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Double Trouble

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Summary: AU. Sam had a twin brother who was lost in the fire. Jessica Harris' had a very difficult birth. What do these two events have in common?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Xander-Centered > Theme: Real FamilyKirallieFR15719,87134822,11720 Feb 106 Apr 11No

Chapter One

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Set post Glory for Buffy and S1 for Spn so the Scoobies ages may be a bit out from canon. Xander will be 22 so change the gang’s ages to match.
Anything taken from the show was gotten either via subtitles or from a website.

Chapter 1


November 1983.

Mary smiled as she carried Dean into the nursery.

“Come on, let’s say goodnight to your brothers.” She told the toddler, leaning over the crib. Dean leant down to the closer baby and kissed his forehead.

“Good night Sam.” He reached over further and repeated the action.
“Good night Alex.”

“Good night, loves.” Mary echoed, kissing both babies.

“Hey Dean.” Mary smiled as John entered the nursery, putting Dean down so he could run to his Dad.

“Daddy!” John easily caught Dean as he leapt into his arms,

“Hey buddy! What do ya think? You think Sammy and Alex are ready to toss around a football yet?” John asked with a grin.

“No, daddy.” Dean answered utterly seriously.

“No?” John asked again, still smiling as he leant over to kiss Mary.

“You got him?” Mary asked.

“I got him.” John turned off the light as Mary left.
“Sweet dreams, Sam, Alex.”

Mary slowly woke as the baby monitor began making staticy noises but above that she could hear the sound of faint crying. Mary reached over and turned on the bedside lamp.

“John?” Looking over she noticed the other side of the bed was empty. Mary sighed and grabbed her robe, heading down the hall to the nursery. She stopped as she saw John standing over the crib.
“John, are they hungry?”

“Shh.” He hushed her and she stepped back.

“Okay.” Figuring John had it under control she headed back to their room but stopped as she noticed a light flickering. Tapping it a few times didn’t stop it.
“Hmm.” Hearing the television on downstairs she headed down to turn it off only to freeze as she saw John asleep in front of it. Turning she ran up the stairs, heading for the nursery as fast as she could.
“Sammy! Alex! Sammy! Alex!” She called for her babies as she ran for their room. Once inside she stopped and then screamed.

John started awake; sure he had heard Mary screaming from upstairs.

“Mary!? Mary! Mary!” He yelled as he ran up the stairs and then threw open the door to the nursery, looking around. He walked up to the crib and looked down to see only Sam still in it and wide awake.
“Hey Sammy. Okay. Did Mommy take Alex to get some food?” he asked the baby and then stared as something red dripped onto the sheet by Sam’s head. John touched it and a few drops fell onto his hand. Looking up, terror seized him as his eyes locked onto Mary. His Mary, pinned to the ceiling and the stomach of her nightgown was soaked with blood.
“No! Mary!” he screamed even as Mary burst into flames and Sammy started screaming. John picked him up and bolted down the hall only to run into Dean.

“Daddy!” Dean called out, looking scared. John gently handed Sam to him.

“Take your brother outside as fast as you can! Don’t look back! Now Dean, go!” John ordered and Dean ran down the stairs, holding Sam close so he wouldn’t drop his precious bundle. Meanwhile John tried to get back into the now burning nursery.

“Mary! No!”

“Its okay, Sam.” Dean soothed the still crying baby as he finally made it onto the lawn. John ran up behind him and grabs them without stopping.

“I gotcha.” He muttered to Dean, running until he hit the street. They watched as the nursery window exploded outwards and the fire department began to arrive.

“Daddy where’s Alex?” Dean whispered and John simply hugged his two surviving children closer.

------------------------------------
“One more push Mrs. Harris. That’s it, almost over.” The doctor told her. She didn’t see the looks the medical staff were exchanging over her head. Jessica gave one last hard push and the baby slipped into the doctor’s hands, blue and silent.

“My baby?” Jessica called and the doctor handed the child over to the nurse who left the room silently.
“Where is she taking my baby?” Jessica demanded.

“Just lay back Mrs. Harris. Everything’s going to be alright.” Another nurse soothed and injected Jessica’s IV with a sedative.

When Jessica woke several hours later she was back in her room with Tony sitting nearby, smiling at her.

“Tony? Where’s our baby?” She called and her husband stood, moving closer to reveal the blue wrapped bundle in his arms. He handed it down to her and she smiled as she stared at the sleeping baby boy, his head already covered by a thick layer of dark brown hair.
“He’s beautiful.” She whispered and Tony nodded.

“Alexander Lavelle Harris.” Tony whispered and she nodded.

“Welcome home Alexander.” Jessica whispered to her baby.

-------------------------
John stared down at the one photo he had of his family together and happy. Mary was holding Sam while he was holding Alex and Dean was sitting on his knee, the house behind them and the sun shining above them. It had been taken barely a week before the fire. The investigators had found no trace of little Alexander, it was as if he’d never existed. Apparently the fire had been so hot that his much younger and weaker skeleton had simply disintegrated into ash along with the crib. Mary’s remains were in better shape since her bones were stronger.

Mary was to be buried with the rest of her family and he had arranged for another headstone for Alex, despite having nothing but an empty coffin to bury. He had to do something for his darling baby boy. Poor Sam wouldn’t remember his brother but he’d heard of the remaining twin always being aware of something being missing.

---------------------------
Alexander looked around and then moved closer to the crying redhead, a new crayon clutched in his hand.

“Here. You can have mine.” He told her and she looked up. Slowly she stopped crying and reached a hand out for the yellow crayon.

“Thank you.”

“My name’s Alexander. What’s yours?”

“Willow. Alesan...Alexran...Xander! I will call you Xander.”

---------------------------
“When’s Dad gonna get back?”

“Tomorrow.” Dean answered, putting the milk carton down and picking a pot up from the stove.

“When?” Sam asked as Dean started pouring Spaghetti O’s into Sam’s bowl.

“I don’t know. He usually comes in late, though. Now, eat your dinner.” Dean told him, putting the pan into the sink.

“I’m sick of Scabetti O’s.”

“Well, you’re the one who wanted ‘em.” Dean told him, getting annoyed.

“I want Lucky Charms.” Sam argued, pouting.

“There’s no more Lucky Charms.” Dean replied.

“I saw the box.”

“Okay, maybe there is, but there’s only enough left for one bowl, and I haven’t had any yet.” Sam stared at him sadly and Dean finally gave in, taking the bowl of Spaghetti O’s and dumping them into the garbage. He got out a new bowl and then got the box of Luck Charms out, slamming it on the table. Sam looked in the box and took out the prize, holding it out to Dean.

“Do you want the prize?” Sam asked quietly and Dean melted. He took the prize and sat down as Sam began eating.
“Hey Dean?”

“Yeah?” Dean looked up at him.

“Who’s the boy in the picture?” Sam asked around a mouthful of cereal.

“What boy and what picture?”

“The one Dad’s always lookin’ at.” Dean winced as he realised which picture Sammy was asking about. Why couldn’t Dad be here to answer?

“You have to ask Dad Sammy.”

“But why?”

“Just because Sammy!”

----------------------
“Kid we’re closing up.” Dean looked up from his game and nodded, slowly leaving the arcade. He didn’t want to go back to the room yet. Sam just wouldn’t stop asking about the stupid picture. He did not want to be the one to tell Sam about Alex, that was Dad’s job.

He opened the motel room door and turned around. He froze when he saw a white light coming from the bedroom. He cautiously entered the room. The shtriga was hovering over Sam, sucking out his life force. Dean quietly grabbed the rifle by the doorway and aimed it at the shtriga. He cocked the gun, and the shtriga turned to him. A second later, John entered the motel room.

“Get out of the way!” He yelled, shooting at the shtriga with his own gun, but the shtriga got away and escaped out the bedroom window. John rushed over to Sam, who woke up. “Sammy. Sammy. Sammy! Are you okay?”

“Dad, what’s goin’ on?” Sam asked tiredly.

“You all right?” John hugged Sam tightly and Dean entered the room.
“What happened?” John demanded.

“I-I just went out.” Dean stammered and John stared at him, horrified.

“What?”

“J-just for a second. I’m sorry.” Dean finished.

“I told you not to leave this room. I told you not to let him out of your sight!” John held Sam close tearfully as Dean watched on sadly.

------------------------------------
Jessica watched the three children running around the yard with a small smile. It was good to see Alexander with such close friends. Willow had been first and then they’d brought Jesse into their circle. It was good for Alex to have both male and female friends, it would help him become sensitive to girls needs.

She was worried though, Tony’s promotion had fallen through and his company was laying people off. She didn’t know what they’d do if he lost his job, there weren’t a lot going around at the moment and wage was not enough to support them all. Tony’s car pulling into the driveway just then was not a good sign.

“Daddy!” Xander yelled, running over to his Dad only to frown as he was ignored and his Dad slammed into the house.

“Come on, my Mum’s making cookies.” Jesse offered, tugging at his hand and Xander let his friends pull him down the street.

--------------------------
“Daddy?”

“Yeah Sammy?”

“Who’s the boy in the picture?” John turned to look at Sam, heart in his throat. He had been dreading this day for the last eight years.

“Come here kiddo.” He held his arms out and Sam walked over, snuggling in as John held him on his lap. John dug the photo out and held it up so they both could see it.

“That’s you and Dean.” Sam pointed out his father and brother.
“Is one of them me?” Sam asked, pointing to the two babies.

“Yeah Sammy, your Mommy’s holding you.” John whispered.

“Then who’s the other baby? Where is he?” Sam asked innocently and John buries his face in Sam’s hair.

“He’s your twin brother Alex, Sammy. He...he didn’t make it out of the fire.” John choked and Sam turned in his arms to hug him.

“It’s okay Dad, you’ve still got me and Dean.”

“I know kiddo, I know.”
----------------------------
“Get down here boy!” Hearing his father yelling Xander scrambled out his window and down the drainpipe. Things had changed a lot since the elder Harris had been laid off work and it had not been for the better. A year later his mom had lost her job as well and had slowly followed Tony into the bottle. Willow was the closest he had to a mother anymore. He made it to the back fence and vaulted over it, keeping to the shadows until he was well out of sight of his house. He shoved his hands in his pockets and put his head down, the sun had set almost an hour earlier and being out alone at night made him very nervous. It didn’t take too long to get to Jesse’s place and ring the doorbell. Mrs. McNally let him in without a fuss, too used to the routine to bother saying anything.

She’d rung the police and child protection several times the first year but nothing had ever been done, other than Xander missing school and showing up with bruises, so she eventually stopped. But their house had become Xander’s sanctuary.

--------------------------------
“Sammy hurry up, you’re gonna be late!” Dean yelled as he grabbed his own bag.

“Coming Dean! Isn’t this great? We’ll be at the same school now.” Sam practically bounced into the room and Dean shook his head, geek.

“Yeah Sammy, it’s great, now move.”

“Dad still not home?” Sam asked as Dean pulled the Impala out of the car park.

“He should be home tonight. You know he never misses first night of school.”

“Yeah.” Sam answered softly.

“Now remember Sam, this is High School, it’s different to Junior High, especially since you’re going to be the youngest in your grade. I can’t believe they bumped you up part way through the year.” Dean explained and Sam rolled his eyes.

“Yes Dean I know, you’ve been telling me all summer. I’ll be fine.” Dean reached over and ruffled his hair, Sam growling and fighting him off.
“Dean! Friggin’ jerk.” Sam mumbled and Dean laughed.

“Don’t let Dad hear that.”

“Like he heard you callin’ me a bitch?” Sam asked innocently and Dean winced.

“Yeah.”

---------------------------------
“'Scuse me, comin' through, pardon me, 'scuse me, whoa! 'Scuse me, not sure how to stop! Please move, whoa, 'scuse me...” Seeing the new blond his eyes went wide.
“Whoa!” He slammed into the handrail and fell under it, grunting in pain. Willow walked up and had to step high to avoid tripping over his legs.
“I'm Okay. I feel good.” She looked down at him, smiling and pulling her hair behind her ear.
“Willow! You're so very much the person that I wanted to see!” Xander slowly got up.

“Oh, really?” She asked as they started walking towards the school.

“Yeah. You know, I kinda had a problem with the math.”

“Uh, which part?” Willow asked.

“The math. Can you help me out tonight, pleeeease, be my study buddy?” He pleaded and she fought a smile.

“Well, what's in it for me?” She asked.

“A shiny nickel!” Xander exclaimed.

“Okay. Do you have 'Theories in Trig'? You should check it out.” Willow told him.

“Check it out?” He asked with a frown.

“From the library? Where the books live.” She explained.

“Right, I'm there! See, I wanna change...” The entered the school and were joined by their third.

“Hey, hey!” He yelled out and the two paused to let him catch up.

“Hey, Jesse, what's what?” Xander asked with a grin for his best friend.

“New Girl!” Jesse exclaimed, grinning.

“That's right, I saw her. Pretty much a hottie!” Xander told them.

“I heard someone was transferring...” Willow added.

“So tell!” Xander turned to Jesse.

“Tell what?” he asked blankly.

“What's the sitch, what do ya know about her?” Xander specified.

“New girl!” Jesse repeated.

“Well, you're certainly a font of nothing!” Xander shook his head in amusement.

----------------------------------------
“This world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their... their Hell. But in time they lost their purchase on this reality. The way was made for mortal animals, for, for man. All that remains of the old ones are vestiges, certain magicks, certain creatures...

“And vampires.” Buffy added to Giles’ explanation.

“Okay, this is where I have a problem. See, because we're talking about vampires. We're having a *talk* with vampires in it.” Xander almost babbled.

“Isn't that what we saw last night?” Willow asked.

“No. No, th-those weren't vampires, those were just guys in thundering need of a facial. Or maybe they had rabies. It could have been rabies. A-and that guy turning to dust? Just a trick of light.” Buffy argued and Xander gave her a look.
“That's exactly what I said the first time I saw a vampire. Well, after I was done with the screaming part.” She explained.

“Oh, I, I need to sit down.” Willow breathed and Buffy looked at her.

“You are sitting down.”

“Oh. Good for me.” Willow stated.

“So vampires are demons?” Xander asked.

“The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected by the demon's soul. He bit another, and another, and so they walk the Earth, feeding... Killing some, mixing their blood with others to make more of their kind. Waiting for the animals to die out, and the old ones to return.” Giles explained.

“So there is nothing that can stop them?” Willow asked.

“Yes there is, a Slayer.” Giles stated.

“And that would be a what?” Xander asked.

“For as long as there have been vampires, there's been the Slayer. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One.”

“He loves doing this part.” Buffy whispered to them.

“Alright. The Slayer hunts vampires, Buffy is a Slayer, don't tell anyone. Well, I think that's all the vampire information you need.” Giles finished.

“Except for one thing: how do you kill them?” Xander stated flatly.

“*You* don't, *I* do.” Buffy answered firmly.

“Well, Jesse's my...” Xander began to argue.

“Jesse is *my* responsibility. I let him get taken.” Buffy interrupted him.

“That's not true.” He argued.

“If you hadn't shown up they would have taken us, too. Does anybody mind if I pass out?” Willow asked shakily.

“Breathe.” Buffy told her.

“Breathe.” Willow agreed.

“This big guy, Luke. He talked about an offering to the Master. Now, I don't know what or who, but if they weren't just feeding then Jesse may still be alive. I'm gonna find him.” Buffy told Giles.

“Uh, this may be the dumb question, but shouldn't we call the police?” Willow asked.

“And they'd believe us, of course.” Buffy drawled.

“Well, we don't have to say vampires. We, we could just say that there's a, a bad man.” Willow tried.

“They couldn't handle it even if they did show up. They'd only come with guns.” Buffy explained.

“You have no idea where they took Jesse?” Giles asked.

“I looked around, but soon's they got clear of the graveyard, they could have just, voom!” Buffy told Giles.

“They can fly?” Xander arched an eyebrow.

“They can drive.”

“Oh.” Xander looked almost let down.

“I don't remember hearing a car.” Willow added thoughtfully.

“Let's take an enormous intuitive leap, shall we, and say they went underground.”

“Vampires really jam on sewer systems. You can get anywhere in the entire town without catching any rays. But I didn't see any access around there.” Buffy expanded on Giles’ comment.

“Well, there's an electrical tunnel that runs under the whole town.” Xander pointed out.

“If we had a diagnostic of the tunnel system it might indicate a, a meeting place, it would, uh... I suppose we could go to the building commission.” Giles pondered.

“We *so* don't have time.” Buffy argued, ready to go out and search by herself.

“Uh, guys? There may be another way.” Willow tried.

-------------------------------------
“I can’t believe you’re the only one sober Sammy.”

“It’s Sam, jerk. And get drunk on a school night when Dad’ll have me up at dawn to do PT? You might enjoy that but no thanks.”

“Oh Sam, you’re sixteen now.”

“Yeah and who still jumps at Dad’s every command?” Sam asked, as they pulled into the motel.

“Low blow bro.”

“Whatever, thanks for picking me up.”

“As if I’d let you walk back alone, at night. Even if you are armed and can fight off most footballers.”

“Thanks, I think.” Sam got out and headed inside smiling at his Dad who nodded back.

“Drunk?”

“No sir. No alcohol.” Sam answered and John nodded.

“Good. Homework?”

“Already done sir.”

“Alright, head to bed. I’ve got intel on a hunt this weekend, bought time you came too Sam.” Sam groaned inwardly but didn’t let his expression change.

“Yes sir.” He trudged into the room he shared with Dean and flopped fast first on his bed.

“You okay?” Dean asked as he walked in and Sam nodded without raising his head.
“Want to try again with more enthusiasm.”

“You might get a kick out of our lifestyle Dean but I don’t. I did have training this weekend but now I’ll have to tell coach I can’t.” Sam grumbled and Dean rolled his eyes. It was about time Sam got over it and accepted they’d never be normal.

“So tell the coach you have a family thing.” Dean told him, flicking him with a towel.
“Man am I glad I don’t have to deal with school anymore.”

“There’s this thing called college, maybe you’ve heard about it?” Sam rolled over to stare at him.

“Why bother? I’m a hunter Sam and always will be.”

“And maybe that’s enough for you Dean but I want to go to college, live in the one place for more than six months. Don’t you?”

“Nope.”

------------------------------------
Xander tried to relax into his chair outside the waiting room of Sunnydale General, across from the nurse’s station and down the hall from Buffy’s room. There was nothing interesting going on, two police officers talking to a security guard, nurses and orderlies going about their tasks. The his eyes narrowed as he spotted Angelus walking out of the waiting room from the elevator bearing some white flowers and whistling a few bars of "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's 9th symphony. He quickly got up and faced him down in the hall.

“Visiting hours are over.” He stated firmly, refusing to show fear.

“Well, I'm pretty much family.” The vampire shot back.

“Yeah. Why don't you come back during the day? Oh, gee, no, I guess you can't.” Xander was fighting to keep his cool and be his normal snarky self.

“If I decide to walk into Buffy's room, do you think for one microsecond that you could stop me?” Angelus threatened.

“Maybe not. Maybe that security guard couldn't either. Or those cops... or the orderlies... But I'm kinda curious to find out. You game?” Xander stood his ground and crossed his arms, trying to be as intimidating as he could. He’d grown a bit over the last few months and he’d gained a little muscle so maybe a normal thug would have second thoughts but a vampire? He was so screwed.

“Buffy's White Knight. You still love her.” Angelus leaned in closer.
“It must just eat you up that I got there first.”

“You're gonna die. And I'm gonna be there.” Xander threw back coldly. Angelus slapped the flowers against Xander's chest.

“Tell her I stopped by.” He gave Xander one final look and then went back through the waiting room to the elevator. Xander shuddered, covered his mouth and let out a breath of relief.

------------------------------
“When were you planning to say something?” Sam dropped his bag, swallowing hard at the tone of his Dad’s voice.

“About what?” He asked, despite having a pretty good idea.

“This.” John snarled, throwing him a piece of paper. Sam scanned it and grinned. A full ride at Stanford! This was what he’d been praying for.
“Well!”

“I applied to a few colleges, Dad. You saw the paperwork months ago.” Sam kept his tone even and non-confrontational.

“As part of school! So what is this?”

“A response. I’m in at Stanford, full ride.”

“Then you better let then now quick you won’t be taking it.” John answered, neither noticing Dean slip inside.

“What? Why not? This is everything I’ve been looking for.” Sam stared at his Dad and Dean shook his head.

“Four years Sam! What about the hunt?”

“Hunting isn’t everything Dad, maybe I want more? It’s always about what you want. I don’t want this life.” Sam argued, beginning to lose his temper.

“Dad come on, you know Sammy’s a geek. It’s only four years and he’ll still have holidays.” Sam turned and smiled at Dean for sticking up for him. Dean’s answering smile was shaky.

“Stay out of this Dean! Sam you are not going and that is final! “ John roared and Sam scowled.

“You can’t stop me.”

“Watch me! You walk out that door then you don’t come back.” Sam and Dean both froze.

“Dad no. Come on guys, just calm down and we can talk this out.”

“That want you want Dad? Fine!” Sam grabbed his bag and ran into the bedroom he still shared with Dean, picking his duffle up and starting to shove his clothes in. Dean followed a few seconds later.

“Sammy... give Dad a chance to cool off. Don’t leave like this.” Dean pleaded and then sighed as he noticed the unshed tears in Sam’s eyes.

“I can’t do this Dean, I’m not you or Dad. I have to get out while I have a chance and Stanford is my chance.” Sam tried to explain and then zipped up his bag, gave Dean a shaky smile and then walked out of the apartment. Dean left the bedroom to see his Dad half way through a bottle of whisky.

“You’re really letting him leave like this?” He asked and John glared.
“Fine.” Dean snarled, grabbing his keys. He jumped in the Impala and went looking for Sam. He relaxed when he saw Sam walking down the road towards the bus depot.
“Sam!” he yelled as he pulled over and shoved the passenger door open.
“Get in before you get soaked bitch.” Sam hesitated and then crawled in, hugging his duffle to his chest.
“When’s the bus?”

“Don’t know.” Sam answered softly and Dean sighed.

“Give Dad a few months to calm down, everything’ll be fine, you’ll see.” Dean looked over at Sam and managed a smile.
“Got somewhere to stay until classes start. You’ve still got a few months right?” he asked and saw Sam nod out of the corner of his eyes. Seeing a store he pulled over.
“Stay here.” Going inside he grabbed a trolley and then filled it with easily kept food, canned drinks, toilettres, paper, pens, towels, sheets, anything he thought Sam might need. He payed with a credit card and then packed it all into the bag, along with all the cash he had on him plus an unused credit card. Sam stared at him wide eyed when he got back but there was the hint of a smile on his face.

“Thanks.” Sam whispered as they pulled into the depot.
“Come and see me?” Sam asked.

“You bet Sammy. Be safe.” Dean moved in and gave him a quick hug before driving off. The last sight of Sam he had was the kid standing alone with three bags at he feet, watching him drive away.

----------------------
“"The council is not welcome here. I have no time for orders. If I need someone to scream like a woman I'll give you a call." Buffy coldly stated without turning around. Wesley came to stand next to her.

"I'm not here for the council. Just tell me how I can help." Buffy looked up at him.

"That is so classy!” Cordelia exclaimed, looking around at the others.
“Isn't he just so classy?"

"It's a start." Buffy admitted.

"So there is something I can do… besides scream like a woman." Wesley asked dryly.

"There is plenty. There is chores for everyone.” She got up and went to the books.

"Darkness will follow and day becomes night." Wesley read slowly several minutes later, Buffy standing next to him with her arms crossed

"An eclipse." She stated.

"Standard procedure for an ascension?" Wesley questioned. Angel stepped up to them.

"That puts me back into the game." He said.

"Yea, it does. You and Xander are going to have to work together now. Can you guys handle that?" She asked and neither male looked overly happy about that.

"But I'm still key-guy, right?" Xander asked and Buffy smiled slightly.

"Right."

"Then Angel, - in his non key-guy capacity, - can work with me."

"What fun." Angel stated sarcastically.

"Hey! Key-guy is still talking…"

"Oh, that's good! Start bickering. That's going to look great for us.” Buffy stated, walking past them towards the steps, “You guys are like little old ladies!"

Buffy moved to look over Oz' and Willow's shoulders as they looked through some books on the table of the library.

"So, how are we coming on vulcano detail?" She asked.

"I think we can work it out." Oz told her.

"Fun with chemistry." Willow added with a nervous grin.

"Xander said he should be able to get the materials." Buffy told them.

"Who's going to stoke it up?" Oz asked. Buffy turned to Giles coming up beside them.

"You feel up to it?" She asked the ex-Watcher. Giles took his glasses off to polish.

"Ah, I suppose it should be I. It's strangely fitting in a grotesque fashion."

"Okay guys, start reaching out.” Buffy told them

“Weapons, weapons, weapons." Buffy started walking out.
"Ah, what about you?"

"There is something I have to get."

-------------------------
“Arm bow men!” Xander called and Oz and some others grabbed bows, lighting the arrows on fire as vampires came up the stairs.
“Fire!” He watched the results before calling for them to fire again. The fighting was caotic and yet semi-organised and he could watch the various defending groups while commanding his own section.

“Xander take 'em down." Buffy yelled and he nodded. Xander pulled a stake out of his back pocket.

"Everyone: hand to hand! Everyone! Lets go! Move! Move!" He yelled. The fight continued as the mayor followed Buffy into the school. Xander looked up at the explosion and smiled slightly.

Xander watched Wesley being put in the ambulance. Buffy kept looking around her.

"We got off pretty cheap… considering." He pointed out.

"Seems like we did." She answered, still looking around. They walked a few more steps then Buffy stopped, still looking around. Xander stopped beside her, his hands buried in his pockets.

"He made it through the fight.” He said and Buffy whipped around to look at him.
“Guess maybe he took off after." Buffy blinked and looked down. Xander maked a grimace then turned and walked away. Buffy stood there, again looking around, and Giles came up to her, putting a hand on her shoulder.

"Are you all right?" He asked kindly. Buffy laid her head to one side.

"I'm tired." She answered softly. Giles smiled.

"I should imagine so. It's been quite a couple of days."

"I haven't processed everything yet. My brain isn't really functioning on the higher levels. It's pretty much: fire bad; tree pretty." Giles shook his head.

"Understandable. Well, when it's working again congratulate it on a good campaign. You did very well."

"Thank you. I will."

"I ah… I managed to ferret this out of the wreckage. Now, it may not interest you, but… “ Giles reached into his jacket and pulled out a high school diploma.
“ I'd say you earned it." Handed it to Buffy who looked at it and then took it. Giles took a deep breath and looked around. "There is a certain dramatic irony that's attached to all this. A Synchronicity that borders on… on predestination, one might say." Buffy just looked at him.

"Fire bad; tree pretty.” Giles looked back at her.

"Yes, s…sorry. I'm going to see to Wesley, see if he's… is still… whimpering." He walked off and Buffy looked after him. Suddenly she turned around a slight frown on her face. Her eyes locked on something and her face cleared. Angel was standing beside a fire truck looking at her. They both just stared at each other. Buffy blinked and her face fell. She hugged herself a little closer. Angel slowly turned around and began walking away, Buffy watching him throw the lingering smoke.


Willow sat on a stone bench in front of the school, Xander sitting beside her on the ground and Oz standing behind her. Cordelia walked up to them.

"Well, that’s the most fun you can have without having any fun." She commented.

"How about the part where we kicked some demon ass. I didn't hate that." Willow said with a smile, Oz stroking her hair.

"Hear, hear!" Xander called as Buffy joined them.

"You guys want to take off? I think we've done pretty much all we can." Buffy told them

"I'm for it." Cordelia answered with a nod. Willow looked up at Buffy.

"Are you okay?" She asked and Buffy nodded.

"Yeah… I'm okay. - I could use a little sleep though." Willow nodded in agreement.

"Yeah." Buffy sat down on the bench next to her.

“If someone could just wake me when it's time to go to college, that'd be great." Willow smiled at her.

"Guys take a moment to deal with this: - we survived." Oz stated and Xander nodded.

"It was a hell of a battle!" Buffy agreed.

"Not the battle high school." Oz clarified. They all looked quietly at the school and listened to the crickets chirping.
"We're taking a moment and we're done." He finished as they all got up.

"Well, School's done." Xander commented as he walked beside Cordelia. Oz put an arm around Willow as they all walked off together.
It's ssso… Cool!"

"Why do demons even come here anymore? I mean, don't they know…" Willow babbled happily as they walked away. On the ground at their feet was a maroon Sunnydale High 99 yearbook with the word 'The Future Is Ours' on it.

TBC...
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