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Five by Five -- by Five

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This story is No. 10 in the series "Buffy and Xena Crossovers". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: #10. Sequel to "Five by Five." Faith asks Willow to help her find and destroy Alti. But to do that, they have to enter the timeless spirit world called The Void.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Xena-Hercules > Fred/Illyria-CentereddaviderlFR1326,995001,68926 Apr 0326 Apr 03Yes

Five by Five -- by Five

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


Five by Five -- by Five

Chapter One

It was early afternoon and Buffy decided to take a short nap before supper and patrolling. As she walked past Willow’s room on the way to hers, she saw Willow sitting in bed, her back against the headboard, holding a pillow in her lap.

“Hey, Will.” Buffy said as she went past the door. Then she turned around and looked back in when Willow didn’t answer.

Buffy saw that she was deep in thought, a worried look on her face.

“Hey.” She said again as she walked in.

Willow looked up momentarily with unfocused eyes, gave her a small smile, then went back to her brooding.

“Are you all right?”

Willow didn’t answer.

Buffy sat on the edge of the bed and put one hand on Willow’s ankle.

This brought Willow out of her reverie. “Oh. Hi, Buffy. What’s up?”

“Why don’t you tell me?”

“Huh? Oh, it’s nothing.”

“Are you sure? You seem kind of preoccupied. Is everything okay?”

“Sure. I guess. Maybe. ”

“Come on, Will, spill it. What’s wrong?”

“Well,” Willow hesitated. “I got a call from Faith today, this morning, while you were asleep.”

“I thought I heard the phone. Faith, huh? Gosh, what’s it been, a month since she left? So what did she have to say? Is she all right?”

“I couldn’t tell.”

“Is she in Sunnydale?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t think so. She didn’t say.”

“Well, what DID she say?”

“She said she wants my help. She needs me to help her go after Alti.”

“Really? Don’t tell me she’s found another body to possess.”

“No. Faith thinks she’s still a spirit.”

“So -- what? She wants you to put her into someone’s body just so she can kill her?”

Willow shook her head. “I think she wants me to take her into the Void to help her find Alti. And if she is there, she wants me to help her kill her.”

Buffy’s eyes got big. “Really? That sounds kind of dangerous.”

“I know, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I want to.”

“Did you tell her that?”

Willow shook her head again. “Huh, uh. I told her I’d have to think about it.”

“So what have you decided?”

“Nothing, yet. I’m still weighing the pros and cons.”

“What’s to weigh? If it’s that dangerous, just tell her no.”

“I want to, I really do, but I feel like I should help her.”

“Why?” Buffy asked.

“Well, for one thing, because of what Alti did to her. You know, Buffy, we never should have let her leave like that. Even though she tried to hide it, I know she was really freaked about Alti invading her mind like she did. And I just feel so bad that we didn’t try to do more to help her deal.”

“Willow, you know as well as I do that there was no way we could have kept Faith here against her will short of hog tying her.”

“I know. But I just feel so guilty about it.”

Willow didn’t speak for a few seconds, then said, “And I discovered two other things.”

“What other things?”

“When I cast the spell to try to neutralize Alti’s powers, I was just a little bit into Faith’s mind, and that’s when I discovered that Alti has this incredibly powerful evilness in her. Maybe even more than I had when I was trying to destroy the world. And evil like that shouldn’t be allowed to exist. But the thing is, I’m scared, Buffy. I’m really scared that I might not be strong enough to go up against Alti and not get killed, even with Faith with me.”

“Oh, Willow, then how could you even consider it?”

“Because of the second thing I found out.”

“What second thing?”

“That Faith has to be the loneliest and the saddest person there ever was. There wasn’t even the tiniest bit of joy or happiness in her anywhere. Buffy, I feel so sorry for her, and I feel like I just have to do something.”

Neither one spoke, each trying to come up with a solution that would help Faith without getting anyone killed.

Finally, Buffy asked, “Is there anything I can do?”

Willow smiled and reached out for Buffy’s hand. “I knew I could count on you.”

“Your mind was already made up, wasn’t it?”

“Not really. Well, sort of. I was waiting to see what you’d say.”

“Willow, this isn’t my decision. You’re the one who’s going to be there, not me.”

“Well -- not exactly. Do you remember when we all joined together when you went up against Adam? Well, I was kind of hoping that maybe we could do something like that again. You know -- you, me, and Faith?”

Buffy wasn’t sure if she liked the sound of that.

“Wow,” she said. “That’s -- quite a plan there, Will.”

“I know. And I know it’s risky. And I’m sure you probably aren’t real crazy about joining minds with Faith. But I don’t think I can do it without you. And I don’t know anyone else who’s strong enough, or who I’d trust enough.”

“So, basically, it’s up to me -- again.”

“Basically.” Willow agreed meekly. “But you don’t have to decide right now!” She continued, a bit more animated. “Sleep on it; mull it over; talk to Giles or to Xander if you want to. Faith’s waited this long, it won’t hurt for her to wait a little longer.”

“You really can’t do this without me?”

“I – we, could try. But as strong as Alti is, and as unsure and as worried as I’d be, well, I don’t think it would be pretty.”

“Okay, I’ll think about it, but I’m not promising anything. And if Faith calls back, you tell her the same thing.”

“So when do you think you’ll know?”

“Give me until tomorrow afternoon, I should know by then.”

“Thanks! I know you’ll do the right thing.”

“Hey! No pressure here!”

“Of course! You’re right – pressure-free Slayer decision. Entirely up to you – to do the right thing.”

“I’m leaving now. Not another word!”

“My lips are sealed. Quiet as a mouse. Just waiting for the right de . . . .”

“Bye, Willow. I’ll talk to you tomorrow afternoon, and not a minute sooner.”

Buffy left the room before Willow could add anything else. Willow smiled after her, then her frown of concern returned. She was sure Buffy would agree, but even so, would it be enough?


Chapter Two

“So, what do you think? Should I do it?”

“I don’t know, Buffy. It sounds very dangerous. Are you sure Willow’s telling you everything?”

“Well, sure. I guess. I don’t think she’d deliberately hold anything back, would she?”

“Buffy, you know Willow better than any of us do. What do you think?”

“I think Willow’s being straight with me. It’s Faith I’m not so sure of. I have no idea what’s going on in that head of hers.”

“Then before you make an rash decisions, perhaps you should talk to Faith yourself.”

“You’re probably right. Good old Giles, what would I do without you?”

……………

“Well, should I, or shouldn’t I?”

“To tell you the truth, Buff, I don’t like it, and I don’t trust Faith as far as I could throw her.”

“So you’re saying I shouldn’t do it?”

“No, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying get all the facts first. See, I don’t understand Willow getting all feely for Faith all of a sudden. Something doesn’t sound right. Just don’t rush into anything without being sure, that’s all I’m saying.”

……………

“No! No, Buffy. That’s crazy! I mean, I love Willow and all, but no. You don’t need to go off into some spirit hell dimension with Faith. I lost you once, I couldn’t bear to lose you again.”

“But Willow would be with us, and you know how strong SHE is.”

“So if she’s that strong, then why do they need you?”

“Because they can use all the help they can get.”

“You’re going to do it anyway aren’t you? Aren’t you?”

“I’m not sure. That’s why I’ve been asking everyone what they think.”

“You’re going to do it, I know you are. You can’t say no to Willow about anything!”

“Dawny, that’s not true . . . .’

“Sure it is. So go on then! GO! What do you care what we think?”

“I do care. You know that.”

“Sure you do.”

……………

“Well, did you decide yet?”

“No. I want to talk to Faith. No one seems to trust her. And I have to admit, I’m a little concerned about all this.”

“Sure. No problem. She’s supposed to call in a day or two. You can talk to her then.”

“No, I’d rather talk to her face to face. I think I’d know better if there was something she was hiding.”

……………

“Hey, B. What’s the buzz?”

“Faith. Hi. Come in.”

“So, I guess Willow filled you in on our little adventure, huh?”

“Yeah, she did. And I’ve got a few concerns.”

“Shouldn’t be anything for you to worry about. We’ll be fine. Willow and I can handle Alti, no problem.”

“Well, that’s just it, it won’t be just the two of you. She wants me along too.”

“I don’t know why. Willow’s a wicked bad witch. No reason to drag you into the mix.”

“Well, she doesn’t think so. Alti’s powerful, Faith, maybe even more so than Willow.”

“Is that what she said? Where is she? We need to get this straightened out right now.”

“She’s not here. I told her I wanted to talk to you alone, just the two of us.”

“Well, we’ve talked. Now if there’s nothing else . . . .”

“I don’t think you understand, Willow’s leaving the decision up to me. If I say go, we go – all three of us.”

“So then it’s a no-go, huh? Figured you screw things up. That’s why I went to Willow. But I thought she’d have more balls than that.”

“Faith, it’s not a matter of – balls, it’s a matter of not being stupid.”

“You know, you’d think a Slayer . . . .”

“Faith, if it was just me it would be different. But when it comes to putting my friends in danger, I draw the line.”

“Oh, sure, like you’ve never done that before.”

“You’re right, I have, but it was only when I felt I was able to control the situation.”

“That’s a load of crap and you know it! You just don’t want Willow helping me, that’s all. You’re still pissed at me for all the problems I caused you. Including Angel.”

“That’s not true . . . .”

“Sure it is, and you KNOW it. I’ll tell you what, BUFFY -- screw this and screw you! I’m out of here!”


Chapter Three

“It didn’t go well?” Willow asked, seeing the look on Buffy’s face.

“No, it didn’t.” Buffy told her. “Faith wouldn’t tell me anything.”

“Did you even give her a chance? You know, sometimes you jump on people before they can get things out.”

“Yes, I gave her a chance, or I tried to. But just as soon as I told her you wanted me to be with you guys, she got all defensive and pissed off and stormed out of the house.”

“Well, maybe I can talk to her.”

“I wouldn’t bother if I were you.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t think you should go through with this, it just sounds too risky.”

“I know it is, but I want to help her.”

“Will, you don’t have to prove anything to anybody.”

“What do you mean – I don’t have to prove anything? Is that what you think? That I’m trying to show you guys that I’m good now, and that I have to fight this Big Evil so you’ll know I am?”

“No! Of course not. It’s just that it doesn’t make any sense to do this. Alti’s gone and there’s no reason to think she’ll be back. And I know this is going to sound cold-hearted, but Alti is Xena’s problem, not ours. Why do anything to make her want to come after any of us?”

“That’s not the only reason, Buffy. I’m doing this because of Faith. She needs my help. She needs me.”

“You know, Xander is having a hard time understanding your sudden compassion for Faith, and I have to agree with him. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

“That’s because you weren’t there, inside her mind. It was terrible, Buffy, terrible and lonely and sad. She needs someone. And right now, that someone seems to be me.”

“I’m sorry, Willow, but you can’t do this, you just can’t.”

“I CAN’T do this? Are you telling me what to do now? When did you become my mother?”

“No, Will, of course not. It’s just – I don’t want you to die, that’s all. Can’t you understand that?”

“Buffy, you’re the Slayer, and you have all these powers -- your strength and your speed and stuff, and you’ve saved the world over and over. And that’s really great! But I have powers too, and now I have a chance not only to try to rid the world of this great evil, but actually help someone who’s alone and lost.”

“Well, I can see this is getting us nowhere. Willow, listen to me, please – don’t do this! Okay? Just don’t.”



As the door of Spike’s crypt crashed open, he grabbed a piece of steel pipe he kept handy just in case.

“You again?” He exclaimed as Faith marched in. “I thought you left town.”

“I did, but I’m back now. And you can put down the pipe, I’m not here to make trouble.”

“Oh? Then why are you here?”

“I need a favor.”

“Oh, sure! Come on in – Spike’s got the welcome mat out. Stay as long as you’d like.”

“Not that kind of favor, I got my own place, a motel room.”

“Oh, okay. So what is it I’m supposed to do now? Run out and get you some Chinese?”

“No, nothing like that. You see, Willow and I have this project we’re working on, and we could use a little help.”

“So why not go to Buffy? I thought she’d be your number one choice, seeing how you two are in the same line of work, and all.”

“Nah, B. and I don’t get along, not like you and me.”

“Oh, right! I forgot, we’re the best of pals now.”

“Hey, you’re not holding a grudge about all that Alti-in-my-head thing are you? ‘Cause I got to tell you, I’m way past all that. As far as I’m concerned, we’re good.”

“Well, maybe it’s because while I was getting my ass kicked all over the place, you were the one doing the kicking.”

“Yeah, well, don’t forget, it wasn’t really me in control when that happened. And, if I remember right, I was the one who didn’t want to dust you.”

“Only because you wanted an errand boy, and not out of the goodness of your heart.”

“Look, Spike, we could go round and round about this all day long, but like I said, I’m here to ask a favor, that’s all. And if you won’t do it for me, then how about for Willow? You two are friends, right?”

“I suppose. So just what is this big favor?”

“Willow and I are going after Alti. After what she did to me, I want some payback, and Willow’s agreed to help me.”

“So if she’s in another body, then I assume you know whose it is?”

“No, no body. We’re going to have to go into the spirit world to find her. I think Willow called it the Void.”

“Have you two lost your bloody minds? Don’t you know that once you’re there you can never get back?”

“Alti didn’t have any trouble coming back. And Angel did it. And I hear even Buffy came back.”

“You just don’t get it, do you? Buffy was in some kind of heaven, and it was Willow’s magic that brought her back. But if you two go, who’s going to bring you back? No one, that’s who! And as far as Angel goes, he was in one of the HELL dimensions! Which leaves us Alti. She probably is right where you think she is, but she’s got this powerful, and EVIL, Mojo working for her, that’s how she’s able to come and go as she pleases.”

“What? Are you some kind of expert on the subject, or something?”

“Yeah, I think so. I died, remember? And when I did, I could feel my soul being pulled out of my body. And at the same time there was this evil demon-like presence taking its place. And I knew my soul was lost to me, somewhere in that Void, forever. So, yeah, I’d say I was an expert.”

Faith shook her head sadly.

“You know, I started checking up on you after I got rid of Alti, and from the stories I heard, I really thought you had a set. But it looks like those stories are the same kinds of lies you vamps always tell about yourselves – how bad you are and how you’re not afraid of anything. Oh well, I guess maybe Willow and I will go talk to Xander. He might not be much good in a fight, but at least he has the guts to try.”

“Xander! That sodding bloke didn’t even have the stones to get married.”

“So it proves that he’s smart, that’s always a plus. See ya around, Spike. Watch out for the boogie-man.”

“Wait a minute! Let me think about this. Bollocks! I must be really off my rocker. Okay, if Willow wants me, then I guess I’m your man. I tried killing my self once, looks like I’m finally going to get my wish.”


Chapter Four

Willow answered the phone on the second ring.

“Willow,” Faith said enthusiastically. “You can stop worrying about Buffy, I’ve found somebody else to help us.”

“Who?”

“Spike. He said he’d be willing to join our little get together. I know he’s only a vamp, but he seems like he knows his way around. So what do you think?”

“I think we can’t use him. He doesn’t have a soul, and that’s how we’ll be moving through the Void – using our souls, or spirits, or whatever.”

“Damn! I really thought he would finally be of some use.”

“Well, maybe he still can. We’re going to need some one to watch over our bodies while we’re out of them. And seeing how Buffy feels about all this, I’d just as soon she didn’t know.”

“I can’t believe you’re still worried about what she thinks. Don’t you think it’s time you grew a pair of your own?”

“You just don’t understand. It’s not that I’m worried about what she thinks, it’s just . . . . Look, let’s not worry about Buffy. We need to concentrate on what we have to do.”

“Sure. Anything you say. So, are we still going to use Spike?”

“I guess so. Where are you now?”

“I’m in the lobby of this dive motel I’m staying at. The guy at the desk said I could use his phone, but I think he’s getting a little antsy. We should meet somewhere, you got any ideas?”

“I don’t think you should come here. Even though Buffy’ll be patrolling pretty soon I think you should stay away.”

“So how about at Spike’s? We’re going to be there anyway if he’s going to look out for us.”

“Uh, yeah, sure. I’ll be there in an hour or so. I’ll see you then. ‘Bye.”



“You going out?” Dawn asked as Willow was filling an over-sized purse with the candles and crystals and mystical herbs and powders she would need.

“Yeah, for a little while. You’ll be all right, won’t you? I shouldn’t be too long.”

“Can I go?”

“No, not this time, maybe some other time.”

“You’re going to do that hell dimension spell with Faith, aren’t you?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know what. Buffy already asked me if I thought she should go with you guys. I told her no. So I guess you two are going to do it anyway, huh?”

“Dawn, you have to promise me that you won’t tell Buffy, okay?”

“Are you guys going to die?”

“God, no, Dawn! Of course not! Don’t even think that! We’ll be fine, really.”

“Then why can’t I tell Buffy?”

“Because she won’t understand why I have to do this. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”

Willow turned to leave, then turned back. “Are you going to say anything to Buffy?”

“No, I guess not.”

Willow squeezed Dawn’s hand and smiled at her. “Thanks. I know I can count on you.”

Dawn smiled back her, but it was an uneasy, worried smile.



“Is this everything?” Faith asked. “Doesn’t look like much.”

“It’ll be enough.” Willow answered. “Most of the magic is in me. These are just to help me focus.”

“There’s no way I can talk you birds out of this?” Spike asked.

“Just take care of our bodies.” Faith told him. “But if I find out you’ve been screwing around with them while we’re away. . . .”

“It’ll be all right.” Willow said to her. “I trust him.” But she still gave Spike a pointed look.

“I think it would be better if we did this down there.” Spike told them, indicating the pit. “So if anyone comes looking for you, she might not find you.”

“She, meaning Buffy.” Faith said.

“Well, you didn’t want her help, so I figured you don’t want her interfering.”

After climbing down the ladder and putting down a mattress and blankets to lie on, Willow started arranging the candles and crystals in a geometric pattern around the area where she and Faith would be. She then mixed several herbs and powders together and lit the mixture.

“Do you mind if I ask one question?” Spike asked.

“What is it?” Faith was getting a bit irritated.

“Once you two are there, and assuming you can find Alti, just how do you propose to actually kill her?”

“We’ll just have to figure that out.” Willow said, her confidence slipping a little. “We’ll know what to do, don’t worry.”

“Fine. Do what you have to do, I’ll watch over your bodies. Go on.”

The two women lay down side-by-side on their backs, their feet next to the other’s head, their left hands clasped together. In their right hands they held crystals, resting on their stomachs. Willow held a Galena stone to remove any self-doubt and to enhance her inner energy. And Faith held a Tiger’s Eye to give her the confidence to use the power inside her. Plus, the stones gave their souls a link to return to the correct body.

While Spike fanned the smoking concoction in their direction, Willow began reciting the spell that would connect their minds and send them into the Void.



“Dawn,” Buffy said as she entered Dawn’s bedroom. “Have you seen Willow?”

“No.” She answered, uneasy. “Not for a while. She said she had to go out.”

“Did she say where she was going?”

“I don’t think so. No, I’m sure she didn’t.”

Buffy thought for a few seconds.

“She didn’t happen to mention anything about Faith, did she?”

“No, she didn’t say anything about anybody. She just said she was going out.”

“Did she say when she’d be back?”

Dawn shook her head.

“You know what she’s up to, don’t you?”

“No.” Dawn replied weakly.

“Yes you do. You know very well what she and Faith are going to do. Now where did she go?”

“She didn’t say, honest! She just told me not to say anything to you, that’s all.”

“Dawn, we have to find them, their lives could be at stake!”

“Did you call Xander, or Anya? Maybe they’re at Spike’s.”

“Spike! Of course! I should have thought about him to begin with.”

“You want me to come with you?”

“No. You stay here. If either one comes back I want you to call me.”

“Fine, I’ll stay here and keep out of the way. It’s what I do best anyway.”
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