Buffy Z

The Power Corrupts Saga

Episode 22 - 26

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

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

Rating: NC-17 (Sex! The squeamy begone!)

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

Summery: Power has an annoying habit of corrupting even the best.

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.

Author's Notes: Well, here it is. The first Episode of the Power Corrupts Saga. The prelude to the third saga, which I won't name yet. One thing is, in order to move through this at a decent pace, I couldn't rewrite the entire episodes of S3/S6. Wouldn't work anyway, it would be boring, so I thought how about just showing the difference, in short write almost all the scenes from Faith's point of view, and leave most of the rest out, only pivotal stuff stays in. Over the course of the next saga, the history of Buffy Z is going to differ drastically from the actual shows. It's going to be fun, I promise.

Episode 22
Faith Goes to High School - Cordy's Secret

Faith closed her locker and sighed, while she held the book for her first subject under her left arm. She looked down at herself and shuddered. How in blazes had Cordelia managed to get her to where this outfit? Leather skirt, white tank top that kept her belly button bare, and showed off some of her cleavage, and a leather jacket. Now the jacket was okay, and the top was doable, but the skirt! The skirt! Not to mention the 'stylish', platform shoes with a little bit of a heel. She had had every boy check her out, which wasn't bad, but what was bad that every girl had done the same. She wasn't shy of girls, but if even heterosexual girls looked at her, something just wasn't right. Tomorrow she would put the pants back on, her own shoes. No matter how much Cordelia would scream, beg or threaten, Faith was not going to let Cordelia relive her glory days through her.

Faith turned around and looked around the corridors left and right. The architecture was modern and mostly in grey tones. Thank god Angel had enough money stashed away to afford a good school. She had the distinct impression that some of the 'how horrible is the school system these days' movies weren't an exaggeration if this was considered a school with some quality standards. The place looked downright drab and boring.

Walking to her first class was horrible, the mostly younger people looked at her, some even suspiciously, and the whisperings as she passed, which, courtesy of her Slayer enhanced hearing, she mostly understood word for word. Some snide comments, some admiring, some crude, some speculative, in any case, she hated it. Finally she walked into the classroom of her first class, English, and sat herself down toward the rear. She looked around the classroom with dread, boys and girls sat strewn about, all fifteen, sixteen, and at most the occasional seventeen-year-olds. On average they were two years younger than she was. The seventeen category was doable age wise, if Faith wasn't mentally far older than she was physically - abused by your parents, becoming a ruthless killing machine, saving people's lives from more horrible killing machines, than going evil and killing people, followed up by over a year of imprisonment had that effect on people. Faith had always felt she could relate more to the two to three year older people that, miraculously it seemed, were her friends. She felt like being dumped in with a few naive little kids.

Faith sighed deeply, of all the horrors, the whispering conversations, ninety percent of them about her, and all perfectly decipherable was going on even here in the classroom. Finally, thankfully, the teacher came in. The young woman - Faith guessed about twenty-eight - wore an orange business suit, with a yellow, smooth shirt underneath the jacket. Although high cut around the woman's neck, the shirt was tight enough to give a general impression of her chest, the skirt fell smoothly around her legs. Now if that were in black, Faith mused, perhaps she could reconsider wearing skirts. The whole ensemble, right down to the white high heels, give the woman something sexy, feminine, and an air of being professional, and in control. She had a great face to, and almost all of the boys in the class had stopped whispering about Faith, she noted, their attention - at least for the moment - fixed on the beautiful teacher. The girls' whispering about Faith stopped as well, instead they whispered some hateful comments about the teacher. Faith could see herself liking the woman, if she kept the attention of the others on her instead.

"Hello, for all those who haven't had me yet, I'm Ms. Seaver. Ah, I see we have one brand new student this year, Ms. Faith Williams," the teacher said, looking around the room, until she settled on Faith. Damn, the woman must have recognized her from all the photo's published in newspapers and such. "Would you like to introduce yourself to the class?" Ms. Seaver asked gently.

Damn, there went the possibility of Faith liking her. "I prefer not to," Faith told her, with a light bitter edge to her voice.

"It'll make things easier if everyone knows you, you know, you'll be sitting with the other students here in every mandatory class," Ms. Seaver explained, her tone of voice told Faith that she didn't give her a choice.

Resigning to her fate, Faith got up out of her chair, silently admiring the woman. The fact that she could make Faith do this with nothing but the inflections of her voice was quite an accomplishment. The boys and girls turned around to regard her. Of course just because Faith had to do something didn't mean she had to like, or be nice about it. Faith put on a bright small, gave the class a cute, almost shy wave, and started, happily, "Hi, I'm Faith Williams. Yes, I am eighteen years old." Some faces looked surprised, after all, how could Faith now what they had been speculating about while whispering. "Yes, I am the same Faith Williams that was on the news a few months back, you people really should watch it more often, or pay better attention, try reading a paper too, that'll help." The faces of her fellow students fell some more. "Yes, I spent a little over a year in jail for murder one, yes, I actually did commit the murder. My hobbies are stabbing things through the heart, dismemberment, torture, in short violence." The faces had turned positively white by now, as Faith casually with a happy tone and a bright smile explained who she was. The teacher just kept looking at her, apparently she looked straight through her farce. Time to bring in the big guns. "And if any of you violate my personal space . . ." Faith now turned her most terrifying gaze upon the teacher, while keeping the smile brightly on her face, but turned her voice ice cold, letting just a hint of a growl creep in, "I will kill you." Faith smile didn't waver as she pauzed letting that sink in, then she continued, her eyes turning back to nice girl, and once again using her bright, 'oh, happy me' voice, "That's about it." She sat back down. Not once she removed the practically goofy, bordering on lopsided smile - *Thank you, Xander.* - from her face.

The students had turned back around by now, none daring to look at her wrong. Ms. Seaver swallowed heavily, and muttered, "Uhm, right, n-now t-that that's over with. L-let's start the first lesson."

Faith grinned with satisfaction. *There,* she thought triumphantly. *That should keep them out of my hair.*


Faith opened her locker and sighed in frustration. How could they have done this to her? She stood there for a moment, letting all the chatter from the people around wash over her. Finally, ready to move on to her next class, she was about to walk away, when a boy stepped in front of her and looked up at her. Faith looked down at him.

The sixteen-year-old suddenly smiled and stuck out his hand. "Hi," he said, "I am Archie."

Faith raised her eyebrows and said dumbfounded, "Archie?"

The boy kept his hand out and said nervously, "Short for Archibald. My family name is Butterworth."

*Man, this kid really hit the jackpot with a crappy name like that,* Faith thought idly, and then told him, "What do you want?"

The boy, smaller than the average sixteen year old, wearing clothes that Cordelia would classify as 'loser', pulled back his hand slowly. "Well, friendship?" he said, hopefully.

Faith walked passed him, going to her, and incidentally his next class. The boy wasn't exactly an adonis, in fact he was just on the other side of the line of bad looking. The boy followed her. "Which part of 'I will kill you' didn't you understand? Not to mention the pointed walking away?"

"Mandatory class, we have to be in the same place," Archie told her with a wide grin, as they walked side by side. "And you're bluffing. Even a grazing punch could land you back in jail." Faith looked down at the boy slightly surprise. "I do read the papers," he clarified.

Faith looked back forward, frustration running through her. She looked around and saw boys and girls checking her out, as well as eyes and ears on the two of them. As well as a few people who looked at Archie with resentment. "You just want me to protect you."

"Who me?" Archie said innocently. "Look at me, I'll take every friend I can get." Faith looked at him suspiciously. "All right fine, it did cross my mind, but it's not the main reason."

Faith kept looking at him, until she looked up at the ceiling and screamed, "WHY ME, DAMN IT! WHAT CRUEL JOKE DID YOU HAVE IN MIND, YOU ELECTRIC-EYED FREAK!!" An electric spark charged around a clock, and Faith hung her head in irritation. "Oh, don't gimme that crap."

Archie tucked on the sleeve of her jacket and when she looked down at him angrily he said, "One ex-psychopathic, murderer, with schizophrenic tendencies and an ugly loser. Two outsiders together, we're a match made in hell."

As they walked, another boy walked by, and said, "Hiya, babe. Wanna go out on a date wi . . ."

"NOOO!!" Faith screamed in his face, causing him to back off, like a scared bunny rabbit. She turned back to Archie and told him, angrily, "This is all your fault, if you weren't so insistent on calling my bluff they would keep away from me."

"I that a 'yes'?" he asked, once again offering his hand.

Faith looked at him for a moment, and then decided. She shook his head and said softly, "Fine, friends."


Faith adjusted her backpack over her right shoulder, as she opened the door to the hotel. "I'm back!" she called out loud. She walked further into the lobby and looked at the scene. Fred was off to the left behind the counter, looking a little fearful. Angel was running all over the place, shouting bordering on hysterics. Wesley was reading through some books and Gunn was trying to do what Angel told him to. "Damn it, what could be wrong with Cordy!?" Angel almost screamed.

Faith hesitated a moment, before deciding keeping the secret entrusted to her by Raiden and Xander was no longer an option. "I know what's wrong with Cordelia."

The words needed a second to register, but then Angel and Wesley were with her at breakneck speeds. "You know what's wrong with Cordy!?" Gunn and Fred came toward Faith a little slower.

Faith nodded, and announced with a pained voice, "She's dying." Now Gunn and Fred crossed the distance as rapidly as Angel and Wesley had before.

Angel and Wesley paled, as Fred blurted out, "No, no, no, that can't be. Not Cordy, I like Cordy!"

"H-how!?" Wesley managed to ask the practical question, looking fearfully at her.

Faith looked Angel in the eyes deeply and explained with a low voice, "It's the visions, Angel. Every time she has one, more of her brain cells die. That's why she's training with Xander, and the Gravity Gym, to make her mind strong enough to handle them." The gang looked at her in shock. Faith continued, "I don't know how much the training has benefitted her, but before she had only a few more months to live, if the number of visions didn't change. She's seen doctors, magicians the whole lot, no one could help. Xander was her last hope once she found out about his true self."

Wesley quickly made a decision, "We have to talk to her, we'll go to her house."


Cordy's place
A short while later

Wesley, Faith and Angel stood in front of the door, and Wesley knocked. There was no answer, but the Faith and Angel's super human hearing picked up something unusual. They gave each other a startled look and then kicked the door in. The three of them ran into house, Wesley understanding and not commenting on the other two's actions. The living room was empty, or so it seemed. Moments later Phantom Dennis made a fork he picked up from a plate point to the bathroom and jab hastily. The three embodied people ran quickly toward the bathroom, opened the door and . . .

Cordelia sat there, slumped against the wall, blood flowing from several wounds, face covered in boils and blisters. She was half dressed and the clothes she wore were partially shredded. Cordelia cried, looking down at herself and then up at the three new comers. "Why are they doing this, Angel?" She asked in between her crying, tears flowing from her eyes. "It was never like this. I figured out they're evil, but this . . . this is just sick. Why? Why can't they just leave us alone to lead our lives?"

"We'll get to the bottom of this, Cordelia?" Angel said softly. "I promise, we'll make it stop." He gently picked Cordelia up, wincing as he saw Cordelia's pained expressions whenever he touched a tender spot. "We'll get you to the hotel and bandage you up.

Wesley nodded in approval, and said, "Faith, go get Lorne, he might have some insight in this." Angel looked up at Wesley with a mixed impression.

"Right," Faith said as she started going ahead of the two men, who were gently looking out for their friend. She caught herself, and turned around. "Uhm, where do I find Lorne?" Faith asked suddenly.

Wesley pulled out pen and paper, scribbled on it and then handing it over, saying, "This is the address."

"Ok." Faith dashed off to go find Lorne.

Cordelia looked at Angel, as she was carried along and said, "There is a key. I th-think you're supposed t-to go get it, and a demon with boils."

"Just relax ok, Cordy?" Angel said with deep concern, looking into Cordy's eyes. "I'll go get the key once you're safely in the hotel."


Faith stepped into the entrance of Caritas, and got assaulted by demonic essences. Faith grimaced, her instincts screaming at her to kill. She calmed herself down some as she approached the safety check, and the two big vampires guarding it. Cordelia was important, she had to get Lorne, the demons would have to wait.

The vampires each stretched out a hand and stopped her, pointing at a locker in the wall they said, "Weapons."

Faith looked at them from one to the other, narrowing her eyes. Just as she was about to dust the two, Lorne called from the other sides. "She's ok fellas, come on in, Faith," Lorne called with a smile.

The vampires retracted their arms and Faith walked inside. There some demons did recognize her for what she was and they went rigid and tried miserable to look casual. "Hiya, Hot Stuff, what brings you to my humble establishment?" Lorne asked with a wide smile. Faith finished her inspection of the club and the demons, and two humans inside a moment later, she quenched her anger and instinct to kill.

"Cordy's visions are going haywire. From the wounds on her body, I think the wounds she sees being inflicted on the victim are inflicted on her as well," Faith explained with hurry. "You've got to come and see if you can figure this out."

"Coming right away," Lorne said with a concerned face.


Lorne placed his hands at either side of Cordelia's head, and concentrated, telling her to relax. Suddenly Cordelia tensed and Lorne got blasted away from her. Cordy screamed and a moment later her arms were burned red and purple.

Some time later, Lorne looked up at the rest of the AI gang, pushing a cold sack of ice against his aching head. "Really well done, almost indistinguishable of the real thing, but these don't come from the Powers. They're done by a demon."

"Could you determine from who?" Wesley asked the green-skinned man.

"No need," Angel told them with a grim look. "There can be only one."


Lilah sat leisurely behind her desk, until Angel entered her office with a loud crash of the breaking window. Lilah looked up, looked at the glass and said, "Darn, I just had this place vacuumed out too."

"Cut the crap, Lilah," Angel said with barely restrained anger. "You did this to Cordelia! Admit it!"

Lilah looked at Angel with a satisfied grin, turned her stool lightly to face Angel, her feet remained on the desk. "And such a lovely fate too, experiencing all the pain, suffering, and the physical wounds of the intended victim. It's rather inspired, don't you think?"

Angel dashed forward and slammed his hands onto her desks, leaning over it he looked intensely at her. "I think you wanted these." Angel placed the key and the flat circle with a hole on her table. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't rip your head of right now."

Lilah wasn't phased one bit and she calmly told him, "If I die, your precious Cordelia dies. You see the visions can kill. He's ordered to let Cordelia experience a victims death if I turn up missing or dead." Lilah picked up a glass that was filled with expensive champagne and took a relaxed sip. Angel looked at her with a deep rooted, intense anger.

"If she dies, I will torture you to death," Angel hissed threateningly.

Lilah got up, slowly circling the desk as she said, "No, you won't. Last year I might have believed you, but not this reformed Angel." She reached him, entered his personal space and looked up at him sweetly. "Fortunately, we have a rather urgent matter, and I would be willing to call my man off, providing you do this for me."

"What!?" Angel asked her helpless, his anger bore into her.

Lilah smiled up at him sweetly, and handed him a file from her desk. "He's the son of one of our wealthiest clients. He wants him back, very badly. He's innocent, and contained by a demon. You'll need those to get to him. Free him, you'll be doing a good dead, and helping your friend from her pesky vision problems."

Angel flipped through the file for a short while, before looking up from the papers. Looking intensely in Lilah's eyes, he growled, "You better not be lying to me."

"It's the truth, I swear," Lilah told him, her open hands up to show her innocence.

Angel then grabbed the key and plate, and left.


A motel room
Just outside of Las Vegas

The man thrust inside the heavenly vagina with all his might. God, she was tight. Granted a little cold, but that didn't matter, the blonde underneath him was simply heavenly. He fucked her with all his might, and to his slight astonishment she matched him stroke for stroke, moaning, groaning, and even growling out her approval and pleasure. Where had she been all his life? He grunted as he sped up even more, groped her left breast with greater brutality. His right hand tightened around her side with enough force to bruise an ordinary girl. Her inner muscles contracted and fluttered around his erection, milking him hungrily.

"Oh, yeah, fuck me harder, big boy!" the girl exclaimed with relish, tightening her legs around his waist just a little more, urging him onward. He complied eagerly, ramming his hard rod deep into her juicy vagina, smashing his pelvic bone on hers and her clit feverishly, each time sending a jolt of pleasure through the girl.

"Oh," he moaned, ramming harder, the final stretch was in reach. He breathed deeper as he started on his last leg. The girl underneath him moaned out her approval, and he blurted out, "Oh, god. I'm gonna cum. You're so hot, baby."

"Ooh, thank you for the compliment," the girl said, as her legs tight a little more, and her hands rubbed across his back, as her arms pulled him to her, and her cunt started tightening and releasing with increased rhythm and vigor.

"Yes, oh, god, here it comes," he groaned out loud, he pumped harder, he groaned and huffed. Then a low moan escaped his lips, while he thrust downward with all his might, impaling his cock inside her pussy deeper than ever before, stimulating her clit at the same time. As her inner muscles gripped him, he came, eyes closed, he shot his sperm deep inside her. The semi-fluid splashing against her uterus and quickly filling up the rest of her cunt.

The girls face suddenly changed, ridges formed on her forehead, her irises turned an unholy yellow, and her teeth elongated. The girl-revealed-vampire sank her teeth inside her sex victim. The man's eyes shot open in surprise and shock, too much into the throws of his sexual peek to register any pain. At the same time her nails sharpened and dug deeply into the man's back, together with her tightening legs she held him immobile. The vampire drank from his delicious blood this way. As his blood hit her taste busts, she went over the edge. Her eyes rolled up in her eye sockets as she exploded into her own orgasm. Moaning as she thirstily drank from his intoxicating blood, her vagina erupted with sexual desire and tightened itself with even greater intensity around his erupting cock. With every ripple of the vampire's sexual release her vagina milked the man's cock even more. The combined sensations sent the man in a state of frenzy he'd never felt before. Too entrenched in her and his pleasure to be alarmed at his quickly weakening state, his orgasm exploded into new heights. As his brain started lacking oxygen his pleasure centers got stimulated to new heights, and his cock spewed forth more cum with renewed vigor, a lot of it shooting past the vampire's uterus and into her throbbing womb. The sensations caused the vampire to cum a second time, and she rode out that one with pleasure, her cunt fucking up and down with intensity, even after the man died on top of her, and she was effectively humping a corpse.

About a minute later, Harmony's second orgasm finally subsided and she sank back down into the bed with satisfaction. "Hmm," she moaned in contentment, her tongue snaked out and licked up some of the blood that had spilled on her chin. She pushed the corpse off of her, and it tumbled onto the floor. "Aah," she moaned out, stretching out her arms, and enjoying the sensations going through her body as she rubbed her back into the bed. "Now that was good." She stayed there for a few moments before leisurely getting up from the bed. She grabbed the guy's close and went through them. Wallet, great! Nicely filled too! Keys, ooh keys! Lotus?

Harmony blinked a few times and walked to the window of the seedy motel room and looked across the parking lot. Her vampire vision allowing her to read the brand names on the back of the cars. Finally her gaze fell on a beautiful sleek red sports car, bearing the name 'Lotus' and on the other side Esprit. "Ooh, goody!" Harmony bounced up and down, her naked breasts bouncing along. "Cool car, I have a cool car!" She stopped bouncing and looked back at the dead man. "Cheerleader instincts!" she called out proudly. "Now this is definitely the way to go. Fuck 'em and drain 'em dry! I'm so smart! Who else would have thought to drain them at the height of sexual passion, and too think I just thought he was a hottie! I bet any guy would be happy to fuck me and make a blood donation without too much prodding! After all, I <was> captain of the Sunnydale High cheerleader squad!"

Harmony smoothed out her face to a human one. One time her blouse had gotten caught on one of her fangs, bye, bye expensive clothing, uh, uh, she would never made that mistake again. After that she quickly put on her clothes. She started with stylish boots and a short skirt and finished with a colorful, tight blouse that left her back bare. Last but not least, she put on a black feminine leather jacket. She checked her watch and then smiled, "With that race monster I can get to Las Vegas with time to spare before the sun comes up." Then Harmony was off.


*There,* Harmony thought with a grin. *I'm here. Gambling capital of the world, legal prostitution, in short: the city of sin. Where better for a vampire of my infamy to be?*

"Now, to find a quick way to make a buck, perhaps I should sire some minions so they can go pick pocketing," Harmony mused, looking around at the pretty lights. Harmony blinked suddenly, "Wait a minute! Prostitution, that's it! I get money for fucking some guys, how much better can you get? They better have some class, or I'll drain them instead!"

After looking around for a short while, she found what she was looking for: a brothel that was still open, it could mean only one thing. She parked the Lotus and looked at the building. It was run down, and in the worst part of town. Harmony grimaced, then told herself, "Buck up, Harm. You can do this, it'll be only temporary until you find some place where you can really make some money. Run a strip club or something."

She walked up to the door and knocked hard. Moments later a man opened, her hearing didn't pick up a heart beat. He was a fellow vampire, as expected. Once the man realized she was like him as well, he growled at her, "What do you want!?"

"I'm Harmony Kendall, and I'm here for a job," Harmony said, and walked forward past the head vamp. Before he even knew what was going on, Harmony had slipped past him and into the house.

"Listen, I already have enough whores working for me, so get out," the vamp told her with no uncertain terms.

Harmony couldn't believe it, especially seeing the sorry state of his whores, as they came peeking out of their rooms to find out what was the racket. At this hour virtually all of the clientele were demons, or vamps, and most of them just raped a woman, then had her for lunch, and be done with it, instead of wasting hard earned money on prostitutes. So, almost all of the twenty whores present could come out to look. "Listen buster, I don't think you quite realize who you're dealing with here," Harmony accused him, her finger poking in his chest a few times. "Look at me, I was the captain of the cheerleader squad in high school, I know style, can you say that of them? They don't know sexy when it hit them in the face, and I on the other hand can get any man I want to. I'd be your greatest asset, I could teach them some decent dress sense that would have every man drooling over their bodies. I after all am the vamp who seduced the Slayer of Slayers. Speaking of slayers, I went toe to toe with one and survived, I actually came this close to beating her." Harmony indicated with her fingers how close. "I already had her sister kidnapped and everything, if my minions weren't a bunch of traitorous blundering fools, I would have bagged myself a slayer. In short you need me."

"Who the hell is the Slayer of Slayers?" the pimp vamp called out incredulously. Then he folded his arms across his chest and added, "And if I had a buck for every time I heard a demon tell me he survived an encounter with a Slayer, almost, or completely killed her, I'd be filthy rich."

"Are you calling me a liar?" Harmony told him insulted, her own arms going across her chest. "You are calling me a liar!" Harmony slapped the pimp across his face with indignation.

"You bitch!" he yelled and vamped out, and attacked Harmony. He punched her in her chin, making her reel back. Then she vamped out as well, and lashed out, ripping the pimp's shirt and leaving a few gashes. Harmony pounced, and the pimp recovered attacking at the same time. Suddenly Harmony just grabbed him and turned around as fast as she could and ran forward, ramming the guy in the wall. She revealed a stake from with her jacket and plunged it through the pimp's heart. Harmony had learned some time ago, if your minions can betray you, you better be able to kill your own kind at a moment's notice. The pimp looked shocked and then Harmony grinned as he turned to dust.

Harmony looked at the pile of dust and became aware of the fearful whores behind her. *Man! I should have done this from the get go, my very own brothel!* Harmony thought with an evil grin, then got an idea. A high class one would make much more money. She turned around, still vamped out and smoothly threw the stake in the air. As it came down, she fumbled several times with it before she had it firmly back in her hand. "Anybody got a problem with me taking over?" she asked as menacingly as Harmony could muster, which wasn't much, but it was enough it seemed. The vampire whores backed away, shaking their heads, and mustering a few shy nos. "Good," she said and walked over to the first whore and looked her over. "Ugly," she judged, and staked her before she could put up a defense. She continued onward like this all through the brothel, judging, 'no class', 'loser', 'stupid'. In one room there was a demon having his way with the vamp whore, and she broke his neck from behind, before he even knew what was happening, the vamp got the label, 'doable' - for the mostly heterosexual Harmony that was the highest praise. In the next room Harmony found a well-trained, well-muscled, sexy human male, tied to a rack, and being whipped by a vampire mistress. Realizing she could enslave him unconditionally, as long as he had only one absolute mistress, she staked the vamp.

Harmony picked up the whip and whipped the shocked man hard across his chest. She walked forward and cupped his straining, tied off erection and squeezed, hard enough to hurt, soft enough to stay erotic. She bent forward and looked the man in the eyes with her yellow eyes and whispered in his ear. "Who is your mistress?"

Harmony felt his erection grow and strain against the leather bondage it was in, as he blurted out, "You are, my blonde goddess, my true mistress. That was so hot watching you dus . . ."

"Shut up!" Harmony yelled at him, and punched him across his jaw. "You answer only my question and no more. I don't want to hear your tripe, got that!?"

"Yes, mistress," he said gasping with erotic tension and pain.

Harmony breathed over him, making a show of studying his face, licking her lips and fangs. She saw his eyes widen in fear and anticipation. She moved down to his neck and found several bite marks, and tiny scars of his former mistress. She teased them with her teeth, hearing him gasp with desire in response. Harmony moved further down, letting her hand move across his chest, twisting each nipple viciously. The man gasped, his body moving up, moving his erection forward. She finally reached his erection, and stepped back. She whipped him around his erection, on his legs, and chest leaving more red welts around, some burst open and bled. The man dared not to say the safety word, conflicted in pain, fear and desire, part of him wanted to, part of him didn't, his logic told him this mistress wouldn't listen to it anyway. Then he got the shock of his life. The golden-hair goddess undid the leather tied around his erection, and released the suddenly pressure-less erection to the air, and then engulfed it with her mouth. She sucked it expertly, careful initially not to touch him with her fangs, she swallowed his erection into her throat. Only a few sucks and licks were enough to send him over the edge. When she felt him twitch she quickly slid her mouth upward until his tip rested squarely in her mouth. When she felt his jizz fill her mouth, she bit down on his penis, mixing his blood with his cum, the ultimate mixture. The man screamed out his pain and pleasure, making the remaining whores cower in fear, if they had notions of escape while their new mistress was busy it was quickly quenched.

Once he was finished, Harmony removed her filled mouth from his penis and moved upward. She worked his sperm and blood into the sides of her mouth, so she could whisper. "I'll bet the pile of dust never did that for you, hmm?"

"N-n-no," he whispered back in fear, he was certain he had never felt so much pain and pleasure at the same time. To his mixed horror and enjoyment, he felt her right hand painfully, but erotically grope his balls and flaccid penis, that was already reacting, becoming harder again.

"That's because she was never your mistress, she was just the slut who performed her job," Harmony whispered to him again. "A true mistress will think of your pleasure as well as her own. Although yours is much lower on the ladder, she will reward you when you've been good. Would you like me to be your true mistress?" The man nodded bug-eyed. "Good, than this will be our covenant. Do not swallow!" Harmony kissed him, and pored his own semen and blood mixture into his mouth, then started a passionate French kiss with him, that she let last for several minutes. Then she pulled back, each of them having about half of the mixture in their mouths. Harmony smiled before she opened her mouth and let him see. "Swallow," she ordered, and she watched him swallow. She signaled him with her hand and he opened his mouth - empty. Then she swallowed herself, and complimented him, "Very good. Now you will be mine forever and ever, for all eternity." The man's eyes widened after a moment, realizing what she meant.

"No, please don't, I've got children, a wife, she knows I'm here, because she's not capable of giving me this," he told her in desperation.

Harmony grinned and told him, "Than you shouldn't have come to soulless, demon-inhabited corpses of pure evil for your pleasure. I bet your wife thinks dusty was just a woman. Let's remove those marks of her. I'm your mistress now." Harmony purred as she used her nails to cut away the scarring, making him bleed lightly, the scent was intoxicating. "Don't complain, this is what you've always wanted, always craved for, or you would be with a human mistress." Then she sank her fangs into his neck and sucked deeply, drinking his copious flowing blood. She found his erection and massaged it again, feeling its throb quickly becoming less as she sucked away the blood need for the action.

To the man's horror he felt his body react to the erotic embrace, because Harmony made sure it was. His previous mistress always stopped, sooner or later, but his new blonde goddess didn't, and the more he felt his life ebb away, the more aroused he got. Finally, when everything had dimmed, and he was weaker than he ever was, she stopped sucking.

He watched as she slit upon the palm of her right hand with a nail, and let her blood drip on his lips and face, holding the hand not even an inch above his mouth enticing him. He resisted the urge at first to suck the blood into him, the last core of his morals making one last valiant effort. Harmony would have none of it, and he heard her speak, "Drink my pet, you know you're mine. You cannot resist me, I am your mistress, this is what you've wanted all along, admit it, at least to yourself. Drink and be my slave forever and ever, drink and fulfill you deepest desires." She was right, and he moved up, latching onto her wrist and started drinking from the tangy blood. "That's right!" he heard her encourage him, saying dirty depraved things to him, making him suck harder. "You're mine now, and you know it. For eternity, forever, you will do everything I tell you, you cannot resist. Always, you will be mine, I'm your mistress, you're my slave. My good obedient slave. I am your dark golden-haired goddess, you belong to me and no one else, you will worship me, you will worship the ground beneath my feet, you will lick the ground clean before I walk on it, if I so desire. You are nothing without me, nothing at all, you love me more than life itself, mine to mold in whatever I want. Mine, mine, mine, and mine alone. If I die, you're nothing, worthless, you'll kill yourself if I'm not around because you wouldn't have the right to live without me. You're mine forever, my sweet, my pet, my slave." Finally he died and Harmony extracted her hand from him. Perfect. With his personality traits and hammering into him, he was hers and hers alone, the demon inhabiting his corpse soon should take that over, she'd have her own perfectly, obedient slave.

"Ooh, I'm such a good actor. I should get an Oscar for that!" Grinning Harmony returned to the main lobby. Finding the telephone was easy, the yellow pages next to it, more so. She opened it up and soon found what she was looking for. "Girls!" she commanded and the four remaining vampire whores quickly came running. "Haven't you always dreamed to go up in the world?" The whores looked at each other not understanding. Harmony placed her finger on an ad, 'High class escorts, and brothel - we're the best, the most classy and discreet'. "Tomorrow night we go up."

Harmony realized something, this had gone easy. Where had she heard that again? Biology class: survival of the fittest. Sunnydale was the hellmouth, demons had more power there. The most vile of the monsters and demons were attracted to it, the most powerful ones trying to absorb its energy, or to open it up to destroy the world, it was were the Slayer of Slayers resided as well as the Slayer herself, and she thinned out the crowd easily, everything that couldn't cut it would die, or flee, only the most powerful ones remained. In Sunnydale she may have been in the lower ranks of the food chain, but here there was no Slayer, no super powered, super evil demons. Las Vegas she could rule. Queen H had a nice ring to it.



Angel had used the key and ring and had reached the dimensional pocket in which Wolfram & Hart's client was held. It was basically a cave, Angel could see down a short stretch of cave, stairs hewn out of the rock, ending in a circular room, orange with the glow of fire. He walked forward, almost reaching the circular chamber.

A demon, all greyish blue, with a shiny exoskeleton stepped in front of him. With a sweet voice the demon said, "Hi, I'm Skip."

"I'm Angel, I take it you guard him," Angel said, pointing to the man contained in a cage of fire, the man itself constantly aflame.

"You're a vampire, how come you smell like you fight for the powers?" the demon asked him with a sweet voice.

"Because I do," Angel answered him. "How come he doesn't scream?"

"Oh, he screams, my will just keeps it from being heard. There are only so much 'Oh, God, it hurts. Make it stop please!' you can hear, before being terribly bored with it," Skip explained pleasantly, Angel nodded in acknowledgment. "You are aware that he's deserved what he gets, right? You have to be really bad to get this as a punishment."

"Sorry, but a friend of mine is going to die if I don't bring him with me," Angel told the demon.

"Well," Skip said philosophically, "I guess that means we fight." Skip threw a punch, that Angel dodged. Then Angel smashed his fist into Skip's chest and he flew across the room and crashed against the cave wall before dropping to the ground. Skip looked up quite astonished. Training under eight gs of gravity had its perks, even though Angel wasn't very proficient using his chi yet. He knew if Faith were here, she probably would have shattered the demon's exoskeleton with her first punch, but she had homework to do. Angel ran over to Skip who had gotten up by that point. He threw a right that Angel blocked, and followed up with a vicious kick to the stomach that sent the vampire to the ground in pain, skidding to the cage of fire. Skip tried to crush Angel's skull, but he rolled aside and kicked Skip's other leg out from under him. By the time Skip got up he got a devastating kick into his rump and doubled over. Angel followed up with an elbow to the demon's neck, then grabbed the demon's head, and pulled him off his legs and rammed him down upon his knee. Angel then grabbed Skip's neck and smashed him up against a cave wall, his feet dangling a foot above ground.

Angel vamped out, trying to convey his seriousness, and told Skip, "I can kill you and I take him, and I can let you live and I take him, what'll it be?"

Skip nodded and answered, defeated, "Take him." The cage of fire disappeared, and the man fell to the floor, still a bit black ash on his body from the fire.

"Good choice," Angel reverted to his human self, and dropped Skip. "Let's go," Angel ordered the man. "Trying to escape will lead you to your demise."

"Ok," Billy answered with an evil grin.


Several hours later Angel, Wesley and Faith were in the industrial area of LA. Several meters away from them a few limousines stood. Lilah stood next to one with a grin, a few body guards stood behind her. "So," she said, "I see you have succeeded."

"Stop the visions, make her better," Angel told her. Lilah turned back, made a signal, and a demon in the car returned a gesture.

"Done," Lilah told him.

Angel turned to Wesley, who pulled out a cell phone. A moment later her put the phone away, and nodding, he said, "She's better."

Angel pushed Billy forward and kicked him along, causing Billy to stumble. They watched as the bodyguards took Billy, and cut the rope that restrained his hands.

"It's just business," Lilah commented and turned around, heading for the car.

"Just business," Angel nodded, then turned to Faith. "Faith," he said.

Lilah turned around at that comment and watched with astonished eyes. Faith stepped forward, pointed her hand at the demon in the car and fired an energy ball before anyone could do a thing. The ball shattered the window, exploded and a moment later the inside of the limo was covered in blood and gore, some of it running down the outside of the door as well.

Lilah and her body guards looked at the dead body with astonishment, and back to Faith, Angel, and Wesley. Again that firing energy balls without a spell! This couldn't be considered good. Lilah was even more shocked when she found Angel standing right next to her.

"Lilah," Angel said calmly, looking the lawyer straight in the eye. "You ever target Cordelia again, you're dead. You've played that card once, and never again. Got that?"

Lilah nodded solemnly. Then the Angel gang turned around, got in their cars and drove off.


Las Vegas

"So how are we going to get invited in, mistress?" one of the four remaining vampire whores asked, as Harmony and her new slaves walked along the better part of time. They passed buildings of different sizes, the one they were going to had a lovely, front garden.

Harmony stopped irritated, she should have done an IQ test first. She looked up in frustration and answered, "It's a brothel, a public place, automatic invitation to anyone, moron. Public place, invitation standard, got that, sweetums?"

"Oh," the vampire answered, embarrassed. The group continued walking.

Harmony looked at her new sex toy and slave, and told him with a grin, "At least you have some intelligence."

The male, that she had decided to name Dis, as opposed to her 'harmony', took one of her arm and put gentle kisses on it, and he answered growling, "I live to serve, my goddess."

Harmony grinned, squatted his hand away, saying playfully, "Stop that, we've got work to do." They had reached the entrance and Harmony pushed the bell. Moments later it was opened by a beautiful woman in about her forties.

"Come in," she said, with a dazzling smile. "We fulfill your hearts' desire."

"Don't mind if I do," Harmony told her, took one step passed the door frame, vamped out, causing the woman's eyes to bulge out. Harmony drained her dry before she could sound the alarm. Her minions vamped out and joined their leader inside the building. "Contain this place, girls. Guard exits and entrances. "Dis round up the whores in this place, leave those who are with customers, we don't want to drive away our already existing payment plans. I'll go find this woman's room, get the girls to me. I'll decide whether to turn the girls or keep them human there. I bet some of the demons would prefer a real woman over a vampire."

"Yes, ma'am," the five vampires answered and dashed off to do her bidding.

"Ooh, goody," Harmony whispered to herself, and went to find the madam's room.

Two hours later, half the whores were on their knees looking at her terrified, the other half lay strewed around the room, waiting for possession and resurrection as an undead creature of the night.

"Alrighty then," Harmony said and turned to the living humans. "Things are going to be great around here people, why the glum faces! There's only been a change in ownership, you will continue your jobs." Some of the girls look back and forth between the imposing vampire and themselves. "Oh, wait," Harmony said happily, and she shifted her demon visage that to her human self. "See, I'm not going to eat you. You will continue having your jobs here, you'll do the exact same work, only the customers will expand to include demons as well." The girls looked even more terrified. Harmony placed her hands in her sides with a pout on her face. "Why the long faces? Nothing's changed. You'll still have sex for money!"

The girls looked uncertain, until the most brave one, took two knees forward and said, a little timidly, "Let me get this straight? There will be no eviscerations, or otherwise people getting hurt."

"Exactly!" Harmony answered with a grin, and elaborated. "No pain stuff, unless of course you like that, or something, no eviscerations, no killing, no draining, if you like to try, you might let a vampire drink some blood, but he or she'll know that the punishment for trying to drain you dry is a pile of dust, always condoms, no pregnancies, just like before, only know you have more than one species to satisfy. Some of them might a bit rough, so you might have a few bruises, but nothing permanent or debilitating, I assure you, I don't want to lose all my cash cows, now do I?" The girls seemed a bit uncertain, some of their minds could be seen turning over ideas. Harmony continued, "It isn't like you can tell anyone about us, you know. The ones who know already do, and won't care, the ones who don't, will lock you up in a padded room. So, do we have a deal?"

The girls looked at each other for a moment, and then the bravest said, "Deal."

"Great!" Harmony exclaimed.

Another five hours later some of the ones Harmony turned had risen. Realizing she would be forced to put down the rules multiple times over, seeing as the rest hadn't risen yet, and wouldn't anytime soon, it could take days, she decided now was as good a time as any. She sat on a throne she had put together in the mean time, wearing an extremely revealing rubber dress, that if it were made out of normal fabrics would be considered royal. "Listen up," Harmony told her new children. "You are still whores, my whores to be exact, and you will continue to work. We will get our blood from a blood bank. Unless the customer asks for it, no drinking from him, and under any circumstances no killing. That privilege is for me, and me alone, in the rare cases I see a real tasty snack. I do not want to loose good paying customers, got that?"

One of them with the most guts, got up from her kneeling position and took a step forward. "Who are you to order me around?"

"Dis," Harmony said with a wide smile.

Dis stepped forward and picked the insolent by her neck with one hand, and lifted her clear of off the floor. "She's your goddess, your mistress, your mother, your sire, you are her childe, you thank your unlife on her, you should be flattered to lick the ground beneath her feet." Dis squeezed tighter, causing the girl to gurgle, "And if that's not enough, I'm hers, which means I dust you the moment you try anything. Got that?" The vampire nodded and Dis let her go.

"Good boy, Dis," Harmony said with a wide grin.


Days later, night

The dark-haired boy was lost in thought as walked along the dark alley. He had only just started film school, but now he already was home sick. Not to mention he missed his best friends, and potential girlfriend. Then suddenly a sharp pain lanced through his side, and he was pushed up against the wall. He yelped out loud, and squinted his eyes in pain. Once he opened them he looked at seven grinning visions of horror. He was terrified instantly.

"You seem tasty," the vampire holding him grinned, then it opened its mouth, revealing razor sharp fangs, ready to sink into the boy's neck.

At that time he turned to dust, after which a wooden stake clanged to the floor, and a feminine voice called out, "And you seem dust." The remaining vampires turned around at the approaching brunette, who pulled out a knife and motioned them to come at her.

The boy looked with incredulously. The girl who now became visible to him, with the vampires out of the way, was dressed in leather leg-hugging pants, a low-cut shirt and a black leather jacket that seemed tailored specifically for her. The boy's eyes widened as he looked at the sheer beauty following. She was a perfect moving killing machine, a graceful and almost sexy dance of death. One vampire she kicked and doubled over. Jumping over him, she kicked out at another vampire, who lost his head to the kick. As the vampire and severed head flew through the air both turned to dust. The girl continued turning and sliced her knife through a vampires neck, severing its head as well and it too turned to dust. She ducked underneath a swipe and countered with an uppercut that send the monster flying meters through the air, when it landed it crashed into some wooden trash and promptly turned to dust. She caught the fist of another vampire, twisting the arm and then with a yank breaking it, the vampire screamed out in pain. The one doubled over had gotten up, and she kicked him in the chest causing him to stagger back. The one with the broken arm she threw against a wall, and followed it with a kick to its head, which promptly shattered under the impact. As the dust settled, some pieces of the wall bounced loudly on the floor. Only two were remaining, the one freshest threw a punch that the girl grabbed easily. Unseen by the boy the vampire's eyes widened in shock. Knife then stuck through its neck, the point coming out the back. The girl pulled the knife back, grabbed the vampire's head, twisted it violently and courtesy of the hole made by the knife, not only the neck broke, but the head was twisted clean off. The vampire turned to dust afterwards.

The boy watched the whole scene with growing amazement, and admiration. The girl walked over to the last vampire, that snarled out loud, "YOU BITCH!"

"Yep, but not yours," the girl quipped with a grin. The vampire attacked enraged and got the knife in its heart. The girl pulled it out quickly, and seemed about ready to do something else, but then she looked astonished as the vampire seemed to start to burn from the inside out, screaming in pain, and then also puffed away.

The boy stayed open mouthed against the wall of the alley as the beautiful girl walked up to him, putting the knife away. "Are you okay?" she asked concerned, looking down at him. He just looked up at her mouth agape, drinking in the beauty in front of him - the beauty that had saved his life. "Hey!" she called out insistently, her eyes filled with concern. "Are you okay?!"

The boy shook his head suddenly, jolting from his trance. He straightened up and answered, "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine."

When he didn't immediately do anything but drink in the primal beauty, the girl told him, "You shouldn't be out at night you know, and if you must, stay to public areas. This city is filled with demons, and vampires, and stuff."

"Uh, ok," the boy stammered, then got a grip on himself and stuck out his right hand. "I'm Zack, thanks for saving my life."

The girl smiled a radiant smile, took his offered hand and retorted, "No biggy, it's kinda my job, killing these things I mean. I'm Faith."

Zack grinned, he was slowly getting his cool back and said, "Faith, nice name. Never thought vampires were real."

"Yeah, well, they are," Faith told him, and stayed standing there getting a little nervous as he just stayed standing. "Uhm, were do you live? You should get going you know, not being out here at night, remember? Perhaps you would like me to walk you home, protect you from the big bads out there?"

Caught staring, Zack quickly improved himself, "Uhm, yes, that way. And I think I could use the extra protection. I am a man and all, can defend myself, but seven on one just isn't fair."

They started walking in the direction he had indicated, and Faith smiled at him, saying, "Depends on what you're doing." He turned his head, and looked at her confused. Faith looked at him, and wiggled her eyebrows slightly. She managed to look so sexy with that suggestion, Zack had to quickly shake his head to get rid of the impromptu visions of seven naked women, strangely all resembling the girl in front of him, crawling over him, kissing him anywhere they could.

Zack grinned, as they walked out of the alley and turned right onto a slightly better lit, and bigger road. "You are beautiful," Zack told the brunette with a smile.

They continued their trek, and Faith looked at him, smiled and said, "Thanks, you're not so bad yourself." Faith looked him over. She didn't have x-ray vision, but if past experiences taught her anything she made a pretty good guess about what lay beneath, and it wouldn't be bad. His face was pretty handsome as well. "So, what made you come to this city?"

"How do you know I came here?" Zack asked startled, as they walked along.

Faith grinned at him for a moment, and explained, "No one born here would be out and about in this part of town at this hour."

"Oh, right," Zack said, looking around for a moment, and realizing how empty the place really was. "I enrolled in film school a few weeks back."

Faith raised her eyebrows, as she asked, "Actor?"

"Writer - director," Zack answered shaking his head. "So what about you?"

"I kill things," Faith told him with a self-conscious grin.

He looked at her with nervous look for a moment, and then asked, "So . . . vampires, any tips?"

Faith smiled, and counted off on her fingers, "Wooden stake through the heart, direct sunlight, fire and decapitation kills them. They don't like garlic, but then most people don't either, only works if you use it as part of a spell. Crosses burn them, and keep most away from you, especially younger ones, older more powerful ones don't really care if they get burned a little and will probably just smash it out of your hands. Holy water burns them, and they can't come in unless you invite them, so don't invite anyone unless you're certain about them . . . oh, wait, if you can get them to drink holy water, that'll kill them as well."

"Cool," Zack said, and though of something. He gestured left, and the two of them crossed started street as he asked, "So what about the knife?"

Faith thought for a moment and answered, "I don't know. I know there are some magical weapons here and there that can kill vampires as well, but this knife was forged only about a month ago. I don't get it either . . ." Faith was silent for a moment, then mumbled to herself, "Ask Wesley, he should know."

"Wesley?" Zack picked up, and trying to be casual, partly succeeding, he asked, "He your boyfriend?"

"Nah, friend of mine. Don't have a boyfriend," Faith answered absentmindedly, her mind returning to the mystery of the knife's ability to kill a vampire through the heart.

Zack jumped for joy inside, and then stopped. He turned left and looked up the building that contained his apartment. "This is me."

"Great," Faith said with a smile, not quite certain why she lingered.

Gathering all his courage the shy boy asked, "Wanna come up? Drink some coffee, or tea, or . . ."

Faith had regarded him while he almost started blabbing, the decision was quickly made, "Haven't I told you about the not inviting part?"

Zack grinned and answered, "I figured, if you wanted to kill me, you would have done so already. Plus: you saved my life, killing seven vampires in three seconds flat. I wouldn't be able to stop you from killing me anyway."

Faith grinned sexily and told him, "Love to come up."


Zack flipped on the light in the apartment he shared with three others. He held the door open and Faith walked in, and looked over the mess of a typical college kids' apartment. She smiled as she took off her jacket and hung it over the couch.

"Uhm," Zack started nervously as he took off his own coat. "Don't blame the mess on me, there are three others I share this place with."

Faith grinned at him, and told him, "Won't, promise."

"Ok, coffee, tea, something else?" Zack asked as he made his way to the small kitchen to the left.

Faith grabbed his arm, and pulled him back into an embrace, as she said, huskily, "Something else." Then she kissed him passionately. Zack was uncertain at first, but quickly got into the spirit of things and he enclosed her with his own arms. "Bedroom," Faith murmured, as her tongue did all kinds of wicked things with Zack's. He nodded and maneuvered the two to his small bedroom. A single bed, a closet, a book case and a desk is all that fit in it, without forfeiting half a meter leg room between bed and the rest. The two found themselves sitting on the bed, continuing their kisses, for a few moments. Faith's hand reached gently between Zack's legs and found a starting bulge there. Satisfied, she broke the kiss, got up, and pulled off her shirt, revealing her breasts.

Zack looked at her in astonishment, his eyes looked on her breasts. "Take off your clothes," Faith suggested softly, as she started unbuttoning her pants. When Zack complied with a jolt, Faith smiled and asked, "You're a virgin, aren't you?"

Zack blushed, and nodded, too flustered to speak, as he busied himself with undressing. This was already better than his fantasies and they hadn't even started yet.

Faith smiled broadly at him. God was she beautiful. "Don't worry, I'll make this real good for you." Zack nodded hopefully, as Faith thought things over. It just had to be a virgin, she guessed this time she could do this properly, not throw the guy out in his birthday suit. For Faith this was more than lust. Granted it was part of it, she hadn't had any in over two years, for the average slayer that was long, for someone of Faith's caliber it was extreme, for a Slayer of Faith's caliber it was down right an eternity. She needed release and she needed it quickly. But that was just the beginning of it. For over a year Faith had been able to think about things, mull things over. Her time with Xander and her subsequent reaction had been one thing, as well as her sexcapades before ever coming to Sunnydale. She had always fought to keep her father and mother from winning. To her disgust she had found out, they had won after all. Oh, she could enjoy sex, but the moment an unquantifiable thing entered in the picture she got scared. Unquantifiable until she stewed in prison. She had finally found out; with Xander she had felt it, or rather had started to, had begun to, feelings, sensations, and then had thrown him out before she could truly explore what it was: passion. She fucked, she had a fantastic time indulging in her lust, but not once had she dared to feel passion. She was determined to change that tonight. She had already started the first step, deep, burning, needy, passionate kissing before she had even undressed, and she was going to take it from there.

Once they were both naked, Faith squatted down, and went between Zack's legs. Zack, sitting on the bed, just looked astounded at her. Gently she cupped his balls with her right hand, and moved toward his by now rock hard cock. Faith looked into his eyes, and was astounded. She had never seen a guy look at her like that, not even Xander. He looked at her with worship, with astounding, surprise, mixed with lust, and passion. He wanted her badly, and Faith gave him a smile.

Gently Faith snaked out her tongue and ran it up the length of his penis. She had done this before, but never this slow, never this loving, never to saver, to taste a manhood. If she did it, it was to get him hard quickly so she could plunge him into her, usually she didn't need to, a quick jerk off, a little showing off skin and men would be ready. Faith was amazed. He tasted musky, heavy, but clean. She remembered downright dirty cocks. Once she reached the top she closed her lips around the head, giving it half kiss, half suckle.

Zack gasped, muttering out, "Oh, gawd." Faith smiled pleased, and took the cock back in her mouth in the same manner, this time she kept it there, and gently ran the tip of her tongue around the head and the piss hole. Faith detected a slightly salty taste; he must have peed recently. Undeterred, Faith continued to lick the knob, while gently suckling it, her fingertips gently holding his rod in position. Zack breathed heavy and less and less controlled. Once satisfied with the head of Zack's erection, Faith gently sank her mouth lower, taking more the cock in her mouth. It made one hand superfluous, her left hand stayed at the bottom, while her right gently started to fondle his stomach. She enjoyed the sounds coming from the boy. She was giving the blowjob of his life. She swivelled her tongue gently around his dick. She moved her head up, and then down, her tongue never stopping the teasing of his shaft. Her tongue went from soft touches, to hard pressure and back again, never once giving Zack the chance to get used to her ministrations.

Having had enough of the upper part, Faith suddenly plunged downward, and with a quick swallow, took him in completely. She reached the root of the fantastic penis moments later, and sucked harder, passionately letting her tongue swirl all around. Her left hand had replaced her right, while her right went down to her vagina, and gently started playing with it. Breathing through her nose with some difficulty, she swallowed several times, massaging the upper part of his cock with her throat muscles. "Ooohh, oh, goooaawwd, woawww," Zack gasped out with unfamiliar pleasure. This was incredible. "Hhhaaah, Faaaitthth. You . . . so good."

Faith grinned inwardly, at the praise. She loved this! She loved the taste, she loved how she could feel his cock throb in her mouth, Slayer enhanced senses increasing the sensations, allowing her to feel the blood beating in every vein. She loved her body's reactions, her nipples were rock hard, and her vagina was wet. Two of her fingers were inside her folds, gently exploring and stimulating. It was begging for the cock that was now in her mouth.

*Time to add some more friction,* Faith thought with a smile. Sucking a little harder she moved her head up slowly. Once on top she stopped sucking and moved down again, with a swallow she reached the root again. Down there she massaged the cock with her throat and tongue, suckling gently. Then she went up again, sucking hard, causing Zack to hiss out his approval. After that she went down again, and back up, slowly, bit by bit increasing her speed until she was hobbing her head up and down. The sensations coming from her lips and tongue, the taste detected by her taste buds, the throbbing in her cunt stimulated by her fingers, it was all so sexy, so good. She could hardly believe the difference in quality, just by taking it a little slower, holding her lust back a bit, letting her passion and desire take front seat.

"Ooaaahhh, goood, Faaaaiithhh, sssttop," Zack whimpered, trying to stay sitting upright as Faith's mouth became a merciless attack on his self control. "I-I c-caan't, hmmm, I'm . . .nnggrroa . . . gonna . . ."

Faith grinned. She increased her sucking, and tonguing on his manhood. Her right thumb found her clit, and started stimulating it with abandon. Her left hand cupped his balls and squeezed gently. "OOOAAH! YEESS! COMING!" Zack yelled out loud, his hands gripped the sides of his bed, he fell back in blissful agony, and instinctively thrust upward as his climax claimed him.

Faith had felt his cock twitching, and just as Zack called out his orgasm, she quickly pulled up her mouth, leaving only the knob in her mouth. His cum sprayed out of his cock, splattering the roof of her mouth and rapidly filling it up. She caught his upward thrust without too much difficulty. The sensation of his seed filling her mouth and its taste sent her over the edge, as the head of his cock hit the back of her mouth. Her cunt contracted around her fingers, and a powerful, enjoyable, but in the end unsatisfying orgasm rocked her body. During her orgasm, she kept fingering herself, as well as squeezing his balls and sucking enticingly on the head of his rod. Zack's lowered his groin back down on the bed, but to Faith's pleasant surprise, he kept giving tiny thrusts upwards, with each thrust, and with each of her sucks another burst of his cum spurt forth. Filled with enjoyment she let his sperm flow into her mouth, only swallowing when it threatened to spill.

For twenty seconds he continued ejaculating, Faith swallowing thirstily. Once he finally stopped shooting his load, Faith sucked hard, and moved her still filled-up mouth upward. She made sure she cleaned his cock fully, her tongue teasing his piss hole, making him give up a little bit more cum. Finally she removed her mouth from his cock, leaving the cock clean, and her mouth filled. She held her head back, and opened her mouth gently, allowing her tongue to snake out, lick up the little excess that she hadn't been able to keep inside from the corners of her mouth. She closed her mouth again and moaned, as she moved her tongue and the sperm around her mouth. Faith smiled as she did this, she had never before had the guts to play with it before. *Take that! You can't break me!* she thought in vindication to everyone who had ever abused her. After that she continued to enjoy the texture and taste silently, grinning to herself, nobody would have a hold over her again. She shook Zack softly and watched as he got up with a little difficulty, and looked amazed as she opened her mouth to show. She played with his cum for a few moments, letting her tongue wiggle around sexily, than closed her mouth and swallowed. Then she opened her mouth wide again, grinning at the same time as she showed him her empty mouth.

Zack blinked several times, and whispered, "Oh, wow." He looked even more astonished as the alluring female slowly and sexily got up from her kneeling position and gently moved forward, pushing him back onto her bed. "I, I'm bushed," he told her embarrassedly.

"No, you're not," Faith told him softly, a wide smile on her face. Zack looked at her, helping her out as she moved further on the bed and maneuvered him so he had his head on his pillow, and she was straddling his stomach. Faith leaned forward and kissed him on the lips. Without too much prompting her tongue was in his mouth and their kiss became more passionate. Zack didn't care that he could taste himself, in fact he thought it was kind of arousing. It became even more so when he felt Faith's right hand gently stroking his cock. Faith remembered Xander and Anya's screams of passion, and some Anya's dreamy recollections, and she gently exerted some of her chi into his cock. Zack's eyes snapped wide with surprise, incredibly it suddenly felt like an electrostatic charge moved through it. His eyes widened in shock and looked into brown aroused eyes. It felt incredible, as if life itself was flowing in and around his cock. Moments later he surprised himself with a new powerful hardon.

Faith sat up, breaking the kiss, and slid backward. Quickly reaching beyond the bed, she found her pants. She fumbled with it and got out her wallet. Placing the wallet on the night stand next to the bed, she retrieved a condom from it. She quickly opened it, discarding the wrapping to the floor. In once swift experienced move, she placed the condom on the tip of his penis and rolled it down. She maneuvered her vagina above his penis, then bent downward and kissed the stunned boy deeply. Then she moved back up and lowered herself onto his cock. Having done this often enough, she found the tip quickly, and slowly slid herself down it. Her inner walls parted, making Faith moan as she pushed herself down. Two years without anything inside there, coupled with Slayer healing, made this an exquisite tight experience. Her muscles gripped his cock instinctively, and she had to consciously relax them. Every centimeter that went inside, touching her flesh, was pure bliss. Finally she had taken him in fully, sitting completely down upon him. Faith looked into Zack's eyes with a horny look, as she relaxed her legs and arms. Her cunt tightened with anticipation around the welcome invasion.

Faith could wait no longer, it had taken too long, and she moved herself up, and quicky back down. She quickly found a pleasant, rapid rhythm of moving up and down. Her juices mixed with the lubricant of the condom, making the movements quickly more easy. Faith moaned out her pleasure, the familiar, pleasant friction finally returning to her nether regions. She felt like she was going to burn up, with every downward stroke.

Zack couldn't take it anymore, she was so beautiful. He could see her breasts jiggle proudly, they seemed perfect. Ever muscles in her body was perfectly proportioned, never gaining the look of a body builder, but seeming tough and soft all at the same time, and he knew that was true. Her strong hands rubbing on his chest felt fantastic, her legs were tightened around his sides, he could feel their strength, yet it was like being wrapped in velvet. He just had to touch her. He moved his hands to grab her waist and squeezed gently in time with her movements. "Oh, yes," Faith moaned in answer, her breathing slowly becoming more heavy, even though she was nowhere near tired. Zack moved his hands upward, feeling her flat stomach, feeling tiny droplets of sweat form. Finally he reached her breasts, he felt a jolt of pleasure course through his body as he started massage the soft, globes. He squeezed them, and got an encouraging moan from Faith. He squeezed tighter, starting to grope. With a grin he proceeded to twist them around, suddenly Faith hands grabbed his wrists, and stopped moving. She looked down at him, aroused, but frowning, a few droplets of sweat moving down her face.

"No twisting," Faith told him, hoarsely. "You wouldn't want me to twist your cock around, now would you?" Zack nodded, he let her breasts fall back to a natural position. Gently Faith starting moving again, changing tactics she undulated her abdomen back and forward, keeping an encouraging eye contact with the boy. Looking into the smiling eyes, Zack regaining his courage and grabbed Faith's breasts again. He began a gentle stroking and squeezing. Faith moaned out, "Mmh, oh, yeah, that's it." Getting more courage, Zack got up and kissed Faith's right nipple. He felt the beauty gently shift position to better accommodate him, her arms embracing his back, gently stroking him there. Grinning he continued, switching from right to left breast. Occasionally gently suckling on a nipple, the slayer's moans intensified. Encouraged by her moans, and the increase in her pelvic motions, he enthusiastically increased his work on her tits. Hungrily he kissed and licked them, while his hands roamed over them and squeezed, sometimes gently, sometimes roughly.

Zack's instincts demanded he started thrusting upward, after a little wiggling to find the best way, he managed to get in a good thrusting rhythm. "Oaah, goawd, aaah," Faith moaned, her cunt hungrily gripping the now counter thrusting pole deep inside her. "Use your teeth, baby. Gently," she suggested to him. Zack hadn't thought of that, and promptly acted on the suggestion. Gently he let his teeth graze over the wobbly flesh, and heard her moans and grunts increase. Pleased with the results he stepped up the pace. He put gentle nips, across both her tits, interspersed with simple kisses and an occasional full on bite. Faith's hands moved up to his head, stroking his hair. She moved her body closer to his, her head moving just above his, occasionally resting her cheek or chin against him, making the act more intimate, more passionate. Zack's reaction was to drive his erection harder and deeper into her as best as he could, he felt his release steadily growing closer. Faith's movements also became more frantic as her peak rapidly came closer.

Suddenly Zack got an idea, he took Faith's right nipple between his lips, then bit down, just enough force that he thought she would feel it, without truly hurting her. At the same time he let the tip of his tongue flick over the outer tip of the nipple. Faith's eyes flew open, her body tensed, her pelvic thrusts turned frantic and erratic, and she screamed out, "OH, GOD!! I'M COMING! YEAAASSS!! OAH!" Her screams, yelps and groans increased in pitch and volume, as she arched her back, pushing her breasts closer to him.

Zack was amazed, he felt the beauty tense, her thrusts increased in speed and power, but decreased in height, becoming almost an insistent grinding. The rhythmic contracting of her vagina, became erratic, also increasing in power. He felt her taut belly contract and flutter against his own, her screams of pleasure were music to his ears. When she threw her head in the back of her neck, letting out loud wails of pleasure, her entire body tensed tightly against him. He felt her body shake and thrash against him in the intensity of her orgasm. He was amazed, the feeling of this girl orgasming on and against him were fantastic. Faith's body slowly started unwinding. Her body continued to move up and down, as it rode out the last of her orgasm, her inner muscles still tightening around his cock. It was then that he realized he had made her come, he and no-one else. The amazement over, replaced with euphoria he once again became aware of his own dire need. He thrust upward with all his need. The previous epiphany, made it so he needed only a few thrusts before he climaxed, and blew his load into the condom.

Faith's gradually lessened, until finally they were barely more than a tiny movement. Head still leaning back, she commented, "That was incredible." He grinned. With his strength zapped, his arms moved downward, and wrapped around her waist, holding onto her for dear life. Faith gently undulated her pelvis back and forth and up and down, savoring the impalement and sexual bliss. Hanging back like this she went over the previous events and grinned. Ever since her activation, she hadn't been able to let go completely for fear that her strength would hurt her bed partners. She had no such problems today, she had simply pushed her energy down enough to make it impossible for her muscles to use their maximum power, thus she could move without restraint, pulling all her available power in the act of having sex, making her even breath hard, and sweat. Mix that with her finally letting her passion out, and this being her first time in two years, this had become mind blowing, and a first for Faith. Grinning at the complete release she had achieved, not thinking about anything else, she whispered, "Thanks, Xander."

Faith felt Zack stiffen against her, instantly realizing he must have overheard she felt ashamed. *You stupid cow!* she thought to herself. She sat up instantly looking at the hurt eyes of the boy, who started to push her away. Faith quickly pushed against him, pinning him, and looked at him with pain in her eyes. "I'm sorry! I should never have said that, I'm stupid. You were fantastic, and I was not thinking about anyone else," Faith blurted out, stopping Zack's protest. She kissed him on the lips, then placing a finger on them, the sign of silence. Zack didn't seem immediately convinced, betrayal in his eyes. Faith placed her right hand on his left shoulder and gently her chi out.

Zack gasped at the sensation, "What . . .?" He started, but his voice got stuck. Faith than told him, "Xander is the guy who taught me this. It's part of martial arts. I was not thinking about him in a sexual sense, I just thanked him, because this technique allowed this to become so much better, understand?" Faith pleaded with her eyes, she didn't want to hurt him, she was no longer someone who hurt others just for the hell of it.

Zack looked at her hand and back up again, looking in the pained eyes of the beautiful woman, and back again. He repeated this, thinking it over, and said, "I understand." He heard Faith sigh with relief, then she started to disentangle herself from him.

Zack tightened his grip around he waist and pleaded, "I'd like to stay like this."

"So do I," Faith answered, but got off him anyway. Then she removed his condom and tied a knot in it, holding it up for him to see, "It would leak." Disappointed Zack nodded, and Faith threw the condom in the waste bin she found next to his desk. She turned back to him, and smiled a sexy, predatory smile at him.

"Uhm," he muttered, slightly fearful, "I don't think I can get it up again anytime soon, technique or no technique, I'm exhausted."

Faith grinned. "Doesn't mean we can't do anything else while we wait for you to regain your strength." Zack looked at her confused. "What do you say? Would you like to return me the oral favor?"

Zack just looked at her for a few moments, before tentatively saying, "W-well . . . I-I've never . . ."

"Just call me 'teach'," she said softly and laid back on the his bed, twisting him on top of her. Feeling around a bit, she hunched back so her head lay on the pillow. She smiled at him encouragingly and he slid back in between her wide spread legs.

Zack admired the beautiful pussy for a moment; the pubic hair was neatly trimmed, showing a triangle of soft, short hairs, her pussy lips were bald. "Stroke the outer lips first," Faith told him, and he complied. He felt them throb as he gently stroked Faith's lips. "Pull them open with thumb and finger of one hand," she instructed. Zack gently did as he was told, looking in wonder at the flower in front of him. With his other hand he started stroking her inner lips. "Yeah," Faith said huskily. "You can use the fingers in between to penetrate, or stroke me, or use your other hand if you prefer. Remember, every woman is different, what works with me, might hurt another, every time is a new exploration." Zack nodded and gently pushed in his index finger, enjoying the sensation of her wetness coating his skin. He gently pushed deeper, feeling her walls contract gently. He pulled the finger back out and gently pushed it back in. "Start using your tongue, and start exploring, take note of my reactions," Faith whispered, enjoying the sensations already.

Zack nodded and gently moved his head down. He hesitating for a moment before gently running his tongue across the upper part of her cunt, stimulating her inner lips. Faith breathed in sharply and Zack took it as a good sign. She tasted pretty good to so he licked again, adding a second finger into her pussy and gently moving them back and forth. He decided to twist them a bit, spread them out, stimulating her walls. He grinned to himself as he heard her moan, and felt her legs tighten next to him. He placed his lips against the upper part of her opening, kissed and flicked his tongue inside and back out again. Faith groaned with desire, her pelvis slowly starting to undulate. Zack reached with his remaining thumb for her clit. Faith realizing what he wanted to do, said, "Not yet." Zack looked up, just as Faith looked down at him. "Don't go for the clit immediately, I'm still aroused, so no problem for me, but don't go for it immediately. Let a girl get hot enough first, so her clit his throbbing for attention, too early can be quite unpleasant for her. Depending on how much you want to torture the girl balancing her on the edge or how long you want to make it last, wait longer. Learn enough about a girl, and you can have her tether on the edge for an eternity, one little flick across her button with the tip of your tongue in that state should be enough to send her crashing over."

Zack nodded, filing the information away, and continued with eating her out. His fingers became more energetic, and he licked and gently sucked with more enthusiasm by the moment. Faith lay there enjoying herself, praising her luck for such a natural. Zack then gently pushed his thumb on her clitoris and gently rubbed it, moving in tiny circles. "Oh, yeah, keep going, don't stop," Faith encouraged him, as she moved her lower body uncontrollably. Zack removed his fingers, and used his mouth fully on her cunt, licking and sucking, fully enjoying the taste of her juices. After a few more minutes, Faith movements became more wild. "Zack," she gasped out. "Put your fingers back in, palm up, keep licking." Zack complied looking up over Faith tummy, seeing her writhe on the bad with her eyes closed. "Now, oh, move them up, mmh, crone them, a few centimeters, OH YES!! THAT'S RIGHT!! MMMNHH! G-SPOT, GOAWD! KEEP OH, YEAH, OH, YEAH, GOING!" Amazed Zack suddenly felt her insides wettening up even more so than before. Her juices practically came pouring out, her moans turned to screams. Zack decided to step up the pace. As he licked and sucked faster, he plunged in a third finger and sped up the movements on Faith's G-spot. He increased the pressure on her pleasure button somewhat and moved it faster as well. Faith groaned out her approval. Quickly he removed his thumb and took her clit between his lips, sucking gently he flicked his tongue over the small knob of flesh. Faith bucked, screamed, and climaxed with all the strength her powered down state allowed her to use. Zack continued, and for nearly half a minute he had her orgasming, her juices flowing out and onto his chin and bed.

Finally Faith shuddered to a halt. "Oh, god, you're good," she gasped out in bliss. Zack lapped up some of her juices, taking his fingers out of her cunt, and finally sticking out his tongue to try and get the juices on his lips and chin. "Give," Faith said, pointing at his hand, and stretched it toward. Incredulously he saw her getting up and starting to suck his fingers clean. "Hey, don't stop now," Faith told him after a few moments.

Zack looked perplexed at her, "But didn't you . . ."

Faith interrupted him, smiling, "Our button doesn't go all the way to off, it's just tuned down a bit. No pun intended. Besides, you're not ready yet, I think." Zack blinked, then grinned approving and dipped back down.

By the time Faith exploded into her third climax, Zack had gotten aroused as hell again, and he had a raging hard on. He moved up, positioning himself perfectly for penetration, instincts guiding him. Faith tensed a little, then said, "Hold on." Zack watched her grasp her wallet, moments later she had fished out a second condom and place the wallet back. Before he knew it, he was wrapped up and ready. "Go for it," Faith said huskily. Zack grinned and started moving forward.

"How do you want it?" Zack whispered, drinking in the site of the beautiful naked Faith lying spread and ready.

Faith bit her lower lip. Why was she so nervous? She wanted this, more than anything else at the moment. She wanted to feel him on top of her. He was not here to rape her, and even if he was, she could simply pick him off her with ease. "Don't know," she admitted in a hoarse whisper. Zack looked up into her eyes stunned, and was even more stunned what he saw there. Was that fear? The beauty that had taken his virginity with such passion and abandon was afraid . . . of him?

He lowered himself to just above her torso, not touching her. His right arm snaked underneath her and held the small of her back, while his left stroked her hair gently a few times, before landing next to her head. Looking deeply into her eyes he whispered, "Something wrong? Did I . . .?"

Faith contemplated what to do, then decided, she would fight. She moved her face upward and kissed him on the lips, and went further so her mouth was next to his ear. "I . . . have been . . . abused in the past . . ." She felt his body stiffen with shock, and decided not to sugarcoat it. "Raped even . . . I've never let anyone take control. I was always . . . on top. Never let myself feel the passion either, just lust before today." Faith felt a weight lift off of her, as she admitting that. She lowered herself back down, looking up into Zack's eyes, waiting for his reaction.

Zack looked down at her, into her eyes, she was not kidding. She seamed afraid of his reaction. Realizing just what she was giving him, he felt incredible, happy, good, and also concerned, fearful. She was giving him her virginity in a way, and far more than that. He had never done this before, if he screwed this up, would he hurt her even more than she already was? He lowered himself down upon her body gently, and kissed her, gently at first then hungrily. Breaking the kiss he looked in her eyes, they were better, but still afraid. "You certain . . .?"

Faith was certain, now more than ever. "Yes, take me," she whispered. He nodded, placing his erection to the entrance of her vagina, using his left hand to guide it and gently pushed inside. He felt her cunt tighten before he was even inside. He looked up at her, waiting, he had no intension of forcing himself inside, to afraid he might seem to her like another rapist. Faith looked into his eyes, grateful for waiting. *No more,* she thought at herself. *No more afraid.* She relaxed consciously and nodded up at him. He smiled and then she felt him push inside. She gasped as she felt her walls part to admit him entrance. He waited for a moment, once he was halfway in, then taking a new breath he pushed in the rest of way. He put power behind the push, but he made sure to stay gentle. He heard her moan as his belly touched hers, and he groaned himself. She felt so incredible around him. He pulled back slowly, and then pushed back in. He repeated the performance, slowly increasing his speed until he was thrusting in and out of her in a leisurely rhythm.

When pleasure overtook her fear, Faith realized she was just lying there like a rag doll. Not one to just ly and do nothing during sex, she ran her hands up his chest, enjoying the sensations of his straining torso. Eventually she wrapped her arms around his back. Moaning she started to thrust back against him. When Zack felt that, he groaned, moments later Faith cunt started to contract rhythmically around him. Unable to control himself anymore he lunged forward with all his might, quickly retracting and repeating the movements with the same gusto.

"Oh, god, yes," Faith moaned out loud, in time with Zack's thrusts and groans. "Fuck me!" Faith called out loud, riding up against him. "Harder!" Zack complied, the need inside him growing, forcing himself into her hot cavity with greater strength and speed. Faith suddenly wrapped her legs around his waist, hooking them on his ass. Faith moaned in satisfaction, as she felt his pelvis being captured against her legs. Zack felt himself being wrapped in a fantastic embrace, her strong but soft flesh sending shudders of desire through him. Faith moaned as she felt him throw in the last of his strength and managed to make his pounding even more devastating, increasing her pleasure as well.

"Oh, god, so good, you're so tight, you're body feels so fantastic," Zack groaned into her hear.

His groans turned Faith on more and she yelled out, "Oh, wow! YES! FUCK! FUCK ME HARD! HARDER! MAKE ME COME!" The two thrust into each other with everything they had, their climaxes rapidly coming closer. His cock pounded into her, throbbing with desire. Her cunt gripped his cock over and over. His pelvic bone massaged her clit with every down thrust. They groans increased in pitch. Their moans became louder. Their yells became more hoarse. Finally neither could hold on anymore, and the two of them orgasmed together. Their bodies tensed against each other, each releasing moans of bliss. They stayed in their mutual peak for almost half a minute, before they collapsed against each other.

Zack breathed heavily against her breasts, exhausted. He lifted his head, and looked into her glazed eyes of bliss, and then kissed her deeply, quickly turning it into a passionate French kiss. Faith returned the kiss in kind, poring her fire into it. After a minute, Faith broke the kiss and whispered, "Condom." He nodded and slowly pulled out, and removed the condom, throwing it into the waste bin along side the first. Faith turned the two over, him lying on his back, so she could snuggle up. "Thank you," she whispered, moments before the two fell asleep, the both of them having a contented smile upon their faces.


The next morning Faith closed the door to Zack's bedroom behind her. "Well, well," a voice startled her. Faith turned around and saw a guy in the kitchen making himself breakfast. He was older than Zack, more around Xander's age.

"Uh, hi," she greeted him.

"Had a good time?" he asked with a mischievous grin.

Faith smiled back self consciously and answered, "Very good."

"Want breakfast?" he asked, turning away for a moment to grab another slice of breakfast.

Her stomach growled now that he mentioned it. "No time to wait for it. People are expecting me." He grinned in answer and placed his plate forward on the counter and gestured to it, as he grabbed himself a new plate and starting making himself breakfast all over again. Faith smiled, quickly crossed the distance and started tearing into the sandwiches.

Halfway through her fourth of five sandwiches, a groan followed by a yawn made her turn around. A second guy, even older than the first, came stumbling out of a room. He looked awful, not in an ugly kind of way, yawned again, and noticed her. He made a quick double take, than looked from her to Zack's room and back again. He continued walking forward again, his voice still filled with sleep, he said, "I take it you are the one who kept me awake last night?"

"Uhm," Faith answered, with a full mouth. Not quite knowing what to say, she said, "Probably."

The guy had almost reached the counter, looking back and forth from her and Zack's room as he made is way, and commented, "Lucky bastard. Six . . . times?"

Faith looked at him slightly surprised, swallowed her bread and answered, "Two, and two oral sessions, I came three times."

"Lucky bastard," the guy said, grabbing himself a plate. "Three weeks, three weeks he's here, it took me three months."

Faith snickered at the half serious, 'my life sucks' attitude. Finished with her last sandwich, she said, "Thanks for breakfast," and headed toward the door.

The first guy spoke to his roommate and said, "We'll drag him to a strip club tonight, to celebrate his manhood."

"He's deserved it. And more," Faith told them, and give them a wiggle with her eye brows, before she closed the door.

"Lucky bastard," the two commented simultaneously.


Zack slowly opened his eyes. Incredulously he looked around, then panicked. She wasn't here? Had she gone? Was it all just a dream? His eyes fell on a folded peace of paper leaning on something, 'ZACK' was written on it in big letters. He got up and sat down upon his chair. He folded the paper, and read it,

'Hi, Zack,

I'm sorry if you were hoping for more. If I gave you the idea there could have been more than a one night stand, I apologize.

I do not regret what happened last night, in fact I am glad I did. It was the best sex I've had all my life. I thank you for that. You were fantastic, and I personally think you're great.

Thanks again for what you gave me,


Zack broke into a smile, and read the letter over several more times, then found a safe place to put it, for he didn't want to lose it ever. When he turned back to his desk, he saw another piece of paper lying there, one that he had been working on himself, and had quit on in depression. He leaned over, got a pen, and read it over. There were two columns, one marked 'home' the other 'LA'. Under home stood, 'family', 'friends', 'Mel' (short for Melanie, his childhood friend, ex-girlfriend and possible girlfriend, again). To the home column he wrote, 'no demons and vampires'. Then he turned to the empty column of LA, and wrote, 'women hotter than the sun'. He was about to add 'film school', when he grinned, and crossed out the 'home' column.


Faith walked into the Hyperion Hotel with a satisfied smile, "I'm home!" she called out

Fred bounced up from behind the counter and looked relieved, "You're here, you're not in a hospital, or dead, or . . ." Fred quit babbling, as Faith smiled at her.

Faith was shaken from her revery by a male voice, filled with both anger and concern, "Faith, where the bloody hell have you been?"

"Relax, Wes," Faith answered him, still mellow from the night.

Before Faith could explain however, Cordelia and Angel came bounding down the stairs and Cordelia accused, "Yeah, we were worried you were out killing again. Were you?"

Faith became angry and bit and Cordelia, counting on her fingers, "Evil henchman, coma, jail, living with an engaged couple. I haven't had any in over two years. Where do you think I've been!?"

"You were out having sex?" Wesley asked shocked.

"Yeah, Wes," Faith answered, still angry, her right hand scratching the back of her head in irritation. "Slayers have needs to. Saved a guy from some vamps, walked him home to be sure, was asked up to his apartment, and before you know it, mind blowing sex. Got a problem with that?"

"We were just worried, Faith," Angel said soothingly, interrupting Wesley's retort, trying to sooth over the tension.

Faith looked at him, and bit back, "Yeah, that I go all psycho again. Well, too fucking bad to disappoint you all, but I'm not, and never will again."

Angel looked into her eyes, partially guilty, partially like an innocent puppy filled with concern for her health, Faith regretted her outburst instantly. Angel told her, "Just call next time you're going to be out all night, ok?"

Cordelia looked completely blown away. "You're just . . ."

"Cordy, she's not a child," Angel interrupted all soulful.

"But . . ."

This time it was Wesley, "He has a point, Cordelia."

"With what?" Faith asked, empty hands outstretched to illustrate the point, before letting them drop to her side.

"Huh?" Angel blurted out.

"Call. With what?" Faith clarified, repeating the gesture.

Angel's eyes widened, as did Wesley's, their gazes briefly crossed, understanding between them without saying a word. "Oh, my," Wesley said. "We should have thought of this, much sooner."

Angel nodded, turning to Cordelia, he said, "You've gotten me one of those cell phone thingies, get Faith one too, will you, Cor?"

Cordelia sighed, slapping her hands to her sides in helplessness, and muttered, "Fine."

"Fred," Angel said gently, Fred jerked up, looking at him. "Could you call Gunn and say the lost sheep has returned?"

"Uh, ok," Fred answered with a smile.

Faith remembered the last night, and called to Wesley, "Hey, Wes."

"Yes?" he asked, turning back to gaze at her.

Faith took out the knife and presented it to Wesley. "When I stuck it into a vamp's heart last night, it burned and turned to dust. I've got no idea why though, it's metal, Xander forged it for my birthday."

"Really? How intriguing," Wesley answered, examining the knife with fascination.

"Yeah, got any ideas? I mean, Xander didn't tell me it would kill vamps like that. It symbolizes Saiyan philosophy, I have a letter in which he explains it," Faith explained a little timidly. Angel and Cordy watched the proceedings, as Fred was calling Gunn.

"Could I read it?" Wesley asked intently examining the knife and its carvings.

"Yeah, I'll go get it. It's personal though," Faith told him, a little nervously. She really didn't want to share Xander's letter with everyone. Wesley nodded in understanding, and Faith ran up the stairs with a smile.

A short while later, after examining the knife in greater detail in his office, consulting some texts, and reading Faith's letter, he was back into the lobby, presenting Faith the beautiful knife and the letter, who noone else had gotten to read. Angel, Cordy, and Fred came to hear what Wesley had found out. "Fascinating philosophy. I think I figured it out," Wesley announced, with a serious face. "If Xander believed the philosophy hard enough, followed all the rituals one would require in his culture to forge such a knife, he may have imbued the knife with it. They are very good chi fighters, from what I figured out, so if the knife was also forged to act like some kind of conductor for it, in combination with some of the imagery, and the fact that some of it, and it's layout is almost cross like, with darkness and light coming together at the crossing beams, Xander must have inadvertently created a holy weapon, that can kill a vampire as if its a wooden stake. I wonder if it has similar effects on other demons."

"Is there a way to find out?" Gunn's voice startle them all, except Faith and Angel, the black man came in the front lobby, and grinned as he had managed to come in mostly by surprise.

Wesley mulled it over for a moment, and then nodding he said, "Trial and error, it would have to be used against them. If it does, one would have to wonder whether it works on beings of light in a similar matter. After all, both darkness and light are forged into the weapon."

"Interesting," Angel commented.


"I did it! I did it!" Cordelia screamed with incredulity. She looked down to the mat of the Gravity Gym, and grinned. She was floating a meter above it.

*Fantastic, Cordy,* Xander's voice came over their link. *Try and fly around.* Cordelia nodded, and began to fly to her right, up, down, left, and slowly became more bold. After a minute Cordelia lowered herself down and said, "Whoa, that takes a lot out of me."

*Yep,* came Xander's voice a smile present. *We've focused a lot on your skill, you can float a few things with your mind alone, pure telekinesis, no magic. You can fly now, and raise you chi. Before we start giving you more skills, we'll focus on your strength for a while. Four gs here we come.*

*What about three?* Cordelia asked slightly taken aback.

*You can handle four,* Xander told her with confidence. Cordelia smiled, and looked around the gym. Wesley and Gunn were sparring with each other, a gentle glow around the both of them. Faith had been incredible training them all in Cordelia's opinion, not that she'd ever tell the slayer that. On another mat, Angel stood, gently motioning in a Tai Chi exercise. He stopped it, placed his fist next to his side and his body tensed. With a groan a chi flame burst around him, and he looked at his hands in accomplishment. In the last Faith was busy with her own training. Training robots flew around firing all kinds of energy pulses at her, while she jumped and flew around, avoiding getting hit, blocking hits, sometimes firing the very same pulse back where it came from, she smashed, and kicked the robots to pieces, fired her own energy balls, and more, all at a fantastic speed. Cordelia looked over at the status board, and saw Faith's training ground indicating 50 gs.

In Cordy's mind, she saw Xander avoiding one of Buffy's blows, and take a quick look at the status board in Sunnydale. It showed only 42gs. Xander blocked a few more of Buffy kicks and punches, then landed one of his own that knocked her out. *Well,* Xander beamed with a smile. *It seems Faith is going faster than Buffy. Not too surprisingly really.*


Somewhere else in Sunnydale, in a basement, three young men, some people would call them geeks, sat around. One of them a blonde and another a short black-haired guy, Andrew and Jonathan, were reading a comic. A third, taller, also black-haired was playing a video game. When he lost, he turned to the other thoughtfully and asked, "Wanna take over Sunnydale?"

Andrew and Jonathan looked at each other for a moment, then turned to Warren and they said, "Sure. Why not?"

Episode 23
Trio's First Attack

Author's notes: I'm probably going to piss a few people off with the first part of this ep, but it has to be done. It's all part of the story, and more importantly the story far into the future.

September 11, 2001
Sunnydale, 6:39am
Summers Residence

Xander stepped into the house with a small smile on his face. He was wearing a traditional white gi underneath his coat. Buffy, wearing training gear, smiled back at him, as she closed the door. Xander took off his coat and followed Buffy to the kitchen. "So," Buffy said tiredly, stifling a yawn. "We're really going to do this, huh?"

"Yes, Buf," Xander answered with a tired voice - bored tired, not not-enough-sleep tired. "Twice a week, the three of us will do an extra early morning training session. What are you complaining about anyway? I suggested every day, but you complained about that with your filled schedule - school, slaying, training, homework, studying - that was just too much, and Dawn would lose sleep, and you managed to wheedle it down to only twice a week."

They reached the kitchen and Dawn stared silently at the small tv. Her bread untouched on her plate, her jaw hanging. "What's wrong, Dawn?" Buffy asked concerned, she and Xander quickly joined Dawn to look at the tv. There the two towers of the WTC were damaged, a plume of smoke came from both towers.

"They say it was done by Islam terrorists, Osama bin Laden's organization," Dawn almost whispered in shock. Buffy and Xander looked at the picture stunned. "They hijacked jetliners and flew them in the towers."

Stunned they watched for a few minutes. "Can you do something?" Dawn suddenly asked, turning back to look at Xander.

"Exactly what? There's lots of smoke there, but that's it. Look at it, there's no more fire. By the time I'd get there, the locals will already have it all under control," Xander commented with a grim look. "Besides, we're busy facing apocalypses. We can't go to every little fire, and miss the guy reciting a spell to open the hellmouth. As for going after the terrorists, or forcing peace upon the world, that's humanity's business, I would be no better, if not worse than the bastards we're fighting."

Buffy nodded in confirmation, her eyes glued to the screen. It was around then that the news report shifted to Washington DC and the pentagon, and showed it damaged as well. The news report speculated about a potential truck filled with explosives. The three scoobies stayed nailed to the floor, looking at the screen. A few more minutes later, the report changed. It was not a truck, it was caused by a Boeing 757, crashing into the building.

Xander looked at the screen incredulously, his mouth slowly opened and filled with saliva, as he looked on in disbelief. His mind finished going through the physics. He stepped back, he almost staggered under the potential implications. Buffy noticed Xander's odd behaviour and looked at him. "What?" she asked.

"That can't be done by Boeing 757," Xander stated with dead certainty, shock filled his mouth.

"Are you certain?" Dawn asked, doubt lacing her voice.

"Well, look at it," Xander said, pointing at the screen, which was now split in two, showing two small pictures, one showing the smoking WTC, the other the Pentagon. "Where is the damage caused by the wings for one thing? Look at the shallow bit of damage, do you thing a giant 757, weighing tons, would cause so little damage? Before that part collapsed there was even nothing but a small hole, didn't you see it? If that was Boeing a 757, it would have left debris in front of the building, the whole building itself would have been torn apart, the plane would have gone through, coming out the other side, leaving debris there, and probably come to a halt crashing into the other side of the building. But there's nothing there, nothing, not a single piece left that would suggest a plane. No fuselage, no engines, no wings. That was not a Boeing 757. Besides no airline jet can outmaneuver the Pentagon's air defenses."

"They . . ." Buffy started, realizing how true Xander's words were. ". . .have it wrong then?"

Xander's eyes narrowed, not having an answer. The two sisters turned back around to look at the screen. Once more the three stayed silent looking at the screen, until a few minutes past seven, the first of the two towers collapsed. Xander's jaw dropped, saying, "That's not possible."

The two girls felt empty, angry, surprised at Xander's words, they looked up at him. "That can't be," Xander stated again, certainty over taking his voice. "Giant buildings like that don't collapse so symmetrically when the damage is so asymmetrical. At most the fire, the heat, would bend and weaken some of the metal at the impact sight, but the fire was already out, and I don't think kerosene even burns with enough temperature to effect steal, led alone the buildings massive central column. That building was brought down with explosives, somebody just pushed a button."

"You can't be serious, Xander," Dawn whispered in complete and other shock. "If that . . . I mean . . ."

"This is no terrorist attack," Xander stated with certainty. "At most that building would have bent at the impact sites and topple over. Think about it, Dawn, doesn't it look an awful lot about a building contractor bringing down a condemned building?"

Dawn looked up at Xander saying softly, "I did think that."

"But Xander," Buffy started with an empty pit in her stomach. "Our government . . . it couldn't . . ."

"Invisible girl kidnapping, Initiative," Xander stated and looked at Buffy's eyes, he could see the acceptance there. "This is just one more transgression in a long list."

Buffy and Dawn looked down at the kitchen floor, feeling themselves growing empty. Xander started pacing back and forth across the kitchen, thinking it over. The report once more switched, this time to the crash of flight 93, and how several of the brave passengers tried to stop the Muslim hijackers.

Xander looked at it, and then continued pacing, seemingly he lost hope, then suddenly he stopped pacing, and he grinned, a glitter in his eyes, "This may be something the world should figure out on their own, true, and I don't know whether the rest of the world will fall for it, and even if it didn't whether they will stand up. But that doesn't mean I can't make the rest of the world very much aware of what happened here."

"What do you mean?" Dawn asked hopeful.

"Well, if flight 77 didn't crash into the Pentagon, where is it?" Xander said with a deepening smirk. "With a little bit of luck, 93 was a decoy, and then it's possible they haven't killed the witnesses yet. The passengers may yet be alive." Xander than rapidly ran out the house, and burst into the air, with a small scream, he transformed into the Super Saiyan. Dawn and Buffy followed Xander until he went out of sight, then looked at each other for a moment, and resumed watching the tv.

In flight, Xander transformed to the second level, once past Sunnydale he told himself, "No time to waste, if they haven't killed them yet, they soon will. This requires the third level." He started powering up, reaching the roof, he started screaming, his hands by his side. His hair slowly started increasing in length, as his eyebrows started retracting, and his brows expanding. Clouds gathered overhead, turning the sky black and made lightning start to flash and thunder angrily. With one final push the transformation was complete, the shockwave that came from Xander as a result, took away some of the starting storm's power. He had gotten much better at controlling the energy emissions transforming to this level while training in the gravity gym, and thus the shockwave was nowhere near as destructive as it was the first time Xander reached the third level. Exerting his new full power, Xander sped away with a new burst of speed, despite his already considerable velocity, leaving a golden stream of energy and turbulent air.

Ten minutes later he reached the east side of the continent, and he slowed down some, feeling out with his senses. Going more north he felt something out of the ordinary. Peering down, his new pupils reflecting enough light outward to appear a sightly darker green than his emerald irises, allowed him an enormous amount of detail. "Well, well, what have we hear," Xander told himself with a smirk, he stopped his flight. "A hangar, and look at that, over two hundred people in it, how very odd."

Xander burst downward, powering down to Super Saiyan 2. Moments later he landed right in front of the hangar doors, on the Yeager Air Force base slash civilian airport. His let his chi flame disappear, and pointed a hand at the large doors, an energy ball formed in front of hit. He completely ignored the alarms going off around him. He fired the energy ball, allowing it to penetrate the doors and then blowing outward. The explosion shattered the doors in several large pieces and they flew past Xander on either side.

There, inside the hanger, stood four planes. Off to Xander's left, pretty close to the doors, stood two men in executive suits. There was a large number of people around the planes, and in between Xander and the group of people were a little more than two handfuls of fully armed and uniformed soldiers. One group of people, the largest was a little off to the left, while a smaller group of about fifty stood straight away from Xander. The smaller group of people seemed genuinely afraid, not of him, but in a general state. The rest of the people present were all startled and turned to him.

Xander walked slowly into the hangar and as he did so, he commented with mock surprise, "My, my, fancy that. Four airplanes, say, this one on the right looks rather familiar. Isn't that flight 77?" He stopped a meter or two inside the hangar and looked around with large innocent eyes.

"It is," one person of the genuinely afraid group confirmed, a slight hint of hope in his voice, while more soldiers arrived behind Xander.

"Well, hot damn! How very impressive! According to CNN, it disintegrated or vaporized on impact with the Pentagon, leaving only minimal damage. How did you manage to pluck it from its flight path, put it here, and resurrect the passengers?" Xander asked sarcastically.

"Kill him," one of the two executive men to the left ordered suddenly. The soldiers in front of and behind Xander, didn't hesitate to fire. Xander turned ninety degrees and moved his hands faster than the human eye could see. After a few seconds of continues fire from multiple machine guns on both sides, the soldiers stopped firing and looked with shock at the unmarred man in between them.

Xander smirked, outstretched his arms a little, and opened his hands. A clump of mangled metal fell from each of Xander's hands. Xander addressed the executives, who looked like dears in headlights. "I blew away an asteroid that five half megaton nuclear bombs couldn't destroy. You didn't really think a few bullets could harm me, did you?"

The second executive, then ordered out loud, "Kill them! Hurry!" The soldiers in between Xander turned around, this time a few people from the larger group of 'civilians' pulled out guns and pointed it at the smaller group passengers. Xander just stayed put, his smirk never wavering. The shots rang out, the passengers backed up in fear, one of them peed her pants. A moment later one of the soldiers clutched his chest and dropped to the floor. A bullet had found him after it, and all the others, ricocheted off of a blue energy field than enveloped the smaller group of passengers and flight 77.

With a short yell, Xander's energy burst forth from him. The soldiers behind him were flung backward losing consciousness. The soldiers in front of him flew forward, crashing into Xander's chi shield and then falling to the floor unconscious after a sizzle. The fake passengers were flung away as well, some crashing into the other planes, all losing consciousness. Only the two executives were left standing.

"Get in flight 77!" Xander called out to the fifty or so real passengers, and even some of them weren't civilians, but opposers to the plan the others had carried out. The passengers nodded and started running to the staircase leading up into the plane.

"You've made a powerful enemy here today," one of the executives stated flatly.

Xander turned to them and walked over. He stepped right up to the one who spoke, lowered his face and looked him straight in the eye. The man looked into Xander's eyes felt fear creeping into him. The golden, spiked hair - it wasn't blond, it was otherworldly, yellow didn't quite capture its color either - gently waving of their own accord was unsettling enough, but those cold, emerald green eyes, without pupils it seemed, filled with an obvious apatite for death really did it. "Let me guess, I awoke a sleeping giant?" Xander answered coldly. He could see the reaction in the two pairs of eyes. Then he continued, "Too bad for you, I crush giants beneath my heel, and have 'em for breakfast."

"Uh, sir," a voice called out. Xander turned around and regarded a man who was leaning out the door of flight 77. "None of us know how to fly this plane."

"No need, just close the doors," Xander said with a slight smile. The man nodded and did as Xander suggested. Xander walked to the middle of the hangar, raised his hands, and a moment later he blasted the hangar's roof away, sending pieces of it flying in all directions.

The noise awoke one of the fake passengers, he got up and started cursing, "I knew it! Damn it! That fucking Morgenstar." The man bolted over to Xander, threw a punch in his anger, which resulted in hitting Xander's chi field and a broken wrist, hand and fingers. "Fuck!" he called out, clutching his broken hand with his healthy one, "I warned him this would happen! This is for the good of America, bastard! You have no right to interfere."

"What's your name?" Xander asked him, placing his terrifying gaze upon the man.

The man was too angry to be afraid and told him with a hate-filled gaze and voice, "Marquise. Theodore Marquise."

Xander grinned, noticing a mark on the man's broken wrist and told him, "Good constitution, Theo. Too bad you don't care as much about this country's constitution, as you do about your own." Xander then lifted into the air, moved above flight 77 and exerted his energy. He enveloped the plane with his chi and then lifted himself and the plane into the air. He suddenly waited for a moment and called down to the three conscious men. "Oh, one more thing. I'm rather busy at the moment, stuck in a war to save all your asses from ever lasting enslavement. Start looking over your backs, because once I've won that war, I might just decide to come give you a visit."

Xander and flight 77 slowly lifted further into the air. Once above the hanger, Xander flew off due east. Slowly, making sure he never exceeded 2 gs of acceleration he sped up to eventually well over mach 4. He made a mental note to make sure deceleration wasn't any more powerful. Xander thought over what to do with the plane. Then he grinned, it was obvious really: bring it to the Peace Court in The Hague of course: the world's war crimes tribunal.


Spike sat at the bronze bar, a glass of scotch in front of him, unconsciously his right foot tapped in the beat of the music. For a change the dump actually had music Spike liked, not that he would ever admit that of course. The atmosphere in the Bronze was thick to say the least. To his right he picked up a conversation about 'that bastard bin Laden, and his Muslim henchmen.' Spike couldn't help but snicker. The guy turned toward him and hissed, "What's so funny?"

"Bin Laden," Spike grinned, shaking his head with amusement. "The guy had nothing to do with it. The bastard is evil, I give you that. But he's a CIA puppet, always has been and still is. He wouldn't attack the source of most of his money unless the CIA orders him to. Two planes can't bring down two buildings so nice and perfectly. If they even fall over, they'd do exactly that, fall over, topple, they'd come down upon Manhattan, with the beams of metal, especially the center column, mostly intact. That little hole in the pentagon, no way that's a 757."

The guy narrowed his eyes, and said, "What are you saying?"

Spike turned to look at him, grinned drunkenly and explained, "I'm evil you see, I've studied the greats. Nero burned Rome and blamed the Christians, Hitler burned the Reichstag, and blamed the communists. Bush blew up the WTC and blamed bin Laden. Boy, do I wish I was in New York right now. All that confusion, all that chaos, what a happy day. Plenty to eat to, instead I'm stuck in this hell hole of a town."

"You fucking bastard . . ." the man exclaimed in anger and advanced on Spike. Spike in turned simply vamped out and growled, the man and his conversation partner quickly backed away in fear and ran out the Bronze. Spike returned to his human face and shook his head.

Spike gulped down his drink as a beautiful brunette sat on the stool beside him. "Hi," the girl said.

"Go away," Spike said, followed by ordering the waiter another round.

The girl looked at him, and then asked, "Aren't you going to buy me a drink?"

"Why?" Spike asked, taking his new drink from the counter.

The girl showed a little more skin, and told the vampire, "Uh . . . you usually buy a beautiful woman that mind end up in your bed a drink."

Spike looked at her as he took another drought from his scotch. Once he swallowed the liquid, he said, "I repeat, 'Go away.'"

The girl smiled at him and stated, "You're a vampire, and it turns me on."

Spike's eyes returned to her instantly and he looked at her for a moment. Then he gulped down the rest of his drink, and told her, "In that case, let's go."


"A crypt!? You're living in a . . . that's actually pretty hot," the girl said as she looked around the cold, grey, hard stone floors of Spike's residence. The next moment Spike's fangs sank into her throat and he drank with abandon, relishing the taste of fresh human. Once he sucked down a couple of liters, he pulled his fangs from her. He felt between her legs and noticed a small river of juice running down her legs. He grinned as he heard her moan, "Oh, please don't stop. Drain me dry."

This was just too good to be true. Spike grinned and pulled the bitch along to his bed. He didn't care if this was a trap, or some otherwise fake experience, he was pretty confident he could handle it when it proved to be so, after all Xander's training had payed off considerably. He flung her on the bed without much care for her safety. He heard several satisfying painful moans and grunts coming from her. For a moment a fear gripped Spike, what if she was into vampires and being drained, but not in the pain? He should have asked. He might just have made the mistake that would mean he'd become a pile of dust. He felt relieved when he heard the girl moan pleasurably, right after. Grinning he pounced on her, uncaring about her predicament he simply ripped her clothes off, shredding them easily, and devoured her. Pleased by her taste he continued to eat out her cunt ferociously. Just as she was about to cum, he sank his fangs in her out her lips, and drank from her blood, causing her to scream out in pain and pleasure as her climax overtook her.

An hour, and several satisfying sex plays, and orgasms later the two were lying next to each other. He vamped out and leisurely smoking a cigarette, she battered and bruised, bite marks all over her body. "Now that was good," Spike said out loud, in between drags.

"Why haven't you turned me?" she whispered, her feelings obviously hurt. "Am I not hot enough to be eternally at your side?"

"Oh, don't worry, luv, you're hot enough, all right," Spike drawled with a big grin.

"Then what? I want to be a vampire, I want to live forever, please turn me," she said, a mix of emotions playing in her voice, which was on the brink of breaking.

"No, you don't. You'll be dead," Spike said calmly, taking another drag.

"Undead," Maxine commented turning to look at him, starting to sob, why wouldn't he share eternal life with her.

Spike shook his head, another Anne Rice fan, he guessed. "Nope, dead, finito, kaput. Then a demon will inhabit your corpse and animate it, becoming an evil soulless, blood sucking fiend from beyond the dead. None of that touchy feely, tortured soul Anne Rice and Forever Knight crap. You will be dead, your soul gone, it will probably burn in hell, but definitely no heaven for you, girly. Get it?"

"Really?" she asked, surprised, the sob replaced with a touch of fear.


She didn't take long to think over what he'd said, and questioned, "Ok, so why haven't you killed me yet, then?"

"Because, pet," Spike started, finishing the last of his cigarette, and putting it out in the ash tray on his night stand. "I've got a little deal going with this good guy. I help the wanker out, protect his loved ones, don't harm a hair on anybody's head who doesn't want it harmed, and I'm not dust. I just want to maim, and kill, you see. Cause death and destruction. I don't care on which side of the dividing line between good and evil the casualties fall, as long as I cause them. Since I can't even put a scratch on the bloody oaf, the choice was easy." Before Maxine had the time to form an answer, Spike turned on his side and brutally stuck three of his fingers up Maxie's pussy, who gasped out in response. Pleased, Spike felt the girl reacting positively to his rough ministrations. Grinning he ordered her, "Now get on your hands and knees, I'm going to bugger you senseless." Maxine turned to comply with eagerness, shudders of pleasure, anticipation and fear running down her spine.

Hours later, as the sun had started arising, Spike roughly pushed Maxine out of the bed and told her. As she groggily looked around, Spike ordered, "Get out."

Her feelings lightly hurt she started gathering her clothes, and realized they were beyond salvation. "But, but," she started, "I don't have any clothes."

"I don't care. Get out," Spike told her in no uncertain terms, as he tried to make himself more comfortable.

"I'll have to go naked," Maxine complained, her voice breaking with humiliation. "Can't you go get me some? Could I put on some of yours, Spike?"

Spike sat up on his elbows annoyed and looked over her naked and battered body, "Get out, before I throw you out."

Maxine felt humiliation, and fear course through her body, as she picked up parts of her ripped clothing and used them to cover at least her front. Shocking herself she was getting horny as she walked to the door. She opened the door, careful not to let the sun hit her sex partner for last night. She hesitated in the doorframe battling with herself.

"What the bloody hell are you waiting for?" Spike called out angrily.

Maxine turned to him, her body shaking with humiliation, she asked, "May I return?"

Spike looked at her surprised, then gave her an evil grin, that caused another shudder to shoot through her spine, and said, "Sure. Where something that comes off easily, and bring an extra set of clothes, just in case. Won't promise I won't rip those either, but you might get lucky." When the girl started to leave, he called out, "I might kill you, don't you get that?"

"No, you won't, you said it yourself, you'd be dust," Maxine answered him, giving him a smile.

Spike grinned evilly at her, "Only for as long as I'm still weaker. Once I no longer am, you'll probably be the first to go. That could be a century from now, could be tonight." Spike looked at her silhouette, she shook lightly, and his keen vision showed him some moisture on her legs. "You get off on the danger, don't you, slut?" Apart from looking down in humiliation, Maxine didn't answer, her silence was a bigger answer than any other she could produce. "We'll work on your attitude tonight. Master Spike, I think that has a nice ring to it," Spike told her with a grin. Then she closed the door.

Maxine leaned back against the closed door. "I'll never go back to him. He's evil, he likes inflicting pain on me, and he's probably going to train me into his personal fuck toy. No way I'm going back," she whispered, trying to kid herself, and failing miserably. With each reason why she should stay away from him, depraved erotic imagery flashed through her mind, turning her on some more.


<<I can't believe it!>> Faith's voice sounded over the phone. Xander sat on the couch in his apartment, listening with a disturbed frown. <<I can't believe the rest of the world are such a bunch of bastards they'd basically tell us to go fuck ourselves. Most of the others here are rather uncaring. Cordelia doesn't seem to care, but then that's Cordy, and Fred, well, ever since she heard the announcement about what the rest of the world's answer was she seems distant, as if grinding things inside of her pretty little head! The non-Americans are saying the lot of them probably have a good reason.>>

"They <do> have a good reason," Xander answered Faith, a slight smile on his face. He toyed with the wire on the horn absentmindedly. He knew what Fred was thinking. He guessed that once the rest of the world's answer to America's 'plight' was a cool answer, that basically came down to, 'we're not helping you with anything', her rational mind took over from her emotions. Her physics minded brain would quickly have come to the same conclusions he had gotten to on the day itself, and she was now busy coming to terms with what followed from that. Only Europe had had the guts to condemn (although mildly) the American government. Xander figured, that with America's military might the rest of the world, and to an extent Europe, were too scared of repercussions to take a more tougher stance. He wondered whether it would stay like that, or whether Europe was going to change in the next couple of years, including arming themselves to the teeth.

<<What!?>> Faith asked incredulously.

"Faith," Xander started to explain, his smile never wavering. "What you saw isn't possible the way the government would like you to think. The WTC was brought down with explosives. Europe and the rest of the world know this, because I saved the few real passengers on the planes before they could get executed, and delivered them to the peace court in the Netherlands." Faith stayed silent, stunned. "The American government, or the most evil and secret part of it at least, blew up the WTC themselves. You should check out the Internet and international news sites more often Faith. It's plastered all over the news in the rest of the world, strangely, but not too surprising, there's no mention of it here in America. Why do you think these new hasty laws are put in place to muzzle the media, for the sake of the safety of the American people?"

Faith stayed silent for several more moments before answering, <<You're joking right?>>

One word, "No." Xander sat there on the couch, smiling as practically heard Faith's gears turning in her head. "On to a more interesting topic. How are you doing, Faith?"

Faith hesitated for a moment and then answered, <<You have been asking that in our e-mails every time. Should I ask for a copy of my psychiatrist's report next time, and mail it to you?>> When Faith didn't get an answer, she sighed and answered, <<I'm doing good I guess. Last time I checked, I <still> haven't killed anyone of the non-demon variety.>>

Xander nodded, "Well, that's a plus, now no backing out of it anymore. How were your first two weeks in school, Faith?"

Xander grinned as he heard silence for a moment, he knew Faith was doing a double take. <<Well,>> Faith answered. She waited for a moment, gathering herself, and then with a smile in her voice started the tale of her first day.

"YOU DID WHAT!?" Xander screamed out loud, as Faith told him her about her introduction to the class. "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?! AGAIN!?" Faith made a whimpering sound that accompanied her cringe. Xander breathed in deeply, calming himself down some, then decided to tell her the other reason he and Angel had decided to send her to school. "Faith, this isn't just about going to school and getting an education, it's also about you reconnecting with humanity, with life, damn it! It's why Buffy stayed alive so long before the cracks started to form. All the former Slayers were all deprived of life by their watchers. They were cut off from life, from love, from friends, they never came in contact with the life they were supposed to be protecting. How can you protect life, if you don't know what it is? Like Spike told Buffy, all the slayers he's known had or developed death wishes, because they weren't allowed to live, they were just weapons aimed and fired, just like you were being taught."

<<Oh, why didn't you tell me?>> Faith asked perturbed.

Xander rolled his eyes in the back of his head as he sat there, the telephone wire long forgotten. "Because some things cannot be properly said, they can only be shown. You said it yourself; you were taught to be good for only one thing. Well, we're your friends, even if we have screwed it up majorly in the past. We think you are good for a whole lot more, so we're showing that to you now. So quit the tough girl act, Faith, and mingle."

<<You don't have to worry,>> Faith answered him, the smile in her voice obvious. <<One smart kid called my bluff, out in the hallway in front of everybody. Now I'm stuck with him.>>

"Meaning you have a friend outside the demon hunting variety, eh?" Xander said grinning, and heard Faith sigh in defeat.

"Xander!" Anya shrieked out with some excitement from the bedroom. "Are you ready? I nearly am! You promised we'd go shopping today!"

"Well, you probably heard her. I wouldn't be surprised Europe heard her, we'll keep writing - more school, no weaseling out - and we'll talk later ok?" Xander said. After Faith agreed, they said their goodbyes, and Xander hung up.

Xander smiled mischievously, about to get up to go shopping. If he could maneuver her into a lingerie shop, this might not be so bad after all. Then a hideously deformed female teleported into the room, and shrieked at him, "You will suffer!" Then she started doing a spell. Something about boils, and eternal . . . the rest got smothered in a painful groan. Xander had taken the opportunity to get up, move forward and ram his fist straight into the woman's stomach. Thus bent over, the woman looked up in surprise, directly into the malicious grin of the Saiyan. She widened her eyes in fear then. Xander grabbed the woman's throat and dragged her along. He opened the door to his apartment, then did the same with the door to the building. Once outside he kicked her into the air, a quick wave of energy later and she had been taken care off. After that Xander quickly returned to his apartment waiting for Anya to return.

A moment later Anya entered the living room and asked absentmindedly, "What was that noise?"

"Some demon bitch wanting to make me suffer," Xander told her, shrugging. "Took care of her."

"Oh . . ." Anya said, closing the last button. Then suddenly she looked up and asked him, "Purplish skin, dark brown hair, ridges along the nose?"

"Yeah, how did you know that?" Xander asked surprised.

The room stayed silent for a moment. Then Anya accused him angrily, "You killed Halfrek! I asked her here!"

Xander looked at her dumbfounded at first, then put one and one together, screaming out loud, "You wanted to make a wish to a vengeance demon!? What the hell did I do!?"

"NO!!!" Anya yelled back at him. "She was a friend! She must have misunderstood! I just wanted to talk to her!"

"A friend?" Xander asked icily. "How many more 'friends' have you got? And with how many do you still have contact?"

Anya looked into the angry eyes of Xander, gulped and told him, "A-a few, here and there."


"WHAT ABOUT ME, HUH? ARE YOU GOING TO KILL ME TOO?" Anya screamed back at him in anger.

"You are not a demon. You <were> one! <Were>! As in <ex>-demon! No longer demon! You are a normal average day human being with a soul! There is nothing demonic about you anymore!" Xander told her in intense anger, gesturing wildly. "Then again . . . you are a woman, I should have known," Xander added, his anger festering.

"NOW YOU'RE BEING SEXISTIC!! That's uncalled for!" Anya screeched.

"Let me add hair-istic! You're blonde, I shouldn't have expected better!" Xander told her angrily.

Anya slapped him hard, "That was just low! HOW COULD YOU INSULT ME LIKE THAT!? I've died my hair! I'm <not> <a> blonde!"

"You're being dim-witted enough!" Xander accused her in anger. "They're demons! Evil soulless beings of pure pain and suffering! They have no capacity for good! You are human! Souled and all! A good guy to top it off! They'd prefer to rip your intestines out, put it on the barbie, and have 'em for lunch! Or did you forget the last thousand years, and all the things you and your 'friends' have done!"

Anya suddenly backed off, a revelation on her face. "They would, wouldn't they? But why would they stay friends with me?"

"Can you say, duh!" Xander told her in frustration. There were times when he wanted to strangle the girl. "The only reason I can think off that they didn't just kill you is if they had ulterior motives."

"All of them at the same time?" Anya whispered confused.

Xander blinked a moment, and inclined his head to concede the point. "Or someone higher up with ulterior motives ordered them to stay 'friends' with you."

"Higher up, who?" Anya was still confused, her voice weak, she realized just how stupid she had been acting.

"D'Hoffryn, who else?" Xander told her obviously. "Remember him and Willow a year and a half back?"

"How do you mean?" Anya asked not understanding.

Xander grinned at her, the blowup pretty much over, he was once again soothed by her lovely face and the cute expressions it could contain. "Come on, Willow! A vengeance demon!? Can you see Willow even so much as hurting a fly because some woman perceived a plight when it landed in her soup? She'll get worked up if her loved ones got hurt by something, sure, but just hurt some random person just because some other random person wished for it?" Anya thought it over, her eyes widening with even more shock. She looked up and Xander and shook her head. "See. The guy must have been desperate back then," Xander continued with irritation, "Your replacements probably blew themselves up trying to work the wish, or couldn't kill, or hurt because of their 'romantic' heart, or something. You were the best he ever had. How many books mention Anyanka? I've seen your name quite a few times during research, never seen Halfrek, or any other vengeance demon for that matter. He turned you away, and now he wishes, he never had. The bastard wants you back! What better way then to have your 'friends' get you to see the light, to make you see what a 'bad guy' I am for you?"

Anya looked into his eyes wide-eyed and muttered, "The few I've talked to, have rather often brought you up and whether I was certain about you."

"See!" Xander exclaimed in exasperation.

Anya waited a moment and then attacked Xander. She wrapped her arms around him and tried to hug him to death. "I'm so sorry," Anya whimpered softly. "I've been <so> stupid! Can you forgive me?" Xander tried to stay angry, but then sighed and hugged her back.

"You're forgiven," Xander whispered and planted a soft kiss on her hair. "But just this once, no more demon contact, apart from killing them of course." Xander felt Anya nod against his chest. "Now let's go shopping, and after this, I've deserved a lingerie shop."

Anya looked up at him and smiled, "Your favorite lingerie model will be at your service, sir!"


Las Vegas

Harmony sat leisurely in her chair, overlooking her domain. The room she was in, was all the way in the back of the house, two stories up. A window overlooked the parking lot, for customers as well as her own car. She had done some good business in the past few days. Several demons had hired the women, and most of them seemed quite satisfied, enjoyed it even, the others seemed ok with tolerating it (the women, not the demons - the demons loved every moment of it).

The regulars from the old run down location seemed to love the more hygienic and spacious accommodations. The regulars from this high class establishment hadn't noticed a thing, or they loved that they could play safe games with such dangerous creatures as vampires. Only three of them had huffed that they would never come back, and one hadn't kept his word. Harmony was thinking about expanding to actual demon prostitutes, she'd bet some of the power trippers would get a kick out of fucking a demon girl into submission, for the right price of course.

As far as information gathering went, the prostitutes had gathered quite some information from the customers, some if it was already present in her predecessor's files, some of it new. Several of the new demon customers had brought in the most useful information, namely slowly bit by bit a tree to higher demons up the ladder in Las Vegas. Of course they had to be taken care of, either in a sexual way, or a more permanent way.

"Of course, yes. [bored sigh] We <do> send them out to jobs as well. I have the address written down. Ok, goodbye," Harmony placed the phone on the hook when she was done, picking up the paper with the address. "Oh, goody," she said out loud. "The owner of the Tropicana, huh?" She got up, and walked to in front of her desk, ready to send her best escort worker out. She had a wide grin on her face.

Suddenly there was a harsh sound of wood splintering. Harmony looked up from the paper in shock, her hand clenched around the paper. Shortly afterwards there were screams coming from different rooms, but mostly from the hallway and stair case. Her acute vampire hearing helped establish that. She was frozen with surprise. Heavy food steps, about twenty people, were heading up the stairs straight for her office. Moments later the door burst open, several blue garbed men pointed guns at her. Two men in suits stood in the middle of the uniform men, and the grey-haired of the two called out with authority, "Harmony Kendall, this is the IRS. You are under arrest for failing to pay your taxes, failing to fill in your tax return forms, and failing to return them us for two years straight."

Harmony looked dumbfounded. "IRS?" she muttered, uncomprehending.

The men with guns advanced on her carelessly, ordering her to put up her hands. *No problem,* Harmony though maliciously, she raised her hands. At chest height, she snaked out her right arm and pulled one of the IRS men in her grasp, turning him around so he was facing his comrades. She vamped out and held his neck in a perfect biting position. "Now don't come any closer, don't make the nice sweat undead girl drain your friend," she singsonged at the shocked IRS men. The two in suits though, seemed more frustrated than anything else. Harmony slowly backed up, then dipped forward, sinking her fangs into the shocked cannon fodder an proceeded to drain him dry in front of his shocked friends. Then she pushed him forward and jumped backward onto the desk. Only one way out. She jumped forward, hands first, and crashed through the window soaring down two stories, as the IRS men fretted over their fallen comrade.

Harmony landed smoothly on her legs and sprinted toward her car. She jumped in - from all over the trunk - and started the car quickly. With screeching tires, the Lotus raced back, then made a quick turn so the nose was in the right direction. "God-damned IRS! They're worse than the slayer!" Harmony screamed out in frustration, everything had been going so well. She put the car in forward and floored the gas pedal.

In her room the two suited men had reached the shattered window and looked at Harmony drive off, anger etched in the older man's face. "GOD-DAMNED VAMPIRES! They've gotten another one of the good tax paying community! What is it about this part of the country anyway!?" the grey-haired man yelled out loud. He pulled a pencil and a pack of stapled together pack of papers from within his suit.

"I don't know, sir," his assistant answered him calmly. The older man calmly striped away Harmony Kendall from the list of names on the paper, and drew a cross and then the letter 'v' next to her. There were quite a few more names striped out having the same code next to it.

"God-damn undead! Stupid law that says 'every person "living" in the US has to pay taxes'! I've asked them to change the law, but no . . . how do they expect us to scrape the money together for this war, they're hell bent on fighting anyway?" the older man complained to his assistant. "I mean, come on, God has to pay taxes - and believe me, it's quite a chore getting to that bastard - Satan has to pay taxes, but Vampires? No, they are dead, therefore they are not 'living' here. And demons? 'No, we tried using them already, it was proven demons could not be controlled, they must be exterminated, we've put a special commando team on it', puke, and meanwhile my taxpayers are walking around dead."

"Yes, sir," his assistant answered him, calmly.

"Stupid military, every time they've got another crazy idea, another nice prototype they want to build, who do they come to? That's right, us," the older man complained. "We're the ones who have to cough up the money, the taxes they need. Smith, we are the last remnant of morality left in this horrible world. Us, and our international brethren, my friend. We do the hard work, so the world can keep turning. Be proud of your job!"

"Of course, sir," the assistant, Smith, answered him calmly. The two turned around, and watched the dead gunslinger getting carried out on a stretcher.

"There goes a fallen hero, Smith. Indeed, we are the unsung heroes of the world," the IRS man said without any sign of mourning on him, or in his voice. Another uniformed man walked into the room. "Report."

"Sir," the new arrival answered. "There are quite some vampires among the prostitutes, sir."

"God-damned vampires!" the IRS man exclaimed in frustration. He gave his list to the man in question and told him, "Get their mortal names, and see if you can find them among some of the other offenders, then you can cross them out as well."

"Yes, sir," the man said and took the list with him.

The head IRS man sighed in frustration, "If this keeps going, the president will have to increase the deficit again."

"Should we call vice, sir?" his assistant asked.

The IRS man looked at him for a moment and asked confused, "What for?"

"They are prostitutes, sir," Smit clarified.

"Smith . . . We're the IRS. As long as people pay their taxes, and don't kill any taxpayers, we don't care what they do for a living. Therefore we will not waste precious tax payers' money on a phone call to a unit that will waste more tax money on apprehending honest tax paying people," the IRS man explained.

"Of course, sir."

"Besides, this is Las Vegas, prostitution is legal, Smith," the man in charge added as he walked out Harmony's office.

"Of course, I forgot, sir," Smith answered sheepishly.

"I believe under rule 148, subsection four alpha, we <are> in the right to confiscate the interior, are we not?" the IRS man asked as he looked around the rooms. Without waiting for the answer, he added, "Do it. They could bring in a pretty penny."


"Fucking IRS!" Harmony screamed out while she was driving through Las Vegas traffic. Lights left and right from her. "Bastards! I should just drain 'em all dry."

Harmony sat there, driving around, trying to figure out what to do. Her eyes looked down at her right hand, it itched. Between her hand and the steering wheel she saw the crumpled peace of paper that would have been her next customer, who was still expecting his escort. She pulled the paper to in front of her face. Oh, yes! It was still readable. She shrugged, she might as well.

A short time later, she parked the car near the Tropicana. She looked herself over. Low cut top, leaving midriff bare, short but stylish skirt, and high heels. It was acceptable. She picked up a few splinters of glass and threw them out the car, then she rummaged her hands through her hair, trying to get every last splinter of glass that could have gotten in there away. Satisfied, she walked inside the casino, a big smile on her face.

She looked around for a moment, and then went to a guard. "Hi, sweety," she told him. "The owner asked for me."

The guard looked at Harmony for a few seconds, confused, then his face cleared up. "Oh, I see," he said. "Follow me." Harmony followed the man to the back of the main hall. She arrived at a curtain, a sign next to it, promised the chance to win a million dollars. Harmony looked confused, as the guard opened the curtain and gestured to room behind, "Here it is, ma'am."

Harmony blinked once, shrugged and went into the room. There were a few people who turned to look at her, and smiled. They surrounded a roulette table, one crapier stood ready to run the table. "Take a chip," the crapier said, and gestured to a pile of round chips. Harmony walked over, and as she grabbed one, she thought, *What kind of kinky game is being played here?* She shrugged, went to an open position, and dumped the chip on a free square.

Then a short man in a suit entered the room and started talking, "Hello, I'm Lee deMarco. I am the owner of the Tropicana, and you are the lucky few who get to play this special chance game. It costs you nothing, win or lose, but win, and you get a million dollars." He then nodded to the crapier and watched grinning.

*Or he gives all his whores a chance to win a million dollars. Ooh, goody, happy now,* Harmony thought with a wide grin, watching the little ball run around the sphere. A short time later the ball stopped and the crapier called out, "House wins! Sorry, no winners!"

"Ah, that's too bad," the owner called out. "But everyone gets this complementary cup filled with chips." One of the employees gave everyone a plastic cup filled with chips. "Enjoy yourselves in the regular games." The man then started to turn around, as the players looked happily into their cups and waddled out. Harmony looked at the pot once, shrugged and followed the owner. The employees seemed surprised. Before the owner could disappear out the back of the room, Harmony draped her arm around his shoulder and turned around. She moved up against him sexily and whispered, "You wanted me."

The owner looked stunned, she should be out there playing the machines like a zombie. What was going on? "Yes, yes, the game is over now though. You can play the machines in the main hall." He looked up into her eyes, and suddenly realized with a shock, he had never seen her before, definitely not someone he had ordered to be present here.

Harmony shook her head gently, leaned forward, and nibbled gently on his ear. She rode up against even more and whispered in his ear, "Via the phone." At first the owner was confused, then realized suddenly, the prostitute! How had she gotten in here? At least that explained why she wasn't desperate to hit the slot machines. A prostitute didn't have much of a destiny to steal. But destiny or no destiny, she should be under his control now.

"Ah, my dear," he said smoothly, trying to save face, he really didn't want his employees to know he needed to resort to prostitution to get some. "Discrete, come along." Harmony obeyed and followed him to the back. Grinning to several employees, mostly guards, she followed him to his quarters. They entered the bedroom moments later and Harmony's eyes sparkled at the lavishly furnished room.

"Ooh, nice," Harmony commented with a grin, she moved next to her customer and sexily draped herself against him. "This should be fun." She coiled around him and kissed him deeply on the mouth.

*A little cool,* the owner thought, feeling Harmony's lips on his, but quickly dismissed it. Who cared about a little cooler temperature, when you had such a hot babe at your beck and call.

Five minutes later, deMarco was plunging his cock into Harmony's cunt from behind. Harmony still mostly dressed, her skirt hiked up, her panty was on the floor somewhere, and she was kneeling on the bed. "Oh, you're good," Harmony moaned out, lying. He had said he always wanted to fuck a woman still dressed, as if they were doing a quicky in an elevator, so that's what he got.

"I'm coming," he moaned out and spilled his seed.

*That was it?* Harmony thought in irritation, rhythmically clenching and unclenching her inner muscles, moaning out loud, faking orgasm. She had been horny, now she still was, but didn't let it show.

Lee collapsed onto the bed and he wiggled forward until his feet were on it as well. Harmony turned around and draped herself around him, pressing her breasts against his side suggestively. "You were so good. You were a god," Harmony lied moaning hoarsely as if she was out of breath, she hadn't even begun to warm up. "Was I good too?"

"Fantastic, babe," the man answered with a satisfied smile.

Harmony snuggled up even closer and asked him throatily, "Mmh, tell me something about yourself handsome." And so for several minutes Harmony made sure he didn't fall asleep and she kept him talking eventually leading to the business aspect of his establishment and his place in the grand scheme that was Las Vegas.

DeMarco thought it over for a moment, and then decided to explain the whole deal. He had been itching to dazzle someone with this geniality for some time now, and the girl was under his complete control now after all. He grinned, and said, "Come on."

Moments late he led her into the control room, screens lining the walls allowing the security people and the owner himself, to oversee everything in the casino. In the front of the room, there was a glass jar, with something swirling inside. Lee led her to it. "Look," he said, pointing at the jar. Harmony looked, intrigued. "Destinies. Anyone who played the million dollar game loses his destiny. Those destinies, including yours, are in there." Harmony frowned, not understanding why anyone wanted anyone's destiny. She hoped the guy explained. "Once those destinies are gone, they no longer have the will to do anything. They simply throw all their money away in the slot machines, and sooner or later walk out and die miserably."

*Who cares?* Harmony thought. The money was a plus, but it didn't seem to her like the people had enough smarts left to plunder their back accounts. "Why do that?" she asked curiously.

"To impress the big ones! The true demons! The demon gods!" the owner said with an almost insane glitter in his eyes. "I only take people who are obviously rich though, I really should find a way to detect destinies of people who are not already obviously rich, but will sooner or later be a grand player on the stage of the world."

*I wasted my time on a high-level demon kiss-up?* Harmony thought in disgust as she remembered the very unsatisfying sex she had had with the halfwit. *He owns the Tropicana, high in the hierarchy you'd think, and he's just a small fish, only interested in kissing up to demons.*

"And once I have gained their favor, I will be given their powers, I will be one of them," the owner said, hands raised in the air to some unseen something.

Something clicked inside Harmony's mind, and an emotion she hadn't felt often overtook her, she wasn't really smart enough to feel slighted enough to reach this state: burning anger. "You want to ascend to become one of them, as in Ascension?" Harmony asked coldly.

"Yes!" the man exclaimed turning around to regard her. "You understand exactly! You . . ." He suddenly stopped and regarded Harmony in a new light. How could some ditzy hooker know about Ascensions? "How do you know about that?" he asked dumbfounded.

Harmony's hands grabbed the collar of his suit and lifted him off the floor, eyes blazing. "Because I survived one! Do you know how much it hurts to have your classmates trample your already deeply wounded and dying body?!"

"But, but . . . you can't be doing this," the man squeaked out, as his security personnel looked dumbfounded at the seemingly harmless blonde pulling their boss off his feet as if he weighed nothing. "I took your destiny."

Harmony vamped out, and told him growling, which sounded comically, this was Harmony after all, "I'm a vampire - a soulless, bloodsucking demon; I don't care about my destiny. The only thing I care about is whether or not I drive a nice car, wear nice clothes, and oh, yeah, drinking your blood." Harmony then pulled him dawn and sank her fangs into the man's neck. As she drained him dry, the security finally snapped out of their stupors and pulled their guns. Harmony felt several painful impacts, immediately followed by powerful pain blossoming from the impacts. Rapidly she turned around, the owner now shielding her from the bullets. A few still passed through him and hit her, but most stayed neatly imbedded into the man's body. Harmony felt the blood pressure disappear more rapidly as now there were more than two holes from which blood flowed. The security people stopped firing when they realized they were shooting their boss. Moments later Harmony felt the bastard in her hands grow limp and she stopped drinking. Without thinking she threw him aside to her right. The man landed on the table, shattering the jar holding the destinies. With a lovely pinkish light show, the destinies of people still alive and one vampire returned to them.

"Nice lights," Harmony commented happily, licking her lips. She felt a little blood seeping from one of her already healing wounds and looked down. "Damn it! Look at that! Ruined! Have you people any idea how impossible it is to get blood out of clothes!" Harmony looked back up and eyed the security people, who swallowed when they saw the anger-filled yellow demon-eyes look at them. "You are so gonna pay for that." Harmony jumped to the closest security man and ripped his throat out. They had ruined her clothes! Nobody ruined her clothes. She proceeded with killing everybody present in the room, draining them, snapping their necks or otherwise, except one last security man, who pointed his gun at her shakily and backed away from her into a corner. Harmony looked at the scared man, his scent of fear working as an aphrodisiac, and he was a hottie. Her sexual appetite quickly returned, reminding her of the deeply unsatisfying sex with the now dead Lee deMarco. "Well, aren't you highly doable, and I do like a man in uniform," she commented licking her lips. The man blinked; he was still alive? "Your boss was very bad in the sack. You can choose, sexy. Live and I'll give you the fuck of the century, or death. Choose."

The man thought it over in less than a second, after all, he had been helping out a man who sucked people's destinies out, what really was sex with a vampire? If she put that scary face away, she was downright hot. "Live, I definitely want to live."

"Then put down the gun, babycakes," Harmony ordered him, and he complied.

She attacked him with a deep tongue kiss. Once she broke it, he gathered his courage, pointed at her teeth and asked, "Could you, uh . . . you know . . . retract?" Harmony grinned, devamping and quickly wrestled the man down.

Below, way down below, a demon looked at the scene through a crystal ball in disbelief. There went his plans. Then he looked up and screamed at the ceiling of his lair, "I HATE VAMPIIIIRES!!"


Some time later, Harmony lay satisfied and naked on the security man, who just looked up at the ceiling with a satisfied smile. Sighing she got up, and started putting on her clothes, complaining in her head about their sorry state. Once clothed she saw a cell phone lying next to one of the men she killed. She picked it up and called Dis.

"Hey, Dis, Harmony, here," she told into the phone somewhat dejected.

<<Mistress, I'm so glad. Some of the whores said you fled like a scared little thing, some of them are thinking about revolting,>> her slave vamp answered her from the other and.

Harmony started pacing back and forth, angry. "A tactical retreat, Dis. Tell them I will hunt them down and torture them to death if they try anything. Is the IRS still there?"

<<They left, my goddess, but they took most of the furniture with them,>> Dis answered with a little fear in his voice, hoping his goddess wouldn't take her wrath out on him, and at the same time hoping she would.

"Damn it!" Harmony cursed under her breath, she stopped and turned, blindly staring at the former owner of the Tropicana. "Just when my king . . ." Harmony's eyes widened, and then a grin formed when she realized something. The owner of the Tropicana was dead. She had killed the owner of the Tropicana. The Tropicana was ownerless. Her grin widened, "Ooh, I"m sooo good."

<<Of course you are, mistress,>> her slave's voice sounded.

"Dis, keep the sluts together, and make some sexy outfit ready for me, something I can wear in public. I'm thinking a day, maybe two, and then everything will become better, baby. Queen H will rise, mark my words, cool cars, cool men, I'll have it all," Harmony told Dis and discontinued the connection. She turned back to the security man who was slowly regaining his senses, sitting back up.

"Name," Harmony demanded of him.

"Atkinson," he answered her fearfully.

"Well, Atkinson, you can be the new leader of this casino's security force," Harmony suggested to him with a smile. "Providing you tell me where this bastard kept his papers, bookkeeping, his will, the notary he used." Atkinson looked at the sexy vampire and thought it over. What was he going to do anyway? Go to the cops? 'You see, my boss was this power hungry bastard who wanted to become a demon, and .


An hour later, Harmony pushed the doorbell to the notary's house. The man's name was Leonard Henrickson. Several moments later a half sleeping Henrickson opened the door in disbelief. "Do you know what time it is?" he asked sleepily before he recognized who was standing in front of him. Atkinson, one of the Tropicana's main security people. A blonde woman was standing next to him.

Harmony looked the man over for a moment. He was wearing a bath robe, he had a long face, was wearing crude glasses, and was half bald. He wasn't truly ugly, but he was nowhere near good looking. "My name is Harmony Kendall. Can we come in?" Harmony asked, with her cutest, most innocent, and smoldering sexy voice.

"Of course, sure, come in," the man stammered, staring at the beautiful blonde. Harmony stepped inside with a sexy smile and followed the man to his office. She had changed her clothes by now, wearing a short, spaghetti-strapped red dress, low cut to show ample cleavage. Black high healed boots, and a short shiny black jacket completed the ensemble. The man sat down behind his desk and told his two guests to sit down in the chairs present. Atkinson stayed standing. Henrickson was mesmerized by Harmony, mouth practically ajar as the buxom blonde circled the desk and sat down in his lap, riding her body against his. Atkinson grinned.

"Don't mind if I do," Harmony told the man with a grin, deliberately riding her crotch against his, and pressing her breasts against his chest. The man seemed to be in heaven. "You manage the will of the poor deceased owner of the Tropicana, don't you?"

Henrickson nodded desperately, then asking, "L-Lee's dead?"

"Yes," Harmony answered dreamily, letting her right index finger stroke the lines on his face. "The poor man. Did he have family? Who did he leave his estate to?"

"I c-can't tell you," he whispered back at her.

Harmony smiled, gently running her left hand over his crotch, feeling it stiffen slowly, "Come on. What would it matter?"

"W-when you p-put it that way," he answered squeaking, not knowing where to go. "Just a few companies, and business partners, here and there."

"Oh, how sweet. Change it for me," Harmony told him gently, she let her lips move across his cheek, almost touching his skin, she gently exhaled her breath on him. He shivered as she added, "I'd like to get it all."

"I-I can't do that, m-ma'am. I-it's ag-gainst the l-l-l-law," he whispered out barely, feeling the hands, still warm from the feeding, massage his penis expertly.

"You will do it," Harmony told him sweetly, "Either alive . . ." Harmony suddenly vamped out, moved forward and gently scraped a fang across his cheek. " . . . or undead, understand?"

Henrickson nodded breathlessly, "I-I'll do it. Please, d-don't make me a vampire. I'm t-t-to yo-young to die."

Harmony got off his lap, and ordered him with nothing more than a smile. She stood back and watched the man get the will and change it. "Well, Leonard," Harmony told him with a smile, when he was done. She sat back down on his lap, devamped, knowing he'd stay to scared if she stayed in vamp face. "That wasn't so bad was it? I'll offer you something, Lenny. Work for me, do these little jobs more often. I still have a whore house that requires the same treatment, and then . . . well, imagine it. Free use of the whores, anytime, me even, if I'm not busy. Hmm, what do you say, Lenny? Want to be my notary?"

"Let me guess, if I don't, I'll do it undead anyway?" he whispered in fear.

A long term undead notary would be impossible maintain, but Harmony didn't have to tell him that. She answered happily, licking her lips suggestively, "You're starting to learn. How about we consummate our new partnership?"

"I have a girlfriend, she's in bed upstairs," he whispered in fear, too terrified to realize the stupidity in giving that information away. Lucky for him, Harmony couldn't afford another bloodbath in the same night.

"Does she give you blow jobs?" Harmony asked sweetly, pulling down the zipper that hid his erection. She knew the power love could have over a man, Spike and his ridiculous love for the slayer had proven that to her. She needed to make sure he couldn't go to his girlfriend for advice. He shook his head looking at Harmony. As she stroked his erection through his underwear she whispered, "It seems he wants one." She pulled down his underpants slightly, revealing his straining prick. She licked across it once. "Do you want one also?" she asked him sweetly. He nodded heavily. "Would you like me to vamp out first?" Harmony asked innocently. He shook his head. "It could be fun, all sharp, I might accidentally scrape along your big cock, which can be quite pleasurable."

"M-maybe l-later," he answered wide-eyed, gripped between fear and arousal.

Harmony grinned, and sucked on the head of his erection for a moment, then told him, "Adventurous with a healthy dose of caution, I like that in a man." She took his cock back in her mouth, and took him all the way in, it reached the back of her mouth. She sucked hard as she pulled her head back off. "God, I think it's such a turn on, knowing your prude girlfriend is happily sleeping upstairs," she told him with an innocent smirk. Then she gave him a fantastic blowjob. A few minutes later after a moan he pored his cum into her mouth. He looked guilty, horny and astonished as he saw her pull her mouth of his prick, and swallowed visibly. Harmony got up and told him, far too happily, "See? Now that was great wasn't it? This is so going be the start of a fantastic friendship." She then turned around and she and a grinning Atkinson left the man's office. Henrickson just realized how deep he had sunken, there was no way he got could get out of this one. His girlfriend would kill him, the cops were out of the question. He might as well enjoy the ride as long as it lasted. He wondered how good those whores really were.

Once Atkinson and Harmony were outside, she told him, "One down. Now I only need the best accountant in Las Vegas on my pay roll, so to speak, to get the IRS off my back, and then the best unscrupulous lawyer for things that the law can solve for me, and this city is practically mine."


Willow, Tara, Xander and Buffy stood together on the campus grounds. They were chatting with each other about this and that. Somebody bumped into Buffy, apologized and walked on. Eventually they had to go to their respective classes. Xander walked off toward the physics hall. Willow and Tara entered the hall they were in front of and Buffy started turning toward the other side.

She smiled, things were going pretty well. Dawn was in school, she herself was back in college and she had passed all the make-up courses during the summer. She had found out, she rather enjoyed English as well as History and she was becoming pretty sure that were the directions she was going in. Just as she was going to walk, she felt disoriented, when she looked up she saw students rush by. She could see all of them clearly, but they were going far too fast for ordinary human beings, her quick reflexes kept some students from crashing into her. Suddenly the grounds were empty. Buffy blinked, something tugged on her senses, but before she could identify it, the grounds filled up again and then everything slowed down to normal.

"Huh?" Buffy muttered, blinking her eyes. Did Xander forget to tell her there were side effects to all these new abilities, she wondered. Shocked, she saw Tara come walking down the steps of the study hall.

"Hey, Buffy!" she called out and quickly covered the distance between. "Back already? Used super speed to cover the distance, huh?" Buffy blinked even more confused. She continued in a lower voice, "Nobody saw you right? Who am I kidding, you probably moved too fast for the human eye to follow you." Tara smiled conspiratorially.

"Say, didn't you just . . .?" Buffy started to ask, but Tara interrupted her, as she checked her watch.

"Sorry, Buffy, but I promised I'd go over some of the notes I made for the next class with some of my classmates, got to hurry up to get there," Tara explained hastily getting a better grip on her books. "I'm really sorry, talk to you at home, ok?" Tara said and started hurrying.

"But, hol- . . ." Buffy was cut off by the dizzying sensation again, and then the students speeded up again. Faster even than the first time, this time they became blurs even to her. Buffy looked around shocked, and again that sensation tucking at her senses. She ignored it, because one student who was running came right at her. She tried to get out of his way. To no avail, because the student collided with her left leg and flipped over it. For a moment the sensation warped completely and in that moment the student seemed to move at a normal space and the other students were hiccuping as if running on bad fast forward. To Buffy's horror she saw the boy clutching his lower leg as he went down - his broken lower leg. In the brief moment that everything was even wackier than before, she could clearly see a few bones of the boy's lower leg sticking out. Then things stabilized, or rather the wacking fast forward and yet slow mo disappeared and everything went super speedy again. Immediately Buffy jumped in the air and held herself up there, feeling an occasional insect splash against her. In an instant she had seen paramedics arrive, load the boy on a stretcher and then put into the ambulance and drive off. The whole preceding had been a blur and lasted less than a second.

Buffy looked to her left shoulder, where the odd sensation came from, and remembered the guy bumping into her. Without seeing it, just sensing it, she grasped the little thing. She held it up to her eyes and examined it. A tiny black dot lay on her index finger. Then it suddenly evaporated, the sensation disappeared, and everything ran at a normal speed again. She quickly put herself back on the ground before people would notice.

Buffy looked around, but saw nothing suspicious. A few cars and a van stood parked, but then there was always something parked. Annoyed she ran into the college and on a hunch checked the first clock she found. "Fuck!" she exclaimed, it was well past eleven o'clock. She had missed two classes, a break and a third class was already halfway over. "When I get my hands on whoever did that!" she hissed, soft enough so no-one would here. Realizing that going to the half-finished class was useless she decided to go to the Magic Box.


Warren, Andrew and Jonathan sat in their van, looking in disbelief. The Slayer was flying, flying! And she just picked off the chip with ease, she had gone for it almost immediately.

"Self-destruct!" Jonathan called out in panic, Andrew obliged and pushed a red button.

"Hey!" Warren called out indignant. "That was my invention."

"And it was found out, easily," Jonathan admonished him with a scowl.

"Yeah," Andrew added uncertain.

Warren was irritated and vented his frustration, "This isn't my fault. She can fly god damn it! I didn't know that, and neither did you! Apparently she's been souped up since last time either of us met her! If I had known that, I would have put more care in its stealthiness!"

"Ok, now what?" Andrew asked uncertain again, his gently following Warren's relatively muscled arms.

"Now, it's my turn," Jonathan said with a grin, holding up a few ingredients.


Buffy stalked into the magic box, threw her back pack aside in disgust and walked over to the table in the middle and dropped into a chair. She folded her hands across her chest and sulked. Anya came from the back and looked at the depressed slayer. "Hey, Buffy, you're early," Anya commented perky as always, carrying some stuff to the counter. "Aren't you due for another fifteen to thirty minutes?"

"Missed classes," Buffy muttered annoyed.

"How did you manage that?" Anya asked with a hint of judgement. A customer entered the store, and Anya interrupted Buffy's next sentence, "Hold that thought."

"Welcome to the Magic Box," Anya greeted the new customer with a wide smile. "We serve all your magical, archaic, gothic and morbid needs. Is there anything in particular you are looking for?"

"Oh, no," the blonde young boy said. "Just browsing."

"I'll be at the table if you need me," Anya said, and went to join Buffy. She sat down in a chair next to her and asked, "So, missing classes."

"Yeah," Buffy told her, fidgeting in her chair. She had never really spoken to Anya alone before, on top of that she wasn't really sure where to start. Buffy sighed and started, "Ok, so I'm standing there having a quick last chat with the others you know, before they go off to their classes. I'm ready to go myself, and suddenly everything goes blurry. I figure out later somebody sped up time . . . or slowed mine down. Anyway, everything returns back to normal, Tara comes back out of the building, it's been like two seconds. She says something about me already being back, leaves before I got to ask her anything, and voosh, everything is blurry again. A student trips over my left leg and breaks his right. I'm talking bone on the wrong side of the skin, major ick factor. As it happens everything goes all warbly. I fly into the air, don't want to hurt others, and I feel this odd sensation on my left shoulder. I pick up this black dot, look at it, and it dissolves."

"Whoa," Anya blurted out.

"Yeah," Buffy goes on, "Everything returns back to normal, you know. I go in the building, check the clock, several hours later, that's when I decided to come here."

"Well, that sucks," Anya answers, and thinks things over. She gets up and walks to a book cabinet, "Hold on, let me get a book on time magic. I put it away last week . . . hmm . . . aha!" Anya picked out the book and started browsing through the book. She notices the customer looking at several herbs intently, and she says, "Hey, you aren't stealing anything, are you?"

"Huh, what?" Andrew answers shocked out of his concentration. "Steal? Uh . . . Me? Nah . . . I . . . uh . . . don't steal. Uh . . . not in a million years."

"Good," Anya said and goes back to Buffy. Andrew carries on quickly. Anya starts to browse through the book, "Temporal displacement spells. Nope. Crushing time. Time travel. Altering time. Looping time. Aha! Slowing and speeding up time! Let's see . . ."

"Ma'am . . .uh, ma'am!" Andrew interrupted, he was standing with the cash register.

Anya looked up startled. "Oh, right, that's me," Anya said, and pushed the book in front of Buffy. "Here, I have to make a sale."

Anya quickly walked over to the register, and sold Andrew the things he had picked out. "It was a pleasure doing business with you. Please come again, if you need anything else." Andrew nodded and left the store.

Anya returned to Buffy, "Found anything, yet?"

"Plenty," Buffy said, going back and forth between pages. "But I'm not seeing anything about a virgin's mole or a flattened vanilla dot. And the rest I can't read." She shoves the book to Anya in disgust.

The door bell rang, and Anya looked up saying, "Welcome . . . Hey, Xander. You're early. Did you get your time warped as well?"

"Hey, Ahn, Buff," Xander greeted with a grin, he showed off a white cardboard box above his head. "Brought lunch," Xander told them with a grin, and proceeded with answering Anya's question. "Finished the assignment early. And what's this about time being warped?" Xander placed the pizza on the table with a grin.

Buffy raised her hand and told him, "My time was warped. I just stood in front of the building and in less then a minute the whole morning flashed before my eyes. Missed my classes . . . pizza for lunch?"

Xander and Anya grabbed a slice, and Xander said, "Hey, if you want to stick to your bread and be a good girl, that's fine with me. Just means more for us." Buffy hesitated only a moment before grabbing her own slice. Xander watched Anya scan through a magic book. "Anything specific?"

Anya nodded as she took a bit, and muttered, mouth full, "Looking for a spell that requires a mole, or something that looks like it."

Buffy explained, chewing on her pizza, "Found this black dot on my left arm, gave off a weird sensation. Once I picked it off, it dissolved."

The door opened again, and Willow called out, "Hey!"

"Turn the sign," Anya called out without looking up from the time magic book.

Willow did as Anya told her, switching the sign from open to closed. After that Willow bounded down the stairs, her red hair jumping along. She pauzed on a footstep and blinked, "I smell . . . pizza!" She quickly crossed the difference and took a slice for her own. She took a bit, chewed and said, "This is really bad, Xander. We better hope Dawn never finds out we had pizza for lunch, she'll be so pissed at us."

"I can't help it, if her school doesn't allow her off school property during lunch time," Xander told her disavowing any guilt. "And why would you assume <I> got the pizza?" The three girls stared at him over their slices of pizza. "About that dissolving," Xander quickly changed the subject as he got another slice of pizza.

"Dissolving?" Willow wanted to know.

"Time warp, blurry, missed classes, found black dot, dissolved right after," Buffy quickly recapped, chewing pizza and counting down on her fingers, causing some of the topping of the pizza to fall into her lap. She moaned out her frustration as she quickly reached down to get the pickle and sauce off her clothes.

"So you had it and poof?" Xander asked interested before taking a new bite.

"More like a sizzle," Buffy answered, sucking her fingers clean. "But yeah . . . well, not immediately though. Three, maybe four seconds it just lay there on my finger."

Xander blinked, and asked, "Did it look a little like Scully's miracle cure for cancer?"

Buffy looked at him for a moment. Xander pointed to the back of his neck. Buffy then understood what he was getting at, and said, "Now that you mention it, yeah, it did kinda look like that."

"Ooh," Willow said with an excited smile on her face. "Super advanced, time warping computer chips. Uh . . . Xan, exactly how much did you piss those g-man types off?"

"I doubt that, Will," Xander answered with a grin, grabbing himself another slice of pizza. Anya closed the book and got a new slice for herself as well, watching the interaction. "I wouldn't rule out it is possible, but I'm thinking the chip was a little too small to bend time, on such a scale. It was probably an amplifier, receiver, or an antennae for a bigger set up.

"As for the g-men," Xander continued with a grin, biting off some more pizza. He spoke the rest with a full mouth, "They don't know who I am, and if they did they'd try things out on me first, not Buffy. But that's an interesting point, the chip was dissolved so we couldn't learn anything from it. Pretty clever. It seems to me this was some kind of test, not an actual attack."


Inside the Trio's van. "Ok, since when is Xander Harris the physics professor," Warren asked disturbed, looking at Jonathan preparing his spell.

"I dunno," he answered quickly concentrating.

Warren and Andrew returned to looking at a camera. <<Highly advanced computer chips, huh?>> Anya stated, after swallowing some pizza. <<Could Warren know something about this? Perhaps even built the thing.>>

Andrew and Warren raised their eyebrows. <<The creator of the Buffybot,>> Willow said thoughtfully. <<Could be. He didn't seem exactly evil, but he needs to get his money somehow. Perhaps someone payed him to build the chip. At least he'll know some places where you could get cheap illegal parts. Building an android legally would cost you millions, if not billions, he built at least two.>>

"You know," Andrew said nervously. "I hate to admit this, but that's a well-oiled machine."

<<What about Ted?>> Buffy asked, confused about the millions part.

<<Time travel, or something like that,>> Xander said resolutely, starting on the last slice of pizza.

<<Ted? Oh, before my time,>> Anya piped up, shutting up to let the others do their brainstorming.

<<You sure?>> Buffy asked.

Xander nodded, <<Or the technology was plundered from a crashed space ship, he found. I don't care how much of a genius Ted's creator was, technology like that didn't exist in fifties, and Ted was more advanced then the Buffybot. Remember how Willow had to program the Buffybot over and over before she could get something resembling a real person's reactions out of it? Ted managed to function for forty years without being detected.>>

"Hey," Warren called out indignant, "I'd like to see you try to do better with only a few days time and a death threat by the Slayer of Slayers! Are you ready yet?"

"Calm down, Warren," Jonathan told him, sitting in meditation. "Just a little while more, patience is a virtue."

<<I'll check out legal avenues for advanced technology,>> Xander decided.

Buffy announced, as she pulled her lunch box from her bag, <<After classes, I'll go ask Warren if he knows anything.>>

"I'm ready," Jonathan announced with a grin.

"Cool," Andrew answered. "So what is it she needs to do in order to break the loop? I think Mulder and Bill Murray had it way too easy."

Warren grinned, "Nothing like the explosion of your ship to motivate you, I think."

"See that drain over there," Jonathan asked, pointing at a drain in the side of the pavement. The other two nodded. "She has to give it a good kick."

"That's all?" Warren asked surprised, but soon understood the genius of it.

Andrew snickered, "Oh, that's sneaky."


Buffy was walking back to college, thinking over the events of that morning. Things had been going so well in college the last week, and now this. She sighed heavily. She looked up, seeing the college campus, hoping the freakiness of this morning would stay away, when . . .

Buffy stood in front of the Magic Box. Startled, she looked around, and then turned around. *What the hell?* she thought. Irritated she turned around and opened the door to the Magic Box.

"Wel . . . oh, it's you. Forgot something?" Anya asked, from behind the cash register, counting the money and making a note in a notebook.

"Forgot something?" Buffy asked incredulously. "You think I come all the way back right before class starts, just because I forgot something?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Anya asked confused. "You still have twenty-five minutes before your class starts."

Buffy looked at her for a moment, and then searched the clock. Her eyes widened, it was barely a minute after she had first left the Magic Box. "Sorry," she said, and quickly ran out the Magic Box. Had she imagined her whole walk to campus? This time she decided running on college and thus had time left. She decided to go look up some people who were with her in her morning classes and see if she could borrow some notes to xerox. When she was talking to a third person, about the third set of notes, she was suddenly back in front the Magic Box, minus notes.

Buffy turned around and walked into the Magic Box, and looked at the clock. "Wel . . . oh . . ." Anya started, Buffy interrupted her.

"I'm in a time loop," she said with irritation.

"You are?" Anya inquired, making a not in her notebook.

"Walked to college, just before I get there, I'm back here and now," Buffy huffed out her indignation. "You tell me I still have twenty-five minutes till class, confused, I run to college. I try to get notes for classes this morning, poof, I'm back here . . . and now."

"Calm down," Anya said, leaving her notebook on the counter. "I'm certain we'll find a way to beat it." She walked over to the book on the table, and quickly flicked the pages to the time loop section. "Well, most, if not all time loops can be broken by a metaphysical predetermined act. Saving someone's life, saving your own, keeping something from being destroyed . . ."

"Twenty minutes," Buffy interrupted irritated. "Walk to college, nothing happened during before or after. No deaths."

"Oh," Anya stated, reading over the section. "Well, we can try some of these spells. Here is one that is designed to break through time loops." So said, Anya got the ingredients together, drew a circle, made all the preparations.

"Hurry up, Anya, we don't have much time left," Buffy answered looking up at the clock.

"Yes, yes," Anya answered irritated. Finally she performed the spell. There was a lovely light show, then nothing.

Buffy looked around herself, she was still here. "Hey! It work . . ."

Buffy was standing in front of the magic box, " . . .ed . . . AAAH!" Buffy turned around and walked into the Magic Box.

"Wel . . . oh, it's you. Forgot something?" Anya asked, from behind the cash register, counting the money and making a note in a notebook.

"In time loop," Buffy stated heavily.

"You are? Cool, have you learned to play the piano yet?" Anya asked enthusiastically. Buffy looked at her with a killing gaze. Anya shrank back.

"Twenty minutes," Buffy hissed at her, than pointed at the book. "Spells," she said coldly.

"Oh, right," Anya walked over to the book and opened it to time loops. "Well, you need to find this act that . . ."

"No deaths to prevent, no nothing," Buffy pre-empted that one quickly.

"Oh, well, here . . ."

"Doesn't work," Buffy answered, fists clenching and unclenching.

"Oh, look," Anya said, with a smile. "This spell allows you to detect, or at least give you a clue at what the act is you need to perform to break free."

"Well, hurry up then!" Buffy said, and watched Anya prepare the spell.

Almost twenty minutes later Anya called out, " . . . mardia, lal, detal!" A lovely golden orb formed, Anya smiled. Buffy lighted up, this may just work! The orb moved forward. Buffy quickly stepped out of its way. The orb suddenly sped up, and passed through the door, and impacted on the drain, to the left of the door. The drain started glowing!

Buffy ran to the door. She looked through the window nothing. She opened the door quickly, Anya on her heals. Buffy stood outside. She looked up, she looked right, she looked left. The glow disappeared, as the spell wore off. Buffy looked down, and saw nothing. "Well?" Anya asked.

"It's gone," Buffy growled at Anya.

Buffy stood in front of the Magic Box, facing away from the store. Buffy turned around and opened the door.

"Wel . . . oh, it's you. Forgot something?" Anya asked, from behind the cash register, counting the money and making a note in a notebook.

Buffy took a deep steadying breath, crunching her teeth together in frustration. "I'm in a time loop, the first two spells don't work." Buffy walked forward toward the table.

"You . . ." Anya started.

"Sure; yes!" Buffy exclaimed in annoyance.

Anya opened the book, "But you just have to . . ."

"I do not know what the act is, and there was nothing big enough that could be it," Buffy answered patiently, taking deep steadying breaths.

"Oh," Anya said and went to the third spell. "This one is nice. If the loop is created by a person using magic, this spell will lead you to the person. That person could help tell you what you need to do. Hmm, it says here depending on the spell used, predominantly when the loop is used as a curse, killing that person might break the loop." Buffy grinned, kill something and everything is solved, her favorite words.

"Well, hurry up then!" she encouraged Anya.

Anya moved her finger over the words, until finally, "Ah! Here we are; ingredients. Red wine, Eye of Newt, Mandrake Root, one olive, and a lizard's tale." Anya frowned, looking thoughtful for a moment.

"What?" Buffy asked.

"Nothing," Anya said and started preparing. Red wine, Eye of Newt, stir ten seconds. Turn on fire, cook and stir for six minutes. Add Mandrake Root, crush it inside the mixture, let it simmer for four minutes. Buffy watching with mounting impatience. Anya got the olive and gave it to Buffy, saying, "Suck on it." Buffy looked strange for a moment, but took the olive, put it in her mouth and sucked on it, figuring her saliva was the key she made sure to spread it around the olive evenly. Then she took it out of her mouth. Anya gestured toward the pan and she put it in. "There, now only the lizard's tale," Anya said enthusiastically, and looked through her ingredients' cabinet. Then she went to the next one. After which she rummaged through the samples on the counter.

"What?" Buffy asked with mounting suspicion. Anya opened a cabinet in the counter and ducked, rummaging through it.

"Oh, my," Anya said, as she stood back up. Buffy's eyes widened in disbelief, this just couldn't be happening. Suddenly Anya's eyes widened, lifted her finger in a eureka gesture. Buffy felt relieved. Anya ran to the cash register and opened a notebook. "I completely forgot," she said happily, turning the notebook around so Buffy could read. "I ordered lizard's tale last week, the delivery is tomorrow, I sold the last batch this morning. Now I know what was bothering me just now." Buffy looked up at Anya's smiling face, and then narrowed her eyes, growling. Anya lost her smile. Buffy lifted her hand and pointed it at Anya. "Uh, Buffy?" Anya asked uncertain. An energy ball formed in Buffy's hand and a cruel smile adorned her face. "Buffy? . . . Buffy?" Anya tried backing up. Buffy let the energy ball fly and saw Anya splatter apart satisfactorily, slightly relieving Buffy.

Buffy stood in front of the Magic Box, and screamed out loud. She started firing energy balls left and right, blowing up cars and windows. Anya came out side, and yelled, "What are you doing, Buffy?"

"Stress relief!" Buffy screamed out, firing more energy balls. Anya watched for a moment more, then grabbed the sign in front of her store. As she smashed Buffy over the head with it. She hoped Buffy hadn't killed anyone yet, and also hoped it was enough to knock Buffy out.

Completely unprepared for the impact to the back of her head, Buffy keeled over, everything went dark as the pavement came rushing at her.

Buffy stood in front of the Magic Box. She started breathing in and out through her nose like a mad bull. She turned around and walked into the Magic Box.

"Wel . . . O-"

"Oh, it's you! Forgot something!?" Buffy exclaimed in anger, mimicking Anya. She walked to the table, as Anya blinked for a moment.

"You're in a time loop?" Anya asked, coming to the right conclusion. Buffy nodded, and Anya started for the table, intending to join Buffy. As she walked over, she started, "Cool! Have . . ."

"DON'T YOU DARE SAY IT!!" Buffy hissed out angrily. Anya swallowed, as Buffy started opening the book. "We tried three spells. They were a bust. Spell three requires lizard tail, but there is none left."

"On to spell number five then," Anya commented with a unconcerned smile.

"Four, can't you count?" Buffy asked irritated, looking over the pages with the time loops spells, turned them until she reached spell number four.

Anya looked at her and held up three fingers, "Tried three spells." She raised a fourth, "And one spell I didn't have the ingredient for."

Buffy turned to regard her, anger slowly boiling, Anya's smile slowly faded. Buffy grabbed the collar of her dress and pulled her close to her face. "You tried three spells, not finishing the third," Buffy hissed slowly, then continued with a scream, "YOU FORGOT YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE INGREDIENT!!!"

"Ok," Anya answered with a small voice, "Could you let me go now?" Buffy let Anya go, and started breathing deeply, trying to calm down. "This could work, reflect the loop back at the person who created it. Of course providing there is someone who created it, but then your time got sped up this morning so that's a pretty safe bet."

Anya mixed in the ingredients. A few minutes later she performed the spell. "Well," she said with satisfaction. "Let's see if it worked, eh?"

"Why wouldn't it work?" Buffy asked uncertain.

"Well," Anya started to explain, scratching an itch on her back. "It depends exactly how skilled this spell caster is. Did he prepare for counter spells, or if he didn't, can he see what we're doing and is he capable of on the fly counter measures."

"Oh, well, we'll know . . ."

Buffy stood in front of the Magic Box. Buffy stayed in front of the Magic Box, stewing in her irritation for a few moments. Then she turned around and went inside the shop. "Time loop, last counter spell, now," Buffy called out before Anya could say anything, she pointed at the spell book walking to it. Anya blinked in confusion a few times and then went to join Buffy at the table.

Anya read over the last counter spell. "I can't do this spell, Buffy," Anya said dejected. She looked up at the ash blonde with an apologetic face. "Willow and Tara can, but this is too much for me."

Buffy's face fell, and asked depressed, "What does it do then?"

"Basically," Anya answered, reading over the spell again. "It sends you out of time, in short into another dimension, a pocked of else time, thus cutting the time loop." Buffy racked her brain, something was trying to get to her conscious mind, something sound familiar. "Buffy!" Anya suddenly called enthusiastically, looking at the slayer, who returned a confused face. "The gym!"

Buffy's eyes widened. "Thanks, Anya," she said, and ran out the door. She quickly burst into the air and flew rapidly to her house. Ten minutes later she arrived home, ran inside and quickly entered the gravity gym. Closing the door behind her, she sighed.

"Hey, pet," Spike drawled from within one of the workout squares, slowing down his training only a little bit. "Aren't you supposed to be at college now?"

"Shut up, Spike!" Buffy told him angrily.

"Fine, suit yourself," he bit back.

Buffy waited, and waited, and waited. The time the loop would reset passed. Buffy waited even longer. A few minutes later, now absolutely sure the reset time had passed, Buffy grinned. "Yes!" she shouted, and then walked to the exit relieved. She opened the door.

Buffy stood in front of the Magic Box. "NOOOOOOO!!!!!" Buffy screamed with every last pin tip of air she had in her lungs. Completely out of her mind with frustration she turned around and smashed her fist through the Magic Box's front window. The window shattered and pieces came falling down. One piece cut Buffy deeply in her arm. Buffy winced and then watched a river of blood poor from the deep wound. Buffy felt panic at first, and then just calmed down and looked at the river in fascination as she felt the life drain out of her. It actually did feel somewhat like the Master and Angel draining her.

"OH, MY GOD, BUFFY!!" Anya screamed in hysterics as she watched from the other side of the broken window. "Get to a hospital, now!!"

Buffy grinned and answered jovially, "No need! I'm in a time loop, I die, it simply restarts."

"You are?" Anya asked surprised, watching Buffy smile with a goofy smile. Too much blood loss, Anya realized, it looked horrible. "My god, Buffy! That's only if you're lucky. Especially if they want to hurt you. The loop can restart at your death, but you could also be just dead!"

"WHAT!?" Buffy screamed out loud, fear of death sending adrenaline raging through her system, counteracting some of the weakness, and fuzziness caused by the blood loss. Buffy grabbed her arm above the wound and squeezed as hard as she could, minimizing the blood flow. She then burst off with every last ounce of strength she had. During her flight to the hospital she felt herself getting weaker and weaker, her life draining out of her. She practically crashed into the ER of Sunnydale Memorial Hospital. "Help! Blood loss!" she screamed at the nearest doctor.

Moments later she was on a stretcher and people were administering blood to her, while they tried closing her wound. With all her mind she held onto consciousness, forcing her eyes open every time they forced themselves closed. She heard frantic yells by doctors, and Buffy realized she wasn't going to make it. Her eyes fell onto a clock and saw the seconds slowly ticking away. *You don't need to make it all the way, just long enough,* Buffy thought to herself, grasping onto every little bit of life she still had left in her, even as she felt the world around her go dim. The sounds became less clear. *Just . . . a . . . little . . . longer,* Buffy thought to herself. Seconds ticked away. *Come . . . on, don't . . . die . . . just yet.*

Buffy stood in front of the Magic Box. She just stood motionless for a moment, then sank to her knees, and tears flowed from her eyes. "That was a close one," she whispered to herself. A moment later she hardened herself, and wiped away her tears. She wasn't out of this yet. Buffy got up and walked into the Magic Box.

"Wel . . . what are you still doing here?" Any asked, walking in front of the counter.

Depressed Buffy walked toward the table with the book, and answered, "I'm in a time loop. Tried all the counter spells, you don't have the ingredient for the third, you can't perform the fifth which is putting me in a dimensional pocket for a time. We bet on the gym, and lost. I was in there, loop didn't restart . . . at least until I opened the door. Why do you think that is?" Buffy opened the book and waited for Anya's answer, who stayed strangely unexcited.

Anya hadn't seen Buffy often this depressed, and it kept her from growing excited. She read across the spell Buffy indicated. "Hmm," Anya answered thoughtfully. "Well, Xander focused on a different spatial dimension, time he kept mostly running normally. I guess it was enough to put a wrench in the workings of the loop, but when you opened the door you kicked the wrench back out."

Buffy sighed in defeat, "I guess I'll replay the next twenty minutes for eternity."

"What happened with the detection spell?" Anya asked curiously.

Buffy answered dejectedly, "Formed a glowy orb. It went out the door and then nothing. We checked, it was just gone."

Anya thought it over for a moment, and then answered, "I'm doing the spell again. This time you go outside before I start the spell, and be ready to follow the orb with every bit of speed you've got." Buffy looked up at Anya, a glimmer of hope returned to her eyes. "I'll get you out of this, I promise," Anya told the slayer with an encouraging smile.

Buffy smiled back, "Thanks, Ahn." Anya motioned Buffy to go outside and wait. Buffy did just that. Outside she turned toward the door and waited . . . and waited . . . and you guessed it, waited. She had come close to death, again. It still wasn't easy. Her defeated hope, and its resurrection by of all people, Anya, and now the frustration of waiting, combined with the other stresses she had been having today, finally got the better of her.

"THAT'S IT!" Buffy raged, a white chi flame burning intensely around her. "I'M THROUGH!" Putting her back pack better around her shoulder, she blasted off low over the ground toward college. She strained every bit of her energy doing it, she moved faster than she had ever done before. Her flame had reached an angry intensity. She screamed out her frustration, seeing the college come up ahead, and her power soared upward some more. Even though she knew she was going to be standing back in front of the Magic box in a moment. Then there was a jolt, and she was off balance for a moment. Astonished, she stabilized herself, then stopped in shock. Her chi flame disappeared and she landed on the grass.

She stood motionless for about a minute, slack jawed. Then she looked back and forth, blinked, and thought thinks over. "Oh, my god!" Buffy whispered, a heady mix of elation, hope and frustration flashed through her. She quickly ran into the college and checked a clock; it had already been half past for. "No!" Buffy whispered. While she had been stuck inside her time loop, outside of it time had apparently simply moved on. She had missed the rest of her classes as well, the last of them being well in session now.


A few minutes earlier, in the trio's van, Jonathan's elaborate set up of candles, incense, other ingredients on top of a pentacle burst into red and pink flames and disappeared. "Whoa," Jonathan said astonished.

"What just happened?" Warren asked forcefully.

"Yeah, what just happened?" Andrew asked timidly.

Jonathan answered looking astounded at the ex-magic setup. He had easily counteracted Anya's counter spells directed at him, but this . . . "She broke the spell," Jonathan answered slightly in awe. "She broke the spell with raw power."

"Maybe we shouldn't do this anymore," Andrew squeaked out with a little fear. "This isn't the slayer we knew in high school."

"You didn't know her in high school," Warren told him with an undertone of anger. "And don't be such a wuss. So she's gotten a little more powerful, and has some more skills in her arsenal. Big deal, she's still just a girl. We just have to be a bit more crafty is all. Now are you up for your test?"

Andrew slowly nodded, "I g-guess so. Just going to have to come up with something bigger than I had planned before."

"But what was this about a gym, and why did it pauzed the reset?" Warren asked Jonathan.

"Don't know," Jonathan answered.


Buffy stood there, in the hallways, lost. She just stayed standing, frustration and anger slowly rising. Whoever or whatever had done this would pay dearly. She had lost an entire day of classes, and just when she was actually starting to like college again.

Eventually though, classes were over and the students spilled out in the hallway. "Hey, Buffy!" a student called out. "Buffy!"

Buffy blinked and looked in the direction of the voice. Some time later an ash blonde guy neared her through the mass of leaving students. His hair was curly, and had lovely brown eyes. "Uh?" Buffy muttered, not able to place the guy. He grinned and with a nudge turned her around, and they walked out the building.

"Sean, remember? We went to high school together," he said as they walked out of the shade and entered the sunshine. Buffy looked at it him, racking her brain. "Sean Leyton?"

"Sorry, don't remember. But you do remember me?" Buffy apologized sheepishly, tugging her back pack.

"I'm not surprised you don't remember me," Sean told her with a smile, an arm around her waist to protect her from the shuffle. "I was just a guy. You were the class protector. You don't easily forget the Mayor turning into a giant snake, and then helping to fight it, while a petite blonde girl blows up your high school right along with the snake."

Buffy smiled self consciously and said, "Well, it's all in the wrist . . . and the timing. Timing and wrist, yes, sirree."

"You weren't in English this morning," Sean stated, with a wide grin on his face.

Buffy's smile faltered, a mix of emotions playing across her face; mostly anger and embarrassment. "Well," she started, pauzed, and only then came up with the right answer. "Sunnydale weirdness. Completely out of my power, I swear. I actually missed the whole day."

Sean looked at the blonde, breaking out in a grin. "I have notes you could copy."

"Really?" Buffy asked with a radiant smile.

"And I think there are a few people in the campus building where I live, that follow your other classes. I'm sure they are willing to lend their notes to you, I'll let you used the building's copier," he told her, as they walked along.

"Why, sir? Are you trying to get me into your bed?" Buffy asked flirtatiously.

Sean grinned before answering, "Of course, ma'am. That's the only reason why a guy invites a girl over to his building." They laughed together.


The two of them stood by the copier, copying his notes and the notes from a few people who were still sitting in the main hall. They were lightly joking with each other, reminiscing on Sunnydale weirdness.

Once the copying was done, the two returned to the hall. She returned the first set of notes, with a 'thank you'. That is when she felt it. Demons! She turned around, pushed Sean downward, and told him, "Get down." He did as he was told, and looked in the same direction as Buffy was looking. Out of the wall, which morphed for a moment, a hideous demon arose. It was mostly grey blue, and had red, glowing eyes. It was tall and muscular, its head was large, and it had a big-enough waw to engulf a person and bite him or her in half. Otherwise, it was naked. It started roaring obscenely loud. Buffy's fist smashed into its skull before it could finish the roar. Its brains splattered over the wall, and it and its body dissolved into a disgusting reddish goo.

Buffy turned around, facing the room, and two more of the creatures came out of a wall. She pointed her hand and fired an energy ball, quickly followed by a second aimed at the second demon. Both hit their mark and killed them. "You've gotten better," Sean said with a low, awed voice.

As the goo of the two demons splattered around, also hitting some the students present, Buffy answered softly, "Practice makes perfect." A smile adorned her face. Three more demons emerged, all on opposite sides of the room. Buffy went after one, quickly running over, and snapping its neck with an uppercut. It dissolved to goo in the air. Buffy looked back and saw another two demons emerging out of the walls, they and the two she hadn't gotten to yet, sprouted wings from their backs and took to the air. Moments later, to Buffy's horror they shot fire from their wide maws down to the frightened students. Buffy quickly covered them with a chi shield, protecting the students from the fire. Buffy took to the air, and attacked the demons on their new turf. She quickly dispatched them with kicks and energy blasts. She landed back next to Sean. Looking around, she waited, when no new demons came out, she retracted her shield.

She smiled broadly, until the other students looked at her suspiciously. Her smile faltered. "Please leave," one of them said, although tone was anything but that friendly.

"You ruined my clothes," a girl covered in red goo announced.

"You are one weird woman," another guy told her angrily.

Buffy lowered her head and did them their favor. Once outside, Sean caught up to her. "Buffy wait!" he called and managed to grab her arm lightly and turn her around. "I'm sorry about that."

"You don't have to be," Buffy answered him depressed. "They won't survive Sunnydale with that attitude."

"Yeah, well, I'm sorry anyway. Listen, I'll still help you. If you have to kill some more demons and miss classes because of that, I'll give you a copy of my notes, and find a way to copy theirs as well," he said to her apologetically.

Buffy smiled up at him, "Thank you, Sean."

"No prob'."


Location unknown
Same time

"Well, look at that, sir," Smith said, with surprise and interest. He turned his Pocket PC toward his boss, and let him read the e-mail.

"Well, well, well," the senior IRS man said. "So, Harmony Kendall acquired the Tropicana and in exchange for forgetting she exists, the Tropicana and all other future 'acquisitions' of hers will give full, honest tax returns, eh?"

"Yes, sir, that and the return of her brothel's furniture," Smith answered, tapping on the screen of the palmtop computer with a stylus. "The Tropicana's taxes of the past few years have been resubmitted and the difference in numbers of the old and new have already been transferred, sir."

"Tell her then, she has a deal," the senior IRS agent said with a grin.

"Deal, sir?" Smith asked confused. "It isn't like there is anything new in that. The companies have to give honest tax returns, and we can't make her pay any taxes. She's dead. Why would we give her, her furniture back?"

"Because, Smith," the senior agent answered with a smile. "She doesn't know that. As long as she thinks she's obligated to us, we can be certain she'll keep those books true. If she thinks she doesn't have to keep things honest she won't, and in order for us to prove it, it will cost a lot of money making audits."

"Of course, sir," Smith answered.


Evening, that same day

"The last of the furniture has been delivered back inside, miss Kendall," the senior IRS agent said, offering the blonde vampires his hand. Harmony took it and grinned. "It was a pleasure doing taxes with you," the man said with a pleasant smile. Then he and his assistant turned around and walked off toward their car. The moving truck that had returned the furniture drove away.

Harmony grinned comically, which tried to be evil. As the car drove off, she laughed out loud, and returned into her brothel. "Unlife is good!" she called out with joy. She had hired a manager for the Tropicana, he and a few other humans who did not know about vampires thought she was allergic to the sun, in short she was back on top.


Back in Sunnydale
Summers residence

The Scooby Gang sat around the table. Several books and notes were lying around, as well as a few calculators, a laptop in front of Willow, and another piece of technology not readily identified. "All right, let's recap," Xander said, looking around the table. Buffy sat to his left, Dawn next to him to his right, flicking through a book, Willow and Tara apposite him, and Anya on the right short end of the table. "Buffy's time got slowed down this morning, making the rest of the world go by extremely fast. Buffy found a small chip on her left shoulder that evaporated moments later. Later that day, right after lunch, Buffy was stuck in a twenty minute time-loop for most of the afternoon. You and Anya tried several counter spells, that Anya has no recollection of, and you're pretty certain you finally defeated it by exerting so much energy you disrupted the time loop. Then, when you went to copy notes from some classmates about your missed classes, a nasty bunch of fire-breathing demons came through the walls without leaving any damage to those walls and tried to kill you and the students you were with, but you killed them. That's about it?"

"Yep," Buffy confirmed, nodding her head.

"I think I found the demons," Dawn piped up, and pushed the open book to Buffy, seeing a drawing of exactly the demons she had been fighting in the campus apartment building.

"That's them!" Buffy answered with a grin.

"I'm pretty certain the text is in Sumerian though, can't read that," Dawn said, and looked up at the group.

"I can," Tara answered. Dawn pushed the book to Tara. Tara read over it and then translated, "Vigoroth demons. They are in stasis in a pocket of a hell dimension. Can only come here if they are summoned with a spell. Once summoned, they come into this dimension through flat surfaces."

"I think we can pretty safely strike out a lone demon or person doing this," Xander said thoughtfully. "This has got to be a group. And they're testing their abilities out on Buffy."

"That sucks. Why always me?" Buffy wined, shifting nervously in her seat.

"Tara?" Dawn asked a little nervously. "Do you think you could teach me Sumerian?"

"Sure, Dawn," Tara answered, Willow smiled at her lover.

Anya piped up rather happily, "If you want to learn any demon languages, you should ask me."

"Languages," Xander stated, looking around the group. "With Giles gone, that's the only thing we're missing. He could read and speak practically anything."

"I've taken up Akkadian at college, exactly because of that, and I know Greek and Latin from high school," Willow offered in response, fully agreeing with Xander.

"Yeah," Buffy added with a frown. "You know, I like English, perhaps I like other languages as well. If we could ask up all the languages taught at college and spread them across us three . . ." Buffy suggested with a wan smile. "I don't think you have any time left in your schedule, right, Xander?" Xander shook his head in confirmation.

"That's a good idea, Buffy," Dawn complimented her sister. The two witches nodded with a grin.

"That's settled then," Xander said looking around the table with a smile. He just loved it when they worked so well together like this. "I've inquired with legal places for such advanced technology, nothing. None have sold anything that resembles our mysterious chip. Although they have sold stuff that one could need for such a chip, nothing that could be used for the chip and that chip alone. And they value the privacy of their costumers too much."

"I'll hack," Willow offered grinning. "If they got a costumer record on-line somewhere, I'll have them soon." Willow turned her head to the resident Slayer and prompted, "Buffy?"

"Warren said he didn't build the chip, that nobody has come by to ask him to build such a chip, and that he would make a few inquiries in the illegal circuit. He'll get back to me if and when he finds something," Buffy told everyone her side of the research.

"So basically, we got squat?" Anya said, boiling the whole meeting down.

"For now, Ahn, but I don't think that'll last," Xander said friendly. "I guess that's it for the strategy meeting. Apart from Willow's hacking the next move is up to our adversaries I think." The gang nodded solemnly. "That only leaves this," Xander said with a grin. He grabbed the previously unidentified piece of technology and activated it. "Come on," Xander said impatiently. "Pick up, Bulma."

As if obeying the order, the screen on the interdimensional communicator flickered, revealing the face of Bulma. "Hello, Littica! How are things on your side?" Bulma greeted enthusiastically.

"Hey, Bulma, things are going good here, you guys?" Xander greeted back.

"Fine, fine. I'm getting much more work done, now that I don't have to repair the Gravity Room every half hour," Bulma answered cheerily.

"You died your hair green?" Dawn asked incredulously, leaning over, and looking at the face on the screen.

Xander cringed. Bulma's eyes narrowed into a death stare. "<This> is my <natural> hair color."

"Bulma," Xander quickly said, hoping to diffuse the situation, even if Bulma was on the other side of a dimensional barrier. "This is her keyness, Dawn Summers."

"Oh, so you're the one responsible for almost collapsing our entire dimension, huh?" Bulma said coldly. That hadn't worked.

Dawn seemed unperturbed. "Not me, the monks who made me and put the Key in me, they are responsible, them and Glory of course. But the Key is gone now, I'm just a normal girl. No breaking down dimensional barriers for this girl anymore."

"Normal?" Buffy asked and snorted. "Stealing is bad, Dawn."

Dawn got a little angry, "Give me a break, Buffy. I haven't stolen anything in months."

"Do you want a pat on the back now?" Buffy asked, narrowing her eyes at her little sister. "I haven't stolen anything in my entire life. I supposed I'm entitled to a party now, and gifts, perhaps the president can come by, and make a nice speech."

"Will you two please calm down?" Willow said, breaking the tension between the two sisters. "Yes, Dawn, you haven't stolen in months. Yes, Buffy, that does not mean Dawn is suddenly a saint. Yes, Dawn, it also means we should lay it to rest. We all know this. Now can we back to the task at hand, and <not> try to make ourselves look even more stupid to Xander's friend?"

"Now her I like," Bulma said from the communicator, causing Xander, Tara and Anya to snicker. Willow smiled proudly, and Buffy and Dawn sat back in their chairs, both folding their arms across their chests in irritation.

"Here, let me introduce to you to the rest," Xander said with a grin, and introduced Buffy, Willow, Tara and Anya.

"Five women, you're seriously outnumbered, Littica," Bulma said with a grin.

Xander laughed and answered, "Oh, don't worry. I can handle the little girls. I'm all man after all. Au, au, hey!" Two pens hitting him, and two punches on his arms were the result of that vote of confidence.

Bulma snickered, and then said, "Ok, ready?" Xander gestured to Willow, who gestured 'all set' back.

"Yep, on the count of three," Xander answered and counted down.

"Ok, done," Bulma said with a smile. "Atomic time stored."

Xander looked at Willow with an expectant look. "Same here," Willow said, looking at the screen holding an website showing an atomic time. "Atomic time copied, pasted and saved."

"Great," Xander said. "Well, Bulma I guess this is it then. See you in two months."

"And I'll see you in about four months," Bulma answered back. Then they discontinued the transmission.

Episode 24
Good Girl, Bad Girl

Faith sat on the counter of Caritas, that apart from the Angel and co and Merl was empty. With a quirked eyebrow Faith watched Angel apologize to the green demon Merl. Angel was reading from cue cards. Wesley had made Angel do it, and Angel did not seem to like it, sincerity was far away.

"Explain to me again, why we're doing this?" Faith asked with a low voice to Cordelia, who was standing behind the counter.

Cordelia looked at Faith for a moment and answered, "You see, Angel treat Merl very badly during his bad days. Beat him up and such when he wanted information."

"And?" Faith prompted uncomprehending. In the background Wesley and Angel were arguing, while Gunn was doing the same with Merl, trying to keep him to stay put. Lorne seemed to try and stay out of it.

"Well, Merl doesn't want to give out any info anymore, until Angel apologizes," Cordelia explained, her eyes on the scene in front of her. Merl and Angel were almost ready to go at each other.

Faith nodded in understanding, than quickly went confused again, "So, why don't we just beat Merl up every time we need information? Seemed to work for Angel."

Cordelia looked at Faith with incredulous eyes. "He's a nice guy," Cordelia said, while Angel had goaded Merl into taking a swing, which was promptly blocked by a blue magical sphere. Merl complained again.

"He's a demon," Faith answered with a pointed look.

"If he doesn't like you, he might give you wrong information. Lead you into a trap," Cordelia answered with an unsure face. Of what she was unsure of, Faith didn't quite know. Perhaps it was her attitude toward the demon? Faith didn't get it; why were they being nicy nice with a demon?

Gunn and Merl left, Gunn to bring Merl back to his home. The group turned toward the women and Lorne approached Faith the closest. When they were all gathered around, Lorne said, "All right, Hot Stuff, let me hear something."

Most of Faith's time in LA she had spent acclimating and getting settled into the new routine, first at Angel Investigations, and now school, a destiny reading didn't seem right before. "So let me get this straight, I sing and you read my destiny?"

"Yep," Lorne answered with a smile. The others around Faith smiled encouragingly as well.

"Do I really have to sing?" Faith asked with a pleading face.

Lorne grinned telling her, "Humming is enough."

"I can do that," Faith said relieved. Then she started humming the tune to 'The A-Team'. Lorne's face contorted to shock. After a few seconds Lorne held up his hand for her to stop.

"Well," Angel asked interested. He had suggested a reading, so he could find out whether there was anything he should be looking out for, with him being her legal guardian and all.

"Well," Lorne said, a shaken look on his face. "Death, destruction, mayhem. Basically every violent thing you can imagine."

The group looked slightly stricken. Faith didn't notice. She jumped off the counter, and commented calmly, "Big surprise there." When she looked back up and saw the concern and shock in everyone's faces, she added, "Hey, I'm the Slayer. Death, destruction, violence is pretty much in the job description. I think it's even in the Slayer handbook that I skimmed over once. It's my nature, remember? Boogey man to the demons? Predator to the nightlife? Only girl with the power to stop the demons, and all that shit?"

"Right," Wesley drawled with a thick British accent. The others seemed somewhat relieved. "Of course, I could have predicted the outcome of this reading."

"Right," Lorne answered, a shaken look still on his face. "Guys, remind me never to read another Slayer again, will ya?"

"Sure," Cordelia told him forlorn.

Angel got into motion, glad there wasn't anything terribly wrong with the Faith's destiny, depending on your point of view of course. "Right," he said with small smile. "I suggest we go home and sleep. I'm afraid if Faith and I leave Fred alone much longer, she might go all 'hide in my cave' on us again. Plus, school tomorrow."


"Thank you," Merl called after Gunn, as Gunn sped away in his truck. Merl turned around slightly dejected, and entered the rundown apartment building in which he lived. Once he reached his apartment he pulled out his keys and unlocked the door. He opened it and walked inside. He took a few steps and looked up. Merl's eyes widened, seeing something he didn't want to see. "Hey, guys, what's up?" he asked fearfully, backing up. "Nothing the matter here. I'm harmless, honest. I even have friends among the good guys." Merl hit his wall, no longer able to go back, eyes terrified. "No, please!" His green blood splattered across the wall.


The next day
High school

"Oh, come on, Faith," Archie said, looking at the sexy brunette across from him. The two were sitting at a table, having lunch.

"No," Faith answered him resolutely, drinking from her cola.

"Oh, please, pretty please?" Archie asked with a whine, giving her his best puppy-dog-eyed face.

Faith sighed, "I am <not> going to kiss you in public to raise your popularity. Probably wouldn't help you any, anyway. In case you haven't noticed, I'm officially unpopular right now. The popular chicks have crushed me because you are my friend . . . although most of the single guys still want to fuck my brains out . . ."

"And who can blame 'em," Archie interrupted, glancing down at Faith's cleavage for a few lingering moments, then sighing.

Faith pushed her chest out some more, looked down at her own breasts and said, "True. But the point is, you want to date a girl." Archie looked up at Faith's face and looked sad. "And me kissing you wouldn't improve your popularity among the girls, it might make it worse, at most my 'popularity' or lack there of, will sink even more."

"But wouldn't sinking your popularity be a good enough reason to kiss me?" Archie asked hopeful, as he reset his glasses, that had started to sink looking down.

"Hmm, almost," Faith said, thinking it over for a moment.

Archie looked sad, "Am I that repulsive?"

Faith looked at him with emotion-filled eyes, "Arch, that's not it, and you know it. I've just gotten out of jail, and you're the first red-blooded guy alive that I'm friends with, no sex, no torture, no attempted killing, or demon-hunting to make things complicated. I just want a nice normal uncomplicated friendship with one guy in the world. Is that so much to ask?"

Archie looked down guiltily. "I know, I know. It's just, well . . ." He looked Faith's upper half over again, and added, "I just wish my only female friend in High School would be a little less yummy."

Faith smiled at him and said, "I'll make you a deal. You can fantasize about me anytime you want to. Just don't tell them to me."

"You are so cruel," Archie stated sad, earning him a laugh. They finished the last of their lunch and got up to leave the mess hall. They put their dirty dishes in the appropriate place and walked out.

Faith suddenly slung her left arm around Archie, pulling him close in fleeting hug, and told him, "Hey, don't worry. We'll get you a girlfriend. If necessary I'll grab her, hold her down, tie her up even, so you can finish your poetic, symbolic serenade and she'll fall drop dead in love with you. Then when I untie her, she'll ravish you until you can be ravished no more."

"Really?" Archie asked hopefully.

"Really," Faith said, grinning.


Faith and Archie walked side by side through the halls of the high school. The other people there ignored them. "So what happened exactly?" Archie asked, a little timid, changing their enjoying banter.

"Huh?" Faith muttered, turning her head to look at him curiously.

"Well, I haven't had the guts to ask until now. I mean, just a few weeks ago you still wanted nobody to have anything to do with you, now you want friends?" Archie asked, looking out of the corner of his eyes. He hoped he hadn't overstepped his boundaries.

Faith stayed silent for a moment, and then stopped walking. Should she tell? Was she really ready to let him into that sordid part of her life? Faith looked up at him. She looked around, nobody was paying attention, all wrapped up in their own deals. She took a step closer to him and explained with a soft voice, "I got yelled at. The guy doing the yelling is a hero, my hero, the guy I just found out I'm madly in love with, you could call him the love of my life, the guy who saved my life several times over, the guy who I tried to kill, the guy who stayed my friend anyway and the guy who believed enough in me to get me out of jail. When a guy like that yells at you through the phone, says you're being stupid, and then explains why, you really start to think things over."

"Love of your life, and you tried to kill him?" Archie almost whispered, looking up into Faith's big brown pleading eyes. They were practically screaming, 'Please, still be my friend!'

"He's got a fiance now," Faith answered nodding her head.

Archie's eyebrows rose, and he commented, "Now that's what I call Sucking with a capital 'S'."

"Tell me about it," Faith answered, and she continued on their way.

Archie fell in step, and told her, "You tried to kill the love of your life once and now he's got a fiance. That's bad luck."

Faith looked at him incredulously for a moment, and then laughed out loud, Archie grinned at her.

They reached a crossing hallway and they looked right into it. Faith stopped, Archie followed suit and his face turned grim, and sad. The hallway was practically empty, nobody would dare interfere. A group of girls was surrounding another girl. They were kicking her, taunting her, telling her she was worthless, and what was she still doing in high school or on this planet for that matter. The girl's books and bag were strewn across the floor, tears running down her cheeks. Faith got several bad flashbacks of her own childhood.

"Tiffany Mayfield and her posse. Filfthy bitch," Archie hissed out softly, looking at the spectacle. "Cheerleader captain, overall popular girl, can have all the boys in the school, and she makes Jack the Ripper look like a nice guy. She likes to destroy people. Come on, Faith, there isn't anything we can do here, she rules the school."

Archie tugged on Faith, but she didn't budge. She gently pushed him out of sight of the girls, and said, keeping her head turned to the posse of abusers. "You can't, I can. Wait here, I'm going to do my good deed for the day." A cruel smile crept up Faith's face, Archie's eyes widened in shock.

Faith walked into the hallway with a grin, putting her hands in the pockets of her tight jeans. "Well, how is everything going here?" The posse stopped their abuse and turned around to face Faith.

"Well, well," a blonde said, stepping forward. So this was Tiffany Mayfield. The girl looked at Faith with a friendly smile, as if she hadn't just been busy systematically tearing the girl on the floor apart. "Faith!" she said, friendly. "I heard you're a bad girl, huh? I'll bet you'd like to join in. The little bitch was born for our amusement after all. And nobody is going to tell what happened here."

"Hmm . . . sure, this could be fun," Faith said smiling. She stepped forward, past the girls and reached their victim. Faith started circling the girl like a predator. The girl looked up at her once with a tear-stained face. "No self-esteem, no dress sense, too many books to walk around with easily," Faith started checking off a list. Behind the corner, a peeking Archie looked with his mouth ajar, was Faith actually going to join the posse, it just couldn't be. Faith continued circling the girl, who seemed to sob and cry more and more at Faith's words. "No enough make-up, she's a geek, she likes Star Trek for Chrise sakes," Faith continued onward, looking at the Starfleet logo on one of the girl's maps. "Gets good grades, way smart, physically weak, bruises easy, taste in subjects disgusting, red hair, in short worthless," Faith finished, she stood right in front of the girl again, and now facing the posse, hands folded across her chest. "And you, six to one. Cowards. You are far more worthless that she could ever be, even if she tried."

The group of girls looked at her slack jawed. Tiffany regained herself, "Hey, who the hell do you think you are!? I rule this school. And you're supposed to be bad."

"Not anymore," Faith told her, looking her directly in the eye. "As for being bad, I don't think you quite get it. Bad doesn't cut it. I was psychotic, bordering on evil, if not downright that. I liked to kill all right, but I did it alone, no cowering behind numbers. I enjoyed sticking a knife in somebody's gut and watched the life flow out of their eyes. Ever tried doing that? All on your own, against somebody strong enough to do the same to you, somebody like you, Tiffany?" Faith's eyes didn't waver, and she didn't blink, they stared directly into Tiffany's eyes, into the girl's soul. Faith could see the fear grow on the faces of the posse, including Tiffany. But Tiffany wasn't so easily dismissed. Her fear turned to anger and she lashed out a right fist. It smacked on Faith's chi and several of the bones in her hand broke. She grabbed her broken hand, as she yelled out her pain, her face grimaced in agony, and she looked at her broken hand in shock. Faith grabbed the girl by her collar, and pulled close, real close. "When there's no body found there is no crime, Tiffany, and I won't go back to jail if there's no crime. Do you enjoy this from the other side of the fence as well, hmm? Don't piss me off, Tiff. Better your life, it'll be much more healthy." She shoved the girl back, and she and her posse scrambled to get away.

Faith turned around and squatted down with the stunned girl. "Are you all right?"

The girl nodded timidly and started gathering her books. "Thank you," she muttered.

"I'm Faith," Faith introduced herself, as she started to help gather up the girl's belongings.

"Zoey," the girl returned the courtesy, as Archie arrived and started helping as well.

"Faith, you do know that they will want payback, don't you?" Archie asked, slightly afraid.

Faith grinned at him and said, "Let them." The three stood up, finished with their task, and Faith and Archie returned the stuff to the girl. "Zoey, this is Arch."

"Archie," Archie corrected putting out his right hand.

While precariously balancing her books in her left arm, she shook his hand with her right and introduced herself, "Zoey. Did-did you m-mean what you said?"

Faith was puzzled for a moment, then grinned and maneuvered herself in between the two, and then they turned back. "Nah, just putting the fear of god in them, should keep them on the straight and narrow. Zoey, if they ever pick on you again, just yell for me ok?" Faith suggested with a smile.

"Ok, I've got to go that way," Zoey answered timidly, looking shyly at Faith.

Archie pointed in the opposite direction and answered, "Us that way."

"See you later then," Faith greeted the girl, and then she and Archie turned around in their direction.


"Did you see anything suspicious when you dropped Merl off last night?" Wesley asked to Gun, who just came walking into Merl's apartment. The apartment was covered with streaks of green blood, if one looked closely pieces of Merl lying everywhere. Angel was off to the side investigating something.

"Nah, nothing, boss. I dropped him off, everything was quiet," Gunn answered and looked around the apartment. "Where is Merl anyway?"

Wesley pointed to one side of the room and said, "There." He switched to a piece lying on the other side of the room, "There, and there."

"That's Merl?" Gunn asked rhetorically a disgusted look on his face. "Bummer. What are we doing here, Wesley?" Gunn asked, as he looked around the room, his eye spotting evidence bags.

Wesley scraped something of a wall and answered, "Find whoever killed Merl."

"I can see that," Gunn answered, checking out one of the evidence bags. He picked up one that held an arrow head. "Let me rephrase that," Gunn said getting back up. "What's our interest here?"

Wesley turned around from the wall, and told Gunn, "Find whoever killed Merl."

"Fine, but what do we do when find 'em?" Gunn asked confused, and somewhat confrontational. "Stop 'em, or congratulate 'em?"

"Look," Wesley answered, wiping away something from his brow. "If you can't get behind what we're doing here, I appreciate it, you don't have to stay, you can leave if you want to."

Gunn thought it over, nodding his head, and making an apologetic motion with his arms, then left the apartment.


That night

The demon wobbled along, a MacDonald's coke beaker in his right hand, he was sipping from it through a straw. In his other hand he was holding a few cardboard boxes, one once filled with fries, the other still holding part of a Big Mac. The demon looked ridiculous, it couldn't do much more than wobble, eat and sleep. It had two high bumps up on his shoulders and back. It was too wide to have an effective center of gravity. The color of his skin was a pale grey, bordering on white.

The demon slowly turned around as he heard something. There across from him, in a side tunnel of the one he was in, a few ways off to the left, a man came jumping down from a sewer cover. He left the ladder for what it was. It immediately turned and ran, incidently toward the demon. The man seemed frightened, terrified even, he was panting and grunting as if he'd been running for hours. Another figure, smooth, deadly, all dressed in black and unrecognizable came down after him in the same fashion. The man turned around, looked for a moment in fear as the second person bolted after him.

The demon with his MacDonald's menu looked on stunned, as the second figure easily overtook the first, and then slammed something metallic into its chest. A moment later the man turned to dust: vampire! The demon breathed a sigh of relief, vampire hunters usually didn't come after him, and he hated the bloodsuckers. Getting some of your own blood sucked out by a few of them, does that to you.

Suddenly the figure whipped his or her head around and looked directly at the demon. It was a girl, a dark-haired, long-haired girl, and the gaze she placed on him was that of a predator. The Slayer! The demon understood immediately and sucked in his breath in fear, then quickly turned around and started wobbling faster. He felt the Slayer approaching with speed, as he rounded a corner to the right. He was terrified, how could he possibly stand up against the Sayer? There was an impact to his back and he stumbled to the ground. He turned around, facing the terrifying girl and he pleaded, "Please, I harm no one. I'm nobody. Please, don't kill me. I don't hurt anybody . . ."

"Do I look like I care?" the Slayer interrupted him, pointed a hand down and an energy ball formed. The demon widened his eyes and then felt a searing pain as the energy ball destroyed one of his lumps. He started screaming, but was quickly silenced by a quick succession of energy blasts.


A group of black vigilantes, armed with stakes, crossbows, and the like, had come to take care of the demon Faith just killed. They arrived in an adjacent sewer pipe moments earlier, and got a front row seat, watching Faith kill the demon.

"She definitely isn't human," one of the vigilantes commented at Faith's amazing feat.

"Two for the price of one," a short guy grinned. "I wonder what gripe she had with him." He chuckled.

"Spread out, and be very cautious, if whatever it is decides to use those energy blasts at us, retreat," the leader ordered, the vigilantes nodded. "Let's do it." The group slowly advanced, and saw the young woman turn toward them and walk leisurely to them.

"If you came for that, you're too late," Faith told them when she was close enough. She folded her arms across her chest and looked at them questioningly, smiling.

The group of vigilantes pointed, and shot their crossbows. Faith's eyes widened and rapidly plucked the arrows from the air, "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!?"

The group was taken aback for a moment, because she had actually picked all of the arrows from the air as if it was nothing. A short cocky guy stepped forward, "What would be wrong is you, vampire."

Faith looked at him incredulously, and exclaimed, "I'm not a vampire! What makes you think that!?"

"Super agility, super strength and speed, admittedly the energy blasts are a new one, but . . ." the leader started, only to be interrupted by Faith.

"I'M THE SLAYER!" Faith yelled out in frustration. Blank looks. Faith then added, "You guys don't know what the Slayer is?"

The people in the group looked at each other for a moment, and then the leader said, "Nope."

Faith looked at him for a moment. She sighed, then scratched her head for a small moment, figuring out how to handle this. "The Chosen One?" she questioned. Blank looks. Faith sighed again, and wracked her brain, trying to find that little rhyme intact, the one the watchers always like to sprout. "Every generation there's a Chosen One. One girl in all the world who is given the power to fight all the vampires, the demons, yada, yada, yada. She is the Slayer, which would be me." The looks seemed slightly more enlightened, but still puzzled. Faith sighed again, and added, "Ok, look, I'm basically the demons' natural predator, I'm the nightmare that keeps them awake at night, I'm their boogeyman. Got it now?"

The group of vigilantes looked at each other for a few moments, and then a woman sprouted up, "So let me get this straight. You're completely human, but given boosted strength from the big guy up there to protect humans like us, and he only chooses girls?"

Faith scratched her head for a moment, and then said, "Well, there isn't a sentient being or god behind the choosing, it's more like a mathematical equation, but basically, yeah."

"That's so cool, women as the protectors of mankind," the girl said with a grin, the other women ginned, while the men gave the girl poisonous glances.

"Men and women are equal," Faith said, after a thought. It would be fun to leave the guys in a jam, but she figured the girls would make their lives a living hell. Since there wasn't much of a chance she'd meet them again to set the record straight, and she had made enough lives a living hell, she figured it was better to explain. "Men have quite a bit natural strength, as well as an instinct to lead. If they'd get chosen, and get the Slayer power boost, the chance would be too big they'd get a case of power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The women seemed less enthusiastic, while the men gave them a smug look. "Ok, so we're cool here right? No more trying to kill little old me?" Faith added just to be clear.

"Yeah, we're on the same page," the leader of the group said with a nod.

Faith nodded, "Good, well, I'm off. I still have a patrol to finish, see ya." And Faith quickly sped away, back to the hatch she came through.


The next morning, a few ways off, Wesley and Angel looked over the dead wobbly demon. "My god, it was slaughtered," Wesley stated empathically. Wesley squatted down and started examining the corpse.

"Yarbnie, balancing entity," Angel said, looking at the destroyed husk of the demon. Wesley nodded in agreement, pulling a piece of loose skin and flesh aside. "Utterly harmless," Angel added with a grim face.

"Indeed," Wesley stated with a thoughtful look. "You know, of the six that have been killed so far, two were irredeemably evil. Of the others three were utterly harmless, and the fourth was relatively neutral."

"Whoever is doing this, is killing without making distinction," Angel said, getting close, looking at the corpse, and Wesley's examining for a moment. Then he straightened back up and sniffed the air. Wesley looked up at him expectantly. Angel looked down at him and shook his head, "Whoever did this, their sent is long gone."

Wesley nodded, and looked over the corpse again. He frowned and then he looked around the sewer. "What?" Angel asked, brooding deeply, hands crossed across his chest.

"This one's different," Wesley commented, looking around a few more times. Angel frowned and looked around the crime scene as well, but found nothing. Wesley continued, "With the others there were arrow heads, metal splinters, nothing of that is here."

Angel looked around and realized Wesley was right. "Are you thinking this one's unrelated? That there are at least two murderers out there?"

Wesley studied the wounds better and then twisted so he could luck up at Angel. "Angel, these look like plasma burns."

Angel's eyes widened in recognition. "No," he whispered with hope. "Are there demons that can fire energy balls?"

Wesley nodded slowly getting up, his betraying his sad emotions. "Yes, but they are few and far between, and I haven't yet seen one here in LA, or heard any rumors about there being one here, on its way, or close enough to LA," he said, looking into Angel's eyes.

Angel lowered his head, and muttered, "I know only a handful of people who can fire energy blasts. Me, Cordelia, the Scooby Gang in Sunnydale as they like to call themselves . . . and Faith."

Wesley looked at Angel and said, "It can't be her. She turned to the right . . . wait, there is more, isn't there?"

Angel nodded solemnly, "I've had a phone call from the principle. He wants to see me, Faith, the other girl involved - apparently she accused Faith of something Faith has done to her - and the parents of the other kid involved in his office at noon today. . ."

"You don't think she became evil again, do you?" Wesley asked concerned.

"I refuse to believe it."


Faith sat in the plastic-covered couch in irritation. She could be having lunch with her friends, instead she was stuck here in the small, boxy, principal's office, waiting for, she figured, Wesley. Across from her, on the other side of the office, sat Tiffany and her mother. Tiffany had a lovely 'hurt little girl' look going on. Her mother was being all motherly and mad as hell. Just really great.

The door to the office opened, and Wesley walked in, followed by a crouched figured, covered by pitch black, plastic sheet. Faith's eyes widened in surprised, Angel had actually come here? In the middle of the day? The others present seemed curious.

Wesley walked over to the principal and introduced himself with a handshake, and then promptly did the same with Tiffany's mother, who returned the greet, introduced herself as 'Eliza Mayfield', all with an undertone of anger.

"Hello," Angel then said from underneath the sheet. "I regret I can't shake your hands properly. I am Liam O'Rourke, Faith's legal guardian. I suffer from porphyria."

When the principal and the Mayfields gave a blank look, Wesley explained, "He is allergic to sunlight."

"Ah, yes, of course," the principal answered swiftly looking down at the crouched Angel, unable to see his face. "Mr. O'Rourke, your charge here, has according to Tiffany over there broken her hand."

Wesley looked at Tiffany and saw the hand wrapped in a cast and blinked. He flashed back to what he and Angel found in the sewer and feared the worst. In the mean time though, Tiffany's mother had stood up and added, "And then promptly threatened to kill my daughter if she didn't become the personal lapdog of that bitch over there."

"Is that so?" Angel asked from beneath the plastic. Faith felt chills run down her spine. Did they actually believe the little, conniving bitch over her, before she even got to say anything in her own defense?

"My daughter is the most popular girl in this school!" Eliza almost called out with a little hint of pride. "Yours got jealous, and wanted to destroy my Tiffany, but my girl was not so easily defeated now, was she!?"

Wesley didn't say anything, and looked at the principal with conflicted eyes. "The story checks out from what I can tell, you can see the cast. Although the story is a little over the top, I admit, I feel it is a believable recount of events. Miss Williams' past does not help any."

Wesley and Angel turned toward Faith, and Angel asked, "Is this true, Faith?"

Faith hated the undertone, it told her they had almost completely made up their minds, without even a word in defense from her. "No," she answered as calmly as she could muster. This was not a time to loose her temper. Truth was on her side after all, well, almost, she had threatened Tiffany with death after all. "I did neither of those things."

"The cast is quite a bit of evidence, Faith. Are you sure?" Wesley asked, concerned Faith had gone off the deep end again.

"What happened to innocent until proven guilty?" Faith asked defensively, not getting up out of the couch.

The principal sighed for a reason only he seemed to know, "This is not a court of law, Faith."

"I did <not> do what she accuses me of," Faith answered with a little anger, getting up in the process. Which was true, after all, she had never demanded Tiffany to be her lap dog.

Angel was the one who asked, "Then what did happen?"

Faith looked in Wesley's eyes and answered, "She punched me." Then she turned to the principal and looked at him with an expectant gaze, as if she knew what he was going to say.

The principal answered, confused, and slightly angry, "Are you saying you broke her hand in self defense? Rather harsh self defense for a punch, don't you think?"

"No," Faith told him, folding her hands across her chest in irritation. "I did not break her head, she broke it herself when she punched me."

"Now, see here!" Tifanny's mother squealed in anger. "YOU CANNOT CALL YOUR ACTIONS MY DAUGHTER'S FAULT! I WILL NOT HAVE IT! I . . ."

Eliza got interrupted by the door opening, and a cheery voice calling out, "Sorry, I'm late!" Faith's eyes lit up as she saw Xander, wearing a tight white t-shirt that showed off his physique, beige pants, and a dark brown belt.

*Thank god, he decided to come,* Faith thought, as he saw Xander taking over the little meeting with just walking in. *If I hadn't told him what was going on . . . How did this become a lynching anyway?*

"Xander Littica," Xander introduced himself to Eliza, shaking her hand, and let a smile fall on the woman. The woman was obviously flustered, as she muttered out her introduction.

After Xander introduce himself to the principal, the principal answered, "I am principal Kyle Spellman, and who are you exactly?"

Xander grinned and answered, "I'm Faith's other legal guardian." The three non-acquaintances looked from Xander to Angel and back. "Oh, trust me, there has never been, and never will be anything romantic between him and me. It was the judge's decision. Even if I was gay or bisexual, you wouldn't be able to catch me dead in a romantic relationship with him."

"You wound me, Xander dear," Angel commented from under the sheet, thinking he could get in some payback for all the barbs at his expense. Xander turned around and looked down at the crouched figure, silence filled the room, as everyone felt the waves of anger coming from the Saiyan.

"Angel," Xander said sweetly. "Would like me to recollect what happened last time you got a happy with a girl?" Eliza's mother gasped, and clasped her hands around her daughter's ears, Xander regarded her with a raised eyebrow. Underneath the sheet, Angel swallowed: did Xander mean Buffy or Darla? And how could he know about Darla? Either way, things were bad if he decided to tell, so he shut up. Xander nodded satisfactorily and turned to the principal, "Could you place me on the list of people to contact regarding anything out of the ordinary with Faith?"

"Of course," the principal answered, grabbed a pen and made a note in a booklet.

Xander nodded and continued, "I believe we are here because Faith's been suspected of being a bad girl. Exactly what happened?"

Tiffany's mother was the one who got her wits back and angrily almost yelled, "She broke the bones in the hand of my daughter!"

"Really?" Xander asked, regarding Tiffany sternly, who seemed to fidget underneath the stare. Xander turned around, and said to Faith, "What happened, Faith? The whole story, please."

Faith nodded and started telling her tale, "Me and my friend were walking to our next class, when we found Tiffany and a few of her friends abusing a girl, Zoey Lancaster, you can ask her, if you want. And I really mean abusing, physically and mentally. Her bag and books were thrown across the floor, they taunted her, told her she was worthless, that she should just kill herself and save everyone grief, they were even kicking her, not softly either. I placed myself in between the girl and them, and told them I wouldn't tolerate treating anyone like that. Tiffany got mad, threw a punch at my face, and broke the bones in her hand on impact. I did not do what she claims I did."

Xander regarded her for a moment, as Tiffany's mother once again started to rant. "She's telling the truth," Xander stated, interrupting the woman's yells. "I suggest you let my . . . charge seems so impersonal . . . my daughter for all intents and purposes here go, and focus on the blonde over there."

Tiffany's mother seemed about ready to explode of anger, and actually beat the principal to her comment, "YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS!? YOU CALL THAT PARENTING!? LOOKING AT . . ."

"I can prove it," Xander interrupted calmly. The others looked at him, the woman instantly silent. "This school does have baseball bats, or something similar doesn't it? I'll pay for a new one."


Several minutes later the group was standing in the schools gym. The principal, Tiffany and her mom looked astonished as Faith made a few Tai Chi exercises, and Xander made a few practice swings with the bat in his hands. "Ready?"

Faith nodded, and said, "Ready."

Xander swung the bat directly at Faith's head. It shattered on impact, the upper part bent and wood fibers ripped out in the open. Xander smiled and showed the bat to the people present. "What do you think happens to a hand?" The principal, and Tiffany's mom were astonished, and Xander explained. "Lots and lots of martial arts training. You've seen martial artist smash their hands through bricks, and wooden boards, this is the defensive version. Do not go up against Shaolin Monk without a tranquilizer gun, cause your fists and baseball bats are as effective on them as they are on Faith."

"This has got to be trick," Eliza said, but most of her anger toward Faith and her companions was gone, instead she gave her daughter a doubtful look.

Xander smiled at her, "Go ahead and try yourself, I will not be paying for the second bat though."

Eliza narrowed her eyes at him, and went to get a baseball bat. Moments later she swung it at Faith, with the same result. Eliza looked at the bat in astonishment, then threw another look at her daughter, but she wasn't quite ready yet to give up on her loved one's innocence, "This only proves she has a hard head, not that she didn't break my daughter's hand."

"I believe I have a solution for that one," the principal said, his eyes narrowing at Tiffany who was getting more and more uncomfortable.


A few minutes later, Zoey Lancaster walked into the principal's office and looked around the room timidly as she said, "You asked for me?" Her gaze finally settled on Tiffany and the girl shot daggers and Zoey. Zoey felt fear creeping into her.

"Zoey," the principal started from behind his desk. "Faith over here says she saved you from Tiffany and some of her friends, and that Tiffany threw a punch at Faith, that broke the bones in her hand. Is this true?"

Zoey blinked, hesitated. She looked from the encouraging smile on Faith's face, to Tiffany's face filled with the promise of pain and suffering. What to do? Betray Faith, and hopefully avoid some of Tiffany's punishment, or do the right thing, and probably make the pain and suffering at the hands of her tormenter worse. She thought it over, looking back at Faith, fear gripping her. She wanted to help her so badly, but she couldn't really, Tiffany was going to make things worse. That was until she remembered that morning, spending the break with Faith and Archie, realizing she wasn't alone anymore, they would protect her. She looked back at Tiffany and the intimidating look she gave her. Calmed down a little by the memory of this morning, she realized the bitch was going make things worse for her no matter what she said. Zoey looked at the principal and said, "It's true." Zoey looked back at Faith, as Tiffany's mother gasped. Faith gave her new friend a broad smile, and Zoey smiled back.

"Tiffany Mayfield," Eliza hissed out. She got up, and grabbed her daughter fiercely by her upper arm, yanking her to her feet. "You lying . . . I'm going to punish you so badly, by the time I'm through, you're going to wish you were never born. We will start with a two month grounding, and no more allowance for three months."

"But mom . . ." Tiffany whined as she was pulled along to the exit.

"NO BUTS!" Eliza yelled at her daughter, angry now. "Have you any idea what kind of humiliation you've just put me through!? Humiliated me in front of these decent people!? Not to mention the cost of a baseball bat! You will apologize to them immediately! Now!"

"I'm sorry," Tiffany said timidly to the room, her eyes moistening.

Eliza then looked around the room, while saying, "I apologize for what my daughter has put you through, especially you two." This last to Faith and Zoey. "I will handle my daughter, and teach her a lesson she won't ever forget," she added, then looked at the principal, and added, "Whatever the school decides as punishment, I will support it."

"Apology accepted, Mrs. Mayfield," Xander told her calmly.

Angel added his own, "Same here, Mrs. Mayfield."

"Mr. O'Rourke, Mr. Littica, thank you, you are too kind," Eliza Mayfield said, inclining her head to the two, giving them a curt bow. "Please, excuse me, so I can discipline my daughter." She then yanked her daughter out the door, once outside the yelling really started.

"I apologize for this intrusion as well," the principal stated with a sigh, and got up. "I regret I was so taken in by this story, I could not see how else the girl could have broken her hand. I should have investigated first."

Xander shook the man's hand, and said his goodbyes. The principal told him, "Please give your contact information to the secretary." Xander inclined his head, and motioned for Faith and Zoey to come along, as Wesley and Angel greeted the principal goodbye.

Xander nudged Faith and Zoey off to the door exiting the secretary's part of the office, as he went to said secretary sitting at her desk. He caught Angel and Wesley coming out of the principal's office moments later and asked, "Why didn't you give my contact information when you enrolled Faith in here?"

Wesley scratched his neck embarrassedly, but Angel answered from down below, "I guess we were so exited about the school supply gift shopping, it slipped our minds."

Xander sighed, and then added, "It seemed for a moment to me you two were going to feed her to the sharks. I think you should have a little more faith . . . in Faith."

As Xander raised his watch to check the time, Wesley began, "There are exten . . ."

Xander interrupted Wesley with a gesture and said, friendly, "Hold on, Wes, save it for the e-mail. If I want to get to class on time, I'll have to hurry."

Wesley nodded, and then the three of them exited the secretary's office, following Faith. Xander quickly went to the two girls who were waiting, and he smiled at the Slayer then at Zoey who suddenly got very shy. Xander held out his hand and introduced himself. Timidly Zoey shook his hand and returned the greeting. Faith shook her head; add another young innocent girl forever corrupted by that smile, she thought. "I can't stay any longer, Faith. Got an Advanced Astrophysics project I've got to be at in a few."

"Oh, well, I was hoping . . ." Faith finished with a shrug.

"You seem to be doing fine here," Xander commented.

Faith grinned, slung her arm around Zoey's shoulder, who was startled out of her dreamily gazing from Xander to Wesley and back again, "A-ok, Xan, making friends left and right."

"A-ok?" Xander remarked wryly.

Faith shrugged and returned an awkward smile. "Ok, get to class, Faith. I'll see ya," Xander said, turning toward the exit, and putting on his sunglasses. Faith and Zoey were about to turn around, when Xander did exactly that and said softly, a smile on his face, "Oh, one more thing Faith. No more threatening to kill your classmates, no matter how much they deserve it, got that?"

Faith gulped, how had he figured that one out? She nodded, and said, "Got it." Wesley gave Faith a quick 'see you later', and when three of the men in her life were out of sight, she and Zoey turned around and walked off toward class. Zoey stayed silent, thinking about how this was going to pan out. Faith's face slowly turned cruel and angry, and whispering she told Zoey, "We're going to make that bitch suffer for ratting on me." Zoey looked startled at the smirk adorning Faith.


Later that day, evening really, the sun set quite some time ago, Faith walked into Caritas. She had just finished with a quick patrol. The vamps guarding the place didn't bother to stop her, or search her or anything, although she could sense the nervousness of being in the presence of the Slayer on them.

Faith walked further into the demon karaoke bar, and looked around the room. The demons stiffened immediately, realizing who and what she actually was, especially since her killer instincts were going crazy. Everything in her screamed 'kill', and her power level had gone up accordingly, which had the demons fidgeting in their seats. "Hey, hot stuff," Lorne greeted as he got a demon his poison, literally, what the demon liked was poison to a human.

"Hey, Lorne," Faith said intensely, walking over to him, and sat herself down upon a bar stool.

"Want something to drink, Faith?" Lorne asked with a smile, while he was busy with something else.

Faith's senses had noticed something: there were no humans in Caritas tonight, there were only demons. Faith turned around halfway and looked intently at Lorne. "Lorne," she said softly, "Get out."

"Huh?" Lorne muttered confused.

"Get out, Lorne, out of Caritas, take the front exit," Faith explained, looking at him intently.

"Why?" Lorned asked, still confused.

"Slayer instincts," Faith said, actually telling the truth if you interpret the words correctly. "Trust me, get out."

"If there's something really bad here, it can't hurt anyone, no demon-violence spell," Lorne explained, not quite knowing why he went along with the hush-hush tone.

"Unless it's powerful enough to break the spell," Faith answered calmly. "Now, get out."

"That bad, huh?" Lorne asked, wide-eyed.

Faith then said, "Exactly, it's good at hiding itself, I will have to conduct a personal search, instead of just feeling around from here." A demon next to her had gotten nervous. His quite good ears had picked up the conversation, and didn't want to be anywhere near the place where this really bad demon and the Slayer would go head to head. He started to get up. Faith turned her head, looking at him, and said softly, "Stay, you don't want me to draw conclusions do you?" The demon gulped and then sat ramrod straight, understanding that if he tried to leave the Slayer would consider him the big bad and kill him instantly. "Lorne, you and the guards I'm only sure of not being this thing. I don't want you to get in the way, so get out."

Lorne nodded, swallowed, not really wanting to picture what his club would look like after this big bad and Faith finished their battle. He felt rather bad for said big bad, he wouldn't stand a chance against this Slayer, he had seen enough of her to know that. "Try to get it outside before you fight it, huh?" Lorne pleaded. Faith nodded. Lorne then quickly and stealthily walked to the entrance and exit and walked outside, tapping the vampire guards and motioning them to follow him. A smile crept up Faith's face, and then turned back to regard the club. Most hadn't noticed Lorne leaving, but those who had, saw the look on the Slayer's face and suddenly became extremely nervous.

Faith got off the bar stool. As her grim smile deepened, she walked over to the middle of the club and stopped there. She looked around the club once, the demons now fully aware of what she was doing. Some of them nervously tried to find Lorne. When they couldn't find him, they started to realize what was going to happen. "Die," Faith hissed out, her smile widening in a predatory smile that bared her teeth. Her chi flame erupted around her, she jumped in the air, hands above her head. She hung in the air, screaming as she formed a powerful energy ball above her. Then she pointed her hands downward and let the ball fly. It exploded on impact with the ground and an instant later the whole of Caritas was bathed in a cleansing explosion, ripping apart demons, chairs and tables alike. The demon performing a karaoke song was destroyed along with the karaoke equipment. Once the explosion had passed, Faith looked and felt along the chaos. She had been protected by her chi shield and was none the worse for wear. When she felt three demons that had survived the explosion, she went to them. One she destroyed with an energy ball, a second by snapping its considerable neck, the third she finished of by crushing its skull with her foot.


Outside, the two vampires had run off rapidly after Lorne had explained to them what was going on inside. "Wait, you might be needed fighting this bad thing!" Lorne called after them, but the vampires didn't turn back. "Damn," Lorne said, and walked in the other direction. He stood still just then, a hundred meters off a posse of heavily armed humans walked toward him, each carrying a grim look on their faces. "Oh, shit," Lorne said, getting an inkling of exactly who and what they were. It was then, that Caritas exploded from the inside out. Fire burst through the door and the windows, which shattered and showered the street. The shockwave knocked Lorne down instantly.

"My god," Lorne said, looking at the damage, cracks were visible in the walls, the second floor was as badly damaged as the first. For a moment Lorne was concerned for Faith, if she fought something with that kind of power. But almost instantly he realized there was no big bad, the explosion was simply too much all at once. Faith alone had blown up his club, anger and frustration burned through him.

Further ahead, Gunn's old gang saw the explosion of Caritas as well. "Well, I'll be damned," the leader said in awe. Then the group spotted Lorne and started walking to him. The green demon noticed them, and they saw him scramble to get up fearfully.

"Fuck me," the little guy, with a temper said in astonishment as they saw Faith walk out of the club with a spring in her step.

"Oh, fellas!" Faith called out loud, the two fleeing vampires for some reason froze in their tracks and slowly, fearfully turned around. Faith smiled, and said, "Too late. It's time to die." She pointed her hands at the two vampires, whose eyes widened in surprise. In the palm of each of her hands a small energy ball - both a little more than a centimeter in diameter - formed. She then fired them off. Moments later they embedded into the vampires hearts, and the vampires turned to dust.

Gunn's old gang reached Lorne and grabbed him by his collar. "Say fellas, I'm sure we can come to a mutual understanding without dismemberment, right?" Lorne said, giving a nervous laugh.

Faith turned around, looked at what they were about to do to Lorne, and called out, "LET HIM GO!" Faith purposefully, but with some speed walked over.

"Let him go?" the little guy said in surprise. "You just wiped out a nest of demons, what do you want with this one?"

Faith had reached them, and faster than the group of vigilantes could follow, she ripped Lorne from their grasp and pushed him away to the left toward an alley, toward the Hyperion. "Go, Lorne," Faith told him grimly. Lorne thought best to wait with the venting of his anger till a more safer time and location, and quickly started running away.

"What!?" the leader said and the group started to follow Lorne, but then a blue shimmering shield came into existence in the alley, blocking the way.

"Damn it!" the little guy screamed out in anger and pointed his pistol at Faith's head. "You're supposed to be killing demons, not protecting them, or did miss something during your explanation?"

"I do kill demons, and put the gun away before you piss me off," Faith told with a grim look. "Lorne is a friend of mine, that means he's under my protection. Mess with him, and you mess with me. Trust me, I mess back, and I mess a whole lot worse than you can."

"Fuck you!" the guy said.

"Calm down, Gio," the leader said.

"Rondell," Gio said warningly.

"I said, calm down," Rondell told him again. He turned back to Faith and said. "So what are you saying? That thing, Lorne, is clearly not human."

Faith narrowed her eyes and said, "I expected a better philosophy from you guys. Ooh, look, he's got black skin, he isn't human, he's just a degenerate. Let's make him a slave. Of course, Mr. White Man. Understand you reasoning perfectly, Mr. White Man. I'll gladly be you eternally devoted slave, Mr. White Man."

"You bitch!" Gio answered enraged and fired off a shot. Faith caught the bullet with her left hand, maneuvered it between her index finger and thumb and held it up. The gang's eyes went wide with shock.

Faith looked at Gio and told him, coldly, "Trigger happy much?" With an angry look she dropped the bullet and with a gesture of her hand exerted some of her chi and sent Gio flying backward a meter, crashing into some of the other gang members. In return some of them started cocking guns and pointing them toward Faith. Rondell, the leader, tried to calm them down. Faith was in no mood. With a quick yell she formed a chi flame and sent enough of her chi in the gang to sent them tumbling back and some of them landed on their butts.

With some difficulty, Rondell had managed to stay standing, and he asked, "What are you saying? That he's human?"

"Close enough. He sure as hell ain't no demon," Faith told him with a grim look. "I'm thinking you better get back to your home turf and defend it, and only kill the things that you actually see killing. Leave the hunting down, and determining whether something is a demon to the pros. If you don't, and you kill a souled being, especially if he or she happens to be my friend, and I find out it was you, you'll have made me your enemy. You <don't> want me as your enemy. Now go away." Faith then turned around and walked the same way Lorne went.

"He was running a demon bar, Miss Slayer," Gio sneered hatefully.

Faith looked at him, and said softly, "Everybody makes mistakes."


"That was decidedly not fun," Lorne commented to no-one in particular, breathing heavily. He stopped to catch his breathe, and looked back for a moment. No mad mob, or mad Slayer following him. He moaned in relief. He waited another minute before continuing on his way. When he reached a bigger road, a car stopped in front of him. In it were Angel, Cordelia, Wesley and Fred.

"Hey, Lorne," Angel said smiling at him. "What are you doing here? We were just on our way to Caritas."

Lorne leaned on the hood of the car, wheezing out his exhaustion, "Oh, hey, Angel-cakes. I'm afraid you can forget about Caritas. It was just blown up."

"Do you know who did it?" Wesley asked perturbed.

"Oh, yeah," Lorne answered, breathing heavily. "Faith, she's gone all psycho again."

"No," Angel said in disbelief. He didn't wanted to believe it earlier, even if the thought had crossed his mind. He still didn't want to. "Can't be. Not again, she's reformed. I refuse to believe it."

"Believe it, Angel," Lorne told him disappointed, and with an angry undercurrent. "I saw her with my own eyes. Got me to get out of Caritas on before hand, with some story about a big bad, powerful enough to overpower the non-violence spell."

"Couldn't that be true?" Cordelia asked, fear in her voice and face. "Don't get me wrong, if she did, she did it. But if she did . . . we don't stand a chance against her."

"No way," Lorne answered with angry certainty, slowly catching his breathe. "She's even cuddly-cuddly with the other murderers. The little gang with guns and pitchforks and crossbows were on their way for my bar as well. What is it these days anyway? I know some people don't like karaoke, but this is ridiculous."

"Gunn's gang and Faith?" Angel asked in surprise.

When Lorne looked confused, Wesley explained to him, "Gunn just came clean. He showed us the piece of evidence he had taken from the crime scene, and explained about his old gang. We still haven't decided what to do about them.

"Get in," Wesley said quickly, pointing to the back seat. Fred and Cordelia scooted over.

"Check it out?" Angel asked as Lorne got in the back seat.

Wesley confirmed, pointing his hand forward, "Check it out." Angel drove off. By the time they got to Caritas, neither Faith, nor Gunn's gang was present.


"Wow," Faith said in response to Gunn's tale. The two of them were sitting on the Hyperion's stairs. "I think I met your old gang, twice now. Amateurs, no knowledge whatsoever about demons, apart from they're demons. They're a little trigger happy, but other than that, they're ok."

"I still haven't figured this fully out, Faith," Gunn said, scratching the back of his head. "On the one hand, they're demons. On the other, I know demons that are good, harmless . . ."

"No such animal, Gunn," Faith interrupted him. Gunn looked up into Faith's eyes. "There is no good demon, doesn't exist."

At that point the rest of the Fang Gang came into the Hyperion, Lorne in front, complaining about his bar. Suddenly he stood still, the other four of them surrounded him, looking at Faith with wide eyes.

"Oh, hey, gang," Faith greeted them with a smile. "Now I know why couldn't find ya, Lorne."

"So you could finish the job," Lorne told her angrily.

Faith blinked, confused, "Huh? Finish what job?"

Lorne looked at her for a moment in disbelief, "You blew up Caritas! I thought you were my friend!?"

Faith seemed confused for a moment, and then told him, "I <am> your friend. I did blow up Caritas. There were fifty demons in there, couldn't pass up the opportunity, instincts screaming to kill, but that job is finished."

Gunn looked at her in shock. "You blew up Caritas?"

Wesley stepped forward and said, "You killed everybody inside."

"Uh, yeah," Faith said slowly, not understanding at all. She shifted her position slightly, starting to get uncomfortable. "That's what I do. We even talked about this when Lorne did his reading of me. Death, destruction, chaos, remember? I'm the Slayer, demon predator, slayer of demons, killing these things is in my blood, in my nature. You do remember the whole 'One girl in all the world given the power' bit, don't you?"

Lorne cut in angrily, "They couldn't do any harm!"

Faith got up, now she was getting angry, "While they are inside. You don't know what they do, when they go back out! Or do you have truth spell cast in Caritas as well, and have every demon fill out a questionnaire, 'Have you murdered, maimed, drained, enslaved or otherwise abused a human being? If so, please provide the time frame in which this happened?' 'Will you be harming a human being in any way, physically or mentally, anytime soon? If so, please provide time frame in which you anticipate performing this harming?' Do you ward off those who still kill? Well?"

"No," Lorne answered a little less angry.

"I got you out, Lorne. If you weren't my friend, I would probably have blown you away right along with the rest of them," Faith answered animated. She was worked up and paced around. "I'm not the kind of person, who just sits in a nice booth having drinks with blood thirsty demons, than sends them out and have them kill, and only then do I strike. I prefer a pre-emptive strike. If I didn't, I would be negligent, in my 'sacred duty', right, Wesley?"

"Faith," Angel said with an appalled tone in his voice. He took a few steps toward her and explained, "You can't just kill indiscriminately. Some of these demons are harmless, some even fight on the side of good."

Faith laughed, hard, disbelieving what she just heard. She shook her head, and continued her heated debate, "There is no harmless demon, Angel, and there certainly is no good one. You are right when you say some of them fight on the side of good, but only because of selfish reasons. They think we're going to win, so they'll be on the winning side and live a little longer. The moment it would seem the bad guys are going to win, they'll switch sides instantly. They do not have the capacity for good, Angel. I thought you of all people would understand this, having one inside of you. Ever since Xander trained me, taught me to tap into my strengths and senses, my instincts have gone up, especially when it comes to demons. Every part of me screams at me to kill them, every single one," Faith walked up to Angel, and looked up straight in his eyes, and tapped his chest with an index finger. "Including you, the demon inside of you, you have no idea what it's like to have one instinct inside of you scream at you to kill the demon in front of me, while the other instincts tell me to protect your hide, because you're a friend, a loved one, and because I sense your soul at the same time as the demon."

"Actually, I do," Angel commented with a low voice. The group looked at him for a moment, he let their thoughts about him develop for a moment, before he continued, "I also know that Yarbnie you killed in the sewers last night, the one still clutching his cola beaker, was utterly harmless. It was a balancing entity, emphasis on balance."

Faith chuckled in frustration, shook her head, "That <thing> was anything but harmless. It was evil. I sense them, Angel, I know the difference between a soul and a demon. One of the things Xander has taught me, and that I'm teaching you, when your senses are open enough, soon, you'll understand as well. This is not about the outside, this is about inside, about what they are. They are evil to the core of their being. If you sense a demon, it's like feeling something devoid of life, nothing but death, like a black, disgusting inky thing, coiling around. Trust me, they do not have the capacity for good, they are absolutely evil." Faith turned back to Wesley and looked him in the eye. "You here are the one who knows most about battle strategies and tactics, Wes. Tell me, what's more effective, just going up against an army, or having agents <in> the enemies army. These things are either playing a role, or are so designed they are harmless until they are triggered, so that even mind readers won't know the difference. We're good people, we like to see the best in beings. They are exploiting it. We won't kill 'em, they're nice, sweet, help us even, they're standing side by side with us in the army in the final days, we're good, so we won't kill them. Then the hellmouth opens, or a demon god comes along, sends a signal, a trigger, and suddenly the nice sweet demons on our side are no longer nice and sweet, and only want to hack and slash us, our army, the soldiers to pieces before devouring us. Hell, you know the werewolf transformation. Nice sweet wobbly Yarie, might very well transform into an eight foot engine of destruction."

Wesley looked stricken, he couldn't find fault in that reasoning, in fact it was a frightening scenario, and one that the demons would use. Exploit the very goodness of the side of good. He stayed silent thinking. The rest of them did the same. After a while to let that simmer into them, Faith continued, less animated, the fire expelled as she had made her point, "Xander's known, he's known this all along. Tara and Willow undoubtedly as well. That's why he and the others, me included, have decided to end this so-called 'endless' war, by killing them all."

"What do you mean, 'killing them all'?" Angel asked slowly.

Faith smiled wryly, "All, demons, half-demons, demon gods, half-gods, gods, the Powers That Be. All. Every single last one of them. This isn't some kind crusade fueled by hate, Angel. It's rationality. They play with us, eat us, toy with us, and otherwise do everything in their power to keep us down and be their obedient slaves; that's unacceptable. My instincts tell me to protect humanity, so they've got to go."

"But half-demons have souls," Cordelia piped up, slightly shocked.

Faith turned to look at her and explained, "We can't afford to let them live. We will die sooner or later, we don't know if those who come after us, will have enough power to protect mankind. One half-demon breeds with another half-demon, and who knows, you might get a full demon, no soul, and more powerful, and more vicious than anything that came before. I don't like it much, Xander doesn't like it much either. But it has to be done, humanity must be free of these things."

"Does that mean Xander, or you, are going to kill me too?" Angel almost hissed out angrily.

Faith looked at him, smiled grimly and said, "You've got a soul, and you can't procreate, that makes you the exception that states the rule."

"But nobody has that kind of power," Wesley blurted out the first thing that came to mind, which was still tangled up in the awe-inspiring revelation: kill all of them. Part of him was horrified that he could understand the reasoning, another part not only understood, but agreed whole heartedly, the different sides clashing internally for the moment.

Faith smiled and explained, "Remember Xander, Super Saiyan? He blew up an asteroid that five half megaton nuclear weapons couldn't destroy, although he did have help of said nuclear bombs. I wouldn't be surprised if he could kill every single demon in Los Angeles, without destroying the city itself, and without even putting one foot outside of Sunnydale."

"But the Powers That Be are on our side," Angel said confused, his mind too refused to comprehend the concept of what Buffy, his Buffy, and the annoying Xander and the rest were planning to do, and apparently his charge was fully part of it.

Cordelia snorted, making her displeasure known, "Wake up, Angel. They gave me these visions just so I can die from them, vision by vision, brain cell, by brain cell. They are evil."

Faith walked up Angel, the fire returning. Faith slapped his left cheek with her right hand several times. "Earth to Angel!" Faith said with intensity, the care for one of her two best friends and the pain of seeing him so duped riling her up against. "The Powers are evil. They care nothing for us! They just manipulate and toy with us, make us do what they want, in some sick twisted ultimate form of Big Brother! We stopped the world from ending, we . . . well, ok, Xander killed a hell goddess. One of the Powers came down, tried to kill him, than said she was going to kill us, for not following her little plan. Apparently we were only allowed to save the world if Buffy threw herself to her death. Then Xander killed that goddess! Are you starting to get it yet!? They are not some bunch of all-knowing, all-powerful good guys we should just follow because they know what's best for us. Take this shansu prophecy of yours. You will become human, you will be redeemed. Oh, how nice. You do have to do this, and this, and this, and fight the biggest fight of all on their side, if not, too bad, you get nothing. And the damn thing is, you are following it like a puppy dog follows a bone on a string on a fishing pole. What I find the most horrendous is, I don't even recognize part of you anymore. Before you fought, because it was the right thing to do. Now it's almost just because this prophecy, the right thing be damned. And for what really? You'll be human, for how long? Two minutes after you're human, you might very well be run over by a truck! Hell, the prophecy doesn't even specify for how long you will be human. Perhaps a day later a vampire will come along, and turn you right back into one . . ." Faith was about to continue, but she saw a shock run over Angel's face. Faith frowned, and then smiled an ironic smile, "That's it isn't it? You already have been human, haven't you?"

The whole group now looked at Angel with surprise. "There was Mohra demon," Angel almost whispered, still shocked. "Regenerative blood, made me human again. I couldn't protect Buffy, I felt useless. I asked the oracles to turn back time, so I could kill the demon before I came in contact with its blood. They granted my request."

Faith laughed, "See, the prophecy has already come and gone. You're trying to get redemption for acts you didn't even commit. It was Angelus that did. And you're trying to get this redemption from beings that can't give you redemption. You Angel are the only one who can give yourself redemption, you are the only one who can redeem yourself. Nobody can redeem somebody else, they can help out a person redeeming him- or herself, but you and you alone will have to do it, all by yourself." Faith shook her head slowly, and then said, "I'm exhausted now, I'm going to bed. Think about what I said, goodnight."

Faith turned to toward the stairs, but then Lorne called out, "Hold it, so why haven't you killed me?"

Faith turned around, and regarded him puzzled. Confused, she said, "You're not a demon." The already silence caused by people deeply thinking over Faith's words, suddenly became deafening.

"Hello, green skin, red horns?" Lorne exclaimed in disbelief pointing at himself.

Faith frowned and then said calmly, "Hello, blue skin, antennae, white hair, still no demon." Everybody looked at her confused, not understanding. Faith sighed, "Bumpy head, sharp teeth, still no demon. Pointy ears, still no demon."

Fred was the first to pipe up, "Are you telling us, Lorne is an alien?"

*Oh, man,* Faith thought, realizing what she had used to make her point. *I really have spent way too much time at Xander's. Him with his Star Trek obsession, people are going to look at me funny when I do that more often.* "Pretty much," Faith told her calmly. "All I know is, he comes from a different dimension, there's nothing demonic about him, and he's got a soul."

"You sure?" Lorne asked surprised, looking down at his body with a whole new look into his eyes.

"I guess now we know what your secret is that was safe with Xander," Gunn commented from the stairs. The group regarded him.

"Yeah, now I know why I had no idea what he was talking about, he must have thought I kept my identity a secret just like he did all those years," Lorne answered wide-eyed, a lot of things suddenly falling into place.

"But, come on, an alien?" Cordy blurted out. "I can't believe Xander is still watching that crap? And now he infested you with that disease called Star Wreck, or what is it again? He always tried to get me to watch it, I always just teased him about it."

"Uh, Cordelia," Faith answered her, with a 'this is so obvious, I can't believe you don't understand it' tone. "Xander is an alien, from another planet, from another dimension, remember? How do you think he got here? It's called an inter-dimensional, warp-capable space pod. He probably thinks Star Trek is closer to reality than the average Big Brother clone."

Cordelia's eyes widened in revelation, than smashed her palm in her forehead, saying, "I'm so stupid. God, that bastard must have been laughing his ass off behind that irritated lopsided smile of his, every time I needled him watching the show. I'm going to get him back for that."

"You know, Lorne," Wesley said, he was frowning, just coming out of deep thought. "This actually kind of makes sense. I mean, think about it, the rest of your species loves to fight, values combat above all else, and when they hear singing, they don't just hate it, they are crippled, their ears can't handle it. And now you, you love music and singing, don't like fighting at all, you're the exact opposite."

Lorne just nodded, still mulling over this revelation about himself.

Faith started for the stairs and said, "Either it's just him, or his entire species isn't demonic, in case someone or something managed to make them believe they are. Now this really is good night."

Several steps up, Angel called out, "Faith." Faith turned around and regarded him. "You don't happen to know, how one redeems himself, do you?"

Faith grinned at him, and said, "Stop with whatever you're doing that required you to redeem yourself, and forgive yourself."

Faith continued onward. "That's it?" Angel asked eyes-wide with surprise. Faith nodded. Angel hesitated for a moment and asked, "Have you . . .?"

Faith looked down at him, shook her head, and answered softly, "Don't feel like I deserve redemption just yet." Faith then continued onward to her room.

Below, the people stayed silent, thinking over everything Faith had said. It was a lot to take in. "Well," Fred commented with a pout. "<That> was a philosophical debate, if I ever heard one. I'll go to bed, good night."

Episode 25
First Date

The man walked up to the Summers residence. He wore relatively casual work clothes. Pants, not jeans, and a blouse, and over it a jacket. He had a briefcase in his right hand. When he reached the front door, he rang the bell.

A moment later a fully dressed Buffy Summers opened the door. "Hello," she greeted, perkily then stuck out her right hand. "I'm Buffy Summers, you must be the social worker."

Then man switched the briefcase to his left hand, then shook Buffy's with his right, and said, "Yes, James Grant."

"Come in," Buffy said gesturing for his admittance. James walked inside with a friendly smile, and immediately looked around with his keen trained eyes. "How long exactly is this going to take?" Buffy asked friendly. "I have class in about half an hour."

James smiled and answered wryly, "If it's very good, or very bad it won't take very long. If it's a doubtful situation, it will take longer to figure out. For next month's visit we can find a more easier time."

"That would be nice," Buffy answered and walked up to the stairs. "Dawn!" she yelled upstairs. "How long do you need? School remember?"

Dawn's muffled voice called back, "I'm busy, I'm busy."

Buffy smiled and called upstairs. "What was that earlier then? 'Just a quick turn over, I'll be out of bed in a minute.' Next time you tell me that, I'll come upstairs and splash water in your face!"

"I'M ALREADY HURRYING!" Dawn called back angry and irritated.

Buffy shook her head and turned around. She smiled at James the social worker - who was checking his watch with a raised eyebrow - and she asked, "What do you want to see first?"

"How about the kitchen?" James asked calmly, his tone of voice had a slight suspicion, but one that was still doubtful. Buffy shrugged it off, she guessed he was wondering why Dawn wasn't already off toward school. He would find out soon enough. She led the way to the kitchen, and he opened his briefcase and took out a pen and note pad.

The middle counter had one closed bag on it, and one open. A few sandwiches half unprepared lay next to it, along with different kind of bread coverings and a knife to smear it with. The see-through shades were closed, keeping Spike - who was at the refrigerator - from bursting into flames. He picked out a large plastic milk bother.

"William," Buffy said, sharply, making Spike - who was wearing work-out clothes - turn around with a jerk. "Let me introduce to you James Grant, from the social office. James, William."

Spike looked at the man, gave him a once over, then looked at the bottle in his right hand, the cap in his left. He had been planning to drink straight from the bottle. He looked back at the social worker, and placed the bottle on the counter. He wiped his hands on his pants and reached over. James and Spike shook hands, Spike drawling, "Pleasure to meet yuh."

"Likewise," James answered, and Spike turned back around, opened a cupboard and picked out a cup. As Spike proceeded with filling the cup, James prompted, "Boyfriend?"

"Him?" Buffy answered with a disgusted face. She walked around the corner to continue preparing her own lunch and continued her answer, "Oh, god no. I think you know the type. The annoying friend of the family, the one you love to hate, but manages to help out on occasion for dubious reasons. He's too much part of the group to have the heart to boot him out of the house and never let him back in, and you can't afford the cleaning bill to just chop his head off and put him out of his and your misery."

James chuckled, "Yeah, I know the type."

"Thanks a lot," Spike drawled sarcastically, before taking another gulp of the white fluid in his cup. Outside a car horn blared insistently.

"DAWN!" Buffy screamed. "Anya's here!"

"I know!" Dawn yelled back. "I'm not deaf!" Then she came racing noisily down the stairs, a backpack slung over her right shoulder. She grabbed her coat from the rack with her left hand and proceeded to open the front door.

"Hey, Dawn!" Buffy called out as the younger girl disappeared out the door. She didn't hear her older sister, too focused on getting to the car. "Stupid," Buffy muttered under her breath, as she quickly circled the counter, grabbed the closed and bag and raced to the front door. She opened it and yelled loudly, "DAWN!!"

Dawn turned around and then Buffy through the bag with an arc through the air. "Your lunch!" Dawn smiled, hung her coat over her shoulder and caught the bag.

"Thanks, mom," Dawn answered her sister with a wry grin. "See you after school." Then she turned around and ran to the car waiting for her. Buffy walked back through the living room, then through the door into the kitchen.

"Teenagers," Buffy complained to the social worker. "Too much hormones for their brains to work properly."

James smiled and Spike snorted, "Right, tell me about it. I seem to remember this ditzy, bleached-blonde . . ."

"Spike," Buffy interrupted him irritated. "Can you go and annoy some other people?"

"Fine, I'm off," Spike said, grabbing his leather duster off one of the kitchen stools and went out the back door. He sprinted the short distance through direct sunlight, until he was safely inside the protective shadow of the garden trees, and then went from there.

"Spike?" James asked with a raised eyebrow.

Buffy folded a sandwich over, and as she placed it in her lunch bag, she answered him, "Don't ask. The guy may be an annoying loon, but he's harmless."

"Next on the list, washing room," James said, making a scribble on his notepad. Buffy nodded and walked toward said room. "Oh, and who is Anya, if I may ask?" James added as he followed her.

Buffy smiled, as she stepped into the washing room. "Anya is the fiancee of my best male friend, Xander Littica." James looked around the washing room. There was one plastic basked filled with clothes ready to be washed. The washer, and next to it the dryer lined one wall, on the other side there was a freezer. On it there were a few stacks of neatly folded clean clothes, next to it another plastic basket, filled with a jumble of clean clothes ready to be ironed and folded. An ironing board - folded in - and iron was hanging next to the door leading out to the garden.

James looked around it, nodded, and as he scribbled something down he asked interested, "Odd name."

Buffy shrugged, "He seems to like it, he wouldn't have changed it otherwise." The two were brought out of their moment by some giggling and the sound of people coming down the stairs. Buffy smiled and walked back to the kitchen, James on her heels.

Inside the kitchen, Buffy waited expectantly and moments later Tara and Willow came stumbling in. The were giggling, wrapped in each other's arms and shared a quick kiss, before they noticed the stranger. They suddenly stopped, looked at him, and the two bathrobed witches quickly disentangled themselves, both blushing slightly at their indiscretion. Buffy smiled and said, "James the social worker, let me introduce to you Willow Rosenberg." Buffy gestured to the redhead. James stepped forward and extended his hand. As Willow grabbed and shook his, Buffy continued, "She's my best friend since my Mom, Dawn and I moved to Sunnydale. The blonde next to her is Tara McClay, Willow's girlfriend." James went over to Tara and greeted her as well. Buffy went on, "They rent what was my mother's room, relieving me of some of the monetary burdens. They also help around the house - when they moved in I found out Tara is a great cook. If I'm not home by the time Dawn returns from school, at least one of these two always is."

"Friday mornings," Willow said almost apologetically, shrugging her shoulders. "Is our morning to sleep in. Neither of us have to get to college until ten thirty."

James nodded, and scribbled something additional on his notepad. "Well, I think that pretty much concludes this little inspection."

"It does?" Buffy asked, furrowing her eyebrows in confusion and concern. "How did I do?"

"Great," James answered and gave her a reassuring smile. "You seem to be on top of everything, got friends helping you with the tasks you don't have the time for, also shows you can delegate, and know where your limitations are. I think Dawn has got a very stable environment to grow up in, she's lucky to have a sister like you. I'm not too keen on the dead beat hanging around, but then, no household is ever perfect."

"On that last part we agree, but what can you do?" Buffy said, smiling at him and shrugging. The two shook hands, and Buffy escorted him back out the door, negotiating a better time for the next inspection on their way.

When he was out the door, Willow and Tara each wrapped an arm around the other, and Willow said, "I'm guessing that went well." Buffy smiled, and nodded beaming out her happiness.


That night

Dawn carefully opened the window of her room. Even more carefully, her tongue sticking out in concentration she got out on the roof. She hoped Buffy, Willow and Tara who had decided on a nice girl's night in this night, didn't have their senses open, or they would notice her leaving. She had her life force suppressed, which meant flying down was out of the question. She was pretty sure if she tried that, senses open or not, her 'parents' would notice. She closed the window behind her, and then slowly inched to the edge of the roof. Once there, she had a decision to make, jump, or climb down the drainpipe. She contemplated for a second and then jumped. She landed smoothly, squatting down and waited, senses open. No angry Buffy came storming out, she wasn't teleported inside and placed in a cage of energy bars; so far, so good.

Quickly, and silently she sneaked across the lawn, and then hid behind a tree. She turned around and peered at the house from behind the tree. Still no magical incarceration, and the tree hadn't been blown to bits yet by an angry slayer.

"Oh, wow," a voice said from Dawn's right.

Dawn turned to regard her friend, and whispered, "Wow, what?"

The girl regarded Dawn and said, "You jumped off the roof. Don't you have a broken leg?"

"No, of course not. And be quiet," Dawn whispered, giving her friend a once-over. She was wearing tight pants, a stylish coat that hung open, revealing a white blouse. Dawn looked at her own outfit; pantyhose, blue short skirt, and a red blouse, the upper buttons strategically left open. Her jacket was also open. She twisted her body and strained her neck in an attempt to look at her back, hoping she hadn't dirtied her outfit on her risky way out. "Am I still clean?" Dawn whispered, as she turned her backside to her friend.

Her friend nodded, whispering, "Yes."

Dawn turned around again, facing her friend, smiling she waited a moment. Her friend was still quite dumbfounded at witnessing Dawn jump off the roof of her house. "Janice," Dawn whispered. "You want to stay here and get caught, or do we get going?" The girl jerked her head up, and then they left.

A short time later Dawn asked, "So, who are we going to meet and where?"

Janice grinned broadly, and answered, "Hank and Justin."

"Hank?" Dawn asked amused.

"Yeah, why? And he's mine by the way," Janice retorted, walking along the sidewalk, houses on either side.

"My father's name is 'Hank'," Dawn answered smiling a little. "So, this Justin, is he cute?"

"Oh, yeah, seen him on a few parties. Your sister sucks by the way, you need to be out," Janice commented.

"I know," Dawn groaned out, her whole being showing frustration. "Let me give you some advice: don't steal. And if you really, really, really have to, make sure you don't get caught." Janice snickered, and then the two of them burst out laughing.


"Blind date, double date, ugh," Justin commented to his friend Hank. He was leaning on the hood of his car. "I can't believe you talked me into this."

"Relax," Hank told him, leaning against the passenger door, his arms crossed across his chest. "It'll be fine."

Justin gave him a glare, and said, "I could be out hunting for my own piece of ass, but no. If she isn't a looker, Hank . . . I swear, I'll . . ."

Hank interrupted Justin's tirade, "Calm down. Janice said Dawn was hot. If she really is nothing, we'll dump them both, and we'll go find you a delicious one, ok?"

Justin nodded, placated with the promise of something juicy. When the two girls in question arrived, a smile quickly adorned his face. The girl, that obviously had to be Dawn, was incredible. Tight red blouse showing off her chest, the opened buttons give him a glimpse of the paradise that lay beyond, and a sexy short skirt that he would love to pull off her fantastic legs, he was already imagining having her creamy thighs wrapped around him. "Hi, I'm Justin," he greeted.

Dawn for her part felt her knees go weak. The guy was gorgeous. Broad chest, wrapped in a blue tight shirt, a football jacket and tight jeans. Somewhere in the back of her head came a thought that there was something she should be doing, but she was too occupied with fantasizing about kissing his luscious lips and running her hand through his gorgeous hair. "I know, Janice told me," Dawn answered with a gleam in her eye.

Hank went over, giving Janice a quick case, and then jokingly faked going over to Dawn to ravish her, making a quick moan. Janice pushed him back with a laugh, commenting, "Very funny."

Justin opened the passenger door and gestured to Dawn, flirting, "Your chariot awaits, my lady."

"And gallant too," Dawn flirted back, smiling, keeping eye contact with Justin until she was sitting in the passenger seat. Hank and Janice got in the back, as Justin walked around the car and sat down in the driver's seat.


"Dawn!" Buffy called up from under the stairs. "Do you want a cookie? Something to drink?" When there came no answer, Buffy tried again. "DAWN!" There was still no answer, and Buffy extended her senses. Dawn was not in her room. "OH, MY GOD!" she screamed.

"What is it?" Willow asked concerned, coming to check out Buffy's hysterics.

Tara further in the room said it out loud, "Dawn's gone."

Buffy picked up the phone and desperately - hoping beyond hope - she called Xander. <<Xander Littica here,>> he answered as he picked up.

"Dawn's sneaked out," Buffy blurted out to the point of hysterics. "Please, please tell me she's with you and Anya."

<<No she isn't,>> came Xander's reply, and he heard Buffy's breathing go up a notch. <<Calm down, Buffy. She can handle herself. She's stronger now that you were a few months ago, let alone than when you first started slaying. Just wait in her room, and when she gets back, give her the scare of her life, and punish her properly.>>

"Xander," Buffy told him, slightly peeved. "Demons and criminals who use force aren't the only evils out there."

<<I know,>> Xander said, then pauzed as he gave just a little hint of a moan. <<But there are things she's going to have to find out for herself. You can't keep her safe from every bad thing out there, Buff, you'd become the worst of those bad things.>>

Buffy stayed silent for a moment, she looked at Willow and Anya who seemed to be meditating. "Why do I have the feeling you're not going to help look for her?"

There was a short pause, and Buffy could practically hear Xander grinning. Then he answered, <<Because I've got a drop-dead gorgeous fiancee nuzzling my neck . . . oh, god . . . mmh, and I'm not about to go waste my happy time with her on a useless search . . .uoaaahh . . . goodbye, Buffy.>>

"Bye," Buffy managed to cut in before the phone said, 'click'. Amazed she hung up the phone and turned toward the two witches. She looked at them expectantly.

"I'm sorry, Buffy," Willow explained, looking at the Slayer. "Too many people in Sunnydale and she has her power suppressed, which we could have guessed, we would have felt her leave otherwise, active senses or no active senses." Tara shook her head, indicating she had no luck either.

"Then we'll have to go find her the old-fashioned way," Buffy stated with her 'command' voice.

"Ok," Tara said with a cute pout. "I suggest Willow and I start with the Bronze, while you go search out Dawn's usual haunts." Buffy nodded. "Personally," Tara continued. "I'd like to know why she felt the need to sneak out." Buffy looked slightly niffed at that remark, but she put it aside and the three of them went out to search.


The car slowly rolled to a stop outside of the park. The back door opened and Janice and Hank came out. "Catch me if you can," Janice said with a sexy grin and ran off into the park.

Hank grinned, suddenly vamped out, and said, "I love it when they run." Then he sped after her.

Inside the car Dawn smiled at her friend running away playfully and turned toward her own conquest. "Well," she said, smiling at Justin.

"Well," Justin retorted, and then noticed Dawn shivering slightly. "Cold?" he asked concerned.

"Yeah, but just a little," Dawn answered trying to sound casual. She considered raising her energy to warm herself, but she was too afraid it would alert her parental units.

"Here," Justin said, and a little awkwardly because he was sitting in a car, he took off his coat, and then proceeded to protectively hang it around Dawn's back, closing it in front of him.

"Thanks," Dawn told him, and looked into his eyes. God, were they beautiful. She thought she could drown in them. "So . . . done anything interesting lately?" Dawn asked, and quickly wanted to shoot herself.

"Yes, I'm here with you," he said smoothly.

*Oh,* Dawn thought, her belly made flip flops and she felt herself going to jelly. She looked deeply in his eyes and then the two slowly leant forward. Finally, to Dawn agonizingly slow, their lips met. The kiss was lightly passionate, but no tongue was involved yet. *Cool,* Dawn thought. At the same time, during the kiss, *Oh, god! Oh, wow! Yowza! I'm kissing!* blasted through her mind. The alarm bells in her head at the observation 'cool' were quickly drowned out by the other thoughts. Somewhere the subconscious rationalization, 'Yeah, but it's cold out', shot fleetingly through her mind.

When they broke the kiss, she whispered, "Oh, wow. That was . . . oh, wow." She squirmed in her seat, the sensations at her lips and in the rest of her body having it in an iron grip. Slowly she got herself back under some semblance of resolved.

"Oh, my god, that was your first," Justin concluded with a tender, amused smile.

"First? Me? Nah," Dawn said, wiggling uncomfortably. She didn't want to look like some ditzy fool. "I've kissed lots of times. I'm an expert with the lips to lips . . . and . . ."

Justin smiled with indulgence, and again said, "It was your first. That was your first kiss."

Dawn sighed in defeat and lowered her head lightly. "It was," she admitted, then looked back up, expecting a disapproving look. Instead Justin just smiled broader, his mouth open with mirth. Dawn smiled a self-conscious smile. "How was I?"

Justin leaned forward lightly and asked tenderly, "You were amazing. Was I good enough to do it again?"

*Here that sis? I'm amazing, and <oh>, yeah, were you ever good enough,* Dawn thought with a grin and leaned forward herself. She felt his arms circle around her back, and then their lips met once again. This time though, his tongue slowly - so as not to startle Dawn - entered her mouth. Once she showed she was not avert to the idea, he tightened the embrace and started truly kissing her. Dawn's mind shut down. If it hadn't, she might have wondered how a seventeen-year-old boy managed to get so skilled with his tongue, but the only thing that mattered, were the sensations Justin's lips and his amazing tongue caused, and mimicking his tongue action to return the pleasure to him. She felt nothing but the pleasure, the heat burning in her body, she felt her nipples harden and . . . oh, my, she was actually starting to cream her panties . . .

. . . until she heard a familiar sound, and her tongue felt a sharp object scrape over it. Frightened Dawn opened her eyes and looked straight into the yellow demon-eyes of the monster in front of her. The vampire's ridges were prominent, making him look all the more evil. His arms had tightened around her and panic attacked her. He was so strong. He pushed her back, bearing her neck. His fangs gleamed in the pale streetlight as he dipped forward to drink her dry. That is when she realized that she was strong as well. With a quick yank she freed her right hand and smashed him in the nose. Justin yelled out in pain and shrank back. Dawn did the same, finding the door blocking her path further back. The vampire grabbed his broken and bloody nose and looked at Dawn in shock.

"What was that for?" Justin almost wined, an indignant tone in his voice, his eyes looked at her with accusation.

Dawn noticed that she was the one in control here, and sat up straight. She crossed her arms across her chest, and stated with a peeved and slightly angry voice, "You tried to <eat> me!"

Justin pouted, and answered almost sad, "I was going to turn you."

"And that makes it better?" Dawn asked, her sister's lecturing voice down pat. "Still with the eating, and then with the defiling of my body and soul by having a demon animate my corpse."

Justin gently rubbed his nose and told her, in a strange mix of lecherous, romantic and seductive voice, "Yeah, but it would be so great. What do you think, Dawn? We'd be together till the end of time. Eternal love slaves to each other. Isn't that romantic?"

Dawn looked at the demon visage as he said this, and for some sick, sordid reason she thought he made point, and felt some stirring in her body, memories of his kiss returned. *God,* she thought to herself in horror, even as the temptation grew. *What is it with Summers women and vampires? Did mom ever . . . without knowing . . . ew, bad mental image. Bad, bad, bad, Dawn.* Dawn suddenly snapped her fingers, Justin looked confused. "I knew I forgot something," Dawn said, and opened her senses. She recoiled at the pure black, insidious evil sitting next to her. Any temptation instantly evaporated. "Yuck! Blegh!" Dawn exclaimed with disgust, and rapidly placed her hand above his heart and it started to grow. "I can't believe I was tempted by a sickening thing like you."

"But I like you," Justin muttered in shock at the glowing hand.

Dawn grinned bloodthirstily at him, and said, "I know, and for what its worth, so did I for a few moments there." Then the energy blast penetrated Justin's chest.

"Dang," he said, looking at the hole in his chest and then turned to dust.

Dawn sighed in relief, leaning back in the chair, taking a few breaths, than her eyes widened, "Oh, my god! Janice!" Dawn got out of the car rapidly and started running.


Elsewhere Buffy suddenly turned around at the energy spike. "Dawn!" she exclaimed and blasted off.


The Bronze
A few minutes earlier

Willow and Tara walked through the crowd of dancing people. Loud music blared through strategically placed speakers. They looked around, but no Dawn. Their sixth senses didn't tell them anything; the crowd was to closely huddled together, and with Dawn suppressing her energy they couldn't be sure she wasn't here.

"Let's go upstairs, and get a bird's eye view," Willow suggested gingerly, and Tara nodded.

As the two started to climb the stairs, Tara asked, "I guess you were out partying here like them even before I arrived, huh?"

"Yeah," Willow answered cheerily, avoiding a couple making out on the stairs. "Well, I was here, but not of the party. Just sitting at a table in a dark corner being shunned. Geekdom had its disadvantages." Tara looked at Willow with a wry, surprised smile. "Yes, this hot, cool momma that is your girlfriend had her humble roots as a geek."

Tara smiled, "I would have made love to your roots." The couple pauzed on the stairs for a moment, looked lovingly at each other and that shared a quick intimate kiss. They broke it off, and smiling sexily at each other, they continued on their way.

Leaning on the scaffolding, the two witches peered down into the crowd. "Well," Willow commented, looking over the dancing teens. "This was a bust."

Tara nodded. "This is still going to take forever, providing Dawn is even here in the first place," Tara said peering at faces.

Willow sighed, and then perked up. "Perhaps we can speed this up a little."

Tara looked at Willow and already saw her waving around her hand. Tara recognized the look on Willow's face easily: she was about to use magic. Tara grabbed Willow's hand, and the redhead looked up at Tara in surprise. "What are you going to do?" Tara asked concerned.

Willow answered a little confused, "Simple, I'm going to transport anyone who isn't a fifteen-year-old, brunette girl into another dimension for a moment. We find, or don't find Dawn, and I pull them back. It'll be a snap."

"Are you nuts!?" Tara shrieked out in disbelief.

Willow looked at Tara with betrayal, and asked, "What are you talking about? I'll leave them there for but a moment. They won't notice a thing."

"Willow, haven't you learned anything from what Sandra taught us?" Tara asked angrily. "Magic is not a game, it's serious business. You can't just throw around magic against every little problem as if was nothing! It will have consequences."

"I know what I'm doing," Willow told her defensively.

Tara looked disbelieving at Willow, "Do you? You didn't bother to think about what you were doing. A few words, a wave of your hand and that's it? Did you make sure what dimension you were going to send them in? You might well have sent them into a demon dimension where time moves much faster. Instead of a moment, they'll be there minutes, being snacked on by who knows what!"

Willow got angry. "I know what I'm doing," she almost hissed at her girlfriend. The two squared off, facing each other. "I'm not some two-bit, beginner witch. I thought you'd know that, you being my girlfriend and all!"

"Willow, this is not about us, this is about you," Tara told her earnestly. "Sometimes you scare me with the casual- . . ."

The two looked up, when they looked back down again, they both exclaimed, "Dawn!" Their fight quickly forgotten, they bounded down the stairs, hurrying to get to their unofficially adopted daughter.


Hank had Janice pushed up against a tree, her neck bared. He was about to dig in when Dawn arrived on the scene and exclaimed, "Hey, Hankey Pankey!"

Hank stopped and turned to regard the little upstart girl. "Who do you . . . Hey, where's Justin?"

"He's dust, bad for the upholstery I'd wager," Dawn commented with a confident smile. She folded her arms across her chest in a bitchy manner.

"What?" Hank returned in disbelief. He turned around and held Janice in front of him like a shield, his hand wrapped around her pretty neck.

"D. U. S. T," Dawn spelled out, going in full on bitch mode. "Dust. Look it up. It's what you will turn into when I kill you."

"Kill me?" Hank snickered, closing his hand around a terrified Janice's neck. "Even if you could kill me, you'll have to go through them first." Hank pointed behind Dawn with a nod of his head.

Dawn stayed focused on Hank. She wasn't stupid, that was the oldest trick in the book. It was then that light fell over her, and the sound of engines assaulted her ears. She turned around slowly, a little intimidated, and saw cars arrive all around her, and vampires, mostly couples, not all heterosexual, stepped out of the cars. *Fuck!* Dawn thought, looking at the vampires advancing on her. They quickly formed a closed half-circle of about twenty-five vamps. No way out, and they were barely two meters away from her. *Senses open, you twit, senses open!* she screamed at herself mentally. Hank grinned evilly, as did the other vamps, gloating in their apparent victory. Janice just whimpered. *Now what? I go after them and Janice is dead, I go after Hankey-boy and they can grab me from behind and drain me dry before I have the chance to turn around. Think, Dawn! Think! What would Buffy do!? Duh.*

"What do you say to a bet, Hank?" Dawn said seductively, taking a step forward with her hip swaying.

"Why would I want to make a bet? . . . And what kind of bet?" Hank spoke, the first part with an evil, 'I'm smart' tone, the last with a little interest.

Dawn grinned with a sexy smile, licked her lips suggestively and said, "I'll bet you, I can kill your team mates here, before they can subdue me. While I do that, you keep her alive, because that's my prize. I win, I kill them all, you let Janice go, then you can just walk out of here."

Hank grinned, than laughed out loud. The other vamps grinned, snickered and laughed as well. "So tell me, Dawn. What am I going to get if you lose?"

"Me," Dawn told him, looking deep and seductively into his yellow eyes. "More accurately, you'll get Dawn the Vampire Slayer as your personal sex toy. You guys can fuck me, bugger me, gang bang me, I'll do it all willingly and love it. Slayer healing allows me to heal most injuries within a day, so you can be rough as hell. Keep me fed and don't drain me dry and can be your own Slayer blood bank. You guys could boost your powers immensely, regular feeding from a Slayer."

Whisperings went through the vampire crowd. Hank's eyes were wide. Janice looked at Dawn in disbelief and shock. Hank eyes narrowed back down again, a little bit of suspicion starting to form. *Hurry, girl. Do something quick, can't let him think it through,* Dawn thought, and then took a few steps forward, hips swaying. *Remember. Faith in Buffy's body, you snuck into the Bronze, boy did that ever leave scars, even with finding it hadn't really been big sis after all.* "Come on, baby. I've got control over muscles you don't even know exist. I could ride you, milk you, and squeeze you until you pop, like a champagne bottle."

Hank grinned, as he regarded her. "You have yourself a bet, Slayer."

*Gotcha!* Dawn thought, making sure the sexy smile stayed on her face. Then she went into a battle stance and looked back at the group of vamps, looking at them with a grin filled with anticipation.

"Get her, but don't kill her!" Hank ordered, and the vamps attacked. Dawn jumped backward, and went into a cartwheel. Her foot caught one of the vamps, and it flew up into the air from the impact. Using her energy, she flew over him, cartwheeling all the way. Once she was behind him the vampire looked with astonishment at her, just as an energy ball passed through his chest and he went up in dust. The vamps looked at her floating two-and-a-half meters in the air, with astonishment. She burst downward and ran into the newly created opening in the vamp ranks. She kicked her right foot out, caught a female vamp, and with a crunch of broken ribs she catapulted backward, taking the male vamp behind her along for the ride, until they both slammed into a tree. At the same time, using her left hand, Dawn pulled out a stake - patting herself on the back for thinking to bring one - and slammed it home into a vamp on her left. It promptly turned to dust.

With a wide grin, Dawn turned around. This was fun! She pointed her right hand at one vamp and fired an energy blast, immediately she switched her hand to a second and fired another. Moments later, both vampires turned to dust. At this point the other vampires pulled themselves from their astonished stupor. Fangs bared, they attacked all together. Dawn ducked and spun around full-circle, sweeping one vampire off his feet with her right leg. Once back facing forward, she jumped up into an uppercut, sending the vampire speeding up into the air with a broken jaw. She didn't let herself fall down, and flew rapidly forward. She sped downward over the two vampires she kicked aside earlier, with a left stake, and a right energy blast, both turned to dust. She turned one third of a circle left and with another blast the vampire she had given an uppercut was sent to the eternal hunting grounds as well.

She turned further, facing the remaining vampires, who were starting to get nervous. She ran at them, faster than any vampire had ever seen a person move and she smashed her right underarm into a female vampire's stomach. She doubled over wheezing as the unnecessary air left her lungs. Some blood dripped from her mouth. Dawn grabbed the vamp's head, and with a yank and a twist of her body, she sent the vampire spinning through the air behind her. An audible crack indicated that the vampire's neck was broken. Dawn walked forward rapidly, switched the stake to her right hand and staked the vamp there. At the same time she moved her left hand out and back and dusted another vampire with an energy blast.

Fifteen left, Dawn counted quickly, and decided on bigger guns. She pointed at a cluster of six vampires and charged a larger, more powerful energy blast between both hands. It exploded on impact on the center vampire, shredded five instantly and sent the sixth heavily wounded spinning away. She turned around, and did the same to another cluster of six vampires. This time, two survived, barely. That left three still in the game. The one whose legs she had swept out from under him, had just gotten back up. She moved over to him, and put the stake through his heart. Quickly changing course she ran at the remaining two vampires. They tried to run, but were too slow. She moved left to the first, with her right arm across his chest she staked him, and twisted around backwards and did the same with the last remaining female vamp. Dawn then quickly moved back in front of Hank. She casually pointed her left hand at the two heavily burned vampires and put them out of their misery with two small energy balls. Then she turned to the vampire that had gotten caught in the first big blast and did the same to her. Then with her right hand, she did the same with the female vampire whose neck she had broken. While doing this, her gaze never left Hank.

"There," Dawn said soothingly. "I win, now you let her go, and get on your way."

Hank's face was terrified and desperate, Janice the same way, but there was a sliver of hope on her features. "I'm not stupid," Hank said, backing up slightly, forcing Janice to shimmy along by tightening his grin on her throat. "The moment I walk away you'll kill me."

Dawn shook her head 'no', she had to save her friend now. "No, I won't," she said, putting all her effort into sounding calm, collected and completely trustworthy. "I'm a good guy, the Slayer even. Don't you know, we can't break our word." She lifted both hands holding out her fingers, showing she didn't have any of them crossed, "I promise." She looked unwavering into his eyes, pleading and commanding silently all at once. She felt a little jolt of triumph as she saw him relax a little, his eyes became less like that of a deer caught in head lights, and the grip on Janice's throat loosened slightly.

*That's it,* Dawn thought, *just look like a trustworthy little girl, and . . .*

"DAWN!" a familiar voice called.

*No!* Dawn screamed mentally, her face becoming frustrated as she saw Hank's grip tighten again. She kicked herself for letting her senses focus too much on the here and now, or she would have known she was coming, and probably could have sped this little Mexican standoff along. Dawn turned around, partially looking at her sister speeding into the small clearing. *Think quickly!* She got an idea, and said, as casually as possible, "Hey, sis! Don't worry, ok? Just some Slayer business. Dusted about twenty-five vamps and Hank, here, was about to leave without harming Janice. Isn't that right, Hank?"

Dawn smiled as trustworthy as possible at Hank. When she saw his grip slacken further, she jumped for joy inside. "What are you talking about?" Buffy blurted out without thought. Dawn's face fell. "You're not the Slayer, I am."

"You lied!" Hank accused and he backed up some more, gripping Janice even tighter.

Dawn turned around to face her sister fully, angry she called out, "I cannot believe you! No wonder Parker sweet-talked you into his bed. HOW MUCH MORE STUPID CAN YOU GET!?!!?"

"Hey!" Buffy called out angrily. "Who is the one sneaking out of the house here!?" Dawn rolled her eyes. Buffy crossed her arms across her chest, looking from Janice and Hank back to Dawn. "And what the hell is going on here anyway? You want to start your own vampire slaying posse?"

"Of course not!" Dawn said exasperated. "We were just out here with b . . ." Dawn stopped her sentence, realizing she was about to give herself away. She racked her mind for another word that started with a 'b'.

Buffy was quicker though. The blonde took in the scene, the park, the cars. "Boys!?" she asked incredulously. "You were here with boys!? As in, horny, hormone-driven, teenage boys that you parked with. As in, made out with, in a car? As in, prelude to sex!?"

"Ah, well, no sex, no interest," Dawn tried to come up with a further explanation, but Buffy cut her off.

"Wait, where are those 'boys', no corpses around either," Buffy narrowed her eyes on Hank and Janice, and the last pieces of the puzzle came together. "You were making out with a vampire!?"

Dawn smiled nervously and said, "I didn't know he was dead at the time."

"YOU DIDN'T . . .!?" Buffy blurted out her anger mounting by the moment. She went on, almost hissing, "Ever heard of that little sixth sense Xander taught you to use? The sense that allows you to sense demons!?"

"Hey, your boyfriend was a 240-year-old vampire!" Dawn accused getting worked up.

"NO SENSE BACK THEN, AND EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T . . . how could you not know unless . . . unless you only just met . . ." Buffy's eyes narrowed, fuming, and then growled angrily at her sister.

Dawn made a warding off gesture with her hands and tried to explain, "It was a blind date. People go on blind dates."

Buffy growled again, "Don't go with them to an out-of-the-way park unless they happen to get off on being raped!" Dawn took a step back, getting a little afraid of what her sister might do.

Hank decided it was time to make a last ditch effort to save his unlife, "Uh, hello? Guy with hostage here."

"SHUT UP!!" Buffy screamed out in anger, pointed her hand and with one blast from it, blew away Hank's head who promptly turned to dust.

For a small moment things were silent, and then Janice shrieked. "IIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!" she wailed out as she ran away as fast as she could.

"Oh, that's just great, Buffy!" Dawn called out, watching Janice run away, like a banshee in heat. She let her arms fall in exasperation, and continued, practically wailing out her wound, "You almost kill my friend and effectively scare her away. She'll never be my friend again!"

"Go!" Buffy said pointing toward their home, her voice ice. "You weren't ever going to see that girl again, even if she was still your friend, and you better hope by the time we get home I'm cooled off enough I won't still decide to snap your neck!"

"FINE!" Dawn yelled back and started walking.


Buffy and Dawn had met up with Willow and Tara on the way back, and all four of them were now returning to the house. Once inside, Tara excused herself and Willow and went up the stairs. Both Buffy and Dawn felt something brewing between them, but couldn't quite put their fingers on it.

Buffy, arms crossed, pointed to the dining room, also containing Buffy's, and Dawn's desks. Dawn walked inside and after a gesture of Buffy, went to sit on a chair. "What you just did, was irresponsible! You could have gotten killed . . ."

"No, I couldn't," Dawn stated, getting up. Not liking being looked down upon as if she were a little kid. "The only things that can kill me, would register on your and Xander's radar as a thirty mile blip. You would have been there to stop it before the thing could even blink an eyelid, providing it has an eyelid."

"That's not the point," Buffy snapped back slightly angry. "You left without telling anyone where you went. You sneaked out of the house while I had forbidden you to go out . . ."

"And there we get to the crux of the problem," Dawn stated forcibly, interrupting Buffy, and mimicked Buffy slightly as she folded her arms across her own chest. She continued on, her voice barely wavering, strong, the whiny little brat was no where in sight, or hearing. "When you were my age, you had already had strings of boyfriends for a year, all older, most had cars. You kissed with them, flirted with them, you went on dates and to parties. Not that you felt anything for them, it was part of the popularity gig with you. Then hitting my age now, you get called, some guy comes along and trains you, and you go out slaying. Barely a year later you start a relationship with a 240-year-old vampire, and we all know how that turned out."

"I . . ." Buffy started, slightly flustered. Dawn was right after all, she hadn't been the best of the best humanity had to offer.

"I'm not done yet," Dawn stated with conviction. Ok, now this was freaky, Buffy thought, wasn't she supposed to be in charge here? And since when was Dawn this strong, confident, almost mature individual? Last time she checked she was this whiny little brat that stole to get some attention while the rest of them was saving lives and in particular hers, and ran up to her room like a scaredy cat the moment some mature sex talk was pointed in her direction. "Ever since Anya drove me up to my room with a little sex talk, and more so after I got caught stealing I've been taking a long hard look at myself, and I did <not> like what I saw," Dawn continued, and moved her arms away from her chest. She pointed her right index finger to her left thumb and started counting silently on her fingers while she continued. "I've been a whiny brat for the past six years. I whined, threatened, and even blackmailed you. I got you locked up in an insane asylum for gods sakes - granted, I wasn't actually there at the time, so that probably didn't happen, but still, those memories make up who I am. I never listened, so I went out on top of the Hellmouth despite warnings and got myself caught and held as hostage several times over, and I still didn't learn. It turns out I'm not real, that I've got a ball of energy inside me, with the power to cause the walls between dimensions to come down crumbling. An evil hell goddess used me to do just that, and someone cut me open. I watch my sister fling herself to her death to close the portal, get saved by my crush who later turns out to be an alien. He fries my wounds closed so that the hole does as well. I watch as Xander fights the hell goddess, almost get killed by another and returns her the favor successfully. Does that make me grow up? Nope, I nicely continue on with the stealing I started, I continue to be a whiny little brat, constantly whine about not being treated equally, when someone finally does I run up to my room. When you guys went to fight Loki, I pouted like a little kid and practically complained that being left behind is not 'fair'. I came to the conclusion that I needed to grow up, and fast. So I tried, but you stopped me cold. Buffy, you don't act like a mother, but like a body guard, like a guard dog. I may not be grounded, but I might as well be. No dates, no parties, nothing. When I ask, 'no' is the only thing I get. I knew you were going to catch me, but this was the only way I could get you to even approach the subject."

Dawn took a deep breath, looking at Buffy expectantly. Buffy would never admit it to anyone, but she was impressed. It was obvious Dawn had thought long and hard about what she'd say, but this was by no means a well-rehearsed word-for-word recital of a memorized speech. There wouldn't be this much emotion in her words, if it was. Buffy didn't think she could sound like Dawn when she was her age, even with the slaying. "You . . ." Buffy said, with barely restrained anger. " . . .are grounded for a month."

Dawn nodded, and walked past Buffy, her arms folded back across her chest, but it wasn't the stance and walk of an annoyed brat, but of a young resigned woman. When she was about to go up the stairs, Buffy called out, still with the anger, "Dawn!" Dawn looked at her sister, who in turn looked over her shoulder. Incredulously the anger seemed ebb away, and a smile adorned her face. "I will think about what you said." Dawn nodded, smiling back and then bounded up the stairs.


Some time later Tara was preparing the bed. She and Willow hadn't talked at all while they changed clothes, and brushed their teeth. Willow came out of the bathroom and looked at her girlfriend.

"Why are you being so . . . so . . . not you?" Willow asked with some resentment.

Tara looked at Willow for a moment, stopping her motions, and answered gently, "I can't be 'not me', Willow. I've always been like this, a bit more confident now, I guess, but still me."

"But you've never told me I can't use magic before," Willow tried, her eyes a mixture of sadness and anger. "Are you jealous I've got more power than you?"

Tara stood tall and told Willow, "I am <not> jealous." Tara sighed, "Look, Willow. Both our emotions are high, it's late, let's just sleep on it, and we can discuss this in the morning."

"Can't we just forget this ever happened?" Willow asked sadly, not liking there was another kink in the cable that tied them together.

Tara shook her head as she got in bed and under the covers. "No. What you tried to do, Willow, was so irresponsible . . . this power is not something to be toyed with. It's serious business. Now come to bed, please."

Willow turned around, mumbling something indignant and snotty that Tara couldn't hear, and walked over to the dresser. She saw a few plants, and dried flowers that could be used as magical ingredients, and suddenly got an idea. With a smile she picked up a dried piece of plant life and held it in her left hand. "Forget," she said with a low voice, still smiling. The flowery part of a plant glowed, and then disappeared as Willow closed her hand over it.

Unseen by Willow, Tara's eyes flew open and started to glow, then a look of absolute terror filtered over her face, and she went rigid, thrashed once and then calmed down, the glow in her eyes disappearing. Tara sat straight up in bed, looking at Willow disbelieving, as well as angry and fearful. When Willow turned around to face the bed, she was still smiling. The smile disappeared instantly and her eyes opened in shock as she looked at Tara sitting ramrod straight in bed. Tara regarded her with a look, that Willow had never seen in Tara's eyes, let alone directed at her. It was filled with anger, hate even, and fear, for her. Willow felt like somebody gave her a blow in the stomach. How could Tara fear her? And hate?

Tara spoke in a low voice, bordering on a hiss, "Did you really think, that I couldn't defend myself against a spell like that?"

"I . . ." Willow tried.

Tara got up out of the bed, and told Willow loudly, "Save it!" Tara walked to a chair and grist a pair of jeans from them, that she promptly started to pull on over her pajama's. "I cannot believe you tried to do that, Willow! You are out of control!"

Willow's face filled with desperation, starting to see where this was going. She walked toward Tara, needed the physical distance to be closed, to big of a symbol of how the mental distance between them had become. "Tara, baby, it was just a little spell." The look on Tara's face as she stepped into her shoes, shown Willow she had said completely the wrong thing.

"YOU TRIED TO RAPE ME!" Tara screamed, bordering on hysterics. She grabbed the sweater on the same chair and pulled it on, also over her pajama's. "Worse, MIND RAPE me!" Tara resolutely walked up to Willow and hissed, "You tried to tear a piece out of my mind, out of my memory!"

"I just wanted . . ." Willow tried, but Tara would have none of it.

"I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU JUST WANTED!" Tara screamed out, and walked past Willow to the exit. "We're through, Willow. This relationship ends here!"

"NO! Please, Tara, please don't!" Willow called out after her, as she followed Tara out on the hallway. Buffy and Dawn were standing in the doors of their rooms and looked at the scene stunned. When Tara didn't answer, Willow got angry, "You little hypocrite bitch! When you used magic on me, did I break up!? I <forgave> you!"

Tara stood still instantly, and then slowly turned around. Anger laced every bit of her face, and every bit of her voice, "Don't you dare call me a hypocrite. I once tried to use magic on myself to mask the demon I thought I had inside of me from you and your friends, and the spell went wrong, affecting your eyes instead of me, keeping you from seeing demons. But I never once used magic on you deliberately. I never <once> tried to tear a piece of your mind out of you! 'Tara doesn't consider Faith pure evil. Tara thinks she's a good person, and makes a good friend. Tara thinks I'm going completely careless with my magic. Tara isn't 100 percent exactly like I want her to be. So I'll just tear the memories right out of her mind, that way Tara can be MY PERFECT FUCK TOY!!'"

"IT WAS NOTHING LIKE THAT, AND YOU KNOW IT!" Willow snarled walking forward. "GO AWAY! I DON'T CARE! I HATE YOU!"

Tara turned back around and started running down the stairs. "I'll come by for my stuff tomorrow, or the day after! We're over!" Once downstairs she pulled her keys out of her pocket and opened the front door. When she was outside, she locked the door before turning around and leaning back against it. When nobody seemed to be following her, she breathed out a sigh of relief. The house had become horrible, she had wanted to claw herself a way out of it. A sob wracked her body, tears formed at her eyes and flowed down her cheeks.

She had never felt so terrified or helpless, as when the energy had started worming a way inside her mind. She had struggled against its insidious intent with every last ounce of her might and resolve, and had finally pushed it out so it could harmlessly dissolve in the air. Only after that, the horrifying realization had hit her that her own girlfriend had been the one to try to tear open her mind. She had been afraid instantly, she knew Willow was more powerful than her. Although she had fought off this attempt there was no way to stop Willow if she decided to use her full might on her, so she had felt a desperate need to leave the house. She sank through her knees, going down in a crouch, crying freely now. She had allowed her anger to build and build inside as a defense mechanism, now that she was relatively safe her cropped up fear had free reign. She collected herself and stood back up, then quickly walked away from the house, feeling a little guilty of letting Dawn and Buffy stay with Willow, who she now perceived as a dangerous witch.


Las Vegas
The Mirage Resort

Harmony looked with incredulity at the luscious resort, and at the lovely 'fake' volcano. She walked up to it, and felt no heat. She blinked, bent down, picked up a leaf and threw it into the 'colored water'. The moment the leaf touched the 'water' it ignited and disappeared in a flame. "Of course," Harmony complained, nodding. "The 'Mirage', the 'Illusion', magically created volcano to sacrifice victims to the demon gods, and the truly, truly, truly, truly, truuuuly evil thing . . ." Harmony looked down at the brochure she had brought with her, and her face contorted with horror. "I may be an evil, soulless, demon animated corpse, but . . ." Harmony shuddered. "But this is too evil even for me. God, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy . . ." Harmony flung the brochure into the Volcano and it too went up in flames. "SIEGFRIED AND ROY!?!!?" she shrieked out in horror, disgust and a little admiration; that was truly evil. Harmony shook her head, as she berated herself, wining, "I can't believe I wasted time seducing little bits of info out of clients to figure this one out. I should have just walked in here two weeks ago; it's got 'demon resort' practically painted all over it. And then I'm invited too, talk about wasted effort."

Harmony sighed in disgust and walked to the entrance, her super sexy, but stylish - she wouldn't be Harmony if it wasn't stylish - outfit clung to her curves. Short skirt, garter belt and stockings - discretely hidden beneath the skirt - and a business suit jacket, tight, and lots of cleavage, and nothing underneath was what she had chosen to wear. The high healed pumps on her feet clicked on the concrete. A short time later she reached the front desk.

"Can I help you, ma'am?" the clerk asked.

"Quite," Harmony stated with a grimace, vamping out for a moment. "Mr. Krakasia asked to see me."

"Ah, the whore," the clerk commented.

"Madam," Harmony corrected irritated. The clerk looked at her puzzled, and she said, "Whore - madam." The clerk blinked, and then ignoring her, pushed a button.

A concealed elevator door opened to the right and a brown demon stepped out of it, and gestured gallantly for her to enter. Harmony smiled a dazzling smile at him and took the invitation.


The lift door opened in the penthouse. It was wide, spacious, filled with all kinds of exotic plants. The floor was tiled with blue-grey, shiny tiles, which reflected everything, probably so that threats, and hidden weapons could be quicker identified. Harmony grinned at that, she knew <her> hidden weapon would also be seen: no panties. A big desk, which looked tiny in the almost cavernous space, sat in the middle. A red-skinned demon was behind it. Harmony vamped out, not wanting to seem inferior.

With swaying hips she walked across the tiled floor, she heard slightly sharper intake of breath from the demon assistant behind her, and then the lift doors closed and he left with it. The red demon casually assessed her as she walked up to him. His eyes widened when he reached the reflection in the tiles, then a smile adorned his face.

Five meters into the room it flared out left and right, far to the right there was a king-size bed, to the left was a living chamber, with a home cinema system and a fully stocked bar. Harmony flashed her fangs at the demon with a grin as she reached his deck. He smiled back his own toothy grin as she sensually set down upon his desk. The demon, slick, backswept hair, cow-like horns, a ridged face that seemed pure maliciousness, and pointed ears, smiled back, showing two rows of razor-sharp teeth.

"You wanted to see me?" Harmony asked friendly, deliberately deferring to his superiority, but her fanged smile also showed him, he could take it only so far before she took offence.

"Miss Kendall . . ." the demon began.

Harmony interrupted him with a smile, "Call me, Harmony."

"Harmony," Krakasia corrected, smiling up at her, his look often straying down. "As you know, I'm Fred Krakasia." Harmony looked at him curiously, and he explained, "My wife believes since I'm married to her, I should have a human name for her to call, she likes the Flintstones' movies." Harmony smiled seductively at him, and he saw the reaction. Not many humans would consider a smile in her vamped-out state sexy, but demons, especially out here, farther away from the Hellmouth where the weaker non-puritan demons were present, it was a powerful, sexual weapon indeed. Closer to the Hellmouth most demons considered a vampire too tainted - too human.

"Continue," Harmony told him with another smile - her head turned for a moment to look at him - and like that the balance of power had shifted. She wiggled her ass just a little, and heard him breathe out.

"You have made quite a name for yourself, Harmony," Krakasia started, unable to keep his eyes off the blonde sex-goddess on his desk. "You have taken over a previously run-down vampire whorehouse, taken the best of them to a high class whore house with fantastic reputation, taken that one over as well, and improved the reputation. Now you run a whorehouse for humans and demons, quite ingenious. There are also some indications that you are the new owner of the Tropicana."

Harmony grinned widely at him and explained, "I am. The owner tried to take away my destiny, I found that rather rude. When he died in horror over what he'd done, I figured he should pay a proper sum to get me through my grief. To my surprise I found that the Tropicana was just the amount I was thinking of, and the notary happened to agree with me."

"We're demons," Krakasia answered, a slight hint of fear at the formidable vampire in front of him. Would she kill him and take over his empire just as easily? He found the danger thrilling. "We don't have destinies."

Harmony smiled sweetly, and answered, "It seems he didn't know that, and that only made it ruder."

"Impressive, very impressive," the demon praised her.

"Ah," Harmony answered, making a throw-away gestured. "It was nothing compared to surviving on the Hellmouth. Now that was difficult let me tell you, slayers here and there, madman demons who want to destroy the world, too much of a hassle."

Krakasia gazed at her and returned, "There are many vamps and demons here who claim that falsely, but I know you're telling the truth. Your mortal-self was borne there, I had your background checked out." He hoped she didn't consider it 'rude'.

Harmony was tired of the little complimentary games, and asked with a pout, "Can we get to business now?"

Krakasia grinned and explained, "We are a respectable establishment, family fun and all that, so although legal here, we have not dabbled in certain money making possibilities. However, after some careful assessment we have found that some of our customers bring certain . . . how shall we say, interesting company. I assure you, they are all very discreet, and immaculately dressed, so no one notices, but we feel it is an area of commerce that we are missing out on." Harmony looked at him uncomprehending, so he explained, "We would like it to be so that you would train, how shall we say, 'masseuses' that we can discretely rent out, for the whole family of course, which can range from just a simple massage to the works. Then there is the demon contingent of our clientele. Our 'masseuses' should be able to handle them with the same ease, if possible these 'masseuses' should be more than human."

Harmony grinned, understanding what he meant, and speculated, "I could always turn some of your 'masseuses'. I haven't been able to get other demon 'masseuses' for myself, apart from this one blue 'masseuse'. With your connections, perhaps you can help me out, hmm?"

"That should not be a problem," Krakasia said a professional smile on his face that constantly threatened to go into a full on leer. But he dared not make her think he was 'rude', so with some effort he kept the leer from his face.

"That leaves one problem," Harmony said, getting off the desk now. She circled it, so she was right next to Krakasia and using her ass, she leaned against his desk. "Some of that 'interesting company', could be <my> interesting company."

Krakasia gulped and said, "Of course, you will get a percentage of the profits, enough to compensate any losses and make a good profit."

Harmony nodded satisfied and bent over, showing off her cleavage. "You have a deal, on three conditions. First, this will go in writing." Harmony placed a card on the table with a smile. "Have your lawyers draw up a valid contract, and have them contact my lawyers." Krakasia nodded happily, he had no problem with that. "Second, I want the entire hierarchy of demons in Las Vegas, so I know which asses I have to lick, and which I can kill without any repercussions when they're being pricks."

Krakasia's smile faltered a little, "I do not know the full hierarchy, I can only give you the best approximation. For the past few years, I have kept myself mostly out of demon business as a favor to my wife and children, and for the past few months things seem to be stirring in the demon community. But I can see what I can do via some of my associates." Krakasia looked fearfully at the beauty, so close, so vicious. She had killed the owner of the Tropicana simply because she considered him 'rude'. She had placed herself right square in the middle of the Las Vegas business map in less than two months. She was dangerous, so hot, and oh, so thrilling. Part of him wondered if he had made a mistake inviting her for this business proposal, the other part of him was asking that half if it was nuts.

"Good enough," Harmony answered him, smiling, her mouth closed and she saw him relax a little. She liked this, she had never been able to instill such respect and fear in a demon before. Grinning she told him then, "Third." And she pointed at the bed, "I hope your wife doesn't mind."

"Sex? Why sex?" Krakasia whispered surprised. Harmony moved forward and started a French kiss with the red demon. Her tongue raked along some of his teeth and it was cut upon, drawing blood. Harmony didn't mind, in fact, it turned her on. She broke the kiss and looked at him. "You want me tied to you an emotional level," he whispered in awe.

Harmony took a few seconds to decipher his sentence, and then nodded. "So, about that wife."

"No problem," Krakasia answered wide-eyed with joy. "My wife said, since she would wear the pants in the house, I could wear them outside of the house."

"Tonight," Harmony told him with a grin, as she picked him out of his stair by his collar, and dragged him toward the bed. "You won't wear the pants anywhere." Harmony threw him through the air and he landed on the bed.

He watched as Harmony crawled on the bed like the predator she was. "Oh, wow," he muttered, arousal spreading through his body.


The Next Day

"Janice!" Dawn called out desperately. School was out and they were on their way home. Janice hadn't talked to her all day long. Last night had gone from great straight to hell. First Janice, then the blow up between Willow and Tara that had ended in their break up and Tara leaving the house right then and there. The words they had shouted at each other had been ugly, and she had no idea how much of them were true. Somehow she felt responsible for that fiasco, especially since Willow had ignored her this morning, but then she had ignored Buffy as well. Willow was brooding, and she had never seen Willow brooding. The concept seemed a physical impossibility, but it was happening. If she couldn't save Willow and Tara's relationship, at the very least she would try mending her friendship with Janice. "Janice!" Dawn called again, quickly catching up to the other girl.

Janice stopped walking and turned around to face Dawn. Dawn smiled, glad she would at least face her. "Janice, about last night, I can explain . . ." Dawn got real close to Janice, so they didn't have to talk out loud and alert the other kids.

"Vampires are real?" Janice asked, whispering timidly.

Dawn was stunned for a moment, and then smiled, it seemed she wasn't dealing with some of those in denial, and she didn't have to come up with the ridiculous explanation she had concocted. Dawn nodded in confirmation. "And demons, and ghosts and the rest."

Janice sighed, "I was afraid of that."

Dawn didn't quite plan for this eventuality, so she said the first thing that came to mind, "I'm grounded for a month."

"Two weeks," Janice said with a sad smile. "Your sister called my parents."

Dawn grinned, saying, "Bitch."

"I'll say," came the answer. And the two giggled for a moment. The two stayed silent for a moment. Then Janice spoke, "So, you and your sister are super heroes?"

"My sister is," Dawn explained with a pained expression. "One girl in all the world given the power to fight the darkness and stuff. The Slayer. Me, I'm just very well trained. You train long and hard enough, and in the right way, and you could do what I do as well."

Janice blinked several times, before saying, "Listen, Dawn. I can't deal with this now. I've got enough problems as it is. I can't add vampires to the list. If you really need help, someone to talk to, you can call me anytime . . . but you, me, heavy, and you fighting vamps . . ." Janice let it hang there.

Dawn nodded, sad about it, but it was better than nothing at all. "Janice, sunlight kills them, decapitation kills them, wooden stake through the heart kills them. They can't come in unless explicitly invited, so holding open the door won't let them get in, but a mat that reads 'welcome': get rid of it. Crosses burn them on touch, and holds younger ones at bay. It's only psychological though, older, or tougher vamps might just swipe it out of your hand. Holy water is like acid, get them to drink it and they die. Garlic, only really effective as an ingredient in a spell," Dawn quickly whispered to her friend.

Janice smiled. "Thanks. Bye," she said, and turned around with a quick wave goodbye.

Dawn returned the wave. And then continued on her way off the school grounds. "Hey, Dawn," a familiar voice sounded to Dawn's right. She turned around and saw Tara - wearing the same clothes of last night - standing there.

"Tara, hi," Dawn said enthusiastically, and went over to Tara, hugging her tightly. "What happened last night?" Dawn asked her voice quivering with apprehension.

Tara smiled wanly, and only now Dawn realized her eyes were read and puffy; the blonde witch had been crying. "How about we go grab an ice cream and talk over that, okay?" Tara asked uncertain. Dawn nodded.

A few minutes later they were both sitting in a terrace scooping up ice cream out of a bowl. Despite the delicious taste, Dawn just couldn't quite enjoy it as much as usual. For one thing, usually Willow and/or Buffy were present as well. Their absence was a painful reminder of last night's affair.

"Dawn," Tara finally said, mustering up the courage. "I want you to know I love you, as a friend, and I guess in some way as a weird kind of mother as well. My and Willow's break up has got nothing to do with you, ok?"

"Really?" Dawn asked hopefully. "Because I kind of had this feeling my stunt last night . . ."

Tara shook her head. "No, if not last night, it would have happened on some other night, o-or during the day."

Dawn looked silently at her ice cream for a moment and asked weakly, quickly turning into a babble, "So, how come you two . . .? I mean, you seemed happy together. I don't understand. You do still love her, don't you? I heard Willow say she hates you."

Tara sighed, looking down at the ground for a moment. "I love Willow very much, and I'm pretty sure she loves me too. I don't think she meant it, when she said she hated me. In the heat of the moment and the emotions, you know." Dawn nodded, taking another spoonful of chocolate ice cream. Tara continued, "We were happy together, but sometimes the two are just not enough. I've seen Willow do some magical things in the last month or two that concerned me, but I dismissed it. This was my Willow after all. And this is the consequence."

Dawn thought over last night's events, and out loud, trembling, she said her conclusion, "Your accusation of rape, wasn't an in the heat of the moment thing, was it?"

Tara looked into Dawn's eyes and slowly shook her head. In this moment, all the progress she had decided to make toward maturing were gone like that. Dawn just wanted to hug Tara, cry and never let go, with Tara petting her as if she were a six-year-old little girl. Dawn couldn't keep her eyes from watering up, and Tara followed suit. "Last night in the bronze, she wanted to shift all non fifteen-year-old brunettes into another dimension, so you could be easier found. Like that." Tara snapped a finger, barely able to keep her tears from leaking out of her eyes. "I stopped her, confronted her on just how irresponsible she was being. Then we felt you powering up. At home I suggested we sleep on it, and discuss it better the following morning, and then she figured it was easier if I forgot, and she tried to make me . . ." Tara's tears were flowing over her cheeks now, and she looked back into Dawn's teary eyes. The brunette swallowed the last of her ice cream. Tara smiled sadly, her tears slowly slowing down. She pushed her remaining ice cream to Dawn, who smiled gratefully and started on Tara's bowl. "I stopped her, barely. Be careful Dawn, Willow is dangerous, and I can't stop her, not yet at least. I think the only one who's powerful enough to stop her if she goes completely off the deep end is Xander."

"Willow stronger than Buffy and Faith?" Dawn asked amazed. Tara nodded. "But I thought . . ." Dawn started, looking confused, " . . . with what Sandra taught you two . . ."

"It's not an addiction, Dawn," Tara stated with conviction. "This is Willow, and Willow alone. She's gotten amazingly powerful in the last month or so, more powerful than most of you think, I think the power is going to her head." The two stayed silent for a few moments, Dawn continuing to eat the ice cream, whatever little comfort it gave her. "Listen Dawn," Tara said seriously, placing a key wrapped in a piece of paper on the table, and gently pushed it toward Dawn. "I've got a new dorm room at the university. I got lucky, someone is moving out, I'll actually be bunking with a guy, I convinced them it was ok, after convincing them I was a lesbian." Tara smiled, and so did Dawn in response, it was pretty funny. "I'll be moving in on Tuesday, there's a spare key, my address, cell phone number, and telephone number of the dorm room, and the name and room number of the motel I'm staying at in the mean time, got that?" Dawn nodded. Tara continued, "Good. Don't show or tell Willow where I am, ok?"

"Ok," Dawn said, and looking in Tara's eyes. "You are really scared, aren't you?"

Tara just nodded, "Can you tell Buffy I'll be by on Monday to pick up my stuff?" After Dawn nodded, Tara continued, "Ok, final, really important message. Dawn, just because my relationship with Willow is over, our friendship is not. The same goes for the others, tell them that. I've become more than just Willow's girlfriend over the last two years. If you, Buffy, Xander, Anya, or Faith need any help, whatever it is, personal, slayage, anything, you can call me, got that?" Dawn nodded. "If I have any money left on a monthly basis, I'll continue to deposit it in you and Buffy's account . . ."

"You don't have to do that," Dawn said, almost in awe.

Tara smiled sadly, "I know, but I want to. I know with Willow around, it'll be awkward, so we can't meet face to face regularly, but remember, need any help, and I'll be there for you. Willow needs friends now, Dawn. Friends who are willing and able to tell the truth to her face, friends who can get through to her, and friends who can take a punch, if she decided to some more power tripping, so leave that to Buffy and Xander, ok?"

Dawn could hardly believe what Tara had just said. Willow so bad, better not confront her. "Do you think, you and her, could ever . . .?" Dawn dreaded the answer but she had to know.

"I don't know. I honestly don't know, Dawn," Tara told Dawn with a lump in her throat. "Perhaps, someday, if she comes to her senses."


"Come on, Buffy! What's wrong?" Xander asked. The Gravity Gym was deserted except for the two of them, and they were pausing their training.

"I don't know," she answered insecure. She did not like what she was feeling inside of her, like something was consuming her from the inside out, but she didn't want to tell anyone. She still remembered her decision earlier; kill the souled inter-dimensional aliens, and commit to this war one hundred percent. Detracting from it now, once again voicing her doubts, seemed like betrayal to her.

"I'm pretty certain you can do better than this. You're not coming down with the flu, or anything?" Xander asked concerned. Buffy seemed unfocused and weakened.

"Don't know, but don't think so," she said, feeling horrible about herself. Everything had gotten so strange over the past few months. Things that were given had suddenly twisted upside down. She had threatened to kill her friends to keep her sister alive, and consequently let the world go to hell. Then not much later Xander had threatened to kill her in order to save the world. Things of herself were clawing around inside of her, as if she was splintered in several factions, one side screaming at the other, accusing herself of this and that, while the other side screamed back that it could go fuck itself, it was the way it needed and needs to be done. One side was yelling that she had betrayed everything she was, than a third voice popped up and with a snide commented that she hadn't betrayed anything, that this is the way she'd always been. Her thoughts were a jumble, and she felt like she was in a free fall. Xander assurance that he still considered her to be his hero had alleviated most of her self doubt, and inner introspection that continued to revolve around something she just couldn't get at . . . or was that daren't get at?

"What's the matter, Buff?" Xander asked gently, floated toward her.

"Nothing," Buffy stated, resolutely. She would not let them down. "Just some useless old junk lying around in my attic. Done with it. Let's go." Buffy attacked with renewed vigor, and Xander smiled as he blocked her first punch, quickly powering up again. Buffy was back in action it seemed, her fists flew furiously, and Xander's smile grew, this was the Buffy he liked. A fighter, a warrior, a girl with steel determination.

*WHOOOOHOOOO!! IT'S WOORKINNGGG!!!!* The super-happy mental voice blasted into Xander's mind, startling him. He was distracted for that moment, which let Buffy get a good right cross in. Xander grinned, shifting position. *DID YOU HEAR ME, XANDER!?*

*Yes, Cordy,* he beamed back, avoiding a powerful kick from the blonde slayer. *Loud and clear.*

*IT'S WORKING! IT'S WORKING!* Cordelia beamed happily. *Sorry, about the intrusion, but I just couldn't keep it to myself anymore. IT'S WORKING! I'm coming from the hospital. The rate of progression has slowed! I still lose brain cells with every vision, but I lose less. IT'S WORKING! If we keep this up, than I might just get powerful enough I'll no longer lose brain cells at all!!*

*Fantastic, Cor! Always trust in Xan the man. I knew it would work!* Xander beamed back, a giant grin on his face.

Buffy slowed down some, looking at Xander she asked, "What's that grin for?"

Xander answered with an even bigger smile, "The visions do less damage. Training Cordy's mind is paying off." Buffy blinked once, than a big grin formed on her face as well. Things were going better. If for Cordelia, than surely things would perk up for Buffy herself soon as well. Buffy resumed the attacks again, with even more speed and strength as before.

Episode 26

"Uh, uh, h-hi," the guy said. Faith turned around, closing her locker. Archie and Zoey were standing off to the right, looking amused at the new arrival, waiting for Faith. She had said something along the lines of a war council back at her place.

"Hi," Faith said with raised eyebrows looking the short guy over. He barely reached her shoulders, he wore jeans and a polo shirt that suited him nicely. His eyes were deep pools of green, and he had reddish brown hair. Altogether not bad looking, but his glasses, which were not the stylish kind, hinted at non-popular.

The guy proved it by stuttering, "U-uh, I-I-I . . . t-t-tha-that i-is . . ." He quickly shut up and removed his right hand from behind his back presenting a small set of flowers. "H-h-h-he-here."

Faith looked astonished, her mouth open and eyes wide. Archie's and Zoey's eyes twinkled, a bright smile on their faces. This guy was sooo going to get it. In the distance a small group of boys snickered and laughed. Faith's eyes darted in their direction and recognized a few who had considered themselves the Fonz, and of course Faith would be easy, they had found out the opposite. Uncertain, Faith took the flowers and answered the guy, "Thank you, uhm . . ."

"M-m-m-m-ma-m-ma-m-ma . . ." the guy swallowed deeply, looked away from Faith's eyes and breathed deeply. He was about to try to answer again when he noticed the flowers were off to Faith's side making him look directly at her chest. He got nervous again, and knew he wouldn't be able to finish his sentence, especially since he knew for certain the most dangerous girl in school would kill him now. He lifted his gaze, pointedly looking at Faith's throat, nothing there to make him nervous and tried again. "M-m-ma-m-ma-mark . . . Mark K-k-kinc-c-caid, a-a-and I-I w-wanted t-t-t-t-to ask-k you ou-out on-on-o-on a d-d-date, 'c-c-cause I-I-I-I t-t-thi-th-think y-y-y-y-y–you're . . . b-b-beau-beaut-t-t-t-if-f-f-f-f-ull."

The group of guys sniggered again, Faith looked at them for a moment fully understanding, they had dared Mark to ask her out on a date when they had failed miserably with several giant bruises to their egos. She remembered giving almost all of them a public, verbal reaming that had left them shattered, and now they got payback by sending this stuttering guy to the slaughter. Archie and Zoey were holding their breath, waiting in anticipation. The guy had actually stared at Faith's chest for a moment and now didn't even look her in the eyes. If any former date request was any indication, this guy was going get it bad. The fact that Faith uncharacteristically hadn't sliced and diced him yet, made them think she was building up to a really nasty one. Their eyes widened in surprise as they heard her say, "I'd love to go out on a date with you." Across the hall, the group of guys instantly stopped sniggering and looked in surprise.

"Really?" Mark asked astonished lifting his head with a jolt to look into Faith's eyes. His surprise keeping him from his stuttering. The flub instantly evaporated his momentary stability, "I-I-I m-m-mean w-when and where do I p-pick you up?"

Faith smiled at him and answered, "I'm pretty busy this weekend, so how about next Friday? Eight o'clock?"

"S-su-sure," Mark stammered out wide-eyed and he smiled broadly.

"You know the Hyperion Hotel? That's where I live," she asked him with a low voice. She had no intention of letting everyone know where she lived. Mark nodded. "Good, you decide where to go, if there's a dress code, tell me . . . I've got to go now, see ya later." Faith gestured to the other side he came from and started to turn toward Archie and Zoey.

"Ok, till then," Mark answered, feeling too euphoric to stutter. He gave Faith a small wave that Faith smiled at him, before turning around to go where he came from. A giant smile plastered on his face.

A moment later, Archie blurted out, shock on his face, "Ok, who are you that possessed Faith, and how do we get you out of her?"

"Huh? I am still me, Arch," Faith answered him with a little surprise in her voice.

"Faith," Archie commented with a panicky voice. "You're going on a date. You don't go out on dates, you are dateless."

"He was pretty good looking, he asked nicely; he even gave me flowers," Faith said with a wide flattered smile, presenting the flowers and batting her eyelashes as she took a sniff.

Zoey looked at her incredulously from Faith's other side. As they continued toward the exit, she told her, "You hate flowers."

Faith wrinkled her nose and as she crumpled up the flowers she answered, "True."

Faith threw the flowers with a perfect arc in a waste bin. Watching her do that, Zoey added, "And he stutters, he can't get a word out of his mouth."

Faith gave Zoey a once over, looking at homy clothes and said, "Girl, you've got bad taste in clothes, we're done being friends."

Zoey's eyes widened, looking at Faith in horror and was ready to burst in tears, when she understood Faith's point. "Oh, yeah, well . . . I get your point."

"You were nice, Faith, repeat #nice#," Archie butted in. "You are not nice. Which was weird enough, Faith, but you accepted the date. You don't accept dates. You are cruel to those who ask you out. Look at them; hell, look at me, you gave me the 'just friends speech', how much more cruel can you get!?"

Faith chuckled and slung an arm around his shoulders. "Oh, come on, I wasn't that bad. You are right though, look at #them#. Did you see them sniffling, and sniggering? They set Mark up for a giant fall so they could tease him more, I figured, payback's a bitch. Namely me. What better way to get back at them again than actually go out on the date?"

Archie and Zoey looked at her with wide eyes. "My god," Zoey muttered.

"You are even more cruel than usual, using the guy like that," Archie spoke, looking at Faith with new fair.

"You certain you want to do that to the guy?" Zoey asked with a whisper.

Faith blinked at her friends, hooked Zoey in with her other arm, and told them, "Oh, come on. It's a date. It's meant to find out whether or not we like each other for more dates, and then going steady. And I will treat it like an honest to good god date. If I like him, more dates, going steady, moving in, marriage and kids. It isn't like we're automatically couple, and I'll dump him in front of the entire school."

"Somehow I don't see you with kids," Zoey commented with a thoughtful frown.

They reached the exit and walked out int the sunny day, and Faith said, "Me neither, but who knows? Love moves in mysterious ways."

"I thought that was god?" Archie asked confused.

"Whatever," Faith answered with a shrug.


The sewers

Angel and Fred walked along the cold, dark sewer tunnel. Fred was holding an ice cream cone, and was happily talking along. "This was the best night ever. First there's you taking me to ice cream, then there's ice cream, then there's the monster jumping out of the freezer and you're all brave and 'Fred, watch out,' then we get to chase it down into the sewers, which are just so bleak and oppressive and homey. I could build a condo down here."

"I'm glad you're having fun," Angel commented with a wry smile as they walked along, watching the walls of the sewers.

Fred suddenly had an idea and asked, "Do you think the monster just wanted a ice cream cone?"

"I doubt it," Angel told, looking at a particular dark shadow, but finding nothing. "Durslar beasts don't usually come above ground like that, they usually stick to the sewers."

"Lucky stiffs," Fred commented walking onward, basking in 'homeyness'. "They get to lead lives of mysterious sewage, while I'm just plain old, boring old Fred."

"Boring?" Angel said with surprise. "That's not a word I use for you?"

"Hmm," Fred answered dejected. "You're the mysterious tortured vampire, Gunn the axe wielding, bald black dude, and Wesley the ex-, thrown out, out on his luck, ultra watcher, all leaderly and such, green-skinned Lorne has a connection to the powers, then there's 'don't bother me now, 'cause I've got long distance telepathic super training going on' Cordelia shopping queen of LA and surrounding areas, and then there's 'I'm the Chosen One', grrr, slayer Faith, who I think her favorite past time and conversation topic is how best to fuck someone's brain out. Don't get me wrong, sex can be good, but . . . you know what I mean."

"Yeah, she's got a one track mind, Faith does," Angel commented with a smile. "But you can out number crunch us all, not to mention help Faith actually make it through High School."

"Faith's pretty smart, I'm sure she'd make it without my help, and I really like helping her with her homework, and shopping is enjoyable, once in a while, but . . ." Fred paused looking up at the sewer ceiling. "Plain old, boring old Fred."

"Plain is good," Angel tried nervously, not quite knowing what to say. "One, two, three plain ones in our midst makes us remember who and what we're fighting for. And you're not boring."

"Look," Fred suddenly said, pointing at the wall to their right, "Pretty crystals everywhere." As Angel checked out what Fred was looking at a roaring could be heard in the close distance. "Oh, it wasn't me," Fred said panicky looking around.

"No, no," Angel told her, gesturing her to be calm. "We must be near the Durslar's lair. Why don't you go back to the hotel. I'll take it from here."

Fred grabbed her cone with both hands protectively, and with a low, nervous voice she asked, "But shouldn't we call Wesley and like super Slayer?"

"Nah, Durslar beasts are like puppies, lots of bark no bite," Angel told Fred, and asked, "Are you sure you can find your way back?"

"I think so, 128 meters back, eastward fork," Fred started, Angel turned around and regarded her with surprise. "207 meters to the southward fork. Hang a right, 12 meters in . . . I'm just being a big old nerd again, aren't I?"

Angel nodded, and said, "But not boring."

Fred smiled and as she turned around she said, "I'm gonna go now." After taking a few steps she turned around, continued walking backward, and asked, "Are you sure you want me to go? Because I can stay here, and . . ."

"I'll be fine," Angel said cut her off, all serious now, focusing on his hunt.

"You don't need me," Fred stated. She waved, and turned around, while saying, "Ok. Bye!"

She rounded a corner, turned around again and stuck her head around the corner, calling out, "You sure!?"

Angel once again turned around, smiled and called back, "I'm fine!"

He chuckled as Fred shouted, "Ok! Bye!"


"Ok," Zoey announced as the three of them stepped into the lobby of the Hyperion. In a corner, Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia were busy rearranging the weapons. "Now spill, what's this about a war council? I'm dying to know what the hell you're talking about Faith."

"Not just yet, introductions are in order first," Faith said with a wide grin, and gestured for the two of them to follow her. Archie and Zoey looked at each other with a frown, what was Faith talking about, they had already been introduced. Faith quickly walked to the couch in far part of the lobby and knelt on it. Grinning she leaned her arms on the back and waited until Zoey and Archie had joined her on either side. "Hey, Cordelia, can I talk to you for a moment?"

"Huh?" Cordelia answered. She turned around to look at the three of them for a moment, than handed the glaive-like weapon she was holding to Wesley and turned to the girl they were all teaching. "Sure, what's up?"

"Guys," Faith answered, grinning mischievously. "I'd like you to meet Cordelia Chace, aka Queen C, head cheerleader, and supreme bitch ruler of Sunnydale high class of '99." Cordelia glowered at the slayer, crossing her arms across her ample chest, but stayed silent, for now. "Basically, she's Sunnydale's Tiffany, minus one part. She may have been a bitch, she was never evil."

"Thank you for the history lesson, can you get to the point?" Cordelia told her snidely. Archie and Zoey looked at Cordy with new eyes, awe, fear and respect shone in them. Archie reset his glasses to take a better look, and decided that yes, she did have the body needed to be the queen bitch of a high school.

Faith grinned. "Ok, what was the worst moment for you in High School?" Faith asked.

"What's it to you?" Cordelia asked a little perturbed.

"Come on, Cordy. Something I want to teach Arch and Z, here," Faith pleaded, giving Cordy her best puppy dog eyes, which completely missed the point. Cordelia decided to humor the slayer anyway.

"Oh, fine," Cordelia told her, she looked up for barely a moment, and spoke, "That one's easy, the moment I caught Xander making out with Willow."

Faith's face showed just a little annoyance, apparently that wasn't the answer she wanted to hear. "And after that?" she prompted.

Cordelia thought for two moments and answered, "The day the IRS came for my dad, and took my dresses away."

Archie's and Zoey's eyes widened further, while Faith's head fell forward to land on her forearms in frustration. She looked back up and said, "In high school damn it, #in# high school, not around it."

"Oh," Cordelia thought for a moment. "Well, that's when I came back from the hospital. After I caught Xander and Willow I fell through a bad step of the building Spike kept them in you see, and fell onto a pin that went straight through my side." Cordelia lifted her top and pointed at a small round scar. "You can still see the scar. Anyway, Xander was a geek, a nerd, part of the no-no crowd, but also a knight in shining armor, guarding his friends from the bad things, I guess he saw me as one of those friends, he was also the only one willing to talk back to me when I was being bad, and treated my like a person when I was good. He was the only one who saw more in me that just the bitch of Sunnydale High, and well . . ." Cordelia shrugged pathetically, while Archie and Zoey looked on in disbelief, the woman didn't consider the time in the hospital as bad as what came after? "How can a girl resist that? I fell for him, and while I was with him I didn't really care what others thought of me, but when we broke up, and I came back, I found out #I# was one of no-no crowd. Nobody talked to me anymore, former friends shunned me, and guys didn't want to date me because I was one of 'Xander Harris's rejects'. The fact that I had caught him kissing the biggest geek girl instead of me had gotten out and had made it worse. Apparently I wasn't as good as geek Willow in people's eyes. It was horrible, it took me months to build up some form of reputation." Cordelia gave a forlorn sigh at lost glory.

Faith smiled, that's exactly what she wanted to here. "Wait a minute," Archie suddenly blurted out. "Xander, as in, hero Xander. 'I'm in love with him, but he's engaged' Xander. The guy who had you as his first? That Xander? He was a geek who dated the head cheerleader?"

Faith nodded and started to talk, but Zoey interrupted. "Xander? As in Xan? That hunk of man meat with his fantastic smile, and those eyes that seem to penetrate to the core of your soul? He is a geek!?"

"Yeah," Faith answered them both, nodding. "Trekkie all the way."

"I want his autograph," Archie stated strongly, looking at Faith with fiery eyes. "He should be the example for geeks around the world. He rules. You have to let me meet him one day, Faith. You have to!"

"He isn't that good," Cordelia commented, looking at the two hero-worship-struck geeks on either side of Faith. They turned to look at her like she was evil incarnate. Cordelia wasn't bothered and said, "Ok, is there a point to all this?"

Faith nodded, saying, "Yep, come on guys." She pulled her two friends along and moments later they went up the stairs.

"Hey," Cordelia said dumbfounded. "That . . ." Cordelia breathed out her defeat, and let her arms hang, before returning to rearranging the weapons with the two men.

Upstairs the trio went into Faith's room. It was sparsely furnished with a bed, a closet and a desk. Over the last few months it had only slowly accumulated stuff that was Faith. Faith walked over to her chair and set down in it, gesturing to Archie and Zoey to go sit on the bed. They did, and looked at Faith expectantly. Faith looked at them with a grin and said, "We have to make Tiffany suffer, truly suffer. You guys heard Cordelia, and she's the reformed, good guy version. After two, her worst experience is losing her popularity, and the first two directly tie in with that. We are going to remove Tiffany's popularity, think what it will do to her."

"How do you want to do that?" Zoey asked, in doubt as well as intrigue.

Faith's eyes shone with evil amusement and anticipation, "First, we'll tease her. Practical jokes, and stuff, but we'll make it seem it's not us, but other popular kids. Then we'll spread all kinds of nasty rumors about her. She's got a stinky cunt, she's a slut and stuff."

"Somehow I don't see that affecting her popularity much," Archie told her doubtful.

"It won't, but it will set her up," Faith said with a grin.

Zoey blinked in confusion and asked, "For what?"

Faith chuckled with evil glee and continued, "For Arch here. You see, we'll make her feel down enough that knight Archibald can swoop in and see more in her than just the evil bitch. Just as she is at her lowest, deepest moment, and she'll take the one good thing. You and her'll kiss, we'll tape it, and at exactly at that moment we'll make sure a few witnesses will walk in. Archie will then dump her, in front of the camera, in front of the witnesses. 'You're a bad kisser, Tiffany,' you'll tell her, 'I don't want you.' Perhaps name someone, possibly a geek, possibly you, Zoey, who can kiss much better, and then make her out to be the worst you've ever had and then just leave her there as you walk away. We'll post the video on the net, and voila. Kissing with a geek, and having the geek dump her. Her popularity is gone, she'll drop to even below our status. And you, Arch, you'll be interesting to other girls as well, after all, you dumped the most popular girl in school, you must have something. Two birds with one stone. I told you I'd help you get a girlfriend, we can do it while making Tiffany truly suffer. You guys in?"

The two wide grins, and two pairs of shiny eyes said enough, but Archie confirmed it by saying, "You are an evil master-mind, Faith. Oh, yeah, we're in."

Faith grinned back at both of them, and then said, "Ok, let's do a little basic self defense in the gym for you two. First though, let's go put on some work our clothes." Faith stayed silent for a moment, thinking. Archie and Zoey waited with expectation. "Ok. Zoey, I think you can borrow some of mine. And Arch, go right down the hall, second room. It's got three closets. They carry workout clothes for Cordelia, Gunn and Wesley. I think Wesley's stuff will fit you, although it'll be a bit big. You guys have got to bring some workout clothes of your own next time."

"Don't have any," Archie told Faith.

"Me neither," Zoey answered with a frown. "Well, apart from the outfit for phys ed."

"You'll have to invest. How about we go shopping for two or three sets Saturday, huh? They can stay here, they'll automatically go into the laundry," Faith said with a wide grin, satisfied she had made a good decision.

Archie and Zoey looked at each other for a moment, and then Archie raised his finger timidly, "Uh, Faith." Faith acknowledged him. "We've been talking and . . . uh . . . well, you're the Slayer and all, and you might like to work out, but we're just a couple of geeks and uh . . . well . . . we don't."

"You don't?" Faith asked dumbfounded. Her friends shook their heads. "But we're not going to 'work out', I'm gonna teach you how to kick ass. You're a guy, Arch. How can you not want to learn how to kick the snot out of other guys, especially bullies?"

"Now that you put it that way," Archie answered slowly, looking up at the ceiling imagining something.

"And Zoey," Faith continued, almost pleading. "When a rapist or god forbid a vampire attacks you, don't want to be able get away from them alive? I promise, we're not going to do no boring strength and endurance training. I'm just going to teach you how to fight, pure the means how to survive a fight and come out on top. Whatta ya say?"

The two new friends gave each other a look, and turned back to Faith, smiled and nodded their ascent. Faith grinned, and the group quickly dispersed. Faith and Zoey to her closet, Archie out the door to find himself some workout clothes. Several minutes later the three of them were standing in front of the gravity gym. Faith had opted for some light blue sweat pants, and a white tank top that left her midriff bare. She wore no bra, but then she hardly ever did, especially during complex acrobatic workout routines they were just too restricting. Zoey wore sweat pants as well, but light purple ones. Since Faith didn't own any bra that fit her, Zoey too was braless, she wore a loose tank top, covered by a loose blue t-shirt; Faith was just too big to make any of her clothes not be loose on Zoey. Archie was similarly attired, sweat pants, and a dark green sleeveless shirt, that reached to almost his knees. Faith grinned and pulled on the door to the gym, which opened noisily, as several safety precautions went to work. Finally the door opened with a his, as both air and space-time aligned themselves with the outside world. Faith's friends stared with astonishment at the stadium-sized interior that had become visible. "The Gravity Gym," Faith said with a grin, and pulled her friends along inside of it.


"Ow!" Cordelia exclaimed, as bumped her leg against something. Gunn and Wesley turned to tend to her.

"Vision?" they asked together.

"No! I wish Fred didn't leave her toys lying around," Cordelia commented gesturing at the weird partially wooden contraption with an axe mounted on top. She limped to the dark green, almost blue circular couch.

"What is that anyway?" Gunn asked trying to figure out the thing.

Wesley looked it over and speculated, "It could be a decapitation device."

"Or it makes toast," Cordelia told them bitterly from the couch. "With Fred you never know."

"Uh, excuse me? Is this Angel Investigations?" a middle-aged man called out from the entrance. He was wearing casual clothes, a red blouse and spoke with an accent. A slightly smaller woman was standing next to him, which was from the sight of them, his wife.

Gunn, Cordelia and Wesley turned to face them. "Yes, it is," Wesley answered, walking toward them. "Can we help you?"

"I sure hope so. I'm Roger. This is my wife Trish. We're sorry to barge in on your arsenal, here, but we really need to talk to you," the man explained.

"Of course, step into my office," Wesley answered, pointing to his office. He went ahead of them and the rest followed. "I'm Wesley Wyndam-Price, and these are my associates Cordelia Chase and Charles Gunn. How may we help you?" Wesley spoke, as they entered the office.

Cordelia and Gunn stepped to the right of Wesley's desk, Cordelia sitting down on the edge as Wesley sat down in his chair. The couple sat into two chairs in front of the desk, and the woman answered, "It's our daughter. She's missing."

"Kidnapped by evil fiends?" Cordelia asked with sympathetic face.

Trish looked up at her and answered, "We're not sure."

Wesley made some notes on his notepad and asked, "Was your daughter a demon worshiper?"

Roger looked at him with a frown, and answered, "Of course not."

"Could be a vampire. Hard luck tracking one in a city this size," Gunn commented, giving the couple a sympathetic look, that switched to a reassuring one. "But don't worry, we'll find her. We're detectives, we can find anyone."

"We already hired a detective," Roger answered slightly confused.

Wesley continued scribbling in his notepad as he remarked, "And he couldn't find her."

"He said she was staying right here; in your hotel," Roger answered him, looking from one of them to the other. Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia looked stunned.

"Her name is Winifred Burkle. We call her Fred," Trish added looking at the three investigators, who looked at each other dumbfounded.


In the lobby, the door to the basement and the sewer exit opened, and Fred, licking her ice cream entered. She rounded the corner, and heard mumbling, mumbling she recognized. She peered into Wesley's office. Recognizing her parents, she panicked and sneaked up the stairs.


Faith caught Archie's arm as he threw a punch at Zoey. She held it and slightly turned it. "That way," Faith said and gestured for him to do it again. He did, correctly this time, and Zoey blocked it as Faith had shown her earlier.

"Is it really necessary to be so precise? Isn't this about how to kick butt? Is a little twist that important?" Archie asked as he and Zoey started their exercise again.

"No, not quite," Faith answered with a grin, as she nodded her approval to the both of them. "But if you ever decide to take it to the next level, it takes a lot less energy and effort now to teach it to you right, than later to remove a bad habit and re-teach you properly." Zoey and Archie looked at her for a moment. Faith shrugged and said, "I've heard that line quoted to me often enough from Xander."

Faith tried to continue teaching her friends, but gave up and asked, "I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting hungry. Whatta ya say to having something delivered?" Promptly her stomach growled to attest Faith's assertion. Archie and Zoey laughed as Faith looked sheepishly.

"Now that you mention it," Archie said with a grin, as they stopped laughing. "I'm famished, and tired too. Real tired."

"Me too," Zoey added.

Faith smiled and gestured for them to follow her. From a few compartments in the wall she pulled out three menu cards and handed two of them to Archie and Zoey. The three quickly decided what they wanted, and Faith told them, "Ok, you two continue with the routine, I'll go order." Archie and Zoey nodded, doing just that.

Faith went out in the hallway, and then picked up horn from the phone hanging on the wall. She dialed, and then ordered quickly, before returning to the gym.


"Fred's your daughter?" Gunn asked in astonishment.

"Yes, you know her?" Trish asked with concern.

"Is she alright?" Roger added.

Wesley answered them, "She's fine . . . and out at the moment with one of our associates."

"Who's not an evil fiend, or a vampire, in case you're unfamiliar with our LA gumshoe detective slang," Cordelia quickly added, correcting their previous goof.

"What happened?" Roger asked with concern and some relief. Then he added, "It's been five years. Has she been here all this time?"

"No, no," Wesley answered, playing with his pen. "We've only known Fed a few moths. We've found her in . . ." He was at a loss for words and looked over at Cordelia.

"A fit of depression," Cordelia supplied quickly.

Trish was concerned. "Fed was depressed?"

"Yes, she had recently relocated and she had trouble adjusting," Wesley explained looking at the couple. "So how did you find out Fred was back?"

Roger give his wife a quick look and then answered, "A month ago we got a letter, no address. Fred said she was fine, and in fact said we shouldn't look for her but . . ."

Trish continued, " . . . Five years without knowing if your daughter is all right or not. We couldn't let it go."

"That's when we hired the detective," Roger concluded, looking at the Angel Investigations Team.

Gunn answered them, with a mixture of respect and astonishment, "And he tracked her through an unaddressed envelope?" Quickly he put his arms across his chest and added, nodding his head with false confidence, "We could do that."


Back in the gym, Archie and Zoey stood looking at her, both had their hands in their sides. "What?" Faith asked.

"We've worked out long enough," Zoey said with accusational tone. "It's your turn."

"Yeah," Archie added with a resolved frown. "You've shown us you can float, and then been talking about being the Slayer this, Slayer that. Now we want to see the Slayer in action, for real."

Faith shrugged, and gave them a smile, "I still needed to train anyway. Ok, then, watch this. Remember, this'll be at 70 gs." Faith walked over to the mat, and ordered the computer. The force field came a live for a moment, then became invisible, and the emitters surrounding the mat, lit up red. The gravity took a hold of Faith, and her muscles tensed to fight it off. Pearls of sweat almost immediately lined her for head. For a moment she fought off the pull with just her muscles, then with scream she powered up, a white flame of energy bursting around her. Several tiles lowered and slid away, and fifteen training bots rose from the openings.

Suddenly Faith went into action, she burst up into the air, smashing a plasma burst from one of the training bots aside and into another, causing it to careen into the force field. A sizzling and it dropped to the floor. She twisted in the air, avoiding a blast from another bot and smashed a third to pieces. Archie and Zoey watched in astonishment at Faith's prowess. The Slayer maneuvered and twisted, smashed and kicked, it was a sight to behold. And through the process more bots rose from the ground, never giving Faith any rest. After a few minutes she stayed in one corner of the training ground, and let the bots all draw to her. Then, rapidly, she moved to the other side. She moved her hands to her left side and charged energy between them. "GALECK GUN FIRE!!" The beam covered the distance between Faith and the bots almost instantaneously, and blew them all up. Satisfied, a sweaty Faith told the computer, "Computer, end training. Shut down gravity mat."

The computer complied and Faith, now wearing a see-through, soaked with sweat tank top sauntered over to her friends with a smile on her face. She had considered drying herself by raising her body temperature, but had deliberately decided against it. Archie smirked, his eyes glued to Faith, looking her up and down over and over, more than once pausing at her chest. Suddenly he got an elbow in his ribs, and he called out a protest. "I can't believe you are looking at our best friend like she's a piece of meat, only good to be fucked," Zoey accused him with a frown, crossing her arms in front of her.

"I can't help it," Archie complained, rubbing his ribs, as Faith reached the two of them, and looked at them with a smile. "I'm sixteen-year-old guy. It's hormones." Faith laughed at his comment, doing nothing to hide her indiscretion. In fact, she suddenly got a sneaky idea and she stalked over to Archie.

"Uh, Faith?" he asked uncertain.

Faith wrapped her arm around him, than overly sweet laid her head on his upper arm. "Friend," she moaned, rubbing his arm and chest, mimicking something she had seen Buffy do once. "Mmmm."

"You are so cruel. Scratch that, #eeeevil#," Archie said, staying rigid. In his mind one mantra burned, *Must not grab breasts. Must not grab breasts. Must not grab breasts.* Archie felt heat spreading through his body, even as a certain body part stiffened. Zoey snickered at the sight. "Oh, man, Faith, I think I'm overheating."

"No, that would be me," Faith answered him sweetly. Archie and Zoey looked at her with wide eyes.

"Ouch," he suddenly said and jerked away from the brunette.

Faith grinned at him, glowing. Steam rose briefly from her body. Then she stopped glowing. "There all dry," she told them with a smile.

Faith looked as their faces suddenly crunched up. "Dry, but stinky," Archie commented, waving his left hand in front of his nose, while pinching it with his right.

"Yeah," Zoey added, doing the same. Faith sniffed herself. "Like old, dried, stale sweat. Yuck, you need a shower, Faith."

"Oops," Faith commented, giving them a sheepish shrug, and smiling self-consciously.

"I like the smell of fresh, Faith sweat, but this, eew," Archie added.

"Hey," Faith told them, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "You guys aren't exactly smelling like roses either, you know. Especially to someone with Slayer sense of smell."

"I told you, #evil#," Archie spoke to Zoey. As if Faith wasn't there he continued, "She really deserves to be punished. Now, we can't beat into submission. We certainly can't stink her into submission, but I bet we can tickle into submission."

"Hmm," Zoey commented thoughtfully. "All tough girl act, she does seem the ticklish type, doesn't she?"

"Uh uh." The two gave Faith the evil eye. The Slayer took a step back, and questioned them nervously. Suddenly the two of them jumped forward and tackled the brunette, quickly bringing her down to the ground. "Tickle, tickle, tickle," Archie shouted out loud with an evil smile as she tickled Faith on her tummy. Zoey's hands joined his, and soon Faith twisted around, laughing harder than she had ever laughed before.

"Stop it!" Faith managed twisting about, laughing and laughing, gasping for breath. "Stop it!" She laughed even harder twisting left and right under her friends expert tickling. "Oh, god! No!" she wailed out, before laughter once again overtook her. "I . . .ha, ha, ha . . . give up!" Faith screamed out, but the tickling didn't stop. She bucked and twisted, but even if she had wanted to, the constant laughing imbalanced her, and made it impossible for her to tap into her chi and her strength. She was helpless. "Uncle!" Faith screamed out, but still there was no respite. "I . . ." Faith gasped out, laughing more, " . . . submiiiihihihihihahahehiihiit."

Finally Zoey and Archie backed off and sat down on the floor laughing and chuckling to themselves as they watched the slayer writhing on the floor. She was still laughing, her body shuddering. Slowly her laughing turned to chuckling and then stopped. Faith kept lying still for a few moments, just looking up with a huge smile on her face. She sat up and looked at Zoey and Archie, the smile on her face wavered not once. The other two looked at her with the same big grin. "That was . . ." Faith started, looking at the two in wonder. " . . . that was a lot of fun."

"Well, duh," Zoey replied, scratching an itch on her nose. "You say that like you've . . ." Faith's smile faltered and looked away from both of them. "You really haven't ever been tickled before." The brunette slowly looked back at them and give them a weak smile.

"Not even when you were little?" Archie asked surprised.

Faith looked at him and replied, "Especially not when I was little."

"If I ever get my hands on her mother and father I'll beat the crap out of them," Archie muttered darkly. The other two looked at him astonished for a moment, then Faith smiled gratefully at him. "I said that out loud?" Archie asked slightly embarrassed. The others nodded and shared another smile. "You know," he said decisively. "If we don't want to make the delivery guy run away screaming, we better go take a shower."


"Oh, man, guys, you've got to look at this!" Angel's voice called out from the door into the lobby. He was exited and was carrying a demon's head. As he quickly walked across the lobby to Wesley's office, continued talking, "Normally these guys don't put up much of a fight, but this one . . ." Angel paused for a moment and with a grin added, "I think I'm going to have it mounted." He entered Wesley's office and noticed Fred's parents, who jumped out of their chairs, Roger holding Trish protectively. "Hey! Hello?"

"Angel," Cordelia told him, giving him all kinds of gestures with her hands and face. "You're alone." Fred's parents and Angel looked at each other, testing each other. "And you brought a prop, from your movie." Cordelia turned to the Burkle's and added, "Angel makes monster movies." Turning back to Angel she added, "Angel, these are Fred's very normal parents."

"Ah." Angel stated and looked at the couple as if he was seeing people for the first time. "Fred has parents?" They continued looking at each other for a few more moments and then Angel said with a sweet smile, "Well, it's very nice to meet you two."

"Son, your prop is dripping," Roger said, pointing at the puddle of blue blood forming at Angel's feet.

"Ah, yes," Angel said embarrassed, lifting the head upward. "You know, a little glue, some papier-mache . . ." he threw the head over his shoulder, and it shattered glass somewhere on its way. " . . . possibly some lead." Wesley looked down, a smile adorning his face that threatened to turn into a laugh, he quickly suppressed it and looked back up. "So, Fred's parents . . ." Angel added.

"Do you know when she'll be back?" Trish asked.

Gun, Wesley and Cordelia looked pointedly at Angel. "Ah, me. Well, I sent her back here right before I . . . picked up the prop, so she should be up in her room. Right now."

The Burkles smiled happily, and so did the rest of the Angel gang. They went upstairs. Halfway up, they heard #several# showers run. The Burkles looked at each other and looked questioningly at Wesley.

"Ah, that must be Faith and her friends from school," Wesley explained hastily, and continued on their way, at which time the showers stopped.

"I'm Faith's legal guardian," Angel added as a way of explanation.

"Oh," Roger answered in understanding. At the top of the stairs, they watched as Archie walked clothed out of a room and walked directly toward Faith's. Zoey walked out of the room directly across from Faith's room. The two of them entered Faith's room together. Roger and Trish looked at each other strangely. At that moment Faith came out in the hallway, a bright smile adorning her face, looking back, and saying something to the others behind her. As Faith turned around and came face to face with her other friends and Fred's parents her smile disappeared immediately. Zoey and Archie came out in the hallway as well, and looked at the group, their laughter stopped, but their smiles didn't.

"Ah, Faith," Wesley said Roger and Trish looked surprised, they were expecting a little girl, and instantly got more suspicious. "This are Roger and Trish, Fred's parents."

Faith stepped forward and shook hands with the Burkles, telling them, "It's nice to meet you." The doorbell rang, and Faith's face lit up. "Food, come on guys," she stated, and thinking for a moment she jumped over the group of people, somersaulted and ran toward the stairs. She figured they'd take her for a gymnast, not quite remembering even gymnasts don't somersault over six people.

Cordelia laughed nervously, "Gymnast."

Before disbelief could take hold, Archie and Zoey wormed themselves through the mass of people, both apologizing and claiming they were starving. "Teenagers," Wesley offered as explanation. "This is Fred's room."

They entered Fred's room and looked and searched around, but there was no Fred. "She's not here," Trish stated.

"She was," Angel said as she picked up the ice cream cone wrapper from the floor. About a quarter of the walls Fred's room, which was furnished with a lamp, a desk, a closet, a bed, and two paintings on walls, was covered with Fred's writing. After about a month she had calmed down enough to stop writing on the walls. Instead she continued her writing, which was more focused since then, in the laptop they had bought for her, which was conspicuously absent.

In the corner of the room, Wesley asked Cordelia and Gunn in a low voice, "Guys, since when has Fred ever left the hotel alone?"

"Never," Cordelia answered whispering.

"So what freaked her out enough she left?" Gunn asked the question that had been on Wesley's mind for a while. The group looked at Angel and from there to the Burkles.

Roger stated, "We want our daughter."


Faith finished paying the delivery man, and turned around to face her friends, she held up the big bag with food with a wide grin. "It's dark already?" Zoey more stated than asked.

Faith nodded. "We've been up there for two hours," Faith told them, as she pulled their orders out of the bag, and handed it to them.

"Damn, no wonder I was so hungry. Two hours, really?" Archie commented. Faith nodded, and Archie he took his menu from her. "My parents are going to be pissed. I've got to go home the moment we're finished eating."

"Me too," Zoey told them as she too took her menu.

"I could fly you guys home, no nasty after dark surprises that way," Faith told them, finishing handing them their orders.

"That'd be so cool," Archie answered her with shiny eyes, as Fred's parents and the Angel team came down the stairs.

Two minutes later, Cordelia looked at the Burkles sitting in the lobby from Wesley's office, and said, "There's just something off about them . . ." She turned around to face the gang. In the closest corner of the room beyond, Faith and her friends were eating. Archie and Zoey looked with fascination how Faith went through her second deluxe hamburger with big bites, a giant coke was standing next to her, in her lap a pizza box. A third hamburger and fries on top of it. Both Archie and Zoey had only a medium coke, fries and one hamburger. ". . . and I can't put my finger on what," Cordelia finished.

"She must have come in, saw her parents . . ." Wesley speculated sitting on his desk.

From a chair Angel finished, "And took off. That can't be good."

"How can you eat that much?" Archie asked astounded as Faith swallowed the last of her second hamburger and started on her third. The Angel Team was momentarily distracted but quickly returned to their own business.

"And still not gain weight?" Zoey added for good measure, watching astounded as another mouthful of hamburger disappeared into Faith's mouth.

"Hey," Faith commented, mouth still full, chewing her meat in one side of her mouth, thus freeing the rest for speech. "You try doing what I did in 70 gs on a regular basis and see how much energy you burn."

"Do you see Fred sneaking off alone to post a letter?" Gunn asked with skepticism.

In the back Faith added another though, "Besides, I don't eat evenly all day, I can't fit it all in my bag, or I'd go bankrupt with the prices of the cafeteria at school. So I compensate during breakfast and dinner." Archie and Zoey continued to watch Faith with fascination, as they slowly ate their own.

"Sneaking off, right," Cordelia said sarcastically. "Fred can barely tie her own shoe laces without Mr. 'You're my big fat hero' around."

"You think I'm fat?" Angel asked with hurt puppy dog look.

"Couple of months ago I'd agree with you," Faith called out from the back and then stuffed a handful of fries in her mouth. She turned back to her friends and told them, "You guys should see Xander eat. Makes me look normal. Although from what he tells me, he can eat even insanely more in his birth dimension."

"True," Wesley answered thoughtfully. "Fred has come a long way during the last few months."

"Is this why you have those twinkies in your locker all the time?" Zoey asked with an astonished look, taking a bite from her own hamburger.

"Unless it's a ruse to trick us letting them get close to her," Gunn commented from his position in the door post between the dining people and the rest of the Angel gang.

"Uh huh, twinkies, smooth down the gullet and lots of sugary sweetness. Perfect regular snack for high energy burning people like me," Faith told her friends, grabbed the coke, drank from it and then opened the pizza. "You guys sure, you don't want any of this?" she asked to no one in particular.

"We've eaten," Wesley answered and continued with the running thought thread. "Making it seem as if she contacted them."

Angel added another thought, "And even if the letter was real. Fred told them not to contact her, there's got to be a reason for that."

"Fred never talks about her family." This from Cordelia who scrunched up her face in frustration.

Angel asked the obvious question, "So where do we start?"

"We could hit all the local taco stands," Gunn answered with a shrug. They all looked at him in disbelief. "Joke. Kind of."

The group looked silently at each other. "Come on guys, think," Angel asked them. "What do we now about Fred?"

Silence for a moment, Gunn saying, "I knew about the tacos."

"She liked the sewers. Dark, cave-like, homey, she felt safe. I'll head down there," Angel said, looking expectantly at the others. In the other room Faith rolled her eyes as she bit into one of the last slices of pizza.

"She worked in the library," Wesley suggested, and the group nodded.

"And you people call yourselves detectives?" Faith called out loud, starting on another slice of pizza. The Angel Team turned to look at her silently, a mixture of emotions running across their faces. Faith shook her head, picking up the last slice of pizza as she said, "You just said there's something Fred doesn't like to be, especially out there."

"Alone," Cordelia said uncertain.

"Exactly," Faith said, taking the last slice into her mouth, while throwing the box on the table. "So what will she do?"

"Find someone?" Gunn asked, looking a little distasteful. "She's not you, Faith."

Faith rolled her eyes, swallowed away the last of the pizza and said, "For advice, comfort, somebody she trusts. Aside of us, who is the only person you taught her to trust, and has advice in his job description?"

"Lorne," Angel answered with tone that said, 'obvious'.

"We are stupid," Cordelia stated in epiphany.

"Duh," Faith told them. She looked over to the Burkles with distaste and suspicion, while fishing for pieces of food stuck between her teeth with her tongue and swallowing them away. "I'll bring Arch and Zoey home and then I'll meet you guys there ok?"

"Sure," Angel answered her, and the Angel Gang walked slightly embarrassed out of the office to go bring Fred's parents along to find Fred.

Faith, Archie and Zoey walked after them, got their coats from the rack and went to the back. Faith called out as they went to the back, "See you in a jiff, Mr. and Mrs. B." Once the three friends were in the back yard of the hotel - in the past adorned with a pool for the guests, but long gone - Faith got their bicycles and placed them on either side of her. She stretched out her arms and gestured for her friends. Faith closed her arms around them and asked, "Ready?"

Both of their eyes shone with anticipation. Zoey nodded, as Archie answered, "Born ready."

"Ok, then," Faith said, enveloping them and their bicycles with her chi and then slowly lifted into the air.


Faith rapidly slowed down and landed in the alley next to Caritas. She lazily jogged to the front of the building and arrived just as Angel and the rest came walking from the other side. The car parked out of sight.

"All right," Wesley said with the satisfaction that everyone was there. "Let's go in."

Inside Lorne watched the gang come in. The club was in shambles. Tables turned over and destroyed, part of the bar was obliterated, scorch marks everywhere and wooden boards covered holes in the walls. Lorne was holding a drink, and was wearing a bathrobe over a t-shirts. "Isn't this a lovely surprise," Lorne commented sarcastically as he watched the gang come in.

"He's surprised?" Cordelia asked as she watched Lorne's attire. "I didn't even know he owned terrycloth."

Lorne gave her a snide smile before he noticed Faith. "Well, look who we have here. Did you come for a drink, Faith? Or did you want to destroy my place a second time?"

Fred's parents looked at Faith. She shrugged and said, "I got in a fight."

"You started it," Lorne accused.

Faith ignored him and explained to the Burkles, "They were very bad people. Things would sooner or later have been worse if I hadn't stopped them."

"Faith," Wesley piped up, drawing the brunette's attention. "Perhaps you should wait outside."

"You know," Lorne added sarcastically. "I'm not entirely uncomfortable with that suggestion."

"Fine," Faith replied snidely, and walked out the door, putting her hands in the pockets of her pants.

"That really is Faith Williams, convicted murderer isn't it?" Roger asked with a frown as he saw Faith leave the club.

"She's done her time, judge let her out, she's a good guy now," Cordelia told them, somehow she didn't make it sound too convincing.

Gunn sounded more convincing when he added, "They #were# really bad people Faith fought. He's just still pissed over his club."

"What is this place anyway?" Trish asked out loud.

"Oh, you like it?" Lorne asked, sarcasm practically dripping from his horns, as he made a quick turn around gesturing the entire club. "I was going for Dresden-after-the-bombing kind of feel."

"So this is an actor on one of your films or something?" Roger asked skeptically. "Some guy in make-up and fake horns? How can he help us?"

Lorne was too pissed off to think completely straight, so he answered, "They're not fake . . ." Lorne was about to comment on the make-up, faltered and added, " . . . and it's only a little eyeliner."

"Lorne," Wesley started to get his attention. "Meet Mr. and Mrs. Burkle, Fred's parents." Wesley paused dramatically and added, "They're here visiting, from the country."

Roger was starting to get pissed off so he said, "Yeah, forgive us hicks from Texas. We've never seen guys who wear eyeliner, not for long anyway."

Cordelia tried to salvage the situation, "He's just teasing. He probably just got back from a shoot. He and Angel make monster movies together." She looked pointedly at Lorne and said with snap, "Right, Lorne?"

Lorne looked at his drink for a moment, looked back up and said, "Uh . . . no." Cordelia gave him the evil eye, as Angel walked up to him.

"Can we talk for a second?" Angel asked him and pulled Lorne aside.

The Burkles made themselves comfortable against the remains of the bar, and Trish spoke, "Some detectives. You have no idea where our daughter is, do you?" Cordelia, Gunn and Wesley gave each other a look, not quite sure how to answer that. On the one hand they were correct, on the other, they were sure Lorne knew where Fred was.

"Let's give 'em a chance, Trish," Roger soothed, but with an undercurrent of anger and distrust. "This is the first place we've gone looking."

Across the room Angel talked to Lorne. "Look, Lorne, I'm sorry about the bar, but we need help. Fred is missing."

"Oh, really," Lorne complained, looking around his bar. "Well, I'm not some mystical vending machine here to spit out answers every time you waltz in with a problem. I have feelings, I have a heart . . . granted it is located in my left butt cheek, but it is still a heart, and that heart is broken. I mean, why does someone who walks through that door never care about my destiny?" Angel folded his arms in impatience and annoyance, but Lorne continued onward. "You'd think for once in a life time someone would help me with my problems. But no, the powers - who turn out to be evil - decided to endow me with to ability to read destinies, and suddenly my destiny no longer matters. Destinies all around . . . except my own. Well, I'm important too."

Angel looked at him and prompted, "You know where she is don't ya?"

"And another thing. How uh . . ." Lorne continued, desperately grabbing for words that have nothing to do with Fred. "How do they remove the pits from those cherries in a jar? Do they do it one by one by hand? Because first, ew, not hygenic, and second that's seems time-consuming. Do they have a . . . de-pitting machine somewhere? Plop, plop . . . plop . . ." All through his speech Angel just looks at him, piercing Lorne's soul with his eyes, and eventually it payed off, Lorne has run out of steam. He sighed and said, "Fred doesn't want to see her parents, she has reasons. Why force a showdown when you don't have to?"

"Because it won't be over," Angel told Lorne, trying to get him to see his point of view. "Her parents found her before, they will again. At least this time we'll be there to protect her." Lorne shook his head, still not sure. "Please . . . tell me where Fred is," Angel pleaded. Lorne looked down, Angel forced himself to look up in his eyes and added, "I know you're not a slot machine."

"Vending machine, you big dumb ass," Lorne sighed. "Ok, but Angel, I know it isn't your strong suit, it's none of yours really, but do this very gently, all right, bro? Because it's gonna get messy."


Outside Faith leaned against the wall and muttered to herself, "Stupid Lorne. Ok, fine, I blew up his bar. Great, he can be angry a little." She looked up at the stars, and noticed they weren't visible with all the light from the city, and sighed. "But come on, how long did he think that no-demon-violence spell would last. Sooner or later they would have made lunch out of him . . . well, at least those who know the difference between demons and souls that is. Damn it." Faith sighed again, "I should have done it in disguise."

Then the Fang Gang and Fred's parents came outside in a hurry. "She's at the bus station, she wants to leave," Angel told Faith and she fell into step with the group as they headed for the car.


"I can do this. Sure I can," Fred muttered to herself sitting on a bench, in front of some plants growing in a concrete enclosure in the middle of the bus station lobby. To her right a homeless person sat staring ahead of himself. "I'll get on that bus, and go somewhere I've never been. No money, no job, no friends. Easy as pie. 3 point 1415926 . . ." The homeless man got up off the couch and walked away from her. "Oh, hey! I was calculating Pi to relax," she tried to explain to the man, but he continued to walk away. "I'm not dangerous or anything," she tried one last time. The man continued onward. Fred said still, thinking and then continued to babble to herself, "I could go to Vegas. Learn to play blackjack. Memorize 452 consecutive digits of Pi, a few measly cards should be easy. Ace, king, queen, jack . . ."

To Fred's left her parents walked past, going to the ticket window, Fred noticed them. "No," she said out loud. Her parents recognized her voice instantly and they turned around.

"Fred!?" Trish asked, as she and her husband walked toward Fred.

Fred got up and walked around the plants, "No, you are not them."

"Honey, please, it's mom and dad," Roger tried as the couple followed their daughter.

"No, you can't be them, you can't see me, because they don't know," Fred said, starting to cry, panicking. The Angel Team looked in as they arrived on the scene. Everyone was rather surprised. This didn't seem like a daughter meeting abusive parents. Fred continued, crying, "Because if you can see me than it's all real, and it isn't real, it was just a story book with monsters . . . and in another world."

"Fred, everything's all right," her mother tried, pain for her daughter etched in her face.

"No, I was five years . . . and so lost. . ." Fred faltered for a moment crying. "And at night I would . . . I was all alone and you weren't there."

"Fred, I don't understand," Roger asked anguish on his face.

Fred cried, and continued babbling, "I got lost . . . I got lost and they did terrible things to me, but it wasn't real. But if you're here, and you see me . . . than it's real . . . it's real and it did happen. If you've seen what they made of me. I didn't mean to get so lost."

Trish and Roger took Fred in their arms, hugging her. Trish soothing Fred, "Oh, honey, it doesn't matter what they did to you."

"Mommy," Fred whimpered crying on her mother's shoulder, Roger's arms around both of them.

"We're going to make it all right."

Fred continued crying and whimpering, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I got so lost." The Angel Team almost felt dirty watching the scene, but they didn't have much of a choice, so they just looked left and right, up and down, found something very interesting on their fingers, but still they could hear and see most of it.

"It doesn't matter, you're our little girl," Roger told her, heartbroken.

"I missed you so much," Fred cried.

"Everything's okay now," Roger told Fred full of confidence he could protect his daughter now that they had found her again. "You'll see. You're safe now." Fred started a tentative smile.

Of course, one should never tempt a fate governed by evil gods like that. A hideous insectoid monster dropped from the ceiling hissing and screeching. The trio of daughter and parents backed away and Roger said, "Please tell me that's from the movies."

"No," Cordelia said as the Angel Team spread out some getting ready to tackle the beast. "That's something that's going to kill us."

Faith stepped forward and pulled the Burkles behind her as she said, "More like die trying. Everybody get out."

"Faith . . ." Wesley started, but Angel interrupted him.

"She's right, everybody out. We can handle this," Angel said as he stood next to Faith.

The group of people ran out the bus station. Outside they crossed a street and reached a pillar, while Cordelia called out, "All our weapons are still at the hotel."

"They said they could handle . . ." Gunn said, as they turned around at the pillar. Angel and Faith came flying through the door shattering wood and glass and landed in a heap of tangled arms and legs in front of them. " . . . it," Gunn finished looking at the pair.

"Damn it. Stupid, Xander told me not to underestimate anyone," Faith's muffled voice came from underneath Angel. "Get off me, Angel."

"I'm trying," he answered, struggling to disentangle himself.

Wesley was ready with a piece of knowledge, "Insects can often carry many times their own weight, that thing's weight, and demon enhanced . . ."

"No demon," Faith sounded, and the group of people looked down to the pile of living and undead flesh, Angel's vamped out face became visible for a moment.

The insect came walking out. "Maybe there's some weapons in the trunk," Wesley told the others, pointing back in the direction of the car. "I'll see if I can hold it off for a while." The group minus Wesley, Angel and Faith - who were still disentangling themselves - ran off in the direction of the car. Wesley attacked, ducking underneath a swipe and placing a punch in the things gut - at least Wesley thought it was its gut - without too much effect.

Meanwhile the rest of the group was running to the car. "What happened to his face?" Roger asked.

"Angel's a vampire. He's got a soul though . . . long story," Cordelia explained them as they passed another pillar. Gunn noticed a golf back and several other sports equipment standing there.

"Here," he said, opening the golf bag and giving it to Cordelia who picked out an iron golf club, and gave it to Fred before picking one out for herself. Gunn found a long bow with arrows for himself.

Back at the cockroach, Wesley flew around the monster and kicked it in the back of the head. It seemed to do more damage that the punch to the gut. Faith managed to sit up, and look at Wesley - as Angel struggled to his hands and knees. Before now, she had only seen Wesley as some form of watcher and during training had looked at his technique only. But now that she saw his entire package in action - flying around, weaving around the insect's swipes and landing some blows of his own - she saw him in a different light. *Whoa, Wes is hot!* she thought, eyes wide for a moment, feeling familiar tingles run through her body. *Not now!* she admonished herself, as she got to her feet.

Wesley's luck ran out and with one swipe of the thing's paw Wesley was flung back and crashed against the pillar, dropping back to the ground unconscious. Faith was just standing, saying, "Wes!" The momentary distraction was enough for the insect to hit her and send her flying backward through the air. Then it moved its spiked front feet down to impale Angel, but he managed to role aside just in time.

"All right, freak, take this," Gunn's voice sounded and let an arrow fly as Angel got away from the insect. The arrow embedded in the insect's chest, but only enraged it. It charged forward and knocked Gunn aside. The insect turned around facing Angel, who just got up and impaled the vampire on both its front feet which also went straight through the metal of the bus behind Angel.

Fred decided to step in and smack the golf club twice on the thing's head. It screeched, and removed one of its paws from Angel. It swung its freed front paw at Fred, and kicked out with one of its four other legs. The front paw grazed the arrow and pulled it out, some of the pink goop that could be the thing's blood swung from the arrow and landed on Fred's shirt. It turned back and re-empaled Angel. Cordelia tried the same on the other side, but ended up with the same results: kicked aside with one of the four back legs, and her lying on the ground a few feet away moaning at her stomach.

"Hey, that's my daughter!" Roger called out running forward with a trash can above his head. "Cockroach!" he added and smashed into the insect with the can. The thing removed itself from Angel and swiped Roger aside with a glancing blow. Fred had gotten up with some difficulty and was ready to attack it again, but the thing focused on her. Angel ran and dove, pushing Fred aside, him getting the brunt of the swing.

The insect was about to go after them when Faith flew in and kicked the thing in its side on the shoulder. Too afraid she wouldn't be able to stop in time if one of her friends got in the way, Faith hadn't gone all out, and instead of going straight through the insect, the kick only made it stagger back and caused a quickly forming bruise. Angel took the opportunity to jump on its back and wrap his arms around its torso, pinning its arms.

Faith had formed a small yellow disc of energy in her hand, ready to use it to decapitate the monster. "Damn it, Angel. Get off it, or I'll kill you too!" she called in frustration, as Roger looked at the glowing disc in astonishment.

"Easier said than done!" Angel called holding on for dear life. Suddenly the insect twisted viciously loosening the vampire and following up with an uppercut that sent Angel flying through the air. "Perhaps not," Angel groaned out before crashing into a bus. The insect immediately went after Angel, screeching out its anger.

"All right," Faith said, swinging her arm back, ready to throw the small destructo disc. Just then a bus came driving at high speed, crashed into the insect, and it splattered under the impact. Shortly after the bus came to a stop with screeching tires.

Faith looked astonished, letting the energy of the disc disappear back into her body. Wesley staggered up from behind and placed a hand on Faith's shoulder for support as he held his back with his other arm. A jolt ran through Faith's body at his touch. He commented, "Ok. That's one way of doing it."

"Fuck," Gunn commented staggering back to his feet. "Now that's a road kill I don't mind seeing more often."

The group went as quickly as they could to the bus. Trish came out of it and yelled out euphorically, "Did I get it? Did I get y'all?" The Angel Team gave each other a dumbfounded look.


Cordelia was busy tending to Fred's wounds. Roger and Trish were hovering over their little girl. "I guess you do a lot of bandaging in your line of work?" Roger asked intrigued at Cordelia's expert ministration. Around the lobby the rest of the Angel Team was sitting somewhere waiting.

"Occupational hazzard. On occasion you get the demon that wants to kill you with fluffy pillows - suffocating is not fun by the way - but sadly they are few and far between," Cordelia answered with a smile.

"And him, he was a demon?" Roger asked, pointing at the severed head, covered in some pink crystals that Fred recognized from the sewer.

Cordelia looked at it and told him, "I think Angel called it a Durslar beast. Angel and Fred tracked it down when they went for ice cream."

Roger asked his daughter with pride in his voice, "You know how to track these things?"

"No," Fred answered forlorn. "Mostly I was just there for the ice cream.

"Did you have to bring that up? It gives me the willies," Trish spoke looking squishy at the head.

"Don't be so whiny, Trish. It's just a severed head," Roger explained.

Faith sniggered from the side, stealing a look at Wesley who was leaning on the counter. "You make bug paste with a bus, but you get the willies from an already dead head?" she joked.

"Done," Cordelia said, and gestured for Fred to go sit somewhere else. "Next up: multiple stab wounds, Angel."

"My turn," Angel said far too happily. Like a big kid he jumped off his seat, quickly ran over, and placed himself on the green circular couch.

"You're such a dork," Cordelia commented at the smiling Angel.

Fred and Trish placed themselves on stools at the counter. "How does it feel?" Wesley asked.

Fred grinned, showing the bandaged arm and saying, "Like a giant bug tried to rip off my arm and you guys saved me."

"They do that a lot, don't they?" Roger asked with a happy tone from his position next to Angel.

"Yeah, it's their job," Fred said, and turned around. "Angel is the Champion, Wesley is the brains of the operation, Gunn's the muscle, Cordelia's the heart, Faith . . . well, she's new, I haven't figured out exactly her designation. But she's the Slayer, the Chosen One, scourge to the demons, protector of mankind, and a one-woman army." Each of them smiled at Fred's description of them. "And I'm . . ."

"And to think, we were ready to call the police on a bunch of super heroes," Roger said, looking at his wife and pointing at Angel.

Angel was a little embarrassed and said humbly, "I don't know about hero."

"More like blood-sucking fiend," Gunn supplied with a grin.

Roger looked at Angel and told him, "I don't care if you drink cow's blood, pig's blood or those fluffy imported beers. All I know is, you saved my little girl."

"I wouldn't have had to if she hadn't wacked that thing with a golf club," Angel told him with a smile.

"Let me tell ya," Roger told everyone, pride in his voice. "I haven't seen a stroke like that since Niklaus took on Gary Player in the '63 Bob . . ."

Halfway the word 'Bob', Angel fell in line, and they finished the sentence together, "Bob Hope Desert Classic." The two looked at each other and laughed at the shared moment as they clasped hands.

"I wanna go home," Fred suddenly said. She stood up from her stool as everyone looked at her in surprise. "I'm not cut out for this. If Angel and Faith hadn't gotten to me in time, you'd be visiting me in the morgue. I'd like to go home, where monsters don't eat your family." Fred looked around and finally asked of her parents, "You're not disappointed in me, are you?"


Cordelia and Trish sat on the couch, talking, waiting for Fred and Angel to come back down from packing her bags. "Rog likes those Alien movies, with the slime and guts, and welgh. Well, except that last one they made. I just can't believe it's all real."

"Not every alien is a slimy monster out to eat you, you know. Lorne is an alien . . . okay, maybe not so good an example, he usually is slimy, a good kind of slimy, talking that is, not actual slime," Cordelia tried to say, worming herself into more difficult positions. She shook her head, "My ex-boyfriend is an alien, kinda like Superman, although I think he'd beat the crap out of Superman. He's the guy that stopped the asteroid."

"Really, are they, uh . . .?" Trish asked, with a knowing grin.

Cordelia laughed and answered, "I don't know, I never got that far. I caught him cheating."

Trish grinned, "So alien men are just as bad as ours."

Cordelia looked back at where Roger would be, then back to Trish, "He . . .?"

"Oh, no," Trish said shaking her head and smiling. "Never actually, but he likes to flirt with cute young things though." Cordelia nodded understanding, smiling back.

Faith, Roger, Wesley and Gunn came walking in. Roger carrying the contraption Cordelia had walked into earlier. "Hey, honey come look at this. Fred made this," Roger said with a proud smile.

"We think it's a weapon inspired by the medieval catapult," Wesley explained, his hands in his pocket. "Designed for serious injury if not outright decapitation."

"Or it makes toast," Roger added with a grin.

"Or it makes toast," Wesley confirmed with one of his own.

Angel and Fred came down the stairs and Trish got up. "Oh, honey, did you get everything packed? What about that shirt with bug guts on it? You did throw it out right?"

"Actually," Fred said with a smile. "I kind of thought I'd bring it with me, bug guts and all, kinda like a souvenir."

"That's my girl," Roger said with a wide grin, as Trish's face crunched up in disgust.

Fred looked at the assembled crew with a sad smile and then said, "Oh, hell." She ran down the last few stairs, telling her parents, "I mean 'heck'," and hugged Gunn. Then did the same with Wesley, before going over to Cordelia.

Whispering, Cordelia told her, "Between you and me, I'm almost a little jealous." Fred smiled at that.

Fred turned to Faith, the two of them stood across from each other awkwardly, Faith giving Fred a warning glare. Fred understood; Faith didn't hug. Fred raised her hand and they shook hands. "I really don't like you going, Fred," Faith told her with a smile. "Who's going to help me with my homework?" Fred smiled, and they broke the handshake. "Ah, hell," Faith said suddenly and hugged the diminutive girl fiercely.

"Now we know where she got the bad language from," Trish said jokingly.

Fred grinned at that and then whispered, "Faith, need to breathe." Faith embarrassedly let her go. Fred went to the last person in line: Angel. "Angel, thank you," Fred told him sincerely. "For everything."

"Goodbye, Fred," Angel told her. Then he and the gang watched her and her parents leave.


A short while later all five of them were sitting leisurely in Wesley's office. "Do you know who I'm going to miss?" Cordelia asked first.

"Fred," Wesley answered with a small smile.

"Actually, I was going to say Fred's parents," Cordelia replied lazily. "Is that bad?"

Angel smiled, his feet propped up on a foot bench in front of him. "I don't think so. They were nice."

Cordelia looked at him incredulously, "Nice? They weren't just nice, they were . . ."

"Parents," Gunn supplied, then everybody nodded in agreement.

Wesley started talking, a little in thought, "They loved her, supported her. They didn't grind her down in a self-conscious nub with their constant berating and their never-ending tirade of debasement and scorn and . . ." Wesley stopped as he noticed people were looking surprised and intrigued at him. He slowly leaned back in his chair.

"Well, I'm jealous," Faith stated bluntly from her chair in a corner. The gang looked at her. "I constantly wonder how I would have turned out had I had parents like that, instead of . . . you know."

"The same way as you are now, Faith, a force for good," Angel stated looking deeply in Faith's eyes conveying his emotions. "The road to it would just have been a little less rockier."

Faith blinked, smiling at him, thanking him for the words without saying a word. "More like a whole lot less rockier," Cordelia corrected, smiling a little. "For all of us, except Gunn here." Gunn grinned, then they all joined in.

"Well, now she has at least a shot at normal life," Cordelia asserted a little shallowly. "Not that I don't love you guys, or LA or my work, but . . . things are just never normal around here, you know?"

"She was so smart," Wesley reflected.

"I'm going to miss her," Angel replied, looking whimsically forward. "She was this nice quiet kind of crazy. I found her soothing."

"And what?" Cordelia retorted a little insulted. "I'm not soothing? I could sooth your ass off, pal."

"Cordy," Faith answered her with a smile. "I think usually soothing means nothing comes off, especially not your ass." Then Faith leered at the other woman and added, "Of course if you want off, I can get you off. It'll definitely be soothing." Cordelia widened her eyes at Faith, mouth open trying to come up with an answer, but anger and shock preventing her. The rest of the gang looked at her with raised eyebrows. "Relax," Faith told them, using her hands to gesture putting it aside. "Just kidding." The group laughed. Faith stole a quick look at Cordelia, while she laughed.

"I'm glad she's gone," Cordelia told them almost snidely. "It's gonna be a load off not having to worry about crazy taco lady anymore."

Everybody was silent for a few moments, and then Angel told them, "She'll come back to visit."

"You really think so?" Cordelia asked immediately, a big smile on her face, hope in her eyes.

"Now that we are sitting here," Wesley began, sitting up straight, and looking at Faith. "What did you mean with 'not a demon', Faith?"

"The insect was not a demon," Faith started to explain, sitting up straight. "There was something odd about it though, as if it didn't belong here. I've been giving it a lot of thought; Xander said he had found all the things that came through the gate Glory opened, but I'm guessing he missed one." The group thought about it for a while and suddenly Faith jerked, looking toward the lobby. "Oh, shit," she said with dread.

The group turned to look but saw nothing. Faith got up and she let her chi flame burst into existence, careful not to make a mess with it. She quickly walked to the doorway to the lobby and the Angel Team stood up to follow her, looking at the lobby. For a few seconds nothing happened, then, with a screech, a bug entered the lobby through the front door. "What the hell does it take to kill it?" Gunn exclaimed with irritation and fear. "If a bus can't kill it, what can?"

"They are not the same one," Faith answered grimly.

"They?" Angel asked, just before a lot of pinkish glowing bug eyes appeared in the windows.

Cordelia took a step back in fear and tod them, "We are so incredibly dead."

Faith smirked, two energy balls formed at her hands. "No, we're not. Say Angel, how much do you like the lobby, or for that matter the hotel." The bug took a few tentative steps further into the lobby, its head turned toward them.

The team looked at Faith, and swallowed something away. Angel replied, "Gravity Gym. Thirty-five million dollars."

"Right," Faith said with disappointment, the energy balls growing smaller. "Get the weapons, in case some slip by me . . ." Angel stepped next to her, obviously intending to fight them as well. " . . . and Angel." The others nodded. Faith and Angel quickly jumped forward, as they others broke for the weapons' locker. Four more of the things came through the windows, three of them headed to help the first one, while the fourth headed for Angel.

Four of the insects were heading straight for Faith. They crowded her quickly, making sure she couldn't put distance between herself her friends and the insects. Faith became frustrated as she realized these things effectively kept her from using her energy balls. One, they would hurt herself. Two, the balls needed to be powerful enough to harm the insects and this close they would probably hurt her friends as well. These things were smart, real smart. Too smart a voice in the back of her head told her. But she didn't have time to contemplate it. One insect struck out with its pointed paw, and Faith grabbed it. The insect screeched as she picked it up and crashed into one of its fellow insects.

To her right Angel was fighting his own insect and it deftly avoided one of his flying kicks, but he got it in the head as he twisted around in the air. Another insect knocked itself in Angel's back while he was still flying and he crashed to the floor. The first quickly stood above him and struck its paws down. Angel twisted out of the way of the first, and grabbed the second, which sent a jolt of pain through his arm. He was certain if the thing had been any stronger it would have dislocated his arm. "Help me! Who's got my back?" Angel asked as he saw the second insect standing over him as well.

"I do!" Fred's loud voice sounded from the front entrance, her parents standing on either side of her. Angel twisted his head to look at her. Faith did the same, she was about to smash her fist through the head of one of the insects. The others, who were fighting their own insects looked up as well. Fred placed her decapitator slash toaster on the ground, aimed it at the counter, and smashed her foot on the trigger. The axe suddenly flew through the air, swiveling end over end, and then sliced through the forehead of the Durslar beast's severed head. The head sploshed open, and lots of small insects came crawling out of its interior.

For a moment everyone stayed still, one of the insects above Angel looking at Fred and then at the skull. It screeched then, and the insects backed off from the people of Angel Investigations. The group of humans looked astonished as the insect that had screeched quickly walked over to the skull and picked it up. The insects that had landed outside of the skull crawled up the big bug and stayed there. Then the bug turned around and ran out the hotel, the other insects following its example.

"So, #not# a toaster," Gunn said with a confused frown, as he, Faith, Wesley and Cordelia walked to the center of the lobby. Fred and her parents came to the middle as well.

"Fred, how did you . . ." Angel started.

Fred interrupted him exited, "The crystals we saw in the sewer. They were on the Durslar head too. At first I thought they came from the Durslar, but then I saw this. Daddy." Fred turned around and Roger handed her the souvenir shirt with hardened Bug slime: crystals. "Those crystals are dried-up blood goop. It must have laid its eggs in the Durslar's head. Which is why the Durslar came out. Wouldn't you be crazy if you head eggs in your head? I know I would." Fred walked toward the counter where the head was and said, "That would all be the birds and the bees except Angel killed the Durslar and brought the head here. So the bug tracked him down to get the babies back."

Wesley caught on, "So when Trish killed the mother . . ."

"Or Father," Fred interrupted with a smile. "I think it might be a hive species. Gender neutral, but I would have to do some research to back that up."

". . .The whole hive showed up to reclaim its offspring," Wesley finished his observation. "Brilliant deduction, Fred."

Fred smiled self-consciously, her parents gave each other a proud look. "Not to mention that axe thingy, tight."

"Well that, that was just a random thought, I had," Fred answered humbly. "I thought what if you had to do battle with your arms cut off. Sure, you'd hemorrhage to death pretty quick, but at least ya could take your enemy with ya."

"Nice going, Fred," Angel told her.

"Oh, it was nothing," she answered swinging her arms left and right like a little kid.

Faith piped up then, "Haven't you guys noticed something?" The group looked at her. "Don't you think they were a little too intelligent? They kept me from utilizing my energy attacks, they isolated us quickly, and I think the others obeyed the orders of the one that got the babies."

They looked at her and Wesley asked, "What are you getting at Faith?"

"I think they're sentient, Wes. As in, not animals, as in, perhaps we can communicate with them," Faith explained, looking around the room half expecting to blast the idea away, but it seemed everybody was thinking the thought over. Perhaps there was more to her idea than she thought.

Cordelia was the one who blasted the last part of her idea, "And how do you propose to do that, oh, miss 'I kick butt'? It isn't exactly like we can talk 'screech'."

"Well, I can, I liked 'Saved . . .'" Fred looked at the looks pointed at her. "Oh, wait, bug speech, right," she realized embarrassedly.

Faith looked at Cordelia and told her, "Well, you're the telepathic one."

Cordelia blinked, and then screamed out, "YOU WANT ME TO CRAWL INTO A BUG'S MIND AND SEE IF I CAN COMMUNICATE WITH IT!?" Faith nodded. "Oh, no! No way, not in a million years."

"Fine, don't," Faith told her. Then added after sighing, "It's not fair really. Here we are, two people with sacred duties, no way to run away from the responsibility, and there you are; no sacred duty. You can just chuck it in whenever you don't like things. 'Screw it, who cares,' you say. And leave us with the sacred duties hanging high and dry. I understand, I'd do the same thing." Faith added another dramatic sigh, and sat down on the couch dejectedly.

"Oh, no!" Cordelia told her with a huff. "You're not using the guilt trip on me. It won't work! I . . ." Cordelia paused, looking at Faith. She then cursed in defeat, "Bitch." Faith looked up at her smiling, the rest of them smiled at Cordelia as well, who crossed her arms in irritation.

"Well," Fred called out, directing the attention back to her. "Now that Faith's rude interruption is over, I can continue with saying that I've had a revelation as to my path in life."

"Come again, honey?" Roger asked.

"Look," Fred started turning to her parents and walking to them. "I can go home with you and pretend the last five years didn't happen. I could even pretend to have a normal life. But the truth is, I'm not normal any more." She pauzed her parents looked at each other for a moment. Fred continued is, "I guess what I'm getting at is, I missed you both so bad . . . but I belong here." Fred turned around, facing the Angel gang, and added uncertain, "Unless I don't, which if you all don't want to put up with me . . ."

Wesley stood up from the couch smiling, saying, "Let's vote. All in favor say aye. Aye. Motion passed. Good, you're staying." The rest of the gang smiled, glad with the decision their leader had made.

"Mama. Daddy," Fred said looking from one parent to the other. "This is my life now."

Their parents smiled and Trish said, "We were kind of hoping you would figure that out."

Roger added, "Of course we will have to stick around for a couple of weeks."

Fred smiled, "Daddy."

Roger smiled correcting himself, "Days. You know. Just to get catch up, get reacquainted. And to make sure you are positive about your decision."

Fred melted into her father's chest with relief and said, "Oh, I know I'm positive."


Las Vegas, Ceasar's Palace Casino Hotel
That same night

With a brutal thrust the dark purple demon thrust his big cock into the small asshole once again. It tore at the flesh of the dry hole, making it bleed even more than it already did. The demon - spikes on his head, back, chest and shoulders, vicious long teeth in his mouth and a very long tongue that hang from his mouth as he drooled with pleasure - gleefully continued his savage fucking. The pain was excruciating to the girl, so it was no wonder that Harmony moaned out her pleasure with every savage thrust, upon which she bucked back. She was a vampire after all, and a rough painful fuck was just what she loved. She was bent over, leaning on the bed, while the demon lord held her long blond tresses gleefully with its right claw, yanking on it viciously with every one of his thrusts. His left claw was roughly caressing Harmony's left breast, drawing blood where his nails dug into her skin.

The demon gasped, and with one final brutal thrust he came, shooting a green semen up into Harmony's anal passage. The soothing yet biting sensation of the sperm coating her bleeding insides sent Harmony over her own edge. Screaming with pain and pleasure she came, her anus milking the demon dry. Only after almost half a minute did the demon stagger back from her, pulling his penis from her ass. Harmony collapsed on the bed, dizzy with satisfaction, curling up like a satisfied cat. A little sperm oozed from her anus. "Mmm, that was gooood," she moaned, opening her eyes and looking around.

The four-poster bed she was on was in the middle of the red and orange hued room. A television was in front of it, a doorway led to the rest of the hotel room that was bigger than most people's apartments. But then, this was the demon lord's permanent home. Several windows lined the wall behind her, long drapes hanging in front of it. Lazily Harmony turned around, sitting on her naked, slightly bleeding, but already healing ass, causing a few pleasurable painful jolts to shoot through her body, as the sperm inside her oozed in different directions and touching her bleeding insides. She leaned back on her hands, thus displaying her tits. For a moment she hung her head back, her hair almost reaching the bed, and then she put her chin on her collar bone and purred, "You're good. Very good. Almost good enough to do it for free, but that wouldn't be professional of me."

The demon was basking in his accomplishment, looking at the well-fucked vampire whore in front of him, until he heard her words. He laughed hard at them and told Harmony, "I do not pay, period. Us higher up demons get everything free, and whoever disagrees dies."

Harmony smiled at him, and said sweetly, "That may work on the rest of Vegas, baby, but not me. You pay up, which means either one of three things. Money, free shopping, or . . ." Harmony sat up straighter, " . . . tell me about the demons who are above you."

"Listen to me very carefully, whore . . ." the demon started, pointing angry at her.

Harmony interrupted him, "Whore madam."

". . . the only reason why you're not dead yet is because you are fantastic at sex, #slut#," the demon told her with barely contained anger. "I would have killed anyone else by now."

Harmony smiled at the compliments, before getting up angry. "Listen, buster. I don't care about your little power trip. You will pay up, one way or the other." The fist struck her in the jaw and she staggered back.

"I gave you a chance," the demon told her enraged.

Harmony vamped out and pounced on him. Unaccustomed to anyone having the gal to attack him, and surprised at the Hellmouth enhanced speed of the vampire, he didn't move. Harmony sank her fangs in his throat as they went down to the ground and drank. And drank. She didn't stop until she felt his body slacken and lose strength, his struggles had been far too ineffective to get the vampire of him. She pulled her fangs from his throat and pronounced, "Mmm, sweet strawberry flavored blood. All the other demons I've tasted taste disgusting, but you, almost as good as the real thing."

"H-how . . ." the demon croaked out in shock.

"Hellmouth born and raised, baby," Harmony whispered to him before sinking her fangs back into his throat to drain him dry.

Once she finished the last of his blood Harmony got up, licking a little excess blood from her lips. "Damn," she cursed looking at the demon lord's dead body. "Fuck it, he was supposed to tell where the big guy was. Hmm, what would happen if I tried to turn him? Perhaps I can get some of my blood down its throat."

With a crash the door was broken down, and through the doorway to the rest of the room, Harmony looked at a big burly demon. He saw the dead body and looked up at her. "I knew there was something wrong, YOU BITCH!" Harmony was about to answer when five more burly body guard demons joined the first. After seeing the body all seemed to get very angry.

"Hey, six to one, that isn't fair," Harmony tried but all six of them advanced on the bedroom and thus her. "Shit, just great," Harmony cursed and turned around, looking around the room. She grinned and told herself, "If it works once." She ran to the window, grabbed her pumps off the floor along the way, then grabbed her black dress of the stair next to the window and jumped through the window and the drapes. The glass shattered, and she looked downward. "AAAAAHH!" she screamed as she realized her mistake. This room was considerably higher up than the one back at her whore house. Six stories in fact. The fall probably wouldn't kill her barring very bad luck, but it would most certainly harm her enough that she wouldn't be able to escape her pursuers. Instinctively she grabbed around with her free hand and found the last edge of the drapes that were flowing outside of the room. She grabbed them, and the drapes moved downward with her. There was a jerk, and then - unseen by Harmony - the rail the drapes were fastened to was ripped from the wall as it couldn't hold her weight. The jerk made her lose her grip, and as the rail dropped, the opposite drape of the one she was holding lowered. Just enough for her flailing hand to get a hold off. With a clang the rail dropped further out of the room, before one curve hooked behind bottom of the window still. Harmony held on for dear unlife as she fell further down, the drapes untangling. Then even the curve hooked in the window still gave, and it plunged downward.

"IIIIEEEEEHHH!!!" Harmony screamed, swinging the hand holding the drape back and forth. The rail turned, then swung toward the building. It crashed through a window, the remaining curve hooked to the new window still. This curve held slightly longer as the first and drapes swung Harmony back toward the building. With the kind of luck only children, the stupid and ships named Enterprise could possess, Harmony slammed through a window, instead of against the wall. She flew through the air of the lavish bathroom, smacked with her side right in the stone raising of the bathtub and tumbled forward, up and over and landed on her ass in the bathroom.

She shook her head, and heard two children crying and whimpering behind her. She turned around and saw two children, not more then ten years old. One of them was bent over the edge of the big bath tub she had sailed over, a big powerful green demon sat behind her. It was obvious the demon was taking the girl from behind. As Harmony's gaze went higher, she realized the demon was just jerking and spasming, and not in an orgasmic kind of way. It became apparent the demon #had# #been# raping the child, for a large piece of glass had sliced the demon's head neatly through the middle. It was still stuck, purple brain matter and blood dripping down on the demon's rump and the girl's back. The girl slowly stopped her crying and screaming as it noticed the demon was no longer raping her savagely. She turned her head around and looked with the same stunned silenced at the split head as Harmony and the other girl. The second girl blinked and started pulling the first one free.

Disinterested Harmony pulled the dress over her head. It was black, flimsy, lung around her neck, leaving her back bare and ended just under her ass. Thus it was both slutty, stylish and classy all at the same time; in short it was Harmony. As Harmony got up the whimpering girl was finally free. The demon corpse was not longer supported by the girl and slumped forward, its legs slid backward, and thus the corpse splashed in the water before the impaled head crashed on the edge of the bath.

The second girl - the girl that hadn't been raped yet - managed to get her wits about her. "Thanks lady," she said before looking up at Harmony's face.

"Oh, shut up," Harmony snapped in irritation, the girl flinched back at Harmony's vamped out face. "If I didn't prefer something to hold onto during sex, and if I wasn't full I'd either fuck you two or drain you dry." Her frustration vented she sighed, figuring the bodyguards were still several floors up, she started to put on her shoes when the bathroom door was broken down. Six bodyguard demons and a demon that seemed more of a secretary looked from her to the dead body and back again. "Uhm, this one was an accident?" Harmony tried.

The secretary's face suddenly contorted in anger. "KILL HER!!" he screamed, stepping aside and the bodyguards surged one by one through the door.

"Shit!" Harmony squeaked, turned around and ran. "Three times' a charm," she muttered as she stepped up on the tiled raising in which the bath was laid in, and dove out the shattered window.

The body guards watched her jump, pauzed. The executive demon screamed, "LET'S GO. ELEVATOR!" The demons rushed, leaving the two girls alone with the dead demon.

The girl that had been being raped sat crying, the other one still had some of her wits about her and realized they had an opportunity. She put some water in her hands and cleaned the blood of the other's back, and then got up, urging the other girl who sluggishly obeyed, "Come on. We can escape."

Harmony landed on top of the drapes. "Fuck!" she cursed as the jolt of the impact went through her body. She quickly ran up the parking lot toward her car. She looked back and to her surprise saw hordes of demons come running out of the casino. "What the hell?" she squeaked out. "This is not good." She reached her car a minute later. She jumped inside, dumping the shoes in the passenger seat. She gunned the engine, put her in reverse and drove backward out of the filled parking lot. She turned left and looked back at what had to be a hundred demons looking at her only a few meters behind the car. She grinned evilly, put the transmission to one and drove away calmly.

"NOOO!! SHE'S GETTING AWAY!!" the executive screamed out his frustration.

"Ah, fuck, let her," one demon stated with frustration. "She drained Asnyr, big shot, but he isn't worth chasing her for." Most of all the other demons turned to him and looked in a mixture of horror and disbelief.


Harmony's sensitive vampire hearing picked up his tirade and as a grin lit up her demon face, she slammed on the breaks. She drove backward, so she was closer to the horde of demons. She got up out of her seat, climbed in the back seat, and asked them, pointing at the hotel, "The guy in the bathtub was the leader guy? The master of Las Vegas? The one on top?"

The executive shook with building anger, his body almost vibrating. The rest of the demons looked at her with disbelief. "Yes, of course," one of them said.

"Great! Mission accomplished," Harmony told them with a big grin on her face. "This changes things, plan fulfilled. Since I killed the top dog, you must now obey me. I'm your queen now, you can call me Queen H." Harmony looked at the demons, first they were incredulous and then slowly anger built. Harmony's smile faltered as she said, "Uh, you guys are my minions now? Bow down, kneel, and worship the ground beneath my feet?"

The executive exploded with unrestrained fury, "GET HER!! KILL HER!! AND TEAR HER LIMB FROM LIMB!! HUNT HER DOWN TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!!!" The horde of demons surged forward. With a look of shock and fear Harmony turned around, jumped in the driver's seat and drove off with screeching tires. The horde of demons turned to the cars in the parking lot to use in pursuit.

The executive finally cooled down enough to do more than scream and vibrate in anger and was about to join the rest of the posse, when somebody tapped his shoulder. "Uh," the demon said, and the executive turned around to look up at him. "Vampires turn to dust when you kill them," the demon explained the executive. "You can't tear them limp from live afterward. Would you like us to do it before we kill her?"

"I DON'T CARE!! JUST MAKE SURE SHE'S DEAAAAAAD!!!" the executive roared out, his head shaking from left to right with his rage.

Harmony drove along the road with high speed, in the mirror she saw a giant amount of cars tearing out of the hotel parking lot and coming after her. "Damn it! This isn't supposed to happen," Harmony said out loud. "Make a note, if some people consider someone a prophet and savior, do not claim you wanted to kill him and demand they kneel down and worship you. They'll get pissed off." Harmony went around a corner with a hand break turn, tires screeching. "What do I do now!?"


The sewers of LA
One night later

"Couldn't we have gone to a less smelly part?" Cordelia complained as they trudged through the dark tunnels.

"It's the sewers," Fred told her with a smile. "There isn't a less smelly part."

Cordelia sighed with resignation, as the group rounded a corner, Faith ahead of everyone else. Faith pointed and said, "There they are." The group looked and saw the hive of the insects. There must have been somewhere between thirty and fifty of them in a partially transformed sewer system.

"Cordy," Wesley said softly. "Do your thing."

Cordelia groaned and walked to the front of the group. *Hello,* she beamed out. *Anyone of you can hear me by any chance.*

*We can,* a voice answered and one bug lowered herself from the ceiling and rapidly skittered over to Cordelia. *Hello.*

"Eek! Ick! Eew!" Cordelia shouted out in surprise looking at the big bug standing in front of her.

*Exactly the way we feel about you, mammals,* the bug answered looking at Cordelia with icky bug eyes, but with intelligence in them.

"Hey, Cordy," Angel whispered for the side, "Could you make your side of the conversation audible."

Cordy threw him a dark look and spoke to the bug, "You think us icky?"

*Indeed,* the answer came, there was a hint of suspicion and fear in them. *You are all squishy and sloshy, and we've seen a mammal birth, all covered in goop and flesh and fluids.*

Cordelia realized she was talking with them more in ideas than in actual words, and the bug had shown her his view of them, probably she had done the same for him. The view of her own species through another's eyes was not pretty. She turned her head over her shoulder and threatened, "Faith, I'm soo going to make you pay for this." Cordelia turned back to the bug, and decided to apologize first, "We apologize for taking your eggs, they were laid in the demon, and . . . well, things led to other things, and . . . well, we're sorry for killing one of you, but he or she did attack us."

*Apology accepted,* the bug beamed back. Cordelia was sure the bug not only felt but also looked depressed. *We apologize for [image] actions. She is the one who laid the eggs, and when you took them, his instincts caused him to overreact. I tried to communicate with you in the building, but you attacked us before we could, until that one released our young.*

"Apology accepted as well," Cordy said, giving him the same message telepathically. "So, uh. You guys aren't from around here, that's obvious. Did you come through a big blue ball of energy in the sky? With a tower next to it?" Cordelia sent it a picture of how Faith had described the rip in dimensions as best as she could.

The bug's head nodded, *Indeed. Although it was ground level at home.*

"This world's resources are limited, and you procreate rapidly it seems," Cordelia asked a little timid. "Can you keep your numbers low?"

*We understand the practice of birth control,* the bug answered calmly. *We were not planning to increase our numbers even more so.*

Cordelia scratched her head, great, now what should she ask it. "Uh, you probably have noticed, but the average person here doesn't exactly have it on monsters, or people that look like monsters, too many actual monsters around."

The bug nodded, *I shall be candor with you, you seem trustworthy. You scare us. The things you have built made us panic first. We fled across land, and found even greater buildings, and things that move on ground, water and in air and make scary noises when they do so. Your building skills dwarfs that of ants, you procreate like ants, and we have seen what an army of tiny little ants can do when they migrate. So we fled into these tunnels. It scared us when we realized it too was built by you, but we soon found out you hardly ever come down here, and use it for waste disposal only.*

"Right, ok. Do you actually need to lay your eggs inside living beings' heads?" Cordelia asked them.

*Dead ones work as well, that's where we put them usually,* the bug answered, it seemed to be decided how to explain further. *There is only a little amount of animals inside these tunnels so we turned to the ones that are even ickier than you. The ones you call demons? The monsters? They prey on you? Normally we kill them first, but she underestimated the resilience of the one your friend killed. It wasn't dead and woke up.*

"Ickier than us?" Cordelia asked surprised.

*They feel different somehow, wrong. They make good incubators, but they are without purpose,* the bug tried to explain.

"Purpose?" Cordelia muttered not understanding. A few images were sent to her mind. "Wait, I get it. Without life, they are death and death alone."

*That one has some in it, yet he is like you as well,* the bug confirmed, pointing at Angel.

"Yes, he's special that way," Cordelia answered nervously, partly thinking they would attack Angel now.

*And that one,* the bug added pointing at Faith. *Very strange. We've seen her strength, and her magical abilities, she's a predator we can tell, she should feel dangerous, yet . . . somehow we feel more protected around her.*

"Faith, yeah," Cordelia answered him, looking at the girl. They had answered questions about them, she guessed it was only fair to return the favor. "She's the Slayer. The mystically Chosen One to kill all the really icky ones and protect the life on this planet . . . I guess that includes you." Cordelia stayed silent for a moment as she let the bug and his extended family process that information. At the same time she was thinking herself and decided to make a executive decision. "Listen, if ever you lose your eggs again, contact us. We'll see if we can resolve the situation without . . ." Cordelia was about to say bloodshed, but she figured the bugs might not have blood in the traditional sense of the word and take offense to it, so she amended it to, " . . . violence, and people getting hurt. And if you ever come across a really icky thing that is too powerful for you to fight, contact us and we'll help."

The bug looked at her for a moment and then raised its front paws. For a moment Cordelia thought it was going to attack, but then, as his telepathic presence returned, realized that it was similar to inclining one's head, *We will, we are in your debt.*

"Great, we'll leave you to your life now. Goodbye," Cordelia told it.

*Goodbye, friend,* it sent and then turned away to rejoin its hive.

Cordelia turned around and said, "Hey, that went well." The group smiled and they turned around, going back to the hotel where Fred's parents were waiting, undoubtedly impatiently.