheeks, but she managed a weak smile nonetheless. Faith turned her attention back to the room and forced herself to continue, "I had come to believe I was worthless, good for absolutely nothing, so when my father gave me that single lifeline to hold onto, I took it. At school I fucked anyone who showed an interest, for a time I was happy, Faith was suddenly good for something. If I let myself go, daddy could even make me feel good, and the always older boys at school, those who had at least had some respect for women, made me feel really good."

Faith looked around the room again, trying to get the courage for the next part, she turned once more to her the ones who came closest to be friends. She found Gunn, the stoic black man looked back at her with steel in his eyes, although she was certain she could see a lump in his throat. She drew enough strength from his hard eyes to continue. "My mom seemed to enjoy beating me up more and more, and came more proficient at it too. She had learned to hurt me the most without leaving any overt outside marks, so nobody would come and ask inconvenient questions. One and a half years after dad started fucking me, he brought over his colleagues from his job. By that time - observing how other girls were treated, and the few boys who, while having sex with me, made me compliments, and were as interested in my pleasure as their own, some of 'em even did what could be only called making love to me - I had started an internal war with myself, one part of me rebelled against the notion that I was a worthless slut. I was anything but a willing participant at my first gang bang, I fought them with anything I had, which wasn't much, and far too less. There were times when I was too depressed, or simply wasn't in the mood, and so I worked with them as best I could. At those times I was probably the best fuck they ever had." Faith stopped, tears flowing freely down her cheeks, feeling a depression rushing forward, as she had inadvertently started to humiliate herself. Looking back over to the gang she found Giles' eyes this time, purposely keeping away from those she had drawn strength from by keeping their gazes before, too afraid if she demanded their support more than once they'd crack under the pressure. Giles was nervous she could see that, he wanted to shy away, the countless repeating apologies made her understand he wasn't sure he was worthy to give her his strength now, but she demanded it of him anyway.

"The worst times," Faith started, turning around to look at the jury, "were when I wanted to fight back, but my body got aroused anyway. I remember a time when my father brought over a new group of 'friends' . . ."


*No!* Faith screamed in rage and fear in her head, as she her lips were forcibly clamped around an erection. Tears streamed from her eyes.

"Oh, yeah," the man underneath her groaned in pleasure, "this slut loves every moment of it, look how wet she is."

"Oh, wow, her anus is incredible, I've never felt one so perfectly begging for it!" another guy commented.

"Fuck, the girl is coming," a guy observed from the sidelines.

*NO!* Faith screamed again, but to no avail, as her mouth filled with a man's ejaculate her body convulsed in orgasm. She hated every moment of it, but couldn't keep herself from feeling the pleasure coursing through her body.

"I told you guys my little girl likes it rough," her father laughed heartily.


Faith cried. She looked down and for several minutes didn't say a thing. Composing herself as best she could she looked back up. In that time three more people ran out the courtroom, either their stomach couldn't take it, or their minds couldn't.

"When I was almost fifteen, my life changed completely," Faith started, smiling for the first time. She came to a few memories that were a little less bad. "Until that time my body wasn't much to speak of. I had started growing feminine curves a lot earlier, and knew I looked older, it was what was in my eyes that did that trick, but I was never in great shape. I tired easily, the merciless beatings by my mother never allowed my body to just rest fully, recuperate fully, and build up a nice healthy fitness level. I wasn't athletic, and I certainly wasn't strong. That all changed one afternoon when my reputation would come to hound me, when ten guys from the football team decided I would be great to get me to put out . . ."


"No!" Faith said forcibly, yanking her arm free from the strong hand. Faith had enough experience to have come hating her function as 'worthy for only one thing'. And despite the fact that these ten guys were perfectly trained athletes, and she already saw what this was leading to, she still refused them. The lanky girl sped up as best as she could, stumbling on some trash in this back street of Boston. She caught herself just in time and kept walking.

Suddenly the strong arm grabbed her again, and this time it shoved her to the floor and she banged against the wall among some trash, barely a meter from a smelly trash container. She looked up at her tormentors and through tear-stained eyes she begged them, "Please, don't hurt me. Please, don't rape me. Please, let me go."

"No way, you bitch," the leader of the ten boys, all leering at her, said. "My uncle told me you were the best fuck in the city, I've had guys younger tell me you were ten times better than anyone I had had, including my girlfriend. You should be grateful, <we>, as the local celebrity football team want something to do with a slut like you. You should have been begging us to take you in your favorite positions, but no, you fuck anything that walks except us!?" The leader spit on her in anger, causing the young girl to cry more. "We could go and find a piece of ass ten times better than yours, but we came here to test out the famous Williams skill, and we get nothing!?"


Nearby Eliza Douglas walked pensively. It had been three and a half weeks and still no new slayer. Kendra had died then, but none of the trained and identified potential slayers had been called. That meant an unidentified Slayer had been called, or none had been called as of yet. A new slayer, she had been taught, was called after the Slayer's death anywhere between instantaneously and four weeks.

She thought of how well her nine-year-old Linda was faring, she soaked up the training like a sponge. Eliza knew she was still too young to be called, but was secretly hoping she would get a real Slayer assigned to her sooner or later. The identifying and recruiting process, however, had to be improved, it just had too. This was potentially the second unfound Slayer in two-and-a-half years. Untrained, they never lasted long. Those two-and-a-half years of Buffy Summers was the exception that stated the rule, especially if one took into account the fact, that if it hadn't been for CPR, she'd been dead already.

Sounds of a group of kids drew her away from her intended destination and turned deeper into the less part of the town. A few meters further, she peered around a corner and saw a group of boys tormenting a little girl. She didn't need to be able to understand the boys' words to know what they were planning. Eliza was proficiently trained in martial arts she could take out a vampire, a few high school kids would be no match for her. She was just about to reveal herself when something astonishing happened.


Faith begged to be left alone as she thrashed about, kicking, hitting and screaming. Her hands squatted away other hands, while the boys laughed at her useless antics. Faith knew what she was doing wouldn't help any, but she was hoping against all hope that every second delay would bring her salvation.

"Hey, cutesy pie," a guy called, laughing as he bent down. This guy was not toying anymore, he was determined to get some and his hand came forward to rip clothes to shreds. Faith kicked out in desperation and managed to hit him in the chest. Astonished she looked as instead of laughing off the useless kick, or if she got really lucky doubling him over in pain, the boy flew all the way across the street and slammed into the wall of building three meters away, where he crumpled to the ground unconscious.

"You filthy bitch!" the leader called out in anger, after the whole group had taken a step back to look at their fallen comrade. He turned back to her and said, "Get her, make her pay for that."


"They were too late at that point," Faith told the courtroom with a grim smile. "Faith Williams, the weak little girl was gone, at that point not even Faith The Slayer existed, for a moment I was nothing but raw instinct, only The Slayer was present. And when The Slayer is attacked she defends herself. I had hopped to my feet as the leader threw a punch at me. I squatted it aside with my left arm and doubled him over with a single right punch. The rest of the group was attacking as well. I made a roundhouse kick with my left foot and three quarters around caught a guy square in the side of his head. He went down instantly. I became aware of one of them trying to grab me from behind and I went down avoiding him. I landed on my left arm, supported myself with it and kicked out with my entire body, which momentarily hung horizontal balancing only on the arm, at the same time I kicked a guy that tried to attack me from the front in the gut with my other leg and like the first one sent him flying across the street.

"I came back down, and stayed like that, smashing my elbow backward into the guy's stomach - who had tried to grab me - doubling him over. I turned around while crouched and sent my left fist flying upward, catching the guy on his chin, sending him flying up a meter and away two meters through the air. I surged forward, grabbed a guy who had decided to charge me by the collar and threw him up and over me with ease, and thus automatically around to face the container I had sat next. I continued my circular movement, and caught the leader, who was still on his knees holding his stomach, in the back of his head with my right foot, and he sprawled to the floor unconscious. The others followed soon after. Moments earlier I wouldn't have been able to touch them with a finger, now I had taken out ten football players, without them even laying a hand on me."

"I looked at myself, at my hands in disbelief once I had calmed down," Faith continued, shaking herself from her revery. "Then I ran away from them in fear, and I was home before I knew it, which got my mother riled up. She started beating me again, I was too afraid of my mother to fight back, not even The Slayer took over. But she stopped a lot sooner than normal, looking at me with fear in her eyes and holding her hands in pain. I didn't understand what had happened, I was only glad she stopped and I quickly went up to my room. There I looked in the mirror to check how bad the damage was that she left me; slightly reddish skin was all that she had managed. I was shocked."

Faith took in a deep breath and continued, "The next day things radically changed. Without preamble, I was taken from my parents, and they were taken away, probably to rot in jail. Before the morning was over, I was in the custody of a woman named Eliza Douglas. She had a young potential slayer around nine or ten with her that relocated to another Watcher soon after.

"For the next four and half months, she did nothing but train me, I was happy for a while," Faith told the room, feeling the pain of that time come over her. As tears once more started the flow, she continued, "There were no beatings, I was given decent food, I went from a scrawny brat to a healthy young, well-fed girl. I was even special. I was given a purpose, to protect life by killing demons, I wasn't in school anymore, which was a plus, I was training almost all day, and she taught what I learned in school one on one. But she continued the abuse . . . oh, she didn't know any better, and she never thought she was doing exactly that, thought that she was doing good, but she didn't send me to school, she didn't allow me to interact with others of my age, I couldn't go to parties. I was still a girl worth for only one thing, only now it wasn't sex, but death, destruction, chaos, kill. That was all she instilled in me, for four months nothing but: kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill . . ." Faith's eyes went cold at the repeat, her voice lowered in resentment. "After two weeks I rebelled against it, the only way I knew how, with the only other thing I was ever told I was good at; sex. I went out and had sex with anyone that was willing, and they were willing. Added to that was the determination I had gained, that I wouldn't let my experiences ruin sex for me. I wasn't going to let my father, mother and my other abusers and rapists win. I knew sex could be good, so I was determined to enjoy as much of it as possible. And did I ever enjoyed myself. Eliza tolerated it, although she lectured me on how bad it was for me to be doing what I was doing, that I should be focusing on the only thing I was good for: death, she never punished me. She probably thought it was just phase I had to get through or something, and if she drilled my sacred, singular purpose long and hard enough in me I would stop out of my own volition.

"Obviously, the exact opposite occurred, the more she pushed me, the more I looked for sexcapades; boys, men, girls, women, or groups, it didn't matter to me, as long I had great sex, I'd fuck anything that walked," Faith confessed. She rubbed some tears away with her sleeve, and with some difficulty continued, "I never blamed her though, she simply did what she was taught in watcher school, I guess. That she bought my escape route from an ancient, very powerful vampire with her life, probably had something to do with the fact that I can't see her as anything but a good person. After that, I had only one thing to do: run. There was only one place I could think to run to: the only other place that sported a slayer, one that my watcher had been high praising from the moment I met her: Sunnydale California and Buffy Summers.

"When I arrived there, I got the shock of my life," Faith recalled, with a wistful smile. "Buffy was not the perfect, cold, unstoppable warrior focused on but one goal; to kill. She was just an ordinary girl, who went to school, who had friends, who helped her stop the demons, she had a mother and a little sister. She was everything I always hoped to be, and had everything I always hoped to have. After she and I finally defeated Kakistos, the vampire that killed my watcher, I was looking forward to spending time with her and her friends, The Scooby Gang as they called themselves. But what I had in my mind was not to be . . ."

Faith waited for a moment, drawing in deep breaths, managing to make eye contact with Tara. Faith was amazed at the little witch, she said sat there, with tears in her eyes, but calm, and proud, smiling at Faith. Faith smiled back for an instant before she continued, "Willow, Buffy's best friend, treated me like I was dead meat. I was another Slayer, and unlike the previous one, I was staying; Buffy and me could share things together the two of them never could. She felt threatened and so she hated me from the get-go, never bothering to give me a chance. Buffy tried in the beginning, until she got her SAT scores and several colleges her mother had applied her to had accepted her, from then on I was just the replacement who could stay in Sunnyhell and keep the Hellmouth from swallowing the world whole. I had hoped to be enrolled in school so I could be just a normal girl, like Buffy as well. But Giles, our watcher, never bothered to call me unless he had a job for me, never once visited me in the hell whole that was supposed to be a motel that I was staying at, and he sure as hell didn't offer an improvement. Cordelia was pretty much a bitch to everyone. Xander was distant, and I wrongly interpreted it as the same behaviour as the others. I failed to see he was like that with all of them: he saved your life when it need saving, cheered you up, when you needed cheering up, relativated grave situations with a few jokes, he was the rock you could build upon, but like me he had abusive parents, and although you could always go to him, the other way around would only happen gently baby step by gently baby step."

Faith breathed in deeply again, "Strangely enough, I had somewhat of a crush on him from the moment I saw him. And Willow's boyfriend Oz, well he was just her boyfriend, the silent brooding type, never saying anything even when he said something. A guy who followed his girlfriend everywhere and definitely wouldn't do anything to offend her, like say, talk to the enemy slayer. Now, I wasn't expecting them to invite me with open arms, I was expecting to have to work some for acceptance, so that's what I did. I never once told Willow she was being unfair to me, or demand her answers to me were more than 'yes' or 'no', I was friendly to all of them, tried to be part of their world, when Buffy invited me over for diner during Christmas, once, and never again, I managed to scrape enough money together to buy them a present. When there was a dance at their high school that I decided I should attend, even if I wasn't enrolled, in order to get closer to them, understand their world, I saved and scraped every last penny I had to get something that looked good enough they let me inside. It didn't work one bit, at least my mother considered me important enough to beat me up, and my father and his friends to rape me, but they didn't even gave me that consideration, they just ignored me, like I wasn't even worthy enough to waste time on a greet. I've never felt so utterly worthless, as during that time, I just sat in my motel room most of the days, alone, doing nothing.

"When I decided Buffy's friends were a lost cause, I placed my hope in my fellow slayer. After all, if one person in the world would have some consideration for me, it would be another slayer," Faith said, she swallowed a lump in her throat and looked up weakly. "It worked for a short time: I showed her enjoyment of what she was, I showed her to enjoy slaying, to enjoy hunting things down. For a time she warmed more up to me, then she threw me the mayor's assistant and I killed him. She was saying 'we' killed him, but her eyes were filled with accusation toward me. And the stupid girl wanted to turn ourselves in, come clean. Apparently I was the only one who could figure out, that if the Mayor was the bad guy, the cops would have to be on his payroll. Confessing and saying it was an accident would have made no difference to them, they'd look us up and throw away the key; two Slayers nicely out of the way, come ascension."

"My god," Dawn whispered to her big sister, she had been projecting what this was leading to. She had still been too small back then to have been able to be part of and to understand what was fully going on, plus she didn't exist back then, but she understood now. "She was drowning in a violent ocean, and the only thing she could have done to keep from drowning was run . . . and you grabbed her and threw back in to drown." Buffy looked at Dawn with a stricken look, now that she heard things from the other perspective, everything looked different.

"I did care for the man's death," Faith stated firmly. "I wish I hadn't killed him, that I had pulled back in time, but once he was dead, there was nothing I could do about it. Turning myself into the mayor's personal set of keystone cops was stupid, I would be locked up and evil got a better chance at winning. And I refused to feel guilty for killing one of the Mayor's stooges accidently, one who was stupid enough to walk into a battle where two slayers are battling vampires with stakes. The way I saw it, the guy was collateral damage, and he wasn't worth to dwell on even more. So I stopped caring, and moved on, ready to take on the next evil thing, things just never got that far." There were whisperings and angry looks in the room, apparently they didn't like it when she and probably the others too, blamed everything on a beloved mayor. Faith shrugged it off and continued, "Buffy kept hounding me about coming clean, going to the cops and since I wasn't in the mood to wait for that disaster to happen and I wanted to stay out of the jail that would ensure evil's victory, I decided to try and shove it all onto her. I went to Giles and told him Buffy killed the guy, hoping against hope they managed to get some sense into the idiot. Apparently they decided I needed help instead. By that time Wesley had found out, and he called in the Watcher cavalry, I would meet them later. Xander came by and offered his ear, his support, pretty much everything. I don't think he cared that much about the dead guy, as about me not caring about it and lying. I was fed up at that time, the Scooby Gang had done nothing but give me the cold shoulder, except when I was needed to kick some demon butt of course, plus the guy's death had shook me more than I even admitted myself . . . I lashed out, I threw Xander on the bed, straddled him and started strangling him. I wanted to hurt, to kill whatever it was that was causing me all this continuous pain, and Xander was present."

Faith paused looking down, once more taking several breaths, steeling herself. "Xander didn't resist, he grabbed my wrists and did nothing with them, he just looked up at me, into my eyes, into my soul. He understood me better than anyone, I think. We had, had sex before, after he saved my life, back then everything I felt for him had come crashing down, I had never felt like that before, never felt so emotionally invested and drained, and it had scared me to death, and I threw him out of my room, before he had even been dressed. It all came crashing down on me, what I felt for him, as I was strangling. The last thought I had before Angel careened into me and threw me off Xander was 'What am I doing?' I had just been about to crack, to release Xander's throat, to let all my anger, pain, sorrow and grief I had bottled up inside out, but Angel kept me from doing that. He chained me and took me to his mansion, trying to talk into me, it was doomed before he even started; I was too angry at him for interrupting what was happening. Then Wesley and his stooges came in and took me, chaining me up as well, planning and shipping me off to the mother country where I could be placed on 'trial'. I escaped them, and I found I had no other thing to do but run; bottled up between the Mayor and his corrupt administration, a bunch of watchers who were taking ancient rule books way too seriously and a bunch of so-called friends who only wanted me there so I could fill in for a college-ward Buffy, I felt I had but one option: run. Run as fast and as far as I could, find someplace where nobody knew me, where I could be an ordinary girl.

"Buffy, though, would have nothing of it," Faith continued after a short silence. "She pretty much dragged me back kicking and screaming, metaphorically speaking. She found me and was going on about taking responsibility and shit. Something snapped in me then and there; I wanted to hurt, to rip her limb from limb. Here was the self-righteous bitch going on about me taking responsibility for an accident she as much caused as I did; and there was nothing of a hint about being sorry for leaving me in that dump of a motel room, for treating me like some spare appendage, for not even having the wits to ask her watcher if he could arrange a better place to me. The thought of the watcher made me realize I wanted to hurt them all, all of the righteous bastards, who were no better than my mother or father, and worse even, I thought back then. So I went to the Mayor himself, his cops might throw me in jail, but he might just be interested in having me on board since I just dusted his right-hand man."

Faith paused, tears threatening to overwhelm her. She needed help, the last few parts she had managed to course through on auto pilot, but the next wouldn't work that way. She found Xander's eyes. His calm look radiated power and confidence, she could feel it too, his energy field was pulsing with confidence, and he smiled at her, giving her a thumbs up. "When I was in Buffy's body, I got to see the other side of the coin," Faith started, as tears flowed down her cheeks. "People loved me in that body, they cared for me, they liked my company. At first I dismissed them as sentimental old fools, but I soon came to view differently, especially after I saved a girl's life from a vampire and she thanked me." Faith started crying hard, then sobbed as she tried to get the words up, "I-I-I h-ha-had . . . be-become what I ha-ha-hated most. I beat people up . . . I a-abused them vo-vo-vocalllly . . . I e-e-even com-com-committed acts bordering o-o-on rape . . ." Faith fell silent for a little while, only sobs came and cries came from her. Then she forced herself to continue, "I even went a step be-be-beyond and I had killed . . . no-not soulless creatures of-of pure evil, but human beings. I ha-had become worse than my mother and fa-father." Faith cried for a few moments again. "I wanted to die . . . but I couldn't . . . get myself to commit suicide . . . so I thought I-I-I could get Angel te-te-to do it for me." Faith continued crying.

"Faith," Bobby said gently, he felt like letting himself fall on a couch do nothing but rest for the next hour or so, but he knew he had more important things to do, like ask a few more questions. "Can you tell us what prompted you to escape?"

Faith looked up at him, and then hastily started wiping away the tears on her face as she said, "Slayers have prophetic dreams some times. Since two months before my escape I've had dreams about Sunnydale being wiped off the face of the planet. In the night I escaped, I had the distinct notion of dread, like what I had been seeing was going to happen, and soon, like within a day or two."

"And as others have testified, you saved the couple's life from monsters, proceeded to Sunnydale and helped defeat a very powerful evil force there?" Bobby prompted.

"That is exactly what happened," Faith told everybody.

"No more questions for now, your honor," Bobby answered subdued and sat back down.

Schwartz breathed in heavily. *Damn, well played,* he thought in irritation, have her tell all. But he couldn't just admit defeat, he was fighting to keep her in jail after all. And those damn stories of demons and stuff, he still didn't believe them, but his own witnesses had testified the same, he couldn't damn well attack the credibility of his own witnesses, now could he? He still couldn't, meaning; he couldn't make what Faith testified seem ridiculous, at least the parts that coincided with the testimonies of his own witnesses. He got up and walked over to Faith.

"So," he started pensively. "The press, the people and the authorities want to know what the prison guards and the prison security system did wrong. How did you get out of jail, Faith?"

"On the night in question," Faith started, composing herself as well as she could. She still felt like crying more than anything, "electricity started crackling in my jail cell in mid air. They formed sentences, they told me I shouldn't be in there, because I could do too much good outside, and that I was needed in Sunnydale right away. I pointed out the electricity that I couldn't break down the door fast or silently enough, without the guards noticing, and being there on time to use their guns on me." The DA, the jury and everyone else, except those of the Scooby Gang who had heard the story before listened on with wide eyes of amazement, and in a lot of cases disbelief. Faith continued unperturbed, using the better memories to dispel going over the worst of her life, "Strangely enough, it seemed to me the words smiled at me, when they spelled out it hadn't forgotten about that part. Then the back wall of the prison cell parted."

"Parted!?" the DA blurted out in disbelief, thinking the case was going to be won this way easily.

"Parted," Faith confirmed, and placing her hands flat against each other in front of her, then spread them wide to illustrate. "I figured, who was I to argue with something that can open walls like that? So I jumped out, pushed off the wall once halfway down to keep from breaking my legs on landing. I looked back up and the walls closed again, then I ran forward and jumped over the outer wall."

Scwartz looked at her stunned. This girl was either screwing with the entire justice system, or she was completely insane. "Then what?" he asked in shock.

"I met the guy . . ." Faith paused for a moment thinking, " . . . entity? That was behind the lettering in person and followed his suggestions. He led me to the antique store, and told me I needed the sword. He snapped his fingers and the money and my note appeared. I ripped the grating off the wall, and took the sword, saved the couple's life, and went to the bus station where I took a bus to Sunnydale."

The DA picked up on something, and needled, "This entity made your note appear? You've testified here under oath that it was your letter? I don't think the jury appreciates you lying to them." The jury and the people present became a little restless.

"I did not lie," Faith answered in frustration. How could she explain this? "That is my note, it's got my handwriting, it is exactly what I would write down if the situation ever occurred again. Although I may not have physically picked up a pen, and actually physically wrote it down myself; for all intents and purposes, it <is> my note."

Schwartz decided not to get into semantics, let the jury find out if they still wanted to believe her. "Well, do you know who this entity is?"

*Oh, no,* Faith thought, as she answered, "Yes."

"Well, who is it?" Scwartz prompted.

She took a deep breath and looked at Xander. He nodded encouragingly. 'The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, all of it,' she remembered Xander telling her. *Well, here goes nothing,* she thought, and answered, "Raiden, god of thunder and lightning, and protector of the planet Earth." The silence in the room was so encompassing Faith felt like she was drowning. She looked around, looked at the jury and thought, *They think I've lost it!*

"<Objection>, your honor!" Schwartz blurted out in distaste and outrage. "This girl is making a mockery of this court, that, or she's completely bonkers. Raiden is a computer game character! He's no more real than the X-Men!"

Bobby jumped and walked forward to in front of the judge and as he did, he replied with haste, "Your honor, Raiden is a Japanese myth, the character he's referring to is taken from that. My client's religious beliefs are not on the stand here, those stories are no less and no more provable then say, the Koran, Buddhist beliefs, or even the Christian belief."

"Ridiculous," the DA answered. "With neither of those beliefs, god is talking to them like he's a real person and opens prison walls!"

"There have been plenty of people before who believe that god talked to them . . ." Bobby started.

He was interrupted by Scwartz, "But they still haven't claimed god is talking to them like you and I are now talking . . ."

Faith watched the heated exchange between the two lawyers, and remembered the looks the jury gave her. This was not good. Knowing nothing better to do, she looked up at the ceiling and whispered, "Please. I know we need to follow our own path, but this is getting out of hand. I'm asking for just one little favor, just a little . . ." Faith wanted to continue asking for a little evidence, but she cut herself off as she realized something. She looked up and saw the judge watching, here eyes widened. Looking around, she found the jury members closest to her look at her as well. All the same expression on their faces: fear and distrust. Oh, no! They had heard, and now they really though she was crazy.

"THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL RAIDEN IS REAL!!" Schwartz finally screamed out loud in frustration. Then a bolt of lightning outside the right window from Faith's point of view drew everyone's attention. The windows shuddered under its force, everybody could feel the sensation of electricity around them.

Bobby still hadn't quite accepted Faith's story about Raiden, but now that he saw a lightning bold flash out of clear blue sky he thought differently. "I think you pissed him off with that last remark," Bobby whispered in awe at the DA, who looked outside flabbergasted. Then the sky outside darkened instantly, thick black clouds covering the former blue sky. The wind suddenly howled around the courtroom building and the windows vibrated. Then more lightning came flashing down, one after another. The sonic boom of the air exploding where the lightning split the air was vibrating the entire building. The energy fields in the room went up rapidly, to the point where only Xander was strong enough to get up from his seat. Not even her newly found strength was enough to let Faith get up. The dark clouds disappeared from view and then a lightning blast occurred outside the windows on the other side. It didn't take long before everybody realized the sudden storm was moving and their heads, about the only thing they could still turn, moved with it. The clouds appeared even as the building vibrated under the storm's onslaught. Then as sudden as the storm appeared, it disappeared, revealing once more a tranquil, blue sky.

Faith crossed her hands and gave the jury a smug look that said, 'Now who's crazy?' They looked at her with mixed looks. Faith looked up for a moment, whispering, "Thanks." The entire courtroom was stunned into silence. Hardly anyone could believe what just had happened.

"Some freak weather condition, does not make him real," Scwartz said weakly.

"Any more questions?" the judge asked. Scwartz shook his head as he sat back down. He turned to look at Bobby. Bobby broke into a smile and walked to the table. A stunned Lindsay pulled a sports bag from under the table and Bobby took a thick - at least five centimeters - and relatively short - half a meter - metal bar from the bag.

He walked over to Faith and asked, "Can you bend this?"

"Yes," Faith answered confidently.

"Oh, for crying out loud," one of the jury members, the body builder, cried out suddenly, causing everybody to look at him.

"Right on cue," Xander whispered to Lindsay. "Now you get to find out why I wanted him in here."

The body builder who had so adamantly proclaimed he didn't believe in the supernatural and considered it ridiculous practically exploded. "There is no way anyone here can bend that bar without cheating!" he proclaimed with irritation. All through the trial he had kept his mouth shut with difficulty, he would have had the people who came up with this sham looked up in jail a long time ago. A freak weather condition like Schwartz said didn't prove anything and everybody acting like god himself had just stepped down was ridiculous in his eyes. Now that they actually were going to use his area of expertise in this crap, he had finally boiled over.

"Mr," the judge said with accusation. "You're not supposed to say anything."

It frustrated the man even more. "Sorry, your honor," the man answered, "but it's simply not possible, thickness and length are simply to odd to allow sufficient momentum."

"Would you like to try it?" Bobby quickly took the opportunity he saw. "It will prove nicely this is no trick." Bobby walked up to the man and presented him with the metal bar. The man narrowed his eyes but took the bar anyway. He tried, but didn't butch it.

"Harder, please. Everything you've got, I don't want to be accused of cheating," Bobby answered smiling. He saw the man give him an evil glance before he tried again, and didn't stop until his skin was red of the exertion. "Pass it along the jury so they can test it as well," Bobby suggested, and the man did.

A few minutes later Bobby took the bar away, and went to the DA with it. He too tested the bar and nodded that it was real. "Your honor," Bobby said, as he walked over the judge and presented the man with the bar. The judge tested it and held it out for Bobby. "You give it to Faith, your honor. Don't want to be accused of pulling a switcheroo." The judge gave the bar to Faith and Bobby turned to the jury, "All before could have been the ramblings of madmen. Now you will see absolute proof. Faith?" Faith started bending and with some effort the bar was curled over.

"That's not possible!" the body builder blurted out, and then after a moment thought, he continued, "We must have weakened it, while we were pulling on it."

"I was hoping someone brought that up," Bobby started. "Faith, please bend it back in shape."

Faith nodded, and started to do just that. Harder and harder she pulled, and slowly but steadily the metal bar pulled upward. Even with Xander's enhancements this was difficult. Eventually she yelled a mighty scream, and pulled the bars back in a relatively straight position. The room looked on in shock. After turning the bar back over to Bobby, she blew in her reddened hands and shook them to restore circulation. Bobby placed it on the evidence table, as everyone looked at it in shock. He went back to the table and pulled out a toy crossbow holding a suction cup arrow. "Faith, come down here please," he said.

Faith complied and he fired the dart up and it stuck to the three and a half meter high ceiling. Bobby gestured and Faith jumped up, easily grasping the arrow and after she landed returning it to Bobby. The people in the room gasped with astonishment. Bobby put the dart gun on the table of evidence as well and told the judge, "The defense requests a recess until tomorrow afternoon, your honor. Allow my client to catch her breath." The judge nodded in approval.

After the judge called the trial to an end for the day, Xander gave Faith a fierce supportive hug, "You did it, Faith. You got through it, I'm so proud of you." As most people filed out of the court room, Xander released her. He looked at her with a proud smile and then moved to her side, slinging his left arm around her shoulders in a buddy, buddy fashion. "This calls for a celebration, tonight we go out, have some drinks, dance, just party and have some fun!"

As Tara slung herself around Faith in an even tighter hug than Xander, Bobby commented, "We haven't won yet, you know."

"Hey, hey," Faith whispered, jokingly in Tara's ear, when she held on very tightly. "I don't want to get your girlfriend even more mad at me than she already is."

Giles, set his glasses and answered, with his always present English accent, "I agree with Xander for once. After what Faith has just gone through, she deserves some fun and relaxation."

Only then did Tara let go of Faith and looking up at the dark-haired girl she said, "She better not."

"That's settled then," Wesley added with his own English accent. "Angel Investigations will have a night off tonight."

"Yes!" Cordelia hissed happily.


That night
A nightclub

"So what's it like being a vampire with a soul?" Lindsay finally got up the nerve to ask. But she was still so nervous about doing it, for fear of pissing off a vampire, that only the vampire's keen hearing allowed him to hear her question. She was talking far too softly for an average human to hear her above the loud dancing music

Angel smiled and answered, "I've been to hell and back." Giles turned to listen in with interest at that remark.

"That bad, huh?" she asked, loud enough for others to hear this time, Angel's calm answer calming most of her nerves. Angel could not resist a laugh out loud. "Huh, what's so funny?" Lindsay asked confused.

Angel's sober face returned and said, slowly, "I have been . . . to hell and back."

Lindsay blinked her eyes several times in confused and then it dawned on her, "You mean . . . literally?"

Angel nodded, "<Not> a pleasant place to be for a soul. It's nothing but agony, and the demons there . . . I repeat, <not> pleasant."

Lindsay shuddered at the visions she got of the place.

"Now, they can dance," Bobby commented, looking down to the dance floor. The four of then looked down to see Xander, Anya and Faith put to shame the rest of the people on the dance floor. Only Buffy could keep up with them, but she was somewhere off to the side, lost in her own thoughts and worries, mostly about Faith.

"They have obviously done that before," Giles commented with a hint of surprise. "I wonder when Xander and Anya found the time."

"Why are you not out there?" Bobby suddenly asked Angel.

Angel shrugged self-consciously and answered, "I'm not the dancing type." Lindsay smiled at that.

"Good evening," a voice interrupted them, and the group looked at the strange man standing there. "I have something that might interest you. May I join you?"

The four of them looked up in surprise. Angel recovered first, and told the man, "Take a seat."

The man did so and then introduced himself as David James Marcello. He placed a video tape on the table and told them, raising his voice just high enough for the others to hear, "That is the Mayor's confession, and fingering people in his scheme of corruption."

"How did it came to be into your possession?" Giles asked intrigued.

"He gave it to me," the man answered. Angel and Giles looked up at him in shock. "He saved me and my family's life once. Don't ask me why, perhaps because he knew my reaction. I felt obligated to him in that, and although part of me wanted to rip the bastard's head off, my honor demanded I did not. Since he named everyone who worked for him, he had no one to trust but me. If Faith were ever to appear in court, I was to give this to her lawyer or lawyers."

"Why didn't you the first time around?" Bobby asked with curiosity.

"I told him no," the man answered. "I told him, that despite my debt to him, I would not help a psychopathic killer be set free. Knowing he had no other choice, he gave it to me anyway, saying that I should only bring it to Faith's lawyer or lawyers, if she genuinely wanted to rehabilitate herself. During the first trial I didn't know whether Faith was serious, or just didn't want to be killed by Watcher Assassins or her blonde rival. When I heard her story this afternoon, I was certain that if she hadn't rehabilitated herself, nobody has." The man stood up, and told them, "I hope you get her out." Then with a final greet, he left.


The next day

"Your honor," Bobby began, walking up to the judge. "We've come across some rather disturbing evidence, we will now play you." Then he placed a video tape on the judge's desk. "I've made a few copies." He went over to the DA and gave one to him too. "You'll get the original as well, you can check the authenticity if you want."

Bobby wheeled in the tv he had gotten to borrow and placed it where everyone could see it. Then he pushed the 'play' button.

"Hello, I'm Mayor Richard Wilkins the third," the Mayor said happily on the screen. "If you're watching this, I'm either dead, or I've ripped Sunnydale to cinders and this is hanging in a museum somewhere.. I'm rooting for the last one." The Mayor laughed heartily and then continued, "But seriously, I doubt that. If you're sitting here, Faith, you either never took my first provision, or it failed." The Mayor lifted an already closed envelope, and waived it about in illustration. "If it's the last option, I'm sorry."

Faith was torn looking at the man on the screen. Part of her wanted to hug, and thank him for being the first person who actually cared for her, the other part was revolted, and coupled with Slayer instincts she felt like reaching inside the tv and rip the bastard's head off. It was incomprehensible to Faith how someone could be so downright evil, and still in some twisted way loved her like she was his own daughter.

"Well, on with business," the mayor suddenly said, keeping the happy smile on his face, which in light of who he was and what he was talking about made it more than a little creepy. "I am Mayor Richard Wilkins the third," the mayor said again, this time with a formal incantation. "I am heading a plan to turn me into the most powerful being on the Earth, at which point I would destroy Sunnydale. In those endeavors Faith was for a short while my right-hand woman. I seduced her with promises of power, and if I'm correct, being the only person to ever show her some respect, interest and loving her like a true father would.

"I am certain," the mayor continued. "That all, or at least a large part of the crimes I committed or have had others commit are attributed to her. Mostly because the chief of police wouldn't want his actions and crimes over the past years to bring him down, and Faith is the perfect scape goat." The mayor proceeded with a rather impressive list of those crimes, as much the police chief's as his own. Once the tape finally finished, Bobby turned off the television and then told the judge, "The defense rests your honor."

"Closing arguments in an hour," the judge stated still reeling from the tape they had just seen.


An hour later the DA stood up and walked over to the jury. He had decided to keep this simple, the longer he talked he knew, the more they would see it as a desperate last minute attempt to salvage something; so, he would keep things simple. "You have heard her confess. She is as guilty as sin. A weather incident - divine or not - doesn't change that. We've heard her sad story of abuse, which they will undoubtedly want you to take into account. Well, boo hoo. If Jack the Ripper came up to you, told a sad childhood story and said, 'I'm sorry,' would you let him out of his cage?" The DA went back to his seat.

Lindsay got up and walked to the jury. "We will not ask for your forgiveness. We have not come here to spin to you a sad story. What Ms. William's biography was for, was not to illustrate litigating circumstances, but who Ms. Williams is today. Last I checked, punishment is about rehabilitation, not revenge or making people suffer. Like someone told me yesterday, 'If she isn't rehabilitated, I don't know who is.' Ms. Williams is not insane either, she is as sane as you and I. She has been saving lives since she escaped prison, you've heard her friends, as well as her worst enemies testify to that fact. I do not know where she belongs," Lindsay pauzed, pointing a finger directly at Faith. "But it's not in jail."

The judge finally ordered the trial to an end and sent the jury off on their way to decide Faith's fate.


The next day

"All rise!"

Judge Killian walked into the room and sat down. He looked at the jury and asked, "Has the jury come to a verdict?"

"Yes, your honor," the foreman of the jury answered, and gave a slip of paper to the bailiff. The bailiff walked to the judge and gave him the slip of paper, who in turn read it.

"Please read the verdict out loud," the judge announced.

The man stood up and read, "On the charge of escaping prison without due reason . . ."

*Here it comes,* Faith thought dejectedly. With her luck, her confession, what else could it be then . . .

"Not guilty."

"What!?" Faith whispered to herself, disbelieving for a moment, then her mood went down again. There were still more charges.

The man continued, "On the charge of break-in and entering: guilty."

Faith felt her stomach constrict in fear; she didn't want to go to jail, but it seemed that that was what was going to be. "On the charge of stealing: guilty." Faith zoned out, she was going to jail and that was it. Her lawyers looked disappointed. Xander was still looking expectant, this whole trial wasn't so much about the verdict, as the sentencing.

"Thank you, ladies and gentleman of-" the judge started when he was interrupted by the foreman.

"Your honor, we as members of the jury have something to say," the foremen interrupted him. The judge looked at him surprised, and before he could protest, the foremen continued. He pulled a sheet of paper from somewhere and read what was on it. "We know this is unusual, but we the jury found that this whole trial was unusual. A young impressionable girl, who is treated badly all through her life, finds herself at the mercy of manipulative power hungry mayor, which in turn caused her to slip into a deep dark hole of evil and later on that of a coma. Total disregard of any procedures when it came to trial, courtesy of a corrupt police officer who wants to keep Faith as the big bad, so he can continue his illegal practices. Therefore we believe we should recommend a sentence, and that sentence would come down to a total of one point two years in prison for all of her crimes. Minus time already served, the remaining time would come down to exactly . . ." the foreman looked back up from the piece of paper. "Nothing." The courtroom was silent and stayed that way, too captivated by what was happening.

The judge looked the jury over once, and answered, "I'm taking the recommendation, with a few amendments. Ms. Williams . . . Ms. Williams!"

Faith's had shot up suddenly and answered, "Yes, your honor?"

"Which two of your friends do you trust most?" the judge asked.

"That would be Angel, that is Liam O'Rourke and Xander . . . Littica, sir," Faith answered dutifully, having no clue of what was happening.

"Good," the judge stated. "For the next two years you will be in their joint custody, whether you've passed eighteen or not, that means they get to order you around. You will always live with either one of them, never separate. Finally, you will go to therapy sessions at least twice a week, and I want to see the bills as proof you're actually going to them. This court is . . ."

The judge was interrupted by a black man jumping up and stating, "Your honor, I do not believe you have the authority to do that."

"You're right," the judge said. "If this would ever get to a higher court room, where they would determine how much I went overboard, there's a good chance they'll tell me I did, but somebody must have enough offence to actually get it to the attention of the higher courts . . ." the judge answered, allowing for a small break, heightening the tension. "Now the lawyers of Miss Williams won't do it, how about you Mr. Schwartz?"

"Oh, no, Ms. Williams and our office just don't mix," the DA answered.

"That leaves only you, Mr. Park. You want Faith in jail right now, not months after the higher courts, perhaps even the supreme court - appeal after appeal. And all the while Faith will be out there; saving lives, no crime, and it will be more and more difficult to send her back into jail," the judge explained with a little humor, "So I've got a feeling you and your firm won't do that; which means I <can> do it."

Defeated Gavin sat back down. "Good. In that case, Ms. Williams I don't ever want to see you in here again! This court is adjourned."

Bobby and Lindsay turned toward Faith. Faith took Bobby's hand in confusion and he told her, "Congratulations, Faith."

"What happened? I thought they said guilty," Faith muttered in confusion, as Xander gave her a hug from the bench behind her.

"Congratulations," Lindsay gave Faith her own hand, "and yes you were found guilty, but you were freed anyhow. Long story. Ask Xander." Xander let go of Faith as the lawyers turned to leave.

"Mr. Schwartz," Bobby said, shaking his hand. "It was a pleasure losing from you."

"And it was a pleasure winning from you," the man retorted. Then Lindsay shook his hand. Faith followed them out where the bailiff stood. He bent down and removed her ankle bracelet. Faith was free!

Episode 14

Faith's theme: Dream Theater - Wait For Sleep:
Why this song? Because it is plain awesome! I had created the scene
it is played with, and then when I heard the song again, I went: it fits!

"Thanks for being here, Miss Warner. I'm sure you rather be out enjoying your vacation somewhere," Xander said sincerely, as the teacher handed Dawn her rapport card.

"Oh, no problem, Dawn, her family, and obviously her friends have been through a lot. With her mother and the trial of your friend . . ." when she noticed Xander's raised eyebrows, she added, "I do own a tv. Besides, our vacation isn't as long as the students', some still need to get a vacation, others are already back preparing for the next school year."

Xander smiled at the woman and said, "Yeah, but still, we did miss the big rapport card pickup day, some schools would say, 'Too bad, come pick it up at the beginning of next year.'"

She smiled back, then looked down at her shoes shyly for a moment and then answered, "It was my pleasure. Her sister couldn't make it?"

"She's at the university, inquiring about financial aid programs, and make-up courses and the like," Xander answered, giving Dawn's teacher a quick sad look before smiling again. Both of them noted Dawn bouncing up and down impatiently. "Ok, then," Xander said, keeping up his smile as he and the teacher shook hands. "I'll be on pick-up duty next school year regularly, so we'll probably see each other again."

"I'll look forward to it," she answered and they parted ways.

"Here," Dawn said as she and Xander walked back to the car, passing palm trees along the picturesque walkway. Xander took the envelope from her. "I'm too afraid to look, you open it."

Xander shrugged and opened the envelope. Then started reading the rapport card. "Well," Dawn asked nervously, with the distractions of her mother's death and a hell god trying to kill her, she knew she couldn't have done too well. "Did I pass? Do I get to go to the next grade?"

Xander stopped abruptly and looked at her in disbelief. "Well, duh. If you didn't, don't you think the school would have contacted us before now, instead of your sister calling to see if we could pick this up?"

Dawn looked embarrassed and said, "Oh, yeah. Slipped my mind."

Xander shook his hand and told her, "Get in." They opened the doors and Xander sat down behind the wheel, while Dawn got into the passenger site.

"So how did I do?" Dawn asked, excitedly.

Xander gave her a look as he passed her the rapport. "Cs," he told her as he started the car and put his seat belt on. "Seat belt." Dawn put the rapport card on her legs and put the seat belt on. "Lots of 'em," Xander continued, once she was done. Then as he drove of he added, "An occasional B- and even one B." Dawn looked happy as she picked up the rapport card and started reading it for herself. "I'd say for someone who's mother died and had an hell god gut her and use her to rip open the fabric of space and time, you did very well."

"That's me," Dawn said, showing Xander an unwavering hand. "I'm nerves-of-steel girl."

"Yeah," Xander answered grinning, "that's why I had to open the rapport card for you, nerves of steel would have ripped apart that flimsy paper."

Dawn blushed, and smiled embarrassedly. She looked back at her rapport card and said slyly, "Did I just noticed you flirting with my teacher?"

Xander chuckled, flipping the turn signal and said, "I may be engaged, doesn't mean I'm dead."

"But . . . she's old! She's like fifty!" Dawn exclaimed in disgust.

"Hey! She's forty at most," Xander retorted, looking at her incredulously. He steered the car passed a slow driving seventy-year-old and admonished Dawn, "Besides, what does age matter; she's hot."

"Men!" Dawn answered half in jest.

"Oh, please. Don't give me that," Xander returned, rolling his eyes. "There are women who drool when they see Sean Connery, and he's pushing eighty. And plenty of girls who are married to ninety-year-olds."

"Yeah, but they're in it for the money," Dawn said in defense.

Xander grinned, saying sarcastically, "Oh, and that's so much better!"

They arrived at the Magic Box and got out of the car. A few moments later they walked into the shop, laughing as they shared a joke.

"Well, Dawn," Giles said, resetting his glasses. "How did you do?" Anya nodded her ascent, she wanted to know as well, while Willow and Tara turned away from each other with interest. A crash came from the training room.

"Pretty good," Dawn answered with a smile. "Didn't fail a single course!"

"Barely," Xander commented with a smile. Dawn handed the rapport card to Tara and she looked it over with a smile.

"Pretty good," she commented, before handing it over to Giles behind her. Giles reset his glasses once again before looking it over.

"I would have to say, that for someone who has gone through what you've gone through, you did very well indeed," Giles said, his English accent becoming thicker as he complimented Dawn, who stood beaming with pride. Giles passed the card to Willow and said, "If you would excuse me for a moment, I have to go check upon the training, before they destroy my shop." He walked off to the back.

"Well, I'm a little stumped," Willow commented with a sly smile. "I'm used to As, A minuses, an occasional A plus, a B here and if I slacked off - because of you know who -" Willow squeezed Tara for a moment, then continued, "an occasional B minus."

"Will, not everybody is a genius," Tara said, grinning. The two looked into each other's eyes lovingly for a moment.

Willow looked away and told Dawn, "Well, done." Then she turned back to Tara and started kissing, offering Anya the rapport card at the same time. Anya snatched it out of Willow's hand and started looking at it.

"Ok," she said, "that's nice, except, how does this grade system work?"

Xander grinned and walked over to her, and started explaining from over her shoulder. Dawn looked around and decided to quietly slip away. Xander noticed, he had noticed before, but he had always figured, it was Dawn; nothing to worry about, plus he had to keep up his doofus persona, it would seem strange to suddenly start noticing things. Now though, it became persistent, plus he no longer had to pretend, so he kept an eye on her, while he explained to Anya.

Giles opened the door to the training room and looked inside. Spike and Faith were in a full blown fight; they flew, punched and kicked at each other, blocking and avoiding the other's attacks. Suddenly a halo flared around Spike, and faster than Faith could react he landed a punch in her jaw then sent her flying back until she stopped herself.

"Hm, slayers," Spike commented, as he folded his arms across his chest, his chi flame throbbing around him. "Bloody lot of 'em never could keep up with me."

Faith grinned at him and said, "That's what you think." A halo burst around her as well, and then started attacking Spike with a smile on her face. Every attack got through, and any attack he mustered she countered. After twenty seconds of literally flying circles around him and hitting him everywhere she wanted to, she smashed him in the face and sent him flying away. He smashed through several training apparatuses, sending them careening to the side, and destroying one, and then smashed into the wall, causing a few cracks to appear. "You'll have to get a lot better than that if you want to keep up with me, Spike. I'm no Buffy that's always holding back because you're a good guy now, nor am I one of the slayers you killed, who always had a nice watcher they depended on and listened to."

"Bloody hell!" Giles cried out, after finally coming out of his shock. As Spike pulled himself from the wall, resentment etched on his face, and Faith looked around startled, Giles continued, "Look at my beautiful training room!"

"Oh, hey, G-man," Faith commented and looked around the mess in embarrassment.

"Would you, please, take more care next time, before you make the whole building crash down up upon us?" Giles exclaimed in consternation.

Faith laughed self-consciously and said, "Will do, G-man. I'll be more careful."

Giles turned around to leave in disappointment and told her, "And stop calling me that, that one of you is doing it, is worse enough."

Faith's eyes grew large with surprise as she realized she had taken over Xander's nomer for Giles unconsciously, and retorted, "Sure, G."

Giles cringed even more, and looking over his shoulders he said, "Go back to G-man, at least I've gotten used that sodding name."

Faith grinned and answered sweetly, "Whatever you say, G-man."

Giles suddenly stopped and looked back at Spike and asked, "Spike, how come you're not clawing your mind out in pain?"

Spike almost gave the secret away, but a hundred plus years of experience allowed him to catch himself. He shrugged and said, "We're sparring, I'm not actually trying to hurt her, that's probably it."

Giles considered it for a moment and then nodded, and walked back into the magic shop.


Dawn looked around the stacks and noticed a little trinket. *Ooh, shiny,* she thought. She fought an internal battle with one side pointing out it was bad to steal, the other site retorting they had done it before, than the out side saying that made this only worse. Finally Dawn looked left and right, making sure nobody was present, and she grabbed the trinket and quickly stuffed it in an inner pocket. She smiled briefly and turning around she thought, *There, nobody noticed, nobody ever does, now I only have to slip back, and . . .* Dawn saw Xander leisurely leaning on a cabinet, hands folded across her chest, and a dark gaze that seemed to reach inside and rip her soul to pieces. Her expression changed to mortification. She felt her cheeks flushing with heat as she thought, *Busted!* "Uhm . . . hey, Xan," she tried, feeling herself tremble with nervousness.

"What ya doing, Dawn?" Xander asked coldly.

*He knows! He knows! It can't be!* her mind screamed at her. "I uh, nothing, I was just looking around?"

Xander's eyes narrowed, and anger seemed to flash through his eyes. *Damn it! I think I liked him better before he was a Saiyan,* Dawn thought, getting more panicky by the minute.

"'s That so?" Xander asked, his gaze drilling into her. She felt guilt wash over her. "Then what's that thing you just put away?"

*He knows! Think, Dawn, think!* Dawn said, her face flushing, and her heart beating in her throat, careful to make her uh's sound unimportant as if she was distracted by thoughts far more important than the 'stolen' trinket, or so she thought. "Uhm, nothing, just something I . . . uh . . . thought looked interesting . . . and . . . uh, uh, I though . . . I . . . uh, ask Giles about." *Way to go, girl! You talked yourself out of that one!* Then she gulped, Xander's eyes fell. He looked down and shook his head in disappointment. Dawn felt even more guilty, and horror at her own actions, and her realization that Xander wasn't buying her story for one moment. And he was disappointed! In her! Her crush for a long time, her sister's best friend, the rock all of them had clung to over the past years was disappointed . . . in her! It was that had, she let it come to! *Damn,* she thought with consternation, *He's even better at this than Mom was.* A pang of loss went through as she thought of her mother, and then she added, *Because mom didn't have a sixth sense, doofus! What made you think you could keep this from him!*

Xander looked back up again, his disappointment even more obvious, and mixed in with anger. "One last chance," he told her harshly.

"I . . ." Dawn's expression fell and her shoulder's slumped. "I was . . . stealing it." Tears sprang from her eyes as she looked at Xander's hurt, angry and disappointed expression.

"That's better," Xander said, coldly. "Come here." Dawn walked forward tentatively, until she was only a step away from Xander and looked up at him. "Is this the first time?"

*Say yes! Say yes!* a small part of Dawn screamed, but she had lost her will to keep deceiving. "No."

"How long? Where?"

Dawn started shaking with apprehension, and she answered, "A few months. Stores . . ." Dawn dropped her face in shame before continuing, "You guys." She looked up and saw his eyes widen with surprise for a moment, then it returned to its former expression, only worse, he was even more angry and far more disappointed.

"Put it back, then let's go," Xander told her swiftly. She obeyed, and a few seconds later they returned to the main area of the magic shop. All were present still, Faith and a brooding Spike had joined the others.

"Dawn has got something to say to all of us. Don't you, Dawn?" Xander said sternly. The group of people looked up from what they were busy with.

Dawn looked at Xander stricken, her face pleading with him to let her off the hook, to let him tell for her. Xander didn't react, so she turned back to her friends, and trembling she admitted, "I . . . have been stealing. I, apologize."

"What do you mean, 'stealing'?" Giles asked concerned.

Dawn trembled and she looked back at Xander. When he didn't do anything, she started explaining, and crying as she did so. "I . . . I have been . . . taking things from the Magic Box, from shops around town . . . and . . . well . . . from you, Willow and Tara when I was at your place and . . . from you . . . Anya, when you and Xander were babysitting me." She hung her hand in shame, as she cried.

Everyone was silent for a moment, and then Anya screamed, "YOU, BITCH!!!" Dawn looked startled and extremely hurt. "You actually came in my house, where me and Xander looked after you, and you stole from me!" Dawn nodded as she cried. "What did you take!? And where did you leave it!?!"

"In my . . . in my room," Dawn answered as she cried. Xander brushed his hand past the back of Dawn's head. "Hey!" she whined.

"You were stealing," Xander told her sternly.

"You don't get to 'hey'," Anya added angrily.

"Why, Dawn?" Tara's disappointed voice asked. Dawn tore her attention away from the angry Anya and looked around the room. Giles seemed to shocked to come with an appropriate response, Spike and Faith seemed characteristically uninterested, and then Willow and Tara came into view. To Dawn, Tara's expression of hurt and anger were worse than Anya's, and even Xander's: Xander had been angry with her before, but Tara had never, not even once harbored a single bad thought toward her. Willow's anger was only a little better to bare than Xander's.

Before Dawn could answer though, Xander said the most horrible sentence she could think of at that moment. "I think it's better she explains that to Buffy. I say we go get our stuff back, wait for Buffy to return and hear what Dawn's got to say for herself. I've got to get back to finishing the gym anyway."

"NO!" Dawn called out in horror. "PLEASE! Can we keep Buffy out of it!? I'll do anything, I'll apologize to the stores and bring the stuff back! I'll perform any chore, help you with anything you need help with, but please don't tell my sister!"

"I'll lock up," Giles said in answer.

An annoyed Spike got up and said, "Let me get my blanket!"


Buffy walked into her house and called, "All right guys, that went great, they did have a financial aid program and I already started. . ." She looked at her friends sitting gravely in her living room, all kinds of shiny things and some clothes lying on the table. "What's going on here?"

"Dawn's got something to tell you," Xander said tonelessly.

Dawn got shakily to her feet, and said, "I've been . . . stealing."

Buffy looked at Dawn uncomprehending, until, "WHAT!?!?"

Dawn swallowed, shaking, and starting to cry again. "I've been stealing, from shops, from Giles, Anya, all of you guys . . . even from within this house."

"You, little . . .!" Buffy said, struggling to keep her temper under control. Her mother usually kept her temper under control, at least through the explanation process. "WHY!?"

"Well, because . . ." Dawn hesitated, sniffing, and wiping away a few tears as she searched for words. "Because I didn't have anything of myself. Everything had been created by that spell, I wanted something that belonged to me and belonged to me only."

"It doesn't belong to you! YOU STOLE IT!" Buffy screamed, losing her temper at the idiotic reason. Dawn cringed, crying again, this punishments was going to be so bad. "BESIDES," Buffy forced herself to calm down some. "You could have just bought something!"

Dawn cringed as she herd herself utter the words, "The money also came from the spell!"

Buffy growled, fighting the urge to smash her fist through the wall. "Is that all!?"

"It started that way," Dawn answered, and cringed further. With all the hacking into her by the others, and the constant guilt tripping, she was getting aware of how bad the next thing sounded. "Later it was because you all ignored me, you didn't give me any time for me."

Buffy's jaw dropped, before she yelled, "YOU UNGRATEFUL BRAT!!! In case you haven't been paying attention, for months we've ben busy with nothing but you, saving you're LIFE! From a hell god who used you to rip open the fabric of space and time and tried to kill you in the process!!!" Dawn cringed away again. "I JUMPED OFF A FOUR STORY TOWER TO MY CERTAIN DEATH IN ORDER TO SAVE YOURS!!! If we were ignoring you, we would have delivered you to her, and said, 'Go ahead, have fun!' Excuse me, if we couldn't cater to your every whim, while we were busy saving your butt!"

"I don't get it," Tara said sadly and disappointed. "We were your friends, we made sure you could keep going to school, we did fun things with you, what would make you say we ignored your?"

"Well, every time I was with you two, you were all kissy, kissy, and you just shut me out," Dawn accused, a slight tone of anger slipping in as she got fed up from the constant badgering.

Willow shot up angrily, and hissed, sarcastically, "If you wanted a threesome, why didn't you say so earlier! Let's go Tara, let's give her a good time so she won't feel left out anymore!"

Dawn cried harder at the harsh tone in Willow's voice. "What about me!?" Anya inquired. "What did I do? I opened up my house to you, I could have figured, 'screw you', but I let you inside, in my life!?" Dawn whispered, sobbing. "What!?" Anya demanded.

"You and Xander were all goo-goo eyes, you didn't even hear me anymore," Dawn answered weakly through her sobs.

Xander got up slowly, anger etched on his face. Dawn looked at him and shrank back. "We're a couple. . . We love . . . each . . . other. We aren't even together for two . . . years," he told her, angrily, slowly and meticulously. "We're entitled to goo-goo eyes and kissing." When Xander felt an irrational urge to strike out, he jumped backward over the couch, turned around said. "I can't look at you right now, I'll continue with the gym."

"Xander," Dawn called, but only got a 'halt' sign for her trouble. She had felt horrible all day, some of the comments she had suffered were worse than others, but this was by far the worst. She never felt so bad in her life than as she watched Xander walk out the living room, and she had a feeling she would never feel that bad again.

"What can we possibly do in a gym of two and a half by two and two a half meters?" Faith suddenly asked, as she watch Xander go. Part of her wanted to diffuse the situation, or at least lighten it a little. "I've been trying to figure it out, but other than just standing straight up and trying to keep standing, I've got no idea how you could train in such a small room." The Scooby Gang looked at her incredulously. "What!?" she asked, "I can have questions."

Buffy turned back to her sister and said, "You get whatever you stole, and we will go to wherever you stole it from, and then you'll apologize and return it. You better hope they won't press charges, because I will guarantee you, Dawn; we won't bail you out! Let's go!"


That night

[Play Faith's theme]

Faith lay on the mattress in her sleeping bag, trying to get to sleep. But from the other side of the apartment, the insistent noises of Xander and Anya making passionate love interrupted her ability to fall asleep.

She turned around, facing the mattress and pulled the pillow up over her head and pulled it hard against her ears. *Stupid, stupid, stupid!* she thought to herself, as a few tears left her face. *That could have been you! Why in blazes did you throw him out of you apartment, you stupid cow!* Frustrated with herself she roughly put the pillow back and laid her head on it. *Time after time you badger B about how hot you think Xander is, and you finally get him and you throw him out of your apartment.* With a sinking heart she heard a particular high pitched scream that signaled one of Anya's orgasms and she thought to herself, *That could have been you, you stupid fool! You! You lying there enjoying his body, his ministrations!*

Frustrated she reached down to her vagina, inflamed with Xander and Anya's love making sounds and imaged of her being in Anya's place. After several tries she realised she wouldn't get anywhere near what she wanted in the condition she was in, so she gave up on that. Finally she zipped the bag all the way closed and curled up inside it, hoping sleep would come soon. [Stop playing Faith's theme]


"Faith! Wake up! It's finished!"

Faith opened her eyes, and groggily noted it was Xander that was calling, and that she was going to strangle him because of that. Too groggy to actually put the plan in motion she opted for grabbing her forehead and asking, "What time is it?" *So help me,* she thought, angrily. *If it's early, I'm going to kill him, no matter how groggy I am!*

"It's passed noon," Xander claimed too happy for his own good.

Faith's eyes snapped open and she called, "THAT LATE!?"

"Yep, I came here right away, since you're the only one present, except Spike, I called him. Hurry, hurry, you're going to love it," Xander said with a big grin on his face. Faith got up and as she clothed herself, she started thinking how it could be she was still asleep. It had to be the Xander-and-Anya-keeping-her-up thing, but why in blazes was he up already. He had no right to be this perky with all the energy he spent last night. "Come on! Anya made lunch, once we finish that, I can show you the gravity gym."

Half an hour later they walked into Buffy's house, and found Spike sitting on the stairs. "So what's this all about?"

"So that's why he's here," Buffy commented. Xander and his two living mates turned toward the direction of the sound and found Buffy behind a desk, working on some form of homework.

"You're back!" Xander exclaimed happily, he couldn't wait to show them the instrument of the gods' downfall.

"Hey, B," Faith said, smiling at the blonde slayer, who scowled back at her.

"Hi, Buffy, is the homework fun?" Anya asked with a broad smile on her face. Buffy put face in her hand, wishing the happiness of her friends, the term loosely used, wasn't so depressing right now. Perhaps she could strangle the demon among them slowly to death. "I guess not," Anya said, still just as happy.

"Buff, quit the homework, will ya! You really need to get us your schedule, by the way! You can quit for a few minutes so I can show you all the gravity gym!"Xander said, a happy impatience lacing his voice.

"Ok," Buffy said, putting down her pen as she got up, glad she had some reprise, even if she was at it for only fifteen minutes.

"It's finished then," Spike drawled as he got up from the stairs.

Willow and Tara still in their pajama's appeared at the top of the stairs, "What's the commotion all about?"

"Yeah," Dawn added, also in pajama and slippers as she arrived from the living room. "I was just enjoying the cartoons." She cringed as the group placed their gazes on her. Thank god, they were far milder than two days ago, hopefully they would warm all the way back up again.

"Let's go, guys," Xander said and lead them through the house to the kitchen and the newly added closet. He opened the door and the group saw nothing but darkness. "Go inside," Xander said as the group hesitated.

"But," Tara asked nervously, peering inside to see if she could make out the walls, "are you certain we can all fit in there?"

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