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Xander of the Red Robes

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Summary: Jesse picked out the costumes. He didn't have any choice as to accept since it was already Halloween night. DragonLance crossover

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Dungeons and DragonsDireSquirrelFR15730,6991011226,10524 Oct 1123 Sep 13No

Never Trust Harmony

Xander stormed into the library in a silent tempest of a mood. He threw himself into a chair and waited for Willow to show up.

Giles, already there and investigating what could have attracted vampires to a school of all places, was rather alarmed when the younger man tossed his bag onto the table and then fell into a wracking cough. While he used a handkerchief to cover his mouth this time, the blood was bright against his gold lips when he sat back up, gasping for breath, the act of coughing utterly exhausting him.

“Xander, are you alright?” the librarian asked. The boy turned on him with such a glare one would think he was trying to cast a curse with his eyes. “There's no need for that, I was only concerned for your well being.”

“My well being,” Xander rasped and snarled. “My well being seems to be the most popular topic of conversation these days. Except if you're my parents, and then you avoid the situation because some idiot doctor said you were to blame.”

“What do you mean?” Giles asked, leaning against one of the banisters, shutting the large tome in his hands.

“The doctors, in their infinite stupidity, believe this is a genetic disorder,” Xander said with a gesture to encompass his appearance. “So with that in mind, why not crawl inside a bottle where you can't see the world? Good thing they only had one kid, right? Can't blame them for pretending he doesn't exist, right? As long as they're so drunk they can't see, they can't see their mistake. Me.”

“You seem rather...bitter about your situation,” Giles put it, attempting to be delicate, but not quite succeeding.

“Of course I am! And now Flutie wants me to see a councilor, even though I can't say: 'guess what, I have great magical powers and a cough that makes me almost want to die! Surprise!' without sounding insane,” Xander ranted.

“I have been thinking of your curse,” Giles said. He moved around to the other end of the table where he'd left a pile of books the night before. “I was attempting to find a counter curse; however, I also wanted to look into why a group of vampires would be visiting the school, and how they got in during daylight.”

Xander looked at the older man with equal parts confusion and amazement. Giles seemed to get nervous at the look and turned away.

“You are not, the, ah, the only one to have had issues where magic comes into play,” Giles said by way of explanation. He glanced at the boy and saw the questions he wanted to ask written in Xander's expression. “I would rather not speak of the specifics, at this time. However, I do have resources you do not, so perhaps I can help you in that regard.” He handed the younger man a large dark tome, pages yellowed in age. “Do be careful with this, it rather difficult to replace.” Xander grasped the book with hands that seemed to well respect the age of books. He brushed a hand across the leather cover before looking up at the librarian.

“You do realize that, with a blank book and a couple of spells, I can copy this exactly, with every single dot of ink in place,” Xander said with a bemused smile. “So long as it isn't a magical text.”

“Magical text?”

“Magical writing is different,” Xander replied. “It takes a greater amount of effort, but it can be done, it just takes time, a lot of time.”

Giles slipped into a seat across from the boy and pulled off his glasses. He leaned back in the chair and seemed to stare off into space. “It seems that the style of spellcasting that you inherited from this...Raisin?”

“Raistlin,” Xander corrected instantly.

“-Raistlin, is quite a bit different from that which I have experience with,” Giles commented,. Noticing that he now had Xander's full attention. The older man shrugged a little and adjusted himself in the chair. “Most witches and warlocks that I am familiar with invoke certain deities and demons to assist them in their attempts at casting spells. Some spells directly call upon the power of specific creatures. There is often a cost, something that they, the demon or deity, gains in return.”

“That isn't so different,” Xander said, looking down at the pouch of his hoodie where his spellbook resided. “Mages, wizards, from Raistlin's world, with a few specific exceptions, gain their power from the Gods of Magic, Solinari, Lunitari and Nuitari. These correspond with the White Moon, the Red Moon, and the Black Moon. I follow the Red Moon.” Something occurred to Xander. “I need a calendar.”

“A calendar? Right now?”

“Yes, before I forget -- and I need a red pen and, well, I guess a silver one would be hard to find, but a black one would work,” Xander replied. Giles pulled a monthly school calendar from behind the librarian's desk and handed it to the boy. He had a red pen in his desk drawer, and handed that over as well. Xander grabbed them both and started scribbling on each day. He muttered under his breath about gibbous and waxing and waning, slipping into a language that Giles didn't recognize. Before long, the school calendar had been filled with two moon shapes for each day, one in black ink and one in red.

“Xander, what are you doing?” Giles asked with a bit of force to indicate his interest.

“On Krynn, the moons guide the magic of wizards and, to a lesser degree, bards, hedge wizards and witches, although they are in slightly different circumstances,” Xander began. “There are three moons. The three orders of High Sorcery are the White Robes of Solinari, the Red Robes of Lunitari, and the Black Robes of Nuitari. When a moon is full, a wizard's power is high, when a moon is new, the wizard's power is low. That's an over simplification, but it's a basic grasp of the situation.”

“So, you are writing down the phases of two moons in the hopes of tracking the peaks and valleys of your power?” Giles inquired, looking over the boy's shoulder at the plotted map. “Have you considered that you might actually be working off the rules of magic from this world, rather than that which Ras al-”

“Raistlin; Ras al Ghul is a Batman baddy,” Xander corrected.

“Right, Raistlin, rather than Raistlin's world?” Giles asked, going back to his previous comment.

“Yeah, I thought about it,” Xander asked. “Except, the only magic I know is from Krynn.”

“Krynn?”

“Raistlin's world.”

“Oh. ... Very well. Continue please.”

Xander nodded and pulled out his spellbook. Licking the tip of his finger, he opened it to the first spell page beyond the inscription. He moved a hand over the obscure and arcane text so Giles could see. “This is real to me,” he said, running a finger along the curved lines. “This makes sense. I read the words and move my fingers and toss a few materials here and there, and I get an effect.” He pointed to the Staff of Magius that stood against the banister. “I have a magical artifact that comes from Krynn; two, if you count my spellbook. This is real to me; it tells me that I got something in exchange for my eyes and my body, that it wasn't just some cruel twist of fate or the whim of some god with too much time on his hands. I need this. This is the only thing keeping me sane, giving me hope.” Xander suddenly looked far older than his years, as if the curse had done much more than simply take his health, but his youth as well.

“Is this why you never repressed?” Giles asked quietly. “I've talked to many others of this town and they have ignored what happens. You didn't; you three in particular.”

“I've seen too much,” Xander whispered. “I see death, all the time; there was no way I could un-see what I have seen. To me, everyone is a zombie or a vampire. To my eyes, all is replaced by death and decay. I could have believed the doctor, that I was insane, that I was hallucinating, but why would anyone want to be insane? I mean, if you have a choice, wouldn't you choose to be a wizard with a curse rather than being a mental patient in dire need to be locked away from the world?”

Giles wasn't sure what to say about that.



Harmony was in a foul mood as she stormed into the school. Those damn vampires had been waiting for her at home. Her idiot mother had invited them in, and she was serving Darla cookies! The conversation had been full of threats and innuendo that Harmony would never have understood if Halloween hadn't significantly increased her mental capacity.

The blonde demon strode purposefully into the awaiting classroom and flopped herself down in a chair, realizing a moment later that Xander, of all people, was occupying the next seat. Beyond him were the other two rejects in the trio that had nearly killed her that night. She sniffed as if she smelled something that belonged in a septic system.

Xander glanced at her and raised one silvery eyebrow at the succubus, noting the strange double image of her present self, but with slight changes of coloring at times. She was also wholly alive. There was no mask of death surrounding her, only that strange double image. There was also something else, something beyond the norm that seemed to call to him, grasping at his mind, but with a bit of concentration, the feeling was pushed aside.

Xander considered what it meant and searched both his and what was left of Raistlin's memories. There was something about a double image, but he couldn't place it. It was important, something that was just out of reach, but it was very important. He shook his head of the thoughts and focused on Biology with Doctor Gregory. He followed the strangely mutated Cordette towards the door at the end of class, but was stopped by the good doctor.

“Xander, a word, if I may?” he said, carefully taking off his glasses and placing them in a case. Xander stopped in the doorway, keeping himself up with the Staff. The Doctor motioned towards a recently emptied stool. Willow waited for the young man at the doorway, but Dr. Gregory shook his head. The biology teacher caught her gaze and nodded down the hall. “Move along, Miss Rosenberg, I'm sure Mr. Harris will be fine with me.”

Willow glanced at Xander for confirmation and he nodded, perhaps a little too sharply. With a worried look, she shuffled off towards their next class.

“Now, Xander, I see you were able to catch up while you were in the hospital?” the teacher asked as he leaned back on the lab table. Gregory clasped his hands in front of him and looked down at the young man. Xander nodded, pausing to cough into his hand. Gregory handed him a paper towel that Xander took gratefully. “Nasty cough there, do you have medicine requirements?”

“An inhaler, but it doesn't really work,” Xander rasped as he clutched his staff. “There are some herbs that help, but Flutie was quite strict about how that wasn't allowed.”

The biology teacher frowned slightly. “Yes, I'm not surprised,” he said. “I wanted to talk to you about your grades.”

Xander looked up sharply. “I'm flunking?”

“Quite the contrary, actually,” Gregory replied. “You're doing better than you were before, quite a bit better. But I shouldn't be surprised considering who you're friends with.”

“I didn't cheat off of Willow,” Xander replied sharply, glaring up at the man. While Xander was technically taller, he was hunched, exhausted, and it served to make him appear smaller.

“I did not mean to imply that you did, only to suggest that if you study together it only makes sense that your grades would improve. Miss Rosenberg has a rare talent in being both a genius and able to explain complex ideas to the layman; you'd be surprised how rarely those two go together,” Gregory replied. “ But your work speaks for your own ability, as well. I feel you're living up to the potential I saw in you when you first came into this class.”

Xander was stunned that anyone would have that kind of faith in him. “Really?” he asked quietly, looking not at the teacher, but down at his feet as if he couldn't believe the man's words.

“Yes,” the biology teacher said succinctly. “However, I would like to warn you that not all of the faculty and administration agree with my impression of your abilities.”

“Why am I not surprised?” Xander muttered darkly.

“The vice-principal is perhaps the most vocal. Mr. Snyder, in particular, is planning on 'exposing' your 'cheating' and I felt it was best to warn you of the possibilities,” Gregory explained. The annoyance in the bio teacher's eyes was replaced by kind concern. “Xander, I see many students in here. Many Students. I have been teaching here and there for nearly twenty-five years, after all, and one thing that I've seen in your particular generation is a lack of scholastic ambition. It's something I've come to dislike quite a bit, seeing young people discard their talents for the sciences and I'm proud of you putting that extra effort in, even if it was a tragedy that prompted your change of heart. Please keep up the good work.”

Xander said nothing for quite a while, before glancing away from the older man's gaze. “Thank you,” he said quietly, his voice still raspy from his recent coughing fit.

“Best get to class,” Gregory said, handing him a blue slip of paper. Xander took the hall pass with a look of confusion. “For Snyder, if he gives you any trouble for being late.”

Xander gave the teacher one last nod and shuffled out the door, pondering what the man had said.

Xander Harris was not used to praise. No one was in his family. Depression and angry alcoholism ran in his family and that only helped to make flaws more apparent. Xander had been yelled at for many thing for a long time, almost as long as he remembered.

To get praise like that from a man who was nearly a stranger was so far outside of Xander's experience that it threw him for a loop. Eventually, by the time he arrived at his next class, Xander decided that he liked the praise and walked for a while with a smile on his face, not caring that he ended up five minutes late for class.



That evening, after classes had finished for the day, Xander made the torturous journey from one end of the school -- namely, the school locker rooms -- to the library. Giles was there with a good fifteen tomes of various ages arrayed on the table, with multiple pieces of paper marking other sections. His glasses were off his nose, hanging from his hand as he stared at the text in his hands and the librarian paced the room, unaware that he had gathered an audience.

“I found another book, but I don't know if it's going to help,” came a familiar voice from the stacks. Jesse walked out with a hardcover with colorful images. Slightly startled at the sound of his voice, the librarian looked up sharply then visibly relaxed as he realized who it was. “It's got lots of stuff on knights and witches though.”

Giles' brow furrowed slightly when he looked at the book. “Ah, Jesse?” he asked.

The boy looked up surprised. “Yeah?”

“That's a J. W. Waterhouse art book.,” Giles corrected. Xander winced at how dumfounded his friend looked.

“Oh,” Jesse said, flipping to the cover. “Oh, yeah, it is.”

It was apparent that not only Xander was showing increased changes in behavior.

Willow looked up from behind a stack of books on the table and smiled widely.

“Hi Xander!” she greeted him perkily, with a wave. “Giles has a lot of really cool books and we're trying to figure out what's going on in this town.”

Xander nodded back and settled down in a chair along side her, propping his Staff against the banister. The thing stood out like a wasp in an ant colony and his friends' eyes widened at the sight of it.

“Xander, is that-” Willow cut herself off, not sure if she wanted to really know the answer. Jesse goggled for a moment before his brow furrowed in worry. Giles looked up at the uncomfortable silence in the room, glancing between the three teens. He followed their gaze towards the staff Xander had been wielding all day.

“Why didn't you notice earlier?” Xander whispered. “I've had it all day.”

“I thought that turned back into plastic,” Willow said, her blue eyes wide with surprise.

“It did,” Xander replied. “This is real.”

Eyes widened further at that explanation. Xander felt all eyes on him and it made him uncomfortable, more so than those of his classmates, because these were his friends. He knew any discussion of his visions or dreams from the night before would quickly go down paths he didn't want, so he changed the subject.

“Does anyone know why Harmony would have two faces?” Xander asked.

“Because she's a two-faced B-I-T-C-H,” Willow spelled in a conspiratorial tone.

“Oh dear lord,” Giles bemoaned. “I'd like to think we're too old for spelling our words.”

“Bitca?” Jesse and Xander replied. Apparently, the mage's new found intelligence was not expansive in all fields and spelling seemed to be one of them. Or at least it was until Xander spelled it out in his head and realized the real meaning. He shook his head. The topic was successfully diverted, so he delved back into the fray.

“Harmony looks different to me,” Xander elaborated. “She has two faces; the one she shows everyone and the one behind her mask.”

“And Harmony is...?” Giles asked.

“Cordelia's minion,” Willow replied with a nod. “She's a meany.”

“I also think she's a demon, maybe even the one we fought on Halloween,” Xander replied.

Giles watched the expressions on the three teens. Willow was indignant and a little angry. Xander was a bit stone-faced, but his golden eyes shown with a touch of rage. Jesse blushed and glanced away in shame. The librarian gave the teens a questioning look and Willow quickly jumped in, giving her own rendition of the story of Halloween.

“And Xander, why do you suspect she is a demon?” Giles asked.

“Because she doesn't look like a corpse to my eyes,” Xander replied bluntly. “She shows no decay, and even vampires show their inner demon to me. I see everything in a form of decay. There is no choice in this. Unless I see your reflection or a photograph, I see you as a walking corpse.”

“Oh,” Giles said, cleaning his glasses. “Quite right. So, suspicions as to type of demon?”

“Succubus,” Xander, Willow and Jesse all replied in unison.

“Oh,” Giles repeated.

“They're soul sucking slut-demons, so, you know, it kinda makes sense where Harmony is concerned,” Willow said. She blushed slightly in shame. “I just said slut.”

“Yes, watch that potty mouth of yours, Wills,” Xander chided playfully from his chair. She giggled slightly and looked back at her book. Xander turned towards Giles. “There's something I've been wondering, how do you know about all these vamps and such?”

Giles looked at the teens for a moment before answering.

“Well, the truth is, I'm something of an occultist,” Giles started by explanation, a finger pushing his glasses up his nose. “I study the things that go bump in the night. I occasionally combat them if necessary, although I'm missing a key element of that equation at the moment.” He leaned back against the railing of the steps to the stacks and tapped a book in his hands. The librarian leaned back and explained how the world was older than they knew, how the old ones were chased away. He explained the theories of the vampire's origin and the situation today, leaving out the Slayer mythos.

“So, do you know why we had vamps hanging around in a mostly deserted school last night? Or why they attacked me on my way home?” Xander asked, ignoring the worried looks on his friends.

“You were attacked?” Giles asked worriedly. “How did you...?” He trailed off, hoping beyond hope that he wasn't in the presence of a vampire mage, no matter how neophyte he might be. Xander sighed and stepped into the sunlight, hefting his staff as he walked. Giles let out a sigh of relief.

“As to how,” Xander said, holding his Staff perpendicular to the floor, he grinned. “Shirak!”

The room was flooded with light, the color of a nice sunny day in southern California. Giles walked forward and touched the large crystal, realizing it gave off no heat.

“The Staff of Magius,” Xander replied. “An elegant weapon from a more civilized time.”

“How?” Willow asked sternly, realizing that her attention had been diverted once before and she wasn't about to ignore it again.

“I had a visit from a crazy old man who called himself Banzif,” Xander explained. At the confused looks, Xander walked up to the blackboard and wrote down the name. Then he wrote three other names, all with the same letters in different combinations. One began with “F” and two began with the letter “Z.”

“Oh,” said Jesse in understanding.

“Oh,” said Willow in fear and amazement.

“Oh?” asked Giles in confused befuddlement.

The three shared a look.

“Maybe we should just have you read the books,” Xander said, making his way to the stacks. There was a long moment of silence as Xander moved out of sight amongst the tomes.

“...”

“Guys?” Xander called out from somewhere in the Dewey decimal system.

“Yeah?” Jesse called back from the table.

“Where's the fiction section in this place?”



Xander had successfully completed his small side quest [Give the Watcher the Dragonlance Books] but he was just about done for the day. Unlike other days, Xander wanted to just go home and sleep for the next twelve hours. He was starting to learn the consequences of overtaxing his already weak body and exhaustion was just one of the side effects. The worse off the young red robed wizard was, the more weak he felt, and from there, it was a slippery slope. It was definitely time to go take a nap. Xander was just about to turn a corner ,when a hand reached out from the other side and hauled the young man into a janitor's closet.

The person was physically stronger than he was and manhandled himself against the wall. The attacker's skin was smooth, though and had a scent to it Xander associated with women's shampoo.

“When I fantasized of being dragged into a janitor's closet, this wasn't what I had in mind,” Xander snarked. His attacker only tightened her grip.

“How do I keep the vampires out of my house?” the attacker demanded.

“Don't invite them in,” Xander replied as he attempted to push himself off the wall, but the woman held him fast.

“They're already invited!” the woman said.

“Harmony,” Xander commanded in a tired tone. “Let me down.”

“Uh, I'm not Harmony,” Harmony said.

“You definitely chose the wrong non-weapon proficiencies,” Xander growled as he rolled his face away from a bottle of particularly caustic cleaning supplies. "Harmony, let me down or I'll melt your face off with an Acid Arrow."

Harmony, while smarter from her Halloween experiences, still couldn't lie when scared, even if the fear this time wasn't for herself. With a bit of a hissing growl, she dropped the young mage on his feet.

Xander straightened his clothes, grabbed his Staff and turned around to look the taller one in the eye. She was only taller because he was hunched over slightly. Ever since Raistlin's first visit, Xander had developed a tendency to slouch, making him appear shorter and his frailness of body didn't help the image. He blinked twice before speaking. “Now what the hell did you do that for?”

“You're a wizard, keep the vampires out of my house!” Harmony demanded.

“How did this happen?”

“My mother,” Harmony reluctantly admitted. “One showed up saying she was my friend from school.”

“I bet that went over like a sack of rocks tied to Jimmy Hoffa about three feet off a wharf,” the red clad teen snorted. Xander's tone turned incredulous: “And they haven't been eaten or turned?”

“No!” Harmony demanded.

“How do you know?”

“I just do,” Harmony demanded, “Now get them out of my house!”

“Your parents or the vampires?”

Harmony was about at the end of her patience and used her supernatural charm to enchant the young man. But Raistlin, and by mystical inheritance, Xander, was no stranger to the Enchantment school of magic. Xander's raw stubbornness and force of will let the spell fly past him like breeze.

“Let me out of here!” Xander snarled before calling out the commands of his staff. An arcane phrase flew from his lips in a rasping whisper and threw the door open. Harmony barely felt the spell as other than a small flutter of her hair. “I don't know what you are, but I'm not doing anything with you between me and the exit.”

Her eyes seemed to flash with a touch of red, but Harmony, or whoever she was, stepped out of the way. Keeping the Staff of Magius between him and the blonde, Xander made his way to the janitor closet's room. “Now, I was just about to leave school so I was home in plenty of time, but instead we're going back to the library.”

“I'm not going anywhere with you,” Harmony snarled.

Xander looked at her with his cold, golden eyes. He didn't say anything. He just locked her gaze with his. She held out for a time, but sagged.

“Fine,” she grumbled.

Though it wasn't far, the trip to the library was at an almost painfully slow pace for the blonde.

Xander never rushed, simply put one foot in front of the other, one at a time, in perfectly timed steps. Harmony, never having been a patient person even before her transformation, was even less possessed of patience as she always allowed her lusts to command her actions. Xander apparently didn't care. For him, it was just a relaxing, meditative walk with two short strides and the thump of his staff on the carpeted floor.

By the time the library's double doors were in sight, Harmony was about ready to pull her well-coiffed hair out from the roots. Not that it would do anything, considering her current hair wasn't even real, but it was the principle of the thing. With a wave of his hand, Xander allowed the doors to open before him, a simple legerdemain that served to make him seem greater, more impressive.

Giles, pulled up to the desk in the middle of the room, had his glasses on his head and his nose in a book. Xander lifted an eyebrow at the title. “Uh, Giles?”

The librarian jumped from his seat. “Oh, yes, Xander,” he said, carefully setting the book down. “What is it? I thought you had left for the day.”

“A bit of an issue,” Xander said. “But really, Time of the Twins might not be the best one to start with. I'd recommend Soulforge for a start.”

“Ah, yes, but it seems that a certain Andrew Wells has had it out for the past six months,” Giles explained. “What is the problem?”

“Only that the Raistlin from Legends has a huge amount of back story,” Xander said. “And that's way past when he and I met up, split and went our separate ways.”

“Ah, yes, yes,” the librarian replied. “But what brings you and miss...”

“The demon's Harmony and she wants to keep vampires out of her house,” Xander replied.

Harmony's teeth started to grind like a millwheel. Xander just grinned at the sound.

“Demon?” Giles asked with a small glance towards his office where his weapons currently resided.

“I just don't want them eating my parents!”

“Miss, if you are of a demonic nature, your parents have nothing to fear from vampires,” Giles replied in a stiff tone.

“They're human! Of course vampires are going to eat them,” Harmony protested. “Hell, I want to eat them, and I'm not even into that kind of thing.”

“So you are adopted?” Giles asked, much to Xander's amusement.

“No!” Harmony bellowed, positively scandalized. It was especially ironic that something still scandalized the girl, especially after her transformation into a creature that preyed upon people in a scandalous manner. Giles paused a moment, pulling his glasses off with one hand, pinching the bridge of his nose with the other and squeezing his eyes shut.

“Miss Hermione,

“HARMONY!”

“Yes, yes, how did vampires get in your house and why haven't they eaten your parents already?” Giles asked.

“Because they want to blackmail me into joining them!” Harmony snapped.

Giles froze and looked at her sharply, a touch of his younger personality coming to the forefront of his expression. “Join them? They're organized?” The librarian stood up and turned around, contemplating the possibilities. “That would mean they are being led by a master vampire or a greater demon... Oh dear... On the other hand, that would explain why I was...” He cut himself off as he realized he still had an audience and turned around. “Very well, Xander, third stack, fourth shelf from the top, Memearche's Hexography. 'The Unwelcoming' I believe it is called. Why don't you go re-ward their threshold while I research the possibilities?”

“Why me?” Xander rasped.

“Xander, you have shown yourself to have a remarkable talent for the arcane,” Giles replied. “A simple ritual such as this should give you no problem.”

“And I'll need a ride. It'll be midnight by the time I could walk there.”

Giles, having been off in research land, looked up again. “What was that?”

“A ride, I need a ride,” Xander said. “Harmony's house is way on the other side of Sunnydale, up the hill practically on Kingman's Bluff.”

“Oh, right, sorry,” Giles said. “We'll take my car.”



Most of a torturous car ride later:

Giles, with Xander and Harmony stuck in the back, sputtered along in the librarian's Citroen. And then it stalled for the third time.

“I thought we needed to be there by night,” Xander snarked as he glanced at the golden colored clouds hovering near the horizon, the setting sun just hidden behind them. “Maybe I should have just walked after all.”

“My car is just having a little trouble right now,” Giles replied. “We should be there in no time,” he said as he turned the key and fiddled with clutch and gas. The engine turned over and then went back to sleep.

“Stupid men!” Harmony grumbled, grabbing them by their necks and teleporting them back to the Kendall residence. The three of them fell in a pile in the middle of the living room. A moment later, Giles was holding a dark, rough blade to Harmony's neck, a small trickle of blood running down the tip. Her eyes went wide and she took a sharp breath as she felt her first wound since Halloween. It wasn't much, just a trickle, but having had skin that could repel fists and most basic knives for a while, the pain was excruciating.

“Did you really think I was going to trust a demon?” Giles, or rather Ripper, hissed. “You are powerful, I'll grant you that, however, you should not have-”

He cut himself off as Harmony shifted into her true form. She was naked, long red tresses and heaving bosoms, with red scales trailing up her arms and legs to where it blended into a more human skin texture, though the color was unnatural, inhuman. Her teeth grew and her eyes flashed red with anger. With demonic grace, she leapt backwards towards the door.

“Well, I was right, she was a demon,” Xander said, pushing himself upright with the Staff of Magius. “Though I question her really using this as a trap. Unless this means there's still some of the old Harmony in there.”

“What's that supposed to mean?” Harmony demanded as she pressed two clawed fingers to her neck wound.

“The Harmony I went to school with had a difficult time tying her shoes, which is why she wore heels,” Xander replied in a scathing rasp. “If you're still the same old Harmony, you'd think this was 'a cunning plan.'”

“This is no time to quote Black Adder,” Giles growled. He glanced towards the gold skinned teen who had taken a stance beside him. “Although this would make more sense if the two of you were working together.”

Xander's glare was dark, twisted and full of disgust at the thought of actually teaming up with Harmony, demoness or no. “I can assure you that there is no way that I would team up with her.”

“Why? Because I'm a succubus?” Harmony asked snidely as she inspected the blood on her finger tips.

“No,” Xander said in a tone that suggested the reason should be obvious. “Because you're you. The only thing worse would be forced to team up with Cordelia.”

He quickly pantomimed spitting at the thought of having to work with Queen C.

“And besides,” Xander said. “The sun already went down and the house is surrounded.”

Giles, Xander, Harmony and the Kendalls (who had been watching this display from the couch with dumbstruck expressions since the trio's mystical arrival), glanced outside, to realize that every window and doorway was filled with the visages of esurient eyes and fangs.

The vampires, ravenous and apparently allowed to enter, grinned.

“'Esurient?” Harmony's mother asked.

“All hungry like,” Xander clarified.



Thanks again to GreyWizard the Amazing who took the time to help out this lowly author on more than one occasion.
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