My Enemy's Enemy

Author: Kelon <kelonybc[at]>

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners... none of which are me. I simply borrow them for my entertainment.

Summary: Xander leaves for his roadtrip after graduation (Season 3). When he crosses path with a vampire archon in a small town in North Carolina, loyalties are tested, truths revealed and tough choices made. Is everything he believed to be true a lie? And is the enemy of your enemy a friend?

Warning : Multiple crossovers ahead.

Credits: Tenhawk's Journeyverse acted as a loose inspiration for the concept behind parts of the story. If anyone knows how to write crossovers, Tenhawk is it. I borrowed some of his theories in regard to the origin of Xander's fighting abilities.

Dedicated to Kenshiiro, Ryzel and the rest of the gang from Shadows of Yamabushi, the best guild there ever was or will be. Miss you guys. Onward to ownage! And to ADR for inspiring me to write in the first place and for just being who you are. It means the world to me.

Rating: PG-13 to NC-17 for cursing, violence, non-graphic romance and vampiric horror content.

Author's notes: Please be aware that several events/conversations/settings have been modified from their originally form as shown in the various TV shows, movies or books to better fit the story. This is my first attempt at fan fiction, and I appreciate all feedback. Please refrain from flames, though.

**denotes thought**

Latest addition

Chapter 1

Interstate 17, North Carolina; August 16th, 1999, 10:12 PM

Alexander "Xander" Harris was contend. For the first time in a long time he simply enjoyed the moment, without feeling like Armageddon loomed around the corner ready to strike. After graduating from high school (and blowing up the school in the process), Xander needed to get away from it all. Away from the demons and vampires. Away from his drunken parents that didn't care about him. Away from the person he loved so much but that did not love him back.

**Buffy**, Xander thought sadly. **I wonder how she's doing.**

The night of graduation Xander made the decision to see something new and leave his old life behind. At least for some time. In all of his 17 years he had never left the state of California. His parents weren't exactly the travelling type, and aside from going to Disneyland with his uncle Rori or going on smaller trips with Willow and her family, he didn't get to do it on his own. Until now. He'd packed two bags of clothes, thrown them in the trunk of his car and headed east.

Xander smiled as he reflected back on what he had seen. Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi, Chicago, Niagara Falls, New York.

**I never thought my car would make it that far. Then again, I never really thought I could leave in the first place.**

Even though he tried to get away from his past life, he wasn't stupid enough to be careless. He looked down at the stake that was lying in the passenger seat. He had to use it once since leaving Sunnydale.

**I knew New York was a crazy place, but that stupid bitch really thought that throwing on some designer clothes would be enough to not look suspiciously dead. Hello? When your hands are so cold that it feels like touching an ice block, then you are really stupid if you think people won't notice. Next time, wear some damn gloves! Oh right, there won't be a next time for that one,** Xander thought with a smile on his face.

One thing about this incident was really disturbing to Xander, though. The stake had not killed her. She had a look of shock on her face when he had plunged it into her heart in that filthy back alley at Chelsea Piers. But then nothing happened. She simply froze in mid-movement, vamped out with her mouth open and her fangs showing. It was almost surreal.

Xander grinned. **She might not have burst into a cloud of dust, but she didn't handle it too well when I set her clothes on fire.** Within a minute her complete body had been consumed by the flames, and the slightly blackened stake surrounded by a pile of ash was all the evidence that was left of her.

**I wonder if Giles has some answers for me already why she did not simply burst into a cloud of dust.** The watcher had been very concerned when Xander called him and told him about it. In all the years in Sunnydale, that had never happened, and Buffy would be in for a big surprise and a lot of trouble if that changed. **I should call him when I take a break to find out.**

The sun had set two hours ago, and Xander was becoming tired and hungry. **Time to get off the highway, get some scrub, call Sunnydale and catch some sleep afterwards.**

Xander saw a sign proclaiming the next exit to be Tree Hill, NC, 2 miles down the road. **That'll do just fine. ** A couple of minutes later he saw the exit come up and he left the road.


Tree Hill, North Carolina; August 16th, 1999, 10:29 PM

Peyton was sitting in her car in front of a green traffic light waiting for it to turn red. Lucas ran over and stopped at the passenger's door.

"Why do you do this?" he asked her with a mixture of concern and annoyance apparent in his voice. When Peyton continued to stare ahead and didn't answer him, he jumped into the car and sat down.

"If I were you, I'd get back out now."

Lucas shook his head. "Not until you tell me what's going on."

The light turned red and Peyton stepped on the gas, running the light. Lucas felt a sense of panic rising in him, and his eyes flicked back and forth between Peyton and the street ahead of them. "Come on! Slow down Peyton!" His voice became louder and more agitated. "Come on! Slow the car down! Peyton? Slow the car down!"

Peyton still kept going, her eyes looking straight ahead, but she started to speak in a soft voice. "She was driving to school to pick me up. She was late, so she ran a red light. It was one light at the wrong split second, and it ended it for her."

The car stopped, and Peyton turned to look at Lucas for the first time, pain and sadness all over her face and in her eyes. "My mom ran one red light. I run them all the time and nothing happens. It's not fair."

Lucas swallowed the lump in his throat. **So this is it. This is what she's been hiding all the time.** He felt bad for her, and wished he could find some words to give her comfort. But the words wouldn't come, and all he could think of to say was, "No, it's not."

Peyton averted her gaze and said, "You can get out now."

Lucas saw the change in her pasture. He didn't want to push her, but he also needed her to know that he was there for her. "Or I could stay if you want."

She shook her head. "No. You can't." Her voice made it clear that she meant it. Lucas sighed and, with one last look at Peyton, got out of the car.


Xander had entered the town of Tree Hill a few minutes ago and was cruising for an open diner. The town, from what he had seen so far, was small and quiet, the kind of town where everybody knew everybody, and where nothing big happened.

He leaned forward and turned on the radio to get some distraction from his empty stomach.

"In today's top news story, police is still looking for the killers of Eric Draven and an unidentified woman believed to be Draven's fiancée, Shelly. Draven was a recent recruit to the THPD and only turned 23 last week. Sources close to the investigation and speaking on condition of anonymity revealed that both bodies were found in Draven's apartment on Jackson Street, and that the killers acted with extreme brutality.

The police commissioner was not available for comment, however, a representative denied any relation of the murders with the current unrest that has swept over the East Coast of the United States for the past couple of weeks, as large-scale drug organizations are seemingly fighting over control in the bloodiest outbreak of violence in many years, leaving dozens of law-enforcement officers and civilian bystanders dead in their wake.

The police department asks all citizens to keep their doors locked, windows shut and to report any suspicious activity at once."

"Shit, so much for nice and quiet." Xander cursed under his breath. **Might not be the best idea to sleep in the car with some murderers on the lose. Then again, I don't have the money to afford anything else.** Xander sighed.

He had heard about the outbreak of violence. It had all started in Atlanta a few weeks ago, and spread northeast from there. It was mainly concentrated in the larger cities, though, and Xander wasn't overly concerned for his own safety while travelling. After three years of fighting demons and vampires on top of the hell mouth in Sunnydale, he knew how to spot trouble, and how to avoid it if he had to.

And then there was the fact that he was far from the Zeppo his friends thought him to be. They all believed him to be the normal one, and needing protection. In a fight, Buffy considered him more of a liability than an asset, and she tried to only involve him when she had no other choice.

**Maybe I was like that in the beginning, but I am not anymore.** Xander mentally snorted. **I haven't been for quite a while, to be exact,** he thought to himself, as the memories came rushing back to him and his face briefly contorted with the horror of the experience.

After he got possessed with the soldier's spirit during Ethan Raines' spell on Halloween, he somehow kept the man's memories. From one day to the other, Xander suddenly knew how to fight hand-to-hand, use a wide arrangement of weapons and explosives and survive in hostile environment. Some skills only seemed to surface when he was under stress or in danger, almost like that part of his brain took over for him. Others he freely remembered. And some memories Xander just wished he was able to forget.

The nightmares had started a few days after Halloween. Xander saw himself on battlefields, crawling through the jungle or underground tunnels of the Vietcong. Death was all around him. Friends, enemies... It didn't matter. They died, either by his hand or their own actions. He saw people stepping on mines or burning to death after being hit with a flamethrower. He witnessed people die every night that closed his eyes, and he just couldn't take it.

But he fought his way through, because he was willing to pay that price in exchange for the ability to help Buffy and his friends. If this was what he had to endure to keep them safe, then he'd take it, with no regrets. Xander had never told anyone about the aftermath of the possession, and he was good enough to hide his insomnia. Neither his friends nor Giles had any idea of how Xander changed. There was no need for that, in his mind. He'd simply do his part in the fights that were sure to come, watching their backs and making sure the good guys walked away victorious.

But they wouldn't let him. They insisted that he stayed out of it, Buffy being the most vocal about it. He still could remember the conversation he overheard between Buffy and Willow.

== Flashback ==

"So, Buffy, Scooby's going on patrol tonight?"

"Yeah, Willow, but don't tell Xand, okay?"

"Why not?", Willow protested. "He's part of the group, too, isn't he?"

"He is, he is.", Buffy hesitated slightly. "But he's just a normal guy, and I don't want him to get hurt. I can't lose him, Willow. And you know how he is in a fight." Buffy laughed lighty, which nearly broke Xander's heart. "I can't watch him and do my job, but I don't want to hurt his feelings either. I think it would be best if we just make sure he is safe, you know?"

Xander had waited for Willow, his best friend since kindergarten, to stand up for him. To say that Buffy was wrong.

"I think you are right, Buffy. I'll meet you and Giles in the library at 7 then."

== End of Flashback ==

That was part of the reason why he left Sunnydale. Had he not led the students' attack on Mayor Wilkins? Who had organized and set up the explosives needed to blow him and the whole school to hell and back? He had saved them more times than they'd ever know. He had even saved Buffy without ever telling her. The night Angelus came to the hospital to kill her. It was him who stopped the bastard. But no matter what he did, no matter how much he tried to help and be there for her, she never even considered him as more than a Xander-shaped friend. And it hurt more than he wanted to admit.

After the mayor had been defeated, Buffy was running after Angel. She didn't come to him, she didn't even ask how he was doing. Dead boy was once again the center of the universe. That was the final straw for Xander. He felt like Sunnydale and everything in it suffocated him, and all he could do was leave.

Xander spotted a well-lit sign down the street past the next intersection reading Jeff's Diner, and the prospect of a burger with frites pushed his darker thoughts aside for the moment.

"And now to local sports. The Ravens basketball team continued with their winning streak on the weekend by defeating the Eastbrook Tigers 72-56. The Scott brothers dominated both on the offense, as well as, the defense, scoring a combined 54 points, with 14 assists, 5 steals and 8 blocks..."

As Xander approached the intersection, the lights turned green, and he sped up his car, searching for the entrance to the diner's parking lot.


Peyton gave Lucas one last look before staring straight ahead at the traffic light. Lucas watched her from the sidewalk, with a mixture of concern and compassion displaying on his face as he saw Peyton gripping the stirring wheel tightly and playing with the gas.

He looked down the deserted road and wondered if getting out of the car was the right thing to do. **She's in no condition to drive, maybe if I get back into the car she'll stop and...** His thoughts were abruptly interrupted as the traffic lights turned red and Peyton sped off.

Through the tears she wouldn't allow Lucas to see, she didn't even notice the car coming from her right at full speed, or how the driver stepped on the break while swerving out of her way, crashing into a parked car at the side of the road. She simply kept going, crying at the pain and loneliness she was feeling inside.

"Oh shit!" Lucas cursed as he ran toward the wrecked car.


The car pretty much came out of nowhere and cut him directly off.

"What the.." was all Xander cut mutter as his eyes grew wide and he stepped on the breaks, trying desperately to get out of harms way. He narrowly missed the black car and almost felt relieved, when his car crashed straight into a parked SUV.

The impact caused the airbag to explode, and Xander's head crushed into it while his brain registered the loud noise of the crash. His car had come to an instant stop, and he was leaning on the inflated balloon for a second in the eerie silence that followed.

"FUCK?!?" Xander screamed. He looked up, and caught a glimpse of the blonde haired woman, who was speeding away without caring for the mess she had caused.

"Hey man, are you okay?" a blonde guy in a gray sweater, with a basketball tucked under his arm, asked as he approached the wrecked car.

Xander opened the door and climbed out, a little shaken up from the crash. "I'm not hurt, I think. But my car's pretty messed up." He paused for a second, looking down the road where the car that cut him off had disappeared.

"At least it's only the car. You wouldn't want to get hurt around here, Tree Hill isn't exactly famous for its' hospital. Then again, we aren't really famous for anything." the guy said with a grin.

"I'm Xander."

The guy shook the offered hand and said, "Hi, I'm Lucas. Listen, my uncle owns a garage here in town, if you want to, I can get the truck and we can bring your car there."

"Unless you can help me find the girl that cut me off, I simply can't afford to pay for the repair." Xander said, walking around the car to look at the damage more closely.

Lucas looked at Xander, unsure how to answer him. He knew it was Peyton's fault, he even had seen the whole thing. But she had her own problems right now, and he also wasn't sure where this thing that seemed to happen between them was going. Sure, it would be the right thing to admit what he had seen, but he also did not want her to be mad at him when she found out about it and possibly ruin a relationship with her.

And then there was the fact that he did not try harder to stop her. Didn't that mean he was partially to blame, as well? **I have to work this out without bringing Peyton in. Not until I talk to her, at least.**

"I tell you what. I'll talk to my uncle in the morning. Keith is a good guy, if I explain to him what happened he might be able to give you a break.

"Thanks, Lucas, I appreciate that."

"Anytime, man. I'll be back with the truck in 5 minutes, it isn't far from here."

"Alright, I'm not going anywhere."

While Lucas was running off to get the truck, Xander walked around the SUV and looked at the license plate reading 'Dan the Man'. **I guess Dan whoever you are won't be happy about this, either.**


Chapter 2

Tree Hill, North Carolina; August 17th, 1999, 3:32 AM EST

"NOOOOOOOOO!!!", Xander screamed, bolting up in the backseat of his car. He was panting heavily, and a cold sweat glistened on his forehead from the nightmare he had just awoken from. The dream was so vivid in his mind that his ears still seemed to be ringing with the explosions and he had a taste of blood in his mouth that he deep down inside knew wasn't there. **So real**, he thought to himself. **Why the hell do they have to be so real?**

He looked about and took in his environment. His wrecked car was parked outside of Keith Scott's Body Shop, where Lucas had towed him to after his accident a few hours earlier.

He liked Lucas. The guy had a nice way about him, but Xander thought there was something else, as well, something that he couldn't pinpoint just yet. They had talked for a while after dropping off the car, and Lucas had gone and gotten him a couple of sandwiches from his mom's caf鮦nbsp; Lucas had told him that he would be back in the morning before class with Keith to discuss Xander's car and to see if they could work out some kind of deal, but one look at his watch confirmed that that wouldn't be for a few more hours.

Xander sighed. **I'll never be able to go back to sleep anyway. Might as well take a walk and get to know Tree Hill a little.** He bent down to look for his shoes in the darkness when he heard a commotion outside. He looked up through the rear window and his eyes grew wide. **You gotta be fucking kidding me!**


He saw the last three of his targets a few hundred yards ahead of him as they turned another corner. One of them seemed to stop and raised a rifle in his general direction. **Good**, he thought to himself, **I am getting tired chasing these fuckers all over town.**

He stared at the street in front of him and imagined it empty. Pictures of black asphalt and dark gray sidewalks, of shadows and the occasional streetlight filled his mind, and when he looked up again a feeling of detachment from the world had crept over him. Convinced he was hidden from view he stepped out into the street from the parked car he had been kneeling behind and started walking towards his enemies.


"What the fuck happened back there? This was supposed to be a normal transport, not some God damn massacre", Carl was cursing through clenched teeth as he and his two packmates were running for their lives. They had just stopped outside a car shop, and Carl dropped down to one knee while aiming his M-16 down the street they had just moved on. Looking back over his shoulder at Darryl and Mike, he took in their bad condition and snapped, "Mike, get us some wheels to get out of this hell hole".

Mike nodded and regretted it immediately, wincing from the pain caused by his broken neck. Despite spending a lot of blood on healing the worst damage he knew it would take several nights to be fully restored, and even then it was very likely that his spine wouldn't mend perfectly straight. **There'll be hell to pay next time I run into that guy.** He looked around at the various cars that were parked outside the garage and, ignoring the ones that were in obvious need of repair, headed straight towards a Chevy Cavalier that looked acceptable.

Meanwhile, Carl was scanning the street for any sign of pursuit, while Darryl stood with his back against the wall, supporting his balance further by leaning on the handle of his broadsword. A small puddle of blood was forming on the ground where he was standing, most of it dripping down from his left arm where the hand had been cut off a few minutes earlier. Darryl felt Carl's gaze on him and returned it, giving him a weak yet defiant smile. "No worries, it's not as bad as it looks."

Carl gave him a brief nod and turned his attention back towards the street. **No, it's not as bad as it looks. It's actually worse.**


When he got close his exceptional sense of hearing picked up the sounds of his targets, and a grin came over his face. He circled around the building and decided to go up to the roof to get a better view of the situation. Taking measure of the 15-foot high wall, he effortlessly jumped up and landed on his feet in one quick and graceful motion. The feeling of detachment still hovering over him he slowly walked across the roof and approached the opposite side.

Looking down he saw the three vampires he had fought with earlier. He removed the SPAS 12 combat shotgun from under his heavy leather jacket and called to the blood inside of him. His limbs filled with liquid fire as the power of the blood surged through his whole body. The world around him seemed to stagger as time slowed down and all the movements below him appeared to be in slow motion.

He took a step forward and dropped down from the roof, his reinforced combat boots aiming at the head of the vampire below him.


Darryl never realized what hit him. The combat boots connected with the top of his skull as the figure from above jumped down on him, and he was driven to the ground by a force large enough to knock him out cold.

Carl whirled around at the sound coming from his right. In the spot where Darryl had been in an instant before an imposing figure glad in black leather pants and a dark heavy biker jacket stood, aiming a shotgun straight at Carl's head. Carl saw a reflection of himself in the mirrored sunglasses his attacker was wearing. The words "Killa B" entered his mind a split second before a flash erupted from the shotgun. The magnesium round hit him square in the face from point-blank range, effectively taking his head off and ending his existence. His body never reached the ground, turning to a mixture of dust and ash instead.

By the time Mike had turned around to the sound of fighting the attacker was right in front of him, using his shotgun like a club and aiming at Mike's head. Mike managed to raise his arm before the blow connected, which had enough force to splinter the bones where it hit his elbow and sent him flying across the parking space. With a thud he connected with the wall, the impact effectively breaking his neck for the second time that night. Through the haze of pain Mike fought desperately to remain conscious. Indescribable agony shot through him as he felt himself being lifted by the neck and smashed against the wall behind him, where he was held in place dangling above the ground. His vision focused on the black man holding him there with one hand, while the other removed the pair of sunglasses and tucked them away inside the leather jacket.

"As I was saying earlier, before you and your friends so rudely interrupted me. You have been found guilty of violation of the first, third and fourth tradition of the Masquerade and of belonging to the Sabbat. You have been sentenced to the final death by Justicar Jaroslav Pascek of Clan Brujah. Have a nice fucking day!" With the last words, he reached up with his second hand and ripped off Mike's head, turning him into dust. He glanced around the once again empty parking area before taking out a cell phone, dialing a number he had to use many times in the past couple of weeks.

"This is Theo Bell. I intercepted another group heading north. <short pause> It's a town called Tree Hill, just off I-17. <another short pause> 8 kindred and 2 ghouls. <pause> No, that won't be necessary. I'll do the clean up myself." He ended the call.


Xander had done his best to remain hidden from the three armed men just outside his car, hoping they would move on without realizing he was there. When the silence of the night was interrupted with the sound of a shotgun blast, followed quickly by the sound of fighting, he carefully raised his head to quickly glance through the rear window again.

He saw a heavily built black man, glad in dark leather pants, a bicker jacket and a black New York Yankees cap, holding another man up against the wall with one hand. Another man was down on the ground, obviously unconscious and bleeding heavily. The black man, with his back to Xander, began to speak, and Xander was able to make out the words through his partially open side window. **Masquerade? Sabbat? Justicar of Clan Brujah? What the hell is he talking about?** He watched as Mike's head was ripped off and the vampire turned to dust. Not having expected to see that, it took him a second to overcome his initial shock before he dropped low again in his backseat. **3000 miles from home, and I still manage to find the place where the shit hits the fan. Could this night get any worse?**


Theo was just about to bend down to lift Darryl's body from the ground to drink him dry and quench the worst of his thirst when he was suddenly grabbed from behind and pressed against the wall of the garage by an incredibly strong force. He felt his arms pinned behind his back, and he was barely able to move his head to glance over his shoulder and catch a glimpse of his attacker.

A small, dark-haired man stood into the middle of the parking lot. Black tendrils of solid shadow extended from his fingers, holding Theo helplessly pinned down in their iron grip. **Fucking Lasombra! I knew this was all too easy. Damn it!**

"Archon Bell, thank you so much for tonight's entertainment. I have to admit that I was quite impressed by your performance." There were police sirens in the distance, and the man looked around the area briefly before he continued to speak. "I am afraid there won't be much time to get more acquainted. You did a good job, all considered, and you sure were a thorn in Polonia's side these past weeks, but it will stop here and now, I'm afraid." Theo was struggling to break free of the shadow tendrils, but to know avail. He already was low on blood, but he continued to burn more of his vitae to send additional strength into his arms and legs. "Any last words from the mighty Theo Bell?"

Theo's anger further fueled his attempts of breaking free. His arms felt like they were burning from the inside, the raw power almost tearing his muscles apart, and he could start to feel the grip that was holding them in place weaken slightly. He didn't think it would be enough to free him in time before his attacker finished him off, though, so he turned his head around as far as he could and spat out through clenched teeth, "Fuck you too, asshole!"

His attacker laughed and raised his right hand, the tendrils extending from his fingertips merging into a large single one that hovered over Theo's body. "Good night, Archon Bell", the vampire said, bringing his extended arm forward and down.

Theo saw the shadow form moving quickly towards his head and felt a strange sense of peace while he waited for the blow that would end his existence to connect. Instead of the pain, he felt the shadows holding him in place disappear as he dropped to the ground. Confused, he looked around, taking in the scene before him. His attacker was lying on the ground, a wooden stake protruding from his back. A teenage boy was standing over him, staring at the body with a look of frustration on his face and letting out a sigh. "Damn it, not another one of those! Can't they just die like all the rest at home? Giles is so not going to believe this."


Sunnydale, California; August 17th, 1999, 0:45 AM PST

Rupert Giles was sitting at the desk in his dark living room, the only light coming from a large reading lamp in front of him. The place was littered with open books everywhere, and occasionally the watcher would get up, walk over to one or the other book, cross-reference something and then return to his seat.

Xander's call from a week ago had him very concerned. Vampires were supposed to die upon being staked. It had always been like that. Not one of his records in the watchers' diaries indicated otherwise.

At the moment, he was reading through the journal of Johannes von Reden, a watcher that served a slayer in northern Germany in the late 11th century. The writing was clear and concise, however, Giles had a hard time making sense of some of the old German in the text.

For the past two days he had been working on a translation of what seemed to be an ancient prophecy Johannes claimed to have found on scrolls in the local cathedral's archives. It just didn't make sense to him, and even a call to the watcher's council in England had not brought any further clarity.

"... and the dark champion and the three sanctities shall stand tall amidst the black flood, and not drown in but rise above it," Giles was reading out in a low voice, his brows furrowed in frustration and concentration. "He who walks the night and he who lights the day shall forget their eternal struggle, so God be willing, thus restoring the equilibrium of good and evil, of light and darkness, of truths hidden and secrets revealed, henceforth and till eternity, for if they fail, the end of days will be upon us and the dead shall inherit the Earth."

Giles looked at the sheet of paper in front of him. "Good Lord!" He stood up and began pacing the room, polishing his glasses with a handkerchief. **It doesn't make sense. What did he mean by the three sanctities? It's clearly a reference to a clerical or spiritual entity, either...**

His thoughts where interrupted when the phone rang.

"Giles residence, this is Rupert speaking."

"Rupert, this is Travis." Said an elderly voice in a clear British accent.

Giles stiffened noticeably, placing down his glasses on the desk in front of him. "I pertain that this is in regard to my recent inquiry?"

"Yes, it is indeed." Travis seemed to pause for a second before continuing, "We looked it over, and tried to figure out ourselves who the prophecy could be talking about. We believe your translation to be accurate for the most part, but we are not sure about the?", there is a shuffling noise of papers audible over the phone, "Dreiseligkeit that is mentioned. There are several theories as to which individual or entity could be inferred here, but nothing solid yet. However, Morten came up with something that is quite peculiar. In the literal translation of the word, or to be more specific, the translation of the various parts of the word, there is a completely new meaning evolving."

Travis paused, causing Giles to finally say, "And what would that meaning be?"

"It means 'The one with three souls'."

Giles picked up his glasses again and began cleaning them rigorously. "Good Lord."


Tree Hill, North Carolina; August 17th, 1999, 3:58 AM EST

Theo slowly got up from the ground, his eyes never leaving Xander, who, in return, eyed him suspiciously. "Thanks for the help", Theo said while starting to slowly walk towards his rescuer.

Xander laughed. "If I were you I would stop right there." He reached behind his back and pulled a stake and wooden cross out of his back pockets, bringing them into view in an almost casual manner but keeping his arms lowered for now. "I don't have a damn idea about what is going on here, but do you really think I don't know what you are?"

Theo raised his left eyebrow in response, looking Xander over with an anew sense of caution. **I really hope he didn't just mean what I think he meant. He saved my ass, but if he knows about the kindred then he is a danger to the Masquerade, and I am afraid I can't just let him get away like that. Paschek would throw a fit, and that's never a good thing.** Theo almost grinned at the thought, but kept his face and composure unreadable. "I don't know what you are talking about." **Man, that was lame. I'm really not good at this bullshit smalltalk.**

"Oh please, spare me. I live in Sunnydale, California, don't you think I would know a vampire when I see one?" When Theo didn't show any emotion, Xander continued, "Come on, don't tell me you haven't heard about Sunnydale. Home of the slayer and a lovely hellmouth that attracts you fangies like an open house at the local blood bank?"

"The slayer?" Theo said, trying to confirm that his ears didn't play a trick on him.

"Yeah, you know, one girl in all the world destined to go an kick some major vampire ass? Does that ring a bell?"

**This night just went from bad to worse. I need to talk to Paschek right away.** Theo reached into his leather jacket, which caused Xander to take a step forward while raising both the stake and the cross. "Don't even think about it, dead boy!" Theo froze briefly before continuing to pull out his cell phone. Before he had a chance to start dialing he saw the typical red and blue lights flashing as a police car rounded a street corner two blocks south and headed straight their way. Xander saw them coming, as well, and suddenly realized how bad the situation must look. Two dead bodies on the ground, one of them being staked through the heart with a piece of wood that had his fingerprints all over. The assault weapons on the ground seemed almost trivial compared to that. Xander groaned. "This is not good."

With a nod at the items Xander was holding, Theo said, "Put those away, follow my lead and just be quiet." He reached into his leather jacket and pulled out a leather bound identity card. The police car came to a screeching halt, and the two officers jumped out, weapons drawn. "Freeze! Get your hands up where we can see them!"

Xander immediately did as told, while Theo held both of his hands in clear view before revealing his ID. "I am Agent Bell with the National Security Agency, and you, officers, are interrupting a federal investigation." He established eye contact with what looked to be the senior officer and immediately pushed into the mind of the man. Years of frustration and disillusionment with his job had eroded any resistance Theo might have encountered otherwise, and he could feel that the man was receptive for his coercion almost immediately. "There is no need to do this at gun point and attract any more unwanted attention to the situation."

The officer lowered his weapon and turned to his partner. "Keep an eye on the other one while I verify his ID". "You got it, Mark!" his partner acknowledged, keeping his weapon trained on Xander while Mark slowly stepped forward towards Theo. When Mark was close enough, Theo handed him his ID and established eye contact again. With a low voice so that only Mark could hear him, he said, "When I am done talking you will look at the ID card for a minute and pretend to make a call confirming that it is real. Then you will walk back to your partner and tell him that we are cleared and that this is indeed a federal case. You will ask your partner to come over to speak to me, after which you will get into the car and wait. When you partner enters the car, you will call into your department and tell them that you found no evidence of any shooting after investigating this site. You will forget that you ever saw anyone around here tonight. You will go home and feel so tired that you go to bed directly and sleep. Do you understand?"

Mark nodded, took the offered ID and checked it. After pretending to call into the command center to confirm it, he looked up and said, "I am sorry that we interfered with your investigation. I hope you have a good night, Agent Bell." Theo nodded and responded, "Same to you, Officer Degner."

A few minutes later both officers were on the way back to their headquarter, never remembering anything unusual about the night.


Xander looked after the disappearing police car and shook his head. **I don't know what's worse. The police in Sunnydale who just looks the other way and explains everything with gangs on PCP, or this.** He looked back at Theo, who had just put his ID away and gave him a questioning look.

"What is it?" Xander asked, his eye briefly locking with Theo's. It was all the vampire needed to establish a mental connection. Contrary to the ease with which he was able to deal with the two police officers a few minutes ago, Theo felt a large resistance when he tried to push into Xander's mind. It took him a lot of efforts and time to slowly chip away on the wall of willpower and determination that opposed him, but he kept whispering his coercions into Xander's mind, gradually building false memories and suppressing the real ones about the events of the past hour.


The hyena spirit had been pacing restlessly in the magical prison ever since the binding spell had trapped it there. It was a leader, the alpha of the pack, and the existence within the confines created in its host's mind was unbearable. When it first heard the call, it seemed far away and unnoticeable. It took it a minute to recognize it, but when it did it howled. The barriers holding him trapped began to shake, and tiny cracks appeared on the bars of mystical energy that held it in place. The call grew louder. A challenge for supremacy. A challenge to its leadership. The alpha howled again, fighting against its imprisonment and accepting the challenge that had been issued. The call grew louder and louder, and with a blinding flash, the barrier shattered and was gone. The alpha raced to the surface, following the call. It felt weaker than it could remember being before, but it would resume the alpha position again. It reached the surface and howled. The hunter had found its' prey.


Theo was almost done with planting his suggestions into Xander's mind and convincing him that he had never seen him nor that the events of the past hour had ever happened when he felt a sudden surge of pain and his mental connection broke down. His beast, the monstrous side of his vampiric being that constantly struggled with his conscience for control and that forever tried to extinguish the flame of humanity inside of him, roared in response with such force that Theo could only avoid the red haze of falling into a frenzy by extending every bit of trained control he'd acquired in over a century of being kindred. He raised his gaze to look at Xander again, and saw the teenager throw his head back and howl. The beast inside Theo responded to the call, and Theo's vision turned red.