Author: Steve711 - Steve Pantovich

E-mail Address: Steve711@concentric.net

Title: The Chronicles of Wanderer - Training Blues Series - How Buffy Got Her Sword

Copyrighted: February 2000

Category: Crossover

Rating: PG-13 Some Foul Language

Spoilers: A few

Keywords: Highlander/X-Files/Hercules/Xena/Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Summary: This series of stories takes place between Hellmouth - New Beginnings and Calling Out the Clan. The series deals with the training that the Scooby gang gets from Steve and his friends. This particular story deals with how Buffy got Vampire Slayer.

Highlander: All rights and properties owned by Rysher Entertainment.

The Legendary Adventures of Hercules/Xena: All rights and properties owned by Renaissance and Flat Earth Productions.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: All rights and properties owned by Joss Whedon, Warner Bros. and Mutant Enemy, etc.

The X-Files: All rights and properties owned by Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and the FOX Network.

Any character whose names and descriptions are used are the property of their original owners, and no copy right infringement is intended or meant.

No money can be made from this story. It can be distributed freely so long as it is kept in its entirety, with all notices and copyright information intact.

The characters Wanderer/Steven St. Wolf, Frank Iverson, Brother Aaron, Fragnar, Smaug and Robert McCallister and this story are mine. Anyone wishing to use them, please contact me at my e-mail address: Steve711@concentric.net

Comments and Criticisms are appreciated, please post to the above referenced E-mail.

Special Thanks to my Beta Readers: Rebekah Sandell and Harvey
Author's Notes: All right I admit it. I really liked the two episodes of Hercules where the characters were playing the production staff. One more thing, words expressed with the < > are thoughts.


How Buffy Got Her Sword

Prologue
(Let's Just Get the Bullshit Out of the Way)

They pass through history. . .
Living lives longer than any normal man can imagine.
Some pass through with hardly a ripple,
Others are like tidal waves, crashing on the shore.
They are the Immortals.
This is the story of the Wanderer. Warrior, Champion, Teacher, Demon Hunter.
These are his Chronicles. . .

Frank Iverson, Watcher, 2017.

*****

Part 1 - Birthday Party Blues
(When You Gotta Party, Party Hardy)

May 14th, 1998
Home of Steve St. Wolf

Steve looks around his living room and quietly mutters to himself. Buffy, Xander, Willow, Cordelia and Oz enter from the side door and watch in confusion as Steve tears apart his living room, looking for something. "Steve, honey. What're you looking for?" A confused Buffy asks.

Steve looks up and sheepishly grins. "I'm looking for a phone number that I got last night. Did you see where I put it?"

"I thought you might lose it, so I stuck it on the refrigerator." Buffy replies with a slight grin.

Steve looks up from his search and gives her a glare. "I hope you know that I've spent the last hour tearing apart my living room looking for that note."

"Sorry honey." Buffy apologizes. "What's so important about that note?"

"Garth gave me the phone number to his cousin Kix and I want to hire him and his partner Ronnie to play at a birthday party that I'm throwing for Fragnar."

"What kind of music do they play?" Oz asks.

"Country music."

"Oh God." Buffy exclaims. Steve turns around and sees that everyone's face bears a look of disgust.

"And what is the problem with country music?" Steve asks.

"Just that it's for old people." Xander replies. "Or when you're feeling really depressed."

Steve just sadly shakes his head and reaches for the phone. He quickly dials a phone number in Washington. The phone's picked up after two rings. "Mulder."

"Still scaring them in the cafeteria, Spooky?"

"Yeah, are you still aiding and abetting to the delinquency of minors?"

"Can't keep'em out of the house. Are you and Dana busy next weekend?"

"No plans. What's up?"

"Can you take next Thursday and Friday off?"

"It can be arranged. What are you planning?"

"A birthday party for a good friend of mine. It's going to last at least two, maybe three days. Are you two in?"

"Whose your friend?" Mulder asks with suspicion.

"Fragnar. We're going to his place for the party. I'll drag along the kids, you can bring the ball and chain with you."

"Sounds like a good time. I'll ask Dana when she gets back with lunch."

"Give me a call back to confirm."

"Bet on it." Mulder replies and hangs up.

Steve looks up from his phone conversation and sees that Buffy and her friends were giving him 'the eye'. He gives them a grin and asks. "I know I'm asking a lot, but do you think you could skip school next Thursday and Friday?"

"Oh I think we can do that." Buffy replies with a grin. "So what can we do to help?"

"Well, I'm going to have to set everything up first, get the food there, make sure that the estate is cleaned up, the usual."

"You mean you need us to clean up?" Buffy asks in shock.

"It's not that much work Buffy. The place is basically clean, we'll just have to clean out the refrigerators and do some light dusting. Besides, we won't be alone, some of the locals will help."

"Locals?" Oz asks.

"Dragon Valley has a small population of people living there. They're the descendants of people who helped the dragons while they were on Earth. A basically good bunch of people who like these parties as much as Fragnar does. We'll be staying at the guest estate just outside their town. They've even built an amphitheater for these little get togethers. Now some quiet, please." Steve asks as he dials the phone again.

"Hello, Brooks residence." A young voice answers.

"Hi, is Kix there?"

"Yeah Dad's in the other room. Who's this?"

"My name is Steve St. Wolf. I'm a friend of your cousin Garth. Can I speak with your Dad?"

"Sure. I'll get him." The young girl replies.

A few minutes later a man gets on the phone and asks. "Hello Mr. St. Wolf, Garth told me you would be calling. What can I do for you?"

"Garth told me you and your partner didn't have any concert dates scheduled for the next two months. I was interested if you would like to play a birthday party for a friend of mine?"

"Man must be some friend if you're paying us to play at his party. I'll talk to Ronnie and get back to you tomorrow. But I need to know how many shows you expect us to perform."

"Two shows a day for two days. If you want to, bring along another group. You just have to tell me how many people will be coming."

"Mr. St. Wolf, can I ask a question?"

"Feel free, Mr. Brooks."

"Garth said we'd have the time of our lives. Can I ask what he meant by that?"

"Garth has played this same birthday party for the last ten years, Mr. Brooks. He's always enjoyed it and if his schedule didn't conflict with it this year, I'd want him to play it again. But he's locked into those charity shows and can't make it."

"So we're second choice?"

"No, you're the people that Garth recommended to me when I called to book him. He apologized and recommended you and your partner. I don't see you as second choice; I see you as the people that a good friend recommended."

"Thank you, Mr. St. Wolf, we'll get back to you with our decision." Kix Brooks replies as he hangs up.

Steve turns back to his friends and watches in glee as the teenagers eye him in disgust. Buffy is the first to ask. "Steve, how could you do that to those poor dragons?"

Steve leans forward and asks. "Do what?"

"Get some hokey country music group to play Fragnar's birthday. Couldn't you get anyone with more class?"

"I'm sorry, but I already called John Tesh and he doesn't think he can make it." Steve replies with a grin. Every teenager in the room suddenly gasps in horror and feels sick to their stomachs as Steve chuckles evilly.

Xander is the first to get over the nausea. "Steve what are trying to do? Torture those poor people and dragons?"

"Only if I play what you kids consider to be music." Steve replies with a grin, enjoying the banter.

*****

Kix Brooks looks over at his partner, Ronnie Dunn and asks. "Should we go?"

"What did Garth say about this Steve St. Wolf?"

"Only that he was a class act. The party got better every time Garth went there and that he wants to shoot his manager for screwing up and booking him in Dublin that weekend." Kix replies with a grin.

"I say we go for it." Ronnie Dunn replies from the couch.

"So do I." Kix agrees. "He said that we could bring an extra act with us. Who do you want to bring along?"

"Blackhawk's not busy, so lets bring them."

"Sounds good. Give St. Wolf a call back tomorrow and confirm all of the arrangements."

"Right." Kix replies as he reaches for the phone.

*****

The petite red haired woman walks into the J. Edgar Hoover building and smiles at the guard sitting behind the desk. He grins back and waves her through. As he watches her retreating back. < You are one lucky bastard Fox Mulder to have Dana Scully as a partner. >

Dana Scully walks over to the elevators and presses the down button. She glares at several Agents who snicker behind their hands and mutter. "Looks like Spooky's got the Missus getting him his dinner." As her elevator opens, she gets in and hits the button for the basement.

When the doors close, her face loses its mask and she glares at the doors for the entire twenty second trip to the basement. When the doors open, her face is again, its stoic mask. She calmly walks out of the elevator and walks the thirty four steps to the office that she shares with her partner and husband. She calmly opens the door and walks in. As she quickly glances around the room, she sees her partner look up at her with a warm smile. < God. That smile always gets to me. > "What's up Mulder?"

"Steve St. Wolf just called." Mulder begins as Scully's face blanches.

"Did something happened to Buffy or the other kids?" She asks.

"No." Mulder replies, alleviating her fears. "Steve's invited us to a birthday party that he's throwing for an old friend of his."

"Who?" Dana asks, wondering who the Immortal demon hunter would be planning a party for.

"Fragnar." Mulder replies with a grin.

"You don't mean?" Dana mutters, not believing that she was going to meet an actual Dragon.

"Yep."

"Oh God. When?"

"Steve wants us to take off next Thursday and Friday. Think Skinner will mind?"

"After our last case, he'd probably buy the plane tickets."

"We'll ask him after lunch."

Dana nods her head as she reads through her e-mail and eats her salad. When she comes to a particular e-mail, she turns to Mulder and asks. "Fox?" Mulder looks up from his cheeseburger deluxe, curious at her tone of voice. "Can we take the week off? Bill's wife, Tara, just had a girl and I would like to visit them."

Mulder walks over and looks at the picture of Scully's niece and holds her. "She certainly didn't get her looks from Bill." Mulder quips. Scully glares at him. Mulder grins back and softly replies. "Of course we can. Our case load is light and we need a vacation. I'm sure Skinner won't miss us."

*****

An hour later, the two Agents are standing in front of the door that they 'lovingly' referred to as 'The Lion's Den'. They nod to the Maggie, Skinner's secretary and she just waves them in. Mulder knocks on the door and a voice that should have been on a Marine parade ground barks. "Enter!" Both Agents straighten their backs and enter the office. The walk in and stand at attention in front of the desk. Their superior, Assistant Director Walter S. Skinner, glares up at them from the report that he was reading. He leans back and glares at the two Agents that gave him the most trouble. He fixes Mulder with his gaze and demands. "What do you two Agents want?"

Mulder coughs and straightens his tie. "Well, sir, Scully and I were hoping to have next week off."

"And why do you want next week off?" Skinner asks as he thinks. < This should be good. >

"A mutual friend of ours is throwing this huge birthday party on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and he invited us. Scully wants to take Monday and Tuesday and visit with her brother Bill in San Diego and I'm staying with them." Mulder replies with a straight face.

"What?" Skinner replies in shock. "No aliens, no mutants, no paranormal encounters, nothing out of the ordinary? Just a birthday party and visiting Scully's family?"

< Only if you consider it normal to have a Dragon as the guest of honor. > "Yes sir." Mulder replies.

Skinner glares at Mulder, suspecting something. "If I hear about you trying to access Area 51 or any other secure military facility, I'll have your head." Mulder absently rubs his neck, Skinner smiles. "And I mean that literally. Dismissed!" Both Agents quickly get out of the office.

As they leave, Skinners secretary, Maggie lifts up her phone and a harsh voice answers. "What?"

"Mulder and Scully just asked for a week's vacation next week." Maggie quietly tells the voice.

"That's good to know." The voice replies as he hangs up and puffs on his cigarette. "I wonder what those two are up to?"

*****

Mulder and Scully get back to their office and Mulder dials Steve's phone number. Steve picks up and asks. "What do you want Mulder?"

"Just reserving mine and Scully's rooms for the birthday party." Mulder replies with a grin as Scully smiles.

"You got em. Just be here by Thursday at Noon. That's when we're leaving."

"We'll be there a day earlier." Mulder replies.

"Why?"

"Because Scully and I want to get in some sparing with you and Buffy."

Steve chuckles. "Mixed doubles was never like this. How about a wrestling match instead?"

"Who's making up the teams?"

"Guys against the girls." Steve replies with an evil chuckle.

Mulder catches the chuckle and his mind screams 'set-up'. "Sounds like fun. But YOU ask Dana." < I wouldn't survive the experience. >

"Sure, put her on." Steve replies as Mulder hands her the phone.

"What is it Steve?" Dana asks.

"I want to set up Mulder for a sparing match."

"Against who?" Scully asks.

"Willow, Jenny, Amy or Cordelia." Steve replies with a grin.

"Are you sure about this?" Scully asks, wondering what was going on.

"Definitely." Steve replies with a soft chuckle. "I'm sure Mulder could use the exercise."

*****

Part 2 - Sparing Sessions
(This isn't Vince McMan's WWF, But What The Hell)

May 20th 1998
Coastal Highway - Sunnydale Exit Ramp

Mulder and Scully watch as the freeway exit ramp ends and Mulder makes a quick left onto Main Street. He quickly drives his car to Green Street and quickly follows it to Brant Terrace. At the house numbered 317, he pulls into the driveway and stops the car. He quickly glances at the red head sitting next to him and grins. She returns his smile with a knowing grin and gets out of the car with him. Mulder reaches into the trunk and takes out both his and Dana's bags. He grins as he feels the 'Buzz' of another Immortal and walks to the side door as it opens and a grinning Buffy grabs up Dana in a hug.

*****

Buffy's reaching into the refrigerator and pulls out two bottles of Gatorade. < God, I hate these long practice sessions. I thought Giles was bad, but Steve is worse. > She then pouts. < He doesn't even want to smooch during our rest periods. What is his problem? > Buffy ponders as she feels the 'Buzz' of an approaching Immortal. She grins. < I guess that Dana and Mulder must have made it. > She puts the Gatorade back and bounds over to the side door and opens it and gives her friend Dana a hug.

*****

Steve looks up from the sword that he's sharpening. He glares at the mirror that stretches across one wall of the home gym and broods. < Why is that I'm acting like a scared teenager when it comes to her? I haven't acted like this since Kathy and I were dating and Mother Maggie gave me 'the Talk'. > Steve tenses as he feels the approach of another Immortal and picks up his sword and glares as he hears the side door opening. < Damn it Buffy. Couldn't you wait until I was there? > Steve thinks to himself as he rushes out of the room and sees Buffy hugging a red haired woman. Steve slows down and relaxes as he recognizes Dana Scully and her husband/partner Fox Mulder. He grins and puts the sword down as he hugs Dana. "Glad you two could make it."

"Wouldn't miss this for the world." Mulder replies with a grin as he grabs a seat on the couch. "So where's the party?"

"Dragon Valley. We'll head out there tomorrow afternoon with most of the food, some things that Mayor Whitmore asked me to bring for his village and the kids. Frank and I will leave after we drop you and the kids off and go pickup the music for the show."

"Who's playing?" Dana asks as Buffy hands her and Mulder sodas.

"Brooks and Dunn and a group called Black Hawk." Steve replies with a grin as Buffy makes a face. "John Tesh called this morning and said that he'll try to make it as well." Buffy now glares at Steve with murderous intent.

"Why didn't you tell me that *HE* was coming?" Buffy demands as she glares daggers at Steve.

Steve, barely controlling his laughter, replies. "He just confirmed this morning, honey." Buffy throws one of the sofa pillows at the back of Steve's head and giggles when it connects. Steve picks up the pillow and gently places it back on the sofa.

Buffy cringes for a second as Steve's body leans in and replaces the pillow on the sofa. He gives her a little growl and Buffy, with a mischievous grin, kisses him on the nose. Steve gives her a little glare and Buffy squeals in delight as Steve tickles her along her ribs.

"I take it that there's a little problem about the music?" Dana asks with a smile as she watches Buffy squeal in delight.

Steve looks up from his torture. "Buffy and the rest of the 'young'uns' think that the music is all wrong for the party."

"What's wrong with country music or John Tesh?" Mulder asks with a grin as Buffy comes up for air.

"Country music is for old people." Buffy replies between giggles. "And John Tesh is the Devil." Mulder and Scully look at Steve, who's stopped tickling Buffy and begins to laugh his head off. Buffy gives him a glare and demands. "What's so funny?"

Steve stops laughing as he tells her. "Fragnar is almost ten thousand years old. So I think he fits into the 'old fart' category." Buffy makes a face, but grins. "And I don't think that John Tesh could have survived going to ten of Fragnar's 'Birthday' parties. Dragons and Demons do not mix."

"They don't?" Dana asks.

"Nope. Demons have this terrible idea that baby Dragons make great meals." Steve replies with a grin. "The Dragons tend to take exception to that idea rather strenuously."

"I can imagine." Dana replies softly, while looking wistfully at Mulder. Mulder quietly gathers her up in his arms and softly rocks her.

Steve and Buffy look at them and Buffy quietly asks. "Dana?" She looks up. "Is anything wrong?"

"Dana's brother, Bill, just had his first child." Mulder softly replies.

Both Steve and Buffy nod their heads in understanding. Immortals couldn't have children, but many of them, especially couples like Mulder and Dana, wanted them. Buffy and Steve silently leave and head back to the gym to finish their daily practice.

*****

In the gym, Steve tosses Buffy a practice sword and they begin to spar. As Steve begins the attack, Buffy moves back and puts her sword down. Steve watches as she approaches him and holds him silently. Steve lets his sword drop to the ground and he wraps his arms around her waist. "I know how Dana feels." Buffy murmurs into Steve's chest. "I wanted to have children when I got older." Steve hears her sigh. "Now I'll never get the chance."

"To have children or get older?" Steve softly asks.

"Both." Buffy replies as she holds him tighter.

"I know." Steve softly replies as he puts his chin on top of her head. "At least we have each other."

Buffy smiles bravely and kisses Steve. "I don't know whether I should cry or laugh." She replies with a giggle.

"You little." Steve begins as he grabs her tighter and begins to tickle her again. They both fall to the floor and Buffy returns the favor by tickling Steve on his ribs. Steve pulls her arm away and grabs both of them and holds them above her head. His legs scissor lock Buffy's, leaving her stretched out within reach of his free hand. Buffy, breathing a little hard grins at him. Steve grins back and moves in to kiss her. Buffy sees what he's going to do and raises her lips for the kiss, but she suddenly begins to giggle uncontrollably.

"You rat bastard! You set me up." Buffy yells out between gasps of laughter. Steve leans in and kisses her. Buffy returns the kiss and asks. "So where are we going from here?"

"One step at a time." Steve replies as he kisses her again. He lets go of Buffy's hands and she wraps her arms around his neck and they both continue to kiss.

A few minutes later, a voice goes. "Ahem. Are you two going to keep doing that or are you going to tell us about Dragon Valley?" Steve and Buffy break up and both of them glare at Mulder, who's grinning at them. Dana is standing next to him with a smile.

Steve reluctantly breaks away from Buffy. "I'll show you tomorrow, but right now, let me get Dana's suitcase into your room."

"Hey! What about mine?" Mulder whines with a grin.

Steve looks him up and down and grins. "You look like you could use the exercise Spooky."

"Watch it Wanderer. I'm a highly trained FBI Agent and I can take you down with one arm." Mulder replies with a grin as Steve begins to laugh uncontrollably.

As the laughter fades, Steve replies. "Thanks Mulder. I needed a good laugh."

"Just wait until you get him out to the practice mats. Then you'll have a really good laugh." Dana replies with a giggle. Mulder glares at her as he leaves. When Steve and Mulder are out of earshot, Dana asks. "What's the setup Buffy?"

Buffy grins wickedly. "Ever heard of the Amazons?"

"Of course I have. But what do they have to do with Mulder?"

Buffy giggles heartedly. "Mulder's going to be going up against four of them."

"Who?"

"Cordelia, Willow, Jenny and Amy." Buffy replies with a soft laugh.

"How?" Dana asks in shock at the implications.

"Tell you later." Buffy replies as Mulder comes back into the room.

Mulder, seeing Dana and Buffy quietly talking, suddenly wonders if the wrestling match was a good idea.

*****

Several hours later, Buffy, Steve, Mulder and Scully are standing in their exercise clothes watching Cordelia, Jenny, Amy and Willow going through their warmup Katas. Mulder grins and whispers to Scully. "Looks like something they do to warmup for cheerleading."

Dana just grins as she watches Xander, Giles and Oz relaxing next to Steve. < Damn, but those three are looking good. > She thinks to herself as they pull off their sweat shirts and join in the warmup wearing tank tops and sweat bottoms.

Mulder also watches and grins. "Care to make a little wager on the outcome of the match?" He asks Dana.

Dana grins back. "What's the bet?"

"Dinner? Winner picks the restaurant, loser pays the bill." Mulder prompts.

Dana grins. "It's a bet."

Mulder's grin widens. "All right! I can taste those double bacon cheeseburgers." He replies as he wrings his hands in anticipation. "Let's get the show on the road."

Steve grins. "All right." And claps his hands, everyone stops doing their Katas. "Who wants Mulder?"

"Like, Eww." Cordelia replies with a grin. "He's too old." Willow, Jenny and Amy also giggle at Cordy's jab.

Mulder just glares at them as Scully and Buffy laugh. Steve grins and rephrases his question. "Sorry. Didn't mean that. Who wants to kick Mulder's ass?"

"I'll do it." Cordy replies in a chipper voice.

"No fair. You always get the fun stuff." Willow replies with a mock frown.

"You can take him on after I'm done with him." Cordelia replies.

"Don't hurt him too badly, Cordy." Xander replies with a lopsided grin.

Mulder watches the exchange and suddenly wonders what the hell was going. He turns to Steve and demands. "Just how good are they?"

"Oh, fair to middle of the road." < For Amazons. > Steve replies with an easy grin.

"Oh damn. I did it again, didn't I?" Mulder mutters to Scully.

"Ah Fox, don't feel too bad. I'm sure that you'll get over the pain very quickly." Dana replies with a grin as Mulder stares at her.

*****

Artemis watches the scene before her and laughs out loud. She looks down at Mulder. "Oh you poor man. You're about to learn a lesson that you will never forget." Her laughter peels out over Olympus and several other Gods look to Artemis' home and wonder what was making the stoic Goddess laugh so much lately.

*****

Aphrodite looks up from her massage and wonders aloud. "What's gotten into Artemis? She's like, happy? Do you know what's going on, Michael?"

Her masseur, a mortal, whose family had served Aphrodite for centuries comments. "There are rumors that the Amazons have been re-born. She might be watching them in action."

Aphrodite looks up at him and asks. "How did you find out about this?"

"I was passing through the palace and heard Ares, Bacchus, Strife and Discord complaining to Zeus and Hera about the Slayer, the Wanderer and their 'Four Amazon' bitches who were interfering in some of their plans." Michael replies with a grin, enjoying those four Gods' discomfort. "They were demanding that Artemis remove her blessing from them because they were unworthy."

"Are they worthy of it?"

"From the way that Ares and his bunch were complaining, you'd think Xena herself was leading them." Michael replies with a grin.

Aphrodite also grins. "That'll be all Michael." Michael steps back from the table, bows and then disappears. Aphrodite then gets up and changes into some fresh clothes and disappears. She reappears in Artemis' main sitting room and asks. "What's up Sis?"

Artemis finishes laughing and calmly tells Aphrodite. "Just watching one of my Amazons teach someone a lesson."

Aphrodite stamps her foot quietly and glares at her sister. "Let me guess. He was a man." Artemis nods her head and giggles evilly. "Well at least some things haven't changed. Your Amazons are still man-haters."

Artemis looks up from her pool and asks. "What are you talking about Aphrodite?"

"You." Aphrodite points to Artemis. "You haven't learned a thing since the last of the Amazons disbanded because the tribe was too weak to defend itself. Why are they beating up on men for?"

Artemis nods her head in understanding and passes her hand across the pool standing water. "Watch." Artemis tells her sister and rolls back time.

Aphrodite watches as Cordelia begins to spar with Mulder. Aphrodite winces as Cordelia begins with a standard hip toss and tosses Mulder to the mat. Cordelia lets Mulder get back up and watches as he approaches her warily. Mulder tries to grab her in an arm lock, but Cordelia wiggles out of it and twists Mulder's arm behind his back. Mulder flings himself back and forces Cordelia to let go. He turns around and rubs his right shoulder and grimaces. He suddenly kicks with his left foot and almost connects with her stomach. Cordelia steps back and forces Mulder's leg higher and he falls back. Cordelia immediately pounces on him and kicks him in his ribs.

Aphrodite winces at the sight and just shakes her head in resignation as the man holds up his hands in surrender. She watches as the young Amazon pulls him up, kisses him on the cheek and helps him to the side where a red headed woman was waiting for him with a towel and a bottle of water. She watches as another man wraps his arms around the dark haired Amazon. She leans back into him and kisses him on the mouth. "Whoa. Who's the hottie?" Aphrodite asks as she points to a dark haired young man holding the Amazon.

Artemis smirks. "That's her lover and battle mate. The girl's name is Cordelia and the boy's name is Xander." Artemis replies as she moves the scene around the room and shows everyone there. She points to a large, dark brown haired man and a short blond girl. "That's Steve St. Wolf, he's a demon hunter, the girl is Buffy Summers, she's the Slayer. Both of them are Immortals and they lead this little group." The scene shifts to a young red haired girl and boy. "They're Willow Rosenberg and Oz Green. She's a witch and he's a werewolf. They're also lovers and battle mates." The scene shifts to an older man and woman, both them dark haired. "She's Jenna of the Kalendish people, a very powerful witch. The man is her lover Rupert Giles, a scholar, warrior and mage." The scene again shifts to a blonde girl standing next to Jenny Calendar. "She's Amy, a very powerful witch whose a follower of Hecate."

"Doesn't she have a lover?"

"Not yet. But soon she will if the Fates or you." Aphrodite smirks. "Are kind to her." Artemis replies and then turns back to the man, whose bruises have already healed.

"Like, wow. Is he also an Immortal?"

"Yes." Artemis replies with a grin. "His name is Fox Mulder and the redhead next to him is his wife and partner Dana Scully. They're both Agents in the FBI. An interesting group I must say."

Aphrodite shakes her head is disbelief as she watches the man called Mulder get up and go up against the young redheaded witch called Willow. "This guy is a real glutton for punishment, isn't he?"

"He is that." Artemis confirms.

"Why is he going against those Amazons? Didn't he learn his lesson from the first one?"

Artemis looks up from the pool and grins. "He doesn't know that he's facing Amazons. He thinks that he's facing a seventeen year old girl with a few months of hand to hand training."

Aphrodite's mouth makes an 'O', finally understanding what was going on. "His friends are setting him up?" Artemis nods her head in glee. "Oh Man! Now this is funny." Aphrodite replies as she begins to have a good laugh as she watches Willow take Mulder down even quicker than Cordelia. "Oh that poor guy. Is he going to be stupid enough to try another one?"

*****

Mulder tries to attack Willow directly by assuming a boxing stance and as he moves in, he jabs forward. Willow melts to the side and smashes the back of Mulder's kneecap with her foot as she passes him. Mulder goes down with a scream as Willow, face white, goes. "Goddess. I didn't mean to do that Mulder." She quickly reaches down and pulls Mulder to the side where Scully is waiting for them.

Mulder glares at Steve as he hides his grin behind his hand. "What the hell have you done to these kids, Steve?" He winces as his knee pops back in. "No way you could have taught them all of this in the last three months."

*****

Artemis looks at Aphrodite and smirks. "I think that Mr. Mulder deserves an answer. Don't you?"

"You go Girl." Aphrodite replies with an evil grin as Artemis disappears. She leans in to watch the show.

*****

Steve squats down next to Mulder and sweetly asks. "What are you talking about Mulder?"

Mulder grimaces as his knee pops back into place. "No way that these kids could become this dangerous in this short time. What did you do to them?"

"Steve had nothing to do with it." A husky female voice replies from the side. Everyone turns to the woman suddenly standing there and Cordelia, Willow, Jenny and Amy bow to her. She smiles at them and they raise their heads with smiles on their faces.

"Lady Goddess why are you here?" Jenny asks.

"Just visiting my four favorite Amazons." Artemis replies with a smile. She turns to Mulder and Scully. "And to make an offer to a future sister."

Mulder looks at the woman and doesn't believe his eyes. He looks over to a statue sitting to the side of the gym in a sort of shrine and demands. "What the hell is going on here?"

"Mulder, Scully allow me to introduce you to Artemis, our patron Goddess." Jenny replies with a smile.

Mulder just stares at the tall, brown haired woman dressed in leather. She moves over to Mulder and he watches her move with the grace of a hunting cat. She hands him a flask and orders. "Drink this."

Mulder looks over to Steve who silently nods his head. He takes the flask and drains it. A few seconds later he feels his pain go away and he patently waits for his body to heal itself. He looks at the woman who claims to be an ancient goddess and grimaces. "Please tell me this is part of the joke."

Artemis leans down. "I'm sorry Mr. Mulder, but I'm real and I'm here to make an offer to your wife."

Mulder looks at Dana and quickly gets up. He shoves her behind him and demands. "I don't know what you are, but you are not going to hurt her while I'm alive." He then glares at Steve. "Steve, I don't know what your game is, but if you try to hurt Dana, I'm going to kill everyone here."

Everyone just stares as Mulder threatens them. Cordelia stares at the man and asks. "Paranoid much?"

Mulder stares at Artemis and demands. "What do you want with my wife?"

"I want to make her an offer. That is all. If she refuses it, so be it." Artemis replies.

"Like hell you will. Tell me what you want and I'll decide what's good for her." Mulder rasps out.

As the final word leaves his mouth, Mulder is shoved forward and Dana steps out from behind him and demands. "Damn it Mulder! How many times do I have to tell you not to do that?" She glares daggers at a suddenly embarrassed Mulder. She looks over to Artemis and asks. "What did you want to ask me?"

Artemis grins, already liking her. "I want to offer you my blessing and make you into an Amazon."

"Why?" Dana asks.

"Because you will need the edge for what's coming." Artemis replies cryptically.

"What's coming?" Steve demands.

"The time is coming for the forces of the Light to face the Darkness openly and I want you to have every edge that I can give you." Artemis replies.

"Hey, by any chance, you wouldn't be related to Buffy's ex-honey, Deadboy, would ya? Because you've got that 'Cryptic-guy' thing down. . . Oww!" Xander cries out as Cordelia smacks him across the back of his neck and goes. "Omph!" As Willow elbows him.

Steve just shakes his head in disbelief. "Why Artemis? I know your brother Hercules likes us mortals, but why you?"

Artemis stares off into space and begins to tell the assembled friends a tale of history, deceit and personal shame. "Over three thousand years ago, I was worshiped by almost twenty thousand Amazons. Because of my blindness, within eight hundred years, the Amazons were destroyed. By not involving myself in their lives, I allowed others to lead them down a road of betrayal, slavery and death. As their chosen Goddess, I was supposed to teach them how to survive and protect them from other Gods who wanted to use them to further their own power."

Artemis breathes deeply, calling back painful memories. "I didn't do anything but watched them become pawns in the other Gods' power plays. I abandoned my followers because I was too fickle to see that they needed me and I needed them. Now, I'm trying to atone for what I did wrong all those years ago. Hercules was right when he told Zeus that we have to involve ourselves with the mortal world again or watch it become another version of Hell."

"Is that why you gave us your blessing and made us Amazons?" Jenny asks.

Artemis nods her head. "Like I told you in the beginning. You need all of the help that you can get and making you four into Amazons was the least that I could and make some small amends to your predecessors who didn't have my help when they needed it."

"What do you want in return for this blessing?" Scully asks.

"The same thing that I ask of Jenny, Willow, Cordelia and Amy. Set up a small shrine to me, offer up a prayer to me a few times a week and call my name in battle."

"Didn't the Amazons stress lesbianism?" Scully asks.

"Yeah right, like Amy, Jenny, Cordy and I frolic in Amazon rituals under a full moon, without any clothes on." Willow replies sarcastically.

"Yuck!! That's gross!" Cordelia replies in disgust.

"I'd pay good money for a tape of that." Xander replies with a lopsided grin on his face. Cordelia promptly elbows him and Xander goes down in a heap.

Cordelia kneels down, her face level with Xander's. "Next time you mention something like that Xander, I'm going to cut it off."

"Aww, honey. I couldn't resist an opening like that." Xander replies with a disarming grin. "You know that I have terminal smart mouth."

"Terminal is right." Cordelia replies as she kisses him soundly.

*****

Artemis looks over to where Cordelia and Xander were off to the side, kissing. Scully follows her gaze and blushes. "Does that look like a lesbian relationship to you?"

"No it doesn't. But why me?" Scully asks. "I can understand Jenny and the girls. After all, they live on the Hellmouth and fight monsters on a weekly, if not daily basis."

Artemis grins. "I've seen your future and believe me, you'll need the extra help."

"What about the men?" Scully asks.

"They have their own blessings. Xander has the skills of a Warrior already. Oz can draw upon his were strength and abilities. Giles is a mage, scholar and Warrior. Steve and Buffy already have more skills and talents than many mortals or Immortals can imagine. Your husband can be more than what he is, but only if he doesn't have to worry about you."

Scully glances over to Mulder and grins. "She's got your number Fox. You do tend to be overprotective."

Mulder wraps a protective arm around her. "You're the most important thing in my life, Dana. If I lost you, I would give up wanting to live."

Dana leans in for a second, warmth and love holding them together. She looks into her husband's eyes and sees only care and love. He silently nods his head and Dana also nods her head in agreement. She turns to Artemis. "I accept."

Artemis smiles. "Please step forward." Dana steps forward and Artemis takes Dana by the shoulders and formerly accepts her. "I Artemis, Patron Goddess of the Amazons, accept you as one of my disciples and grant you my blessing." A golden glow surrounds Dana's body and Artemis gently lowers her unconscious body to the ground.

Mulder, seeing Dana fall to the ground, suddenly tries to move forward, but Steve and Buffy hold him back. He glares at them and hisses out. "If anything's happened to her, I'll take your heads."

"Relax Mulder." Buffy tells him. "We'd never let anything happen to Dana."

Artemis, seeing Mulder's reaction, calmly walks over and touches his face. She smiles as she leaves him a small measure of power. His face blanches as he realizes the gift that Artemis had just given his wife. Artemis smiles at the assembled group once more and disappears. Mulder watches her leave and mutters. "We have to stop coming here. This is too much to take in." He looks over to where Dana is now getting up and breaks away from Steve and Buffy and rushes over to her. He bends down on one knee and asks. "Dana, are you all right?" Dana looks at him and she replies by grabbing his shirt front, dragging his face to hers and ravaging his lips.

"Looks like this training session's a bust." Buffy remarks with a grin.

"For them it is, but not for you and the Slayerettes, Buffy." Steve replies with a grin. Buffy pouts at him as he orders. "Jenny, you and Willow will work with me. Buffy, you, Amy and Cordelia will work with Giles, Xander and Oz." Steve then looks down at Mulder and Scully, lips still locked together. "Mulder, Scully!" Steve calls out, both of the look at him. "Take it to your room." Both grin and hurry from the gym, followed by their friends' laughter.

Steve restarts the training session, but a few minutes into it, the sound of a bed being pushed to its limits can be heard in the gym. Everyone looks up at the ceiling and grins. Steve just shakes his head in resignation and offers. "Anyone want dinner? It's on me."

"Shouldn't we ask Mulder and Scully to join us?" Xander asks with a grin as he's smacked by Cordelia. He glares back at her, but backs down when she, Buffy, Willow, Jenny and Amy all glare back at him.

Steve just glares at him and picks up his sweat shirt as he leaves. In the living room, Steve turns on the TV, to cover the noise and asks. "Pizza sound good?" When no one complains, he picks up the phone. The phone rings twice and its picked up by Ted.

"Romero's Pizza, can I help you?"

"Ted, this is Steve St. Wolf, can I get four large pies, thirty buffalo wings and a garden salad."

"What do you want on the pies?"

"One, Pepperoni, extra cheese, mushrooms. The next one, vegetarian. The third, meat lovers, with extra cheese and the last one, everything on it."

"I'll bring it over in about thirty minutes." Ted replies

"Not a problem Ted." Steve replies as he hangs up.

*****

On Olympus, Aphrodite stares at Artemis' pool and giggles herself silly. "True love. I don't believe it! Artemis, blessing a man and woman in love with each other. I can't believe it."

"What's not to believe?" Artemis asks as she re-appears in her living room.

"That you would chose men and women who are in love with each other and make the women Amazons. Why?"

"Because they need the help and as I explained it to Mulder, its my way of atoning for what happened to their predecessors."

Aphrodite looks at her sister and silently nods her head, remembering the day, two thousand, five hundred years ago, when the last tribe of Amazons was forced to disband.

*****

Part 3 - History Lessons
(This History You'll Never See In School)

June, 500 BC
Ancient Greece

Gabrielle and her teacher, Sonja stand in front of the gathering of Amazon tribes held north of the city of Corinth. She looks over the remaining Warrior women and shudders. She looks over to Sonja and asks. "How can there be so few left?"

"Too much war and not enough children." Sonja replies sadly. "They Amazons have been fighting wars continuously for the last hundred years. Against the Centaurs, Caesar's Legions, bandits, whoever. They have not taken the time to bare children and raise them. So, their numbers have been decreasing in a steady rate."

Gabrielle shakes her head in disgust. "This is all of Ares' doing. He hated the Amazons from the beginning and he's finally destroyed them. If Xena were here, she'd set him right."

"Xena's dead, Gabrielle. It was over fifty years ago when she was last seen fighting the Romans." Sonja softly replies.

"I know, but Xena was always the one to pull a surprise victory out of nowhere."

As they approach the leaders of the gathering, an old shaman woman of the northern Amazons turns around looks directly at Gabrielle. Gabrielle stares back, wondering if she knew her. The woman calls over to a grey haired warrior woman dressed as a chieftain of the northern Amazons and both of them approach. As they approach, Gabrielle sees that the grey hair was streaked with copper and that she walked with a familiar, cocky stride. < Gods above! Its Amarice and Yakut. They're still alive. > Gabrielle stands her ground as her two old friends face her. They stare into her eyes and Gabrielle stares back, unflinching before their withering gaze.

"Where did you go?" Amarice demands.

Yakut smiles and turns to her oldest friend. "She's been on a long journey, Amarice. Now she's here to tell us what we need to know." She then turns to Gabrielle. "You know what must be done. Don't you?"

"It's going to be hard." Gabrielle admits. "And a bitter drought to drink."

"I know. I saw it in my dreams." Yakut admits. "Don't worry, you're doing the right thing for us. A few will argue against it, but it must be done." Yakut replies and turns to the assembled Amazon chieftains. "Gather around. Our queen has come among us."

"What queen?" A dark haired, older warrior women replies. "The last queen died ten years ago with no successor." Several other Amazons also agree with this. "Who is this stranger who you bring among us?"

Yakut stares far off and begins in a quiet voice heard by everyone in the camp. "This is Gabrielle, former battle companion of Xena, the Warrior Princess, she was made a queen of the Greek Amazons over fifty five years ago. She has just returned from a long journey."

Gabrielle looks around her and sheds a tear. She barely sees five hundred women standing around her. "Is this all of us? Is this the last of the Amazons?" She quietly asks, hoping that she was wrong.

"The last few years have been hard." Amarice admits. "We've been fighting a losing war against the Romans. Tiberius and Augustus have been canny fighters and we've not been able to set the Romans against each other like Xena and your were able to do with Caesar and Pompeii. What you see here is the last of us. The last of the Amazons."

Gabrielle hangs her head and cries. She looks up from her tears and screams out. "Ares!! I won't let you destroy them." The assembled women look on in wonder as the young woman nearly glows with power and purpose. Every woman suddenly realizes that THIS was the queen that they were waiting for. Everyone of them stands, attentive, waiting to hear what she had to say.

Gabrielle shifts her gaze from the heavens back to her sister Amazons. "What I have to say is hard, but it must be done. The Amazons, as a tribe and a nation, must break apart." Many of the women raise their voices in anger and betrayal. Gabrielle stands firm and continues. "We don't have the strength to continue fighting the Romans and the others who seek to destroy us. Our only hope is to disband and make new lives for ourselves in the small villages and keep our history, our honor, our accomplishments alive to tell our daughters and to keep the hope alive that someday, we'll be back." The Amazons look on Gabrielle with suspicion as a woman dressed in brown leather appears next to her, several of them gasp as they recognize her. Gabrielle turns in anger and demands. "What do you want Artemis?"

Artemis looks upon the assembled Amazons and sheds a tear as she looks upon the remnants of her most loyal worshipers. "I came to warn you that a Roman Legion was approaching from the south. They want to destroy the Amazons completely."

Gabrielle turns to the assembled chieftains. "Get your people ready to move out." She orders, but they stand firm.

Amarice walks forward. "We've been Amazons all of our lives, Gabrielle, we'll die Amazons. But our daughters and grand daughters don't need to die here today. Take them and lead them out of here and get them to safety. We'll give our lives so that they can survive and continue. Lead them well Gabrielle and show them how."

Gabrielle nods her head, realizing the sacrifice that Amarice and the other chieftains were making. She hugs Amarice and quietly tells her. "Let the Romans remember this day in fear, and let us remember it as one of the proudest moments in our history."

"We will." Amarice replies softly, then looks over to the three hundred who would leave with Gabrielle, her three grand daughters among them. "Make sure that they find good men to love them."

"I will." Gabrielle replies as she and Sonja leave, taking the last of the Amazons with them. Several of the young women turn back to fight beside their mothers, but their sisters hold them and take them away.

Amarice and Yakut turn to Artemis and ask. "Why are you still here?"

"Because I want you to know that the Amazons will be reborn, not for a long time, but they will be reborn."

Amarice bows to her. "Thank you for telling us Artemis, now we can pass on in peace, knowing that our daughters and grand daughters will be safe."

"Goodbye, brave ones." Artemis replies, shedding tears, as she disappears.

Several of the Amazons raise their swords in honor to the departing goddess and Amarice looks to a stone outcropping and quietly mutters. "It's somehow fitting that the Amazons last stand should be with them."

"With who?" One of the women from a far tribe asks.

"With them." Amarice points to a rock out cropping where three names were cut into the stone.

"Who were they?" The woman asks.

"Three men who stood with the Amazons and never asked for anything in return except our friendship. One of them was the father of my children. Another was a battle companion of Xena's, the third, a merchant who helped the Amazon's when we needed it."

"What were their names?"

"One was Arman, the man that I loved, a brave warrior and scholar. The others were a warrior called Joxer, the Mighty, and a merchant called Salmoneous. That stone marks their last stand, defending children against a slaver named Darkous."

Several of the Amazons nod their heads in honor to the three. "It is a good place to die, with good friends nearby." One of the Amazons mutters as one of the scouts runs back to the main body of Amazons.

"The Legion approaches." She breathlessly tells Amarice as the rest of the Amazons prepare for their final battle.

*****

General Julius Treberi stares at the road ahead of him and wonders. < Why does Caesar fear mere women for? > He looks up as one of his scouts rides up to him.

The man salutes and reports. "General, the Amazons have massed in the valley that we're approaching."

"How many?"

"Two hundred, maybe a few more, Sir."

"Only two hundred?" Treberi mutters. < Caesar thought there were more than a thousand. Oh well. > "Go back and only report back if there are any changes." The scout salutes and rushes off.

*****

Two hours later, the scout reports back. "General, they haven't moved at all."

Treberi studies the valley below him and mutters. "They're baiting a trap or they're holding us here allowing their fellow Amazons to escape us."

Marcus Carpus, Treberi's aide. "Maybe that's all that's left of them?"

Treberi stares down at the Amazon's waiting for his Legion. "I hope you're right, Marcus." Treberi mutters softly. He turns to his cohort commanders and orders. "First, second and third cohorts. Move out and kill them."

"Shouldn't we save a few for the men's pleasure?" One of the commanders replies.

Treberi looks as the women hold their weapons ready. "No. I don't want to lose any men to them unnecessarily."

The cohort commanders turn back to their men and order. "The cry is Havoc, No Mercy!!"

The men stare at the commander, but nod their heads in understanding. They turn to face the Amazons facing them and the veterans in the Legion shudder. Several of them have seen the stance and look before, none of those women were going to walk off that field alive and many of them would be dead as well.

*****

An hour later, half the Legion stands on the bloody field where two hundred Amazons stood. Treberi looks around himself at the devastation that the two hundred Amazons had caused to his Legion. He shakes his head in awe at the courage and determination that those two hundred had shown. He looks over to his aide and orders. "Marcus, gather the bodies of the Amazons and have the men build a pyre for them."

"Won't Caesar have you killed for this?" Marcus asks.

"I'm already dead, Marcus. I've lost almost a thousand Legionnaires to two hundred women. Caesar will never forgive that." Treberi replies as he walks over to the body of a woman with grey hair streaked with copper. He squats down and watches as the life slowly leaves her body.

She looks up at Treberi and grins. "It was a good day to die, Roman." She gasps through her pain. "It was, Amazon." Treberi replies in respect as she passes away. He leans over and gently closes her eyes. "Good bye brave one. Caesar was right to fear you. The world will be a poorer place without you."

*****

Artemis stares down at the battlefield where her Amazons had stood and she begins to sob. For the first time in her long life, she feels the pain at the loss of those brave women. She openly weeps for the fallen on the field. "You will be avenged." She promises. "I will make the Roman's Empire fall for this. If it takes me centuries to do it. I will. This I vow."

*****

The mists clear and Artemis and Aphrodite sit together in Artemis' home. Artemis looks over to her sister. "Thank you for helping Gabrielle find good men for the last of the Amazons."

"I was glad to help." Aphrodite replies softly. "Thanks for learning from your past mistakes."

"I know. My new Amazons will have men who will love them and help them raise their children."

"Those five are not going to be enough to restart the Amazons." Aphrodite replies.

Artemis grins. "They're not the only ones, Aphrodite. Don't forget the decedents of my last Amazons are still alive and thriving. These five will be the leaders, the queens that will lead them."

*****

Part 4 - Preparations
(They Say When You Plan For Peace, Plan For War.
When Planning For a Party, Plan For a Disaster.
Especially When the Victim Can Burn the Place Down With a Hiccup.)

May 21st 1998
Iverson Air Freight
Sunnydale Airport

Buffy watches as Frank lands the huge helicopter on the ground in front of his new offices at Sunnydale's Municipal Airport and whistles in awe. She turns to her friends and yells above the sound of the rotors. "God is that thing huge or what?"

Willow grins and watches in glee as the pilot gently lands the helicopter in front of them. "Frank really knows how to fly that thing."

"I wonder why we're using something this big?" Xander asks.

"Because we have to take a large amount of supplies with us to the party." Giles replies as he and Jenny walk up to their charges.

"Like what?" Cordelia asks.

"Just a bunch of stuff." A tall, dark haired man with an easy grin and wearing an Iverson Air Freight Jacket replies as he looks over to a large pile of boxes and packages. "Think he's taking enough for this trip?"

Buffy glares back at the man and asks. "Why? Have you ever been to one of Steve's birthday parties?"

"Certainly. Fragnar is an old friend of mine as well." Jacques Renhard replies with a grin.

"You know Fragnar?" Buffy asks in disbelief.

"Of course I do. I've served with him and Steve on various missions for the Order."

"You're a Knight of the Grail?" Giles asks in disbelief.

Jacques smiles. "Oui."

"Why are you working for Frank?" Buffy asks.

"Everyone needs to make a living, even a Knight of the Order." Jacques replies as a blond haired woman walks up to him and wraps her arms around his waist. He smiles down at her as she leans her head onto Jacques' shoulder. "Allow me to introduce you to my wife, Terry Carter-Renhard." Terry nods her head in greeting.

"Will you be here long?" Giles asks.

"I'm afraid not. We're here to install the computer and security system and then we're headed back to New York." Terry replies. "By the time that you return, we'll be gone."

"Can I ask a question?" Giles asks.

"Certainly." Jacques replies.

"What is Steve's position with the Order?"

"I'm afraid that is something that Steve will have to tell you." Jacques replies neutrally.

Giles nods his head. "Very well then. Thank you." And he turns to go away, but Jacques stops him.

"May I ask why you want to know this?" Giles looks at Buffy and her friends and Jacques follows his gaze. "You truly care for these young people." Jacques comments.

Giles nods his head in agreement. "They're the children that I thought I would never have and I want to protect them as much as possible."

Jacques nods his head. "Rest your fears mon ami. Steve St. Wolf is a man of honor, courage and dedication."

"But dedicated to what?" Giles asks. "And to whom?"

Terry walks up to Giles and softly tells him. "Steve is dedicated and loyal to his friends, have no fear in that regard." Terry then smiles. "And from the way he was looking at the girl called Buffy, you should worry more like a father over his daughter's suitor."

"Thank you both." Giles replies.

"You're more than welcome, mon ami." Jacques replies as he and Terry leave. When they're out of earshot, Jacques leans in and whispers. "It is good to see Sir Steve finally have someone."

Terry nods her head in agreement. "At least now he finally has someone to love. I cried for almost a week when I read how Steve's wife died and how he was hunted for almost a year before he became an Immortal."

Jacques hugs her in agreement. "He did what any man of honor would have done in his place."

"Is that why your Mother and Tante Marie treat him like a favorite son?" Terry asks with a grin.

"Of course." Jacques replies with a quiet laugh. "Remember how embarrassed he got when Momma tried to fix him up with my cousin Juliet?"

Terry giggles. "Poor Steve. He didn't know what to do with that man hungry girl."

"Thank God, Poppa and Uncle Michael got him out of there."

"He was lucky that those terrorists chose that particular time to try and steal that nuclear missile." Terry replies with a giggle.

Jacques laughs. "Poor Juliet. She couldn't understand what was happening. Tante Marie didn't like it when most of the men and a few of women immediately went with him. She was ready to kill those terrorists for ruining her party." The both of them laugh as they head to the office to finish installing the security system.

*****

Buffy and her friends watch as Steve raises the charm and utters a quick spell. They hold on to the sides of the helicopter as it passes through the portal and they watch as the ground changes under them. The rolling hills of California are changed to deep chasms and steep sided valleys. Giles looks out his window and mutters. "My word, this is incredible."

"I've never seen a place like this." Dana quietly tells Mulder.

"I have." Mulder begins. "It looks like areas of the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain ranges. God, but it's beautiful."

Xander looks out his window and calls out. "Steve, there's a bunch of dragons coming at us."

"Are they green in color?" Frank asks.

"Yep. Why?"

"That's just the kids." Steve replies with a grin. "They always escort us to the estate."

Xander looks back at the dragons as they move into a V formation around the helicopter and he looks at their fifteen foot wingspans and asks Cordelia. "He calls them kids? Those guys are bigger than your car."

"I'd hate to see what he calls an adult." Cordelia replies with a grin as she watches the young dragons romp around the helicopter.

Willow stares out her window and sees a full sized dragon approach. "Uh, Steve?"

"Yeah Willow?"

"There's a huge dragon coming at us." Willow replies as she stares out the window.

Steve looks out his side and laughs softly. "Don't worry Willow. It's only the birthday boy himself."

"Oh wow. Is he beautiful or what?" Buffy replies in awe as Fragnar does a supersonic flyby.

"Show off." Frank replies with a grin as he starts the helicopter down. "We're here kids." He calls out. "Look out your left window and you'll see the town and the estate that we use to throw these little parties."

"My word!" Giles exclaims. "That large building looks like chateau and the town nearby looks like a medieval town."

"They DO have running water and indoor plumbing." Steve tells him.

"How long have these people been here?" Jenny asks.

"Well over two thousand years." Steve replies.

"Do they have contact with our world?" Giles asks.

"Sure do. But most of them don't really care for our world. Too noisy, pushy and no dragons to watch soaring on the morning winds." Frank replies.

"Hey Steve." Xander calls out. "A bunch of people are leaving the town."

"They're coming here to help us with the packages." Steve replies as Frank lands the helicopter near the gathering crowd. Frank quickly shuts down the engines and both he and Steve walk to the rear hatch of the helicopter and lower the ramp. A white haired older man, dressed in blue jeans, a heavy red work shirt and boots walks up the ramp to greet them.

"Steve, Frank. It's good to see you both again." The man booms out. He looks behind them and sees Scully, Mulder, Buffy, Giles and the rest of the Scooby Gang. "Who are these people?" He asks in a suspicious whisper.

"Ed, these are friends of mine." Steve replies. "I work with these people now on a full time basis." Steve explains and introduces everyone. When he comes to Buffy and explains who she is, Ed gives her a deep bow.

"The Slayer is always welcome among us. Rest and enjoy your time here."

"You've heard of the Slayer?" Giles asks in shock.

Ed nods his head. "Several of our families are the descendants of Slayer families who were given sanctuary here so that their daughters could fight without worrying about them. Several families are also the descendants of children left behind by Slayers who rested here for a while and then went back to the fighting."

"My God. There are lapses in the diaries that have never been explained. Could the lapses be periods when Slayers stayed here?" Giles asks.

"They probably are my friend. I take it that you're the Slayer's Watcher?"

"Yes I am, Mr. Whitman. How did the Slayers come to Dragon Valley?"

"The Dragons of course. Fragnar has always had a soft spot for the Slayers and helped them when he could. Several other Dragons have also cared for those poor girls and have sought to help them as much as possible. But your Council has always put a stop to it. They have never allowed the poor girls any friends or loved ones and have kept them under their thumbs far too much."

"I know. That is one of the main arguments that I've always had with the Council. Buffy's still alive because of her friends and the help that they've given her."

"And the Council allows this?"

Giles gives him his best Ripper grin. "What the Council doesn't know, won't hurt them."

Whitman smiles. "Call me Ed, Rupert." He turns to the town folk and calls out. "Everyone knows what to do." And with that, the people form a line and begin to move the boxes from the helicopter in record time. Buffy and her friends watch in awe as the twelve thousand pounds of food, refreshments and other items are taken off the helicopter.

As they boxes move off the cargo deck, Steve calls out to the mayor. "Ed, the boxes with blue tape are the parts that you asked me to bring for you."

Ed nods his head and calls out to the people moving the boxes to the large house. "Timothy!" A young, blond haired man looks up. "Those boxes with the blue tape are the parts that you need for the solar energy system." The man waves his hand and begins to pile the boxes next to him. Ed turns back to Steve and grins. "Thanks Steve. We needed those parts to upgrade our power system."

"Not a problem, Ed." Steve replies with a grin. "David Xanatos was more than happy to sell them to me."

"What did you threaten him with?" Ed asks, wondering what Steve did to get the advanced parts.

"I threatened to steal Fox from him." Steve replies with a snicker.

Ed laughs in glee. "I take that Mrs. Xanatos was flattered by the offer?"

Steve laughs. "She was extremely pissed at David about something and I think she actually might have taken me up on the offer."

Before Ed could reply with anything more than a laugh, Buffy asks sweetly. "Steve, honey, who is this Fox Xanatos? And what are you doing offering to take her away from her husband?"

Ed stares at the Slayer and grins. < Oh ho! The Slayer has feelings for Steve. And from the way he's looking at her, the feelings are mutual. >

Steve grins and wraps his arm around her waist and kisses her on her forehead. "Nothing to worry about. Fox may be beautiful, charming and an excellent shot, but she doesn't hold a candle to you."

Buffy gushes and hugs Steve. As they break and Buffy walks away to stand with her friends, Steve breathes a sigh of relief. < Man, that was close. >

As Buffy walks away, she stops and thinks for a second. < That bastard! He conned me! > She seethes and turns around, asking in a voice dripping honey, tinged with anger. "Oh Steve."

Steve turns around, hearing the edge in Buffy's voice, he looks up at the sky and asks. < Gods, please give me the strength and skill to survive what's coming. > "What is it Buffy?"

"This Fox woman. Who the hell is she?"

Ed looks on, enjoying himself immensely. < Oh this should be fun. >

"Fox Xanatos?" Steve asks, playing for time.

"Yes, her." Buffy replies as she stalks forward, glaring at Steve.

< Oh boy. Am I deep shit? > Steve thinks to himself as he watches Buffy size him up for the kill and realizes. < Of course I am. When will I learn to keep my mouth shut? > Steve grins a disarmingly smile. "Fox and David Xanatos are old friends of mine." Steve explains, Buffy nods her head, listening. "Well, Fox and I have this running gag going about me stealing her from her husband David."

"And?" Buffy begins, glaring at Steve, arms crossed, her foot tapping on ground.

"We would never do it, of course, but David doesn't have to know it."

"And why is this?"

"Because David sometimes doesn't appreciate what he has in Fox."

"And that is?"

Steve gathers Buffy up in his arms. "Fox is one of the most beautiful, vivacious, talented women in the world. She loves David deeply and is proud to be the mother of their two children. She wouldn't trade that for anything in the world."

"Even for you?" Buffy asks.

Steve smiles. "Fox only thinks of me as an old family friend who sometimes pisses her husband off and would wade through an army for them if the need ever arouse."

Buffy smiles. "Has it?"

Steve grins. "We're talking about Fox and David Xanatos here, honey. Of course it has."

"And you waded through an army for him? Or was it her?"

"It was for their son, Alexander. I rescued him when some people kidnaped him." Steve replies quietly.

"Oh." Buffy replies. "I never heard about David Xanatos' son being kidnaped."

"Of course not, honey. David ordered that it be kept quiet and asked me to find him."

"What happened to the kidnapers?" Buffy asks.

"They won't be bothering anyone anymore."

Buffy nods her head in understanding and turns to go as Steve takes her in his arms and kisses her. "What was that for?" She asks with a smile.

"Luck." Steve replies as he walks back to the helicopter with Frank and they take off.

"Where are they going?" Buffy asks Mulder.

"They went to pick up the music for the party." Dana replies with a smile.

"Oh yeah. The country music people." Buffy replies with distaste as she walks off.

Ed, watching the byplay, asks. "What's wrong with the Slayer?"

"She doesn't like country music." Mulder replies with a grin.

"Why? Garth has a great show. So does John Tesh." Ed replies with frown.

"Kids have their own type of music that they like listening to." Mulder replies. "And what we 'old folks' listen to, is not what they want to hear."

*****

Ronnie looks around him at the Nashville Municipal Airport and wonders. "Why are we meeting here and not at the party location?"

"I don't know. St. Wolf told us we'd be picked up here and then we'd go to the party by helicopter."

Ronnie looks around and mutters. "Man must have a fleet of helicopters if he's taking all of these people up at one time."

Kix looks up in the sky. "I don't think he's got a fleet, Ronnie."

Ronnie turns around and watches as the huge Chinook lands a short distance away. "Damn, that one BIG helicopter. What the hell is it?"

"It's a CH-47 Chinook helicopter Mr. Dunn. They used them in Vietnam to ferry whole companies of Striker teams." A man in an Iverson Air Service jacket tells him. His name tag reads 'Red'.

"Striker teams, Red? What were those?" Ronnie asks.

"Mobile teams of Special Forces, Rangers, Force Recon Marines and Navy SEALs. They were put down to act as blocking forces when Charlie was on the run. The Striker Teams put the fear of God into Charlie." The man replies with a grin.

"I take it you were on one of those Striker teams?" Kix asks with respect.

"Sure was Mr. Brooks, I served in the 1st Marine Division, Force Recon. Everyone here at Iverson Air is a Veteran who served honorably. Mr. Iverson won't hire just anyone."

"I take it that Mr. Iverson is also a Veteran?" Kix asks.

"Sure is. Six years as a Navy SEAL."

"How about Mr. St. Wolf?" Ronnie asks.

"Mr. St. Wolf is a funny one. He walks the walk, he can also talk the talk, but he doesn't. I think he was either a SEAL or a Green Beret, but I think he's more likely Covert Operations, maybe CIA."

"What makes you say that?" Kix asks, suddenly worried.

"Because he once told me that he's an antiques dealer. I almost bust a gut laughing at that one."

"Why?" Ronnie asks.

"Remember the Hillbilly Mafia from a few years back?" Both men nod, remembering the street gang that once ruled most of Nashville's seeder sections. "They tried to force us to carry their poison. We contacted Mr. Iverson and asked permission to shove their offer back down their throats, literally." Ronnie and Kix nod in agreement and grin, imagining this tough old Marine showing those young shitheads real terror. "Mr. Iverson told us to do nothing and that he would have the matter settled quietly.

"Three days later, Mr. St. Wolf comes in and tells the Ops manager that he needed a ride to Africa and a shower. The ops manager lets him use the employee locker room and went to arrange a flight for him. He told me to go in and tell Mr. St. Wolf that the plane would be ready in thirty minutes and see if he wanted anything to eat." Red leans back and spits. "Well, I went into the locker room and found Mr. St. Wolf stripping down an Uzi and several Glock pistols. He looked up and asked what I wanted. I told him his flight would be ready in thirty and asked if he wanted some breakfast. The man ordered quite a meal. I ain't seen anyone eat that much since my Force Recon days." Ronnie and Kix look at back at Red, not understanding the reference. "Marines only eat that much after they've seen some heavy action. Their bodies are literally starving for food." Ronnie and Kix look at each other and ask themselves. < What the hell did Garth set us up for? > "The next day, the police found most of the Hillbilly Mafia dead. The bodies were buried under a ton of their own poison."

"Do you think that this St. Wolf guy killed them?" Ronnie asks quietly.

"Never said he did. Never said he didn't, just noticing the coincidences, that's all." Red replies with a grin.

"Some coincidence." Ronnie mutters as the Chinook lands in front of the two groups. Ronnie and Kix walk up to the rear ramp as it lowers.

*****

Steve looks down at the mass of people waiting for him and wonders. < I hope none of them do something really stupid. > He walks to the edge of the ramp and jumps off. He lands in crouch and straightens his legs and walks over to Kix Brooks and holds out his hand. "Mr. Brooks I presume? Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Steven St. Wolf."

Kix takes the proffered hand and shakes it with a calm that his partner, Ronnie, wasn't feeling. < Damn, he just jumped down five feet like it was nothing. This guy is nothing like the antiques dealers I've seen. >

"A pleasure Mr. St. Wolf. So who's the friend you're throwing this party for?"

"A good friend of mine. He's at his estate right now and we'll be leaving as soon as everyone's aboard. Any question's."

"When are we eating?" A young man asks.

Steve grins. "They were setting up an old fashioned Texas style barbeque just as I was leaving. Hope you folks enjoy freshly barbequed beef with all of the fixings." The large group lets out a roar of approval and move to the back of the Chinook. Before anyone can step foot on the ramp, Frank Iverson walks out.

"Sorry folks, but we've got a late addition coming in and we'll be here for another fifteen minutes."

"Who's coming in?" Steve asks.

"Our old buddy John Tesh. He's got the pilot redlining his engines to get here on time." Frank replies with a grin.

Steve just shakes his head and mutters. "Trust John to make an entrance."

Kix and Ronnie walk over to their band and wait on the chairs set up for them.

*****

Part 5 - Gifts
(Never Look a Gift Giving Dragon In The Mouth,
You Might Get Burned.)

Buffy looks out over Dragon Valley and sighs wistfully. < God, it's beautiful here. > A shadow passes over her and she hears a dragon land behind her. She turns around and sees a huge golden skinned dragon just closing its wings. The dragon lowers its head politely and asks. "What makes you sad, o' fair maiden?"

Buffy grins up at the smooth tongued dragon. "Just missing my honey."

"And this honey be?"

"Steve St. Wolf."

"Ahh, so the Wanderer has finally found himself a mate. I'm glad to see that he has good taste at least. Are you also long lifed as he is?"

"Yes, I'm an Immortal. Who are you?" Buffy asks, suddenly suspicious.

"My name is Smaug. I've known Wanderer for the last twelve years." He looks over Buffy's clothes and asks. "Where is your sword, small one?"

"I don't have one, yet." Buffy replies, starting to get a little worried.

"Why not?"

Buffy sighs. "I just don't feel comfortable with any sword. Almost every sword that I've ever picked up has just 'felt' wrong."

"Almost? Why didn't you keep the one that felt right?"

"I don't think that Steve will part with Demon Slayer anytime soon." Buffy replies with a smile.

"That is the only sword that you feel comfortable with?" Smaug asks with a grin starting to form on his mouth.

"Yeah, pretty much so."

"Would you please wait here? I need to get something from my cave."

"Sure, not a problem." Buffy replies, suddenly curious.

*****

Smaug flies off to his cave and quietly enters. < Let Rylah sleep. She needs the rest after giving birth to our six children. > Smaug looks over his mate's body and the notices the young dragons were asleep next to her, sharing in her heat. He looks over them and wistfully smiles. < My children. When did I ever think that I would say that? But it comes so easily now. > He looks around and finds what he wants and reaches for it. As he lifts the bundle up, it makes a slight noise and Rylah instantly awakes.

She looks over to her mate and asks quietly. "Smaug, why are you sneaking around like a thief?"

Smaug gives her a grin. "Wanderer is back for one of Fragnar's 'birthday' parties."

"It's that time of year again?" Smaug nods his head, his wife sighs < I can't leave the children. Well, there's always next year. > and asks. "Why are you taking that sword from your hoard?"

"Wanderer brought a maiden with him and I think that if she's worthy of Wanderer's love, then she'll be worthy of the mate to his sword."

Rylah's interest is suddenly peaked and she orders. "Stay with the children Smaug. I want to meet this maiden, before you give her Vampire Slayer."

"Understood, my lady." Smaug replies with a grin as he sends his wife an image of what Buffy looks like.

"She's small isn't she?" Rylah remarks as she gently extracts herself from the fledglings.

"But her essence is pure and strong." Smaug replies as he curls protectively around their children. Rylah smiles at the scene as she leaves their cave.

She quickly finds Buffy and lands behind her. Buffy turns around and admires the beauty of the golden dragon that's facing her. "Hello, I'm Buffy." She tells her.

"I know. Smaug told me you would be here. I wanted to meet the female who was the mate of our good friend, Wanderer."

"Mate? We're not married." Buffy replies.

Rylah openly grins and she gets ready to leave. "Just give it some time. You're also an Immortal, aren't you?"

"Yeah I am. Why?" A thoroughly confused Buffy asks.

"Just asking." Rylah replies with a chuckle as she takes off. She quickly goes back to the cave that she shares with Smaug and enters. She looks down at how Smaug was lying down next to their children and grins. < I never would have thought that I would see a more beautiful sight. > "Get up lazy bones." Rylah tells her mate.

"Did you find what you were looking for?" Smaug asks with a grin as his wife protectively curls around their children.

"Yes. Now go and give her that sword." Smaug picks up the bundle and turns to leave. As he walks past her, Rylah asks. "Smaug, you do know that those swords are cursed, don't you?"

"Of course I do my love. But if anyone deserves to be cursed, it's our old friend." Smaug replies with a laugh as he leaves.

Rylah just shakes her head and quietly laughs. < Oh my poor Smaug. You're finally getting your revenge on Steve St. Wolf. >

Smaug quickly finds Buffy again and lands next to her. He drops the sword. "Try this one." Smaug tells Buffy.

Buffy walks over and hesitantly picks up the scabbarded sword and pulls out the blade. Her eyes light up as the blade glows a faint blue in color. Along the blade a series of Japanese characters glows a darker blue. She removes the sword entirely from its sheath and begins to do an advanced sword exercise with it. Smaug watches in fascination as the young woman begins to bond with the sword called Vampire Slayer almost immediately.

"God, this sword feels just like Demon Slayer. But it can't be. Can it?" Buffy asks as she finishes up her routine.

Smaug grins. "Its name is Vampire Slayer, Buffy. It's the mate of the sword called Demon Slayer."

"But Giles told me that it was lost over two hundred years ago. Where'd you get it?"

"I took it from a demon's treasure hoard. I give it to you now as a gift."

"Why are you giving it to me?" Buffy asks as she moves the sword in another exercise as though it extension of her arm.

"I'm returning a favor that I owe to your 'honey'." Smaug tells her with a grin. "Now the sword has numerous powers and abilities that you should know about."

"You mean it's more than just a sword?"

"Yes. The Slayer swords can be used defensively as well as offensively."

"How?"

"The swords can absorb and dissipate any hostile magic sent against their users or their allies."

"Care to say that in English?" Buffy asks with a grin. < Smaug talks like Giles. >

Smaug grins back. "No." Buffy throws her bottom lip into a killer pout that tugs at Smaug's heart strings. < Old friend, you have truly chosen a dangerous one > Continuing with a grin. "The swords can act as shields, protecting the bearers and their friends from any magic thrown at them."

"What do they do to the magic?"

"They absorb it and add it to their own strength. So the more magic used against you, the stronger the swords become."

"Oh wow. What else?"

"Cut a vampire anywhere with the sword and it is destroyed."

"You mean, I don't have to stab it in the heart or take its head for the sword to work?"

"Yes, even a light scratch will kill most vampires. Some of the older vampires will need to be cut more deeply, but that shouldn't be a problem."

"Wow. Thanks, I don't know what to say."

"Just don't show that sword to Wanderer until I'm present. I want to see the look on his face." Smaug replies with a chuckle.

"Are you setting Steve up for something?" Buffy asks, suddenly suspicious.

"Nothing harmful." Smaug replies with a grin as he leaves. < I swore that I'd get even with him for setting me up with Rylah. >

Buffy watches Smaug fly off and quickly rushes off to see Giles.

She quickly finds him overseeing the meal preparation and takes him aside. "Giles can we talk?"

"Certainly Buffy. What is it?"

Buffy shows him the scabbarded sword and Giles takes it and pulls open the blade. He reads the inscription running down its length and utters a soft. "My word." He looks up at Buff and asks. "Do you realize what this sword is?"

"According to Smaug." Giles looks up at the name. "He's the dragon who gave it to me. The sword's name is Vampire Slayer and that it's the mate to Steve's sword, Demon Slayer."

Giles nods his head in agreement. "Quite right. Buffy do you realize what this means?"

"No, I don't. Care to explain it to me?"

"The Slayer swords are said to carry a curse with them."

"What sort of curse?"

"That whoever the bearers are, they would become lovers."

"Okay." Buffy replies with a wicked grin. "So that's why he was smiling so much. I wonder what he's got against Steve?"

"Let's ask Mr. Whitman. He appears to know everything that happens in Dragon Valley." Giles replies as he walks towards Dragon Town's mayor. As he draws near, Giles asks. "Ed, a moment of your time, please."

Whitman turns and grins at the approaching pair. < It's good to see Steve finally have someone. > "What can I do for you and the Slayer, Rupert?"

Giles gives him a quick rundown on Buffy's meeting with Smaug. When Giles tells him about the curse, Whitman begins to laugh uncontrollably. After a few minutes, he gasps out. "That old snake finally found a way to get even. I don't believe it." Then he begins to laugh again. Buffy and Giles watch him and wonder. He finally gains control of himself and tells them. "Steve forced Smaug to marry the fair Rylah. Smaug swore to get even for it and the old snake is going to do it. The Gods must be laughing themselves silly over this one."

"I don't find it silly that I'm set up for a marriage that I might not want." Buffy tells him.

Whitman looks into Buffy's eyes and replies in a fatherly voice. "Young lady, you may lie to yourself and to your friends, but I've married off four daughters to good and kind men whom they all deeply love, I know the signs. So accept your fate as you're meant to, with a glad heart and a smile on your face."

Buffy glares at him, but Whitman gives her a smile and gently gives her shoulder a squeeze. Buffy gives the old man a hug and softly asks. "Do you think Steve will want to hold the wedding here?"

Whitman grins. "I'm sure something could be arranged. The Council will more than likely approve it and help get everyone here."

"Do you think Steve will be angry?"

Both Whitman and Giles share a fatherly grin. "Not if he knows what's good for him." Whitman replies.

*****

Part 6 - Making An Entrance
(John Tesh - Ultimate Showman)

Steve, Frank and the rest watch as the Lear Jet makes a quick landing and the door opens up almost before the plane stops. John Tesh waves from the door and grins like a maniac. Steve turns to Frank. "John is really psyched. I wonder what's up?"

"Don't know, but knowing him, it could be anything." Frank replies as John hurries over from the plane.

"Are we too late?" He breathlessly asks.

"Nope." Steve replies with a grin as he grabs John up in a hug. "So what took you so long?"

"Had to pick up something in Italy. I hope Fragnar likes it." John replies with a grin.

"What'd you get for him?" Frank asks.

"Remember the painting that Joshua made three years ago?" Frank and Steve nod their heads, remembering the painting that John took home with him. "Well, I took the painting to this tapestry maker in Milan and he created a tapestry from it."

Steve whistles in awe. "John that must have cost you a small fortune. Why?"

John grins. "I really like Fragnar and I thought that it would look great in his place."

"How big is it?" Frank asks.

"Sixty by twenty. I had them make it that large so that it would cover one of his walls." John replies with a grin.

Frank just shakes his head and orders. "Red, grab a few of the guys and drag the package that John has in his jet and tie it down in the middle of the Chinook." Red nods his head and grabs a half dozen of the people there. Frank, Steve, John and the rest watch as the men manhandle wrapped tapestry from the jet and take it to the Chinook. After it was tied down in the center aisle, Frank calls out. "Everybody get aboard. We're leaving now for the estate."

Everyone quickly gets aboard and Steve and Frank lift the rear ramp. They then move through the crowd to the front of the Chinook and take their seats. John Tesh joins them in the forward cabin with Brooks and Dunn. Ronnie and Kix watch as Frank masterfully lifts up the helicopter and guides it northward. After a few minutes he turns to Steve and asks. "Are you ready?"

"Yep." Steve replies as he lifts a golden medallion from his shirt and holds it between his hands. "Portal opening in five."

John grins as Kix and Ronnie look on in confusion. < I was like that on my first trip through. >

Kix and Ronnie watch in horror as the sky opens up in front of them and the helicopter continues through. They continue to watch as the scenery below changes from the gently rolling hills and mountains of Tennessee to high peaks and large rolling valleys rivaling those found in the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains.

"Where the hell are we?" Kix asks.

Steve turns around. "Welcome to Dragon Valley gentlemen. I hope this is the first of many visits for the both of you."

"Dragon Valley? What kind of name is that?" Ronnie asks as the answer becomes self evident. He and Kix watch as a large green dragon flies off to the side of the helicopter and dips its wings in passing.

Frank grins. "Jeg is growing up real fast."

"I don't see any of his brothers or sisters." Steve replies. "Usually they're all here to welcome us." Suddenly five more shadows over take the helicopter and the rest of the children show up.

"Spoke too soon Steve." Frank replies with a grin as the six young dragons form a V around the helicopter and guide it to a landing by an open amphitheater. As everyone climbs out, they stare at the six dragons doing a complicated dance in the air. Steve, Frank and John stand together with Brooks and Dunn and watch the show.

"My God. Those are real dragons." Brooks mutters. "No wonder Garth likes these parties, he's always been a nut about that fantasy stuff." Ronnie watches in fascination as three of the largest dragons land near them and they bow their heads in respect to St. Wolf and Iverson.

"Old friends, it's good to see you again." Smaug tells Frank, John and Steve.

"Sorry we didn't stay long enough to talk Smaug, but Frank and I had to pick up the music for the party."

"No apologies are necessary, Steve, John Tesh and his band are always welcome here. But where is Garth? And who are these strangers?"

"Garth couldn't make it this year Smaug, but he did recommend that I bring his cousin Kix and his partner, Ronnie in place of him."

Smaug stares down at the pair and gives a slight 'hummph'. "Well, since Garth did recommend them, I suppose they could be good."

Ronnie glares up at Smaug and steps forward on his tip toes. "I don't know what the hell is going on here, but I will not be insulted by an overgrown lizard. Kix and I are just as good, if not better than Garth. If you don't like us. Tough! But we have a great show that blows Garth's out of the water any day of the week." Ronnie continues to glare as Smaug's mouth begins to form a lopsided grin.

< Now this human has courage. > Smaug grins to himself as he spies Buffy, wearing her new sword, and the rest coming from the mansion. < Now my old friend gets his. >

Kix, Ronnie and John watch as a group of humans approach the helicopter and begin to take bags and luggage away to the large mansion. John Tesh calls after the man overseeing everyone. "Charlie! Make sure my group's bags go into our old rooms."

Charlie waves back and grins. "Of course, John. Glad you could make it this year."

Steve looks around as Buffy grabs him up in a hug. Steve returns it and asks. "Had fun while I was away?"

"You betcha." Buffy replies with a grin as she stands back.

Steve notices the sword hanging down from he side and asks. "Where'd you get the sword from, Buffy?" Buffy grins and looks at Smaug, who's now also grinning evilly. Steve turns around and asks. "What's so funny Smaug?"

"Oh nothing, old friend. I'm just returning a favor that I owe you." Smaug replies as he barely holds in the laughter.

Steve, suddenly suspicious, glares at the large golden dragon. Kix and Ronnie quickly back away from them. "What did you do old snake?" Steve demands.

"Just did to you what you did to me." Smaug replies with a laugh.

"You didn't."

"I did." Smaug replies with an air of superiority.

"How did you do it?"

"The Slayer Swords carry a curse on them. Whoever carries one of the blades becomes the lover of the person carrying the other." Smaug replies as he falls down, laughing. Most of the dragons and people within earshot also begin to laugh.

"Admit it my friend." Fragnar replies with an evil grin. "Smaug got you."

Steve glares at his old friends and demands. "Have you two ever considered that Buffy or I might not want to stay together?"

"Please my friend, don't lie to us or to yourself." Fragnar replies. "We see in you and the lovely Miss Summers, what you saw in Smaug and Rylah. Remember what you told Smaug when you forced him to marry Rylah? 'Don't fight the Fates. They can be real bitches when they're pissed off.'" Steve glares at Fragnar as he turns to Smaug. "Thank you my friend, seeing Steve's face was one of the best birthday gifts you've ever given me."

*****

Ronnie turns to John Tesh and asks. "Is it like this every time you come here?"

John grins. "Not like this. But it sounds like everyone's having fun."

"Are we in any danger?" Kix asks.

"Not at all. The worst that I've ever seen happen is that the insults start flying." John replies as he watches Steve storm off. < I wonder what's got Steve so angry? >

*****

Steve stares at his old friends and angrily mutters. "If you need me, I'll be over by the cliff." And he storms off.

Buffy watches as he leaves and asks. "What got Steve angry?"

"He doesn't like the fact that he's now bound to you." Smaug replies with a grin.

"Why doesn't he want that?" Buffy asks.

Fragnar sighs. "Because he still loves his long dead wife and he has been afraid to open himself to someone else."

"Oh." Buffy quietly replies and walks away, following Steve's path to the cliffs.

She quickly finds him sitting down, his back against a boulder, staring at the stars. Buffy quietly sits down next to him and asks. "What's wrong? Don't you want me to have Vampire Slayer?"

Steve sighs and turns to her. < God, she's beautiful. > "It's not that." Steve pauses. "Well it is that."

"Care to explain?"

Steve grimaces. "Buffy, for the last four months, you and I have become more than friends and I was thinking about taking it further. But now that you have Vampire Slayer, I just don't know anymore."

"What the hell does that mean?" Buffy angrily demands.

Steve looks her eyes and gently tells her. "Buffy, I've always felt that people had the right to make their own decisions and that no one or nothing should interfere in those choices, good or bad."

Buffy nods in agreement. "What does that have to do with us?"

Steve taps his sword and hers and softly tells her. "The curse."

Buffy looks down at her sword and gulps. "Oh God, you don't mean?" Steve nods his head. "You want to break up because of a stupid curse?" She angrily demands.

Steve stares out, looking over the majestic beauty that is Dragon Valley. "After we finish up here, I'll be leaving Sunnydale. Vampire Slayer should help you protect the town. The house is yours if you want it." Steve replies as his heart breaks with his decision.

Buffy angrily gets up. "Like hell you will!!" Steve stares at her. "Just because there's some stupid curse, you're going to break up with me?"

"Buffy you're not in your right mind. The curse could already be affecting you. I only want us to have some breathing space, to sort out our feelings." Steve replies as he stands up, ready to leave.

"Sort out our feelings?! Breathing space?!" Buffy angrily snaps back. "What the hell are you saying?!" Steve looks down, avoiding her eyes. "You arrogant, pig headed, sanctimonious jerk!! I loved you before Smaug gave me this damned sword. Didn't you love me?" Shocked, Steve doesn't reply. Buffy angrily continues. "When we were kissing in the gym, it felt like it!! What makes you think that I want you out of my life?"

Steve takes her by the shoulders. "Buffy, listen to me. It's the curse talking, not you."

Buffy slams a fist into Steve's jaw. Steve falls to the ground as Buffy grinds out. What?!? Now you're saying you don't love me!? That you can't commit to me like I've committed to you? All right, leave!! But if you leave, never come back again." Buffy then begins to cry.

Before Steve can reply or move to comfort her, Fragnar lands nearby. "I see that you two are talking, mind if I tell you a story?"

Steve looks at Buffy, who silently nods her head. "It's your birthday Fragnar, go ahead."

"In ancient Japan, the Slayer swords were stripped of their chosen champions by a clever demon. Before the demon could take the swords, a Ronin, who served the Slayers, took the swords and carried them away. As he traveled, the Ronin found two new champions. One of them was a boy from the Tanaka clan, the other, a girl of the Oyshi clan. The Ronin took them away and trained them in the use of the Slayer swords.

"During their training, the boy and girl fell in love and married. Shortly after the marriage, the young couple were sent on a mission to defeat a vampire warlord. They completed their mission, but the boy was wounded and the girl took him to her home to heal. Her father was angry at her for marrying the son of his greatest enemy. He demanded that she kill herself for the shame that she brought to the family. He told her that he would kill her husband quickly when she died, otherwise, he would torture him to death."

"Fragnar, sorry to interrupt." Steve tells his old friend. "It's a great story, but what does it have to do with our problem?"

"You youngsters have no patience." Fragnar snorts with a laugh. "Let me finish the story and you'll have the answer to your question."

"Go ahead." Buffy replies.

"Where was I? Oh yes." Fragnar replies. "The girl walked to a clearing and prayed to her ancestors for guidance. After a while, she started to cry and her ancestors' spirits called to me for help. I appeared in front of her in the guise of a Samurai and asked her to take me before her father. She lead me to her father, who was standing over her husband in the front courtyard of his home. She begged him to let her husband live. She walked forward and kneeled in front of him and offered her neck to his sword. Her father, in his rage, raised his sword to kill her and I changed back to my normal form."

"I bet he shit his pants." Steve replies with a grin. Buffy simply nods her head in agreement.

Fragnar mock frowns, but he continues. "I demanded to know what right he had to take his daughter's life. He told me that she had married the son of his greatest enemy. I laughed and told him that they had no choice in the matter. The swords made whoever carried them become lovers. Her father got very angry at this and raised his sword again, but I told him that the swords only worked for those who were lovers and that the bearers had no choice in the matter and that the lives of thousands depended on their ability to continue fighting as a team."

"You lied!" Buffy exclaims in awe. "You saved their lives by lying through your teeth."

"Yes I did. The fathers met in peace and agreed to cease all hostilities for the sake of their children and humanity."

"So, there's no curse?" Steve asks, dumbfounded, not believing what he was hearing.

Fragnar begins to laugh. "Of course there isn't one. The swords only choose warriors who will work well together. Just because they tend to become lovers doesn't mean a thing." Fragnar replies with a smirk. "Oh my friend, this is truly a birthday to remember." And with that Fragnar flies away, laughing gleefully.

Steve turns to Buffy and begins to speak, but Buffy puts her finger on his lips. Steve grins as he leans down and kisses her. Fragnar, sitting on a mountain nearby, watches as they kiss with the sun setting behind them. He smiles to himself as he watches them. < Smaug truly has gotten his revenge. > He turns back to the amphitheater and watches as John Tesh sets up his band and begins the party with an impromptu jam session. < Looks like the party has just begun. >

*****

Part 7 - Jam Sessions
(This Isn't Dunkin Donuts' Jelly Roll)

John Tesh looks over the expectant crowd and grins widely. He turns to his band and calls out. "Let's Rock!!" The band begins to play a hard beat and everyone begins to dance to it. Kix Brooks grabs up his guitar and joins in the impromptu jam session and let's loose. Several members of Kix's band quickly pick up their instruments and also join in. Oz borrows a Bass guitar and begins to play along, a wide grin plastered on his face.

Ronnie Dunn just stares as the enlarged band shakes his head in disbelief. "Who the hell would believe this? Brooks and Dunn jamming with John Tesh?"

"Scarey, isn't it?" A young dark haired man replies as he stands next to Ronnie.

Ronnie looks over to him and asks. "I take it that you don't like this type of music?"

"You could say that." Xander replies with a grin as Cordelia walks past him, swaying to the harsh beat being put out by John, Kix and the enlarged band.

Ronnie looks after the dark haired beauty and grins in appreciation as she dances back and grabs Xander up and takes him onto the dance floor. Ronnie just shakes his head in disgust as he mutters. "Lucky bastard."

"He is, isn't he?" A soft voice replies from next to him. Ronnie looks over to see a lovely red haired girl standing next to him.

"How come a lovely girl like you isn't out there dancing?"

Willow looks up on the stage and grins. "My boyfriend is the red head on stage in the 'Black Sabbath' tee-shirt."

Ronnie watches the young man in question and whistles lowly. "He's good." Willow smiles. "I wonder if he's interested in country music." Willow looks at him in shock, Ronnie grins and Willow giggles.

"Oz? In a country band?" Willow asks in disbelief.

"What's wrong with country music?" Ronnie asks.

"Nothing's wrong with it. It's just that Oz is Oz." Willow replies trying to explain Oz, but failing miserably.

"Boy really knows how to use a guitar." Ronnie mutters in awe as Oz does a solo.

"Have you seen Buffy and Steve?" Willow asks, worried about her two friends.

"St. Wolf mentioned something about a cliff." Ronnie replies.

"Did you see Buffy go with him?" Willow asks.

"Is she blonde, slightly bigger than five feet and carrying a sword?" Willow nods her head. "Heard her say that she was going to follow St. Wolf to the cliff, wherever that is."

"Thanks." Willow replies as she wanders off to find her friends. She quickly follows the path to the cliff and finds Buffy and Steve kissing as the sun goes down in the west. She grins and softly coughs.

They break apart and Steve asks. "What is it, Willow?"

"The party's started already and the bands are having a jam session. Thought you two would like to see what's happening."

Steve grins. "Sounds like fun. Who's playing?" Buffy makes a face in disgust.

"John Tesh and his band, the Brooks and Dunn band and Oz are really making music."

Buffy shakes her head in disbelief. "Oz? On stage with John Tesh? And a country band? Has the world come to an end?"

"No, but it looks like Xander won't be making any more jokes about country music and John Tesh." Willow replies with a soft laugh and leaves.

A few paces down the path, Willow turns around and watches as Steve takes Buffy into his arms and kisses her deeply. < It's about time they got together. >

*****

Steve leans down and kisses Buffy passionately on her lips and quietly tells her. "I'll always be there for you. Never doubt it."

Buffy raises her head and returns his kiss. "I know." Buffy replies softly.

The End

Home