Buffy Z

The Power Corrupts Saga

Episode 27 - 33

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 27
Power Isn't Everything


Buffy and Dawn sat watching the tv. On it was an interview with an expert on Europe. "Europe has changed drastically since 9-11," he stated with a concerned frown. "Our decision to go to war in Afghanistan against the wishes of basically the entire world has sped up the process. For one thing, the UK has decided to join the Euro, and they are rapidly preparing for the change. They won't reach the January first, 2002 deadline, but before June of 2002 they will have the Euro as well.

"Another something that is going on, that's mostly behind closed doors, is that Europe is about to undergo a radical change in its governmental system. Until now the European Parliament is not the be all and end all of power, most of the countries have their own governmental freedom, far more than a state in the US. Each country for example has its own head of state, while the Union itself doesn't," the man explained as best as he could. "I think that's going to change, in that the European Union will have its own President, and that individual countries will lose some of their power, thus the EU will be more like the US. All good for the EU, but the way our government is behaving, that might not be so good for us."

After that, the interviewer asked him the following question, "So basically we get attacked and the entire world punishes us?"

"Yes," the expert said.

"What the fuck?" Buffy said in disbelief. "Did you see that?" she asked Dawn.

"Yep," she answered. It had been nearly invisible, but the slight jump in the position of a leaf on the plant in the background had given it away. "They cut something out, probably something along the lines of him commenting that our government themselves blew up the WTC. If Mr. Expert lives in Europe, he must have seen Xander putting that plane down close to the Peace Court."

Buffy nodded. The bell rang moments later, and Dawn got up to open the door. "Hey, Xan," she greeted Xander with a grin. "Before we go train, could I talk to you?"

"Sure," Xander told the brunette. He put the bag with his gi and towels on the ground, and the two walked off to the dining room.

"Xander, do you know what happened yet between Willow and Tara?" she asked with a concerned face.

Xander replied to her, as he leaned back on the dining table, and folded his arms across his chest, "I got the gist of it. I was planning to have a little talk with Willow before we go train."

Dawn crunched up her face, and asked, "Do you think a little talk is enough?" Xander nodded calmly. "Well, ok, but be careful ok. Tara is afraid of Willow. Which reminds me . . ." Dawn pulled a sheet of paper out of her pants pocket. "Here's a copy of Tara's address. She doesn't want Willow to know where she lives, so don't tell her, ok?" Xander nodded, as he read the paper. "Tara asked me to tell you that she still considered all of us, including Anya to be her friends. She loves us, and if we ever needed her for anything, we could call her, and she'd help."

"That's nice, I think I'll give her call later," Xander said thoughtfully. Dawn smiled at that, and Xander told her, "I'll go up to talk to Willow now, okay?" Dawn nodded, and Xander went to go upstairs.

A short time later Xander stepped into the master bedroom, seeing Willow sitting on the bed. "Hey, Wills, how are you doing?"

"Uh, well . . ." Willow tried to come with an answer. "Not too good I think, I keep thinking about Tara."

Xander smiled and walked around the bed, then sat down next to his oldest friend. He slung an arm around her, and told her, "Not very smart what you tried to do, now is it?"

Willow looked up at him with slightly angry, and sad eyes, "Who told you?"

"Tara told Dawn, Dawn told Anya on the phone, she told it to me, and Buffy expressed a concern that she didn't quite know what happened between you and Tara," Xander calmly explained with a light smile. "Trying to take away Tara's memory is seriously not a good deed, Will."

"I know, I know!" Willow burst out exasperated. "Tara leaving me was a big enough indicator for that. I feel awful, Xander, you don't have to come rub in that it's my fault that Tara left me. I'll never do it again, it was a really bad idea, I understand."

"Good, as long as you understand that," Xander told her, smiling at his oldest friend. When he heard what Willow had done, he had hardly believed it to be true. It had been true, and he accepted that, and now he saw he was right: Willow full well knew just how bad it was what she had done, this was his Willow after all. Xander gave her a supportive slap on her knee and got up. "I'll go train with Buffy and Dawn," he said, Willow smiled and nodded in response.

Willow looked sadly around the now empty room, and her eyes fell upon Amy's cage. Her eyes widened, and she jumped up excitedly, "Of course!" Xander had just reached the door and turned around at Willow's outburst. "Xan? Wanna watch me de-rat Amy?"

"You think you can?" Xander asked with a grin, as he leaned his shoulder against the wall.

Grinning widely, Willow nodded. She reached the cage and opened it. She picked out Amy-rat, gently took the rat over to the bed and put her on it. Than she stood back a few steps. Willow eyes turned black, glistening with energy, and she said with authoritative voice, "Goddess Hecate, work thy will, before thee make the clean being stand." Energy shot out from Willow's outstretched hands and enveloped Amy-rat. Then the rat transformed inside the light and Amy sat on the bed, legs hunched up against her chest and her arms wrapped protectively around them.

"Fantastic, you did it, Will, you actually turned her back," Xander said, looking at Amy with a smile. Will raised her chin proudly, grinning at her accomplishment as Amy looked around with jittering movements of her head.

"Amy?" Willow asked with a big smile. "Are you in there?"

Amy focused on Willow. She broke into a smile and said, "Willow. Hey, I'm back, no more rat." Amy took her state in for a moment, turned her head back to Willow, and started, "Great, thanks, Willow. I hoped you would turn me back. Can I copy what homework I miss . . ." Amy noticed Xander leaning against the wall, a smirk on his face. She looked him over, nice pants, a style she didn't recognize, and a black, tight - very tight - t-shirt, showing off Xander's muscular frame. His arms, perfectly lean, but muscled arms were visible, his hands disappeared in the pants' pockets. Xander Harris was hot, Amy decided, as she looked into his smirking face. What was wrong with that picture? Sure, she never thought Xander looked as bad as some of the popular girls made him out to be, but this was something else. Just a little too much else. "Wow, did you ask Cordelia to give you a makeover or something?" she asked timidly, a dread slowly forming in the pit of her stomach.

"No," Xander answered slightly confused.

Amy turned to Willow, "Willow, how much homework did I miss? Tell me I can get it back up and running quickly so I don't need special considerations or something?"

"Uhm," Willow said unsure, a little nervous.

Amy looked at her pointedly, asking slowly, "It's been a few days right? Since I got turned into a rat?"

Now Xander and Willow understood, and their faces fell. This wasn't what they had expected. Willow shook her head.

"Weeks?" Amy tried.

Xander decided her torment had gone on long enough. "It's been almost three years, Amy," he told her with compassion. The witch looked at him like he had grown a second head. Then she turned to Willow, looking at her pleadingly. The question written in her eyes, 'Please, tell me he's kidding.' Willow nodded slowly, confirming Xander's assessment.

"Oh, man, that . . ." Amy started to move, fidgeting. She stretched her legs out, and started to rotate her body on her ass toward the side of the bed. She realized she was naked, quickly returned to her previous sitting position and looked pointedly at Xander.

"Xander!" Willow exclaimed, making shoo motions. Suddenly Xander understood, blushing with embarrassment he quickly turned around and fled out the room. Time for training.


Dawn smashed a training droid to pieces. She smiled at the broken pieces falling down to the ground. That had been the last one. The technique Xander had taught her earlier had worked really well. Exhausted she lowered herself to the ground and looked over to the other mat at Xander and Buffy, marveling at their power.

"Faster!" Xander commanded as he smashed a fist in Buffy's face. She grimaced, although Xander made sure not to hurt her, that didn't mean he didn't know how to inflict pain. She blocked the next punch, and then rapidly placed herself on the floor.

"KAMEHAMEHA!" she screamed, pointing the energy wave upward. It sputtered away a meter in front of her. "Damn it!" she cursed as she narrowly avoided Xander's oncoming blows. She sped backward, without touching the ground, and charged a destructo disc. She threw it at the onrushing Xander, who - to Buffy's astonishment - slammed his hands on either side of the disc, pulled it over his hand and promptly threw it back at her. Fear appeared on her face. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew Xander wouldn't let the disc cut her to pieces, but that thought would help no one if her head lay on the ground, right next to her body. She fired and energy blast at the disc, the two energy attacks exploding on impact and sending her flying backward into the right corner of the training area.

Moments later Xander moved in front of her, a smirk on his face and threw a combination of attacks at her. Desperately Buffy started blocking them. Xander slowly sped up his movements, forcing Buffy to speed up with him. Eventually Buffy couldn't keep up, and Xander started going through her defenses, landing hits on her chest, stomach and face, and a kick to her left thigh. Needing a way out, she rushed forward suddenly, head first. Xander ole'd and smashed a double handed blow in her back as she was beside him, sending her downward. "Faster, damn it!" Xander told her on her way down. "Faster and harder, Buff, come on!"

Buffy was starting to get angry. Xander was toying with her, he knew full well she couldn't go faster or harder, she was at her absolute max. Xander's foot came down at her. She rolled out of the way, pushed herself up with her hands and kicked out with all her might, catching Xander full in his stomach. As he flew backward, he smirked at her, as if saying, 'That's the way.' The fact that Xander wasn't hurt by that massive kick, infuriated Buffy and she flew at him, screaming out her rage, her instincts kicking in.

This time she was on the offensive, pushing Xander back. Punch, kick, punch, punch, kick, kick. Infuriatingly non broke his defenses, and that damn smirk just kept staying on his face. She threw a particular powerful punch, and missed, Xander was gone.

"Behind you," he said mockingly. That was it, Buffy went beyond anger. A cold fury started burning withing her, shrinking into a terribly powerful knot in her stomach. She turned around, enraged at the way Xander was toying with her, enraged at her impotence with Dawn, enraged at Willow being so completely dismissive of her lately, enraged at pretty much the entire state of the world and her place in it. The fury didn't control her though, she controlled it; perfectly in sync. She grinned at Xander and started firing pinkish energy blasts at him. Xander flew back and started avoiding the blasts. The energy balls came in ever rapid succession, each having perfect aim.

"I'm going to get you, Xander!" Buffy shouted, firing more and more balls. Xander danced through the air, avoiding them narrowly, occasionally slamming one aside. Buffy's chi flame grew in intensity as her fury increased, firing off the balls of destructive energy with even greater speed. Buffy grinned as she noticed Xander was having more and more difficulty avoiding the balls, especially now that she had figured out she didn't just have to let the balls explode against the force field, but she could control them and send them back at Xander.

Xander's infuriating smirk never once left his face as he twisted and turned in between the energy balls. Suddenly his hair went golden, and he transformed into the Super Saiyan. Grinning, he wove between the balls with ease now. "Damn you!" Buffy screamed as she moved even faster, but got nowhere close to hitting Xander. Then Xander stopped and the energy balls collided with him. Instead of exploding, Xander formed them into a larger pinkish ball. Buffy faltered, realizing her own small blasts were only fueling Xander's big one. Super Saiyan Xander smirked and then blasted the energy ball back at Buffy in a beam. She hastily raised a shield and crossed her arms in front of her. The beam hit her, and sent pain through her body. The beam quickly ended, and Buffy shakily straightened up. Before she was finished with it, Xander solidified in front of her, and kicked her in the shoulder. Buffy groaned and flew to her left, crashing into the force field. Once again Xander just appeared in front of her and smashed her fist into her chin, almost knocking her out, and definitely putting her out of commission.

Buffy looked up at Xander, and watched him de-transform and ordered the computer to turn off the training area. "Well, done, Buff," he told her with a smile. He offered her his hand. She took it and let him pull her to her feet, as he said, "Now that's the way I'd like to see you fight more often. That's the way to do it. Remember what you did, and do it again." Xander gave her a final smile and walked off the mat toward his bag, so he could get a towel and wipe his sweat away.

Buffy felt good about Xander's compliments, and then went over the fight. She raised her hands and looked at them. She remembered the fury, the cold necessity to hurt Xander, to beat him. She had been nothing but a fighting machine, uncaring about anything but the fight. Shocked, she looked at her hands. She didn't want to be nothing but a fighting machine. She was more than that, better than that. She shook her head with fear, at what she didn't quite now. She balled her hands in fists. She trembled as emotions collided inside her. She was the Slayer, she was the Chosen One. She and no one else. Not them, and yet, if she would come up against any of them six months ago the way they are now, they'd kick her ass. And yet, one of them was even now kicking her ass, the one she always thought was the weakest, the one she needed to protect, that very same person was teaching her; teaching her to be a cold-blooded killing machine. She didn't want it, she wished she could just pull the slayer out of her, give it to someone else and yet the very notion was wrong to her. Buffy shook her head, willing the thoughts away, stopping her trembling, and then turned around to go join her friend, and her sister.



The door to Spike's crypt burst open and Harmony stormed in. "Spike! Spike! Are you here!?" she screamed out, a little fearful edge to her voice.

"Harmony, what the bloody hell are you doing here!?" Spike exclaimed in anger. He stepped out of the shadows of his crypt. Behind him, behind the shadows there was a weakly lit area, that contained his new girlfriend Maxine all chained up, in leather, and lots of whip and bite marks over her body. She was breathing hard with excitement, pain, and exertion. Her breasts heaved up and down.

"You got your chip out?" Harmony asked exited, looking at the other blonde vampire.

"Yeah, now what the bloody hell are you doing here?" Spike repeated the question with some more menace this time, his golden eyes almost sparkling with anger.

Harmony regarded him and then looked at the delicious brunette. "Could I have a bite?" she asked, feeling thirsty.

"NO! Harm, answer me," Spike growled at her angrily.

Harmony narrowed her eyes at him, and took in his appearance. All normal for Spike, except that whip. Harmony raised her eyebrows, and then looked back at the brunette, stuck in a state of sexual arousal. Harmony looked back at Spike, and before he could demand for an answer again, her face lit up. "Oh, my god!" she exclaimed excited, and a little maliciously. "Spike has a sex toy for a girlfriend. So what's changed from happy meals on legs? Is Spikey in luuuuvv? How romantic! Wait till the other demons and vamps find out."

Spike looked like a deer caught in headlights for a moment, then stormed forward, grabbed Harmony by her neck and hissed, "I swear, Harm. If you tell this to anyone, I'll torture you to death in ways you can't begin to imagine!"

Spike watched and saw nothing but amusement in her eyes. Once again he had remind himself that Harmony was simply too stupid to be afraid. "Oh, relax," Harmony told him with a grin, squatting his arm playfully. "I'm not going to tell anyone. But #why# haven't you killed her?"

Spike let her go and sighed. Tell or not tell. Oh, bloody hell, it wasn't like his situation could get any worse. "Well, I've got this deal going with one of the white hats. I don't harm anyone against their will and I get to live. I do, and I'm dust."

"Great!" Harmony answered with a wide happy grin. "You finally wrapped Buffy around your finger, huh?"

Spike was alarmed. Why did Harmony thought it great he had a deal going with the good guys? Preoccupied with thinking over that piece of information, he answered automatically, "No, the deal I've got is with that wanker Harris."

"Xander!?" Harmony blurted out in shocked surprise. "Xander? Little old loser Xander? You are afraid he'll dust you?" Harmony laughed out loud at that notion.

"Damn it, Harm!" Spike yelled out in frustration. "Droopy is the most powerful being on the face of the fucking planet. Remember that damn asteroid? He's the one who blew it up!"

"You've got to be kidding me! Fashion challenged Xander is the most powerful guy in the world!?" Harmony screamed out in shock.

"Uhm, Master Spike, may ask who this is?" Maxine asked timidly from the back.

Spike took a step, and lashed out with the whip in anger, it just being long enough for the tip to strike her left breast, sending a jolt of pain through the girl. "NO!" Spike screamed at her in anger. "Now shut up, or I'll punish you for real!"

Harmony grinned widely, Xander gone from her mind, "Oh, come now, 'Master Spike', please do introduce us?"

Spike looked at her in frustration, and shouted, "Harm!" Harmony just grinned at him. "Oh, fine, stupid bitch," Spike muttered, and gestured to Maxine. "Harmony Kendall, that's Maxine Henderson. Maxine, Harmony, an ex of mine." Spike suddenly realized that Harmony had successfully diverted his attention away from her. He took several steps, placing himself right in front of Harmony again, and hissed, "Now what the wanking, bloody fuck are you doing here?!"

"Ah, well you see, I've got this little old problem, hit a little snag, and I was hoping my big bad ex-boyfriend would be willing to help me out," Harmony replied, sweet as a kitten.

Spike narrowed his vamped-out eyes and he whispered dangerously, "Exactly what kind of a 'little' problem, Harm?"

"Well, I got to Las Vegas and decided to take it over . . ." Harmony paused, looking at Spike's jaw drop in disbelief.

"What?" he asked, making sure he heard right.

"Take over," Harmony cheerily explained, a smile on her face. "You know, the whole city. Mine." Spike blinked twice, his vamp face suddenly retreated and he laughed out loud. "Hey!" Harmony called, putting her hands in her side like a tough girl. Spike only laughed harder, and Harmony got angry. Then her mood changed and crossed her arms across her chest. Her left hand she held up, and she ran her thumb over her nails, and inspecting them smugly she bit at him, "I'll have you know, I spliced the head of the big bad leader of Vegas in half with a sword. I was all ready and in place to take over."

Spike laughed harder earning him a glare from the vampiress. Spike asked her, disbelieving, "So what happened? His boyfriend chase you all the way here? Is that your little snag?"

"Not entirely," Harmony added, just as there was a heavy thud against the door.

Harmony and Spike looked toward the door when a loud bellow, as if coming from a megaphone, penetrated the crypt. "HARMONY KENDALL! WE KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE, COME OUT NOW SO WE CAN COMMENCE THE RITUAL TORTURE!!!"

"Oh, shit!" Harmony called out, fearful. "I thought I had given them the slip. Damn, it should have taken longer for them to find me." Spike looked at her in disbelief, and walked to the door. His recently trained sixth sense already gave the information on what to find outside, but he was unwilling to believe it until he saw it with his eyes. Harmony followed him fearfully.

Spike opened the door and looked at what had to be a hundred to two hundred demons of all shapes and sizes. Harmony stood fearfully next to him. Spike stared in disbelief for a moment. The demons stayed silent, not quite knowing what to do with the new addition. Spike stepped back inside and slammed the door shut.

"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL HAPPENED!!" Spike yelled out at her.

Harmony shrunk back a little, embarrassed, and explained, "Like I said, I sliced the guy's head in half. Normally that means you get to take over. All those movies where the good guy beats the strongest fighter, or the leader always show you can. I didn't know he had worked himself up to be some kind of prophet, or messiah or something. Would save from a Sid Woli watchamacallit, and he had a couple of hundred fundamentalist followers, and now they want to kill me."

"MOVIES!? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR SODDING MIND!? AND YOU LEAD THEM HERE? WHAT DID YOU EXPECT ME TO DO!?" Spike screamed at her, uncomprehending just how stupid Harmony could be.


Spike stayed silent, too shocked at what Harmony had gotten him into now. "Well, that's why I was glad you were on good graces with the goodie two-shoes. I was hoping you had Buffy wrapped around your finger, and that with their help - they wouldn't want a hundred to two hundred demons ransacking Sunnydale either - we could kinda, you know, do some gorilla-warfare?"

"Gorilla?" Spike muttered in confusion and disbelief.

"Well, that's when you do these small attacks; take them out one by one," Harmony explained with an air of superiority. That Spike didn't know this!

"GUERILLA! GUERILLA WARFARE!!" Spike yelled in exasperation.


Spike opened the door again, grabbed Harmony and pulled her toward the exit, "HOLD YOUR HORSES! I'M SENDING HER OUT ALREADY!"

"WHAT!?" Harmony shrieked, and placed her hand on the door, closing it back up as Spike pushed her forward.

"You're problem, you deal with 'em," Spike said, pulling the door back open.

Harmony closed it again, and whined, "But Spiiike, you're my boyfriend!"

"EX!" Spike exclaimed, pulling the door open once again. "And even if you weren't, I'd still give you to them!"

Harmony closed the door again, and then sexily draped herself over him. "Oh, come on, Spike! Pretty please? I can be your girlfriend again. I'll bet I'm better in the sack than your sex toy. In fact I'm certain of it, I'm the best you've ever had." Harmony leaned forward further, placing her lips only millimeters from his. "I'll do anything you want, dress up like a nurse, like a waitress, I'll serve you the heart the nurse removed. I'll even dress up like Buffy again."

"Harm!" Spike hissed exasperated at her, but he was rethinking his decision.

"Don't you want to find out what I learned on the road? I've lead a whore house you know," Harmony told him, batting her eyelashes at him.

Damn her! She was right. She was the best he ever head. Maxine was just human, to weak - mentally and physically - to inflict some pain upon him, and he had to be careful constantly so as not to make her the reason Xander dusted him. Drusilla had been good, great even, but she was also insane: not quite a good quality in a sex partner he later found out. He found out through Harmony. She was the first sane female that willingly had sex with him. And damn what a revelation. The vampiress was insatiable, a former cheerleader captain, who loved sex, she was not averse to experimenting, and just plain adored rough painful sex: the pain going both ways. Could she really have gotten even better in the sack? Spike doubted it, but damn if it wasn't tempting to find out.

Thus mulling it over, he absentmindedly looked through the crack of the barely opened door, and saw the demons. Harmony had frustrated him, the lack of any quality violence for months had frustrated even more, and suddenly he saw the quality violence standing at the ready. An evil grin spread on his face as he vamped out. Licking his fangs he told the vampiress clinging to him, "All right, Harm. I'll save your butt." He pushed Harmony aside.

"Great! You didn't change the entrance to the tunnels, did you?" Harmony said enthusiastically, and looking surprised as Spike opened the door.

"Not fleeing," Spike told her with an evil smile and stepped out. "And shut up. Just because we're going to screw, doesn't mean I want to hear your voice for the next few days."

"O . . ." Harmony started.

"Shut!" Spike interrupted her, raising a warning finger. Harmony nodded and watched with a bad feeling as Spike walked further out of the crypt.

The demons looked surprised, some looking questionably at each other. The leader questioned, "So where's the bitch? You said you'd give her to us."

"Sorry, about this, but change of plans," Spike drawled to him. "I'm gonna kill every single one of you wankers."

The demons looked at each other, then back at the lone vampire, and the leader laugh. "You've got a nuclear bomb hidden in your pants or something?"

Spike grinned evilly, and pointed his hands at the leader. As he charged an energy ball, he told him, "Or something." The next moment the energy ball flew at the leader, exploded on impact, and killed both him and five more demons. Then Spike flew forward, gleefully smashed his fist through a demon's head - shattering it. He twisted around, kicking a particular big one, and laughed as he felt the thing's ribs break. The demon flew backward, knocking over a few smaller demons and didn't stop until it smashed against the corner of the roof of a tomb. The demon was impaled on the point and died a slow agonizing death. Spike fired a few more energy blasts and watched as they shattered demon torsos and sent blood and gore flying around.

Harmony watched with her mouth ajar as Spike smashed, kicked and fired energy balls around him from the air, flying! Astonished she saw the demons scattering, screaming in fear as the terrible killer tore some of their buddies limb from limb. The massacre lasted a full ten minutes, but after that none of the Vegas demons were left alive. Spike had made sure of that, chasing after a few fleeing ones. He landed back in front of his crypt once he was done, Harmony looking at the blood- and gore-covered Spike. He was the most erotic thing she had ever seen. Spike's chi flame burst into the air. "BLOODY HELL, YES!!" Spike howled into the air.

He swaggered over to Harmony with a wide, violence-induced grin. Harmony walked up to him, vamping out and growling, "God, that was the most erotic thing I've ever seen, apart from you right here, right now." A moment later she pressed her body against his blood-covered one and the vampires shared a deep passionate kiss, as her hands roamed across his body. She broke the kiss and licked at some of the blood and ate some of the demon remains. "Fuck me," Harmony demanded.

"In a minute, pet, first I'd like you to really meet someone," Spike grinned evilly at her. He grabbed her by her right arm and flew into his crypt, pulling her along, eliciting a delighted squeal from Harmony. He placed her on the ground and they walked over to a frightened Maxine. She had heard the massacre and had no idea what to expect.

Spike grinned as he got closer to her. She did a double take as the two blood- and gore-covered vampires came into view. She was scared and it aroused her to no end. "Maxine," Spike told the brunette with an evil smile. "I'd like you to meet the vampiress Harmony. Your new mistress, second only to me."

Maxine audibly sucked in some air, looking with fear and mounting horniness at the blonde. "H-hello, Mistress Harmony."

"Ooh, you really trained her well, Spike," Harmony said with a smile, than slung her arms around the slave's waist and without warning bit her neck, thirstily drinking from the girl's plentiful blood supply.

"Remember, Harm. No killing, no permanent harm," Spike told her, watching the erotic sight of Harmony drinking from the other girl. He saw Harmony nod while drinking, and he grinned.

To Harmony's surprise she felt the girl offering her neck to her, instead of flinching away or trying to get away from. Grinning, without letting up on the feeding, she slipped her right hand down and found the girl's pussy. Pleased, she found it drenched and plunged a few fingers in, starting to stimulate the brunette's inner folds while her thumb found the girl's clit. Maxine gasped out in pleasure, instinctively starting to ride the expert fingers.

Just as Harmony was about to finish feeding, the girl came hard on her fingers. Pleased, Harmony decided to prolong the girl's orgasm by drinking some more blood, which had the desired effect. Maxine bucked and twisted against Harmony's fingers, climaxing in her chains. A final moan left Maxine's mouth and Harmony pulled back from the girl's neck and pussy. Grinning, Harmony knelt down, licking her fingers clean. "Mm, there's more where that came from," Harmony commented and dove into the girls cunt, licking and gnawing, torturing the girl onward toward more orgasms.

Spike grinned at the scene, placed himself at Harmony's ass. He pulled her skirt up, and tore her g-string away. Then he unbuckled his pants and happily plunged into Harmony's welcoming cunt.


Fifteen minutes later the trio were still there, exhausted from their sex play. Maxine still hung in her chains, and Spike and Harmony lay spooned on the floor, having rekindled their orgasm-inflicting relationship.

Spike's eyes opened, and whispered, "Oh, shit." The sound of the door to the crypt opened.

"Hey, Spike! I sensed your power up, no training, came to check it out. I took the liberty to clean up - that is vaporize - the mess you left outside. Clean up next time, and would you mind explaining . . ." Xander came into Spike and his beginning harem's view. The Saiyan looked at the scene, blinked once, and said, "I knew I felt someone I had met before. Hi, Harmony. Bye Harmony." Xander pointed his hand at her and charged a small energy ball.

Remembering the massacre, Harmony shrieked out, "I'm sorry for everything! Please, don't kill me!" The ball fired directly at Harmony's chest, and met Spike's protective arm. Harmony's eyes were wide with fear and surprise.

Xander put his gaze upon Spike and narrowed his eyes. "Spike?" Xander asked sweetly, far too sweetly. "What are you doing?"

Harmony thought about something that may have really pissed Xander off, thinking of the mostly likely event, she whimpered, "Sorry, about pulling your hair." Xander smirked evilly at her and a new energy ball formed at his outstretched hand.

"Listen," Spike pleaded, getting up off the ground. "Can you extend the same deal to Harmony?" Harmony hadn't understated that she had gotten better in the time she had been away. He wasn't giving up on that, if he could help it.

Harmony scampered backward, squealing, "Sorry about mentioning it. Never do it again, in fact, I can't even remember pulling your hair."

"You're not helping, Harm. Shut up," Spike ordered Harmony with annoyance. "Trust me, Littica. It's a good thing."

"Why?" Xander asked him, the anger obviously present in the calm question.

Spike walked up to Xander, and whispering, asked him, "You see, Droops. I like her. With that I mean she fucks like no other. The girlfriend is nice and all, but fragile and a just a little too submissive for my tastes. You know what I mean, eh? A happy Spike is a good Spike?" Xander looked at him, like he had grown a second head. "Come on. What was that you said? We're predators, only ones that understand each other? You must understand."

Xander sighed, "Oh, all right. It isn't like the stupid cow is any real threat." Spike nodded with a happy smile. Xander pushed him aside, and walked up to Harmony. She looked up at him with a nervous smile. "Hi, Harmony," Xander said, and picked her up by the neck. When she was eye level, his look became more angry. With a crackle his eyes turned green, and then with a growl his golden aura erupted around him. His hair standing up, turning golden and lightly waving in the energy. Xander turned right, and smacked Harmony hard into the wall of the crypt, just left of Maxine, who was too out of it to really notice what was going on. Harmony's face was twisted in terror, looking to the completely green irises and pupils, the cold windows of death. "Do not so much as harm a hair against somebody's will. Do not kill or turn anyone no matter how much they want to. Do not leave Sunnydale without express permission or an escort. Follow these rules and you'll stay unalive," Xander told her with a terrifying growl in his voice. Harmony nodded as best as she could. "Break 'em, and your dust. Understand?" Harmony nodded again, unable to speak, due to the lump in her throat that she was unable to swallow away.

"Good," Xander said, and let Harmony go, and she crashed to the floor. He turned around and regarded Maxine for a moment. Then he looked at Spike and told him, "She better be all right."

"She's fine," Spike drawled, making a dismissive gesture, grinning. "She just passed out from her tenth orgasm inflicted by Harmony's expert tongue."

Xander sighed, and told Spike, "Well, have fun with your new toy, Spanky." Spike grinned at him, nodding in agreement and Xander left the crypt.


"So what was it?" Anya asked from the couch, as Xander entered Buffy's home. Buffy and Dawn sat in their favorite chairs in their living room. Anya was on the couch, so Xander could sit next to her. Sodas and bowls with chips were standing on the table, waiting.

"Oh, some demons who wanted Spike or Harmony, he killed them all," Xander answered as he walked into the living room, walking over to his fiancee. "She's back by the way, moved right back in with him. I let her live on the condition she doesn't harm anyone. She hurts someone, she's dust. She accepted the agreement."

The group of women looked at him, thoughtful. "Makes sense, she's harmless," Buffy commented, crystallizing her thoughts. "And a happy Spike is a good Spike, right?"

"You know, that's exactly what Spike said," Xander told her with a grin. "Ok, so where's Willow and Amy. Movie night is supposed to have started fifteen minutes ago."

"You know us women, Xan," Dawn joked with a wide grin. "Never can get enough make-up on our faces."

"Hey, you're supposed to be on our side," Anya complained to the younger Summers. Buffy nodded in agreement.

"Ah, come on, someone's got to be on his side. Five women, one guy, it just ain't even," Dawn said, grinning playfully.

"Thank you, Dawn. I'm glad you're willing to be the guy in drag today," Xander told her with a smile. "We can't have a party without him." Buffy and Anya laughed hard at that. Dawn looked down at her spaghetti-strapped top and skirt with a surprised look, then she smiled wryly before joining the other girls in laughter.

The group stopped laughing as Willow came down the stairs. "All right, girls," she announced.

"Already got the guy in drag, I guess that makes me the token lesbian," Xander quipped. The three girls in the living room burst out in laughter.

Willow looked at them with confusion, "Did I miss something?" The girls laughed harder. "Oh, come on, pay attention!" Willow told them with a little irritation. The other three girls stopped laughing and looked at her. She smiled and gestured up the stairs, "The new and improved Amy."

Amy came walking down the stairs shyly, wearing some of Anya's clothes, since nothing of Willow, Dawn, or Buffy fit her. "Hi," she greeted.

"My clothes look good on you," Anya pointed out with a grin.

Xander smiled at her as well, "Looking good, Ames."

"So you're Amy," Dawn voiced thoughtfully. "I thought you looked better as a rat." Three objects were thrown at her. "Just kidding, just kidding," she said smiling widely as she was turned away, and held up her arms in defense.

Amy looked with wide eyes at the spectacle, a little hurt by the comment, but mostly just glad she was no longer a rat. "Come on, sit," Xander urged the two still standing witches. "It's time to watch The Matrix, and hear Buffy's complaints that she can do all that stuff without being inside The Matrix."

"Unless of course," Dawn added, as Amy and Willow went to sit down. Willow smiling at Dawn's usual answer. "We're actually in the Matrix."

"We're not in the Matrix," Xander answered with a grin. Buffy, Willow and Dawn looked at him with surprise. That was a new one, usually this was where Dawn and Buffy argued, Dawn pointing out Buffy could have been given powers by the Matrix to combat viruses which were the demons. "If we were in the Matrix, I wouldn't be from another planet in a different dimension, and I certainly wouldn't have been able to go back there."

"Xander is an alien?" Amy asked in complete shock.

Willow looked at her surprised and than replied, "Oh, I guess I forgot that. Yeah, he is. Kinda like Superman."

"Only without the tights, which makes Xander far cooler, and he would totally kick Superman's ass," Dawn commented with a grin.

"Enough with the talking already," Xander told them. "Buffy, roll the DVD."

"That phrase soo does not work for DVDs, Xan," Buffy commented with a grin, as she pushed the 'play' button and turned up the volume.


The next morning Harmony awoke in Spike's bed. Spike was standing in front of the bed, getting dressed. Maxine was lying next to Harmony.

"Where are you going?" Harmony asked groggily.

Spike regarded her for a moment, putting on a shirt. "I've got this new contact, sells me blood from a blood bank. I've got an appointment with him to get a new supply," Spike answered disinterested.

"Oh," Harmony told him, sitting up. She looked around, and asked out loud, "Spike, about the demons you killed . . ."

"Oh, don't thank me, it isn't like I did it for you," Spike commented with an angry tone. He grabbed his black leather duster, and started to put it on.

"And now I'm stuck here. I never knew Xander hated me so much, what did I ever do to him?" Harmony asked out loud.

Spike laughed as he lit a cigarette. He looked up at the ceiling, and blowing out smoke he shook his head with a defeated smile. Spike turned around and headed for the tunnel exit and told her, "Yeah, well, consider yourself lucky you're stuck here, Harm. If you really got so lucky you killed the big bad in Vegas, it would make the demons I killed pretty much the top dogs left. It will be chaos there now, every little big of power structure that's still left somewhat intact, that didn't answer to your big bad will be trying to hang on what they've got and expand."

"Everyone was under him, that's why he was this prophet dude," Harmony said, raising her hands in an annoyed, helpless manner. "Well, everyone but this one demon that owns the mirage, but his wife won't let him be a player."

Spike regarded her for a moment, took another drag from his cigarette, and told her, "In that case, it'll be worse." With that, he descended into the tunnels.

Harmony sat sullenly on her bed, and suddenly her eyes widened with a notion. "Everyone, but him and me, and my organization!" she whispered in awe. "I'm brilliant!" Harmony got up, went to her clothes. She searched through them and got out her cell phone. Grinning evilly she disappeared into a side chamber, away from the human. She dialed a number, and put the phone to her ear. "Come on, Dis," Harmony said to the crypt walls. "Pick up, pick up, pick up."

##Hello,## came the answer.

"Dis!" Harmony exclaimed, than lowered her voice. "Harmony here."

##Mistress! You're still alive! I thought you were dead! Ouch, ooh, aaah, yikes!## Dis' voice came across the phone.

"Dis . . . what did you just do?" Harmony asked, getting angry.

##I couldn't bear to live without you, Mistress. I was waiting for the sun, I'm out of it now,## Dis answered timidly, embarrassment lacing his voice.

"Have you lost . . .!" Harmony started yelling. She caught herself and lowered her voice. " . . .your mind! I'm your mistress, have you so little faith in me, Dis!? Couple of hundred demons, Dis! Easy. Just took a little time to get to all of them."

##I'm not worthy, oh Mistress. Shall I kill myself?## Dis asked pathetically.

"NO!" Harmony yelled out, and then controlled herself again. "I have need for you, Dis. Now listen carefully. Now that I've taken care of the entire upper ranks of the demons, you get to take over. Nobody stands in your way. Ask the owner of the Mirage, he'll follow me gladly. Once you've got him secured as following me, use all my minions and his and take over, Dis. Anyone stands in your way, bribe them, threaten them, kill 'em I don't care, just keep the death toll among humans low, so we don't get the army on our head. Every demon and higher class human in Vegas must bow to me, got that?"

##Yes, Mistress! Of course, Mistress! But what of you, Mistress? I'm but a lowly slave. Would you not be . . .## Dis said, somewhere in Las Vegas.

"Are you questioning me?" Harmony bit at him, a controlled but angry voice.

##No, Mistress! Never! I wouldn't dare!## Dis answered fearfully, probably somehow believing Harmony could punish him through the phone.

"Good!" Harmony told him with satisfaction. "I'm stuck here for the moment. Nothing big, but it'll take a while, a couple of months, something very important for me to do. And Dis, call me regularly and tell me how you're doing, got that?"

##Yes, Mistress,## Dis answered submissively.

"Very good, baby. You'll get a reward if you do this right. Now, goodbye, and don't forget to call," Harmony told him with an evil grin.

##Of course, Mistress Harmony. Goodbye, Mistress Harmony,## Dis answered with a smile in his voice.

"Bye, Dis," Harmony told him and cut the connection. "There," Harmony muttered. "Now I only have to convince Xander I'm more useful to him ruling Las Vegas, and here comes Queen H." Harmony grinned and walked back into the part of the crypt that held the bed.

Harmony noticed that Maxine wasn't present. She walked onward and found Maxine greedily drinking water from a bottle while leaning on the opened the door of a refrigerator. The rest of the area had several kitchen appliances, and to Harmony's surprise was slowly resembling an actual kitchen.

Maxine stopped drinking and looked demurely at Harmony. "G-good morning, Mistress Harmony."

"So, he actually keeps water and food for you in here, huh?" Harmony asked the sex slave in front of her. "Building you a kitchen I see." Maxine just nodded. "Now somehow, I don't see Spike being nice and sweet."

"He used to throw me out naked, Mistress," Maxine answered the vampiress ashamed. "He still does on occasion, but I'm pretty certain he follows me home to protect me. This guy, ehm . . . what's his name, well, anyway . . . they've got this deal going . . ."

"Xander," Harmony supplied for the brunette, grinning at the sex slave still in her leather uniform lecherously.

"Yeah, anyway he came in here one day, saw me, and than just stayed and talked with Spike," Maxine explained, looking uncertain at Harmony. "They seemed to enjoy each other's company, despite the death threats and glares, and well, Spike's been more careful with me since then. I think Xander told him if I die or get seriously hurt indirectly by something Spike did to me, he's also dust."

Harmony grinned at Maxine, "That sounds more like my, Spike." Harmony then calmly stared at Maxine, who after a few seconds of careful observation continued drinking nervously. "You know Spike . . . and me will just use you and abuse you having our wicked way with you right? I mean, like you said, he kicked you out naked, we don't really care one little bit about you." Maxine looked ashamed down at the floor and nodded almost imperceptibly. Harmony grinned widely, "You get off on it, don't you? You are one twisted little girl." Maxine nodded again, even more ashamed. "And you'll just keep coming back for more," Harmony smiled evilly now. Despite the fact that it was a statement Maxine nodded again, just to be sure.


Summers residence

Willow came down the stairs and saw Amy eating a sandwich in front of the tv, watching the news. "Hey," the red-haired witch told her new, old friend. "Got any plans for today?"

Amy nodded, swallowed her food, picked up a piece of paper and answered, "Anya gave this whole list that I should do. Find out if I'm dead or just listed as missing, find out about the status of my social security number, get it reinstated if it's closed down, get clothes, etc. etc. She said she'd gone through something similar when she lost her demon status. I think she said Xander helped her out with this two years ago."

On the screen the anchor asked a question to the audience, "What, I think, a lot of people are concerned with, is the status of the plan to launch space bound telescopes to look for every asteroid, and make sure we never experience such a close call as in August." The anchor turned around and looked at a screen showing a reporter. "For a perspective coming from directly involved people we go to our correspondent Jaspers in Oklahoma city."

"To put it simply, our government has dropped any interest in that plan, they are throwing all their attention on their 'war on terror', which has a lot of people confused and angry," the reporter answered from the other side. "Especially here in Oklahoma, and in Dallas people are uttering their frustration at the fact that the asteroids caused infinitely greater damage and infinitely more lives than the destruction of the WTC, yet nobody seems to care. Some psychologists have theorized that since there is no way to get angry at an asteroid, people eagerly have grabbed onto anger and hatred of Arabs and Europe for their stance. The people here, who are still living with the effects of the asteroid, though, have a different perspective. To them, and to other people across the world, our government's policy is seen as a ploy for votes for the next election."

Amy and Willow watched the news with interest, Amy continuing to eat her breakfast. The reporter continued, "Luckily for us and the world, Europe has announced several hours ago, that they intend to complete and fund the plan for these space telescopes alone. At this announcement the American government made protests, and demanded - if Europe decides to continue with their decision - they get access to the blueprints of these telescopes, and to them once they are in place, apparently afraid they can be used as a weapon."

The anchor clarified, "The secretary of defense has voiced the concern that the rest of the world would simply hide any knowledge they gain of asteroids heading for America that have no global effects."

"Exactly," the reporter replied. "A European ambassador to America has answered the allegation with the Europe's official response." The reporter lifted a sheet of paper in the screen and read off of it, "'All data gathered by the telescopes will be made freely accessible to the entire World - and thus the American public and government, so' - freely translated - screw you. Perhaps not too surprisingly, people living in areas hit by the asteroids have rejoiced at the statement as they feel abandoned by our own government."

"Thank you for your contribution, Jaspers," the anchor told him and turned around.

Amy turned off the TV, and turned around to regard Willow, "So let me get this straight; Xander stopped the asteroid, and saved the passengers off the people in the planes that supposedly blew up the WTC, the rest of the world knows, and that's where this animosity towards us comes from?" Willow nodded. Amy thought for a moment, finished the last of her sandwiches, and said with a sad tone, "On that note, I think I'll go work off this list."

"Ok," Willow answered with a grin. "I'll go get ready for classes. Buffy'll be back by three, we don't have an extra key yet, so . . ."

"Got it," Amy told her as she got up, and got an old coat of Buffy's they had found from the coat rack. "No use returning until after three." She waved Willow goodbye as she stepped out of the house. Willow went to make herself breakfast.


That evening Dawn sat in the Bronze. Alone. She looked around, and was happy. Buffy seemed to finally trust her not to die, that and a little unexpected help from Anya of all people. For Dawn had been allowed to go out alone, alone! Her big sis had even practically dropped her grounding over her stunt the other night. Sipping from her root beer, Dawn grinned as she looked around the bronze; kissing and dancing couples, groups of friends around tables talking to each other. *Ok,* she thought to herself as her smile became less radiant. *So alone isn't all that I cracked it up to be. Man, I so need friends of my own. Buffy and co are great and all, but they've already gone through all this teenage hormonal angst. And I lead the only friend I had into a vampire trap . . .* Dawn slapped her forehead. *Stupid! When will you stop forgetting.* Dawn extended her senses and scanned the club; no demonic presences, which, Dawn figured, meant she was extra lucky tonight. Could that be a good thing?

"Uh, hi," a voice called from her right, a male voice.

Dawn turned her head and looked at one of the most gorgeous guys she had ever laid eyes on. Deep blue eyes, slick, carefully-stylish messy, raven hair with red highlights. Well, Dawn was fairly certain the highlights were red, the dim lighting of the club didn't really lend itself to identifying the color of some highlights. His face was drool-worthy, soft gentle, somewhat of an Asian complexion and form of his eyes, but with a strong jaw line. He was wearing a tight sweater, and tight jeans, allowing Dawn a look at what he had to offer. It wasn't the perfectly trained, warrior's chest and arm muscles of one Xander Littica that starred in many of her fantasies - even if the rest of Xander wasn't attached to it - but it was close enough to make her hesitate with her answer. "Uh, hi," she answered, feeling a smile creep up on her face. *Oh, great, Dawn,* she admonished herself in irritation, not daring to drop her fake, and probably goofy, smile. *Can you be any more lame?*

"I was wondering, w-would you like to dance?" the guy asked her, smiling at her.

For a moment Dawn hesitated, there was a slow song going. "Uh, sure," Dawn replied then, mentally kicking herself, and got up a little too quickly. The guy didn't notice; like Dawn, he was too busy making sure he didn't make a fool out of himself.

The stepped upon the dance floor and after some awkward trying to find the right position they managed and then gently swayed across the dance floor. Dawn looked up at him, and he introduced himself, "Hi, I'm Li-Huei Kujimuta. Most people just call me Li."

Dawn raised her eyebrows, and asked, "Korean?"

He couldn't keep a smile from his face and answered her, "See these blue eyes? My father is Japanese, while my mother is the most blonde Caucasian woman in the world. Hair color, not intelligence."

Dawn smiled, a sad tint to it, remembering her mother briefly, and also bringing her sister to mind. "I'm Dawn Summers."

"Did I say something wrong?" he asked seeing the dimming of her eyes.

Dawn shook her head and after a moment's hesitation, explained, "My mother was blonde. She died seven moths . . . or is it eight months ago already?"

"I'm sorry," he told her, gently turning them around on the dance floor.

Dawn looked back up at him, and smiling she replied, "I still got a big sister and several very good friends. So, you good at martial arts?"

With a smile he retorted lightly, "I got a Japanese father and you assume I can do karate?"

"If I assumed, I wouldn't be asking, now would I?" Dawn returned with a mock glare and stern tone.

"Yeah, my father teaches me Tai Chi and Jujitsu," Li-Huei told her as he avoided another couple.

Dawn smiled naughtily up at him and murmured, "Ooh, you think you can take me in a sparring match?" From the look in his eyes, and how his arms tightened just a little bit around her, she knew she had said the right thing. *Ok, Dawn, so when did you turn into a seasoned seductress,* she wondered to herself. *He must be bringing it out in me. Oh, man. Buffy is nice to me, no demons in the bronze, and the hottest guy is dancing with me and likes me. This kind of luck doesn't exist on the Hellmouth. Something really bad is coming, I just know it.*

About an hour, several dances, some drinks and lots of talking later, the two were sitting at a table. They had found out they were going to the same school, which was a plus. He had just made her laugh, and she was still giggling a little. She looked at her watch and then turned disappointed to Li-Huei. "I was really bad a week ago, and my sister grounded me. I got the grounding reversed, but I've got a very early curfew, I have to go home."

"You didn't just sneak out and have to be back before your sister gets home?" he asked with wiggling eyebrows.

Dawn grinned at him and said, "No, I didn't sneak out." She got up slowly and he did the same.

Li-Huei hesitated for a moment, and then asked, "May I walk you home?"

Dawn beamed brightly at him, saying, "I'd like that."


Back at Buffy's place Willow sat on the couch, reading the paper, feeling bored. Over in the dining room, doubling as Buffy's study, Buffy sat doing homework. Amy came down the stairs, just as bored as Willow. When she reached the bottom she looked around and then announced, "I'm bored."

Willow looked up at her, thought over her own state, and answered, "Me too."

"All right then," Amy replied enthusiastically. "Let's go do something. We could go to the bronze."

"I don't know," Willow answered, not entirely certain.

"Oh, come one, Willow," Amy told her excited. "So you had a bad break up. Doesn't mean you should be sitting at home . . . reading the paper."

Willow looked at her paper, dropped it, and then stood up and walked over to Amy. "You know what, you are right. So Tara left me. Doesn't mean my life has come to an end. And it doesn't mean I should have any fun. Let's go Bronzing."

"That's the spirit," Amy told her with a grin, and the two of them grabbed their coats.

"Buffy," Willow called out. Buffy looked away from her homework at her best friend. "You wanna come?"

"I really have to finish this, Will. And Dawn's coming home soon . . . or not, and the grounding is reinstated. If she's still there, kick her home," Buffy answered with a grim smile. Willow nodded her ascent. Buffy added, "And take your cell phone, please, Willow? If really can't figure something out, I wanna call my favorite smart person."

"Sure thing," Willow answered tapping her coat's pocket with a bright smile, and the two witches left the house.


A short while later Dawn and Li-Huei, arrived outside of her house. "Here we are," Dawn gestured to the house nervously.

Li walked closer to her and said, "I had fun tonight."

"Me too, a lot of fun," Dawn told him timidly, balancing nervously on the heals of her feet.

"Ok, I guess this is it," Li looked over at the house and the door for a moment. "1630, got to remember that."

"Revello Drive," Dawn added, beaming up at him. *Ok, Dawn, courage.* "Could I have your phone number? I'd give you mine."

Li's eyes widened with pleasant surprise, then patted down his jacket and told her, "Don't have a pen or something to write on, can you remember it?"

"Yup. Can you remember mine?" Dawn returned. He nodded. They exchanged their phone numbers, and continued to stare at each other for a while. Dawn gestured at her house again.

"Right, goodbye then. See you in school?" he asked with a smile.

"Definitely," Dawn replied, and then the two reluctantly parted ways.

Dawn entered the house with a big smile, immediately going for a pen and paper. Buffy came out of her study and accused, "That was a boy."

"No, that was a babe," Dawn answered with a giant grin, as she wrote down his phone number.

"Is he vampire?" Buffy bit out.

"No, I checked, and so could you have," Dawn said, turning to her sister with both surprise and annoyance.

"I did, just had to make sure you did," Buffy told her sister with an intense steel gaze. "Dawn, you be very careful with boys, once they've got what they want, they'll start killing your friends," Buffy lectured, somewhat pissed off.

Dawn turned around and gawked at her big sister for a moment and then remarked, "Don't you think you're just smidgen projecting now? Plus, no vampire, remember."

Buffy's eyes lowered to the ground as she went over what she said. Then she looked back into Dawn's face and said, "You know what I mean. You be careful, Dawn, and try to be quiet, I've got homework."

"Sure thing, silent as death, apart from my breathing," Dawn said to her sister uncomfortably. Buffy nodded satisfied and turned around. *Ok,* Dawn thought to herself, as she dashed up the stairs. *Really need to satisfy an itch.*


"So I'm not in the mood for fun tonight," Willow said, looking dejectedly at her drink. Around her, the Bronze was filled with people partying.

"Ah, cheer up Willow," Amy told her with a smile. Two guys behind her followed her practically like they were puppy dogs. "You want one?"

Willow looked at the two guys and said, "Oh, no, no . . . uh . . ."

"Oh, forgot. You go for the other side now," Amy told her with a giant smile. She looked over the table that Willow was sitting at, and spotted two girls at the bar. Amy waved two fingers at them, and one of them suddenly turned around and looked directly at Willow. She then came walking over sexily.

When the young woman reached a surprised Willow, she draped her arm around Willow's shoulders and huskily said, "Hello, beautiful."

"Ah, I'm sorry, you're very . . . but . . ." Willow pointed her fingers, and the woman suddenly looked around confused, and quickly walked away.

"You certain, you don't . . .?" Amy asked with a small smile.

"Nah, it isn't real. Besides, you don't alter a person's mind that easily, sooner or later she would regain herself, and they will too. You can remove a few memories, just disrupting a few RNA patterns, but so completely like that permanently, means changing the entire quantum function that makes up a person, that takes some truly huge power, I mean look at you," Willow said, pointing at Amy. The other witch looked down at herself and back at Willow. "Your quantum function got crushed and twisted into a rat's body, and you stayed like that for three whole years. And now, you're still Amy mind wise, and you don't have any whiskers either."

"Uh, Willow, you lost me at RNA," Amy told the red-headed witch with wide eyes. Willow looked embarrassedly at Amy, with a look that her friends knew was reserved for 'I'm babbling again, aren't I?' "You sure you are all right?"

"Yeah, go have fun. I'll stay here and finish my drink," Willow said, with a false cheer. Amy gave her one last wistful look and then took the two boys into the crowd and danced with them. Willow drank down her drink, and then went to the bar to get another.

Half an hour later, Willow was still sitting at the bar, looking at her next drink, half empty. She sighed thinking about Tara breaking up with her. She was slowly getting tipsy, and realized she would have to stop soon. Amy rejoined her, the boys still following her around. "Hey, Will. You having fun right? This was about having fun."

"Don't worry, I've had fun," Willow answered, and decided to gulp this last drink for the night away in one go.

"Hey, girls," one of the guys spoke up. The witches turned to look at them. "We've been nice all night, I think it's time you repay us." He looked at his friend and they nodded together.

Willow suddenly got angry. She sat up straight and commented, "You know, Amy. I like them better before they regained themselves." Amy nodded her agreement, they looked at each other a moment, and then Willow waved her hand, and suddenly the guys were standing in a cage above the crowd hanging from the ceiling. The only things they wore were leather wrist bands and a leather thong. They looked surprised for a moment, and then started dancing like professional exotic dancers . . . or at least they tried. Some of the girls, and a lot less of the guys squealed out in delight.

"You know," Willow added with a smile, suddenly she found herself perked up. "I never really liked this band." She pointed at the band on stage, magic energy flowed from her finger, and the band suddenly changed into a completely different one. They seemed confused for a moment and then started playing as they saw the crowd demanding a performance in front of them.

"What did you do?" Amy asked with a big smile.

Willow grinned, "I switched them. At the place where they were playing, the old band is playing."

Amy laughed, and then both of them got interrupted by a girl screeching, "YOU, PIG!" She then slapped a guy, who just grinned and called sexistically after her as she walked away from him. The witches looked at each other for a moment, then, smiling, Willow nodded at Amy. Amy grinned, pointed her finger at the guy, and with a swirl of green energy he was an actual pig. The two witches laughed out loud. They gave each other another look, and then Willow pointed her finger and changed a girl into a duck. Amy pointed her finger, laughing. Willow followed it up, the two witches taking turn, laughing out loud.


Both of them were up on the balcony and looked down at the chaos they had created. Animals walked along, people with three arms, or two heads. Light swirled everywhere, sometimes carrying along midgets.

Willow pointed her finger another time, making something new appear, and sighed, "I'm bored."

"Me too," Amy answered looking along the room. "This gets old really quick."

"Let's turn everything back and get out of here," Willow suggested. Amy nodded, and they started putting everything and everyone back the way they belonged.


A short time later, the two of them were walking along one of Sunnydale's streets. Both of them looked around with a bored expression.

Amy got an idea. "So?" she asked with a smile. "You must be exhausted after all that magic."

Willow laughed and declared, "Exhausted? Not at all. I feel fantastic. I've never released so much magic before, not without Giles or Tara always giving me frowny face. Why?"

"Oh," Amy replied sullenly, trying to wave her idea away, quite a bit shocked and jealous at Willow's statement. "It's that I know this dude who can seriously jack up someone's magic, but I see you don't need it."

Willow stayed silent for a short while, as they walked thinking over Amy's statement. "Jack up?" she finally asked her new witch friend. "Why would you know about a dude that can jack up magic?"

"You don't know?" Amy asked Willow surprised, and then explained, "Will, remember me before rat? I can perform a good old spell, but that stuff at the bronze; no way can I do that on my own. I let this guy jack me up really good this afternoon, I just wanted to play on your level for a while, and damn if it isn't awesome. I'm already starting to feel drained, and here you are without any ill effects."

Willow smirked at Amy, "Really?" Amy nodded. "How about we go meet this guy then?" Willow suggested with a grin.

"Hey, I don't want to get jacked up again. That quick after each other can't be good for my body," Amy answered nervously, making the wrong conclusion.

"Oh, no, Amy, not for you. I'd like to meet this 'dude'," Willow told her smiling.

"Ok, well, his house is between dimensions, you know, to keep snooping people out. The entrance roams across Sunnydale. Only really magic sensitive people can find it," Amy explained, as she closed her eyes and let her awareness flow out.

Willow nodded and said, "Is that so?" Amy nodded.


Some time later the two of them were standing in front of an alley in the bad part of town. Not that there was a good part of Sunnydale, but the industrial area was a really bad part at night. "Here it is," Amy said with a smile.

"Yes, I can feel it too," Willow replied with a grin.

"Ok, let's go," Amy said, and the two witches walked forward. Amy stretched out her arm and it disappeared into a dimensional fold. She smiled at Willow and then the two witches stepped through.

Willow looked at the 'house' she was now in. Dirty golden carpet, wood paneling along the lower half of the wall, higher half painted green. A black and white picture hung on the wall. There was a table, a few chairs and a couch. The table was covered with magazines. Almost like a doctor's waiting area. Two girls sat on the couch, staring dumbly ahead. They were pale, and their hair was ragged. Willow felt creeped out. The presence on the other side of the door on the other end of the hallway helped significantly with that. It felt evil. It was demonic yet it was not. It was souled, yet it was not, all mixed in with a lot of magic, both dark and light.

"Come on," Amy said with a smile, walking forward toward the door on the other end. Willow followed Amy, she had confirmed her darkest suspicions. Amy opened the door and they stepped through. On the other side was a big room, with comfortable chairs, and couches. The room had the sam hue as the waiting area. One girl hung in the air, energy crackled around her, she was jittering as if she was on drugs.

"Amy, what brings you here? You couldn't wait in the waiting area?" the demon slash warlock said, with a far too slick and friendly voice. He then looked at Willow. "You've brought a friend I see, a very powerful friend. You did good bringing her here, Amy."

Amy nodded with a smile. "This is Willow, she wanted to see you."

Willow smiled at the sickening individual and asked, "So you jack up magic, huh?"

"Yes, I do," the male said, circling Willow in awe as she stepped to the middle of the room. He joined Amy closer to the entrance. Willow continued to smile as she examined the floating girl. "Would you like to be jacked up?"

Willow turned around to face him, he returned his smile as she walked up to him, "I think I do."

"Oh, exquisite," he said as he looked at Willow, but it seemed more like he was looking inside Willow. He gave Amy a 'good girl' smile and gently stretched out his hands in front of Willow's chest. "Yes, oh yes, you've got quite the power, there," he whispered evilly, and then his hands and Willow's chest started to glow. Suddenly he jolted, and groaned, arching his back backward. He then stood back up looking at Willow wide-eyed. "My god," he whispered in shock. Then he smiled serenely, "Aah, yes."

"Like that huh? Want more?" Willow asked sweetly, looking straight into the pleased mage's eyes. His eyes opened at her revelation, his eyes slowly opened with shock. Willow just smiled and tapped into her giant reserves of energy and her eyes turned pitch black. Amy took a frightened step back, suddenly feeling some of Willow's untapped power, and started to realize she and the mage had miscalculated.

The mage jerked several times, and he wheezed out, "NO! Stop it! Please?"

"Why?" Willow asked calmly. "Isn't this what you wanted? My magical energy? That's what you do isn't it? You don't empower someone, you 'jack them up'. You give them some of your power, add a spell, and boost their magic. But while you do that, you siphon away most of their own energy. That's why you can give others some of your energy, yet gain more and more power for yourself. Like you're doing with me, only I have little bit more than you can handle, don't I?"

"Please! Stop," he begged as his body jerked in its rigidness.

Willow turned her head to look at Amy, and she got a view of her black eyes. Amy gasped and took an involuntary step back. "And you knew, didn't you, Amy? That's why you called it 'jacking up'. That's why you didn't want to have it done a second time, because you'd know you'd turn into one of those addicts outside and like her. Was my energy payment for your super jack up, Amy?" The other witch took another step back in shock.

"God!" the mage begged again, unable to disengage himself from Willow. Too much energy entering his constantly rigid body kept him from performing the necessary acts to do so. "Please! I beg you! Stop! I can't take this!"

Willow turned to regard him, and thought it over calmly. "Nah, you wanted power; then take it all."

Willow stretched out her hands along side his, and they started to glow. "NOOO!! AAAAAAAHHH!!" the demon mage screamed. Electricity started crackling around his body as it shook under the onslaught of Willow's gravity enhanced magic. And then he simply exploded, his guts and skin and bones instantly reduced to tiny pieces that were flung around the room. A moment later the room was covered in gore. Amy had seen it coming and with a small magical shield protected herself from the disgusting mess. Willow had done the same, and the addict had been protected from it by the energy that had still been crackling around her body. With the mage's death though, the energy disappeared and she dropped unceremoniously to the floor, getting the red mixture all over her. She moaned out something unintelligible.

"Amy," Willow commanded her fellow witch, not so fellow any more. "Get her and the two in the waiting area out of here. Now!"

Amy jolted into action, afraid of Willow. She put the girl's arm around her shoulders and supported her thus, half dragging along. When she reached the door, Amy cowering asked, "What are you going to do?"

"Destroy this place," Willow answered harshly. Amy nodded and pulled the girl along sideways through the door. Willow waited until she felt the four presences disappear from the house, and then she started muttering spells.

Outside Amy looked at the alley, waiting. Willow then came stepping out, eyes still black and the dimensional fold started flickering with light. Then the house became visible, but see through, and then it started crumpling up in a tiny ball. Finally there was a tiny explosion of raw energy and then all was quiet, except for the shocked gasps of the two girls still half stoned.

"Take your friend with you," Willow ordered them, her eyes boring into Amy's, who swallowed fearfully. The girls complied, relieving Amy of her burden and then stepping aside. "You are no better than your mother," Willow told her with a calm voice, directly under which surface there was a building anger.

"Oh, fuck you," Amy told her, her fear turning to anger. "Oh so sweet Willow, keeping me as her pet rat for three years until you could use a witch friend. And then being so ridiculously powerful. You could barely float a pen back when I was still human. What the hell kind of sick demented things have you done to power yourself up like that, huh?"

"Noting!" Willow said angrily, a grimace on her face, her anger bursting forth, magic starting to crackle around her. "And even if I did, I certainly wouldn't have siphoned of energy of innocent little girls like you did via that demon. Like a leech, like a VAMPIRE!" Willow screamed out the last with pure contempt, and stretched out her right arm, lifting Amy off the ground, and causing lightning bolts to crackle around the other which. Amy screamed out in pain, and the three addicts decided to turn and run away as fast as they could.

"You sicken me, Amy!" Willow roared out, reveling in the power, increasing it. The electricity crackled happily through Amy. Willow stretched out her other hand and sent out a bolt of green energy that flung Amy away, until she crashed into the metal pole of a chicken-wire fence. Amy groaned out at the impact, even as the electricity continued to electrocute her. "You weak little pathetic thing." Willow lifted Amy back off the floor. "You are nothing to me. Were you jealous of the power you felt from me when I made you human again?" Amy screamed out. "I should have kept you as my pet rat, you certainly act like one. And unlike me, you're hardly above a rat. Perhaps I should turn you back."

"Please, stop," Amy managed to groan out in between screams.

Willow snarled, and turned around, making Amy turn with her, crashing into the pole of a street light. "You are nothing to me, bitch! You thought you could jack yourself up and play at my level! I will tell you something, you cannot comprehend my level! You could have let yourself be jacked up by a #god#, AND YOU STILL WOULDN'T BE AT MY LEVEL! You are so pathetically weak, it makes me sick you thought you were playing at my level. And you call yourself a witch! You will get out of my house, and if you ever dare to get near it, me or my friends again, I will kill you. Tomorrow morning is the only exception, you'll find your new clothes on the lawn!" Willow give a burst of her energy, and Amy was flung backward, landing against the wall of a building, the electricity disappeared. "Understand?" Willow demanded. Weakly Amy nodded. "Then get out of my sight," Willow snarled at her, and then turned around. In no mood to walk, she burst into the air flying toward the Summers residence, enjoying the feel of her released energy, as if being high on her power. She grinned, this was good.


Burned out Sunnydale High library - the Hellmouth
Just before noon, the next day

A pentacle had been drawn on the exact place of the Hellmouth. Black candles, and all kinds of ingredients were placed in strategic positions, among them a lamb and bunny in the middle of the pentacle, and with it the Hellmouth. Andrew walked over to a place open to the sun and stuck a wooden stick in the soil.

"What's that for?" Warren asked confused, it seemed rather not part of the spell.

"To tell the time," Andrew explained as he came back to his position at the point of the pentagram. "The ritual must be performed at noon exactly, remember."

Warren looked dumbfounded for a moment and then lifted his left arm indicating his watch. "Linked to the atomic clock. How much more precise can you get?" Warren asked Andrew.

"I'm performing a magic ritual to summon an ancient demon from Hell," Andrew explained patiently and friendly. "Neither the ritual, nor the demon, nor Hell cares about the vibrations of the atoms, it only cares about the position of the sun in relation to the Hellmouth. Now you guys sit where I told you to."

"Yeah, about that," Jonathan asked nervously as she went to sit down a third of the way of the circle. "You're certain this summons only one demon, right? We want to conquer Sunnydale, not overrun the world with demons."

Andrew grinned, "As long as you guys do exactly as I showed you, this will go off without a hitch."

Warren sat down as well, and Andrew did the same. He looked at the wooden pole and waited for the shadow to vanish. Then he started his chanting, "Powers of darkness and chaos, hear our call!"

"Hear our call!" Warren and Jonathan repeated. The candles lit of their own accord, a gentle wind started blowing.

"Powers of suffering and death, hear our call!" Andrew chanted.

"Hear our call!" Warren and Jonathan repeated again. Energy slowly empowered the scenery. Snakes of energy coiled up out of the Hellmouth, capturing the cute animals, and their eyes blew out. The animals screamed out their horror and pain, but the energy snakes kept them in place.

"Powers of Hell and domination, hear our call!" Andrew again.

"Hear our call!" The animals screeched as they were eviscerated from the inside out, blades of energy crisscrossing out their bodies from inside. Blood gushed out of their wounds and started soaking the ground of the Hellmouth. Energy crackled where the blood soaked into the ground, and a moment later four energy arcs lashed out, engulfing the different magical ingredients placed strategically around the room.

"Powers of the ancients and true ones, hear our call!"

"Hear our call!" The Hellmouth opened as a powerful circle of hyper-dimensional energy, a gateway, a wormhole to Hell itself. It engulfed the energies it had been sending out, as well as the sacrificial animals instantly. The animals fell into pieces as they fell into the blood red interior of the gateway.

"We summon further the pillar of power. The demon of might, the executioner, the destroyer. Hear our demands, and bind him to our will!" The Hellmouth stood up on its end, facing Andrew, and slowly enlarged until it was about five meters across. "We summon him forth, and he will do our bidding. This is our decree!"

"This is our decree!" Jonathan and Warren chanted. The Hellmouth flickered, and sizzled, then a silhouette appeared in it. It stepped forward, revealing a heavily muscled brown-skinned leg. Moments later the rest of the ancient demon was revealed, standing in the middle of the pentacle. The Hellmouth shrank and disappeared. The demon was just over three and a half meters tall, its muscles were thick all over its body. It had light brown horns on the top of its head, its eyes sizzled with an evil, blood-red energy. It had a giant maw, that was lined with giant, razor sharp teeth. One bite would pass through a man's limb and bones like a hot knife through butter. It was naked, its reproductive organ hidden behind protective flesh, it would make too much of an inviting target otherwise. It grinned at Andrew and then gave a growling chuckle.

Andrew stood up, and marveled at the giant demon that was under his control. "All right, listen up," Andrew told it with a grin. "We want you to get the Slayer for us. Buffy Summers. Deliver her to our lair."

The demon laughed. "A Slayer? A puny Slayer? That's what you summoned me for?"

"Exactly, got a problem with that?" Warren added from his point. He too stood up.

The demon peered down at the puny human, and wished he could just crush him. But the bastards had used powerful magics, to bind him, noon - where light was at its strongest - not the least of which. For now, he would have to do their bidding, but that didn't mean it couldn't expand the job description a little, in fact that's why he had let himself take the call in the first place. The demon sighed, and said, "No." He turned around, toward the exit of the school and downtown Sunnydale. It grinned. "But I'll do you one better." It suddenly turned around halfway and looked at something only he could see. "There, they are already coming, I can feel them. They have sensed my life force upon my arrival, and they come running to their certain death like good little heroes. I'll go kill the Sedra Soli as well for you; I came for him in the first place. Then I'll bring both their broken and dead bodies to you."

"Hey, wait!" Andrew called out, but the demon had already run off, going straight through the few still remaining parts of the school. "We want her alive! Captured!" Too late.

"Kill?" Jonathan squeaked out, looking at Andrew with accusation. "We didn't want her dead." The spiked ash-blonde sheepishly lifted his shoulders.

Warren sighed, "I know, having the Slayer as a slave would have been awesome, but the important thing was getting her out of our way. And that will soon be done. Come on, let's go back to headquarters and wait for him."


Dawn was sitting at an outdoors table, Li and some of his friends sat around her. They were having lunch, when the sensation of the Hellmouth opening and the demon emerging assaulted her senses. They weren't even truly open, but the demon's power was so vast, far more powerful than Buffy, that it was virtually impossible not to sense it. In fact Li seemed uncomfortable, and even some other students with no training had visible shivers run down their spine. Their subconscious trained by the Hellmouth was screaming at them, 'Danger!' They looked left and right for a moment, but seeing nothing they continued eating. Li stayed uncomfortable longer.

The demon's power was so strong it scared Dawn, for a moment she contemplated not going to it, but that notion quickly disappeared. "Uh, I've got to go to the bathroom," Dawn announced and quickly left the lunch table. She ran around the building out of sight. "Damn it!" she hissed at herself, "I knew something was coming." Then she blasted off into the sky.


Over at Sunnydale U, Willow, Buffy and Xander were having lunch together as well, when the power attacked their senses.

"Now that's dark magic," Willow whispered, shivering at the sickening feeling of the dark ritual.

"Let's go," Xander said with a grim face.

They got up, found a secluded spot, and blasted off themselves. A short while later, they met up with Dawn, who gave them a nervous smile. Moments later they stopped, hanging in the air, looking down at the hulking figure of the demon.

"Sedra Soli!" the demon growled with a wide smile, it motioned to Xander with its hand to come down. "I came for you, now I'm going to kill you! Come down, or I'll come up."

"Ok, Xan," Dawn commented, giving him a pat on the back. "It wants you, I say this one's yours."

"You sure you don't want him?" Xander asked jokingly.

Dawn grinned nervously, "Nah, I never want to disappoint my opponents."

Xander laughed and lowered himself to the ground. The demon and he stood on the across from each other, on the main road in Sunnydale. The Scoobies lowered themselves to the ground out of the way. The demon studied Xander, and then announced with a wide grin, "So you're the Sedra Soli. I'm not impressed."

"Hmm," Xander offered. "The feeling is mutual."

The demon laughed and lashed out with its right fist. Xander avoided it by lifting in the air and moving slightly to the right. He twisted fully around and caught the demon in his chest with a vicious kick. The demon shrugged it off and swung his outstretched arm right. Xander lowered himself and went flat, the fist moving over him, and then jumped back, his chi flame bursting around him, smirking at the demon. "Good," it growled with a superior smile. "You are not a complete waste of my time."

*What a moron,* Xander thought as he easily avoided a few more fists swung his way. *He has absolutely no idea what he's up against.* Xander flew higher into the air, and looked down. Sure enough the demon followed him, swinging his massive fists in powerful destructive punches. None even came close to Xander, who descended back down to the ground. The demon grinned evilly, uncomprehending just how outclassed he was. Xander jumped up, sped up a little with his chi, thus avoiding a swipe, and half-heartily kicked the demon into the side of his face. Its head barely even moved, and he just grinned at Xander, who used his other foot on the demon's head to jump back. The demon's eyes glowed more intensely and two bolts of energy that quickly melted into one flew from it. Xander smacked it aside, and it exploded powerfully a few hundred meters away. At the same time Xander fired an energy ball down. The demon put his arms in front of him and took the blast head on, none the worse for wear. Then Xander landed on the floor. Xander smirked, he had tested the demon's powers, and was quite confident he could take him without even going to Super Saiyan.

Slightly lost in thought, he didn't react fast enough as the demon suddenly accelerated faster than Xander had thought it capable. The demon wrapped its hands around him. It then picked Xander up off the floor and squeezed hard. It grinned satisfied at Xander. Apparently it had kept something in reserve, smart, but not too smart. Xander struggled against the grip, but to no avail. He groaned as he felt the strain on his body. The demon laughed and told him, "So this is the great Sedra Soli. Like I said, I'm not impressed. You're dead boy, I'm going to crush you like a bug." The demon laughed out hard, as Xander struggled to no avail. The scoobies off to the side looked on with dread.

*That's it,* Xander thought angrily. With a short yell he transformed, the golden glow of the Super Saiyan surrounding him. With a quick burst of strength he threw the demon's arms off of him and jumped back, making a graceful somersault and landing on the ground. His hair waved around by the energy of his aura.

"Well, well, so there's some fight left in you after all," the demon grinned at him. It then roared, tightening its muscles and they grew somewhat in size. "There, now that were both at our max, let's fight for real," the demon told him with a laugh.

Xander looked at the demon, studying him. Those extra muscles would slow it down even more. He thought it over for a moment and then grinned. He relaxed, and folded his arms across his chest. At the same time he powered down, de-transforming, and said, "Oh, but I'm not going to fight you."

"What?" the demon blurted out confused. The scoobies to Xander's left were just as stunned.

"You heard me," Xander told the demon with a grin. "I'm not going to fight you," Xander repeated, then pointed over to Buffy. "#She# is going to kick your ass." Buffy looked stunned, and then looked behind her. There was nobody there, Willow and Dawn were standing next to her, who looked just as horrified as Buffy.

"You can't be serious," the demon stated dumbfounded. "I'll squash the little Slayer with one blow."

Xander grinned, and started walking over to the Scoobs, telling him, "The only way you get to fight me, is over her dead body." His friends gawked at him disbelieving.

"Fine," the demon told him disgusted, folding his own arms across his chest. "If that's the way you want it. My masters wanted her dead anyway, I don't care who goes first."

"Go on, Buffy. Kicks his ass," Xander told her with a smirk.

"But, but, but . . ." Buffy tried to protest, fear on her face.

"But Xander," Willow did it for her, horror on her face. "You needed to be a Super Saiyan to get out of its grasp. Buffy won't stand a chance."

Dawn piped up, squeaking, disgust and shock written all over her, "Yeah, you're going to send my sister to her death."

Xander nodded confidently. "Probably," he said with an evil grin, and turned around, still seeing Buffy stand there, terrified. "Come on, Buffy. I was expecting you to already be kicking its ass. Let's go." Xander raised his left wrist and started pushing buttons on his watch. "Fifteen minutes should be more than enough to finish him off, Buff. I'll set the stopwatch. Go for it."

"But . . . but . . ." Buffy tried afraid as she reluctantly turned around to face the demon.

"Hut, hut, Buffy. I'll start the timer once you two start fighting," Xander told her with a grin, making shoo movements. Dawn and Willow stood on either side of Xander, looking up at his face with disbelief.

Afraid, Buffy slowly walked to the middle of the road. *This can't be happening,* Buffy though with fear coursing through her veins. *What did I do to piss him off? No, no. Can't think like that. Xander won't let me die. If it really is about to kill me, he'll step in. That's right, this just a test, to see if I can overcome my fear. That's got to be it . . . I hope.* She stood where Xander was standing a little earlier, and placed herself in a fighting stance.

The demon shook his head, "I'll make a deal with you. I'll make this quick and painless, how about it?"

Buffy blinked, trembling as she looked up at the giant in front of her. She swallowed, and answered, "Painless, yes please. Quick, preferably not." The demon sighed, lifted both its arms above his head and with a roar, smashed them down were Buffy was standing. She jumped backwards her energy bursting around her, fear written on her face. She saw the marks of the fist in the asphalt, and the shockwave moving in circles away from them and thought, *I can't fight this thing. It makes Glory look like a pussy cat.*

The demon charged at her, and smashed its giant right fist at her with all its might. Buffy hung back and saw the fist move over her. "Oh, shit," she muttered, as she saw the massive arm move past her. The arm was just as big as her head. One hit would be enough to kill her, she figured. The left fist came at her, and she avoided that one in fear as well. He kicked out, and Buffy jumped over it, and then took to the air.

"Damn it!" the demon told her calmly, but with an undertone of anger. It followed her and added, "Stand still, or this will be painful." Buffy turned around, flying backward now, looking at the demon, as she waved back and forth, up and down. Its eyes glowed and fired a red energy ball, two more followed quickly.

Buffy looked at the energy blast with wide eyes. She had seen the one earlier explode, there was no way she could take a blast like that and not get damaged. She fired and energy ball at the first one, moved sharply downward, and did the same to the other two. When her energy blasts connected with the demon's they exploded. The demon dipped down and Buffy once again avoided the hit fearfully. The demon was slowly getting fed up.

"Damn it, Xander!" Dawn called out in frustration. "She can't even hit it!"

"Oh?" Xander answered her, grinning watching the fight.

"She can't beat it, Xan," Willow pleaded. Xander just kept grinning.

The two combatants moved up and down the street. Buffy constantly avoided the demon's hits and blasts in fear. But Xander just wouldn't step in. Couldn't he see she was no match for this thing? Its reach was far greater than hers, she couldn't even get a punch in. Its power dwarfed hers. The whole thing was an exercise in futility. Punch, duck, punch, left, kick, up.

[Play Buffy's theme] With a roar of anger, that the insect just wouldn't stay still, the demon threw a mighty punch, moving his whole body forward, overextending himself. Buff ducked beneath it, and realized she had an opening. She punched the demon fearfully and weakly into its ribs and then quickly dashed out of the way. The demon turned to her again, and the dance continued. A few minutes later Buffy slowly became aware of something; the demon hadn't even hit her once. Shocked at that revelation she began paying more attention. Punch, duck, miss. Kick, up, miss. Another punch, wait, duck, miss. A kick, left, miss. Another kick, wait, wait, right, miss.

Buffy blinked at her surprise. The thing was powerful, but slow, and had virtually no agility. Buffy realized she had been spinning circles around the demon. 'He or she who cannot be hit, cannot be beaten. All other lessons and rules derive from this one truth. It has some rather nice consequences. For one, if you can't hit somebody, you'll lose that fight. It also means, that if you're facing somebody much more stronger than you, but you are too fast for him to hit you, you will win, and he will lose.' Xander's first fighting wisdom, it came back to her then, like lightning strike in clear sky. Buffy grinned ferally, her fear vanished instantly.

She ducked under a punch and then threw one of her own with all her might, to the right side of its ribs. The punch didn't do much damage, but the demon had felt it, she could tell. He went rigid for a moment, expelling air. Looking up, as she ducked around him, she saw his eyes were wide with surprise. She twisted around and with a yell she put all her might in a kick that landed on the ribs on his back, exactly on the opposite side of where her punch at landed. Quickly she put distance between her and him, if it managed to grab a hold of her, it would be over.

She looked at the demon, and he took a staggering step forward. Oh, yeah, she had hurt it.

To the side, Dawn and Willow looked astonished, as Xander murmured, "That's the way, Buff. Now finish him off."

Buffy fired an energy ball, right at the place where she had hurt it before. The demon managed to turn around and cross his hands in front himself. She dove at him. The kick to his face it blocked, but the punch to his midsection, where she hit it before, past through its block, as well as the scissor kick to both it's knees. She pushed off the ground with her hands, avoiding his frantic kick out. Reaching the height of his face, she spun around in a helicopter kick, hitting the face several times. She followed up with a double kick to its chest, that she used to jump a way from him. She turned up right in the air, and saw the demon jump at her with a roar of anger. A small burst of chi sent her higher then his punch, and leapfrogged over him with her hands on his head. She dug her nails in his skin and send an energy blast into his head. The demon spun around at the unexpected hit, and Buffy stopped her motion with her chi, turned around with a powerful kick and caught him again in the same place on his ribs.

"Stand still!" he roared, turned around and throwing a mighty punch. Buffy saw it coming, but knew she couldn't get out of the way. She crossed her arms in front of her, and raised a chi shield. The punch hit her, jarring her as she was launched back. The demon launched himself after her right away.

Buffy didn't have much choice but to ride it out until the pain lessened, which kept her from utilizing her chi just yet. She saw the demon above her, soaring through the air. *Wait for it,* Buffy thought, her right shoulder painfully scrapping across the asphalt. The demon formed a double handed fist, and roared out. It was trying to squash her and smash her in half all with one hit. The demon loomed larger, becoming frighteningly large. *Now.* She slowed her motion with her chi, and then kicked out, launching herself into the air. She passed the double handed blow, then lashed out her elbow hitting him once again on the spot on his ribs that she had been tenderizing. That, combined with his downward motion, her own upward motion, and the hard point of her elbow made a powerful impact. As she heard his painful cry out, her teeth clenched in a primitive gin.

He was far too heavy, if she didn't get out of the way, he'd squash her with his body. So she exerted her chi and slipped around him, underneath his right arm, and kicked him hard in his back ribs, once again the same spot. Again he cried out. His speed toward the ground increased and he smashed face first into the road, flinging up pieces of asphalt. From his groan, and the way he didn't immediately got up, Buffy surmised it had hurt. She floated in the air, and pointed both her hands down at him, charging a powerful energy ball. As she saw a thick bruise form on his ribs, she shot the ball down. It hit and exploded, and Buffy charged another. The demon growled and got up on his elbows. The second explosion made him get up quicker. Buffy realized the explosion didn't do much to him.

Change of action, Buffy stretched her right arm upward, and yelled, "Destructo Disc!" She flung the disc down just as the demon turned around. The disc embedded itself in its chest, slicing into it. The demon roared out in pain and staggered back. The disc hadn't been powerful enough to slice straight through, but had imbedded itself inside its chest, like a knife, before its energy dissipated. Quickly Buffy charged another disc and threw it, then another and another. Five more discs in total she threw. The demon tried to block them, but to no avail. Each disc embedded itself into its chest, causing him to bleed from multiple lacerations. He was still standing though. Had a human be hurt like that he would have been on the floor bleeding to death, but not him. He looked up at her in frustration, and some fear, he had finally started to realize Buffy could beat him.

Buffy pondered what to do from the air. She could keep hitting it, and hitting it, but she was growing tired. She needed to rap this up quick. The demon started a new attack, firing more energy balls from his eyes. Buffy blew away the first few, and then got an idea. She sped downward, several energy balls missing her and then blasted forward. By the time the demon changed direction of his energy blasts, it was too late. Buffy had reached him, flew up, and landed the most devastating uppercut she had ever thrown in its nose. She heard it crack satisfyingly as she went higher. The demon staggered under the pain of part of its nose embedding itself into its brain. A human would drop dead, or at least as a vegetable, but the demon was made of sturdier suff. Buffy twisted around, lashing out with her right foot in a spin kick. She knew the demon was going to make one last desperate grasp for her, so when she was with her back to it, using her chi, she burst downward. He missed, his arms grasping around air, sometimes it paid to be small. With a roar, and all her might, she smashed her left elbow into his tenderized spot, and he gasped out, doubling half over. He coughed up some of his purple blood. Buffy stayed there for the moment, her elbow embedded into his ribs. Between her chi, momentum and gravity she slowly slid down and backward.

"So . . . fast. What are you?" the demon gasped out in fear and wonder, coughing up more blood.

"The Slayer," Buffy hissed out. Then, with a burst of chi, she turned around full circle and moved upward. She screamed out as she kicked the demon in its neck with every last bit of power she had. There was a crack as the demon's spine snapped. The neck caved in, the head lolling toward Buffy's foot. The other side of the neck was ripped open, bone protruding from the hole. A geyser of purple blood sprayed forth from the neck for several seconds as pressure equalized, then it came out with short diminishing spurts in the rhythm of the still beating heart. Buffy let her momentum spin her around, to in front of the demon, which collapsed to its knees before keeling over, dead. [Stop Buffy's theme.]

Buffy looked at the corpse with a perverse satisfaction, grinning predatory. She had never felt so incredible as when she realized she could hurt this thing, and her instincts had taken over from there. The sensations still burned through her body. Her friends joined her, Xander grinned at it in much the same way. Willow just blinked at the corpse, Dawn looked awed.

Suddenly Dawn snapped her fingers, and said, "He or she who cannot be hit, cannot be beaten."

"Bingo," Xander replied with a grin. He picked up the corpse with one hand and threw it in the air. A Tanekakosa wave later, the corpse was vaporized. "I'm disappointed, Buffy, twelve minutes, eleven seconds," Xander announced with a grin. Buffy was jolted from her reverie, looking into his hazel eyes. "I was expecting you'd be done with it in nine and a half."

Buffy just blinked at Xander, who grinned widely at her. *Oh, my god,* Buffy thought in horror, as the events of the past minutes returned to her clearer.

"How are we going to explain the mess?" Willow asked gesturing to the blood and the holes in the asphalt. Next to her, Buffy couldn't believe what she had done. It had felt so good, she had loved destroying that demon. Loved it, like a predator, a killer.

"#We# don't," Xander replied smiling as Willow snapped her head around to look at him. "#We# go back to class." Buffy looked at her hands in disbelieve, they still clenched into fists and opened again, as if they wanted to bash more things to a pulp.

"Killing a demon, does not equal free afternoon?" Dawn asked disappointed.

*No, no, no, no!* Buffy screamed out in her mind. *No! I'm not some crazed killer. I'm not a predator. I'm not an animal! I'm not!*

"Nope, back to class for us. Well, first we go home and let Buffy shower, change clothes and we bandage her up some," Xander said, taking in Buffy's appearance. Sweat stains everywhere, her hair braggart, her collar bone bruised, and a bloody nose.

"Once the adrenaline wears off, that's gonna hurt, Buffy," Willow answered, after taking in Buffy's appearance.

Buffy looked down at herself, taking herself in as good as she could. *NO!!* she wailed out mentally. *I'm not an animal! I'm better than that! I'm Buffy Summers human being! I won't ever let myself degenerate to that! No! No! No!*

"I propose a theory," Willow stated looking around the group. "The people who summoned this demon, are the same ones that tested out their skills on Buffy earlier."

"I'm pretty damn sure of that," Xander replied. He, Willow and Dawn were wrapped up in discussing the demon's origins, and didn't see Buffy slowly shake her head. "Of course they're long gone. I can't sense anyone around the Hellmouth anymore. Will?"

"No magic either," Willow answered, shaking her head. Buffy looked stricken at her friends for a moment. Slowly she forced her emotions under control.

"Well, done, Buffy," Xander said, giving her the compliment. She looked up at him, her face stayed impassive, jaw slightly open. Inside her mind, she screamed out her indignance. "Let's go, girls," Xander said and the group slowly lifted themselves off the ground.


Inside the Trio's headquarters, a jolt passed through the three geeks. "What was that?" Warren asked confused.

"Our demon just got killed," Andrew answered with his jaw dropped. "We must have miscalculated Buffy's strength."

"That's good," Warren told his fellow megalomaniacs with a smile and a glint in his eyes. "That makes this more interesting, we'll have to pool our resources to beat her. Not to mention, slave Buffy isn't yet out of the question." At that the geeks smiled at each other.

"Thank, god. We've got to be more careful guys," Jonathan told them. "Did you remember what the demon said? They were coming for it because they could sense his life force?"

"Right," Warren replied, sitting up straight. "I suppose that means if we want to keep being undetected at our efforts, we need to hide our life force."

Jonathan looked from Warren to Andrew and said, "I could make a spell."

"I could make a device," Warren returned, the two looking at each other.

"Both," Andrew decided, the other two looked at him. "Can't hurt to be redundant." The three geeks smiled and nodded at each other.

Episode 28

Cordelia looked in on Faith, and saw her sitting behind her desk doing homework. "So," Cordelia started, stepping inside of the room. Faith looked up at her questioningly. "About your date tonight, what are you wearing?"

"Huh?" Faith commented uncertain.

"Oh, come on, Faith," Cordelia prodded impatiently. "The guy calls, says he's going out on a date with you, and tells us to ask you if it can be an hour earlier, and tell you, you're going to a restaurant and out dancing."

"And?" Faith asked not understanding.

Cordelia gawked at her. "Wearing; what are you wearing? What did you go and buy? I wanna see it!"

"That is absolutely non of your business," Faith told her, and dipped down toward her homework. Then looked back up, when she realized Cordelia wouldn't leave her alone until she had an answer. "But if you must know, I didn't buy anything. I'll wear a clean set of this."

Cordelia looked at the leather pants and top, and her jaw dropped, gawking at the dark slayer. Finally she blurted out, "You can't be serious!"

"Listen, Cordy, I am who I am. If he doesn't like what I'm wearing that's his problem," she told the former queen of Sunnydale High.

Cordelia looked at Faith for a moment in disbelief. "Faith," she said slowly and deliberately. "You are going out on a date, to a restaurant and dancing. I don't care if he prefers what you're wearing now or not . . . You. Can. Not. Go. Out. Like. That!" Faith snorted, and tried to continue her homework. "FRED!!!" Cordelia screeched out.

From her room down the hall Fred came running. "Where's the fire? Where's the fire!?" She peered into Faith's room.

Cordelia gestured for her to come in, then pointed at Faith and said desperately, "That's what she's planning to wear on her date tonight."

Fred looked Faith over, feeling particularly brave she blurted out, "Faith, you can't wear that to a restaurant."

"See! Even mousy agrees," Cordelia added with a sense of superiority.

Faith looked at Fred with an betrayed expression, and then looked at Cordelia and told her in no certain terms, "Cordelia, I've told you before and I will tell you again. You will not #ever# dress me again."

Cordelia threw her hands in the air pleadingly and then told her, "I know. I know, you hated what I put you in, I was too much reliving my high school days through you. But trust me, we still have a few hours left to go shopping, I will find you an outfit that is both stylish and you." Faith looked at her with a look full of distrust. "I promise," Cordelia pleaded.

"Faith, please," Fred pleaded with the Slayer. "I'll go with and keep her in check, ok?"

Faith looked at the two women giving her begging looks, and sighed, "Fine."


Faith looked at herself in the mirror of the store. The black dress clung to every curve on her body, no straps, plenty of cleavage, and it ended about half way her knees. It was only the third dress Cordelia had pulled off the rack and shown to Faith. The dress was tight enough to accentuate her curves, but no so tight it seemed like a second skin. And it was her - Faith didn't like dresses, she preferred pants - but in some weird twisted way, the dress was her; spunky, tough. It was however, somewhat uncomfortable, and she said so.

"Damn it, Faith," Cordelia complained with a sight. "Of course it's uncomfortable. There are only so many dresses that look good enough for an evening out, are not custom made, and are actually truly comfortable. I hope the future and new technologies and materials solve that problem every time I go buy a dress for evenings out, which admittedly isn't often these days. But that's not why we wear them."

"I'd say that's one good choice for a dress, can be worn to a casual date, as well as more formal stuff, and us not exactly with the rich," Fred contemplated the dress calmly. "And as for wearing dresses, 'no pain, no gain,' comes to mind," Fred added, as she looked Faith over.

Faith looked at them with a questioning look. Cordelia sighed, both with exasperation as well as sadness, realizing just how much Faith's youth had hurt her. "You wear them for the look on the guy's face."

Faith snorted, "Seen one leer, you've seen 'em all." Cordelia amended her first assessment, Faith had been even more hurt than she already thought.

"Faith, you won't be getting a leer," Fred said with the tone of a teacher. Faith looked at her with a questioning glance. "Trust us, and you'll see." Faith raised her eyebrows.


Later back home, the whole group of Angel Investigations was sitting in various positions around the lobby. Faith actually felt nervous, why she didn't quite know. She looked down at herself. She was wearing the dress, the shoes they had bought - mid-length heels - and stockings that disappeared underneath her dress. Fred and Cordelia had done the make-up, a thicker layer than she was used to, but much less provocative, less contrast. A pair of Cordelia's earrings hung from her ears, and a dull silver-colored, but not actually silver, necklace, borrowed from Cordelia as well, hung around her neck. The hanger lay on her skin just above the cleft of her breasts.

She turned around to look at the clock. One minute past seven, he was a minute late; the bastard. She turned back around, waiting impatiently, her eyes fell on the coat rack, containing her new jacket: leather, like her regular one, but this one was smoother, shorter, a bit more feminine, and a lot less 'look, I'm a drifter with no money'. The other two girls had gotten to her with their excitement and shopping trip. Damn, she had been as calm as a whistle before their meddling, not anymore.

Finally, two minutes after their appointed time, the bell - only recently installed, now that two non daylight-shunning women were living full time in the hotel - rang, and Faith walked over to the door. She opened it, revealing Mark wearing pants, a blouse and an opened jacket, it seemed like he had been out buying new stuff as well. When he saw her, his jaw dropped. Unable to resist he looked her over, appreciatively, but is was nowhere near a leer, it was a look of utter amazement. The hanger drew his look right 'there' both on the down as well as up movement, and he couldn't help himself for lingering there for just a moment. Mustering all his self-control, he looked back up into her eyes and he said, "W-w-wow. Y-y-ou l-look incredible."

Faith swallowed, and to her consternation felt herself blush. Nobody had ever looked at her like that, or complimented her in such a way. Leers, horny looks, crude comments she was used to, and could handle, but this was something else. Arch had looked at her like that, but she had always thought he was teasing and she had waved his comments aside. She looked over her shoulder and saw both Cordelia's and Fred's superior grins, both silently telling her 'We told you so.'

"A-almost forgot," Mark said and pulled a box of chocolates out of his jacket and reverently handed it over to Faith.

Chocolate! Faith liked chocolate. "Thank you very much," she said, waved Mark inside, and stepped aside to let him in. Mark stepped forward and looked a little scared at the group of people waiting there."Uh, hi," he managed. Gunn, Cordelia and Fred smiled at him, Wesley and Angel though, seemed more . . . menacing. Mark swallowed.

Faith put the chocolates down on a small table, and then spoke, "Mark, I'd like you to meet my . . . well . . ." Faith thought it over for a moment, and realized there wasn't really any other way to describe them. "Family, part of it at least. That's Angel, one of my two legal guardians, so he's in a weird way my father, then there's Wesley, president of Angel Investigations, Gunn, our token black guy . . ."

"Hey," Gunn playfully interrupted, smiling.

Faith grinned, "And finally Cordelia, and Fred. If we want to continue the family allegory, Cordelia's my mom, and Fred's my big sister. Guys, this is Mark."

"Hello," Mark greeted a second time, as Faith went to grab her new jacket and put it on.

The Angel Team looked at each other for a moment, and going along with the weird vibe, they all said together, "Hello, Mark." Then they laughed.

"Ignore them, they're insane," Faith told her date with a smile and then quickly ushered him and herself out, before they decided they would have to properly interrogate Mark on his motives regarding her.

When the two were out the hotel, Cordelia sighed sadly and said, "They grow up so fast don't they?"

"Yes," Wesley remarked dryly. "One minute they're eighteen, and the next they're . . ." He looked around the room as if looking for an answer.

"Eighteen?" Angel asked with grin. Wesley nodded, pointing at him, silently telling him, 'That's it.'

"I know, a minute it goes by so fast, so much happens in one, doesn't it?" Gunn added shaking his head mockingly. Angel and Wesley nodded thoughtfully. Fred couldn't keep her sniffling inside and laughed hard.

"Very funny," Cordelia told them with narrowed eyes. She folded her arms across her chest, and as she walked over to her secretary desk, she added, "For that, you can make your own coffee tonight." The rest of the team, except Angel stopped laughing and looked at her in shock. "And you can go get and warm your own blood." Angel joined the team with the same shocked expression.


"M-may I take your j-j-jack-k-ket?" Mark asked still stuttering. He had just taken her into the restaurant, and they were standing in the lobby, coat racks lining it.

Faith had to admit, it was kind of sweet, if a bit old fashioned. She chucked her jacket off and handed it over with a smile. He took it and hung their jackets away. Then they went over to the doorman, and Mark told him, "R-reser-rvations for Kincaid."

"Ah, this way please," the waiter told them with a smile and picked two menus from a pile.

Faith looked around the place as the waiter lead them to their table. She was impressed, this was no shabby cheap place. The tables were beautifully set, with delicate plates and utensils. The place even had plants to give it that additional homy, yet expensive feel.

"Here we are, sir," the waiter said, indicating their table. The table had a solid bench, Mark couldn't pull any chairs back. The two sat down, the waiter placed the menus in front of them. "Do the lady and the gentleman already know what they want to drink?"

"A coke, please," Mark told the waiter.

"Make that two," Faith added. The waiter nodded, made a note on his notepad and walked off. Faith wasn't certain, but she could swear the waiter's smile was just a bit more than professional.

She opened the menu and started to read. Most of the dishes were things she had never heard of before, and when she had heard of it, she certainly hadn't ever eaten it. Then her eyes fell on the prices, and she got nervous. "Uh, Mark?" Faith asked softly with a beating heart, there was just no way Mark could afford to pay for it, and even if he could, this was the stuff that should be reserved for an anniversary dinner not a first date. "Have you seen the prices?"

Mark smiled at her and said, "Y-yes, ch-choose, whatever is your h-heart's desire. No m-m-matter how exp-pensive."

Faith was both flattered, impressed as well as a little afraid. This guy wasn't going to go psycho if there wasn't going to be follow up, was he? Not that he could really hurt her, but he could hurt Fred if she wasn't around. "How can you afford it?" Faith asked slightly disturbed.

"W-w-w-well, y-y-y-y-you see, I c-c-can't," Mark answered truthfully. Faith was about to protest and drag him out of here, when he raised a hand to indicate he wasn't finished yet. "M-m-my uncle is the ch-ch-ch-chef." Mark took a calming breathe, "The w-waiters all know m-me. I-I-I g-g-g-et-t-t a huge disc-c-count." There his secret was out, he was glad, it had been stupid to think he could keep it a secret as his uncle had suggested, dazzle the girl with his choice and ability to pay for the restaurant. It had never really sat right with him.

"So that really was more than a professional smile I saw, then?" Faith contemplated out loud, smiling brightly.

"Y-your not mad?" Mark asked shyly.

Faith shook her head, "Relieved. I was afraid I was going to eat you out of your money, or . . . well . . . it is a whole lot for a first date in high school."

Mark's eyes widened when he figured out what she meant. "I-I-I-I'mmm-mm n-n-n-not a ps-ps-psycho."

Faith grinned at him, almost evilly, nodding, "So how much of a discount?"

"Free, actually," he told her, less nervous know.

Faith contemplated for just a moment to truly eat her fill, but she decided she didn't want to scare both the guy and the restaurant off. "I think I know what I want, but I have to ask to be certain. You?" Faith asked him. He nodded, and the waiter returned with their drinks.

He placed them in front of them and asked, "Have the lady and the gentleman made a selection?"

Mark ordered and then Faith pointed at a dish. "That one," she said. "The beef with sauce and stuff, can't pronounce the name."

"Boef Stroganov," the waiter read out lout for her, making notes. "Very good choice, ma'am."

"And I want that one as well, J-jaga schni-schni," Faith tried miserably.

"Jägerschnitzel," the waiter pronounced with a shocked face. Marked looked surprised as well. That was a lot of food.

"Yeah," Faith confirmed, with a smile. "But just the meat, no extra portion of fries and the rest."

"Ok," the waiter answered, a little less shocked now that she had shown she didn't want an entire second dish. "I will serve your diners as soon as possible." Then the waiter walked off.

"That's a lot of meat," Mark stated, too stunned to stutter.

Faith grinned at him, and answered, "It's the predator in me."

"You've got a predator in you?" Mark asked with surprise.

Faith nodded, "But don't worry, you don't have anything to fear from her . . . well, at the moment she just wants meat, watch out when she wants sex and hunts you down for it." Faith grinned mischievously at him, her eyes glinting. Mark grinned at her then laughed.

"You know, for a moment there, you sounded like m-me," he said with a smile.

Faith blinked, and thought back, and then grinned at him, "I suppose I did." The two shared a laugh. "Ok," Faith said, taking the initiative, still searching for a way to explain her past without having to dredge up her memories. "Since I'm the local celebrity, and you probably know a lot about me already, you get to tell me about you first."


Two and a half hours later the two arrived at the dance club that Mark decided to bring Faith to. They had plenty of time to talk, and so Faith had, with some strategical omissions, told part of her life story. After the two stepped inside, they found themselves in a lobby, double doors in front of them lead to the club. Muffled music assaulted their ears. Lights flashed in the rhythm of the music in the distance from beyond the double doors. Mark paid the entrance fee and they were lead behind the small chain. To the right was a cloakroom and they went there and put their jackets in the care of the person manning it. Then the two went through the double doors.

The doors opened and closed behind them and they looked around the club. There were quite a bit people there, but it wasn't stock full. "I come here to unwind!" he admitted to Faith. He spoke loudly to overpower the music. Faith looked at him and listened carefully. "Enough people come here to keep the club going, and make a nice profit, but not so much it is sickeningly full. This is a club that's kinda secret; great atmosphere, great music, but somehow it never gets overly full. Whenever I feel like things get too much for me, I just come here to dance, and dance my worries away. No need talk when you dance."

Faith was quite a little stunned at his frankness, and smiled fondly at him. "Wicked sound. Get a table and a drink first, or dance right away?" she asked loudly. She was pretty sure what the answer was going to be, and she was right.

"Dance," he said with a grin, holding out his hand. Feeling giddy, Faith took it at and he gently pulled her along. Moments later they were dancing across from each other, enjoying themselves greatly.

After half an hour of dancing the two went to get a soda and sat down at a table. "You're a very good dancer," he complimented Faith, taking a sip from his Fanta.

"So are you," she returned the compliment.

"You are so beautiful," he told her, giving her a look over. Faith smiled self-consciously. She was used to being called 'hot' and a 'babe', but beautiful? It still didn't feel right.

Faith decided to return the compliment, "Hey, you're not so bad yourself."

"You really think so? I'm not that tall," Mark asked her, drinking some more.

"I won't lie to you," Faith told him, drinking from her coke. "I like tall, but it ain't a deal breaker. I think you look good."

"Not great, huh?" he asked with a lowered head.

Faith shrugged, what could she do? Lie? "No, but I don't need 'great'." That was the truth. If she found a nice, good-looking guy like him she would be very happy. Of course, there would always be that annoying comparison called Xander Littica that was in the way, but she was determined not to let the comparison guide her decisions.

"Wanna dance again?" he asked with a smile. Faith nodded, and once again they went out on the dance floor.


They spent another one and a half hours dancing and talking before they left. The two of them laughed together as they exited the club and walked toward the Hyperion. A hundred meters away from the club the two passed an alley, and Mark slowed down, and stopped. Faith turned around and looked at him.

"Mark?" she asked, frowning, concerned. There was something.

A vicious smile crept up his face as he looked at her. "You really are a little bitch, aren't you?" he hissed at her.

"Wh-what are you talking about? Mark? What's wrong?" Faith asked concerned as well as hurt.

"You're a little slut," Mark growled at her, advancing on her. Involuntarily Faith took a few steps back into the alley, deeply hurt by his remarks. "Gyrating your body in front of me like that, and expecting me to drop you off and be the perfect gentleman. Well, sweet cheeks, no way." His fist struck out, and Faith caught it easily.

"Mark, please," she whispered, ready to tear up, this was such a nice date. His other fist struck out and she caught it as well. Faith shook her head then. She refused to believe it. This was not Mark, no way. She extended her senses, holding Mark immobile, apart from his legs. She blocked the kicks with her own. She felt him then, surprised she hadn't sensed him earlier, she looked over the shoulder seeing the silhouette deeper in the alley. She quickly slammed Mark against the wall, not heard enough to do any damage, but enough to knock the air out of his lungs. She quickly lowered him to the ground, grabbed a drainage pipe, and bent it around his wrists. Thus he was restrained and unable to leave.

She reached the silhouette moments later, her eyes hard as steel. Behind her, she heard Mark rave and scream profanities at her. The silhouette became visible, a sickening smile on his face. "Billy," Faith hissed, recognizing the man instantly as the guy Angel had freed to get rid of Cordelia's fake debilitating visions.

"You remember my name, I'm flattered Slayer. Hello, by the way," he answered her with a sickening tone to her voice. "Do you prefer him this way, or before?"

Faith looked back a moment, seeing Mark twist and turn, trying to free himself to no avail, while cursing the very soil beneath her feet. "Take a guess, bastard," Faith told at him, feeling helpless against the man.

Billy grinned at her. "Ah, it's so nice to bring that part of a man out, and to see the look of fear and horror on a girl's face when she realizes she's going to get raped, or worse," he told her with an air of superiority. "Well, you overpowered him. But seeing the most powerful whore in the world almost brought to tears by her date is enough for now."

"You sickening little bastard, you came for me," she whispered in horror.

Billy sneered at her. "Yes, I hate you little bitches so. Always teasing, and demanding, and crushing a man's spirits, you make it so easy for a man to hate you. Nice to watch huh, what underneath all the veneer of civility truly lies. What a man wants in the end. The nature you sluts have sought to crush and wipe out. The killer, the oppressor, the misogynist - as you'd like to call it."

Faith blinked and then told him, "A couple of years ago, I'd agree with you. Not that I considered women any better, you get that when your mother enjoys beating the crap out of you every chance she gets. Now I know better. I've met too many men and women, flawed men and women, but men and women nonetheless who are nothing like that." Faith pointed at Mark behind her, raving and screaming about 'bitch' and 'slut'. "And that is one of them. That isn't Mark. That's you, that's your sickening ideas you've forced upon him. You people really sicken me. Women inferior this, women inferior that. You think like that, and you're the one who's inferior."

Billy laughed, "Are you going to stop me now? Because if you think you can you should think again bitch. I can influence your mind just as easily." And Billy's eyes glowed an unholy red, directly at her. Then the glow disappeared. "Mental shields, that was unexpected; Slayers should be all muscle and no brains."

"I'm #so# sorry to disappoint ya," Faith told him sarcastically, and started to advance on him.

"Fine," Billy said with a grin. He lifted his hands as if was held at gunpoint. "Take me to the police, it should be fun. I'll be out on the street before you can even walk out the police department. My dear uncle's lawyers will see to that. Or perhaps I'll decide to influence the police offers themselves. Can you imagine the carnage, the headlines? 'Male cops rape female cops, and locked them away with like minded prisoners.' And you can't kill me, I'm 100% human. You goody two-shoes can never kill a human, hell, most of you refuse to even kill some demons." Billy laughed at his triumph.

The bastard was right, he was human, there was nothing demonic about him, she would have sensed him much earlier otherwise, and he wasn't bluffing about being out of the streets, or turning the police department in a free for all gang bang rape fest, and she had no desire to start killing humans again. She swallowed her helplessness, glaring at the grinning bastard just standing there. Her instinct to protect humans and Mark in particular was going hay wire, everything inside her told her this bastard had to go. But she had already taken enough human life hadn't she? She chewed on nothing but her own teeth, as she remembered Xander blowing away half a city of human lives in order to save many, many more. This was similar, take one life to save more. Hating what she had to do, and imagining this was how Xander must have felt back then, she lifted her right hand and started forming a powerful energy blast. "You should have found out more about me, asshole. You would have known I'm a convicted murderer."

Billy's evil smile faltered, and he got pale. He started backing up in fear, and held up his right arm in a 'stop' gesture. "Wait, don't do it," he begged. "I'm the nephew of the senator, you kill me, they won't just lock you up, they'll give you the chair."

"No body, no evidence, no case, no crime," Faith answered coldly and fired a powerful beam of energy. It collided with Billy, who screamed out in pain. A moment later, the beam still pouring forth from Faith's hand, Billy ignited. Another few seconds later there was nothing left of Billy. Faith had vaporized him, leaving only a few scorch marks on the floor where Billy had stood and on the metal trash container behind him.

Mark's raving stopped almost immediately, and Faith went quickly to his side. Slowly she started unwrapping the drain pipe from his hands. Mark's eyes were wide. "F-f-fffffaith? Wh-wh-what h-h-ha-hap-happened?"

"Shh. It's over now, just relax and take a deep breath," Faith told him gently as she started helping him up.

"Oh, my god," he suddenly blurted out looking with a look of horror at Faith as he slowly got up. "Faith, y-y-you have t-t-to bel-lie-lieve me. I don't know what happened, but I didn't mean wh-wh-what I said. I w-w-would never th-think like th-that. Please, believe me."

"I believe you," Faith replied soothingly. "That wasn't you, I know that. It was just some bastard with telepathic abilities messing with your mind. He's gone now, you don't have to worry about it." Mark still looked stricken, and Faith had an idea about what he needed. She hesitated for a moment, then swallowed away her apprehension and then embraced him, hugging him close. "Everything's okay now," she whispered to him, and she felt him calm down. Slowly they disentangled and she asked him, "Are you good now?"

He was still wide-eyed, but he nodded and replied, nodding, "I think so. Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay." He actually smiled at her, as he felt relief wash through him.


They arrived back at the Hyperion half an hour later. Faith had wanted to walk him home, but he had insisted on doing that for her. Eventually she had relented. It hadn't taken long before Mark had returned to his former self. Apparently once the last remnants of the mental manipulations had bled out of him the horror of it had gone away with it.

"I had a fantastic time," he told her softly, as they stood across from each other.

"Me too," Faith answered, smiling.

"Can we go out again?" Mark asked, hopefully. "This time you could take me where you want to go."

Faith shook her head, and said gently, "No." She watched his face fall, pain in his eyes come to life. "I had a great time, Mark. You're a fantastic guy, but . . . there's a certain piece missing, a little bit of chemistry. I felt like I was having fun with a good friend, not a potential boyfriend."

"Oh," he answered defeated.

"Please, don't look like that, buck up will ya?" Faith said, her voice to the point of breaking. She was so not cut out for this mushy, mushy stuff. "You'll find some other girl. You've just been on your first date, and have you noticed you've hardly stuttered at all in the past hour, or two?"

"I-I-I ha-ha-v-v-ven't?" he asked in surprise, the reminder brought the stutter right back. "Y-you're r-r-ri-right, I haven-n't. But th-that won't h-he-help any, the popular girls have decided you are on the bottom. No other girl in school will want to go out with me for f-f-fear of offending them, and j-joining you."

"Millions of people living in this city, find a girl not in our school," Faith pointed out the obvious.

Mark blinked. "I could do that, couldn't I?" He looked much brighter now. Then he suddenly looked nervous and looked back down at Faith. "C-c-cou-could I-I-I a-a-at-atl-l-l-least k-ki-ki-k-kiss y-y-y-you g-g-goo-g-good-d-d-n-ni-night?"

"I'd like that," Faith answered him, smiling. Nervously he stepped closer, and Faith lowered her head slightly. They touched lips and Mark kissed her gently. He kept the contact for a few seconds before breaking contact.

He grinned wildly; his first kiss, however little of it there was. "Goodnight, Faith," he greeted.

"Goodnight, Mark, and be careful," she greeted back. He nodded, waved goodbye and then turned around.

Faith smiled and went inside the Hyperion. She was assaulted by Cordelia and Fred immediately. Faith hadn't even taken a second step inside or the two were standing right in front of. "Details, we want details. Lots and lots of details," Fred told her excitedly.

Faith blinked, and then quickly circled them, running toward the stairs she called out, "I'm late for patrol. Going up to change now."

The two women looked up the stairs, and were about to follow Faith. A voice stopped them in their tracks. "Cordelia, Fred, leave her alone," Angel called them from the kitchen. "If she wants to talk, she'll come to one of us.

"But . . ." Cordelia tried.

"No," Wesley ordered, agreeing with Angel, the two sharing a respectful look. The two women then went back to their places with annoyed faces.

"Oh," Faith called from the second floor. Everybody looked up, Cordelia and Fred with hopeful faces. "You remember Billy? That guy we freed to get rid of Cordelia's fake visions? You don't have to worry about him anymore. He attacked us tonight, I took care of him."


Later that night Faith pummeled a vamp mercilessly, but not enough to kill him. Part of his skull was hanging out, as Faith doubled him over with a punch to its stomach. She pushed him up against the wall of the alley and continued her assault on his entire body, many an occasion a bone could be heard breaking, potentially just further.

Faith was angry, and pissed off. No matter how much she hated second guessing herself, she could not help but wonder if Billy hadn't attacked and shown a mindset she had seen more than enough of, and hoped never to encounter again, thus riling her up, whether or not she would have accepted a second date with Mark to see if that certain missing piece of chemistry couldn't be found.

"Damn, fucking, god damn bastards," Faith hissed out, punctuating each word with a punch.

"Could you please finish this?" the vamp wheezed out.

"No," Faith answered him grimly and continued to pummel him senseless. After a short while of continuing to work off her anger and frustration she dusted him by smashing its head to pieces with her right foot.

Growling, she walked along, and noticed the sickening sensation of a demon crawling over her skin. She looked up and saw the harmless looking thing wobbling along hurriedly toward a sewer cover. She grinned, her instincts telling her to kill it. She was about to go after it when she remembered Raiden's words: ' . . . What about the people you hurt, directly or indirectly? Now that's a whole other matter, convincing them you have redeemed yourself is a lot more difficult. You'll have to show them exemplary behaviour, save people's lives and a lot more stuff.' She slowed down, seeing the demon huddle. She remembered herself bursting out to all of them in the hotel a while back, explaining to them why all the demons had to be killed. She also remembered how since then, she and Gunn, who held the same philosophy had gotten a lot closer. And more importantly, even though the others understood what she had said, and probably somewhere in the back of their minds even agreed with it, they were far from being fully on board. They were still working out how they thought on the matter, even thought they didn't give her any more lip about it. Cordelia, despite her 'the Powers are evil' mentality seemed to have a different philosophy on demons. Faith couldn't entirely blame them, after all, where did that leave their friend Angel, and a certain half-demon Doyle Cordelia, and Angel had high praise for? Cordelia and Wesley were the people she'd wronged the most, and they - despite their help and friendship - still looked at her with suspicion. Not always, but especially when she had done something not 100% according to their philosophy that suspicion could plainly be seen in their eyes.

Faith watched the 'harmless' demon huddle to the sewer cover, lift it, and quickly disappear below it. Faith took a deep breath, if she had to be perfect to win back all of their trust, she'd be perfect. From now on, the 'harmless' demons would go free. She turned around and decided that she had patrolled enough for one night.


Several days later, as Faith came back from a late study session for a project at the library, she found the Hyperion empty. After a quick look around she found a letter that said they were all to Lorne. So now she had a choice. Go to Caritas, or do homework and wait for their return. Caritas - homework, Caritas - homework. Difficult decision, until Faith realized she was in no mood for homework at #all# and had already worked heavily on her project. Caritas it was.

A short time later she reached the club and went inside. She rose her eyebrows at the damage-less club. Apparently Lorne had decided to rebuild. She entered the bar area and watched as a blonde-haired vampiress swatted aside Wesley like he was nothing. Pretty damn impressive, if one realized Wesley's gravity-enhanced skill, but then she did have the element of surprise apparently. Lorne and Gunn followed shortly after. Faith raised her energy calmly continuing onward. The vampiress pulled her hand back, the three men screamed out a warning to Faith. The vampiress - *Pregnant vampiress?* Faith noticed, that was new - didn't slow down as she threw the powerful punch. With a wicked grin Faith raised her left hand, caught the punch and stopped the vampiress cold. Faith could feel the stress the undead's arm joints underwent, as it came across an unmovable obstacle while the corpse behind it still kept moving. Faith raised her right hand, and pointed it at the vampiress heart, for Faith didn't care that the vampiress was pregnant. It simply meant two demons with one stone. Too late several cries rang out from the others for Faith to stop. Faith however had already stopped her own intention; it was what was the vampiress was pregnant with that made her stop. The vampiress was about to throw another punch, screaming for Faith to let go, when Faith tightened her hand. Faith heard the bones crackle under the pressure. The vampiress' eyes widened, screamed out in pain and then knelt down as her knees buckled.

Up ahead, Angel and Cordelia entered the bar area. Cordelia held her neck, a trickle of blood running escaping her hand. "Shit, Faith, good thing you came along," the former Queen of Sunnydale High commented, as the beaten men slowly got back up, Lorne being helped by Fred.

"What the hell is going on?" Faith asked, indicated the pregnant vampiress in front of her, whimpering to be let go.

"Will you tell her, or should I?" Cordelia bit at Angel angrily. The vampire smiled embarrassedly. "Meet Darla, Angel's sire. You see, Faith, Dead Boy here, thought it funny to knock up his former massacre mate, and flat out lying about it to me. 'You know I would never do that'. Lucky for us that bitch isn't as good in bed as a certain blonde former cheerleader captain, or we'd be tangling with a whole different Angel." Cordelia was so angry she had even used her ex-boyfriend's moniker for Angel.

"During your dark days?" Faith questioned Angel with a dark tone and gaze. He nodded. "Angel, if you ever have the guts to do that again, soul or no soul afterwards, I will dust you. Understand?" Angel was pretty sure that was Faith's understandable anger talking, and not her actual intent, but he swore he would make sure he never found out.

"Well," Wesley spoke up, dusting off his clothes, all of them ignored Darla's whimpering. "Now that that's over with, and Faith has Darla restrained we can get back to figuring out what this means. I haven't figured this Nyazian prophecy out yet, but we're trying to figure out if Angel's child will be the big bad that's going to destroy the world or not."

"Uhm, you don't know?" Faith asked them with raised eyebrows.

"Know what?" Gunn asked with irritation.

Faith looked at Cordelia and she said, "Cordy, you really need to learn to rely on those senses of yours more often."

"What do you . . ." Cordelia started and then looked down at Darla, her eyes widening. She knew that apart from Faith she was the only one who could already identify people from their life force alone. "The kid's got a soul," she blurted out in shock. Faith nodded, and the rest burst out in shocked discourse.


Lilah was in her office working on something, when the mail deliverer entered.

"Put it on the desk," she bit at him in irritation.

The pretty blonde talked as he walked to her desk, "Miss Morgan, may I say that I've admired you deeply."

"Don't flatter yourself," Lilah told him friendly. "I don't date guys from the mail room."

"Me neither," he quickly said. He handed her a CD, and added, "I just thought you should see this."

The mail boy grabbed his cart and started backing out of the room, pulling the cart along. Meanwhile Lilah put the CD in her computer and played it, seeing herself and a possessed Angel doing the nasty, (really nasty), on Angel's desk.

"Wait," Lilah ordered him. She got up, and walked over, spitting out, "If you think you can blackmail yourself onto me, on my desk . . ."

"Wait, no, that's not it, you got it all wrong . . ." the mail boy sputtered out, backing up against the door. "I respect you way too much to be attracted to you." Lilah looked at him with a mixed expression. "It's just that there are factions forming within Wolfram & Hart, and . . ."

"And this is your way of telling me you've chosen mine?" Lilah asked him, narrowing her eyes.

"In the mail room everything passes by," he explained hastily. "Remember those exterminators Gavin had sent over to Angel's. Well, they place bugs, they don't kill them."


Lilah walked into the small basement office and saw Gavin holding a thick pack of papers. "How about that," she said with an angry grin. "I just asked myself, if I were a cockroach, where would I hide?" She walked over to him and showed him the disc. "Did you really think you could blackmail me with this?"

"Blackmail?" Gavin asked her incredulously. "No one cares. From what I hear bumping uglies with an old senile man who body-jumped into a vampire is the closest thing you've come to a meaningful relationship these past years. This is about something else." Gavin turned back to the monitors lining the wall of the small chamber and the tech head sitting behind it. He raised his head, and then said, "Thank you, Cyril."

From the door the mail boy said, "Y-you're welcome, sir."

"What was all that crap about choosing sides?" Lilah asked confused.

"He did," Park told Lilah. "He chose mine."

"Is this your pathetic way of asking for my help?" Lilah asked him in irritation. Looking around the small room, she added, "You sure need it. You're understaffed, underfunded and clearly undertalented. So what have we learned here." She took the folder with the transcription of what went on from Gavin and started flicking through them.

"We?" Gavin asked disbelieving. "There is no 'we'. I just thought it was time you understood the full scope of what I've been doing for these past few months."

"Who is this unidentified, pregnant female?" Lilah asked reading from the pages.

"I don't know," the tech head answered. "We lost audio for a couple of hours today. I can pull the tape."

"See, you need me," Lilah told Gavin smugly.

The tech head played the tape, and Lilah watched Darla enter the hotel. She looked closer and said with disbelief, "Darla?" She pulled out her phone and dialed

"Darla, that's impossible. Vampires can't get pregnant," Gavin replied, looking at the screen.

"Tell me about it. Linwood, you're not going to believe what I'm looking at right now," Lilah told the phone.


Back at the Hyperion the group, except Fred, looked at Darla, sitting in a chair holding her stomach. "Aargh, it hurts, somebody make it stop," she said with pain.

"But Darla, you like pain," Angel answered her soothingly.

"This is different, get it out," Darla complained, as she got up to pace around.

Wesley took a step forward and explained, "That's exactly what's happening Darla. You're going in labor."

"How long does it take?" Darla asked gritting her teeth.

"It varies. On average it takes eighteen hours," Wesley supplied.

Darla groaned out, placing herself back in the chair and told them, "That's too long, take it out."

Wesley gestured, and the group left the room leaving Darla behind. They went back into the lobby.

"We need to find out what's inside her before it . . . skitters out," Angel announced the obvious with urgency.

"We could try a witch doctor," Gunn supplied dubiously.

"Didn't Darla already try the voodoo, shaman, witch doctor thingy?" Cordelia asked with a crunched up face.

"Yes, nothing came from that," Wesley added with a wistful look.

From behind her computer Fred asked, "Uh, guys, you don't suppose she tried a regular old doctor or a hospital, do you?"

"Great idea, Fred," Cordelia sarcastically remarked. "Oh, wait, except they don't admit vampires in hospitals."

"Wait a moment, that's not a bad idea," Wesley answered, his index finger moving up and down with his epiphany. "We don't need the right doctor, just the right equipment."

The group smiled at his idea and they started to get up. "Uh, oh," Fred interrupted them. They turned to look at her. "I just finished my recalculations, and this troklon thing? Arriving . . . 3, 2, 1. About now."


Somewhere inside a catacomb-like place, a demon uttered several spells, and threw something on a block of stone. Nothing happened and the demon stepped back and took a seat inside a chair. He looked at the block expectantly and suddenly it crumbled revealing the man inside. He had a beard, and his hair was graying, he stayed on his knees.

"Ah," the demon Sahjhan said, and walked toward the man. "Rest. You've been locked in stone for two centuries. You won't be able to stand, until after . . ."

The man stood without problem, cutting Sahjhan off. "Where's Angelus?" he asked in a grave, bitter voice.


"You work for things so hard, and then . . . poof," Linwood stated, looking around the hallway incredulously, as he, Lilah and Gavin walked through the corridor toward a conference room. All kinds of different demons and seers walked around, most also herded toward the same destination.

"I will say for the record, sir," Lilah stated, almost apologetically, "that no-one could have foreseen this."

Cyril peeked up from behind a door and then entered the empty office space. He pulled out a cell phone and dialed a number. ##Hi, you've reached the Tittles, we can't come to the phone right now,## came through the phone. Then a different female voice said, ##For Christine press one.## It followed by a male voice, saying, ##For Bentley press two.## Then a third demonic voice stated, ##Or to speak to or worship Master Tarfall, Underlord of Pain, press three.##

Cyril pressed three, and then said into the phone, "Master, it's happened. The thing you have foreseen has come to be. We must tell the others."


In the conference room, filled with all kinds of psychics doing their thing, Linwood walked over to a human psychic, and he told him, "Thank you for coming. And correct me if I'm wrong, but the role of a psychic is to be psychic, to predict the future, so Wolfram & Hart doesn't find itself in this kind of a predicament."

"I can't apologize enough, sir," the man answered him desperately scared.

"You're right, you can't, but I'm not without compassion, I'm going to give you a chance to save your job and your skin," Linwood told him with a friendly smile.

The psychic smiled back, then his smile faltered, saying, "No, you're not. You're going to have me killed."

Linwood stepped forward, and brotherly placed his hand on the man's shoulders. "Now why couldn't have that kind of foresight when we needed it." A plastic bag was placed over the man's head and he was pulled aside, gurgling for air.

"You waste precious resources," a booming demonic voice stated. Linwood turned around and looked at the demon in an impressive wide cape, sitting in a chair. "He, like none of us, could have foreseen it. And now we can not foresee any more."

"Oh? And why pray tell is that?" Linwood asked the demon.

"Because," the demon answered standing up, "ever since the Sedra Soli destroyed both Glorificous and Xiara, everything is out of wack."

"The Sedra Soli is a myth, a fairy tale," Linwood told him, anger creeping in his voice.

"Sir?" both Lilah and Gavin asked. They had no idea what the psychic demon was talking about.

"'And so it shall come to pass that two gods will be killed on the same day'," the demon recited, now everyone in the room was listening. "'One not of this world, and born from darkness, the other born in light. On that day, you will know I have returned, and from that day forward, you will live in terror, for I will destroy you all.' The prophecy of prophecies, the prophecy to end all prophecies. It has come to pass. Armageddon is coming."

"There are plenty of prophecies of Armageddon . . ." Gavin started saying, but got interrupted by the demon.

"No, you fool. Apoclypses, an Apocalypse, is simply the end of the human race upon the Earth. The Sedra Soli, is beyond. It is Armageddon, the end of all things. The destruction of the gods, of the demons, of humanity and the animals, Earth will be reduced to waste land, if it isn't obliterated altogether," the demon spat at the Asian man, then continued with his original thought. "The gods were scared after their destruction. When the Sedra Soli destroyed Loki and his pet Wolfgod Fenrir a short time later they retreated, terrified. Xiara was one of the biggest players, all her plans went away with her destruction. It left a vacuum of power. Even the demon gods aren't playing with the full deck anymore, haven't you noticed that your senior partners contact you less, and are more difficult to contact? Wolf, Ram and Hart themselves are even preoccupied with his arrival. Most of our predictive capabilities come directly or indirectly from or via the gods, or from knowing how they think and act and their follower's reactions, with them in hiding, not knowing what to do, we are almost completely blind. The future is not set, the future is nothing but a chaotic jumble. The future is now in the hands of beings beyond the mortal realm." With that, the demon turned around and started to walk away.

Linwood made an angry signal and a guard started to advance. The demon whirled around and stretched out his arms. Around the guard's and Linwood's necks a blue energy formed and they were lifted off the floor, gasping for air. The demon's eyes glowed blue, and he told them, "I am #not# like the weakling you had killed earlier. Trying to deny me my leave, will end up in your deaths." The demon held the two men for a few more seconds and then dropped them. He turned around and continued on his way.

Linwood got up, feeling his neck. "Any other intelligence?" Linwood asked Gavin and Lilah.

"None of them seem to know how Darla got pregnant," Lilah answered him, as calmly as she could muster. "There seems to be a scroll prophecizing a vampire birth, but it also seems to be missing."

"Do you have any idea how many groups and cults would kill to get their hands on this baby?" Linwood told her angrily. "We need to get it before anyone finds out."

"We will, sir," Lilah told him.

Linwood turned and looked straight ahead to something seen only by him. "We need to find it, dissect it, and find out what it means."

"Sir, Berlin is on the phone," Gavin said, rejoining his superior.

"If Berlin has find out, Singapore and Muncie can't be far behind," Linwood replied, that sighing deeply. "If anyone wants to assign blame the buck stops here. You understand?" he asked Lilah.

"I'm not sure I do, sir," she answered confused.

"If the senior partners get wind of this, I will have to step forward," he clarified with a wistful look.

Lilah smiled, and said, "That's inspiring, sir."

"Yes, I will step forward and blame you," Linwood added and turned to walk away. Walking he added, "Darla was resurrected on your watch, I can't think of a better scapegoat."

When Linwood was gone, Gavin smiled delighted at Lilah. "If you think this is over, you're wrong. Watch and learn, rookie," Lilah told him with contained anger. She pulled our her cell phone and called.


In a darkened room the man sits meditating, a candle burns in front of him. He moves his hand over the candle and opens it, revealing a crumpled piece of paper. A moment later the paper ignites and burns away brightly. His phone beeps and he answers it.

"Yes?" He listens calmly. "I understand." He hangs up the phone, and gets up. He looks over to the wall, four meters away from him. A katana stands there waiting. He points his hand, and the katana swivels through the air. He catches it.


Inside a commandeered teaching hospital room Wesley applied gel to Darla's stomach, after which he moved the ultrasound over it. The group looked at the screen. "It's been a while since I did this," Wesley stated with a smile. "Wait, isn't that the head?"

"I thought I saw the head there," Angel said pointing.

"Maybe your both right," Cordelia answered. They looked at her. "What? I'm just saying, two vampires, boink, boink, pregnancy, it could be two-headed."

"She has a point," Faith said, looking at the monitor, and having no idea what she was looking at.

"Wait, I see it," Wesley said, after taking another look. "It's human."

"Human?" Gunn asked apprehensive. "As in Humanoid cannibalistic sewer dwellers?"

"No, Human as in . . . a boy," Wesley answered stunned. Nobody noticed Faith suddenly going alert and slowly peering around the room, and up at the stands where the students could come and watch.

"Great," Darla answered disinterested.

"I'm going to be a father. I'm going to be a father," Angel said with wide eyes, joy written on his face.

Fred noticed Faith, and she said, "Guys, Faith is wigging out." The group turned to look at the dark-haired slayer slowly peering around the room.

"Faith?" Gunn asked slowly.

Vampires entered the room from all sides, completely surrounding them. Faith didn't wait for them to even utter a syllable. She moved forward with blinding speed and rammed her Saiyan knife into the chest of the vamp in front of her, he dusted almost immediately. With a jump she reached the stand, crushed the head of the vampire there with a kick against the wall. She turned around, blasting energy balls around the room, each hitting a vampire that was on the stands. One was left on the opposite end and she looked surprised as Faith flew across the gap and tore off her head, dusting her. Then Faith let herself drop down to normal level, shouting, "Duck!" Team Angel looked at each other for a moment, and then ducked. They watched as Faith fired energy blasts in a circle, at chest height, and made quick work out of the vampires surrounding them as well.

"I'm thinking they came for the baby," Fred speculated, shaking a little with fear as they rose.

Then the glass of a window in the stands shattered, and Lilah's assassin came crashing through it, neatly over the railing, screaming, "DIE!" He landed in front of Faith and swung the sword at her neck. Faith caught the blade and yanked the sword from the man's hand. He looked like Homer Simpson at his sword in the girl's hands, and then to his own empty hands. With one punch Faith knocked him out.

Team Angel looked wide-eyed at the spectacle, and Faith placed the sword on a nearby stretcher. She tore a sleeve off of the guy's outfit, tore it into two ribbons and then tied the man's hands behind his back using one of them. Following that she did the same to his feet, and tied them to his hands. She pulled out her cell phone and dialed. "Yeah, police? Ok, there was a sword wielding maniac screaming 'die' in the student training room in the Memorial Hospital. You can find him and his sword there. I hogtied him." Faith then hung up and put the phone away. She turned to the others and asked, "Can we get out of here?"

"Remind me never to tangle with her," Darla answered, pleading with the others.

Wesley was the one who answered, Faith that is, "Indeed. Two parties have already tried to get to the child, undoubtedly there will be more. Let's go, we need to be moving."


A few minutes later the group was driving along an LA road. The car was stock full. Angel drove, Cordelia sat next to him, and Fred next to her. In the back sat Wesley, Darla and Gunn. It left no room for Faith to have her own spot, so she was sitting in Gunn's lap, her arm around his shoulders, and smiling like a bad girl when she sneakily wiggled. Her smiling turned to a grin as she felt his reaction.

"You really are evil, you do know that don't you?" Gunn told her, shaking his head with a smile.

"You know it," she answered.

"Ugh," Cordelia commented from the front. "I say we force Faith to carry a dildo at all times, so she doesn't feel the need to assault every man in sight."

"Hey," Faith answered, barely able to keep from laughing out loud.

"So where are we going?" Darla was the one to ask, looking around the car. "I'm famished, and we all know ugly that can get."

"Yeah," Faith answered warningly. "Bring out the vacuum cleaner." Darla turned around, and looked up at the slayer, narrowing her eyes.

"Where #are# we going?" Cordelia repeated, having no idea where Angel was driving them to.

"Somewhere safe," Angel answered.

"Where? The hotel is definitely out," Fred replied, her head turned to Angel.

"How about if . . ." Gunn tried to suggest.

"Vegas? Sorry, Gunn, but it's too high profile," Angel answered him, looking through the rear view mirror to. "But I agree with you we need to get out of dodge."

"Actually . . ." Wesley started.

"God," Cordelia interrupted him, turning her head to look at him. "I hate it when you say that word, 'actually'. 'Actually' means you and your giant brain have come up with something the rest of us missed."

"I say that's a good thing, imagine if he didn't come up with something we missed," Faith spoke thoughtfully. Cordelia turned around and glared at the slayer, who just shrugged.

"Just that we've been attacked twice in the hospital and once on our way to the car, chanting about 'miracle child'. It seems other people know a lot more about this kid's importance than we do," Wesley explained calmly. "The only thing that will help us know more about the child is back at the hotel. We can't protect your child unless we get the scrolls."

"I could fly to the hotel and get them," Faith suggested helpfully.

Wesley shook his head. "No, we should stick together. If the next attack comes before you're back and they come with greater numbers, or more powerful demons it could end up disastrous," Wesley explained.

"Okay, then. A quick stop, and then we get out of there," Angel agreed.


The car drove into an alley and stopped. "Okay," Angel said as he turned off the car. "I'll go the rest of the way on foot. That way you get to stay here relatively safe."

"I was more thinking along the lines of the express flight," Faith commented, jumping off of Gunn and out of the car as Angel got out.

"No, Faith, you should stay here and guard them, right, Wes?" Angel countered, as he looked up the building next to him.

"First off you can fly yourself remember? Second I'm coming with you. I can be back here in less than half a minute, and I can sense any demon coming near them. You on the other hand, a bullet will get to you quicker than I can, and you're not strong enough to stop bullets yet. Won't kill you, but sure as hell can put you down long enough to drive a stake through your heart," Faith told him with a determined tone and look. "And there are people there."

The two held a staring match for a few seconds. Wesley interjected, "Angel, I think she has a point."

Angel looked at Wesley for a moment, and then replied, "Oh, all right. If we're not back here in five minutes, go away."

"Where to?" Cordelia asked.

"Anywhere, somewhere safe. Ready, Faith?" Angel said, and Faith nodded.

"Angel," the disheveled Darla called out. He turned around and looked at her. She hesitated, she seemed genuinely concerned. "Just get out of here."

Angel and Faith lifted off the ground slowly.


The two arrived outside of the hotel two minutes later, hid and observed for a moment. "Okay," Faith said with a smirk. "There are two guards outside, I count nine inside. The way they're spread out, professionals, military style, I'm thinking Wolfram & Hart." Angel nodded, picking up the same with his ears, and Faith looked expectantly at him, when he didn't talk immediately, Faith asked, "Play nice or dead?"

Angel was startled for a moment, and then looked at her. He turned back to the hotel, thought for a moment, and then his more vicious side came to the fore when he thought about what they probably were going to do to his still unborn son. When his logic added that there really wasn't much of a choice, the answer was simple, "Kill 'em, we don't have the luxury to be nice."

"Ok, I'm thinking you take the one's outside, I'll go in. Agreed?" Faith said peering at the front door. Angel nodded. "Ok, let's go for it." They got out of hiding among the bushes. Faith went to the front door as Angel veered off to the outside guards.


Back at Wolfram & Hart, Linwood, Lilah and Gavin were inside the observation room with the tech head, looking at the screen. Faith walked in the cameras view, and the three frowned, wondering why the slayer would walk inside so casually.

##It's the Slayer, take her out,## the squadron leader said.

"This should be sweet," Gavin said with an evil smile. The guns blazed and then the screen went to snow, the sound of gunfire still being there.

"Hey! The picture is out!" Linwood complained apprehensively to the tech head.

"Working on it," the tech head answered desperately linking wires. The gunfire continued, and lessened as screams filled the small room.

Lilah, Linwood and Gavin looked at each other with suspicion. Slowly the screen returned to a vague picture, several bodies, but not that of Faith, were barely visible. They looked on in disbelief.


Faith looked around the dead bodies sadly. She looked at her hands, apprehension blossomed inside of her. She hadn't like killing Billy, but he was pure and pure evil. She liked killing these people who were just ordered to do a job even less. Angel entered then and looked at the carnage. "Faith?"

Faith looked at him with teary eyes. "I killed again," she managed, breathing heavily.

Angel walked over and took her in a light hug. "I know it hurts, but it was necessary, you know it."

Faith swallowed and nodded at him. Her almost tears dried up. She took a couple of deep breaths and they broke the embrace. "You ok?" he asked. Faith nodded. Angel gave her an ensuring nod and turned back toward the desks and the scrolls.

Faith gently backed up, going over her feelings.


"Shouldn't we leave?" Fred asked Gunn who was behind the steering wheel of the car.

"He said to wait for us for five minutes," Gunn answered.

"It's been six and a half," she retorted slightly niffed.

Cordelia butted in, "Both are alive." They looked at Cordelia's closed eyes in surprise. When Cordelia opened her eyes she shrugged, "Faith isn't the only one with a sixth sense."

"Damn, we really need to start relying on our new abilities more," Wesley stated with annoyed look. "You think you can contact them, ask them what's taking so long?"

"I could try," Cordelia said, and closed her eyes. *Angel? Are you there? Angel?* she sent telepathically.


Faith stood underneath the stairs, breathing in and out slowly. In her slowly recovering state, she failed to feel the demons approaching until it was too late. The tusked, grey-skinned demons placed steel manacles on a lang steel stick around her arms and pulled them up a third and pointed one at the back of her neck. Faith watched as on the other side of the room the same happened to Angel.

Holtz came strolling through the main entrance and said, "Angelus."

"Holtz," Angel answered shocked.

Holtz looked down at the massacre, grinned and turned to Angel. "I see your lust for the kill hasn't diminished any."

"I killed them, not Angel," Faith spat at him, about to tear the little demons limb from limb, but a warning look from Angel kept her in place. She wondered at that.

"And a new girlfriend as well, I see," Holtz told with a sickening soft voice. Several more demons came in behind him. "Go outside, if he's here, she can't be far behind, or are you going to tell me you dumped the blonde for the sleeker brunette model?" The demons turned back and went to obey.

"I'm #not# his girlfriend, and I'm #no# stinking vampire," Faith hissed at him, wanting to tear him limb from limb. But if Angel didn't want to - which was bad, because a few of the demons were heading in the right direction - she was pretty much helpless, for now. "No offense, Angel," she added hastily, realizing what she said.


##Lots of things have changed. None taken, Faith,## Angel's voice sounded through the speakers. The tech head looked apologetically for not restoring things earlier.

"Who the hell is the pirate with the demon squad?" Linwood asked in disbelief that their squadron as well as their chicken-feeted doctor was dead.

"I don't know, sir," Gavin answered gravely.

On the screen Holtz continued, ##You seem to be having a religion theme going on here, don't you? Angelus, Faith, it would be cute, if it wasn't sickening.##

The screen went back to snow at that point, and the tech head looked apologetically. "I'll fix it, but it'll take some time," he told them, smiling as if he had a tooth ache.

"Well," Linwood said, standing up straight. "I'll be going home. I'll be expecting a full report on this at Thursday's board meeting. Of course I'll be shocked, surprised and appalled." He walked over to the door.

"Because you weren't here," Lilah speculated.

"Exactly, because I couldn't possible be part of such a botched operation," Linwood answered and went out the door. Gavin and Lilah looked at each other with apprehensive faces. Then Lilah made a decision and walked resolutely out the door.


"I can't contact, Angel," Cordelia told her friends. "Don't know why. I'll try Faith."

*Faith, can you hear me?* Cordelia sent to Faith.

*Yes, what are you still doing here?* Cordelia smiled as she could hear Faith's thoughts.

*What makes you think we are? I could be contacting you from the other side of the city,* Cordelia pointed out with a smug grin.

*I can feel you, you stupid . . . aaah!* Faith thought, the mental scream was of frustration, not pain, and Cordelia swallowed. *Damn it! Get out of there, now! We'll be fine, we'll catch up, but this bastard has sent some demons toward you, can't you feel them?*

Cordelia looked shocked for a moment, and let her awareness out. There were indeed demons moving in a search pattern. *I was too busy trying to contact Angel and now you. We'll go.* Cordelia severed the link she had created and told them, "Faith said they'd catch up, demons are coming for us, we better leave."

"Great, can things get any worse," Fred asked to no one in particular. Darla screamed out a bone chilling scream. "Ask a stupid question," Fred muttered.

"Oh, damn," Wesley cursed, looking at the vampiress in the back seat of the car. "Her water broke, she's going to deliver now."

"Do we have to do it here?" Gunn asked nervous. Wesley nodded.

"But demons are coming!" Cordelia exclaimed in panic.

Wesley looked at her and said, "We'll have to fight them."

*We're not going anywhere, Faith. Darla's water broke,* Cordelia beamed back to the Slayer.


"Oh, great," Faith muttered inside the hotel, looking at Holrz's talking.

"Listen, Holtz," Angel tried to talk to Holtz. "I'm sorry Angelus and Darla killed your family and turned your daughter, but . . ."

"You took everything from me!" Holtz hissed at him, stepping closer, not allowing Angel to talk. "I'm going to enjoy killing you, Angelus, and your vampire bitch Darla as well. Or are you going to tell me she isn't around anymore?"

"Usually, no," Faith told him angrily. "On this particular day there's an exception. And if there weren't extenuating circumstances, we'd have dusted her already."

"Really, who exactly are you?" Holtz asked Faith with narrowed eyes.

"I'm Faith, the Slayer," she answered him with annoyance.

"Aren't you supposed to be killing him and his kind?" he asked her pointedly.

Faith sighed, "Yes, but he's a special . . ." Faith got interrupted by one of the demon's returning, and whispering in Holtz's ear.

"Good, they found her," Holtz said with a grin, his low, gravely voice picking up a little at his good fortune. "Kill the others, bring the bitch back here, alive." The demon nodded and left.

"So, Angelus, now we wait for your "girlfriend"'s arrival," Holtz told Angel with a smile. Faith silently pleaded with Angel, 'let me use my strength', he shook his head slightly. "What's the matter, Angelus, are you telepathic now? Somehow I doubt that."

"Ah, hello, am I interrupting anything," Lilah announced as she was herded into the hotel by a demon.

The demon mumbled something, and Holtz took in Lilah. "You're not part of the same group," Holtz commented realizing the earlier demon's announcement he found Darla and a group of people wasn't part of this one, "and this isn't her." Holtz threw some holy water in Lilah's faces. "This isn't even a vampire."

"No, I'm an attorney," Lilah told him with a smile.

"Makes you wonder, doesn't it, Holtz," Faith asked snidely, "whether or not the other demon is now killing some innocent people who don't even know vampires exist?" Holtz glared at her.

"Lilah," Angel called from his restrained position. "Dead guys all over the floor, your guys?"

Lilah looked at the trapped Angel, and said, "If I had known you were torturing him I wouldn't have interrupted. Please continue, I'll wait here until you're finished."

"When I'm finished, he'll be dead," Holtz said looking at Lilah with a confused face.

"Really?" Lilah asked. Faith rolled her eyes, she was getting impatient.

"So you're an attorney," Holtz said, walking over to Lilah. "You deal in man's laws, I deal in God's."

"Ah, right, a good guy," Lilah replied in understanding.

Holtz looked at her with a frown and asked, "Do you know what he is?"

"Yeah, I know," Lilah answered bored. "Vampire, cursed by gypsies, who restored his soul, destined to atone for centuries of evil, wacky sidekicks. Yada, yada. I would have killed him myself, but the people I work for have this 'policy'." Lilah visualized the quotes with her fingers.

"Hmm," Holtz said and turned to Angel. "What does she mean by 'cursed by gypsies'?"

"Just like the bitch said," Faith answered for Angel, rolling her yes. "He's got his soul back, he's a good guy now, on your side. Like I tried to explain, he's special Get it?"

"I'll step out for twenty seconds, that should . . ." Lilah said as she started to move away.

"Angel, I'm sorry, but we really do not have time for this anymore," Faith suddenly said with determination. "I know you'd like to convince your old enemy to join us, but this ends here."

"Actually, I was about to suggest the same thing," Angel told her from the other side. "Should you, or should I?"

Holtz and Lilah looked between the two. Faith grinned, opened her hands and blew the two demons on either side of her to smithereens with two energy blasts. Holtz and Lilah's eyes widened in shock. *Like that Harris guy,* Lilah thought in shock. The demon behind Faith pushed his pointed steel bar forward, but was shocked when couldn't penetrate Faith's neck. Faith turned around, grabbed the demon's arms and kicked out. The demon flew backward, minus his arms, and was destined to bleed to death. Faith dropped the arms and turned around, pointing her open arm at Angel and then downward. She shrugged. Angel smiled, nodded and then clenched his eyes shut against the impending pain. The energy ball fired, hit the floor in front of Angel and exploded. Angel shot backward, shattering the window. The demon behind him was pulled along. The demons on his sides were flung backward, they let go of their tools from the impact. Quickly Faith rushed over to the counter and desks, and grist the remaining scrolls off of the table.

"It's been nice meeting ya, Holtz. Really, we should do it again sometime, only then I'll be on top. Bye, Lilah." Then Faith was out the shattered window, picked up Angel was just getting up, and blasted off into the air.

"Well," Holtz stated, looking at the shattered window. "That was unexpected." He turned to the still living demons, those who had fallen were slowly getting up, and ordered with a yell, "After them!" The demons ran out the Hyperion. He turned to Lilah, and said, "These men you sent to kill Angelus . . .?"

"Uh, yeah?" Lilah asked, looking around the carnage.

"Send more, and I will do the same to them as that bitch did. No one will have him but me," Holtz told her with a commanding tone, and then turned around to follow his demons.

"But they weren't send for Angel. This party was meant for his girlfriend," Lilah explained casually.

Holtz stopped in his tracks and turned around. "You know of Darla?"


"Tell me," Holtz said, advancing on her. "Did these gypsies who re-ensouled Angelus re-ensoul her as well?"

"No, Darla is free-range evil," Lilah answered the question. Holtz nodded and turned around walking away. "Hey, if you do manage to catch up with Darla, we can do some business."

Holtz stopped and told her menacingly, "The only business I have with Darla, is to send her back to the hell she crawled out from."

Lilah tried to say something, but Holtz already left. "Yeah, whatever." Lilah grabbed a phone and dialed. "Harvey, yeah, it's Lilah," she said into the phone walking aimlessly into the hotel. "I have a job for you. Angel Investigations." She sat down at the lobby counter and, said, "Yeah, full cleaner service. Thanks." Lilah looked at the counter and saw a torn piece of black paper. She picked it up, checked it out, and whispered, "She missed a piece."


Back in the alley the Angel team stood waiting in front of the car. Darla was still in the back of the car. The demons arrived several moments later. "Ok, here goes," Wesley said, starting to advance.

"What about them?" Cordelia asked, pointing behind them. Wesley turned around and looked at another group of demons advancing behind the car.

"Gunn, Cordelia, you take them," Wesley ordered. With a quick acknowledgment the two ran to behind the car.

"Ready, Fred?" Wesley asked, preparing himself.

Fred hefted her axe more firmly, and said with a quivering voice, "As ready as I'll ever be." Wesley nodded. Moments later they went into combat. Wesley smacked one demon into the wall, while Fred hacked off another's hand.

Behind the car, Cordelia smacked a demon over the head with a mallet. Gunn beside her uppercutted a demon, sending him flying a few meters through the air.

Darla looked back and forth between the fighting groups. Getting fearful, she climbed to the driver's seat and started the car. She put it in reverse, and then pushed the gas pedal all the way down. The car drove backward as fast as it could. Gunn and Cordelia avoided it, two demons couldn't and were banged aside. Darla stopped, put the car in forward gear, and again put the gas pedal down. She raced past Cordy and Gunn, past Fred and Wesley, and smashed aside another few demons, then disappeared around the corner. Wesley and Fred looked dumbfounded after the car. Moments later Cordelia and Gunn joined them and just looked. Gently Faith and Angel landed behind them and joined them as well.

"So, what are we looking at?" Angel asked.

The group turned around in fright and sighed relieved when it was just Faith and Angel. "Don't do that," Fred blurted out.

Episode 29


Buffy's residence

The Scooby Gang sat around the table, playing monopoly, when the bell rang. "Riley," Xander commented, looking at the door.

Buffy looked at the door speculatively, then laughed, "Quit joking." She got up, and walked to the door. She opened the door and looked up at the tall blonde man in black military fatigues, a scar crossed his left eye. "Riley," she said in surprised recognition.

"Hi, Buffy," Riley told her. A moment later the rest of the gang had joined Buffy at the door. Dawn had her arms folded across her chest and gave Riley a death glare. Xander leaned against the stair case, his left arm around Anya's shoulders, he looked at the blonde man with curiosity. Willow stood in front of Xander directing a smouldering look at the blond secret agent man. "Hi, guys," Riley greeted them. Willow's eyes narrowed, Anya looked suspiciously and Dawn's death glare intensified.

*Ok, my leaving didn't go ever well,* Riley concluded for himself, before looking down into the smiling face of the woman he came here for. "Hi, Buffy, I came to ask you a favor. We've tracked this demon to Sunnydale and we need the best to contain it."

"Well," Xander commented with his lopsided grin, upgraded with a dangerous edge to it. "You're lucky I'm here then, 'cause I #am# the best."

Riley blinked, he felt the need to protect his ex, and before he could catch himself the words left his mouth, "Oh, since when is that, started eating your spinach?"

Xander's grin widened as he answered, "Always have been, Captain Cardboard. Just haven't shown it to anyone until recently."

"Captain Card . . ." Riley didn't manage to finish the term. "Is that how you think of me Xander?"

Xander shrugged. "You started the insults, pal."

Riley looked down at Buffy. "You can't argue with the truth . . ." Buffy answered smiling, and then realized how that sounded when Riley's face fell. "By the truth I mean him being the best, not you being Captain Card . . . you heard what he said." Buffy shook her head fiercely.

"Buffy," Dawn called tersely. The blonde Slayer turned to look at her sister still holding the death glare, and felt this potentially nice reunion fall to the deepest pits of hell pretty quickly. The brunette started counting on her fingers, her death glare never left its object. "He cheated on you with whores, vampires whores who he let drink his blood, left without so much as a single goodbye to any of us, and now he's insulting Xander. Can I beat the crap out of him?" Riley looked shocked, even more so than Xander's casual statement he was the best.

"No," Buffy told her sister with exasperation.

"I could turn him into a rat," Willow offered deadly serious, her energy level rose rapidly, enough that even non-trained Riley realized the red head was starting to tap into her magic.

"No!" Buffy ordered forcefully. "There will be no beating of any crap, nor turning anyone into anything he isn't, got that?"

"Great, toad it is then," Willow answered and started chanting a spell.

"WILLOW!" Buffy warned. The witch stopped her chanting and gave Riley a snide look.

"Time is of an essence, will you help?" Riley asked hopefully, and a little fearfully.

"Sure," Xander answered before Buffy could give her own assent. He give Anya a kiss and then walked out the door, pulling Buffy along. "It'll be fun saving the military's ass once again."

Riley looked doubtful for a moment. Anya waved at Xander and said, "Ok, Xander, have fun hunting demons. You too, Buffy. Come on you two, I want to beat you at Monopoly." Anya pulled Willow and Dawn back into the living room, under protest from the other two.

"Ok," Riley said the three of them walked off the porch.

"Right, so what are we dealing with here, Riley?" Buffy asked giddy. Riley was back! The door behind them slammed and with a shout of negativity Dawn came running out, and joined them moments later on the pavement.

The three of them looked at the new addition, and Dawn explained, "There is no way in hell I'm staying all alone with those two mad women in there! I'm coming with, demon hunting should be fun." For a moment she placed her death glare on Riley again, and the unsaid words were obvious, 'And keep an eye on him.'

*Since when does she think she needs to protect #me#?* Buffy thought in despair, but quickly shook it off.

"Uh, are you guys all right with his. With Dawn coming and all?" Riley asked concerned.

"I can take care of myself," Dawn bit at him, as Buffy and Xander casually nodded.

"The car's around the corner. We tracked these Suvolte demons all the way here from Central America," Riley explained looking and fiddling with a blinking gadget. "Vicious killers from birth, they kill the moment they hatch. And they're breeders. You have one Suvolte, and you'll have ten before you know it, then a hundred. You get the idea, they could overrun humanity if there's ever a war between them and us." Buffy stifled a snicker, and Xander laughed out loud. Dawn chuckled. "What's so funny?" Riley asked a little niffed.

Buffy grinned at pointed at his little gadget. "You're still all James Bond, with the gadgets and stuff."

"Yeah, well, comes with the job," Riley answered self-consciously.

Dawn grinned, "Never really did work, and now . . . it's pretty much obsolete." Riley looked at the youngest of the group with wide-eyes.

Xander added with a smile, "I never did quite understand why you guys think twenty years of improving a gadget is enough to out do three and a half billion years of evolution."

"Oh," Riley said somewhat annoyed, he had been hoping for a short while alone with Buffy. "You think you can lead us to the demon."

Xander shrugged, "I could lead you to every demon in Sunnydale, I just don't know a Suvolte demon, so it could take a while going by every one to find it."

Riley was a little taken aback by that statement, but didn't show it, "Well this thing does know it, so let it do its work." Xander and Dawn shrugged. They rounded the corner.

"Let me guess, the black four by four?" Xander dead panned, looking at the four by four.

"Yeah," Riley answered a little perplexed.

Dawn shook her head, "If you secret agent types actually wanna stay secret, you should really try to get some less obvious vehicles. You always drive black. Look it's the only black car in the street." Dawn and Xander got in the back of the car, while Riley went to the driver's seat, and Buffy took the passenger seat.

As the car drove off, Riley asked nervously, "So, how have you been, Buffy?"

"Oh, same old, same old," Buffy answered with a smile. "Stopped a few apocalypses, destroyed some gods, you know." Dawn coughed.

"Gods?" Riley asked with raised eyebrows. She coughed again, Xander looked at her with a curious grin.

"Yeah, things have gone up a few levels," Buffy answered smiling. Dawn coughed #really# loudly. Buffy looked over her shoulder and said, "What?"

"I do believe it was Xander who did the kicking of the gods' asses; just to be accurate, you know," Dawn told her a little obnoxiously. Xander just grinned widely.

"It was a group effort," Buffy returned, hoping to shut her sister up, she wanted to impress the ex.

Dawn rolled her eyes. "Yeah, it was a great effort to drop our jaws to the ground and gawk in awe as Xander destroyed them." Riley looked in the rearview mirror at Xander, who gave him his patented lopsided grin, and wiggled his eyebrows once.


"Guys!" Warren called out. Jonathan and Andrew came over. "It's time to charge the cerebral dampener."

"Oh, cool," Andrew commented and the two of them arrived.

"You got the ingredient?" Jonathan asked.

Andrew nodded and held out a bag. Jonathan held out his hand and a dried turd rolled into it. "Ew," Jonathan commented. He sprayed yellow powder on it and chanted. The powder and turd started burned, then a energy spike shot up, bent over and then pored into the seemingly solid iron ball. "Aah," Jonathan screamed at the burning in his hand. "Ouch," he said, as he looked at a luckily unmarred hand, and shook it, to get rid of the stinging sensation.

Warren grinned and picked up the ball, "Gentlemen, we can now make every woman we come across our willing sex slave."

Jonathan and Warren grinned, nodded, and then Andrew screamed, "Yes!"

"And I know just where to start," Warren commented with a smile.


Andrew and Jonathan sat in a new van, looking at the screen. "Hawk 2 to Hawk 1," Jonathan started.

"I thought I was Hawk 2?" Andrew whined.

"Hawk 3 to Hawk 1, receiving telemetry," Jonathan corrected himself, slightly annoyed at Andrew.

Inside the high class establishment Warren smiled and looked around the bar and restaurant. Couples and groups were sitting everywhere. Singles, male and female were mingling. A beautiful redhead walked by.

##Ooh, I like the redhead,## Andrew commented through the mic, and receiver in Warren's ear. The camera in Warren's tie picked up things perfectly.

"Nah," Warren answered them looking around. A girl with big breasts and quite a bit of cleavage walked past.

##Oh, big boobs, get the boobs,## Jonathan told him.

Warren looked further around and spotted his ex-girlfriend Katerina. ##Yeah, get the boobs,## Andrew added.

"Target acquired," Warren commented and walked toward's his ex, sitting at a bar, alone.

##No, no, get the boobs, get the boobs,## Jonathan protested, quickly joined by Andrew.

Warren took the receiver out of his ear and dumped it into a glass half-filled with some kind of beverage. "How did you get so beautiful?" he asked as he reached Katerina.

Katerina snorted, and turned, "Does that line actually work where you come fr . . . Warren!"

"Hey, Katerina," Warren answered her.

"What are you doing here?" Katerina bit at him. "Didn't you get the I don't want to see you again?"

"That was a long time ago," Warren protested and sat down next to her.

"The only thing that was a long time ago was me lowering myself to be with a loser like you," Katerina told him angrily, and started to get up.

Desperately Warren grabbed her arm, "Things have changed."

She turned to look at him."Oh, is that hussy you created scrap metal by now, or will she succeed in killing me this time?"

"Cut me some slack," Warren tried hopefully. "Nothing like that will ever happen again."

"Yeah, because I won't be with you ever again," Katerina hissed at him. "Get it through your head, Warren. I don't love you."

"Hold on a moment," Warren told her forcibly as he pulled out some reddish glasses and put them on.

"What? You think some stupid glasses will make me . . ." That's how far Katerina came, as Warren held up the cerebral dampener and an energy wave left it. Katerina got hit by it, looked blankly at Warren, and said, "I love you, master."


"Hold on, I think we're getting close to it," Riley said, rounding a corner, and stopping the car in the center of Sunnydale. People ran screaming, and a grey beastie with a head that was ninety percent maw, was killing people and trashing things. "That's it!" Riley commented as they got out of the car.

As everyone had already fled from the beast, Xander and Dawn hung back a bit. Riley went up to the demon, who turned away from him. Screeching tires could be heard, and Dawn and Xander turned their heads. Another black four by four arrived and stopped right next to their car. "Oh, look, another one," Dawn commented annoyed, and Xander nodded. The car door opened and a woman in the same black getup as Riley got out. Her brunette hair was tied close into a bun on her head.

"Hello," the woman greeted with a smile. "You must be Xander and Dawn, nice to meet you. I see my husband and his ex are busy already."

"HUSBAND!?" Dawn shrieked out it in surprise, Xander was wide-eyed himself.

The woman nodded, "Sam, Finn obviously." She shook Xander's dumbfounded hand. Dawn then got a smile and looked appreciatively at Riley. If he had a wife, no way could he hurt Buffy and them again the way he did.

"Did I just hear husband!?" Buffy called out, as Sam shook Dawn's hand. Buffy held the demon easily a foot off the floor by the back of its head. It roared and thrashed but got no where.

"Buffy!" Dawn called out cheerily. "Meet Sam Finn, Sam meet Buffy Summers."

"Hi," Sam said with wave, and despite Riley's tales about the Slayer's strength looked shocked at the casual way Buffy held the Sivolte demon. Buffy looked between Riley and Sam dumbfounded.

Riley swallowed and explained, "I planned to tell you when the time was right, I didn't think she caught up with us so fast, she does that."

The demon used Buffy's preoccupation to land a solid blow on Buffy's arm. She winced and it was just enough for the demon to wiggle out of the Slayer's grasp. It ran, and then jumped clear over a restaurant. It sailed smoothly through the air. "Damn, we lost it," Sam commented.

Xander and Dawn shared a look, she smiled and gestured 'go ahead'. A moment later Xander flew into the air and was next to the demon before it could land. Riley and Sam's jaws dropped as it became obvious Xander was flying. Dawn crossed her arms with a satisfied smile. Xander kicked and the demon was flung back to where it came from. Above the street Xander caught up with it, much to the commando's surprise, and hammered it down to the ground with to hands. There was a sickening crack at the impact with the double-handed punch, then a dull thud and another crack as the demon collided with the street. Blood then came oozing from its back, forming a small pool. With a grin Xander lowered himself slowly to the ground. "Consider that your wedding present," he offered.

"It's dead. That's ok," Sam commented on the dead body.

"Ok?" Buffy asked surprised. "Just ok?"

Dawn cut it, "You did want it dead, didn't you?"

"Eventually," Sam answered, "I take it numbskull here didn't tell you about the nature of the mission."

"Oh, great. Of course not," Xander commented annoyed. "He probably thought it was on a need to know basis. And dumb old Xander and little sis Dawn don't need to know."

"Not that he told me," Buffy scolded the other blonde.

Riley felt the back of his head embarrassedly and explained, "I was preoccupied." Sam moved over to the demon, presented a demon and cut open its belly. "How do you fly anyway?"

"Shit," she said. "Its eggs are gone, we wanted it to lead us to its nest."

Xander regarded Riley, and answered, "Lots and lots of training." Riley raised his eyebrows.

Sam looked up, put her hands in her side with irritation, sighed, and said, "I guess we're going to have to find the eggs the old fashioned way."

"I'll see if I can find the Doctor," Riley said in a take charge voice. "We found out someone wants to sell the eggs on the black market, someone that calls himself the Doctor."

Xander and Dawn shifted their head to Buffy in recognition. Sam and Riley saw it and waited in anticipation. "You did kill the bastard up on that tower, did you?" Xander asked with a frown.

"Unless he can regenerate, and come back from the dead, he's dead," Buffy answered with finality.

"Well," Riley cut in. "I suggest Buffy and Dawn go to where this guy lived if you know it . . ." Dawn nodded. " . . . Sam and Xander go check out the usual places, and I'll go check up . . ."

"Wait a minute, Riley," Buffy interrupted with a superior smirk. "Now that we've met the demon, finding its eggs shouldn't be all that difficult." She closed her eyes, moved her head up, and extended her senses. Xander and Dawn shared a look, their heads nodded almost unperceptively counting down.

Buffy suddenly smiled, opened her eyes, and pointed. Dawn and Xander pointed in the exact same moment in the exact same direction. "That way," the three of them said as one. Dawn and Xander grinned. Buffy gave them a look, and said, "Funny."


They had taken the cars until they reached the cemetery. There they had gotten out and walked the rest of the way. Sam and Buffy were a few meters ahead, Xander, Riley and Dawn were behind.

"Do you know what they're talking about?" Dawn asked curiously.

"Nope," Xander answered. "No super hearing. But that was the thing I was about to ask you."


Riley explained, "Well, you're a woman, what do women talk about with the ex of their husbands?"

"I don't know, I haven't even had a boyfriend, and certainly never met an ex, or have been one," Dawn answered him tersely, the death glare threatened to return.

"Isn't that something genetic?" Riley asked nervously. To Xander he whispered, "When did she get so scary?" Xander grinned

"Tseh. Even if it was, with me being created by a bunch of male monks, I probably wouldn't have that knowledge. And I heard that," Dawn answered, the death glare returning.

"You don't act like a man," Xander commented thoughtfully. "So I guess your femininity comes from your genes, not a male's knowledge of females. And I thought you were hot and heavy with this Li-hi character."

"Li-Huei," Dawn corrected blushing, and blushing even deeper when she realized she was betraying herself. "And there's nothing going on, yet, as far as I know I'm a potential first, he's certainly mine, so no ex either way."

"No super hearing huh? Super vision?" Riley asked casually, partially curious as a former, or perhaps still friend, the other part intelligence gathering.

"Yep, I can't see more or farther, I do see sharper, and I can detect very fast objects picture clear," Xander explained with a smile. "Are you telling me they haven't briefed you? Please tell me you don't believe that crappy story about their 'one time only desperate prototype', do you?"

"You? That must also make you the guy who saved the WTC passengers! But wasn't he golden?" Riley asked astonished.

"I was," Xander told him grinning. Time for payback for that time Riley made him look stupid with that energy blaster. He figured the thing out immediately of course, but not wanting to betray his secret he had opted to let himself get shocked a few times first, of course Riley had to walk in before he could solve the problem, and make him look like a fool.

"Are you even still human?" Riley asked.

"One hundred percent," Xander nodded, Riley missed Dawn's quick look of surprise which she quickly tucked away again.

"So you're some kind of chosen one, champion then, like Buffy?" Riley asked surprised. Xander just nodded.


"You know, Xander is pretty impressive, from Riley I always got the impression that was a fantastic guy, and great asset, but . . ." Sam told Buffy.

Buffy nodded, "Yeah, him flying and stuff came kind of as a surprise."

"I meant the sight of his muscles," Sam joked lightly, trying to calm her nerves.

Buffy laughed, "I've noticed that too, now that he's stopped doing everything he can to hide them."

"If I didn't love Riley . . . I'd jump his bones," Sam shook her head.

"If Xander weren't engaged, my sister would do the same," Buffy grinned. Sam stayed silent, nervous. "I wouldn't let her, and definitely wouldn't approve," Buffy added hastily. Same looked at her with raided eye brows. "Oh, that's not it, what then?"

"It's . . . well, I feel a bit overwhelmed, I mean here I am with the Slayer, and a - I'm guessing newly - super powered hero behind me. You are like Buddha, Santa Clause, or Jesus," Sam tried to explain.

"Oh, my god, I have a beard! Please tell me I don't have a beard!" Buffy almost whimpered. Sam smiled widely, and gave a single laugh.

"You're a riot. I meant legendary," Sam sighed. "And it isn't just the Slayer, it's you, Buffy. Then I come here, and I find out you've grown both as a human being as well as a fighter to even greater heights then I was lead to believe."

"Riley talks about me?" Buffy asked a little flattered, and embarrassed over her beard outburst that Sam luckily took for a joke, as they walked gently to wherever Buffy's senses were leading them.

Sam nodded. "My company got attacked by I don't know what. I quit the peace corps and joined the squad. I met Riley in my first firefight. We got talking, first about tactics and weapons, but I could tell, he was ripped up inside. Eventually he started talking about you."

"He thinks I let him go," Buffy stated, while thinking. *More like he screwed it up, but whatever gets him through the night I guess.*

"Do you wish you hadn't?" Sam asked.

"Oh, no," Buffy answered her without thinking. "You can have him. I mean I don't hate him or anything, but that part of my life is over and done with, I learned from it, and moved on."

"I didn't want to press you on this, it kinda came up," Sam said, Buffy nodded dismissively. "I mean there are no bad guys in this one."

*What!?* Buffy thought, but betrayed nothing on the outside. *I may not have been the best of girlfriends, but he never once tried to really talk to me about what he needed, he just went straight to the vampire whores. No bad guys, riiight. I guess he forgot to mention that part to her. I suppose he has the right to keep some things private.*

"The only thing that allowed Riley to work it out was time. Lots of time. It took him a year to get over you," Sam went on undeterred.

"I'm glad he's over me," Buffy told her genuinely.

"So, are you seeing anyone new?" Sam asked interested.

Buffy shook her head, "No, between my mom dying, having to take care of Dawn, a Hell Goddess trying to rip apart the fabric of space and time, needing to catch up college during summer, the Viking devil rising up north, I really haven't had time for romantic interludes. Which is good, don't want to rush into anything. I figure I'll meet someone sooner or later, with Dawn determined to grow up, it seems I'm slowly starting to find time to go out and just have fun again."

"Yeah, no guy is better than the wrong guy, that's for sure," Sam spoke with experience.

"Definitely," Buffy answered, remembering Parker, and then she looked at the crypt where the similar life force as the Suvolte came from. "In more ways than one," she added, the other three joining Sam and Buffy. They also looked at the crypt. "Spike!" Buffy hissed out. "I should have known. When I get my hands on him . . . ooh!"

The group stalked forward, Buffy slammed the door open with a bang, and yelled angrily, "SPIKE!" The five of them barged further into the crypt, and found Spike and Harmony happily having sex with Maxine, and drinking her blood. The vampires suddenly sat up at the intrusion, as Maxine groaned and moaned in her orgasm.

"What the bloody hell!?" Spike exclaimed at the five people, blood dripping from his fangs.

Buffy was too shocked to bother blocking Dawn's eyes, when Sam and Riley tried to do that, she easily batted their hands a side, the death glare now pierced Spike's skull.

"You hurt her, how can you hurt her? You've got a chip!" Buffy exclaimed shocked, looking at the very satisfied-looking Maxine. Harmony decided to look as small and non-existent as possible.

"What didn't droopy tell you yet?" Spike practically laughed. "He removed the chip, luv."

Buffy looked at Xander in disbelief and betrayal. "You didn't," she whispered.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, big deal, it was on the agreement he didn't harm an hair involuntarily on innocent person's head, or he'd be dust," Xander said waving it aside, he walked forward crossing the gap between them and Spike halfway. "More importantly, the eggs, Spike."

"What eggs?" Spike asked, flashing his bloody fangs with mirth.

Xander spread his hand pointing it down at the floor, as the rest were still shocked at the revelation. "I can blast a hole straight to them, Spike, or you show us the entrance way."

"Oh, fine," Spike muttered out in irritation, getting up, wrapping some blankets around him, concealing his erection with difficulty, and shoving a big stone ornament aside, revealing a whole and a ladder. "But they're not mine, ok? I'm holding them for a friend." He went to put on some pants.

"Grey, big head, all mouth with big teeth, the one who laid them perhaps?" Xander asked him sarcastically, as he started floating down the hole. Spike shrugged and climbed down the ladder, wearing his pants by now. Riley joined the two, while the women stayed glued to the scene on the bed.

Down below the three men came upon the eggs. "Oh, shit," Riley said with a little fear. "You screwed up, didn't you Spike, or should I call you Doctor? You should have kept them on ice, they're hatching."

"What?" Spike asked him. "Who?"

"We better get out of here, even just out of the egg they're vicious. We need more room and cover," Riley announced and started backing away. Xander pointed his hand, a stream of energy erupted and with a sweep vaporized every last egg.

"Son of a bitch!" Riley exclaimed, looking at the scene.

"Spike," Xander said overly sweet. "Let's get back up stairs." The three started walking back to the stairs, and Xander spoke, "So, Doctor, it's nice to know you still double cross your own demon friends, but I'd have preferred it, if you had just killed it."

"I'm not . . ." Spike started and gave up his futility. "Oh, all right, so I tried to make some money off of the eggs, I figured he owed me some of the costs I'm making." He started climbing up the ladder. "I was pretty surprised people were willing to pay so much for a couple of demon eggs. How was I supposed to know they were vicious killers from birth?" Spike returned back to the ground floor, and added, "He was never anything but amiable to me."

"Time to dust him!" Buffy called out angrily. "He did a whole lot more than a hair to this girl, and who knows how many others!"

"Uh, hello, I know you're not the brightest, Slayer, but he did say the word 'involuntary'," Spike told her annoyed. "Look at the bitch, she's still in la-la land, that's how hard she came while we drank some of her blood. She's my girlfriend for a few months now, you bint."

Buffy's jaw dropped at that, Riley and Sam's eyes widened, and Dawn crossed her arms across her chest, and turned her death glare up a couple of notches. Spike actually seemed worried about that. "You see," Spike said, turning to Xander. "I didn't broke our agreement one bit."

Xander smiled an unpleasant smile at Spike, who swallowed visibly and audibly. Xander's hand suddenly shot out, grabbed Spike by the neck and lifted him off the floor, holding him there. "That came out of you pretty smooth, Spike. That tells me you either told me the truth, or you've been practicing that bullshit for a long time. You're in luck your Vampiric non-reflective nature makes it very hard to read you, Spankey, so I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I #am# however going to amend our agreement. #First#, #no# more favors to anyone but us, no matter how harmless it looks. Second, #no# more demon friends . . ."

"I guess that means no more cat poker," a sad voice interrupted from the doorway to the tomb. The group looked around and looked at a grey, wrinkly demon with floppy ears, that was holding a cage with a few cats in one hand. "Oh, hi," he added, waving childlike with his free hand. "I'm Clem."

Xander turned back to the flailing Spike, and asked with incredulity, "You played poker for cats?"

"Get . . . blood . . . somewhere," Spike gasped out with difficulty, lying through his teeth.

Xander continued, the unpleasant smile returned, "That means no more cat poker, in fact you will not even have any contact with another demon again - except Harmony here . . ." Xander pointed with his free hand. "Pay attention, Harm, this goes for you too." Harmony peeked over the blankets, swallowing fearfully. " . . . unless you're trying to kill them. The penalty: dust buster, got that?" Spike nodded. Xander looked at Harmony and she did the same. "Oh, and just in case you don't grasp the concept, here's an example." Xander pointed his open palm at Clem who was still looking at the scene, and fired. Clem's eyes widened, a moment later the energy ball collided with him and he exploded. The cages dropped to the ground, and the cats meowed their protests.

"Holy shit," Sam commented, looking at the blood and guts that was Clem a moment earlier. Xander let go off Spike, who dropped back onto the bed, and felt his neck, just to be sure it was still there. Riley grinned with satisfaction at the look of terror on Spike's face, he had never seen the bastard like that, and if felt good. Sam looked back at the smile on her husband's face and said, "You know, we do have authorization to take the Doctor out."

"Nah," Riley said with a wide grin. "I think I like it better knowing Billy Boy over here, is in absolute terror whenever I think of him." He sniggered.

Spike growled. "Uh, uh!" Xander said, wagging his finger at him. "Not a good idea, Sparky, piss me off, and I just might decide to dust you anyway." Spike muttered some expletives under his breath. "You satisfied, Buffy?"

Buffy nodded, grinned, and said, "Yeah, I think I am."

"Well, I'm not," Dawn commented, walked up to Spike, and then punched him in the face, sending him flying until he crashed into his night stand. "Now I'm satisfied."

"Good, then we can get the hell out of here," Xander said, and he walked over to the doorway, the others following him. He picked up the cage with cats, walking onward, and said, "I suppose we bring these fellas to the animal shelter."

Dawn quickly circled the group, and examined the two cats in the cage. "Ooh, that one's so cute. Can we keep him, Buffy?" Buffy let her head fall into her hands in despair.


Back in the Trio's lair Katerina was in a French maid outfit. "Would you like something to drink, master?" she asked neatly. Jonathan and Andrew held up their glasses admiringly. She filled them up almost robotically.

"She's cute," Andrew said admiringly. Warren walked around Katerina admiring her from all sides.

"Yeah, but I still think we should have taken boobs," Jonathan commented taking a sip from the champagne.

"Cute?" Warren asked wide-eyed. "Look at her legs, the flowing hair, her just right sized chest, the way her nose wrinkles when she laughs . . . she's perfect." Andrew and Jonathan looked now differently at Katerina, influenced by Warren's inspired speech, and nodded approvingly.

"Yeah, she is pretty sexy, isn't she?" Jonathan said.

"So are you, master," Katerina smoothly interjected.

"You really think so?" Jonathan return shocked.

Katerina nodded, "Yes, master. You turn me on."

"Ok, now we've got establish order," Andrew commented, looking around to see a way to do it.

"She's mine," Warren said, pulling Katerina along.

Jonathan and Andrew protested, "Hey!"

Warren hesitated for a moment and told them, "You can play with her any way you want; after I'm done with her." Jonathan and Andrew nodded approvingly, and Warren pulled Katerina along into his room.

Once there, he ordered, "Tell me you love me, Katerina."

"I love you, master," Katerina responded automatically.

"You are so beautiful," Warren whispered, holding her shoulders.

"So are you, master," Katerina added. Warren then kissed her and she kissed back. She pushed him up against the wall gently.

"I love you, Katerina," Warren breathed out, drinking in her appearance.

Katerina smiled at him, and said, "I love you, Master." And they kissed again.

"Say it again," Warren ordered.

"I love you, Master," Katerina told once again, obediently.

"Good girl, now get on your knees," Warren ordered, and Katerina obeyed.

She opened his pants, and started taking out his cock, saying, "I love you, Warren."

Warren's eyes widened in shock. "What? What did you just call me?" he asked.

Katerina looked up at him, searching. Suddenly she frowned, "Warren? What am I doing here!?" She looked down and saw her outfit. "Oh, my god! What did you do to me!?" She jumped up and away from him.

"Katerina, I can explain," Warren tried, pulling up his pants. "Guys! Get the cerebral dampener!"

"What the fuck!" Katerina yelled, and went through the doors to the main area.

Warren followed her, "Don't let her get away!"

Katerina found her way blocked by Jonathan and Andrew, who both wore red tinted glasses. Warren put on his own. "Get out of my way!" Katerina screamed. Andrew raised his head with the dampener, energy crackled and then it died down. "Warren, is that what you used on me!?" she screamed.

"It's out of juice, it needs to recharge," Andrew explained after a short examination.

"You are truly pathetic, you know that, Warren. I break up with you, so you brainwash me?" Katerina shrieked out.

"She's your ex?" Andrew asked in shock.

Jonathan added, "Man, that's really sick!"

"Yes, it is sick!" Katerina screamed out. "And this is no game you can just play, this is rape. And I'll send you all to prison for it!" Katerina made a run for it, avoiding Andrew and Jonathan.

"Stop her!" Warren yelled, running over to them.

Andrew and Jonathan clawed at her, but an elbow to Jonathan's rips and a smack to Andrew's back sent them to the ground. Katerina ran up the stairs to the exit, Warren on her heels. He grabbed one of them. "Let me go!" Katerina yelled out. "Let me go!"

Without looking, and angry Warren grabbed a bottle from a stand behind him, and smashed it into the back of Katerina's head, and then did a second time before he was positive she was out cold.

"Oh, my god, we're going to jail!" Jonathan shrieked out afraid.

"No we're not!" Warren told him angrily as he came down the stairs. "Andrew, get her down," he ordered, and he took the cerebral dampener from Andrew on the way down. "We charge it up, give her bigger charge, we'll have our way with her, then order her to forget, and we'll be home free," Warren theorized.

"I don't think the dampener will help much," Andrew muttered out shocked. They looked up at him and he lifted a bloody hand. "She's dead."

"Oh, my fucking god! You killed her, Warren!" Jonathan yelled out in panic.

"We killed her!" he hissed at his compatriots. "We're all in this together."

Jonathan walked over to the stairs and let himself fall to his butt, defeated, leaning against the wall. "We're going to jail. We're going to jail."

"We should turn ourselves in," Andrew whispered in shock.

Warren lifted his finger for them to listen and he said forcefully, "I am not going to jail over this. You hear me, I'm not going to jail over this."

"There's a connection, man, she's your ex. They'll find out," Jonathan told him angrily. "If it isn't the cops, it'll be the Slayer."

"Can you teleport her out of here?" Warren asked Jonathan.

"To where?" he asked incredulously. "I can't teleport her farther than Sunnydale, there's no difference with us dumping her body physically. She'll be found, it'll lead them to us!"

"Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh shit," Andrew muttered.

"Andrew, can't you summon something that'll . . . devour her?" he asked the blonde still at the top of the stairs.

"I know one demon, but they're difficult to control," Andrew answered in despair.

"What about that thing we got last time? He was docile," Warren brain stormed.

"Are you crazy? Something that big? The slayer'll be on our doorsteps in no time!" Jonathan hissed at Warren.

"And he was only docile because of the stars aligning, summon another one now, and he'll devour us first!" Andrew called out in panic. "The cops are gonna get us!"

"If not them, then the slayer!" Jonathan added fearfully.

"Wait!" Warren suddenly said, getting an epiphany. "Perhaps we can hit two birds with one stone!"


"It was nice seeing you again, Riley," Xander told the commando on Buffy's lawn with a smile.

"Same here," Riley told him shaking the brunet's hand, their former spat forgotten, roughing up Spike had that effect on living people.

Riley went over to Buffy next, as Sam said goodbye to Dawn and Willow. "I loved seeing you again, Buffy, you're even more incredible now than you ever were."

Buffy smiled self-consciously and Riley hugged her goodbye. "Take good care of yourself, Buffy. Don't let yourself fall for the first joker, like I was. If he's blonde and has any resemblance to Spike or me, or if he's got fangs, run hard and fast, or just kill him," he joked.

"I will," Buffy chuckled as they broke the hug, while thinking, *Wait a god damned minute. Did you just basically tell me I shouldn't date anyone that isn't 'Riley-approved'? You cheat on me with vampire whores, let them bite you and drink your blood, and #you# are telling #me# who I can and cannot date? Who the flying fuck do you think you are!?*

Sam reached Buffy and shook her hand, "Well, Buffy, it was nice to meet you. You are even better then Riley said you'd be. I wish you all the best."

*Really? Well, let's see just how much Riley has told you, huh?* Buffy thought evilly, seeing Riley move off to the line hanging from the helicopter that was just arriving. "Well, thank you. It was nice to meet you too." The helicopter's sound was loud enough, Riley couldn't over here what Buffy was going to say. With an innocent smile, she told Sam, "You are very impressive as well. I could never be with a guy who did it with vampire whores and let them drink from him, especially doing that cheating on his girlfriend." Sam went rigid, a flicker of shock went through her eyes. *Oh, yes, I knew he hadn't told you that part,* Buffy thought, the innocent smile never once wavered from her face, but an evil gleam entered her eyes, one that Sam missed. Riley's wife turned around after giving a nod. She grabbed onto the line and her husband. Buffy's smile turned to a grin as she noticed Sam's free arm was in between Riley and her, not lovingly around him. The Scooby Gang waved as the helicopter lifted up into the air.

When the helicopter had left, the group went back inside the house, and went to the living room. "Now that they're gone," Buffy began sternly, looking directly at Xander. "Why in god's name did you remove Spike's chip? And worse, why the hell didn't you tell us you did?" Dawn nodded, and placed her death glare on Xander.

"You removed Spike's chip!?" Willow exclaimed incredulously. "Without telling us!?"

"I did, Willow, as for why, well . . . how to put this," Xander hesitated for a moment, thinking it over, then decided on blunt. "Sooner or later some of those gods will send their followers after us, and the next batch might be a lot more fundamentalist to be sent away with a little demonstration of power like those witches. You could all be as powerful as I am, or more so, but if you don't kill the people that will come after us, they will kill or capture you anyway. I needed someone on our side that I could be certain of killing them without hesitation, so I offered Spike the deal: chip removed, but I would become his new chip: instant dust the moment he steps across the line."

"How the hell do you know he hasn't killed people already!?" Willow yelled out in disbelief.

Xander shrugged, "I keep an eye on him. Trust me, he hasn't killed, I'd know."

"Fuck, Xander," Dawn cut in seriously, angry, but not screaming, she tried at least to keep a level head. "If you had died during the whole asteroid deal, how the hell would we have known?"

"You would all get letters as stipulated in my will, in each it says Spike is chipless, and I recommend his immediate termination," Xander explained to everyone.

"You've got a will!?" Willow asked shocked, thrown off the whole 'Spike has no chip' thing by that.

"You lied to us!" Buffy told him angrily. "You kept us in the dark of a potential dangerous serial killer."

"One that I have under complete control," Xander countered with force.

"Damn it, Xander!" Willow yelled at him with the same force. "We deserved to know! Why in blazes did you keep that from us!?"

Xander looked around the hostile room, only Anya sat in a chair neutrally. "It was a strategic decision. You would probably go kill him right away, unnecessarily, pre-maturely if I had told you immediately. I figured if I'd let him walk around chip-less for approximately half a year, it would prove he is capable of restraining himself as long as the threat of death hangs over him."

"But you #lied# to us!" Buffy accused him angrily.

Xander looked at Buffy's angry face and said softly, "So I did, I did it before."

"I know!" Buffy hissed at him, a long repressed pain and betrayal rising back to the surface. "'Willow said, "Kick his ass!"'" Xander regarded her, not denying it. Willow, Dawn, and Anya were confused. Buffy misunderstood Xander's silence. "You think I'm so stupid I didn't figure it out!?" she yelled at him. "Why would Willow tell me to do that, only to restore his soul moments later? What was it, Xander? Jealous? Angel was in the way so you had to get rid of him? Wanted me all to yourself?"

Dawn looked in horror at the unfolding scene, she couldn't believe this was happening, she saw the change in Xander, the calm exterior turned to complete rage. Buffy seemed taken aback for just a moment at the look in his eyes, but her anger burned through it.

"You did WHAT!?" Willow screamed out loud. "You didn't have the right!"

Dawn figured out what had made Xander so angry, remembering the gentleness and regard that he even now employed when being with Cordelia. Dawn tried desperately, knowing Buffy made a critical error, "Xander, calm down. She didn't mean it like that. Let's all call down . . ."

Xander exploded into action, he grabbed Buffy by the collar instantly, turned around and smacked her, relatively lightly, against the stone chimney. "If you ever," he hissed at her, Buffy looked at him defiantly, "dare to insult what I had with Cordelia again, I will make you feel so much pain, you're going to wish you were never born!" For a moment Xander stopped, Dawn tried again, but Xander continued. "In case you've forgotten Miss 'The World Revolves Around Me', I was in love with her back then, and she with me, we were a couple. I couldn't give a rat's ass who you were with back then, as long as he wasn't killing my friends and teachers." Xander dropped Buffy, and he took a step back. He looked down at her and pointed his finger to add power to his words. "You are really some piece of work, Buffy! You really think we should all bow down and worship Captain Cheerleader, don't you? You are so full of yourself, it sickens me. Everything must be about you. In case you've forgotten, Buffy, I threatened to kill you if something happened to Willow. I haven't had a single romantic thought about you the moment you crushed my heart on that dance floor. You used me, disregarded me, threw me aside like some thing you could do everything with you wanted to. I have too much pride to consider a bitch like that as someone I'd want a relationship with. Would I have fucked you? Let my lust run free if you weren't under the influence of a spell and I wasn't in a relationship? Sure, but after that? Anything more than a quick fuck, or a few fucks; not in a million years." Xander's eyes blazed, looking down at the blonde. She was still angry, but the hurt was plainly visibly in her eyes.

"Xander, please," Dawn tried, she could hardly bare to watch this.

"Quiet," Xander ordered her tersely. Xander bent down, got in Buffy's face, and told her slowly, deliberately, forcefully, spelling it out as if she was a little kid, "It. Was. A. Tactical. Decision." He straightened back up, and turned to Willow, adding her into the mix. "You handed me that decision, I was the only one who could decide what to tell Buffy. That not only made it my right, but also my duty. I, and I alone had to make that decision. I debated the pros and cons with every step I took from your room to her. And in the end it came down to this: Angelus had to be stopped; dusted or ensouled, it didn't matter, but throwing everything on one option was unacceptable. Multiple attack vectors, Buffy for the dust, Willow for the ensouling. And I knew back than, and now, you don't have the capacity to think about proper tactics, you certainly didn't have that capacity when it came to Angel."

Buffy got up, eyes blazing, "That mas my decision to make, not yours! He was my boyfriend, and #I# am the Slayer! I could have saved him, do something else."

Xander laughed., "Please! Even now with time and distance you still can't make the right decision." Xander added mockingly, "'I could have saved him.'"

"I SENT HIM TO HELL, DIDN'T I!?" Buffy screamed at him, distraught, angry. Dawn looked at it, hand in front of her mouth, realizing this was going to play out, there was no more stopping it. "I DID MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION! AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT FELT LIKE!"

"Oh, applause, applause, you sent him to Hell," Xander mocked her, clapping his hands. "You know the bastard for less then a year, he turns into a soulless, remorseless, serial killing monster, and you let him live for months, let him kill our friends, our family, our teachers, Giles' girlfriend, then he decides to try and suck the world into hell. Finally the only thing that got you to fight him is guilt over Willow in the hospital, and my lie that made you see he had to be stopped. Then there we are, the great showdown. Angel goes to hell, or all of us go to hell. Angel goes to hell, or he goes to hell along with us. Angel goes to hell, or you got to hell with him. No matter what you do angel goes to hell, plus that pesky self-preservation instinct. I don't know about all of you, but to me that's a no-brainer, not exactly high on the list of, 'look how smart or good I am'. Hold on a moment, that kind of sounds familiar," Xander pauzed for just a moment, and before anyone could interject he continued, "Oh, right, best friend for ten years, loved him like a brother, only one who knew about my non-human nature, accidentally found out about me when we were eight, Willow and us were known as The Three Musketeers, the tightest nit group in Sunnydale High, he got turned into a soulless, remorseless, serial killing monster, and I let him live for months killing our friends, our fam- No that doesn't sound right, oh, yeah, I dusted him first real chance I got. His name was Jesse, Buffy. Willow and I held a wake for him every night for six weeks, burned candles and everything, we didn't even get to burry him properly, officially he's missing. But then you never really cared about that did you? Just some guy that happened to hang around you for a day, nobody important, our best friend and you never once asked us how we were doing, let alone join us for one wake."

Buffy seemed stricken by his words for a moment, but then her anger about everything in this situation overrode her guilt, and she hissed at him, "If you are so damn good, why didn't you kill him?"

Xander gave her a dangerous grin, and answered, "I would have if you didn't do your duty, I was there waiting, multiple attack vectors. I understand perfectly what you felt, Buffy, you don't know how I felt. I saw my father die in front of my eyes, my home planet breaking up around me. Then I came here, for sixteen years I've been making your kind of decisions, without help, without friends who were there to support me, who could understand me, without the benefit of the teachers, wise guardians, or good caring parents. I was four years old, and I've been making those decisions ever since. Do I, or do I not use what I know fully? Do I, or do I not teach people what I know? Do I, or do I not let people die? If I don't will that mean I condemn far more people to their deaths? Do I, or do I not let people slide into darkness? Do I do it directly, or do I stop the clueless goofball act and speak up about how horrible we're treating a certain somebody? Every single day, sixteen years. Where I am now - I'm not particularly proud of some things I've done, some of the decisions I've made - but I'm pretty certain I've made most of the important decisions correctly. Can you say the same thing for yourself, Buffy?"

"You know I can't," Buffy whispered almost imperceptibly, still seething with anger, remembering the conversation she had with him while flying him down to the hospital, and just after the destruction of the asteroid up in her room. "FUCK YOU!" she yelled with her frustration at her helplessness, and anger at him using their conversation against her, and the whole situation in general.

Xander turned around and held out his hand to Anya. She took it and good up, subdued, this hadn't been a pretty sight. "Come on, let's blow this place, Anya. I'm done with Miss 'I Rule All' Central. I'll see you tomorrow at training . . ." Xander felt his anger welling up again at tonight and couldn't resist adding, "stuck up bitch."

"You don't like me," Buffy accused, whispering, tears welling up. Xander looked around at her. "You love me like a friend, love me like your hero, but you don't like me."

"Figured that one out, huh?" Xander told her hatefully. He couldn't stand that she once again made this about herself, as if she was the victim, as if despite her own admission to having flaws nothing was her fault. "I haven't liked you in a long time. Who could possibly like you, Buffy? Riley didn't even like you enough to talk to you about feeling neglected. He went to vampire whores instead."


Xander lashed out his hand, and grabbed Buffy by her throat. Buffy's eyes widened in shock and fear. "I don't care what you call me, but call Anya a slut again, and I will hurt you." He let her go and turned around leaving the house, taking Anya with him, still angry, and with an empty feeling in his stomach.

When the door slammed shut, the same emptiness went through the three remaining women. Willow stood there, seething, her anger growing by the minute. Dawn was the first to speak, accusing, but without raising her voice, "Great going, Buffy." Buffy looked up at Dawn, shocked, really not in the position to have someone else dump on her as well. "We should have been talking about his reasons for lying to us about Spike, that it was wrong, and make sure it never happens again, from either of us, but you just had to make this about you and Angel, and question Xander's, motives, dignity and relationships, and your all-around importance in them had you?" Buffy looked silently at her sister, not knowing what to say. Dawn sighed, and then said, "I'm going after them. See just how much damage this little spat did, and see if I can mend some of it. Not to mention rip him a new one for lying to us, properly." Dawn then walked out the door, picking her coat from the rack on the way.

"That fucking bastard," Willow hissed, finally regaining enough of her senses. Her eyes turned pitch black. "How dare he!? We can't kill? If killing humans needed to be done, I could! Mr. I'm Not Human And Understand War." She stretched out her hand, screamed and blew the living room table away, before it exploded in fine sawdust. She turned around and walked away, telling Buffy, "I'll clean it up tomorrow morning."

Buffy looked shocked at the mess around the former standing place of the table, and looked with new respect and fear at the retreating which. *She's stronger than I am,* she realized as she checked how much, or little of her energy she used to blow up the table so finely. Feeling the need to do something physical, get rid of her anxiety, she decided to go on patrol.


Dawn rang the bell of the apartment complex. "Yes," Anya's voice came through the speakers.

"It's Dawn," Dawn answered her. The door clicked open. Dawn quickly walked inside, knocked on the apartment door which opened shortly after.

Anya - wearing a night gown - let her in, and told her, "He's really upset. So why are you here?"

Dawn looked at her, then decided not to answer. "Where is he?"


Dawn nodded and walked to the bedroom. She saw him sitting on the bed, shirtless, and untying his shoes. For a moment she admired Xander's naked torso. She grabbed a chair, pulled it across from him and sat down, looking at him. Xander looked up at her and asked, "Are you here to call me a jealous, selfish bastard as well?"

"Nope, and I certainly have no interest in insulting Anya, actually I kind of like her," Dawn told him shaking her head. "I'm here to actually talk about the real issue, not events that happened three and a half years ago. Why did you not tell us you removed Spike's chip?"

"Because I knew, you wouldn't understand. With me around he's no threat, and letting him prove that first would be the best way to go about doing this," Xander explained calmly, then added a little sheepishly. "It was also kinda part of the deal. I smoothed the way to Spike's mind by holding up the illusion if he could prove he could keep himself from killing without the chip holding him back, he might be able to win Buffy's heart."

Dawn smiled. "You didn't!" He nodded. "And he believed it?"

"Don't know, but I think I gave him some false hope," Xander told her with a smile.

"Xander," Dawn started, scratching her head, not knowing how to approach the subject. "Weren't you against Buffy keeping my true nature from you last year? Didn't you do the same thing?"

"Yes, and no," Xander told her thoughtfully, he kicked off the untied shoes. "I was against Buffy's reasons for keeping it from us. She thought she could protect all us from the truth, that she could do everything on her own, delusions of her greatness again. If the knowledge reaching us would make someone push a button and blow us all to kingdom come then I say, yep, hide away."

"Exactly, we're a team," Dawn retorted, looking up at him straight in the eye. It took a considerable effort not to look down as he stood and took off his pants, throwing it aside before sitting back down again. "And your reasons for hiding de-chipping Spike are just as bad if not worse."

"When the hell did you get so damn mature?" Xander asked her with surprise.

"Oh, I think somewhere in between getting caught stealing and being taught all these new skills," Dawn told him with a smile. "Being able to blow up half a house kinda puts things in perspective, especially when you've lived on the hellmouth for five years straight, your blood almost destroyed the world and you still act like a little kid. It's amazing how much difference a little more thought before doing something can make."

Xander smiled at her, a smile to an equal, and Dawn felt good about herself. Xander's smile faltered, sighed and said, "I admit it; I screwed up. From now on no more hiding things like this." Dawn looked surprised. "What? I never said I was perfect."

"No, I know, it's just that went a lot easier than I expected," Dawn told him with a smile.

"I'm not Buffy, Mis 'If the outcome is right, than every decision I made must have been the right one,'" Xander told her with smirk.

Dawn looked at him, "You really don't like my sister, do you?"

"Not particularly, love her dearly, can't imagine not being friends with her, but she doesn't exactly have many likeable traits, mostly she's just a cheerleader captain with a superiority complex," Xander told her, sighing deeply.

"When did it start? Your dislike, I mean," Dawn asked curiously, somehow feeling it was not during Buffy's 'thank you' dance.

"Not the dance, but it had a lot to do with. Not her not staking Angelus, but it had a lot to do with it. I think the first real signs were after she ran away when she sent Angel to hell," Xander said, reflecting. "But it really became full grown during her first year in college, and became complete last year, when she didn't tell about you. 'If the outcome is right, all my decisions were right'. Only months before she had claimed she was so mistaken when she pushed us away to carry her destiny on her own, and there she was, having learned nothing, still Miss 'Me and me alone, nobody can help, because I have such a big burden being chosen, and nobody can understand it.'"

Dawn nodded, understanding what Xander meant. Dawn spoke up, "So the Scooby Gang isn't breaking up?"

"Nah, I just wish, that Buffy learned something for once, she's still lagging with her training, she still doesn't wish to commit, she's still listening to her own screwed up moral code," Xander said with a low, disappointed voice.

Dawn got a little angry, now that one part of this conversation was over, and said, "You should apologize to her though, because that last comment about Riley when he was just here with his new wife, was just low. It was #really# low, Xander."

Xander looked up at her, frowning in confusion, and then remembered what he had said. "Oh, my god, I didn't mean to say that, Dawn. I . . ."

"You should tell Buffy that, not me," she told him. She hesitated a moment and gave him a peck on his cheek, and said, "I'm going back home, need to get some sleep. See you tomorrow."

"See you," he greeted back, and watched the remarkable girl walk out, then sighed wistfully.

Anya returned, and carefully sat down on his lap. She stroked his hair. With a sad pout, she said slowly, "I like your hair longer like this. Feels nice when I run my fingers through."

Xander smiled, then gave a lough. "I love you, you always know how to cheer me up." He closed his arms around her lower back, and replied, "Then I'll keep it longer. Thank you for staying outside."

"I figured she wanted to talk to you alone for a moment," Anya explained, his fingers now unmoving in his hair, on either side of his head.

"I know, a year ago you would have barged right in." Xander smiled and then gave her a loving kiss.

After they broke the kiss, she asked innocently, "So, may I know what you guys talked about?" Xander looked at her, and she faltered. "Ok, I admit it," she told him with a naughty grin. "I listened in." They kissed again.


Buffy walked through the cemetery, lost in thought. How could this be happening? Xander was the nice guy, her best male friend, her Xander-shaped friend, and he didn't even like her. She had been dismissed as some rookie, or even useless, 'I needed someone I was certain would kill humans when necessary'. Was this how Xander had felt all those years? Useless, disregarded by his friends. Granted, he had told her he had done everything he could to appear useless, but that didn't mean he couldn't feel the pain, could he? Plus, like he said, he had lied before. Had he lied just to make her feel better.

"Son of a bitch," she whispered, kicking aside a rock. She exited the cemetery and entered the park that lay adjacent to it. She was distraught, inside her that thing, the Slayer was coiling like a snake, whispering violence and death, urging her to hunt and find demons. She didn't want to, patrolling was enough, wasn't it? She forced it away. Was that wrong? She doubted herself, hadn't she just screamed at Xander that she was the Slayer? Than why did that thing feel so wrong? She shook her head, this was useless thinking. She knew who she was, didn't she? Useless? She increased the ferocity of her shaking. She was not useless, she was the Slayer, the one and . . . one of two . . . was she even the Slayer anymore? Faith had talked about his Raiden dude, so why hadn't he appeared to her, helped her out? Was Giles right? Had whatever made The Slayer The Slayer, passed on to Kendra and then to Faith? Was she just a wannabe these days? No! NO! NO! NO! She wasn't. She was the best. No, wait, that was just propaganda, she had said so herself, hadn't she? Why was everything so screwed up?

Buffy blinked suddenly, and stood up straight. What had that been? As if something slammed into her mind. Suddenly she hit some form of demon across its face, sending it crashing into a tree, it was wearing blue garb and had a deformed face. Then it was gone, she was still standing there, nothing the matter, no demons. Wait! Who was lying there on the ground? Buffy walked over and said, "Hey, it's not safe here." She squatted down and pulled on the girl's arm, it was girl Buffy realized.

The girl looked up at her, like she was a broken doll. "What did you do?" she asked in accusation.

Buffy jumped back, straightening up. She clasped her hands around her ears as whispering attacked her all around. ##What did you do? How could you do that? What did you do?##

She kicked another blue garbed demon in the stomach, feelings its ribs break. There were demons all around her suddenly.

Buffy pulled on the girl's arm. She looked up at her, like she was a broken doll. "What did you do?" she asked in accusation. The whispering attacked again.

The chi flame burst around her, as she screamed out her rage. The demons flew off of her. One of them grabbed her shoulder.

The chi flame was suddenly gone, with a smack to its face she sent another demon flying, then another.

Buffy pulled on the girl's arm. She looked up at her, like she was a broken doll. "What did you do?" she asked in accusation.

With a crescent kick Buffy sent three demons flying away. Buffy started to get angry, just as all the demons piled on top of her. Fed up, the chi flame burst around her, as she screamed out her rage. The demons flew off of her, the leaves and sand on the floor burst away from her. The demons landed against trees and on the floor. One of them grabbed her shoulder, without thinking she turned around rapidly and gave it a roundhouse kick. The girl got hit square in the face and was flung away, flipping end over end like a rag doll, as she bounced over the ground. She fell down a decline out of sight.

"OH, MY GOD!" Buffy screamed out her shock. She was nailed to floor for one moment, then the demons attacked again, and with practiced ease she blew them up with energy attacks. Then she ran over to the girl, down the decline. She grabbed the girl and turned her over. She stared up at Buffy with blank eyes. "Oh, god! Please, no!" Buffy muttered, looking at the body for a short time. There was no more life force. She suddenly sank to her knees, fighting off flashbacks of her dead mother, she started to rhythmically push the girl's chest. Having counted to five, she muttered, "Please, don't die." She bent down, held the head back, and the nose closed and blew through the girl's mouth. She did it a second time, she went for a third . . . and then stopped just before she reached the mouth. The body was cold. She let the nose go. There was no life force. How could that be? If she just killed this girl, the chi should still be bleeding out of her. Life force! She hadn't had any when she kicked her either! She was one of them, she must have dampened her life . . . Wait! Where were the bruises on her face! Buffy touched the left cheek, the one she hit. No injury. The bones should be broken at least, if not outright shattered. She hadn't killed this girl! She had already been dead. The girl she had kicked must just have been an illusion . . . or someone in disguise.

Resolutely Buffy got up, and extended her senses. Nothing. That either meant they were never close by and had directed this from afar, or they #did# mask their life force. "DO YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY!?" Buffy screamed out her anger and frustration. She turned full circles screaming in every direction. "YOU THINK IT IS FUN MESSING WITH MY MIND DO YOU? DID YOU REALLY THINK I WOULDN'T FIGURE THIS OUT!? SHE WAS ALREADY DEAD! I WILL GET YOU BASTARDS FOR THIS! GUARANTEED! WHOEVER YOU ARE, I WILL FIND YOU, AND MAKE YOU PAY FOR THIS! I WILL TEAR YOU LIMB FROM LIMB!!! DO YOU HEAR MEEEEE!!?!?"


In a van nearby, Katerina transformed into Jonathan with a light show. "Thanks for suggesting the dampening field, Warren," Jonathan said, his left cheek bruised and battered. "I would have been dead otherwise."

"Oh, fuck, we failed," Andrew said fearfully, looking at the screen with wide eyes.

Warren looked at the screen with intense eyes, "No, we didn't. Look, she's too worked up to recognize her." Andrew and Jonathan looked closer at the screaming Slayer on the screen, and raised their eyebrows with relief.

"But she's said she'll find us," Jonathan added with a little fear.

"What else is new?" Warren told him with a grin. "They were trying to find us anyway, now they won't be coming for us specifically just yet. Means we can prepare for them."

"What about the cops?" Andrew asked.

Warren grinned evilly, "You mean the keystone cops that call themselves the Sunnydale PD? Wild animal attack? Gang members on PCP? They couldn't even find us if they tried. Destroy the cameras."

Andrew pushed a button, and the cameras self-destructed. His face lit up, and said, "We got away with murder."

"Yeah," Warren said with a grin.

"That's pretty cool," Andrew added a smile former.

Jonathan said unenthusiastically, "Yeah, pretty cool."


Buffy had just finished calling the police, and telling them she had found a body and the location. Now she was aimlessly walking around. She looked at her hands, and remembered her words, 'I will tear you limb from limb'. She shook her head. No! No! This couldn't be happening. She was #not# a cold, remorseless killer. She was better than that! She was better!

Better? Are you sure? You are useless. Your worth, and self-worth are just an illusion. No! Yes! Buffy continued debating with herself. Your friends don't even like you. Willow is stronger than you. Dawn has started to grow up, is strong herself, you did a good job guiding her were your mother left off but that's over now. Anya has Xander, and Xander, well we both now Xander makes you look like a stupid girl.

Buffy shook her head in denial. That was no true! She was the Slayer! No, you are not, you just said it yourself, you're better than that. You are not a cold-blooded killing machine. You are just the cheerleader captain, nothing more. Stop it! Buffy grabbed her head, for a moment she thought this was them, but she realized it wasn't, tears streamed down her cheeks. They protected you and you threw it in their faces. And now they've surpassed you, left you behind in the dirt. Hell, your #little# sister thinks #you# need #her# protection. NO! NO! NO! How could you possibly do anything for them, if you can't even accept who and what you are? She shook her head again, trying to get the doubts and insecurities out of her mind, but failing. Her eyes caught something. She stood up, turned and looked at it.

Spike's crypt. He still needs you, the only one who does. The traitorous voice seemed mocking, abusive. He may have his two sluts, but you and I both now he's in love with you, obsessively so. He needs you, the only one who does. The rest of them have gone far beyond needing you. To them your useless, a joke, someone who can't make one lousy right decision, someone they need to rescue and save every step of the way . . . but Spike.

NO!! HE'S A VAMPIRE! A demon animated corpse. Evil to the core of his existence. There is nothing there! Nothing but death! But he needs you, the only one who does. It's wrong! Why? Because Xander and Riley say so? They don't even like you. They are just some guys who don't like you. Buffy nodded. "I'll show them," she whispered, angrily. "I can fuck whoever I want to. I'm not useless, I'm still needed. I'm still number one."

Resolutely Buffy walked over to the crypt and swung the door open viciously. On the bed, Harmony and Spike sat up. Harmony shrank back, and Spike got up, naked again. "Bloody hell, Slayer," the bleached blonde told her annoyed, sheets in front of his crotch. "We're trying to sleep here, wasted energy and all that. What the fuck do you want now?"

By the time he was finished Buffy had reached him, and gave him a powerful punch to the jaw. He flung backward, smashing into the already smashed night stand. He looked up at Buffy and said, "Ow. What the hell was that for? Getting it from your sister was bad enough . . ." Buffy landed in his lap and dry humped him as she pulled of her shirt, and then her braw. "Hey, what's going on here? Not that I'm complai- . . ."

Buffy's fist ended his sentence, and sent some blood flying from his mouth. "Shut up!" Buffy hissed, as she continued to undress herself. "Isn't this what you want, Spike? Me riding you silly, making you my bitch? Do you love me, Spike? Do you need me? Do you like me?"

"I love you, yes!" he hissed out, as she impaled her cunt on his cold hard cock. Spike groaned.

Buffy moaned out her pleasure, and then stopped. "Say it!" she hissed.

"I love you!" he groaned at her, vamping out.

"NO!" Buffy barked out her order. She joined his hands above his head, she grasped them together with her left, holding them there, and put enough pressure on them to make him groan out in pain. Her right hand grabbed his right nipple and pinched it hard. Spike gave a short yell of pain. "Say it! You need me! Say it!" Buffy hissed.

"I need you!" Spike managed to get out of his mouth.

Buffy released his right nipple and went to his left, "Do you like me, Spike?"

"Aah! Yes, I like you, Buffy! Fuck!" Spike moaned out.

Buffy started riding his rock hard cock now, slowly, to make sure she increased his torment and started bashing his head from left to ride, slowly increasing the pace, feeling her cunt contract happily, hearing the sloshing sound of her wetness engulfing his dead erection. Spike yelled out his pain. "Stop that!" he called out.

"Why Spike? Isn't this what you want? For me to make you my bitch? Isn't this what you've always wanted, me bashing your head in while I fuck you silly?" Buffy hissed angrily at him, bringing her face close to his, stopping the beating for a moment.

"God, yes!" he answered her, started to buck up into her.

"Then what are you complaining about?" Buffy growled at him, and then smacked his crotch down to the floor with her free hand. "Don't you dare move a muscle unless I say so!"

Spike moved his head forward, trying to kiss the near lips. Buffy recoiled, never stopping her fucking motions, and grabbed him underneath his chin, her fingers on his cheeks. "Didn't you hear me!" she yelled at him. "No moving! You will not ever kiss me! You are too beneath me to kiss me! I will hurt you if you ever try it again, and not the pleasurable kind."

Buffy increased her pace, grunting her satisfaction. "You are mine, Spike. Mine and mine alone. I don't care about your hussies, you can fuck them anytime you want to . . ."

"Hey!" Harmony protested at that. Maxine just looked with wide eyes. Buffy whipped her head around and glared at Harmony. "I'm a hussy, don't let me interrupt," Harmony whimpered and quickly disappeared beneath the bed covers.

Buffy turned back to Spike. "You are my bitch, Spike! My fuck toy! My sex slave! And you will beg for it! When I tell you to be somewhere, you will be there, and you will not leave until I tell you to!" Buffy increased her pace some more, grunting in satisfaction, as Spike did the same. "When I tell you to orgasm, you will orgasm! When I tell you to lick me, you will lick me! If I ever decide to tell you to drink my piss, you will drink my piss, and beg for it! You will need me! Understand!?"

"Yes, oh, god, this is good!" Spike groaned out with pleasure, the Slayer's pussy was heavenly, better than he had ever considered possible. "I need you, Buffy!" Spike was a quick study. "I like you, Buffy!"

"Oh, god yes!" Buffy yelled out, her cunt quivering on the brink of orgasm. "Come, Spike. Come now, come for your mistress!"

Spike grunted, moaned, made an upward thrust and came, spilling his cold seed inside of Buffy's clenching pussy. "Oaaahhh, Yes! I'm coming!" Buffy yelled, then just groaned and moaned as her orgasm washed over her, tingling through her body from her feet to her head, her pussy clenching powerfully around the demon cock.

When it was over Buffy collapsed forward, resting her forehead on Spike's bony chest, and caught her breath. Then suddenly she got up off of the vampire and started rapidly putting on her clothes. "Remember, Spike. You belong to me. You are mine. My fuck toy. Nothing more, you are beneath me, and you will not do anything more than fulfill my sexual needs, got that!"

"Oh, yeah! That's fine with me, Slayer! In fact that's just about perfect," he drawled out, breathing heavily admiring Buffy's now clothed body.

"Fine," Buffy hissed, turned around and stalked out of his crypt.

Episode 30

"What are we looking at?" Angel asked, looking over the shoulders of most of the group.

Everybody jumped around, and Fred exclaimed, "Don't do that!"

"Darla took off," Wesley told Angel and Faith. "I'm guessing it's hormones."

"Where the hell have you been? Five minutes, remember?" Gunn demanded in frustration.

"Some dude named Holtz and a couple of pet demons detained us," Faith explained, pointing over her shoulder. "Apparently Angelus wronged him or something, so Angel didn't want to kick his ass."

"Holtz!?" Wesley asked in shock. "Vampire hunter of the seventeen hundreds whose family you and Darla killed?"

Angel nodded. "And he's still human."

"You certain it wasn't his great, great grandson, or something?" Gunn asked.

"No, it was him," Angel added with a grim look.

"Oh, this is so not good," Fred muttered shakily. "We've got a crazed, pregnant, hormonal vampire on one side, and a crazed, vengeful hormonal vampire hunter on the other. Can things . . ."

"Don't say it!" the whole group interrupted her in choir.

"Oh, right. Sorry," Fred told them sheepishly.

Wesley looked at Faith and Angel, and asked, "You have the scrolls?"

"Oh, right," Faith answered and pulled the crumpled papers from inside her jacket and handed it over. "Here."

Wesley took them and looked at her in shock, "You crumpled ancient Nyazean scrolls?"

"I was in hurry, ok? Demons and crazed vampire hunter, remember?" Faith defended herself.

"We need a safe house," Gunn observed. The group looked at each other.

"Caritas?" Cordelia suggested with an unsure crunched up face. The others nodded having no real answer.

"I'll go find Darla," Angel told them, ready to climb up the building.

"No," Faith interrupted him quickly. "I can find her much quicker. There are only two beings in the city with a demon and a soul, and one is standing right here. I'll meet you at Caritas."

"You sure? What about half-demons?" Wesley questioned.

"Emphasis on 'half', Wes," Faith replied with a smile. The group nodded their agreement, and Faith blasted off with a smile.


Somewhere below, Holtz and Sahjhan returned to the demon's lair. "Why didn't you tell me Angelus had a soul?"

"Because it doesn't matter!" Sahjhan complained.

Holtz walked over to a pillar and growled, "It matters everything!"

"This is why I didn't tell you, so you won't have the moral ambiguity. He's still the same guy that killed your family. So he's got a soul, big whoop!" Sahjhan complained, walking around animatedly. "So did Atilla the Hun. Didn't make him any less of a killer and a destroyer."

"No, he's different," Holtz told him thoughtfully.

"He's still a vampire!" Sahjhan complained. Holtz looked at him. "Angelus not Attilla," the demon clarified. "The soul doesn't change that."

"You had me hunting the wrong prey!" Holtz told him with force.

Slightly confused Sahjhan asked, "This isn't about pesky ethical considerations?"

"No!" Holtz told him forcibly. "The restoration of his soul makes his destruction only more just."

Sahjhan pondered the conversation, and finally understood, "Oh, I see, because Angelus with a soul is a slightly different animal than an Angelus without one."

"Exactly," Holtz told him pondering things over. "What about the Slayer?"

"Oh, her, well . . . I didn't know about her actually, she's a surprise to me as well," Sahjhan retorted thinking things over and added. "Last time I checked she was supposed to be in jail."

"Is there anything else you've neglected to mention?" Holtz growled at the demon.

Sahjhan looked innocent, genuinely pondering the question, "No, no I don't think I have."


At Wolfram & Hart Lilah had just called up a translator and dumped him in her office, giving him the section of the scroll she had found at the Hyperion.

"A Nyazean scroll," the man said with reverence. "Have you any idea how much they're worth?"

"Hopefully enough to cover my ass," Lilah told him. She handed him a notebook. "This is the only notebook I could find. I've highlighted what they were working on."

"You've highlighted a Nyazean scroll?" the man, wearing delicate protective gloves asked.

"In yellow," Lilah clarified. "Can you tell what it says?"

The man's eyes widened in shock then went over the text with a magnifying glass. "Ah, something about a birth," he told Lilah reading.

"What about the birth?" Lilah asked very interested.

The man looked up and smiled, "That's not clear."

"Well, make it clear," Lilah ordered him, then turned around and started walking away.

The man smiled, saying, "This should be fun."

Lilah halted, and turned around. "No, what it should be, is done by morning . . . or I'll have your family killed." As the man swallowed his fear, Lilah walked out her office.


*Bingo,* Faith thought, as she saw Darla driving. Moments later she landed in the passenger seat, and asked, "Nice night for a drive, huh?"

Darla swung her head to regard Faith in startlement. The car swerved. Darla quickly looked back at the road, bringing the car back under control. "Don't do that!" she hissed at Faith.

Faith chuckled. "So, why the sudden need to flee."

Darla looked at her for a moment, then looked back at the road. "What do you care?"

"The kid that's growing in your belly," Faith answered casually. On a rare occasion another car drove by.

Darla snorted and told the Slayer, "I'm so flattered." Faith looked at her, a penetrating stare, staying silent. Darla started tearing up, "I love it, I've never loved anything in my life as much as this."

Faith raised her eyebrows and said, "Can vampires even feel love? True love?"

Darla shook her head, crying. "It's the soul, its soul, his soul. I don't want to give birth to it." Faith looked at the blonde vampiress in surprise, looking questioningly. "The moment it comes out, I won't love him anymore. I won't even be able to remember it, and I want to remember." Darla seemed to break down, crying almost uncontrollably. Faith grabbed the wheel of the car and kept it from crashing into the building to the right.

"You might want to pay attention to the road," Faith told the blonde calmly. "I can probably protect us from harm if we crash, but Angel is going to kill you when he sees what's left of the car."

Darla took the wheel again, paying attention to the road, still crying. She nodded, remembering Faith's words. "Kill me."

"What?" Faith asked.

"After I give birth," Darla explained, looking at Faith. "Kill me. The moment that kid comes out I will try to kill him. Don't give me that chance. Promise me you kill me."

"No problem, promised," Faith said to Darla with a smile. "I wasn't going to let you live any longer anyway." Darla looked away, her lower lip quivering. "Listen, do you think you can drive to Caritas without crashing, or do you want me to take over."

"That shoouldn't- oah!" Darla suddenly groaned out in pain. Faith grabbed the wheel again.

"Contraction?" Faith asked concerned.

Darla shook her head. "No, don't know what, but this is something else. It hurts. I think it's better you drive."

"Ok, put the car aside," Faith told her.

They switched positions a minute later and Faith started driving. A moment later the car stooped and almost shut off. Faith smiled nervously at Darla, and drove on. She swerved, and the car stooped again as Faith tried to shift the gear, which groaned in protest. Darla caught herself before banging her head in the dashboard, and she blurted out, "What the hell are you trying to do? Kill me?"

"No," Faith answered sheepishly. "I've been having driver's ed in an automatic. I get manual transmission two weeks from now. Kind of have the philosophy; learn not to drive over people before adding stick shift." Faith saw Darla's incredulous look. "Don't have my license yet."

Darla groaned. "I can't believe this, I drive and my stomach will kill me, or you drive and I will lose my stomach just before I die."

"You know, it's funny, with all the practice driving stick all these years, I would have expected to be better at this," Faith half joked, the car lurched again, and trying to get the car probably in gear she swerved lightly.

"What are you talking about?" Darla asked in confusion, and then clutching her stomach again as another pain attacked her.

Faith pointed at the bloated belly, and clarified, "What got you into that."

Darla observed Faith for a few moments, and then to her horror she heard herself mutter, "God, help me."


"This is hardly a place to have a baby," Lorne complained, and he gestured around the club, filled with people working. "I'm hard at work for the grand re-opening. If all goes well, and this guy here hurries up, I'll have the non-violence spell for both humans and demons up and running soon."

"Sorry about that, Lorne," the contractor explained. His skin seemed as if it had been burned earlier on. He was tubby and wore a cap. "But this interspecies flux is trickier than I thought." He went down and started humming an upbeat tune as he continued his work.

Angel asked him, "Are you telling me, that she can't have her baby here, and the child will just have to be born on the streets, were every assassin, religious freak, and demon can get at him?"

"No of course not, Caritas will always be a sanctuary. She can come here," Lorne said and then turned around. "And exactly which connection are you keeping unconnected in order to stifle me?"

The demon worker stood up and asked, "What?"

"You hum while you work pal, I just read you," Lorne explained.

"Are you calling me a swindler?" the demon asked half-angry, half-confused.

"No, I'm firing you, and give me that!" Lorne exclaimed, grissing the manual from the demon's hands. "I'll finish this myself, how hard can this be?"


Lorne made another adjusted to the system and asked. "How about now?"

Fred gave Gunn a soft slap in the face which connected. "Nope," Fred answered.

Faith entered then, supporting Darla on her shoulders. "Guys," she called.

Angel sped to them and took Darla off Faith's hands. "Where to?" he asked to no one in particular.

"Put her in the bedroom, over there," Lorne pointed and continued with adjusting his security system.

Angel nodded and carried Darla the room Lorne had indicated. Wesley came from behind the counter and asked Faith, "How far are the contractions apart?"

"Don't know; she hasn't had any," Faith answered him quickly, placing herself in a chair. "She's got something else though. Some form of pain in her womb, something pervasive."

"How about now?" Lorne called out.

Cordelia give Gunn a light wack over the back of the head, and it connected. "Uh, Lorne," Faith told him. "No offense but, you are aware that if I find demons in here again, I #will# kill them again, right?"

Lorne snorted. "You can try, but once this baby is running you won't be able to harm a fly."

Faith smiled at him. "I train in 70 gs, I'm the mystical Chosen One, you really think I can't overpower a little spell like this?" Lorne looked annoyed at her.

"I've taken another look at the scroll," Wesley announced interrupted the forming spat. "This Troklon thing that's coming, or came, or has started, or . . . whatever, isn't a thing, or an event, or a being at all. It's a mystical convergence of several events."

"Damn, I was looking forward to kicking some Troklon ass," Faith spoke disappointed. "Well, bring it on I say, perhaps there are a load of some other demons' assess to kick."

"Uh, Faith, this will apparently bring upon the ruination of mankind," Wesley explained recently.

"Big deal," Faith answered, as she plopped herself on a chair. She put her feet on the table and balance on two chair legs. "Plenty of prophecies who said that the same thing in the past half decade. All of them stopped, by us, or Buffy, Xander and the gang in Sunnyhell. Besides, there's this prophecy that calls Xander, the Destroyer of Prophecies. Basically the moment he showed who he really was, all but a tiny few prophecies became null and void."

"Really?" Wesley asked intrigued.

"Oh, my," Fred said excited and afraid. "This makes perfect sense then. Angel's child is really some kind of Messiah. And Holtz just plays his own little piece of the puzzle. He kills the child before he's even born, and there goes mankind." The whole group looked at the babbling genius. "Or not, the child might be the big bad, and Holtz the big savior if he kills-" That's how far she came when Cordelia smacked her up the back of the head in order to stop her. Instead a blue energy field shimmered around Fred, but that stopped her in her tracks just as well.

"Hey!" Lorne called out enthusiastic. "I did it! It's on-line!" The group looked at him unenthusiastic; there was more important stuff to talk about. "Uh, yay me?" Lorne asked.


Meanwhile Angel placed Darla gently on the bed, and looked at the disheveled vampiress. "Aren't you going to tell me everything will be ok?"

"Everything will be ok," he answered.

Darla smiled, "You were a better liar without a soul."

"We'll do whatever is necessary," Angel insured.

Darla laughed without joy, and asked, "I'm a pathetic mother, aren't I? Look at me, can't even give my child life."

Wesley entered with a stethoscope, and answered, "Life you've already giving it, now it only has to stay alive."

"Semantics," Darla complained.

"May I?" Wesley asked raising the stethoscope.

Darla grinned, "By all means."


Down in Sahjhan's lair, the demon that Lorne just fired stood before Sahjhan and Holtz.

"You have found him?" Holtz growled.

"Yes," Sahjhan stated, and indicated the demon. "Tell him what you heard."

"I will get my reward? I have mouths to feed, and a family, some of them have mouths to," the demon with the cap asked.

"Yes, hurry up," Holtz ordered.

The demon's eyes glowed red and with Angel's voice, like a recording, he said, "Are you telling me, that she can't have her baby here, and the child will just have to be born on the streets, were every assassin, religious freak, and demon can get at him?"

Then the demon added in Lorn's voice, "No, of course not, Caritas will always be a sanctuary. She can come here."

"Let's go," Holtz said.


Lilah returned to her office and asked the translator, "What have you found about the birth?"

"Nothing," the translator answered.

"What!?" Lilah asked incredulously. "You said there was something about the birth."

"I did," he answered.

"You did?"

"But it doesn't," he added.

"I have a gun," Lilah threatened.

"Yes, the former translator had a problem here. Goshundi tenses are tricky little buggers. They-" he started explaining.

"I'm riveted, spill," Lilah told him dryly.

The translator smiled and explained, "This prophecy isn't so much a birth announcement, as it is an obituary," the translator answered her with a smile. "It says there will be no birth."

"Really?" Lilah asked intrigued.

The translator nodded, moved his magnifying glass to the scroll and read, "It says here, 'For surely at the time of the opening of the sky and the weeping of the heavens there will be no birth. Only death."

"Only death?" Lilah repeated a small smile creeping up her face.

"Only death," the man confirmed.


Angel and Wesley came back out of Darla's room and Wesley said, "Angel I think you should prepare for the worst. The child's heartbeat is weak and getting weaker. I just don't think Darla's body has what is necessary to bring a baby to term."

"No, we've got to find a way," Angel exclaimed. "It makes no sense. All this is a miracle, you don't get just half a miracle do you?"

"At this point I'd like to remind you," Faith entered the conversation. "That the Powers are bunch of evil bastards, and they would most certainly send only half a miracle if they wanted to. Now that I've reminded you, Lorne where the hell is the bathroom, I need to pee really badly. Lorne?"

"Oh, over there," Lorne pointed in the right direction, and Faith ran off with her right hand between her legs.

Everyone looked at the spectacle for a moment and then Gunn added, "How do we know this isn't the Powers? Perhaps the bastards finally get a conscience and make sure the destroyer of mankind doesn't get born."

"Or it's a messiah and just for the fun of it they're killing it," Cordelia added with a glum expression.

"We'll do everything we can to protect Darla and the baby," Angel announced with certainty. "We'll find a way to bring it onto this world, and we'll worry about the consequences and rectifying or avoiding them later . . ." For a moment Angel was silent, but remembered he wasn't in command anymore, and he added, "Agreed?"

Fred was the first to nod, and Wesley said, "Agreed."

"Ok, I'll be with Darla," Angel told them and returned to the room.

"Great," Fred muttered nervously looking around the room. "So now we're going to bring something impossible to life. Anyone have any ideas?"

They looked at each other and shrugged, then sat down in chairs and stared blankly thinking things over. "Well," Lorne said, getting up. "Everybody's drinking. I'm buying." Half-way to the bar someone came down the entrance stairs; it was Holtz. "Oh, hey," Lorne greeted him. "We're closed at the moment, tomorrow is the grant re-opening. Here, have a flyer." Lorne picked a flyer from the counter and gave it to Holtz.

Holtz looked at it, and said, "Thank you." He turned around and went back up the stairs humming a tune. Lorne went behind the counter and hummed along filling glasses with drinks. Suddenly he looked up, turned to group sitting glumly in his club, and said, "Run, get out of here, now."

"Huh, what is -" Cordelia started.

"Just go!" Lorne yelled and the whole group got into action. A metal ton came rolling down the stairs.

"Faith!" Fred called out concerned.

Wesley pushed her along, a hand grenade joined the ton. "She can handle herself," he told the frightened girl, just before the hand grenade went off and a giant explosion set the club ablaze.

They entered Darla's room and Angel asked concerned, "What happened? I thought this place was violence proof."

"It was, but it's got something to do with the outside world and the entrance," Lorne said hastily, waving it away, not enough time.

As Angel helped Darla up, and the group fanned out, Gunn explained, "Apparently you can chuck stuff in."

"That's what I said," Lorne complained.

Wesley told everyone, "We need a way out."

"In the back there's an old loading entrance way, I had it boarded up but it's still there," Lorne quickly told them.

Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn nodded, and joined at the place Lorne had indicated. Gunn kicked, and a big dent was made. Cordelia and Wesley followed his example.

"Who's outside?" Darla asked Angel.

"Holtz," he answered, Darla looked stricken at him. "He's still human."

"Oh, my god, Angel. What we did to him," Darla told him with pain written on her face. Gunn gave another kick and the boards bent inward, after which they started tearing them away freeing a big enough exit.

Angel nodded at her as he gently supported her and moved over to the growing hole. "I know, bad timing."

"No, perfect timing," Darla countered.

"Shit!" Faith exclaimed as she entered the room. "You can't even piss uninterrupted anymore. What's this world coming to?"

The group smiled at her quickly, and then Wesley pushed Fred through the finally big-enough opening, and then waved Darla and Angel over, "Come on, you two first." Darla and Angel obeyed and filed out, quickly followed by the rest of the group.

Outside rain came pouring down in bucket loads. Wesley said, "We need to get the car. Faith."

"Oh, right, follow me," Faith said and ran in the direction of where she had parked the car.

"You can handle it?" Wesley asked Angel.

"Go," Angel said, nodding. Wesley, Gunn and Fred followed Faith, leaving Cordelia, Darla and Angel to slowly move along.

Darla groaned out in pain, "Oh, shit! Angel, I can't go on."

"Yes, you can," Angel urged her on.

She groaned again, and replied, "No, I can't. Put me down." Angel obeyed and gently lowered her to the street.

"I can't do this, Angel, I'm not equipped for it," Darla told her with a hoarse voice.

"We'll find a way," Angel soothed her anxiously, they really didn't have time for this.

Darla shook her head. "Angel, this child is the one good thing we ever did together. It's the only good thing." Angel nodded, agreeing with her, holding her left hand. Darla looked up and found what she needed. She grabbed it with her right hand, and said, "You be sure to tell him that." She moved her left hand over, the wood pierced her heart and she turned to dust, leaving an unharmed crying baby lying in the drenched street.

Carefully Angel picked it up, as Cordelia presented him with a blanked that he wrapped the baby into. At both exits of the alley Sahjhan's demon minions appeared, and Holtz himself came out of Caritas the same way the Angel Team had come outside. He had a crossbow aimed at Angel, who got up, holding the baby. Holtz looked, silent, remembering the demon's words earlier about having a baby. Now there was a baby but no mother. Things clicked, Darla had been the mother. The car, now with the hood up arrived at one side of the alley. Angel and Holtz looked at each other, and slowly he lowered the crossbow.

Angel nodded his thanks and she and Cordelia walked over to the car, Holtz followed them with his eyes. Sahjhan appeared behind Holtz and raved, "Now, do it, this is the perfect opportunity." Holtz just looked. "Come on, kill him now! You can't let them go now, not after what you swore to me!"

"I swore, I would show no mercy," Holtz told Sahjan, watching the car drive away. "And I won't."


Some time later, back in Sahjhan's lair, the demon was tirading away, while Holtz calmly listened, and the demons were sipping from the sodas that came with their fast food menus. "I cannot believe you! You swore to me you would show no mercy! You constantly talk about carnage and mayhem, but I haven't seen bubkes!"

"You didn't tell me Darla was pregnant," Holtz told him.

"That didn't matter," Sahjhan answered.

"She sacrificed herself to save the baby," Holtz stated.

"Yeah, which is one thing you should have been done," Sahjhan told him angrily.

Holtz looked at Sahjhan and said, "Darla got off easy, Angelus's death will be much more painful."

Sahjhan looked a him and asked, "Tell me have you forgotten how to kill a vampire? Let me remind you, it's a classic; a stake through the heart and poof."

"Step one is to get rid of these minions," Holtz told Sahjhan intensely.

"No, step one is poof. What don't you get about that?" Sahjhan asked in disbelief.

"They are a bunch of mercenaries, they kill for the highest bidder, that does not an army of vengeance make," Holtz explained calmly as one demon started choking.

"Quick, do the Heimlich," Sahjhan said panicking. "My hands will pass straight through them in this dimension."

"No, I need an army of people who believe in the cause, who fight because they believe it's right," Holtz calmly explained as the other demons started choking as well. "I need people willing to die for the cause." One demon who hadn't drunken from his soda yet attacked Holtz in the back, enraged. Holtz calmly stabbed backward with a long knife, just short of a sword, and it fell back and died. "Like him."

"What did you do?" Sahjhan asked stupefied.

Holtz walked over to the table, which held the computer, answering, "I poisoned their drinks."

"Oh, great," Sahjhan said in disbelief. "Apparently step one is to kill my very expensive demon assasins."

"This thing can find information, right?" Holtz asked calmly.

Sighing in resignation, Sahjhan walked over to the computer and turned it on with a wave of his hand. "Yes, you won't believe the speed of my connection."


The gang returned to Hyperion and looked around in shock. "Holy shit," Gunn exclaimed. "I know we kept pretty clean, but this is nuts." Everyone looked around in shock, the floors blinked, the cushions seemed steam cleaned, if they weren't new. There was nothing left of the damage done during Wolfram & Hart's, and Holtz' attacks.

Fred tried out the circular couch in the middle. "Bouncy. Is this new?"

"I wouldn't be surprised," Wesley commented looking around the squeaky clean lobby. "Wolfram & Hart must have cleaned up all the evidence."

"We should invite them to do some crime here more often, we'll save cleaning bills," Cordelia commented with a grin. Faith took a short running start, stopped walking and slid across the perfectly clean floor. She turned to the others and grinned, arms out stretched as if presenting herself.

Fred quickly mimicked Faith, and once coming to a stop she said, "I always loved doing that when I was a kid." Faith grinned back at Fred as the rest of the team slowly walked into the lobby and started examining things.

"Start checking if they took anything," Wesley told them, going through the papers on the main counter.

"Heads up," Faith warned everyone looking back at the door. The doors flung open and a horned demon entered growling. As it headed for Angel a second came crashing through the new window. Faith blasted a hole in the chest of the first, while Gunn smashed the second's knee, before snapping its neck."That's all of them, for now," Faith said.

"Shit, it still isn't over is it?" Fred asked both annoyed and fearful.

"No, Angel's son is part of the prophecy, anyone in the world who can will come for it," Wesley replied looking at the dead demons. "We should make a list."

"Oh, hey, guys," Lorne announced as he entered the lobby. He put away an umbrella, and placed two suitcases down on either side of him. Everyone but Faith turned to him startled, ready to fight. "Hey, calm down." Lorne noticed the dead demons and frowned, "I can see why you're jumpy. I take it dead demon isn't a new decorating theme."

"Why are you here, Lorne?" Wesley asked with curiosity.

"I'm taking a room at casa del Angel of course," Lorne told everyone. They looked at him. "Hey, you blew up Caritas twice, so I thought it only fair. It helps to know there are two lovely ladies sleeping on the same floor as I, so any preference or can I just pick a room?"

"Sure, pick one, Lorne," Angel told him.

"As long as it isn't mine," Fred quickly interjected.

"Or mine," Faith added.

"Dang," Lorne said playfully, dumping the suitcases with the chair. "And here I was hoping for snuggles." He made a beeline for Angel and the baby, and cooed, "Ooh, such a cute baby. You're such a beautiful baby, aren't you? Could I hold him for a moment, Angel?" Angel shielded the baby from Lorne. "I'm sensing a mama-bear vibe," Lorne told the others with a light frown.

"Hey, he's been like that all the way here," Cordelia complained. "We're still waiting for our first turn to hold the baby."

"Guys," Faith announced, yawning widely. "It's what? Four o'clock in the middle of the night, and I've got school early in the morning. So good night."

"Good night, Faith," they greeted her as she went up the stairs.

As Faith went up the stairs she told them, "You guys are so damn lucky a Slayer doesn't need that much sleep, or you'd get an inspection to find out why I fall asleep in class all the time."


It was still dark as Holtz saw the young woman with light red hair, step out of the building, lighting up a cigarette. He looked at the print out, and the photo on it, it was the same woman. He followed her calmly, left, right, through a small maze of an alleyway. He looked down, noticing a cigarette, and then turned around, grabbing the fist with his left hand. "You know that punch could have been quicker, with less to drink," he told the young woman.

"Yeah, well, it's kind of a trade off, with less to drink, this would hurt more," she said, and gave him a head but. He twisted her aside, and she dropped to her ass.

"You stick to the shadows," he told her.

"I'm not much of a day person," she told him picking up a piece of wood and getting up.

He said, "I'm not here to fight."

"Your bad luck," she said, and swung the wood. He tilted backward, and her swing went wide. He grabbed her, and pushed her up against a wall.

"I know your in pain, I know what it's like to grieve," he told her with his low voice.

She touched his goatee with her right index finger and said, "Nice goatee. Rounds out the whole creepy stalker look. I'll be moving on now." She turned away and started to leave.

"Justine," he called out. "I'm not done yet."

Justine froze, turned around, and asked, "How do you know my name?"

"I know everything," he answered calmly. "You live at 7221 Spaulding, you sleep all day, stay out all night. Started doing that six months ago when your sister died, you were twins." He held up the printout. "Only it wasn't a mugging, was it? Major blood loss, two unidentifiable neck wounds?"

"So?" she asked disbelieving.

"My name is Holtz, I want to help you," Holtz told her.

She gave him a wry smile and said, "I tell you what I want; I want you to stay the hell away from me." Then she turned around and walked away.


Fifteen minutes later Holtz watched her fight a vampire. The two traded blows, most she avoided, until it got in a lucky shot and she fell back from the swing. Holtz grabbed her, and held her up. "Didn't I tell you to stay away from me?" Justine asked.

"You did," he said, and threw her back into the fight. The vampire and her fought. She hit it, and it stumbled back. She pulled out a stake and went for it, but the vampire managed to get it out of her hand, and throw her to the floor. He landed on top her, went for her neck, and then burst into dust. Justine looked up Holtz who held out a hand.

She grabbed it, let herself be pulled up, and she asked, "Why did you wait so long?"

"I wanted to see if you could win," Holtz answered.

"I always win. If you hadn't distracted me, I would have won," she replied circling around him.

"Your problem wasn't me," he told her calmly.

"I supposed you're going to tell me what is," she replied.

Holtz smiled slightly, saying, "You fight with passion, you lack strategy. Your passion would have lost you the fight."

"So now you're going to tell me all about passion?" Justine asked warily.

He stepped closer, putting the stake on her chest, "No, I'm going to teach you how to fight."

Justine chuckled, as she backed up, while Holtz stepped forward, "Oh, I know. That whole Mr. Myagi bullshit. Wax on, wax off?"

Holtz stopped walking and answered, "You'll find that modern cultural references tend to be lost on me."

"There's a shocker," she retorted. "Why do you want to help me?"

"I need your help to kill a vampire," Holtz answered her.

She looked suspiciously at him, saying, "You don't need me to kill a vampire."

"I do," he returned. "This is a strong vampire."

"Why me?"

Holtz smiled a sinister smile, "I've seen you fight, I've seen your hate. I can turn you into a instrument of vengeance."

"Sounds like fun," she told him.

"It won't be," he stated, handing her the stake back. He turned around, and walked away. She followed him.

Episode 31
Very Bad Things

Early in the morning Xander arrived at the Summers residence. Dawn was in the garden doing some warm up exercises. She wore tights, over it high-cut, work-out panties, and a tight tank top, showing off her breasts that were already quite a sight, and would undoubtedly grow in the next few months into perfection. For a moment a few images flashed through Xander's mind. *Bad thoughts, bad Xander,* he admonished himself. *You've a fiance you love very much, who's just as hot, and an ex-vengeance demon, she and Buffy will find a way to make you suffer, Xander. Don't think about it. Then again, Anya might want to join in. Agh, no! There's still Buffy.*

"Hey, Dawn," Xander greeted the teen. She greeted him, flashed him a smile, and continued her warm-up exercises. Xander admired her form, both her physical as her routine.

"So, is Buffy calmed down some?" Xander asked with a smile.

"I think so, a good night's rest has its uses," Dawn answered with a smile.

Xander grinned and said, "I'm really going to have come up with a new nick name for you."

"Oh?" Dawn asked, as she stopped her routine and shook herself loose.

"Yeah, you're both physically as well as mentally growing up fast. You're no Dawnie anymore, anyone who observes you can tell you that," Xander told her with a smile.

"Can I help pick one?" Dawn answered him with a smile.

Xander smiled back, and told, "You run the risk I'll use the one you hate most."

"Ok, I'll keep out of that process than," Dawn answered him with a disgusted face.

"Let's go train," Xander grinned.


Dawn, Xander and Buffy entered the Gravity Gym. Xander wasn't in an altogether, good mood now that he was with Buffy. Not even his banter with Dawn had helped with that. "Listen," he told Buffy, doing a few stretching exercises, "I'm sorry about what I said about Riley. That was low." Dawn gave him an unseen grin, she hoped Buffy took the apology.

"What about the rest?" Buffy asked him sullenly, completely disbelieving what she had done with Spike that night.

"The rest stands, it's the cold hard truth," Xander told her, stopping his warp up.

Buffy looked at him, the pain easily visible in her eyes. "Oh . . . well, I'm sorry about calling Anya a slut, dragging her into it wasn't right. I was just so angry."

"Apology accepted, Buff. Shall we?" Xander gestured to the mat. Buffy nodded and walked ahead. Xander gave Dawn a nod and a smile, which she returned eagerly. The younger Summers went to an adjacent mat and started her routine.

"All right, Buffy," Xander told the blonde Slayer as the force field came to light around them and the gravity came on line. "It's time to take this to the next level." Xander transformed into the Super Saiyan. "Now we're going to fight."

"But Xander," Buffy said stricken. "How can I fight you like this?"

"That's something you're going to have to figure out," Xander told her, and smashed a fist in her face sending her careening backward until she crashed into the force field.

Buffy touched her upper lip with her left fingers, and felt a sharp pain. She raised her fingers and saw blood on it. She saw Xander slowly walked toward her, and realized just how terrifying a Super Saiyan was when he wasn't on your side. Buffy got up, got into an uncertain fight stance and spoke, "But Xander, I can never fight you when you're like this! This isn't fair."

"Life isn't fair," Xander told her before speeding forward, avoiding a half-hearted punch and kicked Buffy in her gut, sending her into the force field to the right. "So just do it. Don't think about what you can or cannot do, just do it, fight me."

This continued for five minutes, Xander casually beating up Buffy. "Faster!" he urged her on, avoiding a punch and sending her flying with a backhanded one. "Come on! Faster, Buffy!" Xander yelled at her again, as he kicked her in her stomach, bruising her ribs and making her fly back. Xander stopped and sighed, looking at the beat up body of Buffy Summers.

She got up slowly, and accused him, "Fuck, how do you expect me to fight when you're like that? You're just punishing me for last night."

Xander shook his head, powering down. He lowered the force field, before saying, "Everything has to be about you, doesn't it, Buffy? Well, sorry, but I would do the same thing to you if we didn't fight last night. This is about the training, you need to get stronger. You're barely at the speed you were last time. Remember? You forced me to go Super. Go train on your own, talk to me when stop taking it easy."

Xander passed through the force field of Dawn's training area and smiled at the girl doing heavy training. "Hey, Dawn. Wanna train with me?" Xander asked.

"Yeah!" Dawn said enthusiastically.


Almost an hour later they were finished with their training. The three of them were ready to leave the Gravity Gym, when Buffy forced herself over her present dislike of Xander, and her own mental grinding. "Xander," she called. Xander turned to her questioningly. "They - whoever they are - tried something again last night," she told him.

Xander looked at her expectantly. "What did they do?"

"They killed someone, a girl, don't know who she is," Buffy told him, her jaws clenching shut, her mind grinding over the night's events, all of them. "Some demons attacked me, blue robes, heavily wrinkled angular faces, and time went all screwy. They are gone, I blew 'em up, but didn't vaporize them, it was as if they disappeared or were never there. The girl touched me, I thought she was a demon. I kicked her and she was dead. When I checked her out, I tried CPR, I realized she had no chi when she touched me. She was already dead. They tried to make me think I killed the girl, that I turn myself in with the cops or something."

"You didn't examine the girl further?" Xander asked thoughtfully.

Buffy shook her head. "I was too preoccupied to think about that. Between Riley returning, our fight, and for a moment thinking I killed a girl . . ." Buffy didn't bother to explain further. "Anyway I called the cops, told them I found a body, and where they could find it and continued my patrol."

Xander thought for a moment, and then said, "I'll ask Anya to check the demonologies at the Magic Box, you ask Willow to hack into the police records to find out what they found out about the girl."

Buffy nodded solemnly. "There was another thing. I didn't sense anyone nearby. That either means they were nowhere close, or they found away to mask their life force."

Xander nodded, "Now that's intriguing." Thinking it over for a moment, and coming up with nothing, Xander nodded and gestured to the exit. They left the gym, and Buffy went straight to her room, not very happy. This left Dawn to wave Xander goodbye on his way back home. Out on the lawn, Dawn laughed at one of Xander's jokes, before greeting him goodbye.

About ready to leave, Xander looked at Dawn for a moment taking in the blossoming girl with a smile. Observing her for a few moments really. Suddenly something clicked and he snapped his fingers. Dawn looked surprised at him. Xander asked Dawn, "Let me bounce something off of you, Dawn." Dawn perked up, paying attention. "You're a group of evil geniuses, you are always one step ahead of your opponents. You destroy all the evidence you leave, you bring forth a monster at the right time for us to be close by enough to stop it, but too far away to stop you from making a retreat, you set up an elaborate trap to make Buffy think she killed a girl, whether it failed or if it still was just a test is another matter, but you do it at the right time and place, apparently near enough no one else found the body first. You also know we can detect your life force and find you through it, so you mask it. What do you think, a little too much information?"

Dawn's eyes had widened during Xander question, "Unless I was constantly observing us, or Buffy, they seem to be focusing on her."

Xander smiled, pointing at her. "My thoughts exactly," he told her and the two of them bent over and started looking around the garden, into the bushes and underneath them.

After two minutes, of searching around the garden, Dawn called out, "Bingo!" Xander grinned quickly went over to her, picking the small white bulb that was a camera from her hand palm.

Xander grinned, then said, "Perfect, now we hook it up to a computer, do ourselves some hacking, and trace the signal all the way back to them."


The alarm blared through the trio's lair. "Mommy, it's so early, let me sleep," Andrew murmured, his head pushed into his pillow.

Jonathan woke up and yelled sleepily, "We just did a diamond heist in the middle of the night. Who was the smart Alec that set the alarm clock this early?"

Warren woke up as well, looking around. "Fuck! That ain't an alarm clock, that's an alarm, period!" He got up quickly, Jonathan set bolt upright at that announcement. Andrew just kept murmuring in his sleep. The two awake members of the trio ran to their control panel and sat down. Warren turned of the blaring sound, and pushed the red blinking button. One of the screens now showed Xander's grinning face, and the picture swayed as if the camera laid on a moving surface. "He's found one, he'll look for the others. Destroy them all!" Warren ordered Jonathan.

"Right!" Jonathan said, opened a drawer and pulled out a box. He opened it revealing a big red button with no discernable computer connection: it was a magical self destruct button. Jonathan pushed the button.


With a flash and a wisp of smoke the camera burned out. Another flash and wisp of smoke happened at the same time in the garden, and unseen, but felt another two occurred in the garden at the back of the house. "AH, SHIT!" Xander cursed out loud.

Dawn looked annoyed and angry. "You think they were watching?"

"At this hour, more like it was touch or motion sensitive. Fuck, these bastards are good," Xander said out loud. "Dang it, back to square one. These guys really enjoy leaving no evidence."

"Yeah," Dawn said disappointed.

"Well, see you later, Dawn," Xander told her with a smile and jogged off toward home. He needed to get home to shower, change, have breakfast and then get to work.

Dawn smiled after him, and then turned around and went into the house. She quickly ran up the stairs so she could get to the shower. Afterwards she went to her room to put on clothes for school. She sighed as she slowly got herself ready. Strangely she felt rather happy. Things weren't exactly peachy, but for herself she felt things were going pretty well. Xander had said he had talked to Willow, so she didn't have to fear her, did she? And Xander and Buffy would come around as well, they always had in the past. In fact, she wouldn't be surprised if Buffy decided to work on her less desirable traits, now that Xander told her he didn't like her. Yes, in Dawn's mind she already pictured the two three months from now, happily sitting together and Xander telling Buffy he liked her again.

When she smelled a delicious breakfast cooking downstairs, she had no idea something that smelled so good, could make happiness come crashing down so quickly. Several minutes later she came walking down the stairs. She went into the living room to the right, turned to the back of the house and looked into the kitchen, where she saw light whirling around. Slowly Dawn walked over to the kitchen, fear creeping up her body. Once she had a better view of the kitchen, her jaw dropped in horror, terror coiling around her heart. There was Willow, casually cooking breakfast with magic. There was a stack of pancakes, bread on the other side, baked bacon and eggs, and from what Dawn could tell there was hardly any real baking involved. The small television in the kitchen was on, reporting on a theft of a diamond from the Sunnydale Museum, and a frozen guard, but Willow was too in her magical cooking to notice, and Dawn was too much paying fearful attention to Willow's use of magic.

Whatever Xander had talked about with Willow, it obviously hadn't worked. The casual disregard for the power that Willow was using scared Dawn to death. But the smell, oh the smell. It was mouth watering, Dawn's fear receded, mostly. Somewhere in the back of Dawn's mind she realized Willow must have magically jacked up the smell and taste of the delicious food in front of her. That sent her fear upward again, but it was nowhere near high enough to keep away from the food. She slowly walked toward the stack of pancakes. She saw three plates and three sets of utensils standing next to the stack. Grinning Dawn reached out for the top pancake. Just before she reached it, she jerked her hand back and gave a short scream of pain. She held her hand and looked at the red welt on the back of her hand between index finger and thumb, rapidly growing redder, and the burning pain increasing.

"Wait till your sister gets here so we can eat together," Willow told her with a light, angry tone.

Dawn looked up, watching the light-encased Witch, as she completed the last of the breakfast feast. Willow had hurt her, probably with some for of magical, energy whip. Whatever interest she had in the food was gone, terror gripped her now. Tara had been right, Willow had was about to go off the deep end, if she hadn't gone off it already.

Slowly the smells regained their grip on Dawn, but not the magical super control it had earlier, just a healthy need for breakfast. Dawn sat down on a stool and watched Willow do the same calmly waiting for Buffy. Willow seemed so deceptively nice, sitting there, waiting. "So, got any interesting subjects in school today, Dawn?" Willow asked like nothing was the matter.

"Uh, n-not really?" Dawn managed looking at the newly formed stranger, her mouth watering at the breakfast. Her stomach growled, urging her to fill the energy she lost during the training.

Finally, thankfully, Buffy walked into the kitchen. "Good morning, Buffy," Willow greeted with a smile, and Dawn hastily grabbed a pancake and started smearing it with bilberry jam. Buffy didn't acknowledge Willow, she just looked across the table without interest and then opened a cabinet, grabbed bread and started making herself lunch.

"Hey, I made breakfast," Willow said with a pout. Dawn quickly gobbled up the pancake at the same time.

"I'm not hungry," Buffy said flatly, rapidly preparing her bread, using her super speed carefully.

Willow looked incredulously at the Slayer and said, angrily, "Are you telling me I made all this for nothing?"

Buffy shrugged. "Dawn seems to like it." She completed the lunch and dumped it in a paper bag and started to walk toward the door.

"Buffy!" Willow told her angrily. "I put all this effort into this, and you won't even show me the courtesy of at least eating one thing!"

Buffy turned around, and continued on her way backward while she said, "Why should I? It isn't as if you like me or anything!"

"Of course I like you," Willow answered dumbfounded.

"Yeah," Dawn tried to inject with some fear. Willow's anger level grew by the moment, she could tell. "Just because . . ."

"Oh, shut up, Dawn!" Buffy yelled at her little sister. "You don't start, you think I need to be protected from my ex by you, my little sister. Well, this useless unlikeable bitch is off to class. Bye, bye!" Buffy turned around and sped up, moments later she slammed the front door behind her.

Dawn couldn't believe it, apparently she had been dead wrong about Buffy working on her likeability. Willow screamed out then. She turned around facing her breakfast, and Dawn. Dawn saw Willow's black angry eyes. The witch pointed her hand, and black ball of energy ball formed and the breakfast started to be sucked in. At the same time Willow snarled out, "UNGRATEFUL BITCH!"

"Hey," Dawn said fearfully, her growling stomach forcing her to speak up. "I've only had one pancake and have no lunch yet."

"Make it yourself," Willow spat at her and stalked out the back door, muttering to herself.

Once Willow was gone, fear really started to grip Dawn then. "Oh, my god," Dawn whispered, this was going to get bad real quick. Moments later the horn of Anya and Xander's car alerted her. She swallowed her fear and got up. Grabbing her bag and coat she went outside. Closed and locked the door behind her and then quickly ran to the car.

Once she was inside, and had the door closed, she greeted, "Hey, Anya. Could you lend me money for breakfast and lunch?"

Anya blinked, put the gas pedal down and pulled away from the curb. "Sure," Anya said with wide eyes. "Remind me when we get to your school. What happened?"

"I'm not sure," Dawn said, putting all her effort in controlling the quivering of her lip. "But it isn't good."


At lunchtime Buffy walked aimlessly through Sunnydale. She had just finished two classes. It had taken her every ounce of self control to pay attention. Now that classes were over the doubts, self-hatred, and all her other issues were burning through her mind.

Thus deep in thought she walked past an alley and saw some light flicker in the corner of her left eye. Purely on reflex she turned around and flung her right hand up, smashing the energy beam up and into space, where it disappeared. She looked at Warren, Jonathan and Andrew standing there, holding onto a large gun that they seemed to have been struggling with. "What the hell are you doing? Have you lost your minds? That's dangerous," Buffy told them angrily, too entrenched in her belief the three nerds couldn't possibly be a threat, and too pre-occupied with her own personal problems to be able to put two and two together . . . ok, she probably could, but she'd come up with three.

"Uh, well," Jonathan started nervously. "We were doing this physics experiment for college, and, uh . . ."

"Well, be more careful next time," Buffy admonished them, and continued onward.

The geeks waited for a few moments before quickly turning around and walking away. They rounded a corner, quickly got into their van, and sighed a collective sigh of relief. "Oh, my god, that was too close for comfort!" Andrew exclaimed.

"Did you guys see that? She just swatted the beam aside," Jonathan exclaimed shocked.

Warren nodded, then looked at his compatriots with a smile and said, "She is #sooo# stupid!"

"But why didn't she turn invisible?" Andrew asked still wide-eyed with relief. "It worked on the apple didn't it? Does it only work on apples?"

"Unless . . . the beam didn't actually touch her, she did swat it aside," Jonathan theorized.

Warren looked from Jonathan to Andrew with just his eyes and said, "Only one way to find out." He pointed the gun at Andrew and fired.

Andrew yelped, and shouted, "What did you do that for?"

"Look at your hands, Andrew," Warren told him with a grin. Andrew did, and saw no hands. "Guys, we really can turn ourselves invisible."


Buffy opened the crypt door, and looked at Spike putting on his leather duster. Buffy hesitated, she shouldn't be doing this, she really shouldn't. Spike was evil, through and through.

"Oh, hey, pet," Spike told her. He casually lighted a cigarette. "Had fun last night? Need more? I was just about to go work out in the gym, but I can put it on hold if you want."

That fucking bastard. Buffy walked up to him, and slugged him in the face, sending him flying through the crypt, screaming in pain. He once again landed in the broken night stand. The scream awoke Harmony and Maxine and they looked stricken at the return of the blonde Slayer. The cigarette had dropped from Spike's mouth and was lying on the floor. Buffy squished it with her foot before stalking over to Spike's form. The vampire grinned at her. "Well, it seems you do, luv? Need me that badly huh?"

Buffy narrowed her eyes at him, when she reached the bed. She casually looked to her right, then to her left noticing Harmony and Maxine. Suddenly a dark thought crossed her mind. She looked back to her right and the chains that hung from the wall. "Spike?" Buffy asked sweetly. "Those chains wouldn't happen to be magically enhance would they? Wanted to keep super powered beings locked up. I remember you had me chained when Drusilla was here, I couldn't break those."

Spike looked at her but didn't answer. Buffy looked at Harmony with a questioning look. Harmony nodded hastily. "Magically enhanced," she confirmed. Buffy smiled slyly at Spike and advanced on him. She grinned, and Spike was starting to worry. Buffy grabbed him, pulled him along and quickly chained him to the wall. She tested the chains then, and felt them stretch lightly under her strength. Xander would snap them like twigs, she could free herself from them, but Spike was still very much locked in place. Buffy grinned and turned around, walking over to the bed and the two females, sliding the keys to the chains in the pocket of her pants.

Buffy climbed on top of the bed, to the consternation of two now frightened females. Buffy looked over at Spike looking in disbelief at her. "Isn't this what all men like to see, Spike?" Buffy purred.

"Y-you're not a lesbian, or bi," Spike blurted out.

"I know, but Spike, a tongue is a tongue is a tongue," Buffy told Spike with an evil grin, as she started taking off her pants. "I just want the tongue, what does it matter what is attached to it? Don't you agree?" Buffy's panties followed and then said to Harmony. "Come on, Harm. Show me how talented your tongue is. You think you can get of a straight Slayer?"

"I, uh, well . . . uh," Harmony stammered in fear. This new and improved Buffy was so far more powerful than her she'd barely register as an insect. Part of her wanted to run away, the other part just to obey and appease this nutcase.

Buffy rapidly grabbed Harmony by the back of her and pulled her down. With a gentle yank, hard enough to make the vampiress feel it, Buffy turned Harmony around, putting her on her back. With a pull the vampiress' head was beneath Buffy. The Slayer closed her eyes and said to Harmony, "Come on, you little blonde demon bitch. I know you've probably secretly fantasized about what a Slayer tastes like, haven't you?"

That much was true, Harmony thought, of course it was the blood she fantasized about, not the other fluids a Slayer could produce. She hesitated as she saw the Slayer's pussy lower herself down. This was such a turn on. The stuck up Slayer's pussy came closer and closer to her mouth. There was no escape. Buffy would have her way with her. Harmony felt herself get aroused and the notion of the violence the Slayer was capable of if she refused. Problem was, there was another female here, and Harmony wouldn't put it beyond Buffy to just kill her. The Slayer's pussy smelled like the sweet nectar gathering there. "Come on, Harmony," Buffy hissed encouragingly. Harmony felt the urge to just lunge up and bite, drink the blood. Ah, hell, if she couldn't get the red fluid this was the next best thing.

Harmony moved her head up and clasped her lips around the sweet cunt, thrusting her tongue inside. At once Buffy jerked up, and pushed Harmony down. "Damn it, Harmony. Just the tongue. Your lips are much too smooth and feminine; it turns me off. I want to be able to imagine you're a guy."

"Ok," Harmony whimpered fearfully, the arousal burning through her body now. She stuck out her tongue, straight up, and started licking Buffy's folds and opening.

"Oh, yeah," Buffy whispered hornily. "That's it, Parker, time to return the favor you bastard. This time I'm using you."

Maxine looked at the spectacle; the blonde vampiress, with her tongue high out of her mouth, making sure her lips didn't come close to the other blonde's pussy. Said blonde, Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer, was apparently working out some issues about a former lover. The girl's juices were freely dripping down upon Harmony's tongue, who eagerly brought the juice into her mouth and swallowed it down after a moment. She didn't do it often for fear of the Slayer's reprisals if her tongue was away from her pussy too long. Maxine was turned on like hell. She watched the Slayers strong left hand around the back of Harmony's head, keeping the vampiress in place. Maxine wished she was in Harmony's position.

Harmony thought it was time to go for gold. From the moans Buffy gave, mentioning several different male names, some of them Harmony recognized as celebrities, Buffy was ready. Harmony changed the position of her tongue and started stimulating Buffy's clit. "Oh, yes! Baby, Tom, go for it. Mmh!" Buffy moaned out, eyes closed. Buffy's cunt produced more juice that leaked down Harmony's tongue in her mouth, and dripped on the blonde vampire's face and neck.

Buffy opened her eyes, moaning, and looked over to Spike. "Like what you see, Spike?" Spike nodded, practically drooling at the sight, his erection painfully restrained in his pants. Buffy grinned and turned her head back and noticed Maxine watching the sight, licking her lips in arousal. "Wanna help out your mistress?" Buffy asked with an insidious undercurrent.

Maxine nodded. "Yes, please."

Buffy grinned at her. "Remember, just tongue, nothing else." Maxine nodded happily. The brunette placed herself on Harmony, pushing the blond back a bit. This way, Harmony's tongue would work on Buffy's slit and Maxine's could work its magic on Buffy's clit. "Oh, god, yes!" Buffy called out erotically, at the ministrations of two tongues. In her mind's eye there was long procession of every hot guy she ever lied eyes on, licking her one at the time; Angel, Giles, Oz, Bruce Willis, Xander, Riley, more celebrities, all of them . . . except Spike. "Oh, yes, YES! GO FOR IT, BOYS! UH! AH! OH, GOD! YEEEESSS!!!" Buffy screamed as her orgasm took hold of her, and blasted through her body from bottom to top. The girls below happily lapped up her juices.

Abruptly Buffy got off the bed, and started putting on her clothes. Behind her Maxine scooted upward and started licking some Buffy's cum from Harmony's face before kissing the vampiress passionately sharing the juice.

"Hey! What about me?" Spike suddenly blurted out, seeing Buffy casually put on her clothes. Behind her Harmony urged Maxine to turn around and she did.

"What about you, Spike?" Buffy asked grinned evilly, pulling on her pants. Harmony vamped out and bit and licked Maxine's pussy at the same time, drawing powerful, aroused moans from the brunette, while she licked the blonde vampiress' pussy.

Spike looked at her uncomprehending. "Well, damn, you had your fun. Very inspiring this, but I haven't had mine yet."

Buffy walked over to Spike, fully dressed now. She bent forward, putting her face close to his. He wanted to kiss her, but she was just out of reach. "You're not getting any, Spike," Buffy told him with a grin. "I do not #need# anyone. #You# are mine, and I can do or not do whatever the hell I want with you Spike. Forgotten about that? And except those two, nobody's going to care what I do with you, blondie, because you are a demon-animated corpse." Buffy straightened herself. "And they can't lay a finger on me," Buffy added for good measure. Then she walked toward the exit, feeling good about herself.

"Fuck, you little bitch! You can't do this to me!" Spike called out in frustration.

Buffy stopped in her tracks, turned around and fired an energy ball. Spike raised his defenses, but he didn't stand a changed against the much more powerful Slayer. The ball slammed into his right shoulder and burned a hole in it. Spike screamed out in pain. "#What# did you call me, Spike?" Buffy asked forcefully, a new energy blast forming at her still outstretched hand.

Pain induced tears ran down Spike's cheeks, and he forced out as best as he could, "M-mistress Buffy."

"Really? I thought I heard something else," Buffy asked with an emotionless smile. Spike wisely held his tongue glaring at the Slayer. She grinned, withdrew her hand and pulled out the keys to the chains. She threw it over to the lesbian couple, who were fearfully looking at her, hoping Spike's outburst wouldn't end them up dead. Harmony caught the keys. "Have fun with him, if you want to," Buffy told them and then turned around and walked out the crypt.


Dawn pushed the doorbell with concern. She had just had diner, and once again Willow had played around with magic. Xander answered and he let her in, without asking who she was; no need after all, he could sense her. She went inside, then into Xander and Anya's apartment. Any greeted her, Dawn returned the greet. Dawn greeted Xander, after that and he returned hers.

Dawn sat down upon the couch nervously. Xander placed himself in a chair across from her. Dawn decided to forego the niceties, and said, "Xander, whatever you said to Willow? It didn't work."

"What do you mean?" Xander asked confused. Anya joined them, sitting down on the couch next to Dawn.

"She's using magic for no reason at all. She used it to make breakfast, and at diner she was practically basking in it," Dawn explained fearfully.

"So?" Xander asked uncomprehending. "I use my powers around the house."

"Xander, your power doesn't manipulate the fabric of reality," Dawn explained desperately. "And you didn't try to mind rape anyone."

"Dawn," Xander answered her with a sigh. "Willow didn't understand just what she was doing, now that she does she won't ever try it again. You can rest assured."

"That's the problem isn't it?" Dawn told him with a desperate scowl. "Willow doesn't comprehend how bad the things she's doing are. What if next time she decides a lobotomy is fun, or an outright kill."

"Calm down, Dawn. Willow isn't like that," Xander said soothingly, but it wouldn't sooth Dawn at all.

Dawn held out her hand, showing the still present red welt. "I reached for a pancake before Buffy was in the kitchen. Willow didn't want anyone to start until we were all present, so she whipped me with some magic energy."

"There you have it," Xander told her with a gentle tone. "She probably didn't want to hurt you at all, just a little peck to make you back off, and she accidently hit you full force. Just an accident. Trust me, Dawn. I know Willow almost as long as you are alive. Unless a fly tries to hurt one of her loved ones, she couldn't hurt it." Xander looked intensely at Dawn, convincing her.

"Yeah, I guess you're right," Dawn answered him. They chatted for a bit about nothing and then Dawn left.

Outside she leaned back against the wall and sighed in defeat. "Tara," she whispered and walked off.


Dawn knocked on the apartment door. A moment later Tara opened it, and said, "Hey, Dawn, come in."

Dawn stepped inside and looked around the neat room, except one corner which was messy. There was a guy on the messy bed, who looked at Dawn. "This is my roommate, Terance. Terance this is Dawn, she's a good friend of mine, I'm somewhat her big sister."

"Hey, Dawn," the guy greeted with a smile.

"Hi. Tara, can we talk alone for a moment?" Dawn asked the blonde witch.

"Uh, sure," Tara said and led Dawn into a small bathroom. "So what's the matter," Tara asked.

Dawn showed her the welt, and said, "Willow gave me this when I reached for a pancake."

"Oh, my god," Tara said, and pulled Dawn close into a hug. "Does it still hurt?"

"Nah, just itches. Willow went off the deep end, you warned me about that, but that's not the problem," Dawn said as tears started to form. "I'm scared, Tara."

"You could live with me, it's not entirely legal, but I could put down a mattress and a sleeping bag," Tara offered, looking at the crying girl, pulling her close.

Dawn put her head on Tara's shoulder, and shook her head. "Can't I've got to stay, see if I can get through to them. Buffy . . . I don't know what's up with her, but she's not playing with all her marbles. She called herself useless this morning, she's pre-occupied with her own demons, whatever they are. Of course she won't tell us, or ask for help." Tara rubbed Dawn's shoulder, Dawn slowly got herself under control. She wiped away her tears, and with puffy eyes she looked at Tara, and said, "Xander's power has corrupted him as well."

"Oh, god no. He's too powerful," Tara blurted out, fear on her face.

Dawn shook her head. "Not like that, not like Willow. He isn't going to hurt people, or kill them . . . well, unless they are really evil and need to be stopped, but . . ." Dawn pauzed to put her thoughts in order. "He's too used to the power. He was built for it. He's meant to have that power. He grew up with it, his moral code developed while his power developed. He can't see Willow is different. To him having and using power is so natural he doesn't understand that for someone who just 'bang' got it, it can change that person. Willow has changed, is changing, and he can't see it. To him all's peachy."

"Oh, my, I hadn't thought of that," Tara whispered fearfully. "If the only one powerful enough to stop Willow doesn't think there's anything to stop . . ." They stayed silent for a moment, thinking about the present situation, both coming up with the same conclusion; people would get hurt, they themselves included.

Finally Dawn got up, and said, "I've got to get back. Buffy's expecting me home. I have to make them see."

"Dawn," Tara called, stopping the brunette for a moment. "I haven't been sitting still. I've been working on stuff, training, preparing. Don't worry, I'll find way out, I will."

Dawn smiled, nodded, greeted Tara goodbye, and left the apartment.


At the trio's lair the three of them returned, grinning, and Andrew noticed the apple they had tested their invisibility ray on. It was visible again and completely molten, as if hit with a laser beam.

"Guys!" he called and pointed at the apple.

"Holy shit," Jonathan said with fear. "Are we going to die?"

The three panicky started to analyze the apple. A short while later they found the explanation. "If we stay invisible constantly we'll turn into that," Andrew commented, looking at the apple. "We'll have to make sure we turn visible again on time."

Warren thought things over, feeling his chin. "Guys, we've seen Buffy squat our beam aside. It's time we speed up our plans." Andrew nodded enthusiastically, while Jonathan did the same nervously.

Episode 32

Tiffany Mayfield sat down on her usual chair in the lunch hall. Her very own chair, where nobody dare sit upon, the chair reserved for the queen of the school. She chatted happily away with some people in her posse, when her butt made contact with the chair a loud fart sounded through the hall. The hall was silent and looked over at her.

Faith and her two friends had a tray with food and were walking by. Faith looked at Tiffany, and said, waving her hand in front of her nose, "Phew, my, my Tiff." Tiffany looked up at her with a red face, both embarrassment and anger. Faith continued happily, for all to hear in the silent hall. "And you haven't even eaten yet. Anyone who brought their gas masks, put them on now, it'll save your lives." The whole lunch hall burst out in laughter, Faith chuckling along, even some of Tiffany's posse couldn't keep their laughter inside.

"I DID NOT FART!" the blonde screamed out, standing up and showing the cushion she had sit down upon. "IT WAS A WHOOPEE CUSHION, ALL RIGHT!?" The blonde somehow managed to glare at everyone, but most particular her friends. "Did you do this, Faith!?"

"Tseh," Faith commented shaking her head in disbelief. "Me? A whoopee cushion? Puhlease. Trust me, Mayfield, I'm not that childish. And I wouldn't hide it either, if I want to make you look like a fool, you don't have to ask. You'll know it was me."

Faith, Zoey, and Archie walked on, not giving the bitch queen another look. The people in the hall were back to eating their lunch, nobody wanting Tiffany angry with them. Once the three friends sat down, Archie looked at Faith and whispered, "You deserve an Oscar." Zoey nodded in agreement.

Faith grinned at them.


After lunch Tiffany and her posse walked over to her locker. On the way they met sniggering people. "Yeah, ha, ha, whoopee cushion sooooo funny!" she bit at them angry, and they stopped laughing, and quickly moved on, trying to contain their sniffling.

Tiffany saw her locker first, her eyes widened and she looked with shock. Over it was sprayed in black, 'Tiffany Mayfield: slut, skank, bitch. Who wants her?'

"Those . . . those . . ." Tiffany hissed with anger.

"Uh, Tiff, I don't think they were laughing about the fart," one of her posse said pointing upward.

Tiffany looked angry at her, and then followed the finger upward and saw a banner hung across the hallway. It said, 'The only reason Tiffany gets dates, is because guys are too afraid she and her posse will beat them up and gang bang them.'

"TAKE IT DOWN!!" Tiffany screamed out in rage, her eyes glittering with an unholy sparkle.


"That was so much fun," Archie grinned evilly at his two compatriots in crime.

Faith and Zoey nodded in agreement. The three were walking through the school toward the exit. Their school day was over. "So what are we going to do?" Zoey asked her two friends. "We could go to my place, to yours, Archie, or to yours, Faith."

"We could find ourselves a bar and let ourselves be filled with alcohol," Faith half joked, as they exited the school and entered the sun.

"I think even you are too young for that, Faith," Archie commented with a smile.

Faith smiled at him and joked, "Not if we get fake IDs first."

Archie gave Faith a playful punch on her upper arm, telling her, "Remember the conditions of your freedom, Faith."

"Shucks, always the damn conditions," Faith added with a big grin, as they reached the bicycles of Faith's friends. "No alcohol for us then, unless we swipe a bottle of whiskey from Wesley's cabinet."

Archie and Zoey laughed, unlocking their cycles. Zoey said, "I'm too hyper to just sit around anyway. Our little bad deeds were too exciting."

They got up on the cycles, and Faith behind Archie on the baggage carrier of his bike, and circled her arms around his waist. "Ok, then, I think we should just hit the malls and see why Buffy always gets that gleam in her eye when she talks about shopping malls in LA."

"Good idea," Archie told her, as they rode off, quickly crossing the street and disappearing into an alley. "Then you can go find yourself your own bike, as much as I like your arms around me, you're too tall to ride around comfortably."

"I should get one of my own, shouldn't I?" Faith asked him looking at the bike she was sitting on. "I need something from a sex shop as well."

"Sex shop?" Archie asked, Faith's friends' jaws had dropped.

"Yeah, are you guys ready?" Faith asked as she scanned around them.

Archie and Zoey looked at each other in disbelief. Did Faith really just say sex shop? They shook their heads to clear it, and Zoey said, "Go for it."

"Ok," Faith replied. Looked left and right one last time, and then extended her chi around the bikes, who moments later shot fast enough forward, a professional would have problems keeping up.


Much later, after the normal shopping trip, they placed the bikes against the wall of the final shop. "I can't believe this," Zoey said, looking up at the sign that said 'sex shop'.

Faith grinned, walked toward the entrance and said, "Come on."

"Faith, have I told you, you are cruel?" Archie told his friend slack jawed.

Faith told him with a grin, "You can stay outside if you want."

"No way in hell," Archie said, and pushed Zoey forward into the shop

The three of them started walking through the place. Zoey was nervous and blushing deeply. Archie looked around, seeing the front sleeves of many XXX-rated video tapes and DVDs. "Are we even allowed in here?" Zoey whimpered, as she saw a man seemingly checking out porn mags while being ashamed of himself.

Faith just shrugged, and pulled Zoey next to herself, Archie walking behind the two. "S-so why . . . ehm . . . what do you . . . eh . . . need?" Zoey whimpered, not knowing where to look. Faith grinned, as the group reached the compartment with dildos and vibrators in the back of the store.

"A few of these," Faith said with a wide grin. "Last night I had a startling discovery. I heard Fred actually come, a room away from me. I realized that Angel with his annoying, and even better vampiric hearing will hear me come no matter how careful I am, so I might as well climax so good I'll squeal like a stuffed pig. I want something bigger than a few fingers. And I want you guys to help me out with finding a few good ones, especially you as a fellow woman." Faith added the last few words with an overdone flair.

"So size does matter?" Archie asked with a down face.

"Yep," Faith said with a giant grin. "Too big and it gets uncomfortable, even painful. Too little, and you hardly feel a thing. We need something right smack in the middle of that, right Zoey?"

Zoey looked liked a deer in headlights and then managed to mutter out, "I-I wouldn't know, fingers are my only experience." Faith looked at her with pity. "Hey, I am not to be pitied, understand?"

"No pity, just a little sadness my best friend hasn't experienced heaven yet," Faith answered her with a grin and on impulse looked around to regard Archie.

In the mean time Archie had been looking from Faith to the dildos and involuntarily imagined Faith using some of them, which resulted in another reaction. He had swallowed and quickly looked around, only there were only the explicit barely covered up video and DVD covers.

"Don't worry, Arch," Faith said with a grin and a quick lick of her upper lips. "From what I can see you've got plenty." Zoey looked down with wide eyes, and then quickly averted them when she saw the bulge. Blushing he turned around, and discretely tried to tuck away his erection. "Come on, Arch. Don't be shy, I like a guy comfortable enough to show his erection covered by pants."

"Very funny," Archibald said as he slowly turned back around. If one knew what to look for one could see he still had an erection, but it was no longer obvious. Faith looked up from his bulge and gave her upper lip a lick. A gleam appeared in Archie's eyes and he slung his arm around Faith's upper back. "Be strong, Faith, control yourself. I know I've got a nice size, but remember, you wanted at least one normal, non demon-fighting friend."

Faith blinked once, and then grinned, "Like to pay back, huh?"

"Just like you said," he grinned with twinkles in his eyes. "Payback's a bitch, and . . ."

". . . and I'm the bitch, yeah, yeah," Faith told him with a wide smile and returned to the giant collection of fake penises on the wall. Zoey giggled at her friends exchange and returned to the dildos herself.

Faith grabbed one double one and checked it out, then placed it back. "I don't think I want a vibrator, too afraid the thing'll break, and or electrocute me," she commented with raised eyebrows.

Archie leaned to her ear and said, "Don't think the moving parts can handle Slayer strength and speed huh?"

"Exactly," she answered him, looking coyly over her shoulder.

Zoey blinked and laughed. "Hey, Faith," she said with a barely controlled grin. She pointed at a yellow, slightly see-through, fluorescent model. Some of the models behind the first had different colors. "If you get that one, you don't need to turn on the lights to find the bathroom." Faith and Archie looked over what Zoey was pointing at. The girl was already in a laughing fit. When Faith and Archie spotted the dildo they too laughed.

Suddenly Faith stopped laughing and reached for it, grinning widely. Her friends stopped laughing as well and looked at her. "Soaks up light during the day," Faith read off the package. "That is so cool." She checked out the shape and size, and then smiled, "I'm taking this one, I'm gonna use it as a torch too. I wanna see Fred's face when she sees me using this as a torch. I wonder if she'll think she was hallucinating." They laughed again.

"Could I help you?" a clerk asked from behind them.

Archie and Zoey froze, but without any of them turning around Faith casually remarked, "Nope, just taking my sweet time deciding on my new toys." For a moment the clerk hesitated, but then turned away, Faith just sounded too casual for them to be minors. Archie and Zoey looked at her disbelieving and she shrugged.

A few minutes later Faith had picked out three more dildos, when Archie said, "Uh, Faith . . ."

Faith turned to look at him and asked, "What?"

"Uh, well, uh . . ." Archie fumbled.

"Just spill, Archie," Faith ordered him with a grin.

Archie hesitated for a moment and then pulled a butt plug of the wall, and asked sheepishly, "You like . . . uh . . . anal?" The last word came out like a mouse peep, but Faith could make it out.

She took the two steps toward Archie and looked fascinated at the small, rounded-off triangular shape. A short stump, with a small point, that quickly flared out to be a nice width. Zoey came over as well and looked at the implement with bright red cheeks. "Should I?" Faith asked her friends, who lost the ability of speech. The answers they tried giving her made them look like fish on dry land. Faith grinned evilly, grabbed the butt plug, and commented, "If it's that much of a taboo it's got you silent, it's got to be pleasurable."

Faith grinned at them, and said, "I guess I'm going to need some lubricant then as well, eh? Or you think my own is enough?"

Archie and Zoey looked at each other for a moment, than they turned back and Archie managed to gurgle, "Crruuueeell."

"Hey, you tangle with the best . . ." Faith grinned evilly at him, leaving it hanging there. Playfully, he narrowed his eyes at her, and then they were off finding Faith some lubricant.

A short time later after finding said lubricant, they were at the cash register, and Faith dumped the four dildos, the butt plug, and the lubricant on the counter. The guy behind the counter, started tapping in the prices as he said, "ID, please."

"Oh, right," Faith commented and fished her ID card out of her wallet.

"Eighteen?" the guy asked surprised. "You're not supposed to be in here until you're twenty-one, you can definitely not buy it until you are that age."

"What!?" Faith asked in disbelief.

"Sorry," the guy said, shrugging his shoulders and looking Faith over, while Zoey and Archie looked around with discomfort.

"Bullshit," Faith commented at the guy, who looked at her face with his mouth ajar. "Either you've got it wrong, or this state has the most ridiculous legislation ever. Now sell me the toys."

"I really can't," the guy said apologetically.

Faith got angry. "Listen, pal. I'm eighteen. If you are right, I can walk out there, pull the first halfwit I come across off the street, screw him senseless, get myself infected with whatever deadly disease, as well as completely knocked up, all legally, but I can't buy a few plastic toys that allow me to safely fulfill my needs. That's just plain screwed up; it's bullshit." The guy swallowed and shrugged. Faith growled, grabbed him by his collar, pulled him closer over the counter, and told the now frightened man, "All right, now you either are going to sell me the toys properly, or I'm going to put the money on the counter, and take the damn things with me. Got that?"The guy nodded fearfully, and Faith let him go. Zoey and Archie gave each other a look. The guy quickly continued entering the prices, and named the amount. Faith gave the guy his money. He returned the change and then Faith stuffed the sex toys in her back pack. After that, she and her friends left the store.

Once outside Zoey said weakly, "You know Faith, for a moment there I thought you were going to hurt that guy."

Faith growled angrily, before calming down. "I wouldn't have hurt him, Zoey, but if the law really is that way, I'd really like a one on one with whomever came up with that ridiculous idea. I mean, come on, eighteen before you can buy a dildo is nutty enough, but twenty-one? It's no wonder this country is filled with teenage pregnancies. Every girl is instinctively aching for that big thing and they're not allowed to buy a safe suitable replacement; what the hell do you expect they're gonna do?"

Zoey and Archie had gotten their bikes, and looked at the fuming brunette. "Hey, not every girl is aching for that big thing. Take me for example. . ." Zoey started with a lecturing expression.

Faith pulled out the smallest dildo and held it out to Zoey, shutting her up. "What we agreed upon," Faith said, and gave the other girl a wry expression.

Zoey blushed and pulled the money out of her wallet and handed it to Faith, while taking the dildo. Archie's mouth dropped, and looked at the deeply blushing Zoey. " . . .I'm just aching for this small thing," she added sheepishly.

"God, I'm friends with a couple of oversexed nymphos, and I still don't get any. Life is so unfair," Archie commented with disbelief.

"Buck up, Archie. My promise still stands, before the end of the school year, you'll have a girlfriend," Faith told him with a grin as she sat down upon the back of his bicycle. Then they rode off.


It was about to get dark when Faith returned to the hotel, and to her surprise bumped into a wall of energy. A magical shield was keeping her out. She let her hand flow over blue shimmering energy for a moment. She looked around the street, several cars and a few people, some not having much of the people, were present, but didn't belong here. They all came for the baby, Faith concluded with annoyance. What to do now? Apparently Angel and the gang considered them big threats, hence the shield, but there had to be a way in. They wouldn't let Faith just roam the street, not to mention they would need a way to buy groceries, and diapers and . . . well everything else. So where would this entrance be, it had to be out of sight, out of the sun, sewers of course. Faith nodded, knowing what to do. Fist she had to fake just leaving, disappointed, wouldn't want the bastards following her to the weakness in the barrier. Right.

"ANGEL! LET ME IN! PLEASE!?!?!" Faith yelled out, with what she hoped was her best little-innocent-scared-girl voice. No answer, not surprisingly. "Please! Wesley!? Cordy!? Anyone!? Can you even hear me?" Ok, now there were two possibilities, either the bastards thought they could use her as leverage and try to attack her, but more likely, since the people inside didn't seem to care enough about her to let her in, they'd just ignore her. Senses on full alert, they told her nobody was coming after her. "BASTARDS! I HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL!" she screamed out with as much indignation as she could fake, and then ran off as if she was hurt and scared.

Nobody followed her and after a block, she stopped running. She found her manhole cover, lifted it and lowered herself down. She started walking toward the hotel, wrinkling her nose at the smell, and pulled out her cell phone. Moments later Wesley picked up. ##That was some performance, Faith,## he complimented her with his usual English accent.

"Thanks, Wes," Faith told him smiling. "Now I figured the entrance is somewhere in the sewers, but just exactly where is somewhere?"

With a smile in his voice Wesley gave her directions.


A short time later Faith entered the hotel and looked at the whole place buzzing with excitement. Everyone was running around and doing something. Faith blinked and walked over to the counter. She dumped the back pack, and asked, "What's going on?" She then hopped onto the counter and sat, observing the antics.

"Well, you see hot stuff," Lorne explained almost imperceptibly. "It is now dark and the moon is up, the demon magicians outside can now bring down the shield and they will all come poring in. We're trying to prepare."

"Oh," Faith said, dumbfounded at the spectacle. Angel was complaining about them not able to defend him and his son. His son was in his arms, no wait, no life force, that was just a doll?

"Damn it, Angel, you're just going to run?" Cordy asked in disbelief. Faith didn't notice everyone's eyes darting toward her on occasion. All of them hoped Faith wouldn't muck up the plan, sometimes school was really a bitch.

"Bloody hell," Wesley commented carrying a flame thrower. "We don't have a weapon powerful enough to fight all of these things."

"Sure we do," Faith said happily jumping off the counter. Everyone stopped their antics for a moment and looked stricken at Faith, who walked toward the exit.

"We do?" Gunn asked, trying desperately to communicate with his eyes she shouldn't give the plan away. "Like what?"

Faith walked past them and then turned around. She grinned at Gunn and answered, "Me." The AI Team looked at each other in disbelief for a moment as Faith went outside.

The Team followed, waiting at the doors and watched in fascination. Faith's chi flame erupted around her violently and she walked through the magical shield, which shimmered for a moment as Faith went through it.

"Whoa," Angel commented in surprise. "Did she ever seem that powerful in the gym to you guys?"

"Uh, uh," Cordelia said with jaws dropped at the violence of the flame, the sound of it, and how dust was blown away from Faith by it.

"I think you guys have forgotten she trains under seventy times Earth gravity," Fred commented, and the group looked at her for a moment in revelation.

Outside Faith turned toward the robed demon magicians and fired a small energy ball at them. It was absorbed by a hastily erected magical shield. "Shoot her, she's no vamp," Faith heard from behind her and she casually turned around to face a biker gang. Several shots rang out, and they bounced casually off of Faith, the bullets dropping unceremoniously to the asphalt. They made sounds as they landed and it drew the shooters' attention. Faith pointed her hand at them and blasted three energy attacks at them, sending three of them dropping to the floor unconscious. Faith gave a short yell, and a shockwave of energy sent the others sprawling to the floor.

"Take your unconscious friends, get out of here, and don't come back, before I decide not killing humans doesn't apply to you," Faith commanded them with blazing eyes. The men nodded quickly and went to collect their bikes and get out of her.

The demonstration of power made the rest of the contenders a little nervous, and hesitated. It also gave the demon mages time to start their magic spell. The energy barrier surrounding the hotel started to flicker.

"Hey, bastards, try this one on for size!" Faith called to them without turning around. The mages faltered with their concentration for a moment but quickly regained it. Faith started to charge the Galeck Gun to the left of her body between her hands and only then turned around.

"I believe that's a new one," Gunn said, looking at Faith charging the energy beam.

"Actually, I think she used it to push the asteroid," Cordelia said with recognition. The others nodded, and then suddenly realized just how powerful that attack would have to be. Their eyes widened and looked at Cordelia with faces that silently asked, 'Are you certain?'

"GALECK GUN FIRE!!" Faith yelled out powerfully. The group watched as the energy beam cut through the distance instantaneously. It pierced the mages' shield easily, and exploded, giving the demon mages a very messy death. Pieces were flung everywhere, some of them splashing against the magical shield and dripping down. It was impossible to tell whether the beam had destroyed the mages' shield, or whether their deaths brought it down.

"Leapin' Jesus," Lorne whispered in awe, looking at the black patch of asphalt that marked where the demon mages had stood before.

The group wanted to yell 'look out' as a vampire jumped Faith from behind but it wasn't necessary. She moved slightly to her left, toward the group, and whipped out her right arm with force. It hit the vampire at its waist. To its, as well as the group's surprise, and its agony the body came apart. Its torso tumbled along, while the legs dropped downward and turned to dust before they hit the floor. With a powerful kick Faith's short heal slammed through the vamp's chest. Her heel wasn't wood, but that didn't matter. The kick was hard enough to send the heart flying out the back of the body, after which it and the rest of the vamp turned to dust.

The gang watched with astounding, finally understanding just how powerful Faith had become. Faith turned around grabbed a demon by its head as it came charging her. She yanked casually and send the now dead demon flying against the hotel's shield with a broken neck, where it dissolved.

Faith gave a charging vampire such vicious uppercut in the nose, its nose bone slammed out the back off its head, pulling along most of its brain matter. It turned to dust almost immediately afterward. A demon came jumping in and Faith blew him away with an energy ball. Another dozen energy balls thinned the demons and vampires considerably.

The remaining demons and vampires got nervous. One of them called out afraid, "Oh, man! I've never seen a Slayer like this. This is ridiculous! Nothing is worth fighting her. I'm out of here." The demon ran across the street into the small park. Other demons and vampires nodded the ascent and followed him fearfully. The remaining, braver demons were quickly dispatched with energy balls and then with a predatory grin Faith chased the other demons into the park.

"I guess that's that," Fred commented with a disbelieving face. The others nodded when there was a terrified scream from inside the park. An explosion followed, then more screams. The group went outside, they too stepped through the barrier, and looked around the empty street with wide eyes. Only a few blood and body parts here and there indicated that a giant fight had been going on here. The screaming and explosions stopped then.

Faith came stalking out of the park again, her gaze on two black all terrain vehicles. One of them quickly gunned the engine and tore off. The people in the remaining one were urging the driver to do the same. But as Faith came frighteningly closer, the engine stalled. With a slam Faith's hands grabbed a hold of the door frame of the driver, which window was all the way down. "Uh, hi?" the driver tried, scared to death.

Faith looked around the people in the car. They all had guns matching their black fatigues, and Faith spotted a camera. "Lilah, Gavin. How have you been?" Faith said directly into the camera with a feral smile. "Oh, a piece of advice; heads up." To the consternation of the occupants, Faith then picked up the car. First with two hands, one underneath the chassis the other at the door, and then she balanced it on one hand. Faith walked forward a little so she was standing in front of a crossroad. She turned around facing the road, aimed and then threw, sending the care flying high through the air.

"What did you do?" Angel asked with surprise, as the gang reached Faith.

Faith turned to face them, grinned, and explained, "I sent the car on an express way trip back to the sender: one Wolfram & Hart." The group looked the same way the car went and raised their eye brows, and then they started smiling as well.

Suddenly Wesley spoke up pointing at Angel, "Before we forget, could you get rid of the bomb?"

"What bomb?" Faith asked with surprise.

Angel pulled the blanket aside, revealing a bomb strapped to the doll. It was counting down, still several minutes left. "This bomb, we were planning to lure the whole bunch of them after me, and give them the bomb instead of the baby just before it went off." Faith blinked several times looking at the gang, most of whom shrugged. "You were still in school, and we seem to have underestimated seventy times Earth gravity."

Faith moaned and grabbed the bomb. She threw it high into the air, and then sent an energy ball after it. On impact the ball and the bomb exploded. "Ok, now what?" Faith asked the group.

"Now we get rid of Wolfram & Hart's bugs, I'm starting to go crazy," Lorne answered her, putting his left pinky into his left ear, and gave it a good rub.

"And then to the hospital to give the baby his first routine checkup and shots," Fred added.

"Where are you going?" Faith asked as she watched part of the gang walk towards a manhole cover.

They looked at her and Gunn said, "The one-way shield is still up."

"We don't need it anymore do we?" Faith asked them. They shrugged and Faith walked over to the hotel. She placed her hand against the shield, which lighted up. Her hand glowed for a moment, discharged and the shield crumbled down. Faith gestured to the entrance, and told Lorne with a shake of her head, "And you thought your little non-violence spell could stop me."


Back at Wolfram & Hart's conference room Linwood, Lilah and Gavin were looking at the large wall screen. On it, Faith told them, ##Lilah, Gavin. How have you been? Oh, piece of advice; heads up.##

"Heads up? What does she mean with heads up?" Linwood asked confused, looking at the waving picture. He was sitting at the head of the large black, and brown rimmed table.

"I don't know," Gavin answered with a frown.

Lilah looked at the screen and commented, "It looks like she's carrying the car."

The three narrowed their eyes trying to make something out with the occupants of the car's screaming and flailing their arms. "Is the car flying now, or am I wrong?" Gavin asked to no one in particular.

Suddenly Linwood's eyes widened, and turned his seat around. He looked at small dot flying toward them, rapidly getting bigger, moon light glinted off the metallic surface. His eyes widened further with fear as he rapidly got up out of his chair. "Take cover!" he yelled, as he ran for safety. Other people, including Lilah and Gavin looked to where Linwood was looking, and then ran as well.

Moments later, the black four by four crashed through the window of the fifteen-story-high conference room and its nose crashed into the middle of the conference table. The table broke, the nose of the car crumpled and it toppled over. It moved on, destroying the table, sending splinters flying everywhere impaling some of Wolfram & Hart's personnel. It finally came to a halt against the far wall, just before the gas tank exploded, and set part of the room ablaze.

Linwood got up and looked at the scene to the left, while Lilah and Gavin did the same to its right. Linwood calmly brushed the dust from his suit's jacked and commented, "Somebody call fire control."

"Jesus Christ," Gavin called out in disbelief at the inferno that was a car moments before.

Linwood told him with an eery grin, "Now, now, don't let the senior partners hear you." He then turned around and left the room.


In a different room, a short time later, Gavin asked Linwood, "How in blazes can we fight someone that powerful?"

"And we haven't even talked about this Holtz character," Lilah added, placing a file on the desk. "I found that on him."

"Well, Gavin," Linwood said with a dark look. "We will simply have to get a hold of some people, or non-people that are as powerful and even more so than she is. As for Holtz . . ."

The window shattered, and Angel came floating in, saying, "You will do no such thing."

"Since when can vampires fly?" Gavin asked perplexed, as Angel floated over the table to right in front of Linwood.

"Since about now," Angel answered, than pointed a finger Linwood, a small ball of energy formed. Angel let it fly and cut a scratch on Linwood's cheek. The older man yelled at the pain, and turned his face away rapidly before turning back. "My son got a small scratch on his cheek, just like you."

Lilah, Gavin, and Linwood looked at the floating Angel without comprehension. Angel reached down and pulled Linwood up by his collar. "From now on, everything that happens to my son, happens to you. He stubs his toe, you stub his toe. He gets the flu, you get the flu. He gets dismembered, you get dismembered. He dies, you die. I don't care if you caused it or not, I will simply assume you did. You will keep him safe, and thus keep yourself safe. Consider yourself his godfather. Got that?" Angel growled at him.

Linwood nodded in fear, "Y-yeah."

"Good," Angel told him and dropped him back into the chair. He then turned around and floated back toward the window. Halfway there he turned around and said, "Oh, and start saving for that college fund. I've got my heart set on Notre Dame." Then Angel left through the window and shot downward.

"Oh, shit," Lilah commented softly.


"Connor, his name is Connor," Angel said with a smile as he entered the hospital, answering the question of the doctor.

"Ah, Mr. O'Rourke," the doctor said, returning the smile. "Your son is in good health."

"Thank you," Angel answered her, and then she turned around and went to another patient.

"Connor huh?" Gunn asked with a smile.

Angel nodded taking the baby gently from Cordelia's arms. "Leaves one question though," Fred asked a little timid. The group looked at her. "Birth certificate? Who do we say is the mother? And where she is, or what happened to her?"

"Good question," Wesley commented with a fond look at the resident brainiac. The group looked at each other without a clue.


Several days later Faith returned from school and looked at all the people, and non-people walking around in the hotel. Her eyes widened with surprise. She knew Angel had gone all 'we need money to keep Connor fed and happy' and all, but this was insane.

In the middle a bunch of . . . whatevers with metal masks were offering fifty thousand dollars to solve a puzzle. From a conversation between Cordelia and Lorne she made out that Wesley and Gunn were out helping a girl that was apparently being stalked by her dead boyfriend. Angel was on the phone with someone who was apparently willing to pay him a lot of money to do something judging from Angel's smile. Slayer hearing, albeit not as sensitive as a vampire's, came in handy some time.

Angel suddenly held a hand in front of the receiver, "Faith! Good your back. Would you mind helping out a bit? Those people need help." Angel pointed at a group of three people in drab clothes.

Faith thought for a moment, and then shrugged. Angel had helped her enough hadn't he? She dumped the back pack in front of the couch, and walked over to the people, putting up her best professional smile. "How can I help you?" Faith asked.

The three people looked at each other for a moment, not knowing whether to trust a young girl with this. A man stepped forward and said, "Well, you see young lady. A month ago our landlord sold our building. Problem is, he sold it to demons. There seem to be twelve of them. They ate the tenants of twelve apartments and moved in. On occasion they eat another person living in the building, but it seems they mostly . . . well, order take out. They force us to pay the rent, but do nothing about any of the deficiencies the building has."

Faith interrupted him, asking, "I take it 'deficiencies' means flaws, bad plumbing and such?"

The group of three people looked concerned at each other for a moment, and then the man continued, "Yes. We'd like someone to . . . well . . . kill them." The man held up an envelope, and then added sheepishly, and a little sad, "All of the tenants together managed to scrape up two thousand dollars, but it seems you take fifty thousand just to solve a puzzle." Apparently the happy exclamations on the amount had been loud enough for them to hear.

Faith took the envelope and quickly counted off the money in it. When she reached a thousand she pulled it out of the envelope and gave the envelope back to the man with a smile. He looked confused. Faith quickly walked over to Cordelia and the cash register and left the money with her. She quickly explained to Cordelia what would be her first case. Faith returned to the three people and told them, "You just hired yourself a demon slayer."

The three people blinked several times and the second man asked uncertain, "You?"

"Trust me," Faith told them with a smile. "I slay demons all the time. It's kinda my reason to be."

The group of people looked at her incredulously for a moment, and then the lead man indicated the envelope and asked, "But what about . . . "

Faith shook her hand and her hands, and explained, "Or rates go by what people can afford, not just what we have to do. Shall we?"

The group looked at each other again for a moment, and then the lead said, "I guess so, but don't you need a weapon or something?"

"Nah, got enough with me," Faith told them, and they looked at each other again.


Half an hour later, after an uneventful drive, Faith and the three tenants stopped at their building. Faith looked up the seven story building for a moment, and then asked, "So which rooms are they in?"

The lead man gave her a note on which the room numbers were written. Faith smiled at them and said, "Be right back."

Faith ran into the building and quickly killed the minor demons. The last demon, a nasty three-headed green thing with purple eyes looked at Faith in surprise when she easily opened his door after picking the lock. Faith didn't want to cause any more damage to the building than necessary. "Hi," Faith told the demon, waving her hand at it. The demon was holding a human head, a gnawed-on body was on the floor and blood dripped from the teeth in all six of its mouths. Faith was shocked at first, then hardened herself at the grisly sight, and set her jaw determined.

"I'm going to kill you for interrupting my diner!" the demon growled at Faith.

"No, I don't think so. I'm the Slayer," Faith told the demon with a grim smirk.

Suddenly the demon put down the head as if was an icky thing. "Uh, sorry about this, I didn't mean to kill him. It was accident, I swear," the demon tried pathetically. The demon then fell to his knees, and begged, "Pleeeeaaassseee, don't kill me!"

Faith looked disgusted at the pathetic sight. "Sorry, I'm being paid. Boss wouldn't like it if I didn't do my job," Faith told it, then suddenly she got an idea. "Hold on, I could be persuaded to let you go if you give me the deed to the building."

"Oh, no problem, deed, right!" The demon got off of his knees, presented a small safe and opened it. He took out a piece of paper and with trembling hands gave it to Faith. She took it and quickly read over the paper. It was the deed al right. The demon in the mean time had started tiptoeing out of the room. "Oh, wait, I changed my mind," Faith said, and casually blew its heads off one by one. The remainder of the demon corpse than started vaporizing of its own accord. Faith grinned as she left the room, "I so love a demon that cleans up after itself."

A few minutes later she was back down in the lobby, which was filled with all of the tenants. They all looked expectantly at her. Faith smiled and walked over to the lead man of earlier. "Here," she said, handing him the deed. The man took it. "The demons are dead, that's the deed, now you yourselves own the building. Has its drawbacks, you'll have only yourself to blame if the building isn't in ship shape . . ." Faith thought on that statement for a fraction and added, "Or the janitor to fire."

The large group of tenants looked at her in gratitude for the deed. "Thank you ve-," the lead man started.

Faith interrupted him, waving the thanks away, "You hired me, you have only yourself to thank. Oh, before I forget, the leader was snacking on a decapitated guy, that corpse is still there, so I'd call the cops and have them get it out. Sadly, just one more unsolved murder." The man nodded, and then Faith went outside.

"Need a ride back?" the man called after her.

"Nah, the exercise will do me good," Faith told the guy with a grin, glad she could save people's lives, sad she was too late for the corpse still lying in the lead demon's apartment.

Her cell phone rang and she fished it out of a pocket and activated it. "Faith," she said into the phone.

##Oh, thank god!## Cordelia cried out from the other side. ##I can't reach the others and I just had a vision that they're going to cut off Fred's head and put it on their leader's body!##

Faith was instantly afraid for her newfound friend, and hastily asked, "Who is and where?"

##The clients!## Cordelia answered her and then gave Faith the address.

"On it!" Faith called out in haste, and turned off the phone. Spurred on by urgency, she didn't bother to see if people saw when she blasted off into the air. She put all her speed into the flight.


Lorne made some clicking noised from the floor of the second story where he lay tied up.

"What did you say to them?" Fred asked fearfully from the chair which she was tied to. The demons were calmly measuring her head and sharpening an axe for the decapitation.

"I told them if they don't quit this behavior very quickly they will find they all need new heads," Lorne told her with a scared face.

"Lorne," Fred squeaked out in fear. "Everybody thinks we're just having a nice old case, not that I'll get my head cut off."

Lorne tried to come up with answer, and said, "I'm sorry, peaches."

"Sorry, won't help me," Fred peeped out.

Suddenly the glass of the window behind the demons exploded and a very angry Faith landed amidst the falling glass. Her chi flame burned around her.

"FAITH!" Fred screamed out in relief.

Lorne clicked away with sadistic glee, telling the demons, 'I told you so!'

"Nobody hurts my friends!" Faith growled out, and Lorne translated. Without further ado, Faith smashed her fist through the chest of one demon, decapitated another with a kick, and tore the arms of a third. The demon she kicked away hard enough to let its stomach rupture and its guts spill out. The arms she turned around, and she impaled the fourth demon on the arms' sharp claws. Faith blew apart the fifth demon and then threw the sixth and final one out the window, and let him plummet to his death. Faith grinned evilly as she turned to the leader who sat in the chair, unable to move, only a new head would help him get up again.

"NO!" Fred called out. "I want some therapeutic closure!" she added darkly.

Faith smiled and quickly untied Fred, while the demon leader managed to fearfully move his eyes to the two women. Grinning Fred picked up the axe that the demons had been planning to decapitate her with, and hefted it. She looked at the demon with glint in her eyes, and she raged at it, "So you wanted to cut off my head huh!" Then she returned him the favor by cutting his head off with the axe, and then continued to hack the thing into multiple pieces. "BASTARD!" she screamed out at the now dead demon.

"Uh, not to interrupted the lovely girls bonding over violence bit, but uh, could you untied me?" Lorne asked from the floor. Faith and Fred looked down at him apologetically getting ready to untie him, when they noticed the mess. "And oh, yeah, next time could you please watch out where you spray the blood and guts. HAVE YOU ANY IDEA HOW EXPENSIVE THIS SUIT IS!!" Lorne yelled out angrily.

Faith shrugged as she started on Lorne's guts-covered ankle binds while Fred started with the rope on his wrists. Faith told him, "Better dirty than dead I think."

Angel came crashing down from the skylight, Wesley and Gunn came bounding up the stairs and looked at the scene. Angel sheepishly rubbed some glass off his leather coat and said, "Ok, cool entrance a little too late."

"You can say that again!" Lorne called out. "Look at my suit! First my club now my suit. Can't you teach your Slayer some restraint?"


Some time later they all returned to the Hyperion, and Cordelia called out her relief that all of them were ok.

Angel looked at his friends and said, "I, uh, I'm sorry, guys. I think I went a little overboard." The group looked at him calmly. "Money is important, but not as important as friends and family. I endangered some of you tonight, on far too trivial undertakings. Not to mention stopped you from doing your homework."

The group smiled at that and Fred said, "Well, I think we all helped out freely, and I don't think Faith has that much of a problem with not doing homework."

Faith waved it aside saying, "It's Friday. Don't do homework on Friday, don't do that until Sunday."

"Well, we'll do things with moderation," Angel said with a smile.

"In the mean time," Cordelia said with a large grin, opening the case the demons gave them. "We've got fifty thousand dollars. What do we buy?"

"Nothing," Wesley said with conviction. Cordelia looked at him in disappointment. "We put it in the bank, preferably not in dollars, it's losing worth. Euros would be good, everything looks like it will be very strong when it will start to be used for real in Europe in a few months. Let the interest build, and we've got a nice college fund for Connor . . . and perhaps Faith. In the mean time we help the helpless and moneyless for free, and charge those who can afford to pay a nice some. Should keep us clothed, fed, roofed, in warmth and in school. Whatever extra we make we add to the college fund for Connor, Faith, and if anyone else would like to procreate." Wesley looked around the room for approval. With him being the boss he didn't really need to, but it was a big decision. His gaze lingered on Fred a little longer than on the others.

The people present grinned. Angel was the one who spoke up, "Well, I'm all for it. As the only vampire with a soul, a son and a daughter - in a joint custody with an alien from another dimension - I can hardly complain if any of you want children, now can I?" The Angel Investigations Team laughed out loud.

"It's settled then," Wesley announced and walked toward the opened case, ready to close.

Cordelia placed her hand on the money, "But, can't we just take out a little? Just this once?"

"No, Cordelia," Wesley told her. Cordelia looked with disappointment and longing at the case full of money.

"Guys, I'm off patrolling, ok?" Faith told the others.

Angel nodded at her, smiled, and said, "Be careful, Faith."


Zack walked aimlessly around LA. He was deeply saddened, but he at least kept to Faith's advice: stay out of the dark, out of back alleys, stay in the well lit streets, preferably a crowded street. Ah, Faith, even the memory of his first time with that incredible, alluring brunette who had just saved his life couldn't lift his spirits now.

As Zack walked along - contemplating life, death and the nature of the universe and god - he heard some sounds. He focused on it, as he continued walking. The sounds were of a fight, and on occasion voice. ". . . best you've got?" Zack stopped walking and listened intently. It couldn't be. "Come on, de . . ." A garbled mess. " . . . even lay a finger on me." It was! It was her! He'd recognize that voice anywhere. Zack couldn't help but smile, and thought over his options for a moment. His decision made, he quickly walked into the shadow-filled alleys. After a minute he found her. He leaned against a wall and watched with a smile as Faith did nothing short of casually playing with the five vampires she was fighting with like a cat with a mouse. Not surprisingly, she had a cat-like grin as she dusted another vampire. Zack's smile widened as she watched Faith quickly dispatch the others.

He got off the wall and clapped his hands. "That was good, Faith," he told her. The brunette looked at him with a scowl and a smile she just couldn't keep off her face. Suddenly her eyes widened in shock, the smile disappeared and she pointed a hand at him. Zack froze in fear as the energy blast formed at Faith's hand. Moments later the blast passed him by only barely, and a scream of pain came from behind him. He whipped about and was just in time to see the dust that had been a vampire flutter to the floor.

"HAVE YOU COMPLETELY LOST YOUR MIND!" Faith yelled at him as she walked over. Zack turned around and looked at her embarrassedly. "Which part of 'stay in the light, and in crowded places' didn't you get?"

"Ah, well, I heard you and uh . . ." Zack started explaining, reddening at the slightly shorter girl's angry face, "you being here I didn't think . . ."

"'Didn't think' is right!" Faith shouted at him in anger, giving him light slaps on his chest. "I was too preoccupied with the fight to notice that one sneaking up on you. If I had turned around only moments later you'd be dead!" Faith sighed deeply with relief. She really was glad her one time lover - the first guy she let on top - was still alive. "Don't do that again, you scared me half to death," Faith told him and slowly turned to where Zack came from and started walking.

"What do you think of me?" Zack asked faint-hearted and fell in step.

Faith looked at Zack's perturbed face and then somehow managed to guffaw. "So, what is so important to talk to me about, you're willing to risk life and limb?"

Zack looked at her for a moment. He thought circling the subject, but he'd bet she wasn't the kind of person who would like that. "My father died almost two weeks ago. Car accident."

Faith looked at him in shock, then looked down at the pavement for a moment. "I'm sorry. You were close with him, weren't you?" she offered, suppressing the insane spike of jealousy for a moment. She wished her father cared for her like that, than perhaps her life would have been somewhat better.

"Yeah, I was," Zack replied. He stayed silent after that. Faith prompted him, and he launched into a long tale.


When they reached Zack's apartment building, they had been silent for a several minutes. It had been a comfortable silence, nothing really needed to be said.

"So, here we are, again," Zack spoke, indicating the building and smiled at Faith. Most of his spirits had lifted during the talk.

Faith looked up at him and thought, *Damn, he's so sexy. He just lost his father I really shouldn't . . . or should I? Is that what he needs?* Faith stepped forward coyly and told him, as she wrapped her arms around his neck, "You know, last time you helped me overcome something, I think it is time I return the favor. Do you agree?" Zack grinned at her, and then they kissed deeply. "I'll take that as a 'yes'," Faith pronounced with twinkles in her eyes.

"Oh, it's a yes," Zack told her with a smile, and led her into the building. Faith quickly pulled out her phone to call Angel and tell him she wouldn't be home until tomorrow morning.


A few minutes later they were in Zack's room, pulling each other's clothes off, while kissing and playing with each others tongues.

Once Zack was naked on his back on the bed, Faith quickly took his half hard cock into her mouth and sucked on it with pleasure until it was completely hard. Faith grinned at him, wiggling out of her g-string, her last piece of garment. Then she asked, "Condoms?"

Zack smiled, pointed at for Faith the left night stand and said, "Drawer." Faith quickly pulled open the draw and pulled out a spool of condoms. She held it up and with a wide smile looked at Zack questioningly. "Hey, when a girl with your experience writes a virgin he gave her the best sex she's ever had, it boosts his self-confidence. I figured I better make sure I have enough."

With a grin Faith tore off one condom and asked, "I suppose you won't let shy nice girls get the condoms, huh?"

"Not really no. Did it once; she saw the spool, and immediately got all defensive," Zack said, leaning his head on his hand, and watched as Faith put her teeth in the plastic keeping the condom wrapped. She sexily played with her tongue on the plastic before slowly tearing it loose. Zack sighed with anticipation. "I get the condoms myself with them."

As Faith gently pulled out the condom she asked with a dangerous edge, "So, you haven't lied to them to get them in your beds did you? You didn't lead them on thinking they'd get a relationship . . ."

"No such thing," Zack grinned at her, licking his lips that caused a slight reaction in the dark-haired girl. "I may have embellished here, made something up to give them a fantasy there, but they always know beforehand they'll get nothing but one night, then it's their choice. Learned that from you."

Faith grinned, placed the condom on the head of his cock, and started rolling down. While doing that, she asked, "I turned you in a real stud, huh? My gift to women. How many girls have you had?"

Zack had his eyes glued on Faith's hands slowly rolling down the condom and whispered, "Ten, not counting you."

Faith grinned. She positioned herself above the condom-covered cock, and then slowly moved down upon it, moaning with satisfaction as the erection filled her wet and aching cavity. "Oh, yeah," she breathed out. Zack sat up, and started massaging her tits. Then their lips met in a passionate kiss, as Faith started riding him.


Twenty minutes later they lay spooned, sweating, and hugging each other after a very satisfying sex session. "Wow," he whispered, almost disbelieving. "You are so good. You're still the best."

Faith chuckled, and caressed his hair behind her. She felt his lips gently kiss the nape of her neck, and shivers ran down her spine. She smiled, he must have had at least one more teacher that was sure. She felt his left hand gently squeeze her left ass cheek and she closed her eyes, relaxing against him and in his hold.

"May I fuck your ass?" Zack whispered in Faith's ear. She tensed, and her eyes snapped open. He noticed the changed and whispered, "Did they hurt you there?" He didn't know who 'they' were, but he would never forget the girl's admission that she'd been raped the first time, and he was the first she was letting on top. Her plea then to be gentle was etched into his brain.

Faith turned around, removing her defenseless back side away from him, and nodded. "I don't want that," she told him.

Carefully he let his arm flow over her side and to the small of her back. He was getting hard again, thinking of the prospect. "You'd miss a lot of pleasure, I can make it real good," he whispered delicately to the brunette. "I won't hurt you, you know that. If it gets too uncomfortable we'll stop," he told her and give her a light kiss on her lips, and saw her gaze softening. "Only fingers at first, no penis anywhere near you."

Faith contemplated it, remembering getting the butt plug. Although it was mostly to shock her friends, she had been planning to use it for real some day. She had been busy working that part of her very gently with her fingers lately, but hadn't gotten the courage yet to try the plug, and she had always figured, plug first, for real after. Her father and friends had hurt her the most there. She looked into Zack's eyes, and smiled, then nodded. "Be gentle," she whispered.

"Always," he told her and they shared a kiss. "All right," he said, and gave her a light slap on her ass. "Get on your hands and knees beautiful." Faith grinned, and as she watched him get out the bed and retrieve a tube from his desk, she got up on her hands and knees. Zack returned and gently fondled her backside. Faith watched him with apprehension. "Spread your legs a little, Faith, and arch your back." Faith nodded, and did as she was asked, watching Zack coat his right index and middle finger with the lubricant from the tube.

"I'm going to put some on your anus now, Faith. Might be a little cold," Zack explained each step meticulously. Faith nodded looking back at him. He placed a good dollop on her anus and spread it around a bit. "Now relax, Faith. That is the key, relax yourself completely," Zack told her and Faith nodded, trying to do as he said, but not fully succeeding. Zack saw it, and gently started to massage her ass with his left hand as put his right index finger against her anus. "I'm going to circle your anus first, Faith, stimulate it, then I'll very gently push my index finger inside, ok?" Faith nodded as Zack started making circular motions slowly massaging her anus, letting her get used to someone touching her there. "Remember if it hurts, tell me," Zack said, and very gently increased the pressure until the most upper part of his finger pushed inside. "All ok?" Zack asked with a smile. Faith nodded, biting her lower lip. "I'll go further in then," Zack told her and started moving his finger in and out incredibly slowly and with tiny movements. He pushed just a little harder and let his finger go in nail deep. Faith gave a quick moan, and Zack kept his finger there to let her get used to it. His finger made gentle stimulating movements without going deeper. He moved his left hand around, brushing his fingers over her belly, going ever closer to her vagina. "I'm going to stimulate your pussy and clit now, Faith, to get you to relax more, understood?" he said mildly.

"Ok," Faith muttered looking back at him. His fingers reached her pussy and started stroking them. Her lips moistened quickly. When Zack noticed Faith was focusing on the pleasant sensations in her cunt, he gently pushed his finger forward, easily reaching his first knuckle. Faith gasped, and blurted out, "Oooh."

"Painful?" Zack asked, slowing his movements down. Faith shook her head, but she was biting her lip again, and Zack felt she was tensed up. "Just relax," Zack commanded her with a soothing whisper as he increased stimulation to her vagina. After a few seconds of this, when he noticed Faith was relaxing a bit more, he explained to her, "I'm going push my finger in and out now. I'll do it very slowly, so don't panic." Faith nodded, and Zack did as he said he would. The lubricant eased his fingers' way as it reached a little deeper. He pulled it up just a bit and pushed it down again, and continued doing that for a few seconds. He lifted his finger further up then and pushed it back down to the same depth it was before.

"Mmh," Faith blurted out. "That hurt."

Zack felt Faith's ass tightening up, and stopped moving his finger. "We'll wait a bit, let you get accustomed ok?" Zack asked her. If Faith told her to remove his finger he would do so immediately, but gently of course. His left hand and fingers continued to stimulate her vagina. "Relax, Faith. That's the key, remember, relax yourself," Zack advised her. After a few moments and some vagina related moans, he felt Faith's ass relax again. "I'm going to continue, Faith," he said, and very gently started stimulating Faith's ass again. He circled his finger, and pulled it up and down just a little. He felt her relax more and he moved his finger a little more boldly, back up again, and then down. This time Faith just gave a pleasant grunt, and Zack pushed his finger a little lower. He kept it there, halfway between the first and the second knuckle and circled his finger. Then he pulled it up gently and pushed down again, circling his finger.

"Ooh," Faith moaned, Zack slowed down. "No, don't stop," Faith blurted out. Zack understood, and gently continued his motions, pulling up his finger further and pushing it down, very slowly increasing the speed and depth of his motions. Faith moaned and groaned - most were caused by the pleasant sensations coming from her pussy, but a lot were caused by gentle pains from her ass. She still wasn't relaxed enough Zack knew, how to solve that.

Faith gave him the solution when she asked, "Who taught you this? Somehow I doubt you figured this out all by yourself."

Zack grinned as he answered truthfully, "A teacher, she wanted to teach a little more than just film." Faith smiled, and Zack felt her relax a bit more. Suddenly Zack frowned, and Faith saw it, as she constantly looked back at him, needing eye contact. "Unless . . ." Zack said, thinking it over. Then he added with a big goofy smile, "Unless she had hidden cameras and wanted to teach me about candid porn." Faith laughed out loud. His timing had been right: just as his finger was almost at the beginning of her anus she relaxed completely in her laughter. He pulled the finger out, added the middle finger and pushed hard. The fingers, heavily lubricated, easily slid into the now completely relaxed and also lubricated ass. Only when his fingers were in just over two-knuckle-deep did Faith gasp out. Zack stopped pushing right away.

"Sneaky," Faith commented, breathing heavily, and smiling broadly. "If she did, I want a copy."

"I'll ask her, and it was sneaky, wasn't it? But do you see what relaxation brings, how easy it went? Just relax, Faith. Relax completely, give in to your desires," Zack whispered to her with a sexy smile. Faith nodded, breathed in deeply and relaxed totally, tapping into a few meditative techniques. "Ok, here we go again," Zack told her and gently moved his fingers up and down, separating them on occasion to stretch Faith anus just a bit more. He went gentle at first, then a bit more animated, pushing his fingers deeper. Zack increased the stimulation to Faith's clit and cunt in tandem with the stimulation of her ass. Faith moaned, and started moving her pelvis and ass, slowly circling them. Zack noticed and increased his stimulation, and Faith starting moving her ass back and forth a bit as well. She was no longer looking backward, as she was quickly enveloped in the stimulation. Quickly Zack's fingers were reaching maximum depth, and he started ignoring painful yelps and grunts. At first he just slowed down an a bit, but then let them go completely. Faith had reached the point were the gentle, occasional pains only increased her pleasure.

"Oh, god!" Faith gasped out as she bucked back against the two hands. Zack knew he had her when Faith's anal muscles started contracting around his fingers. Smiling he let his fingers do the talking. "Oh, my!" Faith moaned out, her ass was now moving rhythmically. "Oh, yes. Zack, oh, yes, yes, yes, YES, YES. I'M COMING!" Faith's orgasm blasted through her body, blossoming out from ass and cunt and quickly enveloping her completely. She shuddered several times, groaning, her muscles straining, before the climax subsided and she let her face fall into the pillow. She moaned as she felt the fingers being pulled from her ass.

"I'll go wash my fingers, be right back," Zack whispered. Faith nodded contently, catching her breath. Zack grinned, his erection was straining even though he was naked; watching Faith come like that had been an incredible turn on.

When he returned, his hopes soared when he saw Faith leaning on her arms again. Her ass undulated lewdly, her back arched, and she looked over at him, seeing his hard cock. With a smouldering look she said hoarsely, "Fuck me, Zack. Fuck my ass."

Zack smiled broadly and quickly got another condom that he put on right after that. He positioned herself behind her, between her outstretched legs and regarded the beautiful sight before him. Just to be safe he got out the lubrication again, and put another dollop on Faith's ass. The brunette looked over her shoulder at him, her ass undulating, beckoning him on. He placed his cock against her anus then, and slowly pushed inside. He heard Faith groan, and he waited.

"Go on," she told him breathlessly, and he did. Slowly he pushed in further, feeling Faith's ass muscles expanding to let him in, and she grunted her approval. Her grunt was so erotic he lost his self-control momentarily and thrust forward powerfully, forcing his cock another halfway in, thus Faith had three quarters of his cock buried inside. Faith yelped out in pain, and then groaned with satisfaction, pushing back lazily.

"Oh, my god! I'm so sorry!" Zack called out mortified. How could he have done that, with this beautiful, and fragile girl, that had trusted him to give her pleasure where those before only gave pain? "Did I hurt you? I didn't mean to . . . I mean . . ."

"Ssh," Faith said, and turned to look at him. Her right hand left its place on the bed and stroked his chest for a moment. "Yeah, you hurt me. Gave me quite a scare, and some pain there. But it was the good kind." Faith then sexily moved her hand over her right ass cheek, grasping it and gently moved it up and down as she said huskily, "Not many good kinds around, but this one was. Oh, so nice and throbbing, like a million tiny little needles pushing everywhere without piercing flesh. I want it all, Zack. Push it in all the way, please."

Zack didn't think there were any more beautiful words in the world at that moment. He was so glad he hadn't hurt her, that he hadn't betrayed her trust, and then to hear this incredible girl ask him to go all the way. He repositioned himself a little. Faith's right hand returned to the bed, and Faith arched her back again, putting her ass in a better position. Zack reached below her and grasped her breasts, and fondled them. Faith made an approving sound. "Ready?" Zack asked.

Faith nodded, and said, "Yes." Zack moved his hands down, holding Faith tightly by her sides and pushed forward powerfully, but with a steady, mild pace. Faith groaned, grunted, and gasped in satisfaction. Zack felt her anal muscles be forced aside, and smiled at the pleasant sensation. More pleasant was the sensation of Faith pushing back, keeping herself in place, so his cock could spear all the way inside her. Finally his pelvis touched the skin of her ass; he was all the way in. Faith shuddered in pleasure and moaned. They stayed like that for a few seconds, enjoying the feeling of each other. Then Zack slowly pulled back, and then in again, getting an appreciative sound from Faith. He did it again, slowly, and Faith said, "Harder."

Zack complied and sped up his pace, after which he steadily increased the speed of his thrusts. Faith moaned and groaned, occasionally grunted. With every thrust the two came close to climax. Zack realized there was no way he would last long enough to get Faith there. Watching her come the first time had primed him too much. Quickly he reached underneath her and pushed three fingers into her cunt while his thumb found her clit. "OH, YEAH!" Faith shouted in desire, starting to buck back hard on his pistoning rod. Zack sped up the motions of his hand, in turn Faith did the same with her ass. Zack fucked her ass harder in response, the two of them steaming toward their orgasm.

Finally both of them tensed, Zack on a particularly powerful thrust into her tight anal passageway. Faith squealed out as she came powerfully, her whole body determined to milk her partner dry. She succeeded perfectly, for Zack filled his condom with every spurt of sperm he had inside of him. The two of them stayed together like that, tensed up and shuddering, riding out their mutual orgasm. At last, when their mutual climaxes were raged out they collapsed forward, Zack stayed buried inside of her.

After some seconds Zack had caught his breath, and he had the discipline to pull out of Faith's heavenly backside, and put the condom in the trash bin. Then the two went to sleep in each other's arms.

Episode 33: Corruption

Xander came out of the Gravity Gym and immediately looked up. Something tucked on his senses, something horrible.

"You feel it to huh, Xander?" Willow asked from the kitchen.

"More like I don't feel it," Xander told her with a frown. "It's there, but it's not a demon, or god, it's more like a black hole. A place devoid of energy. It's powerful, and becoming more so."

Willow nodded giving him a smirk, and beckoned him over. In the living room she opened her laptop and activated it with a wave of her hand. Then with a point an e-mail appeared on the screen. "Giles sent this," Willow told Xander, who sat down next to her. "It's apparently from the same prophet that wrote the 'Destroyer of Prophecies' one." Xander read it.

'The source of your release you will defeat,
An ordinary man, once not so ordinary, will wield you,
Thus you will save the Blessed Four,
Fail, and death will follow you,
Hollow be thy name,
Power is thy game,
Beware of its corruption,
For from it, will come destruction.'

Xander checked out the direction from which the disturbing sensation came from. "I take it the Blessed Four are the once three, now four Charmed Ones?"

"You feel where it comes from, who else?" Willow asked with a grin. "I don't know about you, Xan, but this Hollow thing sounds exactly like what we're feeling, and this prophecy doesn't sound so solid about what will come: good or bad. I've done a little research, apparently this Hollow was sealed away by factions of light and darkness because neither could face it alone, and it would have snuffed out everything."

"You think we should butt our heads in?" Xander asked with a grin.

Willow smirked back, "They're witches, I'm a witch, you they already now. We're best friends since kindergarten; I say, we go take a look."

Xander smiled at her, and asked, "You sure this isn't about meeting some idols, get some autographs, see if one of them is gay?"

Willow grinned back, "Well . . . that certainly didn't tell me to stay away."

Xander grinned, reaching out his hand, "Let's go then, we should leave a letter, tell everyone what we're doing."

Willow closed her lap top, and pointed her finger at the kitchen. A pen floated up to the post-it notes, and started writing. "Done," she said, and Xander grinned.

Outside he transformed into the golden super warrior and then slung his arm around Willow's waist. "Ready?" he asked.

"Go!" she said with a wide smile, and Xander blasted off with great speed. Willow looked around and saw the trees, ground and pushes shoot along her - they had already passed Sunnydale. "Woooooooww!" Willow yelled out with glee. She herself would never be able to go this fast, not while still being able to see everything she passed by. "This is so awesome! Faster Xan!"

"Ok," Xander told her, and the energy grew. Electrical discharges added to the glow as he reached the second level, and suddenly they shot forward with far greater speed.


Down in the underworld a now perfectly human Cole stood in front of a black woman, who introduced herself as the Seer.

"The Source has gone insane," the Seer said deadly serious. "He has released the Hollow and it has already started corrupting him. He will be destroyed by it, it will consume him, and then everything will be destroyed, good, bad, all of it. I saw it, I had vision of absolutely nothing, unless . . ."

"Unless what?" Cole asked wary.

"Unless the power is taken from him, and the Hollow is locked away," the Seer told him with a grave face.

"How are we going to do that? He already has three of the Charmed Ones' powers," he asked the Seer not letting his eyes leave the woman.

"The Hollow," the Seer said picking up a black box with markings on it. "I place it in you, and you can take the powers back, then we lock the Hollow up, and they will return to the Charmed Ones."

"What's in it for you?" Cole asked, knowing she would never do this unless she had something to gain.

The woman walked over with the box, and said, "My continued existence, there isn't a greater self gain than that, don't you think?" Cole nodded. "Will you help your precious witch or not?"

"Do it," Cole said, hoping there wasn't a catch he couldn't see. The woman opened the box, and what looked like a swarm of black flies entered Cole through his eyes, nose, and mouth.


The Charmed Ones ran up the stair of their manor, pulling the wounded Piper along. The Source was right behind them. They had tried a spell to summon their powers back, instead it summoned the being that now had it: the Source.

"Shit," Prue cursed as they reached the second story, and Piper's foot got hooked behind a stair case. Paige lifted the foot and they managed to go on.

Paige blurted out with irritation, "When we survive this, I'm putting Piper on a diet."

"Oh, this is so not good," Phoebe said with a jolt, then continued running up the stairs, dragging along Piper opposite of Prue, who was doing the same.

"What?" Prue asked as they reached the attic, as an fireball exploded just above Paige's head.

"Faster," the youngest sister urged the others.

"The Sedra Soli, and unless he decides to pass us by, he's coming straight here," Phoebe said with urgency, dragging Piper into the attic.

Prue went for the crystals once they had Piper in the middle. "We can't fight them both," she said in fear.

"We can't even fight one, either of them," Paige told the others, as she caught two crystals thrown to her by Phoebe.

The Source arrived and casually, and arrogantly strolled into attic. "He's here," Phoebe said with dread.

"Nice of you to announce me," the Source said to her with an arrogant smile as he powered a fire ball in his right hand.

"Not you, asshole," Phoebe told him as Piper stirred and moaned somewhat. Phoebe told Paige, "He's powered down now."

The Source looked confused for a moment, then smiled, "Nice try." He threw the fire ball. Phoebe avoided it and used her levitation power to fly forward and kicked the source backward.

The source landed on his back, and Prue told him in his face, "You should have counted." She placed to crystals near him and quickly joined her other sisters. Paige and Phoebe had placed the other three crystals on the points of a pentagram, and suddenly powerful streaks of lightning arched from crystal to crystal, and an energy field flowed in between them.

"Power of three spell," Prue called, and the three witches still standing joined together. Prue pulled out a paper and they started chanting the words.

The Source touched the energy field, recoiled a bit and then grinned. "Crystal," he said, and one crystal dissolved into blue light and formed on his hand. The energy field disappeared. "Spell," he said and the paper dissolved in the same way reforming on his hand, after which it burned up.

"Oh, shit!" Paige said looking at the horrific visage of the source. "Please tell me you memorized it."

The Source laughed harder, and formed a fireball. "I have some power of my own," he said and threw the ball. At exactly that time Cole appeared in the corner of the attic and ran for Prue, Paige and Phoebe. Right on time he reached the three, the fireball impacted on him and then simply disappeared.

"What?" the Source muttered. The witches including a now much more lucent Piper looked at Cole in similar astonishment.

At that moment the sky turned black outside, lightning flashed and thunder rolled. The window burst open, and a powerful wind gushed into the attic as Willow, hands outstretched, eery black eyes, floated into view. "IT'S FINALLY HERE!" Willow thundered.

Everybody looked at the fearful vision, while Phoebe whispered, "Oh, shit."

"Sedra Soli?" Paige asked swallowing hard, all of them rooted to the ground as Willow floated into the attic.

"No, that just his company," Phoebe said, and then Xander came into a view as he floated upward, following Willow inside.

Prue's jaw dropped. "That's the guy who destroyed Shacks."

Xander smirked, and zeroed in on Cole, then pointed at the source. "Willow, please contain him, I'll take him later," he said calmly.

"Right, Xan," Willow said, and shot a bolt of green lightning at the startled source. He was flung back immediately. Willow kept the bolt going and pulled the demon off the floor. She whispered a spell eerily and then the bolt of energy transformed into several green rings of plasma that kept the Source immobilized and powerless.

Xander in the mean time reached Cole and pulled him aside. He looked straight into his eyes with a grin, and then his chi flame erupted, enveloping both of them. "Come on, I know you're in there. You want the power don't you? Then come and get it."

"No!" Prue yelled out, advancing on Xander and Cole. "You can't give it that kind of power!" She then bumped into a shield. "The Hollow will destroy you, and then everything!" She looked up at Willow, into those frightening black eyes. She was the one who had erected the shield.

"We're here saving your butts, and you're trying to stop us? Whose side are you on?" Willow growled at them, getting angry.

"Piper, get a spell," Paige called out.

As Piper got up and went to the book, Phoebe said, "That might not be such a . . ." That's how far she came as the book flew up and landed into Willow's hands, and the Charmed Ones were flung aside, and got pinned against the right wall with an energy field. Xander in the meantime was still trying to lure the Hollow out of Cole.

"You can't do this," Prue started talking to Willow, trying to get through to her fellow witch. "The black magic will consume you! You must help us stop him. The Hollow can't be destroyed, it can't be stopped. If it gets that much energy it will destroy the whole world."

Willow laughed, and pointed a finger at Prue. A lightning bolt struck from it, and caused the Halliwell witch to writhe in pain. "There is no black or light magic, and it will not consume me. God, you call yourselves witches? You're a bunch of rookies. You don't understand magic at all, and you are supposed to be the most powerful witches who have ever lived and will live?" Willow laughed again. "You are pathetic."

A few meters away Xander had his hands on either side of Cole, who had no idea what to do, so he stayed silent. "Come on, you know you want it, you like energy don't you?" Xander taunted and then decided to back up a few steps. "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty," Xander said, taking another step his tantalizing energy threatening to disappear. Suddenly Cole went rigid and the black mass flew out of his nose, eyes and mouth. Xander grinned and the Hollow flew over, and then entered him the same way it had entered Cole. He stiffened for a few moments as the Hollow invaded his being.

"Don't you understand!" Paige yelled out in desperation, as Prue continued to shudder under Willow's power. "It will destroy the world, all of it, good, evil . . . oh, my, they perfectly understand, this is how he's going to do it. He'll destroy the world using the Hollow."

Willow snorted, and then expanded the single bolt to become four and hurt all four witches. "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND HIS POWER! AND NEITHER HE NOR I WANT TO DESTROY THE WORLD! We're here to save your butts, fools."

Cole dropped back and to the floor as he watched Xander take in the Hollow. Then he got up and stretched for a moment. He moved his head from side to side, crackling his bones as they realigned themselves. Then he screamed, and his energy flared up, and the golden aura erupted around him, his hair standing up golden, and his eyes in and in green.

"No, not you!" the Source muttered in fair, recognizing Xander now, and tried in vain to get loose from his bonds. Cole looked astonished at the golden figure. Willow had stopped her assault to look at Xander, and the Charmed Ones looked slack jawed, no longer did only Phoebe feel it, the energy was almost like a physical presence, prickling there skin like static electricity.

But Xander wasn't finished yet. His power rose, his hair stood up, electric discharges formed, and then with an eruption he reached the second level. "Oh, my god," Phoebe said, looking and Xander her sixth sense allowing her to fathom on a whole other level just how much power Xander was exuding. Cole was backing away from golden figure and looked at Xander with astonishment and fear.

Slowly Xander turned to face the Source and walked up to him, bathing him in Xander's golden aura. Xander waved his hand and fired a small energy blast easily destroying the green energy bands. The Source stood up and was engulfed in flames, and reappeared right where he was before. The Source looked up, and Xander smirked. "Something wrong? Too much energy to teleport through?"

In a terrified rage the Source threw a fireball, and it connected with Xander. Xander laughed. "Is that all you've got?" he told the Source. The Source looked at his hand with surprise. Hadn't the Hollow taken his power away? Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, he started firing fireball after fireball. Xander just laughed harder. The Source stopped, and Xander told him, "That actually tickled."

The Source waved his hand, using Prue's telekinesis but nothing happened. Then the Source shook both his hands at Xander, and again, and again. Nothing happened. "That didn't even tickle," Xander told the demon with a smirk.

Xander smirked, opened his palm and formed an energy ball. The Source saw it, felt it, and knew how much power it possessed. He looked up at Xander's smirking face. "No," he pleaded once.

"Yes," Xander answered and fired the ball. It impacted, and pierced the source's body. Then it exploded, and engulfed the source in energy from the inside out, completely vaporizing him. The three witches whose powers were stolen jerked as they were returned to them. Xander let his chi flame disappear, and he stood there calmly surveying the scene.

"We've got our powers back. I can orb us out of here, grab me," Paige quietly urged her sisters. Phoebe looked at Cole once, vowed she would come back for him, and grabbed onto her sisters. The sisters dissolved into energy, but before they could reappear somewhere else Willow snarled. A whip of energy uncoiled from her hand and slung around the blue orbs of energy. With a yank, Willow threw the whip over her hand, and the sisters crashed to the floor.

"Uh, oh," Prue mumbled.

Willow snarled, "Did you really think you could escape me that easily!" She mumbled a spell again, and all the Charmed Ones were enveloped by the green plasma rings. "You little ungrateful bitches!" Willow hissed, and lanced energy spikes into the four witches. "I will make you pay!" Willow growled out. Her hair started whipping about small electric discharges flying through them. The witches screamed out in pain. "No understanding of magic, a bunch of rookies bungling along. Weak pathetic fools who think they can play with magic; you are dangerous. I should strip you of all your power just to keep people safe!"

Xander watched Willow's tirade, saw her gleefully torture the witches, one of whom was already wounded. This was so far more than keeping them from interfering, so far more than just learning a few witches a lesson. Willow enjoyed making them hurt, making them feel inadequate, powerless, useless. He remembered Dawn's words, and realized with pain in his heart that she had been right; Willow was corrupted. The prophecy, came to him then: from corruption came destruction - Willow was the corruption, and he was the destruction that had come from her - the Hollow's destruction. But there wasn't anything he could do about that now. He would have to wait until after they returned to Sunnydale. "WILLOW!" he called with a commanding voice. Willow stopped her tirade and looked and Xander, and then smiling at him as if nothing was the matter. Xander felt like bugs were crawling up his spine at that moment. "Don't you think they've had enough?" Xander asked her sternly.

Willow looked back down at the writhing witches, contemplating. "I suppose you've got a point," Willow said, and let the bolts of energy disappear, and then so did the plasma rings. "Don't try to leave again," Willow warned. The exhausted witches nodded their heads, understanding that they couldn't get away, so they just tried to catch their breath.

Willow and Xander at once turned around to face the new arrival when they felt her demonic presence. The Seer looked around, shocked. None of this had been in any of her visions. "Who the hell are you?" Xander asked coldly.

"She's the Seer," Cole piped up, getting his wit back, as outside the thunderstorm continued to rage. "She put the Hollow in me, said she had a vision were everything destroyed, a vision of nothing."

"Yes," the Seer said, an undercurrent of nervousness running through her voice. "And we should put the Hollow back where it came from quickly."

Xander laughed, sending chills down the Seer's spine. "I'm sorry, but there is no more Hollow. I offered it my energy, and I gave all of it. It couldn't handle even a small part of it, digestive problems, and I just kept stuffing my energy down its throat; it's destroyed." The Seer took a step back nervously as Xander gave her a giant grin. "Your vision of nothing after this point, is because you won't survive after this point." The Seer's eyes widened, by which time Xander's energy ball had reached her and vaporized her and the box.

The storm outside grew worse suddenly, far worse. Xander looked at Willow who shrugged. Everyone but Xander and Willow - who calmly took it in stride - looked stunned as a lightning blast flashed through the window and from it came an enraged god. His bright red hair was kept in a wild main, his eyes were a piercing orange, and his skin was purplish in color. "I am Tawhaki, god of thunder and lightning and good health!" he screamed out with indignation. "Why would you fellow god encroach upon my domain!? This was bestowed upon me! You could have asked if your desires were convenient! I HAD PLANS GOING!!"

The Charmed Ones and Cole looked on with disbelief. Xander stepped forward grinning ferally. "I'm not a god." Tawhaki looked surprised: how could a non-god have so much power. "I'm sure playing the ultimate real life version of The Sims is addictive, but you really should have kept up with the times more. I'm the Sedra Soli."

Tawhaki's eyes widened for a moment, then laughed, "Yeah, right." Instantly Xander was with him, and smashed his knee into the irritating god's stomach who doubled over in pain.

As Xander flew out the window with the god, Willow followed them with a smirk. Xander started talking as they still flew. "Last time I fought your kind I didn't go all out, I'm not doing that now, 'cause I'm really not in the mood to play." Xander hammered the god to the pavement and started the transformation to the third level.

Willow had gotten outside as well, the Charmed Ones reached the window and looked on in astonishment. "Paige," Prue suddenly ordered. "Go downstairs and heal Leo." Paige nodded and quickly ran downstairs.

The remaining witches continued to watch in fascination. The god was down on the ground and the Sedra Soli was hunched over. "AAAHHHH!" Phoebe suddenly screamed out, and staggered back, holding her head. "OH, NOO! NOT AGAIN! PLEEEAAASSSEE!" the witch screamed in horror and pain, holding her head. Cole was next to her instantly holding her in an embrace. Willow saw the event and shook her head in disgust - so weak she couldn't even handle a power up.

In the mean time Xander had finished his transformation: his eyebrows were gone, his brows had extended, his eyes had gained a slightly darker green pupil, his hair almost reached his knees, and was waving about, his aura was more intense, and the lightning discharges in his aura happened almost constantly now. "BASTARD!!" Tawhaki screamed out as he flew up from the crater his impact had created and threw a powerful punch, that Xander easily grabbed in his left hand.

"I hate you sickening Powers That Be," Xander told the surprised Tawhaki. "I'm going destroy you all, light and darkness, and I'll have fun doing it."

The Charmed Ones looked at each other at that.

With a smash, Xander rammed his fist through the god's chest, and then ripped out spine and heart. He threw it behind him, and kicked the remainder of the god backward. Xander turned around and vaporized the heart and spine with a blast. He turned back to the shocked remnant of the god and stretch both hands toward him. "Bye, bye!" Xander greeted it with an intense gaze. A powerful ball of energy streaked toward the broken god, exploded and scattered the god's remains throughout the atmosphere.

"Let's go, Willow," Xander said as he powered down to level two. "We've got to get home."

"That was so cool," Willow commented at the destroyed god. She reached Xander, and put an arm around his waist. Then Xander blasted off, not wanting Willow longer around the witches and Cole, too afraid her apparent hate for them would come out again.

"He only destroyed the Hollow so it wouldn't destroy the Earth first," Piper stated, wavering in her stance, heavily leaning on her arms. Paige and Leo arrived behind them, Leo walked over to his wife and started healing her. "Saving our butts, my ass," she added as her husband's healing touch came in effect.

"He said it himself, he's going to destroy us all," Prue said darkly as Leo healed her of the wounds inflicted on her by Willow. Phoebe looked at Cole with raised eyebrows, and mouthed, 'I'm not so sure.' Cole nodded.


Somewhere in the desert outside of Sunnydale, at around the same time, three people stood. "Two meters tall, three long, and two wide," Andrew commented on the rock about twenty meters away from them. "SSI unit of course, wouldn't want us to look like simpletons," he added with an evil grin.

Warren stood next to him, and grinned back. Warren had a contraption with a nuzzle strapped to his right arm. Red energy pulsed through it metal interior. "Plasma technology, tied onto a mini particle accelerator, Pulsar demon heart as a power source and magic to graft the stuff together," Warren commented with a grin, patting the gun like a baby.

"We know, we built the damn thing," Jonathan told him with irritation. "Can we get on with this?"

Warren grinned. "Patience Jonathan, one should savor one's genius, right Andrew."

"Oh, yeah," Andrew added.

Warren then pushed a button and the gun activated with a smooth wine. Warren pointed the gun at the rock and fired. A bolt of orange red plasma shot from the gun, and impacted almost immediately on the rock. The trio shielded themselves with their arms, as a powerful explosion pulverized the rock into a billion little pieces, some of which landed at the trio's feet. They straightened up and Warren looked at the gun.

"I think that is what they call a successful test," Warren said, watching the plume of smoke and fire quickly dissipate with maniacal wide eyes . "Boys, now we have the same fire power as the slayer, time to get the physical power." Andrew grinned, and then laughed, while Jonathan just gave a nervous smile.


The Bronze
The next night

Xander waited at the table with a troubled look, finally Buffy and Dawn arrived. "What do you want?" Buffy bit at Xander.

Xander sighed, and then looked at Dawn. "Why did you bring her?"

"Perhaps I wanted a referee," Buffy answered with barely contained anger. Dawn chose not to attack Xander for his insensitive comment about her, she knew bigger things were at stake, and she was pretty sure what it was about: Willow.

"I have a date later on," Dawn cut in. For a moment Buffy looked angrily at her sister.

"You might as well be here, sit down," Xander told Buffy and Dawn. Dawn complied, Buffy stayed standing suspiciously. "Will you please sit down?"

Buffy complied and asked, "So what's this about? Want to rub me even more into the fact that you don't like me?"

"We're friends damn it, I love you, I won't rub your nose into anything," Xander told her intensely. Buffy wanted to continue but Xander cut her off. "Dawn, you were completely right. Willow's been corrupted, she's not playing on the right team anymore."

Dawn crossed her hands across her chest, and told him, "I told you so."

"What are you two talking about?" Buffy asked with narrowed eyes.

Dawn showed Buffy the healing welt, and said, "Willow did that." Buffy looked at it.

"Yesterday we were helping those so called Charmed Ones," Xander started explaining with a grim look. "They didn't understand, they thought the thing I came to destroy would consume me, tried to stop me from doing it. Willow kept them away while I did my thing, but she did much more than that. She hurt them, practically tortured them. She would have killed them. One of them was even already wounded, and still she attacked them all. She liked it, enjoyed it, she did it nothing short of gleefully. And they weren't demons, some bunch of evil people, or even criminals, they were good guys, on our side, fighting the good fight against the demons, and Willow hurt them as if they were cattle."

Buffy looked at Xander, then shook her head. "First attack me, now . . ."

Bam! Dawn's hand slammed on top of Buffy's once again showing the welt. Dawn had enough of it. She hadn't been able to convince Xander but she wasn't going to let Buffy slip through her fingers. "She did this," Dawn said forcefully, pointing at the welt. She stared into Buffy's eyes intensely, once the blonde looked up again. "She raped Tara's mind. Xander is #not# making this up." Buffy blinked and then looked back at Xander for a moment, and then nodded in understanding.

"The reason why we're here," Xander told his friends with a piercing gaze. "What are we going to do about her? How do we get our old Willow back . . . providing we can?"

"What if we can't?" Dawn asked fearfully, and looked into Xander's blank emotionless stare. "Oh," Dawn said in understanding.

"You don't think . . ." Buffy choked up, she didn't know if she had the stomach to kill Willow, which Xander had implied. "We . . . I . . ." Buffy was silent for a moment, starting an uncomfortable quiet for the three of them. "Should we do some kind of intervention? Like with drug addicts or something?" Buffy asked fear for her friend in her voice.

Xander was about to say 'I don't know', hoping his friends had an answer, when Willow's laugh had interrupted them. She must have masked her life force, or disguised it. "Well, well, well," the redhead said with a sneer. "I knew it. Buffy and Dawn leaving together just couldn't be good. You really are a little bitch, aren't you, Buffy? What's the matter? I'm more powerful than you now, so you're jealous, is that it?"

Xander answered the witch whose eyes started to darken, "It's not about the power, Willow. It's never about the power; it's about what you do with the power. If I hadn't stopped you yesterday, Willow, you would have killed them."

Willow laughed at that. "Oh, boohoo. You know what, Xander, screw you. I can do whatever the hell I want with my power. It's great. Ms. Stuck Up, Bitch here - who couldn't care less about me before I had some power of my own, apart from a shoulder to cry on and someone to complain to about 'Oh, the guys and mom don't understand my feelings, but you do, don't you Willow? They don't understand how romantic a Slayer and a Vampire is, and ooh, that cold dead skin and those fangs are so sexy' - and Mr. Look I'm An Alien But Never Bothered To Tell - who liked to chase after blondie here, and once that infatuation was over it was time to Chase Miss Popular, and couldn't give me the light of day - will no longer control my life. I do now, #absolutely#, and nobody tells me what to do. You no longer decide what's right or wrong for me!"

Xander and Buffy were a little shocked. Willow's tirade had cores of truth in them, but most of it was bullshit, or at least completely skewed. Dawn was thus the one who answered first. "This isn't about what's right or wrong for you Willow, it's about what's right and wrong for the people you'll hurt and kill along your right way."

"Look, the ball of energy speaks," Willow said with an evil grin, and her eyes turned pitch black. "Want to be one again?" Willow pointed her hand and a bolt of lightning fired from it. Dawn raised her chi, but was much too late to keep herself from being flung back until she smacked into the wall next to the entrance. Willow kept the energy bolt intact, hurting Dawn with glee. "Nobody tells me what to do anymore. I control my life, no one else!" The people inside the Bronze screamed out in panic and started to run for exits.

Xander flung into action and smashed his arm through the energy bolt, stopping it. His chi flame erupted, and so did Buffy's. "Touch my sister again, and I will kill you!" Buffy hissed out in anger.

Willow laughed, and a beam of energy shot from Willow's stomach and enveloped Buffy, lifting the slayer of the ground effortlessly. Buffy was shocked as pain lanced through her body, no matter what she did, it wasn't enough to break Willow's grip. She felt herself be pushed into a small ball. "You're nothing to me anymore, Buffy. Should've paid attention, I'm much more powerful than you now." The beam broke apart as Xander placed himself in it dropping Buffy to the floor. Willow more powerful than her?

While this was happening, Dawn shook her head and groaned in pain. Li-Huei who had come into the Bronze earlier than the date required him to be, was just in time to see Dawn fly through the air and smack into the wall. He quickly went to her. "Dawn!" he called, and the brunette slowly opened her eyes to look at him. She smiled as she pushed herself up.

"Li, get people out, everyone, open the emergency exits, get them all out, or they'll get hurt or worse," Dawn said to him with urgency, and slung an arm around his shoulder for momentary support.

"Hey, I can help," Li said, his male pride somewhat hurt.

"Yes, by getting people out, I'll be doing the same," Dawn answered him urgently. "Now go, and stay outside yourself, don't come back in here. Please, just trust me." He nodded after a moment's hesitation and then left to do what Dawn told him to do, finding the emergency exits and leading people out, while Dawn went to do the same on the opposite side of the room, closer to the three most powerful beings in Sunnydale ready to fight it out, amongst screaming people trampling over others to get to an exit.

The people gave the light emitting people a wide birth, giving Xander, Willow, and Buffy - who was getting up again - an eye in the storm to stand in. "So, are you going to kill me now, Xander? Is that it? I could get stronger than you, so I've got to go?"

"Again, this isn't about your power, it's about your use of it, and if I have to, I will," Xander told the dark-eyed girl, whose hair was whipping about in her power, electric discharges crackling around her hair.

Willow grinned, and stretched out her hand. Suddenly Xander felt his wind pipe being crushed as he lifted off the floor. "What's the matter, Xan? I thought you liked Star Wars?" Willow asked almost pleasantly, as the club emptied.

"Let him go!" Buffy yelled at her best friend.

"Don't tell me what to do! You don't control me anymore!" Willow shouted hysterically, shooting a lightning bolt at Buffy who deflected the bolt with extreme difficulty, forcing her several meters backward.

Xander in the mean time tried to gasp for air but he couldn't. Willow's grasp effectively cut him off from air, air he desperately needed to tap into his power. His body shuddered at the lack of air, and started to go limp. Then somewhere in his mind, Xander got angry, and more angry, so angry about his impending death that his eyes turned green. Without consciously willing it, he transformed, his power erupting around him, easily breaking Willow's hold and flinging her backward. Floating in air, Xander took a deep breath and then looked at the rising Willow. She didn't stop rising once she was on her feet. She float upward until she was at about Xander's height.

"I think you've forgotten just how powerful I am, Willow," Xander growled at the redhead.

Buffy stood next to Xander and pleaded, "Willow, please stop this!"

Willow grinned at Buffy before looking at the golden-hued Xander. "I don't have to defeat you, Xander," Willow told calmly him with an eery smile. "I just have to kill you to get your need to control me away from me. And I think I can kill you without being as powerful as you."

The Bronze was cleared, only Dawn was still near an exit, and she had to add something to the conversation. "I'm pretty certain you're the one with the control issues, Will," she called to Willow out loud.

Willow whipped her head around, and then smirked evilly at Dawn. The girl widened her eyes, as Willow pointed her right index finger at her, and a bolt of energy lanced from it, wrapping itself around Dawn. Dawn's defenses were easily overcome, and then suddenly the bolt was gone. Tara entered the Bronze through the exit, appearing next to Dawn and smiled and nodded at the other girl. "Go Dawn," she said softly. Dawn nodded with a smile and ran out the Bronze. Buffy called out Tara's name with surprise.

The blonde witch walked serenely into the empty bronze, her hair whipped up with her own energy. Electric charges started crackling through her hair, like Willow, but Tara's were a deep marine blue, the same color that now glowed in her eyes. "Well, look here," Willow sneered with anger. "If it isn't Miss Goody Two Shoes herself. Wanted to join the mass grave, bitch? Or do you think you can continue controlling me like the little innocent puppeteer you thought you were? Do you actually think you have the power to stop me?"

[play Willow and Tara Fight Theme] "I don't, but I don't need it. I won't let you hurt our friends, Willow," Tara told her with calm certainty.

Willow laughed. "'Our friends'? Don't you mean 'my friends'?" she asked with a sneer.

Off to the side Buffy grabbed Xander's right arm and whispered, "I think we should let them fight it out, Xan." Xander looked at her, about to protest, and then nodded.

"You are not their friend anymore, Willow. But they certainly still are yours," Tara answered calmly.

"BITCH!" Willow raged and rained several energy bolts at Tara, who avoided them all, then sent one of her own upward that connected.

Willow yelled out her indignation. Tara joined Willow in her the air and rammed a fist in Willow's stomach. The redhead doubled over, looking surprised. For all their magic training, neither Witch had increased their ability to take a fist to their gut. Tara grabbed Willow's head, and her hands started to glow. Willow screamed in anger as she realized what Tara wanted to do. As she opened her mouth a black bolt of energy shot from it and flung Tara backward until she crashed into the wall. Pain blossomed through the blonde's back. Her eyes widened as she saw Willow's face burning with anger, and charged a powerful ball of energy between her hands, mumbling a spell. The blackish purple ball of energy pulsed angry and shot forward. Tara herself flew forward and charged a gleaming white shield of energy in front herself, and deflected the magic ball down to the ground, where a piece of floor just simply disappeared into nothing.

Tara still flew forward and grabbed Willow by her hair. The redhead screamed at the pain and returned the favor. The two witches started pulling and scratching, kicking the other like two untrained girls, screaming out at each other. Willow was stronger and pushed the blonde down until she lay on the bar of the club. Willow grabbed her former lover's throat and started to squeeze her fingers, which glowed with an orange unholy energy. With some difficulty Tara managed to get her feet under Willow and then with all her might kicked the redhead off of her, giving the witch an extra boost by charging her feet with energy.

Willow stopped her tumbling movement, and looked around. Tara was gone. Suddenly she turned to her left, and fired an energy bolt directly into a suddenly visible Tara. She writhed in pain. "You think you could fool me that easily?" Willow yelled out with anger.

"No," Tara answered, as she phased into view right behind Willow. The illusion of her disappeared, and Tara slammed her glowing hands into the sides of Willow's head. The redheaded witch screamed in agony as Tara's energy slammed into her mind. "Like that, Willow? That's only a fraction of what I felt when you tried to rape my mind. I will #not# let you hurt them, Willow, even if I have to kill you. I will #not# let your hurt Dawn."

Willow forced herself to focus and then kicked out backward with both feet, catching Tara in the stomach. The blonde doubled over in pain as Willow turned around and flew backward, putting some distance between her and Tara. With a yell born from rage, Willow flung green bolts of energy at the doubled over Tara. The bolts reached Tara just as she straightened up and enveloped her, encasing the blonde witch with power rings of green energy. Tara felt her energy being contained, and pain lancing through her body and spirit, as the plasma rings did their insidious work on her. For a few moments she panicked trying to break the rings, but quickly realized that was futile, it would only do its work on her faster, so she relaxed.

Willow grinned evilly as she saw Tara go limp. "NOW YOU DIE!" Willow snarled and pointed her hands at her. Willow hesitated when she saw Tara smile, and then her eyes widened in shock as the plasma bands were sucked into Tara's body and disappeared.

"Thanks for the pick me up, Willow," Tara told her former lover serenely.

"That's not possible," Willow whispered shocked.

Tara nodded her head in disappointment. "You never really understood magic, Willow." And then Tara started mumbling something in Sumerian, and slowly raised her hands. Willow looked left and right, trying to figure out what Tara was doing. Suddenly the wooden floor came to life, as if the tree had suddenly been revived, the same happened to the wooden beams of the sealing. They suddenly snaked out, too fast for Willow to counter, and the branches - with leaves and all - wrapped themselves tightly around the redhead.

Tara sighed, and wondered what to do now. Did she really need to kill Willow now? Was there anyway to reach her still? Suddenly Willow's struggling ceased and then she screamed out in rage. The branches caught fire and quickly burned up, as a sphere of fire surrounded the captive Willow. With the club back to normal, Willow was not. Her black eyes seemed to burn. A flame, not of life force, but actual fire surrounded the angry witch, who seemed to be ablaze herself even though she wasn't.

"BITCH!" Willow screeched. "I'll teach you a thing or two about magic!" She flung several powerful fireballs at Tara. The blonde's eyes widened, but quickly did what needed to be done. Water from the faucets in the toilets suddenly came shooting into the main room and enveloped the blonde in a sphere of cold water. The fireballs were harmlessly snuffed out. Blinded with rage, Willow flung herself forward, through Tara's water shield and smashed into her former lover. The two flung onward and crashed through the doors of the night club, which shattered at their power. Xander and Buffy looked at each other for just a moment and then raced after them. They quickly found Dawn, who was being supported by her possible boyfriend, and then looked at the grappling witches.

As Willow and Tara struggled with each other on the road, the fire and water quickly snuffed each other out, leaving only the two witches rolling around, scratching each other and pulling hair. Finally after several seconds Willow managed to kick Tara away and then get up. "THAT'S IT!" Willow yelled, building up her power. She spoke a spell and fired a powerful beam of energy at Tara.

To Willow's surprise Tara merely waved her hands, spoke a spell of her own, and when the energy beam hit, Tara jerked once, and then stood relaxed. Willow's beam was being absorbed by Tara, and when Willow wanted to stop the beam, nothing happened. Tara pointed, spoke some more magical words and suddenly more magical energy was siphoned from Willow through the energy beam with visible pulses. "No!" Willow called out in horror. Tara spoke another spell, and four beams of energy shot out from her torso and embedded themselves in Willow's body and started sucking more energy from the red-haired witch. Tara was gaining more and more energy, becoming more and more powered up, and Willow lost hers rapidly, her black eyes regained their real color bit by bit.

[stop Willow and Tara Fight Theme]

To the remaining Scooby Gang it was obvious the fight was over. Tara had won. After Dawn assured Li-Huei, and convinced him to stay where he was, she, Xander, and Buffy walked over to the couple of witches. When they reached the two, Willow sank to her knees wide-eyed, and that's when Tara broke off the energy beams. Willow collapsed further, and the group looked at her with sad eyes.

Tara walked over to Willow and placed a foot on the other girl's throat. Willow looked shocked. "What now, Willow? I took most of you power in me! I'm now more powerful than you are. Does that mean I should kill you know? Rape you? Enslave you? Do whatever the hell I want with you? Just because I have more power than you? WELL?!" Willow looked at her with hatred and spat at her face. Tara easily avoided it. She turned around and walked away from her, shaking her head.

"She's no real threat anymore," Tara told the others calmly. "I siphoned away most of her power, it'll take her weeks to regain her full strength. Beware though, she still has enough to kill a normal person, or you unguarded."

Xander stepped forward, and looked down at what remained of his friend. An angry little girl without hardly any, if at all, moral judgement. He shook his head, "I wish I had seen it earlier, Willow. Look at you. 'Might makes right?' 'I do whatever I want to?' You're hardly any better than the bastards we're fighting. Should I kill you, Willow? Consider you one of them?"

Willow seemed shocked for just a moment, then she screamed out, "Fuck you!" She started drawing on what little was left of her energy and stood up. "Fuck all of you! I'll get my power back, and then some!! Trust me! I will kill you all for . . ." Willow's voice faltered, now that most of her anger was ebbed away with her defeat she couldn't really see what she wanted to kill them for.

"If you want to kill me, Willow, then go ahead," Xander said, taking a step forward. His golden hair disappeared and he lowered his chi. "Right here, but do it cold-bloodedly, no 'I was defending myself' later."

"Fine!" Willow said, drawing back, getting ready to fire. Tara turned around, ready to intervene.

"No, stay out of this, Tara," Xander told the blonde witch. She nodded and took a step back, but was ready for it if Willow actually fired. Like she said, she would not let Willow hurt anyone.

Buffy suddenly took a step forward, unexpectantly and told Willow, "You'll have to kill me first, Will." Willow's lower lip trembled, as she hesitated. She looked at Buffy, her best female friend.

"You'll have to kill me too," Dawn added and stood in front of Xander next to Buffy.

Willow looked at Buffy's sister, really looked at the strong, young woman she had become. They wouldn't let her do what she wanted to do. They wouldn't let her control, they had to die, didn't they? She took a step back with the emotions warring inside of her, but still prepared the energy blast.

"What happened to you, Willow?" Xander asked sadly, drawing Willow's look to him. "We used to lie around in my room, read my comics. Remember Spiderman? 'With great power comes great responsibility.' You, me and Jesse used to debate for hours the use of power. How can that girl that helped teach me so much about using power turn out like this? Just throwing it around like it's nothing? Wanting to kill people just because they're weaker. Don't you remember those discussions?"

Xander's words, Jesse's memory and the memory of those discussions hit Willow like an anvil. The power she had been charging up went away instantly, and wide-eyed in shock she dropped to her ass. "Jesse," she whispered, tears springing to her eyes. She looked at her hands, remembering the debates Xander had made her remember. "Oh, god! No! What have I become?" Tears ran freely from her eyes now. "Xander?" she whimpered, as sobs started to wrack her body. "I'm so sorry!" Willow wailed out. "Dawn! Buffy! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!" Willow curled up into the fetal position crying out loud, words of fifty different debates about the use of power - many from her that had preached the exact opposite of what she had done, what she had been close to doing - flowed through her mind. On a regular interval Willow cried out once again, "I'm so sorry."

Tara watched the woman she loved crying like that, powerless. Her three friends were exactly the same just watching. Tara felt a tug to go over there and comfort her, another part screamed out against that mixed with a tinge of fear it demanded to either destroy her or flee. She suppressed all those emotions and simply turned away, looking into nothingness.

"What do we do now?" Dawn asked after swallowing a lump in her throat, watching Willow like that was heartbreaking.

"Willow never uses magic again," Buffy said resolutely.

"No," Xander said with authority, completely overpowering Buffy's decision. Willow turned over and looked at Xander with a pleading look. She liked Buffy's idea. "She's not addicted to magic, stopping her use won't teach her anything. We do the exact opposite. We'll hammer 'with great power comes great responsibility' inside that mind of hers until it sticks. Every time we see her, we'll tell her. And she'll train, and train, we'll make sure she has so much power just the thought of using it will scare her to death." Tara turned around and looked at Xander, wondering for a moment, than turning back around, silently agreeing. Dawn and Buffy looked at Xander quietly, neither entirely liking the idea, but accepting it. "And Willow, you're going to that psychiatrist Faith goes to, apparently he knows of the supernatural, he'll get to the bottom of your obsession with control, and see about helping you cure yourself of it." Xander watched Willow silently for a few moments more; the redhead went back to sobbing. Then he looked to the Summers women and asked, "Agreed?"

"Agreed," Dawn said, a small smile starting to show, perhaps light was possible after this dark tunnel.

Buffy looked at Willow a few moments more, and then said, "Agreed."

"I still have a date," Dawn suddenly said, pointing with her head at Li-Huei who was still waiting near the building of the bronze.

Xander regarded the half-Asian and then grinned at Dawn, "I'll have to give him a third degree soon." Dawn rolled her eyes and gave him a smack on the shoulder.

"Just take care of Willow," Dawn said and then ran over to Li.

Xander grinned and then picked up Willow, who clung sobbing to his shoulders. Xander turned to Tara and said, "Thanks, I don't know if I could have stopped her without others getting hurt, or seriously hurting Willow."

Tara smiled at Xander and said, "What are friends for?" Xander gave her grateful smile. "Buffy," Tara greeted, before turning back toward the campus.

"Bye, Tara," Buffy greeted back and then joined Xander on their trek to the Summers home.

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