The Rocket Launcher

Author: Koos van Winden <koosfanfic[at]>

Sequel to The Dagger

Part three in the Gun series

What has happened: Faith didn't go totally mad, but was still struggling to stay at the good side, until she spoke with her father. In doing so, Faith has pushed Xander in being the leader of the Scoobs and Buffy agreed . . . at least temporary. The Mayor was defeated in a heroic combat.

Rating: R mainly for violence

Disclaimer: The Scooby gang belong to Joss Weldon and Mutant Enemy. I'm only playing with its characters and concepts. I stole also some concepts and a character from BtVS novels: Revenant and The Gatekeeper Triology.

Summary: Buffy, Giles and Joyce went LA to visit Buffy's father. Angel went to LA starting his own Investigation Bureau. The rest was still in Sunnydale, to protect the world from the Hellmouth, until Buffy comes back. Xander and Faith make themselves ready for their roadtrip . . . The Council won't sit still and do nothing while a normal citizen is boss over their Slayers.

Pairing: X/F; Willow/Oz; Buffy, Wesley, Cordelia and Angel will stay out of romantic interest during this story, they have other things to worry about. Also a bit Joyce/Hank

Beta: Keith and Special thanks to 3D Master

Author's note: This story will contain more drama then before.

Chapter 1

A mysterious individual stood in front of them, appearing out of nowhere. Faith could feel strong vampiric vibes coming from the stranger, stronger than she has ever felt before - even stronger than Kakistos. The vibes were so strange, so different in nature as if it came from a different kind of vampire. They brought a cold chill along her spine.

The vampire was clad in black robes and a cowl enveloped its face in darkness.

Faith forced her fear under control and did the only thing a Slayer could do: attack. Her movements a blur she slammed her feet in its chest as he didn't make any attempt to dodge it. Even though it was a full power hit, he didn't move an inch to take the impact. Instead it was her who slammed back to the ground, her foot severely hurt.

An overwhelming fear took master of her body as she look at her opponent with wide eyes and crawled backwards to get out of its reach.

"You think that betraying the Mayor will go unpunished?" the creature, spoke its deep voice resonating with cold power.

Faith gulped at his tone.

"Oh, you are so wrong, babe. You can't imagine the horror you will have to endure, it will make you wish that you . . ."

"You can keep your empty threats with you. It's like Ferengis threatening the Borg."

Unlike Xander, the man's words scared the hell out of the Dark Slayer. She had have a glimpse of The Mayor's real power in last few weeks and knew he had allies enough to do the job. Not to mention the wrath he could have towards his opponents. Sure that he had 'friends' who would have the same. The vampire in front of her was proving her point.

Xander chuckled. "Okay, maybe wrong example, but you get the point. So, go away and get lost."

The vampire ignored Xander's interruption as he glanced behind him and looked again at Faith. She saw some of the darkness around his face lighten up by the moonlight, not revealing his face, but enough to see a yellow eye boring deep in her's - causing shivers all over her body. "You won't get away with it, Slayer." And he quickly disappeared into the shadows - gone.

A bit stunned by this visit, Xander and Faith stared in the empty space where he had been standing. Her skin crawled as she remembered that eye and still heard his words, echoing in her brain. It was filled with pure hatred and revulsion. Faith tried to calm herself when she felt an arm wrapped around her. "Hey, nothing is going to happen to you. Not as long as I can help it."

Faith smiled at her boyfriend. Life as a Slayer was a real bitch, she knew that from bitter experience, but at least Xander being with her gave her hope that she would, that they would survive everything that was thrown at them.

"C'mon, let's call it a night and go to bed. Tomorrow we've a long day in front of us."

Faith nodded and they walked out of the cementary, straight into Willow, Cordelia and Oz.

"Xander! It's Wes he has disappearedfromthehospitalwithoutleavinganynoteandthedoctorshave no idea whereheisandI . . ." Willow blurted.

"Whoa, Will. Take a breath. What happened?"

"Wuss is not in the hospital anymore. He left and hasn't checked out," Cordelia explained, with her usual bluntness.

Faith saw Xander gazing her, raising an eybrow, and she just shrugged. "No clues, traces. Kidnapped?" he asked them.


"No other scents than his," Oz added.

"Strange," Xander muttered.

"I can try to locate him with a spell," Willow offered, now she had her breath back.

Xander nodded. "We need to leave tomorrow. Buffy need to take over patrol. Can you-"

"We'll find him, Xander," Cordelia finished for him.

Xander reluctantly nodded. "Okay, be careful."

Willow nodded, Oz was Oz and Cordelia rolled her eyes.

"Keep us informed. And call Giles, he needs to know too."

The three agreed and left, leaving Xander and Faith to walk back to the Summers' residence.


1.00 AM

A very determined looking Wesley Wyndam-Pryce drove through the streets of LA. "That was the last time I made a fool of myself," he muttered, "I'll show them who I am."

He wheeled his car around the corner into a dark alley. "If that boy can do it . . ." He stepped out of the car, and opened the boot, removing a leather jacket and a old perkament. ". . . That I, a trained Watcher, can do it." He closed the boot, put on the jacket and stared at a door. "Eat, hunt and sleep." He knocked on the door. "Feared by the most dangerous demons and beasts. Respected and awed by the most renowned of his colleagues." The Watcher heard some subtle noises coming closer. "Gone is Wesley the Wussley."

The door opened and a older man was looking at him. "Yes, what do ya want?"

"Hello, sir, I'm Wuss, uh, Wesley the Demon-Hunter." Ignoring the man's expression he continued. "I read that this place was for hire. I'm interested."


6.30 AM

In a small room

With his eyes closed, clenching his teeth, Wesley slowly forced his arms up and down, moving his body in the same motion over and over again. Drips of sweat poured from his entire body as he completed the last of his push ups. Just one more . . . Another one. You can do it.>

He had woke up at 5.00 AM and done his physical excercises. After a short warming-up and extensive stretching he focused on working his muscles with push-ups, sit-ups and weights. Once his physical exercises were done it was time to train the mental capabilities, when he placed himself in a Lotus position and focused himself on only one thought - a little flame. The flame of his spirit - of the hunter. It amazed him how much sharper his mind since he'd begun performing his meditation. Banishing out every thought brought him the necessary relaxation and focus.


8.00 AM

The door-bell rang and Faith rushed down to open the door while Xander stretched and stumbled to the bathroom, relieved that Faith opened the door. They have been gone for the last two days and Buffy had not been happy when she had heard that Xander had contacted her father. Especially when she had asked him so strongly not to. Granted, when she had yelled at him, she hadn't known yet what the Council had told about her and her mom to her dad. But it didn't change anything in Buffy's opinion, it didn't change his arrogant meddling to just interfere in her life on that personal level. He had a hard time to live with the thought that it would all work out in a disaster, and Buffy would hate him forever. That Joyce, Giles and Faith were on his hand, didn't matter to that thought.

Standing under the shower he was thinking about what to do as he heard someone enter the bathroom. Soon his troubled thoughts disappeared like snow smelting in sunlight, as he felt a pair of hands sliding over his chest . . .


When Xander and Faith went down they were greeted by Joyce's patented pancakes, a clear sign that everything had gone well in LA with Buffy's father. Buffy's and Joyce's bliss confirmed it, although Buffy's full mouth disturbed that image a bit.

"Oh, man, that smells wicked! I'm hungry as a horse," Faith exclaimed.

Xander didn't miss the little wink the Dark Slayer gave Buffy and Joyce, and certainly not Buffy's giggle and Joyce's smile. He sat down at the opposite side of Giles and stared to eat. Faith sat next to him and he saw her dive face-first into a full pancake. "So, I take it that everything went well?" Xander asked, still not able to hide a flavor of nervousness.

"Hmm Hmm," Buffy replied as she just had shoved another mouthful of pancakes into her mouth. Xander felt his nervousness vanish away instantly by the way she murmled it.

"It went wonderful. He has his business in LA and it he can't just leave it, but he will try to organize it such that he can join us here in Sunnydale," Joyce replied, her voice filled with love.

Xander smiled. "That's great news."

Buffy and her mother both nodded.

Joyce handed him a plate. "Want some suggar or some whipped cream with them?"

He noticed Buffy's grin as he nodded and he raised an eyebrow at her. She quickly grabbed the can and sprayed some whipped cream on his face. He opened his eyes and blushed as he saw Faith looking at him with a huge smirk.

"Xander, Faith, everything stayed quiet here I presume?" Giles quickly asked.

Xander winked at the Brit. <Saved by the G-man,> he thought relieved before he actually realized what Giles had asked. He saw Faith looking as grim just as he felt. "Faith and I got a visit last night and Wes has mysteriously disappeared."

Buffy, Joyce looked up as Giles stared at him with concern.

Xander shuddered as he thought about last night's occurances. <Maybe I should ask Deadboy for help.> He explained everything about the mysterious visit from the vampire and his threats towards the Dark Slayer.

"You could feel him?" Giles asked.

"From at least ten yards. It felt so strange and -" Xander knew how she felt about the vampire and how difficult it was for her to share her fear with others. He nodded slowly at her, giving her the feeling that it's fine to show her them. "I-it felt so strange and frightening. And not only that. The way he stared at me and spoke to me. It's as if he knows me, it's personal. Like the Mayor was."

"They probably knew each other," Giles said.

"Maybe he had worked for him," Joyce filled in.

Xander nodded. "Our thoughts too."

He saw Giles thinking. "I-I'll look it up in my books. The way you described him, he must be known in some books."

<And I'll phone Angel,> Xander thought as he wiped his face clean.


LA Angel's Investigations

Angel walked in some circles through his new office, a proud smirk on his normally broody face as he awaited for his first phone call, his first real job. "It's quiet," he said to himself as he had been waiting for the whole day now.

His happy mood changed into a frustrated one as he remembered how Xander embarrassed him in front of all those teens. He understood that those kids should be afraid of vampires, it even might have saved some lives on graduation day, but it still angered him. However, this anger fuelled his ambition only further.

Angel jumped as the phone rang. Rushing over with all the speed his demonic powers allowed him he picked up the phone. <My first job?> "Angel Investigations. We help the helpless and . . ."

"Oh please, Deadboy, you really have to stop with those lines. It's pathetic."

Angel's anxious face morphed instantly in a very desillusioned one. "Xander."

"Relax, Deadboy, be happy, I've got your first mission . . ."


Xander placed the horn on the phone, wearing a wicked grin. <Oh, boy! I think I have really pissed him off this time. His very first job coming from me, he he.>

He looked at Faith. "He said that he'll use his connections in the 'community' to find more about the vamp."

Faith gave him a smile. "I'll go downstairs, talk with G, and then we get ready to leave."

Xander nodded. "Have you watched Wilkins' video-tape yet?" he asked, suddenly serious.


"I know it's hard for you. But, we need to know more, especially now."

"I-I can't.

Xander saw her face almost panicking. Even after his death, The Mayor still held a power over his girl-friend, everything about him scared the dark Slayer. "He is dead, don't forget that, Faith. He's gone, forever."

"I know, Xan. But he, I-I mean, he was so close, you know . . . I can't, alright?"

Xander nodded. "Okay, then I'll watch it," he said. His offer was met with a grateful smile.


Xander looked at the little device that late Mayor Wilkins had described on the tape. <A soul switching device? Wow! That's real scary.>

He put it in his pocket as he switched off the television when he heard someone coming in.

"Buffy?" he said when he saw the smiling blond Slayer.

"Hi. You and Faith ready for the big trip?"

"Yeah, more or less."

"Great. I heard she's going to do a Slayer quest of some sort."

"Yes, you wanted to go along?" Xander asked, when he saw Buffy looking somewhat uncomfortable.

"No! Uh, I mean, no, it's fine. I need to stay here when you two are gone. At least one Slayer at the Hellmouth all the time, that's the rule, right?"

Xander nodded, wondering what was on her mind.

"I-I wanted to thank you . . . I know I asked you not to interfere . . . you know with my father and so . . ."

"Hey, it's alright."

She flashed him a wry smile. "No, it's not. I was furious, Xan. I was so mad at you for sticking your nose in my family business. Again you went beyond yourself, without my permission, because you wanted to help me. You took a risk, again. If it had gone wrong I'd have been so mad that I'd have kicked your butt to the other half of the moon. Faith or no Faith protecting you. I-I-" The boy saw his friend swallow, her lower lip trembling a bit as she was clearly nervous. Instinctively he wanted to touch her, comfort her, but was too afraid. And like he already knew with Faith, was that it was necessary for her to let her apologize for her behaviour first- even though he was still waiting for Faith's. Then it was time for him to apologize back.

"I-I am sorry."

"Hey, it's for me to apologize. I went too far and I allowed myself way too much freedom, I should have asked."

"No, Xan. It's me to say sorry. You had all the right to it. Mom considers you family. And so do I . . . You're my brother."

Xander didn't know what he heard. She considered him a brother. Okay, there were times he would have felt insulted for being considered only to be a brother. But now his crush was over, it was the nicest compliment he has heard in a long time. Together with Joyce considering him a son. And he has had many recently.

He saw a small tear rolling out of her eye, glinstering over her cheek. He resist the urge to remove it when she looked down. "I-I " she wimpered, swallowing the last word into an unhearible mumble. She laid her face on his chest and started to cry.

"Buffy?" he asked softly. The only thing he could do was to lay a hand on her shoulder. She faced him, her face wet.

"They told him horrible things about me and mom." Her body trembled. "If you hadn't called him, he would have lived his life thinking I was a . . ." She couldn't speak the last word. "And my mom too."

Xander could only stare at her, sharing his sympathy with her.


Faith sat next to the Giles on the sofa as the Brit started to explain. "I found it in the Watchers' diaries ... the quest. It would take a day, perhaps two."

"That long?"

"Some Slayers before, found it helpful in . . . regaining their focus, learning more about their role. You'll benefit from it, I certain. But it will take time." Faith nodded, it certainly would in her case. "There's a sacred place in the desert. It's not far."

"Okay, what's next?" Faith saw him holding up a book, a gourd and a bunch of twigs. "What's that stuff for?"

"You see, the location of the sacred place is a guarded secret. I can't take you there myself. Xander will have to perform a ritual to . . . temporarily transfer guardianship of you to a guide. This'll do."

"Who's this guide?"

She saw him smile nervously. "A m-mountain lion "


"I-It's a nice kitty, really sweet."

"So, this kitty leads me to the sacred place and then a few days later it leads X to my bleeched bones with kitty's teeth-marks pressed all over them?

"Faith, please. It takes more than a few days to bleach bones. At least a week."

The Dark Slayer rolled her eyes.


Her face dry and her mood back in a sunny shining one she watched the brunette boy who was still holding her. The last fifteen minutes he had cradled her through her emotional depression. He hadn't said a word, but his very presence had been enough to help her through the tough moment.

"Hey," he said.

"Hey," she responded, giving him a smile.

"Are you alright?"

She nodded. She was so surprised how easily he forgave her. How kind he was. Not so much with words. He was like most men, not good with the talking, but he was still able to show how big his heart was. Without forcing it on her. She silently vowed to herself that this was the last time she would treat him like she has done. Never again. "Yes, I'm alright. Thanks."

He smiled back. "No, problem."

"I heard that Will repaired the Rocket Launcher, during my absense?"

"Yeah, she did a great job."

"Great!" she exclaimed.

"I have checked out all the missiles too, they are all in tip top shape. They are in the basement." She smiled wickedly. "You still know how it works?" he asked.

She slapped him on his shoulder, but the impact knocked him backwards. "Yes I do."


"Don't whine. I didn't hit you that hard," she said as she knew that he was just playing an act.

"Just wanted to make sure," he only commented.

"Yeah, right," she laughed.


From the shadows the strange vampire and a unknown person were watching as Xander and Faith sat on the Dark Slayer's bike, fully packed.

"Let's hit the road!" Faith shouted, as she started the engine. They said their farewells to the others. The vampire slid his right claw out of its sleeve as he bowed his arm and moved its long-nailed fingers slowly into a fist when he watched how the blond girl gave Xander a kiss and a encouraging slap on his shoulder while the dark girl laughed just before they took off.

"If this quest turns out well, you should do it too, Buffy," they heard Giles comment, gaining an approving nod from the blond.

"Phase one completed," the vamp stated.

"Succesfully," the other person, a female, agreed. "Poor Mayor Wilkins would have been proud."

The vampire laughed. "He was just a stupid meglomaniac sucker. A fool, nothing more."

"He has served his role well for us."

"Yes, he certainly has. I'll give you that. Now let's see how the Dark Slayer is going to handle this."

"She'll do everything in great detail for what we have planned," she replied as she stared at the screen of her little communicator.

"I have no doubt at all."

The woman smirked. "Plan Beta is in motion. I'm going back to LA . . . Faith and that blond will need a little help . . . Call Jens and his gang. Add some vamps in the mix too."

He nodded, picked out his cell-phone and dialed a number while he removed his cape revealing his features. After a few seconds the phone was answered and he began talking.

Chapter 2

1.00 PM

In Oz's van parked in a lot in LA Cordy looked as Willow's pendelum moved along a map. "Did he move?" she asked as she noticed how the pendelum moved away from yesterday's position.

The redheaded girl didn't answer and Cordelia noticed that her gaze was fully focused on the pendal while holding a small piece of cloth. It had belonged to Wesley. Suddenly the pendelum stopped above a big red spot on the map.

"He's still in Los Angeles."


LA, Wesley's apartment

Wesley has also a map folded out in front of him. The Brit was wearing a small Amulet and was in deep concentration. He let his finger trace a big line on the map while chanting from the scroll he had brought with him. "Let me go where my touch brings me," he spoke in Latin.


"Find the owner of this piece and follow him in his tracks," the redheaded chanted in Latin. She waited for a moment while she fully concentrated on the cloth. Suddenly her pendelum moved away from the City of Angels running slighly more south first in the direction of Orange County and than East while turning north again until it hit the route to the Canyons. There it slowly moved forwards along a line.

"He's already on that road?" Cordelia asked surprised, "Wow, he must be in a hurry."

Willow came back out of her trance and stared at the brunette. "I checked three hours ago and then he was still in LA. I don't understand?"

She switch her gaze to Oz as he spoke. "I think he has fooled us. She frowned. Her magic this morning didn't show any traces of fraud by other magic. He was clearly in LA then. Yet, now it didn't feel like she had be misguided either. "He could never have drove this in three hours, honey," he explained.

She nodded. She looked at the pendelum and noticed how it slowly moved to a red spot on the map. "Where did Xander say he went to?"


Angel's office

"Don't worry, Willow. I'll look for him. You go and follow his road track. Okay. Don't worry, Willow, he's a trained Watcher remember? . . . Willow, it's alright, stop excusing."

The souled vampire gawed as he laid down the horn, stood up and went to his bedroom. "First some sleep if you don't mind."



"We need some more petrol, Xand."

"Okay," Xander jumped off the bike as Faith pulled the bike to a halt. "I'll visit the big boys' room and the convience store while you're doing that. Want anything?" At the brunette's shake of the head he hurried away.

He made his way into the store, noticing only the salesman. He quickly glanced over to the candy section as he went to the restroom, licking his lips as he noticed the Twinkies. Once inside the restroom he washed his face and stretched himself forcefully, working the kinks out of his back. He stared in the mirror. "Oh, man, I never should have agreed to make the roadtrip on a bike," he complained. He rubbed his face. "The road to Risa is like a journey, Alexander," he reminded himself. "A long and hard one . . ." Noise outside emphasised his point. "Fuck! Next time you keep your mouth shut, Harris."

He ran out of the restroom to find Faith facing a vampire gang, circling his friend on their Harleys. He heard one of them shouting. "We've found ourselves a Slayer, boys and girls. Whoever kills her gets her blood."


Faith defended herself from several attacks using only the dagger against chains and iron sticks. She cast a challenging look at least twenty demons surrounding her. "Shit," she muttered noting some of the lecherous looks she was getting. "Come get some, uglies!"

She parried and dodged the first few attacks before she managed to get onto the offensive herself, slamming her dagger into her first victim. Blue, thick blood purred from its body accompanied with a howl.

"Damn, this is sickening, I'm fighting whining gals," she muttered before she was forced back into the defensive.

Their vamp leader stopped them with one hand. "I want that bitch alive!" he shouted. "Ale for the one who gets her."

Cheers erupted from his mates, until he held up his hand again. "And we'll rape her . . . one by one . . ."

He stared at her, while she barely was able to hold herself from fear mixed with anger and disgust. " . . . While she begs," he finished before giving them the sign to continue the attack.


Xander glanced at the salesman who stood next to him. "You better get out of here fast, and take the backdoor, those guys are the real nasty type." Without waiting to see if his instructions was obeyed Xander opened the door and ran towards Faith.

"Hey you, uglies! Think you can handle a single girl all by yourselves? Your mommy would be so proud!" he yelled to the bikers, trying to get their attention. But the only attention he recieved was from Faith as the bikers continued to attack her. "Xander, stay out of this!"

Xander hesitated for a split-second before moving forward, ignoring Faith's warning. When he moved closer he opened his jacket, revealing a bunch of stakes which were place in little pockets inside his jacket and a couple of bottles. Pulling out a couple of stakes, he threw one to his girlfriend.

"Xander!" she yelled as she caught the stake. He ignored her warning a second time and removed the two bottles and flung one into a vamp's face and the other at one of the bikes, smashing it open and splashing its content over a vamp's legs. Loud screams were his rewards. "Get him!" the vampire with the burning face bellowed as he tried to regain his control over his bike.

Xander armed himself with one of his stakes as he readied himself for an attack when one of the bikers spun towards him. He threw himself to the ground, dodging the iron stick, rolled and flipped himself in a standing position when the biker made a turn. With the vamp's back facing Xander, he took the opportunity to jump onto the vamp, clamping his legs around the vampire's waist and thrusting his stake into his heart. Due to the bike's lack of speed and missing driver Xander flopped to the ground like a duffle bag.

"Xander!" he heard Faith's scream as he tried to regain his feet, ignoring the bruises that he felt forming. Three other bikers were now after him. Xander turned around while grabbing the iron stick.

The front wheel of the biker at the right side grinded into the asphalt as it accelarated, racing towards Xander's head. The boy rolled himself out of the way and barely avoided the tire.

As it passed him he shoved his stick through the front wheel, blocking it. The biker yelped as he catapulted forwards and slammed with his face on the ground, leaving a small trace of blood and skin on the gravel. Xander rolled further, avoiding the bike which fell bringing the other two bikers down else well.


Faith glanced for a second in Xander's direction as she heard the bikes fall down with cracking noises. She couldn't help but grin as she saw the four bikers on the ground, groaning. She saw her boyfriend lying on the ground staring in front of him with wide eyes. She followed his trail while still holding off her attackers and her heart missing a beat as she saw a biker spinning his front wheel in the air while riding straight towards him. <Xander!> Fear for her own life was over-riden for his as adrenaline rushed into her system.


Time stood still as Xander watched the biker hit the brakes and slide towards him at full bike length, a collision unavoidable. He gulped as his mind raced. He glanced over to Faith, saw her eyes widen in terror. His girl-friend charged towards him, her movements seemingly in slow-motion as she kicked her path clear with a few lightning moves, slamming her combat boot into their faces and knocking them off their bikes. In the meantime Xander moved his hand under his jacket and tried to reach for his gun. A fraction before he was about to be ripped open by the biker's wheels Faith slammed into him, knocking him to temporary safety. Xander's arm flexed, then snapped straight when he aimed his gun and shot, hitting one of the bike's tanks, leaving a trace of gasoline on the road.

"You missed," Faith commented, as she laid on him.

"Not this time," he said as he pointed the gun on the trace of oil. "Maybe you should jump," he suggested as he wrapped one arm around her. He fired and the trace burst into flames. The flames raced after the bike and into the tank, erupting into a big explosion. The burst was enough to ignite other bikes resulting into a chain-reaction of explosions. Just in time Faith jumped herself from a laying position into a standing, still clinging onto him. A Slayer speed run placed them at a safe distance when one of the gasoline stations also exploded, resulting in one huge inferno.

They turned around and stared at the towering flames, lightening up the sky in a orange glow. A few surviving demons ran out burning fire, screaming as they were consumed by the flames. "You really like to blow up things, don't you?" the dark girl asked as her eyebrow raised.

He shrugged. "A guy needs his hobby, you know."

Xander saw her smirking, but not saying anything.

Suddenly her smirk changed as her eyes darkened when she noticed fires flickering at her bike and she closed her eyes when she heard the noise of the resulting explosion. "You blew up my bike!"

"Uh . . ."

"It was brand new."


Xander faced a very angry Slayer as he stared in her furious eyes. He swallowed as she moved her face against his, her lips tracing his before she opened her mouth. Inwardly Xander crowled as a caveman as he thought he knew what she was about to say. He knew how blowing up things turned her on. It was a Slayer thing.

"You did that on purpose," she purred.

Xander could barely hold onto his innocent expression.

"Too embarrassed to say that riding me scares you. So, you just blow it up."

Xander blinked. "Huh?"

"Nah. Give up the act. I know you hate my bike. I'll give you some money then you can buy a car. There is a dealer in second hand stuff over there. You can buy one tomorrow, when I will go into the desert." Xander looked over to the place where she pointed at and saw a big neon sign board, his face reddening, before feeling a kiss on his cheek.

His mouth still open he looked at the Slayer. "For being so brave today . . . Damn, you look so cute when you're stunned," Faith grinned at his flabbergasted face. "Lets find us a nice motel room where I can steer you around the curves."

Xander nodded. "Only in my dreams." And they walked away, over the road, and somewhere along that little trip they passed a plate with the writing 'Oxnard' on it.

From the shadows the vampire who had watched the whole scene whispered to himself. "Well, well, well. She really is attached to the boy. Depending on him, emotionally, mentally and physically . . . Good . . . Very good."

Chapter 3


Wesley glanced around the shadowy crypt glaring at the vampires surrounding them. He had counted them several times. <Five! Bloody hell, five vampires!>

He took in their positions. Three vampires were playing cards as they sat around an old table in the middle of the room. The two others were in the back, wound up in a heated argument who would drink from their victim, who was laid on the ground with his hands bounded and gag in his mouth. <Bloody Hell, Pryce. This is it. For real. Time to show that you're worth your name.He tried to strain himself from the overwhelming fear.

<How could Xander do that?> he wondered as he envied the boy's guts more than ever.

Suddenly he erupted into action, throwing a big bottle of blessed water above the card-players and shot it with his shotgun, shattering it into thousand pieces and splashing the blessed water down like a shower. Ignoring the vampires' screams he dropped the shotgun and replaced it with a crossbow, firing a pair of bolts, dusting two of the stunned vampires. His eyes raging the third launched himself at Wesley who quickly side-stepped and in one smooth move staked it. Moving on he ducked under the fourth vampire's swing before kicking him to the back of his knee, making him collapse to the ground and readied himself to push his stake through the demon's back. Before he had chance to strike the last vampire grabbed him and flung him into the wall.

Groaning with pain and through tears in his eyes he saw their victim had grabbed one of the glass pieces and with bloodied hands was cutting through the ropes restraining him. Wesley knew that the air had turned into an intoxicating mixure of blood, adrenaline, sweat, and fear, driving the two remaining vampires crazy. And when he saw how the boy had attracted their attention by his actions, he instantly understood in flash why Xander always made those stupid jokes: it makes them blind with fury.

He scanned the area quickly as he raised his voice while scowling at them. "Bloody American vampires, can only handle a helpless teenager instead a real hunter like me."

"Well that worked," he gulped as the two vampires rushed towards him growling deeply. He kicked the fallen table into their path knocking his rivals off-balance. Grabbing a stake he leapt to his feet and stabbed one of the vampires. However the other vampire was too fast and swept his feet from beneath him, knocking him to the ground, but before the vampire could complete his attack he exploded into dust. His eyes wide he watched as the dust cleared revealing the smiling youth.

"Hi," the boy helped him to his feet. "Pike, glad to meet you."


6.30 AM

Faith closed her eyes as she remembered the look of desperate pleading in his eyes, the look of betrayal on his face as she'd choked him. The first guy to reach out and she'd repaid his trust by trying to kill him.

"Are you okay, Faith?"

The girl with the fiery black eyes smiled at him. "Five by Five."

"Could you be so kind to get the newspaper?"

The young Slayer stared at the man for a moment. The person in front of her ripped her out of her worried thoughts. He was like her own father, decent and very sweet. She figured that he was somewhere in his late sixties. His hair was almost white and he had a cute matching beard. The man had lost his wife last year and was lonely since. She had nodded and walked to the frontdoor. They had met two weeks ago when she had saved him from a gang who threatened him for his money. Since then the old man had taken care for her by being a parent for her.

Suddenly she heard a familiar howl: Kakistos. The door was smashed open and he stood in front of her. Her body started to shiver from overwhelming fear. "Fucking bitch!" he crowled as he tried the girl. But she had stepped back quickly and ran to the living room. In a blur she tried to escape and to save the old man at the same time. But in the and panick had won and the old man was left alone at Kakistos' mercy.

Faith squirmed in her bed and woke up with a silent scream, her eyes wide open. Almost buldging on guilt she stepped out of bed. She glanced at Xander as she reached for her pants. Within minutes she silently closed the door and walked outside into the fresh air.


7.00 AM

Xander bolted upright, sweat pouring down his face. He shook his head as he tried to clear his mind of the residue of his nightmares. He looked beside him and saw the empty place where Faith should have been, noticing a little note.


I woke up early. It's a Slayer thing. Needed some fresh air. I didn't want to wake ya up, ya were sleeping so peacefully. And ya REALLY need your beauty-sleep, ya know. Ya take it easy. I'll come back with breakfast. Then we can buy a nice car, I'll do the quest while you can relax and I'll see ya hopefully 'night for another rollin' after you give the lads a show.

Yar chick,


Xander couldn't help himself to chuckle at the note and feel a chill run along his spine at the same time. He searched the bed further, found some money under her pillow and slipped it in his pocket.

Hearing a noise outside the door he stood and walked towards it just as it slammed open. He was facing at least a dozen demons and vampires - it was still dark enough outside. He staggered back as he looked straight into the ugliest face he had ever seen. Xander watched the newcomer scan the room before turning his gaze to him. Bouncing against his bed he turned around and threw aside his pillow, grabbing several stakes and the gun hidden beneath. He emptied the gun's magazine at the demon, but the bullets slammed into a minor demon that the big boss flung in front of him.

The demon tossed the dead weight away like it was nothing before charging him, closing the distance at an amazing speed. He saw the demon pull a newpaper from under his jacket and hold it up. Xander could clearly see the headline.

Gas station blown up. No casulties found.


"No human casulties!' Jens snarled with a strong German accent as he slammed the newspaper into Xander's chest. "You and your babe killed a good dozen of my gang last night. You'll pay!" Jens's fist spun forward but missed its target when the boy swayed away from it. But his boot kicked the teen hard in the gut knocking the youth against the wall. A snarl on his lips he advanced on the crumpled human.

"Boss. We need him alive," he heard one of his leuitaunts spoke from behind.

Instinctively Jens slammed his elbow into the inferior demon's chest, cracking a rib. "'Shut up! I know!"

"It's a good thing that you know," he heard a cold voice rippled through the room.

The demon spun around and faced the cloaked vampire. "You? We have done our job. Time to pay."

Jens's eyes widened as he saw the vampire walking in - slowly, but steadily - with a bunch of other mysterious warriors, wearing black ninja suits, behind him. "Who the fu . . . Aaargh."

The demon felt a strong clawed hand wrapped around his neck, pushing him up and ruthlesslly bounching his head against the ceiling. With all his strength he tried to himself break free as he stared over his attacker's head and saw all his men cut down by the warriors' lightning blades.

"This is your payment," he heard before he felt a sharp pain penetrating his chest and growing in intensity.


A muffled groan was the demon's only reply when the vampire pressed his hand around Jens's throat and pushed him up stretching his arm as far as possible. He didn't pay any attention to the whimperings as he pressed his nail in his torso and slowly slid down, slicing him open. Without any emotion he watched thick blue blood pourr out of the wound, splashing over the ground. He felt the demon struggle as his minion attempted to free himself from his grip, but easily restrained him with one hand. He felt the demon's body start to tremble and heard him gurgle and gasp.

When he was finished he stared in the demon's mortified eyes for a few moments, before he slamming him to the ground, freeing the demon's internals over the dirty carpet. "Ah, vivi-section is such a beautiful thing," he murmered with a mocking tone, "I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have."

"Search the whole room," he ordered the ninjas.

He stepped around the mess and grabbed the boy, leveling Xander's face to his. He carefully rubbed a nail over the boy's cheek as his eye moved slowly along his features. "Loyal to the heart and the soul . . . foul," he mumbled before checking out the human's pockets and removing his money. One of the ninjas handed him a small item. He stared at it for a while, intrigued, before he made sure it was safe in one of the boy's pockets.

"Take him to the Council," he ordered the ninja leader, who responded with a polite bow. He picked up Faith's little note and couldn't hide a small smile. "Boy, you don't know half of the torment that I have saved you from tonight," he whispered mockingly. He took Faith's pencil and scratched something on it. "Or . . . are about to face . . ."