Summary: The accountant sent to audit the Magic Box is
Couples: Anya/Faith/Xander - yes, I think they need
each other. More couples/coupling later
Giles/English Coven - mentioned
Disclaimer: I do not own any of this.
Author’s note: 1/This was written between season 6
and season 7, so, it AU from that point.
2/I happen to consider the things Xander was being shown to be good at at
this stage in the series to be actually way more valuable than gaining a superpower
would be. So I tend to write him being valued for them, that’s not a criticism of
SuperXander stories, but I see him as making a unique contribution, even if it looks
Too mundane to bloody Joss Whedon.
The Magic Box, 1.30 pm, Saturday morning
The Magic Box was its relatively quiet self that
afternoon, nothing major was happening except for
Anya's anxiety about the arrival of the new auditor.
Repairs to the shop required passing an audit of the
books, to ensure that there was actually the cash flow
needed to repay the loan. Xander had done enough out
of his own pocked so that they could have a 'Post
earthquake Sale' but without the bank loan they were
unable to do more. So the vengeance demon waited for
the only thing more terrifying than a Fyoral demon on
LSD, the auditor.
There was a tinkle as the door opened, and a young
woman in a dark outfit that must have cost more than
the shop made in a month walked in with a laptop carry
bag over her shoulder and a briefcase in the other.
At first no one recognized her, clearly she was the
accountant they were expecting, and therefore Anya and
Giles problem. She walked over to the desk and
introduced herself, that was the real start.
"Hello Anyanka, Patron Demon of Scorned Women, I
am Faith Wilkins, from Harvey, Norman, and Bates
Silence fell over the group, for different reasons
depending on the individual. Anya and Giles were
stunned that an accounting firm would have someone who
recognized a major demon on sight, and still insisted
on carrying on normal business anyway. The formal
mode of address made Buffy and the others basically
ignore the statement, and then the name of the woman
in the suit slammed home into Buffy's paranoid brain.
"FAITH!" and with that everyone looked around,
yes, it was the dark slayer. She had calm, totally
business expression, and the reason no one had
recognized her was clear. In her carefully tailored
clothes and with that expression, she was
unrecognisable. The relaxed demeanour remained even
as the Blonde slayer leaped over the table and grabbed
a sword. When the sword swung up the ex-con did
nothing much, simply looked the elder Summers woman in
the eye and smiled. "Give me one reason not to kill
"Harvey, Norman and Bates take a dim view of
attacks upon their employees Buffy, they assume it
means the attacker has something to hide somewhere."
The post Enron/Worldcom/etc shakeout of the industry
had destroyed most of the previous famous firms,
allowing the newcomers to take their place. It was
actually a new name for an old firm, with some very
old-fashioned values. How the dark slayer had been
recruited in Prison to join the firm was an
interesting tales she had been hoping to live long
enough to discuss with them. "If you thought Angelus
was dangerous Buffy, wait till the IRS comes after
you. You may be able to hide the remains of my corpse
from the police, but I have ALREADY found some things
in your last tax return you DON'T want them to look
"How, ah, I mean, you're an accountant Faith, how
did this happen and why were we not informed you were
even out of prison?" Giles stammered out, Faith had
dropped out of school with quite poor marks, how did
she end up as a qualified accountant only a few years
later and straight out of prison? Surely the Watchers
Council was keeping track of 'the Dark Slayer (TM)',
why had they not informed him of her return to
Sunnydale, at the very least. "Why did you not inform
me you were in town, and who is your Watcher?"
" To answer you in reverse order of question, I
insisted on having Wesley back as my Watcher, I
assumed the Council had already told you, I assumed
the council would tell you, and I was recruited by a
Karnak demon that was working as a prison guard in my
first week in prison. They tested me and it turns out
I'm in the top 1% of the population, IQ of 180."
Faith had finally accepted that her school problems
had been the result of her making intellectual leaps
her teachers couldn't follow, rather then that she was
stupid, as they had always told her, everything had
changed. The demon had been sent to work in the
prison by her clan specifically to look for
salvageable individuals, people with untapped
potential being wasted. She had thrived under a high
pressure but encouraging learning environment, getting
her GED and a Degree in Accounting in the time some
people would have needed for just the High School
work. And then there were the speech and deportment
lessons, what fun...
"Karnak demons, I thought they were extinct for
centuries?" Giles responded, in a calm tone that was
all that kept Buffy from making short, chopping
motions through Faiths body with the Claymore sword in
her hands. Restraining her was important, if the dark
haired slayer was telling the truth then turning her
into minced Faith would be more trouble than they
wanted. "And why would they recruit you as an
accountant, of all things, they were mercenary demons,
if very honour obsessed?"
"The industrial revolution.”
"Huh?" From Buffy, at her intellectual limit
under the stressful circumstances.
"Karnak demons aren't extinct, they were
mercenaries for the money, and the industrial
revolution showed them that there was more money to be
made in business." Hence the Watchers council had
lost track of them, being English Upper Class Twits
with the upper class twit contempt for anyone 'in
trade'. Then, for the benefit of the other Scoobies
she explained. "Before then you could only get rich by
inheriting or stealing from whoever had inherited it,
and as mercenaries they were entitled to loot peoples
treasures. Then they realized the money to be made in
a suit was bigger than with a gun, so they do this
"Demonic accountants, well that explains a lot."
Xander finally remarked, watching the new version of
Faith, drawn to her. Anya had said she was not coming
back to him, had told him she would never forgive him
and to get 'a new orgasm friend'. Faith had noticed
the look, and smiled back. "The Council has no
problems with your working for demons, AGAIN?"
"My slaying has the full support of the Karnak
Elders, honour demands we protect a society we benefit
"Not many businessmen seem to think like that."
Willow commented, still the daughter of left wing
"Honour is its own reward." Faith said icily. She
was taking out her Laptop, and examining the General
Ledger of the Magic Box, with the conversation taking
up less and less of her mind. The business's books
were, quaintly in this day and age, still in actual
books, with red leather covers. She approved, the
neat, clearly laid out entries showed pride and care,
not the incomprehensible mess she had encountered when
doing the books at Willie's bar. "Can we discuss this
later, I have work to do?"
The Magic Box, later that night.
Faith had finished for the day, the computer now
contained a copy of the accounts and she could go over
them at her leisure. Everything certainly looked in
order, Anyanka really was as competent a business
manager as she thought she was, perhaps better. And
clearly attracted to the dark slayer, and having
clearly noticed how her ex-fiancé was attracted to
"So, how about we go relax?" Xander announced. He
was standing near the counter, just back from patrol
with Buffy, since Faith was apparently still out of
condition from her prison time, though improving
rapidly due to Wesley and a personal trainer supplied
by the firm. Anya looked at him with a smile he had
not seen from her in a long time.
"Yes, how about the three of us go back to my
place for sex?" The vengeance demon asked.
"The three of us, I thought you and Xander were,
ah..." Faith had heard more about the slayerettes
then they had about her, she knew of the break-up.
"We never did a threesome, no, and looking back on
it that was obviously the problem." Anya was totally
serious now; sex and business were serious topics to
her. "And some romantic, lesbian sex and a serious
stud like Xander to use till you both collapse from
exhaustion is what a slayer needs like you needs
Faith, I mean, why else would Buffy keep screwing
Vampires? Lets go."
Giles watched as the trio walked out, Anya clearly
in charge, Faith and Xander following rapidly. Buffy
was not hear to have heard the comment on 'what a
slayer really needs', though Anya being Anya she would
learn soon enough. Xander was in for an exhausting
evening, if his own experiences with the Coven who had
given him the powers used to fight Darth Willow was
any guide. They had insisted on a price for their
help, not that he or any sane man would mind, and he
felt the teleportation spell kick in, as they called
him for his 'payment.'
Casa Summers, the large bedroom, Sunday morning,
Faith woke up in with the warmth of two bodies.
She had one arm draped over Anya, just under her
breasts, and the other over Xander. It had been an
amazing night, and the vengeance demon had been right,
the combination of making love to a woman and using a
stud for the orgasms was exactly what she had needed.
The other woman was kind, knowledgeable and fun,
Xander did the he-man pleasure machine thing well.
Now to make sure he understood she thought of him as
more than that without triggering the jealousy of
Anyanka, who didn't seem to have worked out exactly
whether she wanted Xander as a lover or a corpse.
The Slayer looked up at the door as it opened, to
see Buffy enter the bedroom. The blonde smiled at her
without saying anything, and placed three coffees and
some doughnuts on the bedside table. A space was
there for it; apparently this was a stable routine.
The ex con was intrigued, little miss innocent was
taking it as a routine to enter the bedroom of her
friends and leave coffee to wake the lovers up.
"Hi Buffster, have a good night?" the dark haired
man in the bed said, as he got up and walked around
the bed to get his coffee. Ok, so this was getting
surreal, Xander walked COMPLETELY NAKED around the
room without a hint of embarrassment from himself or
little miss blonde perfection? "An, Honey, wake up,
Buffy brought coffee."
Anyanka sat up, letting the covers drop and
exposing her own and Faiths bodies for all to see.
All right, so she had nothing to hide from the couple,
but Buffy had certainly never seen her breasts before.
Seeing them she was though, and then the rest of her
as the other woman in the bed got out and pushed the
covers to the bottom of the bed. It was a warm
morning, so it probably was just the absent minded
routine it seemed to be. But how had this become
Summers house, Breakfast table, later that day
Sitting a breakfast with the Scooby gang was a
bizarre experience for Faith, as the whole morning had
been so far. Part of the strangeness was the touches
of normal suburban life added to the mix. Everyone
but Giles seemed to sleep in the house, and only Dawn
was doing it alone. Or presumably Buffy's under age
sister slept alone, she was sleeping over at her
friend Stacey's place for the weekend, and judging
from the routine here they might as easily be staging
orgies as having a chaste, best friend staying over
time of it. The dark slayer was not going to ask,
until she understood the situation better.
"More coffee anyone?" Willow asked, then when
no one else wanted any she poured the last from the
eight-cup coffee maker for herself. Sitting down
between Buffy and Xander, she hugged both, apparently
for comfort, before resuming breakfast. Her recovery
from the death of Tara was not, and probably never
would be, complete, and the need for comfort and the
reassuring warmth of others was a constant with her.
Faith was guessing about some of this, but knew the
outline from what had been said so far.
After the Warren/end of the world thing the red
head had had her powers removed, leaving her a
grieving, guilt stricken wreck. Xander had led the
effort to bring her back into the world, with the
others becoming involved as their friend swung from
recluse to party girl and back again. Willow had,
when Faith had gently asked about that time,
commented, 'either I was huddled in the corner crying
or I was on all fours sucking and fucking. I did the
whole football team one night and three cheerleaders
the next, I don't even remember what drugs I was doing
most of the time.'
So now the five of them were sitting around the
table, this very emotionally scarred group, with Faith
actually the sanest and most sober citizen of the
group. If it had not been so tragic the dark slayer
would have laughed. The human cost of their struggle
against the darkness was so high, and it was all here
in this room to see. Willow, the shy computer geek
when Buffy arrived, was now going cold turkey from:
Alcohol, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Magic, and a habit of
seducing strangers be they alone, couples, or in large
groups. She could now not sleep without someone to
hold, any more than she could really relax without it.
So the only friend she had who was immune to her,
Buffy, shared her bed every night.
Buffy was recovering from her return from heaven,
and probably always would be. Her own degrading
sexual obsession had been hidden, rather than totally
public, but no less a self-destructive drive to
oblivion for all that. She was learning to enjoy
life again, slowly, the way the red head was learning
to enjoy not being stoned most of the time. The
burden of all the routine financial and job related
stuff was a constant drain on her spirits, well; Faith
had very good news on that front anyway.
Xander, whose life seemed the most successful on
purely economic grounds, was barely coping with his
guilt and the strain of holding everyone else up.
While his career in construction went from strength to
strength - the company he worked for wanted him to be
foreman of a small project when the current one
finished - the strain of getting his oldest friend
back to something resembling sanity had nearly killed
him. And the guilt he felt at failing to stop Warren
from killing Tara and starting the nightmare never
really left him, like the pain of having hurt Anya so
badly by not marrying her. And letting Willow seduce
him, he should never have allowed that, even if it was
the start of her recovery process.
Anya was troubled too, and in ways none of the
others could fully understand, being human. As
Anyanka, the demon, she was avenger of scorned women,
and yet she was in love with a man and could not
decide if he should be tortured to death or forgiven.
Willow had introduced her to the joy of woman/woman
sex, why couldn't she limit herself to that, and
should she feel guilty about it the way her other
friends did about having orgasms with the red head.
The events of last night did not help, she had wanted
Faith for sex and Xander was SO damn good at that, and
useful in ensuring the offer was not rejected. And
the fact that she had responded to her pain by having
sex with Spike, exactly the way so many men she had
wreaked vengeance upon had, did not make her emotional
state any clearer.
"Will everyone be meeting at the Magic Box later?"
Faith asked, trying to decide whether to drop her
bombshell now, and tell Giles separately or not. But
Giles and Dawn were part of it too, it affected their
futures as much as the others.
"Not planning to, why, is something terrible
happening we need the whole gang for?" Buffy
responded, sounding suspicious.
"Nothing bad, something very good actually, but I
want to tell everyone at once, and that includes Dawn
and Giles." It seemed that could be arranged, and, by
the magic to the telephone, it was.
The Magic Box, 5.30pm Sunday night
At times Willow wondered if there was anyone in
Sunnydale she had not had sex with. She actually
listed the only people she knew for a fact she hadn't
at times, just to keep track of things. There was
Giles of course, and Buffy, the most totally
heterosexual woman she knew. Dawn, she had never had
Dawn, never had the chance, and Faith had been in
prison. Some of the other women in the town were
bound to be as straight as Buffy, though an amazing
number had been willing to at least experiment for one
night. And the gay men of course, but anyone else...
"Willow, Will, speak to me, can you hear me,
testing one, two, three..." Xander was calling the
meeting into order, Giles having arrived in a shower
of light, to complete the group. Faith had gone back
to her apartment for something, and now was passing
some official looking papers around the desk. His
arrived, it was on heavy, embossed letter headed
paper, and in thick legal speak.
"As you can see from the documents each of you now
has before you, the Karnak Elders have decided to
support the Vampire Slayers, and their team,
financially. The money mentioned is already in your
bank accounts, or new Swiss accounts described in the
annex." There was silence at the table, both at the
idea of demons paying the Slayers to Slay demons, and
the sheer amounts of money involved. To someone who
had been as poor as Faith had been, and Buffy and Dawn
now were, the figures involved looked like enough to
fund a small war. Which, of course, is exactly what
they were. "The Scooby gang have, after all,
prevented the loss of all the lives, investments, and
future earning power, of the entire Karnak Species
several times. Supporting that activity amounts to
insurance, which is a normal business cost, and given
the total investment protected the figures you see for
back payment are conservative."
The figures were astonishing, both for their size
and neatly itemized nature. Each Scoob was given a
separate figure, itemized according to apocalypse
averted and estimated monthly hours devoted to
research, patrol and recovering from injuries. Loss
of income due to neglect of potential money making
activities and studies, etc. was there too. Proposed
investment and tax minimization measures were
discussed, with a note that the Legal, Accounting and
Investment arms of the Karnak conglomerate were
available to them for a purely nominal fee, which was
of course tax deductible.
"Exactly what do they want me to do to earn all
this?" Xander asked. He was having trouble with the
idea that there was that much money in the world, let
alone his bank account.
"Xman, you've ALREADY earned it. You have helped
saved the world repeatedly, you are not being asked to
do anything more, although you will be made an offer
to continue doing so." Faith had had years to come to
grips with the fact that there were wealthy demons that
cared more about her than the Watchers Council ever
had. She had forgotten how astonished she had been
first faced with the idea.
"What has the Watchers Council had to say about
all this?" From Giles, who was clearly expecting
trouble from his nominal superiors. Willow snuggled
up closer to Faith, had not stopped touching her the
whole time, even while daydreaming. He would worry
about it later, if necessary. Both women need someone
permanent, perhaps his troubled, red headed daughter
could find comfort with the only individual here as
smart as she.
"The Watchers Council has been offered nothing,
they are wealthy and yet let the Slayers live in
poverty, they are safe and yet insist on a test on the
Slayers eighteenth birthday that kills most of them,
dismissing the dead as 'unworthy'." The dark slayer
was angry now, and she dropped out of the rehearsed
speech and her carefully trained tones to finish.
"Fuck the Council, if they want to help, great, but if
they bother us may God have mercy on them, because
they can expect none from our law firm"
"Lets find a teller machine, I want to see that
this is really in my bank account." Anya said, having
read the document carefully, there should be $50,000
in there, the upper limit of what the bank would allow
in one account. Her numbered Swiss account would have
the rest. Not a lot compared to Buffy or Xander, who
had been involved longer, but still seven figures in
hard currency. "Buffy, why don't we go see if you can
quit Doublemeat Palace?"
Things to do with a fortune when you have been dead
The first thing Buffy did after discovering that
yes, she was a multi millionaire, was to quit working
for Double Meat Palace. Faith was worried about the
mental stability of all the Scoobies, and if the
blonde slayer had kept that job she would have had the
men in the white coats throw a butterfly net over her.
Anyanka took up the Elders offer to acquire a degree
in finance, since while her business skills were
respectable; investment management seemed her real
area of interest.
Xander did not immediately quit his job, not as
puzzling a decision as it might seem. Construction had
allowed him to find a real skill of his own; something
useful he had a real talent for. Sensibly he allowed
Anya to invest most of his money, bought a house and a
van, and started thinking about his own business. Not
that he needed the money, but he needed to develop the
first real creative skill any of the Harris males had
shown for generations.
Willow insisted on paying out the Summers family
back debts, and the repair cost of the Magic Box.
Anya was still considering if she should run it part
time during her degree, to develop practical business
skills, but the red head felt better about not
sticking the demon with the repair costs of the damage
she had caused. Dawn invested her money, and planned
a life where she never had to worry about being able
to afford anything.
Giles paid off various bills, and set up funds to
pay his various nephew and nieces university
education's. He had never actually been poor; the
Magic Box had been to keep occupied rather than from a
need for the cash income, and he was thinking of
asking Anya if he could go back to running it when she
Faith had already received a lump sum, and in
any case had a high paying job and a lot of things
paid for by the company, with a wardrobe allowance to
pay for 'suitable' clothing, and a company car. She
was proud of the car, both of what it actually could
do as transportation and the simple fact that she had
a skill that people valued that did not involve
killing, torturing or fucking.
Unlike the Scoobies, her employers were aware she
had paid the bills during her pre-Mayor slaying by
working in 'A Touch of Class', Sunnydales best
brothel. One 12 hour shift a week paid all bills and
had allowed her to put money in the bank, with the aim
of moving into her own place. The Karnak are not
human, and, do not understand human morals and
prejudices. They knew enough to quietly explain, very
early in the relationship, that they knew and it was
not an issue with them, she did not have to fear them
However she had worked out during the
conversation, and confirmed after, that they did not
see what the problem was, they were just humouring a
strange human prejudice. Prostitutes were
professionals providing a service, and the clan judged
them like any other professional. Did she provide the
service paid for, was she skilled at the tasks
required, did she overcharge or in any way cheat her
customers? That human society failed to show good sex
workers the same respect as good lawyers or
electricians was a puzzle to them, but they quietly
found and destroyed all record of Faiths former
employment, to avoid any future unpleasantness.
The Magic Box, Tuesday 7pm
"So, Faith, what's the company car like?" Xander
was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee, what
Anya insisted was the best coffee in Sunnydale and he
was inclined to agree. The repairs would include an
expansion, and an upper story with a research room.
But an espresso machine, Giles personal selection of
tea's and twice daily doughnut and pastry deliveries
were already on line. Xander had bought a doughnut
and pastry franchise, as a joke on his years of
delivery runs for the group. "Come on, let’s all go see
what Faith drives."
In truth they were all interested, but for
various reasons had not seen her pride and joy. They
knew she was proud of her car, that it was supplied
under a 'whatever makes the professional demon killer
happy while she is around us demons' basis, and were
curious about it. Xander was expecting a Ferrari,
Giles an Aston Martin, Buffy a Mercedes like the one
she had ordered. The car they actually saw, however
stunned them into complete silence for a time.
Finally Buffy spoke.
Outside the Magic Box, 7.12 pm
"A White Volvo." They were all staring with
their mouths hanging open, which Faith mistakenly took
for awe at her brilliant choice. The Swedish safety
icon sat in front of the shop, sparkling in the street
light, its chrome roof rack shining. It was set up
for towing, and there was a half tennis ball stuck
over the ball of the tow bar. "With all the
automotive choice in the world, you bought a Volvo set
up to tow a trailer."
"Isn't she great?" The dark haired slayer ran
her hand over the side of the car, and then carefully
polished off the fingerprints with a cloth from her
carry bag. "All the Elders drive them, but mine is
the only one you can tow a boat with. I love
That the leaders of one of the most powerful
demonic clans in existence all drove one of the most
boring, but safe, cars in the world, seemed somehow
fitting in light of the insanity of life on the
hellmouth. Giles was deeply concerned that Faith,
former Psycho Slut Evil Bitch, was now the most
conservative and sensible of his charges. This was
the car he would have bought, if there was no Ripper
floating in the back of his mind to leap out and
strangle him at the very idea. The expensive fishing
gear in the back added to the effect.
Xander was thinking that perhaps the
rehabilitation idea had been carried too far, but then
he remembered the dark slayers attempt to strangle him
when he offered to help her, and shut down the
thought. From her performance in bed since returning
he was aware some of the old Faith was around
but...actually her performance in bed was considerably
better than it had been when she took his virginity.
Certainly she had Anya screaming loud enough to
justify the soundproofing of the bedrooms Willow was
Willow herself was standing between Faith and
Xander, where she could feel them next to her without
looking like she was feeling them up. Which she did
not do, in public, any more. Or in private any less,
for that matter. She was rebuilding some of her
confidence, but so much of that confidence had been
from Tara, and she needed the touch, the personal
contact. The car was an interesting personal
statement of where Faith was personally now, like the
fact that she insisted on a date with the red head
before they got into the group sex and bondage. Or
that Faith was happy enough for Willow to be the Top
in their games.
"Well Buffy, lets go kill things." With that the
accountant walked off into the dark, a bag slung over
her shoulder, the Blonde slayer and Xander running to
catch up. Exactly what the ex con had in the bag was
a mystery, she had only said it was an experiment from
the security division. That had them a little
nervous, but Faith had assured them it probably would
not blow up and kill them all, honestly. "Beautiful
night for a fight, isn't it?"
A Sunnydale Graveyard 7.46pm
Ratua the destroyer had set up what everyone of
his followers thought was a really good ambush. With
scouts posted around the perimeter, it did not matter
what direction the slayers came from, he would be
informed and the bait would scream, bringing them
running into his trap. With a dozen assorted demons
and as many vampires it would work without a problem.
Victory was assured. He had heard the old truism 'no
battle plan survives contact with the enemy', but
thought he had covered all contingencies.
A scream in the distance made Buffy turn, and
Xander started running to the sound, Faith ran too,
but she brought out the weapon as she ran, in a
smooth practised motion. The empty canvas bag fell
onto the grass, and she was now holding one of the
most dangerous close quarters weapons available.
Most pump or semi automatic shotguns hold 5 to
8 rounds. The 12-gauge semi-auto she was holding was
South Korean, and had a 30 round drum magazine, with
two more loaded mags in the pack on the dark slayers
back. It had been decided that any situation that
could not be handled by 90 rounds could at least be
brought under control by them, people with arms, legs
or heads missing being fairly easily controlled. She
still had stakes for hand to hand, of course.
A group of Fyoral demons with swords ran out of
the bushes to her right, and the dark slayer fired a
double tap at both. Few people in the world could
have fired a dozen rounds while running at top speed
and without missing, but she was a Slayer, and, as
tests showed, she could do it in a real situation.
The ammunition was the special part; the shotgun
itself had been around for years. Double tapping, or
firing two closely spaced shots at the same target,
was important because of the two different types of
cartridge. One was a armour piercing High Explosive
sabot slug, and the second incendiary shot. Two
rounds would therefore punch a LARGE whole in the
toughest demon, or incinerate a vampire. Or blow the
hole and then cremate the remains. Or explode in the
breach and turn whoever was holding it into cat mince.
So far it seemed to work.
With the right hand side of his ambush gone,
Ratua decide to withdraw, leaving the remainder of his
force to be rear guard. A simple plan, ignoring the
fact that these were mercenaries, who had no loyalty
to anything but money and certainly were not going to
die for him unnecessarily. So they tried to run too,
and the dark slayer simply used them for target
practice. Ratua got the furthest, she had to sprint
to catch him, his head disappeared in a spray of blood
and bone. The test had been successful.
"So, Faith, can I have one, can I, huh, please,
pretty please, huh, promise to be your bestest
friend?" Xander was smiling, and in no small awe of
the new ammo. He was a little dubious about what
would happen if they had to use the guns without
enough training to avoid 'friendly fire', or
'collateral damage.' Soldier was still part of him,
and knew the reality of those words in terms of dead
allies and dead innocent bystanders respectively.
Still it worked and worked well, with proper training
it would allow anyone at all to fight the forces of
darkness with a better life expectancy than the
slayers had ever had.
The Magic Box, Wednesday at 5pm
"Giles, the ammunition is exactly what we need,
its amazing. It won't kill a human any deader than an
M16 round will, but it kills vampires and Fyoral
demons just fine." Xander was inspired, at last there
was something that allowed humans to just shoot the
things that go bump in the night, instead of having to
fight hand to hand against things faster, stronger and
tougher. "We could go after the bastards with any
reasonably well trained soldiers, instead of needing
dumping the weight of the world some 15 year old
The older man was staring into the distance,
obviously mentally a million miles away. At first the
carpenter was insulted, and then he noticed that his
father figure was crying. Slowly it built up until
the former librarian was wracked with tears, his whole
body shaking and he sank onto the chair. Then he
looked up at the younger man, and spoke.
"How many slayers have died because the Council,
in their INFINITE BLOODY WISDOM, deemed it unnecessary
to research modern weapons? How many Xander, we could
have had this decades ago, at least." The mix of
anger and hope in his face was terrible to see. "And
now a group of DEMONS, bloody KARNAK DEMONS who are
supposed to be extinct mercenaries, invent this,
because they say 'its only honourable to give those
whole defend you appropriate tools'. And because they
think its stupid to risk the end of the world just to
keep traditional weapons."
"Giles, we can put out a contract on the
Watchers Council later. Buffy and Faith could die of
old age Giles, we all might."
Various beds, Casa Summers, Thursday night.
Buffy Summers was sleeping alone for the first time
in a while. That did not bother her as such, since
she is a, well, a heterosexual woman in a building
with no other except her sister, and she had been
sleeping with Willow Rosenburg, her aggressively
bisexual best friend. No, what worried her was the
possibility that her friend might slide back into her
post-Tara/attempted apocalypse fuck anything human
Willow, on the other hand, was on top of the
world. She had finally gotten Faith to sleep, through
the simple expedient of exhausting her sexually. The
Dark Slayer/Accountant to the Demonic world, was
superhuman in many ways, but lacked the red heads
recent intense experience, like an Olympic athlete who
takes a year off to drink beer and eat pizza.
Admittedly very few people had the ex-Wicca's
experience, at least in Sunnydale. Regulars at the LA
swingers clubs she had been to were another matter.
Faith, however, had been in prison, where open orgying
is discouraged, and had not been partying much in
Sunnydale before meeting up with the Scoobies again.
She stroked the dark hair gently, and snuggled up the
the other woman, her breasts pressed against the
slayers back and her right arm draped over and cupping
a breast. She was asleep almost instantly.
Anya and Xander were together, in Xanders bed.
The situation had not changed noticeably since the
threesome on the night of Faiths return meeting at the
Magic Box. Anya charted a meandering course between
wanting Xander back as the centre of her life, and
never wanting to see him again. She, at least, had
found a great comfort and relief at her solution to
this problem, which was basically to take charge of
Xander and his orgasm generating activities. Faith
had shared their bed every night, and she was working
on Buffy. Willow, when propositioned, had been
smilingly enthusiastic about 'getting some pork' from
Xander, then, giggling at her idea of a Jewish joke,
thanked the vengeance demon for her kind offer. Both
women knew he had the stamina to deal with any number
of women, courtesy of a dangerously irresponsible
'Birthday present' to Anya during Willows magic addict
Her former Fiancé's protests that the blonde was
straight as an arrow, and, aside from a habit of
having passionate involvement's with mass murderers
seemed to have tame tastes, were ignored. She
countered that she could at least get the Slayer some
'action' with Xander, and then work up through a little
spanking and into girl/girl action from there. Once
Buffy tried it there would be no going back. "How can
anyone NOT want to have sex with women Xander, answer
The only fully employed Harris did not bother to
answer the question. He understood what she meant,
while disagreeing with the central theme. Buffy
seemed to have no desire for females, Vampires and
genetically enhanced soldier boys named Finn yes, but
not women. Also he was enjoying his status as Anya's
one-man stud farm too much to risk an argument. The
demon's plans to get a much bigger bed made, to sleep
at least four, with mirrors on the roof and wall and
loops for handcuffs etc. at strategic points, was also
a powerful inducement to not argue very hard. Life
was definitely improving.
Dawn summers sleeping arrangements will not be
discussed here, since she did not sleep in the house
much, and not much younger than her sister was when
she removed Angel’s soul. She had her implanted
memories of that time, and was determined to avoid
turning her would be first lover into a psychopathic
megalomaniac with an obsession with ending the world,
at least until she had seen some more of it. Though
as far as she knew all alternatives were human, she
still wanted to be careful.
The Magic Box, Friday Night
"And what are you planning for the rest of the
evening?" Rupert Giles asked, as he cleaned his
shotgun and returned it to the gun safe in the floor.
Sunnydale Police had learned about the new weapons the
night of the second field test, when vampires had
staged an elaborate ambush on a patrol car. They had
gotten the first car to call for help, and then were
in the process of draining three carloads of backup
when the group had rescued them. Any complaints were
quietly hushed up, in exchange for an alliance, of
sorts. "I must say I am enjoying the novelty of
getting an early nights sleep occasionally now."
"Well Faith, Willow and I will be doing a daisy
chain while Xander fucks Buffy up the..."
"Anya, you do that just to make him turn red like
that, don't you?" Dawn said. After all this time it
had to be deliberate, surely.
"Do what?" The demon asked, genuinely puzzled.
"I'm just answering the question. It's not like he
doesn't know what a daisy chain is, I explained it to
Faith this afternoon while I sold that nice old Mrs
Greerson her candles."
"Yes Anya, and the Oxygen revived her without need
for cardiac massage, fortunately." The older man of
the group vividly remembered the scene, with the
explanation of the practical details of each woman
having oral sex with two others being matched by the
growing purple colour in the customers face. The
Slayer had asked 'what are we doing tonight?' from the
training room, and the explanation was loud enough to
be heard in there, and therefore by everyone in the
shop and some in the street. "I thought it was very
good of her NOT TO SUE US!"
The red headed once again hacker watched the whole
discussion with an amused half smile. She was seeing
the world improve, for the first time in a long time.
Faith was showing quite a romantic streak, with
flowers and even some poetry. Her first group sex in
ages was on for tonight, and the woman she was falling
for seemed to really understand that, to Willow, it
was just a fun social activity for adults. Buffy had
a real problem with that, with comments about how
could she expect Faith to watch her make love to
someone else, she feared it was a retreat to drugslut
girl That to a seasoned orgy goer making love and
having sex are worlds apart, never to be confused
activities just failed to sink in with the blonde
slayer. The rest of the group seemed to have the two
in their 'proper' compartments, though.
The only thing that made her uncomfortable about
tonight was Xander. She still had nightmares about
what could have gone wrong with the 'get it up when
you want, for as long as you want' spell. The
carpenter himself had managed to avoid murdering her
when he found out, since it all was working as hoped.
The risk she had so casually taken was what scared
her. She hugged Faith closer drawing in the scent of
freshly showered slayer, and thus had her had right
next to the mobile when it rang.
"Sergeant Mendez, yes, I'll ask her...Buffy are
you still ok to run your training exercise tomorrow?"
The two slayers looked at each other, Buffy and
Giles would actually be running things, but the cops
were still getting used to the idea of getting active
help from the slayer rather than covering up
everything and sentencing anyone who talked to the
night shift suicide mission. With Major Wilkins gone
his cronies were gradually being weeded out of the
force, but changing the institutional mindset was a
slow task. "Yes, we will be there at 0900 hours
sharp, that's ok, thanks."
With that the group left, piling into various cars
for the drive to their home. Dawn had a bedroom in
the extension added by Xander's construction company,
or rather the one he worked for, since he did not have
his own YET. It was far enough from the rest that
she could ignore the sound effects from the other
bedrooms, the soundproofing not being added yet.
Buffy had seriously freaked when she pointed out the
need to proof her room as well, but it would be worse
to have to specifically order it when she was planning
to lose her virginity. Everyone else went into the
main bedroom, ready for the night’s festivities.
Well most of them were ready. The elder Summers
Girl was distinctly uncomfortable, if also aroused and
determined to join in what was very obviously the new
Scooby gang activity. Too much pain had been caused
over the last few years by the various members losing
contact with each other, so she was determined to be a
part of it. There were limits, of course,
specifically no Buffy/woman stuff and if Giles was
even THOUGHT of as a member she would never speak to
them again. Willow and Faith were holding hands as
they walked up the stairs, whispered comments and
smiles becoming part of their everyday pattern.
Xander and Anya were more into groping, but even that
would have been normal if not for the two couples
encouraging each other, and including Buffy in all of
it. It promised to be quite a night.
Harvey, Norman and Bates, Sunnydale Branch, Managers
The Accounting world is somewhat conservative, and
the accounting firm of Harvey, Norman and Bates is no
different. However, it is different in the respect
that it is a property of the Karnak demon race, and
the old fashioned virtues are those of mercenary
demons who found a better way of making a living. So
where many other firms in the industry would have
taken a very dim - indeed career killing - view of
Faith's living arrangements, they simply saw the sort
of household common enough in their own past.
Five adult women living with one man, four of the
women and the man involved sexually. Quite normal in
a warrior culture, with its high male death rates, as
was the romantic links between several of the women.
The need to deal with reality rather than hide from it
was a central feature of the Karnak outlook, and
various realities that humans preferred to hide from,
and therefore stigmatise, are accepted as inevitable
cause and effect. So the fact that Willow Rosenburg
had responded to the loss of her beloved with grief,
rage, violence and eventually sex and drugs was felt
to be tragic, but common enough under the
circumstances. The new reality resulting from such
behaviour must now also be dealt with. Hence the
"Logic, Mr Harris, dictates that actions have
consequences, and, therefore, if you perform an action
you must accept the predictable consequences." Xander
was looking at the dark slayers boss, in his true
form, slightly amazed that something that looked so
much like Chewbacca reminded him so uncannily of Mr
Spock, or possibly Tuvok. Giles had commented on
recently being repeatedly drawn into discussions, in
Ancient Greek, on Hellenistic Philosophy. The
experience had left him dazed, if only by the
discovery that not only did these fearsome creatures
have as good a grasp of these philosophical debates as
any of his Oxford lecturers, they had carefully
cultivated Athenian accents. The carpenter was
feeling equally overwhelmed, in this case expecting
Captain Kirk to beam in for his science officers
analysis of something. "You have shown an admirable
sense of honour and concern for your friends, are you
now willing to accept the male parents duties as
The question did not hit him immediately. The
image of Chewbacca of Vulcan in front of him was still
being processed, so what was actually being said took
a little longer to process. Then the meaning of the
words hit him.
"I'm going to be a father? Faith's pregnant?"
Excitement, fear, joy, panic, and wonder all warred
"No, Miss Rosenburg is pregnant, and you are
statistically unlikely to be the father, given the
sheer weight of numbers of the possible candidates for
that honour." The creature with the startlingly
original name Smith, stated, still in its calm
monotone, bringing back the humans urge to push the
fur from its ears to see if they were pointed. "You
are, however, the obvious candidate for the role of
Tark, in your language, Daddy. Acceptance of this
role is the traditional right of passage in our
culture, I should point out."
"Fatherhood? Anyone can be a parent, even mine
achieved it and they were..."
"No, Mr Harris, I am not talking about the
ability to reproduce, I mean the acceptance of the
responsibilities of male parent, of the sacrifices
and joys of 2am feeding, diaper changing and 'are we
there yet dad, are we there yet, are we there yet...'
I should add that if we did not feel you were worthy
we would not ask." Still in Spock mode, with the
occasional Steve Martin flash. Sitting in its
appropriately oversized chair, with its fingers
steepled, the demon looked him directly in the eyes,
as it had from the start of the conversation. The
owner of Harris construction pondered the creatures
"So, if you thought I was unworthy but likely to
be stuck with the job by default, you'd kill me or
something?" Xander was in his logical analysis mode,
where he made the hard decisions like telling Buffy to
kill her boyfriend, or lying to her to ensure she
would kill Angel.
"Yes." Still the cold Vulcan tone. Having
decided to intervene directly in the situation by
training and hiring Faith led inevitably to this room,
and this conversation. The Slayer, her happiness, and
her 'family' support system, were too important to the
fate of the world to NOT be having this conversation.
Smith felt the weight of duty on his shoulders, an old
companion but never so heavy. He could not impose
proper moral values on all humans, but given the
opportunity he would use his power for good. If he
had judged the human in front of him correctly, he was
still talking to an ally anyway.
"If I start acting like my dad you'll, what,
feed me to something?" The carpenter had walked out
on his wedding out of the sick fear of becoming like
the animal that had raised him. The lifelong doubts
about himself all ultimately centered on this, would
he be like all the other men in his family.
"We have a deal."
The Magic Box, that night
"I have an announcement to make to you all."
Willow spoke up, Faith holding her hand, Xander on the
other side holding her with one hand and Anya with the
other. The red head had been delaying this
announcement, out of fear of abandonment, of the
friends she had tried to kill so recently finally
deserting her when the final straw broke the camels
back. Faith and Xander had been talking in hushed
tones all afternoon, and come to her insisting it
would be all right. She was only showing a little,
bulky clothes and not quite three months. "This is
really, really important."
"What, is there some new prophecy, end of the
world stuff." Buffy asked, thinking that if the joint
patrols with the Sunnydale P.D. response team kept
working out they would be a major asset at the next
appocalypse. Giles, however, looked puzzled, nothing
major was coming up to his knowledge. "Tell us all
"I'm pregnant." Most of the group was silent;
her two supporters squeezed her hand and smiled
support at her. "Xander is not the father, but is
determined to accept it as his child, and Faith says
she will stand by me. I'll understand if the rest of
you are disappointed or..."
She was interrupted by Giles hugging her. The
former librarian kissed her lightly on the forehead.
She had been shaking with fear, and tears were rolling
down her face, her speech too emotional to understand
easily. After her parents response she had been so
certain no one would accept this.
"My dear child, we have guarded the mouth of hell
together, nappy changing is not that much worse,
honestly." In other circumstances Giles would have
been hurt by the assumption he would abandon her, but
he had been there when her Father and Mother had
formally disowned her. They had found her putting
flowers on Tara's grave, gotten the basic story from
her, and started a scene that ended in Giles knocking
Ira Rosenburg into an open grave with a broken nose
and three cracked ribs. No charges had been laid 'to
avoid further shaming the family', and Willow had gone
straight to a bar and started her wild behaviour.
"I would love to be a godmother but, as a
vengeance demon D'Hoffran might object." Anya said
smiling. There was no bigger test, in her opinion, of
a man's worth, than whether her runs from family
responsibility or towards family responsibility. Her
former fiancé had told her he loved her, and then
explained the situation. She was going back to being
in love with him, especially when he promised to still
be her stud. "Actually it might be an idea to make
D'Hoffran the demonfather."
"Demonfather?" Faith asked, knowing the answer
would at least be entertaining.
"Like a godfather, but a demon. After all, god
is supposed to be a nice guy, it's the other side you
really need to be able to call in favours with." And
to Anya this undoubtedly seemed like the most
reasonable idea in the world. "And every child
should know how to eviscerate someone, it's just one
of those skills we really should all learn."
A Sunnydale graveyard, later that night.
Faith was walking point, with Buffy to the rear
to handle anyone sneaking up on them. The slayers
were acting as early warning sensors, since the
response team cops could not tell vampire from human
without Infra Red scanners, which were in short
supply. It was the third graveyard of the night, and
the second week of patrols with SPD. Contacts had all
been short and loud, so far, and the Scoobies had
actually had more sleep than at any time since Buffy
arrived. Vampires are vicious, fast and strong, but
stupid and with no real head for tactics and weapons.
A shout from Buffy proved it.
"Hey, bloodsucker, come and get it." There were
four of them, and the team fell into practiced
formation. The Slayer fell back behind the cops, who
brought up shotguns full of the incendiary/armour
piercing high explosive (aphe) rounds. Xander and
Anya turned away from the obvious attack, in case the
first group was a diversion. The carpenter and soon
to be dad scanned the trees and ground, watching for
anything coming up through or over the grass.
The booming sound of shotguns and the distinctive
sound of dusting vampires indicated all was well, but
he was not used to the 'contact drill' yet, not away
from the training ground, and he was nervous.
Eventually the shooting stopped, amid shouts from the
response team of 'Clear', 'Clear', 'Clear' as each man
confirmed he had no more targets in his arc of fire.
There was a sound of the shotguns being reloaded, and
the Slayers moved to the front again to prevent a
second attack getting through at this vulnerable time.
When reloading finished the patrol moved on, Buffy
taking point and Faith tail end charlie.
Casa Summers, next morning.
The red head slept soundly, sandwiched between
her love and her oldest friend. Or, as said friends
girlfriend referred to him, my boyfriend and your
fucktoy. To say that Xander enjoyed the latter title
was like saying the Pacific Ocean was slightly damp.
After all these years the youngest Harris male was
naked in her bed, and Faith's soft warmth on the other
side was security for her mind. Sleep had come easily
for her that night.
Buffy was sleeping with Anya, partly because she
had gotten into the habit of having a woman in bed
with her through the previous month with Willow.
Partly it was because Anya simply could not be left
alone tonight, not after accepting Xander's paternal
role with the red headed friend of his life. She
could control her jealousy by demonstrating control
over the situation, but sleeping alone in the bed
triggered her 'alone and abandoned' panic response.
So, since Buffy trusted the demon's word to restrict
herself to snuggling, with no sexual advances, petting
etc, and with Buffy in flannel pyjamas with smiling
cows on them, they slept the sleep of the just.
Faith Wilkins was finally where she had wanted
to be in life. She had money in the bank, paid for by
a totally legal job, miracle of miracles. She had
people on the police force that did not think of her as
a potential criminal, for the first time in her life.
She had regular, varied sex from skilful, caring
But most of all she had someone who she loved,
who was at least growing to love her, and a child on
the way. Ok, she had never quite imagined a
situation where she was part of a couple having a baby
and she was not the pregnant one, but she had not
really been into women until prison, and for a long
time she had seen herself as unworthy of love. A long
time as in, since the age of about four. She was
deliriously happy. She dreamed of what had happened
when they returned from parol, waking up Willow who
slept on the couch. Faith had found an old Beach Boys
song on CD, put it on and sung it to Willow while the
I may not always love you,
but long as there are stars above you,
you'll never need to doubt it,
I'll make you so sure about it,
And god only know what I'd be without you,
If you should ever leave me,
well life would still go on, believe me,
the world could show nothing to me,
So what good would living do me?
And God only know what I'd be without you,
If you should ever leave me,
well life would still go on believe me,
the world would show nothing to me,
so what good would living do me?
And God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you,
god only knows what I'd be without you,
god only knows what I'd be without you,
Faith had broken down crying as the overlapping
harmonies of God Only Knows flowed on in the
background. The words were inadequate to describe her
love, but it was the closest she could come to
explaining herself. Willow seemed to understand, was
hugging her. And that is what the Mayors former
killer dreamed of, acceptance and love of one woman in
the world who really meant the world to her.
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. I
certainly did in Sunnydale, as the hellmouth drew in
vampires and demons from the world around it to
replace the ones killed by the rapidly improving
patrol system. It seemed that the minions of darkness
simply WOULD not learn the value of modern weapons,
and insisted on fighting hand to hand, or with swords,
against the semi-auto shotguns of the police and
Slayerettes. So the booming of 12 gauge autoloaders
became more and more common at night, and the world
slowly changed, mainly for the better, to accommodate
At first only the SWAT teams, relabelled the Rapid
Response Teams, had been involved in the anti-demon
patrols. But the simple fact that anyone in the town,
and therefore any cop on night patrol, could encounter
vampires meant that had to change. Harvey Norman,
and Bates were only too pleased to supply as much
incendiary and APHE ammunition as was needed, as well
as the South Korean 30 round shotguns to make best use
of them. At least as long as intensive re-training in
fire discipline and proper target identification was
In any other city being greeted by the police
with a squirt in the face by a water pistol would be
considered odd, and perhaps justification for a
complaint. Sunnydale being Sunnydale, it became just
part of the routine, to be ignored like all those
dead people with twin puncture wounds and their blood
missing used to be. People in the surrounding
communities certainly started to comment, however, and
journalists, politicians and police chiefs were taken
on patrol to show what was happening. The new members
of the fight felt no compulsion to keep secrets, in
the belief that organization and teamwork were the
keys to any victory.
"Mr Giles this is an outrage." Quentin Travers
sputtered, glaring at the Watcher who had defied the
Council on so many occasions. "The Slayer has a
sacred calling to fight alone, and not only do you
allow them friends but now this, this decent into..."
"Teamwork, superior firepower and, technology?"
The Slayers father figure commented. He was very
aware, as Travers apparently was not, of how all this
looked to the RRT members watching to one side. How
anyone could be so arrogant as to NOT NOTICE the dozen
angry cops with huge drum fed shotguns in patrol
slings he did not know, but this moron was doing it.
"We are killing vampires and demons in larger numbers
than ever, and if we did not have the help of these
men I am afraid Buffy and Faith might both have passed
"Yes, allowing the calling of new slayers better
suited to our traditional..."
"LISTEN HEAR YOU LITTLE ENGLISH PRICK." It was
Murphy, leader of Rapid Response Team Two, also known
as Red Team, and he was holding the Council
representative by the collar and shaking him. RRT2's
leader was not a small man, and had the 'take charge
and move out' personality that went with his calling.
A big believer in meeting dangerous situations with
speed, violence and teamwork, he was a lot like the
old Faith in some ways. "These girls should NEVER
have been left hanging, with no support but one man
providing intel. I'd have you up for attempted murder
for just considering it, except it's too much trouble
over a weasel like you. FUCK OFF BEFORE I RIP YOUR
LUNGS OUT AND FEED THEM TO MY DOG!"
Travers was nonplussed by all this, but also
less intimidated than he might have been if he had not
been an upper class snob with nothing but contempt for
anyone not born to an English aristocratic family. He
had also mistaken the comment about his lungs for a
threat. It had been intended as an explanation of a
possible course of action, by a man who was used to
eliminating problems rather than living with them,
though feeding him to a vampire prior to dusting was
actually the rapidly forming plan. The Watcher was
incapable of believing he had done anything wrong, or
that new methods might be better than old.
"What you fail to appreciate is that for
thousands of years our council has..."
"Sent 16 year old girls out to die while sitting
in libraries reading. You think only the slayer can
fight because only the slayer can match vampires in
speed and strength." It was Hernandez this time, the
more intellectual member of the team. He wanted to be
a team leader himself some day, wanted to be a good
one, and so he studied, theory and how it had worked
in practice. "Do you know what a European cave bear
was, Mr Travers."
“No." Travers was puzzled by this sudden change
of subject, and that no one else seemed puzzled by it.
But they knew the man speaking, and his tendency to
teach by parable. And they knew the one coming up,
had been taken to the zoo to be shown the point of it.
"It was 15 feet of teeth, muscle and appetite
that our 5 foot nothing ancestors had to get out of
the caves before they could move in. Twice the size
and four times the weight of a Kodiak bear, Mr
Travers, and we took them on with fire hardened spears
because the stone tipped spear was still to be
invented." The young Latino was looking directly into
the Council members eyes through this speech, never
allowing the other man to break eye contact, and
putting a big emphasis on the 'we' part. "They are
all extinct now, with sharp sticks, teamwork and
courage we turned them into rugs and bear meat stew.
We did them, and we can do these bastards too. We're
Before Quentin Travers could ponder why this man
was speaking in the present tense, he saw the group
swing up their weapons and level them past him, as he
fell to the ground. The dark slayer had knocked him
down and he turned in time to see a dozen or more
Mertak demons attacking. There was the roar of
multiple shotguns firing as fast as possible, and then
silence as he felt a wet substance soak into his
clothing, he looked at it, it was green blood.
"R E D SPELLS RED,
R E D, R E D SPELLS RED,
RED TEAM YO!"
They were all singing at the top
of their lungs, ignoring the need to sleep of anyone
around. They also left the corpses in the street, as
was their habit. There was a special phone number for
people with demon corpses to dispose of now, and it
was standard operating procedure to call it after an
incident. But the pickup crews only worked in
daylight, for safety and so the population could see
what all the noise was about. Having to step over
these corpses on the way to work in the morning was a
street cops idea of a PR exercise, 'Without us these
would have been in your house' was the message
intended. It seemed to work, certainly no-one seemed
to complain about the noise and police budget for a
while after doing it.
"Coming Quentin?" It was Giles, speaking
politely and trying not to smile. The slaying task
was rapidly turning into a war and while the loss of
control was a little worrying, it promised a much
longer life span for slayers, and he was all for that.
Since the man on the ground simply did not care about
the slayers life span as such, but did care about
maintaining control over the slayer and slaying, it
seemed like the end of the world to him. Tough.
The Summers house, Friday afternoon.
"Buffy, I have to talk to you about Xander."
Anya said to the blonde slayer, who was getting
dressed for her evening patrol with Blue Team, aka
Rapid Response Team 1. Blue team were behind on the
monthly demon kill tally, and were determined not to
be buying the beer this month, as the low scoring team
was required to do. She went along with the whole
macho thing with good humour; it was extending her
life span after all. "I need you to do us a favour."
"Reconsider a romantic involvement with him,
you both need it." The vengeance demon announced,
with a serene calm on her face. The house was empty
except for the two of them, with Faith and Xander at
work and Willow out shopping for Maternity dresses.
"All the orgasms would normally be enough to keep any
man happy, but he needs to be romantic with someone,
and he still loves you, so you're the obvious choice.
That and the fact that currently you're both fucktoys
in our group."
"Fuck toys, sex machines with a pulse, spare
"DO YOU HAVE A DEATH WISH?" The slayer was less
than thrilled by her request; Anya had picked up on
that very quickly. The source of the other woman's
anger was less obvious to her, however. Xander was
always smiling at her references, but then most men
would be happy to have proof they were enough man to
keep so many women satisfied.
"No, I have a boyfriend I farm out to please
women, and who seems very happy with that duty."
"So, you're his pimp and you think I should be
happy to be included in that role?"
"No money is exchanging hands, although I really
should have considered it, shouldn't I? " Clearly
the vengeance demon was trying to get the conversation
back on track, while considering the money making
opportunity presented. "What I, sorry we, want you to
consider is a chance to be loved for yourself, rather
than simply be the source of sexual fantasies that
only one of our group can act on. And he always
wanted the whole thing, including flowers and sappy
poetry, but avoid the poetry because he's really bad
at writing it."
"Xander writes love poetry." The image would
not form in her mind, it was just too bizarre.
"Yes, he always has, when I asked he showed me
stuff he wrote the night he met you. Sweet, really
bad, but sweet."
"Xander writes love poetry."
"I managed to get him to admit to himself that
he still loves you, and I think you could really love
him if you let yourself think of him that way, and he
would never leave me so I hope sharing is not a
problem. Eventually threesomes, when you come to your
senses about how great sex with women is."
"Xander writes love poetry."
"Clearly you are having a problem with something
here, so why don't I just make sure the apple cake is
ready for when the guy's get here. One of the things
the demon had learned to do while temporarily human
was bake, an amazingly good apple cake in particular.
Her lemon cheesecake was also highly prized, and she
always had something of the sort ready when the RRT
van came to pick Buffy or Faith up. It was a ritual
that had formed instantly, a good luck charm that you
could eat. After 1100 years as a demon she knew very
little about human psychology, but she did understand
the importance of rituals and charms.
Faith and Willow's bedroom, early Saturday morning.
The red head was six months along now, and the
pregnancy was showing. She was still at UCS, and
still a straight A student, but her studies were less
focused now, with no need to think of a career path.
So she was doing a double major in Computer Science
-because working on Artificial Intelligence was
serious fun - and Ancient languages, to help with
To be honest she was still a little torn, because
she had discovered a recent paper on the quantum
mechanical re-interpretation of certain elements of
solid state physics, and the professor wanted her to
work with him and his team on it. She was really
worried that she was having too much fun, that
university was supposed to be about work and here she
was in the A. I. and experimental physics labs having
more fun than at any time in her life. That the AI
team had two Noble Prize winners on it, and the
Quantum Physics lab one, and they were fighting over
who had more right to pick her mind, was unnoticed by
The simple fact was that no other student below
PhD level could even understand the casual
conversation in either lab, while she, who was
repeating her second year due to time lost trying to
destroy the world etc., had repeatedly changed the
course of research with off the cuff comments. Willow
had been tested once, and told she was in the top 10%
of the population in many areas. Which was true, in a
sense, since she was in the top 100 scientists in the
world. Her romance with Faith was partly built around
this, since while Willow had always known she was
smart, just not how smart, Faith had always been told
she was stupid, when in fact she was significantly
smarter than any of the teachers who insulted her.
The dark slayer's apparent stupidity and
recklessness had the same cause, she routinely saw
three or more steps ahead and acted on that. Since
none of the people who supposedly were teaching or
leading her could follow her reasoning it looked to
them like she had none, and was just lucky. When, in
the course of her prison education she had been
introduced to Probability theory, she had breezed
through it. How could anyone not automatically see the
possible outcomes of any action, the probability of
each outcome, and then work on the possible outcomes
and probabilities of the secondary outcomes? She had
been doing it all her life, could not have survived
her childhood without it. Now Willow talked about her
day, and the things that happened to be puzzling
people in the two labs, and Faith commented on what
she thought was most likely to work out as the
solution. They were enjoying themselves in life, and
"Hello Faith." It was Tara, Faith had not
dreamed about Tara before, not having known her
really. This version was talking quietly, in a room
with quietly tasteful furnishing in pastel colours.
"Faith, this is not a dream, it is a visitation, I
will visit every one of the Scoobs tonight, ask them
in the morning."
"Ok." And to the dark slayer it was, since
either this was true, in which case COOL, or it was
just a dream, in which case, COOL. Her dreams often
revolved around the people she had killed, and/or
tortured, for the Major. Only two were known from
records, which had been 'sanitized' by the Mayor to
allow her the reduced sentence that had allowed her to
get out so soon. But she had seen his interests as
her own, genuinely liked and been liked by him, and so
applied her reasoning to finding and eliminating
possible threats to him. So many people dead, at her
hands, because probability said they would be a future
"But not Buffy or the gang Faith, them you let
live. And you could have killed them all, one bomb in
the library and it would have been over." Tara was
talking, speaking logically and smoothly, speaking
the simple truth. She had not killed Buffy and the
gang on her own account, and had not offered her
reasoning to the Mayor on how to do so. "There were
limits to your evil, Faith, and you finally reached
them when you tortured Wesley. And now you turned
back, from the dark side of the force, to the light."
"The Dark Side of the Force, what is the big guy
a Star Wars fan?"
"Well actually he likes the analogy better than
of some serious theological works, yes." Tara
"Master Yoda, is the Dark Side more powerful?"
Faith imitated Luke in The Empire Strikes Back.
"No, quicker, easier, more seductive." Tara as
Yoda replying to Luke's question. "He thinks it gets
the point across well, if you don't believe me I can
get you an interview, you are a major Warrior of
Light, and he can make the time for you."
"I thought he would be too busy."
"I was being literal." Tara said patiently. "He
can make the time, it's one of the things he does."
Faith, who was not very religious, pondered the
meaning of all this, other than just, is it only a
dream. She had to ask the obvious question.
"Why are you here, if you really are here, of
"To encourage you, in your case. Each Scooby
will get a different message, Willow that loving you
is not a betrayal of me, she worries about that,
Xander not to feel so guilty about my death, things
like that. They will tell you tomorrow morning if
they want to." The blonde smiled, holding Faith's
hand without the slayer having noticed her taking it.
"You are earning your place in Heaven, your
redemption. Don't worry so much, and if you need
moral guidance ask both Giles and Xander the same
question. Giles is the kinder, non -judgmental voice,
Xander is distinctly too ruthless for some tastes, but
he sees most clearly when the situation is most
confused. Neither is perfect, but then who is?"
The dark slayer watched the other woman get up
and walk out, and the room dissolve into blackness.
Each member of the gang mentioned the experience at
breakfast. Each seemed a bit more at ease with the
world, and their place in it. It was the beginning of
a beautiful day, for all of them.