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Vengeance Satisfied is Justice Served

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Summary: Buffy has a choice to make - Xander or Spike? Who gets to live? Challenge response.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Crow, TheTDMasterFR1511100,891292848,9069 Nov 0318 Jan 04Yes

Chapter 11: Justice

Chapter 11: Justice

Stiles drove his humvee into the abandoned town, putting the pedal to the metal. He knew that with the speed of those helicopters, they’d have been there ages ago. Hell, he wouldn’t be surprised if the battle was over with already. He had to know if they had won or not, and if the battle was still going, well . . . he looked in the rearview mirror and grinned at the three vehicles pursuing him. The cavalry was coming. He looked back onto the road and saw the humanoid shapes with wings. They were coming straight for him. Fifty of ‘em, perhaps a little more. They were fleeing, he realized, oh, yeah they had won. He drove onward until he figured they were in firing range, and hit the breaks to the max.

He pulled the machine gun from the seat next to him and got out. He opened the window and used the door to steady his gun. He aimed and fired, as next to him two of the three pursuers came to screeching halt, the third did the same behind him. After a few hits, one of the demons went to a fiery death, and he aimed for the next one. That one too went down, and then he suddenly stood up and looked from side to side, seeing the soldiers looking mouth agape. “SHOOT THEM, YOU DIMWITS!!” he screamed in frustration. “SHOOT THEM!!”

Suddenly the soldiers on the roof of the vehicles behind the big guns mounted on top of them, jerked and looked at him. “Uh, right, yes, sir,” one of them answered, cocked the heavy machine gun, and fired away. Stiles joined them moments later. And the things started falling from the sky at an ever greater rate.

*****

Xander surveyed the battle field with a satisfied, but sad grin. So many of them had died, he wished there had been a way to take out the black demon faster. Most of the SiTs, and Xander’s direct group of people were still here, not pursuing the escaping flying demons, simply because they had no means of transportation.

Xander watched Faith run toward him, jumping over the dead carcasses of mostly Bringers. Robin, Giles, and the remaining members of Faith’s unit sauntered after her. Dawn closer to him, reached him first though, most of the unit that she commanded somewhat scattered behind her, but closing in. Al of them covered in different kinds of blood, some of it their own.

Faith reached him, and jumped up, clinging with her arms around his neck, and her legs around his waist. She gave him a powerful kiss on his lips, using lots of tongue. “Boy,” Xander commented with a grin. “You really need to get laid, don’t you?”

“Can’t a girl just be happy?” Faith asked him with a cool smile.

“Xander, it’s a good thing you and Anya are over, because she’s been a bad influence on you,” Willow’s scolding voice sounded from his right. He looked over and saw the redhead shaking her head, unable to keep the smile off her. Kennedy was clinging to Willow, her unit that had protected the mages was standing behind her, a little bit uneasy.

Faith lowered herself from Xander, as Dawn commented, “Be glad, Willow, that he didn’t describe exactly how he’s planning on using his tongue . . .”

“Dawn!” Xander said somewhat surprised.

“What!?” Dawn asked innocently. “I’m seventeen . . . soon . . . and I have been present during most of Anya’s talking.”

Giles, demon blood running from several places on his body, an axe slung on his shoulder reached the small gathering. His eyes still shining with blood thirst, he said, “Well, Harris, this is what I call a bloody good battle.”

The SiTs gaped in surprise, not during his possession, and even less so afterwards, had Giles shown to be anything else but a well-mannered in control person, and now this. “Kennedy, guys,” Willow said ruefully, a smile on her face. “Meet Ripper.”

“Oh, piss off, Willow,” Giles told her gruffly, but with a twinkle and a small smile. “You talk like I’ve got multiple personalities.”

Dawn turned around, aware of Kennedy and the SiTs across from her looking behind her. Vi came slowly walking to them, tears flowing from her eyes, carrying Amanda in her arms. Reaching them, she sank to her knees, the scarred holes in Amanda’s body very visible. “Oh, god, Amanda,” Dawn mumbled, and then quickly crossed to living member of her team. She quickly slung her arms around Vi, as she noticed the others from her unit, and the SiTs not of her unit growing sad. The very visible death rapidly dampened their good spirits over the victory, and they started remembering the others they lost that day. Dawn whispered in Vi’s ear, something very private, “At least you didn’t let her die a virgin.”

Vi laughed, and smiled, happiness radiating from her face of the victory, and over Dawn’s words and the truth in that, and yet the tears wouldn’t stop falling. The pain of losing that very good friend, the bond deepened from their first sexual encounter was just too great to just be removed by some good cheer.

Dawn stood up, and mumbled, “Buffy.” The absolute, overpowering joy of having won the greatest battle against darkness in quite a lot of history had made her forget about her sister for a moment, but the dead Amanda had reawakened more pressing needs. “I’m going to find her,” Dawn said, and ran off toward where her sister had been bashed to.

“All right, people,” Xander said with a commanding tone, the murmurs and conversations among him, quieting instantly. “Basking in winning cheer moment over, let’s find the wounded; the dead can wait for now.” Xander then turned his head to Vi, and said gently, “I don’t think Amanda would want people to die who could be saved because of her dead body.”

Vi nodded, and gave Amanda a peck on her forehead, and then gently put her down on the ground, “I’ll be back for you.” Then she got up and they all dispersed.

Xander held back for a moment, and looked across the battle field, and said grimly, “Two wrongs righted, three to go.” Then he too went to look for wounded.

Several minutes later, Dawn called out, “XANDER! IT’S BUFFY, SHE’S STILL ALIVE!”

Xander turned to her and jogged over, calling back, “Obviously. The thing wasn’t allowed to kill her, so he made sure he didn’t. He didn’t crush her legs arms and legs first so she could get away or kill herself did he?”

“No, but I think her face is mush,” Dawn told him, gently going over her sister’s unconscious body.

*****

“You that way, and you there!” Anya called out with authority, and some annoyance. She was behind the hospital counter, managing where patients had to go. “Damn, demon hunters, fighting they can do, but an efficient schedule? NO! Leave that to the retail shop owners,” she added in a huff. “Room 13!” The person about to ask something closed his mouth and wheeled the stretcher along.

Xander and Faith were putting pressure on a soldier’s wounds, while one of the medics was trying to save his life. Faith looked and him, and he looked back, smiling, and he explained, “She’s annoying, brutal, has no tact, a vengeful streak from here to Tokyo, but deep down, where it matters, she’s got a heart of gold.”

“I’m glad you pointed that out to me, and seeing her in action,” Faith told him with a wide grin, “now I know not to give into the urge to knock her unconscious.”

The medic pushed Xander’s hand aside, held the wound he was putting under pleasure closed and sowed it shut. The soldier winced, since the medic didn’t have time for an analgesic. Finished with that wound, the medic went on to the wound Faith was holding. When he was done, the medic said, “You can wheel him into a room, he’s going to need surgery later on, but he’ll live till then.”

“Thanks, doc,” the soldier commented sarcastically, and Xander and Faith started wheeling the patient to a room. The two of them had figured to stick together, and not bother anyone with their lack of medical knowledge. Around them everyone was busy with some wounded survivor, so if anyone needed one of them, they’d come get them, most notably the hub of managing activities Anya herself.

Halfway into a corridor, a wounded soldier was in a wheel chair being wheeled in the opposite direction by a potential. He made a gesture to Xander and they all stopped next to each other. “Harris, sir, you were right. These girls can fight with me anytime.”

“Obviously,” Xander commented dryly, while the girl exclaimed, “What?”

Faith grinned and said, “This would be Mr. ‘Leave the little girls at home’.”

“I should’ve just let that Bringer have his jollies before killing it,” the girl said with a huff.

“Sorry?” the man tried.

“Oh, fine,” the potential said and started pushing again.

Xander and Faith watched the couple move away from them, as they started to argue. “That could be the start of a beautiful friendship,” Xander commented with a grin.

“You’re sick, Xan, sometimes I wonder why I’m falling in love with you,” Faith told him, and started to push the stretcher along again.

Xander followed her and took a guess, “You’re sicker?”

Faith whipped her head around, and looked at him darkly for a moment, and then grumbled with a breaking smile, “That could be it.”

*****

“Hey,” Dawn said softly, as she pushed the drapes aside keeping Buffy away from the other patients in the room. She looked at Buffy’s bandaged face. Buffy looked through the slits that left her eyes open.

Buffy picked up her board and pen, and wrote something. She held up the plastic board, and Dawn read, ‘Hi.’

“How do you feel?” Dawn asked concerned.

Buffy made gesture with her head that seemed to indicated rolling her eyes, and winced at the movement. She wiped the board clean with a little lever, and wrote something on it. She held it up, and Dawn read, ‘Ass kicked.’

Dawn smiled, and said, “You know, the doctor said that if everything he heard about Slayer healing is true, the bandages could come off in a day or two. You’d be one hundred percent fine within a week, although your face could feel a little delicate.”

Buffy wrote, ‘Good.’

“So, great battle huh? First destroyed, for good. Turok-han all dead. Bringers all dead. Flying demons all dead. I think evil is going to think twice before trying to take us on again,” Dawn spoke with a smile. “I guess that means we can relax a couple of months. What do you say we go grab a movie when you’re out of here? It’d be great, the Summers sisters out on the town, together. No man would feel safe.”

‘Sounds great,’ Buffy wrote, and then added, ‘Can I be alone now?’

Dawn’s smile faltered, and she asked, “Why?”

‘You wouldn’t understand,’ Buffy wrote and held up.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Dawn returned, half angry, half depressed. “I’m your sister. Why can’t I keep my hospitalized sister company?” Buffy held up the same text. “The fucking battle is over, all you’ve done on before hand is ignore me, and now it’s over and you still . . . Fine, Xander and Faith will come by soon, perhaps another powered super slutty heroine /can/ understand.” Dawn then stormed out of the room, leaving a distraught Buffy.

*****

Two days later

At one of Sunnydale car sales stores, still abandoned, the three crows stood. One of the cars that had been left behind was running, and its front doors was open. Xander looked at his fellow crows, and told them, “Thank you. I am greatly indebted to the both of you.” He pulled out two tickets from his coat and handed one to each. “As promised, a plane ticket back to your homes, you can go back to your graves, get rid of your crows and live the rest of your lives as mortal human beings . . . or decide to stick around for as long as your crows live.”

Eric and Alex took the tickets, and Alex stuck out his hand. Xander shook it, and Alex said, “It’s been an honor, Xander.”

Then Xander shook Eric’s hand, both staying silently. The two crows got in the car, and drove off.

*****

Another two days later

Xander watched the funeral take place. Faith was standing next to him, and Faith’s arm was slung around his waist. Many new graves were added to the cemetery. Most SiTs, but a few of the soldiers as well. The other dead soldiers were going back to their birthplace and families. The priest that had come with the initiative - it was always good to be able to turn a river into holy water for a few minutes, see those vamps boil - was doing the whole ceremony. There were quite a few of the survivors grieving, and a few townsfolk was watching it out of curiosity. A part of population had returned to Sunnydale after the military had given the statement that situation that had made them flee was dealt with and all was well in the quiet, little town where nothing ever happened, and more were coming back in.

When the ceremony was over, Xander got an idea and he went over to the priest, Faith trailing behind him. “Say, padre,” Xander asked with a smile. The priest looked at him questioningly. “I need a little holy water . . . in fact, I need a lot of holy water.”

“Point me to the water,” the priest told him.

*****

Later that day
Landing strip Sunnydale Military base

“I’m still sorry,” Xander told Sam, as Riley’s coffin was loaded in the cargo bay of the large plane.

Sam shook her head, tears flowing from her eyes again, “If he had to go early, its is the way he would have wanted to go: making a difference in a big, crucial battle like this. I just don’t know what I’m going to tell his family. I can’t tell them the truth, I can’t tell them a lie.”

The rest of the gang said their goodbyes. Sam then got on the plane, and it took off. “So,” Molly asked, who had become good friends with Dawn in the past few days. She was standing next to her new friend, as she finished, “We just kicked the First’s rear end, and his army all the way back to hell. What are we going to do now?”

Xander got a deep grin, as he started walking away from them, and said, “I’ve got Captain Peroxide to find.”

“I’m coming with you,” Faith said, quickly catching up.

Xander’s grin faded, and turned around to face her. “Uh, Faith, I want to do this alone,” Xander told her.

She placed her hands in her sides, and asked, “You think you can keep me away from you?”

Xander sighed, and then said, “So how good are you on a bike?”

“Are you kidding me?” Faith asked him with a wide grin.

“Off-road bike,” Xander added, as he turned around and went on his way

Faith frowned, as she joined him and asked, “Nothing more stylish?”

“Sorry.”

Faith sighed theatrically.

*****

The two off-road bikes came to a standstill in front the hotel. The two riders were armed to the teeth, both in black get ups. Above them Xander’s crow cawed. Faith looked at Xander questioningly. “No danger, nobody home, as expected,” Xander relayed to the Slayer.

Faith smiled, and then two rode onto the lot. The two of them put their bikes away, and Faith used her key to get inside. They two of them checked the place out, and went to find a room to their liking. Faith went into Angel’s room, and called Xander in. She let herself fall on the big bed, and said, “Look, Angel’s bed. I’ll bet you’d like to piss Angel off by using his . . .” Faith raised her head, looking at a smiling Xander in the doorway, and added, “ . . . especially by having sex on it?”

Xander crunched up his face in disgust and said, “Ew, make love in a bed that a corpse laid in? Imagine the germs, and the bacteria, and the /cooties/. I understand for someone who hugs a corpse on a regular basis it ain’t that big a deal, but . . . eew.”

“Very funny,” Faith said, but quickly got up off the bed. “What would you care anyway? You’re dead too.”

Xander shook his head with a smile, answering, “Nope, very much alive. Was dead, alive now, you can check my heartbeat, you know. You did notice the /warm/ body temperature the last few days lying next to me, didn’t you?”

“You’ve got an answer for everything, don’t you?” Faith asked sourly.

“Of course,” he answered.

“Hey! You’re immortal! Little bacteria can’t hurt you!” Faith suddenly exclaimed.

Xander shook his head, as he turned around to go look at the other rooms, and said, “Doesn’t make it any less disgusting.”

“All right, fine!” Faith exclaimed with mock annoyance as she went after him. “But I’m telling ya, you won’t find a finer bed in this entire hotel.”

Xander grinned and entered a different room, also sporting a double bed. Xander walked over and let himself fall on it on his back. “What about his?” Xander asked casually.

Faith raised her eyebrows, took a critical look, and then said, “Spring check.” She jumped and landed stomach first on top off Xander before he even knew what she was up to.

“Oof!” Xander exclaimed as the bed sprung smoothly up and down.

Faith grinded herself into Xander, and murmured, “Mmh, I should have known, you are the finest bed here.”

“As much as I like to be your bed, Faith,” Xander commented with some difficulty. “We’ve got work to do, and you’re heavy.”

“Are you saying I’m fat!?” Faith asked incredulously.

“Very, sitting on your ass in prison hasn’t done you good,” Xander told her with a wide grin. “You need a diet girl.”

“Why you!” she exclaimed. Then she bent down and gave him a quick kiss on his lips. After that she got off him, and said, “You’re forgiven this once, Alexander Lavelle Harris, next time you joke about your girlfriend’s figure, or weight, or both; you’re gonna get it.”

“Looking forward to it already,” Xander grinned at her as he got up. Then he was all business, “Okay, after I put on the face, we go exploring this city, and see if he’s here.”

“Are you really sure he’s here?” Faith asked him.

“Not one hundred percent,” Xander replied her. “But it’s the closest big city, quickest way to disappear into anonymity if he wants to hide, and enough victims to turn if he decides he can’t hide from me and wants to fight it out. And Spike isn’t smart enough to be unpredictable.”

*****

Their bikes slowed down. A newspaper they had gotten, talking about several missing people, speculated to be linked to the Jasmine incident, not more recent arrivals, had taken them in this part of the city.

The two looked around and saw purple-skinned demon enter a bar. Faith and Xander looked at each other once, and gave a nod. Apparently once Jasmine was gone, the demons had come back out of hiding, or exile, or just migrated from other places to the big city near the Hellmouth. The crow above them stayed outside for now to do some patrol.

Xander and Faith walked into the demon bar, and they looked around. Demons in all shapes and sizes sat everywhere. Xander and Faith calmly walked toward the bar itself, while the demons looked up, and studied them. Some with surprise, some with bloodlust, some with caution, some with hate, all kinds of scrutinizing was going on. Xander’s painted face wasn’t lost on any of them - the smarter ones realized just how far Xander had to be to painting his face like that, and would wisely stay away from someone with so little to lose - and the fact that his /female/ companion walked there as if she owned the place could really only mean one of three things: Slayer, the guy was so good she had no doubt they weren’t going to walk away, or both. None were very favorable to the demons.

The demon behind the bar - pale dark blue, bordering on grey - asked them, “What’ll it be?”

“Information,” Xander answered him calmly, boring his eyes in the demon’s sockets. “I’m looking for a vampire named Spike.”

One big red demon, with goat legs, and a big beard got up from his chair, and said, “And /why/ should we give up one of our own to the likes of a stinking human like you?” The demon took his steps forward, his muscled arms rippling. Other demons quickly dipped their head down, either embarrassed or not wanting to draw the attention of the two humans to them, or again both.

A smaller green demon a companion of the red one, got up as well, and said, “Danir, I don’t think this is a good idea.”

The big demon bellowed out, as he reached the human couple, and said, “Marro, don’t tell me you are afraid of a few puny humans.”

“Damn it, that’s a girl that came in here, no fear, don’t you think she could be the Slayer?” the green demon tried to reason with the bigger one, looking apprehensively at Xander and Faith, who were both turned to the demon and regarding him calmly.

The big red demon laughed, and said, “Don’t tell me you actually believe that old wive’s tale: the Slayer, hah!” He gave a disdainful snort, and looked back at Xander and Faith. “I believe I asked you why we should answer?”

Xander gave Faith a look, and then she shrugged, and offered, “We don’t kill you?”

The demon laughed out loud and then growled menacingly, “You think you’re boyfriend’s make-up is going to scare me? We’ve got actual faces like that! He just looks like a wimp to me.”

The guy’s green friend tried to talk some sense into him, “Fuck, man, unlike the vampire you’re so desperate to protect it seems, you’re not immortal. One properly aimed bullet will kill you, and they could have a hundred guns underneath their clothes.”

There was a squawk, and a moment later the Crow fluttered in from a crack in the ceiling and then landed on the bar. It cawed again, and cocked his head around. Xander himself gave his head a cock as well, smiling deeply. “Fuck me,” the green demon said, and several other demons gave a quick exclaims of various degrees of uncomfortable emotions. “Shit man, he’s a crow,” the green demon said taking a few steps back, “Immortal, embodiment of vengeance, strong as hell, resurrected from the dead, stop this foolishness man.”

The red demon laughed out loud again, and said, “You can’t be serious. Not only do you believe in the Slayer you actually believe that? Dead is dead my friend, he’s nothing.”

“I find your lack of faith disturbing,” Xander told him, capturing the red demon’s eyes with his own dark ones. The demo roared with laughter. Xander grabbed the demon’s right hand with his left almost casually, but incredibly fast, then squeezed hard, and twisted the hand back. The laughter turned to a roar of pain. The demon screamed out and slowly sank to his knees. Xander casually looked over to Faith, paying the demon no heed it seemed, smiled, and told her, “I’ve always wanted to say that.”

Faith laughed out hard, as the demons looked with greater disturbance at the couple. After all the power increase, and rage and hatred toward those that had hurt him, he was still a scifi nut underneath it all. She was in love with a scifi nut! She didn’t know whether that meant she had gone up in the world or down, but she didn’t really care.

“Too bad I don’t have any telekinetic powers, but a hand will do just fine,” Xander added, and then his right hand shot out and wrapped itself as best as it could around the demon’s thick neck. Then he squeezed, and squeezed. The demon’s eyes started to bulge out, and wheezed as it tried to get air. Xander calmly looked it in its eyes, and slowly the demon realized he was not going to survive this. Suddenly Xander yanked, and the with a loud crack the demon’s neck was broken. Its body spasmed, his leg shuddered, as its electrical signals went haywire for a moment, and then it started to slump. Xander let go, and the demon dropped to the floor. The whole bar looked at the body incredulously. It was killed that easily.

“I suppose I get to clean that up,” the bartender said bitterly seeing the dead body on his floor. Xander looked over at the demonic bartender, and he took a step back, his hands up, waving him off. “No offense,” the bartender said a little fearfully.

Xander calmly surveyed the bar, and said, “So, Spike, vampire, bleached blonde, likes long leather coats, kind of like mine, I gave his back to the son of one of the Slayers he’s killed, he probably has gotten himself a new one by now. More detail, if we have to believe his stories Billy Idol wanted to be him, and copied his look. Anyone?”

The demons looked nervously around, no one had an answer. Until finally one demon in a far corner lifted his arm. “There’s a new master in town,” the demon said, somewhat nervously, and then pointed in a direction left from him. “A mile that way, and into the sewers, when you’re down there it shouldn’t take you long to find his lair. He’s been turning lots of people, gathering an army it seems. Don’t know if it’s your boy; I hate vampires, avoided them the moment I saw them go in there.”

“Thanks,” Xander told him, and then looked around. No further answers were forthcoming. The crow fluttered over and landed on Xander’s shoulder, and then he and Faith walked toward the exit. “Oh,” Xander said, waiting at the door. “I find any of you /did/ have information, and didn’t say, or if I find out any of you harmed a human after today, I will hunt you all down, and kill you all . . . I don’t care if you’re a vegetarian or not, innocent or not, I will kill you all, so keep an eye on the others, and stop them from doing anything stupid.”

Xander went outside, and Faith turned around following him walking backward, and added, “That goes double for me.”

*****

The two have them had taken the demon’s tip, and were searching through the sewers a mile onward. The demon had been right. It hadn’t taken long before they ran into a vampire, and unseen followed her along. She went into a circular tunnel, and Xander and Faith looked at each other. They waited a bit, and then went into the tunnel.

Barely in, voice could be heard, lots of them. They gave each other another look, and Xander pulled out the infrared, and ultraviolet binoculars that he got from the initiative. He looked through it from here, making sure none of the voices could see them. “Fuck,” Xander whispered, and removed the binoculars from his eyes. “There are at least a hundred, if not more, none have body heat.”

“Vampires,” Faith whispered, half shocked. “A hundred? How?”

Xander looked over at her, and answered, “Nobody notices homeless people go missing.”

Faith nodded, and said, “Spike or not, we’ve got to dust them, especially the master.”

Xander nodded, and then pointed to the other end. Slowly they snuck forward and then looked out the other end. The square room, two sewage drains running through it was filled with vampires, and was about two meters down, and extended another meter above the pipe they were in. There at the head, one vampire was sitting on a throne: his bleach-blonde hair unmistakable. “Spike,” Xander whispered with boiling anger. “Nice guy huh? Kills a hundred people, but it’s alright, ‘cause ‘I’ve got a soul now’. Ugh.”

Faith nodded gently, and then pointed back. Xander nodded, and they snuck away. Back out of the pipe, Faith whispered a little louder, “So how are we going to do this?”

“We?” Xander asked a little in disbelief. “You mean me.”

“I’m not letting you do this alone,” Faith told him stubbornly.

Xander sighed, and he said, “Over a hundred, Faith. I’m out of explosives, I have no contacts here in this city, no rocket launchers, no way to just burn the whole place out. I’m immortal, you’re not. I’ll leave the bird with you, and there’s nothing they can do to kill me.”

“Except sever your head,” Faith returned with an annoyed look. “No offense Xan, but I don’t want to have to come down here, and find out heads don’t grow back, not even on Crows. Besides, do you have any idea what happens when a vampire drinks of your souped up blood? Might work like holy water, might also turn them in a power house of a vampire than will make a Turok-Han look like a sweet little bunny. And if Spike . . .” Faith let the implication hang there. Spike may have been a dimwit, and a sickening evil thing, he had also already killed two Slayers without strength even beyond that of a vampire.

“Listen, Faith, what . . .” Xander paused and took a look at the pipe they just crawled in, and saw a similar pipe going into the same room only a small distance to the right of the one they went into. Suddenly he had an idea. He turned back to Faith and looked at her waiting with curiosity at what he had come up with. “Faith, just how good are you with that bike?”

“Uh, I can ride it, I can jump it . . . why?” Faith asked him intrigued.

Xander grinned, and turned around, walking back the way they came. “I don’t suppose there’s a stunt bike rider in this city I can touch for a moment and share with you, is there?”

“Uh, big city,” Faith answered sneaking after him.

Xander nodded, “We’ll find one. Tomorrow morning after dawn we attack, limit his escape routes.”

“How are you going to get the bikes down here?” Faith asked softly, and a little excited, not yet fully understanding Xander’s plan, but knowing it would be great.

“We’ll find a hole big enough,” Xander answered with confidence, and turned to look at her with a twinkle in his dark eyes, “or we make a hole big enough.”

*****

Once they were finished with the preparations the two of them returned to the hotel, and their room. They went to take off their clothes to go to bed. Xander watched silently, as Faith on the other side of her bed took off shirt. It revealed a black bra. Moments later her leather pants dropped, and matching to the bra a black g-string was revealed. Xander drank in the almost naked form of the girl on the opposite side of the bed, as she turned around. Creamy thighs, taunt tummy, lovely breasts, although they weren’t fully visible; she seemed even more beautiful than he remembered - of course the lights were out back then, and they were on now.

Faith turned around, and looked at him, took in his muscles, his boxer shorts, his chest and his face. She smiled, before tonight they had slept together with their clothes on, and he looked as good as she remembered - of course the lights were out back then, and they were on now, so he could be looking much better than then. Strangely self-conscious she got into the bed, and so did Xander. He snuggled close to her, and gently wrapped her arms around the waste. He placed a light kiss in her neck, which sent shivers down her spine, and told her, “You’re beautiful.”

“And you’re hot,” she said with a content smile. Oh, yes, she was more than ready to pop.

“Think so?” Xander asked her, snuggling closer, and he felt himself go erect.

Faith’s eyes widened as she felt something grow. *Oh, god, am I ready to pop,* Faith thought, but kept the comment to herself. She wasn’t going to push, as she knew he wouldn’t if the roles were reversed. “Yeah, very much so,” she said, and gently pushed her ass back till it rubbed against his crotch. *Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t show him I’m available if he /is/ ready,* she thought wickedly, as she felt herself moisten. As she felt Xander turn her gently around Faith breathed in deep, and thought, *Oh, god.* Facing him, he placed a gentle kiss on her lips, and then parted her lips with his. A moment later they were gently tonguing each other. Their arms were wrapped around each other, and gently rubbed and caressed the other. Xander then gently pushed her back, onto her back, and continued kissing for a few seconds. He broke the kiss, and looked into Faith’s eyes, as his left hand waited just above her panties. Faith eyes got caught in her throat - this was it! He was silently asking her permission, and she understood; he would make love to her, he would be on top. Faith couldn’t remember the last time a guy was on top, but she probably hadn’t ‘let him’. She hesitated for a moment, and then remembered just what kind of an amazing man was with her, and she gave him a nod.

Xander resumed kissing her, as his left hand disappeared under her panties and quickly found and stimulated her wet vagina, his right hand opened her bra.

*****

The planks were ready. Diagonally up the heightened parts, so they could ride up it and jump into the pipes. Both of them were sitting on their bikes, feet to the ground, holding their helmets in front of them; Xander on the right, Faith to the left.

“Whatever you do, Faith, don’t die,” he told her with the smile.

“You do the same,” Faith retorted, and they gave each other a nod. Then they put on their helmets, strapped them on good, and started their engines with a kick down on the start pedal. They gave each other one last look, and closed the wind shields of their helmets. They revved the gas a few times, and then rode off at the same time, full throttle.

*****

Spike was sitting on his throne contently. His army was swelling, he already had enough he thought to keep that bloody git of a crow Xander of his back, all he had to do were have his gun-bearing minions shoot his crow, and he’d be lunch. With him gone, Spike knew he could take the rest, then Buffy would be his again, all his. This place was perfect, the guy would have to come in some way, and when he did, he’d be surrounded quickly by too overwhelming odds and no way out.

The sounds that started echoing in his sewer throne room were at first unrecognizable. As confused as his minions, he looked around, trying to find out where the sounds were coming from, but they echoed just too much. Just when he thought he identified the sounds as off-road bikes, he was proven right. Two bikes jumped out of the upper pipes and he looked astonished. The riders pulled shotguns from somewhere he hadn’t seen, and the shots rang out. His minions already confused were even more so now. The shotgun hits were mostly in the head, and as his minions’ heads exploded, so did his minions: to dust. To Spike’s anger he recognized Xander, but no crow, and to his even greater anger the shotgun blasts were all aimed at his gun-bearing minions.

Spike watched in astonishment as the bikes reached all the way across the room, and landed with their wheels against the wall. As the bikes started to fall, the riders twisted the bikes around, so their front wheel pointed down, and then they bounced off the wall, to land on both wheels. By the time they had landed, both riders had put their shotguns back in their bikes, and pulled bladed weapons from their backs. Xander a katana, and now that Spike recognized her, Faith her magical, Slayer weapon. Full throttle, the bikes drove off again, right into the crowd of vampires, the weapons at average neck height. Heads were severed instantly, the riders kicked at vampires, and drove over them, the weapons flashed rapidly. Vampires were dusted left and right, and were quickly diminished in numbers. A few of his minions got off shots, but not surprisingly, apart from a few jerks nothing happened to Xander. When Spike saw Faith get a slug in her chest, and do equally nothing more but jerk, and he saw his minions were confused and in disarray, and used as slaughter practice he decided not to stick around. He got up off his throne, quickly jumped in a higher pipe, and ran.

Faith and Xander twisted their bikes around rapidly when they reached the other side of the room, bashing aside a few vampires behind them. They then drove back into the crowd, hacking and slashing, and Faith occasionally driving the stake end of the weapon into heads or chests dusting the vamps easily. So completely in disarray now that panic started to take over, the vampires no longer stood a chance. Faith watched as Xander started finishing off the last few of the remaining vamps, and she decided to go after Spike. She drove up the throne, which backed over and leaned against the wall. She pulled up her bike, landing against the wall, her hands on the break so the moment she touched the wall the wheels would be still. Then she pulled the gas open full, and the boost allowed her to jump neatly into the pipe that Spike had jumped into. She sped off the moment she was in the pipe.

Spike turned around as he heard the sound, and turned his head to look behind him. The bike became very visible, and Spike cursed, “Bloody hell.” He started running as fast as possible, the bike rapidly caught up with him.

“Hey, Spikey!” he heard Faith’s muffled voice call out loud. “Fancy meeting you here! How’s it hanging?” Spike dared another look back, and saw the bike driving straight at him on only the back wheel, the front wheel in the air coming straight for his head. His eyes widened but he was too late, the front wheel rammed into his head and he went down. Half turned he turned onward, landing on his back, and the wheel forcing him painfully to the ground. Faith hit the breaks, the heavy bike painfully pinning Spike’s upper body. “And exactly where do you think you’re going?” Faith asked him with a sneer.

A new bike engine sound filled the pipe, and not long after Xander joined his girlfriend. “Well, Spike, it seems you’re in a tight spot,” he told him.

“I have a soul!” Spike called out in protest.

Xander and Faith chuckled. “Yeah, you do, didn’t stop you from killing at least a hundred people, now did it?” Xander told him. Then the butt of a shotgun came down at Spike, and all went black for him. Xander then looked concerned at Faith, and asked, “How are you?”

Faith peeled her clothing aside revealing a bullet proof vest, and winced when she pulled the crumpled bullet off it. “Black and blue, but nothing Slayer healing won’t solve,” she answered.

*****

Back in Sunnydale
Just before dawn, the next day

“I will do this alone, Faith, just me, Spike and Robin,” Xander told the Slayer as they pauzed for a moment after they came past the welcome sign of Sunnydale. Spike was tied and gagged to the bike behind Xander.

Faith looked at him, and said sourly, “What? You don’t want me to see your dark side? Think . . .”

“No!” Xander told her forcefully. “This is private, just the guy who was one of the two major causes of my death, the guy whose mother Spike killed, and me. Got it?” Faith nodded. She lent over, and Xander did the same, giving her a quick kiss.

*****

Three hours later in the Summers home, Buffy looked out the window and saw Robin take off in his car. “Where is Robin going?” Buffy asked to no one in particular.

“Who cares?” Kennedy commented jovially from her position on the chair next to Willow. The witch was in good spirits as well, and was enjoying her breakfast quite a bit.

Faith slowly came down the stairs, yawning widely, and said, “There’s nothing like two hours sleep to get a Slayer going again.”

Dawn also enjoying her breakfast in the living room, along with the SiTs who didn’t have a home or family to go home to, commented, “Really? I must have missed where yawning is considered going again.”

“Very funny,” Faith told her, and Dawn smiled.

Suddenly Buffy realized something, and asked, “You’re back? Where’s Xander? Did you find Spike?” Faith nodded. Suddenly her head whipped back to the window, and she exclaimed in revelation, “ROBIN! He went to Xander, they’re going torture Spike to death!”

“Yep,” Faith replied calmly, and went to the kitchen to get some food.

Buffy got up. “My God! We have to stop them! We can’t let that happen!”

“Why not?” Giles asked calmly as he entered from the kitchen.

“He’s got a soul now!” Buffy yelled out in exasperation.

Faith sighed heavily, and told her, “Oh, for fuck’s sake, Buffy. The guy killed at least a hundred people and turned them into vampires. The bastard is evil!”

“Self-defense!” Buffy answered her quickly. “What choice did he have? Tortured or fight back!? Besides, even if Spike’s evil; Xander can’t be torturing a souled being!? Not good, as in the category ‘I tried to kill every living thing on the planet’-category! We have to stop him.” Buffy then ran out, leaving a protesting crowd behind. Moments later she drove off in what was once her mother’s car, and then the rest of them followed quickly in their own transportation.

*****

“The first place in Sunnydale you came to, is the last place in Sunnydale you’re going to be,” Xander said, looking around the half-destroyed factory. Spike was restrained, completely nude on a table. His missing hand gave the scene an extra air of morbidity. The metal clamps around his neck, wrists, waist, and legs kept him securely restrained. “I thought it was a proper round circle, don’t you agree?” Xander asked with a wide grin.

“You’re sick!” Spike told him, looking at the painted, terrifying face.

Xander suddenly came close, and said, “Yeah, but I’m not the one who killed a hundred people.”

“Oh, yeah,” Robin’s voice sounded coming in on the scene. A lamp above Spike’s body illuminated the scene, Xander’s face just inside the light.

“Ah! The scorned son has arrived! Let the party begin!” Xander yelled out, and then laughed insanely. The next moment a stake was rammed into Spike’s right shoulder, and he screamed out in pain. “Oh, did that hurt?” Xander laughed. “Here, some water will sooth it,” Xander told Spike and opened a plastic, liter bottle of water, and let some of it poor on the stake. The moment it hit Spike’s skin it sizzled and smoked, and Spike screamed out in pain, and terror. “Wanna have a go?” Xander suggested to Robin, licking his lips and teeth.

Robin gave an approved growl, and Xander threw a stake at the man who caught it. “Remember though, not the heart, not just yet,” Xander warned Robin with a wiggling finger.

“Don’t worry, I’d like to see him suffer first,” Robin said, looking over Spike. Suddenly he swung the stake and rammed it right in Spike’s belly. The vampire screamed, and howled at the pain, and tears flowed from his eyes.

“Oh, is Spikey wikey in pain? Is little baby crying?” Xander asked, and a new stake was rammed into Spike’s left shoulder.

“AAAH, FUCK YOU, BASTARD!!” Spike screamed out.

Xander placed his face right above Spike, and said, as he poured some holy water on the wound, “Spike, I’m going to make you pay, not just for the things you did to me, or to Dawn, or to Willow, or Buffy. Not even for what you did to Robin and his mother, or the other Slayer. No, I’m going to make you pay for every child you raped, every woman you killed, every man you ate.” Spike didn’t stop screaming as the holy water slowly burned away his skin on his shoulder, slowly bit by bit reaching bone. “When you get to hell, Spike, you’ll think it’s heaven compared to what I’m going to do to you!”

Xander pulled the away the holy water, stood back, and then wheeled over something. “Spike, until now holy water only came from outside.” The thing he wheeled over became visible. It was a large metal bowl, and Spike couldn’t see what was in it from his position, where he groaned and grunted in pain. “Now it goes inside,” Xander said, and the sound of water was heard as Xander dipped a hand in. He suddenly moved up his hand, splattering some water over and it landed on Spike’s body where it sizzled his flesh and he screamed out more. When he saw the new stake in Xander’s hand, both still dripping with water, he screamed out in terror, “NO! NO! NOO, NO, NO, NOOOO!!”

To no avail, the stake came down and was rammed into Spike’s right lung, where there followed an immediate sizzling. Spike’s scream was horrendous, it tore through the entire factory, as Spike’s flesh was eaten by the holy water from the inside out.

“SPIKE!!” Buffy’s desperate scream sounded through the entire factory. She arrived at the room in the middle, seeing Spike lie there, smoke coming from his sizzling flesh, screaming out in pain.

“Oh, look at that, Miss Stuck Up, Bitch,” Xander said hatefully, and then looked over at Robin. “You let yourself be followed?”

Buffy barged into the room, tears flowing from eyes at Spike’s predicament, and then looked over at Xander hatefully. “What are you doing!? He’s got a soul! You can’t do this! He can be a good man.”

“Ugh,” Xander said, shaking his head in disbelief, and then his anger and rage took over. “He killed over a hundred people, Buffy, one of them a potential Slayer! And this time there was no trigger. He did it all on his own!”

“It was self-defense, you were coming after him!” Buffy told him desperately, as she watched Xander casually pull out another holy water soaked stake. Robin just looked on at the spectacle, no knowing what to do. “Xander, stop torturing Spike, put that stake down! Even if he’s evil, he’s not a soulless demon anymore!”

“NO! You’re right, he’s worse!” Xander accused with anger and rammed the new stake in Spike’s left arm, causing a new scream of pain. At that moment the others arrived behind Buffy.

“Oh, my,” Giles muttered, a perverse glint in his eye.

Xander grabbed a new stake and rammed it just below the first as he tiraded onward, “Not only is he a soulless demon, he’s also a human being, both equally evil!” He grabbed a new stake, and rammed it into Spike’s elbow joint, as he talked onward, “He’s a woman obsessed psychopath before turning, after turning and after the re-ensouling, right Spike?” Another stake came down smashing just below the elbow, as Buffy looked in shock nailed to the floor. “You transformed yourself into a poet for Cicely, you became a ‘good boy’ for your mother - until she stopped wanting to be your lapdog and you staked her, you were a count for Elizabeth, until she found out of course you were no count at all, a brutal murderer for Drusilla . . .” Xander never once paused his tirade, or his staking of Spike’s arm with the holy water stakes, until the arm was full, and he continued with Spike’s left leg. “ . . . for Buffy first Dawn’s protector and worm yourself into the sister’s mind, then you were the sympathetic ear, the one to hold the secrets only to threaten to unveil them, then you became her soulful hurt boy, until she claimed she needed the killer more, and presto, there’s the killer.” The stake accompanying the final words embedded in Spike’s left knee. “Don’t you get it yet, Buffy!? I already told you, he doesn’t see a difference pre- and post-soul, because there is no difference.” He grabbed a bottle of holy water and sloshed it out over Spike’s body increasing his screams. Xander held the bottle then calmly over Spike’s crotch, gave everyone a look, and then very slowly let a trickle out. The scream of pain that came from Spike was the worst yet.

“Don’t worry, Sparkey, it’s gonna get worse,” Xander told the vamp, before turning away casually, and picking up another holly water soaked stake.

“NO! This is wrong!” Buffy yelled and went to attack Xander, but with one punch sent her flying against a side wall where she sagged down in shock. The others looked on in shock, too shocked, and too enraptured by what Xander was saying to interfere.

“You still don’t get it, do you?” Xander asked Buffy, and casually went over to Spike’s right side, pulling the bowl with water and stakes along. “There’s no difference because there was nothing good for the demon to corrupt, isn’t that right, Spike?” Spike whimpered, and groaned and moaned in pain. “The only thing the demon added onto you is a blood thirst for anyone or anything that has no connection with your present obsession, which happens to be you now, Buf.” Xander reached the height of Spike’s groin and gave him an evil grin. Spike shook his head throughout his wails, and then casually Xander rammed the stake through Spike’s right testicle. The scream following bounced off of the walls, and went through bone and marrow.

“Now we get to you, right Buffy?” Xander asked, grabbed a new stake and rammed it through Spike’s right knee, the flesh sizzling and Spike screamed again. “Miss Look at me, I’m the cheerleader captain, miss Slayer, Miss Superiority. You are almost as bad, as this bastard himself. You’ve considered yourself superior to the whole lot of us from the start, at least back then there was still some humanity left in you, some compassion for human beings, but now? When you save a human being, it’s just for the ego boost.” Xander laughed out loud, and rammed another stake into Spike’s leg. “You learn absolutely nothing, you’ve been on a degenerating path from the start. Oh, look, Master kills me, Xander drags that coward down in the catacombs, Xander saves my life, good boy Xander, but I’m still sooo infinitely better. Hell, Cordettes, Slayerettes, Willow had us pegged the way you saw us, huh, Buffy? Sheep, that’s what we were. Oh, we were the sheep you loved as pets, that actually saw as friends, but still, there was always that thought of ‘look how superior I am, I’ve got my own followers.’ Granted, we helped along, forgave you when we should have made you grovel, but you know what they say about hindsight. Then there was Angel, the great and mighty vampire with a soul, who cares what the rest thought. Look how superior I am, I’m not like all the other Slayers, nooo, /I/ can be better than them, /I/ can love my enemy, oooh.”

Xander grabbed a few stakes and rammed them one after another into Spike’s leg, and the last one in his right hand. “Surprised?” Xander asked the dumbfounded Buffy. “I took a little peak in your mind, after Caleb clobbered you in the school. Interesting sights. Angel kills, but I love my enemy. Angel comes back, don’t tell anyone, because I love my enemy, and they don’t understand the great love of loving my enemy, ‘cause I’m superior, and they’re not and they don’t understand. Never mind that humping him will bring back a soulless killing monster back, because I’m superior. When you saw Faith stuck in that hell hole of motel room, you felt good about yourself. See, I’ve got friends and family, I’m the superior slayer. Willow, Giles and me, we screwed up with her Buffy, we screwed it up but good never going to see her, never seeing where she lived and get her out, but at least we acknowledge we screwed up. You still don’t think you did anything wrong. You threw Finch to Faith, Buffy, you basically told her ‘Here, vamp, dust him’, and she did. Then you constantly talked into her, our responsibility this, our fault that. It was an accident, Buffy, the halfwit walked into a fight between vampires and slayers, he was practically begging for it. But it was never about his death so much as your fault, right Buffy? Because your superior, and you couldn’t possibly do that, noo, cause a death, Buffy Summers, nooo! So the moment Giles gives you his accident speech you’re off the hook, right Buffy?”

Giles spoke up at that point, not liking the implication of his guilt, “Now, wait a . . .”

“SHUT UP!” Xander yelled out in raw anger, and bored his eyes into Giles’s. The man gulped and back off. Xander continued, “Throwing Finch was just an accident, not your fault, don’t need to take responsibility for that anymore, but tell that to Faith: ‘Faith it’s all right, it was just an accident, understand? Could have happened to everyone.’ Hell no, ‘Faith you need to take responsibility for your actions, because I’m superior, mine was just accident, but you killed a man, Faith.’”

Xander got more and more worked up, and rammed a few more stakes into Spike’s arm, and ignored his screaming. “Oh, let’s go to college. Friends just pretty much created the whole battle plan against the mayor, made your idea into something that could actually work - let’s ignore my friends, because I’m superior. I don’t need their help, no, shiny new initiative and boyfriend can replace them, except we had to defeat the very initiative and their creation, all together, without me no idea, without Willow and Giles no spell, giant blow up between us. You can’t be neglecting us was the whole ante and conclusion. Year after, Dawn comes along, you find out she’s fake, what shall we do? Of course, even in our altered memories in virtually all cases we still saved your butt and came up with ideas to beat things you couldn’t possibly conceive of - remember rocket launcher? - but hey, even Dracula came for me, obviously I’m superior, /I/ can handle the truth, but my friends? No, we don’t tell our friends, we might have come up with lots of stuff much earlier on if we knew about Dawn’s real state, but they’re just the inferior sheep who can follow orders on occasion, never mind that later on we once again show that we were all needed to built a proper battle plan to which you had input to . . . zero, a few bits and pieces? I got the crane, Willow the magics and the robot, and Anya the hammer.”

Xander rammed stakes into Spike’s chest now, “Let’s not even start about last year, but ah damn, can’t leave that out. I’m brought back from the dead. Months earlier, to you the same day, we once again proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can handle everything that comes our way - let’s fuck a soulless demon instead, much better reasoning.”

Buffy cried out, the words cutting into her, and she wailed, “I was pulled from heaven.”

“Boohoo,” Xander told her, and Buffy got shocked. “The problems you had, didn’t come from heaven, Buff, they came from thinking you’re superior. Granted, we screwed it up. We should have left you dead, resist the slayer essence’s urges to revive you, and bringing you from the dead probably sent you the message ‘I’m indispensable, I’m so, so needed, and even superior’ but if you didn’t think you were superior to begin with, you would never have taken it to the next level. You could have come to us, you could have cried on our shoulders every damn step of the way, we would have gotten you out of your depression, but a superior person doesn’t need weak inferior friends, no, she needs an equally superior - as in physically powerful - soulless demon, right, Buffy? Which where the souled version of our friend comes in - look at him, demon who went to get a soul for superior Buffy. Oh, how superior I am now, right, Buffy? And a superior demon getting a soul for her superior slayer - attempting raping or not - couldn’t possibly be an inferior, purely evil thing. Hell no! He’s more superior than the friends who’ve been saving my butt and fighting alongside me for seven years straight. More superior than my own sister. And we couldn’t possibly understand your pain, because we’re so inferior, and so we don’t even get to talk to you anymore, and we couldn’t possibly have your back even though we’ve been having that since you got here, so you choose to save and guard and protect an evil thing over your friends and we can just go and die. You know what Buffy,” Xander rammed a stake straight through Spike’s throat and everyone watched the gurgling vampire’s neck sizzle. “You the biggest piece of inferior trash I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Take a good long last look at your superior boyfriend, Buffy.”

Xander took several steps, pulled a white cord, and a large reservoir was released above Spike. The water came down, splashed on Spike, and he gurgled his screams, sizzling and crackling came from the body. Once the water had pored down, Spike was a mess, flesh half dissolved, in many places the bone could be seen.

“Do the honors, Robin, the red cord,” Xander said, with a sadistic smile on his face taking in Spike’s state.

Robin turned around, swallowed at the sight, and pulled the cord. A window above opened and sunlight streamed in. Spike’s messy body caught aflame almost instantly. Jittering in pain and gurgling Spike’s body burned, an additional wave of pain at burning to death, and then Spike was no more.

Willow looked over at Buffy with a shocked face, and so did all the others. “That’s how you feel about us? Sheep? Inferior?” Buffy just sat there sobbing, tears running down her cheeks.

“Shit, B, I /knew/ you were fucked up, but this . . .” Faith said from the side position in the crowd.

Xander’s shadow covered Buffy as he reached her, and he looked down upon her. “Felt good, finally letting all of that out,” Xander said cooly, looking down at Buffy. Buffy looked up, and slowly realized Xander was going to do something to her. “I’m not done with you yet, I’m going to give you something, Buffy. I’m going to give you pain, our pain, I’m going to give you all the pain we’ve had because of you.” Xander squatted down, and grabbed her forehead, “Chloe’s pain, the way she felt, when she died, the way you disrespected her, even after her death!” Buffy’s eyes went wide as the blast of memories and emotions got blasted into her brain. “All the SiTs pain of your neglect of them, Jennifer’s pain as she got her neck snapped, because you couldn’t think of anything better to do that walk into a trap. Willow’s pain of your neglecting her, the fact you told us she was nothing, and a demon animated corpse had your back, Robin’s pain of you shacking up with his mother’s killer and telling him you’d let Spike kill him. Here’s me dying, the pain of my hero choosing a vampire over me, here’s me waking up from a shallow hole in the ground, here’s my feelings over your neglect, here’s me realizing just how low you’ve sunk after looking into your mind. And last, but certainly not least, your sisters pain, watching her own sister going on a ‘I am the law’, everyone bow down to me trip, neglecting YOUR OWN FUCKING SISTER OVER CUDDLES WITH A CORPSE!! And you get to live with it, for the rest of your life.” Xander let go, and Buffy just stared up blankly. Xander grinned, and said, “And to finish it, I’m going to give you the stinking thing that you betrayed us for.” Xander grabbed Buffy’s forehead again, and grunted, “Here, see just how purely evil that /thing/ was, and you laid in his arms over coming to us!!”

Xander let go, and looked into the horrified eyes of his erstwhile hero. “Nice guy, huh?” Xander asked her, as Buffy started to sob. Xander shook his head, as he felt tears well up in himself. He forced them away, and told her, “If there’s anything left of the girl I once considered my hero, if there’s anything left of the humanity that was still in you then . . . perhaps you’ll learn something.”

Xander slowly and heavily got up to his feet, and looked back at the small group of people. He breathed heavily, as if something just died inside of him. He took a few steps forward, and just as Faith was about to catch him, and support him, a loud caw rang out. Xander looked up, and looked at the bird sitting on the crossbeam. Xander nodded, as Faith slung a supportive arm around, and then he said, “Right, almost forgot. Now that we’re all here, Will, did you . . .?”

“Uh . . . yes, I managed it,” Willow answered.

“Managed what?” Giles asked surprised, the rest of group looking questioningly, Faith included.

“Restoring the balance,” Willow explained. “The imbalance that allowed the First to do what it did. I know how to restore it, I will need the weapon though.”

“How?” Giles asked her.

“One Slayer, there has to be only one Slayer again,” Willow replied, and looked around the room. Kennedy walked over to her with a grave face. Nobody felt like smiling right no.

“Can you do it here?” Xander asked, wanting to get this over with. Willow nodded. “Give her the weapon, Faith,” Xander told the dark Slayer. Faith looked at him uncertain, and he gave her a nod. Faith pulled the weapon from her back and tossed it to Willow.

Willow caught it, laid it on both her hands, and held in front of her, chest height. “Here goes,” Willow muttered, while everyone looked with fascination and a little trepidation. Willow went into a trance, she looked onward into nothing it seemed, and then her eyes lid up light blue. “What has shattered become whole again, what is lost in the wrong people, return. The spirit is shattered, the spirit must be mended.” Willow went a little rigid, and suddenly a flock of black blotches left her mouth, ears, nose, and eyes. Both Xander and Giles went rigid as well, and similar black mists came from them. All three of the mists were pulled into the magical weapon on Willow’s hands. “One has it still, unjustly - twice dead, the spirit should be gone, reunite it with its missing pieces.”

Buffy groaned out, and everyone looked over at her. She was still sitting there, gone from the world, still looking with wide eyes of shock trying to comprehend what Xander had pored into her, tears ran constantly down her face. A thick black, oily mist started pouring forth from her cavities, forming a flowing icky thing. Once all of it was out of Buffy it suddenly shot forward and entered the weapon. Willow took a deep breath, and then seemed to deepen the trance, looking up lightly, as wind and power started whipping up around her. “Mother Earth, hear my plea, once many times ago, the land was covered in darkness. People died by the darkness. People saw only the darkness, and its strength. They feared the darkness. They were blinded by the darkness. A champion against that darkness, they created from the darkness. The champion’s weapon the same way.” The power grew, the astonished people’s hair present whipped about their faces. A gentle rumble started coming from the ground, even as dark clouds formed overhead. “Mother Earth, you were offended by our actions, but we learned from our mistakes, hear our plea.” The bowl with holy water ignited in fire, and the same happened with several more bowls around the room. “The essence of the slayer, the spirit of the champion, the spirit of darkness is here, it needs to be cleansed.” Small fountains of water suddenly erupted around Willow, and she was standing in a pool of water a moment later.

“Whoa,” Dawn muttered, as the rest looked on in astonishment.

Willow continued undisturbed, “Cleansed of darkness, purified of the demonic, the champion of the Earth can be greater still. A hero you, Mother Earth, can be proud of. She still needs strength, and power. The instincts of the tiger.” Willow’s body went rigid, and suddenly a tiger’s head detached itself from Willow’s face, and quickly expanded. The spirit roared, and then dove right into weapon. A screech came from the axe, and a dark oily mist tried to dislodge itself, but suddenly there was the roar of the tiger, and its head became visible and sank its teeth into the black thing, and grappled with it, not letting it escape. “Nobility of the wolf.” A wolf spirit detached itself from Willow, and then dove into the weapon, joining his tiger brother. “Sight of the eagle.” A majestic eagle spirt rose above Willow, and then with a loud call dove in. The screeching from the weapon increased, and its black mist started pulling and tearing. The weapon vibrated, and the sounds of the animal spirits became triumphant. Willow seemed to pull onto something, and suddenly the Earth around moved, and made a ridge through the pool of water, and then ants came crawling out of the ground, they marched up the ridge and then up Willow.

“You certain this is safe, being so close?” Faith whispered in awe at Xander.

She felt his arm around her squeeze reassuringly while answering, equally in awe, “If Willow says she can do it here, it’s safe.”

“Endurance of the polar bear,” Willow intoned, and a white bear spirit arose, roared and dove into the weapon, as the ants reached her arm, and marched over it toward the weapon. “Smell of the hyena,” Willow intoned with greater intensity, nearing the end. A hyena spirit detached itself from Willow, laughed, and then burst into the weapon. “Strength of the ant.” The ants coiled around the weapon, a mass of black shapes as if they were squeezing. Amidst the screeching there seemed to be coming a cracking, and the ants transformed into air and a twister suddenly howled around the weapon before disappearing into it. A snake swam up out of the water, and coiled itself around Willow’s legs. When it reached the weapon, Willow intoned, “Agility of the snake.” The snake wrapped itself around the weapon completely. It cut itself on the blade only when it wanted to, at the same time as it sank its poisonous fangs into it. Instead of blood, there was fire, which consumed the snake, and then the newly formed fire snake disappeared into the weapon. “Healing of the salamander,” Willow intoned, and from the bowl on fire a salamander jumped. As it came into contact with the slayer weapon it turned into water, and then washed around it, before disappearing into it. “Sensitivity of the fly,” Willow intoned again, and a fly suddenly flew to above the weapon, turned into sand dropped on the weapon and disappeared into it.

Willow took a deep breath, and slowly rose the weapon above her head. There was lighting and thunder, and the a piece of the roof was blown away. Some dust came falling down but that was. “Mother Earth,” Willow intoned with finality, and pleading. “Hear our call, purify this spirit and the weapon. Cleanse it of the demonic, remove the darkness, reborn into light, repair it for this Earth.” Everybody looked up through the hole, and saw lightning being pulled to a point above the hole. Some took an involuntary step back. Then suddenly, from the point, a powerful lighting strike struck down, directly onto the weapon. Willow shuddered as her power rose protectively around herself. The wind blew with incredible strength, and the power of the lightning bold nailed everyone to the floor. As quickly as it came, the lightning stopped, and the storm above slowly started to dissolve.

Willow lowered the weapon - which now glowed with a serene inner light - back down to chest level. Once again Willow took a deep breath. Only one thing left to do. “Cleansed of darkness, this spirit misses a vessel, misses a purpose. Unify it with the old, destroy its darkness, find the bearer of the first, and make her whole.” A similar mist as before rose from the weapon, encircling and folding on itself, only this time it was glowing white. The moment it was fully detached from the weapon, the blue glow disappeared from Willow’s eyes, and she staggered back and dropped to her ass. Kennedy quickly went over and helped her sit up. The white spirit slowly and gently even fluttered over to Faith, who took an involuntary step back.

“Don’t worry, Faith,” Willow groaned out in her normal voice. “Just relax and let it happen.”

Suddenly the mist seemed to latch onto the dark Slayer and it shot forward, poring into her eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Shocked Faith felt the energy flow into her. When it had all entered, a darker shape seemed to vibrate into her, and suddenly she screamed out, “AAAH!” She doubled over, grabbing her stomach, “It hurts!”

“Faith, don’t try to fight it!” Willow called out.

Xander placed a hand on her head gently, and said, “Don’t fight, Faith.”

Faith seemed to relax, but still groaned out. The darker shape inside her slowly became less dark. It became lighter and lighter, then there was a quick light flashing through her, and the two shapes fused. “OH!” Faith called out, and suddenly stood up, rigid, her eyes glowed white. “Oh, my,” she said, and then there was an explosion of light. A sphere of energy burst from the Slayer and rapidly expanded outward. As it passed by potentials, they shuddered, and went rigid a dark point on their foreheads became visible, and then turned to a bright white light, before going invisible again.

“It’s done,” Willow said in awe, as the sphere rapidly went outward. First Sunnydale, then Los Angeles, San Francisco, the sphere expanded in all directions, making people look in shock as the sphere past them by, mostly untouched, a few who’s dark spot turned bright white. Outside of LA it had expanded so much it was no longer visible, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t still expanding, and eventually would go around the entire world.

*****

Baseball field
Somewhere

“Listen, all bases are loaded, we need a good solid hit, not a home run. If the pitch is perfect for one, go for it, but if not, just hit that ball somewhere in left field. We can win this, Marlina, just don’t screw this up,” the coach said, and then sent the girl to the plate. He felt guilty for saying that last part, he shouldn’t have, but it had just come out. She was just a kid, a kid with potential, but just too much impulsiveness.

*I’ll show him! I’ll show him! Screw this up, hmpf. I’ve hit the most home runs of them all,* Marlina thought ready at the plate, a nervousness running through her. The pitch came, she swung the bat with all her might and . . . missed.

“STRIKE ONE!” the umpire called out.

Marlina, all of fourteen years old, hated this. Guys telling her this, guys telling her that. She had always felt a need to show everyone up, the need to attack, not just to hit. Suddenly a weird sensation went through her, the boys and a few girls on the field told themselves they didn’t just saw a black point on her forehead appear, turn bright white, and then disappear again. With the little demonic essence gone, replaced by a predator of nature, a calmer voice spoke, *Yeah, but you’re also the one with the lowest batting average, because you /always/ go for the home run . . . and he /is/ the coach.*

Marlina blinked once, and there came the pitch. She swung, and it hit. The ball sailed low over the ground to the left right through the middle. Boys of the opposite team ran for it, tried to grab it but missed. Marlina was already halfway to the first base, as she looked back and saw her fellow team mate sprinting toward home, while the crowd of friends and parents screamed out their encouraging and approval. The coach made a fist, hissing ‘yes’, while the rest of the team in the primitive dug out were on their feet and cheering as the first of the three team mates reached home. In the small stands, on Marlina’s mother’s forehead a black dot appeared as well, and turned bright white before going away.

*****

The man’s fist connected with the slightly pudgy young woman and she crashed to the floor. She cried as her husband called her names and beat her, and kicked her some more. “NOW DO AS I TOLD YOU, FAT PIG!” he yelled at her, and went back to his chair.

The woman slowly got up, crying. Many women stay with these kinds of men because they have no self esteem, or because their version of a holy book says it isn’t proper to get a divorce, or for several other reasons. Not this young woman, in this young woman a small thing sat, and was festering, a demonic essence thriving on pain and suffering. That demonic spirit lit up as it got attacked by a much greater thing, and then crushed, replaced by a bright white spirit of nature. The young woman went away to the kitchen, ‘to do as her husband said’, picking her husband’s cell phone from a table on the way. She went out the back door, ran. The demonic thing no longer there, she had no reason to stay. She called 911, after that she called an old friend her husband had forbidden her to ever see again. She would testify on trial, and the man would go to jail for a very long time.

*****

Across the world similar cases happened, girls and women guided by a piece of demon embedded deep within them, suddenly coming to their senses as a whole new piece filled a void they never knew they had. But the people in Sunnydale would never know the personal stories behind them. Willow though, did feel the potentials darkness aligning to light. “Wow,” she said, “there are hundreds of them. All changing.”

Faith came down from her ordeal, somewhat dizzy, and Xander supported her, grinning.

“Wha-what did you do?” Buffy asked with teary eyes. She got up, wobbled, and tested her strength by picking up an iron bar. She managed to pick it up, but she was straining.

“Sorry, Buffy, but it had to be done, I wish there was another way,” Willow said, as Kennedy helped her up to her feet. “I took your Slayerness, your Slayer spirit or essence, and I gave it to Faith after purifying it from the demon. It was the only way to restore the balance that was so completely shattered, the only way to make sure no one could try to make use of it another time.” Willow turned to Faith and Xander and said, “Faith, be careful. With two slayer essences merged back to one, and purifying it off the demonic, and strengthening it with nature, you should be a lot stronger now. Somewhere halfway between what you were before, and Xander’s strength. So be carefully picking things up, and grabbing a hold of people until you’ve gotten used to it.”

“Okay,” Faith said a little shaken, her legs still trembling.

“Xander, did you see?” Willow asked with a smile, pointing at her eyes. “No black eyes.” Then she hugged Kennedy tightly to her.

“Yeah, I saw,” Xander said, and turned to look at the dumbfounded Buffy. “That means Buffy, no more killer instincts, no more boosted strength, no more added speed, no more super agility, no faster healing, and since you never really learned any combat skill, just let the Slayer essence guide you, it probably also means no more fighting skills. The SiTs could probably kick your butt, and so could Dawn. You’re just a girl, just like you always wanted.”

“What? No!” Buffy whimpered in shock, her head spinning, still from what Xander did to her and now this. She couldn’t make heads or tails of anything that was going on.

“You really can’t make up your mind, can you?” Xander asked, and then walked toward Dawn, gently pushing Faith along. He placed a hand on Dawn’s shoulder, and with a pained expression he softly said, “Take care of her, Dawn. She’ll need it. And get her into therapy, lots of it.”

Dawn, misty eyed, asked weakly, “You are going to come back, aren’t you?”

“Of course, especially since there’s one good thing about being buried in the back yard, nobody knows I died. Means I still got my job and identity and everything.” Xander gave her a big grin, and squeezed her shoulder supportively. “I’ll help out when I get back, but I have an ex-girlfriend to wake from a coma. Last thing on the list, then all the wrongs have been righted.”

Dawn smiled and nodded, before going over to her sister. Xander gave his greetings to the others, explaining quickly about Cordelia, and very briefly about the situation at Wolfram & Hart last he knew about it, and then he went outside, Faith by his side. “So, you’re coming with me huh?” Xander asked the brunette. She nodded. “You’re not going to go all jealous when I wake her up? I’ll be hugging her undoubtedly,” Xander asked her grinning widely.

“As long as she doesn’t try to kill /me/ in a jealous rage and it stays with harmless hugging and a few kisses, there’s nothing to worry about,” Faith told him, as they slowly walked toward their bikes. The crow was already sitting on Xander’s saddle, waiting.

Xander sagged somewhat, and Faith caught him. “Sorry,” he said calmly, “facing Buffy fully finally, and seeing her so . . . it took more out of me than I thought.”

“Xander,” Faith replied with sensitive tone. “I don’t want to be your hero, just let me be your rock, ok?” He looked at her strangely, and she said smiling, “It’s something Dawn told me, so you can trust the source, alright?”

Xander nodded, “All right, Faith, you’re stubborn enough to be a rock.”

“Bastard,” Faith retorted with a smile.

The End

Author’s notes: Aah! This was so not in the planning, but Rob Clark’s challenge just kept feeding scenes and images, and stories into my head, that it threatened to explode if I didn’t write it down. Damn you, Rob! I have no idea how often I will update this, all I know is, I plan on writing my Buffy Z and Dana stuff mostly, and see about finishing this quickly so I can focus completely on it. First though, I will let this simmer in my mind as I focus on the Dragonball Z/Sailor Moon crossover playing in the Buffy Z multiverse.

Oof. Finished, finally. I will not write a sequel, why not? In order to write the anger-filled CrowXander I had to tap into pieces of myself that have left me drained. It’s no wonder James O’Barr made his Crow comic after his girlfriend died in an accident with a drunk driver, and took him years and years before he wrote another one. Odly, on top of feeling drained I also feel refreshed, and ready to write the next Buffy Z part. I’ve never really felt so psyched about it as now. Somehow writing this became a cleansing experience, and I somehow must have wrote something (probably my hatred for S7, still hate it though) off of me while I did this, and so I am completely not capable of writing Xander waking up Cordelia. I’m done with CrowXander.

If anyone wants to write the sequel, go ahead. Originally there was meant to be an epilogue behind here, that limited the scope of any sequels, which was scratched the moment I realized I was going to be crashed by the end of the story. So what happens to Xander? Does his relationship with Faith last, can he have kids still, or does he have to give up his immortality to do so? Will he? Or does he find it more important to keep saving people? How long with Faith live before a demon gets her, or will she live to a ripe old age? I don’t know, if you do, feel free to write it. All I ask is acknowledging this as the first one, and send me a heads up that you’re going to do it. If more than one comes, I can send those who come after the first to him/her, so you can see if you want to collaborate in some way, whatever way, or not.

Few, that said, I must add that I hope you guys liked this, and of course, give me feedback!

The End

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