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Summary: Alternate season 7 Buffy, Faith returns, and the world changes radically

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Smallville > Multiple Pairings
Television > X-Files, The
norgcoFR15854,9355811,02913 Jul 0413 Jul 04Yes

An X-File and a bald billionaire

The eastern Pacific, 2100hrs local time.

Two people were preparing to dive off a
rented boat, people who by rights should have had
someone more experienced in charge, given their
limited Scuba experience. But the dark haired man had
done an awful lot that was against the rules in the
last few years, and wanted to keep the whole thing
secret. The short, red haired woman with him was, as
usual, wondering how he talked her into these things.

"Relax Scully, a little dive in the
beautiful Pacific, it's like a vacation." Fox Mulder
checked his gear again, and his partners too. It was
basic safety, and he had been taught this by a friend
who was, like most of his friends for some reason,
paranoid, and committed to the 'anything you did not
personally check just before use will break on you'
school of thought.

"Wreck diving in Truck Lagoon is a
vacation, night diving for vampires off Los Angeles is
not." Scully had only recently qualified, and in a
false name as befitted their 'on the lam' status.

"Why would you want to dive on a sunken
Japanese fleet when you can look for the undead?"
Mulder was genuinely puzzled. His partner looked at
him for a while, before asking a question many would
have asked a decade before.

"Mulder, is your psychiatrist on
danger money?"

"Yes, why?" Getting a psychiatrist
who works by chat room had not been easy, bless the
Lone Gunmen wherever they were.

"Just checking."

The water was not too cold, and they
had been given very specific instructions of where to
look, including precise grid co-ordinates to program
into the GPS. So they went down, keeping a careful
eye on the instructions about diving to these depths.
Both had decompression charts, and were acutely aware
of the dangers of ignoring them. Eventually they
approached the bottom, and saw what they had been told
would be there, a metal cage. The man in it was
looking at them with wild hope, and no air tanks.
Clearly this was Angel.

WE ARE HERE TO GET YOU OUT, DO YOU
UNDERSTAND? Mulder wrote on a slate and showed the
caged individual, who nodded back.

I AM GOING TO USE EXPLOSIVES TO OPEN
THE CAGE. A nervous nod.

Mulder had the pre-packaged shaped charges in a bag, and wrapped them
around the bars and lock. Then the two former FBI
agents swam back, out of blast range. Angel was not
supposed to be in danger from this, if their source
was to be believed. There was a muffled thud, and
bubbles rose from the cage.

WE WILL GET THE CHAINS OFF WITH ON
THE BOAT, OK?

Again a nod and they attached
floatation bags to the chained vampire and inflated
them from their air tanks, giving the undead neutral
buoyancy. It was a slow trip back from 300 ft, with
the prescribed stops to decompress so as to avoid 'the
bends'.

Scully was seriously troubled by her
inability to find a rationalization for the man with
them. His calm way of looking at them would have been
normal, if it was not from someone without air for
this long. Mulder would be insufferable after this.

The dive boat, 2240hrs.

Watching the vampire, because that
was clearly what he was, gulp down 5 blood bags and
several pints of fresh water made Dana Scully cringe.
It was not the blood, or the vampire, as such, but the
fact that Spooky Mulder finally had proof she could
not deny about something she had refused to believe
in. The difficulty of getting the bound
man/vampire/whatever on board was solved with a winch,
something she had thought of before the dive, and a
salve to her ego.

The explosives had been prepared by
Mulder's 'dive instructor', a former Navy SEAL, which
would have been more confidence inspiring if he had
not kept trying to convince them that Elvis lived in
an underwater city he visited regularly. Not too odd
for one of the former profiler's friends, but still...

"Who are you two, how did you know I
was there?" Angel had lost track of time, and had not
idea how long he had been underwater. But since
Cordelia, Gunn and Fred were not here, presumably
someone else had sent them, but not a government
agency with such limited resources.

"We are, or were, FBI agents."
Mulder explained, having fought down the reflex
response 'Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, FBI.' "We had
a, a visitor, who told us to come here for you."

"What was so special about a
visitor that you laid on all this, clearly without
official backing, on her say so?"

"She appeared in the middle of our
hotel room out of nowhere, told us, and just
disappeared again." Scully had checked for
holographic projectors and hallucinogenic drugs in
their systems before agreeing to go along with the
dive, but she had gone along finally. "She said she
was Cordelia Chase, and she 'ascended' on the way to
meet you the night you were stuck in that cage."

Angel stripped down and washed the salt
water off himself before changing into dry clothing.
He was too wrung out emotionally to care about being
naked, and the way Scully suggested it sounded like
doctors orders anyway.

With the boat headed back in
all he wanted to do was find out if everyone else was
alight. Gunn, Fred, even Wesley who he had been
planing the slow death of. Had Connor attacked them
too?

"Can I use your mobile, I have to call
my friends?"

"Cordelia said she would arrange to
have us met. And that everyone seems to be about as
alright as they were when this happened." Angel was
wondering about Wesley, he had had a lot of time to
think in that cage, about betrayal in particular.
Wesley had been presented with convincing, false
evidence and acted on it, as had Connor, who had
believed Angel had murdered his 'father.' If he could
forgive Connor while actually being locked in a cage
and dumped into the ocean by him, why not the former
watcher? His mission was supposed to be about saving
souls, wasn't it, how could he himself be forgiven if
he refused it of a man who had been a close friend?

The Hyperion hotel, a few days later.

The celebration over Angels return had
wound down eventually. He had been gone for many
months, and a lot had happened in that time that had
proven the value of the individual skills lost in the
run up to his prolonged dunking. Gunn and Fred had
been in over their heads in their own way, and brought
Wesley back to help. He was also assisting Faith, who
was out of prison, and working as an accountant, of
all things, in Sunnydale. Faith actually commuted to
slay in Los Angeles, and seemed to have acquired huge
financial resources.

It was when Faith started explaining
the current situation in Sunnydale that the radical
changes while he was 'away' sank in. Willow lost her
Lesbian lover (Angel hadn't even known she's changed
teams), skinned the murderer alive and tried to
destroy the world. After all else failed, after she
had beaten the rest of the Scoobies, Giles nearly to
death, Xander just talked her out of it. He just
stood directly in her line of fire, absorbing energies
intended to destroy the whole world, and calmly talked
her out of it. Was it the third or fourth apocalypse
he had averted, more?

And still the gang didn't seem to take
Harris seriously, which puzzled and enraged the souled
vampire. He had never actually LIKED, Xander, partly
because of the White Knight's suspicions about
Angel’s trustworthiness.

Angel had believed his soul
was an absolute protection, and only after the whole
'feed the lawyers to Darla and Drusila' debacle had he
realized the truth. He wasn't trustworthy, someday it
might be necessary for someone to dust him, even with
his soul intact, and the Zeppo had known it all along.

Angel had started wondering why none of
the people who hung around Harris could see that 'the
clown' was the most ruthless, cold bloodedly
analytical individual the nearly quarter millennium
old vampire had ever met. Were they blind or was it
the hellmouth affecting their minds somehow? Judging
the book by its cover is human, but this was getting
ridiculous. Suddenly it hit him, who to send to
investigate this, now that thanks to Faith's employers
money was not an issue.

"Mulder, how would you like to
investigate another X-File?"


*****************



Mulder & Scully's car, on the coast road to Sunnydale.

Former Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully
was reviewing the information they had acquired about
the Xander Harris case. She wondered when her life
had changed to the point where they would consider an
X-File investigation was warranted by the fact that
someone was totally ordinary. Well, maybe not totally
ordinary, but the things he was being singled out for
seemed like, well...she was having trouble thinking of
a term, proof she was tired and wrung out from the
last few days.

"Mulder, tell me, why is Xander an X-File
because he thought letting one of Europe's most famous
torture murderers hang out with his friends was
dangerous? Because that is where this case starts,
with the fact that he was the only one of the
Slayerettes who never trusted Angel, and who told the
vampire slayer to slay him when he reverted and wanted
to destroy the world."

It had taken a fair amount of
explanation to get the red headed woman to believe
what had happened over the last seven years or so. It
had not taken much longer for her to really appreciate
how warped the view of the people around her was.

"What would you have done about Angelus and
the Acathla episode?" Mulder was amused, and also
feeling way out of his depth. Going from trying to
prove the existence of paranormal phenomena and
consistently failing, to working for a vampire and his
collection of demon hunters was still a big mental
jump. And Scully seemed to be shifting ground on him
about this, at least her mind seemed to wander off
whenever the Harris boy's 'sorry Buffy, but you have
to kill your boyfriend' advice was mentioned, and the
hostile reception it got. Even Angel said it was
perfectly reasonable, and a kinder fate than what had
actually happened to him.

"I grew up in a cold war Navy family, you
know that Mulder, I grew up listening to my father,
and then brother, discuss apocalyptic situations as
something they could very easily be decision makers
in." Fox was only too well aware of Scully's family
background, that her father and elder brother
captained of nuclear capable warships. Were was this
going? "Sometimes a bunch of them would sit around in
the lounge room after a barbecue, have a drink or
three, and discuss how someday they may be ordered to
fire their nuclear weapons. What situations justified
using them, that sort of thing."

It was quiet in the car as they drove
through the California night. They would get to the
Summers House around midnight, and were expected. Off
to the left the moon shone on the waters, picking up a
million points of light as the wave tops were
illuminated. The occasional freighter sat off the
coast, navigation lights showing against the darkness.
It was warm, and palm trees swayed against a gentle
evening breeze. Scully discussing the end of the world
under these circumstances was surreal, somehow, but
this must have been normal circumstances for the
evening captains shoptalk she was relating.

"And the thing they all seemed to agree on
was that if someone wanted to attack us, to destroy
us, then shooting first was the only sane thing to do,
if you were certain he was going to attack and that
you could stop him with your own." Her voice was
still calm, reasonable, just a woman relating
overheard conversations. "Turning a foreign capital
city into radioactive rubble is something the men in
my family actually have to face the prospect of doing,
so I know what any of them would have done if they
knew about Angelus and Acathla. They would have nuked
Sunnydale to glass just to be sure, and worried about
the court marshal and execution later."

Fox Mulder had never really thought about
nuclear war, about having to fight one, of having that
kind of responsibility. He was a loner, after all,
obsessive and paranoid, and not someone who would ever
make it through the psychological screening process of
a military organization that was not totally
desperate. He had understood this about himself,
intellectually, and why he never had gotten along with
people in uniform.

That his partner had grown up among
people who had been trusted with the ability destroy
whole nations at the push of a button, that Armageddon
was a dinner table conversation topic in her
childhood, had never really hit him before.

The road they were taking was not the
fastest way to their destination, but it would get
them there on time and was a beautiful piece of
winding coastal highway. Every so often they came to
a town, and slowed to the speed limit as they ran
through, people coming back from the beach, surfboards
under the arms of some of the more die-hard waxheads.
Scully and Mulder were both thinking about what it
would have been like, on one of those pre-Acathla
nights, to watch a inbound missile streak in towards
Sunnydale over the warm surf and palm trees.

Would the watchers have time to wonder who
had launched, before the fireball vaporized 50,000 or
100,000 people, to wonder at being condemned to a
fiery death by their own Navy? 100,000 now to save
6,000,000,000 later, those were the sort of trade
offs Scully's menfolk, and, clearly to Dana, Xander
Harris, faced as the moral dilemmas of their lives.

Mulder had been seeing Xander Harris as an interesting
man to profile, possibly only in relation to the
people who thought him boringly ordinary. He had
never been told to investigate someone for being
considered normal before, after all.

"Mulder, Angel called Mr Harris ruthless
and cold bloodedly analytical, and wondered how no-one
else seemed to see it. All they see is the runner up
for class clown, the guy who goes for doughnuts, they
never put the two together. But I grew up with that
kind of dichotomy, to me its ordinary, a part of my
girlhood, dear dad who I know loved us, who had to the
power to help destroy or save the world. I may never
be able to see my family again, and now my childhood
hits me in the face again."

Casa Summers, Midnight.

Everyone was still awake when they pulled up
in front of the house, and called to be escorted from
there car to the house. It would have seemed crazy if
they had not actually met a vampire, that they could
be prey for something on the short walk up the
driveway to the front door. The 'unconventional'
sleeping arrangements at the house had been explained
by Faith as part of their briefing in LA. And had
provided some interesting new knowledge of vampire
physiology, as the souled vampire turned an
interesting shade of purple while Faith explained it
all.

"HE'S SLEEPING WITH BUFFY!"

"Plus Anya, and Willow, and me of course.
And we really do get some sleep, eventually, for a
magically endowed stud he's a big cuddly teddy bear,
nice to snuggle up to." Faith liked Angel, he had
seen the potential good in her when few others had,
but watching his face change colour was too good to
miss. "Buffy is the only one not part of a couple
though, so Anya insists Xander give her special
attention, and as the only straight woman of the group
B's getting less action than the rest of us anyway."

The souled vampire had looked about to
burst a blood vessel as the necessary explanations
were made, after all the investigators had been
specifically asked to come to grips with the mind set
of the Scooby’s. So the social situation was part of
what they had to get a grip on. However much they
tried to avoid phrasing it that way in Angel's
presence. The dark slayer's attempt to smooth things
over by changing the subject had its own set of
problems.

"Karnak demons, you're working for Karnak
demons?" Angel again, since Wesley already knew and
the rest wouldn't know a Karnak demon from a pixie.
"The third largest Accounting firm in the world is
owned and staffed by Karnak demons, and they are
paying you to do bookkeeping?"

"I do audits now, at least the preliminary
work, I'm not just a bookkeeper!" Faith was ticked.
She had to stay in the hotel overnight, with
patrolling at night and several work appointments the
next day, and she wanted to end this and get ready.
"Yes Angel, the money to bring the hotel back up to
code and pay the back taxes, etc., it all came from a
bunch of business demons who think paying to prevent
the end of the world is a sound insurance investment."

With that she had gone up to her room to
change out of her work clothes into patrol gear, and
the rest had had the spectacle of a 250 year old
vampire in a stuttering rage to deal with. Mulder and
Scully had gone up to their room, which Fred had
decorated when given advanced warning by Cordelia that
a newly wed couple would be staying there.

It
featured a four-poster bed, with mirrors on the roof
and walls, lights that could be dimmed or brightened,
and mounting points on the bed for the handcuffs and
silk ropes lying on the bed. She had also provided an
interesting collection of 'toys' not all of which they
could work out the use of. Neither former agent
wanted to think about what the mousy looking physicist
was getting up to with Gunn, after she had explained
that 'I didn't include anything kinky cause, being
ex-FBI, you're both probably really conservative.'

"Hi, you must be Mulder and Scully, I'm
Buffy." It was a perky looking blonde wearing a
crucifix, recognisable from photos. She seemed
cheerful, and fit the blonde bimbo stereotype that she
apparently cultivated as part of her hunting
technique. There was a group of obvious SWAT team men
saying goodbye and getting into a dark van, clearly
the Blue Team Faith had mentioned. Mulder was
disoriented again, just by the idea of a police force
that actually took paranormal phenomena seriously
enough to train and equip full time patrols to deal
with it.

The inside of the Summers house was very
suburban conventional, at least on the ground floor.
The bedrooms were upstairs, and apparently the
ex-agents were sleeping on in Buffy's sister’s room
tonight, Dawn being at a friends place overnight. They
looked around the group, still awake at this time of
night due to their odd nightly activities, and saw
various stages of fear, acceptance, and excitement
looking back at them. A heavily pregnant red head,
presumably Willow, spoke up excitedly.

"Einstein’s twin paradox, a new
interpretation, I read it, your thesis, I read it."
She was more tired than she was used to being at this
time of night, due to the pregnancy, but being rich
she could sleep in the day, and the baby kicked at
night making sleep hard anyway. "But, have you
thought about the quantum mechanical implications
if..."

"Will, stop, breathe, you can interrogate the
nice woman later. Right now I think we should just
introduce ourselves, have a drink or two and go to
bed." The only male in the group, clearly the much
mentioned Xander Harris. "Willow did a background
check on you when we heard you were coming, and, your
undergraduate thesis excited her. I keep telling her
you might not have done that stuff in years, but..."

"Oh come on Xander, how can anyone not be
excited by the quantum mechanical re-interpretation of
Relativistic physics? I mean, once you've gotten
involved in something like that you can't just stop,
it's too much fun to give up, I mean..."

A woman materialised in the middle of the
room, and looked at Mulder, Scully and the babbling
mother to be. She smiled and turned to Scully, one of
only two people in the room who thought her sudden
appearance in any way odd.

"Hi, I'm Anyanka, why don't we end this
silly sit and talk bit and get straight to the orgy?"

******************


Mulder and Scully's hotel room, Sunnydale, 9.15pm,
Tuesday.

Fox Mulder was puzzled about what to be
puzzled about. He and Scully were here as
investigators for a P.I. in Los Angeles, who found
certain behaviours of acquaintances here in Sunnydale
strange. On arrival, it was learned that the
definition of the world 'strange', was subject to much
dispute. After all Angel, the p.i., was a vampire,
and the strange behaviour was the tendency of a group
of professional demon fighters to regard one of their
number as 'normal guy.'

"Mulder, tell me if I have this right."
Dana Scully was actually in agreement about things
with him for once, which was disconcerting in and of
itself. "The quote, Normal Guy end quote, was hit by
a Troll, with its hammer, sustaining an arm injury
which cured itself in a week or two. Said Troll
Hammer was subsequently used to BEAT A GOD TO DEATH!
But none of his friends seem to think that it was in
any way unusual for Mr Harris to get away with only
trivial injuries. But they were puzzled and angry when
he had, a few years earlier, argued it was dangerous
to allow a known mass murderer to continue to exist
and try to destroy the world because they had a vague
possibility of saving him as an individual."

"You have it right."

"Call me strange Mulder but I tend to
assume humans are easier to kill than Gods, maybe it's
my Catholic upbringing. And is it just my Navy brat
childhood that says that risking the destruction of
the Earth for the sake of one man, the man who is
trying to destroy it, seems irresponsible?"

She had
been living in a greater and greater world of
unreality and surrealism. Living with and working for
Vampires, witches, vampire slayers, and various odd -
some extremely odd - demons had her questioning her
sanity in a way even knowing Mulder for a decade had
not achieved. What is and is not acceptable morally
when the end of the world may result from your actions
had been part of the 'shop talk' of her Navy family,
as she had told Mulder on the drive here. Risking
Armageddon for one person was inexcusable, her father,
brother and their shipmate had always argued. Was the
fact that Xander was taking the same line on this as
her male relatives clouding her judgement?

"Who's crazy here?"

The former FBI agents were dealing with this
under a larger budget than they had during there years
in government service. It allowed them, among other
things, to escape the embarrassing situation in the
Summers household. Anya, a.k.a. Anyanka patron demon
of Scorned Women, had simply assumed they would take
part in the nightly orgy.

On the first night
exhaustion and unfamiliarity had gotten them out, but
Scully's Catholic upbringing was being pushed to the
limits even before being propositioned by a bisexual
demon that assumed there was really no such thing as a
heterosexual woman. Buffy seemed to be the only
straight woman of the four, excluding Dawn, as
everyone did. Their hotel room was extremely
comfortable and not far from Sunnydale, a luxurious
base of operations.

The Magic Box, Wednesday Morning

Rupert Giles had been provided with the
results of DNA testing, courtesy of Faith's demonic
employers. And now he had a real problem, because
this was, according to said Karnak demons, properly
Mulder and Scully's area of expertise. But it
concerned a man who he had grown to think of as his
son, who now had to be told something that might make
or break him. The pair of former agents walked in,
exactly on time, and came to the new upstairs area.
Ever the good host, the Englishman made coffee on the
espresso machine for the others, and Earl Grey tea
for himself.

"Mr Giles, you said you have
important news?" Scully said, curious after the
somewhat cryptic call bringing them here today.
"Yes, it concerns being I have been
told you know as 'Super soldiers.' In particular the
early experimentation process that produced the final
product." The former librarian noticed the sudden
change in demeanour from the other two, and correctly
assumed it was not the result of overdoing the caramel
in the red heads late again. "It also provides some of
the answer to the question you were sent here to
solve."

"What does Xander Harris have to do
with the genetic engineering of..."

"Mulder it would explain how he
keeps coming back from all those injuries." Dana
Scully commented. The Super Soldiers were part of the
reason she and Mulder were on the run, and why their
son had been anonymously adopted out to a family
producing organic produce in Kansas named Kent,
apparently a second adoption on their part. It was
painful every time she thought about it, but the SS
were nearly indestructible, indeed seemed unkillable,
as well as being able to punch through steel doors,
breathe underwater and other interesting things. "If
Xander is one of them why has he not tried to kill us
yet?"

"Why would I try to kill you?" Xander
Harris was in his suit, carrying a plate of Danishes.
His construction business was going from strength to
strength, and he insisted that his doughnut and pastry
franchise compete on quality rather than price. They
were spreading rapidly, providing money he did not
really need and an ego boost he definitely did. "And
who is the 'them' I am supposed to be one of?"

Fox Mulder proceeded to give a
background explanation of the whole genetic super
soldier nightmare, in particular mentioning that they
seemed to be produced from normal people, or at least
some were. Experimentation on ova and then implanting
to unknowing women seemed to be part of it too. It was
good the youngest man there was sitting down, because
otherwise the news would have floored him.

"But I can't be one of them, I mean I'm
not super strong or an exceptional fighter or any of
those things."

"Xander you have a series of traits that
are missing from them, ones that are arguably more
important to creating a super army than individual
skills." Rupert Giles new enough history to know what
distinguished a winning army from a losing one, after
all the individual Roman Legionnaire was physically
inferior to nearly all the barbarians they slaughtered
to create the empire. And they only lost it after
their organizational edge was lost.

"You are
unhesitatingly willing to die for your comrades in
arms, you have a very clear vision of what is and is
not a threat in circumstances where the rest of us
fail to do so and your sometimes ruthless decisions
about eliminating them, your success in construction
shows really impressive organizational and logistical
gifts..."

The construction manager still had his
'soldier guy' memories from Halloween, enough to
appreciate what was being said. In particular that 'a
champion team will beat a team of champions every
time', that organization, teamwork and discipline are
why modern western elite forces often kill 30 or more
for every man they lose against badly trained and
organized opponents. It was a lot to think about.

"But I'm a failed experiment?" It was
a depressing thought.

"Whoever came up with this project seemed
to not know why the Marine Corps motto is 'Always
Faithful', and not We kill For Fun." It was Scully
again, she had grown up around this after all. "They
left out things like loyalty and compassion as
irrelevant and seem to have been really surprised when
their creations turned on them. Or maybe the fact
that you are younger than most of the super soldiers
means someone realized the problem too late, we will
never know now."

"We still have to explain why your
friends never noticed you are essentially unkillable,
of course." Mulder added. After all it was not
Xander himself they were investigating, it was the
hellmouth inhabitants attitude to him they were
checking on.

Casa Summers, that night.

Faith watched the love of her life
sleep, curled up next to Anya. Sometimes she just
liked to watch Willow sleep, see her face relaxed and
at peace in the moonlight. It was a romantic side she
had never suspected she had, and yet it was so basic
to her now. Xander sat his head on her shoulder, she
was sitting in his lap, in a large chair that gave the
best view of the sleeping women. He had his arms
around her waist and was nibbling on her right ear,
apparently no longer troubled by the news of earlier
that day.

"I love her so much x-man, the way
she smiles, the way she hugs me at random times, the
way..."

"The way she can use her tongue and
both hands on you at the same time?" Xander
commented, prompting a slap on the thigh with full
slayer strength. A normal man would have limped for a
week after a hit like that, but the former Zeppo just
kissed her cheek. "Hey it's a reasonable comment,
Anya loses co-ordination at, a, crucial moments, I've
been watching"

And, of course, the dark slayer
was well aware that the vengeance demon was not the
lover Willow was, but had not thought Xander had
noticed such details, given he was generally 'busy'
with Buffy when it was happening. She couldn't help
but wonder if the ability to notice crucial details
and process them in distracting situations was another
engineered trait, or if he was just a horny stud.
Probably just a horny stud, she decided, as she felt
his erection rise against her.

She decided to use the chair for its
secondary purpose, the one Xander had had it custom
built like so much of the 'playroom' furnishings. It
could be adjusted to allow a variety of sexual
positions to be engaged in comfortably, and she rose
up clear of him, then sat down, impaling herself on
him. They started to move together, both watching
their beloved sleep, knowing there loved ones would
enjoy hearing about this later on. It was a strange
relationship, in many ways, but it worked. And, as an
added bonus, produced a line of furnishings that were
starting to sell well through sex shops when there
'recreational' uses were explained with the aid of
full size 'action' posters.

Posing for the pictures personally
had been Anya's idea, and the decision to obscure the
faces had puzzled her, as had Buffy's refusal to pose.
The rest had joined in with varying degrees of
enthusiasm, Willow thinking her pregnant form was
inappropriate but insisting on doing a new poster
after having the baby. She was more than happy to
help get the other three 'in the mood', and take the
pictures. Faith had insisted on checking with her
employers, Accounting being a conservative industry
they might not be thrilled. They had no problems, not
really understanding human sexual inhibitions, but
insisted on having the legal branches of the
conglomerate check that the pictures actually were
anonymous enough.

The posters started selling well
enough to be a money-spinner in there own right, which
was puzzling for a time. Then it was realised that an
extraordinary number of demons and vampires had
begun buying them after word leaked that a Slayer was
one of the 'models'. Some were being used for target
practice with knives, guns and darts, others for the
more normal uses of pornography. Buffy, perhaps
predictably, developed a sudden urge to pose for at
least one poster, riding Xander with Faith and Anya in
the background, her breasts bouncing and glistening
with sweat.

Scully and Mulder took this as more
proof that the blonde slayer was in serious need of
psychiatric help. Where to get that help without
having her committed was one more problem for them to
solve. Perhaps the dark slayers employers could find
someone. The amount of help they were providing, the
changes it had caused, and the rapidly increasing
dependence on it that was developing probably warranted
another investigation. They would certainly consider
it.

***************



Xander Harris's Office, study area, Monday evening

Xander Harris was deliberately
doing something he had spent his life being told he
couldn't do, or at least do well. he was thinking.
In particular he was trying to put the pieces of the
puzzle together, the puzzle of Slayers and their
nature. His discussions with the Karnak Chronicle
Keepers had put a very different perspective on things
from the Watcher diaries, starting much earlier and
from an outside perspective. It explained to some
extent why Buffy had lived longer than most slayers,
even counting two deaths. Few slayers lasted more
than six months, almost none lived to be tested on
their 18th birthday.

Or so the Watcher diaries said.

The Karnak Chronicles told a very
different story, and reconciling the two accounts, and
his encounters with the First Slayer, was a problem.
None of the three versions were necessarily a lie, but
like any historical account personal agendas and
prejudices had to be taken into consideration. The
Karnak had had no direct dealings with Slayers before
Faith, or at least not friendly ones. But they
therefore had less need to justify their actions in
terms of why the slayer lived or died. They were
probably objective, and certainly covered pre Watchers
Council times, as by definition the Watchers Diaries
did not.

The Chronicles began after the
expulsion of the Old Ones, but failed to say how much
after. However they did include tens of thousands of
years of history before the creation of the Watchers
Council. He had not actually read them all, of
course, but the summaries and histories drawn from
them set the Slayer in a social context radically
different from anything the council had ever
considered.

The Council had begun in a settled,
agricultural society, where social status determined
who was allowed to be armed, and passing property down
from father to sons meant controlling female
sexuality, so that there was certainty in who the
'legitimate heir' was. And slayers, in a culture
where a 16-year-old girl was by definition a married
woman with children, had to fit in somehow, had to be
seen to be controlled by a responsible male who was
not doing anything 'inappropriate' with her. The
familiar Watcher/Slayer relationship grew out of this
culture.

"It's not how it started though,
that's not how it was at all." The youngest male of
the slayer's associates said, as he sipped his coffee.
It was actually a blend one of the foremen had
introduced him to, traditional Arab coffee with
special spices, made with sugar and a special open
copper pot. More trouble than the espresso machine,
but he enjoyed the taste and the break involved in
making it.

The slayer originally existed in a
world with only a few million humans in it, but they
were hunter-gatherers for whom being armed was taken
for granted. To this day some African herders carried
wooden spears whenever they were awake. In a world
full of dangerous predators the early slayers had been
the top hunter of one particular type of predator,
with literally millions of others who would kill them
if threatened, or simply to show off their manhood, as
a hunter or herdsman does with predators.

Instead of a lone slayer protecting a
world full of unarmed targets, she was one full time
vampire hunter in a world where anyone attacked by one
would probably be armed with a perfectly workable
vampire killing weapon. Several people, actually, in
the average hunting band, people with enough practical
experience not to freeze when facing what was just one
more predator in a world full of them.

Xander sipped his coffee, and wondered
about the things not recorded, because the Karnak of
these times were too much outsiders to see or
understand the details of how the slayer fit into the
human society of the time. Slayers were mentioned as
outsiders, to an extent, but with a clear awed respect
from other humans for their obvious supernatural
status. As protective supernatural beings they were
not bound by the social norms of the tribes they moved
through, as evidenced by their being offered, and
accepting, food, shelter, and sex partners as
offerings for their help. Being offered sex partners
was still standard hospitality in Central Asia and the
South Pacific into the twentieth century, but NOT for
FEMALE travellers, of which there essentially were
none.

"The hungry and horny thing goes way
back, doesn't it Faith?" he mused, unaware that he was
no longer alone. The figures behind him walked
silently towards him, like the hunters they were,
stalking him. They were within touching distance
before he became aware of them, seeing something close
to him move out of the corner of his eye.

"Buffy, Faith, you scared me out of a
years growth." They were smiling at him, the smile of
horny slayers. He noticed they were freshly showered,
and wearing large towels. His office area included an
apartment, in fact included the whole floor of the
building, with a spa and, as Dana Scully had put it,
'another orgy room'.

Actually Scully and Mulder had been the
first to use it for its intended purpose. They had
received a report about their son, William, who had
been adopted out to protect him from the pursuing
Super Soldiers. The Kent’s, of Smallville Kansas,
seemed like a painfully wholesome all American family,
with one adopted child already, a son Dawn's age named
Clark. The Karnak Elders had an ally in the town, Lex
Luthor, who was a friend of Clarks and promised to
provide regular updates. The former agents had been
delirious with joy to finally hear good news about
William, and demanded to 'christen' the 'play room' to
celebrate.

"I have made a decision, well a couple
of decisions." Buffy announced, as she helped lead
the totally unprotesting construction boss from his
study. She seemed nervous, but also more aroused than
normal. Unknown to either of the others, an incident
had occurred a few days ago that had caused her to
rethink things she had thought totally settled. "I,
well, you remember I was late getting home on Friday
night?"

"Yes" Xander said, as Faith removed his
pants and underwear, while he ripped off her towel.
"I stopped off for a coffee and Danish,
at your main restaurant, Xander." The pastry stores
all had a sit down area, reasonably classy. "I, um,
er, I , ah..."

"What?" The other two were sufficiently
distracted by the blonde's nervousness to stop what
they were doing temporarily. Buffy seemed scarred of
something, whatever had happened had rattled her and
made her fear rejection. Xander did what he always
did in such situations, he forgot his personal
business entirely and tried to help. "Whatever it is
Buffy, we will help, you know that, right? Don't be
afraid, just tell us."

"I had sex with a woman in the
toilet, and we were really loud and people kept
pounding on the stall door to get us to quiet down and
now I can't go back because the staff will all stare
at me, and I'M STRAIGHT, HOW COULD I let her seduce
me, I mean I asked her if I could share her table
because it was crowded and I touched her leg and she
smiled and ..."

"So you suspect some kind of spell?"

Given their experiences with sex spells and 'thy will
be done' spells it was an obvious question.
"If you
do don't you think you should avoid sexual situations
until we have checked it out?"

Faith Wilkins could only admire Xanders
self control, given that this news was the answer to
his most cherished fantasy. He had told them, it was
no secret among the group. Faith was sorry she had
not been the other woman, and getting her mind beyond
that image was proving impossible.

"No, yes, I don't know..." Then Buffy
kissed Faith passionately, dropping her towel and
running her hand over the other slayers breasts. Then
she pulled the dark haired woman closer, not breaking
the kiss the entire time. Eventually she stopped.
"The toilet wasn't the first for me."

"What, I thought she was the first woman
for you?" Xander was proud of being able to think any
kind of coherent thought, given the sight of two of
the sexiest women in the world kissing and groping
each other in front of him.

"NO, I mean, she didn't actually seduce
me." Buffy was lying on the massage couch, face up,
while Faith gave what she called her 'sensual
massage.' The blonde slayer had never had one
before, given the multiple orgasms inevitably
resulting and her supposed hetro status. "When I sat
down and accidentally touched her leg, she just
smiled at me, then reached down and unzipped my dress,
you know it was the red one with the big zip on the
side, and she masturbated me till I came at the top of
my lungs right there at the table with everyone
watching."

The employed Harris noticed that the
Buffster had turned on the video recording gear Anya
had insisted were appropriate for an orgy area. He
hadn't noticed when she did it, being distracted, but
at this point he wouldn't have cared if it was going
as a live feed to the Vatican.

"I'll never be able to go back to that
place againnnn...oh yes, oh yes, oh that feels good,
oh yes..."

Xanders Office area Play Room, some time Tuesday
morning

"So, Buffy, have I just callously used
a woman who was under a spell and couldn't help
herself?" Faith was genuinely concerned, and her only
defence would be the same as Buffy, that after a night
of slaying she was too horny to control herself. As
for Xander was still under the 'perfect male sex toy'
spell Willow had put him under for Anya's last
Birthday, because trying to remove it would certainly
remove his entire sex drive and almost certainly kill
him. Having decided to live with the effects,
including the loss of control under circumstances like
this, he could hardly complain now that he was unable
to say no to his blonde friend the previous night.

"No, I was actually getting a lot less
sex than the rest of the female Scooby’s, so I have a
lot to catch up on. So I have several months of
girl/girl sex to catch up on this week, and if people
think I'm a lesbian slut, well..."

"Well what?"

"I'll tell them, no, I am a bisexual
slut." The two women laughed. Xander decided to get
help checking this out, Giles would be embarrassed but
the Coven in England was bound to have someone who
could check out whether a spell was involved.

The Magic Box conference room, a week later

"Mr Harris, Mr Giles, let me assure you
there is no spell of any kind over any of your group."
The witch the coven had sent was quiet competence
herself, and very reassuring. It confirmed what
Xanders continued research into pre-council slayers
had indicated, that slayers were not really human,
and given the freedom to do so formed a sub culture of
their own. Faiths 'slaying makes you hungry and
horney' seemed far more 'normal' for slayers than the
Watchers Council's 'virgin to the grave' outlook.

"But her behaviour, the sudden change
in, er, sexual orientation, how do you explain it?"
The former librarian asked.

"We have been checking Mr Harris's
research, and this appears quite natural for slayers.
It would appear that Slayers simply need sex the way
they need food, in greater amounts and varieties than
one would expect." Gwendoline watched the older of
the two men squirm uncomfortably, but clearly accept
the truth laid out before him. A father is normally
uncomfortable with the idea of his daughter and sex,
and Giles was more of a father to Buffy than Hank
Summers had ever been. "Which is why Buffy has been
drawn to non-human lovers, only they can even partly
keep up with her needs in a monogamous relationship.
And why she had become more and more miserable over
the years, and why Council slayers normally die so
young, being too closely watched and brainwashed even
to masturbate, they deteriorate and become
vulnerable."

"You make it sound like a medical
condition." Xander commented. The witch was also a
medical specialist of some kind, which was why she
specifically had been sent. She had performed a
medical on Buffy and Faith, and compared the results
to the one done by at the request of Faiths employer’s
months earlier as part of the lavish medical insurance
they provided all the demon fighters now. "What did
your tests show?"

"A series of major hormone imbalances,
with stress and blood pressure levels that would have
killed both Slayers eventually. Faith's has been
corrected and Buffy's are improving rapidly." And
embarrassed smile from the woman in front of them.
"Actually we obtained before and after sex readings
from them, and there was a measurable improvement."

Faith and Willow's bedroom, Summers House that night.

They had finished watching the videodisk
of that memorable Monday night in the playroom. Faith
had been proud to be part of Buffy's 'coming out', and
as long as the video stayed strictly among them it was
not a problem. What had been more of a cause for
thinking had been Xanders news about the slayers
interesting hormone problem, and its cure. Apparently
Buffy had been keeping the United States sex toy
industry profitable almost by herself for the last few
years, but it was still no substitute for a good man
and a few very good women.

"Just think of me as part of your health
and fitness program." Willow smiled at her
girlfriend, and snuggled up closer to her. She was
nearing the end of her pregnancy, and only the two of
them could really fit into the bed, where three had
been routine before. The sound of massed shotguns at
maximum rate of fire sounded in the distance, followed
by the faint sound of Red Team singing their victory
song. It was a normal night in Sunnydale, with the RRT
teams having multiplied beyond the ability of the
slayers to accompany them all. The more experienced
teams were operating alone now, rotating the slayers
through the teams seemed the way to go in future.

"After the baby is born it will all change again, of
course."

"As long as I have you I can handle
anything. I love you Willow."


*************




Faith Wilkins place of employment, Sunday morning.

John Smith, the imaginatively named head
of the Sunnydale branch of Harvey, Norman and Bates
Accounting, looked at the television picture and
sighed. It showed the gutted remains of the Wolfram &
Hart building in Los Angeles, as would any other
channel he turned to. No one had made it out, the
entire building full of people had died there and it
was international news as a major disaster/terrorist
incident. He had no proof, of course, without
speaking to the man, but his assumption was that his
ally in Smallville had decided that an enemy with all
its potential targets in one building was too tempting
to pass up.

All the Senior Partners had been
attending a meeting on the top floor when the exits
had electronically sealed and VX nerve gas had
flooded the building through the air conditioning
system. No one with a will to live wanted to look
less than eager to the Senior Partners, so the whole
Wolfram and Hart staff had been in their offices at
the time. A fire of as yet unexplained intensity had
then broken out, ignored by the building fire fighting
system. The computer back up information, stored
elsewhere, was destroyed the same way at the same
time. One of the major threats to human civilization,
and therefore the Karnak race's standard of living,
could be downgraded to zero threat potential for the
moment.

"Mr Smith, do you want me to go after
whoever did this?" Faith Wilkins asked, not having
had any explanation of her bosses suspicions or why
she had been called in at this early hour of a Sunday.
She could only conclude, incorrectly, that her slayer
services were needed. "Have the Elders decided that
even those guys didn't deserve this?"

"Actually it is felt that they got off
lightly. Every one of them volunteered to serve the
cause of the First Evil, and is therefore as
legitimate a target as any vampire." Choosing the
right person to send on this mission had been fairly
easy, through a process of elimination. First it had
to be someone who already believed what he had just
said to Faith, and therefore it could not be one of
the 'we can't kill humans' Scoobies. That really only
left Xander Harris and the dark slayer. "I want you
to go to Smallville, Kansas, and learn if a supporter
of the cause who is based there did this. You will
understand this is too delicate a matter to entrust to
possibly bugged electronic communications."

"Who were these guys, and why me?"

"They were the First Evils personal law
firm, and you are needed because the alternative is Mr
Harris, who would be a suspect in this himself if he
had the available resources. Also as a representative
of Mr Luthors' accountants you have an obvious cover
story that a small time California building contractor
does not." Faith could not really argue with the
logic of this, after her sex toys response when Scully
had mentioned her contention that, faced with the
threat of awakening Acathla, her brother would have
nuked Sunnydale. The rest of the Scoobs had been
horrified, Xander had said, quietly, 'well what else
would you expect him to do?' "You will be flying to
Metropolis at noon, and a rental car will be waiting
for you for the drive to Smallville. You are expected,
and will stay in Mr Luthor's Castle for however long
is needed."

"Castle?"

"Yes, his father had it shipped in stone
by stone from Scotland, apparently. You did bring an
overnight case, as asked, didn't you? Mr Luthor will
supply any needs you have for a longer stay, any needs
at all." And with that the discussion went into the
details of what to ask and what to do.

Casa Summers, Tuesday morning, Willow and Faith's room

Willow Rosenburg woke up without her
girlfriend again. It was the third morning in a row
this had happened, if you included Sunday, which she
did. Phone calls and email did not make up for her
beloved's absence, but she did her best not to be a
nagging wife. WIFE? Where did that come from? When
had she started thinking of her former enemy as her
one and only? It was obvious when she thought about
it.

It was Tara's visitation to the gang,
of course, that had been the turning point. She had
made it clear that she WANTED Willow to find a new
love, that it would all work out when they arrived in
heaven, 'that is why it's called heaven, because
everything works out', was how her late lover had
phrased it. Buffy, who had also had a visitation, had
started talking about her time in paradise, trying to
explain what was only understandable to someone who
had actually been there.

Sometimes she tried to think what it
would eventually be like with her, Tara and Faith
together in heaven, and that inevitably led to
explosive sex with whoever of the gang was handy. At
first she had been nervous about explaining this
fantasy to Faith, for fear the slayer would feel
threatened, feel she was competing with a ghost.
Faith had responded with an elaborately detailed
version of the same dream, resulting in a threesome,
with Anya doing a surprisingly good impersonation of
Tara. The red heads dead girlfriend had visited the
demon too, and coached her on it when the fantasies of
the other two women had started running in the same
direction.

"But now I miss my Faith." She mumbled,
feeling Xander's arm curled over her and cupping her
right breast. It was good to have her oldest friend
here to comfort her and attend the Lamaze classes.
But it was different with the accountant so far away,
attending to 'delicate negotiations with an important
client', and apparently wearing out said client with
her sexual demands. Faith's exaggerated slayer sexual
needs had not gone away, and the tales of her exploits
in the small town would probably be being retold there
for generations. Willow felt good about that, that
the woman she loved was having as good a time as she
could while still missing her.

The alarm went off, it was 6.30 and
Xander had to go to work today. Sleepily he reached
for the alarm, fumbling around until finally he turned
it off. Then he snuggled up closer to his pregnant
friend, ready to go back to sleep. The alarm would go
off again in five minutes, and then every five minutes
until 7.30, his actual wake up time. He preferred it
this way, as a child he had had a series of alarm
clocks set to different times which produced the same
effect.

Lex Luthor's bedroom, also Tuesday morning.

"So, how did you meet Clark?"

Both Faith and the bald man liked to talk
after sex, it was one of many things they had in
common. Faith included a strong possibility of
turning to the dark side in that, and would warn her
boss in no uncertain terms about it. Lex had grown up
with his father’s attempts to shape his character, and
the elder Luthor reminded her strongly of the prison
gang bosses she had met, but without the prison
survival imperative driving them. Cutthroat
competition was only a phrase in his world, and she
had only contempt for people who thought they were
tough because they could and did ruin thousands of
lives with a phone call to close a plant. Lex had
exactly one friend in the world, who was also his only
source of conventional moral guidance, the
aforementioned Clark Kent.

"He saved my life when I ran my Porsche
off a bridge." Faith had heard the story already,
from a proud Jonathan Kent, during a visit to see the
Kent's newest adopted child, Jeff Kent, aka William
Scully. Lex had made up some story about changing his
produce order, and wanting to see Jeff, which second
part was perfectly true. The billionaire was curious
why she kept after details about Clark. "Why do you
ask?

"What species is he?"

"WHAT?"

She was suddenly gripped by a
fully alert and clearly alarmed Lex Luthor, who was
looking her in the eyes with a terrible focus.

"Well he's clearly not human, he just
looks like one. As a slayer I like to know these
things, I mean, he's obviously a good guy demon but I
have never got this exact vibe before and I'm
curious." The dark slayer understood she had made her
first really major mistake of the mission, simply
through relaxing too much. The man in bed with her
was allied to the Karnak Demons against various
threats, and knew about vampires and demons and
werewolves of my, vampires and demons and werewolves,
so she had subconsciously felt free to relax and talk
openly. "If it sounded like a threat or something
sorry, it’s just a professional reflex to keep up with
this stuff."

"Clark isn't human. That's his secret,
he's not human" Lex was stunned, and agitated,
getting out of bed and walking to the bar fridge. He
took out a bottle of Bollinger Champaign and some
strawberries, then poured them both a drink, and sat
the fruit on the table next to the slayer. Faith was
really struck by it as a display of wealth, that when
feeling the need for a stiff drink this man reached
for the best French bubbly and strawberries, not the
cheap scotch of anyone else she had known. "Why
didn't he tell me, I'm his friend, why didn't he tell
me?"

"Humans tend to react badly to finding
out someone is a demon, even the Scooby gang back in
Sunnydale, who know a few good demons, have a We
Cannot Kill Humans policy. They kill demons like they
kill bacteria, no emotion at all, no loss of sleep,
but even the most evil of humans is supposed to be
immune. The kid's probably terrified of anyone
finding out, of losing his perfect family." And the
Kent’s were so perfect, so wholesome middle America it
was hard to believe. Then, of course, there were
Clarks school friends, people like Chloe Sullivan and
Lana Lang, girls who's darkest secret seemed to be
thinking he was cute without having the nerve to tell
him. "Pa Kent reminds me a little of the Mayor of
Sunnydale, and I nearly sold my soul for his
friendship when I was Clarks age. For you and the
Kent’s and his school pals, I would have, and thought I
got a bargain."

Lex slugged down a second glass and poured
a third, then helped himself to another strawberry.
Clearly he was thinking about it all and if this was
his version of breaking down and hitting the bottle,
which it clearly was, then he seriously needed a life.
Faith had told him enough of her past that the
explanation did not come as a shock, and he had told
her of the whole 'club zero' nightmare. They both had
dark pasts they were embarrassed about, that they
wanted to keep present friends from knowing or
thinking about.

He was the only person she had ever
spoken to about the pure joy and exhilaration she had
felt when killing people for the Mayor. It had
actually amounted to a few dozen people, she had not
bothered to even remember exactly. Each time was the
purest pleasure, the most amazing high, it made the
joy of vampire slaying feel like digging weeds by
comparison. Faith knew all about people who were as
bad as the worst vampire, because she had been one.
Both she and Lex understood that was why she was here,
and that Lex needed help to keep from going the same
way. Currently all he had was the friendship of a
seventeen year old of unknown species, and it wasn't
enough.

"Lex, before you get completely tanked,
we need to agree on some things. One, you did do the
Wolfram and Hart thing, right?"

"Abso fragging lutely damnit!" Said the
bald man with the Babylon 5 obsession.

"Two, we take things slowly on the
checking out what Clark is situation, because we might
scare him off and the world needs more people who's
hobby seems to be saving other people's lives."

"Roger dodger."

"Three, you need to keep the mass murder
thing under control 'cause, and I speak from
experience, it's a terrible habit to have to break"

"Only if you agree to be my liaison with
the Elders." The second bottle was nearly empty, It
was five in the morning and Faith had only had two
glasses. Lex now had a handful of strawberries in one
hand and his full glass in the other, and still looked
James Bond cool.

"Only if I can bring Willow and the baby
next time, and you provide the baby sitter."

"Zathras is used to being beast of other
peoples burdens. Is sad life, probably sad death, but
still, there is symmetry."

"I'll take that as a yes. Four, when you
start quoting Zathras you either need to stop watching
your Babylon 5 dvd's or make friends with Xander,
because he is the only other person I know who does
that."

"We can fly the whole group out in my
private jet, it's a 767." Then his features
brightened. "I can have a B5 marathon with Xander, I
have never done that with anyone else there!"

The former psycho slut slayer felt
resigned to a long slow campaign to save Lex's soul.
That much was certain. Maybe they could bring Mulder
and Scully out too, as long as they promised not to
break down when they saw William/Jeff and terrify the
Kent’s. She would be sleeping with her precious
Willow tonight, and that made any amount of random
Zathras quoting acceptable.


*****************
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