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CPA

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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
norgcoFR15854,9355811,02613 Jul 0413 Jul 04Yes

Sex, inexperince, werewolves, and a countdown

Fic: CPA3
Author: norgco
Type: Buffy/x-files/smallville crossover
Rating: 21 to be safe, Scully Kink, its supposed
To be funny people. Scully/Mulder/feathers/whips/geese/
mentioned
Summary: Scully explains how she and Mulder
Finally became a couple
Disclaimer: I own only the Karnak demons
Feedback: Please
The Magic Box upstairs conference room, 5.30pm
Friday,

Mulder, Scully, Xander and Willow were sitting around
just drinking coffee and eating apple and cinnamon
rolls. The investigation they had been asked to
undertake had provided a lot of fascinating
information that, unfortunately, was not necessarily
relevant to the case. They had learned why Xander was
different, but not why people fixated on his apparent
normality under strange circumstances and thought
reasonable behaviour was abnormal. Since those
fixations were the point of the investigation they had
written up a preliminary report to Angel over the last
few days and sent it off by courier an hour before.
Now they were decompressing a little before going back
into things if asked.

"So, you guys were working together for nine years,
when did you become an item?" Willow asked.

"In what sense?" Mulder responded.

"In the sense of when did you realise you were in
love?" Xander clarified.

"You tell her Scully, you tell it so well." Mulder
said, smiling at Scully, who looked extremely nervous
at the idea. Actually she had a strange mixture of
emotions running over her face. It was a story she
found a little embarrassing, as it related to a time
when she was convinced she was in denial, about many
things. It had been a turning point in both her and
Mulders lives, and perhaps these people, who had had
so many revelations in their lives recently, could
learn from it, about the dangers of not accepting who
you are and what you want.

"Ok, the story begins after Mulder had been turned
into a human/alien hybrid and then turned back again.
A few months later but anyway things had been going
well, and then gone very, very badly."

Emergency ward, Washington Hope Hospital, 2.15 am
Sunday

Dana Scully stood in the hospital waiting room, and,
well, waited. Mulder was still being examined, and
while she was a qualified doctor, she was in no
emotional state to be part of it. Everyone who
examined him immediately assumed he had been captured
and tortured, and told her how lucky he was to have a
partner like her to not only rescue him but provide
professional care until the ambulance arrived.

"Agent Scully, thank god you found him in time, from
what the doctors say any more of the treatment he
received might have killed him." It was Assistant
Director Skinner, obviously rushed out of bed at this
ungodly hour to see to his agents. He was being as
consoling as he could, talking about the full
investigation of this incident he would launch, and
how this time 'they' had gone too far. He believed the
lie.

Or perhaps, not a total lie. Mulder really had been
whipped, beaten and subjected to as many instruments
of pain as an inventive mind could imagine. The lie
was in the assumption of who did it. It was not
Krycek, or the cigarette smoking man, or an
alien/consortium experiment team that had tortured her
partner for hours, torn him up so badly. She had done
it, because she thought it might be fun and exciting.

Many people thought Mulder and Scully were in love,
and had been for years. After all, how many people
would go to central Antarctica, by using god knows how
many favours, bribes, threats, and lies, to follow up
a claim his partner, Scully, was there? Mulder had,
and then Scully had chased off to Africa after a ghost
of a lead when he was in a mental hospital, in hopes
of curing him. They had gone so far above and beyond
the call of duty for each other so often it had to be
love, right?

Actually, no, it didn't have to be. It was both more
than that and less, Special Agent Dana Katherine
Scully thought, as she drank her coffee, cold so that
at least the terrible flavour was reduced. Mulder had
come closest to describing it, they were not complete
human beings alone, they were two halves of a soul,
each incomplete without the other. They had been sex
partners from almost the first day, sharing and acting
out their most secret fantasies freely, well before
they had even really been friends. They were far, far,
far too weird a pair to ever be just secret lovers.

"We have to try to maintain a professional
relationship Scully." Mulder had said, after sex on an
early case. She had come to his room to talk about the
case, and, as usual, they had had sex. Their best work
was done after sex, they always discussed the present
case so much better under those circumstance. "I think
that is how the rule is phrased, 'maintain a
professional relationship'."

"Ok Mulder, so I charge you for it, how does $20 a
time sound?" Scully still remembered saying. And she
meant it, she would be able to look Skinner in the eye
and say 'we have a totally professional relationship'
if she was prostituting herself to him. It would even
be legally accurate, just not true.

She could enjoy the sex that way, god alone knows she
could enjoy someone wanting her for her body for a
change. She was a woman who had been admired for her
brain rather than lusted after for her body all her
life. Always older men with power and authority, who
had respected her and asked her advice as an advisor
as much as hungered for her body. Men closer to her
age were always intimidated by her brains, until
Mulder. She was hungry for cock, just some mindless
fucking from a young guy with stamina and an
imagination.

Scully had gotten what she wanted, a good friend, a
professional relationship and sex in any way and at
any time she wanted. Katherine, her whore persona, was
available to Mulder any time they were not on public
show. Their lives revolved around their duty, woke
each other up in the middle of the night with any idea
or request that was work related, so off duty time was
basically only when they were sleeping or at least in
bed.

Katherine could take pleasure as her duty, her own and
Mulders. He was her sole 'client', she was 'on call'
at all times Scully was not. She did not want
explanations or justifications beyond Mulder needing a
woman. He could and did just walk in while she was
working on a report, push her onto the motel bed and
start pleasuring himself with her body. The no-talk,
no explanations fucking allowed Scully to shut down
her mind, the only way she had. There are many
different methods of meditation, which suit different
personalities. Being Katherine was Scully's, that was
all.

Has Mulder been doing this all these years because he
wanted to help me meditate? Did he allow me to whip
him into the emergency ward because he thought it
would allow me to relax? The short answer was, of
course, yes. Mulder had agreed to Katherine's
experiment with Sado-masochism, to being on the
receiving end, and had not breathed the 'safety word'
right up to whatever point he passed out from pain.
How long was he unconscious before I realised, how far
gone was I that I did not even notice?

"Scully, are you alright?" She turned to see The Lone
Gunmen watching her anxiously. She really didn't need
the stress right now, didn't need to invent a story
about what she had been doing that weekend and how she
had 'found' Mulder after deciding to investigate his
'disappearance.' They had gone to an isolated hut for
the privacy, she had not wanted nosy neighbours
calling the police about any 'strange sounds' they
might hear. If they had maybe Mulder would not be in
surgery right now, and Scully's career would probably
be over.

“Mulder will get better Scully, he can take a
lot.”

Assistant Director Skinner's Office, 7.35am Monday
morning

Eventually she had gone to see Skinner, like going to
visit your executioner to discus what axe he should
cut your head off with. It was only early morning, she
was his first appointment. He had been planning out
who to call to get the manhunt for Mulder's
'torturer', and was really worked up about it. She
half expected him to shoot or arrest her on the spot,
but she said it anyway.

"Mulder wasn't kidnapped and tortured by Krycek, or
anyone else. I wanted to try S & M and he agreed to
let me be the dominant." Skinner was staring at her
with his eyes bugging out, the blood running out of
his face rapidly. Scully had been fortifying herself
with the knowledge that as a doctor she could get
other work. That assumed she was not going to be
killed right here in the Assistant Directors office,
which seemed increasingly likely. "I guess I got
carried away."

"You GUESS you got carried away." She had never seen
Skinner's face that shade of red before, or the veins
in his neck bulge out like this. And then there was
the tone of his voice... "Your ACTIONS put him in
intensive care, do you know how many MAJOR PLAYERS are
currently involved in this? Everyone from The
Consortium to UFO conspiracy organizations to several
foreign intelligence services, that's who."

"Foreign intelligence organizations?" Agent Scully
could barely hear her own voice.

"Mulder actually had a lot of success convincing
honest, patriotic individuals in government that we are
covering up experiments with alien technology and
genetics." The Assistant Director ran his hand over
his head. He was calming down, explaining the
situation was focusing him away from his anger. "It's
just unfortunate that those individuals were all in
foreign countries that could never be included in a
cold war era conspiracy. Russia, South Africa, North
Korea, Poland..."

"Poland, Poland has spies following the X-Files?"

"The licensing rights to any of the alien technologies
could underight rebuilding their whole economy. And
apparently they always had a world class bunch of
spooks, small country surrounded by hostile major
powers and all that."

The red headed agent was feeling confused about a lot
of things, including whether to be angry that her
sexual appetites were going to be in international
intelligence briefings, or that the North Korean
government seemed to respect her and Mulders
investigative powers more than the United States
Senate. Or that the only political elites that did not
sell out the human race were the ones who never got
the opportunity.

"So, for how long were you lying to me about you and
Mulder's relationship?"

"I never lied to you sir, I said we have a totally
professional relationship, which, since I never had
sex with Mulder without charging him money, was
literally true."

"You think that prostituting yourself to your partner
is within bureau guidelines?" The AD was going through
a series of changes of expression and emotion,
anger, humour, outrage, acceptance, and more ran over
his face as he slumped into his seat. "Special Agent
Dana Katherine Scully, in your professional medical
opinion, ARE YOU NUTS?!?"

"Agent Mulder never saw any difficulty with our
arrangement either sir, and his..."

"His sanity was always doubtful, and he would do
anything for you, hell he just let you torture him and
you know how he can't stand pain." The AD interrupted
her, back to plain old-fashioned rage now. Actually
she hadn't realised he had a problem with pain, he had
endured so much ... endured, yes of course, poor, dear,
guilt stricken Mulder would endure anything for her,
she certainly would for him after all.

"I will have to go over this with legal advisors, but
you are on indefinite medical leave starting now."

"Medical leave, sir?"

"You're crazy as a bedbug Scully. Incontestably
bugfuck, in my non professional opinion."

An FBI approved psychiatrists office, later that week

"So tell me in your own words, Agent Scully, what you
think of your relationship with Fox Mulder."

"Well I think the ass fucking is the best part,
particularly when there is no warning. We always have
two rooms, FBI accounting and all that, and I love it
when he just walks in and helps himself." Scully
warmed to the subject immediately, not noticing the
stunned look on the shrinks face. "It's just so good
to get to my room and suddenly feel a man behind me
push me down and force his cock into my tight ass, no
'Hello Scully' or any of that, just a major assreaming
that hurts like fire at the time and is painful for
days after, Mulder has a really big dick and sometimes
I bleed for a long time after, it just hurts so good,
though a few times he says it wasn't him, so probably
it was just some guy who ..."

"I meant your overall relationship, work, that sort of
thing."

"Have you read our medical files?" The agent was
concerned that trying to explain the X-Files would
have her committed in a straight jacket. How to
explain their relationship without talking about alien
abduction, fluke men, shape shifting bounty hunters,
and the cigarette smoking man. "Because if you have
not, it will be impossible to understand us if you
have not."

Scully had, of course, visited her partner at every
allowed visiting time. He was coming along well, in
his specialist's opinion. There would be permanent
scaring on his back, of course, but it would simply be
a more spectacular example of what was already there.
There should be no loss of motor functions or feeling
in any part of his body. Of course, he was still too
doped up to talk to her. His improvement was all that
allowed her to sleep, or avoid Skinner bringing
charges against her. He had not specified what she
could actually be charged with, just 'I WILL THINK OF
SOMETHING'.

"Yes Agent Scully, I have read your medical files, and
Assistant Director Skinner has given me a summary of
your work on the X-Files." The psychiatrist was a
large woman with a quiet voice, and Scully wondered if
it was deliberately done that was so as not to risk
exciting the dangerous loon in the office with her.
She fought the urge to laugh, was she that far into
Mulder's paranoia or was her imagination totally out
of control? "Given all that has happened to you over
the years it is not surprising that you have developed
a, shall we call it an unusual stress release
mechanism?"

Unusual stress release mechanism, well what was
unusual about it? Scully thought hard about it, really
why was she unusual? Ok, so she was a federal agent
who investigates alien abductions, vampires, liver
eating immortal mutants... Ok so if you throw in
artificially induced cancer, being abducted myself -
possibly by aliens & a vast international conspiracy -
my sisters murder and some of the other things maybe
she was under unusual stress.

But really, what was so unusual about sex as stress
relief? And keeping Katherine and Scully totally
separate just made so much sense really, they were
different parts of her life, after all. She tried to
explain this to her psychiatrist, who nodded and took
notes, expression carefully neutral. Occasionally she
asked a question, "And how did Agent Mulder respond to
this, rather unusual, request?" was about the extent or
it. What was so unusual, the chicken feathers had come
off eventually, after all, and so what if nipple
clamps aren't usually attached to ...

"I said, Agent Scully, that I think we should continue
this next time, I have quite enough for today." Still
the neutral tone and expression, looking somewhat
forced with the pale complexion, she hadn't been this
pale at the start of the session, had she. Actually,
Dr Taylor seemed to be rather more pale at the finish
than at the end of every session with Scully, which
was rather odd.

Assistant Director Skinner's office

"I assure you, this was not my doing, and a full
investigation is being conducted into the matter."
C.G.B Spender, a.k.a Cancerman, aka the Cigarette
smoking man, was smoking, this time with rage as well
as Morley's. That he was here, with Krycek, trying to
assure Scully and Skinner of their good intentions,
was a measure of the infamy of the whole 'Mulder
torture Affair'. That and the number of bodies turning
up in the Potomac showing evidence of 'aggressive
interrogation'. "Now I need to know why the FBI is
putting so little effort into discovering who
kidnapped and tortured one of its Agents. Or do you
already know the identity of the sadistic bastard who
so brutally..."

Spender stopped talking as he noticed the looks on the
two FBI members faces, that and the way Scully had her
hand part way up, like a naughty child facing an angry
school principal. She had the nervous apprehension of
the guilty child and Skinner the defensive parent
look.

"Yes, agent Scully, do you have something to tell me?"
Cancerman spoke in a tone amazingly reminiscent, to
Scully, of her principal, Sister Maria, dealing with a
schoolyard incident. She controlled the impulse to
suggest to him that, perhaps, he had gone into the
wrong line of work.

"Agent Mulder was not kidnapped and tortured by
anyone."

"Then perhaps you can explain why he is in hospital
looking like a victim of the Gestapo?"

"We were playing and I guess I got carried away?"
Scully said with a sheepish expression on her face.
The sheer embarrassment of the situation came through
in her downcast look and tone. "Looking back on it my
relationship with Agent Mulder may not be as healthy
and balanced as I have always felt."

"Well Christ Scully, if that's how you treat a lover
I'm damn glad you never got to work on me!" Krycek
commented, fear and amazement in his tone. After all,
he was someone she really had a hatred of, and a real
reason to try to break that way. "You'll never take me
alive, that's for sure."

The same office, later

"Agent Scully, that was the most embarrassing incident
of my adult life." AD Skinner was sitting back in his
chair, a glass mug of Sangria in his hand. It was from
the same jug that she was drinking from. Ingredients
for Sangria, chilled red wine, cinnamon, fruit, and
ice, had been taken from a small office refrigerator
where they were kept on hand for after visits from
Spender. "If you ever put me through anything like
that again I will personally dump your bullet riddled
body into the Potomac."

"I will be sure to keep that in mind sir." Scully,
who, like Skinner, had downed her first mug in one
gulp, responded. Sangria tastes like a fruit drink,
but it is still red wine after all, and drinking wine
by the beer jug has predictable effects. With their
second drinks mostly gone, the jug was emptying
rapidly, and neither would be of much use for anything
else today. "Perhaps I should have detailed more of My
and Mulder's relationship, it would clarify what
happened, or at least why."

"I think you have supplied enough blackmail material
for one day, don't you?" He was looking through his
mug at her, seeing her change shape and colour through
the facets of the glass and the drink. "Although after
the explanation of the geese and where they pecked
their food from I don't see how many details could be
left."

"I got the idea from Procopius, you know The Secret
History, it has details of what the Byzantine Empress
Theodora did for a living when she met the future
emperor Justinian II." She was proud of her acquired
historical knowledge, as a physics and Medicine
student she was constantly kidded by the Arts students
about having a narrow education. "I wanted to see if
really put on a show like that, and what it would feel
like. I am a scientist after all, it was a very
important experiment."

"You will be the death of me yet Scully."

Mulders Hospital room, that evening

"Hi Scully, glad to see you're alright." Mulder seemed
genuinely concerned, and a lot better than during her
last visit. Of course, he was conscious now, always a
big plus in the health stakes. The red head had been
convinced he would hate, or at least fear her, after
all she had not been harmed in any way.

"I'm fine Mulder." Her standard response, though she
was far from ok. Putting her closest friend and lover
in this place by losing control worried her deeply.
They were supposed to be having fun, he was not
supposed to be enduring torture for her benefit alone.
"Mulder, why did you fail to use the safety word, did
you forget it?"

"You were having fun, I didn't have the heart to stop
you. I won't be volunteering for this again though."
He sounded apologetic but firm, he had never refused
Katherine anything but there are always limits. Being
Katherine had been a part of there relationship from
the beginning, and often fun for him too. But he had
been doing it for her benefit, and what had happened
in the cabin was in no-one's best interest. "Scully,
you have a serious anger management problem, and a
different form of therapy than 'Katherine and client'
is obviously necessary."

Some people forgot that Mulder was a psychologist,
and, arguably, the best that had ever worked for the
Violent Crimes Unit. The man looking up at Dana Scully
from the hospital bed was in full psych analysis mode,
very focused. Having his attention was like staring
into an industrial laser or possibly looking at a
starving Leopard that was locked in a cage with you.
It was very easy to remember Fox Mulder the Profiler
under these circumstances.

"Why did you play my games all these years Mulder,
looking back on it some of it has to have been
unpleasant for you? What have I ever done for you that
justified it all?" She had been thinking about it ever
since calling 911. The more she thought about it the
worse her previous behaviour seemed, and the more
remorse she felt. Is Skinner right, am I nuts?

"Your my Scully, that justify's it. And don't think
that sex with you was just a duty, you are absolutely
sensational when you don't have a horsewhip in your
hand." Smiling now, the dark haired man was doing his
best to be disarming, in a 'relax, while the nice men
in the white coats fit the straight jacket' way.
Clearly he believed what he was saying, but by the
same token he was watching her reaction to everything,
modifying his verbal and non verbal responses
appropriately.

"So, how can I possibly apologise for what I did to
you?"

"You know me Scully, what do you think?"

"I've told you before Mulder, a threesome at Area 51
requires a higher security clearance than either of us
will ever have. Besides, how do you know there are
female test pilots flying Air Force UFO's?"

The Lone Gunmen's Office, 11am the next day

"Anyway that's why you have to help kill this story."
The group were staring at her like she was crazy, not
an unreasonable diagnosis really. Frohike was doing a
reasonable job of controlling his drooling. Langly and
Byers seemed more stunned than anything else, that
seemed to be a standard reaction to the tale. "So,
will you help?"

"Your telling us that the greatest government cover-up
story since Roswell is really just you playing S & M
games that got out of hand. Do you expect us to
believe this, what are you covering up yourself
Scully, how did they get to you?" This was the big
problem with dealing with paranoid's, everything was a
conspiracy.

"Well how do you expect me to prove it, bring in all
my bondage and discipline gear and demonstrate on
someone?"

"Well it might prove necessary, strictly in the
interest of investigative journalism of course."
Frohike said, predictable to the end. "And we may have
to ask you to demonstrate that thing with the geese,
where did you get them from anyway?"

"Melvin, Katherine did that for her reasons. I was
always Scully, she was celibate, and I think Mulder is
right, Katherine has to stop not being Scully before
Dana winds up in a straight jacket. Anyway we only did
S&M once, the equipment was borrowed from, hmm, lets
call her a close friend."

"I think we should confirm your story with Mulder
before taking action." Said Byers, clearly trying to
be diplomatic, and not making too bad a job of it for
someone with so little experience. The rather
interesting expression on Scully's face when she
described the equipment loaner's relationship to her
and Mulder stirred more than the investigative
journalist in him, but he controlled himself. "You
have never lied to us before and none of us want to
hurt a trusted friend, we don't have any to spare."

Mulders hospital room, 7pm

The man who had been her only friend and confidant for
many years looked up at the short red head with a
smile closer to his normal self. He lay on his back,
which was the first time she had seen him able to do
that since the session in the cabin. Holding her hand
as she sat next to him, he first thought was that it
was like old times, except she was not in the hospital
bed next to his. Her second thought was concern that
her nostalgic memories were of waking up in hospitals
next to her closest friend after nearly dieing.

"We have to stop meeting like this, people are getting
suspicious." Mulder said in his best movie cliché
adulterer imitation voice. "Or at least paranoid as
hell."

"While we're on the subject, I spoke to the gunmen
this morning, they want to confirm with you before
killing the 'Shock, Horror, Gasp, Mulder tortured and
Government covers it up' story."

Scully felt better at the sight of her partner, at the
feel of his hand and the simple fact that he was near.
'No, I'm not hopelessly in love with him, whatever
gave you that idea' ran through her head as she really
noticed the effect for the first time. She wondered
how long she had been ignoring the signals, how long
she had been in denial.

Mulders' devotion to her, his willingness to endure
anything for her happiness, had come clearly into
focus since 'the cabin', but her reciprocal feelings
were still a surprise. Well, a surprise to her anyway,
she wondered about all the people who had assumed they
were in love all these years, and how they felt when
she always denied it. Did they think she was lying or
naive?

"Mulder, I've been thinking and you're right, I have
to stop separating Katherine from Scully. Special
agent Dana Katherine Scully is one woman not two, and
Scully needs to have a love life." Her partner was
watching her as she spoke, clearly wondering where this
was headed. He had first raised the concept at her
last visit the previous morning, before her promised
visit to the gunmen. Was she going to cut off from him
now, it might even be in her best interest, if a
radical change, but it would wound him deeply. "That
mean Mulder and Scully have to start doing what
Katherine and her client have been doing. Among other
things."

"Gee Scully, let me get out of hospital before putting
me back in the saddle." He said with a grin, and
because that damn saddle would hurt his back, it
usually did even without the injury.

The Magic Box, 7pm

"And that's how we decided to start trying to be a
normal couple, despite the FBI rules."

"What was that thing with the Geese anyway?" Xander
asked,

"Well Xander, it was..."



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



The Hyperion Hotel, late morning.

One of the advantages of being dead is
that it is hard for your health to become any worse.
Having been dead for a few hundred years was starting
to look more and more like an advantage to Angel,
because otherwise he would be a prime heart attack
risk, given the stress he was under. Courtesy of the
patented vampire unbeating heart he did not have high
blood pressure to blow out blood vessels, which, given
the situation he was now in, would have been
inevitable.

"Willow had a son, 8lb 6oz, named Jacob
Thomas Rosenburg, at 3.15am this morning. Mother and
baby are doing well." Cordelia was looking at the
email, she had first to hear the news in a phone call
from Giles, but reading about it made it more real.

She had been sitting staring at the message for hours
now, occasionally reading it out loud, and kept
mumbling variations on a limited number of themes.
The whole post 'Faith, certified psycho slut, returns
as a Certified Public Accountant' experience had
thrown her severely, she had spent the last few months
muttering comments on it all. "Xander is going to be
father to Willows baby."

"Tark."

"No Angel, Cordelia, Cor-De-Li-A."
The brunette said, speaking slowly and pointing at
herself.

"No, Xander has agreed to be Tark, the
male parent, as defined by the Karnak elders." The
difference was important to Angel, given the condition
the Karnak had put on the construction manager. Only
he and Xander of the group knew, since a negative
reaction to the demon Accountants 'screw this up and
you die' announcement was anticipated from the
Slayerettes. "The Karnak apparently made some kind of
deal with him about it, and it's important to him.
Though 'daddy' is ok, I asked."

The youngest Harris had always
willing to die to protect others, willing to do
anything, ANYTHING AT ALL, to protect others actually,
which was one of the worrying things about him. That
the moral balance of the Scooby Gang was being
partially set by Faith - who received a joy from
killing even Angelus would find scary - and Xander -
whose response to the nerve gassing and incineration
of several thousand people in the Wolfram and Hart
building had been to suggest a victory party -
concerned him deeply. It was like the official police
involvement in demon hunting on the hellmouth, the
idea was scary, since the Powers That Be seemed
obsessed with maintaining a balance between good and
evil that it clearly upset, and yet exhilarating,
because the balance was being tipped in favour of
WINNING, and maintaining a balance that killed so many
innocent people depressed him terribly.

"Ok Angel, tell me that Loser Boy
sleeping with Buffy doesn't upset you. Look me in the
eyes and say it, I DARE YOU." The ascended one of the
pair said, her eyes boring into him. The term 'upset'
seemed a little bit of an understatement about how he
had initially reacted to the news, given that
replacing the broken furniture had meant redecorating
the hotels lower floor. "Tell me that finding out
that he is a reject from a genetic re-engineering
project who is fucking all the female Slayerettes
except Dawn, and independently wealthy, and apparently
so good at his work that he would be a
multimillionaire from his own efforts by 25 even
without the Karnak money doesn't burn you up."

"Not as much as it does you,
apparently." The broody one responded. Partly it was
just that Angel did not MIND being angry about it, it
protected his soul from the joy he felt about the
blonde slayer finally being happy and having her life
expectancy improved. With the Slayers now acting as a
small part of an increasingly efficient and well-armed
police anti demon force they might even live to have
their own children. No Slayer had ever lived to do
that, in at least Watcher Council records, though the
older Karnak records suggested it used to be perfectly
normal. "Or is it the fact that you are the only
remaining female heterosexual Scooby left that's
getting to you?"

"Well you have to admit it’s
suspicious. The fashion reject is living the life he
probably fantasized about since puberty, we both know
that watching girls with girls is top of the male
fantasy list." The only guys who had not at least
mentioned it to her were the ones she had not dated
long enough to discuss sex with. Even Angel had
mentioned it, but he had never had the opportunity to
do anything with her because of the... "Angel, I just
realized something."

"That pro wrestling is faked?"

"No silly, that as an ascended being I
can make your soul permanent."

"YOU'VE HAD THIS POWER FOR MONTHS AND
JUST REALIZED IT!" The non-existent blood pressure
problem would have killed a human at this point.

"Hey, the powers don't come with a
manual, no one tells you anything it's really
annoying." And really, how hard could it be to create
an introductory video, 'You and your new powers, how
to get the most out of being a higher being' seemed
like a reasonable title, if a little long. Spielburg
would be able to handle it, no problem at all. "I
have to go upstairs and check with the PTB, and I'll
be back.”

The quarter millennia old vampire
stared at the empty seat where his assistant had sat
and thought about what he was being offered. He had
not had sex since Buffy on 'the day that never
happened' and for a being with the testosterone levels
of a 20 something that was a long time. But having the
soul secure meant so much more than that, it meant
never again have to worry about accidentally becoming
Angelus because he had a good time. Since having his
soul restored it had been a constant background to his
life, colouring everything he thought, felt and did.
Suddenly the former Queen C was back.

"You forgot your clothes."

"I didn't want to waste time." The
former cheerleader responded as she ripped his clothes
off. Literally ripped, they were torn rags flung
across the room as he was thrown to the floor. What
was left of his rational mind hoped no potential
clients walked in while they used the lobby floor this
way. Then he was engulfed by a passionate Cordelia
Chase, also celibate for some time, and thinking
stopped.

The Hyperion Hotel, early evening.

"Damn, now that was an impressive
performance." Charles Gunn announced. The couple who
had occupied pride of place on the lobby floor all
these hours had finally noticed the world around them,
and gone off to shower and dress.

"We've done it for longer plenty of
times, and with more variety." Fred responded. No
handcuffs or even yoghurt and honey mix, how could
anyone stand such bland sex?

"Yeah but ignoring us, two sets of clients
AND three carloads of cops investigating noise
complaints, that is impressive." Picking his way
through the second set of broken furniture to litter
the Hyperion ground floor during his stay here, the
black man started the cleanup with the rags that were
all that was left of his bosses clothing. He reminded
himself not to get the former May Queen angry, tearing
a leather jacket to rags like that took real strength.

"I wonder what the film from the lobby
security cameras show, if they caught all the detail?"
Fred mused, as she started leaning up the broken bits
of furniture. She decided to change over the tapes
herself immediately, there was a bank of them to
capture a full days activity without wiping any of it,
so putting new tapes into the system and keeping the
'action pictures' would be simple enough. She would
arrange to have a talk with Cordelia about it later,
some arrangement could be made, swapping the
equivalent length of film of her and Charles should do
it, after all she knew the camera's in their playroom
captured every detail.

"I don't think the security cameras
were designed with that in mind Fred." The former
gang leader said. He loved her dearly but worried
about her some times.

"Well we can always get them to let
us film them. Hey, that's an idea, we can do swaps
and film each other so I can see your handsome face
coming when I'm not distracted." The scientist of the
pair was excited, finally someone to work the
equipment, at last a chance to play some really
interesting games and not have her robotic film
direction system miss anything or use those over
artistic camera angles. She should not have seen so
many European art movies before programming it, the
thing thought it was Fellini or something. "Faith and
the Slayerettes too, this could be fun."

Willow And Faith's room, a few weeks later.

Faith watched Jacob sleep, awed by the
experience. His tiny little hands, so perfectly
formed, curled up on the blanket. His little face, so
peaceful now, so capable of keeping all of them up and
going when awake, was peaceful and rested. She was a
mother now, or at least a mom, the exact status was
not going to worry her. Willow was asleep, having
handled the two o'clock feedings and most of the
daytime. Xander always fed him first thing in the
morning, changing him if, as usual, he needed it. It
was strange to see someone who blossomed under
responsibility as much as the male slayerette, most
people she had known, her parents and even Buffy, had
resented being stuck with inescapable duties.

And here was the Sunnydale High
graduate voted 'most likely to die in a gutter as a
wino' that thrived on it. His basic lack of self
respect still inhibited him in situations like combat,
where he was surrounded by people with greater skills
and abilities. But in a situation where he had to
take charge, where his duty to act was clear and
organising for someone else's benefit was needed he
was transformed. He needed to be needed, and Jake
needed him.

The dark slayer watched her son
and wife sleep, still getting used to both situations.
Xander had married Willow in a Catholic Church, the
Rabbi having been influenced by her parents into not
allowing a Jewish wedding, while the priest had
blessed their holy water and weapons for seven years
and was honoured to help. The Vatican's opinion of
the whole situation, marrying a man and woman when
the woman had married another woman in a Wicca
ceremony, would probably be very negative, actually
excommunication was the term used, but Father O'Brien
felt that representing God on the Mouth of Hell itself
meant providing whatever guidance and comfort he
could. His theological speculations on the meaning of
it all were heresy, apparently.

Most employers would have a
problem with her tendency to arrive late for work
because she had watched her child sleep, but Harvey,
Norman and Bates is not any accounting firm. The
chroniclers of the Karnak race had weighed in on her
side, arguing that the opportunity to record the
thoughts and feelings of the first slayer with her own
family for thousands of years justified a relaxed
attitude. Little convincing was need by them, given
that the End of Days was clearly coming soon and
having the champions of the side of light argue in
their favour would make all the difference, when the
darkness failed, as prophecy said it would. So Faith
arrived at her office, in her white Volvo station
wagon, sat at her desk with the photo's of her child,
wife and family, and read the note to go to the
manager, Mr Smith's office, as soon as she went in.

Mr Smith's office, 10.30am

"Faith, good morning here is your
ticket and mission file." The boss said without
preamble. He was treating her with Karnak politeness,
not asking her to justify being late and assuming she
was ready to do her duty without unnecessary buttering
up. To assume someone has to be persuaded to do their
sworn duty has led to duels among them. "You are to
go to Kansas and meet the Great and Powerful Oz."

For a second the slayer did not know if
she was being kidded, before she remembered where she
was and who was talking to her. Images of herself
dressed as Judy Garland, standing in a field holding a
small dog and waiting for a tornado to transport her
therefore faded quickly. Suspecting what she would
find, she opened the file to find a photo of Oz, the
werewolf/musician Willow had been in love with when
Faith had first met her.

He was an important figure now, having
done further research into controlling the wolf, and
achieving a teachable control system. Any werewolf
could learn, it did not require anything expensive or
rare, just the development of a certain level of
inner peace. As she sat in the back of the company
car on the way to the airport, the ex-con contemplated
the upcoming encounter. Oz had tried to kill the last
woman he had found Willow involved with, Tara barely
escaping with her life. He had left town not long
after, clearly depressed by the loss of control
involved but not actually having apologised to anyone
for his actions.

"Well wolfboy, it looks like you have
certainly come up in the world." she muttered to
herself. Oz had gathered a huge amount of influence,
having a semi-religious status among werewolves
everywhere. Basically a Dali Lama type figure, he
also seemed to be responsible for the shutting down of
the werewolf pelt trade. The traders had been given
a 'quit or die' warning, exactly once, and then been
forcibly shut down. Very forcibly. Now he was a
potential ally, in contact with Lex Luthor - actually
originally discovered and contacted by Lex - and
waiting for her in Smallville. Specifically waiting
for her, Faith Wilkins Rosenburg, wife of Willow
Rosenburg Wilkins, as his request for a meeting had
described her. She sat back and thought, the nerves
getting to her a little, then she started to sing.
"I'm off to see the wizard, the
wonderful wizard of Oz..."


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



Lex Luthor's Castle, Smallville Kansas, early morning.

Lex Luthor was a man of many talents and
interests. All right, so most of those talents were
developed at the behest of, or in a vain attempt to
win the approval of, his father Lionel, one of the
most truly evil individuals on the planet. The older
Luthor had never had any interest in his son except as
his heir, and since his mothers death Lex had had only
his fathers example to emulate, reject, or despise, at
least until he met Clark Kent, the Dudley Doright of
the orphaned alien set.

The younger Luthor had never
had any interest in having his own family, had not
hung out with anyone who had children or wanted them
except for reasons like his father, i.e., because it
was a necessary part of the image.

So when it turned out that Lex Luthor,
boy billionaire, ruthless businessman, and instigator
of the Wolfram and Hart Massacre, had an uncanny
ability to get crying babies to sleep it was enough of
a shock that Chloe Sullivan started a 'Wall of Weird'
investigation. Martha and Jonathan Kent were stunned
to see Jeff, their newly adopted 1 year old, go from
tantrum to smiling angel in the corporate predators
arms. Clark, on the other hand, felt vindicated. He
had been convinced there was something good in the
purple clad one. Now he had something to use as
evidence.

Faith Wilkins, Certified Public
Accountant and Vampire Slayer, was feeling way out of
her depth over the whole situation. She was back in
Smallville at the request of her boss, to meet and try
to 'bring on board' Oz, her wife's former boyfriend.

The werewolf former boyfriend, who had responded to
scenting Willow on her late girlfriend - though not
dead at the time, being Sunnydale people had felt the
need to clarify that to Faith - by trying to eat her
alive in the halls of Sunnydale university. The
former boyfriend who seemed to be some kind of
werewolf Socrates, or maybe the Pope. Certainly the
quiet little man had a world-wide army of werewolves
that hung on his every utterance.

"Which is what's making me
nervous, is it not?" The dark slayer commented to
herself. She was lying next to Clark after the most
energetic sex of her life. Getting the 'man of
steel', as she labelled him due to his incredible
sexual stamina, to come across with the goods had
actually required some convincing. He was a Kansas
farm boy, after all, excruciatingly naive about sex
in the practical sense, and convinced he would get in
serious trouble over this.

Eventually Oz had partially 'wolfed
out', to demonstrate WHY they knew he was not human,
that most of them were not either, and that Faith, as
a slayer, really did need sex as a part of her health
routine. 'Oh, like how everyone has to eat from the
five basic food groups and exercise regularly', the
small town lad had commented. He said it with such
total honesty, -of COURSE everyone eats only what's
good for them...-that she had mentioned it to Lex.

"Do you know what the really scary
part is Faith?" He of the multiple Italian sports
cars had commented, in bed the previous morning.

"No, what?" the woman wielding the
feather boa and riding crop had responded.

"I don't doubt for a second that
Clark actually means it. He really is principally
concerned with your health, not getting laid or
scarred of Chloe or Lana dumping him." Faith had
listened to every word, while wondering what the maid
would think of the Mango pulp smeared into the sheets.

It had taken work to get this far,
but she was here now. And so was Clark. And Chloe.
And Lana. Not all in the same bed, since even Lex did
not have a bed big enough to sleep four comfortably as
normal furnishings. Chloe had been the key, in the
end, getting her to accept the 'Anyanka solution' had
finally clinched the deal. Clark had been willing to
help, but not in a mood for fun, until the dark slayer
had given her the unpublishable scoop of the
millennia.

Leaving out the little matter of Lex
being responsible for the most famous 'terrorist
attack' since 9/11 she had laid out, with Oz again as
her demonstration model, the vampire/demon/vampire
Slayer/alien invasion conspiracy/Genetically modified
super soldier nightmare. That the Karnak Elders had
offered her a position as the first human to join
their team of chroniclers also helped, they needed an
independent investigation into whatever links there
might be between it all. Faith's explanation that the
red headed school newspaper editor could HAVE Clark,
and everything else she had barely dared fantasize
about, if she was willing to just TAKE CHARGE, had
been accepted out of desperation.

Chloe knew Clark, he wanted to do the
right thing, would not let Faith's health deteriorate
because Lex was going to Nigeria on business. And she
had always wanted to know what it was about sex with
women that got men so hot and bothered. She could
have everything or nothing, Clark Kent, a high paid
job investigating most of the conspiracies in
existence, and Lana Lang as, when and however she
wanted, or sleep alone for years regretting her own
cowardice. She chose.

The Luthor dining room, breakfast that day.

A certain awkwardness might have
crept in after the events of the night before, except
for some important facts.

First, Faith was completely
used to these sort of domestic arrangements, but not
really much older, and her treating it as a
comfortable routine helped.

Second Chloe was playing
her part right, having been coached by Faith and never
having been afraid to speak her mind anyway. That
what Faith had assumed would be the toughest part,
getting Lana Lang into bed with Chloe, had been the
easiest, was the biggest surprise. Whitney, Lana's
former boyfriend, had talked about a threesome, Ms
Lang had suggested Chloe, and 'negotiations' between
the two women were ongoing when Chloe had thought she
had no hope with Clark. With the former football star
in the Marines it had only taken some persuasion from
the slayer to make it happen.

"So, Clark, are you having fun this
weekend?" The Alien had the biggest smile on his face
Faith had seen since Xander's the night Anya had
propositioned her for a similar ménage. It was a
rhetorical question from the coffee shop partner, who
had ridden him to climax twice the previous night.

"If you're having fun raise your hand,
come on everyone a show of hands on who wants to make
this a regular arrangement." Chloe asked, taking
charge of events. Every hand went up but the Slayer,
and all eyes went to her. "You're NOT having fun
Faith, it didn't seem like that last night?"

"It was a double barrel question,
and you should never answer those. Yes I had fun last
night, no, I can't make this a permanent arrangement
because I already have one in Sunnydale." A long
phone call to her wife had not totally killed the
homesickness. She missed the group. "I really miss
them, and having a familiar home environment like this
helps more than I can say."

Of her family, Willow was 'having fun',
working on two different projects either of which
could win someone the Nobel Prize, Buffy was having
her regular 'can I fuck Xander to death?' weekend,
this being the second weekend of the month, and Anya
was attending a study workshop for Finance degree
students. She couldn't go back to Sunnydale until
coming to a conclusion about the werewolf alliance,
which looked like taking another couple of weeks. At
least the werewolf guru had a straightforward love
life. He had female werewolves fighting over him.
Literally. With most animals fighting over potential
mates is what the males do while the female’s sit back
and watch the show. Werewolves are two human for
that, and too animal to not have public violence over
it.

"Still, he seems to be enjoying
himself." She had explained it to Clark, he was
fascinated with non-human intelligence and any
resulting differences. For obvious reasons, if you
thought about it, since he was a non-human
intelligence, and he had no idea what was normal for
his species. How much of Clark Kent was how his
adoptive parents had raised him, how much was
instinct, and how much his individual personality? He
had no idea.

He knew what they were doing here was
not typical or accepted among humans, but it felt
right to him. Did that mean it was normal on whatever
planet he was from, or was he just a horny 17 year
old? Was he 17, he looked older than Faith,
apparently, maybe his people had an extended childhood
and he had actually been 10 or 15 when he found the
Kent’s overturned car, instead of the four years they
had assumed? So many questions he had no answers to.

The slayer was startled out of her
reverie by Lana sitting on her lap, then reaching
around to kiss her deeply on the mouth. Clark was
staring, and then sitting back as Faith realized why
Chloe was not visible, she was under the table giving
the eldest Kent’s son what he she had not the previous
night. She had asked the dark slayer to give a lesson
on 'how to give the perfect blowjob', but been
distracted by her female classmate before
demonstrating if she had learned properly. Faith, who
took teaching this sort of thing very seriously, moved
off the chair so she could watch for technique.

"Are you giving marks out of 100?"
The Lang girl asked.

"Yes."

"And what are you going to do if I
get a fail, put me over your knees and spank me?"
Chloe said, turning from her task for a moment.

"Only if you ask very nicely."

The Kent house, at the same time.

"We need your help." Oz stated. He
was not alone, there was a small group with him, all
very peaceful looking people if you were not aware
they were werewolves. The Kent’s had seen that, and
were nervous, since the baby was here but they were
alone with the lycanthropes otherwise.

"Who are we, exactly." The taller
man responded.

"The population of this entire
reality." The musician was still not used to
explaining himself in this kind of detail, but one can
hardly be a prophet and not communicate. "Normally we
say, 'the world', but really it is the entire plane of
reality that is endangered."

"We grow good apples but they're not
that good." Jonathan responded. Delusions of
grandeur were not in his makeup.

"Its about Lex, isn't it?" Martha
said. It had to be about him or Clark, and they were
already doing everything they could for their son.
Since meeting the billionaire she had been coming to
an understanding of why he kept hanging around.

"The wolf is dominant in him."

"He's a werewolf too, are you saying
Lex is a werewolf?" Jonathan asked. Martha, the
Metropolis University graduate, had described Oz as
'Oracular, at times' after meeting him before. Her
husband just found it confusing.

"No. His father raised him to be
a copy of himself, a predator. With the mother lost,
the human side withered until Clark saved him." For
Oz it was like pulling teeth. He had been wrestling
the wolf for control for too long to really understand
humans entirely, to understand how they were blind to
the different sides of the personality. "You have
noticed he refers to your son as 'my friend', NOT 'a
friend of mine' or even 'one of my few friends'."

"What about Faith, they seem,
friendly enough." Which was the polite way of
phrasing it. It was a small town, purchases of riding
crops, handcuffs and other assorted items by people
with no standard use for it were noticed. Not to
mention cleaning yoghurt/honey/smeared fruit off the
sheets, carpet, walls...

"Friendly, potentially a very good
friend. But a woman with fighting a predatory side
that makes Lionel Luthor look like Mother Teressa."

That stopped the conversation
cold. For the Kent’s there was no evil greater than
Lionel Luthor. The idea that this woman, who wore
clothes more expensive than Jonathan's truck, and
drove a Volvo, was dangerous for some reason other
than possible sexually transmitted diseases was
stunning.

"She keeps crooked books or
something, is that it?" It was the most dangerous
thing they could imagine her doing.

"She was a professional assassin. She
killed anyone her boss wanted, loves making people
die." One of the werewolf assistants explained.

"How did she get a job as an
accountant?" Jonathan was starting to see where this
was headed. With associates like this it was amazing
Lex was not a satanic priest, or a serial killer, or
working for the Internal Revenue Service.

"She was in prison, because she
surrendered herself. Her boss had been the Mayor of
Sunnydale, and he destroyed the evidence of the
murders. She did a few years for assault and studied
accounting while she was there." The assistant added.
"She is succeeding in her struggle with the wolf,
but her ability to help Mr Luthor with his is fatally
compromised by it."

Ok, even someone as cut off from
popular psychological theory as Jonathan Kent could
see where the problem was now. Lex could turn out to
be worse than his father, if he wasn't given the right
guidance. He was too old to be parented by them, but
if he needed friends to show him right from wrong,
they could manage that. They had never fought wolves
before, but now seemed to be a time of new beginnings
in many ways.


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



The Blue Light Bistro, 1.23am, Wednesday.

Rupert Giles was unused to being appreciated. Or at
least to being appreciated in public places for what
he actually regarded as his important work. Therefore
sitting in a Sunnydale 'Cop Bar', having drinks bought
for him by the Rapid Response Teams, was a pleasant
shock. Having them bought for him by Lieutenant
Vanessa Peters, a reasonably tall and certainly
athletic blonde in her late thirties was an extremely
pleasant shock.

It is a truism that 'Intelligence' services tend to
explain where the bad guys were last week, not where
they will be next week. Frustrating for all
concerned, but still true. As the saying goes,
'prediction is always difficult, especially about the
future', but Giles had prophecy to guide him, and had
a track record of getting it right. This was new to
the Sunnydale Police, however, partly because the
Mayor had deliberately sabotaged any attempt to
properly investigate the 'gangs on PCP' issue, and
partly because human criminals do not work according
to prophesy. Therefore when he had gotten them to
stage raids based on books thousands of years old in
dead languages they had expected the usual wild goose
chase. Instead over the last eight months they had
prevented the end of the world twice, and stopped
major massacres and sacrifices so many times it was
becoming a regular feature of life.

In short, they were actually doing the job they had
signed up for, but been prevented from doing by the
deliberately institutionalised incompetence of the
Mayor Wilkins era. Lieutenant Peters was buying
drinks for Giles, partly because she thought he was
cute, and partly because he had just helped Red Team
save seven schoolgirls from being the virgin
sacrifices needed to open the Hellmouth. One of said
girls being her 14 year old daughter Tracy, who she
had afterwards publicly advised to start with Buffy's
Sunnydale Street Survival classes, and privately told
that, given the whole 'virgin sacrifice' phenomena,
losing her virginity would improve her life
expectancy, and mom would avoid asking awkward
questions about who and when. The sight of one of
Tracy's best friends spread-eagled on an alter with a
demon about to rip her heart out with an obsidian
knife kept returning, and the age of consent had
become a death sentence in the cops mind, so it had to
be ignored, for her daughter's sake.

"Jack, my ex husband, big guy, anyway he was real
close to Mayor Wilkins bunch." Giles noticed how the
rest of the patrons were giving the two of them space.
It was boisterous crowd, mainly males who had
deliberately chosen the most dangerous end of a
dangerous profession. They were not choirboys, in
fact they reminded the former librarian of his Ripper
days, but they were letting their commander get drunk
and try to pick him up without too much kidding.
Which he took as an indication that if he allowed
things to follow their natural course he would not be
greeted with hostility for 'taking advantage' of her.
"Asshole just kept covering up things, kept
transferring anyone who asked questions to patrol duty
on the nigh shift, the suicide shift. Me he had
demoted and THEN transferred to night patrol."

"Yes, that is how we met, is it not?" Giles
remembered all too well, it was the night of the big
ambush that had started the Scooby gang’s direct
co-operation with the Police. He had mentioned it to
distract her mind from his switching them both to
non-alcoholic drinks. Even Ripper had had basic rules
about who he slept with, one being to make sure she
was in full possession of her faculties at the time,
as Vanessa clearly was not with five bourbon and
cokes in her system. "You were in one of the back up
cars, were you not?"

"Got the bite marks to prove it too." Vampires had
deliberately allowed the first car ambushed to call
for help, then ambushed three carloads of backup.
Giles first sight of the woman beside him had been of
her sitting slumped against her car with vampire dust
over her, two trickles of blood running down her neck,
her service pistol and two spare magazines empty on
the ground next to her. "Wilkins dusted the vamp and
you helped me into the ambulance, as I vaguely
recall."

Given how much blood she had lost that night, the fact
that the Lieutenant remembered anything at all was
impressive. She had been in shock, which is
technically about loss of blood rather than a response
to surprise, and stunned to have emptied three fifteen
round magazines into something without any effect
except to reveal it was a vampire. Still she had
remembered enough to be a driving force in getting the
RRT's reassigned to 'Monster Hunting'.

He also remembered the gleam in her eye when she had
first used the new weapons and ammunition. The new
shotguns made the standard issue Ithaca pump weapons
look like bb guns, thirty rounds instead of five,
Incendiary and Armour Piercing High Explosive -APHE-
ammunition gutting the Lemor Demon like a trout. She
had stood over its slowly burning corpse shouting
'Yes, Yes, Yes' and then turned to him and smiled.

The collapse of her marriage had started with her
realization of her husband’s responsibility for her
demotion and transfer, but this was the real turning
point. She pushed for an official investigation into
the vampire and demon question, he turned out to have
deliberately protected said night creatures as part of
Mayoral policy. He had moved on to some other corrupt
town and been shot as part of a 'criminal dispute'.

"Rupert Giles, do you want to go home to my place and
fuck my brains out?"

"You have had rather a lot to drink, and I really
don't want to..."

"Exploit poor, innocent little me?" She said, smiling.
"Ripper, yes don't look so surprised, I did a little
research on you, the last three drinks were plain
coke. Dave cuts me off automatically after the first
two, I arranged it, but it looks better with the guys
if I order something stronger. This is still a mans
world, in here anyway."

The point was proven when they got up and left, to
whistles and catcalls from the rest of the crowd. In
a testosterone fuelled environment like this keeping
respect meant not breaking certain rules, unspoken but
clearly understood. She had not done this before, her
divorce being new, and certain double standards still
applied in the eyes of some of her colleagues. Giles,
as the official reason for the party, and a man she
had obviously been developing an interest in for a
while, was acceptable. Anything remotely resembling
his younger charges arrangements would not have been.
The feel of her hand sliding into his back pocket
killed off his academic musing.

The Karnak Chronicles Repository, Virtual Reality
version.

Working for the Karnak had convinced Chloe Sullivan of
two things. First, that the difference between data
and information is not fully appreciated, and second,
that there is no substitute for an inquiring mind.
Here she was, in a computer simulation like something
out of a William Gibson novel, more like early twenty
third century than early twenty first, at least to her
small town experienced eyes. But it was all just data
i.e. random facts, and had not been sifted through so
that it made sense, which is the definition of
Information.

A simple case in point was that the ability of the
Karnak to pass for humans indefinitely, and their
historic employment as mercenaries, meant they had
been present a certain crucial events in history,
recorded what had happened, but then not interpreted
that evidence since. It just sat here. The question
of why Alexander the Great had burned down the Persian
Capital a week after capturing it had been argued by
historians for over two thousand three hundred years.
Reasons of grand policy, some said. To induce fear,
others argued. As revenge for Persian attacks on
Greece, insisted a third.

The Karnak had been there, as supposed Greek
mercenaries, with a commander or more in the command
tent learning all the details. There was no clever,
carefully thought out reason. Alexander and his group
of commanders were all in there early twenties, had
done something amazing, and proceeded to get falling
down drunk. They stayed that way for the week after
taking the city, and were all too plastered to stand
when said a local prostitute said she had always hated
the place and would like to see it burn. Alexander
had ordered it done, and that was that. Neither then
nor in the over two millennia afterward had any of the
Karnak questioned it or commented on it. The many
similar examples of great policy being made out of the
bottom of a wine cup did not cause them to consider
what it said about the fallibility of human decision-making.

"Or am I just being Chloe Sullivan, girl reporter
again." She mused, sipping her coffee. The connection
was in Lex and Lana's coffee shop/bookstore, and a
constant supply of her favourite beverage was part of
her employment contract. She knew that a rumour was
spreading she had developed an addiction to internet
porn, that she was here every day after school because
of that but she did not care about irrelevant trivia.

And it was totally irrelevant to her duties why Big Al
had done any of this, but she had heard of the debate
and wanted to know the truth, it was just her nature.
"No Chloe, this is important. You, who has yet to
have her 17th birthday, were hired because you
investigate where others don't, you connect facts
together to make information where no one else sees a
connection. You are being paid $100.00 an hour after
tax by some very shrewd businessmen, don't assume it's
just because of your pretty face."

Here primary duties were trying to make sense of the
multiple weirdness that most investigators had rarely
even heard of. There was the whole supernatural
world, of course, Vampires, Demons, Werewolves, Bill
Gates, and so on, that the Slayers in Sunnydale knew
about. There was the Alien Invasion conspiracy that
Mulder and Scully had been trying to deal with. Then
the Genetically re-engineered Super Soldiers the
former FBI agents had more recently discovered. There
was the green meteor rocks and the strangeness caused
by them, that she personally had been handling. Throw
in Roswell, Area 51, the Kennedy assassination, and
the popularity of rap music and there was more freaky
stuff out there than you could reasonably count. The
Karnak records covered all of it, and more, in minute
detail.

What the Karnak wanted, desperately enough to pay a
high school girl most people dismissed as a paranoid
nutcase over $2000.00 a week for, was to make sense of
it all in context. How did it all fit together, or
did it all fit together at all? Did the Super Soldier
thing really connect with Alien Invasion conspirators?
Were they being run by the same people or by enemies,
if by the same people were they, the mysterious
Consortium, creating the SS to help with the invasion,
or as an attempt to fight it?

"Fortunately Chloe, you don't have to come up with all
the answers." She heard from behind her, it was Jane
Smith, her immediate supervisor, or at least pay
mistress. The way the Karnak had gotten away for so
long with such totally unimaginative cover names was
probably one more mystery to add to the pile, but she
was stretched too thin as it was. "It is far more the
directions your mind takes that ours never seem to
that make you a worthwhile investment."

"You sound so much like Lex at times." She added,
then thought that maybe Lionel Luthor was a better
example of the mentality. But he was the enemy,
better not mention him. "I am a 'worthwhile
investment', am I."

"There is much talent being wasted in this world, and
we look for it." The Karnak demon in human form
explained, placing her Cappuccino down. The study
booth Chloe used was private, like the ones the real
internet porn addicts used. None of whom seemed to
realize why when Lana took Chloe her coffee it
sometimes took an hour for her to leave again. The
loss of time was always made up for, carefully
recorded as a break, the researcher was to honest to
charge for time she was using for sex. Indeed 'Jane'
had pointed out the possibility, as one advantage of
working here rather than at some office location.
"Our human employees are mainly from people your
society has ignored or warehoused. Prisons, small
towns, all sorts of places."

"Prisons and small towns, can you tell a difference?"
The human of the two said.

"Principally in the rape and murder rates."

"That was a joke."

"In any case, I came here to give you your pay for
this week, and congratulate you. Our researchers are
finding your insights most useful, one of your three
hour shifts creates enough intellectual ferment among
them to increase their productivity many fold." The
Karnak mainly paid her through direct deposit to her
bank account, but Jane always came in person to talk
and hand her overtime to her in cash. She was
contracted for three hours a day Monday to Friday,
any more constituted overtime. "$635.00 this week,
after tax, $1500.00 direct to your account. We think
you should really consider an offshore account with
our bank in Jamaica, your direct deposits over the
next year will be nearly $80,000 after all."

"For as long as it lasts." Chloe was dreading having
the job end. Not so much for the money, but because
she had unfettered access to one of the worlds
greatest sources of information on things most
intelligence agencies were starved for information on.
She was on an eighteen-month contract, presumably they
expected her to be finished by then. "I'll be sorry
when my contract ends."

"You are not under the impression you will not be
renewed, are you?" Jane seemed surprised, clearly the
idea had not occurred to her.

"Why else an eighteen month contract? It ends on my
18th birthday, which may just be a co-incidence, or an
attempt to avoid paying an adult rate or something."

"No, it is not for either of those reasons. The End of
Days will occur on your 18th birthday, so all
contracts will have to be re-negotiated after that
date anyway." Jane said it as calmly as she would
have a weather report. "Armageddon will actually start
at 11.15 am that day, I hope we can have breakfast
before hand if you have no other plans."

"Happy birthday to me." The human said, while
thinking that at least she had cleared up why her
contract ended when it did.


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



Chloe Sullivans VR work booth

It is often not appreciated how alien human norms are
to some other intelligent species. Some times the
species themselves lose track of the fact that their
ideas of proper behaviour are not those of humans,
particularly if the human they are dealing with is a
friend. Jane Smith, Karnak Demon, supervisor of Chloe
Sullivan for the Karnak Chroniclers, was just now
realizing she was guilty of such blindness. It all
revolved around the title, Tar.

"Chloe, please try to understand these reports are
written by my species, not yours." The girl was
looking at a translation of her own file, which she
had access to because it was policy that individuals
check their files regularly to vet for inaccuracy. It
was a report on her activities since meeting Faith
from the accounting branch that was the problem. "We
did not give you a full briefing on cultural
differences for lack of time and because you were ..."

"A SLUT. That's what you called me, its what every
report on me since I started working for you calls
me." Ms Sullivan was ready to go get a chainsaw from
Mathew's Hardware and start re-decorating the room
with minced Karnak demon. "How could you, I work damn
hard for you and, and ..."

"Chloe Sullivan, the nearest equivalent in Karnak to
Slut is Tar, and it is a compliment. The full
translation is 'she who is giver of the gifts of
peace', and the term translated as 'dad' is Tark ,
more fully, 'he who accepts the gifts of peace, and
their giver' and derives directly from it." Jane
could see that the human girl was confused instead of
angry, which was a good sign, given how long it had
taken her to understand the human concepts that were
equivalent. "You have taken responsibility for making
a happy, cohesive mate group out of three people who
had spent some time as romantic rivals. Lana Lang and
yourself were competing for Clark Kent, while refusing
to admit to yourselves your attraction to women. Such
rivalries and denials routinely lead to murder, or
suicide, or both, in our two species."

Jane was not a sociologist, she was a Chronicler, with
a degree in Information Systems. She really wanted to
get on to the important work they were doing, but this
had to be cleared up. Explaining really required an
understanding of how Karnak culture had resulted from
millennia where there only economic activity was war,
and therefore where every generation of males had
'post traumatic stress syndrome.' Building happy, or
at least comfortable and functional, communities out
of such materials was the role of the Tar. After
explaining a little of this, and giving the example of
Xander Harris, a Tark who was instrumental in piecing
together an even more emotionally damaged group in
Sunnydale, the demon was finally able to start the
work she had hoped to cover this day.

"You have an interesting insight into the arrival of
the evil one, I am told." Which was a masterpiece of
understatement, it was a revelation that gave hope for
victory where there had only been prophecy. Not that
the Karnak did not believe in the prophecy of victory
in the battle of Armageddon, but having a logical
explanation of how it could happen was a comfort.

"It has to do with the police involvement in slaying,
which began in Sunnydale last year, the Super
Soldiers, and Xander Harris." Preliminary findings had
been sent to the main library, which had sent Jane for
more information. Chloe was a student newspaper
editor, not an experienced writer of policy analysis
documents, which is what was required. "Demon numbers
had been kept under control since the expulsion of
'the old ones' by the slayer, working alone, armed
mainly with just a sharp stick. The ever expanding
police combat role is reducing the numbers of demons
and vampires on the planet as a whole,"

As a demon herself Jane might have taken this
triumphal attitude to demon killing badly, but she saw
where it was going. The statistical facts had been
there, but its relevance to the End of Days had not
registered. Which was one-reason humans like Ms
Sullivan and, to a lesser extent, Xander Harris were
brought in or allowed in. That monkey curiosity at
work again, sometimes she just had to sit back and
admire it.

"But the movement of demons and vampires to the
hellmouth is unstoppable, it draws us to it, even I
can feel the desire to go and replace those demons
killed there." She was not an EVIL demon, the Karnak
had never killed for fun, simply from economic
necessity. But as demons died under the guns of the
Colour Teams, as they were starting to be called, more
always replaced them. "In fact major fighting has
broken out in many cities and towns used by dark ones
in transit."

"Exactly." The teenager said excitedly. The
realization she had had was the most exciting thing
that had happened to her since being told the devil
would appear just before lunch on her birthday. Which
was exciting in an all too dark way. "The demon army
that the first evil is expecting to have is dying in a
hundred battles in a hundred places, instead of all
having to be all killed at once. There is a technical
term for it, I looked it up in a dictionary of
military terms."

"What is it?"

The Magic Box, upstairs study area

"Defeat in detail." Xander Harris said. His soldier
memories were no longer what he automatically assumed
was responsible for understanding concepts like that.
Knowing that he was a lost result of a genetic
engineering project to make the ideal soldier had
changed a lot of his assumptions about himself.
Willow was feeding Jake, while Faith make faces at the
boy. He would explain himself to them again tonight,
refusing to consider interrupting their family time.
"If you have 10,000 men, and your enemy 100,000, in a
head on fight you will lose."

Giles had not studied military history or concepts as
such, but he understood the general idea. Vanessa
had a police rather than military background but
commanding the RRT's was a very practical education in
organized violence. The rest of the Scoobies had
never really been much for team activities, even
slaying was something they did as a group rather than
an organized teams with 'a place for everyone, and
everyone in his/her place.' So all listened, not all
seeing where it was going. Anya was holding Buffy
around the waist, holding her close while admiring her
boyfriend and, to be honest, listening carefully to
every wore he said.

"But, if instead you divide them and fight them over
a period of time in groups of, say, 5,000, you have
them outnumbered two to one in each battle instead of
being outnumbered yourself by ten to one in one big
clusterfuck." The sound of massed shotguns punctuated
the night, Yellow team was patrolling this part of
town tonight, and they were handling another bunch of
something evil even now. The RRT's commander was
absolutely focused on the briefing, hard for Giles to
recognize as the imaginative lover of his nights or
the concerned mother she also was. A human has many
faces, he reminded himself, and if you see only one
you miss the whole person.

"And because Sunnydale police publicized what was
happening, at least among the SWAT community, the new
weapons and tactics are in use across the country,
around the world. Police departments faced with
demons on the move kill them instead of being eaten by
them."

The Karnak had not anticipated the incredible demand
for re-equipping and retraining that had resulted,
but, had managed to deal with it. Production lines
were running three shifts, but the ammunition which
was the really critical part was under Karnak control,
and they simply licensed production worldwide to meet
worldwide demand.

One demonstration of demon hunting with an RRT made a
convert of most small town sheriffs and foreign police
chiefs, and the prices being asked for the complete
shotguns, special ammunition and re-training package
were very low. With the end of the world coming the
Karnak Consortium felt losing money on the whole was
acceptable. Certainly more acceptable than being
tortured for all eternity like the humans would be,
which was the alternative. Having a notable part to
play in saving the human race from that fate would be
a PR bonanza too, of course. Always good for
business.


Chloe Sullivan's VR work booth

"Mr Harris and the Super Soldiers?" Jane asked.

"A major reason they are dangerous is because they
lack certain personality traits. They are just
inhuman killing machines."

"They have no honour." The demons responded,
unconsciously reminding Chloe of her in VR
conversations with Xander. He said the Karnak in true
form reminded him of Mr Spoke as a Wookie. Chloe
disagreed, they reminded her of Mr Spoke as a Klingon,
at least the honour-obsessed part of them did.
Though, of course, they had the table manners of
Vulcans rather than Klingons, who had the table
manners of some of the bikers her cousin had dated.
Not to mention the same ratty beards, heavy drinking,
and love of violence...Ok, maybe Xander was right.

"Definitely not people who can be trusted with the
sort of power they have. And since this nation, and
maybe more, has had water additives added to make the
entire population readily converted to SS it means we
can get to the SS through the water supply." The
teenage girl added. The look on her supervisor's face
made clear she had lost the demon. Where, it seemed
fairly obvious to the school girl.

"Water additives, no one mentioned water additives,
you mean I have been drinking something intended to
make me into one of them?" The demon had shifted from
human look to true form, simply from agitation. Which
was extreme, since the Karnak had thousands of years
experience in keeping up the mask under trying
circumstances.

"Relax, look, from your own testing the stuff is
harmless to non-humans, and waits passively in humans
until activated." Once more a human sat in the chair
opposite Mr Sullivans little girl. "The point is
Xander was an attempt to make a dutiful, honourable
soldier with a grasp of logistics. Your Sunnydale
office has obtained samples from him and passed them
along to some of the labs creating new versions of the
Super soldiers, where Lex has 'persuaded' the
researchers to add the traits to all new and existing
soldiers."

"Through the water supply. You intend to add
something to the water supply that the Super soldiers
will automatically take up in their DNA, making them
responsible citizens, an army of invincible Xander
Harris wanna be's." Jane said.

"Well, Lex is actually handling the details, but yes,
that is how the system was set up by the genetic labs
in the first place. Everyone is guaranteed to be
reached that way, and only someone who is already an
SS will be affected. In six months the whole Genetic
Super Soldier problem will be reduced to a new human
sub species, unkillable boy scout types."

"Which handles our major problems, doesn't it. The
End of Days and the Super Soldiers." The demon
responded

"Well, there is the small matter of the Alien Invasion
to consider. And, of course, eminem."

"I think the Elders may have their own solution to the
Aliens, anyway."


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

The desk of Xander Harris's personal assistant, 4.35pm

One of the things that Xander Harris enjoyed about his
life, because these days there were many things about
it to enjoy, was being the member of the Harris clan
people envied. It was not that he bragged
particularly, he knew he was a success in his own
terms and felt no need to justify it to anyone. But
the fact was that he had money earned from his own
efforts, the ability to make more if some disaster
resulted in poverty, and, to put the most important
fact last, and a happy home life. For a man with as
miserable an upbringing as the Zeppo, this was the
most important achievement of all.

"Mr Harris, your wife on line 3." As the owner of
his own, rapidly expanding renovation and construction
business the only employed Harris had an assistant,
Sally Ride, to, among other things, screen his calls.
At first she had thought all the women calling for him
personally meant he was cheating on his wife, or just
sleeping with anything female.

Then she met them, and the real weirdness started.
Willow Rosenburg was known to Sally, but not in the
biblical sense. It was a point of pride with her that
she was one of the few people she knew who had turned
down the red head in her self-destructive phase. Not
that she had anything in particular against gay women,
being an out lesbian, but she had a great deal against
helping someone commit slow suicide. So the first of
the women in the boss’s life was a pleasant surprise.
The phone rang again.

"Mr Harris, its your wife's wife on line 4, shall I
link the calls?" With Willow, Faith and Xander all
speaking she went back to the presentation she was
working on. It was part of a re-development proposal
for the Wolfram and Hart building site. Not for the
whole building, White Knight Construction was not that
big yet, but as a sub-contractor. Still, it was a lot
of money, and she was to give the presentation of
their proposal. It was a big opportunity, and she was
determined to get it right.

She answered several calls about matters that she had
the power to deal with herself, it was part of the
'grow our own managers' policy and she was studying
for a finance degree part time. Then there was
another call. "Mr Harris, your girlfriend on line 2."

Back to the presentation, she had to practice and
decide what order to put things in. Some people
recommended summarizing first, and then giving
details, others the reverse. Her previous experience
made her favour the summarize first school, with sub
summaries at the start of each new phase of the
presentation. The phone rang again. "Mr Harris, your
girlfriends girlfriend on line1."

With Buffy now part of the conversation she went back
to her work. An important issue was how to explain the
nature of the 'blessing the ground' ceremony that had
been requested, as part of the bid. Because of the
companies close links with the Karnak, and their
public status as 'good demons' the Los Angeles Mayors
office had requested a Karnak religious ceremony be
included in Xanders bid. Politically correct of them,
but given that the Karnak worship a fertility goddess,
and the highest sacrament is the female orgasm, likely
to be more of a spectacle than was perhaps intended.
The door opened and a teenage girl with black hair
walked in.

"Can I see Xander?" The schoolgirl asked. Sally had
never seen her before.

"Do you have an appointment?" The assistant knew full
well there was no one due in this afternoon.

"No, but tell him Dawn is here and it's important."
She knew who Dawn was, she had simply never met the
girl in person. The TV was on in the background,
tuned to a finance cable channel, for any visitors to
watch. A news bulletin broke in, scenes of troops
fighting demons in Tehran, mainly AK47's and RPG's,
but if you blow the head off completely most things
will die, as the Karnak had advised the Iranian
government when the fighting broke out initially.

Interestingly the demon attacks had improved relations
with the United States greatly. Having publicly
referred to the USA as 'The Great Satan' since 1979 it
was a habit, but facing real minions of the actual
Great Satan put the horrors of the degenerate West
into perspective. There was even talk of removing the
'DEATH TO AMERICA' slogans tiled into the lobby wall
of some expensive tourist hotels in metre high
letters, but the Ayatollah's thought that was going
too far. Still, 'a journey of a thousand miles begins
with a single step', and all that.

"Dawn what is it?" The boss asked, leaning out the
door of his office. How had he noticed she was out
here while talking to four women at the same time? It
wasn't like you could see her from inside, it was an
old fashioned office with actual individual offices
instead of cubicles, the White Knight preferred that
and always suggested it to clients. "Lets go into my
office and talk."

"Actually it concerns Sally more than you." Suddenly
shy now, Xanders - what? What precisely is the term
for someone's girlfriends girlfriend's sister, who is
actually the human embodiment of an interdimensional
key, and created from a slayer who was therefore both
sister and mother, when the girlfriend is also the
mans wife's casual lover and the wife's wife's lover?
- Xanders whatever the term was was looking nervous
but determined, also red in the face. "Sally, I need
to take up your offer of, a, help."

Sally might have been surprised if Mr Harris had not
sounded her out about this a month ago. She had been
kept informed of the family situation and its
complexity, personal assistants often are as part of
keeping the boss's schedule, sending birthday presents
and such things. He might not have gone into too many
details, but she had met the various alternatives,
i.e. the other women in his life, and understood the
problems. For a girl diagnosed to have 'deprived
slayer syndrome' i.e. one with an increasing hormone
imbalance due to a lack of sex, all had big
disadvantages.

Buffy, Dawns 'sister', was protective to a point of
keeping her a virgin, which was slowly killing her the
way it killed several thousand years of Watchers
Council raised slayers before her. Anya was a demon,
whose idea of subtle seduction was to announce in
public 'let go back to my place for sex.' Willow and
Faith had both had far too much experience of the
wrong kind, and would never clash with Buffy to the
needed degree anyway.

That left Dana Scully, who had responded to the
request for 'practical instruction', as opposed to
what happened in school sex ed classes, by explaining
that Dawn was under age in California. Given the
health related nature of the request she was willing
to teach everything she knew to the schoolgirl
anyway, 'but someone closer to your age might work out
better'. After seeing the scars left on Mulder by
'the great S& M weekend' the idea of being taught
'everything Scully knows about sex' was more than a
little intimidating anyway. Actually mind numbing
fear was closer to the mark, the red headed former FBI
agent had done things that Anyanka dismissed as too
kinky, and failed to understand anyone’s problem with
it. The geese...

"Mr Harris, it will take me another hour to finish
this, or I can go now and handle it tomorrow." Which
was the best way Sally had thought of, with a month to
plan for this moment, to get a go/nogo without
subjecting anyone to too much embarrassment if Xander
or Dawn chickened out at the last minute. She looked
at her boss, who had the look of a man sending someone
on a suicide mission, and 'the key', who was
determined, scared, and very obviously horny as hell.
After a moments silence, she picked up the 'tool bag'
Scully had left at the office for exactly this use,
took the other woman's hand, and left for home.

The owner of the business watched them leave, then
turned to the TV mounted in corner of the ceiling, and
cleared his mind. The world news was ending,
finishing with shots of blue and purple demon corpses
lined up for the cameras in Peru. It was some small
town that demons on the way to the hellmouth had
converged on for some mystically inspired reason, not
actually attacking, just moving through. But an army
patrol had also been passing through, so the first
evil's potential army got smaller, again.

"Buffy's going to kill me." He muttered.

Willow and Faith's bedroom, that night.

"Buffy won't really kill him, you know, it's just
talk." Willow commented, quietly to her beloved
cradled in the bed next to her. Xander had been asked
where Dawn was, by the blonde slayer, and had told
them. Which was either very gutsy or very stupid of
him, depending on how you looked at it. The Zeppo
being who he was, he simply refused to feel any guilt
about taking a necessary decision, regardless of how
unpopular. Dawn needed what she needed, they had
several doctors’ confirmation of the hormone imbalance
to prove it, and as far as he was concerned that ended
the matter. "It's so Xander. You know about the
bloodstone vengeance spell, don't you?"

"No, well not anything about toyboy being involved
no." Faith thought back, through the post sex
tranquillity, to what she had heard of the very early
days of the slayerettes. Something about Amy's
mother, who was a very powerful witch, zapping Buffy
as part of a scheme to take over Amy's body and relive
her glory days as a cheerleader. "What did he do?"

"When Giles explained that the spell would kill Buffy
in an hour or so, but that cutting the witches head
off would end the spell..."

"Xanman offered to go get the axe and do it himself."
The dark slayer interrupted. Jake was sleeping in the
cot next to her, tucked in with his bunny rabbit
bedcover. The level of love and comfort she felt here
was hard to explain, she sometimes tried but words
failed her.

"Basically." Willow was years over her crush on the
construction manager, but her fondness for him
remained. She wouldn't have married him in a Catholic
Church, and allowed him to be Jake's dad and Faith's
sex toy, without liking and respecting him. Still,
after the revelations of the past few months, her
oldest friend was undergoing constant re-evaluation by
her. He was not just funny Xander, who always
protected her or at least tried to. He was 'nearly
unkillable genetically enhanced Xander, with added
staff officer skills', a manufactured product. All
she could really think was how glad she was that the
rest of the Super Soldiers from the same assembly line
were being re-made in his mental image. She slept
better at night, knowing it

Anya, Buffy and Xander's bedroom, also that night.

Anya was thankful for the restraints tying her to the
four-poster bed, because otherwise each of Xanders
thrusts might have smacked her head into the wall. As
a demon she would have had no problem with either the
pain or the blows to the head, but the wall was
freshly repaired from the last time her boyfriend had
been angry with the elder Summers, and for some reason
he always got embarrassed when she explained what had
happened. She enjoyed his extra energy at such times,
her lover always got his anger out through the
workout, and Buffy missed out on some sensational sex,
a point the vengeance demon always made to the slayer
the day after.

Buffy had yelled at him and demanded to know Sally's
address so she could go over there and 'rescue' Dawn.
Rational argument got the new dad nothing, the slayer
was determined to protect her sister. That such
protection was counter to medical needs, that Buffy
had slept with Angel while younger than her sister now
was, and Ms Ride was a nice woman only two years older
who would show her how to meet other nice girls, - and
even guys, Sally thought threesomes a marvellous way
to sleep with cute women - for some reason only
enraged her. She was sulking in the other bed now,
refusing to join in. Crazy bitch, Anya thought. Then
thought became impossible, and she just enjoyed the
pounding.

Casa Summers breakfast table, the next morning.

Dawn Summers had been retuned home in time to change
and go to school. She seemed to be floating on air,
with a calm and relaxed smile on her face. She had
not whined or complained about anything, despite Buffy
burning her toast and generally being obnoxious.
Clearly here was an example of a non-deprived slayer.

"So Dawn, I take it you enjoyed yourself." Anya
commented. She felt proud of her restraint, she had
looked at Buffy and said 'Nyah, told you so didn't
we.' Xander was holding Jake, carefully holding his
head up while showing him around the room
absentmindedly. It always seemed to improve the
babies mood, or maybe it was just being held by the
man himself.

"Mmm, oh, yeah, I learned why Buffy was always buying
cucumbers but there was never any in the salad and
that strap on thing..."

"WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION DAWN. I'm glad Sally can
help, but if you want to discuss the details do it
without me or your sister in the room." He just
didn't want to think about Dawn that way, and Buffy
really was pissed at him. If looks could kill he
would have been on his way to the morgue the previous
night. Now the blonde slayer was embarrassed as well
as angry, not a good combination. Faith and Willow
had barely noticed the problem, being wrapped up in
each other.

By the end of the meal Buffy was in a better mood. It
was best to let things go quietly, in situations where
the elder slayer knew she was in the wrong. If
confronted her natural stubbornness just made her refuse
to admit mistakes. Dawn was as blissed out as it was
possible to be without chemical enhancement, proof
Xanders decision had been right. If no one mentioned
it, Buffy would quietly accept that, if confronted she
would deny forever. The morning news showed a lull in
the fighting, with congress debating the whole problem
of the legal status of demons. Sunnydale itself had
been comparatively quiet, with few demons left in the
town and those on the way being actively targeted by
FBI and state police units across the country.

It was fourteen months to Armageddon.


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