In The End There Is Always Justice

Author: Anime Ronin <diabloslayer21[at]>

Rating: PG-13 (for swearing in parts)

Summary: Follow up of The Assassin And The Sorceress - Xander goes to La-La land in search of Justice and he's not going to be a happy bunny when he gets there.

Disclaimer: I own the computer that I am typing on and that's about it.

AN: This takes place about a week after the last story - there has been a great deal of yelling and even a few punches thrown, but those will be explained at some point or another.

Chapter 1


Xander looked at the bed in front of him and surveyed his load out for a mission that was very necessary in his eyes - the destruction of Angelus; he'd been smart enough not to say anything about it to Buffy outright, but she was apparently smarter than she let on and had actually had the unmitigated gall to tell him she 'forbid' him to go after 'Angel'. This had led to a fight that was probably still ringing in the ears of the listeners (Giles, Willow and Jenny) and led to Buffy having been told, quite bluntly, to make a choice - her once-friendship with him or Angel's life, because she couldn't have both. She'd tried to wheedle and plead to have it both ways, but, quite frankly, Fara, Sasha, Willow, both of them, and his sons Rupert and Jessie were all better at that at their worst than she was at her best and he'd remained unchanged. The fight had ended with her declaring her undying hatred for him, how she would never trust him again, and he'd gotten in the last word like he always did with, "Somehow, I'll find a way to live with myself."

He shook his head and cleared it - he couldn't allow for petty things like past friendships and long-forgotten lust to cloud his judgment or deter him from a mission, as that was one of the first lessons a true assassin learned 'it's not personal, it's business'. With that in mind, he began to put on his kit, something he'd refined over the past fifty years and had done so with success.

First was his armor, a black chainmail number he'd gotten from a Black Wizard who'd believed himself strong enough to contain a briefly-resurrected spirit of Baal and had since paid the ultimate price in first his sanity and then his life - it was enchanted, like much of his gear, but it was unique in that it did nothing to enhance his defensive or his offensive capabilities, but rather to boost his other attributes, like being able to see further in the dark, getting more gold or magical items, being indestructible, something which had seemed cool at first, but all that meant was that while the armor was incapable of being broken, his bones and flesh still were, and it also kept him from being frozen. Fara had once told him what the name was, but he'd since forgotten it, and it was just as well.

Next came his boots, which were actually nothing more than leather boots with metal plates on them, but the plates had made it to where his physical and magical self were boosted considerably and, despite the added weight of the metal, he moved much, much faster than before - they were called the Tearhuanch and the boosts they gave him had saved his ass more than once.

The name of the war gauntlets were something that he'd have sworn was a joke at first, but after checking with no less than a dozen sources, he was just as sure that someone up in Heaven hated him - The Hellmouth war gauntlets allowed him the chance to cast a very powerful fire spell when hit by the name of Meteor, a small chance but a chance none the less, added a damage of blazing fire to any attack he made raised his defenses even more, also kept him from being frozen and, as Willow could attest, struck anything perceived as an attacker when he was struck with enough force to send them back several feet and possibly break bones. Like his armor and boots, they too were a dark gray color that blended well with the shadows.

He was still a little murky on the details even after fifty years and probably close to a thousand explanations from Fara and Sasha, but he next put on a pair of rings and an amulet over his armor and gloves, though it should have been a physical impossibility given their respective sizes. One was a ring that he'd gotten on his first 'mission' with Sasha all those years ago trying to get her home, and it basically gave him back energy and life every time he scored a hit either with magic or with his blades, and that had saved his life more than once, especially in the early goings. The other ring was basically a copy of the first, but it gave him a higher amount of regeneration of his mana and some life back - it was a little freaky at first, but once one got used to the feeling of your flesh growing back quicker than you had lost it, it was easy. The amulet was a special one, though, and very rare in that it gave him minor fire damage and resistances with easy hit, but mostly it was that it let him see further in the dark than he normally did - basically in a nearly-black room, it was like he was holding a torch in each corner, though in the sunlight it got to be a bit of pain, so he had to remember to take it off at sunrise.

Finally he put on a full-face shroud of silk over his face that had a leather hat in it to keep it's shape - there was nothing really special about it save that it kept him from being recognized and it looked really cool when he was running. He and Fara had gone to verbal war over it numerous times even as the kids played with it and, truth be told, those wars were the reason Willow had ever been born, so he'd kept it in hopes of having more wars, but it never came to pass.

Dressed in his armor and equipment, he walked to the bookcase his weapons sat on - no Assassin worth his or her salt went anywhere without their claws, but even few went anywhere without some sort of backup weapon. While many in his profession liked daggers and short swords, as they were easier to hide, Xander had long since told himself he'd never be caught without some ready defense against someone with heavy armor, so he'd chosen to bring along a falchion he'd found some time back that was unique in that it not only never got dull or broke due to the runes he had put into it, but it also gave the person who was hit with it one hell of a jolt of lightning, often enough to kill them even if it was a glancing blow. The first time that happened, he had lost his lunch as the unfortunate Sorceress he had been sent to eliminate had, quite literally, lost her head in the exchange when it exploded after a grazing cut hit her arm - after that he swore to never use it unless it was absolutely necessary, but had since used it nearly a dozen times to deal with the pets and beasts of the mark.

"Xander?" He turned and saw Jenny standing, with her cane, though her legs were getting strong all of the time, in the doorway of his room, dressed in a robe and with her hair quite wet, "Where are you going?"

"Las Angeles and after Angelus. It's time for all accounts to be settled." He pulled on a pair of retractable Greater Talons and triggered the release, watching them snap out into place before recalling them with an ounce of his personal magic supply - it had been a revolution in the arts of killing, once it had gotten out, and over the decades he and Fara had not only perfected it, but had the rites to a part of all revenues, which came in hand over fist.

"So you are really going to do it." Jenny walked into the room even as he pulled on another set of claws, though these were smaller and imbued with magic that made them freeze anything and everything that they happened to cut.

"Yeah - it's something that I've put off long enough." He carefully slid a sheath over the blades and turned around, looking at her eyes and smiling behind his shroud, "You knew I was going to do it sooner or later and I would just as soon do it now."

She reached out and touched his face, something that the first time it had happened he had flinched back but now he accepted as a friendly gesture and nothing more, "I don't ask that you do this, Xander - he will be dealt with another way in anther time."

"Yes, he will," Xander conceded as he pulled back, "but why wait? Why allow him to kill and turn minions now while we have the opportunity to take him out now?"

Jenny sighed and sat down on his bed, which was technically in their now-shard condo (his old one), "What if I told you that we were going to restore his soul?"

Xander only shrugged, "Soul or no soul, he must pay for his crimes."

"And what about you for your own crimes? You've killed in self-defense and out-right murdered, so are you going to pay for your crimes?"

"Of course, and I have already begun to pay - in case you have forgotten, I cannot just go and see my children anymore and my wife and friends are dead. I was not given the opportunity to grow old with Fara, and even now I grow YOUNGER as my body catches up with where it is supposed to be - tell me, isn't that punishment enough?" It hurt more to say it than it did to even think it - his own childhood having been what it had been, he had sworn to himself to never be his father to his children and had not only loved and supported them, he never touched a drop of the hard stuff in over thirty years. "Regardless, I am going, Jenny."

She sighed and forced herself up, waving off his help as she balanced on her cane, "Then I shall be here and waiting for your return - I am sure that Buffy will never forgive you and my own Clan may want to have words with you."

He shrugged, "Can't make everyone happy, Jenny. Trust me, I learned that a long time ago."

LA - 12 hours later

It had been ridiculously easy to explain away his weaponry and armor to the authorities as props for a movie being shot in town, Xander later noted as he pulled into a parking spot that was adjacent to the loft he had temporarily leased for a staging ground; he had hoped that the supernatural blinders to the supernatural had just been on the Sunnydale cops, but apparently they were abound even in La-La land. Knowing that he couldn't wear his armor or weapons in town during the day, he set out with a new kit designed for blending in - jeans, boots, a jacket and a loose shirt that hid his war gauntlets and he also wore his rings and amulet; not a great deal to wear, but enough to keep him alive.

He'd just come back from a karaoke bar named Caritas for information, having gotten the name from Willy back in Sunnydale, and learned not only that even after a half-century of trying and learning he still couldn't sing, but also that Angelus had holed up in an old haunt of his from back in the day, oddly enough, though, he wasn't turning minions or causing much of a ruckus. This worried Xander greatly, especially with how he had already taken out Dru and Spike - Angelus' ego wouldn't let him hide even in a new city like this and that meant that if he was hiding, something was up.

"Kid, this is a bad idea." He spun and buried a throwing spike he'd crafted some time ago into the all next to Whistler's head, missing the Balance Demon by mere millimeters but he appeared to not be worried, "Leave Angelus alone - he's suffering enough."

"Is that a fact - is he paying for the crimes he has committed in the past and since? Is he dust? Oh, how about in a Hell Dimension?"

"None of the above - he's found God, in a way." This piqued Xander's interest and he motioned for the demon to go on, "He had a visit from a VERY high up after you and Sasha actually pulled off your mission and he's been … touched, after a fashion. Same deal as his soul, but with a little something extra."

"Where is he? I want to see this for myself."

Whistler shook his head, "No-can-do, kid - you'd have to do it yourself."

Xander felt his nostrils flare even as he stepped forwards, "Your word that he's suffering - not like before, but much, MUCH worse."

Whistler looked him in the eye, "Yeah, he's thinking that before, with his eighty or so years of uselessness are looking like a cake walk this time around - he's barely moved since he was touched and has been fed only by two rats who were dumb enough to get close. He'd eat you alive, right now."

"Then I'd have to defend myself, wouldn't I?"

Whistler growled at this, "Look, Umbra, all things in your past aside, I like you, but don't push it - there is a lot of shit that is about to go down and I assure you that you won't like all of it. In fact, I'll guarantee that you won't like 90% of it, but it has nothing to do with you and it must happen."

"Where. Is. He?"

Whistler sighed, "Old Hyperion Hotel." With that said, Whistler left and Xander smiled to himself - he was gong to enjoy this.

Hyperion Hotel

Angelus, Scourge of Europe, someone that Hitler would have been proud to have on his hit squad, huddled into a ball of reeking refuse and grime in the basement of a run-down hotel; if Spike were still alive, he'd be laughing his ass off at what had happened to his grandsire. It had been a month since Harris had run him out of Sunnydale by showing just how bad he was capable of being and, at the time, Angelus was amazed that someone in the Slayer's crew was capable of what the kid had done, in fact, he was still sore about the fact he didn't turn the kid like Dru had been pleading for him to do. What a childe the kid would have made, but also what a threat it would have made him - Angelus had no doubt in his mind that Harris would have dusted him and all of them, vampire or not, and done it with a smile on his face and a song in his heart, but those times were past in that Angelus had other things to worry about, like his continued survival.

Nine days before he had been paid a visit by a high-ranking angel and had, in essence, been given another chance and a warning - while his soul had not been restored again, the pain it had brought was back and back with a vengeance in that he couldn't even think for two seconds before his mind was assaulted by the faces of his victims, past and present. It was, quite frankly, enough to drive one mad, but no, the angels wouldn't allow that - that would be too easy; instead they had made it clear to him that no matter how hard he tried, he would continue to feel the pain he had inflicted upon people for over two centuries and would never be free of it because he couldn't stake himself and nobody would be allowed to stake him either.

"Pathetic." He looked into the darkest shadows and only his vampiritic hearing could tell him that someone was there, someone who was human, but also someone who had more power in their hand than he ever had in his entire body, "To think, you were once the worst of the worst. God, how the mighty have fallen." The figure stepped out and clanked slightly as he did - dressed in dark platemail, plated boots, thick gauntlets and with his head wrapped in silken wraps to obscure his face, he extruded power and confidence, but also a deadly air as his hands clenched a large falchion.

"Who are you?"

"I have gone by many names, Vampire - call me Umbra." Angelus flinched at the name and at the tone - he had heard of the human assassin from Sunnydale and was glad to have escaped his early wrath, "So, Angelus, how are you enjoying your suffering? I DO hope it is rather painful, especially for your fragile conscience - you have, after all, a great deal to atone for."

"Like you're one to talk - I've heard about you, Umbra, and you're no angel yourself."

The figure laughed and reached up to his mask, "Angel, no, but I do believe it was you who gave me another moniker that is also very incorrect." Umbra removed his mask to reveal the face of Alexander Harris, "You once called me a White Knight and let me assure you, I am not either a Knight nor are my hands clean enough to be white."

Too many things began to make sense in Angelus' mind as the pieces began to click together, "Harris? You're Umbra?"

"That's right, ladies and germs, he CAN be taught!" Harris walked over, his metal-shod boots making barely a noise as he did, and he then lashed out and caught Angelus in the chest with a kick that sent streaks of pure agony down his torso before waiting to speak, "You know, Deadboy, I've been forbidden from killing you, but you know what? Dead is too permanent - I think I might want to make it linger a little before I take you out."

Angelus raised his head and grinned, "I was right about you, you know that, Harris? You are one seriously sadistic little f- reak!" Another kick caught him again, but this time it was in the abdominal area and it lifted him off of the ground about six inches before he dropped down again, "C-case in p-p-point."

Harris only laughed slightly and it wasn't a nice laugh, "Oh, I'll give you that - I've done things to people over the past half-century that you'd be proud of, Angelus, you and Spike both, but then again, it was my job. You see, I'm an assassin and I am charged with taking out magic-users who cross the line just a little too far and just once too often. I once had to go after this Druid who was sicced his spiritual Dire Wolves and some carnivorous plant he summoned on a small village that refused to pay him homage for his abilities and before I could kill him, I had to take out his little pets - let me tell you, Angelus, they were feisty little things but in the end, it took me about an hour to get to him and do the deed, but not before he and I had a … little chat. I mean, it was you who taught me that a victory needs to be not only savored but also to be learned from - I spent the better part of forty-five minutes learning all I could about the Druid and his abilities before I killed him, but then I sacked his place so I could learn more."

"You're no better than I was, Harris, and coming from me, that's saying something."

Harris only shrugged, "True, I've taken more than a few plays out of your own book, but let it not be said that I'm nothing if not inventive. I could tell you stories that would make you faint, if it were possible, but I regress - I'm not here to kill you, Angelus, but rather I'm here with a message."

"And that would be?"

Harris got closer and Angelus could see the dead look in his dark eyes, "Don't squander this chance, vampire - you step a hair out of line and I guarantee that I will be there to kick your sorry ass back into it to make you suffer even more."

"Aren't you even curious why I was done like this? I mean, a guy like you MUST be curious, given our past and all."

Harris, Angelus was sorry to see, didn't rise to the bait, "Oh, I'm sure someone up there lost a bet on if Sasha and I were going to buy it trying to get her home, but actually it's not my call - you're temporarily untouchable and I want you to know something." Harris stood over him and extended the falchion, "I may not have liked you with your soul and I sure as hell don't like you now, but you're important to the overall board and as such, you only suffer." Harris cut him with the sword's edge and after that, Angelus only knew pain that came from being hit by lightning over and over again.

Somewhere else, same time

"The White Knight shows great promise against the Black Bishop."

"Indeed. I must say, though, that he would make an excellent replacement for my Bishop, should the need arise." The speaker reached into a dish and picked up a black glass bead before placing it on the board in front of him.

The first speaker smiled and picked a white glass bead out of her own bowl and placed it near the black bead, "True, but then again, he has always ridden that fine line between good and evil - his entire family has."

The male being looked at his companion in mild surprise, "I find it odd that you have allowed his line to last as long as it has - did his ultimate grandfather not cost you the life of the lamb?"

The female being nodded and smiled, "Yes, he did, but since then the line of Iscariot has wavered along both sides of the line. Judas may have betrayed the lamb, but you'd be surprised how much difference there is between one brother and the other - I mean, look at Cain and Able?"

"Or the differences between brother and sister - like you and myself." The man picked up another bead and placed it on the board, effectively blocking the woman, "You know, I do believe that this make me the winner of this match."

The woman looked at the board and nodded, "So it does, but remember, brother, tha each day is a new game, and with each game comes an infinite number of possibilities. One day is often all of the difference between victory of the one to the defeat of the same."

The man nodded at this, "So true - goodbye, sister. We shall meet again for another game." With that, the man vanished, leaving the woman alone, clouded in shadows.

The woman looked at the board and then over to the side, where several small figurines sat, each one carved with a face and a rank - on one marked 'Knight' was the face of Alexander Harris, next to his 'Queen', who's face was just starting to take shape. The 'King' was also taking shape, having been recently destroyed with the release of Angelus by the also former 'Queen', Buffy Summers - it irked her that a Champion of Good had been allowed to release such an agent of Evil, and as such, the destiny of the Slayer had been altered even more than it already had by her loyal Knight, and it was one that would bring the Slayer much sorrow and heartache.

Justice prided herself on many things - she may have been blind on occasion, but nobody had ever accused her of being fair. And in the end, she always had the last laugh.

The End