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Twin Souls- Book One: Medals

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Twin Souls". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Xander got something really interesting for Halloween: a marksman medal. And this will have some consequences in his life.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Action > Mack Bolan, The Executioner SeriesBigHeadFR1515,3230105,5029 Mar 059 Mar 05Yes
Twin Souls

Author: BigHead / bigheadfics@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss. Mack belongs to Don. I belong to taxes.

Summary: Xander got something really interesting for Halloween: a marksman medal. And this will have some consequences in his life.

Rating: R for language and graphic description of violence.

Author's Notes: A huge, enormous thank to Tenhawk and his input. This was supposed to be a mediocre fic in the back of my head, but now I think it might be worth reading. And to CanadianSatan, 3DMaster and Siege for the comments and beta.

Feedback: YESSSS!!!! PLEEEEAAAASEEE!!!

Book One – Medals

Xander grabbed the toy gun, while Willow and Buffy were busy with the noblewoman’s dress. He was short on money, but with the old army fatigues he had at home and the toy, he could do a good enough soldier. He was going to pay for the toy gun when his eyes caught a small item on display inside a box. He grabbed the item, a medal, and looked at it thoroughly. It looked exactly like the ones his father used to talk about. The storeowner, a Giles-y sort of dude, came closer, noticing the boy’s attention to the item.

“Yes, my boy? Anything of interest?”

Xander almost jumped, not noticing the approach. He turned to the man and glared, but the British guy just smirked. “Yeah. This medal here, I think I saw it somewhere. . . you know what it is for?” he asked, out of curiosity. The man took the medal from Xander and looked it with interest.

"To be honest, lad, I'm not really sure," The man, Ethan, Xander presumed, said after a moment. "I believe this came with a batch if items I bought at a police auction. You know, uniforms, cuffs, things of that nature. Why? You recognize it?"

This time, Xander was the one who smiled, brightly. “I might have an idea,” he said, lifting the toy weapon. “You have some other toy guns around? This one doesn’t exactly fit with my idea.”

“I think I still have a couple others in the back. Let me check.”

Brit Guy returned with a trio of guns, a rifle that belonged well with a cowboy outfit, a revolver that had the same idea and a pistol, only problem was that the weapon in question was a girly pink color. Xander eyed the pistol, and almost deflated, but suddenly his memory made the favor of reminding him about a can of black spray paint at his home.

“How much for the pink pistol and the medal?” Xander asked.

“Ten dollars. I can make it for five if you tell me about the medal.”

Xander grabbed his wallet and handled the owner five bucks. “My father used to tell me some stories about a guy who used to be a kick-ass soldier in Vietnam, but his family had some Mob problems and his father killed the entire family and committed suicide. The guy came back and decided to declare war on the Mafia. My father said that he left those medals, which are Marksman’s medals by the way, as some sort of calling cards on the places where he raided.”

“So, you believe this is one of those medals?” the owner asked, mind alight with possibilities.

“I don’t know. To me it sounds more like an urban legend, you know, like those guys who pay you a drink and end up leaving you in a tub full of ice after stealing your liver, kidneys and a lung. But it sounds like an interesting guy to dress as.”

“That it does, my boy. That it does.”

*****

Joyce opened the front door, and she noticed Xander standing there, with an odd, serious look on his face. If she didn’t know him, she would have mistaken him with someone else. For starters, he was dressed all in black, a long sleeved shirt, black pants and combat boots. At his hip a toy gun rested in display. She could see that his belt also had some fake grenades attached to it.

“Xander, do come in. Girls are getting ready,” Joyce said, and his serious face dissolved as if by miracle. “What’s the black commando look? And the gun?”

The brunette smirked and walked in. “Hello, Mrs. Summers. Well, I remembered my father telling me a story about a guy that was a soldier from Vietnam and he came back to fight the Mafia here. I always thought he was telling me some weird bedtime stories, but the guy seemed ok. I saw this . . .” He removed the marksman medal from his pants’ pocket. “. . . and thought it would be cool to dress as him. That was his calling card.”

Joyce grabbed the medal, and her face took a serious note. “It wasn’t a weird bedtime story. Mack Bolan really existed. I know, I saw many news regarding his ‘war’,” she said, returning the medal to him.

Xander was mute for a few moments. “So, is he for real?”

“Was,” she said, looking to him, and inviting him to sit for a while. “He was doing a pretty bloody war, and I guess that he effectively destroyed the Mafia operations for a few years, but then his luck ran out and he was ambushed and killed, from what I remember.”

“So, he was some sort of vigilante?”

“I believe so. The reporters dug a little from his past, but depending on the inclination, he was either painted as a psychopath or as a savior. I think that what he was doing had the right reasons, but the wrong methods. You don’t just go around killing people, that’s just plain nuts. And wrong.”

“I guess he pissed off a lot of people,” Xander said, drawing some comparisons in his mind.

“You have no idea,” Joyce said, smiling.

*****

Mack Bolan steadied himself after a small dizzy spell, but battle-hardened instincts made him recover in a moment, while his eyes checked his surroundings. The last thing he remembered was leaving a medal behind him in the Cartel’s hideout and now he was standing right in the middle of a street, far away from Miami, from what he could gather. With a quick check up, he noticed that his weapons were reduced to a Colt 1911 and two grenades.

He removed the gun from the holster, thinking on where his Beretta and the Desert Eagle ended up. He hadn’t used a 1911 in a long time. He checked the chamber and the clip. Eight shots. No extra clips, no knife, nothing. What the hell happened? He never went anywhere so under armed.

His considerations were cut short by an old woman screaming, being attacked by some sort of disguised humans, three of them. They were unarmed, and until he understood everything around, he wouldn’t act harshly. He approached with sure steps, and before any of them even saw him approach, he had kicked the one closer in the knee, breaking it and making him fall down in a heap, out for the duration. The other two forgot the woman, who took the opportunity to escape. The one to the left tried to grab him, but Bolan sidestepped and in a continuous motion kneed him in the stomach. He folded, and a well-applied elbow behind the neck dealt with thug number two. Third one was dealt with a little more class, a .45ACP Colt 1911 pointed right between the eyes. Seeing both of his companions down on the floor, he turned around and ran. Mack re-holstered the gun.

“XANDER! XANDER!” a redheaded girl ran in his direction and suddenly stopped, noticing the groaning Halloween reject and his unconscious buddy.

“Sorry, miss. You must be confusing me with someone else. Name’s Mike. Mike Belasko,” Xander said, eyeing his surroundings once again. “Where am I?”

“No, you’re not; you are my friend Xander and I don’t know what happened but this is Halloween and people turned into their costumes and those demons you knocked down are dressed-up people and this is Sunnydale, California and you don’t remember me and Buffy . . . Oh my God, BUFFY!”

Mack was surprised to see the girl speak so fast, but before he could ask for any further explanations, the girl turned around and ran, back to where she had come from. He decided to follow the girl, because she could know how he ended up here, of all places. What he found out surprised him even more, a brunette woman, dressed like a noblewoman, screaming like a banshee.

“DEMON! DEMON!” she said, pointing to a car.

Bolan shook his head. Teenagers.

The redhead was trying to calm down her friend, and Mack tried to call her attention, by grabbing her shoulder. What wasn’t his surprise when his hand passed *through* the girl.

“What the hell?” he asked, but another scream took him out of his musings. Another woman was being chased by another one of those costumed maniacs. This time, either the guy was a midget or it was a kid. Mack ran in an intercept course, and tackled the kid. They rolled on the floor, the force of impact apparently being enough to make the kid fall unconscious. He tried to remove the mask, but he got another surprise when he didn’t find the edge of the mask. He tried to pull the make-up off, but it stretched out, like skin would. That’s when he noticed his own hands.

His young, unscathed, hands.

He looked around, trying to find a reflexive surface, and he did, the window of a car a few feet away. The face that looked back at him wasn’t his, unless plastic surgery had evolved so much that he now looked as a brown-eyed teenager.

The redheaded girl . . . ghost, whatever she was, approached him again, after being able to calm down the other girl a bit.

“What the *hell* is going on around here?” he asked the redhead, but his eyes kept scanning the surroundings.

“I believe this is a spell, Mr. . . . uh, Belasko, is it?”

“Spell? Like magic?” he asked, standing up.

“Yeah, you see, magic is real, and we, I mean, Xander, Buffy and I, we dressed for Halloween, you as some sort of soldier, me as a ghost and Buffy as a noblewoman. A-and I guess someone used a spell to turn us into our costumes.”

Mack tried to process all of that with his sharp mind, and he ended up with two conclusions after a few moments: either the girl was telling the truth, or he was being victim of a pretty wacked-up plot, but something in the back of his mind was telling him that the first option was the truth.

“Come on, the streets aren’t safe, we have to find someplace secure and try to find a solution to all that,” he said, taking charge.

“Buffy’s home is nearby. Come on!” she said, and tried to grab his arm. Mack’s reflexes made him retreat, but either way it didn’t work, since her hand passed through his arm. “Damn!” she screamed, and looked back to a scared-looking Buffy. “Grab her and let’s go!”

Bolan grabbed the girl’s wrist, and under a verbal barrage in English and French, dragged her along.

*****

They entered through the kitchen, Bolan checking the place with a trained eye. The place was worthless if someone decided to use firearms, but apparently those . . . things relied mostly in strength and scare tactics.

Once he is satisfied with his check up, he turns back to them. “All clear.”

Ghost girl looks around. “Mrs. Summers?” Since no one answered back, she relaxed a bit. “Good, she’s gone.”

Mack dragged the kitchen table to the backdoor. It wouldn’t be much, but it could probably hold the door for a few moments. Not-so-noble girl walked in, and looked around.

“Where are we?” she asked the redhead.

“Your place. Now we just need . . .”

Someone banged up at the front door. Mack, in a flash, unholstered the Colt and approached the door.

“Hey, don’t shoot. Could be . . .”

“Kids. I know. Don’t worry,” he said, while Buffy checked a photo in a table to the side. The blonde with Willow and this Xander character.

“This . . . this could be me.”

“It *is* you, Buffy. Can’t you remember at all?”

“No! I- I don't understand any of this! Uh, uh, th . . . This is some other girl!” she said, and put the picture back. ”I would never wear this, that low apparel, and I don't like this place, and I don't like you, and I just wanna go home!”

“You *are* home!” Willow said, and huffed, checking on the other side of that weird problem, murmuring. ”She couldn't have dressed up like Xena?”

Meanwhile, Bolan was trying to check the outside without exposing himself too much, using one of the small glasses around the door. One monstrous arm crashed the small pane, trying to grab him.

“Not human!” he heard the girl behind him scream. The moment the arm retreated, Bolan took aim from the hole, and gave a single shot. They both heard a loud thump, indicating that whatever it was outside was now probably on the quick way to Hell.

“Guess this will keep them at bay for a while,” he said, eyeing the hole again. Without another clip, he only had another seven shots, plus the two grenades, and from what the girl told him, his targets were unwilling participants in this madness.

So was he.

Another scream took him out of his musings once again. He opened the door carefully, and looked around. The monster, or whatever it was, was slowly dissolving in the front porch, and in the middle of the street, a girl in a cat suit being hunted by a shaggy . . . something. He ran out, screaming to his back.

“Lock the door!”

He didn’t know if whatever it was was human, so he couldn’t shoot him straight away. Luckily, he found a rake forgotten in the lawn, so he grabbed it and ran full sprint, straight to the monster. When he was almost breathing the same air as the beast, he took a mighty swing with the rake, aiming to the chest. The rake broke with the impact, but the monster was flung backwards, landing a few feet behind. Bolan dropped the remainder of the rake and grabbed the girl by the arm.

“Come on, let’s go!” he said, and started pushing her.

“Let me go, dweeb!” Cat-girl complained, trying to release the hold.

“You want me to leave you here?” he asked, pointing back to the already raising creature.

The woman quieted and ran with him. “Open the door!” he screamed again once he was close enough. The door was opened and they both ran inside. He turned around, and helped the girl . . . Buffy . . . to lock the door. He pushed another table and upended it in front of the door.

“Cordelia,” the redhead spoke, identifying cat girl.

“Wait a . . . what’s going on?” Cordelia asked, looking at the trio.

“Okay, your name is Cordelia, you're not a cat, you're in high school, and we're your friends. Well, sort of.”

“That's nice, Willow. And you went mental when?”

Willow was surprised. “You know us?”

“Yeah. Lucky me. What's with the name game?”

“A lot's going on,” Willow said, relieved that at least someone she knew wasn’t affected. Even if it was Cordelia.

“No kidding. I was just attacked by Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy. Look at my costume! Do you really think that Party Town’s gonna give me my deposit back? Not on the likely.”

Bolan shook his head, and Cordelia noticed.

“What, dweeb?”

“Nothing. Look, we have to find a solution to all of this,” he turned to Willow. “Since you seem to know what we are facing, care to give me a brief rundown of what’s going on?”

Willow tried to explain as concisely as she could what was happening to them.

“So, you said that someone probably cast a . . . spell that turned everyone into their costumes, and we somehow forgotten who we really were?”

“Exactly, Mr. Belasko. You are Xander, my best friend since kindergarten, and the gun you shot the demon with, till about this mess began was a toy gun.”

Bolan sat down on a chair, eyeing the front door. In some weird way, it made sense. He never walked this unprepared, without ammo, he was in Miami till he . . . appeared in the middle of the street, and he had the looks from the boy in the photo. This was too much for him to think right now, but his military-trained mind was screaming to him to try and find a solution to this mess before anything worse happened.

“You know any way to counter this spell?” he asked.

“I don’t, but I know someone who might.”

“Where is he?” he asked, already standing.

Willow looked at him. “Look, Mr. Belasko, I know that you are probably a good soldier, or whatever Xander dressed as, but I still know this town, and in my current state, I guess that I can reach him easier than you can, without so much risk.”

“What the heck are you talking about, Willow?” Cordelia asked. As a quick example, Willow passed her arm through a desk.

“Ghost girl,” she said.

Bolan, meanwhile, was weighting his options. He sighed. “Ok, you go, but be careful.”

“I will,” she said, and passing through the furniture and the wall, disappeared.

“Ok, could you please check upstairs and lock everything up?” Bolan asked Cordelia. The girl was going to give a snappy retort, but instead she turned around and climbed the stairs.

Bolan checked the front door once again, and went back to the kitchen. So far, they were secure. With a bit of time in his hands, he started trying to solve this huge puzzle. First of all, he had to believe magic was real, since he didn’t know of any drugs or other forms of mind control that could create such a perfect, albeit screwed, environment. Second, why this boy had dressed as him. As far as he knew, he wasn’t Halloween material. Unless one would take into consideration that he was the Mafia’s Boogieman. He picked up the photo that Buffy let go, and checked it out.

“She must be right. Could you explain this?” he asked Buffy.

“I cannot! I was brought up a proper lady. I-I wasn't meant to understand things. I'm just meant to look pretty, and then someone nice will marry me. Possibly a Baron.”

“Sorry, but this ain't no tea party, Buffy. Sooner or later you're probably gonna have to fight,” he said. “I can’t protect everyone with what I’ve got right now.”

“Fight these low creatures? I'd sooner die.”

Bolan heard something in the backdoor before he could answer, so he moved silently and took cover behind the table that was keeping the door from opening freely. Someone strong pushed the door aside, and he moved with the table, still keeping himself hidden in the shadows. As soon as the body had passed the door, he aimed the pistol at the guys’ head and cocked the hammer.

“Hands up if you wanna keep your brain,” he said, in a chilling tone.

The guy lifted his hands, eyeing the noblewoman on the other side of the room.

“Turn around. Slowly.”

The big man did as he was told, and when he finally looked at Bolan, his expression changed from anger to confusion.

“Xander?”

*****

Giles was calmly organizing the cards for books when he finally noticed the screams and sirens on the outside. Before he could take any action, Willow appeared, passing through a wall. He jumped, surprised, letting the cards fly all over the place.

“Jeez!”

“Hi,” Willow said, sheepishly.

“Uh . . . ah . . . huh . . .”

*****

“Okay, somebody wanna fill me in?” the vampire with a soul asked, still under aim of Xander’s gun.

“My questions first. Do you live here?”

“No, and you know that. Buffy, I'm lost here. You... What's up with your hair?”

“They don't know who they are,” Cordelia said, finally returning from upstairs. “Everyone turned into a monster, it's a whole big thing. How are you?”

Bolan finally lowered the weapon, going to check the front door. Suddenly, the lights went out and Buffy grabbed the nearby Cordelia.

“Do you mind?” she asked, annoyed. Buffy let her go, but kept herself pretty close. Xander reappeared. In the darkened room, he was almost invisible.

“You,” he said, pointing to Angel, “check the back. Cordelia, with me. Princess, follow him.”

Bolan and Cordelia went to the front door. After a quick check up, the Executioner decided to take a look at the second floor. While they were checking upstairs, Angel was checking the kitchen. What he saw made him worry. They had forgotten to close the door.

“Stay back,” he told to a wide-eyed Buffy. He moved to close the door, while she stayed to a corner. The moment the door clicked shut, the basement door behind Buffy was opened, and a vampire tried to grab her. Angel moved before he could hold her, and they started wrestling. It was a young guy, dressed as a vampire from the movies.

“A stake!” Angel screamed, while they rolled on the floor, trying to get the upper hand.

“What?”

“Get me a stake!” he said, and looked to her. That was his mistake.

One look at his game face and she screamed, running to the backdoor and going out.

“Damn!” he said, still struggling with the transformed student.

*****

Back in the library, Willow huffed, which made Giles look up from his book.

“I don’t even know what to search for. And this whole not being able to turn the pages . . .”

Giles noticed her frustration. This would be useless without more information.

“O-ok, so let’s review. Everyone turned into her costumes, right?”`

“Y-yeah, Xander as some sort of soldier and Buffy as a noblewoman.”

He noticed her outfit, and asked. “A-and you?”

“As a ghost.”

“G-ghost of what?”

She covered herself, embarrassed. “Well, this is nothing. You should see what Cordelia was wearing. A-a, a unitard with cat things, like ears and stuff.”

“S-she became an actual feline?”

“No, she didn’t. She was still Cordelia, only in a cat suit.”

“She didn’t change,” Giles asked. This was starting to look better.

“No. Hold on . . . Party Town. She told us she got her outfit from Party Town.”

“A-a-and everyone who changed, they, they, they, they acquired their costumes where?”

“We all got ours at a new place. Ethan's.”

*****

Back at Buffy’s home, a struggling Angel was still trying to get rid of the not-so-fake vampire, until a combat boot connected with the student’s forehead. The guy went limp immediately. Angel grabbed a chair and was almost breaking it to do a stake when Xander’s hand held the action.

“Transformed student. Not a real vampire. Let’s tie him out. Check the basement for something to hold him,” he said to a stunned Cordelia, which surprisingly obeyed without complaint. She returned a few moments later with a piece of rope. Xander then proceeded to tie him up like cattle in a rodeo, hands and feet bound together at his back.

“This will keep him for a while, no matter his strength. He doesn’t have the leverage to break them. Where is Buffy?”

“She ran away, scared,” Angel said.

“We need to find her, and try to solve this mess at the same time,” he said, while grabbing a butchering knife from the hanger, and stashing it at the back of his pants. “Do you know if they have any weapons at home?”

“Swords, axes?” Angel asked.

“A gun would be better,” he said, hopeful.

“No guns, but come on,” the vampire said, and they ran to the second floor, leaving Cordelia to check out on the passed out ‘vampire’.

They returned in moments, Xander sporting a Tomahawk axe in his belt, and Angel a short sword.

“Come on, let’s go,” Xander said, and grabbed Cordelia. They stepped out of the house, and Xander looked around. “Where would she go?” he asked the duo.

“Follow me,” Angel said, and they started running.

They walked quite a bit, diffusing situations around, and following Angel, until suddenly Xander stopped, eyeing a store a few yards away.

“Keep going, I will find you in a moment,” he said, and approached the store. He walked to the back, Colt in hand, searching for the back entrance. The store probably had an alarm system, but with the confusion on the streets, nobody would come to check it. There was a camera over the door, but a quick swing of the tomahawk dealt with it. With a bit more effort, the padlock was broke and thrown away. He opened the door and got in. After a quick survey, he found out what he was looking for. Another quick job with the tomahawk and he was grabbing a double barreled shotgun, five boxes of ammo, another Colt, some clips and .45 ammo. He grabbed a backpack, shoved the ammo, the automatic and a few clips inside, loaded the shotgun and put some more of the ammo in the pants’ pockets.

Now things were looking a little better. He looked around one last time, to check if he left anything that could point to him, and satisfied that he didn’t, walked away. The entire operation took less than three minutes.

After a brief sprint, which tired him out - ‘Damn, kid needs some exercise’ - he found Angel and Cordelia still searching for their missing friend. They were looking from side to side, trying to grab even a brief glimpse of the pink dressed girl.

“Are you sure she came this way?” Bolan asked.

“Almost,” Angel said, worried

“She'll be okay,” Cordy said, smiling slightly.

“*Buffy* would be okay. Whoever she is now, she's helpless. C'mon!”

Nearby, hidden from view of the Grand Poof and the Slayer’s friends, a bleached blonde menace heard the conversation with his vampiric hearing.

“Do you hear that, my friends?” Spike asked to the group of midget demons. ”Somewhere out here is the *tenderest* meat you've *ever* tasted, and all *we* have to do is find her first!”

*****

Nearby, a crying noblewoman was running trough an alley, scared beyond her senses. Lady Elisabeth stopped for a while, to rest and try to find some direction to go. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a pirate, with the worse teeth she ever saw, jumped right in front of her.

“Pretty! Pretty!” he said, and approached her.

*****

In another place, a recently opened store, two old acquaintances were measuring each other.

“Hello, Ethan.”

“Hello, Ripper.”

*****

Lady Elisabeth tried to run away, but her long gown got in the way, and she fell. The pirate grabbed her, shoving her against a wall. Before he could do a thing, the butt of a shotgun connected to his temple, and he fell down, unconscious.

“Are you all right?” Bolan asked, checking her and the surroundings.

The noblewoman looked to his back, straight to Angel. “He's, he's a vampire!” she said, scared.

Bolan turned around, the shotgun pointed straight to the souled vampire’s head. Cordelia stood in front of Angel, and yelled.

“Hey, stop that! He’s a vampire, all right, but he’s one of the good guys! He saved us more than once!”

The Executioner took his finger out of the trigger, but kept the gun steadily aimed to his head. Cordelia pleaded him with her eyes, and he lowered the gun a bit.

“Let’s go,” he said, and they started walking out of the alley, only to be surprised by the apparition of Willow.

“Back, back!” she screamed, and passed through them.

“What?” Angel and Bolan asked.

“We have company. Big bad company!” she said, pointing to the mouth of the alley.

“Find an empty warehouse, now!” Bolan said, and they started checking doors in a hurry.



*****

“How do we break the spell, Ethan?”

“Say ‘pretty please’.”

*****

Angel found an unlocked door, and called them. “In here, hurry!”

The entire gang ran inside, and Bolan helped Angel block the door with a few boxes. They were safe for a few moments.

“Check the rest of the warehouse,” Bolan said, looking to Cordelia and Willow. “Lady, sit behind those boxes and stay still. You,” he said, talking to Angel. “Keep blocking the door.”

He removed his backpack, and in seconds he was loading clips with the ammo he had stolen from the store. He managed to fill a clip and a half before Spike and the ‘demons’ started banging on the blocked door.

He pocketed the clips and grabbed the shotgun, aiming high at the door. He pressed the trigger, and the resounding shot, amplified by the acoustics of the warehouse made Angel wince and the banging outside stop for a few moments. In seconds, Ghost Girl and Cat Girl were back, looking frantically to them. The big hole at the top of the door explained it all.

“Any other exit?” Bolan asked.

“Loading bay, that way!” Willow pointed.

“Go! Go!” he motioned, leaving the door unprotected. They started running to the exit, with the exception of the noblewoman. He went behind the boxes to grab her, and what he saw made him wince. She was terrified, white as a sheet and crying a river. He grabbed her elbow, and started pushing her.

“Let’s go, Lady. Ain’t safe in here!”

“That’s true,” a British accented voice spoke behind him. He was fast, but the vampire was faster. Before he could turn fully around and align the shotgun, an impossibly strong fist hit him in the head, and he flew away, landing hard on a crate, the shotgun going the other way. He drew the Colt in his hip and tried to aim a shot with shaky hands. The moment he focused enough, he took the shot, aiming for center mass. Three shots ripped through undead flesh and heart, but it did little damage, unless if you counted pissing off a Master Vampire. With vampiric speed, Spike ran in his direction and swatted the pistol aside, punching him hard with the following move. To his credit, he didn’t pass out, but he was so out of it that he didn’t have any immediate reaction.

“Let’s deal with the annoying whelp first,” Spike said, vamping out.

*****

“Break the statue!”

*****

Xander felt extremely powerful arms grabbing his own and he tried to think on something, but the dizziness he was feeling didn’t help him much. In an entirely automatic response, he kicked down and to the left, hitting a kneecap with enough strength, but at the wrong angle. The arms released him, and he managed to see a lock of bleached blond hair before blacking out.

At this moment, in other corner of the room, a slight woman stood up, removing a brunette wig from her head.

“Hey Spike, guess who’s back?” Buffy asked.

Spike moved to attack, but his hearing caught his Sire and the Slayer’s friends returning. He looked around and ran away.

Buffy crouched near the unconscious Xander, and looked around, seeing a lot of confused kids looking to one another.

*****

Next day at the library, the gang was reunited, arguing the events of the previous night.

“I returned to the store this morning. Ethan left without a trace,” Giles said, cleaning his glasses. “And what about the spell, any after-effects?”

“Well, seems that I can speak better French, and somehow last night it gave me this incredible need to knit some socks,” Buffy said, eyeing the rest of her friends. “And you Willow? Any idea on the afterlife?”

“No, nothing. Ghost Willow was just Willow through walls. And skimpy outfits. What about you, Xander? Anything?”

He was acting weird since the spell ended, silent and broody, almost like Angel. And he kept on caressing something small with his fingers. He lifted his head a bit.

“Wha...? Oh, no. Nothing wrong. Just a headache. Can we talk later?” he said, serious. Willow, Giles and Buffy looked at him oddly, and the redhead nodded.

He stood up and walked out of the library. Once outside, he looked straight to the medal in his hand, and a serious look took his face.

Time for a few preparations.



‘Si vis pacem, para bellum.’

‘If you want peace, prepare for war.’ – Roman Motto.

The End

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