Categories > TV > Buffy the Vampire Slayer > Choices We Make

Chapter Seven

by Plshade 0 Reviews

Xander has a run in with the Initiative that could break up the gang.

Category: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama - Characters: Anya, Buffy, Drusilla, Faith, Giles, Joyce Summers, Riley, Spike, Tara, Willow, Xander - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2005/10/29 - Updated: 2005/10/30 - 7776 words

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Disclaimer: This is a fictional story. Joss & ME own the characters, I own nothing and make nothing from this story. In other words; Don't want them. Don't need them. Couldn't afforded them if I did.
Note - thoughts



Chapter Seven

The dark-haired man stood by his desk, holding the phone to his ear as he waited for his boss to respond. Several seconds went by in silence before a low raspy voice spoke.

[ What do you mean by problem? ]

"Well Sir, I believe that insane vampire you sent with me to Sunnydale has decided to go back against your wishes."

[ I see. I guess it was unavoidable considering her ties to certain individuals in that town. Unfortunately this does mean that we'll need to speed up our time table. ]

"Is that wise Sir?" he asked.

[ I don't see how it can be avoided. ]

"Do you want me to approach him now?"

[ Yes. ]

"What about the vampire?"

[ Don't let her interfere with your task but leave her alone for now. She still has a role to play. ]

"I understand," he said before hearing the click of the other person hanging up. After returning the phone to it's cradle he sat down at the desk and turned on the desk lamp. He then opened one of the desk's drawers and pulled a thin folder. Flipping open the folder revealed a picture of a young man with brown hair with a half-smile curling his lips. He studied the picture for a second before buzzing for his assistant.

"Grace, find me the current location of our young friend, Alexander Harris."

*

Xander calmly watched as Buffy and Spike fought. Each one scoring hits that easily could have been blocked or avoided even though Spike managed to land more blows than Buffy did. Xander could see that Buffy wasn't going to last much longer.

Even Spike was starting to slow down considerably which made Xander happy. That meant that his earlier comment about Spike being high on Slayer was proving to be true. Like any drug, the faster a person processes it, the quicker it gets burned from the body and at considering all the fighting that Spike has done tonight, he should be clean before sunrise.

If I let him live that long. Xander thought darkly.

Xander also kept the commando, Tyler, in his field of vision. He wasn't too worried about the Initiative soldier but with reinforcements on their way, he didn't have time to play around.

"Hey soldier boy," Xander spoke up. "I got ten bucks that says that Spike's gonna lose."

The Agent wouldn't respond but that didn't stop Xander. Pulling a ten dollar bill from his pocket, he walked closer to the soldier only to stop a few feet away when Tyler pointed his weapon at him. "Whoa. Settle down pilgrim. I just wanted to know if you wanted to place a friendly wager. That's all."

"Just sit back down C-36. A team will be here soon to take both you and the vampire into custody."

"Let me clue you in onto something Sparky," Xander said, not bothering to sit down. "He's a Vampire. She's a Vampire Slayer. There really is only one way for this situation to end."

"My friends will be here long before it gets that far." Tyler replied confidently.

"I seriously doubt that," Xander said. "In fact, Spike just got dusted."

Marcus turned his attention away from the boy and back to the fight. From of confidence in Xander's voice, Tyler was half expecting to see Buffy standing above a pile of ashes but instead he found that it was the vampire who actually had the upper hand standing over Agent Finn's fallen girlfriend. "What the-"

That single moment of distraction was what Xander was waiting for. Tucking into a ball, Xander dove forward and collided with Tyler's legs, knocking the soldier to the ground. Getting to his knees quickly, Xander reached across Tyler and wrestled the gun from his hands. Then he pivoted around on one knee and fired at Spike.

Three shots rang out. Two struck the vampire first in the thigh and then in the shoulder. The sudden pain in his shoulder and leg caused Spike to tip backwards and fall to the ground. Because of this, Xander's third shot passed just before Spike's eyes, actually nicking the bridge of his nose before disappearing into the night.

With one opponent down, Xander flipped the gun around so that he was holding it by the barrel. He then whipped back around and slammed the butt of the gun against the side of Marcus' head, rendering him unconscious. Xander took a second to stare at the gun in his hand before moving Tyler onto his back and inspected the damage area where he had struck the man's head. There was some discoloration but Xander was relieved that he didn't hit him hard enough to kill him.

Buffy was stunned. She sat there on the ground in silence as she watched Xander take the commando out with ease after forcing Spike away from her. Then Xander reached down and felt around the side the soldier's head and sighed in relief. Even from where she was, Buffy could easily see the artery in the soldier's neck pulse with every heartbeat but it was Xander's reaction that filled Buffy with hope for the chance to get her friend back.

A groan to her right startled Buffy. She cursed under her breath for momentarily forgetting about Spike as he laid just a few feet away from her, recovering from being shot. Shot by Xander, she thought, dazed as her mind replayed what happened. Buffy had suffered from a bout of dizziness and she blacked out for a second. The next thing she knew Spike leaning down over her and saying that he was going to do what Angelus never could when, for the second time that night, Xander shows up with guns blazing and forces Spike off her.

Buffy didn't really know what to think. All she knew for sure was that she was tired. Plain and simple, both physically and emotionally. She found herself no longer caring about her problems with Xander. To herself, she admits that, she was probably too quick to judge Xander and now she just wanted to get him safely back to Giles' place and then sleep for a week.

"Harris!!" Spike bellowed, startling Buffy. "I'm getting bloody tired of you shooting me."

"And what are you gonna do to stop me?" Xander asked, checking Tyler's body before pulling a spare ammo clip from one of the unconscious soldier's many pouches. "Use foul language?" Xander ejected the spent clip from his gun and slapped a fresh one in. Then Xander calmly chambered the first round as he slowly walked to where Spike was laying on the ground.

The ease of which Xander handled the gun reminded Buffy of the Halloween they were possessed by their costumes. How because of a simple toy gun that Xander bought from Ethan, her friend had spent most of the night as a military soldier. And just like that night, Xander radiated a confidence of a man that would do whatever he had to without a moments hesitation. That frightened Buffy because it meant that she didn't know this Xander and wasn't familiar with what he might do. Unsteadily, Buffy got to her feet as Xander walked over to Spike.

"Well Spike, I think it's time we continued our little game of cat and mouse. What do ya say. I'll even give you ten second head start just to be fair."

Spike struggled to stand up. "Come closer and I'll finish our game permanently."

"I hate to disappoint ya Blondie but that ain't gonna happen because his friends," Xander pointed at the fallen Agent Tyler. "will be here soon to take you back."

"Oh please," Spike sneered. "they got lucky before but not this time. I-"

"Won't be caught with you pants down?" Buffy asked sweetly, deciding to get into the conversation. After the beating she had today from Spike, she wanted to get a few more of her own shots in. She also wanted to stay close to Xander in case she had to take matters into her own hands.

Spike took a threatening step towards Buffy. "Stay out of this Slayer."

"Sorry, I can't do that Spike," Buffy replied. "But I'll let you guess what I will do." Buffy delivered two round house punches to Spike's face that sent the vampire stumbling backwards. When Buffy moved to finish Spike off, Xander stopped her be grabbing her wrist.

"No you don't Slayer. He is my kill." Xander said as he firmly held her wrist.

Buffy pulled free and faced Xander. "YOUR KILL?!" Fears that Xander wasn't himself anymore resurfaced. "Are you even listening to yourself? You're starting to sound like when you were possessed by the hyena."

Xander just calmly watched Buffy, not bothering to answer.

"Xander," Buffy stopped briefly to calm her temper. She now understood that anger was not the way to deal with Xander. She needed cool down and try to reason with him. To make him see that he needed help. "Forget about Spike. We've got to get you to Giles and figure out how to deal with Riley's people."

"I'm not going to Giles or anywhere else with you."

"Xander -"

"No," Xander backed away, slashing the air in front of him with his right hand. "I told you before that I'm done with you so leave me alone."

Buffy felt her anger rise again. "If you're done with me then why did you stop Spike from attacking me?"

Xander just stared at her with emotionless eyes. "Because the town needs protection and too many people would probably die while we had to wait for a new Slayer to come."

That cold, calculated answer froze Buffy to the bone. Never before has he shown such callousness about her life. As if her being killed was an inconvenience at best. It cut Buffy deeper than she would ever admit, even to herself. Deep inside a memory came to the surface. It was back in their first year together. Amy, or as they found out later was her mother, had cast a deadly spell on Buffy.

To save her, they had to find the witch's spell books or cut off her head. Buffy remembered Xander's opinion on the matter.


~Flashback~

"Well, how do we reverse the spell?" Xander asked.

"Well, I-I've been researching that." Giles said. "And, um, we can reverse all the spells if, um, we can just lay our hands on - on Amy's spell book."

"And if we can't get a hold of it?" Willow asked.

"Well, the other way is to, uh, cut the witch's head off."

"Show of hands." Xander said, raising his own.

"It's not Amy's fault," Buffy stated. "She only became a witch to survive her mother."

"Look, I don't care why. I just care that you go on breathing." Xander replied wholeheartedly.

~present~


And now he doesn't. Buffy thought, furiously scrubbing her eyes as tears threatened to fall. Back then, she had disregarded Xander's feelings mainly because of the seriousness of the moment and then forgot all about what Xander said until now. Deep down, Buffy had known that no matter what was happening, Xander and Willow would always be there for her and until now, she never realized the comfort she'd taken from that simple fact. "Xander, please don't do this. we've been friends for years and -"

Xander's eyes darkened and his face became stone. "Yet you threw that away when you decided to believe someone you've know for less than a year over me."

Buffy winced. "Okay, maybe I was wrong in the way that I handled your arguement with Riley but I couldn't think of any other way to stop you. You weren't acting like yourself and I thought that something had happened to you. Can't you see that I was worried about you!?"

Xander studied Buffy for a second before motion behind her caught Xander's attention. "What I see Slayer," Xander said. "is you letting Spike get away."

Buffy looked over her shoulder, realizing that the vampire was indeed gone. "Spike is the least of our worries right now. The police are looking for you also. They think that you snuck onto the base to steal weapons or something."

Xander raised an eyebrow at the mention of police. "They actually know about the Initiative?"

"No, the Army base. You remember, the one where you got the rocket launcher from to use against the Judge."

Xander just shrugged but otherwise kept his expression neutral. The local law enforcement didn't worry him that much. What really concerned Xander was how the police learned about his little field trip during his junior year. There's no way that Walsh could even know about that unless someone in the group told Riley that story. Xander glared darkly at the petite blonde standing before him before moving to go after Spike.

Buffy shivered inside at the look on Xander's face but despite that, Buffy still grabbed his arm when he tried to leave. Xander stopped and looked down at her hand, then he raised his eyes until they locked onto Buffy's. "Let. Go."

"No Xander, I'm taking you to Giles."

Xander yanked his arm free and quickly captured Buffy's hand. With surprisingly little effort on his part, Xander had twisted her arm up and around her neck. The sudden movement caught Buffy by surprise which let Xander pull her in close with her back to him. Then he roughly pushed her up against a tree.

"Xander?!" her voice faltered slightly.

Leaning in close, Xander spoke softly but firmly. "You are not taking me anywhere Slayer. Not to Giles or the Initiative and you are NOT staking Spike. That. Pleasure. Is. Mine."

The cold tone of Xander's voice sent shivers down Buffy's back. "You can't do that Xander. If you didn't notice, Spike can hurt humans now and if the only way I can keep you safe is to stop you. Then I will."

"Actually right now you can't. You're too weak, whether you want to admit it or not."

Buffy struggled within Xander's grip. The pain of having her arm wrapped around an already tender neck was draining on her. She was growing tired of trying to make Xander see reason "Let go of me Xander. Don't make me hurt you."

Before Xander could reply, a new voice startled both of them.

"Let her go Harris!"

Xander looked behind him and saw Riley. "Well, well, well. Look who showed up. If it isn't Major Mistake."

"I said, let her go." Riley repeated.

Buffy twisted around Xander and saw her boyfriend charging at them. "Riley, don't!"

Buffy's desperate plea stopped Riley in his tracks. He was literally shaking in anger, having just arrived to watch Xander shove his girlfriend up against a tree. Then he saw the bodies of fallen Initiative soldiers strewn across the ground like so much garbage. Riley knew that they couldn't trust Harris and now he had the proof.

Frustrated, Riley watched as Xander turned around with Buffy held tightly in his grasp. His anger spiked as Buffy moved into the moonlight. Dark blood stains had covered most of her clothes and there was an equally bloodied piece of material wrapped around her neck. "What did you do to her?" Riley demanded, staring daggers at Xander.

"Xander didn't-"

"Invite you to this party." Xander cut her off. "And unless you want an instant replay of our last get together, I would suggest you go home. Maybe Walsh will tuck you in like a good little boy and kiss you good night."

Riley's jaw clenched at the taunt. "There's no way I'm leaving Buffy alone with the likes of you."

"The likes of me?" Xander was silent for a second before letting a soft chuckle escape. Xander held Buffy firmly in front of him as he considered the situation. Deep inside, Xander had felt the urge to hurt Buffy, and now Riley, for interfering his hunt but with more Initiative on the way, he simply didn't have the time to play around. Looking down at Buffy, an idea came to Xander. An idea that would keep both Buffy and Riley out of his hair for a while.

"Riley," Buffy looked at her boyfriend from within Xander's grasp. Things were getting out of control and she knew that she had to try and stop the train wreck that was happening. "Xander didn't do anything to me. It was Spike."

"Spike?"

"She means Hostile 17." Xander shook his head in disgust. " I swear they'll let anyone into the military nowadays."

"Listen Harris-"

"Shut up CUB." Xander said. He pushed a startled Buffy away but kept her between him and Riley. "Right now I have a bone to pick with Spike and I don't have the time to play with you."

Knowing that Xander was going to go after Spike, Buffy turned and once more grabbed the brunette by his arm. "Don't go Xander. Spike will kill you."

Xander calmly stared at her. His gaze shifting slightly between Riley and Buffy. He knew that Buffy was not at the top of her game and that gave him the edge he needed. "And who's gonna stop me?" Xander asked. "You?"

"If I have to."

Xander stared at her for a moment, then raised his left hand up and cupped her cheek. Buffy was so surprised by the gentle gesture that she didn't notice Xander reach behind his back and pull the stun gun from his belt. She heard Xander say in a soft voice, "No, you won't." He then took his hand away from her face and brought the small taser up to Buffy's left arm, sending a massive charge of electricity into her.

Both Xander and Riley watched as Buffy's body seized up for a very long second before collapsing into Xander's arms.

Xander returned the taser to his belt at the small of his back. Then he knelt down and gently laid Buffy on the ground. Hearing footsteps, Xander managed to look up just in time to see Riley's foot connect with his face. Xander fell backwards from the force of the blow but quickly scrambled to his feet. He expected Riley to continue his attack but found the soldier hovering over his girlfriend instead.

"Riley."

The blonde looked up with hatred in his eyes. "I will kill you."

"I don't think so. Not if you want her to stay alive." Xander said, pointing at the prone Slayer

Riley stood up at the perceived threat. "What. You're gonna kill Buffy if I don't let you go?"

"No but if you leave her defenseless while you try to catch me, I can guarantee that if there any vampires still in the area, they will take a shot at her."

At that implied threat, Riley took his eyes off Xander to look around for any vampires. The few seconds that passed as Riley's attention was elsewhere, was all Xander needed to slip away. When Riley turned back, Xander was nowhere in sight.

"HARRIS!" Riley screamed into the night.

A soft moan from one of the fallen soldiers distracted Riley from his anger. He moved the soldier onto his back and did a cursory check for injuries. Recognizing the agent, Riley said, "Just stay still Marcus. There's a team on the way." Riley then moved to his girlfriend.

She was alive to his relief, just unconscious. He noted the numerous injuries that were visible and fearing the ones he couldn't. Riley quickly scooped Buffy up into his arms and started in the direction of help or at least the help from the only person that Buffy would probably feel most comfortable with. Rupert Giles.

Riley looked once more at Marcus Tyler. The soldier was still flat on his back but Marcus was now gingerly feeling the side of his head. Confident that the retrieval teams were close by, Riley decided it should be safe enough to leave Tyler on his own.

*

Two figures stayed in the shadows, watching as Riley carried Buffy away.

"What do you think John? Should we follow Finn?"

John looked at his sister. "No. Finn's probably taking Summers back to the base. The capture of H-17 and C-36 is more important to Mother."

Jane nodded in agreement and both siblings moved to follow Xander. What they didn't notice was that they weren't the only ones that were watching. Farther back in the darkness, a pair of luminous eyes followed the twins. After they left, a dark-haired female vampire emerged from the shadows and walked among the commandos. She stopped next to Marcus as he started to sit up and slapped him hard in the face. The force from the blow left Marcus in a daze which allowed the vampire to easily pick him up.

"There, there. Soon mommy will make all better," The vampire said as she carried him like a baby into the woods.

When a team of commandos showed up just a few seconds later, Marcus Tyler was nowhere to be found.

*

Xander had ran only a short distance before coming to a halt. Then he closed his eyes and knelt down on one knee. Placing one hand flat on the ground, Xander willed his senses to open up, patiently inspecting every bit of information that filtered into his mind.

What stood out most to Xander was the sound of crickets. The little insects were so loud to his ears that he could barely hear himself think. Concentrating on the crickets, they seemed to cover the entire area except... a little to his left. The volume of the noise was lower, as if the insects were disturbed from their nighttime song. Maybe disturbed by a vampire running past them.

That was all Xander needed. Pushing himself off the ground, Xander turned to his left and started running.

He hadn't gotten far before a loud screeching noise could be heard in the distance. That noise sounded to Xander a lot like the brakes on a car that was being forced to stop. With a feral grin, Xander ran faster in the direction of the sound.

A short time later, Xander passed through the cemetery gate entrance and saw a mid-sized SUV parked sideways in the middle of the street with the driver side door left open. A little further beyond the vehicle were two men, one circling the other. The one he didn't recognize was standing his ground but Xander knew the one that was walking around him. "Spike."

*

Spike was not having a good night.

It had started off good with him having sex, with Anya of all people, but after that it all went downhill. First was Harris getting the drop on him which irritated Spike to no end. Then he had to deal with the Slayer and even though he did get a nice snack out of her, Spike couldn't remember much of it thanks to the blood lust he was in, but he knew someone had stopped him from draining the Slayer completely but not who.

Afterwards Spike found himself wandering around and stumbled across a group of commandos. He had attacked them out of instinct and was surprised when he didn't feel any pain from the chip the Initiative had implanted in his head. Spike could now killed humans pain-free and he enjoyed himself immensely.

Then he had to once again deal with Buffy and a suddenly, gun happy Harris. Spike managed to ditch them only to be nearly run over as he was leaving the cemetery. Figuring that he had seen the last of the Slayer and her lap dog for the night, Spike decided to have some fun so he pulled the driver from the vehicle and threw him across the street. Spike was surprised to see the man calmly stand back up, unhurt, and then come after him. Spike punched the human hard in the face. The man, barely fazed by the blow, simply smiled back at the vampire.

Frustrated, Spike threw a second punch. The man simply raised his arm up and blocked the punch. Then the man batted Spike's arm away and grabbed the vampire by the neck. With a single punch, the man sent Spike flying across the street. That one punch made the vampire realize that this wasn't an ordinary human, as he tried to shake off the effects of that solid right hook. When the man stayed in the middle of the street, Spike began to circle his opponent as he thought about what to do next. That was when he heard a familiar voice.

"Spike."

His name wasn't spoken very loudly but the vampire heard it all the same. Turning around, Spike saw the one person that he seriously wanted to rip apart. Spike watched as Xander leaned against the SUV's front bumper. Xander held his gun at his side while casually pointing at Spike with his free hand, mimicking the action of firing a gun.

Spike moved slightly to kept an eye on both Xander and the obvious non human he was just fighting. Then Xander pushed off the vehicle and walked leisurely towards Spike. At the same time, the other man did began walking to him too. With a growl, Spike backed away from both men and ran.

Both men gave chase, staying relatively close to the vampire. Xander was about to shoot at Spike when a unknown man appeared from out of nowhere, right in front of the vampire. Spike stopped as the man held his hands up and exchanged words with him. Whatever the man said visibly cheered Spike up, who then turned around and waved at Xander before being surrounded by a cloud of smoke. When the smoke faded, both Spike and the mystery man were gone.

Xander stared at the spot where Spike disappeared for a while before rearing back and screaming out his frustration. His outburst was cut short at the sound of a bored, female voice.

"Well brother, it looks like we'll have to settle for returning just C-36 to Mother."

Xander twisted around and saw was two people; one was a well muscled man and at his side was a lithe young woman. They looked to be the same height but the man had to be more than fifty pounds heavier than the woman. Both had similar features and dark hair; his was short while hers was gathered up into a long pony tail. "Who are you and what do you want?"

The woman stepped forward. "My name's Jane and this is my brother John. As for what we want, well we were gonna take you and the HST back to Mother but since the vampire has escaped, I guess that we'll have to settle for bringing back your mangy hide."

"Mother?" Xander asked, perplexed. Then what Jane called Spike hit him. 'HST'. The only people to use that term was the Initiative.

Jane just ignored Xander's question and turned to her brother. "Of course we should take the quiet one in also. Mother would be interested in a human that can easily go one on one with a vampire."

Quiet one? Xander thought, remembering the guy that Spike was fighting. Turning around, Xander was startled to find that the man was standing right next to him. Xander took a moment to get a good look at him. The man was his height, dress casually in dark jeans and a T-shirt. His dark hair was pulled tightly in a ponytail and in the dim light of the street, Xander thought that the guy looked like what he thought a professional hitman would look like.

"You two are coming with us," Jane said. "The only choice you have is whether we do this the easy way.."

"Or the hard way," John finished, cracking his knuckles.

Xander's temper rose. Not only did Spike manage to escape but now he has a new pair of Initiative idiots that think that they could take him in. Xander wanted to throw his head back in laughter over the audacity of these people but he knew that he couldn't lose control here. His anger would have to be put on the back burner and deal with the situation calmly. Taking looked at the stocky man beside him. "What do you think Mr...."

"Chance."

"First or last name?"

"Yes," Chance simply said.

Xander just chuckled. "Name's Xander. So what do you think? Easy or hard?"

Chance raised an eyebrow for a second. Xander thought he saw something in the man's eyes but it faded away, leaving an almost bored expression on the man's face. Then Chance just shrugged, obviously not caring one way or the other about it.

Xander copied the shrug and decided to wait for the others to act first. He didn't have to wait long before Jane was on the move. She quickly raced towards him with a speed that clearly wasn't human. She was in front of him before he could react and launched a haymaker of a punch at his face. Xander barely had time to try and roll with Jane's punch. He managed to lessened the force behind the blow but it was still powerful enough to send him flying. Xander landed a few feet away and rolled into a crouching position.

He took a second to see Chance trading blows with the other guy. Xander guessed that they were evenly matched since neither one seemed to be able to gain an advantage over the other. Xander turned his attention back to his own opponent just as Jane's hands wrapped around his neck. She then lifted Xander off the ground and threw him high over her head and into a telephone pole. Xander grunted from the impact and fell to the ground, dropping his gun.

Wincing from the pain, Xander climbed to his feet. He watched Jane as she paced back and forth in front of him like a wild cat waiting to right time to go for the kill. Xander knew that he had made a very major mistake. The same mistake that Spike and the others had made in regards to him. He had underestimated the woman before him. Plain and simple. Her speed and strength made it was clear that she was more than human. With that one throw she had managed to really hurt him. Cracked two ribs if he wasn't mistaken. Xander was just glad that he wasn't spitting up blood right now.

"You might as well give up C-36," Jane said, sniffing the air. "I can smell the hurt inside of you. Did I break you against the pole?"

Shifting slightly, Xander barely had time to think before Jane closed the distance between them and planted her right fist just under his rib cage. Pain exploded in his abdomen. That plus the pain from his ribs caused something to snap in his mind. A numbing feeling descended over Xander freeing him from all emotion and all his pain was pushed aside. He could still feel it but it no longer overwhelmed him. .

Without the overbearing sensation of pain, Xander was able think clearly. He was injured and was in no condition to fight someone stronger and faster than him. Despite that, he couldn't let Chance face the two by himself so he needed to take out his opponent. What he needed was an edge and then a idea came to him. But for that to work he would have to get very close to her.

"You can smell the hurt in me? What are you, a dog?"

Jane growled then spun around and delivered a snap kick to the side of his head. She watched in satisfaction as Xander fell to the ground. Then, to her shock, Xander simply stood up and turned back to face her with a sneer on his lips.

"Not just any dog, you're a bitch. I think it's about time that someone taught you some obedience." Xander said as he reached for the taser behind his back.

Jane bristled at the remark and tackled Xander. Both fell down in a heap and rolled around in the street. This was what Xander was hoping the irate woman would do. Wrapping both arms around Jane's body, Xander placed his taser against the back of her neck and activated it. Jane's eyes bugged out and she screamed as indescribable pain blossomed at the base of her brain. Pain so intense that it overwhelmed her mind, rendering her unconscious.

Xander released a scream of his own as he felt currents of electricity pass through Jane's body and into his own but before he could succumb to the pain, the taser was ripped from his hand. A second later Jane was pulled roughly from his grasp.

Focusing above him, Xander realized that it was Jane's brother that pulled her away. He watched as John gently set his sister onto the street and checked her pulse before looking at Xander with eyes full of hate. "You're lucky that my sister is still alive C-36. That means that I won't kill you but you can be sure that I will take a pound of flesh out of you for her pain before I take you back to Mother."

Xander was too weak to reply so he just laid back down on the street. A shadow passed over him as someone stood over him, blocking the light from the street lamp. Xander looked up, expecting to see the big hulk of Jane's brother but was shocked to find Chance standing between him and John.

Then the strangest thing happened. From his position on the ground, Xander felt the ground begin to tremble under Chance as he walked towards the other two. It was as if the man's weight increased with each step that he took.

Xander propped himself up on his elbows, concerned as John punched the other man in the face. Chance didn't even bother to evade or block it, and when John's fist connected, the sound of bones breaking could be clearly heard. Chance didn't move a muscle but John cursed loudly as he cradled his ruined hand.

Then Chance punched John in the chest. To Xander it looked like a light tap but not to John. The force of the blow sent him staggering backwards until he tripped and fell over his sister's body. He scrambled to his feet at stared at Chance and Xander for a minute before scooping his unconscious sister into his arms. "This isn't over." John stated coldly as he walked away.

Xander looked up at Chance. Now that the danger had passed, the adrenaline that was pumping through his system, tapered off letting Xander feel the full extent of his injuries. The pain from his injuries caused Xander to black out.

Chance bent down and lifted Xander off the ground. With little effort, he carried Xander in his arms to the SUV and carefully placed him into the passenger seat. Then he walked around to the driver's side of the vehicle and got in. Glancing at Xander once more, Chance started up the SUV and drove off.

*

Where did all this fog come from? Willow wondered as she found herself walking through a foggy landscape. She felt like she has been walking for days in the fog that surrounded her. Aside from physical exhaustion, the only other thing that she felt was a deep feeling of hatred. She couldn't understand why she felt that way but it was there, smoldering beneath the surface. Suddenly a large, rectangular object appeared in front of Willow, forcefully jarring her from her thoughts. Whatever the object was, it was over eight feet tall and twice as long.

As Willow stared at the large shape, the fog began to dissipate. After a few seconds, the redhead realized that the shape was actually a large crypt and that she was standing in a graveyard. Checking her surroundings, Willow quickly recognized where she was and who's crypt she almost bumped into. "This is where Spike lives. How did I get here?"

"Willow?"

The redhead turned around, surprised to find... "Tara!"

The shy blonde nodded her head and smiled slightly. Willow wasted no time in pulling her friend into a crushing hug. "Tara, do you know what's going on?"

Tara pulled back slightly as Willow loosened her grip. "I don't know. I found myself walking though this fog but I can't remember how I got here. Then I heard your voice and then the fog was gone." Tara looked around nervously and asked, "Do you know where we are?"

Willow nodded. "Spike's crypt but I don't know how we got here."

"You don't remember anything, Willow?"

"Not really," Willow replied, pulling away from Tara but still keeping a firm hold on her hand. "All I have is this vague sense of being furious but I can't remember who I was mad at or why."

Tara saw a figure out of the corner of her eye. "Who's that?" Tara asked, pointing behind Willow.

Willow turned and looked in the direction that Tara pointed at. For a second Willow that she saw another girl in the distance but the figure disappeared. "I don't know but she looked to be coming in our direction."

"She?"

Willow turned back to Tara. "I think it was a girl but I'm not positive. We'll know soon though cause I'm pretty sure that she's headed this way."

As if on cue, the figure suddenly reappeared. Willow and Tara were shocked to see that it was Anya.

The sight of ex-deamon brought out the anger that Willow had felt earlier along with ghostly images of what those feelings of hatred were connected to. Willow caught flashes of herself arguing with Buffy, of Xander as he laid on the roof of an old crypt, and finally of Anya crying about Xander. Everything she saw was incomplete which served only to increase the feelings of anger that burned in the young witch.

Willow fought with her anger. Brutally suppressing her emotions until she was calm. Then Willow walled off her emotions in order to understand what was happening to her and Tara and she knew that the answers were right in front of her in the form of Anya.

Anya kept walking towards them but made no sign that she even knew that they were there. She just kept walking and muttering to herself. Just as Anya started to walk past the two wiccas, Willow reached out to grab her by the shoulders but instead her hand passed harmlessly through the girl as if she wasn't even there. Willow looked at Tara as the blonde also passed her hand through Anya. "What's going on here?" Willow asked.

"Maybe she's an illusion. Maybe everything is." Tara stated, stamping her foot on the ground. Willow noticed that when Tara raised her foot back up, the grass where the blonde's feet were was undamaged. Looking down at her own feet, she saw that blades of grass were sticking up, through her shoes. Her anger temporarily forgotten, Willow looked around and noticed that the illusion of Anya was gone. "Tara. Where did Anya go?"

The blonde with blinked at the question then quickly looked around. "I don't know. Maybe, since you said that this crypt belongs to Spike, she went in there."

"It's worth a shot." Willow said, walking closer to Spike's crypt. She reached out to touch door and her hand passed right through it, disappearing inside. Willow paused for a moment before deciding to continue through the door. She was followed by Tara a second later.

Inside both girls watched as the image of Anya berated a shirtless image of Spike. Anya was demanding to know where Xander was. Beyond the two, on the other side of the room stood a second Anya. This Anya was quiet, almost somber as she watched what the scene before her.

Willow somehow knew that this Anya was the real one. Walking through the illusion between them, Willow marched right up to Anya. The look on Anya's face caused a chill to run up Willow's spine. "Anya?"

Anya jerked away from the illusion at the sound of Willow's voice. She immediately backed away from the redhead with fear in her eyes. Willow was confused at the girl's reaction because it looked as if Anya expected her to be mad. She was about to question Anya when the hairs on the back of her neck raised. She could feel a dark magic enter the scene in the illusion. Her instincts told her to pay attention because something important was about to happen.

Confused, all three girls turned back to the scene of Anya and Spike arguing. A low voice could be faintly heard coming from outside the crypt. Then the air inside took on a purple glow for a moment before being absorbed into the image of Anya. Purple light flashed in the girl's eyes before returning to normal. Then the image of Anya looked hungrily at Spike and attacked him.

The sexual act on display caused Willow to remember what had originally brought the three of them to this place. Anya had slept with Spike. That caused Willow to be furious with the ex-daemon. She even attacked her friends to get at Anya.

Willow remembered drawing in an enormous amount energy from all around, to power her magic but before Willow could cast a spell, Tara had grabbed her hand. That physical contact caused the eldritch energies inside Willow to go out of control. The build up of power between the two witches was both amazing and painful. Willow had felt her body strain to contain the energy that threatened to consume her. Then she felt Anya grab her hand and the torrent of magic slowed down. The level of power was still rising but now it was at a more manageable speed.

Willow tried to reestablish control only to find that Anya had somehow been able to take control of magic, lifting the burden of control from the two girl's shoulders. Suddenly there was a surge in power and then she heard a faint voice

"Why!"

The power responded to the voice instantly and Willow watched from within the flow of energy as the magic transformed into a powerful Legend lore spell and centered itself on Anya.

Now everything was starting to make sense to Willow. She knew that the spell that Anya unconsciously formed was used to find hidden or lost knowledge. Anya didn't understand why she had betrayed Xander like that so she used the almost uncontrollable energies that Willow unleashed and cast a spell to find out.

Willow glance at Tara and saw that she remembered everything also. Then Tara's attention shifted from Willow to the crypt's entrance. "There's someone outside." She said quietly.

Both Willow and Anya turned to the door of the crypt. All three girls could feel a very palpable hate coming from the other side of that door. Anya was the first to race outside. Willow and Tara followed and found Anya staring hatefully at a cloaked male figure that was facing the door. "Anya?"

The ex-daemon watched as the robed turned faded from view before turning back to the others. Horror and outrage shown equally on her face as fresh tears flowed down her cheeks. That pained look tugged at Willow's heart, lessening the anger that she had felt for the girl in Xander's life. Willow placed a hand on Anya's shoulder. "Anya, who was that?"

Anya released a shuddering breath. "He is a lower daemon or at least that was the language he used but I do not know who he was." She trailed off as her tears vanished and her face hardened. "I recognized the spell though."

"What was it?" Tara asked.

"A powerful lust spell." Anya's face darkened even more. "And I will kill him slowly for making me hurt Xander."

At the mention of Xander's name, they found themselves back inside the crypt. The pornographic scene seemed to fast forward until it finally slowing down when Xander opened the door. Willow and Tara watched with a solemn Anya as the events played out. They watched as Xander's expression change from heartbreak to apathy as he shoved the ex-daemon away from him. Then after Spike questioned his faithfulness, Xander went about thoroughly manhandling Spike.

Willow was shocked at the sheer brutality that Xander displayed. With the way Buffy said him to be acting after their encounter, this apparent act of betrayal from Anya would definitely change her childhood friend. Willow could only imagine the scope of emotions that must have ran through Xander. She only hoped that when Xander was found, that he wouldn't turn away from her too.

"Now I know why I tried to get Xander to spare Spike." Anya's soft voice distracted Willow from her thoughts. "But the spell only affected me, not Spike." Then Anya straightened up and, with a burning look in her eyes, quietly spoke, "He took advantage of me and he will pay that."

The icy calm in Anya's voice worried Willow but not as much as Xander did. She felt uneasy as she watched everything Xander did to Spike. Especially leaving him with tainted blood. That was cruel

Willow wasn't the only one worried. Tara was shocked. Since meeting Xander, she'd thought he was one of the nicest, most thoughtful persons that she'd ever known, outside of Willow. But to see him act so viciously, even if justified in a way, disturbed her.

"So.." Tara started to say but stopped when Anya looked at her. It took an encouraging look from Willow for her to continue. "It w-w-wasn't Anya's fault."

"No," Willow replied. It was then that Willow realized that her earlier anger had disappeared. Once she learned the truth of about what happened between her and Spike, she found herself feeling more friendly towards Anya.

Then, to Anya's surprise, Willow set a hand on her shoulder and gave her a sympathetic look before turning back to Tara. "But that doesn't solve our problems. It only raises more questions like who was the guy and why did he cast the spell. Not to mention if he had anything to do with what happened to Xander."

With that said, they felt a sudden sensation of falling before everything went dark.

*
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