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Vanguard Slayer

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Summary: Buffy faces the Judge sooner than expected, and after he kills Angel in front of her the Slayer's only hope is a warrior with strange powers sent by the Watcher's Council to train her and her friends.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Action/AdventureEvilguyFR21587,457183,83130 Jun 095 May 13Yes

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Judgement Is Swift

Vanguard Slayer

Author: Joshua

Summary: In the middle of her Junior year, Buffy encounters an enemy that she can't defeat alone, and only with the teachings of a strange, lone warrior sent by the Watcher's Council to train her and her friends, can she possibly survive?

Spoilers: Up to “Bad Eggs” and beyond, but before “Surprise”, which turns out very differently.

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon created and owns the Buffyverse, which is company owned by Mutant/Enemy Productions. “Chi-Armor” is, as far as I care, a semi-original concept, derived from multiple factual and fictional references, but the term and use itself is original to this story.

AN: Chi-Armor is NOT pronounced how it looks to the American, British, or even Japanese eyes, no offense. It is pronounced with the Greek approximation. Χ, or “ck-eye” is they way to pronounce it when you see the word put as Chi-Armor. If seen as chi or ki, then it is pronounced how it is spelled.

Episode One: “Judgment is Swift”

It was night, as it often was in Sunnydale, and this night found Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer extraordinaire, where she often was on nights in Sunnydale. Patrolling in the cemeteries, hunting for vampires to slay.

And at the precise moment, she found herself hard pressed against a vampire, and a very hard place, in this case the wall of a mausoleum in the cemetery. Or maybe that should be pressed hard against the vampire?

“Oh Angel,” she gasped as their kiss broke briefly to allow the blonde some much needed air and oxygen. Just that quick gasp and she quickly dove back into his mouth, pushing herself up against him as much as she possibly could. Her hands, as his were on her, were roving wildly almost madly across his body, trying to feel everything about him all at once and memorize every part of him.

“Buffy,” Angel gasped back when their kiss broke again, this time so that the souled vampire could pick the small girl up, pressing her even harder between his body and the cold stone of the mausoleum.

She grunted in a mixture of pleasure and pain, glad of the change in position, and squirmed a bit to get more comfortable with it. As well as to entice certain reactions from her patrol partner for the evening.

She got what she wanted as an animal growl came from her semi-boyfriend, after only having a few dates and him being out of action these past few weeks, it had been quite a while since they had seen each other. This was their first night patrolling together ever since the whole deal with Spike kidnapping Angel to revive Drusilla.

“We... really should...” Buffy was trying to say between kisses, “... be... patrolling. Giles... will be... mmmhmm Angel! ... Giles'll be... mad... if we... don't! Oh god I want you!”

“I want you too!” Angel huskily whispered back.

“But we should get back to patrolling...” he added after another long kiss, immediately going into another after he'd spoken.

“Umhmm,” Buffy mumbled through the kiss. They stayed like that for another entire minute.

Finally, the kisses became fewer in length, and then less in frequency as their consciences slowly forced them to stop before they ended up spending the whole night in one place. Angel put his girlfriend back on the ground, and then with very much regret, took two steps back from the wall of the mausoleum. Buffy took three steps away from it.

Without knowing how, or really caring either, they embraced each other once more and began another deep and passionate kiss. Again, their consciences forced them to slow down and stop, although they really didn't want to, the angel on their shoulders, no pun intended, was chattering like mad and it was either listen now, or be distracted and awkward later. They chose, reluctantly, to listen. For now.

“Right. So... patrol.” Buffy stepped back, and then around the souled vampire, making sure there was enough distance between them to keep her from jumping him. Although given that she could jump over a twenty foot distance, it didn't help very much. But it kept her from doing it immediately.

“Right,” Angel groaned and turned and widened the distance between them some more.

Now bathed in silence, they started walking through the quiet night, waiting, listening, and maybe even hoping to run into some vampires. If only to say they got one so they could go back to Angel's basement apartment for some more smoochy time.

“So...” Angel started to say, in hopes of starting a conversation to help pass the time quicker, and keep them from trying to shag in the middle of a grave yard. Buffy deserved better than that, he thought to himself.

“So...” Buffy responded a moment after he did. “Uh, my birthday's coming up. Uh, not to sound all 'me, me, me', but I just thought that... you'd like to know so that... you'd know.”

Angel smiled at her, and she damn near melted on the spot. Definitely blushed. “I know. Willow told me the other week after that whole episode with the eggs. What do you want for your birthday?”

Buffy smiled, her blush deepening in the dark. Ducking her head slightly, she focused on her feet for a few more seconds before saying in a rather demure tone, “Oh... I don't know, I...”

“Well, well, well, look at what we've got here,” a snide little voice interrupted the Slayer.

Both of them looked up, annoyance growing in Buffy's face while concerned amusement covered Angel's expression. “A nice little couple out on a stroll?” the vampire stepped out of the shadows and looked them both over.

He was about Angel's height, with short dark blonde hair, but he was dressed in some kind of uniform, although neither modern teenage blonde nor the 200 + Irish vampire recognized it. It was overall blue, with knee high black dress boots, off-white uniform pants, with a blue stripe going down the outer thighs, a black, gold buckled belt and then the primarily blue tunic with a lighter blue trimming the edges. A symbol, like a badge was over the left breast, directly over his heart. That subconsciously clued Buffy that a simple stake to the heart would not work with this vampire.

“Hey, ya mind sharing?” the cocky vamp asked Angel when he realized that he was a vampire as well.

The look of anger and pure insult that crossed Angel's face prompted Buffy into action.

“No, I don't think that I'll be sharing anything with you. Besides, Buffy doesn't like to share,” Angel teased the unknowing vamp.

“Buffy? What the hell kind of name is Buffy?” the uniformed vamp stupidly asked.

In reply, he got a fist to the face that knocked him flat on his ass, followed by a sharp, and very painful kick to the ribs. Without hesitation, he leaped back to his feet and fell, far too easily for Angel's liking, into a martial arts stance and started eying Buffy with a very different look.

“So, you're the Slayer I've heard so much about,” he snidely remarked. “This looks like it's going to be fun.”

“Tell me about it!” Buffy grunted as she launched into a flying spin kick that connected and sent the vamp spinning to the ground once more. Before he could recover though, she leaped forward and drove a downward high kick into his back, forcing back into the dirt before he could even get to his knees, as well as causing him even more pain.

Before she expected him to though, he got back to his feet growling louder than before and his yellow eyes glowing brightly in the dark night. Surprised, but not letting it show, the Slayer kept her distance and started to slowly circle the strange vamp, waiting for him to give her something she could take advantage of.

Unfortunately, while the vamp could revive faster than she expected him to, he could also move faster than she expected, as he flashed forward and landed a devastating combo to the Slayer, knocking her to the ground at its end. But he wasn't finished yet, as he bodily picked her up and began throttling her.

Just before Angel lost control and would have body slammed the vamp to get him to let go of the woman he loved, the Slayer managed to get herself out of the mess by placing a well-timed kick, which the vamp, by holding her a couple feet off the ground, helped her with.

A loud scream filled the cemetery as the vampire released the Slayer and fell to his knees, opting for holding a much more tender area at the moment. Even Angel winced in sympathy with the vampire.

“Well, that was bracing,” Buffy teased as she pulled out her stake, “but as much as orthodontia has changed my life, for the better I might add, I don't feel like retaining this fight any longer.” And with that quip marked off her list of quips to use when staking vamps, she staked the vampire, which crumbled to dust, giving an almost grateful demonic cry as it did.

When Buffy looked up, Angel was giving her a weird look.

“What?” she asked, beginning to feel a little uncomfortable.

He could only stare for several more seconds before he finally worked up the courage to ask, in a confused voice, “Orthodontia?”

Buffy gave a silly 'little girls' grin, while blushing with embarrassment, “Well... I've been trying to use big words, and being around Giles and all, and I did use to have braces, and... and... well it worked didn't it?”

Angel chose the wise man's route and remained silent. He just turned around and started walking so they could continue their patrol.

“Well, didn't it?” Buffy pleadingly called after him.

₪ ₪ ₪


“It worked!” Buffy thoroughly insisted.

“But... orthodontia? You actually managed to work that into a quip? A good one?” Xander asked as they walked down the school halls to meet Willow at their lockers.

“Yes!” Buffy insisted again, this time adding a meaningful glare.

Xander quickly caught it and was smart enough to know what it meant. “I'm sure it was devastating to the now-dusted vampire's ego,” he said with fake enthusiasm. Thankfully, for him, Buffy didn't catch the fake part.

Smiling, and satisfied for the moment, Buffy just nodded, adding mostly to herself, “It was,” and they continued on, Xander wiping the sweat from his brow.

Willow was just putting her books away when her two friends walked up and opened their own lockers to do the same. “Hey Buffy! Hi Xander! I'm heading to the library for free period, are you coming?”

“Wouldn't miss it!” Buffy said with a smile, closing her locker with all of her books in it.

“Aw shucks,” Xander comically snapped his fingers, “I've got a thing that I need to do. But be sure to give the G-man my best!” Quickly, he too shut his locker and then took off at a light sprint down the hall, opposite the Library.

“Xander! Wait! What thing?” Willow called after him, too late.

“Ah, don't worry about it Wills. You know Xander and, well... he's a guy. Not to mention, while I'll be training, and Xander would no doubt like to see that, Giles would force him to do the one thing that Xander hates more than being civil to Cordelia.”

“Research,” both girls answered simultaneously, walking into the Library.

And right into the middle of a very intense make out session between Buffy's Watcher and Willow's Computer Teacher. Without pause both quickly turned right around and started walking in the direction Xander had been going.

“Then again, do you think Xander might need some help with his thing?” Buffy asked, not considering the words before hand.

“I don't know, but I'd like to help with his...” Willow stopped talking as the implications hit her very fast-moving brain and her entire head quickly turned a bright shade of crimson, “BUFFY!”

“What? I...” suddenly the same implications, along with Willow's more than obvious embarrassment over their words came together in the Slayer's head, causing her to blush slightly herself. “Oh. Uh, lets just go, okay?”

“Yeah, leaving, exiting, and departing even,” Willow added, moving a little bit faster.

“And by the way Wills, get your mind out of the gutter would you?” Buffy teased her friend. Willow just blushed very brightly and walked even faster.

₪ ₪ ₪

Much to their private displeasure, Buffy and Willow couldn't find their Xander-shaped friend. But if they had any clue as to what his 'thing' was, they would have been much relieved in not finding him. Because at the same moment that the Slayer and Hacker were strolling by the janitor's closet on the way to the quad, Xander Harris and Cordelia Chase were in that same janitor's closet making out like their lives depended on it.

As his hands covered and roamed over her back, Cordelia couldn't help but mumble soft moans of delight as his, rather embarrassingly, experienced hands hit all the right spots. In response to her moans, as well as a few other actions her body gave against him, Xander groaned a little himself and deepened their kiss with more thorough tongue-action.

Working with that chemistry they inexplicably had, Cordelia responded right back, deepening the kiss on her end as well, and strange little tingles flew through the both of them. They finally broke the kiss, gasping for oxygen and staring at each other through dilated, lust-filled eyes. Before another second even passed, they were together in another passionate kiss, and Xander's hands moved around to the front, while Cordelia's started roving their own path across his back.

When his right hand rounded the edge of her cloth-covered breast, the moaning gasp of pure arousal had him at 'half-staff' instantly, and was quickly rising to 'full-staff'. He repeated the motion with his other hand, and brushed the same breast again at the same moment, and he was rewarded once more with the same sound, but a little more “needier”.

Using his left hand to cup her ass, which lifted her up some and prompted her to deepen the kiss, he slowly strolled his right hand back up her torso, starting along the edge of her waist, and slowly moving up her abs to the front of her ribcage. Once there, he hesitated slightly, but the reactions the young woman in his arms was giving him said he could more than go ahead. He moved his hand the last bit upwards and smoothly, softly groped her breast, moving around the edges, but avoiding pressing hard, especially anywhere near the center.

She broke the kiss with a hoarse gasp, her eyes even more unfocused than at their most intense yet. “OH gawd Xander!” she moaned in passion.

Cordelia wasn't surprised to feel Xander's erection get extremely hard under his pants. What surprised her was the way it affected her. She could have sworn she actually felt herself get even more wet with arousal than she had been when Xander had just groped her breast!

“Stop teasing me already!” she gasped as she started necking him, pushing herself closer to him, to feel more of his body against hers.

'Stop teasing, huh?' Xander thought with a perverted little grin.

With a little work, given how close Cordelia was pressing herself against him, he managed to work his right hand under the hem of her satin shirt, and his left hand just below the hem of her skirt, touching the skin of her thigh. The sudden skin-to-skin contact evoked new sensations in the both of them, their heart rates rising rapidly and their lust spiraling completely out of control.

Cordelia knew she should be stopping him. She always had stopped it, or he had before things had gotten to this point. Sure, they had groped each other's private parts before, and once she was sure that he'd even gotten off from her massaging his crotch, but right now...

Xander moved his right hand up a little until his fingers felt the quivering, hot skin of her torso, then he flipped his hand around so that his palm could also partake of the feast of flesh. Cordelia gasped in shock, but it gurgled into a groan of longing when his left hand slipped higher from her naked thigh to her right ass cheek, his fingers lightly grazing the edge of her thong.

They spent about another minute or so like this, his hands running over her skin, his right back and forth between her abs and her back, his left rubbing and squeezing her ass, and their lips and mouths were practically all over each other. Cordelia's own hands had become a little wild, and they were trying to work his sweater out of his jeans to get at his own naked skin.

Finally, they both felt things boil past a certain point and their movements became slightly more frantic. Xander's hands widened their patterns considerably, his right groping her lace-covered breasts, his left frequently running up and down the crack of her ass and over her panties. Cordelia suddenly abandoned trying to get his sweater off and her hands almost attacked his crotch in an effort to take off his belt and open his jeans. He was too focused on her willing body under his hands to even think of stopping her.

Not that he felt like stopping her.

They broke their kiss in favor of continued breathing, and while their hands continued to evoke pleasure never before known to the teens, their mouths turned to each other's necks. Xander kissed all along the side of her neck, and then kept moving up until he reached her ear and lightly nibbled her earlobe. She squealed in surprised pleasure and shivered in his arms.

Cordelia couldn't begin to describe all the feelings that were culminating in her lower pelvis, but she'd certainly never felt like this before in any of her other makeout sessions. Hell, it never felt like this even in her solo sessions!

When Xander's hand suddenly, maybe accidentally maybe not, pulled one cup of her bra away and left her nipple open to be caressed by his rough palm, a sensation so intense that Cordelia felt her vaginal muscles clench and twitch in a familiar longing as a small echo of it. She clenched her teeth and hissed out in pleasure, and her own hand accidentally slipped down his pants and covered his throbbing erection. Skin on skin. Xander clenched his own teeth and tensed his entire body so as not to lose control at that moment.

“Oh gawd!” Cordelia gasped when she came down from the mini-orgasm, “Oh my god! Xander... we... we've got to stop. Oh gawd, I don't want to stop. But we've got to. I... I, we've got to stop!”

“I know,” he said, physically forcing himself to remove his hands from her body, and also forcing himself to ignore her whimpers of protest, “I know. If I did anything that was wrong, I'm sorry.”

“Wrong?” she snapped. “Hell moron, you were doing everything right, and that's the problem. I've never... and I'm not ready to either!”

Xander blinked, and then he bristled slightly at being called a moron, despite it being combined with a compliment of immense proportions, especially for a high school student.

“Well I'm sorry Ms. Universe Revolves Around My Head, but I've never done this either. And actually you are quite possibly the only person that I can think of at this moment, or any other during the daylight hours, of even doing it with!” he snapped back.

Where any other girl would see the sweetest thing that could ever be said to them and go 'Awww', Cordelia Chase narrowed her eyes and took a half step forward, squaring her shoulders and retorted, “Yeah, well given what goes through your head most of the time, I'm not surprised that you get so hard so fucking easy!”

Xander's eyes lost focus, and she was close enough that she could have sworn his cock had just throbbed in a really big way. “Say that again,” he hissed quietly.

Cordelia knew instantly what he was talking about, and her own eyes became slightly more dilated and her nipples crinkled as she said in an insulting tone, “Fuck!”

In an instant, they were kissing again, and their hands, without consciously being aware of it, had moved back to where they had been moments ago. Beneath underwear and all.

They were so lost in their lust that neither of them could really remember later on what happened for the next few minutes, but when they finally regained enough of their senses to be aware of their surroundings, Xander's jeans and sweater, and Cordelia's satin shirt and thong panties were all on the janitor closet floor, and several very key body parts were more than easily visible to the other.

Cordelia blushed slightly as she stared unabashedly at Xander's very hard and erect cock, and felt his own heavy stare on her uncupped breasts. Despite having many boyfriends over the years, and even some hot and heavy makeout sessions with them, and others, in the past, Xander Harris was the very first person of the male persuasion, or really of any persuasion, to see her in such a state. And not just nearly nude, but so hot and bothered that even in her own mind, she was practically begging for sex.

But they both knew neither of them were ready for sex.

And Cordelia would sooner go and open the Hellmouth herself and walk into it's snake-head mouths of her own free will than lose her virginity in the janitor's closet of her high school.

“Xander,” Cordelia spoke, temporarily breaking the spell of their lust. “We... we can't... we, I can't... I'm not, we're not... ready...”

She stopped speaking as he put his finger over her lips and shushed her with a gentle caress of a whisper.

“It's all right,” he whispered, speaking as the man that he truly was, not the goofball of the Slayerettes, or the loser of Sunnydale High. He very rarely, and never under ordinary circumstances, displayed this side of himself, and not just to anyone either. Cordelia Chase, Mistress of the Public Mask, was one of the very few people to have seen it, and truly knew what it meant. After all, the man Xander Harris was one of only two, maybe three if you count the time that the Invisible girl kidnapped them and she confessed to Buffy, people that she had shown the real Cordelia Chase to.

“But you know Cor,” he continued, letting more of the teenager out as the man faded back to where he belonged, “I don't think that either of us can just let it go this time either.”

She narrowed her eyes, not fully comprehending what he was saying.

“I mean, I'm certainly not suggesting that we . . . do anything, but just picking up our clothes and walking out of here isn't an option anymore. At least . . . I don't think it is,” he hesitated as he spoke, sounding confident and nervous all at once.

However, she had finally gotten what he was hinting at. Neither of them had cum yet, and if they did just get up and walk out without . . . finishing, the frustration alone would drive them insane before they went to bed tonight. And the gutter trap that her mind was, she instantly came up with several images and ideas about all the different ways they could . . . finish without actually doing anything.

“Um, Xander . . . “ she hesitated to speak, but she had gotten his attention.

“Yeah Cordy?” he answered with a husky voice.

“I've . . . never . . . uh, done . . . that.”

“That?” he repeated with a raised eyebrow.

She gave him a hard glare and reiterated, “You know . . . that!” she shifted her eyes to his now throbbing cock and then back to his eyes, which she glared at again because she knew they were laughing at her, even if he wasn't.

“What?” he replied 'innocently'.

“I've never given a blow job before,” she said pitifully.

Just as he was about to argue that he was talking about him finishing her off, he did a double take and very stupidly squeaked, “Never?!

She glared again, but it was less harsh than before, and a faint blush spread over her entire face. She silently shook her head no.

“But . . .” he lead, but she interrupted.

“I've made out before, and yeah, I've gone out with older men, college guys, even some guys out of college. But . . . the farthest I've gone is . . .” she stopped talking as she openly stared at his endowment before gulping and finishing her sentence, “ . . . this.”

“Whoa,” Xander breathed, not quite sure what to say or even think.

Finally, he went back to his original thought. “You know Cordy, I wasn't talking about that. At least, not in the way you immediately jumped to the conclusion of. I was thinking more of me helping you along. I've gone with woodies before, hell, for a whole 9 hour period one day. I'm not in any danger of going insane. But . . . I've seen you after our . . . closet sessions before, and I wouldn't dare inflict the world with how bad you'd be after right now.”

“Aw,” Cordelia sighed. “That is the sweetest, and the stupidest, thing that anyone has ever said to me.”

Xander grinned.


“Oh,” he held up one of his socks, which actually didn't smell that bad, “you might need this.”

Taking the offering with a look of disgust, and despite it her level of arousal remaining unchanged, she snapped, “Why the hell would I need something this disgusting?”

Then he pushed her back up against the wall and pushed her skirt even higher and went to his knees, and before she could even think of asking him what he was doing, all thought left her as his mouth descended upon her pouty lips. And not the ones between her nose and chin.

Suddenly she understood what the sock was for as uncontrolled gasps and moans started pouring out of her mouth in increasing volume. Without hesitation, she took the sock in both hands and gagged herself with it, keeping it in her ever-tightening grip as Xander ate her out. And very well judging from the way her body was reacting and all of the feelings that were welling up within her.

First he gave long strokes with his tongue on all sides of her outer lips, like he was licking a popsicle or something. After the first three, she felt her lips swell with the building arousal amidst her orgasmic cries, and open like a petal blooming in Spring, revealing her inner petals and her fully erect clitoris.

At first, Xander just kept lapping away at her, licking up the arousal moisture her pussy was gushing by the liter. Then, just as she felt she would go insane from the pleasure, she moved his right hand down and opened her lips a little wider before he started to lick from the inside, starting at the bottom and moving all the way up to the cluster of hyper-sensitive nerves, eliciting an even stronger reaction from the head cheerleader than she'd given yet to date.

Xander almost stopped what he was doing when he heard and felt the woman he was doing things to that he had never done, let alone thought about doing to another, scream aloud like she was in pain. Or very intense pleasure, but he was never very sure on the difference himself.

That is until Cordelia's hand slammed him on the back of the head, grabbed his hair, and literally shoved his face back into her pussy. Smiling to himself, Xander continued what he was doing.

He kept up the intense pleasure torture for several more minutes, making the brunette scream and moan again and again until he finally had mercy on her and sucked her clit into his mouth and very lightly nibbled on the button. A little nibble was all she needed and she exploded around him. Her body clenched like a Slayer's fist, and for a minute there he thought he would suffocate with his mouth and head being trapped against her, but what a way to go. When finally she sagged like her bones had turned to wet noodles and her muscles dissolved into melted jelly.

He moved up her body, softly kissing her flushed skin as he did, and held her and kissed her lovingly as she caught her breath and slowly regained her energy.

Cordelia knew such contentment in that moment that she felt like she was in heaven, until she opened her eyes and saw the janitor's closet. 'Next time' she swore to herself, 'next time we do this, it will NOT be in a closet. It'll be on my bed. Screw daddy or the help!'

Once she was herself again, Cordelia stood on her feet and Xander slowly stepped back from her, although still within touching distance.

“Xander?” she asked, her voice pathetically weak to her own ears.

When she said his name in that little-girl voice, Xander was so turned on he nearly fainted from the weakness in his knees and the bloodrush to his cock. “Yeah?” he squeaked.

She didn't say anything, she just slowly went to her knees, holding him still where he stood and with one hand began to feel up his raging member.

“C-c-Cordy,” he stuttered, but was unable to get out any more as the sensations became nearly too much for his control.

“Sshhh,” she hissed, and surprising even herself, kissed his cockhead.

“You don't have to . . .” he tried to protest, but she silenced him with a simple pump of her fist around him.

“I know. I want to,” she admitted huskily. And with that, she went to town.

She started by licking up his entire length from the underside, sending shivers, both hot and cold, running through the poor teen's body. Seeing that reaction, Cordelia smirked and repeated it twice more before moving on and slowly sucked the swollen head into her mouth and twirling her tongue around it a few times.

“Oh gawd, Cordy, I-I, unnnhhhhhh!” Xander couldn't stop the groans from coming out of his mouth as Cordelia did things to him he had never imagined before.

She smirked around his cock in her mouth and tongue still swirling started to suck more and more of his length down her gullet. When he hit the back of her mouth, she backed off a little to prevent a gag reflex and took several breaths while her hands came up to keep up the stimulation for him. After what he did to her, it was the least she could do.

He almost hit a high note when she simultaneously squeezed his balls, softly and most definitely pleasurably, and swallowed his length back into her mouth. This time she didn't stop when he hit the back of her throat, instead she kept swallowing, like she was trying to eat a banana whole, and the visualization of that thought was not lost on her either. Before either of them knew it, Cordy's nose was nestled in the forest of his pubic hair and his cock was all the way inside of her mouth.

“Geezz-zzuzzzz!” Xander moaned as he stared down at her. As he stared, her eyes suddenly rolled up and her head tilted back some until their eyes met. Xander nearly lost all semblance of self-control right there at the sight alone, nothing to speak of the sensations that were already shooting up and down his spine.

A twinkling in her eye told him she was smiling at him, though it was difficult to tell given her position, but he smiled lovingly back down at her all the same. Then he really did lose all control as she focused her attention back to the task at hand and started to shift her head back and forth along his length, moving her tongue over his sensitive skin when she could, and also started to exert a little more pressure by sucking with each outstroke. 'Just like sucking a straw,' she thought with a tingle of arousal. From that day forward she would never look at 'sucking straws' the same way again.

Already so aroused and everything else combined, Xander couldn't last very long and almost before he could give her any warning, he lost his load. “Cordy . . . I'm gonna . . . CUM!!” he shouted as his hips jerked forward into her orifice shooting his semen into her willing mouth.

She was surprised, but handled it better than she had ever thought she might, because instead of gagging or panicking and backing off or something else, she just withdrew until only his head was in her mouth and kept up the sucking as she did, until she felt a salty-almond flavor taste on her tongue. Rather quickly she found her mouth was filling up and reflexively she swallowed all of the liquid or other fluids in her mouth. She felt a soft tingling at the back of her throat, but other than that and a very pleasant aftertaste, she felt no ill-effects. Seeing no harm in it, once her mouth had filled up once again, she swallowed down his cum and continued until he finally ran out.

Xander stared in total shock and amazement, limp as a noodle after his own orgasm, at the woman still on her knees before him. Despite the submissive posture, in his eyes she was one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring creatures alive.

Withdrawing from his now softening cock, Cordelia wiped around her mouth some, mostly checking for drool, and absently noticed that after she did so, Xander's cock stopped softening and actually recovered a little of it's stiffness. Smirking with the power she now felt she had over him, she stood up. Only to be assaulted by his mouth as soon as she was to her feet.

She gasped into his mouth, and then melted into his body as she discovered that whatever power she had over him, he had the same power over her, as she responded to him. Finally, for air needs, they broke the kiss and Xander spoke first.

“Wow Cordy, that was . . . that was . . .”

She smirked once again at his loss of words.

“Amazing!” he finally found a word that, while in his eyes fell short, still conveyed what she had done for him meant. “I . . . I . . .” he tried to think of more to say.

She just patted him on the chest, still smirking, and silently savoring the taste in her mouth. “That's all right dweeb boy, I understand.”

He regained a little more of his strength and mimicked her smirk as he asked, “Are you sure you've never done that before?” At her blush, his smirk deepened, but he decided to for once take pity on her. He held her and softly kissed her on the lips once more. “Thank you. I'll . . . that was amazing and if I could ever do anything to make up for that . . .”

“Chill out Xander,” she interrupted him. “You already did. What you did for me, I was just paying you back for that. Now.” She broke out of his grasp and started to pick up whatever clothing of hers that had been taken off. “Let's get dressed and then we can get out of here. I've still got a ton of homework to do.”

“Yeah,” Xander agreed, actually grateful for the subject change and started to find and fix his own clothing.

₪ ₪ ₪

Buffy and Willow were sitting in the courtyard on a bench. There were few people around them, most of the students with free periods using them in the lounge instead of outdoors in the Southern Californian heat. Buffy and Willow however enjoyed the outdoors just as much as the indoors, even with the heat. At least it wasn't too humid, they both silently mused.

“So . . .” Buffy began, wondering what to talk about for a moment. Normally it was so easy to do the girl talk thing, especially with Willow, but with the major ickiness of seeing Giles and Miss Calender kissing she was finding it difficult to come up with a safe, un-'eww' topic.

“So . . .” Willow repeated, staring back at the blonde. Finally her hyper-active, non-gutter visiting mind came up with something and she asked, “. . . how's Angel, after the whole thing with Drusilla and him now patrolling with you I guess he's very,” she paused to smile happily, “up and about nowadays, but back to my first question, how is he?”

Buffy smiled, remembering last night before they had come across the vampire, which she and Xander had been discussing, and because of this distraction of thought did not properly censor her words as she answered Willow's words. “He's great, and he is definitely *up* and the only thing he was about last night was me.” Then she giggled, her eyes dreamy and non-focused on the here and now.

“Oh?” Willow made a questioning noise, until her hyper-active brain caught up with Buffy's allusions and gave her the complete picture. In high-definition color too. “Oh! BUFFY!”

“What?” then the blonde's own brain caught up, both with what she said, and who she said it too. “Oh. Uh, sorry?”

Willow just blushed, but tried to soldier on as it were. “So, Angel's doing okay?”

Smiling, and slightly blushing herself, she silently thanked her friend and replied, “Yes. Angel is well. He healed up from that ritual thing and he's the same broody, dark handsome self that he's always been.”

“That's good. I heard you and Xander talking about last nights patrol before he took off, did anything happen?”

“Nah,” Buffy quickly went over the same story she had told Xander earlier, although she decided to leave out her quip this time, seeing the noise her male friend had made about it already. Willow, opposite of Xander, moved right to the important part, worrying, which is what she did so well in her relationship with the Slayer.

“A vampire wearing some kind of uniform?” Willow repeated. “That could be bad Buffy. What if that vamp had belonged to some kind of organization or cult thing like the Order of Teraka? Well, obviously not the Order of Teraka because obviously they only have a ring for their people instead of a whole uniform, but it could be somebody or something similar to the Order of Teraka, and . . .”

“Wills! Breathe!” Buffy quickly interrupted the, however cute still tedious, Willow-babble.

The redhead stopped speaking and took a deep breath before regaining normal breathing habits and continued where she had left off. “Really Buffy, what if . . .”

“I learned not to kill myself with 'what ifs' a long time ago Willow,” Buffy told her, holding the girl's hand and being a comforting presence. “Like, what if I die tonight? What if a vampire gets invited to my home and turns my mother? What if some other vamp gets lucky and gets Xander or Giles or even you? What if I flunk out of high school? Things like that, I don't let it bother my thinking Willow. Otherwise some vamp will get lucky and I will die, or worse some night on patrol.”

“OK, yeah, I see your point,” Willow looked down, but half a second later looked back up. “But I'm serious Buffy. What if this vampire that you killed last night was part of some bigger organization or cult or something that may be moving in to take over the Hellmouth or something first?”

“Well, right now, Spike is pretty entrenched as the Master vampire,” Buffy mused, “So there would be a power struggle before there would be any teaming up to take me out. And it was a vampire Will. I'd be more concerned if this hypothetical cult were made up of thousands of the worst of the worst demons out there, but vampires? Especially ones that pathetic? I'm not too worried. But since you are, the moment we can, I'll go tell Giles about it and he'll probably do some research, make some calls, the usual thing. See, nothing to worry about.”

“Yeah, but what if it *is* something to worry about?” Willow countered.

Which Buffy countered with a 'what did I just tell you' look.

Smiling sheepishly, Willow ducked her head some and blushed, but not the full flame it had been earlier. “You know you are very pretty when you blush Willow,” Buffy told her straight up, “If you didn't duck down every time you did it, or maybe put on some make-up to make your skin tone stand out a little more then I have no doubt the guys would be flocking to you.”

Willow blushed again, but this time she kept her head held straight as she answered her best friend, “Oh, I don't know. And besides, I don't handle the opposite sex very well. Xander and Giles and my dad . . . well they're like family, although a lot of the time I wish Xander were more than that . . . Anyway, I don't think I could handle guys flocking to me. I'd probably get real tense and jittery and squeak a lot.”

“Which is something we obviously need to work on,” Buffy consented. Self-image problems could usually be handled by a makeover, chronic and intense shyness was an entirely other matter. Still, the Slayer was very much up to the challenge. Now if only there was a guy for Willow . . .

₪ ₪ ₪

The factory was a rather dull, and crowded, place during the daylight hours, but for Spike, Drusilla and their minions, it had been home for the past five months. Some even longer than that, having been followers of the Master and the Anointed One.

However today was a rather bad day, and the unknowing vampires were about to find out it was going to get a lot worse. Spike, still recovering from being buried in a burning church, rolled out from his and Drusilla's bedroom onto the main floor. None of the minions milling around there dared to even give the Master vampire a sideways glance. Not after what had happened the first time some idiot made fun of Spike rolling around in a wheel chair.

As he was mulling about, he noticed that Drusilla came out of their bedroom to join him, looking quite frightened. Something that didn't bode well for any of them, he knew from experience.

“What's wrong pet?” he asked upon seeing her expression.

“The stars . . . they scream their warnings at me . . . they scream of the darkness, the end, the Omega comes,” she whimpered, sounding terrified and strangely lucid at the same time.

“What is it? What is this Omega?” he asked, desperate for more information.

“They come,” she whimpered. “We'll be driven out, but they come not for us. There will be a war. Terrible, terrible fighting, and oh how I will dance in the blood drenched reeds like a thorny picket in the rain,” she started to dance and talk in a sing-song voice, so Spike knew that the vision of whatever was coming had either passed or become too much for Dru to stand, so she retreated into her insanity.

He grabbed the nearest minion and growled out, “Double the guard. I want this place to be a virtual fortress before nightfall. Somethings coming and it doesn't bode well for us. GET MOVING!!”

“Cripes, I hate dealing with minions,” Spike muttered to himself as he rolled along to the long-table in the center of the room. “Might as well bloody dust them all for all the good they do me.”

The moment he said that, suddenly then entire building was rocked with a series of ground-pounding explosions. For a moment, Spike was afraid the roof was going to collapse on him again or let in the sunlight, but instead it seemed that all around the factory, the ground had exploded, leaving dusty holes coming up from the sewers beneath the building.

Before any of the vampires could really react, blurred figures launched out of the holes and faster than any of them could react started to fight and then dust all of the vampires in the factory. Save for the two near-cowering at the table in the middle of the room. Within 50 seconds of the explosions, all of Spike's minions were part of the settling dust and he and Drusilla were the only vampires left undead . . . except for the fifty some odd vamps in strange uniforms, which had done the dusting of Spike and Drusilla's minions.

“What the bloody hell is the meaning of this!” Spike demanded, getting enough of his backbone back to speak.

Surprisingly quick, a deafening hush fell over the entire building. Even the normal creaks and groans of the old structure, and the settling dust seemed to quiet down after Spike's demand. Until. . .

Footsteps. Loud, heavy ones at that. Drusilla, beside him, began to tremble slightly, holding herself closer to him without actually crawling into his chair with him. After several of those booming steps, Spike thought he could see some movement in the ranks of blue and beige uniformed vampires.

Finally, after almost a minute of tense waiting, a demon appeared amidst the ranks of vampires. Then, just as quickly as Spike noticed the demon, all of the uniformed vampires between Spike and Drusilla, and the demon stepped to the side in a simultaneous, almost military movement, revealing the demon to the two master vampires.

It, or rather he, was just over seven and a half feet tall, almost nine with his boots. He was dressed in dark, coarse leather armor, with padded black, steel-studded cloth covering his arms and legs between the leather. His defining demon traits, first and foremost was that he had blue skin, was completely hairless, and had six consecutive ivory-looking horns, three on each side, on his head, almost like some kind of natural made crown. It had blood red eyes, through and through, and physically it looked age wise like a late 40-year-old human. Of course with demons, that could just mean that it's several thousands of years old.

“The meaning of this is quite simple,” the demon said in a strangely proper voice, sounding New Zealand-ish. “One of my warriors did not report in this morning. My warriors always report in. Unless they are dead, or delayed. Oh, and excuse me, I seem to have forgotten to introduce myself.” He made a short demi-bow, and when he straightened his face was entirely serious as he introduced himself, “I am the Judge.”

Spike and Drusilla just stared for several long seconds, trying to work through their minds . . . or rather Spike was trying to figure out what this demon meant with all of his ramblings so far. Lucky for Spike though, who normally makes fun of demons with simple funny names, the Judge's reputation preceded him.

Gulping and trying not to soil himself, Spike answered to the Judge as respectfully, and fearfully as he was able. “Uh, uhm, wi-wit-with all-all d-due respect, your Judge-ship, but what does that have to do with me? You're missing warrior that is.”

“It is customary for one to introduce themselves after another had just done the same,” the Judge monotoned.

Scrambling almost, if he weren't paralyzed from the waist down, Spike hastened to correct his mistake. “Oh, um, right. Sorry bout that. I'm Spike, William the Bloody, of the Scourge of Europe, and this is Drusilla, my sire and . . .” Spike hesitated, almost holding the information back, but he knew that it could make the difference on whether or not the two of them would be joining their minions or not, “ . . . a vampire seer. Driven insane by Angelus before being turned.”

The Judge shifted his gaze immediately to Drusilla, who whimpered slightly before meeting the Judge's gaze. Shortly after though, her eyes glazed over and she started to hum a strange melody to herself. The Judge smiled wickedly at this, but returned a scowl as he looked back at Spike.

“As I said, my warriors only fail to report in when killed . . . or delayed,” he repeated.

Spike finally caught on and he couldn't hold back a snort of contempt. “And you think I'm holding him here? Puh-lease. Only vamps I let in . . . er, normally let in are minions only. Strangers don't really get along too well with . . . uh, that lot. Nor are they much welcomed. And . . . if I had known one of your warriors was in town, WHICH I DIDN'T, I would have made sure to steer clear of him and not delayed him for a second of anything! And if the only other option is that he's dead, why not go harass the bloody Slayer. She probably wasted his arse last night!”

“The Slayer!” the Judge exclaimed. His minions knew it was excitement that tinged his voice, but Spike and Drusilla were afraid that they were about to be burned away by the Judge's wrath.

“Oh, this was a wonderful idea, coming to the Hellmouth,” the Judge exclaimed to his minions. “The Slayer. I've heard many things about this one. She defeated Nest, didn't she?”

Spike only nodded in numb agreement.

“And you, and your own warriors have survived her existence?”

Spike shrugged and felt like bragging a little. “Well yeah. Hey, I'll have you know I've done in two other Slayers all by my bloody self. This one . . . well she's got some friends that help her out, and she's got a mean right hook, but as soon as I heal up I'll be back in the game to take her out!” Spike growled with his own excitement.

The Judge stared at Spike with new respect, that is to say a very small amount of actual respect where before there had been none. “You're that William the Bloody?” he asked.

A little intimidated, Spike nodded and answered softly, “Uh, yes sir.”

The Judge broke out into a savage grin, showing off broken yellowed teeth. “I like you're style. You and your sire get to live. I may even take you on as one of my warriors. And I always treat my warriors well. Get them some nourishment. I have . . . plans to make for this Slayer. Come . . . Spike was it? Tell me of this Slayer. I wish to know her every move so as to be prepared.”

Spike matched the Judge's grin at that and rolled around to join the big blue demon at the long table. “Well, now you're talking my kinda business.” Spike began to talk with the Judge.

₪ ₪ ₪

“So you say that this vampire's clothing appeared to be a uniform of some sort?” Giles asked as he walked around the Library table.

The entire Scooby Gang was present, Angel was in a shadowy corner, answering questions cast his way, Willow was sitting next to Xander on the left side of the table, while Buffy and Cordelia sat opposite them. Ms. Calendar, or Jenny as Giles often called her, was sitting on the table at the far end, facing Rupert as he paced around the table, writing in a book as he did.

“Yep. White pants with that military stripe on the sides that you usually only see with the marines, only it was a blue stripe, not the red on navy the actual marines have. Then he had on some kind of blue silk shirt and then there was that symbol that he had over his heart. It was on some kind of black material stylized in gold.” Buffy answered.

“Do you remember what this symbol looked like?” Giles looked up to ask his question.

“I do,” Angel answered and stepped forward from his shadowy corner. He handed Giles a folded piece of paper. “I figured it be important, so here.”

Giles took the paper and quickly unfolded it to reveal the symbol. He frowned, until Angel turned the paper around in his hands, showing that the Watcher had been holding it upside down. “Ah,” he said gratefully until he looked back at the paper, and then frowned again.

“Giles? What is it? That is not a happy face. That is a worried, could be an apocalypse about to happen face,” Buffy demanded to know.

“Uh, well, I'm not quite certain,” Giles admitted. “I, well this symbol could be a reference to some kind of demonic cult, or it could be something this vampire stole off a biker he recently killed. It . . . does seem familiar, but I'm afraid I cannot properly identify it without some more research. Nevertheless, if this vampire was a member of some kind of demon cult, they may take his premature death, or rather permanent death, as an offense. So I believe that caution is in order for the next few patrols.”

“Uh Giles? Duh! I go out and kill the undead. In what way is caution not a part of this?” Buffy sarcastically asked.

“Yes, well . . .” Giles stuttered.

Finally he snapped out of his stupor and glared at the Slayer. “All well and good Buffy, but knowing how easily it is that you are . . . are prone to distraction, I think that it would be prudent if I sent a chaperone with you on patrol for the next few nights.”

“Giles, thanks for offering, but you tend to get knocked out by demons and vampires more than I get 'distracted',” Buffy retorted back, severely annoyed, and embarrassed.

Thankfully Angel couldn't blush as he said in Buffy's place, “That would probably be a good idea. Another person on patrol could always help, and I'm sure that Giles is more than capable of handling nightly patrol . . .”

“Yes, well, I must stay and research this symbol, so I am afraid that that won't be me. Actually, given that you might not have anything to do for the next few nights, I was hoping that Xander might accompany Buffy and Angel on patrol.” Giles told them.

Xander suddenly looked up, stunned. “Me?” he asked, sounding as surprised as everyone else in the room was. Then he actually thought about it, in the terms that Giles was not implying from the start. If Giles couldn't go, that left him, Cordelia, Jenny, and Willow. A cheerleader, a computer teacher, or a computer geek that squeaked at her own shadow. Out of that, he was the best choice.

“Uh, okay,” he hesitantly agreed.

“Don't worry Xander, I hardly expect you to go out unprepared. We'll get you fully equipped, and I'm sure that you can handle a crossbow, especially after that debacle at Halloween,” Giles helpfully reminded them all.

“Right, the whole point and shoot philosophy. I am quite familiar with that,” Xander nodded, starting to get excited, and now really looking forward to riding Deadboy's goat all night. . . . Not literally, metaphorically.

Buffy was groaning inside, but she kept it to herself. Besides, it wouldn't be *too* bad. Xander was fun to have on patrols sometimes. Especially when there really wasn't much happening. And he had been useful against that egg demon that had been beneath the school, so he wasn't completely helpless or unable to fight, he just wasn't the best fighter they had. But again, she wasn't planning that much of anything would happen for the next week or so, what with Spike and Drusilla taken out of the picture, so it could be fun.

“Right well, let's get Xander outfitted for patrol and we'll call it a night. Oh, and Buffy, Angel, if you wouldn't mind stopping by after patrol is over? Just to check in, make sure that everything is staying quiet,” Giles asked.

“Sure, not a problem,” Angel answered, seeing that Buffy was somewhat distracted.

Giles and Willow took Xander over to the cage and started sorting out the weaponry there and Xander started packing away stakes, bottles of holy water, crucifixes, while Giles got out the big weapons and Willow handing him the smaller stuff.

₪ ₪ ₪

The night before, Angel and Buffy had covered the inner city cemeteries as well as the downtown areas where vamps liked to stalk. So tonight, with Xander they started at one of the outermost grave yards.

Xander, carrying the crossbow between him and Angel, also with a sword strapped to his hip and more than a dozen stakes hidden around his person, was nervous, and more than he had a right to be. Of course, that nervousness was affecting his mood and speech patterns.

“So, uh, you guys are pretty sure that that vamp with the uniform, which I find highly unorthodox in the way that the Hellmouth is supposed to operate, I mean what if all of a sudden we find ourselves in the middle of some vampire turf war and are we supposed to pick one gang over the other, or are we supposed to be the police in this matter and fight everybody and everything? Anyway, you're sure he doesn't have like a posse coming after us for revenge or anything like that?”

Buffy was fighting the smile trying to crawl onto her face, while Angel had the closest thing his brooding face ever had to a smile. “It's been a quiet week Xander, and it's not Tuesday. So don't worry. I imagine this'll just be a regular normal patrol,” Buffy told him.

“Well, if you say so,” Xander tried to sound nonchalant about it all of a sudden. Then he stopped walking and Buffy and Angel wondered why he was looking behind them.

“Uh, Buff?” he asked, his voice now sounding like it was bordering on squeaking.

“Yeah Xander?” Buffy asked, starting to get a mite bit annoyed with her friend.

“Those uniforms that vamp was wearing? It was white pants with a blue stripe, black boots, and a blue shirt with a sort of vested black symbol that looks like an upside down horseshoe over the chest, right?”

Buffy frowned and shared a look with Angel before answering, “Uh, yeah. Hey, I don't remember telling you what that symbol looked like and Angel handed the drawing straight to Giles. How'd you know what it looked like?”

“Well, a wild guess here, but maybe because I'm seeing it right now on all of the vamps that are now surrounding us?” Xander did squeak this time.

Buffy and Angel tensed, and then slowly turned around, and stopped. From just the first glance, Buffy counted almost 30 vampires in the massed group before them, and at the head of that hoard was a demon that, for once, did not match with all of the uniformed vamps. The demon, which was obviously the one in charge at the moment, had pale blue skin and short ivory horns all around its head, but below the neck it was covered in hard leather armor. Hard leather armor that molded to a seven and a half foot solid, packed muscled frame that held untold amount of power. And the cocky, smarmy grin on it's face didn't bode well for them either.

For several minutes the Slayer and her friends, and the demon and it's vampires just stared at one another across the short distance of barely 20 feet. Then the demon cocked it's head, like it was silently laughing at them, and he uncrossed his arms.

“So,” he said with a slightly proper accent in a deep voice, “you're the Slayer that vanquished Marcus? He was an idiot trainee anyway, not that I mind you killed him, but any Slayer that can defeat and destroy one of my warriors deserves my attention . . . and see if she can do the same to me.”

The humor in his tone was not lost on Buffy, and she had no doubt that this thing was mocking her. She hated being mocked.

“Great, so let's just get this over with already, I've got homework to do ya big smurf!” Buffy snapped back, getting into a fighting position. Xander, just behind her, took a few more steps back so he could take out the crossbow and fit a couple of wooden bolts into it. He also made sure that the sword he carried was in easy reach.

“By the way, you got a name for me to scribble on your tombstone with your own blood?” Buffy snarly asked.

The demon just smirked at her and crossed his arms again. “I am known as . . . The Judge.”

Buffy and Xander almost both made rude comments about corny names, but they were distracted by Angel's reaction to the demon's name. Obviously he had heard of the Judge.

“Ah,” the Judge took notice of the vampire, “You must be Angel. Cute. Spike told me about you as well. This should be an interesting fight. Kill them, but don't get in my way,” the Judge ordered. Instantly, moving like a well-trained infantry, the 30 vampires surged forward, taking away Buffy and Xander's chance to ask Angel what he knew about this Judge demon.

Xander didn't hesitate, in fact one might go as far as to say that he moved before thinking as he raised the crossbow, pointed it at a vampire and fired the wooden bolt. Either through dumb luck, or because the vampire had thought Xander had actually aimed and tried to dodge, but the vamp that Xander shot at was dust the moment the arrow reached it.

Angel finally fell out of his funk and he moved forward with Buffy to meet the charging vampires. They ducked and dodged the first few hits their many opponents sent their way, using the opportunities to land as many of their own hits as they could while inside the vampires' defenses. Buffy, not long after Xander's arrow dusted the first vampire, dusted the second of the evening with a quick flash of her stake through it's heart, and moved on to the rest before they lost the advantage. That unfortunately didn't last long as, unexpectedly the vampires quickly countered the duo's attacking and before too long it was an even match, except that there were over 25 vampires and only two defenders.

Xander opted for running for cover rather than risk being taken hostage, not that many of the vampires even glanced twice at him. That was surprising enough on it's own, vampires actually following orders. Unfortunately for Buffy and Angel, those orders were to kill them. Fortunately for Xander, that gave him enough time to string another bolt from his hiding place. He didn't bother aiming, knowing his aim was so off he'd probably hit Buffy while aiming for the big blue demon, who was on the far side and in the complete opposite direction of the Slayer. So, he just pointed his crossbow and pulled the trigger.

If ever Xander was confronted about what power he contributed to the group, he decided, he would tell the person that his power was dumb luck, because he obviously had a lot of that going on as he dusted another vampire, and then another with his next shot. Three vamps dusted in one night. Cordelia would be so proud, he thought to himself.

Then he stopped and almost impaled himself with his next arrow as he slapped his head, wondering where on Earth, or Hell, that thought had come from.

Buffy meanwhile, while grateful for the long-range assistance Xander was providing, much preferred concentrating on the vampires around her and Angel. They were definitely experienced fighters, and that was giving the Slayer more trouble than she wanted. So, deciding to fight dirty and win rather than play by the rules, Buffy made most of her kicks angle to in between the legs of the vampires, giving her the opportunity to dust some, while at other times it was just enough of a distraction so she could concentrate on one vampire at a time.

Angel was just moving as fast as he possibly could, using his weapon, a wooden stake, to the best of his ability, and trying to avoid having it turned against him by the other vampires.

For a minute or two, the Judge just hung back, watching the two fend off his vampire warriors. The fighters were good, better than he expected, and therefore better than Spike expected, which is probably why the bleached blonde vampire was in a wheel chair and both Buffy and Angel were still alive and kicking. The Judge winced as one of his warriors cried out in a high-pitched squeal after one such kick from the Slayer. Probably a good thing that she dusted that one immediately after, it would have taken at least a decade for that to heal properly.

Finally, the Judge felt a familiar and yet long forgotten rush enter his body. The rush of an anticipated battle. With a savage and demonic grin, he trudged forward into the mass of vampires and Slayer.

After killing his ninth vampire, Xander was running low on arrows. Unfortunately his perfect aim streak hadn't lasted very long and most of his shots only served to distract the vampires directly around Buffy and Angel, hitting them in the leg or the arm or the shoulder. Occasionally he managed to dust a vampire with a two shot, one in a non-vital area to get him to turn around and face Xander, the second a heart shot. As good as all these vampires were, Xander was just grateful none of them could pull off that catching the arrow in mid-air trick.

Then he noticed the big blue demon heading into the fight and knew this couldn't be good. So, using one of his last two arrows, he aimed for the demon's head, it's only unprotected part, and fired. The arrow flew straight and true . . . and bounced off one of the demon's horns, but startling it enough to make it halt its progress, giving Buffy and Angel more time. At least Xander told himself that was his plan. He quickly loaded his last arrow and took aim quickly, hoping to hit the things eye, or at the very least give him a scratch on the cheek. He fired, and probably would have hit the Judge's eye, if the blue skinned demon hadn't held up one of his vampire minions, allowing Xander to dust his tenth vampire of the night.

And unfortunately for the non-supernatural demon hunter, it was also his last arrow. Gulping, he dropped the crossbow and held up the sword he had been given with both hands, waiting to see if any vamps would actually come his way. He wasn't stupid enough to go charging in swinging the bladed weapon like a baseball bat in a batting cage. At best he would get himself killed instantly, and at worst he would distract Buffy at a critical moment which would get all of them killed.

Seeing that the little boy with the crossbow was no longer a threat, no matter how pathetic and unimportant of one, the Judge turned his attention back to the Slayer and her pet vampire.

Buffy was doing the best she could, which was saying something of a Slayer, but unfortunately she had only managed to get about ten of the trained vampires herself. She had run out of stakes after the seventh one, and after that relied on whatever wood or trees were around, or decapitating them with the sword Xander had tossed to her, from that point on relying on his supply of holy water and crosses.

It wasn't until one vampire got in a lucky shot that knocked the bladed weapon away from her that she finally noticed the blue demon calling itself The Judge, was heading right for her. She spin kicked the offending vampire, aiming her foot at the neck, instantly breaking it's neck and keeping it out of the fight for a few minutes.

Angel, who'd been nearby and had only done enough to keep Buffy from being overwhelmed, which was more than enough by itself, had only gotten about three or four vampires, as he staked the one Buffy had just broken the neck of, and throwing his last stake as a dagger, got the one that had been trying to sneak up on the Slayer as she dealt with three of the remaining vampire warriors.

The Judge, having taken his time, wasted no more of it, planning on ending this quickly and then tormenting the vampire for a while by disgracing her corpse after a single punch to the back of her head. He hadn't expected, but didn't let that affect his fighting, her to duck half an instant before his armored fist would have connected.

Buffy felt the demon at her back, the little hairs on the back of her neck giving her just enough warning to dodge the demon's and the vampire's attacks and while she was down there, kicking the vampire away, and then spinning her extended leg in an attempt to sweep-kick the demon to the ground. Unfortunately, all she managed to do was kick it really hard on its thigh.

It was only enough for her to back up and get her bearing straight, and then she was forced on the defensive as the larger and far more powerful demon swung at her with controlled punches and kicks, making the demon all the more dangerous. It wasn't as fast as the Slayer, a good thing, but it was obviously a lot stronger than her and it knew what it was doing, a very bad thing. Buffy tried to fit in a couple high kicks and even low-blow punches, but if her attacks had any effect at all, they weren't much.

Grinning savagely, the Judge kept up the slow pace to lure the Slayer into a very small sense of security. Just for the fun of it though he briefly increased his speed for precise moments to land one hit or two, causing the Slayer to cry out in pain as she was knocked several feet back and to the ground. She got right back up of course, he wasn't bored enough to use full force yet.

Angel, being distracted by the last five vampires, watched on helplessly as the Judge toyed with Buffy, every blow that he landed knocking her back, while that wasn't as often as her own hits, hers weren't even having an effect on the demon that he could see.

Xander knew he couldn't help Buffy, no matter how much he wished he could, he just wasn't strong or good enough that he could help. Until he saw something that just might turn the tide. Edging around in the shadows was easier than he'd hoped, even with all the vamps fighting Angel, while Xander crept towards the sword that Buffy had dropped earlier. Just before he got to it, he and Angel both heard clearly through the surprisingly quiet clearing, “As much fun as this was Slayer, I think I've gotten bored if this is the best fight you have to offer.”

Buffy snarled at the demon, knowing that while he was strong, she had been dodging most of his hits, so he wasn't faster than her. Moving in as fast as she could, she clenched her muscles for the strongest attack she had ever thrown at anything before, but just before she got to him, he disappeared.

Left blinking, wondering where he'd gone too, the little hairs on the back of Buffy's neck only had enough time to tell her the hit was coming before she was slammed forward like she'd been hit point blank by a cannon ball to the back of her head. Too late she realized that the Judge was a lot faster than he looked.

For about half a minute, Buffy just lay where she had landed, feeling the pain, and racking her mind for any possible way to beat this thing. The Judge, and his vampires were laughing, she heard that, and it was just enough incentive to get back to her feet. Well, try to anyway.

Xander cheered inside when he saw Buffy start moving and began to brace herself against the ground and start to push herself to her feet. He had the sword, now he just had to get it into the Slayer's hands so she could kill this blue bastard and they could all go home.

Buffy, weakly, had managed to get herself to her knees when she realized that the demon's laughing had stopped, and she looked up at him, despite the pain of her neck and head protesting such a sudden action.

The Judge glared at the Slayer with anger and contempt. She was stronger than he'd first guessed to still be conscious, let alone alive after a direct hit from him with his full strength behind it. Now he was annoyed, and the Slayer was going to die. Right now.

Snarling a little himself, the Judge quickly stalked forward, holding his right hand out before him, as though to grab the Slayer. She knew it would be a very bad thing if he succeeded, but her body wasn't moving as fast as she needed it to as she struggled, half falling back, to her feet, the fear of what the Judge would do if he got his hands on her giving her the strength to stand up fully.

She would never, ever forget what happened next, having nightmares for years where it played out over and over, never changing, never a detail muddied or lost in the passage of time. But it all happened so quickly.

One instant Angel had been fighting and surrounded by the last of the Judge's vampire warriors, and the next, as they both blinked Angel was suddenly between the Judge and Buffy. When the Judge's outstretched hand touched Angel's chest on its way to Buffy's head, there was a brief flash of dark orange light, and Angel's face contorted in excruciating pain.

The Judge snarled at the vampire, scowling deeply as his demonic power surged at the contact with a souled creature. He picked Angel up with his other hand around the vampire's throat until the souled vampire was dangling two feet off the ground. Glaring, the Judge turned to Buffy and told her ominously, “Watch Slayer as your pet vampire, uselessly, sacrifices himself to try and save you. No one defies me!”

With that, the Judge turned an almost gleefully evil smile up at Angel as he held up his first hand and then put it against the vampire's chest. That dark orange light, much brighter, filled the clearing once more and Angel didn't just squint in pain, but screamed as if he were slowly being burned alive. The screams became higher and louder as Buffy watched helplessly, paralyzed by fear, tears pouring down her face as the man she loved with all her heart was tortured before her, slowly dying.

Xander wet himself as he stared at the scene, using all of his will not to cry out or rush forward and not get himself killed.

The screams finally died out as the dark orange energy finally covered all of Angel's body and in a single second as it enclosed on him like an evil cocoon of energy, the vampire once known as Angelus Scourge of Europe, and then as Angel the Vampire with a Soul, dissolved into dust with a final demonic scream, echoing a second longer as the Soul joined in.

And then the clearing was quiet once more.

The Judge clapped his hands, clearing off the dust from Angel and turned, still with that same evil smile on his face, to Buffy, no doubt planning to do the same thing to her.

Xander knew he couldn't wait a second longer. Rushing out from his hiding place, he shouted just after throwing the sword, “BUFFY!”

Without even looking at Xander or the oncoming weapon, Buffy caught the blade from the air and moved faster than she ever had before, and faster than the Judge could move at his maximum power. “MONSTER!” she screamed in rage as she attacked with the sword.

The Judge was surprised at the sudden attack, and the strength and speed with which it was given. No Slayer, that he had encountered, had ever been so absolutely vicious before! That didn't mean he sat there stunned and took it of course.

She swung the sword at him with intent to kill, which he could respect, but the sword was obviously not her weapon of choice as it was clearly only a tool in her hand, not a part of her as some swordsmen that had tried their fate against the Judge. He mostly blocked her blade strikes with his armored gauntlets, sparks flying each time the metals hit with enough force. Some he was forced to dodge, not a tactic the Judge used very often.

Buffy couldn't see anything beyond the red. Except for a face, full of contempt, and blue. Against the red her target stood out like a beacon and all she cared about, all the Slayer focused on was destroying her target. At any costs.

The vampires, no longer with Angel to distract them, looked on at the fight between their master and his opponent, a grieving Slayer possessed with rage.

“Shit man, there's no way we can win this, invincible demon or not!” one of the vampire warriors cried out. The oldest left among them, having been with the Judge for centuries already, almost staked the uniformed warrior where he stood, but restrained himself, because blasphemy or not, it was the truth and he wasn't stupid enough to ignore it.

“Go, don't get in his way, and try to distract her, give him an opening, ANYTHING!” the leader among them screamed as he lead the way into the battle with the Slayer.

As soon as he was in range though, the Slayer's sword flashed out faster than even the vampire could follow, and a moment after that, his arm was at his feet, and crumbling to dust. He back up in terror even as the other four vampires rushed the blonde Slayer.

One got a kick to the chest and went flying over thirty feet back, and lay there for about a minute before getting back up to decide it was time to talk the Judge into retreating for now, otherwise there was a very good chance the Slayer would kill them all.

The last few vampires hung back after seeing what she had done to their brethren and decided just to keep the Slayer from running away by keeping a semi-ring around her and the Judge. The Judge was taking every opportunity he could in killing the Slayer. Many times he exerted his energy, which was supposed to burn the souled creatures of the world away into dust. She was either immune, which he knew was impossible, or she was moving too fast for the full effect to take, which he knew was very likely as she kept slipping by his attacks, and this time he wasn't pulling his punches.

Buffy knew her punches and kicks weren't having enough of an effect on the demon to end this fight, the same way it could with vampires by making them slip up and give her an opening, too blinded by the pain they felt to defend themselves. The Judge was just too damn tough. And his armor and those gauntlets of his were really annoying, keeping the sword from being most effective.

After about a minute of the pattern of trying to kill each other and either blocking or dodging just enough to keep it from happening, with occasional distractions by the vampires, which Buffy didn't let bother her for long, she finally found her opening. Spinning around, she kicked his thigh again, but this time with enough force that she knew he felt it, then rapidly spinning in the other direction she backhanded his arm so it flew out to the side. Now, for the briefest of seconds, he was left unguarded.

Bringing her arm back to grab the hilt with her other hand, she pulled the sword back to give it more running room, and then she thrust it forward into the demon's belly, between a soft spot in the armor that she had seen. The Judge's eyes went wide in shock, and instinctually reacted, punching the Slayer off of him with all of his power. A flash of orange light highlighted the punch on Buffy's body, and despite the immense pain such a blow caused her, she held on to the sword, and as she flew back, the blade retreated from the demon's body trailing dark blue and black blood with it.

The Judge cried out in pain and fell to his knees in agony. His vampire warriors just stared, stunned and frozen by shock to do much more than maintain their guard positions.

Buffy, only lightly sizzling around the edges, got back up and ran at the Judge one more time, this time raising the sword for a decapitating blow. The Judge saw this, his eyes widening in brief fear. Just as the blade was coming down, however, the Judge's right arm snapped up and caught the blade in its gloved fist. Instantly, the same dark orange energy that had consumed Angel, that had blasted Buffy away from him just seconds ago, it flared up around the Judge's fist and quickly traveled down the metal weapon until it reached the hilt where it met flesh. An instant later there was a blinding flash of light and a small explosion, resulting in Buffy being flown back almost 50 yards. Her entire body was smoking like a burnt fire cracker, and her hands were blackened with 3rd degree burns.

Xander, not too far from where Buffy had landed, was quickly by his friend's side and held her.

He noticed she was unconscious and then looked fearfully up at the demon and his vampires, knowing that if they did decide to attack and finish Buffy off, they would succeed. There was no way he could carry Buffy and outrun five vampires and a demon, even if the demon was injured. He could only hope at this point that they would decide to retreat and lick their wounds for now.

The Judge was entering what mortal humans typically referred to as shock. He had been severely injured. By a mortal! A Slayer yes, but no mortal had ever before injured him in any way more than a bruise.

“Lord Judge,” one of his vampire warriors called him. He looked up, the numb disbelief more than evident on his face. “We must retreat Lord Judge. The Slayer is too filled with rage at this time that we can possibly succeed. You've been injured, we must retreat so you can heal!”

The Judge balked at the idea of retreating, until the shock gave way to the pain, and he knew the truth. He grimly nodded, struggling not to show weakness from the pain and held out his hand to be helped to his feet. His remaining warriors offered it and helped him without hesitation. Quickly, the six of them retreated into the night, leaving only a ground filled with dust, and one young boy protecting his super hero friend.

₪ ₪ ₪

About ten feet out from the rear Library entrance, Buffy had finally begun to break down emotionally and almost literally collapsed into Xander's arms. She had awoken about five minutes after the Judge and his warriors had fled, and only after Xander spent about a minute convincing her none of it was a dream, and seeing the pile of dust from Angel, she shut down, emotionally speaking. She had let Xander lead her back to the Library, walking stiffly, more from her injuries than her status, and not saying or doing anything other than walking. If Xander hadn't been leading her along, who knows where she might have ended up.

Then, just as they were almost home free, it began as a small, steady whimper. Then it became obvious to Xander that his friend was crying. Soon crying developed into all out sobbing, and only thanks to Xander holding her around the waist and shoulders to help her keep moving did she not fall to her knees in tears there on the School lawn.

Despite feeling acute sympathy for his friend, he knew they were still in danger and he couldn't let her grief get them killed. “C'mon Buff, we're almost there. We can make it. We have to get to Giles. He has to know what's happened Buff. C'mon, please!” he begged.

Amazingly, Xander managed to get Buffy to the door only to find that it was locked, and no amount of banging on his part, or the wails coming from the Slayer were having any effect on changing that. So, with a lot more cajoling, he got Buffy moving again and to his amazing luck, Xander found the front door unlocked and quickly started moving the Slayer through the halls and with a burst of energy, made a very dramatic entrance into the Library, throwing the doors wide open and maybe even denting some of the wood.

“Buffy how many times have I . . .” Giles started to say as he walked out of his office, only to stop at seeing Xander carrying a crying and wailing Buffy, who was also burned and still smoking a little.

“Oh dear lord!” Giles cried and rushed around to help Xander with his burden, much to the teenager's relief.

Willow and Cordelia, who had been up in the stacks reading up on Buffy's “uniform vamp” quickly rushed down the stairs to see what all the commotion was about. When they saw the Slayer and Xander though, all their concern shifted to their friends.

“BUFFY!” Willow screamed as she was instantly by the Slayer's side.

Instinctively, the blonde reached up and grabbed onto her best friend, just being held as she wallowed in her grief. Willow, at a loss at her friend's unexplained behavior, didn't catch Cordelia hovering around an injured Xander, who had gotten banged up from being thrown around during the fight.

“Xander,” Giles asked after seeing that Buffy was in absolutely no condition to be answering any of his questions, “what the devil happened? You look like several vampires used you as a punching bag, and Buffy is badly burned . . . and where is Angel?” he finally asked.

At the mention of the souled vampire, Buffy's wailing and crying increased threefold and her grip around Willow also increased. It wasn't until the redhead, red-faced girl was starting to turn purple that she finally squeaked out, “Buffy! Need . . . Oxygen . . . Air!”

Finally the Slayer released her friend, but it wasn't until a few moments after this that Willow realized it was because the blonde had passed out, still crying even in her sleep. After seeing that Buffy was safely unconscious, and resting in one of the chairs, Willow joined the conversation with Xander.

“OK, now that Buffy's getting some rest, does somebody want to explain what happened tonight?” Willow demanded, although she was looking right at Xander.

Xander, who hadn't spoken a word since they came in, just kept looking at his shoes, tear tracks from tears that he hadn't even noticed staining his face. After Willow joined them, he took a deep sigh and looked up into each of their faces. “Angel's dead,” he said without any emotion at all.

“Remember that vamp with a uniform Buffy and . . . that they met last night, which we were researching? Well, he had friends. Some demon in leather armor and with blue skin showed up tonight with about 30 others just like the one Buffy described. Only thanks to the crossbow, which let me stay long distance, did I not get beat up worse than this. Buffy and . . . Angel were in the thick of it. I'm not sure, but I think Buffy got about ten of them. Then . . . the demon got into the fight.”

The tears were coming more rapidly now, as Xander sniffed and tried to keep his voice clear before moving on. “It went after Buffy first, but Angel got in its way. So, it picked him up by the throat, and then using its other hand . . . he burned Angel into dust. Just like that. Buffy lost it and attacked the demon. He tried to do the same thing to her, but she managed to injure it, enough that it and all its vampires retreated rather than finish us off. Oh gawd, Angel's ashes must still be out there.”

Willow, always very empathic with all of her friends, was near tears herself, while Cordelia just looked incredibly uncomfortable. Giles, however, was frowning in concentration. Before any more hysterics could start, the Watcher demanded from the teenager, “Xander, this is very important, but can you recall if this blue-skinned demon ever gave its name?”

Xander scowled in anger, and almost snarled at the Watcher, “Yeah. It'll be a long time before I forget it too. It called itself 'The Judge'. And it called all the vampires 'it's warriors', very possessive like . . .” he stopped with a sigh. It was a sign of how tired and totally drained he was that he couldn't even joke himself out of a situation like this.

Giles, meanwhile, had paled and quickly, and quietly left while the girls tended to Buffy and Xander's wounds, mostly just some bruise-salve for Xander while some burn ointment to the unconscious Slayer.

In his office, Giles pulled a slim, black cover booklet from the back of the bottom drawer in his desk, just underneath where he kept Buffy's Watcher Chronicle. The real one, not the edited version he sent to the Watcher's council. However, the very first number in the little black book, the one that he began to dial from his office phone, just happened to be the private, unlisted, and very secure emergency phone for the Watcher's Council. And not the organization, but the Council.

After about ten minutes, the minimum time that it took to convene the Council for an Emergency call from the Watcher of an active Slayer (conference call of course since having them all sitting in the Council Chambers would be preposterous at this time of day), the line finally picked up, and Giles heard the prim and proper voice, however filled with stress, of the Chief Watcher Liaison, Quentin Travers.

“Watcher Rupert Giles, I trust that this is not an ordinary emergency, given that you are in the land of crank calls I am hoping you understand the dire use of this line . . .” Quentin began to say.

Giles interrupted him, his emotion and urgency easily being conveyed across the pan-Atlantic conference call, “The Slayer, Buffy Summers, has encountered the Judge.”

There was silence on the line for about a minute and a half to almost three minutes. Giles surmised that he had been put on hold, but didn't bother commenting or getting frustrated, given, as Quentin had said, the direness of the circumstances.

Finally, Quentin's voice came back, “Watcher Giles, if what you say is true, I can most assuredly understand your excitement over this and how you might see this as a need to contact the Council with this number. However, just to inform us that Slayer Summers has defeated the . . .”

“She did not defeat or kill him sir,” Giles interrupted once again. “I'm told she severely injured him, but only enough to make him and his minions retreat. Vampiric minions that wear a blue-tunic uniform. With a seven star inverted horse-shoe symbol etched over their hearts?”

Again, several minutes of silence, broken rather abruptly by Quentin once again, “Are you sure, Watcher Giles, that it was the Judge, and not some other . . .”

“Blue skin, leather armor, and the ability to burn its victims with a touch of its hand,” Giles interrupted again, “From what I can recall of information I have read only half an hour ago, I would have to say this description only matches one of the many demons in all the books that I have, and uses vampiric minions of the Omega Order.”

This time, the silence, Giles knew, was not him being put on hold.

“Yes, well . . .” Quentin's voice trailed off until Giles heard the silence of hold come back.

After several more minutes of this, a new, strange, and unfamiliar voice broke the silence, “You will be contacted within 12 hours with more information as we have it available. Until then, do not reveal to your Slayer the true nature of the Judge or the existence of the Omega Order.” Then there was a final, and unmistakable click, indicating Giles had been hung up on.

With a sigh of trepidation, and trembling fingers, he hung up the phone on his end, and leaned back in his chair, rubbing his face. He knew this was only the beginning. He only wished he knew where this could end up.

₪ ₪ ₪

“OK Xander,” Willow snapped the moment Giles was in his office, “What really happened?”

“That is what really happened Will,” Xander answered dully.

“Yeah, that explains Buffy's reaction,” Willow squeaked, almost going into tears as she thought of her best friend's pain, but she soldiered on, “but not yours. You're almost as broken up as she is, and I know you Xander Harris, I can tell, so don't even try to deny it.”

“Yeah, Willow's right,” Cordelia scathingly remarked, “You hate Angel, or maybe I should say hated? Anyway, much as I disliked him because of that sneaking up on people thing he did, you never trusted the guy and every time he was in the room it was worse between you two than it's ever been between us.”

Willow nodded and added, “She's got a point Xander. If you and Angel were ever in a room together, there always had to be a referee. And I refuse to believe because Buffy . . . because Buffy got hurt that you're this sad. I would expect angry, but not . . . this.”

Xander just continued to sit there, ignoring the silence left as his two friends finally stopped speaking, waiting for his reply. A reply that wasn't coming because in his mind he just kept seeing it over and over again. Angel running to attack the Judge. Intercepting the demon before he could get to Buffy. The Judge, all high-and-mighty, casually lifting the vampire up and then with ease just burning him away to ash. Something Xander had wanted to see ever since he learned the truth about Angel, but not like this. Not like this.

“He died trying to save her. Trying to save Buffy. He probably did it too, saved her life, while I was stuck on the sidelines, getting beat up and trying not to get killed myself. He sacrificed himself for her.” It wasn't until he felt both girls embrace him in a hug that he realized he had said all of that out loud. Didn't matter anymore though, he thought as the tears started to come, and didn't stop, no matter what he tried to do.

₪ ₪ ₪

Buffy was healed, in the physical sense of the word, before the next afternoon, and Xander, while bandaged up, would be on his feet in practically no time himself. But they were all feeling the loss. Buffy, staying at home and crying her soul out, the excuse given to her mother was that a friend of hers that she knew around town had just died. Neither the whole truth or a lie, and it was one that Joyce could accept and gave her enough information to help her daughter get through this.

Xander took the others back to the spot, and with Cordelia and Willow's help, collected Angel's remains. What was left of them at any rate.

While they were doing that, Giles puttered around the area, working with Jenny over a crystal on a string. When it turned a dark, ugly blue color, Giles went pale and quickly moved everyone on from the location.

That night, when Buffy finally emerged from her home and grief, they had a small funeral with Angel's ashes, burying the remains next to a marble statue of an angel. Xander thought it ironically poetic, and Buffy agreed. The service, if it could be called that, was small and short. Each just sharing with one another their grief at a lost comrade in the never ending battle.

₪ ₪ ₪

A week later, Buffy's birthday came around. None of them felt much like celebrating, but Giles had rented out the Bronze for the night several months in advance, using funds provided by a certain bicentennial immortal that had a vested interest in Buffy's birthday. Seeing it rather not go to waste, the whole gang went anyway, with cake and the provided DJ paid off to show Willow how to use the sound system so they could have music, and with no more surprises after the small fiasco with the Judge.

Joyce Summers, needing to work the night of the party, promised her daughter a private, family party after it was all done. Buffy, still grieving over the loss of the man she loved with all her heart, crush or not, just mutely accepted the situation and hugged and kissed her mother goodbye before heading for the party with her friends.

None of them were in the mood for partying, but they did eat, and Xander played one country song in Angel's honor before Buffy herself tore out that CD and put in Linkin Park, if not a better mood then definitely better tunes.

Even Cordelia was much subdued and stuck to insulting and throwing jibes back and forth with Xander, hoping to keep from making a slip of mouth and reminding Buffy about the loss of Angel and thereby bringing the mood of the whole group back down to ground zero. It was a little easier than she feared, as she somehow felt that she too had been robbed of something in her time with Angel. She just kept to insulting Xander and eating cake.

Halfway through the night, a couple hours before midnight when they planned to call it quits and go home, the front door to the Bronze opened, startling everyone there. As a side effect of Willow jumping out of her skin, metaphorically speaking, the music suddenly quit and then there was only the sound of the stranger's feet walking to the dance floor, where everyone watched him approach.

“I'm sorry for interrupting,” he said with a light alto voice, “but is there a Buffy Summers and a Rupert Giles here by chance?”

Everyone suddenly looked at him very suspiciously, several remembering back in November when several assassins, hired by Spike, had gone after Buffy. Looking him up and down, they all assessed his threat level.

He was about five and a half feet tall, give or take an inch and a growth spurt or two. And he was young, younger than most of those in the room. At the very most he looked sixteen, but could easily pass for a mature looking 13 year old. He had long, wavy brown hair, his from bangs hanging down in a single lock over his right eye, while the rest of his locks hung in wind-blown fashion around the rest of his head.

Just because he looked young however, did not mean he was harmless or weak. Even Cordelia, admittedly the most dense when it came to judging a threat, could see the toned muscles on this boy, and in what ways those muscles could be turned around from looking great to being a terrible weapon.

He wore a simple white dress shirt, black pants and worn walking boots and a loose dark leather jacket that hung to just past his waist. He also carried a small, simple, plain duffel bag over his left shoulder, but as far as the experts, Buffy and Giles, could tell, he was not carrying any weapons. Not even a small dagger.

Of the eye everyone could clearly see, the young man had crystal clear blue eyes that for the moment seemed to exude a warm aura of trust, for those not instantly distrusting that is.

Giles finally stepped forward, removing his glasses to clean them, Ms. Calendar and Buffy coming up at his rear to support him, as he answered the young man, “Yes, I am Rupert Giles. May I help you?”

In reply, the boy just calmly stared back and looked carefully over each person in the room, much the same way they had just looked him over, but they could somehow sense that it was more than that as well. In what way, the couldn't tell though.

Finally, his eyes rested on the blonde in the back of the room, and all attention seemed to naturally focus from him to her with just that look. “You must be Buffy Summers then,” he said logically.

“May we help you?” Giles repeated, putting a little bit more emphasis in the question.

Now the young man turned his attention to Giles and a hint of a smile reached his face. “Again, forgive the intrusion, and my rather abrupt manner. I sincerely apologize for my rude behavior, but given the circumstances, I felt I did not have much recourse. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jason Eversheart. And Mr. Giles, I was sent by the Watcher's Council. To help you.”

Everyone just stared at him, stunned.

END Episode One

₪ ₪ ₪

Preview: The warrior that the Watcher's Council sent isn't even as old as the Slayer herself and yet despite all doubts, he is what he is, and he can and will teach the Slayer, and her friends, what it is he was sent to teach them. But can they learn the secrets of the Chi-Armor in time before the Judge returns for his revenge?

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