NC-17.  M/F, M/M, F/F.  Slight mentions of Sam/Dean, mostly sleeping.  Dean/Xander eventually.

Notes:  Buffy:  Glory never happened.  This basically takes a right turn after the Initiative mess, though we did lose Tara for a few days.  So include all the mess of Willow going all dark magic.  Supernatural:  have just recently seen the first few eps.  Am watching them now.

Notes 2:  yes, I know I'm switching gender pronouns for Xander at first.  It's to show his gender confusion.  As he comes to accept his female identity it'll stop being that way.  Thank you.

When Power Calls to Strength.

The woman on the side of the road watched as the headlights came her way, then calmly pulled out a revolver and shot the back tire on the passenger's side, watching as the car skidded a bit but eventually came to a halt.  Two very angry men got out and she held up a hand.  "If I hadn't, you'd be in the hospital tonight from the car wreck.  There's going to be an oil spill in about ten minutes and you'd have run into it when Pastor Jim didn't answer his door because he's drunk off his ass and leering."

"What the fuck?" one of them shouted, glaring at the dark figure.  "What gives you the right...."

She stepped closer so they could see her.  "The Powers That Be sent me, Dean.  I'm here to help your stupid ass."

"You shot my car!"

"You were going to end up in the emergency room tonight," she shot back.

"I don't care!  You still shot my fucking car!"  He stalked toward her but she pulled the gun again.  "Uh-huh.  Big help there," he said, glaring at her.

"Shut up and listen then!" she shouted back.  "I have a reason for what I did!  Okay?  If you'll listen for about ten seconds, there's a damn good reason I shot the bald tire!"  He gaped and his brother huffed and moved closer to him.  "We have a mutual problem.  They sent me to you so we can help each other."  She pulled something off her neck and held it up once the gun was back in her holster.  "Virgin blood of a warrior called to fight the dark.  One of the five things you'll need to get free of the deal you made."  They both gaped.  "I'll even help change the tire."

"No spare, dumbass," Dean said, glaring at her.  "How do you know us?"

The woman grinned.  "The same way I knew about Pastor Jim, dumbass.  Like you're the only ones in the world?  Hello, not that alone."  She walked over and grabbed a tire, bringing it back.  "It's bald anyway."  She handed it over to the shocked younger man, grinning a bit.  "Hi."  She looked at Dean again.  "We can talk while we change it, after we change it, or at Pastor Jim's but I'd hate to have to smack him because he's drunk and leering.  Your choice, bright boys."

"How did you know about the deal and what we do?" Dean asked again, moving closer.  He was not going to let this one get anything over on them.  She might be a demon.

She picked him up by his beltline, holding him up.  "I'm a slayer."  They both gaped.  "I may run in other circles, but I have an issue and you have an issue.  I can help you with  yours and mine can end the fucking world.  Your choice to help each other or not.  Do you really want to lose both of you?  Because if you go, they'll take your brother while he grieves."  She put him down, staring at him.  "It's not the normal way but I couldn't take the drunken leering and the oil truck is about to tip over around the bend.  Broken ribs suck ass and we'd be behind gathering the other four things you need to save both your lives."  They both looked over as Sam moaned and grabbed his head, but she walked over to help him lean against the side of the classic car.  "In and out, Sam.  Deep breaths.  You can get through this one."

"You know seers?" Dean demanded.  Maybe there was a reason but he was still going to beat her bloody for hurting his car and trying to take care of his brother.

"My ex is the newest messenger for the Powers That Be.  Hers killed her."  She saw the horrified look.  "She was fully human.  He's not now.  Again, that can be cured."  She stroked down Sam's arm.  "Come on, focus on the external.  You can come out of it, Sam."  He shook his head quickly and she grinned. "Okay?  Or at least better?  No brain splitting headaches?"

"No," he said weakly.  He looked at his brother.  "I saw a guy sent to us."

She pulled out a wallet and held up the ID.  "That was me three weeks ago."  Both guys looked then gave her horrified looks.

"A witch?" Dean demanded.

Xander nodded.  "One who made the same deal you did to get back her heart."  They groaned.  "Taking her out will destroy this plane.  Of course, she was smart enough not to use her soul.  She traded mine without my consent."  They both groaned.  "I can fight it without what you need since you willingly made the deal.  Until then, I need help with a few things and you need help finding the other things.  Now, want to get with the tire changing?  I've got to call someone once the truck hits a pothole so they can make sure no one else crashes."

"Who are you?" Dean demanded.  "This is all too sweet and packaged."

She grinned.  "I'm Alexander Harris.  I fought with the slayer Buffy."


"Slayers are a rumor," Sam said, looking confused.

Xander shook her head.  "No, they're not.  They're in a different circle, but they're not a rumor.  I'm pretty sure you've run into the Watcher's Council before, at least the edges of it."  Sam muttered something but nodded, crossing his arms over his chest.  "They're over the slayers.  Buffy's the current senior one.  A few  years back I brought her back to life after a drowning so now there's two."  They both hissed at that.  "Yeah, majorly screwed the system."  He stepped closer.  "Anyway, have you heard of us?"  They shook their heads.  "Good, finally.  Pastor Jim had and he burst out swearing when I showed up and put my ID in front of him before asking that he call you two.  The vision I got from the Powers said that we should help each other.  If Willow is taken, the world ends.  If I go, I'm not so sure it won't invalidate it and take Tara back as well, which will leave Willow ending the world in her grief.  We stopped her the last time.  I stopped her the last time," she said honestly.  "At the moment, she's got ten months."

"She couldn't get a full year?"

"They're not bound, Sam.  They're lovers, but no binding between them other than shared magic.  Before you say it, Tara's a sweet woman.  She's a pure soul.  Even having to slay with us she's a pure soul.  She deserved to ascend and Willow cast the deal.  Tara tried to go back because of what she did."  They both slumped, understanding how that went.  "Willow did this after killing the person who killed her accidentally and then trying to pull up an ancient temple.  I'm sure you two felt what was called a soul's shudder a little over a month ago?"  Dean shuddered at that.  "That was her grief.  I stopped it but two days later she called up a Higher elemental and begged.  She blatantly used me without my consent and the demon knows this.  Unfortunately we might be facing something worse and everyone's going to be needed on deck and ready."  He looked at Dean again.

 "As for why I was male, and now I'm not, that was her too.  I went to Tara for help.  Her and the Watcher Giles.  They were helping me adjust.  See," he said, letting out a bitter sounding laugh, "Willow didn't think I'd fight back.  They knew I could fight and get out of it.  That doing so might even free her and Tara both.  That was the plan.  She found out when Buffy told her.  She made it so I'm not the fighter I was but she had another accident."  She shifted her top to show a large mole on one shoulder.  "She turned me into a slayer, called and able to function."  She put her shirt back up, staring at him.  "I need help.  Jim's drunk off his ass and was thinking about pinching.  The guy's nice.  I didn't want to beat his ass for it but it creeps me out."  She shivered.  "Now, can we get to fixing the car so we can go to the church and talk somewhere it's not cold?  I've only had tits for three weeks and I'm not really used to cold tits yet."

"Prove it," Dean said.

"Fine, call Jim.  I'll change the damn tire.  At least then I won't be cold."  He saw the oil truck go past and sighed, calling the officer he knew.  "Officer Bob, it's Alex.  The oil truck just hit a pothole and that second cargo container he had with the used oil just tipped and spilled all over the road.  It's an unholy mess.  Yeah, I'm helping two young guys change a tire out here."  He waved at a cop car going past.  "Officer Bill just went past us.  Might wanna warn him and others."  He hung up and moved to look at the car.  Then around.  He whistled and a demon came out looking scared.  "I only kill hunters.  Hold up the back of the car so we can change the tire please?"  The demon shrugged and came over to do that while Xander jimmied the lock on the trunk and found the lugwrench.  Dean snatched it.  She took it back.  "Not like you're helping.  I do know how to change a tire, dude.  Really.  I can even change the oil."  She knelt and got to work on the lugnuts.

"We put those on with a power wrench," Sam said.

"Slayer strength, Sam.  I can open stuck jars too," she said dryly, undoing the first one and handing it to Dean.  A few more twists and they were all off.  The tire was taken off and handed over, then the other one grabbed and put on. Dean muttered something and  put the lugnuts back on.  Xander shrugged, standing up.  She patted the demon on the neck.  "Thank you for your help.  Can you ease it down very slowly?"  It did and Dean finished tightening it.  "Thank you.  Now run away.  They're not used to your kind."  The demon sniffed him.  "Please don't do that.  I'm not in the slaying mood tonight.  Please?"  The demon took another sniff then grinned.  She picked it up and carried it off, even though it was over a foot taller than her, dumping it into some brushes.  "You have a mate.  Go find her."  She strolled back, dusting off her hands, grinning a bit.  "Sorry, part of what she did made me vulnerable to things like that.  Vampires really love me now.  I'm like a feast to the starving ones and they're all starving."  She looked at Sam again, smiling a bit.  "Meet you at the church in about twenty?"

"You're walking?" Dean asked.  Not that he'd give her a ride...she had hurt his car.

"No, I was going to go home, pack the last three bags of my stuff, toss it into the blazer, hand back the borrowed tv and vcr, drop the rented movies off at the library, then meet you at the church," she said honestly.  "Unfortunately I was sharpening a sword and I did laundry today."

Sam blinked. "You're very blunt."

"I don't have the energy to verbally spar tonight.  It's been a long damn day.  It started at six this morning when the half-siren in town went into labor and it made every man in town drool.  I had to get her shielded and deliver the kid, because no one else could apparently, and then go from there.  I'm exhausted at the moment."  Another demon came rushing out and she spun, grabbing the dagger off her belt to take it on.  "Damn it, I beat things like you weekly in my old body.  This isn't fair!" he muttered as he fought, finally getting it down.  He stabbed it and it dusted.  She sighed, standing up and dusting off again.  "Head to the church, guys.  Talk to Jim if he's able to talk.  If he doesn't have room, I have a couch you can share."  She walked off, going to bother the officer.  "Hey, Bill, can I get a ride home?"

"Sure, Alex."  He smiled at her.  "You know, you could settle here."

"No I can't.  I have a friend I need to kick the ass of.  Sorry.  It's a great town.  I might retire here."  She smiled.  "So,  how's your psychic twin?  I'm really sorry I had to break his arm but I couldn't put up with that level of staring and hitting on me."

"He's fine."  He looked at her.  "Our master warned us to watch for strange things."

She smirked.  "Doesn't get much more strange than a hellmouth baby, Bill."  He gaped.  She snickered.  "Me.  Born and bred, baby.  So can I get a ride so I can leave town sometime in the next few days?"

"If I can have the gun you used on their tire."

"Fat chance."

"It's not registered."

"It is.  It's in my old name."

"It's in a guy's name, Alex."  She showed her ID, getting a stunned man.  "How?" he asked weakly.

"Ever hear of Buffy?"  He nodded slowly.  "Ever hear of her friend Willow?  Redhead, has a temper, babbles?"  He nodded faster.  "Her."  That just got a nod and the officer let her into his cruiser so he could take her home for the night.  She waved at the guys as they drove past them.

Dean looked at Sam.  "Even for us this is freaky."

Sam looked at him.  "The vision said he..she was right."  Dean grimaced.  "Maybe he can invalidate it, Dean.  Please?  Can we try?"

"I want to know what he knows first."

"Then we should go see Jim.  I agree we need to look at things first."

Dean nodded.  "Might be a good idea."  He adjusted his pants on the way back to the driver's seat.  He had a wedgie and he didn't want to admit it.  She had been strong.  "What do we know about slayers?"

"Myths.  We can ask.  I'm sure she knows."

"Fine.  Look them up on the way?"  He grabbed his laptop and logged in so they could find what they already knew.  Dean carefully drove around the oil slick.  It was a nasty mess and the road crew was on their way out.  They could see their flashing lights.  He patted the vial in his pocket.  Hopefully she really could help them.  And hey, no more bald tire he'd have to replace sometime soon.


Xander strolled into the church, nodding at the two guys.  "He asleep?"

"On his desk."  Xander handed over a letter.  "What's this?"

"Probably the answer to most of your questions.  I should've given it earlier but I wanted you out of danger first."  She sat down in a pew.  They both stared at her.  "What?"

"No normal girl is that strong," Sam said.

"Slayers have enhanced strength and speed.  It's part of the gift for living an incredibly short life fighting demons and those born strange or from another plane."  They looked confused.  He pointed at the letter.  "Read.  It'll answer most of it.  I had Giles do the explanation."  She noticed they were still staring.  "Holy water?" she said finally.  Sam went to get some, bringing it back.  She drank it and handed back the cup.  "Eww.  Too much salt.  It's easier to take in a sports drink."  She shuddered but nothing else was happening.

Dean shrugged.  "At least you're not demonic.  PMS?"

She checked her watch.  "Twenty-eight days," she muttered.  "Wednesday of next week.  Thanks for asking.  I need to be somewhere defensible by then because I'll be drawing every demon within a thirty mile radius."  They both glared at him.  She shrugged.  "Learned it from the source, Buffy.  Those days, use me as bait."  She leaned forward.  "The rite you need to free yourself is in my bag.  I have a few books from Giles.  From what the Powers told me...."


"The higher beings who make the slayers, champions, and all your lives a living hell," Xander said bluntly.  "They who play chess with humanity.  Yes, there's more than one. I'm not philosophical.  If you want that lecture, I can summon my ex or I can let you call Giles.  He's still up."

"Maybe later."  He went back to reading it then looked at her.  "What do you get out of this?"

"My dick back.  The world not ending.  Besides, I'm a helpful sort," she said dryly, staring at him.  "I have been forever and ever, especially since I jumped into this fight at sixteen."

"You're how old?" Dean demanded.

"Twenty.  Barely."  They gaped.  He shrugged.  "Not my fault."  He leaned on the back of the pew in front of him.  "According to the Powers, two of the things you need are in Sunnydale.  Giles will help you get them.   He's about to beat the shit out of Willow for me.  Buffy too for sticking up for her.  Another one's in Canada.  That one's hidden very hard and it's guarded by native shaman.  They're not going to hand it over willingly.  They might hand over part for a good reason and we only need a gram of it.  It's over ten pounds.  The last one might be found in LA.  If not, someone there can acquire it for us and probably not charge us, depending on who we ask.  The problem is that Buffy's ex is the present champion of the Powers and he's in LA.  He's there defeating the forces of darkness to atone for all the bad shit he did when he didn't have a soul."  They stared.  "Yeah, Angel."  She leaned back again.  "So we might have to go around him if she got to him about it."

"What else do you get out of it?" Dean asked.

"Less casualties on our side, Dean.  We're running low and most of us don't have kids."

"There's over thirty in our network," Sam said.

"Next year by Christmas you'll have eighteen.  There's an apocalypse between now and then and even the Watchers are worried and calling in reinforcements from your people.  They're worried enough to willingly share information with some of them."  Sam whimpered at that.  He nodded.  "I should be in Sunnydale with the other slayer.  Unfortunately I'd hurt them."

"We usually burn the bad witches," Dean told him.

Xander looked at him.  "She's the only one who can close and control the hellmouth, Dean.  That's not an option.  Otherwise I would've already taken her out for doing this to me."  He stood up.  "I don't care if you don't help me.  Most likely I can defeat my problem on my own.  I might need some help but hell, I can probably sweettalk Angel into it once he knows exactly what's going on.  Tara offered to go back so I wouldn't be sacrificed.  She didn't want Willow to do this.  She wants nothing to do with this.  That's why she helped me escape Sunnydale."

"We've heard of that town," Dean said, staring at him.  "There's a no-entry order on it."

Xander smirked.  "It's a hellmouth, Dean. Of course there is.  We have more demons there than we do normal folk.  That's why there's a slayer there."  Sam gaped.  "Yes, me, born and bred hellmouth baby.  Born very close to it.  Raised a few blocks away.  Went to high school overtop of it.  Fought the creatures that it called to it and those that wanted to use it.  Me, little old me."  He looked at Dean again.  "Your choice, bright boy.  Which would you rather have?  A peace treaty, not ending the world, and saving both your asses, or not?"  She turned and walked out, heading out to her blazer.  She had to make sure everything was packed.  She swore she had left something.

Sam came out a minute later.  "What are you going by?"

"Xander's fine.  For normals I usually use Alex."  She looked at him.  "I don't need a buddy, Sam.  I have one.  She was my best friend since the first day of school.  Look where it got me."  He went back to checking his gear.

Sam looked at a sword, pulling it out.  "We like artillery."

"I can do artillery but swords can be more practical.  Beheading is the easiest and fastest way of killing most everything.  You have to interrupt the flow from the major power centers of brain and heart but nearly everything can be killed if you chop it up enough.  A few things you have to burn afterward but it works."  She opened another panel after putting the sword back, grinning a bit.  "I have it shielded so no cop or anyone else can see into it."  He smirked at the stunned look.  "Not like I was going to leave it there."  He closed that panel and moved the two suitcases and one duffle bag back overtop of them.  "The duffle has books and things."

"I have a laptop connection."

"I have a Watchers' Council password," Xander said happily.  "They have half their shit online."  Sam grinned at that.  She closed the back gate, looking at him.  "Jim still up?"

"Not really.  He probably won't be for hours."

"He'll have to be."  She pointed off to the side.  "Demon sensing radar says there's two that way."

"Yours or ours?"

"One's yours.  Leading some of mine probably."  She pulled out her favorite sword and locked the blazer, looking at him.  "Shoo."

"I can fight.  I have fought."

"Now I get to do this instead because she screwed up another spell."  She walked around him, heading out to deal with the demons.  Someone had to and they were in shock.

"Dean, incoming!" Sam shouted, heading for their weapons.  He came rushing out, making sure the door was closed before they followed her.  They found her taking on something, wincing at the way she was fighting.  "She needs retrained."

"Obviously used to a bigger body," Dean agreed, shooting the possessed demon.  The body fell and the demon dissipated.  They looked over to find her surrounded and fighting.  "Can they be killed with bullets?"

"He has more swords."

"Good."  They ran back to get one and came back to jump back in.  She was clearly tired.  She was also clearly outclassed by the thing in front of her.  Suddenly she shrieked and went off on that demon, cutting it in  half.  She moved on, getting the next one and one afterward before she nearly stabbed Sam.  "Hey!" Dean shouted.  "Only I get to stab him."

"Fine."  Xander glared at the last demon.  "Who sent you?"  It backed away.  Xander pounced, knocking it down.  "Who the hell sent you?" he demanded, staring into its eyes.  "Tell me and you can run away until the next one."  It babbled something in a high- pitched voice.  "Not good enough.  Who paid you?"  It babbled something else.

Dean hauled her off it.  "What's it saying?"

"Buffy put out word that I'm a rogue slayer."  She looked at him.  "Do I look like it?"  The demon shook his head.  "Then you might want to tell them I'm still the White Knight and Willow did this to me because I was going to protest her magic abuse."  The demon stared, then slowly backed away.  "If I'm attacked I'll be fighting back.  If I'm not, I only go after the hunters.  Make that known and you can escape."  It nodded, getting up and running off.  She got free of Dean's hand.  "I'm not helpless."

"You're also not used to your current body.  You're moving in ways that don't suit it."

"Most slayers are tiny girls, Dean.  I'm not."  She stared at him, forcing herself to calm down.  "Though I did realize that.  I've been working on it for the last three weeks."  They saw someone coming out of the church, looking around.  "Hey, he's up."  She strolled that way, giving the pastor a look.  "Morning."

"What was that?"

"Buffy told someone I was a rogue slayer."  She put her sword back once it was cleaned off, taking the others to clean and put up as well.  Then she relocked the blazer and headed into the church.  "I'm going to hose off in the bathroom, Jim."

"Sure, Xander.  Go ahead."  He looked at the boys.  "Did you wreck on the oil spill?"

"No, he shot one of the Impala's tires," Sam said.  Jim laughed at that.

"We need to talk," Dean told him.

Jim nodded.  "That's why he's washing up.   He knows that."  He led them back to his office to tell them what he knew and what he had heard around.

Xander heard them talking so she went outside to call someone.  "Giles, me.  I just got jumped."  She smiled at the genuine worry in the British voice.  "Because Buffy told someone I was a rogue slayer.  Yeah, I'm sure.  The grendal said so."  She rubbed her forehead.  "Can you warn Travers?  Please?  Thanks, man.  No, I'm okay.  They're here.  We're working on it.  Any idea when the bigger bad is happening?"  She nodded, getting up to find some paper and make notes inside.  She hummed while she wrote, nodding a bit.  "What will we need?  Baseline, Giles.  Anything special, mystical, that crap?"  She nodded, writing down something else.  "Anything else?"  She smiled.  "Thanks.  If I can.  If you know beforehand, let me know.  I'll try.  Even if I do have to keep myself from replaying the MOO burnings scene."  He hung up and handed the notes to Sam.  "The next apocalypse."   She walked back outside to get some fresh air.  The herbs in the office were going to make her sneeze and she felt odd when she did it.

"Harris!" Dean yelled from the doorway.

"I'm not deaf.  Really.  Don't make me regret that."  She looked over from her back bumper.  "What?"  He stomped that way.  "What now?"

"The rite?  Can I see it?"  Xander got into the proper bag and found the right book, handing it over already open to the proper bookmark.  He read it over with the flashlight Xander handed over.  "Non-virgin blood?"

"I can go find any number of ways to fix that for that need," she said dryly.  "Hell, I could be in Vegas right now stripping and living the high life.  I'm not.  I don't know why I'm not," she said dryly when he glared at her.  "It's a lot prettier than wounds and broken bones."

"Can I copy this?"

"I'd hand-copy it instead of  photocopying or scanning it in.  The book's ancient and the ink might not show up right.  I know some others didn't from books printed around the same time."  That got a nod and he went to do that while Xander made plans.  She did not want to get stuck with those two.  She knew there was worse fates, but not many at the moment.  She adjusted her bra with a wince.  "I'm never going to get used to that."  She climbed into the back of the blazer and shut herself in, rolling up in her sleeping bag for the night.  It was safe enough and they were inside if something happened.

Sam came out an hour later to return the book, finding Xander asleep.  He smiled and walked back inside, shutting the church's door gently. "She's in a sleeping bag in the back of her blazer."

"What sort of dangers is she going to bring, Sam?" he asked.

"She'll be hunted," Jim said.  "Protecting her could save all of us."  They stared at him.  Dean almost looked horrified at that suggestion.  "She's done the same work you have, boys.  Mostly with those bad ones who're born wrong.  She's experienced; she's just in the wrong body.  She wants to solve this and helping you solve yours can only help hers more.  She could do it on her own and let you two suffer but she's got a soul that's deeper than some you'll meet, even among us.  Her reputation is about doing what's necessary, not always what's right.  She's adrift."

"She said she didn't need another friend," Dean snorted, putting his feet up.

"Because hers turned on her," Jim agreed.  They both scowled.  "His friend Willow was the one who turned him.  They've been friends since the first day of school.  He had one older but he had to stake him years past.  They were said to be closer than brothers, possibly heading towards mating when they were older."  They shuddered, they couldn't even imagine that one.  "Then he went to work helping a slayer with her duty.  What was supposed to be a solitary duty, one that would've gotten her killed within months.  He saved her.  He saved us all by helping save her."

"Why didn't the slayer step in?" Sam asked.

"Because she decided it was right for Willow to get her love back and Xander would never understand.  That's why she told Willow that Xander was planning on fighting the sacrifice of his life for Tara's. Tara stopped Willow from putting her into a coma.  She helped her escape when someone there captured her to use in a rite designed to call a higher power into being.  All he has right now is the one who was called back and the Watcher who can't really betray his slayer because she's like his daughter.  Even if she is spoiled.  You two helping her could forge some strong bonds and can only help you on your quest.  A slayer can call out to any demon and challenge it."  Dean sat up, staring at him.  He nodded.  "She's not ready yet.  She could if asked.  She's like that.  Dean, if you *ask* she might.  Don't manipulate her into it.  You'll lose her.  They did.  Learn from the mistakes others have made in this case.  Also, make her take her antibiotics."

"Why?" Sam asked.

"She's got a few cuts from the escape.  She had me smoothing some gel over one when it itched.  It's on her right shoulder just below the edge of her shoulderblade.  She wouldn't let me see any more.  She's highly embarrassed by all this.  Even looking at her body set her off when she first got here.  She broke one of the local cop's arms because he hit on her.  It took me weeks to help her while trying to find you two."

"If someone took my dick, I'd be damn pissed," Dean told him.

"She's gone past that stage.  They've had years of bad things so she found acceptance quickly.  Even if she is still mad at *why* she's learned to move on when the bad things happen and life goes to hell.  This is too much and she's trying hard to get to the level of acceptance."

"She needs to be retrained for her new body," Sam said.  Dean nodded.

Jim nodded.  "I've seen.  She's been working on it.  When a slayer's called, they get a lot of skills and knowledge.  Fighting styles are included in that but she never learned those before.  He learned how to fight and stake on the job.  He didn't have someone like John behind him to work on his skills."

"Is there anyone else who'll come to help?" Sam asked.

"That Angel fellow might.  If so you can't stake him.  He's important to saving the world."  They groaned.  "Some of them do switch sides."

"And I believe that," Dean said, standing up.  "You think she'll help if we ask?"

"I think she's not going to lie to you, Dean.  If she wants to help you, she will.  If you ask, without having to suck up or anything, she'll think about it and do what's best to keep herself on track toward both your goals.  I also think that she doesn't understand what normal people do sometimes.  She gave a few people very worried looks because they were hugging their children for doing good things.  I think he jumped into slaying to get away from some worse things.  I can't prove it.  He won't talk about it."

"Three screwed up people off to save the world," Dean said sarcastically.   "It's a soap opera waiting to happen."

"I doubt you'll have that much sex," Sam teased. "She seemed irritated by you, Dean."

"She shot out my tire!" he complained.

"She had a vision of you getting into that oily mess and having broken ribs," Jim told him  "It would've wasted time."

"Plus hurt," Sam said.  "I hate broken ribs."  He looked at Dean.  "Why don't we crash and talk to her again in the morning?"

Dean nodded.  "Can we?"

"I've still got the back room, boys.  Hit it."   They  nodded and went that way with the rite to look over and talk about.  It'd be a hard partnership but they were all strong young men.  Even if one could only wish he was a man again.


Xander woke up to someone tapping on his window, sitting up to glare at the demon out there.  "What do you want?"

"Come out and play, slayer."

Xander snorted and rolled over, closing her eyes again.  "The blazer's warded.  Go away."  The demon tried to rock it and screamed when her hands burned from the blessings woven into the paint job.  He looked at her and waved, smiling a bit.  "Morning.  Did I need up this early?"  She put her head back down and covered it.  Someone else could run the skanky demon off if they wanted to.  She was exhausted and she wasn't getting up yet.  It wasn't even light out.

Sam came out to the door, looking at the demon. "Do you mind?  People are trying to sleep."

"Aww, look, it's the cute one," she sneered.  She started that way, not hearing when the window on the blazer went down.  At least until her head exploded a minute later.

"I said let me fucking well sleep, bitch," Xander said firmly, putting the window back up with a finger and going back to his nap.

Sam blinked.  "He's good."  He looked back at Dean, who was staring at the mess.  "Salt?"

"Car.  Same as usual."  Sam nodded, going to get it and something to light the body on fire.  He looked at the blazer then shook his head.  He wasn't waking the woman up.  He might be next.  He went to the kitchen to make some coffee, then thought better of it and went back to bed.  It wasn't dawn yet, it wasn't an emergency, he could sleep until it was at least light outside.

Sam came back and got the other twin bed, laying down.  "She's roasting."

"Decent.  Sleep.  It's going to be a few frustrating days."

"I think she's worried."

"Why worry about us?  She's not demonic."

"No, but she's alone and we're her only hope at the moment.  You two didn't exactly click well, Dean."

"Gee, Sammy, wonder why."

"Don't call me that."

"Shut up."

"Both of you shut up," Jim called.

"Sorry," they called together, glaring at each other.

"If you like her so much, go sleep with her."  He flipped onto his other side, listening to Sam huff but stay where he was.  They heard something outside and groaned but no explosion.  No yelling, no screaming.  Dean went to check and see, but the woman was gone. The blazer was sealed up but she was gone.  "What now?" he muttered.  He saw the note and grimaced.  "Went for a run?  At this time of the morning?  Even Dad wasn't that bad."   He went back to bed.  Let her work on her own training.  It could only help them.  He climbed back into bed.  "She went for a jog."  He snuggled back in and got comfortable.  It was too early to be up.  Only insane ones were up this early.  Which proved his theory.


Xander looked at the witch he had meet him, giving her a bland look.  "Do you have it?"

"Are you sure it's worth it?"

Xander looked at the two books and nodded.  "It is."  He looked at her.  "Thank you."

"My payment?"  Xander held out his left arm, letting her make a shallow cut and gather blood.  She sniffed and moaned.  "Hellmouth and slayer blood."  Xander nodded.  "More than worthy.  Thank you for helping me."

"Thank you for getting me these.  Any idea on the third?"

"It's lost to time, dear.  No one knows where it is."  She nodded and walked off.  "Do be careful with what you're playing with, young woman."

Xander looked back at her.  "Ma'am, sometimes the fate of the world means I can't be that careful.  Sometimes I have to even if my soul screams."  She nodded at that.  "Have a good life."  She walked off, clutching the books to her chest.  She knew who knew about the last book and it was going to be a painful call to make.  She sat down and found the number Giles had Tara email her, looking at it for a minute before dialing it.  "Can I please speak to Travers?"  He snorted.  "The newest slayer called.  Rupert Giles told me to call him.  Alex."  He listened to the hold music and sighed at the woman answering. "You're not Travers.  I've seen him in person, dear.  I know I am.  Now, I need to speak to Travers.  Because there's an upcoming situation that the head of the Council needs to know.  Because I'm having slayer dreams and I don't know you from Jezebel, lady.   Your choice."  The woman huffed.  "I know toddlers who do that better.  Now, put him on or I'm going to let you all die."

She was transferred to another secretary but this one she knew the voice of.  "You're Wesley's father."  He smirked.  "Your newest slayer.  Because I need Travers and I'm getting pissed at all the people who aren't.  I do know you.  Well, I know your son and I almost like your son.  You, well, I heard about you.  You do sound just like him though.  Hey, I can go to Wes for what I need and tell him about how someone's planning on taking out the Council.  Your choice."  He huffed.  "Again, heard toddlers who did it better.  Alex.  That's all you're getting too.  Because Rosenburg activated me," he said snidely.  "Now, I need to speak to Travers.  If I do not speak to Travers, I'm going to let you all die.  I like Rupert.  Your choice."  He huffed but transferred him over.  "Travers, this is Harris, and yes I know Giles briefed you."  He burst out laughing.  "She did activate me, Travers.  You mean like the slayer ten ago had two children when she died?" he asked dryly.  That proved she had the memories of the past slayers.

"And she was only fifteen.  Her Watcher was the father of the second one?"  He quit laughing.  "Thank you.  No, I'm in the middle of an issue.  What did he tell you?"  He listened to the short report.  "Not quite.  He's protecting someone.  See, Willow turned me into a slayer.  Yes, I have tits," he sighed, rubbing his forehead.  "They do annoy me.  I don't like them and PMS is going to make me get drunk.  I have.  The upcoming apocalypse isn't it but the one after it.  If we let Buffy die, you'll go within a year.  All the Council will.  The rising power will wade through you like blood in a pool."  He smirked.  "Slayer dream.  The Powers are sending me visions now and then.  That's how I know who can help me.  No, she...  You know about Tara, right?  And how she flipped?"  He nodded.  Giles had to tell them something to explain how one of them had nearly destroyed the world and why it hadn't been a demon this time.

"Exactly.  Yes, she did.  She offered me as the sacrifice.  Why am I reporting to you instead of Giles?  Because I need the Perevent Diaries.  I have the other two.  Right before I escaped Sunnydale I was captured by a group of suicidal demons who wanted to raise Amun.  Travers, I'm still aching and I didn't have stitches.  The Powers woke me before they could do the final step.  I need the diaries.  Whichever one it is.  Well, I did just trade a small amount of blood for the other two books.  Because I can fight the situation Willow caused.  I can help with the apocalypse, but I'm not going to be used to raise a dead god who's going to be cranky with the ones who raise him.  That's what I need."  She squeezed her eyes shut.  "Then what do I do?"

He made notes, nodding slightly. "Thank you.  Any idea who I can hit for that?  I am, I'm helping another hunter.  Because I'm a virgin slayer, Travers, one born and bred on the hellmouth.  Think about that for a minute."  He heard the shudder.  They had always removed any potential slayers from the hellmouth so the power leaking out of it wouldn't taint them.  "Exactly.  Besides, we need them to be healed and I can help them with that.  It'll take my mind off why bras are irritating.  Also, a training manual please?  So I can figure out how to use my new body?  Because I'm five-nine, Travers.  I'm not exactly Buffy sized or my usual one.  My former training isn't cutting it after three weeks; I need help."  He nodded.  "Please.  I'm already drawing them.  I drew about thirty last night and it's been three weeks since she changed me so I couldn't fight what she did.  I had a better chance before," he said bluntly.

"No, I'm with a minister who helps the other sort of hunters.  Yeah, I have Giles' silver dagger.  He slipped it to me before I managed to escape.  Also, fair warning, Buffy sent some of them after me.  She called me a rogue.  I'm not, I'm still hunting, but I need to do some intense training.  Any ideas?"  He smiled and nodded, writing down the address.  "Thanks.  Um, I'm in Minnesota.  I think.  I don't know.  It's damn early over here."  He heard the laugh.  "I'll be there within two days.  No Watchers.  The ones I'm helping can handle it if I need to.  Actually, I'm here with him and another pair of hunters.  Thanks, Travers.  How do I get you directly?  If I have to talk to Wesley's father again I'm going to hurt him for Wesley's birthday present."

He smiled and wrote down the number.  "Thank you.  Let me know directly.  This is my number.  It's been my number.  Or Giles can reach me if you want email.  Tara does.  No, she didn't want her to," he said quietly.  "She found out and broke out crying and nearly tried to go back.  Willow stopped her and Buffy helped.  Personally?  Angel flashbacks.  She told me I couldn't possibly understand.  I had only lost people I had known since I could remember, ya know?"  He smiled.  "Thank you.  I'll do what I can.  Hopefully I can change my ass back."  He laughed.  "Thank you."  He hung up and finished making notes, turning to find Dean staring at him.  "You're up again?"

"Yeah.  I felt magic?"

Xander shrugged.  "I traded a bit of blood for a few books to help me get changed back.  I have about zero chance fighting him this way.  My actual body I might be able to do it.  I can't do it like this."  She stood up, copying the address and handing it over.  "I'm heading there.  It's a vacation cabin a former Watcher had.  Travers is having it cleared for me so I can use it to get my head on straight and do some training.  My aim's off," he said bitterly.  "If you're not doing anything, you can join me if you want.  If not, I'll be heading for Canada in three more weeks.  You can't get to the asteroid until Fall."  Dean nodded once at that.  "It's pretty country or so he said.  I have no idea.  That'll give me time to visit some places on the way up."  He closed up the blazer.  "If you show up, bring soda.  I'm going to hog mine."  She walked around him.  "Jim up yet so I can say goodbye?"

"That's it?" Dean asked.

Xander looked at him.  "Dean, until a few weeks back, I could bench press two hundred pounds and I was a construction worker with very good stamina.  Now I have enhanced stamina and no idea what to do with it.  It's a liability.  I can't do anything to help you or myself if I'm a liability."

"I noticed you were jerky.  Practicing alone won't help you."  He moved closer.  "You need a sparring partner."

"I can bend metal bars because of this stuff.  It's not fair to anyone to beat the shit out of a human.  It's also very bad of me."  He let out a snort.  "Learned that lesson very well from Faith.  So I can take three weeks and do what I need to do so I'm more with it and less of a liability.  Like I said, you can come up if you're not busy and watch me fall on my ass all you want.  Just bring your own caffeine."  He walked inside the church, hugging the pastor.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Did I feel magic?"

"I traded a witch a few drops of blood for two of the three books I need to turn me back."  She smiled.  "Then I called Travers.  He's sending me a training manual."

"Where are you headed?"  She wrote down the address for him.  "There's been a few things up there, Xander."

"I  heard.  It'll be fine.  It'll be practice but it'll be fine."  That got a nod.  "I know very well I'm in worse fighting shape now than I was when I was tripping into graves all the time.  Besides, I need some me time to finish getting my head around the girl parts."  That got a smile and a nod.  "Thank you for helping me as much as you did.  Direct them that way if they want my help."

"I can do that."  He gave her a strong hug.  "Be safe and go with God, son."

"Thanks, Father, but the Goddess and I need to commune more I think.  She's over me now."  That got a nod.  "Be safe and well."  She walked out, climbing into her blazer, starting it and backing out.  He had an atlas and could ask for directions since he was now female.  Plus there was bound to be a library he could log onto mapquest from by the time lunch came around.

Dean walked back inside, going to wake up his brother.  Then he went to face down Jim.  "What did she say?"

"That she's a liability now.  That she knows she could get someone killed.  There's been some limited activity up there anyway so it'll give her good training.  Plus it'll keep her out of harm's way for the most part.  She's still getting used to girl things.  Not that I blame her.  Were it me, I'd be swearing at God until someone justified it."

"I don't think there is one," Sam told him.  He smiled.  "Coffee?"  Jim held  up the pot, letting them get cups.  "Are we going?"

"We can go tomorrow," Dean said.  "I want to look over this rite. A few of the things mentioned I've never heard of."  That got a nod and Sam went to get his laptop so they could do some research.  Dean looked at him.  "Truth, Jim.  Is it worth it?"

Jim nodded. "Helping her can only help yourselves in this case, Dean.  Not even your father could ignore this one.  Then again, she might've kicked your father's butt and then told him what was going on to prove it."  He shrugged and grinned, sipping his coffee.  The boys settled into his office to do some looking while he went to do things for his other job.  Being a pastor was a full-time calling.


Xander looked over from her drinking, waving the bottle.  "Hey."  The female sat next to him.  "What's up?"

"Why are you drunk?" Cordelia Chase asked.

"Because I started my first period ever and I thought it called for a celebration?" he said sarcastically.  "Why?  Big, major demon?"

"Xander, if you're bleeding, you're in danger," she said patiently.  "Remember, hellmouth baby, tainted blood, now a slayer too so doubly attractive to the other side?"

"Buffy kicked ass while regressed into cave slayer and drunk off her ass."  He took another drink of the vodka.

"You're not Buffy.  You have nowhere near Buffy's experience, training, or fashion sense."

He looked at her.  "I hate bras.  They hurt."

"Then don't wear one and bounce.  They hurt more then," she shot back.

He rolled his eyes.  "I'm comfy.  If something comes, I'll handle it."

"You're injured, Xander."

"Yay me.  Not the first time."  He looked at her.  "Any other chipper news or do they want me to go running to someone to protect me like I'm some damsel in those books you used to read?"

"They'd prefer if you had someone to protect you."

"Yeah, well, their chosen ones didn't like that idea any more than I did.  I gave them what they needed.   Angel can help them get that last requirement if you nag him."

"I'm sure he can.  Wes could too.  What about the one they can't get to?  The one in Canada?"

"I can get that for them.  I need some for myself anyway.  That way I can change back so I don't have to put up with fucking tampons and dripping and all that nasty shit."  He took another drink.  "I'm going to turn into my relatives soon."

"Yeah, ya think?" she said dryly.  He glared at her again.  "Xander, this isn't you."

He stood up.  "Cordy, if you were me, you'd be drunk and high right now.  At least I haven't went there.  You have no idea how much this is screwing with me because now I'm suddenly you!"  She huffed and disappeared.  He went to the wooden balance course.  Might as well work on it, it could only help when he was sober.  He slipped a few times but it happened when one was drunk.  He'd seen plenty of them in the past.  He knew what drunks looked like and he could make sure he didn't walk like one.

Cordelia appeared beside the two boys at the picnic table, flopping down beside Dean.  "You're about thirty miles away from where Xander is and there's six demons closer than you.  Four of which are hunters.  One of which is a magic user and would love to drain her dry for her blood."  They both groaned.  "And she's drunk off her ass because this is screwing with her."

"I would have killed the witch," Dean said.

"He couldn't.  She's protected.  Like you are."  She stared at him.  "There's a reason we put you together, Winchester.  Xander doesn't want to be some damsel in distress but she has no idea what to do as a slayer except for watching one.  Yeah, she helped, when Buffy wasn't being a brat and special.  The same as Willow did to him."  They both slumped.  "She's very brave.  She's very strong.  She's also very drunk and prone to stupidity.  Especially since she's still injured."

"Jim mentioned some healing scratches," Sam said.

"No, not quite.  See, there was a nice cult to Amun in Sunnydale.  They needed a warrior's blood to raise their personal deity of choice.  Xander was weak from the change.  There was no way she could've fought them off.  One or two maybe.  Ten with knockout gas?  Not even Angel could do that."  They nodded, looking upset. "The Powers woke her before the final step of the sacrifice.  Before then there's all sorts of painting, cutting, trimming, drugging, those things."  Dean shook his head.  "She's still got the figures carved in because whatever oil they used won't let her heal like a normal being.  Or even a normal slayer since they can heal a bit faster than average."  Dean stared at her.  "Yeah, a benefit when you're going out nightly to deal with bad things that fight back.  Right now, Xander's falling off a balance course.  She and the vodka need to part ways.  No matter how much having her period is screwing with her head, she's got to stay thinking.  She can't wallow.  Even this first time.  Or else you're screwed too.  It takes someone who was possessed to get to the asteroid and pass the challenges.  Her being drunk makes her vulnerable.  She gets dead and you're screwed."  She disappeared.

"We can make up thirty miles pretty fast," Sam said.

"So we can get yelled at?" Dean asked him.  "She will.  Especially if she's drunk."

"You'd rather we both die and the world goes to hell when he does?"

"No.  Just saying."

"We've talked to other drunks before and we've been drunk ourselves, Dean.  What's the difference this time."

"Point."  He got up and went back to the Impala, getting in to drive.  "Which way?"

"East."  He pointed.  "Ten miles, take Route ten, go to the end, hit the dirt road, go into the woods, then park by the cabin."  Dean nodded, backing out of their parking spot and heading off.  "Was she a ghost?"

"I have a feeling that's another one of those stories we need to hear," Dean told him.  "There's still something that's not adding up."

"He wasn't raised like we were, Dean.  He doesn't have a need to get vengeance.  He does it because it's the right thing to do.  For him it's probably like being called to be a priest."

"Hope not since we need non-virgin slayer blood too," he said grimly.

"I'm sure we can find some somewhere if it is."  He rolled his eyes, going back to his research on Sunnydale.  Dean was right, something wasn't fully adding up, but he wasn't so sure Xander knew what the problem was either.


Dean got out of the car, watching as Xander worked on his balance, grimacing.  It was painful to watch her mangle things that he had been doing for years.  She had probably been doing them for years and this retraining was not going well.  "You're going to hurt yourself," he called.  She ignored him.  He walked over there, pulling her off the balance beam.  "You're going to hurt yourself."

Xander blinked at him.  "If I fall, I fall.  There's others who can help.  Angel can."  She got free, getting back up there.  "It's part of the training.  Next I get to do it blindfolded while doing a kata."  She went back to what she had been doing.  "Have a good trip?"

"Until we got joined for lunch."

"Cordelia!  Butt out!" he yelled.

"Knew her?"

"Used to date her in high school.  She was Angel's seer for the Powers," she said quietly, getting back to work.  Dean tried to pull her off but she managed to avoid falling and got free, smirking.  "See, better already."  She went back to it, gracefully doing a cartwheel onto a higher beam that was tilted at a forty-five degree angle.  "Can you get me the blindfold?"

"No.  Not until you can do it perfectly without it and sober," Dean told him.

"I'm only drunk enough to relax.  I'm not fighting my body or my memories.  It's easier this way at the moment."  She hopped up to grab a bar overhead, pulling herself up onto it so she could take off her shirt and use it as a blindfold.  She still had a tanktop on so it was at least modest of her.  Then she slowly slid down until her feet hit the incline, going back to what she had been doing.  Dean tried to grab her but she realized it and jumped to avoid it, then smirked and moved away again, going to the other side of the course.  She felt another grab attempt and kicked at it, connecting with something.  It hadn't been as  high as either of the guys so she knew it wasn't them.

Dean didn't see anything but apparently something had grunted.  He came over to check, finding a lump on the ground.  "What are you?"

"What does it look like?"

"Neon purple and three feet tall?"


"Yeah, barely.  I guess."

"That's nothing too harmful.  Probably paid off."  She kept going, finally reaching the end of the course.  She took a deep breath and moved to do it backwards, going slower this time so she could make sure of her footing.

"Xander, please get down?" Sam asked.  "We can't take you to the ER if you fall."

"If I fall I fall.  I'll heal from everything but having my head ripped off."

"Tonight's not the time, Xander."

"I don't have that long to train, guys.  I don't have time to take off for PMS or any other acronym that might show up in my life suddenly."  He almost slipped again but found his footing quickly.

"That's it, down," Dean ordered.

"I'm pretty sure I know what I'm doing.  Been doing it now for four years."

"Dad started training me when I was five," Dean told him.  "Get down, now!"

Xander took off his shirt to look at him.  "Then retire and become a Watcher."  Dean growled.  "I'm not scratching you behind the ears."  She moved off that one and went to another course further into the woods but Sam stopped her.  "Quit.  Now.  I don't have time to take the night off."

"Well, you still need to visit the restroom," he said bluntly.  Xander growled but went to do that, coming out nibbling on a popsicle all the way to the other course.  He looked at his brother, who shook his head.  "He doesn't look that drunk."

Dean found the fifth of vodka and held it up.  "Either he's already halfway to an alcoholic...."

"Or both my parents were," Xander yelled.  "Thank you for reminding me."  He finished his treat and hopped up onto the higher bars, swinging until he could get a leg up there and then shifting until he was on top of them.  They were like monkey bars but too thin to grab onto.  He'd crush them.  He had tried one earlier and crushed it.  This one was harder to balance on.  Thin bars that hurt his feet.  A good breeze this high up.  Nothing to grab onto if he started to slip on the metal.   Well, that was kinda like life at the moment so what the hell.  He walked it the first time slowly then gained more confidence.  He knew which ones rolled now and how they moved.  He went back over the course, eventually closing his eyes to try one.

"Why can't you do normal PT?"

"Slayers are created and given skills when they're called," Xander told him.  "Including super strength, stamina, speed, a bit faster healing, and knowledge of various fighting styles.  I'm supposed to be able to keep up with a vampire or higher demon if they attack.  I'm probably supposed to be doing this on my hands or something but there's no watcher here to tell me that so I'm working on my balance issues since tits throw that off."

"Xander, please?" Sam asked.  "Can't you do this tomorrow?"

"No.  No time."  He moved to do it again, faster this time.  He almost slipped but managed to catch the bar on the way down and swing back up with the momentum, landing back on top again, panting a bit.  "Damn I'm better than I was."  He got back up there and felt the wind shift.  "Which one are you?"

"It's me," Dean said.  "This is probably supposed to be used while you learn weapons fighting, Xander."  He was better trained and if they were working together, he'd make sure Xander could use whatever sort of skills this new body came with.  His and Sam's life might depend on it.  Xander opened his eyes so he tossed him a staff he had found inside.  "Come on."  Xander attacked and they moved back and forth.  The girl was good, but he was still better.  He tried to do a foot sweep but Xander hopped over it and got him in the knee then on the side.  Then she gritted her teeth and moved faster than she had been, making him look a bit impressed.  He finally backed off.  "Whoa."  Xander panted, backing off too.  "Not as bad."

"Thanks.  Two days did make a difference."

"Then let's see what other toys they left us."

"No working hot water heater," Xander said dryly.  "Probably meant to toughen the girls up."  He swung down after tossing Sam his staff, going to show him the other things he had found.  Dean shook his head at a few.  "They've been training the girls since before writing was invented," Xander told him.  "Granted, they like to turn them into robots, but they have been doing it for a while.  They wrote most of the books."

"We learned military style PT," Dean told him.

Xander looked at him and grinned.  "I remember that from a possession."  He walked off again, going to get a drink from the well then the vodka, going back to his next piece of equipment.

"Xander, no more," Sam ordered.

Xander looked at him.  "Until you suddenly have a period, don't start.  When you do, I'll sit and drink with you to help you through it."  He walked off with the bottle, going to train some more.  She really didn't have time.

Dean took the bottle and drained it for him then tossed it into a nearby burn barrel.  "There, not an issue."  He looked at her, weathering the scowl.  "If you want to go all emo and crap, talk to Sam.  He does that stuff.  I'll help you train.  It can only help all of us."

"I could hurt you."

"Yay.  Been there before.  Speaking of, she said something about injuries?"

"I banged my knee!  Gods!"  He walked off shaking his head, going back to working out.  There was nothing else to do up here.  Sam jogged after him but he was already up onto it, seeing how it could be used.  It was sturdy, which was nice, but the bars he was on rolled, suddenly locked, or slid out from under his feet when he stepped on them.  "I guess this is to teach me to value my footing."  She got down and went to the last one, finding it more imposing drunk than when he had looked over it earlier.  He frowned. "How do I get up there?"

Dean handed him the rope.  "Climb."

"Thanks."  He looked then shrugged and made herself climb up it, getting into the boxy creation.  There was just enough area for him to move in and it was very tight.  "Claustrophobia deterrent?"

"Maybe.  Sometimes nests are in small areas," Sam offered.

"Crypts in Sunnydale."  She moved through it then fell through a hole, getting stuck.  "Never mind, I see what this is for."  He climbed his way back up and stepped back, letting the hole close itself.  He was more careful where he stepped after that, finding a few more holes.  A few had sharp things along the edges.  Some didn't.  One was only big enough for one leg and it nearly broke it but she had stronger bones now.

"Xander, I want to know more about the slayers," Sam said, after watching Dean watch him.  He wasn't half bad, even for switching from his old training.  "When are they called?"

"Early to mid teens.  Usually the Watchers took them as soon as they were found so they could raise them.  That way there's no one there to counter their teachings I guess."  He took another careful step and had to back up three when a large section of the floor nearly caved in and slid him down.  It was a tilt board in one direction.  "They train from the time they're found until the time they're called.  If they're not called they usually end up working in the Council somewhere.  Sometimes they're allowed to breed and sometimes some of the Watchers are assholes. Those who're called last about seven months on average.  Which is up from the people who were called before Buffy.

"The one before her lasted all of two and a half weeks if I remember Giles' talk right.  The one before her lasted a night and it took out the Watcher and the slayer, plus half the neighborhood in Rio by burning it down.  Buffy's lasted since she was called at fifteen.  Though I did bring her back to life about ten months into her tenure because she was drowned due to a prophecy.  Which do suck," she announced.  "Very muchly suck.  We dealt with a lot of them in Sunnydale."  He started to move forward again, jumping over the tilt board and barely making it.  There wasn't any room to get further away.  He kept going, running into a place where the floor had sharp, pointy things on it, hissing a bit.  "The usual path is one girl is called, fights, dies, and then another is called.  With me doing CPR, Buffy died and came back but another girl had been called.  Now there's three thanks to Willow.  I'm sure Travers is going to have her ass."

"What happens if you can't be switched back?" Sam asked.

Xander looked at him.  "If I'm lucky I have the same life expectancy."  He got back to work.  "Maybe less, maybe more.  It's an average, not a definite date.  I'm seen as critically old for a slayer.  If this was the natural succession I wouldn't have been called.  Or possibly the Council would've assassinated me to call the next one."  He took another step and yelped, backing off to look at his pierced foot.  "Sorry, nail."  He moved around them carefully and came to the end, hopping up to sit on the wall.  "Giles could give you all the talk you wanted."

"We don't know him," Dean reminded him.

"I can introduce you if you want."  He shifted back onto the ground since his foot wasn't bleeding.  "I should bandage that and go back to it."

"Let us," Sam said, getting a grin.  "When do you have to go back to Sunnydale?"

"The next apocalypse isn't for six months.  I have to do that then.  Doing this here means that I'm ready in case I draw something else or I'm attacked.  Because it does happen.  Slayers' blood can cure a lot of ills in demons.  It's highly sought after on the black market.  That's how I got two of the three books I needed to work on my change back."  He walked around them.

"Freeze."  Dean walked after him, stopping him to look at his back.  "They did a number on those."

"The oil they used tainted the skin.  It's healing slowly but it's going."  He looked at him. "Don't grope."  Dean pulled back.  "Thanks.  Think I could go pick up women this way?"

"No," Dean said.  "You're a bit prickly about those things and women would want to touch you back."  Xander grimaced but shrugged and headed back to the well to wash off his foot.  "Anything other than your back?"

"One on my stomach.  Nothing major.  They're healing."  He looked at him.  "I'm fine."

"I'm sure you think you are.  They should still be cleaned."

"They were.  I did a lot of that my first week."  He got a drink then poured the rest over his head.  "Better."  He wiped the water out of his eyes then looked around. "It's pretty country."

"Cordelia said there were six demons nearby," Sam told him.

Xander nodded. "There's probably more but no one wants to tangle with us.  Slayers have this nasty habit of winning fights."  She walked off.

"Sit, let us work on the injuries, Xander.  I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't."  She gave them a cocky grin.  "You guys aren't that strong."  She pointed at something coming out of the woods.  "That is."  They stared at the large demon, Sam blinking a few times.

"Shit, how do you kill that one?" Dean asked.

"Take out it's nuts and burn it," Xander said, then shrugged.  "I don't have a flame thrower."

"Lighter fluid?" Dean asked.

"We're out.  Hair spray.  Lighter," Sam reminded him.  He went to grab them, coming back to find Xander had a crossbow loaded and was about to fire.  "Um..."  Xander shot and the thing's genitals were pierced, making the demon howl in misery loud enough to shake the cabin.  He ran forward to light it on fire and then backed off gagging.  "Ewww."  He waved a hand in front of his face.  "Oh god that stinks."

"Nice, Sammy," Dean praised.  "Thanks for getting stinky for us."

"Yeah, welcome and quit calling me that," he said, watching the thing burn.  He walked into the cabin, going to find this cold shower Xander had told them about.  Before he made himself sick.

Dean looked at the girl next to him.  He wasn't used to thinking about girls as fighters.  Sex partners, those who helped him by feeding and occasionally bandaging him.  Not as fellow demon hunters.  "I tapped you a few times," Dean reminded him.  Xander grinned back at him but kept going until she had her outer shirt back.  She slid into it and headed back to the blazer.  "Where are you going now?" he demanded.

"Did you buy groceries?"  Dean groaned and shook his head.  "Me either.  I have like six granola bars.  I also have the munchies."

"I've got a credit card," Dean muttered.  Xander gave him an odd look.  "Gotta finance the fight somehow."

"If you get me arrested for that I'm kicking your ass and turning you into me."  She stared at him until he backed down.  "I'm getting a stipend from Giles."  They both looked over as a car started up the driveway.  "Know them?"

"No," Dean said.  "Not a car I recognize."

Xander sat on the tailgate of the blazer while the sedan parked, waving at them.  "Hi, borrowing a friend's place here.  Are you lost?"

"No, Xander, I'm not," the man getting out said, smirking at him.  "You needed a few books?"

"God, yes."  She strolled over there, smiling at what was in the trunk.  "Thank Travers for me please?"

"He wanted pictures."

"I'm sure he does.  Of the cuts the cult did or just of me?"

"The cult."  Xander sighed and took off the overshirt, then scrunched up the tank top so he could take pictures of the markings, ignoring Dean's noises of pain.  "Who're they?"

"Fellow hunters.  The Powers sent me to them to help them with something."

"Oh.  I guess that's fine then."  He finished taking pictures and put the camera away, then handed over something else.  "From Travers.  It has ten thousand.  You'll only have this year he hopes."

"I'm hoping I'm back in my own body by then."  She smiled and tucked it into a pocket. "Thank him for me?"

"Of course.  How's the training going?"

"Eeeeh.  Not as bad as I was but this body isn't helping any.  There's a barrier between the slayer skills and my skills."

The guy nodded.  "You have to drop into a better fighting mindset most of the time anyway.  You were a bit dangerous the last time any of us saw you fight.  You weren't exactly trained," he said at the look he got.

Xander snorted.  "Why would Rupert have trained me?"

"Good point.  Did he at least beat Rosenburg?"

"He tried.  Buffy's sticking up for her in a moment of 'you wouldn't understand about love'.  Though I have talked to Angel since I called and he's on my side about Willow doing bad things.  Tara too."

"That's good then.  Hopefully it'll be solved quickly.  Are you going back for the apocalypse?"

Xander nodded.  "Giles said he'll need more help."

"Good."  He handed over something.  "Because I remembered you liked sweets."

Xander beamed. "Thanks.  Having my first period is very icky and nasty."  She strolled off with the books.  "Any other messages?"

"Don't get dead.  If you do, the demon she made the deal with could easily come and claim everyone in the town."

Xander looked back at him.  "After four years, isn't that the Sunnydale team's motto?  Look at Buffy, I brought her back."  That got a nod.  "Happy travels.  Thank you."

"Welcome, kid."  He got back into his car and drove off.  At least she had someone watching out for her.  Now he had to go see Rupert about this situation.  It was most against the rules and something had to be done about the Sunnydale team.  The new one should've been turned over as soon as Rupert had realized she was a slayer.  Other hunters were not Watchers.

Xander sat on the tailgate of the blazer, nibbling on her candybar while she looked over the books.  "Training manual.  Copy of the other book I need."  He found the spell he needed and grimaced. "I need a chaos sorcerer and it can only be done on the Yule equinox.  Yay me."  He kept going.  "And I need mythical demon parts too.  Angel's going to kill me."  He put the book aside, going to the training manual.

"For having had that much vodka earlier, you're fairly sober," Dean said as he walked around the blazer.

Xander looked at him.  "No, I know how to act fairly sober.  It runs in the family."  He went back to reading, frowning at the mention of the problem he was having.  Then she sighed.  "I'm not going to like this next step.  Gotta force myself to use the new skills too."

"We can spar," Dean assured him.  "You need it."

Xander looked at him.  "I can easily go spar with some local demons.  That's how the Watchers do it since they're human too."  She went back to reading, nodding at a few things.  She put the book up and finished her candy bar, then closed up the blazer.  "Since I have money for food.  Food shopping?"

"You're still drunk," Dean reminded her.

"With a faster metabolism and better reflexes."

"Yay you.  Get into the car, Xander."  Xander huffed but did that after a fast stop in the bathroom, which freaked Sam out because he was still in the shower.  Dean shook his head, letting Xander deal with her own things.  He wouldn't be very happy to have his period either.  It wasn't what any guy was really looking forward to.  "So, PMS real?" he asked as he backed the Impala down the driveway.  They had to talk about something and Sammy kept telling him that talking about issues would make them easier to deal with.  They needed her easier to deal with.

"Yup.  Cramps suck.  Chocolate necessary for male survival."  She rested her head against the window.  "I'm not cooking."

"We eat on the road, Xander.  We can make sandwiches."

"Thank God."

Dean laughed.  "You thought we'd expect you to?"

"Yeah.  Plenty of other guys would.  We would've expected Willow to cook since I can barely cook and Buffy doesn't cook.  Or Giles but he'd make real food instead of something quick to grab on the way out to hunt."  She yawned.  "Before you nag on the drinking, I do it very rarely."

"We drink beer every few days but we don't usually get drunk."

"Sometimes you have to so you can sleep," Xander agreed.  "Though sometimes the nightmare demons come worse when you're drunk."

"Nightmare demons?"

Xander looked at him. "You've never seen a nightmare demon?"  Dean shook his head, turning onto the main road.  "Huh.  I'll show you later.  I'm sure one'll show up.  That leaves the ones in your head but you can't fight those."  She shrugged and watched the land go past.  "Do you like traveling?  I tried to go on a road trip but the car kinda died in Oxnard."

"It has some good points.  Not having a steady place to go back to when you're tired is a bad point.  We have friends we can take a short break with when we get too tired."

Xander nodded.  "I've had a place to shelter but it wasn't any better than fighting."

"Don't go all emo on me."

"I'm not that sort of girl.  I talk more when I get drunk.  Sorry."

"No, if we're going to be working together now and then, we might as well get to know you.  Just in case you have one of those screaming in anger and pouncing moments."

Xander looked at him.  "Then handcuff me when we get to Sunnydale."  Dean snickered at that.  "Gotta go back for the apocalypse in six months, plus to get the stuff to help you."  He went back to watching out the window.  "Wanna trade places?"

"Hell no!  I'd have burned the witch for doing that to me."

"Even if she was your best friend?"

"Can't be much of a friend."

"She has a magic addiction," Xander said quietly, still staring outside.  "Then she lost her soulmate.  That one who was helping her heal and move on.  The one she had quit dating guys for."

Dean shook his head.  "I'd still have at least kicked her ass."

"I wanted to but I was captured before I could."

"You still need to get some neosporin on those."

"I have some in the bag.  It's fine.  They're not infected."  She grinned at him.  "I've had worse."  They pulled into a small packette store.  "Real grocery store so it's cheaper?"

"Over twenty miles away and we left Sam back there alone."

"Good point."  She got out and strolled inside, smiling and waving.  "Hi."

The woman behind the counter stared at her.  "Who're you?"

Xander looked at her.  "I'm borrowing Donny's cabin to do some training."  She gaped.  "So, food stuff?"  She pointed.  "Thanks."

"No Watcher?"

"I'm from the Sunnydale team.  We're sharing Rupert and Buffy needed him to pull her head out of her ass again."  She grabbed stuff for sandwiches, letting Dean pick out the bread.  Some meat, some cheese, some ketchup and pickles.  Some hamburger because she needed red meat today.  Some peanut butter and jelly.  A second loaf of bread.  Another box of granola bars.  Another candy bar.  A six pack of beer, which got a dirty look from the woman behind the counter.  She pointed at Dean, getting an eye roll.  "He's helping me train."  She stared at one cooler then walked away before she could be tempted.  The fridge at the cabin was tiny.  A thing of milk and two two liters of soda.  A quick scan of the store and some gum was found.  "These please.  Oh, toilet paper, Dean."  He grabbed some and tossed it over, letting her catch it.  "Thanks."  She smiled sweetly.  "He's got a brother too and they're single if you've got daughters."

She laughed.  "Hell no I'd never let my kin date a Watcher."  She looked her over.  "Bit bigger than the others that've been here."  Xander nodded.  "You're older too."  Xander nodded again.  "Which one died?"

"I got called specially.  Apocalypse coming up in six months."  She groaned.  "Hey, we draw the end of the world in Sunnydale.  Good thing we keep stopping it, huh?"  She nodded, ringing them up.  She pulled out money since she didn't see a credit card terminal, letting her give back the change.  She took the bags back out to the car, not letting Dean take them.  "I can carry and haul.  That's why I have super strength."

"So can I."  He took some of it.  It went into the backseat and they headed back to the cabin, finding Sam on the porch with the crossbow from earlier.  "Playing with the weapons, Sammy?"

"We had a vampire for a minute."

"Was it blonde or dark haired guy?"


"Then I don't care."  She carried the bags inside.  "We're having burgers tonight.  I need red meat."

"Just don't eat it vampire raw," Dean called.  Sam got up with a small huff, going to cook since they were busy together.  Dean brought in the last bag and got a beer, heading out to look at the other equipment.  He found a few more pieces of equipment further off and smiled at the pond near them.

Xander came up behind him.  "I was told it filtered into the well so no soap in the pond."

"Sure.  Still able to swim in it?"

"Yeah, no monsters in it."  Dean gave him an odd look.  "My high school swim team."  She went to look at the equipment, shaking her head at one.  "I'm not doing that one."  The other one she climbed up on to try it out.  She fell nearly immediately.  "Never mind, I'll do it tomorrow," she said when Sam came out with plates.  "Thanks."

"Welcome, Xander."  They watched the sun set across the pond, eating quietly.  The boys smiled when they heard the first snore, Dean snagging the last half of her burger for himself.  "What's up next?" Sam asked quietly.

"Training," Dean said.  "It can only help us.  Find out more about this apocalypse.  Maybe hear more about what she's handled in the past so we know what to let her handle now."  He took the last bite, looking at her.  "We shouldn't leave her out here."

"No, we can't," Sam said, nudging him and pointing at the demon lumbering their way.  "Isn't that one of the peaceful ones?"

Dean watched the demon drink at the pond then sniff them.  He pulled his gun just in case.  It took another sniff then ran off.  "Hmm.  They can tell slayers."  Xander let out a louder snore and curled into a little ball.  "Bedrooms?"

"Two.  One twin sized bed.  One queen."

"That's fine, we can share again," Dean told him.  "Or there's the couch."

"Lumpy."  He got up and went to nudge Xander, nearly getting gutted for it.  "You can't sleep out here," he said after he made sure she hadn't gotten skin with the bodice dagger.

"Nice hiding job," Dean said.  "Didn't see it at all."  He finished his beer and watched Xander grumble before heading inside.  "Don't even think about taking the big bed unless you're sleeping with us," he called after her.  She flipped him off.  He smirked at his brother.  "Dude, you squealed when you jumped."

"I did not!"


"No, I didn't."  He huffed off.

Dean laughed, getting up and gathering their plates to take inside.  Since Sam had cooked, he could clean up tonight.  He noticed everything was set up so someone smaller could handle the cooking and clean up duties, frowning.  So the Watcher who used to live here would've expected his girl to do it for him?  He was not liking these watchers.  He heard Sam huff again and went to help him move Xander to the other bed.  Even if he did have to pat her down for weapons first.  He sat behind her, stroking along her arm.  "Xander, wrong bed," he said in her ear.  "Let us move you?"  Xander grumbled something that sounded like a 'fuck off, I need sleep'.  "Come on.  Let us help you."  He pulled her up and helped carry her to her room.  It was small and pink and hideous.  He shuddered.  "Couch?"

"It'd be kinder," Sam agreed, going to put her out there.  No guy deserved to be in that room.  They covered her and she curled up.  Sam noticed her patting around and got the sword she had been sharpening, smiling when she curled around the handle.  "Cute."

"Very."  He went back to the kitchen, making another sandwich. They went to sit on the porch and watch the night for more demons.  Dean checked in every now and then, especially when Xander started to talk in her sleep.  Then suddenly the sword came down and a demon squealed.  He came in to see what it was.  "Guess that's a nightmare demon.  Huh.  He was right."  He picked the remains up and tossed it outside so it could finish dying in peace.  They'd burn it later.  "Nightmare demon."

Sam looked at him.  "Nightmares come from your mind, Dean."

"Apparently not all of them."  The demon started to regenerate so he pulled his gun and shot it.  The boy let out a cackle and snore right afterward.

"She likes guns?"

"Apparently," Dean said dryly.  He went to get the lighter fluid and matches.

"What about hunting for the one that killed Mom and Jess?" he asked finally.

"You know, he might be able to help us find them too.  The Watchers apparently have a network of their own."

"Maybe.  Can we trust them?"

"Did you notice the kitchen was set up so a kid could cook?" Dean countered.  Sam nodded.  "Then we probably can't trust all of them but Xander seems to trust this Rupert guy.  We'll see."

Sam nodded, letting him handle that for now.  He had more research he wanted to do.


Dean woke up warm and cuddled, grimacing at his brother.  "You drifted," he complained.  The dark hair didn't move.  "Sam."  He poked him on the side.  He got swatted on the head for it.  "Xander?"  Xander's head appeared from under the blanket and gave him an odd look.  "What are you doing in here?"

"Big demon."  She blinked and fell back asleep.  "Night. Dead."

Dean got up with a groan, going to see what she had mumbled about.  He found Sam drinking coffee staring at an extremely large demon on the front lawn.  Just sitting there staring back.  "What is that?"

"He wants the slayer.  Called me a Watcher.  It ate the one that was laying in the grass."

"Well, you're smart but Xander said they wear tweed.  You'd look sucky in tweed."  He stole the coffee to drink, letting the demon stare at him too.  "Go away."

"The slayer child is ours."

"I doubt it.  Plus, not a child."

The demon smirked.  "Then we have many uses for her."  It stood up and up and up until it was nearly towering above the cabin.  "Give me what I want.  I know she will awaken soon.  Best to have her in her new life then.  That way she can't fight the marking we'll be doing."

"Fat chance," Dean said.  The demon scowled and grabbed him to lift up. "Put me down," he growled.  The demon laughed.  He tried to get his hidden knife but it wasn't working this time.

Xander came wandering out holding her head.  She growled and sneered, then kicked the demon on the ankle.  "Put him down!" she snapped.  The demon dropped Dean, smirking at her.  "Go away."

"You stink like a hellmouth."

"Born and bred," she sneered.  "You're not having me."

"You will taste very good."  He made a grab but Xander broke his thumb for him.  The demon howled, letting Xander hit the blazer for materials.  A frantic search and he came out with an AK and silver bullets.  "Bite me."  She fired, making the demon howl and back away.  "Out!  Now!"  It fled.  She put one last one into it's ass, then put the gun back into the blazer and closed the gate, wobbling back inside.  "Be up later."  He took the coffee from Dean's hand and drank it on the way inside.  "Night."  She climbed back into the big bed and snuggled back into the warm spot.  It was a nice day.

"Um," Dean said, looking at his brother.

"She's like Rambo," Sam said, shaking his head.  "Wanna look at her stash?"

"Sure."  They went to look at the blazer's stash of weapons.  The AK got put back and sealed into it's case.  They found the release for the hidden compartment under the sword compartment, lifting up the back floorboard.  The artillery inside got a long stare.  "Damn," Dean said happily.

"Definitely."  They smirked at each other and closed it up again, going to make toast for breakfast.  More coffee was gotten and they were content until Xander finally got up.  Around ten a wandering, wobbling woman wove out of the bedroom toward the bathroom.  Then a shriek a moment after the water came on.  "She's up."  Dean started more toast.  Xander came out pissed.  "Morning."

"Fuck you," she muttered, taking the coffee to go out back.  She had to get back to work.

"Need midol?" Dean shouted after her.

"Missing my wake up sex, thanks.  And please, no offering.  You can't top my demon nympho ex."

Sam came out to look at her.  "You were dating a demon?"

"Former demon.  Former vengeance demon actually."  Sam gave him a horrified look - that was just so wrong!  Xander gave a smug one back.  "Anya was hell in bed.  Hadn't had any for twelve hundred years.  Got a bit needy."  He finished his coffee and got back onto the first piece of equipment, frowning when it wasn't as easy as yesterday.  "Liquor does make the difference."  He adjusted the bra, looking uncomfortable.  "I'm cutting the damn things off."

"You're wearing the wrong sort of bra probably," Sam said helpfully.

Xander gave him an odd look.  "Buffy can do it in a push up bra, backless shirt, short skirt, and heels.  In the same outfit.  How does a bra make a difference?"

"My former girlfriend used to have different bras for different purposes.  They make special ones for working out."

"What happens if you're attacked and you're wearing a normal one?"

"She wasn't in the life."  Xander groaned.  "We could go shopping."

"I loathe shopping.  They drug me plenty of times.  No thanks.  Really.  I'll just cut them off.  It'll be less painful."  He went back to what the book said he was supposed to be doing on this piece of equipment.  "How do you do a backflip?" he asked finally.

"You did one last night," Dean said, coming outside.  "Do what you did last night."

"The liquor was lubing the connection between body, memories, and instinct.  I'm not drunk at the moment."  She had enough sense to get off the balance beam to try it on the grass.  Fell on her ass too.  "Okay."  She sighed and got up, trying it again.  "How does she do this?"  Again and again and again.  She finally got a partial one, landing on her side.  She huffed and got up to do it again.  Dean came over to spot her, having had enough of the painful looking falls.  Xander managed it and beamed at him.  "Thank you."  She tried it on her own.  Still a bit weak.  She made herself tap into the slayer strength and did it again.  This time she landed it.  "Okay."  She got back onto the balance beam, making herself push past the barrier to her slayer skills.  The more often she did it the easier it'd be.  Dean grabbed the staffs from earlier and hopped up, tossing one over while she worked out.  Then he attacked.  She defended.  "Not my best skill."

"Yay us," Dean shot back.  She was good and moving a lot faster than he could.  He had to duck one hard blow at his head.  "No damaging me."

"Sorry."  She stopped and had to duck her own blow because he hadn't stopped.  "I don't want to hurt you."

"So don't."

"If I'm sparring, I should try for blows to incapacitate or kill."

"So?  Just don't aim directly at my head."

"Fine." Xander got back into it, making herself go into the slayer speed to drive him back and away.  The instinct about what to do with the staff was coming in handy.  It was comfortable in her hand.  She was still running into her breasts but it wasn't going to stop her.  She winced a few times when her arm caught.

"Short skirt and heels?"

"Yeah, Buffy's like that.  She wore clubbing clothes plenty of times while on patrol."

"You guys have a *patrol*?" Dean demanded.

"Yeah, nightly."

"No wonder we were told to stay away from your town," Sam said.

"The hellmouth drags demons to it like venus flytraps drag flies.  We have an official population of just over eight hundred plus the two colleges, and then another four-to-six hundred demons of varying classes.  Plus however many vampires we have that week."  She ducked a blow to the head, jumped over an attempt to take out her feet, and fell off the balance beam.  She snickered.  "Well, I'm getting better."  She got up, letting Dean rest for now.  "We have a nightly patrol to handle the vamps coming up and anything we can find hunting.  Then usually a few hours at the Bronze to hunt the vampires feeding in there.  It's the only non-demon bar and club in town so they feed there on the high school and college kids.  Then we'd head home or back to the Magic Box to see what was next.  Work, dinner, sex, slay, sex, sleep, sex, repeat."

Dean gaped at him.  "She was that hot?"

"She was that needy.  Morning sex, sometimes she popped around for lunch sex.  Dinner sex, post slaying sex so I could sleep.  Sometimes she'd drag me shopping instead.  She loves to shop."

"Was she getting paid for it?" Dean asked.

"No, she was working with Giles at the Magic Box.  I paid the bills but she had her own money."  They both gaped.  "It was a life, guys.  I worked construction so I had a good job."

"Can we just burn your town?" Dean asked.

"They might mind.  So, you guys had a do not enter warning?"  They nodded.  "Too many demons or just bad things?"

"The town was overrun, being run by demons, and too dangerous for a hunter to enter alone or even with a team."

Xander nodded. "Yeah, the Mayor tried to ascend last year during my graduation.  We killed him too.  The high school was very pretty when it went boom."  They both gaped and he grinned, wiggling his fingers.  "Necessary.  Eighty foot snake demon.  Hello, world eating thing that would've stopped the population crisis."

"So you blew it up?"

"Only way to kill it, Sam."

Sam shook his head quickly.  "I thought we were bad."

"We are," Dean said dryly.  "Badder than most at least."  He looked at Xander.  "I guess you can be considered cool enough but that shirt is ugly."

Xander shrugged. "It still fits.  I'm happy enough with it."

"Shopping," Sam said, heading back inside to make more coffee.

"Eww.  Plus, no thrift shops.  I'll do some when we get to LA and I can take Wes or someone with me.  Traumatize them like my girls did me."

"So, this Buffy chick.  Friend?"  Xander nodded, looking at him.  "Good friend?"

"Yeah.  We're not as tight as we were but yeah.  Her and Willow.  Anya.  Giles.  Buffy's new boytoy of the moment just left but we have Spike helping us.  He's a Master vampire with a control chip in his head thanks to the government.  They were another group not happy to see us coming."  Dean gaped again, letting out a small whimper.  Xander shrugged. "Frankenstein monster and all sorts of badness.  Plus they had a friend."

"I'm not sure if we want to hit Sunnydale or not."

"It's down to under twenty percent for deaths and disappearances," Xander offered with a grin.  He heard an engine and hopped off the equipment to go look, finding a young man getting off the bike.  "Wes?"

"Xander."  He looked her over, then nodded.  "At least she made you pretty."

"Not a salve, Wesley.  Why are you here?"

"You need trained."


"I am a former Watcher, Xander.  Rupert sent me.  He didn't think you could do it on your own."  He walked closer.  "As good as the ones you got sent to are, there's things that they can't know about slayers," he said more quietly.  Xander slumped.  "Like how you cross into your gifts."

"I've noticed the barrier.  I have a training manual."

"Which is crap and you know it."  Xander nodded, grimacing.  "Besides, it can only help you not turn into Faith."

"I'm not..."

Wes held up a hand.  "You have that same darkness in you, Xander.  I saw it back then."  Xander glared at him.  "If you're honest you admit it.  If not, you'll end up following Faith's path when you kill someone and then have to hide it."

Xander slumped.  "I knew that already."

"Good.  Then I'll be here for a week."  He smiled at the two watching boys.  "Plus I can help you with other things that might miss the mundane viewpoint."

"Does that mean you can fix the ugly, non-fitting shirt problem she has?" Dean asked.  "Xander?  Introductions?"

"Guys, this is Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, former Watcher.  He's the guy they sent to Faith and Buffy when they fired Giles for giving a damn."

"We were getting the feeling that the Watchers were assholes," Sam admitted.

"Quite," Wesley said with a smile.  "Then I got fired for not doing what they wanted like a puppet on a sting.  So now I work with Angel."

"Heard him mentioned a few times," Dean admitted.

"Vampire with a soul, working for the Powers as a champion, handling the problems in LA with our group," Wesley told him simply.  Dean gaped.  "The soul is a spell, son."  He walked over with Xander.  "Now, I believe I heard the Powers sent him to the Winchester brothers.  Fairly well known among us but they do argue about which is which."

"I'm Sam," Sam said with a grin.  "So, how long were you a watcher?"

"It's a family obligation.  I was nominated at birth."  They both gaped.  He nodded.  "My father insisted.  Yes, they're like that.  Those of us who became real people don't like it either.  Xander calling Travers for help and information let him know that she wasn't going to be the normal girl or put up with their attitude or issues.  Therefore I got sent.  Rupert would've been sent but Buffy's a bit off her rocker at the moment," he said genteelly.

"She said I couldn't understand," Xander said grimly.  "Can you please tell them I can fight in whatever I'm wearing?"

Wesley looked at him then shook his head.  "No.  I'm sorry.  Cordelia gave me strict orders I'm to fix your wardrobe problem.  She said your bra was hurting even her."  Dean laughed at that.  "And the shirt was blinding the Powers That Be."  He patted him on the back.  "We'll do that this morning while the boys relax and talk behind your back.  Then we'll come back and work for a few days.  By Sunday you should be ready and I can go back to helping keep hell out of LA.  No matter what Wolfram and Hart want.  By the way, even they're pissed at what Miss Rosenburg did.  Apparently she's needed for the apocalypse and she's now tainted.  They're a bit panicked about who'll handle things."

"Tara," Xander said plainly.  "Must I?"

"Yes, Xander.  Come on.  A blazer?"

"I traded for the sedan.  Can't really carry the big guns in the sedan, Wes."  He sighed, trudging that way.  "Am I using the card Travers gave me?"

"Lord no.  There's a Watcher's shopping card for those things.  After all, the girls do grow now and then."  He patted her on the back.  "If either of you wanted to come along you're more than welcome to."

"Nah, we'll veg here," Dean told him.  "Might talk about girl issues too."  Xander shot a glare at him.  "That way you don't freak and get drunk next month too."

"Yay me, another month of nastiness."

"Xander, there's medicine to solve that issue," Wesley sighed.  "I'm sure the girls babbled at you about it."

Xander snorted.  "Buffy sleeps with vampires, Riley was given shots by the military to make sure he wasn't going to make baby soldiers.  Willow likes girls.  When would they talk about birth control?"

"Oh, dear," he muttered.  "Fine, we'll talk with someone about that as well."  He smiled sweetly.  "There's things that can make sure you only have one every four months or so.  We routinely put the girls on it."

"So their Watchers can't knock them up?" Xander shot back.

"Those we shoot, Xander.  As soon as we find out.  We take great pleasure shooting them."  Xander smirked at that.  "Now, let's get you set up properly.  That shirt must be binding you and, to be blunt, your back must be hurting."

"Tits suck," Xander told him, heading for the blazer.  "I'm driving."

"That's fine," Wesley agreed.  "You don't drive like Buffy or Cordelia from what I remember."  They waved at the boys.  "We'll bring back dinner."

"Thanks," Dean agreed, smirking once they were out of sight.  "Sounds like some of them don't have their heads in their asses."

"Yeah but the higher ups apparently do."

"But they're not standing in the way this time."

"Which is apparently a good thing."  Sam grinned.  "I found an online chronicle by one of the supposed evil overlords of Sunnydale."

"Anything good?"

"Including film and pictures.  They were watching the group so they could get them out of their way.  No one trained Xander to fight.  She learned on her own."  Dean moaned.  "So this'll help even if he does change back."

"Good.  Let's go see."  They headed to the porch to see what Sam had found.


Sam smiled at Xander over dinner.  "Anya's cute."

"Thanks.  Did she show up asking for sex?"

"No, we found someone named Warrens site online."  Xander let out a low moan.  "They were working to take over the town."

"Yeah, well, not an issue now," Xander told him.  "At least not that geek of the trio."  He ate another bite while they gaped.  "Did someone close it out with what happened when Tara died?"  Dean nodded.  "Warren.  Someone found him a few days later.  Who updated it?"

"Andrew," Wesley said.  "Willow's found them; he's hiding in LA at the moment."  He ate a bite.  "Angel is not amused with his Star Trek references.  He said even you were better."

Xander looked at him and grinned.  "Should I coo?"

"Please don't," Dean ordered.  "Might make us sick."

"Whatever," Xander shot back, smirking at him.  "How do you expect to do more than get laid with that attitude?"

"I don't.  There's no way I can settle down in my life."

"That's why someone brilliant created hunting partners and teams," Wesley said bluntly.  Dean gaped at him.  He nodded.  "It's not unheard of, even in your circle I'm sure.  Those Watchers who aren't assigned a girl often hunt in teams or with their spouses.  You two do very well together but some day you might feel the need for spawning."

"If so, I'm not going to be there at the delivery," Xander said firmly.  "Saw that film. Was way grosser than any horror flick.  Not going there."

"That's why you change that patch every week," Wesley reminded him.

"Good point.  Thank you.  Still didn't like the exam."

"Yes, well, it was necessary, Xander."  He ate another bite, looking at the confused looking boys.  "We were at odds when I first showed up.  I was young, over confident, and full of the books and stories."  They groaned.  Xander nodded at their groan.  Wesley smiled.  "I did grow up since then.  I decided to become a rogue demon hunter.  Then Angel needed me so I joined his group.  It's much easier now.  Even if we do miss Cordelia's sarcasm and attitude now and then."  He looked at Xander.  "How is she?"

"You've talked to her more than I have."

"True.  She wouldn't tell me."

Xander shrugged.  "I guess she's fine.   She's wearing designer clothes and shoes, her hair's fashionable, her nail job can't get ruined.  They've got to have chocolate somewhere or we'd have heard about it."  The boys snickered.  "She was like that but she was my bitch back in high school for a while."

"Yes and then you two broke up and you let that witch cast that love spell," Wesley sighed.  "Even we heard about that, Xander."

"Yay.  I was young and stupid."

"You certainly were.  Not that she's not worth the sentiment."   He looked at the boy.  "Any attempts at magic?"

"Hell no.  I'm not turning into Willow.  The spell to change me back.  The spell to help them.  That's it."

"Fine.  What about the requirement for how to get the non-virgin blood to come about?"  Xander looked confused.  "It must be another hunter, Xander.  Someone who knows of your calling and won't get hurt.  You could severely damage a man in bed with your strength."

"I'm sure there's plenty of them, Wes.  Are you offering?"

"Lord no, boy.  Um..."

"Boy's fine," Xander said quickly.

Wesley patted him on the back.  "I hope you won't get stuck this way forever, Xander."

"What happens if he gets too old to do the slaying gig?" Dean asked.

Xander looked at him. "There's no way to uncall a girl, Dean," Xander said quietly.  Dean glared.  "We live or we die.  We all die slayers no matter how old we are when we go.  Then again, death and I are buddies.  We've had drinks many nights.  Talked and complained about Anya's demands for sex, because hey, she used to work with him too."

"Yes, you have had more than your fair share of brushes with that subject," Wesley sighed.

Xander looked at him.  "It's the life, Wesley.  It happens."

"We still have to gel those cuts," Sam said quietly.

"Cuts?" Wesley demanded.

"That cult to Amun caught me before I could leave Sunnydale.  The Powers woke me before the final step."

Wesley gave him a horrified look.  "Oh, dear."

"Yup.  So I'm healing.

"I should look at them.  They might need stitched."

"It's been a month, Wes."

"Oh."  He shrugged.  "The oil?"  Xander nodded.  "Did you wash them in holy water and rosemary?"

"Sage.  That's what I found online."  Wesley groaned.  "Plus blessed water and then scrubbed with that stuff Cordy found for demon goo.  I figured if it took off slime it'd take off oil."

"Possibly," he said, moving her shirt to look at her back.  "Dear Lord, boy."  He hauled him up and into the bathroom, slamming the door for some privacy.  "These should have had stitches, Xander."

"Yay me.  So they cut really deeply, Wes.  They were worse.  They're healing."

"Uh-huh.  A few retaining stitches will make it go faster."

The brothers listened to Wesley lecture while Xander hissed, then looked at each other.  "Knew we should've gotten pushy," Sam said.

"It's her back."

"I know but she'll get hurt worse down the line if they're not taken care of."

"Now they are."  He sipped his soda, then rolled his eyes at his brother's look.  "Relax."

"I am!"

"You're not.  He's here to help her.  Maybe he can translate the parts of that rite we don't understand."

"He might be able to," Sam agreed quietly, digging in again.  "Then what?"


"After we do it and you're free, then what?"

"We go back to hunting the demon that killed mom."

"And after that?"

"Not this again," Dean complained.

"If Xander can help us with both of those, that's coming up soon, Dean.  I'd like to have something to look forward to after that.  A goal we can look at and go 'now that we're done with the old one, let's go here'."

"How about a vacation?" Dean suggested.

"I could like that."  He went back to eating.  This wasn't the time or the place for this talk.  Dean patted him on the back when he got up to get some more soda.  "Think he'll take the pink room tonight?"

"Sure, but we've got to keep Xander from crawling in.  My first thought wasn't 'it's her'."  Sam shook his head.  They heard and felt a stomping coming their way.  "Xander, sounds like your date's back," he called.

"Apparently silver bullets didn't work," Xander complained, coming out a minute later, pulling back on her shirt.  "What drives them off and keeps them from coming, Wes?"

"You not bleeding, Xander."  He looked at the extra-large demon.  "Oh, them.  Hmm.  Holy water into the heart.  A soaked stake would do.  They weren't widely covered in the Watcher's education but that's generally an acceptable method to their type."

Xander muttered, jogging out to get one from the blazer before the demon got there, then looked at it.  "Heart's where?"

"The normal area!" he called.  The girl attacked the demon, making him wince.  "Xander, your arm shouldn't bend that way!"  He came out to help.  "You should know better than to swing like that.  You'll lose your weapon and then what?  Climb up it?"

"Maybe.  It's got fur!"  He panted as he worked to bring the demon down to a better height.  She finally dropped the sword and hopped up, climbing up the demon's back so he could get nearer to the chest.  He couldn't get it from behind without a spear but he could duck under it's armpit, grimacing at the smell, to stab it repeatedly.

"Deeper and over to the left!" Wesley called, taking another swing.  The demon bellowed and Xander fell next to him.  Wesley helped him up, checking him over.  "Are you all right?"

"I was just in a demon's armpit and I had my hand in it's chest cavity, Wes.  This is even nastier than the stories I found online where people stuck a fist up someone's ass."  He headed back to the cabin to wash up.  It was *so* gross.

"Yes, well, we're going to be going over the finer points of sword fighting in the morning, Xander.  You clearly need some tutoring!"

"It hurt doing it that way."

"I don't care."  He stomped after him to help him clean up.  After all, one couldn't reach their back and with stitches he couldn't shower.

"They're insane," Sam said.

Dean nodded.  "Possibly but what does that say about us?"  He went to light the demon on fire since it was dead.  The whoosh was pretty but it stunk.

Wesley came out and glared then muttered something to change the wind around the cabin.  Both boys stared at him. "Standard Watcher training," he said bluntly, heading back inside to help the young one. "Rupert and I are going to have a talk about him not teaching you children how to use the weapons you were carrying back in Sunnydale.  It's insane to send you out without training on your weapons."

"Chill, Wes.  I had a better grip before."

"Not if you swung like that you didn't."  He swatted him and went back to his fussing.

"Do you do this to Angel too?"

"To Fred, but Angel would eat me if I tried to help him.  He nearly did when I said his hair was out of place."  Xander giggled and he smirked at him.  "He ran out of gel for nearly three days due to a crisis.  Pity."  Xander giggled louder.  "When we were in Pylea and found Fred, I swear he used slime on his hair since there was no gel for months.  His hair still looked gelled but he had that slug odor.  Though there were slug demons there...."  Xander cackled at that, giving him a hug.  "Not too horrible."

"How do I stop it?"

"Quit bleeding," Wes said bluntly.  Xander nodded.  "That's why we put the girls on the patch system as soon as they have their first one.  Otherwise they draw every demon within fifty miles."

"Thirty, I asked one."  Wesley shook his head, letting him go back to his dinner.  "Sorry about the dinner entertainment, wasn't exactly how I planned on it going."  He sat down and went back to his dinner, noticing it was half as much.  He looked at Dean, then stole his plate to take it back.  "Don't take food from me unless you want me to eat you."  She handed his plate back and went back to eating.

"If you're hungry, there's more in the bag, boys," Wesley assured them.  Dean glared at Xander, then at Sam for snickering, but went to get seconds.  "By the way, thank you for taking out the vampires, Sam."

"Welcome, Wes."

"There were vampires too?" Xander asked.

"They snuck around the cabin," Wesley told him.  "While you were in the demon's armpit trying to stake it."

"Huh.  Thanks, Sam."

"Welcome, Xander."  He shook his head, smiling a bit as he dug in.  "Is it always like this?"

"Only if she's injured and bleeding.  That's why slayers have accelerated healing."  Xander nodded.  "And we put them on medicine to take away their cycles.  It's safer that way."  Xander nodded again, eating another bite. "Did you have to stay in Sunnydale that night?"

"No, I got free right before dawn and Tara had my car nearby.  I escaped after a quick stop at the bank.  LA got me provisioned and I headed off to follow the vision they gave me when they woke me up.  The highway out that way is really pretty when everything is purple and gold."

Wesley gave him an odd look.  "Please tell me you stopped and rested once you were safe?"

Xander snorted.  "Safe?  Hell no I'm not safe!  I'd been female for three days at that point, Wes.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I barely got to the point where I could pee sitting down.  Fortunately one of the radicals I got the stuff and blazer off of knew how to help me.  She thought someone had captured me, done an illegal sex change against my will, and then I had escaped."

"Not much different than what did happen," Wesley admitted.  "Do we know these radicals?"

"I doubt it.  They're going to storm San Jose in a few months. The agent inside their camp questioned me about what I wanted it for.  I told him I was from Sunnydale and would have to go back there someday.  He backed away slowly and waved me off.  So apparently he knew about graduation's real reason."  He ate another bite, then scraped his plate and went to get more.

Wesley shook his head.  "At least the proper authorities know."  He finished his dinner and threw out the paper plates, making the boys happy that they only had to clean glasses and forks tonight.  They retired to the porch to watch the sunset.

Dean looked at Xander when she yawned.  "Stay on the couch tonight."


"You crawled in with me and Sam last night, Xander.  Stay on the couch tonight.  Remember guy thoughts about waking up with a woman against his chest?"  Xander blushed and nodded. "Stay on the couch or go take the pink room."

"No way in hell am I going to go into that ugly pink room."

Wesley snickered.  "The last slayer here had a Disney princess fetish."  He patted her on the head.  "I'll take the child's room.  You stay on the couch."  Xander nodded, going to crash in there.  He looked at the boys.  "Do you think you can handle working with her?" he asked quietly.

Dean looked at him.  "It's not often we work with others, but we have worked with our Dad in the past.  Dad might've laughed his ass off for the first hour but he would've helped."

"Good.  It shouldn't take more than a few days to get her to the point where her instincts will take over.  That's how it should be during hunts and attacks."  That got a nod.  "How were you two trained?"

"Our father was a Marine," Sam said.

"Then you got military self-defense?"  The boys nodded.  "If you'd like I can help you spar with her.  It could help your own training as well.  I know she'll damage me if she goes all out."

"I barely kept up," Dean admitted.

"Good.  Then I'll plan on letting both of you help in that area."

"I fight, he researches," Dean ordered.

Sam punched him on the arm.  "I can fight, Dean."

"The training could help him in case you weren't there, Dean," Wesley told him.  "Because he has to be alone sometimes.  Or you'd never be able to pick up women."

"Yeah, the last time I did that he got kidnaped and possessed."

Wesley laughed.  "The training can still help him.  Then again, on the days when you're too sore, he can spar with Xander instead.  Give you a chance to sleep in some mornings."  That got a small smile.  "We'll see how things go in the morning."

"Are all watchers like the ones who believe they're expendable?"

"They tend to fire the ones who aren't," Wesley told him.  "The Watchers are ancient, boys.  We've been around since people were wearing animal furs and not able to speak full sentences.  If you think you want to hear how it started, Xander does know.  To defeat the Initiative they had to call upon the First Slayer and she haunted them for a bit afterward."  They stared at him.  "Women weren't munch valued before this last century.  History is full of people who thought confining, dictating to, and beating women was acceptable.  The Watchers were there during that as well.  Generations of experience and teaching are presently being changed.  It's slow but it is starting.  Until Buffy, no slayer was allowed helpers or friends, or dates really."  They gaped.

"The rules were one Watcher, one Slayer and they were joined until one or both died. As I understand it, Xander forced his way into helping Buffy and hauled Willow after Buffy had to rescue her and couldn't rescue their other friend.  Since that day, Xander has been loyal to the group and has jumped in even when the girls didn't want him to.  Even when Rupert told him not to he was there.  It's why Buffy's the longest lasting slayer ever.  Willow's a strong witch with a problem.  Her magic addiction overtook her life and when Tara died she snapped.  Xander stopped her."  They gaped.  "Then she did this."  He leaned against the porch railing looking at them.  "Xander is the sort of loyal helper that you could call out in the middle of the night, citing certain death and mayhem, and he'd be there anyway.  Making bad jokes, bringing them sweets to help with the studying and research.  Even if it means his own life.  Even if he would give up his life for Willow or Tara, he won't let her do this to him."

"I'd still have burnt her," Dean said.

"There's a bond between Willow and Xander.  Both had...less than stellar upbringings.  They've supported each other since they met in kindergarten.  They've been there for everything else that the other has been through.  It's why Xander was able to stop her from ending the world in her grief," he said quietly.  "He could no more kill her than he could Buffy.  Hurt her.  Knock her out.  Possibly kill her if he had to so everyone else would live.  Not when it comes to his own life."  They nodded.  "Which is one of the reasons the Powers sent him to you.  You can take an objective look where he can't.  Xander's too close to the situation.  They've had problems before but this one has created a rift that could let evil win.  No one wants that.  As Buffy has helpers who fight with her and help her, so she needs.  She can help you with your problems from what I was told, without being told why you need it.  She'd probably do it if you asked.  She's like that.  She even helped me when I first showed up as a pompous arse."  He smiled.  "He even helps Spike and those two are at odds most of the time.  Spike came to Angel to tell him what happened and Angel couldn't even threaten him for showing up.  The girls are lost in their grief of love lost.  Buffy lost Angel because they couldn't be together without him losing his soul.  Willow lost that which completed her and made her better."

"Has he had that?" Sam asked quietly.

Wesley shrugged.  "No one's sure.  I know he and Anya were a bit serious before this.  I also know Anya screamed and ranted at Willow for taking what was hers.  Rupert has to support the girls, they're like his children, all of them.  He has to keep Buffy functioning and able to do what's necessary and he has to help Willow bleed off the magic addiction before she hurts others.  They have to keep Sunnydale under control, even if this one gets hurt.  He's been their backup for a very long time and doing this to him was cruel and inhumane.  Rupert does side with Xander on this matter.  He's said so.  He and Xander have talked many times about this matter.  I have the feeling he's the reason Xander's still sane.  I know I wouldn't be."

Sam swallowed.  "What happens when he's back to himself?"

"If we can find someone that strong?" Wesley asked.  They gaped.  "Willow can and does channel the hellmouth when she works magic.  She was on a magic high when she did this to him.  She was still bleeding off the black magic she had sucked from some books to end the world.  I'm not sure even a chaos sorcerer who could touch the hellmouth could help him.  I know one who can.  I have his address for Xander.  I don't know that it'll help and what he needs for his spell is very complex and mythical.  I've never seen one of the components.  No Watcher has in over three thousand years."

"Then what happens?" Dean demanded.  "She's going to live like this?"

Wesley looked at him. "That is her choice.  If she can beat that demon, it is her choice what to do after that.  The Powers might be able to take the slayer's gifts from her.  Let her try to lead a normal life.  Again, that would be up to Xander to ask."

Dean glared.  "That's pathetic."

"Yes, well, Xander's just a pawn in Willow's game at the moment.  Willow thinks she can get all of them free of the demon and keep Tara.  That's why she used Xander.  Or so she told Rupert."

"Dean, um...."

Wesley held up a hand.  "Many people have tried.  There's only two ways to get out of it.  Challenge the demon and win, or find some way to make the deal immaterial.  With what I've heard Xander's looking for for you two, he's going with the second one for you.  That would leave you free and clear of the taint as well.  Then your lives would be your decision, as hers would be."  He looked at Dean again.  "I've heard you hunt for one?"  Dean nodded.  "Calling them in Sunnydale is almost certain to get an answer.  The power there calls out to all demons, even those higher ones instead of those who're misborn.  As long as she doesn't add to the upcoming apocalypse, there shouldn't be a problem of calling her there."  He stood up again.  "If you need help, ask me.  Yes, they trained me but I got more guidance from Rupert and Buffy than I did from the Watchers."

"There's parts of the rite I don't understand," Sam told him.

Wesley smiled.  "I'll gladly go over it with you if want."  He looked at Dean.  "If she's going to see Ethan I'm not sure she should go alone.  He's in upper California and it's not exactly a safe town.  It's mundane threats but she is still a young woman with only partial control of her training."

"The blood?" Dean asked quietly.

"The way it's written anyone who's been in a bar brawl might do.  The stronger the one who breaks it, the stronger the blood right afterward.  Also, she could very well hurt them in bed with her additional strength.  I'm not suggesting either of you do it.  Though you  do find once you get to know Xander it's impossible not to get close and like the boy.  I came in wanting to shove him and Willow away and now I consider him one of my better contacts to go to.  The boy would give up his life for his friends and loved ones, or for those he respects when they have world-ending sort of problems.  Those are few and far between but they would be the ones who take the time to get to know Xander."  He smiled a bit.  "I have a totally unreliable vision of the future that has Xander getting out of a nursing home, should he be lucky enough to live that long, and going to help Angel because he needs it and he had to call in additional help."  He smirked.  "Then again, he'd come in calling him Deadboy, snarking about his hair gel, and wardrobe of choice."

"Do you think he'll be okay?" Sam asked.

"Xander's got a strong soul but even he has a breaking point.  Only he knows if this is his."  He patted him on the head.  "Did you want to go over it tonight or tomorrow afternoon?"

"Tomorrow's good.  I'm sure you're tired."

"Yes, shopping is that dreadful.  Now I understand why the boy refuses to.  Cordelia drug me many times with her."  He headed into the slayer's bedroom, looking around.  He'd slept worse places than a pink bedroom on a twin-size bed.

Dean kicked the swing into moving.  "She worries me," he admitted.

"She's still adjusting.  It'd send us to the funny farm."


"So far he's handling it okay, Dean.  We can only watch and catch him if he starts to slip."

Dean nodded at that.  "What if we can't?"

"Then she's got a fight against a demon to win so his friend Tara doesn't get recalled," Sam reminded him.  "It's a reason to fight and win.  He might disappear after that but I haven't seen anything in a vision."  Dean looked at him.  "We can help her and help ourselves at the same time.  It's not like she's new to the field.  Even if she needs help now and then she's not new.  She's got as much experience as I do."

Dean nodded.  "She does.  Do the Watchers Council worry you?"

"No, they're staying hands off.  They know this is a personal matter in that family they've made of their team.  They'll turn on an outsider trying to force things then go back to fighting each other.  The same as if we're fighting and someone attacks us, we can fight together and go back to it."

Dean smiled at that.  "And have many times."

"Yup."  Sam stood up.  "We should sleep."

"We should," he agreed, getting up and heading inside.  He made sure the cabin was locked up and let Sam take his cold shower first.  Then he got his and climbed into bed.  "No creeping tonight, Sammy."

"Shut up, Dean, and don't call me that."

"Yeah, yeah," he muttered, grinning when his brother hit him on the arm.  He heard movement, frowning a bit.  "Think she sleepwalks?"

"She did last night."

Dean got up with a groan, grabbing his gun and walking out there.  Xander was sprawled on the couch without a blanket on.  He covered her and looked around, going to kill the vampire in the kitchen.  "How did you get in?"

"We put a welcome sign over the door," he said with a happy smile.  "Can't pass up a slayer happy meal.  Especially a virgin one."

Wesley came out to stake him.  "I'll take first watch and do an uninvite spell."  Dean nodded.  "Wake you up at three."

"Thanks."  He went back to bed while Wesley found what he needed on his bike.


Sam woke up and groaned.  "Sorry I creeped, Dean," he muttered.  He heard the snore and looked at the body flopped onto his arm.  "Xander?"

"I sent her in," Dean called.  "She drew another demon.  Wesley's doing something in a few minutes so wake her up."

"Gee, thanks.  Needed cuddled," he called.  He nudged Xander until he got pounced, her staring down at him.  "Morning."

"Why are you on the couch?"

"You're not on the couch."

"Fuck.  Sorry."

"Not a problem.  You drew another one.  Dean sent you in."

"I should go cure that."  He got up and headed to the bathroom then out to the kitchen.  "How do I stop this?"

"I've got something to help, Xander," Wesley soothed.  He pulled him closer to start drawing symbols on him.  "The ones they carved in need to be canceled.  They got far enough in to imbue them with power."

"Flame thrower, burn the suckers off," she muttered, starting to move.

Wesley stopped him.  "I can drain them, Xander.  There's no need to permanently scar yourself with a flamethrower to burn them off.  Especially since some are down into the fascia level of muscle."  He went back to drawing on her back.  "Shirt off, please."  Xander sighed and did that, taking off the bra too.  Wesley blushed but did what he had to anyway, glaring at Dean when he stared.

"Sorry."  He went to change clothes.  "Xander's naked in the kitchen."

"Did you move the coffee maker?" Sam asked.


"Crap."  He went to get some, not looking anywhere near Xander.

"They're tits, you have them too; yours don't stick out but you have the same thing," Xander said dryly.  "Plus I'm sure you're not a virgin."  Sam blushed and went out back, walking around the house to come back into the living room.  "What're we going to do if I have to draw a higher demon by pretending to be a stripper?" she called.  Dean choked.  "Guess Sam's going with me then."

"Hush, Xander," Wesley ordered.  "That's a horrible career.  Even if you did do it when your car broke down."  Dean and Sam both choked at that.  "He was on his roadtrip just after graduation."

"The car 'sploded and stranded me in Oxnard.  It was a better paycheck than fast food.  It meant I could save up enough to leave," Xander said dryly.  "I don't fully suck at it but I'm not great either.  Now that I have bigger tits, maybe I'd make better money."  Wesley swatted her.  "Hey!"

"Shut up, Xander."  He got back to work.

"Well, I hustle pool, so I guess that's just as bad," Dean decided from a safe distance away.

Wesley sighed, shaking his head.  "Rob your targets, boys.  It's easier."

"I knew that," Xander told him.  "How do you think I got the AK, Wes."  Wes swatted her again, going back to what he was doing.  "Are we doing the ones on my thighs too?"

"Yes," he said patiently.  "All of them, Xander."

"Then they're probably going to freak out worse."

"We can go sit on the porch," Sam said, pulling Dean with him.

Xander looked back at him.  "I haven't done that since I was a virgin.  You think?"

"No!" Dean yelled.  "We're not.  You're being freaky!"

"Yay me.  Get used to it," Xander called.  "I'm trying to."  He let Wesley finish up then got out of her shorts so he could do the marks on the back of his thighs.  Wesley finally stepped away.  "We done?"

"Now you get to go lay in the woods and reconnect with mother nature."

"I don't do magic, Wes.  Wrong Scoobie."

"You can this time."  He pulled the boy out back.

"Can we do the pond?  I like water.  I'm more comfy in water than I am in the woods."

"Fine.  Go dive into the pond."  Xander ran that way, taking off her underwear before diving in.  Wesley followed more slowly, blushing when he saw how Xander had dove in and got a fairly graphic view of it.  He waded out and laid a hand on Xander's head, saying the small chant.  Xander moaned and went limp in the water.  "Don't drown."  He got out and sat down on the bank, staying away from the discarded panties.  Dean was nice enough to bring him some ice water.  "Thank you, Dean."

"Welcome, Wes.  How long should it be this time?"

"A few hours.  It'll also leech some of the hellmouth taint out of him hopefully.  That'll keep them from being drawn to him as well."  Dean looked confused.  "A hellmouth is a convergence point.  Think of it like a pond only it's magic instead of water that's gathering and it's sitting on top of a point of access to other dimensions, generally what we'd call hell.  There's millions of hell dimensions and a hellmouth can access any of them if someone uses the magic on top of it properly.  The problem is that it's not just natural gathering, like when rain falls.  It's also got its own store of power."

"So, like the pond after a heavy rain it overflows," Dean said.  Wesley nodded.  "Then what happens?"

"That's why the entire town of Sunnydale and about ten miles around it is irradiated with magical energy, most of it bad.  The portal attracts the bad power because of where it can go.  You wouldn't want pure, good energy there, it might cause an explosion.  Like matter and anti-matter according to Andrew."  Dean sat down next to him, ignoring the panties too.  "It's constantly raining there and constantly overflowing.  Anything there is either filled with the energy or has shields.  It's that same amount of energy that draws demons to use the hellmouth and can drive even the most gentle ones into feeding frenzies and rampages.  Xander, having been born there, soaked up the energy from the moment of conception.  His house was only a few blocks away from the school, which was overtop of the hellmouth.  Miss Rosenburg moved there when she was fairly young but Xander was born and bred there.  Since Xander has not even the most rudimentary shields in place to keep spirits or the energy out, he tends to be a collector of it.  He's a vessel that the power's been filling now for nearly twenty years."

"He's a medium?"

Wesley smiled and nodded. "Indeed.  We found that out when he was possessed.  Gave Rupert no end of fits with the hyena and halloween.  He told me privately that Xander will never get rid of some of the instincts or memories he gained from them.  I have no idea if there's been others or not.  I do know that poltergeists love him for some reason.  They tend to hang around and watch him in awe."  He sipped his water.  "Xander's an odd mix.  He has power if he wanted it.  He could channel the hellmouth better than Willow ever could dream of because he was born and bred there and so close to it.  He doesn't want to.  Considers it a skill he doesn't want to use.  Adding the slayer's power on top of it made him fairly dangerous if it's not drained.  As you could tell, he drew every demon within sensing distance.  Him bleeding for a while only made it worse."

"How do we stop this when we have to go back?"

"Xander will be fine when he goes back.  I personally think, and Rupert thinks the same thing, that the hellmouth will welcome the boy.  He may have fought it and its minions but it knows his energy and his touch.  It was under the old library and that's where the group used to gather to research and plan."

"Someone built a school on top of a mystical portal to hell dimensions?" Sam asked from behind them.

Wesley smiled.  "The former Mayor built the town to help him with his plans to ascend.  He made it a demon haven because they'd help him if he did.  The school's only purpose was to give the children something to do until they were old enough to harvest so they wouldn't go play in the streets and cause more problems for the mayor.  Who hated germs."  He smiled at them.  "Xander was the one who changed the plans on Rupert so more people survived."  They both stared at him.  "He's good at what he's been trained to do, boys.  He's not had full training by any means.  Rupert likes the boy but his duty is Buffy.  He can't forget that or she'll die again.  Then he'd get pushed out and another slayer and watcher would show up for them to help.  It's not pretty but Sunnydale is a survival and escape town.  You survive as long as you can and then you escape when you get tired of the surviving.  The only thing that drew him back was his duty to Buffy I fear."  He glanced at the blissed out boy in the pond.  "I do wonder about his affinity for water."

"The swim team," Sam said.  Wesley frowned at that.  "You didn't read that journal?"

"No, I let the children tell me stories.  What swim team?"

"The coach of the high school swim team was trying to make his team better so he dosed them with chemicals and mermaid parts or blood," Dean told him quietly.  "Xander went undercover to see what was going on since they were turning into bad B movie monsters and eating people on the beaches."

"They said they got the taint out but it's possible he's got some left," Sam offered.

"That would explain that.  I would've said the hyena would've been stronger but if it changed DNA then that would override a purely mental possession.  It's an interesting thought.  I'll have to ask him so I can research it."  He took another drink.  "It's going to be a few hours to drain as much of that as we can.  Then he'll probably want a nap until after lunch.  Go play or something."

"You sure?" Dean asked.  "I could change the brakes on the Impala."

"Do that.  I saw a nice garage in town."

"Dude, I can fix my own car," Dean said, standing up.  "I'm sure you can do the bike."

"For most small things.  I'm not that mechanically inclined I'm afraid.  That's why I don't get on as well as some of the other watchers with the weapons.  Swords yes, crossbows definitely, but not the more esoteric weapons.  I was a research watcher before they sent me to rein in Faith and Buffy."

"Where is Faith?" Sam asked.

Wesley looked up at him.  "Prison for killing that man.  She finally turned herself in after nearly killing myself and Angel."  They nodded, heading back to work on the car.  Xander was still floating and it was going to be fine.  The boys would help Xander and Xander would help them.  It'd give Xander a reason to keep going for a while longer and possibly win that fight he had coming up with the demon.


Xander looked out the back porch the night Wesley left, staring out at the woods.

"Something out there?" Sam asked.

"Yeah but it's barely in sensing range.  Doesn't feel dangerous."  He took his beer.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  Where are you heading after this?  We found what looks like an imp possession happening toward the San Fernando Valley."

Xander looked at him.  "Ethan."

"Wes said he's living in a dangerous area," Dean noted as he joined them.  "Said it was human menaces."

"Yeah, Ethan's living about ten miles away from three different biker camps."  They stared at her.  "It's gathering season so there's a lot of them.  I think I can handle beating up on someone who wants to pinch my ass.  Go handle the imps.  Call when you're done and we'll figure out where we're going next or if I'm heading to Canada already."

"When can we get that piece?" Dean asked.

"Not until at least the Fall equinox.  Actually I think only on the fall equinox."  That got a nod.  "So I'll have to head up there in a few months.  I'm sure there's things to slay up that way to make it a real road trip."

"You could travel with us," Sam offered.  Dean gave him a look.  "That way we know where each other is.  We have to meet in Sunnydale right before the holidays."

Xander looked back at him.  "Yeah, I'm going there Thanksgiving week.  That way I can stake out a good place to hide myself from Buffy and Willow and see what Giles needs me to do.  I'll let you guys crash with me."  They nodded at that.  He took a drink of his beer, letting the bitter liquid slide down his throat.  "Canada's supposed to be pretty."

"Only been up there once and it was in the winter," Dean admitted.  "Kinda snowy then."

"I've only seen snow once and I was turned invisible."

"Huh?" Dean asked.

"The snow granted your nightmares.  I turned invisible."  He looked at him.  "Only on the hellmouth."  He shrugged.  "How about we meet in LA so we can get Angel to work on the last thing we'll need sooner?  Say a week or so?  That way it's not a last minute, have to kill someone to find it deal?"  They both shrugged.  "Coolness.  Angel's at the Hyperion Hotel in LA.  It's downtownish so there's plenty of cheap places to stay nearby.  I wouldn't want to get sucked into his thing with the law firm for hell.  They might follow you afterward.  They're a bit vindictive."

"Law firm for hell?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, Wolfram and Hart."

"Dude, didn't you have an interview with them?" Dean asked.

"For a summer job.  Huh."  He shrugged.  "They say a lot of lawyers are evil."

"As long as you don't turn into one," Dean said dryly, walking off again.  "Sparring in the morning, Xander."

"I know.  I'll hit the couch soon.  Night, guys."  She finished her beer, watching the silent, calm woods for a while longer.  It was nice to feel calm for a while.  Even if it was allowing her to think and thinking was bad.


Ethan opened the door when he heard the knock, frowning at the young woman standing there.  "I didn't realize I had called out for a special friend tonight."

"You didn't, Rayne.  I'm here to ask for help."  She walked across his threshold and whatever wards he had on his doorway went off, making him back up.  "Chill, dude.  Rosenburg turned me into this stunning woman you see before you."  He shut the door and held up the package he carried.  "Irish ale?  Giles said you liked it."

"You know Ripper?"

"Ethan, look at me.  Your marks are on me.  You do know me, just not as a girl."

Ethan stared then blinked.  "Bloody hell, man!"

"Exactly.  Willow turned me into a girl because she offered my soul to a demon so she could get Tara back.  I said I was going to challenge it since she didn't have my permission and she turned me into a girl.  I need to know if you can help change me back."



"You're a slayer?"

"I know that.  Wes came up to help me train."  He helped Ethan into a seat and handed him a beer.  "Here."

Ethan took a drink then gave the bottle an appreciative look.  "Good choice.  Tell him I said thank you."

"Will."  He looked at him.  "I'm not asking for major help with the apocalypse coming.  I'm not looking for help with my challenge.  I'm looking for help so I can have my body back.  I make a sucky girl.  I make an even worse slayer.  Wes thought I might end up following down Faith's path if I don't get stopped."

Ethan finished that beer and brought the rest into his kitchen then pulled Xander into his working area.  "Sit."  Xander took off her shoes and sat on the floor where he pointed.  "You're used to her working I assume?"

"Now and then I've had to hand things to her."

"How long since she changed you?"

"Almost two months now.  I had to take some training time and find some help because I was drawing demons faster than a pig roast would."

Ethan nodded.  "Anything I should be aware of?"

"I'm a virgin again.  Wesley had to drain off the magic in the carvings the cult of Amun did to me before I could escape Sunnydale.  It drained some of my natural energy but not a lot.  Magic still goes a bit screwy around me.  That's probably why I'm not only a girl but a slayer."

"Possibly.  Is she healed from her magic addiction?"

"No.  Not in the least."

"Why did she make the deal?"

"To bring Tara back," Xander said quietly, making him drop things.  "I was the price she offered."

Ethan moaned.  "Janus must be high on the energy from her."

"I wish I was."  Ethan came over to light candles around him and get to work exposing his aura to see what he might be able to do.  "I've been looking over the spell she used.  She used the one in the Perevent Diary."

"It's impossible to do the counter.  Two ingredients are impossible to get.  Even should I send you to another realm I doubt you could find them."  He stared at the matrix of energy.  "Her usual slipshod job I see."  Xander nodded, going limp while he looked.  Finally Ethan had to blow out the candles and let the boy free.  "Xander."  Xander snapped awake.  "There's not much I can do.  I can anchor it more firmly.  That would lead to less interference from your old instincts."

Xander groaned, standing up to stretch.  He smacked the hand reaching for the scar on his stomach. "The stupid cult that got me three days after she did it."  Ethan frowned.  "Wes drained them."

"Thankfully.  I can heal those fully for you.  Make the scars disappear.  I can anchor it more firmly.  Right now you're a full woman but things are going to start going more odd around you."

Xander grimaced.  "Ethan, when she did it I nearly offed myself.  Why do I want to be more of a woman?"

"Because if you don't you could die before that fight and then he'll take her and you and the nice little witch Tara."  Xander grimaced.  "It might help to release it easier later.  Right now she has it laid like it's knotted around you.  She clearly substituted a few ingredients she couldn't find and it made it wrong."  He looked in the brown eyes.  He could see the despair.  "Nine more months, Xander."

"I know.  And an apocalypse before then."  He sat down.  "Will anchoring it do anything else?"

"It'd allow you to access that power that naturally resides in you."

"I don't do magic.  Wrong Scoobie for that."

"Yes, be that as it may, it's full within you.  Wesley did a marvelous job on the figures but your natural energy cannot be drained."  Xander slumped and nodded.  "Been drawing demons?"

"Not as much as before he did it."

"You were probably leaking it through the scars at that point."  He came over to work the anchoring spell, setting it more firmly into his body.  The boy passed out from the pain but the small inconsistencies he could tell were gone now.  The healing spell was easier to do on her and it was quickly accomplished as well.  It was the kindest thing he could do.  No one he knew could help that boy.  Once he was done he went to pray to Janus for an answer.  All he got was approval for how he had anchored it.  He went to make them dinner, coming back when he felt her waking up.  "Xander?  Want dinner?"

"Not really."

"You have to eat, Xander.  It won't do you any good if you don't."

Xander made herself get up and walk out there.  She noticed the way she walked was a bit different but it felt more natural to her body.  So she guessed it went well with the training Wes had given her.  She sat at the table and said a quick prayer before digging in.  "Anything new get found?"

"Janus liked how I anchored it.  I prayed about finding someone who could help you."  Xander grimaced and nodded, ducking his head to eat a bite.  "I wish I could help.  Perhaps if we could manifest Janus himself it might help."

Xander looked at him.  "Not worth it, Ethan.  The problems he'd cause would outweigh my personal problems.  That pesky morals stuff is going to bite me if you try."

"Yes, I can see how they can be inconvenient."  He smiled at the girl.  "Want seconds?"

"No thanks.  Not really hungry."  He looked around then at him.  "Why are you living here?"

"It's out of the way.  No one's going to come bother me.  Having those hooligans nearby means that I only get important visitors."

Xander grinned.  "Thanks for the compliment.  Are you coming for the apocalypse?"

"Not unless I'm needed."

"We only have Willow and Tara for witches, Ethan.  You and Ripper would be better than that."

He nodded.  "I'll write him to see if he wants to go that way instead."  Xander nodded, eating one last bite then pushing her plate away.  "Finish it, Xander."

"I'm not hungry, Ethan.  Thanks anyway."  She stood up.  "I should head back toward LA.  I'm meeting some people there to help them."

"I'd heard rumors that one of the slayers had crossed over to help the other sort of hunters."

"Yeah.  The Winchester boys are nice enough I guess.  They try to be really understanding.  Didn't even nag when my first period made me find a vodka bottle."  She shrugged.  "Thank you for trying."

"It's not a problem, but you could stay tonight, Xander.  It's not safe right now.  They're going to have a meeting tonight."  Xander shook her head.  "I can vow not to touch your blood, purity, or powers if you feel it necessary.  A hot shower and a real bed?" he teased at the next head shake.  "One without noisy people next door having sex."

Xander smirked.  "How did you know I stayed at a fleabag motel last night?" he joked weakly.

"They're cheap and you're avoiding notice.  Come.  I have a spare room."  He led her up to it, letting her settle in once she had gotten her bag from the truck.  He closed her door and went to his office to call Rupert.  "Ripper, love."  He smiled at the grumbling.  "She is here.  No, she substituted.  Even if it had been fresh I couldn't have undone it," he said quietly.  "I did anchor it so the two quit fighting each other."  He smiled at the kind words.  "She brought up a point.  You're going to need magical support.  Do you trust Willow?"  He grimaced.  "Ripper, lad, if you don't, you won't be able to cast with her.  You'd know my motives.  I don't want the world to end any more than you do.  No, she said she's heading to LA to meet up with someone tomorrow.  Well, it would give me something to do other than watch the biker gangs gather.  They do keep down unnecessary visits, yes."  He smiled a bit.

"You, the resurrected one, and I could.  Ripper, the prophecy said dark, not evil.  She sold someone else's soul to the devil, that's evil.  No longer simply bad."  He sighed and nodded.  "I can.  As long as you don't have your girls beat me up," he joked.  He smiled.  "Upstairs in my spare room.  The anchoring was a bit painful and she didn't eat much dinner but she's fine."  He nodded at that wisdom.  If it was him, he'd be slowly fading too.  "I've done what I could, Ripper.  Unless Janus himself manifests and even he might not be able to cure it."  He nodded, writing down a date.  "I can be local and hidden by then.  I won't cause you too many problems before then.  Thank you for trusting me with her."  He hung up and went to make plans.  A witch gone rogue made for some strange working partnerships again.


Sam found the hotel and smiled as he walked inside.  "Hi, is Wes or Xander here?" he asked the young woman he found dusting.

"Um.... Xander, here?  Why?"

"We're supposed to be meeting here in a few days."

"Huh. No one told me that.  Or Angel I think.  Wesley!" she yelled.  He came out of the office so she pointed. "He wanted to find you or Xander."

"Sam."  He nodded and the boy followed him back into the office.  "Xander's in town somewhere but I'm not sure exactly where.  She said she's blowing off steam.  Which could mean she's off in a club or she's off beating something up."


"I'm afraid Ethan couldn't fix it either.  He wasn't sure if even Janus himself could fix it if he manifested."  That got a grim look and a nod.  "I know she said she'd be here in two days.  Though I hadn't told the others."  That got a brighter smile.  "How's your brother?"

"Sprained wrist.  He had to let me drive," he said smugly.  "Complained all the way here too."  The older man laughed at that.  "So, now what?"

"Well, if you wanted to help around here for a few days I'm sure I could find something to do.  Perhaps some research if you wanted."  Someone walked in without knocking.  "Angel.  Sam Winchester, this is Angel.  Angel, this is Sam Winchester.  He's one of the two helping Xander."

"We're helping each other with problems."  He shook his hand.  "Hi."

"Hi."  He looked him over then Wes.  "Is Xander in town?"  Wesley nodded.  "Where?"

"Blowing off some steam was all he said.  Why?"

"Part of Wolfram and Hart just collapsed.  They're saying it was a structural issue."

"Oh, dear."

"That's what I was thinking.  It's a very Xander thing to do," Angel agreed.  "The radio said it exposed some people doing some sort of black magic rite and got them arrested, said something they were doing had caused the structural issue to become critical."  Wesley sighed and nodded.  "So, any idea?"

"I'd say she's either out in a bar fight, or she's in a club somewhere."

"There's so few of those," Angel said dryly.

"Ask Gunn's people, see if they've seen her."

"I don't know what she looks like, Wes."  He pulled out a picture from her Watchers' Council file, handing it over.  He looked. "She's pretty.  I saw her earlier."

"You probably did.  She got in last night after going to see Ethan."  Angel gave him an odd look.  "To see if he could undo what Willow had created."

"Oh.  Any luck?"

"He anchored it better so it's more in tune with her body."

"No hope?"

"He said even if Janus himself manifested he might not be able to fix it."

"Should we warn anyone up there?"

"I doubt you want that drama here, Angel," Wesley said patiently.  "Is Buffy still on her 'it's necessary' kick?"  Angel nodded.  "Do you still disagree with her?"

"It wasn't right for Willow to offer someone else.  Or change him into a woman."  He shrugged. "She's stepped over the line before.  This was a continuation of it and I hope Rupert's got her straightened out by the time the portal opens."

"Rupert said he's not letting Willow cast with him.  He's going to call on Ethan to help.  Said she's too tainted now for the rating of 'dark'."

Angel nodded.  "I'd consider what she did evil."

"My brother wants to burn her," Sam offered.

"I'm sure Xander could be talked into it.  He's usually agreeable whenever you try reason," Angel said, leaving them alone.  "If they need the library go ahead."

"Thank you."  He looked at Sam, smiling a bit.  "He and Xander are still at odds."

"It happens.  Do you have anything more on the rite we'll have to do?"

"I do."  He walked him over to the ballroom, letting him inside.  "There you go.  Far right wall, in my section. It has my name on it.  It's in Latin."  Sam nodded, going to find it.  He went to call Xander's cellphone.  "Xander, it's Wesley.  The boys have shown up.  Sam's here if you wanted to pop around sometime soon," he said into his voicemail.  "Call me when you get this."  He hung up and went back to the totally mundane paperwork of running this place.  Someone had to order and buy the bandaids when they ran out.  Plus toilet paper it seemed.  For an undead man, Angel certainly did go through a lot of toilet paper.


Xander looked up from her lotioning, grinning a bit.  "Hey."

"Hey.  What are you doing here?" Dean asked.  He was trying very hard not to look at the velvet bikini outfit Xander was wearing.  It was making his mind start to go to that gooey place and he didn't want to go there with Xander.  Really, he didn't want to.  He did give the other girls long looks of appreciation.  Not too many were skanks.  He'd even sleep with a few of them.  Then he glanced at Xander again and away.

"Blowing off steam.  Getting used to the whole 'female' thing.  That stuff.  Getting free drinks."

"You could go to any club and get that."

"Yeah but then they'd want to touch.  Here they can't."  She stood up and wobbled in the heels until she caught her balance.  "How did you get back here?"

"Told them I'm your brother," he said since the bouncer was nearby.  "You're going to come over after your shift?"  Xander shrugged.  "Xander."

"Fine.  Where's Sam?"


"Poor thing.  He'll be brooded to death."  She put on a robe and grinned.  "Okay, quit staring."

"Can't help it.  The pushup bra is a bit much, isn't it?"  Xander gave him a look then strolled past him.  "When are you done?"  So he could go get a drink and forget that glimpse he didn't want.

"Two hours."  She winked at him and headed for the stage area.  She still sucked as a dancer but it was nice and she got nice tips because of her rack.  The last dancer came off and she went out, tossing her robe off at the last second as her intro song came up.  She strolled out to play with the pole, getting a lot of interested looks.  At least Willow had made her a pretty woman.  Plus the free drinks were easing her temper and nerves.  A lot.  It had helped over the last three days.  She swung around and slid down the pole, nuzzling it with her chin.  She made sure she didn't look near the back corner she knew Dean would've chosen since there were a few demons in there with them.  The men hooted and waved money so she strolled over, letting them glance down her top while she took the first round.  The song changed and she took off her top, tossing it back toward the back of the stage.  Most of the guys drooled and she got more tips.  She teased her panties and they went wild, letting her do her up-down thing a few times before she wiggled her way out of them during her third song.  She timed it so she was only naked on stage for maybe sixty seconds, maybe a minute and a half.  Then she left the stage.  The bouncer got her remaining tips for her and her top.   She was getting dressed when the club's owner came back there.  "Hey, boss.  Let me finish getting dressed."  She turned around to adjust her bra and panties then slid into her dress.

"Your brother's still here."

"He's fine.  He's not going to kill me or anything."

"I was thinking you might want to go home.  You're making poor drink sales tonight, Alex."

She looked at him.  "I am?  Six drinks is bad?"

"You make 'em drool on stage but they're selling to the other girls.  Sue me, I'm being a nice guy."

"Sure, boss, thanks."  She took her tips and looked at her outfit. "I should probably change."  She sat down to change into the outfit she had worn in.  She had been forcing herself to wear skirts every other day so she'd get used to the idea.  Not that she wasn't freaking out and that's where the free liquor was helping a lot, but she wasn't sure Dean could put up with her in a skirt.  She came out in lower heels and her bag over her shoulder.  The bartender cashed her out for the night and her pay was waiting on her.  "I'm fired too?"

"Your brother said they were leaving for Vegas tomorrow.  Come back when you're in town again," he soothed.

She nodded, smiling and signing her check so he could cash it for her.  She slid the money into her bra with the tip money and winked, letting him kiss her gently before walking over to where Dean was lounging.  "Come on.  I'm free for the night and beer's cheaper other places."

"True."  He looked at her, blinking a few times.  "New look."

"Have to make myself wear skirts sometimes.  Come on, bright boy."  She led the way out to the blazer, looking around.  "Sam steal the car?"

"Yeah.  He's at the Hyperion.  Besides," he said, holding up the brace.  "Sprained last night."

"Ow.  You good?"  He nodded.  "Fine, I can drive."  She slid into the truck, tossing her things in the back.  "Let me count."  She pulled out her tip and check to count, nodding a bit.  "Not bad."

"Was that six hundred bucks?"

"Yeah, I had a four hundred dollar paycheck for the last three days.  Apparently I make them drool but they buy the other girls drinks."  She tucked it back into her bra, getting an other odd look.  "No one's going to pickpocket me there, Dean."

"Never thought about that.  Skirt?"

"I'm making myself accept it.  The free liquor has been helping with that."

"No hope?"

"He said if Janus himself showed up he might be able to fix it for me."

"Damn.  I'm sorry, Xander."

"Not your fault.  If it was I would've killed you already."

"Let me drive.  Have you been drinking?"

"I got one whole drink sale of real liquor tonight.  It was three hours ago.  The rest I've done virgin."  He backed out of the parking space and headed off.  "Hyperion?"

"Yeah.  Stopping for a burger?"

"Sure, if you're hungry."

"You're not?  You burned a lot of energy up there."

"Wearing the shoes burns energy, Dean," she said dryly.  "And no, I'm not."  She pulled through somewhere for him, handing over the bag.  "There we go.  Enough for you and Sammy."

"He hates it when others call him that."

"He's going to be using me for bait tomorrow night anyway."  She drove on.  "By the way, one of your sort is around.  Ethan helped me put up a shield so they can't tell I'm a slayer. All they can see is pretty girl, has power, and slightly tainted.  An open demon feast.  It'll be easier to pop her out of that one and then send her off."

"Got any other info?"

"Back at my room."  She swung that way, hurrying inside to get that and the rest of her cash since it looked like someone had been inside.  She counted it and nodded.  "No one touched the money even if they did get into my clothes and masturbated on the bed with some panties."  Dean shuddered.  "It happens to girls.  Spike did it all the time to Buffy's clothes."  He headed for the hotel again, thinking while Dean read and ate.

"Looks pretty simple.  What if she won't jump?"

"Then we'll do it the normal way."

"Sure, we can try it.  Bored anyway."

Xander laughed.  "Does that mean you want to go to Sunnydale sooner?"

"No thanks.  Last minute for that is fine.  Canada's nice but there's another demon cult starting in Texas."

"Yeah, I heard.  Not sure if it can be stopped in time though.  They're going doomsday and it's an elemental that's doing it.  They're going to go in September.  That's not much time since it's the second of August.  Plus the travel time to Canada after that."

"We'll talk about it tomorrow while we're making plans."  They parked in the hotel's parking lot and got out, him carrying the bag and information inside.  He looked up as the wards lit up.  "Huh."

"Relax, people, he's a hunter too," Xander said dryly.  "Sammy!"

"Don't call me that!" he yelled.

"Hmm.  Library?" he asked the girl he didn't know.

"Yeah.  Who are you?"

"Xander."  She gaped.  "Ask Wes.  Not an amusing story in the least."

"Demon?" she asked hesitantly.

"Willow.  Same thing at the moment."  He walked that way with Dean grunting because his mouth was full behind him.  "This is Dean, Sam's big brother."  He ran into Angel. "Before you can ask about the ho shoes, I'm making myself accept it for the moment and forcing myself to wear girl things.  The free liquor was helping with that a lot."  She went into the library, patting Sam on the head.  "Huh.  Gladitaus."  She went to get another book and brought it over.  "Here, better resource."  Sam grinned until he saw her outfit.  Then he nearly choked.  "What?"

"Different look for you," he said.

"Making myself accept it."

"Going into the redzone, Xander," he complained, still staring.  Dean smacked him on the head and gave him the bag of food.

"Hey, had to make motel money somehow," Xander said dryly.

"Street corner?" someone asked.

"Strip bar, free liquor," she shot back dryly, making that one laugh.  "Hey, Gunn."

"Xander.  What the hell happened?"

"Willow."  He gaped.  He nodded.  "Angel didn't tell you guys?  Or Wes?"

"No.  I heard Spike came in to tell him there was an issue with Willow after we felt something going on that way."

"Tara got shot accidentally.  Willow went magic addiction again, sucked up black magic from a lot of magic books, went to end the world, and I stopped her.  A few days later, before Giles could send her off for some healing time with some druids in Devon, she made a deal with a demon to get Tara back and offered him my soul for it."  Gunn sat down hard, staring at her.  Xander nodded.  "Then I found out I could fight this since she didn't have my permission.  She found out I was going to and changed me.  Then there was the cult of Amun.... and training, and all that good stuff.  Right now I'm working on my acceptance levels.  I'm still freaked out by looking in the mirror."  She sat down, getting comfortable.  "Yes, the shoes hurt before you can ask."

"I'm sure they do."  He walked off shaking his head.  "Wesley, why can't we bind Willow or something?" he demanded. "Before she gets another person on our side."

"Because she's more powerful than all of us combined," he said bluntly.  "If not, she'd have already been put into a magical coma and kept there for a while."  Gunn shuddered at that.  "She told you?"  Gunn nodded.  "I helped with her slayer training.  Willow not only changed her into a pretty young woman but also a fairly old slayer at twenty."

"Damn," he said.

Angel nodded.  "Definitely and those shoes don't help.  Harris, did you blow that building?" he called, heading for the library.

"What building?"

"Wolfram and Hart."  He walked into the library, ignoring the outfit.  His sire Darla had teased and hunted men by wearing short skirts so he had learned not to look at them.  Especially after some of the ones that Buffy had worn around him.  "One of their walls collapsed and they found people doing black magic rites with a human sacrifice."

"Welcome," she said dryly.  Sam and Dean both gaped at her.  She grinned and wiggled her fingers.  "No one likes the evil lawyers.  Their own fault really."  She smiled at Angel.  "So, how's business going?"

"Not fun.  Yours?"

"Hunting for certain things."  She found Sam's copy of the rite and showed him.  "Giles said he has these two.  I know where this one is.  I need the last one for them."

He looked at it then at him.  Then at the boys.  "What was that important?" Angel asked.

"His life," Dean told him.  "He's still my brother."

Angel nodded.  "We've seen a lot of them recently.  You could," he told Xander, who shook her head.  "Why not?"

"There's no clause.  We can't heal Tara the same way we could heal Sam.  Giles and I talked about it.  I have to challenge him to get free.  If I do, then she can challenge his decision to turn on her while someone protects Tara."

Angel nodded.  "I can see if anyone has it stored, Xander."

"Thanks, Angel."

"Welcome.  Can you maybe put on pants?"

"No.  They say you have to accept yourself sometime," she quipped.  "Might as well and I'm learning a lot about balance and grace from the heels.  You can even tell Spike so he can shove it back in her face.  Buffy's too."

"I can tell Spike.  Pictures?"  Xander smiled and stood up.  He went to get a camera to take a picture and let Wesley send it to his childe.  "Wes, Xander's in the library with the other one."

"I heard," Wesley called. "Let me finish this order."

"You might wanna take in a cloth to clean your glasses," Fred offered.  "She's working on accepting her feminine side.  I didn't know you could get heels that high."

"Oh, dear lord," he muttered, going to check on her.  "Xander, I know I did not buy you that outfit," he complained when he saw it.  "Or those shoes."

"Traded my first lesbian kiss for it," she said dryly, smirking a bit.  "Not that different."  Wesley blushed and left again.  "I'm working on acceptance issues, Wes."

"You can't hope to slay in those shoes," he complained, coming back.

"Faith and Buffy both did," she said bluntly.  "I'm at least as good as Faith is."

"Quite a bit better physically," Wesley admitted.  "Mentally...."  He stared at her.  "You've lost weight."

"Traveling rations suck, Wes."

"When was the last time you ate?"

"Before work."


"Strip club.  I'm learning a lot about balance and grace."  Wesley gave her a horrified look.  "Free liquor to ease the nightmares.  Men who can't touch so I get used to them looking.  Free peanuts at the bar.  I get paid to wear high heels."  She shrugged.  "I made eight hundred in the last three days."

Wesley pulled off his glasses to clean, walking off doing that.

"Sorry, Wes."

"We'll talk later, Xander.  Eat something."

"I'm not hungry!  I ate before work!"

"Bar peanuts?" Dean asked.

"Granola bar too," Xander said, stealing a fry.  "There, see, still able to eat."

"Want to drink some holy water so we make sure?" Sammy asked as he read, pulling some out to hand over.  Xander sighed and drank it, and they waited but nothing happened.  "Then it's a mental reason, Xander, and you still have to eat.  If you pass out I'm going to make Dean carry you around."

"Fat chance," both of them said together.  Xander stuck her tongue out at him.

"Don't offer, not in that outfit," he shot back with a smirk.

"Sweetie, as good as that waitress said you are, you're still not gonna touch it.  I doubt you've got the stamina to keep up with me."  She looked around then up.  "Anya!"  She appeared, looking stunned, then squealing and hugging her.  "Hi.  I thought maybe we could catch up tonight.  I'm going to hunt with them tomorrow so breakfast, guys?"  They both grunted and nodded.  "Thanks."  She grinned.  "Come on, I drove."  Anya went with her, waving at the others as she walked off.  It was a good ploy to keep Wes from having that 'I'm disappointed in you' talk.  "So, how's tricks?"

"Not bad.  I'm back to my old job.  Willow's betrayal was enough for that."  She looked her over.  "I never considered women before but you're pretty."

"Thank you.  Working for a few days so I could get over the skirt trauma."

"I can see that.  You smell like lust."

"Strip club."

"Oh.  That again."  She nodded, taking her free hand to hold.  "How are you really?"

She looked at her.  "I'm still a guy underneath it all, Anya.  I'm not having a Hallmark moment."  Anya giggled.  "I'm slowly coming to terms with it."

"Good."  She kissed her at a stoplight.  "Room?"

"I have one of those.  Have to clean the bed though."  They drove back there and got out to head inside.  The used panties got tossed into the wash and Anya showed her what a woman's body was actually good for.  It was ...nice to be held.  Even if they did keep up people for three rooms.  Anya was a bit noisy and she couldn't quite make it all the way to orgasm but that was fine for this time.  It was still nice to be held by someone who gave a damn about you.

Back at the hotel the boys were asking their new acquaintances about the woman who had just shown up.  They knew something about Anya and were worried she'd hurt Xander on her present quest.  Then they learned she had gotten her powers back and it turned into a deeper worry.  Gunn did say Anya wouldn't hurt her.  She had no reason to.  They were probably going to go have sex or talk about girl stuff so they left it alone for now.  They'd save her in the morning if they had to.


Dean pounded on the door again then sighed and picked the lock, heading inside the room.  He turned and blushed at the naked, uncovered twine of bodies.  "More than I wanted to know, Xander."  The other one hissed at him.  He glared at her.  "I do know how to banish vengeance demons, Anyanka."

"Poo.  I was hoping for morning sex.  Willow didn't rob her ability to perform oral sex and I haven't been having good orgasms for a while now.  No one every gives me over three and Xander used to give me six or seven a day.  I miss my orgasms."

"Find her later or tomorrow."  She pouted and got dressed then disappeared.  Dean groaned, coming over to poke Xander once he made sure there weren't any weapons nearby.  "Xander."  She blinked slowly at him.  "Feel better?"

"Couldn't get off.  Pity."  She rolled onto her side.  "It can't be breakfast yet.  It's still dark."

"It's only dark in here because you live like a vampire and cover all the light sources and the mirror," he complained.  "Come on.  Breakfast time.  Go shower and meet us down at the Impala.  Our treat."  Xander groaned, getting up to deal with that.  He made himself not stare at her backside and went down to the car.  Xander came down in sunglasses, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, plus sneakers, locking the door behind her.  "Money?" he asked.

"Anya probably took half."  She dug it out and looked at it, nodding.  "Yup, like old times.  She took half."  She put it back.  "Where did you two want to eat?"

"All three of us," Sam told her.  "Denny's?"

"That works and it's cheap," Dean agreed, driving them that way.  They got there and Xander slid out of the backseat, stretching and wincing at the light.  "Should we make you drink more holy water?"

"No thanks.  Tastes bad."  They walked inside and Xander had to pull down her t-shirt so everyone quit staring at her stomach.  They sat down and she looked at the waitress.  "Coffee?" she nearly pleaded, getting a smile. "Sugar."  It was pointed at and she grinned back. "Thank you."  She opened a packet so she could pour it onto her tongue, feeling better from that.

Dean shook his head.  "Coffee, hot cocoa for Sammy."  Sam kicked him under the table.  "We'll figure out food soon."  She nodded and left them alone.  He took the next sugar packet and handed over a menu.  "Get sugar the natural way."

"Maple syrup."  Xander stared, deciding what she wanted to eat.  She smiled at the coffee that got poured next to her.  "Love you."

"Haven't heard that yet today so thank you," she said happily.  "College kids?"

"Upcoming," Xander lied with a sweet smile.  She pointed at the menu.  "I need that."  She nodded, writing it down.  The boys ordered their own breakfast and Xander inhaled her coffee.  "So.  How's it looking?" she asked once their waitress was gone.

"Looks okay," Dean admitted.  "The idea's doable.  Where would we do it?"


"Pretty open," Sam complained.

"Depends on which park and what part we're in."  The waitress was coming back to refill the coffees.  "I think we could role play pretty easily in the big park up the road a bit.  Don't you?" she asked her.  "It's got private spots, right?"

"Oh, yeah.  Along the jogging trail there's a few grottos to rest in and some other nice areas in that park up by UCLA."  They smiled at that.  "Or there's the beach.  It's not the heaviest of days today because it's supposed to rain later.  There's a few smaller beaches with a lot of rocks on 'em that don't really get anyone but a surfer now and then."

"I think we'll hit the park," Sam said with a grin.  "Thank you."

"Welcome, kids."  She went to get their orders, coming back with them.  Xander leaned over to sniff her pancakes, earning a laugh.  The syrup bottle was nearly emptied but she was sure the girl would watch her figure and work it off later.  She kept an eye on them because they were young and slurping coffee like truckers.  That's why she saw the one guy get up and stroll over there.  "Oh please don't," she begged quietly, heading to refill their coffee again.  "Hon, need anything?"  The boys were watching how she handled it but the smaller one looked ready to jump in if she needed it.

"Some fresh air," she said, smiling sweetly at the man.  "Not interested.  Thank you."

"Oh, come on, I know you're hot and all so you think all men are beneath you but you can do better than these two geeks."

Xander stood up and poked her finger into his chest, making him wince.  "I like smart men.  Their brains turn me on.  Thinking is good for humanity."  He glared.  "It is.  The same as hitting on someone who said no twice now isn't that smart.  So can we please be left alone so I can finish waking up?"

"What's wrong?  They not hit it hard enough last night?" he taunted.

"No, the former girlfriend didn't, thank you for asking."  He gave her a horrified look and backed off farther.  She smiled sweetly.  "Enough now?"  He growled and tried to hit her.  She grabbed his wrist and yanked him off to the side, then down and onto his stomach.  She knelt on his back, getting down closer to his ear.  "Pissing me off is stupid.  Really.  All we want to do is finish breakfast so we can go play in the park.  If you have a problem with that, I'm sorry.  I don't care, but I'm sorry.  Please go back to your table and practice manners."  She got off him at the waitress' urging.  "Sorry you had to see that."

"No, sweetie, it's good for young women to be able to take care of themselves."  She sat her back down.  "You finish up.  I'll go get his check."  She went to do that, putting it down with a glare at his friends.  "Pick him up, boys.  He clearly had too much to drink last night."  They did that, leaving a tip too.  The trio of kids left a nicer tip when they left a few minutes later, making her a happy waitress and mother of two kids.  She'd have to get her daughter into self-defense soon.  That way she could handle the boys the same way.


Xander looked up from her reading, smiling at the demon they were there to see.  "Hi," she said in a fake southern accent.  "How are you?"

"Hi."  She sat down next to her.  "What are you reading?"

"Hmm, Shakespeare."  She let her see the title.  "I borrowed it off a friend."  Sam didn't have that many non-work books and that would've given it away.  "Pretty day, isn't it?"

"Very."  She leaned closer to sniff her.  "Nice perfume."

"Thank you but I'm not wearing any."  She pulled out her best flirting and smiled a bit.  "Out here meeting someone?"

"Just you."  She shifted closer.  "I don't know if this is your thing or not, but I think you're very pretty."

Xander blushed and grinned back. "Thank you.  I've ...dabbled."  The demon nearly purred.  "But I'm still not sure which side I sit on.  I can't let it go past fingers.  I promised I'd be a virgin until at least the holidays.  The family can be a bit insane about that stuff."

"I can understand that.  How about we go neck?"

"I could like that."  She leaned closer to kiss her, feeling the demon's smoke coming up.  She backed off, coughing a bit.  "Smoking?"

"Earlier.  Sorry."  She leaned in for another kiss, letting Xander take control this time.  Xander wound a hand into her hair to pull her closer.  That way she didn't see Sam and Dean behind her.

Dean coughed.  "Get off my sister."  The woman jumped up to stare at him, then backed away slowly.  Xander casually stretched out and tripped her.  "Thanks, sis."

"Welcome, studly."  She got up and lowered her shields so the demon would come out faster to possess her.  "Don't be scared of them.  They're not mean about this stuff."  The demon came out fully and Sam threw the holy water on it, starting the banishing.  It faded out and Xander helped the young woman to her feet, looking at her.  "Hi."  She burst out crying so Xander cuddled her for a few minutes.  "Shh.  You're safe again."

"I needed that!" she said.  "I needed it or else I'll never get anyone!"  She tried to hit her but Sam stopped her and Dean splashed her with holy water, making her scream and run off.

"Huh," Xander said, shrugging a bit.  "Pity."  She grabbed the book and handed it back.  "Listerine?"  Dean handed some over.  "Thanks."  She rinsed and spit a few times then they walked off together.  "So, how was your watching?"

"You looked hot kissing her," Dean offered.

"Gee, thanks."

"Welcome," Dean said with a cheeky grin.  "Could've been a worse show."

"Can you maybe pull up your shirt a bit, Xander?" Sam asked.  Xander looked down then pulled up her shirt and did up the slipped open button.  "Thanks."

"Forgive him, he doesn't get much," Dean told her.

She laughed.  "Neither do I.  We should have an 'ain't gettin' none' club."

"Sorry, can't join," Dean said.

Xander looked at Sam.  "He keep you up?"

"Only with the smutty thoughts.  That's all he's gotten recently."

"Hey, I could've had her coworkers."

Xander looked at him, then patted him on the cheek with a smile.  "Only if you paid for it."   He gave her a hurt look so she giggled and ran ahead.  "They would."

"Uh-huh.  Angel said to take you out to a real club tonight for the other issue."

"What other issue?"

"You and your girl stuff."

"Oh.  That issue.  I don't dance like a girl."

"You did last night."

She stuck her tongue out then turned around and patted the horse that was lounging nearby for carriage rides.  "Ooh, pretty pony."  She walked on, letting the guys follow her.

"Think she's nuts?" Dean asked.

"Maybe.  It'd drive me nuts."  Sam looked at him.  "We're going clubbing?"

"He wanted her to do the girl stuff Wes trained her for."

"Oh, that stuff.  Sure.  Why not.  Are we going to keep her from drinking?"

"Maybe."  He shrugged and pulled out the keys since they were close the parking lot.  "Xander!"  No answer.  "Xander!" he tried again, louder.  They heard something and went down a side path, finding Xander being kissed.  "Know him?" he asked loudly.  Xander pulled back and kneed him in the crotch, sending the guy to the ground.  "I guess that's a no."

"No."  Xander looked around.  "HELP!"  Two bike cops came riding up.  "He pulled me off the trail and grabbed me to kiss me.  He's some sort of pervert!" she said firmly, pointing at the guy.  "I want him arrested for trying to molest me!"

"Calm down, ma'am.  Are you all right?"

"I kneed him," she said, pulling up a convincing sniffle and pout.  "I'm going home with my brothers.  The people here are mean."  She stomped off, letting the boys walk her off.

Sam looked at her once they were in the car.  "Demon?"

"No, rapist.  I want his ass in jail before I kill him."

"Good idea," Sam decided, grinning a bit.  "Want the mouthwash back?"

"Nah, I'm fine.  Hell, I had worse kisses when Spike tried."  She shrugged.  "Blood breath is nasty, I don't know how Buffy put up with it."

Dean shuddered.  "She really slept with Angel?"

"And it really made him happy enough to lose his soul," Xander agreed dryly.  "He broke her in."

"Eww," Dean said, backing out and heading back to the hotel.  "Angel said he needs someone to go to a certain club and clean out some of the unlife.  Since you're a slayer...."

"I can do that," she sighed.  "Means I won't get hit on as much since I'll have to be somewhat practical in my clothes and I can't get drunk."

"True," Sam agreed.  "You have clothes?"

"I need to do laundry and stop somewhere.  Panties don't last that long."  They both blushed at that and let her go into the store she pointed at.  She came out with a bag ten minutes later and they headed back to the hotel.  The boys decided to move over to hers so they were there in case something happened.  Xander came down to their room about seven in a modest skirt and shirt outfit, plus low heels.  Her hair was getting longer so she had pushed it back with a headband.

"You look like a schoolteacher," Dean said.  It was a definite switch from last night.

"I have to be practical and hide the weapons."

He groaned, walking her back there.  "Clubbing, Xander."

"I have no idea how girls club except for Buffy and her backless shirts."

"Uh-huh.  Go out looking like you want to attract attention."  He looked at the clothes, shaking his head, getting into her stripper gear.  He grimaced.  "You don't have anything that's trashily tasteful.  Do you?"

"No, Wes didn't buy me anything like that."  She gave him a look.  "I have two other skirts.  One was last night's."

"What's the other one look like?"  She held it up.  He blinked.  "Wore that on stage?"


"Not tonight."  He went to call Wesley.  Maybe some of Cordelia's old stuff....  They were about the same height if he remembered right.  Gunn showed up ten minutes later with a young woman, who drug Xander off once she had on different shoes.  They shared a look and a head shake.  "Joining us?"

"Yeah, in case you guys need backup.  She's like my sister."  That got a few smiles and they finished getting ready, heading out to track down the girls.  They couldn't find them so they called and agreed to meet at the club.

That's why Dean nearly spit on Gunn when he saw them walk in.  Xander was wearing stretch velvet.  Black stretch velvet and a slim velvet collar with a little charm on the front.  Her hair had been gelled and she now had earrings. She was still wearing the modest two- inch heels and was strolling over to them.  "Hey," he said weakly.

"Hi.  Think this is okay?"

"You look hot," Sam told her honestly, getting a smile back for it.  "We haven't seen any yet."

She looked around. "Six or seven in here."  They all looked at her.  "We have an early warning system that causes cramps."  She strolled toward the bar and one guy came over to chat with her.  She blushed as she talked to him, making him horny.  He bought her the drink she wanted and took her out to the floor.

Sam watched.  "She doesn't dance like a girl."  Dean shook his head, she didn't.  It looked okay but she wasn't doing it right.  The real woman went out there to help her, teaching her.  She came back after a song.  "She okay?"

"She said it's her first time in town and they didn't have a club where she was.  She'll do better."  They watched as Xander got looser and into the groove with the guy.  It was very nice and he was trying hard to grope subtly.  She swatted a hand and gave him a small sentence.  He pouted.  She apparently said something and he started to sweat.  She strolled back and sat down at the table, smiling at them.  "You okay?" she asked.

"I told him breaking me in was going to take more than one dance in a club.  I wasn't that easy."  She sipped her drink, smiling a bit when he came over.  "Boys, this is William.  William, these are some of my new friends.  They're *very* protective of me."

Sam looked at him.  "Hi, Sam O'Neill, I'm a lawyer.  You?" he said, holding out a hand.

He swallowed.  "I sell cars.  My name's William."  He shook his hand.

"Bryan," Dean said, shaking his hand.  "I work at a shooting range."  That got a horrified look so Dean grinned.  "Our father's a Marine."

"Oh.  No wonder."  He smiled at Gunn.  "You?"

"Me?  I'm a PI."  The man just nodded.  "This is my girl Bev."

"Charmed," he said, shaking her hand as well.  "Alex, would you like to go again?"

She shrugged.  "As long as the hands don't wander."

"Of course not.  I'll be a perfect gentleman. You made your intentions very clear, my dear."  She walked out there with him and he didn't try to grope this time.  He was using her to pick up other women. If someone this hot wanted him of course the other hot chicks would.  He was sure she understood.  Another guy came up and stole her so she danced off with him, giggling a bit like an airhead.  He got more play but then he sniffed and moaned, letting her lead him to his seat because he looked sick.  He glanced away then back and he was gone.  She was strolling back to the table but the guy was gone.  He shrugged it off.  It was fine.  Sick people were like that.  She'd find someone to date her he was sure.  Even though LA was the city of easy lays she'd find someone higher class.

She sat down, smiling at Dean.  "He was a bit ill."

"Pity.  You good?"

"I'm fine."  She stroked over his arm to remove some lint.  "But if I hang out here too much we're going to look like a posse soon."  They all laughed, letting her take Bev back out to the floor.  It was perfectly acceptable for women to dance together.  She could learn more about how to dance like a girl than what she had learned watching Buffy dance with guys.  She looked over but Sam and Dean had picked up women and were on the floor too.  Gunn was saving their table, watching over them.  She winked at Bev and nodded.  They went to tease those two suckers.  She managed to get their wallets before they went poof.  A few more and it was nice.  Her last one she accepted a drink and an invitation to his table.  He was clearly older and more important, at least in his own mind.  She settled into his booth to talk to him.  The guys were checking over there.  She was doing okay until he went poof into a ball of flame.  Not what she was expecting.  She shrieked and the club emptied.  Gunn found her.  "I don't know what happened," she said.  "He was playing with something in his pocket then he went up like I fed him holy water.  Only he stayed lit instead of going poof."

"We'll figure it out," he assured her.  She nodded, letting him lead her off.  One of the cops stopped them.  "She's shaken up.  She was beside him."

"He was playing with something in his pocket.  Talking about his new steel PA, and I guess something sparked.  I have *no* idea what happened," she told them.  She hugged Dean when he saw and came over.  "I'm all right."  She walked him off, handing him something subtly.  "Can you hold this for me since I don't have a purse on me?"

"Sure, sis."  It was a good cover and he could stay with her.  "Officer, is there a problem?  She's really shaken up by that.  I'd like to take her home.  We were checking on them.  One second she's laughing and then she shrieked."

"I need contact details so we can find her if something else comes up," he said.  Dean wrote down his cellphone number plus motel number and they left together.  He watched them go.  Something was going on.  He knew that motel; it was decidedly lower class than that girl.  He went into the club to check on the table.  The sprinklers had put him out nearly immediately.  Though all that was left was ashes.  "What happened?"

"First of all, he wasn't caught on tape," the officer in there said, letting him see the table.  They had zeroed in on it.  The story checked out.  She hadn't reached over to touch him.  She was barely within touching distance of where the other glass was.  Then suddenly there was an outline of fire and he went up while she scrambled away.  He saw the wallet.  "Is that a man's wallet?"  They zeroed in on it and nodded.  "Think it was his?  Whoever he was?"

"No," the officer said, going back a few frames.  "She had it earlier.  We can't tell if she came in with it or not."

"Should we go find her?"

"No," the officer said.  "There's no way she sprayed an accelerant on him.  That's the only way he could've went up like that, sir."  He looked over.  "Human bodies don't just combust like that.  Any other ideas?"

"She said he was talking about his new steel dick piercing."

"Static discharge caused a spark and lit his clothes?" he said.  "We'd have to test the fabric.  If we can find any that's not ashes."  They nodded and went to check on it with the fire inspector.  There was no way they could charge anyone with this.


Dean closed the door on Xander's room, looking at what she had handed him.  "You pickpocket you," taunted with a grin.  "Yet you didn't like us with the credit card thing."

"Well, yeah.  Learned that back in Sunnydale.  That's how we got the weapons from them when they attacked."  She sat down, taking off the shoes so she could rub her feet.  "That was freaky.  I have no idea why he went up.  The earlier one who sipped my drink and got the holy water bath but not that one."

Sam knocked and was let in.  "Hey."  He closed the door, handing over the other few Bev had handed him.  "From Bev's purse."

Dean sat down to count things, smiling at the ID's and credit cards, plus a lot of cash.  "I love the first of the month."

"Me too," Xander said happily.  "Better tips."  They both stared at her.  "There are."

"You can't go back, Xander," Dean ordered.  He split half the money with her but kept the ID's and credit cards.  Xander gave him a look.  "Tough."

"Just don't do it around me.  Pickpocketing vampires I can handle.  Credit card theft is past my limit."

"I don't think they'll mind."

"If those aren't forged or stolen," she said dryly.

"Good point.  We'll check into it."  They went into his inner pocket.  "You okay?"

"No one but the first guy touched.  I learned how to dance better and more like a girl."  She took off the choker and rubbed her throat.  "I still have a problem with things around my throat."

"Why?" Sam asked.

"Faith.  She tried to choke me once."  She smiled.  "It was a long time ago, Sam."  She curled up on the bed but both guys looked away so she moved her legs so they couldn't see up the skirt.  "Get over it already."

"You're female, you should watch those things," Sam said.  He blushed and left when she started to get up.

Dean laughed.  "He needs laid."

"Well, yeah," Xander agreed dryly.  "Me too and I can't for another few months.  It sucks."

"Girls can do it for themselves too."

"Doesn't work," she admitted grimly.  "Apparently she wasn't that kind."

Dean huffed.  "You're not doing it right."

"I think I know how to and so does Anya.  Hell, we caught her having a six day masturbate-a-thon once."  Dean shook his head quickly to clear that mental image.  "Exactly.  Even she couldn't.  So no, Willow couldn't quite make that work.  What a fulfilled girl I am," she finished sarcastically.

"Maybe when you get that fixed it'll be better," he offered.  Xander gave him an odd look.  "How would I know?  I've never been a girl!"

"At least you tried.  Thanks, Dean."

"Welcome."  He stood up.  "How many did you get?"

"Seven.  One didn't have a wallet and I missed another one's before he went poof.  Oh, got a tip for Angel.  One of the higher demons is running an S&M club for humans and using it to provide snacks."

"I'm not going there.  Sam isn't either."

"I wasn't going to suggest it.  That's an Angel issue, not a slayer one."

"Good."  He walked out, heading back to their room to talk to his brother.  "She found out one of the demons is using an S&M club as a cover."

"You're on your own there," he said dryly.  "I don't want to know how freaky you can get."

"That's what I told her.  She said Angel could handle it."  Sam nodded at that.  "Anything come up under the ID's?"

"Only one's a fake.  The rest were the vamps themselves."  Dean let him pluck that one out.  They'd use it to exchange pictures out of for one of theirs or sell it as a template.  The others got hidden in the special box of fake ID's.

They heard Xander's room door open and then close but no one was walking up the walkway when they looked.  So maybe she had called Gunn about that information.  They'd figure it out in the morning.


to next part: