Operation Hellmouth High

Author: Big Fig <DoUDebate2[at]aol.com>

Disclaimer I: I do not own any non-original characters. Seeing as I will be making no profit from this story I reserve the right to use other people's creations and ideas as I please. Don't sue!!!

Disclaimer II: This is my first story, so please be kind. Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated. However, while telling me that you like my work will certainly boost my ego I'd prefer if you tell me what you liked, and what you didn't, so that I many improve any future stories I may write.

Disclaimer III: I do have a general idea on where this possible series will take me. Sort of like Babylon Five's 5 Year Plan, but more of a general roadmap of who the major players will be and when they will show up. Feel free to make suggestions though, as a general idea is just that...a basic plan.

Disclaimer IV: If for any reason I post a chapter before it is completed I will finish said chapter. I HATE stories that just end...or are never completed. How far I actually go with this series depends on feedback however.

Disclaimer V: Not that it should matter much seeing as this is a Xander-centric fic/series, but I do not like the characters of either Buffy Summers or Willow Rosenberg and I absolutely cannot stand Buffy. Buffy Fans...Ye Be Warned!

Disclaimer VI: I know very little about swordplay (the pointy end goes in the other man) and even less about modern firearms (shoot to kill, never to disarm...and point the end with the hole in it away from you) so please do not get mad about any obvious mistakes I make.

Disclaimer VII: This story should be considered rated R. Crossovers are abound.

Disclaimer VIII: I, the author, reserve the right to post future disclaimers.

Disclaimer IX: The writer of all these disclaimers has just been sacked!!!

Historical Reference: Kendra was never killed by Drusilla. Instead Angelus captured both Kendra, who he raped and tortured within in an inch of her life and beyond, and Giles, who he tortured. Both Kendra and Giles were rescued by Xander, who gave Kendra CPR and brought her back to life-thus calling Faith as the third slayer, while Buffy fought Angelus. Afterwards, Buffy ran away leaving Kendra and the Scoobies alone. Angel, Xander, Giles, Willow, Cordelia, and Oz continued to fought the forces of darkness while Buffy was gone; Kendra was paralyzed in the hospital until about 1 week before Buffy came back. During that time Kendra and Xander became great friends, while Xander and Willow began drifting apart even before the hated fluke seeing as Willow did not like the new take-charge Xander that was emerging. Kendra, however, left Sunnydale to go fight evil elsewhere shortly before Faith showed up. Shortly after the fluke Buffy and Willow all but kicked Xander out of the Scoobies citing him as a liability. In response Xander, who has mostly just training his own for now and only occasionally patrolling on his own, begins to patrol alone extensively, in addition to still insisting on being a proud Scooby. Giles, Buffy, and Willow remain unaware of this and while Joyce and Dawn know all about his nighttime excursions; Angel and Oz have some idea but for obvious reasons (explosions from Buffy and Willow) choose to stay silent. Faith, now evil, has just poisoned Angelus...meanwhile Xander and Kendra, who has just returned to Sunnydale to help fight the Mayor, are preparing to go patrolling in hopes of giving Buffy enough time to find a cure for Angel before it is too late.

Chapter One
Operation Hellmouth High

May 29th, 2000

"Xander, where are we going?"

"Don't worry Ken, we're going to my place."

"But Xander, I've been to your house and your house is in the other direction."

"Wrong. My parents house is in the other direction, my house is just down the street."

Xander smiled to himself. Kendra was right to be curious seeing as how not even Willow knew the truth about his new place. He chuckled silently. One of the first things he had done once he had done upon entering his chosen profession of a demon hunter, independent of the rest of the Scoobies, had been to buy this old house. He always had been pretty good at fixing things and as he acquired more and more valuables and trinkets from demons he killed, and sold the non-dangerous items to Willy for a premium, he began fixing this place up more and more; putting more and more harebrained ideas into its construction. Willow and the rest of the Scoobies knew he lived here of course, but he had always put them off coming over telling them instead that his place wasn't finished yet. Which was true. However, the part about him buying the house with money he inherited from his aunt was most certainly not true. Then again, not even Willow could spot the lie seeing as how she hadn't been to visit him at his parents place in five years; not since his oh so loving father had tried to feel her up in a drunken stupor shortly after Willow had first started to wear a bra.

As they rounded the last corner and made their way to his new house Kendra stopped in shock.

"THIS is YOUR house? How did you afford this?"

At 50 ft. long and 47 ft. wide Xander's house wasn't the biggest or most expensive house in Sunnydale, not by a long shot, but it was set on a 1/2 acre heavily wooded lot at the end of a long street and was located near both the Sunnydale town square and the Sunnydale University campus with convenient access to four of Sunnydale's twelve cemeteries.

"Simple, I bought it using the money I made by pawning the valuables of all the demons I killed."

"Xan, I'm not questioning your abilities or your bravery...but is that wise? After all, how many demons did you have to kill to afford something like this?"

"Not as many as you may think, only about 20 nests or so." Xander said with a grin. "Turns out vamps and other demons have some trouble depositing their life savings in a bank. Vamps have their sun allergy and most other demons...well, they can't just walk down the street without a care in the world you know. Well, they can here in Sunnydale but doing so anywhere else would get them noticed. Anyway, as a result they tend to keep their entire savings in their lairs; making it very easy for me to rob them once I kill them."

Seeing Kendra's shocked look he went on say "Don't worry, I don't sell the dangerous-world ending stuff; just things like radios, TVs, jewelry, the occasional non-dangerous artifact, ect. And I don't go after non-dangerous demons either. I've go no problems with peaceful demons or those that just want to be left alone."

The two friends walked up to the front gate, which Xander opened with a keypad, and walked up the front lawn to the door.

"I built this place to be a hangout and headquarters for the Scoobies seeing as we, well Buffy and Willow anyway, will be going to college next year and can't exactly keep our current base of operations in the library at Sunnydale High; but it was only finished a few days ago so nobody has seen it yet. It's still sparsely furnished, I didn't want to decorate until I knew for sure who was going to be living here. Come on in, I'll give you the grand tour."

They walked in the front door, which Xander opened via another keypad, and into Xander's so-called pad.

"There's a library/office through those doors there and a bathroom through that door." Xander said pointing to the left of the foyer.

At the end of the hallway was the kitchen on the left, with the stairs and three-car garage access to the right. They entered a large open area that was divided into a dining room and a living room, both with access to a screened porch which doubled as Xander's weight room and led to the backyard swimming pool and hot tub. They went upstairs where Xander showed her the master bedroom, two main bedrooms with a shared bathroom, and an extra bedroom connected to a loft complete with a private bathroom and large closet.

"I had planned on giving the two bedrooms to Willow and Buffy, but they are always together anyway so assuming they agree to live here they can share one and you can have the other if you like."

"Thank you." Kendra said with sincerity. "But what about the fourth bedroom?"

"Oh, well, quite honestly that one will probably end up being yours if you decide to stay. I had planned on offering it to Giles seeing as his condo has been damaged and nearly destroyed on countless occasions, but somehow I don't think he'll want to live here seeing how much he values his privacy and his time away from the ‘infernal colonials'." Xander finished in a British accent that caused Kendra to giggle.

"Come on, I'll show you the best part of the house."

They walked down the stairs to the basement where Xander opened a large steel security door via an access keypad. Upon seeing the true nature of the basement Kendra gasped in shock.

"I know, scary isn't it."

Kendra just nodded.

Directly ahead of them was a 2 ft. thick steel door that lead to the vault. The main armory station, which took up the majority of the basement, was filled wall to wall with racks of all sorts of essential slaying gear. Swords of all types, maces, squirt guns, clubs, stakes, staves, bardiches, spears, bows, crossbows, daggers, shields, and armor lined two full walls of the room. In addition there were boxes and boxes marked arrows, bolts, medical supplies, magic supplies, wood, blessed silver, holy symbols, and holy water stacked in every available niche and corner. On one side of the room was a set of double doors marked Ammo Room, while a reloading bench sat across one wall near a huge, full-length mirror. After Xander pressed a hidden keypad the mirror, actually a 1 ft. thick steel security door, slid away revealing racks of modern weaponry: pistols, rifles, machine guns, shotguns, mortars, RPG's, grenades, grenade launchers, claymore mines, night vision goggles, combat armor, and sniper rifles.

Kendra again just stood there shocked to the core.

"Ken, Earth to Kendra, you there?"

"I knew you had been hunting on your own and I knew you had changed from your letters Xander, but I didn't think you had changed this much."

"Ken, listen, I haven't changed. Not at all. We're still best buds, always have been and we always will be. When you left I told you I felt comfortable enough to patrol on my own. I've been possessed twice, by a hyena and by a special ops soldier and well....they both have left their marks on me. The soldier gave me all this nifty weapons info and the skills to use it and the hyena showed me how to hunt and track in stealth. Before you left I showed you how to fire weapons you know and I'm still the same Xander, I'm just using my gifts more often that's all. Sides, I know how to make you happy...I've got Twinkies and Rocky Road!"

Kendra brightened up considerably at the mention of her favorite ice cream and snack-cake. Her late Watcher, Mr. Zambutu, had been very strict and only through Xander had she finally learned how to enjoy life...lots and lots of ice-cream and twinkies. But unfortunately for the two twinkie and ice-cream craving friends Xander's cellphone chose that moment to ring.

"Hey G-Man, what's up?...I'll call you whatever I like you arrogant British ass...chuckles...That was a good one G-Man, but seriously, what's up? ...WHAT? She did what? When?...Is he ok?...She's WHAT?...You want Kendra to WHAT?...What do you mean she already left?! GOD DAMMIT, is everything in this town going down the Hellmouth?!?!....Yes, fine, I'll tell her. See you soon and stay safe. Bye."

Kendra looked at Xander questionably and sighed.

"What happened and what has Buffy done now Xan?"

"Apparently Faith shot Angel with poison arrow, telling Buffy that the only way to cure him was with the blood of a slayer. So now Buffy has gone halfcocked, again, trying to find Faith. Giles wants us, and by us he of course means you, to create as much havoc as possible in order to keep the demons off Buffy so she can concentrate on saving Angel."

"You're shitting me." She looked in Xander's eyes. "You're not shitting me."

"Tell me about it."

"So...what now?"

"Now? Now you go out there and stir up some trouble. Only you're not going out there alone, I'm coming too. The possibility, thanks to Buffy's patented ‘Me Slayer, me kill' strategy, of losing not only Angel but Buffy as well is just to great to ignore. So saddle up, lock and load."

The two friends then busied themselves taking whatever they wanted from Xander's armory. Xander took several stakes, two blessed silver daggers, a squirt gun filled with holy water, a few grenades, his custom Desert Eagle, a SPAS-12 shotgun with explosive rounds, a Cherokee Tomahawk that an ancestor of his had used in the Revolutionary War, and a replica of a roman gladius that he had picked up at a Renaissance Fair. Kendra took several stakes, the small Glock that Xander had given her before she had left nearly a year ago, a identical SPAS-12 shotgun with explosive rounds, the authentic Japanese katanna that her late watcher had given her, and two blessed silver daggers. Together they then left Xander's house and headed for Restview Cemetery.

"Come on Ken, I got an idea."

"You and your ideas, I'm almost afraid to ask." Kendra exclaimed with a sigh and a twinkle in her eyes. Xander, meanwhile, just grinned at her.

"Ok, I'll bite...what is it?"

"See that large warehouse over there?" When Kendra nodded he continued "That's a vamp nest. Rather big one too, about 20 vamps minimum. I've been meaning to clear it out, but it has to many entrances and exits for me to do alone."

"Wait a min. The big bad, I'm to cool to patrol with the rest of the Scoobies, demon hunter Xander Harris is actually afraid to take on 20 measly vampires. This must be a sign of the apocalypse!"

"Well when you put it that way..."

They both looked at each other and started laughing. Xander had been teaching Kendra his singular wit and she was an apt pupil, a far cry from the stuffy slayer she'd been when she'd first come to Sunnydale.

"Seriously though, I think that together we can take them. I've already reconed the place. This particular head vamp, a latino named Marco, is unusually sick, even for a vampire, and apart from the Mayor he has the most power in Sunnydale now. Other vamps fear him due to his rather...public...style of command. If we can take him out, not only will we draw tons of attention to us seeing as every vamp in Sunny-D will be after us, but we can also eliminate a future threat."

"But why would they come help him Xan, you said all the other vamps fear him?"

"They do fear him, and they'd love to see him gone, but they can't take the chance of not helping him in case he somehow survives our attack. We go in there, we'll be in the thick of every vamp and demon for hire in all of Sunnydale that isn't already working for the Mayor. We do this and Buff will be in the free and clear."

Kendra just grinned in response. In truth, she was the most sensible slayer Xander had ever met. She loved a good fight and a challenge, but she wasn't afraid of asking for help and she never charged blindly into a battle. The two warriors spent the next five-ten minutes working out a battle plan that would allow them to come out on top. Upon getting into position, they moved as one as soon as Xander gave the signal.

Marco was having a good night. In fact he was having a very good night. Juan, his favorite childe, had brought him a young girl for him to play with. She was such a sweet thing, no more than six years old, but then he had always liked his women young. The cries and screams of the little girl were truly music to his ears. Not only that, but in the past few nights his brood had grown exponentially. When the Slayer had killed Zack the Red, so named for his bright red hair, his gang had encompassed Zack's and now they were nearly 50 vampires strong.

At the moment he and his newly expanded gang was enjoying a ‘joining ceremony' of sorts. He figured that it was time to leave Sunnydale before their luck ran out and the Slayer got wind of them. They were leaving within the week, but tonight was for partying and to celebrate they had taken 16 kids from a daycare center a few days ago. He was a hard master, and he knew it, but nobody could say that he didn't take care of his boys. He'd kill them in a heartbeat if they failed him of course, but that went without saying. A master had to be strong, or he wouldn't last long as a master. He was walking over to the cage to get another kid when the two main doors of his place, on the north and south walls, suddenly exploded inward dousing 8 of his brood in flames.

The signal that Xander gave was actually the exploding doors. He'd spent the last five minutes setting up the remote mines on the doors and moving barrels of gasoline stacked outside near the mines. As one he and Kendra stormed the warehouse firing their shotguns at everything that moved. Xander got off a lucky shot that blew the gas tank on the vamps truck and doused more than 10 vamps in burning fuel. Xander and Kendra quickly made their way to each other began shooting vamps while back to back. When their shotguns and pistols ran empty they found themselves facing the 22 surviving vampires who suddenly looked very, very pissed off.

Marco for his part was more shocked than pissed. Oh, he was pissed; unbelievably so, but he couldn't believe that two ‘mortals' had taken out more than half of his force in less than two minutes with ‘guns'! As far as he knew there were no guns that could kill vampires. Well, he reflected, now there were guns that could kill vampires. That was it he decided, he was leaving Sunnydale...of course that was assuming he could find some way to kill these two interlopers and get out of Sunnydale alive.

"KILL THEM!" he shouted, sending his minions charging at the two as one giant mass.

Standing back to back Xander drew his tomahawk and his gladius while Kendra drew her katanna and they braced themselves for the incoming charge. They swung their weapons left and right, never missing any strike. Not that they could miss mind you since they were totally surrounded.

Xander ducked under one vampire's rather clumsy swing, sliced open that vamp's stomach with his sword, and completed the move by chopping off its right arm. Kendra meanwhile decapitated two vampires in a single stroke of her katanna while throwing a stake into the heart of a rushing vamp.

"Having fun yet Ken?" Xander called to her over the roar of the fight.

"Having fun? You said there would only be 20 vampires! This is way more than 20 vampires!" Kendra shouted to him with a grin on her face.

"See? She's having fun. I'm having fun. Can't say the same about you though." Xander quipped to the vampire he was fighting as he executed a one-two combo and drove a stake into its black heart.

Kendra threw her stake into the back of a vampire that was trying to blind side Xander, cut the one she was fighting in half with her katanna, and grabbing another stake from her belt staked yet another vampire.

Meanwhile Xander was getting really tired really fast. He cursed himself as a vampire cut his stake arm with its knife before he staked it. He should have done more recon on this place. Shit! Fuck! He staked another vampire and checked the playing field again. It had been about fifteen minutes since they had stormed this place and there were only about 4 vamps left. he saw a vamp that was about to blind side Kendra, who couldn't do anything about it because she was fighting 3 vamps herself. He rushed that vamp, but over compensated and was rewarded by the vampire throwing him over 20 feet into a pile of wooden crates.

"Xander!" Kendra shouted. She quickly staked 2 of the vamps she had been fighting with a three-sequence move and threw her stake into the vampire that had thrown Xander and was currently trying to run away before moving over to check on her best friend...only to be tackled by a vamp that she had somehow missed.

Marco had had a very bad day indeed. His lair was destroyed, his party was ruined, and every single one of his minions was dead. But he reflected...it wouldn't be so bad if he could finally kill a slayer. Not THE slayer, he didn't know where she was. But it was obvious that the girl whose throat he had his hands wrapped around was a slayer. She couldn't be anything else. He wasn't sure how it was possible, but then again he didn't really care either.

"I've never killed a slayer before bitch, you'll be my first. I wonder what slayer blood tastes like, I'll bet it's sweet. You and I are going to have a lot of......oh shit!"

Kendra suddenly felt lightheaded as air rushed back into her lungs. She looked up into the face of her rescuer, expecting to see Xander, and found herself looking into the face of a young girl no more than six years of age. Her heart sank at the appearance of her rescuer. The girl's shirt was in tatters, her curly blond hair was all tangled, her face was a mass of cuts and bruises, she was wearing no pants, and Kendra could see the blood that only recently ran between her legs.

"Are the monsters gone?" the little girl asked Kendra, trust and hope evident in her eyes.

"Yes sweetie, the monsters are gone." Kendra soothed the girl while picking her her up. Still holding the girl Kendra went to go check on Xander.

"Xan? Xander?"


"You ok?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine. No major injuries...just the 15 heavy metal bands playing inside my head...Who's that?" Xander asked pointing to the little girl Kendra was holding.

"I"m not sure Xan, but she saved my life. What's your name sweetie?"

"Ruth" the little girl answered.

"Well Ruth, are there any more little kids here or is it just you?" Xander asked smiling at her.

"Uhhuh..over there." Ruth said pointing to a cage on one of the sides of the warehouse covered by a rather large tarp.

"I got it Ken" Xander stated moving to check it out.

He pulled the tarp off the cage and nearly tossed his cookies. Inside the cage were about 9 kids and 6 bodies. Every single child, 7 girls and 2 boys none of which were older than 11 or so, had multiple injuries, everything from cuts and scrapes to broken bones and massive bruising, and were both really dirty and very thin as if they had all gone without food for quite some time. All the girls were without pants and had blood stains between their legs. The smell was horrific as well seeing as the kids, not having access to a bathroom, were forced to relieve themselves wherever they could. Every single child was now looking at him with wide, scared but yet hopeful, eyes.

"It's ok kids" Xander told them while cursing himself for saying it was ok "All the bad guys are gone and my friend Kendra and I here are going to get you to a hospital and make sure you all get back to your parents."

It took Xander and Kendra more than a few minutes to sufficiently clothe the kids in blankets and jackets that the vampires had lying around and nearly twice as long as usual to get everyone inside the emergency room at Wilkins Memorial Hospital, but somehow they managed it.

"We need some help here!" shouted Xander and Kendra as they walked through the doors of the ER.

It took the doctors and nurses nearly 20 seconds to come out of their shocked stupor at seeing such as bedraggled group but when they did they jumped into action.

"What happened?" asked the doctor on duty.

"Gangsters on PCP" replied Xander as if he were a soldier giving a debriefing."There's a warehouse over on 9th Street near Restview Cemetery. The kids were there. We cleared out the gangsters on PCP and found the kids. Unfortunately we were too late to save some of them...we brought the survivors here...Look I don't know what hospitals do in cases of rape but...none of the girls were wearing pants when we found them and...they had blood between their legs" Xander stated with a sigh and tears in his eyes.

"Gangsters on PCP my ass" the doctor replied. "Still though, you were right to bring them here. Would you and your friend like to sit down, you both look like you need medical attention."

"Kendra and I probably need it" Xander replied "but most of this blood isn't ours. Treat the kids first, then you can worry about us."

"Will do" the doctor replied with respect and admiration in his eyes. "Bloody hell, first a girl in a coma that the mayor is acting insane over, then some Irish nut comes in with another comatose girl, and now these kids. What is the world coming to?"

"Wait a minute. Girl with the mayor? Irish nut with another girl? Where is she? Where's the second girl?" Xander asked the doctor, literally shaking him as he did so.

"Sss..sss...section two" the doctor replied in terror.

Xander and Kendra raced down the hallway, nearly knocking several people over, until they saw Willow, Cordelia, Dawn, Wesley, Joyce, Oz, Giles, and-Xander noted-a rather well looking Angel.

"Good Lord! Xander, Kendra....what on Earth happened to you?" Giles and Joyce asked them at the same time, referring to the fact that they both had multiple cuts and bruises all across their faces, chests, and arms and the fact that they both were literally soaked head to toe in blood.

"Most of it isn't ours" Xander spoke for both of them. "We decided to hit Marco's lair over on 9th near Restview, thought there would be about 20 vamps at most. We figured we could take the heat off Buffy so she could find Faith faster. Only problem was there weren't 20 vamps there. There were about 50 instead. I recognized most of the newbies, looks like Marco was recruiting. He had nearly all the survivors from Zack the Red's gang there with him."

"WHAT!" "Good Lord!" "Xander!!!" "You've gotta be lying!" came from just about every mouth, with the exception of Dawn who just said "Too Cool!"

"I'll tell you how we did it later" Xander replied. "Look, Ken and I rescued a bunch of kids from the nest that we want to check up on so lets skip the BS. Angel, you're looking remarably healthy so I'm guessing Buffy cured you....so where is she?"

"I'm right here....what happened to you Xand? Ken?"

"Tell you later Buff, we gotta check on the kids we rescued. Look, graduation is in two days and we have to figue out what we're gonna do..."

"I know what we're going to do Xan. I'm the slayer, I'm gonna slay the Mayor and then we're going to go party. Same as always" Buffy inerrupted him.

"I don't think that that's going to cut it this time Buff. Look, we really gotta check on those kids but we need to plan too. You've all been wanting to check out my new place forever so...since it's finally readly why don't you all, and I do mean everyone so Joyce and Dawn that means you too, meet me and Ken there in about 2 hours? I have a few suprises that I think might be able to help kill the mayor."

"Very well Xander, Kendra" Giles replied.

"Do you really think Xander will have anything good for us Buffy?" Willow asked as they all walked up the path to Xander's door a few hours later.

"Come on Will, this is Xander we're talking about! He's probably gonna show us a bunch of water guns he went out and bought and expect us to be oh so impressed. I mean seriously, how can we possibly take him seriously if he expects us to believe that he and ‘sloppy seconds' took down 50 vampires by themselves" Buffy stated not seeing her mother and her little sister frowning at her and Willow behind their backs, nor caring if truth be told.

"And that Buffy..." stated Xander as he stepped from the shadows causing Buffy to jump in suprise "is exactly the attitude that is going to get you killed. But, for your information, Kendra and I really did take down 50 vampires tonight. If you're interested I'll tell you how we did it too. And no, my plan to fight the Mayor has nothing to do with squirt guns. Also, if you expect to remain my friend, or at least my ally, you will never, and I do mean NEVER, refer to Kendra in that manner again or so help me magic or slayer strength or not I will kick you ass. Now if you will all follow me" he said leading them into the house and down into the basement where Kendra was already waiting and ignoring the indignant looks on Buffy and Willow's faces.

"Xander..." Wesley started hesitenatly "how did you afford all this? Surely not from an inheritance?" he asked pointing to all the mideviel weaponry on the walls and refering to all the furniture upstairs.

"Actually Wes, you're right. I didn't inherit the money to buy this house, the furniture upstairs, or these weapons."

"Then how?" Willow asked.

"Simple, by raiding vamp nests and demon lairs, stealing their valuables, and then selling them to Willy and other pawn shops for a handsome profit."

"WHAT!!!" Buffy exploded. "Xander! I am the SLAYER! NOT YOU! You're not supposed to be slaying, you're supposed to be safe!! And even if you really were slaying on your own, there is just no way you can possibly have gotten the money to afford all this by raiding demon nests!!"

"Yeah Xander, so stop lying!" Willow chimed in while Oz and Angel, already realizing just where these outbursts were leading, were silently trying to both blend into the shadows and make themselves as small as possible.

"Xander does not lie!" Kendra scathinly informed Willow.

"Shut up you black bitch!" Willow and Buff both shouted at the same time.

"Buffy! Willow!" Giles and Joyce shouted in unison.

"Oh, now that is IT!" Xander exploded. "I have had it with you two! Joyce, Dawn, I'm sorry you have to hear this but this has been a long time in coming. Buffy, Willow, sit down and shut up. That goes for all of you. This is my house and you WILL let me say my piece! I was the first Scooby to find out about Buffy being the slayer and I've been fighting against demons and vamps ever since. It's not my destiny, but you know what? I don't give a damm. I'm going to fight anyways. Not because I have to, or because I'm forced to, but because I WANT TO! Because I can't stand by and let people die or the world end simply because I want to sit on my ass instead of doing what I can! I didn't stop when you all but kicked me out of the Scoobies either! I've been patroling on my own for over a year now and I've personnaly eliminated over 20 vamp and demon nests by myself. And if you don't believe me you can ask Angel over there about the Shadow!"

"Xander stop lying so much!" excalimed Buffy.

"Yeah Xander, you want us to take you seriously but you make up all these stupid stories!" Willow put her two cents in.

"You're the Shadow?" Angel asked disbilef on his face. Buffy and Willow stopped their rants and turned to look at him. "You can't be the Shadow Xander, he's been sighted as far away as San Francisco, LA, and San Diego. You can't be him, you just can't!"

"I am the Shadow Angel. And you, above all, should know how superstitious demons are. Fact is, I've never been to San Fran or San Diego, though the LA stuff I did do. But, since demons are so superstitious anytime something happens in California that the demons can't explain I get the credit. They've never seen me, that's why they call me the Shadow; though it is actually more accurate to say that I don't leave any survivors. You don't actually think I made that name up for myself do you? I didn't even know about that name till I heard a bunch of demons talking at Willy's and matched up the stuff they said the Shadow did and what I've done myself. The only one who really knows anything is Willy and since I sell all my non-dangerous spoils of war to him he keeps quiet and spreads the mythos of the Shadow. Since most demons can't just go to the bank they tend to keep everything in their lairs. Truth is Buffy, if you had actually taken the stuff out of all the lairs you've raided and sold it you probably would have enough cash to buy yourself and your mother a car, pay off the mortgage to your mother's house, and still have enough left over to pay off your first year of college."

"Xander!" Buffy shouted "Even if I did, for one second, believe that you're some Shadowy guy, it doesn't change the fact that I'm the Slayer. This is MY JOB, not yours. You can be normal. You are normal, you're not up to this!"

Buffy practaclly screamed at him.

"Damm it Buffy, I'm not normal. I haven't been normal in a long, long time. Normal people don't fight vampires and demons. I do. Normal people haven't been possessed not once, but twice. I have been. Normal people don't take on Angelus and survive. I did. But I don't want to fight you. I called you all here to discuss plans for fighting the Mayor. Since you, Buffy, seem to think you know better than me...please, tell us all your plan on how to kill the Mayor!!"

"Simple Xander, I'm the slayer so I will kill him. Just like I kill all the other icky, yucky things."

"That's your plan!?! ‘Me Slayer, Me Kill.' That's your whole fucking plan??!?!" Xander just stood there shocked. He knew that Buffy wasn't the brightest bulb off the tree, but seriously! "Buffy, that just can't work! This isn't just some random vamp, this is the Mayor! Has all that hair dye finally rotted your brain?"

"Xander I am the slayer, I will take care of it. I will figure things out. So just leave things to me and go read a comic book...better yet, go get us some donuts, I'm hungry" Buffy told him as if she was speaking to a small child. Willow nodded in aggrement.

Kendra looked as if she was ready to kill both Buffy and Willow, both of whom were oblivious. Xander just stood there unbelieving. Giles, Joyce, Dawn, Oz, and Angel covered their ears in preperation for the eventual outburst. They were wise to do so.

"LEAVE IT TO YOU?" Xander just laughed at her. "Your joking aren't you, please tell me your joking! You really want me to go over your record. I didn't want to do this, especially in front of your mother and Dawn, but fine. Sophmore year you died, calling Kendra here, in the Master's cave. You didn't really think Angel brought you back did you? I'm may not be a great student or anything Buff, but even I know vamps don't breathe. So tell me, how did he bring you back? Answer, I brought you back..."

"You're lying, you're just jealous of Angel!" Buffy interrupted screaming at him.

"Oh here we go" muttered Wesley, Oz, Giles, and Angel all at the same time.

"Jealous of Angel? You're joking? Hardly. I was never jealous of Angel! No, that's not true, I used to be jealous of Angel but that changed once you made it clear you didn't think of me that way and wanted me only as a friend. Not only that, but ANY thoughts I had about you that way vanished as soon as you lap-danced me to make Angel jealous. You want to know why I don't like Angel, I'll tell you why. When I was growing up I had two friends, just two. Willow and young boy who was my brother in all but blood. You never knew him, but his name was Jessie! Darla turned him on your first day here and I killed the thing that stole both his life and his body during the Harvest. Now, Willow might have forgotten all about Jessie and thrust me, her oldest friend, to the sidelines in favor of her first-ever gal pal and her wolf-man boyfriend...no offense Oz."

"None taken."

"But I sure as hell haven't forgotten about him. You chose Angel over me, I didn't like it but you know what, I dealed. Not the end of the world you know. What really galled me was not that you chose him over me, but you chose a VAMPIRE over me! News flash Buffy, you're supposed to SLAY vampires, not LAY'EM! And not just any vampire too. It has to be this particular vampire! Granted he has a soul, but he is still Darla's childe and every time I see his face I see Jessie..or Darla. That's why I didn't like Angel, and then, just when I was actually starting to like, or at least respect, him your showdown with the Master comes along. While everyone else was franctially trying to find someway to beat the procephy and make sure you didn't die and save the world at the same time HE was hiding inside his apartment like a little baby! I had to force him, at the point of a stake and a cross, to lead me down into the Master's tunnels and then I gave saved your life by giving you CPR! Then, just when I'm actually starting to like him again, you and he had to break the god-dammed curse and suddenly Angel isn't Angel anymore! He was Angelus, one of the scariest and sickest vampires to ever exist! He wasn't called the Scourage of Europe for nothing you know! I can forgive you for not staking him at first, you didn't know what was going on. It could have been a spell, or some other magic, or anything really; but afterwards you had not one, not two, not three, but FIVE chances to safely slay Angelus and you didn't take them! Now I may not like Angel, but unlike you I know the difference between Angel and Angelus. Angel is a decent man. Angelus is a sick, murdering vampire! And what happened when you refused to act? Angelus killed Jenny Calander and you still wouldn't kill him. He tortured and raped Kendra, paralyzing her for nearly 3 months, and you still wouldn't kill him. He tortured Giles and you still wouldn't kill him. He stalked you and tried to kill all of us and you still wouldn't kill him. Do you know how many people Angelus killed Buffy? He killed 82 people in the months you let him roam free, 37 of which he turned. Now, lets say for the sake of arguement that each of those 37 newly turned vampires made 10 new vampires each before they got staked by one of us. That's 370 new vampires Buffy, 82 confirmed deaths and 370 possible deaths on your conscious. Then you finally killed Angelus, sending him to Hell, and you ran away. You ran away, leaving me, Willow, Cordy, Oz, and Giles to fight alone. Kendra couldn't help, she didn't even get out of the hospital until a week before you came back! Then there was Faith, you treated her the same way you treat Ken here, like shit! You left her in that ratty motel room. She couldn't stay with me, this place was only finished a little while ago, and knowing my loving father as I do he'd probably wind up dead after trying to feel her up or rape her. She couldn't stay with Willow, seeing as how Willow hated her from the start! But you, you had it all...a loving family, a mother and little sister who know your secret; why couldn't she stay with you? But no, you left her to rot! You don't know Faith's history Buffy, I do. I had a hacker friend of mine look it up. Her father was a god-damm pimp and her mother was his favorite whore. She was raised from day one to be the future model. She came home one day to find both her parents dead, her father had killed her mother in a drunken fit before killing himself. She placed into foster care, until she ran away a little over a month later. Interestingly enough, both foster parents are currently serving life sentences for running a child-pornography operation inside their home. She was on the streets for just over 3 years until Kendra's temporary death at the hands of Angelus called her as the slayer. My friend's a pretty good hacker, he managed to get her Watcher's notes off her own online journal. Suddenly, Faith had someone to look after her, someone who cared about her. She lost that when she was forced to watch her Watcher be tortured, raped, and finally burned alive by Kakistos. She ran across the country to Sunnydale, only to be treated as utter gutter-trash by you and Willow once she got here. Giles, he made the mistake of giving her to much free reign, much like he did with you. I tried to reach her, so did Angel, so did Oz, and so did Giles in the end; but is it any wonder that she didn't connect with any of us given what she's been through? Then she killed someone in the heat of battle and suddenly to you and Willow she was the enemy. Suddenly you actually had a tangible reason for hating her and you clutched to that reason like a drowing man will clutch to a lifevest. She killed someone, she has to be evil. I've got news for you Buffy, you're responsible for way more deaths than Faith ever was. The 82 Angelus killed fall under your realm of responsibility, along with the 31 we failed to save while you ran off to God knows where. That's 113 people. 113 deaths you are responsible for. Faith has killed 1 person, by accident! In the military it would be considered friendly fire and the soldier would recieve consoling. Thank's to Wes and the Council we lost any chance we had of saving her. I'll give Wes credit though, at least he's admitted to his mistakes and is here, willing to fight and die to save the world. You on the other hand, just went after Faith. You were willing to kill here to save your undead fucktoy! I don't like Angel, but I don't want him dead either. But even he will agree with me that having you force feed him your blood to save his life on the word of your enemy is extremly stupid. We could have lost both of you tonight, all because you had to save Angel."

Buffy was openly crying now, though she looked like she was about to blow a gasket as well. Giles, Willow, Oz, Angel, Joyce, Dawn, Wesley, and even Kendra looked shocked that he had actually said all that. Suprisingly enough, it was Wesley who first regained his composure.

"Well, be that as it may, I believe that you called us here to discuss a plan of action concerning the Mayor..."

"Thanks Wes" Xander said shooting the Watcher a greatful smile. "I do have a plan regarding the Mayor, but for it to work I'm going to need lots of help."

"What is it?" Oz asked. He looked genuninly curious.

"I call it Operation Hellmouth High. Phase One, which is already complete, called for general scouting and reconissance of the Mayor's potential forces. Kendra and I have been doing that the past few days and what we've found is greatly disturbing. So as not to hog the floor I'll turn this portion of the breifing over to Kendra. Ken?"

"Oh..uh...right. Yes, we've made several attempts to sneak into city hall. We've found that not only does the Mayor have a vampire barracks in the basement of City Hall of about 70 vampires or so, but also he had several other local vampire nests under his command. We think we've identified most of them, but there could be some we missed. All in all, we can expect anywhere from 120-170 vampires to aid the Mayor in his attack."

Everyone winced and looked completly shocked. They all knew that the Mayor had lots of vampire and demon help, but this greatly exceeded even their worst fears.

"It gets worse than that guys" Xander stated taking over the breifing from Kendra. "I've been spying on the Mayor for a while now and last week I saw him meeting with represenatives from several Tribes of the Burning Blade Clan."

Anel, Giles, and Wesley looked ready to piss their pants at that statement, while the rest just looked curious.

"Uh...Giles....what's the Burning Blade Clan?" Dawn asked.

"The Burning Blade Clan is a force of nature. They are demon mercenaries at the most basic level, but they worship chaos. Their ranks can include almost any type of demon and they'll work for anyone, sometimes even for free, so long as they can wreck general havoc and kill and miaim with abandon. They're so chaotic that most demons, even the most powerful of demons, are actually afraid to call upon their services as they can get well out of control and actually kill their employers. Nobody knows their exact numbers, but they are rumored to be in the tens of thousands."

"Shit!" Dawn said what everyone was thinking.

"Right" stated Xander. "I"m guessing that we won't be facing ten thousand of them though. What Giles didn't say is that they are divided into Tribes. Nobody knows how many Tribes there are, but from what Giles' books tell me it's rare for a Tribe to have more than 1,000 or so members. However, unfortunaly I spied the Mayor conversing with 3 seperate Tribes so we can expect anywhere from 3,000-3,500 Burning Blades along with the 150 or so vampires."

"Now Phase Two," Xander went on to say "calls for a premptive strike against the Mayor. What I intend to do is to lead a strike team to City Hall and kill as many vampires as possible" He went over to the side of the room and pulled out a single crate. "Now, in here you'll find several backpacks. In each backpack is as many sticks of dynimite as it can carry, all hooked up to a rudimentary fuse. The objective of tonights little raid is two-fold. Firstly, by blowing up City Hall we will eliminate roughly half of the Mayor's total number of vampires. Now, as far as the Mayor knows we don't know anything about the Burning Blade Tribes. This goes toward the second objective, to convince the Mayor that we are unprepared for his ascension. We do this right, the Mayor will think that this was our best shot and therefore won't expect another assualt. Kendra and I will be going tonight. Angel, Oz...we could use your help as well."

The vampire with a soul and the werewolf both nodded their assent.

"What about me?" Buffy all but whined.

"You won't be going Buffy, you can't" Xander told her sympathetically. "If for some reason one of us is either injured or killed tonight, or somehow we are all captured, we'll need you to either rescue us or at least to pull off the rest of the operation."

"Phase Three will happen tomorrow. There's simply no way that we few can take out the Mayor without help. It simply can't be done. To take him out we're going to need the whole student body."

"Xander, you expect all the students to help? With what...holy water pistols?" Buffy scoffed.

"What is it with you and water pistols?" Kendra and Dawn asked at the same time, both giving Buffy nasty looks.

"No, not water pistols Buffy. Guns. Lots of guns" Xander told her while hitting the hidden keypad activating the sliding mirror security door and revelaing all the rows of stacked firearms inside.

"Whoa" Oz stated.

"Good Lord Xander!" Giles exclaimed totally shocked beyond words, but with a devious glint in his eyes, a look that was also mirrored in Dawn's eyes, that totally freaked Xander out. "Where did you get all these?"

"Eh. Some I bought from an armorer I know in LA. The rest I stole." Xander said as casually as he would have if he was talking about the weather.

"Stole!?!?!" Willow shouted. "STOLE! Where did you steal assault rifles...grenade launchers...RPGs...shotguns....pistols....and....JESUS Xander, is that a land mine? What are you going to do with all this, guns don't work on demons!!!"

"Actually Willow, guns do work on vamps and demons" Xander told her with a grin. "You just need the right ammo. I prefer explosive rounds, but tracer rounds and blessed silver works too. The ammo I got from Forge, the armorer I mentioned. I got some of the pistols and shotguns from him too. The rest I stole. You all know how I got Buffy a rocket launcher for her birthday, well, I simply have gone back to the armory 1 or 2 or 8 times."

"Now this..." Xander told the group while picking up a few grenades and juggling them back and forth with Kendra, who already knew what they were. "..this is Forge's pride and joy. The H.W.H.G.O.A. Mark One, inspired by someone called Brother Maynard" Xander told them with a twinkle in his eyes. Buffy, Joyce, Willow, and Angel all looked completly lost at that statement while Giles and Wesley, being British, and Oz and Dawn, being huge fans, all began to grin maniacally. Angel and Joyce, the lightbulbs going turning on in their heads, got the joke and were soon grinning themselves. Soon they were all bursting out with laughter, while Buffy and Willow just got even more confused. As with all things, Buffy didn't take to kindly at being left out of the joke.

"WHAT IS SO GOD-DAMMED FUNNY??!??!?" she screeched, hurting everyone's ears, before Dawn finally took pity on her and told her...if only to make her stop screaming.

"They're Holy Water Hand Grenades Buffy, from Monty Python. The Knights of the Round Table used the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch to defeat the evil bunny rabbit." Buffy just looked even more lost, but thankfully she stopped screeching and shut up.

"As I was saying" Xander continued after finally getting his laughter under control"tomorrow we begin Phase Three and train the student body in as much as we can teach them in two days. I have enough ammo for everyone to get three clips each" Xander told them pointing to all the guns. "And I have some more suppilies coming in by courier tomorrow."

"Uh, eh, excuse me Xander" Wesley started with absolute politeness "but while you seem to be prepared to start an all out war, perhaps even prepared enough to stop the vampires and the Burning Blades, but even all this firepower combined isn't enough to stop the Mayor."

Buffy, who had wanted to go against the Mayor single-handed, just look postivily ill and scared to death at that statement.

"You're right again Wes" Xander said smiling maniacally at the Watcher. "This isn't enough to stop the Mayor, but I have that covered. I'd like to thank Joyce and Dawn for helping me buy and transport it all, but in the backyard I have over 500 ten pound bags of fertilizer. Phase Four calls for us to plant said bags of fertilizer in the library and hook them up to a rudimentary detonator. Phase Five will then of course include the actual battle, but I'm going to hold off on fine tuning the plan until we know what exactly we have in terms of support. But, basically we're just going to blow the Mayor sky high and kick demon ass."

"Well, I say...you seem to have everything figured out..." Wesley told Xander while looking like he was having his teeth pulled. "But what is your plan fails, what if your bomb refuses to go off?"

"Belive it or not I've actually planned for that contingency, but it's a little extreme" Xander told them causing Buffy to scream and yell.

"A little extreme??! A LITTLE EXTREME!!! What do you call blowing up city hall and the school then??!?!"

"I can them proportional tactical responses Buffy. Now Giles, am I correct in assuming that if the Mayor opens the Hellmouth, as I assume is his plan, there will be some mystical light-show thingy?"

"Um, yes actually. The magical energies released would be visiable as far away as Los Angeles, perhaps even San Francisco. Also, they would cause an earthquake anywhere from 8-10.0 on the Ritcher scale. There would be other portents as well, but those would be the most widely reconized ones, visable to even those who know nothing about magic."

"I thought as much G-Man. Anyways, as I was saying, if the Mayor opens the hellmouth there is simply no way for us to survive. None. Nada. Zilch. The way I see it is that if that happens we will either be dead already or we will be within minutes of the portal opening; and with us dead the whole world will be lost. Now that eventuality I've already considered, though it is somewhat extreme like I've said. Dawn, Joyce; you two are the key people here..."


"Actually Buffy, you're right. I don't plan on having them anywhere near the fighting. Uh...Angel, Ken...can you give me a hand please?" Xander asked while walking into the vault. Kendra and Angel just looked at eachother before following. After all, nothing Xander said or did could shock them anymore at this point...or so they thought.

With Kendra and Angel's help Xander brought a very large crate out of the vault and set it down very carefully.

"Joyce, Dawn-Patrol...you'll need this" Xander told them tossing them what looked to be a remote control.

"Uh Xander, what is this?" Joyce asked him, almost afraid to.

"The detonator to a bomb" Xander told her casually.


Thankfully Buffy shut up after that, but everyone else got a very, very, very scared look in their eyes once they digested her statement.

"A nuclear bomb" Xander told them. "Look, if the hellmouth opens a nuke might be the only thing that could stem the tide long enough for the military to get here. Now Dawnie, Joyce...that will be your job. There's an airfield about 20 miles away that gives you a great view of the whole Sunnydale valley. If the hellmouth opens you'll see the light show. If that happens, don't worry about us since we're already dead. If that happens I want you to detonate the nuke. I already have arranged for both a plane and a pilot to fly you to Washington. There I want you to meet with Genearl LaVelle Abernathy, he goes by the nickname of General Hawk. Though Soldier-boy left the military in ‘80 he was quite the demon hunter in his day and General Hawk not only knows about the real world, he made sure Soldier-boy and his team got anything and everything they needed.

"Uh...Xander, who is this Soldier-boy you keep mentioning?" Giles asked.

"Jason Henry Grant. He joined the army right out of high school in ‘61. Attended Ranger school in ‘62 and was 2nd in his class. He did 4 tours in Vietnam where he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, 3 Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and 2 Bronze Stars. He transfered to the Navy in ‘73 and joined a SEAL team where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal , and another Bronze Star and another Purple Heart. He left the military in ‘80 with the rank of Master Chief along with his entire surviving SEAL team after they lost several people due to vampires. After they left the service they became a very successful demon hunting group that went by the name Argonauts. They operated all over the world and even ran with two slayers: Jenna McIntire in ‘82 and Christine Deveroix in ‘89. Jason and his team were killed in ‘92 in a successful attempt to destroy Kil'tar the Black, a nasty vamp that had cut a swath all throughout South America.

They all just stood there staring at him but Giles was the first to speak.

"Xander...just how do you know all this?" he asked almost afraid to find out.

"Halloween, Soldier-boy and I not only switched bodies we switched memories too. Suddenly I found myself on an op they were on back in 1980. He and his guys were getting clobbered by vamps, I helped them out...after I pissed my pants of course. After we killed the vamps we exchanged stories and I told them about the real world. When the spell was reveresed I got his memories, all of them unfortunately, and he got mine. The next day I called General Hawk, who had been a friend of Soldier-boy's and he told me what happened to Soldier-boy and the rest of the Argonauts. General Hawk knows about Sunnydale too, his daughter goes to UCLA and was one of the survivors the night of the Harvest, but he lets us handle things as this isn't the only hellmouth in the world you know. Well, that and he's afraid what would happen if the military ever found out about demons and vampires."

"Quite." That came from Wesley, the only one of them with the power of speech left.

"Alright everyone, that's it. That's my plan. If anyone has any better ideas, well, now would be the time to field them....Right then. Everyone head home and get to bed. Tomorrow's the last day of school and we have a lot of work to do. Angel, Oz...if you two are still willing Ken and I are going to need your help."

It was 45 minutes later when Xander, Angel, Oz, and Kendra stopped in a alley about a block away from City Hall.

"Ok, here's what we're going to do" Kendra told them. "Xander and I will be one team, Angel-you and Oz will be another. That gives each team someone with super-strength."

"Right" said Xander taking over the breifing. "Ken and I will infiltrate City Hall. The Mayor has at least 1/2 of his vampire forces quartered in the sub-basement. The furnace however, is right above them in the basement. Kendra and I will sneak in a place the bombs near the furnace. You two will be responsible for keeping the heat off us" he told them while handing them each a radio.

"Hopefully we won't run into any trouble, but if we do it's your job to make as much noise as possible in order for Ken and I to do our job."

"Uh...Xander....how do you expect us to do that?" Angel asked with a unpleasant feeling in his stomach.

"With these" Xander told him, handing both Angel and Oz a bag of grenades as he and Kendra walked off into the night. "Ken and I will be leaving via the back so just lob them at the front of the building, blow up some cars, knock down some trees, make things go boom, and generally just have a good time."

Angel and Oz just stood there for a moment dumbfounded. They both looked at each other, not really sure when their lives had turned into a Bruce Willis movie.

"Have a good time he says" Angel moaned "I don't know who's crazier, Xander for coming up with this insane plan or us for going along with it!"

"I'd say all of us" Oz replied with his trademark stocism.

Xander and Kendra crept around the west side of City Hall keeping as close to the wall as possible. They saw only one vampire patrolling the grounds and Kendra took him out with a well placed crossbow shot. Spying a half-open window on the first floor they entered the building as quietly as possible. Making their way down a darkened corridor they were twice forced to duck into other rooms to avoid roaming mayoral minions. It took them nearly 10 minutes, but they finally found the enterance to the basement.

Creeping down the stairs as quietly as possible Xander made his way over to the furnace, while Kendra did the same to the gas tanks and water heater. They worked quickly and quietly, attaching sticks of dynamite to the furnace, water heater, gas tanks, and structural support beams. Suddenly the door leading to the first floor opened.

"Who's down there? Jim is that you? I swear if you've lost that damm pet spider again I'll stake you myself" a random vampire shouted while walking down the stairs. "Jim? Jim, come on Jim, where are..."

He didn't have time to finish his sentence as Kendra took that moment to plunge a wooden stake into his undead heart. "Hurry Xander, we have to go!" she hissed at her friend.

"Just a minute Ken."

"Now Xander!"

"Now hold your horses, I'm almost done."


"Ok, Ok....oh shit!" he exclaimed, refering to the six vampires that were standing at the top of the stairs. "Uh..Angel....about that distraction...well, now would be a good time..."

Angel and Oz just looked at eachother.

"Does he really expect us to blow things up?" Angel asked Oz.

"Eh, dunno" Oz told the souled vampire, pulling the pin on one of his grenades and throwing it into an open third story window and eliciting a very impressive looking fireball. Angel just shup up and followed suit, lobbing a grenade of his own and destroying a classic cherry-red 1969 Mustang that he was pretty sure belonged to the Mayor.

"Dammit Xander, I told you to hurry!" Kendra scolded him.

"Sorry Ken" Xander told her with a sheepish smile.

"Well, what do you want to do now?"

"How about we kill the vamps, then go home and eat popcorn while watching movies?"


As the whole building shook from the blast caused by Oz's grenade Jim was getting more and more nervous. Humans weren't supposed to break into City Hall, and they definatly weren't supposed to talk about eating popcorn and watching movies when faced with 6 vampires. Jim should have realized that the girl he was looking at was probably the slayer. It should have dawned on him that any human breaking into Sunnydale's City Hall at night was both more than he or she appeared and very dangerous. Jim should have run. But nobody every said Jim was smart.

"KILL THEM!" he shouted to the rest of the vampires with him as he charged down the stars and suddenly found himself impaled on Xander's stake. The rest of the vampires looked very nervous, but they decided to follow their slain comrade's suggestion and charge down the stairs as well...making it very easy for Xander and Kendra to dust every single last one of them.

"Well that was very...." Xander started.



The two friends then raced up the stairs and through the halls, desperatly searching for an exit. Finally they found one and ran across the front lawn towards Angel and Oz, ducking a few crossbow shots made by a few vampiric snipers as they did so. Only once the foursome made it across the street into Wilkins Park did Xander press the big red button on his remote control that had a sticker saying "Push Me" on it.

Sunnydale's City Hall did not just burn. It didn't just collapse. It exploded. The bombs set by Xander and Kendra not only destroyed City Hall, they caused the gas manes to crack and leak....which casued not only City Hall to explode and then collapse in on its own foundations, but nearly 1/2 of Main Street to do so as well. Thankfully there were no homes along that section of Main Street.

As Xander watched City Hall and nearly 1/2 of Main Street explode and collapse in great pillars of flame he turned to his three friends and asked a very innocent question that left them all both speechless and questioning his sanity.

"Anybody have any marshmellows?"

Chapter Two
Operation: Hellmouth High-Part II

May 29th, 2000

Xander and Kendra were curled up on Xander's couch watching Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan a little over an hour later. Xander was a rabid science fiction fan, and he loved Star Trek. ST:WOK was his favorite move of all time and to his suprise and delight he had found that Kendra liked it as well. In fact, not only did Kendra enjoy Star Trek II, but she was well on her way to becoming a throughly devoted Trekiee.


"Yeah Ken?"

"Thank you."

"Thanks? For what?"

"I heard what Buffy and Willow said about mes earlier, and what yous said to them. So thank you. It is nice to know that you will stick up for mes" she said with a smile and pecked him on the cheek.

"Aww, you're welcome" Xander told her while rubbing her hair. Kendra loved it when he did that.

"Ken, I gotta ask you something. When this is over, when we've beat the Mayor, I'm leaving Sunnydale. I've always wanted to see the country, see the world, and I've been planning a roadtrip for a while now. Thing is, with my relationships with Buffy and Willow well and truly nuked, I don't know if I'm coming back. If I'm ever coming back. And...and I want...I would like it a lot if you came with me."

"Of course I'll come with you Xander. Yous my best friend. Yous the only friend I have, the only real friend I've ever had. But are you sure that you want to leave Sunnydale? Buffy and Willow, they need yous."

"Need me? I wish they did Ken-my-friend, but they don't. For this battle maybe, but they don't want me around. You heard Buffy and Willow earlier, they think I'm a joke. Even after all they found out about me today they still think of me as the plucky comic relief. I might have made Giles, Angel, Cordy, Wes, and Oz see today but Buffy and Willow are still oblivious as ever. Sides, when this is all over Angel and Cordy are both leaving for LA. Angel to open a PI firm and Cordy to try and be an actress.Truth be told, I don't see Oz staying around much longer either. They got back together after the fluke, but even I can see that they've been strained lately. For Willow's sake I hope I'm wrong about her and Oz, but I don't think I am. Not only that, and I can't blame you for not knowing this seeing as how you haven't been here, but Buffy has been drifting away from Giles for the past several months; even since before the Crucimentium. Angel and Willow are the only two people she will listen to anymore and with Angel leaving..."

"I am so sorry Xander, I can't believe that they can treat yous like that" she told him with great sympathy.

"I know Ken, but I'm not worried. I got you, and you're all I need" he told her, kissing her forehead.

"Thank yous" she told him from the bottom of her heart as she slid down his chest, resting her head in his lap.

May 30th, 2000

It was 6 a.m. when Xander awoke some 4 hours later. He opened his eyes to see Kendra's head still in his lap, her eyes were closed and she had a smile on her face. It was obvious that she had a good night's sleep. He shook her very slightly. He didn't want to statle her, she was a slayer after all.

"Morning sleepy head, rise and shine" he told her smiling.

"Morning Xanders."

"Sorry to wake ya Ken, but we gotta get up. We have a big day today, remember?"

"Yeah, I remember" she told him with a pout. "But, did yous have to wake me? I was having the coolest dream. Yous and I were on a nice beach, eating twinkies, and yous were in a thong."

Xander didn't know how to respond to that since he wasn't sure if she was joking or not. Buffy would never joke like that. Faith would, but she'd be serious too. As for Kendra, well, he knew her very well...but humor to her was a rather new concept. Granted she modeled her sense of humor after his last summer when he helped her survive the wounds she recieved from Angelus, but still...he didn't want to press his luck. They were more than friends, that much was certain. But in what direction they were headed he wasn't sure. Despite the fact that he hung out with slayers, witches, and cheerleaders he was still pretty clueless about women...especially when they were flirting with him. He could never tell if they were actually flirting or just teasing. With any other girl he'd take the chance and just go for it, but he cared about Kendra too much to risk their friendship like that. Not only that but she needed him, just as he needed her. He knew without any shadow of doubt in his mind that if they ever got together they would be awesome and that he'd be the luckiest guy in the world. But that last thing he wanted to do was to risk their friendship, so he decided to take the safer road and just offer to make her a cup of coffee.

As was his habit he scanned the paper while making coffee. He had just turned to the front page of the entertainment section when he saw something that caused him to nearly spit his coffee all over the table.

Society of Creative Anachronisms To Hold Tournament Today
Over 1,000 Tournament Fighters Expected to Attend

It wasn't very well known, even inside SCA circles, but the SCA was not, in fact, founded by a bunch of Medieval enthusiasts. The real truth behind the SCA was that it was founded by a group of demon-hunters wanting a way to practice for their night job without their friends and neighbors getting suspicious. It had evolved into its present state since then, with only a select few knowing the truth behind what they did. The original group of demon hunters called themselves, for some reason he couldn't quite fathom but guessed it was likely just for shits and giggles, the Order of the Silver Hand. By recruiting from the top ranks of the tournament fighters the Order had since grown exponentially into one of the most fearsome groups of demon hunters in the the country, and even the world. They are especially known for staying out of demon bars and only going after the violent types; giving them a unique mythos as far as demon hunters are concerned, seeing how most hunters don't bother distinguishing the violent types of demons from those who just want to be left alone. He still vividly recalled the night when he was introduced to the Order of the Silver Hand...

Flashback-6 months ago

Xander just couldn't believe how he got into these situations. The day had started off rather normally with him going over to Willy's to get some intel, and now it had come to this! Willy actually had a good tip for a change. Seems some two-bit real life evil witch had stolen a real life dragon's egg from mommy in order to make mommy masacare a bunch a people at the next SCA event.

Buffy and Willow were still pissed about him saving their lives last night by risking his own neck when they told him not to and didn't even listen when he tried to tell them the situation. Angel was nowhere to be found and he wouldn't be much help during daylight hours anyway. Giles and Wesley were at some book auction. Oz was away on tour. He'd even tried calling Cordy, but she told him she had a manicure and was too busy for Scooby stuff today. Not only that but Joyce had an exhibit opening today and had left him in charge of Dawn. Not being able to leave Dawn alone he had been forced to bring her along. He was just thankful that she had been paying attention when he began teaching her how to fight a few months ago.

The raid on the witch's lair had been easy enough. Her four vampire bodyguards had been caught napping when he and Dawn showed up, though the last one had told him to come here before Dawn had staked him. So then he and Dawn had come here to the Tournament in order to try and stop the witch before the dragon killed everyone. Only problem was that the Tournament covered over 100 acres and there was no way he and Dawn were going to be able to search everything.

Fortunatley fortune favored him when Dawn, usuing a finding spell she had found in one of Giles' books, found the egg hidden in a group of tents. Only problem was that the tents were crawling with people in armor and he didn't have any. Dawn, after disappearing for about 15 minutes, had solved this problem by presenting him with a rather impressive looking suit of shining white armor while wearing a fully equipped Archer's costume herself. Though he probably should have, he hadn't bothered to ask her where she got it. He really didn't want to know and he had more important things to worry about anyways. Like making sure all these people weren't char-broiled and he wasn't turned into a toad.

After changing into the armor he snuck into the tent and grabbed the dragon egg. He counted his lucky stars on getting there when he did seeing as the egg was situated next to a frying pan and a hunk of cheese. Unfortunatley just as he thought he was in the clear he ran straight into the witch who, quite understandably, was rather pissed at him for stealing her egg.

He had spent the next five minutes both running for his life and fighting the witch. Or rather, he would have fought the witch if he didn't have to keep dodging the fireballs that she was throwing at him. And if that wasn't bad enough, they seemed to be drawing a rather big crowd that seemed to be of the opinion that him fighting the witch was some sort of stage production. A fact drilled into him by all the "oohs" and "ahhhs" that he heard. And that's when he heard the dragon's roar.

Mommy was not happy, not at all. With one firery breath she set a very large field of hay aflame, educing even more "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd that still didn't realize that this was for real. Thankfully the problem of the witch was solved by a well aimed arrow shot by Dawn. However, he still had to deal with the dragon.

Tossing the egg to Dawn he grabbed a sword off a dumbfounded knight, jumped into a catapult, and launched himself into the air and onto the dragon's back. All of this lead him to his current prediciment, how to stop the dragon from killing everyone. He tried talking to it, it didn't listen. He tried stabbing it, but his sword was deflected off his scales. He saw a whole lot of landscape as the dragon set more fields aflame and he saw someone, who he guessed was Dawn, firing arrows at the dragon.

He felt rather than saw the dragon descend closer and closer to the ground at a furious rate of speed. He opened his eyes and saw the dragon only 20 feet from his Dawn-Patrol, ready to swallow her up in its gaping maw. He arranged it so that his knees were on either side of the dragon's neck and started to squeeze with all of his might. The dragon roared and threw its head forward, knocking Xander to the ground as it soared into the air again.

Mindful of the now screaming and running crowd, Xander looked to his left and to his right. On his left he saw Dawn, scared but ok and still firing arrows at the dragon. On his right he saw the witch. The witch??!?!

There was the witch. Granted she had an arrow sticking out of her belly, but there she was with a ball of fire in her hand. Throwing himself of of the fireball's blast radius, Xander dived for his sword while throwing two stakes at the witch. She destroyed them with a wave of her hand, but then he had expected her to. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the dragon coming around for another pass. He grabbed his sword and swung with all his might, hoping the dragon was watching. The witch's head rolled clean off and the dragon passed by overhead without reigning down jets of fire. Xander and Dawn watched as the dragon circled overhead for a moment before descending and landing directly in front of them.

"You killed the witch" it was a statement, not a question.


"Why? Why would a mortal fight for a dragon?"

"Because you were wronged. Because every child needs its mother" Xander told her while looking the dragon in the eyes and handing her the egg.

"What is your name mortal?"

"Alexander Harris and this is my friend Dawn Summers."

"Alexander Harris, Dawn Summers. I am Sulfras. Take this token" she told them, handing Xander a silver coin. "Should you have need to me simply rub the coin, say my name and I shall come for you, for I am forever in your debt."

With that Sulfras, clutching her unborn child in her taloned hands, rose off the ground and flew away into the setting sun. Dawn and Xander meanwhile were surrounded by a large group of tournament fighters who could scarcely believe their eyes.

Scarcely had Sulfras gone when they were approached by an old man in a knight's armor. He had a grey goatee, piercing blue eyes, and a very large scar on his left cheek. He asked them to come with him, though they both could tell that it wasn't a simple request. But neither of them could detect any hint of maliace in the man's piercing gaze so they went with him.

They followed the man into a great tent where they found themselves seated at a long table alongside many other figures in armor. Middle-aged men and women sat next to young boys and girls, the youngest was apparently about Dawn's age though neither of them were quite sure about that, and while many would guess that they were family, or a gathering of friends, Xander and Dawn could both see that they were not. These were warriors. Every one of them had seen battle Xander and Dawn saw, they could see it in their eyes. After all, they had the same look in their own eyes. They noticed that while everyone at the table stared at them, one man in particular stared at them the hardest. He was about sixty or so, though Xander privately doubted that he was a day over fifty, with dark grey hair and a hard green eye, for his left eye had been lost somehow. Most likely in some great battle Xander and Dawn both guessed, for the man did not wear an eyepatch to cover his wound and chose instead to display his scar like some badge of honor. His voice was hard, but Xander could detect the possible smidgen of respect in his eye, and he had a clipped, almost British way of speaking that left none in doubt of who was both speaking and in charge.

"You two, you fought the dragon yes? You fought that monster and yet you let it go? You let it go so that it may go forth and kill again?"

"No" Xander told him.

"NO? Then do all my friends here, who all swear that you did, lie?"

"No. They do not lie either. We did not fight the dragon, we fought the witch. The dragon was not a threat, simply a mother being forced to do the unspeakable in order to protect her baby. When the witch was dead and the baby safe the dragon was no longer a threat, that's why we let it go."

The man smiled.

"Good. There are many who fight the darkness my two young friends, but not all realize that even demons have a right to life just as much as we. If a demon must be killed to stop it from commiting great evil, this is fine. But to kill a demon for the sake of killing, this is a great wrong. We are the Order of the Silver Hand and we ourselves fight the darkness, though we take no pleasure in killing. I am Jonathan McKnight, commander of the Order of the Silver Hand, will you do us the honor of sitting at our table?"

End Flashback

"Xander, are yous ok? Yous looked lost for a second there."

"I'm fine Ken, just remembered something" Xander told her as he looked back on the rest of that eveing fondly. He and Dawn had had a great time with the Order. They passed the night telling stories of their battles against demons while eating and drinking to their heart's content. While Xander remembered that the soldier had had a very high alchol tolerence he didn't, and neither did Dawn. As a result they had both gotten very, very, very drunk. While many people would have frowned on a 13 year old girl getting very drunk the Order realized that any 13 year old girl that would willing go up against a dragon was no normal teenager. Thankfully, a good-witch in attendence had given each of them some herbs that cleared up their inhhiberation very fast...otherwise Joyce and Buffy would have been even madder at him after he had dropped Dawn off at her house well past midnight. He later told Joyce the truth of course, as she was his mother in all but blood, and thankfully she had chosen to keep that particular tale from Buffy's tender ears.

"I just had the craziest idea" he told her smiling. "Get ready, we have some people to go see."

Twenty minutes later Xander and Kendra were crusing down the highway in Xander's captured all black '69 Mustang listening to Freebird on the radio and singing along to their hearts content. They drove over a hundred miles, past LA, out into the boonies where the SCA Tournament was being held and while Xander spent the car ride chatting with his best bud, who he noticed held his hand for the entire drive, he could not help but feel extremely nervous. He was, after all, taking a pretty big risk in coming out here when he could be teaching the students what they would need to know in order to survive. But then again, if who he thought was here was in fact here it would be worth it.

After getting stuck in traffic Xander and Kendra finally pulled into the parking lot that was outside the field where the tournament was to be held almost two hours later. It was the same field as it had been six months ago, but even still Xander did not even begin to know where to look for Order members.

Finally, after searching for nearly an hour, Xander spied what he was looking for over the next rise. It was a great banner depecting a silver hand on a black backdrop billowing in the breeze. He led Kendra toward the great sea of tents situated around the banner-post; thumping his fist on his chest towards people as they passed, letting them know that he was in fact one of them. Taking Kendra by the hand he led her inside the largest tent and smiled at her shocked look. The inside of the tent was quite different than the outside. While the outside looked to be like all the other middle ages style tents that were set up around the great field, the inside of this one was obviously the work of some magic. The interior reminded them both of a cross between a great cathedral, complete with altar, and a great hall from castles of old. Xander was immediately thankfull that Jonathan McKnight was at the head of the high table.

"Ho Xander. What brings you here my friend, and where is young mistress Dawn?" McKnight asked him with a smile on his face.

"Trouble my friend" Xander replied with a heavy sigh. "A great evil is on the verge of victory and may indeed be planning to open the mouth of Hell itself. I need your help my friend, yours and indeed the entire Order's."

"This is grave news my friend, but not altogether unexpected. Our own conjurers and seers have been reporting for quite some time the stirrings of evil in this region. As such, we have even more Order members here as is custom. I hereby pledge the service of all of the Order to your cause, we are yours to command my young friend. Together shall we enter the field of battle from which we will emerge victorious once more. Songs shall be sung and ballads shall be written about this day."

"My good friend, if a vile creature of Hell shall strike me down I shall expect no more than an entire opera on the subject!" Xander replied with a smile.

"Ok Xander, who was dat man? And why were yous alls talking like yous were in some Kings Arthur movie?"

"That was Jonathan McKnight, a friend of mine. He's the commander of the Order of the Silver Hand. Dawn and I helped him battle a dragon a while back. As for the rather ancient way of speaking, well, honestly I don't know. Probably some spell or something to keep people in the mood."

"Yous and DAWN fought a DRAGON??"

"Well yes technically, but the dragon was really quite nice in the end. A witch had stolen her egg in order to force her to kill people. We killed the witch."

"Oh. Are wes goings back to Sunnydale nows then?"

"No, not just yet. I still have one more friend to call" Xander told her.


"Why, the dragon of course" he told her while rubbing the coin that Sulfras had given him.

He and Kendra waited for nearly an hour before Kendra began to get an antsy feeling from her Slayer-sense. Suddenly a great shape swooped out of the clouds and seemed to be heading right for them. Kendra pulled out her stake, preparing to fight, but Xander just grabbed her arm as the very large dragon landed directly in front of them.

"Hello Alexander" Sulfras told him smiling, or at least as close as a dragon can come to smiling. "It does me good to see you again."

"It's good to see you too Sulfras. How is your egg doing?"

"Alexandria is doing very well Alexander" Sulfras told him, postivatly glowing with a pride that only a mother could have.

"Alexandria, you mean she hatched? And you named her after me?"

"How could I not name my child after the human who risked his life to save hers? But somehow I do not believe that you and your young slayer friend called me here to ask about my child. What is the matter Alexander?"

"My friends an I will be going into battle soon Sulfras. While this is nothing new to us, we're facing a Class IV ascencion ceremony and the Burning Blade Clan."

"By the stars! Fear not Alexander, I will help you however I can."

Meanwhile Buffy Summers was getting anxious. No, not anxious, she was getting pissed off in a big way. Xander had had the nerve to tell her off in front the other Scoobies last night and inform her of his "great plan." And she had trusted him, not that she had much choice with both Giles and Angel backing him up. Now here she was, standing here waiting on him. She had rounded up the entire student body for him and brought them all to Xander's backyard. How she did it she will never know, but she did it...if only to prove to everyone else that she was the slayer, that she knew what she was talking about, that she was the one with the power to kill demons, and most of all to prove that Xander was a complete loon! And now that idiot Xander Harris was making her look like a laughing stock. She supposed this was a good thing though since now everybody would see that Xander was just a wannabe and never would be anything else. How DARE that asshole try and tell her how to do her job? It was an OUTRAGE! It was then, while she was pondering ways to slay Xander, that her cellphone began to ring.

"Hello?" Buffy all but growled into the phone, an act which eliticted more than a few stares and a warning glance from her mother.

"Hiya Buff." It was Xander.

"Where are you? The students are here, I'm here, so where are you?"

"Sorry, Ken and I left early today to get some extra help."

"EXTRA HELP?" she all but screamed into the phone. More people were starring at her now.



"What can I say, I like things that go boom!" Xander replied into the phone while rolling his eyes at Kendra, who was snickering in her seat and trying very hard not to laugh.

"YOU LIKE THINGS THAT GO BOOM???" Buffy exploded again.

"Yeah, it's fun. I think it's fun. Kendra thinks it's fun. Even Dawn-Patrol thinks it's fun. Why don't you think it's fun?"


"Look, Ken and I are flying back now. We'll be landing in a second or two so I'll talk to you in a minute ok?


"What 'do' you suppose Xander's flying?" Wesley asked Giles.

"I'm not sure. Knowing Xander, perhaps a helicopter gunship?"

"I'd guess a dragon" Dawn told them with a secretive smile.

"A DRAGON?" Willow looked shocked. "Nah, it's gotta be a fighter jet."

"You think? Wanna bet?"

"$20 ok for you?"

"Sure" Dawn replied with a smirk on her face.

"No, not a fighter jet Buffy. Just look up in the sky, we're coming in for a landing now."

"LOOK UP? I DON'T SEE ANYTHING YOU LYING SON OF A.....WHAT THE HELL IS THAT??" Everyone, with the exception of Dawn who had guessed right and was now $20 richer, was looking up at the sky, staring slack-jawed as the very large and very real dragon made a complete circle of Xander's property before landing directly in front of them.

"Hey everybody! What's up, you people look like there's a dragon flying around or something!" Xander called out to all the dumbstruck people in his backyard as he, Kendra, and the dragon walked up to them.

"Good Lord Xander, that's a dragon!" Giles exclaimed.

"Hmm...really? What gave you that idea? Is it the scales? Or is the the serpentine body? Or was it the very large wings?" Xander joked.

"Maybes its alls of the aboves?" Kendra joked, her first ever joke at Giles' expense. Xander couldn't have been prouded at her for that, what a student!

"Seriously though, everyone I'd like you to meet Sulfras" Xander told them all with a cheeky grin.

"Hello" Sulfras stated regally and then broke into a very wide girn upon seeing the youngest Summers. "Hello Mistress Dawn, it does me good to see you again."

"Hi Sulfras. How is your egg doing?"

"Alexandria is currently teething" Sulfras told Dawn with a wide grin.

"That's wonderful! I'm soo happy for you!!"


"First of all Slayer, I am not a THING!" Sulfras bellowed, visibly annoyed as small puffs of smoke could be seen coming from her nostrils. "And for your information Alexander and Mistress Dawn risked their very lives to prevent a dark-witch from harming my child some six months ago."

"WHAT!?!" Buffy screamed again.

"Buffy! Calm down!" Joyce scolded her oldest, much to Buffy's embarassment and ire.

"Yes Buffy, please do calm down. Things are serious. I'm assuming here Xander that you brought us here for a reason?" Giles asked.

"Yes, I have. Alright everyone, gather round. Have I got a story for you" Xander told his rather large audience and then waited for a few moments before continuing. "My name is Xander Harris, you all know me. Most of you have known me for a very long time. We all know that Sunnydale High isn't exactly your average high school. There are a lot of weird things that happen there, and then of course there are the deaths. What other high school can say that they post obituaries in the schools weekly newspaper? Or can say that instead of a Spring Fling dance they have a Memorial Dance? Regardless of which clique we may belong to, not a week goes by where at least some of us aren't going to a funeral. It's pretty sad when the first announcements of the day on every Monday are a list of all those who died in mysterious circumstances the week before. But such is par the course for Sunnydale. Many of you know some of what goes on in Sunnydale after dark, but for the select few of you that don't I'll give you the abbreviated true history of the world."

"The world is older than you know. Much older in fact and much darker too. Contary to popular mythology it did not begin as a paradise, but instead a hellish place filled with all manner of demons and monsters. It was in this enviroment that mankind first evolved. Every man, woman, and child of both modern man and its more primative incanations fought tooth and nail every day of their very short lives just to prevent their own extinction. Long ago we drove the demons out of this world, pushing them through the demensional gateways that they had first arrived from and, for the most part, sealing them; thereby preventing the most powerful of demons having access to their world. The portals however to reamin to this day, and it is possible for demonkind to open them from this side."

"Thankfully that has never happened, but there are many demons who would like nothing more than to wash mankind away and renue demonkind's domination of this world. There is, in fact, one of those very portals here in Sunnydale. It acts like a magnet for all things demonic and is the very reason that the Spanish originally gave Sunnydale the name of Boca de Inferno, or liteally translated Hellmouth. Ironically enough that very portal is directly under the library at our very own Sunnydale High. A lot of people joke that high school is hell; we just happen to be right, high school really is the root of all evil."

"Now we all know that there really are monsters and demons and vampires. It is said that as the last demon left this world he mixed his essence with that of a mortal man and thus was born the first vampire. Demons as they are today are but half-breeds of their original form but there is a ceremony that can turn a human into a full-demon and Sunnydale was built for that very purpose."

"Mayor Richard Wilkins III is actually Richard Wilkins II and Richard Wilkins I. They are one being. For its entire history Sunnydale has only had one mayor, Richard Wilkins. Mayor Wilkins built this town on the very site of the Hellmouth for one diabolical purpose, to complete an ascension ceremony and transform into a full demon. Tomorrow is the climax of his century long quest for power. Tomorrow, as he is giving his speech to our graduating class, he will quite literally ascend into a very powerful, full-blooded, demon."

"Up until this point the Mayor has been all but inverunable, but after he completes his ceremony he will be not only momentarlly weakend, but the weakest he's been in nearly a century. Only then will we actually have any sort of chance to stop him."

"My friends and I: Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Rupert Giles, Dawn Summers, Angel, Daniel Ozborne, Cordelia Chase, Kendra McPherson, Dawn Summers, Joyce Summers, and Wesley Wyndam-Price have been fighting against the darkness for nearly three years now. It has been a long three years and all of us have loss our innocence. We've also lost one of our on, Sunnydale High's computer teacher Jenny Calender was a full fledged Scooby until her death at the hands of a master vampire. We have faced apocalypses and end-of-the-world scenarios before and always come out on top, but this is different. For Mayor Wilkins to survive the cermony he needs to eat a lot of people. To that end, and to prevent us from stopping him, he has commissioned his own army."

"Now, all hope is not lost however. We have procured the arms and equipment necessary for us to be able to triumph over our hated demonic foes. We have even called in some outside help to aid in our quest, Sulfras here among them. But we cannot do this alone. We need your help. If they Mayor succedes he will undoubtaly open the Hellmouth and if that happens the entire world, the entire human race, will be destroyed. I ask you now to join us in our fight to save our friends, our families, and even the entire world. Who is with me?"

A thunderous chorus of cheers went up at that moment. Every single Sunnydale High student was suddenly willing to fight and die in the very fight that the Scoobies had been fighting for the past three years. Never before had any of them felt such unity or inspiration.

"Very nice speech Xander" Giles told him a few moments later as everyone was packing up to go the the rather large campground that Xander had rented for them in the hills just outside Sunnydale.

"Eh, I'm glad you like it. I did spend nearly 3 hours on it after all."

"Three hours?"

"Uh, yeah. I've never been that great at public speaking. It took me an hour to write the damm thing and then another two hours to practice my lines. Personally I felt like an complete idiot up there, but it was either that or say 'We need your help to kick demon ass. We're probably gonna all die but...Go Team!'"

"Even so, you did a fine job. Whatever happens, I want you to know that I am proud of you."

"Thanks Giles" Xander told him trying to hide the tears in his eyes. Others might have thought them unmanly, but then again they came from a boy whose parents were the town's resident drunks that used to beat their only son regularly. Rupert Giles and Joyce Summers were the two closest things he had to parents.

Xander, Kenda, and Dawn arrived ahead of everyone by fying with Sulfras. Upon arriving at the campsite they said hello the Jonathan McKnight and the other members of the Order of the Silver Hand and began unloading all the suppilies that Xander had asked them to bring for him. Crates upon crates of swords, spears, crossbows, javelins, axes, bows, maces, helmets, suits of plate armor and chain mail were all unloaded and set up. In addition, firing ranges were constructed for the students to practice with the rather large array of modern weaponry that Xander had procured for them. Finally, a rudimentary stable was set up for the over one hundred horses belonging to the Order.

When Buffy, the rest of the Scoobies, and the students arrived they were treated to a rather unusual sight. A very large practice field for ancient weaponry situated next the a large firing range for modern weaponry. Over the next few hours Xander, with help from the Scoobies and the Order members, schooled the students in the firing and operation of modern weaponry, everything from pistols to shotguns to semi-automatic and automatic rifles to grenades to machine guns, and more ancient weaponry such as swords and axes and bows. The Scoobies and the students were also each fitted for their own set of armor, everything from full plate armor for the more bulky football playes to studded leather armor for the cheerleaders.

When both Giles and Buffy had asked him where he got all the armor and weapons he just smiled and told them: "You know that new King Arthur and mideival movie with Tom Cruise?" he asked them. When they replied in the affirmative he just told them with his trademark goofy grin "Well, I really hope you didn't want to see it too badly seeing as we sorta stole all their weapons and armor. Well, we got the hand-to-hand weapons from them. The rest we stole from the National Guard armories."

Buffy looked very shocked at that, but somehow managed not to scream obsenitites, and Giles got an Ripper-like glint in his eyes and just grinned.

Finally, after nearly six hours of training in which Xander made sure nobody would be scared of the noise and everybody knew at least how to fire and reload their weapons, Xander told them they were as ready as they were going to be. Tomorrow was graduation and they needed their sleep so he sent them home. He, Dawn, Kendra, Joyce, and Angel stayed behind though. After a delicious dinner provided for them by the Silver Hand they went to Sunnydale High to set up the explosives.

While the majority of the explosives, nearly 90% of them in fact, were placed inside the library, the gymnasium, and the cafateria some small amounts explosives were placed inside every classroom, storage closet, and office inside Sunnydale High. When Buffy led the Mayor inside, as was the plan, there would be no place for him to go. They spent the rest of the eveing putting the nuclear bomb into place and hiding and camoflauging all the barracades, catapults, and machine gun nests that they had put together before finally going home and getting some much needed sleep.

May 31st, 2000

Memorial Day. The Gradution -1. While Xander and Kendra did drill the students in the use of weaponry once more, they let them go shortly after noon. Tomorrow they all might die and today was a day for family. Buffy and Angel spent the day alone, as did Willow and Oz. Cordelia took Wesley shopping, much to Wesley's embarassment. Giles played his guitar. Joyce took Dawn to the park where they had a picnic lunch with Xander and Kendra who, after the picnic, spent the day having a Star Trek marathon and watching Capt. Kirk kick Klingon butt.

June 1st, 2000

Zero Hour. That's what this was Xander thought as he surveyed his troops. He had said goodbye and goodluck to Joyce and Dawn earlier, making sure they were ready as he sent them on their way with the detonator to the nuclear bomb that Xander hoped would never be used. Jonathan McKnight and the Order had presented him with a truly beautiful suit of armor earlier that day, and he was grateful for it. He was arrayed in a beautifuly worked golden breastplate, helmet with red horsehair crest, and greves over shining suit of chain mail. Tucking his helmet inside his elbow he walked up and down the ranks, making sure every single volunteer was properly armed and armored. Making sure of this he had them suit up in their graduation cap and gowns he called them up to give them a final pre-battle speech. He could see they were nervous, he could see the fear in their eyes as he looked them over.

"My friends, the Zero Hour fast approaches and soon we shall all be fighting for our lives. What you will soon see will make you want to run away in fear, but there can be no running. We are not the only ones whose lives are threatened today. The lives of our families and friends are all threatened. The entire town of Sunnydale is threatened. The entire human race is threatened. All of humanity stands upon the brink of total anihilation and we are the only things standing in between them and armageddon. I know a lot of you are probably asking yourselves how you can fight. You're not faster than a speeding bullet, nor are you more powerful than a locomotive. None of you can leap tall buildings in a single bound. But you know what? Neither can I. I'm not a super strong slayer like Buffy or Kendra. I'm not a witch like Willow or a werewolf like Oz. I'm just me. Plain and simper Xander. That's all I am. And I have been fighting against the forces of darkness for the past three years and you know what? I've kicked their ass! I am living proof that you don't need super powers to fight demons, nobody here does. And you know why? For though we may walk in the shadow of the valley of death, we shall fear no evil For we are the baddest mother fuckers around!!! Now, I'm going to go to graduation and kick some major demon ass! Who's with me?"

The entire group erupted into cheers at that statement and then, as one, they all began to march to Sunnydale High for their graduation.

Just before everyone enters the high school Kendra takes Xander aside for a short moment.

"Xanders, I just wants to say thanks. I can'ts believes that yous did all this, buts I'm glad to yous watching my back" Kendra told him. She then kisses him full on the mouth for nearly an entire minute before they both finally have to come up for air.

"For luck" she said.

As the students all file into their assigned seats music begins to play. The music finally stops and the students sit down as Snyder stands at the podium.

"Congratulations to the class of 1999. You all proved more or less adequate. This is a time of celebration, so: sit still and be quiet" Snyder growled while surveying the students.

"Spit out that gum. Please welcome our distinguished guest speaker: Richard Wilkins the 3rd. I saw that gesture. You see me after graduation."

Snyder turns and claps, the students who take the hint begin to do so as well. Willow and Oz, who are later, take their places. Willow turns to Buffy and asks:

"Am I late? Did we fight?"

The Mayor shakes Snyder's hand and steps up to the podium. Smiles and takes out some cue cards. Mayor clears his throat and surveys the students.

"Well. What a day this is! Special day. Today is our centennial, the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Sunnydale, and I know what that means to all you kids: not a darn thing. Because today something much more important happens: today you all graduate from high school. Today all the pain, all the work, all the excitement is finally over. And what's a hundred years of history compared to that? You know what kids?…"

"Oh my God" Buffy exclaimed, turning to Willow. "He's going to do the entire speech."

"Man, just ascend already" Willow agreed while the Mayor continued his speech.

"… for all of you it may be that there is a place in Sunnydale's history, whether you like it or not. It's been a long road getting here. For you… for Sunnydale. There has been achievement, joy, good times,… and there has been grief. There's been loss. Some people who should be here today… aren't. But we are. - Journey's end. And what is a journey? Is it just… distance traveled? Time spent? No. It's what happens on the way, it the things that happen to you. At the end of the journey you're not the same. Today is about change. Graduation doesn't just mean your circumstances change, it means you do. You ascend… to a higher level. Nothing will ever be the same. Nothing."

A shadow falls across the Mayor at this point. He, along with everyone else in attendance, looks up to see the sun being totally blacked out. The Mayor flinches in pain. Then swallows and continues his speech.

"And so as we look back on…"

Pain hits him again and he turns half to the side groaning.

"...on the events that brought us to this day..."

Another wave of pain.


The Mayor stops in pain again as all the students are watching tensely.

"...we must all…"

He screams and the students and the faculty look at each other uneasily. It has begun.

"My destiny" the Mayor tells them smiling. "It's a little sooner then I expected. I had this whole section on civic pride…But I guess we'll just skip to the big finish!"

Xander and Kendra look at each other as the Mayor starts to grimace and stretch and grow. His suit splits around him and Snyder is leaning back in his seat looking taken aback. The Mayor suddenly transforms into a big snake-like demon, with clawed mandibles surrounding its mouth. It keeps growing, stretching higher as the faculty abandons their seats. The students get up but stay in place staring up at the Mayor, who seems to stretch up above the roof of the school. The students stare up as the parents in the back to panic and leave.

As a group of vampires comes up the steps behind the students Xander signals two students, Larry and Jonathon, to begin evacuating the parents.

"NOW!!!" Xander yells above the screams again and again, blowing his whistle.

At that moment all the students take off their caps and gowns, revealing their shining armor and their wide array of medieval and modern weaponry.

"Flame units!" Xander shouts. "Fire!"

Several students point flame throwers at the Mayor and start flaming him, while a whole two rows of students begin firing their rifles and shotguns at him. The Mayor sways above the students screaming.

The Mayor screams and sways then lunges down and swallows a student in the first row.

"This… this is simply unacceptable! This is not orderly. This is not discipline!" Snyder screams.

The Mayor's snake head whips around and Snyder looks up at him.

"You're on my campus buddy!" Snyder shouts at the demonic Mayor. "And when I say I want quiet, I want…"

The Mayor doesn't give the troll-like principal of Sunnydale High time to finish as his head comes down and eats Snyder while Buffy and Xander look on in horror.

As the Mayor is being held at bay Xander turns to Buffy. He nods at her, the signal for Buffy to lead the Mayor through the school so that Giles can detonate the explosives. Squeezing Kendra's hand he turns around, and for the first time see the Burning Blade Clan in all its terrible glory. In addition to vampires their numbers included goblins, wrights, ghasts, trolls, and countless other types of demons; and there were a lot more than just 3,000 of them. At least 6,000 demons were swarming across the adjacent park all hell bent on killing them all.

"Hold! Hold the line!" Xander shouted. "Hold! Make ready the baracades, man the guns! Load the catapults, archers ready! Fire! First wave, fire!"

Those students not holding the Mayor at bay or manning the catapults and machine gun nests quickly formed two long lines behind the baracades. The first wave, along with the machine gunners, archers, and catapults suddenly unleashed a literal hail of fire upon the enemy. Pistols, rifles, machine guns, shotguns, and other automatic weaponry shot out thousands upon thousands of rounds at their enemy. The roughly 100 archers that they had, mostly from the Order, fired wave after wave of burning arrows; while the catapult and mortar teams launched grenades and burning oil down upon their enemey. The first waves of the Burning Blades were shredded into bloody pieces at the nearly unstopable barrarge.

"Second wave" Xander called above the din while firing the first of two flares into the air, the signal for Sulfras to being her attack run. "Fire!"

Again, torrents of bullets, arrows, grenades, and oil were fired at their enemies. Aain their enemies died in the the hundreds, if not thousands. A great burst of flame shot down from the sky and literally incenerated scores upon scores of Burning Blades. This was the signal the students had been waiting for. Nearly as one they suddenly dropped their weapons, leaving Sulfras to cover them, while Buffy and Giles killed the Mayor by detonating the hidden explosives placed inside the school.

As the mighty dragon burned nearly a thousand of the Burning Blades Sunnydale High suddenly exploded in glorious burst of fire and destruction. The shock wave knocked nearly every Burning Blade to their knees, making it all the easier for Sulfras to destroy them, and went on to shatter nearly every window for miles around.

As one the students rose to their feet. As they saw that over half of the Burning Blades lay dead in front of them they ditched most of their more modern weapons and armed themselves with swords, spears, axes, pistols, maces, and clubs. Xander fired his second flare high into the sky, the signal for the Order's cavarly to being its attack, and as lead the students as they all charged swordfirst into the wave of Burning Blades.

From behind the Burning Blades a great battle cry was heard as nearly 500 armored horsemen came galloping upon their heels, killing countless numbers of the Blades with great strokes from their swords and mighty blows from their warhammers.

Meanwhile, inside the very center of the Burning Blades, Xander and Kendra were a whirwind of death. Any semblence of order to the students charge had long since been lost. For Xander and Kendra, fighting back to back, what they could hit with their swords was their whole world. Slash, parry, slash, kick, punch, slash, strike. Again. Slash, parry, slash, kick, punch, slash, strike. Again. Again. Again.

Gradually though, their enemies became fewer. Gradually they began to see signs of other students fighting. They saw Oz guarding a injured Willow. They saw Cordelia stake a vampire and then become submerged under a hoard of ten more. They saw Wesley fighting as well, holding off several demons with a long spear, giving an unidentifiable girl time to remove her injured friend from the battle. They saw Angel fighting as if there was no tomorrow, staking vampire after vampire along with the occasional goblin and orc. They fought for what seemed like days, but in reality was only a little longer than an hour or so.

Finally, finally the battle was over. As they both Xander and Kendra surveyed the field, looking for more demons to kill, they were sickened by what they saw. All around them, as far as the eye could see, were the corpses of demons alongside the occasional student. Behind them were the ruins of Sunnydale High, once a proud institution of learning, now little more than a large mass of rubble. They heard the screams coming from dozens of their friends all across the battlefield. Then they both turned their heads and emptied their stomachs.

Xander believed, as did most of the survivors, that the after battle clean-up was worse than the actual battle itself. Less than half the students had survived. The Order of the Sliver Hand faired slightly better, losing only about a third of their numbers. Cordelia was the only casaulty among the Scoobies, Xander and Kendra had both seen her fall under an attack by over ten vampires.

Aside from Cordy's death, Kendra and Xander both had serious cuts and lacerations, while Willow's arm had been broken and Wesley had broken his leg. Others were not so lucky however, as many students had had their arms and legs cut off, or were forced to have them ampuated to prevent excessive blood loss. Thankfully the Order members were all trained in first aid, since if they had waited for the ambulences to begin treatment of their injured comrades they would have lost a whole lot more.

Those with few injuries and little to no medical training were put to work doing manuel labor. Their fallen friend's bodies had to be recovered, and at times identified, and the all of the demon dead had to be burned and then desposed of. They couldn't exactly let the demonic corpses be studied under a microscope, there was no telling what would happen if the military would get wind of what happened here. The stench from all the burning dead literally encompased the entire town of Sunnydale for days.

The survivors attended countless funerals over the coming week. Not everyone could attend all those funerals that they wished for the people of Sunnydale, seemingly wanting to once again supress what had happened and get on with their lives, had scheduled them back to back, all day long, for six days in a row. Cordy's funeral was, of course, attended by the surviving Scoobies and her family. No Cordette had survived the battle.

Life went on though, for the survivors anyways. Sulfras went back to her young daughter. The surviving Order members went home to their families. Angel did indeed leave for Los Angeles, leaving a tearful Buffy behind. Oz decided to go on tour with his band, Willow would be going with him and they were leaving for the summer in a few days. Wesley, recalled by the Council, packed his bags and left for England.

Xander and Kendra packed their bags as well, they were leaving Sunnydale to see the world. Before leaving Xander had given Giles, Buffy, Willow, and Oz the keys to the house that he had built and told them that if they ever needed him all they had to do was to call. He and Kendra had spent a entire week with the Scoobies, enough time to spend time together as a group and individually, before leaving. But leave they did and, as the setting sun dipped below the horizon, they left behind lifelong friends who wondered if they would ever see them again and went forward to meet their destiny.

Chapter Three
Hell Is Rising In The City Of Angels

June 27th, 2000

It was just after dark when Xander and Kendra pulled into the parking lot of the Hyatt West Hollywood. The air was extremely hot and muggy, causing their clothes to literally stick to their skin. Turning off the stereo, pocketing the Steely Dan cd, and extinguishing the engine he and Kendra exited the car and made their way into the lavishly decorated foyer, nodding to the bellhop as they passed.

Entering their suite Xander had to smile as he watched Kendra all but throw their luggage down and literally flop on the king size bed in one of the suite's two bedrooms. It had been a while since he and Kendra has enjoyed any sort of luxury. After the battle with the Mayor they had stayed in Sunnydale long enough to attend what seemed like endless funerals and to ensure that their weaponry was safely hidden. Despite their mutual need to see the world so to speak they would have liked to have stayed in Sunnydale another week or so, but they both felt it was a good idea to leave before the military sent any quality investigators to the 'dale. Granted the new mayor had somehow managed to convince the Governor that he did not need to declare Sunnydale a disaster area and ask FEMA for assistance, but given the fact that Xander had robbed the Sunnydale Armory on nearly ten separate occasions neither of them wanted to push their luck.

After they had left they had traveled to a great gathering of Order members with Jonathan McKnight. They had stayed with them for nearly a week and a half before heading up to San Francisco. There they had met the legendary Charmed Ones. Prue, Piper, and Phoebe were remarkable women Xander reflected. Phoebe especially. But that was impossible. There was simply no way for Phoebe to leave her sisters, and Xander didn't feel like settling down quite yet. There was also Kendra to consider of course. They were definitely more than friends, but beyond that he was at a loss. To strangers they seemed most definitely the happy couple, but they didn't always act as such. Despite being in such close proximity to one another for nearly a month now they had not done anything to breach the gulf separating them from being friends to being a couple. Granted they did go everywhere with one another, and Kendra did hold his hand quite a bit, and Xander honestly wondered why they even bothered getting two rooms anymore seeing as Kendra almost invariably ended up sleeping in his bed before the night was done.

Well Xander thought to himself, that is why they were here. He and Ken were going to relax, dine with the stars, visit movie sets, hell, he might even let her take him shopping. And all the while he was going to figure out how to breach that so-called gulf that separated them. He was going to do it too. After all there were no demons here. No apocalypses. Just him and his best bud Ken, girlfriend Ken, eh whatever she was.

It was only a little over an hour later that the two best friends were walking through the doors of a classy Jamaican bistro recommended to them by the hotel receptionist. Kendra wasn't Jamaican Xander knew, she was Haitian, but he knew that he watcher had raised her in Jamaica and thought that Ken might enjoy a nice dinner with some home-style food.

It was nearing midnight when the two warrior friends finally stumbled back into their hotel room. They had had a great dinner, had a nice quiet walk along the beach, and enjoyed an outdoor concert from some impromptu performers. During the evening Xander had finally found the courage to kiss Kendra and had been pleasantly suprised when she kissed him back. Girlfriend, best friend, whatever they were they were more than friends and well on their way to becoming much more than friends and he was happy with that. Not only that but they had enjoyed the entire evening without it being spoiled by vampires or demons or apocalypses, which was a new record for both Xander and Kendra. Xander uncorked the bottle of champagne he had swiped from the restaurant they had gone to, poured Kendra her drink, and then lit her cigar before liting his own. They were not regular smokers by any means, but they did enjoy a nice cigar every now and then. Cigars had been a favored passion of soldier-boy and Xander found himself enjoying them as well. Not only that but many members of the Order members smoked either cigars or a pipe so Xander found himself indulging every now and then with them. Interestingly enough Kendra also found herself liking the rich flavors of cigars as well and, as a result, Jonathan McKnight had given them a couple of boxes before they left. It was still very hot and humid, so much so that Xander and Kendra soon found themselves clad in nothing more than their underwear while they watched the movies they had rented, drank their champagne from the bottle, and smoked their cigars. It was, Xander reflected as Kendra kissed him full on the mouth for nearly an entire minute and then rested her head on his chest, the perfect end to the perfect day. How, he asked himself turning out the lights and kissing Kendra on the forehead, could life get any better than this?

The sun was already high in the sky and the clock read 12:53 when Xander finally woke up the next day. Kendra's head was still resting on his chest and she was snoring softly. At that moment he wanted nothing more than to just lay back and watch his best friend sleep and maybe read a book or something, but he had already called Forge the day before and told him that he and Kendra would be visiting him sometime today. Not only that but he knew that while Kendra liked sleeping in as much as the next person, she didn't like to sleep in that much because it reminded her of the three months that she had spent in the hospital learning to walk again after Angelus had tortured her. It was truly a miracle that she had survived, Xander knew, and he was grateful to whatever powers had been watching over them that his Ken was well again. Shifting slightly he began to rub her hair first and then made his way down to her sholders and her back.

"Ken, Ken it's time to wake up."

"Do I have tos Xan? I'm sos comfys here."

"Ha, yeah you have to Ken. Sorry, but it's nearly 1 p.m. and I told Forge that we'd come and see him today."


"Ken! I mean, come on. We go out night after night chasing around monsters and vampires with a pointy stick and you expect me to be scared by 'Grr...'?"


"Ok, now I am scared. Will you get up anyway?"

"Yous no fun!" Ken told him pouting as she climbed out of bed, teasing Xander to a rather nice morning show seeing as she got ready to shower without bothering to change in the bathroom. She motioned him to come closer and as he did so she slammed the door in his face and proceded to get in the shower.

"Dammit, I've created a monster. Getting Buffy and Willow out of bed is bad enough, I don't think even Faith was ever this bad."

"I heard that!"

It was only about an hour later that Xander and Kendra were speeding down the highway in Xander's souped-up '69 Mustang convertible. Listening to the Beatles sing about their yellow submarine Xander maneuvered the Mustang through the upscale shopping districts, through the lower middle class districts, and into the the industrial district where he pulled into the parking lot of what looked like an abandoned, not to mention very run down, factory. It was much to look at Xander knew and Kendra predictably commented on that, though not to the extent that Cordelia would have he reflected. Cordelia. He still wasn't over her. He had loved her in a way he knew, and it would be a long time before the Cordelia shaped hole in his heart closed. Getting out of the Mustang he and Kendra made their way to the front door where a lone security camera and intercom system waited to welcome them. Forge must have upgraded his system Xander reflected, or be very bored, because they the door opened before they could even announce themselves. They entered the darkened exterior and soon found themselves staring at a middle-aged one-legged man with the bronzed skin of native americans, a weather-worn face filled with small scars, ages lines, and a ready smile wearing a grimy sweatshirt, matching pants, and a dust filled red doo-rag. He was staring at them from between row after row of equipment that lined the walls of the factory, most of which Xander couldn't reconize. He did reconize an RPG laucher and rocket laying haphazardly on a cast iron table, and that worried Xander greatly because he knew that Forge didn't leave any of his dangerous stuff lying around.

"Christ kid, you told me you were coming, but you didn't tell me you were bringing such hot-ass company. "

"Ken, this is Forge. Forge, this is Kendra. Ignore his manners Ken, you'll get used to them eventually. At least, I think you will. I can't really say though, I'm still working on it myself."

"Enough chit-chat kid, what the hell do you want?"

"Charming isn't he Ken?" Xander asked Kendra, while she just smiled nervously. "What I want is ammo, and lots of it. I'd also like you to give Kendra a little training course if you don't mind and get her a weapon of her own. I've taught her what I can, but she's a little sluggish around guns still. Good shot, but she needs to learn to relax with it. Also, do you know where we can get some IDs? I don't want this to become a working vacation and I owe favors to almost everyone I know who has the talent to do it. There's one girl I know who might be capable, but she moved to take care of her uncle a while back and I haven't heard from her in over a month; then again I haven't checked my e-mail in almost a month too."

"Sure kid, Jamie get in here!"

"I'm coming Uncle, what is...Xander, what are you doing here?"


Jamie Butler, or Surfer as she was known to most of her friends in both the real world and online, was a thin, scrawny looking kid of seventeen. Brown hair, large brown eyes, a crooked nose, a ready smile, large breasts, flat stomach, the light scent of cigarette smoke, and a skin pallor that spoke of spending way to much time indoors gave her an almost mousey, yet suprisingly attractive appearance. Appearances could be deceiving because Surfer was a skilled hacker, a talented witch, a shrewd business woman, and extremely intelligent self-educated street kid. And she was that long before her "uncle" Forge ever adopted her. Give this unassuming girl a computer and she'll be able to find out anything about anyone and break the strongest of encryptions in the time it takes most people to tie their shoes.

"You two know eachother I take it?"

"Yeah, you could say that. She's the hacker I mentioned."

Forge knew that there was more going on between Harris and his niece than either of them let on, but since they didn't seem to hate eachother he decided to let any business they might have between eachother remain their own. It was funny because Xander did indeed to know Forge's niece a lot better than either of them let on. Xander had met Surfer almost five months before during one of his frequent trips to LA. It had been night and he had been trying to find the house of an expert hacker recommended to him by one of his contacts. Walking down darkened streets in unkempt neighborhoods was not exactly conductive to one's health Xander knew, but nonetheless he had followed the screams he had heard and saved Surfer from the pack of vampires that had wanted to have her for dinner. She had taken news about demons and such rather well, but then again she was a child of the streets and had known about vampires and other such predators for quite some time. After ascertaining that she was in fact the hacker her was looking for he had taken her out for dinner and one thing had lead to another. Needless to say that when he had left the next day with the fake IDs Surfer had made for him he was satisfied in more ways than one.

"Been awhile Xan. You don't call, you don't write. What's a girl supposed to think?"

"Good to see you to Surfer" Xander told her giving the small girl a hug. "This is Kendra, my best bud."

The two girls nodded cooly at one another and Xander had to chuckle when Kendra moved almost imperceptibly in front of him, as if she were telling this newcomer that Xander belonged to her and her alone.

"Alright kids. Kendra, come here and I'll get you set up. Kid, you go with Jamie and she'll hook you up right."

Xander followed Jamie through the double doors that led to her own small section of the factory. Table after table of computers, parts, and equipment lined the shelves alongside huge mainframe tower systems, scanners, deluxe printers, photocopiers, digital cameras, six laptops, and four main monitors. Jamie's main setup consisting of a tower system, monitor, laptop, scanner, and printer were arrayed somewhat nearly on a desk that was situated in the center of the small, cluttered room. Plopping down into an overstuffed executive chair Surfer pulled out a pack of cigs, lit one, and exhaled a large cone of smoke before remembering that Xander was there and asking him what he wanted.

"Ha, some things never change I guess Surfer. I'll need new IDs for Kendra and me, preferably five of them for each of us, and I'll need you to edit them into the government's database."

"I can do that, but it'll cost ya ten grand for each of ya. I, ah, could make it five if you wanted to play around while my babies do their thing" she told him, smiling, her eyes twinkling with a mischievous intent.

"Can't do that Surf, I'm with Kendra now."


"So? What do you mean so?"

"So, why does she have to know?"

"I'm not gonna cheat on Ken, Surf. Not with anybody."

"Fine then, bring her along. Could be fun."

"Uh, no thanks Surfer."

"Whatever!" and with that she was lost within the realms of cyberspace, completely forgetting the fact that Xander was standing in front of her.

It was well after dark, almost 8 p.m., when they finally left Forge's factory. Forge could make damm near anything Xander knew and the new toys he had given them were proof enough of that. He had given both Xander and Kendra each two pairs of his prototype M6D pistols. With a 12 round clip of 12.7 mm, semi-armor piercing, high-explosive rounds; a built-in laser targeting system, and a attachable silencer these pistols were deadlier than anything else on the market or on the drawing boards. Along with the pistols were three prototypes of his MA5B gas-operated, magazine-fed, fully automatic assault rifles; two of his prototype M90 shotguns that fire 3.5', 8 gauge magnum rounds; two prototypes of his S2 AM sniper rifle with magnification scopes from 2X-8X that fire specialized 14.5mm armor piercing rounds that are fin-stabilized for accuracy; and one prototype of his M19 SSM rocket launcher along with it multiple rounds of its specialized 102mm shaped charge explosive rockets. All in all they had enough weapons and ammo to fuel a small war, and with the IDs and some extra gagets that Surfer made for them they were good to go.

Along with Forge and Surfer, they were loading the final boxes into Xander's Mustang when they first heard the screams. All of them grabbed a pistol and went towards the sound. What they came upon was not that suprising, a gang of vampires trying to make a meal out of some unlucky mortal. With their high-exlosive semi-armor piercing rounds the foursome quickly eliminated the six unlucky vampires and moved to check on the victim. He was middle-aged, balding with a bookish face and large front teeth. His left wrist was sprained as well Xander could tell.

"Hey" Xander said, kneeling down to the man and giving him a more through examination. "Are you alright? You didn't hit your head or anything did you?"

"Yes. Yes. I am fine. Thank you" the man told them, grasping Xander's outstretched hand. He had a German accent, but Xander thought he caught a trace of French mixed in. He was stuttering and speaking very slowly, as if he had to first think about what he was going to say.

"You took a nasty spill there, are you sure you don't want us to take you to a hospital?"

"No. Cannot. Orion. Where is Orion?"

"Um, I'm not sure. In space I'd guess" Xander told the man flippantly.

"Must find Orion. Great danger. The Galaxy."

"Ok, anyone else think we just stepped into the twilight zone?" Xander asked his friends, gesturing to the unknown man as if the man were insane.

"The Galaxy. The Galaxy. Is on. Is. The Galaxy is on Orion's belt. Must find Orion. Must" the man told them, quite seriously, before running off into the night.

"And she says I'm crazy" Xander semi-whined while pointing to Kendra once the man had gone.

"Xander, you are crazy" Kendra told him with all seriousness.