Dark Choices

Author: Dave Mycock <dave13509[at]yahoo.com>

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of the other characters in this story they belong to Joss Whedon.

Pairing: Faith/Xander Romance, Xander/Amy friendship

Summary: Set around early season three. Xander suffers for lying to Buffy about the soul spell. After a nearly been beaten almost to death by her whilst Willow, Cordelia and Oz watch with no emotion, only Giles arrival saves his life. With no option but to leave Sunnydale he heads to Boston to stay with his cousin only to meet the new slayer and her watcher.

I'd like to thank my beta Grossclout for all his help with this story.

Chapter 1

Sunnydale High School - Night

Xander headed toward the library, ready to face another long night of patrol with his friends. Ever since he had gotten involved with Buffy and the slaying, he had sworn he would do everything possible to protect his friends. He had carried out many reckless tasks to fulfill that promise; from forcing Angel Buffy's undead lover to lead him to the master's lair, to facing of against Angelus, Angel's demon side, to save Buffy's life. His only failures were his best friend Jessie, Miss Calendar and the second slayer he had known Kendra. He knew he should have tried better, pushed himself harder and just maybe they'd still be alive, but they weren't. He would have to live with these failures as best he could. His biggest task happened recently, when the final battle with Angelus had come about. Buffy had headed to face him and free Giles before he could unleash Acathla and suck the world into hell. He had met her there to tell her about the soul spell being tried again by Willow. Yet, the moment he had looked into her eyes, he had known if she knew she would have held back and waited to give Willow time and that would have been all Angelus would need to kill her and win. He made a judgment call and lied. To save not only their lives, but the entire world, he had lied to one of best friends. So far, it would seem his lie would never be found out; he hadn't had the strength to tell them. He knew they'd never see it his way, except for maybe Giles.

Buffy definitely wouldn't see his way. Willow and the others would be swayed by Buffy, as they always were. He had decided to keep his lie a secret for as long as he could and hope it never came to light.


As he opened the doors to the library, he noticed four sets of eyes lock onto him, not one of them showing any welcome or happiness at his arrival, and he wondered what was going on. He felt a cold shiver run down his spine at the look in Buffy's eyes; they were cold, almost dead of all emotion except for hate and anger. Before he could even think to ask what was wrong, Buffy almost ran across the room and hit's him dead in the face, sending flying into a bookcase. He felt as if he'd been hit by a ten-ton brick. He felt dizzy as he tried to stand, only for Buffy to knee him in the chest before kicking him so hard he flew cross the room, crashing into the banister, breaking it.

"W?" He tried to speak through the pain that now racked his body "Why?" he managed to ask.

"You dare to ask why, you bastard," Buffy hissed, as if even talking to him was like a sin. "You dare to even act as if you're innocent," she added before kicking him twice more. This time he heard a snap and he knew she must have broken one of his ribs.

"Buffy, please," he managed to choke out.

"You can beg all you want, it'll just make me want to draw this out," Buffy hissed, her eyes glowing with hate.

Buffy reached down and picked him up, only to knee him again before punching him right near his heart, sending him flying into the stacks. As Xander landed, he began to cough up blood as he heard more painful snaps from his body. His vision was slowly failing and he could barely withstand the pain.

"Willow, please," he managed to gasp before coughing up more blood.

"You brought this on yourself, Xander, and you deserve what you get for what you forced Buffy to endure," Willow replied in a dead voice.

"You lied to me, you son of a bitch. You told me Willow told you to tell me 'Kick his ass'," Buffy hissed, her tone becoming darker as she stalked Xander. "You never even told me she was trying the soul spell again. I had to kill Angel because of you," she screamed as she launched another hard kick, this time to Xander's leg as he tried to stand, breaking it.

Xander cried out in agony at both the pain and the realization that Buffy knew about his lying to her. He also realized that Buffy had already turned the others against him, including his own girlfriend. He knew he will not survive Buffy's wrath, but he will not go down with speaking his own mind.

"I did it to save us all," he shouted, not caring about the pain.

"Yeah, right," Buffy shouted back coldly. "You did just so you could get rid of Angel. What? Did you think I'd go to you once he was gone," Buffy taunted him.

"No, you've got it wrong," Xander tried to protest.

"I thought you were my friend, Xander, and you betrayed me," Buffy said, her voice low and deadly. "You made me send my soul mate to hell. Well now you're going there as well," she added.

"No," Xander tried one last time to plead with them.

Buffy just smiled coldly before launching two more hard kicks, one to his neck and the second to his head, finally knocking Xander out cold. Buffy raised her fist to end the life of the boy who had betrayed her, before she was suddenly thrown away from her prey.

"What in god's name do you think you are doing," Giles cold voice suddenly rang through the library.

"Making Xander pay for betraying me," Buffy replied with no trace of guilt.

"Get out, all of you right now before I call the police," Giles roared, disgusted and heartsick at what he had walked into.

Buffy just stared at the body of Xander before finally turning and walking away, quickly followed by the others. Giles quickly made his way to the phone and called for an ambulance.


Giles stormed into the library the next day, barely keeping his anger in check. He could feel 'Ripper' trying to break loose and cause some damage, not just to the evil man who was supposed to be Xander's father, but to his own slayer. She had almost killed Xander, a boy who had risked his life countless times to save hers. He would make sure she realized what she had done. What had been worse than seeing Buffy trying to kill Xander, had been the fact that Willow, Oz and Cordelia had watched and not done a thing to help. Walking into the library he was glad to see the entire group there. Once again, they showed no trace of guilt or regret at what had happened. His anger increased ten fold.

"Now I want to know what you think you were doing? You almost killed Xander," Giles demanded.

"Good, that was what I wanted to do," Buffy replied.

"How could you even think about doing that to him after everything he has done for you?" Giles seethed, his anger almost overtaking him.

"He betrayed me," Buffy spat.

"And how did he do that?" Giles asked. "What was so terrible that he deserved to almost be killed by you?" he added.

"He lied to me about the soul spell. Willow was trying it again and she had sent Xander to tell me, but he didn't. He told me she had said to, 'Kick his ass', Buffy answered, her voice full of hate.

"And what do you think his reason was for doing this?" Giles asked.

"He was jealous of Angel and he wanted him dead," Buffy hissed. "I want him dead for what he made me do. He made me send Angel to hell. The spell worked and I had to kill him," Buffy shouted.

"I believe you'll find his motives weren't as petty as you think. Before he slipped into a coma last night he told me what he had done and why," Giles thundered.

"And you believe him?" Buffy asked, shocked that he could take Xander's side above hers.

"Yes, I do. I looked him in the eyes and I know he wasn't lying." Giles answered. "And I agree with what he did," he added.

"How dare you?" Buffy started before being cut of by Giles.

"No, how dare you even lay a hand on a human," Giles shot back. "If the council ever got wind of this, you'd be terminated as a threat to the human race," Giles told them, his voice suddenly calm.

"So why don't you tell them?" Buffy asked, unafraid of the threat.

"Because Xander asked me not to before he slipped into his coma. Now you listen to me, all of you. If even one of you goes near him, I will call the cops and have you all arrested. Do you understand me?" he told them.

"Like we'd want to," Cordelia said with an air of arrogance

"Now get of this library. Don't bother to come back unless it's important." Giles ordered them before turning and walking away, not knowing how he was going to handle this problem.


Giles sighed in relief as the doctor who treated Xander the night before, informed him that Xander has awakened from his coma.

According to the doctor, it surprised half the staff that he woke up so quickly. Giles just smiled and thanked the doctor for everything he did to help, before heading for Xander's room.

Xander slowly looked up in alarm, thinking Buffy had come to finish him, but relaxed when he noticed it was Giles. He nodded slowly at the watcher as he sat down by his bed

"Hey Giles?" he managed to get out before wincing in pain from his injuries.

"I'm glad to see you're awake," Giles replied with a small smile. Suddenly he noticed the blonde-haired girl sitting across the other side of Xander's bed. "Amy?" he asked perplexed, remembering the witch from the love spell debacle.

"Hi, Mr. Giles, I heard what happened from Willow. Well, her version of it, anyway," Amy replied with a grimace.

"Giles, you should know I'm only awake because of Amy," Xander suddenly blurted out.

"Excuse me?" Giles asked, suddenly nervous. "You used magic to revive him?" Giles asked, suddenly very frustrated.

"I had to, I could feel him slipping away," Amy answered meekly. "I had to do something, and I've known him nearly all my life," she added.

"What did you do?" Giles asked, seeing the truth in the girl's eyes.

"It was a spell in one of my mother's books; it basically makes the soul stronger and heals any serious damage to the body. That's why he's able to move, I was careful, Mr. Giles, honest," Amy told him.

"I see; in this case, I'm glad you did," Giles sighed. "You basically stopped Buffy from becoming a murderer," he added tiredly.

At the very mention of the blonde slayer, Xander began to shake; his nerves were on fire as images of the beating he took ran through his mind. Amy noticed his reaction and quickly grabbed his hand and gave it a comfortable squeeze. Xander slowly relaxed and smiled gratefully at the blonde witch. Although his had known Willow and Jessie for much of his life, he had also developed a strong friendship with Amy right up to the point where her mother had taken over her body. It had grown strong again since they had banished her mother and given her control of her body again.

"I'm going to have to leave Sunnydale, Giles," Xander said, facing the watcher.

"I was afraid you might say that; however, under the circumstances, I agree," Giles said sadly.

"I'm going with him, no matter where he goes," Amy suddenly spoke up intending to make sure her friend would be ok.

"Amy?" Xander asked, surprised.

"We can't let you go alone, Xander. You're still badly hurt. You'll need help and I can do that," Amy replied. "Plus my father would be more than happy to help," she added happily.

"I will help as much as I can, Xander. Do you have any idea where you'll go?" Giles could see the determined look in Amy's eyes and knew she wouldn't be swayed, so he decided to change the subject.

"Thanks, Giles." Xander nodded as a nurse walked into the room with his meds. "I was thinking of heading to Boston, I have a cousin there," he added.

"He needs to rest now; he can have visitors again in a few hours," the nurse told them as she handed Xander some pills and cup of water.

"Of course, I'll try and get things ready for your trip. Let's go, Amy," Giles said, standing up.

"But what if Willow and the others turn up and try and get at him again?" Amy asked, knowing not to mention Buffy's name as it would set Xander off again.

"If there is someone you don't want to see him, just let the front desk know and they'll make sure they don't get in," the nurse spoke up as Xander fell asleep.

"Thank you." Giles nodded in gratitude and then left the room along with Amy.


Giles walked into the library, glad to see Buffy and her group hadn't decided to hang around. It had been two weeks now since the attack, and Xander was about ready to be released from the hospital. He and Amy had made all the arrangements needed for their trip. With her father's help, Amy had herself and Xander transferred to one of Boston's many schools. Amy's father had also bought a two bedroom apartment for them to live in. Giles himself had set them up a joint bank account with help from his contacts on the council; he had put as much money as he could into it to help them get by. Amy had promised they wouldn't waste it and he trusted her to keep her word. He quickly looked up as Willow and Oz walked into the library, both looked wary of him and he was glad; it meant they had taken the tongue lashing he had given them a few days ago to heart. Buffy and Cordelia however hadn't, and still acted as if what they had done was right. And although neither Willow nor Oz had said sorry for their actions, they had at least realized what they had done was out of order.

"Giles, do you know where Amy is? She hasn't been in school for a week at least," Willow asked.

Giles tried to look as if he didn't even remember the blonde witch; they had decided no one would know she was leaving with Xander, especially Willow and the others.

"You know the girl who did the love spell for Xander," Willow added although Giles noted how Willow's voice turned cold when she said her former best friend's name.

"I remember her. No, I don't know where she is," Giles answered, making sure to keep his face straight. "Why?" he asked.

"Just wondering," Willow replied before turning and exiting the library, followed by Oz.

Giles shook his head, hoping Xander and Amy's exit from Sunnydale would not be troubled by anyone, especially Buffy. He was going to miss Xander, but he knew this was for the best. He didn't want Buffy to try and have another go at killing him. He was also going to miss Amy as well; he had grown to like the blonde-haired witch in the two weeks he had spent with her and Xander at the hospital and in making the preparations for their trip. She had indeed learned much since the love spell incident, and was now more cautious when using her magic; unlike Willow who believed she was capable of controlling any kind of magic. It was sad to see such talent go to waste.


Xander watched as the couch that would take him and Amy away from Sunnydale and the Hellmouth finally arrived. His body still hurt a lot; he was still on crutches at the moment and would be for another month. He had quite a few pain killers to take until the pain stopped. He wondered if the nightmares of the assault would ever leave him.

"I wish you both a safe journey; take care of each other," Giles told them both as the passengers began to board the couch

"You too, Giles; you watch you back," Xander replied before embracing the surprised watcher in a hug as best he could with the crutches. Amy soon joined the hug.

"We'll keep in touch," Xander told him as they broke the hug. "And?" Xander hesitated for a few seconds before speaking again. "? keep an eye on the others, Giles. Make sure they don't' step over the line," he finally finished.

"I promise," Giles said with a smile.

"If you two are coming, you better get on board. We leave in three minutes," a rough voice said from behind them

"Guess this it," Xander sighed before finally turning and boarding the coach, followed by a teary-eyed Amy.

Giles managed to keep his face almost passive until the coach pulled out of the station. Once it was out of sight, his eyes began to fill with tears. He knew with Xander gone, the laughter that kept the group's spirits up was gone forever, and that would be dangerous for the others. He feared how this event would affect the so-called Scooby gang.

Chapter 2

Boston, MA Three Days Later

Xander almost cried out as he woke from yet another nightmare, the assault at the hands of Buffy was still very much with him. He had woken Amy up the two previous nights shouting out as he pictured Buffy almost landing the blow that would have killed him. She hadn't minded one bit knowing he still suffered from the awful night his life fell apart. This time, he had managed not to cry out; he noticed he was once again sweating badly. He shook his head and quickly got up and headed for the bathroom. After splashing some water on his face, he looked into the mirror and shook his head. He hoped he could shake of the nightmares that plagued him still, especially since he and Amy started at their new school tomorrow. He had promised Amy he would really try harder with his studies instead of ignoring what the teachers were saying like he used to do. He didn't have Willow anymore to help him out. He shuddered as he remembered the blank look on his former best friend's face as Buffy almost killed him. He began to wish Buffy Summers had never come into their lives.

"You ok?" Amy's soft voice drifted into the bathroom.

He turned to find his friend near the door watching him with a worried expression on her face. He sighed; he had hoped not to wake her up again.

"Yeah, I'm fine," he tried to evade.

"Xander, don't lie to me," Amy replied with a frown.

"Sorry Amy, another nightmare that's all," he apologized.

"You'll get over them in time, Xander; you just have to give it time," Amy told him with a confident smile.

"I know." He nodded before walking back toward his room, followed by Amy. "Night," he said, hoping he would be able to get back to sleep.

"Night," Amy replied. She waited until he was actually in bed, then chanted a small sleeping spell on him before walking back to her own room.


Sunnydale, CA Night

Giles sighed as he thought over the horrible events that had just occurred, adding in the deadly results of Buffy's attack on Xander. The council had arrived to perform Buffy's Cruciamentum, forcing him to strip her of her powers for a time, then lead her to a house where she was to fight a vampire with no slayer strength or help.

However, not only had the vampire escaped and killed the council members guarding him, except for the council head Quentin Travers; he had taken Buffy's mother Joyce hostage. He had informed Buffy of the test and, after been told to stay away from her forever, ignoring her wishes, he had helped her rescue her mother and kill the vampire. He had been fired by the watchers council for having what they called 'fatherly love' for his slayer. A new watcher was on his way even now. Buffy and Joyce were staying away from him after telling him they wanted nothing more to do with him. These were the worst days of his life.


Xander sighed as he and Amy headed toward the entrance of their new school. He was feeling somewhat nervous about this. They didn't know a single person here; he wondered how long it'd take to make some new friends. He knew Amy would most likely have no problem making friends. He, however, had never been too good at it.

"Ready?" Amy asked, breaking his train of thought.

"I guess," Xander replied before following Amy into the school.

After a half hour meeting with the principal and a small tour of the school grounds, they were told to report to the store office to get the books they'd need. Finally, they headed for their first class, Science. Luckily, they had most of their classes together, except for Math and History. Xander actually found himself liking their new Science teacher; she was only twenty-four and had a calming attitude toward her pupils? a stark change from the teachers of good old Sunnydale. He hoped the others teachers were just as nice. Finally, after what seemed like a very long day, the final bell rang. He'd found only two other of his teachers likable. The others were nearly as bad as the faculty at Sunnydale. The principal wasn't too bad; nothing like Snyder, which he was extremely grateful for. He quickly met up with Amy near the entrance, finding her talking to a rather small girl with long black hair and very intense blue eyes.

"Hey Xander, This is Julie," Amy said in greeting, indicating the girl.

"Hey," Xander said to both.

His guess about Amy making friends easily had obviously been right; he wouldn't be surprised to find she had many friends by the end of the week. He had mostly kept himself to himself; he had avoided the school's footballers just in case they turned out to be the usual jerks. He really didn't want to get into a fight while he was still recovering from his assault.

"Nice to meet you, Xander," Julie replied. "Kind of strange name," she said, puzzled.

"It's short for Alexander. He doesn't like his full name," Amy told her with a smile.

"Mind if I call you Alex instead?" she asked.

"Not really," Xander answered.

"Good. Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow, Amy," Julie said with smile. "Bye Alex," she added, giving him a short look before turning and walking away.

"Knew you'd make friends easily," Xander said as he fell into step with Amy as they headed home.

"She's in my Math and History classes," Amy responded.


Xander stood at the window of their apartment looking out as night fell. He could feel the urge to go out and patrol, even through he wasn't even in Sunnydale. He knew Vampires were out there, hunting and killing innocent people. But he knew if he did while he was still recovering, he'd be dead in minutes. Once he'd healed properly, then he'd start small patrols. He couldn't turn his back, not now he knew what was out there. He hoped Amy would understand his reasons. He had also signed up for some classes in self-defense which were held at the local Gym. This would help in his recovery and make him less of a target. He needed to change who he was. He couldn't be the 'Zeppo' anymore, as Cordelia had once called him. He would make something of himself, not just for him, but for Amy and Giles, too. He would make their faith in him justified.

"I know what you're thinking, you know." Amy's voice came from behind him. "Are you mad thinking about going out there with no backup?" she asked, clearly annoyed and fearful for his safety

"I can't just try and ignore what's really out there, Amy. But don't worry, I won't be going out until I'm ready," he told her, trying to ease her fears.

"It's not your responsibility, Xander," Amy tried again.

"Yes, it is. Innocent people are out there with no clue as to what hunts them during the night," Xander responded with passion. "They need someone to watch their backs. I know we have no slayer here, or anything like that, but it's what I have to do," he finished.

Amy shook her head; she would have to talk with Mr. Giles about this. Maybe he could persuade Xander to be more reasonable. She knew Xander looked up to Giles and valued his opinion, she just hoped he could talk him out of this plan.


Rupert Giles's Home Sunnydale, CA

Giles almost spat out his tea when Amy told him about Xander's plan, he couldn't believe it. Although, knowing Xander, he guessed he shouldn't have been surprised by his plans. The boy had adapted to learning about Vampires and Demons remarkably well and, after staking his best friend, Jessie, to save Cordelia, he had thrown himself into helping Buffy fight the darkness. But he wouldn't have the advantage of being with a slayer to help him; it was almost suicidal. But he knew why Xander would want to do this; he believed he had failed Jessie by not being able to save him; the same went for Kendra and even in small way, Jenny. He took each death onto his own shoulders, as if he should have been able to protect them, as if it was his job. He'd do anything to protect those he cared most about.

"Mr. Giles, are you still there?" Amy's voice quickly broke him out of his thoughts.

"Yes I am, Amy, and please, just Giles will do," Giles replied. "I will try and talk to him, but I doubt he will listen, Amy," he added.

"Why not?" Amy asked, clearly not happy with his answer.

"Xander feels responsible for certain people's deaths, and for any other innocents who died when they could have saved. That's why he was so adamant at helping Buffy; he wanted to save people's lives.

He feels as if it's his duty for failing to save those people," Giles tried to explain to her.

"But it's not his fault," Amy tried to argue.

"No, it's not, but Xander feels as if it is," Giles replied. "Anyway, I will try and talk him out of it, you have my word," Giles promised.

"Thanks Mr.? I mean, Giles," Amy replied sheepishly.

"No problem. Goodbye, Amy. Take care." Giles smiled as he hung up.

He sighed; things were getting out of hand. It would seem one problem after another kept coming at the members of the gang, even the exiled ones. He hoped Xander would wait until he was fully healed before trying to patrol. He would phone tonight and try and talk some sense into his friend. He didn't want to see him get himself killed. But he was certain Xander wouldn't give up his plans. If that was the case, then maybe he could help give him advice that would make his chances of survival better.

Chapter 3

Three weeks later

Xander walked slowly out of his and Amy's apartment, ready for his first patrol since leaving Sunnydale. He had taken Giles advice to heart and made sure he was fully fit and had taken as many self-defense classes as he could. Giles had also sent him a bunch of weapons through his remaining contacts on the council, along with a few magical items that may help him. One of the items he had sent was used for recovering lost memories, along with a book to invoke the power of the item. With Amy's help, he had been able to recover the memories of the night he had been possessed by the Special Forces solider during the Halloween incident. This, combined with his self-defense classes, had given him a big chance of coming home alive. He was armed with a short sword strapped to his back, a knife, a couple of stakes and a crossbow. He was also wearing a protection amulet Amy had found in the stuff Giles had sent them; it was supposed to protect him from any harmful spells. He hoped it would be enough to save some lives, as well as his own.

As he made his way through the small section of town that he knew, making sure to keep a close eye on his surroundings. He had to remember he had no backup now. He was on his own and it was up to him to make sure he got through this alive. A movement to the far right of him quickly caught his eye; he noticed a brunette running from at least three vampires. It would appear his first night back on patrol would be a dangerous one. He quickly ran in the direction the girl had run, hoping he would get there in time. He just turned the corner only to be knocked down by a flying body colliding with his, knocking the wind out of him. Shaking his head, he noticed the body that had hit him was that of one of the vampires. Quickly getting to his feet, he fired his crossbow, hitting the vampire in the chest just below the heart. Cursing, he drew one of his stakes and launched himself at the surprised vampire, knocking them both to the ground. The vampire recovered quickly and threw him off easily. Both were quick to get back to their feet. Xander barely had enough time to dodge a wild charge by the vampire. Turning, he quickly rushed the vampire again, only to run right into its foot. Rolling away, he kept his eyes locked on his prey as he stalked toward him. He waited until it attacked before ducking underneath its swing and ramming his stake through its heart, dusting it easily. Barely taking a deep breath, he ran into the alley to find another vampire leaning over the girl, who looked like she had banged her head on the wall and was bleeding. Quickly running over, he staked the vampire before it could reach the girl's neck. He quickly made sure there were no other vampires in sight before bending down to check on the girl, only to meet a pair of dark brown eyes staring at him. He became lost in her eyes not noticing as she sat up and smirked at him. Finally, he shook his head and stood, offering his hand to the girl who shrugged him off and stood up.

"You ok?" he asked.

"Five by five," she answered. "How you know what that thing was?"

she asked as she bent down to pick up a stake

"Been fighting them for almost two and half years," he answered, something not feeling right. "What about you?" he asked.

"My job to dust them," she answered.

Suddenly everything clicked into place and he almost burst out laughing. He should have known, after Kendra had died, another slayer would be called and just as if fate was trying to tell him something, he had bumped right into her.

"You're a slayer?" he asked.

The girl frowned at him and began looking a bit uneasy about the easy way he asked that question. He decided he better be honest he didn't fancy been on the end of another slayers fists.

"It's ok, I'm no threat," he assured her. "I knew the two slayers called before you," he added.

"How?" she asked, her stake still held firmly in her hand.

"I used to help her, back in Sunnydale where I used to live. I'm sure your watcher has told you about the people who helped Buffy Summers, right?" he answered

"She's told me a bit about Summers having a little gang, and about her watcher." The girl paused and then took on a very series look. "What is Summers' watcher called; his full name and his nickname?" she asked. "Don't give me a right answer first time round, I stake you," she warned him.

Xander swallowed hard, glad he knew both of the answers to the girl's question. This slayer seemed to be much tougher than either Buffy or Kendra had ever been.

"Rupert Giles, his nickname was 'Ripper'," he answered.

"Follow me; I'm taking you to see my watcher. She'll know if you're telling the truth," she told him after a few seconds.

"Name's Xander, by the way." Xander felt the need to speak, hoping to draw out the girl's name.

"Faith" was the only reply he got.

Faith walked into the apartment she stayed in with her watcher Jessica Rine. Jessica had found her when she was only fourteen, a year before she was called. She had given Faith back her hope; put her back on the right track after she had run away from her home and her abusive family. Jessica had told her about the other slayer, Buffy, to give her hope in her own fight. Buffy had fought many evil vampires and demons and come out alive, mostly due to the friends she had made who helped her patrol, according to what Jessica had found out from Rupert Giles, Buffy's watcher. He was also a close friend of Buffy, although Buffy would never admit it.

Faith looked back to where the boy, Xander, was following, trying to keep his eyes focused ahead of him instead of on her ass. She smiled, knowing no guy could ever resist at least one look. He had tried talking to her a few times, but she had just told him to save it until she was sure he was who he said he was.

"Faith, how did??" Jessica began, before trailing off as she saw the boy behind her. "Who's your friend?" she asked.

"He claims to be one of Summers' friends from Sunnydale," Faith replied, going to the fridge and grabbing two bottles of cola handing one to Xander.

"Really?" Jessica asked, surprised.

"He dropped in while I was taking out some vampires, he managed to take out one of them, I got the other two," Faith reported. "I wasn't too sure about him, but he knew Summers' watcher's name and nickname, so I decided to bring him here," she added.

"What is your name?" Jessica asked, facing the boy.

"Alexander Harris, but I go by Xander," Xander replied.

"You're a long way from Sunnydale, Xander. How come?" she asked.

"Long story," Xander replied taking a swig of his cola.

"Please sit down and tell us; once you have, I will call Rupert and see if your story checks out," Jessica told him indicating the chair near the table Faith was sitting.

"You know Giles?" Xander asked as he sat down.

"Yes, we were close friends before he got assigned to Sunnydale,"

Jessica answered. "I know some of the events that have gone on, including the group of friends Miss Summers seems to have collected in her fight, including you," she added.

"So he's telling the truth?" Faith asked, relaxing a bit.

"There is an Alexander Harris in Sunnydale and he did help Miss Summers. Last time I talked to Giles, he indicated Mr. Harris is the reason why there are two slayers," Jessica answered, facing the girl she had come to think of as a daughter.

"Really? How?" Faith asked.

"Buffy was destined to die at the hands of the master, the lead vampire in Sunnydale at the time. Everyone fell into a funk saying there was nothing we could to save her," Xander answered before Jessica could. "I refused to believe it, so I left, found Angel, her supposed vampire lover, and forced him to take me down to the master's lair. We found her drowned. I gave her CPR and brought her back, but because she was dead for a few minutes, it was enough to call a new slayer," he finished.

"Did you just say she was in love with a vampire?" Faith asked, disgusted by the thought.

"Yeah, he was supposed to be ok cause he had a damn soul," Xander answered bitterly.

"You didn't like him, I take it?" Jessica asked, already knowing some of this story.

"I hate all vampires, souled or not," Xander replied. "When Buffy first turned up, my best friend Jessie was taken by Darla, Angel's sire. She turned him and I had to stake him the next night to save a bitch I hated throughout school," Xander told them. "I got the job done, but I had failed Jessie by not being there to save him," he finished.

"Why didn't she just stake Angelus?" Jessica asked, knowing who Angel really was.

"Like I said, he had a soul, so the others, except for Giles, trusted him. I hated him the whole time. Giles let him help, but kept a close eye on him. When Buffy fell for him, I was almost sick," Xander answered. "Some would say it was just 'cause I was jealous, but it was more than that. He was a vampire, a corpse, and she went about kissing him and everything. It was disgusting to watch," he added.

"Man, that is really perverted," Faith said with a shake of her head.

"We can talk about this later; please, tell us why you are in Boston, Xander?" Jessica asked, deciding to get back on topic.

"I'm sure you know that Angelus was one of the evilest vampires ever?" Xander asked.

"Yes, then about eighty years ago he changed. I take it that was because he was cursed with his soul, correct?" Jessica replied.

"Yes, Angelus had attacked a Gypsy tribe, killing one of its most beloved daughters, so he was cursed. He was brought into the fight by a demon named Whistler. According to what Buffy told us, he was supposed to help and guide, but instead, he fell in love with her.

However, the curse wasn't permanent, it would be broken if he ever obtained a moment of pure happiness," Xander told them.

"What happened?" Jessica asked, intrigued by what she was learning.

"Buffy gave him his moment of happiness," Xander hissed.

"How?" Faith asked.

"She had sex with him," Xander replied with a grimace.

"That is really gross. She banged a dead guy?" Faith asked, even more sickened that before.

"Yes, so the curse was broken and he lost his soul. He soon joined up with Spike and Dru, the resident big bads, and aided them in their efforts to reconstruct the judge, we managed to stop it and Buffy had the perfect opportunity to stake him but she didn't; she let him go cause of her feelings," Xander told them, his voice darkening as the memories assaulted him.

"Stupid bitch," Faith said.

"Yeah, 'cause he went on to terrorize us all. He then killed Miss Calendar, Giles's girlfriend, to stop her from returning his soul," Xander said his voice even darker.

Faith and Jessica could both see and feel the hate and anger running off the young man in front of them; it was clear the hate he held for this vampire and its kind was deadly if uncontrolled.

"How could she do that?" Jessica enquired.

"Miss Calendar was sent to Sunnydale to watch Angel and make sure the curse held; she was a descendant of the tribe who cursed him.

When Buffy found out, she attacked Miss Calendar and a split emerged between us and her; her and Giles were almost back together when Angelus killed her. Giles went mad. I think he let Ripper out completely and went to find Angelus and kill him. He found him and fought him but he was no match for Angelus, but luckily Buffy turned up and saved him," Xander answered.

"Poor Rupert, I will have to talk to him about this," Jessica said sadly.

"He'll never get over it, neither will I; Miss Calendar was one of the few adults I respected and liked and valued her opinion and that bastard killed her and all Buffy could do was mope about how she had lost the love of her life."

"What happened next?" Jessica asked.

"Angelus and the others found out an old demon had been found called Accathla and so they stole it, so they could open it and bring hell on earth. By this time, Buffy had found the disk Miss Calendar had downloaded the soul spell onto and all she could was whine about returning it to him. She didn't care that the bastard had killed her watcher's girlfriend or tormented us all, all she wanted was her damn boyfriend back. A huge argument broke out but Willow and the others sided with her, well except Cordelia at the time. She didn't listen and so Willow prepared to cast the spell. Kendra had shown up by this point, the slayer before you," Xander continued looking at Faith.

"How did she die?" Faith asked.

"Angelus bated Buffy, which was so easily done, as she thought everything was about her. She left to go fight him and then we were attacked at the library, led by Dru; she killed Kendra, I got a broke arm and Willow was put in a coma. Giles was captured because only he could tell Angelus how to open the portal. They tortured him for hours but he didn't crack, so they tricked him instead. Dru has magical powers and made herself look like Miss Calendar and Giles told her what they needed to know," Xander answered.

"That must have really been heartbreaking for Rupert when he found out the truth," Jessica said, feeling for her friend.

"Yes, he was devastated. Spike made a deal with Buffy to take Dru out of the fight and leave Sunnydale, making it easier for Buffy to take Angelus; it seems he liked the way things are. She agreed and so everything was set for a final showdown. Willow came out of her coma and was adamant about doing the souls spell again. she sent me to tell Buffy." Xander suddenly halted and stood up, walking over to the window as he relived those events.

Faith and Jessica both watched him curiously. They both were concerned with the way the boy was acting; whatever had happened during that last fight, it had been something big.

"As soon as I looked into her eyes, I knew for certain that if she knew about the spell, she would hold back and wait to give Willow time and that would be all Angelus would need to win and I would be damned if I would risk the world just for her boyfriend. So, I lied about what Willow had said and Buffy went in to kill Angel. I got Giles out of the place and took him to the hospital. Buffy fought Angelus but, in the end, he managed to open Accathla. Just then, Willow completed the spell and Angel's soul was back. She had no choice but to send him to hell as only his blood could close the portal. We'd won." He spoke up again suddenly, "For a while, things seemed to be going well; well after Buffy came back from running away after killing Angelus, but five weeks ago everything fell apart," Xander added before beginning to shake violently as that night began to play in his mind again.

Jessica noticed and quickly stood and walked over to him and placed her hands on his shoulders, trying to calm him down. After a few minutes, the shakes began to die down but they were still visible to Faith and Jessica. Jessica led him back to the table and sat him down.

"She had found about my lie and almost killed me in a brutal attack. My supposed friends just stood and watched, thinking I deserved it. If Giles hadn't turned up in time, I would be dead; he saved my life. I was in a coma for a day or two before Amy, a friend of mine and a witch, used a spell to save my life. After I came to and Giles turned up, I told him I was leaving. He agreed with my reasoning and helped us set it up. Amy decided to come with me to make sure I was ok," Xander finally finished, slumping down in his chair.

"She tried to kill you because of a stupid vampire?" Faith asked angrily.

"Yes," Xander replied brokenly.

"Why were you out so late?" Jessica asked.

"I was patrolling. Giles and Amy had tried to talk me out of it, but I wouldn't listen. I may not be the slayer, but ever since I found out the truth, I haven't been able to turn my back. So I trained.

Also, Giles helped me access the solider memories I have from the Halloween incident and I finally I felt ready to start patrolling," he answered, feeling tired and drained.

"I see," Jessica replied thoughtfully. "A very interesting story," she said before standing and heading for the phone to call Rupert.

Faith looked over at Xander, seeing how weary he seemed. It had been clear to her that answering some of those questions had been very hard on him. She couldn't believe Summers almost killed him over a damn vampire; it was sickening to even think about it. She turned to see her watcher on the phone and could tell whatever she was been told, it wasn't something she liked. She hoped Xander's story was true, she kind of liked him. He had fire in him that drew her to him and something else about his eyes, something similar to her own background that called to her.

Finally Jessica hung up and returned to the table and sat back down. She looked over at the boy sitting across from her. After speaking to Rupert, she had a new appreciation for him and what he been through. She had promised Rupert she would look out for him and his friend as best she could.

"Rupert has confirmed your story, adding some other details. What Miss Summers did to you was appalling and she should pay for her actions. If the council ever found out, she would be terminated, but Rupert has asked me not to say anything due to your own request,"

Jessica told them. "Why?" she asked.

"She's the slayer. Sunnydale needs her no matter what she did,"

Xander answered. "If she wasn't there, Giles and the others would be targets for any new vampire who turned up. She has a rep which vampires fear," he added.

"I see, you care a great deal about people don't you?" Jessica asked, seeing just why Giles thought so highly of the young man.

"It's just the way I am; they need to be protected from what's out there." Xander shrugged.

"It's a good trait to have. Rupert has asked that you be allowed to patrol with Faith," Jessica told him with a smile.

Xander was a bit surprised by that; as was Faith. She had never had anyone to watch her back before. She looked to Xander who was watching her, waiting to see what she'd say.

"Is he any good in a fight?" Faith asked her watcher.

"According to Rupert; yes, he is. Especially now that he has access to those solider memories he mentioned. I believe you can trust him Faith," Jessica answered.

"Ok, if you and this Giles think it's a good idea, he can help out," Faith agreed, still somewhat unsure about how she felt about this situation.

"Meet us here at eight, Xander. We can talk more then. I think it's time you headed home; Faith will accompany you," Jessica told them both.

"Thanks, I feel really drained after all that. Don't think I'd be too much good in a fight at the moment," Xander said, holding back a yawn.

Chapter 4

Amy smiled as Xander finally got home. She always stayed up, no matter how late it got. He seemed pretty good, just tired and emotionally drained for some reason. She suddenly noticed the dark-haired girl coming in behind him.

"Xander, who is this?" she asked, ready with a spell if she was dangerous.

"This is Faith, Amy. She's a slayer," Xander answered.

"Oh," Amy said, shocked.

"Nice to meet you," Faith said before turning to face Xander again. "I'll see you tomorrow, Xander," she told him before exiting the apartment.

"Want to tell me what happened?" Amy asked.

"Not tonight Amy, I just want to sleep," he replied before heading to his bedroom.


Jessica watched as Faith finally returned after seeing Xander home, she sat down next to her waiting for her to speak.

"So what else did Giles say about Xander?" Faith inquired.

"He has a very deep protective streak in him, he is very loyal to his friends and would die to protect them," Jessica replied. "He is prone to taking risks in order to help out, which we will have to watch out for. Plus, if he thinks you are being stupid, he will stand up to you," she added.

"Interesting." Faith smiled, liking the sound of the challenges knowing Xander would bring.

Xander entered the apartment where Faith and her watcher were living feeling somewhat nervous, he knew without a doubt he was in for a night of more questions about what had brought him to Boston. Part of him didn't mind, but another, the one traumatized by the events, hated the very thought of it. Faith walked back into the kitchen in front of him after letting him in, she was hoping to get to know the boy who'd be backing her up a little better.

Jessica waited at the table drinking a cup of tea; she had phoned Rupert this morning and had a very long talk with him, not just about Xander but also the loss of his lover, Jenny Calendar. She really felt for her friend, she wished she could be there for him but for now, she couldn't. Rupert had been even more steadfast that she look out for Xander. She could tell her cared for the boy a lot. She had sworn she would, and she had meant it; not only for the boy's sake, but also for Faith's. She had not been blind the night before; she had seen the look in Faith's eyes. She liked the boy, something about him somewhat different from all the others that tried to get her into bed with them. She had a strong idea about what is was after talking to Rupert, his family life was almost identical to Faith's and she believed it was this that made Faith like him, even though she had just met him.

"Hello Xander," she said politely as he entered.

"Hey," he nodded before taking a chair.

"I had a long chat with Rupert today, some of the events he has told me about were quite incredible, especially seeing as you've had no training or any special abilities to help you with them," Jessica began.

"You don't need to be special to fight evil; you just have to make the choice to fight it," Xander shot back.

"I agree," Jessica told him with a smile. "The council, at first, did not like the fact that Rupert had allowed Miss Summers to have friends involved in her calling. However, it became clear to them that the unit could be not be broken," she continued. "The success of the unit she had formed around her is what stopped the council from using, in my opinion, unnecessary force to break it up," she finished.

"What kind of force?" Xander asked, somewhat intrigued.

"Brutal force. In their opinion, no one can be allowed to interfere with the slayer and her destiny. You and your other friends would be classed as distractions and removed in anyway needed to get her back on her own; even Rupert could be removed, if they believed he had become a risk," she informed him.

"That's evil," Xander said, beginning to really dislike the Watcher's Council, minus Giles; and he had to admit, he was beginning to like Jessica, even though this was only his second meeting with her.

"Not all of the council is like this, but I'm afraid most of the higher council is," Jessica said, saddened. "I fear what will happen when Faith's Cruciamentum comes up," she admitted.

"Ain't no way they are putting me through that, Jess," Faith spat, speaking for the first time.

"They'll kill you if you don't obey them. A rogue slayer is the worst thing they could imagine and they'd do anything to stop it,"

Jessica warned.

"They can come; however, she won't be going into this fight alone.

I'll be going too," Xander said, his voice filled with anger.

"If they caught you interfering, they would kill you, and most likely me and Faith as well," Jessica cautioned them.

"It's a chance I'll take, Jess. I ain't putting my life on the line just so some old guys can see if I'm any good," Faith hissed. "I'm not a tool," she spat.

Jessica quickly stood and walked over to comfort the upset girl. She knew how much it took for Faith to trust people and it was clear, after what she had revealed to them, she didn't trust the council.

She couldn't blame her; neither she nor Rupert did either. She noticed a small smile play on Xander's lips; she guessed it was due to the fact that she scared about her slayer.

"I think we better change the subject. Your Cruciamentum isn't for another two years. That's plenty of time to come up with a plan,"

Jessica soothed her.

"Ok," Faith mumbled, allowing her feelings to come out.

Jessica quickly moved Faith over to one of the chairs and sat her down before moving to the fridge and getting something for the two teens to drink; finally, she sat down again and spent a few minutes in silent contemplation.

"You ok?" Xander asked Faith.

Faith looked at him for a few minutes. She didn't know whether to snap at him for asking and making it sound like she was weak, or just to answer and allow him in. Finally, she decided to answer; the look in his eyes was enough to convince her that his concern was real. Most guys used it as an act to get close so they could get her in bed; her own mother's boyfriend had tried it on her. That was when she began to distrust people. It had gotten worst as time had passed until Jessica had arrived and taken her from her abusive family and helped her regain herself. She knew Xander had the same kind of background as she had, she could see it in his eyes.

"I'm ok," Faith answered finally

"Xander, from what Rupert has told me, you have a good ability for doing research as well as helping to patrol," Jessica finally began again.

"I'm ok at it, Willow was?" Xander began to answer before trailing off as he thought of his former lifelong friend; the pain of her betrayal was still firmly in place. The blank look on her face, as Buffy almost killed him, remained planted in his memory.

Both Jessica and Faith noticed his fall off and both could see his eyes contort in pain. Jessica knew just how much the events of what had transpired had affected the boy in front of them. She had told Faith as much as she could; she felt it best Xander told her the rest. Finally Xander seemed to get his emotions back under control.

"Willow was the one who really got the research done, she really enjoyed doing it, either by using the computer or going through Giles's books," Xander told them.

"Still, I think you could help me with research if I need it." Jessica smiled, Rupert had told her he would try and find some way out of it.

"Ok," Xander nodded reluctantly.

"Good, now I think we've gone over enough for tonight." Jessica smiled at him. "You and Faith better do a patrol run, but only a small one for now. Until you two know each other better, it's best you not get into anything too big," she added.

"Five by five," Faith nodded.


Xander walked slightly behind Faith to keep an eye of their backs, he had learned much from his time in Sunnydale and from his newly returned solider memories. He was hoping to prove tonight that Faith could trust him to watch her back, he strangely felt connected to the raven-haired slayer. He didn't understand why yet, but there was something about her eyes he recognised.

He had spent most of the morning telling Amy everything that had happened the night before; his meeting with Faith and then her watcher Jessica. Amy had seemed somewhat concerned that there was another slayer in the exact town they had moved to. He had assured her both Faith and Jessica seemed trustworthy; he suddenly forgot he was supposed to ask Jessica if she would meet with Amy. He'd have to do it when they finished patrol.

"Hey X," Faith said, coming to halt in front of him breaking his concentration.

"What?" he asked, becoming alert that somewhat might be up.

"Mind if I ask you some questions?" she asked, keeping her eyes fixed on him.

"Sure," he nodded, feeling he needed to? no, wanted to gain her trust.

"This Summers, how committed is she to being the slayer?" she asked, surprising him.

Xander didn't know why she had asked that question; he had believed she would start asking questions about his betrayal by his friends. He tried very hard not think about Buffy or Willow anymore but to answer her question truthfully he would have to remember then, what he came up with was quite annoying to him.

"She isn't at all. From what I gathered, the only time she was, was before her first watcher Merrick died saving her from the master vampire Lothos," he answered. "Once she beat Lothos, she fought on until she burnt down the school gym and was kicked out. She came here with her mother with no intention of continuing her role as the slayer," he told her. "All she did was whine and moan about it to Giles, or sneak out to see Angel; her mind was never on the right page," he continued, feeling a burning resentment begin to form toward his former friend as he realised she wasn't committed to the fight. "She didn't care about the lives she saved by being the slayer, just how much been the slayer messed up her life," he finished.

"No wonder she died," Faith commented.

"She died because she didn't let us, her friends, help," Xander couldn't help but add. "There were quite a few times when she believed everything was about her and every time she did, people got hurt or killed," he went on.

"Sounds like a real self-centred bitch," Faith said with a growing dislike for the other slayer.

"I never noticed it before. Only one other time did I see and that was when she almost lap danced me at the bronze just to make her undead lover jealous," Xander told her. "I really hated her for that; it was just after she got back from LA for the summer. She put it down to the fact that she was still getting over being dead for those few minutes. I don't believe it for a second. She put everyone I cared for in danger 'cause she couldn't put her personal problems aside and focus on the job at hand," he continued. "I threatened her I'd kill that night if anything happened to Willow 'cause of her lack of focus," he added, remembering all too well those events.

Faith was about to respond when her senses suddenly went wild and she knew they been approached by a group of vampires. She quickly grabbed her stake and was surprised to see Xander grab the sword he carried off his back and face behind them. He knew they were there, but how was beyond her. She'd have to ask him later.

"Slayer," the lead vampire spat as the group stepped into their line of view. "The master has had enough of you meddling," it added as it switched to its game face

"Hey fang, I'm not impressed," Faith shot back almost casually.

"They never have anything better to say; it's always with the doom and gloom," Xander muttered before dropping into a fighting stance, ready for the attack.

The vampires looked at each other for a few seconds somewhat unnerved by the slayer and her friend's attitude. Finally, the leader just snarled at them before jumping at Faith, who easily dodged the attack and knocked him flying into a nearby trash can with a side kick.

Xander jumped forward and cut off three other vampires as they tried to rush Faith. He quickly cut the leg of one before sending the hilt of the sword into the face of the second. He barely managed to dodge the third's attack, and swept its legs out from under it.

Faith was impressed with Xander's skill, taking a moment to watch him before charging the remaining two vampires coming at them.

Jumping into a spinning kick, she knocked the first of them into a wall, before turning to stake the second before it could even launch an attack. She just smirked at the shocked look on its face as it turned to dust, she turned to check on Xander only to see he had dusted the vamp he had cut the leg of and was now facing off against the other two. His face showed a calm reserve and she knew he didn't need any help yet

Snapping back to the fight at hand, she turned just in time to see the second vampire charging at her. She just shook her head and waited until he was within reach and launched a devastating crescent kick in its face, followed up with a low kick taking out its legs.

She smiled as she heard a slight snap come from one of the vampire's legs. She staked it as soon it as it hit the ground; she turned to see Xander was on the floor with the leader of the gang above him with his own sword pointed at Xander's back. Her eyes became as she summoned her strength and quickly launched her stake at the vampire just as it started to bring the sword down. It hit the vampire's chest dead on dusting it instantly.

She quickly ran over to check on him, he slowly got to his feet shaking his head as he felt behind it. As he brought his hand back, they both noticed it was bloody. Xander hissed in anger at being blindsided.

"Come on, let's get back to Jess's," Faith said taking a last look around. "I wanna check that wound," she added.


Jessica was somewhat concerned when Faith and Xander returned and reporting what had happened. So, there was a master vampire in Boston. Faith had so far never gone up against a master vampire before; Jess had hoped they had gotten the name of the vampire so she could start researching.

She watched as Faith cleaned the wound on Xander's head; she was careful not to cause Xander any more pain that he already felt.

Faith had taken to the first aid classes she had taught her.

"Xander, how did you know the vampires were behind us?" Faith finally asked as she finished cleaning his wound.

"I sensed them. I think that spell we used to recover my memories also released some of the traits I had when I was processed by the hyena," Xander answered, somewhat troubled by that fact.

"You needn't be worried Xander, the spirit itself was removed from your mind so there is no way it can retake control of you," Jessica interjected after having gone over this with Rupert himself. "However, it is possible for the spell to allow you to access certain traits of the spirit, such as it's powerful senses and maybe it's strength as well," she told him. "I will do a little research on the matter to find out more," she finished

"Thanks," Xander smiled, relived.

"What was it like been possessed?" Faith asked, intrigued.

"Horrible, it was a nightmare," Xander answered, shuddering at the memory. "I remember everything it did while it controlled me; it tried to rape Buffy. It was really horrible to Willow and made me eat a pig," he added.

"Gross," Faith said with a shake of her head.

"The only consolation I have is that they never knew I remembered what happened; only Giles knew, and he kept it to himself," Xander added.

"You didn't want them to be uncomfortable around you, correct?" Jessica asked.

"Yeah, it would have been really annoying if they kept giving me weird looks 'cause I remembered the events; so I never told them,"

Xander nodded.

"I can understand why you didn't," Jessica told him. "Now what concerns me is this master the vampire you mentioned," she added, deciding to get back onto serious matters.

"If it *is* a master vampire, then we're in for some real trouble," Xander commented.

"Agreed. You and Faith will have to be very careful from now on; I suggest you also warn your friend Amy," Jessica told them both.

"Good idea," Xander agreed. "Speaking of Amy, she wants to meet you," Xander told her.

"Bring her to see me tomorrow," Jessica replied.


Chapter 5

Amy followed Xander into the house where the new slayer and her watcher lived; she had no idea why she had wanted to meet Xander's new friends except to make sure they posed no threat to her friend.

She noticed the dark-haired girl, Faith, sitting by the kitchen table watching them enter, her brown eyes tracked her as she sat dawn in front of the woman who was clearly her watcher.

"Nice to meet you, Amy," Jessica said in greeting. "Xander has told me quite a bit about you, including the fact that you're a very strong witch," she added.

"Yes, I am, although it took me a while to appreciate my powers and not use them for myself," Amy replied.

"But the fact that you have truly accepted how dangerous your powers can be, shows your true character," Jessica said thoughtfully.

Amy nodded her head in agreement; she sensed no threat from either of the two women, in fact she felt a calming presence from the watcher.

"Now I was wondering if you'd be interested in joining Xander and Faith on patrol. With this Master vampire in town, they might need the extra help," Jessica asked as she leaned back in her seat.

Amy was a little surprised by the offer, but she saw a slight hint of fear in the watcher's eyes, fear from her charge and maybe for Xander as well. She felt that fear now engulf her as well when she thought of what this vampire could do to Xander. There was no way she was going to risk losing him ever again not after what happened with Buffy.

"I'll help out if I can, but I've never really faced any vampires before," Amy finally spoke.

"Don't worry Amy, me and Faith will train you to fight and not rely of your magic. Xander will be beginning his training with us as well," Jessica told her.

Xander seemed a little surprised at this but quickly nodded his head in agreement. After facing off against Angelus, Spike and Drusilla, he knew how bad a master vampire could be. They would need all the training and luck they could muster.

"Jess, I think she should stay here and help you research until she's been trained up a bit. It'll be too damn risky otherwise,"

Faith quickly spoke up, hoping to spend some more time alone with Xander to get to know him better without his friend there to interrupt them. She didn't mind Amy, she seemed like a good person and it was clear her friendship with Xander meant a lot to her.

"I'd have to agree with Faith. Until she has some solid combat training, it'd just be too risky for her and us," Xander agreed, sending Amy an apologetic look for agreeing.

Amy noticed the slight fear in Xander's eyes and she knew instantly what was running through his head, if she were to get hurt or killed whilst on patrol before she was ready, he'd blame himself endlessly for it.

"Ok," she said.

"That's the first thing sorted out. Now we need to discover who this master vampire is. I want you to go to the local demon bar and see if you can't learn anything Faith; Xander, you go too, to watch her back. They're a rough lot," Jessica told them.

Both Faith and Xander nodded their agreement with her plan.

"Me and Amy will start some training on the basics of defense,"

Jessica added.


Chapter 6

Faith walked side by side with Xander as she led him to the local demon bar, Faith had been told to avoid this place unless is was necessary. She guessed now that Jessica knew a master vamp was in town she wanted any information on it fast. But she still knew they had to tred carefully once they entered the bar.

She turned to Xander to find him lost in his own thoughts; she wondered just how badly summer's beating had been, and if the effects of it had truly left him. She doubted it, which added to what she guessed he had gone through in his childhood must really be weighing heavily on him.

"You ok?" his sudden question caught her by surprise but she quickly recovered.

"Five by five," she answered. "Mind if I ask you some more questions?" she asked somewhat hesitantly

"Go ahead." He shrugged as if suddenly cold.

"Why did you stick around so long if Summers and the others didn't really let you help?" she asked, drawing on what Jessica had told her

Xander didn't seem too surprised that she knew more about him than he did about her. He had guessed Jessica would fill her in on some things about his past.

"I wanted to help people who didn't know what was stalking them at night. It wasn't just Buffy and Willow I wanted to make sure lived, it was people like Amy and even Cordelia," he answered. "But they never saw that. Giles did, but the others they didn't; they most likely didn't want to see it," he added. "Once Willow became friends with Buffy, she changed, she became as selfish and cold as Buffy was," he finished.

"Must've been hard to stand and watch that," Faith wondered.

"It was; if Jessie had lived, he would have been horrified to see the change from the sweet caring girl we had known since we were three to a cold and self serving bitch," Xander answered.

Faith noticed they had arrived at their destination. She took a breath and looked to her new partner. He looked back at her with a cold stare which clearly stated he was ready.

Faith entered first and did a quick scan; there were at least five vampires at the back of the bar, the rest were a variety of demons. Some she recognized from Jessica's books, but others she didn't. They all looked at them as they entered, Xander quickly moved to a flanked position which allowed him to see most of the bar as Faith headed to where the barman stood.

He looked human to Xander but then he might be either a vampire or even a demon half-breed. Xander had done a lot of reading on the subjects of demons and their different types during the long nights of research they had done in the library before Buffy had attacked him.

The barman looked slightly nervous as Faith approached him with a determined look on her face; the vampires at the back quickly turned to watch her. Xander quickly reached behind and grabbed one of his stakes just in case trouble started.

"What do you want her slayer?" the barman asked trying to sound hard "You never come in here before, all the customers here just want to be left alone," he added.

"I want to know the name of the lead vampire, and I want to know now," Faith responded as she stood in front of him.

The vampires at the back quickly stood and began making their way toward Faith and the barman. Xander quickly hefted his stake and launched it at the lead vampire striking it dead centre in the heart dusting it instantly. The four vampires left stopped advancing for a few seconds and looked at each other in shock before moving once again.

The demons in the bar quickly moved away, having no wished to get involved but were up to watch a good fight. Xander quickly pulled the sword he was carrying from his back and moved to attack the vamps.

Faith just stayed where she was as the barman quickly moved away. Then, once the first vampire was in range, she snapped out a sharp kick to its leg, breaking it in half. Xander quickly launched himself at another of the vampires. Faith had already drawn one of her stakes and attacked the third and forth vampires as the first clutched its leg in pain.


Amy was a little confused at some of what Jessica was telling her; she had never been one for physical things, especially not fighting. When she had discovered she could do magic, after she had gotten her body back from her mother, she had believed she would never have to get into such a situation. But now, to help Xander and their new friends Faith and Jessica, she would have to learn how to fight and not rely on her magic too much.

Jessica was in the process of trying to teach Amy some basic defense moves. She was finding it quite difficult but then that didn't surprise the watcher. The girl had never had any experiences like this before, unlike Xander who had the solider memories and skills to drawn upon, thanks to Giles.

"Not bad, Amy. This will take time and a lot of patience but you'll pick it up eventually," Jessica told her with a smile.

"My legs hurt a bit," Amy told her.

"They will after each session for a short while, until you get used to it," Jessica replied as they sat down at the table.

Amy was also quite tired; they had been at this for two hours. She wondered how Xander and Faith were getting on at the demon bar.


Xander hit the back of the bar hard but quickly got back to his feet and rushed the vampire he was fighting. He had lost his sword after his initial charge, the vampire had managed to grab his arm and squeezed so much he had dropped it but he had managed to get it to release him with a quick strike to his solar plexus.

Faith had quickly dusted one of the vampires but the other was proving to be a little more difficult to kill. It must have been an older vampire than the others; if that was the case, then it was stronger than the others.

"Time to die human," the vampire snarled as it charged Xander.

Xander barely had time to move out of the way before the vampire smashed into him, he quickly dropped to a crouch position and shot out his foot tripped the vampire over. He quickly got to his feet and reached for his sword but before he could grab it the vampire on the floor quickly grabbed his leg and yanked him back to the floor.

Faith threw the vampire she was fighting over her shoulder; it was stronger than most she had fought but she still had the advantage in speed. She took a quick look back to see Xander on the floor trying to get out of the grip of the vampire whose leg she had broken while the other stalked him. She grabbed one of her stakes and threw at the vampire on the ground, dusting it and freeing Xander to fight.

She turned back to see her own opponent get back to its feet and snarl at her. She just smirked, angering the vampire who wasn't used to its victims fighting back, well not for this long.

Xander was getting a little tired but he forced himself to get back up to his feet. He waited as the vampire once again rushed him. This time he seemed to tap into a burst of speed he didn't know he had and rolled to the side grabbed his sword and quickly shot back to his feet as the vampire went past where he had been. He swung his sword decapitating the vampire. The rest of its body exploded a few seconds later.

He dropped to the ground, fighting to stay awake. Wherever that burst of speed had come from it had drained him of whatever energy he had left. He would have to have a word with Giles; he had an uneasy idea where it had come from.

Faith shot out a spin kick catching the vampire squarely in the ribs, knocking it back a few feet. She pushed forward shooting out her hand and smashing the palm of her hand into the vampire's face causing it to cry out in pain and rage. She noticed the stake she had dropped when she had dusted the first of the vampires and quickly rolled and picked it up, she turned to see the vampire jump at her.

She turned slightly and allowing the vampire to land right next to her but before it could react she rammed the stake straight through it's heart, dusting it. That had been a hard fight, but they had managed it. She turned and headed for the barman who looked quite scared now.

"Now the name!" she demanded.

"Ok, Ok," the barman hissed. "His name is Kakistos; he's an ancient vampire, been around for a while. His second is a vampire called Trick, he's dangerous," he said quickly. "Now leave, please; you're disrupting my business."

"Thanks," Faith said with a smile.

She quickly walked over and helped Xander to his feet and slowly they made their way back to Jessica's, both tired and somewhat leery of another attack.

Chapter 7

Jessica and Amy looked up as they heard the door open and close, then watch as Faith, supporting a tired looking Xander, entered the kitchen and almost collapsed into the empty chairs. Both looked somewhat weary, especially Xander, but then that was no surprise, he didn't have the advantage of the slayer spirit inside him. Faith's special healing would already have kicked in by now.

"How did it go?" Jessica asked after a few minutes

"We got the name, but only after we have to get through five vampires. They must have been working for him," Faith reported. "Two of them were pretty hard to dust but we managed it in the end," she added.

"If they did work for him and they heard you asking questions about their leader, it would be obvious they would attack you," Jessica agreed.

"But at least you made it through," Amy put it, a worried look on her face as she looked Xander over. He had a few bruises on his face but, surprisingly, not as many as she would have expected.

"Yeah, we made a good team," Xander spoke for the first time since they had arrived back.

Faith looked at Xander for a few minutes before a smile made its way to her face and, facing Jessica, nodded her agreement with Xander's statement.

Jessica was pleased to hear that Faith was getting on with Xander and seemed to trust him to watch her back in a fight. This eased her concerns, now that Faith was going up against a master vampire, which reminded her? "I take it you got the name of the vampire we will be facing?" she asked.

"Yeah, we got it? and the name of his second," Faith answered.

"From the way the barman was talking, this vampire is quite old,"

Xander added. "Which means he'll be even harder to beat," he continued.

"The barman said his name is Kakistos," Faith told her. "And his second is called Trick. According to the barman, he's dangerous," she added.

"I see. We'll start researching them tomorrow. I think you two should stay here tonight; you're both tired," Jessica said, turning to Xander and Amy. "I'll show you to the spare room," she said as she stood. The two teens followed, leaving Faith to her own thoughts about what they were about to face and her growing fondness of Xander.


Giles rubbed the bridge of his nose for the ninth time since the phone call from Jessica an hour ago. He had been researching Kakistos and Trick. What he had found was not encouraging and made him worry for the lives of his friends up in Boston.

Kakistos had been alive longer than Angelus, which meant he would be more powerful and harder to kill. It also stated that he had killed at least four slayers in his time, and one of them had been considered the best slayer seen for a long time. However, what worried Giles was the fact that there were rumors he had turned one of the slayers he had fought but there was no evidence to support it.

As for Trick, the information he had managed to find was also quite distressing. Trick had been reported to have killed two slayers, and was responsible for an attack on a group of watchers as well. He had a dangerous reputation; he hoped Jessica and Faith were up to the challenge. He had hope though that, with Xander and Amy's presence, it would give them a better chance of survival. He reached for the phone and dialed Jessica's number, hoping to catch her before she went to bed.


Jessica placed the phone back onto the cradle, her faced had paled from the information Giles had managed to find in an hour. It reminded her of why Giles had been chosen to be a field watcher in the first place, he was one of the best researchers they council had. The two vampires they faced were more dangerous than she had thought. Her fears for Faith, and now Xander and Amy, increased. They needed more help. She doubted the council would send any, but she decided to try tomorrow. She had also thought of asking Giles to send Miss Summers to help, but then quickly dismissed that idea when she thought what she might do when she saw Xander.

She yawned; she was tired and drained from the day's events and decided to turn in. She knew they would have a lot to do in the coming days.


Faith tossed and turned in her bed, images she could barley make out continued to plague her. She saw herself fighting a tall dark vampire, he was wearing a suit. He was taunting her. She also saw Jessica, Xander and Amy chained to the wall behind her; all of them looked badly beaten, maybe even tortured. There was someone else as well, in the shadows, watching them. Suddenly she saw a pair of red eyes flash in the darkness and woke, almost crying out in fear.

She woke shivering from what she had seen. Jessica had told her about the prophetic dreams the slayers had and she knew, without a doubt, what she had just seen was what could happen to them all. She prayed she would have what it took to survive and protect Jessica and the others.


Xander heard a slight cry come from Faith's room, his first instinct was to go and see if she was alright, but he stopped himself. As good as things were becoming between him and the dark-haired slayer, they weren't on a level where she would except any comfort from him. He hoped, in time, they would become good friends; while a deeper part of himself he felt an attraction to her and was hoping for something more to happen.

He knew the vampires they were going up against were dangerous and he had a dark foreboding about what was to come. He vowed he would make sure Amy, Faith and Jessica would survive, even if it meant his own life was forfeit.


Amy couldn't sleep; she was scared of what she had gotten into. She had no regrets about coming here with Xander, but she had never thought it would lead to what it had. She had never thought about vampires before and especially not any master vampires. She was fearful about what was to come. She feared for herself and Xander; and even Faith and Jessica. However, she was determined to stand and fight and help them because she knew lives were at stake; not just theirs, but others as well. Those who did not know what dwelt in the dark.

Chapter 8

Faith woke up slowly; she hadn't been able to get to sleep until three in the morning. The dreams had continued to plague her well into the night and after they stopped her own imagination kept her awake.

She lay back against the head board and wondered just what was going to happen, for a long time she had only herself to look out for. She had run away from home at the age of twelve after the abusive nature of her mother and her line of boyfriends got too much, for two years she had lived on the streets fighting to stay alive. Sometimes she had been forced to do some extreme things to get food and clothes.

Then something happened, during a fight with a gang of drug dealers she had run into she suddenly became strong like never before, she was also faster than she had ever been.

She had won the fight although she had injured some of the gang badly; afterwards she continued to find out things about her was different. It scared her at first and she tried hard to not draw any attention to herself. Then her life had changed when Jessica had found her in the backstreets of Boston, Jessica had found her almost dead from starvation although the slayer essence seemed to be doing all it could to keep her alive. It had taken three weeks before she had begun to trust Jessica and to begin to except what and who she was.

Once she had accepted the truth of what had happened to her, she began to train, learning from Jessica how to fight and to survive.

Their relationship began to change from watcher and slayer to an almost mother and daughter relationship. She couldn't imagine her life now without Jessica in it.

Now things had changed again, now she was beginning to make friends, something she had never thought was possible. Not from the way her life had run so far, but it had happened; Xander and Amy were her friends. But that wasn't all of it; there was something more to it than that when it came to Xander.

As soon as she had met Xander, she had felt an instant connection to him. It had disturbed her at first but after they had arrived at the house and began to discuss how he had arrived and what had happened to him she began to see something in Xander's eyes she instantly recognized; pain, deep rooted pain. It was something she had seen nearly everyday until she had met Jessica, Xander had lived a life almost identical to hers, she was sure of it.

It had been that knowledge that had first drawn her to the young man who was to become her partner when patrolling. After the seven nights they had been patrolling together, she come to trust him and begin to fall for him. His sense of humor was very appealing, especially to her, and made her feel relaxed in a way she had never felt before. He also had an open and honest look about him that she found hard not to stare at. He had a fire inside him that she loved, it was like the one she had within herself.


Xander yawned as he woke up, he felt quite refreshed and yet he still felt a sense of foreboding about the up coming war that was to erupt between them and this new vampire master. Even after fighting The Master, Angelus, Spike and Drusilla and defeating them, something about this new threat made them look like children; the look on Jessica's face when she came to bed last night sent chills down his spine.

He wondered if Faith was up yet, he shook his head somewhat confused about why he had thought about the dark-haired slayer almost as soon as he had woken up. He quickly got up and went for a shower, but as the warm water cascaded down him he couldn't stop a picture of Faith coming into his head. He had to admit he was attracted to her, with a passion he had never experienced before; not with Cordelia and defiantly not with Buffy.

Something about the dark-haired slayer drew him to her, her eyes were almost hypnotic and he found it almost impossible not to stare at them. There was something else about her that he found appealing, he wasn't too sure about it yet but he believed she had suffered the same abusive past as he had. It was like they were the mirror vision of the other. He hoped to sit down with her and talk about it sometime with her when their friendship was stronger.


3 months later:

Xander sat at the table while Amy tended to the deep wound he had suffered in their last fight with Kakistos's vampires; this time Trick, his second, had been there and he had almost killed Faith before Xander had jumped in the way taking the shot to his shoulder. It had almost been his head if he hadn't lost his balance and Faith hadn't pulled him forward in time. They had only managed to escape thanks to one of Amy's spells; she had continued to learn how to control her magic while training in hand-to-hand with Jessica, who had a little experience in magic herself.

They had taken down a dozen of the master vampire's followers, which included demons he had hired to help him carry out his schemes. But he always seemed to have more to send against them, they had not come up against Kakistos yet. They had only thought Trick from time to time, the dark skinned vampire was though and pretty smart but he was also very arrogant which had helped them beat him.

One of the good things to come out of the three months of constant fighting had been the development of the partnership not just between Faith and Xander, but also between the group as a whole. Jessica had also noted the way Faith and Xander had been spending a lot of their spare time together. So far nothing had happened between the two but Jessica could see the desire that they hid for the other. She doubted either of them suspected the other actually returned the affection they had for each other. She found it quite amusing to see Faith involved in something every teenager went through, when she had first found Faith she had doubted Faith would ever find it within herself to put her past behind her and find someone to trust with her heart.

"You should be more careful, Xan," Amy finally spoke, her concern very evident in her voice.

"I know Amy, I just acted on instinct," he answered, his gaze unfocused.

"It's been happening more of more, you seem to act more on instinct without even thinking of the consequences, you seem to be losing your grasp of your solider memories," Amy responded.

"Not completely, it's still there," Xander answered. "Just sometimes drowned out by the hyena," he continued shivering a little at the thought of it regaining control over him and what he might do to Amy, Faith and Jessica.

"Xander, I've told you before the hyena is not inside you any more," Jessica told him. "It's just an echo," she added. "Now you may be accruing more of it's traits than before, but you will always be in charge," she finished.

"I hope your right, Jess," Xander replied using his nickname for Jessica

Faith remained quiet; she had been that way since they had returned. Xander's near death had shaken her quite a bit and she was trying to rein in her raging emotions. She watched as Amy continued to treat Xander's wound, she watched the dark-blonde witch carefully. For the last month or so she had noticed a change in her friend toward Xander, it had been clear to her for the last two months that Amy had deeper feelings toward him, although she tried to hide it and now she was trying to get Xander to fall for her.

She wasn't sure what to do yet. If Amy managed to succeed in catching Xander's eye then she may lose out on her one and only chance at love, but if she made a move now, she may hurt Amy and there was always the chance Xander might not be interested and, if he wasn't, it may affect their friendship. She knew she would have to make a choice soon but, for now, she decided to stay quiet.


A tall dark figure walked into an abandoned factory, his face a mask of anger and hate; before him, stood a dark-skinned man and four others. They were his best servants; Trick had been with him for almost three hundred years; the others only a hundred, but they were still tough and smart. However, at the moment, he hated each and every one, especially Trick, for they had failed once more to kill the slayer and her allies. His eyes passed over each one, all but Trick looked away.

"Why does that girl and her friends continued to live?" he demanded; his voice showed his impatience and his anger. "I have ordered them all dead and yet they all still live," he added.

"They are more skilled than any Slayer before them, Master. I think even more so than the slayer in Sunnydale," one of them told him.

"Ah yes, the great Buffy Summers I've heard so much about," Kakistos growled. "Both of these slayers had killed some of the best of us; what makes them so powerful?" he mused sarcastically.

"Their allies' master, they are the only slayers in history to have allies," another answered.

"And powerful allies at that," the third added trying to sound confident.

"You fear them too much; you are supposed to be my greatest warriors and you fear these weakly humans," Kakistos roared. Moving faster than even a normal vampire he beheaded one of them. "Now, if you fail me again, I will kill you all. Now go, and gather as many vampires as you can and get back here as fast as you can," he ordered.

The remaining three vampires quickly exited the room except for Trick, who remained where he was, a cold look in his eyes.

"They are right, you know. Their allies are the problem, especially the witch," he said carefully, fearful of his master's anger. "The boy, too, is dangerous, although I can't tell why," he added.

"I know, which is why you will capture them all, except for the slayer. Once we have them, she will come to us and then we will kill them all," Kakistos told him.

"How Master?" Trick asked.

"I will send three demons with you and a powerful warlock I have worked with before; he will cast a powerful sleeping spell on them and nullify the barrier that keeps vampires out of people's homes without an invitation," he told his servant. "Once that is done, take them and leave a note for the slayer telling her where they will be held. Do not touch her, Trick; she is mine to deal with, understood?" he ordered.

"Yes, Master. Who is the warlock?" Trick inquired.

Kakistos turned to the darkness and waved his hand; a shadow moved and then came into the light. Trick could tell he was human.

"Trick, this is Ethan Rayne," Kakistos introduced him.


Chapter 9

Jessica watched as Faith prepared for her first patrol on her own since Xander had bumped into her, she had asked Xander to remain behind so she could do some training with him to keep his growing reliance on his hyena traits back into control. She was worried by how far the left over echo of the hyena had grown inside Xander, Faith and Amy had both noticed it too and both were worried more than they let on.

Amy was staying behind as well due to a small case of the flu she had picked up; Faith had managed to convince them all she would be fine on her own and if she came up against too many vampires she would run instead of fighting. That was something new Jessica noted, Faith had never been one from running from a fight but since meeting Xander and Amy she had begun to realize that sometimes running away was the right thing to do, if only to come back in greater force and destroy your enemy. Xander had defiantly had an impact of Faith's way of thinking with his military memories about tactics and planning rubbing off on the young slayer.

"Remember Faith, keep an eye out, we won't be there to watch your back tonight," Xander told the dark-haired slayer

"I know X, don't worry I'll be back in no time," Faith assured him before she picked up her last stake and walked out into the night.

Xander sighed as she left; he didn't like this plan one bit. Something about tonight had left him with a deep foreboding. But he had agreed with Jessica's suggestion that they try and rein in the echo the hyena had left in him after it had been removed. Faith and Amy's unease with his growing reliance on the hyena had convinced him to let Jessica try and help him reel in the left over traits the spirit had left in him.


Trick watched with a self-satisfied smile as the slayer left alone for her patrol; this was going to work out better than he thought it might. Usually the slayer never patrolled alone since the team of the warrior and the witch turned up but, for some reason, tonight she was going it alone and that suited his master's plans quite nicely. He turned and nodded at Ethan to begin his part of the plan as the vampires and demons prepared to attack.


Amy watched as Jessica put Xander into a deep trance, she watched as her friend's body went limp and his breathing became light. Jessica herself seemed to be deep in concentration as she took Xander even deeper. Suddenly she jerked as she felt a wash of magic begin to sweep through the house; she pushed herself up and walked over to the window. She didn't see anything but she still felt the magic been spun, it was powerful and dark. She backed off from the window suddenly fearful; she turned to tell Jessica when suddenly Xander jumped to his feet smelling the air as if searching for something

"Jessica?" she asked confused.

"Something's caught his attention," Jessica said standing as well. "And, at the moment, the hyena trait left in him is in control," she added.

"What do you mean it's in control? I thought you said it was just an echo?" Amy demanded, forgetting for an instant the build up of magic

"It is an echo, but it's also more powerful that I thought it was, and to push it back into Xander's subconscious I had to pull it forward into his conscious mind," Jessica explained. "It was stuck between the two, that's why Xander has been using the hyena traits more, but he's broke through the trance before I could push it back," she finished, looking slightly nervous

"Is he dangerous? Is he going to attack us like he did to Buffy and Willow the last time he was taken over?" Amy asked before she jerked again as did Xander as another wave of magic washed through the 125

"What's wrong?" Jessica asked as she noticed Amy jerk as if something had struck her.

"Someone is casting a large amount of magic, and dark magic at that," Amy answered. "It's washing through the house, it's most likely what Xander's sensed," she added.

"Possibly, this way he would be able to sense the flow of any magic been cast," Jessica said walking over to the window and looking out onto the street and quickly backing away as she saw Trick approaching along with a group of vampires and demons.

"Shit," she cursed. "Amy, quick, the swords in the back room, get them," she ordered.

Amy didn't hesitate and quickly ran into the back room to grab the swords. As she heard the front door smash open, she also heard Xander's growl as a fight broke out. She rushed back into the room and threw Jessica one of the swords as she side-stepped one of the demons. Xander, she noted, had vanished; although she noted four piles of dust and a demon lying dead at the door.

She quickly switched her concentration to the fight as Trick approached her, followed by two vampires.

"You can't beat me, witch," Trick sneered.

"Watch me," Amy shot back trying to sound confident.

She swung low in an attempt to take out the vampire's legs; unfortunately, Trick was faster and jumped over her swing and tried to grab her sword arm but Amy managed to pull back and away from him as the two other vampires closed in on her.

Jessica had already managed to take out two of the vampires that had come at her with a little help from Xander before he ran out the door tearing through four vampires and a demon with an animalistic hatred. She didn't know where he was going but hoped he'd recover soon enough to get Faith.

She ducked another swing from one of the two remaining demons as the other stood guard at the door; obviously Trick didn't want them to get away. She swung high as the demon went to attack again and managed to bury her sword in his side before she was thrown backward by one of the vampires who had been with Trick. She cried out as she struck the wall. She barely caught a glimpse of Amy been flung forward into a nasty right swing from the other vampire, with Trick knocking the young witch out cold. She shuddered as tried to move.

Her shoulder was killing her and she feared she had maybe dislocated or broken her shoulder when she had been thrown into the wall. The last thing she saw was Trick's cold smile and a face she recognized as one of Giles's old friends before she was knocked cold by the demon she had injured.


Xander ran fast through the local graveyard, barely in control of himself, the hyena echo was now loose and it was stronger than ever. No matter what Jessica had told him, it was clear it was more than an echo; it had to be. The hyena had not liked the scent of the vampires or the demons and had quickly taken out five of their number plus the ones he had managed to get the hyena to attack to help Jessica. The only hope he had now was finding Faith and alerting her to the what had happened and the fact that the hyena was now lose.


Trick flinched as his master beheaded yet another of his favorite servants, he had not been happy to learn the warrior had escaped after dispatching not only four of the vampires but one of his demons as well. Such a feat for a normal human was not possible and it had enraged his master to no end to hear what had happened.

"We were taken by surprise, master," another of vampires said. "It was like he was a wild animal, a beast," he added in fear.

"Silence," Kakistos roared. "Get out of my sight; all you except you Trick," he commanded.

The room quickly emptied leaving the two vampires alone except for the two unconscious forms of Amy and Jessica tied to the nearby wall.

"What happened?" Kakistos demanded.

"The Warlock's sleeping spell did not work, they were still awake when we attacked," Trick told his master. "The Warrior was wild like a beast; he struck before any of us could move. He ran away before we could try and subdue him, but he did enough damage before he left.

The witch was easy to subdue as she didn't have the time to cast any spells, the watcher was a little harder; but we got her as well,"

Trick finished.

"Fine. Start setting up the ambush as soon as the slayer and her friend arrive to rescue their friends. Make sure Ethan stays as well, I want a word with him."

"Yes, master." Trick nodded and quickly exited the room


Faith smiled as she dispatched her fifth vampire of the night, slow for some of the fights she had been involved in especially since and the others had begun fighting Kakistos. But so far nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Her hearing quickly picked up the sounds of something or someone rushing toward her position, she dropped into a fighting stance and prepared for another fight.

She was shocked to see Xander come bursting out of the night looking somewhat wild, his eyes seemed darker than ever and for a second she was held by his look before he broke off and looked around for a second before turning back to her.

"Jessica and Amy have been taken by Trick," he growled looking more menacing than ever.

"What?" Faith asked stunned

"We were attacked; some type of magic allowed them into the house just after Jessica put me into a trance. The hyena came alive and took control. It killed four of the vampires and a demon and I barely managed to force the echo of the hyena to help Jessica before it bolted into the night," he told her.

"Xander, who is in control of your body at the moment?" Faith asked cautiously.

"We both are, I'm keeping it in line by telling it I'll let it stay out and free so it can hunt," he answered. "Also, it wants to help us kill more vampires; it seems the hyena doesn't like the smell of them or demons," he added.

"If they've been taken alive, it has to be a trap. They want all of us," Faith surmised.

"We have to go, Faith; Amy and Jessica need our help," Xander argued. "Plus, they don't know about the extra help we'll have in the form of the hyena," he added.

"How can you trust it?" Faith demanded "And how can I trust you with that thing lose in your head?" she added.

"At the moment, it's staying silent and not trying to take control because we've got a sort of an arrangement; so it seems it can be reasonable, if needs be," Xander explained. "As for me, I am Xander and you can trust me," he added looking into Faith's eyes.

Faith stared back seeing nothing but the eyes of the man she had come to not only trust with her life but also her heart. Although she hadn't admitted that fact yet, she would need help if she intended to save Jessica and Amy; she would need help and Xander and the hyena inside him was her only choice.

"Ok, let's head back to the house and get ready. This is going be a long night," Faith said before she turned and walked off. Xander quickly turned and followed, a smile on his face.

Chapter 10

Faith walked towards the abandoned factory, with Xander a step in front of her, he or at least the hyena inside him was guiding them to where Kakistos, Trick and his lackeys were keeping Jessica and Amy. She was weary of Xander for the first time since she met him, she knew she could not totally trust him with the hyena in control or even just loose inside his head. She knew how dangerous it was from what Xander had told her and also from what Jessica had learned from Giles.

Xander struggled to keep the hyena under control; it was taking every bit of his concentration and strength. He feared what it would do if it took control from him, the hyena did want to kill vampires which were a good thing but it also wanted control and that was something Xander was not willing to relinquish unless he had no other option in their bid to rescue their friends.

He wanted to warn Faith to tell her that for the moment he couldn't be trusted but he couldn't because to do that he would have to shift his concentration and the moment he did that he would lose control. He did notice Faith seemed somewhat weary about him and that meant she was aware of what he could do if the hyena took complete control. He stopped as the hyena picked up a stronger sent from Jessica and Amy, they were scared. The hyena also smelled blood, they were hurt. Xander growled

"What is it Xan?" Faith asked as her slayer hearing picked up the growl from her friend

"They're hurt, he's torturing them" Xander growled back "That bastard is gonna scream before we dust him" he added before taking of at a fast pace, Faith quickly followed having to use her slayer enhanced speed to keep up with Xander.


Kakistos smiled as the slayer's watcher screamed in agony again, he always enjoyed watching his childe work his magic when it came to torturing their victims. In all his years only one other of his childes exceeded Trick and himself when it came to torture and that was Victoria.

He smiled when he thought of her; she had been the best slayer of her time and had put up a great fight which had impressed him and why he decided to turn her instead of just killing her and sending her remains to the council to taunt them. Since he turned her she had shown a sadistic side which rivaled that of Trick and many vampire masters he had known through his unlife. She would make a great master in her own right one day, unfortunately though Victoria was not in Boston at the moment, she was in Miami trying to gain some items he wanted from an old enemy.

He would have loved to see her and the dark haired slayer known as Faith square off. He agreed with Trick in his assement that Faith was a far more dangerous slayer than the renowned slayer from the hell mouth Buffy Summers.

Maybe he decided if she impressed him enough he might add Faith to his family, maybe he should add her whole group. Each was powerful in their own right, and he did need to gain some new followers. He must have lost twenty to thirty of his best warriors to the dark haired slayer and her team. Then he decided he might go visit the hell mouth and see what the blond haired slayer and her team was like.

"Master?" one of his followers shouted as he ran into the factory

"What is it?" he demanded

"The slayer and the Warrior are approaching the factory" the vampire replied quickly "The Warrior still looks slightly crazed Master"

"Good, make sure they enter this chamber without any problem, then lock all the doors and make sure they don't leave alive in that understood Vincent?" Kakistos ordered

"Perfectly Master" Vincent bowed fearing for his own unlife if the slayer and her friends managed to survive the trap set for them and escapes.

"Good, now go" Kakistos hissed before turning to face where Trick now waited for him in the office of the abounded factory next to where the watcher and witch were been kept. He walked towards the room, his eyes telling Trick he would suffer if their plan failed.


Faith hesitated outside the door to the factory, Xander was making a quick sweep around the building using his hyena senses to the max to see if their was any vampires patrolling before they went in after their friends. They didn't want to have to fight both a rearguard action as well as a normal fight.

Finally Xander returned looking even more consumed by the madness of the hyena than he did when they arrived. She could almost see the beast looking out through the brown eyes she had fallen in love with. She shivered as he walked towards her with long strides; he gave her an affirmative nod that it was all clear.

"That doesn't sound right X, there's always lackeys patrolling their hideouts" Faith said

"I know" he replied as he grabbed the handle of the door "We know it's a trap and that's an advantage" he added "Just keep an eye out at all times especially for Trick and Kakistos" he finished as he swung the door open and stepped through pulling the sword from his back.

Faith waited a few seconds before following Xander through the door, pulling her own sword she kept a close eye on their backs as they walked towards the centre of the factory.


Vincent smiled as he watched the dark haired slayer and the warrior walk into the factory; he prayed all of his fellow vampires knew what to do. He did not want to even think about what his Master would do to him if everything failed. Then again he did not look forward to facing either the slayer or the warrior in combat either, especially after what he saw the warrior do to the camps and demons that attacked their house.

Finally he watched as they entered the main chamber of the factory where the trap was to be sprung and he quickly gave the signal for all the doors to be locked. It was time.


Faith spun around as she heard the doors shut loudly behind them, it would seem the trap had been sprung and now they were gonna have the fight of their lives if they intended to save their friends.

Xander quickly backed up so they were back to back as twenty vampires appeared around them in a circle. She had never thought so many, not even with Xander on their patrols. She knew the chances of them getting out alive were slim; she looked behind her only to find Xander looking back at her. Their eyes had the same fear and yet the same determination in them, they couldn't look away and finally something seemed to snap within them and suddenly they were kissing passionately ignoring the vampires that surrounded them.

They separated both breathing hard, their eyes held each other showing the deep passion they held for each other no longer hidden.

"If we get out of this Xander, we're gonna have a long talk" Faith promised

"Count on it Faith" Xander replied turning to face the vampires again and then before he could talk himself out of it he cupped her face and made her look at him again "I love you Faith" he whispered kissing her lightly before letting go and moving to engage the first of the vampires. Leaving Faith momentarily stunned.

She quickly shuck her head and smiling slightly moved to engage the vampires facing her, she made a promise that they would make it out of this all of them and then she was going to claim Xander's heart no matter what.