Author: Koos van Winden <van_winden_koos[at]hotmail.com>

Rating: PG 13 for now . . .

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters involved in this fic.

Main pairing: Not sure, at the moment at least X/C, but could also be X/F or X/F/C and *may* even change into X/B (only at the very end) . . . (depends on the feedback :))

Feedback: Do I have to tell? Please, let me know what you think of it.

Many, many thanks to my beta reader 3D Master for correcting my mistakes, listening to my ideas and for the motivation

Time Frame: After Faith, Hope and Trick, S3 BtVS.

Summary: Xander, Willow, Faith and Buffy were patrolling, until Willow asked Buffy something and she answered . . .

Latest addition

Part 1

"You did what?" Buffy screamed.

"I lied," Xander said calmly.

Willow looked pissed, but not as much as Buffy.

"His soul! He had his soul back! Willow performed the spell and you lied. I pushed Angel into Hell thanks to you. You betrayed me!"

She brought force into the argument by knocking him down. He was unconscious, lying on the ground, blood streaming out of his nose and mouth, his jaw broken, and a couple of his teeth laid next to his head. "I'm gonna kill you!" she snapped furious.

Faith was ready to intervene, but no matter how pissed Willow was, this is something she just couldn't watch and do nothing, so she was first. "No, Buffy. Don't . . . please."

Buffy looked incredulously at her. "What!? He betrayed you Willow, your trust."

Willow nodded, her eyes flashed fury for a moment. "I am more pissed then you realize . . . but you don't have to kill him," she said in a calm tone, surpressing her anger.

"Yes, I do!" she yelled and then shook her head. "No, you're right that's even too good for that *asshole*."

"Do you have something different in mind," a teenage looking girl asked suddenly.

Buffy wasn't paying attention. "Yeah, *he* should be sent to hell, taking Angel's place."

"Is that your wish?" the girl asked.

Buffy looked at her, thought for a moment and then shook her head. "No, I wish that that *asshole* hadn't lied to me."

The girl smiled. "Wish Granted . . ."


Buffy turned her head and looked around frowning. Huge fires were everywhere. They lid up the dark sky. Xander who had laid in front of her had disappeared. Willow and Faith who had been standing next to her, as well.

From out of nowhere two huge hell beasts were standing in front of her, ready to attack her. Buffy dodged the first couple of blows from them and her fist connected with one of them. But to her surprise the beast wasn't even fazed by the hit as it growled and launched one of his own. Buffy's surprise was fatal for her; the strike hit home. She flew back several yards. Dizzily she rubbed her forehead with her hand, and saw the two hell beasts in front of her, ready to give her the final blow.

Then she heard a male voice shouting, it was coming from a jeep. "Faith, Angel shoot those bastards." The voice was familiar . . . it was Xander.

Buffy heard the sounds of two shotguns blasting and the two hellbeasts roared. They turned their heads to the new arrivals. "That got their attention . . . Ride away, Giles," Xander commanded. The hell beasts were in pursuit of the jeep. "They have left the victim. Angel, Faith . . . shoot." Two arrows with strange tips left the compound bow and hit their targets. They bored themselves through the thick and hardened skin of the beasts. The beasts looked stunned and then roared loudly as they where ripped open from inside out and organs flew around, they were dead. "Excellent! Those explosive tipped arrows worked perfect, they never let us down . . . thank you, Rambo. And you too, Cordy," Xander said grinning. "Now ride back to check out the victim," he ordered.


"Buffy? You were dead?" Xander asked.

Buffy, still a bit dazed looked up at Xander.

"Dead?" she asked. Then her memories came back. "You should be dead, asshole!" she shouted while she launched herself from the ground and her fist rushed through the air. Before it could hit the aimed target, her fist was intercepted by Angel. Faith in turn kicked her down hard.

Buffy looked up from the ground, groaning in pain, and saw the three standing over her, looking stunned.

"Why did you attack me, Buffy? And why are you still alive? You died when Acathla opened. Angel barely escaped," Xander asked.

Buffy said nothing as the words sank into her mind and tried to stand up. Faith held her down with her foot. "You better answer the question, girl!"

Buffy looked at Faith. "Faith?" she asked, bewildered. Then she looked around and saw that they were all wearing armor and heavy weapons.

"You know me?" Faith asked.

Buffy looked back at her and nodded. "You're the Slayer called after Kendra's death. We have defeated Kakistos."

"Yes, we have. But you were dead," Faith said.

Buffy blinked. <Dead?> she thought as she didn't understand it at all. She watched them, searching for answers. "Why do you wear all that stuff," she asked the group.

"We are the resistance, you don't know?" Xander spoke.


Xander nodded. "We fight the demons of hell. Why don't you know?"

Buffy looked at them and then around. "What has happened?" she asked, slowly beginning to understand.

"Acathla opened the hell and earth is now conquered by the demons from it. Billions of people have died since then and we try to fight it."

Buffy jaw dropped. "Acathla opened hell. But I pushed Angel through . . ."

Faith kicked her, "You never did, you didn't have the guts," she said with disdain.

Angel who looked with sorrow calmed Faith. "It's not her fault, Faith. It's mine . . ."

Faith watched him. "No, it's not! Your demon did it . . . But she . . ." anger was filling her tone ". . . she failed at her job and now we *all* suffer the consequences!"

Before the bickering could get out of hand, Xander interrupted. "It's nobody's fault. It happened." Then he watched them, embarrassment took over. For the first time since it happened Xander couldn't hide his secret anymore. He closed his eyes. "Actually it's my fault," he said calmly. "I'm so sorry, Buf." He shook his head, guilt plainly written on his sad face. "I had the chance to stop it. To help you . . ."

Faith and Angel looked at him, not understanding. With a sore voice Xander continued. "I have no excuse, it all happened so fast. Willow had just recovered and was out of her coma . . ." He shook his head and looked from Faith questioning look to Angel's. "Willow . . . she was perfoming her spell to give your soul back . . . I was the one to tell you . . ." He closed his eyes again, to hide his shame form him self. "I could . . . I should . . . I wanted, but I didn't have the heart to lie to you . . . to make . . . to make your job easier . . ." He opened his wetted eyes, looked at Angel as he nodded empathecally back in understanding.

"I wish you had, Xander. But it's not easy to betray your friends . . . That's something we have learned from you the past months . . ." Angel said softly.

Even though she had the same feelings and understanding for this as Angel, Faith let a little hurt look drill into Xander's sorrowful eye's as some of her respect for him had been damaged a bit. With mixed feelings she released Buffy.

A sudden sound from the jeep was his rescue. "Hurry up!" Giles yelled.

Buffy eyes grew wide and she slowly stood up, half understanding what was going on. "But . . . I pushed you . . . and you . . . you did . . ." she stuttered and stopped when she saw the hurt and grim faces of the trio staring at her. Then the realization of what had happened smacked into her like a steel baseball bat. She staggered back, and then fell down, as the last words before this hell hole appeared rushed back to her, # "No, I wish that that *asshole* hadn't lied to me," # and the last two words echoed through her mind: #"Wish Granted."#

Part 2

In the background of the orange glow of the spherical sky, the inside surface of Hell, demonic monsters were crawling. The five of them rode in the jeep back to their shelter. The jeep, with special wheels, suited for the terrain, raced at its maximum speed.

"Faster, Giles!" Xander commanded as they were chased by a huge flying reptile, a Pterosaur. The beast, a demonic and a more primitive version of the Quetzalcoatlus, had the size of a small plane and was by far the most dangerous member of its group who was still in pursuit. Its wings wiped out and almost hit Faith as she quickly moved away.

"I can't go faster!" was the not welcomed reply. Angel and Faith had their hands full as they were shooting the shotguns empty on other fast demons. They had emptied almost all the ammo and there was only one arrow left. The tip contained a huge amount of explosive, meant to destroy a Hellbeast. The local resistance equipment was running low as they were closest to the place Earth was sucked into hell. Most demons were here, most ammo was used up here.

"Damn, we have to do something and quick," Xander said, more to himself as he kicked the head of a smaller version of a Pterosaur with his barrel, smashing the reptile down. His mind was racing for options. The 'Rambo' trick wouldn't work as the creature was too close. Unlike the Hellbeast - with a thick iron skin that shielded the explosion, letting it tear the beast from the inside slowly to the outside - this reptile would simply blow away, the group included. But he needed a solution *and* very fast as also other monsters were close.

Buffy was silently looking around, taking in all the horrors of the night around her. Sunnydale didn't exist anymore, the place was one huge wreckage, infested by dark creatures of the night who were constantly fighting each other. Luckily for her, there weren't humans outside anymore to see them being ripped apart.

Xander saw the reptile slowly turn a bit to let its long tail come into action . . .

Internally Xander was broken and moved his head and stared at the blank face of the souled vampire, who was shooting on automatic pilot. From all of them he was the one who had to face the most guilt and pain. Xander couldn't imagine what torment Angel must be going through. He knew what kind of demon Angelus was - his way of teasing, playing with its opponent's mind. He knew it with the way Angelus had tortured Giles with Jenny's death. Or how the demon had tried to get into the head of Buffy, playing with her heart. But maybe most of all from his own experience when he met the vampire in the hospital, outside Buffy's room,when he was waiting.


Angelus paused after Xander's threat. "Buffy's White Knight," he said, mocking him. "You still love her . . ." He leant in closer, staring at him. "It must just eat you up that I got there first," he said, hurting Xander deeply.

Xander fought his nervousness as he stared back, his face an iron mask. "You're gonna die . . . And I'm gonna be there," he teased back, trying not to budge under the demon's pestering, hoping to save his own and, more importantly, Buffy's life.

Angelus slapped the flowers against Xander's chest. "Tell her I stopped by." He gave Xander one final look and then went back through the waiting room to the elevator.

Xander still shuddered as he covered his mouth and let out a breath of relief.


Angel saw the flying beast moving into a killing position and then moved his gaze and met Xander's. They both felt a deep kind of relief, ending this agonizing nightmare, as they faced their death.

Buffy was another huge victory for the demon inside Angel. Liam's soul fought to suppress the mangling of Angelus as the Master Vampire roared in pleasure for the unexpected bonus of the return of the blond Slayer in a devastated mood. Xander watched her and saw the horror reflecting in her eyes. <Buffy . . .>

Xander slowly moved his gaze towards the bow when they were all haunted by painful memories and guilt . . .


Four months earlier
Outside hospital

Xander looked at her sword. "Now, that's a new look for you."

Buffy was determined as she felt she had to end it now and continued walking, stubbornly. <It has gone too far . . .> "It's a present for Angel."

"Willow," Xander said. Buffy stopped and faced him. He hesitated. "Uh, she told me to tell you . . ."

One of his two best friends and his personal hero bored her pleading eyes into his. "Tell me what?"

"She . . . she told me to . . . " <Kick his ass!> But sighed as the pressure of remembering the words 'resolve face', coming from his childhood friend as she pointed to herself, overruled this thought. The resolve face had always worked for the redheaded girl and she knew it . . . and how could he refuse Willow's will as he secretly was deeply in love with her? ". . . She is performing the ensouling ritual . . ."

Without a word she continued walking. Xander hesitated, clenching his fists as he was disgusted with himself for a moment and then followed.


Angelus' mansion at the atrium

Angelus played with his sword, idly pointing it at Buffy as she had lost her own. She looked up at him, frightened. <Oh, my plan has worked perfectly. Kendra is dead, Giles tortured and that red wicca witch in a coma. And it was all her fault . . .> The demon growled with deep satisfaction as he imagined the pain Buffy must be going through. *This* was what he lived for, his work, and this . . . this . . . was his *masterpiece*. Eternal torment for every living creature was only a bonus. "Now that's everything, huh? No weapons . . . No friends . . . No hope," Angelus teased her, rubbing her face in it.

Buffy closed her eyes and shook her head. "No, there's hope. Angelus. There is always hope," she said with confidence.

Angelus was a bit surprised by her confidence. That was not as he had planned it. But he recovered quickly, smiling again. "Take all that away . . . and what's left?"

He drew the sword back and thrust it directly at her face. Finally his attack was meant to kill her, to 'collect' the mental victory, as he was certain that he had won.

With lightning-fast reflexes she swung up with both arms and caught the blade between the palms of her hands. She opened her eyes and met his.

She remembered it all clearly.


Whistler took a swig and looked back at Buffy. "Angel's the key. His blood will open the door to Hell. Acathla opens his big mouth, creates a vortex. Then only Angel's blood will close it. One blow will send 'em both back to Hell. But I strongly suggest that you get there before that happens, 'cause the faster you kill Angel, the easier it's gonna be on you."

"Don't worry about me," she simply said back.

"It's all on the line here, kid."

"I can deal." She spoke sadly, "I got nothing left to lose."

And she left, not hearing Whisler's last words. "Wrong, kid. You got one more thing."


<But I have a backup plan,> she thought as she whispered with a taunting tone, "There is always a chance . . ."


Outside the Mansion

"I have to get back!" Xander yelled suddenly.

A sweating and hurting Giles looked at him. "Buffy will take care of him, Xander. We have to go, it's too dangerous."

"You go, I have to go back," he said while he dropped Giles from his shoulder.

"Xander!?" Giles shouted, while he was barely able to stand on his own feet.

"I have to!" he exclaimed as he turned away and ran back, leaving a stunned Giles.

Giles shook his head and almost as stubborn as Xander was he stumbled after the teenager. "Oh, bloody hell!"


Back in Angelus' lair

". . . For a *soul* to return."

Angelus was hit by her words and Buffy took advantage of it. She shoved the blade away from her, and the hilt of the sword hit Angelus in the face. He staggered back, and she hopped to her feet and kicked him in the chest. He stumbled back even more and she reached down and picked up her sword. She swung it around a couple of times and thrust at him, but he managed to parry. They exchanged several blows, blocking each other. Buffy spun around and swung her sword down at him from above. He held up his own to block, but she hit it hard and he fell to one knee. She swung again and he blocked. She spun around with a roundhouse kick to his side and he collapsed to the ground.

"I even can stall for a short time," she told him confidently and teasing at the same time.

Angelus was surprised at this unexpected turn. He had killed Jenny. How were they able to get Liam's soul returned to him? It frightened him deeply and brought him in huge disadvantage as the fight continued. The battle was suddenly in Buffy's favor. She kicked Angelus, and he came flying in through the door, hit the floor and rolled to a stop. Before he could get all the way back to his feet Buffy leaped in and swung her sword at him. He almost missed, parrying her blow and he stepped back to get his footing. They exchanged a few more swings. Angelus missed a block and got sliced on his hand. He clenched his teeth and his eyes wettened with the pain as he moved his head quickly away from Buffy to hide his weakness. He was afraid of what was coming, another century of having to bare the torture of a soul? His brain was thinking of a way out.

"And that's easy, 'cause I know it scares you," she wickedly teased him.


Willow's room at the hospital

Cordelia, Willow and Oz were sitting at a small tray table with the glowing Orb of Thesulahin the middle surrounded by the candles within a sacred circle.

Willow was performing the final stages of the soul binding ritual as she was chanting, "Asa safie! Asa sa fie! Acum!"


Angel's mansion

"And if it takes too long to get you down than *I* will push you to where you belong . . . with or without soul . . ."

Angelus turned his face to her, his eyes with little tears as he stared bewildered into hers. "Buffy?" he softly spoke as he sobbed. "What's going on?" It was easy for him fool her as the demon was a centuries-old master deceiver, always anticipating on the weaknesses of his opponents. The rules were turned toward his expertise: playing with the emotions of humans. Angelus dropped his sword and held his cut.

Buffy stared at him, hoping. She moved slowly forward. "Angel?" She just looked at him, confused but not yet ready to lower the sword. He looked around a bit.

Angelus knew Angel as no one else as he played his role to perfection. "Where are we? I-I don't remember," he whispered.

Finally Buffy realized that the curse must have worked, and she slowly lowered her sword. Her heart filled with hope. "Angel?"

They were standing close to each other. "I... I feel like I haven't seen you in months," he spoke bewildered and then took immediately advantage of her trust with a lightening speed as he turned the direction of her sword to her abdomen . . .


The hospital

Willow spoke the last word of the ritual. "Acum!" The Orb glowed very bright for a brief moment and went dark. Willow suddenly relaxed and looked around blankly.


The Mansion

Buffy fell to the ground, crying. Not from the pain coming from her stomach, but from the pain in her heart. "Angel . . ." she said with a tone that would cut as a razor sharp knife through every soul.

In a last movement Angelus had turned the two of them around with her back facing a tall, horned, stockily built stone demon: Acathla. It's mouth was already open and the beginnings of the vortex, the opening to Hell, had started.

Angel, not realizing what had happened and holding her in an embrace, was on the receiving end of her cry. He pushed her gently back to watch her and saw her wound. "Buffy?" he spoke softly and saw the sword sticking in through her body."What's happening?" he cried out, still confused, scared.

Buffy looked down at her wound and fell his gentle touch on her arm. "Angel," she whispered, seeing a glow in his eyes fading away.

"Buffy?" Angel asked dazed, looking around bewildered. "What's happening?"

His eyes widened when he saw a spiral of darkness and yellow light coming out Acathla's mouth. The vortex had enlarged to about twelve feet across, and it was coming closer.

Angel saw it coming closer and instinctively he moved out of the way, forced by the demon inside him and by his love for Buffy, carrying her along. Hell opened and a light of awareness dawned in his eyes as he truly realized what he had done.

"Oh, my god," he said, seeing again the sword sticking out of the weak Buffy's stomach. She coughed up blood, and then saw his own on his hand. As he pulled Buffy to her feet, he realized his mistake. The first demons came from the vortex, as Acathla readied to suck the whole of Earth into hell. With guilt crushing his conscience he turned away from the vortex, pulling Buffy along who weakly supported herself.

He realized he was the one who could rescue the world and tried to jump into the vortex, but it was to too late as the first demons blocked his way. He looked around quickly as he picked up Buffy. The vortex grew bigger and bigger, while larger and larger demons came out of it - a lot of them. A large tentacle of an octopus-like creature swept out and Angel was barely able to dodge it and then he ran, pulling Buffy's feet of the floor.

Buffy realized what happened, she had lost and knew she was dying. In one last attempt she wanted to repair as much of the damage as she could, and placed a foot on the floor stopping him. A strong understanding in Whisler's words rose in her mind.


"In the end, you're always by yourself. You're all you've got. That's the point," Whistler said.


She wrested herself away from her boyfriend, and said, "Go!"

"No," Angel answered her, as he watched her pull the sword free.

"I can still stop it," she said - trying to convince him, hoping he would back off - showing her sword which had been blessed by the knight who first slew Acathla and turned the demon into the statue.

"It's too late, Buffy . . ."

"Go!" Buffy commanded, as she looked back ready to face the demons who were starting to get over their initial disorientation.

"I will not leave you," Angel told her ready to join her in whatever she was planning.

Buffy looked him in the eyes, tears streaming across her cheeks. "I love you," she whispered with all her emotion.

"I love you too," Angel answered confused, and then found himself lifted of the floor and thrown forward, the command 'Go' reaching his ears as he flew. He landed on the floor, tumbled along, and turned himself around to look at Buffy. He watched the girl he loved scream out, and run straight back into the onrushing demons. The sword sliced through the neck of one demon, gutted another, and then his vision of her was obscured. Buffy was engulfed into a mass of demons, only the occasional body part, and flash of sword indicated Buffy was still alive and getting closer to the source.

With a hollow feeling, Angel got up and ran away from the scene, pain and guilt tearing into him with every step. It was too late, Angelus had won and he knew it by the victorious laughter of the demon.

In the main hall he rushed into Xander, who lifted a stake and snarled, "Angelus! Where's Buffy?"

Angel broke down sinking to his knees crying. "Acathla is open. She went back to fight trying to stop it and let me flee," he sobbed out, sinking down to the ground even further.

Xander looked at him, and realized Angelus was one of the mind fuck, but he wouldn't bother with this for him if he had already won. This was Angel, Willow had succeeded. He was about to ram the stake home anyway, but realized that if they had any chance of undoing this, they might need the bastard's blood, and dust wouldn't give him any of it.

Xander looked up and saw the first demons round a corner, then he grabbed Angel by his hair, and hauled him along, screaming, "Get up and run you spineless bastard!"

Angel nodded and they quickly moved out of the Mansion, straight into Giles.

"Giles! The portal is open, we have to go!" Xander warned him.

Giles eyes widened at his words and even more as he saw demons coming out of the Mansion. "A-Acathla?" he stuttered, not able to realize the consequences.

"Yes, his mouth is open, now come!" Xander yelled as he took his arm to follow him. But Giles was not able to follow them so fast and Xander commanded Angel. "Carry Giles, now."

Angel nodded in a stupor and slung the librarian over his shoulder, and ran after Xander.

They rushed out of the Mansion while Xander for brief moment looked back. <We will comeback, Buffy . . . Oh, we will!>



Fueled by the memories Xander picked up the compound bow and the arrow. In a smooth move he placed the arrow on the bow and stretched the pace. Xander's senses combined with the soldier's shooting experience calculated a track as he aimed the arrow . . .

Giles saw Xander aiming the highly explosive material in front of the jeep instead of the back. "Hit the breaks!" was Xander's command. Giles had learned to trust Xander's instincts, and instantly performed the order. There had been enough instances that Xander had done similar things and the command was also a sign for Faith and Angel to drop themselves down.

The jeep jumped to a stand still and the beast flew over them, barely passing Xander who had braced himself for the impact. Just a few seconds after the jeep had stopped he adjusted his aim a bit and the arrow flew straight into the flying demon who was now about sixty yards in front of them. A fraction of a second later it blew into pieces as the wave front almost instantly hit the truck. Several of the other demons were also killed by the explosion while the gang had only minor injuries.

Giles was the only one who sat during the impact and he was safe behind the front window - it was made of a special kind of plastic. And if there was one thing Giles had learned in the last few months it was that *time* was the essence in this war as he immediately hit the gas. The wheels spinned and the jeep accelerated, passing the smoking pile of death, where other demons had found their new food - it was their rescue.


Part 3

The group walked to the corridors of what once was a military base located in a secret bunker located under Sunnydale UC.

Buffy couldn't believe it, she looked around slowly, horrified by what she saw. People lay dead or dying. She saw one stretcher carrying away what had to be a dead body, so the dead would be transported out sooner or later. The smell of blood and burned flesh assaulted her sensitive Slayer nose, it made her want to run away, or find the demon that did this, but she had the distinct impression that the demon was nowhere around down here.

There was not electricity, no heat, no hygiene, a few flickering fires were all that the people had. The fires caused ghostly shadows to move across the walls, offering a few glimpses at smudged, hardened faces, most had empty eyes, no hope . . . except when they caught sight of their group, and mostly Xander, then their eyes lid up, however little.

<This can't be . . . it just can't, I sent Angel to hell,> Buffy thought in horror, as the devastating scenario became more and more impossible to deny, or to believe, and all around her there the sounds of wailing. Screams accompanied them, and cries of anguish and pain followed on top of that. Soft prayings where only for Slayer- ears to hear while she wasn't able to see the faces who whispered them. <How can this be? This isn't my fault. Why? Why me?> She wanted to cry and run away, but the horror in front of her eyes kept her too shocked to do much else but trod after the rest of the group.

The cells were turned into hastily patched together sick bays. The staff wasn't able to more then simple first aid as they lacked the right equipment and skills for more complex procedures.

As the group continued waling through the hallway, Buffy turned her head to look into one of them. She saw a heavily wounded woman lying on a stretcher with a little boy holding onto her shoulder, crying. "I-It's going to be alright," she whispered to him, trying not to stutter, making him more comfortable. "The doctors will have me p-patch . . ." She tried to continue with her last willpower, but felt silent.

"Mom? . . . Mom . . . Mom!?" The boy looked at her and started to shake his mother. "Mom!!" he yelled, desperately.

A flicker of hope appeared in his eyes as the mother opened her mouth to speak while she turned her head to look at the boy. It was the last sign of life as her eyes stayed open.

"No! . . ." the boy yelled and started to cry.

Angel turned around, missing the presence of his former love, and saw her standing with an ashen and expressionless face. He immediately walked back and laid a hand on her shoulder. It didn't get any reaction as she continued staring. He stared in her direction and then turned his head to her again. "Buffy, come. He will be taken care of." He wrapped his arm around her and gently pulled her out of the sight and trance.

She let herself be guided by her former lover throught the corridors as her thought proces couldn't comprehend what she just had witnessed.


Resistance HQ located under Sunnydale UC

The returning troops of the resistance stumbled into the main room looking exhausted. They had finished their patrol and saved some people's lives. Xander's team came also walking in. He was at least as washed out as his men, but hadn't the luxury to show it. For most of the resistance he acted as their example. As their hero. He was barely able to hold up that image, but for humanity's sake he hadn't any choice. Only a few knew his real state of mind. Only Angel, Giles, Faith and Cordelia knew. They formed his inner-core and the only ones he was able to completely trust. If it was forced or out of own free will.


An old man walked over to him and saluted him. "Sir, we have lost cell 718."

<Damn! That's Jason's team.> He swallowed the pain silently as he nodded, keeping his stoic mask. "No contact?"

"No, sir. We have lost all communication."

"Thank you, general." The man nodded and walked away as another officer replaced him. For some time he collected all the news, some good, but most bad.

The last one was Willow who just came walking over. "Have you found anything?" she asked.

Xander's only reply was a pointing finger to the blond girl who was sitting in a corner, are face blank. Willow stared in the direction and blinked. "Huh? . . . Buffy?"

Xander nodded and stared her in the eyes.

"How can this be?"

"You don't know?"

"It wasn't me, I swear, Xander. I only registered the magic, I didn't 'cause it . . ." she hastily said.

Xander frowned for a second. "I didn't say you were responsible, Willow. I know you have learned your lesson. I just want to know how she could be there all of a sudden."

In the meantime Faith had walked over to Cordelia. "C, I have to tell you something. Ya not gonna like it."

Cordelia looked up from her work as she was mixing all kinds of powder. "What is it?"

"It's X. He . . ."

An older man had been eavesdropping on Faith explaining the situation of Buffy to Cordelia. He frowned as he saw Cordelia reaction to it. He walked towards them. "Hey, Xander was helping that girl. She didn't do her job. You can't blame Xander for it."

Both girls looked at him in disgust. "Go away," Faith replied.

He pointed a finger at both of them. "And you call yourself his friends. Xander is a hero. And I can't tolerate that scum like you both are fucking up his life. And if you think I'm gonna stand by and watch him being destroyed by bitches like you two, then you're wrong."

Faith's eyes flashed furious. "You're the most fucked up guy I've ever met. And that counts for something with my rep. For years you treated him as dirt and all of the sudden he became a hero, you are willing to see it. That you have fucked up with your wife doesn't mean that . . ."

"You stay out of my and my wife's business, bitch. And what happened between me and my son too."

"Xander is our business. You make yourself proud, powerful and famous over the back of your own son. He isn't a god to be worshipped. He's just a guy and if you're not willing to see that, then you better stay out of it!" Cordy practically yelled.

"I will, but when I see that you're gossiping this around I will have to do something about it . . ." he threatened the girls.

"And how do think you are gonna do that, mister. You and your Gestapo are banned out of this place. The only reason Xander welcomes you here is because you are his father."

"We will we see about that . . ."

The man stepped away quickly and the girls sighed. Xander's father hadn't approved their relationship with Xander from the beginning, but it got worse and worse. "I think we need to have a talk with Xander about this," Cordy said.



The group ran from Angelus Mansion as Xander thought what to do. "Xander," Angel continued, "demons are crawling out of my place . . . they will attack the nearest houses. We have to protect them."

"We can't. Demons will be pouring over the Earth in no time. We need to go back, trying to close it." His mind was racing for options. "Somehow . . ."

Angel and Giles could see the logic in that. "Do you have any ideas?" Giles asked.

Xander shook his head as he wound himself up thinking about Buffy. Suddenly screams came from everywhere shaking Xander out of the horrible thoughts that were haunting him. He turned his head to sweep the area and saw people running over the streets as a thirty feet high demon had freed himself from Angelus' base. The demon was a strange kind of prehistoric reptile.

"Shit! A phone! I need get to a phone, quick," Xander said as he ran to the nearest cell phone.

Giles stared at him and yelled after him. "Why!?"

"The Army base, I have to warn them!" he yelled back as he picked up the horn.

When Angel and Giles were next to him Xander turned his head to stare at Giles while waiting for a reply when he had given his access codes and asked for the general.

"We can't deal this alone, Giles. Hell is about to suck us in, this is a world-wide disaster . . . one word: Armageddon," he said calmly. Giles nodded in agreement as he had no other choice than to agree. Both Slayers were dead now, and the scoobies were *not* able to deal with this.

Xander continued as Giles nodded and went over to the cell phone next to him. "Hello, Colonel Newsome? This is Private Harris on the 33rd, I'm on live and in Sunnydale. I need to speak with the General, sir."

After more codes, explanations and some questions Xander finally was able to get the General on the phone, while Giles had explained the situation to Willow. "Tell her to steal weapons from the army."

Giles look confused. "How? And you have contacted the military base, why should she?"

"We don't have time to wait for the army. I'll give her the location and she can use a transportation spell."

"Xander, that is a heavy spell," Giles objected.

Xander looked at him with a face that would scare even the Ripper. "If she *can* perform an ensouling spell then she certainly can do a transportation spell."

Giles blinked at his grim tone before agreeing reluctantly. Xander sighed a bit. "Look, I'm sorry. That was uncalled for. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but we need her help and fast."

Giles nodded. "Fine."

"I will ask the general and arrange for 'transport'. And let her contact other magicians. We are gonna need them."

Part 4

"I have talked with the Council. They will send the new Slayer and her Watcher as quickly as possible," Giles informed Xander after a series of phone calls, while he was still on the phone.

"Let them go to a designated place and sent the coordinates through."


"Let Willow transport them."

Giles frowned. "That's taking a lot of risk, Xander."

"I know."

"Why not by plane?"

"Takes too long, I need her now." He paused for moment. "Also very dangerous. Do you think it is advisable to let them come here by plane," he said while looking up to see the first flying demons already started to penetrate the sky.

Giles frowned as he looked up and reluctantly agreed.

A couple of tank rocket launchers with a bunch of missiles laid on the floor and Giles and Angel positioned a crowbar on the lock of each of them. "We don't have any choice, Giles. We need them as fast as we can. Ground transport will be even more dangerous." Xander pointed at the rocket launchers. "When you have informed them you can explain how to use those to Angel."

Giles knew Xander had made his point earlier, but this was something that the Watcher couldn't agree with so quickly. "The plane would leave them vulnerable, but transportation spells are not only very dangerous, Willow is hardly capable to perform . . ."

Xander stared at Giles. "Look, I know it very risky. But we have no choice. We need her and the faster she can be here the better. In other words: right now."

"Alright. You have made your point. But we don't really need her Watcher. Maybe it is better if she is . . ."

"We need her too, Giles. She is much more useful with her Slayer then alone."

Without any more protest, but with big worries he again talked with the Council.


After Giles had informed the Council of the plans regarding the Slayer he was about to dial Willow's number again, when he saw how a green flash had brought them a lot of C4. "What are you planning to do?"

"I'm gonna build a bomb," he calmly replied. "And then we are gonna lure that beast out there into your Mansion again," he said while looking at Angel "and we are gonna blow it up."

"You need the Slayer for this, don't you?"

Xander nodded.

Giles knew what he meant. Only a Slayer could be bait for a demon and live to tell the tale. Angel wouldn't be able to do the job as he was not able to attrack the attention of demon of this magnetude. Especially as he was just one human soul among many. Another flash brought a bunch of semi-automatic weapons. Giles frowned when he stared for a moment at all those weapons. "Where are those for? We can't use them all, Xander."

"We are not alone, Giles," Xander answered as a small group of demons crowded from nearby. "Angel," he simply said as he continued his work with the bomb without even looking. The vampire immediately came into action as he quickly wiped away a bunch of demons with his bare hands, before he picked up one of the semi-automatic weapons.

People were running over the street in pure terror. A small group, scattered around, of them however managed to actually fight them. Not very successfully, but with heart and bravery.

"Give it to them and try to bring them together in a group," Xander said while he pointed at them. "But be careful, I still need you for the rocket launcher."



"Willow, you're sure you can't do anything about it? Nothing that can expain what the witch coven from england told us?"

Willow shook her head. "No, Xander. But I'm sure that some kind of magic is involved. I can feel it, like if it is in this very room."

"Even here? Buffy?"

"I don't know, Xan. I don't know what happened, Xan. The magic we have detected at the spot is strange. And its power core is centered at a different location."

"Can you pinpoint the power core?"

"We are trying too. But it's moving, or rather jumping from location to location.

Xander's eyes widened in surprise. "What do you mean by 'location to location'?"

"All around the world, Xander. It jumps from Brazil to the States to Europe, everywhere."

"Transportation spell?"

Willow shook her head. "It must be something like that, but I can't detect the magic behind it. Nor can the coven, Amy or Tara."

Before Xander could ask further he was interrupted by Cordelia and Faith. "Xander, we need to talk with you."

Xander turned his head toward them. "Can it wait?"

"It's too important," Cordelia said.

Xander walked into a private room while he was taking of his armor and the girls followed him.

"Okay, what's up?"

"Faith told me what happened."

"Yes, so?"

"Is it true that you couldn't lie to Buffy?" Cordelia asked straight.

Xander blinked by the sudden question. He swallowed. "Yes."

Cordelia and Faith glanced at each other.

"What is the problem?"

"Xander, we are worried," Cordelia said.

"Why?" Look I know I screwed up . . . I-I just couldn't."

"We can understand that," Cordelia said, ignoring how Faith got angry.

"Oh, I . . . than what's the problem?" he asked and looked at Faith.

"I think you are taking this all too far," Cordelia explained.

"What do ya mean?"

"You are way to hard on everybody. Driving every one to the edge, including yourself."

"I'm not."

Cordelia sighed. "Yes you are. From day one you are giving one hard, cold command after another. Taking maximum risks."

"I don't have any choice."

"You do."

"I don't. And why are you asking me this suddenly? What does my lie or lack of it have to do with it?"

"Everything. You made one mistake, and you're overcompensating that. Every single time."

"I'm not!"

"You are and you can't even see that for yourself," Cordelia tried to convince him of her point.

"Cordelia . . ."

"You expect everybody to be hard. And I believed that. But you couldn't even make a fucking single lie yourself!" Faith suddenly snapped.

"Faith . . ." Cordelia said calm to her.

Xander stared at the two and then at Faith alone. "This isn't about me, it it? This about your Watcher."

"Damn right it is!" she yelled.

"Faith . . ." Xander said calm.

She snorted. "You made that stupid decision to transport her over here and now she's crippled and in pain for the rest of her miserable life!"

"Faith . . ."

"She is a fucking freak!" she snapped again and she took off furious.

"Faith . . . Please . . ." he tried one more time, but she had already left the room. "Damn!"