Xander has a run in with the Initiative that could break up the gang.
Note - thoughts
The home of Rupert Giles looked normal and peaceful from the outside however the people inside would argue otherwise as a growing sense of unease filled the air.
"No I will not hold." Rupert Giles spoke heatedly on the phone then glanced over his shoulder hoping that he didn't disturbed Ayna and sighed at the sight of the girl still asleep. Turning back to the conversation, Giles tried to speak again. "But I need-" Giles was cut off again and then he pulled the phone from his ear, staring at the receiver. It was quite obvious to anyone watching that Giles clearly wanted to reach through the phone and throttle the person on the other end of the line.
Tara, on the other hand, was idly flipping through one of Giles' numerous books. She would periodically look up from the book to gaze at the bathroom door that Willow had disappeared behind and wait a couple of seconds before releasing a worried sigh and go back to staring blankly at the book in front of her.
Both Tara and Giles were so wrapped up in their thoughts that they had completely forgotten that Joyce Summers was still in the room. The elder Summers was sitting by herself on the stairs that lead upstairs to Giles' bedroom. Joyce found herself unable to do anything but watch as her daughter's surrogate family fell apart.
I can't remember the last time I felt this useless. Joyce thought with a shake of her head. She leaned forward, resting her chin in her hands as she watched Giles quietly argue with whoever it was that he was talking to.
Joyce's gaze shifted from Giles to settled on the prone form of Xander's girlfriend. Joyce regretted that she didn't know as much as she would've liked to about Anya or her relationship with Xander. Ayna just seemed to appear one day and the girl became almost physically attached to Xander from that point on. Add to that Buffy had told her recently that Xander was living in his parents' basement and paying rent. To his parents! Then having to listen to the way Xander's father talked about him to the police was almost too much.
Joyce sighed. She never fully understood Xander's home life. She tried to talk to him about it once but Xander somehow maneuvered the conversation to food and if she liked to cooked big meals. One thing led to another and that night she ended up with both Xander and Willow to feed in addition to her daughter. Joyce recalled that night with fondness. She remembered standing in the kitchen doorway watching Xander as he patted his stomach after practically inhaling a large pan of lasagna that he had talked her into cooking. While across the table, Buffy and Willow were teasing him about his eating habits.
That memory was one of the few times that she could remember seeing Buffy genuinely happy and acting like a carefree teenager since moving to Sunndydale. It was during these rare times that she felt that as long as her daughter had friends like Xander and Willow, then Buffy would be alright. The belief that Xander and Willow had been and would be there for her daughter had helped Joyce significantly after she learned about Buffy's destiny as The Slayer.
But now that belief was being challenged. Right now, Buffy apparently didn't have Xander's support anymore and that worried Joyce as much for Xander's sake as her daughter's. Granted Xander wasn't her responsibility but she had always felt that both he and Willow are a special part of her small family.
Willow.. Joyce was concerned about the young redhead too. Willow was acting irrationally regardless of who is at fault for Xander's situation. And after watching Buffy storm out followed by Willow's argument with Giles, Joyce decided to take matters into her own hands.
Joyce quietly got to her feet and made her way to the hallway, stopping briefly next to Tara. The young witch looked up at Joyce and smiled weakly. The elder Summers could see the worry in the young girl's eyes and she then laid a hand on Tara's shoulder, silently offering promises that things will turn out fine. Tara nodded and returned to stare at the book in her lap.
Joyce left Tara where she was and walked through the hallway leading to the bathroom, Joyce stopped at the door and just as she raised her hand to knock, the door opened to reveal a determined but surprised Willow.
"Mrs. Summers!" Willow quickly looked back over her shoulder into the bathroom and then back at the older woman. "Hi. Uhh.. did you want to use the bathroom?" Willow asked.
Joyce noticed the slight flush in the girl's face. "Are you feeling okay Willow?"
"I'm fine," Willow said dismissively but Joyce wasn't buying it. She could see how upset Willow was and Joyce could guess who Willow was angry with.
"Willow," she started. "I know that you think that you hate Buffy-"
"I don't hate Buffy!" Willow said shocked.
The painfully honest way that Willow answered caused Joyce to rethink what she wanted to say to Willow.
"What's going on here?"
Joyce turned to find Giles behind her. She could also see Tara looking at them with concern. Joyce ignored the two and focused back on Willow. "I didn't mean it like that but you are upset with her. You blame her."
A cool mask fell over Willow's features. "I just think that Buffy was wrong to automatically believe Riley and not Xander"
"But what you have to understand Willow," Giles spoke out. "Buffy had to make a decision with only a marginal amount of information available and the only way to find out what really occurred was to go to the Initiative base."
"So you're saying that it okay for Buffy to grab Xander and force him to go back there." Willow asked in loud voice.
Giles took a deep breath, obviously trying to stay calm. "No Willow. All I'm saying is that regardless of her actions, Buffy did have the right idea."
Willow snorted. "Sure. Escort Xander back to the people that kidnapped him in the first place."
"That's assuming that Xander's version of the events were accurate," Giles countered.
Anger danced in Willow's eyes but when she spoke, her voice was as cold as ice. "So you still believe Buffy then?"
"Please stop fighting."
The soft plea broke through the anger that was growing in the hallway. Everyone looked at the owner of the voice. "P-p-please stop." Tara pleaded, her eyes moist with unshed tears.
Joyce could see guilt reflected in the faces of both Willow and Giles as they mumbled their apologizes to Tara and each other. "Willow," Joyce tried to get the young woman's attention. "What's done is done. Right now, instead of wasting our energies on fighting with each other, we should be concentrating on finding Xander before it's too late."
At this point Giles spoke up. "Well at least the police have not found Xander yet," Noticing the questioning glances directed at him, Giles explained. "I was just on the phone with one of the Detectives and he was far from forthcoming about any recent news on Xander." Giles took his glasses off and nervously ran his free hand through his hair. "Joyce is correct though. We should try to find Xander before anything else unexpected happens."
"Shouldn't we wait for Buffy to get back?" Joyce asked.
"Yes, that would probably be best," Giles said. "We should see if Buffy found Xander or any information about his whereabouts first. Willow, do you think that you could..." Giles trailed off when he noticed Willow staring at the floor.
Tara slipped past Giles and stopped next to Willow. Tara touched her friend's shoulder and asked in a soft voice. "Willow, what's wrong?"
"I know where Xander is," Willow said in a quiet voice, drawing stares from everyone.
Giles gazed at the bathroom that Willow just came from. Guessing what had occurred in that room, Giles fixed the young wiccan with a stern look. Willow looked up and met his eyes with a stern stare of her own. Giles was concerned about her unsupervised practice of magic. His main fear was that Willow will conjure up a force that she was unprepared for and end up hurt or worse. Giles just shook his head, deciding to leave that discussion for another time. "For the moment I'm going to overlook how you must have come about that information and just ask. Where is.."
Buffy stared at Xander, shocked to see him there. She would've sworn that there was no one behind her but there Xander was, holding a smoking gun in his hand.
Spike got to his feet, ignoring the pain from just being shot several times, and faced Xander. "Well look who's finally decided to show up." Spike gestured widely, in dramatic flair.
Xander stopped halfway between Spike and Buffy, keeping his gun aimed at the vampire. "I thought I told you to leave Spike."
"Why would I want to leave?" Spike threw back his arms and shouted out. "I love this town!"
"Wrong answer," Xander said and fired his gun. The loud noise snapped Buffy out of her trance and she turn around in time to see Spike fall to the ground. The vampire was clutching at his right thigh.
"Bloody hell!" The vampire grunted in pain and glared at Xander. "I meant what I said before. You will pay for this." Then Spike smiled evilly. "And thanks to you two, I can finally make good on that promise."
Xander spared a glance at Buffy but kept his gun trained on Spike. "How the hell was he able to drain you. Last I knew, he couldn't bite anybody."
"Why are you asking her Harris?" Spike stood back up, flexing his newly healed leg tentatively. "You're the one who beat me to a bloody pulp and made me insane with blood lust. If you hadn't done that, I would still be chipped."
Buffy stared at Xander's face. She hoped to find any hint that would prove Spike was lying about Xander but her heart sank at the cool expression on her friend's face. Could she still call him her friend?
"But like I said before," Spike looked meaningfully at Buffy. "That was nothing compared to what the wanker did to that ex-vengeance daemon.
Buffy rounded on Xander. "What did you do to Anya?"
Xander grunted, keeping his eyes locked on Spike. Xander responded in a flat voice. "I didn't do anything to her."
"That's not what Spike said."
Xander chuckled dryly. "And of course you'd believe him over me," Xander answered as he kept his weapon trained on Spike. "Now why does that sound familiar."
Buffy's faced reddened in frustration. "This has nothing to do with Spike or Riley," she said, moving in front of Xander. "I saw Anya. She showed up at Giles' place looking devastated and her clothes were torn and dirty."
"Not my problem."
Buffy was stunned. "Not your problem?! Xander, she's your girlfriend!"
"Not anymore," Xander said with a note of finality in his voice.
"He said 'not anymore' Slayer," Spike broke in with a grin. "What? Are you deaf now as well as dumb?"
"Shut up Spike!" Buffy snapped.
"I don't think so," Spike replied. The vampire edged closer and pretended to whisper conspiratorially to Buffy. "See I told you, the boy has lost his bleeding marbles. Next thing you know, he'll start biting the heads off of little kittens."
Xander just stared at Spike in disgust for half a second before shaking his head. "Why are you still here Spike?"
Spike smirked. "I'm hurt. You sound as if you don't want me here."
Xander's eyes narrowed. "Let me rephrase that. Why aren't you running yet?"
Spike stood up and adopted an innocent pose. "Me? Run?"
"It's what you do best, isn't it Blondie?" Xander taunted. "When Plan A fails, which it always does, you fall back on Plan B which is running. It's either that or you hide behind Drusilla's skirt."
"Why you little-"
"Stop!" Buffy shouted, moving in between Xander and Spike. "Spike, leave. Now."
Spike looked at Buffy with a sneer on his face. "Do you really think that you can protect him from me?"
Before Buffy could reply, Xander spoke up. "Don't you get it Spike?" Xander asked, slowly moving away from Buffy while keeping his gun pointed at Spike. "She's trying to protect you from me. She's always trying to protect vampires which is weird since it's her job to destroy them."
Buffy became so infuriated at Xander that she turned away from Spike to face him. The Slayer, fully intending to unleash her anger on Xander, found herself being grabbed from behind and thrown into the air.
Xander watched Buffy's flight through the trees. He was surprised when Spike picked Buffy up and effortlessly threw into the night. The slight amazement on the vampire's face told Xander that this display of raw strength was new, even to Spike. Xander guessed that the Slayer blood coursing through Spike's system has dramatically enhanced all of his demonic abilities.
Great. Just what I need. A Vampire high on Slayer.
Xander knew that Spike would be too much for him to handle alone. What he needed was a Slayer or two. Too bad one's in a coma, not that she would help me anyway, and I don't know if I could even trust the other one right now.
Xander watched as Spike turned back to him. Knowing how limited his options were at that moment, Xander knew that unless he pulled a major trick out of his hat, he was done for. That was when he remembered about some of the items that he grabbed out of his stash at Father Michael's and an inkling of a plan started to form in the back of his mind.
As Xander began to mentally catalog everything that he knew about Spike, a strong sense of calm blanketed his mind and he felt himself become detached. To Xander it felt like all his emotions were being drained from him, leaving his mind in a state of crystal clarity. All of the fear and anger that was clouding his thinking just disappeared.
With this shift in attitude, Xander swiftly decide on a strategy that he normally wouldn't consider. Xander knew that outside of Spike's devotion to Drusilla, his arrogance was Spike's greatest weakness. Then Xander came up with a plan that would've been considered highly stupid and suicidal under normal circumstances.
When Spike turned back around, Xander grinned widely at Spike.
When Spike turned back to Xander, he saw the boy wearing an almost insane grin. That freakish smile combined with the coldest pair of eyes Spike could ever remember seeing made him hesitate for a moment. The vampire recognized the look as that of a person that didn't care about their own personal welfare. The only thing that such a person cared about was whatever goal they were trying to accomplish and little else mattered.
Twenty-four hours earlier and a look like that would've made Spike reconsider whatever he might be attempting to do at the time but that was when he was unable to physically hurt humans because the chip that the Initiative had inserted into his brain. But now, not only was he was free of the device but thanks to the Slayer's blood, he felt stronger than he's ever been before and that meant that he could do anything he wanted. The Big Bad was back and Spike wanted to teach the boy a lesson.
Grinning, Xander brought the gun back up and fired, emptying the rest of his bullets in Spike's direction. The vampire managed to avoid the hail of gunfire by leaping high and over Xander, landing behind him. Spike then twisted around, delivering a solid punch to the back of the Xander's head knocking the young man to the ground.
Unfazed, Xander scrambled to his feet. "Oh c'mon, my grandmother hits harder than that."
Spike growled and wrapped his hands around Xander's throat but before he could snap the boy's neck, Xander fell backwards onto the ground. The sudden movement caught Spike off guard which Xander took full advantage of and pulled the vampire to the ground with him. Then in one fluid motion, Xander rolled to the side at the last second letting Spike fall face down onto the ground and then rolled back to straddle Spike's back. Xander grabbed Spike's hair and roughly yanked the vampire's head backward.
"Hey Spike, is it just me or does this position seem familiar to you?" Xander asked, referring back to their fight in Spike's crypt. Spike growled deeply and pushed himself off the ground, bucking Xander off his back in the process. Xander rolled across the grass, coming to a stop on his hands and knees a few feet away.
Spike quickly moved to kick Xander in the ribs but to Spike's surprise, Xander pushed himself up onto his knees and caught the vampire's foot in his hands. Then Xander grinned insanely at Spike and pulled a small black object from behind him. Spike heard a faint click followed by a crackling sound. Xander let go of vampire's foot and brought the small object up between Spike's legs.
Spike had no time to think before his world was suddenly consumed by wave after wave of indescribable pain as his body convulsed. As sudden as the intense pain started, it stopped just as fast leaving Spike with a burning sensation in his groin.
Xander pulled away from Spike then pushed the vampire from him. Spike stumbled backward on weak legs while Xander then got to his feet and watched as the vampire crouched down next to a tree, groaning.
Xander just smirked. "It's amazing what one can order through the mail nowadays. I mean take this stun gun for example," Xander activated the stun gun, showing Spike the small bolts of electricity that arced between the metal prods sticking out of the end. "This baby gives out about sixty-five thousand volts but is still small enough to clip onto your belt." Xander then made a show of clipping the device to his belt.
"Bloody wanker! I'm gonna rip you apart!" Spike was literally foaming at the mouth.
Xander barked out a laugh. "You didn't think that I would actually let you wander around free once I found out that your chip wasn't working." Xander's grin turned feral. "Oh by the way, you might want to get that checked out," Xander pointed at Spike's groin. "I'm thinking that would be a very nasty place to get burned."
Spike grimaced at the reminder but was instantly alert when he saw Xander begin to move out of the corner of his eye. Expecting Xander to attack, Spike tensed up but was surprised when no attack came. Instead Xander moved near one of the fallen commandos and picked up a discarded Initiative blaster.
Turning around, Xander smiled at Spike and said. "Hey Spike. Don't you think it's about time for Plan B?"
The inside of the Initiative was bursting with activity. Scientists were busy as they resumed their work on various daemons while technicians were scurrying from location to location in effort to the repair systems that were damaged in the incident concerning the civilian, Alexander Harris.
Professor Walsh herself was overlooking the reconstruction of one of the surveillance stations that was destroyed. When she noticed Forrest Gates enter the compound with two of his men Walsh left the stations and waited for them to approach. "Agent Gates," Maggie said as Forrest and his men came to stop in front of her. "Were you able to aquire any useful intel on Mr. Harris from the owner of that.. establishment?"
Forrest stared blankly for a second before responding. "No ma'am. The owner, Willy, didn't know much. He said that his only had contact with Harris was when he would come in with Summers. He said that he never had any personal contact with Harris."
Walsh considered this as she took in the men's appearance. "It looks like you have been in a fight. Any problems, gentlemen?"
"Just a couple of vampires ma'am. Since the bar was a very public place, I decided that capture would probably draw too much attention so I had my men take care of them."
Walsh studied the men briefly, her eyes narrowed in thought. "Fine. For now, report to the infirmary. I want you and your men checked out."
"Yes Ma'am!" Forrest barked out.
Walsh nodded and walked off leaving the three men standing there. Forrest turned to his men and motioned them to follow Walsh's orders and go to the infirmary. When they left, Forrest proceeded to the nearest vacant computer station and started typing.
In the Lowell House, Riley was laying on his bed as he stared blankly at the ceiling. It has been several hours since his debriefing with Professor Walsh and he was feeling restless. Walsh had ordered him to stay away from the Buffy and her friends until this business with Harris was finished. Only there was one problem.
Riley didn't believe that Buffy was safe as long as Xander was on the loose.
"Screw this," Riley muttered, deciding to disobey his superior's orders. Riley left his room and made his way past the people enjoying themselves on the main floor. He passed through the party going on in his building, waving at some people that he knew but mainly ignoring everyone else. Riley even heard some of them were talking about where they wanted to go next as if they didn't have a care in the world. Shaking his head, Riley went out the front door.
Riley's exit didn't go unnoticed. Two people, one at each end of the room, extracted themselves from the crowd and followed the blonde soldier. One of them, John Hess, roughly pushed people out of his way as he walked to the door. Stopping to look over his shoulder, John watched as his twin sister Jane effortlessly navigated her way through the mass of bodies from the other side of the room without any trouble.
Jane stopped next to her brother. Tying her long, jet black hair into a pony tail, she looked at her brother. "Was that Finn?"
"Yeah. He didn't look too happy though."
"Probably something to do with the his girlfriend." Jane patted her jacket down, making sure that she had everything. "Well I suppose we-" Jane was interrupted by a loud ringing coming from inside her jacket. Pulling out her cell phone, she flipped it open and answered. "Yes?"
[ Riley just left his room. ]
Jane instantly recognized Maggie Walsh's voice. "Yes Ma'am. We just saw him leave."
[ Follow him. He'll probably try to contact Summers. ]
"And if he does?"
[ Just follow, observe and report back to me. ]
"Understood." Jane hung up and headed for the door, her brother following silently behind her.
Maggie Walsh sat back into her chair as she watched the security video of the two agents following Riley into the night. She was idly watching the rest of people in the building above the complex when a middle aged man in a white lab coat approached. "Professor Walsh?"
Maggie turned away from the video screens. "Yes, Doctor Angleman?"
"There is new information about the daemon you were inquiring about," he said, handing her a folder.
Maggie opened the folder and sifted through the papers within. She stopped at one and studied it intently. "Are you sure that this information is accurate?"
"The boys upstairs believe so," Doctor Angleman replied. "They also think that they have a possible location as well."
"Good, this could be a prime subject for Project 314." Maggie said to herself, then closed the folder and turned to the man. "I'll have a team assembled for a SaC mission."
"Who will head the team for the Search and Capture of this hostile?" the man asked.
Walsh thought for a moment. Normally this type of mission would be headed by Riley Finn but right now, with current events as they are, Maggie didn't believe that Riley was in the right state of mind to be dependable. That left her with only one real choice. "I will assign Agent Forrest Gates to lead the team."
Father Michael was pacing among the pews of his church as he waited to hear from his young friend. He hadn't heard from Xander since the young man left and he was starting to become worried. A soft noise interrupted his thoughts. Looking at the church's entrance, Michael thought he saw someone standing outside. "Hello? Is anyone there?"
Stepping closer, Father Michael thought he could hear giggling coming from the other side of the closed doors. Tentatively, he pulled one of the double doors open and a sense of deja vu washed over him. This brought memories of when he first met Xander and Michael hoped that he wouldn't find himself in a similar situation tonight.
Letting his eyes adjust to the darkness of the night, Michael cautiously approached the steps in front of the church. His attention was drawn to a pair of tail lights belonging to a truck heading down the street. After finding no one else, Michael turned to re-enter the church. Before he got to the door, a hand shot out from behind him and clamped onto his shoulder.
Cursing out loud, Father Michael twisted around and thrust a cross at the intruder. The priest expected to be facing some kind of demonic hell beast and was surprised to find a young woman doubled over in laughter. Michael inched closer, still holding the cross before him and leaned down to see the woman's face. From behind the mass of shoulder-length brown hair, Michael saw an equally brown pair of mischievous eyes that he would know anywhere. Kayla! Michael shook with both anger and relief at the sight of his young friend.
"Oh.. You should've.. seen your.. face. It was.. it was.." Kayla couldn't continue as a fresh wave of laughter erupted from within her.
Father Michael stared sternly at the woman, waiting for his heart to calm down. "Kayla." he growled and the young woman looked up at him but whatever she saw in his face only caused her to burst out in a another wave of laughter. Michael knew that after dealing with Xander for the last couple of years, the only thing he could do was to wait for Kayla to settle down by herself or she'd never stop laughing.
When Kayla did finally calmed down enough, she looked at the older man with an impossibly wide smile. "It's really great to see you Father."
"Don't you mean 'scare me' Kayla?" he asked in a flat voice.
Kayla adopted a thoughtful pose. "Well there's that too," Kayla watched as Father Michael's face hardened and she tried to placate him. "Aw, don't be like that. I was only having some fun," Kayla pouted.
"I see, scaring an old man is fun, especially in a town like this," he said with a wave of his hand to the neighborhood. "I swear you and Xander must share the same personality."
At the mention of Xander, Kayla sobered up. "I'm sorry," she apologized sincerely as she wrapped an arm around his shoulders and steered him back into the church. "Why don't we go inside and you can fill me in on what Xander's been up to."
Father Michael nodded his head in approval before checking the area in front of the building. "Where's your car parked?"
"Don't worry. A friend dropped me off here. He'll be by later."
"Is that wise this late at night?" Father Michael asked concerned.
"It's okay, he can take care of himself," Kayla said with a dismissive wave of her hand. Turning back, Kayla began grilling the older man for information on what's going on with Xander as the two of them disappeared behind the closed door of the church.
Anya was tossing and turning on the couch inside of Rupert Giles' home. She subconsciously heard the quiet arguement that Giles had with Willow and Anya's anxieties skyrocketed when Willow mentioned that she knew where Xander was. Xander. The young man's name echoed endlessly in her mind. Anya's soft whimpers, that went unnoticed by the others, left little doubt that she was beginning a dream that would lead into a nightmare.
In her dream, Anya found herself sitting on a large rock in the middle of a field of tall grass that was surrounded by trees. She had a strong feeling that she was being watched by something that was hidden among the trees. Something's wrong. Anya moved off the rock and started to wade through the waist high grass to the tree line. Anya didn't get far before she tripped over something hidden in the grass, landing hard on her hands and knees.
"Are you okay?" Anya looked up to see Xander as he made his way to where she had fallen. His kind eyes shown brightly with a deep affection that made her feel warm inside. Reaching down, Xander pulled Anya to her feet. Then, taking one of her hands into his, Xander began to, ever so gently, rub the dirt off it. That action sent goose bumbs up her arm and spread along her back.
"Yes," Anya softly replied as Xander brought her hand up and kissed her palm. His warm breath washed over her hand adding to the sensations already going through her. Anya closed her eyes, losing herself as the sensation of Xander's hands running over her hands and arms. When she felt a hand touch her legs, Anya looked down to find Spike laying on the ground between her legs.
"Ready for the next round luv?" Spike asked.
"What?" Confused, Anya looked to Xander but he just dropped her hand and turned his back on her. Anya reached out for her boyfriend but he shrunk away from her touch. "Xander? I -"
Tears started streaming down her cheeks as she experienced flashes of her having sex with Spike. In these flashes, Anya felt this immense need for Spike. She had tried to fight the compulsion but the need, the hunger increased until she didn't have the strength to fight it anymore and finally succumbed to it.
Anya squeezed her eyes shut in an effort to block out the images. Anya didn't know why she would want Spike like that but she couldn't control herself. It was if something was pushing her to take Spike. In the deep recesses of her mind, Anya thought she could hear laughter.
"I can't believe you would hurt me like that," Xander said shaking Anya from her thoughts. She opened her eyes to see that Xander had turned around and was glaring at her with cold eyes.
"I thought that you cared for me."
Anya wanted to tell him that she did care. She wanted nothing more than for Xander to take her into his arms and tell her that it was all going be okay. That he forgave her and loved her but then she saw the expression that was on Xander's face. That look, so full of hurt and betrayal, stopped her from saying what she wanted to say. That she loved him.
Xander waited impatiently for an explanation that she couldn't give. Xander shook his head in disgust. "Fine!"
Xander grabbed her hands and tied them together with one end of a long piece of rope that appeared out of nowhere. He then dragged her by her hands until they reached a tall tree at the edge of the grassy field. Xander pulled her under the tree and threw the rest of the rope over a high, thick branch. Before she could get her bearings, Xander yanked hard on the other end of the rope, hoisting her up into the air. She begged him to stop but he just ignored her as he tied the rope to a stake in the ground.
Looking down she could see that she was hanging less than a foot off the ground, her bare feet lightly brushing against the shorter grass that grew around the tree. From behind her, Anya thought that she had heard someone speaking in a deep whisper but when she twisted around, Anya found no one there.
"Anya," She jerked in surprise when Xander said her name. She looked at Xander and he pointed down at her feet. Something under the ground was moving, causing several ripples of dirt and grass to appear. Her head whipped around her trying to follow each ripple as numerous things were moving underground in every direction.
"What's down there?" she asked, fear evident in her voice.
"Your punishment," was all Xander said before the ground collapsed to reveal thousands of bunny rabbits.
"Nooooooooo!" Anya screamed as the rabbits swarmed over her feet.
Giles was waiting for Willow to reveal Xander's location when a scream erupted from behind him. Everyone rushed into the room to find Anya curled up at one end of the couch frantically brushing at her legs and feet. Giles grabbed the girl's hands in an effort to get her attention.
"Get them off me."
Giles held her hands apart. "Them? Anya there's no one on you."
Anya looked up, noticing for the first time that she was at Giles' and everyone in the room was watching her. "Oh God, it was just a dream," Anya sagged in relief.
"What was just a dream?" Willow asked but Anya just ignored the redhead as she anxiously looked around the room.
Giles noticed the girl's nervousness but after listening as Anya talk in her sleep, Giles had to ask. "Anya, Did something happen between you, Spike and Xander?"
Anya's eyes darted back and forth and meekly asked, "Is Xander here?"
Joyce sat next to Anya and hugged her, feeling the younger woman's body shake. Joyce threw a worried look at Giles as she answered, "No Anya. Xander isn't here."
Giles didn't miss Joyce's look which amplified his own growing feeling of dread. Anya had buried her face in her hands. Giles gently pulled her hands away revealing a sight that surprised him. Anya was crying. He couldn't remember ever seeing Anya cry before. "Anya, please tell us what happened."
"Xander found me at Spike's and.." Anya shuddered and spoke with a voice that dripped with sadness. "we were having sex."
Giles look around, taking in the shocked faces in the room. A detached part of him was thinking that aside from Anya's soft crying, the room was far too silent. That was until Giles saw the look on Willow's face.