Author: Dave Mycock <dave13509[at]>

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of the other characters. They belong to Joss Weadon.

Paring: Xander/Tara, Xander/Faith (friendship maybe romance)

Summary: Faith didn't turn evil in season three and helped defeat the mayor; she joins Xander on his road trip however neither returns in season 4 but decide to stay in L.A. whilst their Xander begins to undergo a change. His senses become acute and he becomes much stronger than ever before, he also begins to act more on his instincts than anything else. Back in Sunnydale Willow meets Tara and gets her involved in the slaying and soon they both fall in love with each other however she seems to be hiding something from her friends.

Chapter 1

Xander jumped out of the way of the vampire charging at him. He smiled grimly and then launched himself at him, knocking him down and quickly smashing his elbow into the vamps back, breaking his spine. The vampire screamed in agony as Xander grabbed his head and twisted it right off, turning him to dust.

"You now Xan you're getting really dark these days" Faith said from behind him.

"I know. Whatever is happening to me is getting stronger," he replied as he stood, his stake gripped tightly.

"I hope it doesn't get too strong," she shot back, somewhat worried about her friend.

"Me too," he agreed. "I just wish Wesley or Angel had heard of something like this happening before," he sighed.

"You may not want to hear this Xan, but why not go see Giles; he's more knowledgeable than Wesley any day of the week" Faith suggested.

Xander turned to look at his best friend. It still surprised him how things had changed between them since they had left Sunnydale two years ago. His relationship with Willow and Buffy were strained to the breaking point; they hadn't needed him or wanted him about. Willow, because she didn't want to be reminded of the fluke that she, Oz and Cordelia blamed him for. And Buffy, because she thought he was weak and couldn't cut it anymore. Angel was no help at the time, although now they seemed to have buried their long time hatred. Of course Giles agreed with Buffy; after all, she was the slayer. Faith was the one person he now trusted completely. After five months on the road, they had both opened up to each other. They had spared nothing and now they were as close as brother and sister.

"I guess it could reveal some answers," he grudgingly agreed.

Faith noticed the dark shadow that seemed to cover his face as he thought about going back to Sunnydale. She knew the anger he still felt at his so called friends, and how they had treated him before they had left. But if they wanted to know what was happening to Xander, then really they had no choice.

"Okay, we'll go. I'll set the alarm for eight o clock," he told her with a small smile.

Faith grinned as she took Xander's hand in hers and began leading him back to their apartment. She'd had to call Angel and let them know they'd be out of town for a while. It wouldn't be easy for either of them to face Buffy and the others, but it was something they had to do.


Tara watched as Buffy and her boyfriend Riley fought of the two vampires that had jumped them. She quickly noticed Willow, Oz and his girlfriend Anya rushing toward them. As she moved to greet them, something caught her attention. Something was changing… something important.

"Tara, are you okay?" her girlfriend asked, breaking her concentration.

"Yeah, I'm fine," she replied, avoiding telling them the truth. She knew they were uneasy with how attuned her senses were and didn't want to make them even more uneasy.

Buffy finally managed to take the legs out from under the vampire she was fighting and quickly staked it. Riley was knocked into a nearby grave by the taller of the vampires. Oz quickly jumped forward and staked it as it tried to tackle Buffy. Riley got back to his feet and quickly dusted himself off; he walked over to them and gave Oz a nod.

"Guess that's enough for tonight, I'm tired," Buffy said, trying to stifle a yawn.

"Good. Tara and I have got a Psychology test tomorrow," Willow said as she grabbed Tara's hand and began walking away followed by the others.


Xander drove towards Sunnydale still feeling uncertain about seeing his friends again. His anger at their treatment of him still got to him. He knew, however, somewhere in the back of his mind, that they only tried to keep him out of the slaying for his safety. As for the situation with Willow and Oz, that would have to be sorted out as well. He had already talked with Cordelia about the fluke, when he and Faith had helped Angel and Wesley in one of their dealings with Wolfram and Heart.

He looked in his mirror and smiled as he noticed Faith was laid out in the back seat asleep. He liked watching her sleep peacefully. During their talks, she had told him about the constant nightmares that had plagued her since she was nine years old. Since they had become friends, those nightmares had vanished and likewise, his own. They had managed to help each other bury their horrid pasts, so they could both move on and begin new lives. Granted, they both still patrolled at night, fought any vampires or demons they came across and helped Angel and his team when necessary.


Tara woke quickly as her senses found the scent that had attracted her attention the night before. She looked at her clock and noticed it was only nine-thirty. Something inside her told her that whatever this scent was, it was something familiar to her genes; similar to her in nearly every aspect. This both frightened and excited her. Not since her real mother had died had she sensed something akin to kin. Her foster family, the Mclays, had never understood her; only her foster mother had treated her with any real care. She had also taught her how to use magic, having sensed she had the ability to use it with complete control. This had annoyed her foster father and brother even more. They believed magic was evil that she and her foster mother were demons, but her senses told her this wasn't true. She had felt nothing but lonely since her foster mother had died; that was until she had met Willow and her friends. They had welcomed her into their circle and her and Willow had even begun a relationship. She had not told them anything about her differences from them, thus making sure they didn't become too disturbed by her.

Buffy was already freaked about the fact that her senses were stronger than the slayer's. Giles, too, was somewhat uneasy about this fact and she knew he was trying to find out what she was. She wondered if this scent that seemed to call to her blood would hold the answers to the questions she had, seeing as she didn't know what she was either.


"Hey," Faith said as she slowly woke.

Xander smiled as he quickly looked back and gave her a smile before returning to watch the road. "Hey," he returned.

"How far are we from Sunnydale?" she asked.

"At least an…" His voice quickly died as his senses came alert.

Faith quickly noticed his fall off and climbed into the front seat. His face showed complete confusion and awe.

"What is it Xan?" she asked.

"I'm sensing something. It's like I know it and yet I don't remember what it is," he told her slowly. "I can just barely remember feeling something like this when I was two," he added.

"What does it feel like?" she asked.

"Family," he replied, giving her a confused look.

'Family.' That didn't make sense to Faith. The only family Xander had was two drunken, abusive parents who had almost killed their own son. One other idea came to mind, and that was what if Xander had been adopted. She decided she'd have Willow check Xander's files when they arrived. That way, she might find an answer to help her friend.

"It's strong. I think it knows something has sensed it, something like itself," her friend continued.

"Does it seem threatened?" Faith asked.

"No, but it is scared; and to be truthful, so am I," he replied.

This stunned Faith. Ever since this change had begun in him, Xander had not been scared of anything. No matter how bad the threat they faced, nothing seemed to be able to make him afraid. However, whatever this thing was, this thing that seemed familiar to him had somehow frightened him. The change he had undergone had made him stronger, although not as strong as a slayer, but it had made his senses and instincts stronger. This was just another extension of that change. The possibility that there was someone like Xander in Sunnydale, with similar traits, gave her hope that the answers they sought would be helpful ones; but a small part of her also dreaded meeting this thing in Sunnydale. The likelihood was it could be something evil. She hoped that this wasn't the case.


Willow could tell her girlfriend was on edge for some reason, as if she was waiting for something or someone to show up. She had never seen her like this since the day she met her. Granted, she could be shy now and again; especially when she had first become involved with the slaying, she was nervous around Buffy and Giles. Oz and Anya didn't seem to bother her too much, but she hadn't been very talkative.

"Are you ready for the test?" she asked, finally breaking the silence that had surrounded them since leaving the dorm.

Tara gave her a quick look and then nodded her head; she was too busy concentrating on the scent. It was getting closer. It had sensed her and she had noticed it had reacted the same way she had, both fearful and excited at the possibility of meeting someone like themselves.

"Tara, what's wrong?" Willow tried again to get her girlfriend to talk.

"I'm fine," she finally answered, giving her another brief look.

Willow sighed and decided to wait before asking her again. It was obvious she was too distracted to tell her anything.


Xander narrowed his eyes as he saw the outskirts of Sunnydale come into view; this wasn't going to be an easy homecoming. Neither he nor Faith had kept in contact with Buffy or any of the others. They had asked Angel not to mention they were staying in L.A. It was likely they'd both get a lot of crap about it, especially from Willow.

"It'll be okay Xan," Faith said, placing her arm around him.

"I hope so; but in Sunnydale, you never know what's going to happen," he reminded her.

"I know, just try and keep a positive mind okay?" she asked, giving him an encouraging smile.

He looked at her and nodded his agreement. In Sunnydale, he had learned you had to keep a positive view or you'd end up loosing focus, and most likely get yourself killed. He may have gotten rid of a lot of his demons. He still had one or two left to deal with, but he was here to find answers, and that was going to be his priority.

Faith watched Xander carefully as he battled with whatever he was feeling about returning to Sunnydale. She knew it wouldn't be easy for either of them, especially when it came to Willow. She still hated Faith for sleeping with Xander during the re-opening of the Hellmouth. That was another thing they had discussed a few times.

She had apologized for kicking him out of the bed straight after they had finished. He had forgiven her, saying he understood how she didn't like to get attached due to having such a bad history.

She barely noticed the Sunnydale welcome sign as they entered the town. She wondered if they would go looking for Buffy and the gang now, or wait until they were settled in. She turned to Xander to ask but he spoke before she could.

"We'll go to Giles' tomorrow, okay? Let's just get used to been back. Plus we can have a rest as well," he told her.

"What, you read minds now?" she joked, feeling as if he had read her mind.

"Not me, I just figured you'd wonder what we'd do when we arrived," he said with a smile.

"Actually, I wouldn't mind having a rest before we get into all this. I wouldn't be surprised to find them dealing with some big apocalypse deal," she shot back.

He nodded. "Like I said, you never can tell what's going on in good old Sunnydale."

He pulled the car into the car park of the motel Faith had stayed in the last time she was here. They both got out and walked into the manager's area and quickly got a room. They didn't mind sharing a bed as they had done it a few times before they had found a flat with two bedrooms.

"Brings back some memories," she said smiling mischievously.

He returned the smile and then decided to have some fun. "Hey, think positive. History might repeat itself," he said winking at her.

"That would mean you getting kicked out again," she pointed out.

"Damn, forgot about that." He pretended to curse as he opened the door. As Faith entered, Xander sensed that the other presence was just across town. He frowned. Soon he hoped to come face to face with this presence, and hopefully it would turn up some answers.


Tara could not sleep. She had tried a few times, but the closeness of the presence was driving her senses mad. She could feel it was having the same problem. The only thing that calmed her was the fact that the presence showed no hostility toward her, but a genuine curiosity. She knew Willow had noticed her distraction all through the day but had decided not ask anything more. Tara had lost her temper with her girlfriend's worrying nature before.

She also felt anger and fear from the presence; anger at people here in Sunnydale from its past, and fear of seeing them again. But also hope to put things right between them, to settle old wounds. She wondered what had happened that had driven them away. She hoped to find answers to these questions when she met the presence.


Xander looked out the window at the night sky, wondering where the presence was. All he could sense was that it was across town. All he wanted was to go and find it, but his mixed feelings about meeting it kept him in the motel.

"You okay?" Faith's voice drifted from behind him.

"Can't sleep," he replied absently.

Faith had been watching Xander stand at the window for the past half hour. It had been clear to her that this presence was keeping Xander alert. Not due to fear of attack, but the fact that it almost the same as him, the same scent as it were.

Everything about it was similar to him and yet he didn't remember feeling anything like it before, except in a dream or a distant memory.

"What's wrong?" she asked, standing and walking over to her friend's side.

"It's the closeness of it; it's driving me crazy," he told her. "Not in the literal sense. but my senses are like on overload," he added at her raised eyebrow.

"Only a few more hours until daybreak, Xan; then we'll find this presence, but only after we see B and the others," she told him.

He turned and looked at his friend and was about to argue that finding the presence was more important, but he noticed the look in her eyes and he relented, nodding his head in agreement. He knew when to argue with Faith and when not to. During the third month of their trip, they had been hunting a vampire near the outskirts of L.A and they had tracked it to a cave. He had wanted to follow it and kill it, but Faith was more logical about the situation. But because he had followed his newly heightened instincts, he had argued with Faith until finally she had knocked him unconscious. He had woken up a few hours later and learned Faith had dusted the vampire as he came out of the cave. He had apologized and promised to try and control these newly awakened instincts.

"You should go back to sleep Faith, I'll try and keep quite," he suggested.

"Fine," she nodded, knowing he wasn't going to be able to sleep until they found the presence.


Willow woke to find Tara already awake; she was wearing one of her long dresses with a white t-shirt and a black jumper and had her hair tied back. Willow wasn't used to seeing Tara up so early, let alone showed and dressed. She guessed it had to do with whatever was bothering her, but Tara wouldn't talk to her about it, and that hurt her feelings greatly.

"I'll meet you at the magic box, I have something to do," Tara said before leaving.

Willow stared at the door in surprise; this behavior of Tara's was beginning to unnerve her. She had talked to Giles and Buffy a few times about the way Tara seemed to keep some things from them concerning herself; but now it was getting worse. She decided to talk with Giles again maybe he'd have a better chance at getting Tara to open up.

She quickly showered and dressed and headed for the Magic Box, hoping to get there before Tara so she could speak to Giles. She entered to find Giles at the counter; whilst Buffy, Oz, Anya and Riley were at the table going through some of the books.

"Hey Will," Buffy said, smiling at her friend.

Willow nodded absently as she headed toward the counter. Giles looked up from the book he had been reading.

"Good morning, Willow," he said with a small smile.

"Giles, I need to talk to you in private," she told him quietly.

Giles noted the look on the young redheaded witch and nodded, indicating the back room. The others watched silently but made no comment. Giles closed the door once they had entered.

"Now what is bothering you Willow?" he asked, taking of his glasses and wiping them.

"It's Tara," Willow replied quickly.

"What about her?" he wondered, replacing his glasses.

"Since yesterday she's been acting very strange and secretive. I've asked her what's wrong, but she won't tell me," Willow stated. "She was up very early this morning and left saying she had something to do, but she looked very nervous," she added.

Giles took this information in and put it together with what they already knew about the blond witch. He had no luck so far in discovering why her senses were stronger than his slayer's. It was obvious to him and the others, including Willow, that Tara was hiding a few things from them. He looked down for a few minutes and then back up.

"Has she acted unusual in any other way?" he inquired.

"She's also been very distracted, and she also shouted at me the other day, she's never shouted at me before," Willow told him.

Giles frowned somewhat. It was unlike Tara to shout at anyone; she was usually very quite and now and again nervous, especially when she first got involved with them. He really had no clue as to what could be going on.

"I'm sorry Willow, but I don't know what it could be. I think we'd better just keep an eye out, okay?" he told his young friend.

Willow nodded, feeling frustrated, but knowing if Giles didn't have a clue, then no one else would either. She would just have to wait and see if anything happened and she hoped things wouldn't get any worse. She followed Giles back into the shop to see Tara had joined them. She smiled at her girlfriend and walked over to her; however Tara gave no indication that she had seen her. Her eyes were closed and she seemed to be concentrating hard on something. Willow looked to the others and they all shrugged. Giles however, had a look of contemplation on his face that increased her own fear.


Xander walked side by side next to Faith feeling tense all over. They were heading to the magic shop that Angel had told them was where the gang held their meetings and planned patrols. He had actually laughed when Angel had told him Giles had brought the shop. It seemed fitting that a former watcher would buy a magic shop, especially in Sunnydale.

The thing that was making him really tense was the fact that the closer they got to the shop, the closer the presence felt. He wondered if somehow Buffy and the others had come into contact with it. He hoped they hadn't caused it any harm. If they had, they'd be having one big argument. They reached the shop and both looked at the other at the same time. They nodded to each other and entered the shop.


Everyone including Tara spun around to see who had entered the shop and everyone, bar Tara, was stunned to see two people they never expected to see again.

"Xander," Willow gasped as she recognized her lifelong friend.

"Faith," Buffy said as she noticed her sister slayer as well.

However Xander's eyes had locked on the blonde-haired woman standing by Willow's side. It was clear that she was the one the scent was coming from. The woman's eyes were also locked on him. He saw fear, excitement, and a sense of calm in her warm, brown eyes. Willow noticed the hard stare both her girlfriend and her friend were giving each other; it was as if nothing else existed but them. Faith had also noted that fact and she already had a guess as to why they were staring so hard at each other.

Buffy couldn't believe it; she had never expected to see either Xander or Faith again. They'd left Sunnydale two years ago and they'd heard nothing from them. Even Angel said he hadn't seen or heard from them. She noticed Riley was looking somewhat confused as to who the two at the door were; she decided to explain to him later. She took a few steps closer to them and then noticed that Xander's eyes were pinned on Tara and, when she looked to where Willow's girlfriend stood, she was surprised to see the same thing. She looked at Willow who was looking nervously between the two them not sure what was going on. Faith was smiling somewhat and Buffy knew she knew why they were staring at each other.

"Faith, what are you doing here?" Giles asked calmly.

"We need your help, G-man," Faith answered adopting Xander's nickname for the ex-watcher who frowned at her.

"With what?" Buffy asked.

"With Xander," she answered as she moved to the counter and sat down.

Buffy looked back at Xander who had begun to move toward Tara. Her senses didn't show any signs of threat from him toward the blond witch, but she stood in his way anyway and was unprepared for the growl that came out of him.

"I'd back off B; unless you want to have your head ripped off," Faith warned the older slayer.

Buffy looked at Faith as if she was crazy. Xander had no strength or any other special abilities to help him in a fight. She'd knock him on his arse if he tried anything, but Faith seemed certain that Xander would take her apart.

She turned to ask Tara what was going on only to see her moving closer to where she and Xander stood, the look in her eyes was almost primal. This shocked her even more. Oz and Riley were both moving toward where Xander stood, ready to restrain him if necessary.

"Everyone stop right now," Giles ordered as he saw Oz and Riley move to where Xander stood. "Faith, what exactly is the problem with Xander?" he asked turning to where the dark-haired slayer sat.

"During our trip he underwent a change. His senses became more powerful and so did his instincts," she answered moving to the side of her friend. "He's also stronger. Not as strong as a slayer, but strong enough to tear a vampire apart; but his senses are more attuned than a slayer's," she continued.

"Senses?" Giles asked looking at Willow who was looking between him and Tara. He knew she was thinking of the troubling connection this put between Xander and Tara. They both seemed to have more powerful senses, and it was possible Tara had the other traits as well, but she had hid them from the group.

Tara took another few steps toward where Xander, Buffy and Faith stood. All her senses were locked on him and she could feel it was the same for him; they couldn't pull their eyes off of each other.

Willow couldn't take it anymore. She walked in front of Tara to halt her advance toward her friend and received the same growl Buffy had. This freaked her out even more. As she took a step back, Tara advanced again, not really seeing anyone but Xander.

"Giles, what's going on?" Oz asked as he warily watched Xander; his hatred for Willow's best friend was still firmly in place.

"I don't know," Giles answered. "Faith, do you think you can get Xander to snap out of whatever trance he seems to be in?"

Faith shrugged and grasped her friend's hand in hers. For a few minutes nothing happened and then, finally, Xander's head moved and he looked at her with a questioning glance.

"We came here for answers, remember," she told him.

Xander looked to where Tara was and sensed she, too, was awakening from whatever had happened to them, but they both could still feel some sort of connection between them. Faith led him to the counter whilst Tara went and sat at the table, followed by Buffy and Willow. Oz and Riley stayed standing just in case something happened.

Giles stayed where he was, uncertain how to proceed. He had little to tell Faith or Xander. His research into what Tara was, had gone nowhere, and it was obvious he'd find little with what Faith had told him either.

"How far into your trip did this change start?" he asked.

"A month and a half," Xander answered speaking for the first time seeing laying eyes on Tara, who was watching him intently. Her senses were on fire from the closeness of Xander and what had just taken place. She could tell he was faring little better.

"How attuned are your senses?" he inquired moving toward the table.

"Very attuned; and my instincts are sometimes out of control," he replied.

"Could he be processed like the hyena incident?" Willow asked, shuddering at the memory of what had transpired.

"That would mean Tara is processed as well," Giles said forgetting the crowd that was gathered in the shop

"We're not processed," Xander said; his voice gave off a hint of warning.

"How would you know if you were processed or not?" Willow shot back, trying to find something to break whatever connection Xander had with her girlfriend

"Faith would know. Buffy sensed the change in me when the hyena took control of me, so Faith would be able to sense a change in me as well," Xander told them.

"Maybe, but there is a chance Faith's senses aren't as attuned as Buffy's," Oz put in.

"That's bullshit! Faith and Buffy are evenly matched in every aspect," Xander said, facing Oz with a cold glare.

"How would you know that?" Riley asked, trying to protect his girlfriend's pride.

"They're both slayers; that means they have equal strength and the other aspects of the slayer essence," Xander shot back.

"Enough! We're not here to discuss which slayer is best," Faith interjected. "We're here to find answers as to what's happening to Xander," she continued.

"I can't tell you much. Since finding out Tara has more attuned senses than Buffy, I've been trying to find any references similar to this with no luck. I don't know if her instincts are 'out of control sometimes', as you put it, or stronger than she seems, as she has chosen not to tell us much about herself in that area," Giles told them.

"She doesn't have to tell you everything," Xander told him as he stood and walked over to the window where Oz stood.

"Maybe not, but if she does have any extra strength like you, then it could be helpful to the slaying," Giles mused.

"So you can't tell us squat?" Xander asked.

"Not unless you and Tara give me more to go on. If you have similar traits, then I might be able to find something more," Giles answered standing and walking over to where Xander stood.

Xander however, turned and walked to the table and looked to Tara. He could sense her fear at telling any of them the full truth. He decided he needed to talk to Tara first before they did anything else

"I think me and Tara need to talk first before we can tell you anything, Giles," Xander informed the ex-watcher.

Willow bristled at hearing Xander wanted to talk to her girlfriend alone; a hundred images ran through her mind of what could happen. She was about to object when Tara spoke up.

"I agree. I want to discuss this with Xander first," she told the others.

Willow glared at her girlfriend's response, but she noticed Tara was paying little attention to anyone but Xander, and she knew Tara wouldn't appreciate her trying to stop her from discussing whatever it was that seemed to connect her with Xander.

"Very well," Giles nodded.

Tara stood and unconsciously took Xander's hand in hers and led him out of the magic shop, ignoring everything else. She could feel both of their senses going crazy at the touch but she didn't mind.

Faith watched this with a smile, hoping their talk led to some answers for the both of them. She looked back at the others only to find Willow glaring at her; she shook her head knowing they were going to question her endlessly.

Willow stared hard at the raven-haired slayer who was busy trying to ignore her; her mind was racing with possibilities at what was happening between Xander and her girlfriend. Her logical mind was telling her she was been stupid because Tara was gay but for some reason she couldn't shake the thought that something was going to happen between them.

"So Faith where have you and Xander been all this time?" Giles asked breaking the uncomfortable silence that had descended since Xander and Tara's departure

"L.A" Faith responded

"Did Angel know you were there?" Buffy asked

"Yes, we've helped him with a couple of problems" she answered "and no he didn't tell you because we asked him not too" she added before Buffy could ask

"Why would you do that?" Oz asked although he really didn't care

"Both of us had a few issue's about our time in Sunnydale so we didn't want you guys to know where we were" Faith told them

"What issues?" Buffy inquired

"Now is not the time to get into that B, we didn't come here to catch up or deal with past problems we came for answers" Faith said fixing Buffy with a hard glare

"Until they tell me the full details surrounding these differences they have to the rest of us I won't be able to help you" Giles told her honestly

"I know G-man, give them time. I think they'll have a lot to talk about" Faith told him once again using her friend's nickname for the ex watcher causing a frown from the older man, Faith smiled as she noticed it

Tara fought desperately to keep a rein on her senses; her close proximity to Xander was causing them to go haywire. She was fully aware that Xander was fighting the same affects to finally meeting one another.

"How long have you had these enhanced senses?" Xander finally spoke

"Since I was four, I only told my step mother about them" she answered "Willow and the others found out during a patrol" she added

"So have you held things back from them?" he asked gently

"Yes, since learning about my senses been stronger than Buffy's they've all been a bit on edge around me, unsure" she told him

Xander nodded in understanding as he guided her into the near by park, he could understand why Tara hadn't wanted to tell the others the full story. If this change had happened to him during his time in Sunnydale he most likely would of kept quite as well, they wouldn't have listened to him or ignored him until the evidence of the change could be seen. Buffy would then insist they had to change him back, the fact that Willow had believed him to be possessed again had really annoyed him. He didn't know what annoyed her more the fact that he and Faith had returned or that he had some weird connection to Tara.

"She's my girlfriend" Tara explained as she sensed the confusion emanating from him

Xander looked at her for a few minutes and then nodded not really knowing how to respond to that. When he had left Sunnydale Willow had still been with Oz, it would seem a few things had changed.

"I do have heightened instincts like you, and sometimes they do seem out of control" she told him "As for the enhanced strength I'm not too sure about it, I've never been in a situation where I've had to fight not even on patrol" she explained "With Buffy, Riley, Spike and Oz there and the fact that I can use magic I've not been too close to a vampire or a demon" she finished

"Did you just say Spike?" Xander asked confused again

"Yeah, Riley was apart of a military unit in Sunnydale that captured demons and implanted chips in their heads which stopped them from harming people. Spike has a chip in his head, so he's become a reluctant member of the group" Tara informed him

"I see" Xander said. Having sorted out his distrust of Angel he decided not to get too involved in this situation with Spike

"Do you think they'd treat me any differently if I told them the full story?" Tara asked stopping in front of him

"It's a possibility, but I doubt it" he told her "They might be a bit weird around you for a few days but they'll come around, I'd tell Giles first in private, actually we'll both do it at the same time and then maybe we'll tell the others. Faith you can trust to except it from the start" he added

"Why did you leave Sunnydale?" Tara asked deciding she wanted to know a bit more about him "Willow doesn't talk much about what happened before you left. Just that there was an incident that caused a few problems and then after graduation you just left," she told him

"The incident was no mistake, well not on my part anyway," he explained

"What was it?" she asked

"At the time Willow was with Oz and I was with Cordelia, a year before Willow was put in a coma by some vampires and I was faced with the possibility of loosing her and I was forced to admit a fact I'd tried to hide" he told her

"Which was?" she asked slowly

"I loved her, I said the words to her and she woke up but she called for Oz, I was hurt but I did my best to ignore my feelings. Then prom night came along and me and Willow were at her house changing and we ended up kissing, it happened a few more times, until finally we were caught. Spike had captured me and Willow so he could force her to do a spell on Drusillia who had left him. He had left to get some supplies and we both thought we were gonna die so we kissed and right then Oz and Cordy rushed in to save us, both of them was devastated and Cordy ended up impaled as she tried to run" he told her "The aftermath was the destruction of my friendship with Willow, she wouldn't allow me near her or even to touch her. She became wrapped up in getting Oz to forgive her which he did, Cordy however would have nothing to do with me and they all seemed to blame me for the so called Fluke. Willow due to her guilt of hurting Oz, Oz because he hated me and Cordy because I had hurt her" he finished

"So you left to escape the blame?" she asked

"No, I didn't care that they blamed me, no I did care it hurt" he answered "I left to put my feelings for Willow behind me, Faith wanted to come along and we decided not to go back, it was obvious we weren't needed anymore" he added "And now because it would seem me and you are connected in someway she's even more annoyed at me I could sense it" he finished

"I could tell she wasn't happy I was going to talk to you alone" Tara told him

"So I guess we head back and tell Giles what we know, maybe then he'll find out what we are," he said

"Okay, don't you find it odd though that I had the senses since I was four and you've only had them for two years?" she asked

"Maybe Giles will find out the reason why" he responded as they headed back for the magic box


Oz walked over to where Willow was sitting at the table. He had noticed the way she had reacted to Xander's revelation. He had always hated Xander because of the bond he had shared with Willow; he had known her from childhood and vice versa. Although it was strained now since the fluke, he knew it was still there but Willow still feared what all this could mean. He looked to where Giles and Buffy were talking with Faith. It was clear she and Xander had become very friendly, although he didn't know how far their friendship went. Riley was talking with Anya, most likely asking about the new arrivals although he knew his girlfriend didn't know too much.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah, just worried about what this connection Xander may have with Tara," she replied absently.

"I'm sure it's nothing serious," he told her.

"But even Giles doesn't know anything, Tara's been keeping things from us and I bet Xander and Faith haven't told us everything," Willow said finally facing him.

Oz nodded in understanding. As much as they were all friends, except for a few exceptions, they still kept secrets from the whole. Buffy had kept the return of Angel a secret and that had caused a huge argument, Xander and Willow's fluke was a secret until it blew up in their faces. Granted, in his view, it was Xander who had pushed Willow into it. Giles had kept his dark past a secret until the demon Eygon showed up and almost destroyed his relationship with Jenny Calendar. He himself had kept his status as a werewolf a secret, until he had almost killed Willow when he turned while she was at his house.

However, it would seem none of them had leaned from the past, and secrets were still been kept. He shook his head and hoped nothing happened to Willow due to Xander's return. They all turned when Xander and Tara walked back into the shop. Oz noticed Willow frown at the fact that they were still holding hands

Faith looked at her friend curiously; she could tell he seemed a bit more relaxed, now that he knew who and what the presence was he had sensed. She also hoped he had found some answers from her. She noted Willow frowning at the fact that the two were holding hands. Oz seemed ready to pounce on Xander the minute he did something harmful to any of his friends. She smirked at the idea, knowing Xander would tear him apart. She knew he blamed Oz for some of the problems between him and Willow. That, fueled with his own mistakes, would make such a fight a very dangerous one for Oz.

"We've decided to tell you what we know Giles, but just you for now," Xander finally spoke.

Giles nodded in understanding; he could tell both of them were somewhat uneasy about letting the others know. Although he could tell Faith already knew everything from Xander's part, he was pleased to see that Faith seemed a lot more grounded than she had before, more at peace with herself.

Tara let go of Xander's hand, although it took an effort to get her hand to move. Her senses were still locked on Xander. She walked over to where willow sat next to Oz; she could sense the confusion for her girlfriend and the hatred from Oz toward Xander. She frowned at that; she had not liked Oz too much since she had joined the gang. He was too cynical for her liking. The fact that he had hurt Willow when he left didn't help matters. Although Willow had forgiven him when he returned a few months later, she hadn't.

Willow faced her girlfriend with what she hoped was a straight face; she didn't want her knowing how much this bothered her. Tara gave her a small smile that she tried to return.

"Hopefully we won't be too long," she told her.

"Will you tell me everything once you're done?" Willow asked expecting another rebuttal.

"I think so, I can sense he wants to talk to you and Oz. Maybe once he's done that, he and I can explain things to you," Tara said with a smile.

Willow managed to smile back but she couldn't help but wonder what Xander wanted to discuss with her and Oz, most likely the fluke. She looked to where Xander was now talking with Faith. She felt a momentary stab of pain as she realized Faith had become a closer friend to him than she was. She pushed it aside and tried to concentrate on the matter at hand. She nodded at her girlfriend who then walked back to where Xander and Faith stood. Giles soon joined them and then they walked into the back on the shop.

Giles led the three of them to the couch that they kept in the training room and then sat on the bench close by. He was surprised Tara had agreed to allow Faith to join them. He guessed since she knew everything that had happened to Xander she'd be more inclined to listen and not ask questions.

"So who wants to go first?" Giles asked removing his glasses and cleaning them.

"I will," Xander said seeing as Faith had already told them most of it.

Giles nodded. "At your own pace," he said replacing his glasses.

"The change was slow at first. I began to sense the presence of nearby vamps when we were hunting. I didn't mention it at first as I hadn't realised I could do it. It wasn't until two vamps tried to jump Faith from behind that my senses came fully alive. I jumped forward, knocking her down and staking both vamps," Xander started. "A few days later, during a hunt near the outskirts of LA, I went into a rage during a fight. It was like my instincts, the most primal of human emotions, had come alive. It was then we realised I was becoming stronger and yet I had done nothing to make it so. At first Faith was a little shocked by the fact, but it soon helped us out of a few problems. We went to Angel to see if he or Wesley had heard of anything like this happening before, but neither could help us. During our time with them, my senses, instincts, and strength all got stronger," he continued.

"Can you sense normal humans?" Giles asked enjoying hearing something new.

"Yes. At least two months later I could sense how normal humans were feeling, and if they were near by," Xander replied.

"What's the strongest thing you've fought since this change has come upon you?" Giles inquired.

"I think it was a demon from the order of Taraka. It was sent to kill Angel, but me and Faith intercepted him while the others took care of the other two," Xander answered, although the memory of the fight was not a pleasant one.

"Do you recall what kind of a demon it was?" Giles asked

"No, it almost killed me and Faith though. It took a joint effort to take it down," Xander told him.

"You can look through the books later and maybe you'll identify it," Giles said.

"Sure," Xander agreed, knowing he'd never forget the demon's face. "I think that fight was also the one where I let my instincts control my actions for the first time. Faith said afterward that I was like a wild man." Xander went on, "But because of the friendship me and Faith had formed, she was never in danger from me and could always snap me out of whatever rage I was in. Granted once or twice she had to knock me out, but I have a better control now," he finished.

"And the trance you seemed to fall into when you saw Tara?" Giles asked, still somewhat troubled by the primal looks that had been in both Tara's and Xander's eyes and the growl they had admitted when someone had gotten in their way

"I can't explain it. As soon as my eyes met hers, I was lost. All my senses were alive and focused on her. Nothing else registered until Faith grabbed my hand and spoke to me," Xander said, closing his eyes as he remembered the warm feeling he had felt as soon as he had seen Tara.

"Tara, what about you?" Giles asked looking at the blond witch, only to find she, too, seemed caught up in the memory. "Tara?" he asked again

Tara slowly opened her eyes as Giles's voice broke through her memory of her first look of Xander. "Sorry," she mumbled, trying to stop herself from blushing. "I can't explain it any better Giles," she told him.

"I see." Giles sounded somewhat disappointed "So Tara, what else, other than the senses, do you have?" he asked, hoping to find the answer to this problem later.

"I have the stronger instincts as well. I've only lost control once or twice, but I've managed to control them since then. The senses I've had since I was four," she told him. "I don't know about the strength thing as I've never been in a fight" she finished.

"I don't want to put you in danger, but I may be able to test your strength to find the answer," Giles mused.

"You can test it in a training session, Giles. Tara is the first person I've sensed who's the same as me, and I will not allow you to put her in danger," Xander said. Although his voice was warm, it also held a bit of menace in it as well.

"How about you, Tara?" Giles asked

"I haven't sensed anyone but Xander who is the same as me except for my real parents. The Mclays are my adoptive family," Tara revealed.

"Fascinating, do you remember your real family name?" Giles inquired.

"No, I'm sorry," Tara said shaking her head

"Actually Giles, that's one thing I've an idea about," Faith spoke up

"What do you mean?" he asked, once again very interested.

"When Xander and I were on our way here and he sensed Tara, he said he sort of remembered it, like a long distant memory. I think he might have been adopted as well, and you should have Willow check," Faith told him. She smiled at Xander's surprised look and Tara's small smile.

"You might be right, Faith. Okay, I'll have Willow check Xander's file and see what she can find, whilst I research what you've told me," Giles said standing up followed by the others.

"Thanks Giles," Xander said with a nod.

"We need to talk to Willow about this first, before the others, but after she's had a look at your records," Tara told Xander, hoping he would understand

"Okay, I can sense her worry is getting worse," Xander agreed as his caught hold of Willow's stray thoughts.

Willow watched as Xander and Tara exited the training room followed by Faith and Giles, she noted Riley and Oz watching the new arrivals closely. She understood Oz's grudge against Xander, but she didn't understand why Riley seemed so on edge. She tried to smile as Xander and Tara made their way toward her.

"Willow, I need you to hack into the records department and find everything you can on Xander and Tara," Giles told her, his face a mask of concentration as he began looking through some of his books

"Are you looking for anything in particular?" Buffy asked confused.

"Adoption records for both of them, plus any connections between the two, especially the people who gave them up for adoption, trace them back as far as possible," Giles answered without looking at either of them.

"Okay." Willow nodded, wondering where all this was heading.

Xander and Tara sat beside her, both looked somewhat hesitant to speak but she knew they would in the end.

"We'll tell you what's going on after you've search our records," Xander told her, trying to keep his emotions in check.

"You promise?" Willow asked.

"Yes," Tara answered.

Willow nodded somewhat relieved that she would finally get some answers as to what was going on between her best friend and her girlfriend. Buffy watched this feeling a little left out even though she knew Willow was the one who was been affected more by this than the others.

"Hey Xan, you wanna go for a walk?" Faith asked. "See how much this place has changed since we were here last," she added.

"Sure," he replied, glad for the excuse to get out of the stares everyone was giving him, especially Oz.

"Mind if I come?" Tara asked, not wanting Xander's now charming presence to leave.

Xander looked to Faith who just nodded, he stood and made his way over to his friend and waited for Tara.

"I'll be back, I just want to talk to him some more, plus you need time to work through our files," Tara told Willow when she noted her girlfriend's frown.

Willow nodded mutely knowing she had to understanding about this. Tara seemed to be more affected by this whole situation and not just the fact that she is connected to Xander in some way.

Willow tried to keep her concentration on the computer screen but it was hard. Things had been somewhat quite for the last month or so and now all this suddenly happened. She wondered what would happen once they had more information to go on, how close would this connection make Xander and Tara.


Faith watched Xander and Tara closely easily noticing the stray looks they gave each other. Tara seemed to be still amazed to find someone like her, while her friend seemed content with the situation, this pleased her as it was not often Xander was content or at ease with himself. She hoped it lasted during their stay here, especially with Oz's hatred visible to them all.

"So what's it like been in each others presence?" she asked finally breaking the silence.

"Peaceful," Xander said without looking at either of them.

"However it still makes our instincts and senses wild," Tara added looking at her and then Xander who just nodded.

"Guess you'll get used to it with time," Faith mused lightly.

"Maybe… It's possible Giles will find something that will tell us why we are reacting to each other like this," Xander suggested.

"I hope so," Tara spoke quietly, however both Faith and Xander heard her.


Giles looked up as Tara re-entered he shop, she looked a little better from her walk. He had been looking through some of his older volumes and so far he had been surprised to find certain pages with some information that may help them. Willow was still busy going through their files, from the look on her face through Giles could guess he had been right when he guessed their was a link between Tara real family and Xander's.

"Where are the others?" Buffy asked when she noticed Tara had returned.

"At the coffee shop, they wanted to have a talk on their own" she replied as she sat at the counter.

"I wonder what about?" Oz said a hint of suspicion evident.

"Anything yet Giles?" Tara asked the older man.

"I've found a few things which might give us a lead but nothing concrete yet I'm afraid," Giles told her.

Tara nodded as she caught Xander's scent coming closer that meant he was on his way back with Faith; she smiled glad that he'd be closer to her again. She looked to where Willow was working through their files on her laptop; she wondered what her girlfriend would find.

Xander smiled at his friend's joke, sometimes he still found himself surprised at the change in Faith. Since they had become friends and helped each other sort through their pasts both had become a bit more easygoing especially with each other, it was these times that he enjoyed the most. When there was nothing to interrupt their fun, he looked up as he caught Tara's scent and smiled.

"So what do we do if Giles can't find anything?" Faith asked turning series.

"I don't know, I guess we try someone else," Xander said hesitantly as he had no desire to leave Tara now he had found her.

"You won't leave, Xan," Faith said already guessing Xander's desire to stay close to Tara.

"I can't. Not yet," Xander agreed looking to his friend for understanding.

"It's okay, Xan. I do understand, and I'll stay as well to watch your back," Faith reassured him.

"Thanks, I don't think I could deal with the others without you," he told her placing his arm around her shoulders.

"You'll have Tara as well," she reminded him with a sly grin.

"But you know everything about me, she doesn't… not yet," he replied.

"I've got it," Giles suddenly shouted startling everyone.

"What?" Buffy asked as everyone turned to face the ex-watcher.

"I've found out what Xander and Tara are, how they have the enhanced senses and strength," he answered with a broad smile.

"Well?" Buffy prodded

"I think it would be best to wait for Xander and Faith's return before I say anything," Giles replied as he paced.

Buffy tried not to feel angry at Giles's response, seeing as this had more to with Tara and Xander than it did her. But for some reason, it still annoyed her that she didn't know anything about the situation.

They all turned when the door opened and Xander and Faith returned laughing at some inside joke, Xander quickly turned serious when he sensed Tara's exciment.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"I found something," Giles responded.

Xander's eyes quickly locked onto Tara's and he could read how excited this had made her, the fact that they would soon have answers to the questions that had hounded them for so long. He also picked up that she wanted to discuss this in private with Giles and Faith first.

"That's great, can we discuss in private first?" he asked.

"Of course," Giles replied understanding Xander's request. "Let's go into the training room," Giles added indicting the door.

Tara and Xander both nodded. Tara tried to catch Willow's eye, but she refused. Instead, she kept her eyes locked on her laptop. Tara sighed before following Giles into the back; Xander took Faith's hand and led her to the back needing her support as he learned what he was. He ignored the pointed stares from Buffy and Oz as he passed them, not caring how they felt at this moment.

Tara quickly took a seat on the couch as Giles sat on the bench with the book that held the answers to hers and Xander's questions. Xander and Faith quickly joined Tara on the couch after locking the door.

"So Giles lets have it," Xander said somewhat apprehensive.

"You are the descendants of a small tribe of South Americans who could change into certain animals, when they turned back they kept certain aspects of the animal they had used including senses and instincts," Giles started as he read from the book "They were feared by many as being processed by evil, especially when their children began to inherit the traits the parents had taken from their 'animal spirits' if you will, which included enhanced strength." Giles continued, "The people of the nearby tribes tried to destroy them, but they were no match for the tribe's enhanced warriors. But, it turns out, they weren't the only ones who been watching this tribe. A group of demons had decided to enslave the tribe to use them in their bid to destroy the nearby human settlers." Giles stood at this point to catch a breather.

"What happened?" Xander asked anxiously.

"The demons formed a very large group to take the village. I'm afraid the tribe was almost annihilated; however, it says here that a small group escaped and fled. They then split up and went to settle in different areas and soon they began to integrate into the communities they were in, even marrying some of the women. But, the inherited traits of the animals were still passed on to their children. They mostly hid it from the normal members of the communities and taught their children to do the same. I believe, Xander, your real parents were descendants of the small group who split from the others and came either to California or close to it and Tara is from the ones who fled further away," Giles finished.

"Is that it?" Tara asked.

"I'm afraid so, so far anyway. I will keep looking for other information," Giles answered.

"Wow," Xander said standing up. "I guess it's up to Willow now to find the other answers, like what happened to our real parents," he said

"I'm sure you need some time to take all this in, so I'll leave you to it," Giles told them before placing the book on the bench and leaving.

"Well at least now you have some answers, Xan," Faith said as she stood.

"I know, but it wasn't what I was expecting," he replied facing his friend.

"I know. I'll go and see if Red has found anything interesting. You two need to discuss this alone," she told him giving him a small smile before leaving as well.

Buffy watched as Giles and Faith exited the training room both seemed a little far off, most likely thinking about what Giles had discovered about Xander and Tara. She was surprised when Faith approached the table where Willow was using her laptop to go through Xander and Tara's records.

"Hey Red, you find anything yet?" Faith asked as she sat down next to the red haired witch.

"Yes I have," Willow replied as she gave Faith a small glare.

"Good," Faith said with a small smile glad that her friend was getting the answers he desperately needed.

Xander looked out of one of the near by windows still absorbing what Giles had just told them, he was the descendant if a group of villages who could turn into animals. He shook his head as he looked to where Tara sat going through the book Giles shad left them, she had a small half smile on her face at the whatever she was reading and he could still sense the excitement radiating of her in the answers they had been given.

"Do you think it's possible our real parents are alive?" she asked quietly.

Xander looked at her with an open gaze, was it possible he had another mother and father out there and maybe even a sister or brother. He shook his head at the idea but it wouldn't leave him and it caused a small to cross his features.

"Yeah, I think it is," he replied after a few minutes.

Tara looked up at his answer and her smile grew into a wider one, she remembered her real mother but was it possible she hadn't died but had instead gone into hiding. She hoped so. As much as she had loved her foster mother, her real mother had been so much more caring and her presence had always calmed her just like Xander's presence did now.

"Good. Maybe Willow will find out what happened to them," Tara said looking back down at the book.

"Yeah, maybe. However, we still have to talk to her first before Buffy and the others," he told her. "This is really beginning to get to her," he added.

"I know, it's hard for both of you. I can sense you have a few problems with her and Oz, him especially," she told him, standing up and walking over to him.

"Past problems, this is more serious than that," he answered her, looking out of the window again. "They can be sorted out later, but this needs sorting out now, before Willow freaks out. I know how she can be," he said, looking at her for a few minutes before turning back to the window.

Tara studied him for a few minutes and then took his hand in hers, interlocking their fingers. "Willow is much stronger than she was before you left, but this connection between us scares her. She fears we will get too close and I have to admit it is a possibility," she told him carefully. Xander turned to look at her as she continued. "There is a primal attraction between us, we felt it as soon as we saw each other. You can't deny it," she continued.

"I know," he admitted. "But we may not have a choice. Last time we barely could snap out of it. What if, next time, no one is around to stop us?" he asked, almost losing himself in Tara's eyes.

"We'll have to be careful," she said softly, her senses raging to run wild as Xander's eyes darkened a bit with barely contained lust.

Willow was fighting her unease at the fact that Xander was alone in the training room with her girlfriend and anything could be happening between them. It was getting harder not to stand up and barge into the room to see for herself that everything was fine. She sighed. It was just not fair, she thought to herself.

"Anything new, Willow?" Giles asked from the counter.

"Not yet," she answered as the program she was using continued to trace the family lines of both Xander's and Tara's family lines, their real families she reminded herself. She had also begun running a search for any mention of Xander or Tara's parents in newspapers or on the web. So far, nothing had come up, but she had a deep certainty that something would be found on both subjects.

"So Faith, just how close are you and Xander?" Oz asked, his anger at their return finally coming through. He desperately wanted a reason to attack them.

"We're the best of friends, that's it," Faith said, eyeing Oz carefully

It surprised her how much she had changed. The old Faith would have most likely knocked him out cold for asking the question in that manner, but she had complete control of her emotions now.

Oz grunted at the way Faith answered; he had hoped to start an argument, or something more. That would of attracted Xander's attention and he would have come out to see what was going on; then Oz could have nailed him and got him back for stealing Willow from him before he left. Willow may of choose him in the end, but the fact that Xander got in between them, still angered him. In the end, it had cost him as they had split after the business with Veruca and his constant complaining about what had transpired between her and Xander. He wanted nothing more than to make Xander sorry he ever felt an attraction for Willow.

"Giles, you better get Xander and Tara. I found something interesting," Willow said, her voice laced with surprise.

Giles just nodded and knocked on the training room door before entering. He noticed Xander holding Tara in a rather tight embrace, although it didn't seemed anything had happened.

"What's up Giles?" Xander asked, releasing Tara.

"Willow says she's found something of interest to you," Giles answered.

Xander followed Tara back into the main shop to find Willow still at the table looking at her laptop screen almost in amazement. He sensed Tara's slight unease and excitement mixed together, he couldn't help but wonder what his old friend had found.

"So, what you got Red?" Faith asked breaking the silence.

"Xander, Tara, you might wanna sit down for this," Willow began. Her voice seemed unbalanced, somewhere between joy and sadness.

"Go on Wills," Xander said as he and Tara sat facing her

"I've been going through your files as Giles and Faith suggested and I found you are both adopted. I ran a program to search for mentions of your real family. Xander I'm afraid both of your real parents are dead," Willow started.

Xander flinched as Willow told him the news, he felt a burning sadness run through him. He would never know who his parents were and why they had put him up for adoption. He smiled slightly as he felt Tara take his hand under the table, away from where Willow and the others could see.

"But," Willow began again. Xander instantly locked his eyes on her. "Xander, you have a younger sister," she told him.

Xander's eyes grew wide as Willow continued. He had a younger sister… somewhere… out there. He noticed Tara smiling at him and he knew she could sense the wild excitement that was running through his entire body.

"Do you know where she is, what her condition is?" Xander asked as he fought to control his emotions and an urge to go and find his missing sister right then and there.

"She's in California from what I can tell; she's been moving quite a bit. It's like she is running from something," Willow answered.

Xander's eyes narrowed at that; if something was chasing his sister then once he found her, he would deal with whatever this threat was. He could feel his instincts raging to go find his sister and then to destroy the threat whatever it was.

"Giles, those demons that destroyed the tribe, do they still exist?" he asked, his voice dangerously low.

"I believe so, and before you ask, I do believe it is possible that they could still be looking for descendants of the tribe," Giles said, anticipating Xander's train of thought.

"Where is she now?" he asked

"She checked into a hotel in LA this morning," Willow replied.

"I've gotta go and get her before whatever it is chasing her finds her," Xander said standing up

"Hold on Xan," Faith said, stepping toward her friend. "What about Tara's side?" Faith asked.

"From the records, only her mother is still alive and, like Xander's sister, she seems to be running from something," Willow answered "The last record I have is dated from last month; she was in LA for a few days, that's it," she added.

"It's possible she felt either Xander's or Tara's presence and is on her way here," Giles said stepping back into the conversation.

"I hope so," Tara said standing up; her own instincts coming alive urging her to find her mother and help protect her.

"Willow, what Hotel was my sister staying at?" Xander asked.

Buffy could see the determined look in both Xander and Tara's eyes. Both wanted to find their missing family members. She could tell nothing was going to either convince them or stop them from going.

"It's a small hotel called the Eagle," Willow told her friend.

"Ok, I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully my sister. If your mom is still in LA, Tara, I'll most likely sense her. I'll bring her back too," Xander said as he headed for the door.

"Hey Xan, I'm coming too," Faith said following her friend.

"And so am I," Tara said, intending to follow only to be stopped by the look in Xander's eyes. She instantly knew he wanted her to stay and explain to the others, especially Willow, what they were. She nodded in understanding and gave him a small smile before he left, followed closely by Faith.

Xander pushed the car hard as he and Faith headed back to LA, his senses were still locked onto Tara's and he could feel her sadness at his departure. He had to repress the urge to turn around and head back, his sister needed him. It hit him then, he now had a sister. He never would have guessed it was possible, he had never doubted the Harris's weren't his natural parents. But they hadn't been and although his real parents were dead he still had a younger sister to find someone who could tell him about them.

"You ok Xan?" he heard Faith ask beside him.

"I'm ok, it's just I'm having trouble keeping my priorities straight; a part of me wants to go back and comfort Tara," he told her. "She feels lonely now that I've left Sunnydale," he added at Faith's raised eyebrow. "But another part of me only wants to find my sister and destroy whatever it is that is after her," he finished.

"If she is been chased," Faith reminded him.

"I think it's a high possibility," he said.

Faith nodded, she could tell since they had left the magic box that Xander's mind had locked on one major thing and that was to fins his sister at all costs. She herself found the idea of Xander having a sister a good one; granted, she and Xander were as close as brother and sister, but there was still a level of attraction between them.

She had denied it when Oz had demanded how deep her friendship went with Xander; but, during the first two months, they had ended up dating and had slept together twice. They had both decided it was too distracting and so they had concentrated on just been friends, but the attraction was still there, buried deep within them both.

"What about Tara's mother? Do you think it's possible she is still in LA?" she asked him shaking off her train of thought.

"If she is, I hope I'll be able to sense her. Tara really wants to see her again," he answered.

"I bet," Faith said. "I like Tara, she's prity cool," Faith said, deciding to change the subject until they reached LA.

"I could tell," he said, turning to face her for an instant with a sly smile.

"Hey," Faith said, smacking his arm playfully causing them both to laugh.

Xander knew Faith was bisexual and that she had sometimes found certain women they met to be very attractive. She had even slept with a few but, since they had been on the road, she had pushed her wilder side to the back of her mind.

"Don't worry, I won't try anything. She's taken," Faith assured him. "And I'm not talking about Red," she added.

Xander looked at her again; this time his face was deadly serious. His attraction to Tara was getting stronger by the minute and, if he wasn't careful, he may just give in.

"I won't do anything, Faith; Willow is my friend," he told her.

"I know, but I saw the pull between you two," she replied. "You may find yourself with no choice," she added, echoing his earlier words to Tara


Tara sunk down onto her bed heavily; her conversation with Willow and the others had not gone too well. Willow had almost run away when she mentioned the almost uncontrollable attraction she shared with Xander, Oz had been staring at her with accusing eyes, as if she had already betrayed Willow. She didn't know why Oz was taking this so strongly; he was no longer in love with Willow. He had Anya now. All she knew was he hated Xander and that he'd do anything to hurt him. Buffy and Riley had listened, but she could sense both of their unease as she told them what she and Xander were; she just hoped Xander got back here as fast as possible with his sister and hopefully her mother as well.


Xander pulled the car into the parking lot of the hotel where his sister was supposed to be staying. As soon as he stepped out of the car, his senses came alive in warning. Something was wrong. That was when they heard the scream. It shot straight through Xander and ran down his every nerve; his sister was in trouble. He ran, charging down the walkway, his senses locked on the source of the scream. He barely heard Faith running after him. He charged straight through the door without stopping to see a demon standing over the slumped form of his sister.

The demon looked up at the intrusion, its eyes opening wide as it detected the aura coming from the human who had entered the room. It was one of the descendants of the tribe. He had found two of them; his master would reward him well. He frowned as a dark-haired girl entered close behind the man and quickly realized what she was: the slayer.

"Get away from her," the man said through clenched teeth.

The demon took a step toward them. It removed a dagger from its belt and charged the man.

Xander's instincts were raging for him to kill this demon in the most painful way he could imagine. He smiled as the demon pulled a dagger and ran toward him.

"Check on my sister, Faith," he shouted before he grabbed the demon and flipped it over him.

Faith ran over to where the girl was trying to push herself to her feet. She seemed ok except for a small bruise on her forehead. She reminded Faith of Xander quite a bit; she had long black hair and Xander's brown eyes.

"Who are you?" she asked as she focused on her.

"My name is Faith, I'm a friend of your brother," she said, indicating Xander who was busy slamming the demon's head into the door. His face was one of pure rage and hatred.

"Brother?" she asked. It couldn't be; her parents had told her that her brother was in a small town called Sunnydale, safe from the hunt of the demons that had destroyed their people. And yet he had shown up here, just in time to save her. She looked to where he was busy fighting the demon and smiled as she felt the connection of a family member. It really was him; she had found him or more like he had found her.

Xander punched the demon in its face hard and then grabbed its head and snapped its neck as fast as possible; the demon dropped to the floor dead. He leaned against the door just as a tall, redheaded woman ran into the room. As soon as she stopped ,both he and his sister looked at her in surprise; they sensed that she was one of them.

"It's you?" Xander said shocked that he had found Tara's mother at the same time as he had found his sister.

The woman looked between the two of them; she had sensed the trouble of one of her kind and had rushed to help. But she had found something she hadn't expected, the young man was covered in her own daughter's aura. That meant she was still safe and he had met her.

"Where is my daughter?" she asked as Faith led the young girl over to them.

"She's in Sunnydale," Xander answered as he turned to look at his sister for the first time ever.

"The Hellmouth… what's she doing there?" she asked, shocked.

"It's a long story, but we'll explain on the way. You're both coming back with us," Xander said as he smiled at his sister who just leapt into his arms hugging him hard.

"She knows I'm alive?" the woman asked.

"Yes, she does, and she wants to see you; make that *needs* to see you," Xander said.

The woman nodded understanding at once, she had always hoped one day it would be safe to go back to her daughter but, so far, the danger was still there. Now she had to go.

"I'm Alexander by the way," Xander said not only to the woman but to his sister as well.

"Kari," came the reply from his sister, who slowly detangled herself from her lost brother

"My name is Sarah," the woman said, suddenly realising that the young man and the younger girl were family. She could sense the connection and she could also sense that this was their first meeting.

"This is my friend, Faith," Xander said indicating the dark slayer.

"You have a powerful aura around you," Sarah said with a confused look

"I'm a slayer," Faith said with a smile, glad that they had arrived just in time to save Xander's sister and meet Tara's mother.

"We'd better go just in case there are any more of them," Xander said.

"Ok, just let me get my stuff," Kari said happy for the first time since her, or should she say, their parents died.

Tara shot up the instant she sensed Xander's presence; he was halfway between LA and Sunnydale. She could sense the pure happiness radiating of him and she knew he had found his sister, she just hoped he had found her mother as well. She was surprised as the door to her and Willow's dorm opened and Giles stepped in, he had been the only one of the group not to be unnerved about this new twist developing between her and the returned Xander.

"Is something wrong Giles?" she asked worriedly.

"No, no," he assured her. "I just wanted to know if you've felt anything from Xander?" he asked, taking a seat at her desk.

"Yes, he's on his way back, and I believe he found his sister," Tara said with a smile as she still sensed Xander's jubilation.

"Good," Giles said, mustering a smile.

"What is it Giles? I can sense you're disturbed about something," she asked, frowning.

"I am worried that once Xander arrives here with his sister and, if he is lucky, your mother, it will draw the demons that attacked the tribe and now hunt its descendants. With four of you here, it will be too temping for them to ignore and it could put everyone is danger and, at the moment, I am not too sure how the others will react to this," Giles informed her.

"It would have happened sooner or later, Giles; as soon as the demons found out I was one of the descendants of the tribe," Tara said, a bit annoyed.

"I know, but there is a lot of bad blood still between Xander, Faith and the others and it seems Riley and Anya have been swayed by the others stories," he told her. "Willow is too depressed about your connection with Xander to do anything," he added as an afterthought.

"They've managed to put personal feelings aside before," Tara reminded him.

"I know, but Xander and Faith's attitudes have not helped the situation, nor have Oz's and Buffy's," Giles sighed.

"Then the only thing we can do to clear things up is to get everyone to talk," Tara said standing up, determined to rid the problems between the groups.

"It's worth a try," Giles said, pleased Tara still had some objectivity to help him sort things out.


Faith looked back to see Xander's sister talking absently with Tara's mother and smiled, glad to see both were in good spirits after what had happened. She looked back to Xander who was still wearing a rather big smile on his face; she hadn't seen him smile like that since their final night together. She could tell though that, even with Xander's joy at finding both his sister and Tara's mother as he had promised he would, he was worried about something.

"What is it Xan?" she asked quietly.

Xander gave a small look and a smile before turning back to the road; he took a small look behind him before speaking. "They're going to come to Sunnydale for us," he told her.

"How do you know?" she asked.

"We can feel them," Kari said entering the conversation.

Faith faced Xander's sister, still amazed at how much she resembled her older brother; Sarah too had slipped forward so she could speak to them as well.

"We can sense all types of demons and vampires, but these demons have been hunting us for so long their scent is internally imprinted in us. They sensed Kari and me and now they know we have a third with us," she told them. "If they could capture three of us, it would be a great feat for them. Once in Sunnydale, they will know a forth is there as well," she added a little sadly.

"What will you do?" Faith inquired.

"We'll fight them and end this hunt of theirs," Xander said coolly.

"Xander, that's not possible," Sarah said. "We've fought them before and failed. Our ancestors failed. How do you expect to win when they couldn't?" she asked.

"'Cause we're not alone this time; we have two slayers, two witches, a watcher and a few others who could help," Xander said confidently.

"Do you really think B and Red will help?" Faith asked seriously.

"I hope so Faith, 'cause if they don't, they've sentenced the four of us to death," Xander answered with a fierce gaze.

"How did you get involved with a slayer in the first place?" Kari asked her brother.

"She was having an argument with her watcher while I was in the library. I overheard them and later on, I helped save Willow, my best friend, from some vampires. From there, me and Willow helped out," Xander answered. "'I'm also the reason why there are two slayers," he added.

"What happened?" Sarah asked with genuine interest.

"Buffy was destined to die at the hands of the master, the first vamp leader we ever faced. The others all just wanted to sit around saying there was nothing we could do to stop it. I didn't listen and forced Angel, Buffy's then vampiric lover, to take me to the master's cave. We were too late; the master had already killed her. However, he had only drained some of her blood and left her in a puddle of water where she drowned. I gave her CPR and managed to bring her back. She was, however, dead for a few minutes, and that was enough for a new slayer to be called," he informed them all.

"So Faith was then called?" Kari asked.

"No, a girl called Kendra was called, but she died at the hands of Drusilla when Angel went physco again after sleeping with Buffy. They were after Giles for some information about how to open up a portal to hell. We managed to stop them in the end, but Buffy had to slay Angel just as he got his soul back," Xander answered.

"A vampire with a soul, how is that possible?" Sarah questioned him.

"He was cursed after he killed one of the gypsies' most sacred daughters. He would loose it if he experienced one moment of true happiness, which he did when he slept with Buffy. Faith was called after Kendra had died," he answered.

"And this Buffy actually loved this vampire?" Kari asked.

"Yeah, she did. She still does, but after the whole loosing the soul thing, they kinda tried to stay away from each other. Angel is in LA fighting the demons and vamps there. We'll get Giles to call them when we get back. They can help us as well," Xander told them.

"That's sick, sleeping with a corpse," Kari said with a disgusted face.

"Tell me about it," Faith said.


Tara stopped walking just as they were about to enter the magic shop. Giles looked back with a questioning glance

"They've just entered Sunnydale; they'll be here soon," she told him with a smile.

Giles nodded and then entered the shop, followed closely by Tara. They found the group seated around the table, obviously in the middle of a conversation. Tara could guess it was about Xander and Faith and most likely her as well.

"Xander and Faith are back. According to Tara, they've just entered Sunnydale," Giles informed the others.

Tara noticed the saddened look that crossed Willow's face at the mention of Tara knowledge about Xander through their connection; she also noticed the look on Oz's face. It was clear he was hoping Xander would not return and just take off with his sister.

"Do you know if he found his sister?" Buffy asked, standing up.

"He found her," Tara answered with complete confidence.

"Good, then she can clear up the unanswered questions we still have," Riley said with a nod at Buffy.

"He didn't go to LA to find her so she could give you answers, he went to save her life." Tara said heatedly.

"If she was in danger; we still don't know for sure," Anya said walking over to the counter.


Xander frowned as he picked up the anger coming from Tara. Someone had upset her or said something that had really angered her.

"What is it?" Faith asked, noticing the frown on her friend's face.

"Someone has angered Tara," Xander answered, pushing the car harder as they drove passed the school.

"I sense it too," Sara said, as she felt the instant connection to her daughter. She smiled; glad to know she would soon be able to see her again.

"I don't think she's been angry since we turned up in Sunnydale," Faith mused.

"I know, she has a pure spirit," Xander said. "Here we are," he said as he pulled up outside the magic shop. He quickly killed the engine and got out, followed by the others. He headed straight for the door.


Tara spun around as she sensed Xander walking toward the door. His presence instantly calmed her. That was when she noticed another presence, her eyes widened as she realised he had found her mother as well. As the door opened, she stepped forward to see Xander give her a look of pure joy as he stepped aside to allow a woman to enter, Tara recognised her eyes and felt an instant connection between them

"Mom?" she asked in a whisper.

The woman just nodded with a wide smile and opened her arms; Tara rushed in and hugged as hard as possible. Xander led his sister inside as Faith shut the door, ignoring the questioning looks from the others. This was a family reunion and no one was going to spoil it. Faith quickly joined them at the counter, smiling as she passed the crying forms of Tara and her mother.

Giles looked on with a smile, glad that Xander had managed to find Tara's mother as well as his sister. It was obvious to him that she had both dreaded his return and prayed for it. He guessed she would have been very devastated if he hadn't been able to find her. He noticed the looks of the others; Oz didn't really have an expression but Anya seemed somewhat worried. Buffy had a look of longing, most likely remembering hers and Dawn's mother, Joyce. Riley had a small smile on his face, obviously pleased for Tara. However it was Willow's expression that worried him. She had a look of pure dread on her face. He wondered if she were worried that Xander finding Tara's mother, would deepen the connection between them.

"I think you just made her the happiest girl in the world, Xan," Faith murmured to her friend who had his arms draped around both her and his sister

"I hope so," Xander said, drawing both Faith and his sister in a deep hug, as he felt the joy emanating of both mother and daughter. He was pleased Sarah had shown up when she had, but now they would have to deal with the demons that were hunting them, and he knew it would be no easy task. He had brought the body of the demon that had attacked his sister with them, to make it easier for Giles to find how what they were and their weakness. He hoped Angel and his group weren't too busy; he knew this would be a hard fight.

"Giles, you better call Angel and tell him to get his ass down here, the others as well. We're gonna need them," Xander said as Tara talked with her mother in the back room.

"Why what's going on?" Buffy asked, not liking the way Xander sounded.

"The demons who destroyed the tribe and have been hunting my sister and Tara's mother will be on their way here for us; we have to prepare," Xander answered.

"Why should we, we have nothing to do with them?" Anya asked her worry becoming justified that a fight was on its way again.

"We're going to need your help to stop them, and if you don't, you'll be sentencing the four of us to death!" Xander said hotly.

"Or enslavement," Kari added stepping close to her brother.

"Why should we help you though? You and Faith haven't been apart of this team since you left Sunnydale?" Oz asked not liking the idea of helping Xander do anything, although a small part of him knew he should help them.

"Tara's life is also in danger and I refuse to believe you wouldn't help to keep her or her mother safe." Xander said, his anger beginning to mount. "Or my sister for that matter," he added, his eyes narrowing.

"Of course we'll help you, Xander," Giles interjected, hoping to stop a full-blown argument as he picked up the phone to call Angel.

"Of course we will, we have to help Tara," Willow added pushing her fears away for the time as she realized the danger her girlfriend faced.

Buffy looked from Xander and his sister to Faith, who seemed just as angry at the responses from Anya and Oz, and then to Giles and Willow. Riley stepped close to her, waiting for her to say something. She knew she had to help stop these demons, not only because it was her duty, but because they were her friends, no matter how long it had been since she had seen them.

"We'll help you Xander," she spoke finally.

"Thanks," Xander said, relieved that Buffy still had some sense of right or wrong.


Tara was still having trouble believing that her mother was alive and sitting beside her, but she knew it was true and that it wasn't a dream. She felt calmer than she could ever remember before.

"It's because there is more than one of us in close contact with you," her mother said as she sensed what her daughter was feeling.

"You mean Xander and his sister?" Tara clarified.

"Yes, our kind always feels calm and safe if we are in contact with more of our kind, especially four of us. I feel it too," her mother answered.

Tara nodded in understanding, then frowned as she sensed the anger and disbelief come off Xander. She was about to get up and go see what was wrong when he became calmer; she shook her head knowing she would talk to him about it later.

"I was very surprised when I sensed you on Alexander; I almost couldn't believe it," her mother said standing up and walking to the window. "What happened when you first met him?" she wondered.

"We sort of got locked in some kind of primal trance; we couldn't see or hear anything but each other. Hell, we even growled when someone got in our way. I don't know what it was, but it was like nothing I've every felt before," Tara explained.

"It happens to quite a lot of our kind if they meet another; however, it only happens as strongly as you described it to those who are pre-mated," her mother told her.

"Pre-mated?" Tara asked confused.

"Some of our kind decide to pre-mate their children; they say it makes them the strongest and will go onto produce even stronger children, giving our kind a better chance of survival," her mother explained.

"How is it done?" Tara asked.

"When you are twelve months old, a ceremony is held binding you to one other child; you are each sprinkled with the same oil. Then you both drink from what was our sacred cup before it was lost and then a small cutting is done on your arm and your blood is mixed," her mother informed her.

"So you're saying me and Xander had this ceremony done to us?" she asked, fearing what Willow would say about this.

"Yes, I did not realize Alexander is the son of Daniel and Eliza Warrick," her mother said with a distant look

"You knew Xander and Kari's parents?" Tara asked surprised.

"Yes, we traveled together for a time before we decided it was best to split up, they too must of decided to hide their child from the demons, but it seems they had another along the way. Only Kari can tell us what happened to them," her mother said walking toward the door

"We're going to have to tell Xander everything," Tara said as she followed.

"And we will, but I assume some of your friends will not like what I have to say, will they?" her mother said facing her.

"No, they won't," Tara said thinking about Willow


Xander tuned to face Faith, who had been talking with Angel after Giles had said he wanted to speak to her.

"So what did he say?" he asked as she sat next to him. Kari was talking to Giles about the tribe

"He just wanted to know more of the details, but he'll be on his way here with the others tonight," Faith replied with a smile.

"Good, I have a bad feeling about this," he replied taking her hand and squeezing it.

"I know, it's because for once you have a lot more to lose," she told him wishing just for a minute her mother were still alive.

Xander looked at her just fast enough to see the slight look of longing on his friend's face before she hid it again. He gave a warm smile as Tara and Sarah exited the backroom both looking slightly nervous. He could sense Tara was very scared about something; he frowned somewhat hoping to find out what was wrong.

"So are Angel and the gang coming?" Buffy asked catching the way Riley tensed at the name of her ex-boyfriend.

"Yes, he is. Xander, do you have any idea what this demon is called?" Giles asked facing the young man

"I got the body of the one I killed in my sister's room in the trunk so you could identify it faster," Xander said with a sly smile.

"Ah, that should be helpful. Can you bring the car around the back, that way we can get the body into the back room without anyone seeing it?" Giles suggested.

"No problem," Xander said as he headed for the car.

"Xander, we have to talk; Faith can do it," Tara said trying to keep her voice even.

Faith noted the way Tara seemed to be fighting to keep either her emotions in check or the urge to just jump her friend; she smiled slyly at the thought of that happening and the reactions it would cause. Then shook her head and spoke, "Sure, I'll get the car," heading over and taking the keys of Xander.

Tara walked over to where Xander stood followed closely by her mother; Xander began to get nervous himself as he wondered what it was they had to say.

Xander stood motionless as Tara's mother explained the real connection between him and her daughter. He found it very hard to concentrate. He had been bonded to Tara when was 12 months old. It seemed impossible, and yet, for some reason, it seemed so true. He looked over Sarah's shoulder to see Willow watching them intently. Inwardly, he shivered at breaking this news to her. She would hit the roof and he knew it. Most likely, she would curse him for coming back. But, in the end, he had no choice; he knew that. He and Faith had needed answers and Giles was the only one who could possibly have any idea what had happened to him. In the end, by coming here, he had found a sister he never knew existed and the answers to what he was. He had also met two others like him and sister. He looked quickly to Tara who was studying his reaction to this news, as closely as possible. At the moment, he was too confused to sense anything from her, but he guessed she was just as confused as he was.

"Alex?" Sarah's voice snapped him back to reality.

"You knew my parents?" he asked as he remembered what she had said last.

"Yes, me and my husband were long time friends with your parents. When we split up, it was not by their choice, but Alan, my husband, believed it was the best way for survival," Sarah informed him.

Xander nodded in understanding as he noticed Kari watching them now. He guessed he would have to tell her all of this as well. Suddenly a thought came to mind.

"Is it possible Kari is premated?" he asked.

"I suppose, if Eliza and Daniel met up with anymore of our kind," Sarah answered.

"Is there anyway to find out?" Xander asked.

"Not that I know of," Sarah replied with a sad smile. "If she was premated, then her mate is either a prisoner of the demons, alive in hiding or…" Sarah trailed off.

"Dead," Xander finished, looking down for a few minutes.

"If he is dead, then it is a good thing Kari didn't meet him in her later life. It takes a lot to get over their passing." Sarah said this to both Xander and her daughter.

"I guess I better tell Kari everything you've told me so far; she has a right to know," Xander said. "And then we have to find some way to tell Willow and the others," he added, looking intently at Tara.

Tara nodded at the look in his eye; she knew he guessed how hard that conversation was going to be. She watched as he headed over to where his sister was sitting watching them.

"He has a lot of strength, just like his father," Sarah said as she noticed Tara's gaze.


Angel brought the car to a stop just in front of the magic shop. As he shut off the engine, he caught Cordelia's eye.

"What?" he asked.

"You know Buffy is going to give you hell for not telling them where Xand and Faith were staying," she told him. "Plus she isn't going to be too pleased to hear about you and Fred. You've bumped into her three times since Fred became part of the team and not once did you mention it to her," she added

"I know; a lot of things have changed since then, but sometimes Buffy can be a little caught up in the past even though she has Riley now," Angel sighed.

"Yeah, that's true. Anyway, let's go," Cordelia, said with a small smile.

Angel nodded as he and Cordelia got out of the car. He smiled as Fred, Wesley and Gunn got out of the former gangster's car. Fred quickly walked over to his side and placed her hand around his wrist and he put his over her shoulder. He knew telling Buffy about Fred was long overdue, but he knew she wouldn't be too happy about it. Buffy was just like that, she takes things so personally sometimes.

Chapter 2

Everyone turned around as the door opened revealing Wesley walking in followed closely by Gunn and Cordelia. When Angel and Fred walked in wrapped up in each other, Buffy frowned.

"Hey Angel, thanks for coming," Xander said, surprising the entire Scooby gang seeing as last time Xander and Angel had been in the same room they had been trying to kill each other.

"No problem, Xand," Angel replied as he shook Xander's outstretched hand.

"So what's the full deal, what are we facing?" Gunn asked as he sat down next to Willow

"Basically we're facing an attack by a large group of demons. Giles is looking through his books to identify them, thanks to me bringing back one of their bodies when I rescued my Sister and met up with Tara's mother," Xander stated.

"Sister?" Cordelia asked.

"I was adopted, Cordy. The Harris's aren't my real parents," Xander told her and the LA gang. "My real parents were called Daniel and Eliza and I wouldn't know that if Sarah hadn't told me," he continued. "Kari is my younger sister," he added as Kari walked over and joined him.

"Wow," Fred said as she noticed the similarities between Xander and his sister.

"That's basically what I said as well when Willow told me," Xander said with a smile.

"So why are these demons after you?" Wesley inquired.

"It goes to what's been happening to me, guys. It seems I am part of a culture of humans descended from a tribe that could transform into animals. When they returned to human status, they kept some of their animal traits such as enhanced strength, senses and things like that. The demons attacked the tribe and imprisoned most of them. Some managed to escape, but the demons have still been hunting us down," Xander explained. "Me, Kari, Tara and Sarah are all a part of this culture and that's why the demons will attack… to get to us," he added.

Angel nodded as he took in all the information Xander was giving them. He found some of it quite interesting, as he had heard of sub-cultures like the one Xander had told them about before, when he had no soul.

"What sort of time frame do you think we have?" he asked.

"Not long, about as much time as it takes to get more of them here to Sunnydale." Sarah was the one who answered.

"Giles, any luck yet in identifying these demons?" Wesley asked as he walked over to where the older brit was standing looking through one of his books.

"Not yet. The body of the demon is in the back room, so if you want to take a quick look, do so and then you can help me look through the books" Giles answered as Faith came out of the back room and quickly shook hands with Angel.

"So you guys ready for a fight?" she asked with a devilish smile.

"Always," Angel responded.

He and Faith had managed to come to a very good working arrangement just as he had with Xander, although at the time he had never suspected he could be friends with either of them, Xander especially. Xander and Fred had instantly liked each other due to them sharing the same kind of humor, and from there things had progressed to what they were now. When they asked them not to alert Buffy as to their whereabouts, he had been a little surprised but, after they explained their reasoning, he had agreed.

"Angel we need to talk," Buffy said finally having enough of the comradeship between him, Xander and Faith.

"Yes we do about a few things," Angel agreed as he shared a quick look with Fred.

Angel followed Buffy into the back room where the demon's corpse was been kept, he turned back and took a last glance at Fred before he shut the door and prepared himself for Buffy's wrath.

"So Angel, why didn't you tell us where Xander and Faith were? You knew we were looking for them," Buffy said, her voice tight and angry.

"They asked me not to tell you, and I respected their wishes, especially after they explained the events leading up to their departure," Angel replied calmly.

"Meaning?" Buffy asked.

"Meaning I could see why they didn't want the rest of you knowing where they were," Angel said.

"So what, you're saying it's our fault they've been missing for two years?" Buffy demanded.

"Yes, neither of them was accepted anymore; you treated Faith like an extra and Xander… hell, all you did to him was blame him for everything that went wrong. And let's not forget how you all blamed him for the fluke business," Angel told her fiercely.

"It was his fault," Buffy shot back, her eyes narrowing.

"Wrong, both of them, Xander and Willow, knew what they were doing when they started going behind Oz and Cordelia's back and yet when they got caught only Xander got the shit for it," Angel said, allowing some anger into his voice.

Buffy however didn't answer she turned her back on and walked away until she was facing the training dummy, her anger was threatening to boil over and she tried to keep it under control.

"What's the deal with you and Fred?" Buffy asked deciding to change the subject.

"She's my girlfriend," Angel answered simply seeing no reason to skate around it.

Buffy whirled around, disbelief marring her features; Angel could also tell she was now even angrier than she was before.

"Your Girlfriend?" she stormed. "Damn you," she hissed.

"You have Riley, Buffy; you moved on, so why shouldn't I?" Angel pointed out.

"I only moved on because you made sure we couldn't be together," Buffy argued.

"We can't, Buffy. All we do when we are together is hurt one another," Angel said.

"I gave everything to you and this is how you repay me," she said, outraged.

Angel just stared at her knowing Buffy needed to let off some steam, he decided to go on a quick patrol seeing as it was now night. He turned and exited the room leaving Buffy to her anger.

"I'm going on a patrol run who's coming?" he asked.

"Me, I really need to hurt something," Xander said, standing up.

"I could use some exercise," Faith said with a smirk.

Gunn and Oz also stood and joined the small group; Riley just turned and walked into the back room to see to Buffy.

"We'll be back soon, and keep the doors locked," Xander said as Giles brought out some weapons for them to use.

"Alex, be careful, you'll be the main target on any assault by the demons," Kari said, worried she'd lose her brother so soon after finding him.

"I'll be fine, Faith will be watching my back," Xander reassured her.

Kari looked to where the brunette was grabbing a few stakes and a nasty looking sword and then back to her brother and nodded, she knew Faith was a slayer and she knew they were powerful beings.

"We'll start at Green Brook cemetery," Angel said as he began to head for the door.

Tara watched as the group prepared to leave and she struggled to keep herself in check and not rush over to Xander and kiss him hard. She couldn't do that to Willow, but the temptation was getting harder and harder to ignore. Her soul cried out for Xander and she knew, in the end, her and Willow's relationship was doomed.


Xander ducked the swing by the rather tall vampire he was fighting; he pushed his rage and anger into his punch and smiled as he heard the breaking of a few ribs. He grabbed the vampire's neck and twisted hard dusting the vamp as its head came away from its body.

"You're really getting meaner, Xander," Gunn said as he staked the vampire he had been fighting.

"Just offloading some stress," Xander shot back.

"Yeah right," Angel commented as he walked over followed closely by Faith.

"It's true; this whole thing has me completely stressed. The only good points are the fact I found my sister and reunited Tara with her mother," he said as he looked around the darkened cemetery.

"Don't worry Xander, we'll sort out the demons when they arrive," Angel told him seriously.

Xander didn't reply. He had caught the sent of something across town. He could tell the scent wasn't anything good. In fact, it had the same scent as the demon he fought when he went to find his sister. "Shit they're here," he said breaking of into a run; the others looked at each other and then quickly followed.


Tara, Kari and Sarah all stood alert as they picked up a strange scent. Only Sara and Kari seemed to recognised it

"They're here," Sarah shouted as she backed away from the door.

"Who?" Buffy demanded.

"The demons, they're closing in on us," Sarah shot back as Giles quickly began to grab some weapons.

The door suddenly exploded inwards as ten of the demons that had attacked Kari rushed into the shop, Buffy and Riley rushed forward to engage them as Giles quickly handed the weapons to the others. Willow began to chant a spell before Buffy's body connected with hers knocking them into the shelf behind them.

"Damn they're strong," Buffy hissed as she pushed herself up she noticed Riley on the floor unconscious and her anger began to boil, she rushed forward again only to receive a huge backhand which sent her into Giles, knocking them into the back room.

Sarah, Wesley and Kari all rushed forward at the same time, each with a weapon in hand. Tara had grabbed one of her spell books and was in the middle of casting a spell. She could sense Xander knew the demons were here and his fear for her and his sister. She had to hold the demons of until the others arrived. Fred and Cordelia were quickly overwhelmed as well.

Wesley was quickly put out of the fight by a vicious kick to the back of his head, Sara managed to take down one of the demons with the axe Giles had given her but as she pulled the axe out two more of the demons jumped her and over powered her just as Kari tried to help she was hit over the back of the head. She slumped to the floor out cold as Sarah was finally knocked out, too. The remaining demons faced Tara just as she was finishing the spell however she didn't see one of the demons come in from the back room. It grabbed a chair and smashed it over her head knocking Tara out cold as well. They grabbed Sarah, Kari, Tara and Willow and quickly left the others as they were.

Xander came to a dead halt a few streets away from the magic shop, the others almost ran right into him.

"What is it Xan?" Faith asked worried at the pale look on her friend's face.

"They've got them, I can't sense Tara or Kari," Xander replied as he began shaking, all the anger and rage inside him began fighting for release.

"Damn it," Angel growled as they began running again.

Xander was running faster than he thought possible. He had only one thought in his head… to find his mate and his sister.

Xander smashed the chair against the wall as his rage went into overdrive; Buffy and Angel were seeing to the others who had just come round.

"Xan, please calm down" Faith said as she stepped closer to her friend.

Xander dropped the remains of the chair and faced Faith, she could clearly see he was trying to stay in control but his anger was clearly visible as well. He was battling himself and she knew it, she stepped closer and raised her hands in a gesture of trust. Xander stayed where he was until she was in arms reach and then he grabbed her and buried his head into her shoulder. Faith smiled as she strengthened the hug, he still trusted and she could still get through to him in bad situations.

"Why do you think they took Willow?" Buffy asked as Giles finally came round.

"I think it's because she's a witch, they're after powerful humans who they can use," Giles answered as he stood.

"This is bad, how the hell do we find them now?" Gunn spat as he looked around the trashed shop.

"Xander can find them, or more to the point he can find Tara and Kari," Faith said as she released Xander and took his hand in hers.

"You mean with his super sense?" Oz asked his voice full of doubt.

"Precisely," Faith answered with a glare.

"Are you sure he can do it, the changes still seem to be taking effect?" Giles wondered.

"I'm sure he can, Giles; he just needs to calm down a bit," Faith said as she led him to the back room. "We'll be out once he's calm" she added as she shut the door.

The others had all watched as Faith had easily led Xander into the back room, it was a strange sight to the Sunnydale Crew but Angel and his team just smiled. Angel knelt down next to Fred who was just coming round; she had a nasty bruise on her face. He growled hoping Xander calmed down soon so they could find the demons and destroy them.

"Why is it Faith can get Xander to do anything she wants him to do?" Buffy asked annoyed at been dismissed so easily by her sister slayer

"They are the closest of friends Buffy, their bond is unbreakable. They trust each other implicitly." Wesley was the one who answered as Angel was busy checking Fred out. Cordelia was still out cold, as was Anya. Oz finally noticed and went over to check on his girlfriend.


Xander sat down cross-legged just across from Faith who was watching him closely. He knew she could see how tense he was and how badly he wanted to just go and find the demons.

"I'm okay Faith," he told her, knowing she wouldn't believe him.

"Yeah right," Faith said with a sly smile. "I know you better than that, Xan," she added as he moved closer to him. "You are close to loosing it completely," she continued. "But you have to hold it in until we find the demons' camp and we won't find that unless you are calm enough to track Tara and Kari," she finished.

Xander looked at his best friend and smiled. He knew she was right and he had to listen if he wanted to save Tara's mother and Willow, not to mention his sister and mate.

"I'll try," he finally told her and closed his eyes and took a deep breath, hoping to find some semblance of control.


Giles continued to pull out whatever weapons he had stored at the magic box. He guessed once Faith had calmed down Xander, they would be heading out to find the demons, wherever they were. He was happy to see Anya and Cordelia had finally come to. They were sporting headaches and a few bruises, but nothing too bad.

"Giles, are we sure we can trust Xander not to lose it and lead us into some sort of trap?" Buffy asked, allowing her anger and fear to drive her.

"You gotta be kidding me?" spat Cordelia who stood ignoring the pain in her head. "Xander and Faith are completely trustworthy, and they will do everything it takes to find Willow and the others," she continued.

"Xander is no longer in control of himself; you saw him. He took half this place to pieces in his rage," Buffy argued.

"Faith will calm him down, you have to trust them," Cordelia shot back. "You remember how to do that, don't you Buffy?" she asked heatedly.

"They lost my trust when they abandoned us," Buffy replied, turning away.

"You bitch! They didn't abandon you. You forced them to leave. You didn't give them a choice," Cordelia hissed.

"Enough," Giles said, finally having enough of the two angry women. "You two bickering at one another is not going to help us here," he added as he stepped forward. "We all have to work together to find the others and that includes Xander and Faith," he finished, looking between the two. Buffy finally nodded after a few minutes before turning and walking over to the door.


Tara shook her head as she painfully came round. Her head hurt and she could feel blood running down her forehead. She pushed herself into a sitting position and noticed Willow, Kari and Sarah were still lying unconscious. She wondered why Willow had been taken as well. She shook her head again until she became aware of the state Xander was in. He was trying to keep calm so he could find them, but his instincts were almost out of control. She closed her eyes and concentrated and managed to break through the storm inside Xander's mind and tried to help him get some control over himself. She felt him latch on to her presence and felt the storm begin to die down. She smiled knowing once Xander was calmer; he could track her to wherever the demons were taking them.

Faith watched in amazement, as all the rage and anger seemed to fall away from Xander, until she realized Tara had to be using their link to help. She knew her friend's temper and knew it took more time usually for him to calm down. She nodded, glad Tara had sensed the problem; it also meant she was awake which would make it easier for Xander to track her.


Willow moaned as the slowly opened her eyes. She noticed Kari and Sara looking down at her with concern and she wondered what had happened until her memory of the attack came back to her.

"Why?" she coughed as she sat up. "Why did they take me?" she tried again.

"You're a powerful witch, Willow. It's clear they think they can use you in their plans," Sarah said with a sigh as she sat back against the cage.

Willow looked to her side to see Tara next to her, she had her eyes closed and was concentrating hard on something. "What's Tara doing?" she asked.

"Using her connection with Xander to help him calm down so he can find us and hopefully free us," Sarah answered feeling no reason to lie.

Willow couldn't stop the frown that formed at the mention of Tara's connection with Xander, but she knew without it, the others would never find them. She leaned back against the cage and prayed the others came soon.

"He'll come, just try and keep your fear under control," Kari told her with a calming smile.

Willow looked at Xander's sister for a few seconds, surprised at just how much she resembled her lifelong friend and finally nodded, knowing she was right. She had no doubt he'd come for all of them.


Buffy looked up as the door to the back finally opened revealing a very calm but determined Faith and Xander. Angel and his group instantly grabbed the nearest weapons, ready to go find their lost comrades.

"We're ready Giles," Faith said as she walked over to the table to grab her own weapons; Xander followed grabbing a long sword and a couple of stakes.

Giles nodded, happy to see that they could now go and find their lost friends and deal with the demons that had taken them. He noted the rage just behind Xander's calm look and knew the demons would get nothing but pain from the young man. He nodded, remembering how he used to be like that, always hiding the rage behind a mask; he just hoped Xander's rage didn't lead him down the path he himself had traveled.

"Let's go," Gunn said as he headed for the busted door.

"Xander, do you have a lock on Tara or your sister's whereabouts?" Wesley asked.

"I know where they are, they heading out of Sunnydale," Xander replied, his voice unusually devoid of any humor or real emotion. "We have to follow them to their camp and then we can take them all out and free any slaves they have there," he added as he headed for the door. "We're going to have to use any cars we have; I think it's going to be a long hunt," he finished.

Faith looked around at the others and then followed Xander out of the door; Angel and his crew were next and finally Buffy and the others followed. They had three cars to use and so they quickly made arrangements and set off.


Tara finally opened her eyes, feeling very calm. Xander and the others were on their way, although she now knew Xander would wait till they reached the demons' camp so they could free any slaves the demons had and so all of the demons could be wiped out. Xander was planning to wage a war against the demons and she knew he was now in the mind set to do it.

"What is it?" Willow asked as she noticed Tara's faraway look.

"Xander's going to wait till we reach the demons' camp before attacking," she answered.

"Why?" Willow asked confused.

"He's planning to destroy them all," Kari, who knew exactly what her brother was planning through their own link, answered her question.

"He's using the others to do it?" Willow said absently.

"By any way possible, he's determined to end the demons' hunt permanently," Tara responded

Willow closed her eyes wondering about the changes invoked within her friend and just how close those changes were to Tara. He was about to start a war and end it in one attack. She wondered what Buffy would say when she realized Xander's plan. Would she try and talk him out of it thinking it too hard, or would she aid him knowing it was the only way they could be safe?

Chapter 3

Xander pushed his car as hard as he could hoping to keep pace with the demons. He noticed Faith shooting him concerned glances now and again but at the moment he dared not say anything that might loose his grip on Tara's aura.

"What's your plan Xander?" Buffy asked from the back seat.

"We're going to destroy them all; not one demon is getting out of there alive," Xander replied quickly.

"How? There must of at least thirty of forty at this camp of theirs and we are only a handful?" Buffy shot back.

"We'll free the slaves Buffy, they'll help," Xander replied confidently.


"Xander's planning something big," Cordelia said turning to face Angel who was driving.

"I know; whatever it is, I'm in. These bastards are going to pay for what they've done," Angel answered, his anger still plainly written on his face.

"I hope it's a well laid out plan," Wesley commentated from the back

"Knowing Xander, and the state of mind he seemed to be in even after he calmed down, I doubt it," Gunn said, hoping whatever the plan was it would involve some real action.

"I hope Willow and the others are ok," Fred said quietly.

"If they hurt any of them, especially Xander's sister or Tara, then they better pray to whatever demon they worship, because Xander will go berserk and wade through them like butter and I'll help," Angel said, his eyes showing just how series he was.


Giles was too busy concentrating on the road to pay much attention to the conversation going on between Oz, Anya and Riley, but he didn't agree with some of what he had heard.

"I don't like this; Xander is going to lead us into something very bad," Anya said, her fear fully in control

"He won't back down, not with his sister and Tara out there," Riley commentated. He had seen how protective Xander could be to those he loved just by looking into his eye when he got back to find them missing.

"Don't forget Willow and Tara's mother," Giles decided to add. "He cares about them as well," he continued.

"He'd better, Giles. 'Cause if anything happens to Willow 'cause of him, I am going to rip him in half," Oz said with a glare at the former watcher.

"Oz, your anger here is not helping the situation; you must put it aside and concentrate on the problem at hand," Giles cautioned him.


Tara closed her eyes again as she continued to monitor Xander's state of mind. At the moment, he was staying in control of himself. She knew however, once they reached their destination, all hell was going to break loose. The demons were going to have a hard fight ahead of them, but it was a fight they were going to lose, as long as Buffy and the others supported Xander's plan.

"Do you think Buffy will go along with Xander's plan?" Sara asked Willow, hoping her daughter's mate wasn't walking into a trap due to the others being too afraid to help.

"I don't know; although even if she says no, I doubt Xander will listen," Willow answered.

"He won't. He's determined to end these demons enslavement of any humans," Kari said.

"He's planning to release the prisoners already there and hope they have it within them to fight as well," Tara said as she opened her eyes.

"If any of our people are there, Tara, they will fight no mater how long they've been prisoners of these demons," Sara told them.

"How do you know?" asked Willow, her voice full of doubt

"Xander will appear to them as a dominant leader of the tribe, they'll follow him no matter what," Sara replied. "Even when we broke and hid; if we were in groups, one of us was the leader of the group, Xander is still free and when he attacks and releases the others he will prove he is worthy of being followed by the others of our race." she continued.

"Let's just hope he gets the support of Buffy and the others so he can free them," Kari said, not really trusting the blonde slayer to help her brother or the short, blond-haired kid, Oz. She remembered sensing the hate and anger coming of him toward her brother.

Xander stopped the car as he sensed the demons had finally stopped. His eyes narrowed as he felt a sharp pain run through him which was not his, the demons were most likely pushing and pulling their prisoners along.

"Xan?" Faith asked.

"They've stopped; they're just to the west of us. The camp must be hidden, most likely by some magical field," Xander said as he started the car again and headed west

"How will we get in then?" Buffy asked.

"We have a few people with us, Buffy, who have experience in Magic, they'll find a way," Xander answered. His voice was low and carrying a hint of warning, as if he was saying they'd better find a way, Buffy thought.


Tara smiled as she felt Xander close in on their location; she guessed he was just a mile or two out. His mind was now set on two things; first, find and locate her and the others, and then eliminate the demons. His anger and hate was held down only by his desire to find them, and Faith's nearby presence. It was clear to Tara that having Faith with him was helping him concentrate on his task and not his anger and hate. She caught Kari's eyes and could tell she too knew just how easy it would be for Xander's control to snap if not for the dark-haired slayer. They both hoped she managed to keep him grounded long enough to find the camp.


Xander pulled the car to a halt again; he quickly stopped the engine and exited the car going straight for the trunk where the weapons were stored. Buffy and Faith followed silently.

"This is as far as we can go, from here we walk just make sure you keep quite," he told them as the others quickly joined them. "They'll sense me, Faith, Buffy and Angel first so we'll go in from another direction. Giles, I'm guessing the camp in hidden by some magical field or enchantment. I'm hoping you, Angel and Wesley might know of a spell or something to break it so we can see it," Xander told them all.

"I think I remember a spell which basically drains all existing spells or enchantments instantly," Giles said as he leaned on the double-headed axe he had chosen to use.

"Good." Xander nodded and then turned and headed off, the others quickly caught up with him.

None dared to speak in fear of breaking Xander's concentration. Faith, Buffy and Oz kept an eye out as they walked, just in case the demons had any guards patrolling the area around the camp. Each had their own senses to use but so far they had sensed nothing.


Kari shook her head as she and the others were pushed into one of the already crowed pens. She could tell most of the people here were of her own kind, but some had special auras. Most likely they were Witches and Warlocks but some must have some special gift.

"He's not far now." She heard Tara say to the others.

"His control is almost gone, he's just barely holding on," she said facing her brother's mate. "Once he gets in the camp, all he'll do is attack the demons. You'll not get through to him until they're all dead," she added.

"Kill them all… Yeah, right. No one could do that," a rough voice said from behind her.

They turned to face a group of their fellow prisoners; most of them were men around the age of thirty maybe late twenties. Their clothes were dirty and torn in places and it was clear to them all they'd been here for some time.

"My brother will; he's coming with help," Kari said with nothing but complete faith.

"Who is he?" a man said walking towards them, he appeared to be at least late thirties. He stopped as he laid eyes on Sara. "Sara?" he asked, surprising them all.

"Eric, I thought you were dead," Sara said shocked to see one of her old friends from her former settlement still alive

"No such luck. I attacked them and managed to kill three of them before I was overpowered," Eric informed her as he motioned to the others prisoners to leave, which they did without any protest.

"Did any of the others survive?" she asked as she hugged him.

"Jenny is here somewhere and a few of the children, but that is it I'm afraid," he replied. "Now, who is this young man who is on his way to attack the camp?" he asked again.

"Daniel and Eliza's son, Alexander," Sara told him. "This is his sister Kari and his pre- mate Tara, my daughter," she added indicating Tara and Kari ignoring the glare Willow sent her as she introduced them.

"Daniel and Eliza's son," Eric whispered. "I always said that child had great potential, I never knew they had a daughter," he added as she looked Kari over.

"Neither did I, we separated when Alex and Tara were just three," Sara said.

"I'm afraid to ask but I feel I must, where is Robert?"

Sara shook her head trying not to let in a flood of memories of her deceased husband at the mention of his name. "He died saving me and Tara from one of the demons hunting parties, it was then I decided to hide Tara away from the hunt," she informed him.

"I'm sorry, he was a great man," Eric said. "Who is the other girl, she certainly not one of us?" he asked deciding to change the subject

"That's one of my brother's friends, Willow. She's a witch." Kari was the one who answered as Sara was still fighting her memories.

"They take many Witches and Warlocks hoping to bend them to their will, however they fail with most," Eric said as he studied Willow who began to sift nervously under his intense scrutiny.

Before anyone could say anything else, a huge yell sounded out and the demons began running past the pens with weapons in hand, horns were been blown as if to alert the others of something.

"He's here," Tara and Kari said at the same time.


Xander rammed his sword through the demon that had run at him as soon as Giles had finished the spell that brought down the field hiding the camp. He quickly brought the sword up cutting the demon in two. Angel jumped right past him, his game face on as he collided with two more demons ripping the throat out of one. The second managed to hit him in the arm with its short blade before Angel countered and broke its back before removing its heart.

Buffy flinched at the sight. She didn't remember ever seeing Angel as mad as he was at the moment, not even when she was in danger. It was clear Fred meant more to Angel than she ever did. She frowned at that before engaging one of the demons. Faith ran to cover Xander who was charged by two more of the demons.

Giles led the rest of the group toward the pens where the prisoners were kept. Wesley and Gunn quickly split off from the main group and headed to one of the main pens as Giles began opening the smaller ones with Cordelia and Fred's help. Oz quickly charged towards one of the demons that were trying to keep the prisoners in check. He ducked the wild swing of the creature before bringing his own sword up impaling it. Xander and Faith quickly ran past heading to the biggest of the pens as the first wave of prisoners was freed, many quickly headed to help their saviours, however some fled, thinking it a better choice.


Tara smiled as Xander and Faith smashed straight through the door that held them in the pen. Kari quickly ran and hugged her brother who returned it before rushing back out to engage three more approaching demons. Faith smiled at her before rushing out to help just as Xander cut the head of the lead demon.

"Lets go," Kari shouted intending to help her brother.

"We're going to have to keep an eye on the younger prisoners, they have no combat experience," Eric told some of his fellow prisoners who quickly nodded before rushing out to help.

"Move," Buffy shouted as she rushed past. She had noted at least twenty more demons coming over the hill where there seemed to be a few huts, most likely where the demons lived. Gunn, Angel, Wesley, Oz and Giles were moving to help.

Faith easily dodged the wild swing from the last of the demons she and Xander had attacked before landing a huge spin kick and followed it up with a round house kick and ending it by plunging her own sword through the demon's chest. Xander quickly noticed the approaching line of demons and shouted a warning at Faith before joining his other friends. Faith followed quickly hoping Xander didn't let his rage get the better of him.


Sara joined Eric who was busy gathering all of the youngest prisoners. Tara and Kari ran over followed by Willow.

"We have to get them out of here," Sara said as she noted most of them were of her own kind.

"Go! Me, Kari and Willow will stay and cover you retreat," Tara told her mother.

Sara looked a bit uneasy about leaving her daughter in such a situation but she knew her daughter could handle herself. She nodded and motioned for Eric and the two prisoners he had asked for help to go first. She looked back to her daughter and smiled before following.

"Willow, we have to get to Giles. He must of brought some books with him, we can make this fight more in our favour with our magic," Tara said, all business.

"Ok." Willow nodded, ignoring the personal issues she still had.

They rushed off leaving Kari behind. Before she could say anything, as she turned to join them, something grabbed her from behind. The scent of the demon quickly came to her and she knew she was in trouble.

Xander turned as he sensed the fear coming from his sister and growled as he noticed her in the hands of a very tall demon.

Kari struggled as best she could to try and escape the demon's grip but she couldn't even lessen it. She sensed her brother's rage as he realised her situation. She smiled knowing he would come and free her. Nothing would stop him.

Xander stopped in his tracks, turned and headed straight for his sister, rushing straight past Tara and Willow without even glancing at them. Tara sensed the up build of anger in him as he passed, she turned to see where he was heading and frowned as she saw Kari in the grips of the biggest of the demons.

"Tara, we have to help Buffy and the others," Willow shouted tugging on her sleeve.

"But Xander…" Tara began.

"He's on his own we have to make sure Buffy and the others don't get overrun," Willow said hiding her anger at hearing the care in her lover's voice when she mentioned her friend's name.

Tara looked once more at Xander's figure before turning back and nodding at Willow, if the others were overrun Xander would have no chance of saving his sister.


Buffy swung her sword into the lead's demon's stomach as Angel and Giles clashed against the next two, she looked back for an instance and frowned when she noticed Xander had vanished until she noticed his retreating figure heading for a tall demon which was holding his sister hostage. She noticed Tara and Willow heading to help along with many of the prisoners they freed.

The kick to her stomach from the demon she was facing brought her back to the present and she refocused on the fight. Ducking the demon's wild swing she rolled forward and plunged her sword straight through its heart. Angel managed get behind the demon he was facing and quickly snapped its neck but, before he could move, two more demons rushed him.

Wesley barely managed to dodge a demon rushing straight for him. He quickly swung round and managed to lodge his short sword into the demon's side; however, he was knocked to the ground by a wild swing from the demon, luckily Tara and Willow managed to kill the demon with a combined fire spell, destroying the demon instantly.

"Hurry, the others need our help!" Willow shouted as she rushed to help her friend. Tara quickly helped the former watcher to his feet and then followed.

Wesley quickly retrieved his weapon and turned to follow only to be knocked over by another demon. He managed to roll back to his feet as bits of his watcher training came back to him and quickly attacked the demon catching it off guard. He managed to cut its left arm off, but the right arm that almost knocked him out cold caught him. He cursed his foolishness for getting too close to the demon as he pushed himself back to his feet. The demon jumped at him again but he managed to ram his sword upward, impaling the demon on it. They both fell to the ground, Wesley cursing again as he tried to push the demon of him.


Xander's anger was now almost at boiling point as he approached the demon that held his sister in it's clawed hand. This demon seemed different to Xander and his senses were on overload. This was the leader he decided and, to him, that made this fight even more important. If he could kill it, then the others would soon fall into disarray and make a break for it.

He caught his sister's eye and made sure she understood that it was important that she stay still and not anger the demon, she smiled at him in understanding having nothing but complete faith in her brother's ability to save her.

"You must die" the demon hissed at him.

"You first," Xander replied. Readying his sword, he quickly dropped to a crouch and shot out his leg taking out the demon's feet. The demon fell quickly releasing his sister as it did. Kari quickly rolled away from the demon before it could think about capturing her again. She looked to her brother, who gave her a small smile and indicated she should join the others.

"Be careful," she told him before she tuned and ran to where Tara and Willow were helping Buffy fight off three of the demons.

Xander turned back to look to where the demon had finally regained its footing. He readied himself to use his anger to its fullest, knowing this demon would not be beaten easily.

"You're faster than any of the others of your kind I've fought and killed," the demon taunted him.

"The only thing that's going to be dead is you," Xander shot back before he jumped to the demon's right and swung his sword at the demon's legs. It quickly jumped backward, dodging his swing. Xander just barely had time to recover his balance as the demon charged him with a large spear. He jumped sideways just in time to avoid be run through.

Xander swung again catching the demon's arm before the demon swung its own clawed hand knocking him into a near by hut. He just barely kept his footing and rushed the demon again, knocking them both down. Xander rolled to his feet but the demon was faster and managed to lodge its spear in Xander's arm. Xander finally couldn't control his anger anymore and roared as it rushed through him.

The demon backed off as it sensed the overload of emotion from him; and quickly grabbed a sword that was lying nearby.


Tara unleashed another fire spell at one of the demons they were fighting. She smiled as Kari caught up to her.

"You ok?" Tara asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Xander's fighting the leader of the demons; he's the one who caught me," Kari replied as two more demons approached them.

Tara quickly readied another spell from the book she had got from Giles. She could feel that Xander had finally lost control of his anger and rage and hoped it didn't get him killed.

Faith quickly ran past and launched a spinning kick taking two demons by surprise. Tara quickly launched her spell, killing one of the demon's instantly as Faith and Kari ran their swords through the second demon as it got up.

"Where's Xan?" Faith asked.

"He's back that way fighting the lead demon," Kari replied before running to where Wesley and Cordelia were busy trying to kill another demon.

Faith turned and quickly headed to where Kari had indicated, hoping she got there in time to help Xander finish off the lead demon. She knew by now his anger would of gotten the better of him and, in a fight, being angry wasn't always the best idea.


Xander jumped back as the demon rushed forward again. This demon was faster than the others he had fought. He had managed to get rid of the spear the demon had caught him with, but his arm still hurt and he was having trouble forcing himself to still use it. The demon slashed at him again just catching his side as he jumped backward trying to avoid the swing.

Just as the demon was about to charge Xander, he was thrown forward by a high kick by Faith, who had managed to come up behind him. Xander reacted as fast as he could and through his sword upward, impaling the demon straight through the stomach. Faith quickly ran to Xander's side as the demon landed face first in the dirt. She was checking his wounds when they heard a growl come from the demon as he began to get to his feet.

"Finish it quick," Xander told her as his vision blurred and he passed out.

Faith quickly charged the demon knocking it down again before she grabbed the dagger Buffy had once used on her as rammed it straight through the demon's skull with all the strength she had left in her. The demon just fell flat, as its green blood oozed out of it.

A large wail erupted through the camp as the left over demons realised their leader had fallen. They began running away, but most of them were chased down by their former prisoners and killed.

The battle was over and the demon's had been destroyed. Tara and Kari quickly joined Faith in seeing to Xander as the others soon joined them. Sara and Eric returned as well, escorting the younger members of their kind.

"He did it," one of the prisoners said quietly.

"Not alone," Xander said as he regained consciousness.

"But the demon's are still destroyed; you and your friend's have saved our kind and freed the many witches and warlocks they captured," Eric said stepping forward.

"I had to," Xander replied as Tara continued to see to his wounds.

"What now?" one of the prisoners asked.

Xander sat looking out over the former hidden demon's camp as the sun rose; he had freed the survivors of his race. They would no longer be hunted by the demons, however now they had to decide what they should do. The hard part was they were all looking to him to make the decision; they all seemed to treat him now as the leader of the renewed tribe.

"You ok Xan?" he heard Faith's voice behind him.

"I don't know what to do now Faith, they all want me to make a huge decision for them as if I'm a leader," Xander replied.

"To them you are," she replied as she sat next to him.

"I had two objectives here Faith; rescue my sister and Tara, and destroy the demons, that was all," Xander told her as he faced her.

"Maybe Xan, but in their eyes, your victory proved you are the strongest of them all, which gives you the right to lead them, or that's how Sara explained it to me," Faith shot back.

"Great, I didn't come here to become a leader; we came looking for answers to what was happening to me remember?" he sighed.

"And we found them and a whole lot more," Faith said with a smile.


Sara looked up to where Xander and Faith sat talking; she guessed he wasn't too sure of his new role. She turned as Eric walked up with Jenny close behind.

"What do you think he'll do?" Eric wondered.

"He'll stay, I'm sure of it. However I don't think Tara will. Her feelings are very mixed up between Xander and Willow," Sara said with a shake of her head.

"Guess we'll just have to wait and see," Jenny said as she noticed Tara and Willow at the edge of the camp


Tara couldn't help but feel the confusion radiating off Xander as he tried to make a decision not just for himself, but for the survivors of their entire race. Her own feelings were too mixed up as well to be any real help to him; she didn't know what to do now that everything had been sorted. She loved Xander she was sure of it, but she also loved Willow still and she knew Willow still loved her no matter what had transpired. If she left Xander and her people to return to Sunnydale and stay with Willow, she wondered how Xander would react. She knew Faith would never leave his side; she loved him no matter how much she tried to hide it. She could sense it. Xander loved her too, but his feelings were buried deep inside.

"Tara?" she heard Willow ask hesitantly.

She turned to face her girlfriend, noting the lines of worry on her face. Willow didn't know what was running through her head. Would she stay with Xander or leave? She still didn't know herself.

"Give me a minute Will," she replied before turning away and looking at the rising sun.


Xander looked down from his position and noticed the outlines and Tara and Willow, he could feel how mixed up she felt. He shook his head, he had a feeling Tara would be going back with the gang.

"What's up?" he heard Faith ask.

"She'll go with them, it'll just be me and you again," he said.

"You don't know that, after everything that's happened do you really think she'll just leave you?" Faith asked.

"She still loves Willow, in fact she loves her more than she does me Faith, I can sense it clearly," he replied "It's over, she'll leave and I'll stay," he added standing up.

"I'll be staying as well, I'm not leaving you," Faith said standing up as well and grabbing his hand.

"Thanks, I don't know what I'd do without you," Xander said with a small smile.


Tara finally came to a decision, she would go back with the others for now, no matter how she felt about Xander and no matter that it had been arranged since they were three; she still loved Willow more.

"Willow," she said hesitantly.

Willow quickly looked up with fearful eyes. Tara hated to have put her through all this but it had been out of her hands.

"I'm going back with you," she told her quickly.

"What about Xander and your people?" Willow asked shocked but pleased that Tara still loved her.

"I loved you more I can't help it. As for my people, they have a leader now. Xander and Faith will be staying here," Tara answered looking up to where she could see Xander and Faith hands clasped. She smiled knowing they would meet again but for now they had to go their separate ways.


An hour later the two groups were standing at the gates to the former demon camp. Xander couldn't bring himself to smile as he came to the moment of truth to see if Tara would stay or go.

"Xander, are you sure about this?" Giles asked

"They need me, Giles; I'm sure," he replied shaking the older mans hand.

"We've already put the spell that hid this camp back up, you'll be safe," Wesley added.

"And for that we thank you, all of you for helping us put an end to this nightmare," Eric said stepping forward.

"You're welcome," Buffy said with a smile.

"Tara?" Sara asked fearing she and her daughter would be parting ways so soon after finding each other again.

"I'm sorry I can't stay, not at this moment," Tara said looking at both her mother and Xander.

"I didn't think you would," Xander said sadly. "You'll be welcome here anytime, all of you," he added as he stepped forward and hugged her before stepping back and kissing briefly he then turned and walked back into the camp.

Tara watched him go sensing his sadness radiate off him but she couldn't stay, no matter how much she might want to. She belonged with Willow right now. She faced Faith who stood watching her.

"Take care of him for me?" she asked quietly.

"No problem," she answered before turning and walking after Xander.

"He'll be ok, you just watch yourself out there," Sara said hugging her daughter.

"I will," Tara assured her before getting in the car with Willow and leaving the camp and her pre-mate behind, hoping she was doing the right thing.


Xander sat on the small hill near the camp as he sensed Tara leave his sensing range. He lowered his head and hoped he would one day see her again. Faith quickly joined him and brought him into a hug. Without saying anything, she kissed him slowly and allowed him to fall asleep. She would always be here for him, no matter what.

The End