Buffy Z

The Power Corrupts Saga

Episode 34 -

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 34

Faith walked into the hotel exhausted, and leaned with her knee on the circular couch. It had been a long day in school. "Perfect, right on time, Faith," Cordelia called out with a smile.

Faith took in the scene. Cordelia was carrying the baby. Gunn, Fred, and Wesley were left near the counter. Gunn and Fred were talking and smiling. Wesley was adding to the conversation, smiling at the other girl, before looking up at Cordelia's announcement and smiling at Faith. Faith gave him a small smile back, before she asked, "On time for what?"

Cordelia walked over. Handing out the baby she said, "Angel is out looking for some clue, it's time you get a crash course in baby handlement. You're the only one who hasn't done it yet."

"No way!" Faith protested warding of Cordelia with outstretched arms. "Babies and me don't mix."

"Faith," Cordelia told the other girl with a sigh. "There might come a time when you're the only one here, and you'll have to babysit, whether you like it or not, so you'll have to learn."

Faith looked pleadingly at Cordelia, but she held out the baby with a stern look. Faith swallowed and slowly took the baby underneath its armpits and looked at him with dread. Cordelia quickly placed her hands behind the baby's head and looked at Faith annoyed. The Slayer shrugged. "Ok, now put him over your chest, on your shoulder, encircle him with one arm and use the other to support the head, try to support the head as often as possible," Cordelia explained, and Faith complied. The Slayer looked frightened. "Right," Cordelia said with a brought smile. "See, it isn't so bad. Now watch, you can also make a crib with your arms like this," Cordelia said and showed Faith the way to do it. "You try." Slowly Faith placed the child the way Cordelia had shown and with a pounding heart she looked at little Connor vaguely looking around. "Now come on," Cordelia asked Faith with a big smile. "Doesn't your heart just melt looking at the little tike?"

With her heart pounding in her throat Faith answered, "My heart is doing a lot of things, but melting isn't one of them." Faith watched as Connor grabbed around and quickly found her left breast. Faith looked at it, and just a little calmer, she said with both wonder and mirth, "Look at that, the kid really is quick on the uptake isn't he? He's already groping me."

"Yeah," Fred butted in with a giant smile as she walked closer to the other two women. "He's probably thinking, 'Dinner.'"

Faith's eyes suddenly widened with fear, and then quickly pushed Connor away from her holding him as far away from her as possible. "Somebody take this kid away from me!" Faith almost shouted out, her fear evident in her voice. "I'm not cut out for this, and I don't want to have my breasts hanging on the floor all sucked out!"

"Hey, hey, hey! His parents may have been vampires, but he's just a fragile little baby!" Cordelia called out sternly, as she quickly and gently took the baby away from Faith. "Besides, you can't give it any milk anyway."

"What!?" Faith asked defensively, still afraid, so her panic was doing the thinking for her. "Is that supposed to be an insult about my breast size!?"

"No, Faith," Wesley called out from behind the counter. "She can't give Connor any milk either. Women only start to produce milk until after their first birth."

Faith looked a little sheepish. "I knew that," Faith said feeling foolish. "It's just that . . ."

Cordelia cut her off, "It's just that you think every comment involving you automatically has to be an attack or an insult. You've had a horrible childhood, Faith, fine, but you need to cool off."

"Yeah, Faith," Fred added gently, looking at the Slayer who was slowly calming down. "You're amongst friends now, good friends, not bad friends, so you no longer need to be all jumpy, and all. Well, unless you're in the sewers and a demon or vamp might attack you anytime, but . . ."

"Fred," Cordelia interrupted the babbling brainiac.

Fred looked over surprised for a moment, and then said, "Right, I'm babbling again." Fred went to sit down upon the couch.

Armed with a prepared bottle Cordelia returned with the baby to Faith. "Same position again, you'll get to feed Connor," Cordelia told Faith with a big grin. Faith hesitated for a moment, and then very carefully took the baby, her heart once again pounding inside her chest. "Now take the bottle in your right hand, and gently place it near his mouth, and he should open it. Keep the bottle diagonal, just under forty-five degrees."

Faith complied and watched as Connor closed his lips around the nipple, and started sucking the milk from the bottle. He managed to put his hands against the bottle and contently sucked the warm fluid into his mouth. Faith looked astonished, and for some reason her pounding heart slowed rapidly. "Hey," Faith almost whispered with surprise. "This isn't that bad."

"Of course not," Cordelia said with a grin and continued explaining some more things.

Gunn had wanted to rib Faith, but Wesley quickly closed his hand on Gunn's mouth and pulled him down. Gunn looked at the Brit with wide eyes. Wesley placed a finger on his lips to indicate Gunn should stay silent and then pointed behind Gunn to the office area. Gunn hesitated for a moment and then took the suggestion, together the men crawled over into the other room. "What's this all about?" Gunn whispered.

Wesley answered him with a smile, "Haven't you noticed that despite Cordelia and Faith's interactions, and on occasion working together, they never really seem to learn to get along? I'm not saying they have to be nice and sweet to each other all the time. But look, they seem to be bonding over the baby. Must be some anciently ingrained instinct." Wesley pointed behind him, and he and Gunn looked back, suddenly shocked as they saw Fred standing in the doorway with a face that was all at once questioning, sternly disapproving and amused. Wesley and Gunn looked at their positions on the floor and quickly stood up, embarrassed. Wesley started to apologize for the rude leaving and potentially perceived macho speech, "We, uh, that is . . . we apol-"

Fred interrupted him, breaking into a wide grin. "I agree, Wesley, that's why I slipped out as well, although not quite as stealthy as crawling along the floor," she told the men with an amused and somehow sexy grin that made both their blood boil. She turned around and with a smile watched Faith and Cordelia sitting on the couch fussing over the baby. Cordelia going through more of the 'baby handlement crash course'. The men joined Fred, and saw that both young women were smiling as they talked to each other.

"What are we looking at?" Angel asked in a whisper. The two men and the woman jumped around in complete surprised, then sighed with relief.

"How do you keep doing that?" Fred asked, hands on her chest making sure she wasn't heaving a heart attack. Angel grinned.

"That's it, I'm having Faith teach me the whole sixth sense thing before I continue with the rest of the training," Gunn whispered in irritation. Angel grinned wider.

Wesley pointed Angel at Faith and Cordelia. Angel looked flabbergasted at the scene. "They're bonding over the baby? Who'd a thunk it?"

Cordelia's eyes suddenly widened. "Oh, god!" she said and then jerked back, hands grabbing her head. She fell off the couch, sprawled around on the floor, shuddered, and then lay still.

"GUYS!" Faith screamed out in shock. The four of them though were already running over to the unconscious Cordelia.

Cordelia groaned as she woke up, hearing her friends call to her, to wake up. "I'm up already!" she called out irritated. "Guys, you have to get to . . ." Nobody was around her, and then she slowly turned around and saw her friends trying to wake her up. TRYING TO WAKE HER UP!?!!? She ran over and looked at her own body. "What the fuck?"

"LORNE!!" Angel yelled out.

"Shit," Cordy said, realizing what had happened. "Guys, I'm right here. I know that's my body, but I'm still right here. Come on, hear me!"

The green alien ran out of his room onto the landing and looked down, "What!? Wha- Oh, boy." He quickly ran down the stairs. And started examining Cordelia's body.

Cordelia's spirit went close to him, a bright smile on her face. "Come on Lorne. Mystical super senses, you can hear me, right? I'M RIGHT HERE!!!"

Nothing happened, Lorne just continued to examine the body and then looked up, and said, "This is weird, it's as if she isn't at home. I can tell you guys this much, this is mystical, ain't no doctor going to help Cordy with this one."

Cordy then noticed Faith looking directly at her. "Can you see me!? Can you hear me!?" Cordelia asked hopefully.

Faith pointed directly at Cordelia, being careful with Connor, and said, "She's right there."

"OH, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou," Cordelia called out running over to Faith to hug her and passing right through. Connor suddenly started crying, and Cordelia looked disturbed at herself.

While the Angel Team still looked with surprise at Faith, she turned around and scolded, "Don't walk through Connor again, Cordelia. You're upsetting him." Faith then shook Connor gently trying to soothe him.

"Well, I'll be damned!" Cordelia called out in irritation, looking at Faith unsuccessfully trying to calm Connor down. "Listen, you guys have to get to . . . hello?"

Angel took Connor and tried the same. Connor quickly calmed down in his father's arms. "You can see her, Faith?" Wesley asked surprised.

"No," Faith said, shaking her head.

"Hear her then?" Fred prompted.

"No, but I can sense her," Faith said, and looked back at where the disembodied Cordelia stood. "It's really weird. Most of her chi is in her body, but a little of it is right there, and it's twistedly tied really weirdly with her body."

"Oh, that's just great!" Cordelia called out in frustration.

"She's having an out of body experience," Wesley concluded correctly.

Cordelia nodded at him with a hopeful look, "Yes, yes, now get me back in my body!"

Faith then added with a grim voice, "The bad news is, her chi is slowly bleeding out of her body, she'll die if she doesn't get back inside." Everybody looked at her with a frightened expression.

"Getting her back inside will take some research," Wesley stated resolutely, and stood up with determination, and started toward his office.

Lorne stood up as well. Following Wesley, he asked, "Say, don't people usually get back into their bodies on their own?"

"Yes, but those out of body experiences aren't mystical in nature," Wesley answered him calmly. All but Faith and Angel followed Wesley and Lorne then, all going into research mode.

"Go, Wes!" Cordelia called out hopefully. "Just hurry up!"

"Faith, pick up, Cordelia, we'll put her in a bed," Angel told the dark-haired slayer. Faith nodded and gently picked up Cordelia, and carried her up the stairs.


Cordelia paced back and forth in front of her body. Left from her body Angel lay sleeping in his chair, Connor in his arms. Right from her body, Faith lay doing the same in another chair. "God damn it, how long does this take!?" Cordelia called out irritated. She had tried earlier to get back into her body by lying on it, but some kind of barrier had kept her out. That had to be the mystical part of this little thingy.

A weird growling sound was heard and Cordelia looked around in surprise. Moments later the sound happened again and then a grey demon stepped through the wall. "Hi," he said with a friendly wave.

"Are you Death?" Cordelia asked with a frown. "Because if you are, you can go right back where you came from, I'm not coming." She crossed her arms across her chest with conviction.

"Oh, no, you're not dead yet. I'm Skip, I work for the Powers," the demon said friendly. "But you will be dead if we don't do something quick." Cordelia narrowed her eyes in suspicion, but stayed silent. "Ah, well, you see, you weren't meant to get the visions, a human can't handle them, only demon minds are powerful enough."

"Bullshit," Cordelia told him, which surprised Skip quite a lot. "My mind is getting stronger all the time, I'm already taking much less damage per vision. Give me a few more months, and I can take 'em easily. I don't understand something, why would the powers create visions that can only be handled by absolute evil entities, the demons, and not create a type of vision that humans can handle as well. In fact there are plenty of humans with types of visions that doesn't kill their brains cell by cell. Got any more crap to tell me?"

Skip stayed silent for several moments, surprised, and fumbling for words. "Ah, well, ah, I don't know, I'm not Them. I just work for Them. They work in mysterious ways. Anyway, your brain overloaded, now you're here, while your body is there. If you don't come with me you'll die, things can still be rectified."

"I'll think I'll take door number 3," Cordelia told him with a grim voice.

"What door number 3?" Skip asked somewhat irritated, he had never had such a stubborn mortal before. "You either come with me, or you die."

"No," Cordelia told him with conviction, making Skip look at her with even greater surprise. "Let me get this straight, pally. My mind overloaded, and that's why I'm out here. A nice normal old physical outer body experience, right?" Skip nodded gently, not knowing where this was going. "Then tell me why Lorne says my outer body experience is mystical in nature. Even more so, why something has been barring me from putting myself back into my body like I should be able to. Hmm?" Skip swallowed a few times, not knowing what to say. "Didn't think so. Go tell your Powers That Be to go fuck themselves!" Cordelia yelled out angry, and then without thinking she waved her hand and exerted her telekinetic abilities.

"Whaaa!" Skip yelled as he was flung backward until he disappeared through a wall, leaving a quickly disappearing rippling effect.

Cordelia looked at her hands for a few moments, remembering Faith saying she was made up of only a little bit of her life force. "Whoa, I still have my mental abilities, then perhaps I can access my chi. Right, weird twisted connection." She looked back at her body, and walked over. She lied down right in it, and once again felt the barrier. This time she closed her eyes and concentrated, tapping into her energy and mental abilities. She forced them against the barrier, forced some more, and then felt it collapse and shatter like a mirror. Suddenly everything was dark . . . then she opened her eyes, and the sight of the room returned to her. She sat up, and yelled out, "ALL RIGHT! I'M BACK!" Faith and Angel instantly sat up, looking around and questioning what had awakened them.

"CORDY!" Angel yelled out with relief. He quickly walked over and hugged her, being careful not to crush Connor, who cooed happily, picking up on the happy vibes all around.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, calm down, Angel," Cordelia told him with a big grin. Faith looked at here astonished and smiling. Moments later the rest of the Angel team came rushing in, Angel's yell had alerted them.

"You're back!" Fred yelled out, and quickly went over to the bed and wrapped her arms around the other girl.

"So what happened?" Faith asked as the two people disentangled themselves from Cordelia.

Cordelia looked at her as she got up. "Some halfwit demon named Skip working for the Powers said I was never supposed to get the visions. I could either come with him, or die. I chose option number three; told him to tell the Powers to go fuck themselves, and I used my training to breach the barrier they put around my body, and put myself back in. Oh, before I forget, a girl is going to get killed at 1522 Oak Street. She's a teenager, and some funky blue grey demon with bumps is coming after her."

"I'm on it," Angel said, handing the baby gently over to Cordelia and ran out.


"I cannot believe we're going to the ballet," Gunn complained yet again as he put on his tuxedo. "We were supposed to go to a monster truck rally, and then that . . . #vampire# . . . breaks his promise and buys ballet tickets. He promised me he'd bring the monster truck tickets, and he gets . . . #ballet# tickets. #BALLET#!"

"We know!" Faith called from behind the counter, where she manned (no sexism intended) the phone and was doing her homework.

"Yeah, Charles. Just come out so we can see you," Fred added with a light smile.

"Ok," Charles answered with a little hint and fear. "Just promise me you won't laugh."

"I promise!" Fred answered him loudly.

"You better not, cause I've got trust issues," he said and slowly stepped out of the office and into lobby.

Fred, adorned in a beautiful sleeve and strapless gown, smiled when he saw him. Her eyes widened in appreciation. She gave a giggle, and then she started laughing which she tried to cover up by smacking her hand in front of her mouth.

"Hey!" Gunn called out with indignation.

"I'm sorry, but you look so . . . cute," Fred said with a bright smile.

"I think you're the only one who could get away with . . ." Gunn started to say with a smile.

Faith interrupted him with predatory smile, "Cute's right."

Gunn turned toward the Slayer and pointed his finger at her menacingly as he said, "Don't start with me, Faith!"

"I could just eat you up!" Faith said with an evil grin. "Well . . . I'd swallow something, that's for sure!" Gunn looked at her with wide eyes, and she smirked at him.

"Faith!" Fred exclaimed with mortification.

Wesley came from his office and gently draped a cape across Fred's shoulders. "Yes, Faith, do try to be a little less crude," Wesley told her, as he admired the view of Fred and then walked over to Gunn and turned to look at Fred.

Faith's eyes widened and were glued to Wesley in a tux. She had no idea he cleaned up so well. He looked like James Bond, ready to devour his next conquest. *And wouldn't I want to be devoured,* she thought fleetingly, and then shook her head. What was she thinking?

"What a vision, don't you agree, Gunn?" Wesley said, looking with sparkling eyes at Fred. Gunn smiled, nodded and answered in agreement.

*See,* Faith thought darkly to herself. *Only has eyes for the 'vision'.* Faith supposed Fred did look beautiful in that dress, but Fred was strictly 'men only', and according to Faith, Wesley was looking at the wrong person. She was pretty sure, it was a certain bald, black guy that rocked Fred's world.

Lorne, Angel, and Cordelia came walking down the stairs then, and Faith walked around the counter to join the others. "Are you sure you don't want to come along?" Angel asked Faith one last time. "You could still get ready really quickly, we have a little time."

"No way in hell," Faith answered resolutely.

"Well, Angel, give me the damn extra ticket then, perhaps I can still get a refund," Gunn scowled at the vampire, who handed over the extra ticket.

"It seems we're ready for a nice night of culture, then," Cordelia announced with a smile, and started go into the coat Angel held up for her.

"All right then, kids," Lorne said with a smile. "You all go out and don't worry about a thing. Uncle Lorne and Auntie Faith will be here to keep the baby safe."

Faith suddenly frowned at Lorne, but got sidetracked when they waved goodbye to the dressed-up group. When they were gone, she turned to Lorne. "Auntie Faith?" she asked dangerously.

"Would you prefer, 'Granny Faith'?" Lorne asked her with raised eyebrows. Faith sniffed insulted. "See, and uncle and auntie is pretty much what we are to Connor, right? Well, Cordy might vie for the position of mommy, but . . ." Lorne trailed off as he watched Faith look out the door and followed her gaze straight to Wesley. "Well, that explains you being frisky these past few weeks, eh, hot stuff? It seems the Brit has an admirer."

Faith whipped her head around and looked straight at the green alien. "Are you reading me?" she asked him with a face ready to spring into anger.

"It's impossible not to, even without the singing it's coming off you in waves. Besides, even someone without my ability can see it," Lorne said apologetically.

Faith huffed satisfactorily, and turned back toward the counter and her homework. Suddenly she turned around and asked Lorne, "Frisky?"

"Sweetheart, you are very loud in bed, if you know what I mean," Lorne explained with a light smile.

Faith blinked, and then gave him a smirk. "I have been 'frisky' before that. It's just that I heard Fred one day, and realized Angel with his sensitive hearing can hear me no matter how soft I am. So I thought I might as well go all the way, and bought a few 'tools of the trade', if #you# know what #I# mean."

Lorne looked at Faith for a moment then said, "Dang, that vampire would hear any of us, wouldn't he?" Faith nodded with a bright grin; apparently Lorne had done a few things that Angel would have heard as well. Then Lorne laughed out loud. "Just as long as you enjoy yourself, hot stuff."

Faith grinned at him, "You mean 'we', don't you?" Lorne gave her an innocent look. Faith suddenly got a wicked idea as she looked at Lorne's horns. She took a step closer to him, and asked with a smirk, "Say, I haven't ever done it with a green alien before."

"And unless you find another green alien, it will stay that way. You keep your paws to yourself, Auntie," Lorne told the Slayer in no uncertain terms. Faith looked disappointed.

"Oh, well, I guess I can't check 'green' off the list just yet," Faith commented jokingly and turned back toward the counter.

With hunched shoulders, Lorne suggested, "If it's green you want, you could always find a demon."

"Yeah, right," Faith told him with a grin. "If you feel what I feel, you can't get turned on around a demon . . . unless you're really, really sick." Lorne chuckled, before he dashed up the stairs. Faith grabbed her homework and followed him up to her room.


When Faith was half way through her homework, the baby started crying. For a moment she thought just to let Lorne handle it on his one, but then decided she might as well take a break. She got up and walked over to Angel's and Connor's room. Lorne was already there. "Hey," Faith called softly. "Need help?"

Lorne looked over to her as he pulled up the crying Connor and walked over to the diaper changing table, while saying, "No, but we might as well complete your baby training, right sweetums?" The last part was directed at the baby. Faith cringed her nose some as she walked over, wishing she had stayed in her room. "Here," Lorne said, pointing at the crying baby lying on the table. "Remove his tights, open the diaper, hold him by his legs and pull him up out of the diaper."

Faith gave him a disgusted face and pulled off the soft, warm baby's pants. She then pulled off the stickers, and the diaper opened. Her face crunched up as she pulled the baby out of his poop, after which he stopped crying. "OH, GOD!" Faith cried out in disgust. "GET RID OF IT, QUICK!" Lorne grinned as he pulled the diaper away and dumped it in the special trash can. He went to get the cleaning cloths as Faith called out, "EW! That's so disgusting! I've never smelled anything so bad! Makes the sewers smell like a bouquet of flowers!" Lorne grinned, as he handed the oily cloths to Faith. "Yeah, you laugh, you don't have an extra sensitive sense of smell!" Faith told him in irritation as she gently started to clean Connor's bottom. "How in blazes does Angel stand it? He's got an even more sensitive sense of smell then I do! Has he learned to turn it off or something? If he has, he should teach me!"

Lorne laughed out loud as Faith handed over the cleaning cloth with a disgusted face. He took it and placed it in the trash can, and Faith lowered Connor down on the towel. "Stop laughing! It's not funny!" Faith told him with irritation as she got out a clean diaper.

"It is funny! All right! All right! I'll try!" Lorne answered her, apologetically after Faith glared at him. "Hold it! First the powder!" he said, stopping Faith from just putting the diaper on the baby. Faith blinked as Lorne got out a can and powdered Connor's behind.

As Faith closed up the diaper, and said, "Ugh! You people can do the diaper duty, I won't do it again, #ever#! No babies for me! Whatever joys you might get from them, which I still don't know what they are, they don't weigh up to smelling that. People with normal smell might be able to stand it, but I can't. Not ever, ever, ever!"

Lorne grinned at her. "Are you certain? You seem be enjoying sex a lot? What if that one man you marry looks at you with sad puppy dog eyes and says he'd like to have a child?"

Faith narrowed her eyes at the green alien, as she pulled Connor's tights back up. "Still, no way! The only way he gets a child if we adopt one when it's six years old . . ." Lorne looked at her with raised eyebrows, his eyes twinkled, daring her silently to address her appetite for sex. "He just might get somewhere if he promises to take care of the baby all the time, 'cause I'm not going through that again, ever! Ugh!" Faith added as she finished the dirty deed.

Lorne grinned slightly and picked up Connor. "Don't you worry, Connor. Aun-" Lorne realized something and gave Faith a smile that made her narrow her eyes in suspicion. "Your sister Faith still loves you very much, and she had a great time changing you."

Faith looked at Lorne with a defeated look. In some twisted sense she really was the baby's sister. "AAAaaargghh!" Faith called out in irritation. "Please tell that doesn't mean I have to do this more often."

"Whenever no one else is around, at the very least," Lorne grinned at her as he gently carried Connor back to his crib.

Faith walked over to a chair and dropped herself into it. She had a strange resemblance to a sack of potatoes dropping almost lifelessly into the chair. "Life sucks." Lorne covered up Connor, cooed him, and then turned around, to look at Faith, who was staring at him. Faith suddenly perked up, and said, "I've deserved ice cream, in fact we've both deserved ice cream."

Lorne grinned as the Slayer got up and bounded out the room, and down the stairs to find the refrigerator. Lorne shook his head, saying, "Kids . . . ice cream!" Then he quickly followed her.


Later, when Faith felt the others return, she went down to the lobby to welcome them. Downstairs, as the door swung open, she said, "Hi, had a good time? Whoa, what happened to you?" The group came walking in, most of them looked rather haggard.

Cordelia blew a hair out of her face and said, "One quiet night of fun is #all# we ask, but noooo."

Wesley walked past Faith, and disappeared into his office without saying a word. Lorne appeared on the balcony then, and exclaimed, "By karma, what happened to you guys?"

Fred and Gunn had entered with their arms slung around each other; now Faith knew what had gotten Wesley so upset. "Angel here recognized the play, and the dancers, and dancing, apparently nothing had changed in seventy years, at all." Lorne reached the others and joined Faith, smiling at the new couple.

"Yeah," Fred added with a smile. "There was this count who had a crush and a giant fan obsession going with the lead dancer so he made sure she would never have to age and stop performing, he enclosed her into a temporal spell."

Angel continued, "Cordy and I played out part of the past so we understood what was going on, big fight with two of the dancers, who duplicated and got up without a scratch after we killed them . . ."

"#We# fought them, and #we# killed them, and #we# got banged up, while mister champion here leaves us behind to go do the noble hero thing and defeat the normal human-powered count and his little power source," Gunn interrupted with a mixture of irritation and humor. "I mean we fried them energy balls, we snapped their necks, decapitated them, they just kept coming back up double the number. I wished you were there, so we could find out if they came back from vaporization."

Angel gave a self-conscious smile. "Yeah, that's true, uhm, we were all heroes."

"Why thank you Angel. It's nice to be recognized," Gunn said politely, almost taking on the air of a British count. Then Fred dragged Gunn up the stairs not bothering to say anything to anyone. Gunn chuckled and mock protested as he let himself be pulled along.

"Well," Cordelia stated looking at her dress. It wasn't quite a mess, and it hopefully could be saved, but chances were, she wasn't going to be able to return it. "This is going to cut into my food allowance, and my gas, and my electricity. You don't mind if I crash here tonight, do you?"

Cordelia passed Angel on her way to the stairs, and he said, "No, of course not. Uh, Cordy?" Cordelia turned around and looked expectantly at Angel. Lorne gave Faith a knowing smile, and Faith frowned in confusion. Angel continued, "Uh, we've worked together for the past two years or so, and uh . . . well, we, uh . . ."

"Spill, Angel, unlike you, I #do# age," Cordelia told him irritably.

"Right, well, I feel like we kind of . . . uh . . . grew closer together, we train together, in our lovely new gym, we get along well I think, and . . . well," Angel tried to utter completely stiff with nervousness, looking down to the ground often. "I may have . . . some . . . uh . . ."

"Hello! Tonight, please," Cordelia urged him.

Angel looked at her, mustered all his courage, and - as if he had taken lessons from Fred and Willow - he babbled, "Imayhavesomeromanticinterestinyou."

Cordelia looked at him, and blinked. Luckily for Angel, three years of relative close contact with Willow, and the catch up course with Fred these past months, made Cordelia fluent in babble speak. She stepped down from the first step of the stair, looked at Angel with wide eyes and said, "Wait, did you just basically tell me you've fallen in love with me and would like to start a relationship?" Angel nodded. "Angel, I'm flattered, and it isn't like I have no feelings toward you, in fact I find you very attractive, and . . . uh . . .well, there might be . . . a little more . . ." Angel's eyes widened with hope, and then that hope got crushed, as Cordelia continued, "But that's not the point! If we would ever consummate our relationship, it's bye bye Angel, hello death, destruction, in short Angelus, and with your new strength, speed, and skills that's not a particularly good thing. What kind of relationship would we have?"

Angel was dejected, he also knew it was true. Faith jumped in with a wicked grin, saying, "Well, Angel could just use a dildo and get you off, Cordy. I'm pretty certain that won't be a true moment of happiness, for him at least, and from what I've heard, it's a step up for you, seeing you only got a demon pregnancy in the past two and a half years."

"Hey, how the hell do you know about that?" Cordelia replied slightly angry.

Faith grinned at her, and explained, "Just sitting there doing homework, no one to notice me, Slayer enhanced hearing . . . you do the math."

"That is #not# my only one in all that time, I have you know," Cordelia told the Slayer defensively.

Angel looked astonished at how quickly he was gone from the conversation, as Faith asked, "Like who? Phantom Dennis?"

Cordelia was suddenly silent for a short while, but then attacked, covering up her surprise, "Just because I'm more discrete with #my# one night stands, unlike some people I know, doesn't mean I have none!"

"Hey! I'm discrete, but it's pretty much impossible for the people I live with not to notice I don't come home for a night, #especially# when they demand, I call in every time I do!" Faith defended herself with a smile.

Lorne decided to jump in, before this degenerated into a bickering match. "Uhm, I believe Cordelia and Angel were talking about a possible relationship?" he said with just enough uncertainty not to become an obstruction.

"Right," Cordelia answered him and then turned to Angel. She took a step closer and she laid her hand comfortingly on his chest. "Angel, I think starting a relationship between us now is just too dangerous, and too selfish of both our parts. I'm sorry."

Angel nodded, sad, but surprisingly - even to himself - not crushed. There was something there. He only needed to keep his friends alive, and find another Mohra demon, or convince the Powers to make him human or whatever. With Xander's training techniques, and the gravity gym, being human would no longer be a draw back, could it in fact be an asset? "Ok, no romance, but we'll still be friends, right?"

"Of course, Angel," Cordelia told him and then walked up the stairs, and Angel followed her up with a wistful smile.

"Well," Lorne said following Cordelia as well. "So much for 'carrumption'."

Angel halted for a moment, grinned at the green alien and told him, "Told ya."

"Carrummawhat?" Faith burst out.

Lorne looked at Faith and explained, "'Carrumption', Pylean concept, means two great champions fighting together are destined to end up together."

Angel smiled, realizing something as he walked up the stairs. He halted again, and looked down at Lorne, and said, "And sometimes being a champion means you can't give into 'carrumption', because you would no longer be a champion if you do. Sometimes being a champion means you have to be bigger than your base instincts, not be selfish and take the best woman for yourself. I guess I failed that one, but not all of us, evidently. Learn something new every day." Then Angel continued walking up the stairs.

Faith turned to look at Lorne with a disbelieving face. "Corruption? You Pylean people are insane, you do know that, don't you? Did you fill his head with all that bullshit?"

Lorne seemed taken aback and chose just to correct her. "Carrumption."

"Exactly, corruption," Faith told him with certainty. "I just had this in biology class. Putting two champions together is like putting two alpha animals together. Eternal struggle for domination ring any bells? Constant competing to outdo the other? That isn't a good relationship, Lorne. They'll break up, or they'll kill each other." Faith shook her head and started toward Wesley's office, and added, "Not to mention putting all your eggs in one basket. Two champions together, one good attack and both are dead, and seeing as they are rare, yikes." She took a few more steps, and then she suddenly halted. She looked around surprised before telling herself out loud. "Well, I'll be damned. You learn something useful in school after all. Who would have guessed it?"

Lorne looked at her in surprise for a few moments, before going up the stairs, thinking over the Slayer's words.

Faith knocked on Wesley's door and gently walked in. "Hey," she said softly, looking at Wesley. He had his jacket off, his glasses lay on the table, and his bow tie hung loose on his shoulders, a few tears flowed down his cheeks. He still looked yummy, perhaps even more so. "I noticed you seemed upset. Something wrong? Wanna talk?"

"Not really, Faith," Wesley told her with a dejected face, hoping she would just go away.

Faith ignored him, and walked over, before sitting down on his desk, her backside partially toward him. She smiled, and said, "She's in love with Gunn."

Wesley looked up at the dark Slayer in irritation. Then sighed, and looked down again. "Is it that obvious?" he asked depressed.

"Only if you look, I managed to steal a glance," Faith told him with a grin.

"I can't . . . she's just . . . so . . . and now she . . ." He looked up at Faith pitifully.

Faith's grin widened, and she suggested, "I could give you a pity fuck."

"Faith," Wesley told her exasperated, instantly almost back to his old self, the exasperation stopping him from crying.

"Just kidding," Faith told him, her hands up to ward off any guilt. "You could never be a pity fuck."

A smile broke through Wesley's gloomy expression, and while shaking his head, he said, "You are absolutely incorrigible, aren't you?"

"It got you to smile," Faith said, smiling herself, feeling herself slowly warm up looking into Wesley's smiling face. He picked up his glasses and put them on, while Faith said, "It isn't the end of the world. Plenty of other girls out there, take me for instance."

Wesley looked up at her face, the way she was sitting, he was forced to look over her whole body. "Yeas, there certainly are." Faith grinned at him, flirting. "I guess I'll just have to hope I run across one who hasn't had every man except me," he told her with a grin he just couldn't suppress no matter how heart broken he felt.

Faith laughed out loud, and gave his right shoulder a pat with the back of her right hand. "See, that's the spirit. Laugh in the face of adversity, and mock everyone and everything else." Faith searched eye contact with him, and unable to lose the smile on her face, or the twinkle in her eyes, she added, "Just don't push your luck, I #am# easily ten times stronger than you."

Wesley told her, "I'll keep that in mind, while I'll use you as a therapeutic punching bag."

Faith grinned, and exclaimed, "Great! Although I'd prefer you use me as therapeutic something else." She wiggled her eyebrows.

Wesley pushed her off his desk, and grinning he said, "Get out! And go masturbate, you seem to be in dire need of it, more than I. Now, go!"

Faith saluted. "Aye, aye, sir! I'll get out the dildos!" As she walked out of his office, Faith gave him a smile, and somehow managed a disappointed face at the same time.

Wesley shook his head in disbelief, then leaned back in his chair, happy and depressed all at the same time.


Mythology class. Faith actually paid attention, seeing as she was fighting creatures from mythology, it might just come in handy.

"So that was the story the golden apples of immortality, and how Hercules got them, and some of its deeper meanings," the teacher finished. He checked the clock and realized he still had time left. "Interestingly there is also a story of golden apples of immortality in Norse mythology. In fact, the Norse gods got their immortality from them, a woman carried them from a garden to the gods whenever they started aging and they rejuvenated them. Some possible connection there. Anyone by any chance know some other stories of fruits taken against the will of the gods?"

A Chinese boy lifted his finger in the air, and the teacher pointed to him. "Sun Wu-k'ung, the Stone Monkey, the Monkey King, he was appointed the title Great Sage, Equal to Heaven, and was meant to guard the garden with the peaches of immortality in heaven. Instead he ate them all, causing a war between his kingdom and heaven that didn't end until Buddha trapped him beneath a mountain."

"Very good example, very interesting story by the way, The Journey to the West. We might examine that one later on in the semester if we have time left, although I was thinking of another story," the teacher calmly explained.

Faith blinked, frowned and thought things over as a girl suggested the biblical Genesis and the story of Adam, Eve and the devil as the snake. Faith piped up then, without raising her finger, "Uh, not sound stupid or something, you can correct me if I'm wrong . . ." The class turned around to regard her, so did the teacher. " . . .but golden apples of immortality, peaches of immortality, if you remove the skin of a peach, don't you basically get a golden apple? Are golden apples peaches?"

The class stayed silent for a moment, and Faith shrugged. "That's . . ." the teacher started, thinking it over. " . . .an interesting theory. I hadn't even thought of that." The teacher than turned back to the Asian guy. "You're probably more familiar with the literary aspect of The Journey to the West, than I am, but I believe at the time it was written there was a very powerful tradition of partially copying from others, right, Mr. Chang?"

"I believe so, yeah," the guy answered thoughtfully.

The teacher than added, "I think the legend itself originated around 700, 800 AD, well after the Greek and Norse legends. There were plenty of trade routes, so it could very well be that people in China incorporated pieces of stories they heard from traders, and made the same leap Ms. Williams just made. Yeah, Ms. Williams, I wouldn't be too surprised if they ultimately are the same fruits, just a different incarnation. You probably just found the subject of your paper, if you can find enough evidence to corroborate your theory, it could be a very interesting read." The bell rang then, and while the students started packing away their books, the teacher gave them their homework and gave a quick goodbye.

As Faith walked out of class she thought, *I was planning on just a quick recap of the Slayer legend, and all the damn books my first watcher made me read, and Wesley would probably have known the references by head, so I wouldn't even have needed to look up the titles. Damn it, now I actually have to do research. I should have kept my big mouth shut. Aaarggh!*

"Hey, Faith," Archie called, coming down the corridor from the opposite direction, a grin on his face. Whispering he said, "Ready, to give Tiffany some more hell?"

Faith grinned suddenly, nothing like some good payback to get her mind off of heavy research.


Tiffany walked through the corridor alone, people were standing left and right, but she payed them no attention. She had forgotten to bring a book from her locker, and had needed to go back for it. Hurrying along, she scratched the palm of her right hand absentmindedly. She scratched again, and suddenly felt the finger tips of her left hand start to get itchy as well. She looked down and saw her right palm was all red, and it started to itch again. Her eyes widened; she #knew# something had felt wrong with the locker handle, she had just been in too much of a hurry to pay it any heed.

"Too much diddling, huh Tiffany?" a familiar voice called out. Tiffany turned and looked with furious eyes at the calmly smirking dark-haired girl. Her posse of two was standing on either side of her. Faith! "I've had the itchy hand problem myself. The secret is to clean your juices off of your hand right away. If you keep your hand coated in them they block air, that's where the irritation comes from. I always prefer licking them clean." Faith grinned and pointed Tiffany's itchy hand. "Maybe you should try it now, might help."

"YOU!" Tiffany snarled angrily. "You did this! Admit it!"

"Sorry, but no, none of us did," Archie supplied with a smile.

Tiffany stepped forward and poked her index finger in Faith's right breast, "You! Did! This! I will make you pay for it!"

Faith suddenly got out of her leaning position, pushed Tiffany back a bit and advanced on her, growling, "I did nothing! Are you going to falsely accuse me again, Tiffany?! Remember what happened last time you did that!?"

"Then who, bitch, who else but you would do this? Tell me that!" Tiffany snarled back, too angry to be afraid of the much stronger girl.

Faith grinned angrily, and said, "Perhaps you should check your so-called 'friends'." She turned around and Archie and Zoey started following her, away from the most popular girl.

"My friends would never do this to me," Tiffany told Faith vehemently.

Faith turned around, looked at Tiffany, and explained, "You know, one of my best friends, was like you. 'Queen C of Sunnydale High'. She said in her position she didn't have any friends, apart from those like us, all the way on the bottom of the food chain. She said, those around her were a posse, a bunch of fans, a bunch of girls who wanted her position: politics, backstabbing. She had to stay ahead of them always, make herself seem invincible, for she understood that the moment they saw a weakness, they would attempt to dethrone her." Faith was silent for a moment, seeing if Tiffany understood it. Then she continued the explanation, "When you went up against me last time and lost, you've shown them you have a kink in your armor, Mayfield. Now the vultures are no longer circling." Faith concluded, smiling, "They smell blood, Tiffany. One, or more, seem to have decided to make a dive for it. See ya."

"Sorry," Zoey said to Tiffany with a sympathetic face, before the two girls, and one guy turned around with a smile and walked away, leaving a slack-jawed Tiffany.

The blonde looked left and right in paranoia. The lecture had made an impact. Could they be right? They didn't seem to act like guilty people. Were they right? Were her 'friends' only waiting for her to slip up so they could push her aside? It couldn't be, could it? She quickly turned and walked toward the nearest bathroom, hoping she could wash whatever was on her hands off of it.


Several days later

Gunn swung the axe, and missed the demon. "Shit," he said as the demon hit the axe, and it clattered to the ground. Gunn backed up in the sewer dwelling, nicely decorated as a cosey home. "Here goes nothing," Gunn said, and put his hands forward. He concentrated and roared out at the effort. The small but powerful ball of life force formed between his hands, and the demon looked surprised as Gunn sent it flying directly at the demon's chest. The ball penetrated its chest, and then exploded, leaving a hole, a dripping mess on the demon's outside and on the floor, before it crumpled down.

"All right," Gunn said with a grin as he retrieved his axe. "I must be having a good day."

"Wanna bet?" a voice called out and Gunn looked over. A slick gray demon with sunglasses hanging low on his nose stood there.

"You," Gunn said lowly, as he recognized the demon.

"Yes, you broke the contract," the demon told him as he stepped closer.

Gunn blinked. "What do you mean?"

The demon smiled unpleasantly and explained, "You are about to give your soul away, are you not? A nice broad?"

"Fred," Gunn whispered.

The demon shrugged, "We don't get names, just pictures. Your soul is not for you to give, but for Mr. Jenoffs to take. You didn't think we kept an eye on our contracts?"

Gunn shook his head in denial, pacing around the sewer residence. "No, I'm not the same man I was then. There must be something else he can take."

The demon looked bored, "Like I haven't heard that one before. You're time is up. You have twenty-four hours to say your goodbyes. Don't try to cheat, don't try to run, don't try to hide, if you do, we will take your girlfriend as well. Got that?"

Gunn nodded slowly.


Gunn returned to the hotel and looked around. Faith and Wesley were working on something in the back left corner, probably homework, and they seemed pretty chummy. Faith at least was smiling widely at the Brit. Lorne was sitting behind the counter, talking to somebody on the phone, and Fred was happily tapping away at the computer. Gunn smiled lightly, looking at the beautiful, young woman, and his soon to be ex girlfriend. The thought depressed him to no end.

"What's the gloomy expression?" Cordelia asked grinning as she came walking down the stairs.

Gunn shook his head, saying, "It's nothing really."

"Oh," Cordelia told him with a grin, and stood shoulder to shoulder with him, following his gaze. "I think I know; here you'd like to spend time with the brand new girlfriend, and look, too much work to do."

"Ah, well." Gunn didn't know what to say.

Cordelia grinned at him and gave him a nudge, "The mornings are always slow, hold on." Cordelia quickly walked over to Wesley and Faith, and whispered to them. "Wesley, mornings are always slow, and I think Gunn would like to have some time alone with Fred. Let 'em take tomorrow morning off, ok?"

Wesley looked over at Cordelia with a dark look. The seer shrugged apologetically, knowing Wesley had his heart set on Fred. "Be a graceful loser, Wes," Faith whispered at him with a smile. "Petty jealous actions don't become you." Cordelia looked at Faith with surprise that quickly formed into a grateful smile.

Wesley's look softened, and he looked into Faith's eyes for a moment. He turned back to Cordelia, nodded, and waved her away. Cordelia grinned and quickly returned to Gunn. "You have tomorrow morning off," she told Gunn with a grin. "Dazzle her."

"Thanks," Gunn told Cordelia with a smile, and looked at Fred again. He had twenty-four hours. A morning of fun would have to do.


The next afternoon, Fred came walking into the Hyperion, minus Gunn. She was wide-eyed, filled with fear and shock. "ANGEL! CORDELIA!"

The whole group, with Angel carrying Connor, came for her. Either from upstairs or from an office. "What is it?" Wesley asked in apprehension, as the whole team minus Gunn stood in front of the Texan born.

"I think Gunn is in danger," Fred stated.


"So then he suddenly says we're breaking up, that he has another woman, that I'm a scrawny beanstalk and not a woman, and that he could never feel anything for me, and then he went away," Fred explained, as the group sat on the middle couch listening.

"I'm sorry," Angel added, and the rest nodded sympathetically, except Faith, who frowned in thought.

"Wow," Cordelia commented, then suddenly sat straight and added, "Am I missing something, Fred? Didn't you say you thought Gunn was in danger."

"Yes," Fred answered her, still fearful. "Gunn wouldn't hurt me like that, I refuse to believe it. I may not be with him long, but I do know he wouldn't say those things to me without a very good reason, like protecting me from something worse or something, which makes his trouble extremely bad, because I feel horrible. Besides, we barely started dating, why would he even start something with me, if he thought of me that way? "

"Have you guys had sex yet?" Faith asked matter of factly.

"Huh?" the whole group exclaimed looking up at Faith in disbelief.

Fred looked at the Slayer confused, and asked, "What has that got to do with anything?"

Faith said, "Just answer the question."


Faith nodded. "Yup, he's in danger. No man would say that to a woman if he hasn't had sex with her yet, without a very good reason, or a very big bad one."

"Is your opinion of men that bad, Faith?" Lorne asked the Slayer slightly surprised.

"Bad?" Faith asked, looking at him in confusion. "Not bad, good. Only someone stupid would give up the potential for great sex without a very good reason - no man is that stupid. He might have been given a better offer than Fred here, but even then, if the offer is one-time only, or turns out not to be so good as it first seemed, he would keep open the possibility of going back to Fred, and saying this would pretty much destroy that." They looked at her and shook their heads for a moment. "What?"

"All right, you know where he went?" Angel asked Fred, who shook her head. "Then we do a search . . ."

"Not necessary," Lorne interrupted, and walked over to the counter, while saying. "There was a demon here yesterday looking for Gunn. He left a card. I bet you ten to one that's where Gunn went." Lorne found the card he had carefully filed away. "Here it is," he said, and he flung it across the distance.

Angel caught it deftly and read the name on it out loud, "Jenoffs." Angel looked up at his team, and added, "The soul sucker."

"Soul sucker?" Faith asked incredulously. "There's been a soul sucker here all this time, and nobody bothered to point me in his direction?"

"He's strictly legit, in a weird sort of way," Angel explained to her in haste. "He gives out things people want, they have to sign a contract, all voluntary, from people's free will. Not as bad as the things crawling around killing people."

"He sucks out people's souls!" Faith added in disbelief. "That's worse than just killing a person. You of all people should know!" Angel gave her a shrug and prepared to give Connor over to Lorne so he could get his coat.

"Ho, there big boy," Cordelia stopped Angel with a hand on his chest. "Sun's up. You better stay here and care for your sun."

"Quite," Wesley stated, resetting his glasses and standing up resolutely. "We can handle this one, Angel, just give us the address, and we're on our way to save our associate."

"Friend," Cordelia corrected, and Wesley just nodded.


Some time later, they were in the harbor area looking at the casino from behind some crates. "God damn," Cordelia commented. 'They are even gambling during the day. There are like what? Two hundred demons there? And a handful of humans? Gunn is in there, though, that's for sure."

"Ok, anyone got a plan?" Wesley asked calmly. "Just storming the place seems somewhat counter productive at this junction."

Faith straightened up, as she said, "Let me handle this." They looked at her questioningly, as Faith started walking toward the casino. "I've got an idea. You guys wait here, and keep away from the building, ok? Keep away from it."

"Uh, Faith," Wesley said uncertain.

Faith turned around, and grinned widely at them, and Wesley in particular. "Trust me," she said, "I know what I'm doing." Then she turned back and continued on her way.

"That's not exactly a confidence builder!" Cordelia called after the Slayer, but she didn't respond.

The two women looked at Wesley, and he said, "I guess we do as she says, time to learn to trust her."

"But now?" Cordelia asked, with a skeptical face. "I've gotten to know her in the past few months. Great girl, although a bit slutty, good strength, but any tactical insights? Aren't they pretty much, blow things up first, then blow up some more things, see if anything's left, and blow that up too?" Wesley shrugged.


Inside, just moments earlier, Gunn walked to the demon Jenoffs, shaking off the demons trying to escort him, and telling them he could walk on his own. Jenoffs, in proper tuxedo watched with admiration as Gunn arrived. Although from outside the Casino looked more like an abandoned warehouse - despite the glowing letters spelling out 'casino' - the insides were furnished luxuriously, and looked every bit like a real casino. Around Gunn and his escorts the gambling was happily going on. Demons everywhere, they were playing craps, or black jack, some playing the machines. Only an occasional human was present, most of them working for the casino, but even the demon employees outnumbered the human ones.

"Let's get on with it," Gunn told him with irritation.

Jenoffs smiled, and said, "No, no. I'm admiring you just for a moment. You know how rare it is when someone comes walking in here on their own power for this?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hurry up, and leave the girl out of this, like he promised," Gunn told him irritably, walking around him so he was on the other side, facing the door.

"I don't have a contract with the girl, she's free," Jenoffs said, and lifted his right hand. He spread his index and middle finger apart and held it in front of Gunn's eyes, ready to plunge them in.

The casino doors got kicked open then, and one of them was ripped off its hinges and slammed into a demon, impaling him. Jenoffs turned around to see what was happening. Faith came walking in happily, and said, "Oops, sorry about that, sometimes I forget my strength." The demons spread away from her. They recognized a Slayer when they saw one, and despite their number advantage none wanted to tangle with a Slayer. "Who's in charge here!?" Faith called out loud.

Jenoffs lifted his hand confidently and called, "That would be me!"

"Good," Faith said and advanced toward him. Quickly a path was cleared, so Faith strode up to Jenoffs in no time. She looked at him.

Jenoffs decided to pull the initiative to himself and asked her, "Are you here to save him? I should point out, I have a legally binding contract. There is no one to save."

Faith bent aside and regarded Gunn for a moment. Then walked around Jenoffs and looked Gunn in the eyes. She turned around facing Jenoffs and said, "Nope, I'm not here for him." Gunn's eyes widened with surprise at that, but he quickly got himself back under control as he dared to allow just a little hope to invade him. "As matter of fact, I'm here to fulfill a contract myself," Faith added, smiling at Jenoffs.

"Oh, somebody or something very bad holed up in here, or something?" Jenoffs asked confident he understood the Slayer just wanted one very bad, probably actively killing, demon and then got herself out of his establishment.

Faith frowned and told him, "Yes, and no."

Jenoffs looked surprised at her, and asked, "What's that supposed to mean? What exactly is this damn contract?"

"Oh, come on, you know," Faith replied smiling still. Jenoffs just looked at her and shook his head. Faith added, "It's been around even before your contract with him." Jenoffs and the other demons looked confused now, too confused to make any of them decide to leave. "For what? Ten, eleven, twelve thousand plus years? No?"

"No idea what you're talking about," Jenoffs answered her truthfully.

Faith sighed, and shook her head. "Children." Faith than pointed at him and the others, then back at herself, punctuating her slow and deliberate words, as if making something clear to a child, "You demons. Slayer slay demons. I Slayer. I. Slay. You."

Jenoffs looked around for a moment, then back at Faith, and slowly frowned. Faith's smile had become a predatory smirk, and he started feeling a cold dread master him, even though he couldn't possible fathom how one girl, super strength and reflexes or not, could possible kill all of them.

Suddenly Faith grabbed Gunn around the waist, and rapidly rose into the air. Having bought enough time with her act, Faith had been able to identify and target all the humans inside the casino, so they too rose along with Faith and Gunn. Each of them was encased in a small bubble of Faith's life force. Faith pointed her right hand upward and blasted several burst of energy, each opening a hole in the roof. Then Faith bent downward and pointed her hand to the still stunned demons, and charged a large powerful ball of energy. The demons were nailed to the floor in awe, and fear. With a growl Faith sent the big ball of energy straight at Jenoffs as they flew through the holes in the Casino's roof. The demon had barely enough time to widen his eyes in surprise before the ball of energy engulfed, and vaporized him. On impact with the ground the energy exploded outward, and up. Moments later parts of the casino were blown outward, the shards of metal and stone flying through the air until they landed noisily to the ground. Thus the casino was reduced to a blazing husk, a large plume of smoke billowing upward from the building. Faith grinned in satisfaction.

"Shit," Gunn said, watching the smoke being pushed aside by the protective bubble of chi. "Now that's taking care of business."

"Answer me something, Gunn," Faith said with a stern voice, as she lowered the other stunned humans to the ground. "For what in blazes does a guy sell his soul?"

"Money for a truck," Gunn supplied, at Faith's questioning gaze.

"Money for a truck," Faith continued, with disbelieving face. "So why for the gods' sakes, does a guy who hates demons sell his soul to one? Especially when you could just as easily go to a normal human loan shark - who only has your bones broken, or if you have very bad luck, has you killed? At least, they don't damn your soul!"

"Uh, well, seemed like the best bargain at the time," Gunn told Faith sheepishly. Faith shook her head in disdain, and lowered herself and him down to the others.

As they landed, Fred ran forward and quickly hugged Gunn tightly. Cordelia and Wesley were still looking at the burning casino. Cordelia turned toward Wesley, slapped him on the arm to get his attention, and told him, "Didn't I tell you?"

Wesley gave a shrug, gestured to Gunn and answered her, "Don't argue with what works."


"The wayward son returns!" Cordelia announced as the group entered the hotel lobby. Lorne and Angel came over smiling at the embarrassed Gunn.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," he said, waving them off, trying to save some face.

Angel smiled at the black man and told him, "You could have asked for help you know?" Gunn shrugged.

Fred latched onto Gunn and pulled him back out the hotel, and told the others over her shoulder, "We'll go celebrate."

Wesley watched them go, wistful, wishing that was him, but unable to keep the smile from his face. "Well," he said and turned back to the group. "I think I'll go home, wash the dust off of me, nice fireworks by the way, have some dinner later, and return after that."

The group nodded, and greeted him. Cordelia then said, "I'll go do the same." She pulled the cell phone out of her coat, and explained, "I'll have Dennis prepare a bath." She walked out as well, leaving only Lorne, Angel and Faith.

Angel carefully handed Connor over to Lorne, while asking, "Could you put him in bed?"

"Sure, me and Connor here get along great, right kiddo?" Lorne answered, and Connor cooed happily, trying to grab Lorne's nose. Faith watched Lorne walk up the stairs and watched as Angel walked a little to the left and leaned on a chair.

"You seem glum," Faith commented, walking closer to Angel.

"I remembered the way you looked at me when you found out I was going to have a son," Angel started gravely, there was no accusation, or panic, or anger, just calm acceptance. "I also remember you telling I was an exception to Xander's . . . and yours, in a way, goal to destroy all the demons, because I both had a soul, and I couldn't procreate." Faith was stone faced, she hadn't thought of it, in fact, she had refused to contemplate it. Angel gestured upward, "I've show I can procreate, even if it is once in a million. He'll kill me won't he? Sooner or later?" Faith answered Angel silently, by looking to his eyes with a sad expression. "And your not going to stop him, you won't even try."

A tear formed underneath Faith's left eye. "I'm sorry, Angel," she said, her body twitching nervously. "But I can't, for a lot of reasons, least of all I don't stand a chance against him." Angel nodded, and smiled at her.

"Go on upstairs, have some fun, I think after rescuing Gunn you've deserved it," Angel told her.

"I'm sorry," Faith said again, and then did what Angel told her.


A few days later Faith walked into Wesley's office and smiled at him. He, her, and Gunn and Fred were the only ones present. Wesley supported his head with his right arm and looked through the office window to Gunn and Fred happily bantering at the counter.

Faith followed his gaze, and placed her hands on his desks, bending over slightly. "Are you still not over it?" Faith asked incredulously, smiling at him.

He looked up at her, and smiled back before he answered moodily, "Come on, Faith. I just failed to get the love of my life."

Faith laughed hard, annoying Wesley. "Come on, Wes. She's not the love of your life. Just look at her. If you tried to ride her good, you'd break her."

"Hey!" Wesley said angry now. He stood up to show just how much he not appreciated Faith's comment. "Leave Fred out of it, and don't ever insult her again!"

"I'm not insulting," Faith said defensively. "I mean it, look at her. So frail, and thin, you give her a good thrust while holding onto her shoulders for leverage, I'm afraid you'd break her shoulder blades."

Wesley circled the desk and placed a warning finger in Faith's face, too angry to realize he could never really hurt her. "Don't talk about her like that, ever again!"

"Sjees, Wes," Faith told him, getting angry herself. "You sound like one of those battery commercial bunnies; 'Fred, Fred, Fred, Fred, Fred.' Whatever happened to the other women in the world we talked about, huh?"

"Other women? Name one, that isn't already taken, or completely wrong for me!" Wesley hissed at Faith.

She got right back into his face, and answered, "Well, I don't know, I haven't bothered to search every singles bar in LA for one, I will if you don't think you have the guts to do it yourself. But if you really need one right now, how about me?"

"Oh, please, joking again? Really bad timing, Faith!" Wesley all but shouted at her.

"I'm #not# joking!" Faith told him angrily.

"Which part of 'not completely wrong for me', didn't you get?" Wesley asked her, his anger mounting.

Faith smarted at that remark, and hid it by becoming more angry, "So what makes me completely wrong for you, oh fearless leader!?"

"Oh, let's see," Wesley hissed at her, starting to count on his fingers. "You're a murderer, you're a bitch, you tortured me, and you're a slut!"

"To the first and third, I have but one thing to say, I've changed! I thought you knew that by now, but perhaps I overestimated your intelligence," Faith answered him throwing the insult out with every bit of cruelty she possessed. "I'm a bitch only to those who deserved it, and I prefer to think of myself as a sexually liberated, strong-willed, post-feminism woman that I #know# modern men prefer over basically a nun. I thought you'd be one of those modern men, but I guess . . . romantic attraction does makes blind 'cause now I see you're just a Neanderthal."

"Are you calling #me# a Neanderthal, have you ever seen yourself? Hooga booga, I'm the Slayer, let's fuck," Wesley told her, his anger still growing. "What the hell would you know about 'romantic attraction'? You wouldn't recognize it if slapped in the face!"



"OH, PUKE! And to think I actually thought I had something to offer you!" Faith spat at him, taking a step closer, and then was ready to turn around and storm out of Wesley's office.

"YOU REALLY THINK SO!" Wesley yelled at her, taking a step himself.

"WHAT OF IT, BASTARD!" she roared right back.

The two locked gazes for a moment, and suddenly Wesley's eyes softened just a tiny little bit. "Prove it," he hissed, and grabbed her by the back of the head, before hungrily pushing his lips against hers. Faith didn't hesitate for a moment as she pushed her tongue into his mouth, and ripped off his shirt. Wesley did the same to her top, and after that their pants shared the same fate. Faith turned around and backed up onto the desk, pulling Wesley along. A swipe with her hand, and the desk was clean of paper. As Wesley mounted her on the desk, he got rid of the laptop, gently dumping it in his chair. No longer needing brain power he pushed her roughly down on the desk without thinking. He ripped aside her panties, as she did the same to his boxers. She spread her legs, and without breaking their kiss, he plunged needily into the wetness of her cunt, eliciting a hungry moan from the dark Slayer.

In the doorway, Gunn and Fred looked slack jawed. They had hurried over when the yelling had started in earnest, hoping to calm the couple down before one or both of them blew up the hotel. As if on cue, both of them quickly turned around, the couple's moans and grunts intruding on their sanity. "Let's just leave them to it, shall we?" Fred whispered. Gunn nodded, and they stepped forward, quickly closing the door behind them.

Several steps later, Gunn commented, "That was just scary."

"I was thinking the same thing," Fred replied, smiling at her lover as if she had a toothache.


Twenty minutes later, Faith and Wesley lay in each other's arms on the floor of his office. Faith gave his lightly-haired chest a loving kiss. "Wow," Wesley commented with amazement. "That was incredible." With both of them having control over their chi, and Faith only lowering her energy to his level, still quite high, it couldn't really be anything else.

"Yeah," Faith answered with a smile, as she snuggled against him, trying to get the feel of the cold floor away.

Wesley suddenly smiled, gave Faith a kiss on her forehead, and said, "You know, Faith, between Gunn and me, I think I got the better deal."

"And don't you ever forget it," Faith told him with a pleasant smile. He smiled back and then they shared a loving kiss without tongue.

Episode 35: Healing Touch?

On a lovely Saturday afternoon in December, Cole arrived at the house on Revello Drive, his car slowed down and stopped. This was nuts. How could he possibly know this would help? He went over his steps again. First the internet, UFO sites, with wild stories of unexplained very fast moving objects, that most of the time were not visible on radar: they just faded in and out on occasion, causing the expert operators to dismiss them as nothing important. One radar contact however coincided with the unexplained storm that signaled the end of two gods, making some of them speculate on top secret wether control testing.

This was the area in which a lot of them occurred. He had taken a map, then more maps, old maps, and came across the name 'Boca del Inferno'. The Mouth of Hell, right underneath Sunnydale, California. He had shaken his head. He should have known really, how many demons were there that didn't know about the Hellmouth? He certainly wasn't one of them, in more ways than one, for one thing he wasn't even a demon, or more accurately half-demon anymore. He had dismissed coincidence quickly, and drove here.

He sighed, he had only a vague description as he asked around town. Finally, the night before he had come across a drunken guy who had gleefully told him about his high school days and the 'protector' that guarded them all. The Slayer. Cole had figured that one out pretty quickly - the description of a girl fighting icky things really couldn't be anything else. Damn thing was - there always had to be one - he was not looking for the Slayer. He wanted to find a guy. But the girl's name and address, the drunk guy gave away easily, so now here he was. Cole was hoping, that the girl - being the Slayer and guarding the Hellmouth and all - would have a clue where he could find the being fabled to destroy the whole world, hell and heaven included.

"Well I'll be damned," Cole muttered in disbelief. There he was, and the redheaded witch walking alongside him, although she seemed more like a broken, timid, little girl than the scarily powerful witch she was last he saw her. On the guy's other side was a stunning, teenage girl, a brunette, that given a few years to grow fully into her body, would make most models jealous. The Slayer? Cole wondered for a moment, but then dismissed it, given the description, this girl was just too young.

Quickly he got out of the car and fast walked over to the trio. The guy narrowed his eyes as he recognized him. "What the hell do you want?" he asked briskly. The brunette seemed somewhat surprised at the guy's outburst, and the redhead looked at him with wide, almost apologetic eyes.

"Uh, hello, I'm Cole Turner," Cole introduced himself, sticking out his hand. The guy looked down at it as if it was contaminated.

Finally he grasped the hand, and said, "Xander Littica, now what do you want?'

"I'd like you to teach me," Cole stated looking up in Xander's eyes, he was almost a head taller. Xander just narrowed his eyes, waiting for an explanation. "I was a half-demon once, quite some power to. Now I'm just human. I feel kind of useless back home. I used to be able to help, but no longer. I love Phoebe, and it eats me up inside that I can't protect, or even fight at her side."

"So why come to me?" Xander asked him icily. "From what I gathered, the lot of them think I'm the purest evil that walks this Earth."

"Not Phoebe, not me," Cole told him, a little of his excitement entering his voice. "I admit I thought that once as well, the prophecies around . . ."

"Hold it!" Xander interrupted the other guy. "Do not talk to me about prophecies. I hate the suckers."

Cole nodded, and continued, "Anyway, I've seen your power, I've been around power all my life. I know it's not magic, and it isn't demonic, or some form of ingrained, yet external power, like the Charmed ones have. I think I figured it out. It's chi, isn't it? Life force, yin and yang. I've seen Shaolin Monks and other Asian, martial arts masters do some amazing things, but you've taken it to a whole other level. I want to learn, I want to fight the good fight, kill the demons, protect innocents, and altogether not be a nuisance to my fiancee."

The girls looked pleadingly at Xander then, and to Cole's disappointment, the guy told him, "Sorry, but as you can see, I'm far too busy. I have no time to teach you." He pauzed for a moment, grinned, and added, to Cole's relief and happiness, "There is however a bleached blonde asshole in the gym who can teach you." Xander pointed over his shoulder at the house, and concluded, "The entrance is in the washing room next to the kitchen."

Cole looked at the house for a few moments, as the group of three walked past him. How big could this gym be? Enough for martial arts training, surely not. "Oh," Xander suddenly said, turned half around. "If the tiles are anything but green, do not step past them. Have him explain the gym to you, if he refuses, tell him it's an order from me, and if he doesn't comply he's dust."

"Ok," Cole answered, blinking in surprise. A vampire? Working with the good guys? That was a new one. Although he didn't seem to be doing it out of the goodness of his heart.

Xander and company reached his car, and opened the doors. "What took you so long? Who is that, and what does he want?" Anya, who was sitting behind the wheel, asked.

As Dawn and Willow climbed into the back of the car, Xander sat down in the passenger seat, and told her, "Cole Turner, ex-half demon, and apparently the fiance of one of the Charmed Ones named Phoebe. He wants to learn how to use his energy so he can help out."

"Really?" Anya asked excited, starting the car. "Cool, we should compare notes later on." In the back Dawn groaned, she had enough of the wedding plans for now. "And it is not just the wedding I'm talking about, #Dawn#," Anya told the teenager a little irritably, guessing right.

"Ex demons, right," Dawn replied with an apologetic smile.

Anya suddenly looked through the rear view mirror at Willow, and said, "Oh, and Willow; with great power comes great responsibility."

Willow sighed, "I know, I've heard it four times this morning already." Anya grinned, she really liked doing this, and she repeated the phrase once again for good measure, causing Willow to groan.


Some time later in the park the foursome was sitting on towels. Xander was in deep meditation, and so was Willow. Anya was sitting cross-legged, and was comfortably munching on a peach she had taken from the picnic basket. Dawn didn't manage to reach a meditative state, especially with Anya chewing on the delicious, juicy fruit. She opened one eye and looked at the ash-blonde wiping some juice from her chin with a handkerchief. Unable to control herself any longer, Dawn blurted out, "Can I have one?"

"Sure," Anya said, and pulled another peach from the picnic basked, and tossed it over to the brunette. Dawn caught the fruit and happily bit into it.

Dawn looked at Xander, sitting there calmly, and she asked, "Xander, what #are# you doing? Apart from sitting there and evaluating your state of mind?"

Without opening his eyes, Xander calmly answered, "I'm filtering through my memories. Finding my real ones, the ones not implanted by the monks who made you."

Dawn was instantly upset, it radiated off her in waves. "Does that mean . . ." Dawn started, choking on the words, " . . . you won't remember . . . ?"

"Don't worry, Dawn," Xander interrupted her with a serene smile. "The memories I have of you stay intact, I will just have two different sets of memories for first four years you were in Sunnydale." Dawn calmed down a little, but not quite. Xander continued, "And no, I do not want to get rid you, I just find it important I know what actually happened as well. I've been doing this for some time now, I've completed three of the four years, and so far the differences aren't shocking." Dawn calmed down and ate from her peach again.

"Whoa," Willow commented suddenly, opening her eyes. "Incredible," she all but whispered. "Everything is connected. The energy flows, they tie together, and merge, and . . . I can feel things on the other side of the planet."

The two other women looked at her, while Xander nodded, and asked, "Finally figured that one out, huh?" Willow shrugged, embarrassedly. "Are you starting to get some respect for your power yet?" Xander continued with a slightly accusational tone.

Willow nodded, and said, "Yeah."

Xander smiled at her, and asked the redhead, "So, how is the psychiatrist coming along?" Dawn had just finished her peach and threw the remaining stone at Anya, who caught it and gave Dawn a disapproving glare as she put it away in the waste bag.

Dawn smiled apologetically, as Willow nervously replied, "Good, I-I guess . . . I mean, we've talked some . . . parents, youth, a very quick recap of my relationships. Until now it's only been getting to know each other really . . . I guess h-he's trying to get me to relax, a-and at the same time get a little overview of who I am."

Xander nodded, then got up, and walked past the group, and then just stood looking out over the park, and seemingly beyond, over the planet. "The end of this world is coming," Xander stated calmly, and the three women looked at him stricken. "Sooner or later the gods will try to destroy it, if they haven't already. We will stop it of course, like before. Humanity is simply reaching too far for those bastards not to send this world back into the stone age, for if they don't, they might find that humanity developed the means to stop, and destroy them. We are but the first who have reached this kind of power. Humanity will follow, sooner or later they will go among the stars and explore, like my species, and many others have done before them." Xander turned around for a moment, and found the women looking at him as if he was their favorite teacher and they desperately wanted to learn from him. He focused on Willow, and said, "What you did, or were going to do, Willow, the way you thought, and scarily perhaps still think, is so like them. Humanity doesn't have enough power to control their own destiny, so they shouldn't, those who can should do it for them, and have the right to mess with them and shape their destiny anyway they seem fit." Willow cringed back slightly under Xander's powerful gaze. Xander turned back around, once again looking over this planet. "Feel out, Willow. Feel the women, the men, the children, the geriatrics, the babies, all of them. We're doing this for them, for the ordinary person in the street, the girl trying to raise her son alone, struggling to make ends meet, the guy repairing the limo in a garage, the boy nervously making his first test in school. Not because we have the power to do so, because we have power to decide for them, but the exact opposite. We're doing this so #they# can and #will# choose their #own# destiny. To make sure no self-appointed gods get to toy with them and manipulate them. Because it is the right thing to do."

Xander pauzed, and kept looking silently. His three friends were silently pondering his words. Xander turned around and looked at Willow. "Are you feeling them yet? The normal, so-called weak people?" Xander asked calmly. Willow looked up at him, and nodded. Xander turned back around again. "I admire them, Wills. I admire humanity. They are so far stronger than anyone gives them credit for. Oh, sure, there are those who quit, commit suicide, and those who take the easy way out with crime, but the large majority of them . . . they struggle, they fight, they keep a core set of morals that many could take an example of. For ten, twelve, more thousand years, those bastard Powers That Be have been manipulating and toying with them and look, look at their, look at #your# accomplishments. There are those who fight, in the name of those gods, there's war, and death, and things are unequally divided, causing hunger, but the large majority of them just want peace, and progress, and to share everything equally. All those millennia under the gods' and yet, here they are, about ready to make the leap into deep space. The Saiyan race had no gods to contend with, and those we did contend with we could destroy. Some Saiyans could blow up whole planets. A handful of Saiyans could lay waste to an entire planet; in this dimension whole cities they could wipe away. We ruled the space ways almost completely, there was hardly anyone who could oppose us. Only a few millennia of wandering and virtually all of the Saiyan race had given up and just destroyed, and killed everything in sight." Xander nodded, pausing again, letting that sink in. "The Saiyan race may have been more powerful, but humanity is stronger. I admire them, I'm proud that this planet has become my home, proud that I'm part of this species. I admire them all right. Not because of the witches, or the slayers, or the seers, or the souled vampires, but because of them, the ordinary people in the street, like Jesse was - they are the ones who give humanity its soul, they are its true spirit. And all the untapped potential that still lies inside them."

Xander turned around, and smiled. "They are stronger than you, Willow, stronger than Buffy, or Faith, or Angel - that souled rat bastard - and stronger than me . . . Like you two, Anya, Dawn. Oh, sure, you've been a demon for twelve hundred years, you were created by monks to hold a hyper-dimensional key, and you've already started tapping into that potential, but of our little gang, you two are the most like the ordinary people in the street. Don't ever let anyone - least of all the vamps, or the Slayers, or me - tell you, you are less, or that you don't contribute, or that you should listen to them because they are mystical and chosen and thus they are always right. They are not, they are as fallible as you, and whatever ideas you have, are important, got that?"

Dawn felt chills run down her spine when Xander singled her out with his praise. Both she and Anya smiled widely, and nodded. Dawn told Xander, "We're not butt monkeys, check." Xander grinned at her.

"Oh, god!" Willow exclaimed with mock horror. "There's another one of your kind here, Xander. You have a bad influence on Dawn." The four of them laughed together.

Xander grinned at Willow, then turned to Dawn, adding, "Next time I'm being pigheaded, smack me over the head and remind of today, ok?"

A short distance away, from behind a tree, Tara stood watching. When she had stumbled upon them, she couldn't help but check up on her former girlfriend and both their friends. She smiled as she saw the interaction, and the progression of Willow, then continued on her way.


Life was good, Dawn realized as she strolled onto the school yard. She was still riding the boost of confidence Xander had given her a few days ago, and so she came to school as if she owned the place. Seeing her potential boyfriend, surrounded by a small group of his friends, she walked up to him, and greeted him with a big smile, "Hey, Li."

The half-Asian grinned at her at, and answered, "Hi. And it's Li-Huei, not Huei-Li."

Dawn gave him a swat, telling him, "Very funny." She had tried for stern, but had failed miserably, she just couldn't keep her smile off her face. His three friends started making bad comments about the couple forming, but Dawn ignored them.

Li turned back and glared at his friends, and said, "Not funny." They were suddenly quiet, whispering amongst each other as they realized this could be serious.

The couple moved off together, and chatted lightly. They had already had the whole 'magic and demons' are real, and not too surprisingly (this is the Hellmouth after all) Li seemed to have taken it in stride.

After a short walk toward the building, Li was quiet all of a sudden. "Is something wrong?" Dawn asked with concern.

"No," Li answered her, then looked at her face. Dawn felt somewhat scared. Was he going to break up with her before they even started anything? "I was wondering if you would like to come over to my house after school today."

"Introduce me to your parents?" Dawn asked with a wry smile.

"Uh, not really, but that is kind of inevitable," Li answered kind of sheepishly. "I just wanted to spend some time together, alone, casual, not immediately hot and heavy, and all."

Dawn grinned at him. It was kind of official, even though neither of them had asked, or declared it. They were a couple. Dawn felt really good about that, Li was so handsome. Ah, who was she kidding, he was hot! Had she told herself yet that life was good? If not, now really was the time. "I'd like to see where the great Li-Huei lives," Dawn said with sparkling eyes, that warmed Li's heart.


Meeting Li's parents had been a little daunting, but it turned out they were quite friendly people. The father, Nobu, one hundred percent Japanese, had put her at ease quite easily. Not once had he begun some kind of interrogation upon whether or not she was good enough for him. The mother, Danica, a stunning blonde, that according to Dawn could easily be a super-model, even now at her forty years of age, actually made Dawn a little jealous. Dawn was pretty certain than when she hit forty she'd look nowhere near as good as Li's mother. It also answered the question of where Li got his looks from quite effectively. Anyway, the mother had been just as friendly, and she and her husband had a rather affectionate banter going. They were pretty much busy to playfully denigrate the other - kind of like Xander and Cordelia in their heyday thought Dawn - but unlike them, it was obvious Li's parents didn't mean a word they were saying. Annoyingly, something that really put Dawn off, they seemed to do the same to Li, and her. She understood the jokes didn't mean anything, but every time one or both ribbed her with something, she didn't quite know how to answer.

Having gone through all that, they had gone up to Li's room, where they watched some tv. When that got boring, they played a few video games, which Li was obviously better at, since Dawn had never got any real practice at playing video games. Finally they had gone to the house's gym. It was nothing like the giant gravity stadium inside her house, but it would do. It was placed in the garage; a small part of it had a few mats, some work-out machines, weights, and a few weapons that were not instantly fatal, like sticks and wooden practice swords.

"So," Li said doing a quick warm up, a confident smile on his face. "You challenged me to a sparring match. Let's see what you've got, little girl."

"Oh, you're going to pay for that one," Dawn told him with a feral grin as she quickly warmed up herself. When they were done with their warm ups, they stood across from each other, both in a fighting stance, both a confident grin on their face. Li decided to take the initiative and threw a punch that Dawn easily swatted aside. Li followed up with crescent kick, and Dawn just ducked underneath it, circled, and swiped his remaining leg from under him, making him land on his backside with a thud. "Oops," Dawn told him as she straightened, wiggling her eye brows at him. "My leg must have slipped."

"Oh, you just wait," Li told her with a smirk and jumped up smoothly. Dawn had told him about the creepy, crawly things and the magic, she had however neglected to mention the full extent of her training. They traded several more blows, Dawn holding back heavily, and then as he threw a punch, she grabbed his fist, twisted underneath his arm, and used his momentum to twisted him around, causing him to twist in the air and fall on his back. Dawn smirked at him, and spread out her arms and hands, and pulled up her shoulders. "You are a whole lot better than you let on," Li accused her, and her evil smile grew. He jumped up again and faced Dawn once more, a whole lot more serious this time.

Dawn grinned. She knew he couldn't come close to beat her, but she remembered Xander's first lesson: 'Don't ever underestimate your opponent.' So, she became more serious as well, getting ready for any eventuality. Dawn blocked Li's next punch, and she felt his chi crash against hers. It was somewhat crude, and not very focused, and was nowhere near the power level of her, but it showed he had potential. There was a flicker in Li's eyes. Dawn was certain it was momentary surprise, or admiration. She understood it; had Li thrown this punch at an average guy down the street, the arm that had blocked it, would be heavily bruised, to a martial artist it would hurt like hell, but Dawn didn't even show a flinch. Li grinned then, and nodded as he backed off. Li went into a stance, and Dawn felt his chi sky rocket. To Dawn however, it didn't feel like he consciously did it, the raising of his chi was more a consequence of him finally focusing everything he had. Still nowhere near her gravity enhanced level, but it was impressive nonetheless. Dawn raised her own energy in response to outmatch his level, and they were fighting again.

Dawn blocked his punches and kicks, and landed a few small ones of her own, not wanting to hurt the boy. He sped up his movements, and Dawn was more than a little impressed. Before Xander's training, Li could probably have hold his own against her sister, against a Slayer. Dawn blocked a punch, held his arm, and grinned at him as she did the same with his other one that followed his first. Li looked pleasantly astonished. Dawn pushed his arms outward, leaving his torso unprotected and gave him a double handed blow. In her enthusiasm - brought on by his surprising strength, speed, and skill - she put a little too much of her energy in the blow, and Li got flung back almost two meters through the air before landing on his back side. "Ow," he said and didn't move, apart from his left hand coming up and rubbing the sore spot on his chest.

"Oh, my god!" Dawn called out with concern, and quickly raced over to him. She knelt down, and continued, "Are you all right? I'm soo sorry. I didn't mean to do that. I got careless. Can you forgive me?" That last part she almost whimpered. She gently felt along his chest, to see if she had broken any of his bones with that stunt.

"I'm fine," he said with astonishment, as he lifted his hand. Dawn took it and slowly pulled him to his feet. "Wow," he said with surprise. "You are as strong as my dad is."

"Indeed," his father commented from the doorway. Nobu took a few steps inside, his hands were calmly clasped behind his back, and he said, "Your punches and kicks are crude, but the use your chi is extremely good. A very strange combination."

*Crude?* Dawn thought to herself, frowning. Her punches and kicks were crude? How was that possible? Last time Xander personally sparred with her he had said her punches and kicks were very good.

"Just how strong are you?" Li's father asked with raised eyebrows, his hands never left their place behind his back. "Because I believe that you were holding back."

Li joined his father and looked with wide eyes at Dawn, who returned their gaze with uncertainty. Truth, or lies, that was the question. *He's your boyfriend, Dawn,* her conscience told her. "Can you keep a secret?" Dawn asked nervously.

"On my word of honor," Nobu told Dawn with a calm voice. "Whatever you divulge to us in confidence, does not leave this house."

"Same here," Li answered her with an astonished look.

Dawn nodded, and wondered about how to explain this. "The energy that propelled you backward, the energy you in a lower level used against me, the level you father apparently has used against you, what would happen if you direct it toward the Earth?"

Li and his father shared a look and then Li made a guess, "Uh, nothing?"

"Exactly," Dawn answered him, then held her fingers at a level in front of her, and then moving it slightly higher. "So what if you had more?" she asked. Once again Li and his father shared a look, and then returned to Dawn, who said, "And more. And more." With each 'more' Dawn put her fingers another notch higher. Dawn looked at them intensely and said again, "And more." Once again her fingers went higher, however her hands and arms had not moved. Dawn added another, "And more." Slowly she rose into the air, floating a meter off the ground.

Li and Nobu looked at her in astonishment, and she smiled shyly. "Whoa," Li's father muttered in awe.

Dawn gave a weak smile, and raised her right index finger in a 'pay attention' manner, and once again said, "And more." With a small explosion of sound her chi flame burst around her.

"Holy crap!" Li exclaimed in shock, while his father's jaw dropped to the floor.

"There is no reason to curse!" the stern voice of Li's mother sounded just as she gave him a slap against his head. The woman had come in to call them in for a refreshment, and had decided to discipline her son when she heard him. It was only after that, that she noticed the floating Dawn, and the very visible energy flowing around her. "Holy crap," she blurted out without thinking. Li and his father turned and looked at her, then she turned to her son when she realized why they were looking at her, and told him, "I apologize."

Dawn lowered herself to the floor and lowered her energy, and nervously gestured at the beautiful blonde. "Danica," Li's father started, turning toward his wife in understanding. "We keep our potential daughter in law's secret." After than he walked through the door gently pulling his wife with him.

"Daughter in law?" Dawn squeaked out. Li-Huei was a great guy, a fantastic kisser, and hot as hell, but that didn't mean she was already thinking about marrying the guy.

Li shrugged apologetically, "I guess he likes you, besides don't take him too seriously, he's always joking around." Li was silent for a moment and then asked, "How did you . . .?"

Dawn shrugged apologetically, and explained the uncompleted question. "A friend of mine, big brother type, perhaps even a kind of father figure, he built a gravity gym. I train under multiple times Earth's gravity." Li nodded deeply, impressed. "If you had access to it, I wouldn't be too surprised if you'd kick my ass in a few months," Dawn added, thinking it might be a good idea to smooth over whatever bruises she inflicted on his male ego today.

Li smiled at her, and she smiled back, glad he didn't seem to be running like hell. She guessed being brought up with some basic chi use helped with that one.


When Dawn came home later, frowning and in thought, she almost bumped into Xander, who was on his way out, and presumably on his way to have dinner with his soon to be wife. He was just the guy she wanted to talk to. "Xander," she called to him, making him stop walking and he looked at her questioningly. "I just had a little sparring match with my . . . uh, boyfriend." She smiled at that, and Xander returned the smile in response. It was the first time she had said out loud, and she felt rather good about that.

"And?" he asked with a proud smile.

Dawn looked at him, her frown returning, and stated, "His father said my punches and kicks are crude."

Xander smiled, replying, "They are."

Dawn was taken aback by that, and then said accusationally, "I thought you said they were great?"

Xander went in a fighting stance with a smile, and told her, "Punch me." Dawn looked surprised at Xander, and with a gesture of his eyes Dawn complied. She punched her right arm, Xander caught it, and held it in position. He pointed at a tendon in her lower arm and said, "Jujitsu, style." He pointed to her upper arm, and it position, and said, "Karate. Continue." Dawn blinked, and made a kick to his face that Xander grabbed. "Tae Kwando." He let the foot go and Dawn followed up with a kick to Xander's waist. Once again he caught it, and said, "A combination of Kick Boxing and a Saiyan Martial Arts style called Kirma." Xander threw his own punch and Dawn blocked it with both arms. "Shoalin Kungfu," Xander told her. Dawn's eyes had been wide for a while now, and they continued to be. Dawn made a spinning back kick, and Xander blocked it, leaving Dawn standing on one leg. "Hwa Rang Do, and Jeet Kune Do." Xander told her with a smile. He pushed her back, and Dawn turned around fully, on time to push aside one of Xander's punches, and then grabbing his other arm in a lock, that she wasn't strong enough to follow through on. "Hapkido," Xander finished, took a step back and made a bow.

Dawn bowed as well, signaling their little engagement was finished. "To him and most other martial artists your punches and kicks are crude. Yours are never perfect, they aren't performed exactly as they think they should. You see, the problem with most martial arts is that they all have a philosophy about how something should be done. They are rigid, unchanging, not able to adapt. Some, like Shaolin Kungfu, are worse, they train their moves to such an extent that it becomes ingrained in their muscles, they work on muscle memory. They start the first part of a combination of moves, it takes them a conscious effort to stop their muscles from continuing the entire combination. If you study them enough, you could find a counter to all those moves, in fact, to a lot of the martial arts these counters exist. You take the weakest guy, or girl in your class, teach him or her those counters to the same extent, pit him or her against a Shaolin Monk, and your classmate will kick his ass without breaking a sweat. Send that same classmate against a two-bit bully down the street and he or she will not only get his or her ass kicked, he or she will get it handed back on a platter." Dawn looked rather astonished at Xander at that revelation, starting to figure out just how she was trained. "Jeet Kune Do is an exception, it's fluid, like the way you fight, and I fight, and the rest of us fight. Our way of fighting isn't locked in stone, we are able to change a punch or kick at a moment's notice. We adapt to our opponent, there is not a single style that you can't adapt to, and fight off. No one will ever find a counter to our moves, because none of our moves are ever the same. They change constantly, we are like water in that respect, illusive, unable to be grasped, forming to every form, and enough force to cut out the Grand Canyon. So yeah, to them your punches are crude, they are in fact much more effective."

"Oh," Dawn muttered. "Well, thank you for the explanation." Xander grinned at her, waved her goodbye and was off, as Dawn thoughtfully turned around and entered the house.


Inside the Summers' kitchen a gruesome scene played as Dawn entered the house, called out a greeting and went upstairs to her room. Spike had just come out the Gravity Gym, and had - with irritation - sent Cole off to his motel room. He watched Buffy casually prepare dinner, and then walked up to her. He placed his hands on her ass, rubbing them suggestively over it, and placed his face in her neck, giving it a kiss, and then whispered at her, "How's my little pet?"

Buffy's eyes widened with anger, her elbow shot back painful smashing into Spike's chest, seriously bruising a few bones. She turned around and grabbing him by his collar, she crashed her right knee into his crotch. Spike's eyes turned back into his sockets as he groaned out in pain, and sank to his knees. Buffy grabbed him by the back of his head and yanked it back. "If you ever, #ever# dare to touch me again without my permission, Sparky. I will break every bone in your body, ride your cock if I should choose to afterward - I won't care how much it will hurt you - and once they're healed up, I'll do it all over again!"

"Bitch," Spike hissed out.

Buffy's fist connected with Spike's chin and his head snapped back. "#What# did you call me?"

"Mistress, I really like you," Spike whispered.

Buffy seemed placated, but only a little. Her face came closer to his, and she growled low, "Listen to me, bitch. I rule your fate, I decide it, and no one else. You are mine, and you are nothing to me. If my dildo had a functioning body, I'd dust you and use it. If I had the money to pay Warren to build a nice male sex-bot for me I would, and dust you. You are nothing but a sex toy. If you think I need you, you are wrong. I can always equip your girlfriends with a few strap-ons, close my eyes, imagine Harmony is Angel and voila. If I really want to have fun, Maxine can take me from the back and I imagine she's Wesley." Buffy knew she had hit home, when she mentioned Spike's hated sire and the guy Spike considered more pathetic than Xander, before his outing as a super alien. "Other than convenient, you are nothing to me Spike, #nothing#."

Buffy straightened and then dragged Spike along the floor to the washing room. There she leant back against the refrigerator, lifted her skirt, pushed her panties aside, and pulled Spike's face up toward crotch. The vampire's eyes were bulging with surprise, hatred, and arousal. "Work that tongue of yours, bitch," Buffy hissed at him, and the male bottle blonde complied.


Later, much later, after dark, in the middle of Buffy's patrol, she had decided to make a detour to Spike's crypt. Buffy's most sadistic side had come out, and she had decided to make part of her earlier threat true. Luckily, Harmony and Maxine already owned a few strap-on dildos. Spike was off to the side, restrained this time by a few bands of Buffy's energy.

"Oh boy, Wesley," Buffy moaned out, with her eyes closed. Maxine happily thrust into Buffy's cunt from behind her. "You're so much better than Spike could ever be . . . oah!"

Harmony was beneath Buffy, and her strap-on too was thrusting into Buffy's wet pussy. "Ooh, yeah, that's right, Angel, show your child how it's done." Buffy had addressed Harmony as Angel for a few times now, and the blonde got an idea. The vampire could hardly believe her luck: having sex with a Slayer was one thing, now she got to drink her blood too, while Spike was forced to just watch. She vamped out, and rapidly bit down in Buffy's neck, hungrily drinking from the Slayer's blood. Buffy moaned out loud in approval, offering the vampire her neck. Harmony knew to be careful though, one wrong move, one little sip too many, and she didn't doubt for a second the Slayer would dust her without hesitation. But that was proving to be more difficult than Harmony had thought. The super trained Buffy's blood was incredible. An untrained Slayer's blood would be extremely tasty and an aphrodisiac in its own right, Buffy's blood was like drinking pure energy. The taste, the flavor, the smell it was driving Harmony wild as she happily drank from the Slayer's neck. "YES! ANGEL! I'm going to COME!" Buffy yelled out in pleasure riding the two fake cocks, who in her minds eye belonged to some of Spike's most hated persons. The combination of the strap-on pounding on her clit, as Buffy road it, and the Slayer's blood was rapidly sanding Harmony to the edge as well.

The two of them came simultaneously. Both body tensing, as their cunts contracted with abandonment, sending jolts of pleasure up the women's spines. After several seconds the two calmed down.

"Get off me!" Buffy commanded with authority, and Maxine quickly pulled back and removed herself from the angry Slayer. Buffy calmly put her clothes on and looked at Spike, an obvious bulge in his pants. "You are so beneath me," Buffy told him with contempt before leaving the crypt.

When the slayer was gone, Harmony looked curiously at the chi bands that still held Spike. She wondered how she could get rid of them. "Free me, you stupid bitch," Spike hissed at Harmony.

"How!?" Harmony asked, not having a clue. "Say, Spike, now that I have your undivided attention, what do you say about giving me some training? You're training that Cole guy anyway, couldn't I join, Spikey-poo?"

Spike growled at her. "You bloody stupid cow. You couldn't learn a thing even if the devil himself taught you."

"Hey!" Harmony exclaimed offended, as Maxine looked on at the interplay between her vampire masters. "That's just rude! You can just fine well stay there!"

Spike got lucky, the strength of his restraints had lowered, and the rage induced by Harmony produced the strength needed to break them. Harmony backed up, as he saw a very angry Spike rising up off the ground and looking directly at her. "I was only kidding. I couldn't release you anyway," Harmony tried weakly.

"You . . . you . . . airheaded twat!" Spike hissed at the blonde, and she took a step back. Spike suddenly took a step forward, grabbed her by the arm threw her back behind him, crashing her into the large main wall separating the crypt from the natural catacomb. He advanced on her, but instead of the punishment that Harmony was expecting, he just pauzed in front of her for a moment, then unbuttoned and pulled down his jeans, and then rammed his straining erection brutally into Harmony's good.

"Ooh," Harmony cooed as her still wet vagina happily accepted the intrusion. "Yeah, go, Spike!" As Spike continued his brutal assault on Harmony's cunt he swore multiple horrible terms for a woman. It was obvious the insults were not directed at the blonde he was fucking. "Oh, Spike you're so good," Harmony moaned wrapping her arms around him, and urging him on. "Come on, Spikey, you will train me, won't you?"

"Sure, pet, happy to, luv," Spike told her as he continued to brutally fuck her. As Harmony licked and bit his left ear, a smile crept up her face.


The Friday after that

"You behave yourself, young man!" Li's mother told him sternly. "I will not have you take advantage of an innocent little girl."

"I'm just going over to Dawn to study, mom," Li-Huei said ashamed for his mother. How could she talk to him like that? "Besides, she can kick my ass, if there will be any taking advantage, I will be the one being taken."

"Physical strength is not the only way to take advantage of a person, you man. You better not sweet talk the girl with a bunch of lies. Tell him, Nobu," the woman said sternly, her arms in her sides.

Nobu gave Li-Huei a thumbs up, and said, "Knock her up good, son. We'll have the wedding soon, then the family line will be secure."

Li's eyes widened shock, and then felt laughter welling up from his stomach. His father just couldn't mean a word he just said, although Li suspected his father wouldn't have a problem if the scenario became real.

"WHAT!?" Li's mother screamed out in disbelief. "How can you say that!?"

"What can I say?" Nobu told his wife with a shrug. "We men, especially Japanese ones, have different philosophies."

"You Japanese, sexist pig!" his wife yelled out at him. "I should never have married you! I'm getting a divorce!"

"Oh, shut your hole, woman, and go get me some beer!" Nobu told his wife angrily.

Li-Huei quickly slipped out at that time. He knew his father and mother didn't mean a word, and if past experience was anything to go by, they'd be fucking each other's brains out before too long. Didn't mean that being present to experience the bickering wasn't embarrassing as hell, let alone hear the aftermath. "Oh, man," Li said, as he leaned against the closed door of his home. "God, I hope I never embarrass my kids like this."


An hour later Li was sitting on Dawn's bed in a lotus position, a book and a note pad in his lap. Dawn was lying next to him, casually flicking a pen beneath her fingers, a book and note pad in front of her. Her sweater was dark pink, and very tight, it didn't quite reach her pants, leaving a tiny sliver of skin visible. Her pants, small white squares with narrow black lines in between, were tight and hugged her legs and ass. Li looked at Dawn's backside guiltily, admiring the view.

"Li, what do you think the answer is to question 2? Any clue?" Dawn asked oblivious to the effect of her position on her boyfriend.

Li didn't fully hear, his eyes still drawn to her shapely ass. "Li? Hey, Li?" Dawn tried a little more instant.

"Huh?" Li managed, shaking himself from his revery.

"Question 2," Dawn clarified, smiling up at him. She was rolled on her side now, facing him, and she supported her smiling face with her right hand and arm. "Was there anything interesting wherever you were?"

Li blinked several times, admonishing himself mentally. "Uh, no, just thinking. Question 2, eh? Let's see . . ."

"Does that Japanese name of yours have a meaning?" Dawn suddenly asked, smiling up at him, still in the same position.

Li looked up from his book and smiled, thankfully that was a question he could answer, #and# start up an interesting conversation. "It's Chinese actually."

Dawn looked confused, "I thought you said your father was Japanese."

"He is," Li-Huei told Dawn with a grin. "My name isn't. Li means 'strong', if I remember correctly. Huei though, is a classic ending for many Japanese names. In Japanese the 'R' is pronounced as an 'L' so there aren't any names in Japanese that start with 'L'. My parents took a Chinese name and Japanized it. Why? Don't ask me. It could be their ridiculous sense of humor. Huei, is also American in a way? 'Hey, you!' Now that I mention it, remember how I corrected you the other day? I wouldn't be surprised if mom and dad were thinking along the same lines."

Dawn grinned at him, and said, "Yeah, I can so see your parents." Dawn propped herself up a bit, and started badly imitating Li's parents, "'What about Li?' 'It isn't even Japanese?' 'So?' 'I'm Japanese!' 'Big deal, Japanize it then.' 'What? Like Li-Huei?' 'Yeah, Americanizes as well.' 'You mean, hey?' 'Exactly!' 'Next thing you have his friends calling him, "hey, Li!"' 'It's Li-Huei! Get it finally through thick skulls! It's the other way around!' Giggle. Laughter. They look at each other, and then together, 'We found our name!'"

Li was chuckling and laughing, all through Dawn's ridiculous performance. "Don't every let my mom and dad see you try to imitate them!" he told Dawn with good humor.

Dawn's eyes sparkled with mirth, liking the smile on her boyfriend's face. Suddenly she felt the need to kiss him. She sat up on her hands and knees, back arched slightly, and Li's eyes widened as he saw the change in her demeanor. As her lips moved up to meet his, her neck craning around, he suddenly felt the same need. Slowly their lips came closer, opened a little and then connected. Both of them pushed their tongues tentatively forward, and when they touched it sent jolts of electricity through their bodies. Gently the two teens started exploring their mouths and tongues, both uncertain, and both were quickly flustered as heat raged through their bodies. Reluctantly, their lips lingering for a few moments, they broke the kiss. Li looked astonished at Dawn. The former Key's cheeks were flushed with red heat.

Dawn was somewhat careless after the heated kiss: too flustered, a little embarrassed, and her hormones raging; she flicked the pen still in between her fingers a little harder, and it flung out of her grasp, landing with a short sound on the carpet. "Damn," Dawn cursed, and immediately hung her upper body over her bed, looking for the pen. Finding it, she reached for it . . . and reached for it. She groaned almost erotically as she stretched to reach the pen.

Li looked with wide eyes at the body of his girlfriend. Stretched out, it was in inviting sight. Her upper body bent downward rounded her bum upward in an incredible display. Even more so, when the stretching gently peeled the waist band of her pants back, giving him a tantalizing glimpse of the flesh of the beginning of her ass cheeks. The stirring in Li's pants, that had started during the heated kiss, was suddenly a full blown, very straining erection. *Oh, no!* Li thought to himself. *This just can't be happening. Don't look at her. Look away. Come on, go away. You can do this, ice bergs, snakes.* Dawn stretched a little more. *Oh, god, is she hot! BAD THOUGHTS, BAD THOUGHTS! Look away, that's it! Think! Mom, dad, grandmother Yumi . . .*

"Got it!"

*NOOOOO!!* Li thought, as he paled somewhat, watching Dawn crawl back onto the bed. He started shifting uncomfortably, hoping against hope he could put his erection in a less visible position. His eyes widened as Dawn's face came back above the bed, her hair swirled through the air, her lips were slightly apart from the strain, displaying those beautiful red kissable lips he had kissed only moments before. Her tongue was pushed forward for the same reason, but not actually outside her mouth. He couldn't keep his gaze away from her, and to his surprise, embarrassment, and horror he felt his penis become even harder, and grow another bit. The goddess' face in front of him, lit up in a smile that melted whatever was left of his self control, and a tiny groan escaped his lips. *Oh, gods! Please don't notice, please don't notice! To all the gods in the pantheon, please don't let her notice!* he thought desperately, but he saw her frown.

Dawn heard the light groan, and she was instantly aware of his pale face and his awkward fidgeting. "Is something wrong? I didn't hit you with my feet, did I?" she asked concerned. "No, I would have felt that."

"N-nothing's wrong. Everything's fine," Li-Huei said, his nervousness obvious. Dawn's frown deepened, doing nothing to make her less attractive, and she thoughtfully looking him over. When Dawn reached his crotch, she stopped instantly. She saw the bulge, and instantly her throat dried up. *BUSTED!* Li-Huei thought with mortification as he felt his face flush with embarrassment.

*He . . . That's . . . Oh, my!* Dawn desperately thought, feeling her cheeks heat up, and unable to tear her gaze away from his erection. But she had to, she just had to! With every ounce of will power she forced her head to move despite her state of shock and panic so finally her eyes were looking up at his face. *Oh, god! Now what!? What do I do!? Somebody help me! Willow? Xander? Cordelia? Buffy? Anyone? Can anyone here me?* Dawn thought in panic. If anyone picked up her desperate thoughts telepathically, they certainly weren't answering. *Okay, calm down, Dawn. HE'S GOT A BONER! AAAAAAAHHH!!!*

Li-Huei stayed silent, completely not knowing what to do. Even if he did, he felt that he didn't have the right to do anything right now, that it was up to Dawn to break up with him and throw him - the pervert - out of her house, if she so pleased.

The two staid silent. To Li's utter embarrassment his erection wouldn't lower just one millimeter no matter how awkward the situation was. As time passed Dawn slowly calmed down. Once the initial panic receded, she wondered what exactly was so bad about it? He was sexually aroused. So what? Wasn't that the normal reaction of a person to the person he or she was in a relationship with? Even if it was this early in that relationship? Yep, it was. And dang it, she had felt her nipples harden during the kiss, and something had stirred down there. So wasn't she just as aroused as he was? Didn't make this whole situation suddenly a dangerous one now did it? His reaction was just a little bit more visible. So having philosophized, Dawn smiled at Li-Huei, placed her hand on his, and said, "Everything's cool."

"Uhm . . . you mean . . . but," Li muttered out, looking into his girlfriend's eyes.

"You're horny," Dawn told him with a mischievous smile. Li blushed deeper, and looked down ashamed. "Li-Huei, I'm flattered," she added with a giant grin.

Li looked at her, and then smiled relieved. "You're not mad?"

"Why should I be? You getting an erection is something that should normally happen sooner or later, right?" Dawn asked him smiling. Then suddenly got a naughty idea. The debate lasted barely a moment. Dawn pushed out her chest, and put her right hand over her left breast, drawing Li's attention to the small bump in the fabric. "The same has happened to me," she told him with a sparkle in her eyes.

"Oh," Li said with astonishment, and then smiled, the two locking naughty gazes. Li asked, "I take it you're not ready to actually . . . uh . . . do something about it so to speak."

Dawn laughed, then nodded at him, before she leaned forward and shared another quick kiss with him. She broke away from him, and grinned at him. He grinned back, relieved this crisis was over. Dawn then went closer, and started kissing him in earnest, her arms circling his waist and she started feeling his lovely muscled back. Li was shocked at first, but quickly got in the spirit of things, kissing her back, and roaming his hands across her torso. The closer his hands got to her breasts, or to her ass, the more his member strained for release. Eventually he just took the jump, and lowered his hands down over her back, to gently cup her pants-covered ass. He felt her lips smile as they kissed, knowing she was letting him. To his surprise he felt her hands go underneath his shirt and gently feel his chest. Her warm hands sent thrills through his body. He moved his own hands to her front, and gently moved them up, until he was feeling her breasts. *Oh, wow!* he thought, as he deepened the passionate kiss, seeking her tongue with some more force of his own. Gently he started kneading her breasts.

After a few minutes of this, Dawn broke the kiss, and with a smile she gently pulled his hands from her chest. She gave him a peck on the lips and said, "I think that's about enough for today." He grinned back at her. Dawn looked around, and quickly dumped the school stuff on the floor. "Let's go lie down," she told him, as explanation. "Let's have a break, and just rest on the bed, snuggling together, ok?"

"That would be great," Li told her with a large smile. Dawn lay down on her side, and he lay opposite of her, the two looking deeply into each other's eyes as they embraced, their legs tangled together. Gently they kissed again, and then leaned their foreheads against each other. They looked smiling at each other, and just lay there, not saying a word, each just enjoying the view and the feelings rushing through their bodies.

"This is nice," Dawn said, and then got an idea. She turned around, and snuggled back against Li. His arms wrapped around her waist, and he murmured in her neck with approval. The two bodies spooned together, folding in the other smoothly. Dawn's eyes widened for a moment as he felt his erection in her backside. She relaxed quickly and snuggled closer against him, rubbing her ass against his penis naughtily a few times, testing for the most comfortable position. After an initial panic attack, that she was going to kick her out after all, Li-Huei just groaned in contentment, as their bodies, and in particular her ass against his penis, rubbed together. Finally they lay still, both completely relaxed. "Mmmh, this is really nice," Dawn told Li with an unseen smile on her face.

"Agreed," Li murmured with pleasure tightening his arms protectively around her.

"We'll just lay here for a quarter of an hour, and then go on with homework, before you have to go home," Dawn said softly.

"Ok," Li said happily. After nine minutes, both were sound asleep.


Tired from her patrol, Buffy entered the house. She went to the kitchen and pored herself a cup of chocolate milk. She looked around the house. Everything was in order, nobody was downstairs, they were obviously already peacefully asleep. As she looked around the house again, she felt a sadness overtake her, her eyes became glazed and wet. Once again it was obvious none of them needed her. What had happened? She had been number one, in charge, nobody could go around her, and now . . . she was all but useless. At least college was still going good.

The phone rang. It startled Buffy. She quickly dried her tears, and picked up the phone. "Summers residence, Buffy speaking," she told the person on the other end.

"Finally, thank god!" a woman spoke on the other hand. "Is my son still with you? He should have been home a long time ago! And why the hell hasn't anyone picked up the phone before?"

"Let me check," Buffy told the women a little tersely, not liking the implication in her voice. She walked up the stairs and explained, "I wasn't home, and the other adult must already be asleep." Buffy reached up stairs, and pushed open Willow's room. The redhead's hair was tussled, visible just above the bed covers. "Yup, the chaperone is sleeping like a baby." Buffy walked onward and opened Dawn's room, and she saw the couple sleeping on the bed. So cute, so lovely, and so romantic. It warmed her heart, while at the same time saddened her even more. "Dawn and Li are asleep on top of the bed covers, both still fully clothed. They must have taken a break and dozed off." The woman on the other end sighed with relief. "Want me to wake him up and send him home, or just let him sleep? It is Saturday tomorrow," Buffy asked, calmly waiting for the answer.

There was silence, she was probably discussing it with her husband, Buffy figured. Then the woman's voice returned, and she said, "Let him sleep, but you can tell him tomorrow morning he's in #big# trouble!"

"Will do," Buffy told the other woman, a grin on her face. "Bye." After a goodbye from Li's mother, they both hung up. Buffy thought for a moment about bringing the horn back to the machine, but decided she could do that in the morning. Then she went to her own bedroom.


The sun shone in Dawn's face, and she slowly opened her eyes. She smiled at the sunshine, it wasn't going to be hot, it being December, but there was sunshine anyway. She just loved California. She snuggled back, intent on staying put when she realized something; the covers weren't covering her, she was still in clothes, and someone was lying against her, his arms - they just couldn't be of any female she knew - were lazily wrapped around her waist. Her eyes widened in shock and she twisted around. Yes, her theory was right, Li-Huei was still lying there, sound asleep. "Oh, my god!" Dawn exclaimed in panic. Li moaned some. Dawn shook him, calling, "Li, wake up."

"Hmm, let me sleep, I know it's Saturday," her murmured with a slight irritation lacing his voice.

"LI!!" Dawn called out sharply. His eyes snapped open immediately and he looked in her face, confused. "We must have fallen asleep," she explained.

"Oh, gods! My parents will be ballistic!" he called out frightened. "Must call them . . . Aah! Ow!" Li rolled on his back in shock. "That hurts!"

"What? What is it?" Dawn asked concerned looking him over, she didn't see anything wrong. His hands reached for his crotch, and then immediately withdrew with another cry of pain. "What's wrong?" Dawn asked panicky.

"Don't know, never had this before," Li said in dread. Part of him wanted to check out what was going on with his penis, but he couldn't do that in front of Dawn, and it seemed moving was enough to really hurt. Hell, it hurt all the time. His erection usually meant he had to pee, and he did need to, but what he was feeling now was something else. He guessed he would just have to go through the pain, reach the bathroom, check out what was wrong, (perhaps it got tangled up in his pants or something?) pee, and hope for the best. "Got to get to the bathroom," Li said and sat up, wincing at the pain.

Dawn just couldn't bare to see her boyfriend in pain, and pushed him back gently. "Stay put," she said, and then realized that might not have been such a good idea. Li complied though and he looked questioningly at her. *Ok, now what,* Dawn thought, starting to get embarrassed, as she realized what she had committed herself to with that action. Calling for help was out of the question. From his embarrassed face, Dawn knew for certain that bringing in her sister or Willow, two more women, was not a good idea for his obviously male problems. She could tell him to go anyway, but that would make her former action look stupid. Slowly she moved her hand toward his crotch. *No biggy!* Dawn told herself, searching for her courage. *Nothing sexy here, he's not my boyfriend, just a patient! Right, think all medical like, cool, professional. I SOOO can't believe I'm doing this.*

"Uh, Dawn, what are you doing?" Li-Huei asked nervously. The guy was barely older than Dawn, extremely embarrassed over the fact that something was wrong with his penis in front of his girlfriend, and worse, he was still sporting a giant erection. He was not actually looking forward to what Dawn seemed about to do.

Dawn looked at his panicky and embarrassed face and told him soothingly, "I just want to help, Li. I don't like seeing you in pain." Dawn blushed, it was quite a confession, it was bordering on saying, 'I love you'. "We'll go find out what's wrong, ok?"

"I think I can do . . . ok," Li said, smiling uncomfortably at Dawn. He just couldn't deny the beauty next to him. Dawn's fingers reached his zipper, and she gently started undoing his pants. After a few moments of fumbling nervously, Dawn constantly telling herself this was a medical procedure, nothing to get worked up over, if she ever had a son, she might have to do the same thing, nothing to be nervous about. Gently she pulled Li's pants and boxers down. Li winced as the pressure was removed from his penis, and it gently stood up, waving a few times. He looked with wide-eyed shock at what he saw.

"Ouch," Dawn commented, the same shock on her face. His dick was blue and purple, and so were his balls. "Ogh, I'm sorry, I must have done this, banged back into you or something," Dawn told him blushing brightly, completely not knowing what to say or do.

Li really wished it was that easy, but he couldn't believe it, which made him dread just what this was. "Can't be," he muttered, as his panic rose, neither of them had any embarrassment left, they were just transfixed by the problem. "You would need a sledge hammer for this. Gods, I hope I'm not coming down with something."

Dawn had looked in his face, and was relieved this wasn't her fault. If a quick impact to a guy's penis could make him moan in agony, this must be hell. "That's not possible," Dawn said, still not knowing what to do. "I'm a virgin, you're a virgin right?" He nodded. "Than even if we . . . uh . . . sleep-sexed . . ." Dawn blushed again. ". . . we still shouldn't have any diseases. You're still all erect." Dawn thought to herself then, *If it weren't all blue, it would be kind of nice. NO! Don't go there! Medical problem! Medical problem! Just solve it! Think solving this. Go into a research mode!*

"Uh . . ." Li muttered, his mortification growing, but he knew Dawn was there to help him. So with extreme shame he said, "Happens when I need to pee, do need to pee, but it's never been blue before."

Dawn blinked, and then latched onto his words, "God, you guys are so lucky. Need to pee, flood the veins with blood, tighten the pee tube and nothing comes out . . ." *Nothing comes out!* Dawn latched onto those words, and checked his crotch, there were no signs he had ejaculated during a dream. *No, that just couldn't be it, could it?*

"What?" Li asked, feeling his panic rise again.

Dawn looked at him, and almost whispered, blushing deeply, "I guess that means you got . . . soft . . . and then later on all . . . stiff again, right? It can't be possible you stayed . . . erect all night?"

Li looked down at the horror that was his blue erection, and said, "I-it could be possible, I think."

*Erect before, kissing, fondling and then going to sleep snuggled up against his girlfriend, my ass against his erection, including all my smells and pheromones,* Dawn thought shocked, there really was no way around the conclusion. *This is my fault! In a way. His body thought it was . . . going to . . . and then stayed ready. Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boyohboy!* Dawn looked at Li's face again, her blush deepened, "Uh, Li. Remember physics, pressure, how if you got too much of it inside a container, that container might shatter?" Li nodded, frowning deeply and looked down at his blue cock. "Apply that to the most sensitive organ on your body." Li's eyes widened, blushing deeper himself, swallowing something away. "I t-think the solution to this . . . ehm, p-problem, is . . . uh . . . relieving pressure." *That's right, Dawn,* she thought to herself. *Just keep it nice and neutral.*

"Y-you m-mean . . . ejaculate?" Li asked wide-eyed. This just couldn't be happening, he almost preferred a disease.

*There go the neutral terms,* Dawn thought in embarrassment, as she nodded.

"I would h-have t-to . . . j-j-ack off. Oh, god!" Li-Huei muttered, blushing even deeper. This really could not be happening. He would have jack off in his girlfriend's house because his stupid body decided to become too aroused. How much more degrading could this get?

"Masturbation, yes," Dawn said as calm as she could muster, while she thought, *Yep, there definitely go the neutral terms.*

The two of them stayed unmoving for a moment, and then Li slowly went to pull up his pants. "Well, then," he said, wincing. "I guess I'm going to need some time in the bathroom."

Dawn nodded. "Hold it," she suddenly said, as she got a really bad visual. "You know how to put a condom on?" Li blinked at her, still beet red. Dawn explained, "Well, I don't know how . . . uh . . . violent your discharge usually is . . . Oh, god . . . but it's probably going to be . . . well . . . anyway, I don't fancy cleaning up, or my sister demanding her way in and seeing . . . a mess."

*Why!? Why!? She won't every want to see me again!* Li screamed out mentally. "No," he was forced to answer.

Dawn nodded mortified. "I, uh . . . wait here, don't pull your pants up yet. Ugh, that sounded so tacky," Dawn told him as she quickly went to the exit of her bedroom. She opened the door, quickly looked left and right, nobody was present. She quickly raced across the hall, three meters to her right, and slipped into the bathroom. She opened the cabinet, and quickly pulled a condom from where Buffy had shown her. Once again checking if the coast was clear, she raced back. She held up the condom and walked over to Li-Huei, showing the condom in its packaging. She grinned and quickly found the right place and pulled the packaging open revealing the condom.

"Watch," Dawn told him, and he did. One hand held the condom by its small tube-like protrusion where the sperm would be kept. With her other hand she placed the ring on top of the head of his penis. *I cannot believe I'm doing this!* Dawn thought, as a secret thrill ran down her body. "You hold it like this," she explained, "and with the other hand just roll it down." Dawn started rolling down, which forced her to put some pressure on it.

"Ow, aah, that hurts!" Li exclaimed.

"No pain, no gain," Dawn said apologetically. If before this, his erection had any chance of receding, now that Dawn was actually handling it, it was utterly gone. There was just no way he could keep his thoughts away from the beautiful face so close to his cock, while her hands were busy. He groaned, as the condom was halfway the head.

Dawn hesitated, and looked into his face. Her boyfriend! She felt flutters in her stomach. She just couldn't bare to see his face in pain, and wondered what actually stroking it toward orgasm would feel like. "This won't do," Dawn muttered in sympathy as she pulled the condom off. She looked into his face that was complete misery, she just had to do something. She supposed if they did nothing, his erection would recede sooner or later, but what effect had that on his . . . health, right, #and# sooner or later her sister or Willow would also come in here, or they would have to leave the bedroom. Somehow she didn't think that the two grownups would like seeing Li in this state, or limping with a bulge in his pants.

Dawn got an idea. *Oh, no!* she told herself. *You can't do that! Last night you said you were still not ready.* She counteracted that argument, *Things change. Besides, look at him, he needs help. This isn't about being ready for a sexual act, it's a medical procedure.* The other voice that was herself snorted, and said, *Yeah, right, and I'm Santa Claus.* Dawn answered, *So what else is there to do? Besides, look at it, it looks kinda hot, kinda yummy, even if it's all blue.* Dawn mentally screamed out at that, *OH, MY GOD! I CANNOT BELIEVE I THOUGHT THAT!!* The mischievous voice returned, *Calm down, it's true.* A third voice, the concerned one that came up with the idea, made the clincher, *It is the same thing as cleaning a wound and dressing it. We can't leave him like this, plus think, teaspoon full, no mess, no chance of pregnancy, we're both virgins, so no diseases either.* Dawn nodded, decision made. The whole thought process had taken less than two seconds.

"Li-Huei," Dawn said softly, calling his attention. "I've got an idea. A solution."

"Like what?" Li asked, depressed, certain this could only get worse. He was on the verge of tears, and it wasn't the pain.

"Well," Dawn said, licking her lips in anticipation. Now that she was going to do it, she felt herself heat up, and quite a bit aroused. "What here, is soft enough not to hurt you, and get you off?"

Li understood what she meant, and he said, "You don't have to Dawn, that's just . . ."

"I want to," Dawn interrupted him with a smirk, and positioned her self between his legs. Li watched, stunned beyond comprehension, and Dawn looked at the angry blue erection in front of her. *Ok, no more turning back now,* Dawn told herself, as her heart beat so hard in her chest, that for a moment she was afraid it would come right out.

*Watch the teeth, here goes nothing,* Dawn thought, and enclosed the head of Li-Huei's penis with her lips. She started sucking gently, remembering something Anya had said, she started encircling his cock with her tongue. She took more of him in, until the head and a centimeter or two were in her mouth, and she happily sucked, and explored the rod with her tongue. Li watched enraptured. In his present state, he didn't last long. Barely a minute after Dawn started her blowjob, Li came with gusher. His cum filled Dawn's mouth, and tickled her taste buds. The lovely, sticky fluid tasted a little salty. Dawn had been right earlier, the average discharge of a man is a teaspoon full, and she was planning to pore that into the condom, but Li's load had been building all night, his cumshot was far from average. The first two jets spurting from his cock filled Dawn's mouth to the brim. She had only a split second to decide before the next spurt came and irrevocably spilt out over her lips. If she let that happen, then one of the goals of this endeavor - not to have a mess - would fail miserably . . . Dawn swallowed deeply, feeling the sperm slide down her throat and past her nose access. Dawn breathed in through her nose, as the following shot of cum splashed against the roof of her mouth. The taste of the fluid became complete, a tinge of mint pleasantly filling her nose. Dawn sighed contently, a smile creeping up her face as best as it could, and she happily sucked onward, and swallowed down mouthfuls of the stuff. *It tastes pretty good,* Dawn thought wickedly, as she happily listened to Li's moans and groans, each signaling another spurt of cum. Her own arousal grew with each one.

Finally the flow of cum abated, and then stopped. Li looked dazed and content up at the ceiling, a satisfied smile on his face. Dawn sucked a few more times, making sure she got every drop, and gently pulled her mouth from his cock, moving her lips tight along his erection, making sure not to miss anything. Once free, she had a naughty idea. She swished the last bit of sperm around in her mouth, as she grabbed the condom, and rolled it down fully. Then she let what she had in her mouth leak into the condom.

Li watched Dawn in amazement, "It's that bad, huh?"

Dawn looked at him, and grinned, "No, it's quite tasty; I wanted to see it." Li-Huei's eyes widened even further at that confession. Dawn held up the condom and looked at the white fluid with fascination. Her curiosity satisfied she started tying a knot in the condom, and said, "Janice said that according to her sister sperm is sticky, dirty, and disgusting. I don't know whose loads she's been swallowing, but it certainly isn't yours. You taste great."

Li blushed deeply, and said, "Dawn, I can't believe you just did that, that's so . . . wow."

"Why thank you, Mister Kujimuta. I'm glad my nursing skills are to your liking," Dawn told him with a giant grin. She herself could hardly believe she did it, but the taste in her mouth and nose left no other explanation. It felt fantastically naughty to still taste him, and it turned her on. However, to Dawn it felt like they had already crawled through the needle's eye, so she decided to ignore the wetness in her panty, and the need to do something about the tickling sensation down there, besides, they still had to see if it worked.

Dawn looked at the now limp penis, and noticed the coloring had already lightened. Although it was still blueish, and she was certain he was going to feel it for some while yet, it didn't seem quite as painful as before. "How is it?" Dawn asked, with a smile. Now that she actually had completed the act, she somehow didn't really feel embarrassed anymore.

Li's eyes widened, remembering why Dawn had given him this amazing gift in the first place. He sat up straighter, and looked at his penis. To his relief it didn't hurt that much anymore, although it was still uncomfortable. He looked up at Dawn, and said, "It doesn't really hurt anymore." Dawn smiled, relieved. Li managed to see the door, and remembered how easily Dawn had come and gone through it. "Oh, damn," he said and hastily started pulling up his pants, more relieved when he noticed it wasn't a painful affair. "Anyone could walk in," he clarified his actions with an embarrassed smile.

Dawn smiled wickedly at him, and said, "Let's go have some breakfast. Cum tastes good, but it isn't very filling."

Li nodded in approval. When he was finished with his pants, he leaned forward, and kissed Dawn deeply, not caring that he could taste himself in her mouth. Dawn broke the kiss breathlessly, before her arousal would become so great, she would finger herself to an orgasm right in front of him without caring if someone walked in. They opened the door, looked for a moment if the coast was clear, and then they quickly went to the bathroom, where Dawn dumped the condom into the trash bin.

Li went inside and shrugged at Dawn, "Still need to pee." Dawn grinned and calmly waited outside.

A few minutes later they arrived downstairs, and walked right into the living room through which they could reach the kitchen. "Young man!" a stern voice called from their destination. The two teens froze and turned to look at a very stern looking Buffy Summers. "#You# are in #big# trouble!"

"Nothing happened, honest," Li-Huei lied boldfaced, a little defensively. It earned him a quick, appreciative look from Dawn.

Buffy smiled, gesturing for them to come into the kitchen. "I know," she said. "You fell asleep with your clothes on, but after I told your mother that last night on the phone, she told me to tell you, you were in big trouble."

Li swallowed. The panic over his painful penis, and his subsequent first blowjob had made him completely forget about his parents. They were going to be so pissed.

Episode 36
Crawling Onward

'The Father will kill the son.' Wesley looked at the words he had written down for the third time now. There was simply no way around it, the prophecy really did prophecise that.

"Hey, Wes," Faith's happy voice sounded, as she entered his office uninvited, straight from school - she had only taken time to take of her jacket and dump her backpack. She hopped playfully onto the edge of his desk, and said, "What ya doing?" She grabbed the paper in front of him away, before he was able to protest. "'The father will kill the son'," Faith read aloud. Her face was suddenly shocked, and she looked over to the lobby where Angel was cuddling Connor. "Angel and Connor?" Faith whispered.

"Yes," Wesley answered. Faith whipped her head around. "I've translated it three times, tried every spin and interpretation I could give to it, that's the only thing that can come out of it."

"We'll stop it," Faith stated resolutely. "Let's tell Angel and the rest, and we'll find a way to stop it."

"No, not yet," Wesley stated empathically. Faith looked at him questioningly. "I have one more thing I want to try. I don't want to worry them needlessly, I've been in contact with a wizard, he's given me directions to an oracle. It'll tell me if it's false or not, and how to stop it."

"When?" Faith asked stone faced.

"Tomorrow, midnight," he told Faith. "If it says it's real, I'll take what I've got to the others, if not, well, then there really is no need."

Faith looked at him, her gaze piercing his eyes. "I'm coming with," she told him tersely.

"You've got a dance . . ." Wesley started.

"School dance," Faith corrected him, her gaze unwavering. "For sixteen-year-olds. Finishes at eleven. Plenty of time to give this oracle a good talking to." Wesley sighed, and nodded his acceptance. "Good," Faith said, completing that part. She placed the notepad back on the desk and grinned mischievously. Quickly she swung herself over the desk, pushed Wesley back a little and landed with spread-legs in Wesley's lap, her knees on his chair next to him. "Let's get to more enjoyable business," Faith whispered, and kissed him deeply. Wesley didn't protest, he happily kissed the Slayer back. The entrance bell rang, interrupting the sweet kiss, and the two broke apart, each sighing.

The two of them walked back to lobby, and found a black woman, who had already introduced herself as 'Aubrey' to Angel.


"He returned early next morning, but he was changed, he was pale and face was all crunched up," Aubrey explained with horror still on her face. They were all sitting on couches. "He behaved strangely, cursed me, threatened me, demanded I let him in. I was afraid, I was afraid of my own son. And then as the sun came up, he just burst into flames, and was gone."

"If you had invited him, you'd be dead now, or a vampire yourself," Wesley explained sympathetically. "You did the right thing."

"But I've been wondering, if I let him in, whether I could help him or something, if I could turn him back," Aubrey said with tearful eyes.

"No, you can't help a person once he's a vampire, all that's left is an evil thing," Angel explained calmly.

"A demon animated corpse," Gunn clarified from across the woman.

Cordelia completed the explanation in a gentle manner, "Your son was already dead. No more soul, all that's left was a demon wearing your son's dead body."

"If I could find that thing, I would kill it myself with my bare hands. It made me afraid of my own son," Aubrey explained.

"You said your son went to the pier that night?" Wesley asked gently, and Aubrey nodded. "Gunn," Wesley prompted.

"I can gear up," Gunn prompted.

Wesley nodded, and said, "Not too much, the visitors of the carnival will either call the cops on you, or think you work there."

Gunn grinned, nodding, and said, "I'll take Fred along."

Wesley nodded again, giving Fred a smile, who beamed with excitement, "But reconnaissance first, be careful, don't overestimate yourself, especially if there's a nest, a large one could mean the presence of a master vampire, return here in that case."

"Will do, Boss," Gunn said, and he and Fred got up and went to get a few stakes, Fred going along.


Over at Wolfram & Hart, Sahjhan appeared out of nowhere in Lilah's office. The lawyer calmly looked up, and said, "You don't have an appointment."

"That's it?" Sahjhan asked a little annoyed. "No 'How did you do that?' No screaming and running in terror? You twenty-first century people are so drab."

"You are Sahjhan, time-shifting, dimension hopping demon, put Holtz on ice for a few centuries so he could kill Angel when he least expected it. Since you're here, I take it Holtz isn't playing along, now can you get to the point?" Lilah said to the demon annoyed.

"If you put it that way," Sahjhan started, slightly taken aback. "I want to kill my sworn enemy Angel. And I have just the plan, I require something that is quite difficult to get: Connor's blood."

"I am sorry, Sahjhan," Lilah told the demon, and started writing something on a piece of paper. "But my company has the policy to let Angel live until the times come when he can be useful, and I must uphold that policy." Lilah held up the paper, on which was written, 'Count me in. Got the blood.'


Gunn and Fred walked embraced along the carnival on the pier, grinning. They were headed away from the place, they had found no vampires, not a one, certainly no nest. "Who knew one could have so much romantic fun keeping an eye out for vampires?"

"I did," Gunn grinned at her, and Fred gave him an appreciative kiss on his cheek, requiring him to dip down a little. "The Ferris wheel: fantastic lookout, fantastic place to make out, the answer to all one's needs and desires." Fred laughed, and then Gunn stopped them suddenly, when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He looked over and saw a person open, and enter the already closed carousel. A white sheet keeping the insides safe from the elements, circumvention the machine. Gunn frowned at the man entering, an said, "Didn't we see the owner close up and leave earlier? Doesn't look like the guy has a key, does it?"

"Not really," Fred answered as the man disappeared into the carnival ride.

"Let's go check it out," Gunn said on high alert, pulling out a stake just to be sure. Fred nodded, and the two of them cautiously went over to where the guy entered the carousel. Several moments later they were inside - the guy nowhere to be seen. Cautiously the two walked along, watching the fake horses and other places to sit stay unmoving. They weren't actually on the moving part of the carousel yet; the circular roof extended out over it, and they were standing under it, on concrete.

Suddenly there was a noise, and climbing down from a ladder came a figure, it jumped down from a meter, turned around, and hissed. Its deformed face, and faintly glowing, yellow demonic eyes identified him as a vampire. From the center column a second vampire emerged, and behind them, following another sound of a metal hatch opening, a third vampire came down a ladder. Each of the vampires hissed and growled, and advanced on the couple.

Gunn went into a battle stance, and Fred looked fearful. "Stay here, Fred. Don't want one of them following you, if you run away, I'll be stuck here while I fight the others." Fred nodded, pulling out a stake of her own.

The vampires were nearly on them, and one vamp to Gunn's right lunged. Gunn turned and kicked out his right foot mightily. It connected with the vamps stomach, and he was flung back, crashing against a horsy and a pole which dislocated. The vamp was dazed. The first vampire that they had seen emerging tried to attack Fred, but Gunn twisted and lashed out a backhand that sent it staggering back and landing on its ass. Gunn rapidly jumped backward, staked pointing back, and got the last vampire in its thigh, causing it to scream in pain. At the same time Fred went after the vampire that had tried to attack her. Gunn pulled a second stake from his jacket with his free hand and jammed it into the vampire's heart. Even as it turned to dust, Gunn went after the vampire he had kicked into the carousel, which was just staggering back to his feet. Fred dusted the vampire that had attacked her, as Gunn spun the staggering vampire around to face him, and did the same to it. The two young lovers quickly walked over to one another, and embraced, then kissed deeply.

Gunn broke it and whispered, "You know I can't identify people by chi sense yet, nor can I feel the difference between a soul and a demon, but I can detect when someone or something is near. There are two people, and they are now leaving." Fred looked up at him, nodding her understanding in a wide smile. The people who had set up this trap, had been watching. "I think we should follow them, wanna know how Lois Lane feels?"

Fred looked up at Gunn with huge eyes. She knew he had recently managed to lift himself off the ground, but flying after two people, and carrying her along as well? "You think you can?" Fred asked astonished.

Gunn nodded, "If they don't take too long getting wherever they're going." The two quickly went outside of the carousel, and then, slowly, they lifted off the floor. Fred held on tightly to Gunn, and looked down at the receding ground in astonishment. Fred looked on, she was certain they were going nowhere near the speed of Superman, but they slowly closed the gap between the them and the ones leaving the scene.

"Who do you think they are?" Gunn asked before the two people even became visible.

Fred got herself under control somewhat, and thought over what had happened. It took her less than a second to come to a conclusion, "Can't possibly be Wolfram & Hart, it's not their MO. The way I see it, with the vampires and all, that means only one option."

The two looked at each other with a smile, and said simultaneously, "Holtz." They looked back, and they got close enough to identify a male and most likely a female. The male in casual clothes, the woman a bright redhead wearing a leather jacket.


The next day the Angel team watched Aubrey leave. They had tried to talk some sense into her, but they all knew it had failed.

"I want to see if I can succeed with some of Holtz's others recruits," Wesley stated thoughtfully.

"You want to go to his hideout, and talk?" Cordelia asked incredulously.

"That's a pretty good idea, Wes," Angel said, turning around to face Wesley.

"You think you can handle them all on your own?" Fred asked nervously.

Wesley turned to look at Faith, and smiled at the beauty. "I think if Faith tags along, I will do just fine."

Fred and Gunn gave each other a knowing look, and Gunn commented, "Just don't make out so much you forget where you have to go. You do still remember where I said their hideout was, right? Blood hasn't rushed from your mind already?"

Angel looked from Faith to Wesley, and said, "You two . . . ah . . ."

"Yes, Angel, Faith and Wesley are a couple, as usual your blockhead is the one to catch on last," Cordelia said, rolling her eyes with a twinkle in them.

"Oh, well, congratulations then," Angel said sheepishly, now that he paid attention his nose told him it was obvious, their smells were on each other. He wondered why he hadn't noticed that fact before.

Gunn looked incredulously and said, "Hey, you never congratulated us."

Angel looked apologetic and said, "I didn't? I thought I did . . ."

"You have, Angel," Fred said with a smile as she elbowed Gunn in his ribs.

"Oof!" he exclaimed.

Fred told Angel, "He's just pulling your leg."

"Well, now that that's out of the way, I think Faith and I will go see about talking some sense into them," Wesley said, and grabbed his coat.

Faith got her jacket and said, "And if that doesn't work, we can see about some physical persuasion." The team looked at her stricken. "I'm not talking about violence, I was talking about an orgy, sjeez." Faith shook her head at them, and then gave the team, which now looked even more incredulous a wicked grin. "It's so easy to dick with you, guys," she added grinning.


Aubrey entered Holtz headquarters. Several men were around, as was Justine, and several vampires that the Holtz crew was using to train their fighting skills.

"I'm sorry, sir," Aubrey said almost ashamed.

Holtz walked to the middle of the room, and said, "They found you out. Doesn't matter, but you seem to have led them here." The men and Justine were on alert instantly, looking at the door.

"It's not her fault, Holtz," Wesley said, as he and Faith strode in. "It was Justine that was followed last night."

"I was not followed," Justine hissed, taking a few steps forward. "I made sure."

"You forgot to check 'up'," Faith said, then lifted up off the floor, floating a meter above it. Holtz's crew gasped, even Justine. Holtz himself stayed calm. "When someone can fly, like Gunn, that's where you have to check also." Then Faith lowered herself down to the floor again.

"Why did you two come here?" Holtz asked calmly, his voice a constant growl. "Is it because you are afraid the vampire will hurt his son? He will. Gypsies may have cursed him with a soul, they do have interesting ideas about vengeance, but despite that he's still a vampire. His soul is a fickle thing, sooner or later his son will be on the menu."

"So this is about saving Connor now?" Wesley asked incredulously. "Last time I checked, you were in the revenge business."

"Angelus is absolute evil," Holtz told him.

"True," Faith said, looking around the room with a measured gaze. "Angel, however, is a good person."

"He's a vampire," Justine spat with contempt. "And you work for him."

"Actually he works for me," Wesley corrected her calmly and regarded her. "Who did you lose? Holtz lost his family, Aubrey lost her son. It's pattern, I say, who did you lose Justine?"

Justine stayed silent, her gaze hateful. "She lost her twin sister," Holtz answered calmly.

"Hot damn, now that's really a shame," Faith replied, looking Justine over once. Justine's anger reached its boiling point and she rushed faith, swinging back a fist. Faith waited calmly, then rapidly snapped out her right arm, grabbed Justine by the back of the head, and some of her hair, and pulled her off the ground effortlessly. Justine screamed, in rage, in pain, and everything else. She kicked and punched, but Faith didn't even flinch. Getting tired of this, Faith casually threw Justine to the right, who crashed into the wall and dropped to the floor, groaning in pain. "You should keep your pets on a leash, Holtz," Faith said, and Justine looked up at her with eyes full of hate. Holtz men looked in astonishment, and stayed fearfully back.

"Faith, would you please be a little less violent," Wesley requested. Faith was about to complain, but seeing Wesley's look she shut up.

"It seems you have your convicted murderess close on a leash, Mr. Pryce," Holtz observed calmly.

"I did my time," Faith told him tersely, but otherwise made no move.

Holtz regarded her for a moment, his men staying put. "So, why #did# you two come here."

"We hoped we could talk you out of this crazy path, and if not you, then perhaps some of them," Wesley stated empathically. "Holtz, Angel is not Angelus, Angel has fought on the side of good for years now. He's helped save the lives of many, and even helped stop an apocalypse. We should be allies."

"Angelus #must# be destroyed," Holtz stated calmly.

"What about the rest of you then?" Wesley asked looking around the room. "You are throwing away your lives for the wrong cause. He doesn't want justice, he wants revenge. Holtz doesn't care about you, any of you. He only wants to destroy Angel. Do you think he'll go after the vampires who killed your loved ones once he's done with Angel? He won't, he'll just go sit in a house in the middle of nowhere. You can't beat us, we've been fighting the fight for years, we're too good. We don't want to kill any of you, but if you attack us we #will# defend ourselves." There was some doubt in a few of their eyes, but most stayed unwavering, even if they were fearful of the dark Slayer.

"Damn it," Faith cursed, disbelieving. "Can't you people see none of you - Holtz included - stand a hope in hell against me?"

Holtz almost smiled, but didn't, he came as close to it as possible, when he said, "If I were you, I wouldn't be so certain."

Faith looked at him, than pointed her hand, and rapidly fired three small energy balls. They penetrated the chests of the three chained vamps, and an instant later they turned to dust. "Just doing my sacred duty," Faith told Holtz dryly. His men seemed a lot less certain now.

Wesley shook his head and turned around, "Come on, Faith. This is a lost cause."


Later that night, Faith came down in her dress, and smiled wildly at everyone. The Angel Investigations Team, except Gunn and Fred who were out on a date themselves, looked at her with wide grins. "So, our first school dance," Angel said, with a smile at the girl entrusted in his care.

"Well, my first school dance in LA," Faith said with a smile, one that threatened to become feral; tonight would be the finale of her and her friends' vengeance scheme, and everything seemed to be going perfectly. Angel shrugged sheepishly.

"Oh!" Cordelia exclaimed, and quickly walked over to Faith and gave her a hug. "A dance," Cordelia said, happily. "I remember dances, I was the star of each and everyone. I so wish I could go."

Faith hugged Cordelia back to humor her, and told her, "Relax, Cordy. You'll go to more dances, and they'll be bigger dances, think, at the very least your highschool reunions will be a sure thing."

Cordelia broke the hug and told Faith dryly, "Very funny."

"Have fun, Faith," Lorne told her next.

"Will do," Faith told him with a smile.

Wesley came next, and he gave Faith a deep kiss, before saying, "Try to behave yourself."

"Wes, you can still change your mind," Cordelia prompted with an innocent look.

Wesley sighed. "We've been through this, I don't belong there."

Cordelia counter argued, "But you're her boyfriend!"

"Cordelia, Faith is going to highschool to make her experience the things she's missed. Taking an older boyfriend to a dance is not . . ." Wesley started.

"HOLD IT!" Lorne interrupted him, making everyone look at him. "Do not start this endless debate all over again, my head still hurts from the first time." When they were silent for a moment, Lorne quickly said, "Faith, Run! Before they start again!"

Faith grinned, laughed, and with a quick 'bye' she was out the door. Cordelia folded her arms across her chest, and glared at Lorne. "You green, heartless bastard. How can you let a girl go to a dance without her boyfriend?"

"She'll live, Cordy," Angel said with a good-natured smile, and then turned around to go back to waiting for a phone call, or a new client.


Faith hurried along the path leading from the hotel to the street, where the taxi was waiting. She was really glad Wesley wasn't coming along. She hadn't really want to tell him, 'Sorry, but as much as I like you, I don't want you along to the dance.' After all, how to explain to her 'older boyfriend' the destruction of a girl's popularity. She was lucky he didn't think he should come along anyway.

Faith quickly got into the back of the cab. Zoey was already sitting on the back seat, while Archie was sitting in the passenger seat. Faith grinned, and greeted them, "Hey, guys." Archie gestured to the chauffeur, and the cab drove off.

"Hey, Faith," Zoey said, grinning with abandon.

"Faith," Archie greeted, smiling broadly as well.

Faith looked at Zoey, and said, "Did you get it?"

Zoey took the bag on her other side, showed it to Faith, and pulled out the small digital video camera. The three of them looked at each other, and then grinned conspiratory. People better be careful around the three.

"Ok, show me how it works," Faith said with a predatory smile.


The dance was being held inside the school gym, and Faith, Archie and Zoey had been enjoying themselves. They had danced together, and had drank some punch together. But now, an hour and a half into the dance, it was time to put the plan in action. Discretely Archie left to go stand in a corner close to the exits, among a few other non-popular members, nothing suspicious there.

Faith found a place from where she could see everything. Zoey had intentionally lost herself in the crowd but she could see Faith, and Faith could see her. Then, as Tiffany and company went toward the table with snacks and drinks, she gave Zoey a nod.

Zoey slowly advanced on the group, keeping an eye on damn, waiting, like a cat waiting for her prey. This had to be timed just right. Now! When Tiffany was just filling her glass with punch from the large bowl. Zoey bumped hard into one of Tiffany's friends, the friend protested, and Zoey innocently said, "I'm sorry." Immediately after that she disappeared into the crowd, she had another job to do.

Faith watched the event with satisfaction. Like dominos, the girl Zoey bumped, pushed against another friend. The dancing crowd behind them didn't allow for easy movements, and the effect compounded. Eventually a girl next to Tiffany pushed against the highschool queen, and Tiffany lost grip of the spoon. The glass swished about as Tiffany steadied herself, and some of it sloshed over, and dropped on the beautiful beige dress. At the same time some of the punch from the spoon splattered over the lower part of Tiffany's dress. Then the spoon clanged into the punch, sending some of it into the air. The spoon balanced precariously on the edge of the bowl, then dropped over, launching some of the punch into the air, and ruining Tiffany's hair and makeup, before clanging onto the floor.

Tiffany's face was filled with shock, her mouth wide-open. "Oh, my god, Tiffany. I'm soo sorry!" her friend who had collided with the queen of Franklin Highschool blurted out in apology. She grabbed a napkin from a pile on the table and uselessly started to try and dry Tiffany off.

"DON'T TOUCH ME!" Tiffany screamed out in frustration and sorrow, ripping the napkin from her friend's hand and throwing it to the floor. Tears threatened to form in Tiffany's eyes, her dress ruined, her date wouldn't even want to be near her for fear of getting the stuff on his tux, let alone dance with her some more. When she looked up, she saw barely repressed smiles on her friends' faces. It wasn't really their fault, the punch in Tiffany's face and hair, just made her look funny. *They were right, Faith was right,* Tiffany thought, feeling herself crumble into an abyss of sadness. *They were behind all the pranks and attacks. They are not my friends at all.*

"YOU!" Tiffany screamed in accusation, tears falling from her eyes, making clear paths through the red punch on her cheeks. "ONE OF YOU DID THIS! EVERYTHING IN THE PAST WEEKS! OR WERE YOU ALL IN ON IT!? GET AWAY FROM ME!" With tears clearing her cheeks, Tiffany turned around and pushed her way through the crowd toward the exit.

Her friends looked after her, and one of them said angrily, "What the hell is wrong with her?"

"What a 'great friend', she accused us off everything," another commented bitterly.

Faith grinned, and watched Tiffany go. When she was about ten meters out of the gym, she gave Archie a nod, and he followed Tiffany. Faith waited and looked. Yes, there she was, a concerned chaperon, right on time. Faith winced at what she knew Zoey would have done just now. Nothing major really, just pierced her foot with a needle so she'd bleed a little; a band-aid would solve the problem. Faith gave her nod, and indicated the teacher. Zoey nodded back and intercepted the teacher. "Ma'am, my foot really hurts, I think I stepped into a nail or something. It must have gone through my shoe," she said with a whimper. The chaperone quickly focused on the more pressing problem than a ruined dress, and started helping the young girl out.

*Perfect,* Faith thought, and quickly followed Archie and Tiffany, using her sixth sense to track them. On the way she came across the front desk of the school. She walked over to it, and felt under the counter, behind a computer, and triumphantly retrieved the video camera. *Revenge is sweet,* Faith thought and quickly continued on her way.


Archie saw Tiffany disappear into a janitor's closet. Oh! This was just too good to be true. He waited a minute - he didn't want to make his arrival seem too soon, too smooth. He heard Faith come behind him just as he walked forward toward the closet. He looked around briefly, the brunette holding the camera in hand, the lights on it blinking on. She gave him a thumbs up, and he grinned at her.

When he reached the door, he could actually hear Tiffany sobbing. It almost broke his heart, but he hardened himself, remembering all the things he had done to him, and far worse to Zoey. This bitch needed to pay. "Uh, hello? Is someone in here?" he asked tentatively. *I deserve an Oscar,* he thought with an evil grin.

"Go away," he heard coming from the closet in between sobs.

He ignored it, and slowly opened the door, and pulled off a shocked look that would have made Mel Gibson proud. "Tiffany?" he asked in surprise and concern. He took in her appearance as if it was the first time he saw her like that. "What happened to you?" he asked softly.

"You were right, ok? They were not my friends, they dumped punch all over me! They were behind it all this time. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW!?" Tiffany said crying, yelling out the last words in hysteria. "Now leave me alone, loser!" Archie hesitated, and then slowly walked into the closet, making sure not to close the door completely, giving Faith an opening to film through. He reached over to a pile of towels and pulled a pair from it. "Which part of leaving me alone didn't you understand, dimwit?" Tiffany bit at him, but with far less venom. Archie unfolded one towel and held it front of her torso. She looked at him questioningly.

"It'll suck up some of the punch," he explained with a disarming smile. Hesitatingly Tiffany lowered the arms that she had wrapped around herself, and watched as Archie slowly wrapped the towel around her chest and shoulders. The towel got a darker color instantly as it absorbed some of the fluid. Archie sat down on a small ton next to her. What was in it, he didn't now, probably cleaning detergent in bulk. The second towel he used to gently wipe her face clean, and then he placed it on her head so it could absorb some of the punch in her hair.

Through teary eyes, Tiffany looked at him, as he sat next to her, and asked, "Why are you doing this for me? It isn't like I've been nice to you are anything?"

"I'm just a better person than you?" Archie half joked. Tiffany narrowed her eyes with some anger, but she kept crying at the same time. Archie shrugged. "I guess seeing the great Tiffany Mayfield crying got to me. It's just wrong. You are supposed to be unbeatable, and meeting out punishments and insults to anyone . . ." He shrugged again, and continued, "I know it's screwed up, but after the last few months, in this crazy world with asteroids and terrorist air plane crashes, I guess it's one constant I can cling to."

"You are really screwed up, you know that? They should lock you up in mental institution," Tiffany bit at him, but she just didn't seem able to put the venom in her voice she usually had.

"Look who's talking," Archie told her accusationally, but then smiled. Despite the tears, Tiffany felt the corners of her own mouth quirk upward. Finally she gave in, and both laughed out loud for a few moments. When they stopped, they looked sadly in each other's eyes.

This was so wrong, Tiffany thought, but she couldn't ignore the sad tucking in her stomach. What had Faith said about her friend again? Her only true friends were geeks and outcasts like Archie here? Because they would never even consider the impossibility of taking over, perhaps? Slowly she lowered her head, and rested it on his shoulder, and she felt his arm around her back. Did she mention this was wrong? So why did it feel so good to rest her head on his shoulders as sobs started to wrack her again. And why did she just love his soothing reassurances that everything would be okay.

Outside Faith grinned, it shouldn't be long now. She quickly looked over to where she had come from, and saw Zoey waiting in anticipation. It would take Zoey a little while for the next phase of the plan. So she gave her a 'perfect' sign with her left hand, and saw Zoey's grin widen evilly.

Having received Faith's sign, Zoey quickly rushed back to the gym. If they only had a tape, Tiffany could claim it was falsified; they needed witnesses, a live studio audience, that could corroborate the footage. She reached the gym, and started convincing people in the middle group, insanely popular guys, and a few of Tiffany's friends to come along, that she had something interesting to show them.

Tiffany slowly started to get a hold of herself, and slowly looked up, locking eyes with Archie. Her sobbing stopped, and looked at him with new eyes. This was so wrong! She wouldn't do it! He was a loser, a geek, an outcast, did you hear his name; Archibald Buttworth!? It was just horrible! Her arguments were useless though. Perhaps it was that she didn't have any friends left, indeed never had any friends in the first place, and he was the only one that was a friend it seemed. Perhaps it was the shoulder he offered, some kind of sickening instinct to appreciate the guy who offered one. Perhaps it was the fact that he wasn't wearing loser clothes for a change, granted, it must have been rented, but a tux is a tux. Or perhaps the fact that he had bothered to look in the mirror and work on his hair this one special occasion. Or perhaps it was all of them combined. Either way his friendly eyes were suddenly irresistible, and his lips suddenly seemed so kissable. Unable to resist, she leant forward and give him a kiss on his lips.

"What was that for?" Archie asked softly.

Tiffany shrugged, and then leaned forward again, once again kissing him. This time she stayed with him, and gently let her tongue snake into his mouth. He returned the favor, at the same time that she slung her arms around him, embracing him. The kiss grew more passionate . . .

With a sudden woosh the door was pulled open, and surprised Tiffany broke the kiss and looked out the door. Her eyes widened with shock, a small group of people, about fifteen she idly estimated stood there, watching her. Quickly she removed the arms from the Archie, but said nothing. She felt as if the ground was just pulled from under her, and she was plunging to her death a hundred meters lower. This just couldn't be happening.

"Jeez, Tif," Archie said, and stood up. Stunned she turned her head back and looked up at him. "I know you want to do this more often, but that kiss was horrible. Sorry, but my mom kisses better than you do. Don't expect any sneaking off to kiss and fondle me ever again." Archie then walked out of the closet, and wormed himself a way out.

Unable to grasp what was happening, Tiffany watched with mounting dread at the people standing there. A few of the popular guys shook their heads, and started to leave. Several people below her, and who hated her for that, giggled and then laughed. Then one of her best friends came into view, shaking her head, and Tiffany looked up with shock. "First you falsely accuse us, then you make out and get dumped by one of the biggest losers in the school. How the mighty have fallen. Right, #Tif#?" the girl said with contempt and then left. Tiffany caught a glimpse of one of those modern digital video cameras with a side screen. She looked at it and saw Faith handling it. The brunette smiled evilly, winked, and then gave her a 'toodles' wave with her fingers, before disappearing as well.

*NO!* Tiffany thought in horror, as some people were still watching, a few geeks smiled proudly at their fellow geek's accomplishment, and some more higher up girls and guys giggled and laughed. It had been Faith and her friends all along! They had set her up; played her like Mozart played the piano. She had never felt so horrible, betrayed, and alone in her entire life. This just couldn't be happening! Tears once again started flowing down her cheeks, as the remaining people turned their backs on her and returned to the dance.


Down the hall, Faith, Zoey, and Archie congratulated each other on a job well done. They smiled at the camera, holding the incriminating evidence. "After Christmas break, we hack into the school website main page," Archie said with a grin. "And place the film on it. Everyone who goes to the site, or goes on-line on any of the computers in school will watch it automatically."

"All right, guys," Faith said and held up her left hand. Zoey and Archie slapped it, smiling. "We did it. Bye, bye, Tiffany Mayfield." Indicating the camera, Faith added, "Now let's put this somewhere safe."

"But how was the kiss, for real?" Zoey asked, morbidly fascinated.

"Oh, man, her tongue was velvet, it was incredible," Archie said softly with a wistful smile. "Ah, man, Faith, do I have to stay away from her?"

The girls looked at him incredulously. "She's evil, and do you actually think after what you just pulled she wants to see you again, let alone kiss you?" Zoey asked him. Archie looked down in shame.

"Besides, trust me, I could make her kiss look like it came from an insect," Faith added trying to improve Archie's mood. "So there must be other girls out there who can do it better than Maybitch."

"But you won't kiss me, because I'm your best friend," Archie said sadly, Faith nodded. Then smiling, he added, "Have I mentioned yet, how much it sucks being your best friend?" Zoey and Faith nodded, and laughed, happy there friend seemed to be cheered up.



". . . Eighteen, twenty-one, North. This should be it," Wesley said, and looked up. Next to him Faith did the same, and they looked in disbelief at the fast food joint. They were standing in front of a big hamburger sign.

"Didn't you say it was a statue?" Faith asked with a frown.

"Well, I guess in a way the hamburger is a statue," Wesley said slowly and then looked at Faith. She shook her head, and Wesley couldn't quite make out what for. "Well, only one way to find out if we're in the right place." Faith looked at him, and shrugged. Wesley pulled out a bag with a powder inside and threw it over the hamburger, reciting a spell in a language Faith didn't understand one bit. Must be some ancient shit, Faith speculated.

The moment Wesley was done, the hamburger started moving and growing. "How dare you disturb the Loa!" the hamburger thundered, until it stopped growing, now towering almost double their height above them.

"I'm Wesley Wyndam-Price, I seek knowledge," Wesley asked the hamburger.

"You wish to know whether the prophecy is real. It is, but your second question is wrong, you should ask another," the hamburger said with a booming voice.

Faith and Wesley gave each other a look. "How do we stop it?" Wesley asked.

"It cannot be stopped," the hamburger intoned, it seemed to get irritated. "I told you were asking the wrong question. The one you should be asking is 'when'?"

"Every prophecy can be stopped!" Faith decided to butt in, getting a little angry at the things high and mighty air.

"That the vampire will devour his son is certain, you insolent child," the hamburger said and shot yellow tendrils of energy at the two of them. Wesley fell back, but Faith took it quite easily to the hamburger's not so obvious surprise.

Faith quickly went to her boyfriend, and said in concern, "Wes, are you alright?"

"The event cannot be stopped," the hamburger droned on as Wesley got up with only a little difficulty. "It is inevitably. You are trying the Loa's patience, I told you which question you should ask."

Faith ground her teeth together in frustration and anger, but Wesley spoke first. "Alright then, when?"

"There are three portents you should look for," the hamburger thundered on. "The first portent shall shake the Earth."

"An earthquake?" Wesley asked incredulously. "We're in California for Crist's sake!"

"You are trying my patience! Let me finish! The Loa shall not stay much longer!" the hamburger stated angrily. "The first portent shall shake the Earth, the second will burn the air, and the third will turn the sky to blood."

"That's it?" Faith asked incredulously.

"Yes, earth, fire, blood," the hamburger repeated himself a little less cryptically. "Look for these portents and you will know."

Faith stepped forward and ranted at the thing, "Fuck you! I won't allow Angel to hurt his son, and I have the power to back it up! Prophecy or no prophecy, you stupid, damn asshole! We come here for information, and the only thing you can do is give a bad rhyme?"

"You insignificant child, the Loa sees all, how dare you insult me!" the Loa stated shooting much more of its yellow energy at Faith, with not much more result as the first time.

"Really!? If you saw all, you son of a bitch, then I guess you already know you will die right here and now!" Faith hissed at the thing, ignoring the pain the yellow energy caused her. Suddenly she rammed her fist into the hamburger's cheek, with a yel.

"What!? This is impossible! You cannot do this!" the hamburger thundered, trying desperately to go back to where he came from.

"Watch me," Faith hissed, getting even more pissed off at the hamburger's air of superiority. Wesley watched with fascination, as Faith started pulling her fist back out of the hamburger, groaning with exertion.

"Stop it!" the hamburger roared, lancing greater amounts of its energy at Faith.

"Fuck you!" Faith told it, placing a foot against the hamburger for leverage. The hamburger started crackling with energy, as the being was slowly pulled out of the hamburger sign that functioned as its doorway to this dimension. Faith grinded her teeth together, as she groaned with exertion, and her clenched hand emerged, holding a swirl of energy.

"No!" the energy thundered, no longer having control of the hamburger, as it was slowly but surely pulled away. With one final roar of anger and effort, Faith yanked the energy being free. With the Loa no longer having anything to cling to, it and Faith shot backward, but she quickly caught her movement with her chi. She twisted around and threw the Loa into the air with all her might.

She pointed both her hands up at it, and a mighty ball of energy formed at her hands. "Annihilation Attack!" Faith yelled and sent the ball after the energy being. The energy formed something that gave the impression of a face and its eyes widened with surprise as it saw the energy ball closing in on it. Moments later the ball connected with the being's energy, and the unstable energy attack exploded with a mighty bang. As its energy was flung outward, it overwhelmed the Loa, and its energy was pulled along, ripped apart. Soon the Loa couldn't keep itself together, unable to sustain the coherency in its energy. As that happened, the being's energy was reduced to a lifeless blob of amorphous energy that quickly expanded along the shockwave of the explosion, and then got absorbed by the molecules in the air . . . the Loa was dead.

"That takes care of that," Faith hissed in annoyance, as the hamburger behind her rapidly deflated and returned to its previous size and lifelessness. Only the hole Faith had punched into it showed that anything out of the ordinary had happened here.

"Bugger," Wesley said in awe. "You just killed something that was practically a god . . . easily." Faith nodded in satisfaction.

"Wesley, you tell Angel and the others tomorrow, right?" Faith asked wiping away some dust from the hamburger that was still on her right arm. Wesley nodded.

"Right," Wesley answered, still in awe about seeing a being supposedly far beyond humanity so easily dispatched. "Have I shown you my apartment yet?" Wesley asked, his eyes wandering down to Faith's tight leather pants. Something else, much more vital, replaced his attention.

Faith grinned wickedly.


Wesley led her into his apartment, and pointed things out. Faith found the phone and looked at it. Casually she flicked through its pre-programmed numbers, and missed Xander's and Anya's number.

"Hey, Xander and Anya aren't in here," Faith commented absentmindedly.

"Hm? Oh, right. I don't really call them often," Wesley said, as he started filling two glasses with something to drink.

"Well, I do," Faith told him with a smile. "And since I'm going to be here more often, do you mind if I program it in?"

"Go ahead," Wesley told her return with two glasses of blissful cool Ice Tea. Faith programmed the telephone number in at the first open spot; number seven. Once she was done she walked over to the couch and sat next to Wesley. She took the glass and greedily drank from the cool liquid. She placed the glass half full on the table, and watched Wesley do the same. She looked up at him, and marveled at her luck. She dipped in, so did Wesley, and they shared a long passionate kiss. "One hell of a prophecy," Wesley whispered, after they broke the kiss.

Faith could tell he wasn't completely assured, so she said, "Don't worry about the thing's claims. It didn't care about us, for all we know it was lying. You see I killed it easily, it was nothing special. And even if, Xander's stopped plenty of prophecies already, he's known as the Destroyer of Prophecies for gods' sakes. According to that, no prophecy is accurate anymore. It will not happen, we'll make sure of it."

Wesley breathed in deeply, then embraced the beautiful girl in front of him, and kissed her deeply again. Eighteen years old, he marveled, only just legal in this state. He didn't feel lucky about being with someone so young, he was astonished as to just how fantastic this girl managed to be at that young an age. A horrible, emotionally scarred girl, done several horrible acts, but somehow she managed to get her head above the water and blossom into this heavenly creature. They only barely managed to reach the bedroom.


The next day, Wesley was in Angel's room, getting ready to explain the whole 'you will kill your son' prophecy. He was confident it was never going to happen. Faith killing the Loa yesterday was a big indicator for that. He watched Angel lovingly feed Connor a bottle, and smiled. He couldn't possibly ever kill Connor.

"So what did you want to talk to me about?" Angel asked, as he placed himself on a chair, looking happily at his son.

Wesley smiled, for a moment just taking in the happy father and son. "I, uh, I have found this prophecy . . ."

"Is Connor in danger?" Angel asked concerned.

"The prophecy says so, but I don't think the prophecy will ever come to pass," Wesley said with a grin. Angel looked expectantly. "You see . . ." The building cut Wesley off, by starting to shake, and shake.

"Earthquake," Angel said, holding a protective hand over Connor.

"Under the table," Wesley said, and both of them dove under the table nearby. The oven and furnace in the kitchen got knocked over, and a spark coming from the screeching metal ignited the gas. The fire quickly spread as the Earthquake lessened, and stopped. Quickly the three of them got out from under the table and jumped over an arm of rapidly expanding fire. Another explosion sounded, and support beams and ceiling boards came crashing down among them.

"Come on, Wes," Angel said as he sprinted out of the room. Wesley hesitated and looked back. Two of the portents were already here.

"Wes?" Angel called from outside the room. "Come on, Wes!" Angel quickly ran back into the room and pulled Wesley outside. Wesley sank down against the wall and watched Angel and his son. Blood ran from a gash on Angel's head, and some of it splattered on Connor.

"Hey, we got of there, didn't we, Connor? For a moment I thought we'd be stuck in there," Angel said, tickling Connor under his chin, much to the baby's delight. "Well, if we were, at least I had a snack, right?"

Wesley gasped in shock at Angel's words. "Earthquake, fire, blood," Wesley whispered stunned.

"Wes," Angel called, and Wesley looked at him. "I'll go get the main gas valve. Once the gas is out, get the fire extinguisher, ok?"

Wesley nodded, and said, "Ok."

Episode 37

Willow walked through Sunnydale College. She was nervous, very nervous. She had been absent for a few weeks. To the school and her fellow students Dawn, Buffy, or Xander - she really didn't know - had explained she was sick. Exactly what disease they hadn't said she knew, only that it was serious - although her psychiatrist had given a more complete explanation to the school, without breaking confidentiality of course. It had been serious, even thought it wasn't a virus, or a microbe that had felled her; it had been a psychological trauma over just how close she had come to killing friends of her, let alone Tara. For the last weeks she had been in bed, meditating, or in front of the tv, struggling with guilt, and questions about life, death, power and what to do and not to do with it.

Several trips to the psychiatrist right here in Sunnydale had also been part of her program. On one of them she had actually met Faith there, and to her own surprise she had been able to talk to her relatively friendly. Faith had explained to her - Willow hadn't shown any interest before - how the first trip to an LA psychiatrist had almost landed her in the loony bin, and thus had decided to fly between LA and Sunnydale for her mandatory visits to the shrink. Willow suspected Faith had exaggerated somewhat about being institutionalized, but that hadn't diminished any of Willow's compassion - once again surprising herself - for Faith not being believed by her psychiatrist. If two surprises weren't enough, a third had presented itself when Faith had been compassionate and given her some valuable advice on how to deal with the consequences of her actions. A fourth surprise had assaulted Willow's mind when she had realized she wasn't all that different from Faith now; both had tasted the dark side, enjoyed the ride while it lasted and were thoroughly disgusted with themselves once the ride was over. The only difference, one that Willow considered herself to be blessed for, was that someone had stopped her (forcibly) before she actually killed someone.

Willow passed a few people she knew from classes but that took a wide berth around her, probably scared she could still transmit the disease she had allegedly had . . . or had they been at the bronze that night? Willow shook her head lightly, she really didn't want to think about that scenario. What was she doing here so close to Christmas break? Once again she thought she should have just stayed the last few days at home as well, but somehow she hadn't been able to stay at home anymore. She needed to get back to some semblance of normalcy - and that did not include using magic left and right, she had learned that lesson. No, she had to go to school, read books, catch up on what she missed, follow classes . . .

Willow's step slowed instantly when she saw her; Tara. Tara, her ex-girlfriend, the girl she had tried to mind rape, the girl that royally kicked her butt not too long ago, sucking a giant amount of her energy away, making Tara much stronger than herself now . . . The girl she still somehow loved, deeply. The pain that shot through her heart was immense. Seeing her made Willow really grasp for the first time just what she had done to Tara. She remembered a lecture about rape she had once heard; the offenders most likely to repeat their crime no matter how much prison or therapy - not even castration would hold them back. It was never a crime about passion, or sex, it was a crime about power; they would simply bring an implement they could use on their victims, like female rapists do from the start, unless they target males. These offenders came closest to the soulless monsters roaming the Hellmouth - with the exception of mass murderers like Stalin and Saddam Hussein - than any human ever could. For several moments she wondered if she was like that. She shook her head; unlike those, she cared deeply for what she had done, felt horrible about it, if she'd been in her right mind, had known just exactly #what# she had tried to do to Tara, if she had just stopped to think about it . . . *If, if, if,* Willow admonished herself bitterly. *Too late for that. I did it . . . but I'm not a soulless monster . . . came close to becoming one, though.* Willow shivered at that thought.

Willow looked at Tara, past the pillars separating them. Tara was casually chatting a girl. She laughed, the girl laughed back, they shook hands, and Tara gave the other girl a peck on the cheek, before they parted ways. Before Tara turned around and disappeared into the classroom her haunted, resenting, and angry eyes made a quick fleeting contact with Willow. Willow felt herself overcome with jealousy and grief. Did Tara have a new girlfriend? She so wished to be able to reach over and take the blonde back into her arms. "I'm sorry," Willow whispered, watching the doorway, through which Tara had disappeared. Swallowing her pain, Willow walked onward toward her class.


At lunch, Willow, Buffy, and Xander was sitting at a table in the mess hall of the college. "She might have a new girlfriend. She looked so angry at me, Buffy," Willow complained with pain in her heart. Her eyes were glassy, one tear was already flowing down her cheek.

"She'll come around, Will. I'm sure of it," Buffy spoke, putting hand supportively on top of Willow's right.

"Don't patronize her, Buff," Xander commented. He took a big bite out of his sandwich, chewed and swallowed as the two girls turned to look at him. Willow seemed stricken, while Buffy looked slightly angry. "Willow," Xander started, searching for the right words. "You have to accept the fact that there is a good chance she might never want you as a girlfriend again. Your relationship - if you could call it that - was precarious at best before your bare knuckle brawl. Afterwards . . ." Xander shrugged, and looked sincerely at Willow. "It might not be mendable anymore. You have to move on, Will. Don't live in the past. Just see what the future brings, perhaps you get lucky and you and Tara will get back together, and perhaps it won't, then you'll find another great girl sooner or later."

Tears flowed from Willow's eyes at Xander's words. It cut her deep, but it was the truth she realized. "Look what you did," Buffy bit at Xander. Buffy felt Willow's hand reaching over and clasping hers.

Willow shook her head at her, "He's right, Buffy. I may not have wanted to hear it, but he's right." Willow sniffed, not feeling better at all. "I do need to accept it, if not for me, than for Tara. I want her to be happy, how could I not after what I almost did to her? If she can't be happy with me, then . . ." Willow trailed off, a lump forming in her throat. She swallowed heavily. " . . .then I'll have to let her be happy with someone else, and I won't let her be if I become obsessed with her, and start stalking her."

Buffy looked uncomfortable, as Willow's words made her remember Spike's antics last year, and what she did with him and his tramps now. "He could have waited until you some more time had passed," Buffy accused, looking over at Xander, who wasn't bothered.

"I would have to hear it sooner or later," Willow said sadly.


"You didn't!" Tara exclaimed amazed from the position on her bed. It was late in the afternoon, and she looked with giant eyes at the girl in front of her. Shyly Dawn nodded. "You dirty, little girl, you," Tara added with a big grin, her voice filled with mirth.

"You really think so?" Dawn asked perturbed. With Janice too afraid of the supernatural to deal, Tara had been the only one Dawn felt she could talk to. Willow - just back from the dark side, was out of the question. Dawn's sister even more so - she would rather tackle Glory all on her own. Anya would probably try to teach her the best technique - which was something Dawn so not needed. And Xander . . . well, he was a guy! Although, Dawn admitted, if Tara had been unavailable she'd rather talk to him then with the others.

Tara realized Dawn was afraid she had now become a slut or something. With a wide grin Tara grabbed Dawn's right hand and pulled the girl onto her lap. She wrapped her arms around Dawn's waist, and hugged the girl close, putting her chin on Dawn's shoulder. "No," Tara said happily. Dawn felt good, it had been so long since someone hugged her like that - her mother had hugged her like that. She felt a pang off loss, but it couldn't overwhelm the happiness she felt just being hugged. She felt like a little girl again, and last year's events forced her to grow up so quickly. It felt good to shed all those concerns and just feel like a little girl, even if it was only for just this moment. "You're not a bad girl, Dawn. You did nothing wrong, not in my eyes, although a judge might disagree," Tara whispered, feeling good to hug the girl, she almost saw as a daughter. "You have to be eighteen to legally have sex, but since Li isn't more than three years older than you, you two are only guilty of a misdemeanor . . . then again, the law says intercourse, and oral isn't intercourse . . . I think."

"Whoa, how do you know all that?" Dawn asked surprised looking back a bit.

Tara grinned, and explained, "I'm from Idaho, I'm a lesbian, when I found out lesbian sex is illegal in Idaho, and I wanted leave that hell hole anyway, I decided to look up sex laws so I could choose a state in which I could have sex with my future loved one, and not worry about getting arrested." Dawn blinked as she thought that over, and then grinned. Tara added, "Little did I know that I was going from one figurative hell hole, to the #actual#, #real# hell hole when I chose Sunnydale."

"You wish you chose another place?" Dawn wondered subdued.

Tara smiled, and said, "No, if I had chosen another place, I wouldn't have met you, or Xander, or Faith, or Anya - however crazy she is - or Buffy, the girl who stood up to my dad . . . or Willow." Dawn heard the sad tone in Tara's voice. "Weird, isn't it? The girl almost tears out my mind, yet still, I wouldn't want to trade my time with her before that for anything."

Dawn smiled - the illusion of being a little child broken, despite the hug still in place. She didn't really mind though, the feeling of the hug was good enough without that illusion. "I'm not that knowledgeable in that area," Dawn spoke thoughtfully, pushing back into the girl she saw . . . Well, she didn't really know what she saw Tara as, mother - but Tara was too young, and they were too much like friends for her to be her mother; yet Tara wasn't quite a friend . . . wait, Dawn just figured it out. She didn't see Tara as a buddy, but yes she definitely was a friend, a mother-figure type of friend. Her thoughts had made Dawn hesitate for a moment, but she quickly added, "but I guess love does that, huh?"

"Yeah," Tara said, and they stayed silent for a few comfortable moments, just hugging. Then Tara gave Dawn a kiss on the back of her head, and gently pushed Dawn off of her. She rose to her feet herself, and told Dawn, "I think you should go home. Get back in time for dinner."

Dawn nodded with a smile. "Bye, Tara," Dawn said her smile unwavering, as she reached the door. "See you soon."

"Bye, Dawn, give them my greetings," Tara returned. Dawn nodded before she disappeared from view.


Cole targeted, the energy ball forming, and he fired. It had been surprisingly easy for him to learn it, although flying like the others were doing with ease, was completely out of the question. It seemed flinging energy balls for a century as a half-demon had attuned his human side enough flowing his energy out had come natural. Five times Earth gravity is what he was training in. A flame was still out of the question, but a healthy glow of chi surrounded his body. It was necessary really, he needed every last ounce of his strength and energy to stay standing. The energy blast flew, and connected with its target. It exploded and the blonde was flung back, until she crashed into the energy field surrounding the training mat. The blonde then crashed to the floor.

"Ow," Harmony muttered. She had had lots of ideas of what this training entailed; being beaten to a pulp by an ex half-demon wasn't one of them. Punches and kicks, and the simple matter of increasing her strength by just being in higher gravity was the only thing she had managed, using energy was as of yet out of the question. Slowly, painfully she pushed herself onto her hands and knees. "Time out, please?" she pleaded. She watched Cole shake his head in disdain before continuing his training routine without her. Harmony sighed in relief and let herself drop back to the floor. Luckily she didn't need to breathe, Harmony didn't think she could, beat up like this in such high gravity.

Over on another mat Spike was training against the automated robots, and a mat aside from him, Dawn was doing the same. With a yell she smashed her fist through one of the robots. She twisted around and threw a destructo disc, which cut through three more before it disintegrated. Dawn rapidly spun around and made a backhanded punch; it connected with the energy pulse a robot had fired and it was smashed aside. She shot forward, avoiding the last robot's energy pulses and kicked it in the side. The robot shot away to the right on impact, and crashed into the shield.

"Computer, stop training," Dawn ordered, breathing heavily. A tile that had opened to let more training robots in closed once again. She wiped away some sweat, and looked over to the final mat, which contained Xander at Super Saiyan level training with Buffy. Fleetingly she looked over at the control panel: 21 gs for herself, 28 gs for Spike, and 73 gs for Buffy and Xander.

Three destructo discs, and four energy balls flew at the Super Saiyan. Two ball harmlessly impacted on his erected chi shield. He smashed the remaining balls aside. Then he twisted easily between the three discs, picking two out of the air with his hands underneath them, the third he destroyed with a kick to its flat side. Twisting onward he threw the two discs right back at Buffy. She avoided them, but she failed to see the danger of her close position to the energy shield surrounding the mat. The discs impacted on the shield and exploded, the shockwave sent her tumbling forward. Too fast for her to react to Xander appeared above her, and kicked her down to the ground . The pain shooting through her stomach and belly were bad enough, but the impact onto the hard floor sent searing jolts of pain up her spine.

"Faster!" Xander commanded, firing an energy ball down. Buffy's eyes widened. Despite the pain, she erected a chi shield and crossed her arms in front of her. It was just in time, but didn't help much; the explosion coming after the impact was powerful enough to singe her anyway. "Stronger! More!" Xander added and shot down, ready to plant his right foot in her chest.

With every last bit of her strength Buffy rolled out of the way, getting scared. Xander was not pulling his punches this time; no teaching of skills, no pointers, an all out brawl to see what she had learned in the mean time. "I can't go faster!" Buffy complained, deciding to attack Xander head on.

As Xander casually blocked her rapid punches and kicks, he admonished her, "How do you know? You aren't even trying! If you can tell me what you can, and cannot do you are thinking about it far too much. You shouldn't be thinking about what you can, and cannot do, just do it!"

Xander shot out a punch, and Buffy quickly backed away. "Come on! Faster, Buff!"

Buffy charged an attack between both her hands, quickly backing away from the advancing Super Saiyan. "KAMEHAMEHA!" she yelled and fired the powerful beam. It actually reached Xander, but by that time the beam had dissolved and spread out so much it was no more than a fine mist. Buffy cursed mentally, she still couldn't pull the damn thing off.

Her eyes widened as Xander appeared out of the mist of energy that quickly evaporated. As his fist connected with her jaw, he asked, "What was that supposed to be?" Buffy flew backward from the impact, from the sharp pain in her jaw she knew Xander had at least cracked it. Her hand instinctively reached for it, and held it protectively. Mumbling out her pain, but it was all she could do to try and tell Xander they should stop. Xander didn't listen, his rapid kick connected with her belly, and she shot backward. It took everything she had not to impact on the shield - she knew from earlier experiences that hurt. "Do you think a demon or god is going to care whether you've got a broken jaw or not?!" Xander yelled out in disappointment as he fired an energy blast at her. Eyes wide, Buffy quickly twisted aside, and raced away. "It won't, Buffy; it won't care. So stop whining, and start fighting. With your healing it should be over in no time. Faster!"

Buffy ducked under a kick, and feeling vindictive she quickly threw a punch at Xander's balls. It connected, and he yelled out for a moment, but he did not double over, nor did her follow up kick to his head connect. His arm had blocked it on time, and Buffy looked astonished at him in her upside down position. "Now that's more like it," Xander said with a grin, and punched at Buffy's stomach. She flew backward to minimize impact, and her hands pushed his fist upward. She turned herself upright and looked a little afraid at him. "Come now, Buffy," Xander said with a wide grin. "You didn't really believe the bullshit on tv that a hit there has a man sinking to the floor whimpering for his mommy, did you?"

Buffy painfully swallowed her dread, embarrassment, and wishes the 'bullshit' was correct - her jaw still throbbed, even her accelerated healing couldn't heal up a cracked jaw this quickly. She moved her head aside, avoiding Xander's next punch narrowly. Folding her hands into each other, she tried a powerful double-handed punch. Suddenly he disappeared into a blur, and then felt the painful impact of both his feet into her back, and she was launched forward. "I said faster! Do you think casually folding your hands together will make you go faster? You don't use a punch like that until your opponent won't be able to see or stop it. You completely imbalance yourself. That was one of your most boneheaded moves, Buffy," Xander scolded her impatiently.

With an enraged scream of frustration, the shooting pain in her jaw spurring her onward, her chi flame burning with rage, she started throwing a giant amount of energy balls that Xander avoided. Quickly she shot forward and lashed out as fast as she could with punches and kicks. Each and every one Xander blocked or diverted casually. The energy balls surrounded the fighters and then shot at Xander. The Super Saiyan had already seen it coming and quickly flashed out of the way, causing most of the energy attacks to crash into Buffy and exploding. Buffy's body rocked with each and everyone, pain blossoming through her entire body. Dazed she floated horizontally down to the ground. Xander appeared next to her, his hands folded in a double-handed fist. "Now is a good opportunity, see?" Xander said with a smirk, and rapidly descended his arms. Buffy careened down to the floor and crashed painfully.

Xander appeared at her head, his Super Saiyan transformation going away. Buffy looked up at him with uncomprehending eyes. Everything hurt; why did everything hurt? Xander shook his head, and said, "Not good, Buffy, not good at all. In fact, that was downright pitiful."


Days later

The Hellmouth, the gateway to hell, situated in the quiet town of Sunnydale, right underneath Sunnydale High. If one would state this, one would be wrong. The Hellmouth lies underneath the #ruins# of Sunnydale High, the #cleaned# #up# ruins of Sunnydale High. As the group gathered right smack on top of the dimensional gateway, they looked around with nostalgia, dread, and marvel. There were still a few bordering tapes left. The parents of Sunnydale had complained heavily to the new mayor and his administration. Sending their kids to god knows where to go to highschool was undoable, and the second (private) highschool in Sunnydale was out of the question - too expensive for one crowd, completely overcrowded after the influx of the richer Sunnydale High students for all of them. So, a month a go the mayor had announced they were going to rebuild Sunnydale High, bigger and better than ever before. Xander of course had been part of the team that had taken the initial measurements, which were sent off to an architect who was going to design a state of the art highschool. Most likely Xander was not going to lead the project, since he was going on his internship soon, although it was nearly impossible he would not in someway be involved in supervising the construction.

But that all lay in the future, right now the Scooby Gang was here for much different matters. Two highly-advanced, flying drones were waiting on the ground. Xander had borrowed them from Sunnydale University robotics department. Mounted with sensors taken from Xander's space pod, and Bulma's inter-dimensional communication devices, the formerly drones built for recon of survivors in downed buildings - a project given much greater interest and funding after the disaster with the asteroids - were now temporarily transformed into the most advanced space-time and dimensional scouts this world had ever seen. In fact, this world had never seen anything like it at all, and even the Saiyan race had never built something like this; they never had the need to. Xander was standing behind an advanced control panel, and receiving station. Willow and Dawn were standing beside him, paying close attention as he taught them how to use the control panel. He himself, along with Buffy, would be busy with whatever would come from the Hellmouth itself, so he couldn't be the one monitoring the drones.

Anya and Buffy were off to the side, waiting, and Anya was very impatient. "Done yet?" she asked with a sharp tone. She didn't like this place, she preferred to be very far away from the Hellmouth . . . or as far as one could get living in the town built on top of it.

Xander looked up and smiled at her, nodding, indicating he thought they were ready. Buffy got up, impatient as well. "Ok," Willow said with some apprehension. "Tell me when you want me to start the spell."

"Actually," a familiar voice sounded from behind them. They turned around and regarded the new comer. "You won't be the one performing the magics, Willow."

"Tara," Willow breathed out.

Xander smiled at the newly arrived blonde. "Xander," she greeted, and hugged him briefly, a hug he happily returned.

As Tara went over to greet and hug the other girls, Xander turned around and explained apologetically, "I'm sorry, Willow, I know you were originally meant to do this, but I don't think you're mentally ready to cast such powerful spells, nor do I think you've physically recovered enough from your battle with Tara." He conveniently did not mouth the detail of Tara sucking out most of her life force and magical energy. Willow felt both relieved and resentful, both for Xander not judging Willow's judgement over what she could or could not handle, as well for having to face her ex-girlfriend. Relief quickly won out though.

Tara greeted Willow last, a little cool and distant. With a lump in her throat, Willow greeted her back. Anya quickly walked to behind the others, putting them in between her and whatever came out of the Hellmouth.

Buffy and Xander went to right in front of where the Hellmouth would open. "Tell me when you're ready," Tara told them. After a moment Xander nodded.

Tara's eyes turned marine blue, the same color energy discharges flashed around her, as her hair was whipped up by the energy she was channeling. "Powers of darkness and light, of earth and sky, I stand here humbly, but I must command thee . . ." Tara started, almost instantly the whole place seemed to fill with energy, energy that shortly after started sending chills down everyone's spines. This was obviously no longer Tara's energy, at least not only her energy, the Hellmouth itself was sending out energy into the environment. Only Tara was immune - she was too focused on her task to be affected by the Hellmouth's dark energies. Tara droned on in Egyptian, and then with a flicker the Hellmouth slowly opened. A swirling vortex of energy gaping at the sky above. A moment later a head poked out, then a second, and a third. Several more followed and they shot high into the air, large, round, lumpy body followed.

"I thought Giles killed it last time," Buffy squeaked out, looking at the size of the multi-headed demon. Willow, Anya, and Dawn gulped, looking up at the giant beast. Tara, arms spread upward, only had eyes for the Hellmouth, and the magics she was using, while Xander just looked amused.

One of the heads screeched out. "My son," Anya translated from behind them. Apparently English was not one of the things the demon knew. It screeched again, and Anya translated, "Where is he?"

Xander grinned as he observed, "Apparently he did." Then he called up to the heads, "I'll send you right to him, hold on!" Anya translated. The demon looked surprised at her, and then him for a moment, until she saw him charging energy between his hands. A moment later a beam of energy speared through the demon's body, and then exploded, sending gore everywhere. The necks and heads, now without body started dropping down as well, and Buffy quickly blasted them to pieces. Which left only one problem, everyone was soaked through with demon blood and gore.

Willow mumbled a spell quickly, waving her hands, and everyone felt the disgusting stuff being cleaned away from them. "Few," Anya commented after happily inspecting her cleaned clothes. Xander nodded to her with a smile, but quickly returning his attention to the hole in the fabric of space and time.

A smaller demon jumped out of the Hellmouth, and Buffy quickly attacked it. "Will, Dawn, launch them," Xander said, before he attacked a second demon.

Willow and Dawn started their respective drone, and with a quickly in volume mounting whine the drones' turbines powered up. Moments later they lifted off the floor. They performed their pre-programmed mission, as they disappeared through the Hellmouth.

As Buffy and Xander dispatched their demons - only to turn around and attack a few more - Dawn and Willow carefully kept watch of the readouts. "I'm receiving telemetry!" Dawn called out excitedly. A moment later she added, "The signal is not coming through the Hellmouth, Xander. It's working."

"Same here!" Willow called out.

Xander ripped the head off of a green, and tusked demon, then he called out to Tara, "Ok, Tara! You can close it!"

Tara nodded, recited another spell, and then the Hellmouth closed, cutting off the head of a demon that was about to come out. Tara sighed, and then breathed deeply. "You, ok?" Buffy asked concerned. She and Xander watched her closely.

"I'm fine," she told them with a smile, waving them off. "Just a little tired."

Xander nodded, and quickly went to the control panel. Buffy stayed with Tara, helping her out. Willow and Dawn watched the cameras, as Xander joined them. The drones' highly advanced collision detection system, made them avoid the demons that thought it might be food. Xander looked at it briefly, and then switched his attention to more important matters. He pushed a button and some of the touchscreen controls transformed into a new screen, and quickly the spatial structure of hell started forming there.

Xander looked grim, as he watched the schematic being made. Willow looked away from the screen shown by her drone's camera and looked over to what Xander was looking at. Her jaw dropped, as the picture grew and grew, zooming out as necessary. Figures were quickly flickering beside it. "No way," Willow said in dread.

"What?" Anya asked, walking over. Dawn didn't have the scientific mind that Xander, or even Willow had, but she was well-versed in basic physics to get a very vague incomplete picture, but it was enough to make her turn white. Buffy then came over as well. She looked and watched a sphere form on the screen. Tara listened in from her position.

"Hell's a hollow sphere, multiple different levels," Willow whispered in awe, then looked up. "It's the size of Jupiter, and from this, it's almost completely filled with demons."

"How big exactly is Jupiter?" Buffy asked looking at the three more intelligent people behind the console.

Dawn looked up, and answered softly, "You can fit more than a thousand Earths inside."

Buffy looked at Dawn with giant eyes. "You said its insides are filled with demons, not the outside?" Willow and Xander nodded. "There'd be . . ." Buffy trailed off.

"Countless trillions," Xander said heavily. Then he smirked and told them, "The figure doesn't even have a name. They've been breeding," When the saw Xander smirk, and not altogether overwhelmed, the others smiled as well. Apparently this didn't mean the end, things would just take longer. Xander smiled at them, and said, "Ok, Tara, reopen the Hellmouth, time to recall the drones before they become demon chow."


In a cave, in an unknown place Andrew backed away, fear on his face. He was on his ass, shuffling back, as he said, "It's just a misunderstanding, sir. I promise I will never again trespass in your holy temple."

The monstrous demon advancing on him didn't seem to care for his words. It did however care for Warren - joined by Jonathan - stepping out from behind a corner and plunging a highly advanced, seriously souped up cattle prod in his back. Not that it could something about it, the electricity coming from it was far too much for the demon to do anything but writhe and roar in pain. Warren pulled the stick free. The demon was dazed and shaky, but still standing. "More!" Andrew called out. And Warren complied, charging the demon again. Once again he pulled free, but the demon was still standing.

"Again!" Jonathan was the one to call out this time. Warren complied and now with the third shock the demon finally sank into unconsciousness.

"Jesus," Warren said in surprise. "One prod is enough to take down an elephant. That's one tough demon."

Andrew got up in anger, and took the prod from Warren, and started jabbing it in the demon's body. "That right, you bastard. Not so tough anymore, huh?"

"Andrew, we need it fresh, not fried," Warren mildly admonished him.

Andrew looked up, taking the prod away from the demon, and said, "Next time, one of you is the bait; lets see how you like dangling on a hook."

"So now what do we do?" Jonathan asked nervously.

Warren grinned and took a knife from a pocket. He walked over to the demon, and said, "Now it's your turn." He dipped down and started cutting in the neck.

Some time later a short distance away, the three of them looked from behind a corner at a demon. It walked through a corridor. A torch was burning in the distance at a T split in the corridor. The demon reached a warbly effect in the air, and suddenly yellow energy lanced around the demon, but it passed through unharmed. The three of them walked out from their hiding place, Jonathan wearing the demon's outer skin and flesh, and held the skin and flesh of the head in his hands. Warren picked up a rock and threw it at the force field. The energy lanced at the rock, and pulverized it. Jonathan swallowed.

"All right, Jonathan, you're wearing the flesh, put on the head and go through," Warren said with a grin. Slowly Jonathan put on the head and walked forward. "You should be all right," Warren added.

"Should? What do you mean 'should'?" Jonathan exclaimed, as he turned around to face them.

"Oh, quit your whining," Warren told him, and pushed him through the force field. Jonathan screamed out, and then quieted when he noticed he had passed the field unharmed. "Now go get it," Warren added.

Jonathan muttered several complaints as he continued onward. "I don't trust the little troll," Andrew told Warren once Jonathan was out of earshot.

"Me neither, don't worry, in a little bit, we don't have to worry about him anymore," Warren said with a smile.

"We should have gotten rid of him already," Andrew said worriedly.

Warren grinned at Andrew, a grin that said, 'Oh, you dumb boy.' "We needed him to be the guinea pig for the flesh suit, or would you have volunteered?" Andrew shook his head. "Exactly."

Discussion over, they waited. A minute later Jonathan came back, carrying a small chest. As he passed through the force field yellow energy bolts once again harmlessly lashed out. "Is that it?" Andrew asked exited.

"It better be," Jonathan said, handing the case over to Warren. He removed his head, and added, "Because I'm not going back, that force field stings like a son of a bitch."

Warren waved an advanced gizmo over the box, after it beeped, he smiled and put it bak in his pocket. Then he opened the box and two purple-pink, see-through balls with weird markings became visible. "Guys, behold the Balls of Nezzra'kahn. We have them."

"Do they even still work?" Jonathan asked skeptically. "'Cause they've been lying there for like a gazillion years."

"Let's find out," Warren said, and handing the box over to Andrew he took the balls. The moment he held both in either hand pink energy washed over him. An afterglow settled in his eyes, as he said, "Oh, yeah these work."

"You sure?" Andrew asked somewhat nervously. "I thought they were meant to make you all muscley and vainy and stuff?"

A demon rounded a corner, and it grunted when it saw the intruders. "Let's test them," Warren said, putting the balls in the pockets of his jeans. He walked over to the demon and let it hit him. He was sent careening into a few rocks, that cracked under his impact. He got up, punched the demon into his gut, doubling him over. He followed up with a kick to its shins which cracked under the pressure, sending the demon to its knees. Warren went behind the demon and easily snapped its neck. Warren grinned, and stepped from behind the demon's corpse. "They work all right."

"Let me try," Jonathan called out exited and made a grab for the balls.

Warren pushed him away, and with a warning finger he said, "Off."

"We are supposed to share," Andrew complained.

"Don't worry, boys. You'll get your turns, after I'm done playing with them," Warren grinned, and then looked at his hands. "Strength, invulnerability, invisibility, and a plasma cannon able to obliterate rocks - the Slayer will never know what hit her."


Xander and Anya sat at the kitchen table. Anya looked at the clock impatiently. A lap top sat on the table, two sets of dates and times already stored and visible on the screen. "Isn't it time yet?" Anya complained bored.

Xander waited a few more seconds. "Ok," Xander said. "Now should be the time." He picked up the small communications device and put it on. After a few beeps the screen switched to show Bulma's face. "Hey, Bulma," Xander greeted with a smile.

"Hello, Littica. Right on time," Bulma said with a smile.

She was pushed aside, and Gohan's face showed beside hers. "Hey, Littica, sensei," Gohan greeted with a happy face.

"Hey, Gohan, you've grown," Xander observed with a smile.

Gohan laughed self-consciously, and said, "It's been a while."

Xander turned the device around, the camera now pointing at Anya. "This is my fiancee Anya. Anya, this is Gohan."

They two greeted each other, than after some cursing, Gohan was pushed aside, and Bulma once more appeared on the screen. "Teenagers," the green-haired woman complained, and then smiled at Xander's fiancee. "Hey, Anya, how are you doing?"

"Great, thanks. And you," Anya said with a wave.

"She's doing just fine," Vegeta's gruff voice sounded off screen. "Will you get on with this, woman? Me and the kid need food."

"A few more minutes of waiting won't kill you, prince," Bulma hissed back as Xander turned the screen back to face himself. The way Bulma said 'prince', made it obvious it was not a compliment. Bulma turned back to the face the screen, and said, "Since you contacted us right on schedule, it means the time ratio we calculated the second time you called is not variable."

Xander nodded. The two once again exchanged dates and times, and the exact amount of time that had passed. They calculated the ratio again, and a number slightly different in a digit behind the dot emerged. "2.2156 times does time move faster over there," Xander said with a smile. Bulma nodded her confirmation. "Great," Xander said with a smile. "It's now December 22, we've set the wedding on Saturday, March the fifteenth. We'll have the whole paper work for Vegeta to officially be allowed to conduct legally binding marriages ready, but he'll have to sign the stuff personally, so you should get here a day beforehand. That's 84 days from now for us, for you that is 186.1 days, rounded off."

"Six months and a little change," Bulma confirmed with a smile.

Xander smiled back, and asked, "So, how is the interdimensional ship coming, Bulma? You think you'll have it finished before the wedding, or do I need to pick you guys up?"

"I'm entering the final testing phase tomorrow," Bulma answered with a smile. "It should be done by then, in fact, we should have all the people stranded here back to their own dimensions by then."

"Great," Xander responded with a grin.


A few hours later Xander and Anya were about ready to go to bed. Both sat on the bed, wearing only underwear. They spent a few heavenly minutes making out, feeling up each other's bodies. Anya was about ready to take this a step beyond when her knowledge of Xander intruded. She broke the kiss, and asked him, "What's wrong? I know you are preoccupied with something."

Xander smiled at her, "You know me too well." Anya looked at him, obviously not falling for the attempt to steer her away. Xander sighed, and said, "I keep thinking we missed something."

"Uh, missed something of what? Hellmouth?" Anya asked curiously.

"No, the people carefully taking their time testing out their stuff on Buffy, and preparing whatever they are preparing," Xander told Anya with a frown. "I keep thinking we should have found something of them by now, even #if# they have thought ahead and made sure we couldn't get any evidence. It's almost as if they have inside information or something."

"A traitor?" Anya asked dubiously. Xander shook her head. "Nah, can't be," Anya agreed with him. "Buffy is the one targeted, Dawn loves her sister, and Willow and Tara have been too wrapped up in their own shit to bother with some evil people's experimentations."

Xander nodded in agreement. "And yet," he said thoughtfully. "And yet we should have found something, some place where they got their technology, if not in this dimension we would have felt dimensional gateways. It makes no sense . . . unless . . ."

"Unless what?" Anya asked curiously.

"Unless one of our sources is corrupted, or the one doing this stuff himself," Xander said with a face that slowly became more and more angry. "We should have seen it so much sooner."

"Warren!" Anya suddenly said in understanding. Xander nodded, and she added, "That bastard is it himself. Damn it, the guy must have been laughing behind our backs every time Buffy went to ask if he found something already."

"Oh, I'm going to get him," Xander said grimly, a dangerous smirk riding up his face. He got up, and started dressing, the smile of anticipation never once disappearing.

Anya watched him with a smile, "Hurry back," she said, "we've got a bed waiting." Xander grinned at her as he casually put on his pants. The phone rang, and Anya got up off the bed, and casually walked to the living room. She picked up the phone, and cheerfully - several scenarios of a violence-pumped-up Xander in bed influencing her mood - said, "Littica residence, Anya Jenkins speaking." Any heard the other speaker's voice say her name. "Faith? Is that you?" With growing concern she listened to the person on the other side, until . . . "XAAAANDEEEER!!"

Episode 38

Wesley picked up Connor with his right hand. A bag with baby stuff hung over his left shoulder. He turned around and walked toward the entrance and exit doors. The doors opened and Lorne entered. "Hey, Wesley," Lorne greeted cheerfully, but with a grim undertone. "You're taking Connor?"

"Yes, for the night," Wesley answered casually, as Lorne hung up his coat. "As Angel and I agreed, didn't you know?"

Lorne looked at him for a moment, thinking, then he said, "Oh, right. Angel mentioned something. Ok, have fun with the little tike." Lorne grinned at the baby for a moment before walking further into the hotel. Wesley continued onward. Suddenly Lorne called out, "Oh, wait, Wesley, that reminds me." Wesley halted and turned around, and looked at Lorne who was facing him expectantly. "Have you heard yet? Angel went berserk this morning against a couple of demons, and then lost it somewhat in here. Wolfram & Hart spiked his food with Connor's blood. They're over there now to give the evil lawyers a piece of their mind."

Wesley looked thoughtful, "His behavior was odd the last few days." Was that all this was? Could the prophecy be so easily averted? The signs had come true hadn't they? Was the oracle mistaken, or even lying like Faith had suggested? "You know, perhaps we should extend Connor's visit a few days, until Connor's blood is completely out of Angel's system. Just to be safe, you know?"

"That's not a bad idea," Lorne answered thoughtfully. "I'll suggest it to Angel later on, you should take it up with him tomorrow."

"Will do. See you tomorrow then," Wesley greeted Lorne, who greeted back. Connor woke up and started crying, and Wesley gently humped the baby up and down. "Hey, don't worry, Connor. It's you uncle Wes. You liked your Uncle Wes, don't you?" Connor pauzed his crying, but it was obvious he could go off again at any moment. Wesley hummed a tune, and then Connor instantly calmed down, and smiled up at Wesley. Wesley then passed the doorway.

Behind him Lorne watched him leave with a frown.


Lorne was still pondering what he had felt from Wesley a quarter of an hour later when Angel and co. returned from their move on Wolfram & Hart. They were grim, but there was an undercurrent of accomplishment. "Hey, Lorne," of the four Gunn was the one to speak, when the group looked at the pensive green alien. "What's going on?"

"Eh," Lorne said, shaking his head slowly, and turned to Angel. "Wesley took Connor for the sleep over you guys agreed on, he said it might be a good idea to extend the trip a few days until the tike's blood is out of your system."

"That's not actually a bad idea," Cordelia said, walking around Angel and looking at him pleadingly. "You went rather overboard this morning, Angel. You won't drink from him of course, but throw a chair in the wrong direction . . ."

Angel was about to protest, but Fred was quicker. "Yeah," she added, circling the souled vampire to join Cordelia. "You were pretty scary this morning, Angel."

Angel looked between the two women. They calmed him down somewhat, and looked at the problem with a level head. Slowly he nodded, and said, "Yeah, that might be better."

"Wesley is great with ideas like that," Gunn said with a smile, taking a few steps forward, and looked at a still pensive Lorne. "So why are still all crunched up?"

"Huh?" Lorne said, then nodded. "Oh, when Wesley left he hummed a tune to Connor. I read him in a reflex; I couldn't read him."

"What?!" Angel asked out loud, quickly walking over to Lorne.

"Oh, I read him, it isn't that I couldn't couldn't read him," Lorne tried to explain. " . . . eh, it's that what I got was too confusing to understand. He's a jumble, he's so much in doubt about something, not even I can make heads nor tails of it."

"Whoa," Fred exclaimed in shock. "That's not good, is it?"

"Ah, this is Wes we're talking," Gunn said with a big grin. "He's probably doubting whether he should be with Faith. She's probably destroying him in bed." Everyone looked at him in shock, and Gunn looked at Fred. "I know if you had Slayer stamina, and literally riding me to my death, I'd be thinking, 'Break up, and I live', on the other hand I'd go, 'but it's so good, I love her so much, it's worth going out like that'." Everyone stayed silent. "I'm joking," Gunn stated, his hands outstretched. "Come on, it wasn't that bad."

"Anyway," Lorne said with a grim tone. "There was one thought that I managed to filter out, 'taking Connor away, far away', away from you Angel."

"What?" Angel said, anger slowly growing in his features.

"Wesley wouldn't do that!" Cordelia called out in denial.

Lorne answered them both, raising his hands in metaphorical defense, "Hey, hey, I'm not saying he will, or even if I'm completely right, that's just what I got off of the man. As jumbled as Wesley's mind was, it could be just a fleeting thought, you know, basically the thing he already suggested to me, 'Keep Connor away from Angel until the blood is out of his system.'"

Angel advanced on Lorne, coming very close to the male and looking into his eyes, "But if it were that, you wouldn't be troubled by it, would you?" Lorne's eyebrows raised. "Call Wesley," Angel ordered Fred.

"Relax, Angel," Gunn tried, as Fred did what she was told. "Wesley wouldn't do that."

Fred looked from the phone, and said, "It's connected."

"Holtz," Angel hissed out angrily. "He and Faith went to talk to the bastard. I'm going over there."

"Angel!" Cordelia tried, but the vampire was already out the door. Then she turned around to the others, and told them, "We go over to Wesley's. Angel ain't thinking straight. We better find Wes before Angel does . . ."

"He's going to kill him," Gunn stated as he, Cordelia, and Fred went for the doors. Gunn and Cordelia stopped in their tracks, making Fred bump into Cordelia. The two looked back in a direction, and exclaimed, "Whoa!"


A few minutes earlier

Faith had just finished her patrol of down town LA, and wondered about what to do. She could go home, or to Wesley's. She looked around, wondering, trying to figure out the time. "I need to get a watch," she told herself out loud. She made her decision.

Some time later she arrived at Wesley's apartment building, and after ringing his bell, he opened the door for her. A minute later she entered his apartment, and enthusiastically kissed him. He smiled at her, and let her in. Connor's happy sounds drew Faith, and she quickly walked over to the little baby. She smiled down at him and said, "Hey, little brother."

"You actually like him, huh?" Wesley asked astounded.

Faith nodded, "Don't tell anyone if you value sex."

Despite his depression, Wesley couldn't help but laugh at that. "I probably will have him for a couple of days instead of one night," Wesley added somberly. "Angel wasn't present when I took him, but I suggested the idea to Lorne to keep Connor here, until his blood is out of Angel's system." Faith looked up at Wesley at that. "Oh, right," Wesley continued seeing, Faith's look. "I suppose between going to bed to get to school, and school you don't know yet, Wolfram & Hart spiked Angel's blood with traces of Connor's."

"Jesus," Faith cursed with a dark look. Then she brightened. "See, that was all it was. Connor's blood gone, and he's no longer on the menu. Mr. Hamburger with his 'It is certain.' Telling Angel and the others solved the problem like that." Faith snapped her fingers, and saw Wesley guiltily look a way. Faith's smile faltered, as she looked at him, and then realized, "You didn't tell them, did you? Please tell me you told them." Wesley didn't answer. "God damn it, Wes! Why not!? Especially now that the problem is solved!?"

"I don't think the problem is solved, Faith," Wesley stated empathically, his eyes were filled with pain. "The signs came true, Earthquake, fire, and Angel bled, right on Connor. He said Connor was a snack!"

"Fuck it, Wes!" Faith yelled out. "That's because he had Connor's blood in his system. In a few days that's gone! Problem solved! And even if, you've seen that damned hamburger fool. It was nothing, I killed it easily. His words aren't true, not one little bit!" Faith pauzed realizing something. She looked from Wesley to Connor and back. "You weren't going to . . .?"

Wesley realized what Faith was thinking. "No! No! I was not going to take Connor and leave all of you!" Faith looked at him sternly. Damn, how did the Slayer manage to worm so deeply in his heart she could manipulate him with a look? "I admit I had some fleeting thoughts over it, but I have no idea what to do. This is all so bloody screwed up!"

Faith quickly walked over to him, and gave him a soulful kiss. "Listen, Wesley," she said softly, catching his eyes with her own. "The prophecy is bullshit. It is just Wolfram & Hart messing with us again, we've found the problem - it won't happen. And even if they try it again, I'll stop Angel, I'll dust Angelus if he ever rears his ugly head. Remember Xander, Destroyer of Prophecies? His ascension rendered all the prophecies bullshit. He's stopped several of them already, proved the true prophecy of Buffy dying at the hands of the master wrong, remember? Prophecies can be changed, ok? The hamburger is now toast, nothing will harm Connor. I'll make sure of it. I've never had a little brother, and I'm going to make sure I won't lose the one I have now, ok?" Both of them had tears forming in their eyes, as Wesley nodded. Faith added, "Tomorrow we'll tell everything to Angel and the rest, make sure Connor is away from Angel for the next couple of days, and then we can forget all this ever happened." She pulled him down, and then they shared another deep kiss.

The emotional roller coaster over, Faith suddenly backed away from Wesley in shock, and looked over at the door. It was just being busted open, revealing Justine and Holtz wearing gas masks. "Catch," Justine said with a grimly gleeful voice, as she threw a cannister at the two. In reflex Faith caught it, and looked at it in confusion. Suddenly the canister's sides blew and a yellow gas burst from both sides quickly filling the room. Faith gasped in shock, and staggered back - her Slayer constitution trying to fight off the gas. Wesley had managed to keep his mouth shut, and was holding his nose closed with his left hand. Justine closed in on Wesley, as Holtz went for Connor. She pulled out a pocket knife and sliced Wesley shallowly across his throat. The painful shock caused him to gasp, and he went down into unconsciousness instantly as he breathed in the gas.

Justine watched Faith fall down, and she walked over to the barely conscious Slayer. "This is for last time," Justine hissed hatefully, and then stabbed down with the knife into Faith's torso. And then again, and again, each puncture causing Faith to jerk.

"Justine!" Holtz called out from behind his mask forcefully, holding a peacefully unconscious Connor in his left arm, while the baby bag was slung over his right shoulder. Justine looked up. "We don't have time for this! Let's go!" Justine nodded, and quickly followed Holtz out of the room.

Faith lay on the floor, staring blankly up at the ceiling. The gas was already dispersing, but she had breathed in far too much of it; she was fighting unconsciousness with every last ounce of strength she had. With difficulty she turned herself over on her stomach, pain wracking her entire body. She forced herself on her hands and knees, blood flowing from the stab wounds in her torso. She started crawling forward. Her view was dimming, but she kept it stubbornly on her goal: the phone. She coughed, and a small trickle of blood flowed from the corner of her mouth. She crawled onward, finally reaching the phone standing on the low table. She stretched out her hand, wobbling back and forth, missing the horn. With the last fleeting conscious thoughts she realized the horn wouldn't work. She let her hand land on the phone and she crawled it over to the speaker button. With a trembling finger she pushed it, and the dial tone came audibly from the phone. Pushing multiple buttons? Out of the question. She remembered only one number, and so with her arm trembling she inched it over to speed dial number seven. *Must push button!* Faith thought, inching her hand just a little bit closer. A bit more, there! She pushed, but she felt so weak. With her last effort the button moved down, and to her relief she heard the phone dial. Her arm slipped down from the phone limply.

The phone rang once. Twice. At the third ring it got picked up. ##Littica residence. Anya Jenkins speaking,## sounded through the speaker.

"Anya," Faith managed to gurgle, a sense of relief slowly filling her.

There was a tiny moment of hesitation, but then Anya said, ##Faith? Is that you?##

Faith nodded, too out of it to realized Anya wouldn't be able to see it, and said, "Wesley's . . . g-gassss . . . s-s-stabb-bed . . . H-holtz . . . help."

##XAAAANDEEEER!!## was the last thing Faith heard before everything went dark and the phone clicked off. She went down, her head banging on the table, and then she fell further, landing on the floor on her back.


Angel arrived at Holtz's, he had flown there as fast as he could. He suddenly looked back, rather startled as a sense of enormous power burst forth due Northwest, and headed this way rapidly. He shook himself, it was immaterial. He hid behind a tree, and watched Lilah get out of a truck and talk to a commando. He took in the rest of the scene as he listened in to the conversation: several cars and a squadron of commandos were around. Then the squadron started piling into the cars. He walked over to the driver's side of a truck, yanked open the door, and threw the commando who just started the car out. He got in the car itself, and drove off after the other cars, effectively concealing himself and letting them lead him to Connor.


Super Saiyan 3 Xander arrived above Wesley's apartment building less then two minutes after Faith made her call. He detransformed as he quickly lowered himself to the ground. He ran into the apartment building - destroying the door in the process. He bound up the stairs with one leap, until he reached Wesley's floor. The apartment door was still busted open and Xander rapidly walked into the building. He saw Faith lying on the floor and sped over to her in concern.

He saw the wounds on her torso, and Xander knelt down and placed his fingers at Faith's neck an held is ear at her nose. Relief flooded him as he heard her breathe - albeit shallowly. He also felt a weak pulse. He placed his hands on her chest, and made them glow, pouring his own life force in the dark-haired Slayer. Slowly Faith opened her eyes, and she looked into Xander's smiling but concerned face. She tried to speak, but Xander placed a finger on her lips, and said, "Shhh."

Weakly Faith shook her head, "H-h-holtz . . ."

"I know, be quiet, and concentrate on staying alive," Xander told her gently.

Again Faith shook her head, "T-t-to . . . took . . . C-con-nor."

Xander's eyes widened, and then nodded, "Don't worry, Faith. I'll get him back. Just stay awake, and stay alive. Anya called 911, ambulances are coming. I'll check on Wesley." Faith nodded and tried to say something. "Shh," Xander said, once again placing his right index finger on her mouth. Faith nodded and then pointed at her ears. "You can already hear them, good," Xander stated and then quickly went over to the former watcher.

He looked at Wesley's slit throat and winced. A quick check confirmed Wesley was still alive. He had been lucky, if the knife had been a little sharper, or the user of the knife had pushed harder he'd probably be dead already. As it was, he still had a chance. "Wes? Can you hear me?" Xander asked out loud. He pored some of his energy into Wesley as well. "Wake up, Wesley! Wesley Wyndham-Price!" That got Wesley's attention and he opened his eyes. "Don't talk, you've got a slit throat, don't use your neck." Wesley stayed silent and didn't move his head. "Good," Xander said as he heard the ambulances himself as well. "Just stay the fuck alive long enough for you and Faith to terrorize the nurses, ok?" Wesley blinked his eyes once, his mouth curling upward just a little bit.

Xander waited patiently for the Ambulances to arrive, checking up on both his friends during the wait. It barely took another two minutes before they arrived, and some time later two stretchers and two pairs of medical personnel arrived with them. The Slayer and the former watcher were loaded onto the mobile beds and were quickly brought down. Xander followed them, answering the questions the medical personnel asked him as best as he could.

Once downstairs, he joined Faith's stretcher and stroked her hair like a concerned father all the way to the ambulance. As they were about to load her into the ambulance, Xander told her, "Stay alive, I'll go get Connor." Faith nodded, and he bent down and gave her a kiss on her forehead, causing her to smile. Xander stepped back and watched how a short time later the ambulances drove off.

Xander shot into the air, and looked around extending his senses. He hadn't met either Holtz or Connor, so just feeling them out would be out. There was Angel - he was unmistakable - there were more people right with him, quite a bunch. Lilah was one of them, and a demon. He blasted off straight toward the group.


Wesley's 4x4 drove along the road. Several trucks, one further ahead came onto the street behind it. The truck in front overtook the 4x4, and forced it off the road, making it stop underneath a tall bridge. Behind him the first of the other trucks and humvees pulled up, and Wolfram & Hart's commandos got out, all carrying automatic weapons. Angel got out of another truck.

Holtz and Justine quickly piled out of the car, as Angel tackled one of the commandos who had made good time getting out first. A moment later Justine and Holtz were at the car, Lilah and the commandos across from them, and Angel in the middle. "Nobody move a muscle!" Holtz called out. "Or I'll snap the baby's neck."

Angel looked over at Holtz, and saw his hand at Connor's neck. Lilah spoke up, "Holtz, these are automatic weapons. They didn't have them in your time. They fire sixteen rounds a second. Give us the baby."

"Ah, the attorney," Holtz said, recognizing Lilah.

"They would have used them already!" Angel added desperately. He could start firing energy balls, but he was nowhere near fast enough to out speed a bullet. Only one had to get past him, neither was he fast enough to stop Holtz from breaking his son's neck. He might be able to frighten Holtz with his speed, but the shock might make Holz do it anyway. "They want Connor alive."

"It seems that's something we all have in common," Holtz grumbled.

"No! Not all of us!" a voice said, and Sahjhan appeared out of nowhere. Some of the commandos aimed their guns at him. "We had a deal remember? The kid dies?"

"Hey, I'm a lawyer. Have you met me?" Lilah stated icily, and added. "Ignore him, he's impotent in this dimension." The commandos aiming for Sahjhan switched their guns back to Angel, or Holtz and Connor, or Justine.

"Well," Holtz stated in calculation, then he smiled. "We'll be going now." Then he and Justine started to leave.

"Stop them," Lilah ordered, and the commandos surged forward. Angel kicked one aside, and then disarmed another, and aimed it at the commandos. Justine and Holtz froze watching the skirmish.

"Nobody move," Angel ordered, glad he had something that could fire much faster in a row than he could his energy blasts.

"Don't shoot!" Lilah ordered desperately.

"You better listen to her," Angel told the commandos with a desperate look. "Your bullets won't harm me, but mine will harm you, and her first."

Angel looked back at Justine and Holtz. "He'll be dead before I hit the floor," Holtz told him.

Angel thought things over, looking from Holtz to Lilah, and back. "Take him."

"No! No! What's wrong with you people?!" Sahjhan called out in frustration.

"You rather give the kid to the fanatic than to us!?" Lilah asked incredulously.

Holtz smiled and said, "I'll raise him like my own son. He'll never even know about you, but come after me . . . You will anyway won't you? Perhaps I should just . . ." Holtz looked down at the hand around Connor's next.

"Take him, and just go!" Angel yelled at Holtz. "I'll hold them off."

Holtz smiled and he and Justine started to leave. "All right, that's it!" Sahjhan yelled out in frustration. He raised his hands and recited an incantation. At once, space and time was ripped apart, and a large purple-pink hole, with a vague horizon, surrounded by yellow energy opened up. Several bolts of yellow lightning struck from the portal, setting patches of ground on fire and reducing one car to a charred mess. "What you see there is the Quor-toth. The darkest of the dark worlds," Sahjhan stated with authority, a smile on his face. Like that the balance of power had shifted. "Either someone kill the kid, or I'll enlarge the portal so it will engulf you all." Everyone looked stricken at Sahjhan, not knowing what to do. "All right, don't say I didn't warn you." Sahjhan waved his hands and the portal started expanding.

"Shoot the baby!" Lilah ordered almost hysterically.

"No!" Angel yelled out ready to pull the trigger. Holtz grabbed Justine, threw her forward and then he ran around the car, and jumped through the hole in space and time.

Once again everyone looked stunned at the portal. Sahjhan recovered easily, "Well, that was unexpected, but it suits my purposes just fine." He raised his hands and started reciting the incantation to close the portal. Just then a man encased in white energy shot over the group of people with such force some had difficulty staying standing, and he disappeared into portal as well.


Xander shot through the colorful gate way, meeting a kaleidoscope of colors as he passed through a wide tunnel. Up ahead he saw Holtz still holding Connor by his neck standing in the Quor-toth - a waste land filled with horrors. Xander left the tunnel and rapidly reached around Holtz with his left hand. He grabbed the hand around Connor's neck and squeezed. Holtz looked astonished as Xander came from behind him, and screamed in pain as the bones in his hand were crushed, making it impossible for him to break Connor's neck. With his right hand, Xander took the baby from him, handed it over to his left and grabbed Holtz by his collar with his newly freed right. Holtz looked into Xander's cold, enraged eyes and got the fright of his life. The man who had so easily crushed the bones in his hand suddenly got green in green eyes, his hair stood up and turned a golden color and a golden, visible aura burst around him. It was obvious the man had just gotten an enormous boost in strength. Connor giggled happily as he was bathed in the golden energy.

Xander shot back into the portal that already started to shrink, and he sped up as rapidly as he could without hurting Connor or Holtz, who he carelessly dragged behind him.


"Well, that was that," Sahjhan casually remarked as the portal closed in front of everyone's eyes. "Have a nice wint- . . . what the?" That's how far Sahjhan came as the portal refused to close further. A small hole about two meters in diameter stayed open. A deep golden light came from it. The portal sputtered as it tried to close.

With a burst of energy Super Saiyan Xander emerged from the portal, which rapidly closed behind him. Xander casually tossed Holtz forward, making him land in front of Wesley's 4x4. Justine cried out, "Daniel!" Holtz turned to regard Xander, and everyone else looked stunned as without missing a beat Xander twisted around his axis, and pointed his free hand with a charged energy ball at Sahjhan. Sahjhan knew he was intangible here, but this was energy, and the unknown golden being seemed quite sincere in his doubtless knowledge it could kill him. Not wanting to find out whether the golden being was right, Sahjhan opted to save his own hide, and disappeared.

Xander turned onward, full circle, and lowered himself to the ground. He pointed the energy ball at Holtz. "Holtz, I take it," Xander said with carefully controlled anger. "I don't know whether you wanted to save Connor and hurting Angel was icing on the cake, or whether you didn't give a damn about Connor and you just wanted to hurt Angel, so I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. Get lost, get far away from here. Leave LA and the close vicinity, for if I ever see you here again, if you ever go after Angel or his and my friends again, I will kill you, understand?" Holtz nodded slowly. Xander turned to Justine, and pointed his energy ball at her. "For you goes the same thing, get out of LA, and don't ever come back, or you're dead. Got that?"

"I was born here," Justine protested automatically.

Xander narrowed his eyes, causing her to flinch. "I don't care if every molecule in your body is hyper dimensionally linked to every molecule in LA, you #will# leave, or #die#." Justine swallowed heavily and nodded. Xander let the energy ball disappear, and he purposefully walked toward the Wolfram & Hart commandos, while Angel looked on astonished - seeing Xander on tv, or feeling his power in the distance, was a whole other matter from standing right next to him. The commandos started cocking their machine guns, and Lilah - suddenly recognizing the golden being as Xander Littica, the guy she had pegged as different - quickly turned around and ran away.

"Shoot him!" the commando leader commanded and the commandos opened fired. Angel gasped, fear for Connor evident, but he shouldn't have worried. Xander calmly stood there, forming a small shield around Connor - keeping the bullets away from him so as not to frighten the child should some of the bullets have harmlessly bounced off him. The bullets fell to the ground after they bounced off of Xander's skin. Seeing the bullets dropping to the ground without effect, the commandos stopped firing and looked with wide, fearful eyes at Xander. Holtz went slack-jawed with astounding as he watched.

Xander had had enough, his anger soared, and with a scream he transformed to Super Saiyan 2. His hair stood up straighter, electric discharges formed through his aura which pulsed with new intensity. He directed the shockwave of the power up only toward the commandos, who were flung into the air and back. Before any of them hit the ground, Xander pointed his free right hand and blasted energy attacks at them. In lest then ten seconds, every one of the commandos was vaporized. Xander let the shield around Connor down, who giggled with enjoyment.

"Fuck me!" Justine said, looking at the scene in incredulity.

Xander took a few steps forward, and called the fleeing lawyer. "LILAH!!"

Lilah stopped in her tracks. She didn't know why, she really should just keep running, but there was something in the man's voice that made her stop. Fearfully she slowly turned around to regard him. As expected he had already destroyed the commandos. He seemed even more menacing than moments earlier, had to be those lightning bolts sizzling through his golden energy. If she didn't know better, she could swear the kid in his arm was trying to grab the bolts of lightning, which only made the scene more surreal and scary.

Xander moves his right hand up, his thumb at his hear, his pinky at his mouth, mimicking a phone horn. He had a wicked grin on his face, and told her, "Call ya!" Lilah stumbled, and then quickly turned back around, running as fast as she could. With a smirk, Xander turned around and slowly walked to Angel, and offered him his son. Happily Angel took Connor from Xander, started bouncing him lightly up and down, and started talking baby talk to him. A few tears of happiness leaked from Angel's eyes, and he forcefully called up some of the more horrible and guilt ridden memories, just in case this was getting close to 'one pure moment of happiness.'

"I've always wanted to do that," Xander said with a grin and then looked at Justine and Holtz. "What are you still doing here?" Xander asked flatly.


"Fuck," Gunn stated looking at the destroyed door of Wesley's apartment building.

"You guys thought Xander was here?" Fred asked nervously.

"Not certain, when he powered down I kind of lost his exact position," Cordelia stated a little apologetically. The three of them quickly went up to Wesley's apartment and found the door broken down in a similar manner. When they entered the apartment, they found it empty. The blood still drying on the ground though, was unmistakable.

Gunn squatted down, and said, "Shit. Well, one thing's for sure, at least one person didn't go willingly."

"I knew Wesley wouldn't betray us!" Fred exclaimed happily. Her boyfriend and Cordelia looked at her. "Oh, right. Connor still missing, and Wes and Faith possibly dead. Nothing to be happy about."

"I'M STUPID!" Cordelia suddenly exclaimed out loud. The others looked at her, and she said, "I should have contacted Xander telepathically ages ago." Cordelia closed her eyes and beamed out, *Xander?*

*Yeah?* his answer sounded immediately.

*We're at Wes-* Cordelia started but got interrupted.

Xander had understood immediately and thus hadn't bothered letting her finish. *Holtz attacked Wesley and Faith with gas. He took Connor. Wesley and Faith are in the hospital. They're out of it for a while, but they'll be fine. I already called the doctor, we can see them in a few hours. I got Connor back, Angel and I are headed to the hotel in Wesley's car, I think we're going to find that vanishing demon who orchestrated all this.*

"Oh, thank god," Cordelia said out loud, and then quickly relayed the whole story to Fred and Gunn.

"All right," Gunn said with a big smile. "Let's get back to the hotel, I'm in the mood to kick some untouchable ass."


They arrived at the hotel at about the same time, Angel was carrying Connor. When they entered, Lorne came toward them quickly, "Oh, thank god, you got Connor back."

"Actually, he got Connor back," Angel said bitterly, pointing at Xander, who gave Lorne his trademark lopsided grin. Angel continued, "The thing that did this, the thing that got Holtz here, the thing that tried to send my son into some hell-dimension called Quor-toth is some bloody inter-dimensional demon called Sahjhan. And #he# will not #ever# make an attempt on #my# son #again#. We find him, make him tangible and I kill him. Can you go out there and ask your sources? Find out everything you can about Sahjhan, the Quor-toth, and whatever the hell he's got to do with it!"

"No prob, Angel-cakes. I'm on it," Lorne said, and he went out the door.

Angel turned around and looked at the group. He didn't need to say anything. "Research mode," Fred stated enthusiastically, and she and Fred quickly went to the books section.

"What do you say, Xander?" Cordelia asked with a smile turning around to face the remaining alien. "Want to get us some donuts for old times' sake? Then when you get back we can remember the good old days in a good old fashioned research fest with moi?"

Xander grinned, "Anything for my favorite ex girlfriend. Directions?"

"Donuts!?" Gunn called questioningly from the back, and Angel grinned. Cordelia shrugged her shoulders sheepishly, and smiled proudly.

"Oh, you people really have no quality standards," Xander said, shaking his head in disdain.

Cordelia's smile faltered, as she realized something. "Hey! I'm your #only# ex girlfriend!"

Xander smiled at her, "Sue me."

"I should," Cordelia told him with a scornful face, that quickly brightened to a smile as she walked off to join Fred and Gunn in the back.

Xander turned around to go out and find an all-night donut shop. "Xander," Angel said, stopping the Saiyan in his tracks. Xander turned around and regarded the vampire. Angel looked down at his son for a moment, looked back at Xander, and said gravely, "Thank you."

Xander grinned, and said, "No prob, dead boy."


Half an hour later

Gunn took a bite from a donut, and with his mouth full he said, "Mmh, now this is how to do research." As he chewed, he looked down at the book and read from it. "I vote to bring in the donuts every time we research."

Fred smiled and gave him a poke in his stomach, "Don't talk with your mouth full."

"Damn it!" Cordelia yelled out in frustration. "Nothing," she said in irritation. "I've got a description of a demon here that I think Sahjhan is one of, and you can capture them with some urn, but nothing about Sahjhan himself, how to summon one of them, or how to make them corporeal, let alone how to kill the damn things."

"I could probably kill it without making it corporeal," Xander offered casually, reading through a few files. "Won't do much if the bastard simply keeps himself in a different dimension. I could take my ship, but just pick a random dimension and hope for the best . . . you know finding a needle in a haystack? This is more like finding a needle the size of an atom constantly on the move in a haystack."

Angel growled in frustration and anger, "This is getting us nowhere!" Suddenly he got an idea. "Forget about this, I've got just an idea." Angel then stalked toward the exit of the hotel.

"We could wait for Lorne," Cordelia tried, but Angel didn't listen.

"Guys," Xander said seriously. "You go to the hospital and keep Faith and Wesley company, take Connor with you. I'll tag along with Angel and keep him out of trouble, ok?"

"You sure?" Fred asked uncertain.

Xander smiled at them, and nodded, "Yeah, you said it yourself Cordy. There's nothing on this guy. Probably turned intangible, dimension hoppy long before writing was developed." Then Xander quickly went outside and went to catch up to Angel.


"So," Xander said as he flew next to Angel. "I sent the rest to the hospital, to check up on Faith and Wesley. Had them take Connor with them, so you can do whatever the hell you want to do in the hotel, without fear of hurting anyone."

"You will keep out of this, got that? This is my thing," Angel told him in frustration.

"Sure," Xander told him with a smirk, making a warding-off gesture. "I'm just observer guy here. You need help though, just give me a shout. What are you going to do anyway?"

"Force Wolfram & Hart to help me by torturing one of their employees," Angel told him coldly. "Got a problem with that?"

"Nope, no problem, not one little bit," Xander told him with a smirk.


Some time later Lorne returned to the hotel, and saw Angel picking things from cabinets, and piling them on a serving plate.

"Angel, what I found out is not good," Lorne said concerned as he quickly crossed the lobby to reach Angel, who grabbed his plate and walked to the stairs. Lorne followed. "This Quor-toth you were talking about, is really bad, some of the worst demons I've encountered are scared of the place." They went up the stairs and Lorne continued to talk. "And that portal you thought you saw, was not portal. There are no portals to Quor-toth. The only way to it is to rip straight through the fabric of reality, it takes some serious, large amount of bad mojo to do it. The kind it takes centuries to amass. Which means this Sahjhan is one bad motherfucker . . . which in turn means it will probably take just as big amount of bad mojo to get to him. I don't know what you did to him to get him pissed off at you, but if you could, I would suggest to go back in time and undo it. I don't know if it's such a good idea to go after him."

"Noted, but he's already after me and my son," Angel told him standing in front of a door on the second floor.

"But how are we going to get to him? We don't have the kind of resources to . . ." Lorne trailed off as Angel opened the door and revealed a tied up Linwood Murrow, with several bruises on his face. Xander was casually leaning against the left wall.

"Now we do," Angel told him entering the chamber.

"Angel, who's this?" Lorne asked following Angel in. The vampire casually walked to the right side, putting the plate with possible torture implements on a counter and started organizing.

"I'm Linwood Murrow, I'm with Wolfram & Hart," Linwood answered Lorne's question. "And perhaps you can talk some sense into these two. He just says he's observer guy, and Angel doesn't seem to care about the consequences of attacking a Wolfram & Hart employee. When they find out . . ."

"They will kill you first," Angel finished Linwood's sentence for him, continuing to organize his torture implements.

"Angel," Lorne said shocked, as Angel took the serving plate, put it on a small table and took both along, placing them in front of Linwood. "This guy isn't some slimy demon you got here, he's a human being." Lorne looked at Xander, and said, "Tell'im."

"Yes, tell him," Linwood added desperately.

"Angel, he's human," Xander said casually. Angel looked at Xander with raised eyebrows. Xander continued, "and he's actively working toward an apocalypse and either the destruction or enslaving of the entire human race. He's doing this in service of an international, and interdimensional law office led by three demon gods. The company is in command of vast resources - among them magical ones - and are thus effectively above the law. In my book, you can do whatever the hell you want with him, Angel. Have fun."

"Thank you," Angel said, as Linwood swallowed a heavy lump. He didn't know which was worse at the moment, the guy looking at them with the detachment of a clinical doctor, or the vampire about to perform the operation.

Angel moved forward, squatted above Linwood's legs, and shoved a knitting needle, bent around to have a nice grip, right underneath the lawyer's right eye. "Who is Sahjhan? Where do I find him? And how do I kill him?"

"You'll have the cooperation and backing of the entirety of Wolfram & Hart's resources, there's a cell phone in my left pocket, just let me make a call, speed dial 4," Linwood told Angel fearfully. Angel pushed his hand into Linwood's jacket, and revealed the phone. He opened it, and after a little searching pushed speed dial 4, and then held the phone to Linwood's ear. A moment later somebody picked up. "Ah, Lilah, I've got some explicit instructions about a client I'm sending over . . . give him whatever the hell he wants."


Inside the Wolfram & Hart building Lilah walked in the middle of Angel to her right, and Xander to her left. "Kidnapping Linwood; you're moving up in the world," Lilah tried her hand at casual conversation, she was nervous as hell, Xander presence made things worse. Angel shrugged. "God, the White Room. I worked here for three years before I even knew it existed, and now you get to go there like that." The three of them reached an elevator. "What did he say was there?"

"Answers," Angel replied, and asked, "Up, or down?"

"Up," Lilah replied nervously looking over Xander, who gave her a smirk, making her jerk back looking forward. The doors opened and they got in, and Angel lifted a paper and read the instructions on it. "I know a guy in Litigation who went to the white room in September, he's in an Asylum now."

"Ah," Xander said in mock revelation, as he watched Angel press 18 and then 23. "He liked the white so much, he decided to stay."

"Very funny," Lilah told him irritated, as Angel pushed 20 and then 28. Realizing who she just snubbed, she shrank back from him and asked, "You're not going to kill me are you?"

"Only if you keep nagging me long enough for me to get pissed off," Xander answered sweetly, as Angel pushed 27 and waited for a moment. The button all the way down in the right corner, right next to the red alarm button lit up. Angel grabbed it, and pulled it out. A few seconds later an oval shaped button emerged in the metal above the normal buttons. Angel pushed it and it lit up.

Lilah made a grab for the paper, saying, "Perhaps I should hold onto that." Angel moved the paper out of her way, moved it over to his other side and put it into a pocket. "Or not." The three of them stood waiting. Then the elevator cubicle lit up from above and all three looked up. The light intensified until there was only white. Than the light faded, and revealed a long corridor, all white, which didn't seem to have an end or a beginning. It did however have side walls that reached high into the air, and had steal cross beams, painted white of course. A little girl in a sweet, decent dress said on a chair, and they approached her.

"Lilah, Angel, Xander, welcome," the girl said sweetly.

"Nice special effects," Xander told her calmly. Angel kept his gaze coolly on the girl. Lilah on the other hand looked incredulously at Xander and than at Angel. She was freaked out, although she tried to hide it. She couldn't understand why they were so calm; of course it might have something to do with their super powered status.

"I like your nails, they're red. I like red," the girl continued sweetly looking down at Lilah's fingernails. Xander in the mean time had walked over to the wall, and casually moved his finger over it.

Lilah looked down, and lifted her trembling hands. "Thanks, I guess."

"You like red too, don't you, Angel?" the girl asked sweetly, as Xander had lifted himself soundlessly into the air, noisily rattled some of the steel beams, and looked and listened with critical eyes and ears. The whole group, including the girl, looked over at him in annoyance.

Xander calmly lowered himself to the floor, and as he walked back to his two companions, he said, "Shoddy workmanship though. You should get a refund, and redo it. I recommend the guy who designed hell, he's real good."

"I'll remember that," the girl told him coldly, turned back to Angel and a trembling Lilah, and said all chipper, "So what's up?"

"Demon named Sahjhan," Angel said with a too cool voice. "Brought Holtz here, tried to kill me, then tried to kill my son, tried to make me eat my son, then tried to banish my son to a hell dimension."

"He didn't succeed?" the girl asked, an almost unnoticeable trace of surprise in her voice.

"He did actually," Lilah answered, trying to bluff through her jitters, and pointed at Xander. "He brought Connor back." Xander gave the girl a smile and a wave.

"Anyway," the girl said pleasantly, her eyes dancing to Xander on occasion, who's pleasant smile never once left his face. "Sahjhan, his kind was corporeal once . . ."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah!" Angel interrupted with irritation. "Liked to kill and torture, caused too much chaos, gods didn't like chaos, so they made them immaterial. A special urn can capture them if you're close enough to one of the demons. I already know all that bullshit. Doesn't however tell me how to find one of them, Sahjhan in particular, and how to kill them. The bloody bastard tried to kill my son, he's going to pay for that, I will make sure he can never again lay a finger on my son, not even move one through him."

"Ah, revenge, so much more fun than forgiveness, hmm?" the girl said pleasantly, but the undercurrent nervousness started to grow, especially since Xander smile had become a smirk and it wouldn't leave his face, or take his eyes from her. "These things come at a price though, always do. You do know that, don't you?" Angel didn't answer her, he just bore his angry gaze into her expecting. "Kill her," she ordered.

At once Angel moved behind Lilah. Xander looked over, his smirk calmly on his face. Lilah's heart was ready to tear itself from her chest, as she felt Angel's hand wrapping around her head, ready to snap her neck, and she realized that Xander would calmly watch him do it. The girl suddenly giggled out loud, and Angel slowed down. "That's enough for now," she said with a wide grin, and Angel let go of Lilah's head and went back to his previous position. Lilah swallowed, and carefully felt her neck, just making sure it was still there. The girl held up her hand, and a folded paper appeared. "Making Sahjhan tangible is a big old ritual, here are the instructions," the girl said, and Angel took a step forward. The paper disappeared from her hand, and Angel started becoming angry for just a moment. His anger disappeared the moment the paper appeared in his hand. "I can't wait to see how it turns out," the girl said with a grin.

"You won't though," Xander told her, the smirk still present. She looked stricken at him, and what she was about to do was interrupted. Xander turned his head to the other two and said, "Get out." Angel was about to protest, but Xander went super, the golden glow instantly coming to life around him, and he added, "I have observed your business. It's concluded. Now I do a little of #my# business. Get out."

Lilah didn't have to be told twice, she reversed course and ran to where she came from, quickly disappearing through an unseen rift in the fabric of dimensions. Angel followed her shortly after, as Xander started to roar, powering up to Super Saiyan 2.

"Stop it!" the girl screamed out in hate, anger and terror. As Xander reached the second stage, he bent through his knees, and powered up further, the room started to shake and tremble. "Stop it!" the girl screamed and fired several bolts of green energy which were easily deflected by Xander's golden aura.

As Xander's hair started elongating, cracks formed in the white floor. Orange light pored through the cracks into the room. As Xander's energy intensified, the room shook more, some of the steel support beams shook loose and came crashing down. More cracks formed in the walls and the ceiling as Xander powered up further. His pupils grew a shade of darker green than his irises, and his brows extended, while his eyebrows retracted.

"STOP IT!" the goddess screamed out in terror. She changed into a beautiful, mature, female, purple-skinned version of herself, having the head of a lioness, most likely her true form. She charged a very powerful ball of energy, but at that moment Xander's transformation was complete. He straightened up, and a powerful shockwave of energy was emitted from him. It blasted the goddess backwards, making her stagger and lose control over her energy attack which quickly evaporated. The blast turned the cracks and ruptures, into full blown holes and rips, and the structure of the room came crashing down all over the place. The white room was transformed into the white room with orange light. The goddess landed on her ass and looked at the third stage of the Super Saiyan. "No," she whispered in fear, as Xander charged a big ball of energy at the ends of both his hands.

"Told you it was shoddy workmanship," Xander remarked with a smirk, his voice all low and growling. "ANNIHILATION ATTACK!" Xander yelled out and sent the energy ball at the goddess.

"NOOOO!!" she screamed as the ball engulfed before exploding and completely blowing away the room. Xander had already turned around and disappeared through the invisible lift.

He emerged into the elevator cubicle, much to the shocked surprise of both Angel and Lilah. Xander turned around, placed his hands at the white hole where doors were before, and erected a shield. A moment later the cubicle turned white as the energy of the Annihilation Attack blasted against it. Angel and Lilah looked fearfully at Xander's golden aura with the electric discharges constantly flashing through them. Then the flow of the energy was reversed, the white disappeared, the hole was sucked back, shrunk, showing the orange hyper space in which the room had been built. Pieces of the construction flung about and were quickly reduced to nothing. Then with a flash the dimensional rift was gone, revealing ordinary elevator doors.

"Shit," Lilah stated looking at the long hair of Xander.

He turned his head toward her, and she shrank back at the protruding simian brows. Xander turned his head back at the doors and with a low grating voice said, "That is the end of the bitch, #and# the white room."

"Jesus Christ," Angel whispered, looking in awe at Super Saiyan 3 Xander. The power he felt was unfathomable. Part of him wished he hadn't learned sensing energy. The aura and the electric bolts disappeared, and Xander turned to look at him. Angel swallowed as he saw Xander's new features.

Xander smirked, and told him in his low voice, "Like the new me, dead boy?" Xander closed his eyes, calmed himself, and then the hair retracted, his brows returned to normal, and his eyebrows returned. Then the golden hair disappeared and returned completely normal. Xander looked at Angel, smiled with satisfaction, and said, "If only Hell were so easily destroyed. Now let's summon ourselves a demon."


Angel finished painting the pentacle on the floor of the hotel lobby. He smiled at his accomplishment, it was completely crooked, corners sticking out over the circle. Lorne, Xander, Lilah, and Linwood were present as well. Linwood still tied to a chair in a corner. Lorne looked concerned from behind the counter. Xander was calmly leaning against it, arms folded across his chest. "What do you think?" Angel asked pointing at his artwork, collections of candles were standing at the pointed ends of the pentagram.

"Looks close enough," Lilah casually remarked.

"You know . . ." Xander started, lifting his right arm and index finger.

Angel turned to him, pointing the roller in Xander's direction. "Shut up!" he interrupted forcefully. "Observer boy remember?"

Xander gave a nod, and said, "Suit yourself."

"Perhaps you should listen to the guy?" Lorne tried, but Angel ignored him.

"Now what?" Angel asked angrily.

Lilah read through the paper again, and said, "Now the ritual calls for human blood." Everybody looked at Angel, than Xander, but they realized that despite looks he wasn't human, then their gazes went to Lilah, and finally they settled on Linwood. Lilah gave the paper to Angel, and grabbed a knife.

"Uh . . ." Linwood muttered, as Lilah casually walked over to her senior. He looked fearfully, and said, "Lilah?" Lilah placed the knife in the palm of her hand and made a cut, smiling at Linwood. She went over to the middle of the pentacle, and let several drops fall to the floor, before walking outside of the circle.

"Ok," Angel said looking up from the paper at his handy work for a moment. "Now just the incantation, stand back." Everyone who could, which came down to Angel and Lilah, took a few steps back. Than Angel read out loud, "Corpus scranuc Sahjhan deamonicus."

Instantly energy surrounded the candles, and then encircled the pentacle. Angel pulled back his axe, ready to attack and waited. Flashes of magical light surrounding the circle formed a nice sphere of energy. Than the whole room went white for a moment as a bolt of lightning struck from above the pentacle out of thin air, and then . . . nothing.


Elsewhere in the middle of a street, a sphere of energy formed and then dumped Sahjhan. The demon took several steps, still propelled by the force, and slowed himself down. "Huh? What?" he asked himself confused, looking around. He heard a horn, and turned around, far too late to jump aside from the onrushing truck, and got slammed full frontal.

The cars behind the truck shrieked and some managed to stop, others crashed into each other, quickly turning the site into chaos. The driver of the truck sat behind the wheel, muttering, "Oh, my god! Oh, my god!" Suddenly the truck started moving, bobbing up and down, and then got flung on its side.

Sahjhan got up, stretching himself, not a scratch on him. He felt his chest with his hands, and smiled, "Now this is more like it!" Then he walked away.


Back at the hotel Angel hefted his axe better, as Xander looked in the direction of the crookedness of the pentacle, and the site of Sahjhan's appearance. "Where is he?" Angel asked angrily. "What happened?" Then he turned to Linwood, and stalked toward him, "Where is he?"

"I-I don't know," Linwood said shaking his head in fear.

"You bastards set me up, he isn't here at all! I will . . ." Angel yelled out, reaching for Linwood's collar, as Xander interrupted Angel's rant.

"Sahjhan is here, he's just not here here, and it isn't their fault," Xander said with some power behind his voice, and everyone turned to look at him.

"Whose fault is it then?" Angel asked angrily.

Xander unfolded his arms and pointed at the crooked pentacle, and said, "Yours. That should be a whole lot more meticulous, at the very least, it should be symmetrical. I'm sensing a giant magical and dimensional disturbance right in the direction of the crookedness."

"AAAH!" Angel raged out in frustration. "You knew!" He accused Xander. "You fucking knew!"

Xander refolded his arms, otherwise not moving an inch in his relaxed position. He nodded, and said, "Yep."

"WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING!?" Angel roared out, taking several steps closer to Xander.

"Listen, buddy," Lorne told Angel tersely. "He tried to warn ya, but you told him to 'shut up!'" Xander nodded calmly. Angel remembered his earlier outburst. Angry with himself, he turned around and threw the axe. It flung right by Linwood's head, and it embedded itself into a wall. Linwood swallowed.

"All right, where is he?" Angel asked Xander in frustration.

"Don't know," Xander replied and looked up to smile at Angel. Linwood and Lilah gave each other a look. "This nice blast here scrambled my senses, and the remaining energies are still messing with them. The disturbance where he arrived is blanketed with energy and it is effectively jamming my senses, plus the guy is no longer incorporeal. He changed on a fundamental level, he no longer feels the same."

"Uh, can we go now?" Linwood tried timidly.

Angel turned around and looked angry and Linwood, then spat out, "Get lost!" Lilah walked over and untied Linwood, before supporting him out the door, as Angel paced back and forth.

Just as the lawyers were about to step outside, Xander called out, "Oh, Lilah!" Lilah turned around, looking at Xander in fear. He once again made the phone sign, and said, "Call ya." Lilah paled and quickly moved along. Once they were gone, Xander stood up straight, and said, "Will you calm down, Angel?" Angel stopped his pacing and looked at Xander. "Let's go to the hospital, Faith and Wesley should be waking up soon. Then after we've visited them, and hooked up with the others, we spread out and comb this city out. We'll get the bastard." Angel looked at Xander, then sighed, and nodded.

Episode 39

Angel and Xander entered the hospital waiting area. Cordelia, Gunn, and Fred, who was holding baby Connor. "Sahjhan?" Cordelia asked gently.

"We made him corporeal, limited to just this place, but he didn't materialize where we wanted him to," Angel explained somewhat reluctantly. "Since the magic was strong enough to mess with our senses, and Sahjhan feels different now, we're still going to have to find him the old-fashioned way." Xander raised his eyebrows for a moment, and then shrugged almost imperceptibly. "Any news on Wesley and Faith?" Angel asked concerned.

"They're both going to make it," Cordelia answered him, concern still written in her face. "Wesley has been awake for half an hour now. Faith woke up fifteen minutes ago. The doctors seem perturbed at her rapid recovery."

"As long as they don't start cutting her open to find out how she ticks, they can be as perturbed as they want to be, and they can do as many tests as they want on whatever samples they have of her," Xander replied evenly, but inside was a gentle hint at danger for any doctor that was thinking about breaching that condition. "Might lead to some medical breakthroughs, as long they keep her identity secret, and don't send a media circus to the hotel, all for the good, I say," Xander added. "In which room is Faith?"

"And Wesley?" Angel asked.


Xander opened the door, and peeked inside. The room had two rows of three beds on either side. He saw Faith propped up on the right bed in the middle, curtain fully open. Xander smiled as he stepped fully into the room, Faith's face lit up with a million watt smile.

"Hey, Faith," Xander said with a huge grin as he stepped up to her bed. He placed his right hand on her left, and joked, "You seem to like staying in hospitals."

Faith crunched up her face as she snorted, and then gave a burst of laughter. "Ow, ooh!" Faith exclaimed, carefully holding her torso. "Actually I hate the places. You're moldy by the time you get out, and please don't make me laugh like that until after I'm fully healed?" Their hands wrapped closer into each other, Faith holding tightly onto his. Xander could see the pain and fear over the events of the last few hours in her eyes, but it didn't stop her from grinning widely at him.

Xander returned the grin, and said, "So how's my judicially appointed daughter doing?"

"Fine, just fine. The doctor was talking about releasing me in the morning, but I know my body, I can be up and about in a few hours, at the most," Faith replied, smiling up at the Saiyan.

"Damn, it's good to see you smile, did you know that before today I've never seen you truly smile?" Xander told her grinning. Faith blinked at that, and even more so when Xander bent over and gave her another kiss on her forehead. She actually blushed somewhat under Xander's concerned scrutiny.

"Well, I . . . uh . . ." Faith didn't really know what to say to that. Looking back on the past few months she realized rather shocked that her outlook on life had changed somewhat. She guessed the whole having friends thing, on multiple levels, and going to school properly with support had had an impact on her after all. Deciding not to go into the philosophical aspect of things, she changed course, "Don't know why you're all fatherly, and treating me like a little kid, but couldn't those kisses have come a lot sooner, and very different?"

"Are you saying you want to cheat on Wesley?" Xander asked her with a grin.

Faith shrugged. "He is out of commission for a while . . ." She looked at Xander's face, his eyebrows raised, and as she burst out in laughter she added, "Just kidding. Aah, ow, shit!" After Faith calmed her aching torso down, she looked up at Xander, and asked, "Please keep me from doing that for a few hours longer?"

"I could knock you out," Xander helpfully suggested with a shrug and an evil smirk. Once again Faith burst out in laughter, and once again the pains forced her to stop.

"Don't do that!" she told him, disentangling her hand from his grasp and giving him a playful punch on his upper arm.

"You love Wesley?" Xander asked with a smirk. He hadn't yet asked that question of her in their e-mail exchanges.

Faith sighed, and then looked at him, "I suppose . . . I don't really know, what #is# love anyway?" She saw him raise a questioning eyebrow, and she sighed again. "Love is such a big word you know?"

"Only four letters," Xander quipped.

Faith frowned at him, and continued, "Am I using him for easy sex? No. Do I find him attractive? Yes. Do I have feelings for him? Yes. Do I care for him? Yes. Is it already 'looovvve'? I honestly don't know. Is it heading toward that? . . . Yes, daddy."

Xander smiled down at her, and added, "I suppose I have to give him a third degree on his intentions with you then, or do you thing dead boy can pull that one off unbiased?" Faith smiled at him, and shrugged. They got rudely interrupted by a loud racket. Xander looked up, gave her an apologetic look, and was out the door to find out what was going on.


In the meantime

Angel walked into Wesley's room. Wesley had the room to himself, so they were alone. He went up to Wesley's bed, and saw him lying in his bed, his neck bandaged. "I know why you did it, prophecies and all," Angel said friendly, and Wesley's look became puzzled. What was Angel talking about. "And I understand why you wanted to take Connor away. You thought I would turn evil and eat him. But I'm not evil. This isn't Angelus talking to you. You understand that right? This is me, Angel. I want you to understand this." Angel didn't pay attention to Wesley's stricken face when the ex-watcher realized what Angel was thinking. Angel grabbed a pillow and started smothering Wesley, and screamed out, "YOU SON OF A BITCH! YOU WANTED TO TAKE MY SON! YOU THINK I FORGIVE YOU?!"

Moments later two orderlies came in as Angel tiraded onward, and tried to pull him away, but they couldn't make Angel budge. "I WILL KILL YOU, PRICE, YOU'RE DEAD! YOU'RE DEAD!" At that moment the rest of the Fang Gang entered, calling Angel's name. Xander came in a moment later, grabbed Angel by the back of his head, lifted him off the floor and simply carried him out. Cordelia, Gunn, and Fred quickly followed the two.

Xander smacked Angel with his back against the wall, and lifted him up by his collar. "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FUCKING MIND!" Xander shouted at him. Angel looked down with hate-filled eyes. Quickly Xander put two and two together, and said, "He didn't try to take your son, you self-absorbed halfwit! They gassed them, and stabbed them in Wesley's apartment! Have you really been this blinded you didn't even bother to ask how everything fitted together?!"

"Lorne said . . ." Angel started a little perturbed, but still angry.

"Lorne said," Cordelia interrupted him sternly, "that Wesley was too much of a jumble for him to read. You don't know #what# Wesley was going to do!"

"You and I, are going to have a talk, in private," Xander hissed at Angel. He let him go and pointed to a corridor.

"Why should I?" Angel told him in anger.

Xander's eyes darkened, and he told hm, "For your friends, for your legal daughter, for your son, and if that's not enough, because you owe me, Angel. You owe me #big#, and I'm not talking about keeping your son from living in a hell dimension."

Angel sighed, and went into the corridor Xander was indicating. The Saiyan followed him.

"Owe him? Not Connor?" Gunn asked carefully. "Cordy do yo know what he's talking about?"

"Uh . . . no, actually," the girl answered confused.


When they found a quiet empty room, they entered. Once inside Xander grabbed Angel by his collar and bashed up into a wall. "You will listen to me, and listen to me very carefully, Dead Boy!" Xander hissed at Angel. "You sulk around for a hundred years before you come to Sunnydale to 'help' the Slayer. Are you doing that because it's the right thing to do? Hell no, you hide around in shadows, like a cowardly stalker. You use your 240-year-old wealth and knowledge to dazzle an impressionable, 16-year-old girl! Paint yourself like some mysterious helper, but do you do anything? Nothing, you drop a few vague hints. I had to drag you down into those catacombs so you could lead me to the Master's lair. You didn't start to fight alongside us until after that, and then you go ahead, fuck Buffy, and turn into a soulless creature. I don't know why hell spat you back out, probably got indigestion, but that didn't stop you from being all soulful kissy kissy with the girl that could turn you into a soulless creature, now did it? You get some brownie points for finally having the guts to walk away. Then you go indulge yourself in the big fantasy of being a Champion: not because it's the right thing to do, but because you're promised redemption. How fantastic of you! How selfless! You go on a nice killer crusade, but don't finish it for some god damned reason! I really wish you had finished it. Then you go fuck Darla, which incidently gets us here. And why does mister Champion fuck Darla? Depressed over not finishing his crusade, he doesn't care anymore, and likes to get rid of his soul. If you had a spine, if you had guts, if you had any sense of integrity, you would have gotten a stake and dusted yourself. But no! Let's lose my soul, let's unleash one of the worst soulless demons this world as ever seen back onto it. Because it's fun, because my friends can die happily at its hands, because the girl you supposedly loved would enjoy another repeat of Angelus. But then, a Champion for those bastards of absolute evil, what did I expect? Remember I told you that at the end of they day I just thought you were a vampire, and I don't like you because of that?" Angel didn't really know where to look. Xander's words were indisputable, so he just nodded.

Xander paused for a moment, and then completed his thought. "That's no longer true, these days I don't like you because you're a spineless bastard! You're no Champion, Angel. You're a flawed individual at best. Did you enjoy trying to kill a helpless Wesley? Did you like your little petty act of revenge? Did you like hurting your daughter's boyfriend, Dead Boy?" Angel looked with shocked eyes at Xander; daughter? "Even if Wesley had tried to kidnap your son, you should forgive him, he would have been trying to save your son's life, doing something for the right reasons. And you . . . you haven't done a single thing for the right reasons in your entire unlife, and I doubt before. Got anything to say for yourself?"

Angel tried to come up with anything, but eventually decided to keep his mouth shut. "Good, shows you have some sense after all," Xander hissed at him. "You are a father now, Dead Boy. You no longer have the luxury to be petty, or vindictive, acting like a little child. You have two children to take care of; those will be your focus. You can still save people's lives, because it's the right thing to do, but this redemption and The Powers That Be crap? Forget about it. You will be the best damn father you can be, Dead Boy, if you are not, if you screw up, if you don't protect Faith and Connor, if you don't ensure there happiness, then by the time I'm halfway through with you, you're going to wish you were never born, and that's only when I start getting to the good stuff. You got me?" Xander's eyes flashed green for a few moments, boring straight into Angel's soul.

"I do," Angel said, looking fearfully into the green pupilless eyes.

"Good," Xander said, and let him go. "Then get your butt back to your daughter's boyfriend, apologize, and beg for forgiveness. Drop to your knees if necessary, because if you force Faith to have to choose between you and Wesley, you will make her #very# unhappy."


Angel walked into Wesley's room, under escort of Cordelia. "Uh, Wesley," Angel started nervously. Wesley looked over with hate-filled eyes. "I came to apologize. I should never have . . ." Wesley turned on his side, his back toward Angel.

"Wes, please," Cordelia said softly as she walked around his bed to face him. "I know you're not exactly fond of Angel right now, but please get over it. If not for our sake, than for Faith's. She can't walk away; the judge has appointed Angel as her legal guardian. Just chalk Angel's outburst . . ." Wesley suddenly shifted position and looked up at her. He pointed back at the night stand on the other side. With pain in her heart at the schism that was forming, Cordelia quickly walked over, and found pen and paper. She returned and gave it to him.

Wesley wrote something on the notebook, tore it off and give it to Cordelia. 'OUTBURST!?!? KILL ME!' Cordelia read. "I know, I know, but Angel came this close to losing his son, and he didn't get to kill the demon responsible yet, and he latched onto something Lorne said when he read you, and . . ."

Wesley wrote something and handed the note again. 'Excuses! 2x.' Cordelia replied, "I know, it doesn't make it right, if it's any consolidation Xander had a talk with Angel, I think he scared Angel to death; at the very least Xander got some points across, and you're not completely free yourself, you should have told sooner."

Cordelia took the new note and read, 'NOT KILL!!!' Cordelia nodded with tears in her eyes, and said, "It isn't enough to kill someone over, I know. Just forgive him, please? Faith needs both of you."

Cordelia took the new note, 'She's a big girl.' Cordelia nodded, joined Angel, and gave him a glare.

"Wes," Angel tried, but Wesley didn't turn around, "I'm sorry." Then he left Wes' room.


Angel stood at Faith's bed, and looked at her in wonderment. Faith looked back at him with a frown. Until Xander had reamed him a new one just now, filled with cold, hard facts he couldn't deny, not even to himself, he hadn't seen Faith as a daughter. As a friend, as beautiful, strong, young woman, as someone to guard from the legal system, appointed to care for by the legal system . . . but father? Until the birth of Connor the concept was so alien he couldn't even conceive it, but now . . . he had children! He looked down his arms, at Connor, with a smile. A son #and# a daughter! And he a vampire!

"Is something wrong, Angel?" Faith asked when the silence started to get uncomfortable.

"No, everything just became fine," Angel said with a smile. *Once I convince Wesley to forgive me, that is,* his conditioned mind told him guiltily. It's what kept him from getting that one moment of pure happiness all the time these days. "Want to hold your little brother?" he asked Faith, indicating the baby.

"I suppose," Faith said reluctantly, she wasn't used to all these warm gentle feelings. Angel gently handed Connor over to the dark-haired Slayer and watched how she gently held the baby. Faith looked up at him with a smile, and said, "What was all the ruckus about?"

If Angel could pale, he would have. "Oh, nothing important," Angel lied, feeling guilty. He absolutely had to find a way to get back into Wesley's good graces. "You know, Sahjhan - the demon that brought Holtz here - is still out there. We all go look for him shortly. You don't mind being alone for a while do you?"

Faith gave a love. "Tough girl here remember? Came alone from Boston to Sunnydale? Staying alone in hospital room is peanuts." Angel nodded, and smiled at her.


The hotel, thirty minutes later. "All right," Angel said, looking around the room seeing all of the AI team and Xander, minus Faith and Wesley. "I lost it back at the hospital, I apologize to all of you as well, I shouldn't have done what I did. I should kept a hold of myself, asked you guys what you knew about what happened. I jumped to conclusions, and probably damaged Faith, Wesley, and their relationship in the process . . . I screwed up . . . again." Angel looked around apologetically. "I hope you are still with me though." They nodded supportively. Angel than pointed at a pile of papers on the counter. "Those are copies of the drawing I made of the bastard that tried to have me eat my son," Angel explained, his eyes dimming with anger. "Sahjhan. He's out there, we're going to find him and kill him, he will not touch us, Connor, Wesley, or Faith ever again. Search for him everywhere, golf courses, carnivals, garages, I don't care, but we're going to find the bastard." The group nodded, and they went outside with a pile of papers. Angel on his own, Xander and Cordelia together, and Fred and Gunn. Only Lorne remained to take care of Connor.


Xander and Cordelia just got out of their first demon bar, but no one inside knew about Sahjhan. Even after Xander calmly tore one demon limb from limb - literally - before vaporizing her, the demons claimed ignorance; which meant they really didn't know, or they feared whatever Sahjhan would do to them more. Either way they weren't going to get what they wanted.

As they walked side by side, Cordelia suddenly asked, "What did you mean with Angel owing you?"

Xander looked back at her, smiled and answered, "Kept him from killing Buffy, but that's minor. Remember Angel when Buffy first came to town?"

Cordelia blinked, wracked her brain, and then answered, "Not really."

"Exactly," Xander explained with a smirk. "Back then the coward did nothing but hide in shadows and drop a few cryptic hints. While ordinary humans were busy fighting the vampires and the demons, he just stood in the shadows and watched. When Buffy was prophesied to die by the 'never wrong' codex, he sat sulking around in his living room. I had to practically drag him down into the catacombs to show me the Master's lair. On the way we came across some vamps, we had to fight, and only then did the halfwit finally realize he could do more than just brood. Mr. 'I'm a hero', so great a fighter, is only here, because I forced him down there."

Cordelia looked at him, as they rounded a corner, and asked, "He didn't bring you down there so you could perform CPR? Him with no breath and all?"

Xander looked strangely at Cordelia for laughing out loud, and said, "You're smarter than this, Cordy. Did he tell you that?"

Cordelia shook her head, "No, he did tell about no CPR due to the no breath . . . I just . . ."

"Cordelia," Xander told her with a smile. "You have seen Spike smoke like a chimney right?" Cordelia nodded. "And they can talk, so they can inhale and exhale. Their lungs just don't take any oxygen out of the air, which incidentally would make vampires better at giving mouth to mouth; our air is depleted of some of the oxygen. Even if he couldn't breathe, can't inhale and exhale, he would still have been able to do the heart massage, which he didn't. He simply didn't know CPR, and to save face he lied through his teeth. I didn't pick up on that until well after Buffy revived, I was too much in the heat of the moment at the time."

"But you said you knew the catacombs by heart, how come you needed Angel to lead you to the Master's lair?" Cordelia asked confused.

"I also said I hunted vamps and demons down there, but the Master still alive," Xander told her reflectively. "I did know the Master's lair once I got there, but years earlier before I stopped going down for training opponents the place was sealed: as in 'caved in'. He was locked away down there for seventy years before his minions found the place and dug him free. Why do you think he waited with his big plans to free himself until Buffy got there. Don't you think he would have tried sooner, if he had seventy years to do it?"


Two and a half hours later the duo of Fred and Gunn had found the place after some good old-fashioned detective work: they got lucky. They had overheard a demon in a demon bar complaining about having found this fantastic place with pillars and torches left abandoned, and then this demon that looked like he had gotten burned in his face came in and literally kicked him out.

They two of them, confident they could handle Sahjhan on their own, came down the stairs of the place which address they had wrangled from the demon. Slowly they came down the stairs and saw Sahjhan standing in the middle of the room with pillars. They quickly went to stand behind one of the pillars and looked, verifying it was him with the drawings. Sahjhan was too angry to notice them entering. The demon grabbed a table, broke it in two with ease, and threw the pieces aside. "Damn it!" Sahjhan raged. "That golden bastard! I was this close! Almost got myself rid of that kid!"

There was absolutely no doubt about it now, this was Sahjhan. Gunn came from behind the pillar, and said, "Hey, bitch!" Sahjhan turned around in surprise to face Gunn, who swung his axe calmly in preparation. "You don't have to worry about Golden Guy anymore, I'm gonna kill you right now."

"Ooh, a diversion," Sahjhan commented unafraid. With a roar Gunn sped toward the demon, who was rather surprised at the speed, but it was nowhere near fast enough. Sahjhan grabbed the axe's handled, and then using Gunn's momentum he flipped the black man over him, and flung him along into a pillar. The demon examined the axe for a moment and threw it bored aside. Fred came from behind her pillar and shot the crossbow bolt at Sahjhan. The demon rapidly turned around and caught the bolt out of the air.

"Shit," Fred said, reloading the bow.

"Shooting someone in the back, I'm disappointed in you good guys," Sahjhan said with mocking confidence, as he advanced on Fred. Gunn jumped around the demon's neck, pulling him back and smashing the demon's back on his knee. "Impressive," Sahjhan commented to Gunn. "A human with what? A vampire level's strength?"

"Something like that," Gunn spat at Sahjhan before driving his fast down toward his face.

Sahjhan caught it by the wrist and with a grin told him, "It won't be enough." His right leg came up, and kicked Gunn in the face, showing the demon had some agility as well. Gunn staggered back, and Sahjhan ran over and smashed his fist into Gunn's face. Then he grabbed an arm and threw him across the room where he crashed into the wall.

Sahjhan advanced on Fred, caught another crossbow bolt that came his way and threw it aside. Fred lunged with the butt of the crossbow, which Sahjhan caught easily. "Sorry, sweety," Sahjhan said with a big grin, as he pulled the bow from her hands and threw it aside.

Sahjhan picked Fred up, and she told him, "You will never kill Angel."

"Angel?" Sahjhan asked incredulously and threw her carelessly against the wall. Gunn got up and was going to attack Sahjhan again, when he was stopped in his tracks by Sahjhan going on a tirade. "You still don't get it, do you? I don't give a damn about Angel, he can live a long and happy life for all I care. I want his kid. Have you ever read a True Prophecy? Heavy stuff, but nothing like finding your own name in one." Sahjhan held up his hands, and mimicked words in a book. "The one sired by the vampire with a soul will grow to manhood and kill Sahjhan. Me! Let me tell you, it's a real kicker."

"You changed the prophecies," Fred realized, looking with wide eyes at Sahjhan. "The father will kill the son. That was you!"

"Yeah, I slipped back in time, changed the prophecy that was bad for me, and messed with a few others. That Holtz was a serious disappointment. He wanted to raise Angel's kid as his own. I'm living with a knife over my heart for eleven hundred years, and he's into petty revenge!" Sahjhan called out in anger and irritation.

"Is that so?" a voice sounded from the stairs. Sahjhan turned around and watched Faith come down the stairs.

"Faith," Gunn said, somewhat surprised.

"Aren't you supposed to be dead? Or at least injured enough to be in hospitalized?" Sahjhan asked with raised eyebrows.

Faith reached the bottom of the stairs, stretched out her arms lightly to either side, and replied, "Slayer healing, you just gotta love it." Faith walked closer to Sahjhan and asked, "Now let me get this straight: you went back in time, and rewrote some prophecies, and I suppose any higher oracle being, one of the Powers That Be, like the Lao, would know a real prophecy from the false one you sucked from your thumb, correct?"

"That pretty much sums it up, yeah, why?" Sahjhan told the Slayer carelessly, and threw a hard punch straight in Faith's left cheek. Faith's head snapped to the right for a moment, and then she snapped it back. Sahjhan looked a little surprised, he was too used to being the powerful one.

"Just wanted to be sure," Faith told him with a predatory grin, and punched him in the gut, doubling him over instantly. "You are going to pay!" Faith hissed down at demon who was breathing difficultly. She took a step back, and then with a mighty kick to Sahjhan's chest she sent him flying across the room, until he crashed into an altar. "I'm going to enjoy hurting you!" Faith called out as she jumped the distance with one bound. She landed above him, and smashed her fist into his face. "YOU HURT WESLEY!" Faith screamed enraged as she smashed her fists over and over into Sahjhan's face, blood was flung from his face landing somewhat further away on the floor, or on Faith. "The prophecy was wrong, you fucking bastard!" Faith screamed as she kept hitting a now dazed Sahjhan. "Connor isn't going to kill you, I WILL KILL YOU!" She pointed both her hands at Sahjhan's face, and charged an energy ball. "Then again, if you hadn't come after him!" Faith hissed, and Sahjhan's eyes widened as his dazedness was lifted enough to realize his fate. The energy ball left Faith's hands, impacted on Sahjhan's head, and exploded, destroying the demon's head. A load of black blood spurt from his neck, his body twitched a few times, and then he was dead.

Fred and Gunn looked at the demon corpse, and the Slayer still above it. Gunn whispered half-serious to Fred, "Remind me never to insult Wesley." As Fred nodded, he called out to Faith, "All right, Faith! Great going!"

Faith turned around to face him, breathing heavily like a bull about to charge. She calmed down some and walked over, wiping the black blood from her face.


"Hey," Faith said softly as she entered Wesley's room. "I'm back, kicked some ass, no more Sahjhan." The others were waiting outside. Wesley managed a weak smile.

Faith walked over to him, and gave him a loving kiss on his lips. She sat down in a chair and looked at him, as she ran her fingers through his hair. She liked his hair, she didn't know why, but she did. "Wesley," she said softly. He kept looking at her. "Sahjhan rewrote the prophecies. He went back in time, and simply changed them, the true prophecies said Connor was going to kill Sahjhan." Wesley's eyes widened at that revelation. "You get it yet?" Faith asked with a big grin. "Even Sahjhan told me himself, any supernatural god-like oracle thing would have known the prophecy was false. That hamburger lied, Wesley. It lied through its teeth, just so it could see what would happen if he put all of us through the wringer of believing Angel would kill Connor." Faith looked at Wesley intently, communicating with just their eyes. "Get it through your thick head, Wes. They are evil. The Powers That Be with their crap, all those fucking gods, they are evil. They don't care about us, other than the entertainment we can provide them. Don't ever ask them for help again, 'cause they won't give any, or do something harmful under disguise of helping."

Wesley nodded with a little difficulty, after which Faith kissed him ferociously.


Early next morning

Xander gently taught Cordelia several fighting moves, among others the Solar Flare. He glanced over to Faith, ignoring Angel training on another mat. He watched her move, and stopped paying attention to Cordelia for a moment, allowing her to land a punch. "Ow," he said absentmindedly, rubbing his chin. He saw Cordelia looking over at Faith, apparently checking out what had gotten him distracted. He gave the control panel a quick glance: 100 Gs. "A Slayer going at it unrestrained," Xander said with a smile, as Faith trained herself unaware of her audience. Cordelia looked over at him. He looked back and said, "It's poetry in motion."

Cordelia grinned, turning back to Faith. As Faith jumped and flew about, smashing robots too pieces with ease, and firing energy attacks around, Cordelia commented, "A Saiyan going at it unrestrained is poetry in motion as well."

Xander looked at her with a questioning gaze, and said, "How would you know? You haven't ever seen me going at it unrestrained."

Cordelia looked over and grinned widely, "I was thinking about unrestrained Speedo action." Xander's eyebrows rose further, as he looked into Cordelia's smiling face. Then he broke into a smile as well, and moments later they were both laughing out loud. They sat down together to watch Faith continue her training. "I like this," Cordelia said, and looked at Xander looking back at her. "That we're close again. I know kept in touch now and then, but I wish I had bothered with putting a bit more effort into it."

Xander smiled, saying, "Regrets, regrets." They stayed sitting there, growing silent. Both had a comfortable smile on their faces, as they just sat watching Faith and enjoyed each other's company. As Faith started to wind down her training, Cordelia looked over to Xander, and said, "I like Anya. She's a good choice, she's . . . you."

"Thank you, Cor. It's good to hear that," Xander told her, then they both grinned.

A moment later Faith arrived, and asked them, "So what was so funny?"

Cordelia grinned evilly up at Faith, as she answered, "Oh, we were just reminiscing that you arrived a year late." Faith looked puzzled, and Xander started to pale. "I bet you would have loved seeing Xander in a Speedo. I know I, Buffy, and Willow did. I'll bet they were jealous of me."

"Xander in a Speedo?" Faith asked incredulously, here eyes sparkling with lust. "Do tell, give me every detail!"

"Aah!" Xander screamed out, and got up. "Estrogen overload. I'm leaving."


8:45 AM
Wolfram & Hart Offices

The limo smoothly pulled up to the curb and a door opened. A rich business man stepped out, looked at the building, and was ready to go in, when a dark-haired young man sporting a smile stopped him. The man said, "Sir, I would suggest you get back into the car. They've got a gas leak, I've been sent to repair it, but . . ." The business man's eyes widened. He quickly got back into the limo, which drove of afterwards.

Xander smiled, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed. When the ring tone sounded, he walked toward the building's entrance.



"I'm telling you, sir, he can't be anything but this Sedra Soli, we've been hearing about," Lilah told Linwood. They were in the lobby, they had just gotten to work after their ordeal of last night. "I've looked into it a bit, and it all fits. This guy is one thing only the senior partners can fight, and it seems not even them, they are afraid."

"I find your lack of faith . . ." Gavin Park started from her left.

Linwood silenced him by putting the back of his right hand on his chest, and said, "We'll think of something, Lilah. We always do."

Lilah's cell phone went off, and she fished it out of her jacket. "Lilah deMorgan," she said into the phone.

##Hello, Lilah,## a sickening sweet voice sounded. Lilah's face paled instantly, she knew that voice. ##Told you I'd call ya.##

"Uh, Mr. Littica," Lilah said timidly.

##Shut up!## Xander snapped, and Lilah swallowed. ##I'm tired of this crap. You bastards think you can get away with anything.## Lilah listened with fear growing in her heart. Xander's voice became double, like she could hear him through the phone and in real life. "Well, last night, you went one fucking step too far." Lilah whirled around and looked into Xander's cold face. He turned off his phone, and put it away. "Sending a squadron of machine gun toting commando's after a helpless human baby . . ." Xander trailed off and angrily shook his head. "So you can dissect him no doubt. Human or not, souled or not, you are truly evil. I thought I could keep you pieces of shit around until after I had dealt with the demons and those PTB assholes, but last night I saw just how bad you fuckers really are. I had hoped some of you wizened up after my warning, but I see now I should have done this a long time ago."

"Wh-What are you going to do?" Linwood asked looking into Xander's face.

Xander grinned and said, "I'm going to destroy Wolfram & Hart - starting with this building."

Everybody was silent, other employees milling about, talking to each other, had stopped talking as well, and looked over to Xander. "You are kidding," Linwood said with a nervous smile.

Xander smirked lightly, and then shook his head, "No." Then he blasted upward, a white flame of energy surrounding him. As he crashed through the first ceiling, debris flying everywhere, he turned himself so he was facing down. He smashed through several more ceilings, before he charged energy in both hands, to the right of his body. "TA!" he yelled out. Everybody was looking up at Xander fearfully.

"His bluffing, sir, he has to be," Gavin said more to reassure himself than his boss.

Linwood nodded, fearful sweat pored from his face, "Yes, he's a good guy, they don't do this stuff."

"NE!" Xander called out, smashing through a few more ceilings. "KA!"

"He isn't bluffing," Lilah realized, remembering her assessment of him when she met him first in the court building. The realization jolted her out of her stupor - she turned around toward the exit, and ran as hard as she could.

"KO!" Xander roared, now many stories up, having blasted several people aside as he crashed through ceilings.

"He'll come down, and tell us that next time he won't hold back," Linwood muttered with a stiff neck.

Xander crashed through the roof, and just above the tall building, he finished, "SA!" The powerful beam smashed through the roof down to the ground. At every floor of the building, an explosion sent glass and dust outward. When the wave of energy hit the floor, it vaporized Gavin and Linwood, then blasted outward, shredding the wider base levels of the Wolfram & Hart office complex. Task finished, Xander rapidly flew down to the ground, and casually walked along, looking back with a smile as the building neatly collapsed in on itself. Some windows from adjacent buildings cracked and shattered under the influence of the explosions. Xander calmly pulled out his phone, and dialed.


Lilah ran, and ran, pulling off her high heels on the way so they wouldn't impede her progress. She heard the first explosion as she was nine tenths of the way to the street. She ran along the spacious walk in toward the building. It, the plants, the lwan, and the fountain were designed to be inviting, but Lilah paid it no heed. She quickly looked left and right, it wouldn't do to survive a blown-up building only to be killed by crashing into a car. She sped across the street, and just as she reached the other side a shockwave grabbed her, pulled her along and smacked her against the next building. Her back blossomed her pain, she squinted her eyes closed, tears running down her cheeks. Tears of pain, but many more of fear.

She opened her eyes and watched in astonishment as the Wolfram & Hart building imploded, tumbling neatly down in on itself. Her eyes widened as she saw the dust cloud heading her way and shielded herself by hunching up her knees in front of her chest, lowering her head down on them, and wrapping her arms around. She felt the dust wash over her, instantly soaking her through her clothes to Lilah's disgust. Hoping she'd survive, she cried, tears rapidly streaming down her face. When it was over, she lifted her head, and shook it to get some of the dust out. She opened her eyes after that and looked at the dust that was everywhere. There was no real damage outside of the destroyed building, only a giant dust clean-up bill, and the bill of replacing some windows in the other buildings.

Lilah's phone rang, with a fear-contorted face, she pulled it out, and looked at it with dread. She swiped away some of the dust, marveling briefly that the thing was still functional, and picked it up. "Hello?" she managed.

##You survived. You're luck, Lilah,## Xander sounded on the other side.

"You think this will stop Wolfram & Hart?" Lilah asked fearfully. "They'll just rebuild!"

Lilah heard Xander chuckle, and then he said, ##I know. I'm not going to kill you, you little bitch, providing you go far away from here, and better your life. Do pro bono work, help people with law troubles instead of trying to destroy the world, for if I every meet you again, and you're still with W&H, I #will# kill you.##

"Fuck!" Lilah pleaded in terror. "I can't quit them. They'll come for me, my contract extends beyond my death."

##Don't worry about that, Lilah,## Xander told her, amusement in his voice. ##They'll be far too busy bothering with one wayward employee, if they don't give you up for dead outright. Bye, Lilah.## Then the line went dead.

Episode 40


Buffy carried the small trash bin outside into the garage, thinking of nothing and everything at the same time. When she reached the trash bag, she opened it. She held the bin at the opening, and pushed it upside down, dumping the trash inside. Something caught her eye as it went from the bin into the bag. She quickly put the bin down, and checked the bag. For a moment she reconsidered, but then she saw it, and realized she didn't have to rummage through the disgusting trash. She reached out, grabbed the end of the plastic thing, and pulled it out. She looked at it with a frown. 'It' was a condom, tied closed, containing . . . white stuff . . . sperm. Buffy blinked, then her eyes went wide, as she went over possibilities. She herself was out, so was Willow - she hadn't even had lesbian sex these past few months, for a moment she thought Xander and Anya might have, but no, from what she gathered - and given Anya's penchant of blurting things out, she had gathered a lot - they didn't use condoms, being polite not to leak over the Summers' couch wasn't an issue, Anya would just sw . . . *Do not go there!* Buffy admonished herself shaking her head, besides lately Xander and Anya hadn't been around the house long enough to do the dirty deed, since Dawn didn't really need babysitters anymore.

That left only one possible couple: Dawn and Li-Huei. First Buffy paled, then she remembered how she had reassured Li's mother nothing had happened, and nothing was going to happen, at which time she became red with fury. She finished emptying the trash bin, and stalked back into the house.

Inside the kitchen she saw Willow and Dawn talking, as Willow was preparing tea. "DAWN!" Buffy yelled out in anger, and placed the trash bin on the floor. Dawn blinked, and Buffy walked up to her, then held out the condom. "What have you got to say for yourself!?"

Dawn looked at the dangling condom, for a moment she felt panic, and embarrassment starting to rise, even more so when she heard Willow make a gulp that said, 'I want to be somewhere else.' She regained herself, remembering Buffy telling her where the condoms were and to use them properly. She hadn't even thought of Buffy getting mad, or else she would have gotten rid of the condom more stealthily. Nothing bad, or disgusting happened, so why should she feel that way? With the ebbing away of the panic, confusion set in, and more asking that saying, said, "It's a used condom?"

"#How# did a #used# condom get into #our# bathroom trash bin?" Buffy asked, angrily, once again flashing back to how she casually told Li's concerned mother the teenagers were asleep with their clothes on.

"Unless somebody else threw one in there as well, I threw it in," Dawn answered, her embarrassment quickly making way for a boiling anger. Why was Buffy acting like it was the greatest offence on the planet? Buffy had been the one to tell her where to find the things in the first place.

"You and Li had sex!" Buffy accused angrily. "I told his mother nothing happened! That you fell asleep while doing homework. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?"

"#That# is none of your business," Dawn said with a simmering undertone, folding her arms across her chest, facing down her sister, and she noticed Willow backing away a little. "Besides, you're the one who told me to use the damn things."

Buffy didn't back down either, growling she said, "I'm your legal guardian, trust me it #is# my business, and I told you to wait till you were twenty-five."

"You also said that was not realistic," Dawn bit right back.

Buffy was exasperated, and frustrated, deep down she knew Dawn was right, but she couldn't get over the fact that she effectively lied to Li's mother. "You are fifteen-and-a-half years old! You made me lie to Li's mother!"

Dawn's face darkened. Willow looked rather frightened at Buffy and Dawn, she looked so much like their deceased mother right now, and there was something of a lecturing Tara in there. "First, this is private, I don't have to answer you. Second you didn't lie, the condom wasn't necessary until the morning. Again, this is private, I don't have to tell you, but you can rest assured, Buffy; Li and I did not have intercourse. When he awoke, his erection was pained because his body had been kept on standby expecting sex. He needed a pressure release; as in 'masturbation'. I got the condom so when he ejaculated he wouldn't shoot his seed all over the bed and the room. After all I'm certain you're reaction to seeing my cum-smeared cheek, wouldn't be, 'Hey, Dawn. Nice going! Are you going to clean up? Or rub it in your skin? I recommend rubbing it in.' And on a last note, I'm glad I can see you love, and trust me enough not to go through the trash to find out every private detail of my life."

Dawn started walking around Buffy, and the Slayer said, "That's not what hap . . . Hey, where are you going? I'm not done yet! Plus pain for what? Not coming? Never seen or heard about that before!"

Dawn turned around to face Buffy one last time, and told her, "Ask Xander, he's a guy, he would know! As for where I'm going: I'm going to Li's, and if they're to bed already, I'm going to Tara's, she isn't a hypocrite." Moments later Dawn slammed the door shut behind her.

Buffy looked shocked. This was so not what she meant to do. She whirled around in frustration and looked at Willow. The witch lifted the tea pot. "Cookie and tea?" she asked pathetically, not knowing what else to do.

"AAAH!!" Buffy screamed out her frustration, and then went to the front door. She grabbed her coat from the rack, and told Willow, "I'm going out on patrol!"

Willow watched Buffy leave, still holding the tea pot with a dumbfounded look on her face. *Tara's!?* Willow suddenly realized, *Dawn knows where Tara lives!?*

Dawn came stalking back through the back door, grumbling to herself, and making a quick explanation to Willow, "Cold out, forgot coat." The brunette quickly walked to the coat rack, and picked out hers.

"You know where Tara lives!?" Willow asked hopefully.

Dawn looked startled at Willow, and paused putting on her coat for a moment. She continued, and said, "Tara doesn't want you to know, sorry." Then Dawn disappeared out the front door as well, leaving a heart broken Willow.


Buffy had been wandering through Sunnydale for a while, killing the occasional demon and vampire. She was seething inside. How the hell had she let this get so out of hand? She didn't understand it. Yes, Dawn was young, but she had made peace with the fact she was right smack in the middle of puberty. But her relative maturity was rather reassuring. She remembered when she first became the Slayer she did a giant amount of growing up in no time at all as well. She guessed Dawn had reached that point in her life, where she could no longer remain inside the fantasy of watching super hero sister save her from her own mistakes, which was good. So why had she screwed this up so much? All because she had wrongly told Li's mother not to worry about Dawn's and Li-Huei's non-sexual actions?

One thing was for certain in Buffy's mind though: Dawn had outgrown her. Dawn didn't need her big sister anymore, she could handle things well enough on her own. She remembered her sister's stance, the certainty in her eyes, the fire in her eyes so like mom's when she was about to teach a lesson. Buffy remembered the first time she had realized that; Dawn's passionate speech about dating. Whatever hope for Dawn needing her, had just fled Buffy's mind completely. Those thoughts depressed her to no end: nobody needed her, she was just useless baggage.

Not wanting to dwell on that, she shook her hand and looked around, noticing that she was rather close by Xander's apartment. Perhaps she should ask Xander about the whole . . . well . . Buffy looked up and looked astonished as she felt Xander's power rise to incredible proportions. Moments later a yellow streak blasted away, easily visible to Buffy. "Where is he off to?" she wondered out loud. She contemplated going to Xander's anyway, see if she could wait for his return versus just doing something else. Eventually she decided to go.

A minute later she arrived at the couple's apartment complex and Anya opened the door for her. Then inside Anya opened the door to the apartment itself. "Hi, Buffy," Anya greeted the Slayer less than enthusiastically. "Xander left."

"I know, I saw and felt him leave. Where is he off to?" she asked curiously.

Anya answered with a serious voice, "Help, Faith. She just called, it's very bad."

Buffy's eyes widened with concern, and realized there wasn't much she could do. If Xander needed help, she wouldn't be able to render it. "You don't know how long he's going to take then?"

"At least till morning, I guess," Anya answered somewhat confused. "You want to come in?"

Buffy shook her head, and told her, "Nah, I'll talk to Xander later. It isn't that important. Bye, Anya."

Anya nodded as Buffy turned around and started to leave, "Oh, Buffy! Almost forgot!" Anya called after the blonde Slayer, who turned around and regarded Anya with raised eyebrows. "We figured out who the bastards are that doing the tests on you . . . well, at least one of them: Warren himself. That's why we haven't found him, or any evidence, because he has inside information."

Buffy's eyes widened, and realized Anya was right. "Thanks, Anya. Bye," Buffy replied, and then walked off.


As Buffy walked away, she contemplated going after Xander, but realized she would probably only get away. Then she thought of going after Warren, but she wasn't in the mood. Once again walking aimlessly, she came past the bronze. She looked at it, thought it over for a few moments, and then walked inside.

She reached the bar, found an empty stool in the bar filled with humans, and sat down upon it. She contemplated what to get. Never in the mood for beer after that giant bad experience she opted for a different, and stronger drink. When the bartender arrived at her position, she simply pointed, and said, "The green stuff, lots of it." Thus Buffy started drinking herself into a stupor.

Unfortunately for her she got only to tipsy, because by the time fifteen minutes had past, a sinister voice sounded next to her. "Well, well, well, what have we here . . ." he sneered. Buffy jerked back. Why hadn't she felt whoever that was approach? She wasn't so wasted, she wouldn't notice a life force sneaking up on her. " . . . if it isn't the Slayer," Warren finished with an evil grin.

"Warren," Buffy exclaimed with surprise, and remembered Anya's words. Her eyes widened further, and then hardened into coals of anger.

"I see you finally figured it out, Buffy," Warren told her with a superior attitude. "Too bad for you, it's far too late."

"You fucking bastard," Buffy told him angrily, getting off her stool. Her anger driven adrenaline quickly removed the alcohol haze. "Did you think it was funny speeding up my time, and putting me in a loop?"

"Very," Warren answered his grin never wavering.

"How about killing that girl . . ." Buffy's eyes widened. Now that she knew Warren was the bad guy, she remembered again where she had seen her. "You own ex girlfriend?"

Warren's gaze darkened. "I'm tired of this crap," he told her dangerously.

"Am I supposed to be scared now? Big, bad geek up against the Slayer?" she mocked fed up with him, and getting ready to simply pick him up with one hand and march him to the police.

Surprisingly fast Warren's fist snuck out, and the back of it hit Buffy in her chin. The next moment she sailed through the air, and landed with a smack on top of the pool table. The patrons looked startled, as did Buffy. She blinked away her dizziness - Warren obviously hadn't been sitting still. Time to power up, Buffy thought as sat up on the pool table. At that time Warren jumped up on the table, and hissed at her, "You're going down girly, I'm not a weak geek anymore."

"Good, means I don't have to hold back," Buffy told him angrily as he grabbed her by her collar.

"Not again," the bartender and owner muttered in irritation as he watched Warren pick up Buffy and then run with her to the wall. What he feared happened. Buffy raised her chi shield, and instead of simply slamming against the wall, Warren's new found power slammed them both straight through it, leaving a large gaping hole and debris. In a corner Andrew and Jonathan gave each other a look, and then quickly ran out through the exit to join their leader. When they got outside, they saw Buffy land a punch in Warren's face, making him take a step back.

Buffy was surprised, that had been a pretty powerful punch. Of course she hadn't really put that much power behind it, he was still human and thus didn't want to kill him, which she was afraid to do. She didn't quite think that whatever Warren had used to jack himself up, could withstand a full 70 G plus trained Slayer punch.

"Guys," Warren called out with a sly grin. "Get the inviso beam, it's high time we take this little bitch down a few notches."

"Inviso beam?" Buffy asked herself surprised. Her distraction allowed Warren to plant a firm kick in her gut, doubling her over and sending her flying back. Buffy landed, raising her power some more, and watched as Warren lifted his right sleeve, revealing an impressive looking technological thingy. As Warren advanced on her, he pushed a button, and the piece of technology powered up with a quick whine. Buffy got up onto her feet, determined to end this now.

In the mean time, Andrew had reached the trio's new van, opened the back and pulled out the inviso beam. He quickly aimed it at Warren and fired.

Buffy looked with shock as the beam hit Warren, and he promptly vanished. He looked over to Andrew, he seemed nervous under her gaze, and quickly pointed the gun at himself, and pulled the trigger. After a complaint from Jonathan Andrew turned him invisible as well. Buffy realized, gaping in disbelief, that just standing there wasn't a good idea. Her chi flame burned around her, at which time with a small sound a red-orange ball of destructive energy came at her out of the sound of evil laughter. She was far too late to form a shield, but at least she was powered up. The ball of energy impacted on her and exploded, sending her hurtling backward straight at a building. Buffy groaned as she was flung through the air; everything hurt, lacerations covered her from top to bottom. She smacked painfully against he wall, cracking a nice star into it, before crashing to the ground.

"Well, look at that," Warren's disembodied voice sounded, as Buffy slowly got back to her feet, ignoring the pain in her body. "The little bitch is still alive. Good! Means I can really make you feel pain now." Warren's fist connected with her right cheek, and Buffy was flung to her left by the impact. His fist had connected, and given her pain. She had severely underestimated Warren, she realized far too late.

She got up, raising a chi shield, just in time to hold back another ball of energy, but the explosion still hurt her, and keeping up the shield drained some more of her chi. Buffy looked around, and tentatively walked forward. She couldn't see him, or sense him. How could she get him? "Over here, bitch," she heard from behind her. A quick pulse sounded and then she got an energy ball in her back, sending her flying forward, and pain lancing her body.

She got up slowly, desperate, she couldn't pinpoint him, didn't know where the next attack would come from. She needed something, anything. "You think it's funny you got power, huh? Walk all over us, cause we're a little different. Well, it ends here." Buffy felt the impact of Warren's foot on the side of her face, and with pain blossoming in her cheek she was catapulted through the air, turning end over end. Before she even landed, she hurt a short pulse sound, and hardened herself against what she knew was coming. The plasma ball hit her moments later, searing her, shredding some of her clothes, burning her skin.

She lay on the street, slowly propping herself on her hands and knees, gasping for breath, and trying to quell the pain. She groaned in pain, as she felt something pop in one of her ribs. She briefly contemplated flying away, but that would leave Warren unopposed to do whatever he wanted, like blowing up houses with people in it. Luckily the people in the Bronze were smart enough not to come out here, Buffy thought. "Do you like it when the tables are turned, slut!?" she heard Warren speak, and got a kick in her ribs that sent her several meters through the air again.

Buff got up again, and circled around, trying to find Warren. A pulse, and she turned around toward it, barely able to put up her hands before the ball of plasma hit her again. "Do you enjoy pain, Buffy? Is that how to seduce a Slayer?" She heard him call from her left before another fist hit her.

"Bastard," she hissed out angrily, and he attacked again. Left, right, right, side, front, back, every time he called out insults, and every time Buffy was forced to take the painful hits.

"Buffy!" she heard Jonathan call from the back somewhere, than a growl from Andrew. "He's got some balls of power in his pockets, if you . . ."

"Traitor!" Andrew's disembodied voice called out and then there were sounds of two people struggling.

"Damn it, doesn't matter," Warren's voice sounded, and then she heard his footsteps getting closer. "You're weak bitch, and I'm strong, because I'm smart," Warren said, before his invisible fist crashed into Buffy's face. The punches didn't really do anything except making her fly impressive through the air, the major damage came from his plasma cannon, and in frustration Buffy raised a chi-shield at the by now familiar sound of it firing. Again she was seared by the cannon's power and flung back, landing on her ass. She got up to a squat when she looked up to hear Warren's taunts. "You're nothing, and I'm everything. Tell you what, I'll make you a deal, I'll let you live providing you agree to be my sex slave and take daily drugs to suppress your strength. How about that?" Warren arrogantly suggested to her.

Buffy looked over at a strange noise, she saw a blast of blue-white energy, and then Jonathan became visible. Then his head was snapped back as if someone hit him with a fist. Andrew's disembodied cries of pain in his hand afterwards confirmed that theory.

"Well, got an answer?" Warren asked Buffy from right in front of her.

"Yeah, go to hell," Buffy said with barely restrained rage.

Warren grinned unseen, and said, "Suit yourself." He threw his next punch with all his might . . . and was stopped cold in Buffy's left hand. "What!? Impossible?! . . . How?"

Buffy smirked, her eyes sparkling with barely restrained violence. "You should have kept your big mouth shut," she said with an evil grin. The next moment her right fist smashed into Warren's gut, and he doubled over in pain, incredible pain. This couldn't be happening, those balls should be protecting him. Her next hit came in the form of an uppercut, and it snapped Warren back up straight, a knee to his gut followed with a defiant roar from Buffy. Once again Warren doubled over, he coughed hard and felt a few drops of unseen blood dripping from his mouth. Buffy clasped her hand around Warren's unseen cannon and ripped it from his unseen forearm. She stepped away from Warren, and threw the cannon high into the air, too afraid destroying it in her hand might set it off - if only one blast was that powerful, there was no telling how powerful the explosion would be all at once. She pointed her hands in the same direction, and charged a very big energy ball, so big she couldn't possible miss the invisible object. With a yell she send the energy attack up into the air, and after a few moments there was a giant explosion.

*One problem down, three to go,* Buffy thought, leveling her gaze down in the general direction of Jonathan and Andrew.

"Oh, shit," Andrew muttered in fear.

Buffy's sensitive ears picked it up, and sneered, "Thank you." She blasted off directly toward Andrew and picked him up by his invisible neck, then ripped the inviso beam from his hands. Buffy turned around and aimed where she knew Warren should be. She fired, the beam hit the street, nothing happened. She aimed a little higher, fired, and after some sizzling Warren became visible. Buffy pointed the gun at Andrew and pulled the trigger. Jonathan looked at astonished at the angry slayer holding a struggling Andrew becoming visible. Buffy looked down at the invisible gun, contemplated, than pointed the gun at herself, and fired. Nothing happened to her except a sizzling, but the energy flew along her arms, found the inviso beam gun, and it became visible again. She let go of Andrew, put the gun down on the street and crushed it with her foot.

"There," Buffy said angrily, as she looked up at Warren. "That evens the odds, don't you think? Only your 'balls' and your little energy masking, and there's nothing left of your little trio." She leveled a disappointed gaze at Jonathan, she would have thought he'd known better. Then she advanced on Warren.

He got up, angrily, and then his eyes widened. "Ow!" he yelled out, and Buffy stopped. She watched in astonishment as Warren started doing a pretty bad rendition of the Scooby Dance. His hands reached into the pockets of his pants, and yelling out with pain he pulled them out revealing two angrily, orange glowing balls. He threw them aside in pain. The balls bounced a few times, and the whole group looked on in surprise as the balls exploded with a loud bang. "Fuck!" Warren called out in surprise and anger. He turned to Buffy, and practically insane with anger he pointed at her, yelling, "YOU'RE GONNA PAY FOR THIS, BITCH! YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE LAST OF ME!"

Buffy stood up straight, and blinked in annoyance. Just how was he going to escape? Warren took of his jacket, and revealed a jetpack. "You have got to be kidding me," Buffy said in annoyance.

"Goodbye, Slayer," Warren said and blasted off.

Buffy was torn between going after Warren thus leaving his stooges unattended, and dealing with the stooges now, going after him later. At that point Andrew made the decision for her. "Well played, Slayer," he said with a cold look, that made him look ridiculous, and he took of his jacket as well. "This round goes to you, but here will be more."

"Hey, why didn't I get one of those?" Jonathan pouted at the revealed jetpack.

Buffy looked incredulous as Andrew blasted off. "That's it!" Buffy growled, and jumped up, flying after him. She grabbed him by his right ankle, and then pulled him down. She landed on the street, using her chi in reverse to counteract the jetpack's thrust. She looked up at Andrew angrily.

Andrew's face was contorted in pain. "Ow!" he whined. "That hurts! Let go of me!"

"No," Buffy told him coldly. "I wanna do an experiment - which is stronger: your leg, or the straps on your jetpack." Andrew blinked down in fear, hesitated a moment, but the painful strain on his body quickly made him turn off the rocket pack. With a yell Buffy yanked him down to the ground, smashing him on his back, instantly dazing the blonde. She quickly went over, tore the straps and threw the jetpack aside. "You two are going to jail, I'll deal with your fearful leader after that!"


Early next morning

Warren gleefully looked at his newly acquired gun, as he walked along. The Slayer would pay. Nobody humiliated him, nobody! He tucked the gun away. His reasoning was simple: sound is what Buffy used to beat him, bullet moves faster than sound, hence no hearing, a bullet isn't big ball of light either, so no seeing it. Just one squeeze of the trigger and it was over, a few more times and the Slayer was truly dead meat. If he wasn't so consumed with irrational rage, he would have seen the flaw in his theory.


Buffy sat on a chair in the garden of her house, looking around depressed. She wore a coat and had her arms around her chest to keep warm. California never gets really cold, but it was chilly out.

"Hi, Buffy," a female voice sounded. Buffy looked up and saw a smiling Anya walk into the garden from the side of the house.

"Anya," Buffy greeted back, somewhat perplexed. "Why are you here?"

"Xander called," Anya said, and Buffy immediately perked up. "He said we all should be here, something about a strategy meeting or something."

"Really?" Buffy asked surprised. Anya nodded. Both silently communicated about going inside. Anya went inside not wanting to stay in the chilly air, and Buffy stayed put.


Dawn yawned as she came down the stairs. She had just gotten out of bed. She heard the back door open and close. She looked over the railing, and saw Anya walk around in the kitchen. She raised her eyebrows questioningly but was interrupted by the doorbell. She opened the door, and looked into the smiling face of Tara. "Hi, Dawn," the Wiccan greeted.

"Tara!" Dawn greeted enthusiastically, wrapping her arms around the witch and hugged her close. Tara returned the hug, but much less tight. "It's so long since you've been here," Dawn whimpered with joy.

"Is Willow in?" Tara asked the unnecessary question. Dawn released Tara and looked with wide eyes, before pointing up the stairs. Tara nodded, and then entered the house, and climbed the stairs.

Tara entered Willow's room, and saw the redheaded witch just busy getting up out of bed, revealing lovely legs as she was wearing only the nighty. "Hello, Willow," Tara said. Willow gaped at her ex-girlfriend.

Willow managed to close her jaw, and blurt out in happiness, "Tara."

Tara walked around the bed and Willow followed her. "Willow, let me first say, I love you."

"I love you too," Willow said hopefully, not knowing where this would lead - it could go either way.


Buffy perked up when she felt Xander approach through the sky. She smiled, and waited as calm as she could. Moments later Xander arrived above the garden, and he lowered himself to the ground. "Hey, Buf," he greeted.

"Hey, Xan, problem solved in LA?" Buffy asked with a bright smile.

"Yep, bagged and delivered," he answered her smiling back. He took a few steps and slung his arm around the petite blonde's shoulders.

Buffy smiled, took a deep breath, she couldn't believe she was going to ask this. "Xander," she started tentatively. "Can I ask you a question, a very . . . uh . . . sexual question?"

Xander looked down at her. She went out of his embrace, asking him this while he was hugging her was just too much. "As long as you don't ask about me and Anya's favorite position, ask away."

"Ok," Buffy said, then stayed silent for a few moments. "Say a guy would get aroused . . ." Buffy became beat red, and Xander just smirked. " . . . and he comes very close to . . . uh . . . orgasm, but doesn't . . . then goes to sleep, but doesn't lose his . . ." Buffy swallowed, she had plenty of things she talked about with Xander, even sexual stuff, but this was somehow very difficult. She continued, " . . . erection . . . you know, stays close to orgasm all night, could he feel pain co- by morning?"

Xander shrugged. "I haven't studied human males to that extent, but I know it happens with Saiyan males, like once in a million, so if I had to guess, I'd say yeah. Why?"

Buffy was amazed, Dawn hadn't brought up a lie. She didn't think it possible Dawn would have that big an active and correct imagination. "Why?" Buffy repeated the question. "Oh, nothing, a bit I read on the internet, wanted to see if it was true."


"What you did to me was horrible, Willow," Tara said, her eyes were misty.

"I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say," Willow whispered guiltily from her hunched up position on the bed. Timidly she looked up at Tara, standing in front of the window.

Tara continued, "I believe everyone deserves a second chance, Willow, but no more than a second chance." Willow looked up, wide-eyed, was this really going where she thought this was going. "I've seen you meditating in the park, I know you're going to therapy and you seem to have turned yourself around." Willow nodded eagerly. Tara continued, "I'm willing to give this a try, but make no mistake: I've been drilled with the notion that I'm worthless long enough, and you and your friends have taught me I'm not. I love you so much, Willow, but if you ever, ever, try something like that again, against me, or some other innocent person, we're through Willow, completely. You try something like that again, and we will never be a couple again. Never, I will leave you, and no matter how much I love you, I will never come back. Do you understand me?"

Willow nodded, "Absolutely, completely. You're right to. But it won't happen again, I promise, I rather chop off my hands than do something like that again!"


Buffy and Xander laughed together for a moment, sitting together on the garden bench. "I got Jonathan, and Andrew," Buffy suddenly told Xander. "They and Warren formed what they called their Trio. Warren was pretty freakily powered up. Invisible, plasma, cannon super strength and tough hide, and they helped him along. Warren got away. The other two are in jail."

"Don't worry, we'll get him," Xander said, smiling, getting up from the bench. Buffy took his offered hand and got up herself, and side by side, they slowly started walking.

Buffy felt good. This whole conversation had been pleasant, she thought she had reconnected with Xander on some fundamental level, and she felt guilty. She remembered the things she had done with Spike and his two sluts, and shivered, guilt growing by the minute. She found herself needing to say it, so she did. "I love you, Xander, you know that, don't you?"

Xander smiled at her, "Of course. And I love you, always have, always will."

Buffy smiled, and that is when their beautiful moment of friendship was rudely disturbed by a maniac with a gun. "You fucking bitch!" Warren yelled as he rounded the corner of the house, the gun waving about. Buffy and Xander turned to their right to regard him. "You think you can just do that!? You think I'd let you do that without making you pay?"

"I guess it's going to be easier finding him than I thought," Buffy commented, with a pout.

"You little slut!" Warren screamed and fired, once, twice, thrice. Buffy reached out to the bullets, but Xander was quicker; he snatched the bullets out of the air like it was nothing. He opened his left hand, regarded the three bullets on it, and growled as he bore his eyes into Warren's eyes. "Shit," Warren muttered fearfully, realizing his mistake. He started turning around and shot a fourth time, the bullet went up, way up . . .

Buffy jumped and caught the fourth bullet, as Xander's right hand lit up with energy. He moved his arm forward with an enraged roar, and flung an intense beam of energy at Warren. The Trio leader was nowhere near fast enough. He got caught by the beam of energy, and screamed out in pain as he was rapidly cooked and vaporized. The beam winked out, leaving only two scorch marks on the lawn, where Warren's feet had stood. "That fucking bastard!" Xander hissed, as he crunched the bullets in his hand before smoothly tossing them into an open waste bin.


[Play Willow and Tara love theme: Sita - I surrender]

"Good," Tara said, and took a step forward. "Now that that's out of the way," Tara said softly. The two witches were startled by a few gun shots. Tara looked around, out the window, and saw Buffy and Xander dealing with it. She smiled, turned back around, and knelt on the bed over Willow, her knees on either side of Willow's upper legs. She moved her hand lovingly through Willow's red hair, and she whispered, "No worries, bullets were caught." Willow smiled relieved, as Tara continued, "I just want to be kissing you now." Passionately she pushed her lips against Willow's. Their mouth's opened, and gently their tongues brushed against each other, shooting jolts of electricity into their pleasure centers. Willow was amazed, Tara had never been this bold, this straightforward before . . . that wasn't quite right, she had been, she hadn't been this dominant before, so secure in her confidence. Willow liked it, loved it. As the dance of their tongues intensified, Willow wrapped her arms around the blonde, and thought she could use a more in-control girlfriend now. Tara broke the kiss, and gently started fondling Willow's right breast, their eyes locked together. Her hand moved lower and started lifting Willow's nighty. "And other assorted, enjoyable, frowned upon things," Tara added with a sexy smile.

Willow grinned and quickly helped Tara get her nighty off. Done with that, Tara pushed Willow back on the back. She kissed Willow ferociously, pushing Willow onward, as the redhead's hands rapidly unbuttoned Tara's tight jeans, and pushed them down along the blonde's legs. Tara kicked them off, having placed Willow fully on the bed, and she quickly pulled off her lovely, Earthbound top with just enough bare chest to make it sexy. Tara quickly bent down again, and kissed Willow deeply, as her right hand slowly and sensually flowed over Willow's bare left leg. Excited, Tara let her hand feel down Willow's panties, from Willow's side slowly but deliberately down to the crotch. Their tongues intensified their erotic dance, as Tara felt moist fabric, and she thought, *Good, she's already wet.*

"God," Tara said, breaking the kiss, "I've been craving you for so long." Then she started kissing down Willow's neck, taking care to lick her special places. With pleasure Tara reached Willow's small but well-formed breasts. A nice handful Tara noted idly as she cupped Willow's left breast, and worked her way around them, squeezing them, taking care not to touch Willow's nipple right away, teasing, drawing out the craved contact. Why would she need more anyway? Tara figured as Willow's right breast became the object of her kissing and licking.

After a few pleasurable moments with Willow's breasts, Tara moved down. She was interested in something else of Willow's anatomy. Just before she reached it she stopped, and looked with gleaming eyes at a breathless Willow looking back, silently urging the blond on. Tara's right index and middle fingers easily slipped into Willow's moist depths, eliciting a pleased groan from the redheaded Wiccan. Tara dipped down, and teased Willow by slowly licking around Willow's outer lips. Only when Tara was satisfied that Willow was eager enough, did she give Willow her desire. The tip of her tongue reached Willow's clit and she gently flicked it over the nub.

"OH, YES! DON'T STOP, KEEP DOING THAT!" Willow screamed out with pleasure. Tara complied, and gently kept stroking the tip of her tongue, and a little more over the throbbing nub of flesh. Willow thrashed about, moaning her appreciation, groaning out her lust.

*What am I doing?* Tara suddenly thought with a sneaky gleam in her eyes. She removed her tongue from her lover's clit, and did the same with her probing and thrusting fingers.

"NO!" Willow wailed out in frustration, sitting up lightly looking at the blonde. "Don't stop! Please keep going, Tara."

Tara grinned and shook her head, she crawled over, pulled Willow's head to hers, and kissed the redhead passionately, sharing some of Willow's juices. "Nope," Tara said, feeling confident about herself, and surprising herself in the process. She would never have done this before this whole mess started. Tara pulled down her panties, and at the same time explained, "You rape my mind, I decide to give you a second chance, and #I'm# the one doing the pleasuring? Don't think so, Wills. It's time for you to make up to me what you put me through." Tara tossed the panties aside and slipped on her side onto the bed. She pulled Willow up and over, as she turned onto her back. "You please me with that tongue of yours, baby. It's mine for the next few hours."

Willow's eyes sparkled as a grin spread upon her face. "Yes, #Ma'am#," she said with admiration. Quickly Willow dipped down and started kissing Tara passionately before lowering down across the blonde's magnificent body.

[Stop Willow and Tara Love theme]


"You killed him!" Buffy accused, stricken with horror.

"Yeah," Xander calmly said, still an undercurrent of anger in his voice. He turned around and headed toward the door.

"But Xander, you can't just kill someone like that!" Buffy said with wide eyes. She couldn't understand how Xander could so casually do it, and be so calm about it.

"Sure, I can," he answered her, walking onward.

"It's inhuman, you'll lose your humanity like this," Buffy said desperately, walking after him, and grabbing his arm, pulling him around.

Still seething over Warren's actions, which rekindled his anger over what Wolfram & Hart wanted to do to a little, fully human baby, Xander bit at her, "I'm not human, and never was. Strictly speaking, I don't have any humanity to lose."

Buffy's face became white as she heard Xander say that. "But . . ."

"Damn it, Buffy," Xander told her. He sighed and calmed down some. "Look, he's evil, he wanted to kill you several times over, he killed his ex-girlfriend, he would kill again. The police can't handle him, the guy has just too much knowledge of the supernatural, and of technology. If he had wanted he probably could have built an army of Aprils, or BuffyBots, do you want that? He was above the law: there was no other way to deal with him." Buffy nodded timidly. "Good, now come on, I've got some strategy to discuss."

"OH, YES! DON'T STOP, KEEP DOING THAT!" sounded from Willow's room on the second floor of the house.

Buffy blinked, and Xander broke out in a wide grin. He looked at Buffy, and said, "I suppose we'll have to wait until #after# they're done with their make-up sex." Buffy couldn't help but smile at that, despite her depression growing by the minute, at least there was one golden line along the thunder clouds.

The two of them walked inside the house, through the washing room, and kitchen to the living room. Dawn and Anya were sitting in the couch, just looking ahead, huge grins on their faces. When Dawn saw the two walk in, she pointed at the ceiling. "We heard," Xander said grinning as well.

Xander and Buffy the tv, showing pictures of Andrew and Jonathan. ##Just now we received notice that Andrew Wells - on the left - and Jonathan Levinson - on the right - escaped Sunnydale Police Department. When you see either of these individuals, please call the police and do not engage them. Repeat, do not engage them, they are considered armed and dangerous.##

"Case in point," Xander told Buffy pointedly. She looked at him and blinked.

The tv screen switched showing the anchor man, behind him was a picture of the collapsed Wolfram & Hart building. ##This just in, about ten minutes ago the law offices of Los Angeles branch of the multinational Wolfram & Hart were obliterated. There were only a handful of witnesses, and they said the building exploded from the inside out and collapsed as if it was neatly demolished in the demolition of a condemned building. We go live to our reporter who is talking to the police chief.##

"You blew up Wolfram & Hart," Buffy said shocked, looking at Xander as if he was a monster.

"Yeah, the bastards finally went too far," Xander said with glittering eyes. Anya and Dawn looked from Xander back to the screen. "Attacked Connor with a whole squadron of commandos with machine guns, fed Angel is own son's blood. I warned them."

##Sir, is it possible that this is a terrorist attack, Al Qaeda even?## the reporter asked the police chief.

##Oh, hell no, don't start panicking people,## the police chief noted casually, then stayed silently. ##Well, it could be, but not like your thinking. Wolfram & Hart for months now has been under investigation. We came across some rather convincing pieces of information that Wolfram & Hart, at least this branch of Wolfram & Hart, broke the law constantly. Bribes, extortion, murder even, they seem to represent the worst of the worst and will do anything to do everything for them. Terrorists are one category. So if it's terrorism, it's because they were stashing the stuff for terrorists and it blew up in their faces. But it's probably just a gas leak explosion.##

Xander smirked, thinking, *Even better than I expected.*

"Xander, there were people in there, not all of them evil, some of them just worked there," Buffy said, completely not understanding how Xander could have done this.

"You can't work there and not know what's going on Buffy, and I warned them during Faith's trial. It's there choice, you work for a company that tries to destroy humanity, you should expect the good guys to come knocking sooner or later," Xander told her a sliver of anger lacing his voice.

"What if they all left, and these secretaries were hired after your warning?" Buffy asked incredulously. "What about clients, not all of them can be demons and terrorists?"

"No clients were inside, I sent the first one away," Xander answered, turned to face the Slayer, fed up with her questions. "Look, Buffy. I'm a Saiyan, this is war, a Saiyan fights a war to win, not to lose. If I need to choose between killing the bad guys and a few innocents, protecting many more innocents from the actions of those bad guys, or do nothing, let the bad guys kill me, you, Anya, Dawn, and everyone else, including the innocents I was trying to save by not fighting, my choice is easy. Those few innocents go. It's a simple matter of mathematics and logic. We've had this discussion before; remember Loki?" Buffy nodded, her mouth quirking up slightly, unsuccessfully summoning a smile. "What do you guys think?" Xander asked his fiancee and Dawn.

"I'm with you, Xander," Dawn answered him evenly. It was difficult to admit it, it wouldn't be an easy decision, but Dawn realized she would kill, would become a killer if she was faced with the same decision as Xander was. It wasn't a pretty decision Dawn knew, but it was the best of two evils.


An hour later the group was completed with the two witches. The tv was still on the report on the Wolfram & Hart building. "So what is it that you wanted to tell us?" Tara was the one to ask the question.

Xander pointed at the screen and said, "Wolfram & Hart have crossed the line. We've been sitting on our asses for too long anyway. We've been playing this defensively until now. It's time to make an offensive move."

Buffy concluded the worst of the worst: "You want to destroy every Wolfram & Hart branch on the face of the planet?" Buffy asked incredulously

Xander looked at Buffy, and answered, "No, Buffy, I don't want a mass destruction, they'd rebuild anyway. I want a precision strike. I haven't blown Wolfram & Hart up just because the people inside were absolute evil, its destruction will keep Wolfram & Hart caught up in legal tape for quite a while."

"You want the senior partners Cordelia always talks about," Willow said in epiphany, looking at Xander.

Xander grinned, and shook his head. "No, Willow, I don't want the senior partners: I want the senior senior partners," Xander explained his intentions with determination. He looked around the living room, from Willow and Tara, to Dawn, Anya and finally to Buffy. "I want Wolf, Ram, and Hart themselves. Take them out, and the entire organization - here, on the other side of the planet, and interdimensionally - will crumble to dust." Xander looked from Willow and Tara to Anya and back again. "You guys think you can find them for me?"

"Uh, I guess," Willow answered a little uncertain.

Tara looked over at Anya, smiling. Anya nodded, the nod slowly become more confident. Tara finished, "Yes, Xander, we can find them. It will take a while, a few weeks, perhaps a few months, but we'll find them for you."

"Good," Xander said predatory, looking around the small army, the team he was part of, and he found himself proud to be part of it.


That night as Buffy was on patrol she came past Spike's crypt. She looked at it, emotions warring inside of her. She waited letting the war play out, and then turned toward it. She just flung open the door, seeing Spike standing near the bed in the back. Maxine and Harmony were nowhere in sight.

"Hey, pet," Spike greeted in his usual Cockney accent, and smirked evilly. "What brings you here?"

Buffy had marched across the floor as Spike talked, and had already reached him. She grabbed his waist and pulled him into her. She let one hand roam across his dead ass, and her other push against his rapidly stiffening cock. "Hey, Spike," she said huskily.

Spike grinned, "I love you, baby, but like you more, and I need you so much." Buffy sneered at him and pushed him onto the bed roughly, then quickly pounced on him.

"You're mine," she hissed lovingly, and pressed her lips to his, starting a deep, passionate tongue kiss.

The End . . . for now . . .

Author's notes: Done! It's finished. The Power Corrupts Saga is over. It's time for the good stuff in Saga 3. I hope you liked it, or had the faith to keep reading. I know especially Anya hasn't had much to do, but I had to cram lots in here in as short amount of words as possible without turning this into shorthand, she was thus used a little less. Will change in the next saga! Further there isn't much action, but that will change as well: giant fights are coming. Until now everything really was setup, and this saga the way it was done was necessary, because for the next two to three sagas everything rests on this saga. You'll see how all of this saga will return, as well as lots of information from the first saga.

Li-Huei is seriously surprising me. He was never really going to be anything more than a quick generic boyfriend for Dawn, but I enjoy writing him, he and his parents are fun for Dawn to be around. He's fleshing out to be more than just a guy. I think I'll keep him on longer than originally planned, you agree?

OK, saga finished. I'll go plan the next saga more precisely, and write the Gohan piece.

As always GIVE ME FEEDBACK!! Ah, screaming that brought relief. Willow and Tara love theme: Sita is a Dutch singer, and one hell of one at that. Annoyingly on her first (and only?) album from which this song came there is more than just this one masterpiece, but it was never released as a single. From the songs they did release as a single only 'Hello' is really good. Others are good as well, but just nowhere near this one, or 'Hello'. Another single, her first 'Happy' is abysmal, even though it went to number 1 over here. I think the song 'I Surrender' captures Willow and Tara's love perfectly, mostly the losing oneself in the other (main reason why Tara waited far too long to point out to Willow the things she was doing wrong), as well as the beginning of the song, with the description of love even being in the wind and everything is of course Willow and Tara's magical abilities. The sounds and music is also very gentle, yet fast paced, it's got somewhat of a magical, natural feel to it. It just screams Willow and Tara.

-The Evolution of Buffy Z:

The fight with Warren: Originally the fight with Warren was going to be with Xander. But as I planned it out I realized the whole last two episodes would run much smoother with Buffy facing off against him. When I realized that, I could have smashed my fist in my head. Just how much chance does Warren have against a Super Saiyan, even with his enhancements? Nothing, nada, zilch. But against Buffy, the fight could be longer and more dramatic. Buffy actually coming close to being beaten, and showing the geeks aren't that weak and pathetic after all. If they had done this in the actual show, they would have mopped the floor with the Buffy there.