Heirs to Power

Author: BigHead <bigheadfics[at]yahoo.com>

Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me. Just like to play with the ideas

Author's Notes: Just something my muse hit me with when I wasn't looking.

Feedback: Most certainly welcome.

Chapter 1

Rupert Giles was proud of what he was, on both fronts. Being a Watcher wasn't exactly on his plans when he was young, but he dove deeply into it, and he was very happy to be the field Watcher of the active Slayer. And being a librarian was some comfort also, being able to help the most normal kids to develop their own consciences. But he absolutely hated some parts of his job. Xander, Willow and Buffy were always saying that he loved to be among old and dusty tomes and artifacts. That part was true. What he hated was having to classify and order such artifacts, when the only references found were the artifacts themselves.

Case in point, the three boxes that the Council sent him.

Two of the boxes he knew, and they were a mystery all by themselves. So, he left them for last. Now, he was browsing the third box, filled to the brim with books and tomes regarding the history of the various Hellmouths.

The time was quiet enough, just a little before the sundown. Soon, Buffy or her friends would be arriving, and since it was a calm time in the Slayer business, they could help him organize the books. As if on cue, the door to the library was opened, and a young man wearing the most garish shirt that Giles has ever seen entered.

"Hey, G-Man, what's hanging?" Xander Harris could be the most annoying person in the world, but he was the best friend anyone could have. Loyal to the utmost, he had helped the Slayer since the very first day, even without any special powers.

"X-xander, how many times I've asked you not to call me that?" Giles said, while placing the book he was reading back in the box.

"Six hundred and thirty six by my last count. Thirty seven, now. What those?" he asked, pointing at the boxes.

"Books. If you don't know what they are, we are surrounded by them."

"OhmyGod, I'm going home, the Apocalypse is coming! Giles made a joke! And a good one!" Xander laughed, and his eyes caught the two long wooden boxes, still closed. "Whatcher's Fedex?"

"Yes, they send the books to help on our researches. Basically they are a collection on the history of the Hellmouths."

Xander caught the last part of the phrase, and he looked into Giles' eyes, a trace of fear on his voice.

"There is more than one?"

"Oh, yes, several in fact. But don't worry, only one is active over a time."

Xander relaxed a bit. "Case in point, ours."


The young man decided to change the topic quickly, he was worried enough to know that there were more of those infernal holes in the ground.

"So, what are those two other boxes?", he asked, pulling one to himself. They were long, and too thin to be more books.


That really caught Xander's attention. What he didn't tell Giles was that he had no intention of being at the library so early. Since yesterday, he had a … sensation, as if something was calling him. And the sensation only got stronger when he entered the library. And it was coming from this box.

Xander opened it. The moment the last catch was released, it was as if he was opening a music box. The song he heard was fantastic, it was magic, it was… unbelievable. He looked at Giles, and the man was still focused on the box of books. So, he was the only one hearing the song.

He opened the lid slowly, focusing on the song. The moment he saw the sword, the song dimmed, remaining a subdued humming in his mind. It was a marvelous sword, approximately three and a half feet long, with a very broad blade and a curious guard. The handle was big enough to be held with two hands, and it seemed the correct style to use it. It seemed sharp enough to cut a man in half, given the strength and the angle of the strike.

The curious thing was the complete lack of dents in the blade. In fact, the blade seemed quite new, but it felt way Old, with capital 'O'.

"G-M…Giles, what's the what on the sword?"

"Huh?" Giles questioned, lifting his head from the book.

"Sword. History. What?", he asked again, pointing at the blade in front of him

"Oh, oh… yes. These swords, there is another one in the other box, they are called the Swords of the Heirs. Their history is quite interesting. They are quite old, probably much older than Christ, and their origin is lost in the sands of time. They are apparently made from some sort of metal not found on Earth, and the legend says that they have mystical powers. But this power can only be accessed by the Heirs."

"Heirs? Heirs to what?"

"That is another mystery. The Council has these swords for a few centuries now, and a few mages have tried to access those powers, without luck. But they are quite sharp, and seemingly indestructible. They sent those to me to help Buffy."

"Interesting." Xander picked the sword in his hands, and tried to lift it. Somehow, it seemed to belong to him, as if it was always his.

"Quite. It is said that one of these swords is the one that give origin to Excalibur."

"Excalibur? King Arthur's Excalibur?" Xander was impressed. He lifted the sword in a guard position, the tip pointed to the ceiling.


Xander placed the sword back in the box, but the sensation was as if he was leaving an old friend behind. He was still curious, and he pushed the other box to him, opening it. The other sword was identical to the one he had held, with the exception of a jewel encrusted in the middle of the blade. This blade sang to him also, but the song was different, more dimmed.

He placed both boxes side by side, and gave both blades a good look. Then, something struck him. 'Whaa…nah, not possible, it's not… Damn, it is a cartoon, for chrissake!'

"Giles, could the Council be pulling our legs?" Xander asked, holding the first sword again.


"The Council of Watchers. Could they be pulling a joke on us?"

"I don't believe the Council has a sense of humor, so no. Why?"

"Have you seen these swords before they were sent to you?" He asked, lifting the sword again.

"Yes, a couple of years after I entered the Council, why?"

"Giles, these swords are from a cartoon."

"What?" he removed his glasses and started cleaning them, a reflex act when he was nervous.

"A cartoon, G-Man. Saturday morning fun. These are exact copies of the swords. More precisely, this is the Sword of Power, and that is the Sword of Honor."

"And what… cartoon those swords are from? What do they do?"

Xander grinned. He hoped he was wrong, but it felt sooo right.

"Better if I show you."

He gave a few steps back from everything, sword in hand. When he was right in the middle of the room, he raised the sword, and yelled.


Chapter 2

The moment Xander finished yelling, everything changed. Everyone who was looking on the outside noticed a gathering of clouds in an instant, as if a sudden storm would hit them. But instead of a storm, the only occurrence was that a humongous lightning was released from the clouds, and it hit the top of the school building.

The lightning crossed the ceiling without causing any damage and it hit the tip of the sword in Xander's hand.

The young man was suddenly engulfed in the energy of the lightning, and he disappeared in a white glare. The magic imbued in the sword and the invocation of power caused a massive change into Xander's body. He grew a feet and a half, and his muscles jumped up, and he suddenly had the body of a bodybuilder. His hair grew up and it reached his shoulders, and his skin suddenly acquired a dark olive tone, as if he had spent the entire summer on the beach. And his face changed, to an older version of his, something he might look at mid-thirties. The garish clothes disappeared, and they were substituted by some kind of leather boots, armored braces, and an armored vest, in its center displayed the same symbol etched in the sword. Luckily, he would realize later on, he was wearing some sort of leather leggings, and not furry underwear.

"I HAVE THE POWER!", he yelled, sword held parallel to the ground by both hands. The sensation of power was… amazing. Overwhelming. Engulfing. Incredible.

The light disappeared, and the clouds outside dispersed, as if it never were.

The towering giant that appeared in Xander's place made Giles jump several feet back, searching for some weapon, any weapon. Not that it would do any good. By his size, Giles concluded that he could break a man in half without a sweat.

The giant spoke. "OhmyGod…ohmyGod…ohmyGod… it WORKED!" his voice a deep bass, quite different from Xander's.

Giles looked at the man again, and he noticed that…"X-xander?"

The giant man looked at Giles, and grinned furiously. "Yeah, G-Man, it's me."

"W-what happened?"

Xander looked at the sword and grinned again. Suddenly, all seemed clear to him, and he felt quite different. He now knew so many styles of sword fighting it wasn't even funny. And unarmed combat… well, strength aside, he could give Buffy the time of her life. In an almost studied motion, he placed the blade on his back, and it locked on place, magically held to his vest.

"It seems I'm one of the Heirs of Power." Xander-giant answered, looking at the other sword.

"Heirs of Power?" Giles sat down again, still cleaning his glasses.

"Well, Giles, I still don't know about the past, or how these swords came to be here on Earth, but, if the information on the cartoon is correct, I think I can explain some things."

Giles noticed that even Xander's speech pattern seemed different, more… mature.

"Go on, please."

Xander sat at the other side of the table, and he crossed his hands on the tabletop.

"Well, the cartoon is called He-Man and The Masters of The Universe. It tells the story of a planet, located in the center of the galaxy, called Eternia. This planet is a most peaceful one, and the people looked like a mix between the Middle Ages and Star Wars. They dressed as peasants and kings while flying machines that would put airplanes to shame. It was ruled by a wise and good king called Randor, and his queen was an Earth woman, an ex-astronaut called Marleena."

"So, what does it have to do with you?"

"I'm getting there. This place was also ruled by magic and the greatest magic of all was kept in a castle, called Grayskull. This castle was watched by a woman, called the Sorceress. There is one evil being, called Skeletor, which coveted the power of Grayskull to himself. With the help of a bunch of stupid, yet powerful henchmen, he always tried to gain it. Only one thing stopped him, He-Man."

"He-Man? Who's He-Man?" the story was too confusing, but the basics were easy: Evil side, good side.

"Well, right now I could say that I'm He-Man, or an incarnation of him. He-Man was the defender of the secrets of castle Grayskull, and secretly he was also Adam, prince of Eternia, son of Randor and Marleena. He was called the most powerful man in the Universe."

"P-powerful? How powerful?"

"Well, from what I remember from the cartoon, and from what I'm feeling running through me, if it was structurally possible, I think I could easily lift this entire building and throw it to the other side of town."

"Holy Mother of God." Giles dropped his glasses to the floor.

Xander, or better, He-Man, looked around and rose from the bench.

"Look, Giles, people must have seen the lightning, meaning that in a few moments, one of the Scoobies is going to come through that door, and I'm not ready to explain that yet."

Giles looked at him, and nodded. "Ok, where are you gonna hide? Seven feet men wearing a sword in their backs are not exactly easy to hide, even in this town."

He-Man grinned again, and answered. "Easily, into my old, frail, Xander-sized body."

He returned to the same point in the room where the transformation took part initially, and raised the sword again. It was almost comical, he couldn't lift it fully, it would cut through the ceiling, but it would work.

"MAY THE POWER…RETURN!" he yelled, again.

It was almost like putting a VCR to rewind, watching the scene. The tip of the sword glowed again, and another lightning flared, this time in the direction of the sky. The light engulfed He-Man, and his appearance changed back, to that of Xander Harris.

Xander looked at the sword, the feelings still running through him. He still could remember some things, such as combat, but it was mostly residual, like his memories from Halloween. But one thing he knew… He motioned the sword to his back again, as if locking it back in his He-Man armor, and it disappeared, the instant it 'locked' into place.

"How…" Giles asked with the suddenly disappearance.

"Spatial displacement. The sword is still here, only hidden in a pocket dimension. Part of the magic." Xander sat up again. Before he could utter a word, a red-haired hurricane flew through the library's door.


Chapter 3
Dreams come true


The red hurricane stopped the moment she noticed the scene, Giles calmly picking up his glasses from the floor, while Xander was seating in one of the tables, two boxes and several books on it.

"Hey, Wills, what's the hurry?" Xander asked, with that lopsided grin of his in place.

"IwascomingherewhenIsawsomelightinghittingtheceilingsoIrushedupherethe nIsawanotherlightningdeparting IthoughtitwassomethinghellmouthyorthatGileswasbeingattackedbysomeoneso IranevenmoreImsohappytoseeyouguys areok!"

"Breath, Wills, breath." Xander understood the rapid-fire speech, he was accustomed to it, but Giles kept looking at her, impressed with her ability to speak so quickly and without stop. Her face was redder than a tomato.

Willow took three deep breaths, eyes still scanning the surrounding. She looked at the ceiling, hoping to find a charred hole in it, but it was unscathed.

"Now, Wills, again, in slow-mo, please." Xander asked, and motioned for her to sit.

She sat at his side, still worried.

"Well, I was coming here, when suddenly I saw some clouds forming. It was too quick to be natural, so I thought, Hellmouth. And it was right atop here, so… Anyway, clouds, then the biggest lightning bolt I've ever seen. And it hits right up here." She said, pointing the ceiling right above her head. "I thought, 'Better call Buffy', then I remembered Giles and decided to run. When I was entering the school, I saw another lightning, this time it seemed as if it was departing. Didn't you guys see anything?"

Xander and Giles looked among themselves, guilty expressions on their faces. Xander spoke first. "No, Will, not a thing. Sure it wasn't natural?"

"Didn't look like." She was still looking around, perhaps waiting for a giant demon to jump from somewhere, so she didn't noticed the guilty looks.

"Anyway Willow, what brings you here in the first place?" Giles asked, glasses back in his face, trying to defuse the situation.

Willow finally stopped looking to the room, and looked to them. Her face changed all over again, to one of doubt.

"Well, you see, I wasn't…" and she noticed the beautiful sword lying in a box on the table. Her attention vanished, focusing entirely on the sword.

"Wasn't what, Willow?" Giles asked.

"Coming here…Beautiful sword, Giles. Where does it come from?" She moved to pick it up.

"Council sent it. Where were you going, Willow?" he asked again, trying to regain her focus.

She focused on him again, if only for an instant. "Oh, Buffy. We agreed to come here together before patrol, so I was going to go to her house first. But I had this strange feeling I had to be somewhere else…" and her attention vanished again. She picked the sword up, looking at them. Xander was smirking lightly, as if surprised. "Can't you hear it?" she asked them both.

"Hear what?" Giles asked. Xander remained mute.

"The sword. It's singing to me." Willow pushed the sword all the way to her, eyes focused on the jewel. Xander looked at Giles and grinned, nodding once.

"Willow." Xander spoke with such serious voice that the redhead focused on him instantly. "Remember when we were younger, the Saturday cartoon fest we used to have, you, me and Jess?"

"Yeah, sure. Happy times." She gave him a full grin.

"Do you remember the talks we used to have, about which characters we wanted to be?"

"Yeah, I remember. You wanted to be He-Man, Jesse wanted to be Lion-o and I wanted to be She-Ra. She was so cool. I used to dream about being her." Her mind returned to those times, and she remembered the discussions, she absolutely loved the winged horse, named Swiftwind, with his rainbow colored wings. In all this time, she never let the sword go. And she was still grinning.

Xander did something she wasn't expecting. He placed his hand over his right shoulder, and from apparently nowhere, he pulled a sword.

"Dreams do happen, Willow." And he showed her his sword. Willow noticed it was an exact copy of the sword she was holding, with the exception of the jewel. It was the same…

"Oh, no. Nononononononononono" She backed up, but her hands never left the sword. "It was a cartoon, for Christ's sake!"

"My thoughts exactly." Xander looked into her eyes, and spoke again. "For the Honor, Willow."

Willow stopped. She looked at the sword. And to him. He nodded. She grinned. And she lifted the sword.


While Xander's transformation was all about power, Giles noticed, Willow's was all about beauty. There was no lightning, the sword released some kind of magical field from the jewel, that encompassed Willow fully. The Watcher also noticed that the girl grew in size almost like Xander's, going to a six foot three woman, her body becoming not so muscular, like a bodybuilder, but more like the sculpted body of someone who spent her entire day doing aerobics. Her hair also grew, to the middle of her back, and became all wavy, but without losing its fiery color. Her skin color darkened a bit, but not as much as Xander's. Her clothes were changed to armored boots that went to the knee, braces made of something that looked like gold, a bodysuit made of leather with an armored breastplate, and a tiara that kept her long hair away from her face. She approached the sword to her body, yelling "I AM SHE-RA!"

When the transformation ended, Willow, or better, She-Ra, became mute, eyes fixed on the sword.

"Wi…She-Ra, are you all right?" Xander asked, quite concerned, approaching her.

She-Ra, after a long moment, looked back to him. She murmured something he didn't understand.

"What, She-Ra? I don't understand."

"Tell me…tell me I'm not dreaming." She spoke, more loudly this time, but not much above a whisper.

Xander looked at her face. It still remembered Willow somewhat, but the differences would protect her identity. How would he look?

"Well, you are, and you aren't. It's a dream come true, Wills. You ARE She-Ra."

"And you are He-Man?" she asked, looking at his sword.

"Yeah, I am. Wanna see?"

She-Ra perked up. "Sure."

He walked a few steps back, and raised his sword. "BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL!" Thunder hit him again. "I HAVE THE POWER!"

She-Ra looked at him again, her mind drooling at the sight of a very muscular and much more beautiful Xander Harris.

"Wow" was the only thing she managed to say.

Chapter 4

Author's Notes: Since this is an AU fic, I'm twisting the timeline quite a bit. You'll understand. Read the notes at the end of the chapter.

Several moments after the "wow", She-Ra was still appreciating He-Man's body, but suddenly her mind became active again.

"Oh…wow… I mean…er…does that means that we are brother and sister?" She-Ra asked, her voice now deeply concerned.

He-Man stopped his appreciation also, after all it wasn't always that your best friend since forever suddenly became the all-time winner from all the beauty and fitness championships from around the world.

"Well…I mean… I think not." He reddened suitably, and nobody noticed a thing just because of his deep tan. "Look, what you saw before entering here was me changing and changing back, because I didn't want anyone to find. It's better we return to our normal selves again, to think this over."


Two swords were held in front of two muscular bodies, and at the same time, two voices resonated in the room. "MAY THE POWER…RETURN!"

Soon, Xander and Willow were storing their respective swords in their pocket dimensions. Giles still remained mute, too surprised to even utter a sound.

Willow noticed it, and she waved her hand in front of his face. "Giles. GILES!"

The Watcher suddenly started, and he removed his glasses, again. He attempted to review the entire conversation between the two mystical warriors, but the only info he managed to recover was "brother and sister".

"Brother and sister?" he asked, still too shocked to make more coherent speech.

"Yeah, G-Man. I forgot to tell you. In the cartoon, there was a story that told about the past of Eternia, when Adam was still a baby. Apparently, he had a twin sister, named Adora. When they were born, Eternia was suffering a long war with a group of big bads named the Horde. A warlord called Hordak controlled this Horde. Hordak had an apprentice, Skeletor. They were losing the war, badly. In a daring plan, Hordak kidnapped Adora, and he managed to escape by a dimensional gateway to another planet, called Etheria, leaving Skeletor behind."

Xander began pacing the room, as if recalling the events.

"Several years later, Adam, already an adult, found another mystical sword, the sword that Willow carries. He was oriented by the Sorceress to go to Etheria and to find the bearer of the sword. Much to his surprise, the bearer was Adora, now brainwashed and under the power of Hordak and the Horde. The Sorceress managed to tell Adora the truth, and she transformed into She-Ra for the first time. In the cartoon, she tried to release Etheria from Hordak, and she was helped by He-Man, her brother, several times."

Giles was amazed by how Xander made such a speech. He almost looked like an adult. Almost.

"Well, it's much to digest, and regarding those swords, I'm sorry to say that we don't have much info, other than the blades themselves. But I think we can come to a few conclusions, and some rather interesting questions. First question: If the swords are real, and the means of activation are correct, how their history became a cartoon?"

Willow held her chin, deep in thought. "I have an idea. I said that the sword sang to me. I believe Xander's also" The young man nodded. "So, if they sang to us, like some sort of location spell or such, why didn't they influence the minds of some men?"

"Like the creators of the cartoon?" Xander continued.


"It's a possibility. Perhaps they were preparing the Heirs to their destinies." Giles spoke.

"About this Heirs stuff? Ok, we are the Heirs. But Heirs to what, aside the power? Where did these swords come from?" Xander asked.

"Eternia?" Giles continued.

"Giles, Eternia, if the planet exists, lies in the center of the Milky Way, several I don't know how far light years from Earth. And you said these swords are from before Christ. Could they have sent it here? We were a bunch of savages at those times. What's the purpose?"

Giles stood up and he began pacing the room. An idea was forming in his mind, it was too crazy, but after two characters from a cartoon coming to life right in front of him, nothing was too crazy. "You said that Adam and Adorable…"

"Adora." Willow corrected.

"Yes, sorry… Adora, were the children of Eternia's royalty, correct?"

"Yes, so?"

"What if those swords are some kind of royal apparel, to prove that the bearers are heirs to the throne?"

"Like some sort of scepter, or crown or something?" Willow continued.


"But Giles, what's the reason? Shouldn't they have stayed on Eternia?" Xander asked.

Giles didn't have an answer to that. The phone rang, and he picked it up.

"Yes? ...Buffy, calm down, it's probably nothing…yes, Xander and Willow… yes, I'm sending them up… yes… no problem. See you later."

Xander and Willow almost jumped at the Englishman after he hung up. He removed his glasses, again.

"Apparently, Dawn fainted without reason, inside their house. Buffy is quite worried, and she asked for you both to go. I'm closing the library and I'm coming later."

The young ones didn't even waited for Giles to finish speaking, running out of the room in seconds.

Chapter 5
The Key

For a moment, Xander thought he had inherited the Flash's speed, instead of the power of He-Man. He didn't even felt the distance or the time between the library and the Summers' home. He probably caused one or two accidents along the way, but he wasn't even bothering.

He pushed the doorbell with so much strength that the button cover flew off. Buffy was taking too long to open the door, he looked around trying to find a secluded enough spot to change.

The moment he decided to run again, he heard the sound of steps inside the house. Buffy opened the door, almost tearing it off the hinges, her face a mixture of happiness and sorrow.

"What happened? She ok?", Xander asked, when Buffy gave him enough room to enter.

"I don't know. She is awake again. We were talking, then she murmured something like 'Finally' and she fainted. She tells me she's ok, but I don't know. I'm too worried, I'm…"

"Being a big sister, and a responsible one." The cause of such nervousness was coming down the stairs, also with a worried face. "But I'm ok, Buff, I think it's something from low sugar."

"Dawn, you should be in…"

"Bed, I know, but don't worry. See? I'm ok, no trembling hands and no headache. Only my butt hurts…" Dawn spoke, while attempting to look at the offended area.

Buffy gave a breath of relief, and some of her big sister mood returned. "Of course it hurts, it's the part where you fell on. If it was the head I wouldn't be worried, but we may need to take a few X-Rays from the area…"

"Buffy…" then Dawn looked at Xander, and she smiled. "Hey, Xander. Sorry for the lack of typical huggy-ness, still not a hundred."

"No prob, Dawn Patrol."


"And Speedy Willow has arrived, the fastest mouth in all Los Angeles." Xander grabbed his friend, and hugged her, while speaking in her ear "Sorry for leaving you behind, too worried."

"No problem. I'm worried also." Willow spoke. Buffy heard it all, with her enhanced senses, but she kept her face as cool as she was managing at the time.

"Hey, Willow. Relax, I'm cool. Buffy is just being her annoying big sister-mom self. Just some low sugar. Don't worry, only my butt hurts."

"You should be in bed." Willow spoke.

"Told ya." Buffy replied.

"All right, all right. I'm going, I'm going." She was climbing the stairs, then she remembered something. "Hey, you can go patrol. I think Xander and Willow can keep me company until you return. What do you think?"

"You sure?" the Slayer asked.

"Yeah, you said things are quiet. You can finish early and we could see some movies."

Buffy thought for a few moments. Dawn seemed ok, and her friends would keep an eye on her. Quick patrol, a few dusts to improve the mood… yeah, it would work.

"Ok, two hours and I'll be back. Gonna call Giles, tell him not to worry." She picked the phone up, and dialed the library. After a few explanations and the promise that she would be back soon, she hung up, picked up her Slay-jacket, the inner pockets filled with slaying material, and left.

"Well, that went better than I hoped. She will calm down and we will have some time to talk, Heirs." Dawn spoke, her voice too serious for an eleven year old.

"Heirs? Dawn, what are you talking about?" Willow asked, faking surprise. Xander was very surprised, but one of the few things his parents taught him was to have a convincing enough poker face.

"Do not worry, Willow Rosenberg and Alexander Harris. You will have all of your answers in a few moments. I suggest we go up to…my… room, so we will have a bit more of privacy." The voice was not that of Dawn, but of a much older woman.

In Dawn's room, Willow and Xander sat on her bed, while she stood in front of them, eyes fixed in hers.

"Well, I am extremely happy in knowing you, Heir to Power, and you, Heir to Honor. I believe introductions are in order. I am The Key."

"Key? Key to what? You are Dawn Summers, my Dawn Patrol, slay-gal and all…" Xander spoke, not recognizing the voice from the kid in front of him.

"Sorry, Heir to Power. I believe you will recognize this form better." And Dawn began to glow, a white glow that enveloped her body, and made it grow. The clothes changed, the hair changed, wings sprouted from her back, and a staff appeared from nowhere. A helmet that resembled the head of a hawk adorned her head. And the glow receded, but it didn't fully disappear .

Willow spoke first. "S-sorceress?"

"That is a name I haven't heard in untold millennia, Heir to Honor. But yes, I believe you can call me Sorceress."

Chapter 6

Dawn, or better, Sorceress, walked to the window, and looked outside.

"Do you know how much time I didn't see this beautiful world, just waiting for this moment?", she sighed.

"What do you mean, 'how much time'? You are a ten year old girl. You've had until now to appreciate this mudball." Xander spoke, rising from the bed.

"That's where you are wrong, Heir."

"Xander, please. You call me Heir, I feel… old."

"In this case, you are right. But I'm not making much sense, am I? So, let me start from the beginning.

You may know me as Sorceress, and that was indeed my name, in ages long forgotten. I was the keeper of the most sacred place in all galaxy, the place you Heirs know as Castle Grayskull. But Grayskull was not only a castle; it was the place of the strongest convergence of mystical powers for this entire galaxy. Inside its walls laid the knowledge to destroy a thousand universes and to create another thousand. Some people gave it a title once, the Birthplace of the Gods. How I wish it were true, once.

As such places normally are, there were people who sworn to protect it, and those who sworn to conquer it. Myself and a handful of others through time upheld the first, none more fiercely than the Heirs."

"He-Man and She-Ra." Willow completed.

"Yes." Sorceress returned to the room, leaving the window behind. "But they were one of many incarnations of the Heirs, as you both are, today. Trough time, the Swords chosen new bearers, and these bearers were the Heirs to Power. One Man, and One Woman. One He and One She. The previous, and also the last incarnation of such Heirs were He-Man and She-Ra, the son and daughter of the kings of planet Eternia, as it once was called. Both were brave and courageous beyond belief, but so was the Enemy, in cunning and deceit."

"Skeletor. But I always saw him as a stupid moron with stupid plans and idiotic allies." Xander spoke.

"Don't think that all the information on these childish cartoons were true. The Enemy was not called Skeletor, it was S'kor. Although he did look like a living skeleton, he wasn't called that. And he rarely relied on allies to his plans. He trusted no one. He had only one lieutenant, a powerful witch called Lyn. And a large assembly of mindless, yet powerful creatures, called the Mon."

"S'kor was a master strategist, and he devised a long-lived plan to obtain the secrets of Grayskull. He hijacked the newborn daughter of king Randor and Queen Marleena, offering her as a sacrifice to an old competitor, an interdimensional warlord called Hordak. Hordak saw in the girl a chance to later on to blackmail the kings of Eternia and S'kor himself, so, instead of killing, he raised her. That wasn't on S'kor's plans, but it couldn't have worked better. A part of this story you know, Heirs, it is almost the same of that infernal cartoon, with a few minor differences. In the end, the Heir of Honor chose to stay in her adoptive planet, and helped release it from Hordak. But it was a serious drawback in the defense of Grayskull. He-Man was powerful, but he was only one, and, as many allies as he had, none had access to the powers from Grayskull, none except his sister."

"He failed? He… lost?" Xander asked.

Sorceress became quiet for a long time.

"I will assume the aspect of the child again, this form takes much of my current power." And the glow diminished, and so did the Sorceress body, and soon she became Dawn again.

"To answer your question, Hei…Xander, no, he did not fail, but yes, he lost. In truth, he was betrayed."

"Betrayed? By who?" a bolt of rage ran through his veins.

"By the only person he could not be betrayed by. Me."

Xander almost jumped her. "WHAT?"

"You see, that was another part of S'kor's plan, one he did not plan himself, but he used anyway. You see, I made a mistake once. Or I did not, I surely don't know. I fell in love with a wonderful man, the Warmaster Duncan. But the life of a Sorceress must be of a single purpose, defend Grayskull. But I betrayed that call, and I loved that man. From that love, my daughter was born." Dawn cried a single tear.

"Teela." Willow murmured.

"Yes, Teela. She was raised by his father, and with his kind and brave heart he trained her, and she surpassed him, becoming one of the best warriors from the entire planet, and Captain of the Royal Guard. But he and I, we made a mistake in raising her, we never told her the truth about her mother."

"You were trying to protect her."

"Yes, I was, wasn't I?" Dawn cried again, like the ten year old she was supposed to be. Willow held her arm and helped her sit on the bed. "I'm sorry… this still hurts too much…"

"Hey, if you want we can…" Willow tried to calm her.

"NO. No…no, you must know the truth, all of it." Dawn took a deep breath. "Years later, she learned by accident that He-Man and the prince were the same person. She felt betrayed, and she disappeared for a time. We tried to find her, but somehow we could not. She suddenly reappeared, asking the one question his father swore not to answer."

"Who was her mother." Xander spoke, more calmly.

"Yes. Duncan, afraid to lose her again, answered. She came to me, to confront me. I told her I was trying to protect her. She yelled at me, telling that she didn't need protection, she needed her mother. She was right."

Dawn rose from the bed again, and she began pacing the room.

"She left again, but this time we managed to follow her. We just didn't imagine were she would go to. S'kor's lair, Snake Mountain. He-Man followed her and he tried to bring her back. She just said that she was there of her own free will, and that she trusted S'kor more than she trusted him. At least S'kor actions were honest. He-Man didn't have a choice but to back up, hoping that she would see the truth sometime in the future. But S'kor did not wait. He used Teela knowledge of Grayskull and the palace to perform a massive strike, and in a masterstroke, he kidnapped the prince, yet untransformed. He then proceeded to Grayskull."

Dawn looked at them again.

"I still remember as if it was today…"

Adam was tied like a hog ready for the butcher, the Sword of Power on Teela's scabbard. She was helding him upright in front of the suspended bridge to Grayskull, a dagger pressed into his neck. Behind her, S'kor and Lyn were waiting, a large group of Mon surrounding them.

"Open up, Mother. We just want to talk. Wasn't that what you want from me? To TALK? To have your BELOVED daughter back? So, MOTHER, open the castle. Open up the castle or your beautiful Heir DIES!"

Teela pressed the dagger strongly to Adam's neck, drawing a little of blood. Inside the castle, the Sorceress was on the verge of tears. What could she do? She couldn't sacrifice Adam or Teela, nor she could open the castle to S'kor. What could she possibly do?

"The Sorceress is no fool. She won't open the castle." Lyn murmured into S'kor's ear.

"Oh, yes, she will, dear Lyn. Haven't you heard? We have the perfect ransom material in our hands. Her own daughter. If the Heir isn't a strong motivation, her daughter surely will be." He 'grinned', holding his scepter more strongly.

Inside the castle, Sorceress had a sudden insight. *Adora, we need She-Ra urgently. The castle is being attacked and your brother is in grave danger!*, she sent a telepathic message trough the dimensions.

*I'm coming, Sorceress.* came the prompt reply.

"COME ON, MOTHER, I'M GROWING IMPATIENT! OPEN UP!" Teela screamed. She wasn't thinking rationally. Damn, she loved the man she was holding hostage. All because of revenge? Revenge on what? Against who?

She-Ra appeared from a dimensional gateway a few hundred meters from the castle, her winged unicorn following her.

"Let's make an aerial recon, Swiftwind. UP!" She jumped into the saddle, and the unicorn gained altitude quickly. From the heights, she looked at the apparently unsolvable situation, a plan quickly forming in her mind, but she would need her brother as He-Man.

"Ok, my friend, here's the plan…" And she informed her unicorn the idea. "Ready?"

"As always!" the winged beauty answered.

"On three. One. Two. Three. DOWN!"

The unicorn made a dive on a straight path to Teela. In the last moment, it turned upside down, She-Ra clamped her legs on his torso to hold herself to him. In a daring maneuver, the Princess of Power grabbed Teela, leaving her brother to fall on the ground. Swiftwind rolled again, and steadied himself in the right position.

She-Ra's hand flew to her brother's sword, and she managed to retrieve it from the other woman scabbard.

"Ok, Teela, care to explain me why were you threatening my brother, before I decide to throw you from up here? Part two, Swifty!"

The unicorn made another maneuver, pointing himself again to the battlefield. Time was of the essence, She-Ra would have only moments to rescue his brother before…

"She-Ra, be a dear and release my friend Teela, please?" S'kor asked mockingly, his battle staff pointed at Adam's head. From that distance, he wouldn't miss, not even if he wanted.

"If I do that, you will going to kill Adam."

"Dear She-Ra, I'm a pratical man. I only do the things I must do, killing gives me no pleasure. So, I'll just kill the prince if you don't give me what I want, so please, release Teela." The problem with a skeletal face is that you didn't knew if it was laughing at you, mocking at you or just playing with you, so Adam's sister was at an impasse.

"Ok. Down, boy." The unicorn landed a few feet from the situation. She-Ra placed Teela on the ground, but she kept hoding the woman's neck. Teela was too good a warrior, so she was applying a little bit more force than what was necessary. "Let's make a trade-off. Adam for her."

"Oh, no, my dear. I think you misunderstood me. This isn't a hostage negotiation, it's a killing negotiation. You give me her, I don't kill him, you do not, I do. Simple. Besides, the moment I release him, you are going to give that annoying sword to him, and I'm not in the mood to face the idiotic He-Man."

She-Ra blanched. S'kor KNEW!

"What have you done?" she asked angrily to the woman held in her hand.

"Betrayed him, like you people betrayed ME!"

"Betrayed YOU? What are you talking about, woman?" * Sorceress, what madness is this? Is she under some spell?*

*It's a long story, She-Ra, but she is not under a spell. She is just extremely confused.*

*What should I do?*

*Release her. It's our only hope.*

* I don't trust S'kor. He'll kill Adam the moment I release Teela.*

* We have to trust him, it's Teela only hope.*

* Teela? What about Adam? He's my brother, she is just a TRAITOR.*

*And she is my daughter.*

"She-Ra, what's your decision? Your brother's clock is ticking…" S'kor asked, the scepter coming closer to her brother's head.

* He is not trustworthy.* She-Ra was almost screaming.

* We have no option. Release her.*

* Can't you transport him someplace else?*

* I'm afraid I can't. His bindings seem to be some sort of magic blocker, also. Please, release her.*

* I can't. I WON'T.*

*She-Ra, please. She is my daughter.*


A few moments of silence.

*He said that he trusts you. Your decision is final. But please, I ask you, stop and think about it!*

She-Ra took a deep breath.

*No. She stays.*

Inside the castle, the Sorceress made a decision she would regret for the rest of her life.

* I'm sorry.*

The transformation from Adora into She-Ra and vice versa was one that could only be made by Adora herself. But her power came from Grayskull, and in Grayskull no one was more powerful than the Sorceress. So, to give her daughter a chance of escape, the Sorceress removed a great part of She-Ra's strength with a simple spell. It would only last a moment, and it would be sufficient.

Teela noticed the lack of strength on the grip on her neck, so she twisted her body violently, escaping She-Ra's hand. She ran away in the direction of Adam and S'kor.

The warlord was no fool, and he had a clear shot. He changed the staff position quickly, and the mortal bolt he had prepared found a new target. He had hit He-Man and She-Ra so many times with those that he knew it would only knock them out for some time. But She-Ra was not fully herself.

The magic bolt hit her fully in the breastplate, but the magic that reinforced the armor wasn't fully present. The bolt opened a hole the size of a small fist in the plate, and it ate skin, muscles, blood, heart, a part of her lungs as if they were made of paper. She-Ra looked surprised at her chest, and like a marionette that suddenly had her wires cut, fell to the ground, dead.

Chapter 7
Testing the Waters

"DAWNIE, I"M BAACK!" the yell cut trough the somber mood like a hot knife over butter.

"I believe our conversation must be postponed for another time. Tomorrow perhaps, while my… sister is training." Dawn spoke, while attempting to dry the tears and compose herself.

"We'll be here." Xander answered for them. Nobody had noticed how the time had flown.

"Hey, Dawn, you…" The door to the room opened, admitting the blonde Slayer. She gave a good look at their faces "Hey, what's with the faces? Dawn, you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm cool. We're just remembering… mom."

Xander was amazed as how the voice and the attitude changed from the powerful and old Sorceress to the weak and young Dawn. Buffy calmed down some with the lie, but the mood hit her also.

"I miss her too, little sis. But don't worry, all will be better, you'll see." And the Slayer fiercely hugged her.

"Slayer strength! Slayer strength!" Dawn complained, and she was released immediately.


"No prob. And Buffy… thanks." Dawn grinned, sheepishly.

"This is our cue to leave." Xander spoke, grabbing a teary Willow by the arm.

"You guys don't have to. It's movie marathon night at the Summers House, you can stay." Buffy protested.

"No, Buffmeister, It's sisters' bonding time, we'll only be in the way. Don't worry, we'll be cool. Matter of fact, Wills, care for a specially prepared Xander mocha?"

Willow perked up instantly. "Always!"

"Do you have the ingredients, Red?"

"I don't know, but we can buy them on the way."

"And IT"S MOCHA'S TIME!" Xander yelled, making a poor imitation of a Power Ranger.

"He's nuts." Dawn quipped, making the sign of 'nuts' with her finger near her head, and grinning.

"Don't I know it? Let's go, Mocha Ranger." Willow walked out of the room laughing, some of the mood already dissipated.

Once outside, Xander grabbed Willow again, and he turned in the other direction, moving away from her house.

"Xander, my house is…"

"I know where your house is, Wills, but we are going somewhere else."


"The old scrap yard. It should be free from vampires and I want to test my powers. Don't you want that?"

The redhead thought for an instant. She had just been transformed for a few moments, she most surely wanted to feel that power again.

"Let's go!"

The scrap yard was a bit far, and the minds were full.

"What do you think?" Xander asked, the tone indicating the subject.

"About Dawn… the Sorceress' story?"


"I don't know if I can blame her, I think any caring mother would do anything to save a daughter, no matter how twisted she could be. You?"

"I felt anger. And betrayed. And a lot pissed. The matter is that it didn't happened to me, but it seems as if."

Willow looked at his face, the feeling was still displayed on the youthful features.

"You're putting yourself in his place. I would feel the same. Matter of fact, I felt that bolt, as if it had hit me!"

Xander halted for a moment. That was way too weird.

"Do you think that the swords are somehow showing us their feelings?"

She remained still for quite some time. Finally, she sighed.

"I don't know. Not yet, anyhow. But we will find out."

The rest of the way was made in silence, the only sounds were those of footsteps on the ground.

Luckily, the town was really calm, and they didn't find any vampires on the way. The old scrapyard was abandoned for quite a long time, the rusting carcasses displayed for the entire town. The place was a big trap, the large piles of old car wrecks being too unstable for anyone to wander around. The last owner died from a heart attack when Xander was a small kid, and no one had ever re-opened the place. The vampires didn't like it, saying it was "too spooky". Go figure.

Xander found a hole in the fence and they entered the place without being bothered. They wandered around for almost half an hour, careful to not bump on anything that might cause a car-valanche.

"Perfect!" Xander said. They were standing in the middle of a clear area, large enough for a few exercises. "Ladies first." And he mock-bowed to Willow.

"Thank you, kind sir." She raised the sword sky high. "FOR THE HONOR OF GRAYSKULL! I AM SHE-RA!"

Xander was still surprised with the change. Willow was a beautiful young woman, but the change into She-Ra made her the most drool-worthy woman he had ever seen.

"Your turn, my friend." She said with a very sexy voice.


The mystical warriors looked at each other and then around. He-Man asked "What first?"

She entered a combat stance. Somehow, her mind named it as the Dance of Nine Defenses. Her body was turned laterally to He-Man, sword held upright, giving her a good mix between attack and defense. He-Man grinned, and he chose the Crouched Cat attack stance. The eyes locked and the sparring began.

The first clashing of swords was so strong that the entire place trembled, as if hit by a small earthquake. Some piles fell, some glasses were broken, but in the middle of all that, both were standing up, one trying to overpower the other. An entire minute passed, each second more pressure was being applied. The power involved could crush a mountain into sand. A quick shifting of feet and He-Man jumped back. She-Ra wasn't expecting that, and she unbalanced for a moment. Her "brother" used the opportunity to try and hit her with a lateral strike, but the combat experience gained by the magic made the Princess of Power roll with the motion, and the Sword of Power only cleaved air. At the end of the roll she used her legs' impossibly powerful muscles to jump in the air. She landed several feet away, behind the rusted remains of a car. He-Man ran to her direction, and she placed a solid kick in the car structure, and it flew trough the air as if shot by a cannon. He-Man stood his ground, his sword held high above his head. With a mighty strike, he cleaved the flying carcass in half, each part landing several meters behind him. She-Ra grinned, and with a mental command, she changed the Sword of Honor to a quarterstaff.

He-Man compensated for the change without a thought, feet spreading wider on the ground. She would have the advantage of reach over him, so he decided to wait for the first strike. She approached like a blur, the staff flying to the man's legs. He-Man jumped over it, but the redheaded warrior was expecting it. She twisted her body in mid-strike, the other side of the staff hitting him solidly into the armor right over his ribs. He flew to the side with the impact, but she knew he was only unbalanced. She had to seize the moment. Using the staff as a pole vault she jumped in his direction, both feet aimed at his torso.

The warrior saw her at the last moment. He twisted the body as far as he could, and the full blow changed to a glancing one. She-Ra wasn't prepared for the move and she fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes. A moment later the Sword of Power was pressing at her throat. Two seconds later, it was being lifted and a hand was being offered. She took it, and He-Man helped her up.

"Very good. But, until we train a little more, I suggest we keep it simple."

"Ok." She picked up the staff from the ground where it fell and she changed it back to the Sword of Honor.

"How do you do that?" He-Man asked.

"Do what?"

"Change your Sword into other things."

She-Ra stopped dead for a moment. Then, she made a very Willow-like "Wow."


"How I'm stupid! I went for the physical aspects of our powers. I never thought of the mystical ones." She spoke, shaking her head in disbelief.


"Yes, it seems that the Heir of Honor powers are also focused on the mystical aspects. That's how I can change the Sword. And how I can do this." She opened her hand, and a fireball appeared, the size of a tennis ball.

"Holy… That means that you are a Sorceress also?"

"No, I don't think so. Not even remotely close, from what I could sense from her. What I mean is that since I'm already a wicca as Willow, somehow the transformation enhances my natural gifts. I'm doing this without a spell, Xa…He-Man. I just wished the fireball to appear."

He-Man thought it over for a second. "Mind if I do a little test?"


"Can you conjure some sort of protection spell? Like a barrier or something?"

"I think I can. What will you do?"

"Test its strength."


She-Ra's brow creased for a second, and she waved both hands in front of her. The air shimmered a bit, and it calmed down.

"All right. Done."

He sidestepped a bit, and cocked his right arm. He punched the air in front of him with just a little strength. His fist hit the barrier and for a moment the air glowed yellow.

"Anything?" He asked the wiccan.

"Just a bit of feedback, not much. How much strength did you use?"

One of the advantages of the mystical transformation is that the warriors instantly knew how much strength to apply in each situation. It wouldn't do good to shake a friend's hand with enough power to crush coal into diamonds. So, He-Man knew exactly how much force he had used.

"I don't have an exact comparison, but I think somewhere above the maximum strength of a common vampire."

"Hit it again. Slayer strength." She asked.

He cocked the arm again, and hit the invisible barrier.

"Still good. Not painful. Again."

He gave another hit. And another. And another. And another, each time "doubling" the force used.

"Stop. My head feels like a church's bell." She-Ra sat on the ground, holding her head with both hands. He-Man wanted to help, but she still hadn't lifted the barrier.

Then he noticed her hands glowing white. A few seconds later, she stood up, one hand waving in the air, and the spell lifted. She grinned like a million dollars.

"I've forgotten the healing powers. Those are pretty good tricks to have, sister." He-Man concluded. He motioned for her to sit into one fallen barrel, a couple of meters away.

"Do you really feel like that? Sister?" She asked, while sitting.

"I've always felt like a brother towards you, Willow." She-Ra noticed the slip up on the secret identity stuff, but she let it pass. She couldn't say she felt the same towards him, her feelings ran deeper, but she knew he would never love her that way. So, she comforted herself with this "brother-sister" relationship. "Besides" he continued " He-Man and She-Ra were brother and sister in the cartoon. Why don't we use that? It'll help with the secrecy."

"I agree." She looked around. They hadn't cause much damage, not that anybody would notice, but she was grateful anyway. "What now?"

"Short term, I believe that we can help keep this town safe. Long term, who knows? As for right now, I believe Xander Harris promised his best bud a special mocha with all the fixings."

She-Ra rose from the barrel, patting her butt to clean the dirt. "Lead on, MacDuff."

Chapter 8
Future Partners

Xander woke up feeling rather well. He had a dreamless and peaceful sleep. His parents seemed to still be knocked out from the booze last night, so he took a quick shower, got dressed and he was out of the door in less than fifteen minutes. It was a beautiful Californian day, sun high in the sky and no clouds in sight.

He was so happy that he began whistling while walking to school. At that precise moment, if the Master or Angelus appeared in front of him, he would probably tell them to sit down and tell some dirty jokes.

Damn, he was He-Man. Defender of the Secrets of Castle Grayskull. The Most Powerful Man in the Universe. Heir to Power.

And his best bud was She-Ra. Princess of Power. Heir to Honor.

He stopped walking when the thought hit. Damn, the Hellmouth was strange. But he never thought it would be this strange.

He continued the trek to the utmost evil in the known world, Sunnydale High. But he kept on whistling. When he was about a couple of blocks from school, he noticed it: someone or something was following him. And being followed on a Hellmouth was not of the good.

He deviated from his way a bit, taking two unnecessary turns, extending his walk quite a bit. But it didn't help. Whoever, or whatever it was, it was pretty good in doing it. So, he had two options: run away or face it.

He optioned for both, run away and face it in a crowded place. So, his best option at the moment was school. He set a brisk pace, and the tail followed him until he approached the school. When Xander felt he was close enough to confront whatever it was and not cause too large a ruckus if it was avoidable, he turned around.

What he saw struck him quite oddly.

It was a dog. An adult siberian husky, if he was not mistaken. Light brown with blue eyes and a pink nose. And quite well treated to be abandoned. Xander calmed down some, but his hellmouth paranoia didn't diminish in full. It could be some sort of disguised demon.

"Hey, boy, come on, go home. Stop following me, all right?" he asked, turning around and walking to school.

The dog followed his footsteps. Xander turned again.

"C'mon, boy, go home. This is a school. A human school with a very annoying principal. Dogs aren't allowed, ok?"

The dog sat down, looking at him as if saying 'What's that gotta do with me?'

"Go home, please?" Xander pleaded, but the husky remained impassive. The teenager walked a few more steps, a couple of people already noticing the situation. He turned one last time, the dog had walked a few more steps. That was odd in itself: the dog was following him, but it was keeping his distance. And by Xander's observation, it was always the same distance. To test, Xander walked two steps backwards, the dog walked two steps. He walked another one, the dog too.

"Well, well. It seems as if you're not gonna let me be. Fine, but I have a class to go to. Follow me all that you want, but don't go inside the school, Snyder's gonna eat my hide and yours if he finds you."

Xander turned finally and walked inside the campus. The dog, almost obediently, sat on the outside, right next to the stair steps. The youngster had found all of that extremely wiggy, so he needed some support, Slayer-style. He found her a couple of minutes later, talking to Willow.

"Hey, Xand, how's it going?" Buffy asked when she finally looked at him.

"Hi, Buff, Wills. Extremely wigsome. Can you give me a hand?" He asked, worried voice. Willow looked over his shoulder, searching for trouble.

"Sure. What happened?"

"I was followed to school." Xander asked, motioning for her to follow.

"By what?" She asked, Slayer-mode fully active. Willow was following behind, mind searching for possible places to change.

"That's what I want you to find out."

The trio quickly went to the school's entrance. Xander noticed that the dog was being looked by everyone who was coming in, but no one was bothering him, or vice versa.

"So, who followed you?" Buffy asked. Her Slay-dar was picking up nothing at all.

"Him." He pointed to the dog.

"Who? The dog?"

Xander nodded. Buffy approached the dog, all senses focused on the animal. Nothing, to her it was a normal dog.

"Slayer senses are cool. Willow?"

Willow focused for a few moments, eyes locked on the animal. One eyebrow lifted up, but her opinion was the same. Nothing.

"So, you guys saying this mutt…" Xander spoke.

"Not mutt. Dog. A beautiful dog." Willow quipped.

"All right, dog, followed me here because???"

"You smell like dog food?" Buffy joked.

"He found out that you are a kindred spirit?" Willow continued.

"He thinks you…" Buffy was gonna hit him again when he raised his hands.

"All right, all right, I get the joke. Let's go, we're gonna be late."

Willow looked at her watch, screamed "Class!" and took off running. Both her friends followed, but at a much slower pace.

Willow found him at the cafeteria, shoving food in his mouth at his common pace. She sat at his side, too accustomed to it to even bother. He was educated enough at least not to speak to her with his mouth full. She waited a bit, while he gulped the rest of the food.

"Hey, Willow. What's up?"

"Remember what I said about the dog?" she asked, in a low tone. They were in a pretty secluded spot in the cafeteria, and the rest of people didn't mix up with them.


"Wasn't being entirely truthful. I saw something."

"What something?" he asked, worried.

"I'm not too good at seeing auras, but what I saw make me wonder. Your auras are pretty much the same."

"The same? The same as what?"

"I don't know. Brothers? Kindred spirits?" Willow concluded.

Xander stopped to think about it. In seconds his mind formulated a theory.

"Willow, I have an idea. Care to test with me later on, if our canine friend continues with it?"

"Sure. Where?"

"We have to speak with Dawn after school. After that. In the scrap yard."

"Again? What's your idea?"

Xander rose from the bench with his tray in hand. He looked in her eyes, and spoke.

"Battle Cat."

Xander was leaving school. He had ran between classes to check on the dog, who was still sitting at the same place. Buffy was at his side, and she had an idea to follow him home, to see if the dog would do something Hellmouthy.

"Come on, pal, let's go." He said, signaling the dog to follow him.

The dog obeyed, but he still maintained the same distance from them like in the morning. When they were midway between the school and Xander's house, the dog stopped, and began whining. Xander and Buffy kept looking at him, while he was running in circles and stopping.

"What this nutso wants?"

Buffy looked at the strange behavior, and prompted, "I think he wants us to follow him."

The husky seemed to understand, and he barked once.

"I guess you're right, Buff. Care to?"


The dog began to walk in another direction at a brisk pace. He seemed to know exactly where he was going. He didn't deviate from the way once and he only stopped to sniff the air once or twice along the way. Soon, they were stopping in front of a house quite a ways from school and Xander's home.

What Buffy and Xander saw wasn't much comforting. Sunnydale PD's yellow "DO NOT CROSS" bands crisscrossed the front door. Inside the gate there was a dog's house with the name "Ares" painted on top of it.

"That's who you are, boy? Ares? Are you Ares, big boy?" Xander asked the dog, who shagged his tail vigorously and barked when he heard the name.

"So, we have Ares." Buffy said, opening the front gate "Let's check?"


They walked to the front door. Xander cut the bands with his folding knife, and Buffy opened the door using a little of the slayer strength. The markings on the living room told all the story, two sets of chalked contours on the ground, one not too apart from the other, and some furniture turned ways. And not a drop of blood anywhere.

"Vamp attack." Xander spoke somberly, while checking the room. Ares was tailing him, this time more closely.

"Yeah." Buffy answered, her voice almost inexistent. Two more lives she wasn't able to save. Damn the Hellmouth.

They walked all of the first floor. Xander found out some pictures showing an elderly couple and the dog at their side. The same dog who had been following him all this morning.

He and Ares went to the corridor and to the stairs to second floor.

"Buffy, gonna check upstairs." He called.

"Be careful!" she spoke back from another room.

Ares followed in front, knowing the way. They entered what was probably the master bedroom, the husky instantly going to the nightstand. Ares sniffed and whined over a small black book on top of it. Xander picked it up, looking at it with interest. It was a diary, and a well used one. Out of sheer curiosity, Xander looked at the last entry, last night.

"Ares is acting up again. He is still howling to the moon outside. I swear to God I'm going to lock him up if he continues it. He is skittish since early. John said that in their walk he kept on pushing to go onto another direction. What does that dog wants? He was always so smart, and now he's doing this? I think" And the entry stopped right there, probably one of them went out to answer the door or to make Ares stop whining.

"You saw who did it to them, Ares? Did you?"

Ares looked into Xander's eyes, those blue depths transmitting so much more information than if the dog could talk.

"All right, boy, if I'm right, and I think I am, after we test it, wanna go hunting?"

The dog barked, once.

They left the room, the diary safely secure in Xander's backpack, and they went to find Buffy. Xander found her at the kitchen.

"Found anything?" He asked.

"No. You?"

"Not a thing. Wanna go?"

"Sure. And the dog?" She asked.

'Goes with me." Ares barked, as if confirming.

"All right."

They left the home behind, careful not to leave any fingerprints behind. Not that SPD would do much about it, there were too many 'gangs on PCP' attacks like these for them to bother.

"Tonight I'm gonna hunt the bastards who did that." Buffy said, pointing behind her.

'Not if I pick them first.' Vowed Xander, in his mind, looking at the dog walking at his side.

Chapter 9
Revelations - Part II

Buffy, Xander and his new pet, Ares, arrived at the Slayer's house some time later. Dawn was at the living room, sprawled on the carpet, two books opened and her notebook right under her chin, her attention completely focused on something in one of the books. Ares suddenly jumped in front of them, going straight to the teen. Dawn jumped up on the first lick from the dog on her face.

"HEY! BLERGH! Stop! Stop! Damn, dog, STOP!" she managed to hold the licking husky away from her face. Xander and Buffy were at the door, laughing their guts out. "Who is the DEAD owner of this demon dog?" Dawn asked, struggling to keep the tongue away from her face.

"I believe you are, Dawnie." Xander answered, in between laughs. Buffy looked at her friend, typical 'I'm-not-gonna-take-care-of-a-giant-furball!' scowl in her face. Xander gave her a good look, and stopped laughing immediately. Not wise to piss the Slayer off.

Ares finally stopped struggling, and he sat right in front of Dawn, obediently. Dawn gave him a good look, and he, to Xander's eyes, nodded to her. Dawn lifted an eyebrow, in what Xander might call Sorceress' fashion, and looked to the dog's new owner. Xander only grinned, slightly. The actions were so quick and simple that Buffy didn't noticed a thing.

Dawn assumed her 'role' as a teen, and asked. "So, who's the dog and what's the occasion?"

"That's Ares, Dawn, and he belonged to a couple who used to live here in SunnyD. And the occasion is nothing special, only that he decided to follow me this morning." Xander answered, plopping on the sofa. Ares slowly walked to him and sat over his feet.

"Used to?" Dawn asked, curious.

"Vamps. Tonight, I hunt." Buffy answered, face set. Dawn looked at Xander, who only shrugged.

"So, you guys hungry? Ordered some Italian. There is a beef lasagna for you, Buffy, and some leftovers for you, Xander, if you want."

Xander's stomach gave his characteristic answer, growling furiously. He deadpanned "I'm not too hungry, but since you are such a nice lady, I think I'm gonna accept your suggestion, my dear." He said, raising from the sofa in the direction of the kitchen.

"Could you heat mine up? I'm gonna take a shower, Giles wants me to return to the library to train." Buffy spoke while already going upstairs.


They ate in silence, the only sound were those of the cutlery and Dawn scribbling in her notebook. Ares was asleep in the rug. Xander finished his dish, looking at the dog.

"Damn, gonna have to buy dog food later on. And see his license. And damn, where he's gonna sleep? My house is out of question, at least for now."

Buffy raised her head from the food, looking at the dog. An idea was forming on her head. She didn't want to leave the dog, but she couldn't take care of him either.

"Hey, I have an idea." She spoke, grabbing hers and Xander's dishes and placing them in the kitchen's sink. "The dog can sleep here. ONLY sleep" she spoke louder when Xander and Dawn rose to speak. "Rest of the day he's yours, Xander, I believe you can look out for him. And he sleeps in the basement, there is enough room. If you want to set up a nice place for him in there, go ahead. But if he messes mine or Dawn's clothes your and his ass are grass. Got me?"

The teenager was astounded. He surely wasn't expecting that.

"Y-yeah, I got you. Thanks, Buff." He answered, seriously.

"Least I could do for a friend, and for that couple."

"Nothing you could do, Buffy. You can't save everyone."

"Yeah, I know. Doesn't make me feel much better." she spoke, face downcast. "Look, gotta run. Giles' gonna un-starch the tweed if I'm late."

"Sure. Tell him I said hi, ok?"

She was opening the door, and she almost had her nose knocked on by a small hand. It was Willow, with her backpack in hand.

"Oops, sorry, Buffy." the redheaded wicca reddened considerably.

"Hey, no prob. Gotta go, stuffy and punctual English mentor-father figure is waiting."

"Oh, yes, I know. Tell him…"

"I said hi. Yeah, I know. Bye." She had walked a couple of steps when she turned back to Willow. "Remember, patrol buddy tonight, girl."

"Yes, I remember. Gonna meet you at the library near sunset, 'k?"

"'k. Bye."

The Heirs sat at the sofa, while Dawn, in her "Sorceress-mode" as Xander mentally nicknamed the action, looked to a place far in her mind's past.

"I didn't have time to cry for my failure and error. Before I could make another move, S'kor had Teela grabbed by Lyn, and he was threatening me…"

Adam was crying, he had lost his sister, his world was ending. He didn't understand. How could the magic fail her? The Royal Castle was in ruins, and he didn't knew if his parents were dead or alive, his sword and her sister's were in possession of two Mon, his only way of escape was entrenched on Grayskull and none of the Masters had appeared.

Damn, how could they have made so many mistakes? Teela didn't have to suffer all this, all it would take was a confession. And he had trusted her enough to know that, if he were the one to tell her the truth, none of this would have happened. But it wasn't the secret identity he was scared of, was it?

But none of this mattered anymore. Teela had betrayed all of them, and if he knew S'kor, and he was adamantly sure that he did, no one had survived in the Castle. His parents, dead. Duncan, dead. Orko, dead. Cringer, dead. Everyone he knew and loved, dead. And the woman he had loved was dead also, if not in body, then in spirit.

He looked at Swiftwind with the corner of his eyes. Without her sister to hold the power, he was back to a normal horse. At the moment, he was at her body's side, as if protecting it. Damn it all to Hell! If he could release himself, S'kor would be a dead man.

"Sorceress, open the Castle. I know you would do anything to save your daughter. So, open Grayskull to me and I'll let her go." S'kor yelled over the dead calmness of the air. No sound was being made. No bird chirped, no wind chimed, nothing. It seemed as if Eternia knew that the end was coming.

Inside the castle, Sorceress was crying for the first time since she let her daughter go with Duncan. She had failed the Heir to Honor, and she had paid with her life, and the powerful Guardian of the Castle had paid with her soul.

Probably Teela was right. If there weren't a Castle, then nobody would try to claim its powers. So, she asked the Cosmos and the Creator of All for forgiveness while she was devising a plan.

S'kor was beginning to worry. He held the perfect hand, and the last draw had been perfect. He was free from an annoyance. The other one he still needed, for ransom purposes, but once this farce had ended, so would he.

But the other player was taking too long to move. This was worrisome. If she could stop to think, she could forfeit his attempt.

What was his surprise when the drawbridge began its descent, hitting the ground with a thud. S'kor murmured a "Thank you", while motioning for Lyn to follow him, Teela still held hostage.

The trio entered the Castle. The interior seemed normal enough for a Castle, but anyone with only a microscopical measure of mystical senses could detect the impossibly strong magic that ran through those walls. S'kor's mind was whirling with the possibilities. Eternia was too small, he could conquer the Galaxy with the power held in here. But first, he had to evict the landlord.

They arrived at the Sorceress' chamber. The pyramid had its glow dimmed, and the Seeing Pool was still. The Castle Keeper was downcast, face low in concentration.

"Ah, my dear Sorceress. Please step down, so I can seat in my rightful place." S'kor spoke, while climbing the first steps.

"Release Teela." She spoke, finally. S'kor was sensing something different about her, but…

"Ah, yes, I forgot. Lyn, if you please." He motioned for his lieutenant.

Lyn drove her free arm back, and with a mighty thrust, shoved her fingers into Teela's head. The sound was sickening, and the blood flew high. Teela dropped without a sound, eyes glazing immediately.

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" The scream pierced dimensions. The Sorceress thought in running to her daughter's body, but if S'kor sat in the throne, all would be in vain.

So, she spoke the last verse of the spell.

"Did you know what my mistake was? I was too confident. Too confident that good would always prevail, and the power of good would protect us all. In only a couple of days, the Creator proved my mistake. I lost a daughter that I've never had and those who I thought as my family, my honor and my soul."

"You were only human." Willow spoke. She hadn't yet cried, but her eyes were filled to the brim.

"I think that was the first mistake. We are too fallible, our minds are not made to understand the power I used to have under me. I was more than human, and at the same time, I was less. I should have been only the Sorceress, the Gatekeeper, but I made a mistake, I became human once, and because of that, I killed an entire planet."

Xander was mute until now. He asked in a low tone, angrily. "What do you mean, 'killed a planet'?"

The Sorceress sighed. She was afraid of that, but, if the Heirs were to fulfill the prophecy, she would need to tell them everything.

"You see, in the attempt to stop S'kor to possess the powers of Grayskull, I devised a plan. I would destroy the Castle, and the energy would be released into another dimension, an empty one, causing it to implode and explode again. Think of it as a Big Bang. No Castle, no powers, no conquest, right? That was my final mistake, one that I must pay until my time comes…"

The spell was very complicated and the solution would be a final one. When the Sorceress spoke the final verse, all of the Castle's mystical energy began converging into her body. She didn't want the power to herself, she would only act as a conduit for its final destination, the empty dimension she had chosen.

"YOU FOOL!! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?" S'kor screamed under the mystical storm. He hastily conjured a protection spell, enveloping himself. He gave Lyn a quick look, and he saw when she disappeared in the backlash from a mystical bolt.

The chamber around him didn't even looked like a chamber anymore, it looked as if the Universe was re-forming itself. At the center of the mystical maelstrom, stood a screaming Sorceress, her body lit up like a billion lights. A giant dimensional hole formed up over her head, and she raised her arms, directing the energy to the hole.

S'kor devised one final plan. He looked at his scepter one last time, and he fell to the ground, apparently dead. The barrier vanished, and his body was struck by one of the mystical bolts, disappearing.

The plan had worked, if the Sorceress was sentient enough to see it. But her body and mind were so enveloped into the mystical energies she couldn't feel a thing in the mortal realm. She was a goddess right now, if she so wanted. But she was still rational enough to know that such power shouldn't belong to anyone. She kept feeding energy to the dimension, but suddenly, something went very wrong.

Castle Grayskull was a multi-dimensional focus of mystical energies. All of those energies were kept in check by carefully placed wards and keys. The Sorceress' spell simply cracked all the wards and opened all the keys at a single time. So, the dimensions started to crack, and to feed more energy into the already stormy mix.

That, the Sorceress had no control over. It was like protecting oneself for some light rain and suddenly be struck by a hurricane.

The spell went haywire, and the energy feed began to ebb to other dimensions. Beings that had nothing to do with it suddenly began to receive mystical energies that empowered them to unthinkable levels. Beings of Good. Beings of Evil. Energy didn't discern among those.

The small amount of control that the Sorceress still held vanished in the blink of an eye. She was still a conduit, like a wire in an electrical circuit, and until the circuit was broken, she would stay there.

Suddenly, the dimension to which much of the energy was still being sent to overfilled with it, and like a barrel, it began to spill over. And, in a dimension overfilled with energies, two things could happen. Either it would collapse unto itself and end, or it would re-create itself, in a Big Bang.

To the Sorceress' dismay, the latter happened. The energy collapsed onto itself, and it exploded in less than a second.

That was the end.

"I still had the dimensional gate opened above me. In one last attempt, I tried to close it. I succeeded, but that was of no comfort. Grayskull still had much power, and the backlash of the Big Bang was the final piece in an already unstable scenario. My body was destroyed in the backlash, and the mystical circuit was broken. The mystic energies had nowhere to go without control, so they exploded violently. The Castle was reduced to less than dust, and the planet was scorched flat by the release. Not much survived."

Chapter 10
Partners of War

Every possible thought was passing through Xander's mind right now. Pain. Anger. Hatred. Fear.

He feared himself, because he wanted to Kill with Extreme Prejudice the small slip of a girl standing right in front of him. Dawn Summers, the reincarnation, possessed being, whatever… from the greatest murderer this Universe had ever known.

Worse of it, he used to love the girl like the small sister he had never had.

"I have to leave. Let's go, Ares." Xander stood up, going straight to the door. His voice was dead flat.

"Heir, wait… You have…" Dawn started to speak.

"DON'T …talk to me! I HAVE to leave. NOW!" He went out, the husky following obediently behind. The door banged, almost flying away from its hinges.

Dawn looked at Willow, who had a terrified and frozen face. She just couldn't believe in all of that.

"I thought that this could happen." She said, sitting in another chair, leaving the sofa to the wiccan.

Willow's mind came out of the loop it had formed, and she whispered.

"Then why did you tell us? You could have acted like before, and we wouldn't have asked."

"The lack of truth was what caused the problem first. I couldn't have any more of that. So, I had to tell, even if it caused what it did. But Xander left before I could speak the most important thing."

"What is it?" Willow asked, drying her tears in her blouse's arm.

"Why am I here. And why you both are."


"Later after the destruction …"

Xander needed to vent the rage. So, he went to the only place where he wouldn't be disturbed, the scrap yard.

"You know, Ares, I've never felt so betrayed. Not even by Buffy, when she hid DeadBoy from us. Thank God we solved that fuck up." He spoke to the dog, who was, apparently, listening intently.

Of course, when Xander remembered Angel, he most surely remembered Cordelia. Damn, he missed her, but he really couldn't find a fault in her wanting to live this Hellmouth of a town. And the job offer she had would most certainly work for her. He still remembered the 'now you're famous, you gonna forget your friends' speech he gave her when she departed. And the long kiss goodbye.

He unconsciously passed his hand in his lips, trying to recall the sensation. But he had some sort of revelation, that night, in his bed. "Thank you, Cordelia Chase. It was wonderful while it lasted." he spoke to the air.

They arrived in the scrap yard. Xander looked around, he wanted to break something. He could always transform, it would…

No, the power was to be treated with respect. So, he kept the sword stored.

"Sit, boy." He motioned for the dog, which sat a few feet from him.

Xander grabbed a four foot long steel tube he found lying on the ground. And he proceeded into beating the defenseless carcasses into oblivion. In each strike he saw a different face: his own, Dawn, his father, Angelus, the Master, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn. He actually stopped to think about it: was it too stupid to try and extract revenge from a cartoon face? Ahhh, to heck with it. And he kept on beating.

It took the best part of an hour. In the end, he almost couldn't lift his arms, and the tube was a little flattened from the impacts. And he was crying like a waterfall.

He sat on the ground, Ares finally approaching him.

"Is God mocking me, Ares? Did I do something so terrible in the other life that I have to pay in this one? Or I'm just number one in the bad karma list?" Xander spoke into the dog's ears.

The Siberian animal answered with a too human headshake.

Xander leaned back into a carcass, and in moments he was asleep. Ares stood guarding him.

A couple of hours later, Xander woke up, his back hurting from the position. It was night already, but by the sky color, it was probably soon after sunset. He was still angry, but he was mostly frustrated. He needed to do something. He gave Ares a good look, and he grinned.

"Hey, buddy, wanna test that theory?" He asked the dog, who had his head perched onto his thigh. The husky stood up, looked him in the eyes, and walked a few meters away, standing stock still.


The animal shook his ears, as if responding. Xander grabbed his sword, raising it sky high.


He had seen the cartoon so many times he believed he could draw the entire sequence without looking. But, as amazing as it was, it was pale compared to the real deal. While the clouds formed above his head, Xander felt as if a truckload of ants began walking over his skin, or as if he was suffering a static electricity storm.

Then the felling suddenly rushed up, traveling up his sword and the mystical thunderbolt hit.

The feeling was as if someone suddenly traded his blood by hot lava and liquid oxygen, too hot and too cold at the same time, but without being painful. And every nerve over and under his skin went into overdrive at the same time. He could feel the smallest amount of wind passing over his skin. The mystic power then started acting upon him, and he felt everything grow, his bones, his muscles, his skin, his hair. His senses became more acute, and his mind was suddenly overwhelmed with knowledge. It was the greatest drugs' high, without the drugs. When the 'high' was at its apex, Xander, or better, He-Man, held the sword parallel to the ground with both hands, as some sort of grounding experience.


It was really funny, he had the power. But the power didn't have him. Curious.

Well, Ares hadn't run yet. So it was time for He-Man's small test. He pointed the Sword of Power to the dog.

For a microsecond, nothing happened. Then, a mystic bolt flew from the sword's tip, hitting the husky. He-Man's eyes were transfixed, this was too good to miss.

Ares was enveloped in the bolt, and he began to grow. And while he was growing, several things happened at the same time. His fur darkened and it became pitch black. His eyes lost the beautiful blue color, becoming a glowing yellow. His snout grew and thinned, gaining a more savage look, while his ears became longer and more pointed. His entire musculature grew with him, and he went from normal size to bigger than horse size. His claws seemed to be able to tear a man in half with a single strike. When he finished growing, suddenly a silvery armor appeared from nowhere, protecting his head, torso, front and back paws. And the part in his back had a saddle in it. When the transformation ended, in the place of a common dog stood a giant, armored black wolf. It looked to the sky and howled. It was a terrifying sound, heard into all town.

"Holy Mother of God." He-Man murmured. He sensed something in his head. It was not a thought, more like a feeling… a feeling of… happiness. "Ares, that you?"

More of the feeling. If He-Man could describe it, he could swear that the wolf was laughing.

The beast approached, and in an almost casual act, he licked He-Man's hand. "So, It's you." He patted the wolf's armored head "You know, I have to give you a name. Ares is a dead give-away into secrecy."

He-Man thought it over for a second. "I thought about Battle Dog, even Battle Pooch…" The wolf growled, the Heir grinned "… but I remembered that Ares is the God of War in Greek Mythology. What about… WarWolf?"

More of the happiness feeling. This sort of empathy communication would be useful.

"So, WarWolf it is. About that promise, want to go hunting?"

WarWolf howled again. The vamps wouldn't stand a chance.

He-Man jumped in the armored saddle. "Let's go, WarWolf!"

The wolf ran a few meters, and jumped into the air. His mystically powered muscles carried him outside the scrap yard in a single bound.

In the great scheme of things, while WarWolf and He-Man were going to their destinations, nobody noticed the arrival of a very important person into Sunnydale Bus Stop. She walked out of the bus, carrying only a duffle bag, and went looking for a place to sleep.

Chapter 11
Strike One

"Willow, RUN!" Buffy screamed, while she staked another living impaired person. This was not a good day for the Slayer. Talk about things being calm. Twenty five vampires surrounded them in an instant, before they could do a thing. The Slayer managed to open a hole in the circle for her friend to run for help.

Luckily for her, He-Man and WarWolf, had followed the smell from Ares' ex-house to their current position. They were standing at higher ground, meaning a rooftop right to the side of the cemetery, so they did have a good overview of the situation. Twenty to one odds were not good, even for a Slayer. Ok, nineteen now. He-Man noticed that Willow took the cue to leave and transform, away from prying eyes.

"Let's add some fear to the mix. WarWolf, please announce us."

The mystical wolf howled into the night. The sound was so loud and so scary that everyone on the ground stopped …er…dead on. Even the living.

Buffy took the opportunity to stake another two, before looking at what had done that sound. What she saw froze her to the core. A giant black and silver blur jumped from high above, and landed on the street outside the cemetery. Slayer senses freeze-framed the situation, and the blur took the form of a giant wolf, being ridden by a giant man. The wolf took impulse again and jumped from the street, almost sixty feet away, right into the middle of the vampires. It only took a second and two more vamps dusted under the pressure and strength of those massive paws. The giant man drew a sword from his back and with a swift and almost casual motion, severed two more heads, dusting them. No one had yet moved a muscle, aside from the new participants.

Then time began running again.

The giant unsaddled, his feet hitting two other vamps and making them fly some sixty or seventy feet in the opposite direction, making quite a rough trip of it. Buffy saw at least six tombstones being destroyed by the impacts. The remaining vampires tried to attack the man and his animal, the Slayer almost casually being left behind.

WarWolf turned his head laterally and took a single bite, removing the head of a vampire as if it was a snack. He tried to 'spit' the remaining dust from his mouth, without much success. So, this wasn't a good plan.

No problem for a wolf with four inches claws. He jumped up, standing in his back legs, and with two quick swipes, removed another two players from the undead game.

He-Man impaled another vamp, and what was his surprise when the vamp dusted immediately. So, the Sword of Power was a holy weapon. Interesting. He grabbed another one's head in his big hand, and with a single motion, tore it off. Another swipe of the sword, and two more were severed in half horizontally.

The remaining ones tried to attack en masse, only to be received by a giant fireball that burned and dusted them quite nicely.

"So nice of you to show up." He-Man shouted to his sister, who was approaching at a leisure step, pointed quarterstaff in hand. He placed the sword back in its secure place on the back of the armor.

"You could have kept a few more to me. Didn't even warm me up." She transformed the staff back into the sword, guarding it in her back.

"Well, you surely warmed them" the Heir deadpanned, pointing at the dust piles behind him.

"Oh, spare me the bad jokes" She-Ra pleaded him, but grinned.

"WAITAMINUTETHERE!" the petite Slayer yelled. She was almost forgotten in the aftermath. "WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?"

The trio looked at her, and she almost wished that she hadn't spoke in that tone. Damn, it's not wise to piss a wolf that can bite a man's head off. Literally.

"Oh, sorry, Slayer. Allow me the introductions. My name is He-Man, that is my sister She-Ra and the big puppy…" WarWolf growled, He-Man grinned "… and the big puppy behind me is WarWolf."

Buffy was struck speechless for a moment, but the higher brain functions began working in a moment. "Nice to meet you, He-… HEY, WAIT A MINUTE, YOU ARE A CARTOON!" She screamed, again. The warrior groaned.

"Damn, I should have picked another name. But noooo, had to be faithful…" He muttered, under breath. But out loud, he spoke "Yes and no. Yes, I'm related to the cartoon, in fact, my last incarnation was the one who gave origin to the cartoons, but no, I'm not that cartoon, or A cartoon."

Buffy remained silent for another minute. That was waaay too spooky.

"All right." She finally spoke, voice dripping with sarcasm. "So, you are He-Man, she's She-Ra and you're not a cartoon."

"Correct." The warrior spoke, seriously.

"Another question: What are you doing here?" still sarcastic.

"Well, matter of fact, we were searching for you. We came to help you in your fight." She-Ra finally spoke.

"Thanks, but I already have help… WILLOW!" She finally remembered she told her friend to leave "Gotta find Willow!"

She-Ra grabbed Buffy by the shoulder with one hand, before she could run. Buffy tried to release herself, but not even with all her strength she managed to do it. The woman had a grip like steel.

"Relax, I found your friend while I was coming in here. She explained what happened to me, and she said she was going to find a man by the name… Graves." She-Ra acted quickly, having already thought on the explanation. "She talks quite quickly."

"Giles." Buffy corrected her. The last part of She-Ra's speech calmed her a little. Yeah, it had been Willow.

"Yes, that's it. Giles." She-Ra stood corrected.

"I believe that he is your Watcher. So, you want to go to him so we can explain all of this only once?" He-Man asked.

"How do you know of Watchers?" Buffy asked, still not comfortable with the man.

"I know a lot of things, Slayer Elizabeth Anne Summers. Including the Council of Watchers." He-Man intoned, seriously.

Buffy was not sure on going to Giles with the three in tow, but she didn't have much choice. If the man proclaiming to be He-Man knew her full name, he probably already knew about Giles, and where to find him.

"Ok, let's go. But the name is Buffy." She turned around, beginning to walk to the cemetery's gate.

"Buffy… don't you want a ride? It will be quicker." He-Man asked, already perched in WarWolf's saddle, hand stretched.

Buffy thought about it for a second. Ok, the guy helped her, he appeared to be kind enough, and her gut told her that she could trust him. That last part was what was giving her the wiggins. How did she know that? How could she already trust a man she met for less than five minutes? And a guy who claimed to be He-Man, for Christ's sake?

"Ok." She went with her gut instinct, but her hand froze before catching He-Man's. Jumping into a giant wolf was a serious problem. Damn, the beast was huge, and those canines…

"Come on. WarWolf is nothing but a big puppy." He-Man grinned, while the wolf growled, again. "Oh, come on, you are and you know it." He intoned, while patting the wolf's head.

"A big puppy with teeth the size of swords…" Buffy murmured, but finally accepted the hand. He-Man hauled her up in his front, and the Slayer grabbed the saddle horn immediately.

"Sorry about the position. In the back the sword could poke you." He-Man spoke calmly into her ear. The action made Buffy shiver from head to toe. Damn, the man had a sexy voice. "Ready? She-Ra, you coming?" he asked, turning to his 'sister'.

"No, gonna extend the patrol a little bit, see if I can find more fun." She-Ra spoke, cracking her knuckles and grinning.

"Suit yourself. I'll meet you later. Where to?" He-Man asked the Slayer. He already knew, but it would give Buffy a vote of confidence. She would have to trust him to divulge such information.

"School's library." She answered without a beat. Unseen to her, He-Man was grinning. Strike one.

"Ok. Let's go, WarWolf." The wolf jumped again, landing outside the cemetery, and in a second bound, he cleared a rooftop. Buffy was screaming the whole time.

She-Ra laughed, and with a quick incantation, disappeared in a stream of light.

Nobody noticed that three unknown and uninvited guests had watched the fight. One was too small, and her position or shape wouldn't alert anyone, even if they saw her. The hawk took flight, flying in the direction of the school's library.

Another one was quite surprised, she had gone out in search of the person she saw fighting early on. When she saw the number of vamps, she decided to introduce herself, but before she could move a muscle, the man… He-Man…had dropped in, literally. Damn, the man was good. And those muscles… And his sister was even better.

Faith, the second Slayer, was still curious about the other Slayer and He-Man, so she got out of her hiding, and in a light sprint, she ran in the direction of Sunnydale High.

The third one was a lucky bastard vampire who stayed behind during the attack. He saw the whole fight, and, if it were possible, he would have wetted his pants. He needed to tell her. He needed to tell her right now.

He was the only one who ran in an entirely different direction.

Chapter 12
Sneaking In

The first one to arrive at the library was She-Ra, thanks to her teleportation spell. Giles was behind the counter, and his hand flew up holding a crossbow. Before he pressed the trigger, recognition set in.

"Giles, quick! He-Man is arriving with Buffy in tow. I, I mean, Willow, arrived here telling that Buffy is in trouble. Pretend that you are collecting some weapons and follow my lead, ok?" She-Ra grabbed her sword, lifting it to the sky. "MAY THE POWER…RETURN."

Five seconds after the lightshow ended, WarWolf was arriving on school grounds. He-Man helped the Slayer down, following her afterwards.

"All right, pal, keep guard around here, ok? No playing with vampires." He-Man grinned, patting the wolf's head. The wolf snorted to the comment. The moment they turned their backs to him, he jumped up to the school's roof, and sat down in a flat surface, eyes, ears and nose focused on the area.

He-Man was following behind Buffy, attention focused on her. His mind reverted a little to Xander-mode, and he couldn't let the feeling pass: Man, what a ride. He killed vamps as if they were nothing but insects, had a giant wolf as partner and he gave a lift to Buffy. Can life get any better?

Buffy opened the door to the library screaming her typical "GILES!"

The Watcher let everything he was collecting fall to the ground. Stakes, a crossbow and two swords fell around him, and he looked at her with a worried face.

"Buffy? Willow told me you were having trouble. I was…"

"Solved. Hi, Willow." Buffy said, noticing that her friend was ok, if not for the worried face.

"Buffy? What happened? I found a woman who said she would… Who is he?" Willow pointed to the 'unknown' guest behind Buffy.

"He? He's He-Man. Guy who saved me." Buffy was so shaken up because of WarWolf's ride she didn't noticed that Willow hadn't entered babble-mode.

"He-Man? But He-Man was a…" Willow commented, approaching them.

"A cartoon? Yes, he was. But I'm not." He-Man spoke.

"Hi, I'm Willow." She said, extending her hand, which was engulfed by his.

"A pleasure. You must be Rupert Giles, Buffy's Watcher." He-Man said, extending his hand towards the Englishman, who took it.

"Y-yes. But h-how did you save Buffy? And what's this regarding a-a cartoon, is it?" He-Man had to remember to congratulate Giles later on. Damn, the man could act.

"I believe it's time for some explanations…"

While He-Man was weaving his tale, one of the other guests was arriving at school grounds. Faith was walking silently to the main door, stake in hand and all senses focused on the surroundings.

WarWolf, on the roof, had located her a few minutes earlier. She could be silent, but to a mystical wolf with enhanced senses, she was as noisy as an old truck with a faulty suspension. He let her walk to the front door, having an idea. He 'sent' He-Man some input regarding the intruder, the feeling that something was wrong, while he prepared to jump. The moment the door closed behind Faith's back, he jumped to the ground. There wasn't a whisper of sound to be detected.

He walked to the main door, looking through the glass. The moment Faith turned the first corner, he pressed his massive head against the door, opening it. He had to suppress a 'laugh', he was stalking the human's supreme stalker.

He heard her stopping regarding the door's sound, so he stood absolutely still. She began walking again after a few moments, so he passed the door's threshold. He noticed she took some time locating the way to the library, so he kept waiting on her next move. Finally she found the door, and WarWolf noticed she didn't enter. So, she was a shy girl, huh? Let's change that.

WarWolf turned the last corner, finally looking at her. She was so focused on the conversation running inside the library that she didn't notice the blip entering her Slay-dar. The wolf wasn't by any means a mean animal. Sure, he was as intelligent as a human, thanks to the transformation, but he wasn't mean. Only to enemies, which he regarded, the girl wasn't. So, he could have a little fun.

He let his claws 'click' on the ground.

Faith stiffened in a second, turning around. The moment she saw the giant wolf up close and personal, her eyes grew big as saucers. She lifted her stake, pointing it at him, but her mind provided a few amounts of input: big, armored, fast, silent, probably much more stronger than she, this small thing would probably tickle him. So, she decided for a more 'sentimental' approach.

"Nice, niiice wolfie. Good wolfie. Aunt Faithie doesn't wanna hurt nice wolfie. So, let aunt Faithie go, ok, wolfie?" she said in her best sweet voice, almost whispering, keeping the stake low.

WarWolf walked forward, and he had to admit, the girl was brave. She was holding her ground, without shaking.

"Oh, c'mon, wolf. Just wanna hear the talk, 'k?" she continued to whisper, not wanting to announce her presence to the people inside the library.

WarWolf walked until he stood a few centimeters from her. Faith could feel his hot breath hitting her, but she stood without moving, heart beating like a locomotive. When she noticed that the wolf wouldn't do a thing, she relaxed slightly.

"That's it, nice wolfie. Auntie will find you a bull to chew, 'k?" Then WarWolf nudged her forward with his snout.

Being nudged by a mystically powered wolf was similar to being hit in the gut by Mike Tyson. Faith flew backwards, landing on her butt inside the library, skidding at least a couple of feet on the ground. WarWolf followed behind, and a chorus of 'heys' and 'whats' was heard. WarWolf stood above the fallen Slayer, and, as an apology, began licking her.

"Hey, stop that! STOP!" she yelled.

"WarWolf, stop." He-Man asked. The wolf stopped and walked to his side, receiving a pat on his head. "So, you are our intruder. Care for some introductions?"

Faith stood up, trying to remove some of the drool from her coat and hair. "Name's…arrghh… Faith." She said, shaking her hand to clear the goo.

"So, Ms. Faith, why were you spying on us?" Giles asked, still surprised with both 'guests', the girl and the wolf.

"Wasn't spying. Was checking you out. See, I'm the Slayer and…"


Chapter 13
Explanations Part II

Buffy's screech made everyone flinch, including Giles.

"What put your undies in a wad, Blondie?" Faith asked. Even covered in goo, He-Man/Xander noticed, she sure was a presence.

"You're a Slayer?" Buffy asked. That was too much for a single night. She thought briefly in asking Giles for a trip to Anywhere But Here.

"Nope, just get the jollies sneaking on old men and airhead teenagers." Faith snickered. And an attitude, He-Man completed the thought. "Didn't your hear the first time? Yeah, I'm the Slayer."

"You must be the one who got Called after Kendra was killed. My name is Rupert Giles, I'm Buffy's Watcher." He said, pointing to the fuming Slayer. Willow approached her friend, trying to control her. Buffy was known for her shot fuse.

Faith snickered again. "Yeah, yeah. Seeing is believing. Nice action back in the cemetery, by the way." She said, but she was looking at He-Man, who blushed a little.

"You were there? Why didn't you help?" Buffy asked, pissed.

"Was gonna, then Mister Universe dropped on, just kept looking."

"Er-well, what brings you here, Ms. Faith?" Giles tried to defuse the already heated situation. "I thought that you were in Boston, under Linda Price?"

The attitude dropped for a moment, and her face darkened considerably. "Linda's dead. She told me before she… to come look for you, Jeeves."

Buffy's mood disappeared quite quickly. She wondered what would she do if Giles…

"Oh." Giles removed his glasses and started cleaning them. At this rhythm he would have to buy a new one in a matter of days. "I'm sorry. Linda was… a good friend. What happened?"

"Between you and me, later, Jeeves." She said, still darkly. Then the attitude set in again. "So, Mister Universe, you really He-Man?"

"Yes. Sorry for WarWolf's attitude. He likes to play."

"I like to play also. Expect some payback, Furball." She said, grinning. He-Man noticed that WarWolf actually flinched. "So, you're like, a cartoon, right?"

"I had to. I really had to…" He murmured, again "No, I'm not a cartoon. The joke's getting old. My ancestor was the one who gave the idea to the cartoon. I'm just following tradition."

"And the hot-boded girl is your sister, right?" Faith asked. Willow perked up with the question. 'Did she find me hot?'

"Er.. She-Ra? Yes, she's my sister."

"Damn, I thought that vampires were weird. Look, Jeeves, if Scooby-Doo and his gang walk thru that door, I'm outta here." Faith said, pointing to the library's door.

That elicited a giggle from Willow. Faith looked her in the eyes, asking "What?"

"It's just… It's just that Xander named us, that is, me, him and a couple of others the Scooby Gang. So, we're already here. Just Scooby is missing." Willow said, still giggling.

"Shouldn't that be Blondie there?" She asked, pointing at Buffy.

"What's your PROBLEM?" Buffy yelled. She was ready to go postal on her.

Faith grinned. "Relax, B, just wanting to get on ya. Who's Xander?"

"He's not here. He's… matter of fact, I don't know where he is." Willow spoke, giving He-Man a sideway look.

"Well, gotta go. Gonna take a look around town an' crash. See ya tomorrow, Jeeves."

With that, she turned tail and got out. When she disappeared, Buffy promptly spoke "Damn, she gets on my NERVES! Giles, can we trust her?"

"I-I surely don't know, Buffy. Last time I spoke to Linda she said that her Slayer was, I believe her exact words were 'nerve-wracking', but she was a nice girl. Faith seems to fit into the description."

"She seemed nice." Willow spoke. Buffy gave her a deathly glare. "What? Aside from getting on your nerves, she's kinda funny." The glare intensified. Willow finally flinched. "Sorry."

"You both may be correct." He-Man said. "We don't know anything about her, she bears some watching, pardon the pun, Mr. Giles. But she may be a good addition to the team."

"No problem, and it's just Giles, He-Man." The Watcher spoke, finally putting the glasses back on.

"And about you, Mister-I'm-Not-A-Cartoon?" Buffy asked.

"I can't ask you to trust me up front, even if I saved your life. So, let's start this easily. I'll help when I can, and we go from there, ok?" He asked, extending his hand.

Buffy thought it over for a few moments, and asked "And what about your sister?"

"I believe that I can speak for her on this subject." Willow, behind Buffy, nodded silently.

Buffy grabbed his hand, shaking it. "Ok. But let me give you a warning. If you are not what you seem to be, or if you threaten me or mine, I'm gonna get ya. No superpowers, no supersister, no Monster Wolf are gonna save your ass. Got me?"

It was hilarious. Buffy was nearly three feet shorter than him, and he out weighted her in at least two hundred pounds and he could crush her like an egg. And SHE was threatening HIM. And worse thing is, he believed her.

"Ok, got you. But don't worry. This, at least, I have in common with my ancestor."


"I'm a friend of my friends. Let's go, 'Wolf" He said, walking to the door and going out.

When they got outside, He-Man mounted the wolf.

"Can you follow Faith?" He asked, and the wolf snorted. He-Man got the feeling he was saying 'Are you kidding me?' "Then let's go. I want to know where she is staying. After that, let's continue our initial mission, pal."

WarWolf jumped again, gaining the street and following the scent of the new Slayer.

Inside the library, Giles, Buffy and Willow still kept talking about the events of the night until much later. No one noticed the hawk perched in one of the windows, just listening in.

Chapter 14
Building Bridges and Blowing Houses

Faith's trail was an easy one to follow, but it went to one of the worst neighborhoods in Sunnydale. WarWolf stopped and sniffed the air once again. He was getting close.

"Stop, buddy. I know where she went," He-Man spoke, looking ahead of them. The damaged sign of a motel was blinking a couple of blocks away. "There, that roof over there." He pointed to a place almost in front of the motel.

The mystic wolf ran a couple of meters, jumped high in the air, landing smoothly on the rooftop. He-Man gave the motel a good look. Now, how to find her? He couldn't just appear at the front desk, looking like this. That's when he noticed a lighter flickering in the dark at one corner of the motel, briefly illuminating the face of the Slayer.

He-Man jumped to the ground, two floors down, landing as smoothly as if stepping down from a staircase. He calmly walked to where she stood smoking a cigarette.

"Those things will kill you," He-Man said, approaching.

"So will vamps, but these will be slower. What do you want?" she asked, but threw the cigarette away.

"Mostly to know where you were staying."

"What for? Trying to score one for the good times?" she said, with her typical attitude.

He-Man didn't take the bait, though. "No, to know where to find you if we needed your help. And to be sure you were all right."

"Oh, so you're Mister Big Boy Scout, now, huh? Do ya help old ladies to cross the street and shit like that? Guess what, I ain't no old, and sure ain't no lady. So, buzz off," she said, turning her back to him and walking in the direction of the rooms.

"Remember, I said mostly. I also want your help," He-Man said, in his most serious voice.

That stopped Faith immediately. "My help? For what? From what I've seen, I think you can deal with everything that comes to get ya."

"Not true," He-Man crossed his arms over his massive chest, "I may be strong and agile, but I'm not invulnerable or invincible. Think of me as another Slayer. Your package makes you stronger and faster than almost any vampire. But if these made you invincible, every Slayer would live to have grandchildren."

That shut Faith up. "What do you want from me?"

"Like I said, your help. You see, me and WarWolf, we have somewhat of a… personal score to settle, that involves vampires. I don't know how many and I don't know where, but I intend to find out tonight, and deal with it. So, I want someone to watch my back."

"And your sister?"

"She's…occupied elsewhere."

Faith stood thinking for a minute. "All right. But wait up, gotta pick up some stuff." Then she disappeared behind one of the doors.

While He-Man waited, he gave a good look around the place. Damn, the motel was the fleapit of the fleapits. No decent human being should stay in a place like this. Some vampires shouldn't stay in a place like this. Mental note; talk to Willow and Buffy later, and try to solve this problem.

"All right, we're five by five. Now what?" she asked, reappearing from her room, clad in a leather jacket, black jeans, tennis shoes and a tight dark blue top. Why do all Slayers have to be hotties? his Xander-mind asked. He could see two stakes hidden in the front pockets of her jeans.

He-Man looked at WarWolf, who was still waiting on the roof on the other side of the street. The animal jumped, landing in front of them.

"Hey, Furball!" Faith said, approaching the wolf. She fearlessly scratched the underside of his head, near the junction of the neck. The mystic wolf betrayed all his deadly appearance by shaking his tail happily as any domestic dog. He-Man grinned with his antics. "You still owe me, you bag of drool. Don't worry, I'm gonna collect sometime. So, who gets to drive ya?"

He-Man jumped in the saddle, pointing his front. "You go front. Back, the sword will poke you."

"Ha! I get to drive, and you get to cop a feel. So, you're not such a BS, BBS." Faith grinned, jumping in the saddle in front of him. He-Man blushed slightly, but didn't comment on the innuendo. However…

"BS? BBS?"

"Big Boy Scout. Don't worry, BBS, you'll grow to like it. Let's go, Furball!" Faith screamed happily, and kicked WarWolf's sides.

The wolf stopped the forward motion, twisting his head, trying to look at her. He-Man understood the action, and he spoke to her. "Don't do that. He's not a horse. He's almost as intelligent as a human. Ask him and he'll do it."

Faith's mood sobered a bit. "Sorry, Fur…WarWolf. Didn't know. We cool?" she asked, patting his sides lightly with her hand. The wolf stood still for a second and he snorted. He-Man sensed the mood of the animal lift a bit from their empathic connection. "He's cool. Ask him."

"Can we go, Furball?" she asked, impishly.

His answer was to jump forward almost a hundred feet. Faith kept screaming happily, as if on a roller coaster.

The other trail, from the bastard vampire that had killed Ares' family, continued from the cemetery to an abandoned warehouse. The trio stood watching the place from the roof of a neighboring building.

"Slayer senses are picking up a lot of them. 'Round thirty. That's odd." Faith spoke, looking at the rectangular building.

He-Man knew why, but time to put the Slayer's mind to the test. "Why?"

"Thirty vamps in one place? First, too many of the bastards together calls lotsa' attention. In a city with a Slayer, that's stupid. Second, at this time of the night, they should be hunting, not stuck in a building like that."

"Meaning?" He-Man was happy, so far.

"Meaning someone must be pulling the shots, and he or she wants all of them together for something."

"Very good," He-Man said, clapping his large hands lightly.

"You already knew that, you bastard! Why did you do that?" she asked, pissed.

"To see if you had anything else beyond the attitude and the Slayer abilities. I'm really impressed, Faith."

The dark Slayer did something He-Man wasn't expecting. She blushed under the comment. "Thanks," she murmured.

"Let's see if you can think strategically. What's the plan?" He-Man asked.

"I'm a boot-in-the-front-door kind of girl. But that's stupid with so many vampires." She looked at the building, gears working. "Let's see… Furball, can you jump trough that window over there?" She pointed to a small window almost in front of them, but a few feet lower. The wolf nodded his head, confirming it. "Good. BBS, I think you can find an entrance on the other side of the warehouse, right?"

"Or I can produce one, easily. Good plan. And you?" the hero asked.

"What did I tell you? I'm a boot-in…"

"…the-front-door kind of girl. Yes, I got you. So, we go in when WarWolf jumps over the window. I'll send the signal, ok, buddy?" He-Man said to his partner.

Faith looked at the ground, a couple floors down, and looked to the mystic warrior.

"Want a ride?" He-Man asked, approaching the ledge.

"Who, me? Nah, I'm five by five." She took a deep breath and jumped down, landing smoothly in the pavement below. "Just don't like heights much," she murmured to herself, and walked to the front door.

He-Man didn't simply jumped down, he jumped forward also, landing easily on the other side of the warehouse. No door, just a solid wall, but that wouldn't be a problem. Hmm… where to produce an entrance? There was a pillar in the middle of the wall, so that would be a good idea. He prepped his arm and he signaled the wolf over their connection. The moment he sensed the wolf jumping, he punched the pillar with more than enough strength.

The pillar exploded inward, flying more than twenty feet inside the large room, taking a large part of the wall with it and shaking the entire warehouse. It seemed as if a bomb had exploded. Two vampires were crushed by the pillar, dusting instantly.

Confusion was already set, with the giant wolf entering from the top window. Then, the last player joined the game, door blowing inward. Faith entered the room, staking the closest vampire without even stopping.

"Hello, ladies and gents. We are from Slayers Bug Removal. You called, we came." She said with a snicker.

He-Man cut two of them down, while looking at WarWolf. The beast was eyeing one male vampire that was standing in the middle of the group, and with his large body and mystical strength, he was opening a straight line to him. So, that was the one.

Faith bodily threw a vampire into three others, unbalancing them. She jumped forward, a stake in each hand, landing right in the middle of the fallen undead. She staked two at the same time, and when she tried to do the same to the remaining two, she was pulled back by another one, hitting a pillar hard. The vampire tried to attack her, throwing a punch at her face. She ducked, and the hand hit the solid surface. The vamp, while strong, was not He-Man, so he broke every single bone in his hand. Before his mind registered the pain, his eyes registered a stake flying to his chest. He dusted a moment later.

WarWolf finally met his desired target. He wanted to enjoy it, but he had to help his friends first. The vampire, a tall brunette with a t-shirt that fittingly said, "Eat Me" tried to attack the wolf, jumping at his head. A more perfect position was impossible. WarWolf opened his mouth, and with a single bite, tore the vamp's right leg off at the thigh. The vampire screamed like a girl, and the wolf shook his head, throwing him several feet away. He hit a wall and blacked out.

This done, he started to attack the rest of the waning group.

He-Man wasn't like the cartoons. He was using his sword in killing strokes, every cut dusting two, sometimes three vampires. His free hand grabbed bodies left and right, and with his unsurpassed strength, he shoved them into walls, or in the ground, whichever was closer at the moment. There were several dust prints in the walls around him.

Faith climbed a group of large wooden boxes that were left behind, and some vamps followed her, thinking she was the easiest of the trio. Their last mistake. The first one who attempted to climb the box she was standing on, received the sole of a boot right in his mouth. He flew backwards, landing in the warehouse's ground below. A woman tried to attack her from behind, in an attempted grab. Before she could close her arms in the deadly lock, a stake was shoved in her chest.

A large black vampire, probably a football player when alive, tackled the Slayer. Instead of offering resistance, she let her body go, rolling with the impact. She grabbed the vamp's shirt while rolling, and they both landed on the ground, Faith on the upside, straddling him.

"Maybe on the first date. Never with an undead," she said, dusting him. Then she noticed movement with the corner of her eyes, and she dove to the ground. A flying vampire exploded against the boxes behind her. "Hey! Look where you throw the garbage!" she screamed to He-Man.

"Sorry!" he shouted, already killing another one. Faith looked around. There were around seven vampires still standing. Oops, six now, thanks to the wolf. She picked another one. Five. Three.

Then, only one remained. The legless one.

He-Man looked around, trying to find any hidden ones. "Anyone left?", he asked Faith.

"All clear, except for that one. What you gonna do to him?"

"Remember personal? That's him."

WarWolf approached the waking vampire. The moment consciousness returned to the embodied demon, he screamed anew. "Damn fucking wolf, that…" and he saw the wolf standing a foot from him.

"Hi," He-Man said, approaching. "We are the good guys. But, as a reminder to you, we are not always the nice guys. Wolf, feel free."

The screams pierced the night for a few minutes before silence reigned again.

Chapter 15
Unanswered Questions

Buffy looked up from the book she was browsing at the moment, looking at her two research companions. They'd been like that since He-Man had left the library, almost an hour ago.

They were trying to find something on He-Man and She-Ra that wasn't cartoon-related. Willow was perched over her computer, hands flying over the keys. Giles was behind a large tome, looking intently at its pages.

"So, guys, any luck?" she asked.

"Well, Buffy, all that I'm finding is related to the cartoon. Already read the interesting facts, but nothing conclusive. It was a cartoon, intended to be a cartoon. Not real life," the wicca spoke, Research-Face on, but she hated lying to her best friend. She had all the answers, even more than Xander, but she couldn't tell her. At least not now, not before speaking to Xander.

"And I haven't had any luck either, Buffy. It seems as if the Council never heard of such… He-Man," Giles said, lifting his head from the tome. And that was true.

The Slayer left the book over the table and began pacing the room.

"Ok, questions. Did any of you seen anything strange happening over the last week?" she asked.

"Other than…" Willow started.

"I mean, real strange, Will. Like Hellmouthy-strange. Dimensional gateways? Strange lights? Bizarre one-eyed three-armed demons? Wait, I saw one of those, and I slayed him. Let's skip that, ok? So?"

Willow was a lousy liar, but she could act a little bit. "I saw some lightning the other day. It seemed to hit over here, but when I arrived, Xander and Giles were here, and they didn't see a thing."

Buffy promptly looked at Giles. Giles promptly looked at Willow. Willow blinked.

"Y-yes, that's true, Buffy. Willow arrived screaming, saying she had seen a lightning bolt hitting our ceiling, but we were here the whole time. Neither Xander nor I saw or heard anything. Xander even thought that Willow was kidding. And, as you can see, no damage above our heads, and no opened Hellmouth."

Buffy looked at the ceiling. True, it was clean. Ok, not so clean, but clear of damage.

"Well, it's something to think about. Next question, Prince Adam," Buffy said.

"I-I beg your pardon?" Giles asked. He was happy he didn't have to act so much, it was still too confusing, even to him.

"I believe that what Buffy wants to know is who He-Man secretly is. In the cartoon, Prince Adam was He-Man's secret identity. Like Clark Kent is Superman. And Peter Parker is Spider-Man. And…"

"I get the idea, Willow" the Watcher said. "And what makes you think that this 'He-Man' has a secret identity, Buffy?"

"Giles, o-Watcher-of-mine, it is kinda difficult to hide a seven foot man with a pet the size of a small house, even in this town. So, he has to have a pair of glasses in some pocket."

Giles casually removed his own, and started cleaning them. "Glasses? What does it have to do with…"

"Clark Kent, Giles," Willow spoke. "I agree with Buffy. So, this guy must be new in town."

"Why is that?" Buffy asked.

"Why he didn't appear sooner? Where was he all this time? I think that if he really were around, he would have shown up earlier."

"Yeah, I think so too." Sometimes, Buffy was too easy. "Any new faces around, Will?"

"A few. No one that I could point my finger and say, that's him."


"No. No one."

"Ok. Next. His motives. Can we believe him?"

"I guess you can answer that question better than us, Buffy. After all, he did save your life tonight" Giles said, replacing his glasses.

"I-I don't know. Something in my guts tells me to trust him. But how can I? I've met the guy for what, ten minutes? And if it is all a plot to let him in, and then, BANG!" she said, banging her hands together for effect.

"I don't believe everything is a plot from Darkness to kill you, or us, Buffy. From what I've heard from your own mouth, he had more than chance enough and more than ability enough to do that tonight without trouble. So, my first judgment is to trust him, partially, as he proposed himself."

"And his sister?" Willow asked. She was curious, after all.

"She-Ra? I don't know, I've seen her even less, perhaps a minute or two. But she is a powerful witch, Will. And beautiful."

Willow smiled brightly. Buffy noticed it. "What's the smile, Willow?"

Willow reddened considerably. "We-well, I-I thought th-that another witch in town, I don't know, maybe I could ask a few questions, learn a few spells, you know. And maybe go out and shopping, and have a few…"

"Hey, Will, slow down, slow down, 'k. She seemed nice. You talked to her. Ok, it was a life-or-death talk, so it doesn't count much, but you talked to her. Perhaps next time, 'k?"

Willow breathed, face clearing. "Ok."

"So, as inconclusive as we've got, let's go to our next bizarre player from tonight, Miss-I-Have-An-Attitude-Larger-Than-My-Breasts." Buffy asked, mood darkening considerably.

"Faith? She seemed nice," Willow said, rising from the bench. Buffy shot a death-glare at her again. "Oh, Buffy, come on, she was just pushing your buttons, and you played right in her hand."

"What right did she have? She is new in town, nobody knows anything about her except her now dead Watcher, and she comes here and starts insulting ME? As far as we know, she could even not be a Slayer," she said, hands in the air, gesticulating like a maniac.

"She is," came a new voice from the library's door. He-Man entered, the mystic wolf trailing behind him. "I just came back from a small mission, and we had Faith's help in it. She is a Slayer. And she's good, too."

"Well, welcome back, Mr. Man. And what small mission was that?" Giles asked.

"Mr. Giles, please, it's He-Man. And we just cleaned up a nest over Bleekerd and Stein. Around thirty undead."

"It's Giles. But thirty? So many in just one place? That's odd."

"My thoughts exactly. We think someone is planning something."

"We?" Buffy asked.

"Faith and I. She is quite intelligent. I believe that the attitude is just some sort of protection."

"Yeah, right," Buffy muttered.

"Anyway, we think someone is playing something big," he said.

"Any idea who it might be?" Giles asked.

"We searched the entire building afterwards, and we didn't find anything. There were too many trails for WarWolf to follow, so I believe we hit a dead end."

"We can always follow the paper trail from the building. I believe tomorrow we can reconvene to try and find some clues?"

"I'm afraid I won't be able to come. I have some personal business to take care of. But I think my sister might be available," He-Man said. Willow smiled lightly.

"Ok. And where is Ms. Faith?" Giles asked

"That is the reason that I came back, also. I wanted to talk to you three." He-Man sat on the stairs. It was the only thing strong enough to sustain his weight. "Do you know a motel over in Gracy's?"

"That thing? I thought it had been demolished. That thing is a brothel, a dope house and a demolition site all rolled together," Buffy said.

"That's it. Faith is staying there."

"What? Why?" Giles asked.

"I don't know. No money? No friends in town? All of the above?"

"She could stay in your house, Buffy," Willow spoke, and winced at the Slayer's reaction.

"WHAT? ARE YOU NUTS?" she screeched. WarWolf, who was calmly laid on the ground, winced also.

"Just hear me out, Buff. She is another Slayer. She can help you out at home and look out for Dawn. I believe Giles can extend your salary benefits to her, so the extra income wouldn't be a bad thing either. And mostly, you can grow up to be friends."

Buffy thought it over for some time. Since the Angel deal, the Council had folded over her solicitations - aka 'bitching and promising to walk away and let them hanging to dry'- and she now received a good income that paid the food, bills and the occasional shopping. If Giles could extend the 'courtesy' for Faith, it would be nice, and the cash would be pretty much welcome. Dawn also needed new friends, and as hostile as Buffy had been to her, she didn't seem like a bad girl. Just an annoying one, much like Cordelia in her bad days.

"OK, I'll think it over. But answer me one question, He-Man. Why she can't stay with you?"

He-Man didn't miss a beat. "My sister already lives with me, and with WarWolf, it's quite cramped enough as it is. I thought about it, but it wouldn't be nice to her. Willow's idea seems a nice one."

"So, you do have a place in this town. Where is it?" Hah, she would have her answers, whether he liked it or not.

"I'm sorry, Buffy, can't tell you that right now," He rose from the steps, calling WarWolf with a gesture. The wolf followed behind him.

"And who is 'Prince Adam'?" she asked.

He-Man stopped, and turned around. "I won't tell you right now. But I will tell you this; rest assured, it is someone very important, who only wants what is better for mankind," he said, and left for good.

Buffy sat down again, mind more full of questions than before.

Chapter 16
Bad Hellmouthing

"Lady! Lady!"

The woman didn't even bother to turn around. The vampire stopped running and bowed down respectfully at her back.

"Speak. Is the Slayer dead?" The woman asked, appreciating herself in a full-body mirror.

"No, Lady. We did as you ordered, but she. . ." he stopped talking, fear halting him

She turned around, looking the vampire straight in the eye.

"She escaped?" her voice was like soft velvet, sensual and alluring. But the vampire trembled with fear, he knew what she was capable of.

"Y-y-yes, Lady. She-she…she had help."

"By those pesky friends of her? Twenty-five vampires against what? Three humans and the Slayer?" the voice was still calm, but the eyes were burning.

"Y-yes…I mean, no, Lady. A-a giant man appeared. And a wolf. A giant wolf. They helped the Slayer. Then a woman showed up, a witch, and she killed the rest of them. They didn't stand a chance."

"What?" the voice lost any semblance of control. "A giant man, a wolf and a witch?"

The vampire whimpered under the voice and the glare. "Y-yes, Lady."

"Explain that to me. In detail."

The vampire entered a lengthy explanation, which took longer than the fight itself. He was stalling, in hopes that the Lady's mood would clear a bit, so that he could leave the room in his still undead life. He was going to go back to the beginning when she lifted her hand. He stopped promptly.

"Thank you. You may leave now," she said, shooing him.

He surely wasn't expecting that. The Lady wasn't known for her benevolence against failures and bad news. He turned his back to her and walked quickly to the door.

"Wait," he froze under the order, and turned around. "I forgot one thing."

He didn't even saw her move, only feeling the pain over his chest. He looked down, to the stake protruding from him. He dusted without making another sound.

"I hate bad news."

A man was arriving in another part of town, the same place that He-Man and Faith had cleared a couple of hours ago. He parked his sedan in the street, right in front of the warehouse. He climbed out, looking straight at the smashed front door.

Not good news.

He walked silently to the door, eyes and ears focused on his surroundings. He peeked in, the place was empty.

Really not good news.

Taking courage, the suit entered the warehouse. What he saw surprised him. The place looked as if it had been bombed. There was a hole in the wall to his left that could let a truck in. The piece of wall, with pillar still attached, was twenty feet inside the room, mostly in one piece. And piles of dust. A whole lot of them. Some even imprinted on the walls.

He pulled his cell phone, hitting a number on the speed dial.

"Sir, we have a problem."

Jim Burbanks hated the night shift. Actually, it gave him the creeps. Of course, the money was good and it helped pay the bills, but it was dead. No one seemed to go out at night in this town. The ones who came out were weirdos or gang members. And he didn't understand his boss's almost pathological response regarding crosses. He had at least three in every room in the Happy Burger. Even the front door had one attached to it. The place looked more like a church than a fast-food joint.

Jim once asked about it, and Greg's only response was "You don't want to know. And I hope you never find out."

Even here, in the drive-thru booth, there were at least two, every time. One in the wall at his back and one attached to the glass, pointing out.

Unluckily for Jim, an idiotic kid driving a bike had broken the glass yesterday. Greg had already changed the glass, but the cross had disappeared in the confusion. The manager promised Jim that tomorrow he would replace it with a brand new one, blessed by the priest from his church.

The chime indicating a new client awakened him from his daydreaming. He looked at the camera. A limo. Probably some rich folk coming back from a party. He hoped that the guy would order something easy. He stopped by Randy, and the order popped at his monitor.

Huh? Just a coke? And a Diet one? Doesn't that thing have mini-bars or something? Well, that was easy enough.

He prepped the drink and the straw, delivering it to the black guy dressed in a nice suit.

"Have a nice night, sir," He said.

"Right back at ya," he replied, smiling.

Well, at least he was nice. The limo stood still for a moment more, and he heard the black dude speaking something to someone else inside the limo.

Then the guy jumped off the car again, grabbing him, face distorted like a monster.

Jim would never worry about the night shift. Never again.

Chapter 17
More Strangers in the Night

Willow said her goodbyes to Buffy, entering her house a few moments later. She felt quite depressed right now, having lied to her best friend and knowing all of the Sorceress' past and the prophecy.

And she would have to tell everything to Xander tomorrow. Man, she was not a happy camper.

Walking into her empty house wasn't much better. She gave a cursory glance to the table, and yes, the note was there, as so many times before. Her parents were not at home. Xander's life with his parents was awful, with the abuse and the drinking, but hers was not much better, with absent parents. She went to her room, dropping in her bed like a ton of bricks.

She tried to sleep, but her mind kept spinning. Should they tell Buffy? She thought they should, after all, she had trusted them with her secret. It would be only fair. But she should talk with Xander first.

Xander was another matter entirely. He was her best friend since forever, and his fairness and sense of friendship and justice was unparalleled. It was even greater than Buffy's. And it would be a problem all in itself after their talk tomorrow. She would have to think how to tell him and how to justify her logic afterwards, otherwise he would go out and kill Dawn, loving her or not, being the Slayer's 'sister' or not.

And thinking about Slayers brought Willow's mind to another direction.


Willow was intelligent enough to know she was a bit…different. It all started quite some time ago, even before Oz. Matter of fact, it started a few weeks after she met Buffy. Something stirred in her, and she kept thinking how nice it would be to kiss those pouting lips sometimes. The first time those thoughts sprung in her mind, she was scared, trying to over-analyze it. After some time, she calmed down, understanding it, and Oz came into her life. She loved him very much, and the feelings for her friend dimmed considerably. When the young werewolf left, the feelings for Buffy didn't return to their previous intensity.

So, she was surprised when she saw Faith for the first time. With Buffy it had been a small flame. With the Dark Slayer, it was a full-grown forest fire, wind and all. And it appeared that Faith had liked her. Or She-Ra, at least. She had to try and make Faith notice plain old Willow. But how?

Her musing was suddenly stopped by a sound at her window. Something was scratching it on the outside. She lifted her head from the pillow, sleepy eyes trying to focus on the presence outside. It wasn't a vampire, thank God, and with the protective spells she placed on the house, she knew nothing evil would approach without her feeling it.

Finally focusing, she noticed two yellow/green eyes in the darkness. A cat. Hellmouth paranoia struck the apprentice wicca, and she turned her vision to the arcane. The cat glowed silver, and bolts of lighting crisscrossed his small frame. And by the looks of it, he held too much power for such a small creature.

The wicca was drawn to the window, wonder expressed in her face. Would he be…

Only one way to find out. She opened the window, and the cat jumped to her bed in a single bound. He was gray with black stripes, and a bit big for a street cat. She approached the animal, hand stretched to him. As soon as she was in reach, he angled his head to be scratched. Willow complied immediately.

"Hey, fuzzy, are you my buddy? A cat? Xander has a cute dog, named Ares. Are you gonna be my buddy, huh?" she asked in a childish voice, finally grabbing the cat and holding him up to her face. The small tongue licked her nose a few times. She giggled. "All right, fuzzy. I'm Willow, and you are…Scratch. That's what you were doing at my window. So, Scratch, wanna be my buddy?" She let the cat go, and he promptly curled up in her lap. She giggled more, and the cat looked at her, as if saying, 'you are shaking too much, stop!'

Willow removed Scratch from her lap, and she wandered around her room, all the time looking at the curled animal on her bed. She was too strung up right now to sleep anyway, maybe if she took a small walk under the moonlight, but as plain Willow that was madness. As She-Ra, however…

"Let's go, Scratch, I'm up for a little evening stroll. And you are coming with me," she grabbed the cat, going to her back yard. It was secluded enough from the neighbors for her to change. Scratch was left in the ground three feet from her.

She grabbed the Sword of Honor from the pocket dimension in her back, lifting it to the night sky.


As a practicing wicca, Willow was all the time in contact with Mother Nature, her mystical senses attuned to her surroundings. What she felt while transforming was as if Nature itself bowed to her, as if paying its respects, and granting her its Blessing. She felt wonderful, while her body grew and changed. Her mystical senses expanded greatly, her mind was filled with combat strategies, martial arts and mystical knowledge. So, the moment her transformation was at its apex, she knew the cat was her battle companion.


She pointed the jewel to the cat, much like her cartoon counterpart did. But instead of the lightshow that changed the horse, this one did something entirely different. A ball of energy jumped from the jewel, and it hovered six feet above the cat for a second. It expanded quickly, forming a pyramid of light over the small animal. The pyramid blinded her eyes for the transformation itself, but a couple of seconds later a giant pair of wings spread over the pyramid "walls", and it broke in a million light points, disappearing in the night air. A mighty roar was heard, and in the place of the small cat stood a magnificent animal.

It was almost the same size of He-Man's companion, but instead of a wolf, it was a griffin, the mystical animal that was part lion, part eagle. His head and body were the ones from a lion, and his back legs and wings were those of an eagle. He was entirely white, except for his mane, which was a light golden hue. His eyes were an icy blue color, quite beautiful to look at. His armor was gold with red and blue carvings, and looked a lot like Egyptian designs. It covered the left part of his face, his pectorals and forelegs, his back with the expected saddle and part of his tail. Some armor also covered his wings, but in a way that wouldn't block their movement. It gave him quite a noble air, a bit different than WarWolf's extremely menacing look.

By Bast! I never thought it could be like that! She-Ra heard in her mind. It was a noble and deep voice, but without any hint of accent.

"You can speak?" She-Ra asked, the griffin walked to her.

/No, I cannot, Lady Heir. A griffin's mouth and respiratory system isn't made for speech. But I have a telepathic connection to you, Lady./

"O…K. But don't call me Lady. Makes me feel old. She-Ra, if you please, or Willow, since I don't believe anyone can hear you talk."

I don't believe so, La…She-Ra. And I am Thunderbolt.

"Hello, Thunderbolt. A pleasure. So, I believe you said you are a griffin."

Yes, She-Ra, I am.

"And I believe I heard you call for Bast, which I think is the Egyptian Cat God. And the Egyptian symbolism in the armor isn't lost to me, either. So, what's the reason?"

She-Ra finally noticed what the carvings were. In his pectoral armor, near his neck stood an Eye of Ra, in the wings' details Ankhs were carved out in silver. And in the back armor there were two scarabs, one to each side of the saddle.

/While I am in cat form, I am an Egyptian Mao, a rare breed of cats. We were called the Temple Cats, and the scholars believed that we had a special connection to our Lady Goddess. I cannot prove this wrong or right, but since it is I who choose which form to assume after being transformed, I chose to honor my Lady Goddess./

"I think I can understand that. So, I wanted to take a walk to clear my head, and we have much to talk about. Let's go?" she said, climbing up in his saddle.

A walk, you said? I believe I have something much better. Hold on.

She-Ra obeyed promptly. He opened his great wings, and with a mighty pull from his legs, gained the air and altitude.

"WOW, THIS IS GREAT!!!" She-Ra screamed from forty feet in the air.

They flew to LA, taking all the time in the world.

Buffy arrived home a little later on, walking silently so as to not wake anybody up. Xander was sleeping on the sofa, covered by a light blanket, his legs extended beyond the arms of the furniture, TV still on, but muted. Ares was laid on the ground, right in front of the sofa. He lifted his head, looking at the Slayer.

"Shh, Ares. It's just me," she said, murmuring. The dog rose from the ground, going to her. She pelted his soft fur, and he calmly licked her hand. "Ok, since it's late, Xander is staying here, and so can you, with him. Tomorrow, we are setting up the basement, ok?"

The dog shook his tail, happily, and returned to his post, guarding his owner. In an impulse, Buffy laid a small kiss into Xander's forehead. The teenager mumbled something unintelligible, and turned the other way, facing away from her.

She turned the TV off, and climbed up the stairs. In the middle of the steps, she turned back to the living room, and spoke lightly.

"Thank you, Xander, for being my rock. At least I can count on you not changing on me."

The Slayer finally went to her room, shutting the door behind her.

Xander, who was faking it the entire time, turned back to the direction the blonde woman had disappeared and murmured. "You're welcome, Buff, but I'm afraid I have a small surprise for you."

He closed his eyes, sleep claiming him minutes later.

The next morning, Buffy Summers was woken by a smell she hadn't smelt in a long time. Freshly made pancakes and coffee. Her still sleep-fogged brain instantly remembered Joyce and for a moment she thought that her mother was still alive.

Then reality struck in, and she had to repress the tears for a moment. After the feelings dimmed, she stood up and walked to the bathroom. She brushed her teeth and tried to control the bed hair.

She went down, still in her Tweety pj's, and was greeted by a softly whistling Xander, who was putting a couple of bacon strips in the frying pan. His clothes were somewhat rumpled, but somehow, to Buffy, he seemed…different.

"Look if it ain't my favorite Tweety-covered Slayer. Vat is your orrrder, madam?" he said, in a fake French accent.

Buffy smiled, and pointed to the pile of pancakes and the pot of coffee in the machine. "What's the occasion?" she asked.

"Nothing special. Just thanking my favorite gal for a night well spent on a comfy sofa," he said, while placing a few pancakes on a dish for her.

Buffy prepped her own coffee, smiling. "Thanks, but the sofa isn't so comfy. Your feet were standing out."

"Details, details," he said, but his lopsided grin was in place. "So, how was patrol last night? Still calm? I slept pretty late, from what I remember, waiting for you."

"Just the opposite. Last night was probably the worst night in a long time."

"I can see you're ok. And Giles? Willow?" Xander asked, worried.

"They're cool. Matter of fact, nobody was hurt. But what happened was totally wiggy."

"How so?", he asked, turning the bacon strips.

"I was patrolling Cranston Cemetery with Wills. Then, out of nowhere, twenty something vamps jumped on us. I thought, this is it, we're dead. I opened a hole in them for Wills to bolt, and she did. I killed another two, and started asking God for a miracle and for someone to look after Dawn," she took a sip from the coffee. "I think God listened for once. Out of nowhere, a giant wolf and a guy jump in the middle of them, and before I can do a thing, almost all of them are dead. The ones that remained were crispy-critters after a huge fireball that a woman throws from my back."

"Let me phrase a quick question. Huh?" Xander asked, acting perfectly.

"Huh it is. Do you have any idea who the guy was? He-Man."

"He-Man? What a stran…Wait up. You don't mean 'He-Man' as in…"

"He-Man and The Masters of The Universe? Yep, that's him."

"Bu-but…ehrm," he said, confused face in place "That's weird, even for the Hellmouth weirdness. On the Xand-Man Weird-o-Meter, on a scale from one to ten, that surely scores a twelve."

"Try a twenty four. The woman was She-Ra."

"You mean his sister, She-Ra, the Princess of Power," he said, seriously this time.

"Yep. And to finish the score on the Weird-o-Meter, we get a thirty six. We've found the new Slayer. Or better, she found us."

"The one that was Called after Kendra…"

"Yep, and the best is, she is coming to stay with us," Buffy growled the last sentence.

"Us? You mean you and Dawnie? Is she nice, at least?" Xander asked, keeping the fake worried face on. He would laugh later.

"Compared to what?" Buffy growled, stuffing more pancakes in her mouth, signaling the end of the topic.

"Well, a thirty six. Never reached this score before. But details, I want details. Is She-Ra hot? And the Slayer? Is she drool-worthy?" he asked, leer on the face.

"Xander!" Buffy slapped him playfully in the arm.

"Hey, Slayer Strength! This will leave a mark!" he mock-complained, rubbing the area. "Now, tell me everything, from the beginning."

Buffy told him everything she knew or that she thought she knew, amidst sips of coffee and pancake bites.

Chapter 18
LA Not So Confidential

She-Ra was flying, literally. On the back of a griffin, to top it all off.

If someone had said what she would be doing right now to Willow two days ago, she would be laughing and calling the person nuts. Right now, her mind was more focused on the lines of 'nothing is impossible'.

"So, Thunderbolt, how did you end up at my house?" she asked. They were traveling way high, but at a moderate speed, so the wind wasn't too bothersome.

/I can't say for certain, She-Ra. Something was attracting me to your house, since quite some time ago. I came all the way from New York to here/ the mystical animal answered with his telepathy.

"New York? How much time did it take you? It was a dangerous trip, wasn't it?"

/I guess it took me the best part of six months. And yes, it was dangerous. But I couldn't resist this…calling./

"I guess it is the same type of calling me and Xander, I mean, He-Man, answered. But the question is, why us?"

/I'm afraid I can't answer that. You see, I always found myself much different from my feline companions. Smarter. Not really intelligent, I believe this came with the transformation, but definitely smarter./

"I guess I still have a few questions to the Sorceress," She-Ra said.

I want to meet her.

"I know, buddy. Not now, she is probably asleep, but tomorrow. Tomorrow…" and her voice trailed off.

She-Ra? What is it?

And she told him. The Sorceress' history. The prophecy. Xander. His probable reaction. And how she was absolutely lost in how to deal with him afterwards.

He is your friend, right?

"He's my best friend, my brother, my…everything. I would do anything for him, and he for me," she said. It was only one of the few absolute truths she had in her life.

/So, do what your heart is telling you to do. Tell the truth. And ask him to think it over before taking any actions. She is to blame, I agree. But in her position, would you do anything different?/

"Y-yes…I mean... no," she sighed. "I don't know. I know how those things are, life and death decisions in half a second. They work, you are a genius. They fail…" she didn't complete the thought.

/I agree. So, to lift the mood, want to hunt a few nasty creatures in LA?/ the griffin asked.

"HELL, YEAH! Let's go, buddy!" she screamed, happily.

Good thing about LA, as weird as the sight is, everyone thinks someone is shooting a movie or something. At this time of the night, the streets were mostly empty, but the few people who saw the stunning redhead flying the mystical beast thought only about movies and cool special effects.

She-Ra was using hers and Thunderbolt's mystical senses to hunt. A thin thread was pulling them to an unknown destination to the west.

"Fly higher, Thunderbolt. We are arriving, and I want to give a good look to what we will be facing."

The griffin answered by flapping his majestic wings and climbing above the surrounding skyscrapers. She-Ra finally saw them, two guys running in the front, one of them Willow knew quite well, and a group of vampires and demons running behind, chasing them. They entered an alleyway, and they stopped briefly at a closed fence. The man she knew helped the other scale the fence, and he would do the same if not for a crossbow bolt that suddenly struck him deeply in his right thigh.

The mob stopped, as if savoring the moment, and Angel looked at them, thinking that he would never again deal with gambling debts of anyone, not even friendly Seers. If he survived, that is.

She-Ra nudged the large beast down, and they silently landed behind the demon crowd. Angel had seen her approaching, and thought that if she was leading this gang, he was most surely dead. Definitely.

She-Ra, wait, the griffin spoke over their link. /Can you conjure a barrier around the escaping ones? I think I can help even the odds a little bit./

She-Ra lifted her right hand and spoke a few words in a long dead language. Angel and the man on the other side of the fence were suddenly surrounded by a greenish-blue glow that settled around them.

Thanks. Stand still, he said, jumping into the air above the group of demons and vampires.

Suddenly his massive shape vanished and in its place appeared a large glowing ball of electricity. It exploded in about a thousand bolts of lighting, which scorched the demons and the vampires alike, turning them into dust or goo. Not a single bolt hit the Heir of Honor, even though a few came pretty close, but the shields protecting Angel and the other one were unmercifully hit. The thunderstorm took about twenty seconds, and in the end, only five survivors were standing in the alley.

A big demon was left behind, his hide seemingly made of some sort of mineral substance, and he took every bolt quite well. He stood eight feet tall, arms the size of tree trunks, and nasty spikes protruding from his back and legs. The griffin was back to normal, and he was eyeing the large demon carefully, waiting for his move. She-Ra walked in front of the griffin, cutting his way to attack.

"I'll deal with him."

He seems tough Thunderbolt spoke.

"Yes, it'll be fun, hopefully. Thanks for the help with the others," she said, unsheathing her sword.

No problem. Be careful.

She-Ra didn't answer. Instead, she ran the distance between them, and in the last possible moment, she jumped up, hitting the demon with a spinning kick to his chin. He flew with the strength of the kick, hitting one of the walls and denting it. He shook the debris and dusted off his hide and stood up. He wasn't even shaken up.

He grinned at her, showing row after row of mean looking teeth, and he charged, huge fist flying in the direction of her torso. She ducked to the side and grabbed his arm near the elbow, twisting her body around and dragging the behemoth with her. He hit the other wall head first and yet again he stood up.

"Damn, you are tough."

She approached him, trading her sword to her left hand. He tried to punch her again, but she dodged the blow, and she hit him in the gut with enough strength to punch a hole in an aircraft carrier. The demon folded up, finally feeling the punches, and he was hit again by that -to him - small hand. He flew backwards, hitting the ground and creating another depression in the already battered up alley. The griffin jumped backwards a bit, almost landing outside the alley.

Do you need help? he asked.

"Not when I'm having so much fun."

The demon approached again, this time more carefully, head still ringing from that last punch. He feinted a left jab, to which the woman tried to deflect with her sword. He managed to evade the cut and to land a right-handed punch to her face. She flew sideways, mauling a couple of innocent trashcans, and burying herself in the pile of garbage around her.

The demon turned his back to her, going to the two other he was hunting earlier. No human could resist such a punch, she'd probably broken her neck.

Suddenly the pile of garbage exploded outward, and the woman walked out of it, covered in all sorts of dirt and dejects.

"Now you've pissed me off. No more playing with you," She-Ra said, under gritted teeth.

She murmured something, glowing for a second, and all the garbage disappeared from her as if it never were. The mystical warrior approached him, and stood stock still at striking range. The demon swung a fist at her, with enough power to transform the woman into minced meat.

What was his surprise when an open palm held his fist, the owner of it not even shaking with the impact. She-Ra grinned a devious grin at him, and she began closing her hand. The rocky hide under it, and she guessed his bones or whatever it was that he had, began crumbling under the unsurpassed strength of the Heir of Honor.

The demon screamed loudly, the first sound he emitted during the whole fight. He tried to remove his hand from the grip, but the woman didn't even budge. He tried to kick her, and She-Ra's counter-attack was to pull the fist she held with so much strength that she dislocated his shoulder and made him fly over her, landing in a heap at her back.

The monster tried to regain his footing, only to be knocked back by a well-placed kick on his chin. He tried to stand up one last time, but his battered body only kept him on all fours. She-Ra approached, sword in hand.

"This is the part where I should say 'There can be only One!'?" and with a mighty strike, she cut off his head. She turned her back to the dissolving remains, and approached the awed men in the back of the alley.

"So, you are Angel, the vampire with a soul," She-Ra said, sheathing her sword.

"Yes," the vampire said, too stunned with what he had seen. "And you are?"

"She-Ra, Princess of Power."

The other man's eyes opened wide, and he couldn't suppress a giggle. Angel turned to him. "What?"

"Tell you later. Please, forgive me," he said, turning back to She-Ra. It wasn't wise to piss off a woman who could do what she had done.

"And you are?" She-Ra asked.

"Name's Doyle, I'm…" he began, putting all the charm that he could on the introduction.

"Not interested," She-Ra said, and the half-demon shut up. "I've heard of the Gypsy curse."

"Who told you that?" Angel asked.

"I know a lot of things, and I knew someone from the Kalderash clan."

"Janna," Angel spoke, subdued. One more thing he had to pay for.

"Yes. For that, I should kill you right here and now. But…"

"Hey, lady, wait up, Angel here is..." Doyle started, only to be stopped by She-Ra's lifted hand.

"I'm not finished. As I was saying, the clause of happiness is stupid. I know how you broke it for the first time, and nothing can guarantee you'll break it again, whether voluntarily or not. So, I'm willing to change the clause."

Angel frowned. "You can do that?"

"I have the knowledge, yes."

"And change to what?"

"To one thing I won't have the slightest qualm in killing you if you ever broke it. Betrayal."

"What?" Doyle asked, incredulously. Angel was mutely looking at her. He could smell something in her, something familiar, and at the same time not.

"Easy. If you ever betray any of your friends willingly, any one of them, you will lose your soul again. And I will kill Angelus without a second thought or the slightest regret."

"Do it," Angel said, without missing a beat.

"Can you live with it, knowing that you cannot betray a friend, for whatever reason it is?" She-Ra asked, expecting the right answer.

"I can't help on feeling happy for some reason, even if it is for the wrong one. Damn, a drug can do that to me. Betrayal, it takes a much more considered act, one that only I can decide upon. And if I do that…" his voice trailed off. He knew of the consequences.

"So be it then."

She-Ra began chanting in another dead tongue, far older than mankind, hands stretched in front of her. Angel suddenly had his arms and legs locked at his sides, and he was levitating two feet above the ground. Doyle kept looking at his friend, waiting for the events. An orange glow appeared around him, and Doyle could swear he saw two different things appearing from him, one dark, one light, but they disappeared as suddenly as they appeared. And She-Ra kept chanting for a few more moments.

Then she stopped, and the vampire fell to the ground, a crumpled, yet 'alive' mass of undead flesh.

"The deal is struck," She-Ra spoke, in a tired voice. That took quite a bit out of her. "He'll be useless for the rest of the night. Take him to someplace safe, and tell him that I'll know if something happens."

"I'll do it," Doyle said, while trying to help his passed out friend.

The mystic warrior walked in the direction of her companion, looking at the damage caused by her fight. She concentrated a bit and spoke three words in Sumerian, and the walls and the ground re-constructed themselves.

She-Ra mounted the griffin without saying another word, and he took flight yet again.

"I'll make a bet with you, mate, that the lady comes from Sunnydale," he said to Angel. He looked around the alley, to the charred remains of his debtors. "On second thought, no bet."

He pushed the vampire outside, and hailed a cab moments later.

Chapter 19
Saturday: Willow

After her morning ritual, Willow walked to the phone in her nightstand and dialed Xander's home. She was received by a very grumpy Xander's dad, who said very colorfully that his son was not at home. Willow excused herself, hung up and dialed Buffy's house. The Slayer picked up the phone, laughing out loud.

"Yeah?" Buffy asked, amidst giggles.

"Hey, Buffy, I-I guess Xander's there," she answered. Only Xander made Buffy laugh like that. Willow was happy, she hadn't heard the Slayer giving a good laugh in quite a while.

"Hey, Willow, hi! Yep, he's here. Wait up! Xander, it's Wills," Buffy said to the brunette attempting to dance in her kitchen. Xander promptly stopped, and walked to the phone.

"Hey, Wills, what's up?" Xander asked, Buffy steadily controlling herself.

"Hey, I need to see you. Can you come to my home?", she asked.

"Yeah, but I need to stop at a pet shop to buy Ares' food. Can it wait a bit?"

"Then come here first. I also need to go, and we can do it together."

Xander muted for a second. Willow didn't have a pet so far, so, that could only mean one thing; She-Ra had a battle companion.

"Sure. I'll just finish breakfast here and I'll drop by. See you in a few," and he hung up.

Buffy had gone to the living room, and she was browsing channels on the TV. One image caught up her attention and she stopped the swapping.

"HEY, Xander! Come here!" she said, paying more attention to the commercial. Xander was at her side in seconds, and she pointed to the screen.

"…is the Game. Adventure Seeker, premiere tomorrow at 6 PM, only on FOX TV," said the narrator. On screen, there were images of a guy doing some crazy stunts in a racecar, on a bike and even on foot. It looked cool, but what was more interesting were the images of Cordelia Chase with said guy, running from something, dodging fake bullets and looking more beautiful than ever.

"So, that's what Cordy's been up to. Her series is about to premiere, and we didn't even know it. Have you spoken to her, Xander?"

Xander kept mute for a few more moments, looking intently to the screen. Cordy had hit the spot.

"Y-yeah. She called twice, to know about stuff, and us…", he said, trailing off.

Buffy looked at her friend's saddened face.

"You still love her, don't you?"

"Yes," Xander said. "She will always be in my heart, you know? But I couldn't blame her. This is no place for someone like her."

"It shouldn't be to you, too."

"Buff, I love you more than I loved her…"

At this moment, the universe stopped for Elizabeth Anne Summers. Her best male friend, her Xander-shaped friend, her buddy, her pal had just said that he loved her more than his previous girlfriend. And by the emotion in his voice, it was impossible to mismatch the type of love he was referring to.

Damn, he was a friend, the best friend she could ever hope to have, but she just didn't feel like that towards him. It would be too complicated, too hard, too…

Harder than loving the enemy? an inner voice asked.

She didn't have an answer to that. But she was certain, she couldn't reciprocate such love. It wouldn't be fair.

To whom?, said inner voice replied, again.

She was the Slayer. She couldn't love a normal guy. She would put him in risk. It would be dangerous.

/More than it already is? Besides, the choice is his to risk himself, not yours./

Nasty little bugger that inner voice.

"…but I've said it once and I'll say it again. My choice. Helping you and the world is my choice, not yours."

Buffy looked him in the eyes, and she saw the feelings in there. Love, caring, honesty. And that shook her up more than any prophecy could.

"Look, I have to go to Wills'. But I'll be back later to help with Faith moving in, 'k?" he said. "Besides, I wanna check her out, see if my theory pans out."

"What theory?" she asked to his smirking face.

"That all the Slayers are hotties."

"Xander!" she said, smacking him another one in the arm.

"Hey, hit the other arm! That way I'll have matching bruises!" he said, massaging the area and grinning.

He walked to the front door, opening it. Ares was sat on the porch outside, sunning himself. Before walking out, Buffy called him again.


"Yeah?" he asked, turning back to her.

"Thanks," she said, voice filled with emotion.

"Hey, I'm a friend of my friends."

Buffy stopped cold. Xander noticed his slip up, but he managed to keep his face straight.

"He-Man said the same thing to me last night," she said, almost murmuring, looking him straight in the eyes.

"Proves that he knows his stuff. I like the guy already. So?" he asked, without flinching a bit.

"Its just…it's that…ah…nothing. Forget it," she said, reddening considerably. Xander couldn't possibly be He-Man. Impossible. Not a chance in Heaven or Hell.

"Do you think I'm He-Man?" Xander laughed loudly. "I wish, I truly do. But in the Universe Wheel of Fortune, my number had the legend 'absolutely normal guy' written under it. Sorry, Buff."

Buffy calmed down and smiled. He was right. Thank God.

"Hey," he said, "gotta go. See you later."

"Bye. And thanks again," she said to his retreating back.

Buffy still kept watching him go for another minute, mind wandering around his revelations. But she couldn't think about that right now. Not right now.

She sighed, and wandered back in. Time to do the worst job ever impugned to a Slayer. Wake up Dawn.


Xander walked quickly to Willow's home, Ares following behind. He was still berating himself on the slip-up, but at the same time, he knew that the charade wouldn't last long, Buffy being or not being thick. So, he needed a plan. But, what plan?

He knocked on Willow's door, which was opened a moment later. The redheaded wicca was too nervous, Xander could notice. She looked to Ares, and then she looked down, to her own feet. Twisting between her legs was a beautiful black/gray cat with an imposing air. He stopped at her side, licking his front paws.

"Your buddy?" Xander asked, and Willow only nodded.

Ares gave the cat a good look, like a wolf stalking prey, and the cat looked back, as if saying 'don't even think about it, mutt!'.

"Ares, keep cool and play nice. Besides, this cat is meaner than he looks, if he chose my buddy Willow as a partner."

Willow grinned with the comment, nervousness dissipating a little. "Come in, Xand," she said, and they went to her room. Xander sat on the ground in front of her bed, as he always did, Ares resting his head on his thigh.

"Oh, I forgot. Xander, this is Scratch, which is also Thunderbolt. Scratch, this is Xander, who is also He-Man," Willow said, making the introductions.

"Scratch," Xander said, acknowledging the feline, which only looked him disdainfully. Xander noticed. "Awfully full of himself, ain't he?" he asked, pointing to the cat.

Willow giggled. She sat on her bed and sighed.

"Before I begin, give me your Sword," Willow asked, hand extended.

Xander didn't even think about it. He removed the sword from the pocket dimension and gave it to Willow. She grabbed his sword, and she kept it in her lap.

"What was that about?" he asked.

"Xander, I know you since kindergarten, and I know what you're gonna do after I tell you what I have to tell you. So, the sword stays with me, 'k?" Willow said, Resolve Face on. Xander didn't even argue, but he knew he wasn't going to like what she had to say.

"First the small things: why aren't we telling Buffy about us?"

"You know, I was thinking the same thing before coming here. I slipped up with her, and luckily I managed to diffuse the sit. Problem is, I trust the Slayer, it's Buffy I have a problem with."

"What? But Buffy is the Slayer. I don't get it," Willow said, confused.

"I know you don't. Seeing Faith yesterday gave me perspective on it. Do you know when the slayage is good and we stumble on a lot of vamps?" Willow nodded, confirming it, "Do you remember how Buffy gets? She goes all focused and suddenly Buffy is gone and the Slayer comes forward, all speed and strength and moves, you know?" Willow nodded again. "Faith is exactly like that, but all the time. She is all business from start to finish. She knows the drill, she knows it's her job and she goes all the way into it. She is *The* Slayer, from start to finish. Angel would be a pile of dust in the first meeting they had, all that time ago, if the sit was reversed. Buffy is a normal Californian girl who got selected for the worst job on the face of the Earth, and she can't quit. So, normal girls do normal things, like go shopping, talk to her friends, hang out, things like that. Normal girls can reveal things once things start getting better or worse. Buffy can say the right thing to the right boyfriend or the wrong thing to the wrong boyfriend. Get what I'm saying?"

Willow nodded, Xander was right. "So, we never tell her?"

"I didn't say that. All I'm saying is that now I don't trust her enough to tell. Let's give it time and see how it goes, ok?"

"Ok, and speaking on Angel, I stumbled on him in LA yesterday night."

"Yeah, how's old Captain Hairgel? Still on the silent and broody act?"

Willow told Xander about it, and when she told him about the change in the clause, he grinned like a madman.

"Well done, Wills. So, if I see Angelus again, it's bye-bye vamp, hello dust-buster!"

"Same thing I said to him. And I absolutely loved Thunderbolt," Willow said, patting the cat's head. "Ok, now I have the important thing to tell."

"What's up?"

"After you stormed out of Buffy's home yesterday, I stayed behind, and Dawn told me the rest of the history," Willow said, seriously.

Xander's brow creased, his face changing to an atypical serious façade.

"Look, Wills, I don't want to hear…" Willow's lifted hand and Resolve-Face made him shut up.

"You need to listen, so you can understand and know what we have to do, and why. And before you go all pissed off at her, remember that we all make mistakes, and some of them are harder or more damaging than the others. We're teenagers, who will guarantee that we'll be good or bad adults?"

Xander still kept his mouth shut, but Willow saw his face relaxing slightly, and his demeanor changing a bit. Score one for the home team.

"Ok, so she blew up Grayskull and the explosion flattened Eternia. A few humans survived, and a lot of Mon survived also, because they were a kind of underground race. You remember she said that Grayskull's energy affected a lot of beings, right?"

"Yeah. So?"

"She was the most affected. You see, when her body disintegrated over the explosion, her soul stayed behind, and she found out that it was fused with a lot of Grayskull's energy. She was a part of Grayskull. The biggest part that stayed behind. But somehow she couldn't create another body herself, and she couldn't use the magic fully, only passively. So, she stayed behind, like some kind of Watcher."

"Like Uatu from Fantastic Four? Can watch, but can't interfere?" he asked.

"Exactly. So, she saw the swords, which by the way are truly indestructible, being taken by Mons, and the place she called home became an arid desert. The surviving mankind fought with sticks and stones for survival, while the Mons took over the planet. You see, the Grayskull Event empowered a few Mons, and they became warlords and warlocks. It even caused what we could call mutation. A single race became several different races. Interbreeding gave origin to new species. War ensued, among themselves and mankind. Incredibly, the humans were not affected by the events, so they started losing the small ground that they had."

"What happened?" Xander asked, enthralled by the story. Damn, it could give an excellent fiction, if it wasn't true.

"The Sorceress Energy decided to interfere. She couldn't use her powers actively, so she used them creatively. If she 'possessed' a man for a small period of time, said man would have access to a small part of her powers. So, a mage was formed. But those things were only temporarily, and she could only possess one man at a time. But she found out that if she possessed a man or a woman while they were conceiving a child, the transfer would be permanent, and the child would be a mage or a witch."

"Then they started winning?" Xander asked.

"Yep. But, problem is, they were not facing one enemy, but various. The factions and clans of Mons were relentless and vicious. And one fully trained mage was something too time-consuming, and they didn't have a manual from which to train. Everything was trial and error."

"I wouldn't want to stay close to a training mage without knowing what he's capable of," Xander said, grinning.

Willow grinned with him. But the problem was, Xander wasn't catching the hints. Time to place things more clearly on the table.

"Xander, doesn't this start to look familiar to you?"

"What? Aside from the Lord of the Rings storyline, no, it doesn't."

"The Mons," Willow said, slowly.

"The Mons? What does the Mo…The Mons," he said, slowly this time." De-Mons. Demons?" Xander finally made the connection.

"Yes, Xander. Demons. The Swords never left Eternia, because we are on Eternia."

"Oh, shit," he murmured.


"So, what you're saying to me is that the Watcher's tale on the beginning of mankind is actually true, and it was caused by the Sorceress fuck up?" he asked, stunned.

"Without the language, but yeah, that's it."

"I'm gonna kill her," Xander said, standing up.

"You will do no such thing! Now, SIT!" she screamed. He sat, scowl on his face, hands trembling with hatred. "You will listen to the rest of the story and we will talk to her, but just talk, got me?" she said, Resolve Face on, and an attitude Xander had never seen before. The brunette nodded once.

"All right, let me continue. So, mankind, now our mankind, started fighting back, but the scales were too tipped to the side of the demons. A group of interdimensional beings noticed the fight in our dimension. They were already powerful beings on the side of good before Grayskull powered them up even further. So, they foretold that if the demons kept on, they would become too powerful and they would eventually overrule Creation itself. So, they devised a plan, and came here."

"What were those beings called?" Xander had a good guess.

"Sorceress called them the Elders."

"Hmmmm. Ok, go on."

"So, they came here, and somehow they could see and interact with the Sorceress Energy. They told her about their plan, and she agreed. They struck a deal and they prophesized about the future times. First I'm going to tell about the plan and then the prophecy, 'k?"


"Ok, the plan was to empower special humans to fight for the side of Light. They chose seven icons, seven concepts for lack of a better term, and they combined and divided their powers among those seven special humans, the Champions: The White Knight, The Red Queen, The Black King, The Seer, The Scholar, The Savior and the Slayer."


Aside from his school scores, Xander Harris wasn't a stupid man. In fact, he was quite intelligent and clever, but he had to admit that school was too boring to pay attention. So, his sadly under-used brain started firing at amazing speeds, processing all of that in moments.

"Willow, I'm not going to wait for the prophecy, because I have some idea of what it is about. So, care to repeat to me, slowly, the titles of those …Champions?"

"What, the White Knight, the Red…" Xander nodded yes.

"The White Knight."


"The Red Queen"


"The Black King."


"The Seer."

"That one I don't know. Next."

"The Scholar."


"The Savior."

"Other one that I don't know. But if I can make a wild guess, I bet He died for the last time some two thousand years ago."

"And the Slayer. Buffy," Willow put her hand to her mouth, surprised. She hadn't made the connections, aside from Buffy. So, the prophecy was right.

"I guess this prophecy has something to do with all of us gathering at the end of times or something like that, right?"

Willow was still too shocked to answer. Xander went out of the room to the kitchen. He grabbed two glasses and filled them with some orange juice he found on the refrigerator. He returned to the wicca's room, giving one of the glasses to her.

"Thanks. And yes, the prophecy said that the Champions and the Heirs would return to defend the world one last time, and all that had been done would be undone," she said, sipping her glass.

"I guess that their scripts were a little off. After all, you, and me we're Champions and Heirs if I'm not wrong, and we have two Slayers, not one. And we seem to be lacking a Seer and a Savior. So, undo what? The Sorceress fuck up?"

"She said yes. And that's where we have our job. But let me finish the history lesson, ok?"

"Sure, go on."

"All right. The Champions were Chosen, and the magic made them empower another being as soon as the previous one had died. We started winning, bit by bit. After a few millennia, the Champions had the demons cornered. In a last attempt, they mixed themselves with us, thus making vampires. They were like fast-food demons, numerous, vicious and easy to produce, so to speak. But the mages and the Scholar, they devised the ultimate plan. Using the still present dimensional energy from Grayskull, they opened several gateways to a lot of dimensions. They managed to shove most of the demons to those dimensions, but a few stayed behind. By the time they managed to close the portals, only a few true demons stayed behind, and a lot of vampires."

"So, we have the story of the Hellmouths and the reason why evil is attracted to them. Anything else?"

"I don't think…Wait, I almost forgot what happened to those Elders and to the Sorceress. Well, after the Empowerment, they became too weak to remain behind. The Elders went back to their dimension, and Sorceress still kept wandering the planet, this time even more powerless. She couldn't empower anyone anymore, but she kept her vigil over the war, whispering advices in the right ears and so on. A few millennia after the war was won, she was drawn to a mystical place, and she was kept in the care of a few monks. She managed to tell them her history, and they began planning for the future. So, we came to now, and the prophecy."

Xander finished drinking his OJ, and looked her straight in the eye. "Shoot."

"Well, the prophecy states that we'll be together again to face incredible odds, and when the time is right, the war will end. And the key to winning is…well…The Key."

"Dawn. But she's the Key to what?"

"Grayskull. You see, she has a lot of Grayskull's energy still in her, so, when her body reaches maturity, she'll be able to make a spell and reconstruct Grayskull, draining all the leftover power that spilled over into other beings and dimensions. So, we won't have any more demons, vamps, super-powered beings, Hellmouths, nothing. Only normal humans, and probably the Heirs, since our powers were older than the Event."

Xander's jaw dropped.

"Our mission is to help in the fight until the time comes, but mostly to protect Dawn until she reaches eighteen," Willow finished, and dropped on her bed, emotionally drained.

"I need to think things through, and I need to walk," Xander said, after a few minutes. "Care to join me?"

Willow stood up. "Sure."

"Can I have my sword back? I promise I won't hurt Dawn, but I need to speak to her alone. Let's go to the pet shop and we go to Buffy's later, ok?"

The wiccan returned the sword to Xander's hand. He looked at it for a minute, before storing it in the pocket dimension in his back.

"And tonight is She-Ra's patrol night, right?" Willow asked.

"Sure, o' Princess of Power. Wouldn't think of you missing such fun. Let's go, girl," he said, getting out. "By the way, do you know what Cordy's been up to?"

"No, what?" Willow grabbed Scratch from his resting spot and they went out to an almost normal Saturday afternoon walk.

Cordelia Chase

Luck. To Cordelia Chase, this single word would always remind her of a flat tire right in front of Sunnydale High. And a verbal sparring match with Xander Harris.

She was standing in the middle of a lot of well-dressed people, herself included, nurturing a non-alcoholic drink. They were at a party, celebrating the premiere of a horrible film that one actor of the series she was a star of had shot last year. The place was huge, well decorated, and filled to the brim with the rich and famous of the movie industry and LA upper class.

Cordy had all that she wanted right now. Fame, a steadily growing bank account, more clothes than she could ever wear and a lot of absolutely gorgeous guys fanning for her. So, why was she bored beyond belief?

Tom Skazik, her manager, was approaching quickly. By his face, she could tell that he wanted to introduce her to another boring rich guy, one who could probably finance one of his crazy ideas, if he could bed the new star from the 'Adventure Seeker' series. Not that Cordelia would bed anyone introduced by Tom, but she could always meet someone nice.

"Cordelia, Cordelia!" he said a little bit loud, finally grabbing her by the elbow.

"Who is it this time, Tom?" she asked, in a bored voice, leaving her drink on a table nearby.

"Oh, come on, Cordelia. He's a nice guy, and about your age. He's beautiful too," he said, and since he also preferred the same sex that she did, Cordy almost believed him.

"And rich?" she asked, still bored. She once wanted to meet rich actors and the crème-de-la-crème from society, but after being exposed to the absolutely boredom of their petty minds, she grew tired of them. The lot was worse than any Cordette back in Sunnydale.

"A billionaire," he said, while dragging her over the crowded room. When they approached Tom's intended target, he let her go, so she could compose herself. She straightened up and adjusted her purple dress, wanting to make some impression. He could be a nice guy after all.

They approached a young man, mid-twenties by Cordy's estimate, brown hair, brown eyes, impeccably dressed in a tux. He was even cute, not overtly beautiful, and well treated enough to be classy and not snobby. And he was wearing a wonderful perfume, one of Cordy's favorites.

"Cordelia Chase, meet Jeff Tracy. Jeff, Cordelia Chase," Tom made the introductions, and Cordy extended her hand. The young man, Jeff, grabbed it and gave it a light squeeze. Cordy had heard that name before, but where?

"A pleasure," he said, in a lightly accented voice.

"Hi. I've heard your name before, but I can't seem to place it…" she said, in a friendly voice.

"I try to keep off the gossip magazines," he said offensively, promptly raising Cordelia's haunches.

"Well, I also try to keep away from them. But it is simply not possible being in my type of business," she said, in a no-nonsense voice.

Jeff perked up considerably, face gaining a serious tone.

"I'm sorry if I offended you, Ms. Chase. It won't happen again. Excuse me," he said, and left them.

If Tom had a wall nearby he would surely be banging his head on it, several times. Cordelia blew it, again.

"Cordelia, what is wrong with you? He is a billionaire, he could very well put money in one of your films," he almost screamed at her.

"With me? I just asked the guy a simple question, and he gets all judgmental on me? Who does he think he is?"

"That's Jeff Tracy! His father was Arnold Tracy, owner of Tracy Industries, Tracy Electronics and a few dozen other companies. One of the richest men in the United States. And Jeff is one of the smartest ones, as well. And you just drove him off!"

Recognition finally set in. That's where she'd seen the man's face. It was stamped over a few dozen magazine covers a couple of years back, when his father died. He was the sole heir of a business empire, and, according to the specialized press, one hell of a boy-genius.

Cordelia had the decency to blanch at her mess. Wait up, she hadn't messed anything, the guy was just plain rude. She stood taller, and looked Tom in the eye.

"Look, Tom, I did no such thing. I was being nice, and Mister-I'm-too-important-to-be-on-the-gossip-pages was downright rude. So, not my fault. If you'll excuse me, I'll take a walk. Find someone else to impress," she said, turning her back to him, and walking away.

Tom stood stock still, mouth hanging open. Luckily for him, the media was accustomed to this kind of thing, so nobody really noticed the small argument.


Cordelia stormed out of the mansion, looking for a quiet place to vent her frustration. The mansion grounds were huge, and to one side there was a small, secluded garden, where she could curse and swear freely.

She set a quick pace, somewhat encumbered by her high heels on the soft grassy ground. The tall brunette finally managed to reach the rocky path that gave entrance to the garden, managing to steady herself. She looked around: to one side there was a mound of freshly dug earth, some wooden stakes, shovels and the like. The owners were probably re-designing part of the landscape. To the other side there was an incredibly well treated garden, somewhat inspired in the European gardens that Cordy had visited some time ago.

The garden was protected from the external world by a dense hedge of bushes, around six feet high, and she could see that it was designed to have a relaxing atmosphere.

Her darkened mood suddenly vanished, and she sat on one of the benches, looking at the sky, mind flying to a place not too far away, and another young man with a heart of gold and a mind of shit.


Dennis, the Vampire, was a complete moron. He was a moron while alive, a couple of decades ago, and his turning didn't nothing to improve on it. He was still a moron, but with vampiric powers.

His buddies, all five of them, kept picking on him, saying that he was the one that gave the vampires a bad name. So, he decided on a risky plan, one that would elevate his status on the vampire underworld.

It was really simple. He would drain a famous bitch, one of those actresses or so, and leave her in a very popular spot. And he would brag about her to the rest of them for the rest of their undead lives.

So, when he heard about the party for the 'Soul Hunters 2' movie, he thought to himself, this is it. Gaining access to the outside grounds was easy enough. He couldn't set foot at the house interior, so he would have to wait on the outside for a suitable subject.

The first one to leave the house was a young man. He was close enough for the vampire to pick, but since Dennis didn't recognize him, he let the man go.

The second one was perfect. She was that new broad from the 'Adventure Something' series. She was quite a hottie, Dennis noticed, and she looked quite tasty. That was it.

He walked out of his hideout, going straight to her. She was sitting calmly on one bench, looking at the sky. 'How Dracula!' he thought, smirking. Pity he couldn't transform into mist, it would be cool, right now.

The moment she noticed him, all his plans went down the toilet.


Cordelia noticed the badly dressed guy approaching. Her fashion sense struck, and while not as powerful as Buffy's Slay-dar, it was almost as infallible as the blonde's. Cordy groaned.

"Hey, I had the chance to leave that Helltown behind. Couldn't you guys let me be as well? CAN'T I HAVE SOME PEACE?" she yelled to the night.

The vampire looked at her oddly. So much for the silent, seductive approach. He vamped out, and in a bout of speed, attacked her.


Jeff Tracy was walking the grounds of the mansion, mind far away at the moment. Someone screaming closely suddenly interrupted his thoughts. He was the closest one to the sound, and as his father used to say, he was a boy scout in the heart.

He ran to the direction of the scream, only to see the actress he ditched earlier be attacked by a badly dressed man. He came closer, tackling the guy with all his strength. They landed right in the middle of a flower garden, and the man tried to attack him. Jeff gave him a good look, and what was his surprise when he saw the face of a monster looking back to him. They must be shooting a scene, he thought, but since the guy didn't diminish the strength of his attack, he kept fighting back.

Jeff wasn't a weak man, and all the training he was going through made him a worthy adversary to most guys, but the man was simply too strong. He screamed, trying to overpower the nutcase, when suddenly the guy stopped, made a surprised face, and turned to…dust?

"What the hell?" he asked, and he finally noticed the woman…Cordelia… standing above him, holding a…stake? "Wha…what happened?"

The security detachment finally appeared, five guys in black suits, two of them holding weapons. Cordelia turned around, hiding the stake on her back, and she said in her best acting voice.

"A crazy man…attacked me…he went that way!" and she pointed in another direction. The suits ran in the direction she pointed, and they were left alone.

"What happened?" Jeff asked.

"So, you don't know, Mr. Know-it-all? It was a vampire. A real one," Cordelia said, in her best Queen C mode.

"Vampires? But that's…that's impossible!" he said. The woman should be making this up.

"So are intelligent actresses?" she asked, fuming. "Look, you saw the face, you saw him turning to dust when I staked him. Make your own conclusions. Just don't make the wrong ones," she said, and turned around, walking away.

Jeff was too confused right now, he needed more answers. He was a scientist, after all. "Hey, wait up!" he spoke loudly to a retreating Cordelia. She didn't stop. "Look, I'm sorry. Can you wait, please?"

Cordy stopped, but she didn't turn around. Jeff approached, and he stood right in front of her.

"Look, I'm truly sorry. It's…it's just that I'm tired of those parties and those airhead bimbos that call themselves actresses. I just came because the producer was a good friend of dad's. Can you forgive me?"

Cordelia looked him straight in the eye. "Get me a good cup of coffee and I'll think about it. And make it a good one, not those decaf thingies."

Jeff laughed. "Ok, deal. I'll make it even better than that. But let's get out of here, ok?"

She nodded.


An hour later, they were arriving at one of the most luxurious condos that Cordy had ever seen. Jeff parked his car, a Lamborghini Diablo Roadster, in his parking spot. He helped Cordy climb out of the Italian coupe, and they walked to the elevators. The entire trip was mostly made in silence, Cordelia only asked where they were going.

They stopped on the fifteenth floor, and Jeff opened the door right in front of him. One apartment per floor, classy. They entered, and he turned the lights on. The living room was huge, and very well decorated.

"Sorry about the lack of amenities, I don't live here. I'm just staying for the weekend," he said, leaving the keys and his jacket on a table. "If you want to refresh yourself, the bathroom is the second door to your right, over there," he said, pointing to his left.

"Thank you," she said, walking to it.

A few minutes later, she returned, sans jewels and make-up. Jeff couldn't help but notice that she seemed more beautiful like that.

"I like make-up," she said, walking closer to him, "but it really destroys your skin if you let it stay too much."

"You look…nicer, without it," he commented, smiling.

"I do? Thank you," she said, smiling back. An awkward silence struck them both for a few moments.

"C-care to join me in the kitchen?" he asked, extending a hand. She grabbed it, and they walked to the spacious kitchen. Cordy noticed that the kitchen was probably the size of her own apartment. He cordially made her sit down on a chair, while he walked around, grabbing the items to make the coffee.

"So, could you please explain to me what I just saw attacking you?" he asked, while arranging the coffee maker.

"A vampire, the real kind. The ugh kind, that kills you to feed. No Mr. Dracula Prince Charming on those," she said, making faces.

"You talk from experience, I see," he said, sitting by her side, while the coffee was being made.

"I used to live in Vamp Central, aka Sunnydale, California, home to the Hellmouth."

"Hellmouth? What is a Hellmouth?" he asked.

They spent the next three hours speaking, Cordelia telling him about her past and the weirdness of living in Sunnydale, Buffy, Xander and the gang. Jeff was impressed with her so far, and he told her about his past and his future projects.

"So, you want to be an astronaut. Why?" she asked, curious. The coffee was gone a long time ago, and they were sipping some white wine that he opened.

"I guess it's because it involves everything that I like. Science, adventure, the chance to help mankind. And it's a chance for me to do some research for myself."

"Doesn't every astronaut do this? Research?" she asked, a bit confused.

"Not like this. It's like a hands-on experiment for a future project."

"Future project?"

He remained silent for a moment. He shouldn't tell her, it was a secret, after all. His secret. But somehow, he trusted the young woman.

"Do you know how my father died?"

Cordy tried to remember what she had read about it.

"From what I remember, he died when he was visiting a diamond mine in Africa. A landslide got him, right?"

"Not exactly. That was the press version. We didn't want to cause a scene with the shareholders and the press. Only me and a couple of other people know the truth. A landslide didn't catch him, it happened a couple of meters in front of him. He was locked with another five people inside a cave with enough air for a couple of hours, according to the geologists. It took us three days to remove the rocks and the debris safely," he said, becoming mute afterward.

"I'm so sorry," Cordelia said, honestly. She grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze.

"Not your fault. After the funeral, I kept thinking that if we had the right tools, he and the other five could have been saved. So, I've been planning some things."

"What things?"

He sighed, and stood up.

"Wait here."

He walked out of the kitchen, returning a few moments later holding an opened laptop computer. He placed the computer in front of her, and she saw on the LCD display some initial schematics for some sort of vehicles. They looked extremely cool, but she didn't understand half of what those schematics meant.

"Cool. What kind of vehicles are those?"

"Specialized rescue vehicles. Each one has a different function. Too bad that some of the technology still hasn't been invented. I'm working on it though."

"So, you want to save people, right?" Cordelia asked, her gears working at top speed.

"Yes, that's my life objective."

"While you are planning those…vehicles…why don't you start smaller?" she said, looking back to the screen.

"What do you have in mind?" he asked, interested.

"I believe the Scooby Gang would be very happy with some technological backup," she said. After all, they were rescuing people from certain death.

Jeff Tracy stopped for a moment, his own gears working.

"I believe I can help you, Miss Chase."

"All of us. And call me Cordy. All of my friends do," That wasn't exactly true, but she wanted him to be her friend. He was a nice guy, if you could break the defenses.

"All right…Cordy," he said, smiling

Cordelia kept looking to the screen, and the changing schematics. Something picked up her attention.

"Hey, what are those initials on the vehicles? TB?"

Jeff smiled again.

"My father liked to fly, he even had some restored airplanes to play with. One of his most prized possessions was a reformed F-16 jet, used in air shows. So I decided to honor him into these too," he said, pointing to the schematics.

Cordy remained mute for a few more moments, waiting for him to continue. He didn't.

"So?" She asked, annoyed. "What does it mean?"

Jeff smiled.


Chapter 20
Saturday: Faith

Good thing about being a Slayer, you don't have to wake up early because of your job. So, Faith was surprised, and a tad pissed with the insistent hard knocking on her door at … ten-thirty in the morning. She stood up, clad in her birthday suit, and looked at the door. Shock value or non-shock value? She looked at the digital clock on the stand, and decided. It was Saturday, after all.

"YEAH?" she opened the door, almost tearing it off. Two pair of eyes almost rolled out of their sockets. One belonged to her sister Slayer, B, and the other, obviously, to Jeeves. The first's jaw almost fell on the ground, the second turned around quickly. But both yelled "FAITH!" at almost the same time. The Dark Slayer smiled, and got back in, calmly removing some panties and a long t-shirt from her bag. "What d'ya want?" she asked, while dressing. Buffy's jaw returned to work in a few moments. "We-we…we…well…we…"

Faith smirked. "There is a phrase somewhere in all those 'we', isn't it?"

Buffy's surprise vanished with the now almost decently clad Slayer, and she turned around to Giles. "This is not gonna work, Giles. It's the worst idea of the bad ideas."

Giles, still with his back turned, asked. "I-is she decent?"

"Yeah, Jeeves, I am. You can turn now. And what bad idea is this?"

Giles turned around, but instead of looking straight to the Slayer, he looked at her room. The place, as He-Man had said, was a rat hole, where even the rats wouldn't want to live. The Watcher finally looked at her, and he removed his glasses. "We-well, Faith, we came here to make a proposition to you. Can we come in?" he asked.

Faith shrugged, and sat on her bed. They entered, and Buffy looked to a chair in a corner. She looked to it, looked to the state the room was in, and decided against it.

"What proposition? And couldn't it be later? I'm a Slayer, I need my beauty sleep."

Buffy actually smiled. "I keep telling him that, but does he listen? Noooo. And it's the weekend Giles, no school. Week-end. Emphasis on end," she said.

Giles sighed. One was enough. Two…

"Well, I believe that Buffy must speak first."

Buffy glared at him. This was not part of the deal. She turned back to her and sighed. "I…I mean we…want you to come live with us."

Faith lost a bit of her attitude, and asked, surprised. "Why?"

"First of all, this hole should have been demolished a long time ago. No one should live in a place like this," Buffy said, looking at the room with disgust. "I guess even the roaches do some strikes to ask for better conditions once in a while. Two, I have room in my home, a comfy bed and decent plumbing."

"Ain't your mom gonna argue about a stranger?"

Buffy stiffened, and Faith noticed. "Did I say something wrong?"

"My…mother died about four months ago."

"I-I'm sorry," she said, sincerely.

"No. No problem. You didn't know. It's just…still too soon."

"And your dad?" Faith asked. Since she had such a crappy family, if those two bastards could be called a family, she had to ask. She wouldn't jump into a situation like that, not for Buffy nor anyone. Never again.

"Somewhere in Spain, humping his secretary," she said, pissed. He hadn't even showed up for the funeral.

"Buffy!" Giles said, critically.

"What? It's true," she answered, almost in the same tone. "Anyway, Giles is mine and Dawn's legal guardian. The Council used it's muscles once again to have their 'precious' Slayer on the Hellmouth, instead in a foster home in Bumfuck, Alabama."

"Buffy!" Giles repeated again, in the same tone. Buffy chose to ignore him this time.

"Who's Dawn?" Faith asked, smirking.

"My annoying little sister. Don't worry, she knows all about Slaying."

"Do you have cable? If you do, I pack my bag right now."

"We can come to a deal. Right, Giles?" Buffy said, looking to her Watcher, and motioning for him to continue. He stopped cleaning his glasses, and put them back on.

"What Buffy is referring to is the deal she has with the Council. She convinced them to give her a salary, and she convinced me to extend the same benefit to you. I've already spoken to the Council, and pending a final decision, this matter will be closed by the end of next week."

"Slaying and be paid for that? How did you manage to do that?" Faith asked, surprised. Her sister Slayer was full of surprises.

"I have my ways," she said, mysteriously.

"Is the money good?"

"It gives us a nice shopping spree once in a while. With both our incomes, should be a breeze."

"Yay! Gimme five minutes!" she said, jumping from the bed, and starting to collect her stuff.

"Wait a moment, I have something to add, and this is my personal contribution," Giles said, and Faith stopped cold, turning back to him. "Since you are staying in Buffy's house, I've arranged with the Council so you could be enrolled in Sunnydale High."

The dark Slayer shook her head and looked the Watcher straight in the eye.

"Why, Jeeves? I mean, what's the reason? Slayers don't have such a long life, and besides, school's ain't my stuff."

"What if that isn't true? If you live to attain a long life, why don't you learn something else beyond slaying?"

"May the Council never hear you, Giles," Buffy said, smiling.

"Fat chance of that happening," she murmured. "Ok, suppose that I accept. Again, why? I'm not smart enough. Never was," she said, attitude changing to one Giles had seen in another young person not too long ago.

"Whoever said that to you must be stupid, because He-Man told me exactly the opposite last night, and I'm more inclined to believe him."

Buffy found the declaration quite odd, but decided to speak with him later on, when they could be alone.

"Hey, it's easy. Do your tests, they will shove you into a year, you ask for Willow's help and voilá, before you knew it, G-day!" Buffy said.

"Willow?" Faith asked, confused.

"The redhead you met yesterday."

"Oh, yeah," Faith smiled. She seemed like a nice girl. "She smart?"

"She's the Blue Power Ranger and Mr. Fantastic rolled together in a cool package."

Giles' and Faith's synchronized "Huh?" made Buffy sigh. "Yeah, she's smart," she said, defeated.

Faith grinned. "Ok, I'll bite. School, whatever. Let me finish packin'."


Faith looked around the town, while Giles drove them to B's house. If not for the unusual number of cemeteries, it could pass for any small Californian town. Near noon, the streets were crowded, with small kids playing on gardens, Johns and Marks and Peters washing their cars and mowing their lawns, their wives chatting or cleaning or doing normal things.

It looked almost normal enough, if it wasn't for the underlying feeling of danger and fear present in every surreptitiously look, every controlled gesture. People knew something was wrong, they just didn't accept it. Mankind was so stupid sometimes.

Faith snorted. "What?" the blonde seated behind her asked.

"They don't see it, do they?" she pointed to the people outside.

Buffy understood immediately, Giles as well. "Perhaps it's for the better," Giles said first. "If they had real proof, all it would cause would be panic and more danger. So, sometimes, ignorance truly is bliss."

The brunette Slayer looked to her Watcher, and looked outside again. "Do you really believe that?"

"Yes," Giles answered, without a second thought.

Faith looked at his profile, and she smiled deviously. "Ok, now remove all the stuffy Watcher-English pose and answer me. D'ya truly believe that?"

Giles already knew his true answer. Ignorance was bliss, but there was a more powerful expression for their situation: Strength in numbers.

"No," he said, and continued. "But we can't work under presumptions."

Buffy had been following the conversation with rapt attention. She was the one who answered, echoing Faith's feelings. "Sometimes, I wish we could. But I have accepted that if the truth came forward, we would have another war, and this one would be impossible to win."

"Why?" Faith asked, half turning her body to look at her sister Slayer's face.

"If something like revelation of the creepy night life appeared, everyone would panic, and it just would take an odd and eccentric human neighbor to be pointed as a 'demon' for everything we fight for to go down the drain."

"Soon, all it would take was someone pointing a finger at another someone to initiate another Witch Hunt. And I truly hope that no one wants that," Giles finished.

Faith was silenced after that, deep in thought.


They arrived at Buffy's home a few minutes later, Giles parking his car at the garage. Faith climbed out, and looked to the house.

"Nice joint, B," she said honestly, grabbing her duffle from the trunk.

"Thanks. Come in," she said, opening the front door. Dawn was in the living room watching TV. "Hey, Dawnie, there's someone I'd like you to meet. Dawn, this is Faith. Faith, this is Dawn?"

"The annoying one?" Faith asked, and Dawn glared at her. The Slayer smirked. "Blame your sister."

Dawn turned her death glare to her sister, who only shrugged. "Hi, welcome. You the new Slayer? What's the last cool demon you killed? Hi, Giles" she said, extending her hand. Faith laughed, and captured her hand. When she did that, something strange happened, as if electricity ran along the brief contact. The kid removed her hand, not giving the impression of feeling anything.

Buffy only spoke a "Dawn!", and called her sister Slayer upstairs. "Come on, follow me."

The Watcher stayed behind, while Faith climbed the stairs, looking around. The place was comfortable enough, and quite well kept. Buffy arrived in front of a door, and opened it. "This is gonna be your room. It's full of stuff right now, but tomorrow we can take those things outta here with some help from Willow and Xand. You can sleep in my room tonight. It's a king size bed. Hope you don't snore."

"Nobody complained before," she said, looking at the crowded room. It would look nice, after they took out the stuff.

Buffy showed the rest of the house to her, and they came back to the living room, where Dawn was on a heated discussion with Giles.

"But Giles, research isn't dangerous. Looking at funny drawings in a book ain't gonna open the Hellmouth!" the girl spoke.

"Sometimes, Dawn, that's all that it takes, depending on the book. I can understand you wanting to help, but I simply don't know if it's wise. An extra pair of eyes is always helpful, but I wouldn't want you involved in this part of your sister's life."

Dawn huffed, hands contracting involuntarily. It was really irritating not being able to reveal her true origin. She could probably read, comment and fill in the blanks of every book in the possession of the Council of Watchers, and she could cast some pretty helpful and powerful spells, but she couldn't do a thing without the approval of a sister who was several million years younger than she. Said 'sister' approached, with the new Slayer, Faith, right at her side.

"I'm already involved, Giles. This is my sister we're talking about."

"And it's my decision, right?" Buffy asked, looking at Giles. Both their arguments were valid, and if she was true to herself, Dawn really was involved in all of her life.

"Yes," Dawn said, in a low tone.

Buffy thought it over for a few moments, and looked at her younger sister. "Ok, you can help, but there are rules: One, you don't go anywhere alone at night without me accompanying you. Two, you only research what Giles tells you is safe. Three, absolutely no heroics, what we do is dangerous, it's not a bad TV series. It's that, or nothing. Deal?"

Dawn pouted, but agreed, nodding her head.

"I didn't hear you. Do we have a deal?"

"Yes, we have a deal," she said, annoyed.

"Good. Now, what about I order something for us to eat? You staying, Giles?" Buffy asked, to the already standing up Watcher.

"I'm afraid not, Buffy. With all these happenings in the last days, I still didn't have time to organize the boxes that the Council sent me. I'm going back to the library to put some order onto them. And Faith, before I forget, here," he said, passing her two one hundred dollar bills. Faith's and Buffy's eyes almost jumped out of their sockets. "I believe you'll need some basic necessities, and until the Council normalizes your salary, I think you can manage with that."

"I think…I'll manage," the Slayer said, with a devious smirk in place. "Thanks, Jeeves."

"Don't you call anyone by name?" Dawn asked.

"Why, Squirt, feeling left out?"

Dawn moaned, while her sister grinned.


Faith returned from her shopping spree filled with bags in the middle of the afternoon. She'd never had so much money to spend in one go, so she took her time, and with the help of Buffy, she had managed to purchase a lot of goodies. Buffy had stayed behind, going to Red's home for something. Damn, she still hadn't told her sister Slayer about the real reason she had come to SunnyHell. She would have to do that as soon as B arrived.

She opened the unlocked front door, depositing the bags on the couch. She thought on shouting her entrance, but changed her mind when she heard the sound of a man speaking loudly on the second floor.

Walking silently upstairs, she approached the closed door to Dawn's room, and kept listening.

Chapter 21
Saturday: Xander

Dawn was quietly meditating in her room, mind and mystic powers flowing around her in a tight and controlled way. No one outside three feet would feel a thing. Such control was important, especially so close to the Hellmouth and its denizens.

Too bad she couldn't do that while her sister was at home. Would she understand a younger sister meditating in lotus position, floating a couple of feet off the ground?

She felt a slight change in her surroundings and a small, albeit sad smile creased her young face. One of the Heirs was approaching, and according to the mystic signature, it was Xander. And from the vibes she was picking up, he wasn't happy.

She stood up, and walked to the front door. Before Xander could press the bell, she opened the door. The young brunette looked surprised for a second, but his face turned back to something that resembled controlled fury.

"Can we talk?" he asked, voice flat.

"Sure," she said, and got out of the way for him. He entered, followed by Ares. "Come to my room."

They climbed the stairs in silence, walking into Dawn's room. It was interesting, seeing the discrepancies between the image Dawn wanted to show to the general public and her real persona. Her room was much alike any other room from a teenager. That got Xander thinking, and after a few more moments of tense silence, he spoke.

"Who are you?"

Dawn looked at him, and sighed. He was perceptive, she had to acknowledge it. "I believe you are questioning if I am Dawn Summers or the Sorceress or something altogether different, right?"

"Yes. I mean, I know Dawn… or at least I knew Dawn Summers," he said, angrily, "and you are not her. Dawn was a kid, annoying sometimes, with a big crush on me, but a kid. And unless she was a great actress, who I think she wasn't, she isn't you. So, who are you?" he asked, again.

"I am Dawn Summers, I'm eleven years old. And I'm also the Sorceress, some billion years old, as well. How I came to be, I guess, is the most important question. I believe Willow told you about the prophecy, right?" Xander nodded. "Well, I didn't tell her this because I thought it wouldn't be important, but I didn't hide the information. When the prophecy was cast, we set a lot of things in motion for this moment to arrive."

Xander lifted his hand, halting her. "First questions. We? Who is 'we'? You and those 'Elders'? And they are the Powers That Be, right?"

Dawn huffed. "To answer your questions, yes, we. And do you know how stupid this denomination is? Powers That Be. That is stupid, to say the least. They are not Powers of anything, they are more along the lines of watchers of the realm. They can't interfere, none of us can, we are bound by Higher Rules about respecting the Free Will. We can only suggest, following our suggestion is your prerogative."

"So, when Buffy was Called…" he asked.

"That is another thing, called Destiny. And this, none of us has access to, unless the One Who Empowers Us All."

"But it was her destiny to die at the hands of the Master…" Xander asked, full of doubts, now.

"Says who? An old prophecy, written in an old book, which I saw being written?"

"You saw the Codex being written?" he asked, dumbfounded.

"Billion of years old immortal mystical energy, remember? Yes, I saw it being written, but that's not the case right now. Point is, very few prophecies spoke about the truth. They are pathways, possibilities that can or cannot happen in a determined time. If they were absolute truths, you couldn't face them, because they would happen, anyway. The Codex is a book of pathways, as several others are."

"So, what was her destiny?" he asked.

"Truthfully? I don't know. She could have died, if it wasn't for you, or she could have lived, if something differently had happened. Only the One knows it all."

Xander mused the information for a few minutes. "Anyway, back to the point. Who are you?"

"As I was saying, we set a lot of things in motion. We scattered the Champions around the world, so that way they could control the still remaining demonic entities. Some millennia passed, and they are all slowly coming together once again."


"When I cast the spell to re-establish Grayskull, I'll need their powers to form a strong ground, so that way I won't make the same mistake once again."

"Ok, go on."

"One of the things we needed was for me to be back in human form. So, with the help from a few mystic monks, we cast a spell, and my powers were locked into the body of a still unborn child, who would become Dawn Summers. If you want to know if this was pre-arranged, the answer is no. To them, I could be born in a hut in Africa, for all that they knew. I guess that the One does have a higher plan for us all. So, until a few days back, I was Dawn Summers, fully human and with the mind of a normal human child. When you first activated your and Willow's powers, the fusion began, that's the reason why I fainted and Buffy was worried."

"And now?"

"Now, I'm still Dawn Summers, eleven, up to a point. Annoying, but just out of necessity, and I must say that the crush factor is gone. On the other side, I'm the Sorceress, Guardian of Grayskull and Key to Dimensions. I have all of Dawn's memories, and mine, as well."

"So, let me see if I get this straight. You are Dawn Summers, only not, and you are also the Sorceress, only not. You and a bunch of old farts devised a plan so that everything that you did would be undone in a timely fashion, right?" he asked, in a tone that made Dawn shiver from head to toe.

"That's the general concept, yes," she answered, still not liking his face.

Xander began pacing the room, while Dawn sat on her bed, Ares still curled up near the door.

"DAMMIT! I ASKED FOR IT, DIDN'T I?" Xander screamed, looking to the ceiling and beyond. The scream was so loud and so distracting that nobody realized they weren't alone in the house anymore.

Xander stopped his pacing and stood in front of Dawn. He pointed a finger in her direction.

"Look, I got these powers for some reason, and I intend to use them to help, and so does Willow. Problem is, I don't trust you. To me, you could be the next bad guy we have to face in order to keep this blue ball spinning, and all of this talk could be a load of bull so we could help you blow us up."

Dawn was going to interrupt him when a sharp erected finger cut out any attempts of speech.

"BUT," he continued, "if you are telling the truth, we risk too much in not doing anything. So, we will protect you, but it's just that. Doesn't mean that I'll trust you. And if you ever try anything against any one of us, I'll kill you myself, Buffy or no Buffy. Do you understand me?"

Dawn nodded silently.

"I'm leaving. Let's go, Ares," Xander called, and the dog promptly stood up.


As soon as Faith heard the declaration from the guy, she backtracked as silently as possible, going back to the living room. She didn't have time to think anything else, because the door to Squirt's room opened up and the guy came down the stairs. She only pretended to be arriving at that moment, and as soon as the man was in sight, she smiled.

"Hey," she said.

"Oh, hey. You must be Faith. I'm Xander. Welcome to the Hellmouth," he said, extending his hand.

'Thanks. . . I guess. I've heard some things about you," she said, trying to sound innocent and looking at the dog, while shaking hands.

"Those are probably lies, told to incriminate me. And he is Ares," Xander said, with a lopsided grin.

Faith smiled and crouched, and the dog approached, tail swinging happily.

"Hey, Furball. You a nice doggie, ain'tcha?" she said, scratching the dog under his chin. Ares answered by swinging harder.

"What did you call him?" Xander asked.

"Furball. He looks like one, doesn't he?" she said, poker faced.

"Yeah, he does. Anyway, I gotta go. See you later."

"See ya."

And with that, the young man left the house, the husky following. Faith waited a few moments, and went after them.