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The Xander Harris Affair

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Summary: My First Published Story - The Scooby gang have to steal something from a museum and Xander is the only one who can do it

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Action/Adventure > Xander-Centered
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Romance > Faith/Xander
LucifaelFR15125,249246,68821 Aug 0421 Aug 04Yes
TITLE: The Xander Harris Affair

AUTHOR: Siege (siege1975@yahoo.co.uk)

DISCLAIMER: Not mine didn't do it; well the main characters at least all belong to Joss Wheadon and pals, and long may they.

SUMMARY: The Scooby gang have to steal something from a museum and Xander is the only one who can do it

FEEDBACK: Oh yes please.

CATEGORY: Action Adventure

RELATIONSHIPS:F/X

RATING: PG13

WEBSITE: http://users.quickfox.tk/~siege1975/Fiction/index.html

AUTHORS NOTES: For anyone who has seen the Thomas Crown affair, you may recognise some of the plot. Please not that this is not a crossover just a tongue in cheek reworking of that plot. I have used poetic licence to the max but I hope you enjoy it.

This fic is set in the future, Xander and Anya never got back together and have become friends, Giles came back from England and Faith disappeared.

This story is not beta read.

Chapter 1, The Museum

In the middle of Sunnydales' town next to the town hall is the second largest building in Sunnydale, the museum. It is a fabulous period looking building with 5 floors and three wings.

The Sunnydale museum is a one of the few surprises in Sunnydale, for a small town in America to host one of the larger museums in America is a complete mystery. It could be that the mystical mumbo jumbo that imbibes the very soil of the town somehow makes sure that the town planners always do the wacky, or it could be that the demons coming through the town and burying their mystical bits around the place has made for some very interesting finds.

The museum itself has state of the art security it is guarded 24/7, It had recently been awarded an A1 clearance by the FBI, the security team were a lot more competent than the so called Sunnydale Police Department, however they only dealt with the museum. They knew about the various things that went bump in the night because of the hellmouth. After all you don't want the demons to come back and actually retrieve their things now do you. The security is why the American Heritage commission decided that it was the best place to store "Yan's Medallion", a very old and very valuable piece of art believed to be Native American in origin, it wasn't but these people are not always right you know.

"Malcolm", one of the many security guards, retained by the museum and his small team of specialists, were currently making sure that the medallion was being stored in the most secure and airtight display case in the building. As he overlooked his aides work and made sure that all of the alarms and sensors were activated he was also making sure that he didn't leave anything behind. After all it had been bad enough when they had been locking up a copy of a very large and very rare diamond and he left his coffee cup in the display! Having made sure that all was secure and safe he and his men backed out of the main door and primed the final alarm.

Unknown to them they were being watched; the watcher, AKA Giles, swore slightly to himself and walked out behind the security guards, cloaked as he was by magic they couldn't see him but he was also unable to touch anything. So he needed to stay as close as he could to the security guards so he didn't get locked in. Once outside he swiftly made his way back to the magic box.

The Magic Box

18:00 January 23rd 2006

Xander Harris, was casually flipping through the pages of an art magazine, not really looking at it instead he was allowing his mind to wander without having people comment on his thousand-yard stare. He got that a lot in the old days when he was still "The Zeppo", but now he was a self made man. Since the breakup of his and Anya's relationship he decided that he wasn't going to be Fates butt monkey of fun anymore, so he set about learning business and some other useful education that he put to work as quickly as he could and set himself up in business. On the cover he was ran a successful construction company that hit the big time when the property boon hit back about 3 years ago. All was not as it seemed though the money he "saved" to get his licenses and education in the first place did not come from the sweat of his work as a foreman at his uncle's site. No the money came from a much, much more interesting source. Theft, he wasn't a paladin but he knew that the others tended towards it and would frown on it quite a lot, and so he kept it to himself now as he was flicking through the magazine he was thinking about retirement. He knew he didn't really want to but somehow he thought that his luck was about to run out. After all he had been lucky for nearly 4 years, and luck was a fickle lady. Soon he promised himself. Trouble was that he loved it and was good at it too. Not something he could have said 4 years ago when he was still fates whipping boy. The one that got thrown around by any fledgling vamp just out of the grave. But now the Zeppo was dead, long live "Xander Harris". His thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Anya.

"Butt Head", Anya greeted him

"Hello Harpy" he replied, but it was all in fun, he and Ahn actually got on very well now after the whole you dumped me now I'm a vengeance demon again now I'm not thing.

"How was the wonderful world of construction today, did you have The Sex"

"Nope, afraid not just made a few deals ya know the score"

"What really no sex, your slipping"

"Well I am getting older", he smiled at Anya, it had actually been a while since he last had sex, business and his urm hobby were keeping him very busy, but he wasn't going to let Anya know that or he would never hear the end of it.

"Hey you know if you wanna", Anya paused smiling at him a very suggestive manner, "I'm sure my stud wouldn't mind if I..."

"Nope that's cool thanks, wouldn't want to do anything to upset you and him", he smiled at her but he had to admit it was someone strained.

Anya smiled back and went in the Magic boxes office for some paper work, "What time are the others getting here" she called out to him.

"About Half 6, I think"

"Should be here soon then, what did Giles want anyway?"

"No idea, he just called and asked me to come over for a Scooby meeting, most likely a new demon thing for the buffster to kill"

"Yeah that is if she can leave her new boyfriend alone for long enough"

Xander felt a small stab of pain flicker through him upon hearing that, along time ago he had realized that his feeling for the slayer had changed and that he didn't want her the way he had before, the feelings were to him now just of friendship and had been for many years; but she had unwittingly taken something very important from him and every so often he thought back on it and it hurt.

Anya popped her head out of the offices door and looked at him, he had fallen silent, which could mean only one thing. "Buffy Pain" she asked him, even she, it seemed still had the wrong idea. There are some things that you don't talk to your ex about.

"Nah" he drawled back at her, Covering with a yawn "I'm just tired"

She gave him a look but he was saved by the arrival of Dawn and Buffy

"Hey Xand, hey Anya" Buffy said as she flopped down in a chair.

Dawn took a more direct approach and jumped on Xander's lap, ignoring Anya. "Hiya Sexy" she said whilst smiling up at Xander

"Dawn!" Buffy said scandalized

"Hey Dawnie to what do I owe the pleasure of your presence on my lap?" he said whilst smirking at Buffy

"Well ya know, just hadda do it", Dawn smiled back, her heart was doing flip flops in her chest in the presence of the man she had, had a crush on for like forever. She kissed him on the forehead and slid off his lap, winking as she did.

Now it was Xander's turn to feel flustered, after all to him she was still Dawnie, Buff's kid sister but in all honesty she was a twenty one and in college, and even though he hated to admit it a stone cold fox. He coughed and stood up to cover his embarrassment whilst he walked over to get himself a coffee.

"Anyone else want one", they all said no, but Anya walked over to him.

"You know", she said in hushed tones," If you need 'The sex', I recon the little minx there would be more than willing"

Xander promptly dropped his coffee mug on the floor, "Anya!" he said now his turn to be scandalized.

Luckily he was saved by any more embarrassment by the arrival of Giles and Willow. They quickly said their Hellos and Giles quickly called the meeting to order.

"Now; it came to my attention last night that a certain artifact would be arriving in Sunnydale to take up residence in the Sunnydale museum, so I checked it out with a little help from Willow, and it is indeed now in the museum". He paused slightly to collect his thoughts.

"The artifact is known as Yans Medallion and although believed to be Native American is in fact a lot older than that. A tribe of demons known as the Yan~Ban, yes Xander but really I am trying to tell you something", this was to Xander who had collapsed in a fit of laughter at the first mention of the demons clans name. "No if your quite finished, OK well this tribe of demons did in fact rule over the native Americans and in fact all of America for millennia until the medallion was taken away from the tribes leader some 3 thousand years ago thus taking the tribes power source and allowing the native Americans to rise up against the Demon clan. The Yan~Ban have been waiting for a long time for the medallion to resurface so that they could reclaim it and by doing so regain their power from the old days"

"OK, so what's the problem the museum is under lock and guard it should be safe?" Buffy asked

"No, unfortunately not, the Yan~Ban are likely just to go in their in force and kill every one in sight. Over the last hundred years or so they have been swelling in numbers somewhat and would have the muscle to carry it off. No I'm afraid that we will have to steal it from the museum ourselves in an effort to make sure it remains out of sight and hidden away, until the ritual to remove its power can be enacted"

"Can't you do that on site", Xander asked

"No the ritual itself is hours long and can only be done on a blood moon which is days away?"

"OK so we go in grab it and hide?" Buffy smiled "Seems easy enough"

"Again no" Giles replied, "From what I saw they have it under rather a lot of security, we just don't have the skills. I admit I am not really sure what to do, the only spell we could do to hide us from detection renders us unable to handle anything so that's out. That means the old fashioned way I'm afraid" Giles paused, debating on the next thing he was going to say, "Back in my Ripper days I did a little light theft but not up to this standard, we will need a cat burglar and a good one at that"

"What about that one who stole the Andrea Diamond last week, you know it was splashed all over the news. Biggest heist since the pink panther, or something" Anya asked "We could ask him?"

Xander launched into another coughing fit, Dawn leapt up and patted his back until it stopped.

"We could, Anya, if we knew who he was, but nobody does", every one went quite and sat in a morose silence for a moment until Xander put his hand up.

Xander quietly debated with himself for some time weighing the pros and cons of what he was about to suggest, finally he decided to just go for it and hope they took his cover story.

"Urm, I may be able to help you there" he said

Chapter 2, The Heist

Xander's Building

08:30 January 24th 2006

Xander was looking over the plans to the museum that he had hacked into the town halls database for. Luckily this would not be all that different from his last job, the famous Andrea Diamond, which Anya had mentioned before.

That had been one of his hardest jobs to date, there had been so much security it had taken him a month for the planning alone. He only just made it before the diamond went on a tour. That had been the first time that he had used some of the gadgets he would be using tonight. They had cost a lot of money and he had been forced to hide the money trail. A little known fact about him was that he could hack as well as Willow. He had to admit it was a new skill he had acquired but one of the most useful, for instance he had set up a secret account offshore which he had been steadily placing money into just in case he ever had to make a run for it. He had a carefully planned out escape route which he had been painstakingly setting up for the last two years. The plans were laid out and he had several contingency plans just in case including several fake ID's and entire histories that he could step into at a moments notice.

Also his hacking skills meant that he could help out the other members of the Scooby gang without them knowing too much about it. For instance he had made the bank back off of Buffy recently when her mortgage payments started to lapse, he had moved some of his own money into the account before even a letter was produced, thus ensuring that she didn't have to worry.

He smiled to himself and got his mind back onto the job after all, the security was still going to take some work. He had managed to convince the gang that he knew someone who could do the job without giving rise to too much suspicion but Dawn had given him a very strange look, he shook it off probably just her crush he told himself. The others were just happy that he knew of someone who could help. He had told them that he would want paying and that he would take care of it and they all just thought he knew a friend of a friend through his business dealings, well that is what he had told them anyway. Now all he had to do was plan this and execute it in less than 24 hours! It usually took him weeks of planning to be ready for a job but now time was of the utmost importance.

He looked at the security details one last time before coming up with a solution. It was daring and would be very difficult but if he held himself together he decided that he could just about pull it off. That is if his luck held out.

He quickly put on a simple disguise so he wouldn't be recognised. He was after all the major patron of the museum he was about to rob; the irony of the situation was by no means lost on him. He had even supplied some of the security equipment to the museum at a reduced rate through a subsidiary company that White Knight Industries owned. He strapped on some of his gear and got himself ready, if he was going to do this it would have to be now, and left his home to go to the museum.

Sunnydale Museum

08:40 January 24th 2006

Xander had just paid his entrance fee and walked into the adjoining room to his goal. It was basically a closet room with storage for the cleaners; he had slipped into it making sure that no one or any security cameras had picked him up.

He smiled to himself and picked up his mobile phone, the one that he had run through his laptop with a scrambler program running on the line to make sure no-one could either trace the call or triangulate the phone. He dialled a number quickly and waited for the phone to be picked up. And watched the laptop display as it showed the status of the call and beacon trips. He only had 150 hops before the pattern repeated and he didn't want to take the chance of being traced.

"Good morning Sunnydale Museum, How Can I Help You", came the sickly sweet voice

"Codeword Red-Bull, in one hour" Xander said and he hung up the phone

The bomb warning codeword had been very hard to find but find it he had. He knew as he finished getting himself ready that the code word would have to be checked and then verified with the FBI that would give him 5 minutes to get in before they started to evacuate the building.

He quickly shod his outer clothing leaving him in a simple black two-piece he picked up his equipment belt. He quickly tucked in his clothing and put on his belt, then jumped up and pulled himself into the air conditioning vent he knew would lead him to the room, containing the medallion. He pulled himself through the vent quickly knowing that he had a matter of minutes before the secure doors came down around the room blocking him in and trapping him until they realised it was a hoax.

As he made his way through the surprisingly large vent about halfway through his journey he noticed a small problem, there was a junction between him and his goal, basically the vent opened out into a large area that all of the vents fed into. The main vent was about 10 feet across and dropped all the way into the basement, from his cramped up position there was no way he could make a normal jump so he looked around him trying to find another way to traverse it. He reached up and grabbed the lip of the vent hauling him out of the vent so he was hanging by the lip of the vent. He then started to draw his body up holding on to the vent and hoping like hell that it would hold. He carried on until his legs wee out in front of him and then started to curl them under himself until they to were in the lip of the vent, he then rolled up all of his strength and pushed flying across the gap and angling himself so he would dive through the next vent opening. He his luck held out and he slid several feet along the vent.

He came to the exit that he wanted and slowly set to the task of disabling the sensor at its mouth. After he accomplished that he looked around trying to find the security camera. Which he did and then disabled it with a small device one of his friends had designed for him, which put the camera into a loop, it only worked on cameras like this it was basically a motion camera and was pointed towards the grill on the end of the vent. It raised the alarm if anyone disturbed the grill, it recorded but wasn't manned.

He pulled himself out of the vent and looked around him. Within a foot he would be on the pressure tablet that surrounded the main display case. Around the case was alarmed glass, and within that was a pressure sensor that could tell when the case was opened, he would have too defeat those, but first the pressure pads. He picked his way carefully round the pad until he found the junction box. He quickly pulled out another small device and opened the casing of the junction box. He then attached the device to the main communications cable. Once in place it would interrupt any signals and stop them there for five minutes.

Xander stepped gingerly onto the pressure sensitive floor and once he had satisfied himself that the device was working he made his way quickly to the display case. He spent a few moments checking the cables going in and out of the case. He quickly found the small box that contained the computer chip that bizarrely enough contained both the main controller to the glass alarm and the pressure gauge inside. He then plugged in his palmtop computer and connected it to the controller. Within a few moments it had locked onto the security code, which he punched into the keypad at the side of the casing.

Xander opened the case and carefully checked the stand the medallion was sat on. Not wanting to be surprised by any last minute adjustments to the security details he had researched. He noticed a small blue wire under the stand the medallion was on. This could be the pressure tablet that triggered another alarm; he was surprised usually once security plans were laid out they were never changed. No matter this should be a simple case of bypassing the wire, which he did using some tools from his belt. He then checked around for anything else. Satisfied that there were none he quickly lifted out the surprisingly heavy artefact and stowed it in his belt.

After closing the case and locking it back up, he then retraced his steps, and disconnected his various devices all except the one off the pressure pad, once connected it couldn't be removed, a hindrance but due to the design a necessity. He then climbed back into the air vent and reconnected the security camera, and sensors.

After dropping out of the vent back in the adjoining room he quickly changed into a disguise and waited.

He didn't have to wait long, he heard the sounds of the metal enclosure doors banging shut and after a few minutes he watched through his palmtop pc, as the bomb disposal team entered the building past the hidden camera he had deposited their earlier. When he was sure that it was time to go he stepped out of his hiding place, right into a member of the bomb team.

"Clear" he said once again happy he had thought this through and that, lucky for him the bomb squad insisted on a large amount of protective gear including a helmet with a faceplate.

"OK Lets check the other rooms"

With that he helped the bomb team check all of the rooms until the museum got the all clear. He walked out with them, and quickly slipped off before anyone could see him.

From start to finish the main Heist had taken him exactly ten minutes, then waiting for the bomb squad to get themselves in gear had taken another 20 minutes, then helping to make sure that the building was clear of bombs had taken another 30 minutes. So all in all not a bad hour out of my day he smiled and set off back to his building.

As he walked back to his apartment he quickly shod the uniform and dumped it in a garbage pile. It didn't matter if they found it there would be no stray fibres of his skin of hair he had made sure of that. The two-piece he was wearing covered his body once it was fastened and he wore a simple hair net and had made sure that he had a shower and scrubbed off any excess skin before he left. He reached into his pack and pulled out a simple jogging outfit and baseball cap, those would help him to fit in until he got home. He decided he would do a couple of laps around the park before he went home just in case he was being followed then go over to see Giles to see what he wanted done with the artefact. He figured the best place for it was in his personal vault; after all he had picked it out himself. Who better to protect something than a thief? He smiled and set of in a jog for the park.

Chapter 3, The Police Stumble In

The Magic Box

10:00 24th January 2006

Xander walked into the shop smiling.

"Hello Xander, we were not expecting you until tomorrow, did you manage to get hold of that friend, Will he do the job?" Giles asked

"Yes, and Yes, oh and Yes"

"What's the third yes for?" Giles asked with a puzzled frown creasing his brow.

"The question you didn't ask G-Man"

Giles winced, "And what question should that have been Alexander"

Xander also winced but answered anyway. "Did he get it"?

"Oh", Giles paused, "Good God already, with less than a days planning he broke into one of the highest security museums in America and stole the medallion!" Luckily there were no customers in the shop really as Giles had not been very quite when he said that.

"Yep, told you he was good", Xander smirked; he was having a lot of difficulty not laughing his arse of at the look on Giles face. "They should notice it's gone any minute now", just at that moment a police siren blasted past the front window.

Giles laughed, "God your friend is an artist."

In reply Xander just smiled and handed Giles the package containing the medallion.

"Thank you, and please thank your friend. It wasn't to expensive was it?"

"Nope, urm he owed me a favour anyway so I got a discount"

"Why would a professional thief owe you a favour?"

"I taught him everything he knows of course"

Giles laughed again. "Yeah good one, now what to do with this"

"I have a vault in my building if you like I can keep it there?"

"That's a good idea, just let me take it out back and check the authenticity, grab yourself a coffee or something and I'll be back in a few minutes"

"Ah Nescafe" Xander said when Giles was out of earshot. Willow had found a site showing that old English advert on one of her many surf sessions and they had teased Giles about it since. The man from the advert was a dead ringer for Giles, but after a few months he had threatened to quote "Go all Ripper on their arse" un-quote. Not that that stopped him from shipping it in and delivering it to the store.

Sunnydale Museum

18:35 January24th 2006

Detective Peter Allston, had been working in Sunnydale P.D. for almost 6 months now, and still could not figure out what was going on. He had transferred from LAPD when he decided that city life was to much for him and that he would like to wind down out in the sticks. Little did he know what he was getting himself into? His chief "Captain Stein" was a total freak and seemed to breeze through his job like a tree in the wind. The place was rife with crime all committed by "Gangs on PCP". The fact that the narcotics division never seemed to be able to pull in any dealers never seemed to worry him. Allston looked over his latest crime scene. Someone had stolen one of the most rare exhibits in the museum the very day after it was brought in; they had also managed to use an actual bombers keyword to create the perfect diversion. So far the only evidence they had found was a strange device attached to the control panel of the pressure pads. The security cameras had shown no promising leads at all.

Allston signed it was going to be a long nigh, and kneeled to have a closer look at the panel on the display case.

His attention was abruptly interrupted by a smoky female voice.

"Detective Allston"

He look round and spotted a shapely ankle which led to an even more shapely leg which disappeared under a spilt in the woman's skirt which just afforded him a glimpse of stocking top. His gaze continued its journey upwards past the woman's slate grey skirt and white blouse, past a rouge red pair of lips, until it rested upon a pair of deep brown eyes. He smiled "That would be me, miss urm?"

"Wilkins, Charity Wilkins", the woman replied,

Allston forced himself not to gape; she was very attractive, with a trim figure and hair like a ravens wing, which was lightly feathered to frame her face.

"Ah, Miss Wilkins we were expecting you, but not until tomorrow"

"I wasn't as far away as the company thought I was, and please its Charity, Miss Wilkins makes me feel like a spinster."

"Oh OK".

Damn it get your brain in gear. He thought to himself. She is not that good looking, much!

"So what can the SPD do for you?"

"Well I would like a copy of all the evidence and access to the crime scene"

"O.K. can do we will send over the report tomorrow, for now help your self the forensics have found nothing but a small device"

"Can I see it?"

"Sure, Hey Stevenson, bring that gizmo over here, thanks, here you go Charity"

"Thanks, so the thief used this to do what?"

"It intercepted the signals on the pressure pads, and stopped them from triggering the alarm"

"Cool" Charity looked over the device quickly, she recognised the gadget one just like it had been found in New York after the Andrea Diamond was stolen, the first time she had been beaten. It could be a long shot but this may be the same guy, she mused, whilst tapping the device against her cheek. She cast her gaze around the room, until it came to rest on the air vent about six feet away

"I'm going to have a look around, if you don't mind Detective"

"Its Peter" said Allston, "and no problem, do you someone to come with you"

"No Peter thanks, I'm 5 by 5"

Xander's Building

19:30 24th January

Xander was relaxing in front of a roaring fire in his study, when the phone rang.

He leaned backwards and picked up the receiver from the table behind him.

"Hello Xander Harris Speaking"

"Mr Harris, its Professor Saxon from the Museum here"

"Hello professor, what can I do for you?"

"I'm afraid we have had a break in Mr Harris", Xander nearly laughed, "and as one of our chief patrons, we would like you to attend the emergency meeting we have set up for tomorrow morning, would it be possible for you to attend. We have a member of the American heritage commission arriving for the meeting, and having a man of your statue their may help us to urm, how shall I say"

"Make sure their no bloodshed" Xander filled in

"Not quite what I was thinking Mr Harris but close enough, they are very angry with us. We ensured them that nothing would happen to this artefact and urm, well it did."

"No problem, for your professor I'll be there, what time?"

"10:00am shape please"

"OK count me in"

"Thank you once again Mr Harris, Goodbye"

"OK Goodbye Professor"

Xander hung up the phone, and let out a guffaw of laughter,

"This will be interesting"

He quickly phoned his secretary Mary, and made sure she knew that he would have to put some of his appointments on hold, and to clear the day just in case.

Sunnydale Museum

19:45 24th January

Charity was looking at the air vent again, she had gone over every inch of the room checked the doors and so far had come up with nothing, but something about the vent was bugging her. She had been doing this job now for nearly 4 years, ever since, well for a while she was the best investigator the company had. Her rep was well deserved as being a tough cookie and a professional. After all she had worked very hard to get this far. But she was well paid for it too. Up until two months ago she had always got her man, until the Andrea Diamond. However did that job was the best at their job, and as much as it irked her to admit they had temporarily beat her? Not that the company minded so much, the first time they had had to pay out in any of her 50 cases. But she didn't like it, but maybe she might be able to get another pop at the one that got away.

She knelt down in front of the grate on the vent to have a closer look. Flashing a fair bit of well-toned leg in the process. She pulled her skirt down a bit and fished around in her bag until she pulled out her magnifying glass, which she used to look at the vent. The seals around the vent looked ok, but wait there was a small piece of plaster jutting out of the side of the grate. It was a damn slim chance but it could have been caused when the vent was pulled back on from the other side. Damn slim, anorexic in fact.

"Detective Allston" she called out

"Yes Miss Wilkins, what is it" he looked over to her trying not to goggle at her leg

"Do we have the footage from the camera in here?"

"Yes, why"

"Can I see it?"

"Sure, follow me down to the security office" with that he handed the report back to a junior officer he had been talking to "Give this to frank jimmy ok"

"OK detective"

"After you Charity", he smiled his most charming smile at her, hoping for a reaction

"No after you Peter" she flashed a kilowatt smile right back at him and made a motion with her hand"

Sunnydale Museum

22:45 24th January

In the security office they were still staring at the video footage from the vents camera and the ones surrounding it and so far had come up with nothing.

"Harry, can you show me the vents cam, from when the bomb call came in until the bomb squad left?" Charity asked the security guard

"Sure Charity", the somewhat overly plumb security guard was also not immune the charms of the attractive woman standing next to him and was falling over himself to help her

Charity watched for a few moments while the footage from the camera wound past about ten minutes in she noticed a flicker

"What was that Harry?"

"We get that sometimes the power in this old building is not so great for all this security and causes slight power outages very rare but happens"

"Hmmm, could also be a looper"

"A Looper?" this was from detective Allston who came back into the room with two coffees, one of which he handed to Charity.

"Yeah, simple device only works with cameras in places like this though, it loops the last second of film over and over until it's deactivated, bang there it is another flicker, If that's not a looper I'll eat my stake"

"Your steak, don't you like steak"

"Urm yeah but I hate it", she said trying to cover her blooper, "Come on we need to check where that vent comes out, I'll lay odds it's the next room"

"That's just a cleaners cupboard", said Harry

"Show me?" Charity asked

"OK" Harry said as he grabbed his keys.

And they all trouped up to the door to the cleaners cupboard, when Harry had let them in they found that the grate to the air vent was on the floor.

"Gotcha" Charity exclaimed, just then a uniform police officer interrupted them

"Sir, they found this two streets away in a dumpster" and the officer handed detective Allston a bomb disposal uniform

"Damn it" Allston swore

Charity laughed, "However did this is one cocky bastard"

I think I get it but I need to sleep on it

"Where can we reach you" Allston asked

"I'm at the D'Ville hotel, just ask at the desk, Bye boys" with that she left

"That is one hell of a woman" Harry exclaimed to himself, but the other men all nodded their heads.

Chapter 4, Xander Harris, Meet Charity Wilkins

The Magic Box

09:00 25th January 2006

Buffy had just finished reporting the events from patrol from the night before to Giles as was their usual routine for the last 2 years since he had returned from England.

"So an all quiet night then" Giles summarised

"Yep, alls quiet in the land of the dead" Buffy smiled "Me and Dawn handled the few fledgling vamps, she quite the little slay gal now you know"

"Yes I'm sure," Giles said whilst smiling over at Dawn who was glowing after her sister's compliment

"Thanks sis" Dawn jumped up from her seat by the counter when in walked a very smart looking Xander

"Check out the 00 Xander"

"Hey Dawnie, Giles, Buff how's tricks" he nodded to each in turn and sat down by the big desk in the middle of the shop

"All to the good, so why are you all dolled up anyhow Xand" Buffy asked trying not to stare at her friend 'When did he start looking so good?' she looked over at her sister who was at this point trying not to drool.

"Urm, yeah got a meeting in a while just thought I would drop in and check on my favourite women, oh and guy of course"

"What's the meeting, oh and did you secure the artefact?"

"To answer that in reverse order, yes I did it's all locked up. As for the meeting I'm a patron of the museum we robbed and have to sit there for an emergency meeting", he smiled at the group who were all laughing "I hope that at the situation and not to me giving patronage to anything" he said in mock severity which just made them laugh all the more.

"So what ya going to do?" Dawn asked

"Well I was going to try to charm the American Heritage committees representative and try to stall him, after all once the ritual is complete we can put it back right?"

"Urm, yes I suppose so" Giles said somewhat surprised "I hadn't thought about that"

"Well my friend will be on hand if needed but I'm hoping we can set up someone finding it"

"Yes that would be for the best"

Meanwhile Dawn was looking at Xander rather intently trying to gauge his actions against his words, but something was nagging at her.

"The drools starting to show", Buffy whispered to her

"Not drooling thinking"

"What about"

"The Xand-man is holding something back I think"

"Well with the way you watch him, you would know"

"Funny Buffy, real funny" she muttered back, "Like you weren't looking"

"I was not," Buffy said a little too quickly

Dawn looked at her sister triumphantly "As I thought"

Buffy just re-tuned he attention into what Xander and Giles were talking about.

After that they spent a little time together over coffee just chatting back and forth until Xander stood up

"Well got to blip, see you guys soon ok, got kind of an hectic schedule for a couple of days, going to miss me?"

Dawn stood up stepped in front of Xander and straightened his tie whilst the others bid him farewell. As he pulled away she stood on tiptoe and planted a kiss on his cheek.

Xander quickly beat a hasty retreat to cover his embarrassment.

"You do that to make him blush don't you" Buffy asked her sister once Xander had left

"Well he looks so cute when he blushes"

"Don't let him hear you say that" Buffy laughed, quickly followed by Dawn and Giles

"I just hope he notices that he has got lipstick on his cheek", Buffy laughed.

"Oh Buffy I almost forgot I'll need a second for the casting and Willow can't do it, do you think Angel will come and help, we could also do with the extra protection for the ritual, would you ask him?"

"Sure", Buffy reached for the phone and dialled, she drummed her fingers on the counter while she waiting for the phone to picked up on the other end, luckily she didn't have to wait long.

"Angel Investigations, We help the helpless"

"Cordy, after all this time you think you would have come up with a better slogan"

""Buffy Hi, Well you know, if it ain't broke don't fix it"

"Sure, I think you just like saying it"

"Very funny Buffy"

"Is Angel there"

"Hang on I'll go and check"

"OK Dokey", Buffy waited for a moment she could here the muffled sounds of conversation on the other side, but she couldn't make out the words.

"..."

"..."

"Hello, Buffy"

"Hey Angel, How's things going"

"Good, good the chains making good money and Gunn and Wesley are opening the newest branch in a few months"

"Xander really helped then did he", she couldn't help throwing that one in. A couple of years ago the fang gang had had a major cash flow problem, and Xander stepped into help, needless to say that did not make Angel all that happy.

"Yeah, he did", Buffy smiled at the sound of repressed annoyance in Angels voice.

"Hey I almost forgot why I was calling, can you and the crew spare a few days to come down to the 'dale and help us out, Giles needs a second for the casting and Willow can't do it"

"Why"

"Urm, I don't know"

"Oh ok, sure we will be down tonight things are quite at the moment"

"Great see ya then, then"

"OK Bye"

Buffy turned to Giles; "He'll be here tonight"

"Excellent"

Sunnydale Conference Hall

10:00 25th January 2006

Xander arrived at the conference room in his usual business attire, dark suit and dark glasses, a trick he had picked up from Aristotle Onassis, who always claimed they helped him with business dealings because the other party couldn't read his eyes. It was a dirty trick but Xander had found that it worked. He walked over to a middle aged man wearing what could only be described as a horrible brown suit, the sort that only academics and people who usually didn't have to meet other people wore. He was a fairly tall man with gray hair and a pair of penny glasses on perched on his nose.

"Hello Professor"

"Ah Mr Harris, Punctual as always, please come in" Professor Saxon greeted Xander as he was shown into the conference room

"This is Mr Holloway from the heritage", he said pointing to a non-descript man sat beside him, Mr Holloway was a small man also wearing glasses that looked like they had taken hours to balance on his nose. His suit was less horrible than the professors, and was of the usual accountant stock, simple dark blue suit, with a so-called power tie, in other words loud and a bit gaudy.

"Hello Mr Holloway", Xander shook his hand, which was the horrible dead fish handshake he had been expecting. He then nodded to a few of the other members of the board that he had met on various special occasions and meetings the museum had laid on. He then took a seat with his back to the door, down the table a little so he could stuffy everyone in the meeting from the security of his dark glasses.



"We are just waiting for the Insurance Companies Security Consultant before we begin"

They all waited for a few minutes. During which time Xander took time to go over his schedule on his palm top computer, the same one that he had used to defeat the security the other night. He noticed from the side screen that they must have found the camera he had placed at the entrance so he quickly terminated the connection. In the unlikely event that they could break the 255 bit encryption he had placed on the digital signature, he didn't want anyone to trace a signal back to him, he was about to start to slip into the magic boxes computer to start sending messages to Dawn when he was interrupted by the professor.

"Ahh here she is now" the Professor said, Xander caught a whiff of jasmine as the woman walked straight past him over to the professor. Xander took quick stock of her but had yet to see her face, she had a trim and firm figure, she stood in a tall and proud way that hid the fact that she was in fact only about five foot five. She was dressed in a knee length black business suit, which consisted of a charcoal grey pinstripe skirt and jacket. She had shoulder length black hair that from his viewpoint seemed to be fairly straight. He could tell that this woman was at the least good looking and properly beautiful, but he wouldn't know for sure until she turned around, his musings were interrupted, by the woman's voice.

"Professor Saxon its good to meet you, I've heard a lot about you, I'm Charity Wilkins"

Xander's heart started to beat against his chest; the sultry tone of that voice is one that had kept him up on many a long night.

"Thank you Miss Wilkins, allow you to introduce our board, and Mr Holloway from the American Heritage, and finally, Xander Harris, our biggest patron and owner of White-Knight industries"

Xander's breath caught in his throat as he was faced with a ghost from his past, with one thought coming into his mind 'but she's dead'. His thoughts started race, he knew that he was most likely gawping slightly but he didn't know what to say.

"Pleased to meet you Miss Wilkins" was all he managed to get out.

It took all of Charity's control not to show anything when she came face to face with her past, she knew that coming back to Sunnydale meant she may at least run into them, but she had hoped to avoid contact totally; plus it had been so long nearly 4 years, she didn't think they would still be here that they may have moved on. But there he was dressed in Armani, Xander Harris, sure is doing well for himself, she thought as she plastered a smile onto her face and returned his careful greeting, and took a seat a little farther away than she would have, but close enough so that she could look him over. For some reason he was wearing very dark shades so she couldn't really tell if he recognised her or not, from his response she wasn't sure, but her slayer senses had picked up the barely audible gasp of breath when he had turned round, 'Hhmm' she thought to herself, she was also trying to figure out why he had a bright red lipstick mark on his cheek the other had apparently been to polite to mention it.

The meeting droned on for three hours with all parties trying to get their say so, the trust was virtually grovelling to the heritage man, who was beside himself with anger. The medallion had been one of their more precious finds, which is why they had placed it in one of the supposedly secure locations in America. But finally the started to reach an accord with the Mr Holloway finally giving them more time to find the artefact, based on the whole, on Xander's say so in the end.

He hadn't built his business from nothing by not being able to negotiate apparently.

Also Charity's reputation as the best investigator of her company did some to re-assure the heritage representative as well. When the meeting was finally over Xander made his move.

"Miss Wilkins perhaps you have a moment"

She debated just running, from the looks she had been receiving from him had gone a long way to making her realise that he did indeed recognise her, may as well get it over with and with that Thought she smiled, "But of course"

Xander waited until everyone had left and then turned to the raven headed beauty, and whispered "Faith?"

Chapter 5, The "Chase" Is On

Sunnydale Conference Rooms

13:00 25th January 2006

"Faith, is it really you? Can it be you?"

"I'm sorry Faith?" Charity said, hoping she could bluff her way out of this.

"Oh, I'm so sorry I thought you were an old friend of mine", Charity inwardly held her breath. Could she get away with it?

"No sorry Mr Harris this is the first time I've laid eyes on you"

"But, god you look just like her!" Xander was confused, this woman was an identical twin the voice was similar but the way she spoke was more cultured and none of the cock sureness that Faith had, but this was freakier than a freaks freaky bits, one of the hellmouths' finest weird ones.

"I'm sorry, was she someone important?" Charity cursed herself why the hell did she ask that for gods sake, she should be thanking her lucky stars and making run for it.

"Urm, yes. Yes she was, urm, very important to me"

Charity had to stop herself from launching herself into his arms, he had been the only one that had written to her in prison and the only one who every tried to visit, but because of her guilt over trying to kill him and other things she never replied to his letters or excepted the visiting, now she wasn't sure why. He had told her that he felt guilty for not noticing her slip over to the dark-side and that he felt he should have done more for her. Even going so far as to say he had feelings for her. He even said he understood why she had tried to kill him saying that he pushed her to far and that he shouldn't have. If only he knew she had done it because he had scared her with his emotion for her and the emotion that she felt in herself for him. For that reason she was in a very bad place when he wrote, and when she finally hit upon her plan to rebuild her life she decided it best to cut ties altogether. Not even Angel knew what had happened apart from the fact she died in a car accident the day after she had left prison. So that day Charity Wilkins was born.

She shook herself out of her reverie and managed to say, "I'm very sorry Mr Harris, now if there is nothing else?"

"No, no I'm very sorry Miss Wilkins I shouldn't have taken up your time"

"No problem X... ander, may I call you Xander", damn she cursed herself again "I've got to get out of here I have an appointment with the Police department"

"Of Course, good bye Miss Wilkins"

She couldn't help it she just had to do it.

"Urhh Mister Harris?"

"Yes Miss Wilkins"

"You have lipstick on your cheek"

Xander swore softly to himself, he was going to kill Dawn.

"Thanks, Miss Wilkins I hope to see you again"

"We might just do that Mr Harris" she tossed over her as she left a very puzzled and somewhat embarrassed Xander behind

The Magic Box

20:00 25th January 2006

Angel looked at the door of the Magic box as Cordelia walked up behind him

"You pull, on the thing in the middle and it swings out, as if by magic," she mocked

"Ha, Ha just thinking is all I haven't been back for a while, she's got a new boyfriend just girding the loins"

"Urhh, leave your loins out of this, come on I haven't been back in oh 3 years, but do I look bothered?"

"Well you redid your make up 5 times on the way over and you were just checking your hair in the wing mirror"

"Funny man, come on let go"

With that they walked into the shop

"Hello" she said as they crossed the threshold "The gangs all here"

Buffy walked up to them kissed Cordelia on the cheek and pulled Angel into a hug. "Long time no see guys, especially you Cordy"

"Well things have been busy, and someone has to keep the boys organised"

With that the rest of the gang said their hellos, the last one up was Dawn

"Dawn you have grown into a beautiful young woman, must be your mothers genes, maybe the skipped Buffy" Cordy said whilst smirking at Buffy who stuck her tongue out.

"Hey Cordy, you look great too" Dawn replied blushing furiously.

"Where Xander", Cordelia asked Dawn with a hint of hesitation in her voice

"Charity ball"

"Xander's at a Charity ball!"

"He's come up in the world since you were here last, he's the head of a multinational industry now, how do you think he was able to afford all that money for you guys"

"What money?"

Dawn shot a look at Angel who was grimacing

"Yeah, urm, every heard of White Knight Industries?" Dawn covered hoping to distract Cordy away from that.

"Urm yeah, wait Xander owns that!" Cordy was beside herself

"Yep" Dawn said with pride aplenty in her voice.

Cordelia lifted an eyebrow "Well I mean wow the boys done good"

She turned to Angel who had a very strange look on his face, "So mister why didn't you tell me?"

"About the company I didn't know, as for the money you didn't ask"

"Ohh!"

"Anyway, now we are here what can we do?"

"Where is Charles and Wesley?" asked Giles

"They will hit town tomorrow, they needed to finish off a demon nest in LA"

"Oh right fine, well I need you to help me cast in a ritual to bind the Yan Medallion, which one of Xander's urm business associates was kind enough to retrieve for us yesterday"

"The Yan Medallion, I thought that was a myth, ok but why can't Willow help"

"Well the ritual was created a long time ago while the medallion was underground and well, you see the casters have to be male"

Willow was giggling slightly at Giles's hesitation, she thought it was rather cute.

"Don't worry Giles I'm not offended, maybe I could cast a circle of protection round you and Angel while you cast the ritual that way you'll be safer"

"Safe, don't tell me the Yan~Ban are still active as well" Angel said with some amusement, which quickly disappeared at the nodding of Giles's head.

Any further reply was cut of by the sound of laughter behind them all

"Sorry that name cracks me up. Hey Dead boy how it going"

Xander cut off Angel's reply when Angel stepped aside to reveal Cordelia

"Cordy! God its good to see you" Xander walked swiftly over to her and wrapped his arms around her in a gigantic hug. Luckily not noticing the jealous looks she was getting from Dawn, Cordelia leaned into the hug before she remembered herself and pushed Xander off

"Get off you great gullote, its good to see you to I thought you were out this evening"

Xander cocked an eyebrow "Gullote? Spending too much time with the English too I see, and I blew off the ball to stuffy"

"Oh, never mind, I hear you've been holding out on me!"

"Oh really what's that then?"

"White Knight Industries"

Xander cast a quick look at Angel to check his reaction; Angel for his part was trying to keep his face blank. Xander smirked at him

"Hey talking to you here" Cordelia cut in

"Well Cordy it hard to tell someone something when they never talk to you, and every time I've been in LA you were to busy to see me remember" Xander said with a little reproach fullness in his tone

"Yeah" Cordy said weakly, "Well I was still mad"

"What about now" Xander said while looking deep into her eyes

"No, well not much" Cordelia then flashed one of her million watt smiles at him.

Xander suddenly stiffened and turned round to look at Angel

"Hey we need to talk", and before anyone could comment he had dragged Angel back outside.

"What's this about Xander"

"Have you been holding out on us Angel"?

"What are you on about Xander"?

"Faith"

Angel looked sad for a moment, "What do you mean?" he said with a heavy heart. He had really wanted to help Faith, really thought she could make it until she died

"I thought I saw her today, and it's got me a little freaked, I'm sorry"

Angel regarded the man in front of him "You really cared for her didn't you?"

"Yes, but this isn't just me seeing shadows, this woman was the spitting image of her, and I got a close look even asked her"

Angel laughed, "That must have been embarrassing

Xander smiled "Yep, come on sorry lets go back in"

The Magic Box

22:00 25th January 2006

They had stayed and talked for a long time catching up on each others news until the gang all decided it was time to call it a night, Angel offered to patrol with Buffy and they were about to set off.

"Wait Angel, were are you staying?" Xander asked

"Motel"

"No way stay at my place", He turned to Cordelia, "its got 15 rooms I think I can spare a few!"

Angel thought for a second but Cordelia beat him too it, "Yes we would love to"

"OK, Angel here is the address" he passed Angel a card "When your patrol is done Buffy will show you the way OK? I can take Cordelia back now in my car now if that's ok by her" He paused until he got a nod from her "OK that's all set, now who wants a lift?"

Dawn piped up "Me please"

Willow shook her head and pointed at Giles as did Anya

"OK, well all aboard those who are coming aboard"

"Don't sports cars only have two seats?" Cordelia asked as they walked out of the Magic Box.

"I don't have a sports car" Xander replied

"Oh"

"That's mine"

"Wow!"

In front of her was a brand new silver Rolls Royce complete with chauffeur, who was currently holding the door open for Dawn who slid in the back facing away from the driver whilst Xander and Cordelia got into the back seat facing her.

"This is cool" Cordelia said

"Thanks, its one of those things that I always wanted when I was broke, so I thought what the hey"

"Well its better than a sports car"

"I think so", with that the large engine of the Roller pulled them away from the curb.

Xander's Building

22:10 25th January 2006

They had dropped off Dawn a few moments ago, and after the initial wow factor from Cordelia they had settled themselves in Xander's Study while the maid set up the guest room for Cordelia.

"I just can't get over it, where's the Zeppo, I knew in high school then?"

"He's dead", Xander said with some passion

"Whoops didn't mean to touch a nerve there touchy boy"

"Sorry Cordelia, I'm having a bad day, I worked hard to kill that image and I think that I have, the gang all think that I'm a useful member of the group now, not the one they need to protect and that I can pull my wait."

Cordelia looked at the man in front of her for some time before moving off of her chair a kneeling in front of him.

"What" Xander asked quietly?

"This" Cordelia said and leaned in and kissed Xander. It started as a friendly kiss but as always happened between them it quickly multiplied and very soon they were being over run with passion. When air became an issue Cordy backed off slightly and looked him in the eye

"There is one thing I always wanted to do to you, If I do it don't expect anything else it's a once in a lifetime offer OK?"

Xander cracked open his trademark lopsided grin for her

"OK"

"Take me to bed Xander, I think it's about time we worked through a few issues"

Chapter 6, Old Friends and Foes

Xander's Building

05:00 26th January 2006

Xander awoke to find a shapely arm thrown across his chest he looked along the arm to find his beautiful teenage girlfriend now an even more beautiful woman in the bed next to him. As he cast his mind back to the happenings of the night before a beatific grind crossed his features. Cordelia stirred slightly as he slipped out of bed for his morning regime still with the grin on his face. He slipped into his workout clothes and walked into his personal gym across the hall. The gym itself looked more like a jungle gym with ropes parallel bars and climbing bars on the walls, in the middle was a fully kitted out weights area. He stepped onto the mat on the edge of the gym and did a quick warm up all the while thinking about the night before.

Cordelia had told him when they got to his room that this was a one night only deal, and that she wanted to make sure that he knew that, she had said it was closure. Well he wasn't too sure why she said that but he was only to happy to help her out he only hoped she wasn't mad at him now.

He finished his warm up and jumped onto one of the many ropes hanging down from the roof of the gym, he climbed up it and started to swing the rope when he had got it going he jumped over to the next one across, and so on until he had reached a bar that was suspended from two wires. He jumped over to it and let himself hang until the rocking motion had slowed. He then flipped himself until he was holding himself above the bar and proceeded to climb up on it. Then balanced and walked across its 12-foot length. He then cart wheeled across and took off on his hands spinning over towards the rope at the other end. He caught the rope then slid down onto the mat at the weights.

Clapping coming from the doorway to the gym startled him.

"Nice moves" Angel said.

"Thanks, shouldn't you be in bed?"

"Just on my way, it's a late sunrise"

"Oh OK, if you want feel free to use this while you're here" Xander offered

"Thanks, I may just do that, what's with the Tarzan act?"

"Just keeping limber, you know how hard fighting Vamps can be, no offence"

"None taken, anyway see you later"

"OK, I had some blood placed in your room for you hope that was ok"

After Angel had left Xander continued his workout. Then he showered and shaved then checked in with Cordelia who had started to wake up.

"Come on Cordy rise and shine, fancy breakfast?"

"Huh, what"

"Not a morning person are you?"

"Well for some reason I find myself tired this morning", she smiled, "But I would love breakfast, what ya got"

"What do you want?"

"Full English?"

"Coming right up, do you want it their or do you want to eat with me in the dining room?"

"Dining room? Urm ok that sounds good, give me an hour for a shower ok"

"OK showers through there, dining room is downstairs, room in front of the stairs"

Xander's Building

08:00 26th January 2006

Xander was sat at the dining table waiting for Cordelia to join him before he started. Normally this was a lonely occasion for him. He had lived alone ever since he had moved in and although the waiting staffs was more like friends than anything else the refused to eat with him, saying that it would not be fitting, Like he cared. He didn't have to wait long as Cordy breezed in looking as fresh as a daisy and twice as pretty.

"Hey"

"Watcha Cordy, its all on the side help yourself k'"

"Don't the staff serve the food?" she asked. When she lived at home and her father still had money the cook had always served all the meals

"No, I can't quite deal with that makes me feel weird, you know. So I just get them to put it all on the side and I help myself. I hope you don't mind I moved your place setting next to me, I had visions of us having to shout to hear each other"

"No problems, this is one big room and a huge table"

"Yeah this used to be a hotel before the management tried to dodge the IRS, I picked it up for a song"

"Yeah" She wanted to know how much but was not quite that blunt. So she quirked her eyebrow up and hoped Xander got the message

"Yep, about a third of its worth my accountant was impressed until I told him I would be moving into it. All told it has under three quarters of a million dollars, last time I checked the building is now worth twice that."

"Good looking, great in bed and a shrewd businessman"

Xander flushed slightly, "Urm thanks"

They sat down and eat their breakfast chatting over old times until the butler popped his head round the door and cleared his throat

"Hey, what's up Ed?"

"There is a phone call for you Xander"

"OK Can I have the cordless, thanks"

Edward; Xander's butler for the last three years, and unofficial friend walked in dressed in the traditional garb of butlers since the Dawn of money.

"Thanks" Xander said as Edward smiled at Cordelia and left.

Cordelia for her part had a look of shock on her face that was amusing Xander no end.

"You have a butler? And he calls you Xander not Mr Harris?"

Xander smiled but was unable to answer however, as the call came through on the wireless phone.

"Hello Mr Harris, sorry to disturb you so early in the morning"

"Professor Saxon, not a problem, to what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Mr Holloway, and I met up again last night and went over a few things together, and urm It seems that he wants you to be personally involved as it was you who brokered the deal for an extension to the insurance claims and legal proceedings against us"

"Oh"

"I understand that you are a very busy man, Mr Harris but is there anyway that you will be able to help us out here? Please it would smooth things over terribly if you could?"

"OK I'll get my PA to clear my book for the week, when do you want me over there?"

"I have a meeting with Miss Wilkins of the Insurance company at 12:00 do you think that you would be able to join me for that?"

"Sure consider me there"

"Thank you once again Mr Harris, we of the board can't thank you enough for the help and support you have shown this museum since you became a patron"

"Professor, I believe that we as have a duty to our children to make sure that the past is maintained in memoriam" Xander said whilst winking at Cordelia who in return smirked at him

"Yes quite Mr Harris I just wish that more people thought the same way"

"OK Professor I'll see you at twelve, oh where is the meeting?"

"Its at my office in the museum"

"OK twelve then, goodbye Professor Saxon"

"Goodbye Mr Harris"

Xander hit the button to disconnect the call and looked over to Cordelia

"I swear business is more politics than actual money"

"That's what my father always said, I just hope you don't follow his example with the IRS"

Xander smiled at her, "Sorry to do this but I have to go into the office so I can clear my appointment book with my PA and make sure nothing is going to bite me in the arse. Feel free to do whatever you like here, Ed will look after you just ask him OK"

"OK, see you later"

With that Xander got up and left the room, when he had he called Edward over to him

"Ed, look out for Cordy will ya, also theirs a friend of mine in one of the rooms that is not to be disturbed till sun down, if ya catch my drift"

"Vamp?"

"Yeah, but one of the good guys, you remember me telling you about Angel? Well that's him"

"OK, is that The Cordelia?"

"Yes that's my Cordy"

"You're a lucky man Xander I hope you know that"

"I thank the gods of lucky every day Ed, Every day"

White Knight Industries

09:00 26th January 2006

Mary Holden looked up from her desk in front of the main office of white knight industries to see her boss approaching

"Hello Xander, I didn't expect you in today"

"Have a slight problem I have to deal with, do you think you could clear all of my appointments for the next week while I go over those contracts?"

"Of course, when do you want me to say you're available?"

"Give me two weeks just in case, but this should only take a week"

"You going out of town want me to book anything"

"Nope just a spot of bother at the museum"

"Oh, the robbery, I heard all about it on the news last night"

"Yep the trust want me to help them out, so what ya going to do" with that he smiled and started to walk into his office

"Xander, what about the benefit dinner for the Museum, are they still holding it, are you going?"

"I'm not sure but I will try to get them to do it anyway, they need the money, oh can you get Hal to come up here for me, I need a quick chat"

Hal was his business manager and had been since the beginning, Xander trusted the man with his business like he would no other

"OK, I'll send him straight in"

"Thanks Mary", and with that he walked into his office.

Sunnydale Museum

12:00 26th January 2006

Professor Saxon, was a middle aged man a scholar of some repute and a fairly easy going man, however after spending most of the morning trying to hold together the tatters of the relationship between his trust and the American heritage his patience was starting to wear thin. Now he had to deal with the insurance companies inspector as well. She seemed like a nice enough women from their brief discussions during the emergency meeting the day before but after the morning he had had, preceded as it was by the night he had, had. He was understandably worried, after all, the Heritage had been screaming blue murder why not the insurance company? A buzz from his intercom disturbed his worrying. It was his secretary Martha

"A Miss Wilkins to see you professor"

He depressed the reply button, "Send her in would you Martha"

Charity walked into the typical professors office, a slight musty smell permeated the air. There were books lying all over the place and several reports were laid out on the desk. She smiled at the professor "Hello Professor Saxon, good to see you again"

Professor Saxon smiled back at the attractive women before him. Not the greeting he was expecting, but he braced himself anyway.

Charity noticed this and felt she needed to allay his fears straight away.

"Professor, to cut to the chase. I have been over every inch of this case myself and have worked very closely with the police. We both believe that there was no way in which this could have been avoided. The robbery was carried out in a very professional manner by an expert thief a thief I might add who I personally believe is also responsible for another theft recently. Neither myself or the police think that this is in anyway you responsibility furthermore we are sure that your security is still second to none"

When the professor visibly relaxed, she knew she had hit the nail on the head. She was about to continue when a buzz from his desk stopped her.

The professor reached over to an old fashioned intercom system, and pressed a button, "Yes Martha"

"Professor, Mr Harris has arrived"

Charity started, she had not realised that he had been invited

"I'm sorry miss Wilkins but I was slightly worried about the report you were going to give me, and thought it best if I had someone on my side. Also Mr Holloway from the heritage has asked Mr Harris to be involved in this case personally" He pressed the button again "Please send Mr Harris straight in Martha"

Xander walked into the professors' office to find himself once more face to face with a ghost from his past. He covered it with his most charming smile and stuck out his hand

"Hello again Miss Wilkins"

"Hello again Mr. Harris, and please call me Charity", she said as she shook his hand.

"Then please call me Xander, Charity, everyone else does, except the professor here who insists on calling Mr. Harris; which always makes me look around for my father"

Charity laughed. And looked at the man in front of her, now he was standing she could see that he was a fairly large man standing at over 6 foot, fit looking with the sparkle in his eye that comes from not taking life to seriously. All in all the Xander Harris she knew in her past life had not changed all that much from the boy whose cherry she had popped all those years ago. She did, however, notice that the grip of the hand she was holding whilst gentle was obviously very strong. She belatedly realised that she had held onto his hand for a beat or two to long and let go stepping back to her chair and taking her seat. Xander sat at the chair next to her.

"I was just telling Professor Saxon here that we in no way hold the museum liable for this theft, and that it was carried out by a professional"

"I agree, definitely a pro." Xander put in

"Really, what makes you say that?"

"A Subsidiary of my firm created some of the security here and it has been tested by some of the best safe crackers, crackers and security experts in the field and they were unable to defeat it"

"Oh", she looked at him again trying to gauge his honesty, something didn't feel right about this to her. There was also the fact that she had been reading up on the Medallion last night and found out that it may be more than it seemed, she decided to try to draw him out a bit.

"I also found in my research that the Yans Medallion might have some mystical properties. Professor is there any group in the area that may have reason to hire a thief of this calibre and be able to afford him?"

"Urm, there is talk"

Shut up old man, Xander thought to himself, and tried to will the professor to not drop his friends in it.

"But there is no way that they could afford it, from what I understand. A thief like this would be expensive yes?"

"Most certainly. Tell me more professor" Charity said and leaned back in her chair crossing her legs causing a whisper of fabric that made Xander Adams apple bob.

Charity was now sure that the Scooby gang was involved but what she didn't understand is how and why. From her research Xander certainly had the money but how did they know a thief like that and why steal the medallion, as far as she could tell it was only important to the Native Americans.

"There is talk that this town is more than it seems and that there is a group who, urm, look out for us all. They have a reputation to deal with the mystical element, but that is all poppycock surely"

"Maybe not to them Professor"

"I'm afraid that I do not know anymore than that, maybe the police?"

"No that is 5... fine professor"

Xander swung his gaze once more round to Charity, I'm sure she was about to say 5 by 5.

Charity for her part was doing her best to remain calm and not show any outward sign of her slip.

Xander decided, that maybe he wasn't going mad after all and thought he would push it a bit

"Yes, the police may be able to arrange a Stake out" he said stressing the word Stake.

"I'll ask them" She said "They can keep an eye on those damn kids"

Their eyes locked for a moment, and Xander knew it then he just knew it. This was Faith but what kind of game was she playing and why the act?

Chapter 7, Who, How and Why

The Magic Box

12:30 26th January 2006

Cordelia walked into the shop feeling pretty good about her self, last night had brought her a lot of closure with Xander and her feelings for him. The sex was just a side effect. An admittedly good side affect but not the whole of the thing. She smiled at Anya who was behind the counter.

"Hey Anya, how's business?"

"Its good, making lots of lovely money until it went all quiet" Anya looked at Cordy who was still smiling slightly. She drew some conclusions pretty quickly and in typical Anya fashion blurted what she was thinking without the intervention of her mind.

"You slept with Xander didn't you"

"Who slept" Cordy blurted before she could stop herself "Oh god, Anya Sorry"

Anya looked puzzled "Why?"

"You were engaged to him weren't you?"

"Yes but that was a long time ago, and we really are just friends now, though I do miss The Sex"

"Don't blame you, he has come a long way from the geek I dated"

"Yes he has, but didn't you hate him?"

"No, and yes. He did cheat on me but I did love him. I just needed to release some emotion and last night seemed like the perfect chance, plus I needed to get laid"

Both women laughed, but stopped when they saw Dawn had come in behind Cordelia.

"What are you two laughing about?"

"Men" they both replied

"Oh cool, anyone in particular?"

"Xander" Cordy replied before Anya could stop her

"Oh, what's my sugar daddy been up-to now?"

"Sugar daddy?"

"Hmm, I wish," said Dawn longingly.

"Oh, I see" Cordelia glanced at Anya who was mouthing for her to be quiet, "So what does Buffy think about her sister fancying her best male friend then?"

Anya replied before Dawn could "She pretends it doesn't exist"

"Ah repression the ultimate weapon"

Dawn smiled "I think she just doesn't like to think of me as having grown up"

"How old are you now anyway?"

"21"

"God I feel old", Cordelia said not smiling quite so much as she was.

Sunnydale Museum

12:30 26th January 2006

Xander, Professor Saxon and Charity were wrapping up their meeting after having quickly run down what they could do when Xander suddenly remembered something.

"Professor I do hope that you will still be holding the benefit dinner tonight, after all we need to maintain our image"

"I don't know Mr Harris but the money would help the trust"

"I really think you should, in fact I insist" Xander said smiling at the professor.

"Yes, I think you may be right, I have to admit that I had forgotten all about it until you reminded me anyway"

"That's settled then, now if you will both excuse me I have to run, a meeting I couldn't cancel. You know how it is"

"Of course Mr Harris"

Xander then left as quickly as he could. Waving a hasty goodbye to Charity. Before she could stop him. He had to warn the others.

Charity looked at his retreating back with a small frown on her face. Wonder why he did that she wondered. In fact she was so deep in thought she missed half of what the Professor Saxon was saying.

"... Joining us?" He said

"Sorry what was that?"

"I was just saying that perhaps you would do us the honour of joining us at the benefit tonight Miss Wilkins"

"Urm, I don't know", she paused, it would be a good way of cornering Xander, "okay, but I have nothing to wear"

"There is a rather excellent boutique that has just opened up in the mall, or at least that is what my daughter keeps telling me"

"What's its name? And where exactly is it"

Sunnydale Police Department

13:00 26th January 2006

Detective Allston was looking over another of the devices that had been found by the entrance to the museum. He shook his head; this guy must have money coming out of his ears. The guys in forensics had told him that it was a marvel in miniaturization technology and would have cost a small fortune. He was also a freaking acrobat they had sent a man down the ventilation shaft to check it out for clues, and the man reported that he had come back because he couldn't get all the way through.

Add to that to the fact that when he had finished he then walked out with the bomb squad, and you get once cool customer. The one good thing that had show up was some footage of the thief getting changed in the cleaner's room, he can't have known about the camera hidden there by the security office because they thought the cleaner was stealing. Unluckily he had faced away the whole time.

"Hey Peter"

"Hello Charity, what can I do for ya"

"Just checking in, anything new"

"Just this footage, its from the cleaners cupboard. It's got our guy changing in it"

"Ok run it for me"

He reached over and ran the video. They watched in silence for a while until Charity noticed something.

"Stop the tape"

The video frooze3 to reveal the thief with his back to them in the act of pulling his shirt off of his head, and whilst doing so he had pulled up the one underneath as well to reveal something just in the small of his back.

"What"

"There, what's that on his back"

"Looks like a scar, funny shape though could be a shadow, kind of a circle shape, its hard to make out, must have been pretty deep though."

Charity gasped, I know someone with a scar like that she thought

"What"

"Oh nothing, just thinking... That must of hurt"

"Yeah"

Xander Harris we need to talk, and tonight is the night Charity decided

D'Ville Banquet Hall

21:00 26th January 2006

The party was in full swing; the diner had been amazing the chefs at D'Ville had outdone themselves with the layout they had produced. After dinner the band has struck up the music for some dancing and nearly everyone was out on the floor. Except Xander who was doing his best to remain jovial but was having some difficulty. He had run straight over to the Magic Shop to make sure that everyone knew what was happening but he didn't mention that Faith appeared to be back in town. He just wasn't totally sure yet and well he wanted to solve the mystery for his own peace of mind. After all he had fallen in love with the girl just to have her reject his letters and stop him from seeing her. Then of course she died. Or at least that is how it appeared to Xander at the time.

On top of all that, He was here by himself tonight; everyone decided it would be better if he weren't seen with the gang until this blew over a bit. He had to agree he didn't want the cops to twig until it was to late. But that didn't mean he wasn't feeling lonely. He had planned on bringing Dawn with him to this dance; she knew she would get a blast out of all of the finery. But that was vetoed by his temporary exile from the group.

Also he now had to dedicate himself to the museum trust in an effort to stop the hounds from taking it down. He had to admit this was a first for him, he never thought he would have to deal with the repercussions of a theft he had carried out. That thought almost made him laugh, but only almost. So he continued to smile and nod and shake hands with anyone who came near him in an effort to keep up the charade.

That was until she walked in, Faith or was it Charity. He had to admit if it was Faith her wardrobe sure had changed. Gone were leather pants and tank tops that he had grown to lust. In was the vision in front of him. It took his breath away, but this time it had nothing to do with ghosts and everything to do with her.

She was wearing a Midnight Blue gown that dropped down to the floor, with a split up to about mid thigh. The neckline dropped down in a discrete plunge showing a fair expanse of cleavage without showing too much. As she turned around to talk to someone behind her he could see that the dress was virtually backless stopping just below the small of her back, showing creamy white skin below and clung in all the right places.

He waited until her suitors had been rebuffed and started to creep up behind her. Which if it was Faith should be impossible, as was proven when he saw her shoulders tense slightly.

"Hello wrestled any alligators lately?"

"No just cat burglars" she replied as she turned round

"Hello X-Man"

"It is you isn't it"

"Yes it is"

Xander felt his eyes start to well up, and tried to stop the flow of tears that he knew would ruin his reputation, he covered by getting angry and quickly dragging her to the dance floor where they could talk"

"Why?" he demanded

"Why what, why did I run away? Or why did I fake my own death?"

"Actually I was going to start with why did you ignore all my letters and stop me from seeing you?"

Now it was her turn to hold back tears

"I just couldn't bear to see you after all I had done, I, I was scared"

"Of what?"

"That I might hurt you again of the look in your eyes when you saw the girl who tried to kill you"

"I never would have hurt you, and I never blamed you for what happened. I did try to tell you that in my letters, or did you never read them. I would have told you in person but I could never see you"

"I read every letter you sent me, in fact I still have one of them"

"Really which one" his curiosity getting the better of him for a moment

"You know the one when you talked about, our night together and what it meant to you"

"Oh, so maybe I can get why you didn't want to see me, but why disappear?"

"When I was inside I decided that there was only one way that I was going to stop the ever downward spiral o my life, and that was to start a new one. So I called in a few favours from some of the people inside I had helped and arranged my new life to start shortly after I destroyed the old one"

Xander pondered this for several minutes, all the time dancing slowly with Faith in his arms. He thought about what had been happening in her life and what he knew had happened and decided that if he was in her position he may well have done the same thing. In fact did in a less severe way to his own life. But the sticking point to him had been her rejection of him. That had tempered his dealing with women for most of his life and when he got right down to it that was after all his problem, she didn't have to accept him it wasn't a law she had the right to change her life in anyway just as he did his. A rather extreme way but then Faith always was rather extreme. Plus it looked like it had worked she was the investigator for one of the largest insurance companies in the world and from what the Professor had said she had a very good rep. too.

"OK" he said finally

To say that Faith a.k.a Charity was shocked would be an understatement she thought he was going to rant and rave at her and generally do his best to hurt her but instead she just got kind acceptance.

"OK" she parroted

"Yep OK I get why you did it, I think in your position I may have done something like it myself. In fact I kinda did"

That brought her right back on topic

"Yes, that reminds me, have you still got the scar from that night with the hell bitches?"

"Of course, why?"

"You should make sure you don't show off distinguishing marks like that when you're on camera. Although to your credit it's the first time you have ever slipped up as far as I can tell"

"Wha."

Chapter 8, Who Let The Cat (Burglar) Out Of The Bag

The Magic Box

21:00 26th January 2006

Giles had just got off the phone, and he didn't look pleased

"What's up" asked Buffy

"The Yan~Ban" have arrived in town, and one of their agents has found out that the medallion is no longer in the museum. Luckily for us it's the blood moon tomorrow night"

"This will mean what?" Dawn asked

"Basically it means that they will be searching around town as well"

"Great, that means we have the cops after us, this insurance investigator and a mad tribe of demons, bent on dominating everything this side of the equator" Anya filled in

"Yes, quite" Giles sighed, "This means that we need all of the protection that we can get, tomorrow morning I will call Xander to help us and Gunn and Wesley should be arriving tonight, is that right" He turned to Angel who just nodded once.

"With them and Xander, Buffy should be able to hold the tribe off if the discover our location. Plus Willow is going to conjure a protection ring so I hope that it won't be to bad as I said before though the ritual takes a while, just over an hour and a half to complete. I had originally thought it would take three but I have found a way to shorten the ritual without taking away any efficacy"

Cordelia piped up, "No offence what will having Xander do exactly?"

Angel cut in before anyone else could answer, "From what I saw this morning quite allot"

"What do you mean?"

"I walked in whilst he was working out, and some of the moves he was pulling off I couldn't do on a good day, he has become quite the little acrobat."

"I didn't know that but once he got some money he took some professional coaching with a martial arts master, and now he helps me out on a regular basis" Buffy supplied

"He really did it then" Cordelia said somewhat wistfully

"What", Dawn asked

"He said he had killed the Zeppo, and he did"

D'Ville Banquet Hall

21:00 26th January 2006

Xander was at a loss as to what to say, he wasn't sure quite what she was getting at but he thought he knew, he was trying to come up with a cover story but Faith stopped him

"Don't worry, I figure I owe you one so I'll let this one slide but if you ever, and I mean ever steal from one of my companies charges I will eat your balls", she smiled sweetly at him, "besides I have a feeling that there is more to 'Yans Medallion' than meets the eye?"

"Urm yes", Xander said trying to figure out if she could possibly hide any recording gear under that dress

"What's the matter?"

"Just trying to see if you have a bug"

"What in this dress, I had to pour it on!"

"It looks good" he said a twinkle appearing in his eye

The Magic Box

21:03 26th January 2006

Dawn was sitting quietly working a few things out to her self, things were starting to click and she was starting to add two and two together and she wasn't sure if she liked it. From Angel had been saying Xander was somewhat of an acrobat, the strange things he had been saying lately, coupled with the fact that some money had mysteriously entered her and Buffy's account, well things were getting strange.

She needed more information so she turned to Angel, "So his gym is all set up with ropes and stuff?"

"Yes, and he was working he is way across them rather well, then he did this flip thing from the bar to another rope, very cool actually" he added with a hint of annoyance.

Dawn looked thoughtful

"Why do you ask?" Angel was picking up on her heat beat which was going very fast.

D'Ville Banquet Hall

21:04 26th January 2006

Faith was looking at Xander with more than a little interest, she was starting to feel everything she had before and then some. He was looking down at her with something akin to love in his eyes and it was starting to be too much. She was thinking about doing a Cinderella and making a run for it. Apparently he noticed

"Don't"

"What?"

"Run off again"

"What makes you think that I was going to", she asked some hesitation in her voice.

"Please, I. I don't want to loose you again"

She was stunned; she didn't know what to do. On the one hand she had her own life she enjoyed she worked hard to get and one she didn't want to loose. But on the other she was in the arms of a man that she had felt a lot for, no loved, for a long time. Mind you there was also the problem that he was a professional thief.

The Magic Box

21:05 26th January 2006

Dawn wasn't sure quite what to say, she and Angel were close being her sisters old flame had a habit of making sure she knew him pretty well but Xander was, well Xander and she didn't want to get him into trouble.

"I'm just trying to figure something out."

Angel looked at the young women beside him, it was obvious that something was going on that was worrying her and he was thinking that it had something to do with Xander.

"What's he done now?"

"Who", she stalled

"Xander, its obvious that he is the focus of your thoughts"

She decided to go for broke, "Its just that I have been sure for sometime now that he was holding something back. I think I just realised what it is"

"What?"

She paused again, wondering whether to spill her thoughts and to risk getting Xander in trouble, but she realised that, there was no way anyone in this room was going to turn on Xander he had done to much for all of them. She decided to go for it.

D'Ville Banquet Hall

21:06 26th January 2006

"Faith, urm sorry Charity are you still with me?"

"Yes, sorry just thinking"

"Good thoughts I hope"

"Not really"

"Ohh, urm, sorry I didn't mean to upset you", he started to back away but she caught him and hugged him closer to herself.

"Please, don't leave"

"I thought it was me trying to convince you not to do that a minute ago"

She laughed, "Well you always did manage to turn my world upside down"

"I do my best", he smiled again and Faith found herself pulled towards this man, who buy all accounts managed to turn his life around, become one of the most powerful men in America and one of the richest. She looked into those big brown eyes and felt her heart beat start to rise. She was going to do it, no her mind screamed, yes her heart demanded. In the end her heart won out and she leant in closer pulled herself up on tip toes a bit and kissed him deeply. Throwing all of her self into the kiss showing him what he really meant to her.

The Magic Box

21:07 26th January 2006

"Its him, Xander he is the thief. It is the only way all of the pieces fit together"

"Xander, a thief?" Angel was incredulous, and unfortunately his voice carried

Cordelia, Willow, Buffy and Giles all turned to face them, but it was Willow who spoke up.

"Xander, a what!"

Oh shit, though Dawn, Angel mouthed an apology at her, but the damage was done now

Giles for his part was slowly nodding his head, it all fits, and he was telling himself. Buffy for her part was smiling a huge smile, she at least obviously thought it was hilarious.

Cordelia was looking thoughtful but so far had said nothing, which considering Cordelia didn't bode well, she was thinking about something she had found earlier at Xander's home, something that had been bugging her. She had been looking around his room, like you do, and she had come across a hidden switch on the underside of the bed, she was surprised she hadn't seen it earlier because she had been hanging off the end of the bed at one point, she smiled to herself at the memory and shook herself to get back on track. She had flipped the switch, and a section of the wall above the bed had slid back to reveal a cupboard. At the time she just thought it would be a cool place to put stuff. Now she was thinking that it might be for something else.

"That rat bastard", she exclaimed socking everyone else into silence.

D'Ville Banquet Hall

21:08 26th January 2006

Xander finally had to break the kiss, he didn't want to but air was becoming an issue. He looked down into Faiths deep brown eyes and realised something. He was never going to let this women go, never again.

Faith for her part was thinking the same thing, now all they had to do is tell each other, which they both started to do at the same time.

"Xander..."

"Faith..."

"What," they said at the same time, and broke off laughing. Xander smiled and motioned for her to go first.

She smiled, and pondered her next words

"Xand, I love you I always have, I just couldn't cope with it before that's a part of why I did all that I did before to you, I just didn't have the maturity or wherewithal to cope with it. I had kind of a bad life, even before I became the slayer, my parents, well they weren't nice and I thought you were going to hurt me. Plus there was that whole You love Buffy thing at the time", she was cut off by Xander holding his hand up.

"That ended the night you turned up, I realised that it was you I wanted long before we slept together, people are still under the impression that I pine over buff, but its you I pine for. It's the main reason I couldn't marry Anya"

"Well what the hell do we do now?"

"I've been meaning to retire, I have one more thing to do then I quit, no more urm hobby"

Faith laughed at that one.

"Do you know you are the only case that ever beat me?"

"What, I thought you knew it was me?"

"No the Andrea Diamond, it was you wasn't it?"

He looked her dress over one more time, taking note of the lines of her body than actually checking her for a bug; smiling the whole time he did it.

"I'm not bugged," she said slapping him lightly on the shoulder, which from a slayer can still hurt.

"Yes, want it back?"

"What, you haven't sold it?"

"Not yet, its hidden at my place, its not like I need the money I just wanted to look at it, and see if I could"

"You're a bastard you know that"

The Magic Box

21:09 26th January 2006

After looking at her in shock for a few minutes, Angel asked, "Well that is a little extreme isn't it?"

"Its there?"

"What is?"

"I bet its there"

"What", they all asked in unison.

"If he is the thief, then he's the one that stole that big diamond right?"

"If he is, which has still to be proven" Angel said

"Then I know where the diamond is"

D'Ville Banquet Hall

21:09 26th January 2006

"There is another small problem we need to work on" Xander said

"What's that?"

"If you're to marry me you need to meet my friends"

Faiths mouth dropped open in shock she hadn't even processed the whole sentence yet the marry me bit was a bit of a stumbling block for her. "Wha."

"I can't let you go again, I need you to be with me, I can't ever stand to lose you, Please marry me"

"Wha"

"OK, I seem to have rendered you unable to speak" He smiled at her and her mind started again, and hit the second stumbling block

"Won't they be mad?" now Xander looked confused until he mentally rolled back his words. "No, maybe a little at first but I think that they will understand" He looked down until Faith reached up and pulled his chin up with a finger "Yes" she said smiling up at him, she looked so gorgeous he just had to kiss her again, which she was only to happy to return, they were starting t o attract the attention of those around them.

"Look", Xander said, "Lets get out of here, I need Giles to be able to explain the medallion to you and we are drawing a crowd here, okay?"

She paused, but he was a force of nature to her one she just couldn't deny any longer so she just nodded her head.

"Don't worry It'll be fine" he said smiling

As they left to pick up their coats, the professor watched them go with a large smile on his face, his wife Lucy looked at him. "What is it dear?" she asked

"Just young love darling"

"Soppy old thing" and they continued to dance in each others arms.

Chapter 9, Divine Intervention

The Magic Box

21:30 26th January 2006

The discussion had been passing to and forth ever since Cordelia's outburst and they had all come to the same conclusion with Dawns help. Xander had some explaining to do, and just then the object of their discussion walked in with a stunning women on his arm. They all jumped him at the same time. All except Buffy who was looking at the stranger with shock on he face, no one else noticed not even Angel, maybe it was the slayer in her but she knew just who this dark haired beauty was. The others meanwhile were all ripping into Xander.

"What did you think you were doing", and "Why didn't you say" seemed to be the general consensus. At first he was confused but he realised finally what they were all talking about and blanched visibly.

"Look, urm, guys, well its like this, urm", But for the life of him he couldn't come up with a plausible excuse, so he just said "Sorry?"

Faith meanwhile had noticed Buffy's attention on her. Gathering all the confidence she could she walked over to her

"B, how's it going?" her eyes begging the older slayer to understand, why she did what she did, not even knowing if the other woman knew what had been going on in her head at the time. But she got the shock of her life when Buffy just launched herself at her pulling her into a tight embrace saying one line over and over again "Oh god, thank god I thought you were dead" tears coming down both the woman's faces they looked at each other and Buffy pulled back a bit to look her sister slayer in the eye.

"You also have some explaining to do" she said but her tone was light so Faith wasn't worried yet, but she still had the others to deal with yet then she noticed that the others were still crowded round Xander all talking at the same time. Never did she think that he had kept it from them but apparently he had. This could be interesting she decided.

Buffy decided that he had more than likely, had enough by now so she walked over to the huddle reached in and extracted Xander, much to the others dismay.

"Okay guys I think he's had enough, so what you got to say for yourself young man", she said her finger wagging at him and her eyes were sparkling. He breathed a sign of relief the one person who he thought would have the biggest problem with this was the one that seemed ok with it. He had also noticed that Giles Seemed to think it was gunny and had not really been laying into him. Dawn had looked upset and Willow and Cordelia were both spitting mad.

He girded his loins as it were and spoke, "OK it was me, I did it, I also did the diamond, and yes Cordelia it is in the hidden compartment above my bed, not that I even wanna know how you found it! I'll be giving that back soon as well", he said tossing a small smile at Faith, who was trying to blend into the background. So far it seemed to be working.

"At the end of the day," He continued, " I found out I was good at something and the reason I told no-one, well I thought you would be mad and make me stop basically. That doesn't matter now because I quit earlier tonight, but that's another story"

Dawn looked at him tearfully but smiled at him and he felt a little better, it meant a lot to him that she forgave him, after all she did mean a lot to him, Willow still looked shocked but now Cordelia was looking at Angel a little strangely until he noticed that Angel was whiter than usual and staring at his date for the evening, who was now talking quietly to Buffy.

He looked at Angel and walked in front of him, "Yes, its her" he stated. Angel looked at him and smiled, not something he usually did, he then walked over to Faith a pulled her into a hug as well. By now the others were starting to cotton on to who this dark haired lady was, it rippled round the room like a wave.

"Well that explains why another wasn't called" Giles smiled, somehow he had known she wasn't dead, it didn't click that and no slayer was called. The council had thought it was because Buffy was still alive, but he had, had his doubts. It was nice to be proven right for a change. He decided there and then that whatever her reasons were for tricking them all and disappearing that he would stand by her the way he hadn't before. He walked over to give her a hug.

Dawn for her part was aghast, she hadn't seen this one coming, and Willow looked like she had seen a ghost. Cordelia was looking at Xander with a small smile on her face, sort of sad and happy at the same time, Dawn was a little confused at that but shook it off and went over to join the rapidly growing huddle round Faith.

Xander sauntered over to his life long friend and nudged her slightly

"Hey, wills"

"Hey, thief boy" she smiled at him, damn him it was just impossible for her to be mad at him.

Xander cracked his trademark grin at her, "Don't be mad at her?"

"Mad, why should I be?"

"I thought you would be, she did after all hold you at knife point"

"I of all people now know that sometimes you can be driven to extremes, at least she didn't try to destroy the world because she was sad!"

Xander's smile faltered slightly then he looked deeply into Willows eyes, his eyes seeming to melt slightly "No-one blames you for that, we all know what you were going through, it was a long time ago. Besides", he said and winked at her," by my count you have tried to save it more times than you have tried to destroy it"

She smiled at him and looked at him then over at Faith, a small frown crossing her forehead.

"Something's up here" she said slowly

"What?"

"How is it that you and Faith just happen to bump into each other at a party?"

"Well, she is the investigator for the museums insurance company"

"Wow, and can I just say freaky"

"Why"

"What are the odds that she would be the one that had to come here and check out a crime you committed, and that you two would have to meet up, seems almost like Divine Intervention" she smiled again this time strong and true and walked over to greet Faith.

"She's right you know" Cordelia said as she walked up to him "you and Faith belong together. And before you start to worry remember I said that night was a one off and I meant it" and before he had a chance to say anything she to walked over to talk to Faith.

Sunnydale Police Department

22:00 26th January 2006

Detective Allston, had been working all night checking back over the records of the Sunnydale memorial hospital for the last 10 years, from what the forensics team had told him when he showed them a picture of the scar; it was properly done within that time, and since it was his best lead he had followed up. The devices they had recovered had dried up as leads almost as soon as he started looking; they were obviously made privately or by someone who had never shown up on the police radar before now. So this thin lead was all he had to go on. So far it wasn't proving to be much use, nothing just some small note on some doctors notes for the evening about a young man who came in to get his back seen to nearly seven years ago. "Damn" he swore this was going nowhere, and with that he left for the night leaving the search running, "I'll deal with you in the morning" he told is computer.

The Magic Box

00:00 27th January 2006

They had been talking all night, first Faith and then Xander. Faith for her part had told them all about why she had faked her death and run away, and Xander had told them about his 'hobby' with Buffy laughing the whole time. He still couldn't quite figure out why she thought it was so damn funny

"Buff, of all the reactions I expected why Laughter, or do you think its that funny me being a cat burglar?"

"It's not that"

"Then what?" he was even more puzzled now

"I knew" she stated her face straight for a moment.

"Wha, H, F, A, Y, hey" he stuttered

"Guess who my new boyfriend is?"

"Batman!"

"Edward"

"My butler!"

"Yep, your butler, did you know he thought we all knew? So he brought it up once, oh god your face, it's a picture and that why I'm laughing"

"That bastard, you wait till I get my hands on him"

Buffy turned serious "Your not going to fire him are you?"

"What, no of course not, just beat seven shades out of the little bastard"

The whole group roared with laughter

"I've been waiting for this moment, I just wanted to see your face when I said that!" Buffy had tars rolling down her face, Dawn was starting to look a little pissed, Xander noticed and started to laugh himself

"What?" Buffy managed to get out, Xander just pointed at a now enraged looking Dawn, Buffy paled "Oh shit" she squeaked

"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?" Dawn screamed.

Xander just reached over and gave Dawn a hug, which killed her ire quicker than anything else, could have. "Don't worry to much Dawn she had a reasons"

After they had all clamed down a bit they agreed to meet up the next day.

As Xander reached for Faiths hand Giles asked her "You do still slay?"

"Of course, been killing vamps everywhere I go. As a slayer you just have to, it's built in"

Xander's Building

00:30 27th January 2006

Xander was sat with Faith on his lap in his study, both Cordelia and Angel had elected to stay at Buffy's place for the night so that meant that they had the whole place to themselves, Xander had even given his staff the night off because he didn't think he would need them. The large fire in front of them was keeping them warm but they wouldn't have noticed if they were in an igloo so wrapped up in each as they were. Xander was looking down into Faiths eyes just revelling in what he saw there. Not just the love he had always hoped for but there was a peace in her eyes that he had never seen there before, the girl he had known had grown into such a beautiful and confidant woman.

"Penny for them" she asked

"What, sorry just thinking how gorgeous you are"

"Thank you" she dipped her head into him for kiss that he obliged her by supplying without hesitation. "Your not so bad yourself"

He looked into her eyes again and lust was soon clouding them as he thought about just how much he wanted to make love to her. Her eyes to darkened with it and very soon they were attacking each other's mouths with abandon. She slipped off of his lap without breaking the kiss and pulled him down on top of her on the rug that lay in front of the fire.

Xander finally broke the kiss and looked down at the love of his life lying below him. "If we do this, I can never let you go again, I meant what I said earlier. I want you as my wife"

"And I meant what I said, yes"

And that wasn't the last time she used that word that night.

Chapter 10, Yan-Ban, Thank you Ma'am

The Magic Box

10:00 27th January 2006

Everyone was currently waiting around for Xander and Faith to turn up, they had arranged to meet here to go over the plans for that nights ritual at nine but so far there had been no sign of them so far. Cordelia was wearing a small smile on her face that Buffy just had to ask her about.

"What is it Cordy"

"Nothing, just thinking"

"What"

"Well I was just thinking, that they are more likely to tired to get here"

"Talking from personal experience hey?" Buffy smirked but was shocked when Cordelia said

"Yes"

"But I thought, back in school you two never, urm, did the deed"

"We didn't, then"

"Oh, urm, oh the other night!"

"Oh god yes"

"Whoa, didn't see that one coming"

Cordelia smiled a truly wicked smile "I did"

Buffy turned several shades of pink before she said "What he like? I mean Anya always said he was a Viking in the sack but what would she know"

"A good girl would never tell you", Cordelia paused "Luckily I'm not a good girl"

They put their heads closer together so they weren't overhead and continued to talk. Meanwhile Angel, Giles, Wesley and Gunn, Who had arrived in the early hours of the morning, were all going over the ritual.

"So I just say this passage here, and then throw this herb into the fire" That was Angel

"Yes Angel, then I have to say this, urm, very long passage here"

"Then what"

"Then we wait for the fire to die back down and repeat three times"

"So this is the cut down version?"

"Yes, Willow and I went over it again earlier this morning and we have cut out all of the usual rubbish and got the ritual down to just 20 minutes worth of casting, but this part is absolutely necessary"

"The ones who created this ritual were a bit long winded then" Angel smiled; he seemed to be doing that a lot lately.

"Yes, it was created in America around about two hundred years ago, when the only casters of any note were all scholars and overly found of the sound of their own voices it seems"

Angel actually laughed at that drawing looks from the others, "What its not like I never laugh you know" he said in slightly hurt tone of voice. Cordelia and Buffy both smiled at him and got back to their chat that now included Anya, who was waving her hands around in an exaggerated manner. Whatever it was it seemed to impress the other women. Giles shook his head at them; whatever they are talking about he really didn't want to know.

Finally the bell on the door alerted them to the arrival of Xander and Faith, who did indeed both look very tired, but were also both smiling from ear to ear. They both looked mildly puzzled when Buffy, Anya and Cordelia started to giggle like school girls, so Faith went to investigate and was soon laughing as well. Xander walked over to the men in the room hoping for a little sanity, he nodded at Wesley and Gunn then turned to Giles.

"So have we got all the plans ready for tonight?"

"Yes, Indeed. We have managed to shorten the ritual even more and as soon as midnight comes we will start. Would you and Faith be able to meet us in the park at midnight?"

"Sure"

"Excellent, then really there is not much more to say, except bring weapons and the medallion"

"OK"

Sunnydale Police Department

12:00 27th January 2006

Peter Allston, was going through his search results from the night before, these along with the rest of his clues were starting to point him in a very un-expected avenue.

'Why would a millionaire want to steal?' he asked himself

All of the clues were now pointing towards Xander Harris, chief patron of the museum and all round good guys as far as he could tell. Every avenue pointed back to him. The one thing Detective Allston couldn't think through was why and how. 'Why would a man as rich as Mr Harris want to steal anything, and how exactly he did it'. The only real clue that pointed fully towards him doing the deed himself was the scar that had shown up on the security camera, however that was a long way from being full proof. Especially when you considered what sort of lawyers the man would have on his team!

Peter sighed, the other thing that was bothering him was that he had been unable to track down Charity Wilkins all morning either, there had been reports that she had left with Mr Harris the night before from the benefit function. This had him worried as well. If the man was the perpetrator of the crime he could be dangerous. He reached for the phone and dialled her mobile one more time hoping he could contact her.

Sunnydale Police Department

12:00 27th January 2006

Charity was started when her mobile phone went of in her bag; she quickly excused herself and walked outside to take the call.

"Hello Charity Wilkins"

"Charity, Its Detective Allston"

"Hello Peter, what can I do for you?"

"Its like this, I ran a search on the hospital database last night as well as a few other things, and I think I may have our thief"

Faiths heart stopped and jumped into her throat

"Really" she managed to get out, "Who"

"Mr Harris, the main patron of the museum. Although this is so far all circumstantial Its seems it may well have been him"

She quickly gathered her thoughts and tried to come up with a plan. She must have been quiet for a while because the detective cut into her thoughts

"Charity, are you still there?"

"Oh yes; sorry just thinking. I'm going to do a little checking around myself and get back to you ok?"

"OK Charity, call me later. I am going to find our Mr Harris and have a word with him."

"OK, but I want to be there for that. Give me a call when you contacted him 'k'"

"OK will do, call you later."

She terminated the call and rushed back in. She quickly walked over to Xander and the other men.

"OK we have a problem," she said attracting their attention.

"What is it Faith" Wesley said, he had been the one who had been the most shocked at the revelation that she was still alive, he felt it was his fault she died in someway, and had been guilty ever since.

"Wes, has Angel filled in all the details?"

"Yes, He has, been a bit of a shock. You alive and Xander a cat burglar"

"Well the police have chosen now to get a clue, who'd of thought!"

"Shit" Xander swore quietly "How long have I got?" and started thinking quickly.

"Its not that bad, chill don't worry so much. They will call you for questioning, if we can keep them off your back until tomorrow night it won't matter" Faith said, she could see that he was worried.

"Maybe, that is if we can carry out the ritual and carry out me plan for getting the medallion back in" he said

"What is the plan anyway?" Gunn asked

"Better that I keep that to myself, but I need a chat with wills, then I'll head home make it easy for the police to find me"

"OK, I'll be there when they question you, you'd better come up with an alibi" Charity said

"That's easy enough, he was with us" Buffy , who had walked up, said.

"Doing what?" Faith asked, "The police will want to know"

"Urm, not sure there"

Xander got an evil look on his face. "I have an idea of something that they can't check to closely" he smiled at her

"Oh no, very funny Xand"

Xander laughed, "Look we will just say that we were fighting a gang on PCP," he said

They all laughed "But seriously though, Say I came over for dinner, but you had better clear it with Edward first so he knows okay I don't want him getting the wrong end of the stick, Oh and tell Dawn too"

Giles clapped his hands "Well that's, that sorted then. But it does mean that the police may have you followed maybe you should give the medallion to Buffy now and then stay at home tonight, that will help them keep away from us" Giles held his hand up to quell the string of denials from Xander "I know you want to help and this is the one time when staying away may actually help us more than joining us"

Xander didn't look happy but nodded anyway; just then his mobile phone started buzzing in his pocket.

Sunnydale Police Department

12:30 27th January 2006

"Mr Harris, It's Detective Allston here from the Sunnydale Police Department"

"Hello Detective, what can I do for you?"

"I was wondering if I could make an appointment to come and see you this afternoon about the robbery at the museum. Just a few things we need to clear up"

"Of course, I'll be at my home at One O'clock, will that be convenient?"

"Yes, that's fine, I will see you then Mr Harris"

"OK Detective, Bye"

"Goodbye" Detective Allston hung up and dialled Charity's mobile

"Charity, Its Peter Allston, Mr Harris will be meeting me at 13:00 at his home, want to join me?"

"Yes Please, I'll come to the station now and we'll go together?"

"That'll be great see you soon"

He hung up again and stretched out to loosen his muscles a bit

Shady Pines Cemetery

23:50 27th January 2006

Faith was waiting for Giles and Angel to finish setting up the ritual. She was thinking back to the afternoon with Xander, and the police detective Allston. They had been there nearly two hours and peter had drilled Xander in a not so subtle manner about his whereabouts on the night of the robbery. Xander had just told them that he had dinner with a friend. The funny thing was when he said it was with Buffy Summers the detective eyebrows hit his hairline, but he hadn't said anything. She hadn't managed to say anything to Xander since then but she knew he was holed up at his building. He was staying out of sight so as not to arouse any more suspicion and to give them a clear field for the ritual. Just as her thoughts started to turn towards Xander's and her relationship she heard Giles, and Angel start to chant. It was Showtime.

Willow started to chant a protection spell and a barley visible bubble sprang to life around herself, Giles and Angel. That left Faith, Buffy, Wesley, Gunn, Cordelia and Dawn on the perimeter. It was just as well because just as the barrier popped into existence, several large yellow demons with bull like horns entered the small clearing they were in. It would appear the Yan~Ban tribe had arrived.

Xander's Building

03:30 27th January 2006

Xander was pacing up and down in his study, slightly fuming that he had, had to stay at home when the gang, specifically Faith had needed him. He kept trying to go over what he could have done to help and was about to give up and go to the cemetery when a voice at the door disturbed his diatribe.

"That rug must have cost a good $1500 dollars do you really want to wear a groove into it?"

"Faith, oh thank god are you alright?"

"Yep, just a few bumps and bruises"

Xander could see that it was a bit more than that, he looked her over and notices that she was covered in both her blood and what he assumed was the blood of the demons who had attacked them, at least he hoped the bright green Goo wasn't hers. He rushed over to her and kissed her passionately.

They didn't seem to be about ready to break the kiss until another hesitant voice broke in.

"Urhh, sorry to disturb you but we need to talk"

They reluctantly broke the kiss and when his eyes were finally able to refocus, he looked at the owner of the voice, Giles.

"What can I do for you G-Man?"

"We need to make plans to get the Medallion back to the authorities"

"Don't worry Giles, just give me the thing and I will deal with it" Xander said accompanied with a small smile, and a major twinkle in his eye.

"Well, I would prefer to know how you are going to accomplish that, but you haven't let me down so far" and with that Giles handed over the medallion which was swathed in cloth.

"You sure its safe now?" Faith asked

"Yes I am certain of it, and now it is safe it really should be in a museum", said the former curator of the British Museum.

"Don't worry Giles, I'm sure that the X-Man has a plan, now if you boys will excuse me I NEED a shower", with that Faith left the study.

Xander smiled after her, watching the sway of her hips as she left.

"And I, must get back to the Magic Box", Giles pronounced.

"OK Giles, I'll see you out"

I'll get rid of him, and join Faith in the shower, Xander decided, and turned with Giles towards the front door.

Chapter 11, Closing Pandora's Box

Sunnydale Museum

12:00am 28th January 2006

Xander paused as he looked down on the museums main hall from his perch on the roof. The skylight that he was going to go through had been disconnected from the main alarm system and he had only a few short moments to wait before the guard passed by him. The main trouble with the task he was trying to carry out was that he had to make sure that he wasn't spotted and that he didn't leave any clues of any kind.

After his last time here he knew that the museum security had been upgraded to an even higher level. It had more guards now and they made regular rounds. It was going to be a game of cat and mouse as he made his way around. The worst thing was that he had to make his way down to one of the subterranean levels. Once where they the recently dug up artefact that was due to be opened tomorrow afternoon. He breathed out slightly.

He was sat in such a way as to appear almost invisible to normal camera, with his back to a ventilation shaft. The suit he was wearing was also designed to mask his heat signature from the infrared camera as well. The guard passed beneath him walking in a casual swagger swinging what looked to be a police baton with each step.

Xander moved into action. He carefully opened the skylight and slipped through, he had already checked the underside with a periscope to make sure that no extra surprises were on the way. He quickly held onto the ledge and allowed himself to drop on his line. He quickly reached the floor where he removed the line and hit the recall button. It made almost no noise as it started to wind back into hiding. He would have to come back out this way and had rigged a winch and a line for automatic drop and lift.

Xander quickly hid behind one of the larger exhibits watching the line winch its way back up. A guard came back through again causing Xander's heart to start beating faster. 'Don't look up buddy', he prayed to himself. Luckily for him he didn't. The guard made his way out of the hall and Xander silently followed him out.

He and the guard separated their secret came of chase as Xander found the intersection he wanted. Normally he would have made his way down a ventilation shaft, but they had caught onto that trick. So now he had to do it the hard way.

He slowly made his way down to the basement every so often his heart leapt into his throat as he dodged yet another guard. It took what seemed like hours for him to reach his goal, but in fact it took only minutes before he stood outside the door to his destination.

He bypassed the security and opened the door. He stepped carefully into the quiet room and held his breath; closing the door behind him he reset the lock. The only sound was a small beeping noise coming from a computer monitoring the heat of the 6 foot long box that was central to the room.

Xander quickly made his way over to it and looked it over. He put his pack onto the floor and rummaged around in it. A piece of paper and the medallion appeared from the all black ruck sack. He carefully placed the medallion at the top of the sarcophagus, approximately where the neck of the inhabitant would be. He then held out the piece of paper that Willow had given him and chanted the words. Luckily for him the words were spelled out phonetically as he didn't happen to speak Angelic script.

A glow grew around the medallion and soon started to pulse slightly as he spoke the ancient words of power. He nervously looked around him worried a guard would see the light. He may have looped the camera's in this room temporarily but that didn't mean that a guard couldn't stumble upon his deception. Xander watched as the glow dissipated and the medallion disappeared. Now that the first part of his plan was in action he quickly read out a second piece of paper that allowed another part of his plan to be rolled into place and smiled.

'Job Done', he thought to himself and quickly gathered his things.

He quickly made his way out of the room, he took the risk of removing the Looper; he didn't want anyone to know he had been through. He had talked with Faith and he knew all that the police knew about his methods and tricks. If he could just out of here clean and clear everything was set for the unmasking.

He reset the alarm on the door and started to make his way back up to the top level. The guards must have been changing as he didn't see s single soul as he crept though the dead spots in the camera coverage.

He finally reached the top most level and entered the hall where his carefully prepared escape plan would soon trigger. He had timed everything down to the last second. Luckily he had allowed him self some error margin or the rope would now be hanging in full view of any guard who happened to stumble upon it.

He glanced at his watch, 10 seconds, and 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1 the rope quickly dropped down and after checking the area he clipped it to his belt and it quickly lifted him up and out of the museum.

The Magic Box

01:00am 29th January 2006

Faith/Charity Wilkins paced back and forth across the magic box's floor. The gang had assembled after patrol to meet with Xander. Tonight they were going to plan the Medallion's return to where it belonged. The Yan~Ban tribe had disappeared as soon as the ritual to remove the medallion's power was complete. So all they had to do was get away with it.

"Don't worry, He said he just had to meet with someone" Buffy said

"I know, but what sort of meeting makes him this late" she said shortly. She then relented and mumbled an apology.

"Who Died!" came an overly cheerful voice from the door.

A blur appeared in his arms, but this time it wasn't Dawn, It was Faith.

"Hey you" he said softly.

"Where the hell have you been?"

"Just my meeting" he lied quickly.

"Did it go well?" Giles said he knew exactly what Xander had been up to.

"Sure did G-Man?" he told the older man cheerfully. His smile grew at the groan his nicknamed elicited. "After all these years, you think you would be used to it" he quipped.

Giles grimaced at him and then smiled. "Not really, ... LeVelle" and watched with glee as it was Xander's turn to grimace.

"If you too have quite finished, we need to plan how to return the wham bam medal thingy" Buffy said eliciting grins from all present, especially her sister.

"You're such a doofus" Dawn said with a twinkle.

"Hey, I am just 'Horribly Complicated Name' challenged, thank you very much"

"Oh and Yan~Ban is so complicated" her sister taunted her.

Giles quickly called them to order and they got to work. Surprisingly it was Dawn who came up with an idea almost similar to the plan he had just put into action. Xander found it amusing that the rest quickly vetoed the idea saying it was too dangerous.

"I thought it was clever," he told her.

She smiled at him with a twinkle in her eye.

"So, do you think I could become a master thief then"

"Sure, I'm retiring, I'll have to pass along the trade to someone" he said with a smile and watched as Buffy exploded.

"You will do no such thing, I don't want my sister to be corrupted by you," she virtually screamed at him.

"Chance would be a fine thing" Dawn said wistfully.

Buffy was once again scandalised as Xander laughed. "Sorry kiddo, I'm spoken for." His smile turned sly. "Otherwise, you know more than happy to corrupt you" he said winking at her. It earned him a dead arm from a blonde slayer but it was worth it both for the outraged look on Buffy's face and the smile Dawn turned on him.

They spent some time trying to come up with a plan. It took hours even to come up with the basic outline. By time they had that they were all too tired to continue, besides he had an appointment to keep tomorrow and he wanted to be rested for it. He had kept pretty quite about the planning stage, and Faith was eyeing him suspiciously. He couldn't tell her though he needed her reaction to be genuine. He knew that once his plan unfolded and all became clear he was likely to earn himself another dead arm, this time form a raven haired slayer, possibly even two. He hoped she would let him make it up to her though.

Chapter 12, Farewell To Arms, And Maybe a Leg

Sunnydale Museum

10:00 30th March 2006

Detective Allston walked into the library with an almost jaunty step, we'd done it he had finally figured out how to get that smart ass. He was going to trap the S.O.B. at his own game. That morning they had shipped in the largest diamond in the world. It was traveling through the country on a tour. He had pulled some strings and had it arrive at this museum early. It had taken some doing but he had a few friends in a few low places how had some high up friends.

No thief could resist the prize of that diamond. Peter smiled thinking about how Xander-I'm-To-Clever-Harris would be caught with his hands in his pants. They had installed extra camera's and security and not a mouse could slip through the new security net. It was all a matter of time.

*****

Just a few minutes behind him another figure walked in through the door way. This figure was a tall dark a mysterious looking figure. He had bright blue intelligent eyes set into a handsome face. Dressed in casual slacks of an English nature he cut the figure of a lord or some other nobleman. He walked with a measured gait and his eyes took in everything he saw. He listened intently to the tour guide as if she was the only interesting thing in the world. All in all he was very interested in the museum. He had traveled a long way and had been traveling for some time to visit one particular exhibit. His carefully laid out plans were thrown into disarray when the new of a change of venue for the exhibit had suddenly arrived. He had quickly changed his plans and come here instead. He had pulled up the plans of the building and had contacted a friend of his for the security details well in advance of his arrival. He just wanted to see it.

As they tour arrived at his ultimate goal he found his breath was taken away. The ultimate prize. He knew of only one other who would even attempt it but he was going to get the diamond first.

There it was softly glowing and throwing off a myriad of colors. It almost seemed to pulse with a soft yellow light though. The size of a small grapefruit it was literally priceless. It had started with his father, this obsession with having the diamond and he carried on the tradition. He had been chasing it as long as he had learnt to creep through a museum. He tuned in to catch what the tour guide was saying.

"And finally, here on tour from France is the famous 'Pink Panther'"

Sunnydale Museum

20:00 30th March 2006

The trustees all shifted uncomfortably on their feet. They had been standing in the small room for nearly two hours. The head of archeology had called them all here to witness the opening of the sarcophagus. It was the oldest ever found in Sunnydale and he hoped that it would put them on the archeological map. The first hour had been spent investigating the seal. This was done to ensue the age of the stone coffin. So far so good, it appeared to be at least a thousand years old. Not a soul had opened this casket in a millennium. The trustee's were all very interested to start with but their exuberance had waned with the laborious process of actually getting into the damn thing. A man with a VCR was recording the whole thing. Most were thinking they should have borrowed the tape. If run on fast forward this may even be interesting.

Among the bored men was a certain dark haired individual who wasn't as uninterested as the others. He was younger by far but was one of the most prominent of all of the trustees. As such he was given pride of place right next to the sarcophagus. He would be the first to see it open. He was standing off to one side but still in full view of the video camera. Just as he wanted it. He just had to remember to be surprised and not laugh when he saw the archeologists face. They were going on the map all right, but not for the reasons the scientist thought.

Xander checked his watch, Only a few more minutes and the coffin should be opened. Then basically he was in the clear. Who was going to blame him when all of the proof pointed towards the casket not being opened in a thousand years. It was plainly ridiculous.

He had to admit though. In any other circumstance he wouldn't be here. He would be upstairs in his 'Work' wear nicking that humongous diamond. He had seen it earlier on his way through and just had to stop to look at it. It had been sent to the museum for a reason he didn't immediately place. Then it hit him, Allston, it had to be Allston. The police detective had to think him stupid to try stealing it. It was an obvious trap.

*****

A dark figure detached from the shadows in the large room housing the diamond. It had painstakingly made its way through the security. The figure had been surprised at the enhanced security that it found in place and had been even more cautious than before. It had just watched a group of three security guards walk past one of which had almost certainly been a policeman. It was in the walk and the way the out of place guard had held himself. The figure was starting to think it had walked into a trap. But all fears and hesitation had disappeared when it saw the diamond.

*****

Ensconced in the security office were two other dark figures. One was obviously a female. Her feminine curves were visibly even in the gloom of the office. The other was likely a male, whilst no curves belied his gender his stance did. He was standing in a hunched fashion but his body language was screaming out that he was attracted to his female companion.

They were watching a small screen that showed the gem room. In the center of the display sat the large 'Pink Panther' diamond. It almost glowed in the soft nightlights of the museum. They watched as a shadow seemed to take on life of it's own and start toward the diamond.

Faith's breath caught in her throat. <The Idiot> she screamed inwardly. She was about to try to distract the detective when she noticed something else on another screen. Confused she nudged her companion.

Detective Peter Allston was beside himself with glee. He had the bastard, there was no way he could get out of it. At the insurance inspectors nudge he looked at her annoyed. She pointed at another screen and the detective felt his jaw drop. There in plain site was his quarry. But not where he wanted him, he was at the side of a coffin where several confused people were running around the room like headless chickens. He himself was also remarkably confused and was running his hand through his hair.

Peter glanced back to the gem room and found that the thief had moved in and was in the process of removing the diamond from its plinth. He glanced between the two screens as if watching a tennis match. He couldn't understand what was happening.

Faith, who had by now realized what was happening, leant across him and slapped the panic button. Within seconds the place would be swarming with policemen and the thief would be stopped. After all her company would be liable otherwise.

*****

Xander was inwardly laughing his socks off. Moments earlier they had opened the casket. Then they had all peered inside to find the desiccated mummy was wearing something. It took longer than he had expected but suddenly, Professor Saxon had inhaled sharply.

"Isn't that the Yan's Medallion" he had said.

It had been quickly confirmed and the all hell had broken loose. Xander found he was a consummate actor and had plastered a confused and outraged face on.

Now with the same face on he was demanding answers to the how and the why's. He was making an effort to take it easy on the poor archeologist. After all it wasn't really his fault.

Before the poor scientist had time to answer him though the alarm system was triggered. Xander grabbed an internal phone and dialed the security office without hesitation.

"What's going on" he demanded. He listened to the answer with growing shock on his face. A thief was trying to steal the Pink Panther. He put the phone down and hurried out of the room. He was thinking quickly as he could. He quickly reached the security office and wasn't surprised to find that Detective Allston and Faith were already there. He almost ran them down in his haste to look at ht security camera. The thief was panicking and bolting with the diamond. He thought quickly. He looked at the policeman.

"Quickly we need to get the roof covered" he told the man. Peter Allston looked at him with confused eyes. Here in front of his eyes was the proof of Xander Harris's innocence. But the man hadn't finished, "Miss Wilkins, if you go to room 4b you will find something that you've been looking for I think"

With that Xander virtually dragged the policeman out of the office. Faith rushed out after them and headed to the sarcophagus room. She knew it was being opened tonight Xander had mentioned it that day. She hadn't been sure why but he had.

*****

The thief, his careful plans coming down round his ears bolted for his escape route. You never walk into a place without knowing how to get out if it goes wrong. That had been one of the first lessons his father had taught him. He stuck to it religiously. Now he made his way toward the roof at a full run. He had to dodge and in some cases dive away from guards.

Once he arrived at the roof he found two obstacles to his escape. One a policeman was pointing a gun at him and the other was off to one side, unarmed. The thief in desperation did the one thing Allston hadn't expected. He ran full tilt into him knocking him flying before he had chance to fire. He tumbled off to one side rolling continuously.

Xander having watched that did the only thing he could think off, he punched the thief, hard, he dived towards the policeman and ignored the thief. He had seen exactly were the policeman's tumbling was heading. He landed with a thumb just as the man rolled straight off of the roof. He managed to snag one of the mans arms and held on for dear life. The jerk of the mans falling weight nearly pulled him off of the side as well but he secured himself with his legs and spare arm. Once the initial inertia leveled off he reached down with his second arm.

Their eyes met and the police man knew he was totally at the mans mercy. If he was a heartless thief he would allow the fall and kill the man accusing him. Or he could pull him up.

Xander smiled down at him, "I've always wanted to hang out with a policeman"

"Real funny, pull me up already"

Xander tensed and pulled as hard as he could, he vaguely heard heels behind him and felt a pair of slender but very strong arms aiding his task. Together he and Faith pulled the detective back up onto the roof. Finally they all sighed in relief as the policeman lay on his back on the roof's gritty surface. He was breathing hard and thanking god in heaven. He had seen his life flashing before his eyes for a moment.

<Boy do I need to get a life> he thought to himself.

He looked over to his saviors and smiled at Xander, "Thanks" he managed to say between breaths.

Xander smiled at him, "No problem detective. I'm afraid the thief got away though."

"Damn It" Peter swore.

"What, oh no. You should have stopped him" Faith said wearily. She was going to be filling forms out for the rest of her life.

"Sorry, but I decided it was better to save our friendly policeman here" Xander said with a hint of a smile.

Faith just gave him a withering look and was tapping her foot slightly.

Xander's Building

08:00 01st August 2006

Xander woke slowly that morning. The night before had almost been a blur and the day before, well it had been intense. He had always sworn he would never do it and now he was having gone and done it.

The fiasco of the medallion had been covered up. The insurance company had hushed the whole thing and the museums find had been relegated to the deepest darkest warehouse known to man. He had received a commendation from the Sunnydale PD. That had been a laugh, Poor detective Allston had given him it himself. He was a hero for saving the life of a policeman. The jewel thief got clean away with the huge diamond and the insurance company had been forced to pay up. Faith had unfortunately lost her job. She had gone away for nearly a week fighting against the decision but in the end she was made a better offer.

Xander smiled and looked down at the dark haired slayer. With two slayers in town things on that front were very quiet. It was that fact that had prompted his decision. The form beside him stirred and opened bleary eyes at him.

"Morning" Faith said sleepily.

"Good morning. Mrs. Harris"

::::THE END::::

The End

You have reached the end of "The Xander Harris Affair". This story is complete.

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