The Face Of Tomorrow

Author: Canadian Crow <Blackcrowe117[at]>

Rating: I guess PG-13 will be alright, what with all the bad words coming later, and such.

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the Communist Party. I don't own Buffy, either.

A/N: Look what you people talked me into! I actually caved and wrote a sequel to Future's End. I hope it stands up to your lofty expectations.

Try to find the "Penny Arcade" reference.

Here we go...



<and> = Young Xander's thoughts

[and] = Message to Xander from the Spirit Guide

//and// = Spirit Guide's private thoughts

Latest addition

He didn't know how long he'd been floating in the limbo. Hours, days, months, oh hell, even years. It didn't really matter. He was here for a reason. Yet, at the same time, he was here for no reason at all.

It was all very confusing.

He'd known this was going to happen. The moment he changed the past, his future had ceased to exist. The only future out there already had a perfectly good version of him in it.

He had nowhere to go, so he ended up going nowhere.

Now, for Xander Harris, 22-year-old time traveler, it was simply a matter of keeping his mind occupied for the rest of eternity.

<Ten trillion bottles of beer on the wall, ten trillion bottles of beer.> He yelled in his mind, <If one of those bottles should happen to fall, nine hundred and ninety-nine billion, nine hundred and ninety-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety- nine bottles of beer on the wall.>

Just then, as he was about to start the next chorus, he felt his feet hit something that felt suspiciously like the ground.

<What the...>

He looked around, finding himself in what looked very much like the Playboy Mansion.

<This is new...>

"Hello?" He called, "Is this my heaven? Cause, God, I hope it is."

"Sorry, buddy. This paradise is taken." Came a voice from behind him.

He spun around to confront the speaker, finding only a leather chair facing away from him.

"Who are you?"

"Am I really that forgettable? That hurts, bro. Seriously."

"I can't be..." Xander whispered.

"Can't it?" The chair swung around to reveal a grinning face Xander would remember to the end of his days.

"Jesse? Is it really you?"

"In the flesh, so to speak."

Jesse, one of Xander's oldest (and also dead) friends, was sitting before his very eyes, dressed like Hugh Hefner, smoking a cigar. As you can imagine, this is not what Xander expected to see.

"But your dead."

"Very astute, Sherlock."



A long pause followed.

" ya been."

"I'm in the freaking Playboy Mansion, Xan. I run the place. How do you think I've been?"

"Ah. Cool."

"I think so."

<You know,> Xander thought, <I always figured the afterlife would be a little more profound than this. Speaking of which...>

"So, am I dead now?"

"Not exactly. It's kind of a long story. Pull up a chair, have a cigar. Get comfortable, cause I'm sure you've got lots of questions."

"You could say that." Xander replied, sitting down in a plush leather chair across from Jesse.

"So, ask away."

"You're gonna answer all my questions?"

"Not all of them, but some."

"Right. Umm... Is there a God?

"Oh... Short answer, 'yes' with an 'if'. Long answer 'no', with a 'but'."

"Okay... how bout this. What is the nature of all existence?"

"Geez, now there's a long answer. Get comfy, man. As far as existence goes, it can be a little weird, so pay attention. Now, like most good things, it starts with a monkey..."



"...And that's pretty much it." Jesse finished.

They both paused for a moment, to contemplate what had been said.

"I see." Xander replied. "That actually makes a lot of sense."

"I know. Go figure, huh?"

Yet another pause.

"So, Jess. Why am I here, if I'm 'not exactly' dead?"

"Ah. I figured you'd wanna hear about that. Okay, here's the thing. When you changed the past, your future disappeared, and..."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know this part."

"Hey, who's telling this story? You or me?"

"All right, all right. Calm down."

"Fine. Anyway, under normal circumstances, you would have ceased to be, but the higher-ups figured that would be a waste of a good soul. However, it was impossible for you to physically exist anywhere without seriously screwing up the universe. You follow?"


"Cool. So anyway, they put their cosmic heads together, and came up with a way to get the best of both worlds. Their gonna send you back to the timeframe you just came from, except instead of being there physically, your gonna be there as a spirit guide to your younger self. You'll kind of exist inside him, like a second soul. You'll be able to communicate with him, hear his thoughts, and even control his physical functions to a degree."

"To a degree?"

"Well, you won't be able to control his movements, but you will be able to, say, administer a 200 cc adrenaline cocktail, on command, or override his pain receptors at will. There's nothing like giving someone the ability to lift a car off the ground to brighten their day, ya know."

"I can imagine."

"You seem to be taking all this in stride."



"Your dead, and we're in the Playboy Mansion, smoking Cuban cigars."

"Your point being?"

"It's just... I mean... Too weird. Never mind."

"Whatever. Let's get you outta here, and onto the job."

Jesse stood, and led Xander to a closet marked 'Janitor'. He opened it to reveal a large swirling vortex, filled with color and light.

"You keep a dimensional vortex in the janitor's closet?"

"Well, it was either here, or in the grotto. I made my choice, and I stand by it."

"Fair enough."

"Oh, I almost forgot," Jesse said, handing Xander a large book. "You're gonna be needing that."

Xander look down at the book. It was an old leather tome, like the ones Giles used to keep in the library for research. As he looked closer, he was able to make out the title, written in a flowing, gothic script;


He looked at Jesse, "You gotta be kidding me."

"Nope. It's the best book ever written on the subject. Now get outta here, I got some bunnies that need my immediate attention. Good luck and God speed!"

With that, Jesse shoved Xander through the vortex, and into another time, and another place.



//Ugh, where the hell am I...?//

Xander crawled to his feet, taking in his surroundings.


He was standing in what appeared to be the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise. He slowly reached out to touch the controls, when a woman's voice, seemingly from nowhere, spoke out.

"Welcome aboard the U.S.S. Xander's Brain, registry #1701-X, Harris Class. Would the new Second Officer please speak aloud for voice print confirmation."

"Umm...hello? Who's there?" Xander asked into thin air.

"Voice print confirmed, Commander Alexander Lavelle Harris Senior. Welcome aboard, sir."

//Whoa. Very cool//

"Er...Thanks. But, erm, who are you?"

"I am the ship's computer. I serve as a memory storage device and cognitive processor. My primary duty is to process all data and send it to you for analysis and command."

"Right. Sure. Whatever"

//What the Hell has Jesse gotten me into?//

"Do you have any orders, commander?"

"Um, yeah. Can you tell me the exact date?"

"Certainly. The exact date is 19:32 hours, Saturday, June 20th, 1998."

"Okay, so it's been about a year. Where are we exactly?"

"In Xander's brain."

" Okay. Where is Xander?"

"You are Xander. You are here."

//Freakin' computer...//

"Let's try this one more time, shall we? Where is the physical body of Alexander Lavelle (shudder) Harris?"

"Currently, at home, in bed."

"What? Is he sick?"

"Negative. All systems all at nominal."

"Peachy. Than explain to me why the hell he's in bed at 7:30 on a Saturday night? Has his social life gotten that bad?"

"Negative. All reports indicate that the cause revolves around the female body next to him."




"Commander, are you alright?"

"Reconfirm current date..."

"19:32 hours, Saturday, June 20th, 1998."



"That sorry motherfucking asshole! Who the FUCK does he think he is!"


"He just had to do it, didn't he? He had to go and beat my time by more than six months!"

"Please clarify, commander."

"No! And we shall never speak of this again!"


"I'm going to my room. Where is my room?"

"The door to your left, commander."

"Thank you...What's your name again?"

"I do not have a name, sir."

"Alright. From now on you will be"

"Why Anna, sir?"

"I dunno. It just seems to go well with Alexander."

"Very well, sir."

"Night, Anna."

"Goodnight, sir."

//Now where the hell did I put that book?//

Muttering quietly to himself, Xander stalked off to his room, hoping to figure out exactly what he was going to do.

It was gonna be a long night.



To say the Xander Harris was blissed right out of his mind would almost be an understatement at the moment.

This was better than a twenty-four-hour Star Trek marathon.

<Kill us both, Spock!>

This was better than the idea of blowing up the high school.

<Boom!! hehehe>

This was, dare he say it, even better than Twinkies.


Here he was, lying next to the girl he loved, after an extremely eventful evening in bed, happier than he had ever been in his life.

They had been together for a year now, it had been almost four months since their first time together, and he was still pinching himself to make sure it wasn't all a dream.

<It just doesn't get any better than this>

"God, I love my life." He whispered.

Next to him, his girlfriend shifted under the covers, snuggling closer to him.

"Mmmm...quiet. Sleeping." She grumbled into his chest.

"Right. Sorry bout that."

"It's okay." She replied, yawning, "I can think of much better things to do than sleep, anyway."

"Such as...?"

"You'll see." She replied, a mischievous glint in her eye.

Moments later, anyone inside of, say, a ten-block radius of the Harris house would have heard a now familiar cry;

"Oh GOD, Buffy!!!!!!!!!!"






"What the hell is all this noise!" Xander Sr. yelled, running onto the bridge.

"It is a system wide alert, sir."

//A system wide alert? What the hell is that? Wait! This was in the book! Now, what was the command? Come on, man. You've seen enough Star Trek to know this. I know...//

"Anna, system status report."

"Dopamine and endorphin levels at critical. Hormone and pheromone output at maximum. Pleasure centers of brain are on overload. Recommend engaging emergency system shutdown to preserve higher brain function."

"What the hell is going on out there."

"The female is awake, sir."


"The female is AWAKE, sir."


"Okay, um, er..."

"Your command, sir?"

"Er, shut down higher cognitive functions for a few minutes, and run the body on instinct for a while. That should cool things off."

//Or heat things up...// he thought with a laugh. He had read exactly what humans could do when running on pure instinct.

"Affirmative. Shutting down higher cognitive... functions....... now."

"Anna? Hello?"


"Are you still there?"


//Unbelievable. She actually blew his mind...lucky bastard. When she comes back online, I gotta ask Anna who this girl is...//



"That I mean WOW!" Buffy said, gasping for breath as she came down from the high to end all highs. "Five times..."

"I know what you mean. I don't know what came over me just now. It was like my brain shut down, and I was acting on instinct."

"Well, whatever that was, fell free to do it again anytime."

"Duly noted." He replied with a grin. "I'll write up a memo."

Buffy's laughter was music to his ears. "That's why I love you, Xan. You can always make me laugh. Of course, the way I'm feeling right now, the phone book could probably make me laugh."

"Gee, I love you, too, Buffy."

"Always?" She asked seriously.


"Even without the earth-shifting, mind-bending, life-altering sex?"

"Let's try not to think about that possibility, shall we?"

"Okay." She agreed.

"Alrighty then."

"Should we head over to the Bronze tonight? See the gang?"

"Would that involve getting up?"


"Than I'm coming out firmly against it."

"What about our plans?"

"Oh, I've got some plans of my own right here..." he answered, grinning even wider that usual.

Laughing, they both slipped back under the covers.



Xander (Sr.) stood on the dimly lit bridge calmly, waiting for Anna to come back online. After she had powered up from the emergency shut down, she had informed him that the entire system was about to go into 'sleep mode'.

He had used the extra time to catch a quick nap himself.

It had been roughly eight hours since she had 'gone to sleep', and he was expecting her to return any minute now.

Finally, the lights returned to normal, and all the display screens lit up.

"All systems back online, Commander."

"Status report."

"All systems are running at peak efficiency, sir. Hormone levels have returned to normal. Brain activity is still high, but well within safety parameters."

//Excellent// Xander thought //No more sitting in the dark for me//

"Cool. What now?"

"That would be your decision, Commander."

"Yeah, I know. I thought you were here to help?"

"HUNGRY!!" A voice suddenly yelled.

Xander leaped about a foot in the air. "What the fuck was that?"

"A residual spirit, Commander. You brought it on board with you, and it was added to its existing counterpart in this timeframe." Anna answered calmly.

"Spirit of what, exactly?" Xander asked slowly.

"A hyena, sir."


"HUNGRY!!!" The voice yelled again, sounding particularly indignant.

"A hyena spirit, sir, left over from a previous possession."

"Oh, I know what it is." Xander stated quietly, "But if I may ask...WHAT THE FUCK IS IT STILL DOING IN MY HEAD?"

"There is no need to get upset, Commander. The spirit is fully restrained."

"Right. No need to get upset, she says. Any other new tenants I should be made aware of?"

"One other, sir. They also arrived with you."

//This is shaping up to be a long day//

"And who is that? The Wizard of Oz?"

"No, Sir!" Came an accented voice, emanating from the bridge entrance.

Xander turned to see a man in his early thirties, wearing a military uniform, approaching him. Reaching Xander, the man snapped to attention, presenting a textbook salute. Xander returned the salute on instinct, and ordered the man to relax.

"What's your name, soldier?"

"Lieutenant Thomas Cook, deceased, of Her Majesty's SAS, reporting for renewed duty, Commander."

"Renewed duty?"

"I served for a short while one Halloween night, some years ago, and I'm anxious to be back in the field, sir."

Xander blinked, before shaking his head, and laughing quietly to himself.

"Very well, Lieutenant. Take the tactical station."

"Yes, sir." Lt. Cook replied, saluting again, before moving off to his station.

Xander paused for a moment, wondering why he had the ghost of a British soldier in his mind. He certainly hadn't acted like an SAS trooper on Halloween.

He asked Lt. Cook about it, to which the man replied, "I haven't a clue. Perhaps it's because the mage who put me in here was from England himself? A little bit of patriotism on his part?"

"I guess that's possible..." Xander replied. "But why didn't I act all, you know, British?"

Lt. Cook just smirked at him, "As I recall, your personality overrode mine for the most part, and all you got was the training. You've got a lot of willpower, when you need to."

"Oh...okay...sure." Xander mumbled, while thinking, //This place is surreal//

With that settled, Xander decided to get on with business.

//Now what am I forgetting...//


//Oh yeah//



Xander (Jr.) stretched out his stiff muscles, as he pulled himself out of bed. Listening carefully, he could hear the sound of the shower running in the bathroom, mixed with a slightly out of tune version of 'Girls just wanna have fun'.

He grinned widely as he thought about Buffy in there, singing her heart out, the hot water cascading down her body, her hands rubbing soap over her soft skin, gliding over her luscious curves...

It took him a second to realize he'd forgotten to keep breathing. Gasping, Xander forced the image of Buffy, albeit reluctantly, out of his mind.

<Focus, Xan> He thought to himself, shaking his head, <Just inhale deeply>

After he had calmed him self down enough to walk straight, he made his way out of the bedroom and, clad only in a pair of boxers, padded across the hardwood floors into his kitchen.

His kitchen.

It had a funny sound to it, like it couldn't quite be true, but it was. And he owed it all to Buffy. Without her support and love, he'd probably be living in the basement of that hellhole he used to call home, or something like that.

After they had started dating, it hadn't taken her long to figure out how rough his home life was. She'd been angry at first, and it had taken him nearly four hours to talk her out of pummelling his father into a fine pulp. Not that he objected to the plan, but those pesky authorities tended to frown on first-degree murder. Before long, though, she was looking for a way to help him.

She had convinced him to talk to Giles, to see what could be done, Giles, who was upset to say the least, nearly wore away the lenses of his glasses from all the polishing they got over the next week. Finally, though, after much thought, he came up with the solution, one that worked out for everyone.

They put in the proper legal papers, went through all the appropriate checks and interviews, and at last, a month and a half later, Xander was declared an emancipated youth, with all the privileges, rights, and responsibilities of a legal adult. He was free of his parents, once and for all.

Honestly, Social Services had taken one look at the Harris household, and everything had gone through smoothly from there.

The very next day, the gang moved him out of his old house. His parents hadn't even woken up to say goodbye.

He moved into a fantastic loft apartment downtown, which had been previously occupied by a nest of vampires. All they did was go in, dust the vamps, and clean the place up.

The entire place was in pretty good condition, considering the previous tenants, and would have been light-years out of his price range if he had tried to rent it the old fashioned way. It was pure, blind luck that brought it to them.

Stranger than that, the vampires, who had considered themselves to be 'ahead of their time', had actually gotten the place insured.

That's right, insured. God only knows what the leeches were thinking at the time, or how they had paid for it, but when Willow stumbled across the insurance forms, the gang knew they had struck paydirt.

So, in the tradition of times past, Willow went online. She hacked into the insurance company, changed a couple of names and details, and made a claim, stating that burglars had broken in and vandalized the apartment, stealing everything of value.

The insurance company had complained a little, but didn't ask too many questions. It was Sunnydale, after all.

Once they had gotten the money, the renovations began, and before they knew it, the place was better than new, with enough money left over for new furniture.

That same night, with the apartment completed, he and Buffy had quite the celebration, ending with their sleeping together for the first time. He still smiled at the memory, and at the memory of waking up with her in his arms for the first time, the following morning.

<I guess someone up there still likes me> He thought, chuckling, as he put a kettle on for a cup of tea. A few months back, Giles had gotten him hooked on the drink, and he had never looked back.

It certainly tasted better than instant coffee.

As he waited for the water to boil, he started pulled out a couple of frying pans, and started on some bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast, grinning all the while.


Buffy had finished her shower, and was almost finished drying off when a faint smell wafted into the bathroom. She paused for a moment, trying to identify it. After a moment, the answer came to her.

Breakfast. <Yay!>

It had been the shock of a lifetime the day she had learned that Xander could cook. She always figured him for the instant Macaroni & Cheese type. On the contrary, though, he could make anything from soup, to casserole, to baked chicken. Whatever she was in the mood for. He was happy to make whatever made her happy.

She remembered something her mother had told her once, long before they had moved to Sunnydale. "Remember, Buffy, a handsome boyfriend may strengthen your image, but a man who really cares about you can strengthen your soul."

At the time, she had dismissed the words, seeing them as meaningless to her life as a cheerleader, where image was the only thing that mattered. But now, she understood exactly what her mother meant.

Pulling a bathrobe on, she emerged from the bathroom, her eyes immediately falling on Xander's shirtless back. <Mmm> she thought, a smile creeping across her face. Approaching him from behind, she gently wrapped her arms around him, placing an equally gentle kiss on his shoulder.

"Good morning." She murmured, holding him close.

"Morning, love." He replied, turning in her arms, so he was facing her. "Sleep well."

"Oh yeah." She replied, grinning. "You really wore me out last night."

"Oh, really?"

"Uh-huh. Bet you couldn't do it again, though..." She said, baiting him.

"God knows how much I'd love to take you up on that bet, Buff. But if I do, we'll never make it to school on time."

Buffy gave an exaggerated sigh. "I suppose your right. Besides, I have to stop by my house to change, anyway."

"Right." Xander replied, suddenly sounding distracted. He led her over to the kitchen table, where breakfast was waiting. They ate in silence, occasionally glancing at one another. Every few minutes, Xander started to try to say something, but always stopped short.

Finally, Buffy had enough, and looked him straight in the eye, smiling lightly. "Xan, what is it?"


She giggled at the bewildered expression on his face. "You've spent the last twenty minutes trying to say something. Whatever it is, just tell me."

"Uh...right." He said, pausing to gather his thoughts. "You know how much I love you, right?"

Buffy blushed slightly. "Of course I do."

"Okay. Good. see, I've been thinking a lot, and, well, you've been spending a lot of time over here lately."

"Is that a bad thing?"

"NO! Of course not! The thing is, every time you stay the night, you have to go home and pick up your things before we go to school, and maybe it would be easier to, you know, cut out the middleman..." Xander finished, looking up at he hopefully.

"Xander," Buffy replied slowly. "What are you trying to say?"

"Buffy, would you move in with me? I know we're still in high school, but I love you, and you practically live here anyway."


"Besides, it's really close to your patrol route, so you wouldn't have to walk as far."


"All I know is that I want to wake up to your beautiful face every morning, hear you sing in the shower, make breakfast for us every day."

"Xander, shut up."

"Yeah, okay."

"I'd love to." She said.

"Oh, alright. I didn't think...What?"

"I said I'd love to. I somehow doubt my mother is going to be as enthusiastic, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it."

"Really? You wanna move in with me?" He asked, as if he were hearing things.

Her eyes sparkled with joy. "It's like you said, Xan, I practically live here already. Why not make it official?"

"Well," he replied, grinning like a madman, "I'd say this is shaping up to be a pretty good day."

Buffy just smiled, leaned over, and kissed him softly.

<It doesn't get any better than this>



Xander (Sr.) raised an eyebrow as he watched the displays. Something very interesting was going on out there.

"Anna, report."

"Activity in the pleasure centres of the brain is rising again."

"Is there any danger?"

"Negative. Activity is within set safety parameters. Barely."

"What is the cause?"

"I will display a transcript of the last five minutes of outside conversation. One moment."

A screen next to Xander's chair lit up, and he carefully read the words displayed there. Three times.

Finished, he stared silently at the blank viewscreen.

"Sir? You alright?" Lt. Cook asked.

"Son of a bitch..." Xander murmured, smiling.


"SON OF A BITCH, HE DID IT!" Xander cried joyfully, as he leaped out of his chair, and began dancing around the room. "THAT MAGNIFICENT BASTARD ACTUALLY PULLED IT OFF!"

Curious, the Lieutenant moved over to skim the words on the screen. He laughed quietly to himself, returning to his station.

<Good for you, lad> he thought to himself, before continuing his work at tactical, a small smile dancing across his face.



"Hey, Anna?"

"Yes, Sir?"

"Err...Does this viewscreen thing work? I mean, can I see outside?"

"Of course, Sir."

"I see." Xander (Sr.) said, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "Why didn't you inform me earlier?"

"You didn't ask."

"...Fair enough."

"Well, let's power it up, and see what we can see."

"Affirmative. Activating viewscreen."

With that, the large screen in front of them came to life, providing a fantastic view of the outside world, and showing them exactly where they were headed.

"Oh no! Not again! Not this cursed place again!" Xander cried.


OUTSIDE WORLD (Sunnydale High School) 08:21 Hrs.

"Ah, Sunnydale High. How we will not miss thee." Xander (Jr.) quipped as they walked through the main doors for the last time before school let out for summer.

"Oh, hush." Buffy said, sliding an arm around his waist. "Don't let Willow hear you talk like that."

"Don't worry about it, Buff. Willow already considers me to be beyond hope."

"Speak of the devil. Here she comes now with Oz."

"Ah yes. Oz." Xander said between his teeth.

"What's your problem with him again?" Buffy asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm jealous of his vocabulary." Xander answered with a straight face.

Buffy swatted him on the chest, although the casual observer might mistake it for a grope. "Seriously!"

"I dunno. He's an okay guy, I suppose. I just don't see him, or anyone else for that matter, as good enough for our Willow. She's like my baby sister, ya know? I gotta protect her."

"Yeah, I understand. But he hasn't done anything wrong, and Willow really likes him, so be nice!"

"Yes, ma'am." Xander mumbled, holding back a smile.



"What the bloody hell is he going on about?" Lt. Cook yelled over the racket.

"It would seem," Anna replied, "That the Hyena spirit is reacting violently to the approaching werewolf. I believe he sees it as a threat to his dominance."

"Werewolf!?!" The Lieutenant asked in shock. "Where!?"

"She just means Oz." Xander (Sr.) piped up, pointing to the young man on the viewscreen. "He's cool."

"No threat...?" The Hyena asked tentatively.


The Hyena, who had been chained in the corner since breakfast, suddenly seemed to calm down. It simply blinked at them, curled up on the floor, and went to sleep.

"Huh. That was easy."



"Buffy! Xander! Over here!"

"Hey, Wills. What's up?"

"Nothing much. I was just picking up my report card." Willow replied, practically bouncing with joy.

"Ah. Putting all us mere mortals to shame again, eh?" Xander asked, grinning wryly.

"Well if you guys didn't make it so easy..." Willow joked.

"Hey! I do okay." Buffy added.

Laughing, the group slowly moved down to the hall, toward the library.


"...would you mind if we borrowed your head for a piece of animation we're doing?" John Cleese's voice rang out through the library, followed by the sound of barley stifled laughter.

Rupert Giles had been there since six that morning, finishing off some last minute work before the school closed for the summer months. However, he ended up finishing much sooner than he'd expected, leaving him with a little under a hour of free time before Buffy and the others arrived.

That was just enough time, in his opinion, for him to indulge one of his guilty pleasures. Something he had kept to himself for years, that got him through the longer days in the war against darkness.

Barely giving it a second thought, he quickly uncovered the small TV and VCR he kept hidden in his office, before moving over to the small wall safe he had behind a painting of London. Putting in the combination, he opened it, and withdrew his own private salvation from American culture, of lack thereof.

His collection of British comedy tapes, particularly Monty Python.

<If they only knew...> he thought to himself. He had made it a point in the last couple of years to practise immense secrecy regarding the tapes. Knowledge of them could impact severely on his image. Plus he didn't feel like explaining the subtleties of British humor to the Americans.

Putting a kettle of water on his hotplate for tea, he pushed the tape in, settled into his chair, and moments later, was trying hard not to laugh out loud at the best comedy, he believed, England had ever seen. He watched for the better part of forty minutes, switching tapes at one point when one finished, completely relaxing for the first time all week.

It was in this moment of weakness, just when he let his guard down, that the fates saw fit to smite him, and the entire Scooby gang decided to walk in.

"Morning, Giles!" Buffy's voice called out.

Panicking, he quickly shut off the tape, and covered the TV with his coat, praying he'd been fast enough.

He hadn't.

"Hey, G-man. Did I hear some voices in here?" Xander asked, glancing around the library as Giles emerged from his office, looking slightly flustered.

Giles, looking vaguely similar to a deer caught in a pair of headlights, immediately turned to stare at the young man. "No, you didn't. There were no voices. I was the only person here." He suddenly narrowed his eyes. "Now let us never speak of this again."

Leaving a stunned group behind him, he hurried over to the checkout counter, where he busied himself by moving papers around to different places, and rearranging his pens. Finally, he turned to Buffy. Trying to sound nonchalant, he asked, "So, how was patrol last night?"

Still looking slightly alarmed, she replied. "Err...fine. Nothing particularly interesting. I do have some interesting news, though. How about you?"

"I don't have to listen to these wild allegations!!" Giles cried.

With that, Giles leaped over the counter, and tore out of the library, moving with surprising speed for a man his age, before ducking into the teachers lounge.

Nobody spoke for a while, as they all stared silently at the library doors.

"It finally happened." Xander said at long last. "All those books finally got to him."

"Oz?" Willow asked quietly.

"Yeah, Willow?"

"Has Giles gone insane?"

"Without a doubt." The young musician stated.



When Jenny Calendar had entered the teacher's lounge, all she had intended to do was get a cup of coffee. Maybe a donut.

The moment she walked in, though, she had immediately noticed her boyfriend, Rupert Giles, sitting on the couch. He was hunched over, cradling his head in his hands, muttering quietly to himself.

She smiled, her mind quickly piecing together the evidence, and coming to a conclusion. Only one of three things could make him look this dishevelled, and as no one was dead, and they were both fully dressed, there was only one possibility.

"They caught you watching one of those British comedy tapes, didn't they?"

"What?" he asked, raising his head slowly.

"You heard me. Well, did they?"

"They didn't catch me, though it was a near thing. They asked about the voices they heard from the TV."

"And let me guess. You tried to overcompensate, got all panicky, yelled something insane, and bolted out of the room. Am I close?"


"Their gonna come looking for you, you know. That psycho tactic didn't work on me, and it won't work on them. Who knows? Maybe they'll even like the show. God knows I did." She added, grinning.

Giles smiled at the memory. Not unlike earlier this morning, Jenny had caught him watching another of his favourite British TV shows, Red Dwarf.

However, while the children had made their presence known, he had been blissfully oblivious that morning, until a loud snort of laughter had announced the fact that she had been watching from the doorway for some time.

He had panicked, and tried to explain it all away. When that hadn't worked, he recalled screaming something along the lines of, "I am a fish!", and running out through the back door. Extreme stress does strange things to the British.

A couple of days afterward, once she had come to the conclusion that he was neither possessed of insane, she had actually gone out and rented a couple of 'Red Dwarf' tapes herself. She had loved it instantly, and before either of them knew it, they had found themselves having British comedy marathons nearly every weekend.

Go figure.

"Yes, but you have a European heritage. There may be no hope for them." He countered, smirking.

"Let's go find out, shall we? Before they start thinking about how to either slay, or commit you. I've gotten used to having you around."

"Good idea."

Taking her by the hand, they walked out of the room, and back toward the library.


"That was really weird." Xander (Sr.) stated.

"Quite." Lt. Cook replied.

"I'm sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for his behaviour." Anna commented.

The Hyena just growled.


"He looked normal..." Willow began.

"I don't think vaulting over the checkout counter, and fleeing the scene qualifies under normal Giles behaviour patterns." Buffy countered.

"Giles has normal patterns?" Xander (Jr.) asked no one in particular.

The girls ignored him, opting instead to continue their argument.

After a short while, they fell silent, as neither one knew enough to draw any stable conclusions. They all just sat quietly around the main library table, waiting for Giles to eventually return. After all, as Xander had pointed out, Giles had left his car keys, and briefcase, in his office.

Eventually, though, true to the pattern of most young people, they quickly grew bored of waiting, and decided to snoop around Giles's office, looking for any hints toward his odd behaviour. It didn't take long for them to discover the small TV and VCR hidden under Giles's coat. Glancing to each other, they came to a silent agreement.

Oz slowly reached out, and hit the 'Play' button.


"We are the Knights who say...Ni!" The voices of the Python Boys once again echoed through the Sunnydale High library, followed by boisterous laughter.

This is the scene that Giles and Jenny walked into, with no small amount of surprise written on their faces. The quietly made their way toward the office, peering in to see the children gathered around the TV, howling with laughter at the images on the screen.

Grinning wickedly at Jenny, he turned toward them, and cried out, "Does privacy mean nothing to you people?"

The whole lot of them practically jumped through the ceiling in shock, before they guiltily turned to face the librarian.

"We were just...err." Buffy mumbled.

"Yes?" Giles asked.

"We were watching 'Monty Python and The Holy Grail', G-man."

Giles blinked in surprise. "You're familiar with the film?"

"Yep. Saw it a few years ago with Willow. I forget why. I was just taking the opportunity to introduce Buffy and Oz to the surreal humor of England."

"Yeah, Giles. I had no idea the British could be so...weird." Buffy added.

They all just stared at one another for a long moment. Suddenly, Giles started laughing. Then Jenny started laughing beside him. Before long, they all joined in, their chorus of laughter bouncing off the walls of the library.


"I should have guessed." Xander (Sr.) said, chuckling to himself. "Giles always did have an odd sense of humor."

"At least he has taste." The Lieutenant replied.

"True, true."




The sound echoed softly through the library, as the two combatants once again moved to their starting positions on the training mat.

"Ow!" Xander (Jr.) protested, holding his nose.

"I told you to keep your guard up, Xander." Giles scolded him.

"I did."

Giles gestured to Xander's nose. "Apparently you didn't."

"Alright, alright. So I didn't. I meant to."

"Xander, if you want me to train you in fighting, I must insist that you take my lessons seriously."

"I am. Look at me. I am the picture of seriousness."

"Quite." The librarian replied in a clipped tone, looking Xander up and down. "What do you say to a short rest?"

"Music to my ears. Or maybe that's just my ears ringing." Xander replied, shaking his head. Muttering about violent Englishmen, he walked over to where Buffy was standing, watching them practice.

"So, how'd I do?" He asked, slinging an arm around her shoulder.

"On a scale of one to ten, I'd say four." Was her reply.

"Just four?"

"Surprisingly, yeah. It's weird, cause you normally deal with physical exertion well." Buffy answered, waggling her eyebrows.

"I do try." He said, grinning, before he drew her in for a kiss.

Their lips had barely come into contact when Giles's voice called out. "Break's over!"

Smiling slightly, he leaned his forehead against Buffy's. "Gotta go, love."

"I know." She whispered back. "And remember, these fighting lessons may come in handy when you announce our moving in together."

"Oh joy. Xander gets beat up again." He replied, standing up.

"Stop that!" She scolded him. "Don't put yourself down. It's just Giles, for the love of god. I've seen you take on vampires. I think you can handle this. Just push yourself a little harder."

She leaned in close, and kissed him softly, whispering. "I believe in you."

Xander grinned suddenly, as a new sense of strength flowed through him.

"Okay, G-man. Let's do this thing." Xander said confidently, as he walked swiftly back to the mats.



"This is embarrassing." Xander (Sr.) muttered.

"Sensors indicate that the systems are capable of much higher outputs." Anna added.

"I know that. You know that. Hell, we all know that." Xander growled. "The problem is, HE doesn't know that."

"There are other options, sir." Anna said quietly.

"Such as...?"

"If we route the body's main power through the hyena spirit, it will provide a sizable, and permanent, boost in total output."

//Translation...Hyena = More Power...It has possibilities//

"Is it possible that the Hyena could take over again?"

"Negative, Commander. Its mind will be kept in check. There is no danger of re-possession."

"Do it."

"Stand by...done."

"That's it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Okay...Main viewscreen up!"

The screen on the far wall came to life, displaying not only a view of the outside world, but a tactical readout of all systems as well.


"Sir!" The solder replied, coming to attention.

"We're about to enter a fight with a seasoned expert in hand to hand combat. We have the advantage of greater physical abilities. All we need is a pilot. I believe this is your area?"

"Yes, sir!" The Lieutenant replied, a small smile on his face, as he went to work at his station.

"Oh, and Lieutenant?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Let's stick with non-lethal force for now, shall we?"

"Of course, sir."



Xander (Jr.) was furious. It seemed no matter how fast he moved, the librarian was just a little faster.

That made Xander frustrated, and that frustration pissed him off.

A lot.

&lt;Oh Joy.> he thought &lt;Here he comes again. Time to get my ass kicked again...>

Suddenly, everything seemed to slow down. Where he had previously been confused, he could now clearly see Giles's next move.

Xander's mind instantly began calculating speed, distance, weight ratios, and balances, as he unconsciously targeted the watcher's weak points.

He could feel the strength rushing through him like a river, as every one of his muscles tensed in preparation.

[Wait for it...] A tiny voice whispered in his mind. [Wait for it...]

Giles was inches away now, and Xander could see the strike that was coming at him.


Before his mind could register the movement, he lashed out with blinding speed. Gripping Giles's incoming wrist, he pulled violently, overextending the older man, before driving his knee deep into the watcher's stomach.

Then, pulling the man's arm right around, Xander flipped him right onto the ground, where he lay, flat on his back, gasping for air.




"Well done, Lieutenant." Xander (Sr.) crowed happily. "Extremely well done."

"Thank you, sir." Lt. Cook replied, smiling.

"Sensors show that the target has been neutralized." Anna reported, in a cheerful voice.

Even the Hyena seemed fairly pleased with itself.

"Alright, everyone, back to your stations." Xander said after a moment or two of celebration. "We surprised him with that one. Let's not get cocky."



"Son of a Bitch!!" Xander (Jr.) cried, as Giles pulled himself up from the ground.

"Wow. Nice moves, Xan." Buffy commented. "I guess you were paying attention after all."

"I guess." He mumbled.

"Yes, indeed." Giles said, in a slightly strained voice. "It would appear that you're finally catching on."

"Seems like it. Wanna go again?"

" I think that's enough for today." The Watcher replied.

"I'm free!" Xander cried, gathering his things together. "C'mon, Buff. Let's get outta here."

"Ahem..." Buffy cleared her throat, stopping Xander in his tracks. "Xander, wasn't there something we were going to tell Giles?"

"Now?" Xander asked plaintively.


"But I wanna live."

"Don't worry. I'll protect you from the scary librarian."

"You better..."

"What are you two going on about?"

"Nothing!" Xander replied, a little too quickly. "Except,"

"Would you kindly get on with it. I do have places to be, you know."


A pause.

Giles's left eye twitched.

"...Excuse me?" He asked quietly.

"Me and Buffy..." Xander repeated

Another eye twitch.

"...are moving in..." The young man continued.

All of the librarian's knuckles seemed to pop at once, as his fists clenched.

"...together." Xander finished.

The sound of Giles's teeth grinding was actually audible.

This was not a good thing.



"Aw, crap."



"Now, Giles. Don't get worked up."

"I'm fine, Xander." The Watcher replied, his voice frighteningly calm. "Buffy, could you leave us for a moment?"

The slayer looked undecided for a moment, and began to inch her way in between the two men.

"Don't worry, Buffy. Xander and I are just going" Giles assured her.

Casting a glance at Xander, she raised her eyebrows in a silent question.

The young man sighed, and nodded his head.

Smiling, she walked over, and leaned in, gently brushing her lips against his.

"Good luck." She whispered, before heading out of the library.

"Traitor!" He called out to her retreating back, though he still kept his eyes on the librarian.

"So, Xander, shall we step into my office?" Giles asked through clenched teeth.

"I'd really rather not, Gi...OW OW OW!! LEMME GO!!" Xander cried as the older man pulled him into the office by his ear. "NOT FAIR!! NOT FAIR!!"

"Sit down and do shut up!" The watcher snapped, as he practically threw Xander into a chair.

"Now, Giles...what happened to just talking?" Xander smiled weakly, somewhat intimidated by the Ripper-like glare focused on him.

"Talking?! I'll bloody well show you talking!" The Englishman erupted, as he slammed his office door shut, effectively muting his yelling to the outside world.



"Lt., I want full tactical standby." Xander (Sr.) said in an awed voice.

"Y-yes, sir. Right away." Cook answered, wincing slightly as another stream of curses blasted out of the bridge sound system.

"Yikes. How many different languages is that so far, Anna?" Xander asked.

"Approximately seventeen, Commander." The computer replied. "Although I am unsure as to whether some are actual languages, so just mindless gibberish."

"Alpha angry! Loud...Scary...Make it stop!" The hyena whimpered from its position, curled up it it's corner.

"Hold on then...I think he might be winding down..." The Lieutenant speculated.

"Nope." Xander replied. "Just having a drink of water. Here we go again."

"Oh. Well then, anyone fancy a game of cards?"

Xander shrugged. "I'll deal."


OUTSIDE WORLD - Twenty Minutes Later...

Slowly, but surely, a very pale-faced Xander Harris emerged from the library, hands still trembling slightly. Buffy, who'd been waiting just beyond the library doors with Willow and Oz, rushed to his side.

"Xander! Oh god, what did he do to you? Are you alright?" She cried, wrapping her arms around him.

"Who? What...?" The young man responded in a faraway voice, as he stared off into space.

"Giles?" Oz ventured.

"Yep." Willow nodded. "Looks like he really did a number on him, too."

"I'll bet." The werewolf agreed, as he turned to the young man in question. "Just have to walk it off, man. In the meantime, what say we get you some food?"

"...Yeah." Xander replied slowly, color returning to his face. "Yeah, that sounds pretty good."