Episode X-IV

A New Force

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

Genre: Halloween remix

the sequel to Halloween, Episode X(ander)

Series: Xander: Twilight Lord of the Sith

Rating: PG-13, just to be safe

Summary: Here's the beginning of my 'Xander: Twilight Lord of the Sith' sequels.

Timeframe: Surprise/Innocence

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Don't sue me, I'm poor.

Chapter 1

Xander was grinning like a madman as he watched the beaker full of blue liquid in front of him. As it had with the red beaker before it, everything was going perfectly. Of course, that was ignoring the fact that the first red success too over three dozen tried to work out the kinks. But still, he was now minutes away from synthesizing another focusing crystal for his lightsabers. Once he got the matrix for this color perfect, he could begin to work out the green and yellow ones he intended for his four training sabers.

It said something about him that he wanted the fully functioning blades completed first.

As he waited out the chemical reactions, making sure the monitoring equipment he had cobbled together from junkyard scraps was functioning properly first, he went back to another of his little projects. In this case, it was a fully functioning, military grade, blaster rifle.

Xander knew he had to hide his burgeoning talents in the Force that his possession, and instruction, at the hands of Darth Vader had brought about. Buffy would either try to make him teach her about the Force, or more likely, try to convince Willow and Giles to somehow remove his powers. She'd never believe that he was born with Force potential, and that master Anakin had just helped him learn how to tap it. No, it was better that he trained in the shadows for now. The Sith half of his teachings taught him that much.

That didn't mean he couldn't find ways to help, however. He just had to make them small and explainable enough to keep the Slayer and her Watcher from reaching Defcon-4. He had carefully mentioned several times that he had developed a liking and talent for mechanical engineering and tinkering that he suspected had come from Vader. Therefore, making a few inventions could be overlooked, maybe even praised.

Xander smiled as he put the last resistor circuit into place. Other than charging the battery packs that were the blaster's ammunition, it was done. He slapped in one of the pack with a practiced ease, and moved to an open area of the old CRD lab he had commandeered as his own.

"Got to love how willing they were to sign everything over to me on the free, with a little application of the Jedi mind trick." he said to himself with a smirk, as he powered up the rifle, and took aim down his makeshift firing range. He had set up scavenged ceramic heat shields in front of powdered cement bags as the impact zone behind his cardboard targets, each with a picture of Angel glued to the face. "Hasta la Vista, Deadboy." the padawan learner said in his best Terminator voice, as he tested the three power settings of 'stun', 'kill', and 'disintegrate' on three separate targets. He was pleased with the results of each, although all he could really do for the stun setting was test the sight and sound of the blast amplitude until he headed out to Mr. Johnson's farm to test it on the cattle like he had for the hand and wrist blasters he had built earlier.

"Thank you again, Master, for making me actually want to use my brain." he said as he watched the ashes fall from the disintegration blast. He then checked the power readings on the gear, and frowned. "Way more drain in the cell at this size. Until I can get some fusion based cells together, it won't handle more than five, maybe six shots at maximum yield. Bummer." he mumbled to himself as he set the safety on the rifle, and went to check his crystals.

He was smiling proudly as he detached and checked over the now completed blue crystal. After a long battery of tests, including making a sub-standard blade for a few seconds using the lab's live current, he found not a single flaw in it. His grin was something to behold as he placed the crystals into their saber, then crouched down to eye level with the work table they were on to look then over.

"Beautiful. After two months of work, you're both finally done. Now, I just need to find something I actually hate enough to make me throw Force Lightning, and I can charge you babies up." he whispered.

His reverie was cut short by his alarm clock going off, alerting him that it was time to head home, so that he and Willow could walk to school. "Well, guys, time to head to Sunnyhell high, and offer the Buffster a pre-birthday spanking." he said to the sabers with a grin, as he stowed them into a hidden pocket in his backpack. From there he made sure his wrist blaster was strapped in place and set for stun, before covering it with one of his traditionally loud long sleeve shirts. His sidearm was tucked into a pocket sewn into his brown suede jacket.

As he left, Xander used careful applications of the Force to telekinetically turn off all the lights and equipment he had used that night. It was good practice for his control, after all. Once that was done, he headed out, using the Force to barricade the locked doors behind him from the inside.

*Good thing Force meditation actually lets me get by with so much less sleep. I'd never get anything dome if I needed a full eight hours a night.* he thought to himself as he made his way home in the breaking dawn, whistling the Imperial March the whole way.


Once at school Xander amused himself with planning for Buffy's birthday, as well as teasing her with his promised spanking, at least until Miss Calendar warned him off from that. He also took the time to persuade Willow to ask Oz to the party they had planned at the rented out Bronze. For some reason, all his force senses insisted that he should be included whenever possible. And who was Xander to ignore the will of the Force?

As he walked down the hall, Xander glanced at Cordelia Chase, and had to stifle a sigh. That was one time when he wished he wasn't so dedicated to the Force. They had been feeling an undeniable attraction lately, and had spent more time talking in private than arguing recently after a heated kiss in Buffy's basement after the debacle with the Order of Teraka. But, Xander had nipped any romance that might form in the bud. Try as he might not to, whenever he meditated on the subject about he and Cordy together, all he could feel was inevitable pain, loss, and eventual death. He would prefer to spare them both that dismal future. Still, he couldn't help but be at least friendly to her.

"Hey, Cordy. You still coming to Buff's surprise-o-rama at the Bronze tonight." he asked as he sidled up next to her locker.

Cordelia thought of five or six different responses to that, most centered about asking why the adorable dork in front of her was keeping a prime woman like her at arms length, before she nodded and replied, "Yeah. I'm bringing the onion dip, like I said. With all that Buffy risks her ass to save us, it's the least I can do, I guess. ""Cool. I'm trying to convince Wills to bring Oz along so we'll have you, me, Wills, G-man, Ms. Calendar, Oz, and Deadboy, if all goes as planned." Xander replied with a grin. "You're still trying to get them together?" Cordy asked idly. Xander had confided his intent to do so to her on more than one occasion over their most recent conversations (where, instead, they would have been making out in a utility closet in another reality).

The hidden Force user in training nodded as he answered, "Yeah. He's head over for her already, and she's half way there. I just need to figure out how to make her look away from me, and into an Oz-wardly direction. " After a small pause playfully added, "Any advice on how to ignore my astounding manliness you can give her?"

*Not recently.* she thought to herself, and Xander had to suppress a sad wince as he inadvertently picked up on the strong thought, as she replied, "Yeah, she could try looking at you face and your dress sense. That always worked for me, dorkhead." *Until recently, anyway.* she added mentally.

"Why Lady Cordelia, you slash me with your words. How ever shall I recover from so potent an insult as dorkhead?" Xander asked with a laugh.

Cordy had to suppress her own laugh as she responded with a fond "Doofus." before heading off to hold court over her sheep.

Xander smiled sadly as he watched her go. *It's better this way, man. You know that. The future is always in motion, but being with her will be one hell of a wall for you both. Just trust in the Force.* he thought to himself as he made his way to the Library, and more planning with Giles.

**************"Oh Spike, can I open up on of my prezzies before the party."

Drusilla asked with glee as one of their minions brought in another box.

For his part, Spike was just glad she had stopped mumbling about light and shadows together, and 'her Kitten' having new claws and teeth. Whatever that meant. She had been muttering about it at one time or another since that damned Halloween where Spike had almost met his hand at the hands of Darth Sodding Vader. If that hadn't made him want to stay home on All Hallows eve for the rest of his days, then nothing would. Spike was now a confirmed homebody for every October 31st.

He wheeled up next to her, still in a wheelchair after his recent tangle with the Slayer and her cronies over that mess with the poof and that DuLac cross, and smiled indulgently. "Well, Maybe just one, pet. We have to save the big show for the party, you know." he said, as he rubbed her arm in reassurance. "Oh thank you, Spike!" the insane vampiress said with an excited giggle and clap, as she rushed to one box and opened it. "So, pet. Do you fancy it?" he asked with a grin as he saw her reaction. "It reeks of death." she replied in an almost euphoric state. "Oh Spike, this party will be ever so special." she said in a whisper. "And why is that, love?" as asked, as he lit up a cigarette. "Because it will be the last." she replied with a saucy grin, as she closed the box with the finality of sealing a tomb. "Sounds right good to me, Dru." Spike responded with a grin, while he took a drag from his smoke.

"Oh, I just hope my shaded little Kitten doesn't get too involved. The stars warn he might get very cross in the days to come. Sometimes their warning is alls I can 'ere." she said, as she looked off into the distance, as if in a trance.

Spike fought and failed to avoid rolling his eyes at her words as he thought, *Well, that was a good ten minutes without the shady kitten nonsense. What the buggerin' hell does that even mean?*

Chapter 2

Xander grumbled angrily to himself as he read over the book about the Judge in the library. It was all pointless. All these pages said the same useless crap. 'No weapon forged' and 'It took and army of thousands, but only three survived' were the recurring, uninterrupted themes. As he finished another book, he headed back into the stacks to put it away, then try again.

*Sithspit this is pointless. What is the purpose of having so many of these moldy old pages if they don't tell you anything you don't already know. Where's a good Holocron when you need one?* he griped in his head.

He tried to perk up his mood as he saw Cordy replacing and trading off her books as well. "So, any luck?" he asked morosely. "Nope. This one says the same things all over again." She replied in frustration. "Let me guess, No weapon forged, and it took an army?" he asked sarcastically. "Yada, yada, yada." Cordelia said by way of confirmation. "Yeah. Well, Giles still thinks the answer might be here." Xander responded, trying to lift her spirits. "Well, it's not in this one." Cordy said back as she placed her book down and began to thumb through a new one.

Xander sensing her tension, decided to apologize for his earlier outburst as he said, "Look, about earlier. I'm sorry. I was crazed and worried, but I shouldn't have attacked you like that. "Cordy rolled her eyes as she replied, "Well, I'm just reeling from that new experience. It's not like we've been sniping at each other since kindergarten or anything. Oh...wait. We have. Silly me. ""Cordy. I'm sorry, all right. I was out of line." Xander apologized.

After a few seconds pause to think over his words, Queen C replied, "Yeah well, I guess I can accept that. It's just...where do we stand now, Xander? ""What do you mean, 'where do we stand?', Cor?" he asked back in confusion.

Cordelia looked like she was about to get angry, before she calmed down a bit and replied, "I mean what's up with us. We've been dancing around each other since we kissed in Buffy's basement, and I don't understand why. You obviously feel attracted to me. I'm not blind to that, Xander. And, god help me, I can't get you out of my head either. So why do you back away like I have the plague every time we get closer?"

Xander sighed heavily, thinking over his response, before he answered, "Cordy...I just. Look, I do want you. You're not wrong there. It's just, something I can't explain to you right now. I can't let myself act on it. Let's just forget all the high school status crap for a moment, alright? You and I, we've become friends. And I like that. But, if we became more...it would end badly. And I don't want you or anyone else hurt. I'd die before I'd let anyone I care for get hurt, and I know you'll be in for a bad end if we're together. That's all I can say for now."

Cordelia wanted to slap Xander, cry, and fume all at once, but she didn't. Instead, she looked into the haunted pain in her friend's eyes. She knew this was killing him, but she also knew he was certain of his reasons. For some reason, she knew he was right. She didn't want to believe him, but she did. With tears in her eyes, she whispered, "Okay, let's say I believe even a little word of the whole pile of nothing you just fed me? I'll leave this be on two conditions."

Xander looked almost as devastated as Cordelia as he croaked out, "Name them."

"One, at some point, you tell me you full reasons. And every single solitary thing that's behind them. I get the feeling you won't let me in all the way now, and I can deal. But I want your word that you'll fill me in eventually." she demanded. "Okay, Cordy. I'll fill you when I can." he whispered. "Swear it, Xander. Promise me, one friend to another." she added, her face set in stone. "I swear." he replied, crossing his heart.

"Alright. And the other condition. I want one good-bye kiss. I want to end this whatever we feel on a good memory. No as a weepy girl crying and ruining her mascara." she said, her look pleading. "Cordy..." Xander started to say.

"Please, Xander. Give me this much. I want to kiss a boy I actually feel something for. One that respects me, and talks to me like an actual person, instead of acting like I'm just arm candy for their perved out fantasies." she explained.

Xander could only nod in acquiescence to her reasoning. He moved in, and met her with all the passion and burgeoning feelings he would never allow to fully develop.

Cordelia met his incoming lips eagerly, as if hoping one perfect kiss would change his mind and give them both peace in their souls.

It was locked in that perfect, passionate kiss that Willow caught them, making her take off in tears to escape the sight.


It was several hours later, that Xander and Willow met in the hallway that night.

"I don't understand it. I don't want to under stand it. You have gross emotional problems, and things are not okay between us. "the future witch exclaimed. "But this is more important then that. So for now, we deal. ""However it has to be." Xander acknowledged. "So where do we stand?" Willow asked. "On a pile of really boring books that all say the same thing." Xander replied. "No weapon forged." Willow recited. "It took an army." Xander countered. "Yeah. Where's an army when you need one?" she asked rhetorically.

*Tell me about it. What I wouldn't give for a few thousand of Mater Anakin's Imperial Stormtroopers and the Executor at my back right now. Sith, even one good blaster could probably...d'oh!* he thought, before his eyes widened and he exclaimed. "Ooh. I think I having a thought. Yeah...yeah that's definitely a thought. Wait. Now I'm having a plan." he said.

Suddenly, the lights went out, and the hallway became dark. "And now I having a wiggins." he added, as he checked his wrist blaster surreptitiously. "Come on, let's get to the library, he added, as he tried to hurry a cooperating Willow on her way. "Their motion was stopped by a call from behind them. "Xander, Willow. ""Angel. "Willow said in relief. "We've been worried. Have you talked to Buffy. She's worried sick about you." the redhead exclaimed. "Yeah. I just talked to her. What's up with the lights?" the vampire asked distractedly as he looked above them, his hands tucked in his pockets, and his face hidden by the shadows.

"I don't know. But I think I might have figured out a way to stop the judge." Xander replied with determination. He felt a little put off, but Angel, being a vampire, always read unusually in the Force, so he ignored the mild sensation.

"Yeah, forget about that. Listen I have something to show you all. Xander, get the others." Angel said, still checking around him.

Xander was thinking more about his plan, than about how odd it was for Deadboy to tell him to do anything, so he simply said, "Okay."

and headed off, as Angelus enticed Willow closer to him.

Xander was halfway to the Library, when his Force senses went off like mad, alerting him to immediate danger. With minimal concentration, as most of his attention was devoted to surveying his surroundings, he realized he wasn't the one in danger...Willow was.

The sight that met him was one that would haunt him for years. Willow was crying, held precariously in the clutches of the evil Angelus, as Buffy confronted him on one side, and Miss Calendar held him off with a cross from the other. His face filled with rage, as he contemplated crushing the fool under as many locker as his Force control would allow. Only the fact that Wills would be hurt along with him stopped him. Instead, his voice grew deadly cold as he walked forward and said, "Let her go, Overbite."

Angelus actually laughed as he looked back at Xander and replied, "Um, I'm thinking no. Why don't you go get some doughnuts, kid. I'm having a lover's spat with Buffy, and you're bothering me. As usual." He finished speaking with a sneer, as Buffy pleaded with him to stop this and remember who he was. "Dream on, schoolgirl. Your boyfriend's dead." the vampire spat, even as Xander walked forward and raised his right wrist. "As you wish." Xander said emotionlessly, his eyes hard, as he fired his wrist blaster into the back of the vampire. Unfortunately, as the blaster was still set merely to stun, it did not do much damage to Angelus' undead flesh. It did, however, have sufficient power to knock him off balance in pain, tossing Willow aside in confusion at the sudden jolt behind him.

Xander let his senses affirm that Willow was unhurt, as he continued to stare coldly at Angel, his wrist extended, the smoking barrel of the tiny blaster now visible. "That was a stun setting. Obviously enough to sting you dead carcass, but not enough to do anything permanent. Allow me to show you the kill setting. I don't know if it will do you in, already being dead and all. But I'm willing to risk it." he said in that same dead tone, as he flipped a switch on the device.

Angelus didn't bother with any witty banter, as he turned and ran off like a bat out of hell, feeling the heat of red blaster bolts the whole way as Xander stood his ground and kept firing at the erratically dodging vampire.

He only calmed down enough to swear violently a good two minutes after their former ally was out of sight. As he took stock of his surroundings, he noticed all three women that had been in the hall, as well as all the people that had been in the library, whom were attracted by the sounds of his fire, were staring at him incredulously. "Guess I have a bit of explaining to do, huh?" he asked rhetorically as he met the eyes of every person staring at him in the hall.


Xander say there calmly as Giles yelled at him, Willow babbled, and the others looked at him like he was some kind of science experiment. Well, the others except for Buffy. She was too busy staring off into space and trying not to cry, to get involved in the conversation. "How the bloody hell could you not tell us of things like this!" Giles roared. "I did!" Xander spat back. "I told you I got into engineering because of Vader, Giles. And I told you I was tinkering with some tech in my spare time. Several times in fact. ""You never said you were making deadly ray guns in your spare time!" Giles countered.

Xander rolled his eyes as he responded, "Darth Vader designed most of the working fighters in the Imperial Navy, Giles. I could build a damned TIE fighter blindfolded if I had the proper materials and equipment. How the hell is a damn emergency blaster such a big deal? Do you think a closet tech head that commands that many troops would have been ignorant of what they were armed with? ""That doesn't change the fact you had something so dangerous..." Giles replied a bit flustered.

He was interrupted by Xander standing in indignation and shouting, "Hello, Hellmouth! Where does it say I should let an advantage go and become an easier target? I designed this blaster," he said showing the device strapped to his forearm, before he reached into his jacket, which he had left in the library on a chair during the recent confrontation, and pulled out his pistol sized sidearm, "and this one, so I wouldn't be a sitting duck. In case you didn't notice, my actions saved Willow's life in the face of Angel suddenly going nuts! ""Be that as it may, you should have informed me." Giles replied stuffily, still obviously flustered by the boy's outburst.

Xander laughed sarcastically as he spat, "And say what? Giles, I'm making weapons light years ahead of the primitive caveman gear our little mudball provides, using the memories and knowledge of a man that was seen as a dangerous loose cannon of an ogre, someone to be feared, even by his own troops. Either that, or seen as a flat out monster by the Rebellion. Never mind I talked to the man. That I was in his head as much as he was in mine, and that I know he wasn't all evil. In fact, alot of what people say was just surface crap, and he was really a fair, sensible, if a bit naive and fatalistic, man led around by a damned psychopathic tyrant. He was still seen as evil to you, and you would have been scared of all this. Would knowing I liked and respected Vader make you feel any better? ""Well, of course not." Giles answered feebly.

"Oh, then I guess I did the right thing keeping quiet. On all counts." Xander seethed, as he sat down and glared at the Watcher. "Perhaps, you did." Giles conceded tiredly. "Either way, that is not the matter at hand we need to discuss. We need to discus the Judge, and figure out what made Angel turn against us. ""What?" Buffy asked distractedly.

"Yes. Something must have been the catalyst. The trigger, if you will. Buffy, you've spent more time with him then anyone. Can you think of one thing that..." Giles said, only interrupted as Buffy fled the room in tears. "Buffy wait. We need to discuss..." He called out to his Slayer. "Giles, shut up." Willow interjected, as she watched her friend take off with concern.

"Well, could this get any worse. Buffy's a wreck, the Judge is assembled, and now Angel's on his team." Cordelia said in exasperation.

"Well, I don't know what happened to Angel, but I think I may have a way to deal with the Judge. If Giles doesn't freak out on me."

Xander said to the room at large.

Chapter 3

"Let me see, if I have you plan straight, Xander." Giles said tightly, as if trying to reign in his temper.

The future Twilight Lord of the Sith just sat there smugly, with an innocent smile gracing his features as he replied, "Feel free, Giles. ""First off, we've already established that you've been making weapons you've learned the mechanics of due to your possession on Halloween at the hands of the bloody pillock Ethan Rayne." the Watcher stated earnestly, although his anger peaked noticeably at the mention of his old running buddy's name.

"Yes, I have. But I'm not only working on weapons. I've been drawing up designs for everything from speeded bikes and cars, to shield generators, to even a few droids. A little known, well unknown to anyone here on Earth but me so far, fact was that Anakin Skywalker built C-3PO for his mother out of junk when he was eight to nine years old. I just need to find advanced enough parts to scavenge and I can make a few simple droids, no problem." Xander retorted with a grin.

Giles rolled his eyes at the techno-babble, even as Willow's lit up with excitement, and Oz quirked a brow, showing just how impressed he was. "Cool." the future werewolf said in his usual minimalist way. (OOC: I know he wasn't there originally for the research, and only showed up when Willow called him to use his van because she was all jealous over the kiss. I'm using a bit of artistic license here.) "Yes quite." Giles interjected, trying desperately to hold his sarcasm in check. "Anyway, the point here is that you have successfully made several prototype blasters at that level of technology... ""Not several. I have two working wrist blasters, the one I have on me, and the original prototype, three pistol sized hand blasters, and one military grade rifle. I have two working power cells for the rifle, five for the three hand units, and a half dozen for the wrist ones." Xander interjected calmly.

Giles looked at the boy in front of him strangely as he took off and cleaned his glasses compulsively, before replacing them again. "Yes, well, that's well and good, I suppose. Now, as to your plan, you suggest we use your rifle to destroy the judge?" he asked, finally getting to the crux of the discussion. "Yep." Xander replied with a proud grin. "The way I've read this, that no weapon forged stuff had guys with iron and steel weapons, at best, in mind. The writings wouldn't even take into account things like automatic rifles or rocket launchers we have today. Something like a blaster rifle set to 'disintegrate' should dust the freak like a vampire without too much trouble. ""Assuming you're right, Xander, just how much damage are we considering here?" Jenny asked from her position at the table. In spite of the issues about Angel coming forth, she found the talk about all this advanced technology fascinating.

The padawan learner shrugged as he replied, "As long as I hit what I aim at? The judge will be the only thing to go poof. If I miss? It would blow holes big enough for a man to walk through without too much problems. But, I going to have to make sure I don't miss anyway, so that's not much of an issue. ""Why do you have to make sure you hit him on the first try, Xander?" Willow asked, beating Giles and Jenny to it by half a breath.

"Besides the risk of collateral damage, you mean? I put together a functioning blaster, Willow, but I don't have the time, money, or equipment to build the support tech I need. At least not yet. So far, without things like working fusion generators, and Imperial grade energy cells, the best battery I can make for a blaster that big will only fire five, maybe six shots, at full power. If I left it at stun or kill, which is the max the smaller ones go to at this point, then I'd get more out of them, but at full power this is all we're getting. And I'm not taking the chance one shot will do the Judge in. I want to hit him with the full clip, and make certain he's taken down. ""A very sensible precaution." Giles commented, glad the boy was thinking of as many outcomes as possible instead of wanting to charge in head first.


The next day saw many of same the things another, better known, variation on the universe of Buffy the vampire Slayer's life dealt with. She had a prophetic dream that ferreted out Ms. Calendar's identity, Enyos Kalderash was slain by Angelus, and the assembled group rode out to the factory, only to discover the Judge plus entourage had left. "They're already gone." Buffy said, clearly upset. "So where would they go? ""The Judge needs people to slaughter, right, preferably in a group? Maybe the old stand-by for slaughter with the Bronze?" Xander suggested, his blaster rifle slung over his shoulder. He also had his wrist unit on. He had been certain that the others that would accept them were armed as well. Willow had the original wrist blaster, which only fired stun bolts, on her right wrist. Oz and Cordelia were each equipped with hand blasters set to stun at Giles' insistence, although Xander showed them how to set them to kill when the Watcher's back was turned as he showed them how to set the safeties. Only Buffy and her Watcher were armed with medieval weapons alone. "The Bronze is closed for repairs." Cordy said, nixing Xander's suggestion.

The group milled over where the undead party could have gone, before Oz finally cleared his throat. "Uh, guys? If I wanted to find people, and the Bronze was closed, I know where I'd go..." he said.

In the background, hidden behind some equipment, Spike watched the proceedings from his wheelchair. He didn't like the look of that fancy rifle, or the guns on the cheerleader and spiky-haired kids hands one little bit. Especially after Angelus' account of how Harris had scared him off. The cockney vampire had too many bad memories of Vander attacking him to like the sight of working Star Wars weapons. *If that wanker is making stuff like that, it might be time to blow out of this burg as soon as possible*, he thought to himself as the Scoobies left, apparently unaware of him.


The judge looked on, pleased at all the people milling about in front of the movie theater in the Sunnydale Mall. "Yes. This will be perfect. Let the plague of humanity be wiped from the Earth, starting here." the blue demon said, as he help his hands out and fired what looked like orange-yellow lightning.

The energy spread throughout the crowd in a spider-web like patter, passing though each man, woman, and child's chest, as the Judge prepared to destroy the whole assembly at once. He was stopped from completing his task, however, when a crossbow bolt in the chest broke his concentration. "I think that got his attention." a coldly furious Buffy Summers said from where she stood atop of the concession stand. "You are a fool." the Judge said, seemingly amused. "No weapon forged can harm me." the demon added, as he removed the bolt, and snapped it negligently in his hand.

The attention in the room, minus the people now screaming and running from the newest bit of Sunnydale weirdness so they could safely repress it at home, turned to Xander as he stood next to Buffy, his rifle unslung, and flipped a switch on it. As he hit the switch, a sound not unlike while the flash of a camera makes as it charges filled the room. The apprentice to the universe's strongest force user smirked at the Judge with his best Han Solo grin. "That was then, smurf-boy. Welcome to the future." he said as he raised the now primed rifle.

Angelus began backing off and heading for the exit, even as Drusilla sang, "Kitten brung his shiny new claws out to plaaaayyyyy." "What is that?" the Judge asked in confusion, before the room erupted with the sound of six shots of heavy blaster fire.

The vampires still near the Judge, including Dru, had the good sense to run away as three bolts his the blue demon in the gut, two hit him in the chest, and one hit him right between the eyes. "Wha..." was the last thing one of the most feared demons in history said, before he was introduced to his end at the hands of a similar sensation to the one he had inflicted for the duration of his existence. He felt a burning from the inside out, as massive amounts of energy destabilized his molecular structure, dissolved his cell walls, and literally vaporized his in a matter a few agonizing seconds, while he appeared to burn away in a spreading glow of red light. "See how you like it." Xander said with a smile, as he blew the vaporous smoke from the barrel of the now dead rifle. "Well done, Xander." Giles commented. "Now, let's make certain he's gone, and look for any pieces that may remain." the Watcher said to the group as a whole.

Buffy ignored him as she growled "I'm going after Angel." followed by Xander's enthusiastic, "I'll follow Dru."

Both took off in opposite directions before the others could hope to delay them. The sentiments of the group were best summarized by Cordelia as she said, "Look for pieces? Man, our job sucks!"


Xander took off into a security tunnel, hot on Drusilla's heels, his hand blaster set to kill, and held low as he scanned for the vampiress. Now that he was alone he could pause to concentrate on the force, and feel for where his target was. He was rather shocked that she seemed to be only a few feet ahead, around the corner.

Before he could call her out, the lovely brunette vampiress stepped out of her own free accord, looking intently at Xander as she said, "You found mummy right well, Kitten. I knew you would." "It's over Dru." Xander said, as he raised his blaster to end her unlife. He paused, however, when she next spoke, totally unnerved by her words.

"It's such a joy to be bear you now, Kitten. I've felt you ever since the Child of Light that chose the shadows was stuck in your head. He helped you grow up right proper, 'e did. And now you're all hurtful light, and yummy darkness all rolled up into one." she said. "What the hell are you babbling about, lady?" Xander asked, a bit panicked at how much she seemed to know. He had known she was a natural precog when alive, but to have this much detail?

"Oh I know better than to hear your little lies, Kitten. The stars whisper all your wonderful secrets to me, they do. Sometimes, I can't hear anythin' else, they shout so loud. They tell me you're light and shadow together, tryin' to right yourself. That you're the day and night together, where the stars themselves are born in beautiful twilight." Dru said, as she danced in place in a seeming euphoria.

Her face grew grim as she added, "They tell me Daddy and my little boy will make you very cross soon, and I have to be careful you don't destroy us. ""Dru, your Daddy already pissed me off royal. Trust me when I say, he better hope Buffy already caught up to him and dusted his ass."

Xander snapped coldly.

"Oh no, Kitten. The Fluffy little gold Slayer feels too tarnished by Daddy attentions to get all hurtful with him. She'll never be the one to finish him off. Miss Edith tells me so. Oh no. You're the real power here, now, my little Twilight Kitten. Mummy can see it so clearly." Dru replied with a wide eyes look of wonder as she walked right past Xander's still raised blaster, and caressed his cheek gently. "Tell me, Kitten, do you ever desire eternal life?" she asked with a saucy and seductive grin as she stepped back so that he could better view her whole body, replete in its red satin dressed splendor.

"There is no Death, there is the Immortality. There is no Death, there is the Force." Xander replied, using the mantras of the Sith and Jedi creeds. "From where I stand, that sounds like one can gain immortality by embracing both sides of the Force. And like you said, I'm Dark and Light together." he added his voice eerily calm.

Dru nodded in understanding; perhaps more understanding than anyone would have thought her capable of. "I know, Kitten. Oh but you will be ever so much fun to dance, and sing, and talk with. You can hear so much more than the rest. I look ever so forward to it." she said wistfully, as she danced in and planted a feather light kiss on his lips, before taking off down the hall again with a giggle.

Xander just stood there, poleaxed for several minutes, before he brought his hand up to his lips. "What in the Hell was all that?"

he asked himself aloud, as he stood there in confusion.

Chapter 4

Master Yoda, head of the last full incarnation of the Jedi council once said, "Fear is of the Darkside. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hatred leads to suffering."

Alexander Harris could happily attest to the first two from recent personal experience. Now, he hoped to use his hatred, properly channeled, to bring about the third...to Angelus, anyway.

His mind wandered to the night they fought the Judge, and the aftermath, as he tried to psyche himself up for what he needed to do.

[FLASHBACK] "Buffy! Are you okay? What happened to Angel? Did you you know?" Willow asked, mimicking the motion used to stake a vampire, as she called out to the recently arrived Slayer. "...no. No he got away. But I'll get him eventually." Buffy replied morosely.

Xander knew better, between her pain, and the thoughts screaming out of her head for any force sensitive trained enough to pick up thoughts, but careless enough to think his shields didn't need to be a priority right now without other Jedi and Sith around, could see her replaying the scene over and over again in a continuous loop.

*She...she let him go. She left him there, defenseless and ready to be staked, with just a kick to the nuts. She let a vampire once called the 'Scourge of Europe' walk without even a warning? Damn it that Force forsaken son of a Hutt is so bad I don't even feel sympathy for him getting a kick to the family jewels, and the damned Slayer lets him go because she has issues after she caused this by screwing him? How could she? That bastard tried to kill Willow for Force's sake!* he raged in his head.

Still he knew better than to act out on his anger here, even if the though of Force choking a little sense into her bleach addled brain did creep into the back of his head for a second. Instead, he nodded non-commitally, and commented, "Next time, right Buff?" "Yeah, next time." she agreed, still in a daze. "How about Dru? Did you blast her?" she asked on auto pilot.

Xander let his anger in his own inactions creep into his eyes as he ground out, "No. She got away. I...I had a shot, but then she started with all this crazy babble about Deadboy and you and I...I just didn't pull the trigger fast enough. She was gone before I could finish her off." To which he added a mental, *Not that I actually shot at her like ay sane person would, or anything.*

Buffy nodded sadly at that, as if sympathizing with Xander's feelings as Giles said, "Yes, well her weak times being cared for by Spike aside, Drusilla has been known to be quite crafty and dangerous over the years, so missing her on your first try is hardly something to feel upset over, Xander. You should feel proud of your accomplishments tonight, instead. ""Yeah, we saved the world, again." Willow said peppily, trying to lighten the falling mood.

"And thanks for not leaving any pieces, Xander. I so appreciate a clean up duty without icky demon parts left to actually touch."

Cordy added with feeling. "Yeah." Buffy and Xander both commented quietly, but for totally different reasons.


Xander's face was lit up a purplish white as he sneered and hurled Force Lightning into the specially designed receptor unit his Master had built for him. All his sabers, four training blades of two green and two yellow, as well as his full powered red and blue lightsabers sat in their charging ports, gathering the harnessed power.

Xander felt an odd sort of freedom, as he hurled out all the hate and anger at himself, Buffy, Drusilla, and Angel take physical form and fly out of his hands. His Force Lightning exercises were purging the rage so effectively, it was almost miraculous. It also showed him just why Vader had disliked using Force Lightning.

For someone like the Emperor, who was oily and black to the bottom of his corrupted soul, the technique came easily. Darth Sidious had hated everything, and only took joy or pleasure in the pain and suffering of others. Vader, by contrast, was simply very angry with the world around him. If Vader used too much Force Lightning, he would burn out his rage, thereby losing the edge that made him the (falsely named, for Palpatine was the true Master) Dark Lord of Sith. Anakin needed his anger to function as Darth Vader.

And so, as the last of his rage was spent in the ultimate form of venting, Xander fell to his knees, feeling much more centered about everything. After a few minutes to catch his breath, the you Padawan struggled to his feet, and stumbled over to the concrete slab he had placed the charger on, and checked the readouts for the various power levels. His face broke into a grin that threatened to beak his head in half at what he read.

They were full. All six masterpieces, the joint effort of he and Master Anakin both were ready for their final tests. Xander was giddy, as he picked up each blade, and lit it with a familiar [Snap. Hiss. Vhmmm.] sound the reverberated through the CRD test lab he was working in that night.

Finally, after a battery of tests on each blade, checking for everything from possible shorts, to heat bleed off in the actual light beams, to the comfort of the grips, Xander was satisfied. He then turned to look at the four blocks of steel he had levitated into the room over the course of the last three weeks, as he forced his bull head to accept the fact that the phrase "size matters not" was more than a funny potential pick-up line for Yoda to use in a bar.

With a manic grin, he walked calmly up to the first block of metal, with both his true lightsabers clipped one to each hip. He pantomimed a memory of his Master's of Yoda once he reach the first steel block, and held his right hand gently out and away from his body. He then used the Force to slowly guide his blue, Jedi, lightsaber into his hand. The moment the cylinder reached his palm, he closed his hand, activated the blade, and leapt into a flurry of attacks. Sparks flew left, right, and center as Xander reduced the block of steel to tiny pieces in a matter of minutes.

Once he was done playing, he thumbed off the blade, and replaced it at his hip. He paused to wipe the sheen of sweat he had developed from his brow, before he walked to the next block. That one he attacked with a savage fury, using his red bladed saber. As with the blue, the lightsaber passed its test with flying colors, as he reduce the steel block to much smaller, more oddly shaped pieces.

After another pause, this time including a bathroom beak, and a moment to eat a couple of Twinkies, Xander attacked the other two blocks with both blades at the same time. This demonstrated two things to him. One, he needed more physical training, as he finished far more winded than he felt he should have been. The second thing was that training droids should be his next priority. He had almost finished with his first remote, but he needed at least five, plus a couple of droids capable of wielding lightsabers themselves, to work out how sloppy his techniques were. "This is going to be a lonnnng couple of years to get up to snuff." he muttered to himself, before closing up early for the night. He wanted to get a bath before getting a few hours of real sleep instead of just a catnap and some meditation. He felt he had earned it.

It should also be noted that the pride in his accomplishments Xander felt only increased when an idiotic vampire accosted him on the way home that night, only to get beheaded as Vader had showed him how to do on Halloween. A flash of red, and a familiar humm was the only thing the undead fiend registered before it was so much ash.

Chapter 5

Xander, as he had many times before over the last weeks, checked the circuit connections on the project he was working on. He had to admit that despite the intrinsic need he had for the updated technology he was developing, there was also a certain amount of solace to be found in it. He often wondered just how much of that came from his link with his Master, and how much was related to the fact he liked working with his hands. In the end, he supposed it really didn't matter.

With a small sigh and a proud grin, Xander completed the last circuit, then went over all of them with his newly constructed hydrospanner, to test the connections. He was pleased to see it all seemed flawless, even as he wondered how he had lived without a spanner before.

*Oh well. I guess there's nothing left to do but test it.*, he thought to himself, glad for the distraction from recent events.

The Force user, closed the case, hit a switch, and suddenly, his creation came to 'life'. The device was a small metal sphere, grey in color, with several copper emitter barrels distributed across its surface. Xander tracked its sensors by moving his hand back and forth, making sure the shaky repulsor system he had designed would hold.

Finally, he stood and went for the last test, as he activated a green training saber he had with him. The second the sphere sensed the lightsaber blade, it began to dart back and forth erratically, before it finally started shooting low level, and quite painful, stun bolts at him. He blocked a series of ten of them almost unconsciously, before he realized with elation that his new remote trainer was a complete success.

Unfortunately, that elation distracted him as the remote flew behind him and zapped him right in his posterior, making him jump in the air, and emit an embarrassingly girly shriek at the sensation. "Damned sithspit piece of bantha poodoo." he spat at the device in annoyance, even as he reached out with the force and deactivated it, before levitating it back to the table. "Man I'm glad nobody was here to see that." he said to himself, as he rubbed his rear with his right hand, as he held his now deactivated saber in the left.

As the future Twilight Lord began to clean up his workroomlabplace he lived now when not with the Scoobies, his mind drifted to recent events, in spite of his wish to avoid them. Angel had tried to attack them all over Halloween, which was really more of an annoyance than a threat, now that Xander had equipped Willow, Oz, and Cordy with blasters. So far, the vampire knew better than to go near Joyce, and even if he forgot how stupid that would be, Giles had almost deciphered the spell to rescind vampiric invitation.

On top of the irritation that was Angelus' little gifts like dead roses brought about, there also the confrontation that had occurred outside of Buffy's as he watched it, blaster in hand, and lightsaber tucked under his coat...


"Well, well, well. Look what I have here. This is just perfect. I was looking to do something for Buffy...well to Buffy actually, for the holiday. But I think finding you dead and gutted in her room will just be a perfect gift." the vampire sneered from the shadows behind Xander, trying to terrify him.

The vampire was shocked when the boy in question just turned slowly to face him and rolled his eyes. "If you want to be sneaky, Deadboy, you should really cut back on the hair gel. I could smell you8 for the last five minutes." Xander said, his voice laced with annoyed contempt.

"Oh, Buffy's little soldier is going to act tuff instead of showing how scared he is. How nice." Angel sneered sarcastically. "Do I look or smell scared, leach?" Xander asked evenly, as he raised his blaster, making Angel take a step back. "I guess you're real brave hiding behind that toy, Xander." Angel responded angrily.

Xander's reply was cut short by a second voice off to the side. "Oh, but Kitten is still hiding ever so much, Daddy."

Drusilla said, as she watched the proceedings with wide eyes wonder. "What?" both males said in tandem, before glaring at each other comically.

Dru giggled as she elaborated. "Mummy's Kitten is hidin' behind so many masks. He hides 'is light an' 'is darkness in a harlequin's mask so that the Slayer an' he friends don't see the power within." she said, looking off into the distance. "I really did drive you crazy." Angelus replied in a disgusted whisper, upset at her gibberish about Xander being powerful.

"Oh, but Daddy, can't you see the pretty twilight in him? The stars live in his very veins, they do. They whisper to him even more then they can to me, only 'e knows 'ow to whisper back and make them dance with him." Dru said as she twirled in place.

Xander, knowing he had to distract Angel before he actually made any sense from what Drusilla said, cut in then and said, "That's nice and all, Dru. But I'm kind of busy shooting Captain Forehead to death with my blaster. So please excuse me."

Angel knew that discretion was the better part of valor, and turned and ran before Xander even finished speaking, although he did get a grazing blast in the left leg that made him tumble over as he ran. The vampire never stopped at the searing pain, though, and kept on running, even as a second red blast burned into his right shoulder as he crawled into the nearest sewer tunnel. He never considered the fact Xander had shot him from well over seventy meters away, and with unerring accuracy.

The most shocking thing for Xander with the encounter was not Angel's flight to safety. It was Drusilla's laughter and clapping at the sight of the blaster bolts as they tore into her sire's flesh.

"Oh that's was marvelous, Kitten. Even better than that the Judges hurtful little play. Daddy will be ever so cross, now." she said, although her voice seemed oddly happy at the thought of Angelus' anger.

Xander turned the blaster on her then as he said, "End of the line Drusilla."

Dru didn't seemed bothered in the least at her impending demise as she said, "You know better'n that, my Twilight Knight." she said, her voice taking on an almost hypnotic quality.

Xander realized with some shock, that she was utilizing what felt like a variation of the Jedi mind trick on him. Of course his own Force sensitivity, coupled with his training, shook off that effect with relative ease. "That won't work on me." he said evenly, even as he marveled at her execution of it. How could a dead corpse touch the Force like that?

"It already has, Kitten. Now you know just how I hear the stars like you do." she replied in a tone reminiscent of a proud child. "You'll try to ignore it, but you know what the stars say is true. That's why we'll have so much fun together, Kitten. I look so forward to seein' your glowy claws of light an' unseen hands workin' their magic." she added with a seductive grin, before turning and wandering off into the night.

End Flashback

Xander swore as he went over the encounter in his head for the umpteenth time since it happened. Why had he let her go again? The shock of her tapping the Force, even as erratically as she did, couldn't have been all of it. Could it? Yet, the thought of shooting her in the back the way he did Angel never crossed his mind. What the hell was happening to him?

He shook his head in irritation as he tried to banish the ponderings for a time. He had enough stress with the way he had pushed Willow and Oz together backfiring as Oz got turned into a werewolf. Their relationship, one he had fought hard behind the scenes to bring about, was solid now, but it also put Willow in added danger. Xander cursed the circumstances, he dared not call it his luck, for he knew there was no such thing, as he left CRD. Willow and Oz's relationship was in for a rocky road of danger he wanted her safe from, something the pure Force signature and calm demeanor of the new lycanthrope would have hopefully insulated her from...

The young man growled in frustration as even his own thoughts were getting clouded with doubts and recriminations. He needed to get home and meditate.


Two nights later, Jenny Calendar smiled as she began to run the programs to hopefully translate the texts to restore Angel's soul curse. Things were going remarkably well for the young Romani teacher. She was patching things up with Rupert, Buffy's ire at her seemed to be cooling, and Xander was showing her some basic Star Wars level programming languages on the side. The things she'd be able to do with them once she mastered them made her a bit giddy with anticipation.

Heck, the universal translator program Xander had helped her with was translating the texts with far more accuracy than she could have hoped for, and she was meeting with software developer next week to begin to try to market a version to sell to the government. If the deal went through, then the royalties alone would leave her comfortably wealthy for the rest of her life, and would allow Xander to have investment capital to develop more of his inventions.

Her musings were cut short by a voice from deeper in the classroom...

(OOC: It's late, and the flashback took longer than I though, so I take a shortcut as I suggest you just insert the typical scene from 'Passion' up to the point Miss Calendar takes off out of the room.)


Xander was halfway to his lab after a short patrol for vampires while Buffy and Willow Angel-proofed their houses when he felt it...a tremor in the Force. Something was happening that required his attention. He immediately changed direction and took off at a run, using the Force to increase his speed without even thinking about it.


Meanwhile, in the factory, Drusilla looked up from where she was reading her tarot cards. "Oh dear, I warned Daddy about makin' Kitten too cross." she murmured to herself. "What's that, love?" Spike asked from where he read the paper in his wheelchair.

"Daddy and Kitten are going to clash again, Spike. And this time, Kitten's goin' to use 'is hurtful claws. I fear Daddy won't be comin' 'ome this time." she replied in a mildly worried tone. "You mean the Poof's going to get offed?" Spike asked in mildly pleased interest. "He might not be comin' home at all." she reiterated, as she drew another card.


Jenny ran for her life through the halls of the school, cursing herself for not carrying one of Xander's blasters with her as she worked. Now she had lost her computer, her translation of the curse, and if Angel caught her...

Her contemplations were cut short as she ran into a body that felt like a brick wall as she literally bounced off it. The Romani woman let out a scream, as she was certain she had been caught and was about to die. She looked up into the face of her undead executioner, and let out a cry of, "Xander?" "You alright, Ms. Calendar?" the teen asked as he reached down to help her up.

"We have to get out of here! Angel found out about the spell and destroyed my computer. Now he's..." she said frantically, only to be interrupted.

"Already, here. I have to admit, this is more than I expected to find. I get two kills for the price of one." the vampire interjected with a maniac grin as he walked calmly toward the pair.

Xander stared coldly at the vampire, as Jenny shrieked and tried to pull him away. "Shouldn't you be running off like a man-bitch right now, vampire?" he asked in a dead tone as he raised his blaster.

Angel scowled at the boy as he responded, "I'm not going to run this time, kid. Your toy might hurt lie hell, but I can still get close enough to break your damned neck and rip you to shreds. You're dead this time.", before he began to run at Xander in an erratic pattern to avoid as much fire as possible.

Xander shook off Jenny's hold as Angel came at him. In the split seconds he had before the vampire reached him, his mind went over all that he and his friends had faced because of him. Angelus had murdered several people since his release, reduced Buffy to an emotional wreck, and threatened all of the repeatedly. Now, he was threatening Willow, killing her fish, drawing pictures of Joyce, and came within an eyelash of killing Ms. Calendar.

His anger and rage at the thoughts of the vampire's actions, and the possible outcomes they could have brought under different circumstances, seemed to break a seal within the boy. His eyes boiled over in rage, before going emotionlessly cold, as he dropped his blaster to the floor.

He ignored Jenny's screams to explain what he was doing as he held out his right hand, and drew his lightsaber into it with the Force, as he pushed Angel off into the lockers at the end of the student lounge area with his left.

Xander activated the saber then, lighting the darkened high school lounge and nearby halls with an eerie red glow. "I've had it with you Angelus. You've been an irritating pest since Buffy screwed your soul out of you. You've threatened and annoyed us like a damned mosquito that refuses to leave after repeated swats. Now, you're threatening a woman that was like a mother to me, a girl who is like a sister, and you damned near killed a friend that also happens to be the girlfriend of the closest thing I have to a father. I think it's time I showed you what my Master does to idiots who threaten his family." he spat in a coldly furious tone. "What the hell?" Angel asked as he rose from where he had been flung.

"You think you're the Big Bad, Angelus? That you're the thing that goes bump in the night? I'll show you darkness. You try to scare us into submission. You use fear as a weapon. Well fear is of the Darkside. You use fear like a club, with all the finesse of a rampaging rancor. You're a useless fool without any understanding of what power really is." Xander said as he walked toward the now retreating vampire.

Angel tripped as random objects like chairs and trashcans either slammed into him, or slid behind his legs seemingly under their own power. "This isn't possible." he repeated like a mantra, as the suddenly far too frightening Xander Harris advanced on him. "I'll show you the power of the Darkside." Xander spat angrily. He smirked as the vampire picked up a trash can and hurled it at him, as he sliced it in half with his lightsaber. All angelus had accomplished with the move was to scare himself further. "What's the matter, Deadboy? Feeling...inadequate?" he asked evilly.

The vampire took off at a dead run then, trying to outrun what he was certain was his death. As he ran, Xander smirked and waved his free hand. Suddenly, the soda machine ripped itself from its resting place, and slammed into the Scourge of Europe into a wall with deadly force, pinning him there and trapping it beneath it, even as he fell unconscious from pain.

Xander smiled at his handiwork as he deactivated the lightsaber, and fastened it to his belt. He looked back at Jenny, who was staring on in open mouthed shock, and smiled at her. "Well, I think he's going nowhere for a while. What do you say we look through what's left of your class and see if anything is salvageable? ""Xander?" she asked in shock, as she backed off a bit in fear. "What was that?"

Xander shrugged and smiled boyishly as he replied, "The Force is strong with this one." as he pointed ho himself. "Uhhh...okay." Jenny replied, still worried.

Xander sighed then as he said, "Look, I'll explain it more completely later, but we should really check your room first, to see if your translation program can be retrieved. Then we can work this out and I can beg you not to tell the others."

Jenny nodded then, figuring that after her own deceptions that Xander at least deserved the benefit of the doubt until he explains. As she calmed down for a second, she looked up in shock and exclaimed "Rupert!"

"Uh Miss Calendar, that might not be the best idea. I don't think he's really ready to accept something like..." he began to respond.

"No! I was supposed to meet him at his place after I finished up here. I've got to call him." Jenny explained.

"Oh. Go G-man. Well, then, how about we check your room, then I'll go put Deadboy on ice somewhere safe until we can work the spell, and you can go meet Giles." Xander's suggested.

Jenny actually blushed a bit at Xander's reply as she asked, "And your explanation? ""I'll fill you in with what I can while we check your room, and then I'll give you the rest in full tomorrow at school. Full story, scout's honor." he answered with a goofy grin.

Jenny, who was still quite flustered and not thinking totally clearly, just nodded and replied, "Okay. I guess that works."

As they made their way to her class, Xander began with, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..."

Chapter 6

Xander smirked cruelly as he finished trussing up Angelus in a secure sub-basement of the CRD lab that had once been used as a clean room. It was now going to be the temporary home of a former, and soon to be again, broody putz of a vampire. At least it was until the restoration spell was completed and Angelus was all soulful again. The thought of the merciless vampire being the prey rather than the predator for a change gave the Twilight Sith in training a deep sense of satisfaction as he secured and welded the bars of Deadboy's far too small cage. A cage that was made of solid steel and secured by a lock nobody on earth but Xander could open, much less pick, right now because all the mechanisms were internal and moved by the Force rather than a key or electronic system.

The vampire Angelus was finally beginning to stir from the horrendous blunt trauma by vending machine that would have killed any normal human. He did not like the position he was in when he regained lucidity. He was in a cage, hog-tied with what felt like overly large handcuffs at his wrists and feet, and was staring into the dead eyes of what he knew was a far greater predator than he would ever be. "Xander." the vampire said evenly, as he worked his wrists and tried to think of a way out of his predicament. He was unpleasantly surprised when his escape attempts resulted in a painful shock that sent his whole body into convulsions for a few seconds. "Hiya, Deadboy." Xander replied cheerfully as the vampire stopped shaking. "I probably should have warned you that I designed those binders with you in mind. Well, you really didn't give me a chance to say anything yet, but still. I didn't think you'd be dumb enough to try to escape right in front of me. My bad."

The Scourge of Europe growled at his captor, as he tried to break free again, only to get a much longer and more painful shock for his trouble.

"I probably should have mentioned the progressive stun shocks too. Silly me." Xander commented with an evil smile.

Angelus actually shrunk back a bit at the boy's grin as he responded, "Might have been polite of you, Xander. Or should I just call you Vader? ""Close, Overbite, but no cigar. Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader is my Master in the Force arts, but I'm still Xander Harris here. I just understand alot more about alot of things." Xander responded cheerfully, as he lit a green training saber and poked Angel in the nose though the bars.

The vampire jumped back from the painful shock, certain he would lose half his face to the blade, and looked confused when he didn't, even as he cried, "Darth Vader is a movie character, you nutcase! The Force isn't real!"

Angelus' ability to expel air to form words was cut off then by an unseen icy grip at his trachea, choking off his rant. "I find your lack of faith disturbing." Xander purred in an approximation of his Master's voice synthesizer, as he held up his hand in a claw like grip and silenced the vampire. "The Force is quite real, my not so dear prisoner. I'm just the first person on Earth to have received proper training in how to tap it, thanks to Ethan's little spell." he added as he released Angelus from his Force grip, and poked him again with his training saber, this time in his far too vulnerable chest.

He laughed as the vampire let out a frightened shriek, certain he was about to meet his end. "Oh, relax, you gel-headed, doofus. It's a training saber. It's set to hurt, but not cut through flesh. Do you really think the Jedi wouldn't have had safer blades to teach young children on? What a maroon." he taunted, as he held the glowing green blade in his hand to demonstrate that it was painful, but safe.

Xander deactivated the green lightsaber then, and drew his red an blue ones in its place. "Now these, are fully functional. I could cut you, the cage, and well...any material currently on this planet into pieces with either one of these no problem." he explained conversationally.

Angelus was certain he was going to soil himself, despite the inherent impossibility of a vampire accomplishing that feat, as he stared into the deadly glow of the blades. He tried in vain to struggle free of his bonds again, and let out a sheik at the increased voltage running through his carcass as a result.

Xander sniffed the air exaggeratedly as he deactivated and replaced the sabers, before he asked, "Does it smell like ham in here to you too, Angel?" He waited a few seconds, only getting inarticulate groaning from the vampire in reply, before he said, "Oh, that's right. It's just you trying to escape again. Silly me. I'm so forgetful all of a sudden."

Angelus, knowing he was bested, and as good as dead, saw no reason not to throw some meaningless defiance toward the Sith holding him. One thing he had leaned from Angel was that if you pissed off someone that already hated you enough, they might give you a quick death in their rage. It had almost worked on Spike when they were going to use Angel to revive Dru a couple of months ago. Maybe it could work here?

"Well, you were always stupid like that. Although I have to admit, you did impress me with all this. For a stupid loser nutjob with no future, you sure do know how to threaten me without having the guts to act on it. I'll just bet Buffy might even give you a sympathy grope for all this trouble. Well, at least as long as I was there to watch and get jealous. She wouldn't touch you otherwise." the vampire taunted.

Xander looked at him like a particularly disgusting bug beneath his shoe as he replied, "You think I want to catch whatever second hand social diseases you left her with? And you're calling me crazy? "Angelus looked a bit non-plussed, before he spat back, "It must just eat you up I got there first. "Xander rolled his eyes then. "You're pathetic, you know that right? All this 'throwing yourself to the lions to get a quick end' crap is really pointless right now, because I'm nowhere near ready to kill you." he replied in the tones of an adult chiding an errant child.

Angelus fought back the shiver of fear that reply elicited in him as he forced a laugh and responded, "Like I said, you don't have the guts."

Xander looked at him seriously then, as he knelt down to get closer to eyes level with the vampire trapped in the four feet square by four feet high cage, and said, "You have no idea what I'm capable of, vampire. I have the interrogation methods the Jedi and Sith both developed over millennia of dealing with each other in my head. I also have the ones my Master, and his master, Darth Sidious, came up with over the development of the empire. I could leave you a screaming wreck for millennia as you rotted in here, forgotten and alone, with a single thought. Keep that in mind while I head off for the day."

Xander watched in satisfaction as the vampire cowered before him as he stood and headed for the door. As he turned out the lights, leaving the room in total darkness, except for the door, he tossed out over his shoulder, "After all, I have to get some sleep before I head to school. It seems I have to help Miss Calendar tidy up a mess some idiot 'knowledge seeker' made of her room last night. Oh, and if by some miracle you escape, there's UV lamps and remote blasters set to way past your tolerances in every doorway from here to the exit. I hope you have some sunblock with you if you try to leave. Ciao."

With that said, he closed and locked the door behind him, leaving not a single photon of light left in the room, as Angelus howled and screamed at him to come back and face him, in between screams as he pulled at his bonds and was fried by huge amounts of current for his trouble.

Xander strolled home that night with a savage smile as he whistled the Imperial March jauntily.


The next morning, Jenny Calendar, aka Janna Kalderash, had a smile on her face that some would have said would need to be surgically removed; one only matched by the similar, but more flustered one on Rupert Giles' face. As she made her way into the room that morning before school, her grin faded a bit, but was not removed at the sight in front of her.

Xander was crouched at her desk, setting up the connections for a new computer to replace the one they had disposed of last night after Angelus' attack, whistling the Imperial March.

She was about to speak up then, when Xander interrupted her forthcoming words. "Just a couple of more seconds, Miss Calendar. I just need to check these connections." he said without turning to face her, as he stood up, and headed to the other side of the desk to boot up the system. "Um Xander, what are you doing?" she asked, curious as to why he would be in her class installing a replacement computer this early. She expected him to delay their talk as much as possible, with her tracking him down after school.

"Remember last month when I promised you a rebuilt computer that would be more to my standards these days?" he asked rhetorically as she walked up behind him and watched him boot up the system. "Well, this is it. Surprise, I finished early. Sorry you had to get it like this." he said as he turned to glance at her and walk her though the new OS parameters and systems.

Jenny was in awe of her new present as the boy in front of her walked her though the system and its capabilities. It could already hack almost every system on Earth without her even having to work at it, according to his descriptions, and was hundreds of times faster and more efficient than anything else she'd ever worked with, all while maintaining the facade of being a regular PC. "Xander this is..." she said, at a loss for words as to how to continue he thought. "Yeah, it is, isn't it?" the Force user replied proudly, as he got up and let her sit down and put the computer through its paces.

After a few minutes of exploring her system, which only made her want more time to do more with it later in private, she turned her head to regard Xander, who was tapping away on what looked like a modified Newton palm pad, and said "So, about that full explanation?"

Xander shrugged as he put away the pad and replied, "Well, like I told you last night, Master Anakin let me know I was Force sensitive that night, even before he inhabited me. Other than the knowledge we shared from our Master/Padawan bond, and from reading each other's lives, the only real change in me physically was an increased midi-chlorian count. "Jenny looked a bit confused as she nodded and said, "Midi-chlorian count? "Xander smiled boyishly as he replied, "Sorry, forgot how much just isn't common knowledge here for a second. Midi-chlorians are almost atomic level symbiotic organisms present in all living things. The more of them you have, the more connected you are to the force. Once you reach a certain level in you blood, well that how they're counted anyway, you're considered force sensitive. Master Anakin's count was well over twenty-thousand, higher than even Master Yoda's. And, I guess mine is at that level as well, from what we could tell. It's not like he had a counter with us that night, or that he'd have had a reason to learn to build one that I would have inherited. We just went by how strongly he could feel the Force with him, and I haven't felt any drop in power since he left me after the spell. ""So, you're saying you're as strong with the Force as Vader himself, then?" Jenny asked.

"As strong, yes. As well trained? Not by a long shot. I have all the theoretical knowledge in me, but I still need to work to get in up to snuff in practical applications." Xander clarified. "So that makes you what then?" Jenny queried.

"Someone with a full boat of both Jedi and Sith teachings to choose from from the start, according to my Master. He said I would be able to understand both the Light and the Dark, and choose my own path through them." Xander replied "So are you a Jedi in training, or a Sith?" Jenny pressed, slightly afraid of the answer, but wanting desperately to know after last night.

Her fear were only increased as Xander easily replied, "A Sith." without even considering it. When he felt her increasing fear, he elaborated. "I can't be a Jedi, because I refuse to lock away my emotions to live a life trying to reach Zen-like tranquility. 'A Jedi knows no passion.' For better or worse, I'm a passionate person by nature, just like my Master before me. If the Jedi had taken that into account, and been willing to bend on a few points early on with Anakin, they never would have lost him to Palpatine's manipulations. The Emperor knew just what buttons to push to drive a wedge between Anakin and the order. Once he did that, he had his new apprentice, simply by way of elimination of choices. Anakin was too angry to be a Jedi, Palpy offered him the Sith, and them manipulated him to keep him stuck there for twenty years instead of calming down.", he explained to the teacher before him. "So, you're a Sith, because you refuse to stop feeling angry?" Ms. Calendar asked, concerned.

"Not just anger. Emotions like love and joy are sacrificed the same as anger, fear, lust, and hatred are, according to Jedi law. I can't live a dead existence like that. Instead I'm trying to strike a balance between the light and dark. Since I know both of them from day one, I'm less likely to swing to one extreme or the other, because I know what they are from point of view of the same man experiencing them. I don't want to become as trapped in the Darkside as my Master was any more than I want to embrace the Jedi ways alone." Xander elaborated. "Then what are you? A grey Jedi?" she asked, still a bit confused, but with a better understanding of what Xander was telling her.

Xander shook his head as he replied, "I'm no Jedi. Even with the problems he had, Master Anakin respected the title 'Jedi' too much to let me sully it like that while using the Darkside freely. I'm a Sith in training, no question about it. I'm just not training myself to become a 'Dark Lord' of the Sith. ""Then you're a Light Lord of the Sith?" Jenny asked, a small quirk of amusement in her eyes.

Xander pondered that deeply for a few moments, ignoring her quip. "You know Drusilla keeps babbling about seeing Twilight when she looks at me. That I'm all Light and Dark together. As weird as it sounds, I think she has some weird kind of Force sensitivity that even her turning by Deadboy couldn't kill." he said in a thoughtful tone. "You're not planning on training her, are you?" Jenny asked aghast. "Of course not." Xander retorted, insulted at the insinuation. "But I think I might steal the term from her. I guess you could call me the Twilight Lord of the Sith." he said, smiling at how right it sounded to him even as he spoke it.

Jenny found herself smiling in response to the wholeness she felt coming from the newly crowned Twilight Lord of the Sith before her. After a few moments of basking in that complete feeling, she felt she had to ask, "So, what did you end up doing with Angelus last night? "Xander smiled evilly as he shrugged and responded, "Oh, he's...around. Let's just say I've given him a place to think about what he's done while we recompile the soul spell."

Jenny's grin actually matched his in malice for a second, before she sighed, and replied, "That won't take too long at all, I'm afraid. I found my disk that I saved it on last night while you were on a bathroom break. Once we get the materials, including a new Orb of Thessula, together we can try the curse. I even told Rupert about your translation program helping me reconstruct it."

Xander looked a little disappointed for a second before he sighed and said, "It's just as well, I suppose. All his threats and curses would have become boring after more than a few days. "The Romani woman smiled in sympathy as she asked, "Are you sure you still want me to try the spell after what you did in front of Angelus last night to protect me? "Xander never hesitated as he replied, "Definitely. Buffy's a wreck, and only his return to form will soothe her. Besides, he knows how to keep secrets when he's his normal brooding self. He won't squeal on me. Besides, bringing back the one true Deadboy will be a better torture for Angelus and his crimes than anything I could ever do to him. Living with that idiot for eternity is worse than Hell."

Miss Calendar laughed at his response, agreeing fully, even as she asked, "I take it you don't want me filling in the others either, then?"

Xander nodded in agreement, as his face went a bit blank while he tapped the Lightside of the force, and responded, "It's not time for them to know yet. You knowing was a necessity. We'll know when the others will need to be filled in." He shook his head after saying that, as if trying to wake up, before he added, "Besides, Giles was having puppies over a simple blaster. Imagine how he'd react to me throwing around the Force in battle, or cutting up vampires with my lightsabers. ""That was kind of creepy how you zoned out there, Xander." Jenny informed him conversationally. "But still, I can agree with your reasons. On one condition." she added with a wicked grin. "And that is?" Xander asked with a similar grin.

"You let me see where you have Angelus trussed up before we all bring Angel back. I really want to talk to him about destroying my computer and trying to kill me." she replied in a sly tone. "My dear lady, it would be a pleasure." Xander replied just as slyly.

Chapter 7

Angelus shivered at the newest torture that was facing him. Other than with the hunter Holtz, he had never had to truly face any consequences for his actions. That had all changed when he had angered Alexander Harris and attacked Janna Kalderash. Now he was trapped in a tiny cage, covered in lightsaber burns from that green training saber, in total darkness, listening to a CD of Mandy.

The guess about how much the vampire hated his current music choices, a song his ensouled self had a secret weakness for, was a testament to the Romani quest for vengeance. The smile on the dark complexioned woman's face as she set the CD to loop, before shutting the door again would haunt him for as long as he was left soulless. Although, the cruelty behind it was kind of a turn on. Angel suspected the woman managed to bring out parts in Ripper that had been buried since he was a force to be reckoned with in Britain two decades ago.

**************"Are we certain this is a prudent course of action?" Giles asked the assembled group in the library.

"Giles! We can get Angel back and end this nightmare! How can you question that?" Buffy responded with tears in her eyes.

"I think Rupert is still dealing with issues over Angelus trying to kill me as I translated the spell. If Xander hadn't noticed him sneaking into the school the other night, you would be planning my funeral, Buffy." Ms. Calendar responded calmly.

Buffy flushed from equal shares embarrassment and anger at what the computer teacher said. She couldn't deny a word of it, but she still didn't like hearing it.

"It more an issue of whether or not it's safe to use the spell. We need to make sure we're safe while we bring Deadboy back to his senses." Xander cut in, drawling the attention of the whole room. The Twilight Lord looked completely calm as he added, "I holding cell he's in will keep. We have plenty of time to make sure everything goes right until then. ""And where is this holding cell?" Buffy asked, a bit annoyed at Xander's attitude toward capturing Angel.

"Somewhere safe. The fewer who know about it, the less chance Spike and Dru can try to get that information out of us." Xander replied evenly.

Buffy fumed at his tone. She was about to let him know just who was the Slayer, and who made the decisions, when Giles interrupted. "A very sensible precaution, Xander. I can assume the location is properly secured? ""Yep. Even Deadboy doesn't know where he is. He was out cold from the stun shots the whole way. Plus I've slept there before while working on stuff, so it counts as a 'dwelling'." Xander responded with a grin.

"Thus requiring an invitation for other vampires to infiltrate it. Very good." Giles finished the thought with a smile. "So, what do we need for the spell?" Willow asked, trying to distract the room from getting into a bigger argument.

"Well, I need a new Orb of Thessula, since our not so friendly version of Angel broke my first one..." Ms. Calendar began. "I have one." Giles supplied. At her astonished look, the Watcher blushed and added, "I, um, have been using it as a, well, paper weight. "Jenny giggled brightly as she replied, "Oh goddess, that is just too priceless. The shop keeper told me the last few he had sold were as expensive New Age paper weights, and you, of all people, were one of the ones to buy it."

The whole room smiled a bit as Giles cleaned his glasses and gave that little half-chuckle of his as he responded, "Yes, quite. I imagine I was one of the few purchasers to know anything about the orb's uses, even if I can't really make use of any of the spell personally. ""Okay, so we're good for the orb. What else do we need?" Buffy pressed, wanting to get to the crux of things.

"Some herbs that I'm sure Rupert and I both have, some casting bones, and a few other odds and ends. The major sticking point is a caster. I have the knowledge, but I'm a little worried about the power. I'm certainly no witch." Jenny replied.

"Ooh! Maybe I can help with that. I've been studying about magic ever since the thing with Amy and..." Willow volunteered, extremely excited. "Absolutely not." Ms Calendar interjected firmly. At Willow's hurt look, and Buffy's angry one, she explained, "This is very dangerous, Willow. You've never even cast a spell before. No sane person would ask you to risk something as complex as the Ritual of Restoration for you first casting. ""But...I...I'm sure I can do this." Willow protested.

Xander spoke up then, as he commented, "You don't send a first day cadet into a dogfight, Wills."

Buffy and Willow looked at him strangely for his apparent non-sequiter. As he noticed their looks, he explained, "This is really high level and complex from what Ms. Calendar says. It would be like asking a first grader to do advanced calculus. They might get it right, but the chances of it happening are too slim to mention. It's not that you might not be able to, it's that you haven't trained to the point it would be safe to risk when we have time and other options. ""Xander's right, Willow. You need to walk before you can run. Besides, I didn't say I couldn't do it, just that I'm unsure of the power required. I can make a few calls, and get enough people together to make sure we get the spell right the first time. And I'd be honored if you were one of the ones to help." Jenny added. "Okay, then." Willow responded, her eyes a bit downcast. "I can understand wanting to be careful and stuff. "A pause settled onto the group then, until Willow asked "Do you think we should ask Amy to help, too? ""Yeah, she's been studying spells since at least Valentines Day when Xander ratted her out to Giles. She might be willing to help us."

Buffy agreed enthusiastically.

Giles and Jenny shared a look, before the latter shrugged, and the former replied, "I don't see how it could hurt. Please feel free to call her, Willow. "Xander stood up then, and stretched, before he said, "So when do we expect to get this done? If I keep Deadboy under lock and key much longer, I'll have to figure out a way to feed him, and I'm not loving that prospect. ""Well, considering that we have all the materials, we can set things up to work it out tomorrow night. That should give us sufficient time to prepare, as well as ask Amy if she wants to aid us." Giles responded. "Works for me." Xander said with a shrug. He though things over for a moment before he added, "We should probably do it at somebody's house, too. That way we don't have to worry about a vamp raid if Dru goes Dionne Warwick and her psychic friends on us and tries to stop the spell. ""Agreed. My flat should be a suitable place to cast the spell." Giles replied.

"Well, then, if that's all settled, I have scrounging at the junkyard to do." Xander commented, as he turned and headed for the door.


General goodbyes were exchanged, and Xander was halfway down the hall when an arm reached out from behind and stopped him. "I'm not telling you where he is, Buff." Xander said with a tired sigh. "I know." Buffy replied solemnly. "And I understand why. It's just...I want to thank you Xander. ""Huh?" the Sith in training replied in obvious confusion.

"I...I know you don't like Angel. At all. And you had him at your mercy when you saved Ms. Calendar. You could have dusted him, and never said a thing. Or said it was him or you. Instead, you saved him, and your programs and stuff are helping to bring him back. So, thank you." Buffy replied timidly, looking at her feet the whole time.

Xander seemed genuinely touched by her thanks as he smiled and responded, "No big, Buff. It's like I told Kendra, Angel's our friend...except I don't like him. It will be good to have the proper Deadboy back. Much as it turns my stomach to admit, he was a big help to us before this soul mess. ""Yeah well, thanks, Xander." Buffy replied, a little bit of spark back in her eyes as she reached up and kissed his cheek in a sisterly way. "Besides, it was getting boring with just Giles and Cordy to bug." Xander added with a goofy grin.

The Slayer held back as much of her giggle as she could as she replied, "I'm sure he'll be thrilled to hear you say that."


It was several hours later that found Xander in his training room, a blacked out welder's mask on his face, training with his remote and a yellow saber.

He blocked the random blaster bolts with apparent ease, as he put the tiny sphere through its paces. He was also aware of the presence that had arrived to watch him as he trained. "You're really good at that, Xander." Ms. Calendar complimented from a safe distance.

"Not really. Remember from 'A New Hope' that Luke was doing about the same with all of five minutes of coaching from Obi-Wan. I'll need at least four or five more to try to turn this into a useful exercise." Xander replied without ever stopping in his actions. "Well, it still looks impressive to us laymen." Jenny retorted with a grin. "I just stopped by to tell you that I got in contact with that programming company friend of mine, and they're willing to accept the contract you suggested for the translation program. ""Good. It will be nice to actually by some materials instead of scrounging them" the Sith replied while he continued his workout. "So, how do you want to play things with the spell?" Jenny asked.

"I'll stay here and watch Deadboy, while I wait for you to call and tell me the spell is finished. Which is crap, because I'll sense the change through the force the second it happens, but it will keep up appearances. After that, I'll brief Angel on just how much he'd better keep quiet if he likes being more than a gibbering madman for eternity." Xander responded without a hint of remorse.

"I wish I could say that attitude disturbs me, but under the circumstances..." Ms Calendar commented. "Couldn't happen to a more deserving broody vampire." Xander replied as he deactivated his remote with a wave of his hand, switched off his saber, and lifted his mask.


"Quod perditum est, invenietur. Not dead... nor not of the living.

Spirits of the interregnum, I call. Gods, bind him. Cast his heart from the evil realm. Te implor, Doamne, nu ignora aceasta rugaminte. Nici mort, nici al fiintei... Lasa orbita sa fie vasul care-i va transporta, sufletul la el. Asa sa fie! Asa sa fie! Acum! Acum! "<Translation: "What is lost, return. Not dead nor not of the living. Spirits of the interregnum, I call. Gods, bind him. Cast his heart from the evil realm. I implore you, Lord, do not ignore this request. Neither dead, nor of the living... Let this Orb be the vessel that will carry his soul to him. So it shall be! So it shall be! Now! Now!">

The croud chanted the next night, as the Orb of Thessula glowed brightly, before disappearing in a flash of light. "Did it work?" Buffy asked from where she waited on the sidelines.

"I think so. I could feel something working through, and shooting out of Ms. Calendar." Willow replied excitedly. "Cool." Oz said from his place next to his girlfriend.

Ms. Calendar gratefully accepted help from Giles to stand, as the spell had wiped her out, when she said, "We just need to call Xander now to know for sure. We went over the records of what should happen several times. He'll be able to recognize if it worked."

Giles made certain the Romani woman was comfortable seated on his couch, before he dialed the number Xander had provided them. A number Willow was quite frustrated she couldn't trace, as she pouted and accused Xander of cheating by way of too advanced technology. Her pout was greatly reduced when he offered to upgrade hers and Oz's laptops, however.

"Xander, this is Giles. We've completed the spell. Do you see any change in Angel?" the Librarian asked.

"Yeah G-man. His eyes went all shiny-glowy, and he seems disoriented, just like the book said he would. Once he seems to know who and where he is, I'll drag him down to you." Xander replied. "Very good. But do be careful, Xander." Rupert responded.

"I'm not going to turn my back on him, or my blaster away from him any time soon, Giles. It will be a long time before I trust him."

Xander reassured. "Quite. We'll be awaiting your arrivals, then." Giles said, before signing off and hanging up.

He looked over at Buffy and smiled as he replied, "Xander says everything seems to have gone to plan on his end, and he'll be here as soon as Angel is ready to move."

Buffy's only reply was a smile, accompanied by the tears of happiness in her eyes.


As that moment of anticipation was taking place, Liam was regaining memories of who he was, what he had done, and how he had arrived at his current location.

"Well, vampire. I think it's time we had a discussion, about a great many things." Xander said with an evil smirk.

"Is this where you bring in the floating black ball with the needles?" the vampire queried in mild apprehension.

"Why would I bring in an interrogation droid, Overbite? I want to keep you vewry vewry quiet." Xander replied, his voice going into an Elmer Fudd impression at the end. "And what makes you think I won't tell Buffy about all of this?" Angel asked, as he tried to hide his fear.

Xander's reply was to unlock the cage and open it though the use of the force, before he levitated Angel out of it, and removed his binders. "Because I could have just killed you a thousand times over through the course of the last few days?" Xander asked sardonically.

Angel stare silently at the boy before him, as he rubbed his wrists absently.

"The fact I could make you relive ever murder you've committed from the victim's point of view, and fry your brain to the point you'll never be able to form a coherent thought, much less words, might come into consideration, too. Or the worse things I'm considering if you ever come after any of my friends again." Xander added coldly.

Angel looked deep into Xander's eyes as he spoke, gauging his sincerity. All he saw was a fierce determination to protect his loved ones, and an unwillingness to back down. It was enough to swat the vampire for now. Xander wanted them safe just as the vampire himself did. "Good enough." Angel replied with an equally even tone.

Besides, the kid was damned scary now.

Chapter 8

The reunion of Buffy and her animated corpse with an artificially implanted human soul had gone predictable in Xander's estimation.

She had cried and hugged and kissed him, as Angel brooded and glanced fearfully at Xander, Jenny, and Giles when he thought they weren't looking. Eventually, the sight, although heartwarming in its own way, sickened him enough that he decided to leave. "Giles, I'm heading home for some sleep. I'll see you all manana." he anno9unced to the Brit, who was currently locked in a discussion with Amy and Willow both about magick as he comforted the still exhausted Jenny.

"Hmm? Oh, yes. Very good, then, Xander. Are you certain you'll be alright to make your way home unescorted?" Giles asked with mild concern. Truthfully, he knew Xander could handle himself. He had saved Jenny from Angelus, after all. The question was more for Buffy's benefit as it brought her mind onto her duty and off of Angel; both men understood that before it was even asked. "He's right, Xander. I'll walk you home." Buffy replied with much greater concern, her eyes still teary from all the released emotions of the evening.

Xander thought about taking her up on her offer just to get her some space from Angel, but ultimately decided against it. He wanted to do a small patrol and work on his repulsor drives anyway. He hoped to have a working speeder of some kind assembled by the summer, and to do that he needed repulsors far larger than the ones on his training remotes. "Nah, I'm good." he finally replied.

"But, Xander! There are vampires out there. I'm the Slayer, I'm supposed to protect you." Buffy protested.

A darker part of him wanted to Force choke her condescending platitudes out of her and show her how strong he really was, but he suppressed it. "I've got my blaster and a couple of pocket sized UV emitters I've been working on. Well, I stumbled upon the design while I was mapping out the best way to make an ion disruptor, but the point is it's like having a flashlight with sunlight in it on me. I wasn't taking any chances of getting jumped while Deadboy was disoriented on the way back." he assured her, certain the techno-babble phase would make her back off.

Buffy was almost as techno-phobic about his inventions as Giles was about computers. She subconsciously felt that because the knowledge that let him construct these things came from what was, to her, an evil spell then the fruits of it were evil and not to be trusted. (Strange how that didn't apply to her suddenly passing French, but still.) Xander could only imagine how she would react to his Force powers. She certainly wouldn't believe he was Force sensitive before the spell.

His little foray drew extra attention from another source, though. "You've built an ion disruptor? Really? That's so neat. Can you bring it here to show me? Or is it too big. I mean that is so neat how you could use that...wait how could you use that? We don't need a disruptor. What good is an ion disruptor on the Hellmouth?" Willow asked.

"I know I'm going to regret this, but what does this device do that would confuse Willow so much?" Giles asked tiredly.

"Well, first off, it's not done. I'll need parts that have to be bought instead of just scavenged to finish it. Luckily me new translation program will help with that. As to what it does, it's like a non-lethal version of a neutron bomb, only you can localize the effects to just what you're aiming at." Xander clarified. "Huh?" Buffy asked in confusion. "It will short out and kill electronics, but won't hurt people."

Miss Calendar explained. "Oh." Buffy replied. "Wait, why would you want that?" she asked Xander after a moment to think.

"I can sell it to the military. Think about it, they'd be able to disable an enemy's nuclear weapons, planes, vehicles, communications, etc. with pinpoint accuracy. No more risking taking out places like schools or hospitals as collateral damage. You could basically cripple a target to the point they're fighting with sticks and knives. After that, you could take them out with simple stun guns. No fuss, no muss, way less useless loss of life. The fact I'll make enough to fund my inventions until doomsday on something like that is just a big hefty bonus." Xander replied as if it were obvious.

The groups sat there stunned as they considered this, until Giles finally responded, "That sounds like a very laudable goal, Xander. But can't it be easily twisted to evil?" he asked tactfully.

"So can magick, Giles. I'm trying to keep what I'll release into the world down to the least damaging of things. Ion disruptors, shield generators, repulsor engines, may hyperspace capable vessels someday. That won't stop human nature. Eventually, you just have to have some faith that man's willingness to strive for good will balance out his desire for to commit evil." Xander replied with a shrug.

A contemplative silence settled over the group then as they all mulled over what Xander said, although only Jenny understood even a fraction of what it truly meant to him. That silence was finally broken when Buffy asked, "Are you sure you don't want me to walk you home?"

Xander rolled his eyes, and was ready to break out into the argument all over again when someone unexpected spoke up for him. "He'll be fine, Buffy. Believe me, after the way he took down Angelus, I'd be surprised if Spike didn't have vampires sending him thank you cards full of cash. They won't harm him, and if they tried, his gear can make up for anything they throw at him." Angel cut in quietly.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Deadboy. I'll be sure to tell Captain Peroxide I want those gifts in non-sequential bills if I see him." Xander shot back with a jaunty salute before he made his exit.


The Twilight Lord of the Sith was patrolling one of Sunnydale's many cemeteries, his Force senses stretched out to their max to detect the familiar signatures of his friends and enemies alike to alert him if they were near as he tracked down and destroyed several vampires that night. He had actually fried the first two to final death with his Force Lightning just to purge the anger he had toward Buffy's derision of his ability to care for himself.

With his senses extended as they were, he was rather shocked when a voice piped up from behind him. Nobody should have been able to get in under his radar like that. "You sure did screw up a lot of people's plans tonight, kid." a voice with a heavy Brooklyn accent stated in resignation.

Xander spun gracefully his blue lightsaber, chosen that evening for its Jedi connotations should he need to use it in front of the gang and explain himself, snapping to life in his hand to level it at the unknown creature.

Whistler raised his hands in alarm as he backed away a step and said, "Whoa now, take it easy there Obi-Wan. I come in peace."

"Then you really shouldn't be comparing me to Kenobi. My master had a forgiving soft spot for him. I find far less sympathy for a man that would train a child to kill his own father without even knowing who he was. Never mind that point of view crap about 'Vader' destroying 'Anakin'." Xander spat venomously. Of all the Star Wars characters he had come to identify with real people, only Palpatine held a greater place of contempt in Xander's heart. "Uh, well hold on there Luke, then?" the Balance demon suggested nervously.

"You are not human, and you don't read in the Force at all. State your business quickly before you become target practice." Xander stated in the cold tones he had inherited from Vader.

"I just came to talk to ya, is all. My name's Whistler, and I'm a balance demon that works for the Powers that Be. ""Balance demon? How very droll considering my position." Xander replied skeptically, his saber still at the ready.

"Yeah, well, I ain't exactly thrilled with the title sometimes neither. Trouble with balance is, it means sometimes you have to work in some scuzzy shit go good don't get to strong. Normally it's the other way around, what with evil being more proactive and everything, but every once in a while..." Whistler elaborated, his face taking on an angry look at the end. "And what does this have to do with me, exactly?" Xander inquired in a slightly bored tone.

"Like I said, you pissed some folks off, your Lordship. The Powers had plans for ol' Angie's alter ego that are permanently shot to hell now and the big man up stairs won't let them fix things."

Whistler said his face breaking into a grin at the end. "You look happy I screwed your bosses over." Xander replied dryly as he killed his blade and hung it back on his belt.

"Yeah, well they played Angel an' me both for chumps and I ain't exactly doin' cartwheels over it. See, they had me recruit old Deadboy to humanity's cause back in the day. He was supposed to be my special project, my crowning bit of balance...a vampire fighting for the light full time. When I found him he was brooding so hard he was living as a bum in NYC living off rats and afraid to talk to a human for fear of loosing it. I taught him how to be a person again. He was supposed to come here, assist you all, and stop a big bad demon from coming forth. At least, that's what I was told." the demon bitterly explained.

"Except Angelus was supposed to be the one in charge when this demon comes out to play and they didn't tell you that." Xander supplied seeing where this was going. "Worse." Whistler replied in disgust. "He was going to bring him forth; your little Slayer would be forced to send him to Hell where the ensouled version that was just restored minutes after Acathla was awakened would suffer for centuries, their time, which is a few months here. The fallout from all that would domino into some seriously effed up shit. ""I'm starting to see why you'd be glad they failed." Xander replied seriously.

"Yeah, well the thing is, they didn't fail. They don't move direct enough to call it a failure. They call it you screwing it up with your Sithy self. So, by special request of folks both higher up and lower down on the food chain then they can touch, I've been asked to inform you that they're going to start upping the ante to try to off ya' so they can get back to screwing with the lives of your friends." Whistler responded solemnly. "Why them? Why not just try to screw with me too?" Xander asked after a moment to let that sink in.

"You're too strong. See the thing with the Force is...it's the essence of all creation. Like the green Muppet said, 'Life creates it. The rock, the tree, the air between us...' and all that stuff. Your Force sensitivity, even if you were never trained, meant you would see through any manipulation directed right at you too easy. The best they could do was to keep everyone else far enough back to make you a bit player so you wouldn't see through their plans for the others." Whistler answered.

"And then I got Master Anakin in my head and got training on top of that shielding that prevents me from being pushed aside." Xander surmised.

"Bingo. Now you're beyond what they want to risk attacking with subtlety. Hell the Judge was an asswipe compared to your power. You could have zapped him even without the blaster and we both know it. It wouldn't have been hard to rip him to pieces from across the room with a few flying blades. Most of what they have would be too easy for you to beat. So...they're upping the ante, like I said. I can't tell you how because I ain't been told that. I was just informed that you should be warned." Whistler confirmed. "Why? I mean, why warn me if the Powers keep stuff in balance?" Xander asked.

"They're one rung on a ladder in one direction. People higher up near the roof and down in the basement want to see where you can take all of this. They want to see how humanity grows up with some help from its own instead of just what the PtB doles out before taking something away to keep it even. Anything they pull here, they're doing without help. I just want you to know that." Whistler replied. "Good to know." Xander responded evenly. He didn't trust a word the demon had said, but he didn't discount a word either.

The Balance demon nodded in respect to the young Sith before he turned to walk away off into the night. He paused just before he was out of earshot and called out over his shoulder, "Hey, Kid? When you see Angel you tell him I'm sorry for all this, but he still makes a better hero than I thought. Oh, and if I knew about Angelus, I'd have left him as Stink Guy and just helped him catch the rat.

Xander smirked as he replied, "I'll give him the message." as he watched the demon fade into the shadows and disappear.


Spike was beside himself as to what to do with Drusilla. She had been singing back and forth between weeping for 'Daddy', fuming at 'Kitten', dancing about how dangerous 'Kitten' was and back again for the last couple of hours.

"Dru, pet. What the soddin' 'ell is this all about? Did the Slayer finally dust the poof?" he finally asked in exasperation.

His sire rounded angrily on her wheelchair-bound childe with a growl, before shaking her head fretfully. "No. Not the Fluffy golden Slayer. Daddy's attentions had her all hurtful and sad. She would never hurt him proper. Kitten bound him, he did. Tied 'is hands in irons and let the bad teacher resurrect the Angel-beast. He used his darkness to blind Daddy somethin' awful and his light to help the mean ol' teacher break up our happy home." she replied in her usual random way.

*Whoever this Kitten is, I'll have to send him a fruit basket, then.* Spike thought to himself as he replied, "You mean the returned his soul to him?"

Drusilla nodded fretfully as she broke down into tears and collapsed into his lap to cry over her lost Daddy again. Still she couldn't be too cross with her yummy Twilight Kitten. He was just doin' what the stars told him to do just like she always tried to do. But that didn't make losing Daddy hurt any less.

"Now, now, love. It will get better. You know that Angelus wouldn't want you to suffer for the sake of those wankers and their spells. But right now, we need to get out of here. The factory isn't safe any more without the Slayer gun shy about attacking us for Angel's sake. I've been having to boys scout places to go and I have one all set up to move to. We'll pack up tonight and build a new home and then we'll make the Slayer pay." Spike consoled as he held her. In his mind though, he was thinking, *At least until I'm upright we'll play bloody house. Then we're gone and never looking back before Droopy and his toys get creative enough to kill us all.*

Chapter 9


The sound echoed throughout the room, making Buffy and Willow huddle together more closely in fright. Willow, especially, looked nervous. "When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master." Darth Vader purred over the monotone of his respirator. "Only a master of evil, Darth." Obi-Wan replied evenly.

The tension of the epic battle was broken when Xander snorted out loud and spat "Can't we just fast forward through this senile babble until Vader cuts Obi-Wan in half like he deserves? ""Xander! "Willow cried out in indignation. "How can you even say something like that? Vader's the bad guy!"

They were at Buffy's watching 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope' in her room after he battle with the demon der Kinderstod. Buffy had to be taken to the hospital by Angel after she had collapsed during a patrol she had sworn she would not go on; a fact that earned the vampire a certain amount of brownie points with Joyce. There she had discovered and killed the demon that was killing children to feed off of them.

"I've talked to the real Vader, Willow. He was angry, not evil. And technically, everything he did was legal under the marshal law the real bad guy, Palpatine, had declared. As he saw it, he was doing his duty to a recognized government that replaced a decrepit and corrupt Republic, much like the Roman Empire replaced the Roman Republic that came before it. And Vader never lied to kids and tried to train them to assassinate a father who would have loved to raise his children. If that old goat had half a brain and actually talked to Anakin, none of that would have happened. The first time Darth Sidious threatened Luke and Leia, he's have been taken out. No Force user even in existence was stronger than Vader. If you got him single minded about something, it got done. Hence the Jedi purges. ""Are you saying you agree with genocide?" Willow asked in mounting horror, as he associations with Hitler's atrocities against her people came to the forefront.

"Of course not! But I don't think you place the blame on the man that had his Master, the closest thing he ever had to a father steal away his wife and children, toss him into a lava pit, and leave him for dead, just because an evil man that put him back together knew how to say 'They did it! Hurt them!'" Xander responded evenly. "No offense Xand, but from the point of view the movie..." Buffy began trying to make peace between her two closest buds.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm seeing it from real life versions, not Hollywood ideals. Even Obi-wan calling him 'Darth' is an insult. 'Darth' is just a prefix to identify Vader as a Sith. It would be like calling Giles 'Limey' or Willow 'Jew'. It's a flat out racist and religious insult to use Darth alone as a name, and Obi-Wan knew it. Think about it, everyone in the empire called him 'Lord' Vader. There was a reason for that." Xander replied as he tried to explain his position. "Wow. I never knew that." Willow said meekly. The idea that Obi-Wan Kenobi was using a racist slur intentionally was a bit unsettling. "That puts a dimension on things I never saw." Buffy added.

"And that is one of the reasons I'm no longer fond of Obi-Wan Kenobi as a character. Even as a young man he was a selfish snot that resented having Anakin for a Padawan," Xander added angrily, even as he watched Vader strike Obi-Wan down on the screen and smiled.


"Things grow dire. The Sith is too powerful. Already he shifts the balance in his favor. We need a champion to face him," a timeless voice stated in a formless void.

"None of our champions are ready. The Slayer would not try to stop him, and the ensouled vampire both fears him, and lacks the gratitude of his freedom from Hell to aid Us." another replied. "We need one versed in his methods to deal with him," a third suggested. "A Jedi?" asked the first.

"No. His use of the light and balanced views would make him too controlled for a Jedi to attack. He would simply talk his way out of any attack. Besides, his power is too strong for Jedi to attack. Warfare was never their true power," the third responded. "Another Sith, then? One not willing to touch the light?" the second asked. "I was thinking this one," the third replied as a shadowy portal opened and showed a figure in black robes, with red and black tattoos on his face being cut in half by Obi-Wan.

"Darth Maul was skilled, but not so skilled as to even face the Jedi Kenobi. He would be struck down," the first scoffed.

"Kenobi was fully trained, Maul was tired from the battle with Qui-Gon Jinn, and our Sith has yet to even face a true adversary," the third countered. "You are right," the second agreed.

"It will take time to bring him to our purposes. We must pull him here before his death and heal him carefully without revealing our true powers," the first warned.

"It will be worth it. We will claim to be agents of Sidious and send him to redeem himself against a Sith blasphemer. Then we shall return him to his dimension and toss him into a sun. No balance will be altered except where we want it to be," the third assured. "Then let us begin," the second said as the image of Darth Maul vanished just before the rest of the portal did, and the two halves of the defeated Sith materialized before them. To Maul all he saw was a group of figures in robes similar to his Master's secret brotherhoods that did his dirty work on Coruscant.

"Be still, Darth Maul. The Master wants you to heal before your next test on the path to the Darkside. Your time for revenge against the Jedi will come soon enough." one of the figures said before the alien Sith fell into unconsciousness.


As Xander watched Luke Skywalker blow up the Death Star, he felt a horrible tremor in the Force, but he could not divine what was causing it. "You okay, Xander?" Willow asked in concern as she saw him blanch and shiver. "You didn't catch Buffy's flu, did you?" she inquired.

"No. I just felt a tremor in the Force. I have not felt one like it since...we ran out of Cheezy Chips. Who wants me to get the bag Buffy's mom has hidden in the cupboard?" he asked with a goofy grin as he did his Vader impersonation.

Once he was out of the room after the laughing encouragement of his friends, Xander's good cheer vanished. Something was terribly wrong.


That evening Xander was on his way from his 'home' that he only really stopped at to change clothes and meet Willow anymore to his real home, a.k.a. his lab, when he was stopped by a not entirely unexpected figure. "Hey, Cordy," Xander greeted cheerily. "You out to burn a hole in your daddy's wallet? ""It's time, Xander. Things have calmed down, Angel isn't evil, and I want to know what's going on," Cordelia said in a tone that left no room for argument.

Xander thought about arguing for a moment, before he sighed and nodded in agreement. "Come on, then. Let's go someplace more comfortable," he said with a defeated air as he started walking toward his lab again.

"That better not be a pick-up line, Harris. You know damned well I'm not that kind of girl," the May Queen warned good-naturedly.

Xander let a small smile creep onto his face as he thought of five different nasty retorts by force of habit alone but held then in as he responded, "I know, Cor. I know."


It was only a few minutes until the pair was at his lab, where Cordelia exclaimed, "Xander, this place is amazing. Willow would so wet herself if she saw all of this. Why haven't you been showing it to us?" she asked.

"It's just my lab. Besides, This is where I hid Deadboy, and I have had Miss Calendar here. As to why, you'll know in a few minutes,"

he answered. "What?" Cordy asked in confusion as she sat down in a chair that literally floated up to meet her rear (OOC: think human sized seat like Yoda's floating peat from Episode II.)

"You know I had Vader in my head, right? That's how I know how to build this stuff. What I haven't mentioned was the other half of what I inherited from him, "Xander began. "In fact, that's how I came to own this lab. The old owners already wanted to just be rid of it after the mess with Moloch, and a little application of the Jedi mind trick was all I needed to get the deed for free," he added as he waited for her to connect the dots. "Oh," Cordy replied as she mulled that over. Eventually she caught just what he was implying and exclaimed, "What?!? You mean you can use the Force? Like really use it? Like it's real and stuff? Vader gave you the Force!?! ""Yes, yes, yes, and no. In that order." Xander replied evenly even as his eyes lit with a little twinkle. "What the hell are you talking about dweeb-boy?" Cordelia snapped.

"Yes, I can use the Force, yes I can really use it, yes it's real, and no Vader didn't 'give' it to me. I was born Force sensitive. There was just nobody alive that could recognize and train me in how to use it until I bonded with Master Anakin. ""Oh...wait, what do you mean bonded to Master Anakin?" she asked after another pause.

From there Xander began a long and drawn out explanation of just what had happened with Vader, how he felt about it, and what had come since then. When it was all taken care of several hours later, Cordelia only had one question left.

"Okay, I think I understand all of this stuff and why you're hiding it. Lord knows Miss Slays-a-lot and the Tweed-man would freak over you having powers that make her look wimpy. She doesn't exactly like competition, and Giles is like uber-research-new-stuff-guy. But...why is this making you push me away?" she asked mildly.

Xander let out a frustrated sigh at her question. He'd been trying to prepare a way to answer that from the day Cordelia had given him her conditions for backing off. He'd come up with arguments anywhere from 'I don't want to saddle you with the uber geek-god' to even crap like 'A Jedi knows no passion' and still could not find something that sounded fair. Finally, he decided to go for broke and replied, "I meditated on you for days, Cordelia. On us. I tried to find every possibility for us to be together, and it always ended the same. You get hurt because of me, and eventually you go away and die. I can't tell you the details. The future is always too much in motion for that, but I can tell you that us being together would hurt you more than I will ever risk. I...I just have to trust the Force. I've seen too much now not to trust in it. ""So that's it, then? You get a bad juju and you just ignore what we've felt? You just toss aside something I know would be wonderful?" Cordy asked with tears in her eyes.

Xander watched her tears for as long as he could stand before he exploded, "[Damn it Cordy, if it protects you it's worth it! Any sacrifice is worth keeping any of my loved ones safe!]"

Unfortunately, the explosion was in Anakin's first language, Huttese, so only Willow would have been able to translate even every other word. Cordelia just look on in confusion and replied, "Huh?"

Xander had to mentally rewind and realize what he had said and in what language before he responded, "Sorry, I slipped into Huttese. What I said was 'Damn it Cordy, if it protects you it's worth it. Any sacrifice is worth keeping any of my loved ones safe.' ""Oh. Well, what the hell gives you the right to make that sacrifice without telling me about it? Huh, Mister?" the bitch queen of Sunnydale screeched at him.

Xander saw where this heated debate was leading, though, and calmed down visibly as he latched on to the light side of the Force. "That's what I'm doing now, Cor. If we're together, it will lead to your death. After what I told you about those manipulations by those 'Powers that Be' jerks that says a whole lot. I care about you too much to risk it. I won't get you killed for being with me. I just have to trust that it's right, and Force help me every time I look again I get more certain that it is," he answered hollowly. "But Xander..." Cordelia began until she saw the raw pain in his eyes.

"Cordelia, I love you. But I can't love you that way. Not at the cost of your life. I think we're close enough friends that I can say that without losing you totally. Please tell me we are," he asked.

"Grrr...damn it this would be so much easier to deal with if it was 'I'm gay' or 'I'm screwing Willow behind Oz's back because it gets her hot' or 'Buffy and Giles don't want another normal person in our Scooby orgies'. Then I could be mad without feeling all...bad about it, then support you like a friend and stuff. Well except for the orgy thing. Then I'd be throwing up. And I'd kick your ass over the Willow thing," Cordelia began. "Amen to that," Xander agreed. "But instead," she continued as if he had never spoken, "here you are, being all noble and protecting me, and damned if I can't find anything to argue you out of it. God knows walking away from you will cost me the only person who ever cared about the fact I was a real person, and that definitely includes boyfriends and the sheep alike. ""So you're not abandoning me?" Xander asked cautiously.

His answer was a hug from the May Queen that made him feel light-years better as she responded, "Of course not you doofus. You need someone grounded to keep you sane around Buffy and Willow. Without me your ego would get entirely too big. "Xander's grin was huge as he replied; "I so don't deserve to have someone like you in my life, Cordelia Chase. "Her grin was impish as she replied, "I know."