Divine Damnation

Author: DhampyrX2 <princemoon_2000[at]yahoo.com>

Summary: Yet another secret origins of Xander fic that my twisted little brain cooked up.

Timeframe: Post Season 7

Disclaimer: I own nothing. I do this for fun. Please don't sue me.

Chapter 1

Alexander Lavelle Harris sat in a bar of a Japanese restaurant he had found in a little side street in London brooding into his cup of sake. It was not his normal choice for alcohol, but it suited his mood. It was hot and slightly sweet at first, making you think you can take it in forever. Then, if you kept hitting it too long, it came up and knocked you on your rear when you tried to stand on your own two feet.

The hot rice wine seemed to be a perfect metaphor for his life, and the state of his friendship with the other so called Scoobies. He had returned from a hard, but rewarding, six months in Africa finding and training new Slayers at Buffy's request. He had thought she called him in because of a big crisis that needed the assembled skills of the original team, now the primary heads of the new Watcher's Council. The fact Willow was there looking half upset, and half angry when he arrived only supported that theory.

He really should have known better.

Instead, he got a three hour lecture about how he was an odious, jealous, untrustworthy cretin that should be shot on sight, followed up by a slap that actually knocked out a couple of teeth at the hands of a crying Slayer. It appeared that his "big lie" during the Acathla affair had finally come to light due to a slip of the tongue on Willow's part.

The redheaded wicca actually looked apologetic as, during the course of Buffy's assassination of his character, he was told that he would no longer train Slayers because he was not to be trusted with such responsibility, and he was to stay in London where Buffy could "keep an eye on your lying traitorous ass."

Xander actually laughed mirthlessly at that. Buffy had no concept of the responsibilities he had shouldered over the years. The scope of them would crush her in moments. Of course if she knew about them, she'd have whole new reasons to fear and hate him.

It was also rather funny that her idea of keeping an eye on Xander involved refusing to speak to or look at him when they were in the same room together. For two weeks now, she avoided him like the plague, turning her nose up at him when they found themselves sharing a room.

The only real consolation he had in the affair was that Robin Wood was assigned to take over for him. The man knew how to fight a war against low bred demons, and he had a soft spot for Slayers. He'd keep an eye on Xander's girls for him. And Heaven help him, once he got attached to a group of females, they were "his girls." That was just the way things were, for as long as he could remember.

He raised his cup in salute, and gave a half-hearted "Kanpai!" as he chugged the sake, before spitting it out in a classic spittake as the first woman to earn a title as one of "his girls" spoke up behind him.

"Nice to see you learned to drink something decent, kiddo." the sultry voice remarked, the woman's tone tinged with obvious teasing mirth.

Xander coughed noisily as the woman sat down beside him and looked him over. As she did so, more than one male patron at the bar couldn't help but ogle her. She was tall, and gorgeous, with a body that had unearthly curves housed in perfect bronze skin. Her long platinum hair was in a stylish ponytail, which helped to accentuate the blue marks on her brow and beneath her eyes on each cheek. Her clothes seemed to make her ooze sexuality in the form of a red leather halter top, black denim micro-shorts, and a leather bomber jacket. Surprisingly, the amount of skin she showed did not seem slutty. She just gave off an aura that was too sultry to be classified so cheaply.

The woman picked up Xander's sake bottle and chugged it eagerly, finishing it off in seconds with a refreshed "Ahhhh", before ordering another, larger one. As she waited for her drink, she brought her hand up to lightly touch Xander's eye patch, and asked with a smirk, "You going for the Odin look, squirt? Or did you just forget how to take care of stuff like this?"

Xander finally regained his composure as he asked, "What the hell are you doing here, Urd? I thought you were in Japan!"

Urd just shrugged impishly as she replied, "Can't a goddess visit her favorite little brother? Besides I'm only ever a turned on TV away."

"There are restrictions on thing like this." Xander hissed at her, his voice low. "I'm under a contract, remember? No deliberate contact with family or friends. That's also why I can't take care of my eye, and you know it. Are you trying to get a worse suspension from Dad?"

Urd chucked lightly as she responded, "The contract was for, 'A son like you to keep that lazy damned drunk of a husband off my case while we're stuck in this shithole town.' Sunnydale's a crater, and the Harris' are dead. You've been free for months."

"What? Why wasn't I told about this? My limiter are still active." Xander asked in shock.

Urd just shrugged as she replied, "Mom said you needed a vacation from Nifelheim. You're not much suited to demonhood, and you were in danger of a burn out."

Xander reacted as if he'd been slapped. "Since when do you talk to Mom directly miss goddess? Besides watching over the Hellmouth and nuts like that Glory dingbat were important work. I just...didn't have to hurt people to do them."

Urd nodded in sympathy as she replied, "Mom visited my here on Midgard not too long ago. Naturally you came up in the conversation, little brother." She let a pregnant pause pass, in which her booze arrived before she let out a mirthless laugh and said, "It's funny, ya know. You'd make a great kami. You're loyal to a fault, you're kind, you're fair, and you're all to willing to make sacrifices. Me, on the other hand, I'm in trouble for breaking the rules so much it's a wonder I'm still a system administrator. Sometimes I think I'd make a much better demon."

Xander placed his hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture as he replied, "Maybe it would be easier for us, but that doesn't mean better. You're good at what you do, except for getting too eager, sometimes. And I've leaned to toughen up and take on jobs too delicate for the more unsavory agents to do. Maybe Mom and Dad knew that was what we needed."

"You really are the one who sees, huh, kiddo?" Urd said with a weak grin, which grew into an amused smirk as Xander made a sick sound at her comment.

"Do not mention that idiot again, Urd. I never wanted to throw some hellfire more in my life." he said in annoyance.

Urd's face lit up with a smile a she replied, well, now you can, courtesy of our parents. She then proceeded to kiss him on the forehead, causing a red triangle to appear on his brow, along with two small crimson slashes under each, now suddenly fully healed, eye.

He raised his brow in question as he asked, "No questionable potion or embarrassing light show?"

"Nope. Consider it your one freebee gift from mom and dad. You restrictions are lifted without calling undue attention to you and the people here who saw it think you always had two eyes." Urd replied happily as she poured a drink for each of them, then toasted her brother. "Cheers"

Xander returned her offer in kind, and downed his sake, giving off a refreshed "Ah!"

"It's been a while since I got a recharge of pishogue from alcohol. It'll take some getting use to after seeing the Harris' drink themselves stupid so often." he said with a small grin. His face grew somber as he asked, "So what's the rest of it?"

"Rest of what?" Urd asked, feigning confusion.

"The rest of the reason they sent you here on the QT to release me. Mom would have just recalled me normally." Xander clarified.

Urd looked pensive as she replied, "Well...you have a new assignment. The First Evil is plotting something big, and the distraction that Sunnydale provided was only the start. You're going to be the troubleshooter here for a while. Plus you can see if the Slayer situation is salvageable. Nobody on either side was pleased with that Buffy girl walking into the First's trap like that. There needs to be balance for the multiverse to function properly. Her actions are threatening that balance on this plane."

"Wonderful." Xander muttered tiredly.

"Oh buck up." Urd replied full of forced cheer. "Look on the bright side of things."

"What bright side? Buffy hates me, I have to watch out for some smoke cloud with an over inflated ego's real scheme, and the this universe, at least, might be rocketing toward destruction." Xander retorted pessimistically.

"Well...now that you're off restriction, Bell and Skuld and I can visit you. Probably...Mara too." Urd answered, although her voice brew quiet and angry as she mentioned Mara.

Xander just groaned as he said, "Are you two feuding again? I'm off the radar for less than 25 years and you're fighting again. What is wrong with you two?"

Urd sniffed disdainfully as she responded, that's none of your business. It's between us. Besides she was trying to screw up Bell's relationship with her then boyfriend/now husband on Mom's orders. We have a reason to fight."

Xander rolled his eyes as he replied, "Mom was probably trying to force you two to make up by keeping you near each other."

"Whatever." Urd snorted indifferently.

Xander just chuckled ruefully, as he spent the next several hours drinking with his sister, catching up on all that had happened to his family and old friends during his 'mortal' lifetime.

Chapter 2

Xander would have been the first to admit to a large dose of trepidation as he made his way back to the Watcher's London manor. Part of that was due to his new responsibilities. A greater part of it had to do with the two newbie Slayers, a pair of Buffy's personal trainees that Andrew referred to as her "Crimson Guard" due to their almost godlike devotion to Buffy and her accomplishments, that were watching him as he exited the bar restaurant. They were certain to have seen him talking to Urd for hours and would report it back to her to berate him with. The greatest weight on hid mind, however, had to do with his demon markings.

He was employing the common spell Demons and Aesir alike used to make people not notice them, but that was only foolproof on those who were unobservant, and had no training in magic whatsoever. In fact, he was fairly sure that in the Manor only Buffy and her freshmen Slayers would not notice them. Buffy because she was ignoring him and expected him to be powerless anyway, and her Slayers because they were trained to follow her lead. Giles, Willow, Dawn, Faith, Andrew, hell even Kennedy, were not so willfully blind to him.

"Man, if Dawn doesn't recognize them from research, Andrew will, if he doesn't Willow will, and if all else fails Giles will know. And even if they don't off hand they'll look it up. I am soooo screwed." Xander grumbled, although he had a small smirk as the skies above hum rumbled with thunder. He was always glad Father couldn't reprimand him with a full on lightning bolt for language the way he did the kami. Working for Nifelheim did have advantages when one wanted to express themselves with vulgarity. He suspected Urd only got away with it talking to him because she was quoting Jessica Harris' contract directly. Well, that, and the fact Father was more lenient with her for being half demon, just as their mother, the Dai Makaichou Hild, was indulgent toward him for the sake of his kami half.

Yes, they were certainly a pair, he and Urd. The two half breed children of Hild, and Kami-sama Himself were always in a unique situation. The elder, Urd, was a wild free spirit with a penchant for matchmaking, and for finding trouble (usually both worked hand in hand for the self proclaimed 'Cupid of Love'), while the younger, Alexander was a virtual White Knight working for his demon lord mother. In fact, he often wondered why his parents didn't switch them, at least temporarily, at some point, despite what he had told his sister earlier. He knew his mother wanted more time with Urd as she grew up, and his Father loved Xander as well. {Oh well, I guess they didn't want to confuse us. Besides, Mom needed someone besides Mara she could trust not to double cross her for assignments like this} he thought philosophically.

Although, that thought was a cold comfort whenever Xander wanted to spend more time near his half sisters Belldandy and Skuld. His three sisters, collectively know as the Norns of the Norse pantheon, always seemed to be pulled away by work, or he was pulled away by his work. {Hells, Skuld probably barely remembers me anymore. It's been so long since we spent any time together. Urd's the only one willing to get in trouble slacking off to visit me on Midgard most times. And half-god or not, war gods like Amaterasu would not look kindly on my visiting the girls in Asgard. Even Benten, a love goddess, is really prejudiced against agents on my side.} he thought to himself as he walked.

The depressing thoughts occupied Xander well enough that he was soon at the door to the Manor house. {How am I going to explain this when they ask? 'My face? Oh didn't I ever mention I'm a half-demon half-kami working for Nifelheim forced into mortality by a wish a selfish bitch named Jessica earned when I was born? In fact I'm several millennia old. Yeah, the Ultimate Force made me human until the Harris' either left Sunnydale, they died, or I did. I'm sure I brought it up. Didn't you wonder why I was so willing to throw this shithole of a life away so easily? Silly me, it must of slipped my mind. Please stop trying to pummel me now Buffy.'} he imagined darkly as he entered the house.

He let out a little sigh as he say nobody in the foyer, and made his way as quietly as he could to the stairs, and hopefully his room. He had to plan out how he was going to break this to certain people, and hopefully how he was going to hide it from others.

He was almost to his room when he heard an excited voice pipe up behind him.

"Xander!" the voice called.

{Crap.} he thought, his back still to the speaker as he said, "Hi Dawnie." his voice tired and resigned.

"You okay, Xand? You sound really beaten. Did my cow of a sister attack you or something? Come on, talk to me." Dawn said as she walked up to him and placed her hand in his shoulder blade in concern.

Xander never faced her as he replied, "Naw, I'm just a little run down from everything Dawn. I need tome rest and some time to sort things out."

Her tone was the very essence of comfort as she responded, "She'll calm down and see reason Xander. You know she will. You did the right thing, and she knows it deep down. She's just still hurting from that immortal jackass putting her emotions through the wringer, and the stress from what happened in LA with Angel's group."

Xander still faced his door as he replied, "I know that, Dawn. And you're right, it'll all work out."

The Eighteen year old's face grew worried as she asked, "Why aren't you facing me? Did Buffy hit you and give you a black eye on your good eye or something? Hey, You're not wearing your patch! Did she have one of her mini-me's steal it to embarrass you? Xander, this is really bothering me! Look at me, please!"

Xander sighed deeply before he turned and faced her, never saying a word. He knew he was in for it now. Here it comes...

"Oh. You're unsealed. Is that all? You had me really worried. But we should get you out of the hallway before someone overhears us or sees you with 20/20 vision before you're ready." Dawn said in relief, even as she opened the door to Xander's room and dragged the dumbstruck demon in, before closing the door behind them.

"How the? Wha...huh?" Xander asked intelligently as he sat on his bed shell shocked at Dawn's words.

The sister of the slayer rolled her eyes as she replied, "Come on, Xander. I'm a former mystical key, I'm like the ultimate research girl these days, and I've been crushing on you technically since before I officially existed thanks to the retroactive memories from those monks. I'm insulted you'd think I wouldn't have known."

"When did you? And why didn't you ever tell? And...huh?" Xander replied intelligently.

Dawn just smiled as she answered, "Tara was teaching me to read auras when she and Willow were broken up, and yours read...well...too perfectly human. It was like a totally flawless credit and criminal record in the business world. It just screamed 'Agent with a cover story' to anyone who bothers to look past the surface. I wasn't certain there was something extra about you until you survived being hit with Willow's powers like you did, though. Only gods and demons would be naturally immune to that level of human magic energy. From there, it was all about researching and a few very quiet aura spells to probe into the real you. It took like a year before I even figured out you were half god and half demon. Once that was cracked, I did some digging with a few Oracles with help from Anya. We kept Giles out of it for your sake, since he might talk to Buffy and get you in trouble before we had all the facts. We eventually got the low down from this demon woman named Mara who said she was like your oldest friend or something."

Xander hand finally composed himself as he rolled his eyes and said, "You could have just said 'Mara' and I'd have left it at that. She always did enjoy ratting on me for laughs." Xander replied, clearly annoyed. "And you never thought to mention that you knew?" he asked.

Dawn just shrugged a she replied, "From what Mara said, and what Anya knew, it might have voided your contract and got you in serious trouble. Even if you're an old demon for some Hell dimension, you're still Xander. I didn't want to get you in trouble for no reason. But, if you're worried, I'm the only person in the house who knew."

Xander just nodded gratefully as he responded, "Thanks for that. I appreciate it."

Dawn's smile grew wicked as she added, "But now that you're free, what's my silence worth to you? I'm thinking dinner, dancing, and a life as me willing love slave...or half you Twinkee stash."

Xander's grin matched hers as he said, "What makes you think you won't be my slave, little mortal? I am a big bad demon and the son of the rules of a Hell dimension after all."

"Because I'd enjoy being your love slave too much? Besides, you're still Xander. Slavery isn't you're thing. Two hours with Mara filled that in pretty easily." Dawn countered with a smile, as Xander reached under his bed and gave her his Twinkees.

"You're too bright for my own good, Dawn-Patrol. You little extortionist." Xander said with a smile as he handed the snack cakes over.

"Hey, I'm way taller and more developed than her highness Buffy. And I'm even legal now? Why are you still treating me like a kid?" Dawn whined even as she tore into the first package.

Xander smiled as he replied, "I baby my sister Belldandy, who's a goddess, just got married, and is several millennia old. You won't win that one, kiddo."

"Humph. No fair." Dawn pouted.

Xander's smile dimmed a bit as he replied, "Life rarely is, Dawn. Life rarely is."


Dawn's own playfulness seemed to evaporate at his words. "You want to talk about it, Xan?" she asked timidly.

Xander just sighed and shrugged as he replied, "I'm just picturing how much all this will blow up in my face even if we do hide it for a while. Any way I slice this, half-god or not, which after that ditz Glory is not working in my favor, I'm still a high powered demon that's lied to every mortal under this roof. The fact that I couldn't reveal myself under penalty from the Ultimate Force won't mean anything to anyone but Giles and Willow. Add to that my Mom is the Dai Makaichou for Nifelheim, my Father is the BIG man up top, and the fact that Buffy would have serious power envy now even if she wasn't already pissed at me. This is going to get ugly on an epic scale. She'll blame me for every bad thing that happened to her, and every good thing that didn't happen, because I have the ears of both sides."

"Yeah, you being technically evil might not sit well with her. She might want to sleep with you." Dawn joked with a mock shudder to lighten his mood.

Xander just looked sharply at her. "Don't make cracks like that. She slept willingly with Spike for months. Who knows what demonic VD I'd get from her." he joked back weakly. He shook his head sadly as he added, "Besides, I'm not evil. Nifelheim itself isn't really that big on the evil. We just...create struggles for humanity."

"And making life harder for humanity is so good for them, right." Dawn added sarcastically. She was a little surprised, however, when he replied.

"Exactly." Xander said with a proud grin.

"Huh? Xander that makes the kind of sense that's, you know, not." Dawn responded after a pause.

Xander just smiled as he explained his response. "Think of it this way, if a person never does anything, what happens to them? They die. They need to make an effort to breathe, to eat, to move, etc. Now, once they get all the basics down, what if they stop there? If they just do the minimum to survive, but nothing else? They get fat, lazy, weak, and stupid. Right?"

"O...K" Dawn said, not really seeing where this little speech was going.

"Now, the thing is, humanity in general isn't the most industrious species on the planet. Oh, some are, very much so in fact, but most people aren't going to build and invent and create for no reason. No they're going to have to need things. They're has to be some kind of struggle to overcome to make the go forward."

"Like the thing about necessity being the mother if invention." Dawn cut in, finally seeing what he was saying.

"Exactly. The demons in general in Nifelheim, and mom in particular, are like the universe's weight trainer. As humanity gets stronger, she adds a little more weight to push the limits of the species. That's what drives evolution. As opposed to idiots like the First, and the truly soulless demons, who just want stupid crap like Armageddon to happen. We're more just the Shadows to Dad's Vorlons, if you want to get all Babylon 5 about it." Xander explained.

"Okay, so you're good, you just have an unpopular job." Dawn said, clearly a little relieved.

"Well, I wouldn't go that far. Nifelheim is full of demons bad enough I'd trust Andrew to win a strongman competition before I'd trust them with anything. That's why Mom usually gives me more delicate stuff she needs someone reliable to do. I'm her 'go to' guy for guard duties, honest information, and fair fights against rogue agents that don't defect to Heaven. Basically stuff I don't have to hurt anyone to do." Xander clarified as he laid down on his bed and propped his hands behind his head.

"Well, either way, we need to keep Buffy out of the loop. She'll kill you for sure if she finds out." Dawn said as she sat at his desk and finished her Twinkee.

Xander snorted as he responded, "She could try, you mean. I'm a Class One, Category Two demon on an unrestricted License. Only Mara and my mother rank higher in all of Nifelheim, our 'hell' system, and anything on down until you reach the gates of Hellheim. It would take dozens of Glory added together to get close to a Class Three Aesir or Demon."

"Whoa. Then why are you so worried about Buffy?" Dawn asked, impressed.

"I don't want to hurt her." he replied a if it were obvious. "Besides, I have to stick around for at least a little while on a new assignment. It might be nice if I didn't get constant wake up calls in the form of swords, stakes, etc. in my chest as she tried to kill me in my sleep. And if she somehow managed to piss off Mara, or my sisters, or worse yet, my mother..." Xander said shuddering at the thought. "You do not want my Mother angry. Doubly so if it's something Father might not intercede in."

"That bad, huh?" Dawn asked.

"Atlantis was a fertile, prosperous, paradise until the people there managed to piss her off. There's a reason nobody will ever find a trace of it now, and it has nothing to do with a Stargate spin off." Xander responded seriously.

"Which is a much better reason to keep Buffy out of the loop." Dawn said, her eyes wide.

"That's pretty much the burr in my saddle, Dawn. Even with my concealment spell active, people are going to notice my marks, just like you did. Giles and Willow especially. I need to know what to tell them, and figure out a way to keep them quiet." Xander said with a tired voice.

"Wow, that really sucks. Giles will probably understand. He's mister knows what being stuck under the weight of duty means. Willow though..." Dawn replied.

"Will either never speak to me again, try to exorcise the demon 'possessing' me, or just plain old freak out until I can explain everything in enough detail it will take a couple of eons to go over. Plus on top of that minor stress factor, I have to watch out for whatever new plan the First might cook up, and there's a chance we could face a major dimensional plane destroying Apocalypse because of the imbalance Buffy's activate all Slayers idea brought about." Xander added with deep frustration.

"Just to clarify, how much worse is..."

"The whole universe will go kablooey, instead of just Earth. Asgard and Nifelheim will survive, but the mortal plane here would be toast." Xander explained.

"Oh. Well. Thanks a bunch Buffy." Dawn said weakly, as she got a little green.

"Yeah. Thankfully, were still here, so that's just a maybe. I'm supposed to figure out a way to deal with that in my spare time until it becomes an imminent threat." Xander expanded sarcastically.

"Your job sucks eggs, on toast, Xander." Dawn said sympathetically.

"Don't I know it." he agreed.

"What will you do if it comes to that?" she asked curiously.

"Try to get Willow to reverse the spell, I guess. If she refuses, war gods and archdemons from the non Apocalypse friendly realms will come out of the woodwork to pick off every Slayer but one to restore things. Which is why I want to find an easier, less death oriented, out." Xander answered.

"Good luck on that." Dawn said weakly. Her tone strengthened as she said, "Any idea on the Scooby gang front, yet?"

"Tell them I got drunk and got a tattoo like one I saw in a demonology text about gods because Ahn used to refer to me as her 'sex god?'" he joked. He sighed after a pause and finally said, I guess I'll pull them aside individually and explain everything I can. From there, I just hope for the best."

"You want back up with you when you do that?" Dawn offered.

"Nah. I'll probably have more than I want, whether or not I like it, won't I Mara?" Xander said in annoyance, as he looked over to his CD player with a small glare.

Dawn thought Xander was loosing his grip on reality, until the player opened, and the demoness in question started to impossibly pull up out of the tiny disk that had been freed, and climb into the room herself.

"How did you know I was listening, Alex?" the blonde demoness asked with a pout, as she folded her arms.

"It's been less than three decades, Mara. I still know the feel of your teleportation signal. Only putting in a fingertip so you can listen in still alerts me. Besides, I knew you'd want to get a personal laugh for ratting me out. Again." Xander replied with a cheeky grin.

"Good call, handsome." Mara replied unapologetically. She then turned to Dawn and said, "Hey kid. Long time no see. Where any of you saw me, anyway."

Chapter 3

Xander's smirk was one of long familiarity as he commented, "You've been checking up on me for a while, Mara?"

The demoness snorted disdainfully, even as her face showed a wide smirk as she retorted, "I needed something to do for a laugh from time to time. Besides, Dawn here made it pretty clear she was first in line to be your wife once she was legal the last time I talked to her. I had to make sure she was treating my favorite momma's boy right."

This comment made both demons crack up in laughter, even as they went in for a friendly hug, as Dawn developed a slight blush. As the two demonic agents of Hild pulled apart, Xander looked Mara over. Her long blonde hair was past her shoulders and framed the porcelain skin of her face nicely. She was dressed in a low cut red silk blouse that flashed her generous cleavage, and skin tight black jeans, along with a pair of raised black army boots, and her fingerless leather gloves. The outfit seemed to perfectly compliment her complexion, as well as the crimson hue of both her demon markings, and her eyes.

"You are a sight for sore eyes you crazy tomboy." Xander said, baiting her with one of his old childhood taunts.

"Especially now that you have both back, you annoying little tag along." Mara shot back in return, even as she pulled out her hip flask from her cleavage and took a sip of whiskey, before offering it to Xander.

The demonic Scooby took the flask gratefully, and took a long pull before handing it back. His face grew slightly smug as he shot back, "So, I hear Mom's top agent blew an assignment to keep my sister from becoming an honest woman recently."

Mara's face grew cold as she replied, "Urd still has a big mouth." She tried to put on a disinterested air as she added, "It was started with a wish backed by the Ultimate Force, so I was behind an eight ball to begin with. Even I can't do miracles. That's your old man's thing."

Xander laughed off her irritation as he replied, "And you never thought it might just be busy work to make you and Urd actually talk over whatever set you off this time?"

Mara's only reply was to turn her nose up at him in a huff.

Xander, sensing that this was an even more sore subject than usual, decided that discretion was the better part of valor and turned his attention to Dawn as he asked, "So you're claiming me behind my back now, huh Dawn-Patrol?"

Dawn's face was defiant, even as her blush intensified when she responded "I've got dibs. I've told you and everyone else that for years."

Mara chuckled ruefully as she interjected, "I know a couple of dozen succubae back home that will want to argue with you over that one, kid. A couple of demons and Aesir, too. Alex here was quite popular back in the day. Not that he took any of them up on any serious long term offers. He fears commitment."

It was Xander's turn to snort indifferently as he commented, "Just because I don't throw my heart away on any idiot like Urd does doesn't mean I'm scared of commitment, Mara. I just want to make sure that whoever I'm with seriously is really the one. I'm too loyal to take the chance it will go south on me until I'm 100%."

"Speaking of you sister and idiots, that baka Troubadour was sniffing around Urd again a couple of years ago." Mara remarked idly.

Xander's features grew sharp, making Dawn let out a small 'eeep' as he spat and angry, "WHAT?"

"Oh, she didn't mention it? He talked his way back into her heart just make her cry. He needed a goddess's tears of love for some stupid formula for the divine melody or something. Once he had them, he dumped her again." Mara elaborated.

Xander's left eye was twitching as two primary thoughts went through his mind. One was *Mara must still think of Urd as a friend deep down to bring this up for her, I'll have to find out what happened and help them patch things up...again.* The other thought though, was the one he vocalized. "I'll kill the bastard."

Mara wagged her finger in a mocking reprimand as she said, "Ah. ah, ahhh. No going off on your sister's ex unless you want to get in trouble."

Xander's ire was clear as he snapped, "What trouble? He's just a stupid tree spirit, not a kami. He's not in the Doublet System. And I told him I'd track him down and kill him if he ever hurt her again when he dumped her for that stupid bird."

"You're here on assignment, remember. You can't take off to track the little coward down. And you know he'll be in hiding for the next century at least now that you're active again." Mara answered smugly.

"Fine, but the second I see him in the future, I'll make him wish I'd tossed him in Hellheim like I wanted to do the first time." Xander replied in a dead tone.

Dawn decided Xander needed a mood lightener, so she interjected, "See this is why I need to date you. You're the only boyfriend I can have that will survive your attitude toward anyone hurting your girls."

"And what about surviving Buff, Dawn?" Xander asked, forcing himself to calm down and respond to her joke.

The youngest Summers sister just rolled her eyes as she answered, "At the rate she's going, she'll be pushing me to settle into a nice downward spiral of an abusive relationship with some vampire soon. She'll hate any boyfriend I have who happens to have a pulse."

Xander just nodded his head in concession as he soberly answered, "Yeah. Sad part is, you might be right. She has serious issues."

Mara watched the by-play with mild interest for a while before she cleared her throat meaningfully. "Well, as interesting as it is to watch you and your newest object of overprotection bash that bleach headed necrophiliac she calls sister, I do have to mention that I had a reason to be here besides just checking up on your sorry ass."

Xander nodded, expecting that as he replied, "Well, what does Mom want me to know?"

"Not my business, kiddo. I'm just here to update your gear to the modern retooling standards." she answered as she waved her hand and recited a small spell in the demonic language of Nifelheim. Once she was done, a laptop, pager, cell phone, and small book titled "Revisions to the Demon Code of Misconduct, MCVIII Edition" appeared on his desk. "Standard use, just store them in you dimensional pocket." she explained as Xander opened the laptop and accessed his account on the Infernal Intranet.

"Well, this is a step up. I even have a working outline of my job already uploaded to my account. Thanks babe." Xander said distractedly, not realizing he had used the one nickname he had for Mara that she absolutely loathed hearing from him.

"WHAT did you just call me, Alexander?" she growled.

Xander's eyes went wide as he realized what he had said, and began to sputter, "I, uh, that is, i...it was an accident. Come on Mara I just got fully back. Cut me some slack..."

His words were cut off by the fireball that that slammed into his face and knocked him on his rear.

Her face was still angry as she spat, "I'll let you off easy this time, squirt. Never let it happen again."

Dawn, who had been edging toward the door ever since she noticed Mara getting angry took the pause after the demoness spoke to weakly babble, "Well, I think I should get gone and let you two catch up. Besides, this looks like it will end in a knock down drag out ala my sister, or some super demonic version of Xan and Cordy in the utility closet, and I really don't think my fragile little human body could withstand the aftermath of either. It was nice seeing you again Mara. Xan, uh, if you live, let me know what you decide, and I'll back you all the way. Bye." From there she was out of the room as fast as she could get the door opened, and then closed behind her.

Both agents of Nifelheim stared at where Dawn had stood for several seconds before they both cracked up, as Xander got back onto his feet. "She's cute. I wonder how she'd react to Urd and Skuld throwing lightning and bombs at each other when they argue, if she thought this was serious."

"As long as she didn't insinuate that they were going to start making out. That is what she meant by the comment about Cordelia." he explained with a laugh.

"Ew. Like that would ever happen." Mara retorted, perhaps just a bit too quickly, not that Xander noticed. "Cordelia, huh? Hey there's a new valkyrie that's named Cordelia that was originally from Sunnydale. Is that who she means. You were boffing a valkyrie while on contract restriction?"

"They made her a valkyrie? Well that's better than those fourth class idiots in the PTB were using her for." Xander muttered distractedly. He then processed the rest of her question and answered, "No. Cor and I went to the same high school together while I was stuck as a mortal, and we dated. We never had sex, though. We just groped each other in utility closets. It's nice to hear she has something to do that she's suited for though. The PTB's really screwed her over."

Mara seemed to have her curiosity mollified by his answer. After a moment to think, though, she asked, "You going to look her up now that your off your leash?"

Xander shrugged as he answered, "I guess I could ask Bell to set up a meet to talk about old times. It's not like I can visit her in Valhalla. You know how they get up there."

"Yeah, the last time we dropped Urd off to sleep off a night of partying, we had irritated Aesir bothering and accusing us of stuff by the third buffer realm. The older ones aren't too tolerant." Mara agreed.

There was a measurable lull in the conversation before Xander asked, "So, I heard about what went on in Asgard while I was mortal from Urd. How about you fill me in on the low down from down low, you blonde blabber mouth?"

Mara just rolled her eyes as she responded, "Whatever you say, you whiny boss's pet."

And so, for the second time that day, Xander got a chance to catch up on what he missed during his time sentenced to be the Harris' son through the aid of one of his girls.

Chapter 4

Mara left trough Xander's Cd player after a good two hours of laughing and catching up with him. Once she did, however, his new cell phone went off. So it was that Xander looked deeply into his mirror, combing his hair, as he talked absently on his demonic-issue cell phone.

"Yes, mom. Hey, you're the one who gave me this assignment. No, I'm not talking back to you. Take what tone? Aww, c'mon, you'd think you didn't trust me with the way you're going. No, I'm not attacking you. Look, I can't visit you because I have to stay here. And what if someone saw me teleport away? Buffy is supposedly watching me like a hawk because she doesn't trust me. Okay, A.) she doesn't know I'm a demon, so explaining I how have to teleport to visit my mother would make no sense to her and B.) if she knew where I live, she'd think I set the whole mess from the last seven years up to hurt her precious Angel...like she'd believe he went to a Hell we have no jurisdiction over. She thinks was too small to comprehend the actual number of heaven and Hell dimensions. She is only mortal after all. I mean, she though that limbo I went to alot a trouble to help Willow pull her out of was Heaven for goodness sake! Yeah, it is kind of funny, I guess. Look, I have to go, it's time for dinner and I have to figure out how to manage all this. Yes, I'm eating properly. Of course I'm drinking enough, it's not like I'm using alot of pishogue here. ...Of COURSE I've got clean underwear on. I'm not some kind of pig that...MOM! I was five then! Can't you let that go? <sigh> Yeah, and you'll always be my mom. Well, if you want, maybe some of your chocolate chip cookies that you used to bake? Yes I'll share with Urd, Bell, and Skuld when they visit. Alright. It was nice to hear from you directly. I love you, too. Bye." Xander conversed, before hanging up the phone and putting it in his pocket.

He took a long look at his overall appearance before he recited, "To let them feel things are still the norm, return the look of my mortal form."

With a flash of light, Xander suddenly appeared to be as he was the previous morning, complete with eye patch in place. It was really just a more advanced version of his concealing spell, and was still not fool proof, but it would hopefully do for now.

He was cut off from his worried contemplations by a knock at the door. As he opened it, the Nifelheim agent was somewhat surprised to see Robin Wood standing in his doorway. He moved aside to let the man in, a little puzzled by his visit. "What can I do for you, Robin?" he asked.

The former Sunnydale high principal sighed a little before he responded, "I'm shipping off tomorrow afternoon for Africa, and I wanted to let you know."

Xander's face grew wistful, and a little bitter as he replied, "Thanks. I guess. You...you will take good care of them, right?"

Robin looked at the floor, feeling a bit awkward as he replied, "Yeah. Yeah I will." After a pause, he added, "Look, Xander, I'm sorry it all came to this. You did the right thing, and you shouldn't be punished for it. Just...I wanted you to know that. And I'll do all I can to help your team there. You have my word on that."

Xander gave a much more sincere and heartfelt "Thanks." at those words. "Good luck with them Robin. And remember the first rule of Slaying. Don't die." Xander said reaching out o shake the man's hand.

"Yeah. I'm sure the girls you trained will remember that. Reports have it you taught them all to fight dirty." robin said with a grin.

"Vampires aren't going to fight fair. Why should the people hunting them? Buff never did get that lesson." Xander answered with a small grin of his own.

"Yes, well at least she didn't threaten to feed you to Angel the way she did to me with Spike." Robin retorted, rolling his eyes.

Xander snorted as he replied, "She knows I know how to fight dirty. On the off chance he actually beat me to the point he could bite me in Sunnydale, the last thing Deadboy would have felt was the grenade I kept in my jacket going off before he was blown to bits. Any vamp that offed me was coming along for the ride."

"Good policy. You still following it?" Robin asked.

"Nah. I have more destructive ways to deal with vampires now." Xander replied with an enigmatic grin.

Robin raised his left brow at that answer but did not query any further on the subject. "Well, I should get going. I have to finish packing. You going to be alright, Harris?"

It was to the demon's credit that he didn't flinch at the mortal last name as he replied, "Yeah. I'll deal. It's not the first time Buffy and I butted heard over Captain Hairgel. I can handle it."

"You know, for all that she's miss up for Angel, Faith agreed with you on this too. She's just..." Robin began to say.

"Not sure how to talk to me after trying to kill me when I haven't even treated her like I was mad. I kind of noticed that she avoids me now, and Dawn helped fill in why once. Tell her it's cool." Xander interrupted with s smile.

"Will do." Robin answered, before leaving the room.

Xander let out a little sigh as he muttered, "Well, the first test of the concealment is done. Now if I can just get it to hold well enough to talk to Willow and Giles privately, I might have a chance of doing this with some hope for success." before he left the room and headed to the kitchen to get some dinner.


As Xander was contemplating what to eat, Urd was talking to Belldandy and Skuld in their temple in Nekomi, Japan. Well, she was talking with Belldandy mostly. Skuld was reading Xander's recently released file, now that his contract was complete she had access to it again. She was also emitting a dangerous blue glow often referred to as a battle aura and growling angrily to herself.

"So Alex-oniichan has to remain in England for now then, Urd?" Bell's peaceful and cheery voice asked.

"Yeah. Father and Mom worked together to set him up with this one, I think. It's real top level priority stuff, but he is a class one, so he can handle it. At least he's unsealed." Urd replied with a shrug as she drank straight form a bottle of sake.

"And he's one of the few powerful demons Hild-sama can actually trust." Belldandy added as she sipped her tea.

Urd nodded in agreement, trying to ignore Skuld angry muttering about bleached bimbos, debugging mallets, and additions to Banpai to go after necrophiliacs in the background as she continued to speak with the elder of her two younger sisters. "Yeah, it's pretty much Alex or Mara for stuff this important, and having Alex there, with visitation actually allowed, pretty much insures Mara's presence too."

"Oh My! Has she actually admitted that..." Bell began to ask.

"That she's got a huge crush on my baby brother? Not that I've seen. Of course I try not to speak to the backstabbing tramp much these days, and Alex can do so much better." Urd interjected with a chuckle.

"Peroth and Venus will be thrilled to hear that, old hag." Skuld tossed over her shoulder, never taking her eyes off her computer screen. Finally she growled angrily and stood up. "That's it! I'm gonna neo-Skuld bomb those worthless mortals back into the stone age! Nobody treats my big brother like this. I don't care if he is a demon!" she snapped.

Urd looked over curiously at the screen to see what was Skuld's last straw, and saw a continuous loop of that Buffy girl doing a dance that almost classified as a strip tease with Xander, just to make her pet vampire jealous. She half toyed with the idea of letting Skuld go after the eldest Slayer, it upset her too after all, before she finally spoke up. "Maybe you should hold off on that and just plan for a visit instead, runt."

"What?!? How can you just let this go, Urd? she's a horrible person, and she's supposed to be a champion. We, as goddesses, have a right...no a duty, to punish her for going off the path." Skuld cried in indignation, as she took up her mallet and swung it dramatically.

"And even unsealed, he's on a complex job that benefits both sides here on Midgard that could be jeopardized by you smiting mortals left and right without restraint." Urd snapped in reply.

"Don't you even care how those humans treat him?" Skuld snapped back incredulously.

"Of COURSE I DO! He's my brother too, ya know. But this is delicate. Besides we can't do lasting harm to mortal unless provoked, or I'd have nuked the little Slayer by now!" Urd spat angrily.

Belldandy cleared her throat politely then, making both her elder and younger sister back down a bit. "Urd is right, Skuld. We can't go causing trouble for oniichan while he's working. We promised a long time ago to try not to hurt each other's work unless ordered to do so, remember. And you know that promises are binding for us."

Skuld put her mallet down and nodded sullenly as she replied, "Okay, Bell. I guess you're right. I still don't like it, though."

"We can still visit him, though. We can call ahead, and maybe we can ever have a picnic together, just like when we were younger. Doesn't that sound nice?" Belldandy responded with a bright smile.

Urd let out a small laugh as she added, "And you can bring Keiichi, sis. He hasn't got a chance to meet Alex, yet."

Bell actually looked a little worried as she replied, "Oh my, I hadn't thought of that. I do hope they get along."

"Ah, Kei as good to you as good gets. Alex seemed to warm up to him a bit just from me describing him. They'll get along fine. Kei will just have to endure the 'Talk' from the squirt. That's all." Urd responded with a reassuring grin.

All three sisters smiled a bit at Xander's 'talks' with any of Urd's or Bell's former suitors. More than one high powered god had run for their lives rather than face and angry class 1 demon for a protective brother. Of course, when the talk starts with, "You know, there's so much room between death and pain, I don't really find the Doublet System restrictive at all. It just encourages you to get creative, don't you agree?", then they have a reason to get scared.


As the Norns imagined just how frightened Keiichi would soon be, Xander was in the process of finishing a sandwich in the kitchen. He had just put the mayo away, when he heard a voice from behind him say, "Xander, can I talk to you for a minute?"

The demon-kami hybrid let out a little sigh before he stood to face the speaker. As he turned around, he thought to himself, *time for test number two of for my concealing spell. I hope it holds...*

Chapter 5

"What can I do for you..." Xander began to ask with his best disarming grin.

"Not here, mister. Let's go to my room." the speaker replied.

Xander grinned nervously as he responded, "I'm flattered, Wills, but I thought you were over me. Besides, I don't think Kennedy is into that sort of thing."

"NOW, Xander." the red headed Wicca seethed.

"...okay." Xander eeped, as she grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of the kitchen.


As Xander was being dragged off for what could possibly be a very ugly confrontation, Other situations that could become...complicated were brewing elsewhere through the realms of Asgard, Valhalla, and Nifelheim...

Peroth was idly reading her new manga when her terminal in the Rival Relief Office beeped, alerting her a new message. She let out a slightly despondent sigh, still upset that she was unable to snag Keiichi from Belldandy, as she read the new post to the Yggdrasil systems divine Intranet. Her countenance brightened considerably as she read the post...

[GENERAL NOTICE: Class 1, Category 2 demon lord Alexander, third in command to Dai Makaichou Hild, if has been released from the seals of his recent wish granting assignment. Although he is considered a low priority threat unless directly provoked, all kami should be aware of his return to active duty and assume necessary precautions, where needed...]

The goddess of Moments that last Forever zoned out after reading that much. Her was too busy contemplating new possibilities at that point. *He's actually back, how wonderful! To think I was so caught up with Belldandy's little mortal, I almost forgot about Alex. This is surely a sign from kami-sama(not that she would bother to actually ASK him, or anything). I wasn't meant to take Keiichi. I was meant to do as I've intended to for the last seventy years. I will seduce...er that is encourage that delicious hunk of demon to leave Nifelheim and join us here in Asgard!*

With that thought in mind, she called in to her shift supervisor to request some time off. She had to make...preparations.

In the Greco-Roman sector, similar thoughts were running through the heads of two other goddesses. One was Venus(call her Aphrodite and she'll beat you senseless), Roman goddess of Love and Beauty. The other was Nike, Greek goddess of victory. It was funny happenstance that both came running out of their appointed chambers on Olympus at the same time and collided rather painfully in a heap.

"Hi, Venus! Where are you going in such a hurry?" the rather upbeat brunette victory goddess asked as she dusted off her ivory wings.

The sultry blonde Venus adjusted her blue silk micro-dress as she replied, "Oh, just off to meet an old friend."

Nike's right eye twitched a bit even as she replied, "Oh, me too! Isn't that...nice?"

Venus, who was not stupid, even if she did use the occasional 'Valley-girl' act to seduce men intimidated by brains in a gorgeous goddess, replied, "He's mine, you overgrown canary. Back off." in an icy tone.

The usually sweet Nike snorted indignantly as she responded, "Like I would concede victory to you. Did you forget what my domain was when you hit your head just now? Only someone pure and good like me can convince Alexander to join us here."

Venus chortled haughtily as she responded, "As if some Hawkgirl twit whose best accomplishment in the last millennium was to have a shoe company named after her can compete with a 'Love' goddess of my caliber."

"There are plenty of succubae in Nifelheim if Alex just wants a good screw, Venus. And the best thing you're known for anymore is an armless statue in a French museum. At least I have name recognition. And a decent reputation." Nike sniped back.

From a safe distance on the sidelines, Aphrodite, Ares, and Eris (also known as Discord) were watching the soon to be brawl with mild interest.

"I know Alex is hot, and the big man's son and all, but this is just ridiculous." Eris sniffed as she wiped her black-polished nails on her shirt.

"It's the competition more than anything, sis. I doubt they even think about what Alex actually wants. Just that the other doesn't get him." Ares commented from beside her.

"Like, makes me glad I married Hephy a long time ago. Being seen acting like that is sooo not cool." 'Dite chimed in even as light danced across her face while the two feuding goddesses began to hurl mana bolts at each other.

"Sad part is, Alex doesn't even know it gets like this between them because he's not allowed this far into Heaven without escort, and they'd never want to look bad in front of him" Discord added, shaking her head.

"Oh, he knows." Ares commented with certainty. "He has Urd and Skuld for sisters. As someone who has you two, and Athena, for sisters, I can assure you he knows the signs of barely restrained catfight."

"Like, totally." Aphrodite chimed in.


As the heavens lit up in a fight that would translate into a freak lightning storm over southern Wyoming for some inexplicable reason, Mara had just informed a group of about a dozen Nifelheim and Makai breed succubae (think Morrigan from Darkstalkers, but with varying hair colors) of Xander's free roaming status. Unfortunately for the poor demon, they were mow planning their own vacations on Midgard.

It was truly unfortunate that Mara both enjoyed a bit of harmless chaos at the expense of Urd's brother, and that she was still upset at him calling her 'babe'.


Xander tried to ignore the multiple shivers running up and down his spine as Willow dragged him up to her room, her famous resolve face firmly in place.

Once they were in the room, she sat him forcefully at her desk, before going to her door and locking it. From there, Willow began to pace angrily unsure of just what to say, or how to say it. This gave Xander ample time to worry.

*Does she know? Did she sense my powers? Or is she just pissed off about the whole spell-lie thing? Damned if this wont end well...* Xander thought to himself idly as he watched his oldest mortal friend pace.

Finally, after ten minutes of tense silence, Willow stormed over to her computer and cleared the active screen saver. She called up video file and played it in front of Xander, clearly expecting him to watch it. What he saw was not of the good, in his humble opinion...


["Tara was teaching me to read auras when she and Willow were broken up, and yours read...well...too perfectly human. It was like a totally flawless credit and criminal record in the business world. It just screamed 'Agent with a cover story' to anyone who bothers to look past the surface. I wasn't certain there was something extra about you until you survived being hit with Willow's powers like you did, though. Only gods and demons would be naturally immune to that level of human magic energy..."

"What makes you think you won't be my slave, little mortal? I am a big bad demon and the son of the ruler of a Hell dimension after all."

"I'm just picturing how much all this will blow up in my face even if we do hide it for a while. Any way I slice this, half-god or not, which after that ditz Glory is not working in my favor, I'm still a high powered demon that's lied to every mortal under this roof. The fact that I couldn't reveal myself under penalty from the Ultimate Force won't mean anything to anyone but Giles and Willow. Add to that my Mom is the Dai Makaichou for Nifelheim, my Father is the BIG man up top, and the fact that Buffy would have serious power envy now even if she wasn't already pissed at me. This is going to get ugly on an epic scale. She'll blame me for every bad thing that happened to her, and every good thing that didn't happen, because I have the ears of both sides."

"Will either never speak to me again, try to exorcise the demon 'possessing' me, or just plain old freak out until I can explain everything in enough detail it will take a couple of eons to go over..."

"They made her a valkyrie? Well that's better than those fourth class idiots in the PTB were using her for."]


"Care to get started on those eons of explanations, mister Class 1 Category 2 demon?" She asked frostily as Xander gaped at the video files.

"You have my room bugged?" Xander replied incredulously. "What kind of sick...god I can't believe I didn't think of this."

"It's not the issue here, Alexander." Willow replied angrily.

"Does Andrew know about this? Because it is not a comfort to think the little nut could have the opportunity to watch me sleep." He demanded.

That made Willow roll her eyes as she replied, "Like I'd risk letting him pull a Revenge of the Nerds routine with any of us. No, this was Buffy's request, your room is the only one with cameras, and so far, I'm the only one to have seen, or heard, it. Now start explaining just what I'm seeing, because it goes against everything I've ever known."

Xander hung his head for a moment before he sighed heavily. "It's all true, Wills. Everything there is true." he said hollowly.

Willow rolled her eyes yet again as she walked up and slapped Xander hard on the chest, eliciting a "Hey, ow!" from him. "I know it's true, Xander. The woman crawling up out of a CD kind of drove that home. But I want to hear it all from you. Not explaining things to Dawn, or reminiscing with some woman I've never met. You and me, one on one."

"Hey, I'm like the top of the food chain here in power. Why should I listen to you making demands?" Xander challenged.

Willow just raised her eyebrow in answer, making Xander realize this was still his Willow, resolve face and all, and he couldn't deny her if she wanted him to explain. He caved easily without her saying a word. So he explained. He told her about his family, about his job and his life as a half-deity, half-demon. Finally, after a couple of hours he explained about Jessica Harris' wish, the restrictions it placed on him, and what it meant now that they were gone. He even went over his recon assignment with the Wicca, knowing that if he held back he could lose a friendship he had treasured for his entire human tenure.

"So, that's it, huh?" Willow asked distantly, as she sat on her bed.

"Yeah." Xander replied tiredly.

After a few minutes of tense silence the redhead stood angrily and snapped, "Why didn't you ever tell me? You were my best friend, and now...now...i...it's like I never knew the real you. Your just some fraud made up to fool we pathetic mortals. I...my friendship never meant anything..."

That made Xander stand in agitation as he retorted, "That's not true! Willow, gods, did you ever think this was part of the reason I never mentioned what I was? You freaking out over it? Of course that ignores the parts where I could have been in serious trouble for breach of contract for telling you. My mother would not have been able to show favoritism for something backed by the Ultimate Force, Willow. I would have been in the kind of trouble that would have made a life as Snyder's homosexual love slave seem pleasant by comparison."

Willow recoiled in disgust at that image, even a she nodded slightly, her eyes welling with tears. "Ewww." she said. After a moment's pause to collect herself she responded, "Alright, you couldn't tell me. I get that. It doesn't make this any easier. It still feels like our life as friends was lie, though."

"Wills, I'm still me. Jessica's wish was for someone like me to be her son. The Yggdrasil system dictates that no two people are the same, so the Ultimate Force required me to become her son to fulfill the wish. I didn't change, I just had to grow up as a mortal human for a while. You...you're still my friend. I'm still your Xander, Wills." he pleaded.

The wicca looked deep into his eyes, as his disguise field did not affect her, while he spoke. There was no deception there. Demon or not, there were the same brown orbs she could read better than anyone's. He was telling the truth. "You're still my Xander." she repeated weakly.

Xander beamed a smile that had inadvertently charmed more than one being capable of rearranging whole continents as he came in and hugged his mortal friend. "Yeah, I am. Are you still my Willow?" he whispered as he held her.

"Always." she replied into where she had buried herself in his shirt.

They held onto each other for a while before Willow asked, "Where do we go from here, Xander?"

The demon sighed as he let her go to look into her eyes as he replied, "I work my new assignment. You've heard, and been told, how serious it all is."

"What about the others?", Willow asked weakly.

"I don't know, Wills. I need to fill in Giles, I think. But I obviously can't tell Buff in the state she's in. Not without her army of mini-me's coming for me with her at the head of the charge. The whole thing's going to get worse before it gets better." Xander answered.

"Sorry I let the lie slip out, Xander. I didn't want this all to happen to you." Willow said. After a pregnant pause, she asked, "So when do I get to meet these sisters of yours I've heard so little about?"

Xander shrugged in reply as he answered, "Urd could show up whenever. Bell and Skuld will probably call first, so I can let you know."

"Have I mentioned yet how weird it is that the Nose incarnations of Fate are your sisters?" the wicca asked.

"You think the concept is weird? Wait until you meet some of my family. You have not yet begun to see weird." Xander assured her with a laugh.

Chapter 6

As Xander and Willow talked and tried to repair their friendship in the face of his revealed demon state, another core Scooby was angrily brushing her hair as she thought about what she had caused to happen over the last few days.

"Damn jealous bastard. How dare he not tell me about the soul restoration. I'm the Slayer. I should have been told what was going on." Buffy muttered as she looked at herself in the mirror, noticing how the dried tear streaks made her look like hell.

Of course her mutterings were answered, as they always were when she allowed herself the time to be alone and think, by her own brain. *Maybe he wasn't all that jealous.* her conscience sneered at her. *Maybe he knows you well enough to have realized you would have held back, and we'd be in Hell right now.*

The longest active Slayer growled at the words her mind was conjuring as she continued to play with her hair. After several minutes, though, another unpleasant thought sprang forth. *Was what happened over five years ago really worth tearing apart your friendship like this, oh mighty Slayer?*

"It doesn't matter. I can't trust him. He lied to me, and with the new Council spread so thin, we can't have people we can't trust in the field." she tried to assure herself out loud.

*And how trusted will you be after forcing Willow to spy on her oldest friend? Who's betraying who here? Besides, I'd bet everyone else here still has faith in him. His teams had the best success rate, while in what Giles considered the most hostile locations.* the voice in her head snickered.

A part of Buffy wished that voice was just the first taunting her from the depths of the Hellmouth she was sure it was sealed in (OOC: yeah right) but she knew better. Here, alone in her room, it was much harder to drown her inner voice out and lie to herself. "Maybe I am out of line. And maybe I'm overreacting, but something about him has always made overreact. I just know O can't trust him right now. Not yet, anyway." she said to her reflection, setting down her brush.

*Yeah, well, he always did have the guts to challenge you when you got stupid. Maybe your inner Cordy wasn't pleased with him correcting your mistakes...again.*

"But it was Angel who paid the price." Buffy protested aloud.

*And it was Angelus that you were fighting. Once the sword was pulled, do you really think Angel would have let you die there once he knew what was happening? All Xander did was make you fight harder at the end. The outcome wouldn't have changed. And you know it.* her inner voice sneered.

Tears welled up in Buffy's eyes even as she replied, "I know. But I can't let this go. Not yet. I still get too angry whenever I see him. It's like I can feel some big betrayal coming whenever I look at him."


Xander and Willow's tender moment was broken up by a knock at her door. "Hey! Why is the door locked, Willow? You know I didn't bring my key with me." Kennedy called out from the other side.

The old friends shared a look before Willow walked to the door to let her girlfriend in. "Sorry, honey. Xander and I needed to talk about some stuff, and we didn't want to get interrupted." she explained.

"Oh." Kennedy replied as she looked over to Xander and gave a small wave. "This about her highness freaking out over that vampire of hers?" the Slayer asked in a tone that showed she sided with Xander in the whole matter. Then again, Xander had saved her life on a night when Buffy had led her to what would have been death otherwise, so she was a little biased toward the argument. The fact that he was the closest thing her girlfriend had to a brother only added to the 'side with Xander' part of her brain.

Xander shrugged as he replied, "A little of that, at little of talking things out, and a little of other stuff. I just wanted to make sure Willow was going to be alright with all the tension going on here."

"Yeah. It's been real tense, alright." Willow added with a sullen look.

"You want me to do something to ease that tension, baby?" Kennedy asked the red-headed Wicca with a shameless grin as she moved in to hug her girlfriend.

Xander took that as his cue to leave. "Well, as much as watching this would be quite the fantasy, I really think I should be going. I've long since had my fill of Slayer strength hurling me out of a room because of sex." he said as he made his way to the door.

Kennedy looked slightly puzzled as she asked, "You mean you and Buffy have...?"

Xander gave her his trademark lopsided grin as he answered, "Oh, GOD no. Even at the best of times, I'm her 'Xander-shaped friend'. I meant senior year after Faith and I..." He stopped there, as his brain caught up with his mouth, before he added. "You know what forget I said that. Let's just say I'll leave you two lovely ladies to your fun and try to salvage some dignity in the face of the dirt you can now unearth from Faith. Bye."

And with that, he was quickly out the door, closing it behind him.


In a realm that was neither Nifelheim, nor Midgard, nor Asgard, the entity known as the First Evil was conversing with some of its minions stationed on Earth.

"Things grow serious. The White Knight of Nifelheim has regained his full power. Your seeds of discord among their ranks must remain subtle. His position and power is such he could bring far greater opposition than the Powers to my plans." the First spoke, using its 'natural' form as a demonic looking cloud of black energy.

"I will be careful, Master." a servant, who was concealed by shadows in the cave that was the First's current planning center, replied.

"See that you do. Although Hild, and most goddesses, must remain sealed while on Earth, neither side has made an effort to do so to him, yet. If he were to track me down, even I would be in danger. I've planned this for too long to be stopped so close to the end. The last thing I can afford is discovery by the agents of Chaos and Order working together." the First Evil added, before closing the link with its minions, and leaving them alone in the cave.

The head servant than turned to the others and ordered, "You heard the master. Go forth, and make sure all is still well. Our time is nearly at hand!"


As that conversation took place, another one between much more powerful entities was also occurring.

"I don't like this at all. Alexander should have more support around him for something this dangerous." Hild snapped, as she pounded on her desk in a rare show of true anger, her platinum hair shaking on front of her red star demon marks, as she addressed her nominal opposite in the heavens though a viewing screen in front of her.

"I know, Hild-chan. I worry about him as well. But he is the best qualified to handle this threat. It is too dangerous to place too many of us there near him." Kami-sama replied.

"And what happens when Maa-chan, and Urd-chan, and your other daughters collect around him? We all know they will stay to fight even if ordered not to." the Dai Makaichou of Nifelheim countered sarcastically.

The voice of Kami-sama was peaceful and full of confidence as He replied, "They will stand with their loved ones. Even among the gods it was My will that freedom of choice remain constant. You must have faith that all will be as it should."

"Don't You give me that fortune cookie cryptic routine, Kami-sama! Those are MY children and MY best agent in mortal danger on Midgard. I can't just sit back and think happy thoughts the whole time while the First plots against us!" Hild scolded her old lover.

"They are My children as well, Hild-chan. Even I wish there was more to be done, but there is not. For Us to interfere too directly is to condemn the plane to destruction. The children must defeat this themselves with their mortal friends. You know that." the supreme Deity responded.

Hind nodded sadly, as a tear welled up in her eye. She sat back heavily in her chair as she asked in an almost childishly frightened voice, "Do You really think they'll be alright?"

Kami-sama's reply said all that needed to be said as He answered, "I do. I have faith in them."

Hind could only nod resignedly at his reassurance. Her voice and countenance grew wistful as she said, "Circumstances aside, it was good to talk to, and see you, again Kami-sama."

"I miss you too, Hild-chan. Perhaps, when this crisis is averted, we can take a small vacation as we once did." He replied.

"Only by the grace of, well, You, Kami-sama. Our work has never lent itself to free time since we began the project of nurturing your little human race." Hild replied with a tired grin.

"Yes. But even you must admit, they still have great potential." Kami-sama responded.

"If only we can keep them ready to live up to it." Hild countered.


Xander sat on a small park bench, talking to Belldandy on his cell phone. "Yeah, Bell. Saturday would be great for a visit. Are you going to bring you husband? I'd like to meet him." he said easily.

"Oh my. Well if you're certain it wouldn't be a bother, oniichan. I'll ask Keiichi if he's free. He's been busy designing a new racing motorcycle cylinder system for his engineering firm." Belldandy replied with a warm grin, even if it did look a little strained on her side of the phone.

"That's great, sis. I want you three can meet Dawn and Willow while you're here, too. They've been looking forward to finally meeting you since they knew about you, I think." Xander commented warmly. After a pause, he added, "Oh, and before I forget...I have a little favor to ask you."

"What is it, Alex? You know I'd be happy to help you." Belldandy encouraged sweetly.

"As long as it isn't anything bad, yeah, I know Bell. Anyway, I spoke to Mara, and she mentioned there was a new Valkyrie that was born in Sunnydale when I was stuck there by the name of Cordelia. We were kinda friends when she was human, and I was wondering if you could set up a meeting for me to talk about old times, since I'm kind of...not so warmly accepted in placed like Valhalla." the demon asked.

"I'd be delighted to Alex. I'll call and let you know when she's free." Belldandy answered with an angelic smile he could actually hear over the phone.

"Thanks, little sister. I appreciate it. Just leave the details on my voicemail if I don't answer when you call. You know how it is being around a lot of mortals on assignment. Sometimes you just have to let the phone ring..." Xander responded. "And now that that's settled why don't you tell me about your husband for a bit? I want more than just Urd's perspective on my new brother-in-law." he added in far too easy a tone.

Belldandy, who was unlikely to think badly of anyone unless she had too, still let out a nervous titter of a laugh before she began to talk about Keiichi with her older half-brother.

Chapter 7

Xander was somewhat pleased as he awoke the next morning (not that he actually needed to sleep, per se. And even when he did, he certainly did not need to do so in a coffin to increase his pishogue recovery the way Mara did). He was reconnecting with his family, Bell would set up a meeting with Cordy, he was okay with Dawn, getting there with Willow, he was going to get to scare Bell's husband silly tomorrow (with Urd and Skuld there to cheer him on, no less), and he was finally free of the yoke he had associated with connections to Tony and Jessica Harris.

"Now, if I can figure out a way to explain this all to G-man, and start to calm Buffy down, it should all be smooth sailing from here." he mused aloud.

If he had taken the time to think that statement over, he would have sworn he could hear half of Asgard, and most of Nifelheim laughing at him and his optimism.


Buffy had been searching out Willow all morning to get a report on how her surveillance of Xander was going. She finally managed to corner the Wicca in the manor library just after breakfast.

"So, Willow, is out little project doing well." the Slayer asked looking around her to see if anyone was listening in on her. That inattention to Willow made her miss the scowl directed at her.

She did not, however, miss the frosty anger in her voice as she hissed, "You mean where I was spying of Xander under you orders, Buffy?" The Wicca allowed just the tiniest bit of wide eyed shock at her tone to creep into the blonde's face before she spat, "It went perfectly. I got plenty of footage of Dawn trying to comfort him over your attacks and of Robin trying to reassure him that his team would be alright. Because we all know how well Xander takes being fray adjacent while people he cares for are in danger."

"Willow, he lied to me. I need to..." Buffy tried to say.

"Try to find another reason to lay into him while making me feel so slimy I think I might turn into a frog?" Willow interrupted icily. "And you know how I hate frogs, Buffy. Oh, and to top it all off, he knows about the camera too. He discovered it last night." Willow added, not mentioning that she had told him about it, or mentioning what she had learned about Xander's true species. "So not only do I feel like slime for spying, Xander knows I did it, and me might never trust me completely again. Thanks ever so much for that."

Buffy looked on wide eyed for a minute, before asking, "He found it? But...how did he know it was you who did it?"

Willow rolled her eyes, glad she had worked up a good cover story with Xander for questions like this as she replied, "Who else would he ask about it, Buffy? The only ones here capable of rigging a camera like that are me and Andrew. And he was scared to death that it was Andrew. Or did you want me to stay silent as Xander beat on him, and worried there were similar things in all the rooms like we found after the Trio mess? I wasn't going that far for your paranoia, Buffy. I was barely able to justify doing it in the first place. I wasn't going to lie to him and set up someone innocent to take the blame for my mistakes."

Buffy had the good grace to hang her head in shame at Willow's dressing down as she responded, "I'm sorry I put you through that Willow. It's just that..."

"NO! No more excuses, no more justification, and no more half baked plans, Buffy. I'm sick of this. I can't tell you if he was right or not, but when I first caught on to the lie I confronted him about it in private, and his reasons certainly were. I never should have let you drag me between the two of you like this. I'm done with it. You want to attack Xander? Fine. But do it without me. I'm officially Switzerland to this whole mess. I'm not siding with either of you, and taking the chance to lose a friend over it again. Work it out for yourselves." Willow interrupted, before closing the book she had been reading and storming out of the library.

Buffy could only hold in her tears and steel herself against the tide of emotion the conversation had brought as she watched Willow go.


Meanwhile, in one of the primary station offices of the realm of Valhalla, a former Scooby was getting some interesting news.

"Yo, rookie! You got call up from C11U in Japan! Get yourself together and get to the dispatch." the overall chief for Cordelia's Valkyrie unit bellowed.

Cordy rolled her eyes from the seat where she was thumbing through an Asgard fashion magazine as she replied, "What? Why would a class one goddess request me? I mean come on, I'm the newbie here."

The Chief's voice was not pleased as she snapped, "I don't know and I don't care, rookie. All I know is that Belldandy, Norn of the present, requested you by name. So hitch up you breastplate, strap on your sword, and get yourself to Midgard pronto, before I kick you all the way there myself!"

Cordy let out a put upon sigh as she stood and replied, "Alright, alright. Jeesh. Rude much?" before she headed to the dispatch so that she could get the specific location and teleport there.

It was only after Cordelia Chase had left the room that the chief smiled maniacally. "Not even here a year yet, and she hasn't shown any fear, or backed down from anything. That girl's going to be one of the best Valkyries I've ever had."


As Belldandy waited patiently for her guest to arrive, she served tea to her husband and tried to reassure him that tomorrow's visit with her brother would be nothing to get too excited over.

"But Bell, he's a demon! And every time the subject has come up with them in earshot, Urd and Skuld have both made it a point to laugh. When they agree on something that makes them laugh at me, I've learned to get a little worried." Keiichi said, a light sweat breaking out over his brow.

Belldandy looked a little taken aback, before she smiled reassuringly and replied, "I know, anata. But he's our brother, and he wants to meet you. He's really a sweet boy (show of hands for who here can just picture her adding 'he's just a violent maniac' ala Kasumi Tendo right here), once you get to know him. I'm sure you'll get to like each other in no time."

"But, I mean...He's a demon. And after all the problems we've had with Mara over the years." Keiichi protested weakly in the face of his wife's beaming smile.

"Yes, well Mara can certainly be naughty at times, I know. But Alex is usually a stabilizing influence on her. Most of the people who know him agree he acts more like a kami than a demon outside of work. And I feel bad already that he missed our wedding." Belldandy responded as she poured a cup of tea for herself.

Keiichi finally nodded in acquiescence as he replied, "Alright, Bell. I suppose this will just have to come with the territory of being married someone as wonderful as you. Besides, if he can keep Mara calm, he certainly can't be all bad."

The smile he received in return made the young man feel warm all over as she replied, "Oh, thank you so much for agreeing to come with us, Keiichi-kun. And you have nothing to worry about. He would never actually hurt someone I love permanently. He'll just want to talk to you and make certain you're as wonderful as I know you are."

For some reason, the goddess's response made her husband break out in another cold sweat.


Buffy was seated at her desk, listening to the report the two junior Slayers she had sent to follow Xander yesterday afternoon were giving. Finally, after they finished, she asked, "SO, he went to a Japanese restaurant, sat at the bar, and chatted up some tanned, platinum blonde honey after she arrived?"

The eldest of the two, Mary, a nineteen year old Italian brunette nodded eagerly as she replied, "Yes, Miss Summers. She showed up after he had been there about an hour, and seemed to surprise him. We weren't really sitting close enough to listen, but they seemed close."

"So Xander has some hottie chatting him up? Well other than his track record with attracting the wrong kind of woman, that certainly doesn't say much." the eldest Slayer mused thoughtfully.

The youngest Slayer in the room, a tomboyish auburn haired seventeen year old girl from San Diego originally, by the name of Alex, spoke up then. "Actually it didn't look all that hot. I mean, she was gorgeous and everything, but it was all friendly from what I saw. Unless it got more relationship like after we finished our food and left the place to hide that we were watching him, I'd say they were just good buds or something. They kind of reminded me of they way my older brother and sister act around each other, actually."

Mary just nodded in agreement with her partner's statement.

Buffy mulled that tid-bit from Alex over for a bit before she said, "Well, thanks for watching him, girls. I appreciated it."

The hero worship in both younger Slayers' eyes was evident as Alex replied, "He did you wrong, Boss. It was no problem keeping an eye on the jerk."

Mary then asked, "Do you want us to still follow him when he leaves manor, Miss Summers?"

Buffy thought the offer over for a minute before she answered, "No. All he's done is go to eat, and go to the park so far. And after talking to Willow, I'm going to have to rethink how I want to approach all this. Just lay off him for now."

The girls nodded in acceptance of her orders before she excused them from her office to think things over by herself.


Xander whistled a jaunty tune as he repaired some wooden training dummies that a couple of Giles' Slayers had accidentally broken the arms off of while training yesterday. A part of the demon thought of how much easier it would be to fix them with his magic, but it was a passing fancy at best. Even if he didn't need to maintain a low profile, which he did, he had found that he actually liked working with his hands like a mortal. It was something he had never had the opportunity to try until his tenure as a Harris, what with everything in Asgard and Nifelheim either done with, or aided by, magic. The simplicity of the work just seemed to agree with Hild's son. The fact that he had a surprising talent for the work didn't hurt his attitude toward it, either.

As he worked, he was still aware of his surroundings, and so had to make an effort to keep whistling as if he was unaware as he felt someone watching him from behind.

Giles cleared his throat lightly before he said, "I'm sorry to saddle you with this Xander. The girls got a little too emotional after all the excitement, and took it out on the equipment. They're not used to seeing things like that with us all spread out as we usually are."

Xander was careful to fake a surprised flinch as the Watcher spoke, giving the illusion that he had been unaware of the older looking man's scrutiny. He stood and looked directly at Giles as he replied, "No sweat, Giles. Just because I've been in the field so much doesn't mean I've lost my talent for carpentry. It feels kind of good to get back to it as a way to settle in."

The watcher looked over Xander's face carefully, making the one once called Buffy's White Knight wonder if this would be another confrontation from someone who could see through his concealment. Even if he meant to speak with Giles about everything, he still wondered if the former Ripper could see through him.

Chapter 8

Cordelia sat there stunned, trying to cope with what she just heard. Apparently, she had been at it for quite a while, too, because Keiichi had gone to work on his personal motorcycle to calm his nerves some time ago. In fact he had left before Urd and Skuld, who were seated in front of the TV watching some soppy soap opera (that Skuld swore up and down was stupid, but pointedly did not stop watching) had arrived.

"Let me get this straight...Xander Harris. Alexander Lavelle Harris, from Sunnydale. As in the Xander I used to date...my adorable doofus I used to make out with in the utility closets in high school...is the demon lord that just went back to active status and has the whole Valkyrie corps on full alert?" she asked, a small note of panic in her voice.

Belldandy seemed oblivious to it, though, as she nodded happily and answered, "Why yes, he is. Isn't it nice? We're all looking forward to having Alex-oniichan back." It was to Bell's credit she ignored both Urd's comment of "Even Keiichi?" from behind her on the couch, and Skuld's evil little snicker that followed it, without seeming rude. Instead she asked, "Would you like some more tea, Cordelia-san?"

"You can call me Cordy." the former Queen C replied automatically as she help her cup out to be filled.

"If you'd prefer me to, Cordy." Bell replied with a happy smile that seemed to light up the room.

"Okay. So, Xander...MY Xander is a demon. For Nifelheim and everything. And he wants to see me. Is that right?" Cordelia asked, still shell shocked. That shock allowed her to similarly ignore Urd and Skuld's running commentary from the sidelines as Urd called out, "Peorth might want to dispute that claim on him." followed by Skuld's "Venus, and Nike too. Oh, and Mara."

"Nah, Mara likes watching him in these situations. If she gets mad, she'll have to admit she's jealous." Urd replied.

It was a sign that Cordelia was coming out of her shock when she shot a glare in the direction of the Norns of the past and future, respectively, before she returned her attention to Belldandy.

"You can tell that secret hiding doofus that he can...no. You know what? I'll tell him myself, Belldandy-sama. Can you just tell him I'm free tonight, London time, if he wants to meet?" the valkyrie requested.

Everyone there could hear Urd's snicker as she commented, "His closet or yours?", still keeping her eyes glued to the screen, accompanied by Skuld's "At least she's not a mortal. Keiichi's okay, but still..."

"Hey, excuse you! Private conversation here! Do you mind?" Cordy snapped at the goddesses.

Bell quelled what could have started a major argument due to Urd's teasing as she commented, "I'll be happy to let him know, Cordy-san! Now, won't you please stay for dinner? We'd be delighted to have you join us."

It was then that Cordy discovered a power greater that her inner bitca, Urd's potions, and perhaps the Ultimate Force itself...a smiling dinner invitation from the new Mrs. Morisato. "I'd be happy to Belldandy-sama.", she said with very little hesitation.


"Are you certain you are alright in the face of all that's happened, Xander?" Giles finally asked after careful study of the boy that had been one of his charges for nearly eight years.

Xander was equally relieved and a bit disappointed that Giles had apparently not seen through him. He had always pegged the man for being more observant than that. "I'll deal, G-man. She's been mad at me before. Truthfully I expected this like five years ago." he said, as he went back to repairing the dummies.

"Yes, well, quite. And don't call me that." the Watcher replied in his oh so British way.

Xander smiled nostalgically as he crouched down to continue his work. "You don't know how much I missed hearing you say those words, Giles. Getting everyone back together for a time almost lakes this suck-fest worth it."

Giles smiled proudly as le looked at Xander's progress from over his shoulder as the former carpenter glued in and clamped a splint support for a crack in the body of one of the dummies.

That's what made the cold sensation of an enchanted dagger on the base of his neck surprise him so much, even though he had felt it, and more than half suspected Giles to pull it before the conversation started.

"So, Xander, care to tell my why you've got demon marks 'fore I run this little dagger through ya skull." Ripper asked in a far too cheery tone.

The demon sighed as he answered, "I'm a class one, category two, unlimited, Giles. Even Glory at her weakest would have laughed off the spells on that knife. I expected better than this from you."

"Bloody Hell." was Ripper's reply as he stepped back warily. The matter of fact tone, and truthfully bored timbre, in Xander's voice made it clear he was being truthful about his power level.

The son of Hild rolled his eyes heavenward as he said, "Quit backing off like Harmony from a serious thought, Giles. I was born this way. I'm still the same Xander you've known and been annoyed by since you came to the 'Dale. I'm just unsealed now."

The nature of the insult stopped Giles more than the annoyance in the White Knight's voice as Rupert responded, "That was a little uncalled for, wasn't it?"

The demon hybrid shrugged unrepentantly as he replied, "It was the first thing to pop into my head." After a pause to confirm that Giles wasn't going to bolt, he added, "Now, I was planning on this conversation, but I'm still a little flatfooted, here. What do you say we retire to someplace less likely to get eavesdropped on and I'll fill you in?"

"And how do I know I can trust you?" Ripper asked warily.

"'Cause I could have vaporized you or taken over your mind with less effort than I'm using to fix the training dummies? How about seven years of meritorious service. My charming wit, and manly persona?" Xander suggested.

"That list actually fills me with less confidence." Giles retorted dryly.

"I'll bring jelly doughnuts from that bakery two blocks from here?" Xander tried, with a hopeful look.

Giles raised his eyebrow at that, but said nothing.

"Okay, two boxes, with a spell I learned from my sister Belldandy to keep them fresh, and I won't tell Willow about them, even though she knows about me already. That way you can keep them all to yourself." he tried.

"Deal" Ripper said with a smug grin. "Meet me in my room with them in one hour."

Xander nodded and headed out of the room after checking the repairs to the dummies one last time and hanging signs saying not to use them until tomorrow. He paused at the door as he made his exit to comment, "You know, Giles, sentences like that little request are how rumors about the British get started. You should really watch that."

Giles found it odd how much that stupid joke comforted him as he rolled his eyes and shook his head at Xander's antics.


Dawn Summers was listening o her favorite tunes on her Discman when she heard the buzzer for the front door intercom go off as she passed it. She looked around for someone else to pass door duty off on, and after finding nobody near her sighed before she shut off her Discman and hit the button to open the connection. "Yes?" she asked.

"Hello, is this where Alexander...um Harris is staying?" a somewhat haughty feminine voice asked from the other side.

"Yes, it is. But I'm not sure where he's at at the moment. Whom should I announce is here?" Dawn asked politely, even as a sensation of dread filled the pit of her stomach.

"Oh, could you tell him his old friend Peorth is here to see him?" the goddess on the other side of the door asked innocently, as she sniffed a rose from one of the well kept bushes on either side of the entryway door.

Chapter 9

Dawn screwed up her face in confusion, trying to place the name Peorth, and a possible connection to Xander. She wasn't anyone Scooby related, and she certainly wasn't a member of his family, she had made certain to memorize those names so she didn't come off like a jealous idiot when they came to visit. Maybe someone he knew from Africa?

*Well, either way, I can't just leave her out on the porch.* Dawn thought to herself as she opened the door.

She wished she had given that thought more consideration when she set eyes on Peorth. First off, she was a GODDESS. Perfect long brown hair, creamy skin, and a generous bust all complimented a face far too pretty to be looking up Xander, in her humble opinion. Oh, and she was a goddess too. The facial marks gave that away.

"Er, hi. I'm Dawn." the younger Summers said by way of introduction.

Peorth gave the attractive young woman a cursory glance as she smiled disarmingly and replied, "And I am Peorth, as I said. It's nice to meet you Dawn." Her voice was a bit aloof and distracted, as she tried to look for and sense the demon she was searching out without appearing to do so.

Dawn took the opportunity the goddess' distraction gave to continue of her appraisal. Not only was she gorgeous, she was dressed to thrill, in a tight baby blue, short-sleeve, half top that exposed her midriff, and a pair of blue denim hot pants, with what looked like a navy blue thong peeking out, accompanied by legging beneath the shorts to reduce the overall sluttyness factor, without erasing the seduction quotient. All in all, Dawn had just elevated the goddesses threat potential from 'high' to 'holy crap I wish Mara was here to help scare this skank off and away from my Xander'.

The former Key was trying to figure out just what one said to an unknown goddess that you wanted desperately to leave before your potential honey saw her, when the point became moot.

"Peorth?" Xander said in mild surprise as he took in the sight of the class one goddess.

"Alex!" Peorth replied with a wide grin as she rushed up and embraced him, letting her hands linger far too long for Dawn's liking.

Mara hugging him was alright...he had treated her like he treated Willow. Even if there was some Cordy like tension there, Mara was friendly enough for Dawn to keep civil. This tart in front of her now, however, seemed to ooze haughty arrogance without saying a word. Dawn decided after careful consideration to hate her with a passion. The fact that her hand brushed against Xander's butt as she was letting go only reinforced that decision.

The Demon Lord Alexander, sometimes called the White Knight of Nifelheim as a way to slur him by alluding to his half-kami nature, was many things. Contrary to rumor, stupid was not among them. He could see the minute twitch in Dawn's eye as Peorth glomped him, and he knew things were not looking good. Still, he couldn't afford to be rude...that was Urd's job. "What brings you here, Rosie?" he asked, alluding to her fascination with roses.

"Oh, I heard you were finally on a vacation from your last assignment, and I just had to visit." Peorth replied, trying to say something true, without giving any information away.

Xander idly contemplated just how far he could push Peorth's creativity under his father's 'no lying for kamis' rule, but decided against testing it. As funny as it could be, he had no real problem with Peorth. She kind of reminded him of an early Cordy, if she had been into him when she was still snobby. He smiled disarmingly at the goddess and said, "I have to go run an errand. Why don't you loin me and we'll catch up?"

"Oh I'd love to catch you, Alex." the goddess replied, not even bothering to correct her Freudian slip.

"I bet you would." Dawn muttered to herself, before she interjected, "I'll join you too, Xander. I could use a walk in the fresh air."

Peorth looked a little taken aback, unsure of how to get out of the girl chaperoning them, until Xander said, "No problem, Dawnie. The more the merrier." as he offered his arm to each and escorted them off the manor grounds.

"Oh, before I forget, Dawn, allow me to introduce Peorth, Class one, category two Unlimited, goddess of Moments That Last Forever. Peorth, this is Dawn Summers." Xander said easily as he led them to the bakery.

"She's on the same level as you then?" Dawn asked curiously.

"Same license, but here on earth, she has way more restrictions on her powers. She does wish granting for the Earth Assistance Hotline, which is like a rival office of the one Bell works for." Xander explained, mildly entertained by just how wide Peorth's eyes were getting at how casually they were discussing her job.

"Alex, it's obvious this little girl knows what we are...but well..." Peorth began to ask.

"Does everyone know?" Dawn finished for her. "Nope. I'm special enough to Xander for him to trust me with it." she added smugly.

Xander diplomatically refrained from mentioning that Dawn had discovered her secrets for herself. "Yeah, the only ones who know are Dawn, my mortal 'childhood' friend Willow, and Giles. I still need to keep things a little quiet." he commented.

"You told Willow and Giles already? That was fast." Dawn commented.

"Well, Giles saw through the concealment like I thought he would, and Willow saw us talking." Xander said thoughtlessly as he waited for the light at the crosswalk to change.

"How did she see us?" Dawn asked in confusion.

"She had a camera in my room to record me..." he realized telling Dawn that might have been a bad idea just a second too late to stop himself.

"What?" Dawn snapped, clearly outraged, and oddly in chorus with Peorth.

Xander was sweating nervously as the deity and the former key stared him down, demanding further explanation. "Some mortal abused my domain to spy on you?" Peorth asked testily.

"Where does Willow get off spying on anyone in the house after the mess with Andrew and the other Power Dorks?" Dawn demanded.

Xander held up his hands in surrender as he answered, "Hey now, ladies. It's my own fault, really. I forgot to any of the proper protection spells to avoid espionage. I'm lucky I did it here instead of back home in Nifelheim. That mistake could have really cost me there. Buffy forcing Willow to video me probably saved me a ton of trouble in the future. I can't afford to get sloppy like that very often."

Peorth calmed down a bit at that, conceding his point, even as Dawn grew so mad she got red in the face. "That cow that laughingly calls itself my sister forced Willow to bug your room?" she asked icily.

"Dawnie, it's no big. It saved me finding a way to lay the groundwork to tell Wills, and we got to talk everything over. She even destroyed the footage, and I cast a little spell to give Buffy a sterilized version that protects all of our little secrets. We're of the good now." Xander replied, trying to calm her.

"Well, then I have to bitch out Willow slightly less. That doesn't mean I don't need to...speak with Buffy, though. I'll see you at the house." Dawn retorted in a frosty manner, before turning on her heel and stalking back toward the manor.

Xander couldn't help but admire her form and style in exuding menace as people got out of Dawn's way as fast as they could.

"I think I might get to like that mortal girl." Peorth commented with an impressed smile.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm just glad Urd and Mara aren't backing her up. that means there's still an outside chance that the house will be standing when we get back." Xander said with a shake of his head.

"Well, you can't worry about it now, Alex, but it does leave us here, alone, together." Peorth replied, taking his arm and smiling coquettishly.

Xander had the good grace to smile nervously. After all, he did have to meet Giles in less than an hour, and the offer he was seeing would just ruin that timetable. *I forgot just how...friendly Peorth can get when she's off duty.* he thought to himself.


Dawn's fury was something to behold as she stomped through the manor looking for Buffy. The Slayer was clearly not in her room, or her office, and her trouble finding the bottle blonde was only feeding the younger Summers' fury.

Finally, Dawn caught sight of Buffy's toady Slayer Mary, and pulled the slayer forcibly from the conversation she was having with another Slayer to growl, "Where's Buffy?"

"Excuse me?" the Italian girl asked politely. She would have normally responded much more physically to such ruse treatment, but was stopped by three things. One, Dawn was a major player in the Watchers, and was a college degree away from being assigned a very large sector, or possibly even heading the research department; two, she was Buffy's sister, and thus deserved respect; and three, she looked damn scary with that look in her eye.

"Where. Is. Your. Boss?" Dawn seethed, her green eyes flashing like jade daggers.

"Um, she said she was going to do some thinking, so she's probably in the rink." the Slayer answered nervously.

Dawn merely stalked away without another word, heading toward the ice rink on the manor estates. All major Slayer housing sites had the most athletic equipment possible to meet whatever training would serve the Sayers the best. Buffy had whined, bitched, and bullied her way into getting enough support to get Giles to add a skating rink here to the London estate to match the one she had appropriated at the Italian estate, which had been an Olympic training facility before the Council bought it.

Sure enough, Dawn found the Slayer dancing on the ice, trying to clear her head. The brunette stalked over to the sound system and turned off the music Buffy had been skating to, thus attracting the eldest active Slayer's attention.

"Dawnie? What are you doing here? And why did you turn off my music, do you need something." Buffy asked her sister, her voice laced with concern, as she skated toward a waiting Dawn.

Perhaps that concern is what allowed her to be caught so off guard as Dawn slapped her full in the face, making her loose her balance and fall rear end first onto the ice. "Buffy, we need to talk." Dawn spat down at her befuddled sister, as she crossed her arms angrily.

Never before had Buffy seen more of Joyce Summers, and an angry Joyce at that, in Dawn's mannerisms. She suddenly felt very small very small, and very worried.

Chapter 10

"So, you go by Xander now, eh, Alex?" Peorth asked with a smile as they walked back to the manor, the two boxes of doughnuts hidden within Xander's dimensional pocket.

The First Class Demon shrugged as he answered, "Willow, the mortal that was a childhood friend for me here on Midgard, had trouble saying Alexander when we met when she was five. The name stuck. Now that's what most of the mortals I know call me."

They walked in companionable silence for a while then, with Peorth's arm intertwined with Xander's. Eventually she asked, "So why did you accept being taped so easily? It could have really put your assignment in danger."

"I should have known better. Spying is standard operating procedure in Nifelheim anywhere outside of Mom's office. And that's only safe because they know better than to risk ticking her off. Even demons don't forget things like Atlantis easily." he replied, smirking at the small shiver Peorth tried to suppress at the reminder of Hild's temper. "I should have cast anti-spying wards around myself at the very least the second Urd unsealed me. I screwed up. There was no sense in attacking willow over my mistakes."

"Besides, that Dawn girl will do your attacking for you." Peorth added with a knowing grin.

Xander smiled somewhat sadly as he said, "I take it you noticed she has a slight crush on me then?"

"Peorth had to bite her cheek a bit as she replied, "I recognized the signs. Kami-sama knows we see them enough in certain circles in Asgard. You do have a reputation as a heartbreaker."

"Not my fault everyone else gets worked up, or that Urd and Mara think its funny to watch me duck and hide from a half dozen succubae at the time." he retorted indignantly. He sighed a bit as he added, "I feel kind of bad for Dawn though. She needs to find someone, instead of stressing over me. I mean, when I look at her, I see family. She kind of reminds me of a saner, less petulant Skuld. I just don't see her like that."

"The fact she's mortal won't help her cause either, I suppose." Peorth added knowingly.

"That didn't stop Bell. Or you from trying to claim her boyfriend, from what I hear." he added with a wry grin.

Peorth stopped short and blushed a bit as she replied, "That was...something I don't know how to explain. Keiichi is...the most pure soul I've ever encountered among mortals. And his love for Belldandy to so strong and good...I guess I just wanted to feel like that. To know what it meant to be loved that purely."

Xander nodded knowingly from beside her at her admission. "He does sound great, from what I've heard. Even if Mara was bitching about how sickeningly sweet he was as she praised him. That doesn't mean he won't get the Talk, however." he said with an evil smirk.

Peorth let just a bit of her noblewoman's laugh go at his words, making Xander cringe a bit. Her laugh wasn't as bad as Urd's, but then again, Urd was family, and his tolerance to her cackles was higher. "Still scaring off suitors even after they've won, Alex?" she asked, not noticing his discomfort.

"It's my right and duty as their brother, Rosie." he sniffed indignantly. His gaze grew angry as he added, "I already let one too many slip through with that ass Troubadour. When I get my hands on that idiot tree spirit, I'll show him what real power is."

"Nice to see mortality hasn't mellowed you, Alex." Peorth said with a genuine grin. Her gaze grew seductive as she asked, "Are you still as...passionate in other areas?"

Xander looked a little taken aback and nervous for a second, before his face gained a confident smirk, and he replied, "I haven't had any complaints." After a moments consideration, he added, "Unfortunately, we don't have any time to test that theory. I promised to speak with Giles in like five minutes." with an apologetic voice.

Peorth pouted slightly as she replied, "You're right, that isn't nearly enough time. Oh well, then perhaps I could ask when your free? I seem to recall you owing me a dinner I never got to collect on account of conflicting wish assignments."

Xander knew this was opening up a world of trouble, but he just couldn't say no to one of his girls, and Peorth had known him for a very long time. "How about dinner the day after tomorrow?"

"Barring an assignment, that sounds divine. Maybe we can even discuss the future, for a change?" she said with a wink.

"I don't know about that, but it will be nice to catch up properly. How about you teleport in say seven thirty-ish near the park, and I'll meet you there at around eight?" he suggested.

"It's a date, Alex." Peorth replied with a wide grin, before she attacked his lips in a kiss that no mortal had ever managed to match, and actually left him breathless for a second.

"Just so you don't forget." she said with a seductive smile, before sauntering off, making certain to sway her hips as provocatively as possible.

Xander stood there dumbfounded for a moment, before he said, "No, my life isn't complicated." and walked into the Manor to find Giles.


Buffy stood awkwardly as she got up from Dawn's slap. "Okay, butt-pain, why did you just slap me off my feet, and when did you develop Slayer-strength?" Buffy asked, hoping to defuse Dawn's ire a bit with some humor.

"Stow it, Buffy. I'm not in the mood." the younger Summers growled, her arms crossed in front of her chest.

"Dawn what is this about?" Buffy asked confused, and a bit unnerved by the steel in her sister's gaze.

Dawn opened and closed her mouth three or four times, as if about to speak, then stopping as she reevaluated what she wanted to say. Finally, after a few seconds to think, her face grew red as she bellowed, "Just where the HELL do you get off spying on people in this house!?! And to make Willow help you? My GOD Buffy, didn't the shit the Trio put us through teach you anything? Did it ever occur to you that making her spy on her best friend the way Warren spied on us might just be a bit insensitive?"

Buffy was going to interject several times, only to be cowed by further points Dawn made. She cringed visibly at the way her sister spat the name 'Warren'. She had never considered just how much she was behaving like him when she asked Willow to record Xander.

"Dawnie I...it was just...I mean." she whispered lamely, her eyes brimming with tears.

"BUFFY! You can't even defend this, so don't even try to talk yourself out of it. I don't care what you think of Xander, or what he did, you crossed a line." Dawn spat at her.

"But he lied to me! He betrayed my trust and I sent Angel to Hell for it." Buffy protested almost on auto-pilot.

"I don't care if he's secretly some uber powerful demon from a hell dimension, Buffy, he still did the right thing! Angelus had kicked you scrawny blonde ass three times in as many weeks, was torturing Giles, and was damned close to destroying the world. You needed to stay sharp, or we all died." Dawn retorted angrily. "And on top of that, it was five year ago, Buffy. Hasn't Xander more than proved his loyalty after that. Let's review, He saved Faith's life from the Sisterhood of Jhe, saved us all from that bomb he thinks we don't know about under the school, basically planned and executed the entire plan to destroy the Mayor, came up with the idea for the spell that destroyed Adam, and that's just some of the major points. Let's not forget the number of times he talked you out of near suicidal depression, starting off when the First was trying to get Angel to kill himself. That man has saved and sacrificed for each and every one of us multiple times over the years, and you're treating him like a convict. It sucks, Buffy. And you suck for doing it!" Dawn responded hotly.

Buffy, who by now was actually crying a bit, emotionally replied, "I know that, Dawnie. I screwed up, and I can't change that, alright?"

Dawn was mildly surprised, and greatly satisfied that she seemed to be getting through to her sister as she said. "Then do something about it. Talk to him like a person, apologize, and then start over, if you can."

"I can't!" Buffy shouted almost hysterically. She tried to calm herself as she added, "I just can't, Dawn. Not yet, anyway. I...I just can't bring myself to face him. Every time I do, I just get so angry, I'm afraid I might hurt him. I'm not ready to deal with this, yet. I...I need more time to process everything. Please try to understand that."

Dawn nodded un comprehension to her sister's pleas. "Fine, you're not ready yet. I'll accept that for now. But if I hear about any more crap like this, I swear I'll find a way to make you regret it. You have issues? Deal with them. But do it like an adult, and a human being, and quit the Queen fuehrer routine. If you ever do anything like this again to anyone...we're no longer sisters." she replied coldly.

"Dawnie!" Buffy exclaimed in shock.

"No Buffy. I won't stay here and watch you slowly slip further into evil and become like the bastard that murdered Tara trying to kill you for no sensible reason. You will clean up your act, or I'm gone, and I will convince everyone I possibly can to come with me. Wrap you little head around that, and think about what you really want to do, Buffy. Because this is your last chance." Dawn said in a dead tone, before she turned and walked out of the rink.

And so it was, that Dawn managed another blow that sent the mighty Slayer to her knees, this time in a weeping heap, and without ever lifting a finger.


Xander was almost to Giles' door when his cell phone rang. He picked it up out of his pocket and activated it , holding it up to his ear. "Hi, Bell!" he said after hearing the greeting on the other end. "Tonight? Tell her that's perfect. I'll meet her at the Hard Rock Cafe' in London. That way we can both have some of her native food. [laughs] okay. Tell you husband I'm looking forward to meeting him. I know that tone, squirt, you don't have to worry. I'll be nice...mostly. Okay. I'll see you tomorrow. Give the others my love, 'Dandy-chan. Bye."

Xander now had a wide grin across his face as he knocked on Giles' door.

The Englishman was uncertain if he would like whatever Xander had to say as he saw the smile on the demon's face, when he had opened the door. Still, he wanted some answers. "Ah, Xander please come in..." he bade to his visitor.

Chapter 11

"Hey, Giles." Xander said, never losing his grin as he entered the room, and Giles closed and locked the door. He looked over at the man as he reached behind his back and pulled out two boxes of doughnuts, as if by magic. Well, actually, magic was involved in the storage process. "Two boxes of jellies, with Willow none the wiser, unless your room was bugged too." he said as he set them upon the desk with a flourish, before opening one box and taking one for himself.

He noticed after a moment that Giles was staring incredulously at him, which prompted him to say, "What? I paid for them. There's no reason I can't have a jelly. You don't need to be that greedy G-man."

Giles ignored the quip as he replied, "I don't care about the sodding doughnuts, Xander. What did you mean about the room being bugged?"

The demon shrugged innocently as he responded, "Buff forced willow to set up cameras to bug my room. I've talked to her about it, and we're good now, but still, better safe than sorry." before waving his right hand, which now glowed with power, around the room. "That should create an illusion of an innocent and useless conversation to anyone that's listening in." he said idly.

Giles shook his head slightly, as he tried to figure out just what the hell was going on. "Yes, well, quite. Now I believe you were about to explain why you have demon marks on your face?" he asked leadingly.

Xander snorted in annoyance as he replied, "Because I was born a demon. Well, I'm half demon, on my mother's side. My mom is the Dai Makaichou Hild, of the realm of Nifelheim."

"Good Lord." Giles responded in an awed whisper as he began to fall to the floor in shock, only to be saved by the ridiculously comfortable chair that appeared under him.

"Kind of throws your whole world into disarray, doesn't it?" Xander asked his face bursting with pride.

"Indeed. Hild is written to be unimaginably powerful. The annals of her rare Earthly exploits were such that...good lord, Xander she could destroy the world easily!" Giles responded brokenly.

He was startled when Xander snorted derisively and replied, "Big deal. Most kami and demons could do that unsealed. Not that it would matter. Dad would just reset time or something, then probably make me help restrain whatever rogue god or demon did something that stupid. He's awful partial to humanity."

Giles just goggled at Xander for a moment, before asking, "And just who is your father, exactly? If you're only half-demon, then he must be something else, but you haven't mentioned him yet."

"You might want to capitalize those pronouns about Him in your sentences, Giles. My Dad is Kami-sama himself. The big man upstairs, as it were." Xander replied, a bit embarrassed at just how much he knew Giles would freak out over this.

"Bloody fu&*in' hell in a hand basket!" Giles exclaimed as he went white in the face. "Are you serous."

Xander tried to shrug off the wide eyes attention as he responded, "Yeah. It's not that big of a deal, though. I mean, other than it being a pain that my sisters work for Him in Asgard, while I work for Mom in Nifelheim, it doesn't really affect us that much. Well, it makes me a more tempting target for goddesses like Peorth trying to recruit me to the Heavens, but other than that, it's not of the big."

"You think having the creator for your Father is no big deal?" Giles exclaimed in shock.

"It's all I've ever known, Giles. I'm used to it, I guess." Xander replied with a shrug.

"But Xander...you...you're a...oh good lord, I need a drink." Giles said, still in shock. After a pause, where he poured himself some tea from the warmer on his desk, and got himself a jelly, he asked, "You...you mentioned sisters? You mean He and Hild have...?"

"Giles human, god, or demon, no child wants to talk about, or acknowledge the existence of, their parent's sex lives. I have one full sibling, my older sister Urd, aka the Norn of the past. We share two younger half sisters named Belldandy, known as Verthandi in Norse mythology, who is Norn of the present, and Skuld, Norn of the future. Bell and Skuld are full goddesses. So a far as I'm concerned, Dad has sex four times in all of creation, and Mom has had it twice. Intellectually I know that that's bullshit, but I choose to ignore anything else in favor of my own sanity. Please don't ask about it again." Xander pleaded in an all too human tone.

"Yes. I suppose I couldn't blame you for that. I walked in on my parents once and..." Giles answered with a shudder.

"My condolences, Giles. My Condolences." Xander responded.

"Well, then. Care to tell me just why I've never noticed your marks until now? Or why you've never used your obviously considerable power to help us?" Giles then asked, his tone growing a bit angry.

Xander then proceeded to recount the nature of his wish granting assignment, the limitations it placed on him, how and why he was released, and his new assignments.

"Bloody 'ell. The Slayer spell might?" he asked brokenly.

"Yeah. Do I have to try to find a non-violent alternative before it comes to that. On top of tracking down and stopping whatever the First is undoubtedly planning. Which, unfortunately has to take center stage, putting the Slayer question on the back burner. Hopefully Willow will find a way to help safely repeal that mess without getting a bunch of girls in the field killed." the demon said with a tired sigh.

"And is she can't?" Giles prompted in an equally tired tone.

Xander shrugged, although he looked a bit green a he did so, and replied, "Then we do it anyway. Massive in field casualties will beat losing them all but one to every wargod, archangel, archdemon, and battle demon Asgard and Nifelheim can spare at the time."

"Heaven help us." Giles exclaimed as he pictured that scenario.

"I wish. Instead I got stuck with it." Xander answered to his plea.

"Xander...how the bloody hell could you have been grinning like a daft fool when you came in here? The pressure alone must be unbearable." Giles exclaimed in shock.

Xander shrugged as he retorted, "Got to laugh to keep from crying sometimes, Giles. Besides, I got a bit of good news just before I came in, and a date for day after tomorrow with an old friend."

"Oh? And what is this fortuitous news, then?" Giles asked, trying to perk up his own spirits.

"I'm getting to meet with Cordy tonight for dinner a the Hard Rock." Xander answered with a mad grin.

"Cordelia? But she passed away and ascended. The Powers are actually letting her visit you?" Giles asked perplexed.

Xander snorted in derision as he answered, "The power can kiss my shiny demonic ass. Those fourth class loser should have been sanctioned by Father millennia ago. Their methods suck, and their execution blows." He smiled again as he added, "Cordy got recruited to the Valkyrie Corps. That makes her just under a class three god in status in Asgard and Valhalla. She's a real warrior for the light now, not an information source and pep talk for Deadboy and those screw ups that recruited him. I had Bell pull some strings to set up a meet to talk during Cordy's off time."

"Well, that is fortuitous news. It's a pity it can't be announced to the whole house." Giles said with a fatherly grin at the thought of another of his former charges doing well for herself.

"Well, Willow and Dawn know, as I explained, so I'll tell them. Only Buffy needs to kept in the dark for now. At least until she calms down and remembers how to be a real person." Xander responded.

"Quite. I'll have to have words with her about the ethics of spying on one's allies. Damn fool maneuvers like that were what made the old Council become what it was." Giles retorted icily.

"Eh. I think Dawn will drive the message home better than any of us could. I'm almost sorry I let it slip about the surveillance in front of her. Buffy doesn't know what she's in for." Xander said with a proud grin.

"Regardless, Xander. She's still my Slayer, and I will speak with her." Giles said angrily.

"But Giles, I don't want it to look like everyone is ganging up on her! She'll think I went whining to you guys or something. It would do more harm than good." Xander whined.

His tone actually mollified Giles' remaining misgivings to a degree as he replied, "Very well, Xander. I'll eave it be for now. But once she's calmed and in the know, she and I will speak." The fact his face had broken into a 'Ripper' grin at the end was not missed by the White Knight.

"I can live with that." Xander said with a smile.


Dawn was still stomping mad as made her way back to her room. She went looking for her favorite CD, hoping her favorite rock CD will calm her nerves, only to stop short as she discovered someone was already listening to it. "Mara, what are you doing here, and in my room?" she asked in surprise.

The demoness shrugged as she replied, "I was bored, and I felt like visiting, but Alex is talking to that Ripper guy. Besides I figured you could use someone to vent at after the visit from the rose obsessed camera slut earlier."

"As long as you don't put on any Disco music, that's cool, I guess." Dawn replied with a grin.

Mara scowled as she responded, "Alex has a damned big mouth just like his sister. At least I don't fall asleep at the sound of Polka like she does, or get all morose from country music like him."

Dawn actually laughed at that, making the demoness scowl deeper. "I'm sorry Mara. Really. It's just that...Xander claims your disco enforced dancing inspired how he danced in high school. The picture is just...he was known as a professional spaz."

Mara kept up the scowl as long as she could, before she finally broke out into a grin and replied, "Yeah, well, he always was a spaz. It's kinda nice to know some things never change." After a moments pause for both to laugh, she asked, "So what did you think o fold Peorth?"

Dawn was clearly grating her teeth as she spat, "Do I have to dignify that with a response, or should I just growl?"

"Yeah well, what are you going to do? Look at it this way, mortals age fast enough, he won't treat you like a little kid soon if you don't let him. Until, then, sit back and enjoy the show." Mara advised, as she laid back on Dawn's bed and rested her hands behind her head.

"Good advise, I suppose. So, while I sit back and enjoy, what embarrassing stories can you tell me about Xan that I can use against him? They can be retaliation for the disco thing." Dawn asked with an eager grin.

"You had me at the word embarrassing, kiddo." Mara said with an evil smirk.

People that passed by her room that day would have had to suppress a sever shudder down their spines at the cackling they hear emanating within.