Finding Faith

Author: Dennis Wellman (a.k.a. Merlin the Enchanter) <merlin.enchanter[at]>

Rating: PG 13 for now

Disclaimer: Joss, Mutant Enemy, and a lot of other people own Buffy. Chris Carter and Fox control the destinies of Mulder and Scully of the X-Files. I get no money by writing this, just hope for some kind words of encouragement.

Classification: Alternate Universe, Crossover, Faith/Xander relationship

Spoilers: a few here and there.

Summary: The search for the missing piece of his heart causes distress for Xander.

Feedback: Yes please!!!!!

Distribution: If you like it... please feel free to place it on your site... but please tell me first.

Chapter 1

Louis Armstrong Int'l Airport
New Orleans, LA
2:35 PM, May 3rd 2006

Special Agent Xander Harris exited the Cessna Citation X corporate jet and donned his sunglasses as the full force of a southern late spring day hit him full in the face. He nodded to the two men who were waiting for him, Agents Matt Wilker and Tony Haas from the New Orleans office.

"Matt, Tony." He said, shaking hands with both of them. "I hope you have some good news for me."

"Nothing definite sir, but we have her tracked down to a forty square block area, but that girl just doesn't leave tracks." Explained Matt.

"Correct sir, she's harder to pin down than most of the guys in the top ten. We have been getting reports about her off and on all over the south for the last few years, but we were never sure what to do about it till your notice went out." Said Agent Haas.

Xander stood looking out over the tarmac, almost as if he was trying to sense her, or locate her by her presence. The two agents looked at each other, wondering what they had gotten themselves into.

"Lets go." Said Xander.

They had piled into the white Ford Explorer that the two agents had arrived in, when Agent Haas asked, "Did you want to go to the hotel first sir?"

"No, just take me to where she was last spotted. And let them know downtown that Agents Mulder and Scully will be coming in at about four o'clock." Xander replied looking out the window, his mind thousands of miles away and several years ago.



Special Agent Alexander Harris is only on his second case since graduating from the FBI Academy, and to his surprise he is working with Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully on a case involving several possible vampire style murders.

They flew into Dallas Fort Worth Airport and picked up the car at the local office; afterward heading to meet with the local police force. There, they read over the crime scene reports and autopsy reports. Xander set two reports off to the side, wondering how much he could trust the two agents with him. Mulder had the reputation of being a real flake, but Scully was supposed to be the scientist. He listened to the two of them arguing about the killers being "real" vampires, and he decided to go ahead and stick his neck out.

"They were killed by real vampires." He stated loudly.

The two senior agents turned to the younger man and looked at him. Mulder was trying to hide a smirk while Scully glared.

"They were killed by real vamps." Xander said again.

"Okay Agent Harris, would you like to explain to me how you came about this profound bit of knowledge?" Asked Scully.

"Easy, I've dealt with them before, these were no different than a hundred others that I have seen. The key to the proof that you will require is in these two autopsy reports." Xander said holding them out to her.

Scully took them and sat down to read them. Mulder took this opportunity to question the rookie agent. They talked for several minutes until Scully was done and turned back to them.

"Okay, I have read them over again, there was no difference compared to the others with the exception that both of these had blood in their mouths." Scully said wondering what the young man was referring to. "Their throats were ripped open, there would have been blood flying everywhere."

"Yes, but the blood in their mouths was of a different type." Xander pointed out.

Scully's head snapped around like it was spring loaded and she opened the two file folders, looking for the information she wanted.

"You're right, both blood samples found in the mouths of the victims was a different type than the victim, but was the same type. What does this mean?" Scully asked Xander.

"It means that the person who was looking to add to his family, turned both of these victims. It also says that they were buried today, so they will be rising tonight, and their sire will likely be at the cemetery waiting for them." Xander explained to the two curious agents.

As they drove back to the hotel Xander explained about his brushes with the supernatural while he was in high school and shortly after that. He left out key parts, telling them that he would explain all after they believed him. He stopped at a convenience store near a church and bought four gallons of drinking water and to Mulder and Scully's surprise carried it into the church. In the presence of the other two agents Xander told the priest what he wanted it for and the priest quickly got out his bible and blessed all four gallons. They thanked the priest and returned to the car with the water.

"Xander, what was all that about?" Mulder asked.

"Well we now have a good supply of holy water, works as good as concentrated acid on vamps. In other words makes them burn." Xander replied.

Scully grimaced at that thought, but held her tongue. As much as she hated to admit it, the young man did have a solid story. How true it was, remained to be seen.

Xander had Mulder make two more stops on the way back to the motel, one at a Toys R UsR where he picked up two squirt guns of the super soaker variety, and one at a lumber yard where he picked up some surveyor stakes.


Buford Parrish Cemetery
11:05 pm

Following instructions on where the two recent admissions were buried, Mulder and Scully followed Xander through the cemetery. All were dressed in jeans and light jackets with hiking boots. Mulder and Scully carried the two super soakers and had several stakes as well. Xander carried a crossbow and several vials of holy water. They found the two fresh burials and waited. Luckily the graves weren't too far apart, so they could watch both at the same time.

The wait was a short one as Xander noticed the ground start to move on the first grave.

As Mulder and Scully both watched, the former victim clawed his way out of the ground and climbed to his feet, his game face plainly visible.

He saw the two older Agents first and turned toward them, both were frozen in their spots, amazement clear on their faces.

"Soak him down!" Screamed Xander, as he readied his crossbow.

Startled out of their stupor, both agents let fly with a strong stream of holy water. The vampire started to steam immediately when the water hit it, and they could see the pain that it was causing.

"Okay, that's enough." Called Xander. "Now this is what happens when you pierce their hearts with wood."

The twang of a bowstring was heard, and both saw the crossbow bolt pierce the vampire's chest. The sound of a soft "poof" was heard, and the vampire disappeared in a small cloud of dust.

The other vamp had pretty much crawled out of it's grave unnoticed and was charging Xander at full speed, Scully cried out a warning and Xander just spun, dropped to one knee, and held up a stake for the vamp to run into.


That was pretty much the start of everything for Xander. Now after just three years with the FBI he was head of the Supernatural Branch of the X-Files Division. Mulder was the Division head, and ran the Extraterrestrial and Paranormal Branch and Scully was the leader of the R&D branch. It took time for the heads of the government to actually realize that there was another world out there populated by races mostly dedicated to the fall of humanity, but when several demons teamed up with some terrorists they woke up quick.

Mulder, Scully and Xander had pretty much free run of things when they were called in to a case in their area of expertise, and they were now treated with respect and almost awe.

Buffy was now a Special Agent as well, and Willow was a consultant that was called in whenever a lot of research was required. Giles had married Joyce Summers four years ago and enjoyed his consultant stasis, as well as the special liaison to the Council of Watchers.

Dawn was in her junior year of college, and was trying to decide what it was that she wanted to do with her life.

End Flashback

The three agents arrived at the scene where the latest victim was recovered. They parked in an old service station and exited the vehicle. Agent Wilker spread a city map out on the hood, and had marked where all the victims had been discovered, as well as where the girl had been spotted.

Xander pulled off his leather blazer, and tossed it in the back seat of the SUV, then joined the other two agents at the map. Both agents looked in quiet awe when they saw the shoulder holster carrying the huge Mark XIX Desert Eagle pistol.

Xander looked over the map, and then turned looking over the area.

< Where are you Faith? >

Xander had only regretted one thing in his life; he hadn't been there for Faith when she needed someone. Both before she had the lapse of judgment and turned bad, and the period after when she turned herself in and served her time. He had heard through Angel that she had studied hard in school and done well, getting out early. But Xander never seemed to have the time to get to LA to see her. Then once her parole was over she just disappeared.

They tried tracking her for years, but had no luck with any fresh information. That was until this week; when a concerned woman called the police to report that a young woman that had saved her from vampires had been injured. That had been three days ago. The report was filtered from a police report by one of Willow's computer tracking programs. The police did nothing; they put down the old woman's story as 'seeing things'.

Xander had spoken with her on the phone, he knew better.

The two agents with Xander knew all that was not classified about Special Agent Alexander Harris. He was a wunderkind who popped up out of nowhere when he helped Agents Mulder and Scully with a case. That case had been classified before anyone could read it, and the upper echelon of the FBI was in a tizzy for months after that. The X-Files Division had grown ten times in size overnight and worked under total classified security. Even the normally expressive and open agent Mulder had seen the need for that. Before a field agent could work with anyone in the X-Files, they had to be cleared by the bureau chief, and be notified of the secrecy of what they did.

Agents Wilker and Haas were non-believers. For now.

Xander spent several more minutes walking around the area looking over the buildings around him.

< Talk to me Faith. Where are you? >

What Buffy, Mulder, Scully and the others didn't know was that Xander was in love with the dark slayer, and had been before they slept together that one time. He had fallen hard for her, but had been afraid to let her know. Then she was gone, and never would know. Xander felt that he had to help her to finally find herself so he would be free of the guilt. The guilt he felt for not being there for her.

Finally he turned to the other two agents.

"Did you pick up the kits when you were assigned to assist me?" Xander asked.

"Yes, they are in the back." Tony Haas replied, nodding toward the Explorer.

"Get them out and outfit yourself with the stuff they contain. It will be getting dark in a few hours and I want you equipped properly if we end up out here after dark." Xander insisted.

While the other two agents loaded up, Xander walked around the vehicle some more, trying to get a feeling for where she was. Xander's feelings were mixed when it came to Faith, he had tried to move on, and even had a long-term relationship with Anya, but he never got over Faith. His near obsession possibly came from the feelings of guilt that he was unable to save her from herself, but he knew deep inside that he was still in love with the girl who took his virginity. The dark beauty with the attitude that he had connected with even now held is heart captive.

He walked to the rear of the Explorer and pulled out his own bag. He opened it up and pulled out a belt swiftly putting in on. He loaded several of the loops on it with stakes, holy water and a short sword. Next he added a large first aid kit to it as well. Pulling on a long black trench coat, he checked to make sure everything was well covered.

Then with the other two agents he set out, searching for Faith.


Corner of Royal and Clouet Streets.
New Orleans, LA
7:35 PM, May 3rd 2006

It was starting to get dark and they still had no hunch where she might be, several business owners had remembered seeing her, but they did not know where she was staying. Xander had a feeling that they were close, so he sent Wilker back to pick up the SUV and bring it closer.

Matt had returned with the Explorer and they were debating what the next step should be when the decision was made for them. Xander spotted a couple of vampires that were stalking something. He signaled the others to follow him and he moved closer to the pair of vamps. One pulled out a cell phone and made a call.

"She's in the motel at Charles and Press streets. She's alone as far as we can tell and she's hurt, we could smell the blood. Room 106. Right, we'll keep an eye on her." Spoke the vamp, and then he closed up the phone.

"Yo, deadboy." Called out Xander. "When did they start allowing you guys to have technology?"

The two vampires turned to the newcomer, looking him over.

"You did say room 106 right?" Xander asked the two.

The two looked at each other then rushed the young man in the dark trench coat. Xander pulled out a stake in each hand and waited calmly. Agents Wilker and Haas moved closer to support him and drew their guns, equipped with 'special' ammunition carried in their support kits.

The first Vamp to reach Xander swung a wild roundhouse at his head, and was shocked when he ducked it. Stepping to the side, Xander drove a powerful kick into the vampire's stomach. When the vamp doubled over he leapt in and hammered the stake in his right hand into the creatures back, piercing its undead heart. With a soft 'Poof' the body vanished in a cloud of dust.

Wilker and Haas stared in fascination. They had been told of what Harris did, but until they actually witnessed it..

The other vampire pulled up short looking at the young man with caution.

"Your pretty good human, but lets see you stand up to me." Said the vampire.

"Hey, when you have trained and sparred with a slayer, and lived on the Hellmouth, you're no big deal." Xander returned.

The vamps face showed the concern that he was feeling now. He made one half hearted lunge at Xander and then he took off running. Xander started to follow, then pulled out his desert eagle. Sighting in carefully, he softly pulled the trigger.

The vampire was knocked down by the impact of the fifty-caliber bullet, and screamed when the bullet burst into flame, incinerating his innards in seconds, then silenced as he turned to dust. Wilker and Haas looked at Harris with more than respect now, almost hero worship as he walked back to where they were standing.

"Those were vampires gentlemen. I trust that you are believers now?" Xander said.

"Yes sir." They both replied shakily.

"Good." Xander replied clapping them both on the shoulders. "Now Haas, go get the truck and drive it to the motel on Charles and Press streets. Wilker, you're with me." He said as he started off at a swift jog toward the aforementioned intersection.

When he got closer, he saw that the motel was a small one catering to the poor who needed a cheap place to stay, offering kitchenettes and weekly rates.

< Bet the roaches are out of control > Thought Xander as they jogged into the parking lot.

Xander veered over to the motel office and went inside. He showed his ID to the desk clerk and demanded the key to 106.

"Who's registered there?" Xander demander.

"Said her name was Faith Summers." Replied the clerk, fearfully looking into the FBI Agents face.

Xander snagged the key out of the clerk's hands and left. Walking up to the door to unit 106 Xander found himself very nervous, fearful of the reception he might receive. Straightening up he stepped up to the door and knocked loudly, the other two agents of either side of the door.

He could hear no response, so he knocked again, even louder this time. Still no reply. Finally he inserted the key into the lock and turned it. He let the door swing open and tried to look into the gloom. Seeing nothing, he stepped into the room turning on the lights as he went.

Xander turned to look over toward the bed and saw her lying on the floor. His heart fell as he rushed to her. He put his hand on her neck, to checking for a pulse and thankfully found one. It was weak but it was still there. He rolled her gently onto her back and brushed the hair out of her eyes. She was burning up with fever. Then the smell hit him.

It was the rotten odor of infection and decay. Swiftly he turned to Haas.

"Get the truck started, we have to get her to the hospital!" Ordered Xander.

As Haas rushed out to get the truck started he yelled to Wilker.

"Get her bags. Looks like she was getting ready to split when she got hurt again."

He bent down and gently scooped her up into his arms; her too light frame, was no strain to lift at all. Gently he carried her out the door and climbed into the back seat of the waiting SUV. Cradling her carefully he whispered quietly to her.

"It's all right now Faith, you're safe. We're going to get you all fixed up." Said Xander.

In her fevered semi conscious state she must have recognized something, because her face relaxed and she snuggled into his chest, bringing some relief to the young FBI agent.

He held her carefully and pulled out his cell phone, hitting the speed dial as he brought it up to his ear.

"Mulder, we found her. She's pretty bad off, got some infected wounds and is running a high fever. No we are taking her to." Xander paused looking up at the other agents.

"Charity Hospital." Said Agent Haas.

"Charity Hospital. Have Dana meet us as soon as possible. Thanks!"

Faith made little whimpering sounds as she lay in his arms. Xander pulled her closer and kissed the top of her head. Looking her over he could see the evidence of several older wounds, and he could feel her bones through her skin. It looked like she had missed way too many meals, robbing her of the resources that her slayer healing needed. Her hair was much longer than he had ever seen, but it looked good on her. Who was he trying to kid, everything looked good on her. Just as much as ever, he viewed her not so much through his eyes, but with his heart.

He steadied himself as the SUV roared up to the emergency room entrance, and screeched to a halt.

He opened the door and got out, careful not to disturb the precious bundle in his arms. With Wilker leading the way, he strode into the emergency room.

"I need a doctor right now!" He ordered.

"This way sir." Spoke up a trauma center nurse as she held open a door.

He entered the room and lay her down gently on the bed. She whimpered softly again, but Xander held onto her hand. He pulled out his ID and handed it to the nurse.

"Special Agent Harris, FBI. This is one of our undercover agents, she was hurt several days ago and was not able to get help, we just found her a little bit ago." He paused looking down at the woman he loved. "Not sure what her injuries are, we just rushed her here, although she is running a fever and I'm sure she has a bad infection by the smell." He stated, sounding official. "One of our doctors will be here in a few minutes to oversee her care."

The nurse handed him back the ID folder and looked over the huge sidearm, sword and stakes and made no move to tell the agent to leave the room.

She started cutting Faith's shirt and jeans off, leaving her in sports bra and panties. Then started unwrapping the bandaged knee. Xander looked her over, seeing way too many scars that should have not been there if she would have healed correctly. Her ribs showed, every one of them, and now that the light was better she looked almost gaunt.

Xander looked up as the nurse gagged as the final piece of gauze peeled off. The long gash on the outside of her knee was oozing yellow-green pus and smelled terrible.

The nurse stepped away and took several deep breaths. Then turned back to her patient.

"She's malnourished." She stated looking up a Xander.

"Yes, I was just noticing that. I don't know how long she has been not getting enough to eat; she has been undercover for a long time. But I think her body is just running out of gas." He answered.

The nurse turned and grabbed a bag of glucose off the cart. Swiftly she hung the IV and got a tube into Faith. She opened the line wide, then grabbed a nasal tube and put Faith on oxygen.

Xander stood there cataloging her injuries. There was a large bruise on her hip and shoulder, cuts all over and a half healed gash across her stomach. Who knows what else they might find.

One of the ER doctors came in and started working on her. He started injecting lidocaine around the injured knee, and placed a tray underneath Faith's leg. He then stripped off his gloves, putting on a fresh pair. Next he picked a bowl of betadine solution up and a small scrub brush and started scrubbing the wound.

Faith started to whimper louder but Xander put his hand on her head and leaned over whispering in her ear and she quieted.

As the doctor was finishing up with cleaning the wound out, Scully showed up. No bigger than Buffy, when she entered a room her very presence demanded attention and respect

She got a rundown from the doctor and nurse, then turned to Xander.

"Any idea of how long she was there unconscious?" Scully asked.

"None at all, but no one had seen her outside for the last three days." Xander replied.

"Well she has a terrible infection, and is feverish and dehydrated. I have ordered X-rays and a full blood work up. They have started her on some antibiotics and glucose to get her strength back up. Now it is just a matter of time.

Chapter 2

Charity Hospital
New Orleans, LA
9:55 AM, May 7th 2006

Xander greeted the nurses at the nurse's station as he walked past it, and nodded to the police officer guarding the door to the CCU room as he entered. He walked over to the table and set the bag with his bagels inside on the table. He placed the fresh Starbucks triple mocha latte down as well and shrugged out of the custom made leather blazer that he favored.

< Four days. Four long days and she still hasn't woken up yet, > thought Xander.

He walked over to the side of the bed and sat on the edge of it. He gently brushed her hair back out of her face and ran his fingers softly down the side of her face. He could almost feel a slight current pass between them, and Faith's face seemed to relax some.

< Why am I so obsessed with her? I mean, ever since she threw me out of bed I just couldn't stop thinking about her. >

He stood and walked over to the window and looked out over the city. He just stared, not really seeing anything, and was still like that when Dana Scully entered the room.

He saw her reflection in the window and spoke without turning.

"Morning, Dana."

"Morning, Xander," she replied, walking over to check Faith's chart. "Any news yet?"

"Nothing," Xander said as he turned to face her. "It seemed like she relaxed a little when I brushed her hair out of her face, though."

Dana put the chart down and looked at the young man. She and Mulder had come to have a lot of respect for Xander in the time that they had known him.

"Xander, she will be fine. She was just extremely malnourished and physically exhausted. Who knows how long it had been since she had a good meal and a decent amount of rest? Add to that the number of wounds she had acquired and you can get a picture of how run down she was," Dana stated softly. "But you can see that many of the scars are fading already."

"I noticed," said Xander. "I just hope she wakes up."

"She will when she is ready. I've studied Buffy's healing ability, so I am pretty sure it will be soon. And when she does, it will be your job to help her recover emotionally and get some pounds on her. I'll check her again this evening. If you need me, just call," Dana said as she left the room.

Xander sat by the bed in one of those formed plastic chairs that seem to put everyone's butt asleep in record time and started to talk to Faith.

"You know, Faith, when Angel told us about you turning yourself in, and how deeply he believed that you were really sorry for what you did, I was relieved.

I had hoped that I could have been the one to help you out, but I was glad that someone finally reached you."

He paused to drink some coffee before starting again.

"Things got really screwed up after you left us. Buffy never really did get over Angel, and then Oz left Willow and it seemed like, for a while, we were just falling apart. I hooked up with a former vengeance demon, and thought about marrying her. Then one night my dad kind of lost it and beat both my mom and me pretty bad; bad enough that we spent several days in the hospital." He paused, thinking back. "You should have seen the look on his face, though, when Buffy stopped him. This tiny blonde was just holding his arm and not allowing him to swing. Then he swung at her and she decked him. After that, the gang pulled back together again, tighter, and we were there for each other then. Buffy jumped into Criminal Justice classes at the college, and Giles helped me get some money from the Watchers to go to UC Sunnydale as well. I took the Criminal Justice classes more to help Buffy out with them than anything else, and found that I liked them."

Xander paused again, sipping his coffee.

"Then came dad's trial. It was pretty bad, my mom and I having to tell what happened. Then we had to sit through his testimony about how worthless we were and how I was the result of an affair that my mom had had. It got pretty ugly. Anyway, we were doing fine for a while, my grades were good, and I had a part time job as a short order cook at a diner just out of town. Then came the day that dad walked away from a work camp that he wasn't even supposed to be at. He shot mom and beat me pretty badly before the cops showed up. Willow moved in about that time and helped me take care of mom."

Xander wiped his eyes.

"We got a large cash settlement from the city because of that. Mom is fine now, and is seeing a man from the Watcher's Council. Anyway, to get back to what I was telling you. Willow graduated from college and was trying to decide what to do. She had a idea for a software program, and was trying to sell it, but wasn't having any luck. I talked her into taking some of my settlement money and marketing it on her own. Took her awhile to finally agree, but she did, and she is now the owner of Wiccan Software. She markets occult type games and a lot of other kinds of software. I'm a forty percent owner; I tried to get her to not include me, but she says that I still contribute many ideas to the company."

He got up to pace, and then continued.

"Well, between school, part time jobs and patrolling, the time just flew by. Pretty soon, I was ready to graduate. It even surprised me when it happened. I ended up with a 3.8 GPA, and was being recruited by several Southern California police departments. They said I had remarkable skills and instincts. During classes, I found that the more I concentrated, the more memories from Soldier Guy came back, so I did really well at the self defense classes, and even ended up being a teacher's assistant in a couple of them."

Xander sipped some more coffee and sat back down.

"I am so, so sorry that I wasn't there when you got out, Faith. I wanted to be there for you when you got out, but I couldn't make it in time, Angel promised that he would take care of you till I could get there. But he got torn up pretty badly by a demon the night before, and you had already disappeared by the time he finally made it."

He took a deep breath before he continued.

"Faith, I did look for you. When I found out you were gone, I really looked for you. By then, I had tons of money and I hired several private investigators to try to find you, but you were just too good. That set the stage for my next big step.

I applied to the FBI. I made it, too. I did just okay on the testing, did excellently on the physical evaluation, and clinched it during the interview. I entered the Academy, and graduated at the top of my class. Now, if you're thinking that everything went well for the old Xan-man after that, you are way off."

"My first case, when I was assigned to the Washington DC office, was to help locate a serial killer who went after children. The case was ugly, and I still occasionally get nightmares from it. Anyway, that's when I met Fox Mulder. He had been assigned to profile the killer, even though he normally worked on the X-Files. His partner, Dana Scully, was on medical leave after being injured. So I helped keep track of the evidence, and was gopher boy for the AIC, or Agent in Charge, for you civilians."

Xander left and got another cup of coffee.

< Oh, Xander, we always made you do that kind of stuff for us, didn't we? > thought Faith, as she started to awaken.

When Xander returned, he continued.

"Well, it took several months, but we tracked the guy across the country and caught him in LA. Before heading back, I visited dear old dad in Prison. I tossed him my bank statement and badge. You should have seen the look on his face."

"After that, I returned to Washington and did background checks for weapons permits for a couple of months, until another assignment came up. This time, they were looking for someone to volunteer to help Mulder and Scully investigate a Vampire Cult, which was murdering people in upstate New York. I volunteered, and ended up proving to them that vampires really existed. We solved the case, and actually captured a couple of vamps and a small demon."

"The government just about shit bricks when they found out what was really out there. They expanded the X-Files division, and made me the head of the paranormal branch. We even negotiated a deal with the Watcher's Council. They provide us information and skilled researchers, and we provide a data gathering network and backing. Buffy is now Special Agent Buffy Summers of the FBI. She is based in Sunnydale and handles everything from there. Giles is a consultant to the FBI, as well."

"It was funny. A couple of years ago, Buffy had been in LA and returned unexpectedly, and she caught her mom and Giles in bed together. They finally got married last year."

"The FBI didn't really fund the X-Files very well, or treat them any better than they had previously until about two years ago. Some Middle Eastern terrorists made a deal with a group of demons; they allowed themselves to be implanted with demon eggs, and then entered the county carrying the eggs, along with another group who would care for the young demons until they could be on their own. Do you remember hearing about Turners Falls, Massachusetts? Well, that was the town. Over four hundred people were killed by those demons. We had to bring Angel, Willow and Spike in to help us. But the big bosses woke up over that. We now have the money we need to train more agents, and have specially trained SWAT teams located across the country, who we can call on for back-up."

Xander got up and went over to the window and looked out again, not noticing that Faith was waking up.

"Faith, I have been searching for you ever since you got out of prison three years ago. For the last two, the FBI has been trying to locate you. I wanted, no, I needed to tell you that I was sorry for not being there to help you, for not caring enough when you started to turn to the dark side. For not being a good enough friend," Xander said in a voice thick with emotion.

"It was never your fault, Xander," Faith said with a dry rough voice. "It was my fault."

Xander spun around quickly, his eyes wide with shock, searching her out. He was across the room in two steps and he grabbed her hand.

"Are you okay, do you need anything?" He asked.

"Just a little water," Faith asked, her voice shaky, and her eyes full of tears.

Xander rushed to get her some ice water, and he hit the nurse's call button as he passed it. Returning with the water, he helped her hold it to her lips and told her to take it slow. When she was finished, he set the glass down and pulled his phone out. When the nurse came in, she summoned the on call doctor, then started to ask Faith some questions. Xander went over by the window and made his call.

"Dana, she's awake!" Xander blurted out when the phone was answered.

\\ That's great, Xander, I'll get over there as soon as I can. Stay with her, and watch out for what she might say to the doctors there. //

"Okay, Dana, see you then," Xander finished and clicked the phone off.

Xander walked over to Faith and interrupted the doctor. "I'm sorry, Doctor, but I can't allow you to ask Special Agent Summers anything concerning what she was doing before she arrived here. She was undercover on a classified mission. Dr. Scully can handle any necessary questioning regarding that."

The duty doctor reluctantly agreed, then ordered some blood work and a light meal to be sent up to her, along with fruit to be made available for snacking. The nurse drew the blood and exited the room, leaving the two alone together.

"So you were looking for me huh?" Faith asked.

"Yea, just missed you in both Memphis and Mobile. Was a week too late in Houston, but we kept looking," Xander said, looking deeply in her eyes.

Faith blushed slightly.

"So, what is this about Special Agent Summers, did you register me under Buffy's name?" she asked.

"Nope," Xander said, as he pulled a box out of the night table and handed it to her. She opened it and found an ID folder containing a badge and ID card with the name of Faith Summers.

"Mulder arranged to have you hired as an agent when he made the deal with the Watcher's Council. We knew you were still fighting the bad guys from the info we did get, and he covered a few things up. You have been undercover for three years, and are now on medical leave,." he finished.

Faith looked up at him; once again her big brown eyes were filling up with tears.

"But, I'm not a good person, Xander. Remember, I killed two people," Faith said softly.

"Yes, you did, but one was by accident, and the other deserved it. Faith, people make mistakes, but you served your time, and paid your debt to society. Now, you are out there risking your life to protect humanity still," Xander pointed out.

"Xander, there is something I have to tell you," Faith started, and then paused to raise up the bed a little more. "That night we had sex really got to me. I never told anyone this, but I was a virgin as well. All my stories were just that, stories. I was afraid to trust anyone to get that close to me until you came into my life," Faith said, pausing her explanation when the nurse brought in her lunch tray and a covered bowl of mixed sliced fruit.

"You made me feel so much when we made love that it petrified me. I could not get you out of there fast enough." She paused, taking a shuddering breath. Tears openly ran down her face as she continued. "You were so loving and gentle and tender, that I just went into shock. No one had ever made me feel like that before,." she said. < And never have since then, either, > she thought to herself.

Xander took her hand and gently rubbed the back of it with his thumb.

"Faith, I felt a lot too, and it hurt when you threw me out. I wanted to hate you, but I couldn't. Then, when I tried to talk to you later and you ignored me, part of me felt like dying. But I am here for you now, and will be for as long as you need me. Besides, you have three years of paper work to catch up on," Xander joked, trying got lighten things up.

Faith laughed softly and reached for her food.

She was just finishing up when Dana came in.

"Faith, this is Special Agent Dana Scully, head of the X-Files R & D Department. Dana, this is Faith, and she is currently using Summers for her last name," Xander said making the introductions.

Dana spent some time checking Faith's health out, then she asked some questions.

"Faith, what happened to your leg? I would have thought that your Slayer healing would have worked better than it did," Dana asked.

"I got clawed by a Molin' Ra demon. Their claws ooze septic oils and pus. I cleaned it out and flushed it with several bottles of peroxide, and tried to tough it out. But I couldn't work and got fired, and then my food ran out. I was going to go to a hospital, but passed out before I could get out," Faith said.

"Xander found you in your motel, after following two vamps that had located you and were setting you up to be turned or killed. He brought you here four days ago, and you have been comatose since then." Dana said.

"Thanks, Xander. You saved me again,." Faith said softly.

"Again? I have to hear this story," said Mulder as he entered the room.

"Mulder, this is the famous Faith we heard so much about. Faith, this is Special Agent Fox Mulder, but he prefers to be called just Mulder," Dana introduced the two.

"Hello, Faith." Mulder said, offering his hand.

"Mulder," Faith acknowledged back.

Mulder shook her hand gently, and then turned to Xander.

"I just got off the phone with Skinner. Faith is officially on medical leave, and you have been assigned to guard her and help familiarize her with FBI procedures and processes. She will be sent to the Academy next year for the accelerated course. For now, you are to stick with her till her medical release is given, and are to then take a two-week vacation. I reserved Iguana Villa, a three-bedroom private home in Malmok, Aruba for you. We will try to get Buffy and the rest of the gang down there for a couple days, toward the end of it. For now, just take it easy, and you can catch up on the paperwork," Mulder said, as he left.

Scully ordered Faith to keep eating, to drink plenty of fluids, and explained that she would return that evening.

Xander and Faith were alone again.

"How are you really, Faith?" Xander asked.

"What do you mean?" Faith asked.

"You're different, now, Faith. Quieter, not so aggressive, and you're not using as much slang as you used to," Xander stated, looking in her eyes.

Faith turned away for a minute or two before she turned back to Xander.

"I've changed. In prison, a shitty attitude can get you beaten or stuck with a homemade shiv. I didn't want to fight another human, so I got beat on pretty regular 'til Maggie, another prisoner, took pity on me. She was like a mother figure to many of the girls. She told me what I needed to do, and helped me out of a couple of scrapes. Did you know I got a college degree Xander? Maggie got me into the fast track education program while I was there. I got my high school GED, then went into the college program, I have a Bachelors Degree in Abnormal Psychology, now. Strange, huh? But it gives me an edge, when tracking down vamps," Faith said, as she looked at Xander.

They talked for a little while, and when Faith started to doze, Xander sat back and let her sleep. All the feelings he had for her before, and which he had hidden deep down inside himself had come popping up to the surface when Faith had awoken. He looked at her gaunt frame and once again felt a deep remorse that he had failed to meet her when she was released. Never a thin girl, Faith's very curvaceous frame had grown gaunt and spare over the past few years.

< The way I am acting, you'd think that I've been taking guilt lessons from Mulder, > Thought Xander.


Faith slept for most of the day, waking for lunch and to talk now and again, and was awake when Dana returned to make her evening examination.

When she finished her examination, Dana called Xander back into the room from the hall where he had been sent.

"Faith, your Slayer healing has kicked in full force, now that you have gotten some food in you and the infection is gone. I am going to sign the discharge orders, and you can go home with Xander, tonight,." Dana said, smiling at the look on Faith's face.

"However, there will be some restrictions. One, you will have to stay with Xander at his place. There are two bedrooms, so you shouldn't have any issues there. Two, I will be checking you once a day, and three, you need to consume a lot of calories, so Xander, I want that place stocked with food, and no junk food. This girl needs meat, vegetables and plenty of fruit," Dana instructed.

When Dana left to sign the papers, Xander went to the closet and pulled a bag out and handed it to Faith.

"I put some clothes and stuff in there for you the day after we brought you in," Xander explained.

Faith eased out of bed, still weak but moving very well for someone who had been in a coma until this morning. She went into the room's small bathroom and sat the bag down on the sink. She opened it and pulled out the neatly folded clothes. There was a pair of jeans, tee shirt and the appropriate underwear.

She smiled to herself, thinking of Xander picking out her underwear. Then she looked at her face in the mirror. The haunted look that had been present for so long was gone, and she had a smile on her face for the first time in a long time. And all because the boy that she had kicked out of her bed eight years ago had returned as a man. And because he still made her weak in the knees when he smiled at her.

Turning away, she dressed slowly, still not fully recovered, and was surprised to find that Xander had included her makeup kit as well. She ignored most of what was in there, and merely added some lip gloss, because her lips were cracked from running a fever. She pulled out a hair band and pulled her hair back into a pony tail. Gathering up all of her stuff in the bag, she left the room.

Xander heard the door open and turned to look at Faith. < My god! She still looks great! > he thought. He threw her a lopsided grin and said, "You look good, Faith."

"Thank you, Xander," she answered nonchalantly, while inside she was doing flip flops.

The moment was broken when Dana returned to the room with an orderly pushing a wheelchair.

"Got a prescription for you as well, Faith. Follow the instructions on the bottle, and I will see you tomorrow evening. Still meeting at five for dinner, Xander?" Dana asked.

"Yep, the four of us can go out and talk some, and you guys can get to know each other," Xander replied.

"Okay then, see you tomorrow," Dana said, as she headed out.

Faith looked at the wheel chair, but Xander looked right back.

"You know the rules, Faith. If you want out, you have to ride," Xander stated the obvious.

She sat down, putting the bag on her lap, and allowed herself to be pushed out of the hospital.

When they got to the entrance, Xander rushed out and brought up a new Crown Victoria to where she waited. He helped her in the car and they drove off together.

"Where are you staying?" Faith asked.

"Oh, at the Royal Street Condo. The FBI has a couple units there, for visiting Agents. It's over in the French Quarter, and is really pretty nice; two bedrooms, with an office with a computer and high speed Internet connection, a hot tub in the room and a pool in the courtyard."

As Xander drove, Faith quietly watched him. He wasn't aggressive, but she could tell he knew where every car on the road near them was. She smiled to herself; the "Zeppo" was no more. In his place was a strong, determined, and handsome man.

Chapter 3

Royal Street Condo #307
New Orleans, LA
4:45 PM, May 7th 2006

On their arrival at the condo where Xander had been staying, he discovered how weak Faith still was, when he had to help her up to the suite where they would be staying, and then help her to the master bedroom.

When she raised an eyebrow at that, he pointed out that he was using the other bedroom.

"Why don't you take a nap, Faith?" Xander suggested. "I'll order us something delivered for lunch and wake you in a couple of hours when it gets here."

"Okay, you talked me into it," She replied.

Once she was alone, she pulled out some sweats from her bag of stuff, pleasantly surprised to find it all freshly laundered and smelling clean and fresh. Changing slowly because of some residual pain and stiffness, she lay down on top of the covers and tried to rest. Her thoughts however, kept drifting to the man in the living room. She would have been surprised to find out that the man in question was having the same problem concentrating as she was.

Xander was busy trying to make sense of some reports that Mulder had e-mailed him, and all he could think of was the beautiful slayer in the bedroom down the hall. As if she hadn't already been in his thoughts for the last seven years.

Getting up, he walked to the balcony and looked out over the courtyard. There were several girls down at the pool and a couple of them even looked up, then waved to him. Although Xander had been with several women in the past few years, his thoughts always came back to his dark slayer.

< My dark slayer. If that could only be true, > he mused.

After much effort, he finally managed to finish reading over the information that Mulder had sent to him, and made his recommendations about sending in a team. About 6:30, he called the restaurant down the street and ordered two dinners to be delivered.

After making sure there were plenty of cold sodas and other drinks, he sat down and tried to finish writing his report on finding Faith. He managed to get about half of it done when there was a knock on the door.

He paid the delivery boy for the meal, and after adding a generous tip, took the food into the kitchen. Setting it down, he headed to Faith's room to wake her. When he got to the door, it was open slightly and although he was tempted to just go and look in; he softly knocked first, then entered the room. . Thinking that she looked so relaxed and so innocent when she was sleeping, Xander swallowed down the lump that was forming in his throat.

Carefully sitting down on the bed, Xander put his hand on her arm, feeling the softness of her skin as he gulped and shook her gently.

"Faith, time to get up, dinner is here," he said softly.


Faith sensed his presence as he stood in the doorway, while she lay in bed half asleep, having heard someone knock at the door. She could feel his gentle gaze as he looked at her, then his quiet footsteps as he entered the room. She felt the bed sag as he sat down next to her, then the electric sensation as he touched her arm.

When she heard him call her name, she rolled over and opened sleepy eyes and looked at him. Intense feelings filled her as she gazed up into his dark brown eyes and felt the emotion there.

< Don't go there yet, girl, get to know him, > she told herself.

The two shared a few more moments of gazing silently at each other, and then Xander stood and spoke.

"Dinner's ready, I'll set the table." Then he again smiled as he left the room.

Faith shook herself awake, then got up and splashed some cold water on her face. < That boy, excuse me, man, has definitely developed some Grrrrr, > she told herself.

When Faith walked into the dining room, she found the places already set with covered dishes. Xander was standing in the kitchen door, looking at her intensely enough to make her blush.

"What would you like to drink? Soda, wine, something else?"

"Wine?" she questioned.

"Non-alcoholic, of course; you are still on medication," he reminded her.

"Wine, then," Faith smiled as she answered him.

Faith sat at the nicely set table and Xander brought her a glass of wine. He then started to uncover the dishes at her side of the table. There was a great looking Caesar salad, hot fragrant French bread, then the main course: a huge prime rib that smelled mouth-wateringly wonderful, accompanied by a huge baked potato and sautéed mushrooms.

"Hey, I know how slayers eat," explained Xander.

The two young people dined fairly quietly, Xander spent most of the time telling Faith about how the old gang was and about some of the more interesting investigations in which he had been involved. The talk was still rather stilted though; even though the feelings were there, they were not yet comfortable with them.

Some time later, they were both laughing hard at a story Xander had told about Buffy and Scully getting slimed by a Rankor demon, having finally fallen into a state of comfortable companionship. When Xander saw Faith yawn, he suggested that she go to bed.

"No, really Xander, I'm all right, it feels good to be able to relax for a change. It's something I haven't been able to do for a while," Faith confessed.

At her words, Xander instantly felt guilty for what Faith had been going through for the last several years.

Faith, seeing the darkening of the look on Xander's face, grabbed his hands.

"Xander. Listen to me. You are not at fault here. If anyone is to blame, it's me. Me and my stupidity for thinking I could run away from my problems. If anything, thinking of you has brought me a little comfort over the years, knowing that someone had cared enough about me to try to help. It took a long time for me to realize that was what you were trying to do when you came to me that evening, and once again I tossed you out," Faith said.

"Faith," started Xander.

"No, Xander. Let me say this. I wanted you so bad to like me, to be my friend. Then we went too far and it got too intense, and I started to lose it. I knew how much you loved Buffy back then, and it hurt that I couldn't take her place in your heart, and then I took something from you that I shouldn't have. I am so sorry, Xander," Faith told him, as tears began running down her face.

Xander rushed over to her and held her as she cried, talking softly to her.

"Faith, listen to me, sweetheart." <Where the heck did that come from? > he asked himself. "What happened was a combination of everyone's fault. We didn't treat you like part of the team, even though we expected you to do at least half the slaying. We treated you like a third string backup, instead of the star that you are. Just relax, rest and know that you are an equal on the team now. There are a lot of things that will be happening in the next few weeks, and you need to be rested and strong to deal with them. But know this, I will be helping you," Xander whispered. "Now, you have medication to take, and you need to get some rest. This isn't over yet, and we need to go shopping tomorrow. You need some new clothes and some suits for work."

"Shopping?" Faith asked, her interest piqued.

"Well, yeah, tight leather pants and tank tops are not really acceptable outfits for an FBI agent," Xander told her with a smile. "Hey, it's not that I mind," he added, "It's the suits upstairs. They're 'concerned that the Bureau projects the proper image', " he mock-quoted with a grin.

"Wow. This is real, isn't it?" she asked.

"Very real," he agreed, as he handed her her pills and a glass of water.

Faith kissed Xander on the cheek and then headed to her room. Xander spent some time cleaning up and then turned in himself.

Royal Street Condo #307
New Orleans, LA
7:00 AM, May 8th 2006

Faith slowly drifted into wakefulness and when she was nearly coherent, her senses were pleasantly assaulted by the smell of fresh brewed coffee and sausages cooking. Faith crawled out of the very comfortable bed and, after pulling on sweat pants and tee shirt, made her way to the kitchen.

"Morning," called Xander as he heard the door start to open.

"Mornin'," replied Faith as she slid into a seat.

Xander set a mug of wonderful smelling coffee down in front of her, then set a cream and sugar set down in the center of the table and returned to the stove.

Fantastic smells were coming from the stove and Faith looked up at Xander as he spoke again.

"How do you want your eggs?"

"Scrambled is fine," Faith replied, feeling kind of strange, but nicely so, with the very domestic feeling that she was getting from this scene.

"Scrambled, it is," answered Xander as he turned back to the stove.

Faith sipped her coffee, enjoying the flavor of the strong beverage as Xander cooked for her. She looked up at him again and saw him smiling at her as he handed her a plate.

"Toast'll be ready in a sec,." He smiled.

Looking down at her plate, she saw four eggs, almost a dozen links of sausage and what seemed like a huge pile of hash browns. Then suddenly, there was a plate of toast there as well, with what looked like six slices of bread.

"Damn Xan, you trying to fatten me up?" Faith joked.

"Just trying to restore your health, Faith, as well as return those curves to their former glory," Xander replied with a smirk.

As he turned back to the stove, a piece of toast hit him in the back of the head. He smiled to himself as he picked it up.

Faith finished eating, then went to her room to shower and get dressed. When she was done, she returned to the living room to find it empty. Checking around, she found Xander ensconced in the office checking his e-mail.

"Hey Xan, ready to go out and shop till we drop?" Faith joked.

Smiling, he turned to her after closing down the e-mail program.

"Well, not exactly. You are still under doctor's orders to be taking it easy. We will be going to one boutique that was recommended to me by one of the local agents. You can get everything there, and then, after we have lunch, we head back here so you can rest before Scully checks you out again. Once that is over, we will be joining them at Olivier's. I hope that you like Creole food," Xander told her.

"That sounds good to me." Faith answered, leaning over to kiss Xander on the cheek.


The two agents left the Condo and walked down to Xander's Bureau-issued Taurus. It was only a short drive to Angelique's Boutique, where Xander pulled into the parking lot and shut off the engine. He escorted Faith inside and asked the woman at the counter for Constance.

An immaculately dressed, mature blonde woman, whose name tag identified her as Constance, quickly appeared, asking how she could assist them.

"Good morning, Constance. I am Special Agent Alexander Harris, and my companion is Agent Faith Summers," he introduced them to the saleswoman. "A co-worker of ours, Agent Melanie O'Hara, told us that you could help my friend here selecting a new wardrobe. She has been on assignment for some time now, and most of the clothing she currently has is no longer suitable for her," Xander stated concisely.

Nodding her head to indicate her understanding of the deliberately vague description of Faith's lifestyle over the past few years, Constance slowly circled Faith a few times. She was closely evaluating the girl's size, overall shape and skin tone.

"She will need four or five of your 'special' suits, as well as everything else from the inside out. Several pairs of shoes as well, to cover all the bases," Xander finished.

"I take it you have been in the hospital recently?" Constance asked.

"Yes, I have," Faith answered cautiously.

"I thought so," Constance said, indicating the bandage rash on Faith's arm and the IV marks. "Have you lost much weight?"

"Yes, about twenty pounds," Faith admitted.

"Okay, we'll have to allow for that as well," the blonde said, as she began guiding Faith towards the fitting rooms in the rear of the boutique. "Don't you worry, dear," she smiled at her reassuringly. "When we're finished here, any man who sees you will be falling over themselves, just to get your attention."

Xander spoke to Constance again after she had turned Faith over to one of her subordinates, with specific instructions regarding the styles, sizes and colors to be provided to the brunette.

"She is to have whatever she wants," Xander stated, laying a Visa Platinum card down on the table.

"You must care for her a great deal," said Constance.

"You have no idea," muttered Xander as he sat back in one of the large comfortable chairs and prepared himself for a long stay.

The rest of the morning was a blur of activity, as Faith spent the next several hours trying on clothing and accessories. Many of them she modeled for Xander, and was pleased to see that he reacted favorably to most of those. Some she kept secret, saving them for a better time, when they were more comfortable together.

Finally, when Faith was done, she had selected six suits, with both skirts and pants, a significant number of pairs of shoes and enough casual wear to handle anything that might develop. Xander arranged for everything to be delivered to their current residence as he signed the credit card slip, adding a significant tip for the staff that made his Faith happy. < Hmmm. His Faith. That sounds very good, > he thought.

Xander headed towards the condo, stopping at the Crescent City Steak House for lunch, where Faith showed that her appetite had returned.

After eating, they headed 'home' so Faith could rest.

While she slept, Xander went over more reports and wrote out his recommendations. He exchanged several e-mails with Willow, Buffy and Dawn, letting them know how things were going, and inviting them to join them in Aruba the last few days they were there.

Once done with his reports and email, Xander just sat back and relaxed, listening to some music on the stereo.


Mulder and Scully showed up exactly at five. Scully was nothing, if not predictable.

Xander woke Faith, then joined Mulder back in the living room and discussed some of the latest reports.

Scully examined Faith and found that everything was going just as it should. Rather than requiring a hospital rest, light exercise and plenty of food was what cured an ailing slayer. She repacked her equipment before joining the guys downstairs while Faith got dressed to go.

Unlike many of the women Xander had associated in the past, Faith could get changed in a very short time, and they were all surprised to see her ready to go after taking a quick shower and putting on a casual outfit.

When Xander saw her enter the room, he was shocked. He had always known that Faith was beautiful, but to see her in a light blue silk blouse and khaki slacks--. < Wow. > She had on some kind of sandal foot heels that went perfectly with the outfit. Standing quickly, Xander spoke.

"Faith, you look fantastic."

"Thanks, you look pretty good yourself," she replied.

As the two couples got ready to leave, Faith was surprised when Xander unlocked a small safe in the wall and pulled out a pistol and holster.

"We are required to be armed at all times, Faith," Scully informed the brunette. "An FBI agent is never off duty."

Faith had nothing to say about that and was quiet on the way to the restaurant. They were quickly seated, and ordered drinks. Faith was allowed to have some wine and she ordered a white zinfandel. Mulder lost the die roll and was chosen as the designated driver, so Scully ordered a cocktail, as did Xander, along with some appetizers.

Dinner was very pleasant with lots of interesting conversation. True to his word, Mulder asked about Xander's saving Faith previously, and was rewarded with the tale of Xander pinning an apocalypse demon to the wall of a crypt with his uncle's car.

Mulder also had a good story about Scully not believing Willow's magic ability and how she got a crash course of Wiccan witchcraft. Scully could laugh about it now, but at the time, she was outraged when Willow turned her into a rat, and then, after changing her back, gave her horns and wings.

After dessert, they headed back to the condo where Xander and Faith were dropped off. The time being quite late, they both decided to head to their respective beds.

Xander had been asleep for about an hour when he heard screaming coming from Faith's room. Grabbing up his handgun, he rushed into her room and found her trashing about in the throes of a nightmare.

Setting the pistol down on the nightstand, Xander reached out for Faith, calling to her softly.

"Faith, Faith. Come on, wake up now. It's only a nightmare, you're okay,." He said softly.

Her eyes slammed open and she gasped. Then she hugged Xander hard.

"Faith, slayer strength, remember," Xander coughed.

Releasing him quickly, she apologized.

Xander hugged her to him, letting her know that he was there for her. When she stopped sobbing, he pulled back.

"You okay, now?" He asked.

"Yeah, I think so. Thanks," Faith said.

Xander suddenly became conscious of the fact that he was wearing only his boxers, got up to leave.

"Stay. Please?" Faith softly asked him, still shaken by the nightmares that had awakened her.

Xander stood looking at her, not seeing a tough-as-nails slayer; but instead as a woman who was still dealing with the demons in her mind.

"Please?" She again asked.

Xander nodded, turning out the lights and returning to Faith's side. She lifted the covers and allowed Xander to slide under them, next to her. Xander lay back and pulled her to him, rubbing her back reassuringly as she laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes.

Xander relaxed as Faith snuggled up to him, and it was only moments before the two of them were sound asleep.

Chapter 4

Royal Street Condo #307
New Orleans, LA
9:00 AM, May 11th 2006

Faith slowly drifted to wakefulness, becoming aware of her surroundings slowly.

< Wow, did I sleep good for once or what. > She thought, then became aware of the warm form snuggled up behind her, and the arm possessively holding her.

< Mmmmmm, I could really get to like this. > Faith thought as she lay quietly, luxuriating in the sensation of Xander. The feeling of warmth at her back as he lay spooned up against her, the feel of his arm around her, the feel of his hand on her stomach. The feeling of his breath hitting the back of her neck, it was just so wonderful.

Slowly Faith turned toward the person holding her.

< He looks so peaceful, so relaxed right now. God how pathetic am I, liking the way he is holding me, wanting someone to love me. > She mused.

Opening her eyes again she found herself staring into Xander's dark brown eyes.

"Morning." He said softly.

"Morning yourself." Faith said quietly.

"I slept better than I have in months last night." Xander offered.

"Me too, no nightmares, after the one anyway. And for me that is a miracle." Faith said.

Xander released Faith, and threw back the covers. He then noticed the clock on the nightstand.

"Wow, that's the most sleep I've had in a couple of years, you must be good for me." Said Xander, as her turned toward her.

His eyes followed her as she made for her bathroom, his eyes on Faith's very shapely behind, covered by a tiny pair of bikini panties. She smiled at him as she closed the door.

"Right, cold shower this morning." Xander muttered to himself.


The two ate breakfast much the same way as the previous day, and after putting the dishes in the dishwasher Xander called over his shoulder to Faith as she started to get up.

"Well time to try on one of you new suits today, we need to go into the office and get all your paperwork updated and introduce you to the life of an FBI Agent." He said.

"Okay Xan. But you have to help me so I don't embarrass you." Faith answered seriously as she left the kitchen.

Xander finished cleaning up the kitchen and headed to his room to get ready, he heard Faith's shower stop, so he took a quick one himself. Finishing he threw on a pair of black Dockers and a light blue shirt, then pulled on the custom shoulder holster for the desert eagle and chose a tie.

He wandered out of his room after brushing his hair and stood in the living room tying his tie, a dark blue Jerry Garcia tie that Joyce had got him for Christmas last year. He put the tie tack on and turned to see Faith watching him.

She boldly looked him over from head to toe.

"You look good Xan, you filled out and bulked up." Faith said softly.

Xander returned the look, she was wearing a charcoal DKNY woman's business suit with slacks and heeled boots. She looked professional, but attractive as hell, and the way the suit fit her slim form hinted at the curves underneath.

"So do you Faith, so do you." Xander said as he walked over to the gun safe.

He unlocked it and pulled out a huge dull silver pistol with black grips. While she watched he worked the slide, making sure that it was unloaded, the reached in and pulled out a clip with a red strip near the base and slipped it in a leather holder, along with another just like it. Another one without the red stripe slid into the pistol with a mechanical click. Xander then slid it into the holster and snapped it in. A handcuff case with a pair of handcuffs inside was clipped to his belt. Walking to the closet he pulled out a black glove leather blazer and slipped it on covering the arsenal.

He walked back into the room and returned with his badge and ID card, and handed Faith hers.

"I still can't believe this Xan, this just doesn't seem real." Faith said quietly.

"It is though, Faith. It's something that you deserve, you fought the good fight alone for too long. Now you have help." Xander said with emotion as he stepped forward to hug her gently.

The two left the condo and drove to the New Orleans FBI office in silence.

Xander parked in one of the red marked parking spots close to the entrance and headed to the building, Faith at his side. Just before he got to the doors, he stopped and showed her how to wear the ID card outside while they were in the building.

Xander bypassed the metal detector at the doorway and passed the guards to the left side. He opened his coat to show his weapon and motioned to Faith.

"She's new here, and doesn't have a weapon yet, but knowing her, she has a dagger and a couple of wooden stakes somewhere." Xander said, the humor evident in his voice.

Faith grinned back at him, and dropped a dagger and two stakes on the table.

The guard chuckled and handed them back to her. Tucking them away she joined Xander and they headed to his temporary office.

Once there, Xander got them coffee and sent for Agents Matt Wilker and Tony Haas. While waiting, Xander called and got Faith's E-mail and computer accounts set up, as well as made an appointment for a new ID picture.

When the two men entered their eye's drifted to the attractive young woman sitting on Xander's desk.

Xander nodded to them as they entered and said. "Tony, Matt. I just wanted to thank you again for your help in finding Faith, and to introduce her to you."

"Guys." Faith said as she stood up and turned to them offering her hand.

The two men were stunned, realizing that this was the same young woman that they had found just six days ago, unconscious and injured.

"Agent Summers." Said Matt Wilker as he shook her hand.

"Wow. I thought you would be bigger." Said Tony Haas. At least until he squeaked when Faith gripped his hand, letting a little of her slayer strength into play.

The four agents spent a little more time talking and comparing notes, and listening to stories of Xander's early vampire hunts.

"I will tell you one thing, I was never so shocked as when you pulled out that damn huge handgun and fired at that vampire; than when he started to burn inside before turning into dust." Said Matt.

"Yeah." Agreed Tony, "I didn't know how the bullets worked though, it never explained it in the manuals that came in the kit."

"Hmmm, have to check them out better next time." Said Xander. He noticed Faith's raised eyebrow and decided to explain.

"Scully is a consummate scientist, she saw a problem with slaying and searched for a solution. After studying what will actually destroy a vampire, she just started looking for a more efficient way to do it. She started out with one thing, then before we knew what she was doing she came up with this." He said holding up a bullet.

"It's made of silver nitrate metal and magnesium, we put it in a copper jacket, make it a hollowpoint and coat the exposed silver nitrate with Teflon to keep it from getting wet. When silver nitrate metal and magnesium get wet, they burst into flames, somewhat like a flare." Xander explained. "We have them in all sizes, but I like the .50 AE caliber because of the extra bullet weight."

Faith was slightly amused, and the other two agents were downright envious.

"Beats the crossbows and stakes we used to have." Faith smirked.

"Yeah, have to agree with you there." Xander replied. "Have to agree with you."

"So, when do I get to carry a gun?" Faith asked as the other agents left.

"Right now, Faith. If you're ready." Asked Xander.


The last few days have been repeats of each other, sleeping together, but not "together", traveling to the FBI offices, workouts, reports, meetings, then the shooting range on the way home and dinner and TV in comfortable silence.

The last eight days had brought the two closer together in a way that felt natural and comfortable to them. They shared the chores of living together, and accomplished tasks like a veteran married couple, each knowing what the other was doing.

To Faith, things were going well, she was happier than she had been in years. And Xander, well he felt like he was complete for the first time since they had slept together years ago. For both of them, things were good.

Today they had followed the usual morning process, they woke up intertwined, and yet well rested. Slipping off to their own rooms they showered and dressed, meeting back in the kitchen for coffee before leaving. Xander always smiled when he opened the gun safe and saw the two guns in there, together, like clothes in the same hamper and slippers under the bed.

Today would end up testing the relationship that they were building.

Leaving the condo they drove to Petunias where they had breakfast as usual, then to the FBI offices downtown.

Xander checked his messages first, finding out that Mulder and Scully were heading to Boston this morning to deal with several vampire type killings. Xander dismissed that, one of the better paranormal SWAT teams was in Boston, they would have excellent backup.

There was a possible sighting just out of Savanna Oklahoma, about a hundred miles south of Tulsa. Local investigators were checking it out. Faith was scheduled to shoot for qualification this afternoon, and there was a mandatory staff meeting at 3:00 pm..

Xander shut down the e-mail and locked the computer, then headed for the gym to workout with Faith. He changed into his workout clothes, a grey T-shirt and the bottoms of a black karate gi. When he entered the training room he found an argument going on.

"I really don't care what you think, trying to use all that fancy stuff on a vamp will get you killed." Faith was telling the huge man facing her.

Xander shook his head, he knew it was a mistake letting Faith down here by herself. Still he thought with a smile on his face, it'll be fun seeing Andre suck wind.

"What kind of trouble are you getting into now Faith?" Xander asked as he joined the little group.

"None, really. I was just telling Lurch here that getting cute with a vamp is an easy way to get killed." She replied.

André Baudouin, the Cajun hand-to-hand combat instructor glowered at the small brunette.

"And I say that beating down your enemy and then taking them out allows you to control the fight, as well as make them fear you!" said the instructor loudly.

"I think that YOU have been smoking something other than cigars then. You have no idea, a vampire has way more strength than a human, plus they don't need to breath, so they never get short of breath. Knowledge of any type of martial art is a plus, but with vamps, Jujitsu and Aikido are the best, they redirect a vamps strength back against them." Faith explained.

"That is not correct, la petite. In any type of unarmed combat, controlling your foe gives you a great advantage." Dismissed the angry instructor. "I have been teaching unarmed self defense for over fifteen years, I know what I am talking about."

Faith was livid. When the instructor turned his back on her dismissively, Faith started to reach for him, only Xander's hand on her shoulder kept her back.

"You know André, I would like to see how you would do against a vampire." Said Xander, a challenging tone to his voice.

"It would be a short fight." Said André with lots of bravado.

"You willing to go a round against Faith here? She's as strong as a vamp." Baited Xander.

André snorted. The big, self defense instructor looking at Faith differently. Then grinned evilly.

"But of course. He answered as he moved onto the mats.

"Protective gear, both of you." Demanded Xander.

Faith grumbled as she placed the helmet, and pads on, but grinned at Xander as she was doing so.

When they were both ready Xander addressed them.

"Okay André, you have just entered a vampire nest, Faith is the only one left, take her out." He said.

André stalked Faith, watching for an opening and then lunged at her with a sweeping roundhouse kick. He missed. Faith used plain old brute force and tossed him back hard.

André just looked at her venomously.

His next move was a sweep kick, to try to knock her down. Faith just leapt over him effortlessly.

Faith landed and turned around to find her attacker halfway into a straight punch that if it hit would likely take a normal persons head off. Faith just caught his hand. And when he tried to jerk it back, she just squeezed. For several minutes it was a battle of wills, André refused to yield, and Faith just smirked and held on.

"Enough!" Cried out Xander.

"André, I hate to be the one to tell you but you just died! Faith killed you and either just drained you, or worse, turned you." Xander said softly.

André Baudouin, FBI Agent, hand to hand combat instructor, and father of two, just stared at Xander.

"I really don't think you understand André, Faith is the other slayer, she really is as strong as a vamp. If this would have been real she wouldn't have been holding back!" André's eyes got bigger. "Vampires are way stronger than a normal human, they have to be taken down hard and fast, then staked. There is no brawling with them unless you are a slayer." Xander said, smiling at Faith before continuing. "Remember this guys, there is no middle ground with Vampires or Demons, they have no feelings or mercy towards humans, we are just food."

He started to stretch for his workout when his cell phone rang. Running to get it he answered.


< Got one Xander, some kind of frog like creature, Giles called it a Grenouille de marche Demon from the description, sounded like some mutated frog to me. But it terrorized a dairy farm just outside Tulsa Oklahoma last night, and who knows what it will do tonight. Said Agent Mulder. >

"Who's closest, and how do you want to handle it?" Xander asked.

Faith was observing Xander's body language and walked over to join him, knowing something was up.

< I sent for Team Denver, they should be arriving soon, and will set up a perimeter and secure the area. The Citation is getting prepped now and will be waiting for you. Scully and I are just out of Syracuse New York checking out a couple of possible vamp cases, and are no where near a plane, so that leaves you in charge. >

"Okay Mulder, I got it, I'll let the AIC here know what's going on and head up there within the hour."

< Good hunting Xander, and good Luck!" Mulder said as he hung up. >

"What's up?" Faith asked as he dropped the phone into his pocket.

"Demon sighting near Tulsa, Giles called it a Grenouille de marche Demon, whatever that means. Look Faith, I'll have someone drive you home, we will have to wait till tomorrow to go shopping though." Xander started to explain.

"WHAT?" Cried out Faith.

"Look Faith, I'm not really breaking our date, just postponing it till a later time." Xander said.

"Xander, I am going with you." Faith started.

"Not yet Faith, you haven't cleared Medical or Weapons yet, and you are not ready to be in the field after your injuries." Xander explained.

Faith started to say something, then stopped thinking for a moment. She looked deep into Xander's eyes and saw what he was trying to do.

"Xander, over the last week we have been building towards a relationship that I thought we both wanted. If you are trying to keep me out of danger by making me stay back here, that will end anything we had." Faith said, moving toward Xander and taking his hand. "I want a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. I want you to trust me to watch your back, and I want to trust you to watch mine. Xander, I have felt things for you that I have felt for no one else, but to be a team, you have trust me to do my part, and have trust in you."

Xander looked down at the ground and spoke so softly that, if not for slayer hearing, she would have missed.

"I can't help but want to keep you safe Faith. I failed last time. I wasn't there when you got out of jail. Then you got hurt and I was almost too late." Then he lifted his head and looked into her eyes. "I don't know what I would do if you left me this time Faith, either by getting hurt or killed. I know I can trust you to watch my back, but I don't know if I can be trusted to watch yours." He said sadly.

In a flash of understanding, Faith finally understood his "White Knight" complex. Xander was scared to death of failing someone he loved.

"I don't worry about you Xander. I know that as long as you are breathing you will be trying." Faith answered.

"So, lets go and get ready to go." She said, flashing a million-watt smile.


Tulsa International Airport
Tulsa, Oklahoma
2:55 PM, May 18th 2006

The Cessna Citation slowed as it neared the terminal that most corporate jets used.

The crew opened the door and lowered the stairs allowing the four special agents to exit. All carried overnight bags, but also carried special locked cargo duffel bags.

"Welcome lady and gentlemen, I'm Special Agent Lee Johnson, from the Oklahoma City office. Your 'visitor' showed up last night in Stroud, a small town about sixty miles southwest of here. Team Denver has secured the area, and they are awaiting your arrival. The State Patrol will get you there just as fast as possible, so if you would follow me." Said Agent Johnson.

Soon the four agents were flying down the road at speeds in excess of eighty miles an hour in two cars. Xander and Faith in the lead car were talking about their upcoming vacation, but in the rear car Matt Wilker and Tony Haas were talking about other things.

"What the hell did we get ourselves into Tony, We've seen vampires, are on our way to kill a demon, watched a woman take out André 'Badass' Baudouin, and are working with a guy as scary as anyone I have ever met." Matt wondered out loud.

"I know Matt, but it beats the hell out of checking out fertilizer purchases." Grinned Tony.

Matt just closed his eyes and moaned.


Special Agent Jim Cochrane grinned to himself when he saw Xander help the brunette out of the back of the state patrol cruiser, then did a double take when he saw her heft up the big combat kit. He knew how much those things weighed.

"Jim." Xander said offering his hand when he walked up to the Swat team leader.

"Xander." Jim replied. "See you brought some help this time."

"Yep, sure did Jim. Meet Faith, the other Slayer." Xander introduced. "Faith, meet Special Agent Jim Cochrane, head of Team Denver, one of our most experienced Supernatural SWAT Teams."

Jim held his hand out slowly to Faith. When she took it he started to squeeze. She squeezed back, letting Jim know she was the real thing.

He pulled his hand back shaking it gently, a smile on his friendly face.

"Careful there Jim, remember what Willow did when you doubted her." Xander chuckled.

"What happened?" Asked the giggling slayer.

"She filled his fatigues with demon slime. It took him a week to get all cleaned off." Xander Grinned.

The four new arrivals joined in the laughter, then moved over to the table that they had set up with a map of the area on it.

"How bad was it last night?" Xander asked the group assembled there.

"No human casualties, but the owner of the farm lost about forty head of dairy cows. Only two were eaten, the rest just looked like they were tore up in anger. Replied a uniformed sheriff named Burt Winslow.

"According to our expert, the demon feeds, then kills only taking blood for the first two nights. Then it really starts feeding. This usually goes on for a week until it asexually reproduces and lays several dozen eggs. Usually after that, it leaves the area and hunts randomly until winter, when it hibernates. The following summer it repeats the cycle." Xander explained.

He tossed a folder on the table with a large illustration on top.

"The demon is closely related to frogs and toads, but walks erect. It has very strong legs, and can jump great distances. It has a huge mouth and three rows of very sharp teeth, it would be able to take an arm out easily or gut a man in one bite." Xander finished.

"Well shit!" Was the simple statement made by one of the deputy sheriffs.


The four new arrivals took the opportunity to get changed and geared up for the expected fight. Xander had showed Faith the combat gear that the FBI used, and saw the horror in her eyes. He knew she would freak out, Buffy did.

Then he showed her what Buffy had designed.

Buffy had a tailor make her a black leather outfit similar to what Diana Rigg wore when she was playing the part of Emma Peel on the Avengers TV show of the sixties. Then she had it altered to allow her to move, lined it with silk, and had a matching leather vest made that was lined with some very fine but tough chain mail, her version of a bullet proof vest. But Xander had to agree, take away a slayers agility and they were dead.

Faith exited the van in her cat suit as she called it, and walked to the command center. She was followed by catcalls and whistles until she grabbed the riot gun out of the hands of a deputy sheriff and bent it in half before handing it back to him.

Xander had to admit that there were perks to the outfit. Faith had put on a lot of the weight that she had lost, and she filled out the black leather very nicely.

They gathered around the table and Xander and Jim Cochrane placed the M82 sniper teams where they would have the best shots.

When they were ready they moved toward the pond where Giles said the creature would most likely be.


Faith ands Xander led the way, both being much more experienced than the rest of the team.

There was no sound from anything, except the soft footfalls of the advancing swat team. Faith was looking around swiftly, as if she was looking for something sneaking up on her. She waved everyone back, and started to back away herself.

She didn't get very far when the surface of the pond erupted and a dark shape leapt out of the water and flew over her head.

"Scatter." Screamed Xander.

The demon spun around knocking Faith down, then turned back toward the other members of the team.

As quick as lightning, it's tongue flashed out and wrapped around one of Team Denver's men. Slowly it started to pull him in.

Faith cleared her vision as best as she could with the blood running into her eyes, and leapt back into the fight.

Watching Faith fight was an experience one did not soon forget. She moved with a fluid grace that had no wasted motion at all, and she sometimes moved with such swiftness that it was easy to miss what had happened.

But this time the demon took all that she dished out and never wavered from pulling in his next meal.

Faith finally got hold of one of the demons arms and was starting to twist it when Xander made his move, leaping up and running at the agent who was frantically trying to prevent being dragged into the jaws of the hideous creature. Pulling out his combat bowie knife he grabbed the tongue of the creature and started slashing away at it.

The demon screamed and rushed at the man that was cutting its tongue, but Faith planted a kick in the back of its leg that dropped it to its knees. Coming back with a spinning back kick, the heel of her heavy boot impacted on the demons forehead stunning it.

Xander finished cutting through the tough muscle of the creatures tongue, and even though he was blinded by the creatures rank blood, he found the demons victim and started to pull him back.

The demon screamed loudly when the final cut was made and it's tongue snapped back into its mouth. Blinded by pain, the creature struck out at the closest enemy. Faith. Dodging its grasping hands, Faith blocked its attempts and delivered punches and kicks herself. After one devastating roundhouse kick to the side of the demons head, Faith drew her short sword and swung in a sweeping arc.

The sword hit about where the neck would be on a human, and cut most of the way through the creature's body, ending up near the demons right armpit.

Faith pulled the sword free as the creature dropped to the ground dead. She staggered back exhausted. Xander walked quickly to her side and looked her over for injuries.

There was the gash near her hairline that caused the bleeding in her eyes, but nothing else that he could see.

"Are you hurt anywhere else Faith?" Xander asked Gently.

"Not really, just some bruised ribs." She replied, lifting up her arm to show the torn vest and exposed chain mail. "Damn, Buffy sure did a good job putting this together."

"Yeah she did, took her over two years to come up with the combination." Xander commented. "I'm just glad this one worked so well."

Xander led her back to the command post where showers had been set up to clean any demon blood or slime off, and they could change back into clean clothes.


When the two of them walked over to the command center after cleaning up, they were met by a round of applause from the locals.

Xander and Faith stayed through the post contact analysis, and commented on what happened and why. Suggestions were made for future operations, and the locals were informed of how important keeping this quiet really was.

It was getting to the point where the National Enquirer and other tabloids were printing stories that were closer to the truth and it was getting more and more difficult to keep these supernatural experiences quiet.

Xander made arrangements to have the demons body shipped back to Scully's lab in Quantico then gathered up Faith for the trip home.

They declined a room for the night, wanting to get home as soon as possible to get ready to leave the next evening for their planned vacation to Aruba.

As the state police car drove them back to the airport, Faith lay her head an Xander's shoulder and drifted off to sleep. As she slipped into slumber she though she heard something.

"I love you Faith." She thought she heard.

Chapter 5

Coming into Queen Beatrix International Airport
Oranjestad, Aruba
10:45 AM, May 20th 2006

As the Cessna Citation descended making its final approach to the airport, Faith could only stare out the window at the bluest water she'd ever seen in her life. The facts that they were flying in a luxury corporate jet, and spending two weeks in the Caribbean sun at a private home made the whole thing seem surreal.

She turned and looked at the man sitting beside her. Once, he had been the Zeppo of the Scooby Gang; now he's the head of the Supernatural Branch of the X-Files Division. He is a man who commanded respect, and he got it because he had earned it.

Looking closer at him, Faith could see that some of the boy still remained inside. She saw the boy who was excited because he was taking her someplace new and fun. Faith felt her own excitement grow as she thought about two weeks with Xander and no work. It was going to be just sun and fun for the two of them.

She was still wondering if she had really heard him say that he loved her on that road in Oklahoma, or whether she had just dreamt it. Now would be the time to find out, she told herself.

The plane landed and taxied over to the parking area for private jets. The ground crew ran the stair ramp up to the plane and the couple strode down the stairs, basking in the Caribbean sun. Xander left a few last-minute instructions for the pilot, gathered up their luggage and they then rode the cart over to the terminal. There, Xander picked up the car that was reserved for them, and the directions to Iguana Villa.

Mulder and Scully had stayed here a couple of years ago before to recuperate, when Mulder had been injured by a vampire, and they unreservedly recommended it to anyone who needed to get away. was a huge three bedroom private house on the beach in Malmok. The beach was white sand, and it was in a cove perfect for snorkeling.

They picked up the Mustang convertible, and headed out to the villa.

Xander pulled in the driveway and parked in the carport. Popping the trunk, he grabbed their luggage and carried it in.

Faith was amazed at the luxury the place exuded. It just said peace and comfort in quiet understated elegance. She explored while Xander put the luggage in the master bedroom.

When she went to look for Xander, she found him out on the deck, standing by the hot tub, looking out at the beach. It was beautiful.

Hearing her come up behind him, he reached around behind himself and pulled her to him.

"It's beautiful," she whispered.

"Yes, it is, and so are you," he said back to her, kissing the top of her head. "So, since we were up late last night, and didn't sleep much the day before, how about a nap, and then we can go into town for dinner later?"

"Works for me." Faith replied, yawning.

Later that Afternoon

Xander woke first. He lay there quietly, enjoying the feel of the brunette sleeping up against him. Since finding Faith he had felt more relaxed; he focused easier and he felt whole. He brushed the hair back out of her face and smiled as she struggled to wake up.

Her beautiful hazel eyes opened to find Xander looking at her; to her embarrassment she blushed.

"Damn you, Xander, I always find you staring at me when I wake up," she greeted him.

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead before speaking to her.

"Do you want to get the first shower while I check in?"

"Yeah, sounds good to me. What time is it, anyway?"

"Little before five; we slept about six hours. We both must have been exhausted," he told her.

They both got up and Faith grabbed some clothes and headed for the shower, while Xander went into the living room and called Mulder.

According to his boss, absolutely nothing was going on that required their branch's attention, so everything was set for Buffy and the rest of the gang to arrive next Saturday. Mulder and Scully, unfortunately, had to testify to Congress, and were going to have to pass on their visit here this time.

Evidently, several members of Congress were still looking for someone to blame for the Turners Falls incident.

Hearing Dana issuing instructions to Mulder in the background, Xander grinned and promised that they both would relax and have a good time. He also agreed to check in again, in three days time. For Xander and Faith, it was their time to relax.

Faith exited the shower, wrapped in a towel, and leaned out the door.

"How should I dress for dinner Xan?"

"Casual, I guess. We're going out to a pretty nice restaurant, though, so I'm not sure," he replied.

Faith looked over what she had brought and finally picked out a maroon, backless, halter top cocktail dress that came to her knees. There was, however, a slit in the left side that went up to almost her hip.

Faith dressed slowly, hoping to pleasantly shock Xander, if possible. She even chose a pair of nylons with the seam running up the back of the leg that he had mentioned turned him on. She then slipped on a pair of strappy heeled sandals that she knew he liked. Their relationship needed to move forward, and she was going to see if she could give it a damn good shove.

Xander also showered and dressed slowly, as he pensively considered their relationship, trying to decide how to get things moving as well. He pulled on a maroon dress shirt and khaki slacks and then, after a minute's thought, grabbed a tan and maroon Jerry Garcia tie and knotted that around his neck. He slipped on his suede blazer as he settled down to wait for Faith to finish getting ready.

Catching some movement out of the corner of his eye, Xander turned his head to look.

When he looked at the gorgeous brunette full on, Xander's breath caught, and he felt as though he had been punched in the stomach.

Faith had put her hair up, leaving the velvet texture of her tanned neck and shoulders exposed. The thin strapped dress was modest, but displayed enough cleavage to attract interest.

The way the dress displayed her newly recovered figure was eye catching as well. Her legs and little shoes fit the outfit perfectly. When she saw him watching, his eyes expressing his pleasure, she gave a little spin.

Xander noticed the tiny ring on her second toe of her left foot, and saw the line running up the back of her nylons and almost went into meltdown.

"You like?" she asked.

"Very much," he said as he slowly walked over to her.

He took her hands and looked into her eyes.

"You are so very beautiful, Faith." Xander told her in a low voice, as he looked into her eyes. "Almost more than I can take."

Faith wanted to reply, but her throat started to choke up when she tried to speak, so instead, she asked when dinner was. Xander leaned in and kissed her on the lips softly, barely a peck, then pulled back.

Taking her hand, they headed toward the door.

In the convertible on the way to the restaurant, Faith checked Xander out. Dressed casually, yet stylishly, and muscular in way that many hope to obtain, but never do, Xander wore clothes very well. He was definitely not the boy she had once used and abused. Before she knew it, her mood had darkened as she thought of their past.

"What's up, Faith?"

"Huh?" she replied, looking up, confused.

"You look upset, Faith. I was wondering what was wrong?" he asked.

"Nothing, Xan..." she answered.

"Faith, you never have to hide things from me. What is it?"

Faith looked like she didn't know what to do, then grinned.

"I was just thinking about our first time together, and how badly I treated you. I was also thinking how much you have changed."

"That's in the past, Faith. Neither one of us was mature enough to know what was going on. I was all hormones, and you were coming down from an adrenalin high. It happened, just forget it and go on."

Faith looked at him as he said it and realized he truly believed it. That thought made her feel much better.

They arrived at the Amazonia, undeniably the best restaurant on the island, and situated on a beautiful stretch of beach.

They were seated by the windows overlooking the beach, and took a moment to glance at the menus they were given. Xander ordered wine for them when their waiter came up for their drink order, and then looked into Faith's eyes.

\\ God I could drowned in her/his eyes, // they each thought.

As the two enjoyed their dinner, talking the time to savor the food and each other's company, they talked.

About everything that had happened to them over the years, and what they'd been through, both together and separately. And finally, when they were finished with dinner, they moved into the lounge and sat near the dance floor.

They sat in the love seat together, relishing the closeness it offered, but fearful of where their thoughts were heading.

\\ Why is it that I can't decide how I really feel about him. Why is it so hard?. // thought Faith.

\\ I know how I feel and why, so why can't I tell her? // wondered Xander.

The band started to play a gentle soft rock song and Xander suddenly stood and turned to Faith, holding out his hand for hers.

"Would you like to dance?"

"Love to," she smiled .

They made their way to the dance floor and began to dance, not too close, but not too far apart.

The song ended all too soon, and the band quickly started again and started playing a soft rock ballad that was one of Xander's favorites. It was a very slow song and he wasn't sure how Faith would deal with it, but he thought 'what the heck.'

He opened his arms in invitation, and was pleasantly surprised when Faith stepped into his embrace. As the song played, he hugged her tighter.

Faith danced slowly along with Xander, and listening to the words of the song, she felt like she was hearing them for the very first time.

I've been lonely
I've been waiting for you
I'm pretending and that's all I can do
The love I'm sending
Ain't making it through to your heart

And in a way she was hearing for the very first time, because she had never really cared about love before.

Their first time together had been a mistake; not because they did it, but because of how badly it had ended. She had always made jokes about the "Hungry and Horney" bit about Slaying, but Buffy had confided to her once that she felt the same way. It had happened, and now it couldn't be taken back.

You've been hiding - never letting it show
Always trying to keep it under control
You got it down and you're well
On your way to the top
But there's something that you forgot

As she listened to the words, her thoughts came back to the man who was< holding her, and she lay her head on his shoulder. She could hear his heart beating as she thought about her troubled past.

What about love
Don't you want someone to care about you
What about love
Don't let it slip away
What about love
I only want to share it with you
You might need it some day

When she blew into Sunnydale all those years ago, she was hurting. Hurting because of having seen her Watcher killed in front of her. The woman who treated her more like a daughter, as someone worth caring about, rather than as a Slayer, a tool to be used until it broke, had died because of her. If she had never met Faith, she would probably still be alive today.

She was hurting so badly when she finally arrived in Sunnydale that she created a false personality for everyone else to see. A personality that allowed her to hurt everyone she came into contact with, Xander most of all, because she suspected that he saw right through her façade.

I can't tell you what you're feeling inside
And I can't sell you what you don't want to buy
Something's missing and you got to
Look back on your life
You know something here just ain't right

She hugged him tighter. She knew he loved her, but could she love him? Turning slightly and pulling back a bit, she looked up at him. He was looking directly at her and their eyes met. What she saw in his eyes told her everything she needed to know.

What about love
Don't you want someone to care about you
What about love
Don't let it slip away
What about love
I only want to share it with you
What about love
Don't you want someone to care about you
What about love
Don't let it slip away
What about love
I only want to share it with you

She slid one hand up behind his neck and pulled his head down for a kiss. His lips were warm and soft as he gently brushed them against hers. He was teasing her, lightly brushing his lips against hers until she pulled him closer and deepened the kiss.

Both poured every ounce of feeling that they could into that single touching of the lips. Then, as it deepened, they lost themselves in each other.

They broke apart and looked at each other, passion darkening their eyes.

"Let's get out of here," Faith whispered huskily.

Xander paid the bill and they drove home in silence, holding hands and exchanging intense long glances with each other that spoke more loudly than words.

They pulled into the driveway, parked the car, then entered the house.

Faith disappeared into her room for a moment to remove her nylons and then reappeared, heading to the door.

"Let's go for a walk on the beach,." she suggested.

Xander followed her as she made her way down to the water. Standing at the edge of the gently lapping waves, she spoke, her back to him.

"Where are we going, Xan?" she asked softly. "I mean, I know I love you, and I think you love me, but where are we heading?"

"Where do you want to go?" was his quiet reply.

Faith walked out a little further into the ocean, letting the warm water splash over her ankles.

"I don't know, Xan. I've never had this kind of chance before, and I don't know what to expect."

"I didn't ask what you expected, I asked what you wanted."

Faith turned to face him, the moonlight dancing off the highlights in her hair.

"I want you Xan, just you," she said.

Xander stepped up to her quickly and picked her up, spinning her around.

"Faith, I have always loved you, it seems, and I want you, forever," he said softly before kissing her soundly.

The two exchanged kisses on the beach for several more minutes, until they were forced to break apart to catch their breath. Then, they started back up to the Villa.

Neither of them noticed several pairs of glowing eyes that watched them as they walked.

They entered the Villa and locked up for the night. Xander asked Faith if she would like a glass of wine before bed, and she agreed that it would be nice.

"Bring the bottle," she told him from the door to the bedroom.

Xander turned to acknowledge her when he saw her. She stood inside the doorway, and reached up behind her neck and untied the halter top of the dress. It must have already been unzipped, because it slid off her body with a soft rustle.

Faith stood there in all her glory, wearing only a pair of tiny black lace panties.

Xander almost spilled the wine.

"Don't be all night," Faith smiled at him, as she disappeared into the bedroom.

Xander grabbed two glasses, the bottle of wine and followed, shutting the door behind him as he entered the room.

Chapter 6

The Next Morning

Faith started the journey to wakefulness as the sounds of crashing surf registered in the back of her mind. As she got closer to being awake she could feel the sun shining on her back, giving her a pleasant warm feeling. The last thing she noticed was her face laying on a warm chest and the sound of a heartbeat in her ears.

She turned her face toward Xander's and found him gazing at her.

"Morning," she greeted him with a smile.

"Morning, beautiful,'" he smiled back as he pulled her up towards his face for a kiss.

Strangely enough, there was none of the awkwardness that new lovers sometimes felt, something that they were both grateful for.

"How 'bout we hit the shower, and then see what the island has to offer for a couple of tourists like us?" Xander suggested.

"You're on," she replied as she hopped out of bed, making sure she added to the normal sway of her hips as she headed to the bathroom.

The two took their time in the shower, making love once more before finally getting dressed and heading out to see what the island had to offer them.


That day was pretty much a guide to how the next week would go, making love, trying the many different restaurants that the island had to offer, and shopping. And then a repeat for the next day, more or less continuing the same pattern until the day before the rest of the Sunnydale gang arrived.

Iguana Villa, Aruba
7:45 AM, May 26th 2006

Faith jumped out of bed, quickly threw on some clothes and ran around their villa, cleaning and re-arranging the pillows, trying to make everything perfect.

"Faith! Slow down, babe, there is no need for you to be running around like this. They don't even get here until tomorrow afternoon," Xander tried to make her understand.

"I know Xan, I really do know, but - there was so much bad blood between us. I mean, I threatened Joyce, held a knife to Willow's throat, swapped bodies with Buffy and I slept with her boyfriend." The words came pouring out of Faith's mouth as she focused on all the bad things she had done to the various members of the Scooby Gang, and with that, she looked down at the floor, unable to face him.

"Faith, we've all done things that we are ashamed of. You wouldn't believe some of the things I look back on with regret. Well, maybe you would, since you've actually lived in Sunnydale. But the important thing is to get over it and put it all behind you. Apologize to Buffy if you have to, then put it behind you. Things are different now, and I am sure that you will see they are anxious to put it behind them as well," Xander softly suggested.

Faith sighed, but sat down and stopped cleaning.

"Okay, Xan. I'll try. So, who is going to be here and what should I expect?"

"Well, Buffy will be here, also Giles and Joyce. Willow will show up, and she'll be bringing her girlfriend Tara with her, and Dawn," Xander replied.

"Girlfriend? When did Willow start playing for the other team? And who is Dawn?" Faith asked.

"Those are both long stories, and ones that I would very much enjoy sharing with you. However, I am starved, and I'm not sure I have the strength to tell you all the gory details," he grinned. "So, how about we discuss this all over breakfast down at Miguel's?"

Faith agreed, and she was soon treated to the stories of Willow's becoming a lesbian, and how Dawn was created by the monks; as the two of them devoured enough breakfast food to feed a small community.

They spent the rest of the day sunning and swimming on the beach,, spending the quality couple time together that both craved.

That night they watched a movie while dining on some wine and cheese, and then they retired early. They made love with both fervor and passion, and then slept, dreaming of a future they had never expected to have.

Iguana Villa, Aruba
11:30 AM, May 27th 2006

Faith kept pacing no matter what he said.

"Faith, would you stop already? You're making me dizzy," Xander begged, as he watched her circle the rec room of their villa for the twenty-fifth time.

"Look, Xan, I know that you said it would be okay, but in a little over an hour I have to face four people whose lives I nearly managed to seriously screw up at one point in my own seriously screwed up life. It is easy for you to say it, but I'm so worried about what they think of me." She stopped pacing for a moment. "Xan, these people are very important to you, and I don't want you hurt because of what I did a long time ago."

Finally as she began winding down, Xander reached up, wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to him.

"Just take a minute and relax, babe. They see things a lot differently now than they did at the time. Much of that is due to Mulder's influence as a psychologist. But the most important thing he did was make us all understand that at the time all of this was happening , none of us were ready to deal with what we were fighting on a nightly basis. Buffy has been seeing a bureau psychiatrist for years, just like I have." He kissed her on the forehead and pulled her down next to him on the couch.

"Faith, we were high school kids dealing on a nightly basis, with something that no one should ever have to deal with, at all. We were all pretty messed up and didn't realize it, but at least we had each other to talk to. You were not part of the group at that time, and so you had no one at all to lean on."

Xander kissed her again, then held her some more.

"Mulder figured that most Slayers died within a year because they were so messed up that they didn't know what to do, and they lost their focus. So they died. Buffy had us, and so she lasted, but *all* of us were messed up. But we are *all* doing much better now, and we all have the support of our friends, as well as the government," Xander comforted her, making sure she knew she was included.

Xander stood and pulled Faith up with him.

"Let's leave early and have lunch at the airport, okay?" He suggested.

Faith agreed, with a wan smile, and they headed off to the airport.


By the time they made it to the proper gate, the passengers were just starting to exit. Xander watched carefully, and then saw a mass of red hair.

He waved and then Willow waved back at him, pointing to the rest.

The tall attractive redhead ran for him as soon as she was off the gangway, and Xander caught her and spun her around.

"Willow, it is so good to see you!" He said as he hugged her.

A tall, gorgeous brunette ran to Xander as well, and greeted him about the same way as Willow did, throwing herself into his arms and hugging him fiercely. Their reception by the rest of the Gang was a bit more subdued. When it was time for Joyce and Giles, they greeted Faith first, hugging her like a child that they had not seen for a while.

She felt a little weird over their attention, but secretly enjoyed it. Willow and her friend Tara greeted her friendly enough, so she found herself being pulled more into the get-together than she had originally expected. Finally, it was time to greet Buffy.

Faith was more nervous at this meeting than she had ever been about anything before, and never more anxious to work things out with her sister Slayer.

Buffy walked up to Faith and hugged her. Hard. And in a voice that no one but her could hear, whispered to her.

"We have lots to talk about Faith," Buffy said.

They gathered up the luggage and loaded it in the SUV that Xander had rented for them, loaded up the passengers in both vehicles and headed back to the villa.

Iguana Villa, Aruba
8:00 AM, June 1st 2006

Faith was up early this morning, and for once she beat Xander out of bed.

The past week had gone well. Well, at least she had thought so. They had taken the gang to all the popular spots and everyone had enjoyed themselves immensely. She had made peace with everyone - everyone but Buffy. And as she stood there in the kitchen, looking out over the beach she saw her chance.

Faith filled two of the big travel mugs with coffee, one for herself, and the other the way Buffy like it, then grabbed them up and headed toward the blonde sitting on the top of a dune a ways away.

Buffy heard her coming no matter how quiet Faith tried to be. She had picked today to clear the air with the dark slayer for once and for all.

"Hi, Faith," she greeted noncommittally

"Hey, B. Coffee?" She offered, handing the cup to Buffy.

The two Slayers sat in quiet contemplation for a time, sipping their coffee and watching the beach start to come to life.

"You know, if anyone would have told me back in high school that one day I would be sitting on a sand dune in Aruba drinking coffee with you, I would have told them that they were nuts," Faith said.

"And I would have agreed." Buffy paused. "Faith, I've thought about this for years, and even with the help of several years of counseling, it is hard for me to tell you how sorry I am for the way you got treated."

"Buff..." Faith started.

"No, Faith! Please let me finish. When you showed up, that last year of High School, I envied you so much! You were a free spirit, loved 'em and left 'em, apparently without a care in the world. God, how I wanted to be you! You answered to no one, and lived life the way you wanted to. Then I saw how the others treated you, like a second-hand Slayer, and they compared you to me. They wanted you to be more like me, and I had no idea what was right anymore." Buffy paused, looking at the water.

"Even after knowing what you had been through, we pushed you out; and as a result, pushed you towards the Mayor. Well, all except Xander, and he tried to the very end to bring you back, didn't he?" She asked, looking at Faith.

"He tried, and I tried to kill him, but when it came down to it, I couldn't do it. Then, after the whole body swap thing, I ran to LA. Took a contract that was out on Fang, and tried to get him to kill me. I never even thought of killing him at all, I just wanted him to take me out," Faith reminisced.

"Yeah, Angel told us what had happened, and how he got you to turn yourself in. Faith, I understand a lot more now, than I did then. You showed up alone, confused, and hurting from what had happened to your Watcher, and we ignored you. We made you feel inferior, and pretty much left you out on your own. I can't imagine what it would feel like to be kept out of a group of people who should have been your friends."

Buffy turned to Faith, tears in her eyes.

"Faith, I am so sorry what I did to you, and for everything that has happened. I just hope you can forgive me!" Buffy cried.

Faith dropped her cup and hugged Buffy for all that she was worth.

"I forgave you a long time ago, and only wished that you would be able to forgive me for everything that I did to you and your family," Faith said quietly.

The two young women, front line soldiers in a dark battle, started down the road to forgiveness and friendship.

Xander got up, showered, dressed, and then headed for the coffee. He found Giles standing in the kitchen looking out to the dunes. He poured himself a cup of the freshly made brew and joined the man he often thought of as his father.

"They've finally made peace with each other," the older man said.

Xander looked and saw the two women he loved, one like a sister, the other in truly romantic way, hugging and laughing as they returned to the villa.

"I'm glad they finally had the chance. Now maybe they can move on, maybe even become friends," Xander agreed.

The two Slayers returned to the Villa where they joined the others in a breakfast of sweet rolls and fruit.

"Well, guys, Faith and I planned our last day here to be pretty easy. Just barbeque some steaks on the beach, bake some potatoes; grab some salad, along with a cooler of beer. Maybe some volleyball, swimming, and just taking it easy," Xander explained.

"We thought that it would be better to keep it simple since we had to head home tomorrow, and that way everybody would be rested," Faith added.

The five agreed and everyone started getting ready for a day on the beach.

As they were loading up the coolers, Faith noticed that the salad had gone bad, and there was not very much beer.

"Xan, I'm going to run to the store, we need to get some potato salad and some more beer. You want anything?" She asked. "Anyone want to go with me?"

Tara nudged Willow and whispered to her.

"Can Tara and I come along?" Willow asked, slightly unsure.

"Sure, Red," replied a nervous Faith. Willow had always been the hardest to apologize to, and the one who resented her the most.

She grabbed the Mustang keys and the three women left.

They pulled into the parking lot of the small store, and Willow put her hand on Faith's arm as she started to get out.

"Faith," started Willow. " I know that things have not ever been good between us, but I know how much you mean to Xander, and how much he loves you."

"Yeah?" Faith replied, confused.

"I just wanted to let you know that I forgive you for trying to kill me, and for hurting us the way that you did. But -"

"But what, Red?" Faith asked softly.

Willow held out her hand and, with a whispered spell, filled her hand with a ball of eldritch energy, making everyone's hair stand up slightly and their scalps tingle.

"If you ever hurt Xander again, I *will* fry your ass!" Willow said slowly and softly, leaving Faith no option but to believe the witch.

"I love him way too much for that to ever happen, Red," Faith replied.

The two women who loved the same man, but differently, had finally made peace with each other.

Quickly, they got what they needed at the small store and went to the checkout counter. They paid for the stuff, packed the car and headed back to the villa.

By the time they had returned, the others were already on the beach, so they filled the two coolers with what they had bought, added more ice and carried them out to join the others.


The day went by pleasantly. They all played Frisbee, swam, and just enjoyed life for once. Others who walked by noticed the two men, who were surrounded by six beautiful women, but had no idea how much darkness was behind them. Tomorrow, they would be returning to fight the darkness, but today, they were enjoying the light.

Xander had just put the steaks on the grill and he was watching Faith coming up from a swim. Faith in a string bikini was a wonderful sight. Add Buffy and Dawn and it was enough to turn any male to jelly. Faith walked up to him and kissed him gently, then whispered in his ear.

"Look all you want, Xan, but I am the only one you get to touch."

He returned her kiss and answered her. "Always, babe. Always."

As he was finishing the steaks, he noticed that twilight was upon them and it was starting to get dark. And as expected, both Faith and Buffy were preparing for it, each unaware of the other's actions. He watched as both women, in near identical moves; wound their hair in buns, holding them in place with chopsticks.

He turned back and noticed Giles watching as well.

"Is that a Slayer thing?" He asked.

"It might well be, Xander. I just don't think that the council has ever had two slayers to investigate it with before," Giles replied.

"What's that, Giles?" Buffy asked.

"I think they are making fun of us, B." Faith added.

"I just noticed that you both picked up on it getting dark at the same time, then both armed yourselves in a inconspicuous way, at the same time, and in exactly the same way," Xander explained.

"Well, in a bikini, there isn't really anyplace to hide anything," Buffy replied.

Xander started to say something, then stopped; figuring silence was a better way to remain healthy. The others snickered as they saw his face.

The group finished dinner as full dark fell on them. And, while they were still enjoying the warm evening around the fire, it was time to start packing up.

"Well, well ,well. Looks like we're just in time for dinner," said a mousy looking guy, who walked up leading a half dozen others.

"Sorry, but we're all done here," replied Joyce without even thinking.

Xander, who was packing a cooler, looked up and saw Faith and Buffy both moving to get between the group approaching and the rest of them, and realized that they were vampires. He opened the picnic basket beside him and slipped out a .44 Bulldog snub nose revolver, and then stood.

He took a position between Buffy and Faith, and faced the leader of the vamps.

"You have either got to be the unluckiest vampire on the island, or the stupidest," Xander said, shaking his head, looking at him.

"Why do you say that?" Asked the vamp, who had been very much a nerd in real life.

"Because you picked the only party on the beach that consisted of two Slayers and a vamp hunter," he said as he raised the revolver.

"A Slayer, here? Are you kidding?" Asked one of the women of the newcomers group.

"Nope, you were lucky enough to catch us on vacation," Buffy laughed, then attacked.

As Faith jumped to the left, Buffy attacked to the right. Xander stood in the center and watched the backs of both Slayers.

Buffy nailed the biggest male with a spinning back heel kick and dropped him face first in the sand. She whipped one of the chopsticks out of her hair and rammed the small piece of lacquered wood into the demon's heart, turning him into a cloud of dust.

Faith attacked the one facing her directly, hammering him with a direct hard left, following with a right to the gut. She drove her chopstick through the vamp's back into his heart and dusted him. She was also the recipient of a powerful backhand by one of the remaining vamps.

She rolled to a stop in front of one of the females who reached for her right away. There was a stunned look on the vamp's face as she 'poofed' and Faith smiled, holding up the chopstick.

Buffy dusted another, kicking its legs out from under it and jabbed the chopstick into its chest.

The two farthest in the back started to run away, but Xander merely tracked them with the Bulldog for a moment before firing, putting a couple of Scully's vamp killer bullets into each of them. As they burst into flame, Faith and Buffy both finished off the leader. Faith standing him straight up with a wicked uppercut, then both hammered wood into his heart at the same time, one from the front, one from the rear. As the dust from the vampire leader settled, the two young women gave each other high fives.

The rest of the group, having paused for a moment in their labors to watch, looked both women over for injuries and then continued to pack up, having seen similar displays too often in the past to be very impressed.

They returned to the Villa, and, after cleaning up the mess from their day at the beach, retired to their respective rooms.


Xander sat up straight in bed as his cell phone started ringing.

"Hello?" He mumbled somewhat coherently.

\\ "Hey, Vacation's over. Want to open the door and let me in?" Mulder asked //

"Yeah, give me a sec," Xander said, starting to wake up now.

"What's going on, Xan?" Faith asked as she got up.

"Mulder's here. He said the vacation was over."

"Oh," she replied, slipping on a pair of boxers and a tee shirt.

The two left their room and were met in the living room by Buffy.

"Mulder?" She asked.

"Yep," Xander replied opening the door.

"Hey, guys! Sorry to cut the vacation short, but we've got some potentially serious trouble in New York. Seems like a clan of Ethros Demons has moved in and they seem to have started a turf war with the Vampires in the area. Intel is sketchy at best, but the brass has caved in to media and political pressure and wants the A-team on the job. If possible, they would like Rupert to go with you," Mulder quickly explained.

Buffy went to wake her stepfather/Watcher and let him know what was going on, while Xander and Faith packed.

When they were done, they returned to the living room. Buffy was already there, and they were waiting on Giles and Joyce.

Another Agent entered the room and Mulder introduced him.

"This is Agent Rueben Gonzalez of the Aruban Security Agency. He will take charge of having the Villa cleaned and getting Dawn, Willow and Tara delivered to the airport tomorrow morning."

Joyce and Gils were now ready, and they were explaining to Dawn, Willow and Tara what was going on. They said their goodbyes, and headed out to the cars waiting to take them to the airport.

Joining up with Scully, who had waited with the plane, they loaded up and lifted off into the sky.

As the morning sun first hit the Cessna Citation X jet, the two Slayers, a Vampire Hunter, and the X-Files team headed off to an unknown future together.

The End.