Dark Events

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

Disclaimer: I do now own Buffy or any of the others characters in this story except for the ones I have created.

Subject: Xander/Tara

Chapter 1

Xander sighed as the rain continued to pour down whilst they continued to patrol, Buffy, Riley and Giles were checking the east side of the cemetery whilst he, Willow and Tara checked the right. He looked at the two lesbian witches and noticed they looked just as miserable as him and just as wet, for some reason he couldn't understand he started to laugh causing his two friends to look at him in total confusion

"What is so funny Xander?" he heard his long time friend Willow ask

"I…I don't know I just can't help it," he answered

"Maybe he's gone mad," suggested Tara

This made him laugh all the more harder as he faced Tara who took a hesitant step back as if she was afraid he'd do something to her

"I am not mad Tara, I just though the look of you too soaked and miserable was funny, seen as I am just as wet and miserable," he told her

"O…Oh" replied Tara

Before either one of them could speak again three vampires jumped out of a near by tomb stunning the two witches, two of them ran in the opposite direction however the third jumped towards Tara with his game face on, Xander suddenly felt his blood boil at the thought of Tara been hurt and jumped in front of her, the vampire knocked him to the ground and began to beat him mercilessly. Xander tried to shield himself and even managed to return a few punches but his vision began to blur and his body weaken under the onslaught and just as he felt himself loose himself he saw Buffy tackle the vamp.

When he awoke he felt a sharp pain run right through his body from head to toe, he tried to sit up but he felt someone push he back down, he opened his eyes to find Willow and Buffy looking down at him Willow looked concerned whilst Buffy seemed ready to shout at him. He then noticed it was Giles who was holding him down. He noticed he was in Giles's bedroom, which was dark except for the night lamp on the nightstand next to the bed

"G.Giles?" he asked

"Good you're finally awake, do you remember what happened?" the Watcher asked

"I.I think we were attacked by a vamp, he went for Tara but I managed to get in his way, after that it's a blank" he replied rubbing his head

"The Vampire gave you a very sound beating for getting in his way luckily we were heading back your way when we saw the other two vamps running away from the scene" Giles told him

"Where are we?" he asked the watcher

"My house, it was closer than yours" Giles replied

"Why did only one of them attack?" Xander asked as Willow handed him a glass of water

"I think they were up to something, I'm not quite sure yet" Giles answered

"Wait a second, where is Tara is she okay?" Xander asked as he noticed the missing witch

"She and Willow were a little stunned by the sudden appearance of the vamps, however Tara fainted after Buffy showed up. I think the sight of a vampire lunging at her was too much for her," Giles answered

"I can tell you have something to add Buff" Xander said without looking at her friend

"Oh I have something to say alright Xand, just what the hell were you thinking tackling a vampire like that?" she all but screamed

"I was trying to keep Tara out of harms way that's what I was thinking, what would you rather I stood there whilst it beat her up until you arrived to save the day?" he shot back with an angry scrawl

Buffy didn't respond she just frowned and walked out of the room, he looked to Willow who just smiled at him

"Thanks, for making sure Tara didn't get hurt, sorry I wasn't any help," she told him

"It's okay, we were all surprised" he replied

"I have to say Xander although you put yourself at risk I am quite proud of you for thinking of someone else before you own safety" Giles told him with a smile of his own

"Thanks Giles" Xander said as pride swelled within him

"Now that you are awake maybe I should try and find out what the other two vampires were up too" Giles mused more to himself than the others

"Trouble is what they were up to," said a new voice and they all recognised it as Spike's

"How did you get in here?" Giles asked

"Door was open, heard what happened so I checked out the area where you were attacked, those two vamps took a powerful artefact from that tomb they were in, one which could bring back the Master, in fact not just him any powerful demon they want"

"My god how?" Giles asked now in full watcher mode

"They need to combine them with one or two other things and also they need an very old magic scroll which was once protected by the most power fullest sorcerer alive, his name was Robert Harris" Spike answered

"Wait a second did you just say Harris?" asked Willow

"Yes Red I did, I think he may have been an ancestor of droopy over there" Spike smiled

"How do you know this?" Buffy asked as she-re-entered the room

"Been digging around the old demon libraries since I got that blasted chip in my head, and that's not all from what I found out maybe Tara's ancestor was involved as well as Buffy's, seems as she is not the only slayer in her family" Spike replied as he lit up a cigarette

"Fascinating, Spike I will need you to gather everything you have read on this and bring it to me, I'll pay of course seen as that's the only way you'll get involved" Giles said

"No problem Giles, be back tomorrow with the stuff, you better have the money" he agreed before he left the room

"This is getting confusing" Xander whispered

"Indeed" Giles said with a frown wondering what this could all mean

Xander had not moved for at least five hours at Giles's insistence thinking about what Spike had said, could his family history date back to this great sorcerer who shared the same name, could he be some great ancestor forgotten in the mist of time. He finally got up and stretched and winced slightly as a small tremor of pain shot through his back letting him know not all of his injuries had relented, he walked into the next room to find Giles reading one his books, Willow was asleep on the couch and Buffy was watching the TV although she looked ready to fall asleep as well.

"Find anything Giles?" he asked quietly

"No I've not except for a small sketch of the Wizard Spike mentioned, unfortunately it is badly degraded so we cannot tell if he bares a resemblance to you" the watcher replied rubbing his eyes

"Guess we'll have to reply of Spike then" Xander said as he sat across from the watcher

"Yes what a dreadful thought" he said with a dry chuckle "Oh Buffy has called Angel and asked him to come and help just in case it is something big" he added

"Just dead boy?" asked Xander

"No his whole team including their newest member some girl named Fred, by the way Xand do you have to call him that" Buffy said as she joined them

"Sorry hold habits die hard" he shrugged as he answered the slayer

"Well try will you?" she asked

"Whatever" he replied not really likening the idea of been nice to the ensouled vampire

"What about this slayer Spike mentioned, the one he said was related to me?" Buffy asked

"I've found nothing so far, and the same goes for Tara's ancestor as well, if there is a connection at all, I am thinking of phoning our old friend Quieten Travers and see if they can find out anything" Giles answered

"Oh no, no more watchers, we may be working with them again but I still don't trust them, Dawn maybe safe now she's staying with our father but still if they ever found out about her they could do anything and you know it" Buffy butted it

"Take it easy will ya Buffy, I think we get the point but we may not have a choice" Xander said with a smile

"You stay out of this, it doesn't concern you" Buffy hissed

"But it does Buffy and you know it, I've been involved since the beginning and now that involvement may go way deeper than we thought, so don't even think of trying to keep me in the dark" Xander interjected

"I agree, this could be very dangerous if we keep anyone in the dark, if Spike is right and each of you had an ancestor involved then we need you, Tara and Xander together" Giles added

"Fine" Buffy conceded

"Hey guys" Willow said with a yawn

"Sorry if we woke you" Giles said

"That's okay I need to go back to my dorm to see if Tara is alright" Willow stretched and then headed for the door

"I'll walk you there" Xander said as he joined her "See you two tomorrow" he said as he exited the house.

As Willow and Xander walked towards her dorm room Willow noticed that her friend seemed a little distracted and the look in his eyes made her worry

"Are you okay Xander?" she decided to ask

"Yeah, just a little annoyed at the way Buffy keeps shouting at me every time we run into trouble" Xander replied with a glance back the way they had come

"Well she's worried about you that's all" she counted

"I'd like to think so but then I'd be believing a lie, I know you've noticed as Well Willow ever since Riley turned up Buffy just doesn't seem to want me involved it's been like this ever since that hell mouth incident" Xander said a little of his anger towards Buffy coming out

"I guess, but you proved us all wrong by saving us from that zombie gang all by yourself" Willow said hoping to cheer him up

"I don't think Buffy sees it that way, it's been harder ever since Anya split with that vengeance demon, I think Buffy just sees me now as a damn liability" he hissed as they turned into the campus grounds

"Ignore her then, because I know for a fact that you are not a liability, you've saved my life, Tara's hell you even brought Buffy back from the dead, that proves you are no liability Xander Harris" Willow said with confidence

"Thanks, that means a lot. Say hi to Tara for me" he said with a smile

"Going home?" she inquired

"Maybe I think I might just take stroll" at Willow's worried glance he smiled and added "Don't worry I have a cross and a few stakes with me" to reassure her

"See you tomorrow Xand" she said as she entered the dorm halls

"Yeah tomorrow" he agreed with a dark look as he headed towards the park

As he wondered the park he began to feel like he was been followed, he turned and scanned the park but saw no one until a shadow suddenly walked out into the moons light. He quickly withdrew a stake and readied himself

"Are you Alexander Harris?" a soft voice seemed to float towards him

"Yeah" he answered as he watched a woman dressed in a red silk dress walk closer to him, she had long black hair and piecing blue eyes "Who are you?" he asked

"My name is Rachel Wells," she answered "I was a friend of your great ancestor Robert," she added

"How can that be?" he asked a little taken back

"He cast a immortality spell on me, so the prophecy he created could be fulfilled so the demons could be stopped. I was in love with him and so I volunteered to help, I am here to help you, Tara and Buffy" she replied as she stopped right in front of him

"Ho…how do you know their names?" he asked

"Robert knew exactly what you would be called and when the prophecy would begin," she answered

"How do I know you aren't some vampire trying to trick me?" he inquired

"Because if I was I wouldn't do this," she answered as she leaned in and kissed him softly, Xander was stunned but as the kiss deepened he felt no hostility from the woman, as they pulled apart they were both breathing hard

"If I was a vampire that kiss would have had no truth behind it and a kiss never lies" she said with a smile as she turned and began to walk away

"Wait, where are you going?" he shouted

"Home, don't worry Alex I'll find you no matter where you are" she replied and then she was gone leaving him confused and stunned as he headed for home.

The next day the gang all gathered in the magic shop to meet up with Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn and Fred. Spike also turned up covered in a blanket to make sure the sun didn't dust him; Angel had used the gem of amura so he could move around in the day.

"Here you go mate," Spike said as he placed a bag full of books on Giles's table and then sat down as Giles handed him his money, which he placed inside his leather jacket. Angel gave him a cold glare, which he ignored.

"Now it will take some time to go through all this but if Spike is right then it is crucial we learn everything we can and who is attempting to utilise this spell" Giles started

As the conversation continued Xander just sat in his chair thinking about Rachel and what she had told him, he had not managed to get much sleep as his dreams had been invaded by visions of death and destruction. He had even dreamt that Willow, Tara and the rest of the gang had been killed right in front of him. The dream had shaken him badly and he couldn't help but wonder if there was some truth to it, but he couldn't tell Buffy and the others because he knew they would say only Buffy had dreams like that.

"Xander are you listening?" he suddenly heard Giles ask

"What, sorry I guess this thing has me a little off balance" he replied

"Not surprising if Spike is right and this Robert Harris is related to you," Giles agreed

"So lets begin going through the books, Buffy maybe you and Angel should return to the crypt and see if the vampires left any clues," Giles suggested

"No problem" Buffy smiled

"What about me Giles, I'm not very good at research?" Riley asked

"Riley maybe you should have a word with our resident snitch Willy" Giles answered knowing Riley didn't like the idea of Buffy been around her ex

Xander suddenly got up and began heading for the door ignoring the questions coming from his friends, only when Buffy forcibly yanked him around did he noticed they were there

"Where are you going Xand?" Buffy asked with a glare

"I.I.I don't know, I just have an urge to be somewhere," he said

"An urge?" she questioned

"Yeah an urge you know that felling where you have to be somewhere else" he said still with a confused look on his face as he looked around "It's like I'm been called by someone" he added

"By who?" Giles asked as he moved towards them

"Let him go all of you" a new voice suddenly burst through the room everyone turned to see a man sitting on the counter with a smile, Buffy had seen him before but from what Angel had said he was dead, she noticed the shocked faces of Angel and Cordelia

"Doyle?" Angel gasped

"I said let him go Buffy" the man now known as Doyle repeated

Buffy looked at Xander again and noticed his eyes had gone a little hazy and he was turning once again towards the door, she grabbed him and then spoke to the new comer

"No, not till you tell us who wants him and where he's going?" she said

"Sorry Slayer no can do" another new voice said from behind Doyle, they watched as another man came into view

"Whistler?" Buffy asked in surprise

"Good to see you again, now please let Alex go, this is important Buffy" he replied Buffy stared at him for a minute and then released her friend who quickly opened the door and left

"What was that all about?" Angel asked as he approached Doyle

"For now that doesn't concern ya man, you need to get started on that research if you wanna beat this thing" Doyle answered him

"How…how are you back?" this came from Cordelia who looked close to tears

"Lets just say the PTB like me, it's good to see you again princess" Doyle said with a wide smile, which she returned

"What about you Whistler, what are you doing here?" Angel asked

"Just here to make sure things don't get un balanced, Doyle is here to help you but don't think he'll be back for good he'll be needed else where, I'll see you guys later" he informed them all and then he stepped back into the shadows and vanished leaving Doyle sitting on the counter with a smile on his face as Cordelia approached him and then through her arms around him in a tight hug whilst Angel shook his hand

"It's good to have you back Doyle" Angel told him

"Thanks man, it's a little lonely in the either" he replied

Buffy walked away from the door towards where Angel and Cordelia were speaking with their lost friend with a determined look on her face

"So what now Buffy?" Willow asked

"I guess we do as we suggested before all this happened" she sighed

"B.B.but what X.X Xander?" Tara finally spoke up and they all noticed the concern in her voice

"I'm sure he'll be fine, I doubt Whistler would of let him go if he was in danger" Giles said hoping to reassure her

"Yeah well it's his problem for now, we have more important things to do" Buffy said "Buffy, he's your friend how could you think so little of him?" Willow almost screamed as she stood and approached her, Buffy just stared at her unable to think of a response Riley jumps in to help

"Come on Willow Xander will be fine I mean he's not exactly the smartest guy in the world or the strongest, hell I'm surprised he's not dead by now and I bet he would be if not for Buffy" he said

Willow's eyes turned cold as she looked from Buffy to Riley and back again noting Buffy smile a little and nod her head she turned to Riley and kneed him hard in between his legs, Riley let a strangled cry of pain as he slumped to the ground clutching his privates. Buffy turned to scream at Willow but her friend beat her to it

"Xander wouldn't be dead if not for you, if not for him you'd still be dead when the master killed you, he proved his strength that day and he's done more than that, he's saved mine, Tara's and hell everyone's life when he took on that zombie gang on his own because we were to busy with the hell mouth. You don't appreciate all he's done for you and us, if you ever insult him like that again you'll both pay" as Willow finished Buffy noticed her eyes glow red for a few minutes. She watched then as Willow turned and left the shop followed by Tara leaving them all shocked except for Riley who was still rolling around in pain.

Tara watched as her angry girlfriend continued to stalk towards their dorm muttering curses at Buffy and Riley, she could tell that what Riley had said had really angered her but what had made her snap was Buffy's agreement with it. Since she had gotten involved with Willow and her friends she had learned a lot about their history and although they had both become tight with Buffy nothing could compare to the knot between her and Xander, she herself had come to like him very much although she didn't talk to him often because she felt shy about him. She had noticed Buffy's increasing irritation with Xander especially when he got into fights with Vampires and demons, she didn't understand it and for some reason she felt angry at Buffy herself and as she realised that she felt a shiver go down her spine.

Xander walked towards a small motel on the edge of town in a trance, he didn't even notice Oz's van pulling into the Sunnydale petrol station until Oz shouted him over. Still in a trance he walked over to his friend, he noticed Oz was now sporting a small goatee and was wearing a loose shirt and jeans.

"Hey Xand, where you going?" he wondered as Xander came to a halt in front of him

"I'm not to sure really, where have you been?" Xander replied looking around them as if searching for something

"I was searching for a man who was supposed to have gained control over the wolf after he was bitten, I found him and he taught me how to control mine" Oz replied as he paid the garage man for the petrol

"So you heading over to see Willow?" Xander asked

"Yeah, I've got this inkling like I should be here for something" his friend replied with a frown

"I think you'd be right, anyway I'll see you later I gotta go" Xander told him as he began to walk away leaving Oz standing alone still very confused as he got back into his van and headed for the university dorms.

Buffy walked silently next to Angel as they headed for the abandoned factory to see if anything was there, the fact that Angel was walking in the daylight was really unnerving her and the altercation with Willow was also bothering her. But the one thing she didn't like was that Xander was somehow the most important figure in this mystery and for some reason that annoyed her, she didn't know why but every since their senior year in school she had just wished Xander would leave the group. Angel looked down at his former love and sighed it was painful for him to be around her and not be able to kiss her, but he knew in the end it was for the best.

"Angel, do you think you could convince Doyle to tell you what's Xander's part in all of this?" Buffy said finally speaking

"I could try but I doubt he would tell us, anyway what does it matter?" Angel replied, he had always hated Xander and even now that hate was still buried in him, the guy just got on his nerves and there was the fact that he had loved Buffy and most likely still did deep down

"I don't like that he's involved so deeply in this?" Buffy continued as if she hadn't heard Angel's reply

"How come?" he asked a little annoyed that she seemed to be ignoring his presence

"Xander has never been a good fighter, hell he's almost been killed a dozen times and last night he was almost beaten into oblivion. I just think he would have been better if he had never found out I was the slayer" she answered him still refusing to look at him

"I wouldn't suggest you bring that up with Willow or Tara" Angel said wishing she would talk about something else

"I have the right to say it, I'm the slayer" Buffy hissed

"True but Willow is his friend and she cares from him a lot and although I think I'm mad for saying this I have to agree with what Willow said before" Angel replied not believe he was actually backing Xander up. Buffy whirled on the ensouled vampire with any angry glare

"How can you say that, you hate Xander" Buffy seethed

"Maybe, but even I can't say he hasn't helped you in the past Buffy and to do so is just stupid and childish, he has helped you fight the darkness since you came here he brought you back to life and he faced of against Angelus at the hospital when you were sick, I would of killed you or worse turned you that night if he hadn't been there to watch over you" Angel shot back getting a little angry himself

"You never told me about that before" Buffy said

"I…I didn't want to, I thought if I told you then you may of started seeing Xander a little differently" Angel admitted

"Angel lets get this straight I could never in my life find Xander attractive okay, I'd have to crazy to even think it" Buffy told him angrily

"I wouldn't say that either" Angel said

"Who cares" Buffy snapped as she turned and once again headed for the factory, she stopped a few meters from the door and faced Angel again

"What about Tara?" she asked

"What do you mean?" Angel asked

"You said I shouldn't insult Xander in front of Willow or Tara, why Tara why would she defend Xander?" Buffy asked

"First she is Willow's girlfriend, second Xander saved her life and third because I felt some very strong emotions coming off Tara when she asked about him" Angel explained

"She's a lesbian so don't even suggest that she has deeper feelings for Xander, I mean apart from Willow who would?" Buffy asked the vampire who just shook his head as they entered the factory not understanding Buffy's sudden dislike of Xander.

Oz pulled his van into the campus parking lot and smiled as he noticed Willow and Tara entering the main student building, he quickly turned of the ignition and got out and locked the door and headed towards the same building hoping his appearance wouldn't cause a disturbance like it did the last time. As he entered the building he bumped straight into Tara almost knocking the young witch over, she seemed very surprised by his appearance and he couldn't blame her really

"O…o. Oz" she stammed

"Hey Tara" he said with a small smile

"Wh.what are you doing here?" she asked

"I need to speak to Willow and Buffy, you see I've been getting this weird feeling like something big is going down" he explained knowing Tara knew about Buffy been the slayer "And the fact that I just saw Xander acting really strange and out of it confirmed my suspicions" he added

As soon as Tara heard Oz mention Xander she felt her heart rate increase for reasons she couldn't understand, every since she had met Xander she had felt something about him something she had never felt for any other guy and it seemed to be getting stronger and that scared her. She suddenly noticed Oz watching her and fought to keep herself from blushing

"Willow is just sorting one her courses out, she should be here soon" Tara informed him

"Great, I'll be waiting in my van just out there" he said pointing to the van outside "Can you make sure once she's done she see me it's important I now it is" he added

"Sure" Tara replied watching Oz as he left

Xander headed straight for the park where he had met Rachel the night before still having no clue has to why he was walking there, his mind was filled with troubling images and noises he couldn't understand. As he entered the park he began to get the feeling someone was watching him and he began looking over his shoulder but he couldn't see anyone as he turned to continue heading into the park someone appeared in front of him. He raised his hands in a defensive posture not knowing where the knowledge to do such a thing came from when he noticed the person was Rachel herself, she was smiling at him and he could tell from the look in her eyes that she had expected him to be ready for some sort of attack. He took note that she was now dressed in tight black pants and loose strapless top and she reminded him of the clothes Buffy wore when she was training however as soon as the thought of Buffy came to him he pushed it away his anger at her still fresh in his memory.

"I see it has already started," she said as he let his arms drop to his side

"What's started?" Xander asked a little tremor running through his voice

"Roberts memories are beginning to surface however your mind cannot make sense out of them yet, I take it your mind is filled with sounds and images?" she replied

Xander just nodded becoming wary of Rachel knowing exactly what was happening to him, and although she had been a friend to Robert he found it hard to believe he would of known what would happen to his descendant.

"How do you know that? I doubt even Robert would of known," he inquired

"Robert visited a seer so he would exactly what would happen, I guess he was lucky as he knew the most powerful list seer ever Sara Rosenberg" Rachel told him

"Ro…Rosenberg" Xander said in surprise "You mean," he said trying to get the words out

"Yes as in Willow Rosenberg's great ancestor, I know you have leaned from that vampire about yours, Buffy's and Tara's ancestors been involved but only I and the dark force you will face know the entire story and who was involved" Rachel informed him

Xander was floored this was getting totally out of control, first he finds out he had a great ancestor who was a wizard and that he was friends with his best friends girlfriend's ancestor and Buffy's and now he learns that he also knew Willow's ancestor who was a powerful seer, he began to feel a little dizzy and quickly waked over to a bench and sat down, he barely noticed Rachel sitting down as well

"I know it's a lot to take in Alex but everything I have said is true and you must be prepared or we are all doomed" she told him gently placing her hand on his shoulder

"I believe you Rachel, I'm just having a hard time dealing with all the new information" he replied giving her a warm smile which she returned

"I'm afraid they get worse a lot worse before this fight is finished, now we must start your training" she answered her smile vanishing

"Huh! What training?" he asked a little fear creeping into his voice

"I am going to train you in hand to hand combat and weapons, also I will teach you to use you latent magical skills" she answered standing up

"Latent skills?" he questioned

"Well I guess they are not really latent skills, they're the skills of Robert which have been in a sense transferred to you by the PTB" she explained

"Did Robert work for the Powers?" Xander suddenly asked

"Yes he did and they are the ones who are giving you Robert's memories and skills" she answered

"Now come we have a lot to do" she said holding out her hand to him, Xander looked at her for a few minutes and then firmly took her hand and aloud her to lead him away.

Giles sighed as he read one of the books Spike had brought him, he removed his glasses and rubbed his nose and eyes, he was tired and not just from all the reading he had been doing he was worried what all of this meant and how it would change the lives of his friends especially his slayers. He had been troubled with Buffy's actions as of late including her irritation with Xander, which to him didn't make sense, and now that irritation was causing friction with Willow and he could sense Tara had been upset as well and then there was Riley as well. If it got any worse and they started fighting each other then it was a very good bet they wouldn't survive what was to come and that bothered him greatly.

He stood and made his way to the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea careful as not to make to much noise as Cordelia had fallen asleep during the last hour. Wesley, Fred and Gunn had gone out to meet a source Wesley had contacted and Riley had gone to Willy's. Doyle had gone to talk to someone he believed would be very helpful although he wouldn't say whom that person was and Spike had gone to get himself some blood. He quickly made himself his tea and sat back down and tried to concentrate on the book he had been reading when a noise to his left made him jump and turn around to find his old friend and nemesis Ethan Rayne standing in his doorway with Wesley and the others behind him

"What is this, what is he doing here?" Giles said walking over to them

"We found him sneaking around near your house so we thought you'd wanna talk to him" Wesley answered pushing Ethan forward into the shop

"I see, put him over there near the counter and keep an eye on him, we'll wait until Buffy and Angel get back" Giles said in obvious anger at seeing Ethan again

"Not happy to see me Ripper" Ethan said with a cold smile

"No I'm not now shut up," Giles said trying to keep his voice down and his anger bottled up

"What a shame, I do have some information that could be helpful to you" Ethan shrugged knowing he was angering Giles

"And what would that be?" Gunn asked him stepping towards the chaos mage

"That is between me and Rupert" Ethan shot back

Gunn quickly moved forward and grabbed Ethan by his shirt and threw him against the counter and followed it up but grabbing a knife he carried in his jacket and placing it at Ethan's throat "Tell us what you know now or so help me I'll make you wish you were dead," Gunn threatened him, Ethan instead of fearing for his life just smiled at the angry man in front of him and turned to Giles

"Please call off your dog Rupert" he said, this angered Gunn even more and he quickly brought his knee up into Ethan's chest winding him and then brought his foot up again and kicked him in the face knocking the mage out cold.

"Was that really necessary Gunn?" Fred asked her friend

"Yeah" Gunn replied placing his knife back into his jacket

"We'd better tie him up, will you place him that chair whilst I go and find some rope" Giles said as he headed into the back of the magic shop

"No problem" Gunn grunted "Wes give us a hand" he said Wesley nodded and helped Gunn place the unconscious mage onto one of the chairs as Giles returned and tied him to the chair making sure the rope was tight. As he looked towards where Cordelia was he was amazed to find the girl still asleep.

Buffy spun around as her slayer senses went off and she scanned the higher levels of the factory as she noticed Angel take up a defensive posture as well, as she looked around two figures quickly jumped off one of the platforms and knocked her over, she rolled with one of her attackers and same up into a crouching position to see the other attacker engaged in a fight with Angel. She stood and removed one of the stakes from her pocket and faced her own opponent and she was relived to find it was a vampire, although this one seemed different to most she had encountered. The vampire had a black tattoo down his left cheek which looked like a wolf and his eyes seemed to glow green, she also noticed he had metal claws attached to his hands, she backed off a bit and quickly looked over her shoulder to see Angel down on one knee with multiple cuts on his arms and chest. As she faced the vamp again it jumped towards her and brought one his claws down in a sweeping motion, she just managed to step back into time before it cut into her chest but she wasn't fast enough to stop it's other claw from cutting into her ankle, she jumped back only to be hit from behind by a third vamp. She pushed herself to her feet and moved back into a corner facing the two vamps and was soon joined by Angel who was badly beaten.

"Any ideas?" she asked

"We can't fight them, they're to fast it's like they have some kind of power flowing through them" Angel replied

Before she could answer Spike appeared behind the first Vamp Angel had been fighting and staked it and smiled as it turned to dust and then quickly jumped towards the other two. Buffy and Angel also made towards the remaining two vamps but before they reached them the two vamps shouted something and then vanished leaving Buffy and the two vamps stunned

"What the hell" Spike shouted

"Lets get out of here now" Buffy said

Before either of the vamps could answer the two vamps they had been fighting reappeared and charged them knocking them all to the ground. Spike was the first to his feet and spun kicking the first of the two vamps in the chest and then bringing his other knee up into it's face knocking it over, before he could follow up thought he second vamp grabbed an iron bar and slammed it into Spike's back

"Bloody Hell" Spike gasped as he fell to the floor

Buffy quickly got to her feet and grabbed another stake and jumped at the first vamp as it go up and rammed her stake into it's chest but as she did the vamp managed to turn and buy one it's claws into her lower arm, she cried out as the vamp turned to dust and fell to her knee's as Angel managed to stake the third vamp whilst it was trying to main Spike with the iron bar.

"Come on Spike we need to get Buffy to the magic shop now" Angel said as he helped Buffy to her feet and headed for the exit followed by Spike who had lit up one his cigs.

Willow walked out of the classroom she had been in and walked to where Tara was standing, she noticed Tara was talking to tall brunette who was wearing a tight mini skirt and a loose shirt she had seen around the campus. As she approached the brunette noticed her and nodded in her direction Tara turned and smiled at her, just as she came to a stop next to her girlfriend she caught the brunette checking her out, her blue eyes seemed to look straight through her she fought to stop herself from blushing.

"Hey Tara" she said

"Hey, th.this is Jill" her girlfriend replied indicating the brunette who smiled at her

"Hi Jill nice to meet you" Willow said with a smile

"Same here, I've gotta get to chemistry but I'll see you guys later" Jill replied with a smile as she turned and walked away

"What did she mean by that?" Willow asked confused

"Oh I.I.I said we'd meet her at the student bar later on" Tara told her "Oh I almost forgot Oz is here" she added nervously

"Oz, where?" Willow almost demanded her eyes wide in surprise

"He said he'd wait out in his van" Tara said indicating the blue ford van just visible through the doors, Willow seemed anguish and excited at the same time. She slowly made her way outside towards the van with Tara close behind. Oz watched as Willow and Tara made their way towards him and he silently got out of the van and smiled and Willow came to a stop just a few meters away.

"Hey" he smiled uneasily worried Willow may feel uncomfortable with his presence

"Oz" she replied giving him a quick hug "Why are you here?" she asked as she let go

"I got the feeling something bad was going to happen around here and so I came, I bumped into Xander down near the patrol station and he was acting kind of weird and it seemed to confirm my suspicions" he explain to his ex lover

"You may be right, something bad is coming, you better come with us to the magic shop" she told him

"I'll give you a ride come on get in" he smiled at them as he opened the side door for them,

Willow smiled back and quickly got into the van, Tara followed but stayed quite still remembering the last time she had met Oz.

Xander closed his eyes as Rachel had instructed and tried to concentrate on the images that were flowing through his mind, all he could see was a tall man with a beard and black hair shouting something to a women who was in the mists of some kind of battle the man then raised his hand and a blue light struck out towards the figures that were attacking the women, they seemed to be vampires but they were different they had glowing green eyes and metal claws attached to their hands and some kind of tattoo. He felt a shiver run down his spine as the girl staked one of them and then was sent flying into a near by wall by a ball of orange flame, he watched as a tall shadow seemed to appeared from no where and just as he saw a glint of white his eyes snapped open. He found Rachel watching him from a chair with a grim look.

"What did you see Alex?" she asked

"A man with black hair and a beard shouting to a women, I think she had brownish hair and she was fighting some weird kind of vampire" he replied

"Those Vampire are the followers of an old one called Valnon told him

"Old one?" Xander asked confused although the name seemed familiar to him

"The old ones were the creature who used to roam the world before humans came to inhabit it, a few of them managed to hide away and not get driven through the portal that banished them from this world" she explained

"What about the green eyes and tattoos on the vampires?" he asked

"They mark all of Valnon's followers, they are different from most vampires you may have in counted, they have been blessed with powers beyond that of the normal vampires by Valnon" she answered standing up and walking to the window

"Who was the girl? The one fighting them?" Xander asked joining her at the window

"Her name was Jenna, she was the slayer at the time" Rachel said facing him

"You mean she was Buffy's ancestor?" Xander asked again still having a hard time dealing with all the information he had been given, he nodded and started at the window contemplating the meaning of what could happen.

Giles watched with unease as Angel and Spike helped Buffy into one of the chairs, she had a deep laceration in her ankle and a cut down her shoulder although she didn't seem to notice it, he quickly went and got the first aid box and began to tend to Buffy's injuries, as he did the door to the magic shop opened again revealing Willow and Tara followed surprisingly by Oz. He didn't know why he was back but he was sure it might have had something to do with what they were facing. Night seemed to fall quickly as Xander made his way towards the magic shop along with Rachel; he had managed to convince her to tell all she knew to Giles and the others so it would help them deal with the coming threat. As they came close to the shop three vampires jumped out of the brushes and Xander quickly noticed they each had green eyes and metal claws, once again he dropped into a defensive position as did Rachel and both pulled a stake out.

"Be careful Alex, these vamps are fast and can easily out fight us," Rachel cautioned him

"Any suggestions?" he asked

"Try and send a warning to Tara" Rachel shot back as the vampires closed in

"How?" he asked stunned "And why Tara?" he added

"She will pick it up believe me, as to how just concentrate on her and ask for help" she answered as she took a few steps back, Xander followed her and closed his eyes and brought up an image of Tara, he was surprised to find it come to him so easily and he quickly sent the cry for help and their location. He didn't know if it worked as he sensed one of the vampires close in on him, his eyes snapped open and he just barley managed to side step the vamps attack. As he turned to engage the vamp he hoped Tara had received his cry.

Tara sat and listened as Buffy described the vampires that had attacked her and Angel and the image she created of these vamps sent a shiver down her spine, Ethan had refused to tell them anything so far even with Angel's friend Gunn threatening him. Doyle had not returned as of yet and she could sense that Angel and Cordelia were worried about him and she couldn't blame them, Willow herself was full of worry for Xander who no one had seen since this morning when he seemed to be controlled by something or someone and she could also sense some concern about Oz's reappearance.

"Green eyes, a tattoo of a wolf and metal claws attached to their hands, hmmm I don't seem to recall any vampires like that" Giles mused as he stood and walked to the counter

"So I guess this means more research right Giles?" Cordelia said dismally

"Of course" Giles replied absently not noticing Cordelia's frown

"Is there anything else you remember about these Vampires?" Wesley asked

"They seemed faster, more powerful than any vampire before and they could turn invisible man that was creepy," Buffy said with a grimace

"I've never heard of anything like that," Spike said from the stairs

"What about you Angel?" Oz asked speaking for first time since everyone had questioned him about his return

"I don't recall hearing anything about Vampires like these" he answered

"So we finally encounter something new, how lucky for us," Buffy said full of false optimism

Tara was about to speak when from out of nowhere she thought she heard a voice cry out for help and an image of the park, suddenly the voice became clear it was Xander's and he was in trouble. Fear began to run through her in waves at the thought of Xander dieing. She quickly stood up and walked towards the door, only tuning to the others when she realised what she thought of doing.

"Tara?" Willow asked confused

"It. it's Xander he's in trouble," she told them all

"How do you know that?" Giles asked

"I. I'm not sure but I heard him cry for help, we have to go and help him" she replied catching Buffy's frown

"Do you know where he is?" Willow asked walking towards her girlfriend

"He's at the park, there's a woman there with him" Tara answered

"What woman?" Buffy asked standing up

"I don't know" Tara said

"Enough lets go now," Giles said grabbing an axe from a cabinet in the corner

Tara quickly opened the door and headed towards the park with half the group in tow, Gunn and Wesley had decided to stay behind and watch Ethan.

Xander hit the ground hard as the vampire he had been fighting kicked him in the gut and the elbowed him across the jaw, the pain he felt was incredible but he managed to push himself to his feet and turn to fight again instead he was knocked to the ground again as the third vampire hit him in the side. He rolled away with everything thing he had left and stood next to a very weakened Rachel, they were both exsusted and running on empty just as the vamps closed in on them a stake was thrown into the third vamp and it quickly turned to dust, they watched as Buffy stepped into view Along with Tara, Willow, Giles, Spike, Cordelia, Angel and Oz each had a weapon and they quickly attacked the remaining vamps. Tara was sent flying against a headstone by the first vamp as she tried to stake it but as it turned to face Willow Giles swung his axe carving his head clean off and watched in smug satisfaction as it turned to dust. Buffy and Angel made quick work of the last vamp and made their way other to the others, Xander helped Tara to her feet luckily her head hadn't hit the headstone too hard

"You okay?" he asked with concern

"Yeah" she replied avoiding his eyes as Willow and Oz came to her side

"Glad you could make it, we were almost done" he said to Giles as he approached

"Yes you did look kind of as you say knackered" Giles replied with a smile

"So you wanna tell us why you walking in the park at night with some stranger waiting to get jumped?" Buffy almost yelled at him

Xander sighed and faced the angry slayer, a little of his own anger and annoyance at Buffy began to surface again

"Not here no" he replied as Rachel came up to his side, Buffy glared at the woman who just ignored her

"I think we'd better get back to the magic box" Angel suggested

"Yes I agree let's go," Giles said

Buffy agreed and slowly led the rest of them back to Giles's shop, as they entered they noticed Riley and Doyle had returned from where they had been, Riley didn't smile as he noticed Willow or Xander enter and frowned when he saw Rachel enter

"Who's the girl?" he inquired

"Her name" Xander said heatedly "Is Rachel" he finished a little anger pushing through

"So why are you hanging around with her?" Gunn asked from behind them

"Rachel was a friend of Robert Harris my ancestor" Xander explained as he sat next to Willow, Rachel followed ignoring the cold glares Buffy and Riley were giving her

"But how is that possible?" Giles asked in shock

"Robert placed an immortality spell on her" Xander answered

"My god, I thought the immortality spell was only a myth," Wesley said

"Robert found the spell in an old castle that once belonged to a warrior priest called Dag'amor, he hid it once he had used the spell on me" Rachel told them all

"Why did he use it anyway, why make sure you'd be immortal" Giles asked

"He wanted someone he trusted to be here to guide Xander and the others involved, someone who would have the answers they needed to complete the prophecy he had created to end the fight and destroy the dark one" she answered

"Who or what is the dark one?" Tara asked fearfully

"The dark one is called Valnon as to what he is he is an old one" as soon as the words left her the faces of Angel, Spike, Giles and Wesley paled like never before

"That's impossible" Giles exclaimed

"They were all killed or driven into hell," Angel added

"No, some managed to hide away and escape the cleansing," she informed them

"We are in the shit now" Spike muttered

The room went deafly silent as the prospect that they faced something more powerful than ever before chilled them to the bone, although some of them didn't know exactly what an old one was they could guess that it wasn't something good.

Buffy turned a cold eye towards where Ethan was still tied to a chair and then looked towards Giles and caught his gaze and indicated the chaos mage, Giles sighed and walked over to his former friend

"Ethan, how about telling us what you know?" he said sitting across from him

"Oh you'd like that wouldn't you Rupert, get me to connect the dots from a to b to c. Unfortunaly I don't think I'll be that helpful this time" Ethan said with a smile

"Listen to me very carefully you son of a bitch you are gonna spill yours guts now or I am personally gonna rip your throat out" Buffy shouted her anger shooting right through her causing Ethan to cringe

"Buffy take it easy" Xander said from near the window, Buffy whirled on Xander fixing him with a murderous glare

"You shut up right now, you are not in charge here got it, you are a weakling and an idiot who thinks he's big" Buffy hissed forgetting Willow's and Angel's warnings, however it wasn't Willow who sent Buffy flying into one of the walls with her magic it was Tara. As soon as Buffy had said the word weakling her anger had suddenly consumed her and she unleashed a powerful blast of energy before Willow could even think to act. Buffy slowly pushed herself to her feet and stared at Tara in amazement and shock

"Maybe you should be the one who shuts up Buffy, you are not the only one here who is in danger, Xander risks his life just like the rest of us because we want to help you we have a choice weather to fight the darkness or not, we could all leave right now, but you can't you don't have a choice you have to stay, so maybe you should really take a look at your friends and show them the damn respect they deserve" Tara yelled at her and then turned and stormed off through the door and into the night, Willow gave Buffy an evil glare before she stood and ran after her girlfriend with a frown leaving everyone stunned especially Buffy. Ethan smiled as everyone war staring at the door still in shock at Tara's outburst

"Well it's nice to see that some of your little group has some ménage in them Rupert" he said laughing slightly and before anyone could act Giles turned and slammed his fist straight into Ethan's face knocking him unconscious and busting his nose.

"This is not helping the situation," Wesley murmured

"No and if it continues you will all die" Rachel added standing up and walking towards the door,

"Lets go Alex, we still have much to do" she said, Xander didn't bother looking at anyone and left with Rachel. Buffy looked at the door for a few minutes and then said

"Good ridings" with a cold glare

"Buffy will you please be quite and stop this bitter animosity you seem to have in you" Giles all but yelled at her causing Buffy to jump.

Willow walked into her's and Tara's dorm room still somewhat confused by Tara's outburst, she thought most of it was because of what had happened this morning with her snapping at Buffy and Riley for making Xander sound weak and for not appreciating all his help he had given to Buffy, and yet some part of her couldn't help but thing that there could be something else involved.

Tara was sitting a her desk staring at the wall and Willow easily noticed her eyes flashing red, she wondered what Tara was thinking about, she went and sat on her bed and turned on the radio on a low volume and watched Tara. Tara barely noticed Willow enter the dorm and sit on the bed, her anger was still flowing through her, she had only felt this way once before and that was when her family had tried to force her to leave with them however this anger was more powerful and ran deeper within her soul, she didn't know why and it scared her. She turned and walked over to her bed and lay down trying to ignore Willow's intense gaze but she couldn't she turned and looked deep into Willow's eyes and smiled at her, Willow returned the smile and joined Tara on her bed and embraced her and soon they both fell asleep in each others arms.

As the night wore on though Tara's dreams were invaded by images of blood and death, and of Xander and her together in some other life, lovers in a distant time fighting the darkness trying to keep the light shining. She saw many people die faces she couldn't recognise and yet their deaths seem to make her feel she had lost everything. She woke screaming as she witnessed Xander's death at the hands of a creature so horrid it caused her to rush to the toilet and be sick. Willow woke a few seconds later after hearing the scream, and watched in confusion as Tara was sick and then as she returned she noticed Tara's scared and horrified gaze which sent a shiver through her very soul.

Riley woke feeling tired and sluggish from the near all nighter they had pulled last night, they had tried many methods to get Ethan to talk after he had woken up from Giles's punch, but he had refused to tell them anything until eventually Giles had become so angry his ripper persona had come to the fore and he had beaten Ethan badly until Angel and Spike had intervened although both had gotten decked by Giles and it had taken him a while to carm down and get his anger in check. Wesley had been told to clear Ethan up and once they had the mage had told them all he had known. Which wasn't much, according to Ethan Valnon had been recruiting certain demons and vampires to help him, his own followers were been sent out to find certain artefacts and other possible allies, and a few had been sent to keep their enemies off guard. This had disturbed Angel and Spike more than the others for if they had still been evil it was obvious they would have been part of his army and it was still possible that some of Valnon's followers may come to recruit them.

He quickly got up and had a shower and dressed and headed towards Buffy's house, he was somewhat uncertain what Buffy was thinking about since all this had begun, all he knew was that with Angel here anything could happen. As for this disagreement with Willow and Tara over Xander he didn't understand it, in his view Xander was the weakest member of the group, he couldn't fight to save his life, and he was also pretty dumb in Riley's view. If not for Buffy Riley believed Xander would be long dead and he could tell Buffy believed this too and yet Willow and Tara had bluntly told them that Buffy and the rest of them would have died without Xander been a part of the team.

He shook his head in confusion as he knocked on Buffy's door why were they so protective of Xander especially Tara. She hadn't known Xander for long and really he couldn't understand why anyone really liked him, he was annoying in Riley's view. Buffy opened the door and allowed her boyfriend to enter, she didn't bother to smile at him or even look at him, she was too angry at Xander, Willow, Tara and Giles, although they were a part of her that didn't know why she was mad at them especially Xander.

"We have to get to the magic shop as soon as possible Riley" she told him as she pulled on her leather jacket

"Yeah sure, I don't suppose I can convince to let me call Graham and get his team over here to help from what we know we can use all the help we can get. Hell this is shaping up into a war?" Riley asked

"Not yet, call Graham and tell him we may need his help, but don't tell him to come just yet okay" Buffy responded

"Fine" he said as he pulled out his mobile phone and began to punch in Graham's number as they left the house.

Just on the outskirts of Sunnydale a man stood watching the horizon with interest the people move around with no knowledge of the war that was been thought, he smiled and shook his head in wonder, 'why was it so hard for them to see the truth' he thought as he turned and allowed his wings to span and he took of into the sky.

Xander spun into a wheel kick which Rachel quickly ducked and swept him of his feet with a sick of her own to the back his right leg, he remained on the floor for a few minutes until he finally got to his feet and faced a grinning Rachel

"Still not fast enough Alex, you must learn to combine your speed and skill together and you must do it fast," she told him

"I know, it's just not easy" he replied as he readied himself to go again

"Stop thinking like that, you most only think about succeeding" Rachel chided him

"Yeah yeah" he smiled

"Okay, now listen as I come in to attack I want you to try and use you magical skill to attack, I know we haven't concentrated on that part much but just try it okay?" she instructed him

Xander nodded and waited as Rachel got herself into position, as he waited a stray vision of a woman entered his head and for a second he thought the woman looked like Tara, suddenly he noticed Rachel come at him with very fast kick he jumped back and tried to focus his mind. As he did a bright ball of light began to glow in front of him and he sent it towards Rachel, she smiled and suddenly ducked and rolled back and suddenly a red ball of light formed near her and sent it towards the ball Xander had created as they collided a wind seemed to sweep through the room which knocked Xander of his feet

"Ow" he grunted as Rachel stood over him with a snide grin

"What was that?" he asked

"You created a ball of magic, formed it however mine was stronger as I have my knowledge and practice and it overwhelmed yours and because you were the sender the destruction of your ball was like if I hit you in the stomach" she told him as she helped him up

"So because I created the ball and it was beaten by yours the impact was like a blow to the face right?" he asked

"Close enough yes" she nodded happy that he was beginning to gain some understanding

As they talked a shadow moved slowly in the darkened corner of the room, it watched the two work together and smiled 'if the woman could teach the boy fast enough it was possible they may get a head start in the coming battle' the being smiled again knowing it's own skill with magic was ten times as powerful as these two but he couldn't intervene or help them prepare any faster and yet it wanted too, as it turned and began disappear a stray beam of light caught the tip of it's back showing a gold white wing but neither Xander or Rachel noticed as they prepared to continue their training session.

Giles yawned as the door to his shop opened revealing Buffy and Riley, Riley looked confused whilst Buffy seemed ready to explode. He shook his head he still couldn't understand why Buffy was suddenly having arguments with her friends and it irritated him that he didn't understand, Angel watched from the counter and kept silent and Giles noted he was avoiding looking at Buffy. He and his team had stayed at the magic shop and had each took a turn at keeping watch on Ethan who was still tied to his chair and was still looking quite petrified every time Giles came near him. His out burst had shaken him badly he had vowed never to let his ripper persona take control again and he had failed, he wondered if a time would come when he would loose total control a shiver ran down his spine and he moved on to different things. The door opened again and Oz entered followed by two very disturbed looking Witches, Tara was shaking badly and looked like she had been crying and Willow looked like she had received the worst news of her life she also looked she had been crying.

"Willow, Tara what's wrong?" Cordelia asked

"Tara had a. A dream" Willow said sinking into a chair as Tara stood near the window

"Not. Not a dream a vision" Tara corrected her still shaking

"Of what?" Buffy demanded

"Of Xander's death" Willow answered braking into tears again just as the door opened and Xander and Rachel came in, Xander froze as he heard Willow's answer and Rachel tensed, the whole room went deathly still.

Buffy heard the words echo in her mind as she stared at Willow, then Tara and finally Xander who was still frozen to his spot near the door, the look on his face totally unreadable as for the woman next to him Rachel she looked scared stiff at the answer, she didn't like Rachel because Buffy didn't know what Rachel's true intentions were. A part of her was afraid of the answer she didn't want Xander to die, and yet another part of her didn't care one bit and she didn't understand it.

"Xander?" Giles asked the young man but Xander didn't respond and Giles couldn't blame him not in the least, but he was having a hard time excepting Tara had had a true vision. Before he could speak again Wesley beat him to it

"I thought only Slayers get visions?" he said sounding like his old self the watcher he had been before teaming up with Angel

"That's a load of nonsense" Doyle said "A lot of people can have visions, especially those involved in witchcraft," he added

"The question is, is it a reliable vision?" Angel asked "I mean if Xander was in danger don't you think Cordy would have been given a vision from the Powers?" he added

"I don't think she would Angel" Whistler replied appearing next to Tara who didn't even flinch when she heard him

"Why not?" Gunn asked "Because Xander has nothing to do with the powers, neither does his ancestor or his friends" Whistler answered

"But Doyle got a vision when Buffy was in danger?" Angel said off balance

"Because the powers look out for her, she's different from most slayers. But the rest of her group has nothing to do with them, they have to do with Xander's ancestor and his fight" he replied

"Why, what was so different about his fight than the one we fight for the powers and Buffy's?" Angel asked again

"Well I'll answer that one when you get the kids inside and in a state ready to listen, I think they're a little too shocked right now" the demon told them smiling

Totally forgetting the state Xander, Willow, Tara and Rachel were in Giles, Angel and Wesley quickly began trying to them to move to the table and sit down where they could try and get their thoughts together.

Jill sat quietly at the student bar waiting for Tara and Willow to show, so far they hadn't turned up or phoned her and she was beginning to wonder where they were, she noticed two of her friends Nikki and her girlfriend Katy walking towards her she smiled as they sat down. She had told them she was meeting Tara and Willow and they had wanted to meet them as well, each of them was interested in witchcraft and they knew Willow and Tara were the best people to talk to about it, however Jill had two other motives for wanting to get to know Willow and Tara, one she was attracted to them both and two because she needed to start getting them to remember their past lives. She knew Rachel was here somewhere most likely with Robert's descendant Xander and she wondered how far she had gotten. Rachel had told her to stay away but she couldn't she was a part of this as well, Rachel was her mother and Robert had been her father and she had only revealed that she to had been made immortal on the day Xander had been born. She sighed and hoped the two witches would show soon.

Xander's stared at the wall for what most of been the tenth time and still his mind couldn't seem to come to terms with what Tara had seen in her vision his death, he looked at the blond witch for a few minutes and then turned away she looked terrible and so did Willow. Buffy seemed ready to argue something but for now she was keeping quite, but Rachel disturbed him the most she seemed totally shaken by Tara's vision and he wondered if his death would have a long lasting affect which in the end would cause their defeat.

Giles was worried about Xander's continued silence he could understand the boy been off balance or upset at hearing he could be dead within a few days but he needed their attention so Whistler would continue with their information, information that might help them come up with a plan.

"Xander?" he said sitting in front of the boy

Xander barley heard Giles speak his mind was still to stunned to send coherent thoughts, he slowly met the stare of the older man

"Xander I need you to pull yourself together long enough for Whistler to tell us what he knows okay" he said as firm as he could trying to get Xander to focus on the threat they faced and not his impending doom.

"I'll" Xander hesitated for a few seconds until from some where deep inside he found the reserve strength to focus "I'll try Giles" he said nodding

"Good, Tara, Willow can you try concentrate please as well" he said to the two distraught girls who both nodded

"Rachel?" he asked

"Go ahead I'm listening" she said

Whistler watched all this with interest, he knew a lot more than they did about the entire situation but he couldn't tell them everything no matter how much he wanted to, he shook his head and stepped forward as everyone turned to listen to him

"There are many wars been fought against the darkness and not all of them are connected, some were guided by the powers, some by the council of watchers and then they were others" he told them "Some were people who found out about the war by accident and wanted to help but they were those who knew about it from a more powerful source" he added

"What source?" Wesley asked

"The higher power of course, but that's all I can say about it" he answered, "Robert and his lover were raised from birth to fight the darkness" he told them

"His lover?" Xander questioned

"Her name was Karan, she was best friends with the greatest seer known at the time, her name was Sara Rosenberg" he ignored the stunned looks and continued "Now Rachel most likely told you Xander that Robert worked for the powers and in a sense he did however his mission against the darkness was given to him by the higher power and they were his master not the powers and only he, Karan and the higher ups knew that"

"Did this Kara have any descendants, I mean I am Roberts descendant, Willow is Sara's and Buffy's is Jenna's?" Xander said missing Buffy's angry glare when he mentioned her ancestor

"Yes Karan had a descendant," Whistler said

"Who is it then?" Willow demanded

"Me" Tara spoke before Whistler could reply and everyone turned to stare at her in total shock especially Willow. The room was so quite that no one dared move except for the shadow in the corner where something watched.

The shadow quickly left the shop where the slayer and her friends were discussing their plans and headed towards the former Initiative caves, where three vampires waited. Each vampire had the same tattoo and green eyes and the metal claws that marked them as Valnon's followers.

"So what are they doing?" the tallest of the vampires commanded

"They are learning about the past, they have not made any plans to fight us yet" the shadow replied

"I would think that would be their first task" the smallest of the vampires said

"From what we have learned from other vampires and demons who have either fought the slayer or had friends who have been killed by the slayer, she likes to get the background of the force she is fighting first" the third vampire added

"Which gives her an edge sometimes, plus she has the help of Angelus and William the bloody" the first said in anger

"And the rest of her friends, who have now turned out to be decadents of our masters greatest enemy" the second added

"What do you want me to do?" the shadow asked

"Return and watch them closely Fal'car" the first commanded

"As you command" the shadow answered and then turned and left the cave not noticing the winged being watching from above

'I knew someone was watching them' the being though 'I must warn them somehow without exposing myself' it decided as ht followed the shadow

Back at the magic shop Willow was still reeling from the news that Tara's ancestor had been the lover of Xander's ancestor, the very notion of it made her feel sick almost as much as the news that Xander might die.

Xander noticed Buffy's glare and knowing they had better get this over with stood and faced her and sighed as he spoke

"You have something to say Buffy?" he asked bracing himself for her attack

"You bet I have something to say, I wanna know why you didn't tell us, tell me that you knew who our ancestors were, and their connection to all this" she seethed

"I only found out a couple of hours ago and when I was coming here to let you know the first thing I heard was of my impending doom, I know you didn't take the news well when you were gonna die so why should I act any differently" he answered back trying to stay carm, as soon as he mentioned that Buffy suddenly felt her anger boil over and stalked towards Xander with murder in her eyes but she was intercepted by Spike and Gunn

"Carm down slayer, we're all in this together," Spike told her

"We need everyone here to even attempt to win" Gunn added

"I'm afraid you're going to need more than this, I suggest you call you friend and his army team" Whistler told them "Also someone is going to have to bust Faith out of jail and bring her here as well" he added

"Faith?" Willow asked hesitantly momentarily forgetting about Tara's revelation

"Yes, having two slayers in the fight will be very helpful" he said with a smile

"But she's a murderer" Willow protested

"No, she lost her way for a bit, she's back on the right path now, she accepted that and allowed herself to be punished for her mistake, we can trust her" Angel said with confidence

"I'll go" Xander told them

"You'll need help and a van, I'll go with you, I know L.A anyway," Oz said with a smile

"You better hurry, leave now the sooner you get back the better but be careful" Whistler warmed them

"No problem" Xander said as he headed for the door

"Xander, practice what I've tough you so far especially the mental aspects" Rachel told him

"I will," he told her with a warm smile as he stepped outside followed by Oz.

"Well you gonna call your friends or do you want to wait and get annihilated?" Whistler asked Riley

"Oh sorry, I'll call them now" Riley replied pulling his cell phone from his pocket as Buffy entered the training room.

"Two of the slayer's friends have left the shop and have left town" a vampire reported to another, however this vampire was different he had the same green eyes and tattoo and the claws but he also carried a big sword on his back and on his chest was a metal plate which bore a tattoo of a demon bore in the blood of a slayer

"Send Malick and seven others to follow them, have them attack them just as they head back to Sunnydale," the huge vampire said

"Yes my lord" the vampire said bowing as he left a shadow appeared behind the vampire

"Send Halnar and his demon assassins as well, they must not make it back to Sunnydale is that understood Rizial"

"Yes M'lord" Rizial responded leaving to carrying out his orders leaving the shadow to itself.

The van raced towards L.A as fast as possible neither occupant noticed the black ford with the black painted windows following them, Oz had taken everything that happened in the last few days well, he had sensed he was needed and he had been right but he could tell the others weren't handling it as easily as he was. He glanced over at Xander and noticed the dark frown on his face; he guessed he was still angry from his confrontation with Buffy

"You okay Xander?" he asked breaking the silence

"Not really, these last few days have been really hectic, Tara has visions of my death, plus mine and her ancestors were lovers witch didn't please Willow I could tell. Plus this increasing problem with Buffy I don't know what it is but it's getting worse and finally I have to somehow accept the memories of my dead ancestor and use his skills to learn magic and fighting skills to save the world" Xander replied staring out the window

"Guess it can't be easy learning all this in such a sort space of time" Oz mused

"You should count yourself lucky you don't have some ancestor involved in all of this" Xander said

"Yeah guess so" Oz nodded

"So how are we gonna bust Faith out of the jail?" Xander asked

Oz just shrugged his shoulder and Xander could tell he was still thinking about how to get the rogue slayer out of her cell, he to had a couple of ideas but he didn't know if they would work and they was the problem of how Faith would react when they made their move. He leaned back into his seat and closed his eyes and began concentrating on what Rachel had begun teaching him.

Giles noticed Ethan had finally come round from the beating he had received an hour ago from Gunn thanks to Ethan's snide remarks; he could tell Gunn didn't have a lot of control over his temper. He noticed Ethan look around and then breath a sigh of relief when he noticed Gunn was not in the shop, he walked over to his former friend and forced him to drink some water, he wasn't gonna take the risk of untying him. He then returned to the table to do some more research. He was having difficulty finding anything on Valnon or his followers, he could only guess at what sort of demons he had summoned to aid him in his fight. Willow had taken Tara back to their dorm room as she was still shaken by her vision and the information she had learned about her ancestor, Willow seemed confused but her concern for Tara kept her from asking any questions. Buffy had gone into the training room just after Xander and Oz had left, she had locked the door so he guessed she wanted some privacy which everyone respected.

"Any luck finding stuff on this demon Giles?" Riley asked breaking his chain of thoughts

"I'm afraid not, the only thing I've found was a slight reference to his rising how he commanded the biggest army of vampires and demons ever seen and that he was defeated by some great warrior and his own army. But it doesn't say anything about the warrior" Giles replied removing his glasses and rubbing his nose

"That's not gonna help us very much" Riley said with a frown

"No it isn't but we still have time to find things on him and his followers, when will your friends arrive?" Giles retorted

"They're flying in from Mexico so it will take them at least four to five hours max" Riley replied

"Lets hope Xander and Oz don't run into any trouble," Giles said with a worried tone

"Trouble always happens especially in bad situations like this, you should had learned that by now Giles" Spike said from his place near the stairs

"He's right Ripper, worse things always happens when you are in a bad situation," Ethan said from across the room where he was still tied to the chair

"Can't we gag him?" Cordelia mumbled

"Good idea there's some rags behind the counter" Giles said glancing at Ethan and giving him a sly smile

The vampire called Rizial walked into one of the caves which was filled with vampires who all stood up when he entered

"I want five of you to head over to New York and try and locate the slayers Sister and her father, if you find them grab them both and bring them back here, do not harm either of them our lord wants them alive is that understood" he commanded

"Of course" said one of the vamps as he headed to the exit followed by four other vampires

"I also want five of you to try and track down the former vengeance demon anyanka, last we heard she is with a fellow demon, find them and bring them back as well, unharmed" he said again

"Very well" said a rather small vampire who quickly left followed by another four vampires

"Why does our lord want us to find these people?" asked a very tall and very well built vampires, his long blond hair was tied back in a ponytail

"He wants them as bait, to lure the slayer and her friends to their deaths" Rizial answered who then turned and exited the cave

Oz pulled the van into the parking area of the prison where Faith was been held; Xander quickly got out and walked over to Oz's side

"Just wait here, I'll be back shortly," he told his friend

"You sure you want to visit her first?" Oz questioned him

"Don't worry I'm gonna try something Rachel mentioned during one of my training sessions" he said with a confident grin

"What?" Oz inquired

"I'm gonna try and disguise myself using my magic skills, well what skills I have so far" he explained

"Just be careful" Oz said simply as he turned on his radio, Xander nodded and began walking towards the entrance of the jail.

As he neared the entrance he dived behind a near by hedge and knelt so no one could see him, he closed his eyes and began to concentrate on what Rachel had told him, slowly he pictured the face of one his former class mates and began to add certain differences to it and then he pushed everything he had learnt so far into making the image appear around his own face. He quickly felt the strain as soon as he felt a small gush of air pass over him; he knew he didn't have long before the disguise failed. He stood and entered the prison and walked towards the front desk where a very tall cop stood watching him, his eyes were a deep green but had a cold glint in them

"Hey" Xander said

"What do you want here?" the guard asked

"I'm here to visit a friend of mine, her name is Faith" Xander replied causally

"I see, wait here a second" the cop grunted and turned and walked towards the near by office where two cops and a man in a suit stood talking, Xander watched as the cop began talking to the man in the suite who quickly looked towards him and then followed the cop to the front desk

"May I asked your business with this inmate?" the man in the suite asked

"I just wanted to see how she was doing, she was close with my father, the former mayor of Sunnydale" Xander replied

"You mean mayor Wilkins?" The man asked

"Of course" Xander shot back

"Very well, this guard will show you to her cell, you have twenty minutes Mr Wilkins, and you only have that because the mayor left instructions in all prisons in Sunnydale and L.A that if this girl was to be arrested he would send someone to see her and I respected the mayor" the man told him sternly

"Thank you" Xander said the strain to hold the disguise growing as he followed the guard through the prison and to a special part of the prison where the guard opened a cell and gestured for him to enter which he did

"If you need anything or she tries anything just shout okay" the guard said before he closed the door and then walked away.

Xander looked to where Faith sat on the bunk in the corner of the room, she still had her long black hair and piercing brown eyes, to Xander she still seemed beautiful and deadly

"Who the heck are you?" she asked standing up and approached him

"As hard as it may be for you to accept it's me Xander" he replied and he smiled at her confused look

"I don't think so, you don't look anything like the guy" she sneered

"Yeah well just watch," he told her as he dropped the disguise and almost burst out laughing at her stunned look

"Good to see you again Faith" he said

"What do you want Harris?" she asked wary

"I'm here to bust you out Faith" he told her plainly

"Yeah right, you here to play games Harris, did B send you?" she said angrily

"I'm not playing Faith, and at the moment me and Buffy and are not on the best of terms" he replied

"So why are you doing this, if I believe you that is?" she questioned

"We need your help, there is something very bad coming and if it succeeds we are all dead" he told her

"So B sent you here to get me because she can't handle it?" Faith smirked

"No Buffy had nothing to do with it, now do you want out or not?" he replied his impenitence beginning to surface

"Fine, I guess helping you is better than staying here for a few more years" she agreed "One question how are we getting out of here?" she inquired

"Like this" he said holding out his hand towards the wall he knew coincided with the street and formed a large sized ball of magic, Faith quickly stood back a little surprised as the ball struck the wall and blew a huge hall in it without causing any noise

"Lets go now" Xander said looking back at the door, Faith nodded and quickly ran walked towards the hole and then jumped down onto a dustbin which was below and then waited until Xander was next to her

"Now what?" she asked

"Follow me, we have to get to the parking lot without you been seen" he said grabbing her hand before she could protest and began leading her down the alley. Luckily he noticed the alley came out right next to the parking area and he soon noticed Oz's van which he noticed was moving towards them. The van quickly stopped and just as Xander pulled open the door they heard the alarms go off inside the prison

"Lets go now" Oz said as Faith and Xander jumped in, Oz quickly floored it just as ten cops came running out of the prison.

"That was tense" Xander said as he looked into the rear view mirror

"That was fun" Faiths aid smiling as the van headed back to Sunnydale.

Buffy spun around when she heard someone knock on the door of the training room, she had been sitting peacefully for the last few hours trying to get her thoughts together and processing everything she had learned. She had been so angry when Xander hadn't told her of her ancestor straight away and yet she understood why he hadn't and yet still a part of her remained angry.

"Who is it?" she shouted

"It's just me" came Giles's voice

Buffy stood and walked to the door slowly opening it and peered at Giles

"What's up?" she asked

"I just wanted to see if you needed anything to eat or drink?" he said gently and Buffy felt herself relax a bit

"I could do with a drink if you don't mind" she said with a small smile

"Very well, I'll be back shortly" he said returning the smile as he turned and walked towards the table where he kept his kettle, Buffy slowly closed the door but left it unlocked

Tara watched Willow from her bed as her girlfriend at her desk writing something, ever since they had gotten back Willow had tactfully avoided speaking with her. She knew when she revealed to Willow that her ancestor had been the lover of Xander's ancestor it would cause a lot of confusion and maybe a little pain but she hadn't expected her to ignore her totally, she shook her head and learned back into the pillar trying to push the images of Xander's death away.

Suddenly a flash of light seemed to blind her for a few seconds and then she saw Oz's van been struck by a blast of blue fire, she saw Xander, Oz and Faith fighting off a number of vampires and demons and then she saw Faith and Oz get knocked unconscious and Xander standing alone, she watched as a blood socked Xander killed the remaining vamps but then get knocked into the van by a purple ball of magic and then a knife been stuck into his side as he got back up. She almost screamed when Xander fell again after been struck on the back of the neck but just managed to stifle it as Xander shot out three balls of red fire which consumed three of the demons but then in total horror she watched as Xander took the full blunt of the last demons magic attack sending him flying over the van and into a near by tree where he fell unconscious bleeding from many wounds. Finally the vision ended and she couldn't stop herself screaming and crying.

Willow ran to her in an instant very worried at Tara's outburst "What is it Tara?" she asked

"X…Xander he, Oz and Faith are gonna be attacked on their way back, he's gonna get killed saving the others" she said barley keeping her voice steady enough to make sense

"I gotta call Giles" Willow said rushing to the phone and dialling the magic shop, the phone rang a few times before Giles finally picked up

"Hello" she heard Giles said

"Giles it's Willow" she said trying not to rush her words

"What is it what's wrong?" he asked

"Tara's had another vision, Xander and the others are gonna be attacked on their way back, she says he's gonna die saving the others" she told him

"I understand" he said putting the phone down, as Willow did the same she looked to see Tara still crying but she seemed to be trying to do something with her skills, she walked over and knelt in front of her

"What are you doing Tara?" she asked quietly

"I know you don't wanna hear this but I think me and Xander have a connection, that's how I knew he was in danger at the park he contacted me he sent me a message" she told her

"So" Willow said trying to keep any anger or unease out of her voice "You're trying to send a message to him?" she managed to finish

"Yes, I'm trying to warn him" she whispered as she began to feel an odd tingling on the back on her neck as she felt a presence inside her head and one she recognised instantly as Xander.

Xander had his eyes closed as he was trying to forget the strain he had under gone whilst using his new skills to hide himself when he began to feel something at the edge of his consciousness, suddenly he saw an image of Tara and then he heard her whisper something to him, and by the look of her he could tell it wasn't something good. His eyes shot open as he realised what it was she was saying but before he could shout out a warning the van was struck by something which almost knocked it off it's wheels had Oz not managed to swerved to the right, but another shot knocked the van right off the road.

Giles quickly walked into the training area knowing the door would be unlocked, Buffy stood quickly when she noticed his dark gaze

"What's wrong Giles?" she asked

"Willow just rang, it would seem Tara has had another disturbing vision" he replied

"About what?" she inquired a little uneasy

"She saw Xander, Oz and Faith getting attacked on their way back from L.A and Xander dieing saving the others" he said trying to stay focused and not thinking to much on the fate of his friends

"Does she know exactly where they will be attacked?" Buffy asked

"Not from what Willow told me," he answered

"Then there is nothing we can do" Buffy said with no trace of emotion

"What?" Giles said stunned by her response

"We can't spare anyone to go looking for them, and since we have no idea where they are or what road they took it's not worth trying" she explained

"But Buffy, Xander is vital to this darkness we face, we cannot afford to leave him to die or the others, we need as many people as we can to survive"

"We've survived many battles Giles with few people, I think we can get through this as well" she said and then walked away not noticing Giles disapproving glare

Xander slowly came to and looked around to see it was now dark outside, Oz jaws just opening his eyes and Faith sitting up and looking around with a wild look in her eyes, which he remembered well

"What happened?" Oz groaned

"Some type of magic bolt I think, Tara tried to send me a warning but it was to late" Xander replied as a cold shiver ran down his spine alerting him to the presence of vampires and demons

"Looks like they're still out there waiting for us to come out" he added

"How do you know that, last time we met you didn't have any special senses?" Faith asked confused

"Last time we met I didn't know how to use magic either, you should be sensing them as well" Xander retorted

"I am, and there are a few of them" she replied with a grim smile

"So now what?" Oz asked

"Giles knows we are in trouble but I doubt help will be coming" Xander said

"Why not?" Faith growled

"Because first they don't know where we are and for some reason I sense Buffy in her present mind won't bother sending anyone to our aid thinking it to risky" he explained

"So it's up to us, luckily there are a few stakes in the back, and two swords" Oz told them

"Right Faith take one of the swords and two stakes, Oz you take the other and the remaining stakes and stay near the van, maybe we can minimise how many attack" Xander told them

"I take it you plan on using you magic?" Faith inquired as the passed Oz three stakes and a sword, she then reached back and took the second sword and put the remaining two stakes in her jacket pocket

"Yeah, it might put them of balance for a bit, lets go" he said as he kicked the broken window so they could exit the van, as soon as all three stood outside ten vamps and five demons appeared from behind then van and moved towards them, Xander raised his hand summoned the largest ball of magic he could and waited for the first three vamps to come closer and then he sent it straight for them, it engulfed two of them turning them into fire balls and the third was consumed by the fire of it's fellow vamps as they fell on him, Faith managed to cut the head of the vamp behind them as it jumped away from it's burning comrades.

The others vampires stopped approaching and waited until the five demons came forward and began to raise their own hands where a black fire began to grow, Xander knew what would happen and pushed Faith and Oz away and just managed to raise a defensive shield as the black fire came hurtling towards him however the blow sent him flying into a near by tree and he slumped to his knees bleeding from the back of his head but he managed to push himself to his feet and prepared to fight on as Faith and Oz came to stand beside him.

Tara awoke sensing a pain that was not hers and she suddenly realised the pain was coming from Xander, their connection seemed to be getting stronger and she began to worry how Willow would react when she found out. She sat up and closed her eyes and tried to focus on a memory of Xander but she found she couldn't because of the pain, she shook her head and got up when she noticed Willow sitting in the middle of the room surrounded by candles and she seemed to be in a trance. This startled her and she quickly wondered what type of spell she was casting, she moved closer and studied Willow's face just as Willow's eyes snapped open to stare at her

"You're awake," she said

"What are, you doing?" Tara asked

"Nothing important" Willow said trying to deflect her question as she stood up

"How long have I been asleep?" she asked

"At least half an hour why?" Willow asked stretching

"Has Xander and the others returned yet?" Tara asked getting a little nervous when Willow frowned

"No, and Giles phoned and said Buffy wouldn't send anyone to help them defend themselves if you vision was right" Willow told her, Tara's eyes narrowed in anger

"She is going to leave him to die as well as Oz and Faith and all you can do is sit here, he is your friend" Tara said

"I tried a locator spell just after Giles phoned and I couldn't find them, something is using dark magic to stop us from seeing them" Willow said getting angry herself

"I'm going to see Buffy" Tara said opening the door and walking through, Willow quickly followed her

Xander pushed himself back to his feet nearly falling to his knees again, the demons magic was stronger than his but so far he was holding on and he had managed to kill two of the five demons with Faith's help. He had distracted the demon with a few magic bolts allowing Faith to sneak up behind the demon and decapitating it, Oz was holding of the three remaining vampires, although they were stronger than most vamps they had encountered and had certain abilities like becoming invisible for a short period of time Faith seemed to be able to see through their tricks and also managed to beat them staying ahead of their metal claws.

Oz was using his newly controlled Werewolf powers to fight of the vamps although he had been cut a few times especially in the chest, Faith had only been cut down one of her arms thanks to one of the demons, he however had deep cuts in one of his legs and shoulder and he was also suffering from the effects of the demons spells. He noticed one of the demons moving in towards Oz who was busy staking another of the vamps, he raised his hand and dug deep into his memories to find a spell Robert had used to kill demons in one strike, Rachel had mentioned it during their walk through the park, however she had warned him it drained Robert a lot, finally he found the spell and began chanting fast. The demon towered over Oz who was just turning round his eyes going wide when Faith dropped kicked it in the back, it spun around raising it's clawed hand when a burst of blue and black light engulfed it, it roared it pain as it began to burn. Faith quickly raised her sword and removed the creature's head clean, she turned to she Xander back on his knees barely conscious, she beckoned Oz to follow her and they both rushed to his side

"You okay?" she asked

"Not really, that spell drains the user of their energy, I may be unconscious by the end of this" he said attempting a smile

"Oz you stay close to him just in case" Faith said as she turned and ran back towards the two remaining vamps swinging her sword in a wide arc she decapitated both before either could react,

Oz helped Xander back to his feet as the two demons who were still alive moved towards them both raised their hands and shot out three black spheres at them, Xander pushed Oz behind him and raised his hand creating a weak shield which deflected two of the spheres but the third punched through and striking him in the chest, he cried out in pain as he fell to his knees and just as he lost himself to the darkness he fired of one last spell which set the two demons alight. Faith used their pain against them taking the legs of one and then driving her sword through it's heart, she ducked the blind swipe of the last demon, jumping high she imbedded the sword into the demons neck, it cried out as it fell. Faith rushed over to Oz and the motionless Xander

"Will he be okay?" she asked as Oz checked his pulse

"Maybe, we have to get back to Sunnydale quick, luckily the van landed back on it's wheels, come on help me put him in the back" Oz replied taking hold of Xander's legs, Faith grabbed his arms and they quickly put him in the back of the van, Faith climbed in as well slamming the doors closed, Oz quickly got in the front and started the van saying a silent prayer when it worked as he turned around and continued their journey back to Sunnydale.

Tara stalked into the magic shop followed closely by a very worried Willow, she ignored Giles and the others and went straight to Buffy, the slayer seemed a little surprised by the angry look on Tara's face

"Why didn't you send anyone to help them" Tara all but demanded

"Because we didn't know where they were, so I didn't think it was worth the trouble" Buffy replied calmly

"We can't survive without them, if they die especially Xander you have doomed us all" Tara hissed, she then turned and entered the training room locking the door behind her.

"Why is she so upset, she doesn't know Xander that well?" Buffy asked

"They have a connection now, her ancestors memories as well will make it stronger" Rachel answered

"So she'll care more for him as well?" Willow asked sadly

Rachel just nodded and sat back at the table trying to ignore Willow's gaze as she moved to the counter.

Riley watched as the helicopter bringing his friend Graham and his team back to Sunnydale touched down in the clearing in the middle of the woods, he smiled as his friend jumped out and ran towards him

"Hey Riley" he said shaking his hand

"Glad you could make it Graham" Riley replied as the rest of the team disembarked and ran over to them

"Agent Finn, good to see you again" Major Johnson said, he had been angered that Riley had turned his offer to join them down

"Sir" Riley replied shaking his hand, he remembered Giles's warning not to mention anything about Angel or Spike been vamps, or anything about the prophecy

"So what's the situation?" Graham asked

"We have faced with a large army of demons and vamps, however these vamps are different they an make themselves invisible for short periods of time, and have metal claws attached to their hands, also they may be led by a very powerful vamp which is called an 'old one'" Riley informed them

"An old one? What's so different about it than normal vamps?" Johnson asked

"I don't know much about it sir," he answered as he led them to the magic shop, he had told them to come in normal clothing and to keep their weapons hidden and he was thankful they had listened to him

Oz finally pulled the van over just in front of the magic shop he quickly turned the engine of and turned to Faith

"Just wait here a few minutes okay" he told her, she nodded and then he jumped out of the van and ran into the shop, Faith looked down at Xander's still form and sighed running her hand through his hair

"Just hang on Xand," she whispered as the back doors suddenly opened to reveal Giles, Wesley and Angel, Angel climbed into the van and slowly with Faith's assistance pushed Xander towards Giles and Wesley who grabbed his legs and waited until Faith and Angel had his upper half and then they carried him into the magic shop not noticing Jill watching from behind a tree.

They placed him on the table as Rachel walked over to him and checked his pulse; she was relived to find it steady

"He's alive," she told them

"When will he wake up?" Faith asked ignoring Willow's watchful glare

"He's in a deep sleep, his wounds are very sever, his unconscious mind had placed him into this state to keep him alive, he wont wake until his injuries both physical and magical have healed" she answered

"How long?" Angel asked

"I don't know" she replied sitting down at the table and taking one of Xander's hands in hers

The door to the training room suddenly opened and Tara quickly entered the room and noticed Xander lying on the table, she slowly approached and took his other hand and closed her eyes trying to make some kind of contact but all she could sense was darkness

"Do you feel anything?" Willow asked

"Nothing but darkness" Tara answered opening her eyes to look at her girlfriend

"This is not going to help us, we can't afford to have Xander out cold for to long a period of time" Wesley said

"I agree, is there anything we can do to speed up his healing process?" Giles asked

"I don't know, maybe" Rachel said facing the two former watchers "I suggest we look through your oldest books" she suggested

"Very well, Cordelia, Gunn we could use your help" Giles nodded Cordelia and Gunn both groaned but walked to the book shelf anyway

The shadow watched in interest and almost smiled, the fact that the there had returned was not good news but the fact that one of them was out cold and the fact that it was a important member of the group made it even better. It tuned and exited the shop as Riley as his friends entered and headed towards the caves knowing it's master would be pleased to hear this news, it didn't notice the winged being following it at a distance.

Faith noticed Buffy and Willow watching her very move and it was really beginning to annoy her, she remembered what Xander had told her they weren't getting on to well and now she could tell why, she was been irrational and annoying. Faith wondered why Buffy was been this way she had always been the good slayer and now she was acting like her.

She couldn't blame Willow too much at watching her, it was obvious that the young red head witch still didn't trust her, guess she would have to work on that, she wondered who the woman was who refused to leave Xander's side. She walked towards Angel and his group

"Hey Faith" Angel greeted her

"What's the story?" she asked

"So far we only have bits and pieces but here's what we know far" he then proceeded to tell her all they knew so fare, when he had finished Faith knew why they all looked grim and on edge, she was prity unnerved by the arrival of Riley's commando friends who were busy been filled in by Giles and Wesley

The winged being knew it couldn't afford to allow the shadow to return to its master and tell it about the sorcerer's condition, it knew it might face series consequences when it returned home but it had to take action. Just as the shadow turned into the woods the being raised it's hand and shot forth a bolt of green energy which knocked the shadow flying into a tree, the being landed and pulled a small sword from it's back and approached the shadow as it got up and turned to face him

"You can't interfere" the shadow raged

"You interfered first, you broke the pact and now you must pay" the being shot back and before the shadow could even move the being brought it's sword down and split the shadow in two, he shook his head and placed it's sword back as it turned to leave a voice came out of no where

"Urial" the voice whispered

The being was surprised to hear the voice call his name, then it smiled and then turned and headed back to the sky knowing why he was been called.

Tara closed her eyes and tried to find some semblance of sleep but as soon as her eyes were closed tight enough an image of Xander and her kissing entered her head and then one of him lying in her arms, as he died followed. Her eyes snapped open and she rushed outside not hearing Willow calling her name, she leaned against a near by tree and tried to concentrate on her breathing, she looked up to see Jill approaching her with a concerned look on her face

"Are you okay Tara?" Jill asked

"I don't know" Tara answered glancing back at the magic shop where Xander still lay unconscious

"Do you want to get a coffee or something?" Jill asked her placing a hand on her arm, Tara nodded and allowed Jill to lead her to the near by coffee shop, again not noticing Willow watching her from the door with a small frown tugging at her face

Xander seemed to be floating in his mind surrounded by nothing but darkness except for a small light just ahead of him that seemed to be urging him to it, but he couldn't move all he felt was intense pain. He also could hear whispers all around him but he couldn't seem to concentrate long enough to hear them properly.

Tara looked at Jill's concerned gaze as she sat back down with two hot coffee's, she was still trying to clear her mind of the mental image of her kissing Xander and then having him die in her arms. She noticed Jill studying her and she quickly looked away and down towards the magic shop, she wondered what the others were doing especially her girlfriend.

"What's happened Tara?" Jill asked breaking her train of thought

"N.nothing" she answered her stutter returning

Jill continued to study her carefully and wondered how much she had remembered, had Rachel shown up yet and had she begun teaching them, as she watched Tara's eyes closed and head fell onto her arms, she sat and watched unable to decide what to do.

Tara suddenly saw a flash of images of people she didn't recognise and events she didn't understand, then the images began to slow and she started to sense a familiar presence, as she watched a tall man with a short beard and long hair appeared along with a woman who looked very much like her except the colour of her hair was black they seemed to be talking very heatedly about something, a flash of silver caught her eye and she turned to find a girl watching this from behind a pillar and Tara starred harder at the girl she was shocked to find the girl was a much younger Jill. The shock seem to shake the images into a more faster pace until she find herself watching the man perform some sort of spell on the younger version of Jill and then proceed to tell her something important, Jill nodded and then walked away. The last image she saw was Rachel crying as the man told her something.

Her eyes snapped open and she stared at Jill with who suddenly seemed nervous and kept glancing away

"Who are you Jill?" she asked

Jill was a little surprised by Tara's question and she suddenly realised Tara was somehow having visions, she wondered why Willow wasn't the one who was having them as it was her ancestor who was the seer, something was wrong or something had changed she couldn't tell which

"Who are you, what is your link to all this?" Tara asked her again this time more forcefully

"It's hard to explain Tara, but you must believe I am on your side" Jill finally answered believing now was the time she entered this fight

"You have to tell me, I need to know" Tara said grabbing her hand

"Okay, I had the same spell put on me as Rachel did, an immorality spell, I was born during the beginning of this prophecy you are now involved in" she told Tara "My mother is Rachel Wells, the woman who is now helping you, my father needed someone with the knowledge of the entire fight and prophecy so they could help their descendants when the time was fight, my mother excepted the responsibility because she loved my father" she added

"Why did he do the same to you then?" Tara asked

"I forced him to, I begged him to let me help as well and so in the end he agreed just in case something happened to Rachel, he knew nothing was certain and so he gave me the same knowledge as he gave my mother, he then sent me to somewhere safe where I remained until the day of Xander's birth, I revealed myself to my mother who had not know about me, she was upset by what my father had done and she told me to stay out of this but I refused. I was going to help you and Willow with your magic but things didn't go as planned as you've been to busy with finding out about all this" Jill answered

"Who is your father? That's the only thing I don't know" Tara asked after a few minutes

"That's a little hard to explain as well, my father was Robert Harris" Jill answered

"How is that possible?" Tara asked in complete shock "I thought he was in love with my ancestor Karan?" she asked again

"Robert met Rachel before Karan, he knew one day he would meet someone else and he told my mother this, she excepted this but still they got very close and I was the result. I was only three years old when Karan and Robert first met and Rachel didn't make a fuss of trying to keep him, but she stayed anyway to help them fight" Jill answered her voice unsteady as she tried to control her emotions

"Did Karan know Robert was your father?" Tara asked in sympathy

"Yes, she knew all about it, in fact Willow's ancestor Sara told her, Rachel was surprised Karan didn't hold any grievances, me and her even became friends she was like my aunt in a way" Jill replied

Tara nodded and finally stood "I need you to come with me and tell the others, this is important Jill and you may be able to help us revive Xander" she told her

"Xander's in some sort of trouble?" Jill asked concerned

"I'm afraid so" Tara nodded

Jill allowed Tara to lead her to the magic shop although she wasn't looking forward to an argument with her mother she knew she had to help them now, everything rested on it including Xander's survival.

Xander's mind suddenly began to become alert and the light just in front of him became bigger, the whispers became stronger and he recognised one as Rachel's and the other as Faith's, a few stray images passed him including one of a shadow standing over a sleeping Buffy, it seemed to be casting some sort of spell, he heard Buffy moan and here eyes snap open and flash red and then close again as the shadow smiled and told her something. His mind reeled as it struggled to wake his body.

Chapter 2

Rachel stood in shock as she saw her daughter enter with Tara; she had not expected to see Jill again until after all this was sorted. Jill seemed nervous and Tara seemed a little off balance as she looked at Xander's still form

"Who's this Tara?" Buffy asked breaking Rachel's train of thought

"My name is Jill Wells Harris" Jill replied before Rachel could speak up

"Harris?" Giles asked confused

"Yes my father was Robert Harris," she confirmed

"How, how is that possible?" Willow asked

"He placed an immortality spell on me like he did my mother" Jill answered again before Rachel could

"But that would mean Rachel" Gunn started

"Is my mother, that is correct" Jill finished

"This is getting more confusing and series" Cordelia muted

Jill looked around the room and took in the looks of the people gathered in the room, some were looks of confusion, others looks of concern, she noticed the slayers boyfriend in the doorway to the next room looking interested in what was been said and she also noticed he kept looking back into the other room and she guessed there were people in there who didn't know all the details.

"So if Robert was your father and Rachel your mother what does that make Xander to you?" Spike asked

Jill looked towards the table where Xander's motionless body lay and she felt a shiver run down her spine, he did resemble her father is quite a few ways especially his dark hair

"I guess that makes us cousins in some weird way" Jill answered walking towards the table and placing her hand on Xander's forehead "his mind is strong, it's fighting to wake" she told the others

"Are you a witch?" Angel asked

"Duh" Doyle said beside him ignoring Angel's glare whilst Cordelia giggled

"Can you help wake him?" Willow asked

"I might be able to, I will need some things though" Jill replied and then proceeded to give Giles a list of the items she needed. Rachel grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the shop whilst Giles and Wesley looked for the items

Rachel pulled her out of the door and looked at her daughters face and noticed her daughter had gotten over her nervousness; she seemed ready to argue with her, she sighed

"I told you to stay out of this" Rachel said sternly once the door closed

"I know, but I couldn't I need to help" Jill argued, "Father agreed that it was necessary" she added

"Robert was persuaded by your arguments, and I may agree with some of them but I did not want you involved, I didn't want your fate bound by my choice to help Robert and Karan" Rachel told her

"It was my decision mother, I wanted to help" Jill counted

"Only after you found out," Rachel said

"Which I never would of done if I hadn't overheard father and Karan arguing," Jill told her "At least then I understood father's wariness and the fact that he kept disappearing along with Karan and Jenna" she added

"Still I never wanted you involved, I wanted you to have your own life and a family," Rachel told her earnestly

"And maybe once we deal with this and finally bring father's prophecy to a close I can do that and maybe you can to" Jill shot back "Father made sure that once the prophecy was ended then the immortality spell was be broken on us both" she told her

"I didn't know that" Rachel said

"I know, father told me, he said he wanted it to be a surprise for you" Jill nodded

"I see" Rachel said in confusion her emotions were a mixed up "Well you here now so I guess I can't stop you from helping" Rachel finally conceded, Jill smiled and followed her mother back into the store and. She took a seat next to Cordelia and began to meditate in preparation for the spell she was going to cast.

Buffy had been thinking about everything Rachel and Jill had told them so far and the same question kept running through her head, and that was who had managed to continue the family line to which Xander belonged to if Robert and Jill's lives had been consumed by the fight. A second question was also running just at the back of her mind and that was why she didn't seem to care too much about Xander's predicament, she knew if Willow or Tara find out she would be in some series trouble.

She finally decided to ask Rachel the question that was annoying her the most, so she could get some decent information, she looked around and noted she was standing alone near the window ignoring the presence of the sleeping chaos mage who was still tied to the chair been watched by Gunn who seemed always on edge. She walked over and waited until the woman acknowledged her presence

"Can I help you Buffy?" she asked, Buffy could tell Rachel held some sort of resentment to her and she wondered if Rachel knew about her growing dislike of Xander

"I wanna know how Xander's family line continued if both Robert and Jill were too busy fighting, I mean from what you told us Jill is Robert's only child and Jill doesn't seem to have had any so how can Xander's family have continued?" she asked Rachel

"Robert had a brother and sister, they didn't talk much especially once Robert began to fight the darkness, they stopped talking just after he met me, but Robert kept a close eye on them just in case something happened and he knew both his sister and brother had children" she answered calmly

"I see, so what Jill said was true they are cousins, because she is Robert's child and Xander is from Robert's brother's or sister's line" Buffy reasoned

"Yes, he is from Robert's sister side" Rachel clarified

Buffy nodded satisfied with the answer and went back to her seat on the counter, she noticed Jill was still meditating, Willow was staring out the window and Buffy guessed she was getting more freaked out about the growing connection between Tara and Xander. Riley was inside the training room with the commando's, Giles and Wesley were collecting the final items Jill needed for her spell and Cordelia was talking with Doyle and Angel. Spike had gone out to get some blood for him and Angel, Tara seemed to be falling asleep next to Faith who was reading one of Giles's book, she shot concerned looks at Xander every once in a while. Buffy shook her head wandering about her ancestor Jenna, and she wondered what she had been like.

Tara tried to keep herself awake but it was getting more and more difficult and finally she gave in and allowed sleep to claim her. Once her eyes closed her mind seemed to drift and she soon find herself in a dark room except for a ray of light which seemed to shine towards the back of the room where she saw Xander was sitting with his legs crossed, he was watching her with an intense gaze which caused her to blush. She walked over to where he was and sat in front of him, he didn't move instead he just seem to stare at her even more

"Xander what are you doing here?" she asked

"This place is peaceful and I like it here" Xander replied

"You can't stay here, we need you," she told him

"I've tried, something is holding me here, I need your help Tara" he replied

"I know, a friend is coming for you soon, just hang on," she told him

As the light began to fade and she felt herself been tugged back towards the real realm Xander quickly lent forward and kissed her in a soft passionate kiss, Tara didn't even try to fight it and gave herself up to it, finally Xander and the room vanished and Tara's eyes snapped open, she looked to where Xander lay and she wondered if it had been a dream or real until she felt the pressure of Xander's lips on hers and she fought to stop herself from blushing.

Xander's mind began to gain strength from the dream, for his mind could only see it as such. He had no way of knowing it had been real. As his mind continued to gain strength images began to pass through his mind, showing him many events. The first image showed a man who looked similar to him holding a small child in his hands, next to him was a woman who looked just like Rachel. The next showed him the man running towards a girl with short brownish hair holding a stake as three very nasty looking vampires ran towards her. The third image showed him the man meeting a woman who resembled Tara a bit, and he instantly knew this was Karan. They looked at each other with intense stares until finally they kissed.

Jill finally stood and walked to where Xander lay of the table, taking her mother's place she sat down and waited until Giles and Wesley had placed all the items she had asked for on the table in front of her. She took a deep breath and began mixing certain amounts

"I need total silence, this spell is very dangerous, my father told me he once used it and it almost killed him when someone came running into the castle shouting" she told everyone

"Oh great, the joys of silence" Buffy muted before storming out of the shop

"What is her problem?" Faith asked

"We don't know, she's been acting like that for the past couple of weeks" Giles sighed as he removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes

"Maybe someone should talk to her?" Faith said looking at Angel, the ensouled vampire nodded and left searching for Buffy

"Okay now please everyone be quite" Jill spoke up

Tara moved and sat down next to Jill not daring to look at Willow who was frowning, Jill's eyes closed slowly as she began chanting something, no one dared make a sound, Giles just hoped Riley and the commando's wouldn't suddenly walk in from the training room shouting something. As Jill chanted a gold light began to appear just over Xander's prone form, Tara closed her own eyes and began chanting herself, careful as to keep her voice very low so as not to distract Jill. The light began to grow brighter as a white glow began to envelope both Jill and Tara, the other stood back watching in silent amazement, Xander's body began to slowly lift off the table and started floating a few feet of it.

Xander saw the light coming closer at first he was afraid and tried to recoil from it but then he sensed a familiar presence, it was Tara, she was coming for him. He sensed another presence and he remembered what Tara had told him that someone was coming for him a friend. He relaxed and waited until the light seemed all around him. Suddenly Tara and another girl were in front of him, both were smiling

"Xander, this is Jill" Tara told him

Xander looked at the girl and for some reason he couldn't explain he felt connected to her and he hugged her, she didn't seemed to surprised

"Listen Xander, we're here to bring you back, we're gonna need your help though" Jill explained

"What do you need me to do?" he asked as he pulled back

"I need you to concentrate on the real world and the fight," Jill told him

Xander nodded and did as he was instructed, Tara looked at Jill who was now studying her lost cousin, she then looked at Tara and whispered the chant they needed to bring him back with them, she nodded and closed her eyes and began chanting just as Jill started her own chant. The gold glow turned into a reddish white glow. Giles watched fascinated by the skill Jill seemed to command, she was a very powerful witch to be able to do such a spell, she seemed more powerful than either Willow or Tara, he would have to have a talk with her once the spell was completed.

Willow watched the three motionless bodies with total concentration, not daring to look away in case something happened, She wanted her friend back but she was afraid of the developing connection between him and her girlfriend. She didn't understand why all this was happening now. As the light began to fade and the eyes of Jill and Tara began to open, Willow let out a loud cry as a pain over ran her, she fell to her knee's as she saw thousand of images, the pain increased as the images went faster and faster. Giles and Cordelia were knelt next to her trying to keep her cry's to a minimum as they could tell Jill and Tara hadn't finished yet Giles cursed under his breath as Willow's cry's of pain continued to grow, finally Doyle stepped forward and placed his hand on her head and whispered three words, Willow suddenly fell into unconsciousness. Giles turned to see if Willow's cry's had disrupted the spell and he could tell by the looks of pain of Jill and Tara's face something was wrong.

The scream pierced the concentration of both Tara and Jill just as they were opening their eyes, they heard a physic scream join that of Willow's and they knew Xander was in trouble. Finally Willow's scream stopped but the damage was done, Xander was stuck now somewhere between the real realm and the dream realm. Tara tried to focus again but for some reason she couldn't get back the connection, she knew if they failed to bring him back then he would be trapped there forever. That was another reason why this spell was so dangerous, Jill somehow managed to hold her own concentration but the spell had been weakened by Tara's loss, she could feel Xander's pain as he was torn between two realms. They had to reastablish the full link before they could complete the spell.

Riley walked next to Graham as they patrolled the woods, they had all decided to go for a quick look around seen as everyone else was busy with other things, they hadn't told anyone either. Major Johnson had been happy to finally be doing something instead of just sitting in a training room; this team was so much different from the Initiative, they just wanted to wipe the demons out, instead of studying them. So Riley could understand their frustration

"So any idea how powerful these vamps are gonna be?" Graham asked breaking Riley's thoughts

"Not really, but they managed to hurt and injure both Buffy and Angel" Riley responded

"Guess they'll be prity tough then" Graham mused

Before either of them could say another word a scream came over they're radios, causing both of them to jump

"That sounded like Banks" Graham hissed as he grabbed his radio "Banks what's wrong report" he shouted into speaker

"We're been attacked, request assistance" came the reply before the went dead

"They were patrolling near the caves come on" Riley said as he turned and began to run, Graham was close behind

They arrived to see Major Johnson and five others in the middle of been thrown about by five vampires, each had the tell tale signs of the vamps who attacked Buffy and Angel.

"Come on we've gotta help" Riley shouted as he ran towards one of the vamps and hit it squarely in the jaw with the but of his weapon, the vampire just sneered at him and rammed it's fist into his face knocking his flying into a tree next to two bodies, Riley noticed one was dead, the other was badly wounded

'Great, Buffy isn't gonna like this' he thought as he got up and aimed at the vamps, his bullets tore into one of them knocking it down, it howled in pain from the impact as Graham managed to stake it, before he was hit over the head by a second vampire. A third grabbed him and head butted and Riley heard the sick breaking of his nose, the vampire then flung him into Major Johnson as he got back to his feet Riley watched as two vampires grabbed two more of their team and smiling broke their necks, as soon as Johnson saw this he gave the retreat sign, Riley grabbed the wounded member of their team and began falling back, Graham was helped by Johnson. As they retreated Riley caught sight of he vampires feeding of the dead members of their team, he was almost sick at the thought of it 'Buffy is really not gonna like this' he thought

Tara finally managed to regain her concentration as she felt a presence at the back of her mind helping he focus on Xander, she felt Jill's renewed strength and together they managed to find Xander again. As soon as they linked up his physic scream stopped and slowly they pulled him back to the real world. As all three's eyes opened the door to the magic shop burst open and Riley, Graham and Johnson rushed in followed by hi steam, Graham had a broken nose, Riley was holding a barely alive team mate and the others looked like they had taken quite a beaten.

Xander pushed himself into a sitting position as Giles and the others bar Buffy welcomed him back, Faith seemed very happy to see him awake. He looked around and noticed Willow's unconscious form, he frowned

"What happened to Willow?" he asked

"We don't know yet, I have not had yet a chance to inquire about it" Giles answered

Before he could ask anything else Tara flung herself into his arms and hugged him hard, he tried not to wince at the pain he felt, finally Tara released him and sat back

"Sorry" she said trying to avoid his eyes

"It's okay Tara and thanks" he said, he then turned to Jill and nodded his thanks to her as well, she just smiled

Buffy did not bother to watch Xander wake, or the happiness of her friends at his recovery. Instead she helped Riley and his team into the training room

"What the hell happened Riley?" she hissed

"We went on a quick patrol and ran into trouble, we lost two of our team, and we took a few injuries as well" Riley replied as he placed the injured member onto the coach

"Where?" she asked

"Near the caves, there were at least five of them. We managed to kill one or two but we were forced to retreat," he answered again as he leaned against the wall

"You didn't let us know you were going? Why not?" she asked again and Riley could she was angry

"You all seemed to be to busy with Xander been out cold and the arrival of Tara's friend" he said simply

"Great, well at least we know where they are" Buffy said in reply

"And the fact that Xander is awake so he can help as well" Angel's voice came from behind her

She turned and glared at the ensouled vampire, she knew he was right but the part of her that for some reason hated Xander continued to take control of her reaction

"I doubt he'll be much help Angel" she counted

Angel just sighed and shook his head; even though he still disliked Xander he was willing when necessary to put aside his hatred to help fight the forces of evil, but Buffy seemed to be just getting angrier of angrier. He sensed this could become a problem, they had to find out why she was acting like this and soon. He turned and walked back into the main room where he noticed Faith and Xander been filled in by Giles on what had happened so far.

The winged being hovered above the magic shop and watched as his superior vision allowed him to see what was happening inside, he was happy to see the sorcerer had recovered and was now awake. Urial had been told not to interfere again no matter what, and he hoped a situation wouldn't arise where he would be forced to disobey his master. He had been told just to keep an eye of the forces of good and to make sure nothing unexpected tried to interfere again and he would make sure nothing would tip the balance.

Xander didn't like what Giles had told him so far, plus they now had to find out what had happened to Willow. He was glad Rachel was still around he had a few questions to ask her when he got a chance. Whistler walked over to him and smiled

"Glad you're back" he said

"Yeah, don't suppose you can tell us what happened to Willow and why she is now unconscious" he shot back in reply

"I do believe Rachel explained about Sara Rosenberg's power" Whistler replied

"You mean Willow's somehow inherited it like I got Robert's?" Xander asked a little confused

"That's right, Jill can work with Willow to help her control it so it doesn't hurt her, Doyle I think you and Cordelia should as well, you both know what's it's like" Whistler suggested

"Sure" Doyle agreed, Cordelia just frowned

"Anyway I gotta go take care of a few things, be back soon," he told them all and then he vanished

"Man he's worse than you dead boy," Xander said as Angel walked into view

"Meaning?" Angel inquired

"Meaning he's twice as cryptic and worse at doing the vanishing into thin air thing" Xander answered

Angel rolled his eyes at Xander's comments knowing he should have suspected something like that from him

"So now what?" Gunn asked

"We have to prepare, As Whistler suggested Jill, Cordelia and Doyle will work with Willow, Xander will continue working with Rachel. Tara, Faith you can join them. Angel I need you and Spike to scout out the caves where Riley and his team were attacked, do not attack any Vampires you see just scout them out, Buffy I want you to help me, Wesley, Oz and Gunn do some more research" Giles answered

"What about us?" Riley asked

"Well maybe you can get some more information out of Ethan" Giles suggested indicating the still tied up warlock

"Sure" Riley said, he and Graham untied the warlock and pushed him into the training room

"Okay, lets get to work, Doyle how long will Willow be out?" Buffy inquired

"A few more minutes" Doyle answered

"We'll go to my house and train, I think they'll be more space, see you later" Rachel said

"Be careful, don't get into any fights on the way there" Wesley warned them

"No problem" Faith shot back as she followed Tara and Xander out the door, Xander just missed Buffy's cold stare.

Rachel walked next to Xander just ahead of Tara and Faith, he seemed to of suffered no real side affects from the spell, but she knew the power of it so she kept a close eye on him. Tara tried to concentrate on her surroundings instead of Xander but she found her gaze locked on his back, the dream seemed to have opened her up to new feelings and they all concentrated on Xander. She tried to keep reminding herself she was in love with Willow but for some reason her thoughts kept coming back to her girlfriend's best friend. Faith was enjoying been out of prison although she didn't like the situation they were stuck in she was used to things like this, she knew Buffy didn't trust her and neither did Willow bur what had surprised her was the cold stare she had seen Buffy give Xander, she wondered what the hell was going on. As she followed the others an image of a man and a woman entered her mind, she didn't recognise them but they seemed familiar. The woman reminded her of Tara and the man seemed like Xander. She shook her head and tried to focus to make sure nothing jumped them.

Urial followed Xander and his friends at a distance, something was wrong, some unseen event had taken place. His special eyesight showed him the second slayer was having visions of the past, visions that the blond slayer should be having. The old sorcerer had not foreseen this; he wondered why she was having them. Suddenly it clicked, they was two slayers because Xander had brought the blond back from the dead, somehow by bringing her back and making it possible for two slayers to be alive at the same time he had changed certain parts of his ancestors prophecy. But it also meant the blond would still pick up some taint of her ancestors life and he was beginning to suspect what it was. He feared how this change would affect the outcome of the battle.

Tara watched Xander as he sat and meditated, Rachel had decided it would do him so good to clear his mind before he tried any magic. Rachel was trying to teach Faith a few old style combat techniques and she seemed to be doing prity good, Faith suddenly fell to the floor her eyes closed and pain was etched on her face. She rushed over and knelt next to her beside Rachel "Faith what is it?" she asked somewhat worried Xander quickly snapped out of his trance and rushed over to them, he knelt and looked at Faith whose eyes were just opening

"What happened?" He asked

"I.I don't know, some sort of flash hit me, I kept seeing some woman, with brownish hair, she was arguing with some guy who looked like you," she answered as she leant against the wall

"Brownish hair, my god you saw Jenna, Buffy's ancestor and Robert" Xander exclaimed, "Rachel why would Faith be having visions, did she have any ancestor involved in any of this?" Xander asked

"No, I'm not sure why she would have visions, we should ask Mr Giles" she answered

Xander shook his head, something about this didn't seem right to him, some part of him knew Faith shouldn't be having these visions.

Buffy hated research but she couldn't argue with Giles at the moment, he was on edge with everything that had gone on, plus he was getting irritated at her constant berating of Xander when ever he was mentioned. She couldn't help it though, something was making her mistrust him, and to get irritated about things he said or did. She just didn't know what it was and she didn't understand it, but she knew it was getting stronger.

Giles was really beginning to get angry, even with all the books Spike had brought them they still didn't know too much about Valnon and his followers. Ethan refused to say anymore however he was sure Riley and his friends could change his mind. He wondered how Angel and Spike were doing at the caves.

Spike and Angel got as close to the cave entrance as they could, they noted three vampires were guarding it. Each had the glowing green eyes, tattoo and metal claws, both remembered their last encounter with them and neither wanted to fight them again so soon.

"What do you think?" Spike asked quietly

"No way we're getting in there without a fight, if was just two them we may have been able to take them out, but I'm not taking the chance the third will call for help" Angel told him "If he did and we get killed or captured it would just weaken out chances of winning this" he added

"I'd have to agree with you there mate" Spike nodded as he watched the guards

"Alright lets try finding some other entrance, you go left, I'll take the right side, and stay out of sight" Angel told him, Spike nodded and moved away

Faith was still having visions of the past, for some reason they were coming in short but frequent bursts. Each was as confusing to Faith as the next; Xander and Tara were trying to concentrate of their own memories to help out. Rachel was trying to find out why Faith was having visions but so far she was having no luck.

Xander opened his eyes to look at Tara and was surprised at how attractive she looked sitting across from him, she had her eyes closed and was trying to dredge up some sort of memory from her ancestor Karan. He had always found he nice looking but now she was looking more and more beautiful to him, Hell he even was beginning to have thoughts centred on kissing her. He froze as that though washed through him, he couldn't have thoughts like that Tara was Willow's girlfriend and he'd die before he hurt Willow. And yet the thoughts were still there somewhere deep inside him.

Tara could feel someone watching her and she knew instantly that it was Xander; she wondered what he was thinking. She had been having disturbing thoughts ever since they had dream kissed. She was still trying to fight them but she finding herself resisting. She couldn't hurt Willow but she was finding it harder and harder to fight the thoughts that kept invading her mind.

Willow shook her head at the pain she was still feeling, according to Jill she was inheriting her ancestors Sara's powers. And even though she was curious at the prospect of seeing the future she wasn't enjoying the pain that accompanied them, Cordelia was finding it a little funny, she kept telling her how she now knew how she felt once Doyle had passed his visions on to her

"Listen Willow you have to try and focus your mind or the pain will get worse each time you have visions," Doyle instructed her

She nodded and closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind of any stray thoughts especially those centred on what was happening between her girlfriend and her best friend.

"Okay, I am gonna send a quick vision to you, just try and relax an let it come through" Doyle told her, she nodded

"Sara never felt the pain, which means if you concentrate hard enough you won't either" Jill informed her

Suddenly the vision came to her and the pain came too, but this time it was not as painful as before, she tried to focus more on the vision. She saw Xander and her having some sort of discussion, both of them were laughing and she noted they were younger than they were now, so she guessed it was from the past.

"I think I did it, the pain was still there but it was not as painful as before," she told them as she opened her eyes

"You're getting closer but you're not there yet" Doyle told her

She sighed and continued listening to their instructions, hoping she'd get this quickly as she feared the darkness was coming very soon.

Faith had finally had enough and basically shouted at Rachel to tell her why she was having dreams or she was gonna go and find some answers, Xander had quickly intercepted her and managed to convince her to allow them to return to the magic shop so they could ask Jill. They walked slowly through the park making sure to watch their backs. However as they neared the exit ten vampires appeared in front of them, all had the tattoos and claws as the others but the eyes of these vampires were red.

"Oh crap" Xander moaned

"Great at least now I can vent my frustration and anger" Faith said with a smile as she removed a stake from her jacket pocket

"Stay close together" Rachel, told them as she focused her mind ready for battle, Tara instantly moved to Xander's side ready to bring her magic to the fore

Before anyone could strike Riley and three of his commando's turned up alongside Angel and Spike.

"Where the hell did you come from?" Xander shouted

"We were on a quick patrol run and Spike sensed the vampires close by" Riley shouted back as he moved in close to where Xander and the others stood

"You noticed these guys have red eyes instead of green?" Angel inquired

"Yeah we did" Faith shot back

"Jackson get back to the magic shop and tell them we need help" Riley told one his men, the man nodded and quickly ran back the way the had come

Buffy was getting a little more irritated with Giles, especially when he had told her to stay behind and not go on the patrol run with Riley, Angel and Spike. She didn't want to be here researching books she wanted to be out there kicking undead buts.

The door to the magic shop quickly opened and one of Riley's men entered, he looked a little out of breath as he came to a halt near the counter

"What's wrong?" Buffy asked

"We came across Xander and his party near the park exit, they were facing off against at least ten vampires, Riley sent me back for help" he gasped out

"I told you I should of gone" Buffy hissed at her watcher who just glared at her

"Wesley, tell Major Johnson we need three of his men to go help Riley and the others, Buffy and I will go as well" Giles instructed him

Wesley nodded and ran into the training room to tell the major, whilst Buffy headed behind the counter to grab one of the weapons Giles stored there, Giles soon followed to get one of his own. Five minutes later and they were ready

"Okay lets go?" Buffy said as she headed for the door

"Good luck" Cordelia said to them as they left

Riley cursed as the vampire's claw dug into his leg, he felt the blood run as he fell. He tried to shove the vamp away but he couldn't

"Someone help me," he shouted

No one answered as everyone was to busy fighting for their lives, after Jackson had left seven more vamps had shown up and they were even tougher than the green eyes vamps they had fought before The vamp picked him up and head butted him and then kneed him in the chest, he fell to his knees in pain. He tried to stand again only to have the vamp slam his fist down onto his spine, he yelled out in agony as the vamp let him drop to the ground. As the vamp lifted him up again he noticed Buffy leading some of his men towards them, but before he could say or do anything the vamp sunk his fangs into his neck, he faintly heard Buffy scream of horror before his vision blurred, the vamp he twisted his neck snapping it.

Buffy screamed as she saw the vamp sink it's claws into her boyfriend and the scream turned into totally horror as she watched the vamp snap Riley's neck, her feet buckled and she fell to her knee's. Giles and the others didn't hesitate they jumped right into the right to help the others, Giles managed to behead the vampire who had killed Riley before he was jumped by two more. Xander fell next to Tara with multiple cuts all down his arm and chest, he was bleeding badly but he refused to stay down, he pushed himself back to his feet and intercepted a vampire which was trying to get to Tara who was busy casting a spell.

He slammed it to the ground and punched it twice in the gut, it kneed him and he fell of it, he rose quickly and kicked him knocking him onto his back. He spat a bit of blood out as he stood again; the vampire was closing in on him

"Xander move it?" he suddenly heard Faith shout

His mind came awake instantly and he dodged the vampire's charge, he managed to land a spin kick to the back of the vamp, which knocked it to the ground

"Here Xand Catch" Faith shouted, he turned to see Faith tossing him a stake, he quickly caught it and staked the vamp as it got up

He looked around the park and noticed Riley's body lying on the ground, his neck was bent at an angle and he knew something was wrong. He noticed Buffy on her knee's crying and he knew for certain Riley wouldn't be getting up, he didn't have any time to think more as he saw Giles been overwhelmed by two of the vamps. He cursed and ran straight towards them, he smashed straight into the tallest of the vamps knocking it into a tree. Giles used the distraction to bring his axe's handle into the second vamps groin putting on the ground. He raised the axe and took it's head clean off. Xander was knocked into the metal bar of the swings by the first vamp, he tried to stand but he became dizzy and he didn't see the vamp ram it's claws into his side, he yelled out in pain as he feel to his knee's. Faith heard Xander's scream and quickly staked the vampire she had been fighting and ran of in his direction, as she neared the two combatants she noticed Xander was on his knee's using the last of his strength to keep the vampire back, a surge of adrenalin rushed through her as she charged into a jumping back kick knocking the vamp clear of Xander. She staked it before the vamp could get to its feet. She noticed two more of Riley's men lying dead near the roundabout, both had deep bite marks and one had its throat ripped out. She looked around and noticed Tara incinerate the last of the vampires. Rachel was close to her and looked very tired, her arm was badly cut but other than that she seemed fine. Angel was on his back and had very bad cuts deep in chest and sides, one of his arms looked broken and he had a stake sticking out of one of his legs. Spike didn't seem to bad except for a cut on his forehead. And Giles just had a few cuts on his arms and chest. She finally noticed Riley's body and frowned as she saw Buffy still on her knee's crying her eyes out, she shook her head and helped Xander to his feet as Tara ran over to help, Spike got Angel onto his feet and helped him move, Giles picked up Riley's corpse as Rachel managed to guide Buffy to her feet and they quickly headed for the magic box, the last two surviving members of Riley's team guarded their rear.

Willow sat at the table reading one of the last books Spike had brought them, but her mind wasn't on her task, as she couldn't stop thinking how the fight at the park was going. Neither Cordelia nor Doyle had said something bad would happen so she took that as a good sign. The door quickly opened and Rachel entered supporting a historical Slayer, Faith and Tara followed carrying a badly wounded Xander, Spike was next supporting a beat up ensouled vampire and finally Giles entered carrying the limp body of Riley. Two of Riley's men quickly followed and shut the door.

"My god what happened?" Willow gasped in horror

"The fight went badly, what do you think happened?" Faith snapped as she laid Xander carefully on the table whilst Tara

"Giles where is your med kit?" Cordelia asked

"Behind the counter" Giles said as he placed Riley's body of the floor, Major Johnson quickly walked out of the training room followed by Graham and his remaining men.

Cordelia brought the kit to Faith who quickly began tending to Xander's wound, Tara stayed close her worry and care for Xander evident in her eyes. Willow tried to keep her jealously at bay but she couldn't help but feel left out.

"I don't believe it" Graham said as he saw Riley's dead body

"I'm sorry, there was nothing we could do" Giles apologised

"Bull, it's Xander's fault he's dead" Buffy suddenly spat as she marched towards where Faith was tending to him

"You come any closer Buffy and I'll knock you out" Tara warned her

"Get out of my way witch" Buffy hissed

Tara eye's flashed red as she quickly raised her hand and a green ball of energy knocked Buffy flying into the counter knocking her out cold

Everyone who was not beat up or half dead stared at Tara in amazement, she had just knocked Buffy Summers out cold, one of the toughest slayers had gone out like a light. Faith actually smiled at the sight and then quickly returned to tending to Xander's wound. Major Johnson and his men picked up Riley's corpse and carried it into the next room, Giles sat down tiredly as Spike dumped Angel into a near by chair.

"This isn't good" Cordelia whispered

"I'm afraid not, three fights and three defeats, not such a good sign" Giles agreed having heard her comment

"Is there anyone else we can contact who could help us, I mean we've lost most of Riley's team plus Riley himself" Wesley asked trying not to sound to down

"I don't know, I can't think at the moment" Giles answered trying to get over the last couple of hours

"How is Xander?" Tara asked finally taking her eyes of the slumped form of Buffy and back to where Faith patched him up

"The wound is kind of deep but I've managed to stop the flow of blood, I just need to bandage it up" Faith answered

"What do we do about Buffy Giles? As soon as she wakes up she'll still go after Xander" Willow asked

"True, she is not one to let go of an impulse easily, plus with her increasing irrational behaviour towards Xander it could be very bad" Giles said standing up

"Did you say her behaviour has altered in the last few weeks?" Rachel asked quickly a frown graced her face

"Yes, for the last three or four weeks now, she has been behaving very irrational towards him, I believe she doesn't trust him for some reason" Giles replied as he walked over to where Buffy still laid unconscious

"I think I know the answer now" Rachel exclaimed

"The answer to what?" Doyle asked

"Why Faith has been having visions of the past and the answer to Buffy's behaviour," she replied

"So what is it?" Faith questioned without turning away from her work on Xander

"Jenna is Buffy's ancestor and she fought alongside Robert who is Xander's ancestor, Jenna never trusted Robert though, infact sometimes she could be very hostile towards him. I believe Buffy has begun to inherit this feeling of mistrust just like Xander, Willow and Tara have inherited memories from their ancestors" Rachel explained

"And Faith, why does she have visions from the past she isn't Jenna's descendant?" Giles inquired

"Because there is two slayers now, somehow because the slayer essence is now shared between two people instead of one the prophecy has been altered, neither Robert or Sara could foresee that Xander would bring Buffy back from the dead causing the calling of the second slayer been activated and now Faith has part of Jenna's past, her memories. Whilst Buffy has her mistrust of the sorcerer," she told them indicating where Xander lay

"So I have Buffy's ancestors memories due to us both been slayers?" Faith asked a little surprised

"Yes and I believe the fact that Xander was the one who made it possible" Rachel replied

"Great, thanks Xand" Faith said to Xander who just smiled weakly

Major Johnson had the look of a mad man on his face as his men placed Riley's body into a body bag. Graham seemed prity upset at the loss of his friend, the rest of the men were uneasy and one was almost out of his mind with fear.

"This isn't going well sir?" Jackson said

"No it's not, but we still have a job to do, we can't lets these vampires win" Johnson shot back

"Yes sir" Jackson replied

Buffy's slowly opened and she looked around, Faith was asleep at the table and there was a body lying in front of her but she couldn't see whom it was. She then noticed Willow and Cordelia curled up on the sofa Giles had brought in from the training room. She couldn't see the others but she could hear a lot of noise. Suddenly it all came back to her and her eyes quickly began to fill with tears, Riley was dead her boyfriend was dead. She got to her feet and focused on the body lying in front of Faith and she knew whom it was. It was Xander and he was the reason why Riley was dead.

Major Johnson brought out a map of Sunnydale, which Riley had shown him when they had arrived; he marked where the vampires were hiding and where the three fights had taken place. His remaining men gathered together to look at the map.

"All right for now I think we should stay away from the park and the caves, I am going to call in for a few reinforcements," he told them

"From where sir?" asked one of his men

"From the surviving initiate personnel who are still living here, Graham will know where they are," he answered

"So what do we do until then sir?" asked Jackson

"We will keep a look out just outside the magic box and two of us will make a run around town in Riley's jeep, but we will not engage any vamps unless we see them attacking anyone" he told them

"Sounds good sir, should we tell Riley's friends?" asked the smallest of the lot

"Graham will do that Briggs" Johnson answered, Graham just nodded and headed for the door leading to the store itself

Buffy wiped her eyes clear and headed towards the table where Xander lay recovering from his wounds, her eyes held nothing but hate and anger. She ignored everything around her including Giles who asked her if she was alright. Tara quickly stood in her path, her own eyes showing her anger but this anger was directed at the slayer herself and not the man lying on the table

"Get the hell out of my way Tara" Buffy screamed

"No" Tara shot back readying herself for a confrontation

Buffy noticed everyone was now watching them including Xander who was leaning on his elbow although he was visibly still in pain

"That Bastard is responable for my boyfriend's death" Buffy hissed

"No he isn't, you are angry and upset and under the influence of your ancestor's feelings" Tara told her

Buffy's brow winkled in confusion at Tara's reply, but her anger quickly returned and she took a few steps forward

"I'm warning you Buffy back off now before I knock you out again," Tara warned her

Buffy didn't answer instead she used her slayer enhanced speed and charged into Tara knocking back into the table, Tara however managed to stay on her feet and shove the slayer backwards. Buffy went to strike the witch but Spike managed to grab her from behind and pull her away

"Carm down slayer" he shouted

One again Buffy didn't answer, instead she brought her elbow back hard into Spike's unprotected chest causing Spike to release her, she spun and sent him flying into a table with a hard spin kick. She then faced Tara again,

"Stop this now" Giles roared, his anger now finally erupting

"No, he is going to pay for Riley's death" Buffy spat as she charged again, this time she dodged Tara and went straight for the injured Xander. However Faith knocked her onto her arse with a back kick

"Carm down B, or I am really going to kick your arse" Faith warned her sister slayer

"What's a matter Xander, can't fight your battles" Buffy sneered trying to anger Xander

Xander weakly pushed himself to his feet but almost falls flat on his face if not for Tara grabbing him and steadying him, with Tara's assistance he walks over to Buffy who quickly jumps to back up

"There was nothing I could do Buffy, I was too busy keeping those vamps off Tara," he told her

"Of course you would say that, I bet you let him die just so you could try and take his place. Is that it Xander did you think with Riley dead I'd finally go out with you?" Buffy mocked

"That is bullshit Buffy and you know it" Xander shot back, angered now by Buffy's accusations

"Oh face it that's all you wanted to begin with, you love me still and you made sure Riley was on his own so he could be killed and then you'd then have you chance with me" Buffy continued

"That is a lie, I don't love you anymore, not like that" Xander told her

"Prove it?" Buffy shouted her fists tightly clenched

"How the hell could I love you if I love Ta" Xander started to shout back, he just barely stopped himself from completing the sentence.

Willow's eyes were locked on her lifetime friend suspicion and fear was visible in her eyes. Tara also seemed to suspect what he had been about to say and she quickly tried to stop herself blushing, but she couldn't stop the warm feelings Xander's slip up invoked inside her. Was she really falling love with him or was it just her ancestor's memories and feelings affecting her. Xander closed his eyes in shock as he realised what he had almost said, he quickly came up with a plan and pretended to faint. Falling to the floor quickly as if in exertion, Faith and Giles picked him up and placed him back on the table unaware he was still awake. Rachel and Jill dragged Buffy out of the shop to explain why she was acting so hostile towards Xander.

Ethan eye's slowly opened as he came too after his beating at the hands of the slayer's boyfriend, his chest was sore as was his parts of his face. He didn't notice the Emerald winged creature watching him from the shadows but he did notice none of the soldiers were in the room. He went to try and cast a spell which would release him from the chair he was tied to, when a green light enveloped him. Once it lifted he found he couldn't speak, he looked around fearfully but didn't see anything. The Emerald winged creature smiled and then vanished.

Urial watched as the emerald creature vanished with a hard glare, he knew the powers would try and interfere with the sorcerer's prophecy. He shook his head some of his long blond hair covered his eyes, which he quickly pushed back 'Damn powers, always think they are in the right just because they are fighting the darkness' Urial thought He decided he would have to report back to his master before taking any action, he took on last look around and then flew off.

Chapter 3

Xander sat in the corner of the magic box avoiding everyone especially Willow, he didn't dare look into his friends eyes in fear she would see the truth. That he had fallen in love with her girlfriend, he still found it hard to believe his feelings for the young blond witch. But deep inside himself he kept asking himself if this was somehow related to Robert's love for Karan, Tara's ancestor. He noticed Faith watching him with a sly smile; she knew he could tell by the way she looked at him. 'Great' he thought that was he needed knowing the animosity between her and Willow she might use just to get under Willow's skin and that would lead to real trouble. 'As if we weren't in enough as it is' Xander thought with a shake of his head

Faith watched Xander intently as he tried to avoid everyone in the magic box especially Red, she had an idea why. Xander had the hots for Tara, not that she could blame him Tara was prity damn hot. She couldn't help but wonder how Red would react once she knew for sure that Xander was in love with Tara, and she had noticed Tara had blushed when Xander had almost slipped up thanks to B pushing him in her anger. Although she understood B was upset and angry, that was no reason to blame it on Xander, and then there was the fact that she was been affected by her own ancestor's distrust of Xander's ancestor. The memories she continued to have from Buffy's ancestors life were quite confusing to her, which was no surprise as she was only having these thanks to Buffy dieing and Xander bringing her back.

Tara sat next to Willow but avoided looking at her, luckily Willow was too busy talking with Cordelia and Doyle after he latest bout of visions to question her about Xander's slip. As soon as she thought about Xander she felt warm and safe, she tried to shake it off but she couldn't her feelings for him were becoming stronger and she couldn't fight them, she didn't want to fight them. She could almost feel Xander's own feelings due to her special sense and it made her dizzy with joy.

Buffy re-entered the magic box followed by Jill and Rachel with a dazed look on her face, her anger was gone and was replaced with confusion and surprise. She walked past everyone without sparing them a glance; she entered the back room and slammed the door shut.

"How did she take it?" Asked Gunn

"Not too well, she thought we were making it up at first, to protect Xander" Rachel explained

"I'm not surprised really, her anger can be quite trying at times" Giles sighed as he removed his glasses and rubbed them with handkerchief

"Yeah well we don't have for her anger Giles, we need her focused" Faith said walking over to them

"I agree Giles, someone has to talk to her, get her to put Riley's death aside for now" Spike agreed as she stood next to them

"I'll do it" Angel sighed not looking forward to the confrontation

"Very well, go through the back door, in her state she will have most likely forgotten to lock that as well" Giles told him

The ensouled vampire nodded and walked out of the shop, Wesley quickly walked over with a worried look

"Is something wrong Wes?" Faith asked

"Yes, where are Major Johnson and his men?" Wesley asked

"I suppose they have gone on a little scouting mission again, hopefully they know better than to get into a fight," Giles answered

"We need some more help Giles" Faith told him

"I know, but where can we get it from?" Giles agreed

"I know you may think I've gone insane for suggesting this but why not hire the order of Taraka" Spike suggested

"The order" Giles exclaimed in shock

"Why not, they don't care who they work for as long as they get paid" Spike told him "They've killed demons, vampires, humans and countless others as long as they get a good sum of money for each job" Spike added

"He's right Giles, they could come in handy" Wesley said

"Major Johnson may not like this and neither with Buffy, but I suppose it's our best shot" Giles finally gave it "Spike do you have a way to contact them?" he asked

"Yeah" the vampire told him

"Giles nodded and indicated for him to follow, Faith went back to her seat just glimpsing Tara and Xander sharing a small glance before quickly looking away like guilty children.

Angel slowly opened the back door to the training area and noticed Buffy had her back to him witch made him feel quite relived, he enter trying not make any noise

"What do you want Angel?" Buffy's cold voice asked

"We need to talk Buffy" he replied standing a few feet behind her

"Why" she asked her anger was back making Angel feel somewhat apprehensive

"You're getting distracted Buffy, and we don't have time for that" he told her simply

Buffy spun around as fast as possible and tried to knock the vampire out cold but he was ready and managed to grab her fist

"See what I mean, you're anger is clouding your judgment" Angel told her calmly

"My boyfriend is dead you cold hearted bastard, and it's Xander's fault and everyone is protecting him and making up lies" she hissed

"Wrong Buffy, you can try and blame this on Xander as much as you want but deep down you know better" Angel countered "What Rachel and Jill told you is the truth and you have to except it, and fast we don't when Valnon will attack, so far we've been beaten each time and if you stay distracted you'll be dead as well" he added letting his own anger show

"Daman you, get out," Buffy screamed at her ex boyfriend

"Fine, but get your head straight now whilst we have time or else someone may be forced to knock some sense into you" he told her before walking away not catching Buffy's hard gaze locked onto his back

Spike placed the phone back onto its holder with a smile as Giles and Wesley came towards him both with questioning glances

"Well?" Giles asked

"They'll take the contract, they're sending us eleven of their warriors, it'll cost us $15000" dollars to be paid on completion of the job" Spike informed them

"That's quite expensive" Wesley mused

"When dealing with the order you learn quickly that they always ask for a large sum" Spike responded

"Do we have that much money?" Wesley asked as Angel re-entered the store

"I'll contact the watchers council, and have them send us the money" Giles told them with a tired yawn

"They'll be a bit hesitant to send that much money," Wesley said

"Considering the circumstances I think they will agree it is necessary" Giles stated

"How long before these warriors arrive?" Wesley asked Spike as he lit a cigarette

"They said twenty to twenty five hours max, until then it's just us" Spike answered

"I don't suppose they said if they were sending just human warriors?" Angel asked as he joined them at the counter

"I did ask for them to send just Human warriors, they said they'll do what they can" Spike replied

Tara watched Xander's every move as he talked with Faith; it was obvious to her that she suspected something between her and Xander especially after Xander's slip. She wondered if Xander was trying to get her to promise not say anything to Willow, she dreaded what will happen once Willow discovered she had feelings for Xander and vice versa. Buffy was already distracted because of her feelings and they couldn't afford Willow been distracted as well, but she just didn't know how long she could keep herself under control. She wanted nothing more than to kiss Xander long and hard and never let go, and she could sense Xander was having just as much trouble staying away from her and not letting his feelings take over. She noticed Willow's gaze on her and quickly looked away from Xander although with great effort and focused instead on what Giles and the others were discussing hoping her girlfriend didn't choose now to discuss what Xander's slip meant.

Oz had noticed Tara's gaze locked on Xander and he instantly knew something was happening between the two, especially since Xander had slipped up during Buffy's outburst. He looked to where Willow stood and hoped nothing bad came of what ever it was that was happening between Tara and Xander. He then focused on what Spike had sent in motion, they had hired members of the order of Taraka and that in itself made him even more nervous and he wondered how Buffy would take it once she had calmed down enough to focus. In all his time fighting along side Buffy and the others this had to be the hardest fight they had been involved in.

Buffy finally opened the door and walked back into the main shop, Tara was sleep on the couch near the door next to Cordelia who was also out cold. Angel and Spike were near the door keeping an eye out the window in case of trouble, Giles, Wesley, Doyle and Willow were near the table going through some of the books Spike had brought. Xander was talking to Oz on the far side of the room, at seeing him her anger flared but she managed to hold it down. Faith and Gunn were talking with Major Johnson and his men who had finally returned from their scouting mission. Jill and Rachel were sleeping in the chairs near the counter. She walked over to where Giles was and waited until he noticed she had come out of the training room

"How are you Buffy?" Giles asked looking at her

"I'm okay, so what's new?" she asked hoping to avoid any conversation on Riley's death

"We have been forced into a rather difficult situation, luckily Spike came up with a plan that will increase our numbers" Giles told her

"What was it?" Buffy asked

"We hired the order of Taraka" Giles said simply

Buffy's mind seemed to close down for a few seconds and she stared at Giles as if he had three heads "We what?" she asked her voice rising in anger and disbelief

"We hired 11 warriors from the order of Taraka" Giles told her

"They're killers, they work for the bad guys" Buffy argued

"No they work for money, it doesn't matter who hires them as long as they get paid" Spike entered the conversation

"And how are we going to pay them?" Buffy asked

"The watchers council is sending us the money, it should be here in five hours. The warriors from the order should be here in twenty hours," Wesley answered before Giles could

"Why didn't you tell me before going ahead with it?" she demanded

"You weren't exactly in the listening mood B" Faith said walking over to them

"I think I would of listened to that piece of information," Buffy said

"I doubt it" Gunn said from where he now stood next to Spike and Angel

"Since when do we take ideas of Spike anyway?" Buffy asked

"Since now, we needed more help and that was the only way" Xander said stepping beside Faith

"And who the hell put you in charge murderer?" Buffy said staring coldly at him, Xander flinched

"I am not in control here Buff, Giles is" Xander shot back as

"No I am" Buffy hissed

"You are in no condition to lead a fight Buffy" Willow said

"Damn you all, I am not made of glass I am leading this fight I am the slayer" Buffy shouted to them all waking Tara, Jill, Rachel and Cordelia

"So am I B" Faith challenged her sister slayer

"Please Buffy we don't want to argue with you, we want to help you. At the moment you are not in a decent state of mind to lead a fight" Giles rationalised

Buffy spun and stalked back into the training room slamming the door very hard and locking it, Angel stepped up towards the door with a frown

"That's it, I warned her someone might be forced to make her see sense and now someone will have to do it" Angel said angrily turning and exiting the shop knowing Buffy might of forgotten to lock the back door again.

Buffy spun as the back door opened and Angel walked into the room just like he had before, in her anger she had forgotten to lock it again. Then again it was obvious Angel would of broken the door in half to get to her

"What do you want?" she demanded

"I warned you someone might have to knock some sense into you, you didn't listen and now someone will knock sense into you" he told her smashing his fist into her face knocking her backwards and onto her butt, she got up and hissed as she dropped into a fighting stance "What you need to do is release your anger, so lets do it" Angel said knowing this was going to be very painful for both of them but it was the only way to make Buffy's anger dissipate.

Xander tried to focus his mind as Rachel had instructed him but every time he closed his eyes he saw an image of Tara, at first it was there for a few minutes but now it was staying with him for longer periods. He wondered just how deep his feelings for the blond witch would go, and once again if his ancestor influenced them. He shook his head and tried again only to see an image of him and Tara lying on a bed holding each other closely, he was whispering something to her and she had the purest smile on her face. His eyes snapped open and quickly located Tara only to have his eyes connect with her own as if pulled. She seemed to be staring right through him and yet he could feel her at the back of his mind, he tried to pull his eyes away from her but he couldn't and he dropped deeper into her.

Faith sensed Xander's sudden movement and quickly looked to find him staring directly at Tara who was also staring back at him, she noticed the way their eyes were fixed on each other as if nothing else existed. As she turned to talk to Giles she noticed Willow had also noticed where her girlfriend was staring, she could instantly tell her anger and obviously Jealously was beginning to win and she guessed Red was about to explode.

Willow couldn't take it anymore, since this whole affair started she had felt like she was loosing Tara but now seeing her girlfriend staring openly at Xander as if he was the only thing that mattered broke her control and her anger seeped through. She marched towards them and halted between them, she watched as both slowly came out of their daze and met her eyes. Tara flinched at the look in them whilst Xander seemed to be on the verge of either laughing or crying, she knew Xander would realise what he had done before Tara could as he had broken her heart once before.

"Willow?" Xander started but Willow was quicker and weald on him

"Don't Willow me Xander, I see it in your eyes and hers. You're in love with each other" Willow accused them both "your slip earlier proved it" she added her eyes dancing with fire

Xander hung his head in shame at how he had hurt his friend again, but this time it had been beyond his control but somehow he couldn't get the words out. Tara however couldn't take the accusation in her girlfriends voice and fled through the door before anyone could react.

Tara ran as fast as she could away from Willow's glare and her anger, away from Xander's love and her own feelings. She didn't notice the car following here until it pulled up in front of her and the door opened quickly and she was pulled into the back before she could even scream. She looked straight into the face of a vamp that just smiled evilly at her and then slammed his fist into face knocking her unconscious.

Xander jerked up right as he felt the terror from Tara and the pain as someone or something hit her, Faith immediately noticed the look on his face and walked over to him. Willow paid no heed as Cordelia consoled her

"What is it Xand?" she asked

"Something has happened to Tara," he answered as another wave of pain shot through him

"Do you know where she is?" Jill asked her voice full of concern, as she appeared next to them with Rachel close behind

"No, I think she's unconscious. Valnon wouldn't send his people after one of us" Xander answered

"How do you know that?" Giles asked as he noticed the concern on Jill's face at what Xander had said

"I don't, Robert did and I have his memories" Xander said his eyes wide

"You've finally excepted them fully," Rachel noted

"Oh shit we are so fucking dumb" Xander suddenly cried

"Why what is it?" Wesley asked as he rushed over

"We forgot about the damn artefacts the vamps were after, we were so busy learning about the prophecy and Valnon that we forgot they wanted to raise a damn dead vamp or demon" Xander said dead eyed

"Oh dear" Giles said his own shock coming through

"They did it to distract us, to split us up so we couldn't attack in force or to at least cause us to loose some of or people rescuing Tara" Wesley told them as he understood the strategy the demon had used to blind side them

"This makes things even worse," Faith said with a shake of her head

"We have to rescue here, or else we won't be able to defeat Valnon" Xander told them

"We have to find them first, Spike see if you can find out anything" Giles said turning to the blond vamp who quickly nodded and almost ran out of the door

"Tara" Xander said fearfully before he collapsed as a shockwave of pain shot through him, Faith caught him before he could fall face first onto the floor

"Giles help" She said, Giles quickly took Xander's leg and help place him on the couch next to Fred and Gunn

"This is getting worse that possible" Doyle said with a cold grimaced

"What's happened?" Buffy's voice suddenly broke in, they all turned to see Buffy and Angel supporting each other and both were covered in bruises and both seemed to have a dislocated shoulder

"Great" Giles cursed

Xander's body convulsed for the fifth time since he collapsed, Faith who was keeping watch over him was beginning to suspect this was not a usual collapse and that someone had cast some sort of spell on him. She turned to where Buffy and Angel were recovering from their injuries and the only good thing seemed to be that Buffy was no longer concentrating on Riley's death, she placed her hand on Xander's forehead and quickly recoiled as if burned.

"Giles something is wrong, he's burning up," she shouted to where the Watcher stood near the table

"Burning up?" Giles said somewhat surprised

"I think this is some sort of spell Giles, another tactic to delay us" Faith told him, the watcher nodded and began looking through some of his books

"Rachel is there anything you or Jill can do?" Faith asked

"I'm afraid there is not much we can do, we maybe able to tell you if it is a spell that's all" Rachel replied as she walked over to them

"At least then we'll know" Faith shot back a little anger creeping through her

"Okay, Jill get the supplies we'll need" Rachel nodded at her daughter who just went to complete her task

"Willow maybe you should try doing a locator spell to find where Tara is been held," Wesley suggested to the red haired witch who was sitting next to Cordelia

"I'll try" Willow said in a weak voice her fear for her girlfriend and her friend overrunning her anger and jealously over what she had seen happen between them

"Isn't it possible they'll keep her in the caves?" Fred asked

"I doubt it, according to Xander before he collapsed they used the artefacts to raise a dead demon or vampire to delay us or split us up, so it makes sense they'll keep her somewhere separate than where Valnon is hiding" Wesley answered her

"This is making things ten times worse" Cordelia muted

"Yes I'm afraid so, Spike how long before the warriors from the order arrive?" Wesley agreed

"Half an hour" Spike answered as he lit one of his smokes

"Hopefully we'll have found a way to wake Xander and locate Tara before then" Wesley said with a shake of his head

"Faith I want you to hold Xander's hand whilst we perform this spell, try and keep him still" Rachel told the dark slayer, Faith nodded moving to Xander's other side to give Rachel and Jill space and grasped Xander's hand

"This may cause him some discomfort as usual when using a probe spell" Jill said she placed the items in front of them

"A what spell?" Faith asked

"A probe spell, it will allow us to probe Xander's subconscious and thus allow us to determine what is keeping him unconscious," Rachel explained

"Okay" Faith nodded somewhat uncertain

Tara tried to keep her eyes closed as she tried to use her link to Xander to call for help but all she could see was darkness and she could also feel pain. As she opened her eyes she knew something had happened to him just as she had been taken, and this meant things were even worse than they were before. She watched as the bald headed vampire walked towards where she was chained to the wall, she hoped to keep the fear she was feeling of her face.

"So you are the sorcerer's mate, you have power I can feel it" the vampire said with an evil smile

"Who are you?" she asked hesitantly

"I am called the Master, it would seem the old one had need of my services and has brought be back to life after the slayer killed me" the vampire answered his smile turning even more evil She had forgotten about the artefacts the vampires she, Willow and Xander had encountered as this while mess started had been looking for

"I have been ordered to keep you alive and to wait until your mate comes and then kill you both" the vampire taunted her

"You can't kill him, Valnon must face him" Tara hissed not knowing where the knowledge came from

"It would seem the old one is not interested in facing the sorcerer again" the master told her stepping a little closer "It would seem he wants to change the prophecy so that the sorcerer and his friends can not win under any circumstances" the master added "However he has made one mistake and that is resurrecting me" the master told her with a wide evil grin

"What do you mean?" Tara asked

"I do not like been ordered around by anyone, not even a demon from hell" the master snarled "I will make him pay for thinking he can command me" he added before turning and walking away leaving Tara alone and miserable

Rachel eyes opened slowly as she released the spell she had cast, Jill was supporting her as she tried to stand, Faith let go of Xander's hand and stood as well looking at her expectedly

"It is a spell and a dark one at that," she told them

"I knew it" Faith hissed

"Do you know who cast it?" Giles asked as he walked over to them

"I would suspect it was Valnon, he had a vast knowledge of dark magic," Rachel answered

"Is there a way we can counter it?" Buffy asked as she joined them

"Yes, someone is going to have to go inside Xander's mind and help him fight whatever force is attacking him" Rachel told them

"I'll go" Buffy said

"You can't, it must be someone he trusts and at the moment things between you are not to good, Willow can't either" Rachel told them

"I'll do it" Faith said fiercely surprising almost everyone in the room

"Very well, Mr Giles we'll need a very powerful book called the Drakanal" Rachel said facing Giles

"The demon book of magic" Giles said shocked

"Yes, do you have it?" she asked in reply

"No, but it is in Sunnydale" Giles said

"Where?" Rachel asked

"It's in the same tomb the vampire raided to find that item they stole" he replied

"Buffy take Angel and Spike and get it now, Jill and I will get the supplies we already know we'll need" Rachel said facing the blond slayer

Buffy frowned somewhat at the commanding tone of the woman but nodded anyway and walked out of the magic box followed by the two vampires

"Faith I think you'd better try and meditate and prepare yourself, this isn't going to be easy" Rachel told the brunette, she nodded took one more look at Xander's prone form and went into the training room.

Buffy walked into the tomb slowly making sure no one especially not any of Valnon's followers were already inside, she hoped for Xander and Tara' sake that the book they wanted had not already been taken. Angel followed her in whilst Spike stayed outside to keep an eye out for anyone following them.

"So where do we start, in the guys tomb or in one of these metal boxes they have in the wall?" Angel asked

"I thin the tomb has already been sacked" Buffy said pointing to the open tomb in the middle of the room "I'd try the boxes" she added Angel nodded and began using his enhanced strength to pull the boxes open as Buffy did the same on the other side of the tomb

Tara looked around the cold and damp place where she was been held; it was he old factory where Spike had once held Willow and an unconscious Xander. Buffy and Angel had also had a fight with a few of Valnon's followers here as well at the beginning of this mess. The only good thing that happened was the fact that Valnon had chosen the wrong vampire to resurrect, the Master did not like been the one given orders he wanted to be the one giving orders and so that hopefully by them some time at least for her friends to put a stop to whatever had happened to Xander and cut of her link to him. The question was could she stay alive long enough for Xander and her friends to rescue her.

She once again tried to use her link to contact Xander although she knew it was hopeless as for the minute Xander was unreachable. She felt the darkness and the pain coming from it but that was all, she feared for him more than she had for anyone else in her entire life and if he did die how would she deal with it. She loved him she was sure of it no matter how it came about she was in love with Xander and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. She felt heart begin to beat faster as she realised what it was she had just thought. She was in love with Xander, what about her feelings for Willow. She shook her head and tried to focus her thoughts but all she could do was repeat the truth that was in her heart.

Buffy returned to the magic shop with Angel and Spike looking somewhat beat up, however Giles noted Buffy was carrying a large and heavy looking book, it also looked quite old.

"Did you get it?" Giles asked

"Yeah, but on our way out we ran into a few of Valnon's demon's" Buffy replied sitting down next to Willow

"Give me the book quickly, Xander is weakening fast" Rachel said hurriedly, Buffy handed her the book and watched as she sat in front of where Xander lay along with Jill and began looking through the pages, Faith was just exiting the training room looking more relaxed and more at ease than Buffy ever remembered her looking. Faith took a seat on the other side of Xander and just closed her eyes once again concentrating on what she was about to do

"Giles isn't this dangerous?" Buffy asked quietly

"It can be, but it is the only way to wake Xander" Giles nodded in understanding of Buffy's question "What Faith is doing takes considerable courage" Giles added, Buffy frowned at this but kept quite

"Okay we have all the ingredients and the spell necessary to send Faith into Xander's mind" Rachel informed them

"Okay, I want everyone to be quite, I don't want any mistakes made or we may loose both Xander and Faith" Giles told them all

"Faith are you ready?" Jill asked

"Yeah I'm five by five" Faith said her voice unusually carm and collect, her eyes when they were open were very intense and everyone had no doubt that she was very intent on saving Xander's life

"Okay take both of Xander's hands in yours and then lay your forehead against his" Rachel instructed her, Faith nodded and did as she was told, holding Xander's hands tightly in hers and leaned forward and placed her forehead against his even though it was still very hot "Okay close your eyes tightly and block out everything except for Xander's heartbeat" Rachel told her. She managed to catch the heartbeat prity fast

"Got it," she said

"Okay now just hold it" Rachel replied, she then turned to Jill and nodded

Her daughter began mixing the ingredients and slowly began the chant form the book; Rachel then took the mixture and pored over both Faith and Xander's joined heads. Neither moved in reflex, Buffy wasn't surprised Xander didn't move as he was unconscious but Faith did surprise her, she knew if she had been allowed to go she would of moved when that stuff was pored on her. Faith seemed more in control of herself these days and Buffy whether this was due to Faith having her ancestor's memories or something she had picked up since she went to jail. A bright light surrounded Faith and Xander bringing Buffy's thoughts back to what was going on in front of her, the light turned red and then blue and then faded. Jill's chant grew louder and then stopped suddenly.

"It is done, no one must touch them until they wake themselves, if they make it" Rachel said sounding very drained

"Willow you'd better do the location spell, this could take some time with the arrival of the order soon we can at least rescue her and be ready for the final battle when Xander and Faith wake" Giles said looking very worried for the boy and girl now joined on the floor

Faith looked around what looked like a raging battlefield, she could see thousands of dead bodies, and the air smelled like the bodies had been dead for a thousand years. She knew she was inside Xander's mind and yet this seemed very real to her

"I knew you'd come" said a tired voice from behind her, she spun to find Xander kneeling in the middle of the field, his face was streaked with blood, he wore what looked like old style battle armour and he held a sword which seemed to glow with a gold light

"Xander what the hell is going on here?" she asked as she knelt next to him

"I was attacked by some sort of spell, my mind is comprehending it like a war, I've managed to hold on so far but I'm weakening Faith. The bodies you see is actually my mental defence against the spell" Xander replied as he tried to stand but fell, Faith managed to catch him

"Well you just got some help," Faith said as she looked around

"Thanks" He said as she helped him stand "Lets go to what my mind has created for my base," he said as he slowly led her off the field

Buffy was somewhat uneasy as Willow began casting her locator spell, first they had a gang of warriors from the order in the training room trying to get Ethan to talk as their first assignment, Spike and Angel were keeping an eye on them. The fact that Xander and Faith were locked in some kind of trance was really getting to her and lastly she was fearful for Tara, she hoped the young shy witch was still alive.

Tara suddenly felt the workings of a spell in the air, it was Willow she was sure of it. She was doing a locator spell to find her, they would be coming soon but would Xander be with them, as still she had no sense of him. The Master was finding as many normal vampires as he could as he planned to bring down the old one, Tara knew from Karan's memories that Valnon was more powerful than the master and he would defeat the now resurrected vampire easily but she needed the Master to try to by time for her friends to save her and Xander. So she decided to use Karan's memories to encourage the Master's plans. She hoped it would also help keep her alive a while longer whilst her friends came for her.

Xander was slumped in what looked like Faith's motel room when she first came to Sunnydale, that surprised her somewhat and she noticed Xander seemed a little nervous for brining her here. She watched as he tried to wash the blood of his face.

"Xander how many times has your mind fought this spell?" she asked sitting across from him

"Nine times so far, I can't keep it up Faith I'm loosing. This spell is one of the most powerful black magic spells ever. It's ripping away my defence and once it's done it will then wipe out my mind bit by bit until all that is left is me, I'm basically my mind's control centre and once it has me alone it will rip through me killing me instantly and you with me if you are still in here" Xander told her

"I won't leave you here Xander" she said looking at him intently

"Why the hell not?" asked another voice from behind her, she spun to find a second Xander standing there, this one looked like Xander had during the re-opening of the hell mouth fight. She looked back to the other Xander to find he wouldn't meet her eyes "Answer me Faith why won't you leave me here to die?" the other demanded she faced him with a frown

"Who are you?" she asked

"I'm the small part of Xander who likes you, the one who fucked you during the apocalypse deal, the one who felt devastated when you kicked me out of the room straight after" the second replied, this stunned Faith totally

"The spell has split my personality into many different bits, it's why I'm losing so badly" the other Xander told her "You'll find versions of me who love Buffy and Willow somewhere around here" he added "But the main ones you'll find is him, and the huge part of me that loves Tara" he finished as he struggled to stand

"What does this one represent?" Faith asked hesitantly

"He loves you" Xander said turning away from her

Faith was too stunned to say a damn thing to either Xander; she looked back to the second Xander who was watching her with great curiosity, Xander had loved her during that whole thing. She shook her head as confusion began to set it. This wasn't the time to get confused Xander's life was in her hands and so was her own.

"Xander how do we defeat the spell?" she asked trying to ignore how the second Xander watched her

"We can't unless I can pull myself together, I mean I have to get the other Xander's to rejoin the whole. That way I can put all my focus in fighting the spell's affect and hopefully win the war which is raging inside me" he informed her

"So how do we that?" she asked

"I don't know, each want a different thing," he told her slowly walking towards her

"It's simple," the second Xander said to both, they looked at him strangely

"Go on?" Faith asked

"Each wants a simple answer," the other told her

"Answer to what question?" she asked stepping closer to him

"For me the answer as to why he wouldn't allow my feelings for you to grow, and from you the answer to why you kicked me out of the motel room" he told her fiercely

"The answer is easy for me, if I had allowed your feelings to take control I would of followed Faith into the dark and doomed our friends and the world to hell" the first Xander told his double hotly

"You don't know that, if we had managed to show Faith a little caring maybe she wouldn't have been corrupted by the mayor" the second told them both "None of us really showed her anything, we were too busy telling her how great Buffy was and how she should be more like Buffy and things like that. We failed her first and you know it," he added

"It was a mistake but the past is done and nothing we can do will change it," the first said with a shake of his head

"But at least now you admit the mistake and that fact that you loved Faith" the second told him with a satisfied smile

"I shouldn't of denied it in the first place, but I had to so I could save my friends" the first said slowly before stepping back to allow Faith and his double some space. What she said was not for him to hear

"Well Faith?" the second asked hopefully

"I never allowed my feelings out, I leaned from experience they were a weakness I couldn't afford. I lost my parents just after I was called. It almost destroyed me; I lost my friends and then my watcher, when I came to Sunnydale I was on the brink of self-destruction until I met all of you. Although I never showed it I cared for you all as friends. But the fact that all you were so hung up on Buffy hurt, no matter what I did you all seemed not to notice it and that made it worse. Willow never trusted me, and Giles always disapproved of my methods. Buffy was okay for a while but too uptight" Faith said slowly "You did show me some more care than the rest, you tried to help when you could, you shared my hate of Angel and his relationship with Buffy. I saw something in you but I didn't want to see it get stronger it scared me. I tried to discourage it" he added glancing at the second Xander for a second before looking away "That night we made love I wanted it to be more but I got freaked afterwards, that's why I kicked you out and after I killed that guy and started my descent I didn't want you to follow" she finished

"Thank you" the second said with a smile, Faith looked back at him as the second stepped forward and before she could react he kissed her hard. Once he released her he walked over to where the first stood and held his hand out, the first grasped it and suddenly the second began to glow and then he vanished.

"That's one," the first said and to Faith he sounded stronger, she still was shaving a hard time believing what she had just witnessed and confessed, she tried to push these thoughts away for now

"Where do we find the others?" she asked

"The white Knight will be on the field trying to save the world by himself" the first said

"What do you mean?" she asked

"It's what Angel called me when I loved Buffy, because I kept trying to save her no matter what" he told her. He walked over to her grabbed her hand and led her out of the room and suddenly they were on another battlefield. This one however was smaller and covered in Ash and in the middle stood a third Xander. This one wore gold armour and held a long sword, he had multiple cuts on his face and half of his armour was covered in black dents. Before him was a perfect replica of Angel and Angelus. Both separate and both distinctive. Behind them were at least fifty vampires

"I thought you said he was trying to fight this on his own?" Faith asked

"He is, this part of my mind is how it views the spells attack," the first Xander explained

"Well let's help" Faith suddenly finding a short sword in her hand

"We'll have to so we can find out what he wants," the first said with a cold smile. They rushed forward swords raised; they jumped into the fray behind the two versions of Angel leaving them to the White knight version of Xander. Faith and the first Xander easily cut the vamps into pieces loosing themselves in the heat of the battle.

The third Xander smashed his sword into the version of Angelus before turning so quickly that the version of Angel couldn't even move and sliced him into two turning him into ash. Angelus rammed his own fist into the third Xander and knocked him on his arse leaving him open for a deathblow. Faith and the third Xander watched as Angelus went to drive his foot into the third's face, but the white knight rolled away and jumped back to his feat. He rushed forward driving his sword straight through Angelus and then he drove it upwards splitting the vampire in two. All three watched in satisfaction as the vamp turned to ash. The third then turned to Faith and the first Xander with a cold glare

"What do you want?" he asked coldly

"Don't take it seriously, he's mad at me" the first said

"Damn right, you gave up on Buffy" the third said angrily

"Had no choice but to move on, she didn't see us like that and she never will" the first said somewhat sadly

"You turned your back on her" the third accused

"I might have once or twice, but only because my anger at the way she treated me got the better of me," the first said

"Answer me this, if she did fall for you now, what would you do?" the third asked stepping closer to them

"I don't think I'd fall for her again, I love Tara, at least most of me does" the first told his double

"Yet some of you still loves Faith, and Willow" the third shot back

"And Buffy" the first admitted

The third looked at him closely and then smiled, he then placed his sword on the back of his armour and held his hand out, the first grasped it and like before the double glowed and then vanished. Faith watched as the first seemed to grow stronger and his stance became more deadly. She couldn't believe all she was leaning about Xander, everyone had thought he was a joker and yet inside he was very series.

"Almost done, one left and this one is going to be the hardest," the first said looking at Faith

"Why?" she asked as once again the first Xander took her hand and led her away from the field

"I never ever let my feelings for Willow out, I never told her I loved her and then I broke her heart twice once when she caught me kissing Cordelia and second when she found out me and you had slept together, I think that one was the most devastating for her" the first said very sadly

"Why didn't you ever let me out?" a loud and very annoyed voice shouted from above them

They looked up to find a fourth Xander standing above them, this one was a much younger version of Xander but the look on his face was very deadly and very angry. Faith never recalled seeing Xander looking so angry and for some reason it unnerved her

"I couldn't, it would have destroyed everything," the first said softly

"How?" this fourth version of Xander demanded

"Jessie loved her, he used Cordelia as his cover. He was going to tell her but he got killed I couldn't go behind his back, he was the only male friend I had, hell he was like a brother to me" the first shot back "I held back for him, I know I hurt her by ignoring how she felt but I didn't want to betray him, then when he died for some reason I still couldn't tell her, then the fluke happened and I thought at last we'd be together but it all went wrong and I still couldn't tell her the truth of my feelings" the first added

"Why?" the other said jumping down towards them

"I don't know, maybe I was scared, maybe it was the fact that part of me had fallen for Buffy. I just don't know" the first said "No that's not true I know why" he said turning away "I see Willow as my sister, the one person I can always trust, the one person I know will always be there" the first admitted "She's everything I ever wanted to be, strong willed, smart, loyal to a fault but for some reason I failed in almost all of these aspects but still she holds me steady and keeps me on the path. She is the reason I fight so hard, if she died then I'd die," he said facing his double

"And Tara?" the a fifth version asked appearing next to Faith

"She is my heart, I would do anything to save her even give my life for her" he answered with a confident smile

"You'd do that for any of your friends" the fifth said

"True but for Tara I'd go that little bit extra. I'd push myself to the breaking point I'd give my soul to save hers" the first said

The fourth and fifth versions of Xander nodded and both held their hands put, the first smiled and took both hands, and the doubles glowed and then vanished. The first Xander glowed too for a few minutes before it faded.

"It's done I'm complete" the first said with a broad smile, suddenly they were back on the first battlefield except this time they were surrounded by dozens of old style warriors. Faith even noticed doubles of Buffy and the others including her leading the charge.

"Ready?" Xander asked as he raised his own sword that glowed with a very bright and strong light

"Yeah" Faith nodded raising her own sword and followed Xander as they charged into thousands of vampires which Xander's mind had used to represent the spell's affect

The battle was short as Xander was at his best, his strength regained and his defences repaired, the images of his friends swept left and fight and destroyed the vamps faster than the eye could see. Faith revealed in the battle as she helped her friend break the spell holding them here. Once it was done both stood in the middle of the field alone

"It's done, I'm beginning to wake up" Xander told her "Thanks Faith I owe you my life" he said facing her

"Glad I could help" she smiled at him, he bent down and quickly kissed her one last time before a white flash blinded them both.

Buffy almost jumped when Faith and Xander both jerked awake, both seemed tired and confused but they were awake.

"Giles, Rachel they're awake," she cried

Everyone except the warriors from the order ran over to where Xander and Faith sat on the floor, Rachel and Jill seemed the most relieved to see them awake

"You did it Faith" Giles exclaimed

"Was there any doubt G-man, she's a slayer" Xander said standing up, he then helped Faith up as well

"We know where Tara is been held," Gunn told them

"Form up, we're going to rescue her" Xander said fiercely

"But you just recovered from a dark spell you can't rush off now into a fight" Wesley said

"He has to do this Wes, don't get in his way, we go now" Faith said knowing nothing would stop Xander rescuing the girl he loved and she wasn't going to let him go alone

"Very well, Spike get the warriors from the order ready, we're going to rescue Tara" Giles nodded noticing the look in both Xander's and Faiths eyes letting him know nothing would convince then to stay

Xander held a long sword as they headed to the factory where Tara was been held, they didn't know which vampire Valnon had resurrected to aid him but at the moment he didn't care. All he cared about was saving Tara's life, Faith now understood him better than anyone ever had including Willow. That was why she had agreed they should go now as Xander had said, she knew now what drove him to fight the darkness. Why he went so far to help his friends, why he pushed himself so hard, and although she also now knew a part of him loved her she also knew Tara was the girl who held his heart.

Spike and Angel were walking with the warriors from the order just to make sure none of them tried anything, Faith and Buffy were behind them brining up the rear. Giles was in the middle along with Willow, Wesley, Gunn, Major Johnson and his team. Each of them looked somewhat nervous but over wise intent on their mission.

They quickly made it to the factory and made a quick check to make sure no one could see them, Xander looked at his watch and noticed it was two thirty. They still had the advantage of the daylight; he looked at Giles and Wesley and knew they would come up with the best way to attack.

"Okay Giles, which way would be best?" Xander asked

"We should split, You, Faith, Angel and three of the order should take the back, Buffy, Willow, Spike and four of the order should take the front and the rest of us should use the fire escape on the roof" Giles said as he removed his glasses and prepared for the fight ahead.

"Okay, be careful and don't take any unnecessary risks, we can't afford to loose anyone else" Wesley added, everybody nodded and split up into their teams

Xander led Faith, Angel and the three members from the order to the back of the order making sure not to pass any windows, he could feel his heart beat faster as his anticipation increased. They had to be careful here, one mistake could cost Tara her life and maybe some of their own. As he reached the door he looked back to where his team waited

"Angel you should go first to make sure it's clear and just in case they have any sort of device that detects humans" Xander said to the ensouled vampire

"No problem" Angel replied although he felt some anger at Xander's tone, but he knew Xander's mind was on something else so he didn't say anything else.

He slowly tested the door and was relived to find it not locked; he entered and quickly looked around but didn't see anyone guarding the back entrance. This confused him somewhat, nearly ever vampire lord he knew kept some of his underlings on guard at any entrance point, he stuck his head out the door and motioned for the others to enter. Xander made a quick scan of the area and moved forward, Angel was surprised at the way Xander was moving and acting. He wondered just how far the memories of his ancestor affected the man and if they would vanish once this was over.

"Seems clear" he mused, "We're going to have to be very quite. We'd better split up and go down different sides," he added

"Why?" Angel asked

"Because then there won't be that much of a chance that we'll be seen" Xander shot back "You take the three guys from the order and go down the right side, me and Faith will take and left and stay behind the debris" Xander added as he turned and walked slowly away with Faith close behind. Angel stayed where he was for a few seconds before nodding to the warriors behind him and walked towards the right side making sure to keep an eye out for any vampires.

Tara smiled when she felt Xander's presence wash over her; he was awake and very much alive. She also sensed something had happened to heal him completely, she no longer sensed any of the pain he usually carried. He had faced his pain she smiled and now he was coming for her, the only thing that dampened her happiness was the fact that she also sensed Willow was with him.

She suddenly noticed the Master enter the room she was kept in, he was smiling as he approached her, and she quickly hid any positive feelings she was showing now she knew she was almost safe

"The old one has ordered me to kill you now" the Master told her, she almost cried at the thought she would die with Xander so close to her "But I won't yet, you have been very helpful in using your knowledge of Valnon to aid my plan. Although I know you do this to stay alive longer so your friends can rescue you" the Master added "If they do find you they will be killed and you will die after them" he finished before leaving the room.

Tara tried to keep her carm and not allow any fear creeping into her, she had complete confidence in Xander and the others to free her and destroy the Master again.

Faith was impressed at the way Xander was making his way though the burnt our factory and the way her had split up his team to improve their chances of success, it was as if he was someone completely different. She knew he had the memories of his ancestor just like she had Buffy's ancestor's memories but she hadn't been as affected by them as he had, he was acting almost like a solider and then she remembered what Buffy had told her about the Halloween incident and how he had basically become a solider. She wondered if somehow he still had the memories from that event, then she called upon what she had just learnt about Xander and she knew that he would use anything to save his friends and the woman he loved so in the end it didn't really matter.

She shook her head and cleared her thoughts as she followed Xander deeper into the factory, when he suddenly stopped. She peered over his shoulder to see why and froze instantly; nearly twenty vampires were standing in the large room they were in. The only thing that made her feel relaxed was that these vampires didn't have any tattoo's or claws which meant that they were not followers of Valnon. She looked across the room to where Angel and the three warriors from the order were crouched, each looked ready to rush into the room but she was glad they were holding back for now.

"Okay what's the plan Xand?" she asked quietly

"I'm going to throw a he fire ball at them, but it will take a lot out of me, you have to stay close to me to kill any of the survivors" he answered giving her a quick glance

"No problem" she nodded, she noticed Angel watching them and she knew he understood they were making the first move.

She watched as Xander closed his eyes and began chanting in what she believed was Latin; she then noticed a small ball of fire appear before him. She looked to the where the vampires stood but they hadn't noticed them yet, she pulled out a stake and the dagger she taken from Giles's weapon's locker and prepared herself for the fight ahead.

The ball increased suddenly and then shot into the middle of the vamps setting nine of them on fire which quickly disintegrated, Xander fell backwards but she caught him and leant him against the wall as the remaining vampires walked towards them just as Angel and the three tarakan warriors jumped out of their cover.

Angel slammed into the two leading vampires as the warriors behind him hit the three to the left, Faith made her way to the two on the right. He had gassed Xander would use his inherited powers to take care of the main group; he just hoped he recovered fast enough to help them.

Xander pushed himself to his feet and looked to where Faith and the others were fighting the remaining vamps, it was obvious to him they were outnumbered. He raised his sword weakly and ran towards where Faith was somehow holding of three vampires by herself.

Xander raised his sword ignoring the way his arms felt weak and rammed it into the first of the vampires near Faith, it hollowed it agony as he jammed it forward even more and then pulled it back and swung hard decapitating it before it could react.

"Nice timing Xand" Faith said with a smile as he jump kicked the second whilst throwing her dagger at the third which hit it squally in the chest

Xander moved forward and slammed his fist into the vampires face and then brought his knee up into it's wounded chest before pulling Faith's dagger out of it and thrusting it into the vamps head as he grabbed the vamp and twisted hard breaking it's neck, he watched in satisfaction as it disintegrated. Faith used her stake to dust the second vamp but as she turned to help Angel and the three warriors from the order she heard a loud groan and a grunt from behind her, she turned to find Xander slumped on the ground with a tall lanky vampire standing above him about to drive her dagger into his back. She felt a huge swirl of adrenalin rush through her and she tackled the vamp knocking the dagger flying. They landed on the ground hard but Faith recovered fast as she staked the vamp before it could rise. She grabbed the dagger and rushed over to where Xander was weakly pushing himself to his feet

"You okay?" she asked as she knelt at his side

"Yeah, just winded, go help Angel, I'll be there in a few minutes" he said with a smile, she nodded and reluctantly left him to help Angel

Buffy ducked the wide swing from the Vampire she was currently fighting and dropped to a crouch and sweeped the vamps legs from under him, as the vamp fell on it's back she staked it quickly and then took a look around to see Willow and Spike finish off the two remaining vamps that had attacked them, they had lost one of the warriors from the order but the other three were still standing.

"Which way?" Willow asked

"This way I think" Buffy said hoping the others hadn't encountered this much trouble as she walked forward

Giles shook his head as the warrior in front of him used his sword to behead the vamp that had jumped them along with seven others on the roof, they had almost broken through but five more had shown up to help. Finally they had managed to kill most of them only loosing two of the tarakan warriors and Gunn had been badly wounded, Major Johnson and his men were securing the roof just in case they needed to escape through here.

"Gunn you'd better stay here" he told Gunn as she approached the hatch that led into the factory

"No problem" Gunn replied in a bitter tone

"Lets go" Giles said to the others as he opened the hatch

Faith landed next to Xander's knee as she tried to push herself back to her feet and felt a hand push her back down and the Xander's voice spoke

"Stay down, regain your strength I'll help finish them off" he told her, she nodded as she watched him as he stood and noted he was still weak but he seemed to be ignoring it, that impressed her greatly.

He rushed the vampire that had been fighting Angel and knocked it into the wall but before he could strike again, one of the warriors slammed an axe into the vamp cutting it in half.

"Xander" he heard Angel shout out from behind, he turned just in time to block a vampire's thrust with a sword, he stepped backward and waited as the vamp tried another fast strike but Xander quickly blocked it and then turned left and struck out cutting the vamp in half from just below the neck. He smiled as it disintegrated, he looked around to notice the remaining vamps had been killed and he was glad they hadn't lost any of the hired warriors, he walked over to Faith and helped her back to her feet. He handed her the sword the vamp had been using

"Cool" she said as she tested its weight

'Xander' Tara's cry suddenly echoed through his head as if she had been standing right beside him

"What?" Faith asked catching the way Xander's face turned grim

"It's Tara she's in trouble. We've gotta move now" he said as she turned and rushed forward quickly forgetting the weakness he still felt in his legs as the danger Tara was still in overrode everything else in his mind. Faith and the others quickly followed him not bothering to question how Xander knew where he was going and how he knew Tara was in deeper trouble.

Chapter 4

Tara was only holding the Master back with a magic field she had managed to remember reading about, but she was weakening fast and she knew if Xander didn't get her soon then she was done for.

"You" two voices suddenly cried out at the same time

They both turned to see Xander standing on one side of the room and on the other Buffy stood both gaping at the site of the Master been back once more.

"Slayer" the Master hissed stepping away from Tara and then tuning to where Xander stood "And you're the reason she came back after I killed her sorcerer" he said

"That's right, and now I'm going to send you back to hell only this time there will be no return ticket" Xander replied razing his sword

"No Xander this is my fight" Buffy said with great determination as she remembered how messed up she had been after she had been killed. Xander looked about ready to argue with her when Giles, Wesley and the rest of his team entered the room trying to fight off the last of the Master's followers

"Okay Buff you win" he said as he rushed in to help the two retired watchers, Faith, Angel and the three warriors followed.

Buffy slowly made her way down the stairs towards the Master, every step brought a memory of her last battle with this undead king back to her. She brought out her stake and dropped into a fighting stance, The Master followed suite both glaring at the other with unhidden hate, Willow and Spike rushed past them to released Tara who finally dropped the magic field as she realised she was safe

"Are you okay?" Willow asked trying to keep her voice even

"Y..yeah" she replied as Spike broke the chains that held her in place, her eyes instantly searched for Xander and found him kneeling on the floor trying to cover a cut he had in his side, Faith was covering him. She then looked to where Buffy was now fighting the Master; she already had three cuts on her arm and face but her face showed that she was determined to kill this monster

"Willow, Spike get Tara back to the magic box now, take half of the warriors with you, use the roof exit, Gunn and the others are there waiting" Giles called out to them as he staked a rather large vampire

"But" Willow tried to argue

"Willow do it" he shouted back and Willow knew Giles's ripper persona was now in full control, she nodded and then rushed over to where seven of the warriors waited to enter the fight, Spike followed basically dragging Tara with him

"You two stay here, the rest are with us," Willow said

"I won't leave him," Tara said sternly

'Tara go' Xander voice floated into her mind, she looked back and caught Xander's eye for a fleeting moment before he vanished back into the fight

"Tara we have to go now" Willow said, Tara just nodded and followed them out

Buffy struck out as hard as she could catching the Master in the side with fist, she tried to follow up with a back kick but the Master quickly recovered and slammed his elbow into her leg and then backhanded her sending her flying backwards into part of the stone building. Xander noticed Buffy wasn't doing very well and rushed forward ramming the tip of his sword into the back of the Master's head stunning him. Buffy used his distraction jump back to her feet and grab the stake she had dropped, Xander nodded knowing this had to be Buffy's kill. He turned and noticed two vamps creeping up on Faith, he rushed towards her as fast as he could and impaled both vamps with his word

"Faith quick" he shouted, she turned and noticed the two impaled vamps and staked both

"Nice work Xand" she said somewhat out of breath, he nodded and noticed the last few vamps were trying to run but were quickly caught by the warriors and beheaded.

Everyone turned to see Buffy kick the Master in his leg snapping it, he fell to one knee trying to keep his defence up but Buffy was relentless and kicked him in the head sending him backward. As she walked over to stake him, he smiled at them all "You'll never defeat the old one Sorcerer, he had altered your prochecy so only he can win" the Master said

"We will win" Xander said with fierce determination as Buffy staked the Master and watched in satisfaction as he was turned to dust

"That was tiring" Wesley said

"The next fight will be ten times as worse," Xander said as he turned and began leaving

"But we'll be more prepared for that" Giles said as he and the others followed "I'll make sure of it" he added to himself

Tara looked up as the door to the magic shop opened and Buffy entered quickly followed by the others, she had to use every bit of will power she had to stop herself running into Xander's arms and kissing him hard. She knew Willow was still hurt by what was happening between her and Xander and having her flaunt it in her face wouldn't help the situation, Xander sat down next to Faith who began to check the wound he had in his side. Buffy sat next to Giles who was wiping his glasses; Angel and Major Johnson were placing the injured Gunn on the nearby table whilst Wesley led the surviving warriors from the order back into the training room.

"So now what?" Buffy asked

"We prepare for the final confrontation with Valnon" Xander said in a tired but dark tone

"But we must prepare first" Giles argued

"There is no time left Giles, we have to strike now," Xander said fiercely

"Why?" Buffy asked

"Because he can use the items he stole to raise another vamp or demon to distract us, or he can cast more spells on us. We can't take the chance that he will, some of us might not survive next time, we have to strike whilst we are all here and in good shape" Xander answered hotly

"What about what the Master said, about him changing the prophecy?" Wesley asked

"Yes is that possible?" Giles asked

"It is if you are as powerful as Valnon is, but he forgets I have the memories of the man who created it, which means I know everything we need to win" Xander said although to the others his voice sounded deeper and stronger

"My god" Rachel gasped

"What is it?" Willow asked

"He has excepted the memories so fully that he's beginning to sound like Robert" Rachel explained fighting her shock

"Giles we're gonna need as many of your most powerful weapons you have" Xander said facing the watcher, Giles nodded in understanding and gathered some of Major Johnson's men to help go his house and collect them

"Jill, Rachel I need you to work with Willow and Tara and help them find the hidden parts of their magical talents. Also help Tara except Karan's memories, we're going to need them" Xander spoke again; his voice seemed to grow stronger. Rachel and Jill nodded and led Tara and Willow into the training room.

"Major Johnson we're also going to need some explosives" Xander said facing the tall Major who was standing next to Graham

"I think we have some in the helicopter, but it's across town" the Major replied

"Take Graham and some of the Tarakan warriors with you and watch your back" Xander said with a nod, the Major nodded back and entered the training room to collect some of the warriors.

"Xander are you okay?" Faith asked

"Yeah, I'm just getting us ready" he replied with a small smile

"Anything else we'll need?" Wesley asked

"Some of the most powerful spell books Giles has, have Cordelia, Fred and Doyle help find them, they're kept at the top of the stairs" Xander answered, Wesley nodded and led the three up the stairs

"What about us?" Angel asked indicating himself and Spike

"Take a break and get some of your strength back, we're gonna need it, same goes for Buffy and Faith" Xander said in answer, the four nodded and split up, Faith stayed where she was

"What's up Faith?" he asked facing the brunette slayer

"I just wanted to know what you're gonna do?" she asked

"I'm going to meditate and focus my power for this final battle," he answered "It's going to be very bad," he added

"I know" she said with a smile before walking over to Buffy, Xander smiled and then sat down on the couch and closed his eyes and concentrated.

Tara had her eyes closed concentrating on Karan and the memories she had in her head, she suddenly felt a surge of warmth go through her as Xander's presence washed over her. It was obvious he was trying to concentrate but it seemed his feelings for her were overpowering him; it surprised her and yet made her feel safe and cared for. She managed to block of their connection as her own memories began to surface and she began to see images of Karan and Robert, she focused harder and then was astonished to find she suddenly knew hundreds of spells, powerful ones she had never known before.

Whistler walked through the door without even knocking, he had been trying to find any extra information on Valnon the others could use against him, but all he had find was that the power his followers had were from an amulet Valnon had created to extend his own powers. But if they destroyed it then his followers would be normal vampires.

"Hey" he called as he closed the doors

"Quite, Xander's trying to concentrate" Faith said from the counter

"Sorry" the balance demon replied as he walked over to them

"So where have you been?" Buffy asked

"Trying to find any info on Valnon" he replied removing his hat

"And?" Faith inquired

"Valnon created an amulet that amplifies his powers, it what makes his followers stronger and lets them use magic" he informed them

"So if we destroy it, his followers will be normal vamps making it easier for us to stake them" Buffy said with a smile

"Exactly" Whistler responded

"Don't suppose you know where he keeps it do you?" Angel asked as he walked over

"It's rumoured he keeps it on a chain around his neck" Whistler replied

"Great, that means we have to get close to him" Spike muted

"Not nessacarly, we could throw something at it" Faith suggested

"It's worth a shot" Buffy nodded

The door to the magic shop opened and Giles walked in followed by the men he had taken, each was carrying a number of bags filled with weapons that they dumped on the table.

"Any trouble?" Buffy asked

"No, we didn't see anything, it seems he maybe gathering his followers to counter our attack" Giles replied as he sat down

The door opened again and Major Johnson walked in followed by Graham and the members of the order they taken with them, Graham was carrying a bag which they guessed the explosives were in, he placed it on the table where the weapons were and then joined the others.

"So now what?" the Major asked

"We wait until the others are ready" Buffy said

Xander's mind was flooded by images of Karan and Tara and then he drew out the knowledge Robert had of the most dangerous spells known to man, he opened his eyes to find Faith watching him. He smiled and nodded as he stood and the walked over to the others

"Everything you asked for is over on the table," Giles told him

"Good, now once Tara and the others are ready then everyone can select the weapons they want, Giles you and Wesley take the books Cordelia, Fred and Doyle found and keep them close, they're gonna be needed" Xander told him, the two former watchers nodded "Graham select three of your men and distribute the explosives" he added facing the commando

The door to the training room opened and Jill walked out followed by Rachel, Willow and finally Tara, everyone watched them carefully

"Did you manage to do it?" Xander inquired

"Yes, Tara has full access to Karan's memories and they have both managed to gain full control of their magical talents" Rachel replied sitting across from Xander

"Then we're ready" Xander said quietly "Everyone select your weapons, Spike get the tarakan warriors in here as well" he said to the others

Everyone moved to the table where the weapons were now spread out, Xander himself grabbed the long sword and a large axe. Tara grabbed a sword for herself and a couple of stakes, as Rachel and Jill went for some weapons of their own Xander turned to them in confusion

"What are you doing?" he asked

"We're coming too, our lives have been dominated by Robert's prophecy and now we will see the end of it" Rachel said fiercely, Xander seemed doubtful but nodded anyway knowing they had every right to fight

Faith quickly noticed the knife Buffy had used to stab her during her stint with the mayor and quickly grabbed it, knowing it would come in handy she then grabbed an axe and a short sword.

Once everyone was armed and ready Xander took the lead and led them out of the magic box leaving only Whistler in the store

"Good look" he said once they were gone

They headed silently to the caves where they knew Valnon and his followers were hiding, behind them Urial followed hoping the sorcerer would manage to defeat the old one and bring balance back to the fight.

Faith walked next to Buffy wondering just how much trouble they were about to get into, it was obvious to her none of them had faced an old one before and so none of them knew what to expect. The fact that Angel and Spike seemed to fear the prospect of battling an old one, she looked to where Xander was walking next to Tara and she quickly noticed their hands were joined and she smiled hoping this would end quickly.

Willow had also noticed the fact that her girlfriend and her best friend were holding hands like they had done it a thousand times before, her heart echoed at the site but she couldn't hate them for it. She wondered what will happen if they managed to win this battle, how their feelings would be effected, she wondered if everything would go back to normal or not.

Xander dropped to a crouch along with Tara as he approached the caves and waited for the others to join him, he noticed the three guards outside the cave each had the green eyes and claws marking them as Valnon's followers

"So how do you want to take them?" Spike asked

"From three different directions, Spike you take the one on the left, Angel the one on the right, I'll take the one in the middle, as soon as we rush them, the rest of you follow and help us stake them before they can alert the others" Xander said using the memories of the Halloween incident when he was turned into a soldier to plan the attack. The others nodded in silent agreement; Spike and Angel quickly made their way to the sides of the woods they were in so they could strike fast. Xander let go of Tara's hand that so far he had refused to do, and grabbed his sword the nodded to the two vampires,

All three rushed forward at the same time surprising the vampires, Angel slammed into the first vamp knocking him to the ground, whilst Spike and Xander both impaled their vamps with their swords. Buffy and Faith quickly ran forward along with the others and staked the two vamps Xander and Spike had impaled, Angel was knocked of the first vamp who quickly got to it's feet and turned towards the cave but Giles was faster and beheaded it before it could run.

"Okay for here on in we have to be very quite," Xander said as they faced the entrance "First we have to make sure they won't sense us," he added

"How?" Wesley inquired

"Tara" Xander said, The blond witch nodded and began chanting one of the spells Karan's memories had given her, a bright green mist began to appear around them all including the tarakan warriors, most of them stared at Tara in amazement including Willow whilst the rest seemed uneasy. The mist soon turned white and then faded, Xander smiled at Tara and nodded, he then faced the others

"That spell will make sure the vamps won't sense us, but as soon as we get close to Valnon he will know," he explained to them

"Hopefully we won't run into too much trouble," Giles said as he followed the others into the cave

Xander slammed his fist into the vampire's face as Faith sweeped it's legs from under it and then staked it as the others kept an eye out

"So far so good" Buffy said to them as she looked back to them

"Don't jinx it Buffy" Xander warned her as he and Faith joined them

"So which way?" Gunn asked as he hefted his axe

"This way, I can feel Valnon's presence close by" Tara answered although like Xander's it sounded somewhat different now, it sounded more confident and powerful

Xander and Tara took the lead as they turned right and headed deeper into the caves; Faith and Gunn took up the rear as they moved on. Tara suddenly jerked back as a black sphere appeared before them; Xander's hand raised instantly and a blue shield appeared before them

"What is it?" Giles inquired

"One of Valnon's seeker's, it can send out multiple magical attacks" Xander answered

"I thought you said that spell Tara did would keep him from knowing we were here?" Angel asked

"It has, the seekers are always close to where Valnon is. Rachel, Jill can you come up with a spell to destroy it?" Xander asked

"Give us a few minutes" Rachel shot back turning to her daughter

"Hurry, the longer we remain here the more we risk been surrounded" Xander replied

Focusing more of his power on the shield in case the seeker tried to break through, Rachel grabbed one of the books Giles was carrying and quickly prepared a spell to destroy the seeker whilst Jill prepared a teleportation spell in case her mother failed to destroy it. Once they were finished they both nodded to each other and approached Xander and Tara, chanting silently

"Now" Rachel shouted

Xander dropped the shield protecting them as Rachel sent a massive ball of flame at the seeker, as soon as it struck the magical device it turned black and vanished, Jill kept an eye on the space where the seeker had been just in case it had some sort of cloak spell on it like Valnon's followers had

"Okay lets got quickly" Buffy said taking a quick look both ways, the others nodded and followed Tara and Xander

They moved silently through the caves only encountering two more vampires along the way that Faith and Xander quickly disposed of. Finally they entered a huge chamber that had at least thirty of Valnon's followers in it, along with at least twenty demons. At the head of them all sitting on a huge chair of gold and silver was a huge demon with a horn in its forehead, it's eyes glowed black and green. Its hands had massive claws on it and they could all see at least three of four different amulets pinned to it's chest, they also noticed it had a black field emanating around it.

"So sorcerer you have come at last," the demon said, its voice was quite loud and seemed to be filled with pure hate

"It's time to finish this" Xander replied his voice becoming loud and strong

"I agree, and once I have crushed you and your friends I will rule the earth" Valnon replied with a cold smile, it raised it's hand once and suddenly Xander found himself on the floor clutching his head. He turned to find Buffy in a fighting stance, her eyes were flashing red and suddenly he remembered the dream he had when he was knocked out.

"Your prophecy will fail sorcerer because I have control over your slayer" Valnon hissed

"Faith keep her busy but do not kill her" Xander shouted out to the dark slayer who just nodded in response moving to engage her sister slayer

Xander turned back to where Valnon sat wherein a triumphant smile, he stood quickly and launched a fire ball into the vampires closest to him, turning three of them to ash, this was the signal and the others all rushed in to engage them. Spike and Angel led the warriors from the order of Taraka at the demons before they could react knowing they would have better look dealing with them. Xander raised his sword and ran towards Tara who was busy fighting of one of Valnon's followers.

He knew Valnon would pull some sort of trick but he had not expected this, he had forgotten the dream of the shadow putting a spell on Buffy when she was asleep and it could cost them dear, but Valnon had no idea Faith was a slayer as well and she had the memories of Jenna and that evened things out. He had to get to Tara because only she could free Buffy from Valnon's grasp.

Faith jumped back to her feet after Buffy had managed to land a hard spin kick to her, she had no wish to fight Buffy again but she had no choice, it was obvious to her Valnon had picked Buffy to control so she could kill Xander knowing he would not hurt her no matter what. She hoped Xander would be able to either kill Valnon or break the spell quickly.

Tara ducked the punch from the vampire and quickly blasted it with a fire spell dusting it instantly, she turned to see Valnon tracking Xander's movements as he fought a rather tall Vampire which was wearing armour and she knew he would attack whilst Xander was distracted, she quickly cast a shield around her love and then moved to help Jill who was struggling with a very vicious vamp. Gunn screamed as the vampire he was fighting rammed his claws into his side, he tried to pull them out but the vamp just snarled and pushed them deeper, he saw Fred and Wesley trying to reach him but before they could move a second vampire approached him and slit his throat with his sword, Gunn barely heard Fred's scream of horror before he fell the ground dead.

Major Johnson slammed the stake hard into the vampire's chest he was fighting and watched in satisfaction as it turned to dust but as he turned around to engage another he felt two sets of claws been rammed into him, he turned to see a vampire behind him smiling coldly before it burst into dust revealing Graham standing behind him, Johnson fell to his knee's as Graham rushed to his side and laid him on the ground

"Take command" Johnson ordered before he fell unconscious, Graham checked his pulse and was relived to find he still had one although it was very weak.

Xander ducked the blow from the big vamp and managed to land a spin kick knocking it of it's feet, he grabbed a stake and tried to ram it into the vampire's heart but the vamp managed to grab his hand and twist it making him drop the stake. Xander smashed his free hand into the vampire's face as it tried to stand and then quickly kicked it in it's knee hearing a splintering noise as he did, he smiled as the vamp howled in pain and then used his axe to take the things head of. As he turned to run towards Tara, one of the demons broke free from where it was fighting Spike and headed straight for him, he ducked it's swipe and swung his axe backwards catching the demon in it's back, he quickly grabbed his sword and swung high decapitating the demon before it could strike. He smiled grimly as he noticed Faith been knocked down by Buffy again and quickly made his way to Tara who was helping Jill and Rachel deal with two of Valnon's followers. He rammed his sword into the back of one of the vampire's allowing Jill to ram her stake into it's heart turning it to dust, the distraction also allowed Tara and Rachel to fire a fire ball at the other vamp dusting it as well.

"You have to break the spell on Buffy quickly" Xander shouted to Tara as Rachel fired of a rather large fireball into a group of approaching demons killing two of them and setting the other on fire which Spike quickly killed with his axe

"It may take some time, it depends what sort of spell it is" Tara told him

"It'll be a very powerful spell, try the Black book of Calnar, Wesley has it" Xander told her as he rushed forward to engage two of Valnon's vamps

Tara nodded and rushed over to where Wesley was tending to Major Johnson, she grabbed the bag he was carrying and quickly found the book and began searching for the counter to Valnon's spell. Fred and Graham were covering them as best they could, as they turned to fend of one of the remaining vampires, one of the demons came up behind them and grabbed Fred and quickly snapped her neck before anyone could call out a warning. Angel cried out in rage and quickly charged the demon that was now trying to attack Tara and Wesley, but Tara had managed to get a shield up around them.

Angel rammed his elbow into the demon's face and quickly brought his knee up into it's stomach, the demon quickly recovered and back handed him across the face sending the ensouled vampire flying into Giles as he ran to help. Both quickly recovered and ran forward again, the demon tried to ram it's claws into Giles but he managed to dodge the swing as Angel drove his knee into the demons groin and then rammed his elbow into it's back Giles quickly raised his battle axe and took it's head clean off, covering himself and Angel in black slime.

"I've found the counter spell, I need two of you to keep an eye out cause once I start the spell I won't be able to sense anything else or cast any spells" Tara told them

"Get to work, we'll stand watch" Giles told her

Angel held his sword ready and just managed to deflect the claws of the last of Valnon's vampires he tried to counter but the vampire was faster and rammed it's claws into Angel's chest, Giles quickly swung his axe into the vamps back and Wesley rushed for where he was next to Tara and staked it. Angel fell to his knee's trying to stay conscious as Xander and Willow ran over to them both bleeding from multiple cuts and lacerations. Spike and the remaining members of the order fell back as well as the left over demons scattered. Doyle helped a wounded Cordelia to them as well whilst Jill, Rachel and a bloody Oz covered their retreat.

"Do the spell quickly," Xander shouted as Valnon just stood although he still wore a vicious smile

Faith managed to land a solid blow to Buffy's solar plexus winding her, and took a few quick breaths as Buffy advanced again. Faith dropped into a defensive stance and prepared to engage her sister slayer again.

"Sorcerer" Valnon shouted

All but Tara, Faith and Buffy turned to where the demon now stood, Xander froze when he saw Dawn and Anya been held by four of Valnon's vampires

"I have taken every step to ensure my victory, surrender or I will order the their deaths" Valnon sneered

"What do we do now?" asked Willow

"Prepare a teleportation spell, quickly" Xander said quietly

Willow nodded and began chanting softly as did Jill who stood to Xander's left, Xander looked back to where Faith was fighting Buffy and was glad to see she had Buffy on her knee's, he then looked to where Tara was kneeling surrounded by black and purple strands of magic. Her hair was flying about wildly and her body was shaking badly. He looked back to where Valnon stood waiting for his answer.

"Ready?" he asked, Willow and Jill nodded both knowing what he wanted to do

He stepped forward and made it look as if he was about to speak and then quickly knelt as Jill and Willow let loose the spells, Dawn vanished and reappeared next to Giles. However the magic didn't manage to reach Anya as a black field appeared in front of her

"Her death is on your hands Sorcerer" Valnon roared as he nodded to one of the vampires holding the former vengeance demon who then sunk it's fangs into her next, Dawn turned away quickly as the vamp then snapped her neck. Xander's anger rose through him like a hurricane and he unleashed a huge ball of magic at the smiling vampires causing all of them bar the one closest to Valnon to explode.

The magic around Tara grew in intensity and began to expand, her complete attention was focused on the book in front of her as Faith was thrown into the wall by a viscous back kick from Buffy, just as Buffy was about to strike what would have been a killing blow the magic around Tara shot forth and engulfed the blond slayer. Faith watched as Buffy was lifted into the air as the magic spun around her, she watched as Buffy's eyes slowly began to return the their normal colour and her face took on a look of confusion and fear. Finally the magic dropped her next to the battered and bloody brunette.

"W.What happened?" she asked as she looked around

"Your were under a spell B" Faith said wincing as she stood, she then noticed Rachel was checking Tara who was lying unconscious behind them the others.

She led the still confused Buffy over to where the others stood, Dawn quickly rushed over to her and hugged her

"What are you doing her Dawn?" Buffy asked her sister

"It would appear Valnon kidnapped her in hopes we'd surrender, Anya was also taken but I'm afraid we couldn't save her" Giles informed her as he walked over to them

"Where's Valnon?" Wesley asked

"He used his own magic to escape, most likely to a deeper level of these caves," Xander said as he dusted the last vampire who had charged him from where he stood next to his master

"Tara's okay, she should wake soon," Rachel said as Xander knelt next to her

"Gives some time to rest" Doyle said

"No too much, as soon as Tara is awake we have to find him and finish this" Xander said "Giles give Dawn a weapon she's gonna need it" he added as he took Tara's head and gently placed it in his lap

"You can't be serious, she hasn't been involved in anything this serious before" Giles argued

"We need as much help as possible Giles" Xander shot back

"Giles do as he says, Dawn can handle herself" Buffy said having complete confidence in her sister's skill seen as she herself had trained her along with Giles before she had gone to live with their farther

Giles nodded and handed one of the abandoned swords to Dawn who nodded grimly as she tested its weight

"Can someone tell me what's going on?" Dawn asked as Tara began to stir

"I'll give you the short version" Xander said and quickly told Dawn everything that happened, by the time he had finished Tara was fully awake

"You okay?" Xander asked, Tara nodded and quickly kissed Xander, Willow tried not to feel any anger but she couldn't help it

"Lets go" Buffy said wanting revenge for what Valnon had done to her

Xander and Tara once again took the lead as they exited the cave they had been in and entered another passage; both were somewhat weak from their fight and were struggling with trying to keep their emotions in check about the friends they had already lost.

Graham and one of his remaining teammates were supporting the injured Major Johnson, only seven of the warriors from the order were left and one of them seemed to be in a very bad condition.

"How many vamps do you think he'll have guarding him?" Faith asked as she caught up with Xander

"A few, but it's not them we have to worry about" Xander replied turning to the dark slayer

"Valnon" Faith said to witch Xander just nodded

"How powerful is he?" Buffy inquired from behind them

"He's one of the strongest demons alive, not only in the ways of magic but in physical combat as well" Xander informed her

Buffy frowned at the answer from her friend, although the spell Valnon at put on her had been removed she was still having trouble controlling the emotions from her ancestor Jenna, she had now excepted everything Jill and Rachel had told her and she had promised herself to talk to Xander once this was over if they survived. Dawn kept silent as she walked next to her sister, Anya's death was still playing in her mind and she was finding it hard to concentrate. She was also trying to process what Xander had told her about this situation, she found it somewhat worrying to know not only her sister but three other of her closest friends were under the influence of some ancient ancestor of theirs.

Giles and Wesley were keeping an eye out for any surprises but so far they had not seen any more vampires or demons, each was worried about their impending confrontation with the old one. There was not many records about the old ones but what they did know was not very encouraging, even Angel and Spike had shown fear at the prospect of fighting him. They hoped everyone was ready for what lay ahead.

"He's close" Tara suddenly spoke up

"Which way?" Xander asked

Tara pointed to the right and they made their way towards what looked like a forced entrance to a huge cavern, Xander halted the others and silently looked inside. He noticed at least eighteen of Valnon's vampires and seven demons; he noticed Valnon was standing close to what looked like an altar that had various magical items and books on it. Xander frowned and wondered if Valnon was trying to raise another dead demon to fight them. He turned to the others and nodded his head

"How many?" Faith asked as she removed her dagger and a stake

"Eighteen vampires and seven demons, Valnon is near an altar, it's possible he's trying to raise another demon," Xander answered "As soon as we enter me, Faith and Buffy should go straight for Valnon and stop whatever ceremony he's performing" he quickly adds

"Me and Willow will place some protective shields on you" Tara said although they all could see the worry in her eyes as she faced Xander

"Hurry, we don't have much time left" Xander told her

Tara and Willow quickly grabbed one of the spell books from Giles and began chanting the spell; Jill and Rachel also chanted something quickly. A red glow surrounded Xander, Buffy and Faith and then faded.

"What was that?" Faith asked

"It'll stop Valnon placing any of his mind spells on you" Rachel answered as Oz and Doyle stepped forward ready to charge in, Spike, Angel and the warriors from the order followed and finally Giles and Wesley joined them. Dawn, Cordelia, Jill, Rachel, Tara and Willow took up positions behind them, The four witches all prepared some spells for release as they entered the cavern. Xander, Buffy and Faith took up the lead and readied the weapons

"Stay away from his horn and his claws" Xander warned the two slayers, they both nodded their understanding "Now" he shouted

They charged into the cavern heading straight for Valnon who turned in anger at the interruption in his spell, Willow and Tara unleashed a black ball of magic at the seven demons who was now running straight for them, three of them was caught in the magic screaming in agony as their skin was burned off, as they fell to the floor the magic continued to eat it's way through them.

Rachel and Jill set of two balls of fire at the oncoming vampires dusting four of them as Oz and Doyle smashed into the lead vampires followed by the others.

Xander ducked as Valnon swung his giant claws at him and quickly brought his sword up in a spinning arc as he regained his footing but Valnon easily blocked the attempt, Faith attempted a back kick but Valnon used his other claws to slam into her sending her flying backwards.

Buffy managed to drop kick Valnon from behind, as he was distracted by Faith and Xander's attacks, Valnon quickly turned and kicked her knocking her flying backwards.

"Is that the best you can do?" Valnon mocked them

Xander looked over her shoulder quickly to see how the others were doing and was pleased to see the vampires and demons were been held back. He turned and faced Valnon again, he raised his sword and moved in slowly quickly faking a swing to the left which Valnon went to block and then turned and swung his sword to the right catching the old one in the side but it didn't manage to penetrate the demon's skin.

Valnon swung his left hand backwards catching Xander on the side of his head knocking him into Buffy and Faith

"This is to easy" Valnon sneered as he went to grab the book he had been reading from

Suddenly he was sent flying into the altar, he turned to see Tara standing twenty feet away form him her eyes glowing an unearthly red and her left hand raised, he growled in anger as he stood and made his way towards the sorcerer's mate. Xander saw him move towards Tara and quickly closed his eyes and summoned his own power sending a ball of purple energy at the demon that quickly engulfed him, Valnon cried out in pain as he tried to counter the attack.

Buffy and Faith both quickly took advantage of Valnon's openness and attacked, Faith hit him with a hard left punch to his stomach whilst Buffy landed a spin kick in the side. Valnon roared in pain as he finally countered the attack from Xander only to be slammed to the side from the attacks by the two slayers. Faith quickly dropped into a crouch and landed a leg sweep catching the demon of balance, Valnon went down to on knee as Buffy tried to kick him in the face. Valnon caught her foot and swung her into Faith knocking the both down, he raised his own-clawed hand and sent a wave of black magic at Tara sending her flying into Willow and Jill who were running towards them as Oz and Doyle finished of the last Vampire.

Xander came up behind him and smashed the tilt of his sword into Valnon's back as the demon stood and quickly followed it up by smashing his knee into the same spot, putting the demon back onto his knee's.

Giles swung his axe at the demon he was fighting as Wesley tried to get back to his feet from the blow he had received to his back, the demon dodged the blow and lunged at Giles knocking them both backwards. The demon reared back ready to plunge it's claws into the watchers chest when suddenly he was sent backwards from a savage kick from Spike, as the demon stood ready to attack again Rachel kicked it from behind sending it forward as one of the order stepped forward and cut it in half with it's axe causing it's blood to drench him and the blond Vampire.

Cordelia tried to stay away from the demon she had been fighting, but she had lost her sword and was trying to stay out of the demon's reach. Graham tried to stand but he was still recovering from the wound he had in his side. The demon finally lunged at Cordelia who screamed in terror just as Angel smashed into the demon sending them both flying into the recovering Wesley. Angel vamped out as he began hitting the demon continually in the face causing it to bleed; the demon tried to strike back but couldn't dislodge the enraged vampire. Finally Angel grabbed the demons head and snapped its neck just as he had a flashed of Angelus doing the same to Miss Calendar. He shook the memory off as he went to check on the still shocked seer, the three remaining members of the order approached silently as they all regrouped glad to see that there was no one but Valnon left.

Tara quickly stood as Xander attacked Valnon again; Willow was just regaining her feet as well as Oz and Doyle joined them.

"What now?" Oz asked

"Stay back" Tara said as he moved to assist the man she loved

Xander ducked the wild swing from Valnon as the demon got back to it's feet and quickly jumped back as it's other claw tried to take his legs out, Faith came from behind and managed to ram her dagger into the demons side. Valnon roared in pain and smashed Faith into Angel and Spike as they rushed forward to help, Faith hit her head on a rock cutting her forehead but she quickly got back to her feet and ran forward again.

Buffy rushed forward and launched a fury of strikes which Valnon easily blocked, Xander summoned his powers again and launched a black ball of fire at the demon's back. Valnon shrugged of the attack with ease and landed a blow to Buffy's side that he quickly followed up with a kick that slammed her into the cavern wall. He turned to face Xander who was just razing his sword again

"Time to die Sorcerer" he sneered

Tara came to stand by Xander's side her eyes once again glowing red as she summoned all of her power and that of her ancestor. Valnon approached it's horn began glowing purple as it's claws seemed to expand

"I will crush your mate first," Valnon hissed as he launched himself at Tara

Tara somehow managed to side step the attack and raised her hand shooting out a wave of gold light which sent Valnon into the wall, Xander had also moved out of range of the attack and summoned a ball of blue of magic and sent it at Valnon as he approached again. The ball seemed to disappear inside the old one who screamed out, as he was set alight. Faith and Buffy both rejoined them as Valnon used his own power to stop the fire. Tara was about to launch another attack when she was engulfed in a huge wave of black light, she screamed out in agony as the magic began to drain her defensive powers. Xander was quickly overcome with rage as he heard Tara's scream and rushed forward and slammed into Valnon, he smashed the hilt of his sword into the demon's face repeatedly not caring as the demon's blood began to splatter him. He raised his sword to strike again but Valnon managed to slam his elbow into Xander's chest knocking him off him, Rachel and Jill began chanting a counter spell to release Tara as she screamed again. Buffy attacked Valnon as he got back to his feet and Faith quickly joined her. Tara fell to the floor semi- conscious as Rachel and Jill finally managed to counter Valnon's attack, Willow and Xander both rushed over to see if she was okay.

"Xander she'll be fine but they need you" Jill told he cousin as he came to kneel at Tara's side indicating the two slayers who were both trying to get to their feet to face Valnon again

Xander looked to where Buffy and Faith were and then back to Tara and back again, Jill placed her hand on his shoulder causing him to look at her as Rachel knelt down to check Tara's pulse. Jill indicated the slayers again and Xander reluctantly nodded as he turned and attack Valnon as he picked Faith up and slammed her into the wall. Xander brought his sword down in a wide arc this time managing to cut through the demon's tough skin drawing blood, Valnon dropped Faith as Angel and Spike finally joined the fight. Valnon smashed his elbow into Xander winding him, and then faced the two vampires as Buffy checked on Faith.

Angel ducked the wide swing as Valnon stepped forward to engage them however Spike was not as lucky as was sent flying into the injured Graham as he finally approached the others. Angel managed to land two blows on Valnon's chest before Valnon swung back his claws cutting deep into the ensouled vampires chest causing a loud cry of pain from him before Valnon picked him and flung him at the remaining members of the order who side stepped the flying vampire as he smashed into the wall and slumped to the floor unconscious.

Xander stood ready to attack again as Valnon turned to face him, one again the horn was glowing but Xander was more prepared for any attack

"Now we end this Sorcerer" Valnon said

"Your end is now" Xander shot back as he summoned every bit of power within causing his sword to begin glowing gold

Valnon rushed forward with it's left hand posed to strike Xander head on, but Xander did nothing but wait until Valnon was a few inches from him before he raised his sword impaling Valnon as he charged, the demon roared in pain as Xander fell to his knee's weakened from using nearly all of his power, Tara managed to stand with Willow's and Jill's help as she summoned her own power and channelled it into Xander through their link. The sword glowed even brighter as Valnon cried out in more pain, as the others all watched a field of gold energy seemed to surround Valnon and Xander who was still holding onto the sword

"Faith catch" Rachel shouted tossing the dark slayer a large axe that Giles had been using

Faith caught it and prepared to strike when she was told although she didn't know how she knew someone would tell when the time was right. The glow turned to a bright red and then black until finally it faded, Valnon fell to his knee's as his blood coated the floor, Xander weakly pulled the sword out of the demon and fell backwards

"Now" Xander said before he blacked out

Faith swung the axe high before bringing it down and taking the old ones head clean off. A black cloud began to envelope the demon's body as its blood poured out; it faded somewhat and then vanished.

"Giles burn the head quickly," Tara told the watcher as Jill and Rachel helped her over to where Xander lay

Giles nodded and quickly took one of the torches off the wall and walked over to where Valnon's head lay, he spat on the head once before setting it alight. Wesley went to help Angel to his feet as he came round, whilst Spike helped Graham back to his feet.

"Buffy you and Faith are going to have to carry Xander, he'll be out of it for a while" Tara said to the two tired slayers, they nodded and quickly picked up the unconscious form of their friend

Jill and Rachel suddenly began to glow white, both closed their eyes as a searing pain ripped through them before the glow vanished.

"What was that?" Faith asked as she and Buffy walked towards them carrying Xander between them

"The immortality spell we had placed on us has been lifted, we're mortal now" Jill explained with a small smile glad that her fathers prophecy was now finished and they could all live their lives without worrying about it again.

"Giles, you and Wesley better take all the items and books off that altar and take them with us. Some of them will be very deadly in the wrong hands," Rachel said as they joined the others

The two watchers nodded and quickly took all the magical items and books off the altar and placed them in the bags they had used to carry their books

"What about the bodies of our fallen comrades?" Graham asked as he leant of Spike for support

"We'll come back for them later, and then we'll blow the entrance to these caves" Xander said weakly from in between the two slayers as he regained consciousness

The others nodded grimly except for the three remaining members of the order who quickly asked for their pay, Wesley had brought the money with them knowing the order would want the money on completion of their contract. They took the money and then left the, they took one last look around the cavern and then left.

Xander led the other silently into the magic shop, they had returned to the cave and retrieved the bodies of their friends including Riley's body and silently buried them, then using the explosives Major Johnson and his men had brought they had destroyed all entrances to the cave. Whistler sat on the top of the counter watching them; each looked worn out and wasted which was no surprising after what they had been through. Once Giles and Wesley had entered and closed the door Whistler jumped off the counter to speak.

"The powers are thankful to you all for the sacrifices you have made to defeat this evil and fulfil the sorcerer's prophecy" he told them "Of course I'm sure you'd all be happier if this had never happened but it was battle that had to be fought and won" he continued as everyone remained silent

"I guess I'm gonna have to leave now aren't I?" Doyle asked sadly squeezing Cordelia's hand

"No you won't, because of Gunn and Fred's death the powers had granted you another chance to help Angel" Whistler answered him with a small smile

Cordelia couldn't stop the smile that spread across her face as she hugged Doyle as hard as possible; Angel also smiled at the prospect of having his friend back. It helped him put aside the pain he felt at Gunn and Fred's death.

"What about me, Tara, Buffy, Faith and Willow. Will we keep the memories and powers of our ancestors?" Xander inquired as Tara laid her head on his shoulder missing the pained look for Willow

"Yes you will, they'll be a part of you until you die" Whistler answered "But you will have more control of them now" he added as he noticed Buffy's and Willow's face's turn annoyed at the prospect

"What about the items we took from Valnon's altar, should we hide them or keep them?" Giles asked as he wiped his glasses with his handkerchief

"I'll take them, and make sure no one finds them again," Whistler said taking the bad from the table besides Faith

"What about me, I broke out of jail to help you guys?" Faith asked remembering she most likely had the police searching for her

"The powers had already taken care of that Faith, you are no longer wanted by the police. The powers believe you have redeemed yourself and are ready to rejoin the fight beside the sorcerer" Whistler told her surprising everyone bar Xander and Giles

Faith just stared at the balance demon not really believing what he had told her, she looked to where Buffy sat and noticed she actually smiled at her and nodded. She returned it and then looked to where Xander sat with his arm protectively around Tara, they both smiled at her and she knew she had found a home at last and some real friends. She had another chance here and she would not blow it.

"Good job" Whistler said before he vanished

Of in the corner Urial had watched the proceedings with a smile, the old one had been defeated and the prophecy had been fulfilled. But he knew the future son of the sorcerer's descendant and his mate would be called into the fight and he would be of great importance in the continuing fight. But for now they would have some time to heal and rest, his master would make sure of that and he had been made the protector of the sorcerer and his group. He would make sure nothing tried to interfere with what should happen and that no one would harm them until the trials they are destined to fight begin.

"What are you going to do now Rachel, Jill?" Xander asked

"I want to get to know my cousin, I'm going to stay" Jill said hoping that now that her fathers work was done she could get to know Xander better

"And so am I, that way I can get to know my daughter again" Rachel said with a smile although she also wanted to keep an eye on Xander. She had grown quite attached to her almost nephew, she wanted to know him better and keep him and his friends safe.

"I'll help you find a house then, I have plenty of spare cash to help get you started" Xander offered glad to hear they would be staying. They were the first members of his family that he liked and he wanted to know them better.

2 years later:

Xander couldn't believe the changes that the two years since the end of the prophecy had brought, first after quite a few discussions with Willow he and Tara were able to begin a real relationship with Willow's blessing. They were surprised when Willow began dating his cousin Jill, Xander hadn't minded too much. He thought they made a good match and they had soon become very close, Tara was very happy that she had found another love to help heal her heart.

Rachel had become close friends were all of the gang especially Giles and Xander was not surprised when they began dating as well, he was very happy for the watcher to have found someone again. His closeness with Jill and Rachel was great, he had spent a lot of time with them getting to know them and they he, he had managed to get them a house close to where Buffy lived. Dawn had returned to Sunnydale to live with her sister again, although the watchers council could still try something they knew someone was guarding them.

Faith although somewhat nervous for the first couple of weeks finally settled and began anew, her friendship with Buffy was quickly repaired and the others all began to warm to her. However it was with Xander that she was the closest and although it surprised some of the gang they were glad Faith had finally opened up to them and allowed them to help when she needed it. Faith had surprised everyone when she and Oz began dating; Oz had decided to stay after such a long time away. He had buried his feelings for Willow and moved on, although it took nearly a year before he managed to get Faith to except going on a date with him.

Angel and his team that now included Spike made regular visits to Sunnydale, no one was surprised when Cordelia announced she was getting married to Doyle. The big change however came in the middle of the second year when he himself proposed to Tara and she accepted. Everyone had seen how close the two had become and knew it would only get deeper, and then a few months later Tara announced she was pregnant.

Xander sat watching his fiancée as she slept peacefully, in two months she was due to give birth to their son. He sometimes found it hard to believe how much his life had changed, his was about to become a father and a husband and even though they still faced the darkness he couldn't be happier.

"I love you Tara," he whispered as he closed his eyes and began to drift into a peaceful dream he heard her reply through their link

'I love you too Xand' he smiled as her hand found his and interlocked with his as they both fell into a deep sleep.

The End