Disclaimer: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" are created by Joss Whedon and owned by Mutant/Enemy Productions. No spoilers or episodes are even so much as mentioned.
Summery: After being mortally injured, Buffy, Willow, and Xander return to the fold after a month long recovery period. Now everyone else has to deal with the new Scooby in their midst.
Discrepancies: Roughly one year after the end of "Buffy", no spoilers for the 5th Season of Angel or even a guess as to how that might be. The "Slayers" that were previously known as Slayers In Training, went back to their former lives except with the knowledge and the power to destroy evil. The "Guardians" which were said to have been wiped out with only one last member to tell Buffy about the scythe, reappeared through their descendants and retook their mantle as guides to the Slayers. Kennedy died; Willow avenged her, Faith (Spike is in Hell and paying for his crimes) joined up with the Angel crew and Giles followed as her Watcher/Guardian. And then about a month before this, Xander and Buffy were mortally wounded and Willow was the only one who could help them. They've spent the last month recovering and are rejoining the fight by meeting up with the LA crew.
Part 1Hyperion Hotel
"Are you sure about this?
" Buffy asked worriedly.
"Yes, we'll be fine, don't worry, we're all here to protect you,
" Willow comforted the Slayer. "Besides, what's the worst that could happen? Really? Cause we need to like be ready for the worst and if we have some ideas ahead of time we can have some idea on what to be ready for…
"Wills! Calm down, everything will be fine!
" Xander stressed.
"How do you put up with all this mental chatter anyway Xander?
" Anya asked.
"I've gotten used to it,
" he immediately replied.
"I wish there was a way we could make things easier on you Xander,
" Tara quietly apologized.
"Don't sweat it Tar, I told you, I've gotten used to it. And the benefits WAY outdo the drawbacks,
" Xander comforted the blonde wicca.
"Well if we're doing this, we need to get moving. As nervous as I am about it, standing here on the sidewalk looking at Angel's building is not making things better,
" Buffy complained.
"All right, all right, we're moving!
" Xander answered nervously to the Slayer's impatience. "Wills? Ya mind checking out to see who is and isn't here?
"Already did. Giles, Wesley, Gunn and Fred are in the office, near as I can tell doing some basic research about some prophecies and rumors from their sources. Faith is in the lobby taking care of the weapons, the green guy they call Lorne is upstairs in his room, Cordy's in her room, and Angel is in the basement with a couple others I'm not at all familiar with. But they have decent enough auras so he's not in any danger.
" Willow reported.
"The emotion is rather moderate. No one is nervous or panicking over anything, and the office meeting is mostly the formality of checking on demons and getting money from jobs of taking them out. Oh, and Giles just left and is heading towards Faith.
" Tara reported.
They all took one last collective sigh to prepare for what they were about to face and then headed through the courtyard and up the stairs into the hotel's lobby entrance.
Giles walked out of the office, rubbing the bridge of his nose, trying to stop the spread of the headache he got in dealing with the LA crew's method of handling things. Heaven forgive him, but he actually missed the familiar chaos of the Hellmouth.
He saw Faith sitting on the center love seat, currently polishing one of the battle-axes with about half of the rest of the weapons cabinet around her. Those that she had already finished were hanging in their places in the cabinet, shining with readiness to slaughter another evil creature.
"Heya G-man," Faith said as she put down the axe to get some more polish. She smirked when she saw the look on his face. "They drivin' ya batty again? This ain't Sunnyhell G-man, this is the big city, and we need our sources. Too many places for the uglies to hide without 'em."
"Yes, yes, I know Faith, but…" he stopped talking when he saw a lone female figure standing at the front entrance, hidden by shadows. He could tell that she had dark, almost raven black hair, although with some highlights that were visible even in the shadow. She was about six feet tall, and other than that and her general shape that was all he could discern from this distance.
"Yes? May we help you?" he asked the woman. Faith stood up and turned around to look for herself.
The woman stepped forward some, not quite fully in the light, but they could both see her better now. She seemed to be hesitating, weighing some decision in her mind as she looked at them. Faith noticed the woman's clothes leaned toward the masculine with the tight dark denims, heavy work boots, and backpack, but highlighted her female features with a loose feminine leather jacket and a light silk peasant shirt with some very fashionable lingerie visible through it.
"Is there a problem?" Faith asked gently, stepping around the couch with Giles.
Finally, her decision apparently made, the woman stepped fully into the light, allowing the Watcher and Slayer to see all of her features. She had shoulder-length black hair, but starting around her temples and bangs were highlights that went through to the end of the hairs' length. From bright auburn, to two different shades of blonde, to a brunette color that clashed with all the others.
Her eyes were a strange mixture of colors, mostly a strange form of hazel with the dark parts being chocolate brown and the light parts being bright green, and at some points there was a soft blue seen in her eyes as well.
She had lightly tanned skin, wore no make-up but it appeared she didn't really need to as her facial features were so beautiful that any attempt to apply any make-up would be like graffiti on mural.
At first neither Giles or Faith could recall ever seeing this woman before, but at the same time felt that they knew her very well. Something about her face reminded them of several people they both knew.
"Hey guys," she said in a husky, but light and friendly Southern Californian accented voice. She looked Giles in his sweats and T-shirt up and down, "G-man, looking good for a guy in his mid-forties. F, I do believe this is the point where you say…"
"Who the hell are you and what the hell is going on?" Faith shouted at the woman.
She winced and then seemed to be thinking for a moment before she answered with a smile, "I was actually thinking 'You're looking five by five for a guy that's supposed to be dead', but that'll have to do I guess."
"Guy?" Faith repeated.
Giles stared for a moment longer before he took off his glasses and stared open faced at the dark haired woman. "Oh my god, how absolutely stupid of me," he cursed himself. Then he smiled warmly and stepped forward and immediately embraced the woman in a warm hug.
"When did you get here? How did you get here?" he asked the moment they parted.
Smiling at him she replied, "Well, to answer the last first, by plane, and roughly about an hour ago. I took a cab from the airport."
"Why didn't you call? One of us would have picked you up!" Giles protested.
"And miss this look on your faces?" the woman remarked, sounding offended.
"G…Giles, who is this?" Faith demanded.
Giles just stepped back and smiled at the dark slayer.
The woman gave Faith a sobering look before saying, "Take a good look at my face Faith. A good long look. Now think of me as having nothing but blonde hair, or having red hair with green eyes, or blue eyes, or imagine me being a guy instead with no highlights… and an eye patch over this eye," she then covered her right eye with her hand.
Faith stared for a second, not comprehending, and then dawning realization crossed her face. "Fuck me," she cursed silently.
"Well only if you insist," the woman said with a smarmy grin on her face.
That snapped Faith out of her shock. "I…I had heard what happened, but…"
"How are you Xander?" Giles asked quietly.
The woman looked up at the Watcher with a mournful eye. "I'm doing better Giles. A lot better than the last time you saw me, that's for sure."
"Yes, well, since the last time I saw you, you were on your death bed…" Giles stopped talking less he start crying. "So, you've, uh, what are you doing here?" he asked.
"Shaman says I've recovered. I need to get back in the fight, and I figured it would be better, or at least somewhat easier to do that with familiar people than just starting off on my own again. You got my letters, didn't you?"
"Yes, of course we got your letters," Giles replied.
"So…uh, X. Well, uh, what's it like? And you better get used to that because everybody is going to be asking you that," Faith asked.
The woman smiled. "Thanks for remembering," she said first off, then answered, "At first it was confusing. Very confusing. I think I mentioned that I spent a week in a coma after it happened. It took a lot of work to get everything working again, but I got it, and now I'm here. And like Xander said, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks."
"You, uh, you can communicate with…with…" Giles tried to ask.
X nodded. "Yep. That was the confusing part and what took most of the work. Each of us is separate, but in the same body with the same amount of control over that body. At first we all fought, then we agreed to let one of us control it at a time, but arguments got started over that and more often than not I ended up trying to go in three directions at once. Finally I managed to figure out how to unify everything and after that it was just a couple weeks training and then learning about all the other benefits."
"So what are all the benefits?" Faith sultrily asked.
X smirked at her. "Well, the way you're speaking," she stepped closer to the brunette, "I'm part full-blooded male," she was right in front of the only a couple inches shorter Slayer, "two parts lesbian witch," she took another step forward but Faith hadn't backed up any, "part full-blooded sex-crazed female," she then leaned into Faith's body, their eyes less than an inch apart from each other, "and part Slayer," she whispered right into Faith's ear. The dark slayer audibly gulped and her breathing severely picked up.
X then suddenly stepped back and smiled knowingly at the Boston Slayer. "So what do you think F
"I think I need a cold shower," she mumbled and went back to cleaning the weapons.
"She not getting any?" X blatantly asked Giles. Before the Watcher could answer, the dark haired woman was suddenly attacked by a brunette blur, which was revealed to be Faith giving her the hottest damn kiss that the Englishman had ever seen. That it was between two gorgeous women might have also had something to do with it.
Faith let go of X with a loud smack as their lips separated and the first word out of X's mouth was, "Whoa!" Faith then turned and walked off, but not before saying, "We'll have to test those "benefits" out later tonight, huh X?"
X could only dumbly nod and mumbled something that sounded like, "Uh huh."
After a minute, X was back in control and looked back at the Watcher. "So, uh, how are things around this neighborhood?"
"Oh, uh, quite active really. Nothing major, just, um, a lot of demons in the city would be my guess. But everything is under control," Giles stutteringly replied.
"Uh huh," X said back.
"Who would have ever thought the G-man would be that overwhelmed by LA of all places?
" Xander asked.
"Well, hopefully we won't be as 'overwhelmed' since we're joining up here. At least for a little while,
" Buffy replied.
" Willow agreed. "But what about that kiss? I mean, major whoa, but that was seriously hott, and I think she slipped us some tongue too.
"There was a little tongue,
" Anya agreed. "Should we have sex with her?
" Three out of the other four agreed.
"What's wrong Buffy? I don't think Faith would mind, and we certainly wouldn't force it on her,
" Tara pointed out.
"I know, but…its just…well, only if she makes the first move, and that kiss does not count!
" the Slayer made the condition.
"And what would you call the first move?
" Xander asked.
"Showing up in nothing but a t-shirt and a smile holding handcuffs asking us who wants to be on top?
" Willow guessed.
Buffy was silent, but they could all feel her blushing, and a bit of arousal at the image Willow provided them with made the condition clear.
"X? Are you all right?" Giles asked the vacant woman.
"Huh? Oh, sorry Giles, I was like a million miles away there. Were you asking me something?" X apologized.
"No, I noticed that you were just staring off into space and I was worried for a moment, with what you've told us about…things," Giles explained.
X waved off his concerns. "Nah, just thinking things over. So, anything big going on? Like a major case, or…" X trailed off and turned her attention to the basement door, which opened a moment later and Angel came in.
" Buffy whispered.
"Oh don't start that again!
" Xander whined.
"I thought you two broke up?
" Tara asked, confused.
"We, uh, we did. But still…
"He broke your heart!
" Willow protested Buffy having active feelings for Angel. "Twice! At least! Not to mention Angelus! And don't even think of starting anything up with him now.
"Yeah, aside from the fact that none of us like him, I'm not going anywhere near the guy except maybe to hit him with my fists and a foot to his balls, and only after a long and powerful wind up to begin it,
" Xander gave his opinion.
"Does he give good orgasms?
" Anya wanted to know, as though that would decide the matter.
Buffy paused and gave it serious thought. "Well, uh, no, not really,
" she had to admit after a moment. Feeling a smug satisfaction from Xander and other negative feelings from Willow she added to her defense, "Hey, I was like a virgin and it was…my first time, and…it was more about making love and being with the One, ya know? It wasn't about the sex.
" Tara asked.
Buffy looked at Angel as he walked up to the group, a cute little confused pout on his face as he looked at the new face. "Now I say let Xander deal with Angel. Only reason now would be for the sex and it wasn't that good.
" Tara agreed with the Slayer, "Besides, I think he is more interested in Cordelia rather than starting a relationship with any remnant of his first love.
"Good, so agreed then?
" Xander confirmed. Everyone agreed.
"Giles, Faith," Angel greeted as he came upon them. "Who's this? New client?"
X smirked up at the souled vampire. "Deadboy," she drawled, loving every moment of this, "Long time no see. How ya been? Drinking blood? Brooding the night away? Getting any?"
Angel blinked in shock and stared at the familiar looking woman. Then several of her features suddenly leaped out at him and his photographic memory. Along with what she had called him and suddenly remembering several letters that Giles had read over the past month, Angel managed to keep his reaction from being too outrageous.
"Xander," Angel acknowledged. "Uh, how are you?"
X's face became a degree harder and she looked angrily at the vampire for a moment before answering calmly, "Xander is a part of the whole now. My name is X. Remember that."
She turned and took a better look around the hotel before looking back at the vampire. "I just got here, and I need to get back in the fight, so I figured better with people I knew rather than starting off on my own. And besides, you've got plenty of free rooms last I heard."
Angel smiled humoring at X and nodded his agreement, "You're more than welcome to stay as long as you like. How are Wesley and Gunn coming along with a new patrol route?" Angel asked Giles.
"Last I was in there, they were arguing whether it was better to use sabers or axes and stakes to take out the Faro nest under West 42. It seemed for a moment that Gunn was winning. After that I decided that I needed a break." Giles answered.
"Oh, that's all right. I just took care of that nest earlier tonight. Guess I better go tell'em. Uh, nice to have you here X," Angel added uncertainly before heading into the office as quickly as he could.
"I'm suddenly starting to see a drawback to starting back with friends rather than strangers," X commented, watching Angel disappear.
"Well, not much to do tonight, you wanna help out with the weapons?" Faith asked as she finished with the axe and stood up to replace it in the weapons cabinet.
In reply, X stared at the gathered medieval weaponry, and then cast her right arm out, and in the blink of an eye, before Faith could even reach it, the cabinet was full of the weapons, fully polished and cleaned.
"Whoa!" Faith exclaimed at the display of power. "You weren't kidding about those benefits, were you?"
X smirked and shook her head. "C'mon, I've got a better idea. Let's go get Cordy and Fred and we can go clubbing. It's been a while since I let loose and had some genuine fun. And you are not wearing that!" X pointed at Faith's current outfit.
Faith looked down at herself and had to agree with X. "Okay, yeah, but what about you? It ain't bad, but it certainly ain't clubbin' material."
X smirked again and then raised her right hand, and snapped her fingers. Again, in the blink of an eye, her plain, travel-clothes outfit transformed into a stunning, sexy club outfit that even the heterosexual Faith had to give a wolf-whistle to.
"And the benefits keep on rolling," X joked.A night club
"So, let me get this straight," Cordelia said as all four women sat in the booth at the club they had gone too, "There are five people in your head; Xander, Buffy, Willow, Tara, and Anya, but they all end up making…you?"
X giggled somewhat. "Something like that Cordy," she replied. "No one is quite clear on what happened, only what did, and the consequences of it."
"I thought that Anya and Tara were…well, dead?" Fred asked.
X finished her drink but nodded. "They were. But they were also walking the Ghost Roads, and from our experiences, coming back from the Roads isn't quite as difficult as it's made out to be," she answered.
She sighed as the music went to a slow song, the volume now low enough that they didn't have to shout to hear each other. "It's really complicated, but…I'll try and explain."
"Xander was dying, and Buffy was just as badly injured, and Willow, you know the introverted redhead who tried to destroy the world, was watching her two bestest friends in the whole wide world, the only people she really
considered her real family anymore, die. Well, one of them was dying. Chances were that while Buffy's slayer powers could save her life, she would either be a paralyzed from the neck down, or on a respirator for the rest of her life."
"Willow contacted that Shaman that you told her about Fred," X pointed out to the Texan, who blushed at the recognition, "And together they found a ritual that would save both of their lives and fully restore them, and maybe even give them a bit more power too. It involved taking two willing souls and transferring those souls' energy into Buffy and Xander's souls."
"Who would do that?" Cordelia immediately asked.
X smiled at her. "Who do you think?"
"Anya and Tara agreed
to this?" Faith screeched.
X shrugged. "Of their own free will. Unfortunately, something…went wrong. Instead of rejuvenating them…somehow, everyone's souls got shoved in together and Buffy, Xander, and Willow's bodies fused together, along with some of Anya and Tara's attributes, and the final result is sitting here in front of you, WAITING FOR SOME MORE DRINKS!!" She shouted at the nearest waiter who quickly scurried off to bring the whole table another round.
"I don't get it," Cordelia blurted, "No, I mean I get that no one understands how this happened, but I don't get what
X sighed again. "This is even more frustrating that I thought it would be," she muttered.
"And that's another thing, you speak in first person, but you keep saying you're made up of five different people. Shouldn't you like be saying 'we' and 'us' and that kinda stuff?" Cordelia pressed.
X looked thoughtful for a moment before shaking her hair. "That was part of the recovery deal. What has happened though, is that somehow, Anya, Buffy, Tara, Willow, and Xander's souls got stuck together, and Buffy, Willow, and Xander's bodies were destroyed, and then the base materials, we're talking individual atoms here, got shuffled up and made into this new body. I don't know how to explain it any better Cordy."
"Okay, I can deal with that later. Now spill about this recovery thingie," Cordelia leaned forward some, a predator's look in her eyes.
X smirked and took a sip from the newly arrived drink and smiled and winked at the waiter as he disappeared with a confused look on his face.
"How easily can you imagine five people in your head, arguing worse than you do over shoes, about how this new body is rightfully theirs?" X asked, deadly serious. "I don't think anyone can imagine it. But after about a week of the arguing, they all stopped and remembered that they were friends. Then, they tried sharing the body for a time. You know, one would have it for an hour while the others waited and then another would take a turn. That started another slew of arguments faster than the first ones had started."
She was silent for a time, listening to the new track of music and drinking her soda.
"Finally, I think it was Willow that suggested that the only way to keep living was for all of them, ALL
of them to have a common goal. Something they would all agree without question to work towards and might even work in the same way to accomplishing. Two guesses what that was?" X asked them, smirking at Faith.
"So that's why you were so eager to get back into the fight?" Faith asked. X shrugged.
"Ok, what the hell is up with that? Not even Xander was ever this laid back, even when he had something to be smug about!" Cordelia demanded to know.
"Oh that's not true, Buffy often relaxed in the Bronze like this," X protested. "And Willow and Tara are doing a meditation right now to keep me from ringing your half-demon neck right now, so I wouldn't complain if I were you."
"Whoa, what?" Faith exclaimed.
"They're all still separate inside you? Able to do their own things without having to focus their energies into…well, driving you?" Fred asked at the same moment.
X shook her head. "I am the culmination of them. That they all have a common goal is what make me
. Think of it like this. You have all these voices inside your head, the id, which is your wants and desires, your conscience, which is basically the angel on your shoulder, your super conscious, which is the boring, business, left brain side of you, and then your gut instinct. Now I'm not about to name each person in my head under one of those labels, but it's basically the same thing. All that 'talk' is mixed up until only one real personality, your personality, exists and functions in the real world. There's no separating us. We're all stuck together. What one part knows, the rest do. And we all work together which allows we to become, well, me. X."
"Oh," Fred looked confused for half a second before saying, "That actually made some sense, but…not at the same time." X just shrugged and smiled at her.
"So, how'd you come up with the name? I mean, is X in honor of Xander or something?" Faith asked.
X blanked out for half a second before shaking her head and looking thoughtful for about half a minute after that. "Not…quite… It's a bit more complicated than that."
"So uncomplicate it," Cordelia demanded.
X frowned. "Well, Willow realized that what happened to us was similar to a quantum equation whose only answer was X. Anya wanted to do it in honor of Xander, yes, but Xander chose it because that was the position Willow and Buffy put him in before the ritual. Tara agreed to it because of the five points of the letter reminded her of the five points of Wicca; Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Self." She stopped and chuckled for a moment. "Buffy…was the first to suggest the name… and for the silliest reason. It was her third strike. And this time she actually died."
The table was quiet in the noisy club after that sentence for a short time.
X then got up from the booth and dragged Faith with her. "I did not bring us all to a great club to be sorry for me. There's plenty of time for that later. Right now, I want to have fun, so let's have some FUN!"
After that, the mood was much brighter.Hyperion Hotel
The ladies had gotten back about one hour till sunrise. Even Faith was deadbeat tired, and the moment they all hit the sheets, they were out like a light. All that is, except X. She spent the hour before sunrise and the hour during and after picking out her room, and then moving her stuff, which could all be counted as being in the duffel and backpack she'd had with her when she first showed up, into it.
Apparently her magic included making it so she could have a semi-truckload of clothes in the backpack, and ten semi-truckloads of other stuff in the duffel bag.
Once she was settled, and having nothing to do, as most everyone was still asleep, she found the kitchen areas and started making breakfast for everyone. Everyone, except Tara, was reminded of the time Buffy had tried making Thanksgiving dinner the Thanksgiving of hers and Willow's freshman year in college.
" Buffy adamantly denied.
"Yes you were,
" Anya, Willow, and Xander all agreed.
Anya added, "I was frequently neurotic in the months before I sacrificed myself for Xander, not to mention when you all were accusing me of being too forward and silly for being scared of bunnies…
"In other words, if Anya's calling you neurotic, then you were neurotic Buff, because she knows neurotic,
" Xander pointed out logically.
"Yes that was…HEY!
" Anya shouted back.
Willow and Tara were giggling in the background as they finished with the egg batter and started on the toasting. Buffy thought a change of topic was in order.
"Hey, has anyone ever wondered how it is we can have like five different conversations between all of us at once, and still maintain a physical activity as attention-demanding as cooking, or even slaying?
" she asked.
"Yeah, I noticed. I also noticed that when we talk in our heads, the only thing we can't do is talk outside our heads,
" Xander answered.
"It is interesting though,
" Anya observed.
"It's Willow's multi-tasking abilities,
" Tara told them, sounding proud and smug at the same time.
"Must be a combination then,
" Buffy said before Willow could deny being praised. "Cause I had my own multi-tasking thing. I could do like three different things with my hands, feet, and mouth, but be thinking like about a half dozen other things all at once and never lose track of any of it.
"Must be a woman thing then,
" Xander 'typically' rationalized.
"Well then how come I could never do it?
" Anya whined.
X shook her head, clearing the thoughts she'd just been having. "That is one question I will never be stupid enough to answer," she told herself as she concentrated fully on what she was doing, despite it being boring.
She was suddenly interrupted when spinning around to the entrance, she saw Angel there, staring at her. "Buffy?" he asked in that way that he always said Buffy's name.
X grimaced. "Sort of," she mumbled and turned back around to what she had been doing.
Angel shook his head and apologized. "Sorry, it's just…"
"I smell like her," X finished for him. "I smell like all of them. Even the dead ones."
"They aren't dead, uh, anymore I mean," Angel clumsily spoke.
"They were before Xander and Willow had to sacrifice their lives," X said sorrowfully.
"That's Buffy speaking. The parts that are Xander and Willow wouldn't blame her and wouldn't want her blaming herself," Angel almost angrily snapped.
X stopped for a moment, then quietly returned to preparing breakfast.
"You think you know me?" she asked so only a vampire could hear her words.
"I know the parts of you. I've listened when…when Willow talked about Tara. And I've heard what the others said about Anya. So I'll just say I understand…parts of you." Angel answered just as quietly.
"Well then, you don't know me
," X snapped, finishing up preparing the meal.
"I'd like to try and get to know you," Angel offered.
X looked up at him, her face and eyes that seemed a perfect blend of all the faces of the people that made her up, her eyes flashing anger. "Well until I let you, don't try and predict me Deadboy, because I promise you, you'll be wrong every time."
"What if I predict that you'll stick around long enough to patrol with me this evening?" he asked as she started to walk away. She paused.
Turning half around she asked, "Why Angelus, are you asking me out on a date?"
Angel's face turned to stone and he didn't move. If it weren't already, his blood would have turned to ice from the expression on her face. She smirked at him and snorted before finishing up in the kitchen and taking things out to a dining room they had found and sometimes used, when everyone was actually in, for meals.
Not twenty minutes after X was finished cooking and had just finished setting the table when the first of the hotel's residents made their way down and into the dining room, drawn by the mouth-watering smells of fulfilling food.
"By Elvis' Blue Suede Boots!" Lorne exclaimed as he entered, "Something sure does smell good in here. Angel must not have cooked for once."
"Hey!" the souled vampire remarked, offended.
"Hello, hello, hello, and who do we have here?" Lorne asked the moment he saw X.
The dark haired warrior smiled and held out her hand saying, "My name is X. Just the letter, in case you're wondering."
"Charmed Mademoiselle," Lorne said dramatically as he took her hand in a gentle hold. "Care to sing us a cheerful good morning song?"
X smirked, already liking the Agonic demon. "I'd better not. Wouldn't want your brain to explode. I may not have spent a few months in the realms of the Powers That Be, but being made up of five different souls would blow anyone's mind."
"Hey, was that another crack at having my body being used by that bitch Jasmine?" Cordy, with bed hair, asked as she entered yawning.
"Of course not Cordy," X innocently replied and directed the stragglers to their seats and serving the food before finally sitting down herself.
"Well, that explains the aura sunlight," Lorne said pleasantly and went to his own seat.
After the first few minutes in which everyone had ample time to sample the breakfast meal, Wesley was the first to comment on it. "This is wonderful X," he remarked. Everyone except Lorne had been introduced to the newest Scooby the night before while she waited on Faith, Fred, and Cordelia to get ready for clubbing.
"No kidding," Gunn said between bites, "these are the best eggs I've had in a long while."
"Very good," Fred agreed. Faith just grunted as she kept shoveling food into her mouth. X smiled appreciatively at all of them.
"How on earth did you manage to make all this?" Fred finally asked once most everyone was finished. "We didn't even get in until a little after 5! And most of this must have taken hours to prepare."
X shrugged, already collecting the dishes, "I wasn't very tired," she answered Fred, taking away all the dishes with the skill of a Slayer before anyone even noticed.
The Angel Team all stared at each other for several moments before, almost as one, they got up and stalked to the kitchen.
"Do you mean to tell us that you did not sleep at all after we got back from that club, and then you make breakfast for everyone, and now you're doing the dishes?!!" Cordelia exclaimed as they all watched X efficiently wash and dry the dishes.
X shrugged without skipping a beat.
"Uh…X, that, that is not a healthy attitude, now I'm sure the jet lag must be affecting you…" Wesley started to say, but was interrupted.
"I haven't slept since I woke up. You know, the week in a coma after they all died so I could be born? I don't need to eat that much either. Only when I need to heal something really. I only ate some today to make you all comfortable, even though I didn't have to." X told them in a monotone.
She turned around and faced them. She had finished with the dishes, something that might have taken all of them working together half an hour to do. "Look," she said, "My whole purpose for being here isn't to get back into the fight. I can find and kill demons just fine on my own, no problem. I…I need to get back in with humanity. I'm not exactly your normal individual, as you all well know, and despite all that I know, believe it or not, it's easier taking out an army of a thousand vampires than it is to just go to the grocery store or a coffee shop. And I need…I need to get used to being normal again."
She then walked out of the kitchen, leaving them all there with a "What now?" look on the faces.
, "So…?" Angel drawled as they walked through the underground pathways most civilians called sewers.
X sighed dramatically, unintentionally taking in a bigger whiff of all the scents present in the pathway. It was idly remarkable to her that nothing smelled "bad" anymore it was just a scent. At least things still smelled "good".
X was quiet for about half a minute before finally replying, "So… what?" indicating for Angel to finish his sentence.
"So…how do you like LA so far?" he asked in a way that a complete fool would know that wasn't what he was going to really ask.
"So how about you ask me what you want to know and I'll tell you. I've only been in LA for about two days now, and so far all I've seen is the airport, the tops of the buildings, your hotel, and all of the sewer passageways within at least ten miles of a complete diameter around your hotel. I'm not luvin' it if that's what you were hoping for."
"Well, can't blame you there…" Angel trailed off.
"Well?" X asked half a second after he stopped speaking.
Angel was silent for at least ten more paces before he stopped and finally blurted, "Does she still love me?"
X stopped, gave him an incredulous look, then snorted and kept walking. "She'll always love you Angel, but I never will," her echoing reply answered from the shadows.
Angel raced to catch up.
"He hates me, doesn't he?" Cordy asked X.
"No. To be honest, he thought you hated him. And he was truly sorry. There's nothing more that either of you can say on the matter Cordy."
"So…" Fred started to say, but X turned right around and started walking the other way saying, "No!" as she went.
Lorne opened his mouth, X gave him a 'Slayer glare', he didn't say anything, just shut his mouth, turned around, and walked away. That happened consecutively for the entire week X stayed at the hotel.
"So we finally
get to see some action?" X asked. It had been three days, and was beginning the fourth night, since the mystical being had arrived in LA, and even Faith was starting to get as antsy as she was with the lack of slaying going on at the moment.
"Unfortunately, yes," Wesley answered as he brought some more books to the desk.
"Our sources have confirmed that the Cult of Osorio is performing the Ritual of Necrin tonight at the warehouse by the Timberlake docks. Fortunate for us, there's only one warehouse by that particular pier. Now here's what I've been able to find out about the Cult of Osorio…" Wesley started to go into what everyone knew as his "Watcher mode".
"Osorio, pagan demonic entity worshiped primarily by unrequited, and usually ugly, nymphos that get off when Osorio rewards them for killing something. For initiates, a squirrel is usually enough to pass out. For the priests and priestesses, a couple hundred homicides or cremations are needed to get a tiny buzz. Because of their pendants, they are protected from accident harm; so the only sure fire way to kill them is to either remove the pendants, or chop'em up into tiny little bits. Arrows should work so long as they're heart shot or through the eye and all the way into the brain." X finished Wesley's explanation of the threat, but in less time and in a way they could all understand it.
"Um… yes," Wesley muttered.
"Great, let's go please," X demanded and walked to the door, followed by a sword-wielding Faith and an axe-carrying Gunn. The others just looked at each other, then scrambled to grab their own weapons and then hurried after them.
Half an hour later they were all outside the warehouse, gathering and seemed to be waiting for something. X looked at them all in turn for a second from her place in the line up as they all stared up at the building. Just before Angel was no doubt about to say something cool to started them off, X snorted and stalked forward.
Five steps into her stalk, it turned into a fast sprint, and then an all out run, and then, X's body began to blur around the edges just as she reached a few feet from the door, and then jumped…up to the third-story roof, all without a sound.
"I…guess she's eager…" Angel excused, and then they all surged forward to the ground level windows to see if they really did have the right place.
A hundred shouts of rage from inside seemed to confirm it, and Angel and Faith kicked in the door and they streamed in to join the fray. It was actually closer to two hundred, heavily (and medievally) armed cultists were in the cleared out central floor of the warehouse. Judging from the cages near the back, they had been planning one of their larger orgies that night. Or to summon their demon god.
X was already in front of the cages, clearly, and effectively guarding them and keeping all of the cultists away from it, and sometimes pulling some of the sacrifices from the cult crowd back into the cages where they were safe, for the moment. She was moving as well as any Slayer, but better too as not one cultist got past her, even though she was guarding more than twenty feet of space.
The Angel team hit the backs of the cultists like a battering ram and made a major dent in them with just the first strike. Faith sometimes still felt guilt about hurting humans, but one look at the people in the cage made it right and actually want to hurt them more than she was. She just killed them fast.
Fred stayed near Gunn, while Wesley was in the front lines with Angel and Faith, but the couple were as much a team as any of the heavy hitters and made sure that no one could hit said heavy hitters from behind.
The numbers had dwindled down remarkably fast to just under one hundred, and still X hadn't let one true innocent even get touched, let alone harmed in any way. And of course, that's right when things were shot to hell.
Somehow, probably by sacrificing themselves instead of the innocents, a few of the cultists had managed to perform and complete the Ritual of Necrin and there by summoning their demon god, and a few of Osorio's "pets", a dozen hell hounds to the warehouse.
Osorio was a ten-foot, sick sky-blue reptilian demon with glowing yellow cat-eyes, an alligator's snout (along with teeth), but an upright lizard-humanoid body with two arms, ending in five-digit talon tipped claws, two bladed and scaled legs, and a long, agile looking tail that held itself upright, partially like a monkey, partially like a cat's, but tipped with a wicked scythe-looking blade. It didn't really speak, but it was obviously intelligent, and it's roars and growls sounded like a cross between the alligator part and a tiger's.
The hellhounds could have been clones of the ones Buffy killed on her Prom night.
X rolled her eyes as that thought strolled through her head. Meanwhile, all her "parts" were getting ready for combat, which meant that they no longer could have individual thoughts, but all were one, and that one was X.
Muttering in a dead language, a word that seemed to echo with more power than it had a right too, X cast the spell "EXPLOSION!" which cast all of the cultists nearest her and the cage of hostages away, far enough that the others could form up on her position.
"Keep the dogs and the cultists away from the civvies!" X shouted at Angel the moment he and the others got to her. "I'll take care of Oreo breath."
She suddenly shot forward, her dark hair almost leaving a streak behind her as she ran straight for the titan demon. She smirked as it made a gesture in her direction, and all of the hellhounds converged on her. 'Time for the first level,'
she, X, thought.
Channeling all of her power into her body, the AI team watched as her skin seemed to suddenly glow with it. Almost easily it seemed, X dodged all of the clumsy, wild attacks of the hounds, and making it look like and after thought, struck the demon dogs dead after their very first try at attacking her.
No the demon god gave X it's full attention, roaring out a challenge, which the mystical being gladly accepted. She stared up into it's yellow cat-eyes with her rainbow eyes, gauging her opponent's strength just from it's appearance and stance. When it just struck out at her, moving so fast that portions of it actually blurred, she decided that the first level was not going to cut it with this one.
Moving even faster than it's striking arm, X jumped up, narrowly avoiding the strike, and then landing on the back of it's palm and then running at top speed up it, X reached deep within her, deeper than the power of "her"
soul to the souls of those that made her up, and channeled all of that
power into her body, reaching the second level.
The glow the others had seen before suddenly flashed a great deal brighter, even as she was running up the demon's arm, to it's shoulder, where she then kicked it, hard, in the snout. Roaring at the pain, Osorio staggered back, it's hands going to its face, but before it could even think of having a chance to recover, X, glowing like an Angelic Wraith, jumped off it's shoulder, and seeming to float midair kicked it's chest, which knocked the demon all the way to the far wall, which was over ten meters away. Through the air.
Slowly floating down to the ground, the glowing X calmly waited as the demon got back to it's feet, it's eyes glowing a solid red now, and before anyone could say or do anything, it shot a stream of fire from it's mouth right at X.
Not even the mystical being could dodge it, so she didn't even try to. After a minute or so of keeping up the stream of fire, the demon stopped to gloat over the ashes of it's enemy. That's when they all saw the figure in the flame.
"WATER!" the ancient spell rang out through the battlefield.
All of the fires caused by the demon immediately went out as though doused by water, leaving a column of smoke to obscure the figure now.
A brief, and small twister tore through the warehouse, leaving the building undamaged, but dispersing the smoke, revealing X, now glowing so brightly a pure white aura surrounding her and glowing as brightly, and standing perfectly unharmed right where she had been.
"Is that it?" she asked, sounding insulted. Snorting, she raised both hands, palms flat and facing the demon, which seemed just as shocked and stunned by the display of power that everyone else was.
X's eyes, in contradiction to her glowing and aura, turned solid black as she began to softly chant, which while not raising in volume, seemed to raise in power with each passing syllable.
This became more than evident when her palms began to glow bright red, energy sparking between them. The demon seemed even more frightened of this than anything before, and actually tried to escape, but something prevented it.
The chanting reaching a climax, the energy that had gathered between her hands culminated and shot forth in a stream of red energy at the blue-scaled demon, which writhed in pain the moment it was caught in it. It tried to struggle out of the hold that X's spell had on it, but it was to no avail as the energy shrunk instead, and then enveloped the entire demon continuing to shrink until it was a pinpoint of red light, which vanished in the blink of an eye.
The danger passed, X calmed herself and released her energy, and her "souls" from what they called "Battle mode".
A hellhound, that had been playing possum, suddenly reared and leaped at X. Without even looking, she grabbed it by it's throat from the air, snapped it's neck, and then threw it over to the pile of the other hellhounds.
A dull silence hung in the air of the warehouse for several long moments after the end of the battle. One that was finally punctured by the hostages asking to be set free.
Once everyone was safely on their way home, or to the police station for those that wished to do so, the Angel crew, plus Faith, Giles, and X, went back to the Hotel.
"Somebody wanna tell me what the hell just happened back there?" Gunn asked the moment they were all in the lobby.
X shrugged, and offered, "We kicked bad guy butt?"
"No," Gunn pointed out, pointing with his axe as he did so, "You
kicked bad guy butt. What I wanna, no, what I *need* to know is how,
you did it. Cause if you don't tell me, this is gonna keep me up all night."
"Well what did you expect?" X asked, like it should have been the most obvious thing in the world. "I'm made up of a Slayer, a powerful sorceress, a dead natural-born witch, a dead ex-demon, and a guy too stubborn for his own good, and with a strength of will that made him the 'Heart' in an Enjoining spell."
They all just stared at her, dumbfounded.
X rolled her eyes and tried to explain, "The Slayer part alone would make me pretty powerful. Strong, fast, and agile. Add Xander's part to that and you've got a soldier that could actually have stood up to Glory, but also probably have taken her down too. Then we've got the dead ex-demon. Being dead is important, but I'll cover that later. Anya's part provides in-depth knowledge of demon hierarchy as well as weaknesses, strengths, and just about everything to make strategizing as easy as adding one plus one."
"And last but not least, a natural-born witch, and an even more powerful sorceress," X just gave them a 'Duh!' look.
"The dead parts come into play in that since they're dead, they are aware of their souls. Tara especially was aware of her soul's power
. Because two parts of me were dead, that allows me the ability to use the power of my soul, and then the power of the souls that made me, to empower my body beyond its normal limits. Otherwise, I'm at a level of strength that would be *just*
beyond Faith's level of strength. Don't get huffy Faith, I've actually tested it out. I'm about five times stronger
than Buffy was at her best."
Faith, about to argue, instead closed her mouth and nodded at the simple and truthful logic.
"So… you're pretty much the strongest being on the face of the planet?" Fred asked after the momentary silence.
X looked thoughtful for several moments before shrugging in a very Xander-like way. "Well, I'm probably the strongest human
creature on the face of the planet. There are probably a few demons that are stronger. But I've got magic to rely on where strength fails."
"Oh, yeah," the Texan mumbled.
"I can see why you didn't wanna get read," Lorne commented. X just nodded and gave him an apologetic grin.
"Well… okay then," Angel mumbled. "Uh, I guess we should all call it a night then."
Everyone quickly agreed. Though the big part had been taken care of by X, everyone had gotten their share of bruises and were pretty tuckered out.
"Hey X," Faith called out as the others were going upstairs, seeing the dark haired woman walking to the exit instead.
X paused and regarded the dark slayer.
"Uh, I know you're probably wantin' to be by…your selves right now, but I was wondering if maybe we could talk?" she asked.
X smiled and nodded, walking out into the garden area.
"Feeling hungry Faith?" X asked with a smarmy grin as they sat down on one of the benches in the garden.
Faith smirked and gave the being the finger. Then she sobered and looked downcast for several seconds, telling X that this was serious.
Buffy, who knew Faith as best as any of them did, briefly took command and asked, her voice coming out of X's mouth, "What's wrong Faith?"
Faith looked up, startled. "B?"
X shook her head briefly, her eyes glazed over. 'HEY!'
Anya shouted at the other blonde. 'You DON'T do that! We agreed! You DON'T…' 'An!'
Xander shouted. 'Buff, you need to ask before doing that again. We all understand…'
Everyone, even Anya, gave a brief emotional burst verifying this as truth, '…and I personally don't mind, but if this is going to work at all…' 'I know, I KNOW!'
Buffy exclaimed, guilt coming off her in waves. 'But something is seriously troubling her. I can feel it. It's a Slayer thing.' 'Let "X" handle the conversation, just leave yourself open Buffy,'
Tara suggested. Buffy agreed, and X's eyes refocused.
"Sorry about that, Buffy got a bit emotional when she saw how depressed you are," X told Faith, who was still staring wide-eyed at her.
"Uh… you never told us you could do that…" Faith mumbled.
"I told you that they are all still individuals in my soul and mind," X reminded her. "It shouldn't be much of a stretch that I can perfectly mimic all of their voices as well. It takes a glamour spell to do anything more though."
"Now, tell me… tell us, what's wrong?" X asked, scooting forward and putting her hand over Faith's on the dark slayer's thigh.
Faith let out a deep sigh.
"Does…does she still…"
"No. None of them do," X answered before she could even finish the question. Faith smiled, tears forming as she nodded her thanks.
"Look…" Faith was finally able to speak, "I know all the signs. You've been restless since the day after you got here. Now that you've gotten your action…you're gonna split again, aren't you?"
X blinked. Staring into Faith's eyes, she saw accusation, but also understanding, comfort, and… love. Intermingled with that was hurt.
"Why didn't you ever tell him?" X asked suddenly.
Faith shook her head, staring into the rainbow eyes. "It wasn't him I was in love with. Who I tried to be good enough for. But I never wa-"
"You are good enough Faith!" X immediately protested. She twitched slightly, and then saying to her self, she hissed, "Shut UP
Faith couldn't help laughing a little, but it didn't lessen the tension any.
"Buffy was severely messed up for the entire latter half of her life. She freely admits that and Xander and all the others, except Tara, are agreeing with that statement. She fucked Spike for crying out loud!" X drove the point forward.
She cupped Faith's cheek with her other hand. "You are worthy Faith. Buffy was the one that was never worthy. And the way you've turned your life around… I am extremely proud to know you Faith. And I am even more honored to be your friend."
Tears were now pouring down Faith's eyes as she accepted X's… all of their praise. X leaned forward slightly, and Faith just fell into the hug, hanging on for dear life and with all her soul. X held on just as tight.
They stayed like that, Faith shedding the terrible sins and stains of her soul as X held her. As the sun was rising, X carried the sleeping Slayer up to her bed, and began breakfast for everybody.Hyperion Hotel
Three weeks later
"Are you sure you have to go?" Angel asked.
"Yes, for the four hundredth time Angel, yes, she has to go," Cordelia answered for X.
X chuckled and nodded, adjusting the strap of the pack, the same one she'd had when she had first walked into the hotel.
"I'm sure. I need to move on, do some more good," X told them. She smiled. "This city is in good hands. And it was good catching up with all of you. And meeting a couple of you for the first time as well. I'm thinking of heading up to San Francisco for a while, just so you know where I'm at if the shit hits the fan or anything."
"Yes, well, good luck X," Giles said, stepping forward to hug, and be hugged by the mystical being.
"I'll keep in touch guys," X said finally as she turned and walked out of the hotel, and into the world.
END Part 1