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Vampire Wars

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Buffy and Xena Crossovers". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: #3. When vampires overrun Sunnydale, Buffy asks Xena to help. (Written when the Glory storyline was just starting, so this story follows a different path about her.)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Xena-HerculesdaviderlFR15318,071012,5484 Jan 034 Jan 03Yes

Vampire Wars Chapter One

{I do not own the rights to any of the characters in this story. No copyright infringement is intended. This story is for entertainment purposes only.}


VAMPIRE WARS


CHAPTER ONE

Breakfast, warmed over fish from the night before, was finished, and Xena and Gabrielle were trying to decide where they wanted to go. Xena didn't really have any particular destination in mind, but for some reason she wasn't too enthusiastic about Gabrielle's choice. Gabrielle wanted to go see her sister, Lila, in Poteidaia. Xena didn't really know why, but she wasn't in the mood to be around crowds.

"Xena, you say that now, but by the time we get there, you might feel differently."

Xena started to answer, but instead stood up, touching the handle of her sword.

"What?" Gabrielle asked. "What is it?"

"A horse, coming this way, and fast."

"Are you expecting anyone?"

"Only Trouble." Xena answered. "And he comes all too often."

Just then a horse and rider came into view, heading straight for them. As he got within shouting distance, he did just that.

"Xena! Thank the gods I've found you!"

"Xena," Gabrielle said. "He looks familiar. I've seen him somewhere."

As the rider got to them, he dismounted and ran up to Xena. "Xena! You must hurry! Meg sent me!"

"That's where I've seen him, he's one of the hired hands at Joxer and Meg's farm."

"What's the big hurry?" Xena asked him.

"Meg said you need to come right away. Virgil's been hurt, bad! She said to find you and . . . and . . . You've got to hurry!"

"Virgil's hurt? How bad?"

"Bad! I heard him say something about a fight, and he was stabbed in the side. I think he may be bleeding to death. Meg said you need to come as soon as you can."

"How long ago?"

"A few days. I've been riding for two, two and a half days. He was bleeding pretty bad."

"Then I guess we know where we're going." Xena said to Gabrielle. Turning back to the man she asked, "Anything else?"

"Just that if Eve is with you, either don't bring her, or don't come."

"Well that's not a problem, I haven't see Eve for almost a half year. Gabrielle, I'm going to go on ahead on Argo and get there as soon as I can. If you will, break camp, let this man's horse rest a couple of hours, then you two can ride double back to Meg's."

"Sure, sure, no problem. Go. We'll see you there."

Xena hurriedly saddled Argo and without a word was riding off in the direction of Meg's.


It took Xena a day and a half to get to Meg's. When she arrived, Meg, hearing the horse, had come outside to meet her. For a moment she looked past Xena to see if anyone else was coming.

"I'm alone. For now. Gabrielle and your man should be along in a day or so. Let me see Virgil." Xena said as she pushed past Meg and entered the thatched cottage.

Virgil was lying in the main room on a cot near the fireplace. Although it wasn't cold inside, Virgil was covered with a blood stained blanket and shivering.

"He has a fever." Meg said. "I know he's bleeding pretty bad, but all I know to do is to try to keep something against the wound."

Xena moved the blanket to get a better look at it. When she did, Virgil groaned, opened his eyes and looked at her, but it was a blank look.

"It's me, Virgil, Xena. I need to look at this." When he didn't respond, Xena went back to her examination. She carefully removed the blood soaked rag Meg had tied against his side. After a few minutes Xena asked for a clean cloth to redress the open wound.

"Why didn't you cauterize this?" Xena asked Meg. "Surely you could have done that much."

"I tried using a kitchen knife, but I didn't get it hot enough to seal the wound. But it was hot enough to cause Virgil so much pain I couldn't stand to try again."

"Maybe it's just as well. He's bleeding inside. Exactly how did this happen?"

"Virgil had been gone about a month. He said he was restless and just wanted to travel around a little. He paid two men to come around once in a while to see if there was anything that needed to be done. One of them I sent after you. Anyway, he showed up about a week ago and he had been stabbed with a sword. I'm not really sure what happened, he was in a lot of pain and was very weak, but from what I could understand, he was on his way back when he saw a young woman being assaulted by two men. Naturally, he had to help. He said he was just as he was getting the better of them, the woman threw sand in his eyes. That's when he was stabbed, and robbed. They took a few dinars he had, his sword and something else, I couldn't understand what he said. I think it was a present for me."

"Sounds like he was set up. It's not the first time I've heard of that. In the meantime, try to keep him warm. The bandage will need to be changed regularly. I thought I saw a willow tree not too far from here. The inner bark can be boiled and drunk to help break the fever."

"Is he going to die?" Meg asked, on the verge of tears.

"I don't know. But I'll do everything I can for now. When Gabrielle gets here, she may have some ideas. I'm going to unsaddle Argo and get her settled down. If he wakes up or if there's any change, come get me."


Gabrielle and the man arrived a day later. Xena, after explaining the situation to Gabrielle, asked her if she had any suggestions. Gabrielle had one, which Xena didn't think much of.

"Why can't you go to Ares?" Gabrielle was asking. "When he made my 'pendix scar disappear he said next time to call him."

"Come on, Gabrielle, you know Ares. Anything he does has a price. And usually it's just too high."

Meg had walked in on the conversation, "Are you saying that Ares might help?"

"No, Meg." Xena answered her. "I said that anything Ares does he does for a price, a very high price."

"But can't you at least ask him? Maybe he . . . ."

"I said NO! I'm not going to waste my time asking Ares for something that I won't be able to . . . ."

Then Meg, becoming uncharacteristically angry, got in Xena's face. "Don't tell me no! You cannot let my son die like that! You owe me, Xena. And you owe Joxer! If it hadn't been for your daughter. . . ."

Suddenly, as her own anger flared, Xena's finger was inches away from Meg's nose: "DON'T say it! Don't even THINK you're going to say that."

For a few seconds Meg stood her ground, but then her spine dissolved and she backed away from Xena. As she did, Xena's finger joined the others into a fist. Then she turned from Meg and stomped off.

Gabrielle put her hand on Meg's arm and said gently, "I'll talk to her. Things will work out." And she hurried after Xena.

By the time Gabrielle caught up to Xena, she was with Argo. "Xena. Xena!"

"What?"

"Look at me."

Xena turned slightly so she was looking at Gabrielle.

"She's right you know. We owe Joxer, and we owe Meg."

"I know, Gabrielle, I know we do. I just don't like having it thrown up in my face."

"Can't you at least ask Ares? He owes you for giving his godhood back to him. Maybe he'll surprise us and help Virgil without asking for anything in return."

"You certainly have more faith in him than I do. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask. The worst he can do is say no."

Xena called out Ares' name three times before he appeared.

"Xena! So, what can I do for you today?"

"It's Virgil, he's been hurt. He will probably die if something isn't done."

"And that something is me, is it?"

"You said that if we need a real healer to call you." Gabrielle said to him. "He's bleeding to death, and you're the only one who can save him."

"And if I do this, what do I get in return?"

"Xena gave you back your godhood. Doesn't that count for something?"

"So how many times are you going to use that? Just how many favors am I supposed to return before that debt is paid?"

"Come on, Ares," Xena said. "I haven't asked you for anything."

"Did you forget about my keeping watch on Buffy and her sister while they were stranded here and you were off visiting Gabrielle?"

"Nobody asked you to do that. And besides, how do we know you actually were watching them? On your word?" Gabrielle asked.

"That's all you have. But I'll tell you what. I'll save Virgil's life. He'll be just as good as new, even better."

"And the price?" Xena asked.

"Just one thing; one small, little thing."

"And that is?"

"Oh, I think you know what it is, Xena. I think you know."

For a few seconds Xena said nothing, thinking. Then it came to her what Ares wanted.

"NO! No. There is no way I'll bear your child. Forget it. It's out of the question."

"Xena, I'm only asking a life for a life. I'll save Virgil, you give me a child. Fair is fair."

"NO! I will not do it. Come on Gabrielle, we'll think of something else. You can go Ares, we don't need you."

As Xena walked back to the house, Gabrielle followed, and Ares said to their backs before he disappeared, "Don't wait too long, Xena, he doesn't have long to live!"

"Xena." Gabrielle said as she hurried to catch up to her. "What are you going to tell Meg?"

"I don't know, I'll think of something."

"I may have another idea." Gabrielle said.

Xena stopped and turned to her. "I hope it's better than the last one."

"Well, I don't know about it being better, but since you haven't come up with anything, then
the least you could do is listen."

"Fine. What's your plan?"

"When you came to the hospital, did I still have that needle in my arm?"

"I don't remember any needle." Xena answered.

"I guess they took it out before you came. Anyway, when I first woke up, there was a pouch of some kind hanging from a metal hook. And there was a long tube running from it to a hollow needle that was stuck in here, on the inside of my arm. Willow said it was an eyevee. The pouch had some kind of salty water in it, and she said it was so I wouldn't dehydrate. But the thing is, she also said that when they cut people open, they use pouches like that with blood in them to put some back into you so you won't lose too much and die. So, why can't we try to put blood back into Virgil until he can heal up?"

"And where are we going to get some of these pouches full of blood?"

"I was thinking that maybe instead of using pouches, we could just run some kind of tube from you or me, or maybe Meg, into Virgil."

"So do you know where we can get some hollow needles?"

"That's the tricky part. I doubt that there are any here in our time. But surely there must be something else we can use."

"And even if we did manage to find something to use for needles, where were you going to find the tube?"

"Well, the one they were using looked a lot like a vein. So maybe if we butchered a pig, we could get one of the long veins from it."

"Tell me again about getting the needles."

Just then Meg walked out of the cottage. As she walked toward Xena and Gabrielle, her eyes suddenly opened wide, and her jaw dropped, not believing what she had just seen.


CHAPTER TWO

Buffy and Xander walked away from the latest round of vampire slaying. Xander was on the verge of exhaustion, and though Buffy wasn't as fatigued, she was feeling the effects of battling mobs of vampires night after night, often three or four times a night.

"Where do they keep coming from?" Buffy asked, more to herself than Xander.

"Buffy, do you think that I possibly could take the rest of night off?"

"But it's only a little after four. It won't be light for another two hours."

"But I am so TIRED! This crossbow feels like it weighs a hundred pounds. I can barely lift it, much less aim it."

"Well, I suppose we have been going at it pretty hard here lately."

"I don't think 'pretty hard' even begins to cover it. I appreciate the fact that you think I am capable enough to patrol with you without getting in the way, but for right now, enough is enough."

"Xander, you've killed your share of vamps. You've done good. But I guess it wouldn't hurt to call it a night. It's not like we won't be able to find any of them tomorrow night. I just wish I knew where they all were coming from. How many have we offed just tonight? Fifteen? Twenty?"

"I stopped counting after the first dozen, but I'm sure it's been at least twice that."

When they got to Xander's, they parted ways. He went inside to Anya, but Buffy was still wasn't ready to sleep. "I'll just make one more sweep through the park," she thought. "Then I'll hang it up for tonight."

As she slowly walked through the playground, she was tempted to sit in one of the swings, remembering what it was like before she became The Slayer. What it was like when she was just a care-free kid. Laughing and playing without a worry in the world.

She almost sat down in one, when her Slayer senses kicked in: vamps, at least four, maybe five, and close by. Almost before she was ready, three dropped from the trees, and two more rushed her from behind, surrounding her.

Buffy kicked and punched her way from the center of the gang. She spiked one almost immediately, but that left an opening for another one to dive for her legs, sweeping them and dropping her on her back. As she fell, she rolled away from that one, only to be kicked in the ribs by the third, and the fourth.

Buffy managed to get to one knee, but felt an explosion in the back of her head. As she started going down, she saw another form, familiar but not quite recognizable, smash one of the vampires over the head with a garbage can. Then the form turned to kick and toss away another one. The form then reached down and grabbed Buffy's hand, pulling her to her feet, allowing her to fend off fists from the fifth vampire. As her head cleared, and she went on the offense, she realized with gratitude, and repulsion, that her savior was Spike.

Then it was over, three had been turned to ashes, and two had escaped.

"Well," Spike said smugly. "Good thing I just happened to come along when I did. You might have bloody well bought the farm."

"I was not about to buy any farm! I was just getting them where I wanted."

"Bloody unlikely! If it weren't for me there'd have been one less Slayer hanging around."

"Spike, I don't remember asking you for help. You're the last one I'd need help from."

"Well, it seems to me that not so long ago you asked me to guard Dawn while you went running off some 2000 years in the past."

"That was different; that was for Dawn. And that was the LAST time I'll ask you for anything. And any way, it was Tara's idea to ask you, not mine!"

"No 'Thanks, Spike, for saving my life' is necessary." Spike spat out, becoming angry at Buffy's lack of gratitude, and he turned to leave.

"Spike!" Buffy called after him. And then barely softening her tone, she said, "Thanks."

"Go home and go to bed, you look like hell." He said over his shoulder as he disappeared into the night.


The next afternoon Buffy was sitting at one of the tables in Giles' Magic Box looking as if she was deeply engrossed in the first book she had picked up, "Demonology in Fifteenth Century Romania." But in actuality her mind was flitting from thought to thought to thought. "How could I have been to sloppy to let those vamps gang up on me like that? Am I that tired? Spike was right, I almost bought it. How did Spike just happen to be at the right place at the right time? Am I losing it? Maybe I need more training. But I'm so tired! And with all the patrolling, when am I going to find the time for more training? Was Spike stalking me? And poor Xander, he's trying so hard to keep up. I wonder if I should let Willow or Tara take his place for a couple of nights . . . ."

"BUFFY!"

"Huh? What?" Buffy was suddenly jerked from her reverie. "Did you say something?" she asked.

"Well, yeah, about 10 times." Willow said. "That book can't be THAT interesting."

"I'm sorry Willow, I just have a lot on my mind these days. Oh, hi Tara."

"Hi. Are you okay, you look kind of tired."

"I just haven't been able to get much sleep lately. I can't figure out why so many vamps have been showing up the past couple of weeks. It's almost as if there's a bounty on my head. 'Wanted: Buffy Summers. Big Reward. Dead or Dead.'"

Giles walked up as Buffy was finishing her remarks. "You know, Buffy, that's a very real possibility. With all the demons and vampires you've vanquished, it's very likely one or more could have spread the word about some kind of special reward for your . . . demise."

"Do you think Glory might have something to do with it?" Willow asked.

"I suppose she could." Giles replied. "But right now, we're only guessing . There could other reasons. Perhaps some kind of vampire convention, or . . . ."

"Well," Buffy interjected, "Whatever the reason, there are more now than there were two or three weeks ago. Instead of one or two at a time, now there are four or five of them. Xander's been a big help, but he can only do so much, and if this continues, I'm going to need more than Xander."

"Speaking if Xander, has anyone seen him today?" Tara asked.

"As tired as he was this morning, he's probably still sleeping."

"Giles," Buffy continued. "Any chance of borrowing a Slayer or two from somewhere else for a while?"

"I don't know, I suppose I could send in a request to the Watcher's. I'm sure we'd hear from them in a week, or two."

"A week or two! Perfect! And in the mean time, we end up up to our necks in vampires!"

"I'm sorry, Buffy, but that's the way the Watcher's operate. They can't just shuffle Slayers around Willy Nilly."

"Then what good are they?" Buffy asked, getting angrier by the minute, then answered her own question, "No good. No damn good at all!"

"If we can't get help from the Watchers," Xander said as he and Anya joined the crowd, "Then let's make a list of everyone we can think of who might help us. And then go out and get 'em."

"Well, I can promise you, it'll be a short list." Buffy wasn't quite as angry now, and the idea didn't seem too bad.

"There's the six of us." Willow said. "And Buffy, maybe you could get hold of Angel."

"And there's always Spike." Dawn spoke up.

"Spike again! Can't anybody think of something that doesn't include Spike?"

"He helped before." Dawn continued. "Maybe if you were nicer to him . . . ." Dawn's voice tapered off to nothing under Buffy's withering glare.

"Willow, do you know where Oz is?" Giles asked.

"No. I haven't seen him in months, many months."

For a minute or so no one spoke, waiting for someone else to suggest a name.

Finally, Tara broke the silence. "What about Xena, and Gabrielle?"

"That's a good thought, but I don't know." Buffy replied. "They may not want to come here just to fight our battles. I'm sure they have their own problems to take care of."

"And then again, they may welcome an opportunity to repay us for saving Gabrielle." Giles put in. "Not to mention the hospital bills and the prescriptions." He added, almost under his breath.

"We could sort of look in on them." Willow suggested. "And if it looks like they're not doing anything special, we could bring Xena here. Or Buffy could go there and explain the situation."

Everyone looked around at each other to see if anyone had a better idea. When it was evident no one did, Buffy agreed for a quick look-see, but if it looked like Xena and Gabrielle were involved in something important, then they'd have to find another way.


Two hours later everyone but Giles, who had to mind the shop, had assembled at Buffy's. After being cramped up in Willow's small dorm room the last time, they all opted for more spacious quarters.

They put the bowl of Holy Water surrounded by the candles on the dining room table. After the candles were lit, Tara began to cast the Seeing Spell

From here and now this Spell I cast
We search for two from years long past
Xena Warrior Princess; Gabrielle Amazon Queen
In this fire and water let them now be seen

The image of the two women appeared, along with Ares.

"I wonder what he's doing there?" Dawn asked.

"I can't understand a word they're saying." Anya complained.

"That's because I haven't done the Translation Spell yet." Tara told her. "Everyone please be quiet."

Through time and space they have been found
Now let us hear their every sound
Words they say, both woman and man
Give us the power to understand

Just as they began to understand what was being said, Ares had flashed out, and Xena and Gabrielle were talking to each other.

"What are they talking about?" Dawn asked. "Needles, and pouches of blood? Gross!"

"It sounds like someone's in need of some serious medical attention." Buffy said.

"Now might be a good time to pop in." Xander said to Buffy. "Maybe you two can work out a deal. We help their friend, and Xena helps us."

"I guess it's worth a shot." Buffy agreed. "Let me throw on a robe so Gabrielle won't stretch out my clothes."

After she hurriedly changed, Tara had everyone stand around Buffy with lit candles, and once again she began casting a spell.

Buffy and Gabrielle. Apart in time. Apart in space.
Let them now be switched to each other's place
From each one's world may they disappear
Send Buffy there, bring Gabrielle here

As soon as Tara spoke the last word, Gabrielle was standing among them. For a few seconds she was somewhat confused, but seeing Willow, she broke out into a big smile, and then there were hugs all around.

"Willow! Hello. And Tara. Dawn, Anya, Xander. It's so good to see everyone! I don't see Buffy, so I assume she is with Xena? I wonder if I'll ever get to see her again."

After everyone had said hello and all asked how they all were, Gabrielle got serious.

"I'm really glad I got to see everyone again, but I should be with Xena. A good friend of ours is dying, and Xena and I are trying to think of some way to save his life."

"Well, we may just have a solution." Willow told her.


CHAPTER THREE

"Buffy? Why are you here?"

"Xena, I need help. For some reason we have been inundated with vampires, dozens of them, maybe hundreds. And it's getting to the point that I can't do it alone. The few resources I have back home just aren't enough."

"I wish I could help, but right now a friend is dying and Gabrielle and I need to figure out some way to save him."

"Does Ares have anything to do with it?" Buffy asked.

"You saw him? Actually, he doesn't. I was trying to get him to help but he wanted too much in return."

"So what's wrong with your friend?" Buffy asked, and as she did, she saw a woman exit the cottage and walk toward them.

"Xena," Buffy said with surprise in her voice, "I didn't know you had a twin sister."

"I don't." Xena replied. "It's just one of those strange coincidences that she looks exactly like me."

As Meg walked up, she asked. "Where's Gabrielle? Why is this woman wearing her clothes? Did Ares do this?"

"Meg, this is Buffy. Buffy, Meg."

"Hi. It's amazing how much you two look alike. If you were wearing the same clothes, I'd never know which was which." Buffy said.

"I don't understand. What happened to Gabrielle?" Meg asked again, ignoring Buffy's comments.

"It's complicated. She and Buffy -- changed places. I'll explain later."

"Is she here to save Virgil?" Meg asked hopefully.

"I don't know if she can do anything. Buffy, will you look at him? Maybe you can think of something."

"Sure, I'll take a look. Can't promise anything, though."

The three women walked inside the cottage to Virgil's bedside.

"He's bleeding, and it looks bad." Buffy stated.

"That's the problem." Xena told her. "He was stabbed deep with a sword. He's bleeding inside, and we don't know how to stop it."

"Well, I'll tell you one thing, he needs a transfusion."

"I don't know what that is." Said Xena .

"That's when they give you blood through an IV."

"Oh, yeah. Gabrielle was telling me about that, but we don't have any of those special needles, or tubes."

"Can she save him or not?" Meg interrupted.

"I can't." Buffy said to her. "But I know someplace to take him that can." Buffy looked at Xena, knowing Xena knew what she was thinking.

"Hospital?" Xena asked.

Buffy nodded slightly, then said, "Xena, can I talk to you outside? Meg you don't mind if Xena and I have a few minutes to discuss this, do you?"

"No, I guess not. I should change Virgil's bandage anyway."

Buffy led Xena outside and over to Argo, making sure they were out of earshot from Meg.

"Xena, if we take Virgil to the hospital, it'll cause problems."

"What kind of problems?"

"We have this funny little law that says if anyone comes into the hospital with an injury that appears to be violence related, it has to be reported to the police. Then there will be an investigation. And I don't know how we are going to explain how he got stabbed. It's obvious to even me that it wasn't done accidentally with a pocket knife."

"So Virgil's going to die?"

"Well, there may be a way we can get him the medical help he needs. There is this secret military organization called the Initiative. They were doing experiments on vamps and demons. They were supposed to be shut down, but I don't think so. They have medical facilities for everything. I'm pretty sure we can get him in there."

"But?"

"But they may not want to help us. We've had our differences; don't ask. It's like this. I told you about all the vampires that have been showing up the past few weeks. Well I'm pretty sure that the remaining members of the Initiative probably have been monitoring what's been going on, if not actually taking an active part. If we can convince them that we, you and I, can provide them with the back up they need to fulfill whatever mission they're trying to accomplish, then maybe they'll help Virgil."

"Okay, let me see if I understand what you're saying. If you and I go to for work for this Initiative, who may or may not be involved, then they may or may not try to save Virgil's life. Who is probably as close to death right now as anyone can be without actually being dead."

"As iffy as it sounds, you're right. But it's a chance, not only for Virgil, but for everyone who is still alive in Sunnydale, and ultimately the entire world."

"So I guess the chariot reins are in your hands. What happens now?"

"First I have to get back to my world. Then I have to contact the Initiative and convince them they need us. And then find someone to switch places with you and Virgil."

"What about Gabrielle? If I'm going to fight in your world, I want Gabrielle with me. We're a team."

"Sure, no problem, I guess. I just hope I can find someone for all three of you. Damn! I wish there was some kind of two-way communication here. I guess whenever the time is ready, I'll have whoever to come back here so you'll know. I assume Gabrielle won't mind being the one to jump back and forth."

"Does she know what's going on?"

"She should. If Willow hasn't explained it to her, then they ought to be watching and listening to us. Why don't you explain to Meg what we are going to do, as much as you think she will understand, and I'll go back and get things set up."

"What happens if the Initiative doesn't want our help?"

"Then I'll ask them about Virgil, anyway. And if they won't help him, then we'll take our chances with the hospital. And then you and Gabrielle and I will kick some vampire ass. Okay, Tara. I'm ready to come back!" Buffy said to empty air.

Fifteen seconds later, Gabrielle was standing next to Xena, and Buffy was back in her living room.


CHAPTER FOUR

Buffy's first item of business was to find someone to switch with Virgil. Her first thought was of Giles. He would be perfect. Or so she thought, as she called the Magic Box.

"I'm sorry, Buffy," Giles was explaining, "but it's out of the question."

"How can you say that? I thought you'd JUMP at the chance to actually live a part of ancient history."

"That's just the problem, it's too ancient. If we were talking about 13th or 14th century England, I wouldn't think twice about it. And besides, who would watch the shop while I was gone?"

"Anya and Xander could. You trust Anya to open and close for you. She, they, shouldn't have any problem for a few days, or so."

"What's the matter with sending Xander? And Anya as well. She lived back then. I would think she would be the obvious choice."

"I never thought about that. You're really sure you won't change your mind? Okay, your loss. 'Bye."

"Anya! Xander!" Buffy said smiling at them, a little too broadly. "How would you two like a nice vacation on a lovely 15 or 20 B.C. farm?"

"You're joking, of course." Xander said uneasily.

"No." Buffy said with false innocence. "Anya? Wouldn't you like to go back an relive your youth? Just think of all the things you've been missing."

"Maybe we should get a couple of things straight." Anya said. "In the first place, I'm not quite as old as you may think I am. Xena and Gabrielle lived about 900 years before I was even born. And I certainly do not miss the fleas, the flies, the spoiled meat, the filth, not to mention all the diseases. Who wants to take hot baths anyway, or use real toilets? And it's not even my country. Should I go on?"

"Come on. It's not that terrible. Dawn and I were in the woods, and it wasn't so bad. And believe it or not, the ancient Greeks were a whole lot cleaner and sanitary than people were in the 11th or 12th century. This was a long time before the Dark Ages. And anyway, you and Xander will have a roof over your heads, decent meals, and whatever you think you lack, you can always improvise. Think of it as an adventure, kind of like camping out, without the "out" part."

"And just how long is this little adventure supposed to last? A few days, a few weeks, a few months?" Xander asked.

"I don't know. Long enough for Virgil to get the help he needs. I promise you, once he's fit to travel, we'll have you, both of you, right back here. And look at it this way, you'll be saving someone's life. Can't ask for more than that."

Xander and Anya looked at each other. Neither really wanted to do it, but Buffy had a way of making things seem logical that sometimes weren't, with just enough guilt added in to get what she wanted, most of the time.

"Okay." They said together, resigned to the fact that whatever Buffy wanted . . . .

"You guys are the greatest!" Buffy said to them, and then immediately turned to the next item at hand. "Now we need a third."

"Why?" Tara asked.

"I guess you weren't listening very closely. Xena won't come without Gabrielle. Willow . . . ?"

"NO!" Tara exclaimed. "I told you before, I will not send Willow away. She stays with me. Period. End of discussion."

"Forget about me?" Dawn spoke up.

"I thought you hated it back then." Buffy said to her. "I would have thought that would be the last place you'd want to go back to."

"It wasn't THAT bad. But like you said, we'd be sleeping inside. You need someone to go back, and I'm the only one here."

"I'll think about it. Meanwhile, I have to go see whoever is in charge of whatever is left of the Initiative." Buffy said as she headed out the front door.


As Buffy walked the deserted halls of the subterranean stronghold of the Initiative, she was surprised at how quickly the place took on the look of desertion - dust and cobwebs here and there, barely seen through the dimness of the emergency lighting. Even though there seemed to be no one around, Buffy's Slayer senses were on full alert; no telling what could be lurking in these abandoned corridors.

Then from an alcove, a young soldier stepped out, and as he started to point his M-16 rifle at Buffy, she grabbed the barrel and held it away from her. Try as he might, the soldier could not make his rifle point where he wanted it.

"I was beginning to wonder if anyone was still here." Buffy said to him. "I'll make you a deal, I'll let go of your little gun if you'll take me to your leader."

The soldier hesitated for a few seconds, then nodded his head curtly, and Buffy released the rifle barrel.

"Down the hallway, second left." Was all he said.

Buffy walked ahead of him, and when she turned at the second left, the lights were brighter, and there was no evidence of abandonment.

Five minutes later, Buffy was in the office of Major Ben English. Buffy waited until he dismissed the soldier before she said anything.

"I have a proposition for you." She started. "I'm sure you're aware of the massive influx of vampires in the past few weeks. I assume you know who I am."

The Major nodded, and patted a manila folder.

"Well, they have become quite a problem for me. Now, I do know that some of your men have been patrolling, but I don't know if you are taking an active role or not, but I have a friend who has agreed to come to Sunnydale to help, and she and I are willing to put ourselves under your command."

"And what makes you think that we need your help?"

"Because without our help, there's not much you can do. And I admit, I could use the extra manpower."

"And you and your friend would be willing to work within the structure of our chain of command?"

"Yes. But there is one stipulation."

"I thought there would be. What is it?"

"We have a friend who needs medical attention. He's been hurt, stabbed in the side. There is internal bleeding, and he's on the verge of dying."

"So why not take him to a hospital?"

"Because then there would be a police investigation. Something we'd like to avoid."

"Because?"

"Well, he's not from around here. Let's just leave it at that. But I assure you, he isn't wanted for anything."

"So he is an Illegal." The major stated.

"He would be if we took him to a hospital."

"Mexican? Oriental?"

"Greek."

"Greek? So why can't he go to a Greek hospital?"

"Just take my word for it. It's not an option. So do we have a deal?"

"What makes you think we have the facilities here to take care of your friend?"

"Because I've seen this place from top to bottom. And I know if you have men here, you have a medical team. Time IS running short. Do we have the deal or not?"

Major English thought for a minute, then said, "All right. We have a deal. How soon can you have your friend here?"

"45 minutes; an hour, tops."

"So he is here, huh? When you bring him, there is a service entrance. . . "

"I know where it is."

"Well, I suppose you do. Hammer on the door three times, we'll have a emergency team waiting. The private will escort you out. Oh, by the way, what's your friend's name?"

"Which friend, the man or woman?"

"The woman. Is she another Slayer?" he asked, resting his hand on Buffy's folder.

"No. But I guarantee you she's every bit as good as I am, maybe in some ways even better. Her name is Xena."

"Xena? Another Greek. So what exactly is it that she can do?"

"She has many skills."


As soon as Buffy was outside she called her house to tell them everything was set. But not to do anything until she got there, only monitor what was going on with Xena, Gabrielle, Meg, and Virgil.

"Has Xena explained everything to Meg? Good. Dawn, it looks like you're it. You'll go first and Gabrielle will come here. There are several things Xena needs to know, so I've written her a note. You'll have to carry it in your mouth. When you get there, read it to her. I doubt if she'll be able to read English. Also, put on a robe so Gabrielle will have something on that fits. I'm sure they will have clothes for you when you get there. Are you ready?"

"Ready as I'll ever be." Dawn replied, not quite as sure now, thinking maybe she shouldn't have been so quick to volunteer.

"Great! Tara, if you please."


[end of chapter one]
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