Buffy Z

The Super Saiyan Xander Saga

Episode 14 - 21

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 14

Xand laughed and assured them, "Sure. Let's go. Hut, hut." He herded the Scooby Gang inside the dark closet, and then he closed the closet. The gang felt around for the walls and the light switch that should be there, but they didn't find anything. "Computer, lights!" Xander called out and the lights came on. The jaws of the Scooby Gang dropped, even Spike who in his hundred odd years had seen a lot looked on in surprise. There the gym was. Rectangle-shaped soft mats lay there, six in total. They were surrounded by tiles of a material the gang didn't recognize, it was greenish and slightly see through, as if it was made to emit something. In between there were white-tiled walkways. All of that was encompassed by a white dome, the entire enclosure the size of a football stadium.

"But, but . . ." Buffy muttered, looking back to the unassuming door. She pointed to it and back to the stadium sized gym, as Xander looked around, arms across his chest and a smile on his face. The rest of the gang just gaped. Buffy shook her head, getting rid of the stun and said, "But it was only about two by two meters!"

"Yeah," Xander said grinning. "It's a little principle in quantum mechanics; something unlimitly large can be contained in something unlimitly small. Can't quite do it at those scales, but this'll do just fine!" Xander grinned some more, spread his hands out to the gym and said, "You need something, the multiverse provides."

"WOW!" Faith exclaimed, with excitement. "This looks incredible!" The rest of the gang slowly got out of their stupor and started muttering similar comments.

"All right, listen up!" Xander exclaimed excitedly, walking to in front of the gang. "A quick 'how to.'" He pointed to his left, and the gang followed his arm, and saw a large computer screen on two legs, the screen contained several rectangles with numbers in them. "It's touch screen, you can do everything there, it's got a manual, both on-line and off-line." Xander pointed to a book hanging from a rope. "You can also just ask the computer for help, it's voice activated. Most of the things you can do there, you can also simply ask the computer." Xander said and walked over onto a mat. "Now pay attention, what I've got to explain now is very important," Xander called out and the gang dutifully nodded their heads. Xander chuckled at the display of all those nodding heads and then said, "Computer, start training."

Immediately the strange tiles lighted up, for a moment a force field was visible, then disappeared. A light hum made it obvious it was still working perfectly. "The force field is there for us energy users, we never get to accidentally hit someone else somewhere in the gym. It's one-directional, let's things in, but not out, it can handle a nuclear bomb of about two megatons, so don't worry, not even I can breach it," Xander told them. "Look at the tiles, they are green now. Computer, increase to three gs." Immediately the force field emitters turned light blew. "Just one g, and it's green, between one and five gs, it's light blue. Increase to five gs." The tiles turned yellow. Xander continued, "Between five and ten gs, they're yellow. Ten gs." Once more the tiles changed color this time they became orange. "Orange between ten and fifty gs. One hundred gs, computer." The tiles turned bright red, and for a moment Xander's knees started to buckle, but he quickly compensated. "Fifty gs and up: red." Xander looked at them pointedly, "In case you haven't figured it out yet, you do not want to step onto a workout field that has too much gravity; you could get killed." The group looked at him astonished.

"All right, girls," Xander stated with a grin. "Computer, two gs, let's see what you can handle." The tiles turned a light blue and then the slayers and the sister tentatively walked forward. Anya looked around and found a few benches, and walked there to sit down. As Spike moved to his own training square, the two witches turned around to join Anya. The slayers stepped onto the two gs tentatively and found they could stand there relatively easily. Spike's surrounding square turned blue as well, after he ordered the computer.

Dawn got onto the training mat and exclaimed, "Ooh." Then she started wobbling around, without too much difficulty. "Twice my weight," she commented, looking up to calculate, "I guess this is what it is like to be fat."

"Willow, Tara, where are you going?" Xander called out as he let the girls experiment.

"Uhm, sitting down to watch," Willow answered confused.

Xander looked at them wryly and said, "You don't want to go and train?"

"Uh, Xander," Tara started uncertain. "I don't know what you had in mind, but we're not exactly fighters."

"Not fighting," Xander said, looking at them and chuckled. "Just to build up your life force, your energy, your chi. That will go much faster in higher gravity levels; and undoubtedly the more life force you possess, the greater the magic you can perform."

The two witches perked up and looked at each other for a moment. "Now that's something I can live with," Willow said with a grin. Then they held hands and smiling gently at each other jogged to a free square.

"Computer, work out mode," Xander called and standard work out modules came from beneath the floor: boxing bags, weights, a horse and a two poles with beams in the middle for agility training. "There, ready for an increase?" The girls nodded and Xander upped the number of gs to three. Spike and the two witches activated work out mode as well and increased their g forces.

Xander watched as the three girls adjusted to the new power. Xander smiled and said, "Well, Faith, want to show me what you've got?" Faith nodded and her chi flame erupted, and she went into a fighting stance. Moments later the two started sparring.

Dawn and Buffy followed suit and started their own sparring. Dawn told Buffy, "Go easy on me, will you? I'm not exactly dressed for this."

Faith kicked and Xander blocked it, he sped up and Faith couldn't hit him anymore. He smiled and said, "If you can hit me now, you're doing incredibly well." Faith nodded determinately and she sped up, kicking, punching and flying after Xander who just avoided all of it with an infuriating smile. A few minutes later Faith reached her boiling point, without thought she pointed her hands in front of her. A small energy ball formed in between them and with a scream she sent it flying. Surprised, Xander held his hands in front of himself and blocked the blast, a moment later Faith's fist hit his jaw and he flew back a few meters before he stopped himself.

Faith looked with surprise at her hands and muttered, "How the hell did I do that?" The rest of the group, after a yelp of surprise from Anya, who had kept her keen eye on her fiance, were looking at Faith in surprise.

Xander laughed hard and said, "You keep surprising me, Faith." He looked around and then said, "If that isn't a good place to start teaching you energy blasts, I don't know what is. Spike, get here."

Spike lowered his force field and he joined Xander and the girls with an annoyed face. "All right," Xander started, he placed his hands above each other. "The easiest way to start is generate a small energy ball between your hands." Xander showed them. He removed his upper hand and showed the angry pulsating energy to the group in front of him. "Later you can do it with only one hand as well." He let the energy ball fly and it harmlessly impacted on the force field. "If you keep it concentrated, you can make a beam," Xander fired an energy beam. "Later will go for much more difficult stuff: multi-spectral, and multi frequency blasts - like my Tanekakosa-wave - also energy discs and the like, but we'll concentrate on this first." Xander looked around the group and assessed them.

"Ok," Dawn said, "so how do we do it?"

Next to her, Faith blasted a ball into the far energy field. "Easily," Faith grinned.

"Very funny," Spike growled.

"Just like flying," Xander started explained, showing his hands again. The three who couldn't do it followed his example. "Focus your energy, only now don't let it cover you're entire body, but let it flow only from your hands. Then, instead of keeping it nicely uniform . . ." Xander showed them a beautiful, almost ethereal see-through ball of energy, ". . . force the energy together until it forms a dense ball." The energy crackled angrily in Xander's hands and he let it fly, deliberately hitting one of Faith's energy balls, and the two blew up with a small but spectacular explosion.

The three of them mimicked what Xander did. With Spike the ball winked out of existence the moment it formed, making him growl in frustration. With Buffy it disappeared just before she could let it fly. Dawn managed to set it loose, but it disappeared the moment it started to fly.

"Great!" Xander stated enthusiastically. "Keep up the good work, I'll start my own training." He went to the edge of the mat and said, "Computer, let me pass." Part of the field winked out of existence, and returned the moment Xander passed it. He walked up a next matt and said, "Computer, one hundred gs." The force fields came into existence and Xander's chi flame burst into existence to compensate for the sudden gravity increase and in anticipation for more. "200." Xander called and he increased his chi flame. "300!" he called, at which time everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at him. With a yell, Xander transformed into the Super Saiyan. *Definitely not yet at Gohan's, let alone Vegeta's level of raw physical shape,* Xander thought, grimly, then smiled. *A challenge!* "600!" he called, and the increase in gravity threatened to overwhelm even the Super Saiyan. He increased his power output first, then, with roar he transformed to Super Saiyan 2. "Computer, combat training. Difficulty maximum." Ten robots emerged places in the ground where the mat flipped around, revealing that there were pieces the mats weren't completely in one piece as they appeared to be. The flying robots started firing energy blasts at extreme speed. Xander started battling them at extreme speed.

"Uh, can you even see him, Faith?" Buffy asked, stunned.

"Only blurs."

After a minute of watching in disbelief, Dawn tried an energy blast again, and succeeded. "Yeah!" she called out in satisfaction.

Buffy saw, and determined started up again. She formed an energy ball and almost managed to fire it.

Spike growled in frustration, looking at one slayer happily flying around and firing energy balls, the little kid sister of the other one doing the same, and the second one on the verge of firing her own energy balls. He himself hadn't gotten a step closer, so he ran off the square, commanding the computer with the same command Xander had, and went back to his home. "Bloody computer," he called angrily, "10 gs, combat training . . ." Spike looked at Xander for a moment and decided to see about its difficulty settings, building up if he could. It wouldn't do him much good if he got dusted during training. ". . . level one." The g forces went up and Spike had put everything he had in standing up and moving around. Taking one difficult step at a time. Two slow robots rose up and started attacking Spike, who had to undergo the attacks since he could hardly move. With every hit, his determination and anger grew, and soon, after his game face morphed into place, and with an incredible burst of energy he ran forward, smashed his fist into one robot, which flew back. Spike turned around with an enormous effort, then with a scream fired an energy ball that hit the robot dead on, causing it to emit a burst of energy and then it fell to the floor crackling energy.

Spike looked at it with surprise and satisfaction, and then he called, "Hey, Harris! You won't make me help you repair these things will you?"

"No!" Xander called, his voice distorted from the speed he was going at. "The whole gym is self repairing!" Sure enough, the floor opened and a small robot drove out and dragged the damaged one back down. "There is enough raw materials to give us two years of unhindered self-maintenance. AND DON'T CALL ME, HARRIS!"

"All right, already! Bloody bastard!" Spike returned, then got a shot in the back from the other robot, that was apparently not yet out for the count. "Computer, workout mode!" Spike called, realizing that ten gs and combat were still a little too much for him, which made him angrier.

Faith looked at Spike doing ten gs, and decided to do something about it. "Computer, ten gs." Instantly she felt the change, but realised she wasn't having as much difficulty with it as Spike obviously was.

Dawn and Buffy shrieked. An intense halo of energy surrounded Dawn and she needed every bit of her energy to keep her standing. "Are you nuts!?" Buffy continued her shriek, "Dawn could have been seriously hurt."

"Oh, please," Faith said with disdain. "A week ago she was still more powerful than us."

"Energy!" Buffy shrieked again. "Not raw physical strength!"

Faith shrugged and said, "She's doing just fine."

"Just fine, my ass," Dawn screamed in fear, her chi flame crackling angrily. "Turn it down, I can't keep this up!"

"Five gs, computer!" Buffy called out desperately. "Damn you, Faith! I hate you!"

When the g forces lowered, Dawn quickly scrambled outside the training area, and Faith said, sheepishly, "I'm sorry. I thought she was on our level. She was keeping up with us just fine until today."

"I'm gonna make you pay for endangering my sister, you slut!" Buffy screamed enraged.

Faith's expression hardened with anger, "Fine! Ten gs, computer! Let's go then, Buffy, show me what you've got."

"Aaah!" Buffy screamed and fired and energy ball that Faith squatted aside. The next moment they clashed together under extreme strain from the added g forces.

Anya got up and jogged over to Xander's training rectangle. She called for him. Xander stopped, looked at for a moment. Then he roared, his energy blasted outward and a moment later the robots were crushed between his energy and the force field generated by the gravity gym. "Computer, discontinue combat training." Small robots crawled from under the gym and started dragging the damage robots under. Xander's energy field disappeared and he landed close to Anya, his hair still golden and standing straight up. "What is it Anya?"

"Don't you think you should stop them? They're going to kill each other!" Anya said with a little fear in her voice.

Xander looked over at the slayers and admired the supernatural warriors style and form, finally released to their full potential. A smile crept up his face. Faith smashed Buffy in the stomach doubling her over. Buffy transformed her doubling over in a somersault and then kicked out her feet and caught Faith in her chin. Faith deliberately flew backward and fired an energy blast sending Buffy flying backward. She flew forward then and kicked Buffy in her back, sending the blonde slayer flying of to Faith's right. Xander watched the two trade blows and grinned, "Nah, let 'em tire each other out, they'll cool off quicker afterwards."

The slayers traded blows for a few more minutes, sending energy bolts flying left and right. Finally the two stood across from each other, both breathing hard and with a myriad of cuts and bruises on them. Spike had watched and had grown frustrated, growling again as he looked at the two tired out slayers. They had actually grown more powerful, faster and stronger during the fight. Irritated he continued his training with even greater intensity, ordering the computer to up the gravity to twelve gs.

"Satisfied?" Faith asked, harshly, feeling a pain stab in her heart as she saw the ever strong hate in the blonde slayer's eyes, she guessed going for the blonde's mother had been one step too far. Faith turned around sadly and started walking away, let her chi flame disappear.

"Not yet," Buffy hissed and attacked. Suddenly Faith let herself fall forward, landed on one hand and then kicked backward. Her energy erupted right as she caught Buffy in the stomach. The blonde was sent flying back until she crashed into the force field and dropped to the mat.

"How about now?" Faith asked, breathing heavily. At that exact moment a blaring horn sounded that startled everyone.

"What the bloody hell is that?!" Spike yelled, getting back up from where he'd fallen flat on his face, as a result of the horn.

"The doorbell!" Xander exclaimed with a grin. All of them looked from the entrance back to him with incredulity. "Well," he explained, "You can't damn well hear the door bell here, so I had to relay it. There's a nice ring for the phone as well. Let's go see who it is."

"I'm bloody well staying here, and keep training," Spike commented in frustration.


The door opened and revealed a large blonde man, long hair. Except Tara's, all the girl's eyes widened in appreciation. "Uh, hello?" Buffy said, confused. The man looked around the group at the door and then placed his gaze upon Xander. His face turned enthusiastic.

"Are you the Sedra Soli?" the man asked, with a hopeful smile.

Xander and Anya looked stunned, and then Buffy started to close the door, talking to him in an overly sweet and soothing voice, "No, we're not buying any, perhaps you should go . . ." She felt Xander's hand on her shoulder and fell silent as she turned around.

"I <am> a Super Saiyan. How did you know who I am, and where to find me?" Xander asked, with dread filling his mind. How in blazes could the guy know where he lived? All but Anya looked at Xander in shock.

"Forgive me," the man said, and bent forward slightly. "I am Jrg Bln. I am from a village in the eastern mountains of Canada. Our village elder told me I could find you here, he has great psychic abilities. He sent me here, for we have need of your help, indeed the whole world has need of your help in my village."

Xander not quite sure what to do, looked around his friends a little lost. Faith circled her index finger next to her temple, giving him her opinion of their strange visitor.

"Exactly what would you need my help with, Jorg Bolen?" Xander said, trying unsuccessfully to replicate the man's name.

"It is difficult to explain," Jrg stated, and stayed silent for a few moments, pondering. Then he looked up and with a frown he started, "Until recently we have been guardians of an ancient evil. As long as it was in its prison we could control it, but now that it's escaped, we have no power over it. If it is not placed back in its prison or destroyed, it may very well release an evil the likes of which this world hasn't seen in millennia. You, are prophesied to destroy the prophesies, to bring the world balance, to makes sure the world will not come to an end . . ."

Xander smashed his forehand in his hand and shook his head. He debated with himself for some time, the group and the strange visitor looked at him expectantly. "Oh, for crying out loud, fine."

Xander started to walk out the house, when the scooby gang interjected, "We're coming with." Xander looked at hem, and decided against telling them to stay when he saw their determined faces.

"All right. Dawn, you stay here with Anya and Spike. Anya, tell Spike and Giles what happened, and that we're out for a few hours to days," Xander ordered everybody.

"I'm coming with too!" Dawn demanded.

"You stay!" all of them told her at once. Buffy added, "It's too dangerous, <and> you're still grounded." Dawn backed off sulkingly.

Xander tried to walk outside, but the man didn't budge a centimeter. The group looked at him surprised, and then he said, "You might wanna grab some warm clothes."



Some time later the whole group was enveloped in the golden glow, and flew rapidly in a general east to north course. The nordic man looked around in astonishment still. He had exclaimed several times that Xander really was the prophesied one after they had taken into the air, which had annoyed Xander to no and. The Scooby Gang was enjoying the view, all wore thick layers of clothes. Xander was pondering something, wearing a heavy coat and dual layer of pants. He groaned, and pulled out his cell phone. A moment later Giles picked up. "Giles," the man's voice sounded rather spotty.

"Hey, G-man," Xander said, grimly.

"Xander, where in bloody blazes are you? You sound like you're on the moon," Giles said.

"On my way to Canada; Anya'll explain. Giles, that prophecy about me, who prophesied it again?" Xander asked annoyed.

"Shiniza: an Amazon oracle from the early third Millennium BC. Why?" Giles answered confused.

"That's from a warm place right?" Xander asked, hopeful and a little relieved. But why did he keep having that sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. The Scooby Gang started listening in with interest, while the Nordic man kept looking around.

"Uh, well, her tribe roamed the more Nordic steps of Russia, but it is relatively warm," Giles answered him.

Xander's feeling sank more, and he asked, "Wasn't there something about nobody knowing for certain she prophesied it?" After a quick affirmative from Giles, Xander continued, "So there's a runner up, then? Let me guess, Norwegian? Swedish? Finnish?"

"Iceland, actually . . ." Giles said.

Xander interrupted him, "Of course, I should have known. That's the one, Giles, and it's great, <just> great."

"Hey, wait . . ." Giles managed to blurt out before Xander turned off the cell.

"FUCK ME!!" Xander yelled and breached mach three with a bang as he went to Super Saiyan 2.


An hour later the group landed somewhere in the Northern mountains of Canada. Snow all around, covering the needle trees. It was dark, which in these latitudes didn't mean much when it comes to determining time. The town, much larger than expected for such a remote, and possibly unknown location, could have come straight out of a museum on ancient Scandinavia.

Xander powered down as he landed. People came running out of their houses with hopeful looks on their faces. The Scooby Gang couldn't understand the language they were speaking and Jrg had trouble keeping the crowd under control.

"QUIET!!" Xander roared eventually in irritation, his chi flaring up. The crowd grew silent instantly.

"Take me to this psychic dude of yours," Xander told him, his nerves screaming through his veins. He hated prophecies. He liked legends, especially a certain golden warrior, but he hated prophecies. Always people trying to mold them, interpret them to fit their view of the world, and anyone who they believe fit the damn prophecy had to follow that path or else. He still got shudders as he remembered Buffy jumping of the tower, and Angel sitting in his chair like a sack of potatoes before he finally got through to him and got him to do something about 'the Slayer will die'.

Some minutes later, Xander and the gang walked into the town's main building and were lead to a middle-aged man, that seemed like he was a thousand. Xander guessed living in this climate took a toll on you. The man was draped in a brown cloak over, obviously, several layers of thick clothing. The insides of the building were sober and were almost totally made of wood. A table decorated the middle of the room, but the man was seated far enough behind it that they all had to pass the table.

"All right, old man," Xander said, irritated. Shocking Jrg and stopping him from making introductions. "What's going on? And how do I make sure I can go home as fast as possible?" The Scooby Gang looked at each other, they'd never seen Xander this irritable.

"First off, let me welcome you to our humble place of residence, Mr. Harris, or is it Littica by now, and offer you a refreshment," the man stated casually. The Scooby Gang looked at the man with stunned faces. "The same of course goes for you, Miss Summres, and friends."

"I was planning on picking up my new passport today, and I'd like diner, something warm to drink, and a bed would be good, I've depleted a lot of my energy getting here this fast," Xander answered in frustration.

"Quite," the man stated, and looked passed the gang at Jrg. "Jrg, call Annika and have her heat dinner and get some warm chocolate." Jrg bowed and left the room.

"If you don't mind me asking, Mr. . ." Willow started a little awed.

"Lankan, Sisel Lankan," he supplied.

"Mr. Lankan, but how do you possibly know our names so accurately?" Willow continued.

The man saw Xander roll his eyes, as he answered, "I'm slightly telepathic, a little far seeing, and on occasion I see a possible future. For the rest, I have CNN," the man pointed to a television set to his right, the Scooby Gang followed the man's pointing, except Xander, who looked down in aggravation. "And for the details we have the internet." The man pointed to his left, indicating a black computer.

Willow understood why Xander was so annoyed; he must have noticed it earlier already. "You have internet all the way up here?" This from Buffy, blurting out in disbelief.

"About three years ago we upgraded our satellite dish antenna with internet send and receive capabilities," Mr. Lankan explained calmly. Jrg and a woman entered the room. The woman carried a tray and started passing around hot chocolate.

"Internet via satellite . . .?" Buffy started with surprise.

"Buffy," Xander interrupted rudely. "Shut up. She's practically form Silicon Valley and the guys in the middle of nowhere . . ." Xander trailed of shaking his head in disbelief and exasperation.

"Sorry, Mr. Know-it-all," Buffy said with a sour tone.

Xander gave Buffy a look and took a cup of chocolate from the tray and drank from it. Looking at the woman's wide-eyed look of reverence to him, he got even more uneasy. The people out side, all with that look, was bad enough, but if the people waiting on him looked the same . . . "Diner will be ready in twenty minutes," the woman stated with reverence and bowed deeply before going away.

"Now what's going on here?" Faith interjected rather friendly. Xander felt relieved; he had the distinct notion that if he had to prompt the guy for information he wouldn't be that friendly; things could be getting crushed.

The man took a deep breath and then said, "About six thousand years ago something very bad was contained inside these mountains. Some people from our home land were sent here to watch over it and keep it contained. Some of the people living here are descended of those people, but not all. Three and half thousand years ago a great oracle arrived in our home . . ."

Xander interrupted him, with a smile like a farmer with a tooth ache, "Present day Iceland, right?" The man nodded with a giant surprise face. Xander continued, "Sound like 'Shiniza', an Amazon chieftain from the Nordic Russian steps."

"Yes," Sisel said with a flabbergasted face. Xander nodded with a defeated smile. "She led another group here, and the almost extinct people here were infused with new life. We have kept up our guardianship till this day. We have no idea how it got loose, but it did so, one and a half weeks ago. Since then, one hundred and fifty people have died, and twenty have been transformed."

"Fine, fine, what is it?" Xander asked getting even more irritated.

The man inclined his head and said, "Its name is Felorir."

"Felorir?" Willow asked, as much with disbelief, dread as wishing to know she was right in her assumption.

"The wolf," Sisel clarified.

Tara's eyes widened in shock, and fear. "Fenrir, the wolf?" The oracle nodded his head gravely, silence descended on them.

Until Xander raised his hand, waved it and said, "Uh . . . no idea what's so bad."

"Me neither," Buffy added with a pout. Xander and Buffy turned expectantly to Faith to add her confusion, but she only looked pensive, as if trying to remember something.

"Fenrir the wolf," Tara started to explain, "Child of the Viking god Loki and a giantess. It had the height of a man, and a strength unmatched by any of the gods. They tricked it into a test of might and chained it with the most powerful chains; it broke them with ease. Then they forged a specially magically imbued unbreakable chain and got it to do the same thing again, only the wolf demanded a guarantee, one of the gods had too place a hand in his mouth. When he couldn't break free, he bit off the hand of Tyr, the god of war. According to myth, Fenrir would break free at Ragnarok, the end of time, the dusk of the gods."

Before Tara could continue, Buffy asked, "What did you mean with 'transformed'?"

Sisel inclined his hand and answered, "The race of werewolves originated with Felorir, and as long as Felorir is in range, they are in their wolf form, regardless of the full moon and they obey Felorir unquestioningly."

"This just keeps getting better and better," Xander commented with barely restrained anger. He felt like strangling something. "Wait a minute, if this thing is so powerful, why aren't I sensing it?"

"Felorir, according to the legend, and apparently in real life, could not be sensed by the gods. Its presence was always masked, that's why it could sneak up on Olimda and attack him in the back," Sisel explained with a weary face. "If Felorir is not caged again, or destroyed . . . the end may very well begin."

"Olimda?" Buffy questioned.

"Odin, the All Father of the Viking gods," Tara translated.

"So basically you want me to go out there, hope I get lucky, fly around until I find this thing, and then kill it?" Xander asked exasperated, just seeing the chances for success dwindle rapidly.

"Yes . . . or contain it," Sisel stated simply.

The group was silent for just a moment. "Wait a minute," Willow piped up. "Something doesn't make sense here. Didn't Giles read from that book, that Faith's sword, Methudei, had already caused Ragnarok?"

"Most of the Viking gods have died even before we came here," the oracle explained, his face becoming more grave by the second. "Their Ragnarok has occurred, but not all of them died. The dusk of the Viking gods has come and gone, but as with the tradition of Ragnarok, that all that came before will come again, the dusk of all of the gods still has to begin."

"I will be the dusk of the gods," Xander stated vehemently.

The servant, Annika returned, interrupting the rest of what Xander was planning to say. She brought tastily smelling soup, and placed it on the table. The gang and Sisel sat down behind a plate and started eating. Faith who had been strangely pensive, broke the monotonous sound of soup being eaten. "What was that greater evil, Fenrir could set free that Jrg was talking about?"

Sisel stopped eating for a moment and continued with an even more concerned face. "We have . . . noticed that Felorir and its werewolf servants seem to be looking for something. There is a legend going around here, that an even greater evil was buried around here somewhere, although none of us can substantiate it. Supposedly in one of these mountains there lies captive the god Ikolla."

"Switch it around and you almost get Loki," Willow answered, she shared a concerned look with Tara. Buffy and Xander looked at them expectantly.

"Now I remember," Faith piped up. The group looked back at her. "One of the things my first watcher had me learn. Loki is the evil trickster Viking god. The watcher council thought he was a demon god and not one of the Powers That Be just gone evil as the myth suggests. Loki would be freed at Ragnarok and basically be the General to lead the giants in an all encompassing war with the gods, resulting in mutual annihilation. At the end, only a few gods would survive, and the world would start over."

"Now you see why we summoned you, Destroyer of Prophecies," Sisel stated gravely. "You might be the dusk of the gods, but if Iko- . . . Loki is set free and he manages to release all the demons and demon gods from Hell, he will lead them to a war with the other evil gods. Light versus Darkness and it will result in mutual annihilation, and the Earth will caught in the middle."

Xander nodded with a grim look on his face, "And at a real Armageddon there will be no survivors, nor a new start for the world; there will only be rubble: it's called an asteroid belt. I know this. I will kill this thing . . . but first I need sleep." Xander ate the last of his soup and then asked, "Say, you don't suppose you have walkie talkies lying around here?"


Faith was freezing. *Damn,* she thought, as she looked around the white covered trees below her. She tried to warm herself by clasping her arms several times, but it didn't help her much. *I wish I knew how Xander warmed himself and us on the way here . . . perhaps it's just plain power; Super Saiyan power. What I wouldn't give for just little golden glow right about know.* Her teeth clattered in the cold, then she yawned. It was just plain too early and too cold to be out flying, not to mention looking for a murderous beast of awesome power. If the clattering hadn't made her change the position of her head, she would flown right past said beast. She jolted with surprise and then carefully lowered herself down, taking cover behind a rock at least thirty meters above the beast.

She pulled out the walkie talkie from underneath her coat and activated it. "Xander, come in, Xander," she whispered, looking at the giant beast, surrounded by its slaves, and hoping the walkie talkie managed to reach him. She had no idea what it was doing, but for a moment she got a glimpse of its eyes; they were glowing red and a sharp contrast to its otherwise grey exterior.

"Xander, here," sounding heavily distorted.

"I found it, I'm looking at it right now," Faith answered breathlessly.

"Stay out of sight, I'll be right there," came back. A moment later Faith felt Xander and the others presences turn toward her. Having no other idea, she started counting the werewolves and ended up with nineteen. *Nineteen!* Faith thought with alarm. She decided to listen to feeling of foreboding she'd been having and whirled around. Just in time she caught a werewolf's paw that was about to strike here and use the beast's momentum to throw it over her shoulder. She gave it a kick as it was still in the air and it howled in pain.

"Oh, no!" Faith exclaimed as she looked back down. Fenrir looked up at her, red eyes glowing and with just one leap it was standing in front of her, growling furiously. The wolf must have grown during the millennia, because it was taller than a man, at least two and half meters tall. Faith's heart smashed in her chest and her eyes widened in fear. The next move the wolf made was smash its head forward, directly in Faith's stomach. Pain lanced through her body, and her ribs had to be at least bruised. She flew backward until she collided with a mountain. The collision was so hard, several cracks formed in the rock below the snow and she stayed up against it for a second before she fell down to the ground unconscious.

The giant wolf sauntered over to her, being joined by its werewolf slaves. It growled, "Tough girl . . . The Slayer. She could be a tasty morsel, or perhaps I should turn her, she would make an excellent mother." The wolf noticed something in a niche of its senses and looked up. Her eyes widened in surprise and a moment later it went flying backward, tumbling end over end as Xander hit it with a massive kick.

As he landed, Xander said, "You will do no such thing." The werewolves attacked and nineteen punches and kicks later they were all unconscious. Xander advanced on the giant wolf which got back up, shaking its head to clear it.

It turned to Xander and said, "You will pay for that." It attacked, but it overestimated Xander's height. Xander ducked beneath the leap and smashed his fist into the wolf's belly. Then he kicked it away. The Scooby Gang landed behind him and started examining Faith. Xander advanced to the wolf that was shaking itself back into clarity. "You're not that powerful, the Viking gods must not have been that powerful either." The wolf looked at Xander and growled. Xander continued, drilling his cold eyes into the wolf, "I'm ending your little search. Your father will stay nicely put." The wolf widened his eyes in surprise at that statement, then before it knew what hit him, Xander landed several fists and kicks on it, and threw it in the air. Xander pointed his hands up toward the wolf and as he let the attack fly he screamed, "ANNIHILATION ATTACK!"

The ball of energy collided with the wolf that came falling back down, and as it exploded, taking the wolf along with it, Fenrir growled, "You're already too late!" As the wolf died, the werewolves returned to their human state.

Xander's eyes widened in surprise at that statement, and wondered what it had meant. Moments later, Xander got his answer, an enormously powerful energy was suddenly present close by, as if it had emerged from some place where the energy had been contained and masked. "DAMN IT!" Xander raged. "Never easy!" Xander turned toward his friends and as he slowly lifted in the air he ordered them, "Get them and Faith back to the town, and protect it! This thing is going to take some serious ass kicking to bring down!"

"Right!" Buffy exclaimed. The group started with their tasks, as Xander flew off.

Moments later Xander found the escaped god. He was standing on the ground and screamed in rage, "Nine thousand years of imprisonment and the moment I get out, my son is killed!" Loki had a wolf's head, but instead of fur he had green scales, horns portruded from his head, and long, thick, dwindling tail waived from his backside. His eyes glowed red like his son.

Xander saw the demon, and an irrational anger burned from within him. The transformation to Super Saiyan occurred as he roared, "I'M GOING TO RIP YOU TO SHREDS, FRIEZA!" Xander's fist landed and Loki smashed backward into a mountain. Xander realized what he had said. He calmed himself a little, enough so he could separate real life from his imagination.

"<You> did it! <You> killed my son!"

"Yes, I did!" Xander told him with a smirk. "And I'm going to do the same to you."

Loki screamed with rage, a green chi flame that matched his skin burst into existence, as he burst forward with incredible speed and power. He hit Xander full in his stomach, causing Xander to double over in pain.

Xander retaliated by flying back just enough to kick out both his feet, hitting the demon in his chest. Loki flew back from the impact, but twisted around and wrapped his tail around Xander's neck, pulling him close and started to choke the Super Saiyan. Loki grinned evilly and tightened his grip on the struggling, golden-haired warrior. As a response Xander smashed his elbow in the god's stomach, but he refused to let go. Xander repeated the procedure two more times, before using his head against Loki's own. Instantly in the slight lull, Xander twisted himself around his own axis at great speed and threw the god off. As Loki stopped his flight, he squatted aside one of Xander's energy balls and proceeded to fire one of his own. Xander avoided it and it exploded against a mountain side, sending debris flying and leveling acres of trees with the ground. The demon god had anticipated Xander's move and was ready. Where Xander arrived, Loki smashed both fists against Xander's body. As Xander hurtled toward the ground, Loki sent another energy blast down, a massive one this time.

Xander flared up his energy, slowing him down just in time to keep from impacting with the ground. He twisted upright, and then, pushing off the ground with one of his feet, he sent himself in another direction. A moment later he got caught in the shockwave of the massive explosion. Realizing this thing was more powerful and more skilled than the two gods he fought before, Xander reached for all his energy with a roar. Electricity joined the golden pulse that increased in intensity, his hair stood up straight, and then he changed course. A moment later, face twisted in intense battle fury, his fist rammed into the demon god's abdomen, causing him to scream out his pain. With a double handed blow Loki crashed downward into a mountain.


Willow was unloading the werewolves that she had kept up with her telekinetic magic into the soft snow when a massive explosion sounded. She, the rest of the Scooby Gang and the people in the Viking town looked into its direction. In between two mountains, forming a valley the light of the explosion was still visible. It turned the sky yellow all around and was slowly fading away.

"Are you having the same sense of deja vu?" Tara asked timidly. The blonde slayer and the witch nodded slowly.

Faith chose that moment to groan and slowly come back to her senses. As Tara knelt next to the dark slayer to examine her, Buffy observed, "He told us to stay put and watch when he faced Glory. If he sent us away now . . ."

Willow nodded grimly, and finished Buffy's reasoning, "It means Loki is far more powerful than that. Did you feel it too, Buffy? When he became the Super Saiyan?"

Buffy saw Jrg and Sisel walk toward them with concerned faces. When Willow turned to see what Buffy what looking at, the blonde Slayer said, "He went to the level he was at facing Xiara in one go."

"Is he facing the wolf?" Jrg asked, partly excited, partly concerned.

The Viking Oracle answered with a pale face, understanding the stone looks of forced control on the Scooby Gang, "No, it's worse . . ."

"Xander!" Faith exclaimed, suddenly sitting up, then screaming out in pain, and grabbing her ribs.

"Calm down, Faith," Tara admonished the dark-haired girl. "You're in no shape to be up, lie back down."

"No," Faith said, and fighting the pain she forced herself on her feet. Wincing she looked in the direction of where Xander had to be. "He's gone to level 2. That wolf wasn't that powerful."

"Loki is free," Willow answered gravely, biting her lower lip with nervousness. A hush passed through the inhabitants of the city, most of whom had come out to witness the greatest event in their lives.


Xander landed in the snow before the demon god. The valley they had been fighting in stretched out to his left. Here and there, there was a patch of greenery that hadn't gotten caught in the blasts. The rest had been destroyed.

"For a guy who's been locked up for 9,000 years, you're quite powerful, not to mention skilled," Xander told Loki coldly.

With the roar Loki freed himself from what was left of the mountain side that he had crashed into. He smiled evilly as he placed himself in front Xander, folding his arms across his chest, and locking his claws around his elbows. "When you bastards locked me up in there, I made a vow, that by the time I got out, I would have to power to destroy all of you sickening sons of bitches. My ability to move may have been restricted to centimeters, but that didn't stop me from doing whatever training was possible . . ." Loki laughed evilly, seeming unconcerned with Xander's power. "You and your kind just wait until I release the others from hell. I'm certain they had the same idea, and since they're movements weren't restricted, they will be far more powerful and more skilled than I am."

Xander blinked for a moment, filing the information away, and then told him, "What are you talking about? My kind did not lock you up, I am the only one of my kind in this universe, and none else have been here in ten thousand years."

Loki laughed heard and said, "You've become kidders in your old age! If you're not one of them, how did you get such power?"

"Aah," Xander said, comprehending. "I'm not one of the Powers That Be. I'm what you're kind and the PTB know as a Sedra Soli. I'm a Super Saiyan."

For a moment the wolf-headed demon god looked confused, then it seemed as something clicked and for just moment backed away, then he regained himself. "I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU ARE!!" Loki attacked with a powerful punch that sent Xander careening backward. His next attack, a kick, was deflected, and Xander's fist connected with Loki's jaw. The pair traded several more blows, countering a few of them, before Loki sent a massive energy burst down toward Xander with a deafening scream. Xander placed his hands against it, standing horizontally on a mountain. He needed every last bit of energy he had to force the ball into outer space. Xander went to his absolute max in the process, and then the two of them resumed their fight.


"Uh!" Buffy exclaimed as she steadied herself. The energy almost felt like a physical attack on her. "They're so powerful." She, the rest of the gang and the people of the city stood nailed to the floor. All of them realized how helpless they were. Their shock and fear kept them nailed to the ground.

They looked in the direction of the battle and heard explosions, and they were getting louder by the moment. "They're . . . coming this way," Willow realized, her voice dripping with dread.

Faith nodded in confirmation, and sure enough; soon a golden blur and a green blur became visible. The blurs danced around each other, obviously hitting each other with everything they had when they got closer. Occasionally an energy blast or beam would shoot out and exploded with an blinding explosion. When they were direct hits a more pronounced figure could on occasion be seen careening away from the blast. Eventually the two warriors were practically on top of them.


The two of them pauzed for a time to assess each other. Xander was frustrated and breathing heavily, cuts and bruises covering his body, clothes partially ripped. Loki threw everything he had back at him and then some, the two were evenly matched, and like Glory he healed. Not as fast as Glory, but it went a long way to help. Xander assessed Loki again and then smiled. That nervous glancing around, and his energy. Loki's physical body may have been healing, but his energy was another matter. Xander called, "You're finished. You're energy is slowly depleting, I can feel it."

Loki knew Xander was right. He cursed inwardly. He hated that golden-haired freak. The two of them were equally powerful, except that little sliver that eluded him. He was searching around, and inside himself, he just had to avenge his son's death, find away to replenish himself. Then he noticed the Viking city, and he grinned. The golden-haired man attacked him again, and he avoided the blow, then he rapidly flew himself down and landed in the middle of the town, and laughed evilly.

Xander appeared before the demon, hovering in the air, uncertain what to do. If he attacked, people would die. "End of the line, pally!" Loki roared, and laughed some more. "I'm too powerful to kill out right without leveling the entire town with me." Loki chuckled and looked at Xander's face contorting in several different permutations, all quite amusing to the scaled being. "I don't have to sleep or eat as often as you do, I just have to wait until you leave . . ."

Xander looked around in frustration, the damn thing was right, he would have to destroy the town, not to mention his friends. He looked gazes with them for a moment. "Ooh," the demon teased, following Xander's gaze. "Friends? Family? How sad! Destroy me or them." And Loki chuckled with evil amusement.

Then Xander smirked cruelly and shaking his head, he told the demon. "You have no idea of what you're up against! I'm a Super Saiyan, a race of indestructible warriors, we're a cruel bunch, liked to destroy whole planets, and know no remorse," Xander said his chuckling, slowly rising in the air. "The battle has front row, if a few people have to die, friends or no, for me to win the battle, than so be it!"

Loki looked stunned for a moment, then smiled, "You'll never kill your friends. You're bluffing."

"Am I?" Xander yelled at him from a respectable height, powering up. "You can still leave the town! Fight me!"

"You won't do it!" Loki yelled up at him, again a little doubt creeping into him.

As Xander powered up further, lightning started to flash, the cloud cover quickening. He placed his hands by his side and started screaming, "TA . . .!"

"Oh, my god! He can't really be doing that can he?" Tara asked afraid, as she saw the energy ball in Xander's hands grow more intense by the second. His halo of golden energy and electrical discharges were pulsing and charging around Xander more angrily than she had ever seen.

"NE . . .!"

"I don't know!" Willow exclaimed trying to get her voice to carry over the massively powerful wind that had started to blow because of Xander's power up and energy beam.

As the sky darkened to foreboding black, Buffy added, as if repeating it often and hard enough would make it true, "He won't do it! He won't kill us! HE WON'T!"

"KA . . .!"

"He'll do it!" Faith called out. "He has to! Or that thing wins!" Most of the town's folk were still nailed to the ground in fear, but a few were starting to run.

"Ms. Williams is correct," Sisel, the oracle stated calmly, before he sat down serenely and started to meditate.

"KO . . .!" Xander paused, looking intently at the demon god.

"He won't do it. He's bluffing!" Loki started saying to himself, calming himself down from his fear. He would only have to make sure his fear didn't get the better of him and he would win.

"He's still not moving!" Jrg exclaimed in fear, anger and horror, as he looked at Loki. Jrg suddenly turned to the oracle and screamed at him. "YOU! YOU TOLD US HE WOULD SAVE US! He's going to destroy us!"

Sisel answered calmly, "Apparently you have not been paying attention. With 'us' I've always meant the whole of humanity. If he has to sacrifice a few in order to save the whole . . . he will."

"BASTARD!" Jrg screamed and advanced on the man, ready to strike him. He threw his punch and Faith caught it, looking sternly at him for a moment, before looking up at Xander.

"LAST CHANCE!" Xander roared, every last bit of his being was thrown in his actions; the Super Saiyan, not Xander the nice guy. "YOU DIE NOW, OR YOU FIGHT ME AND STILL HAVE A SMALL CHANCE!"


"SUIT YOURSELF! SA!!" Xander roared and an intense wave of energy the likes of which the world had never seen before shot downward. The moment Xander had finished shooting the beam, he blinked out of sight and burst downward.

"HE'S BLUFFING!" Loki roared defiantly one final time before the Tanekakosa wave impacted on him.

The town, and the Scooby gang looked on with disbelief and an intense fear, as they saw the demon being engulfed by the energy, roaring out as it consumed him. Then the energy exploded outward, blinding all of them, just as they were about to be engulfed by the explosion, it bounced of a protective shielding. A moment later Xander blurred into existence in front of them and stood hunched forward, hands pushing against the chi shield enveloping him, his friends and half of the town. He groaned, putting all of his might in keeping up the shield.

A few seconds later it was all over. The explosion dissipated leaving a scarred, level landscape where houses and people stood just before. The chi shield vanished and Xander fell to his knees, as he turned back to normal.

"My god!" Buffy exclaimed, wide-eyed. "Xander," she accused softly, fearfully looking at her best friend. "You killed all those people." The town's people started backing away from Xander, except Sisel and Jrg. Willow and Tara just looked, mouth agape. Faith sighed in relief, she was still alive.

Xander got up, slowly, turned around and looked Buffy directly in the eyes. Then he said, "And what would you have me do otherwise? Leave, and watch him destroy the entire town, instead of just half. Then he'll take the next town, and the next city hostage, and blow that away. Eventually the entire world would be aflame. This way only half a town dies, and not the entire world." He looked back at the destroyed town, and reflected on Loki's words; 'They will be far more powerful and more skilled than I am.' Xander thought to himself, *Super Saiyan 3 just became a necessity.*

"But . . . those people," Buffy repeated in shock.

"This is war, Buffy. That's what you signed up for, remember?" Xander said, harshly. The fight had left him irritable. "In war, sometimes you have to sacrifice a small amount of innocent people, in order to save many more." Xander found all of his friend's eyes, one by one, drilling into them, conveying to them what he felt, and that he was still their Xander. "It has another advantage; They," Xander pointed to the sky. "Will undoubtedly have watched this show of power, and they'll know never to try this again, that we mean business. They won't ever hold towns hostage again, they like their lives too much to commit suicide."

"All those people," Buffy said, a tear forming at her eye.

Episode 15

"All those people," Buffy whispered as tears threatened to overwhelm her. She looked around the devastation left by the battle. The town's people looked defeated, and her friends forlorn, even Xander.

"I'm going to find that bastard's prison and destroy it," Xander said, with an angry tone. He looked around his friends, infusing them with his strength and drawing from theirs. "If that place could hide his energy, I don't want anyone else to ever be able to use it as a hiding place." With that, he burst into the air. The Scooby Gang looked at each other for a moment, and then they followed him into the air.

A few minutes later Xander, Willow, Tara, Buffy and Faith landed in front of the mountain Loki had come from. At the foot of the mountain it had a large dome like opening that seemed as if it had been blown open. The group walked inside and looked around with wonder. Eventually they reached an artificial hall, lined with computer consoles . . . Destroyed computer consoles; apparently Loki had taken out his rage on his prison first when he finally was set free. In the middle of the room there was a large rock, it had several glowing, bands on it, now destroyed, once whole and holding Loki down. A tube ended directly above the middle of said rock, and drops of some green liquid once in a while dropped down. Where it landed, it sizzled and created a small hole in the stone.

"Acid," Willow concluded, following the tube along the ceiling until it disappeared into a wall somewhere to the left. Without saying a word Xander turned around and starting walking out the former prison. His friends followed soon after. Once outside he turned around, and with a roar of pure rage he sent an energy ball into the mountain. A powerful explosion sounded and moments later the artificial cave collapsed, removing any and all possibilities of it ever being used again.

"There," Xander said, single-mindedly. He was going mostly on logic now, most of him retreated into him, going over the fight again and again, analyzing it, determining flaws he made, openings Loki left that he hadn't used; he was learning, teaching himself to find a better solution whenever possible, and thus being even better prepared for a next time. "Some food and a few hours sleep to replenish my energy, and we can go about going home."

Three hours later after waking up he came back out in the open sky, the gang waiting for him silently and defeated. Most of the town's people had the same attitude, but not Sisel. He was already planning on replenishing their numbers with good old-fashioned procreation, and rebuilding their town. He ordered his fellow town's men around, and as they followed his orders - blindly and emotionlessly - they slowly, bit by bit, started perking up.

"It was fun," Xander told Sisel sarcastically. The old oracle turned around and looked at him. Xander turned Super Saiyan and extended his golden chi around the rest of the gang, as he continued, "Have your people call my people. We'll do lunch."

"We are grateful for saving the few lives you could, and stopping a fate far worse for the rest of humanity, Mr. Littica," the man answered pleasantly.

Xander looked at the man, measuring him up for a moment. Just before he blasted off toward home, taking his friends with him, he gave the man a wry smirk.


San Francisco
That evening

Leo sparkled into the Halliwell manor attic with a grave face.

"I take it, it didn't go well?" Prue asked, putting her hands in her sides.

"Phoebe's senses are right on the money. He took out another god; Loki," Leo answered. Dread slowly seeped into his voice. "He destroyed half a town with him."

"Wait a minute, Loki?" Piper asked unbelieving, gesturing nervously back and forth with her hands. "The Viking god?"

Cole's reaction off to the side was far worse. His whole body moved with frustration and anger, and said, "Yeah, Viking Trickster God of evil. Imprisoned in the Viking underworld until the end of time, when he would be released and he would lead the final battle. That bastard is toying with us all. He sets the one being free who according to the prophecies and legends was supposed to lead the side of darkness in a final battle with the side of light, and promptly destroys him. He's practically sticking out his tongue, saying, 'You can't stop me, fools.'"

"But, why only half a town?" Phoebe piped up confused, her hands protectively folded across her chest.

"I think Cole is right, this son of a bitch . . ." Leo paused, looked at the witches nervously, as they looked at him with wide eyes, none had heard him use that term before. " . . . is toying with us. He's basically showing all of us, the PTB and the demons everywhere: 'Look, they live. Not because you want it, but because I want it.'"


Phoebe clutched the ring binder to her chest as she stalked toward P3, her sister's night club. She had tried to get some work done in the library, but her thoughts just kept returning to the conversation and the revelation in the attic earlier that night. Coupled with a growing awareness of energy flows around her that kept intruding every time she managed to focus away from the latest disturbing news, she hadn't been able to do much.

Too preoccupied, she didn't see the girl coming from the opposite direction - leaving P3, which was a little up ahead. They bumped shoulders and the two twisted around by the momentum, stumbling to keep their balance, reversing positions.

"Heeey!" the black-haired girl exclaimed indignantly.

"I'm sorry," Phoebe apologized. Just as she was about to turn around to continue her way she felt a familiar energy pattern flowing from the other girl. Phoebe stopped and really looked at the girl, who seemed nervous, trying to come to a decision. "Hey, wait a minute, don't I know you from somewhere?" Phoebe blurted out suddenly, grabbing the girl by her left arm so she couldn't get away. "Yeah, I've seen you hanging around in P3," Phoebe said urgently, but keeping her voice low. "And a few times near our house as well."

The girl struggled for every last bit of courage she could scrounge up from within her. She stuck out her hand and introduced herself, "Hi, I'm Paige Matthews."

"Phoebe Halliwell," Phoebe returned.

"I know," Paige said weakly. "This probably going to sound weird, but . . ." Paige hesitated a moment as they shook each other's hand. "I've been given up for adoption when I was a baby, I've been doing a lot of research, I'm pretty certain, that . . . I haven't had the courage before, but . . ." Paige placed her thumbs in the pockets of her Jeans, shrugging helplessly and crunched her face, hoping one of the Halliwell sisters wouldn't just kick her aside as a loon, "I think, your mother is the one who gave me up, as in, she's my biological mother." Paige's eyebrows shot up in helplessness and fearful anticipation looking at her possible sister.

Phoebe's eyes widened, now she understood why the girl's eyes looked so familiar, and why her energy felt similar to Piper's and Prue's, as she suddenly realized. "Three will become four," she recited under her breath.


Xander touched down softly in the alley next to the Hyperion Hotel and quickly walked around to the front door. He grinned as he saw the truck that had brought the parts standing there. Two men were unloading something heavy with some difficulty. "Thank you," Xander said grinning, relieving the men from their burden with one hand. The two movers looked astonished for a moment, then shrugged and went back inside the truck to get the next piece of cargo. This after all, was the City of Demons: 't was better not to ask too many questions.

Xander whistled as he walked into the lobby of the hotel, which was starting to fill up slowly. He overheard the argument between Angel, Wesley and a third delivery man that had something to do with a wrong address. "Oh, he's got the right address, all right," Xander piped up with a grin, as he set down the carefully shock-absorbing packed whatever it was. For all his powers, Xander did not posses X-ray vision, and he hadn't had the time to study the package and checking with his memory on building the one in Buffy's house. Gunn leaned against the wall to the right, looking at the spectacle in amusement.

"See?!" the delivery man told the stunned man and vampire with irritation. He turned around to help out his men and muttered under his breath, "Ya' hacks."

Regaining their composure Angel spat out in irritation, "Harris, what the hell is this all for."

Xander blinked, suppressing some of his anger and said, "Parts for Cordy's Gravity Gym. She was tired of your pansy training, Dead Boy. She came to me and said, 'Xander, love of my life, I need a <man>'s training. What have you got on offer?'" Xander grinned, then suddenly blasted forward, grabbed Angel by his neck, lifted him off the floor, and looking in the vampire's eyes with an intense burning anger he hissed, "And don't <ever> call me 'Harris' again. The name is Littica."

"Name's Littica, check," Angel managed with some fear, looking into the inhuman eyes of the Saiyan who held him up. Wesley and Gunn looked at Xander startled. He let Angel go and went to open the door so the two delivery men could get inside. The exchange had been so fast they hadn't noticed a thing.

"What's all the racket?" a sleepy voice called. The owner came down the stairs, yawning profusely.

"Your ex has decided to grace us with a visit, and mess up the lobby," Wesley stated with a wry tone.

"Oooohh!!" Cordelia squealed out, her eyes growing larger in anticipation. At the astounding of her three friends she bounded down the stairs like a happy baby. "Is it here, Xander!? Is it finally here!?" Cordelia continued squealing, bringing even greater surprise to the vampire, the brit and the black man. Cordelia Chase had neglected to inform them the delivery she obviously knew about was coming . . . more surprising, she was acting like a kid on Christmas and there were no clothes, or jewels, or otherwise something that had to do with fashion or high society. Cordelia on her part had no idea the surprise she was causing, all she knew was what she had seen in Xander's mind during their long range training sessions, and she understood that the Gravity Gym just might strengthen her mind sufficiently to halt its path toward breaking down. She was planning on spending every waking moment inside the place; even though she was prepared and even ready to die, she definitely didn't want to and she was ready to do everything in her power to change her until recently seemingly certain fate.

"Yep, the one in Buffy's house is finished, now it's time to build one here," Xander answered grinning, then not happy. "But why didn't they know it was coming today?" The delivery men chose that moment to start entering with the next component they had unloaded. The conversation continued.

"Yeah, why didn't we know this was coming today?" Angel asked with a wry smile.

"Must have slipped my mind," Cordelia answered, blushing in embarrassment. "With all the things happening all at once . . ." Xander gave her a questioning look. "Honest," Cordelia told him. From her tone of voice, Xander inferred she was actually telling the truth. He sighed inwardly and thought, *But you still haven't told them.*

*I can't, I just can't, not just yet,* Cordelia's reply came, equally soundless.

"Not because I want to look stupid, but," Gunn started looking around at the pieces of whatever it was going to be, "What is a Gravity Gym good for?"

"Means you can train under greater gravity forces than the Earth provides," Xander told him with a grin. "2gs, 10, 50, 500, it tops off at about nine fifty." Xander than looked up at the ceiling, and mused, "If I tinker with it I might be able to crank out a thousand. Train in those levels and see your strength go up. It's for all of you!"

Angel looked at Xander incredulously and expressed his dissatisfaction, "You're not going to build a gym here!"

"Why not?" Xander looked at him in puzzlement. "You've got like what? Fifty free rooms? I only need one."

"But . . ." Wesley said, looking at Xander confused. "How can you build a gym big enough for all of us in one room?"

Grinning, and picking up one of the pieces to carry upstairs, Xander told him, "Ask Fred, she should know." Xander turned his head to Angel. "Lead the way, Dead Boy. Tell me which room I can tinker in."


Xander and Anya's apartment

Faith yawned as she got up from her mattress. She walked into the kitchen and looked at Anya busy doing whatever.

"Good morning, Faith," Anya greeted with a smile. She spread butter across her slice of bread and proceed with checking which covering she wanted. Since Faith hadn't had breakfast at a fully spread table before that, she told her at the same time, "Help yourself. There's cereal in one of the cabinets if you want some." Anya pointed in the general direction of the cabinet before taking her freshly covered bread and a cup of steaming liquid to the round kitchen table.

Faith yawned again. Too tired and lazy to actually smear her bread, she searched the cabinets. Grabbing a bowl from one and the cereal from another, she filled the first with the latter. Then she got out milk from the refrigerator and then joined Anya at the table. As she took her first tasty bite, Anya asked, "So how did the patrol go last night?"

"Great," Faith answered almost in slow motion. She emptied a spoonful into her mouth, once chewed and swallowed, she continued, "Dusted five vamps, and killed one thing, that . . . well, it was a thing."

Anya nodded understanding, and said, "Yeah, many things are . . . No patronizing here." Anya blurted out the last when she saw Faith's odd look, "I just mean, there are many demons out there, that are just . . . things." Faith smiled back at Anya's disarming smile, or her closest attempt. "Xander usually says a 'thing' or 'demon' when he tells about his latest kill." Faith's smile grew bigger, somewhat amused.

"Speaking of Xander, where is he anyway?" Faith looked around the apartment and felt around but came up blank.

"Oh, he went to LA to build Cordelia's Gravity Gym," Anya said nonchalantly, finishing her sandwich.

"Already?" Faith asked surprised, yawned again. "What kind of stamina does a Saiyan have, for chrise sake?"

Anya shook her head, "He's running on fumes. Once he's done building the gym, he'll probably sleep for a day."

Faith inwardly felt relieved, at least Slayer stamina was still on par. Anya got up to place the plate in the dishwasher, and out of habit checked the calender hanging on the kitchen wall. "Uhm, Faith, it's Thursday, right?"

"Hmm, mm," Faith answered mouth full with cereal and milk.

"It's about ten to nine, right?" Anya asked, stealing a peak at the clock.

Faith looked back at the clock on the wall behind her. "Uh, yeah. So?" Faith answered confused.

"Don't you have your first appointment in like ten minutes then?" Anya asked checking the calender, making sure she was deciphering Faith's scribbling correctly.

Faith's eyes went wide. "OH, MY GOD!" she screamed in shock and fear. "I completely forgot! I'll never get there on time! I still have to get dressed and wash and . . . I'll never get there at all! I'll go back to jail! No, nonononono!"

"Faith, calm down!" Anya screamed, trying to get through to the hysterical slayer. "We can make it, if we take the car."

Faith calmed down just a bit and looked at the ex-vengeance demon. "Car, still not enough."

"Finish eating fast. Leave the washing, just spray a giant amount of deodorant," Anya said, springing into action, slightly panicky herself. "No make-up. Just pull some old stuff on, you don't have to look like you're going to a party."

Faith nodded, and started gouging down the cereal. A moment after that she ran toward the stash of clothes she dumped next to the mattress when she went to bed and pulled them on, as she walked toward the shower to get to her deodorant. On her way she stumbled once, if not for her slayer agility and balance she would have fallen down. Once there she sprayed herself with the first can of deodorant she could find - Xander's - and then ran back out to the room, where Anya was waiting with car keys in hand. "Hurry," the blond motioned. A short time later the girls sat in the car, Faith still holding some clothes that she started putting on the moment she closed the door. Anya drove the car away with screeching tires.


"Oh, come on, Buffy, it's vacation," Dawn whined.

"Do I have to do over the whole 'stealing is bad' speech again? You're still grounded," Buffy said, taking a quick gulp from the orange juice afterwards. She turned around toward the kitchen table, grabbed her books and started stuffing them in her bag.

"But I'll finish the grounding when I go back to school. It's vacation, now, Buffy. Vacation! Free, sun, relaxation, charge up reserves, before going back to school!?" Dawn explained hopefully convincingly enough.

"No," Buffy said resolutely, "This discussion is over, got it?"

Dawn crossed her arms across her chest in annoyance, leant back against the kitchen counter. "Mom would have eased up a little."

Buffy swivelled around, and suddenly placed her hands on the counter on either side of Dawn. That way she stood in a bent over, predatory position, looking up, directly into Dawn's eyes. Her gaze was filled with anger, as she told her younger sister, "I'm <not> mom. Until now I may have tolerated it, but if you <ever> use her again to try to get to me, I swear, I will put you over my knee, and spank you so hard, your ass will end up at the front of your body. <Understand>?" Dawn nodded fearfully. "Good."

Buffy grabbed her bag and went from the kitchen to the hall where her coat hung on the coat rack. Dawn tentatively followed her sister. Willow and Tara came down the stairs hand in hand with big, satisfied smiles on their faces. "Well, if it isn't Squeal & Squeal Inc.; sexual satisfaction guaranteed." Buffy grinned at the two witches, and gave a short laugh at her own joke. The two of them looked at their friend with guilty looks, as she put on her coat, and quickly reddening cheeks.

"H-how . . ." this time it was Willow's turn to stutter.

Dawn grinned as she told them, "The walls are thin in this house." She knocked on the wall behind her to demonstrate.

Buffy, still grinning, added, "Perhaps we should put some sound dampening material in your room, because you two make a racket." Buffy tsked a few times, a big amused smile on her face, and then turned around and went out the door. "I'm gone, see you this afternoon."

"W-w-were we r-really . . ." Tar swallowed nervously once, "that b-bad?"

Dawn grinned mischievously and said, "Oh, yes, you were horrible. The neighbours could probably hear you. I'm gonna so tell Xander, Anya and Faith every sordid detail next time they're here."

"You wouldn't!" Willow exclaimed with shame and horror written on her face.

Dawn folded her arms across her developing chest, smiling and she lifted one hand up sneakily, saying, "Well . . . I could keep quiet . . . for a price."

"What price?" Willow said bleakly.

"You're not getting out of the house," Tara stated resolutely, catching on early, unlike Willow, she didn't see Faith as an untrustworthy bitch that was about to get the goods on her. Tara's reply earned her a surprised stare from Willow, which quickly turned into a grim smile directed at Dawn.

"But it's so beautiful outside!" Dawn complained.


The car swerved around the corner with screeching tires, the vehicle breaking out the back, the driver easily compensated by counter steering.

"I won't be able to tell much if I'm dead," Faith whimpered in fear, all her muscles tightened up.

"Relax, will you," Anya answered slightly irritated. "You wanna get there reasonably on time don't you? Besides I got my driver's license now, <and> Xander and I took a course in this stuff."

"You did?" Faith asked still scared.

"Yeah, Willow complained so much about my driving, Xander thought it best if I got a real, complete driving course," Anya answered, grinning, as she screeched around another corner. Mentioning that Xander apparently trusted Anya enough to drive this way calmed Faith down a little. "Just make sure you stay away when Buffy starts driving, I've heard horror stories," Anya continued with a wide smile. She turned her head toward Faith for a moment and added, "I don't think she even has a driver's license."

"Buffy, can't drive?" Faith asked surprised. "That reminds me, I was in a coma and got my ass thrown in jail when I was sixteen, I've still got to get myself a driver's license." Suddenly she shot forward and the safety belts held her back. A moment later the car stood still with smoke coming from the tires.

"That should be the place," Anya pointed at the sign in the garden of the relatively large house. Apparently the practice was built in the house. "Hurry up, Faith!"

"Right," Faith answered, fumbling with the safety belt for a moment, then she opened the door and got out of the car.

"I'll pick you up in an hour," Anya told the dark slayer, who acknowledged it, before bolting to the house. A moment later Anya sped away.

Faith almost crashed through the door before halting the hallway of the practice portion of the house. It was tiled like a checkers board; black and white squares. The lower part of the walls was covered with soothing wood, painted brown. Above the wood the walls were light green, almost white. To Faith's right there was a door, in front of which was a table manned by well-groomed woman; she had to be the secretary. To the left was an open door behind which a waiting room could be seen. "Ah, Miss Williams, I presume?"

Faith nodded and managed a barely audible 'yes'. She was seriously starting to get nervous.

The secretary pushed an intercom on her desk and said, "Miss Williams has arrived, sir."

"Ah, send her in," came through the speaker.

"Will do, sir," the woman answered pleasantly, then got up and opened the door, gesturing for Faith to enter.

Faith did so, and stepped into the psychiatrist's office. It was spacey, had several comfortable looking chairs around the room, a tv with a VCR and a DVD player in a far corner, and the walls were the same motif as the hallway. The floor though was different. It was a fine carpet and green, like the upper part of the walls, only just a shade darker. There were several cabinets filled with different things; there were books, crystals and even toys. There was an authoritative desk right in front of her, in the front of the room. The whole place seemed to be designed to sooth and make people comfortable. Everybody who knew Faith would know that it had the direct opposite effect on Faith. She became more uncomfortable and more nervous instantly. The psychiatrist didn't help any.

He got up from his chair, and Faith looked him over. He wore a suit, minus tie and jacket, which hung on a coat rack, and instead of a blouse he was wearing a black t-shirt. He was quite handsome, clean shaven and had a dazzling smile and twinkling eyes that he used to his advantage, which meant disadvantage in Faith's case. "Ah, Miss Williams," the man said as he stuck out his hand in greeting. Faith shook it. "My name is Martin Wade. You're late," he observed.

"I'm sorry, I kind of overslept," Faith explained only half true.

"Oh? Is that all?" he prodded, giving her an amused smile, yet it demanded answers.

Chills ran down Faith's back as she answered, "Actually, I kind of forgot." How could he have known?! Was he telepathic? A demon in disguise? A monster god? A guy dabbling in the dark arts? Or just a plain well-educated psychiatrist? Faith felt an urge to rip the man's heart out just to be certain.

The psychiatrist gestured to the different seats, and told Faith, "Take a seat, lie down, whatever you want." Faith opted to sit down in a chair, as the man sat down behind his desk. "Very interesting file and transcript they sent me."

Faith narrowed her eyes and told him, "I am not crazy, those events are not figments of my imagination, and I did not dream them up, so . . ."

"Calm down," the man interrupted her, gesturing her to stop in a nonthreatening manner. "I do live on the Hellmouth."

Faith blinked in confusion, even as her suspicion grew. "You know?"

"When a thousand people bring in their loved once, all because they claim to have seen monsters, you start doing an investigation," he explained with a smile. "At first you're thinking mass hysteria, some common cause, like a chemical they came in contact with, but then you here stories, find maps, ancient legends, and soon after you come face to face with your own first monster, and then you know, that ain't no hallucination." The man looked at Faith with a smile, before adding, "Especially not when the monsters get destroyed just before they kill you by a short blonde girl."

"B, had to be B," Faith said, shaking her head, then clarified, "Buffy."

The man smiled, and told her, "Well, Ms. Williams, can I call you Faith?" Faith nodded. "Faith, if you have a question you'd like answered, a preference where you'd like to start, something you'd like to get off your chest, tell me at the beginning of a session, so we can do that first, and then we'll see about the rest, understood?"

Faith nodded and asked, "Where do we start?"

Martin smiled amiably and said, "Since you've already covered the bigger lines of your past, how about the present? Tell me who your friends are, what they're like, etcetera."

"You're not allowed to tell anyone what I tell you, right?" Faith asked nervously. When her psychiatrist answered affirmatively, she launched into a long story.


"Sorry, I'm late!" Anya called to Giles as she stepped into the Magic Box. "I had to drop off Faith at her psychiatrist. We all had completely forgotten she had an appointment. It's a good thing I check the calender every day."

Giles smiled at her. "No harm done." He was amazed at how Anya had changed over the past two years. From the selfish, blabber mouth ex-demon, she had become considerate . . .

"I told her I'd pick her up in about an hour. Xander is going to be proud of me, I wonder if I get sex as a reward," Anya mused with a big satisfied smile.

. . . blabber mouth ex-demon. Giles shook his head, his accent became thick as he told her uncomfortably, "I am sure he will not neglect your needs."

"I agree," Anya answered happily, reaching the cash register. She opened it and started counting the money.

"I already counted the money, Anya," Giles said, looking at the fake blonde amused.

Anya bubbled back and forth on her legs, saying, "I know, I figured that, but it's so much fun!"

Giles watched the young woman count the money a short time, before asking her, "What would you say about owning the Magic Box."

Anya's eyes went wide with surprise and turned to Giles, "Would I!? Of course I wou- . . . wait, but what are you going to do?"

Giles smiled at her and told her, "Do not tell the others yet, I want to tell them myself . . . I am contemplating returning to England."

"Why?" Anya asked astonished.

"You've shown me you don't need me around any more," Giles explained with a wistful smile. "With Xander's surprise revelation, with his training the girls, and Willow and Tara's power and knowledge about the super natural . . . I have come to the realization you not only have reached the point where you can stand on your own two feet, but you have exceeded all that I could possibly teach you. The way they've handled Loki is a prime example; my knowledge was not needed even for a moment."

Anya blinked, thinking over Giles' words, and came to the startling conclusion. "That's true, so what are you planning on doing back in the Queen's country?"

"Forcing myself a way back into the Watcher's Council, sounded like a good idea to me," Giles explained with a small smirk. "The only way to really help all of you out, is for me to get access to the Watcher's Council Library. It is much bigger than this little depository, there might still be knowledge hidden in that place that can make a difference here."

Anya stayed silent, thinking over Giles' words, then, "So where do I sign the ownership papers?"


"Boring, boring, rerun, boring . . . ew, disgusting, rerun," Dawn gave up and turned the tv off. "There's nothing on tv. What would you two, say to a game?" Dawn turned around and sat down on her knees on the chair looking at the two witches, who were holding hands and quietly chanting. Willow and Tara opened their eyes as they came out of their concentration, and gave each other a naughty smile. "Ah, please, not that kind of a game," Dawn said exasperated. "What is with sex at the moment?"

"We just staved off Armageddon several times over," Willow gave her patented pout-and-conclude look, then continued, "Thus we're all feeling euphoric?" Tara smiled lovingly.

Dawn's shoulders sank, and told them, "That was a rhetorical question." Willow silently expressed 'oh', and smiled sheepishly. Dawn continued, "I mean, you two are practically licking each other off in front of me, Xander and Anya are humping each other even more than usual, euphoria or not, it just ain't normal."

Tara grinned and started, "You just . . ."

Dawn threw up her hands in exasperation, and interrupted the blond witch, "Oh, don't tell you just wait and see, when you're older and have a boyfriend, you'll do it that often too!"

"If you're lucky, you will," Willow blurted out before she could catch herself. Abashed, Dawn's jaw dropped.

"Willow!" Tara exclaimed in shock.

"I'm sorry, it just came out," the redhead said with a small voice. Then they gave each other a forgiving kiss.

"So, about that <board> game," Dawn tried again.

"I know a few board games," Tara told Willow with a sneaky grin.

"Not more . . . Oh, I give up!" Dawn almost yelled, sliding back down and turning on the chair.


Xander rapidly descended from the sky, then burst into the Double Meat Palace. It was eight o'clock. He was late, because he had busted his head on a rather structural layout problem of the hotel room and its power supply to the Gravity Gym. Luckily there weren't many customers and so Xander got to order fairly quickly, "Three double cheese burgers, a large coke, and three fries to go."

"Yes, sir," the clerk said.

Then Xander remembered Anya and Faith, and didn't know whether they had waited up on him or not, and he said, "Double that order, and add an extra coke."

"Yes, sir," the clerk answered again.

A few minutes later Xander paid for his food and proceeded to the exit. An old woman entered the junk food restaurant that set off everyone of Xander's alarms. As he raced past her, he grabbed her by the throat and pulled her outside with him.

"Hey!" the clerk called in surprise, starting to follow Xander.

When Xander came outside he threw the woman forward, then blasted her to several very inhuman pieces with an energy blast. The clerk, still inside, just looked perplexed. As Xander burst into the sky, confident as ever in Sunnydale's residents' denial, he destroyed the remaining pieces utterly.

"Don't ask," the clerk muttered to himself, making several dismissing arm gestures.

A few minutes later Xander landed in Buffy's back yard, as he homed in on Anya's and Faith's energy. Walking inside he called, "Hey guys! Anya, Faith, have you eaten yet?" He held up the bag with delicious smelling food.

Anya jumped up excited, hugged her boyfriend as she said, "Missed you. We've eaten here, already."

Xander shrugged, before Faith butted in, "I could still eat something, with this new training, I probably need to eat more anyway." The dark slayer got up, and walking over nonchalantly she added, "Is it nice and greasy, babe?"

Anya let go of Xander and he nodded 'yes' to Faith. The slayer continued, a bit like an excited child, a bit like an ecstatic young woman, "I've had my first appointment with the psychiatrist today, at first I thought he was a demon, but he turned out fine."

Willow groaned, sounding her displeasure at having to listen to anything Faith had to say, much less her private stuff. Giles next to her looked quite amazed at Willow's ability to hold a grudge, as did Tara sitting on the redhead's other side. Buffy was about to add her own comment, when the Gravity Gym's door opened and closed noisily. It was followed by British cursing, coming from the blonde vampire that had come out of the Gym. Careful to stay in the shadows and out of harms way from the setting sun, Spike walked into the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator, and grabbing the first fluid he saw, milk, he threw the pack to his lips and drank greedily.

Astonished Xander asked to no one in particular, "Has he been in there all this time?"

"Yeah, I think so," Buffy said slowly.

Xander handed the bag with food to Anya and walked over to the vampire. When Spike had emptied the milk pack, he placed it on the counter and turned around. Suddenly surprised by Xander's presence. "What'ya want, you bloody git?"

Xander nodded once and then started slapping Spike back and forth across his cheeks. The gang looked on in surprise. After a few more of these, none really hard, but enough to sting, Xander stopped. "What the sodding hell was that for?"

Xander smiled eerily and then asked sweetly, "How long did it take you to recover the burning piano?"

Spike looked confused for a moment, before realizing Xander meant the time he had tried, successfully, to restore Dru to her full power. "Uh, weeks," Spike counted.

"Yes," Xander answered him with a big fake smile, "That means, despite your Immortality, you do not heal that much faster than the average human, and if you do nothing but train like that, your body doesn't get enough time to recuperate, which means your body doesn't improve . . . IT GETS WORSE!!" Spike flinched back at the sudden outburst, becoming painfully aware of Xander's promise he was dust if he did something wrong, and if Xander actually managed to win this little war he had started. To bad for him, the kitchen counter didn't allow him to back up for him. "Get to your crypt and drop dead, or whatever the hell you vampires do for sleep, and rest for at least one and half days, you halfwit!"

Spike growled but took Xander's advice, not bothering to greet as he left the house.

Xander followed him with his eyes, before turning around and said, "All right. Anya, Faith, let's go home and eat."


A few weeks later

"That's it, keep going, almost got me there," Xander told Faith mockingly as they sparred in the square surrounded by a ring of orange tiles.

Faith threw a punch that Xander deflected. Nearby in the same square Buffy threw a few halfhearted punches.

A square further - also orange surrounded - Spike pauzed as he smashed to pieces the last of the workout bots. In irritation he looked at the Saiyan and the two slayers. They were moving freely through square, throwing punches and kicks like it didn't matter. On occasion Xander and Faith actually almost turned to blurs, speeding away from one position solidifying in another, or even encircling each other at those speeds. Buffy, though, didn't seem capable of what they were doing, not that she wasn't displaying some incredible strength. Spike watched over to the display board near the entrance, found the square representing the one the three of them were training in and read '30gs'. Spike growled, and looked over to his own board, '18gs'. He hated it, he has started out at a higher gravity level than the two slayers, but they were already at almost double that of his in a mere few weeks. Obviously, necrotized tissue of a vampire did not adapt as well to gravity increases as the living tissue of a slayer.

A brilliant light show distracted Spike and he looked into its direction. The two witches were the cause of it and the light show, comprised partly of Tara's and partly of Willow's magical energy. The two energies almost seemed as if they were having sex together. The two of them were flying around leisurely and laughing in pleasure. The tiles that were surrounding their square were light blue and their color was playing nicely in concert with the light show. As the light show faded Spike looked back over to the board, and read, '2.5gs.' Apparently training once magic wasn't as physically demanding as training one's chi.

The other lit up square showed it was at 8gs. Spike looked over at Dawn fighting off the robots blasting a few to smithereens. Her white chi flame burned bright with intensity.

"Look!" Tara called with bubbly pleasure. Before she or her redheaded girlfriend could say anymore, a shriek of pure terror sounded from the bench to the side. Giles who sat next to Anya, tried to calm her down to no avail. "Bunnies?" Tara managed to add dumbfounded. Both of the witches were holding one peacefully sniffing bunny on each hand.

Anya screamed more, "GET THEM AWAY FROM ME!!! IIIEEEEEHHH!! AWAY!!"

"But," Willow tried to comment over Anya's screams. "There's a force field capable of handling a 2-megaton bomb in between you and the bunnies?" Anya kept screaming, placing her hands in front of her face and curling up as much as she could. None of Giles' soothing helped. "All right already, we'll teleport them back." The two witches concentrated, and with a curly energy effect the bunnies disappeared from their hands.

"See gone!" Tara called out friendly. Anya calmed down some, peaking from behind her arms, and after making sure the bunnies were gone, she sat back normally.

"Oh, but they were so cute?!" Dawn called out loud enough to carry past the energy field of her training mat.

Spike looked back at Xander and saw they he and Faith hadn't noticed a thing, unlike Buffy who was still watching the show silently, seemingly pensive. Spike groaned to himself, realizing he had been wasting precious minutes, wile Xander and Faith were getting stronger constantly. He started up again with determination.

"Come on, Faith! I know you can do better than that!?" Xander mocked, continuing to rile up Faith. He blocked her punches, threw her energy balls back in her face and at times held one of her legs at an awkward position after one of her kicks.

Faith was seething with rage and she was about to explode, which she did a moment later. With a scream her chi flame became more intense than ever. "That's it!" she raged. She started a flurry of blows and kicks that Xander all blocked . . . until one managed to get through his defenses and hit him in the chin. Faith's rage filled face grinned with satisfaction as she followed up with her right fist. Xander blocked it, and then starting fighting back earnestly, careful not to raise his energy level too high; Faith would never keep up and getting her ass kicked in such an unfair match up wouldn't teach her anything. Xander's smile never left his face as he landed several blows on the dark-haired slayer, who did everything in her power to keep up with Xander's skill. With another burst of energy she managed a vicious kick to Xander's stomach, doubling him over. Immediately she went to hit him in the face, sending him down further, but Xander turned his doubling over in a somersault and kicked out with both feed, catching Faith in her face and sending her flying up. Instantly Xander flashed to above her and smashed her down with a double-handed blow.

Xander lowered himself next to a groaning Faith, who slowly got up from the small indentation in the bottom of the training area. Once up, she saw a smiling Xander give her bow, and she returned the gesture of respect. Their fight was over. Then suddenly Xander jumped lightly in the air and started clapping his hands ridiculously. Faith smiled, the goof ball, she had fallen for two years earlier was still in there. "Wow! Well done, Faith!" Xander called excitedly. "You actually managed to hit me. That was great. You're great. You're improving so much!" Faith's smile deepened, adding a hint of embarrassment, and a slight blush of sexual arousal. God, did she want him! This Xander, both fun and joking, as well as serious and a kicking ass kinda guy was everything she could possibly have dreamt of.

"Great!" Xander enthused one last time, before turning to Buffy. "All right, Buffster, you're up!" he then said, startling the blonde girl out of her reverie. Xander walked up to her and went into a fighting stance. Buffy did the same. "Ready?" Xander asked, smiling at her in anticipation. Buffy nodded nervously.

Then she attacked. Xander was surprised, her punches were halfhearted, her kicks came nowhere near the precision of Faith's. For only a tiny fraction of second he thought he had underestimated the blonde, but soon realized differently. He knew Buffy wouldn't be as good as Faith, being The Slayer gave her a little edge, her innate desire to fight, her warrior spirit, evident in her refusal to let all her abuse through the years bring her down, made the rest of the difference. Buffy simply had never been a warrior: she was a cheerleader. But still, this was just plain sloppy, he had actually seen her do better before, during the time he was teaching her these new techniques. "You can do better, Buffy," Xander told her, not mockingly like with Faith, but stern and reprimanding her. "Do better."

He saw the blonde bite her lip, and increased her effort, but only marginally. "Come on!" Xander shouted, angry this time. "This is ridiculous, Spike, no, who am I kidding, Anya would kick your butt. Fight me, damn you!" Buffy complied, or so she made it seem. Xander far too easily blocked and avoided her blows. For a moment he doubted his perceptions, how could Buffy be so slow, so uncoordinated, so . . . weak. He rechecked his own power lever, perhaps, but only just perhaps, he had without noticing it raised his power level. No, it was still the same. Xander got angry, "FIGHT ME, DAMN YOU!! If you don't start fighting me, I'm going to beat you up!" Moments later Xander smashed his fist into Buffy's face and she stumbled back. "Are you just going to take that!?" The next punch landed in her stomach, doubling her over. "You're pathetic, is this all you can do!?" Xander yelled at her. Buffy's punches still were only half hearted. A knee to her stomach and then a double handed hammer to her back sent her to the ground. "You, stupid little cunt!" Xander told her, kicking her in her stomach sending her tumbling. "FIGHT ME! If I were a demon, you'd be DEAD! If I were a vampire, you'd be one YOURSELF!" Another few kicks to Buffy's stomach, sending her away every time, she was cradling her stomach, tears flowing from her eyes in pain. "What's the matter? You too stupid to fight?!" Xander yelled, ready to kick her again. Suddenly Buffy's eyes snapped open in anger, with a burst of energy she was up, finally her slayer instincts had come to the fore. Her chi flame burst brightly around her and she attacked Xander with a scream. Xander blocked her blows and kicks, avoided an energy ball, and grinned at her. "Now that's more like it!" Xander said, grinning, and he punched her in the face. Buffy twisted around her axis, and suddenly her instincts and anger went in overdrive. With a primal roar her energy exploded around her and she punched with all her might . . . and connected to Xander's chin, sending him twisting through the air, before he stopped himself. "Now that's what I'm talking about, technique still flawed, strength still much to be desired, but that's what I'm talking about!"

Buffy looked at Xander in disbelief, and then to her own hands. "No," she whispered to herself. She powered down and sank to her knees. "No." She started crying and looked up at Xander. "Why!? Why did you make me do this!?" Buffy cried. She couldn't believe how angry she had gotten, how much her power, her slayer, her predator instincts had ruled her behavior.

Xander approached her and said, "This is what we're training for isn't it? To become stronger, strong enough to take on, say gods and beat them into a pulp?"

"What if I don't want to?" Buffy whimpered looking up at the hard, yet lightly sympathetic face of her best male friend. Her head sagged again.

"What is it you're so damn afraid of, Buffy?" he asked, harshly yet concerned.

Buffy looked back up and said, "You killed those people, Xander. Thousands of 'em, tens of thousands, you destroyed half a town. It's not right."

"We've been over this," Xander answered, squatting down now, looking directly into Buffy's eyes, unaware everybody else, except Spike, was watching intently now.

"We're just mortal beings, Xander," Buffy pleaded, looking into the icy eyes of the former Xander Harris. "We're not supposed to have this kind of power. We're not supposed to make those kinds of decisions."

"Of course we do, the same decisions people had to make in World War II; do we use the atom bomb or not?" Xander told her. "These decisions aren't new to mortal men and women, Buff. They've always been there, and they've always been made by mortal men and women, we're perfectly capable of making them."

"But, but . . ." Buffy started, still not willing to grasp the concept.

"Words won't reach you, will they?" Xander asked, looking into the despairing eyes of Buffy. "I will just have to show you."

Xander became aware of his audience now, and he looked at Faith, and saw her stricken face. Immediately realizing what was the matter he said, softening his voice, but keeping the hardness in it, reassuring her, "I'm not your mother or your father, Faith."

Faith nodded. She knew that, she also saw the necessity in what Xander had just done. And he hadn't really hurt Buffy, not like her mother did to her, he had probably done not much more that bruise Buffy a little, but it still had brought back memories, memories that she wished she could just rip out of her mind.

Xander got up and started for the exit. After a few meters he said, "Come on, Buffy. You're coming with me." Buffy looked at him without getting up and he repeated himself. "Get up!"


Latin America
One hour later

Xander landed in the thick forest and placed Buffy on the ground next to him. He powered down. His golden hair turned black again. Silently he pointed at the scene in front of him.

A primitive village lay there in a clearing cut out probably centuries before. Men and women mostly wearing a few brown clothes woven from plants were running away. Some men brandishing spears tried to defend their retreat. Some of the men threw the spears, making sure they could get to another one immediately. Others, to whom the attackers had gotten too close to throw them at, used them as stabbing weapons. The attackers were grotesque looking. They growled like big cats, and looked a bit like cats to, except they were almost standing upright, on occasion still leaning on their arms, somewhat like an ape. The catlike razor sharp teeth and fangs though, were definitely not ape. The attackers were obviously faster and stronger than the humans.

"We've got to help them!" Buffy exclaimed, starting to surge forward, but Xander put his hand on her chest and held her back.

"Not so fast," he said, and Buffy looked at him in disbelief. "Extend your senses, feel their energy, allow your senses to linger, to filter out things, just let them go naturally. What do you feel?"

Buffy complied after a second of looking in Xander's hard eyes. Buffy closed her eyes, and extended her senses. "Nothing really, just a little energy."

"Exactly, demons - if you feel them out the way you're doing know - feel different, trust me," Xander told her gravely.

Buffy opened her eyes, and turned her head to face Xander. "What are you saying?"

"They've got souls, Buffy," Xander told her in no uncertain tones. "They came out the portal. In the past few weeks, whenever I had some spare time I've been looking up everything that came through it, and killed it if necessary." Xander paused and Buffy looked at him. "They haven't evolved much beyond an animal, but they have. They're intelligent, sentient, like you and me, but still animal enough to not have much control." Xander gestured again to the vista of death still before them, and Buffy looked at it in horror, watching as humans were being cut down. Xander sat down on a nearby stone, and told Buffy, "Decide what to do."

Buffy's head snapped around, and she looked at him. "What?"

"You get to decide what we're going to do," Xander repeated, looking at her gravely.

Buffy was torn, on the one hand she wanted to save those people, yet how could she kill one set of persons, just to save the other. "Can't we capture them?"

"And then what, lock them up and starve them to death?" Xander asked pointedly, looking at her intently.

"W-we could deliver them to the authorities," Buffy tried in desperation.

"And what do you think they're going to do with them?" Xander asked with a wry smile.

Buffy shook her head, this couldn't be happening, she tried and tried. "What if we deliver them to the US authorities?"

Xander chuckled, "Remember the Initiative?"

Buffy saw the horror scenarios in front of her; cut open alive to figure out how they worked, genetic experiments, potentially placed parts of them or their genes in some form of new, controllable this time, super soldier project. She couldn't put them through that. She stayed silent, thinking of every possible angle.

Xander piped up, a sneaky tone to his voice, "How about we do nothing, and just let them eradicate this village? Then watch how they go on to the next, and do the same there?"

"This is it, Buffy," Xander told her calmly. "Here's your decision. You can still back out of what we've planned to do. I'll focus my training on someone else. I won't rely on you. I will factor in our strategies that you won't fight at all, or that you'll cop out at critical junctures. Are you in our out? But once you're in, there is no way out. If you're not with us all the way, you'll get us all killed. In or out?"

Buffy looked at Xander with a stricken face; all the other options were unacceptable. Finally coming to the decision, she had tried not to have to take. Finally understanding Xander's decision, she told him the only humane solution, and the answer to his question, with just three simple words, "We kill them."

Episode 16

Vegeta sat on the porch of his family's home. In his arms he cradled his baby son Trunks, watching as the kid greedily gulped down the milk from the bottle he was offering him. He growled in frustration; this was supposed to be his wife's job. But his wife had holed herself up in her laboratory - no doubt caught up in some complicated problem to solve on her newest pet project; an inter-dimensional ship. Unlike his gravity training room though, her laboratory was sound proof, and soon the kids incessant screams had started driving him insane. Normally his spouses parents would handle the kid, but since they were out on a romantic trip - he swore the blonde woman seemed to be getting younger instead of older, there were times that he wondered whether she had successfully wished for immortality or if she was a machine, an android built by Bulma's father, the old coot, or perhaps even by Gero himself - it meant the kid wouldn't shut up so he had eventually been forced to handle it himself. After a half an hour of figuring out what the kid wanted and how to go about getting what it wanted - resulting in several broken pieces of furniture during outbursts of frustration - he had finally been able to shut the kid up with the bottle of mildly warm milk.

That was how Vegeta sat, just looking out on the lawn in boredom and frustration and looking back down to the kid on occasion, catching himself several times when he had actually been fascinated by the little kid's gulping down of the milk. For the passed minutes, the moment the kid had emptied the bottle, it had, true to Saiyan form, started crying again asking for even more milk. Suddenly, the air seemed to collapse in on itself, and then a glowing sphere of energy, rapidly circling on it its own axis appeared above the lawn. Vegeta's eyes widened and he watched. Moments later a Saiyan spherical space pod emerged in the middle of it. Then the energy field disappeared, allowing the space pod to gently land on the lawn. It opened, and the laughing face of Littica emerged. His body followed suit, wearing jeans, a polo shirt and an open jacket.

"Hey, Vegeta! How's everything going? Ooh, giving bottle to baby Trunks, huh?" Littica, better known back home as Xander, commented with a wide grin. Vegeta growled in frustration, he couldn't believe he actually got caught doing this demeaning task. He quickly caught himself, surged forward - much to the delight of baby Trunks - grabbed Xander by his arm and practically flew into the house. "Come with me!" he told Littica in no uncertain terms.

The Saiyan in his early twenties called out a protest that was quickly drowned. Seconds later Xander found himself standing in front of an imposing, locked door. "My wife's in there," Vegeta commanded, pointing with one hand, while holding the baby with the other. "I don't care what you have to do, but solve whatever she's breaking her head over and get her out here so she can do her job!" Then the prince turned around and stalked off, leaving Xander standing there, blinking his eye lids in surprise.

"Ok," he muttered, and turned to the door. He decided to knock. No answer, no surprise there, the room was sound proof of course. Xander listened and hearing nothing from the room beyond, nothing at all, and Vegeta's frustration over his wife not coming out was all Xander needed to understand the nature of the laboratory. He knocked again. Before you go thinking 'what a doofus', this time he knocked hard enough to make the whole house shake. Still no answer, again no surprise, whatever the woman might have called out, the sound proofing worked both ways. Knowing this, Xander waited patiently but the door wouldn't open, not even after a minute. Fed up, Xander knocked again, this time with enough force to make the house tremor, as well as the windows in the houses of the entire block. He even caused some dents in the door, which apparently was either installed with the philosophy of protecting everyone from a potential experiment going majorly wrong inside, or in anticipation of a Saiyan knocking on the door to get attention, or both.

Finally after another half a minute the door opened, a green-haired woman looking angrily out. "VEGETA! SO HELP ME KAMI, IF . . . Littica!? Where's Vegeta?"

"He's around somewhere feeding Trunks milk from a bottle," Xander answered, waving in the general direction of where Vegeta had run off to.

"He is!?" Bulma called out loud in astonishment. "Wow. That's unexpected."

"He told me you had a problem," Xander said with a smile.

"I do not," Bulma answered him. Xander crossed his arms and looked her up and down carefully. Her hair was disheveled, her white lab coat crumpled and dirty, the blouse she was wearing just as bad, several buttons had gotten loose. Bulma looked herself over for a moment and the sheepishly admitted, "Well, ok, yes. But it isn't like I can't solve it, it just means it takes me a little more time."

"I could help, you know, you'd do yourself and Vegeta, it seems, a big favor," Xander offered, grinning. Bulma mulled it over for a few seconds and then gestured him over, the two descending into the laboratory.

"Ever since your rip in the dimensional fabric dumped quite some people here, I've been busy thinking up an interdimensional traveling method, and it's just that I've got trouble with the trans-dimensional stress tensor on local space-time gravimetric disturbances. I can't seem to solve the balancing algorithm that should keep the hyper-dimensional energy particles from interacting with the event horizon, and with it the interactions consistent with the close bordering of the normal quantum mechanical foam of space; the microscope experiments show I'll tear the fabric of space-time apart if I try to send anything through the interdimensional wormhole," Bulma explained. They reached the table she had been working on, papers strewn about everywhere, partial and complete experiments, some that not even Xander recognized, were littered around, big experiments behind glasses with robotic arms working on it, little ones she obviously had been working on by hand, and more and more.

"In short, the wormhole is unstable and will collapse the moment you try to send matter through," Xander clarified lazily, used to people with no where near his intelligence level, he had learned the merit of saying things in a simplified way.

"Exactly," Bulma told him, and continued, "Now, I could go down to the super-string level, but that realm isn't all that well understood, of course, the particle density that the wormhole will be emitting will change . . ."

"Hold on," Xander interrupted, throwing up his hands in a helpless gesture. "One problem at a time. What is it with women geniuses and babbling anyway?" Bulma blinked her eyes in confusion for a moment, and indicating her workplace for the past few days, which she had left only for food and drink and taking care of Trunks now and then.

Xander bent over the function equations written on the paper. "Aha!" he said with a grin and pointed at a particular flaw. "And aha!" he added finding a second. Bulma looked at what he was pointing at. "See here," he said, with a grin. "Tiny little thing, double minus becomes plus, that way these two parts cancel each other out." Bulma's eyes widened and she felt like slapping herself silly.

"Stupid!" she screamed out loud. Xander grinned widely.

"It's usually wise to take a break, couple of hours, a day, then return to your work and check for these little things, every now and then, especially if you work at it day in day out, these little things slip in," Xander told her with her smile.

"Yeah, I know, but . . . when I'm working . . ." she answered a little perturbed.

"Now as for this part here, there's a fundamental flaw in your thinking," Xander told her gently. "You see, you're going on the assumption that the stress-energy tensor is fundamentally in an eternal struggle with the dynamics of hyper-dimensional space time and normal three-dimensional relativistic space. It is not, you should more see at as bridge that crosses the two, more exactly it is a consequence of the interactions between gravitation and electro-magnetic forces pulling on the sub-spatial continuum. Basically like poring two gasses together, the two start to mix where they touch, in rather impressive harmonious, but purely chaotic currents."

"Of course," Bulma said, and filling in the new and improved equations. "No wonder my microscopic wormholes showed I would rip apart the fabric of reality. But with these adjustments to the generating process . . ." Bulma suddenly looked up with her eyes excitedly wide. "All those interactions remind me . . ." She hurried over to a shelf and pulled off two small devices, which had a small screen, several buttons and what seemed like a speaker. She returned with them and gave one triumphantly to Xander. "I came up with this," Bulma turned them on. The screens showed a picture of the other owner. "It's a communications device, with video capability, but more importantly its inter-dimensional. Of course, it's a lot easier than actually traveling across the dimensions. I haven't tested it yet, since I don't have anyone in another dimension, and given the mistake you just showed me, it might not work perfectly . . . you can check its internal blue print."

Xander manipulated the buttons and soon found a nice blue print and he grind, "Bulma, you're a genius."

"I know," she answered him back, smiling as well.

"Which reminds me," Xander told her, pulling out folded papers from within his jacket. "I took the liberty to put in some improvements in the basic design of the gravity room, and created a fully fledged gravity gym, see . . ." He placed the blue prints in front of her and she looked over it. " . . . self-repairing through the maintenance bots, some extra duty force fields for the serious power houses, quantum-mechanical placement of a larger space in a much smaller one, it would require some adjustments to fit this dimension's rules of physics, but . . ."

"Littica, you're a genius," Bulma answered him, grinning widely. The improvements were a Kami-sent the moment he mentioned self-repairing.

"I know," Xander answered her back, and they shared a grin.

"Wait a minute, don't tell me you came all this way just so you could deliver some blue prints," Bulma accused him, smiling widely.

"No," Xander answered her back, crossing his arms and standing relaxedly in front of her. "My fiance and I are getting married in what we think about eight nine months from now, one and a half to two years here, and I suggested she might actually have a real prince lead the ceremony, namely Vegeta. To do that we would have to calibrate, and measure the exact differences in time, with which this communications device would help a lot."

"Vegeta'll do it!" Bulma exclaimed with enthusiasm.

"Uh, ok," Xander answered, slightly taken aback. How Bulma was so sure Vegeta would agree to it, he didn't know, and he was expecting some major convincing to get Vegeta to agree. He decided to add, "While I've got you in such a agreeable mood; I kind of used up all my money to build two gravity gyms, and it takes too much effort to sell another patent without rousing too much suspicion, so . . . I was thinking, my ship can only hold one, and since I've got quite some friends . . . "

Bulma interrupted him with a grin. "Say no more," she waved her hands back and forth in a push aside manner, and then continued, holding her chin up with a hand as she contemplated the modifications, "You have no idea how much time and money you've saved me with the designs for those maintenance bots, I'll have your ship enlarged to something bigger; a refrigerator, gravity generator, recreation area and a couple of beds . . . the basic design of my father when he built the ship for Goku should be good enough, perhaps some of the maintenance bots in there, give me a week, and you'll be ready to take family trips through space and dimensions."

"Well, great, thanks!" Xander answered, astounded, he had been envisioning a craft for three to four people, just some cramped seats like he had now, definitely not a luxury liner.


Meanwhile, back in Buffy's dimension...

Faith was in a fitful sleep.


"I can't understand why you can't be more agreeable," he told her with a grin. They walked through the forest in a happy mood. An axe, no metal, but stone, hung over his shoulder, his weathered clothes showed it was repaired often and was probably his only set. The girl next to him grinned, she wore the same kind of attire, a bit more colorful and definitely pants. She shrugged at him, her long dark hair gently flowing in the breeze. "I mean," he continued amused. "Your father tells you to stay put, but you go with me anyway without giving an acknowledgment. You could just be a bit more diplomatic at least. I know you like to be 'out with the boys' and do what we do, and the village has enough resentment over that without you being rude."

The two reached the end of the forest, finding themselves at the foot of a mountain. He found himself a nice tree, big, but not so big he couldn't pull it with him, and started hacking away, pieces of wood started flying off as he put some effort into it.

"Let 'em do whatever they want, and be happy with it," she told her childhood friend with a mischievous grin, lying herself down on the mountain side, leering at him and his rippling muscles. "As long as they don't mess with me, I won't bother myself with them."

"If you keep this up, they may very well," he told her annoyed, he stopped hacking for a moment and regarded her. "You do know I'm married, right?"

"Doesn't make you any less attractive," she grinned at him.

He shook his head and started hacking again, telling her, "You're thirteen, like me. Why don't you stop leering at every guy that walks in front of you and marry one? You should be pregnant with your first by now."

"Hey, I would have, if most of the guys weren't such bone heads! They may have nice bodies to look at, and can probably fuck like stallions, but marrying them, yealch." She made a disgusted face to get her point across.

He shook his head again, he loved her company, but she was a strange one. "Now there's this. You have any idea how close you're getting to really getting punished? I come back from a hunting trip and the talk is all around. 'The Stubborn One' was married off by her father and she tells the high priest at the wedding 'no'. You're in luck our love god has told our priest, to go into a marriage where one party has told him 'no' will be a bad omen. I've heard in other villages they would have smacked you across the head to shut you up, then married you anyway and your new husband can drag you off and do whatever he wants with you. Don't you have any idea how you've shamed your father?"

She shrugged and told him vehemently, "I told him I wouldn't marry that bastard. Father should have listened, if he had chosen someone else I probably would be married, but not him, uh, uh." She bit her lip for a few moments, then asked, "Why don't you guys ever take me with you on a hunting trip? Must be much more exciting than turning over some soil in the hope some plant some day comes out, it just takes too long, it's boring." He laughed, then stepped aside and told her to do the same. The tree came crashing down moments later.

"A girl on a hunting trip, I think that's just one step too far, you have no idea how dangerous it is. You get married, get some kids, and once your blood line is secure I'll reconsider it," he told her, starting to cut off the smaller branches of the felled tree so he could easier transport it.

"Then why don't you make me your second wife? I promise I'll put some effort into being a good wife and mother. I may not be madly in love with you, but you're much better than the rest," she said to him, snaking her body close him sexily.

"Sorry, but I can't provide for you too, especially since my first will come on the world in a month. If he's grown up a bit, and if I've managed to find away to get more food inside a month's time, I might consider it," he told with a grin.

She sighed, and lamented, "What did you see in that skanky ass anyway?"

He whirled around, grabbed her right arm with his left and squeezing he yanked her closer, the axe up to her face in her right arm. "DO NOT INSULT MY WIFE AGAIN!" he yelled at her angrily. She looked shocked into his face, she had never seen him this angry, and he had never been angry at her before. She was instantly afraid, the axe didn't help any, even though she realized he wasn't planning on using it on her.

"Ok, ok," she said soothingly. "You love her, I get it."

He let her go and continued with his task silently, calming down. She looked at him work, and she felt a great frustration and anger boil through her. Life just wasn't fair, she wished she was a man for a moment. Anger boiling over, she screamed, turned around and smashed her fist into a tree. She had done that before, despite the pain afterwards, and the occasional broken fingers, it always relieved immediately. But unlike the expected pain, she felt nothing as her fist smashed through the tree with ease. She screamed out in shock, her friend looked up and saw, his eyes widened and he pulled her aside as the tree fell down.

They got up and looked at the second felled tree with wide eyes, then he turned and looked at her. "You're the Slayer! You must have gotten activated recently, no wonder you're so head strong!"

"I'm the what!?" she yelled out, still shocked and fearful about what was happening to her.

"The one girl in all the world chosen to fight the demons, I've got to get you to the elder council," he explained briefly. Only the men, were told about the Slayer, they didn't want to get the hopes of the women and children up when there might be nothing to get your hopes up. The last time, according to the stories, a slayer had been anywhere near them had been at least a hundred and fifty years earlier. He quickly tied his rope around his felled tree and started pulling it along, back to the village.


Two weeks later
Just after sunset

"I don't understand," she commented with irritation. Her intense deep blue eyes regarded him with intense scrutiny. "I'm supposed to be the most powerful human on creation, with enough strength and speed to kill every monster out there and you have me stuck in this village? Why won't you let me get out there and kill some monsters then?" She smashed her right fist into her left open palm.

"We have told you before," the man almost in his thirties told her scalding. "We have sent word to the city. We knew from the traveler who came by a month ago a demon hunter was there, hunting many demons. He's trained to fight demons and guide Slayers, like only a few others, and he is coming here now, to take you under his wing."

Angry 'the Stubborn One' told him, "Doesn't mean I can't fight some demons in the mean time . . ." Her instincts were surfacing fully, and since she had always had an interest in hunting, she was itching to get out there.

At that moment a man came bounding through the forest and entering the village. He was dead tired, and had several wounds across his body. "Help!" he called, breathing heavily, staggering into view. "Our Town Near The Gorge is under attack . . . demons . . . can't be killed."

'The Stubborn One's' protective instincts demanded only one action, in accordance with her already killing instincts there was no stopping her. She jumped forward and ran with incredible speed toward the indicated region. The elder called after her, "Wait, Stubborn One, you're not ready. Stop! . . . Stupid!"

Minutes later Stubborn One reached the indicated village and she saw the things feasting on the villagers. Anger burst through her and without thinking she charged in. She beat the fanged creatures back, smacking them around. Quickly the things recovered, wounds healing rapidly, and they smacked Stubborn One down to floor and grinned, getting ready to the feast. She looked around and saw a wooden stick lying nearby. Her eyes widened with instinctive glee. She smashed her hand on the stick and it splintered. Grabbing the newly formed stake she jumped up and plunged it one of the creatures' hearts, it promptly burst into dust. She grinned, as if she had just won a jackpot and proceeded with quick efficiency to kill the remaining ones. Finally, only four were left and she plunged her stake into one of their hearts. The monster stayed upright and grabbing her hand it pulled the stake free with an evil grin, revealing four fangs, two on the appropriate positions and two next to each other on the middle. It chuckled in evil amusement as it crushed the stake beneath its foot.

With a smack of the demon Stubborn One was sent flying through the air, crashing into the wooden wall of a house and falling through. Inside she saw a woman and two boys fearfully look at her. "Run," she said, as the four monsters walked through the wooden wall as if it wasn't even there. The mother and children complied, shrieking as they ran. Blood poring from the side of her head, Stubborn One sat back up, only to be kicked through the opposite wall by one of the demons. She brought herself to her hands and knees with difficulty, she was pretty sure she had broken a rib since she was having difficulty breathing. One of the monsters picked her up and he and the others repeatedly crashed their fists and feet into her body.

"This is Slayer?" one of the monsters growled. "She pathetic." The demon holding her, smacked her away with a devastating backhand. The four of them water mouthed in anticipation of the kill. Stubborn One cried in pain, everything hurt, blood flowed freely from several wounds and at least three more ribs had been broken. She stayed down, ready to give up. The demons stopped advancing on her a short distance off.

A different one grinned at her and asked, "You ready die? Want taste Slayer blood." His friends laughed with him.

Stubborn One's eyes snapped open. With some effort she put herself upright, and then stood further up, all her muscles tensing, and growling she told them, "Never! I like life too much!" The demons' eyes opened in surprise as the girl attacked blinded by rage. The Slayer jumped and kicked out, hurtling one of the four several meters backward. The second she punched with everything she got and doubled him over, causing him to stagger back. She jumped on the third, smashing her fists into its face over and over. The shock of the girl's weight combined with her punches sent it down.

"Die! Die! Die!" she screamed as she kept up the punching, raining her fists down on the monster's neck and face. Eventually her instincts told her to open her hand, and she rammed her right one downward. The weakened flesh gave in and her finger's sank into the thing's neck. She gripped and pulled with a roar. The head gave away and she got up turning around to facing the fourth demon who had been too surprised to move. The thing's body turned to dust as did its head in the Slayer's hand. The fourth's anger finally surfaced and attacked. It ran forward with a roar. Stubborn One suddenly surged forward with great speed, then jumped up and rammed her knee into the demon's neck. She grabbed its head at the same time and pulled hard, the thing's eyes widened and it roared with pain. The shock of landing was enough to rip her knee through its neck and severing its head, before it too turned to dust.

The anger and adrenaline had made her completely forget about any pain she might have been feeling, and like a true Slayer she turned around, facing the two regrouped demons. The whole exchange of her killing the two demons, lasted no more that forty two seconds, which had given the other two just enough time to recover. Now, seeing their comrades dead, and the Slayer looking at them with a killer's gleam in her eyes, their confidence wavered. Two of the most powerful monsters on the planet decided to turn around and run. "You're not getting away that easily!" Stubborn One roared and grabbed a large wooden wall pole from the destroyed house. She threw it, and then ran after it.

The pole soared through the air and impaled one of the creatures through the heart. It looked astonished at the pole sticking out of its chest, on which his heart was pierced and he watched as it turned to dust, moments before the rest of him did the same. The last demon looked in fear as the girl grabbed the pole from his dusted friend before it even reached the floor. She smashed it into its face, making him twist around, the next hit to the back of his knees made him kneel down. With a roar through clenched teeth Stubborn One pierced the demon's neck, put her right foot on its left shoulder, and then twisted the pole around in the opposite direction, thus ripping its head off and the last one too turned to dust. Subsequently she sank to her knees, moaning at the effort and pain it cost to do so.

"Incredible," a voice sounded, and Stubborn One's head snapped up looking at the man who came walking from the forest and into the village. He obviously wasn't from around here, he was dressed for long traveling, heavy cloak covering his normal clothing, and holding a walking stick. He couldn't be more than eighteen years old. "You just beat a small army of vampires and four Turok-Han. The things are supposed to be practically the strongest things in creation."

"Who are you?" the slayer managed to croak out.

"I'm the one your elders sent for," he told her with a grin.


The two walked across the beaten path. Grass was almost the only thing growing in the mountainous area. Stubborn One, fifteen by now, whined at her companion, "Are you certain we're not wasting our feet walking all this way? Last time we came to slay a 'monster' it was a gorilla and it ate from my hands."

He grinned at her, remembering that particular episode and said, "Absolutely, no, the townsfolk said they saw a giant snake, but then that can be a simple python."

"How about we quit it for now then? My feet are killing me, we've been walking and climbing all day and night, and deciding to go on to the snake immediately instead of getting a night's rest back there didn't help any," she told him annoyed.

He stopped and she almost bumped into him, she joined him and looked down at what he saw. The mountain stopped and curved down at a sharp, rocky decline, to a valley from which two arms went into different directions. In the distance, down in the valley in front of what seemed like a cave a giant grey snake stood. Easily twenty meters long, with its head reared up two-and-a-half-meters high, and it's face; there was no doubt about it, it was a demon. The two sank to the ground, for fear of being detected.

"Yikes," Stubborn One commented. "Ok, then, Hunter, enough watching. Let's go kill it."

Hunter nodded his head, slowly a grin crept up his face. Then they ran off, circling around and down into the valley.


The stake had shattered on the snake's hide. The stone axe hadn't fared much better, the stone lay on the floor, next to ripped-apart rope that had tied it to the stick she was holding. The monster snake roared and snapped at her, but she jumped aside and threw the useless stick up against the snake's head which only enraged him. "Got any bright ideas?" she called out, jumping aside for another quick bite.

"Hey! You're the Slayer!" Hunter called back, avoiding an attack from the snake's tail by using his walking pole to push himself up and cartwheeling over the tail and then ran away to avoid an attack from the mouth. "You're the one who is supposed to be given all the power to beat this thing. Beat it!"

"Thanks for the support," she told him back in irritation, jumping aside again. She watched as her companion took cover behind a large stone.

Hunter called out from behind the stone, "You could get to its brain through its eyes."

Stubborn One thought it over for a second, then ran around, avoiding the snake's attacks over and over. Once she reached Hunter, she pulled his pointed walking stick away from him. "Hey," he called, "My walking stick!"

Stubborn One ran at the snake, jumped aside left as it attacked and rammed the stick into its eye. It came out back out immediately, but the snake was roaring wildly in pain. The Slayer jumped up its back and ran upward toward its head. The snake bit at her and she jumped up and smashed the walking stick into its remaining eye. It promptly started undulating wildly in pain and Stubborn One held onto the weapon. The snake thrashed about in pain, and trying to dislodge both her and the walking stick. On the right time she jumped up, made a summer sault and then kicked the stick further into its eye and into its brain. She landed and Hunter came from its protected seat behind the rock, and watched as the snake suddenly went limp and crashed to the ground. Stubborn One pulled Hunter's pointed stick from the snake's eye and returns it to him.

"Your walking stick," Stubborn One told Hunter with a grin.

"Thank you," Hunter said and grabbed the blood-soaked, eye- and brain-covered walking stick and placed it by its side. "What about the meat?"

Stubborn One went back, after a short shirt picked up the axe stone and walked over the snake. Using the sharp stone and her considerable strength she cut the snake open. She cut some meat out and sniffed it, after which she licked her tongue over it once and then said, "No smell or taste of anything poisonous."

"Great!" Hunter said, with a wide grin. "We'll have snake for dinner."


The two had just finished diner and fell down together, on their bedrolls next to the fire. She pushed him down gently, and kissed him deeply. Her clothes came off quickly as she pulled his off at the same time. Without further ado, she slipped his erection inside her wet cavity, and she moaned with satisfaction. She moved up and down eagerly, undulating her lower body back and forth. He grasped for her breaths and started kneading them, she let her pleasure known by riding harder.

Getting closer to the edge he turned her over and thrust into her with great abandon, much to her delight. She wrapped her legs around his waste, and urged him one, careful not to crush his bones with her strength. Still fondling her breasts, while she wrapped her arms around his back, he dipped forward and started kissing her on the lips. Moments later they both reached their peak with grunts and moans


The blonde Slayer flew backwards barely avoiding the giant - easily three times her height - demon's crushing double-handed blow. Its green skin surged with power. Stinky sweat pored from its hide. Its eyes, completely red, glowed with anger. The Slayer stretched out her hands in front of and with a scream a powerful beam of energy came from them piercing the demon's chest and heart killing it instantly. She flew upward rapidly, and looked down with a grin, surveying the area. Four more of the demon's kind lounged there, the humans were out of reach. She fired a massive ball of energy down, that exploded once it reached the surface, vaporizing the remaining demons.


The redhead jumped back, hit a tree and jumped off it to the side. The black glistening monster with golden glowing eyes crushed the tree with ease. She flew high into the air, the demon followed grinning with malicious glee. He threw his punch and she blocked it, but it saw the tremor going through her arm and upper body, the pain and fear in her eyes. They traded several blows, his landed, hers he blocked. With an enormous swing the last of his blows crashed across her face and she soared higher into the air.

"DO IT NOW!" an Asian man in fighting clothes roared up from the ground. "HOLD NOTHING BACK!"

The girl looked down at him, her eyes filled with fear, and shock. It had never worked before, she just couldn't do it. But if it didn't work this time she would be food, she never felt so much fear in her entire life. The man who had found her and had been teaching her for the past year was still looking up at her, and she saw into his eyes. He saw his fear there, the certainty that if she didn't manage it, it would be over, but also a rock steady belief that she could do it. Steeling herself she pointed her hands downward at the onrushing demon. An energy ball started to form, she concentrated and then with a scream it fired away. The demon's eyes widened with shock, just before it blew into a thousand pieces.


The wooden buildings surrounding the town square vibrated under the power. The symbolic tree in the middle, which was long dead, and had sharp edges on its top, left the ground, roots and all, and then it was thrown away. The tree rammed through a big demon's chest and it dropped down to the ground in pain. The black girl twisted around, avoiding the second demon's kick. She jumped forward rapidly, sailing clear over the third, four-armed demon, who's punch now hit the second demon, this one totally red, instead of the white human skin-toned third one. The third quickly changed course, its two-meter tall body remarkably quick, but the slayer was quicker. Showing unnatural speed, she avoided the blow and kneed it into its gut, doubling him over. With a follow-up punch to its left she sent it careening down the main road, careful not to make it hit any of the houses. She jumped high up into the air, easily ten meters, and bridging the distance between her and the red demon who got out of its daze at the same time. Making use of gravity she let herself fall down, pulling her right hand back. She shrieked out a battle cry, and the red demon looked up at her eyes widening. Her instincts heightened by the adrenaline of the battle, a sudden white glow burst around her, unbeknownst to herself. The punch hit the demon directly in its head, which spun so hard the demon's neck broke instantly and it died.

The Slayer instantly changed course, focusing back on the last remaining demon, pulling out a stake. Not much later the stake was rammed through the demon's chest.

From the grass of the steps the town's population slowly emerged, walking back into their town. "Are . . . are . . ." the town elder stammered.

The girl looked at them and said, "They're dead, it's over . . . for now."

The town folk roared up in jubilation. "Faith! Faith!"



Faith sat bolt upright, looking around the magic box, the book she had been reading still in front of her. "Huh? What?"

Gilles stepped into view from behind her, smiled, and asked, "Long patrol last night?"

"Well . . ." Faith started, it had been late last night, but it wasn't that late, " . . . yes and no, the book is boring. It's about hell all right, but only stuff about demons, things it does to souls, no, 'place your charges here, and bye, bye, hell.'"

"Don't worry, you are in worthy company; I've found Buffy and Xander asleep on several occasions," he answered, resetting his glasses.

"Giles . . ." Faith said pensively.

Giles turned and regarded the dark-haired Slayer with interest. There was something in her tone of voice. "Yes?"

"I've been having dreams, ever since Xander started teaching me . . . about the past Slayers," she answered a little disturbed.

"You must have had those kinds of dreams before?" Giles prompted as he took off his glasses. He became intrigued.

"Yes, but these are different," Faith answered, not quite knowing how to explain this. "These Slayers are ancient, thousands of years ago, most of them from before the Watchers existed . . . their blood thirst is . . . invigorating . . . powerful, and some know how to fly and fire energy balls like I do. I've never had dreams in which Slayers could do that. It's weird."

"Really!?" Giles told her surprised and started pacing around the world, his glasses between his teeth. "Curious." Faith watched him walking around. Finally he stopped walking in told her, "The Watchers have legends about Slayers that could fly and fire energy balls, but since we never had more substantial evidence, and since no Slayer has ever reporting dreaming of it, the Watchers have always thought they were just myths. But when I saw Xander and then you perform those acts, I knew they were real." Giles looked at her with a face deep in thought. "Now that I think about it, it isn't that surprising; you've always had dreams about these Slayers, so have Buffy and all those who came before. Your conscious minds however, must not have been able to understand the concept of flying under one's own power and firing energy balls with one's bare hands, and so they must have repressed the memories."

Faith looked at the book for a few seconds and then back up at Giles. "Would you be willing to tell me the dreams, so I can write them down?" Giles asked hopefully.

"Uh . . . sure," Faith answered him, glad she didn't have to talk about herself, the therapy was freaking her out. Giles grabbed pencil and paper and sat himself down immediately and looked at her expectantly.

Faith looked at him for a moment then blurted out, "Oh! Now. Well . . . let's see, where to start . . ."


Back with Xander

"No way in hell!" Vegeta exclaimed in irritation.

"But . . ." Xander tried.

"Never!" Vegeta roared. "I'm not prancing around like an idiot to make your fiance happy! I'm not doing your wedding, and that's that!"

"VEGETA!" Bulma, holding baby Trunks, shrieked in anger. "You're always going, 'I'm the prince of all Saiyans' now for once in your entire life, the only other living Saiyan is making a call upon you in that capacity, and you dare not accept the responsibility!"

"Being the prince of the Saiyan race doesn't mean you have to do all kinds of things for them, it means they have to do things for you," he explained annoyed.

"Vegeta," Bulma almost growled, she walked over to him and looked directly in his eyes. "You will do this for the only surviving member of your species!"

"I am not doing it!" Vegeta roared out. Xander looked on in astonishment as Vegeta crossed his arms in a 'that's final' manner and the two started a staring contest.

Eventually Bulma growled at him, "If you don't do it, I'm going to use drastic measures."

"Like what!? No sex!?" Vegeta asked calmly.

Bulma peered at him through narrow eyes. "That's a possibility." The two continued, each seething with anger, a silent balance of wills.

Xander lifted his index finger, and said timidly, "Uhm . . ."

"Stay out of this!" both parties of the epic battle yelled at him, and with a horrified face he shrank back. Fascinated he watched the two perform their private little war, both stares became more intense and angry by the second. This was getting scary. Although neither was throwing things, hitting each other, or yelling profanities at each other, this was probably a bigger fight, and for bigger stakes than his foster father and mother ever gotten themselves into. Which was rather astounding, and once more hammered the fact home to Xander that his foster parents were two petty people without an ounce of self control.

"Fine!" Vegeta finally roared out. "But you owe me, woman! You owe me big!" Bulma nodded triumphantly and went to the living room. Once the woman was out of sight, Vegeta turned around and stalked outside. Xander followed him.

Once they were outside, Vegeta's scowl turned to a satisfied grin and he said, "Thanks! We haven't had a blow up like that in quite a while. Now the air is cleared and tonight . . . well . . . let's just say the woman is hottest when she's just been real angry and likes to make up, especially if she hasn't had any because she's been too preoccupied with her experiments."

Xander looked at him dumbfounded and then concluded, "You were going to do my wedding no matter what, all that was just a show?"

Vegeta grinned triumphantly, "Oh, yeah. I want to see the place that made you this powerful. A mere scientist's son, I wonder what would happen if I stayed there to train, too bad I can't actually do it . . ." Vegeta's eyes gained a hateful gleam and added, "With the difference in time; too great a chance I miss the one moment that third-class clown comes back to this Earth and with it the one opportunity to pound him into the ground."

"I guess, so did Krillin train with you, or not? If he didn't . . ." Xander asked, adding a sinister unpronounced threat.

Vegeta chuckled and quickly walked several meters in front of Xander, and he said, "Let me answer that with this." Vegeta turned around facing Xander and he transformed into a Super Saiyan. Then, with a roar, he powered up further and further. Since his hair was naturally standing up, the change was barely noticeable, but it was there. Electricity crackled around Vegeta, the sky darkened above the city and lightning flashed angrily, the ground cracked beneath him. With one final burst of energy the transformation was complete. "So, what do you think?" Vegeta told him with a superior grin.

"Not bad, my prince. Not bad at all, you've reached the second level," Xander told him, smiling, examining the newly transformed Vegeta. "But it isn't enough to surpass me," Xander told him in no uncertain terms.

"What!?" Vegeta exclaimed in disbelief, he had thought he had gained once more the title of the strongest Saiyan in the multiverse, only that hybrid brat was still in his way, to being the strongest being period.

Xander smiled and the power erupted around him, electric bolts sizzling through his golden aura, his hair up straight, two hairs hanging in front of his face. Vegeta's eyes widened, Xander was at his level, and he hadn't even needed to transform to the first level. "Watch this," Xander told him and powered up further with a scream. The storm overhead grew worse as his power soared even higher. The electric bolts in his aura grew more intense and increased in number. A shockwave of his energy shattered the windows of the houses in the block, the ground beneath his feet started to split open. One of the cracks crept dangerously close to the capsule corp building, while Vegeta looked on in silence.

Bulma came running out of the house, holding a giggling Trunks, and screamed at Xander, "STOP THIS INSANITY RIGHT NOW! IF YOU WRECK THE BUILDING YOU WILL PAY FOR IT, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WORKING HERE TO DO SO!!!"

Bulma's angry shriek made Xander stop just in time and he turned around to regard her smoldering face and how close he had gotten to sending the building into an abyss. He laughed self-consciously, scratching the back of his head, "Sorry, Bulma, forgot the relative instability of this Earth for a moment." He exerted his energy and with his legs pulled the chasm closed.

Bulma turned around and stalked back into the house, muttering, "God damned Super Saiyans, and I married one for the Kais' sakes."

"Fuck!" Vegeta cursed in disbelief. "You surpassed Gohan already."

Xander laughed the comment off, powering down, Vegeta following suit, "I surpassed the level Gohan had when he was facing Cell, Gohan has far surpassed that when he was with me in the time chamber, and undoubtedly he will have grown even stronger by now."

Vegeta looked to his left and commented with a sneer, "It seems us showing off has brought the local vultures." Xander turned to look to the same side and several moments later, Tien, Choazu, Gohan, Krillin, Piccolo, and Yamcha came flying into view.

"Littica!" Gohan exclaimed happily as he landed. "Great to see you!"

"Yeah!" Yamcha said, showing a thumbs up.

"Yo," Tien added, Choazu echoed his comment. Piccolo landed a little off to the right and just grunted - friendly - as he folded his arms across his chest.

"The man, Littica!" Krillin called out as he walked over. "Fantastic! You're back! So what are you doing here?"

Xander grinned at them, greeted them briefly and explained, "I'm inviting you all to my wedding, a few months short of two years from now!"

"Uh, isn't this invitation a little early?" Yamcha asked, scratching his head.

"It's only about nine months from now for me," Xander told him with a grin. "Haven't set the exact date yet, Bulma and I have to synchronize our watches first."

"Well, congratulation!" Krillin told him, walking forward and sticking out his hand. Xander took it, and promptly got to shake the hands of the others, except for Vegeta and Piccolo, the last just muttering some vague uplifting comment.

Vegeta watched the spectacle with a scowl, until Yamcha turned to him, at which point his face became worse. "Hey, Vegeta, want to extend your losing streak to four?"

Vegeta narrowed his eyes, as they all watched, and with a evil smirk he said, "Sure, shall we find a spot with less things to blow up, and less people to accidentally kill, say . . . the desolate plains to the west."

"All right, but I'm going to kick your ass again," Yamcha teased, and he blasted off, Vegeta following with a bad smirk.

The Z fighters and Xander looked at each other then shrugged, following the two.

Episode 17 Kings And Princes

Anya came into the Summers' residence living room with Dawn, who had opened the door for her. There a gathering had taken place. They were all there: Willow, Tara, Buffy, and Dawn. "Ok, so why are we here, Anya? And why is Faith not here?"

Anya grinned mischievously, "Because we have to decide what to do for Faith's birthday, obviously. It's coming up soon."

Buffy narrowed her eyes and told her, "In case you haven't noticed, I'm not particularly fond of Faith, Anya."

"Neither am I," Willow piped in, crossing her arms.

"Exactly," Anya said optimistically. "A birthday celebration is the perfect time for you guys to reacquaint one another. Get the love flowing again, so to speak, and I don't mean the sex kind of love." Anya added the last part as she saw her audiences eyes widen slightly, then Willow groaned.

"What did you have in mind?" Tara asked with a smile from the couch.

Anya sat down on a chair and thought for a moment, "A big surprise party could be fun. Of course, I've never been to a surprise party, so I don't speak from personal experience . . . well, at least not the kind you walk away from alive." The group looked at her with big eyes. "What?" she asked cluelessly.

Willow narrowed her eyes, "You can forget about that one, I'm not throwing the bitch a big party . . . as a matter of fact, I don't think I'm going . . . whatever you plan."

"Well, a surprise party sounds great to me," Dawn said with a smile.

"Hmm," Tara said pensively. "I'm not so sure. I don't think Faith would appreciate a giant party right now. I think she'd like something a bit more private and quiet." Willow watched her girlfriend with a resentful look.

"Ok, I can see that," Dawn answered thinking it over. "If we add a little chique, we could go to a nice restaurant and grab a funny movie afterwards. That could work."

"Right, great idea!" Anya called out excitedly.

"Uhuh," Tara commented, thinking they had just hit the jackpot. Dawn beamed with pride. "We'll have to contact Angel and friends, see if they want to join the celebration." Tara nodded to herself, Dawn and Anya listened to her expectantly. "I'll do that, Willow has their number, so . . ."

Buffy and Willow were fed up with hearing the other three girls planning a birthday celebration for someone who they perceived as an evil person, so they got up and left.

"Great," Anya said with a smile. "I'll bake the pie then, apple pie sounds nice. It'll be my first pie, hopefully I won't ruin it."

"I can help," Tara suggested with a smile. "I always liked baking pies, and if we screw up, we can always buy some afterwards."

"Can I help too?" Dawn asked enthusiastically, plus hoping for some respite from the boredom of being grounded, thankfully it would be almost over.


"Four Turok-han!?" Giles asked astonished at Faith, and she nodded, making an affirmation sound. "Those things are legendary, the only written sources are written after oral tradition upon oral tradition. They are the original vampires, awe inspiringly powerful, virtually indestructible, the stories suggest they could take on entire armies, and even multiple slayers without much trouble. And she took four of them out, in her first fight, without having had any training!?"

"Yep," Faith said, looking at the wide-eyed ex-watcher.

"Incredible, she must have been a natural, one of the best Slayers to have ever existed," Giles said excitedly.

"Nah, I've seen others do the same thing," Faith told him nonchalant. "Now that I think about it, I think we are really 'vampire'-slayers, as in 'Turok-han'-slayers, not these weaklings of this era. Vampires," Faith shrugged lightly. "They're nothing, nothing really compared to what B's been fighting these last years, and what those ancient Slayers fought from day to day. Take this giant snake thingy she fought later on. All grey and scaly, twenty feet . . ."

"Hold on," Giles interrupted her, hearing something familiar. Faith watched as he quickly rummaged through a few books and then picked one out. He opened it in front of her, showing a picture of what the Mayor had turned into two years earlier.

"Exactly that's it, five minutes flat, and it's dead. Didn't even break a sweat, well, she was already sweating when she got there, but, you get the idea. Ran up its back and rammed a walking stick through its eye into its brain," Faith told Giles without realizing what kind of shocking news she was delivering.

"Faith," Giles said slack jawed, "This is what the Mayor turned into, we needed to fill the whole library with explosives and blow the school and the snake up. You're telling me a Slayer killed it with nothing more than a walking stick?"

Faith nodded slightly taken aback, and said, "I guess neither I nor Buffy would have cut it back then without Xander's training."

"What happened?" Giles wondered out loud.


Across the dimensional barrier

Yamcha and Vegeta squared off, both grinning at each other, both confident they were going to win, only one of them was going to be right. Both of them were powered up to their super levels. The rest of the Z fighters watched from a slight incline. Grass grew on the desolate plane, and hardly anything else. Patches of grey, and light brown soil lay interspersed, a testimony to that fact. Rocks lay about as well, in the distance mountains rose further into the air.

With a yell Yamcha attacked. His punch missed and got a devastating blow to his face as a reward. Vegeta grinned, and said innocently, "Oops, that must have been a fluke."

Yamcha looked at Vegeta astonished, but then attacked determined again. Vegeta moved off to the side, leaned on his left hand and kicked out horizontally. Yamcha flew across the plain. Yamcha stopped himself and fired and energy blast, that Vegeta promptly fired back at him and sent him to the floor.

Vegeta zipped to close in front of him, looking at the downed Yamcha, and grinning he started powering, eventually roaring out at the effort.

The group of Z fighters looked astonished as Vegeta ascended to the second level. "Ok, that's new," Tien stated a little taken aback.

"Yeah, that was the both of you we felt then," Krillin commented wide-eyed.

Xander looked at him and asked, "I thought you were training with him."

"I was, I am, but . . ." Krillin stammered, trying to explain, blushing lightly. "Well, it's been on the back burner for the past month a bit, you see . . . well . . . me and 18, we . . . uh . . . have started dating and we're getting to know each other, if you know what I mean."

The group of Z fighters smiled at him and then returned to look back at the fight with some concern.

"You beat Vegeta, huh!?" Vegeta roared, and kicked the fear stricken Yamcha across the plane, breaking some of his rips.

Vegeta appeared behind Yamcha and as he bashed him to the ground he roared, "Doing that stupid happy dance, huh!?"

Vegeta once more appeared next Yamcha as he ground on the ground. "Vegeta is pathetic, huh!?" Vegeta kicked him high up in the air. This went on.

"Vegeta can't win, huh?" Crash.

"Won three times in a row, huh!?" Bang.

"Make it four times, huh!?" Smash.

"You are awesome, huh!?" Kick.

"You can't be beat, huh!?" Elbow.

Vegeta watched the human tumble along the floor at his last devastating elbow. He pointed his hand and Yamcha. It was straight and made a ninety-degree angle with his wrist. He waited until Yamcha had staggered back to his feet, and called out, "Say cheese. Big Bang Attack!" The energy ball flew at Yamcha, and with shocked eyes he crossed his arms in front of him. The explosion was gigantic, everything turned white for an instant, the shockwave blasted across the plane. The mushroom cloud could be seen hundreds of kilometers distance, the light pulse lid up the night side of the planet for a brief moment. The Z fighters and Littica, who weren't powered up were forced to shield themselves with their arms as the sand and shockwave blasted past them.

"Man!" Krillin called out in irritation. Once the dust settled the watched, Vegeta was still standing, powered up to level 2, grinning maliciously and chuckling with glee. Yamcha stood as well, but his Super Human transformation was gone. He was naked, his clothes shredded in the explosion. He was battered and bruised all over, which was difficult to see since his body was blackened and singed.

"Ow," Yamcha said weakly, and promptly keeled over, falling face-first in the dust. "I need a doctor," he muttered weakly.

Vegeta's smirk deepened and turned to the other Z fighters. "Who's next?" he grinned.

"I am," Gohan said, appearing next to Yamcha instantly. "Are you all right, Yamcha?" Gohan asked, checking the man out. After a short investigation, Gohan realized that Yamcha may be hurt badly, but he wasn't in danger of losing his life.

"Don't worry," Vegeta said with a smirk. "He is too pathetic to kill."

Gohan looked up at him with an angry glare. Vegeta smirked and backed off from Yamcha and Gohan, waiting for the kid to join him. Gohan appeared before him and narrowed his eyes at the Saiyan prince. Gohan transformed to Super Saiyan 2 instantly and glared at Vegeta, whose eyes looked a little surprised. "You didn't have to hurt him that bad," Gohan accused with a grim look. Vegeta just snorted.

Tien went over to Yamcha and picked him off the floor, and returned, with Yamcha slung over his shoulder, to the gathering of fighters. They watched the two new combatants squaring off. Xander looked at the two with a smile, this was going to be one hell of a fight. *The prince of all Saiyans inaugurating my wedding, 'my' prince at 'my' wedding. How strange time can work,* Xander thought to himself.

"All right, let's see how you do against someone of your own power," Gohan growled, at the prince.

*All right, here they go,* Xander though, a grin spreading across his face. *Too bad Vegeta has never be- . . .* Xander's eyes widened suddenly realizing something important. Instantly he appeared in the middle of and a few ways off to the two fighters ready to go at it, thus creating a triangle. "HOLD IT!!" Xander screamed out, startling the two Super Saiyans and making them look at him. "HOLD IT!"

"What is it now!?" Vegeta asked irritated.

"Remember the old crowning ritual!?" Xander asked excited.

"Of course, anyone could be crowned if two Saiyans declared him to be king," Vegeta answered irritated, he wanted to measure himself against Gohan, and Xander soon as well. "If more kings were declared, they had to battle each other, whoever was left standing was the king."

Xander nodded excitedly, "We haven't done it that way in centuries. But . . . one, two." Xander indicated Gohan and then him. "An actual king, my king, leading the ceremony would be fantastic, especially since it would make Anya ecstatic."

Gohan powered down, Vegeta following suit, as the boy said in disbelief, "You want me to crown him king?" The other Z fighters joined around and listened in on the conversation.

"Yep, yes, sirree," Xander told him with a nod.

"No way in hell," Gohan stated with conviction. "He's insufferable enough as a prince. A king and his head would swell up and explode."

"It comes with the occupation," Vegeta answered him, crossing his arms across his chest and looking smug. "As a prince, a leader of the common people, one must rule, and that means one must expect to be serviced, and obeyed. How can one be a good leader if no one has to obey your orders!? But of course, the son of a third class idiot wouldn't know about that."

Gohan looked surprised for just a moment, making Vegeta look more smug. Then Gohan smiled evilly, narrowed his eyes, and said, "I <am> a prince, dimwit."

Xander and Vegeta's eyes widened, the rest of the Z fighters followed suit. They looked at Gohan in shock and surprise. Gohan folded his arms across his chest and gave them his own smug smile. "Yep, my maternal grandfather is the Ox <King>, remember? Emphasize on 'king'? That makes me a prince." Gohan nodded his satisfaction.

"Oh, yeah!" Krillin blurted out. "Completely forgot about that, must be because you guys just live in that little house in the forest." The Z fighters nod in remembrance.

"Come to think of it, that makes my dad a prince through marriage, and not a 'third class idiot' but your equal, 'prince' Vegeta," Gohan grinned even more smugly.

Vegeta's face reddened with anger. "So where is this kingdom of yours then, huh, huh!?"

Gohan smiled, "Well, there isn't much left, grandpa's kingship is more ceremonial then anything else, and his palace got blown up by Master Roshi trying to put out a fire years ago, but officially it's still there."

Vegeta laughed. "You call that being a king or prince? Cutting a few ribbons here and there, do a little speech on special occasions now and then!?"

"This coming from the prince who's entire species is reduced to two, counting himself and not counting three hybrids. The prince whose planet is reduced to rubble," Gohan accused back with a harsh look into his eyes. "At least I could one day have subjects if I chose to take up office, no matter how ceremonial it is. <Your> last surviving member lives in another dimension."

"Why you little?! You're going to get it now," Vegeta said, as he stepped forward in a battle stance, Gohan looking straight back into his eyes.

"What's the matter? Can't handle the tru- . . ." Gohan started to say, at which point Xander decided to step in by smashing Gohan in the face, sending him promptly to the ground. Gohan felt his stinging cheek and asked indignant, "Hey, what was . . ."

"Shut up!" Xander roared out loud extremely angry.

Vegeta chuckled, "I guess my last sur- . . ." With a second punch, Vegeta joined Gohan on the ground.

"You too!" Xander screamed at him. "Now, you two are going to listen, and you are going to listen good. Your little quarrel has no importance here." Xander pointed from left to right, from Gohan to Vegeta and back again, his hand clenched shut. "There is only one thing important right now and that is ANYA'S HAPPINESS! Vegeta is going to lead the ceremony either as a prince or a king. So you better decide quickly because I've just lost my patience!" Xander then turned around walked off, leaving a stunned Gohan and Vegeta on the floor.

Yamcha leaned over to Krillin's ear and whispered, "Now there goes a king." Krillin grinned, then laughed softly.


Back with Buffy

As darkness claimed the world outside, Buffy looked at the small copper goblet with the nice lid on it, standing on the edge of the fireplace. She shook her head, thinking why me. She placed her head against the wall and whispered to herself, "I'm not old enough for this. Why do I have to do this. I wish I wasn't responsible for her. I wish mom was still alive." She sighed once more and then called out, "Dawn! Get down here now!"

"Oh, cool!" Dawn exclaimed, bounding down the stairs in excitement, wearing 'sensible', kick ass clothes. "Is it time already!? We go on patrol!?"

"In a minute," Buffy answered, exasperated at Dawn's excitement. "First I have to show you something." Buffy indicated the goblet and Dawn looked at it. Buffy pulled off the lid and Dawn looked inside, eyes widening. "Condoms," Buffy said, unable to keep the blush off her face. "There's a stash in the upstairs first aid kit in the bathroom as well."

Dawn recoiled, remember Anya's all to direct sexual discussion with her and Buffy as the subject, and said, "I'm not ready for . . ."

"I know!" Buffy forcefully interrupted. "And this doesn't say you should get ready quicker or anything, but sooner or later you will be ready. I'll be out on patrol, you'll be sitting here with your boyfriend, you're kissing and suddenly, wham! You will be more than ready, and I want you to be safe when you finally are. And I hope you won't be ready until you are twenty five, but . . ."

"Ok, ok, ok," Dawn said, trying to change the subject. "I get it, better safe then sorry."

"Exactly, you <better> be safe, because if you aren't now with these here, I will make you feel more sorry than you will become, got that!?" Buffy told her sister with a grim look. Dawn nodded quickly, not wanting her sister upset. "Good." Buffy said, and the two went to get their coats.

"I'll tell them we're off," Buffy told her sister and walked over to the kitchen and the recently added door, which swung open as she neared it. Faith walked out, breathing a little heavier than normal. Buffy grabbed the door and looked past into the gravity gym. "Guys! Me and Dawn are out on patrol, see you later!" Tara and Willow gave her an acknowledgment and she closed the door. "So," Buffy said to Faith coldly. "You coming along."

Faith looked at her for a moment, a slight bit of pain flickering across her eyes fleetingly, and then she said, friendly, "Sure!"


With a growl the vampire's upper body burst from his grave. He shook his head, clearing the sand from his hair. Before it had the chance to dig himself out further, a small ball of energy penetrated its chest and heart. Moments later it burst into dust.

Dawn, hand still outstretched, commented, "Man, this is so boring." She looked at the two slayers with disdain. "Almost makes you wish . . ."

"Don't you dare!" Buffy interrupted her, pointing at her with dread and anger. "Don't you dare jinx us, Dawn! I like the relative peace these days!"

The group walked past a particular interesting tomb, filled with unrecognizable art, both drawings and ornaments. "Calm down, big sis," Dawn said, exasperated. "I'm not stupid. I wasn't going to say, 'Almost makes you wish for something exiting to happen', I was going to say, 'Almost makes you wish we didn't have these new abilities.'"

A small vibration pored through the ground. "Uh, Earthquake?" Faith asked, turning back to look at the two California natives, who looked at each other with white faces.

"That was not me!" Dawn protested, even before Buffy's eyes narrowed at her sister.

"I guess not," Faith muttered almost imperceptibly.

The ground vibrated again, and the three looked over and looked at the tomb they just past. It slowly started rising upward, more and more of it coming out of the ground. "Dawn, if we survive this, I'm going to kill you," Buffy said angrily.

"That was not me, damn it!" Dawn protested again, making wild hand gestures. "It was not me! I said 'I <wasn't> wishing for excitement!' You heard me, right, Faith!? I said not. Not! Not! Not! This isn't me!"

"Apparently it was enough," Buffy said, going into a battle stance, watching the tomb slowly rise to an imposing two and a half meters. Faith was already anticipating the fight, and Dawn followed suit, biting her lower lip nervously.

Once the tomb stopped moving, it slowly started glowing, and then melting away falling around a humanoid figure. Once the figure coalesced, it turned out to have a brown skin and had sharp pointy teeth coming over its lips. It's claws were just as imposing as the rest of its muscular, two and a half meter frame.

"Energy," it said slowly, in an even tone. It's voice was more a continuous rumble than an actual voice. "Need energyyyy." Suddenly twelve red tentacles burst forth from its shoulders, chest and back. They whipped across the distance between it and the three girls instantly. Four of them wrapped around Dawn immediately and lifted her off the ground, squeezing her tightly as her eyes widened in shock. Buffy jumped aside, barely avoiding the four tentacles that reached for her. Faith jumped back, with two swipes she cut two of the tentacles down the middle. To her horror she saw the tentacles regrow and quickly split apart to become two tentacles instead of one.

"Fuck me!" she screamed, out loud. "Guys, don't cut off those tentacles, they'll just multiply!" Her rapid maneuverings were not enough to avoid the now six tentacles grabbing for her and they quickly wrapped themselves around her body, holding her tight, making it unable to move.

"That's easy for yo-. . ." Dawn started to answer, before a tentacle wrapped around her mouth and head, gagging her, leaving her to struggle in silence.

Buffy was in the air, avoiding the four tentacles trying to grab her, beating at them. When she hit one of them the tentacle and the demon winced. She moved rapidly forward, avoiding the tentacles and punched the demon in its face. Its only response was too smack her aside with one blow, its tentacles reaching for her again. Only by crunching, making herself smaller then she was, and blasting forth with her energy, was she able to keep herself out of the demon's tentacles.

Dawn struggled against the tentacles, and suddenly felt one slip into her pants. At the same time a tentacle unwrapped itself from her head and then reared up in front of her like a cobra, but pointing at her mouth. It grew slightly in size, its veins pumping with blood. As the front bloated with blood, it suddenly got a penis-like appearance. Dawn's eyes widened in dreadful shock, and screamed. Her chi flame burst forth, and she blasted herself backward. The tentacles, not expecting the sudden and powerful acceleration, were unable to keep a hold of Dawn and she managed to escape a very unpleasant demon encounter of the sexual kind. In response, the tentacles wrapped around Faith tightened, making absolutely sure, she couldn't pull off the same escape.

Angry, Dawn fired two energy blasts, one with each hand, at the thing, but it exploded harmlessly on the demon's hide. "Must have energy," the demon intoned once more, renewing its attempts to suck the girls' energies into itself.

"Oh, shit," Dawn said with shock. "This is not good."

Meanwhile, Buffy was having her own difficulties avoiding the tentacles. One had managed to grab her by her ankle, and she had been forced to cut it off, leaving her with five tentacles to contend with. Not being able to cut them off, was making this extremely difficult. Then she got an idea, one that Dawn got just a little earlier.

Dawn flew around in circles and zig zagged around. "Here, little tentacles!" she taunted, flaunting her body sexily. "Ooh, a lovely virgin body to ravage here. Don't you wanna rape this young flesh. Come on, my cunny is waiting for you!" She sped away from the onrushing tentacles exactly on time and then hung in the air before them. Trying to get to her, the tentacles shot forward. With a shock they stopped, they had tied themselves into a knot. "Got ya! Talk about stupid," she grinned and flew unhindered to the demon, smashing her fist into its shocked face. Its head snapped back, just as her eyes widened. She yelled out in pain, and pulled her fist back and blew on it. "Ow! That thing's hard like a diamond," she exclaimed in painful awareness.

"Tell me about it," Buffy commented, kicking the demon it its stomach with everything she had, leaving her own ball of knotted tentacles behind her. This time the demon had to take a step back from the impact, but then the tentacles that were wrapped around Faith started glowing and energy flowed into its body. It smiled, gave a sound as if a laugh, and gained an overall contented look as its body started glowing, transforming in an altogether much more stronger and dangerous looking demon. Buffy and Dawn's eyes widened, and even more so when they heard a ripping sound. To their dread the saw the knot of tentacles behind each other rip apart. The tentacles immediately split apart into two and regrew.

When Faith got caught, she did not use her full force, hoping to get out without doubling the amount of tentacles she was facing. After Dawn's demonstration of power, the tentacles had consolidated their hold on her, and the pain of them digging in her flesh kept her from utilizing her suppressed power. Once the tentacles had been sure their prey was not going anywhere, one of them plunged into her mouth. It sprayed a lubrication fluid into her mouth as they plunged down into her throat. Then one of them managed to wriggle past her tight leather pants and found the jackpot. It plunged into her vagina and as she tightened her vagina and legs in a vain attempt to keep the phallus out, it and the one in her mouth started glowing, sucking her energy from her. She watched in horror how the demon in front of started growing stronger. The penis tentacle inside her sex started moving back and forth, and to her horror there was a small thrill. That was the moment her anger boiled over, narrowing her eyes and yelling out a muffled scream her energy erupted around her and she ripped the tentacles holding and raping her to shreds.

The tentacles immediately started splitting and regrowing, but Faith ignored them. Her energy intensified, and as she stretched her arms in front of her, a powerful, angry energy ball started forming at her hands. "ASIDE!" she commanded, and a desperately fighting Dawn and Buffy looked at her. Seeing the vision of pure fury and anger, as if coming from hell itself, hair whipping around in the chi flame, they quickly obeyed. "Here's your energy, you piece of shit!" she screamed out and the blasted the energy ball at the demon. It impacted on the demon, pierced its skin and then exploded in a powerful blast, sending pieces of the demon flying everywhere.

The girls shielded themselves but got showered with demon blood and internal parts anyway. As Faith angrily reached in her pants to get the remains of the tentacle from her vagina, Dawn exclaimed, "EWWW! Gross! Oh, god!" She felt her hair and yelled out in dread, "MY HAIR, IT'S RUINED!"

As Faith threw the remains of the tentacle among the rest of the demon, Buffy explained to her sister, "That's why I try to make sure to keep my hair nicely hunched up underneath the hat, see." Buffy pointed at the hat, and none of her hair spilling out from under it.

Dawn looked at her sister incredulously. She folded her arms across her chest as grumbled annoyed, "Now she tells me."

Faith gurgled and then spit out the remains of the thing's lubricant. "Disgusting," she sneered. "If it wasn't dead already, I would kick its ass to the moon."

"Ugh, yeah," Dawn agreed. "A real life Hentai demon. Makes you wonder where those Japanese cartoonists got their inspiration from."

"Ye- . . .wait a minute," Buffy commented, realizing something. "Since when do you know about Hentai!?"

Dawn's eyes widened in fear, realizing her mistake. "Well, you see . . . I . . ."

"Save it," Buffy interrupted, raising her hand. "You can tell me at home, when I give you an asskicking you won't ever forgot, and after that I'm going to kill you for jinxing us!"

"I told you that wasn't me!" Dawn exclaimed, as Buffy turned around and headed for home.

Dawn followed, desperately pleading, "And you see, I was just looking for cartoons. I typed it in google, the word 'cartoons' and there was this link that said 'Hentai Paradise'. It sounded interesting and since I didn't know what 'Hentai' was, I just clicked it . . ."

Faith looked at them stalking off for a moment, before slowly following them, shaking her head and muttering, "I'm glad I don't have a sister."


Gohan had been going over it for a day now. On the one hand: crowning Vegeta king; are you nuts? On the other, Littica had helped save their entire planet destroying Cell. He had become Gohan's third sensei, and had taught him things about himself and the universe no one had been able to teach him before. Littica had even helped Gohan reach a whole new level of the Super Saiyan. Gohan was in Littica's debt, seriously in his debt. Gohan considered the guy more than just his sensei, he even considered him a friend. Gohan made his decision and got up from his bed, and bounded down the stairs.

"Mom!?" Gohan called out.

"Yes, Gohan," Chi-Chi said, coming from the kitchen.

"I'm going over to Capsule Corp for a short while, ok?" Gohan said.

"Are your studies finished?" Chi-Chi asked.


"Ok, make sure you're back on time so you can finish," Chi-Chi said with a smile.

"Will do, mom!" Gohan said, ran out the house and blasted off.


Vegeta and Krillin traded blows, kicks and energy balls with great strength and speed. Littica was doing some gentle stretches under the hundred g gravity level of the gravity room. He watched with interest as the two flew all over the room, trying to one up each other. Sooner rather than later though, Vegeta, got the upper hand, and Krillin lay on the floor with a painful face.

"Man," Krillin groaned and got up, looking up at a smirking Vegeta as the prince slowly lowered himself to the floor. "Just watch your back, Vegeta. I'll catch up, and one day when you least expect it . . ."

Vegeta snorted looking at him.

Krillin said with a grin. "Now that I've got to know you a little better, I know you aren't half as bad as you pretend to be."

Vegeta's eyes bugged out. Was that an insult?

"Vegeta, will you just shake the man's hand and his offer for friendship? It's a warrior's greeting, you know. It shows neither is carrying arms," Xander told him from the side.

Vegeta looked at Xander for a moment, than grasped Krillin's hand and he shook it.

Xander looked over to the entrance, feeling Gohan's entrance. Gohan quickly reached Xander and said, annoyed, "So how do we do this?"

Vegeta and Krillin looked in wonder as Xander whispered in Gohan's ear. Once he was done the two walked over to Vegeta and then they chanted together, "All hail, Vegeta! Crowned king of all Saiyans!"

"Ok," Vegeta muttered surprised. "That was unexpected."

"Don't get your expectations up though," Gohan answered grimly. "Don't expect me to become your lackey or something."

"I wouldn't even want you as a lackey. Now Krillin here would make a good lackey," Vegeta said with an evil smirk. Gohan and Krillin looked at him with dropped jaws.

Then Xander burst out laughing and he grinned, "I do believe you just made a joke, Vegeta."

"I wouldn't count on it," the newly crowned king commented, and turned around.

Xander's golden aura erupted around him, electricity crackling around him, hair spiked up. "All right, Gohan. Let's go a round." Gohan transformed with a nod, and moments later the two went all out on each other, causing both Krillin and Vegeta's jaws to drop.

After a few minutes of some of the most intense fighting to ever have been performed in this universe, Xander found himself face down on the floor sporting several new bruises. "I yield!" he called out, Gohan stopping just before he would have smashed his foot down upon Xander's back. "Well, done, Gohan, you've gotten better," Xander said with a wide smile.

"And you've gotten stronger," Gohan told him with a grin.

"Let's have a talk shall we," Xander said, smiling, but a small tone of seriousness in it.


Xander and Gohan sat at the little lake that was Gohan's favorite spot to think. "What did you want to talk about?"

"Do you have friends, Gohan, of your own age?" Xander asked heavily.

"Uh, not really," Gohan answered thinking it over. "I could count Lime, but I've met her only once. Why?"

Xander grinned at him and answered, "I've had friends, do you know how much they've helped making me what I am today? Without friends, I would never have become a Super Saiyan . . ."

"Oh," Gohan answered.

"Have you never wanted to play with someone your own age? Wanted to meet with someone just to exchange experiences with?" Xander asked with a smile.

"Well, I haven't had the time. I've either been fighting, studying, training or both," Gohan answered, expecting Xander to give an answer.

"Exactly. All work and no play, makes someone a very dull and unhappy person," Xander told him, smiling. "Ever considered just going to school?"

"Not really," Gohan answered a little uncertain.

Xander grinned, "I've got a feeling you would like it."


Faith dragged herself into the apartment. "Anya, I'm home," she said, making sure she kept her voice down, if the ex-demon was already asleep she didn't want to wake her.

"Ooh, great! Just in time!" Anya's enthusiastic voice came from the kitchen. Faith looked around the wall and saw the girl turning on the coffee machine. "Aren't you a little early to be home from patrol? And . . . ew, what's that!?"

Faith looked at the blood and intestines covering her and commented, "Giant demon with tentacles that wanted to suck my energy out by raping me. . . I blew it up. That's why I came home early. Buffy, Dawn, and me figured we've had our jollies for the night."

"Well, go take a shower, the coffee should be ready when you get back out," Anya said with an icky face.

"Ok," Faith answered and bounded into the bathroom.

Ten minutes later she came back out, wearing only her panties and bra. "I threw the clothes in the washing bin," she said, smiling.

"Great," Anya said with a smile. "Than we can do the laundry tomorrow, I can teach you to use the washing machine, then you can help out next time."

"Uh, ok," Faith shrugged, she wasn't exactly pleased at the concept, but she was willing to chip in, if Anya thought she should.

Anya pored the coffee gently into the cup. Faith threw in a few spoon fulls of sugar and pored in some milk then took a sip. "Did you have good time while on patrol? Apart from the covered in demon entrails bit?" Anya asked enthusiastically, her head hobbed up and down in anticipation of Faith's answer.

"Can't complain. Vampires are downright boring now, and no threat what so ever," Faith answered, and looked at the blonde girl next to him.

The blonde's hand moved over to Faith's knee and laid on it suggestively, Anya answered, "I'd like to try lesbian sex." Faith's eyes widened in shock. She didn't like turning in circles around a subject, most especially sex, and was pretty direct, but Anya was determined to make it into an art form. Not only direct, she was down right blunt. "You see, we can do this, now that Xander's away and really get to know each other. Then when he gets back we can do a threesome and since we know each other we can really, really, really give him the best sex he's ever had. Two hot chicks servicing his every need. The biggest surprise he'll ever get!"

Faith's eyes had widened more, and looked at the blonde with surprise written over every part of her face. Anya was not to be deterred. "You see," she said. "Almost a year ago Xander got split into two Xanders, one the real him, the other the worst of the worst, the deepest fallen, doofus he pretended to be. Sadly he had to be put back together, but for that short time I could see the appeal of a threesome. You're the first opportunity since, and I'd like to see if another girl and the man I love can be as satisfying as two mans I love. I could even see us growing closer together, you know, feminists would get angry at the concept I'm sure, but as in two girlfriends . . . fiances? . . . wives? . . . both? . . . separate? . . ." Anya looked dumbfounded, scratched her head for a moment in confusion, then shrugged. "You know, basically like a harem, although I don't think I would want even more girls in there with us."

Faith eyes widened with joy. She could have Xander after all! She could have this lusty chick along with him. Threesome sex, she knew could be awesome! Marriage, spend the rest of their lives together. Not to mention Xander. The potential of awe-inspiring pleasure. Undoubtedly annoy the hell out of Red and Buffy, and although she wanted to be their friend, and not hurt them again, a little annoyance and needling would be a great payback. Did I mention Xander!? This was heaven come true! This was all she could have hoped for and fantasized about and more. You can imagine her obvious answer! "No," she muttered out, horror written over her face. "No. Oh, god, no . . . it's . . . no . . . I'm sorry, but no." Faith got up, bolted to her clothes drawer, pulled out a pair of jeans, a tight sweater and a pair of socks and started putting them on.

"What's wrong?" Anya asked confused, and hurt. "Did I say something wrong? Was I too blunt?"

Faith looked over at Anya for a moment, before starting to put on the clothes, "No, I just . . . no."

Anya watched Faith putting on the clothes and asked, "Is something wrong with me? Is it me?"

"Oh, no, Anya . . . you're perfect. I just . . ." Faith pulled the sweater over her head and looked at Anya for a moment. "I . . . no . . . I can't." Faith bolted for the door like a caged animal and said, "I need some fresh air, I'll go patrol, be back later. I'm sorry, Anya, I really am." Moments later the door closed behind Faith.

Anya stood, looking at the apartment door, tears slowly welled up from her eyes. Then she looked down at her hand and she asked herself, "What's wrong with me?"


Son's home

"I am Littica," Xander introduced himself, shaking Chi-Chi's hand who returned the favor.

"Gohan, let me have a word with your mother alone, will you?" Xander said. Gohan nodded and went to his room.

Chi-Chi looked expectantly at Xander. "I'd like to give you some advice," Xander said gravely.

"You know," Chi-Chi said hostile. "I've heard a lot about you, Littica this, Littica that, helped save the world, even if he didn't do it <all> by himself. But that gives you no right to come in here, and tell me how to raise my son."

Xander smiled, and said, "You're right, but then I didn't come here to tell you what to do. I was an alien on Earth, not this Earth, but another Earth. I lived among humans, I was consumed with hatred and a burning need for revenge . . . until I went to school and met two people of my age who became my best friends. I laughed, made jokes, played, just plain and simple, I was a kid. And although Gohan is part human, which doesn't make this the exact same situation as mine, it's close enough. Gohan has never had that opportunity, to be just a kid, I think it's time he gets it."

Chi-Chi blinked several times, she hadn't expected this. Xander continued with a smile, "You want Gohan to be a great scholar, that's fine, but I think you're forgetting to let Gohan choose what he wants. You push someone hard enough, and he'll start to hate even that which he loves. Plus, if he lacks the people skills necessary to get a job, or to make himself likeable to the people he performs his research with, he can have all the degrees that he wants, but it won't do him any good."

"I hadn't thought of it that way," Chi-Chi admitted. She was quite surprised at Littica, not once had he not shown respect to her as the lady of the house.

"Chi-Chi, Gohan needs to go to a school," Xander said with a grave voice. "Just think about it."


Later, back home

Anya looked out through the window, depressed over Faith's anger, and despite her tries to make it up, things just didn't go as nicely as before.

Anya's eyes widened as she saw the tell tale signs of interdimensional travel. When the ship, the size of a house, appeared, her jaw dropped. The spherical and now very large ship, adorned by the add 'Capsule Corp' stood there gently. Bulma hadn't been able to resist, adding the company's logo. The ship's hatch opened and out came Xander.

Anya got up and ran to the door. She opened it and looked at Xander who walked to her silently. "The ship!" Anya exclaimed in wonder.

"Yep," Xander answered with a grin, looking at the big contraption. "I'll have to bury it into the desert somewhere, or rent a hangar for it, but the changes are awesome."

"Xander," Anya began excitedly, jumping up and down. "The prince, the prince. Will he come!? Will he lead our ceremony!?"

Xander walked passed her, into the apartment building and said, "No."

Anya's eyes started watering up, and followed Xander inside. "No. Why? How? We were supposed to have royalty on our wedding."

"Gohan and I crowned him king," Xander said, smiling, going into the apartment.

"King?" Anya exclaimed with happiness. "An actual, real King will perform the ceremony?"

"Yes," Xander said grinnning.

Anya attacked him, wrapped her arms around him, and their lips locked.

Episode 18
Faith's Birthday Celebration

The lights in the Gravity Gym turned on and the Scooby Gang entered.

"Ok, so what's this big step up in training?" Willow asked, a little annoyed, she still wasn't over Tara preparing a birthday celebration for Faith.

The group watched as Xander pulled out a gun. The group took a step back and looked at it with dread. "What in Devil's name are you doing with a gun, Xander?" Giles asked sternly.

"I swiped it from my father when I moved out," Xander said, giving the gun a once over. "I wasn't afraid of it, or the danger to my mother and father's lives when I still lived there, but if one of them decide to get it when I wasn't there . . . I don't like the bastards, but that doesn't mean I want to see them dead. Haven't quite figured out why I haven't trashed the thing already, but it's coming nicely in handy now."

The group looked at him with bug-eyes. "Uhm, handy for what?" Dawn asked gently, a little afraid of the gun, which she realized as she straightened herself up, was really stupid. Xander could level a whole city, why would they be afraid of him holding a little gun.

"I'm going to shoot it at Faith and Buffy," Xander started. The whole group gasped and tried to exclaim their shock and outrage, but Xander raised his voice and quieted them with the next part of his sentence, "and they will stop the bullet with their energy before it even reaches them."

"Let's go, Faith, you first," Xander said, and pointed to position away from the others. Faith nodded, and walked over to where Xander indicating trembling slightly with fear.

"Now Faith, remember, the bullet moves faster than the speed of sound, so track it visually. If you hear it, the bullet will already have past through you," Xander explained calmly. Faith nodded. "I will aim at something non-vital, just to be sure. But don't worry, you can do this, I wouldn't do this test unless I was absolutely sure you can do it."

Faith nodded, and raised her chi flame. Xander grinned and fired the gun at her shoulder. The bullet encountered her chi flame's resistence, slowed down rapidly and bounced harmlessly off of Faith's shoulder. She caught the bullet as it tumbled down and looked slightly surprised at the metal object. In her surprise, she didn't even hear the gasps of tension, and sighs of relief coming from the Scooby Gang.

"Very good, Faith," Xander said with a grin. "Now, lower your chi flame, it's time to test your reaction time." Faith nodded fearfully and did what he told.

She looked at Xander and saw him give an encouraging smile. He pointed the gun at her, then suddenly moved it and fired. Faith looked on incredulously as she saw the bullet move toward her, moving as if someone had thrown it to her, instead of fired it from a gun. Her chi flame burst around her and she moved her hand down toward her abdomen where it would be in less then a second. Surprised by her own actions, she caught the bullet and held it tightly. A moment later the 'bang' of the gun going off screamed past her. Again the Scooby Gang let out their collective concerned breaths.

"All right then," Xander said, grinning mischievously. "That was the easy part, now for the actual test. Turn around."

"What!?" Faith asked in shock.

"Turn around," Xander said once more, grinning.

"But," Faith said with shock, "then I can't see the bullet, and I can't hear it . . ." Faith let her statement hang there. Xander nodded, and signaled her to turn around. Faith did. Xander pointed the gun.

"Xander!" Giles called out stricken. Xander looked at him and smiled, gave the Scooby Gang a once over, all looked at him with the same shocked expression, even Willow and Buffy who didn't exactly have the highest regard for the dark Slayer looked shocked.

Xander wicked grin deepened into a smirk and he pulled the trigger.

Faith had been mulling over what to do: the first conclusion came easy, if she couldn't see or hear the bullet she would have to detect it in some other way. She had placed herself in the meditative trance her watcher had taught her, not that she had ever had the patience or the need for it before, but now she was scared shitless. Undoubtedly Xander wouldn't hit anything vital, but she still didn't want to experience getting shot. The gun went off, and her eyes widened. The hammer smashed on the bullet and the tiny explosion she could feel. As the chemical compound reacted, electrons jumped from one atom to the next, generating a tiny electromagnetic field. The onrushing metal bullet blasted along the metal muzzle, the initial electric charge building at the rapid movement of magnetic materials. Once it left the muzzle the electric fields of the Earth and the dimensional chamber, irrevocably reacted to the rapid movement. The charge around the bullet and the changes in the field of the Earth and the chamber were so small, only the most advanced multi-million dollar sensors would be able to detect it, and so did Faith. It was as if she saw the fields warp around the bullet. She turned around with lightning speed, and grabbed the bullet out of the air before it could imbed itself in her shoulder.

She looked at the bullet astonished for a moment, as did the Scooby Gang. She dropped the bullet to the ground fascinated. A maintenance robot crawled up onto the floor and started gathering the three bullets. "Again," Faith suddenly said determined, and turned back around. This time, she didn't go into the trance and simply let it happen. Once more she caught the bullet, and looked at it with a smile, she had done what she had set out to do. Her subconscious was doing the testing for her, she no longer needed the trance. She dropped the bullet and looked up and Xander. She gave him a smile, while he grinned deeply at her.

"Whoa," Tara muttered out loud. "They catch bullets with their b-bare hands. N-Now that I think about it . . . tha-that's pretty scary."

"Uh-uh," Willow answered bug-eyed.

"Indeed," Giles added for good measure, resetting his glasses in frustration.

"Buffy," Xander said, his grin deepened even more. "You're up."

Buffy gulped and walked over to where Faith was, who in turn walked back to join the group with a big grin on her face. Buffy raised her chi flame and waited. The bullet came, and she grabbed for it. She missed, but it bounced off her body. She caught it in the rebound and looked dumbfounded at the bullet. Suddenly realizing she could do this, she lowered her chi flame and said, "Go!" Xander grinned and fired again, with the Scooby Gang looking on in awe. Buffy grabbed for the bullet and missed, then yelled out in pain. She pulled her shirt aside from her shoulder and looked at a small bruise where the bullet at hit. The Scooby Gang had started to move, calling out her name in fear. "I'm fine," she said powerfully, stopping them in her tracks. "Again," Buffy said with a determined glare. Xander fired, and this time Buffy caught the bullet. Buffy dropped it, and turned around - waiting. Xander grinned, and fired the gun once more. Buffy turned around rapidly, missing the bullet, by only a small margin, and it harmlessly impacted on her, dropping to the floor. She turned around and ordered, "Again!" This time she did catch the bullet and looked at it with a satisfied grin, "Yes!"

She started walking over to Xander, holding the bullet up triumphantly when Dawn piped up, "Now me!" Buffy's smile faded, and so did Xander's. Dawn bolted to the spot where Faith and Buffy had stood moments before.

"Dawn, I don't think . . ." Buffy and Xander said simultaneously.

"Let's go, I can do this," she interrupted them, her chi flame bursting around her. The Scooby Gang made several protests, but Dawn waved them aside. "I'm certain I can do this."

"Dawn," Buffy tried again, sternly this time. "This is not a good idea."

"Bullshit," Dawn commented, gaining her several raised eyebrows. "If Buffy and Faith can do this, so can I. Right, Xander?"

Xander made the decision in a split second, he grinned evilly, and said, "Right, Dawn." He moved rapidly to the left a bit, removing Buffy from the line of sight, and fired the gun. A moment later Dawn screamed out and crumpled to the floor.

"DAWN!" Buffy screamed out in horror and ran over to her kid sister. The rest of the Scooby Gang except Xander followed suit with the same exclamation. While all of them bolted toward the youngest in their midst, Xander sauntered over.

"Where did the bullet go in, Dawn!?" Buffy yelled out in desperation, looking her sister over for any blood spillage, but didn't find any right away.

"My leg," Dawn cried, tears flowing from her eyes in pain. "Left leg."

As Buffy desperately ripped open Dawn's jeans, Xander calmly leant down and picked up a bullet. He said relaxedly, "It didn't go in."

The group turned to him briefly looking at the bullet he was holding up, then back at Dawn, now with a bare leg. A rapidly expanding and darker coloring bruise was visible, but no holes. "Xander!" Giles yelled at him, "How could you do that!?" The group turned to him with looks that could kill, if that was possible.

Xander grinned and dropped the bullet, explaining, "The best way to teach someone a lesson about their stupidity, is to make them feel the consequences of that stupidity. Especially teenagers." Xander walked forward, and leaned over the kneeling Buffy and looked at Dawn, who was drying her tears. "Dawn. Next time a whole group of friends among them the one who knows most about the subject, warns you not to do something, don't be stubborn, and do what they tell you." Dawn nodded quickly, embarrassed more than anything else, and Xander shook his hand in disapproval. "You're out of commission for a few weeks," he commented on the bruise that covered half her upper leg. Slowly Dawn was helped up by the group. She floated herself above ground so she didn't have to put any weight on her injured leg.

"I'm fine," she said, calming down the group.

"Xander," Giles said sternly. "That was extremely irresponsible."

"G-man," Xander told him, giving him a disarming smile. "If I doubted, even for a moment, she wouldn't have stopped the bullet from entering her flesh, I would never have fired at her." It placated Giles and the group, and Xander continued, "This does rather demonstrate the uselessness of this little toy." He crumpled the gun in his hands, and threw the ball of iron over his shoulder. Another maintenance bot arrived, and dragged the metal down underneath. "Everybody calmed down?" When they nodded, their faces once more softened, Xander turned around, grinned and said, "Good, come on Buffy and Faith, now that you've mastered that, we can do some <real> training?" Buffy's and Faith's eyes widened with disbelief. Xander noticed and grinned, "You didn't think that what you've been doing until now was impressive, did you?"


August 17

Faith opened her eyes slowly, and then sat up on her mattress. She looked around the apartment and saw Anya sitting at the breakfast table. "Good morning, Faith," she greeted cheerily.

Faith blinked a few times and then answered back, "Good morning, Anya." Groggily she forced herself to be fully awake and went into the bathroom to wash up. Once done she came back outside and after rummaging through her drawer briefly, deciding on what to wear, she got dressed.

Faith joined Anya at the table and smiled self-consciously at Anya, before getting a slice of bread and started buttering it. Anya got up and opened a lower kitchen cabinet, retrieving a package. She got back to the table and held the beautifully wrapped package up to Faith. Grinning Anya held out her hand and Faith took it. "Happy birthday, Faith. This is from me and Xander," Anya said, a big wide grin on her face. Faith could see through the facade though, Anya was anything but happy, and since Faith was too distraught herself to want to talk about anything that didn't include large fluffy bunnies - at the few times she was honest with herself she would admit she was just chicken - she chose to play along, focusing only on the happy events of the day.

As she started opening the package, with a genuine smile on her face - it was the first real birthday present she had ever gotten, and the joy in that, overrode any bad feelings she might have had. Last night she had overheard Anya and Xander fight, which had been shocking, she had never heard them fight before. From what she had gathered, Xander had known something was wrong and had asked about it. For whatever reason, Anya had refused to answer, after which had started a lengthy discussion, ending with Xander demanding to know what was wrong almost shouting out loud, and Anya screaming at him that he should drop it, because she wasn't ever going to tell. Faith had faked being asleep when Xander had stormed into the living room angrily and placed himself on the couch, telling Anya she could resolve her issues alone if she didn't want to talk about it. Obviously Xander was already off to work, and the two still hadn't made peace.

Once Faith was finished unwrapping the gift, and opened the wooden casket that was in it, she gasped out at the sheer beauty of it. "Xander made it, I came up with the idea," Anya said proudly, apparently seeing Faith happy, had cheered her up some, knowing she had suggested to Xander he made this particular gift.

Faith looked at the fantastically forged knife. It had one serrated and one smooth edge, and they gleamed in the light of the morning sun. The blade with its edges were separated, intricate patterns bound the two together. The handle and hilt were similar, it had four corners, smoothly flowing from the blade, giving the knife a very three dimensional feel. One side of the hilt and handle were harsh, edged, while the other side was smooth and graceful. All kinds of scenes were depicted in the metal, death, birth, sex, a beautiful woman raped by angelic beings, and on the other side a sensual love making scene between a man and demon women. The knob on the end of the handle depicted a humanoid face with a tail wrapped around the lower part.

"There's a letter," Anya said enthusiastically. "Xander said the message would come better across in writing. I'm sure he was planning on being present right now . . ." Anya left the sentence hanging, many possible implications unsaid: as much a simple case of needing to get to work, as that they were fighting, all rolled into one.

Faith tore her gaze from the work of art and looked into the cover of the box, a piece of paper caught in its underside. She picked it up, and started reading.


When Anya suggested to get you a knife, I was at first violently against it. "The girl just came out of jail, for murder, and she's undergoing enough training to be an even better killer and killing enough during her patrols, she doesn't need an instrument of death as a birthday gift," I said. But after a few other suggestions of both me and her that were quickly shot down, she, and thus I, returned back to the knife. And then I had epiphany. One that I realized didn't translate well to speech, but it does to a letter.

The knife in front of you is a Saiyan knife. In recent times they were made mostly for decorative purposes - if you can blow away whole continents easily, you don't have much use for knives - but back in the day they were weapons as well as tools. The knife represents the eternal struggle between light and darkness, a battle that is useless, because the two are exactly the same, just two sides of the same coin. The serrated edge can be used as a saw, as well as a slow and agonizing death, and cutting bone and cartilage with ease. The hilt is carved as you can see, with different sequences, each representing light and darkness, the two sides joining together in perfect harmony in the middle. The handle itself carries the same message. The end of it is the face and tail of a Saiyan, a sentient being; only a sentient being can recognize that light and dark are the same, and only a sentient being can decide and divide between good and evil.

This represents the philosophy that once gave rise to the greatest warrior race my universe has ever seen: my race, the Saiyan race. The philosophy holds that violence, destruction, fighting, hate: darkness is not inherently evil, that love, gentleness, creation: light is not by definition good, that light can lead to as great an evil as darkness can, and in fact worse, because the two are exactly the same. The two come together, and crossover - merge together - they can cause the same suffering, and can bring forth the same greatest goods. Both always work together in harmony. They are the same.

My epiphany made me realize this also represents you perfectly. This is you: a perfect synthesis of darkness and light. A girl who's seen darkness all her life, a darkness of pain, suffering, and death, one that dragged you down toward evil. But from that evil you dragged yourself back toward good, toward light. Ironically, from all the bad things that happened to you, from the deepest recesses of the darkness in which you have resided, a force of good came forth that is rivaled by but a few.

I hope you like it, Faith.

Happy Birthday,


Faith gulped the lump that had formed reading the last paragraph away. She blinked several times, forcing the threatening tears away, Faith didn't cry after all. "Do you guys really think I'm good?" Faith asked heavily. She saw herself neutral at best. Faith still couldn't quite get rid of the notion that she was bad.

"Absolutely," Anya answered with conviction, her troubles momentarily forgotten.

"Thank you guys, so much," Faith said, so overwhelmed by the symbolism of the knife and Xander's heartfelt explanation that she grabbed Anya and hugged her close.


The day had gone by quickly enough. Faith had been watching from Xander's DVD and video collection mostly, and had rather enjoyed some of it to her surprise. Anya though, had gotten more gloomy by the minute. When Faith had offered to try and cook, since Anya obviously wasn't in the condition to do so, or so it seemed, Anya had adamantly refused to let Faith anywhere near the kitchen. Faith had eventually given up, and had hoped Xander would return home soon.

Problem was, now that Xander had returned home, and had congratulated Faith in person, Faith had accidentally hinted at Anya's doom and gloom attitude. Xander, concerned for his fiance, had asked Anya again what was so wrong. When she refused to answer, Xander had gotten worked up, and through some raising of his voice, Anya had finally broken down, and confessed her whole failed attempt at seducing Faith and making their household a true threesome. She had finished with, tears running down her face, to ask Faith once again why she had rejected her.

"You stupid . . . bitch!" Xander called out to Anya, who looked at him stricken.

Faith bolted out the door at that moment, she had planned to do it a moment before Xander started, but now that he did, she wanted out now, and be nowhere near the next scene. She went all the way out the apartment building and sat herself down. *This is all my fault,* she thought depressively.

"I can't believe it," Xander told Anya angrily. The ex-demon burst out in tears. "How could you . . . ? How could you be so irresponsibly selfish!"

Xander paced around the room trying to get rid of his anger. "I can't believe you did that, Anya. She's just out of jail for murder. She feels guilty about that, she even hates herself, she's had her whole life nothing but bad people around, and now for the first time in her life she has something positive to look forward to and you want to drag her into a threesome!? She isn't ready for any relationship, Anya! She is and should be finding herself, rebuilding herself, and you want her to be part of a threesome!? With all the extra baggage, potential jealousy, feeling left out if two of the three want to spend some time alone together, and you want her to become part of that!?"

Anya started sobbing, as much because of Xander's anger, which was greater than she had ever seen before, as of realizing what a big mistake she made. When he saw Anya crying, and his initial anger was vented he calmed down some. "Stop crying, Anya," Xander said sternly but gently. He slung an arm around her. He felt her calm down when he said, "We've ruined Faith's birthday enough, I'll be damned if I let us make it even worse. We'll deal with this in the morning." Anya nodded, drying her tears quickly, she didn't want to ruin her friend's birthday either, Anya wouldn't be Anya if she didn't became exited about the prospect, forgetting her troubles quickly.

"I have to retouch my make-up," she told Xander embarrassedly. Xander nodded, and he walked out the apartment to talk to Faith.

Xander sat himself down next to Faith, and slung his arm around her. "I'm sorry," Xander told Faith. "She should never have . . . you should be finding yourself, not Anya's genitals."

Faith smiled sadly, and looked up at Xander. "Are you two . . . ? Are you . . . ?"

Xander smiled at her, saying, "Nah, it would have to get a lot worse to break us two up. A little fight won't do that. Come on, get up. We've got a restaurant to go to." Xander smiled mischievously at Faith, adding, "Seeing as Anya didn't make any food."

Faith had the distinct impression that wasn't the only reason they were going to a restaurant.


"Are you two coming or not?" Tara asked, annoyed.

"No," Buffy and Willow answered, a little anger creeping in.

"Fine," Tara said. She placed the boxes with the pies she, Anya, and Dawn had baked aside for a moment, so she could put on her coat. Dawn came down the stairs quickly, holding the presents. She put them aside and Tara handed her, her jacket.

"You're not going anywhere," Buffy said, shaking her head and crossing her arms across her chest. "For one thing your grounding doesn't end till this weekend, second you're not going to Faith, birthday or not, grounded or not."

Dawn narrowed her eyes at Buffy, and while she put on her jacked, said, "I'm going."

"Dawn," Buffy said sternly.

"What is with you Buffy? Did the monks cut out your heart or something when they created your from me? I'll cut half of mine out and give it back to you without hesitation," Dawn answered, crossing her hands across her chest smugly in an almost exact copy of Buffy. "Haven't you listened to her testimony or something? What's she's gone through was hell. Hell, hell is peanuts compared to that. And to top it off, you guys came along. You could have bought baseball bats and beat her up with them, and it would have taken longer for anyone, Faith and the devil included before they went evil!"

"You weren't any better," Willow accused.

Dawn jaw dropped. "Hello! Magically created key here. I wasn't even born back then!"

Willow looked embarrassed, she had completely forgotten that. Those damn altered memories were a nuisance at times like these.

Buffy sighed annoyed. "I don't care how bad her childhood was, doesn't suddenly give you a pardon to go kill anyone you want, besides - I'll say it again - I already gave her a second chance, and she spit it my face by attacking our mother!"

"Yes," Tara said with resentment. "And the jury and the judge who decided she could be set free . . ."

" . . . were wrong," Buffy interrupted angrily.

Tara shook her head, "I can't belief how you two are so hatemongering. Especially you Willow. Buffy, you can't keep Dawn away from every friend, and from everyone of their birthday celebration, just . . ."

"Hey!" Willow called out in irritation. "Buffy is Dawn's legal guardian, short of abusing or neglecting her, she can do anything with her she wants."

"If you had let me finish," Tara told her with a piercing glare. "I would have added, 'now that she's practically fifteen and fast becoming a grown woman.'"

The expected bell rang, and Tara opened the door. Revealing Giles. "Ready?" he asked, with his English accent.

"Not quite yet," Tara said, a little angrily.

"You're going too, Giles?" Buffy asked incredulously.

"Yes, why?" Giles asked calmly. Buffy and Willow just looked at him with faces that said, 'duh'. "Well, we've screwed up with Faith, she's pulled herself out anyway, I believe she deserves a second chance, and a birthday bash."

"Buffy doesn't want to let me go," Dawn said with resentment.

"Whot?" Giles asked with amazement. "Why not?"

"It's Faith, psychopathic killer. Plus grounded for stealing," Buffy answered with an 'obviously' look.

"The punishment, if I calculated correctly, is over in a few days anyway, and this is the first birthday celebration for a girl that helped save Dawn's life. I feel she's obligated to appear at her birthday. In fact," Giles said, looking at Buffy with some disappointment. "I feel you two are obligated to appear as well."

"Fine. Go," Buffy said, pissed off, shooing them out. "Go to the bitch's birthday for all I care. But don't come running to me when she starts killing you."

"You got it," Tara said, kneeling down to pick up the pies. "Come on, Dawn. Giles, we'll have to drop these off at Anya's first, and then to the restaurant." Dawn nodded and picked up the presents again. Giles turned back around toward the car.


When Xander, Anya and Faith walked into the restaurant, the Fang Gang, minus Lorne, were already present and waiting. Faith looked at them and then back at Xander and Anya.

"Surprise," Xander said with a grin. "Thank Anya. She concocted all of this."

"Together with Dawn and Tara, who should arrive shortly with Giles, and hopefully Buffy and Willow," Anya beamed with pride. "I suggested a full blown party, but Tara rightly pointed out, that that didn't seem entirely appropriate or desirable."

Pushing Faith gently in the direction of the table, Xander said, "Go on." His stomach was starting to protest to not being filled.

Faith walked over to the table, overwhelmed. Xander and Anya were on her heels. Once she reached the table she said, "I can't believe you drove all this way for me."

"Hey," Gunn told her with a wry grin. "Free dinner in a fancy restaurant, we wouldn't miss this for the world."

"Definitely," Cordelia added with a face full of disdain. "We need to advertize we're back. Three weeks stuck in another dimension, nobody answering the phone, everybody thinks we're dead. We haven't had a decent client at all."

Faith sat down in a chair and then looked around, seeing Xander and Anya sit down, and then watched as everybody got out the menu card and started deciding on what to eat. Faith did the same. Soon, after quickly deciding what she wanted, she was getting impatient. "Uhm? What are we waiting for?"

"Us." Tara's voice sounded from behind her. Faith turned around and saw Giles, Tara, and Dawn joining them at the table. Tara made a quick signal to one of the waiters, and moments later the whole staff came out. The pianist providing the music started an upbeat song.

The head waiter called attention to everyone, including the other people in the restaurant, and they all turned to look at him. Then he announced, "Everybody, there is a birthday girl among us tonight. Let's give her a warm welcome." The pianist changed to 'Happy Birthday' and almost everyone present sang along. Once the song was finished - Faith had tried her best, but was unable to keep the wide smile off her face - the head waiter walked to Faith, and as he shook her hand he said, "From all the staff, happy birthday."

"Thank you," Faith answered, and then the staff returned to their posts. The head waiter stayed, asking if they had made up their minds. As everybody started ordering what they wanted, Giles, Tara and Dawn quickly grabbed a menu and decided for themselves. The head waiter walked off to the kitchen with their orders once they had all made their selection.

Dawn got up first, excited to give Faith her present. "Happy birthday, Faith," Dawn said, shaking the slayer's hand vigorously and handed her the present. Faith ripped the wrapping away quickly, and looked at the book, yes, book in confusion.

"'The vampire Lestat'?" Faith read, confused. The rest looked at Dawn for an explanation.

"Yep," Dawn said with a grin. "If you ever come up against him, you'll know all his weaknesses and you can kick his ass."

"Uhm, Dawn, Lestat isn't real," Angel pointed out carefully.

"Yeah, that's what you guys said about Dracula, until Buffy dusted him," Dawn pointed out smugly.

"Dracula is real?" Faith asked surprised.

"Was real," Dawn said with a grin. She fumbled in the pocket of her pants and then pulled out a receipt. Giving it to Faith, she said, "Here, if you've already got it, you can exchange it."

"Thanks, Dawn," Faith told her smiling broadly. Dawn smiled and walked back to her seat. The group smiled and started talking amongst each other.

"A-All right, my turn," Tara smiled. She stood up and brought her present to Faith with a giddy smile. She and Faith shook hands, wishing Faith a happy birthday. "I really hope you like it, Faith."

Faith took the small package and unwrapped it, revealing a small box. Faith opened it and revealed a necklace with a shiny crystal on it. She pulled it out, and let everyone see. The group looked at it with smiles, it was beautiful. "It's a balance crystal," Tara explained, smiling. "It should help you find your balance, whenever you feel like something is ripping you down, grab a hold of it, and think about your past, your future and the people you care about and care about you."

"It's . . . it's . . . so . . . Thank you," Faith answered, with a weak smile. Faith didn't understand why all this was effecting her so much. Wasn't she tough Faith? "I don't deserve all this," she said softly.

"Yes, you do," Tara answered, and smiling she walked back to her seat. Faith put the necklace on with a mushy smile.

"Our turn," Cordelia announced, and the Angel Investigations team got up. Gunn came up first, congratulating her. Fred followed a little timidly. Wesley came next. Cordelia and Angel congratulated her together and presented her the two gifts.

"It took us a little while to figure out, what you'd like to have for you birthday. We weren't quite sure what you give a Slayer who just got out off jail, so we finally settled on this," Angel said with a smile.

Faith looked at the two packages curiously and started opening the first. Once the wrapping was ripped away, several CDs were revealed. All four with hard, rough music, ranging from Rock to metal, to house and back again. Faith smiled, rubbing her hand across the cds. "We figured you'd like that style of music," Gunn said, grinning. After that, he looked away toward the kitchen, the people around the table grinning at his obvious desire to have his stomach filled.

Faith opened the next package and looked at a headphone set. "That one's my addition," Angel answered with a smile. "I'm a classical music man myself, and just in case I'm not the only one, I figured I'd do Anya's and Xander's ears a favor." The Sunnydale side of the group laughed out loud at that. Faith just smiled and looked around the table, almost feeling giddy.

Giles got up, congratulated Faith and gave her an envelope. "I had no idea what to get you, and unlike the rest here, I'm not that creative, so I thought I let you choose what you want yourself."

Faith opened the envelope and it revealed a gift certificate. "Thanks every single one of you," Faith said, grinning wildly. "This is the first time anyone has ever celebrated my birthday, let alone bought me presents or go this much out of their ways to give me a good time. You guys, have done so much for me in the past two months, I've got no idea how I could possibly thank you . . ."

A clap interrupted her. It was Gunn. The waiter arrived with their orders. "Food!" he stated in anticipation.

Faith saw the group look at him, before turning to look at the heavily packed waiter. The all looked at him with joyful anticipation, and most of all Xander, his eyes positively glittered. Faith's own stomach growled, and she said, "Oh, I know, I'll just shut up and let you all eat. Great idea, Faith."


"Well, I'll be damned," Wesley said with a smile. He pointed at the neon commercial of Sunnydale's cinema. 'Premieres today: Rat Race'. "A comedy that premiers on your birthday, Faith. As if someone or something is pointing to it with a big fat finger. I don't think we'll have to quibble over which film to go to."

"Rat Race it is," Dawn called out after a moment's silence.

"I think the pointing is more for you Dawn, than for Faith," Xander commented mockingly thoughtful. Dawn looked at him uncomprehending. "<Rat> Race," Xander added.

"All right, already, stealing is bad, I <know>!" Dawn exclaimed with a little annoyance.

Xander slung his right arm around the youngest of the bunch, and grinned, "Just teasing." Dawn smiled, she hadn't had a hug like that in almost a month, it seemed she was finally back in good graces.


Once they were inside, Faith announced, "I've got to go pee. I'll join you in a few." The group nodded. Faith walked through the red carpeted movie theater. The walls hung with posters of upcoming, and classical legendary movies.

After a short search, she walked through a narrow corridor finding the toilets at its end. Happy she performed her needs, and then walked back outside.

"Happy Birthday."

Faith jumped, and turned around in mid air. "JESUS H FUCKING CHRIST!" she screamed, looking directly at Raiden who stood there easily leaning against a wall. A man stared at her, where he came out of the male restroom. "What?!" Faith yelled at him. He made a warding off gesture and hurried along. Faith looked at the grinning thunder god, and started, "What did I say . . .? Wait, you're doing this on purpose aren't you!?"

"I must admit," Raiden chuckled. "Seeing you jump around and curse like an idiot has a strange appeal to me."

"Now wait a . . ." Faith replayed the events after Raiden wished her a happy birthday and then shut up about it. "Is this the only reason you're here?"

"Pretty much," Raiden said with a grin. "How do you enjoy being a role model?"


Raiden just smiled. Than give her a playful salute and said, "Again, happy birthday. See ya." He turned to electricity and disappeared into the ground, and Faith stared at the spot where had just stood for a few moments and then stalked off grumbling things about irritating gods and their cryptic messages.

Faith reached the screen room not long after. A short while looking was required before she spotted the gang, and she shimmied along the row of chairs. Finally she reached a seat next to Dawn. She set down, and looked at the younger girl. Dawn smiled broadly, saying, "Here, candy bar, chips and a coke. For you, they entrusted me with it." Faith smiled back, at the heavily loaded Dawn, and picked the three pieces of snackage from her hands and turned to look at the movie.

"Are you sure that's all?" Faith asked with a smile.

"Oh, don't you start too," Dawn told her, narrowing her eyes.

Rowan Atkinson was as always hilarious. And that guy, Faith thought he looked hot. Seth Green she would read off of the ending credits later on. Perhaps she should Google him up, and find some pictures to frig off too. Faith relaxed more throughout the movie. This was good!


"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!" All of them sang the song, as Tara, Dawn, and Anya came from the kitchen, each carrying a pie. Xander followed with the dishes, the forks and the knife. Faith looked with glittering eyes at the three cakes. One bilberry monchou, one apple, and one strawberry quark pie. The apple pie, carried by Anya, had the candles on it. The three placed the pies on the table, the apple pie with the candles directly in front of Faith. Xander placed the dishes, the forks and the knife next to the apple pie.

Faith looked at the pies with glittering eyes. Pie! On her birthday! "Make a wish," Anya said with a grin.

Faith grinned, that wish was easy, 'never screw up again and loose these people's friendship forever'. She blew, the candles went out quickly, and then a few of them flew off the pie and sailed with a few pieces of apple across the small table straight into Gunn's lap and face across from her. "Oops, never blown out candles before, blew a little too hard," Faith apologized looking at Gunn with a mortified face. Xander laughed first, and moments later all of them joined in.

Once the laughter was over a few seconds later, Anya presented the knife to Faith and said, "It's tradition the birthday boy or girl cuts the pie . . . or so I've been told."

Faith grinned widely and took the knife and picked a dish. The three girls and Xander sat down, as Faith turned to her left and asked Giles, "Well, G-man, which one do you want?"

"Well," Giles said, taking his glasses off and taking a better look at the pies. "The berry one seems quite tasty."

"Berries it is," Faith said, and gently cut a piece of the monchou pie out. She placed it on the dish, put a fork next to it, and with an enormous, happy smile she presented the piece to Giles.


An hour later Faith looked around Xander and Anya's apartment, smiling. Gunn, Xander and Angel were in a heavy discussion on which was the best weapon in a fight. Giles and Wesley were reminiscing about England, and Tara and Anya were in whatever discussion, while she and Dawn, the two youngest of the bunch, were joking about the 'grownups'. Things were good, Faith really didn't think things could get better. She took a sip from her cola and turned back to Dawn to see what else the two could talk about.

"I have an announcement to make," Giles said out loud as he got up, and interrupting everyone's conversation. "I have decided to leave, and go back to England. I will tell Buffy and Willow tomorrow."

"Why?" Tara asked a little perplexed.

"I'm useless here," Giles stated calmly. A few of them started to protest, but Giles silenced them quickly. "With Xander's surprise abilities and training everybody with them, it has become more than obvious. You have surpassed whatever I could teach you. You didn't need my help at all defeating one of the most dangerous gods to have ever walked the Earth, Loki, and Willow and Tara figured out the prophecy about the Charmed Ones faster than I did. I will only be in your way, except if I go back to England. I still have some friendly contacts within the Council and I have managed to work my way back in. The Watcher headquarters has the biggest library on the super natural in the world, if I find something that will help you with your goals, than I will send it over. Anya, I've prepared the papers so you will get the Magic Box, only need to be signed."

Everybody stayed silent for a few moments. Xander, who with his Super Saiyan abilities, saw the truth of Giles words the easiest, so he got up and shook his hand. "Giles, good luck," Xander told him.

After that everybody except Gunn and Fred, made a big show of saying good bye. Once they were sitting back down, silence reigned for a short time, and then Faith got up. She had seen this coming weeks ago, and had put off the inevitable as long as possible. But recent events, most notably Buffy and Willow's painful absence, and Anya's offer, had forced her to finally cut the knot. "While we're speaking of leaving," Faith began, her throat constricting, she really didn't want to leave Sunnydale, but it was the best decision. "I've decided that I can't stay here. Buffy and Willow pretty much hate me, and seeing me constantly hasn't helped much. I can't really stand their constant snipes anymore. So in the interest of peace and my sanity, I've decided to leave."

The whole group looked at her stunned. To them it felt as if it came out of nowhere. This time Giles was the first to recover. "Are you sure about that, Faith?" Faith nodded. "Well, as per what the judge ordered, that means you will have to live with Angel."

"Plenty of empty rooms in the hotel left. We'll have to clean one out, but that shouldn't be a problem," Angel answered calmly, and gave Faith a smile.

Anya jumped up, eyes watering. "Why are you so repulsed by me!?"

"Anya," Xander bit at her, angrily, as the rest of the group looked at her, completely shocked.

"No!" Anya shot back at him, angry, ready to cry. "Now I want to know. I offer sex with me, a threesome, and very likely a relationship between the three of us, and not only does she reject me, now she runs away to another city." Everybody but Xander's, Anya's, and Faith's eyes widened in disbelief and even greater shock. Faith though, looked like a deer in the head lights. Xander's face showed more anger. Anya turned back to Faith. "What is about me, you are so repulsed by?"

Faith got up with pain in her eyes. "This has got nothing to do with you, Anya," Faith half-lied. "I'm leaving for myself and everybody else here." She quickly walked out the living room, the hurt obvious, and walked into the room with Xander's regeneration tank for some privacy.

Faith sat down on a stool and looked at the tank with sad eyes. She wished that could have gone smoother, she shouldn't have been so afraid, she should have made the decision weeks ago.

Some time later Tara walked in gently and closed the door behind. "I don't want to talk," Faith told her coldly.

Tara nodded and hopped on the empty supply table standing against the opposite side of the room from where Faith sat. Tara waited patiently, and a few minutes later Faith looked at her. "So why are you really leaving?" Tara asked gently, her eyes filled with compassion.

For some reason Faith couldn't keep herself from spilling, "I'm in love with Xander." Tara raised her eyebrows, her expression asking, 'So?' Faith got up and walked over to Tara, then explained, "Almost every night I hear them making love, I watch the way they interact during the day. Their playful bickering, their making up, the ease with which live side by side. They belong together, they love each other." Faith pauzed, and looked up at Tara, who maddingly just sat there and waited. "And every damn time I'm reminded that I could have had him. I took his virginity, I fucked his brains out, quite frankly. Hell, I made love to him, it was one of the most satisfying sex I've ever had. But instead of clinging onto him, making him mine, inviting him over more, increasing the time I spent with him, getting to know him better, I got scared I threw him out of my room in his underwear."

Tara couldn't stifle a laugh. "I'm sorry," she said.

"No," Faith said smiling ruefully. Tara's smile quickly returned. "It is pretty funny, in a tragic ironic sort of way. Especially if you add that even back then, he could probably have picked me off the floor with one hand and tell me, 'What do you think you're doing? I may have been bad in bed by your standards, but at least you can let me put on some clothes before you throw me out.'"

Tara sniffled, with difficulty she managed to get out, "I was more thinking about Xander standing outside in his underwear, but . . ."

The two girls quickly went into a giggle fit, until Faith quickly sobered. "I can't stand it anymore, Tara. I want him, but all I can do is watch from close by how the love between the two grows. It's tearing up inside. I mean, have you <seen> Xander? . . . Ok, wrong person to ask probably."

Tara answered with a smile. "Strength to take on a thousand demons, saves people's lives, a white knight complex that no matter how feminist they say the are women still fall for, which is part of a fantastic, caring and giving personality, with enough selfishness, and strength of character not to make him a wimp . . . <Oh>, I've <seen> Xander, half naked too. All ripply muscles, quite handsome, especially now that he's no longer hiding it . . . if I wasn't a lesbian, phew." Faith looked at her with amazed eyes. "Hey, j-just because I'm l-lesbian, doesn't mean I'm b-blind." Tara got a little self-conscious at Faith's scrutiny, and returned to stuttering a few times.

Faith grinned, and said, "You certain about that? Being a lesbian I mean. You couldn't be a bisexual, because the way you gushed about him . . ."

"Oh, trust me, I'm a lesbian, I know the difference," Tara answered grinning.

Grinning back, and frowning lightly, Faith asked, "So what <is> the difference?"

Tara thought it over for a minute, figuring out how to explain it and then grinned. "Me, Anya, Willow and Xander once walked into Giles playing a guitar and singing . . . yes, he plays the guitar and sings, very good too. Now that's what I thought, hey, good singing voice, guitar play is good too. Willow and Anya on the other hand . . ." Tara pauzed for a moment, thinking about how to put this. She smiled again and continued. "You know the Simpsons, right?"

Faith nodded, confused, "Of course."

"Have you ever seen Homer's reaction to donuts?" Tara looked pointedly at Faith. Her eyes widened in revelation a moment later, and then turned into a giant grin. "Now you know the difference between a bisexual and a lesbian." The two laughed together after that, shaking around at their laughter.

"Giles is that sexy?" Faith asked incredulously, she just had never seen it, but she had never seen him sing either.

"I don't know," Tara answered still grinning. "I can see an even, handsome face, I can see the appeal to ripply muscles holding you safely, I can understand the appeal of a guy with a great personality, but whether he's drool worthy, uh, uh, that's where my knowledge falls short."

The two enjoyed a comfortable silence, until Tara asked. "Speaking of falling short knowledge . . . Hearing your crush on Xander, I would think that a th-threesome, and then a triangle relationship . . . I mean Anya is pretty hot, and she's willing to try anything . . . l-let's just s-say that th-there a-are a f-few things I wouldn't m-mind her t-trying with m-me." Tara blushed, as much for her stuttering as her admission, whenever things got around to sex talk with friends she got nervous, especially the personal stuff.

Faith got up, paced around like a scared animal, then calmed down and turned toward her friend. "It is, if it works, it's heaven on Earth, but . . . I've seen a few break down, and when they break down, they really break down. There is no 'let's stay friends' afterward. These relationships come down crashing, and they bring everybody around them along for the ride. The friends, the family, it's not a pretty sight. Unlike a one on one relationship, there isn't only one way it can end. One on one, you just break up. With triangles, two might stay together, in three possible combinations, or the whole triangle breaks up. If two stay together the third always feels far more devastated than if it was a couple breaking up, especially if the one who is dumped was part of a couple before the triangle started. The thought that I will loose Xander's friendship, or if I would break those two up somehow, whether I will be with Xander afterward, or whether we all go our separate ways is unbearable, now, and if it should ever happen. One chance of perfect happiness, and several difference ways leading straight to hell, I'm not willing to take that risk."

Tara thought over what Faith had said, and then pointed out, "You really should tell Anya all this as well, because she thinks she's defect or something. She's freaking everybody out with questions of things that they may not like about her, last I managed to catch as I walked over here, she asked about the smell of her vagina, I believe."

"Could you send her here, alone?" Faith pleaded.

"Sure," Tara answered, and then took Faith into a hug. "I'm going to miss you."

"I'll miss you too, Tara," Faith said back. Then they parted, and Tara went back to the living room.

A minute later, Anya timidly entered the small room. "Hi, you wanted to talk to me?" Anya asked weakly, and rather embarrassed, now that she realized she had driven Faith to seek solace.

Faith nodded and rapidly explained the whole triangle deal and not being able to live with what would happen if it went wrong.

Anya sat herself down on a stool and looked down to the ground, thinking things over. Then she looked up at Faith and said, "I'm sorry."


"Sorry, for being so selfish. Xander is right, I was selfish, only thinking about my own gratification, I not once truly thought about what this would do to you . . . I don't think I've ever felt this bad before in my life, at least not after I stopped being a demon," Anya said weakly. "I should have thought this through better, considered possible consequences, but like I've always done, I just crashed forward head on without thinking." Anya sighed, and Faith looked amazed at the fake blonde woman. She didn't think she would ever see Anya in this state. "Damn, Xander. When it comes to these things, he has the annoying habit of always being right."

"Speaking of Xander, you two aren't . . . I mean I heard you two yell again," Faith said with a little fear. She really didn't want to find out she left too late and the two of them would break up.

Anya blinked several times before understanding what Faith was going on about, "Nah, once in a while we can get so angry we scream at each other, but an apology and a good night of hot sex later, and we're alright." Faith blinked, and then smiled at the other girl. Anya couldn't take it anymore and hugged Faith much more intensely then Tara, pushing the darker-haired girl's head against her chest. "I'm going to miss you so much, I loved having you around."

"Uh, ok. I'll miss you too," Faith answered hugging back before piping up. "Uh, need to breathe here, Anya."

"Oh, sorry." The two parted and then both got up. "Come on," Anya said, and gestured for Faith to come along. Once back inside the living room, Anya shyly walked over to Xander, who sat in his chair still angry with his fiance's antics. "I'm sorry, you were right, I was selfish," Anya said, guilt written over her face. Xander looked up at her, he would have preferred to do this later on, alone, but didn't mind now that that wouldn't happen.

"I'm sorry, Anya. I've acted appalling as well," Xander apologized back from the chair, looking up at Anya with a loving smile. The others looked at them a little surprised. "I lost my temper and I've said a few things . . ." Anya dropped herself down in his lap and silenced him with a French kiss.

They broke the French kiss. "You can yell at me whenever I deserved it, pooky," Anya said. Except for Faith who just smiled happily, everyone's eyes widened further in shock. "Just don't ever hit me."

"Never," Xander stated with conviction, then suddenly gave her a wounded puppy dog eyed-look that melted Anya every time and whispered, "Never? You sure?"

Anya, never too subtle, laughed out loud and called out, "Except, of course, when we're enjoying spanking!" And then Xander pulled her back into a deep passionate kiss .Faith watched the stunned expressions of the rest with a widening grin.

"EEeeeww!" Dawn called out after enough time had gone buy to recover from the shock. "You let yourself get spanked!? Correction, you <like> getting spanked!?"

Anya broke the kiss and said, "So will you if you let yourself." If the Scooby and Fang Gang thought they could get stunned more they were wrong, jaws bounced on the floor a few times.

Dawn blurted out, "She . . . I don't . . . no . . ." She tried to sound a proper protest, but eventually settled on a slack-jawed defying look.

"Did I go to far?" Anya asked with a pout.

Xander grinned at her. "Only a little," he said, indicating with his fingers. "Faith, we didn't ruin your birthday with our fight did we?" Xander asked with concern.

Faith laughed. "Xander, I got a birthday party, I got presents, I got a movie, diner at a restaurant, pie, got to make a wish I'm convinced will come true, all for the first time in my life. Even if the world exploded right now, this birthday can't be ruined. It's the happiest day in my life." Xander smiled relieved at her.

Cordy grabbed her head and screamed in agony. Xander was with her instantly, putting Anya down next to him, as well as the Fang Gang. "Cordy," they said simultaneously with concern.

Cordelia stopped screaming moments later and said apologetically, "We gotta go. A group of demons are going to murder everyone in a night club in downtown LA before dawn."

Gunn, Wesley, and Angel stood instantly all business, Fred followed suit somewhat timidly. "I'm sorry, Faith," Angel said with a cool face. "Duty calls. Should we pick you up? Tomorrow?"

"I'll fly over," Faith answered a little disappointed this wouldn't stretch on.

"Fly?" Gunn asked a little cluelessly. "Does Sunnydale even have an airport? . . . Oh, wait, <you> will fly over, got it."


The next day
Summers residence

Faith had been packing all morning, and had decided after lunch she wanted to get a final training session in. She had been done with it for the last half hour, and was now sitting in the living room, talking, saying goodbye to them all. She had already had a sad final conversation with Dawn and Tara. She and Anya had pretty much said goodbye before they came over here, but she had come along anyway.

Finally she and Xander walked outside into the garden, Faith wanting a little bit more privacy for the two of them. "I will miss you the most, Xan," Faith said with a weak smile. Why couldn't her stomach stop fluttering around for only once, when he was close by.

"Are you absolutely certain about leaving? I much rather you stay. Call me crazy, but I like keeping an eye on my girls," Xander said, smiling lightly.

Faith grinned up at him, slightly embarrassed to be considered a girl that needed watching over, but at least he didn't think she wasn't the only one that needed watching over. "I'm certain, Xander. Sunnydale just isn't for me. I don't think I have explicitly thanked you for all you've done for me . . . saved my life from a crazy hell god, got me out of jail, taught me all this power and some dignity to boot."

"Just keep improving yourself, enjoying your life, ok? Don't want a call that comes down to an invitation to your funeral. And don't let Dead Boy make you crazy, got that?" Xander looked at her with a smile, and the slightly smaller Faith looked up at him with a grin, nodding.

"Got it," she said. Overcoming her nervousness she stepped forward and hugged him, holding him tightly. He hugged her back. For a moment Faith indulged herself, resting her head against his chest, and she felt an accomplishment. The first man she dared to hug, just for the hug's sake, a man she could fall in love with, and had had sex with, not like Angel two years earlier, when she was all distraught, and him being vampire, cursed with a nasty clause in it, couldn't, and wouldn't touch her anyway. She let go of him, said, grinning broadly, "My knight in shining armor, very shiny armor."

"Before you go, I have one last thing to teach you," Xander said with a grin. Then he called into the house, "BUFFY! DAWN! GET OUT HERE!" Faith grinned and the two waited. Not long after the two girls in question and the rest came outside.

"All right, since Faith is leaving, I'm gonna give you this lesson a little earlier than planned, but Faith needs to know the stuff so she can train herself from this point onward," Xander announced with a grin. "First, the Destructo Disc."

Xander made a disc appear on his right hand, then one his left hand with a ball of energy in the middle. "And the Exploding Destructo Disc. Are you paying attention? See how I flatten out what normally would be a ball, and make the edge serrated."

Faith produced a disc on her right hand, and looked at it, "Man, this is pretty difficult, keeping the thing flat."

"Oh, yes," Xander confirmed, Dawn and Buffy created a disc for themselves, but they were much less smooth, they had hiccups. Dawn had her tongue out in concentration. "Creating the disc itself isn't that difficult, keeping it a disc all through the attack, now that's difficult."

"So what's so special about the disc?" Dawn asked intrigued, as she let the energy disappear.

Xander chuckled, looked around himself, the exploding disc receding. Then his eyes sparkled looking at a tree off in the distance. He tested for life force signatures for a moment, he didn't want to hurt anyone. "Say, Buffy, didn't you and your mother complain the branches on that tree hampered a good view? But the people that own it refuse keep it neat and cut short?"

"Uh, yeah?"

Xander threw the disc and it zipped across the distance. It cut smoothly through the lowest branch, and it fell down. The disc slowed down, went a little higher, and came back, cutting through the next branch. It repeated the move and so cut the branches off of one part of the tree, before enough of the energy had been absorbed by the atmosphere the disc disintegrated. "Oops, did I do that?" Xander grinned. "The exploding disc has the added bonus the ball in the middle explodes, allowing you to blow an enemy up from the inside out. A very, very devastating attack. Krillin is a smart guy, he developed them both." The whole Scooby Gang looked astonished at the pruned tree, then grinned.

"Now, multi-spectral energy waves," Xander said, eyes glittering. He placed his hands at his side and formed an energy ball between. "Girls, place your hands alongside it, and feel its power, feel how it works." Buffy, Faith, and Dawn did what he said. "Notice how several different frequencies wrap around each other, build each other up. I'll perform three similar, but different beams, choose which one you think fits you best. First my own."

"Tanekakosa!" Xander blasted the energy wave up into the air. "Got that?" The girls nodded. "Ok, next, is Kakarott's wave, taught to him by his sensei, Krillin knows it too, so does Kakarott's son Gohan, who defeated Cell."

"Kamehameha!" That wave followed the first up into the air and out into space.

After checking the girls had properly payed attention to that one as well, Xander said, "Finally we have King Vegeta's wave. He's developed this one, like me, all on his own. A little rougher than the other two."

"Galeck Gun Fire!" The third beam blasted away as well. Xander stood back a bit, and told them, "There now you try."

Dawn stood looking at her hands uncertain. Buffy was a little bit bolder. "Kamehameha!" The beam sputtered away before it could even leave her hands. "Damn," she muttered.

Xander grinned, "You'll have to work on that one. Seven years before I perfected that one. I hear it took Krillin about four, the guy who created the Kamehameha took fifty years. This won't be as easily done as flight, or blasting a little ener- . . ."

"Galeck Gun FIRE!!!" Faith screamed off to the side. She had turned away a little, looking at her hands for a couple of minutes figuring it out. Deciding the tree to the right of the house was a good target, she had aimed and fired. Xander turned around, and his eyes went wide along with the others. The Galeck Gun shot forward perfectly on target. It hit the tree and exploded. The tree disintegrated and the whole Scooby Gang got showered with its remains. All of them covered in sawdust.

Faith looked stricken at the destroyed tree. "Oops!" she said, scratching her head embarrassedly.

The group looked at where the tree stood only moments before, and then Buffy said weakly, "She blew up my tree."

"Uh, well, yeah, I was going for a small hole, I guess I underestimated its strength," Faith said, still embarrassed.

*Well,* Xander thought astonished. *That settles it, it'll only be a matter of time before she kicks my ass, Super Saiyan or no Super Saiyan.*

Buffy walked forward, stood next to Faith and overly precise examined the place of the former tree. Then she turned to face her fellow slayer and screamed, "FAITH! YOU BLEW UP MY TREE!"

"Hey! It's only a tree," Faith countered a little annoyed at what she considered an overreaction. "Would you rather I used you or Dawn for target practice?"

"I don't care if you level half of Sunnydale," Buffy told her angrily, then started poking Faith in the chest, just above her left breast, punctuating every one of her next words. "Just don't aim at me, Dawn, or anything that belongs to me ever again, got that!?"

"Sure," Faith said, rubbing the newly formed sore spot.

Then Buffy turned around and indignantly stomped back into the house, muttering out loud, "I can't believe she blew up my tree!"

A short time later, in front of the house, Faith said her last goodbyes and picked up one of her bags and one of her suitcase. Her chi flame burst around her, she extended it, and the rest of her luggage started floating within her chi flame. As the group waved her goodbye, she blasted off toward LA.


Another day later
LAX - LA Airport

Buffy and Giles hugged. "I'm going to miss you, Buffy," Giles said quietly.

"Me too. You have our addresses, e-mail and snail, right?" Buffy asked tightening the hug. She didn't want him to leave, but she also understood his reasoning. He could do more for them and slayers who came after her and Faith in England than here. In the last two months they had simply surpassed all that he could do for them.

"Breath, fragile bones," Giles said weakly. Buffy let go and blushed as she apologized.

He hugged Willow goodbye next. "Be careful you don't blow anything up with all that new magical power, Willow," he said smiling.

"I will. And pace yourself, I know the council members are going to be horrible, but don't kill them out right. If you really have to, plan it out, and make sure they can't blame you for it," Willow joked at him.

Giles grinned. "I'm sure that advice will come in handy." Giles moved over to Tara, and hugged her as well. "Goodbye, Tara. You are a great addition to our little group."

Tara blushed and said, "G-goodbye, Giles."

"Hey, she still is my girlfriend, you know," Willow nudged lightly. Giles broke the hug and moved over to Dawn. "Dawn," he said, just then Dawn - with tears in her eyes - threw herself around his neck and hugged him tightly.

"I don't want you to go," Dawn cried.

"Relax, Dawn. I'm only an e-mail away . . . no matter how much I hate those infernal machines, they have their uses. And your sister, two witches and Xander are still going to be here, ok?" Giles calmed the youngest girl down. Reluctantly Dawn parted from Giles. "Goodbye, little one."

"Goodbye, Giles," Dawn greeted back, one time not minding being called little.

Giles reached Anya, and gave her a short hurt, "Goodbye, Anya. Stay good."

"I intend to, but not stay poor. When you're gone, I can finally start raking in the full share from the Magic Box," Anya answered with a big grin, she was already counting the money in her head.

Giles shook his head, and moved onto Xander and they clasped their right arms together, hands just below their elbows. "Xander, take care of the girls for me. If you let anything happen to them, I will bring hell down upon you."

"G-man, I am expecting nothing less. Take care of yourself," Xander told him, the two smiled at each other, both oblivious of the death rays stared at them by said 'girls'.

"Final boarding call for flight AK-48 to Heathrow Airport, London, England. Repeat, final boarding call for flight AK-48 to Heathrow Airport, London, England," an announcer called. After which the message was repeated in French and Spanish.

"That's my call. Goodbye," Giles said, and hurried to the gate. Once he was through, he turned around and waved goodbye one final time.


Two hours later

The woman walked up to the Summers residence. She was wearing a long dress, everything about her screamed 'centered on the earth and in the air'. The dress was white, with a blue undertone. She wore an earth-toned coat over it, a fully packed backpack on her back. She looked at the house, checked her senses for a moment, verifying she was in the correct place. Then she continued on, walking up to the door. She knocked, and moments later the door opened.

"Hello?" Buffy said.

"Hello," the woman answered, and then stated, "Two witches live here."

Buffy's eyes widened, and then said guarded, "And?"

"May I come in? They are going to need my help," the woman told her calmly.

Buffy looked her over one more time, and then said, "Sorry, lady, don't know you." Buffy closed the door and walked back into the house.

"Who was that?" Dawn asked, from the living room. The rest of them sat around watching tv, and eating pop corn, missing Giles already.

"Some woman who wanted to come inside. Said she knew two witches lived here," Buffy explained with a thoughtful expression. The door bel rang again.

This time all of them got up and opened the door. The same woman still stood there calmly, hands clasped in front of her. "Ah, there you are. My name is Sandra Lilac, I'm a witch, like you probably have already sensed. Your powers have sky rocketed in the last month or so. However, if you are not taught how to control them better, things will become very bad."

The Scooby Gang looked at her incredulously. "Ah, yes, right," Willow was the one who spoke up. "You feel far less powerful than me, that makes me rather think you're just out to steal power from us?"

Sandra gave her a smile, and suddenly the wind picked up. As Sandra stood there calmly a storm quickly formed, black clouds formed overhead, lightning flashed several times, and then it disappeared as quickly as it arrived.

"Astonishing," Xander said, eyes wide, feeling the girl's power rise and lower by only a few fractions in conjunction with the storm. "If I want to cause a storm like that, I'd have to exude an amount of energy enough to level a city. Come in."

"Thank you, sir," she said respectfully and stepped past the Scooby Gang who gave her room. First things first, she took off the heavy back pack and placed it on the ground. They looked at Xander, hoping he knew what he was doing. Buffy closed the door once the woman was inside. Sandra took off her coat and offered it to Xander who hung it on the coat rack.

"Where did you get this kind of skill," Xander asked a little exited.

"I invoked a god. Meaning I took one in me," Sandra explained.

"Oh?" Xander said, eyes narrowing, he hated gods.

"A force of nature really, not the kind you are thinking about, I suspect," she answered with a grin. "I now use about thirty percent of my brain instead of the usual ten."

Except Xander, the Scooby Gang nodded impressively, hanging on the alluring young woman - she couldn't be more than twenty years old - like a kitten to her mother. Then they shook their heads, regaining their control. The girl's smile deepened they had just counteracted her natural allure, faster than expected. And the man never seemed to be impressed by it at all.

"That's nice," Buffy said, slightly angry. "What will that do for Willow and Tara?"

Sandra turned to the two witches and question and asked, "Have any of you ever heard of the phrase, 'All that you send out, comes back to you three fold'?"

"Uh, vaguely," Willow answered a little perturbed.

Tara nodded, "Yeah, I remember my mom teaching me that, but she's been dead for years."

"I can tell," Sandra answered calmly. "You are much more balanced, a lot more like a witch, I take it her death pre-empted the completion of your training?

"You on the other hand," Sandra continued, looking directly at Willow. "You can't even be really called a witch, you're a spellcaster."

"Hey, I find that insulting," Willow stated vehemently.

Sandra held up a placating hand and said, "I'm here to change that." She held up her left hand and a representation of the globe appeared. Then a small red dot. "Let's say you are the dot, and you cast a spell. What happens is like a stone being cast into a pond, ripples move across the water, only now they are ripples in the ether and they ripple around the earth." A small red glow spread out from the red dot. "Of course, must not forget the energy of the spell itself." A beam of a more intense energy moved from the red dot in a direction. "Do you know something about interference patterns? High school physics?"

"Sure," Xander answered, the others nodded in concentration.

The red glow rippling around the earth started to disappear in most places. "Most of the energy will just cancel itself out, with the exception of four. At those four places, the energy will heap up and become stronger, one of those beams is always in exact opposite of the spell itself, conforming to 'all actions have an equal and opposite reaction'. Once the spell has done its the function the energy will simply continue rippling around the earth until it reaches its reaction and they cancel each other out, leaving three." What Sandra told is exactly what happened in her representation. Only three bright beams of energy were left, each moving around the world, so that none of them would directly crash into another, which would result in cancelling the other out. "Now, if you did a spell with all of your energy, the three beams left would have exactly the same amount. Once traveled around the globe, they will crash into you. The first one your own energy will negate, but than two of them will smash into you unprotected." The three beams smashed into the red dot, showing a little mushroom cloud of red. The representation of the earth disappeared and Sandra continued the rest of her explanation without visual help. "The more powerful you are, the more powerful the energy you send out, the bigger the consequences. That which rams into you unprotected is twice your power, and you will have nothing left to protect yourself against it. Twice a little power is still a little power, twice a lot of power, is a whole lot of power. When they smash into you, they will sap all your strength and will make you feel weak and tired. You can rebuild your strength by tapping into even greater magic, and cast even more powerful spells, resulting in even more of your strength sapped. Your body in order to counteract the forces working on it, will crave even more magic, which in turn will come back to you and pull you down even more. Let this continue, and it will eventually drive you insane . . . or tear you asunder. Trust me, I've seen the insanity once: not a pretty picture."

"Are you saying, Willow and Tara shouldn't get any more powerful?" Xander asked dubiously. The rest of the group looked rather stricken at the story.

Sandra shook her head, "With proper training, skill and balance, you can perform far more with far less energy. Keep the spells at only a third of your maximum and you can handle the backwash, and with a lot of experience, you might even be able to bend one of the three beams off its course so it will cancel out one of the other two. The training is where I come in. I haven't quite mastered the last ability yet, I can change the course of one beam, but still not enough to cancel out one of the others."

"Cool!" Dawn exclaimed, the teenager hormones always less likely to worry over danger. "So how and when are you planning to start the training?"

"How about right now? You have a basement? The closer to the earth, the better magic works. I'm guessing three weeks to a month is what I need to teach Willow and Tara here so they can perfect it themselves, which means I would need a place to stay . . ." Sandra said thoughtfully.

"Well," Anya perked up. "If Buffy doesn't want you in her house, we recently have a vacancy." Buffy looked at her with a deadly look, that Anya was oblivious to. Anya reached out her hand, and introduced herself. "I'm Anya by the way."

The whole group quickly shook the new arrival's hand and introduced themselves. Dawn then took the lead. "This way to the basement," she said, and the three witches followed her.

Once down in the basement Sandra searched around and found a long metal pole. She picked it up started drawing a circle into the thick layer of sand with which the floor was covered. Dawn excused herself and went back upstairs. "If you don't mind me asking," Sandra asked. She finished the circle and then centered herself, finding north and south, she didn't stop talking. "How did you two become so strong all of a sudden?"

"Uh, well," Willow considered for a few minutes whether she really was trustworthy, and then gambled on that she was. "We've got an artificial gravity room. Xander is very smart. We've trained, building up our life force, under twice earth's gravity for the past month."

"We upped it to three gs yesterday," Tara added, with a shy nod.

"Aah," Sandra answered in revelation, and started on a pentagram, the point starting south.

Willow and Tara regarded the drawing, and quickly recognized it. "Say? Isn't it upside down?" Willow asked.

Sandra smiled. "No, that little lore exists mostly only in America. LaVey and his Satanic bible didn't help much. The pentagram with the point down is still widely used in Europe. Oddly enough, virtually everywhere, people mostly only use one of the two pentagrams. Wishing only to invoke the dark side or the light." She finished the first pentagram, and started to draw a second one, this time with the point up. "Only very few, me included, fear, nor mock any of the sides, and use it all. Dark - sometimes erroneously equated with Satanic magic, which really is a subdivision of dark magic - and light magic are just two sides of the same coin, working together, always in a balanced state of flux." Once done she sat down on the north point, she gestured toward two points of the decagram, and Tara and Willow sat down on one point on either side of Sandra.

"Mr. LaVey has a few things right though, for one all magic cast is for personal gain. Those who use magic and say that one shouldn't cast magic for personal gain are quite frankly a bunch of hypocrites," Sandra said, calmly, her eyes closed and concentrating. She seemed in a trance, but that didn't stop her from gently explaining away. "No matter how selfless a spell may seem there is always a selfish angle to it. He is also right about the symbol we're sitting on, it doesn't really work for protection, at least not against the magics your summoning up. The symbol is what one uses to draw power from, you can't protect yourself from magics with the symbol you use to summon those very magics, but it can be used to protect oneself from other magics.

"He is also right about using sex and other powerful emotions like anger to conjure up magic. The electro magnetic discharges in the body created during sex and in particular during the orgasm are very powerful tools that one can use doing magic," Sandra calmly continued to explain. Tara and Willow gave each other a knowing smile, and then looked a little surprised as they noticed a gentle mist starting to from around the other witch. "However Satanists are a bunch of fools. They deny the spirit, and say that the flesh is the only thing that exists, and fail to understand that the electro magnetic discharges during sex they use for their magic, is the very spirit they so desperately try to deny. The magnetic fields are after all energy, not matter and therefore not flesh."

The mist was slowly flowing along the lines of the drawing around the floor, and Sandra calmly continued to lecture. Willow and Tara listened intently at the interesting tale she told. "While LaVey wrote down all magic is grounded in science, he seems to fail to grasp the simple scientific fact, that all actions have an equal and opposite reaction, something worth protecting yourself against I'd say. They mock the ancient wisdom that all you send out comes back to you three fold, while they are right in claiming that there is no such great cosmic, metaphysical equalizer, it is a simple cold consequence of hyper dimensional physics and interference patterns of energy. Strangely he does seem to grasp the tenure that there is no true division between the two sides of the coin, and call white magic users foolish for trying to protect themselves against the magics they are conjuring up, yet Satanists will tell you, you should only use black candles, don't use the others, except of course one white candle, to mock users of white magic. But then one mocks the white magic used as well, leading to the practice that they mock the very powers they are trying to conjure up. Which do you think is more foolish - protecting yourself against a possible backlash, a flaw in your spell, or mocking the very powers you're trying to summon?"

The mist finally spilled over to the rest of the room, even though the internal areas of the decagram stayed uncovered. "It's no wonder they think it takes far more power to float something in the air . . ." Sandra continued and gently floated off the ground. Willow and Tara looked at each other for a moment and followed suit. " . . .Than is necessary to influence a person's mind. The mind, a perfect balance between matter and energy, flesh and spirit, takes giant amounts of energy to truly influence. They probably have never accomplished more than a nudge, and probably in the exact opposite direction that they wanted." Sandra opened her eyes and looked at the other two witches, smiled and said, "While you and I both know floating something is an exercise in balance, not raw power. If you can create this balance, floating something is pretty easy. Balance, light and dark together."

Willow and Tara stayed silent looking at the strange witch in front of them. "My backpack is filled with clothes and such, didn't have room for candles and other magic ingredients and tools. There is a magic shop around in this town, isn't there? I don't <need> them perse, but they help."

"Anya owns it," Tara answered still with a little awe, the mist had something ethereal, and the woman still hadn't uttered a single phrase that could be considered part of a spell, let alone burned candles or mixed any ingredients. She probably wasn't bluffing about not needing it.

"Good," Sandra answered and then her irises and pupils started glowing golden. The decagram glowed right after that, golden, with mixtures of pink and white. The energy slowly came off the ground, and formed a standing decagram. Then the two pentagrams that it was made up out of started twisting in opposite directions. The mist on the floor ignited and covered the room in a thick haze of smoke. The pentagrams went faster and faster, causing a rapid wind to form, the smoke got sucked into the double pentagram. The women's hair blew around their faces, Tara's and Willow's eyes wide with amazement. The smoke glowed the moment it came into contact with the plasma, and became part of a rapidly twisting glowing ball of energy. Then the walls and the floor of the basement started glowing, and then that energy was sucked into the ball of energy as well. Finally, once the basement was normal again, except the ball of energy in the middle, said ball slowed down. Eventually the two pentagrams stopped to form a decagram again and then blasted down into the still formed drawing on the ground. The edges of the drawing glowed as it absorbed the energy. Then, with a final flash of light, that made Willow and Tara blink, that too disappeared, and everything was calm again.

"There," Sandra said, smiling widely. "Now that this room is cleansed and balanced, we can start your training. Sorry that took so long, never had so much conflicting and demonic energy in one room before."

"This whole town is infested with demons, they are all drawn to the Hellmouth," Willow explained still wide-eyed. "It's a dimensional gateway straight to Hell, it's beneath what once was Sunnydale High, a mile from here."

Sandra blinked and said, "No wonder."


August 28, 2001
Xander and Anya's apartment

The two were enjoying their breakfast, when Xander said, "Turn on the news, hon."

Anya complied and turned on the tv. The image showed a blue sky with a small light in the middle of the screen, and a man's voice explained, "What you see here is the first glimpse with the naked eye of the asteroid detected around six a.m. this morning. Its course takes it directly toward Oklahoma City. It has a diameter of several hundred meters, and if it's not destroyed, or its course diverted in the next one hour, this city will be reduced to a crater."

The picture changed to show a man, obviously scared to death, and the biggest traffic jam ever on highways leading out of the city. "People have been trying to evacuate the city, but as you can see, they are not making much progress. I myself can not leave the city either . . ."

Xander had sat stunned at the message at first, and then got up. "Anya, call Buffy and Dawn awake, then do the same with Faith. I'll need all the help I can get on this one. I'm going to get Buffy and Dawn now, tell Faith we'll rendez-vous with her on the way to Oklahoma."

"Okay," Anya stuttered, and picked up the phone as Xander ran out the apartment.

Xander ran to nearest clothing shop he knew that had them. The owner protested as he ripped the door off its hinges. Xander didn't have the time. He grabbed three masks that protected the head, and left only the eyes open. He knew his Super Saiyan transformation would keep him disguised, but the others didn't have a transformation, and he was sure the average person and military personnel wasn't quite ready for people flying on their own power yet. He threw the money on the counter, and before the woman could finish her protest, let alone an identification Xander was back out the door.

Xander reached the Summers' residence moments later. Willow, in a nighty opened the door with a fearful face, on the top of the stairs Buffy and Dawn, fumbled with their clothes. Dawn looked downright scared, but Xander didn't have the time to think about that. "Hurry up!" he called out. Two minutes later they blasted off, partly toward Faith's energy signature, partly toward Oklahoma.

"Put these on," he told Buffy and Dawn, and they complied instantly. Once they were done, Xander said, "Brace yourselves." He transformed, the golden glow enveloping all of them and he took them along as he sped up to speeds neither of the two girls could muster. Several minutes later they reached Faith, who looked scared as well. She too put on a mask handed to her by Xander. After she was finished, Xander said, "Here we go." He powered up to level 2 and blasted off straight for Oklahoma.

Episode 19
Apocalypse Calling

Music: Dawn's theme: Slayers - Brave Souls

Captain Meadow looked out his cockpit down at the city far below. Although he couldn't see it from this height, he knew that down there, people were desperately trying to get out of the city of Oklahoma. Martial law had been declared, and the military had moved in, trying to get people out of the city as fast as possible. Most cars would have been bulldozed aside, gently so as not to hurt those inside. Then busses where far more than a few people could be transported with, would go in and start getting people out, that way the roads wouldn't be jammed and much more people would be saved per vehicle.

Further planes were used for the same reason. All civilian and military planes in the vicinity had been ordered to take their passengers to the nearest airport out of harm's way, get them out, and fly back to Oklahoma to get people out. American, Israeli, Dutch and other airlines; it didn't matter where they came from, all had heard the call, and done immediately what was asked of them. A few bastard passengers had complained about the sudden cutting short of their flight, but other than that, it was going well. But it wasn't enough, Oklahoma contained millions of people, they had managed to evacuate a few hundred thousand, a million at most.

There were three possibilities; one, the asteroid would continue onward until it impacted on the ground, reducing the city to a crater, and sending a massive explosion up into the air on a nuclear scale, and sending enormous amounts of dust into the atmosphere. His F16 and the other jets had a chance at outrunning the shockwave, but not the helicopters manned by volunteers. Two, the asteroid would explode upon entering Earth's atmosphere. The resulting shockwave would most certainly level the city, and have the same consequences for anything in the air. Three, the asteroid would break up as it entered the atmosphere. He, and his squadron, along with many others, as well as the combat helicopters were here with one hope, possibility number three. If the asteroid would break up, and subsequently slowed down enough, by the atmosphere, they might just be able to destroy most of the individual pieces with their guns and rockets.

Meadow's heart felt heavy. The hope everybody was counting on was diminishing rapidly by the minute. He looked up and saw the ball of light. He looked down at his chronometer. Two minutes to atmospheric entry.

<<Holy crap,>> he heard one of his squadron's mates call out. He knew instantly who it was. Lieutenant Beddow, the man that had been his wingman on that fateful day over a month ago. That event still rattled him. <<Captain, check your radar. Does it look familiar to you? Mach 3+, phasing in and out . . . golden glow.>> The last two words had been a soft voice of awe. Meadow did recognize it, as if something or other was deflecting the radar beams partly, like an energy field. He looked in the direction which the radar indicated, and just like his Lieutenant he saw the tiny golden dot way off into the distance. It was virtually undetectable against the blue sky, the glare of the sun, and the asteroid, but if he squinted, yes. His heart skipped a beat, despite his mind that told him there was no guarantee he was coming to help, his spirits lifted. He remembered how the man had protected him from that energy blast and told them to get out. Was it really the same dude? It couldn't be anyone or anything else.

The dot rapidly increased in size as it came closer, "Oh, fuck, yeah," he said quietly. Now that it had gotten closer, there was no more doubt about it. He ignored the questions from his squadron pilots, and of the captains of the other squadrons and just watched. With incredible speed the golden glow containing - four? . . . did he count four? - silhouettes closed the distance between it and them. Then as the golden orb was practically getting closer, several of the other pilots were voicing their concern over whether they should get out of its way, whether it was able to change course in time at such speeds.

"Don't worry," he told them, he remembered the maneuverability vividly, that fight had been etched into his brain. Lieutenant Beddow made a confirming noise. The orb of energy then suddenly changed course as it was practically colliding with the jets, and blasted straight upward, rising toward the asteroid with incredible speed.

<<Is it just me, or does he seem a whole lot more powerful to you too?>> Beddow's voice came over the comm.

<<You know something about his?>> one of the other pilots asked and more sentiments followed.

"Classified," he answered them simply. He pulled his jet upward, Beddow following suit. The golden orb stopped, and disappeared, forming the familiar flame-like shape tightly around the man. Around the three girls - girls? - beside him, similar flames, but all white, with perhaps an undercurrent of blue erupted the moment the golden orb no longer surrounded them.


Dawn looked up at the ball of light with fear written on her face. She gulped hard. "Oh, boy," she said, now truly starting to appreciate the trouble they were in. Buffy and Faith looked up at the asteroid with the same look of helpless fear. Even in Xander's Super Saiyan green eyes there was an uncertainty.

The impact of the asteroid with the Earth's atmosphere was a palpable thing. All four of them felt the shockwave run past them. This first little movement of air would be nothing compared to when it would explode. The asteroid did not explode, and it did not break up. Super heated air was pushed aside by it, becoming visible as a fiery halo. The asteroid itself began to heat up. As the white reflection of sunlight disappeared, an angry orange glow of destruction replaced it.

*This was not good,* Xander thought, and he ordered the young women next to him, "Girls, get out of its path." The three of them looked at him for a moment, and then realizing how stupid it would be not to obey, the three of them started flying off toward the right.

*I have to time this right,* Xander though as he stayed directly in the asteroid's path. "TA!" His hands moved to his side and between them one of the most destructive energy waves started to form. "NE!" Xander narrowed his eyes, calculating. "KA!" Xander added another thought, *Aim this right too.* "KO!" Xander checked the girls who were reached the edge of the danger zone. "CHI SHIELDS UP!" He screamed at him, realizing they were completely underestimating what this was going to be.

The three of them turned around trying to decipher what Xander had said. The distance and the sound of the onrushing asteroid made it impossible. For a moment Xander formed a chi shield and nodded at them. They understood and formed their own.

Xander looked back up, waited one more moment. Then as he thought conditions couldn't get any better, he released the beam. "SA!" The massive beam of raw, multi-spectral energy blasted upward. It the asteroid and exploded with the force of several Hiroshima nuclear bombs. All went white, and Xander stayed in the explosion's onslaught. The shockwave went in all directions with unstoppable speed. The two slayers and former key looked at it with dread and put all their power into their shields. Buffy and Faith surrounding theirs around Dawn. They tumbled backward by the force.


Moments earlier, as Meadow saw the ball of light form into the golden being's hands, he ordered, "Move it! Everybody spread out, get as far away from him as possible, that's an order!" He still remembered those beams that the two fighting titans had fired at each other almost two months earlier, and his and Beddow's assessment that it would have leveled a city. He turned his jet around, and to his relief he saw the others comply.

The shockwave blasted around his plane, and he needed all his skills to get the plane back under control afterward. He considered himself lucky he had thought to turn the glass away from the shockwave and let the metal underside of his jet take the brunt. Sadly, he saw that not all of the pilots had thought to do the same thing. A few jets plummeted down to the earth, of one of them he cold see plexiglass remains of the cockpit penetrating the pilot's flesh.

"Fuck," he whispered as he saw the shockwave reach the city down below. He watched and didn't see any real damage, most of the energy must have dissipated by now. If he was correct, which was difficult to tell from this altitude, most of the glass of the buildings had been shattered.

He looked back up at where the asteroid was supposed to be. He only saw the remains of an explosion. Hope flared in his heart . . . then, "No!"


[Play Dawn's Theme]

Xander hung in the air, taking most of the power of the shockwave, following his energy blast. He looked up, squinting his eyes at the fire and dust hanging in the air. Did he do it? That was the problem with rocks, they had no chi to detect. Then the smoke was pushed aside and revealed the heavily scarred asteroid, going straight down at great speed, heading for him. He rapidly blasted aside, instantly joining his three friends who had managed to stabilized themselves.

*DAMNIT! NO, I FAILED!* He screamed in his head as he saw the asteroid careen by, taking notice of how he had blasted off the forward forty or so meters, still leaving about six hundred. The blast had also significantly slowed the rock down. Xander's eyes widened when he saw that. *One chance!*

Before either Buffy, Faith, or Dawn could protest, he blasted off, directly behind the asteroid, and gaining on it. His teeth gritted as he drew upon every last bit of energy and speed he could get out of his body. He felt pain surging though his body as he passed through the asteroid's turbulent backwash.

"Xander!" Dawn called out stricken as she watched what Xander did. The other two girls watched as the golden glow around Xander identified him. Details quickly became impossible to tell as distance limited their eyesight.

Xander had finally worked his way through the turbulence, now inside the asteroids wake, getting to it was easy. He started twisting on his own axis rapidly, pushed his hands forward and formed his energy around them in a point acting like a drill. He impacted on the rock, and then started drilling himself into the asteroid.

"He can't be serious," Faith commented with admiring awe and dread. "If he blows up that asteroid from the inside out . . ." Faith turned to look at her two companions with wide eyes. "He'll be directly inside the explosion. But it wouldn't matter, the pieces would still fall down, they are moving too fast." Buffy and Dawn looked at her with a stricken look and back at the asteroid. "But perhaps we just might have a chance, if he could somehow slow them down or even throw the pieces back up again."

Cracks started to form in the asteroid now, golden light emitted from them. Dawn remembered a question on her last physics test. She shook her head, as much in a negation as denial. "No, he can't do that, he won't do that. He would have to transfer its momentum to him."

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked, almost choking on her voice. Faith looked at Dawn.

Dawn remembered Faith had hardly gone to school, and Buffy had never been good at physics. "Action is minus reaction. Xander can only slow it down, or throw it upward, if he transfers all the motion onto him. Instead of the asteroid crashing down, he will crash down."

Buffy and Faith looked at her for a moment and then down at the asteroid. The golden cracks multiplied in number, and then, after cracking protests from the asteroid, it broke up in a giant explosion. A large amount of debris flew back upward, overall the speed rapidly diminished. The three girls looked with white faces as one golden object shot free from the destroyed asteroid. It crashed down toward the Earth. Almost immediately the golden glow disappeared.

"XANDER!!" Buffy screamed, wanting to shoot forward to go and help him. Dawn just looked stunned.

Faith grabbed Buffy by her right shoulder with an iron grip. "NO! Xander would never forgive us if we let his efforts be in vain. Plus he'll survive the fall B, but he might not have enough left to survive an impact by one of those pieces!"

Buffy looked back at Faith with extreme anger for the few moments she needed to register the words and what they meant. Defeated, she nodded her head, and the three of them shot forward. Their goal: destroy as many of the pieces, before they destroy the city.

"Don't bother with the small ones," Faith added before they reached the intended place to hold their ground. "We can't stop them all, focus on the bigger ones, those which do the most damage."


Xander was barely aware of what was happening to him. He had released an enormous amount of his power, destroyed the asteroid from the inside out. Since the energy could go nowhere but back to him, it had been like standing at ground zero of a nuclear explosion. Everything hurt, ached, and felt like it should never have been moving at all. Blood pored from several of his wounds, and he couldn't hang onto the transformation, his black hair returning.

He was dimly noticing he was shooting downward, as expected, so he flexed what energy he had left to slow his descent. It didn't help much, but every little bit helped. He crashed through two buildings on his way down. The first, a steel and glass - which had shattered earlier - skyscraper was tough. The metal beams bent, cracked and were ripped apart by Xander's speed and energy, breaking several of Xander's ribs. Xander did not give up, still he continued to exert his energy, slowing him down. The second building, shorter and made of stone, wasn't any better for his health. He crashed through the building's walls, causing more damage to his body. He hoped the buildings wouldn't collapse, and that he fell through nobody.

Finally he landed with extreme pain onto a street. More broken bones, and bloody wounds were inflicted on his body. The street cracked under the pressure, and pieces of asphalt were thrown up along with a small dust cloud. Once it cleared, it showed that Xander had managed to reduce his speed, so only a crater of a few meters had formed, instead of a crater a hundred meters wide, and leveling several buildings with the ground. Inside this crater Xander lay still, except for his head slumping, and his eyes closing.


Faith twisted around and kicked, putting all her force onto the rock that was flying there. It shattered under the pressure. One stone less. In the same fluid motion she pointed her hand below her and fired an energy ball. The rock, five times her size, was destroyed in the following explosion.

Nearby Buffy blew up a rock about the same size, and smashed a fist through another, smaller rock. Dawn fired a beam at a rock about ten meters in diameter. Once she finally got it to break up, she was left with taking out the remaining pieces.

As Dawn went ahead with that task, Buffy urgently called to her, "Dawn, leave the bigger once to us. You'll wear yourself out far too quickly like that!"

Dawn nodded, calling back, "Right!" She went back to destroying rocks. Around the three girls the helicopters and jetfighters were doing the same, but with bullets and rockets instead of hands, feet and energy balls. [Pause Dawn's Theme]


Back in Sunnydale

Anya paced around the Summers' residence agitated. Shortly after Xander had left, she had gone over, because she didn't feel like being alone. Spike had dumped himself off in a corner chair, watching the proceedings.

Anya suddenly noticed his presence and narrowed her eyes in anger, "Why aren't you helping them!?"

"The sun is out. I'm a vampire, remember? I've got allergies," Spike drawled calmly, hating to be stuck in this place. He couldn't care less about the people in Oklahoma City, but this only underscored his limited usefulness, and with it, a good potential for a shortened life span.

"Sun or no sun! You should be out there keeping my Xander safe!!!" Anya screamed hysterically. She hated this, she was deeply concerned.

Tara walked over and slung an arm around the distraught ex-demon. "Calm down," Tara said soothingly, pulling the girl along and placing her down on the couch between herself and Willow. "Xander will be fine, he can take care of himself."

"Yeah," Willow said, slinging her arm around the other side. "Xander is tough, and just too pigheaded to die."

"B-besides, he's probably just too busy to call and tell us he's fine," Tara tried desperately to reassure Anya and herself as well. "You've seen how many pieces there are." Tara looked at the screen of the tv again, showing the astonishing site of a destroyed asteroid, fighter jets, helicopters, and several hooded people destroying the giant amount of pieces of rock. She could distinguish between the three by their body built, and none were Xander.

"You don't understand. About a year and a half ago, Xander and I have become able to be in telepathic contact. Since about a year, he has started to send me reassuring messages whenever I was concerned, or agitated, even if it was only a loving brush," Anya explained with a face growing more concerned by the minute. "There is nothing now, like the line is dead. Something's not right, I just know it. Why can't you guys help?" Anya looked at the two witches who were trying to comfort her, with a face, part accusation, part distress, part fear and part hope.

Tara and Willow were too stunned to process this new tidbit information, telepathy between Xander and Anya? Therefore Sandra, sitting in a chair across from them, answered, "The asteroid, and its pieces, moves too fast. With all the power we have access to, it takes time for us to generate energy, time to recite a spell, or prepare the ingredients necessary to pull a certain spell off. By the time we are ready to destroy a piece, it would already have crashed and destroyed something. This is a matter for exactly two factors we lack: speed and raw power."

Spike let his grin slip, this could just be too good to be true. The ponce could be dead, which meant only two little slayers were between him and freedom. And if droopy was dead, the slayers might just bite the big one as well. Kill the girls here, and he had access to the gravity room, and he could become the most powerful being on the planet. "That's real nice," Spike told the girls in a bored tone. "In the mean time, how about something to eat. I don't suppose you have some blood stashed away just for me, do you?" The four women looked at him, throwing daggers with their eyes. "Right, guess I'm going to have to settle for a raw hamburger, then."


The ambulance screeched around the corner, and as the driver hit its breaks, the tires screamed even more. Once they were standing still, the two nurses in the back got out. One male and one female and they looked down at the crater.

"Holy shit," the male said as he looked at the devastation. A crater several meters across was in the road. There was no asphalt left, only the ground beneath it. Small fires burned here and there. He looked up and looked through two buildings, both having a whole in them a few meters wide. "Son of a . . ."

" . . .bitch," his female partner finished for him. "How the hell did he survive? It seems like he was in the exact spot where the meteorite impacted."

Finally overcoming their shock, the two of them took out the stretcher and started down the crater, which was about a meter deep. He said, "According to the guy who called it in, he was the one falling."

"WHAT!?" the female exclaimed as they reached Xander.

"Yeah . . ." the man paused as he looked up in the sky, his eyes catching what he hadn't seen yet. He had been too focused on his job, to many injuries in the past few hours. First there was the chaos, then it was the first small precursor meteorites and only now bigger chunks had started impacting. "Like them."

The female looked up briefly, her eyes widening at the distant figures, barely more than dots, but obviously human, or at least humanoid. "What the . . .!?" She shook herself and knelt down next to the young man and started examining him. "I can't believe he's still alive. Barely, but I would have guessed he would have his guts splattered all over the place."

"I just had breakfast, please refrain from the imagery," the male answered slightly annoyed.

"Sorry." The two then very gently lifted Xander up onto the stretcher. Then they lifted the stretcher, one of them on either side, and carried it to the ambulance, having a little difficulty with the uneven ground and the incline.

Once they were inside, the ambulance drove off at great speed.


[Continue Dawn's Theme]

Dawn screamed as she kicked a piece of rock, about a meter wide, with all her might. It shattered under the pressure. She paused for a moment looking up at the still coming pieces of asteroid. The military craft were doing their best. Buffy and Faith were going at it with everything they had. But even their combined speed and power wasn't enough. One fairly big piece, about fifteen meters across, got past them and headed straight for the city below.

Dawn zipped through the air and positioned herself in front of it. Fear gripped her, she had had so much difficulty with a smaller chunk before. She placed her hands together in front of her and fired an energy beam with a scream. It smacked into the rock piece and exploded. But the piece remained mostly intact, it had only slowed down a bit. Dawn kept firing and saw the piece rapidly coming closer. She squinted her eyes shut; all or nothing. For a moment she had the idea that things would be better for the people below if she at least was still alive to destroy other rocks, but she was already too late.

Hanging there in the air, eyes squinted closed, and blasting the energy beam outward, she suddenly felt and heard a big explosion. She opened her eyes, and stopped firing her beam. The rock was gone, only smaller stones of it were flying in every direction. She noticed about ten helicopters hovering in a circle all pointing to where the rock had just been. A few metal shards completed the picture. They had combined their firepower and blown it up. Dawn looked grateful and relieved at one of the helicopters. Its pilot give her a grin and a one-fingered salute. Feeling giddy and a little mischievous at her survival she grinned back at him and blew him a kiss, then flew off to continue destroying pieces of asteroid.

<<Ooh, I do think the captain has a potential girlfriend,>> one pilot joked, trying to lighten the mood. <<Although if he pursued her, it would probably be statutory rape.>>

<<Very funny, not,>> came his answer, as the helicopter pilots laughed lightly, already turning their craft toward more falling rocks, and doing everything they could not to get blown out of the sky by them. Several helicopter pilots had already failed at that, their craft burning and smoking ruins down below.

<<Captain, I'm out, I need rearming,>> one pilot said, a smile in his voice.

<<Go.>> [Pause Dawn's Theme]


Xander was wheeled into the OR in haste. Nurses started prepping him, while two surgeons prepared themselves for surgery. He had been fighting for consciousness every step of the way, but only now had gotten a little glimpse of where he was.

"All right, this guy has lost a lot of blood. Do we know his blood type?" one of them asked as a nurse place the plastic gloves on his hands.

"No, sir, not yet at least. We got type O negative standing by. I don't think we'll get an answer to that in time, his ID didn't specify who to call in an emergency," a nurse answered rapidly.

"All right then, O neg it is," the second surgeon decided.

"No . . . blood," Xander managed to croak out with every bit of effort and energy he had left. The nurses and surgeons looked surprised, this guy shouldn't possibly be conscious again.

"Are you a Yehova's witness?" a nurse asked concerned. The two surgeons looked at each other in irritation. How high was the chance of this guy's survival if he didn't get any blood.

"Sir," one of the two surgeons tried, "If you don't get any blood, the chances you'll live through this, are slim to none."

"No . . . blood . . . kill . . . me," Xander croaked out before slipping back into unconsciousness, having used up all of his energy. A nurse injected him with a sedative to make sure he wouldn't come to in the middle of surgery.

"Somebody should have told him we don't practice euthanasia in this country," one of the surgeons said perplexed as well as annoyed.

The other surgeon mulled the words over in his head a few times and then said, "No blood, it would kill me."

The first surgeon looked at the other one starting to examine Xander visually for a moment and then said, "Can we give him blood anyway? Arguing he wasn't in his right mind?"

"Holy . . ." the other surgeon said checking out Xander's insides. "That's most likely a liver, in the right place and all, but it isn't human," he mumbled with disbelief.

The first surgeon joint him and looked with astonishment. "Ok, I guess he wasn't out of his mind after all. What do we do now?"

"We stitch him back up as best as we can, what else can we do?" the other surgeon answered him with some fear in his voice.

"I guess so. Nurse, get a pump, we need to recycle this guy's own blood as best as we can," the surgeon said, looking back down, eyes wide. The nurse nodded with a stunned look and dashed off. "Let's hope we do this right." His companion nodded solemnly.


[Continue Dawn's Theme]

Faith fired another energy ball and it caught a stone far below her, just before it would have crashed into a large building, and collapsed it. As it was, the explosion only damaged the building a little, relatively speaking.

She spun around her axis, hitting, and blasting every rock she considered big enough to do serious damage. Buffy close by was doing the same, a little further Dawn as well, but focusing on smaller rocks.

Aware of one falling piece of debris behind her, Faith bashed it with her elbow, shattering it instantly. Her eyes widened and she grabbed her elbow, pulling herself around. "Funny bone, funny bone, funny bone!" she yelled out in irritation and pain.

"Ouch!" Buffy called out, grinning at her fellow slayer glad that didn't happen to her. "Oh, fuck, Faith!" Buffy yelled, pointing up.

Faith turned to look where Buffy had indicated and saw a meteorite forty meters across slowly descending. Faith's eyes widened at first, and then grinned. She raised one hand and said, "Exploding Destructo Disc!" She threw the disc and a short distance hence it started losing cohesion. Faith quickly closed her eyes and concentrated. The disc returned to a proper disc. Buffy watched as the disc cut through the rock, then once the middle ball disappeared into the giant piece of debris, it exploded into a million small pieces.

"Yes!" Faith exclaimed with satisfaction. They continued their desperate battle with the almost unlimited number of flying debris for another hour before they finally ran out. [Stop playing Dawn's theme]

Faith, Buffy and Dawn joined together in the air looking at the clear sky. They all breathed hard with satisfaction, they had given it more than one hundred percent. Many of the military pilots gave them a salute and they flew off. The three girls looked down at the city. Fires burned everywhere, most of the taller buildings were riddled with holes. Some had completely collapsed, craters littered the streets everywhere.

"My god," Buffy whispered, at seeing the devastation.

Dawn looked at the ruined city with giant eyes, before finally commenting, "Well, better lots of little holes, than just one big crater."

Faith nodded pensively, before saying, "Using our chi sense, we could locate survivors pretty quickly, among others Xander, if he hasn't been rescued already."

Buffy nodded, "Let's go."

The three of them blasted down to the city. After a quick debate, the three split up to cover the most ground.

Dawn landed next to a collapsed building, and looked as if having x-ray vision. Firemen were across the street checking out another damaged building. She walked over to one particular slab and sensed several chi signatures behind it. After carefully examining the debris she turned to the firemen and called, "Hey, guys! There are people alive here!"

Several firemen came running over, and looked at the smoking ruins doubtfully. "You sure?"

"Yes, but I dare not try get them out, it's too unstable I fear I let it collapse and kill them, I better leave that to the professionals," Dawn explained with a concerned look in her eyes.

The fireman in charge nodded, and they started examining the ruins on the best way to get to the people, without collapsing the people's shelter on top of them.

Somewhere else Faith pulled a large piece of collapsed roof off of another pile of debris, allowing the people inside to climb out. The large pile of stone that had been leaning against the former roof started falling over, but Faith stopped it with one hand. "Hurry!" she urged the people on.

In another place, a rescue worker looked with frustration at a wooden door and said, "Damn it! Jammed!" Several others around him looked at it with frustration. Calls for help came from inside. Under normal circumstances they would have something to break the door down, but these weren't normal circumstances. Their resources were spread thin across the city.

"Let me," Buffy said, landing behind them, motioning them to get out of her way. They did and she pointed her hand at the door, forming a small ball of energy. The workers looked astonished as Buffy's face strained with difficulty. A bit too much, and she'd bring the rest of the building down as well. The direction not right, and she might blow up the door to the inside and injure or kill whoever was not far away from it. After another few seconds of intense concentration, she let the ball fly. The door exploded, sawdust flying outward, leaving the insides of the damaged building almost completely untouched. Buffy grinned at a job well done. The rescue workers piled into the room to help the people inside.

They continued on with this for five hours straight before the three of them joined together above the city again. All of them were breathing hard, and were hungry. "There isn't much else we can do," Buffy said sadly.

Faith nodded solemnly. "We go get Xander and then home. Eat, drink and sleep and we'll see about tomorrow," she suggested to the other two girls.

"Yeah, I'm famished," Dawn commented holding her stomach. "This has taken a lot out of me."

Buffy smiled mildly, glad they had been able to prevent much worse. She looked upward, moving her neck around to relax herself, they had done well. Her eyes widened with shock and just kept looking. Faith and Dawn looked up following Buffy's gaze after a few seconds immobility from Buffy. Their eyes widened in fear, as the saw a small light at the heavens. A light that gradually grew bigger. "No!" Faith whispered.

"Is that?" Dawn asked stricken with terror. Buffy nodded. "We don't have energy left to fight this one. Xander isn't here either, and he could barely . . . is it me or is this one bigger."

"Much bigger," Buffy whispered at the light continuing to grow in size as it came closer.


Xander opened his eyes. Everything in his body hurt. He looked around confused, until his memory returned to him and he recognized a hospital IC ward. More patients were lying in the other beds. Xander groaned, pain lancing through his body as he sat up. Something had awoken him. He checked a few drawers of his night stand. Relieved at finding his clothes there he started disrobing, and met obstacles. For a moment he looked at his arms, then ripped the IVs and other medical equipment off his body.

Xander tested for a moment if everything was present in his pants: keys, wallet, IDs, etc. Satisfied he pulled on his clothes. Nurses filed into the room, ready to try to reanimate the patient they thought was in trouble. "Sir, you should be back in bed," a nurse said as he watched Xander pull on his shirt. "You are in no condition . . ." she pauzed as she saw Xander walk toward the shattered window, pain evident in every one of his movements.

"Mr. Littica," one of the nurses warned him, as he and the others surged forward, trying to stop Xander. "That's a window three stories high! You need rest, lots of it! You won't survive the next night if you don't get back to bed!"

Xander looked out the window and upward, and cursed under his breath. There was another one, and he was in no condition to do anything about it. The others would have to solve this problem on their own. Then he turned half around and looked back at his nurses for one moment, giving them a painful smirk. "Thanks for the patch job," he said and jumped out the window. The group of medical personnel reached the window just a bit too late and looked down to see Xander drop like a brick.

*Anya!* Xander closed his eyes and called out telepathically in desperation. Everything in his body hurt, the doctors had done their best, but he knew they were right: without rest, he wouldn't survive the night, but he was planning to rest, just not here. *Anya! Where are you!? Guide me home, beautiful! I don't know which way is home!* Things stayed silent. *Anya! Guide me, baby! Which way his home!*

*Xander!* He grinned, as he sensed his fiance's mind screaming out to him, like a giant beacon. Anya couldn't send any telepathic message, but he could detect her thoughts anywhere if he wanted. *I'm here!* He felt Anya's concern, she had already figured out he was in bad shape during the contact, he knew. Xander turned right, directly toward Sunnydale, California and blasted off, ten meters above the pavement. He forced himself to fly as fast as he could, every second he exerted his energy, pain lanced through his body, but he had to.

The group of medical workers looked in shock at their patient suddenly flying off into the distance, their jaws dropping.



Anya sat in the couch in frustration, watching the news broadcasts. All of them praising the miracle 'god' had decided to send them. Not surprisingly, not long after the initial broadcasts, the three distinctly flying humans were no longer shown. Only vague footage from a distance.

Suddenly she stood up and screamed, "Xander! He's alive!"

The three witches looked at her with happy, expecting faces. Spike scowled in irritation, thinking, *Who was I kidding? That bastard will survive anything, he's like a cockroach. I'll have to take him out myself one day . . . all the better.*

"Oh! Gotta go!" Anya exclaimed and ran for the door. Barely in time she remembered to grab her coat from the rack. She opened the door fluently and looked back at the witches and vampire, "He needs the regeneration chamber," she said to the point of hysterics, and she was out the door.

The witches were sitting too dumbfounded to get up and go with her. Once she was out the door they decided to stay put, looking back at the television screen.

"The new asteroid has previously been in the first's shadow, and has only been detected a half an hour ago, since all people's attention was on the crisis at hand," the reporter on screen said with a terrified face. "It has the same course and speed as the first, but is slightly more to the east as the first. It is heading straight for where Oklahoma City is now like the first. It's radius has been determined at 6 miles, which . . ."


Military base, north of Oklahoma City

" . . . means exactly what?" the general asked, looking directly at the scientist in front of him.

"The extinction of the human species, sir," the scientist answered. "If it isn't diverted, or destroyed, we are all dead."



"And it will impact in about three hours, by then it should impact in California or just west of it," the reporter almost whispered with wide eyes.

"Bloody hell," Spike exclaimed as he heard the reporter.

The witches just looked at the screen with mouths agape.

Episode 20
Apocalypse Now!

Super Saiyan 3; Our Last and Only Hope?

Reminder: Xander Super Saiyan 2 Theme: Glenn Campbell - Four Horsemen Xander Super Saiyan 3 Theme: PPK - Resurrection

Notes on SS3 Theme: When you here the song you're probably going, "What!?" Now bear with me, I know it doesn't sound anything like what you would think a cool theme, just too much boink, boink. I know this, but I'm thinking about a complete remix of this song. Strip a lot of the techno away, keep the few more ethereal parts, and not the first, but the second high pitched sounds that sound like they are made with that instrument, made with a few plates, on a standard and you hit them with this stick, you know, the instrument Famke Janssen taught Picard how to play for a ceremony in that TNG episode. Now add some guitar and drum sounds, and mix in a little from the Super Saiyan 3 Ascension music by Bruce Faulconer from the English show, and you've got what I have in mind. The pings give a suitable eery sound that reflects the awesome, scary power experienced by those who can sense energy, while the ethereal parts give testimony to the balance needed and the deep depth inside his being a Saiyan has to reach for the third level, while the faster parts really give an idea of the simple rawness, the brutal primitiveness (those ape-like eye ridges, and reaching beyond Oozaru) of this new level.

On with the story.

Military Base

"Options?" the General asked roughly. Around him the room was filled wit busy people and frantic calls, people operating sensor screens, and reading through computer readouts.

"If we had a year to plan this . . ." a scientist said. Quickly calling up NASA headquarters. The more minds on this, and the more expert those minds, the better chance. "I've got NASA on speakers."

"Options!?" the General asked more roughly this time.

<<None,>> NASA answered.

"Come on, people! You're the experts here! Give me something I can work with. Anything; no matter how big of a longshot it is!" the general yelled out in frustration.

<<There is nothing, General,>> NASA answered, the man's voice booming around the room through the speakers. <<The asteroid will crash within three hours. We can't get a shuttle or a rocket ready within at least three days. And even then, the fire power needed to destroy this asteroid would probably irradiate the planet, not to mention the time it takes to calculate the exact positions to place the nuclear charges, and drilling the holes. It can't be done in three hours.>>

"What about changing its course, make it miss the Earth," the military scientist asked.

<<Still don't have the time to send the nuclear weapons up there,>> the NASA scientist answered with frustration. <<Nor the time to calculate the exact positions of the bombs, which are more difficult to determine than a simple destruction. Besides, it's too late, the asteroid has already passed the critical point, it can't be pushed aside to miss the Earth.>>

The general looked thoughtfully at one of their screens, showing the two slayers and former key hanging in the air, looking up at the asteroid in frustration and defeat. "What about them?" the General asked pointing at the three girls.

<<You mean the girls?>> the NASA scientist inferred.

"Yes," the General said.

"From what I can see they're exhausted, and out of energy, sir," the military scientist said, the fear in his voice easily apparent. "Besides, they don't have the power to destroy that thing, not even the guy with the golden glow had that power. He used up everything he had to destroy this smaller one, and from what I can gather he died doing that. If he isn't dead, he's out of commission."

"I'm not talking about destroying the asteroid, I'm talking about pushing it aside," the General explained.

<<Not possible,>> the NASA scientist said.

"Yeah, but then, them floating in air, and the rest they did, is also not possible," the General bit back bitterly.

<<You don't get it, the asteroid has passed the critical point,>> the NASA scientist started explaining. <<Now you no longer only have to fight the asteroid's speed and direction, but also Earth's gravity. It takes ten times more energy now to push it to miss the Earth, than it does to destroy it, and we just established they don't have anywhere near that energy.>>

"What if we use Earth's gravity to our advantage?" the military scientist asked, rubbing his chin pensively.

<<What do you mean?>> NASA asked.

"What if we push it just enough so Earth's gravity captures the asteroid and puts it into an orbit?" the military scientist suggested hopefully.

NASA stayed silent for a moment, then said, hopeful, <<It's too close for a permanent orbit, they could only be able to pull of a decaying orbit . . .>>

"That would buy us time right?" the General asked, in his voice hope laid carefully as well.

"A few hours, a day, two if we're very lucky," the military scientist said.

The General got a determined stare, "Can you choose its impact site?"

<<General, it doesn't matter where it impacts, where all dead, all of humanity that includes the US.>>

The general paced back and forth, "I get that, but if ours and/or the Europeans space capability isn't destroyed in the initial blast, we might just have the time left to send a small remnant of the human race into space to colonize Mars or something; we'd survive!?"

<<That's actually quite possible,>> the NASA scientist said, with hopeful appreciation. <<That's a lot easier than we make it out to be on the Discovery Channel. This is classified, but Mars is very much alive, it'd be like the Himalaya, but it takes much less effort to get a habitable dome structure on Mars than to destroy an asteroid.>>

"I don't think we have the luxury to determine its impact site at this short a notice, one chance is probably all we've got, but we'll see what we can do," the military scientist said gravely.

"Good, get cracking, and get me captain Meadow. He's had the most experience with these . . . beings, he needs to communicate with them, tell them what we've come up with," the General ordered. He was back in his element.


Faith, Buffy, and Dawn floated in the air, looking up at the asteroid with helpless expressions. Dawn and Buffy looked back down all of a sudden.

Buffy was shocked as she muttered, "That's Xander."

Dawn looked back up, and said, "I vote we do what Xander does and get out of here as fast and as far as we can. We load up on necessities, take Xander's space ship and get the hell off this planet."

"No," Faith said with authority. "Xander is hurt, you must have felt it, <and> we don't have the speed needed to get out of the way, or to his ship . . . Neither does Xander. We're going to fight this thing or die trying."

Buffy looked astonished. Who had put her in charge? Not to mention, looking at Dawn's reaction, since when could Faith be in charge, and be so convincing at it.

Faith turned to look at the two young women with her for a moment, and said, "Up." The three blasted upward until oxygen became an issue.

"Ok, you have a bright idea?" Buffy asked the younger slayer. Faith looked at the asteroid, still out in space - but rapidly coming closer - for a moment, then turned to look at Buffy.

"No. You?"

Buffy was taken aback by the look in her junior's eyes. They were filled with fear and a longing for someone wiser, older to tell her what to do. Buffy was at a loss, and snook her head. She had no idea either, the dread in the pit of her stomach was almost tangible, as if it would tear itself a way out her body and start running. Buffy saw Faith's face harden with resolve, even though the fear remained.

"Well . . . here goes-," Faith started, but was interrupted by an F16 flying by. It turned around and slowed down as much as it could. The pilot gestured back and forth between him and them.

"I think, he wants to communicate with us," Dawn said, with wide eyes and breathing hard.

Faith blinked. Circling her hand, she gestured 'go ahead.'

The pilot pointed upward, then held up two fists and let them smash together, after which he held up three fingers and drew an 'h' in the air. The three girls looked confused.

The jet moved past them, and thus it circled around. The pilot repeated his gestures.

"I get it, impact . . ." Dawn exclaimed in revelation.

Faith had gotten a hang of the pilot's gestures, and joined Dawn in the last part of the sentence. " . . .in three hours."

While she nodded her understanding, Faith gestured again for the pilot to continue. The pilot pointed at them, then at the asteroid, and then brought his fists up again, this time he circled one around the other. Then he repeated it again, before he had to make another U-turn.

Faith figured it out first as the plane made its turn. "I think he wants us to try to push it into an orbit," she said with a glimmer of hope. Buffy and Dawn nodded in understanding. Once the turn was complete, Faith pointed to the pilot then to them, after which she extended an arm, hand flat and waved it around. She hunched up her shoulders, arms out in an 'I don't know' gesture, then drew a clock and made another 'I don't know' gesture.

The pilot gave a thumbs up, then a 'follow me' gesture. The plane made sharp turn and flew off.


Meadow looked back and was pleased to see the three girls following him. He still could hardly believe the three girls were flying through the air and keeping up with him, even though he wasn't going at super sonic speeds. He checked the coordinates that command had given him. Once there he gave a burst with his afterburners, marking the spot with a cloud of smoke.

Meadow turned his plane around, and watched the three girls hover above the cloud, looking expectantly at him. Good, they had understood.

"Meadow to command, we're ready. I need direction, and corrections once they're firing," Meadow asked via the radio.



"Well," the General asked his scientist.

The man turned to look at him and nodded.


"Impact site, Philadelphia," the man answered him.

The General nodded, and then made a go-ahead gesture with his head.


"We'll have to make these very powerful, but very low intensity," Faith said slowly, looking up at the asteroid with an intense gaze. "We don't want to waste energy burrowing into the asteroid, we want to push it aside."

She turned her head and looked at Meadow in his plane. He held up three fingers on each hand, and then drew a small circle just above where he had his hands moments before. Faith gave him a thumbs up and said, to the other two girls, "Thirty-three degrees." Buffy and Dawn nodded. Faith placed her hands along side her body and said, "Galeck Gun Fire!" Faith moved her hands in front of her, and a small narrow beam, almost see-through blasted from out them. It quickly left Earth's atmosphere and entered space. A short while later it impacted on the asteroid. Most, if not all of the energy bounced off the asteroid, forming a small ring of energy moving away from the rock.

Faith turned to look at Meadow who pointed upward with his finger. Faith raised her beam a little. Meadow gestured to stop and then pointed downward. Faith slowly lowered her beam, until Meadow again gestured to stop. Then he stretched out his arm and lowered the front end. Faith made the angle of her beam more shallow. Stopping in the right position, Meadow signaled 'perfect'. Faith released the full might of her energy with a yell. The Galeck Gun increased in size instantly, although the intensity stayed the same.

Buffy joined alongside her and performed similar movements with her hands. "Kamehameha!" The energy beam erupted, sparkled and blinked out. "DAMN IT!" Buffy screamed in frustration. As on Faith's other side Dawn fired a simple energy beam alongside Faith's Galeck Gun, Buffy started again. "KAMEHAMEHA!!" Once more the energy beam formed, and once more sputtered out of existence. "NO!"

"Leave it, B, just fire something," Faith told her fellow slayer gently, but with command in her voice. Even more frustrated, and hating herself for doing as the object of a lot of her hate told her to, Buffy fired an energy beam that soon joined the other two on the asteroid.

Faith turned to look at the pilot in his F16 that was circling around them. He showed all five fingers of one of his hands, and then drew an 'H', in the air.

"Five hours!?" Dawn exclaimed in shock. "That's two hours too long, and I can't keep this up for five hours, Faith. A half hour at most, I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty . . ."

Faith brow furrowed and then with a scream released even more energy into the Galeck Gun. Buffy followed suit with her own energy beam. The group turned to look at the jet and its pilot. He held up four fingers, drew an 'H', held up all ten of his fingers, followed by another five, and then drew an 'M'.

"Four hours fifteen minutes," Buffy said defeated. "We can't do this."

Faith kept firing. "I will die trying," she said hollowly, feeling the loss. She had come this far, and now a simple rock would end it all. "I won't give up. I won't."

All three of them felt it, they looked in the direction and they saw a small white dot appear on the horizon. Over the course of minutes it slowly grew, until it finally coalesced into a chi flame with an Asian man inside.

"Sorry, I late," he said in broken English. He was breathing hard, he was obviously exhausted. Whether his speech was from lack of knowledge or a much needed short hand to spare his energy, or a combination of both neither of the three stunned girls could tell. "Long flight Tibet, almost ten hours." He assessed what they were doing, the state of the city below, and quickly decided on what had happened during his flight over here. He joined them and despite his exhaustion fired an energy beam up at the asteroid, helping to push along.

Faith looked at the fighter plane, and its just as astonished occupant as they were. Three hours fifty-five minutes he signaled. Faith grimaced and put even more of her energy into the beam. Her body strained as she did so, arms gently trembled under the exertion.

"I . . . pleasantly surprised," the Tibetan told them with a gentle smile. "I thought, I only one, who can do this."

"So did we," Buffy told him, and looked with the rest at the fighter jet. Three and a half hours, till completion. Two hours and forty six minutes till impact, he signaled afterward.

"Still not enough," Dawn said stricken. She had tried several times to increase her energy output like Faith had, but had found it impossible to do so. She had simply reached her limit, at least without hurting her own body, which would only mean she would break down sooner.


Spike stalked the room back and forth. He hated this. He should be out there helping. He couldn't care less about the people in Oklahoma. He couldn't care less about the people of the world. But his own hide, now that was something else. It didn't help that the others were selflessly risking their lives to save <all> of their lives, that included his, which meant he would be in their debt, and he hated being in anyone's debt, even if he had no intention of ever paying off that debt. Before this, all their motivations of keeping him alive had ultimately been selfish, what could <he> do to help <them> if he stayed alive. This wasn't. That bastard Xander, and his goody two-shoes sidekicks, could just as easily decide to screw this planet, or even this dimension and take his friends in deep space or across the dimensional barrier for a new home. But no, he had to save their lives, and thus his.

He looked out the window, through the shades and saw a blurred image of the sun. Nature was laughing at him. The sun, nature, is what kept him locked in here, and nature had sent that asteroid, right in the middle of day time. Nature, the great equalizer. Nature didn't give a shit about good or evil. Nature didn't give a damn about the fight between light and darkness. And nature couldn't care less about some old halfwits claiming this planet was theirs and not the souled people dominating it now. If nature decided you had lived long enough, it wiped you out. Gods, humans, demons; it didn't matter. Anything and everything that depended on a certain level of life on the planet for survival could be wiped out with ease. This was its ultimate demonstration. Success this time or not; there were weapons out there that nature could wield which would make this little asteroid look pathetic in comparison. Spike had to grin at the irony. What if the master had succeeded in opening the Hellmouth properly and unleashed hell on Earth? That hell today, would have come to the same crashing end as the relative paradise that Earth was now. His grin widened as he imagined it: the monsters crawling around the Earth, having a fantastic buffet at eating humans and animals and whatever else they could find, all cheering, and patting themselves on their backs for their triumphant return, until they pointed up and said - with dumb looks in their eyes, still picking human flesh from their teeth with human bones - 'Hey, what's that light?' BOOM! Spike laughed out loud, it was just too funny.

"What's so funny?" Willow asked the vampire with narrowed, angry and frustrated eyes.

"Oh, nothing," Spike answered, unable to keep the grin of his face. "Just a little ironic contemplation on the nature of the bloody universe."

Willow looked as if she wanted to argue with him, but then turned back to the television, as the dread over the situation returned full force.

"A-are they trying t-to destroy it?" Tara asked nervously to no one in particular. The implication lay heavily in the air: there was no way they could destroy this much bigger new one, they would fail miserably at their attempts.

"No, you bloody halfwit!" Spike screamed out his frustration. He saw Tara flinch back. These people were so stupid. How in blazes had they managed to beat him and everybody else anyway? Oh, right, Xander, cold blooded strategist, and Giles with the right book with the right information to point them in the right direction. Even if they wouldn't have been able to beat whatever, Xander would have revealed his true nature earlier, like he finally felt necessary with Glory. It must have been torture on the guy constantly deciding whether or not he should release his power. Waiting to see whether they would come save him when he was captured. Constantly struggling whether people, the Slayer mostly, could pull through without his help. And the failures, Jenny Calender, Faith's fall from grace, that Jesse guy he had talked about. Especially, as like Spike himself, Xander was a predator, a warrior, he would have smiled as he crushed the Master's skull into paste, laughed heartily as he tore his, Dru's and Brood Boy's bodies limb from limb, smirked as he gleefully would have used the Mayor's snake form in a nice game of jump the rope before skinning it alive and have enough snake meat to barbecue for the rest of his life . . . torture huh? Perhaps there was something good about Xander's powered up state after all. Not to mention he had just found some new ammo to potentially use. For an imperceptible instant an evil smile flickered across Spike's face, before his frustration returned and continued reaming Tara's ass verbally. "Not all the women in this household are as stupid as you, they are trying to push it aside."

"Hey!" Willow exclaimed angrily, gathering Tara in a comforting hug. "You leave my girlfriend alone. She is not stupid!"

Spike was about to sink his verbal fangs in the redhead, when Sandra got up and said, "Let's go. We <can> help with this." The vampire and the two lesbian witches looked at the teacher witch, who walked toward the basement entrance. Suddenly jolting to life, the three of them quickly followed her.

Once down inside Sandra took position on the north peak of the decagram drawn on the ground. Willow and Tara took their positions a third of the circle away from.

"Hey, can I help?" Spike asked with a disinterested tone, still standing halfway up the stairs.

Sandra contemplated for an instant and then pointed a quarter of the circle away. "East," she ordered quickly. Spike jumped down the rest of the way, off to the side of the stairs, displaying his 'cool'. As Willow scooted over toward, west, and Tara to south, Spike took his position. "You won't be able to do much, but we can draw upon your life force, however much or little a demon infested corpse may posses. Willow, Tara, we don't have the luxury of using only a third of our power now, we'll have to draw upon everything we've got. We'll come down crashing after this, we can't use magic for at least a week, no matter how much our bodies crave it." Willow and Tara nodded.

"Guardians of the watchtowers of the north!" Sandra exclaimed raising her hands into the air. Willow and Tara followed suit, so Spike did the same. "We beseech thee!"

"We beseech thee!" Willow and Tara cried out in unison. Instantly a bolt of lightning formed through them, making a circle. Spike jerked at the power, and looked surprised as the others hardly seemed to notice. Willow's eyes had turned black, while Tara's were an ethereal, deep navy blue. Sandra's eyes had remained unchanged.

"Guardians of the watchtowers of the south! We beseech thee!"

"We beseech thee!" The lightning intensified.

"Guardians of the watchtowers of the east! We beseech thee"

"We beseech thee!" The decagram began to glow and slowly a mist rose up.

"Guardians of the watchtowers of the west! We beseech thee."

"We beseech thee!" The whole cellar was quickly turned into a light show. On top of what was going on, energy now burst upward from the decagram and surrounded them in a sphere of light. It spilled out over them, rising higher, and engulfing the entire ceiling.

"The danger we face threatens the entire world!" Sandra cried out. "It threatens to explode, and take the world with it. Of all the powers of light and darkness, we beseech thee!"

"We beseech thee!" Willow and Tara cried out again.

"Repel this threat now!"

"Repel!" Willow and Tara together again.

"Refuto calamitas!" Sandra called out in Latin.

"Refuto!" the lesbians repeated.

"Barra Telal! Barra Uggae! Barra Hebat!" Sandra called out, this time her chosen language was Sumerian. The power picked up, started to rotate rapidly, and violently around the cellar.

"BARRA! BARRA! BARRA!" As Willow and Tara called out the words, the energy increased even more and the sound of the rotating energy and the wind caused by it, almost started to overpower the witches exclaims.

"Hecate, sto� den Fels weg!"

"Sto� weg!" Willow and Tara again called out the verbs if Sandra's sentence, the energy vortex increasing in strength.

"Methu Marduk!" Sandra's pupils disappeared, her eyes turned completely white in this final part of the spell.

"Methu!" The final words were repeated and the energy suddenly burst outward. Spike felt himself go rigid in the energy, briefly wondering if the witches had actually managed to rival Xander's first transformation or whether that was just an illusion on his part. Instantly he became aware of pushing energy reaching far beyond the house, even though he didn't see anything actually leaving the cellar.


San Francisco
Halliwell Manor

"Are you guys certain this Se watchamacallit is so bad?" Paige asked at the other three witches fearfully.

"Yes, every prophecy says so. Both the demons and the Elders say so, there is no doubt about it. Why?" Prue asked nervously, arms across her chest.

"Well," Paige asked, afraid of sounding stupid. "Why would he risk his life trying to save lives? From what I can tell, he might very well be dead." Paige turned to look at the tv, showing the asteroid, military aircraft, and four points of light high in the sky.

"Flex his muscles, show off his power, slowly toying with everyone before finally destroying us all," Cole mentioned from a side seat.

He seemed calm, but Phoebe knew better, she could see it in his eyes. "Or this might actually be big enough to threaten the Sedra Soli's life. Then destroying the rocks before they destroy him is purely selfish."

"I'd buy that of this one," Paige pointed at the screen, that was still showing the Apocalypse stone. "But not the first, one destroyed city wouldn't kill him. Not to mention why does he have friends, or minions and why would <they> risk their lives?"

Phoebe was at a loss for words, could they be wrong about this? Was this the solution that the bigger powers they were told would handle the Sedra Soli, had come up with? Were they willing to destroy all life on the planet if it meant saving their own asses?

"Look," Piper said angry with frustration. "Until I see proof otherwise, and I'm not in the least bit, I'm assuming this is all just a set up, and this bastard is not hurt at all, and laughing his ass off somewhere."

"I agree," Leo stated calmly. "I wouldn't be surprised if he brought the asteroids."

"That bad huh?" Paige asked with a grimace.

Phoebe wobbled at the sensation and called out, "Whoa." She saw her fellow witches do the same, obviously this was not something only she could feel. Magic! Not the raw energy she had started to feel better and better over the past few months, this was magic, and lots of it, and her sisters felt it too. They all looked in the direction it came from: the direction of Los Angeles.

Then another burst, this one from right here in their own city, not as powerful as the first but close enough. "They are helping trying to push aside the asteroid," Phoebe whispered in awe. She looked at her fellow sisters.

Prue quickly made the decision, not liking it, probably helping their enemy, but the way she saw it, they had no choice. "We can't keep out of it, we help as well."


With a sudden relief, the three girls and Asian man felt the strain lessen.

"What the!?" Dawn called out. "Are you feeling the same thing?"

Faith felt the lessening of the strain as well, and something else. What was it? She checked it out, looked down. For some odd reason she could feel the general direction of the source, even through the energy pushing the asteroid didn't strictly have a source. "That's magic energy," she said, coming to the right conclusion.

Buffy's eyes widened in recognition, "That's Willow, Tara, and their new teacher!"

"Yeah!" Dawn screamed aloud with happiness. There was another burst, and their load became even lighter. "Wait a minute!"

"That's the ones who tried to kill Xander," Faith said with wide eyes, surprising herself, she didn't know she had been able to differentiate between energies back then already.

Then there was another burst pushing against the asteroid, and another, and another. The four of them looked with astonishment at where their sixth sense told them it was coming from. From the US, Canada, South America, Europe . . . soon from all over the world there were magic spikes all pushing against the asteroid.

"All right!" Buffy exclaimed, "We just got help, we might just have a chance!" The four of them looked at the jet still circling them. The pilot signaled fifteen minutes.

"I don't know if fifteen minutes is possible for me," their surprise guest told them. Faith looked back to the asteroid with determination. They were going to win this, no doubt about it.

Time moved on, every minute they kept going it became more difficult. Every minute their limbs trembled more. Every moment they become more hungry and thirsty. After twelve minutes, the Asian backed off.

"Sorry," he said. The girls looked at him, he didn't look good, as if he would drop from the sky any moment. "Nothing left." He slowly floated down, they watched as he steered himself toward one of the helicopters still floating below.

The girls looked at the pilot in the jet. Three and a half minutes he gestured. Determined they continued onward. The three energy beams firing continuously, never once hiccuping.

Finally the jet pilot started counting down. Thirty seconds . . . twenty-five seconds . . . twenty seconds . . . nineteen seconds . . .


Halliwell Manor

The four witches were standing around the pentagram in the attic. Their hands raised to the sky, energy circled around them rapidly. Their bodies trembled and shook.

Leo and Cole looked on with worry. Trying to get to them now, would probably kill them. They had never seen the Charmed Ones exuding such power. They had both called upon the power of three, as the four corners of the Earth.

Their power waned, and the witches' knees buckled, dropping them unceremoniously to the floor. "We're out," Prue managed before she and the others fell asleep.


Summers' Residence, cellar

The violent vortex still flew around the three witches and vampire. But that didn't last long. Moments later the energy disappeared and the four of them collapsed to the ground, they too were spent.


"No," Buffy whispered with dread. She felt the magical peaks disappear around the world. The strain of pushing the asteroid rapidly coming back to full capacity.

Faith looked back at the pilot. He signaled five minutes. Faith increased the energy to the Galeck gun a little and looked back. Four minutes he signaled. "Keep going, guys," Faith said, her body trembling. "We've got to keep going. We're all this world has got left. Don't give up! Don't give up!"

Dawn nodded, biting her lower lip, as her body trembled more and more. Four minutes became three, then two and a half. "I'm out," Dawn muttered. She stopped firing, and saw the last of the beam she had made continue onward until it reached the asteroid and was gone. Buffy and Faith looked at Dawn who floated downward.

"Dawn," Buffy said concerned but kept up her beam. She saw Dawn maneuver herself slowly toward the same helicopter as the Asian had gone too, mostly letting Earth's gravity do the moving for her.

"Don't bail now, B. The Chosen Two are the only ones that are left," Faith said to Buffy with urgency. "We've got to keep it together." She looked at the pilot, they were back at three minutes.

"I know that. I'm not stupid," Buffy told her angrily, body trembling under the exertion.

"Really?" Faith asked, surprised. "I always thought you were. Angel definitely thinks so, and Xander . . ." Buffy looked at her slack-jawed. " . . .well, he definitely thinks I'm smarter than you."

"BITCH!" Buffy screamed at her. Faith realized that she had annihilated the bonding, or whatever it was that had allowed the two of them to work amiable together during this event, but it was worth it. Buffy's anger drove her power up. Her chi flame became a little more intense, her energy beam grew along with it. Faith smirked with satisfaction at the added power. Buffy's look grew more angry as she saw the smirk.

With a glowering Buffy, the two hung in the air, firing their energy outward. Their bodies hurt and trembled. They fought onward though, never letting up.

As the power drain increased, Buffy's anger slowly ebbed away. "Faith," Buffy called bitterly. "I can't keep this up much longer."

"You have to! You must!" Faith ordered her, feeling the strain on her body increase as well. She looked back at the pilot. "One more minute, B. Just keep it together, bitch! Come on, blondie. Don't tell me you're out already. You're the Slayer after all, this is your sacred duty, your destiny. One more burst of effort. You always did go home early to fuck your boyfriends, leaving me to the clean up duty!"

It hit home, Buffy's beam intensified again as the look on her face darkened. Faith had used the speech to rile herself up as well. Getting angry herself about the half truth, her own beam intensified. "Just a few seconds more!" Faith yelled, as she felt the trembling in her body intensify. She knew neither Dawn nor the Asian guy had trembled so much as the two of them did now. They were on their last reserves.

"I'm sorry," Buffy said eventually, to Faith in particular and everyone at the same time. The beam stopped, quickly growing shorter, as no new energy was being supplied. Shaking the blonde slayer dropped from the sky, using the last tiny bits of energy left in her to point herself toward the first helicopter she saw.

Faith felt the strain on her body suddenly increase, launching a pain through her body. Tears sprang forth from her eyes involuntarily, and she felt them poor down her cheeks. She looked back quickly. The pilot signaling forty-five seconds. She could feel his despair. It poured of his mannerisms like an avalanche. Whatever hope he had earlier it was gone now. He didn't believe she could do it alone. Faith bit her lips, she agreed with him. How could she last another forty five seconds, if with Buffy's help, she felt like she could barely handle the time needed then. She felt like a failure, she felt like letting the guy in his plane down. She would let everyone on the planet down. She would let her friends down . . . again. The tears that started to form now were not of pain. She felt her energy plummet to inexistence. Her chi flame started to flicker.

*I believe in you Faith,* a voice suddenly sounded in her mind. Had that been Xander? Raiden? She didn't know, and at the moment she didn't care who it was. How could anyone believe in her, if she didn't even believe in herself?

*Stop wallowing in your self pity!* a new voice screamed at her. She knew <that> voice. It was her <own> voice. *It's what helped you go evil in the first place. Believe in your self or not, it doesn't matter! For once in your damn life stop curling up like a little kid every time things are going to get tough, and do what has been a burning desire in you from the moment that bitch mother first beat you into a pulp. Fight back! Truly fight! Not this oh, look slayer powers, kill demons, fun, good sensations, slay some more. Fight, damn you! Fight for real! If your slayer powers are gone, than use your human ones!*

Faith had no idea from what part of her psyche that had come from, but somehow it did the trick. Barely a second had passed since the pilot had announced she still had forty five seconds to go. Thoughts could speed along at great speed, and when adrenaline speeds the brain up, it goes even faster. Faith screamed out her anger. She'd be damned if she gave up now, so close to succeeding. Her chi flame burned bright and steady again, the Galeck Gun grew in power. She looked to her left. Twenty-five seconds he indicated to her.

Her body started trembling with even more violence.

Twenty seconds. . .

Her chi flame began flickering again. Her arms trembled, causing her to use up precious energy keeping the beam straight.

Ten seconds. . .

The beam itself started wavering as her chi flame completely disappeared.

Nine seconds. . .

More wavering.

Eight seconds. . .

"NO!" she screamed in defiance, reaching down in the deepest depths of her being. The beam steadied.

Seven seconds. . .

The grimace on Faith's face betrayed her pain and anguish.

Six seconds . . .

"Won't fail," Faith muttered in defiance.

Five seconds . . .

Faith bit her lower lip in concentration, trying to keep all the pain and shaking in her body from causing her to stop firing.

Four seconds . . .

Faith had reached her limit. The firing of the Galeck Gun stopped. Depleted of energy barely able to move, truly giving it her everything. Faith started falling from the sky.


Meadow's eyes widened in horror as she saw the girl stop firing and start to drop from the sky. He looked up at the shortening beam and counted off of his hand, eyes widening with hope.

Three seconds . . .

Two seconds . . .

The beam was visible, still on a course with the gigantic asteroid, growing shorter by the moment. Only a small tail of the beam left.

One second . . .

The last of the beam hit the asteroid, the endpoint of the beam resembling a fountain. Then the beam was gone.

"Did she do it!?" Meadow screamed into his comm system. Silence greeted him. "Meadow to base, well, did she!?"

"Come on!" he demanded but no answer still.

Then the other side erupted in cheers and the scientist's voice came over the comm. "They did it. We have an extra day and a half!"

"YES!!" Meadow roared with a wide grin. He looked down and saw Faith still plummeting to the Earth. He guessed she was a lot worse off than her friends and quickly dived downward. He moved his left wing underneath her, moving downward only a slightly less fast as Faith herself. Meadow watched as the dark-haired girl hit his wing gently, and then clasped two hands around the edge of the wing. He watched her look at him questioningly. He held up his right hand, outer three fingers up, thumb and index finger together in a circle; perfect! He saw her smile and then with her right hand, as she held on with her left, she depicted to him: grabbing a utensil and scooping something up and then taking it in her mouth, drinking something, and finally the hand alongside her cheek, indicating sleep. Meadow gave her a thumbs up.

With urgency, he practically yelled into his comm system, "Meadow to base! We're coming in. Prepare food, drink and beds, they need to recuperate!"



Anya paced back and forth, back and forth, through her and Xander's apartment. Worry lined her face. She hadn't felt Xander anymore after she left Buffy's house hold, apart from one message that he couldn't contact her, because it would waste too much energy, so she shouldn't worry. Yeah, right, that only made her worry more.

Suddenly she stopped moving, and looked out the window. Was she imagining it, or . . . Yes! A small light . . . a very pale light. She dashed outside and waited worriedly. The small light grew bigger, and bigger. Once she could identify a silhouette inside it, the light started flickering in and out of existence. With every flicker the silhouette, that was slowly gaining the familiar shape of her fiance, fell downward, making it appear, as if it was going across stairs. She hugged herself close, one hand moving up to her mouth, where she pushed a half fist against her skin.

Finally he was above the lawn belonging to the apartment building, only about a meter away from her, and level with her face. Then, Xander just dropped to the ground. "Xander!" Anya shrieked, wide-eyed. She watched in shock as Xander propped himself on one eyebrow with extreme difficulty, reaching out to her with his right arm. He seemed barely able to keep himself up.

"Anya," he groaned out weekly. "Regen . . ." Then he collapsed on his unsupported side and rolled over on his back, unconscious.

"Xander!" she screamed, and grabbed him by his shoulders. She then started pulling him along with difficulty. Things became even tougher pulling him up the few steps to the door leading inside. "Damn it," Anya muttered in frustration. "I should have brought Spike, he could have just thrown Xander easily over his shoulder."

She fumbled with the door with her elbow, and managed to get past it. Then she dragged him along, repeating the process with the door to their apartment. Grunting she pulled him along across their living room. "Sometimes I wish you weren't all musclely, just a little figure stick would make this much easier," Anya said in frustration, pulling on Xander's body. Her eyes widened as she realized what was happening, and gently put Xander down. Quickly she walked over to his feet and as she pulled his left leg from behind the couch, she said, "Or one of the witches, they could have just cast a levitation spell."

Back to his other side, she picked him by the shoulders again and pulled him along. Finally she reached the room with the regeneration tank and pulled him up to the tank. She quickly pushed the button Xander had shown her once and the glass oval cover slid aside. She looked at the three steep ladder-like metal steps and contemplated how to do this. She turned Xander around with some effort, and tried to pulling him along by supporting him on her shoulder. Realizing, as she stepped onto the first step, this wasn't going to work, she shook him and called out loud, "Xander, wake up! You have to help me, you're too heavy!" When he didn't respond, tears sprung in her eyes and tried again. To her relief she more felt, than heard him groan. His left hand moved out and grabbed a hold of the tank's edge, his knuckles whitening with effort.

Anya called upon every little bit of strength she could muster, and gritting her teeth. Groaning, she pushed Xander upward, taking one wobbly step at a time. Then another one and she finally managed to hang Xander on his stomach over the edge, Xander's own miniscule efforts just enough for her to succeed. She pulled back and placed her hands on his ass, showing some uncharacteristic restraint fueled by her adrenaline, she pushed him up and over. Then she climbed into the tank herself, and started undressing him, while attaching all the wiring, and tubes as Xander had shown her. The last thing she did, was fit the mask on his face and mouth.

Once done, Anya climbed back out, kicked the pile of clothes aside, and closed the hatch with the appropriate button. She looked at the control panel and got a momentary panic attack. "Think, Anya, think!" she admonished herself. "You know how to do this, he's shown you." Tentatively she pushed one of the buttons and the read out showed several English words. Xander had translated the messages from Saiyan for her and the others' benefit. "That's the right message," Anya muttered, and smashed her right palm into her forehead in an attempt to jump start her memory. "Come on! Remember! Think, you stupid woman! Uh . . ." She pushed another button, and another choosing the type of healing needed: everything. Anya closed her eyes and squinted, *What now! You know this, damn you!* Her face lighted up, and pushed three buttons rapidly after one another. "Yes!" she exclaimed with a big grin and pushed the big green button.

She heard a gurgling sound; the tank was being filled with the nutrient solution. She quickly got up on the steps and looked inside. Anya blinked once, watching the green, gooey, see-through liquid rapidly filling the tank. Once it reached above Xander's eyes, she saw his face relax, and she took it as a sign that she hadn't screwed up. A few moments later, once the tank was completely full, the tank came to life, emitted a low hum.

"Great, Anya! You rule!" she patted herself on the back, and then her face became sad again. She climbed down and grabbed a chair. She sat it in and looked up at a naked Xander floating in the tank. "Please," Anya whispered, tears springing from her eyes. "Let it be enough, I don't want you to die."


Later that evening

General Morgenstar looked at the screens, showing the three girls and one Asian male sleeping in their newly appointed bunks. The nerve center was a jumble of noises. People all over the place were busy making calculations on how best to tackle the crisis. 'It wasn't just us,' he remembered them telling. Practically every magic user in the world had helped push that asteroid into its present orbit. Sooner or later that statement would change his world view, and that of everyone else in here completely, not to mention their astounding abilities themselves, providing of course, they survived the coming day. And that meant, that at the moment, there was no time for philosophy, they had the potential destruction of the species to avert.

He saw Beddow get into a disturbance with the local intelligence officer on the screen. He was going to take a look himself. As he got up, he remembered how the four had eaten. He had never seen anyone eat like that. Of course, he had never seen anyone do the feats they did without technological aid either, they must have burned an incredible amount calories, and had to replenish them.


"What the hell do you think you're doing!?" Lieutenant Beddow said, from his chair overlooking the girls and the Asian. For some reason he felt very protective of the girls.

"Removing the masks," Lieutenant Marquise, the intelligence officer said. He continued moving his hand to Faith's mask undisturbed.

Beddow got up, crossed the distance instantly and grabbed the man's hand. "The hell you will."

"I give the orders here when it gets to national security, and if we survive this we cannot afford not to know their identities," Marquise told him bitterly. "Especially seeing as none of them are willing to give us their real names, or where our mysterious Asian guy comes from. The registries of the development countries there are undoubtedly nowhere near as complete as ours."

Beddow kept his hand tight around Marquise's wrist. "They are risking their lives to save all our butts. If they believe the best way for them is to keep their identities to themselves, then so be it. Ever heard of the right to privacy? It's in the constitution. We don't have the right . . ."

"Right!?" Marquise interrupted Beddow angrily. An instant later his gun was trained on Beddow's face, at the same time he got Beddow's gun at this face. "God damned, idealist fool. This ain't no comic book were the super heroes are always good and always come to our rescue. If they ever decide to turn against us, we must have a way to neutralize them." The three guards in the room looked at each other, not knowing what to do.

"If they decide to turn against us, I hate to think of what we did to piss them off . . ." Beddow answered him, looking in the other's eyes. "Because I don't think it's something I could stand behind, like betraying everything we stand for, like trampling on people's rights, or start a war without provocation and reason . . . I'd probably join them."

"Why are you so certain they have our values and are on our side, for all we know they think Hitler is a nice guy and he should have won World War II," Marquise answered Beddow, not once wavering his own glare.

"Because they are different, and haven't shown themselves without trying to protect our lives. Hitler gassed people just for being Jewish, he would have gassed them as well," Beddow explained his reasoning, he had had time to contemplate the question in the past month. "These people just want to be left alone, they don't want crazy reporters at their door, religious nutcases trying to burn them at stakes, or government, paranoid freaks like you trying to lock them up, blow them away, or cut them open, trying to figure out how they tick."

The door swung open. "What the hell is going on here?" the general demanded forcefully, but with a hushed enough voice not to wake the only hopes for their survival. Dawn moaned and turned around, not waking up. The general took a step forward and prompted, softer this time, "Well?"

"General," Beddow said, not removing the gun from its position, and neither did Marquise. "He wanted to remove their masks."

"Lieutenant Marquise," the General prompted calmly.

"National Security, sir. We need to know their identities," Marquise told him.

The General barely needed a second to think, "Put the gun down, Marquise."

Marquise looked at the General. The guards, now with the General's judgement, trained their guns on Marquise. The man flicked his gaze between the five men, then slowly lowered his gun and put it away. He walked up to the general and said, "You will pay for this." Marquise stalked off.


The next morning, the general was back at the nerve center, looking at the disheveled and dead tired scientist. "Report," he said.

"No country on the planet has the capacity to destroy this thing," the scientist started, calmly, he knew what he had to say. All night joining, calculations, and sensor data, from across the globe with anyone and anything that could help. "The only way to destroy it, is to drill holes in it at the right places and place nuclear weapons in them, then detonating them . . . nobody though can send a space craft up there, and drill those holes in time . . . which leaves only one option." The scientist looked up at the screen showing their four guests having breakfast, each carrying a pained expression. "We hope they can do the drilling from a distance, and then fire nuclear weapons up the holes with B2s, and hope that those guidance systems are as good as the propaganda says they are, because we can't afford even one miss this time."

The general stayed silent for a few moments, quickly skimming through reports. Riots, chaos, everywhere on the Earth among the poor populations. Only western Europe, the region of the world with the most care (financial and otherwise) for the less fortunate, seemed relatively unscathed. It seemed people there were mostly filling themselves up with alcohol, partying like crazy and had as much sex as possible one last time, not caring too much for causing destruction. He read further, the tides were out of wack, Earthquakes everywhere, a volcanic eruption here and there, and completely unpredictable weather patterns, mostly violent storms, and tornados, even in places where normally there were none. The general looked back up at the scientist, and saw his pained expression. With a silent nod he told him to continue.

"There are a few things though, highest chance of success is if we do this practically on top of Dallas in the fore to last orbital pass, this afternoon at sixteen hundred and twelve hours," the scientist said. "Angle, speed, etc., etc. I won't bore you with the details."

The general quickly caught on, "That would irradiate the city." The scientist nodded. "Other options, not above a populated area?"

"Yes, but the chances of success will be severely compromised," the scientist said.


"We tried that with Oklahoma, barely got anyone out," the scientist answered.

The General nodded. "Start preparing, and tell everyone it's the only way, not the best way," the General told him with a grim look.

"We'll need about five nuclear weapons of half a megaton yield . . ." the scientist said, his voice hung low. The general looked at him expectantly. "If our assumptions on the insides, and our calculations are correct, they should be enough to vaporize a large part, and send the rest careening down to the earth. This one is thirty times larger than the first. A few of the remains could be as big as the first. If our assumptions or calculations are wrong, nothing might happen, or we only end up splintering it in a few smaller pieces."

"What about more fire power?" the general asked coldly.

"We will irradiate a part of Earth's surface and atmosphere. Depending on exactly how much more firepower, we could irradiate the entire Earth and its atmosphere and potentially blow part of that atmosphere away," the scientist answered, his seeming calm belying his true agitation.

The general nodded, and walked away from the nerve center, quickly reaching the mess hall, and joined the table with their four guests. "How well do you think you can drill holes in that asteroid?" he asked them.

"That shouldn't be too much of a problem," Faith answered nervously, quite intimidated in the place. Part of her had been looking around to see if no one wanted to cut her open and find out how she worked.

"From here to that table over there? Four meters across?" the general asked.

"Yeah," Faith answered.

"What about the other guy? The guy with the golden glow, I don't suppose you know whether he's still alive do you?" the General asked. He watched as Faith's eyes almost teared up, she shook her head and saw the fear for her friend there.

Buffy shook her head and said, "We can't sense him." The general looked blankly.

"That means one of three things," Faith elaborated, as she saw the general's uncomprehending look. "One, he's in the gym training, two he's in his regeneration tank, or three . . . h-he's . . ." Faith couldn't say it out loud, but the implication was enough.

"And those magic users you talked about?" he asked.

"They're out, it'll be a week before they can perform any major spells again," Buffy answered him, with a grim look.

"You are up and about," the general stated confused.

Dawn was the one who answered, "Raw power, simple life force, is what we use, and need to replenish: rest, and food is enough. Although magic uses their life force too, there is more to it. Magic is more complex, it requires much more. Using magic is like throwing a rock in a pond, only the pond is the Earth, and the ripples move around the planet and hit them right back. Everything comes back to you threefold."

The general nodded and got up. He walked to an intercom on the wall and pushed a button and held it. "Yes, sir," the scientist said.

"We go," the general ordered.



<<All right, Morgenstar to Gunslinger,>> the general sounded through Faith's personal comm system. She looked around her, the two other girls and the Asian were with her. Two F16s, Meadow and Beddow piloting, and two B2s flew just below them. The others had been given the comm system as well, plus oxygen masks to allow them to reach higher altitudes. Since they hadn't given the soldiers their names, the soldiers had let her come up with call signs for the four of them. She still didn't quite figure out why the military had pretty much put her in charge.

"Gunslinger here," Faith said, pushing the send button near her ear. "I'm ready, so are Blonde Fury, Nibblet and Top Dude." She saw Buffy shake her head in disdain at her name, muttering something under her breath. She looked up and looked at the asteroid still quite high above them, easily fifty miles, but because of its sheer size, it almost seemed as if she was right underneath it. She looked down, far to the east she could see a large part of the Atlantic ocean. America was directly below her, far to the west there was a small strip visible of the Pacific. The blue sphere was breathtakingly beautiful. The others were looking at the Earth as well, she had never imagined it would be so magnificent. Hard to believe it could all come to an end in only a few hours.

<<All right, go, you have forty minutes for five holes,>> the general told her.

"Right," she answered and aimed at were the briefing had told her to fire. No Galeck Gun this time, she wanted to drill a hole in the asteroid, not blow another crater on it. She fired a low intensity beam upward. Once it hit the asteroid, she waited patiently.

<<Two degrees left,>> the scientist sounded in her ear. Faith had no idea how much two degrees to the left was, but it didn't sound like much, so she moved her beam slowly to the left. <<Hold, right there.>> She increased the energy to the beam, letting it spread out, so it was four meters by the time it impacted on the asteroid and started drilling her hole. <<Three kilometers, remember? Stay alert, we will tell you when to stop, but if for some reason we won't or can't, it's up to you to stop when necessary.>>

Soon, the other four were drilling at different positions, each hole needing a different depth. Once one of them was finished, they would go and drill the last and easiest hole.


Ten minutes later

Xander's eyes opened, as the fluid drained away. The chamber had revived him. The tubes and other attachments automatically detracted from him. Finally the cover slid aside and a naked Xander, still dripping some of the fluid, stepped out.

Anya sat on the chair waiting, and opened her eyes in admiration of her fiance's form. His muscles gently rippled. From the table to his left he picked the towel Anya had prepared and started drying himself off. "Wow," Anya said breathlessly. Was it her imagination, or did Xander look even better then before? Perhaps it was just the dripping fluid, but if she wasn't mistaken his muscles seemed somehow sleeker, yet more . . . muscley was the only we she could describe it.

"Get me a gi, Anya," Xander said as he continued to towel off. Anya nodded and quickly ran off, coming back a minute later holding the gi and a pair of combat boots in her hands. She watched as Xander put away the towel and flared up his chi, instantly drying whatever he hadn't gotten with the towel, most notably the goo left clinging to his hair. Xander dressed; first underpants, then a loose purple t-shirt, then the beige gi-itself, pants first, finishing with the sleeveless top, tucking it in his pants, and then tying it off with a black belt. He finishing up with the boots, and tying them closed.

"Cool," Anya commented, looking at the newly, properly attired Xander. Xander smiled and walked up to her, taking her in an embrace and kissed her passionately.

After breaking the kiss, he told her seriously, while looking deep into her eyes, "Love you."

"Love you too," Anya said back, feeling all warm in fuzzy in his arms. Xander walked out the room, nudging Anya along. They went outside and the two of them stayed there for a moment arm in arm.

"Can you destroy that asteroid?" Anya asked fearfully, feeling bad omens in her body. Never before had he craved her contact so long and intimately.

Xander smirked at her, "Oh, yeah. That asteroid is gone. Humanity will survive."

"Will you?" she asked dreadfully.

Xander turned around to face her and gave her a smile. Not a smirk, Anya noted. "I promise, if there is anything I can do about it, I will live, and return to you."

Anya felt an emptiness in the pit of her stomach. He wouldn't even give her a little white lie as insurance! This could only mean things were very bad. "Don't go!" she pleaded suddenly. "We'll take the ship, live in your birth dimension. I hear the place is wonderful. We'll bring the others as well. Who knows, Spike and Angel might even be able to walk in the sun, like Angel in Pylea. You'll get to spar and fight with your king, and Gohan, and, and . . ."

Xander laid a finger on her lips, silencing her and smiled. He disentangled himself from her and with a gentle shake of his head started lifting into the air. "I love you," he said again and then blasted off.

Anya felt despair washing over her. He still wouldn't even give her a reassuring lie! Suddenly she didn't want to be alone anymore. She rushed into their apartment, got her coat, locked the door and rushed back out towards the Summers' home.

Xander transformed, the golden glow bursting around himself. He went further and his hair became spikier, electric discharges were added to his golden chi flame. Then his speed increased rapidly. *Yes!* Xander thought as he assessed his new power. He had finally overcome the dimensional difference. *I'm back at the level that I had in the time chamber back in my birth dimension.*


[Play Xander Super Saiyan 2 theme]

Buffy finished her drill last, having done the deepest with the exception of Faith's hole.

"We're done," Faith said through the comm system. "It's all up to you now. We hope we can keep the debris away from the city."

<<Acknowledged, Gunslinger,>> came the reply. <<Firing window in T-minus four minutes thirty-one seconds.>>

The Scoobies hung in the air, looking up at the asteroid with dread. One chance they had said, once chance only. The pits of their stomach felt empty.

<<T-minus four minutes.>>

Suddenly the Scoobies and their honorary member widened their eyes and looked toward the west. The Asian's jaw dropped. "So powerful," he whispered in Tibetan.

Faith muttered, "Xander."

"Uh, he's already more powerful than when those witches attacked, or when he faced Loki," Buffy answered in awe.

Dawn's jaw had dropped. Then the three of them broke in giant smiles. Faith quickly pushed the send button and yelled hastily, "Abort! Abort!"

<<Abort!>> the general commanded, and the countdown went away. <<Report, Gunslinger, what's wrong!?>>

"Nothing, everything just became right," Faith answered, eyes sparkling with mirth and hope.


<<Holy shit!>> Beddow exclaimed. <<4.5 plus.>>

Meadow added looking at his radar, <<He's at hyper sonic speeds.>>

The golden orb became visible and it quickly grew bigger. And bigger. And then almost impossible for them to follow, the orb became a flame, and then with a wash of energy stopped right in front of them. Xander finally becoming visible, the flame burning bright, his hair spiky, two hairs hanging in front of his face, eyes green, and powerful electric discharges coursing around him.

"He wasn't kidding about coming back more powerful after facing near-death," Dawn said, eyes wide, then she broke back into a giant smile.

Xander looked up at the asteroid for a moment, then back at his friends and said, "I'm proud of you guys, especially you Faith." The girls broke in even bigger smiles.

"Did you contact. . .?" Faith asked intimidated.

Xander smirked and looked back up at the asteroid, "So what's the plan?"

"We drill, done," Dawn answered, indicating the asteroid, and then pointed down at the planes. "They fire atomic weaponry, and blow it up."

"How many, what yield?" Xander asked, not once taking his gaze away from the rock.

"Five, half a megaton," Buffy answered him, smiling.

Xander stayed silent for a full minute, calling on his experience with the first asteroid and all his senses. Then he announced, "Nowhere near enough."

<<What's going on, damn it!?>> the general yelled out through the intercom, <<We're going to lose our window soon.>>

"X- . . . he says it's not enough," Faith answered him with a little fear, pushing the send button, and almost slipping up. "The scientists messed up." There was silence at the other end.

"Xander," Buffy called out with fear, once Faith had let go of the send button. "This thing is thirty times bigger than the last one, and you almost died destroying that one. If those five nuclear weapons aren't enough, how can we possibly stop it!?"

Xander turned to look at her, and then broke in giant grin showing his teeth. "I'm simply going to have to become thirty times stronger than, aren't I?"

"What!?" Buffy blurted out in disbelief.

Xander looked up again, and then tensed his muscles and roared. His chi flame burned more intense, the electrical discharges multiplied. He arched his back, and put his head back in his neck. Finally he reached the absolute ceiling of Super Saiyan 2 and he calmed himself down some. The four other people floating there looked with wide eyes.

Xander, then hunched up his knees, placed his arms in a ninety degree angle at his elbows, and bend his upper torso forward. He took in several steadying breaths.

[Stop Super Saiyan 2 theme] [Play Super Saiyan 3 theme] Xander screamed again, his power rising rapidly, wind started whipping about, his flame became so intense his form became almost nothing but a silhouette in the bright glare. Below them, a storm started forming, and over the Atlantic a circular pattern of clouds formed across the entire ocean, indicating the emergence of a hurricane of unprecedented proportions.

Lightning started flashing in the clouds below, and in the hurricane in the distance. Red and yellow lightning bolts fired upward out of the clouds.

"That stance," Faith whispered to herself, looking at Xander. She had seen it before, when the witches attacked and on occasion during training, more often after he had defeated Loki.

"XANDER!" Buffy screamed hysterically. "You have to stop this, you'll kill yourself." Dawn looked frightened, even more so after Buffy's declaration.

"No, I don't think so," Faith told her friends, and they watched as Xander's hair started growing, for a moment not believing their eyes.

Xander's scream turned to a roar, he felt his eye brows retracting and then coming back. Below him things were getting worse. Mount St. Helens blew, the explosion audible, although not easily, especially since Xander's pulsing light and the wind and storm it generated had their own powerful noise. The Scooby Gang looked down with astonishment, seeing the plume of ashes rapidly reaching up into the atmosphere. A second volcano, north of St. Helens, blew a few seconds later. Its plume too reached high up into the atmosphere. Far in the distance, over the horizon of the Pacific another plume reached up into the sky, although the volcano was not visible, it had to be somewhere around Japan.

Xander still kept going. "Is that all Xander?" Dawn asked scared. Buffy and Faith looked at her.

"No," the Asian said, eyes wide. "Most gravity rock. But quite a bit him."

Xander felt his hair extending another bit; the hair now about thirty five centimeters, or a bit more than a foot above his head. His eyebrows retracted again. Then his power waned, eyebrows coming back out and the hair started to retract. Xander felt defeated, he still wasn't powerful enough. Then he got angry. *NO!* he roared mentally. *I WILL NOT HAVE IT! YEARS OF FIGHTING, FINALLY BECOMING A SUPER SAIYAN AND GO BEYOND, AND NOW THIS!? FINALLY I CAN FIGHT FOR THIS PLANET FOR REAL, START THIS WAR TOWARD FREEDOM! I WON'T LET A SIMPLE STUPID ROCK DESTROY IT NOW! I WON'T!* Xander started screaming again, reaching deeper. The third level could not be reached by anger, it requires careful training and balance, but anger could provide the final drop that would overflow the bucket, and that's what it did. Xander felt himself plummet into his deepest being, a barrier shattering. He felt as if the shards imbedded themselves into his flesh. His muscles send sharp pain spikes into his brain, as the transformation started occurring. He saw the residence of the ape, and shot deeper, more primal, yet more sophisticated, to the dawn, the very core of the Saiyans' being and power. He felt like growling as he felt his brows change, absentmindedly wondering if this is what Spike and Angel felt.

The transformation complete, Xander could no longer contain himself in his hunched position, with a final scream he stretched out, arching his back, his face parallel with the ground deep below, and a powerful sphere of energy burst out from within him. First it reached the three girls and the Tibetan, and they were thrown backward, tumbling on end. Then it reached the four planes and they turned upside down, and were pushed toward the surface.

<<Holy fuck!!>> Meadow called out in obvious warning, as his jet was flung out of control. <<Get it under control!! Pull up!!>> The other pilots were too busy to answer him with a biting reply.

Faith was the first who got herself back under control. She hung face down as she stopped herself tumbling around and looked as the sphere of energy reached the Atlantic and its giant hurricane. She swore she saw it become less powerful. Then she looked down toward Dallas. That shockwave must have at least shattered most of the windows there, if it hadn't destroyed entire buildings. [Pause Xander Super Saiyan 3 Theme]


"THAT GOD DAMNED, BLOODY SON OF A BITCH!!" Spike screamed in rage as he felt Xander's power spiking. The witches, sitting down, still recuperating from their ordeal the day before, just looked stunned.

"What? What's going on!?" Anya asked frightened, sitting down as well, hands in her lap trembling.

"HE DID IT AGAIN!" Spike roared with anger, answering Anya in the process. "THAT SODDING WANKER INCREASED HIS POWER AGAIN! DOES THAT BASTARD HAVE NO LIMIT!!" Spike only slowly calmed down, in his mind he adjusted his expectations. It would take even more time now to catch up with Droopy.


Halliwell Manor

The three original sisters watched the television screen, sitting on their couches. Leo had his arm slung around a trembling Piper, while Cole did the same for his girlfriend.

The bay of New York was in the background of the tv screen. Waves the size of houses slammed around, water washed into the streets, smashing everything in their path. The sky was pitch black, lighting flashed, and thunder rolled. "Riots have ceased in New York City," the CNN reporter in the foreground tried to say. He had to use all his might to stay standing and had to scream to get his message across as the wind tried to pick him off the roof he was standing on. "Everybody is too busy weathering this hurricane that's moving towards New York, and even with all this it still hasn't reached us. Meteorologists have said, that his storm makes the storm that had previously been dubbed 'The Perfect Storm' about a decade ago look like a little gush instead . . ."

"Man," Prue said, clasping her hands tightly together. "This is so unreal. We face the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, but they couldn't muster anything like this."

Paige was pacing around in agitation, and said, "Oh, that so boosts my confidence. We're about to be wiped off the face of the planet, and you compare with a few demons you fought?"

"Well," Prue answered a little befuddled. "There wasn't much else to say."

Phoebe's eyes widened. "NO!" she exclaimed with horror. The three other sisters instantly switched their attention to her.

"Phoebe, what's wrong," Piper asked with concerned.

Phoebe grimace, rapidly grabbing her forehead with her right hand. A short moan escaped her lips. With every day that came and went, she seemed to be able to get more sensitive to all kinds of energy around her, and at the same time being able to handle the bigger powers more easily. Especially the times that she felt this Sedra Soli power up, it became less and less irritating. But this was just plain insane.

"Phoebe, honey!?" Cole exclaimed.

Phoebe screamed out, her body going rigid, as she pushed herself back into the couch. Clenching her teeth she managed to get out, "This is impossible. This can't be real!" Then she screamed again, writhing in the couch.

"HOLY SHIT! WHAT WAS THAT!?" The scream came from the television screen and the witches' attention was drawn to it for a few moments. "I just felt something pass through me," the reporter said, and turned around. Xander's shockwave had reached New York, and was disrupting the Hurricane's internal balance. Behind him, the ocean calmed, the clouds instantly lost some of their darkness, and suddenly beams of sunlight passed beautifully and hopefully through the clouds. A rainbow formed, only far in the distance there was still lightning. "Wow," the reported blurted out.

"You want us to fight that thing!?" Paige screamed out loud at Prue.

"Uh, yeah?" Prue answered her newly found half-sister.

Paige looked at the eldest sister for a moment and then said hysterically, "For crying out loud, Prue. He's a thousand miles away, and is incapacitating one of us with nothing but his energy." She indicated the writhing Phoebe, who's screams had died down, and was slowly regaining control. "He stops a hurricane from the same distance, what the hell do you think he'll do to us when we stand right in front of him!?" Prue didn't answer. "Oh, great. There are times when I really wish I had never found you guys, or the magic," she said, in frustration and anger, finally sitting down.


[Continue Xander Super Saiyan 3 theme]

"How can anyone be this powerful?" the Tibetan man asked out loud looking stunned at the new Xander.

The Scooby Gang looked in awe. Xander's hair almost reached the back of his knees, two hairs hung curled in front of his face. The hair gently waved about with energy. His pupils had become a slightly darker shade of green than his irises. His eyebrows were gone, but his brows had extended, giving his face a more apelike look. His chi flame was even more intense, giving off a continuous high pitched, but powerful sound. The electric discharges had become more powerful, on occasion one so powerful it sounded like a real life lightning blast. Xander's head tilted and looked at them, then smirked.

"Let me guess," Faith muttered in awe. "Super Saiyan level 3?" Dawn and Buffy looked at Xander with dumbstruck gazes.

Xander chuckled, a scary heavy, cold chuckle, then he asked, "Well? How do you like the new me?" His voice was heavier, colder, rougher, with a growling undercurrent.

Dawn managed a lovely reply, "Uh . . . wha . . . w-wow."

Xander grinned again and then looked up at the asteroid, assessing again. *Damn it! Still not enough!* he thought to himself, thinking things over, looking down at the jets who were only now regaining control and rising to the right altitude again. Xander looked back up at the asteroid and called, "Faith!" Faith reacted, looking at Xander. "How long until those missiles reach the asteroid?"

Faith asked through her comm system, and moments later she answered, "About five minutes."

"Fire them, now," Xander ordered, not taking his gaze off the asteroid.

Faith nodded. "Fire the missiles, now," she ordered. The B2's turned around their axis, pointing themselves upward, readying to fire their payload.

Xander still looked up and thought, *Vegeta, my king. I have no idea what prompted you to come up with something like this, a suicide bomb . . . but I have need of it now . . . I will have to complete that infant notion, and combine it with your Final Flash - there is no other way.* When Xander had placed his knowledge in Vegeta's mind, irrevocably he had glimpsed Vegeta's. One, two, three, four, and finally five missiles passed Xander by, and then with a scream he started powering up. His chi soured, reaching unprecedented heights. The glow around him intensified as did the lightning strikes around him. Most of the energy of his being started accumulating outside his body.

Buffy's eyes widened, this time she was not mistaken. "STOP IT, XANDER! YOU'LL KILL YOURSELF! DON'T GO FURTHER!"

*That's the whole point, Buff. There is no other way,* his mental voice reverberated in her, Dawn's, and Faith's minds. Their faces instantly showed shock as they watched Xander's continuing power up.

Faith regained herself first, as tears started forming, she beamed back, *I'll miss ya, Xan.*

*Take care of yourself and the others, Faith,* Xander told her mentally with a smile. Then he said goodbye to Dawn, *Dawnie, listen to your sister and be good you hear, Squirt?*

Dawn nodded as tears rolled down her cheeks, realizing what Xander was going to do.

*Buff . . .* Xander started, but was interrupted by the blonde.

*NO!* she screamed mentally and flew forward, placing herself between Xander and the asteroid. *I won't let you do it, we need you alive. I need you alive!*

*There is no other way, Buffy. Get out of the way!* Xander called to her, even as his power kept rising, once more fueling the storm below.

*NO! You'll have to kill me!* Buffy screamed mentally, determined to force Xander into another course of action. She knew this would stop him.

Xander answered her, with the one answer she never expected, *If I have to vaporize you to save the world, I will Buffy! Now get out of the way!* Buffy looked down into his eyes in shock. She felt his determination, and saw it there in his eyes. She felt her stomach turn, as her whole world flipped upside down. There was nothing left of he who she called her Xander-shaped friend in those cold ruthless eyes. This new level had just one thing in mind, win the battle whatever the cost. She knew instantly he would make his words true, and felt herself hollow out, not having the strength to move. When Faith and Dawn grabbed her and pulled her aside, she didn't put up a fight.

*Willow,* Xander projected, he had reached a familiarity with his friend from the beginning long ago, but had never seen a need to telepathically contact her until now. *Take care of Anya for me, and goodbye.*

Xander continued, rapidly saying goodbye, this time it was Tara, who he could reach via Willow, *Goodbye Tara, take care of Willow.*

Finally the goodbye he had been dreading the most, tears welling up in his own eyes, but he forced them back, *Anya, I love you. I'm sorry. I love you, beautiful. Live, do you hear me? Live. Just live!* [Pause Xander Super Saiyan 3 theme]


"Xander," Willow whispered, tears sprung forth from her eyes. Tara threw herself into a hug with Willow an instant later.

"NO!" Anya screamed, shaking with grief, going completely hysterical. "NO! DON'T DO IT! PLEASE DON'T DO IT! STAY WITH ME! DON'T LEAVE ME!" Anya sank to her knees, eyes wide, tears running down her face. Tara and Willow went over to her, kneeled down as well and held her, crying together, as Anya repeated, "No, no, please, don't."

Sandra had difficulty keeping it dry herself, the girls' emotional display getting to her, as well as the young man's loss, despite the fact she knew him for only a few weeks.

In the corner, Spike leisurely leaned back and grinned evilly. *That's right, Droopy,* he thought. *Now just succeed and make uncle Spike a happy puppy.*


[Continue Xander Super Saiyan 3 theme]

*Goodby, Anya,* was the last Xander sent. Then he pointed his hands forward bringing them together, and then with his voice echoing around his energy, he screamed, "EMPTY FINAL FLASH!!!* Instantly a massive beam of golden energy blasted upward, bursting from between his hands, and almost instantly becoming four meters across.

Everybody present but Xander, gawked at the massive beam of energy, before the Asian regained his faculties, "Chi shields up, turn away, shield your eyes!" he screamed. His scream brought the girls out of their stupor and did as he told them.

The beam reached the asteroid a moment later, and blasted into the hole in the middle drilled by Faith earlier. The nuclear missile was half way in and was pushed suddenly forward as Xander's energy beam disappeared into the asteroid and dragged it along.

Within a second, Xander went from Super Saiyan level 3, to level 2, to level 1 and finally down to a plain Saiyan, as she shot downward toward the Earth, not having the luxury to spare any energy to keep him in place. Now depleted of energy, no more energy shot from his hands, and his arms fell aside limply. He had used up everything, except for one tiny little spark; the little bit of energy he needed to steer the beam, if he hadn't spared that, like Vegeta's original idea, it would have simply blasted outward in all directions, and be useless to destroy the asteroid. That little bit of energy though, was not enough to survive even one more hour, let alone fly, or even survive the fall. Xander smirked, falling downward, his hair gently waving about. He looked up at the asteroid with satisfaction, as golden cracks started forming on its outer surface. The next moment everything went white, and on the other side of the planet, night turned to day.

[Stop Xander Super Saiyan 3 theme]

Episode 21
Cleaning Up!

A large amount of the blast had been absorbed by Earth's magnetic field, but nowhere near all of it. The shockwave, releasing a little bit of the atmosphere from the grasp of Earth's gravity, blasted past the three girls and the Asian man. All of them hoped their shields held. The jets a little further below were heavily jostled. Even with their eyes closed, turned away from the blast and covered with their arms, the blinding flash still left them unable to see. Once the flash had gone, the three girls and an Asian man uncovered and opened their eyes again. They turned around to look up, and as they waited for their vision to return, they hoped nothing of the asteroid would come straight at them.

After about half a minute their vision returned and they looked at the asteroid, or what was left of it. There was an orange burning glow surrounding center of the remains of the rock. A glow that quickly receded as the lack of oxygen extinguished all the fires and the freezing space cooled the rock down. Most of the asteroid had been vaporized, the rest was reduced to pieces, which came rushing toward the planet, most of it straight down, because the explosion had changed their course. About eight times the amount of debris was left as there was with the first asteroid, and a few pieces much bigger than any of the debris the first had produced, it still had the potential to destroy a whole lot, if not everything on the planet.

"I guess we have another round of clean up to look forward to," Faith announced as tears still ran down her cheeks. She wiped them off and hardened herself. Those things needed to be stopped or a whole continental plane was going to be leveled with the ground.

Buffy stopped looking up and started looking down, until she spotted Xander falling downward. Faith noticed and said, "Buffy, stay focused. We have to stop those things." Faith spotted the first rock and blasted it away.

Buffy was in indecision only for a moment, then she started moving downward, and Faith grabbed her around the waist tightly, "Buffy, we need you up here."

"Let me go!" Buffy said struggling against the tight grip, desperately flailing her arms around in an attempt to break free. Their voices slightly muffled by their oxygen masks.

"Buffy!" Faith called out loud, hoping to calm down her fellow slayer. "These rocks need to be stopped."

"Shut up, you cold bitch, Xander needs help!" Buffy screamed with tears in her eyes.

"Damn it, B! Xander's made his choice, he's beyond help. Don't let his sacrifice be for nothing!" Faith called tightening her grip, hoping the older slayer would listen to reason.

"LET ME GO!" Buffy screamed, as her left elbow found Faith's left cheek. Faith reeling back was all Buffy needed to rip free and fly downward, her chi flame bursting into existence.

"Damn her!" Faith said following Buffy with her eyes for a moment. She looked to her right and noticed Dawn looking down at Buffy with indecision, tears leaking from her eyes. "Dawn, stay here, you hear me!" Behind her, Faith heard the Asian destroy his own first piece of rock. Dawn shifted her gaze to the dark-haired slayer. "We need you here more than ever!" Faith stated, with all the pleading she could muster into the command. "If they are allowed to spread out, the devastation will be unimaginable!"

Dawn looked at Faith for a moment, and then nodded determined, slowly stopping her crying, "Right. Let's do this."


Buffy soared toward Xander. The tears that left her face seemed to be moving upward, as she moved much faster than the tears. Irritated by the oxygen mask and the flask on her back, she quickly removed them, and threw them aside. Finally she reached the limp form of Xander Littica. She wrapped her arm around him gently, and then blasted downward with even greater speed. Her face in a grimace, filled with grief and determination. To her horror she felt Xander's body receive a powerful shock at the acceleration, and a weak, almost inaudible moaning coming from his mouth. Normally it wouldn't have done anything to him, but she was certain she had at least bruised one of his ribs. Strangely as she studied him, he didn't seem to have any wounds on him, he was just weak. Xander slowly opened his eyes.

"What . . . you doing, Buff?" he said. Buffy could hear the strain in his voice. She realized just talking brought him closer to death. His voice was so low, she was certain that if she didn't have slayer-enhanced hearing, she wouldn't have been able to hear him.

"Saving your life," Buffy answered him, biting her lip as she pushed all her energy into flying down.

"There's no life left to save, Buffy," Xander's almost nonexistent voice said. "Don't you get that? I've used up all my energy, there's nothing left, not enough to survive. Fifteen minutes - half an hour and I will be dead."

"I will not let you die," Buffy said forcibly. "I won't."

Xander looked at his friend, seeing tears stream across her cheeks. "Buffy, let me go. Please, you have to save the lives of the people in this city and the surrounding area. Your sister needs you up there."

"NO! Dawn can take care of herself, you've seen to that," Buffy yelled out loud, as the Earth came closer and closer. "Listen, Xander; we need you alive. I need you alive. When I first saw you fight Glory, I was in denial. I thought I was still the strongest, while I knew I never was. I'm weak. I'm a cheerleader, Xander; a cheerleader who was handed the fate of the world, and messed it up so many times, without you guys backing me there wouldn't be an Earth anymore . . ."

"That makes you strong, knowing your limitation, and getting help," Xander barely more than whispered. "If somebody else had been chosen, they probably would have messed up worse. Please let me go. Help them."

Buffy seemed to break down and cry harder, and told her best friend, "That's not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about exactly what you're saying. I didn't know my limitations, I began to think all the propaganda, 'best slayer ever, lasted the longest', blah, blah. I was starting to think myself above you guys, that I was somehow better than you, and I've acted like it. The people who've kept me alive and saved the world along my side, and I neglected you, Willow, all of you. I even threatened to kill you, if you tried to kill Dawn and save the world in the process. Even if you didn't have super powers, Xand, you kept me alive. You never used them to defend me, to save my life, and help save the world, and I pushed you aside, barely acknowledging you. I'm stupid." They reached the first buildings, and Buffy slowed down as fast as she dared, with Xander's fragile form in her arms, then turned to a horizontal direction, looking out for a hospital.

"Don't . . . blame . . . yourself . . . Buff," Xander said again, straining more and more. "I didn't . . . want . . . to . . . be seen . . . protecting secret . . . and all. . . I could have easily . . ."

"Shut up!" Buffy screamed almost hysterically, hearing Xander straining himself, and fully realizing how much of his energy really was depleted, and how quickly it would be gone if he kept talking. "Don't say a damn thing anymore, it's killing you. The point is, that if you really were a normal human without super powers, who couldn't push himself more to the front, I would have acted the same way, neglecting all of you. Where the hell would that have lead to? So shut up, and let me save your life. I will not let you die, I WILL NOT!"

Xander sighed and closed his eyes. Buffy didn't want to listen, which meant he went to focus all his power on surviving, no matter how little he had left, or how impossible it was. After all, he had promised Anya that if there was anything he could do about it he would live, it seemed Buffy was determined to make sure that he was going to have something to say about it, and he had never broken a promise before; he wasn't about to start now.

Buffy was glad Xander had stopped talking, she had seen how every word brought him a giant step closer to death, and she couldn't bear his death. Flying through the maze of buildings for three minutes finally allowed her to find what she had been looking for: a hospital. Quickly descending down to the emergency room entrance, she yelled at one of the doctors while she was still in the air. "You! You have to save him!" Buffy yelled, landing as rapidly as she dared, holding her fragile cargo.

The young doctor looked up and his eyes widened as he saw a girl holding a young man in a tight embrace, yelling at him to save him, whoever him was. For a moment he was stunned then training and instinct took over and he gestured for a stretcher that was quickly wheeled out. Next to him an ambulance was unloading a female, who was harmed by debris falling as a result of the first shockwave. The girl placed her passenger on a stretcher and then yelled at him, "Save his life, do you hear me!? DO NOT LET HIM DIE! If he dies, I will level this hospital with the ground!" The doctor looked into Buffy's eyes and he reeled back, those eyes were set to the breaking point. He wouldn't be surprised that if he had to tell her, her friend - lover? - had died that she would snap like a twig and carry out her threat. "I think I have bruised or broken a few ribs getting him here, he doesn't have any other physical injuries, but he's out of energy. He used up all his life force to blow away the asteroid, save him. Please, save him, and oh, he's not human, he's an alien, so don't go cutting into him without checking you can!"

He saw her squeeze his left upper arm and whisper, "I love you." He was about to protest her ridiculous claims, until she blasted upward into the air, a visible white, flame-like shape around her. Moments later he a blue, see-through dome - that looked somewhat like a force field out of scifi seemed to cover the hospital - at which point he admonished himself, that compared to seeing that with his own eyes, her claims of the man being an alien were quite mild. Xander was rapidly wheeled into the hospital.


Buffy flew to just over the hospital and generated a chi shield around it. She was determined as she flew higher into the sky. She was going to protect the hospital Xander was treated in, and also take out any and all rocks that would crash elsewhere into the city. She blasted rocks away as she rose to about a hundred meters high, where she furiously started destroying the bigger rocks around her. She fired energy balls left and right as she twisted around, and back and forth, destroying the occasional rock with her hands or feet. Her face was contorted in a grimace as she fought there to protect Xander's and other people's lives.


Higher still the two girls and Asian man were desperate with their own struggle with the remnants of the asteroid. The Asian, however, was nowhere near as effective as either Dawn or Faith. The two girls made use of the advantages they had; which mostly consisted of training under multiple times Earth gravity. Faith furiously blasted away bigger and smaller rocks, focusing on bigger and really big pieces. Two exploding destructo disc finished off another very large meteorite.

Dawn looked down for a moment, and suddenly called out, "Faith!" Faith turned to look and Dawn pointed downward. Faith looked down and saw gleaming planes and helicopters flying everywhere, all destroying their share of rocks. Further outward across the US, other planes were doing the same to pieces that were moving sharply outward, away from the center. It was rather obvious the three of them were far more effective than a plane or helicopter, high maneuverability, coupled with speed being the deciding factors.

Faith punched her fist through a smaller rock, which promptly shattered, and she observed, "The military. So what?"

"NO! Further down!" Dawn exclaimed with irritation.

Faith looked down and extended her senses. Buffy was down there, and now that she looked closer she saw flashes move in different directions all originating with the blonde slayer, and promptly exploding and wiping out a rock.

"Hey!" Faith called out with a powerful voice. She patted Dawn on her should and told her with a broad smile. "Well, done." Dawn beamed with pride before continuing with the next rock.

As Faith continued with destroying rocks, she told the Asian who had turned to regard her, "With Buffy and the military between us and Dallas, focus on rocks that move outward!! The more we contain the impacts in a small area the less people will die!" He gave her a thumbs-up and promptly moved off toward more outward moving meteorites. Faith and Dawn did the same after that, moving more toward the edges of the meteorite rain.


"I can't believe this," Xander's young doctor, Dr. Millbank, said, looking at the test results. He walked around the small room preserved for looking at test results. "There is no energy left - electrons, electromagnetic currents, neurons, all virtually non-existent. He won't survive this much longer."

"This is a lost cause," a fellow doctor told him.

"There's got to be something," Millbank said in frustration, "There's got to be."

"Like what?" his companion asked again. "We don't know of anything that could suck out all the energy out of someone like that, how do you propose we put energy back in?"

"I don't know, but if we don't . . ." he answered, thinking thinks over before continuing. "That girl was running on empty." Millbank pointed to his head, "Up here I mean, if he dies, I'm afraid she'll snap and without thinking about it, make her threat of blowing this hospital up a reality."

The other doctor blinked but stayed silent.

"Think," Millbank thought in irritation, even as he read through another patients report. "He's missing electromagnetic energy, so how do we . . ." Millbank looked up, his eyes widening in revelation. "Please tell me there is somebody close by who can modify the MRI scanner?"

"MR . . .? What?! You don't actually think that's going to work do you?!" the doctor asked in disbelief.

"It can't hurt to try!" Millbank counter and sped out of the office.

"ICS Medical Services are pretty close by," the other doctor answered him perplexed.

Millbank raced out, as he told his colleague, "Get them here."


Ten minutes later in the MRI scanner room.

"You want me to do WHAT!?" the engineer asked in shock.

"I want you to boost its output, and change the magnetic field's frequency to that of human cells," Millbank repeated hastily.

"I heard you the first time! Do you have any idea, what it takes to do that? Rip open the whole machine, I don't think the management or you bookkeeper would like that very much," the engineer argued.

"Just do it!" Millbank almost yelled, and looked as Xander was wheeled in, his ribs bandaged. "You see that guy?" Millbank asked in irritation. "I'm pretty damn sure he's the one who saved the world by blowing up the asteroid . . . twice, the girl flying outside, that created the shield you passed through, brought him here. She also said she'd level the hospital with the ground if he died, and from what I saw, she'll keep her word."

"In that case, I'll get right on it," the engineer said, and started ripping open the piece of equipment, that was worth over a million dollars.

Millbank ran to the other side of the room and passed through the door and into the room with the protective glass. Impatiently he, his colleague, and a nurse waited, seeing Xander's vital signs drop steadily. "How long!?" he called out loud with frustration.

"Exactly how much it needs," the engineer answered with irritation, as he continued with his improvised hack and slash modification. Finally after another three minutes he announced, "Done!"

Millbank gestured, and Xander was wheeled further into the room. As the nurses placed him on the table of the MRI scanner, the engineer came to join them in the protective room. Once the nurses had filed out, Millbank looked anxiously at the vital signs monitor that was practically at zero, and said, "All right, crank it up."

The engineer himself operated the machinery and the table wheeled into the circular tube. Than the innards of the tube started to glow. "Anything?" Millbank asked.

"No," his colleague answered him.

Millbank sighed, "Let's wait a while, perhaps it takes some time before a change is visible." They waited. They waited one minute. They waited two minutes, still nothing.

"I guess this isn't going to work," Millbank's colleague observed. "He's beyond help." Millbank lowered his head.

Suddenly he lighted up, his right index-finger in the air with revelation, and said, "He's not human!" The two men and the nurses looked at him as if he had gone mad. "That's what she said, he's not human. We've only done the test needed to detect his energy level as she told me what was wrong with him, not his insides or his genetic structure. Change the frequency, fiddle with it."

"Fiddle!?" the engineer answered dumbfounded. "You want me to fiddle with a multi-million dollar precision instrument!?"

"Yeah, he's so like us, we don't see a difference on the outside and which made me forget the girl's words in the first place. The frequency of his cells can't be too much different," Millbank explained eagerly and then nudged the engineer who shook his head as he walked back into the scanner room. He went for the opening he had broken into the scanner, knelt down and began to 'fiddle', muttering profanities under his breath.

After a few moments of slowly shifting the frequencies, by messing with the wiring and other hardware, that no human hand should really have touched, he suddenly heard a yell of triumph.

Millbank and his colleague had been looking at the vital signs screen, until suddenly the erratic readings had reacted. He screamed out, the others soon following his example. Then the readings dropped off again. When the engineer turned to look at him, Millbank motioned to go back. The engineer did, and moments later the vital signs reacted again. Just in time Millbank got the engineer to stop whatever he was doing.

"Incredible," Millbank's colleague said, as he watched Xander's heart rate steady, the EEG becoming less irregular. Millbank grinned, and for a moment looked at Xander's body through the window. His face twisted into surprise, and nudged his colleague, who looked as well. Once in a while an electric spark sizzled around Xander's body. "How do you suppose to explain all this?" his colleague asked.

Millbank mulled it over for a moment, then shrugged, "In quantum mechanics particles can appear out of nowhere, and disappear the same way. He's body is out of balance, no energy where there should be. Energy is simply poring into where it there should be, like water always falling down a waterfall, not up."

His colleague nodded thoughtfully, "Yeah, I know this guy ain't human, but . . . it kind of makes you wonder about what secrets still lie inside the human body."

Millbank nodded again.


It took hours before they had finally destroyed all of the larger debris. The smaller debris, however, that they couldn't stop did enough damage. In the night sky, the fires and smoke around the city made an eery sight. None of them bothered with helping out in the devastated city, as they had done in Oklahoma. They had more important things to do; the Asian flew back to Tibet, having a long flight ahead of him, and the slayers and former key had to check up on Xander.

Faith and Dawn reached Buffy still hovering in the air, as the blonde lowered her shield. It had been quite a strain, lowering and raising the shield whenever someone had to get into the building, but she had managed. Now joined together again, the three girls lowered themselves to the ground. For a moment they stood silently, Faith and Dawn looking at Buffy questioningly, none dared to extend their senses, for fear of what they would find. Buffy finally started walking into the hospital, Faith and Dawn followed.

Once inside, the three looked around at the overcrowded place. Doctors, nurses, patients everywhere. Buffy looked around with a sad look, until she spotted the guy she had entrusted Xander to. He was busy with surgery on one of the many patients in the emergency room. Buffy quickly went over to him and demanded, "Well?"

Millbank looked up, slightly startled, and looked at the blonde, and saw the desperation in her eyes. He turned back to his one-man surgery, everybody else was busy with their own patients. He had only one nurse for support and she was currently away getting some warm water. "Excuse me, if I don't look directly at you," he started with a face full of concentration. "He's alive, although I have no idea if it stays that way. We had to bombard him with giant amounts of electro-magnetic energy. It might have bad repercussions, we just don't know, we've never done anything like it. We stopped the moment his cells had absorbed enough for him to survive on. However he will require lots of rest before he can get to full strength. He's in . . ." He pauzed for a moment as Dawn ran off, jumping and zigzagging around patients, faster than the fastest Olympic runner. The moment Dawn had heard Xander was still alive, and would probably stay that way, she no longer kept her senses back. " . . . room 121," Millbank finished and watched the other two bolt off after their younger friend.

Dawn rapidly came closer to Xander's position, her eyes watering. She was glad he was alive, but also concerned. This didn't feel like Xander. He was so . . . weak. She was used to a very different Xander. When he was transformed into a Super Saiyan, it was like being dragged around in a tornado, one of energy instead of wind. Even without his transformation he always felt like a sun all of his own. But now, he was nearly non-existent. She turned right and bolted into a room. She looked around, patients lying on beds, and on the floor in sleeping bags. Finally she spotted Xander, lying on one of the four beds to the left and quickly jumped to him. She flung herself on the bed, wrapping her arms around his neck and breaking down in sobs, she laid there, repeating a mantra softly. "You're alive, you're alive, you're alive, you're alive."

Xander forced himself awake after feeling Dawn cling to him. He slowly opened his eyes and looked a the young girl still repeating her mantra. "Yep, alive," Xander whispered to her as he pulled out right hand and gently laid it around her head and shoulders. Dawn looked up with wide tearful eyes and then smiled at him, digging herself back into his shoulder. At that moment Buffy appeared in the doorway to the room, and then bolted to Xander's other side. She too climbed on the bed and wrapped her arms around him in a fierce hug.

Buffy whispered, "You're alive, you really are alive."

"I already got the heads up, from miss keyness here," Xander quipped weakly. "But Buff, you don't need to squeeze me to death. Slayer strength and no energy and all."

He felt Buffy loosen up her grip and she murmured, "Sorry." Xander placed his remaining arm around Buffy's shoulders.

Faith walked in and stopped at the foot end of Xander's bed, looking directly at him with a big beaming smile.

"Please do not jump on the bed and hug me too, Faith," Xander told her, bemused. "I wouldn't survive."

"Don't worry, Xander," Faith answered grinning. "I'm not the hugging type, I'm more the 'fuck your brains out'-type."

"So is Anya - says something about my taste in women, doesn't it?" Xander joked with a grin. "Speaking of Anya, can we get out of here?"

"They say you should rest," Buffy told him with concern.

Xander grinned, as he slowly got up, the two girls in his arms quickly got up and helped him out. "You got enough energy left to fly back home?" Xander asked, although it was more a statement. The girls nodded. "Well, then, you can carry me, can't you?"

"I guess," Buffy answered, looking from Dawn to Faith with a little uncertainty.

"Good, than hand me my gi," Xander told them.

Several minutes later the four of them reached the front desk. Xander looked around the crowded hall. Just like all the rooms and the hallways between his room and here, it had victims of the asteroid lying in many places. "I'm getting out of here," he told the nurse behind the desk. The nurse, who was only busy with relegating patients and doctors to the right places to be - checking insurance and money had gone out the door the moment this all started - looked up at him and his three companions. She recoiled for a moment, recognizing them instantly, it was hard not to, with one of them hanging outside the hospital and generating a protective shield that had kept the hospital from being damaged, which had made this hospital the most crowded in the city, and the male his own celebrity as a medical mystery.

"You were ordered extensive bed rest," the nurse said hastily.

"Yes, but I prefer to get that bed rest at home, in the arms of my fiance," Xander said calmly, supporting himself on the counter.

"Right, thanks for telling. Goodbye then," the nurse answered and returned to her computer, picking up another ringing phone.

"No discharge papers?" Buffy asked a little perplexed.

Without missing a word on the phone, the woman gestured around the hall. They understood, too many to sign them all in or out. They were about to leave, when Dawn's gaze fell upon the television screen hanging in the corner, showing a news program.

They watched for a few moments as a General on it answered questions. "At the moment the death toll is two million and rising. We're estimating before this is over it will be about five million in the US alone. These are casualties as a direct consequence of the asteroid crash."

"Sir," a reporter began. "The blast that finally destroyed the asteroid, where did it come from?"

"Five nuclear bombs and an experimental weapon system," the general answered, smiling friendly. "It's classified, and by no means ready to be taken out there. Today's premature use, born out of desperation showed that quite remarkably. It's destroyed, it overloaded. Still many flaws in there, it'll take a few decades before it can be used for real, on a regular basis." The general gestured toward another reporter.

"Man," Faith said angrily. "Now there's a load o' bull, if I ever heard any."

Xander grinned. "Good," he said, supporting himself on Buffy and nudged her to walk out the hospital. The others followed.

After another question, the General continued, "Relief efforts, money, food, drink, and water are coming from all over the world. Most notably from Europe, but then, they have the most to spare."

Once outside Dawn asked, not understanding, "Why? We're heroes, we saved the world for all to see. Shouldn't we be at least acknowledged, if not praised and celebrated?"

"No," Xander said, looking up into the night sky, feeling desolate at the infernal vision he saw. "Tourists and fans coming to look for us would only endanger them and get in our way, while we fight demons and gods."

They stayed silent for a few moments, and then Dawn nodded, understanding. Then the three girls blasted off, Buffy carrying Xander along.


Their reunion had been emotional to say the least. After that Xander had slept for two days straight, only getting up for bathroom breaks and meals. Anya had never seen Xander eat so much, he positively gorged everything away. The first day he had even asked whether she had more after he had finished everything she had made. When she noticed he seemed quite strong and healthy, he woke up this new day, she had ridden him to a mutually satisfactory sexual peak. After breakfast he had left for Buffy's house. Buffy had opened the door. Then greeting the two witches, and their teacher, he pulled Buffy up the stairs.

Once inside her room, he said, "Damn it, Buffy!? Why did you do that!?"

Buffy looked as if she got a fist in her face. Her face was pale and her eyes were watering, as she answered, "W-w-what? Save your life?"

Xander looked at her angry, "You shouldn't have done it, damn it!"

"B-but . . ." Buffy answered, a tear forming as she looked in Xander's angry face. How could he be angry at her for saving his life? "I couldn't let you die . . . I-I just couldn't."

"You got lucky, Buffy," Xander said calmly, but still angry. "The number of deaths haven't been that much more, than if you had stayed up there with Faith and Dawn. But if you weren't so lucky, you could have killed tens of millions of people with your stunt, you and me included."

Tears leaked down her face, and Buffy said, "I'm sorry."

"You've got to toughen up, Buff," Xander said roughly. "This time you got lucky, the next time you try to save a life at all costs, it may cost you the world, and that means who ever you tried to save will be as dead as everyone else. You can't go on a whim anymore, we're at war; whims will get us killed." Buffy sat down heavily on her bead, unable to keep in her tears. She didn't understand. How could everything be so different? Xander wasn't supposed to . . . She was supposed to . . . Xander sat down next to Buffy gently and slung an arm around her shoulder, pulling her into his chest. Xander told her gently, "Don't get me wrong, I like being alive and I'm grateful to you for saving my life, and thank you for that, but . . . you made a tactical error in judgement, a giant one. You have to start looking at the big picture, Buff."

"I w-will t-try . . ." Buffy answered, sobbing. "I just c-couldn't . . . couldn't l-let you die. I d-don't k-know what . . . I'd d-do without you."

"Hey," Xander said hoarsely. He really hated seeing her like that. He lifted her chin up with his index finger and told her, "You're still my hero, so dry those tears will you?" Buffy nodded and started drying her tears. "Just don't worry." Xander giver her a tight hug, before continuing, "I'll help you, teach you, you'll be the best." Buffy managed a weak smile, as he give her a kiss on her forehead.


Los Angeles
That same time

Faith was bored. She sat on the couch in the hotel's lobby doing nothing. The others had all gone out, and had left her here. For a moment she considered going up into the gravity gym, but decided against it, for once not feeling like doing some quality violence. She had started training the others in the use of their chi, Angel was coming along quite nicely, Gunn and Wesley too, even though they were quite a bit slower. Cordelia had her own personal trainer, a three-hour drive away. Fred and Lorne obviously weren't fighters, and thus weren't training.

The last few weeks had gone pretty well, she thought. Wesley and Cordelia had needed some warming up to her, but the others had gone great. Angel, as always, was awesome. Gunn was just plane fun to be around, they could share horror stories of their youth, one about beatings, the other about living on the street. They had started a friendly competition, each trying to one-up each other constantly. Lorne was just plain crazy, in her opinion, but a good kind of crazy. And Fred, well, Fred was Fred. There were times that the two of them were in complete sync, than there were times that she couldn't make heads nor tails of her, and Faith didn't mean the techno babble. At those times Angel seemed to be the only to be able to focus her again, especially when she was in one of her 'I fear everything, just let me rot in my cave' phases. Faith sighed of boredom once again. If she thought of it though, she was pretty convinced she had somewhat of a relationship going with the girl, although she couldn't quite pin point what that relationship was. Definitely still less than friends, although more than simple acquaintances. Faith had watched from afar, as after a very strong suggestion from Angel, Cordy had gone to make friends with the waif, and gotten her to go out of the hotel and do shopping and stuff. If she was honest with herself, and at this moment she felt like being, she had felt a pang of jealousy. She would have loved to tag along, but since she was being honest, she also understood Angel's reasoning, the girl was a frightened little thing. A friendship with a brutally honest ex-psychopathic, super warrior - still working on finding her own equilibrium - would probably be just a little too much for the girl at this time. Perhaps in a month or so, when they both had regained their footing some.

Faith's eyes flew open. Demon! Her heart raced, an instinct to jump up and kill began in her. Vampire! Mixed in with a soul! She calmed down with some effort. She lazily sat up, and as the door to the cellar and the sewers opened she called, "Angel."

Angel was startled a bit, as he heard his name called before he even stepped in sight. He looked at Faith and smiled at her, "Faith. The others aren't here yet?" He closed the door behind him.

"Nope," she answered, and became suspicious at his smile. "You have something not boring to do?" She grew even more suspicious as Angel's smile broadened. She turned around to face the front door, as she felt the others approach. Moments later, Fred, Cordelia, Gunn and Wesley arrived and walked inside. Seeing Faith, they smiled. Faith became even more suspicious.

The group looked at each other for a moment, apparently deciding on who was going to do something. Alarm bells rang in Faith's ears. Finally Cordelia stepped forward and started, "Faith, although I hate to admit this, you're a hero. You pretty much saved the world a few days ago . . ."

"I remember that was primarily Xander," Faith tried to get out from under the praise, but the group was determined.

"Faith," Wesley told her with a grin. "You did your part more than just good. You fired the longest on that asteroid as you pushed it into an orbit. You <are> a hero."

"Exactly," Cordelia took back over, "And that's why we bought you presents." Faith swallowed hard, as Cordelia reached inside of a plastic bag she was carrying and revealed a gift-wrapped present, which she gave to Faith.

Faith slowly opened the gift, while the group stood before her looking down at her, and Angel stood smiling behind her. She looked with confusion and a slowly growing dread in the pit of her stomach at the gift. "A backpack?" she asked.

"A very stylish backpack," Cordelia nodded with a mysterious grin.

"Now mine," Fred positively beamed with excitement as she handed Faith a small package.

Faith opened it too, and looked at her second gift with mounting dread: a calculator. The next gift she got from Gunn: a pen and pencil set, including a bag to put them and other writing tools in. Faith was fighting urges to fly away by now. Wesley came next, and his gift was an agenda. Oh, god!

Finally from behind the couch Angel presented her with a gift, and holding out a piece of paper. With trembling hands she opened the gift; a geometric triangle. "Wha . . . why give these to me?"

Angel handed her the paper and she quickly scanned through the first few paragraph. One word jumped out at her, the same dreaded word the whole group joyfully announced to her; "You're going to high school, Faith!"

Faith's face went white as she shrieked, "WHAT!?!"

The group chuckled, and Gunn announced bluntly, "You're right Wes; slayers can shriek and her face <is> priceless."

"You guys are joking, right!? This is just a joke!" Faith screamed out, hoping against hope.

Angel walked away from the position behind her. He smiled as he sat himself down upon the left arm of the couch, and said, "Nope, you'll get to graduate in two years."

Faith felt herself sinking down through the ground. "No, no, no! You can't do that to me! School is hell, it's worse than hell!" Faith yelled out in shock and fear.

"Trust me, it isn't," Angel answered her with a smile.

"Have you ever gone to school?" Faith said, glaring at him.

Angel grinned at her, answering, "Yes, have you been to hell?"

Fred looked at the freaked-out slayer and said, confused, "I thought you wanted to go to school? Isn't that what you said at the trial?"

"Girly, that was over two years ago! I was out of my mind at the time! Basing my self worth or rather lack there of, on how much miss goody two shoes, 'she's the best' - Buffy liked me and how much I was like her!" Faith screeched out, making Fred jump back. "I was only a few months away from becoming a murdering psychopath! I was nuts!"

"But you have to Faith," Angel told her soothingly. "It will do you good to be in a normal environment, not around the likes of us - no offense guys - or in a constant thought of kill those demons, kill those bad guys, kill, kill, you get the idea."

"But high school!?" Faith pleaded eyes wide. "How about a job, or something? Heck, I'll go do stripteases, that's normal, right!?"

Angel grinned at her and said, "You're going to school, Faith."

Faith looked at him with wide eyes, "Cheer up, Faith," Fred told her, and actually sat down next to her and put an arm around her. "You'll do great. School is fun. You'll learn interesting stuff, meet interesting people who might become your friends, or perhaps even your boyfriends, there are dances, and if you get stuck with anything, we can help out with your homework. I'm pretty smart, even if I do say so myself. Any technical stuff I can really help you with."

Faith looked at Fred as if she had lost her mind . . . not to mention an arm slung around her? This girl really liked school, from a girl jittering away in fear, needing to gather courage just to look someone in the eyes when talking to them, to being a happy puppy with her arm around the ex-psychopathic slayer . . . correction: she <loved> school.

Faith quickly turned to Angel and said, "I'm not doing it. There's no way I'm going to school."

"Legal guardian, remember?" Angel answered her. "If I say you go to school, you go to school."

"Then I'll move right back to Sunnydale . . ." Faith announced with determination.

Before she could continue, Angel told her, "You could do that. Of course Xander suggested it to me in the first place, so I'm pretty certain he'll send you to school as well."

Faith looked at him with her mouth ajar, trying to come up with a denial. "You're lying, he wouldn't do that to me."

"Sorry," Angel answered.

"Oh, come on, Faith," Wesley told her, a smile in his voice. "We've signed you up for two classes, philosophy being the first. We thought a few basics in that would help you out, and second Driver's Ed. Anya suggested that one, since you told her you still had to learn how to drive. It'll be a week before school starts - apart from the mandatory classes, you can choose the rest yourself."

Faith looked up at Wesley with a surprised face. Anya too! It was a conspiracy! For a few moments Faith mentally thought of a way out, finding none, she let her head drop in defeat.

"Oh, come on, Faith!" Cordelia said, sitting down on the other side of to the depressed slayer, and placing her arm around her as well. "It'll be great, I'll give you some fashion tips, and I'll make you the most popular girl in school in no time. You could rule the place, and with that slayer agility of yours, you would be a cheerleader in no time."

Faith's anger flashed in her eyes. She looked at Cordelia and held up a threatening index finger, "If you ever suggest to me again that I should become a cheerleader, I will rip your head off with my bare hands."

"Or a wrestler, or a football player, or a gymnast . . ." Cordelia shut up, as Faith very slowly and very meticulously removed Cordelia's arm from her shoulder, giving Cordelia a smouldering look all the while. "Or not," Cordelia added, giving Faith a wide, nervous smile.


Sunnydale University Campus
One week later

Students milled about the grounds of the campus everywhere. Xander deftly avoided one, as he walked toward the two girls he recognized, he sped up some.

"Hey, guys! Surprise!" Xander called. Buffy and Willow looked over toward the sound. They saw the jeans-wearing Saiyan - carrying books under one of his arms - run toward them.

"Xander?" Willow asked nervously. "What are you doing here?"

"I enrolled of course," Xander said, indicating his books. "Molecular biology and physics."

"Huh?" Buffy sputtered.

Willow with some more smarts understood and clarified, "Ah, Cordelia's condition and destroying hell - the scientific way."

"Bingo!" Xander said with a grin.

"But how did you get in? SATs, bad high school grades, and all?" Willow asked a little confused.

"Convinced them to let me take an aptitude test, aced it," Xander answered with a grin.

"But what about your job?" Buffy asked confused.

Xander waved it away, saying, "Ah, got it covered. The boss says if I really can't continue to come to work, he's happy to hire me back once I'm finished with school. In the mean time, I've got Ed covering for me when I have to be here."

"You do your job and school at the same time? Don't you have to go to classes?" Willow asked bug-eyed.

"Hardly," Xander answered with a grin. "Went ahead and did the repeat tests for those that failed it the first time around, the last two weeks. Aced them. Good thing tests during the asteroid threat were postponed or I would be behind. The only thing I have to do now are the practicals, and the truly cutting edge stuff that I don't know yet, which I probably will follow via the internet, so I can debate it too with the really smart scientists. Then an internship and two doctorates, not certain which I'll do first yet. I'm guessing one and a half to two years and I'll be done."

The two girls looked at him with wide-eyes, then turned to look at each other. He was going to be finished at the same time as Willow, a year before Buffy - she and her mentor had decided that with taking care of Dawn and stuff, it was best if she lessened her load somewhat and add an extra year to do everything in - and he would have two doctorates instead of one. "Xander," the two said in unison. Xander looked at them with a puzzled face at their sour tone. Then they looked at him and said, "We hate you." Then they turned around and walked toward the school building.

"What?" Xander managed to blurt out. "Guys? What's going on?" The girls just kept walking. "Guys!? What did I say!? Guys!? Wait up, guys!" Xander jogged after them to catch up. The girls looked at each other for a moment, a gleam in their eyes that said, 'Just like old times.'

The End . . . for now . . .