New Watcher in Town
New Watcher in Town
Buffy closed the kitchen door behind them.
"So how'm I doing?" Xena asked.
"Right on schedule." Buffy answered. "When we go back out there, tell Ol' Crispy you'll take the tests, but keep up the hostile act."
"Not much acting there, I really don't like him. He's too ... something."
"I know what you mean. There's something not right with him. But so far I think we've got him fooled. Oh, and Gabrielle, I owe you an apology."
"You do? For what?"
"Well, I wasn't really sure you could handle yourself, but you've really got the language down pat."
"Don't forget, I used to be a Bard. Words are my 'thing'."
"One other thing, when Cripy threw that knife at you, you never flinched. Why didn't you try to dodge it?"
"I could have, I think. But I knew Xena was right there and I was in no danger. I trust her completely. Besides, this is her show."
"Must be nice to have someone like that." Buffy said wistfully.
"Speaking of someone," Xena said. "What about you and Riley? You two ever get things worked out?"
Buffy's eyes began to moisten, "No. I tried to find him the day after you left, but he was gone. In fact everyone was gone. No more Initiative."
"I'm sorry. So, do you think we've been in here long enough?"
"Probably. Okay, everyone, it's Show Time again."
"So? Did Miss Summers convince you to cooperate?"
"Yeah. But don't think I'm going to stand for too much. If I get bored, or if you get too irritating, I'm gone."
"Very well, perhaps we can strike balance. Now, Mr. Giles, is there some place private we can go?"
"As a matter of fact, there is. The back room of the Magic Box is where Buffy does all her training, I think you'll find it adequate for your needs."
"Then if you'll direct me to this establishment, Xena and I will be leaving."
"You don't want Buffy and me to accompany you?"
"No. I think for now it would be better if we were alone. The fewer the distractions the better."
Giles, Buffy, Xena, and Gabrielle cut suspicious glances at each other.
"Well, I suppose if you think it's best, then by all means." Giles told him. "I'll call Anya, she's the proprietor, and tell her to expect you."
After he made the call, Giles gave Crispin directions to The Magic Box, and the keys to his car.
"We shan't be long, no more than an hour or so, I would think. So, Xena, we should be on our way."
As Xena started toward the door, Gabrielle followed behind her.
"Just a moment." Crispin said. "I thought I made myself clear -- only Xena and I are to be going."
"And I told you, where I go, Gabrielle goes."
"I'm very sorry, but I really must insist."
"Insist all you want. If I go, she goes. If she stays, I stay."
With irritation in his voice, Crispin decided not to force the issue of Xena's disobediance, yet.
"It's quite obvious you've made up your mind. Very well, Miss -- do YOU have a last name?"
"Yeah it's ... Smith, Gabrielle Smith." (Gabrielle figured that was a good a name as any, since it was the one Giles picked out for her when he checked her into the hospital the first time she and Xena came to Sunnydale.)
"Then Miss Smith, you may come along."
"Why, thank you. Your kindness is overwhelming." Gabrielle said sarcastically.
"So we're just going to let them go? Just like that?" Buffy asked, incredulously.
"I don't see where we have much of a choice."
"Hello? They go -- WE go! I don't see where there IS a choice!"
"Buffy, if Xena is as good as she appears to be, then we have to trust that she can take care of herself. And don't forget, Gabrielle will be there. But even if Crispin is a murderer, I hardly think he would try something so soon. And certainly not with any witnesses present."
"What about Anya? I hope she doesn't blow their cover."
"Well, I told her to act as if she had never met them, so one can only hope for the best."
When Crispin, Xena and Gabrielle entered the Magic Box, Anya was behind the counter near the cash register.
"Giles told me you'd be coming. The back room is through that door. It is certainly nice to meet friends of Giles and Buffy, since I have never met ANY of you before."
As they walked into the make-shift gym, Crispin seemed to turn up his nose. "It's certainly obvious why Miss Summers was so slow to react." He muttered to himself.
Gabrielle settled herself on a small sofa against one wall while Cripin inspected the equipment: a vaulting horse, a heavy bag, a speed bag, and several padded mats. On the wall opposite Gabrielle was a cabinet filled with staves and swords of varying lengths and weights, a half dozen wodden spikes, also of different sizes, a battle axe, and a crossbow with silver tipped, wooden arrows.
Before we get started," Crispin said to Xena, "You may want to put your hair up. I wouldn't want it to get in the way and keep you from doing your best."
Xena gather her long, black hair together and began to twist it up. And in a way that Cripin was unfamiliar, she continued to twist and tuck it in here and there and soon it was secured without pins or ties.
Crispin then took two staves of different lengths from the cabinet and tossed the smaller one to Xena. And without warning, he attacked!
But expecting him to do something like that, Xena was ready for him, and within thirty seconds she had disarmed him, knocked his legs out from underneath him, and had him pinned to the floor with one end of her staff pressing down on his throat.
For several more seconds, Xena stood over him, and then reached down, grabbed one hand and pulled him to his feet.
"That wasn't too badly done. Your form could use some work, but not bad."
"Gabrielle is really the expert with the staff. I just play around with it enough to keep in practice."
Ignoring the compliment to Gabrielle, Crispin walked over to the vaulting horse. "Next I want you stand on the horse on one hand and hold the staff with your other."
Xena started to flip upside down onto the horse, but Gabrielle spoke up. "Uh, Xena, you might want to tuck your shirt in first. You wouldn't want to expose your -- self to Ol' Crispy. He may think you are trying to unfairly distract him."
"Oh yeah." Xena replied. She she refused to wear a bra, not liking its constrictive nature. "Good idea."
"Miss Smith, the name is Crispin, if you don't mind."
Gabrielle just shrugged.
After tucking her shirt in, Xena did a back one and a half flip onto the horse, her left hand landing on the grip, and balanced there.
Immediately Crispin brought his staff down, trying to smash Xena's knuckles. But she had already pushed off, transferred the staff to her left hand, landed on the other grip with her right hand, and knocked away his staff with hers.
He then swung the staff in a horizontal arc, aiming for Xena's supporting elbow, but once again she blocked it.
After several more attempts, including two at her head, Xena got tired of this game and hit both of Crispin's wrists causing him to drop the staff.
"Any more tests?" She asked as she landed lightly on her feet.
"Just one more." Crispin replied as he took out a bandana and handed it to Xena.
"What's this for?"
"It's for your eyes. I want you to blindfold yourself."
Hearing that, Gabrielle sat up from the lounging position she had been in while enjoying the show, and the smile left her lips.
"Why would I want to do that?" Xena asked again.
"To test your hearing and your Slayer sense."
"I still don't know what this has to do with anything."
"Miss -- Xena, vampires prowl at night, when it's dark. And they spend their days indoors, where it's dark. How can you expect to fight them when you can't see them? You must be able to hear, and sense them, thus the blindfold. Now, if you please? And you won't be needing this." And he took the staff from her.
Xena threw a quick look at Gabrielle then slowly put the bandana over her eyes. Gabrielle readied herself, just in case she was needed.
Xena stood ready, knees slightly bent, on the balls of her feet. She slowed her breathing and heart beat. To anyone but Gabrielle, she would look as if she were asleep on her feet.
Crispin slowly walked to the cabinet and removed the crossbow, cocked it and set an arrow. He then removed one of the short swords and placed it on the vaulting horse. After removing his shoes, he slowly began to circle Xena, the crossbow pointing at her. Xena never moved.
After the third time around, he was behind her, and fired the crossbow. As he did Xena spun around and slapped the arrow away where it stuck into the wall.
Crispin then threw the crossbow at her shins, which she easily jumped over. He next grabbed the sword and threw it at her, which spun lazily on its way.
Xena twisted to one side to let it fly harmlessly past her. Then she spun back toward Crispin and caught in midair the same knife he had previously thrown at Gabrielle.
Removing the bandana she told Crispin the tests were over; she'd had enough of his foolishness. She then put one hand to her hair and it cascaded down past her shoulders.
"I'll be right back," Xena told Gabrielle. "Got some business to take care of."
As Xena walked through the door back into the shop, Gabrielle went over to where Crispin was putting away the weapons.
"Just so you'll know, Xena means more to me than anything, and if you had hurt her, or if she is harmed, or killed, because of you, your life will be worthless. There is no place in this world, or ANY world, where you can hide."
With a contemptuous look on his face, Crispin said, "I don't take kindly to threats."
"Take it any way you want, but consider this as a fair warning - I am DEADLY serious."
Gabrielle turned away and followed Xena into the shop. Anya was standing at the door with a phone in her hand.
"What was that all about?" Anya asked. "I couldn't help but overhear the last part of it. Giles is on the phone. He wants to know how things are going, and I was just coming to see."
Gabrielle took the phone from Anya, "Giles, I think he may have been trying to kill Xena without making it seem like it. When we get back, I'll tell you all about it."
As they left the Magic Box, Anya cheerily shouted out. "Come back again, and feel free to spend money!"
The ride back to Giles' was in silence. Once they got there, Crispin insisted Giles drive him back to his motel, he wanted to talk to Giles in private. Which suited Buffy, Xena and Gabrielle; they wanted to talk as well.
After they told Buffy the kind of tests Crispin had put Xena through, Buffy, too, was convinced something wasn't right. "I can see where the tests might have had some usefulness, but Gabrielle, you're right, it does sound suspicious. I guess we're really going to have to watch him."
When Giles returned he was told about the tests. "I don't really think he was trying to kill you. The M.O. isn't the same as his other Slayers, but on the other hand, he may not be above an 'accident' happening."
He then related his conversation with Crispin.
"Despite himself, Xena, he was very impressed with your performance. But he couldn't quite understand why you have the skills you do without the training Slayers must undergo."
"Maybe it's all the years battling the gods, and warlords and their armies." Gabrielle said, stating the obvious.
"Yes, I have no doubt. But I'm afraid he wasn't very impressed with you, Buffy, and tomorrow he intends put you through the tests as well."
"Not a prob." Buffy replied confidently.
"So will we be able to go?" Xena asked. "Someone should be there to keep an eye on them."
"I'm afraid not, he was quite adamant about no one else being there."
"What if Willow is already there? With her magic she should be able to stop Crispin if he tries anything." Gabrielle suggested.
"An excellent idea. Crispin expects me to pick him up at ten. Then we'll come by to get you, Buffy, and then he'll take you to the shop. If you can arrange to have Willow already there...."
"Again, not a prob. You suppose you could give us a ride home? Need Mr. Pointy if I'm going patrolling."
"Certainly, I'd be glad to."
"Xena, you and Gabrielle feel like a walk through the cemetery tonight?" Buffy asked as Giles drove them back to Buffy's.
"Sure, if I'm supposed to be a Slayer, I might as well Slay something." Xena replied.
"If it's all the same to you," Gabrielle said, "I'd like to stay at your house and watch the TV. You STILL have the TV, don't you?"
"Sure do. AND we now have cable - one hundred and twenty five channels." Buffy said proudly.
"And nothing on to watch." Giles said.
"You mean REALLY nothing on?" Gabrielle asked, confused.
"Nothing on that's worth your time." Giles told her.
"Don't listen to old Mr. Fuddy Duddy. There's more than enough to watch."
"Do you think we could stop and buy some chocolate ice cream?" Gabrielle asked hopefully. "It's my favorite, you know."
"We know." Xena said.
As Gabrielle settled in on the couch in front of the TV with Willow and Dawn, a big bowl of ice cream in her lap, Buffy and Xena took a couple of stakes and headed out on patrol. Xena would have preferred the short sword she used before, but Buffy thought it would be too conspicuous.
As the hours slipped by, to Xena's surprise there were more vamps in the parks and back alleys than the cemeteries until Buffy explained that they preferred to be completely away from the place they were buried.
"So tell me a little more about these tests," Buffy requested during one of the breaks between Slaying.
"Not much more to tell. But Crispin sure made a lot of noise, even without his shoes. One thing I noticed, though, after he took them off, his feet smelled funny. Like, oh I don't know, like medicine."
"Probably some kind of foot powder. Kind of ironic, a wuss like Ol' Crispy having athelete's foot. Anything else?"
"The more he tries to conrol his breathing, the louder his heart beats."
After a little while, Xena asked, "I wonder who it is? A vampire?"
"Don't think so. We'd've been attacked by now."
"Well, he's been following us for a good long while. What makes you think it's not a vampire?"
"I just sense it's a person."
"You can do that? Tell whether it's a vampire or not?"
"Most of the time. I remember Giles was reading something in one of an old Watcher's diary and there was something about his Slayer being able to tell the difference. Giles said we should work on it, but I guess he forgot. But it was always in the back of my mind. So When Spike started hanging around I kept trying to sense the difference between him and a human. I got pretty good at it."
"So what's it like?"
"Hard to explain. Kind of like the difference between a soft, fluffy kitten and the skin of a snake. Maybe it's because vamps don't have souls and people do, and it's the presence of a soul I'm detecting."
"So why don't we split up? I'll keep going and you circle around to see who it is." Xena suggested.
"My thoughts exactly."
And at the next opportunity, Buffy surrepticiously slipped away while Xena kept walking and talking as if Buffy was still with her.
Ten minutes later Buffy was back. "Just Ol' Crispy, as I suspected."
"Checking up on us, huh?"
"Yeah, probably. Look, it's almost three. What say we head back to the house for a little shut eye. I've got a big day tomorrow."
"You know, Gabrielle, there are other things on besides commercials." Dawn said, trying to take the remote from her. "Wouldn't you like to watch one of them?"
"But these commercials are so interesting. I never would have dreamed in a thousand years there were so many things to buy. You've seen these all your life, but it's all new to me."
"Well, I, for one, have had all the commercials I can stand. I think I'm going upstairs. Maybe Tara isn't quite so mad at me any more." Willow said as she stood up and stretched.
"I hope you guys make up." Dawn told her. "I hate it when you fight."
"So do I. See you in the morning." And Willow softly and quietly climbed the stairs.
"Why are they fighting?" Gabrielle wanted to know.
"Tara thinks Willow uses her magic too much. Like she doesn't take it seriously, or something."
Gabrielle changed the channels a few more times until an ad for tampons came on, which she studied intently. "Nothing like that where I come from," she said absently.
When the ad was over and one for a popular SUV came on, Dawn said, "Gabrielle, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure you can. What's up?"
"Well, there's something we were all wondering about, but no one seems brave enough to ask. You don't have to answer if you don't want to, though."
"What's the question?"
"Are you and Xena like Willow and Tara? You know, lovers?"
Gabrielle leaned back a little as if to get a better look at Dawn with a small, amusing smile on her lips. But just as she was about to answer, they heard a loud banging from upstairs.
"Tara!" They heard Willow shout. "Don't be like that!"
Then they saw Tara running down the stairs.
"Tara! Where're you going?"
Tara didn't answer, but threw open the front door and rushed out of the house.
"Fine!" Willow yelled after her. "Go on! I don't care where you go!" The front door slammed shut, then they heard the bedroom door slam.
With tears in her eyes, Dawn repeated, "I hate it so much when they fight. I just HATE it!"
Gabrielle put her arm around Dawn's shoulders and let her bury her face and cry.
When Buffy and Xena got home they found Gabrielle and Dawn asleep in front of the TV. Xena gently shook Gabrielle's shoulder to wake her. When she got up Buffy stretched Dawn out on the sofa and put a blanket over her.
"She has to get up in a few hours to go to school. Let's not wake her. Willow upstairs?"
Gabrielle nodded, then whispered, "She and Tara had a big fight and Tara left. She still hasn't come back."
Buffy nodded and headed for the stairs, Xena and Gabrielle were behind her. Xena wanted a shower and Gabrielle wanted sleep.
Buffy softly tapped on the bedroom door. "Willow." she whispered. "You awake?"
"Come on in, no sleep here."
"Gabrielle told me you two had a fight. Anything I can do?"
Willow shook her head. "No. I don't know if anyone can."
"I need a favor." Buffy said.
"Sure. Name it."
Tomorrow morning Crispin plans to put me through the same tests he gave Xena, and I need someone to watch my back."
"Gosh! Course I will. What do you want me to do?"
"You need to be at the shop before we get there about 10:30. Crispy hasn't met you so he'll just think you're just shopping."
"You can count on me. I'll be there with bells on."
Buffy smiled at her best friend. "Thanks. I appreciate it. See you in the morning. 'Night."
"Nighty night." Willow said, not as sad anymore.
When Crispin and Buffy entered the Magic Box, Willow was at the counter with Anya, pretending to be discussing the price of a blue crystal ball.
"Please come in," Anya greeted them. "Feel free to buy anything you like when you have finished." She said to them. As Buffy passed them, she gave a quick thumbs up. Then followed Crispin through the door, which he closed.
"How are we supposed to watch them with the door closed?" Anya asked.
"Not a problem." Willow said, and with a wave of her hand the door seemed to dissolve from the top down.
"You melted my door!" Anya exclaimed. "Now they can see us, too."
"No I didn't. I just made it transparent to us. It still looks the same to them."
They walked to the door to watch.
"You sure they can't see us?" Anya asked, still unsure.
"Sure as sure can be, whatever that means."
As they watched, Crispin took out the largest and heaviest staff in the cabinet, and took a medium sized one for himself. As he started to hand the large one to Buffy, he deliberately dropped it.
"Oops," He said. "Dreadfully sorry."
When Buffy bent down to pick it up, Crispin brought his staff down as if he were and Executioner with an axe, trying to behead her.
But Buffy saw the movement and rolled away out of reach, picking up her staff at the same time. She then swung it as she rolled again, catching him behind the knees, knocking him to the floor flat on his back, and driving the wind out of him.
"Oops," Buffy said, using the most atrocious English accent she could. "Dreadfully sorry."
After he had regained his breath, Crispin slowly got back to his feet.
"Next," He said, still having trouble breathing, "Will be the vaulting horse."
"I know the drill - stand on one hand, staff in the other."
"I see you and Xena have been talking. No matter. Yes, upon the horse, but without the staff."
Buffy put both hands on the grips, vaulted upside down, and then balanced on her right hand.
Crispin picked up her staff where she had dropped it, and swung it like a baseball bat at her head. With her free hand, Buffy caught the staff with a loud smack, and with a quick jerk, punched him in the midsection with his end of it, again knocking the breath out of him.
"Oops." She mocked again as she landed on her feet, "Dreadfully sorry."
"She's doing quite well," Anya said, "Don't you think?"
"That's my Buffy." Willow answered proudly.
After fifteen minutes or so, Crispin's breathing had returned more or less to normal.
Taking out the bandana, he said, "Just one more test."
Buffy slowly put on the blindfold, allowing her Slayer Senses to take over.
She heard Crispin take the crossbow out of the cabinet, draw back the string and place the arrow. When he slipped off his shoes, her nose curled slightly at the smell of the foot powder. As he had done with Xena, he slowly circled Buffy. But it was in an ever shrinking spiral. When he stopped, he was in front of her, less than ten feet away. He slowly pointed the weapon at her face, then pulled the trigger.
Buffy heard the twang and sensed the projectile speeding toward her head, but she never moved. She felt the wind as it shot past her, not two inches from her ear. When she heard it thunk into the wall she removed the bandana.
"Playtime's over." She said, dropping the bandana to the floor.
As she walked toward the door, Crispin was left with a perplexed look on his face. He KNEW he aimed it between her eyes, but somehow the arrow had missed its target by almost six inches.
Letting the door revert back to its opaqueness, Willow and Anya returned to the counter.
"THAT was odd." Buffy said to them. "I didn't expect him to miss me completely."
"He didn't." Willow confessed. "He was so close to you I was afraid you wouldn't be able to dodge out of the way in time, so I altered the arrow's course."
"Thanks. I just hope he doesn't get suspicious about it. But before he comes in, you better scat. He might think it's strange that you're still here. I'll see you at home later."
"Yeah, you're right. See y'all later."
A few minutes later, Crispin entered the retail part of the building.
"Perhaps I underestimated your abilities." He said to Buffy. "But that doesn't mean we can neglect your training. I expect to see you and Xena here tomorrow morning at 9 a.m."
"Isn't that kind of early?"
"Well, if I'm to be Watcher to the both of you, that means we will have to work twice as hard and twice as long."
"You mean Giles isn't going to be a Watcher for one of us?"
"Certainly not. Mr Giles is on temporary suspension while I am here. Didn't he explain that to you?"
"Well, yeah he did, but I thought with Xena here...." And Buffy's voice trailed off.
Crispin "officially" took over Giles' Watcher duties the next day. Buffy and Xena had to be at the Magic Box when it opened at 9 a.m. each morning for training. The routine never varied: fifteen minutes of stretching, thirty minutes of calisthetics, fifteen minutes of running in place, fifteen minutes on the speed bag, and twenty on the heavy bag. Then Buffy and Xena would have to spar, lightly, with gloves and head gear for twenty minutes. And then thirty minutes working out with the staves, and target practice with the crossbow. He also started them throwing the stakes, more target practice, because "you never know."
And then they would spend a half hour each wearing the blindfold while Xena or Buffy would attack the other with the different weapons - staff, sword, and stake.
Afterward, they were free for the day until 4 p.m. They would then return for another workout. But instead the exercises, Crispin would have them sparring again, but with more intensity.
After several sessions it became clear that even though Buffy was smaller and faster than Xena, and was able to land more blows, Xena was stronger and the blows she landed had more impact. The net result was about the same amount of "damage" to each other, which was neglible, since both absorbed the punishment with little or no effect.
Finally, they would go over maps of Sunnydale, discussing stragedy, the possible location of vampire dens, and the best routes to cover while patrolling.
At sundown one or the other would patrol. Unless a den was located, Crispin refused to let them patrol together. Whichever would go out, alone, he would follow, evaluating them. Of course the one left behind would be following Crispin, just to make sure.
"I have to admit," Buffy was saying to Xena one afternoon over lunch, "Ol' Crispy's pretty good with this training stuff. I actually think I'm doing better. I seem to have more stamina, I'm faster, and my Slayer Senses seem to be more acute. I think I may be a better Slayer."
"I have to agree with you. I never thought much about my skills. I just took them for granted, I guess. I wonder how Giles feels about all this."
"I haven't said anything to him. He feels bad enough about it as it is. I think he feels kind of useless."
"You know, I just realized it's a new moon tonight. I always hated patrolling during a new moon. It just seems so much darker."
"Then you have nothing to worry about, tonight's my night." Xena replied.
"Don't you hate it?"
"Buffy, you forget, we don't have the bright lights shining at night where I come from like you do. I'm used to the dark nights. The street lights will be plenty bright enough for me."
"Well, be extra careful then. And I'm not just talking about vamps. I won't be able to see Crispy that good. If he was going to make a move, tonight would be the ideal time to do it."
"I'm not worried. With you watching out for me, I've got nothing to be afraid of."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence. I think we make a pretty good team. Not a good as you and Gabrielle, of course, but as far as Slaying goes...."
"I feel the same way. If things were different, I think we could be even better friends than we are now."
As Xena and Crispin were leaving the Magic Box to start patrolling, Anya told Xena she had a phone call.
"Hello?" Xena said, still not quite used using the telephone.
"Xena, it's Buffy. Got a little problem. Dawn is sick, bad food at school or something and I'm going to have to stay here with her. So I won't be able to follow you and Crispy, but Willow and Gabrielle volunteered to go. Is that okay with you?"
"Sure. You take care of her and I'll see you in the morning."
"Who was that?" Crispin asked.
"It was Buffy. Dawn is sick. She thinks she might have eaten something at school that didn't agree with her."
"So why would Miss Summers call you about something like that?"
"Maybe because she knows I care about Dawn, and if she has to take her to the hospital, I'll know where they are." Xena lied.
"I hope this won't distract you in any way."
"I don't think it will, I'm a big girl."
As Buffy predicted, it was a very dark night. Even the street lights seemed less bright than usual. But it didn't really bother Xena. She figured that if it was hard for her to see any vampires, it would be just as hard for them to see her. And as she told Buffy, she was used to dark nights.
After a half hour Xena realized that Willow and Gabrielle were following them, but she felt they were too close to Crispin, so she yelled out. "Hey Crispin, aren't you a little TOO CLOSE? Shouldn't you DROP BACK SOME?"
"You needn't shout. I can hear you just fine. And no, I don't think I am too close. You just do your job, and I'll do mine."
Satisfied that Willow and Gabrielle were now far enough back, Xena continued patrolling. It was a relatively quiet night. Perhaps even vampires disliked it when it was so dark - too hard to find prey to feed on.
As the hours passed, Xena was getting bored. "Almost a waste of time." She thought to herself. "A little longer and I'm going to call it a night."
"What time is it?" Gabrielle whispered to Willow. "This is SO boring."
"It's almost midnight. As slow as things are I wouldn't be surprised if Xena decides to go home." Willow whispered back.
Just as they got to the edge of the park, Xena stopped as if she was listening. At the same time, Willow whispered to Gabrielle, "Do you see that?"
"That glow around Crispy? That purplish red glow?"
"No. Are you sure?"
"I'm positive. Can't you see it?"
"I see Xena and I see Crispy, but I don't see any glow."
"Well, I do. And I don't like it!"
As they moved closer to Crispin, they saw that the glow had extended out to encircle Xena, who still hadn't moved. And slowly they saw his arm rise up, a long pointed object in his hand.
"XENA!" Gabrielle shouted out. "Look out! Turn around!"
But Xena was frozen in place. As Crispin walked closer to her, arm still raised, Gabrielle ran toward him, and launching herself into the air, she landed against his back with her shoulder. And for all the effect it produced, she might as well have hit a stone column.
As Gabrielle bounced off Crispin's back to the ground, Willow tried using her magic to make him stop. When that didn't work, she tried turning him aside, still with no result.
Slowly Crispin approached Xena. And with Gabrielle still yelling at Xena, Willow, in desperation, did the only thing she could think of - speaking as fast as she could, she recited the spell that brought them to Sunnydale backwards. And as soon as the final word was spoken, the spell was broken and Xena and Gabrielle were returned to their own time and their own world.
For the space of a few seconds Crispin stood looking at the spot Xena had just disappeard from. After slowly turning around, he looked at Willow. Then the purple glow around him projected a tendril toward Willow.
Turning to run, Willow tripped over a root and fell to the ground. Just as the tendril got to her, she threw out one hand to make a large limb from a nearby tree fall on Crispin, hopefully to ... do something.
As she watched the limb falling, she also saw the purplish glow fade from around him. And as the tree limb hit Crispin, she heard him grunt and saw blood spurt out from his head.
"So did you explain everything to Xena and Garbielle?" Giles asked Buffy
"Yeah. They were pretty confused at first, and not particularly happy. They arrived back right in the middle of a huge thunderstorm. And of course being naked, they had to get their clothes, which got soaked as they put them on. And Gabrielle wasn't too happy about the half gallon of chocolate ice cream she just got started on. But all in all, Xena was pretty cool about it, both of them really." Buffy answered. "So what did the police say about Crispin?"
"They just put it down as a freak accident. What about you, Willow? How are you holding up?"
"Not so good," She replied, her voice trembling. "I never killed anybody before. Honest. It was so terrible...." And she broke down again, crying in Buffy's arms.
"Any idea what it was?" Buffy asked Giles after Willow had calmed a little.
"There wasn't much to go on, but I did find one reference in one of the Watchers' Diaries from the late 1800s. The Watcher described the events much like what happened with Xena. Somehow the Slayer got away, either fell or was pushed off a bluff. And the possessed Watcher had no idea what had happened after the demon in him went into remission. "
"So what happened to them?"
"It doesn't really say, but from certain hints, and reading between the lines, I believe the possessed Watcher was either incarcerated for life, or hanged."
"Oh, I guess they did things a little different back then. So what about the Slayer?"
"I assume she recovered because there was nothing said about a replacement."
"So I guess you have a new entry in the Watchers' Diaries, huh?"
"Yes, I do. And the Council was quite interested. Of course, I had to omit Gabrielle and Willow's parts in all this. The Council frowns on civilians, even witches, getting involved."
"I didn't mean to kill anyone, I was just trying to get away." Willow said again, trying to stop the tears.
"Willow, listen to me," Giles said as he sat beside her. "It is true that when Crispin died he was no longer possessed, but it was still in him, waiting for the next new moon, waiting to come out to kill again. And don't forget, you saved Xena's life, and very possibly Gabrielle's as well as your own. So in the overall scheme of things, I think what you did certainly proved to be for the better."
"If you say so." Willow quietly said, not really convinced, but in no mood to argue the point.
"You know," Buffy said, changing the subject, "I think the next time we invite Xena and Gabrielle here, we should have a party - nothing but fun and food: nachos, wings, pizza...."
"And chocolate ice cream." Willow finished for her. "Lots and lots of chocolate ice cream."