Author: Lone Templar <eric_prenovost[at]hotmail.com>

Disclaimer: I don't own, so don't sue me.

Rating: A hard R for language, violence, and sexual topics

Category: Angst/Humor/Adventure

Pairing(s): X/?

Distribution: Take and let me know.

Feedback: I wants it!

Flames: You're kidding, right?

Constructive Criticism: Oh, yeah, baby! Bring it on!

Authors' Notes: This was written in response to a challenge that I issued a short time ago. The rules were to give Xander a power that doesn't make him better than a Slayer, a witch, the Key, or even better than a Watcher. Also, it shouldn't make him better in a fight or help the group fight better. But the group would have to protect him while demons tried to acquire him. So, without further ado, here is my response to my Give-A-Power-To-Xander Challenge.

AN 2: Some of the characters are not in character. I wanted to change them to make the story more interesting. Cannon was the basis, not the framework for this fic. Enjoy.

Latest addition

Part 1

In the park, a young man with dark hair sat on the swing set. He wasn't paying attention to the growing darkness that signaled the coming presence of the night. The young man was giving out a depressed vibe, which caused others to avoid him. He didn't even notice when everyone else left for the night and left him all alone.

Xander sighed, looking down at his bruised arms. It hurt so badly to be totally dismissed by Buffy and the gang as worthless, but what Buffy had done to him the night before was practically unforgivable. When the gang had suggested that he stay out of the slayage, he had argued as he always did. With Willow and Giles backing Buffy up, the Slayer had all but ordered him to go home. When he had countered her argument with the fact that even a Slayer needed back up, she had manhandled him in front of everyone, gripping his arms in her vice- like hands and applying pressure until he cried out in pain.

"That's not even half of what a vamp would do to you." She had coldly informed him before pushing him roughly away. "Now go home! This is too dangerous for you!"

He had looked at his best friend since forever and his substitute father figure and seen nothing but agreement to the Slayer's statement. He wasn't welcome there anymore.

Shaking his head, he pushed against the sand to get the swing to gently sway back and forth while he thought. Continuing the motion with his leg, he leaned backwards and stared upwards as the sun finally dipped down below the horizon. It was then that he noticed the first star of the evening.

With a small smile decorating his lips, he opened his mouth and began to speak.

"Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I make tonight.

"If only it were that easy." He sighed, shaking his head and looking downwards towards the sand. "I want a power of my own. Giles has his magic and demon knowledge. Willow has her magic and computer knowledge. Buffy has all the Slayer stuff. How did I get left so far behind?" He sadly shook his head again and closed his eyes.

His dreams of glory once more played out in his fantasies. He could see himself saving the girls from evil demons. He could see himself saving the entire town from another apocalypse. Shoot, he could even see himself in a ticker-tape parade celebrating the fact that he had saved the world for the twentieth time.

With a mental shake to throw himself out of his present mood, he opened his eyes and looked at his hands. The scene between him and his so-called friends kept coming back to haunt him over and over again. "I wish I had a power so great that Buffy and Willow were in awe of me." He whispered out into the night.

The pain that hit was incredible. He didn't know what was happening and he didn't get a chance to find out. The pain was so vast and powerful that it quickly overloaded his nervous system causing him to pass out. He never saw his body glowing in different shades of pink. He never saw glowing specs of pink dust settling onto his body. He never saw the way his body rapidly absorbed everything that was glowing: the air, the dust, the very wind itself.

He never heard the voice of a male demon whispering, "Granted." He never saw the demon laughing hysterically as he cried out, "Justice is served!" He never saw the demon disappear.


Xander woke up, made his bed, took a shower, brushed his teeth, and got dressed. It was only as he was leaving his room that he stopped short and spun around, his eyes wide in panic.

"How'd I get here? I was in the park… lots of pain… and… nothing. What in the hell happened?" He mused, pacing back and forth furiously. Scenario after scenario ran through his mind, but nothing made any sense. He looked at his bedroom window and discovered it locked, so he knew that he didn't get in that way. "So how in the hell did I get home without my drunken mother causing a fit in the living room?" He wondered out loud. Shaking his head, he noticed the time. "Shit! I'm almost late!"

Grabbing his backpack, he ran from his room and through the front door. He never saw the woman sitting on the floor, leaning against the couch with her head thrown back. He never saw the puddle from the bottle of booze in her hand that indicated she had spilled most of it. He never saw her dreamy smile as she slept on, totally ignorant of what time her son had left the house.


Xander barely made it to his first class of the day. The second his butt hit the seat, the bell rang. He sighed with depression as he pulled his history book out of his book bag and opened it up to the right chapter. Listening with only one ear, he was busy trying to solve the riddle of how he had gotten home. If Buffy had brought him home, his mother would have woken him up and chewed him out. Hell, if anyone had brought him home, he would have been yelled at. Shaking his head once again, he decided to throw in the towel and just accept it as one of life's little mysteries.

Suddenly paying attention to what was going on in class, he couldn't help but see the blonde ponytail on the other side of the room. He could see Buffy looking at him, smirking in that oh-so-irritating way of hers. Anger boiled deep within his heart and he wished with all his might that he could wipe that smirk right off of her smug face. He was surprised when he felt a piece of… power? A piece of something, invisible to the naked eye, pull away from his body in the direction of the Slayer.

Turning his head to face his nemesis, he was just in time to see her eyes open wide, her jaw drop, and her athletic leap out of her seat as she began to shout. "OH MY GOD! OH! OH, SHIT! OH! ARGH!" His own eyes opened wide in disbelief as he saw her body quiver before dropping down to the floor. Getting to his feet, he caught a glimpse of her face. Her eyes were shut as if she were asleep. In fact, her face was relaxed in that way that only sleep brings. If only it wasn't for that incredible grin that dominated her features.

Sitting back down, the young man shook his head once again. Remembering the burst of… power… he felt a sinking feeling in his heart. He was pretty sure that he had done whatever it was that happened to Buffy. "Oh, shit… she's going to kill me. I knocked her out… in class even!" He mentally castigated himself. "God, how much pain did I cause her? How did I do it?" He rubbed his temple in a vain effort to forestall the growing headache that was threatening to make an appearance. "And why in the hell was she smiling?"


"Look, it's no big deal, okay?" Buffy snapped at the school nurse. Her arms were folded across her chest and her entire demeanor simply roared with her displeasure.

"You passed out in the middle of class, Miss Summers." The nurse calmly responded, not changing her course to her desk. "It states quite clearly that your parents are to be notified in the event of a medical emergency."

"But I'm all better now!" She snarled, standing up and holding her arms out to the sides. "See? I'm all okay-girl now!"

The nurse picked up the phone and eyed her difficult patient with distaste. "And were you… okay-girl… before you passed out?" She asked, turning her attention back to her desk and to the Rolodex sitting next to the phone.

"That's beside the point! I'm all right to go back to class now! Nothing wrong with me now!" Buffy begged, hoping to be shown some leeway for once. Luck, however, had abandoned her this day it seemed. Fifteen minutes after the telephone call ended, her mother came racing through the door.

"What's wrong? What happened?" Joyce almost stuttered in her worry. Her eyes ran up and down her daughters' body, looking for signs of injury. Not finding any, she turned her attention to the school nurse.

"Buffy passed out in class today. She won't tell me what happened, but it was reported that she screamed loudly as if she were experiencing great pain right before she passed out. If she hadn't regained consciousness when she was brought into my office, I would have called for an ambulance." The nurse explained calmly. "School policy requires you to take her for a physical before bringing her back onto school grounds. Simply get a signed statement from your family doctor that Buffy is in good health, and we can get her back into her classes." The nurse smiled.

"But I'm all better now!" Buffy whined, even though neither adult was paying attention to her anymore.

"Of course." Joyce rapidly agreed with the nurse, shaking her hand to seal the deal. "I'll take her right away." Turning her attention back to her pouting daughter, she simply shook her head and walked away, knowing that her blonde daughter would follow in her footsteps.

Neither of them said a word as they walked out to Joyce's Jeep. Only after they had both climbed into their respective seats, did the mother turn to face her daughter. "Okay, what happened?" She demanded, her face totally serious. She wasn't ready for Buffy's reaction.

The young blonde's face turned bright red and turned downwards, trying to hide away from the penetrating gaze of her mother. "Noth… noth… nothing hap… happened." The young girl stuttered, closing her eyes and praying for her mother to drop the subject.

"Buffy… obviously something happened." Joyce began, wondering why her daughter was displaying the signs of so much embarrassment. "We're not going anywhere until you tell me."

"Okay, we'll stay here. Turn on the radio, will you?" Buffy rapidly agreed, still not looking at her mother.

"Buffy." Her mother stated in that flat tone of voice that usually made her daughter cringe in terror. Joyce was more than a little surprised when not only did her daughter not cringe or wince, but she clasped her hand over her mouth tightly.

"Buffy, what happened?" Joyce changed her tone to one of understanding. Switching tactics wasn't only a military thing to do after all. "Did you forget to bring some pads with you today?" She was guessing, but it was the only thing that she could think of to explain her daughter's extreme embarrassment and reluctance to talk. "Do you want some Midol?"

Buffy's face shot up to stare at her mother right before it scrunched up in disgust. "Ewww! No! I'm not on my period, okay, Mom?" She almost shrieked, causing her mother to wince at the pain.

"You have to tell me sooner or later, Buffy." Her mother declared flatly.

"Ah, no, I don't." Buffy returned, facing away from her mother to look out the window of the Jeep. Joyce couldn't help but notice the way her daughter had crossed her arms in a defiant stance. With a sigh, she started the Jeep and decided to take the young woman to the hospital.


Back at the school, Xander kept his distance from the Scooby gang. He went to his classes, glad that he didn't have any of the advanced courses with Willow. Avoiding the library let him deal with Giles, and avoiding the hot spots let him deal with Cordelia.

During the day, however, he couldn't get over what he had felt. He knew, simply knew, that he had pushed some power towards Buffy that had taken the Slayer out. He was of two minds about the entire situation… on one hand he now had a cool power, even if he didn't know what it was or how to use it consistently. On the other hand, he had used his power of Buffy, arguably one of the most hot-tempered Slayers of recent times. That was an opinion he felt safe with because he had snuck different Watcher Diaries out of Giles' office in the past and had read them faithfully, looking for different ways in which to help Buffy with her duty.

His only difficulty, he decided, was to find a way to safely explore his new power without endangering anyone else. After all, if it took out a Slayer, than could a normal person handle it?

Remembering his Spiderman comics, he knew that with great power comes great responsibility. He would practice diligently until he mastered whatever this was before reporting to Giles about it.

When the school day ended, he hurried home as fast as he could. Running towards his room, he pulled out his notebook that he had filled up with different tests that he wanted to run. He didn't see his mother in the living room, but it did smell of booze. Counting himself lucky, he slipped inside his room and locked the door.

The quantifying experiments of his powers were about to begin. Not only would he define what they were, but also he would become the worlds' greatest user of them. That was a promise that he was eager to both make… and keep.

Part 2

Xander was starting to feel frustrated. For the past two hours, he had been trying to push his power towards different objects in his room without a single result. He found that he couldn't knock over one of his alarm clocks with his new power. He couldn't move his clothes around with it. In fact, if he hadn't been certain that he had felt a piece of something zing out from his body, he would still think he was just regular-guy.

He was startled out of his thoughts by a polite knock at his bedroom door. That was definitely new, he told himself, making his way over to the door and opening it. Both of his eyes widened in shock at seeing his mother sober, clean, and fully dressed in a pair of jeans and a light blouse.

"Alexander, it's time for dinner." She said to him with a slight smile on her face. A quick pat on his cheek and she spun around and walked down the hallway.

The boy was stunned. He couldn't even remember the last time that he had seen one of his parents sober. Their normal motis-operandi was to either be getting drunk, be drunk, passed out drunk, or one of the first two while nursing a hangover. Instead of doing anything, he stood there, staring down the hall after his departed mother.

"Alexander! Dinner's ready!" Her call from the area of the dining room knocked him out of his trance. Slowly and stealthily making his way down the hallway, he peeked around the corner to look into the dining room It was clean. Not just straightened up, but someone had spent hours cleaning the room, polishing the furniture, and even scrubbing the walls. The surface of the dining room table was completely bare for the first time that he could remember with the exception of plates, silverware, and glasses for two.

"Honey, sit down… I don't want your food to get cold." His mother ordered when she caught sight of his wide-eyed face peeking around the doorway.

"Uh, mom? Are you feeling alright?" He asked hesitantly, walking slowly towards the chair that she had indicated.

"I feel wonderful, honey." His mother shot him a broad, happy smile before scurrying off towards the kitchen. He was looking around carefully when she came back in with a large serving tray. As he looked at the precariously balanced tray, he couldn't help but notice the bowl of mashed potatoes, the small bowl of gravy, another bowl containing a mixture of green beans and corn, and a large platter holding neatly sliced meat loaf.

The boy couldn't believe his eyes. The last time that he could recollect anyone in his family cooking anything that didn't fit in the microwave oven, he had been either eight or nine years old. He looked at his mother to see her sitting in her chair, watching him patiently with her hands folded demurely in her lap.

After a few moments, she told him, "Alexander, as the man of the house it's your job to load up the plates."

He blinked his eyes several times, before replying and jumping to his feet. "Oh. Yeah. Okay." He set to work, first placing the servings on her plate and then on his own.


Back in his room after dinner, Xander lay on his bed staring at the ceiling. Dinner had been… bizarre. After serving the meal, his mother had engaged him in a polite family discussion where they had talked about her day, which was spent cleaning, and his day in school. He didn't know what was going on, but it was weird to have her acting like a… mom? Was that it? He couldn't remember her ever acting that way before. It was like she had turned into June Cleaver or something. Weird. He couldn't help but wonder if it was going to last.

He sighed quietly. He'd know by tomorrow night, he thought. After all, his dad was going to be back home from visiting some of his relatives then.

His mind turned to the action immediately following dinner. His mother had politely asked for his help in doing dishes, another first as far as he was concerned. She had neatly packaged the leftovers and handed him the dirty dishes to wash. By the time he had a load ready to be dried, she had snatched the towel from it's holder and started in.

When the dishes had finally been finished, she had patted him on his back, thanked him for doing a 'wonderful job,' and sent him to his room to finish his homework.

For the life of him, he couldn't figure out what happened. The last time he had seen her, she had been the same drunken shrew he had known his whole life. Of course, that had been… uh oh. He sat straight up in bed as he furiously racked his memories. The last time he had seen her was when he had left to visit the gang in the library. The next time he had laid eyes on her, she was a Stepford wife. Unless she had been replaced by a demon, something had to have happened to her.

His eyes widened while his jaw dropped open. A chill raced down his spine as the one possible solution finally occurred to him. He had used his power on her the previous night when he had arrived home. It was the only solution.




Rupert Giles sighed as he held the telephone closer to his ear. "Yes? Who is this?" He asked, not being able to tell anything from the whispered tone.

"Giles, it's me." A female voice continued to whisper.

"Oh, um, yes?" He stuttered, closing his eyes in frustration. Bloody Americans. Why couldn't they learn to use the phone correctly? "You have to speak up, I can barely hear you."

"I can't. If my mom finds out that I'm not in bed, I'll be in even worse trouble." The voice whispered again.

"Who is this?" He demanded, massaging his aching forehead with his free hand.

"It's me!" The female squealed in a huff.

He still couldn't make out who it was supposed to be. Who would be calling him at… he looked at the clock beside his desk and rolled his eyes… one bloody o'clock in the bloody morning? "For the last time, who is this?" He almost shouted into the receiver.

"It's me!" The voice shouted back so loudly that the phone sounded like it had static in the line as the poor speaker in the handset cut in and out.

"Bloody hell!" Giles cursed as he slammed the phone down. Standing up, he grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair and stomped towards the door. "I'm going home where I can get some bloody peace and quiet!" He muttered angrily.


Buffy stared at the phone in her hand with a look that spoke volumes about her disbelief. It just boggled her mind that her watcher hadn't recognized her. Just as she was about to call him back, the voice of doom sounded from behind her.

"What in the world are you doing out of bed at this time of the night?" Her mother demanded angrily. "You know that the doctor said to make sure you got a good nights sleep!"

"Mom, I'm fine… really." Buffy cringed before turning around to face her angry mother.

"Ah, okay. Perfectly healthy people just scream for no reason in the middle of class and then pass out on the floor!" Joyce yelled, placing her fists on her hips and glaring evilly at her stubborn daughter.

Buffy stared at the floor and wrung her hands together, displaying her anxiety to her mother's knowing eye.

"Just tell me what happened!" Joyce begged, feeling her frustration mounting by the second. "Please, Buffy! Don't shut me out!" She finished in a strangled whisper, turning her head away so that her daughter wouldn't be able to see the way her eyes filled with liquid.

"Mom, I promise that I'm perfectly okay now." Buffy whispered back, not raising her head. "It was just… really, really, really… really embarrassing, okay?"

The older blonde leaned against the wall in defeat. "Buffy, I'm your mother. It's my job to worry about you. I'm trying to understand what happened, but all I have to go on is the school nurses' suspicions that you're taking some kind of new drug or something. I don't want to believe her, but you're not giving me any options here." She said, staring sadly at the younger woman.

Buffy flushed, both in anger and embarrassment. She looked her mother straight in the eye and snarled. "You want to know what happened?" She spat out, reacting poorly to being cornered. "I had an orgasm in the middle of class, mom! There wasn't any reason for it, it just… showed up!"

"What?" Joyce squeaked awkwardly, her eyes widening enough to remind her daughter of those anime cartoons that Xander had made her watch.

"Are you happy now? Does knowing the truth make anything better?" Buffy asked her mother in an icy tone. "Gosh, I sure feel better… not! I'm going to bed!"

All Joyce could do was to follow her daughter's body as she stomped up the stairs to her room. She flinched when Buffy's bedroom door was slammed shut with a very loud bang. Joyce went over and sat down on the couch before she could possibly organize her thoughts. Suddenly, everything made perfect sense. Her daughter had had a very traumatic, yet enjoyable, experience. She chuckled softly as she shook her head in exasperation. Why did it always require a major confrontation to get information from her daughter?


"Alexander, time to get up!" His mother's voice broke through his slumber and brought him back from the land of sleep. He grunted in reply as he sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep from his still tired eyes. Glancing over at his alarm clock, he groaned in dismay.

"Five thirty? Why do I have to get up at five thirty in the freakin' morning?" He grumbled, internally debating whether or not to just go back to sleep.

"Breakfast is almost done, dear." Her voice called from what he could only guess was the kitchen. Rolling his eyes, he got up and prepared for his day. Several minutes later, a more awake Xander was eating eggs, bacon, toast, and drinking decaffeinated coffee in an amazed stupor.

"Since it's Friday, you don't have to be home from school right away, honey." His mother told him absently while eating her own breakfast. "But I do want you home before dark, okay?" At his hesitant nod, she continued. "I don't know why we have to live in this awful town." She shuddered. "All those horrible vampires and demons running around are absolutely ruining this place!"

Xander choked on the piece of bacon that he had in his mouth as he stared wide-eyed at his presumably innocent mother. "V… vampires? Demons?" He stuttered, holding one hand in front of his mouth as he felt his body going into shock.

His mother rolled her eyes before staring at her son. "Of course. Don't tell me that you haven't noticed anything? Honestly, Alexander, how could you have possibly have missed it?" She sighed with exasperation.

"Oh… yeah… um… ah…" His mind refused to come up with anything to say. "You… uh… know about that stuff, huh?" He finally managed to ask.

"We have been living here for over a decade." She said with a slight edge of humor coloring her voice.

"It's… uh… just that… well… you never said anything about it… before." He replied, turning his attention back to his breakfast.

"No. I don't suppose that I did." She mused quietly, taking a sip of her coffee while staring downwards with a slight wrinkly on her forehead. "I wonder why not? I know that I didn't want my family to die, so why didn't I ever say anything?"

"Well, I know now, mom, so don't worry about it." Xander rushed his words out quickly, not wanting to talk about his nighttime activities. Heaven help him if she found out that he was actually fighting the things in the darkness rather than avoid them.

She shot a smile at her son in return. "Well, enough about that. I'm sorry that I didn't get a chance to review your homework last night, but I was simply too tired." She told him patiently. "Run along and fetch it. It is my job to make sure that you do alright in school."

"You… want… to look at my homework?" The boy stuttered in shock.

"Well, I did want to become a teacher before I met your father, dear. I had to drop out of college when I got pregnant, but I had almost finished my degree." She returned smartly with a satisfied smile. "Run along now while I do the dishes."


Xander stood on the front porch to his house in a state of bewildered shock. Not only had his mother checked on everything that he had done, but she had corrected a lot of his mistakes while explaining with God-like patience where he had messed up. He swung his book bag over his shoulder and shook his head slowly back and forth.

"My mom is… a Stepford wife. It's the only answer that makes sense." He muttered to himself, stepping off and finally making his way towards the high school. His thoughts were filled with the events of the previous night and the current morning.

Just before he had walked out of the door, his mother had given him a list of chores to do that included mowing the grass, spraying down the aluminum siding on the house, edging the sidewalk, and trimming the bushes. Then she had handed him a five-dollar bill to get lunch at school and kissed his cheek with a tight embrace before ushering him out of the door.

Absently, he rubbed a hand over his face while trying to come up with a plan of action. He knew that he had done SOMETHING to his mother, but he had no clue as to what. He also knew that his father was going to be getting home sometime during the day and had no idea what he was going to do when confronted with the recent changes in his wife. Not that there was anything wrong with his mother, he told himself silently. If she kept this up, it would lead to as close to a normal life as it was possible to get.

Before he could think much more, he found himself standing before the main doors to the school. A look around and he noticed that he was currently with the geeks of the school. A glance at his watch showed him that he was a little more than a half hour early. He sighed and entered the school.

How was he going to handle his father? Another important question occurred to him just then: should he tell Giles? A quick reflection on what he had done to Buffy had him shaking his head rapidly in the negative. No way in hell was he going to stand in front of the G-Man and admit to knocking his Slayer out in the middle of class.

Another sigh prepared him to start his day. He'd handle his father tonight as best as he could. Right now, he had to get through another boring day at school.

Part 3

To say that Xander was confused about what his powers could be would be a drastic understatement. His mother had turned into the perfect mom while Buffy had been tortured in the middle of class. He scratched his head in confusion and tried to figure out what the two women had in common. After several minutes, he shook his head in disgust and looked around. He almost jumped in fright when he found himself standing in front of his locker without a clear recollection of how he had ended up there. Wiping a hand over his face, he sighed and got ready to face another day at school.

"Xander? What are you doing here so early?" A female voice asked from behind him. The dark-haired boy turned around to see his supposed best friend in the world watching him with a suspicious look on her face.

"Oh, I can't come to school early either?" He snapped angrily at her, remembering what had been said and exactly whom the redhead had supported. He wasn't prepared for her reaction.

Willow rolled her eyes without making an attempt to hide the action. "Honestly! This sort of reaction is why we didn't want you patrolling anymore. You're just too immature to understand the risks involved. You keep rushing in without thinking and getting hurt and we're just tired of saving you."

Xander curled his lips up into a sneer. "So you let that bitch almost break my arms? Is that how you're going to protect me from now on?"

"Grow up, Xander!" Willow snapped back angrily. "If we thought that you could handle things properly then this wouldn't even be a problem."

The boy simply smirked at the furious redhead for a moment before he opened his mouth. "And what are you going to do when Buffy has access to a trained witch and doesn't need you anymore, huh? When she kicks you out of the group to 'protect' you? What are you going to do when she calls you pathetic?" His voice was calm and steady. He was making sure that not one drop of his rage made it into his voice.

Willow looked shocked. "Buffy… she… no… she wouldn't do that!" She finally managed to stutter. "She's not that type of person at all!"

Xander simply smiled at her with a cockeyed grin as he circled her smaller body. His voice spoke with a whisper that was both sensual and serious at the same time. "She did that to me, Willow. Kicked me out for no reason at all. She won't even let me help with the research anymore." As he was speaking, he stopped beside her and moved closer until his breath was tickling her ear. "She didn't even thank me for all the times I saved her life. Did you know that she still thinks Angel brought her back from the dead? It wasn't, Willow. It was all me. I was the one that forced Dead-boy to take me down into the Master's chamber. I was the one that performed CPR on her warm corpse. I was the one she humiliated at the Bronze to make her corpse jealous. And what did I get out of it, huh?"

Willow couldn't think right then. She closed her eyes and shivered at the feel of his voice and breath in her ear. Her tongue poked out from between her lips to moisten them. She almost gasped aloud from the very experience of the boy that she had crushed on for so many years. Her whole body felt like it was tingling in anticipation. Anticipation of what she didn't know. Her very blood felt like it was on fire.

Xander's anger had calmed a little, but it was still boiling just beneath the surface. All of a sudden, he narrowed his eyes and… he felt it. His power pulsed out and he could see the redhead's body stiffen in response. Her eyes shot open as she spun around to face him; only inches separated their bodies. He looked into her green eyes and noticed how dilated her pupils were. He could see her nostrils flaring rapidly as her chest heaved in a vain attempt to procure more oxygen. He could see her tongue running laps over her lips.

Suddenly, without warning, Willow's hands jerked up only to grab two fistfuls of his shirt. With a mighty yank, the small girl had yanked his head down to her level and crushed her lips to his. Xander gasped in surprise and shock, but the moment his lips had parted her tongue had invaded his mouth. He was amazed at how far her tongue could reach. He was amazed again at how fast her tongue caressed the roof of his mouth, his tongue, the sides, and even his gums. He closed his eyes at the sheer eroticism of the moment.

It wasn't until he felt one of her hands release his shirt, scrape down the front of his chest, and grab a handful of his crotch that he reacted. His eyes shot open and he jerked his head back in order to break contact. Her response was to simply jerk down on his shirt again, tighten her other hand even as it started to move up and down, and mold her body to his.

This time, he jumped back to gain some distance between the two only to find himself slamming into the wall that he had forgotten was there. His eyes rolled wildly in their sockets as he drew great breaths of fresh air into his tortured lungs. "Uh… Willow… what are you doing?" He gasped quietly. He couldn't believe what had just happened.

The shy girl just stared at his face for a moment before raking her gaze up and down his body. He gulped in fear when he saw her gaze lock onto his crotch. He was getting really scared at how unusual she was acting. He paled even further at what happened next.

"Mine!" She growled before raising her eyes to lock on to his. She slowly made her way forward; stalking him like a cat would a mouse. "You're mine, Xander. I've waited too long for you to notice me, and I'm tired of it. I'm going to borrow a page from Faith's book here… " She took a step forward, never releasing the hold she was maintaining on him with her wide green eyes. "Want… " Another step was followed by her licking her lips. He could almost swear that he heard a purr coming from her chest, but he was afraid to drop his eyes to look. "Take… "Her hand slowly came up to land on his chest where she proceeded to lightly scratch it through his shirt. He gulped audibly when she nuzzled his neck with her lips. He gasped when he felt her move up his neck to his ear. "Keep… " She finished with a whisper, nibbling on his earlobe with her teeth.

Later, he would probably come to regret what he did next. No, he was certain that he would most definitely come to regret his actions. It wasn't that he didn't believe that he was right or anything like that. No, he was pretty certain that one formally shy redhead was going to hunt him down and finish what she started. And for the life of him, he couldn't decide if that was a good thing or not. No, for Xander, the problem was that his sister in all but blood had decided that he was going to be her… her what? He was still to shaken by the entire event. Dear God! What in the hell was he doing to these people?

When she nibbled on his ear and told him that she was going to keep him, he pushed her just far enough away so that he could bolt. Bolting sure seemed to be the answer, he said to himself as he heard her footfalls fall further and further behind even as he continued to push himself as hard as he could.

"You can run, Xander, but I'll find you in the end! I promise you hear and now, you're never getting away from me!" She screamed at his fleeing back. He wasn't sure if she noticed the way his running body had faltered momentarily in panic or the shiver of terror that had raced down his spine, but he wasn't stopping to find out.


Buffy had just entered the library at the end of the school day when a small redhead accosted her. She looked closer and decided that it would be more accurate to say an extremely determined redhead.

"Buffy, have you seen Xander lately? I lost him." Willow asked with a growl to her voice.

"Uh… no." Buffy replied cautiously. When did Willow start growling, she asked herself. "Why do you want him?"

"Yes, I asked that question also." Giles told her from his seat at the research table. "She wouldn't tell me anything."

"Willow?" Buffy asked, arching an eyebrow at the other girl. "Is there something you want to tell me?"

"Oh, yeah." She growled back, her eyes narrowing. "You're going to get Xander back in the group."

"And why would I want to do that?" The blonde asked, folding her arms across her chest. "You agreed with me that he'd be safer at home."

"I was wrong!" Willow snapped out. She placed her small fists on her hips and matched the Slayer glare for glare. "My boy needs to be part of the group, Buffy." She smirked a bit and widened her eyes to make her point. "And I always please my boy." She ended in a purr of contentment.

Buffy choked. Pounding on her chest and coughing for a few moments seemed to help a bit. When she straightened back up, her face appeared puzzled while the redhead had a satisfied expression with a bit of a smirk added into the mix. "Huh? And I mean that in a nice way. What about Oz?" She asked.

"Oz? Huh?" Willow sounded confused for a moment before the realization came to her. "Oh, him. Don't worry about it. I already broke up with him this morning."

"You broke up with Oz? Why?" Buffy asked, sinking down into a chair and looking like she had been broad sided. She never noticed her Watcher first cleaning his glasses and then slowly stood up and entered his office. She also never noticed the soft 'Good Lord's that he was steadily uttering.

"Oz was supposed to get me over Xander… didn't work." Willow muttered. "Now I want Xander… and Buffy?" Her voice changed form a purr to a hiss. "I will get him, I can promise you that."

"I… just don't… understand. I'm sorry, Wills, but I'm lost here." Buffy told her friend as she folded her arms and laid her head down on the table. "I thought you were shy, right?"

"Being shy is for fucking pussies, Buffy." Willow said with a smirk. Buffy's head shot up to stare at her with wide eyes and an open mouth. "I want him… and I'm gonna take him." The witch promised. "And when I'm done with him, he won't even LOOK at another woman ever again."

"I… ah… um… oh… I… " The blonde Slayer stammered, not knowing how to take her friend. Her brain had entered into lockdown mode, preventing all rational thought from even occurring.


Xander decided that going straight home was just the ticket to help him avoid a certain redhead. He wasn't afraid, he told himself for the hundredth time since the 'incident' of the morning. Just because he was avoiding going to his locker on the off chance that Willow had decided to stake it out in hopes of him making an appearance didn't make him afraid. Okay, he admitted quietly, it looked bad when he walked down the corridors of the school as quickly as he could while constantly scanning for the color red and ducking behind something or somebody whenever he found it. Sure, it looked bad, but it didn't make him afraid. Cautious. He grinned widely as he thought of the word. Yep, that's the ticket! He was just being cautious.

The boy made his way to his bedroom, but stopped in shock when he opened the door. One quick look had led him to the conclusion that his mother had cleaned his room while he was busy dodging Willow at school. He couldn't remember a time when he had a clean room before. He sighed in frustration. Was his mother being perfect going to wear off? If it did, how mad was she going to be? If it didn't, was it a good thing or a bad? He didn't know the answers to his questions and it bothered him.

"Alexander? Are you home, dear? I'm afraid that I'm going to need your help for a second." His mother called out from the living room.

"Yeah, just got in, mom." He called back. He dumped his book bag on the floor next to his desk and went to meet her. "Whatcha' need, mom?" He asked, curious to see what she needed.

He was surprised to see her blush for a second before she began her tale. "Well, you father got home early today. He was being fairly abusive, so I knocked him out. I need your help to get him into bed." She sighed while running a hand through her hair. "I'm afraid that I'm just not strong enough to lift him, much less drag him down the hallway."

"You knocked out dad?" Xander stuttered in shock, staring at his mother. When would the shocks stop coming, he wondered.

"Well I certainly wasn't going to take that attitude from him!" His mother pursed her lips, narrowed her eyes, and folded her arms just under her breasts.

"Not what I meant!" The boy protested quickly. "I just didn't know that you knew how to do that! You know… knock people out and stuff."

She looked surprised even as she relaxed her body. "Didn't I ever tell you that I was a black belt in Tai Kwon Do?" She sounded puzzled as she furrowed her brow in thought. "I could have sworn that I had told you in the past."

"You know martial arts?" Xander asked in wide-eyed awe. It quickly turned into excitement as he asked, "Can you teach me?"

"If you want." She nodded her head slowly. "It would be better if I could straighten your father out first."

"Huh? What's he got to do with it?" The boy pouted. His mother simply flashed a brilliant smile at him.

"Honestly, Alexander! Don't you ever look at the photo albums?" She sighed in exasperation. "Your father was a third degree black belt in both Tai Kwon Do and Aikido before he had to drop everything and get a better paying job." She smiled sadly for a second. "I think that's why he resents you so much. His dojo wasn't making enough money to support us, so he had to sell it to buy this house. After that, his new job started taking up more and more of his time until he started drinking his sorrows away."

"Whoa. I never knew." Xander whispered and turned his head away.

"Don't worry about it, honey." His mother hastened to reassure him. "We both got caught up in the self pity for a long time. It wasn't your fault."

"Thanks, mom." Xander told her before being swept up into a hug. He had learned a lot today. Emotions boiled through his body as new things kept rearing their heads up from the unknown. It was then that a pulse of power escaped his body and headed towards the living room.

Oh, God! What now? The thoughts ran through his mind as he closed his eyes and hugged his mother tighter.

Part 4

Willow walked into her bedroom and tossed her books onto her bed. Growling, she paced back and forth for several minutes before coming to a halt in front of her vanity mirror. Placing her hands on her hips, she slowly examined her reflection from top to bottom before snorting in disgust. "I have got to stop wearing these ridiculous clothes." She muttered angrily. "No wonder he never noticed me before… I look like a Goddamned kid."

Stomping over to the telephone, she closed her eyes and thought heavily for a few moments. Who could she call for help? Buffy? No, she was still angry with her for kicking Xander out of the group and making the redhead go along with it. Oz? No, he was still hurting over the way she had dumped him. Giles? Ha! She snorted to herself in amusement. If she got his help, the witch was sure that she would wind up with a bunch of tweed business suits before the shopping trip was over with. Cordelia? No… well, maybe. Willow nibbled her bottom lip for a second while she weighed the pros and cons of asking for the cheerleader's help. Reaching a decision, she picked the phone up and dialed the brunette's number from memory.

"Cordy? It's Willow. I need your help." She spoke calmly but with a sense of urgency lining her voice to show how important the situation really was.

'What do you need my help for?' Cordelia responded in her usual uptight voice.

"I need a new wardrobe… now." Willow responded.

'I've been telling you that for years.' The cheerleader snorted in amusement.

"Look, are you going to help or not?" The redhead snarled into the phone. She would be damned if she took any more crap off of anyone. No, that part of her life was over.

'Sure. It's not like I have anything better to do. I'll pick you up in twenty minutes.' The brunette responded cheerfully. A click sounded that let the witch know the telephone had been hung up on the other end. With a feral smile, the redhead placed her phone back on the stand and made her way into the den.

Stopping in front of a painting of some mountain and a lake, she reached out and pulled on the right corner of the frame. It swung open like a door revealing the small safe mounted in the wall. A few quick turns of the dial and the safe door was hanging open also. Inside were several bundles of cash and a small leather wallet. Willow grabbed the wallet and flipped it open to reveal ten tiny pockets, each holding a credit card in her parent's names.

"Well, mom. You said to only use them in an emergency." Willow smirked at the credit cards. She flipped the wallet closed and stuck it into her back pocket. "Updating my clothes to actually show my age is definitely an emergency." She closed the door to the safe, spun the dial rapidly, and then put the painting back into position.

With one last look around the house, she stepped outside, closed and locked the door, and made her way down the sidewalk to the curb. She looked extremely resolute in her course of action. She was going to get Xander and keep him. Nothing was going to stand in her way. And if they did… she raised her hand and watched the magical energy sparkle and shoot tiny lightning bolts between her outspread fingers. If they did, whoever it was would be facing more trouble then they've ever faced before in their life. Closing her hand into a fist to hide the display of power, Willow turned her attention towards the street where Cordy was bringing her car to a halt. With an evil smile, the redheaded witch climbed in and made herself comfortable. Life was truly getting to be good, she told herself. Xander wouldn't stand a chance. He would be hers!


Xander was feeling more than a little bizarre with the world at the moment. He had helped his mother place his passed out father into bed. That wasn't too bad, actually. What was so weird was that he was currently sitting at the dinning room table doing his homework on a Friday night. After a moment's reflection, he amended his current thought. It wasn't that he was doing his homework on a Friday night, he decided. It was the fact that his mother was helping him with it and that he actually understood all the material.

Shaking his head to clear it of his thoughts, he focused once again on the math material laid out in front of him. He was in awe of his mother and couldn't help the grin that spread across his face as he watched the top of her head when she leaned down to study something in the textbook. Yep, life was good.


Buffy just glared at her Watcher. When he had demanded to be let in on what had happened to her in class the previous day, she had felt mortified. She knew that he had seen the emotions play across her face, but the Slayer was determined not to tell him anything about it. No, this was going to be her secret for as long as she still drew breath into her lungs.

Thus, they had reached an impasse. He wasn't willing to let her leave before she informed him of everything. She wasn't willing to say a word. So Giles kept cleaning his glasses and trying to think of ways to convince her of the fact that he needed to know. She kept glaring at him and telling him that he didn't. It promised to be an extremely long evening.


"How about this?" Cordelia asked, holding up a pair of tight blue jeans to show the normally shy witch. The brunette wasn't sure what happened, but Willow growing a spine all of a sudden didn't really faze her that much. Sure, the redhead had a bit of a foul mouth on her now, but the cheerleader had seen much worse in her time. After all, dating the quarterback wasn't exactly like being taken to the opera or anything like that.

Willow glanced at the jeans for a second before shaking her head. "No, if I decide to do him in between classes, pants will just get in my way." She told the taller girl before turning her attention back to the skirts on the other rack.

Cordy actually blinked rapidly several times before the other girl's words sank in. "What?" She gasped out loud. "Willow! You skank!" Willow looked at her with indignation before she noticed the broad grin on her old enemies face. Flashing a grin back, the small girl held up a black cotton skirt on a hanger.

Nodding her approval at the choice, the cheerleader hung the jeans back up and moved to the witch's side. "So what's the deal? When did you decide to let your inner whore out?" She asked, genuinely curious for a change.

"I'm tired of mooning over Xander." Willow said with a shrug of her delicate shoulders. "This morning, I just decided to take what I wanted and be done with it."

The brunette nodded her head slowly in understanding. She couldn't really say that she was surprised at the change. It was always her theory that the redhead would crack one day and undergo a drastic change in her personality. She was surprised, however, with the timing. "So… why now? I mean, you waited all these years without saying a word and even started dating that Oz guy. So what changed?" Cordy asked.

Willow paused in her browsing for a moment as she thought about the question. Turning slowly to face the other girl, she said, "I don't really know. One minute I was just so mad at him and the next I had to have him."

"It wasn't a spell or anything like that was it?" Cordelia asked in a worried tone. She shuddered as a new thought occurred to her. "I'm not gonna start suddenly liking him again am I?" She shivered at the cold look that crossed the other girl's face.

"No, it wasn't a spell." Willow stated slowly, turning her cold, deadly eyes towards her helper. "And I don't think that you want to start liking him again."

"You don't have to worry about that." Cordelia hastened to assure the witch. She shivered again as she noticed small arcs of electricity dancing around in the girl's hair. "I don't even know why I got together with him in the first place. We were just so wrong for each other. Then when I caught him kissing you, I really didn't want anything to do with him anymore. As for hooking up with him again… as if!" The brunette let out a snort of disgust. She didn't notice how Willow just stood there and stared at her without saying a word. "When we were together, he didn't treat me that good. He was always acting like everything I said was stupid. The only thing he wanted me for was to help him with his ego in the damned broom closets." The brunette turned her face away and downwards as she wiped a tear out of her eye. "He kept trying to get me to do stuff with him, but he never treated me like anyone he could respect. He just… he… " She stopped for a second and dug around frantically in her purse for a handkerchief.

"I'm sorry, Cordy. I didn't know." Willow whispered, feeling sorry for the other girl. "I always thought that you were just using him, not the other way around." She pulled the taller girl into a hug and gently rubbed her back.

"It just hurt so bad, Willow. I was just beginning to think that he might care for me beyond the petting sessions… and I catch him with you." The cheerleader whispered in agony. "Why did he have to treat me like that?"

"I don't know." The witch told her as she closed her eyes. "You know that boys are kinda stupid and all."

The cheerleader snorted in agreement. "I know. I'm happy for you, Willow. Don't think that I'm jealous or anything like that. The relationship that I had with him wasn't a good thing." Cordelia told her as she straightened up and dried her eyes. "He always made me feel… cheap. Like a two-dollar whore sometimes. Whenever I wanted to talk, he just wanted to make out." She shook her head sadly. "I'm glad it's over and I definitely don't want to start over again. Hell, he treats me a lot better now that we're not going out at all."

"C'mon, Cordy. Let's get some coffee or something. We can come back and shop later." Willow told her. "And don't worry about Xander… I promise to punish him for you, okay?"

"Er, Willow, don't do anything like break up with him on my account." Cordy told her.

The witch simply smiled at her and wrapped her arm around one of the cheerleader's. "Oh, no. I'm not going to break up with him. I'm gonna spank him." She said without a hint of embarrassment.

The cheerleader looked askance at her companion before turning her head back to look forward. "That's… a very disturbing picture, Willow." She said quietly before breaking into a smile. "But I have to admit that it makes me feel better." The witch laughed and changed the subject. They would spend a pleasant evening together, she was sure of it. And, she had to admit, they were bonding in that special way that friends had. A pleasant smile on her face, the redhead steered them towards the food court of the mall.

Life was good, she decided. Buffy was listening to her. Cordelia was going to become a close friend. Giles had agreed to teach her more about magic. And Xander would be hers for the taking. Yep, life was good.


Giles sighed in despair. He had been sitting with his grumpy Slayer for the past three hours and was quickly becoming sick of it. He just couldn't understand why she wouldn't tell him what had happened. Didn't she understand that some things were indicative of a magical attack? Maybe her Slayer senses were just reacting towards a supernatural threat. The possibilities were endless. He HAD to know in order to do his job.

With a sigh, he met the blonde's steady gaze. "How about… you… um… just write down the facts… or something… and have Willow bring them to me. I… er… need to know what… uh… happened. It could be something… evil… or, well… evil."

"Fine." Buffy pouted and crossed her arms. "But I want you to know that I don't want to do this."

"Oh, yes… of course." Giles agreed, removing his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. "I'll be sure to have the… uh… council reward you with a medal… or something."

"Sarcasm isn't of the nice, Giles." Buffy scowled angrily. "You'll have your report in the morning. I'm out of here!"


Willow waved goodbye to her new friend and carried her numerous bags into her house and up to her room. Setting them down on the floor, she went over to her closet and swung the doors open wide. Without even bothering to see what she was grabbing, she simply reached in, grabbed whatever her hands landed on, and tossed them out into the hall. After that, she did the same thing with everything in her drawers. Underwear, bra's, socks, it didn't matter. She kept throwing stuff until her dresser was empty. Only then did she open the bags containing her new clothing and start to put stuff away.

It took her several hours, but when she was done she felt satisfied. Noticing the time, she eagerly got ready for bed. A quick shower followed by a good brushing of her teeth and she was finished with the bathroom.

Padding naked to her room, she withdrew a sheer black negligee from the closet and put it on. Spinning in front of her mirror, she felt pleased with herself. She looked beautiful and she was confident that she was correct. Plus, she told herself, the silk felt heavenly against her skin.

Turning the light off, she slipped between the sheets and closed her eyes. Tomorrow, she was going to rein in Xander's habit of running away, she thought with a smile. Tomorrow, he would be hers. Yes, she said to herself, tomorrow was going to be an earth-shaking day for Alexander Harris.

A thoroughly evil smile graced her lips as she slipped into oblivion.


Cordelia sat at her vanity brushing her hair. Willow had surprised her today. She was aggressive, assertive, and understanding all at the same time. Even though the redhead loved Xander, and the brunette was under no delusions about that, she had promised to make the boy sorry for the way the cheerleader had been treated.

Cordy smiled at her image and thought about what a wonderful friend Willow was turning out to be. She turned out the light and went to bed. Her last conscious thoughts were to be sure to invite the redhead out to her house next weekend for a party. It was definitely time to introduce Willow to Cordy's circle of acquaintances and lay down the law that the witch was not to be bothered. The cheerleader would even agree to be nice to Xander, as long as the witch remained her friend.


Xander sighed to himself as he tried to go to sleep. He had used his power on Willow and turned her into somebody he had to be cautious of. Not afraid of, he told himself. After all, he knew that Willow wouldn't hurt him. Just the thought of Willow ever doing something that Xander didn't want to do was humorous. No, his Wills would always cave to his wants and needs in the end. With a happy smile, he fell asleep.


Buffy looked down at the collection of notes she had made. She really didn't want to hand them over to her Watcher in the morning, but she didn't see any alternative. He was right, after all. This incident was definitely something that he needed to be aware of.

She turned off her light and fell into her bed. Tucking the covers securely around her body, she turned her thoughts away from herself and onto her little Wicca friend. That was something else she should tell the Watcher about, she told herself. Willow was really acting strange. Buffy wanted her extremely shy friend back, not this foul- mouthed, over aggressive person.

With a frown, the blond Slayer slipped off into the land of dreams, wondering what the next day would bring.

Part 5

Willow awoke bright and early the next morning with the sunlight streaming into her room. She stretched sensuously before pulling the blanket back and standing up. Catching a glimpse of her hair in the mirror, she let loose a soft, throaty chuckle. "Oh, this will never do." She mumbled, stripping off her negligee and flinging it on the bed. She lifted her arms above her head and turned this way and that in front of the mirror as she studied her reflection. "Damn, I look good!" She purred with a broad grin. Patting the mirror affectionately, she made her way to the bathroom and made her preparations for the day.

When she finished there, she stalked her way over to the closet and looked over her choices. Several outfits called out to her, but nothing seemed exactly… right. Sighing, she decided on an evil sort of innocent look.

Walking over to the dresser, she pulled out a small black garter belt and quickly snapped it into place around her waist. Closing that drawer, she opened another to pull out a package of sheer, light black thigh-high stockings and then sat down on her bed with her legs draped over the side. She purred again as she drew them smoothly up her legs and clipped them into place with the garter belt. Loving the sensation of silk against her leg, she leaned back on the bed and rubbed her lower legs together, thoroughly enjoying the way her silk covered legs felt as they slipped erotically against each other.

Oh, Xander isn't going to know what hit him, she chuckled softly. Standing up, she walked over to the closet once again. She selected a black cotton skirt and stepped into it. Pulling it up her legs, she quickly buttoned it into place and ran her hands over the soft material covering her hips. She examined herself in the mirror and admired the way the skirt hung down to within inches of her knees, loose and flowing on the bottom while being tight and snug over her hips. Smiling, she turned back to her closet and selected a white blouse with a slightly ruffled collar. Pulling the silk blouse on over her arms, she relished the feel of even more silk lying against her skin. Buttoning it up the front except for the top two buttons, she tucked the bottom into her skirt before selecting the next piece of clothing. A black cotton jacket went on next, hanging loose and unbuttoned. The shoulders and arms were more form fitting compared to the chest of the jacket. The way it draped open exposed the white blouse to its full advantage. Finally, she selected a pair of black leather pumps with two-inch heels. Sitting down on the edge of the bed again, she pulled the pumps onto her feet and fastened the ankle straps into place.

Standing, she stood in front of the mirror for the final time of the morning. The witch pulled her hair back into a tight ponytail and selected a small golden pair of hoop earrings. A matching necklace displaying the Star of David went around her neck and she pronounced herself ready to face the day's challenges.

Picking up a small black purse, she checked to make sure that her cell phone, wallet, and two large bundles of cash were nestled safely inside before she left the house, locking the door behind her. Today was gong to be a great day.


Xander lay on his bed, cursing his talent. He looked over at his alarm clock and groaned in disbelief. It was eight o'clock in the morning and his mother had been vacuuming the house for the past fifteen minutes. "Damn it! It's Saturday for God's sake." He mumbled miserably, pulling his pillow out from underneath his head and jamming it down onto his face.

Several minutes later, he gave up on going back to sleep. A quick shower followed by his normal morning rituals started his day. Throwing on a pair of old blue jeans, a dark t-shirt, and a very loud Hawaiian shirt, he decided he was ready to start his day. Grumbling, he slipped his socked feet into an old pair of tennis shoes. Throwing open his door, he made his way towards the kitchen.

"Your breakfast is in the microwave, Alexander." His mother called from the direction of the living room. How she knew that he was awake and about puzzled him for a second.

"Okay, mom." He called back as he entered the kitchen. Opening the door to the small microwave, he saw a plate loaded with scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and two pieces of toast. Seeing the steam coming from the eggs, he decided not to nuke it to warm it up. Grabbing it, he went to the table and found his place already set with silverware, napkin, and a glass of orange juice.

Ten minutes later, he had washed his dishes, put them away, and was wondering what he was going to do today. When the doorbell rang, he ignored it and went back to his room. Rather, he had almost made it to his room when his mother called out for him.

"Alexander! You have a visitor!" He was thankful that her voice wasn't shrill or all the yelling she had been doing lately would have driven him up the wall.

When he got to the door, his jaw dropped in eye-popping amazement. His shy, innocent Willow was dressed like a wet dream. He gulped as his eyes traveled over her body before a feeling of guilt washed over him. First, because he had always counted her as the sister he had never had. Second, because he remembered that his… power… had made her this way.

"Willow! Er… hi." He said lamely, standing several feet in front of the door.

"Xander." She nodded to him, deciding that she was going to change the way he dressed first thing. Raising her green eyes to look into his brown ones, she pursed her lips and released a breathy "Good morning." She almost grinned in satisfaction when she saw his throat make a sudden swallow. She couldn't fail to notice the panic that was building in his eyes and felt a bit… predatory.

"Willow! How nice to see you, dear." His mother said happily, coming to stand behind her son. She didn't know what was going on, but from the way the redhead was dressed and the way her son was shaking in fear, she could only assume something terrible was going to happen. "Please." She said, waving her hand inwards, indicating that the witch was welcome to enter without saying the actual words.

Willow shot the older woman a pleased smile and entered the Harris household. She made sure that she brushed against her friend's chest while her trailing hand brushed lightly over the crotch to his jeans. She was purring with pride when he let loose a squeak and jumped back, blushing a bright red. She followed Mrs. Harris into the living room, noticing how clean and orderly the place had become since her last visit.

"Won't you sit down, dear?" Mrs. Harris waved the young woman towards the couch while noticing her son trying to quietly make his way back towards the interior of the house. Guessing that he wanted to make his mistake, she firmed her lips and called out to him. "Alexander! Where do you think you're going?"

Xander's entire body went rigid for a moment before slumping in defeat. Turning around, he saw his mother glaring at him while Willow was smirking. He watched as the redhead smoothed her skirt with her hands and sat down in the exact middle of the couch. Looking towards his mother, he saw her sit in the only chair. Closing his eyes to regain his composure, he looked back at the couch to see Willow patting it gently to indicate where she wanted him to sit.

"Sit with me, Xan." She said, staring him in the eye with her new confident ability. He mentally groaned, wishing that she didn't sound like he was… what? A dessert? Meekly, he strode over and sat at the very end of the couch, looking at his mother helplessly.

His mother, on the other hand, was watching the interaction with amusement. While at first she had feared that the redhead was there to announce something awful like being pregnant, her fears were being allayed by the way her son was acting. Instead of acting like a conquering hero, like all young boys do after their first time with a girl, he was behaving like a frightened virgin. Frowning for a moment, she mentally adjusted her opinion. He wasn't just acting like a frightened virgin; he was acting like the young girl was going to assault him at any moment. Her keen eyes could see the way he winced and flinched every time the redhead made any sort of sudden movement. Something had to be done, she decided.

"So, Willow, why don't you tell me what's happening between my son and you?" She asked quietly, leaning back into the recliner and focusing her eyes on the girl. She grew a little uncomfortable as those green eyes of hers locked onto her own. The older woman almost felt like she was being assessed and judged.

"I've decided that Xander will start dating me." Willow responded calmly, shifting over to be even closer to the boy she wanted. She ignored his sudden whimpering as he leaned away from her. There would be time enough later to correct his behavior and attitude. Mentally, she licked her lips in anticipation of the opportunity.

"You've decided? I'm not sure that I understand." Mrs. Harris replied, sounding a bit confused. She glanced at her son and could see the pleading looks that he was sending her way. It was almost funny in a way, she told herself, biting her tongue to prevent the laughter that wanted to escape.

"It's pretty simple, really." The redhead explained, reaching out with her left hand and grabbing Xander's right. She felt a thrill shoot through her body when he didn't immediately pull away. "I've been wanting to him to notice me for years now and I've finally grown tired of waiting. I've decided that I would pursue him until he… surrenders." She had turned her face towards the dark haired youth and purred the last word. She smiled at him and lowered her eyelids while licking her lips with the tip of her tongue.

"Oh, God." Xander whimpered again, his bulging eyes fleeing from her face towards his mother. He was horrified to see the knowing smirk that was adorning her face. His face grew bright red with his blush when he felt one of her fingers; hidden from sight by his own hand, stroke his palm in a suggestive manner.

"You see, Mrs. Harris…" Willow began, turning back to her friend's mother only to be caught off guard when the woman in question interrupted.

"Please, dear. Call me Jessica." Mrs. Harris told her with a warm, inviting smile.

Willow smiled back in that way that women with secrets always do. "Thank you, Jessica." Once again, she ignored Xander's whimper over the horror of having his mother and the girl that was interested in her becoming friends. "I think that your son has the qualities that I'm looking for in a partner."

"What qualities are you looking for?" Jessica leaned forward, the small woman having captured her complete attention.

Willow shot a smile at her love and began to speak. "Funny, compassionate, loving, sharing, friendly… " All of a sudden, she leaned in closer to the boy and her voice became… deeper. "Sexy…" She closed her eyes and breathed in his scent. "Gorgeous…" Willow opened her eyes again to focus on her face. "Courageous…" The redhead drew back a little bit, looking into his shocked eyes. "Mine." She finished with a growl, leaning towards him and laying her head on his shaking shoulder. She smirked to herself and glanced back at his mother who was grinning wildly.

"But… uh… " Xander stuttered, completely floored by what he had just witnessed. He knew that the witch was more aggressive now, but in front of his mother? He glanced at his mother in panic, noticing that she seemed to approve of his friend's attitude. Another whimper escaped from his mouth at the thought of his mother approving. He closed his eyes and almost felt like crying for a second. He felt a small hand being placed gently on his left cheek and could smell the scent of an expensive perfume. Opening his eyes, he gave into the gently pressure that Willow was applying as she turned his head to face her.

When her love was fully facing her, the witch leaned in and placed a gentle, yet chaste kiss on his lips. When the kiss was finished, she leaned back and smiled at him as she patted his cheek with affection. "Why don't you go and put on some decent clothes while I talk to your mom, okay? We'll leave in a little bit." Her voice was so gentle it was almost hypnotic to the stunned youth. She could see that he was a little reluctant to leave his friend alone with his mother, so she smiled at him and dropped her hand away from his cheek. "You probably don't want to be here, Xander." She said in her new soft voice. "We're going to talk about girl stuff." She whispered loudly enough that his mother could hear. When his mother chuckled with amusement, Xander nodded his surrender and fled towards his room.

"He seems to be a little… gun shy at the moment." Jessica commented, leaning back into the chair.

Willow chuckled in agreement. "Yeah, I have to work on that." She said before turning serious. "I just want you to know that this isn't a lark or anything like that. I'm deadly serious about making a life together with your son."

Mrs. Harris watched the young woman returning her look with confidence and poise, waiting patiently for a response. "I wound up pregnant at a young age and the experience ruined our plans. Anthony had to give up the job he loved for a better paying one that he hated. I had to drop out of college and help him to pay the medical bills." She sighed and glanced down into her lap at her folded hands. She sounded so sad to the younger woman when she finally started speaking again. "I just want a better life for my son. I know that you want him and that he's terrified of you pursuing him." She chuckled softly. "Maybe this is what he needs to make some goals in life." She shrugged helplessly, meeting the redhead's gaze once again. "I haven't been a good mother to him for a long time now, but I still want my little boy to be happy."

Willow nodded her head and pursed her lips for a second. She tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes in thought. "My college tuition is already in the bank and I have enough saved up to cover not only my tuition, but his as well. Plus, my mother put me on the pill several years ago, whether I wanted it or not." The witch grimaced in distaste at having to mention her mother. "I will not get pregnant before I want to be, but I won't lie to you and say that I'll remain a virgin when I'm going to be dating your son." Her voice was steady, yet strong.

"I'm not sure that he's ready for that kind of… activity." Jessica said softly, blushing at the thought of her son engaging in adult activities.

"Maybe." Willow said forcefully. "But when he is, I'm going to take full advantage of the fact that he is. And I can promise you, I WILL wear him out." Her grin caused Mrs. Harris to blush even more, until the older woman finally raised a hand in the universal image to halt.

"I… don't want to know, really." She smiled at the younger woman. "That's the sort of thing that I would really prefer you to keep to yourself."

The witch nodded her head in agreement. "Understood." They watched each other for several seconds before the redhead sighed and stood up. "Well, I have a busy day planned for us, so we need to get going."

"What will you be doing?" Jessica asked, curious despite herself.

"Well, first we're going to buy me a car. Then we're going shopping for some decent clothes for him." She shuddered in revulsion. "He has the absolute WORST taste in clothes."

Mrs. Harris shuddered right along with her. "He gets that from Anthony. I swear, if it looks like somebody threw up on a shirt, they'll buy it." Both women smiled at each other about the habits of their men. "Welcome to the family, dear." Jessica told the younger woman, giving her a hug.

"I can't wait until he decides to make that official." Willow whispered back.


Xander might be inexperienced about a lot of things, but he knew for a fact that having a potential girlfriend befriending your mother was nothing but a recipe for disaster. He needed advice and help in the worst way. Frantically, he racked his brain for an answer until he finally found one. Giles. Yeah, the G-Man could help him.

Quickly a decision was reached. Locking his door, the youth slipped out of the bedroom window and ran as quickly as he could. True, Willow might become a little ticked off, but he didn't care. He was free! He took a deep breath and savored the taste of freedom wafting in the wind.

He would tell the G-Man everything about his power and throw himself onto his mercy and hope to have everything solved as quickly as possible. Yep, the stuffy British guy was the answer to all his problems. With a grin, Xander pushed himself into a faster gait.


Buffy pouted at the phone. Willow wasn't home. A quick glance at her written report of the 'incident' in the classroom, and she knew that she didn't want to deliver it herself. But Willow, the girl that Buffy had selected to do the deed, wasn't anywhere to be found.

With a sigh, she picked it up and left her home. Maybe she could just drop it off and escape before he had a chance to read any of it. She nodded at her plan and started walking quickly towards her Watcher's house.

Part 6

One could say many things about the grumpy man sitting on his couch drinking a cup of tea. One of the things that couldn't be said about him was that he was happy. No, Giles was extremely put off at the present moment in time. His Slayer was keeping secrets from him, even when he questioned her directly. That sure put a burr under his saddle. As if that weren't bad enough, his researching assistant and magic worker had decided to become hormonal. Granted, the young woman deserved to find love, but why did it have to happen now? Why not in a few years when the he didn't have to deal with it? He grunted out loud. Was that enough problems for him to deal with? Huh. Of course not. His Slayer had decided to force the strong young man that took care of everyone's morale out of the group. Good Lord. Was that enough to trouble him with? Oh, no. The Powers that Be just had to throw another log onto the twig pile he was toting through life. His Slayer was still in love with a vampire who seemed to do nothing but brood and make the foolish blonde twit pant after him.

Giles set his teacup down on the coffee table. He could feel the headache start to build as it did whenever he thought of the troubles he had to shoulder. Taking off his glasses, he pinched the bridge of his nose to help relieve some of the strain. There he sat, feeling miserable for himself, knowing that life just couldn't get any worse.

"Giles!" Xander's voice broke the morning silence as the sound of his front door being slammed shut drifted through the air.

"Of course." Giles muttered, shutting his eyes and hoping the young man would go away. He felt the couch did alarmingly as the youth threw himself down without bothering with the standard step of actually stopping before sitting down. "How may I help you, Xander?" He mumbled, putting his glasses back on.

"I'm in big trouble here, G-Man! I'm talking like apocalypse big!" The dark haired youth told him. Loudly.

Sighing, the older man opened his eyes and took in the youth's appearance. Yes, the same awful outfit that typified the youth was in place. Loud shirt over the standard American teen fashion that screamed, 'Look, Ma! No common sense!'

"Perhaps you should start at the beginning." Giles suggested quietly, hoping that the calm, quiet tone would hint to the youth that he needed to emulate the older man.

"Sure, I can do that. See it all started a couple of nights ago…" Xander trailed off when both men became aware of the new interruption.

"Giles!" Yes, the Watcher thought to himself, of course. Where there's one, another would soon pop up. He winced as his front door was slammed just a little too hard and the sound of broken glass followed the sound of the door slamming hard enough to jam itself into the frame was heard. "Oops, my bad!" His Slayer called out before walking into the living room.

The sight that greeted the blonde Slayer was unusual to say the least. Xander and Giles were sitting side-by-side on the couch. The younger man was looking at her with wide eyes and a look that combined both panic and fear. The older man was staring past her, as if he tried hard enough, he could see through the wall and find out what she had done with his door. He also looked kinda' depressed, she noticed.

"Was there something I can help you with, Buffy?" Giles asked quietly, having the urge to snap and 'go postal' as the American's called it.

"Well, you wanted that… thing… from me as fast as possible." Buffy said quietly, making her way over to the recliner next to the window. She sat down gingerly, hanging on the edge trying to figure out what Xander was doing here so early on a Saturday morning.

"The… thing?" Questioned Giles, who closed his eyes and bowed his head. Xander simply blushed and looked away.

"Yeah, you know… that… THING?" The blonde said.

"Buffy, I was up rather late last night. Do try to be clearer when you speak." Giles sighed and leaned back to stare at the ceiling.

"That… THING… you wanted from me when we were in the library?" The Slayer told him, throwing on a glare to go with her indignant tone.

Xander snickered as Giles just stared at the young woman with a stony face. "Buffy, I have no idea what you are talking about." He sighed.

Buffy waved the folded pages of paper in the air and repeated herself. Sudden understanding came to the older man's eyes as he nodded and turned to the young Scooby. "Xander, what were you telling me earlier?" He asked, wanting to finish his business with the young man before dealing with his Slayer.

"Uh… well… er… it's… ah… nothing." He stammered, his wide eyes moving rapidly from the Watcher to the Slayer and back. "Oh, my! Look at the time! I really must be off!" He said loudly, hopping to his feet and backing towards the front door.


Willow arched her eyebrow when Jessica called for her son and received no response. She had a sneaking suspicion that the love of her life had bailed on her. Pursing her lips and crossing her arms, she exchanged glances with the other woman. Both nodding at the same time, they made their way down the hallway to the young man's room.

Knocking on the door did nothing, so the older woman reached over the doorframe for the key that she had hidden there years ago for just this sort of emergency. When the door swung open, they saw a clean, empty room. Only the billowing curtains hanging in front of the open window moved.

"What is that boy thinking?" Jessica muttered, moving further into the room to look around.

Willow shot her a very grim smile. "He decided to make a run for it." She stated coldly.

Jessica's head whipped around to face the redhead's, shock written clearly across her features. "He wouldn't!" She protested halfheartedly, not wanting to believe her son could do such a thing.

Willow simply nodded slowly in return. "He ran yesterday when I kissed him." She informed the older woman. "At the time, I wrote it off to shock. This was deliberate." She crossed her arms below her breasts and tilted her head slightly to the side as her green eyes swept the room looking for clues.

"Oh." His mother said, turning away in shame. What could possibly have made her son act in such a manner? Any mother would be proud to have a daughter-in-law like Willow. She was intelligent, aggressive, and beautiful. Her face darkened in anger over the slight her offspring had intentionally given the charming young woman. "I… don't know what to say, Willow. I'm so sorry. I… " She said, wringing her hands together.

"Don't worry about it, Jessica." Willow told her with an evil smirk when the older woman turned back around to face her. "I'll break him of this naughty habit."

"Naughty?" Mrs. Harris arched her own eyebrow at both the word and Willow's smirk.

"You know what happens to naughty boys, right?" Willows lips transformed from a smirk into a broad grin that was matched by the other woman. Without another word, the witch pulled her cell phone from her purse and dialed up one of her few female friends. After all, she reasoned, a Slayer was pretty damned useful when you were on a hunt.


Buffy's cell phone rang, bringing both of them out of their stunned trance. "Hello?" She said, holding the phone up to her ear. Her eyes pinned the suddenly panicked youth in his tracks.

'Buffy, it's Willow.'

"Hi, Willow." The blonde replied, still keeping Xander in her sights. She studiously ignored his frantic attempts at mouthing of 'I'm not here!'

'Have you seen Xander around? He sort of bailed on me here.'

"Yes, he's right here." She said, both her and Giles suddenly giving the young man their complete attention. She almost grinned when the youth paled visably and started to shake his head rapidly back and forth.

'Could you physically hold him there until I can get there?'

"Sure, not a problem, Wills." Buffy cheerfully replied as she strolled closer to the frightened young man. With the supernatural speed of a Slayer, her free hand snaked out and latched onto the boy's wrist. "Anything for my bestest buddy!" She held onto him easily, despite his desperate attempts to pry her hand off of his arm. His legs wind milled helplessly as they attempted to force him from the room.

'Thanks, Buffy. Where are you at right now?'

"We're over at Giles right now. How long do you think it'll take to get here?" Buffy smiled at Xander.

'About five minutes or so. Hold on a second… oh, okay. Jessica is going to give me a ride. I'll be there as fast as I can.'

"Not a problem, Wills. He isn't going anywhere." She smirked at the young man as he pounded on her fingers in his panic.

'See you in a few.'

"Later." Buffy said, calmly pocketing her cell phone after turning it off. "Something you want to tell us, Xander?"

The boy didn't reply until it became obvious that he wasn't going to escape. "Buffy, let me go! You have to let me escape! She's nuts!" He yelled, trying to wedge his fingers under hers and pry them off.

"Um… Buffy? What's going on?" Giles asked, getting up from the couch and eying the two teens nervously.

"Well, it seems that Xander here bailed on Willow and she asked me to keep him here until she arrived." Buffy told him.

"Oh, Good Lord!" He muttered, turning towards the kitchen with his empty teacup. "Come get when this mess gets straightened out."

"G-Man! You have to help me!" Xander cried out in a panic.

"Ha!" The older man called back. "You deserve it for calling me that ridiculous nick name!"

Xander was about to say something else when Buffy laughed and cut him off. "Buffy, Wills has gone crazy! She's all dressed up like Cordy! And she wants to date me!" He stammered rapidly.

Buffy arched an eyebrow at him again. "Xander, she's been wanting to date you since I got here at least. She told me so herself." She informed him in a deadpan voice.

"No." The boy looked horrified. "She's like a sister to me, Buff. You can't make me do this!"

"Xander, she isn't your sister." The blonde said calmly. "She loves you."

"I love her too, but not like THAT!" He insisted. "We grew up together! She's my best friend in the whole world! She's the sister that my mother never had! We don't do incest!" He babbled, begging to be understood. "She wants to have sex with me, for God's sake!"

"Xander, she isn't your sister and you're not her brother." Buffy insisted. "Would it really kill you to give her a chance?"

"Give her a chance?" Xander squealed in indignation. "She almost raped me in school yesterday! She was jerking me around and feeling me up and stuff! Then she shows up at my house way too early this morning and makes my mom like her! This is my sister in all but blood I'm talking about here!"

"Well, at least your mother likes your significant other." The Slayer chuckled. "My mom hated Angel."

"No offense, Buff, but you're trying to date a corpse. We have a name for people like that." The dark haired youth muttered sarcastically, his eyes narrowed in anger.

Buffy went totally still before clamping down on his wrist hard enough to draw a cry of pain from his lips and bring him to his knees. "Well, you're not getting free now." She declared coldly, her own eyes narrowed in an attempt to hold in her rage.

The doorbell rang, startling Buffy enough that she let go of the boy's wrist. He jumped to his feet and attempted to run out towards the back of the house only to be brought to a screeching halt by the Slayer's new grip on the back of his Hawaiian shirt. A quick curse and a wiggle left her holding the shirt as the youth picked up speed desperately praying that he had the ability to suddenly outrun an angry Slayer. Alas, such was not to be. Within two strides, she had caught up to him, spun him around, and had his arm locked behind his back. Being marched to the front door by a tiny slip of a girl was not a pleasant experience, he decided.

With her free hand, Buffy managed to open the front door, despite the boy repeatedly trying to shove it closed again with both his body weight and his foot. Opening it, she saw Willow dressed to kill and an older woman she didn't recognize. "Hey, Will." She called out cheerfully, not letting go of the struggling youth.

"Alexander Harris!" The older woman snapped out, reaching out with one hand and grabbing an ear lobe between her thumb and pointer finger. "Just what in the hell were you thinking? How could you run off and leave Willow like that?"

Xander winced, both in pain from his ear, his suddenly released aching arm, and the sure knowledge that his mother was pissed as hell at him. "Mom, just let me explain, okay?" He quickly spat out.

"Explain? You actually have an explanation for your behavior?" His mother screamed.

"Well… not as such… no." He muttered, dropping his eyes downwards to show submission in the hopes that she would just drop it.

"You will make it up to her." Jessica Harris threatened her offspring with sparkling, angry eyes. "If you ditch her again, there'll be hell to pay, young man!" She ignored the wounded whimper her tall son sounded off with as she twisted his ear back and forth to make her point.

"Alright! Alright! I'll do it!" He screamed out in pain, slapping his hand down on top of hers to try and hold her hand in place in relation to his ear.

Jessica released her son from her iron grip and smiled at her future daughter-in-law. "There you go, dear. Just let me know if he misbehaves for you, okay?" She said to the redhead.

Willow smiled back at her future mother-in-law and grabbed onto Xander's aching arm. "Sure thing… mom." Her smile grew larger when Jessica beamed at her. She didn't even bother to look into Xander's horrified face.

Buffy watched the three leave quietly. Willow looked like the cat that ate the canary. Mrs. Harris looked extremely pleased with her son's date for the day. But what kept haunting her thoughts was the look on Xander's face as the redheaded witch had drug him through the door. She hadn't seen vampires that looked that terrified before she staked them. Was something going on that she should look into? She thought about it for a few moments before shaking her head. Not everything that's weird is Slayer stuff, she told herself.

Deciding to go home, she tossed her report on the telephone stand. "It's next to the phone, Giles!" She hollered out before opening the damaged door and leaving. She could see the Harris' car driving down the road with Willow and her love in the backseat… well, on one side of the backseat, she corrected. It looked like Willow had pinned the young man against his door and pressed herself up against him. Grinning madly, she couldn't wait to talk to Willow on Monday.

Part 7

Xander was sitting in the back seat of the Harris family car. Normally, he would have felt comfortable there, but he these were not normal times. His best friend in the world was dressed in clothes that made him more than aware that she was a woman. When he caught himself eying her legs for the third time, he licked his lips and looked away. God, but he regretted using his power on her.

Willow smiled at his nervousness and snuggled into his side. She could feel the heat from his body even through all the clothes the both of them wore. It was like a piece of… home… or something like that she supposed. It just felt so… right. Oh, she knew that he was scared. Truth to tell so was she… a little bit. The difference between the two, she mused, was that she was willing to cast everything aside to grab what she wanted. She knew that Xander was much too afraid of messing up their friendship to look at her romantically. She sighed quietly and laid her head on his shoulder. She tried to ignore the way he flinched, but she could admit that it hurt just a little bit. Still, she smiled knowingly; she knew that she would win in the end. The boy was sweet, but much like the clothes fluke, he did love her more than he would admit.

Lifting her head slightly, she looked at his frightened features and regretted scaring him unnecessarily. After all, she had the permission of his mother to make him hers. Plus, she had all those tips from Cordy on how to fire up his blood. Sighing again, she looked up at him. "Xander?" She whispered quietly, not wanting his mother to hear what she wanted to say.

"Yeah, Wills?" He spoke quietly back. He still stared straight ahead or out the window next to him. Yet he sounded so… hesitant.

"Why don't you want me?" She asked, still using her throaty whisper but injecting a hint of pain into her voice.

"Willow… I… um… I really… don't know what to say here." He swallowed painfully. "You're still going with Oz and…" He stopped from continuing by the finger that she had placed over his lips. He closed his eyes against the sight but he could still feel her warm, soft finger burning his lips.

"I'm not going out with Oz anymore, Xander." She whispered, dropping her hand down to rest on his thigh. She watched as he swallowed heavily once again. The witch could see the beads of sweat that were dotting his forehead and the way he had scrunched up his eyelids. Overall, she figured, it was rather cute.

"You're not?" He squeaked, whipping his head around to stare at her only to discover exactly how close she was. Her brilliant green eyes were only inches from his and appeared to have the power to know what he was thinking.

"No, Xander." She wanted desperately to lean in and take his lips with hers, but knew the time wasn't right. Instead, she broke eye contact and laid her head back onto his shoulder. Closing her eyes, she basked in the warmth of him against her skin and ignored the way he sighed with relief as the tension drained from his body. "Was there another reason?" She whispered.

"Well… yeah." He took a deep breath and leaned back against the seat. He felt so vulnerable at that point. She was wedged against him, wrapped around his left arm with her hand burning a hole in his leg with her free hand. The warmth from her face was infusing into his shoulder and wouldn't be ignored.

"What is it?" Her voice was deeper than it usually was. It seemed like it was more smoky or sensual to him.

"Willow… " He licked his lips and looked out the window at the passing houses. "After the fluke thing, I thought long and hard about… well… us." He took in another deep breath to steady himself. "You've always been like the sister that mom never had. You gave me everything that I needed when I wasn't feeling so hot. You know… the compassion, the caring… shoot; you even treated me like I was your brother. Then the fluke thing happened and you went right back to keeping me at a distance."

The redhead thought over what he had said once he stopped talking. True, he had a very good point, but it wasn't enough. Raising her head to look at him she reached a decision. "Xander?"

"Yeah, Wills?" He returned, turning his head to face her.

"I want you to do something for me." She said, trying to keep her manner from being too aggressive. He looked doubtful but he nodded after a moment.

"I want you to promise that you won't try and run away for the rest of the day. In return, I promise not to rape you." She told him with a straight face. It was hard not to smile when he choked and started coughing.

"What?" He squeaked again.

The redhead smiled at him before laying her head back down on his shoulder and closing her eyes. She took a deep breath and savored his unique scent. It was something that she had never told throughout the years she had been crushing on him, but she simply adored the way he smelled. It wasn't a strong odor, but it had hints of the outdoors mixed with a more manly musk. All in all, she reflected, the dark haired young man was the only thing that she really wanted. "You heard me, Xander." She told him quietly, abandoning the whispering for her normal voice.

"Wills… " Xander started to say, only to stop talking when nothing came to mind. He leaned his head against the window and let the coolness of the glass provide some modicum of comfort.

"We'll talk in a little bit, okay?" The witch asked softly.

"Sure." He replied. They spent the next several minutes in silence. Finally, a stray thought made itself known to the boy and he couldn't help but ask about it. "How did you get my mom to support you like this?"

Willow lifted her head and shot him a big grin. "It wasn't easy." She chortled, shooting a glance at Jessica to make sure that she wasn't paying attention to the young couple in the back seat. "When you ran away, she was really mad. Then, on the drive over to Giles' house, she made me tell her the whole story about what was happening between us. I had to make some major concessions, but your mom decided to throw her complete support behind me."

"What concessions?" He asked, looking at her suspiciously.

"I'll tell you later when we have our talk, okay?" She asked, dropping her grin for something a little softer. "I promise, I'll tell you everything then." At his nod of acceptance, she placed her head back on his shoulder.


Xander watched his mother drive away from the Chevy dealership where she had dropped the two teens off at. Looking around, he was fairly surprised to see the huge lot brimming with different vehicles for sale. Trucks, cars, and vans were on display for as far as he could see it seemed like. Glancing at the girl… no, woman… holding his left hand and walking beside him, he liked the way her eyes were gleaming as they swept back and forth searching for the 'perfect' vehicle.

"So what are you looking for?" He asked.

"I think that I want something… sporty." She told him after a moments thought. "I'm turning over a new leaf in my life and I want something that reflects that."

He stared at her in disbelief for a moment. "You want a car as a fashion accessory?" The look that she graced him with showed her annoyance. "Um… " He stammered, mentally slapping himself on the head for his blunder.

"No, I don't want a fashion accessory." Her voice was dry and a bit chilly. "I just want something more not-practical." She thought about what she wanted to tell him for a couple of seconds before bringing them to a stop and facing him directly. When she spoke again, her tone was considerably warmer. "If I was doing this last week, I would have selected something small and fuel efficient. There wouldn't be anything attractive about it, just practical. That's the old me." She took a breath and met his brown eyes head on. "The new me wants something better… something more out of life. Not just because I can, but because I deserve it."

He nodded his understanding, but felt a flash of guilt sweep through him at her words. Mentally shaking it off, he resolved to tell her about what he had done to her to make her change from who she was to who she had become. It was a moment that he dreaded, but he admitted to himself that it had to be done.

Without warning, a salesman approached them. Age wise, he looked to be in his mid-twenties. He was dressed in the standard fair of such people: loafers, dark slacks, white shirt, and a neutral tie completed the appearance he was trying to make. "Hi, my names John. How can I help you today?" The young man grinned, extending his hand to shake first the boy's hand and then the girls.

"I'm looking for something sporty." Willow told him.

The salesman broke out his business grin and mentally rubbed his hands together. "Well, we can handle that. If you'll follow me, I'll show you what we have available." John told them, waving towards an area of the lot by the offices.

Xander glanced up at the sky and then at the main building on the lot. "Do you have a showroom with everything displayed?" He asked. "It's gonna be a little warm out here to be traipsing all over the lot looking at cars." He caught the look of pride on the witch's face when he spoke up. Smiling at the young woman, he shot her a wink before turning his attention back to the salesman.

"Sure, sure. Not a problem!" The salesman replied with a big grin. "Can't beat that air-conditioning, huh?" He said, breaking into a forced laugh.

Xander and Willow glanced at each other for a moment as they followed the older man towards the main building. The redhead grinned when the boy rolled his eyes and made a moue of distaste, fighting down her giggle.

"Yep, it's going to be a hot one today, huh?" The salesman chuckled. "I just hate the way the asphalt of this place reflects all the heat back up. It's almost like having the pits of hell scorching my feet when I'm walking around."

Xander opened his mouth to say something but stopped when he felt his hand being squeezed. Looking over at his companion, he could see her amused expression as she shook her head slightly. Pouting, he arched an eyebrow in her direction only to relent when she slipped into her infamous resolve face. He knew better than to turn the old puppy-eyes on her when she got that one. A soft chuckle escaped as he turned his attention back forwards again.

Their silent communication between each other had been something he had always taken for granted. That thought caused the boy to crinkle his forehead as the deep and heavy thought took its place in his mind. He could remember those silent talks between them extending back over the years for as long as he could remember. It was something Jesse had complained about almost the entire time the three had hung out together. The other boy had often felt left out, despite the others trying to include him.

He snapped out of his musing when he felt the coolness of the interior of the showroom caress his skin. Looking around, he was impressed by the size of the room and the number of different cars on display.

"Over her we have the Monte Carlo. It has a large engine for that extra oomph and plenty of seating for everyone. If you decide to go to the beach for the day, the spacious trunk is perfect for holding all of your things." John said, launching into his spiel. Xander was only half-heartedly paying attention to what the salesman was saying. He had moved to the side of the vehicle to read about what features the car had when a gasp drew his attention to his friend. He glanced at her to see her eyes wide with slack-jawed awe. Following the path of her stare, he couldn't help but drool a little himself.

"I want that!" Willow said with a shaky voice, extending her finger to point across the showroom floor.

"Um… Wills?" Xander nervously stuttered, eyeing the beast with a large amount of trepidation. Looking at the salesman in the hopes that he would be the voice of moderation, that hope was quickly shot down. He could almost see the dollar signs lighting up in the man's eyes as the salesman grinned at the forty-two thousand dollar vehicle.

"Excellent choice!" John stated, rubbing his hands together. "Do you want your own back to finance the loan, or do you want to go through Chevrolet?"

"Stop!" Xander said loudly. "You're not buying a car without test driving it, Will!"

The redhead studied the stubborn set of his face before capitulating. A quick nod to show him her surrender and she turned her attention to the now sweating salesman. "How about a test drive?" She asked.

"Sure thing!" He laughed loudly. "Let me run and get the keys… I'll be right back!" At that, the salesman broke into a jog.

As soon as the man had gone, Xander turned to face his friend. "Willow! Can you even afford that thing?" He asked forcefully, crossing his arms across his chest.

She smiled back at him and patted her purse. "Of course I can. I have more than enough money, Xander." She hasted to assure him.

"And where did you get over forty grand?" He asked snidely, not believing her for a second. He was surprised when the witch snorted in amusement.

"My parents throw money at me instead of attention." She counted off the ways on her fingers. "I sold some programs that I wrote shortly after career day. I have money invested in some mutual funds. And I have money tucked away from my grandparents will." She placed her hands on her hips and stared back. "Any other objections?"

"Wills, that's too much car for ME and you're always complaining about how I put my life at risk." He shot back, not giving an inch.

She smiled cheekily back at him. "But Xander… Imagine being driven to school in that car. Just think of all the looks that we'll get from the Cordette's. How much fun will it be to go cruising around in it?" She asked, closing her eyes and picturing the events in her mind. She opened her eyes back up and smirked at the boy. "Plus, it just screams out about the new me."

With a sinking feeling in his stomach, he bowed his head in defeat. He knew that he had lost the argument. She hadn't flashed her resolve at him yet, but any argument that he could bring up, he knew that she could counter. Mentally washing his hands of the whole mess, he nodded his capitulation to her.

Seconds later, the redhead was securely fastened into the passenger seat of the car while the salesman slipped behind the wheel. As soon as the powerful engine turned over, the radio started blasting out a familiar song. She reached out and turned the stereo off before turning her attention to the salesman. "Scare me and you've got yourself a sale." She told him, crossing her arms and shooting him a doubtful look.

John grinned and shoved the car into gear. He laughed out loud, amazed at what he was about to do. Jamming one foot down on the gas, he could feel the huge engine start to roar when he dumped the clutch. He couldn't help but notice how the redhead shouted with glee as the car took off like a jackrabbit.

Xander could only watch in horror as the evil looking car took off with a loud squeal of tires and a large cloud of white smoke. He had a bad feeling about the situation. Nothing good could possibly come from this, he told himself.

Part 8

Giles stared at the neatly written pages in front of him. Three simple pieces of paper, but they changed so much in such a short amount of time. His Slayer had written that she had been daydreaming about 'someone' right before her 'episode'. She hadn't stated who it was that she had been daydreaming about, but she did state that Xander had been in the room and witnessed the entire event.

The Watcher sighed in confusion. Her report was littered with ambiguities and was deliberately vague enough to confound him. Carefully, he read the report again, hoping for clarity to strike like lightning from the sky. A rather useless hope, he admitted to himself, but there really wasn't much else he could do.

When he had completed his reading for the third time, he huffed in exasperation. Reaching across the table, he pulled a legal sized notepad towards him and started to take detailed notes on a line-by- line basis. Perhaps his history with listening to her vague and rather useless patrol reports would help him in the interpretation of her meanderings. Well, one could hope anyway.

Thirty minutes later, he was finally finished. Looking down at his notepad, he started to read from beginning. Within a few lines, he felt a chill race down his spine hard enough to shake his shoulders. His Slayer had been attacked! Within seconds he was on the phone, ordering her to report in person. He had his duty, after all. He had to assess the situation and see if she were still under foreign control!


Xander sighed with relief when he saw the red sports car come careening down the road towards the dealership. That relief turned into something else when he saw the car take the turn into the lot at high speed, sending the sound of squealing tires lofting through the air. His sense of fear turned into panic when the car barreled towards him, only to slam on the brakes at the very last second before it had touched the curb.

Looking down at his watch, he saw that he had been waiting for over twenty minutes. Shaking his head, he looked up to see Willow hop out of the car without bothering to open the door to the convertible. Looking down, he could see that she was holding her high-heeled shoes in one hand. Glancing back up to face as she ran over to him, he could tell that she was flushed from excitement. He just couldn't stop himself from returning her infectious grin before she landed in his arms and hugged him tightly.

"Oh, my God! That was absolutely amazing!" She bubbled over in her enthusiasm for the bright red car. "You have got to try this thing out with me, Xander! I've never experienced anything like it before!"

He smiled back at her, letting her back down to the ground. "I'm glad you liked it, Will. So… you gonna buy it?" He asked, trying to sound nonchalant about the entire deal.

"Oh, hell yeah!" She grinned up at him. "I can't wait to take Diana home."

"Diana?" He asked, puzzled at the weird name for the car.

"Yeah, Princess Diana." She explained, waving one hand in the direction of the convertible.

"You named your car Princess Diana?" Xander asked again, feeling slightly slow witted all of a sudden. "Why?"

"Why Diana or why a female name?" She asked, quirking her eyebrow and grinning at him.

"Uh, how about we start with why a female name?" He responded, running his left hand through his hair.

"Oh, that's easy. All cars, ships, and boats are female. Things like motorcycles and bicycles are male." She explained casually. While she was speaking, she latched onto his arm with her left hand and raised her legs one at a time to put her shoes back on.

"Okay." He drawled the word out. "You might want to explain that a bit more."

She smiled impishly up at him and explained. "Anything you climb into is female. Anything you climb on top of and ride is male." She said simply and calmly.

Xander stared at her for a second before the words made any sense. When they did, he blushed, started coughing, and pounding his chest with his free hand. "Willow!" He exclaimed in shock. Her bright laughter drifting over the lot was her reply. He shook his head in appreciation, but he couldn't help but feel a little guilty. After all, he thought, he was the one who had done this to her. In some ways, he could admit that his friend was vastly improved. With her new outlook on life, she wouldn't let many opportunities for fun and happiness pass her by. Still, he wasn't used to her acting this way. He kind of missed his old Willow.

When she had fastened the ankle straps to her pumps, she looked affectionately at her car and patted Xander on his arm. "Watch Diana for me while I go in and sign the paperwork, okay?"

"Sure, Wills. I can do that." He nodded to her. He was expecting her to run right into the building, but she simply handed the keys to him. "I'm not driving that thing around." He protested, trying to return the keys to her.

She giggled and patted his arm again. "Just enjoy the radio, Xan." She told him. "I don't know how long this will take."

"I'll be here." He muttered absently, staring at the powerful vehicle. He noted to himself that she walked serenely through the doors, but he didn't really pay that much attention to her. His focus was on the red beast in front of him. "Diana? I don't get it." He mumbled before shrugging and making his way to the passenger door.


"Giles!" His Slayer's voice sounded off from his front door. Wincing, he noted that she had slammed the door closed again. He wondered when she would ever learn to shut the blasted thing properly. "What's the what?" She asked, walking into the room.

"We need to talk, Buffy." The Watcher told her calmly, holding the papers up with his hand. He ignored her blush and simply stared at her in an attempt to convey how serious the situation really was.

"Do we have to?" She sighed miserably, dropping into a chair across the table from her. She didn't meet his eyes.

"Buffy." He began, lowering his hand to the table and spreading the pages out before him. "If I'm correct, you were attacked. What happened is in no way your fault."

"Really?" Her eyes snapped to his face while her voice sounded full of hope.

"Yes." He nodded. "I just need a few points clarified."

"Sure!" She was happy for a second before her face became blank and her voice became cold. "And then we're going to hunt down whatever did this to me and kill it." Her Watcher just nodded in return. If his Slayer had been attacked as he suspected, slaying the creature responsible wasn't just a duty… it was matter of honor. No one attacked a Slayer with impunity.


Signing the paperwork for the car took just about an hour. To Xander, sitting in the black leather seats in the shade of the building while the heat of the day surrounded him, it was a boring hour. The music station he had selected wasn't lively enough to energize him. No, he had selected a local country and western to match his mood. Sooner or later, he told himself, he was going to have to face the music. He didn't notice Willow walking out of the showroom and stand by the car.

Willow knew what the music meant. After all, she had spent the majority of her life with her best friend. He was depressed about something and didn't want to talk. Well, he could forget about that, she promised herself. There was no way that she was going to have a broody Xander with her all day! They were going to have fun, damn it!

Opening the door, the redhead slid into her seat while holding her skirt down in the back. Two simple flicks of her fingers, and her shoes slipped off her feet and were tucked in close to the seat to give her legroom. She closed the door and was pleased when he was startled out of his daze. She was about to say something when he began to speak to her.

"Willow, we need to talk. I don't know what you have planned for us today, but we need to do this now." He said quietly, not looking up from his feet.

"Okay, so talk." She said, leaning back in her seat. She turned her head until she could watch his facial features.

"No, we need to go someplace where we won't be interrupted." He told her calmly.

Trepidation coursed through her, but she forced herself to remain calm. "Is this about me wanting us to be an us?" She asked in return.

He paused for a second. "Sort of." He glanced at her and found her bright green eyes staring at him calmly. When he saw her mouth open, he held up a hand, palm out. "Just… drive us somewhere private first." She nodded and started the car.

"Can we chat about stuff while I drive?" She asked, backing out of the parking spot.

He watched her put the car in first gear and smoothly accelerated towards the exit to the dealership. He was amazed when she hit second gear without grinding the gears. "Yeah." He grinned at her as she eased the powerful car to a halt to check traffic. "We've been best friends for as long as I can remember, Wills. So I think that I can safely ask a question that I've always been afraid to before."

She glanced at him before turning her attention back to the road. "Yeah? Like what?"

He looked slyly at her for a second, making sure that she took the time to glance at him and recognize his teasing look. "So how come you prefer a Corvette like this to a real high-school car like a Mustang?" He asked cheerfully. Her rich laughter was her immediate response as the car roared on down the road.


"Well." Giles sighed as he looked over at his Slayer. "You were definitely attacked. Have you noticed anyone else acting strangely?"

Buffy thought for a second, running over the behavior of everyone she knew. "Willow is definitely different. She's all into pursuing Xander right now."

"How?" The Watcher asked, picking up his notepad and a pen.

"She's… really aggressive." Buffy told him, closing her eyes to visualize what she was trying to put into words. "You weren't here when she showed up to grab him, but she was dressed GOOD! Normally, she just wears those fuzzy things, but today she was wearing this really cute outfit. See, she had this white blouse with some ruffles on the collar. On top of that she had this really CUTE black jacket that totally matched her skirt. Oh, and she was wearing high heels, Giles! That's like so not normal for her! Even if they matched her purse, Willow's just not the high heel type of girl. Now I could pull that look off in a second, but Willow is more the kid clothes and stuff."

Giles glared at his Slayer for a couple of moments before taking off his glasses and cleaning them. "You're saying that Willow's been attacked because she dresses differently?" He asked, examining his glasses for dust. He missed the return glare from Buffy.

"No!" The blonde exclaimed. "She's also chasing after Xander and won't take no for an answer!"

"Hmm. I see." He muttered, jotting down a few notes after putting his glasses back on. Looking over at the plethora of notes that he had taken, he decided to clarify another point that had confused him. "You said that while you were in class, you were looking at Xander?" He asked, purposely not looking up from his legal pad.

Buffy blushed for a second. "I couldn't help it!" She protested. "I was looking at his lips and thinking about what Willow told me right after the fluke. She said that he did this thing with his tongue that really drove her wild. And I was feeling all sorry for myself, thinking about how Angel and me can't do that sort of stuff, and he was sitting right there, being all tempting and all. How was I supposed to not look at him and maybe think about… er, I mean… uh… maybe." She stammered.

Giles forced down a groan of impatience at his Slayer. "Have you ever felt any sexual attraction to Xander previous to this incident?" He asked calmly, feeling a migraine threatening to emerge.

"Um… maybe." The blonde quietly told him. At his sharp look, she hastened to add, "Okay! Maybe… twice." She finished in a whisper, looking down at her lap.

"Twice." He muttered, writing the data down.

"Yeah… um… last year… and the year before that." Buffy added helpfully.

"Right. Once last year and once the year before." Giles nodded, his pen flying across the paper. "Can you remember the specific details of the occasions?"

"Yes, but you're not going to get them!" She snapped, figuratively digging her heels in.

"Oh." The Watcher blinked several times before deciding to move on. "Yes. Right." He lifted the end of the pen and nibbled on the cap, deep in thought. Lifting his head, he looked her in the eye. "How do you feel about him now?" He asked gently.

"I have to protect him." Buffy calmly replied, her eyes glazing over slightly. "I have to encourage him to become a better person, even if he doesn't want it. After all, I'm the Slayer! I know better than anyone how good Willow's going to be for him!"

"Oh, dear God." Giles whispered, staring at his Slayer in disbelief.


Willow pulled the Corvette convertible into a parking spot at the local make-out point for Sunnydale. Normally, she would have avoided it, but with the sun streaming down and the absence of anyone else, she felt that it was safe. Turning the engine off, the sudden silence was spooky. Taking a deep breath, she turned in her seat, tucking her right leg up underneath the other. "You wanted to say something to me?" She asked calmly.

Xander sighed and undid his seatbelt. Looking over at his best friend, he wondered if she would ever speak to him again once she found out what he had done. Slowly, he swallowed past an emotional lump that felt like it was stuck in his throat and nodded his head. Taking several deep breaths for courage, he looked the redhead in the eye. "Tell me exactly when you started to feel so confident and forceful." He ordered calmly.

The witch eyed him carefully as she considered her answer. "Yesterday in the hallway. You were walking around me and trying to get me to see reason. I was so angry and confused and scared that I couldn't think straight. Then you leaned over and started whispering in my ear. The feel of that was… " She shivered and closed her eyes for a second before opening them back up. "Well, it felt good." She told him, without a hint of blushing. "I wanted you so bad right then that I could barely hold still. Then I had this epiphany… I knew that you wanted me from the fluke thing. So I asked myself… why in the hell was I denying myself the one thing that I wanted more than anything else in the world? And you know what?"

She asked and waiting until he had shaken his head before continuing. "I couldn't think of one God damned reason! Not one! I could think of all kinds of reasons to go for it, but nothing was holding me back except my fear of rejection." She stated calmly, smiling gently at him. "A rejection that I knew you wouldn't give me if we were both single. That led to other thoughts. It was so amazing, Xander." She sounded so wistful at that moment. "All my fears and doubts came boiling up and I actually analyzed each and every one. Some I kept and some I totally destroyed. I felt so… powerful at that moment."

"Wha… what kind of things did you… destroy?" Xander whispered, his eyes studying her face. She frowned for a second at the flash of guilt that had crossed his face, but he had hidden it before she could question it.

"Like my shyness for one thing." She replied, her soft smile back on her lips. "I just kept asking myself what being shy had ever done for me. The answer that I came up with is hurt and embarrassment. Everytime I wanted something, it was denied me because I lacked the courage to try for it. Things like popularity, friends, nice clothes… you." She finished in a whisper. She never dropped her eyes from his, wanting to prove her sincerity. She knew very well how much was riding on her honesty. She could admit to herself that her new personality was scary to someone with Xander's dating history, but she wasn't going to hide herself away anymore. This was who she was, and she LIKED her new life.

"Wills… " He whispered, dropping his face downwards and rubbing his hands together slowly. "You are… " He licked his lips in his nervousness. Glancing up at his friend, he noticed that she was watching him calmly. "I did something bad." He groaned, closing his eyes and hiding his face behind his hands.

"Like what?" She said, not moving an inch. She wanted to offer comfort of her romantic interest, but knew that she would have to wait. This was to important.

"I changed you." He said, meeting her eyes with his own to show how serious he was.

"Okay." She slowly said, arching an eyebrow and pursing her lips. He couldn't fail to notice how her fingers tightened on the armrest until the knuckles were white. "How?"

"I have this power now." He began, turning away to look out of the car. Despite the feeling of trepidation, he forced himself onwards. "I can't control it, but it changes people. You see, it all started…."


Jessica Harris stood over her sleeping husband. She knew that he should have awoken by now, but he was still fast asleep and snoring as if he were drunk still. She looked at the alarm clock next to the bed and mentally calculated that it had been almost twenty-four hours since she had knocked him out. The puzzling thing was, she thought, was that the tap she had given him was nothing. It barely had the strength to do the job. If he hadn't been sloshed to the gills first, he wouldn't have been fazed. No, something was definitely wrong.

Checking his pulse, she was relieved to find it strong and steady. It was then, bending over her husband's unconscious body, that she smelled it. Gingerly pulling back the blanket and sheet, she found a large yellow stain on the bed surrounding his hips. Now that was completely different, she mused. No matter how drunk he had gotten in the past, Anthony Harris had always managed to get out of bed and go to the bathroom.

Seriously worried, she walked over to the nightstand and picked up the telephone. One by one, she punched in three numbers that she had never thought she would use: nine one one. Waiting for the operator to pick up on the other end, she used her free hand to sweep her husbands hair off of his forehead. Despite being a bastard to both her and her son, she still loved the bastard. Closing her eyes, she forced herself not to cry. There will be time enough for that later, she told herself.

'Emergency services.' A pleasant and calm voice came over the telephone. At the first sound of a human voice, Jessica had tightened the phone against her ear. 'How may I help you?'

"It's my husband." She stammered, feeling a lump in her throat and a stinging in her eyes. "He won't wake up."

Part 9

Willow sat quietly while Xander relayed his story to her. For once, the youth didn't hold anything back. He told her everything that had happened. The sulking he had done in the park. The pain he had undergone. Waking up in his bed without knowledge of how he got there. Buffy's little peccadillo during history class. Willow's sudden about face on her shyness turning to confident aggressiveness. He told her about his mother becoming a Stepford mom. He told her about the bit of power that was pulled into his dad, but also that he didn't know what the change would be. The entire time he talked, she sat calmly, gazing at him with her intelligent green eyes, not judging or condoning. It gave him the strength to finish.

"That's it." He whispered, hanging his head with shame. "That's everything." He refused to look her in the face. He didn't even look up when he heard her door open and then shut several seconds later. He felt so bad. He was positive that he was the lowest, scummiest thing on the face of the planet. He simply sat there and berated himself for all the evils, both real and imagined, that he had ever committed. It was safe to say that he truly and honestly hated himself at that point in time.


When the ambulance pulled into the driveway of the Harris home, Jessica was waiting anxiously at the door. Unable to speak due to the sobs that she was barely holding back, she simply waved the crew onwards, pointing the way with one hand while the other remained clamped over her mouth. She watched as her husband was quickly examined and then transferred onto a gurney. Sheer willpower alone prevented her from collapsing as one of the EMT's started asking background information. She was thankful that he was able to ask yes/no questions, because that was all she was capable of.

She still had not broken down five minutes later when she locked up her home and climbed into the back of the ambulance. She noticed how the crew of three went quickly and efficiently to their assigned duty stations, but she spared no more of her mind on them than she had to. The pain that she was fiercely holding at bay was a constant threat, something that she had to hold off as long as possible. She endured the ride as best she could with the screaming siren overhead. She watched, never releasing the steel-like clamp that she had placed over her mouth. She suffered, answering questions with either a nod or shake of her head.

When the ambulance pulled into the loading bay, she felt like a zombie. The young man that had asked for background information had to clasp her arm and guide her into the hospital. She was thankful to the man, but was unable to say so. She knew that if she opened her mouth to speak, the floodgates would come crashing down. She had to hold on for as long as possible, she just knew it, although she couldn't remember the reason why.

She sat where the young man indicated, not fighting the press and flood of people walking back and forth in front of her chair. Her attention remained fixed on the gurney holding her husband as it was wheeled over to an examination area. When the curtains were pulled around him, hiding him from view, she was thankful that a nurse had sat down beside her with even more paperwork to fill out. When asked for their insurance numbers, she fumbled through her purse until she found the card that Anthony had insisted that she carry. She was never more glad in her life to be ordered to do something.

The curtain hiding her husband from her was withdrawn at the same time as the nurse finished with her questions. Under other circumstances, she was sure that she would admire such a smooth operation, but these were not normal. Silently, she walked over to her husband's unconscious body and listened to the doctor talk. She must have looked confused, because the doctor repeated himself several times, each time speaking in plainer and plainer English until understanding finally dawned on her. The look of relief on his face went unnoticed when she got what he had been telling her.

Coma. Such a small word to indicate this much pain, she thought. Unexplained. Another word that seemed so innocent when taken by itself. Putting the two together, the wife and mother followed her husband as he was wheeled through the corridors and into an elevator. Still, she did not break. She held herself up with her pride. She maintained her impassive face with her willpower. She was determined to hold on. She would hold on.

When they transferred her husband to a bed, she calmly took the seat by his side. She thought about the young doctor downstairs that had spoken so plainly to make sure she understood. Unexplained coma. Two words that slammed into her heart with the tenderness of a shotgun blast. Prognosis: Unknown. Two more words that shredded her chest apart with the blood lust of a demon. She closed her eyes and waited, her calmness worn like a shield against the outside world. It might not have meant much in the past, but she was a Harris, damn it! She had pride and honor to buttress her in her time of need.

She didn't open her eyes again until she heard the door click shut. Looking around, she saw Anthony, looking so lifeless, in the bed with a monitor hooked to several wires running down towards his chest. She followed the wires upwards until she came to a small display where it showed the steady, but slow beat of his heart. She leaned backwards into her chair and waited, making sure that she was alone.

Only then did she let the dam collapse and felt her heart bleed in agony. Her only light in the darkness of despair was that her son would be taken care of. Willow was a wonderful girl, she told herself.


Both Giles and Buffy had dialed Willow's cell phone number only to end in failure. They knew that it wasn't turned off because the message was different. For some reason, the redheaded witch wasn't answering her phone. Exchanging glances, the two worried, but didn't know where to go. Rushing out and searching the entire county would be fruitless, and they both knew it. All they could do was to keep trying her number and hoping that she would just show up.


It was the sniffling that broke Xander out of his self-hating trance. He glanced up to see the witch standing only ten feet from the car. Her back was stiff, whether with pride, rage, or something else he didn't know. Her arms hung loosely at her side. Then, without warning, her shoulders dropped, screaming out that they weren't up to the burden that they had been asked to hold. Her face was wiped of all emotion, the features looking as if they had been carved from the finest marble. But it was her eyes that haunted the young man now. A river flowed from each eye, streaming down her cheeks, past her mouth, coming together in a raging torrent on her chin, only to fall down in a steady downpour onto her blouse.

Xander felt the pain shoot through his heart as if someone had rammed a stake through it. Faster than he would have thought possible, he was out of the car, not remembering later if he had opened the door or just jumped over it in his rush. Sprinting over to his friend, he clasped her body against his and held on for all his strength.

And she broke.

The sobs racked her body with the viciousness of a vampire attack. Her shoulders shook so hard that he sometimes felt as if he wouldn't be able to hang on, yet he did. He whispered words of loyalty and courage into her hair, not knowing if they were being understood or ignored. Yet he noticed, no matter how hard he squeezed, her arms remained limp at her side.

Neither pulled away when her cell phone rang. Xander remained steady because he loved the young woman in his arms too much to abandon her to her grief. Willow because she had no strength. His world was falling apart within the confines of his arms while hers had been shattered. He was contemplating a life without his best friend while she wondered if the pain would become so bad that her life would mercifully end. Two friends, locked in grief, cried together in silence and in pain.


"Where could they possibly be?" Giles muttered angrily, pacing by his table. His Slayer sat next to him, watching his energy being displayed with a calm expression on her face. Her shoulders rose into a shrug to answer him, yet she made no verbal comment. There wasn't anything she could really say, was there? No, she thought, all she could do was worry about her friends and wait.

A low growl escaped her lips as she wiped the palms of her hands on her skirt. She hated waiting. "Do you have any ideas, Giles?" She asked quietly. Truthfully, she still existed in a state of shock that she had been mentally tampered with. That was the conclusion that her Watcher had reached upon extensive questioning. She looked down at the words on the paper in front of her and almost cringed upon feeling two separate but equal emotions connected to them.

The sheer arrogance of her statement hit her first, closely followed by the feeling of how? right? those words were. She was the Slayer, and as such was gifted with an innate ability to deal with certain issues better than anyone else. Where her friend's relationship with Xander fit in, she wasn't sure. Biting her lower lip, she tried to think objectively about the entire topic.

Willow was good for Xander. That was an undisputed fact in her book. After all, she reasoned, Willow had been studying the boy since they were five years old. She knew every single good and bad point about him and still loved him desperately. The blonde could still remember how needy the redhead had sounded in the early days of their friendship when the witch had made her famous statement, "I'm so in love with Xander Harris!" It struck a cord deep within the Slayer. It was like a statement from God, ringing with the righteousness of the Almighty!

She shook her head again, trying to clear it. That was the problem, she knew. She couldn't get past how perfect they were together every time she saw them. The touches between the two were at once both innocent and sweet, yet hinted at something buried much deeper. She couldn't believe that no one saw it but her. Her blood burned with the sheer evilness of the idea that they weren't together the way Fate, God, and more importantly, the Slayer demanded!

Sighing, she folded her arms on the table and laid her head down on them. Closing her eyes, she tried to eliminate all thought for just a few seconds.


Xander didn't know how long they stood there, the witch wrapped up in his arms sobbing her heart out. Throughout the ordeal, he had kept up a verbal assault on her grief with words of comfort. When her wailing had tapered off, he continued to hold her, almost crushing her to his chest. Not once did the small woman ever raise her arms to wrap around him, and the knowledge that he had once again hurt her in such a personal way stabbed him deeply within his own heart.

Loathing and self-disgust were the two feelings that he was feeling the most. He had promised to both himself and the redheaded witch that he wouldn't ever do this to her after the fluke was finally over. To his horror, the development of his power led to this situation with his first act. Closing his eyes, he buried his face in her hair and gave her another tight squeeze with his arms.

"Why?" The witch asked quietly, not moving from her spot of comfort.

"I? uh? " He stammered into her hair, not lifting his head. He cleared his throat and asked, "Why what?" He whispered in response.

"This whole thing." She said, her voice choked with her tears. "I'm finally happy with who I am and? and? and it's an accident!" The witch screamed into his chest. She swiftly brought her hands up and placed them flat on his chest. Without warning, she shoved against him as hard as she could, breaking his hold on her and shoving him to the ground. He looked stunned, she decided, before her rage took over again. "You fucking asshole!" She shrieked as loudly as she could, her face turning bright red.

Xander felt his face closing off, hiding his emotions away from the world. He opened his mouth to say something, only to be beaten to the draw by the suddenly furious witch standing over his sitting form.

"You couldn't say anything before I bought a fucking car?" She yelled, pointing a shaking finger directly at his face. "What in the hell am I going to do with a God damned sports car if this wears off? What the fuck am I going to do with a completely new wardrobe, huh? Shit! What about your mom, huh? She's going to think I'm a fucking lunatic!" She paused for a second, her green eyes snapping at his in fury. "You cowardly son of a bitch!" She hissed at him, wanting nothing more than to smash his face into the asphalt at her feet. "You let me ruin my fucking life because of? what? Huh, shit head? Tell me why you let me do these things?" She screamed loudly.

Xander hopped to his feet, his own anger radiating from his form in answer to her tirade. "Let you ruin your life? I didn't LET you do anything! Every time I turn around, you're trying to stick your damn tongue down my throat! So don't yell at me for ruining anything! It's not my fault!" He roared back, waving his arms around wildly. He stared at her for a second, watching her glare back at him for a few seconds. Finally, he took a deep breath and dropped his arms to his side. Calming down, he let his glare fade away and simply watched his? former?? best friend in the world.

The redhead continued to glare for a few moments more before her face went slack. A quick, jerky nod of her head signaled her surrender. She closed her green eyes and turned her face away, tilting her head downwards. "You're right. It's not your fault, Xander." She whispered. "I ruined everything on my own, didn't I?" She sighed, turning her body away from him and hugging her arms across her chest. "I ruined this just like I ruined everything else in my life. After all, if it wasn't for me, you'd still be dating the most popular girl in school." She stated bleakly.

He swallowed hard, wanting to comfort her, but not sure how after having blown up at her in anger. His mouth opened several times, but the words refused to come to him. Finally, he shut his mouth while racking his brain for the answer. Before it could come, his attention was drawn to his friend.

She opened her eyes and stared at the black asphalt, lightly rubbing the toe of her shoe over the rough surface. Suddenly, she snorted out loud, startling the young man standing behind her. "I'm such a stupid idiot." She said wryly. "Why in the hell did I ever think you could be interested in a nothing like me?" She let out an ugly laugh. "You can get girls like Cordelia and I thought that *I* stood a chance?" She shook her head sadly. Turning around, she could see him staring at her with an uncertain look on his face. Sighing, she gave him a sad little smile. "Come on, Xander. I'll drive you home." Her quiet voice barely disturbing the young man, who appeared to be deep in thought.

Thought after thought went careening through his mind. He knew that he had to fix this, but for the life of him, he couldn't think of anything. Pictures of different scenes from the past flashed before his eyes. He could instantly recall all the highlights of his life, and was surprised by how often Willow had played a part of them. Shaking his head, he decided that knew how to fix it, if only he had the courage. Turning his head, he followed the young woman with his eyes.

Quietly, she made her way over to the driver's seat and slid in behind the wheel. Wiping the few tears left in her eyes away, she grabbed the keys and started the powerful car. She closed her eyes and relished the way the engine purred under the hood. Her right foot caressed the gas pedal and she smiled wryly at the way the engine roared for a second before quieting down.

She sighed sadly, desperately wishing that this had never happened in the first place. Better to be a shy little nerd than to be confident and shot down, she told herself. Feeling her emotions once again trying to get the best of her, she used her formidable willpower to force down the choking sobs that threatened to escape.

"Not only do I ruin everything with Xander, but I fucked up everything with Oz too." She whispered, turning her face away from the young man who was climbing into his seat beside her. "I lost my best friend, and there's nothing I can do about it." She whimpered quietly, angrily wiping away the tears that continued to fall. She slammed the shifter into first and was about to apply the gas when she registered her friend's arm stretching towards the steering column. Her jaw dropped in fear when, with a quick twist, he turned off the car and withdrew the keys from the ignition.

Turning towards him with her mouth opened to let loose a verbal barrage; it snapped shut with an audible click of her teeth when she saw what expression he was wearing. A quick search of her memories returned the fact that this was the first time she had witnessed it. The redhead suppressed the shiver that raced down her spine as she sat back in her seat without a protest.

Xander was beyond placating, anger, or even his normal joking expressions. He was determined to hash this thing out with her once and for all, no matter the consequences. He spun the keys around his finger while he thought, not missing the way the witch was licking her lips with nervousness as she eyed her keys with misgiving. He didn't care right now, though. Pursing his lips in agitation, he focused his chocolate brown eyes on her green ones and arched an eyebrow in thought.

For the first time in his life, Xander was wearing a resolve-face, and he wasn't going to let the other girl run away from the coming confrontation.

Part 10

"We need to talk." He said quietly, tucking the keys away in his shirt pocket.

"No, we don't." Willow responded with a shake of her head. "You've made your feelings pretty plain, Xander." She looked at his serious expression for a moment before she let out a bitter laugh. "I might've been too stupid to recognize them, but I understand now."

"Willow? " Xander began, searching for the right way to reassure his best friend.

The redhead snorted and looked away. "It's okay, Xander." She told him flatly, folding her arms underneath her breasts. "I'm not the type of person you can love like that. I can be your friend and your sister, but that's all I'll ever be." She shook her head and shot him a glance out of the corner of her eye. "If you can even stand to have me around anymore after the way I've fucked up." She added in a hoarse whisper. Internally, she kept up a steady mantra of, "I will not cry. I will not cry."

"I guess that I should have gotten a fucking clue when I kissed you at school and you ran away all horrified." She muttered in despair, turning her gaze towards the steering wheel. Idly, she lifted one hand and traced the crossed flags in the center of the wheel with one finger. She sighed and tilted her head back and stared at the clouds. "You know, for as smart as I keep claiming to be, I'm pretty fucking dumb at times." She whispered. Another bitter laugh escaped her before she could choke it off and she felt the hot sting of fresh tears in her green eyes. "Shit!" She cursed, angrily wiping her eyes with the hand that had just been on the steering wheel.

"Willow? look? " He sighed, turning to face forward and give his friend some measure of privacy to collect herself. " It's just? well? I screwed up what we had with the fluke thing? " He was cut off by the snort of disgust from beside him. With a frown, he turned to face the witch.

"God! Get over yourself!" Willow chuckled. "You think that I couldn't push you away if I wanted to?" She shook her head and stared him directly in the eye. "It takes more than one person to kiss, Xander. I know that you don't want to hear it, but I fucked up too. The fluke thing was an us, not a you. No matter how much you want to take the blame, you can't."

"You never said anything." He whispered, looking down at his lap.

"Yeah, well? neither did you." She replied. She continued to stare at him, watching him play with the hem of his shirt. She frowned at her best friend as she thought of something. "You've been taking all the blame, aren't you? That's why Oz took me back." She asked calmly, curiosity coloring her voice. When he nodded, she just exploded. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" She screamed while pounding her fist into the armrest between them. "Did I ask you to take responsibility for my actions? I can answer for my own fuck ups, Xander!" She stilled her pounding and sat there, fuming. "Man, I want to beat the crap out of you right now." She hissed angrily.

His head shot up towards her and he matched her glare for glare. "I thought I was helping, alright? You're my best friend? well, you were my best friend!" He growled at her. "Friends do stuff like that for each other."

"Grow the fuck up, Xander." She huffed, turning her face away and shaking her head. "What made you think that you had all the answers, hmm?" She asked sarcastically.

"Well? I kissed you and? " He began, not sure what she was getting at. His puzzled expression changed to an angry frown when she started cackling at him.

"Oh, God! What? You thought that I couldn't resist the mighty Xander, God's gift to women?" She laughed harder, rubbing her stomach to relieve some of the pressure that she could feel building while she laughed. "Oh, shit! That's funny!" Her laughter finally started to die down several minutes later, but she continued to giggle whenever she glanced at his stunned expression. "I can't believe that you'd think I'd kiss you because you think you're irresistible!" She giggled, holding one hand over her mouth.

"Okay, I get the point." He muttered, deeply hurt. He sighed and looked back down into his lap where one of his hands was playing with the bottom corner of his shirt. "Still, you went back to Oz." He whispered.

His words cut her hilarity off at the knees. "You never told me what you wanted, Xander." She told him quietly. "I thought that you wanted to dump me and find someone else. I kept hoping and praying, but you never said anything at all. Hell, I thought you wanted me to go back to Oz."

"No!" He protested, yanking his eyes up to look at her depressed face. "You made that decision, not me!"

She snorted and shot him a look of disbelief. "Well, you sure as hell didn't say anything! Was I supposed to read your fucking mind or something?" She shot back.

Xander stared at her for a second before ruefully shaking his head. "All that's in the past anyway." He said, waving his hand dismissively. "And it's beside the point? you're under the influence of a spell right now." He told her coldly, his face bland and emotionless.

"I hate to tell you, asshole, but I like the new me." She laughed loudly. Turning to face him, she waved a hand at her body. "Look at me! I feel good about myself for the most part! I look good! Hell, I even feel good! Why the hell should I give this up?" She told him.

"Wills, you're not thinking like yourself right now." He calmly replied, glancing outside the car to make sure that they were still alone. "Until you're back to your old self, any decisions you make are? well? sort of suspect." He sighed, fixing his brown eyes on her face again. He needed to get this back on topic. Maybe if he got her to research with Giles, everything would go back to normal. "If you were your old self and came on to me, I wouldn't have turned you down." Well, he thought snidely, it was a crappy card to play, but he wanted his friend back. He had to get her thinking about helping him fix this.

The redhead stared at him blankly for over a minute. He could almost feel her stare boring into his head as the seconds ticked by. "Xander, I'm only going to say this once, so I want you to listen to me really carefully." She told him slowly and carefully. Her voice didn't betray any serious emotions because it was so cold. "No matter how much I love you, no matter how much time I've spent pining away for you, if I have to make the decision to go back to the way I was and have you love me, or to stay the way I am right now and leave you behind? I would leave you behind in a heartbeat." At his shocked expression, she gave him a serious nod in return. "I won't be blackmailed into getting your love, Xander. Either you love me or you don't? it's that simple."

"Wills? " He started to say only to be interrupted by the witch covering his mouth with her hand. He couldn't let that stand!

"No, Xander." She said quietly. "I want you to know that I've loved you for years? and not like a brother. I've wanted to be your girlfriend for over five years now." Again, she nodded at his shocked expression. "I stay up at night fantasizing about you returning my emotions. I sometimes zone out in class dreaming about you asking me to marry you." She turned her eyes downwards and blushed lightly. "Sometimes? in the tub? I pretend that you're touching me." She raised her eyes back up to meet his. "I've lived that way for years. Years, Xander." The witch took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Until yesterday, I've always been too embarrassed or shy to say anything. It was only in my most private dreams that I ever thought I could talk to you like this without stuttering and running away." She shook her head slowly, maintaining eye contact. "If I have to, I'll never bother you about my feelings again. I'll go back to being the friend who stares at you with that lost expression in her eyes. I'll even go back to being the friend helplessly in love with you who you used to practice your pickup lines for Buffy with."

She smiled at his guilty expression. "I don't blame you for any of that, Xander." She sighed wistfully. "It was my responsibility to tell you about my feelings and I failed. I failed you and me. Now, I have the strength to say stuff like that? " Her lips became pinched tightly together and the humor was lost from her eyes. "If you're asking me to give that up voluntarily? I'll fight you. I won't give it up without a fight, Xander. It's too important to me."

He looked at her resolve face and felt his argument collapsing. She had explained carefully why she would resist efforts to return to the way she was and he couldn't really blame her. He had never been as shy as she had been but he was sure that it would be a living hell. Sagging down into his seat, he nodded his head.

"Thank you, Xander." She whispered. "You don't know how much that means to me."

"I can guess, Wills." He sighed and gave her a rueful smile. "I can understand why you won't want to go back? " He shook his head at the thought. "But how do I know that your entire history of loving me isn't made up too? If it is, and I do anything with you, it'll be taking advantage of you in a way that I couldn't live with." He grunted in annoyance before turning his attention back to her. "I do love you, Willow, and don't ever doubt that. It's just? well? "

"You love me like a sister." The redhead finished sadly.

"I don't know." The dark haired youth replied, glancing up at her. "There might be more there, but I just don't know."

"Might be more?" The witch whispered in shock, her wide-open eyes staring at him.

"I've never been in love like that before, Willow." He groaned, wiping a hand over his face. "I thought that I was in love with Cordy, but it didn't feel like this. When you went back to Oz, it hurt. When you stopped hanging around me, it hurt even more. Then you suddenly want me again." He lowered his head and rubbed his forehead. "I'm so confused right now it's not even funny." He didn't jerk when he felt her hand lightly rubbing his back through his shirt. It felt? good.

"Xander? I'm not asking you to love me unconditionally forever right now." She told him quietly. "But I would like a chance to explore what we have together." The witch paused for a second. "If we have more there, then it would be everything I've dreamed of." She licked her lips nervously. "If we wind up being brother and sister, then that's fine." She could feel her eyes start to sting again. "But please don't give up without giving it a chance. For all the years we've been friends, I think I deserve at least that much." She whispered, running her hand up to lightly scratch the back of his neck with her nails. "I'm begging you, Xander. Can you give me a chance to see if my dreams can come true?"

He looked at her face and could see the anguish that was there. He watched a tear make its way down one of her cheeks while relishing the feel of her hand on his skin. A heavy sigh and he knew that he'd lost. Closing his eyes, he nodded his defeat.

Willow squealed in glee and wrapped him up in a big hug. A litany of thank you's poured from her mouth and Xander couldn't help but smile. After several minutes, he pushed her gently away and put a serious expression on his face.

"We have to tell Giles about my? power." He said, twisting his face to show his apprehension at the idea of him being the one who tampered with his Slayer. "If I live through it, then you can make the decision on how far we can go with this." He said, waving a finger between the two of them. "Until then, hugs and little kisses only, okay? No tongue!" He added forcefully before calming his voice down to normal. "I couldn't take it if I was doing stuff you didn't really want." The dark haired youth finished in a whisper of pain and guilt. "I have to know for sure."

She pouted, but nodded anyway. At least he was willing to try, she thought. "Before we tell Giles and Buffy, I still want to take you clothes shopping." She told him, fishing her keys out of his pocket.

"Uh? Willow? I already have clothes." He told her, confusion crossing his face.

The little witch scowled at him and shook her head in disgust as she started the motor and gunned the engine. "If we're dating, then you have got to get some decent clothing!" Anything he might have said after that was cut off when the redhead revved the engine loudly and dumped the clutch. A loud tortured squeal of rubber announced the fact that the powerful car had just taken off like a rabbit. As she worked her way up through the gears, she reached over and flicked the stereo on.

Xander briefly thought of turning it off, but couldn't seem to let go of the armrests in order to do so. A loud laugh of glee was let loose by the redhead as the car topped ninety miles an hour and roared on down the road.


Jessica cried for a long time. At least forty-five minutes by her watch. She sat by her husband's side the entire time, but didn't make a noise besides the occasional sniffle or ragged breath that she had to take into her tortured lungs. It was painful, but she managed to survive it, she told herself. She knew that it wouldn't be much longer before grief stole her peace away yet again.

All she could do was to hold his hand and pray desperately for a miracle. Mrs. Harris wasn't sure that she deserved one after the way that they had been treating their son over the past ten years, but she prayed nonetheless. Unconsciously, her thumbs caressed the backs of his hands while she waited for a change.

Her only ray of light was that her son would be happy.


"This is ridiculous!" Buffy stated loudly, jumping to her feet. "There has to be something I can do besides sit here and wait."

Giles shook his head slowly back and forth and let out a loud sigh of despair. "All we can do is wait, Buffy. Sooner or later, either Xander or Willow will call. We left enough messages for them, now we have to be patient."

The blonde girl started to pace angrily, waving her hands around to emphasize her point. "I don't do the patient thing very well, Giles." She growled at him. "They could be laying somewhere, all hurt and stuff. The longer we wait, the worse they'll be."

"Well, they wouldn't have run into any vampires, would they?" The Watcher muttered, lowering his face to tilt downwards.

"Giles, you know I've got Slayer hearing, right?" The Slayer muttered, crossing her arms and glaring at the older man. She almost grinned when she saw the flush of embarrassment spread over his face. "Seriously, they could be hurt real bad or something. I think I should be out there searching right now."

Giles glanced out of the window to check on the sun and was pleased to see it still early in the afternoon. "Buffy, the sun's still out. I'm sure they're doing just fine." He stated calmly, trying to calm the young girl down. A shudder raced down his spine at the thought of an agitated Slayer out searching for her friends.

The blonde glared at the sunlight streaming in through the window as if it were at fault for the situation she had found herself in. She opened her mouth to protest, only to be cut off by her Watcher before she could speak.

"Maybe they're out doing something together and don't want to be disturbed." He suggested, cleaning his glasses yet again.

Just the thought of the two youth's out together in a social situation calmed her down. Taking a seat with a smile adorning her face, she nodded in satisfaction. "Yeah. Maybe they're on a date or something." She said dreamily. "They could be out there, making with the smoochies right now." Her smile grew larger as other possibilities occurred to her. "Or they could be picking china patterns out! Or? or even planning their wedding! I can see it now! Willow dressed in this really nice white dress and Xander in a black tux? of course, as the Slayer I'll be the head bridesmaid." She explained to her Watcher happily.

Giles could do nothing but stare at his Slayer with a distinct feeling of unease as she continued to talk about the upcoming nuptials of her best friends. He shook his head with worry and glanced away, not sure how to handle a Slayer that was starting to go insane. Hopefully, he prayed, this could all be straightened out soon. If not? he sighed wearily. If not, the council only had one option in how they dealt with an insane Slayer.

"God help me." The Watcher whispered, closing his eyes and trying to rid himself of the terrible images that had invaded his mind.


A sharp gasping groan brought Jessica's attention to her husband's face. She could feel her heart pounding away inside her chest as she waited anxiously for him to wake up. When his eyes snapped open, she sent a silent prayer of thanks towards the heaven and broke into tears once again.

"Jessica?" The man groaned, his eyes wandering wildly around the room before they landed on his wife. When they did, they didn't show relief in the knowledge that she was by his side, they showed the sheer shock and horror that he felt coursing through him. "Why do you look so old?" He asked in stunned disbelief.

Her breath caught in her throat as she stared back at him. Honestly, she didn't know whether to feel insulted or worried. Narrowing her eyes, she pursed her lips and released his hands. "Old?" She asked coldly, glaring at him with all her strength.

He winced, automatically knowing that he was in trouble. "Ah? um? I meant beautiful?" He whispered, not meeting her eyes. He didn't know what was going on, but he knew something strange had taken place. Then his eyes fell on her slender figure and a feeling of horror welled up from within. "The baby? What happened? Did you loose it?" He whispered, not hiding how terrified he was feeling.

"Baby?" She returned, her face displaying her confusion. "Anthony, I haven't been pregnant for over seventeen years." She couldn't help but notice how pale her husband had just turned. His face was whiter than she thought humanly possible.

"Seventeen years? I've been in a coma for seventeen years?" He whispered, turning horrified eyes to his wife. "Oh, God!" He croaked hoarsely.


Part 11

Anthony Harris stared into the small handheld mirror with a sort of horrified fascination that people usually give to automobile accidents. He was… old. Well, maybe not old, but definitely older than he should be. He glanced over at his wife and saw that she was biting her lower lip and fidgeting nervously. Staring back into the mirror, he was still unsure what to say.

The last thing he remembered was the conversation between the two the previous evening, now so far in the past. She had told him that she was pregnant. No warning or any other way to soften the blow. Jessica had just come flat out and told him she was pregnant before he could do more than kiss her. After that, they had sat down and discussed what they were going to do.

Getting married was a must. He might be a modern man, but even he didn't believe in raising kids outside of marriage. He knew that his parents would be horrified with just conceiving a child out of wedlock, much less anything else. So, marriage had been discussed and agreed upon.

A quick glance downwards towards his left hand confirmed that they had done that.

The next topic of conversation was to find somewhere outside of Los Angeles to raise the kid. Both of them had agreed that the big city was no place for an energetic youngster to grow up. He wanted trees and grass for his son or daughter to play on. He wanted a park that the family could go to and spend some quality time together. One thing that Anthony knew more than anything else, he didn't want his child to be raised the way he had been. No, his family was going to be a loving one.

According to his wife, they were now living in a small town, an absolute match to what they had discussed and agreed upon. So that was taken care of also.

After that, they had discussed what they were going to do to earn a living. He had reluctantly agreed to give up the dojo because it just didn't earn enough to support three people. Jessica had agreed that a teacher's salary wasn't any better, so he would need another career while she became a housewife. All in all, it seemed like they had mapped out a fairly tight, but happy future together.

According to her testimony, he now worked at a crappy job in a factory and she was a housewife.

All the general plans had been followed, so what had gone wrong? It was a sure thing that something had to have happened, because while the details were accomplished, nothing else matched the plan. Now he knew that everything had gone horribly wrong.

He had turned into a drunken, abusive father to their son. The love of his life had turned into a drunken bitch. Their son was a miserable little shit. Their house was a run-down firetrap waiting for disaster. His dream car was a Ford on its last leg. His job was boring, non-rewarding, and menial. No, everything about his life just plain sucked. Hell, he swore to himself, he was overweight and lacked any muscle tone at all.

Okay, he could handle that, he supposed. He had been given another chance to straighten everything out, and he wanted desperately to take it. It was the other things that his wife had told him that he was having trouble with. The things that any sane man would have used as an excuse to have her locked away in the nuthouse for the rest of her life, she had told him were facts of life in this town.

Demons were real. Holy shit! At first he didn't believe her, but she looked so serious when she was telling him everything. It just struck a cord deep within his heart and he just couldn't deny what she was saying. It was like his body just… knew. It knew the truth and recognized it for what it was. Anthony didn't know if that should scare him more than it did or not.

Now, he was being released from the hospital to go home. A quick glance over at his wife and he could see her trusting eyes watching him closely. She didn't seem afraid of him. No, it was more like she was afraid for him instead. Like she was waiting for him to freak out or something. Honestly, he didn't know if he would or not. It was just… too much. Too much for his mind to even grasp all the implications of.

Sighing, he handed the mirror to his wife and proceeded to dress in the clothes that she had handed him. Whatever else could or would go wrong, he would handle it from home.


Shopping for clothing wasn't any easier with Willow than with Buffy. In fact, it was a great deal harder because the little witch was shopping for him now. Whenever he just grabbed something off the rack, she snatched it out of his hands, sneered at it, and tossed it back while throwing a Cordelia-ism his way. Then she would snatch at his hand and drag him over to the preppie stuff. He learned rather quickly to hide his grimace from her and keep quiet about her choices. Xander knew that he wasn't the most color-coordinated guy in the world, but he did like a splash of the stuff around every once in a while. Instead, Willow had chosen his base color to be black.

Black jeans followed black slacks. A black leather jacket followed black shirts. Black boots followed a selection of black socks. Everything was black. Dress outfits, casual outfits, and even bumming around outfits were all done to death in black. It was enough to make him want to throw one of his classic Hawaiian shirts on top just to watch people screw their faces up at his social gaffs.

Of course, once he tried on the black jeans with the black, loose, black, cotton, black, long-sleeved, black shirt… he had to admit that he had never looked better. If it weren't all in black, he would have been ecstatic! Instead, he thought that he looked like a vamp. Not just any vamp, no. A vamp that was so color blind that he choose one color and one color only. But did it have to be black? Was there something inherently wrong with blue or red?

Naturally, she had made him change into slacks, loafers, and a loose shirt at the first store. When he was done, he almost felt better at her wide-eyed hungry stare until he saw himself in the mirror. The only thing that wasn't black was the silver buckle on his belt.  He could imagine the way that he could now blend into the night, but he wasn't so comfortable with the outfit while the sun was still shining.

He looked dangerous and it wasn't a look that he was comfortable with. He liked being thought of as the clown of any group. Clowns were either ignored or everybody was friendly with them. This new look was unsettling. He sighed quietly, knowing that he really didn't have that much choice in the matter. Plus, it made Willow happy. Shaking his head ruefully, he watched as his old clothes were stuffed into a plastic bag like so much garbage. He almost laughed at the way the redhead scrunched up her nose as she handed the bag to him with a delicate grip, making sure to hold it as far from her body as she could. That didn't mean that he had to like the outfit, though.

Plus, it took almost four hours of shopping to put it all together! Four hours! How in the hell could it have taken four hours to collect… he quickly counted the number of bags he was carrying… eight bags of stuff? Wait a minute… eight bags? He blinked several times before turning his attention back to the bags in his hands. Yep, eight bags. Where in the hell had they gotten eight bags? He shook his head in amazement before his attention was turned back to his… girlfriend?

Oh, boy. There was another factor that was starting to wig him out. His best friend was now his tentative girl friend. He had a completely new wardrobe. His mother had practically married him off. Was there anything else? Oh, yeah. He had a completely uncontrollable new power! He groaned softly and closed his eyes to stave off the impending headache that he could feel start to build.

"Xander? Are you okay?" The witch asked, coming up from behind him and placing a small hand on his shoulder.

"Yeah, I'm doing fine, Wills." He sighed and glanced at her worried expression. "Just starting to feel all worn out from the shopping."

"Well, guess what?" She asked, smiling gently at him. She couldn't help but admire the way the shirt highlighted the muscles in his arms and his firm chest. Raising her eyes back to his face, she felt a tiny blush start to make its presence known. "We're all done!" The redhead squealed happily, latching on to his arm with both of hers. "Just a quick trip to your house to drop your new things off, and we can go and visit Giles."

At the mention of Giles, his happy and relieved expression on his face was dropped. He had forgotten that. He knew that he needed to do it, but he really didn't want to. Oh, well, he sighed. Better get it over with. Shooting the redhead a small smile, he nodded and guided them out of the store.

No rest for the condemned, he thought wryly, and no point in putting the big meeting off until later either. "We might as well stop off at Giles' first." He said with a heavy sigh.


Buffy was thinking about going to Willy's and beating a little information out of him when she was interrupted by the sound of a car braking hard enough to squeal tires right outside of Giles' apartment. Glancing over at the man, she almost smiled at the horrified look on his face.

"American hooligans." He muttered angrily, clenching his fist and glaring at the door. He glanced over at the window and saw that the sun had set some time ago. Looking over at his Slayer, he wasn't pleased to see her looking back at him with an amused look.

"Something wrong, Giles?" She asked smarmily. She never left a reason to tease the uptight man slip by. She brushed off his glare as she had done so many times in the past. Her grin did nothing more than send the older man into a fugue. It was almost a snickering event, she mused happily.


Xander sat in the passenger seat of the Corvette and stared up at the door to the Watcher's apartment with trepidation. This was something that he really didn't want to do, but it had to be done.

"Everything is gonna' be fine, Xander." Willow assured him, patting his shoulder gently. "And if something goes wrong, at least you'll go out looking great." She finished with a grin.

The brunette stared at his would-be girlfriend in disbelief for a moment before sending a weak smile back towards her. Nodding his compliance, he opened his door and stood up, biting back a small curse as to how low to the ground the car actually sat. Glancing at his redheaded companion, he couldn't help but notice how she had practically leaped out of the sports car and gently shut her door.

The witch lost no time in sidling around the rear of the car and pressing her body against his. Wrapping her left arm around his waist, she smiled up at his face when his right arm automatically dropped into place around her shoulders. A happy sigh escaped her lips as they started to walk towards the apartment.

"Well dressed food." A deep voice muttered from the side, forcing the couple to spin in place. A very large vampire was standing in the shadows with his arms crossed and an evil smirk adorning his face. To each side stood a single scantily clad female vampire, each clinging to one of his arms and eyeing the couple hungrily. The male looked the witch over and broke into a smile. "I think you'll make a great addition to the harem." He said softly.

"Wills, get out of here!" Xander hissed, drawing his wooden stake from the small of his back with one hand while gently but firmly pushing her behind him.

Without taking his eyes off the enchanting redhead, the male vampire issued his orders. "Kill the pup and bring the bitch to me."

"Over my dead body!" The brunette boy snarled angrily, raising his hand and brandishing the stake in a threatening manner.

"Okay." The female vampires on the left happily agreed with a large smile as she stalked closer. The other one simply chuckled softly as she separated from her hunting partner to put more distance between them as she also began her stalking routine.

"Fuck this!" The witch muttered angrily. "Xander, duck!" She told him quietly, trusting him to do as he was told. Without another word, the boy dropped to one knee, never taking his eyes off the two approaching demons. He didn't know what she was going to do, but he did trust her as he did no other.

In a voice that sent chills of terror racing up and down the spine of anyone or anything that heard it, the redhead began to speak. "You would *DARE* to attack something of mine?" She asked, her voice sounding as if thousands of people were all talking at the same time, all underscored by a deep, magical growl. "I was the witch that destroyed Angelus by filling him with a soul. I was the witch that closed the Hellmouth single-handed. You would risk the very demons that animate you by taking up arms against me?" The redhead all but hissed, the anger in her voice rolling through the air to pound on sensitive nerves causing the three vampires to stare at her with fear in their eyes as she raised her arms to point towards them.

"INFERNUS!" She shouted, thousands of voices overlapping each other, all shouting the same word. She poured her heart and soul into the spell, feeling her power rapidly deplete her reserves. A solid sheet of flame burst forth from her outstretched palms and rushed forwards towards her target. The three vampires didn't even get a chance to cry out in either panic or pain before they were instantly incinerated, three shadows only visible for a split second within the river of orange and yellow fire before they were blotted from sight.

Xander watched everything with slack-jawed amazement. It had looked like his girlfriend had fired a flamethrower over his head, but he knew that wasn't the case. First of all, the fire had shot out in the shape of an expanding cone rather than a stream of burning liquid. Second of all, the light from her attack was so bright that he was still seeing dancing flames in front of his eyes even though the attack had lasted mere moments. Thirdly, he couldn't think of any flamethrower in existence that could attack something several hundred yards away. Blinking his eyes to clear away the bright spots, he could only whistle when he noticed the burning trees down the block. As far as he could tell, the spell had set anything flammable alight for at least three hundred yards.

"Xander?" He heard her anguished whisper from behind him. Jumping to his feet and spinning around, he was just in time to see her wobble several times before her eyes rolled up into her head and she collapsed. Only the fact that he was so close to her allowed him to catch her unconscious body before it hit the ground.

"Good Lord!" A familiar voice whispered from the side. A quick glance over revealed Giles staring at the devastation from his doorway and the blonde Slayer rushing towards them.

"Er, hi, Giles." The dark-haired youth muttered sheepishly. "Hope you don't mind, but Willow dusted some vamps for you."

"Good Lord." Was the only reply.