Laughing at Second Chances

Author: Ed Scott <EScott92[at]>

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners... none of who are me.

Summary: Harley is getting a second chance after the Tim Drake arc in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Warning: Crossovers: All things Batman, except the Adam West show and Superfriends.

Pairing: X/Harley Quinn

Rating: PG 13

Feedback, It's the coin of the realm.

Chapter 1

She felt terrible. She had thrown up five times today due to her guilt. How could she have done that to Tim Drake? Why couldn't her Puddin' just give her a child? It was impossible for her to sleep. She kept hearing his screams of pain and she never comforted him. If she wanted to be his mother, shouldn't she have done that? This wasn't the first time she wished she were dead.

But she couldn't die. She was being given a second chance. To make amends. To earn redemption. To clear her soul of the darkness that consumed it.


Harley Quinn, the Maid of Mayhem, the Clown Princess of Crime, was dying, after falling hundreds of feet. She saw darkness, and went to sleep. Welcoming death that awaited her. She awoke in a white room, then a guy in a bad pimp suit joined her.

"Mr. J? Puddin'? Are you there? Where am I?"

"You're in Purgatory, Toots. Your Mr. J is currently getting a bath in Hellfire. You see, the kid you kidnapped shot him. By the time he returns, you won't be enthralled to him anymore. We're not here to talk about the Joker. We're here to talk about you, Harleene Quinzel, PhD."


"Yes, you. You are being offered a second chance at life. To help someone who needs a friend right now."

Harley whines, "I don't want a friend. I want my Mr. J."

"Forget him, Toots. Your only other choice is to spend eternity here. With nothing to do, and no one to talk to. It is very important that you become friends with the guy that needs new friendship. He is starting to feel neglected by his friends. They are going to college and he is not. He could help you as much as you help him."

Harley sarcastically asked, "You want me to marry the guy or give him a tumble in the sheets?"

"That is entirely up to you. But, he has had the one night stand and it did not work out. The girl he was with went psycho on him and his friends. She would have fit in with you and your newly deceased boyfriend. If a man of evil didn't get to her first. He needs a friend, someone who will listen to him and encourage him. Not treat him like a non-entity. That story of the Joker's of where he said he was raised in a bad household, was all a lie. This guy lived in a bad household. His father beat on him and his mother. The beatings got so bad, his mother took to drinking with her husband. The boy just took it."

"I'm crying here." Harley did not believe him. Whistler knew this, and showed her Xander's childhood. What she saw broke through to her psychologist's teachings. She could not figure out how a boy raised in such an environment could turn out the way he did. Her rational mind knew why he lied to Buffy. She fell for the forbidden romance, until he turned to evil. She was glad seeing the evil that Angelus did, but was repulsed at the thought of enjoying such misery. It was all very confusing to her.

"Why am I confused? I like seeing what that vampire did, but I'm also sickened by it. Why?"

"While you are here, your mind is clear. It allows those here to figure out what they want to do. Consider it going through years of therapy and coming out sane after one session. You will return back to the way you were if you decide to return. But there is one condition. You have to stay out of Gotham for five years. That should be enough time for Batman to stop looking for you. So, do you want to go back and be friends with Xander? Or do you want to stay here?"

Theatrically, Harley thought about it. "Let's see. Going back to earth, or stuck here for eternity. Decisions. Decisions. Ok, I'll go. He looks like a nice guy. I can bag him, no problem."

"It's done then. For the time being, use the name Haley Quatermaine. As long as you don't put on that clown costume again, you should not have any problems. However, you will have to stay at LA Memorial Hospital for a week, because you were in an auto accident. When you go back, you will be very sore. Use the time to reflect on your life with the Joker. You should be released within two weeks. Just walk through that door and you will start your new life."

Harley walked through a door of blinding light. Considering where she was, it was very bright. As she came to the door, she collapsed. When she woke up, she found herself laying on a hospital bed hooked up to every possible machine. She removed the mask and hit the nurse's button that she found by her left hand. The nurse was surprised to see her awake. She went to get a doctor. Harley thought about what just happened, saw the trash can and proceeded to empty her stomach. The guilt of what she did to Tim Drake hit her like Superman would. That strong.

This was going to be a long stay. She found a little satisfaction in that if she were healthy, she could leave the room on her own and not be in a straitjacket. She was going to enjoy the new freedom she had and not do anything to mess it up. This time.

Chapter 2

Harley watched Xander as he slowly drank his cup of coffee. The way his shoulders sagged, she can tell that he is depressed. From what she learned in Purgatory, she knew it was because his friends have forgotten about him. He was such a great guy, why couldn't his friends see that too. "I'm sure that I will think of something devious to get back at those girls." She smiled as she went to see Xander.

"May I sit here?"

Xander looked up at her, and saw an attractive blonde looking at him. True to form, he looked into her eyes, but only for a moment. In that moment, he saw a woman with a strong will that is in need of being rebuilt, and a sharp mind. "Please do. I'm Xander Harris. And you are?"

She rapidly shook his hand. "Haley Quatermaine. Nice to meet ya. I was over at the other end of the café, and I was wondering what a nice guy like you was doing here all alone. And, you looked like you needed some company."

Xander blushed at being called a nice guy. "My friends were supposed to meet me here a half hour ago, but they never showed. I called their dorm room, but there was no answer. So, if I am a little grouchy right now, it's not you. If I had gotten into college like they did, they would probably have time for me."

Harley just sat there and let him talk. She knew he had some issues with his friends but he had never talked about it to anyone. Her schooling in psychology will come in handy living in this town. "Well Xander, I'm new in this town and I was wondering if you could show me around. I'll be staying here for awhile, and I think following a resident of this town would be a good idea. Besides, what is the worse that could happen?"

Xander groaned at hearing this. This woman just jinxed his day with her. "Alright. Let's go." Xander stood up, and offered his hand to help her stand up. She sat there for a moment, wondering why he held his hand out for her. Then she remembered, and gently grabbed it.

"Thank you, Xander." She smiled brightly at him, which made him return it with one of his lop-sided grins. Harley looked in his eyes, and she wanted to do nothing but look into his eyes for the rest of her life. They were so warm and gentle. It has been a very long time since she has seen that. She could get to liking this guy showing her around town. She leaned in to him very slightly. Wanting to see how much contact she should have with him on their first meeting. Xander felt good walking hand in hand with an attractive blonde. Granted she was a few years older, but at least it's day time and there is very little chance that she is a demon trying to kill him. When they got to the ruins of the high school, she was surprised. She had seen that level of destruction, but not in a small town like Sunnydale.

"What happened?"

"Gas leak. The mayor went to investigate, and the school blew up. We never found the body." This was an effective lie. He did not want to scare her away if she knew the truth. She did know, but she wasn't going to let him know. Yet.

"What do you do for a living, Haley?"

Before she came to Sunnydale, she took some money from one of the Joker's many accounts and transferred it to her. She had to move it through many different companies, but by the time someone traces the money to her, she won't need it. Having earned enough on her own. "Well, I was working for Wayne Enterprises in one of his psychology think tanks. I was getting burned out. So, they gave me a good severance package and now I'm here on vacation. Maybe I'll hang my shingle up here. I haven't decided yet. I'm going to take some time and figure things out."

As they were headed back to the coffee shop, they bumped into Buffy and Willow. He was not as disappointed as he would have been, if he never met Haley. He was still upset, but not that much. "Hello Buff, Willow. Weren't we supposed to have coffee together an hour ago? What is so important that you would forget?"

The two girls looked at each other, hoping one of them would come up with a decent lie. Willow could not come up with an answer, so she tried to change the subject. "Who's this, Xander?"

"Buffy Summers. Willow Rosenberg. Allow me to introduce Haley Quatermaine. She just moved into town and I was showing her around. Spending the afternoon with her was a better alternative than waiting and sulking at the Espresso Pump waiting for you two to remember we had a coffee date."

During this conversation, Harley remained quiet. She knew how his friends treated him, but she did not like it. She decided to see how much they thought of him. "Xander, would you like to go out to dinner with me tonight?" A woman being this forward to Xander made Buffy and Willow wondering what kind of demon she was. Only a demon would be interested in Xander. They intended to keep an eye on her to find out who she is. And when they find out what type of demon she is, they will protect Xander like they always do.


Running from the Ascension was tiring for Anya. She made it as far as Perfection, Arizona. She was determined to head back to Sunnydale to get with Xander. He was all she thought about. She would leave for her return trip in the morning. So, she decided to look around this small desert town. As she was walking, she was pulled in to an alley. There were three vampires. They quickly drained her. The last words on her dying lips were, "I wanted Xander to give me many orgasms."

Chapter 3

Buffy and Willow were getting possessive of Xander. Apparently, no one is good enough for Xander to date. In their opinions, at least. If they thought about it, which they haven't, they would see the near-sightedness of their beliefs. Who do they think IS good enough for Xander to date? Buffy likes them good and pulse less, and he only sees Willow as a sister.

Harley plans on being Xander's friend. Hopefully, more in time. If needs be, she can psyche out both girls without trying. She has learned from the best. After she asked Xander out, she placed a small kiss on his cheek. Buffy and Willow were outraged at this. This was the response she was looking for. "Meet me here tonight at seven, and we will see what we want to do."

"Sorry, Haley. Xander has to help us tonight." Willow looked confused. "He has to help us research for my history exam." Willow figured out that Buffy wanted Xander to see Giles and read old books, instead of spending a night with a new woman. This was better for Xander, because books cannot cause you heartache.

"Sorry, Buff. You will have to find another study buddy. I accept your invitation to dinner, Haley. I will be here at seven. I think I have a suit I can wear. So, if you ladies will excuse me, I need to go home and get ready for my date tonight." He turned to Haley, and placed a small kiss on her cheek. His back was to Buffy and Willow, so he could not see the stunned looks on their faces.

When Xander was out of earshot, Buffy tore in to Harley. "Ok, lady. I don't know who you are, or what you're up to. But you will not hurt Xander. He has had many bad relationships, and you are not going to add to it." Willow just stood there with her 'Resolve Face.'

Harley just laughed at her. "Hurt him? You two have hurt him more in the past hour than I ever could. You two are supposed to be his friends. What was so important that you were an hour late to meet him for coffee? Were you two trying to flirt with college boys? I spent an enjoyable hour with him today, and I will spend a couple more tonight just wanting to get to know him. Because the way it looks to me, he could use a new friend right about now." 'If I didn't do those things, I'd probably try to set him up with Batgirl. She needs a good man in her life. All that running around at night and no release, other than violence, is not healthy. I think there are a couple of stores in Gotham she should check out.'

Willow was outraged. "Not being his friend? I have been his friend since forever. There is nothing about him that I don't know." "Do you know about his family? I watch people and I notice things about their behavior. As well as looking into his eyes. Do you know that his father abuses him? That he would rather spend time with you than at his house? That you, Willow, are the only one that keeps him sane. And when you forget him, it hurts him. Well, no more. I will fill the void that you have opened. You two do not need to worry about Xander Harris. I will take care of him now. I will be the friend he needs, and he will be the friend I need." She threw her coffee cup into the trash. After Harley was out of sight, Willow grabbed the cup out of the trash, and put it in a plastic bag that she happened to have in her purse.

"Let's go to the Law Building and see if we can use their finger printing machine and see who she really is. Once we find out who she is, we can get rid of her."

"Good plan, Willow. I don't like this bitch. I know she is going to hurt Xander. This is for his own good."

UC Sunnydale Law Building

"Hello. I would like to use your finger printing machine for a few minutes."

"Are you a Criminal Justice Major?"

"No. I am a Science Major."

"Then I'm sorry. This equipment is only for the use of academics. And, since you aren't majoring in Criminal Justice, you will not be able to use this lab." The red-head was cute, but the lab technician had a beautiful wife at home. He knew how to get rid of this nerdy freshman. He gently reached up and stroked her hair. "However, I could be persuaded to allow you to use this equipment, if you can do something for me."

Willow started to back away. She was not willing to go that far. She wants to know who this Haley woman is, but she is not willing to use her body to find out. Buffy will not be pleased when she finds out that Willow could not get that cup finger printed.

Buffy and Willow's Dorm Room

Buffy had worn a path in her rug waiting for Willow to return. She couldn't wait to find out who this Haley woman was so she could get rid of her. Her smile went on when she heard Willow opening the door. She lost her smile when she saw Willow's face.

"What's wrong? Couldn't you get that cup finger printed? Come on. Tell me."

"The dumb lab technician wouldn't let me use the equipment. Says that I'm not allowed since I don't major in Criminal Justice. So I could not get the cup finger printed. Now what?"

"We follow them tonight. We find out about her that way. We will find something on her. I guarantee it."


The coroner for Perfection, Arizona was given a newly deceased body. This body had six puncture marks on her neck and was drained of her blood. The coroner, as well as the sheriff's department, knew what that meant.

"Hey, Joe. I have another body for the incinerator. Don't forget her paper work. Make sure no one knows."

Chapter 4

The first thing Xander had to do to get ready for his date tonight was find all the money that he hid that he earned over the summer. It took awhile because there were a lot of ones and fives. All he had left was $500 in small bills. He'd look for a job on Monday. Luckily, his one good shirt was clean. Demon slime is hard to get out of cotton.

While he was showering, he could not believe his luck. An attractive blonde was interested in him. He promised himself that he would not do or say anything that will upset Haley. She seems like a nice enough woman, he just hoped she wasn't out to kill him. That is probably why Buffy and Willow got upset at meeting her for the first time. After all, there has to be a regular woman out there somewhere. Shouldn't there?

Harley's Apartment

Harley was dancing around her apartment. She enjoyed her freedom. And she had a date with one of the best guys she has ever seen. The only thing that concerned her was what he might say when she told him who she really was. She is praying that the three years he has been fighting vampires will make him ready for that bombshell. "BOOM! Hee Hee Hee!"

She knew she had to tell him. How do you say it? "Hi. I used to be known as Harley Quinn. My old boyfriend was the Joker. I mean you no harm." Yeah, right. Like that won't make him run off screaming and running. I have to tell him before his friends find out. They will find out. In the misguided notion that it is for his own good, they will find out who I am. I need to make amends. Smiling to herself, she said, "But I have a soul."

Buffy and Willow's Dorm Room

The two girls wore all black clothing. Willow had to put on a dark hat to cover her hair. If they were wearing trench coats, which they weren't, you could tell they were trying to stalk someone. At least Buffy grabbed a few stakes before she left.

"I hope we find something on this woman, Will. She is dangerous."

"Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure. She asked Xander out for a date. She is very dangerous." Xander and Harley met at the Espresso Pump at the exact same time. This made Xander smile because a woman showed up to meet him at the time she said she would. This scored points in her favor. What scored more points was the knee length red dress she wore. He felt privileged to be in her company. They walked up to each other and kissed each other on the cheek. Buffy and Willow saw green.

There was a nice Italian restaurant that Xander knew of. He never took anyone there because he needed a place to himself. The owners, Anthony and Maria Silva, owned the restaurant. They liked Xander because he was a nice guy, and he saved their lives from a vampire attack two years ago. They weren't surprised to see Xander enter their restaurant. They were surprised that he entered with someone. This made Maria happy. She was upset that he was always alone.

"And who is your friend? Buffy?"

"No Maria. This is Haley Quatermaine. She is new in town and I'm showing her around. We'll have one order of lasagna to split between the two of us. We will have a salad while we are waiting for it." He turned to Harley. "I hope you don't mind." Harley just shook her head.

"That's fine with me Xander. I haven't had good Italian food in awhile." They found a booth in the back. Xander pulled out her chair. Harley was expecting Xander to pull the chair out from under her as she sat down. She was pleased when he pushed it back in. As Xander went to go to the other side of the table, he saw two female figures dressed in black sit down a few tables away. He could tell that they were Buffy and Willow.

'Why are they here following me instead of out there slaying vampires and saving lives?'

Harley saw the look on his face and turned around to see what he was looking at. She was not surprised when she saw Buffy and Willow. 'Those two are getting on my nerves. Something is going to have to be done about them. I just have to figure out what.' She looked at Xander and smiled. "Don't worry about them. It's not your fault they don't trust you." She grabbed his hand and lightly held it. On a whim, she tickled his palm. This got him laughing. Harley could tell this was laughter of enjoyment. Not the maniacal laughter of the Joker. And she was learning to like that sound. When she heard Xander laugh, it felt good.

The lasagna was great. The company and conversation were even better. The only downside to the evening was when Harley had to powder her nose. Because when she went, Buffy and Willow followed.

Harley had had enough of Xander's friends following them. She decided to act on it. She got into the bathroom first and waited by the sink, checking her hair and make-up. When the two girls entered the bathroom, all they saw was Harley checking her lipstick. The shade of red looked good on her. To Buffy and Willow, they thought she was getting ready to seduce Xander.

"Ok, Haley. What is it you really want from Xander? Whatever it is, you can't have it."

"I don't believe it. You two are unbelievable. He is a great guy that I am interested in. I'll only hurt him if he asks." She turned and winked at Buffy and Willow. This made the girls blush. "And why are you concerned anyway? As far as I can tell, he is not either of your boyfriend. So back off and let me have my chance. Unless of course, you two are jealous. Although I don't see why you are. Can you tell me why you are following us?"

Buffy and Willow looked at each other and could not come up with a reasonable answer. This stunned silence led Harley to believe that she was right. They were jealous and they didn't know why. Happy that they didn't answer, she left the two in the bathroom. Whistling as she left. When she went back to their table, Xander stood up and did not sit down until she did.

"So, did you say what you wanted to say to them?" Harley just smiled at him. That was his answer. They never mentioned Buffy or Willow for the rest of the night. And Xander was fine with that.

There is not much to do in a one Starbucks town when you don't have a car. So, they just walked around talking about everything and nothing. They were walking hand in hand, and just like clockwork, they were jumped by two vampires.

"Do you mind? We are on a date. We will play with you two in the morning." While talking to them, Xander pushed Harley behind him and got the stake out of his back pocket. Harley made to run away. But that was only for her to get room for some acrobatic training in. It had been awhile since she last worked out. Luckily her dress is made for jumping around. While one vampire was fighting Xander, his friend chased after Harley.

Xander made quick work with his opponent. The guy must have been new. He turned around to try to find Harley. What he saw was amazing. Harley was doing jumps, flips and tumbles that even Buffy could not do. He would pay more attention to her athletic ability, if he didn't keep seeing her panties every time she did a handstand.

"Haley! Send him over here and I will get rid of him."

"Ok." She started doing cartwheels towards Xander. The vampire forgot about Xander. As he was chasing Harley, he ran right into Xander's stake. Effectively dusting him.

"What were you doing?"

"I was having fun. I don't normally have that kind of fun. I will explain everything back at my place." She held out her hand for Xander to take. He took it, and Harley laughed as she was leading Xander to her place. Buffy and Willow heard Harley laughing as Xander took her hand.

"She is taking him to her place. We have to stop them."

"Why, Buff? They are adults. So are we, and I'm getting tired. We will find out what happened later. I have two tests in the morning and I haven't studied yet. You can follow them if you want, I'm going home." Buffy was confused. She didn't know whether to go home and go to bed or follow Xander and make sure he doesn't get hurt. The sun was rising before she moved a muscle.

Chapter 5

The journey back to Harley's apartment was a quick one. With both of them running, or Xander running so Harley doesn't pull his arm out of his socket, it only took ten minutes. They were both breathing heavily when they got to her door. Harley opened the door and left it open, it was a non verbal invitation. Xander smiled at that precaution.

"Would you like something to drink? Or maybe to freshen up?" Xander shook his head. "You are going to have to give me a minute while I figure out how to say what I need to say."

"Take all the time you need. I'm rather curious as to why you are a regular jumping jack."

Harley paced in front of Xander. She was getting nervous. Would he accept what she wants to do and who she wants to become or will he leave her and tell her he never wants to see her again? There was something about him that drew her to him, and she wanted to know what it was. She gathered her courage, looked right at Xander and started talking.

"My name is not Haley Quatermaine. It is really Harleene Quinzel. You may have heard of my other name Harley Quinn." Xander looked confused, trying to figure out where he heard that name before. "My ex-boyfriend is the Joker. You know, Batman's arch enemy?" Xander realized who's apartment he was in. He looked into her eyes, and saw nervousness on her part. Like maybe that she thought he would leave her when he found out who she really was. He leaned back in the chair he was in, closed his eyes and thought about it.

Why was she here? To scout out the area for the Joker? Maybe she is here to learn how to open the Hellmouth. Or, maybe she is here to get away from the Joker and start a new life. She is probably trying to start a new life. It makes more sense. While the Joker is a madman, even he knows that if the Hellmouth were to open, he would be dead in a minute. Maybe she approached me because she needs a friend.

Xander stood up next to her, and held out his hand. "Hi. I'm Xander Harris. Want to be friends?" Harley looked into his eyes, and saw nothing but sincerity. She smiled as she shook his hand. "Thank you, Xander. I would like to be your friend. But there is a lot about me I have to tell you. You might not like it."

"Whatever it is, I'm sure it's nothing as bad as I've heard."

'Wait until you hear this.' "A month ago, the Joker wanted to start a family. Instead of going through all the joy of childbirth, we did something I am now sickened over. The new Robin was a thirteen year old kid named Tim Drake. We kidnapped him, and tortured him to create a younger version of the Joker. I was going to be the mother, but I did not comfort him while he was in pain. When Batman and Batgirl finally found out, I fell down a hole, and Tim shot the Joker.

Somehow, when I landed I did not immediately die. When I did die, I was in Purgatory. There I met a balance demon named Whistler. He gave me a choice. I could either stay in Purgatory, isolated and alone for all eternity or I could come back to earth and be your friend. I chose to come back. Even though I am still clinically insane, I am trying to get better. I wish to make amends to what I did to Tim Drake.

I chose to become your friend with Whistler showed me your life story. I must say, I am impressed with you. How you turned out the way you did, in the environment you were raised in, is astounding. You have a very strong will. I remember what that was like. I wish to know again. So, do you still want to be my friend?"

Xander was stunned. She just confessed to kidnapping, torture and brainwashing. He sent Angelus to Hell for kidnapping and torture. But unlike him, he never wanted to make amends. He had to get his soul back for him to want to seek peace. Harley, on the other hand, is asking for a second chance. Besides, she was only an accessory to everything the Joker did. She might have helped him, hell she did help him, but she was not the driving force. If Angel can get a second chance, why not Harley?

"Yes. I still want to be your friend. I have known people, and I use that term loosely, who have done more evil than all the nutcases in Gotham combined. So I don't have a problem with who you are. All things considered, from the women I've known, you are par for the course. At least you are not trying to kill me. You aren't, are you?"

Harley giggled at that. "No, silly. I'm not going to kill you. I'm going to hug you and kiss you."

"And call me George." His Abominable Snowman impression was perfect. This got both of them laughing. "While the idea of being hugged and kissed by a beautiful blonde sounds like a great way to end the night, it will only be a peck on the cheek. I do not want to rush you. While physically I'm ready to be with you, it is just not the right time for me. I want to get to know Harleene the woman, not Harley the henchwoman."

While Harley was upset that she could not get him into bed, yet, she was glad that he wants to wait. If he wanted to wait, so would she. 'Now, do I tell him who Batman is? Or do I wait for his birthday?'

Chapter 6

Harley's Apartment

Harley has been tossing and turning all night. The screams of Tim Drake haunt her. She wanted to help him, but the Joker would not allow it. In her dreams, she hid in a closet and shut the door. However, in this dream there is a loud banging on the door. Harley woke up covered in sweat, and there was someone banging on her door. She grabbed one of her shirts and threw it on.

"Hold on a second, will ya?" She walked to her door, and was not surprised to see Buffy through the eyehole. Before she opened the door, she looked at herself and smiled devilishly. 'Time to knock her down a peg or two.' "What do you want, Buffy?"

"I'm here to see Xander."

Yelling towards her bedroom, Harley said, "Don't bother getting up, Xander! It's only Buffy. She will talk to you later!" Harley smiled innocently at Buffy. "He's really tired. We wore each other out last night. He needs his rest. I got to tell you, that thing he does with his tongue." Harley winked at Buffy.

Buffy blushed at this. She forgot why she was there. After her embarrassment was over, she remembered why she was there. To get Xander away from her. "Send Xander out here right now. I will not have you ruining his life for cheap sex."

"I'm not cheap. And neither was what we did last night. Why do you care anyway? Is he your boyfriend?"


"A lover, then?"


"Then I say again, why do you care if I spend time with Xander?"

Buffy was silent for a minute. What was her reason for getting Xander away from her. Well, he has been involved with a Preying Mantis Lady, and Incan Mummy Princess and Cordelia. Each one of these women have hurt Xander. And don't get me started on Faith. She tried to kill him. So, until Xander chooses the right woman, Buffy thinks she needs to protect him. She was about to say this, when Harley interrupted.

"Well, what is your reason?" Buffy answered by grabbing and pulling Harley's hair. With her Slayer strength, she threw Harley across the apartment. She fell through a table with a loud crash. Xander was outside, there to ask Harley if she would like to go out to breakfast. The loud noise in her apartment made him run. When he entered the apartment, he saw Buffy standing in front of Harley with some of Harley's hair in her hand.

"What the Hell do you think you are doing, Buffy? Why are you attacking Haley?" Xander goes to Harley to see if she is OK. She was still breathing, and her pulse was strong. He looked at her back and was thankful that the table only bruised her. Now that he knew that Harley was OK, he could find out what was going on.

"Well, Buffy?"

"It's like this, Xander. I wanted to know if she was going to hurt you. You do not have the greatest track record with it comes to relationships."

"Do you really want me to bring up Angel? Because I will, just to show you that I'm not the only one with a bad track record. I'm interested in her too. So, if we want to see each other, we will. And it is none of your or Willow's business. You didn't listen to us when Angel came back so why should I listen to you?"

"Because I saved your life."

"If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have lasted two days here. I have saved your life more times than you have saved mine. Just admit you liked it when I followed you around like some lovesick puppy. I haven't thought of you that way since you danced with me two years ago. Then last year, there was you pushing me away. We've barely been friends since you returned from LA last year." Buffy was stunned that Xander barely thought of her as a friend.

"I'm sorry, Haley. I'll see you later, Xand." Buffy left the apartment and closed the door.

"I thought that she would never leave." Xander looked at her and was shocked to see Harley smiling at him as she stood up. "Why are you here, Xander?"

"I came over to see if you wanted to go out to breakfast. But if you are hurt, I could take care of you for awhile. Had a lot of practice in it." Harley smiled at the thought of Xander playing nursemaid. Maybe some other time, but not today.

"Let me shower and change then we will get something to eat." Xander was watching her hips sway as she walked towards her bedroom. 'If I didn't know any better, I'd think she is trying to seduce me.'

Chapter 7

Xander spent his time waiting for Harley by cleaning up a little bit. As he was putting her dishes into the sink, he felt her look at him. When he turned around, he saw Harley in a medium length yellow sundress. Harley, who normally wore ponytails, had her hair down to her mid-back. She was succeeding in seducing Xander.

"My, aren't you the Happy Little Homemaker." She glided over to him and kissed him on the cheek. "I'm starving. Let's go" It took Xander a minute to get going. Harley completely stunned him when she showed up in her dress. Her giggling woke him up. She grabbed his arm and pulled him out of her apartment.

Unlike their dinner date, Buffy and Willow weren't there. Xander was more relaxed then he was the night before. They talked in depth about their lives. Harley knew everything about Xander, but she learned more listening to him talk. He never boasted or bragged, but he did give more credit to his friends than to himself. When he told her about the hyena possession, Harley's eyes lit up.

"You know, Xander. My two pets were hyenas. I realize it has been years since then, but if that possession is still there, I might be able to help you harness it. I've always had a soft spot for my babies." Hearing that last statement, Xander spit his coffee all over Harley. Or he would have, if he wasn't waiting for a refill.

After they ate, they left the restaurant. It was a warm 78 degrees out with a light breeze. Xander and Harley were walking hand in hand. Xander felt like a million bucks. Harley felt like a normal woman for the first time in years. They walked in comfortable silence. They did not need to talk. Just being together was enough for them.

"Hey, Xander. I was reading in the paper that there are openings in the Sunnydale Construction Company. How about on Monday, you apply for a job there? It has to be better than working as a pizza delivery boy. I know you will be great in construction. You already know how to blow stuff up. Why not learn how to build it back up?"

Xander thought about this. He never really thought about his career choices. He never had a steady job, other than his one month over the summer at the Fabulous Ladies Night Club. He can probably make a lot of money as a stripper, but there is no future in it. Besides, if anyone was going to get a repeat of that summer, it was the woman holding his hand.

"I'll do it. I'll go up and sign in Monday." He would continue, but something in the sky caught his eye. It was a guy in blue tights. "Harley, you'd better hide. I think one of Batman's friends is in the area and we do not want him seeing you."

"Don't worry about it. Blue Boy has never seen me without my make-up on. He is also too much of a Boy Scout to use his X-ray vision on a woman. Just act calm, or like a fan boy, and everything will be fine. I trust you not to ruin my second chance." Xander smiled at this, and they just continued walking. After a couple of moments, Superman flew away. Headed towards LA.

"That was close. I fought vampires, demons and zombies, but I don't think I would have lasted one second against Superman. I would have fought for you, but it would have been in vain. But, like Buffy, he could not kill a human. It's part of being a hero."

Harley saw Xander's shoulders sag. She knew something big was on his mind. "OK, what is it? What's on your mind?"

"Well, doctor, my brother thinks he is a chicken. But we don't talk him out of it, because we need the eggs." Harley slapped him on the shoulder. Xander took the hint. "I'm worried about you. It's bad enough we have people trying to end the world, we don't need a bunch of costumed super heroes looking for you. I'd rather fight the guys I'm suppose to. If every yahoo in a costume is fighting in Gotham and Metropolis, could you imagine the devastation of them fighting over the Hellmouth? It would make everything that has happened in the past look like a Sunday school picnic. And I'd rather keep them out of here."


A deep voice answered his phone. "Hello?"

"I think I found her. She might be in Sunnydale. I'm not positive, but it is possible. There is great evil in that town."

"It's on a Hellmouth. Of course there is evil there. The only question is why is she there." He disconnected the call. Batman stood up to head to his plane. As he turned around, he saw a guy in a bad pimp suit.

"Forget it, Bruce. Stay away from Harley. She's needed there. The guy she is with needs her as much as she needs him. And right now, we need him more than you. If you fight him, you won't win. He faced off Angelus unarmed. What chance do you think you have? Leave this one alone. If you don't, bad things will happen to you. I guarantee it. And this is a double your money back guarantee." Batman just pushed Whistler out of his way, and headed for his plane.

Whistler watches as Batman flies away. "You're in for a world of hurt. I hope your medical insurance is paid up."

Chapter 8

Xander wanted Harley to meet Giles. It took five minutes to walk to his apartment. Xander was a little nervous. He felt like a guy taking a woman home to meet the folks for the first time. He knew he'd have to go through it again with Mrs. Summers. But that's ok with him. He wouldn't have it any other way. They just walked into the apartment. Never even bothering to knock. It's not like Giles has a woman over.

"Hey, Giles! Are you in here?"

"Yes. And thank you for knocking." He notices an attractive blonde holding Xander's hand, and it's not Buffy. "And who is your friend?"

"This is Haley Quatermaine. She just moved into town yesterday, and I was showing her around. We had dinner last night and breakfast this morning. Haley, this is Rupert Giles. A mentor and de facto father figure to me, Buffy and Willow. We just call him Giles."

"Hi, Giles. Nice to meet ya. At least you have some class compared to Buffy and Willow. They were acting possessive of Xander and they couldn't figure out why. Those two don't know what kind of a friend they had in Xander. Just because he didn't get into college, doesn't mean they can ignore him. But, that's ok. I'll show him a good time and introduce him to some friends of mine."

Giles noticed how firm her hand shake was. It hasn't been since Cordelia left that Xander has dated. There was something likable about this woman. She had a radiant smile that if you looked too long into it, it would blind you. She has a playful, yet determined attitude. He got a vibe off of her that he recognized. Like she had done something terribly wrong and she wanted to make up for it. No matter how long it took.

"I wanted you to meet her, Giles. Just in case, for some reason if Buffy or Willow should come over, and tell you about Haley. I will be bringing her around often. She knows about the night life here." Xander shook Giles' hand then left. They left hand in hand. Giles smiled at that. Xander needed some happiness in his life.


Batman was flying as fast as his jet could take him to Sunnydale. He didn't know what he was going to do when he got there. He knew he was going to lock her up. But before that, he didn't know. He made a call to Superman. "Yes, Batman?"

"I want you to go to Sunnydale and keep an eye on who you think is Harley Quinn. I'll be there in a few hours. I need to know if she is up to something. And since she is on a Hellmouth, I'm really curious. She might try to open it. And that would not be good."

"Ok. But when I saw her, she didn't look grief stricken to me. She looked happy. She was walking hand in hand with some teenager. I remember what that was like, it is a shame you don't."

"Just watch her anyway. I want to know what she is up to." Batman turned off his communicator. Superman was confused. If Harley was really upset, why was she holding hands with some guy? He knew Bruce is out for revenge, but he should leave the violence to Batgirl. It's just not right for a man to hit a woman. It's ok to defend yourself when a woman is attacking you, but do not hit back. His parents taught him that.


Xander and Harley were enjoying the day. Harley met Giles and they hit it off. He knew the girls didn't like Harley. He just could not figure out why. She did absolutely nothing wrong, and upset Buffy and Willow? Maybe they'd accept her if she was trying to kill me. I might need to get something from my house before I drop the bomb on who Harley really is. If I know Buffy, and I do, when I tell them her first reaction will be violence. It doesn't matter that a year ago she hid Angel's return from us. He killed sixty people when Angelus returned. If he can get a second chance, why not Harley? Sure she was a bad guy, but she never killed anybody. At least I don't think so.

As they were walking, Harley recognized a familiar face across the street. "Hey Xander. See that tall drink of water over there? That's Clark Kent. Reporter for the Daily Planet." She leaned into him. "Take the glasses off, and you will never guess in a million years who that really is."

Xander looked at Clark. He tried to picture him without his glasses on. There was a newspaper in the trash that showed Superman. He looked at the paper, then looked at Clark. He picked up the paper to get a closer look. He put the picture beside Clark. "Oh my God.

You have got to be kidding me. That is the worst disguise I have ever seen. And no one has figured it out yet? I weep for the future. And he works with Lois Lane? She is suppose to be one of the smartest women in journalism. How could she not see through that flimsy disguise. Let's go over and say hi." Harley giggled as they crossed the street to meet the famous reporter.

The two people that Clark was sent to keep an eye on were headed right for him. He could not run away, or fly away. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He would just have to play it by ear and see what happens. Bruce owed him big time for this. The Man of Steel just has to keep these two busy until Batman shows up. And knowing him, he will wait until tonight to make his appearance. He always was one for the dramatic entrance.

"Excuse me, are you Clark Kent, world famous reporter for The Daily Planet?"

"Yes I am. I'm here researching a story."

"On the high death rate in this town? The death rate here is the highest per capita in the world. Granted this is a small town, but it has twelve cemeteries. You'd think with all the death here that it would be a ghost town."

"I didn't know the death rate was this high. Are the cops doing anything about it?"

Xander fell over laughing. "Sunnydale cops? Looking into the death rate? That's the funniest thing I have heard all day. Have you ever thought of a career as a stand up comic? Your dry delivery will make you a hit on the comedy circuit. However, with your build, you'd make a ton of money as a male stripper. Believe me. I know. I was one last summer. And they all looked like you. Except for the glasses, of course."

Harley giggled at the thought of Superman as a male stripper. She started to laugh at the thought of Lois Lane shoving dollar bills down his g string. "You should try it, Blue Boy. Give that girlfriend of yours a thrill. You might melt her ice. And when you pick your jaw up off the ground, yes I am who you are looking for and I told him. He's the trustworthy type. He won't tell your secret. If you are here, that must mean the Bat is on his way. How soon before he gets here?"

"A few hours at best. But he will make an appearance tonight. He is very upset with you."

"I know. I'm trying to make amends. That's why I'm here. Hang out with us for awhile. Let us prove to you that I am not up to some dastardly deed. All I'm asking for is a chance."

"Alright, you have a deal." Clark followed the happy couple as they explored the town. "So, what is the night life like here?"

Chapter 9

Clark had just finished having dinner with Xander and Harley. Harley showed no signs of being up to something and Xander showed signs of caring for her. If he did not know who Harley was, he'd assume that they were a normal couple. This is really confusing to Superman. He wants to give Harley the benefit of the doubt, but Bruce is his friend. Well, acquaintance actually. He fought side by side with him. If he said this woman is dangerous, then she must be. But the reporter in him wants to get all the facts first.

"Harley, why is Batman out for you?" For the next half hour, she told Clark about kidnapping Tim Drake and what she and the Joker had done to him for three weeks. With her voice and body language, she tried to get across how sorry she was about her part in it. Clark, listening to her voice and pulse rate, could tell that she meant being how sorry she was. While her voice could say she was sorry, her body functions could not lie. When she was done talking, she held Xander's hand and he hugged her. She felt happy in his arms. Clark could tell by the look in his eyes that there would be hell to pay to get this woman away from him. He figured this is how people must see him as Superman when he is holding Lois.

"How did you get from Gotham to here? That is over three thousand miles."

"Magic. The real stuff, not what you see in Vegas."

"Ok, say I buy it. Why you? Of all the women in the world that could be chosen, why you? Why not someone like Barbara Gordon? Or even Lana Lane?"

"I'm guessing those two don't have the stomach for what goes on in this town. If Barbara knew, she'd have the Justice League here in a heartbeat. When the superheroes are around, the super villains show up. And since this is a Hellmouth, those idiots shouldn't know about it's existence. Let me ask you a question. If Lex knew about a way to bring hell on earth, literally, would you be able to kill him to stop him? I doubt it, but death would be the only way to stop him from ending the world."

"You're right. I wouldn't be able to. You're also right about the Hellmouth. If what I've heard is accurate. I'm surprised none of the other super villains have been here. Especially Brainiac. If he ever heard of the Hellmouth, we would all be in serious trouble. Maybe others have heard of it, they would rather rule the world instead of destroying it."

"Than you got the smart villains. Every major villain that has ever been here has wanted to destroy the world. Although, I never understood that logic. If you destroy the world, wouldn't the destroyer be destroyed too? If you were successful, who would you rule over if you were dead?" As they were having a deep, philosophical discussion about people ending the world, those in the restaurant started leaving. The Sunnydale Denial Syndrome was in full effect. The only person near them was the waitress and she ignored their conversation entirely.

There was nothing else to talk about, so they decided to leave. They left the waitress a generous tip. The sun was starting to set. They still had an hour until sundown, but it was still light enough for it to be romantic for Harley and Xander. Only it would have been, if Clark Kent wasn't there. Xander was nervous. He knew a confrontation with Batman was inevitable. He knew he could never match Batman move for move in a fight. But that never stopped him before. Batman may have the skill on his side, but he hits as hard as a human possibly could. Xander was glad his first aid kit at home was restocked.

Clark looked at the happy couple. Harley seemed like she was trying to get better. He'd have whoever is in the area keep an eye on her, but other than that he would leave them alone. Bruce won't like it, but that is his decision. He would just have to tell all the superheroes to keep a low profile in this area. No need in drawing undue attention. He agreed with Xander about what might happen should superheroes be seen on a regular basis in this area. And that scared the hell out of him.

"Well, I can tell you both that you have nothing to worry about from me. As long as Harley stays on the straight and narrow, we won't have a problem." He reached into his jacket pocket and retrieved a communicator. "If it ever gets really bad here, give a ring and someone will come to help." He handed it to Xander.

"If you ever need my help, give me a ring. I'll be glad to help. Provided I'm not needed here." Xander and Clark shook hands. Xander could not believe he was shaking Superman's hand. Granted he has hung out with superheroes before, but not world famous ones like the Man of Steel. His thoughts were interrupted when something in the back of his mind noticed there was something wrong. After releasing Clark's hand, he put himself in front of Harley. He looked up, and there was Batman gracefully floating to the ground.

"Hello. Welcome to Sunnydale, Batman. Are you here to help with the vampire problem?" In trying to get his attention, Xander looked into Batman's eyes. The rage that Xander saw in his eyes, was the same look that Xander had when he threatened Buffy junior year. He understood the rage, but he was not going to allow anything to happen to Harley.


For the last hour, Buffy had been following Xander. She wondered who the tall guy in the suit was. She saw him hand Xander a radio, but they were talking too low for her to hear their entire conversation. She was glad when she saw them shake hands. She never believed in her wildest dreams that she would ever get to see another superhero, other than herself. What was Batman doing in Sunnydale? She saw Batman walk menacingly toward Xander and Haley. She wanted to get involved, but her immediate dislike for Haley kept her where she was.


"I've come for you, Harley. I'm sending you to prison. You deserve worse for what you did to Robin, but that's the best I can do."

"Forget it, Batman. The only way you are taking her is over my dead body. And what she told me of you, you won't kill me. I'm unarmed. You'll fight me, and I'll bleed all over your cape, but you will never kill me." Just then, they hear a bell like in a prize fight. All three men turned to the sound and saw Harley standing under a street lamp.

"Ladies and gentlemen. Tonight's main event is scheduled for one fall to the finish. Introducing first, direct from Gotham City, weighing in at 215 lbs., the Dark Knight Batman! And his opponent. From right here in Sunnydale, California weighing 155 lbs., the White Knight Xander Harris!"

Chapter 10

"Before we do this Batman, give Clark all your gadgets. If you want to get through me, you'll have to do it on skill alone. No tricks. No weapons. As you can see, I have no weapons." Against his better judgment, Batman handed his utility belt to Superman. As soon as he handed the belt over, Batman rushed at Xander. His hands were stretched out like he was going to choke him.

Since this is a move all vampires use, Xander was ready for it. He jumped to the left, stuck out his right foot and tripped Batman. Batman stumbled for a step, then regained his balance. "Nice. But why are you defending her? Do you know what she has done?"

"Of course I know, Batman. You see, we normal humans believe in something called giving a second chance. And believe me I know all about it. If you knew half of what was going on here, you would too. But you're not. You fight every day. You stop criminals. Big deal. I helped save the world a lot the last three years. Can you say that? Now the big guy over here, he understands. I'm sure even the Green Lantern understands. But you, I seriously doubt it."

"That is all well and good, but that still hasn't explained to me why you are defending her."

"She has told me, and I believe her, that she wants to make amends for what she has done. Can any of the bad guys you have fought say that and actually mean it? Probably not."

"She still has to pay."

"And she will. By doing good, by society and herself. You can not ask for more than that. But, if my words fall on deaf ears, you are still just a normal human. Granted, you have a lot of skills, and I like skills but I have been fighting vampires who are four times faster and stronger than a normal human. So, unless you can get super strong in five seconds, I suggest you get ready to be put in a world of hurt."

Batman had rarely seen such conviction on someone so young. It reminded him of himself at that age. He was right. The only way to stop Xander, is to kill him. And I don't kill. "Fine. But if she steps out of line once." He did not need to finish his sentence.

Xander and Harley knew what he meant.

"Oh, by the way, whoever you are under that mask, please don't be so petty as to ruin my life. I do good work here, and I don't need to worry about you messing up my life." Batman looked at him, and nodded. No matter what, he would let Xander live his life. As he was heading to Clark to get his belt, his communicator went off. Superman answered it.

"Hello. Yes, just one moment. It's for you. It's the office."

"Yes? WHAT? I'll be there as soon as I can. I have got to go. Somebody let all the criminals out of New Arkham." He looked at Xander. "You'll keep an eye on her?" Xander nodded. That was good enough for Batman. He hit a button on his belt and his jet showed up. Needless to say, Xander was highly impressed.

Xander turned to Clark. "Will he be ok?"

"I have no doubt in my mind. If anybody can get through this, it's him. He just needs time and space. But he will pull through." Xander hoped Clark was right. He would have said something else, but he was tackled from behind. There was a blonde on top of him, and luckily for Xander, it was Harley.

"Oh thank you thank you thank you. Normally, he's just a regular fists of fury. I'm just trying to figure out why he didn't attack more." The answer came from Clark Kent.

"Xander never fought back. It is not Batman's style to fight a guy that won't fight back. Xander tried something that has never been tried before against him. He used logic and common sense. That appealed to his mind. If Xander fought back, I would be rushing him off to the hospital right now. Well, it seems as if I'm not needed here anymore. So." Clark was about to leave, when some idiot tried to tackle him from behind. The attacker simply bounced off him, and rolled ten feet.

"Who the bloody hell are you?"

"Spike? What are you doing here? This is not a good time for you right now. Go back to wherever you were and stay there."

"And if I don't?" Spike stood there defiantly.

Xander just smiled at him. "Spike the Bloody, I would like you to meet Clark Kent. Clark, I would like to introduce you to Spike the Bloody, awful poet. He's a vampire. I think you know what I would like you to do right now." Clark turned to Spike, lowered his glasses, and shot at his heart with his eye beams. Spike started to scream as soon as he was hit, then all was silence when he turned to dust. Clark just put his glasses back on.

"Thanks Clark old buddy. Don't worry if anybody noticed here. The citizenry look the other way to weird stuff in this town. It's called the Sunnydale Denial Syndrome. So, unless you change into your suit right here, you have nothing to worry about. Now if you will excuse me, I have a date to finish with Harley." As they were leaving, Xander saw a pissed off Slayer. Her hands were on her hips, and she was tapping her foot.

"Oh shit."

Chapter 11

Xander and Harley smiled at Buffy. Buffy was amazingly upset. One of her friends has lied to her, and she wants to know why. Their smiles only made her angrier.

"Hello, Buff. How are you this fine evening?" Xander was hoping the small talk would calm her down. He was wrong.

"Why was Batman here? Who is that guy shooting lasers out of his eyes? And what is going on?"

"Batman is here because of something Haley did. The guy shooting lasers you will have to figure out for yourself. That is, you can. The smartest women in the world haven't figured it out yet." He turned to Harley, "at least I didn't mention the bleach seeping into her brain. If you want to know what is going on here, let's go to my apartment. Ok?" Buffy nodded. On the way there, she called Willow and asked her to meet them there. Willow was there first.

Xander's Apartment

Xander used the bathroom in his room. It was a ruse so Xander could put his revolver in the back of his pants. He knew Buffy and he knew how she would react when she finds out momentarily.

"What is going on here. It all started two days ago. I was at the Espresso Pump waiting for my friends that never showed. This nice woman asked if she could join me for coffee. I agreed. We walked and talked, and got to know each other. We had a nice dinner, and even got to kill a couple of vampires. It was a nice first date. Haley was doing some impressive acrobatics. After the vampires were dust, I wanted to know why she was a gymnast. We went back to her place and she told me everything." Buffy and Willow were intrigued by Xander's story.

"Her name is not Haley Quatermaine. Her real name is Harleene Quinzel. And by your reaction Willow, she is who she is." Xander stood up. "For years, she went by the name Harley Quinn. For you Buffy, she was the Joker's girlfriend." True to form, Buffy stood up. Ready to attack Harley. She would have, if she didn't see Xander's revolver right in her face. "Sit down, Buffy. We are going to talk this over like adults, and no one will get hurt. Understand?" Buffy nodded as she sat down. She was wondering where Xander got a gun. "The reason Batman was here was because Superman spotted her. Batman was on a vengeance kick. You see, the Joker wanted a son. So, he kidnapped Robin. After torturing, drugging and shocking him, they broke his mind and reshaped it. They turned him into a Joker Junior. After the ensuing battle, Harley fell down a hole and died." He turned to Harley and noticed that she was starting to feel uncomfortable. He went to her, and put his hand on her shoulder. This little bit of contact was enough to make her feel better.

"When she woke up, she was in Purgatory. Here she met the balance demon Whistler. You told us about him once. He showed Harley my life and gave her a choice. Either stay in Purgatory isolated for all eternity or return to earth and be my friend. Obviously, she chose to return and get a second chance."

"But she doesn't deserve a second chance, Xander. She should be in jail."

Xander walked right up to Buffy and looked her right in the eyes. What she saw in his eyes made her wish she could bury herself further into the chair. "Like Angel did? After you released his soul, he killed sixty people, including Miss Calendar. He tortured Giles and tried to end the world. All you wanted was your boyfriend back. The world be damned. Yet, when he returned, he got a second chance. So why is it ok for you to choose who gets a second chance and who doesn't?"

"I'm the Slayer. I knew Angel was back with his soul."

"How do you know he had his soul? Did you ask him or did you go with blind luck and hope? Face it, Buff. You do not have a say in this. I do. It's my choice. It's my life. I still want to be friends, but if you can't get over the fact of who Harley was, then that is your problem. Not mine."

"She can hurt you, Xander. You need to be protected. You are the normal one."

"For the love of God. I have saved your life just as many times or more than you have saved mine. You wouldn't have lasted two days in this town if I didn't pull you up into that ventilator shaft. You would have stayed dead after the Master drowned you. I had to force Angel to take me to his lair. I did not care whether I lived or not. I cared about you. In fact, I loved you. But now, my love for you is like a sister. When you were sick with the flu, Angelus showed up to kill you. I got rid of him. When you were knocked into the swim team's pool, I pulled you out. And I even saved the world once."

Willow asked, "When?"

"When the Sisterhood of Jhe tried to open the Hellmouth. While you were in the library, I was in the basement stopping Jack O'Toole who was a zombie, from blowing up the school with a bomb. While the Hellmouth was open." He turned to Willow. "If the school blew up while the Hellmouth was open, what might have happened?"

Willow thought about it, and her face went pale. "If the school blew up before we closed the Hellmouth, it would have stayed open. Nothing would have stopped it. The world would be finished. Was I really that bad of a friend to you over the last year?"

"No, not really. You were just growing up. You were going in a direction that I wasn't. It's ok, I understand it. I didn't like it, because it was lonely. It would have been nice if you included me in your lives, but I have a new friend now. I will be applying for a job with the Sunnydale Construction Company on Monday. I am going to try and see where my friendship with Harley goes. But most importantly, I want the three of us to be friends again. You two, I mean you three, are the world to me. My life means nothing if you all are not in it." After he said that, he was assaulted by three screaming women. They were trying to hug him to death. Xander did not joke about this. His mind was on permanent shutdown. He just stood there and enjoyed the hug. Right now, all was right in the world.