Author: Steve711 - Steve Pantovich

E-mail Address: Steve711@concentric.net

Title: The Chronicles of Wanderer - Training Blues Series - Midnight Visitations

Copyrighted : October 2001

Category: Crossover

Rating: PG-13 to Heavy R because of violence, sexual acts and horrific scenes The last scene, Epilogue 4 is NC-17

Spoilers: A few, but who cares?

Keywords: X-Files/Highlander/Buffy the Vampire Slayer Crossover with a few guest stars.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: All rights and properties owned by Joss Whedon, Warner Bros. and Mutant Enemy, etc.
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.
The X-Files are owned by Chris Carter Productions, 20th Century Fox and 1013 Productions.
Gargoyles are owned Walt Disney Productions and Bene Vista Productions.
The Black Widow, Wolverine, Agatha Harkness and the Town of New Salem is the Property of Marvel Comics/Entertainment.
Casey Ryback is the property of Alcor Films, Canal Plus, Regency Enterprises, Warner Bros.
The Profiler cast are the property of Sander/Moses, Cynthia Saunders, NBC
Casca and Jubala are the property of Barry Sadler and his family.

Summary: A night to remember, a night to cherish and a night to kill.

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, Duke the Guardian Spirit, the rest of the Guardian Spirits, Brother Aaron, Robert McCallister, The Knights of the Order of the Grail, The Whitehalls, Randi Jessup, Brian Jessup, Krtog the 2nd circle demon 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.

Author's Note's: When I started to write this story I decided to change some things concerning the characters.

X-Files Mulder and Scully are married and Immortal - So Non-Relationshippers beware.

Highlander: Richie Ryan shouldn't have died in the end of the fifth season. So here he hasn't.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy is an Immortal and this series splits from the third season show, The Judge.

Author's Thanks:

I'd like to thank the people who helped me in writing this story. It took the better part of four months to complete, but I think that it was worth it, but they stuck with me, helping and encouraging me to complete it. They are:

Rebekah Sandell, Tim Knight, Mike Weyer, Timbo and Jack Canyon. Thank you all for your time and input on this story. I would also like to thank the readers and the people on the Wanderer e-mail list.

In memory: I'd like to dedicate this story in memory of four great writers, whose works have been a constant enjoyment and delight:

Gene Roddenberry, Don Pendelton, Mickey Spillane and Barry Sadler

I know I always dedicate the stories to these four, but who could ask for greater muses?

I'd also like to thank all those great fan fiction writers out there, whose stories I've enjoyed. They showed me that I could let my imagination run. (Where it went I don't want to know :>))

Thanks and here's the Story. Enjoy.


Midnight Visitations
(Or How to Fuck With Snyder)

Prologue - A Woman Learns To Pray Again
(This Isn't Your Momma's AT&T)

May 3rd, 1998
Whitehall Farm, Portland Oregon

Heather Whitehall stares at the body of her youngest daughter, Tracy, as she, her sister, Claire, and their Mother, Brenda, prepare her for her final journey. Heather looks up with tear soaked eyes at the altar with the small statue of a woman, dressed in leather hunting clothes, and carrying a bow stares back at her. "Goddess," She quietly prays. "Please give us Justice for our lost daughter."

"You know that it's never going to happen." Mindi Whitehall replies from the side as she watches her Mother, Grandmother, and Aunt prepare her sister's body in the ancient methods. "Artemis doesn't exist and if she ever existed, she doesn't care."

Brenda Whitehall looks up with tears in her eyes. "And who else is going to get us Justice? The Police? They don't care! The FBI? Those fools couldn't find their asses with both hands in broad daylight. We will pray to Her and ask Her to help us. She will answer us somehow."

*****

Palace of Artemis, Mount Olympus

Artemis looks into her reflecting pool and sees three of her devoted Amazons preparing one of their own for the final passage and Artemis begins to cry as the girl's soul calls to her. She leaves her palace and quickly finds her and takes her back to Olympus and accepts her into her home with her sister Amazons. Artemis rushes away when she sees the five other young girls so recently sent to her and she makes a decision to hunt down the man responsible for the deaths of her daughters. "That bastard will learn what the meaning of true Justice!" Artemis swears as she disappears from her palace and begins the hunt.

*****

May 4th 1998 - 09:00 PST
Basement, Location Unknown, Sunnydale, CA

Mirna shivers as she lands on the cold floor. She tries to scream, but the gag in mouth prevents her from making any noises louder than a muffled gurgle. Mirna feels her dress being roughly pulled up. She tries to kick out, but suddenly feels the world reeling around her as her kidnapper hits her, hard. "Dumb fucking Jewish Bitch!" The harsh voice snarls and Mirna feels her legs being forced apart. She feels her panties being forced to the side and the man brutally savages her. She tries to fight back, but he easily overpowers her and he slams her head into the floor. As Mirna's world goes dark as her life leaves her body and her soul departs, blissfully unaware of the degradations he continues to perform on her corpse.

*****

May 6th 1998 - 02:00 PST
Corner of Cypress and Howell Roads, Sunnydale, CA

Wanda Carstairs grimaces in distaste as the body of Mirna Kranowitz is zipped up in a body bag. < God! First the fucking vampires, now a serial murderer! This town is the freakin' pits. > She looks over and sees the head detective walking up to her. Wanda feels her stomach turn as Stein looks at the girl's body and grins sickly.

"I see you found the Kranowitz brat. Any witnesses?" Stein replies grumpily.

Wanda shakes her head, trying to clear it. "No. No one was out this late." < Except the vamps. I hope they got the bastard who did this. >

"Okay. You and Patterson go and talk to Snyder in the morning. See if the girl had any friends that we can talk to." < I hope he mentions that Summers bitch. I want to get her alone. >

"Yeah, Detective." Wanda replies in disgust as Stein leaves the scene. She turns to her friend, Daniel Patterson. "Stein doesn't care about who murdered the Kranowitz girl."

"I know." Dan replies in disgust. "How that guy got to be chief of detectives is beyond me. He probably wants to pin it on the Summers girl."

"What did she do to Stein that makes him hate her so much?"

"Made him look like a fool." Dan replies as he watches the body being taken by the coroner. "That and what her boyfriend did to him a couple of months ago."

"Catching Wazuki Churchill and disarming him in less than three seconds? That made Stein's day. The Mayor and the Chief chewed him a whole new asshole for that."

*****

May 7th, 1998 - 14:15 PST
Sunnydale High School Library, Sunnydale, CA

Giles cups Jenny's chin in his hand as he raises her lips to his. As they kiss, a snarling whirlwind enters the library.

*****

Snyder storms into the library, glaring at the two teachers that were causing him so much grief. When he sees the man kissing his female companion, he angrily yells out. "I finally have you!! You two will be fired for this. . . this. . . Fratinization!!" Both teachers turn and glare at the man who thought he ruled their school. Snyder backs away, but quickly regains his courage as he begins to scream at them. "It's all your fault!! The police questioned me for over two hours about that Kranowitz girl!"

"And why did they spend two hours questioning you?" Giles asks.

"Because that bitch cop thought I knew something about the girl's disappearance!" Snyder angrily snaps. As he wipes a trembling hand over his sweat-dampened bald crown, his mind flashes back to his office and what had happened there.

*****

May 7th, 1998 - 11:55 PST
Snyder's Office, Sunnydale High School, Sunnydale, CA

Snyder glares out the window, watching the students as they walked around the school. He notes how high the girls' skirts were this warm day and grins. < They were never this high while I was going to school. > He feels his groin grow warm as he watches one blonde cheerleader bend down to pickup a piece of paper. < Oh yes! Now that's quite a nice sight to behold. > Snyder thinks to himself as he puts down the small binoculars. Snyder's musings are interrupted by the sound of his office door opening. "I thought I told you not to bother me during lunch?!" Snyder barks out at what he thinks is his secretary.

Suddenly, his chair is forcibly turned around. < St. Wolf?! > Snyder closes his eyes, waiting to be hit, but doesn't feel the smack he's waiting for. He opens his eyes and sees two uniformed police officers standing in front of his chair. Snyder gulps and quickly tries to hide the small pair of binoculars. The female officer grimaces in distaste as she notices his groin area and sees the binoculars. She leans down and whispers in a dangerous and low voice. "Tell me something, you little piece of shit."

"Wa. . . wha. . . what?" Snyder manages to stutter out as he covers his groin area.

"Who the hell hired a little pervert like you to be the school principle!?" Wanda demands angrily.

"The ma. . . mayor." Snyder replies hastily. He sees Wanda grimace in distaste. She leans down until her eyes were level with Snyder's.

"Well woopdedoo! That won't stop me from asking you some very interesting questions, you little shit!"

*****

Snyder grimaces in anger over what happened during the last two hours and rails into his most convenient targets, Rupert Giles and Jenny Calendar. "It's all your faults! You and those little delinquents that you call students! I've been embarrassed, harassed, and humiliated for the last time!!"

Giles and Jenny just stare at the little man and wonder how long it would take for him to get tired and leave. Giles leans back against the counter and Jenny snuggles into the crook of his arm, getting comfortable. The sight of them standing next to each other only infuriates Snyder more.

*****

May 7th, 1998 - 14:22 PST
Sunnydale High School Hallway near the Library, Sunnydale, CA

Buffy grins as she holds up her history paper and flashes the B+ that she got on it. Willow smiles as Buffy gushes about the high grade that she got on the pop quiz earlier that day in Math. "I can't believe that I was able to score a B on that test!"

"I think that Mr. Aardema was more surprised than you were." Willow replies with a grin. "What are we going to do now?"

"Go to Disney World?" Xander replies with a grin as Cordelia hugs him to her. He turns and quickly kisses her.

"I think we'll settle for the library." Buffy replies with a laugh as she pushes open the doors and stops dead in her tracks as she sees Mr. Snyder yelling at Giles and Jenny. "Oh shit!" Buffy mutters as Snyder turns on her and begins to scream.

"You!! You little Bitch! You're the cause of all of this!!!" Snyder snarls out when he spots Buffy standing at the door. He doesn't even slow down for a breathe and starts again. "You are responsible for every death in this town since you came here! You're the reason that everyone dies around here!!"

"I am not!" Buffy barks back, her anger beginning to grow.

"You are the reason that Mirna Kranowitz is dead!"

"Mirna's dead?" Willow replies in shock. "How?"

Snyder glares at Willow for upsetting his momentum. "Shut up Rosenberg! Your opinions aren't wanted here!!" Willow gulps at Snyder's open hostility. Snyder turns back to Buffy and starts again. "You are the cause of all of these deaths. This town would be nice and normal without you and your friends!!" Snyder barks out. When he sees that Buffy doesn't reply, he continues his tirade. "You are the reason that your parents divorced!! Your Father couldn't stand having a piece of shit like you in his house and so he got rid of you and your slutty Mother!! He should have had you committed to an insane asylum!!"

Buffy stares at Snyder as she feels his hate permeate the room. Before Buffy could reply, Snyder begins his harangue again. "You fucking Slut! I wonder how many of the boys in this school have had you and your slut friends!? I should suspend you just for wearing what you're wearing now!"

"That's enough, you little shit!!" Giles growls out as he takes off his glasses to beat Snyder into the ground. Before he can, Buffy runs from the Library, her books forgotten. Snyder turns back to face an enraged Giles and Jenny. He gulps as he looks into their smoldering eyes.

"Oh shit!" Snyder mutters as he sees death in both of their eyes. He quickly makes his exit when he realizes that Buffy's friends were also staring at him with the same, cold expression in their eyes.

Giles, his anger forgotten, asks. "Where did Buffy go?"

"To Steve's probably." Willow replies.

"We'll go there first and if she isn't there, then we'll start a search."

*****

Part 1 - Introductions - Cooking With Napalm
(When This Chef Goes "BAM!" He Uses C-4)

May 7th, 1998 - 15:00 PST
St. Wolf Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Steve and Casey look up from the stove as Buffy angrily stalks into the house from the side door. She wraps her arms around Steve's neck and Steve feels her shudder against him. He gently picks her up, carries her to the couch, and sits down with her in his arms. Buffy continues to cling to him as Steve holds onto her and murmurs soft words into her ear. Casey lowers the heat on the food and follows the pair into the living room. Casey sits down across from them and wonders about the young girl in Steve's arms. A noise from the door makes Steve and Casey look up and see the Slayerettes walk in from the open side door. The entire group has a look of anger on their faces. Giles and Jenny sit down across from Steve and Buffy. "What happened?" Steve asks.

Giles grimaces. "That little Toad dressed Buffy down in the library today. He blamed her for every death that the student body and the rest of Sunnydale has suffered for the last two years."

"What really hit her hard was when he started into Buffy being the cause of her parents' divorce. He told her that her Dad was repelled by her and that she should be institutionalized in a home for the criminally insane." Jenny adds.

Steve growls lowly and looks over to Willow, who nods her head and moves over to Buffy's other side, Steve gently pushes Buffy toward her. At first, Buffy resists, but accepts Willow's arms after Steve's promises he'd return quickly. Steve rises from the couch, nods towards his office, and Giles, Jenny and Casey follow him. When he gets into the office, Steve picks up the phone and calls Joyce. "Joyce, this is Steve. Can you come here?"

"Sure Steve. Is anything wrong?" Joyce asks.

"Buffy's on my couch, very angry and ready to do some harm to Snyder. Snyder dressed her down in the library today and said some very bad things to her. She needs you here to reassure her."

"What did that little Weasel say to my child!?" Joyce demands.

"Giles and Jenny will tell you when you get here." Steve replies. Steve then walks out of the office and checks on Buffy. Duke walks up to him and growls lowly.

// Can I go and kill that bastard? // Duke asks.

< Not yet. > Steve replies as he looks at Casey. "I'm sorry Casey. Looks like that cooking lesson is going to have to wait."

Xander looks up from where he and Cordelia are sitting and asks. "I know I might regret this, but why are you learning to cook?"

Steve sighs. "Because our three month anniversary is coming up. I thought Buffy would enjoy a romantic home cooked dinner."

"So that's who that guy is? A cook?" Xander with a lopsided grin.

Steve shakes his head as Casey walks up to Xander and leans down into his face and smiles. "You got it in one, son. But I'm not just a cook. I'm also a five star international chef." Xander returns his grin, but quickly loses it when Casey tells him. "And a former Navy SEAL."

Cordelia giggles as Xander gulps for air and a comeback, but hopelessly fails as Casey glares at him. Casey then looks at Cordelia as she comments, "When are you going to learn, Xander? Never trust anyone in Steve's house; they'll surprise you every time." Casey then notices the guns that both Cordelia and Xander were carrying.

Casey turns back to Steve. "You're training these kids?" Casey whispers.

"I am." Steve replies as Casey looks at him with pure hatred.

"I need to talk to you in private!" Casey demands. Steve nods to his office and they both enter it and shut the door. Everyone looks at everyone else and just shakes their heads in resignation. It wasn't the first time that one of Steve's friends found out about them. Nor would it be the last.

*****

As the door closes, Casey gets into Steve's face and angrily demands. "Are those kids the group of Squires that you're training?" Steve quietly nods his head. Casey grits out, "What the Fucking Hell are you doing?!! Those are kids out there! None of them should even know you, let alone work with you! Does Merlin know this is going on?!"

"Merlin knows, but he's reserving judgement, for now."

"Why is he reserving judgement? I thought his rules were unbreakable when it came to the age that anyone could be a Squire."

"Want to sit down and I'll tell you?" Steve replies as he sits down on the edge of his desk.

"This had better be good or I'm going to kick your sorry Green Beanie ass all over this town." Casey mutters darkly.

"From the top?" Steve asks as Casey nods his head. "To start off, these kids were a team for two years before I got here. They've been protecting this town and in several cases they've prevented the world from going literally to Hell."

Casey looks back at the door. "Those kids have saved the world? How?"

Steve grimaces and goes forward. "Casey, you've been a Knight for the last two years. And Merlin wants this kept quiet and limited to as few people as possible. For now." Casey nods his head in agreement. "This town sits on top of something called the Hellmouth."

"Hellmouth?" Casey asks, his interest piqued, "As in the actual . . ."

"It's a dimensional gateway that leads to the dimension that people call Hell." Steve nods.

"Shit!" Casey mutters and stares at the door. "And these kids protect this town from what exactly?"

Steve grimaces. "Vampires and the odd demon. I take it that you've never hunted any demons or vampires?"

Casey stares at his old friend and shakes his head. "No. I've only been involved with human beings. But I've heard stories from other Knights." Casey murmurs as he wonders about his old friend's sanity in training those kids. "How do the kids protect the town?" Casey asks.

"They patrol the town in small groups, killing any vampires or demons that they come across."

Casey stares back at the door. "Those kids were doing this before you got here?" Steve nods his head.

"I tried to get them to quit, but they refused. They feel they've earned the right to decide whether or not they'll continue fighting."

Casey sits back and shakes his head in disbelief. "No Shit?" Steve nods his head. "But what about the cops?"

Steve grimaces, remembering Detective Stein. "They don't give a shit. All of the cases that concern the vampires and demons get dropped and remain unsolved. The really bad thing is that Buffy and her friends have become targets of the Police by protecting the town."

Casey glares at Steve. "What are you doing about them?"

"Can't do anything right now. The bastards are too well connected for me to get at them, yet. But sooner or later, someone will fuck up and I'll take all of them down."

"And that Buffy girl? You're dating her?" Steve nods his head. "How old is she?"

"Seventeen." Steve replies.

"And you're dating her? What does her Mother have to say about this?"

"She set us up." Steve replies with a grin.

Casey shakes his head in disgust. "Her Mother set you two up? Does she know how old you really are?" Steve nods his head. "And she lets you date her teenaged daughter."

"Well, yeah." Steve replies with a grin.

"Let me guess. Buffy is an Immortal."

"Yeah. She died defeating a Master Vampire who almost succeeded in opening the Hellmouth. But before she became an Immortal, she was a Slayer."

"What's a Slayer?"

"A chosen champion of humanity who is given mystical strength, speed and agility to hunt and kill vampires and demons. They're usually girls, around the age of fifteen."

"How long do they survive?" Casey asks.

"Less than a year." Steve replies sadly. "Jacques DeClares' granddaughter, Monique, was Chosen, she only lasted ten months. I was too late by a week to find her. And you know what I did to the things that killed her."

"Yeah, I heard stories about what you did. Merlin reamed you out a new asshole for going off alone and attacking those demons."

"You didn't have to deliver Jacques his granddaughter's body in a closed casket. I'd rather deliver her with the news that everyone who had a hand in her death was dead."

Casey hangs his head. "I know. I heard that Jacques almost went insane when you came back with Monique's body. I'm sorry you couldn't save her."

"I know, but I learned the hard way that I can't save everyone." Steve replies, remembering a cold November night eight years before.

Casey sighs in understanding. "And the rest? Any of them Immortal?"

"No. But the girls are Amazons, if that helps." Steve replies with a grin.

"Amazons?" Casey replies in shock. "You mean like on Xena?"

"The Xena stories are actually based on fact." Steve replies. "Artemis has chosen Jenny, Cordelia, Willow and Amy to become her champions on Earth."

"How did they get involved with Artemis?"

Steve chuckles. "Back in February, I was starting to train the kids and Cordelia wasn't cutting it. One night I sent her out to relax in the living room while I continued to train the rest. She picked up this statue of a woman warrior that I had on a shelf and started talking to it. Turns out that the statue was a holy relic of Artemis' and by talking to it, she contacted Artemis. Naturally, Artemis got interested and followed Cordelia around until Cordy tried to rescue a friend of hers by taking on a dozen vampires by herself. Cordelia killed one of the vampires, but the rest caught her and Artemis rescued her. Artemis liked her courage and determination and made her an offer she couldn't refuse. She made the same offer to Jenny, Willow and Amy the next day. Now I have a Slayer and four Amazons working with me."

"What about the boys?" Caseys asks as he watches Steve grin. "Do I really want to know?"

"Why not? You're a part of the 'family'." Steve replies with a small laugh. "Xander has the memories and experiences of a Green Beret."

"That kid is a Green Beret?" Casey asks in shock.

"No, he's not a Green Beret. He has the experiences and memories. But I'll bet you good money that Tex and Gunner would love to have him. Last Halloween, some nutcase Chaos Mage made the kids become their costumes. Xander had the luck to be dressed in some used fatigues that were once owned by a guy who was a Green Beret. When Giles found the Chaos Mage and stopped the spell, Xander kept most of the memories and abilities."

"Who is that Giles guy? And why are he and that woman associating with these kids?"

"Giles is the school's Librarian and Jenny is the computer teacher. Giles is also Buffy's Watcher."

"What's a Watcher?"

"Watchers find and train the Slayers. They also help with research and other support. But Giles is also a half decent fighter and a competent Mage. Jenny is a talented computer hacker and a competent witch."

"What happened to the Watcher who found Monique?"

Steve grimaces. "Don't ever tell this to Giles. I gave his name and address to Henry and Ann. They went after him and his two assistant Watchers."

"Oh Damn. Did they ever find the bodies?"

"Yeah, minus their heads." Steve replies softly.

Casey rubs his neck and quickly changes the subject. "What about the red headed boy?"

"Oz is a werewolf." Steve replies with a grin.

Casey gulps in surprise. "Oz is a werewolf?" Steve nods his head, Casey shakes his in awe. "I can see why they don't want to be left out of the fight. Each of them is special in their own way and they're not afraid to stand up for themselves."

"That pretty much sums them up, Casey." Steve replies as his office door opens and a whirlwind enters. Both men get up as Joyce Summers storms into the office, closely followed by Sherlock.

"What the Hell is going on in that school?" Joyce demands.

"I don't know, Joyce," Steve replies as he heads toward the door. "But I want to hear from Giles what happened."

"I'm going to kill that little weasel." Joyce mutters as she walks out with Steve and Casey. When they enter the living room, Sherlock immediately goes to Buffy and licks her face. Buffy hugs the dog to herself and Sherlock quietly beams to Joyce.

// I'm going to kill this man. //

< Not before I do! > Joyce sends back and takes Buffy from Willow. She glances over to Jenny and Giles and asks. "What happened?"

"It all began at this afternoon." Giles said. "Snyder had just finished haranguing Jenny and me about Buffy, Willow, Cordelia and the rest when they walked into the library. Snyder quickly turned on Buffy and ranted that it was all Buffy's fault a girl was murdered in town last night. He does this for a full quarter of an hour and finishes by telling Buffy it was her fault you divorced Hank."

"And that you should have sent her to a mental hospital for the criminally insane." Jenny adds in as Buffy sniffles into Joyce's shoulder.

Joyce comforts her daughter and quietly tells her. "Buffy? Honey?" Buffy looks up. "Nothing that evil little man said was true. Not a single word. You didn't hurt that girl and you didn't cause the divorce. Your Father and I were just going in different directions and decided to start fresh."

"I know, Mom. Mr. Snyder hates me. I don't know why, but he does." Buffy angrily replies.

"What happened to that girl?" Steve asks. "I don't remember anyone dying from any vampires in the last three weeks."

"She was raped and murdered by someone human. The police found her body this morning and it hasn't been reported in the news yet. Snyder found out when the police questioned him about the girl's friends and acquaintances." Giles mutters as he looks at Steve. "Steve, I know this isn't our job, but can we hunt him down before he strikes again?"

"Go for it." Steve orders as his entire group breathes a sigh of relief.

"How are you going to locate him?" Casey asks. Giles looks at Steve and Steve nods his head.

"By getting some of the DNA evidence. We'll be able to create a locator spell and find him through that." Jenny replies with conviction. "And when we do, that bastard will find out how vengeful a Goddess can be."

"Goddess?" Casey asks.

"That would be me, Mr. Ryback." A voice replies from behind Casey. Casey turns and sees a tall woman, about five feet, ten inches, dressed in brown leather and boots. The women quickly rise and bow to her, even Joyce and Buffy. Casey watches as the woman hugs Buffy and smooths her hair and gently murmurs soft words into her ear. Buffy nods her head and sits down next to her Mother. "I want this animal who murdered that child found and brought to me for Justice."

"Why you, Artemis?" Steve asks.

Artemis sighs. "He's responsible for the death of twenty young women. Six of them were descendants of my original Amazon tribes. The Mothers of the six have prayed to me for Justice. Because of this, I claim the right of Justice for them."

Steve nods his head in understanding. "We'll do it, Artemis. An animal like this doesn't deserve to live."

Artemis smiles. "Brings back some unpleasant memories, Steve?"

Steve grimaces and curtly nods his head. He walks over to his office and calls an old friend. The phone is quickly picked up by a woman. "Logan? Is that you?"

"Hello Tasha. I need your help." Steve tells him.

"Who is this?" Natasha Romanoff demands.

"You owe me a favor, Red, I'm calling it in." Steve tells her.

Natasha finally recognizes the voice and softly says. "I thought you were dead."

Steve grins as he does his John Wayne impersonation. "Not Hardly."

"Obviously." Natasha dryly replies. "What do you need?" < Damn Boy Scout! >

"I'm hunting down a serial killer who just murdered a girl in Sunnydale, California. He's also responsible for the deaths of nineteen more girls all across the United States. I want to see any evidence that the police collected on the case."

Tasha growls lowly. "I'll be in Sunnydale tomorrow. Where can I meet with you?" Steve gives her his home address. "Why, Darling," she purrs, "will I be spending the night with you?"

"Only in my guest room." Steve promises and quickly hangs up.

*****

Natasha stares at the phone in her hand and smiles seductively as she hangs it up. "So the boy scout is still doing good deeds. Why am I not surprised? And now he's making me help him, again. I must teach him a lesson for his rude behavior. But first, the death of that child must be avenged." Natasha silently promises to herself as she gets up and goes to her dresser and pulls out a dark purple body suit. "Yes, this animal will learn fear from the Black Widow."

"Who will learn fear, Mother?" A soft voice asks from behind Natasha. Natasha quickly turns and smiles as her oldest daughter enters her bedroom.

"Tanya?! How did you get into my apartment without my knowledge?"

Tanya smiles as she ties her hair up in a ponytail. The twenty five year old brunette grins. "Anastasia let me in as she was leaving with Wendy and Bridgette." Tanya looks at what was in her Mother's hands. "I thought you gave up the costume."

"The Widow is needed again, Tanya. A friend of mine needs help bringing a child murderer to Justice."

"What about the police? The FBI? What are they doing while this man is murdering children?"

Natasha laughs. "When this man finds this murderer, he won't be a problem any longer."

"Who is this man? A friend of Father's?"

"Not really." Natasha replies with a smile.

"So, who is he?"

"Steven St. Wolf."

"The man that you call a pain-in-the-ass-boy-scout? The same man that caught you and conned you into helping him stop those terrorists?"

"Yes, that's him. Why?" Natasha asks with a smile.

Tanya grins. "You mentioned that he was very handsome. Mind if I go with you?"

Natasha grins openly. "Of course not, my dear. You need a good man. And Steven is someone who'd treat you well. But you do realize that he is an Immortal, and you're not?"

Tanya giggles. "But it'll be so much fun making him all hot and bothered."

Natasha laughs merrily. "Oh but that will be most amusing to watch."

*****

Steve leaves his office and turns back to Casey. "Casey? You want to patrol with me tonight?"

"I'm in." Casey replies with a grin.

Steve then turns to Buffy and her friends. "Buffy, I want you at home tonight. You and Joyce need to talk. The rest of you have the night off as well. We'll talk tomorrow about the other matter."

"But . . "

"No buts, Buffy." Steve replies. "You and the rest are not at one hundred percent. And I don't want you getting hurt because of what Snyder said and did today."

Buffy looks to her Mother, but Joyce nods her head in agreement. She turns to Artemis, who also nods her head, but tells her, "You should go home and talk with your Mother. Whether you know it or not, you do need to talk."

"But Steve will be alone out there," Buffy replies. "I'm not leaving him to face any vampires alone!"

Casey watches Buffy's reaction and nods his head in wonder. < This child is hurting, but she's ready to back him up. > "Miss Summers." Casey calls to her. Buffy turns to him. "Steve's not going out alone, I'll be with him."

"Excuse me, but. . . who are you?" Buffy asks, as she notices Casey's chef's hat for the first time.

"My name is Casey Ryback. I'm an old friend of Steve's."

"And you're what?" Buffy asks, noticing Xander's grin. < Oh Goddess, not another one of Steve's 'friends'. >

"Navy SEAL." Casey replies with a smile.

"Uh huh," Buffy turns to Steve, demanding. "Steve?"

Steve sighs. "It'll spoil the surprise."

Buffy briefly flashes a smile. "Spill it, honey."

"Casey is teaching me how to make a fancy meal for our three month anniversary." Steve replies with a weak grin. "You know I don't know how cook anything but scrambled eggs, pancakes, and the odd hamburger."

Buffy gets up and hugs Steve. "Thanks, honey. At least part of the day wasn't a total waste."

"You're welcome, Buffy. Now I'll have to come up with something different for the anniversary."

"No, you are not!" Buffy snaps with a smile. "I want that dinner! And you will make it!"

Before Steve could reply, Artemis leans in and tells him, "I suggest that you do as your woman tells says."

Steve sighs and relents. "All right. I hope Casey can spare some time tomorrow to finish the lesson."

Artemis cocks an eyebrow and looks at Casey, who squirms under her glare. But he quickly gets the drift. "All right, I'll finish the lesson. But Steve will owe me a big one."

Artemis smiles and looks over to where her sister, Aphrodite, was standing off to the side, phased out of time. "Mr. Ryback, I do believe that you're kindness will be more than adequately rewarded." Aphrodite begins to laugh merrily and quickly nods her head in agreement.

"May I ask how I will be rewarded?" Casey asks, wondering what this Goddess had in mind for him.

"All in due time, Mr. Ryback, all in due time." Artemis replies with a grin as she disappears.

Casey looks at the spot where Artemis stood and muses out loud. "Why do I have a bad feeling about this?"

"Because Artemis is a Goddess." Cordelia prompts. "And she's known to be a real Bitch to her enemies, and a warm and loving Goddess/Mother type to her friends and worshipers."

Casey gulps. "And where do I fall?"

"Obviously a friend, Mr. Ryback." Jenny replies with a knowing smile. "And that could lead to all sorts of things."

"Oh Shit!" Casey mutters as Steve claps him on his back.

"Don't worry, Casey. Artemis doesn't hurt men . . . much." Steve adds with a laugh. "Let's finish today's lesson and then we can go out and hunt."

Casey sighs. "All right." And watches as everyone quickly moves in to see what was being cooked. Casey glares at them. "If everyone doesn't mind? I'm teaching Steve how to cook, not all of you."

"Besides, it'll spoil Buffy's surprise." Willow adds in as she gets ready to leave.

"But I want to see what I'm going to eat." Buffy whines good naturedly as Joyce takes her arm.

"No, you don't, honey." Joyce tells her as she sniffs the air. "But I'll be expecting a doggie bag when you come home."

// Joyce, I love you. // Sherlock replies as he trots to the door. // That stuff smells great. //

< Whoever said the doggie bag was for you? > Joyce replies with a grin. < I want some of what they're cooking. >

// I want half. // Sherlock mutters. // And I'm sure that Sarah will want some as well. //

< I'll tell Steve to make extra. > Joyce replies with a grin.

// Good. // Sherlock replies as he waits for Buffy and Joyce to leave.

*****

Casey watches as the group leaves and turns to Steve. "So, what should I expect from Artemis?"

"Don't ask me. I can't read a Goddess' mind." Steve replies with a snicker. "But if she's anything like her Amazons, then she's in matchmaking mode and I'm betting that her sister is somewhere nearby."

"Her sister?"

"Aphrodite." Steve replies with a grin.

Casey gulps as it hits him and he stares off into space. "You have got to be kidding me?!" Steve shakes his head and Casey groans, realizing that he was a dead man. "The Goddess of Love is going to set me up? Oh God! I can't believe this shit is happening to me!"

"Get used to it if you hang around here, Casey." Steve replies with a laugh. < Poor bastard. >

"When do we go hunting?" Casey asks, trying to change the conversation.

"After nightfall." Steve replies as he cuts up some scallions. "Are these fine enough?"

"That's good." Casey replies as he hands him bowl. "Put them in here and we'll saute them for the sauce in a couple of minutes. Now, the beef should be prepared. . ." Casey tells Steve as he shows him how to prepare the dinner.

*****

Part 2 - Girl Talk
(Nope, No Butts About It. Well, Maybe One)

May 7th, 1998 - 16:00 PST
Home of Joyce and Buffy Summers, Sunnydale, CA

Buffy tosses her book bag onto the couch and quickly follows it. She crosses her arms and stares out the living room window. Joyce moves the bag and sits down next to her and gives her daughter a hug. Sherlock and Sarah grab the seats across from them, watching Buffy closely. Buffy turns to her and quietly asks. "Mom? Why did Steve send me away like that?"

"Because he cares for you and you need to talk to me." Joyce replies.

"But he's going to be alone out there tonight. Why doesn't he want me to be with him?"

"Because you're upset and angry."

"But why send everyone away like that?"

"They're also angry, Buffy. You didn't see their faces, but I did. Steve thinks that they might make a mistake tonight and get hurt. If that happens, you'll blame yourself even more." Joyce replies.

"But, Steve's angry too. Why is he going out?"

"Steve's a lot older than you or your friends Buffy. He's done a lot more and he can control his anger better than any of you can, even Mr. Giles." Joyce replies softly. < I hope he doesn't do anything stupid tonight. >

"Who is that guy with him?" Buffy asks. "And why is Steve taking him out tonight?"

Joyce smiles. "Mr. Ryback is a Navy SEAL, like his friend Frank is. Don't you think that the two of them can handle anything that could happen tonight?"

Buffy grins, remembering her first training sessions with Steve's best friend, Frank Iverson. "Yeah, I think they can handle anything short of the Master."

Joyce also smiles, changing the subject. "But what was really interesting was the meal that he was cooking this afternoon."

"Yeah," Buffy murmurs. "I can't believe that he remembered our three month anniversary. Not many guys would."

"I hope you appreciate all the trouble he's going through for you." Joyce replies. "Your Father never bothered to learn how to cook for any of our anniversaries."

"Dad was never that romantic?" Buffy asks.

"No, he was and still is a very simple man. He doesn't think that romance is important after you get married." Joyce replies with a sigh. "I'm glad that Steve is at least trying to be romantic with you."

Buffy giggles. "I know. But what really is bothering me is how slow he's going. Most guys would already be trying to have sex with me."

Joyce smiles wanly. "Now I know you're off your game if you're willing to talk sex talk with your old Mom!" Buffy looks at Joyce wide-eyed and Joyce laughs heartily. "That's okay, honey. I'm glad that he's going slow with you. It tells me that he cares a lot for you and wants to build a lasting relationship with you. Most boys your age and a lot of older men would have had sex with you and then left."

Buffy nods her head. "I know. I saw how this girl named Lisa Richards got treated by a guy name Percy Williams. She liked him and went to bed with him after only a month of dating. He dumped her and told every guy that she was easy. She doesn't want to go back to school anymore."

Joyce sighs in exasperation. "There will always be boys and like that, Buffy. They date a girl promising her the moon, then throw her away when they get what they want." Joyce notices Buffy's grin. "What are you going to do about him?"

Buffy giggles. "Cordelia, Willow and Amy are already planning something. I don't know what it is, but Willow said that the punishment fits the crime."

Joyce grins. "It must be nice to be Amazons."

"They love it." Buffy replies with a predatory smile. "Jenny approved the plan and wants them to do it next week."

"Are you going to help?"

"Nope. They want to do this alone, so I'm out of it." Buffy replies with a grin. "Besides, Snyder will think I did it anyway and they want me to have plenty of witnesses to prove that I wasn't there."

Joyce snickers. "After tomorrow, Mr. Snyder will be treading very lightly where you're concerned, honey. I'll make sure of it."

Buffy smiles and hugs her Mom back. "Thanks, Mom." She looks around and wonders. "What am I going to do with my night off?"

"Homework?" Joyce prompts.

Buffy grins. "Too late. . . I've been doing it in the library during lunch and after school. My grades are better than ever."

Joyce smiles. "I see associating with Steve has helped you quite a bit."

Buffy nods her head. "Yeah, I'm trying to learn as much as I can so I can go to college. Now I know I'm going to be alive for a long time, I want everything that life can give me."

"Even if you look like a teenager the rest of your life?" Joyce asks.

Buffy nods her head. "Yeah, Steve's going to get this guy who specializes in makeup to show me how to age myself from ten to twenty years at a time."

"That's very long term, Buffy. I'm very surprised that you're thinking like that."

"Steve's survived fighting monsters a lot longer than I have and he doesn't see himself dying anytime soon. In fact he once told me that I'm invited to his one thousandth birthday party." Buffy replies with a grin.

"What happens if you don't make it?"

Buffy grins. "Steve swore to drag me out of whatever prison I was locked away in and drag me to it. If I was dead, he'd make me come back from the dead." Joyce has a good laugh and again hugs Buffy.

"You see, even Steve thinks he's going to live a long life. I'm glad that you now believe that as well."

"What are we going to do tonight?" Buffy asks.

"There's a Molly Ringwald marathon on TNT." Joyce replies as she looks at the TV Guide on the table. "I'll order the pizza and you turn on the TV." Buffy giggles as her mother picks up the phone.

"What about Sara and Sherlock?" Buffy asks.

"We'll order extra pizza." Joyce replies as she dials the phone.

// Joyce, we love you! // Sarah replies as Joyce orders them an entire large meat lover's pizza from Romero's Pizzeria.

Joyce and Buffy both laugh as Sarah and Sherlock begin to drool at the thought of all that meat and cheese.

*****

May 7th, 1998 - 16:30 PST
Home of Jenny Calendar and Rupert Giles, Sunnydale, CA

Giles storms into the apartment that he and Jenny shared and throws a book against the wall. Salem looks up from his position on the couch and asks. // What the Hell!? Since when does Rupert throw books around? //

< Rupert is pissed about what Snyder did to Buffy this afternoon. > Jenny beams back. She quickly tells Salem what happened and the cat begins to growl lowly.

// Let me go out tonight. // Salem beams back. // I want to pay this shit head a visit. //

Jenny smiles as she picks up Salem and cuddles him. < No can do, Salem. Steve ordered us all to stay inside tonight. He doesn't want us making any mistakes because we're so angry. >

// And what is he doing while you're all stuck inside? //

< Patrolling with a friend of his named Casey Ryback, a former Navy SEAL. >

Salem doesn't move for a full minute, but then begins to laugh. // I just talked to Duke. Steve's even more pissed than Rupert and he's going hunting tonight. Oh, how I feel sorry for the vamps that are stupid enough to be out tonight. //

Jenny smiles. < Is he going to do something stupid? >

// Nope. He's just going to take out his frustration on the vamps. //

Jenny laughs softly. "Poor, poor vampires. I really pity you all tonight."

*****

May 7th, 1998 - 16:33 PST
Home of Willow Rosenberg, Sunnydale, CA

Willow walks in and throws her bag against the wall and screams out in frustration. "You stinking Bastard!! How could anyone sane let someone like you be a Principal!"

"Willow? What's wrong?" Ira Rosenberg asks from the kitchen doorway.

Willow turns around and takes a deep, calming breathe. "Principal Snyder verbally abused Buffy today." She quickly tells her Father.

Ira's eyes harden. He walks over and takes Willow's hand and sits her down on the couch as he asks. "What happened?"

"Principal Snyder verbally attacked Buffy today, Dad. He blamed her for everything that went wrong at the school and for the death of a girl that was found murdered today."

"Why does he blame her?"

"I don't know, Dad. He just hates Buffy and tries to torment and brow beat her as much as he can."

"What did Buffy do to set him off?"

"The only thing that Buffy did was walk into the library to do her homework like she's been doing every day for the last two months and he begins to scream at her. The police questioned him for two hours over the murder of Mirna Kranowitz and he blamed her for that. He even told her that she was the reason that her parents divorced."

Ira shakes his head in disbelief. "I can't believe that this man is in charge of this town's kids."

"It gets better, Dad. Before he attacked Buffy, he was screaming at Mr. Giles and Miss Calendar."

"Why did he do that?"

"Mr. Giles and Miss Calendar often protect the students from Mr. Snyder's abusive language and power trips. He can't stand either of them and wants to fire them both, but he can't."

"Because there are no other teachers willing to work for him or come to work in Sunnydale." Ira replies. "What is Buffy's Mother planning to do?"

"She's going to have it out with him, tomorrow. If he doesn't stop trying to hurt Buffy, she's going to press charges."

"What about Buffy's boyfriend? What is he planning on doing?"

"Uhm, well, I don't know, Dad. Steve was very angry about this, but Mrs. Summers said she'd handle it."

"I find it hard to believe that, that young man will still idly by while his lady is being abused like that." Ira replies with a smile. "He seems like the type that would do some serious bodily harm to Mr. Snyder." < With good cause. >

"Mrs. Summers clearly told him that she would take care of Snyder. I don't think that Steve will do anything, yet."

Ira snorts. "I'm sure he won't, but I think that Mr. Snyder's days are very numbered."

"I know. Steve is extremely angry that Snyder did that to her. Especially since tomorrow is their three month anniversary." Willow replies. "Steve has a friend over who's teaching him how to cook a special meal for Buffy."

Ira grins. "That's very romantic, Willow. Does Buffy's Mother know about this 'special' meal?"

"She's demanding a doggie bag." Willow replies with a giggle. Ira glares at his daughter, thinking she doesn't understand the meal's implications. Willow giggles again. "Dad! Get your mind out of the gutter. Steve is not like that! He knows that Buffy isn't ready for that. Especially since she lost Angel back in February."

"Who's Angel?"

"Buffy's first love. He died in February." Willow half lied. "She was pretty broken up until she met Steve. Steve knows about Angel and isn't pushing her into anything."

"So, he does care for Buffy." Ira replies. "He cares enough that he's willing to wait for her and treat her like she deserves to be treated. I wonder if he has a younger brother?" Ira remarks as he looks at Willow.

"Uh, Dad? What are you thinking?"

"Just that any Father would like to have his daughter dating a young man like that." Ira replies with a smile on his face.

Willow blushes and murmurs, "Steve's an orphan, Dad. He never had any family."

"Who raised him?"

"Catholic Nuns, Dad. The Mother Superior of the orphanage that he was sent to raised him as her own son."

"She raised him well. Does he go to Father Ulric's Church?"

Willow grimaces. "No, he doesn't go to church, Dad. But he does believe in God." < Boy, does he ever. And several other Gods and Goddesses as well. >

Ira smiles. "Tell me what happens tomorrow. I may want to visit Mr. Snyder as well, if Mrs. Summers doesn't get what she wants." Ira tells Willow as he gets up and goes back to preparing dinner. Willow gets up to get her book bag and Ira asks one more question. "Willow, who is this friend of Steve's who's teaching him how to cook?"

"A guy named Casey Ryback. He's a Cordon Bleu trained chef who owns a restaurant in Seattle."

"My oh my. Now that's class, Willow." Ira replies with a grin. "How does he know this man?"

"He's a friend of Steve's best friend Frank Iverson. They served together in the Navy SEALs."

Ira stares at Willow. "A Navy SEAL? Willow, that is a very dangerous man."

Willow smiles. "Steve was a Green Beret, Dad. He knows how to handle himself."

"Does Buffy's Mother know this?" Ira asks.

"Yes, she does. Steve's told her and Buffy everything about himself. She was surprised, but she got over it."

"Mrs. Summers is a strong woman, Willow. I can see where Buffy gets it from."

*****

May 7th, 1998 - 14:35 PST
Home of Cordelia Chase, Sunnydale, CA

Cordelia angrily stalks into her house. She slams the door open and throws her jacket across the room. Xander follows her inside and quietly closes the door behind him. Cordelia stares around the room, looking for something to throw, but Xander's arms around her waist and settles her down. She sighs as Xander hugs her. Cordelia quickly melts into his embrace as they stand together. "I hate that bastard!" Cordelia utters and Xander rests his chin on her shoulder.

"I know. We all hate him. Especially for what he said to Buffy today." Xander replies. "Just when she's getting her life back in order, that little weasel hurts her badly."

"It's like, he's on a schedule or something." Cordelia mutters as she breaks away, but takes Xander's hand and leads him to the couch.

// Oh Goddess. I hope you two aren't planning on rutting in here. // Arial mutters from her pillow on the end of the couch. Cordelia glares at her, but Arial continues. // What's got you two so pissed off? I can smell the anger oozing out of you. //

< Snyder verbally abused Buffy today. > Cordelia replies and beams Arial her memories of what happened. Arial growls lowly.

// Can you take me to school tomorrow? I want to teach this bastard a lesson. //

< Sorry, Mrs. Summers already called dibs on Snyder. > Cordelia mentally replies as Xander wraps his arm around her shoulder. She leans in and begins to kiss him.

// I would stop that, if I were you. //

< Why? > Cordelia asks as her lips attach themselves to Xander's.

"Ahem!" A deep voice interrupts from the doorway. Both Xander and Cordelia turn and see a tall, dark haired man dressed in an expensive grey business suit. Xander notices the man bears a close resemblance to Cordelia.

// Daddy's home. // Arial replies with a snicker as she dodges a thrown pillow from Cordelia.

Cordelia and Xander break apart as Charles Chase stares at his daughter and the young man with her on the couch. He scans Xander's muscular form and clear, piercing brown eyes and nods his head. < Who is he? He's no football or basketball player. Those morons always come in here with their team jackets on like they were badges of honor. > "Cordelia, would you care to introduce me to your friend?"

"Dad? Why are you home so early?" Cordelia stammers out.

"My last two appointments were canceled. So I decided to come home early for once."

< Oh Shit! What do I say? >

// Introduce Xander as your boyfriend. // Arial tells Cordelia. // And don't be ashamed of him, Cordelia. Xander is more man than anyone you've ever dated. //

Cordelia stiffens her back and nods slightly to Arial. "Dad, I'd like to introduce you to my boyfriend, Xander Harris."

"Will he be staying for dinner?" Cordelia's Father asks. "After all, I would like to get to know my daughter's boyfriend." < Of the week. I hope this one lasts. He looks like a good kid. >

Cordelia looks at Xander who nods his head, Cordelia turns back to her Father. "Yeah, he will, Dad. Is Mom also going to be here?"

"No, she's not." Cordelia's Father replies as he walks to his home office. "You two have some fun while I finish some paperwork."

"Sure, Dad." Cordelia mutters as she steps away from Xander. Cordelia's Father smiles and leaves the living room. He enters his office and closes the door behind him. Cordelia stares after him and gulps.

"What's wrong, Cordy?" Xander asks.

"Oh Goddess! He saw you!" Cordelia mutters, not believing her luck. She doesn't notice how Xander stiffens at her outburst. Cordelia looks back at him and sees the hurt in his eyes. "Oh Goddess! Xander! I didn't mean it that way!"

"Then what way did you mean it?" Xander asks neutrally.

"Xander, honey. Please don't take this the wrong way, but my Dad is very nosy and pushy. If he thinks that you're dating me just to have sex with me or you're after our family money, then he'll treat you like crap." Cordelia babbles as she hugs him, but Xander's arms stay at his side. "Xander, I love you, I just don't want my Dad to ruin it for us."

Xander's stance softens as he wraps his arms around Cordelia. "Okay. I can understand his feelings from knowing the last guys you dated."

"Yeah, they were all jerks." Cordelia mutters as she holds him tighter.

"Ahem!" They hear again as Cordelia's Father walks out of his office. "May I ask how serious the two of you are?"

Cordelia bites her lip as Arial prompts. // Tell him Cordelia. You may as well get it out of the way now and see how he reacts. //

"Dad, I really care for Xander and want him to be a part of my life, forever." Charles Chase nods his head as he watches Xander hold his daughter's hand.

Charles Chase looks Xander over closely and sees a young man who looks back at him with a level gaze. "Cordelia, go help Maria with dinner, Xander and I will be in my office. Call us when it's ready."

"But Daddy, that is so unfair!" Cordelia whines.

"Don't worry, honey. I won't hurt him . . . too much." Charles Chase replies with a smile. Cordelia glares at her Dad, but leaves. Charles nods his head to Xander. "Come with me, Xander." Xander nods and follows him into his office. Cordelia watches from the kitchen door.

"Oh Shit! I hope Dad doesn't ruin it for me and Xander."

"Don't worry about your young man, Miss Cordelia." Maria replies from the stove. Cordelia turns to her with a cocked eyebrow. Maria chuckles as she stirs her sauce. "He sees that you care for this one like no one before him. He wishes to. . . How do you say it? Oh yes, get to know him."

*****

Xander takes in Mr. Chase's office and quietly sits down in the chair in front of the desk. Mr. Chase sits down behind the desk and studies Xander for a full minute before asking. "How long have you known Cordelia?"

"Since first grade." Xander replies.

Mr. Chase stares at the young man and nods his head. "Have I met you before?"

"You did. My Dad cursed you out when you and he met while Cordy and I were in the fifth grade." Xander replies as he remembers the one time his Father showed up for a Parent/Teacher conference. "He called you several dirty names and you walked away while he was shouting at your back."

Charles thinks back and sadly nods his head. "Does he still drink?"

"Yeah, a lot."

"What about you?"

"I don't drink at all." Xander replies. "I've seen what that stuff did and still does to my Mom and Dad. I won't repeat their mistakes."

Charles nods his head in agreement. "How do they treat you?"

Xander sighs. "Most of the time, they don't know I exist. But sometimes, they remember."

"And what do you do then?"

"I usually leave and spend the night at a friend's house. If I can't do that, then I sleep in the backyard." Xander replies.

"How are your grades?"

"I'm not going to be the Valedictorian or get into Harvard." Xander replies with a grin. "But they're high enough that I can get into UC Sunnydale after I graduate."

"What are your plans for college?"

"I don't know yet. I was thinking about going undeclared for the first year and then see what I liked."

"How long have you been dating Cordelia?" Mr. Chase asks, suddenly changing the flow of conversation.

"Since November of last year. We only started dating openly in February."

"Why didn't you date openly back in November?"

"Cordelia was still in her 'popular' stage and thought that her so-called friends would disown her and make fun of her."

"And what happened in February?"

"She had enough of Harmony and the rest and kissed me in the hallway just before the first bell." < Thank you Artemis for that gift. >

"And now she only has you?" Charles asks, worried about his daughter.

"Actually, she now has some real friends who care for her because of who she is, not how large your bank book is."

"Who?"

"Our best friends, Willow Rosenberg, Buffy Summers, Amy Madison and Oz Green."

"Who does Oz date?"

"Willow. Buffy dates a guy named Steve St. Wolf and Amy's still looking." Xander replies with a smile.

"Does this Steve St. Wolf go to Sunnydale High School with you?"

"No, he works at Lawrence Antiques as a salesman." Xander replies.

"And why is he dating a High School girl?"

"Because they like each other." Xander replies neutrally.

"Does Buffy's Mother know that she's dating this older man?"

"She set them up." Xander replies with a grin. Mr. Chase waits for an explanation. Xander nods his head and continues. "Mrs. Summers met Steve when she visited her friend Carol Lawrence. Mrs. Summers got to know him and she set them up for their first date."

Mr. Chase snickers. < Trust a Mother to help her daughter find a good man. > "And how serious are they?"

"Pretty serious. Steve's a great guy and they really like each other."

"How is he going to support her earning an antique salesman's salary?"

Xander grins as Mr. Chase waits for his answer. "Steve makes over a hundred thousand dollars a year doing his job. He's got some major clients who constantly come to him looking for stuff."

"Like who?"

"Fox and David Xanatos are two of his major clients. He also sells to Fox's Dad, Halcyon Renard, Lennox McDuff, Bill Gates, some of the Rockefellers and the Heinz family have his cell phone number on their speed dial." Xander replies as Charles Chase sits back, stunned.

"Why is he working out of a small antique shop in Sunnydale? He should be working for a large house like Sotherby's, Christie's or Buckland's. Why is he here in Sunnydale?"

"Because he likes it here. He doesn't have to listen to the people acting important and trying to prove how much more they know than him."

"So he likes the peace and quiet here?"

"Yeah, he does." Xander replies. < If you only knew the truth, Mr. Chase. You'd keel over in shock. >

"Is he a college graduate?"

"No. He learned antiques from his cousin, Duncan McLeod."

"The Duncan McLeod of Seacover?"

"Yep, same guy." Xander replies with a grin. "I see you've heard of him."

"Of course I have. Several of my clients speak highly of him. And this man is his cousin?"

"More like a second cousin, but still family." Xander replies as he turns when he hears the door open. Cordelia stands in the doorway, very nervous.

"Daddy, dinner's ready."

Charles Chase nods his head and turns back to Xander. "Do you mind if we continue this over dinner, Xander?"

"Sure. I never pass up free food." Xander replies with a smile. Charles Chase has a good laugh and gets up. All three of them head to the dining room and their first meal together.

*****

Part 3 - A Hunting We Will Go
(The Wanderer's Pissed Off - Enuff Said)

May 7th, 1998 - 20:15 PST
St. Wolf Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Casey watches as Steve pulls out various weapons and explains their use. "The knives are weighted and balanced for throwing and stabbing. Aim for the heart and the vampire will turn to dust. The bullets are Dutch loaded with compressed wood and enchanted silver. Aim for the heart or the head. A head shot with the wood won't kill a vampire, but it will stop him long enough for a second shot with the silver."

"What's the sword for?" Casey asks as Steve puts his sword away. He looks on in wonder as the glowing sword disappears into thin air. "And how the Hell do you do that?"

"Magic." Steve replies with a grin as Demon Slayer disappears.

"Can I ask one question Obi-wan?" Casey sarcastically replies.

"Sure."

"Why is that sword making like a light saber? My sword doesn't have a night light."

"It's an enchanted sword that destroys demons." Steve replies.

"Oh boy." Casey mutters. "And where did you get it from?"

"I saved a Dragon's life, but lost my sword in the process. They gave me Demon Slayer as a replacement."

Casey just shakes his head in disgust. "No wonder Frank was grinning from ear to ear when he asked me to help you. I'm going to kill that bastard when I see him again."

Steve chuckles evilly. "Want some help?" Casey nods his head. "Just ask Cassie. She's always ready to have some fun at Frank's expense. So long as it's not physically harmful."

"Speaking of Cassie." Casey begins. "How come she's dating Frank? She's over two thousand, seven hundred years old. Shouldn't she be dating another Immortal guy?"

"She loves Frank. It's that simple." Steve replies. "Besides, Frank loves her and I'm not standing in the way of his happiness."

"Love is truly blind." Casey mutters as he slips on his leather jacket. "So where are we going?"

"To the local hot spots. We're going to prevent any of the local kids from becoming a vampire happy meal."

"Lead on, Steve." Casey replies as they get into Steve's Tahoe and head to the Bronze.

*****

May 7th, 1998 - 20:45 PST
The Bronze, Sunnydale, CA

Casey watches as the kids crowd into the converted warehouse and grins. "Looks like a great place to hang out."

"But it's also the vampiric version of McDonalds to the local undead." Steve replies as he scans the crowd with a heat detector. "Bingo. We've got two of them."

"Which ones?"

"The blond male with the long hair standing by the door and the red headed girl next to him." Steve replies. "Looks like they're trying the hook and bait gag."

"Hook and bait?"

"Yeah, one of them, usually the girl, hooks the victim, usually an oversexed boy, and takes them out of the public area. They both feed on the poor sap. They repeat until both are full."

"That's fucking cold." Casey angrily mutters as Steve calmly walks over to the pair. Steve smiles at the girl and the girl immediately reacts by taking his arm and seductively smiling at him. Steve whispers something in her ear and the girl giggles. Casey watches as Steve is lead away by the female vampire. The male waits a few minutes, then follows.

Casey waits thirty seconds and follows the male vampire into the alley that the female had lead Steve into. Casey hears the sound of a fight and rushes in, gun drawn in his right hand, a wooden knife in his left.

*****

Steve calmly walks up to the female and shakes his head in disgust as she lithely moves her body to attract him. Steve notices the way her long legs were barely contained by the ultra short mini shirt. Steve looks at her heart shaped face and long red hair and wonders. < This kid looks like she would have been a nice kid while she was alive. > He smiles at her and she returns his smile. Steve leans down and whispers. "How about we go some place quiet and do the wild thing?" The girl giggles.

*****

< Oh Hell. How stupid is this guy? Must go to UC Sunnydale. > The female vampire thinks as she takes in Steve's size and build. < Guy's really built. I'm gonna turn him. He should be fun in the sack. > She looks back at her Sire and watches him nod his head. She eagerly takes his arm and leads him away. "I'm Brenda."

"Steve." Steve replies with a stupid grin on his face.

"You go to UC Sunnydale?"

"Nope. Work in an antique store."

"Oh?" Brenda replies. "Make much money?"

"Enough to live on." Steve replies as they enter the alley behind the Bronze. Brenda grins and pushes Steve against the wall. She sensuously reaches up and wraps her arms around Steve's neck. He smiles a sad smile as his left hand moves and Brenda quickly turns to dust. Steve looks across the alley and sees the blond male vampire rushing towards him.

"I'm going to kill you, you bastard!" The male vampire angrily hisses. "That little bitch was the best partner I've ever had!"

"I take it that you were the bastard that turned her?" Steve calmly asks as he moves forward.

The male vampire gulps as he realizes that Steve wasn't running. "Who are you?"

Steve grins evilly. "Just a guy who's royally pissed off and needs to let off some steam."

"Bring it on!" The male vampire yells as he tries to disable Steve with a kick to his stomach. Steve blocks it and counters with a punch to the vampire's solar plexis. Steve connects and the vampire staggers back into a pile of garbage cans. He quickly recovers and goes after Steve, anger blazing in his yellow eyes. Steve waits for the vampire to attack and sidesteps out of the way of the clumsy attack. With a steel-like grip, he grabs the hapless vampire and slams him head first into the wall. Steve steps back and waits for the vampire to get back up, but the vampire just looks up from the ground and whines.

"Shit man! What the hell are you?"

"The Slayer's boyfriend." Steve replies as Casey walks into the alleyway.

*****

Casey watches as the vampire on the ground begins to shiver when Steve tells him, "The Slayer's boyfriend." Casey just shakes his head in disbelief as the vampire openly shudders. Steve doesn't look up as the vampire tries to crawl away at a dead run. He spies Casey and pleads.

"Hey man! Please, please, don't let him have me."

"Why?" Casey asks.

"Because he's the Bitch's boyfriend. He's as dangerous as She is! I'm not ready to die yet."

"But you're already dead." Casey replies as he watches Steve walk up and stab the vampire in the back. Casey watches as the vampire turns to dust. He looks up at Steve. "What happened to him?"

"When you kill the demon, the body breaks down to it's most common elements." Steve replies as he picks up his wooden knife. "We'll do one more sweep around the Bronze. Then we'll head over to the cemeteries."

"Good." Casey replies as he pulls out the heat sensor and checks out the crowd near the entrance. He studies it for a few minutes and puts it away. "Nothing there, let's go."

Steve nods his head and they head to the nearest cemetery. "We'll hit the one by Weatherby Park first."

*****

May 7th, 1998 - 21:10 PST
Green Lawn Cemetery, Sunnydale, CA

Casey watches as Steve takes out his third, fourth, and fifth vampires in less than two minutes. Casey shakes his head in awe and quietly asks Steve as he pounds the last vampire's head into a crypt wall, "Are you sure, you're all right?"

Steve looks up as the vampire collapses on the ground, begging. "Please, just kill me now." Steve looks down and stabs him in the back. Casey continues to stare at Steve, this time in disgust.

"What is wrong with you?!" Casey barks out. "You've never done shit like this before. Every mission we've ever worked together on, you've always killed quickly. Not this shit."

"Just letting off a little steam." Steve replies as they both walk away.

"A little steam?!" Casey wonders as the walk out of the cemetery and walk to another one three blocks away.

*****

Part 4 - Another Midnight Stroll Gone To Shit
(Leeeeeet's Geeeeeet Reeeeeeady to Rummmmmmble)

May 7th, 1998 - 23:20 PST
1st Baptist Church Cemetery, Sunnydale, CA

Casey quickly ducks under a female vampire's swing and counters with a sweep kick. The female goes down and Casey stabs her with his stake as she lays stunned on the ground. She disappears and Casey picks himself up and watches as Steve cuts one vampire in half with his sword while shooting two more with his gun. < Fucking Hell! That sword is actually glowing brighter than before. I wonder what's up? > Casey wonders as a roar fills the night.

Casey looks around as an eight and a half foot tall thing with a huge battle axe shambles into the light of the moon, heading straight towards Steve. Casey shakes his head in wonder, but pulls out his gun and quickly unloads his entire magazine into the monstrosity. However, the armor that the monster wears shrugs off the bullets like a hard rain.

It looks at Casey, points at him, and the six vampires following the thing rush towards Casey, thinking him easy prey. Casey reloads his gun in less than two seconds and shoots four of six vampires down. Casey then loses sight of the demon as the remaining two vampires attack him. Casey disables one of the vampires with a crescent kick to her throat. As the female goes down, Casey goes hand to hand with the last vampire, a six foot tall male, wearing a suit. Casey counters the punch that the male sends his way and attacks with a straight jab into his heart with the wooden knife in his hand. Casey grunts in satisfaction as the vampire becomes dust.

He moves to the attack as the female rises to attack him. Casey steps back and lets her rush him. The vampire, now cautious, moves forward slowly. Casey grins, realizing that this vampire was going to try to kill him slowly. Casey nods his head and mutters. "All right, Bitch! Let's dance!"

The female smiles a wicked smile, apparently relishing the challenge. "You're good, mortal. But I've killed thousands of you over the last hundred years."

"You won't be killing anymore people, Bitch." Casey swears as he feints to the right and attacks in the front. The vampire grunts as she's forced back, but she regains her courage and renews her attack. Casey blocks each of her blows before he finally finds an opening and stabs forward into her unliving heart. The female lets out a scream and quickly becomes dust. Casey turns around, searching the area for anymore vampires. He sees Steve fighting with the eight foot tall monster wearing the battle armor.

*****

Steve breathes deeply as he finishes his eighth vampire of the night and turns to give Casey a thumbs up sign and freezes as he hears a roar fill the night air. Steve turns to the sound and sees a eight and a half foot tall demon coming at him. Steve watches as the demon almost trips from the number of bullets fired at it by Casey. He grins as the demon rights itself and calls out. "Sword Bearer! I am Krtog! I will kill you!"

"A lot of Demons have said that," Steve replies calmly. "And so far no one's been able to keep that vow."

"Phaaphaag!" Krtog spits out. "I have killed Sword Bearers before, mortal. Prepare to die!"

Steve enters into his attack stance. "I am Steven St. Wolf, Bearer of Demon Slayer, personal Champion to Merlin and Niume of Camelot. Knight Lieutenant of the Order of the Grail. Name yourself Demon."

"I am Krtog of the Second Circle. Champion of the Armies of Hell and Chosen Killer of the Sword Bearers!" The Demon replies as he comes to his full eight and a half foot height. His face and shaved head, an ugly pock marked crater field. Steve grimaces as Krtog exposes the three inch tusks rising from his lower jaw.

"Wrong." Steve replies.

Krtog looks at him with his head cocked. "Wrong? What did I say that was wrong?"

"You're fertilizer, asshole. You picked the wrong night to fuck with me." Steve replies with an evil grin as he rushes forward and attacks. Demon Slayer shines brightly as Krtog's axe moves forward and blocks the first blow. Steve quickly shifts his attack to the Demon's hip. Krtog jumps back out of range and grins, showing all of his teeth.

"You are skilled Steven St. Wolf! Finally a Bearer worthy of me!" Krtog chortles. "But that won't be enough to stop me from killing you."

Instead of replying, Steve just attacks. Demon Slayer goes high, then low, then high again. Krtog dances back and around, attempting to wear Steve's guard down. Krtog glances about, looking for his vampire lackeys and doesn't see any of them. He sees the lone human standing there, waiting and waving to him with a maniacal smile on his face.

*****

Casey watches as Steve attacks the monster, first going high, then low, then to the side, testing the monster's defenses. "Oh Shit!" Casey mutters as he reloads his gun with a magazine of pure silver rounds. He grins savagely as the monster looks around for his vampires, but only sees him. Casey raises the gun and fires into the monster's skull. The bullets hit Krtog and he staggers back, further away from Steve.

*****

Steve grins as Casey shoots the Demon with his enchanted silver bullets. As Krtog is distracted, Steve dances in and slices a shallow cut on Krtog's stomach. Krtog roars in pain as Demon Slayer's magic causes him agony. He moves back and goes on the defensive.

"So, you use others to fight your battles, mortal." Krtog grumbles.

"And those six vampires weren't going to help you?" Steve replies with a sarcastic laugh.

Krtog's only reply is a roar and a flurry of attacks with his battle ax. He swings the ax with all of his considerable strength, trying to force his way past Demon Slayer. Steve ducks back and quickly moves back in on the back swing. He stabs forward and hits Krtog's elbow. Krtog screams in rage as his ax falls from his nerveless fingers. Steve moves in cautiously, ready to strike or dodge. "Ready to die, Demon?" Steve asks as he pulls out one of Tyr's Fangs.

Krtog's face blanches as he recognizes the mystical blade. "How in the Nine Hells? That blade was destroyed centuries ago!"

Steve grins. "Finders keepers, asshole. Now you die."

Krtog's mouth splits into a merciless smile. "Not yet, Steven St. Wolf." Krtog replies as he clutches an amulet that hangs around his throat and disappears.

Steve stares at the ground where Krtog was standing and angrily screams out. "Fucking Hell!!" He looks around him and sees only Casey standing and staring at the spot where the Demon disappeared from. Steve walks over to the fallen ax and picks it up. He glares at it and calmly walks over to Casey. "Bastard ran away!"

"I know. What was that thing?"

"Second circle Demon." Steve angrily replies. "Looks like I've pissed off one too many of the bad guys."

"Heavy hitter?" Casey asks.

"Yeah, pretty heavy." Steve replies as they walk back to Steve's Tahoe. He opens the back and takes out some chalk. He picks up his cell phone and calls his superior. "Marc, this is Steve."

"What is it, Steve?"

"A second circle Demon just tried to kill me. Tell the old fart someone might be trying to get at him by first taking me out. Also increase his and Niume's bodyguard details. I don't want any surprises."

"It will be done. Are you and Sir Casey all right?"

"How do you know that Casey is with me?"

Marc laughs. "Frank called me after you asked for his help. The betting is going hot and heavy when you will marry your Slayer."

Steve shakes his head in disbelief. "Gods, what the hell did I do in a past life to deserve this?"

Marc laughs. "If you don't know, I'm not telling you."

Steve sighs as he looks at the moon, but quickly gets back to business. "Marc, I confiscated the Demon's battle ax. Do you want it?"

"Yes, please draw a containment circle around it and I'll get it transported here."

"You got it. But make sure that you use the usual safety protocols before you take it out of the containment circle. And make sure that they check for mundane threats as well as magical. We don't want the boss man taken out by a poison dart, mutated disease or an ounce of plastique."

"I'll personally oversee the transport." Marc promises as he hangs up.

Steve puts down the cell phone and quickly draws a circle on the sidewalk with the chalk. He puts the ax in the center of the circle and quickly utters a phrase. Casey and Steve watch as the circle glows for a brief second and the ax disappears. "That takes care of that," Steve mutters as he takes out a water gun and washes the circle off the sidewalk. "Do you want to do anymore patrolling or do you want to head back to the house?"

"You still need to let off some steam?" Casey asks as he watches Steve closely.

Steve sighs. "Is it that obvious?"

"It is." Casey replies as he looks up at the sky with a grin on his face. "Would you happen to know where this Snyder guy lives?"

"Yeah, I do. Why?"

"I'm in the mood to pay him a 'little' visit. You in?" Casey replies softly. His body tense.

"Why do you want to pay Snyder a visit?" Steve asks.

"It's simple. I respect what your lady and her friends have been doing. A piece of shit like Snyder shouldn't be able to do something like that and expect to get away with it."

Steve chuckles. "I'm sure that Joyce will agree with you. And I'm sure that Snyder will be very sorry tomorrow when Joyce 'visits' him."

Casey grins. "She loves her daughter. I can't fault a woman for being a good Mother. But I can teach that little turd a lesson that he won't be forgetting anytime soon."

"And how will you do that?" Steve asks as his dark mood begins to lighten.

"By visiting him and introducing myself as Buffy's Uncle."

Steve begins to laugh. After a few minutes he stops and grins evilly. "That just might be fun."

Casey also grins as he walks to the passenger side of the Tahoe. "Well?"

"Give me a second to stop laughing." Steve replies with a laugh as he gets into the driver's seat. "Casey, has anyone ever asked you if you're related to a guy named Connor McLeod of the Clan McLeod?

"Who the hell is Connor McLeod?"

Steve chuckles. "Just a guy who has a very warped sense of humor. And, knowing several members of his 'family', it appears that it's hereditary."

Casey laughs. "Sounds like a guy I could get to like."

"Gods." Steve mutters under his breath. "I don't deserve that."

Casey continues to laugh as he and Steve make their way to Snyder's house.

*****

Part 5 - Midnight Visitations
(What'd You Think? I Wouldn't Have A Title Song?)

May 8th, 1998 - 00:12 PST
Snyder's House, Sunnydale, CA

Steve and Casey park in front of Snyder's house and look it over. Steve glances at his friend. "Are you ready?"

Casey grins and opens the passenger side door. "Let's do it." Steve follows as Casey walks up to Snyder's front door and kicks it open without hesitating. They both walk in and look around the cheap furniture and just shake their heads in disgust at the mess that Snyder had in his living room. "Guess the guy doesn't like to cook." Casey disgustedly replies as he opens a pizza box and finds several slices of two day old pizza.

Steve nods to a door in the back of the house. "Think that's the bedroom?"

Casey shrugs. "Only one way to find out."

Steve held Casey back for a second. "Think he might have a gun?"

Casey shrugs and pulls out his H & K USP and Steve pulls out his Glock 21. They stand on each side of the door and Casey nods his head and they both kick it in. Casey rushes in low and Steve covers him from the edge of the door. Steve watches as Casey easily moves from his crouch and covers the man still sleeping in the queen sized bed. Casey looks back to Steve, who confirms that the man sleeping in the bed was Snyder.

Casey grins as the man continues to sleep and puts away his gun. Steve does the same and watches as Casey gently sits down on the edge of the bed. Steve can't help but grin when Casey softly calls to Snyder. "Wakey, wakey, Snyder." Snyder murmurs in his sleep, but doesn't wake up. Casey sighs and sits back. He reaches forward and grabs Snyder's pajama top and pulls him roughly into a sitting position. Snyder jerks awake and opens his eyes. His eyes bulge when they see Casey's cold, dead eyes.

"Wha-a-aat?" Snyder murmurs in shock as he quickly backs up away from the stranger in his bedroom. Casey's mouth splits into a merciless grin. Snyder gulps and quickly loses control of his bowels and a stain spreads across his pajama bottom. "What do you want?" Snyder asks in a hushed whisper.

"Good evening. Mr. Snyder, I presume?" Casey quietly asks him in a cold, dead voice. Snyder nods his head slightly, very afraid of this strange, dark clothed man. Casey smiles as he tightens his grip on the pajama top. "Good. I want to talk to you."

"Couldn't this wait for tomorrow?" Snyder weakly asks.

Casey's eyes bore into Snyder as he rasps out. "Let me introduce myself. My name is Casey Ryback. I'm Buffy's Uncle."

"Oh Shit!" Snyder mutters as he glances at Steve, seeing him for the first time. Steve glares back at him, ready to tear him apart. Snyder gulps and looks back at Casey.

"Don't look to Steve for help. He wants to kill you right now."

"And you don't?" Snyder nervously asks.

"No." Casey neutrally replies. "I want to beat the hell out of you, but that's counter productive."

Snyder gulps, and winces his face, waiting for the first blow. "Go ahead. You're all alike. You pretty boys will beat me up because I talked to your girlfriend. I can take it. But someday, I'm going to get even with you!"

Casey looks at Steve and shakes his head in open disgust. "He's not worth hurting, Steve."

"I can see that." Steve replies as he glares down at Snyder. "But he's going to fix what he did today."

"What do you mean?" Snyder asks weakly, relieved that he wasn't going to be beaten on.

"Tomorrow morning, you will publicly apologize to Buffy for what you said today."

"I will do no such thing!" Snyder angrily replies, but quickly cowers when Steve's face begins to grow very angry.

"You will do it!" Casey angrily replies. "Steve and I will be there tomorrow and if we don't hear you apologize over the intercom, I'll let Steve kill you."

"You won't? He couldn't?!" Snyder mutters as he looks into Steve's eyes and doesn't see anything remotely resembling mercy in them. "Oh Shit! You are a stone cold killer!"

Steve continues to glare as Casey grabs Snyder's throat with one hand. Snyder stares in muted shock as Casey squeezes his throat with his hand. Snyder tries to pull away, but Casey holds him tight. Casey leans in and tells Snyder, in a tightly controlled voice. "Listen to me, little man. Steve and I work together." Snyder stiffens and gulps. "Buffy is important to the both of us. To me, as my niece. To Steve, as his girlfriend. You hurt her today and we don't like that. Hurt her, or any of her friends, again and we will be back and then there won't be anything left of you for the police to clean up."

"You couldn't?" Snyder asks as he watches Casey closely and realizes that Buffy's 'Uncle' was as dangerous as her boyfriend. "Oh God! You would!"

Casey gets up and stands next to Steve. "Remember, Snyder. We'll be watching and listening. Screw with us and you won't be alive the next day." Snyder watches the pair walk out of his bedroom and his house. He gets out of bed and watches them climb into the car that he sometimes saw Buffy drive to school and he shudders. He quickly runs over to the phone and dials a memorized telephone number. The phone is picked up after two rings and a chipper voice asks.

"Mr. Snyder? Why are you up so late? You shouldn't be up so late on a school night."

Snyder gulps and quickly reports. "I just had a visit from Buffy Summers' boyfriend and a man who claims to be her Uncle. Both men threatened me and said that if I didn't lay off Summers and her friends, I'd disappear. You have to protect me!"

"What did they want from you?" The voice seriously asks.

"They want me to publicly apologize to the little bitch!" Snyder barks out.

"Please do not use profanity around me, Mr. Snyder." The voice replies in a low whisper. Snyder gulps and rubs his neck as the voice sighs. "Do it."

"What?" Snyder mutters softly, afraid of the man who was on the other end of his phone.

"Apologize to Miss Summers." The voice orders. "Miss Summers' boyfriend is more than capable of killing you for insulting her like that. And you'll still have to face her Mother tomorrow." Snyder shudders. "Don't worry, Mr. Snyder, everything will even out in the end." And the voice hangs up the phone in Snyder's ear.

Snyder stares at the phone for a full minute. He takes a deep breath and rips it from it's box and throws it into the wall. "That little Bitch!! How dare she screw me over like this?!" He stares at the phone lying in a heap and shudders in anger. "I'm going to get even for this. By God I will!"

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 00:33 PST
Mayor Wilkin's House, Sunnydale, CA

Mayor Wilkins quietly puts his phone down and glares at Krtog. "I thought you could kill him?"

"The bastard doesn't fight alone, like the other bearers did. It will take more than just me to kill him."

Wilkinson's nods his head, deep in thought. He begins to pace the length of the office and looks over to Krtog several times. After a few minutes, he asks. "What do you think we'll need to kill off the Wanderer?"

"Much more than me." Krtog mutters. "That damn sword is stronger than ever. No other Bearer has ever been this powerful. What's worse, he carries at least one of Tyr's Fangs. It will be most difficult to kill him so long as he holds Demon Slayer and one of Tyr's Fangs."

Wilkins sighs in exasperation and pinches his nose in thought. "Do you think he knows about the Accession?"

"That is doubtful. But he will be a problem up until then." Krtog replies. "When you become a first circle Demon, you should be able to kill him easily. Even Demon Slayer and Tyr's Fang will not be enough to stop you."

"I thought Tyr's Fangs were destroyed five hundred years ago."

"They were. Where he found this one is unknown to me. If he has both, then every Demon in the world is in danger. Even the unkillables will die from those two blades."

Wilkins sighs again. "Why wasn't Demon Slayer and it's mate destroyed two hundred years ago when you killed the last Bearers?"

"Fragnar and Smaug." Krtog replies in disgust. "Those two lizards forced me and my army of vampires back when we were about to attack that Half-elf Bitch who defeated my battle companion, Tanetal, with both swords. They took both of the Slayer swords and incinerated the bodies of their Bearers, releasing their souls, preventing us from turning them. I don't know what happened to that Half-Elf Bitch. But if I ever find her, I'll destroy her."

"Too bad. A pair of turned Bearers would have aided our mutual causes greatly. What is St. Wolf's relationship to Fragnar?"

"If the rumors are true, Fragnar calls him friend and brother." Krtog replies. "And the Dragon called Smaug also considers him a friend."

Wilkins stares at the window in his home office and shivers. "I've been here for over one hundred years, preparing for my Accession. I can't believe that this one man is capable of destroying everything that I've built up over the last century."

Krtog grimaces, exposing his fangs. "He's more than capable. Especially if he's allied with the Slayer. If they set the prophecy in motion, we will all be doomed."

"What prophecy?"

"There is a prophecy that a pair of Immortal Avatars will be chosen to lead the forces of the Light against the Darkness. They will bring the Nine Swords of Destiny together and waken the Army of the Light. The fighting will last for centuries, but in the end, they will win."

Wilkins gulps and stares at Krtog. "What will set the prophecy in motion?"

Krtog snorts in laughter. "The end of the Immortals' 'Game'. The birth of an Immortal Slayer. The joining of the Slayer Swords with the other seven Swords of Destiny. The return of the Once and Future King. The return of the Old Gods. The Old Gods choosing mortal Champions to battle for them in the mortal world. The chances of all that happening are almost nonexistent."

"I agree, the chances are very slim for all of that to occur." Wilkins replies with a smile.

"What about this human 'pet'? Will he do as you order?"

"He will." Wilkins confirms. "He knows what I'll do to him if he doesn't do as he's told."

"Good! That will put him at ease and tomorrow night I'll attack him with some allies."

"Do you think you can kill him?"

"With the allies that I'll have with me?" Krtog asks with a snort as the Mayor nods his head. "Of course, that bastard is dead."

"Good, because you know what will happen to you if he survives." Wilkins replies as he opens a cabinet. "And to make sure that he dies, I'm sending twenty of my vampires with you and your allies. Do you have any problems with this?"

"No, I don't." Krtog rumbles in reply. "In fact, they can clean up the mess when we're done."

"Of course they will." Wilkins replies with a smile as he turns back to Krtog with a tray. "Want some fresh cookies? I just had them made from a girl scout."

*****

Part 6 - Visitors
(Want Make An American Slayer Jealous? Invite A Russian Fox)

May 8th, 1998 - 07:44 PST
St. Wolf Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Natasha and her daughter pull up to the home at 317 Bryant Terrace and they both admire the home and it's well manicured lawn. Tanya turns to Natasha after staring at the home for a full minute. "This is a nice home. Do you think he's here for a while?"

"Steven has always wanted a sense of permanence. This home is probably something that he's wanted for a long time." Natasha replies.

"You got all of that from the short time you were together?" Tanya asks in wonder.

"Yes." Natasha replies with a smile. "While were waiting for the terrorists to make their move, we were able to talk."

"And he told you about wanting a home like this?"

"You can only go over a plan so many times before it becomes tedium and you begin to make mistakes. Besides, it made for a nice change of pace and calmed the both of us for the coming battle." Natasha replies as she knocks on the door.

The door is opened and a tall, dark haired man answers the door. Tanya looks him from head to toe and stares in appreciation. < God! I hope this is St. Wolf. >

Natasha's eyes narrow as she asks. "I'm looking for Steven St. Wolf. Is this his home?"

"It is." Casey replies as he looks at Tanya and gulps as he stares at her. < Oh God! I hope she's not married. >

"Ahem!" Natasha clears her throat. "Is Steven home?"

"Yes?" Casey answers absent mindedly as he watches Tanya smile shyly at him.

"Are you going to invite us in?" Natasha asks with a smile as she watches the body language between her daughter and this strange man.

Casey jerks back to awareness as Natasha touches his arm. "Yes, please do come in."

Natasha smiles as Tanya walks next to the man. She looks around the room and likes what she sees in the decor. < Steven must have had help in designing the decor. No way a man would have chosen the furniture and the matching colors. I wonder who helped him and whether he's seeing someone. > Natasha grins as she walks into the living room and feels the 'Buzz'. She looks around and sees Steve standing next to the kitchen counter making fresh coffee. "I hope you remember how I like my coffee, Darling." Natasha calls out.

*****

Steve stiffens and turns around as he feels the 'Buzz' of an approaching Immortal. < That's not Buffy. > He reaches for Demon Slayer as an accented voice calls out. "I hope you remember how I like my coffee, Darling." Steve relaxes as he recognizes an old friend's voice. He turns around with a smile as Natasha warmly hugs him. "Been a while, Natasha. I'm glad you came to help."

"I'm always ready to help a friend with a good cause, Darling." Natasha replies as Casey walks in with an unknown woman. "Allow me to introduce you to my daughter, Tanya Romanov."

Steve grins as he watches Casey stare at the young woman and she back at him. < Artemis doesn't kid around. Damn but she and Aphrodite are fast. > "Allow me to introduce you to my old friend, Casey Ryback. He's visiting and helping me with a little project."

"Does this little project have to do with the person murdering those girls." Natasha asks.

Steve shakes his head. "No, Casey's here on a different matter."

Natasha looks Casey over and notices several things about him and quietly asks. < He's Special Forces. Has to be. > "What can a man like Mr. Ryback help you with that doesn't concern the matter that you asked me to help you with?"

"Uhm, well." Steve mutters as Casey watches him squirm.

"Steven? What aren't you telling me?" Natasha demands as she glares at him.

Casey begins to laugh as Tanya watches Steve squirm. She leans in and quietly asks. "Why are you here, Mr. Ryback?"

Casey grins at her and holds up his finger to his mouth. "That's a secret, Miss Romanov. And you can call me Casey."

Tanya smiles. "Very well, Casey. And you can call me Tanya. But I like secrets. So can you please share?"

"Only if Steve lets me." Casey replies with a grin.

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 07:52 PST
Summer's House, Sunnydale, CA

Buffy bounces down the stairs as she quickly moves to the front door. She stops as her Mother calls out. "Buffy, honey. Please come here."

"Sure, Mom." Buffy replies as she walks into the kitchen and asks, "What's up?"

"I'm taking you to school today." Joyce replies calmly.

"Why?"

"I'm going to be paying a visit to Mr. Snyder." Joyce replies neutrally.

Buffy grins. "What are you going to do, Mom?"

Joyce grins evilly. "I'm going to have it out with that little toad. And if he doesn't apologize to you, I'm going to ram his head through the wall."

Buffy giggles. "Oh that's going to be fun to watch."

"Where were you off to in such a hurry off to?"

"To Steve's. I want to make sure that he's all right." Buffy replies.

Joyce smiles. "We'll stop by on the way to school. I'm sure that he's all right."

"Let's just make sure, okay, Mom," Buffy replies as she patiently waits for Joyce to finish her coffee.

Joyce quickly finishes and both women head out the door.

*****

Natasha glares at Steve, demanding. "Will you tell me what your friend is here for or do I have to get it the old fashioned way?"

"The 'old fashioned way'?" Steve repeats as Natasha moves in and wraps her arms around his neck, and stares into his eyes.

"Yes, the 'old fashioned way'." Natasha repeats as she kisses Steve on the lips. As Natasha deepens the kiss, she hears a voice screech, "What the Hell is going on here!!!"

*****

Buffy and Joyce pull up to Steve's house and both get out. Buffy grins as she walks up to the side door and into the kitchen. She stops dead in her tracks when she sees a very beautiful red haired woman, wearing a short Prada leather shirt with a white silk blouse wrap her arms around Steve's neck and deeply kiss her man. "What the Hell is going on here!!!" She loudly demands.

Natasha quickly breaks away and stares that young woman yelling at her. She notices that the girl looks to be about sixteen years old and was probably a very recent Immortal from the way her 'Buzz' barely registered. Natasha turns to Steve. "Who is this child?"

"That's my girlfriend, Buf. . . Umph." Before Steve can finish, Natasha kicks him in his balls. As Steve falls over, Natasha curls her hand up in a fist and punches him in the jaw.

"You are sleeping with that CHILD?!" Natasha screams out and is about to kick Steve in the face when a small hand grabs her shoulder and pulls her away. Natasha breaks away and kicks out, trying to force Buffy away. Buffy blocks and counters with a stabbing blow to Natasha's throat. Natasha blocks and attacks with Tiger's claw strike to her face. Buffy drops and lashes out with a sweep kick. Natasha jumps up and tries to kick Buffy in the face. Buffy kicks up and forces Natasha's leg up and over. Natasha lands on the other side of her opponent, whirls to face her, and stares in disbelief. "No way you could know all those moves! You're too young to be this well trained."

Buffy snarls and growls. "It's no big thing when you're the Slayer."

"You're the Slayer? But she's only a myth! Children's tales." Natasha replies in shock. She glares at Steve. "Is it true, Steven? Is this child the Slayer?"

"Yeah," Steve replies in pain from the floor. "She is. She's also Immortal, my student, and my girlfriend."

Natasha moves to hit Steve again but Buffy angrily tells her. "Lady, I don't know what your problem is, but you won't hit Steve again."

Natasha glares at Buffy and the older woman next to her. "Listen, child, that man is not supposed to take advantage of you like he is. Sleeping with someone as young as you are is not good for you."

Buffy begins to laugh. Natasha looks at her and then at Steve, who just shrugs nonchalantly. She sighs and asks. "I take it that you and her have not slept together?"

"No, we haven't." Steve replies as he tenderly touches his jaw. "I see Logan's been teaching you how to box."

"Steve?! Who is this WOMAN?!" Buffy demands. "And why was she kissing you?!"

Steve grimaces. "Buffy, before you get too upset, let me introduce you to Natasha Romanov, an old friend I called in to help us with the serial murderer case."

"Why was she kissing you?!" Buffy demands.

"It's an old joke between us." Natasha replies with a grin. "Steven once joked that the only way I could make him talk was, to use an old Hollywood clique, seduce it out of him."

"And when did this joke start?" Buffy demands not liking this brand of humor.

"About five years ago. After we killed a lot of terrorists and Natasha wanted to know who I was." Steve replies with a grin. "I told her that I was just some guy passing through. Naturally Natasha didn't believe me. She wanted to know who I was working for."

"And I threatened to seduce him if he didn't tell me." Natasha replies with a grin. "I've met very few truly decent men in my life. Steven is one of them. Any other man would have jumped at the chance to be seduced by me."

"So there's nothing between you two?"

"No. There isn't. Steven knows that I love a man called Logan." Natasha replies with a smile as she watches Buffy cool down. "What is your relationship with Steven?"

"We're only dating and taking it one day at a time. Steve is going to cook me a romantic dinner tonight." Buffy replies with a smile.

Natasha's eyebrows raise when she hears this and turns to Steve. "I thought you couldn't cook anything but the basics?"

"Well, that's why Casey's here. He's teaching me how to cook." Steve replies from where he's sitting.

Natasha turns to Casey. "And you know how to cook, Mr. Ryback?"

Casey sighs. "I'm a Cordon Blue trained chef, Ms. Romanov. I also own my own restaurant which Zaggats rates at four stars."

Natasha grins and helps Steve up. She gives him a quick hug and peck on his cheek. "I'm glad to see you haven't changed much, Boy Scout."

"It's only been five years, Natasha." Steve replies with a grin.

"Ahem!" Joyce replies. Everyone turns to her. "Why did you attack Steve, Ms. Romanov?"

Steve grins. "Joyce, Natasha attacked me because she thought I was taking advantage of Buffy. This is going to be happening a lot with my friends until everyone of them gets to know her."

Natasha looks at Joyce and how much Buffy looked like her. "You must be Buffy's Mother." Joyce nods. "Why are you letting your daughter date Steven? You must know that he's older than her."

Joyce smiles. "I know that Steve's forty and Immortal. But Buffy's also an Immortal and she likes him and he likes her. I have no problem with them dating."

"Mom set us up. Steve wouldn't date for the first three weeks we knew each other until she approved of our relationship."

"Oh?" Natasha asks with a smile.

"A Mother always knows." Joyce replies simply as Buffy glares at her.

"You will never let me live it down, will you?"

"No." Joyce replies with a grin as Natasha, Tanya and Casey all laugh at Buffy's adorable pout.

"Joyce?" Steve asks as he wisely holds in his laughter in the face of Buffy's glare, daring him to laugh. "Why are you two here?"

"Buffy wanted to make sure that you and Casey were both all right after patrolling alone last night."

"We're fine. Only had to take out fifteen vampires and fight a second circle Demon. Nothing special." Steve replies calmly.

Buffy stares at Steve and then at Casey. "Fifteen vampires?! A second circle Demon?! What the hell was going on last night!?"

"An assassination attempt." Steve replies as Buffy and her Mother look on in shock.

"Who did they want to kill?" Joyce asks.

"Me." Steve replies as Buffy looks on in shock.

"You? Why?" Buffy asks, but quickly understands. "You pissed off too many of the bad guys over the last fifteen years. And now that you're here, they've found you."

Steve grimaces. "Yeah, that about sums it up."

"Steven?" Everyone turns to Natasha. "What are you people talking about? Vampires? Demons? What is all that about?"

Steve sighs. < Here we go again. > "Natasha, I don't know how to explain it, but this town tends to draw in certain mystical beings. Most of whom are vampires, but there is the occasional Demon."

"Steven, vampires and Demons only exist in mythology, not in real life." Natasha grimaces as Buffy, Joyce and Casey begin to laugh softly. Natasha glares at them, but turns back to Steve. "Please explain further."

"Natasha, vampires and Demons really exist. I'm a Demon hunter. I hunt Demons and kill them when they become threats to humanity and the world at large."

"I thought you worked for the CIA." Natasha replies.

"Only part time." Steve replies with an easy grin. "I work for myself first and foremost." Steve glares at Casey as he begins to laugh under his hand.

"And why do you hunt Demons?"

"Call it a destiny thing." Steve replies with a smile as Buffy begins to giggle.

"And why is it destiny that you hunt Demons?"

Steve pulls out Demon Slayer. Natasha and Tanya watch in awe as the glowing blade appears from thin air. Both of them gulp as they feel the power coming from the blade.

"What is that thing?" Natasha asks in shock.

"It's called Demon Slayer." Buffy replies. Natasha turns to her. "It's one of the Nine Swords of Destiny. The Nine were created to protect humanity from the monsters and Demons that try to constantly destroy it." Steve grins as Buffy blushes. "Giles had me learn all about the Swords a few weeks ago."

"Who is this 'Giles'?" Natasha asks.

"My Watcher." Buffy replies with a smile. "He researches for me and Steve, telling us about the monsters that we fight. What their strengths and weaknesses are."

"And why were you hunting those terrorists?" Natasha asks Steve.

Steve shrugs. "I occasionally also take out terrorists when they become threats to the world. Call it a Boy Scout thing."

Natasha sighs and begins to laugh, enjoying herself. "I deserved that." She replies between laughs, but quickly grows serious, her eyes become very hard. "But I want to know why you're hunting this child murderer."

Steve grimaces. "Besides the fact that he murdered a girl in this town?"

"Yes, besides that fact. What will you do to him when you find him?" Natasha replies folding her arms across her chest.

"Turn him over to someone who has claimed him for herself." Steve replies.

"A past victim that survived?" Natasha asks.

"No, he's been claimed by someone who has the capability to see true justice is done." Steve replies.

Natasha grimaces in distaste. "Who can do that?"

"I can." Artemis replies as she appears in the living room. Natasha quickly moves to block the woman from her daughter. She looks the woman up and down, taking in the deer skin blouse and skirt. The calf high boots and the long sword carried in a sheath on her belt. Natasha looks into her eyes and shudders at the depth of history held in them.

"Who and what are you?" Natasha demands softly.

Artemis smiles. "Would you care to do the honors, Steven?"

Steve grins. "Certainly, my Lady Goddess." Natasha and Tanya stiffen at those four easily spoken words and both begin to shake when Steve introduces her. "Natasha, Tanya, allow me to introduce you to Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt and Patron Goddess of the Amazon Nation."

Natasha glares at Steve's grinning face and savagely aims a kick at Artemis' throat. Artemis smiles and catches the foot in mid air and holds it there. Natasha's eyes bulge when she realizes that Artemis' hands hadn't moved. She tries to retract her foot, but can't. She glares at Artemis, who's got a small smile on her face as she studies Natasha's form. She walks around Natasha, humming and noting her perfect form and the execution of the kick. Natasha glares at Steve. "Have her let me go!"

Steve grins. "Can't do that, Natasha."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm not about to piss off a Goddess. Especially one who can ruin my love life." Artemis smiles at this and nods her head in agreement.

"And how could she ruin your love life?" Natasha asks sarcastically.

"By calling a favor with my sister Aphrodite." Artemis replies with a light laugh. "I'm sure she could steer any woman that Steven was interested in to a better prospect."

"I hope so!" Buffy replies with a giggle. "I don't want any competition for Steve. She could always make them go after Brad Pitt."

Natasha stares in disbelief at the young woman in front of her. "Could you please let me go?" She asks Artemis.

"Certainly." Artemis replies and Natasha finds her foot landing on the ground. Natasha glares at the Goddess and especially at Steve.

"Why don't you get this animal yourself?" Natasha asks Artemis.

"Because I am limited in what I may do on the mortal plane. I have my Amazons to act for me and they will bring this animal to me for justice."

"Amazons?" Natasha asks in disbelief. She turns to Steve. "What does she mean that she has Amazons?"

"Only four, so far." Steve replies. "All four work with Buffy and me, protecting this town from the Demons and vampires."

"And you don't have a problem working with these women?" Natasha asks in surprise. < How can any man work with such strong willed women? >

"I never had a problem working with you, did I?" Steve asks.

"But I'm not an Amazon." Natasha replies.

"Not yet." Artemis replies with a sly smile as she looks Natasha over, liking what she saw. "But that could always be changed."

Natasha glares at Steve. "What the hell is she talking about?"

"She wants you to become an Amazon." Buffy replies with a giggle. "Oh boy! I can't wait to see Cordy's face when she sees you."

"I don't think so!" Natasha replies. "I know about these 'deals'. The stories always tell about the high cost of these so-called 'gifts' enact."

"I will not force you Natasha Romanov, but always know this; Call on Me and I will answer you." Artemis replies.

"Thank you, Lady Goddess," Natasha humbly replies. "But why don't you have any of your Amazons get the items that they need to capture this animal?"

"Because none of them are any good at Breaking and Entering a locked police evidence vault." Steve replies.

Natasha laughs softly. "What can they do?"

"Each one is an accomplished fighter with multiple black belts. I've been cross training them on handguns, rifles, machine guns, swords, staves, bows, every hand weapon that I know. Each Amazon is on par with any member of Delta Force and I'd bet good money that in an even fight, they'd kick Delta Force's ass." Steve replies. "And three of them are also very powerful witches."

Natasha gulps and looks at Artemis, who tells her. "They were witches before I empowered them."

Natasha glares at Steve. "Tell me, Steven. Why the hell did you call me into this madhouse?"

"Because I needed your help?" Steve replies meekly, giving her a puppy dog look.

"Bastard!" Natasha laughs, giving in. "I'll help, but I will get even for today."

Steve grins as Artemis laughs softly. "Steven, I have to complement you on your taste in friends, especially the women. But I must go now. I will speak to you again when you have the man in custody." And with that she disappears.

Natasha and Tanya watch the space that Artemis had occupied and both turn to Steve, glaring daggers at him. "Will you tell us what that was all about?" Natasha demands.

Steve shrugs. "Just Artemis paying a visit."

"Does this happen often here?" Tanya asks in awe.

"Not too often, but she likes coming here and talking to her Amazons." Steve replies as he puts his Glock 21 in a pancake holster. Casey does the same with his H&K USP. All four women watch as Casey adds a ten inch combat Bowie to his belt. "You'll meet the Amazons at the local High School. Buffy and Joyce will take you there and introduce you. Casey and I have some business to take care of elsewhere."

"What sort of business?" Buffy asks.

Steve grins. "Gotta go shopping for dinner tonight."

"And you need handguns for that?" Natasha asks.

"Nope. But you know the old Green Beret motto. 'Always be prepared and carry more firepower than the enemy.'" Steve replies with a laugh as he and Casey walk towards the side door. "If you four want some coffee, the pot's fresh."

The four woman look at the pair's retreating backs as they turn and eye each other. "Do any of you have the feeling that we've been dumped?" Tanya asks as Buffy, Joyce and Natasha all nod their heads.

"Steve is so dead." Buffy mutters with a grin. "I wonder what they're up to?"

"We'll find out. Sooner or later." Joyce replies with a smile as she helps herself to another cup of coffee. "So, Natasha, you've known Steve for five years?"

"But I've only seen him for short periods of time during those five years." Natasha replies with a laugh. "Are you fishing for information on Steven, Joyce?"

"Of course she is." Buffy replies with a giggle. "But I want to know how you two met up."

Joyce checks her watch and looks at Buffy. "That story will have to wait, honey. We need to get you to school. And I have that appointment with that little toad."

"May I ask what is going on?" Natasha asks as she notes the look of disgust on Joyce's face.

"The school principal, Mr. Snyder, has been waging a war of verbal and mental abuse against Buffy and her friends for the last year and a half. He went overboard yesterday when he told her that all of the deaths in this town were her fault. He also told her that Buffy's father and I divorced because of her."

"And this man is running a high school?" Natasha angrily asks. "What fool gave him that position?"

"We don't know. But he was supposedly the only candidate who applied for the job when the old Principal, Mr. Flutey, was killed by those were-hyaenas." Buffy replies softly. "I actually like Mr. Flutey." < I wish I could have saved him. >

Natasha softly squeezes Buffy's shoulder. "We can't save everyone, Buffy. I learned that a long time ago when I couldn't save my parents from one of Stalin's purges. We just have to go on and do the best we can. That's all any of us can do." Buffy nods, but the hurt still shows in her eyes.

"Pardon me." Tanya replies. "What are were-hyenas?"

Buffy grimaces at the memory. "Some idiot at the local zoo tried to become powerful by becoming a were-hyena. The only thing he did was infect five of the kids in my school with the spirit. Four of them attacked and ate Mr. Flutey."

"What happened to the man who caused all of this?"

"We transferred the spirits back to the hyenas and let them have the bastard."

"And the kids who were the were-hyenas?" Tanya asks.

"The four that ate Mr. Flutey left town. The fifth one, my friend Xander, is still with us." Buffy replies as she finishes her coffee. She looks at the clock on the wall and nods her head. "We can go now. I'll introduce you to the rest of our group at the High School."

Natasha nods to Tanya and the both of them get up and move to the side door. Buffy takes out her spare key and locks the door.

"Why doesn't Steve have an alarm system?" Tanya asks as they enter Joyce's car. She smiles as Sherlock looks up from the back seat. Sherlock quickly makes room for Tanya and Natasha.

"Did you see the black Shepard pup in the house?"

"Yes, I did. But he won't be able to protect the house from anyone serious enough to break in." Natasha replies as Buffy and Joyce both begin to laugh softly. "All right. I want to know. What's so special about that dog?"

"We'll show you at the library." Joyce promises as Sherlock mentally sends her.

// You are a stinker, Joyce. // Sherlock tells his companion.

< I know. >

// I'm surprised that Duke didn't do it already with them. //

< I know, I wonder why? > Joyce wonders.

// Maybe he wanted to do it tonight. //

< Too bad for him. > Joyce replies with a mental chuckle.

// My heart bleeds for him. // Sherlock replies with a mental snicker of his own as they pull up to the back entrance to Sunnydale High School library.

The four women get out of the Cherokee and walk to the back door. Natasha and Tanya watch as Buffy takes out her key ring and quickly opens the door. Natasha leans in and quietly tells her daughter, "This little girl has a lot of access. I'm more surprised that she has a key to Steven's house." Natasha snickers. "And that her Mother doesn't complain about it. If you had a key to a man's house I would be all over you."

Tanya grins. "Some Mothers know better." They both stop talking when Joyce and Buffy walk up to a group of young men and woman and greet them.

*****

"Hey everyone," Buffy calls out.

"Hey Buffy, Mrs. Summers." Willow calls out, but quickly goes quiet as she sees Natasha and Tanya.

Natasha and Tanya both notice how the group starts to break apart, creating multiple targets. Various members of the group begin to reach for weapons, but calm down when they see Sherlock enter the room. They continue to watch the two strange women closely and wait for an introduction. Natasha stares as the four women and a young, dark haired man, take up positions that would allow them to create an overlapping field of fire. < Shit! Steve's been training these children. I'll kill him! > "What has that bastard been doing in this town? Training children to be killers?" Natasha snarls out.

Buffy turns around. "Natasha. Steve's only been here for about three months. We've been working together as a team for over two years."

"Two years? You've been hunting vampires and demons for two years with only these children to help you?" Natasha asks in shock.

"Pretty much." Buffy replies as Giles clears his throat.

"Buffy, a moment, please. Who are these two women?"

"Friends of Steve's." Buffy replies. "Natasha, may I introduce you to my friends?"

"Please do so."

Buffy nods and points to a man dressed in tweed. "Natasha, that's Rupert Giles, my Watcher. Next to him is Jenny Calendar, his girlfriend and the school's computer teacher. The girls are in order, Willow, Cordelia and Amy. The boys are Xander and Oz. Everyone, this is Natasha Romanov and her daughter Tanya. Natasha is an old friend of Steve's. She often works under the code name, the Black Widow."

"And she's here why?" Cordelia asks, not liking the well dressed pair. < Damn! They've got better outfits than I do. >

Buffy grins. "Besides being a super spy and an Immortal? Natasha's here to get us the things we need to track down that serial killer that Artemis wants."

Natasha stares in shock as everyone begins to smile. She angrily turns to Buffy, demanding, "Why did you tell them that I was an Immortal?"

"Because everyone here knows about Immortals. My friends will keep your secrets, Natasha. Just like they've kept theirs, mine and Steve's."

Natasha sighs in frustration. "And what sort of secrets do they have?"

Buffy grins. "Let's see. Cordelia, Amy, Willow and Jenny are Amazons. Willow, Jenny and Amy are real witches as well. Xander has the memories and abilities of a Green Beret. Oz is a werewolf. And Giles is my Watcher as well as a Mage."

Natasha stares at the group and shivers. "Please tell me that you're joking."

Giles steps forward and calmly tells Natasha. "I'm afraid that Buffy is being truthful, Miss Romanov. We are who we are."

"How could you allow children to fight your battles?" Natasha asks Giles. "Why didn't you contact one of the other groups and get adult fighters to help you?"

"We didn't know that those groups existed when we started out, Miss Romanov. Until Steve came here, we didn't even know any organized groups existed to help us." Giles replies. "Since he started to working with us, we've received much better training, weapons, and help from various groups that he's associated with, when we needed it."

Natasha takes a seat and watches the young women in the group and calmly asks. "Do you like doing what, you're doing?"

Cordelia glares at Natasha, but her gaze softens when she sees the concern in her eyes. "No, not really." Cordelia replies. "But we know that no one else is going to do it."

"If I can provide a permanent group of fighters for this town, will you stop fighting?" Natasha asks.

"No, we won't." Willow replies. "Steve and Buffy would continue fighting and we won't desert them. Besides, Artemis has given us her blessing and we won't disappoint her." All of the women nod their heads in agreement.

Natasha turns to Xander and Oz. "What about you two? Artemis hasn't made you into Amazons has she?"

Xander and Oz both grin. "No, she hasn't." Xander replies. "But our girlfriends are, and we won't desert them."

Natasha turns to Giles and Jenny and glares at them. "What about you two? You both should have prevented these children from fighting. Why didn't you?"

Giles grimaces. "Jenny only recently joined us, so I'll speak only for myself, Miss Romanov. I'm a Watcher. What a Watcher does is find, train and aid the Slayer. Buffy is my Slayer and I will continue to support her and aid her in any way that I can."

"Do you realize how insane you people sound?" Natasha replies. < And how brave? God help me, but I can see what Steven sees in these young people. >

"We do, Natasha." Buffy replies. "But we have a job that needs to be done and we're good at it. We've managed to save the world four times by ourselves."

"You've saved the world four times?" Tanya asks in shock.

Everyone nods their heads as Buffy ticks off. "We've killed the Master, forced Tiamat back into Hell, stopped the Judge and what else was there?"

"We prevented the Demon called Moloch the Corrupter from destroying the world when he tried to take over every computer in the world and start World War III." Willow replies.

Natasha gulps and looks at Joyce. "You know about all of this?"

"I learned about it about two months ago. The hard way." Joyce replies as she scratches Sherlock behind his ear.

"How? Or do I want to know?" Natasha replies.

"That's a story for another time." Joyce replies softly while looking at Buffy and her friends. "But right now, I have to deal with a certain toad."

"Mom. Don't do something that bastard can get you arrested for." Buffy replies.

"Don't worry, honey. I know how to deal with a piece slime like Snyder." Joyce replies with conviction. "Giles, is it all right if Sherlock stays here? He might be tempted to hurt Snyder."

"Of course, Joyce."

// Spoil my fun. // Sherlock mentally mutters.

"How could a half grown puppy possibly hurt a grown man?" Tanya asks.

Joyce smiles. "Sherlock, please show Natasha and Tanya your true form." Sherlock barks twice and changes into his Dire Wolf form.

Natasha and Tanya stare in disbelief at the huge wolf and both gulp as Sherlock pads forward. Natasha prepares to defend herself incase the monster attacked her or Tanya. She glares into Sherlock's dark brown eyes and wonders what he was planning. She tries to jump back as Sherlock opens his mouth and quickly licks her face, ruining what little makeup she had on. Natasha sputters in disbelief as Sherlock turns around and changes back into his half grown puppy form. Natasha glares at the dog and begins to move forward, but stops as everyone has a good laugh, including her daughter. Natasha whirls on her, demanding, "You think that's funny?"

"The look on your face is funny." Tanya replies with a giggle. "Oh Mother, chill out! The dog didn't mean any harm."

Natasha glares at the entire group until a giggling Cordelia hands her a compact and Natasha looks into the mirror and laughs at herself. "Oh God! But he made a mess of my mascara."

"Here," Cordelia and Jenny reply as they pull out their mascara pencils. Natasha takes Cordelia's pencil and napkins and quickly fixes her mascara.

After a few seconds Natasha looks presentable again and glares down at Sherlock. "You are a pain in the ass, Sherlock." Sherlock barks twice. Natasha looks at Joyce.

"That means, yes." Joyce replies.

"What is he?" Tanya asks.

"Sherlock is a Guardian Spirit. We each have one at home. Steve got them for us to protect our homes and families from the monsters who might try to attack them." Giles explains.

"All of you have dogs?" Tanya asks.

"No, half of us have cats," Cordelia replies with a smile.

"And the cats become wolves as well?" Natasha asks.

"They become Saber Toothed Tigers." Jenny replies with a smile. "Two hundred, fifty pound Saber Toothed Tigers."

"Shit!" Natasha curses. She looks up at Joyce and mutters. "I can see why Steven doesn't need to set his alarm at home."

"Duke is very protective of Steve. Just like Sherlock and Sarah are protective of Joyce and Buffy. And the rest of the Guardian Spirits are protective of their respective companions and their families," Giles replies with a smile as Sherlock sits down next to him.

Joyce sighs as she looks at her watch. "Time to go." As Joyce walks to the library entrance, Natasha joins her. Joyce looks at her with a raised eyebrow and Natasha grins.

"I'll pull you away in case you get too rough with this Snyder person." Natasha replies with a smile.

Joyce grins and she leads the way to Snyder's office.

*****

Part 7 - Decision Time
(Fear Can Sure Stink Up A Room)

May 8th, 1998 - 08:05 PST
Sunnydale High School, Sunnydale, CA

Snyder looks at his clock as he prepares for the school day. He leans back in his chair and revels in the power that his office gave him as he plans to worm his way out of his promise. < I don't have to do a thing. Those two can't do anything to me. The Mayor will support me. He'll see that I'm not some weak willed fool. > He turns his chair around to look out the window and watch as the first students were arriving. He watches as the young women talk with the young men. < God, how I hate all of them. But I hate Buffy Summers and her friends the most. > He hears the door to his office close. "I thought I told you that I didn't want to be disturbed!" < Insufferable cow! >

"I'm sure your secretary won't mind if we pay you a visit." A cold, hard voice replies.

Snyder's bowels freeze and he gulps air for a full minute as he tries to think of a way out of his office. He swallows the scream that rises up >from his throat as his chair is roughly turned around. He looks into two pairs of dead eyes and losses control of his bladder and bowels. Steve and Casey grimace in distaste as the smell permeates the office. Casey turns to Steve. "I owe you five bucks."

Snyder, seeing that the two men were distracted, tries to move out of his chair, but a hard arm causes him to crash back. "Don't go anyway Snyder." Casey replies as he glares down at him. "We still need to talk about what you're going to say when you apologize to Buffy."

"I thought you would let me take care of that by myself." Snyder softly replies as Steve and Casey both laugh.

"Mr. Snyder, I've known you about for the last three months." Steve replies as he gets into Snyder's face. "I don't trust you."

Snyder gulps and tries to squeeze back into his chair. Steve steps back and Casey steps forward and hands Snyder a pen and a pad of paper. "Write this down." Casey orders as he begins. "I apologize to Buffy Summers for every cruel thing that I said yesterday. I also apologize for everything I've told her for the last year and a half. And I also apologize to her friends and to Mr. Giles and Miss Calendar for anything I said that could be considered an insult."

Snyder looks up from the note and shivers. "If I say this over the PA system, I'll be the laughing stock of the school. I won't have any respect left with the students."

"I don't care. You started this, you're finishing it. Or we will finish you!" Casey angrily replies.

"All right." Snyder angrily replies. "I'll read it. But I want to know one thing."

"What?" Casey replies.

"How can you let St. Wolf screw your niece? Do you get job security or what?"

Casey snarls and starts forward. "Casey, don't do it!!" Steve orders. Casey stands back and takes a deep breath. Steve gets into Snyder's face and grins mercilessly. "You want one of us to beat you up so you can say that you were forced to read this apology over the PA. Too bad, little man, but you're going to read it. Or you won't be coming back to this school tomorrow or ever."

"You can't do that." Snyder whispers hoarsely.

"I can and will. I've killed a lot of people, Snyder. You won't be the first, nor the last." Steve replies without any emotion in his voice. "But you will be the first one that I've killed because I hated you personally."

"How the hell can anyone human love something like you?" Snyder asks in shock.

Steve grins. "Because she does, Snyder. Buffy is very important to me and I won't let anyone, especially a tin pot tyrant like you hurt her."

"And I also care for her, she is . . . my niece." Casey tells Snyder as he pulls out a black handled combat Bowie. Snyder stares at the ten inch blade and gulps as Casey fondles the knife. Casey grins without any humor as he stabs down with the razor sharp blade. Snyder quickly moves his crotch back out of the way as the blade imbeds itself deeply into the leather and wood of his chair. Snyder stares down at the blade and then looks into Casey's eyes and finally realizes that he was a dead man if he didn't do what these two men wanted. He slowly nods his head and relents.

"It'll cost me the respect of the students and teachers, but I'll do it."

"Respect?" Steve mutters. "You mean fear. The students and the teachers don't respect you, they hate and fear you."

"If that's what it takes to run this school, then that's what it takes." Snyder replies softly. Steve and Casey shake their heads in disgust.

"We'll be listening." Steve replies as he and Casey walk to the door. "Say what we told you and we'll walk away. Try and fuck with us and we'll be back." Snyder watches them leave and shudders as he holds his head in his hands. After a few minutes he looks up as he hears an insistent buzzing noise. He stares at his intercom and mutters "How can this day get any worse?" Snyder mutters as himself. He reaches forward and barks out. "I thought I told you that I didn't want to be disturbed!"

"Sorry, Mr. Snyder, but Joyce Summers is out here and she demands to talk to you."

"What now?" Snyder mutters to himself as the door bursts open and an angry Joyce Summers stalks in. Snyder stares at her and suddenly realizes. < This bitch is as tough as her daughter. > He glares at her. "What can I do for you, Mrs. Summers?" Joyce and Natasha grimace as they smell the odor in the office. < Maybe it'll make them leave sooner. > Snyder muses.

Joyce glares back at Snyder and leans down into his face. "I'm going to get you fired for what you said to my daughter yesterday." Joyce promises.

Snyder gulps. "What if I apologized publicly?" Snyder asks hurriedly.

Joyce looks up in shock. She looks over to Natasha who shrugs her shoulders. Joyce turns back to Snyder. "It had better be good."

"It is." Snyder replies as he picks up the PA microphone. "Please quiet down for an announcement. This is Principal Snyder. I have to make an important announcement to make."

*****

In the classes around Sunnydale High, various students make faces at the speaker mounted high on the wall. Most of the teachers don't even bother to discipline their students, but instead laugh along with them. As Snyder drones on, they can't believe what they're hearing. The students look at each other in open disbelief.

In her first period history class Buffy turns a pretty shade of pink as the entire class and the teacher stare at her and Willow. "What the hell happened to Snyder?" One of the boys in class mutters.

Buffy and Willow turn to each other and gulp as Buffy whispers. "My Mom? How?"

Willow smiles. "She took Natasha with her. Want to bet that she had a helping hand with that?"

Buffy smiles. "Yeah. That has to be it." < Mom is great, but she couldn't force Snyder to apologize like this. >

*****

Joyce and Natasha watch as Snyder picks up a piece of paper and reads out. "I apologize to Buffy Summers for every cruel thing that I said yesterday. I also apologize for everything I've told her for the last year and a half. And I also apologize to her friends and to Mr. Giles and Miss Calendar for anything I said that could be considered an insult." As he finishes and shuts off the microphone, Snyder glares at Joyce. "Is that good enough for you?"

Joyce returns his glare. "It is, you little toad." Snyder stiffens as Joyce walks out of his office. Snyder breathes a sigh of relief until he sees the red head standing by his desk.

"Wha . . . what do you want?" Snyder nervously asks.

"Just to tell you that Steven and Casey aren't the only ones watching out for Buffy and her friends. Screw with them again and you won't face Joyce, you'll face me."

"Who are you?" < Shit! Another red head like that bitch FBI Agent! Where the Hell does St. Wolf find these women? >

Natasha grimly smiles. "I also work occasionally with Steven and Casey." Snyder stiffens. "Think what the three of us could do to you, little man." Snyder gulps in fear and watches as the woman turns around and walks out of his office.

*****

Joyce waits for Natasha outside of Snyder's office and smiles when she walks out. "Any interesting parting words?"

"Only confirming what Steven and Casey told him earlier this morning." Natasha replies with a smile.

"I almost started laughing when those two left this morning. They were so obvious." Joyce replies. "But you can't fault them."

"No, I can't." Natasha replies. "I wonder where they went?"

"They're probably nearby, making sure that Snyder apologized to Buffy and her friends." Natasha nods her head in agreement.

*****

Steve and Casey both listen to Snyder apologize over the PA system and they calmly wait for him to finish. After he finishes, both men grin.

"Think he'll live it down?" Casey asks.

"Not really, but he won't bother Buffy or her friends anymore. That's all that I care about." Steve replies as they walk out to Steve's car. "Where to now?"

Casey snickers. "Grocery shopping. You have a meal to prepare."

Steve groans as he gets in. "What did I do to deserve this hell?"

"You care for a young woman." Casey replies with a grin. "And it's about time that you found someone."

"Yeah, it is." Steve replies softly as they drive off.

*****

Snyder looks down at his desk and begins to cry. "All my work, all my hard work, gone! That little bitch ruined everything. I'm going to get even with her and everyone around her, if it's the last thing that I do!"

"Don't worry, Mr. Snyder," Mayor Wilkins tells him as he walks into Snyder's office. "You did the right thing. Now you'll have to keep a close eye on the Summers girl and her friends." < Until the Accession, that is. >

"When will I be able to get even?" Snyder asks hopefully.

"Soon, Mr. Snyder, soon." Wilkins replies as he leaves the office. As he opens the door, he sniffs the air. "I would suggest that you go home and change, Mr. Snyder." < My goodness, but these people are interesting. I wonder if any of them will work for me? >

Snyder nods his head in defeat. "Of course, Mr. Mayor."

*****

Joyce and Natasha walk back into the library and grin as they watch Giles as he plays with Sherlock. They both laugh as Sherlock exposes his belly and gets Giles to rub it.

< Hedonist! > Joyce sends out with a giggle.

Sherlock looks over from where he's getting his belly rubbed. // Yep! // Comes the one word reply as Giles looks up and sees Joyce and Natasha standing there with smiles on their faces.

"I see your meeting with Mr. Snyder went well. May I ask what you two did to get him to apologize so quickly?"

Joyce and Natasha both laugh. "Steve and Casey paid him a visit before we entered the office. I think that Snyder actually shit his pants." Joyce tells Giles.

"You're joking?" Giles replies with a chuckle. Both women nod their heads and Giles begins to laugh softly. "I wish that I had joined you."

"Don't worry. He won't be bothering you again." Natasha replies as Tanya gets up.

"Where are you ladies off to now?"

"Some sight seeing. Can you tell me where the police station is?"

"I'll take you." Joyce volunteers. "It'll look less suspicious if there are three women in the car and the car has California plates."

"Joyce?" Giles sputters in surprise. "I don't think that Buffy wants you to put yourself in jeopardy."

Joyce smiles as Sherlock scampers over to her. "Giles, I'll have Sherlock and Natasha with me. I couldn't be more safer."

"Don't worry, Mr. Giles." Natasha replies. "I'll make sure that nothing happens to Joyce. You have my word on it."

Giles sighs. "Very well then. Will you need anything from us, Miss Romanov?"

"Blueprints for the police station would be good." Natasha replies.

"Already done, Miss Romanov." Giles replies with a smile. "Steve had Willow crack into the city building's department and we have a complete set on the computer at Steve's house."

"Do I want to know why Steve has a set of the police station blueprints on his computer?"

"In case the local police and other authorities tried something and he would have to lead an assault against them." Giles replies calmly. "He believes in being prepared for any contingency."

"Like I said, a boy scout." Natasha mutters as she, Tanya and Joyce walk towards the rear door of the library.

*****

Natasha watches the scenery as Joyce drives them towards the Sunnydale Police Station. < This actually looks like a nice town. I could imagine Tanya settling here with her husband and raising their kids on these streets. > She shudders. < Too bad the darkness hides real monsters. > "How long until we get there?"

"About a minute. The police station is part of City Hall and City Hall is just down this street." Joyce replies as she makes a right turn onto Main Street. She parks across the street and Natasha watches the police entrance and nods her head.

"When can I look at those blueprints?"

"As soon as Steve gets home, I'm sure." Joyce replies as she sees Detective Stein walk out of the station. She clutches the steering wheel hard.

"What is it Joyce?" Natasha asks.

Joyce grimaces like she has a bad taste in her mouth. "That balding man in the blue sport coat has tried to put Buffy in jail several times."

"What for?" Tanya asks.

"Because he detests Buffy for saving my life by killing Ted."

"Who was this Ted?" Natasha asks.

"A robot serial killer that wanted to marry me and kill me. Buffy stopped him twice. The first time he attacked Buffy in her room and she threw him down the stairs. I thought she killed a normal man and called the police. Stein was the detective in charge. When Ted repaired himself, he came after me again. Buffy stopped him and Xander, Willow and Cordelia found the proof that showed that he was a serial killer. Back in February, Buffy and Steve stopped a robber at the local McDonald's, embarrassing him even more. Stein hates Buffy, Steve and the rest for embarrassing him and his so-called police force."

Natasha and Tanya stare at Joyce. "Robot serial killers?!? Do things like that happen a lot around here?" Tanya asks.

"Not too often. But often enough," Joyce replies as she pulls away. "Where do you want to go now?"

"Some breakfast would be good," Tanya grins. "We didn't have any on the way here."

"I know the perfect place," Joyce replies as she takes a left on Green Street to the Sunnydale Diner.

*****

Part 8 - Conversations
(Hey, Everyone's Got To Talk Once In A While)

May 8th, 1998 - 09:30 PST
Sunnydale Grocers, Sunnydale, CA

Steve reaches for a head of lettuce and grins as a very lovely brunette also reaches for the same head. Their hands join for a second and Steve picks up the head. The woman turns to him with a grin. "That was mine."

Steve grins back. "Sorry." He hands her the head and reaches for another one, higher up. He turns back and the woman's still there.

She smiles at him, nervously bites her lip and asks. "I'm never this forward, but I have to know. Are you single?"

Steve smiles. "Sorry, I'm seeing someone." The woman pouts.

"Is it serious?"

"Very. I'm cooking her dinner tonight."

"Too bad." The woman replies as she takes in Steve's muscular frame. "I'm sure we could have a very good time."

"Sorry, I'm not into one night stands. And I don't cheat on my girlfriend." Steve replies as he turns away to check out the tomatoes.

The brunette watches Steve go and sighs while she mutters. "Damn, I hope she knows how lucky she is."

*****

Casey watches Steve politely rebuff a gorgeous brunette and grins to himself. < Looks like Steve's really serious about Buffy. Good for him. > He turns back to the butcher and watches as he cleans the beef that Steve would be preparing for tonight. Casey nods his head as the butcher expertly cuts away most of the fat and prepares the meat the way Casey wanted it. < Looks like Steve's dinner will be a big hit with his lady. >

"Do they have the right cut of beef?" Steve asks as he walks up with the shopping cart.

"Yeah, they do. Did you get the rest of the stuff?"

"Yep. Found everything." Steve replies. "I hope you know that Joyce demanded that I make extra."

Casey grins. "I know. That's why I ordered fifteen pounds of beef."

"And you expect me to cook all of that by myself?" Steve groans.

"Yep. You did well yesterday. I'm sure you can do it by yourself." Casey replies as he takes the meat from the butcher. "I'm sure that Buffy will love you more for making this dinner than if you took her to a five star restaurant."

Steve blushes. "Yeah, well." Steve begins. "I think she'd love the dinner if it was hotdogs and corn chips, as long as it was something nice and normal."

Casey nods his head. "Xander told me about your first date. That was a mess."

"Yeah, it was. But the good thing that came out of it was that Joyce found out about Buffy and her friends and now supports them."

"I know. I can't tell my closest friends or my niece that I'm a Knight of the Grail. They're worried about me and the disappearances."

Steve nods his head in agreement. "I know how you feel. I can't tell anyone about my job as Merlin and Niume's personal champion. Buffy and the rest are wondering about me. I want to tell them, but Merlin forbid it."

"I wonder why?" Casey mutters as they start to load the foods on the conveyor belt. The cashier quickly rings them up and both men load up the groceries and take them out to the Tahoe.

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 09:35 PST
Sunnydale Diner, Sunnydale, CA

Joyce, Natasha and Tanya sit down in a secluded booth and pick up the menus that the waitress drops down in front of them. "Do you want some coffee before you order?"

"Juice for me." Joyce replies.

"Coffee for the two of us." Natasha replies as she checks out the menu. The waitress nods her head and moves off to get their drinks. Joyce puts down her menu and looks at the two women.

"So how did you get to be Tanya's mother?"

"Tanya's Father and Mother were sent off to Siberia for what were unpopular political views at that time. Both of them were friends of mine and I took her away with me when I left the Soviet Union in 1978. I couldn't save them, but I was able to save Tanya." Natasha replies as the waitress drops off their drinks. All three quickly order and the waitress leaves them alone to talk. "How do you feel about what Buffy and those other children are doing?"

"I don't like it. But I understand that they have to do it because no one else will." Joyce replies softly. "I'm constantly scared for them, but I do know that Steve and Buffy will keep the rest of the kids as safe as possible."

"What about Artemis?" Tanya asks. "How can you talk about a real Goddess?"

Joyce smiles. "She's been a friend to the kids and she likes them. None of the children think of her as anything other than a good friend who helps them and gave the girls her empowerment."

"What is this empowerment?" Natasha asks.

"Increased strength, speed and endurance." Joyce replies.

"And the cost for these 'gifts'?" Natasha asks.

"The girls had to make a shrine to her and send her prayers, which are more like reports." Joyce replies with a grin. "She wants to know how the girls are doing against the vampires and other monsters they fight."

"That's all she wants?" Natasha asks in disbelief. "Not sacrifices or other such things?"

"No, she only wants the girls to call her name in battle. Protecting the innocent is what she wants."

"What about the lesbian thing?" Tanya asks.

Joyce shakes her head. "Artemis learned her lesson about that. She wants all of her Amazons to have husbands who will love them and give them children when they're ready for them. Giles is with Jenny, Xander is with Cordelia and Oz is with Willow. Amy hasn't found a boyfriend, yet. But Artemis and her sister are trying to find her one."

"Artemis' sister?" Tanya asks.

"Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love." Joyce replies as she sees the waitress arriving. The waitress puts the food down and leaves. The women begin to talk again.

Tanya grins. "And what does this 'Goddess of Love' do?"

"She does what she does." Joyce replies as she and Natasha look at Tanya and both exchange small Motherly smiles.

Tanya looks at both women and drops her fork. "You don't mean?" Natasha and Joyce both openly grin as Tanya realizes what's been happening between her and Casey. "Oh God, no! I hardly know him!"

"But that's what dating's all about. Getting to know your guy." Joyce replies with a smile. Natasha nods her head.

"I have no problems with Mr. Ryback, Tanya." Natasha replies. "I think the two of you make a good couple."

Tanya stares up at the ceiling in supplication. "Please kill me now, God. Do it quickly and end the pain now."

"Tanya?" Joyce quietly calls over to Tanya. Tanya looks at her. "Don't say things like that in this town. You never know who'll be listening." Tanya gulps as she realizes that she may have made a very serious mistake.

"Okay, I'll lay off the melodrama." Tanya replies as she begins to eat her breakfast again. "But I don't appreciate that I'm being lead to the slaughter, so to speak."

Joyce and Natasha both giggle. "Tanya." Joyce begins. "Casey is a good man. He wouldn't be with Steve otherwise."

"What do you know about him?" Natasha asks.

Joyce grins. "He's a very good chief. If you were at Steve's house yesterday, you would have smelled some of the best food this side of Paris."

"We know that." Tanya replies with a grin. "What else?"

"He's a former Navy SEAL."

"I knew it!" Natasha replies with a smile. "The walk, the body language. It all screamed Special Forces. How did Steve get him to give him lessons?"

"Steve has a lot of friends who are willing to help him. Casey is just one of them."

"Have you met any of his other 'friends'?" Natasha asks.

"A few. He knows a pair of FBI Agents who sometimes help him and the kids. Both of them are also Immortals." Natasha's eyebrows raise and Joyce continues. "Buffy showed me this video tape of twenty of Steve's Immortal friends destroying two hundred vampires."

Natasha and Tanya stare in disbelief. "Who was there?" Natasha asks.

"Mulder and Dana, those are the two FBI Agents. Steve's teacher, Duncan McLeod, his new student, Richie, a man Buffy told me was over five thousand years old."

Natasha drops her fork in shock. "You don't mean Methos?" Natasha asks in disbelief.

"Yes, that was what Steve called him. Do you know him?"

"Of him. He's supposed to be a legend." Natasha asks in shock. "How did Steve get him to help?"

"Buffy told me he called and asked nicely." Joyce replies with a smile.

Natasha looks over to Tanya. "Now you see why I'm going to change my phone number when we get home." Tanya and Joyce begin to giggle at Natasha's mock anger. Natasha glares at both of them but also begins to giggle. "Oh hell. I won't change it. But he's going to rue the day he called me to help him. Maybe that'll make him think twice before calling me again."

"Everyone says that." Joyce replies with a smile. "You should have seen how angry Mulder and Dana were when he called them to come here on a Friday a few months ago."

"Why did he call them in?" Natasha asks.

Joyce smiles. "To help unload his car."

"That's all? How far did they have to come?" Tanya asks with a giggle.

"Washington D.C."

"All that way to help unload a car? What did Steve bring?" Natasha wonders.

"He brought a large number of magic books for Jenny, Willow and Amy. Some of them are so rare that Giles says that they shouldn't exist. He also brought the Guardian Spirits with him."

"What happened?"

"He gave each of us one." Joyce replies with a smile. "Mulder and Dana got a sweet little yellow tabby cat they call Tigger. Willow got a Collie she named Lassie. Amy got Duke's sister, Blackie. Buffy and I got Sarah and Sherlock. Cordelia got a Persian named Arial. Xander a Calico named Patches. Oz got a brown Calico named Harriet. Giles and Jenny got a black cat Jenny named Salem."

"Where did he get these 'Guardian Spirits' from?" Tanya asks.

"From somewhere he won't tell us. Steve said that the people who gave us the Guardian Spirits are being hunted by some very dangerous people and they wanted their hiding place kept secret."

"I know the feeling." Natasha replies. "When I defected from the old Soviet Union, I was hunted by both sides. Logan helped me find a new identity and a new purpose in my life."

"Who's Logan?" Joyce asks.

Natasha and Tanya both smile. "He's my lover." Natasha tells Joyce. "And he was like a Father to Tanya and Anastasia while they were growing up. I don't think I've ever known a better man in my life, until I met Steve. He and Logan are a lot alike. Both care for humanity and try to help as much as they can."

"But from there, the differences begin." Tanya replies with a smile. "Father is often, loud, smokes smelly Cuban cigars and drinks beer."

"Does he get drunk and violent?" Joyce asks.

Both women shake their heads. "No, he just curls up next to me and talks softly about his past, how much he loves us and how grateful he is to have a family." Natasha replies softly. "Logan is never violent with us, only his enemies."

"That sounds like Steve." Joyce replies. "When Steve and Buffy had their first date, a madman attacked me in my own home. He tied me up and stabbed Buffy when she and Steve came home from the movie. Buffy shoved Steve away from the blade and the man slammed my front door in his face and locked it. Steve kicked in the door and shot the man down before he could hurt me. I never saw such cold eyes in a human being before." Joyce replies as she stares down at her food.

Natasha pats her hand gently. Joyce looks up and sees that Natasha and Tanya both understand. "Joyce, Steve is a warrior. He can kill without remorse, but doesn't like to. He will never kill for fun or take any joy from the act. That is why I am willing to help him now and when I helped him kill over one hundred men and women." Joyce stares at Natasha, not believing what she just heard. "We were trying to recover four nuclear bombs, Joyce. We had to do what we did to save over six million lives. Each of those men and women were willing partners of the terrorist group that had the bombs and we didn't have time to be nice to them. I wish that we could have taken the time to leave them alive, but we couldn't afford that luxury."

"And you two stopped them." Joyce replies with a smile. "Or I would have remembered four nuclear bombs going off. What city did they want to destroy?"

"Paris." Natasha replies with a grimace. "One of the most beautiful cities on Earth and they wanted to destroy it to make a political point."

Joyce sighs. "I know. But three months ago, I never would have believed that I'm having this conversation. God, how the world changes so quickly."

Natasha also sighs in agreement. "But we go on and persevere."

"That's the truth." Joyce replies with a smile. "We have to be there for our children, whether we bore them or love them like we did." Natasha smiles in agreement as she hugs Tanya to herself. Tanya returns the hug and all three women smile at each other as they finish their breakfasts.

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 10:45 PST
St. Wolf Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Steve grunts as he and Casey grab the shopping bags from the rear of his Tahoe. They walk up to his side door and Steve opens it with his key, Duke softly pads forward and smells the fifteen pounds of beef.

// Oh yum! Are you going to give me half? // Duke asks nicely.

< Nope. But I will give you some when I'm finished cooking it. > Steve mentally replies.

// But that will ruin it! // Duke whines. // You put too many seasonings on it last night. Almost gave me heartburn when I ate it. //

Steve stares at Duke and laughs. < Then you shouldn't have ate all of that food last night. >

// But it would have all gone to waste. //

< I could have given some of it to Sherlock today. > Steve replies with a grin.

// No way, dude. // Duke replies with a bark. // I live here, I get first dibs on the home cooking. Besides, Sherlock and Sarah are always talking about how good a cook Joyce is. And they never share. //

Steve chuckles evilly. < Don't worry, you'll have enough to eat tonight. >

// Good. // Duke replies as he goes over to the couch and lays down on it.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that you were talking to your dog." Casey replies as Steve chuckles.

"I am." Steve replies with a grin. "Duke and I are bonded together, so we can talk to each other mentally."

"And what were you two discussing?" Casey asks.

"How much of a food hog he is." Steve replies with a grin as Duke barks three times at him.

// I don't complain when you have an entire pizza for dinner. //

< Only because you have one of your own and I did order the triple bacon toppings for you. > Steve shoots back.

// You're not a growing pup! // Duke counters with a chuckle in his 'voice'. // But if you do eat like that more often, you will be growing and I don't think Buffy will like you very much with a spare tire around your waist. //

Steve begins to laugh and Casey stares as Duke also begins to bark in short bursts, almost like laughter. "Do I want to know?" Casey asks.

Steve and Duke look at each other and both nod as Steve replies. "Nope."

Casey sighs as he pulls out a knife and places some vegetables on the butcher block. "Let's get cooking Steve." Casey orders. Steve snaps to attention and executes a perfect salute.

"Aye, aye, Sir!" Steve replies with a lopsided grin.

Casey glares at him. "You've been hanging around that Xander kid for too long."

Steve laughs as he opens the refrigerator door and tosses Casey a small juice container. Casey catches it and quickly takes a drink. "Think we'll have some of this done for lunch?" Steve asks.

"Why?"

"Because Natasha, Tanya and Joyce are here." Steve replies as he feels the 'Buzz' as Joyce knocks on the kitchen door. Steve walks over to it and opens it. "Had a nice time, ladies?" Steve asks with a grin.

"Yes, we did," Tanya replies as she glares at Casey who just cocks his eyebrow at her. Tanya angrily turns her head away from him.

Casey leans over to Natasha and quietly asks. "What did I do to Tanya?"

Natasha smiles. "Nothing, yet."

Casey looks at her in confusion until he realizes how she was looking at the two of them. "Oh Shit! I can't believe that she did it to us." Casey mutters as he looks away.

"Who is doing what, Mr. Ryback?" Natasha asks with a smile.

"Artemis and her sister Aphrodite. I should have hauled ass out of here yesterday when she told me that she was going to reward me for being such a good friend to Steve and the kids. Fuck! I didn't just said that, did I?"

"I'm afraid you did." Steve replies with a laugh. "But don't worry, I'm sure that Aphrodite will make sure you two get along with each other."

"Don't worry, Studmuffin." A musical voice replies from the couch and everyone turns to see a woman lounging on the couch dressed in a very revealing dress. Her curly, long blonde hair hung around her face and complimented her sparkling green eyes. Everyone looked at her and gulped.

"Aphrodite?" Steve asks in a hushed voice.

Aphrodite grins and nods her head. "Got it in one, hottie!"

"What do we owe the pleasure of this visit?" Steve asks, very worried.

"Just making sure that Casey and Tanya understand that I'm not going to force them together." Both Casey and Tanya listen on in disbelief. "For you two, it's natural. So don't ruin it by thinking that I'm only out there to score points by putting two people together. Love is not like that. So go and get to know each other, you may be surprised how much you two click." Aphrodite explains. As everyone is watching her with their mouths hanging open, she snaps her fingers and disappears from the room in a flash of light and a light giggle.

Casey turns back to Steve, open mouthed as Steve chuckles. "Well, Casey, you and Tanya can't complain that you two are being set up. Aphrodite just told you that she's not playing with your emotions, so you two should just start dating and find out what's going to happen."

"Oh Damn!" Casey mutters as a grinning Tanya walks up to him and looks into his eyes.

"Well Casey? Do you want to date me?" Tanya asks.

"Yeah, I do." Casey mutters as Tanya raises herself to her tiptoes and kisses him on the lips.

"Good." Tanya mutters. "Where are you taking me tonight?"

"There's this great little seafood place on the coastal highway." Steve replies. "I've taken Buffy there a few times. Hold on a minute and I'll give you the address."

Casey glares at Steve, but quickly turns back to Tanya, who was pulling him towards the couch that Aphrodite had just been lying on. "Relax, Casey." Tanya replies with a smile. "I don't bite, at least not on the first date."

"That reassures me to no end." Casey mutters as he sits down next to her and looks into her green eyes and sighs. "May I ask a question?"

"Go ahead."

"Are you an Immortal?"

"No, she's not. And she never will be." Natasha replies from the kitchen. "May I ask why you want to know this?"

"Because I want to start a family and I can't do that with an Immortal. I've seen one of my friends fall in love with an Immortal and his only regret is that they can't have children." Casey replies.

"So you want me for your brood mare?" Tanya icily asks.

"No. I want a partner and a lover. But I also want to have children. I'm the last of my family and I promised my Father that I would carry on the family into the next generation. I don't want to disappoint his memory."

"What about your niece?" Steve asks.

Casey sighs. "Sarah's a great kid, but Dad was very old fashioned, he wants me to carry on the family name."

Natasha nods her head in understanding. "Yes, many men are like that. Especially those from the Continent. If it helps, my Father was the same way. He wanted my brothers to carry on the family name, not me."

"You agree with him!?" Tanya mutters darkly, not liking what she was hearing.

"Tanya, Casey is only telling you what his Father expects of him. I find it refreshing that he's willing to tell you this soon and not later. You may make whatever decision you want, but Casey is being very truthful with you."

Tanya thinks about it for a full minute, but nods her head in agreement. "Yes, I can appreciate Casey being truthful with me. No one I've dated before has been this honest with me."

"So we're still on?"

"Yes, we're on." Tanya replies as she puts her right hand on Casey's left shoulder. "But we're going over some ground rules first. Do you have a problem with that?" Casey shakes his head with a grin. Steve, Joyce and Natasha all begin to laugh softly. "First, no 'Shop' talk! I don't want to hear how you saved the world. Second, if you put your hands where they don't belong, I'm keeping them!" Steve laughs louder as Natasha and Joyce begin to hold each other in support. "Third, you asked me out, you pay. If I ask you out, I'll pay."

"Is that all?" Casey asks with a grin on his face.

"For now it is." Tanya replies. "What do you want to do until the date?"

"I have to help Steve prepare his romantic dinner with Buffy." Casey replies with an easy grin. "I hope that you don't mind that our second date is at my restaurant in Seattle? I'll personally cook you dinner there."

Tanya grins and gives Casey another quick peck on the cheek. "You better." Casey grins as Tanya walks back to where her Mother and Joyce were standing.

"What will you ladies be doing while we cook?"

"I need to access the plans for the police station. Giles told me you have them on your computer." Natasha asks.

"Yep." Steve replies as he leads all of them to his computer room. "Come with me and I'll show you how to access the computer and the HG Projector."

"HG projector? What's that?" Natasha asks.

"You'll see." Steve replies with a grin as they walk into the computer room. Casey, Natasha and Tanya stare in shock at the system lining one wall.

"Oh shit!" Casey mutters. "We've just walked into the command center from Babylon Five."

Natasha looks around in shock. "Where the hell did you get all of this advanced equipment from?"

"A few friends." Steve replies with a grin as he sits down in front of the computer. He begins to type and a device on the next table lights up and an image of the Sunnydale City Hall blinks into existence over the table. Natasha, Joyce, Tanya and Casey watch in shock as Steve reaches over with a light pen and begins to move the image around. "Natasha." Steve begins. "This image is three dimensional. If you move the light pen like this." Steve moves the pen forward and the image shifts to a floor by floor cutaway in three dimensions. He points the pen at a hallway and the entire hallway is bought up. Natasha stares in disbelief as an electrical diagram superimposes itself over the hallway and she can see how the alarm system was setup. Steve turns to his shocked house guests and asks. "Think you can handle it from here, Natasha?"

Natasha nods her head and takes the light pencil and begins to study the police station and it's various rooms. Steve walks out with Casey, Tanya and Joyce in tow. "Natasha is going to be a little busy for the next few hours. Let's leave her to her work." Steve tells them as they enter the living room.

Tanya stares back at her Mother and shakes her head in disbelief. "She's in the zone. No way are we going to be able to stop her from going after those DNA samples."

"Good." Steve replies as he walks over to the kitchen where Duke was sniffing a simmering pot.

// Smells good. Can I have some? // Duke asks.

< Later. Right now go and keep an eye on Natasha. >

// Okay. // Duke replies as he quietly goes to the office and watches Natasha play with the hologram of City Hall. // What if she tries to steal something? //

< Just call me. > Steve replies as he turns to Joyce and Tanya. "Joyce, why don't you and Tanya go to your shop and spend some time there? I'm sure that Tanya would like to see some of the art pieces that you have."

Joyce looks at Tanya who just shrugs. "Why not? Mother will be zoned out planning and re-planning her burglary." Tanya replies as she watches Casey head back to the kitchen. "Besides, those two will be cooking most of today and they'll feed Mother if she's hungry."

Joyce grins. "Good, I could use some help at the shop today."

Tanya glares at a grinning Steve. "You knew she needed help?" Steve nods his head. "Bastard!" Tanya snaps out with a smile on her face. "You are almost as bad as Dad."

"I'll take that as a compliment." Steve replies with a low chuckle. "Logan's a good friend and ally."

Tanya looks heavenward in supplication. "Oh God Damn all Boy Scouts!"

Steve and Casey both laugh as Joyce leads a slightly grumpy Tanya away. Casey turns to Steve and quietly asks. "What Aphrodite said? Was she telling the truth?"

"She had no reason to lie to either of you, Casey. She, her sister and her brother are both good friends to me and my group."

"Her brother? Are you talking about Hercules?"

"Yeah, Kevin's a nice guy and he helps me from time to time."

Casey jerks as he realizes. "You don't mean?" Steve nods his head with a grin. "And those shows where he's playing Hercules, playing to be Kevin Sorbo, playing Hercules are true?" Steve begins to snicker at Casey's shocked expression. "Oh God." Casey mutters as he stares at the wall. "And I thought this was going to be a nice, quiet few days for me. First that little troll, then that loud mouthed Demon, then Artemis, next Tanya and her Mother, then I meet Aphrodite, now I learn that one of my favorite actors is a real Greek God. What else can happen to me here?"

"I wouldn't say that, Casey. In this town, that would be considered a challenge by several types of beings." Steve replies with a laugh.

Casey only shakes his head in disgust and begins to cut some more vegetables. "How much are we making?"

Steve grimaces. "Enough for everyone to have a plate to eat." Casey grins. "They'll never leave us alone unless we feed them as well."

"Is that why you bought all those disposable dishes?"

"Yep. I know them pretty well." Steve replies with a chuckle.

"A real family, huh?" Casey asks with a smile. "You are becoming very domesticated, you do realize that?"

"Yeah. . . ain't it great?" Steve replies as he begins to cut apart the meat into individual portions.

*****

Natasha stares at the hologram and shakes her head in wonder as the air duct system is brought up in a bright blue. She quickly checks it against the red of the alarm system and nods her head as a plan quickly forms. < Where did Steven get this system from? It's far superior to anything except some of the things I've seen Tony Stark use. > She quickly begins to make plans as to her entrance and exit routes and how she would access the locked evidence room. < This should be easy, but knowing Steven, I should be ready for any surprises that these bastards have in place. >

She sits back and looks around the room and sees all of the ancient books arrayed on several book shelves. She gets up to stretch her legs and looks over the titles and spots a very unusual book. < Michelangelo's Demon's and Monsters? I never heard or read that Michelangelo did a book like this!? I wonder how rare it is? And where did Steve get it from? > Natasha wonders as she hears a low growl. She looks at the doorway and sees Steven's dog laying in the doorway. She grins as the dog watches her every move. < Steven may be a boy scout, but he knows me oh so well. > Natasha grins as she walks past Duke and begins to feel her stomach rumble. < Oh Great! I'm hungry. > She looks down at her watch. < Shit! It's almost three o'clock? Damn, but time goes fast when you're having fun. >

Natasha sniffs the air and her stomach growls in pleasure. < There had better be some for me. > She walks over to the kitchen and watches Steve and Casey work. < Damn, but those two know what they're doing. > She watches as Steve uses a knife to cut apart a large number of vegetables and quickly hands them over to Casey who begins to saute them in a mixture of oil and wine. Natasha sits down at the counter and enjoys the show. Steve looks up from his cutting and dicing and grins at her. Natasha smiles back and rubs her stomach. Steve grins and elbows Casey. Casey looks up and smiles at her and quickly makes a plate for her. Natasha quickly digs in and moans in pleasure as she tastes the delicious combination of beef, vegetables, wine, spices and cooking oil. She grabs up the glass of red wine that Steve pours for her and takes a sip. She grins as she tastes the 1992 Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux. "When can you teach Logan how to cook like this?" Natasha asks between mouthfuls.

"Who's Logan?" Casey asks with a grin.

"My lover and Tanya's adoptive Father." Natasha replies with a grin. "You may have heard of his nickname, The Wolverine?" Casey almost drops his knife and pan as he stares at Natasha.

"You mean that crazy Canuck is Tanya's Dad!?" Casey asks in shock as Steve begins to laugh. He turns and glares at his old friend, demanding. "You knew who her Dad is and you didn't tell me?"

"Yeah," Steve replies between laughs. "I was hoping that you'd meet him first and then find out who he is. I was hoping for pictures, but this will do." Casey looks to the heavens.

"God! You can't let him do this to me. That guy's even crazier than Steve." Natasha then begins to laugh as well. Casey glares at the two of them and darkly mutters. "If he kills me, I'm haunting you two for eternity!" Both Steve and Natasha stare at Casey and begin to laugh again. Casey growls and turns back to the stove as Natasha and Steve both exchange grins.

*****

Part 9 - School Daze
(The Nazi Principal Apologizes - The Aftermath)

May 8th, 1998 - 12:30 PST
Sunnydale High School Caferteria, Sunnydale, CA

Buffy, Willow, Xander, Oz, Amy and Cordelia walk into the cafeteria as the entire room erupts into applause. They all smile and bow their heads as the massed students and teachers go. "Buffy! Buffy!" Several times. The people in the food line step back to give them access to their lunches. All six grab trays and quickly move down the line, taking their food. When they walk up to the cash register, the woman waves them on without paying. They all grin as they make their way to their usual table. When they sit down the cafeteria returns to its normal pace.

Buffy sits back and looks around herself and mutters. "I can't believe that this is happening to me."

Everyone else grins. "Believe it." Willow replies as Harmony Kendall walks over to their table.

"What do you want, Harmony?" Cordelia demands.

Harmony starts but turns back to Buffy as she tells Cordelia. "Nothing >from you, loser. I only want to congratulate Summers on getting Snyder to apologize to her." Harmony replies with a small, twisted smile. "After all, it must be nice having a Mother who acts like trailer trash and can force a little weasel like Snyder to apologize to her trashy daughter."

Cordelia growls lowly in her throat as she begins to get up. Harmony sees this and beats a hasty retreat to her three 'friends' and all four quickly leave the cafeteria. Cordelia grunts in satisfaction and sits back down. Everyone watches the byplay, but quickly go back to their lunches as Buffy and her friends begin to eat their lunches.

"What do you think Snyder is going to do over this?" Xander asks.

"Try to get at us in some way that won't piss off, Mom." Buffy replies. "That little weasel hates all of us because we won't stand for his abuse."

"And he hates Giles and Jenny even more for backing us up and protecting the other kids from his abuse." Xander replies. "He's scared shitless of Giles because he knows that Giles is a lot like Steve when he lets the Ripper out to play."

"Yeah, well, Giles scares me, too, when he goes all 'Rippery,'" Cordelia replies as she takes a bite of her Salisbury steak lunch and scrunches her face up. "Goddess! That's awful! I hope Steve has some extra of that stuff he was cooking last night. Because after this lunch I could use some decent food."

"What are you talking about, honey?" Xander mutters. "Dinner at your house was great last night."

"You had dinner at Cordelia's house last night!?" Willow asks in shock. "With her Mom and Dad?" Xander nods his head while Cordelia holds hers in her hands, muttering.

"Oh Goddess. Please not now."

Buffy, Willow and Amy glare at her and demand. "We want details, Chase." Buffy mutters. "How did your Dad react to Xander? Your Mom?"

Cordelia glares at Xander, who's grin quickly fades. "My Mom wasn't home, but my Dad walked in while we were kissing on the couch."

"Ohhhh!" Buffy, Willow and Amy go as Oz merely grins.

"What happened?" Willow asks. "Did your Dad get angry?"

"For some reason, he talked with Xander in his office. Before he went into the office, Dad invited him to stay for dinner. He's never invited any of my boyfriends to stay for dinner." Cordelia replies in shock.

"What did you two talk about?" Buffy asks Xander.

"General stuff." Xander replies noncommittally.

"Spill!" Buffy orders with a grin.

"What did you tell him, Dweeb Boy?" Cordelia demands as well.

"He asked how serious I was about you, Cordy and other general stuff. You know, how long we've been dating, how long we've known each other, who are our friends and a few other things. The usual Dad stuff." Xander replies with a shrug as Cordelia mutters.

"I am so embarrassed."

"Why are you embarrassed?" Willow asks.

"Because my Dad made it such a big thing that Xander was dating me. He never cared for any of my dates before. So why Xander?"

Willow, Amy and Buffy giggle while Oz just grins. "Because he sees that you actually care for Xander." Willow replies. "And he wanted to make sure that Xander was good enough for his daughter."

"But he invited him to have dinner with us." Cordelia replies in shock. "He never did that before."

"Xander must have made a good impression on him." Buffy replies with a smile.

Cordelia glares at Xander who just shrugs like it was nothing. Cordelia sighs as Xander turns back to his meal. "Dweeb Boy can be such a pain."

"But he is the guy you fell in love with." Willow replies with a smile.

"I could always do better." Cordelia replies with a wicked grin as Xander chokes on his lunch. Oz smacks him on his back and Xander glares at Cordelia. Cordelia smiles back and promptly kisses him on his lips. They hold their kiss for a full minute. When they break up, Cordelia mutters. "Remind me never to do that again during lunch."

"Sure, honey." Xander replies with a lopsided grin. "What're your plans for after school, Buffy?"

"I"m going straight home to get ready," Buffy replies with a dreamy smile. "Mom bought me this great black dress that I'm going to wear tonight."

"You mean that short sheath dress that's cut all the way to here?" Willow asks as she holds her hand just below her crouch.

"Yep, that one." Buffy replies with a wicked gleam in her eyes.

"It's about damn time." Cordelia mutters. "Watching you two dance around for the last month was driving all of us nuts."

Buffy blushes as the her friends laugh. "Well, we'll see what happens tonight."

*****

Part 10 - Show Time
(And You Thought That Amanda Was The Only Immortal Burglar?)

May 8th, 1998 - 16:55 PST
St. Wolf Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Natasha watches as Steve prepares his dinner table and smiles as he nervously places the cut crystal and china service for two. < Well, I can now believe that he's found someone and this young woman is the one. > She sighs as she remembers the romantic dinners Logan gave her when he was courting her. < Steven's off to a good start here. I hope he builds on it slowly and doesn't rush her. >

Natasha hears the side door open and sees the group of young men and women she had meet earlier enter the house. When the women see the table, they all begin to giggle their heads off. Steve glares at them and they all quiet down and head off towards the workout room. The three men just smile and nod their heads in understanding. Natasha gets up and joins them in the workout room as all of them are laughing softly.

"Goddess, but he looks nervous." Willow replies.

"I do believe that he is, Willow." Giles replies as he rocks back forth, trying not to laugh loudly. "I never thought I'd see the day when Steven St. Wolf would show fear, but I have today."

"Would you all stop making fun of Steven?" Natasha orders with a grin of her own. "The poor man is nervous enough as it is without all of you snickering in the background."

"My apologizes, Ms. Romanov." Giles replies with a grin. "But actually seeing Steve this nervous makes us all feel that he is a human being and not some mystical construct sent by the Gods to help us."

"And it makes us feel closer to him than ever before." Willow replies with a smile. "Seeing him nervous tells us that he really cares for Buffy. A guy who didn't care wouldn't go to all of this trouble for her and be that nervous about tonight."

Natasha smiles as the group gathers around her and she quickly outlines her plan. "I'm going to be entering the police station through the sewers, is there anything I should know?"

"A major problem." Xander quickly replies. "The vamps use the sewers as their personal highway. A group of us will have to go with you to the sewer entrance under city hall. We'll cover you and make sure you get out of there in one piece. We'll also make sure that no unwanted guests happen by."

"You children are not going with me!" Natasha orders. Everybody sighs as they look at Jenny and Giles. They both nod their heads.

Willow nods her head and utters a quick incantation and Natasha suddenly finds herself hanging in midair. She watches in shock as the blonde haired girl named Amy speaks quietly and she begins to juggle five fireballs in her hands. She watches in shock as the girl called Cordelia walks over to the weight bench and begins to bench press three hundred pounds. She turns to watch the two boys, Oz and Xander as they begin to preform a complex martial arts routine. < Damn, those boys are good. > She then turns to the two adults and sees their hands glowing with eldritch energy as they toss lightning bolts between each other.

"Oh! Fucking! Shit!" Natasha mutters as she realizes that these 'children' were anything but that. "Let me down now!" Natasha orders.

Willow smiles as she gently lowers Natasha to the ground. Natasha growls lowly as she glares at them, but quickly sighs. "All right. You can come. But you follow my orders! Do all of you understand that?"

"But of course, Ms. Romanov." Giles replies with a grin. "We all follow Steve and Buffy's orders without any difficulty, so following yours won't be much of a problem."

Natasha sighs and realizes that she was stuck with these child warriors and they would stay with her to protect her. Natasha shakes her head at their lost childhoods, but now really understood why Steve stayed here. She clears her throat and begins. "The plan is really simple. We'll enter the sewers at this point." Natasha points to a sewer entrance a mile away. "And make our way to the Municipal building. I'll enter the building and take what we need and then we'll leave the sewers at this point." Natasha points to a different point about half a mile away. "Now, any questions?"

"Yeah, what weapons do you want us to take with us?"

"What do you recommend, Xander" Natasha asks. < Let's see if they've learned anything. >

"Okay." Xander mutters as he looks over the plans. "Close quarter weapons only. I'll take out the silenced Uzis and MP5s. Steve just got in some ultra-violet flashlights that we'll attach to them and we'll issued silenced Glock 21s to everyone. The magazines will be Dutch loaded with wood and silver ammunition. The ladies will take short swords and everyone will take wooden knives. Giles and I will each take an Ithaca shorty shotgun equipped with Dragon's Breathe shells."

"What are Dragon's Breathe shells?" Natasha asks, impressed with Xander's planning. < This boy is good. Nick would love to have him working for his organization. >

"Twelve gauge shotgun shells loaded with powdered magnesium and phosphate. When you fire them, you create a fireball that will kill any vampire and most demons." Xander explains. "They work best against large numbers in closed in places like the sewers. A single blast could take out twenty, thirty vamps and clear out the tunnel in front of us."

"Damn!" Natasha mutters as she looks at Xander's clear, piercing brown eyes and nods her head in agreement. < I wonder if Nick ever spent any time in Sunnydale in the last eighteen years? Or Xander's Mother traveled anywhere back then? This boy looks a lot like Nick. > "I see that Steven has been teaching you well."

"When you have a good teacher, students want to learn." Willow replies with a smile.

Natasha nods her head in agreement and asks Xander. "Where do we get the weapons?"

"Follow me." Xander replies as he and Giles lead Natasha to the basement. Natasha watches as Xander reaches for a hidden switch and the far wall opens up. She follows him into the armory and shudders at the sight of all of the weapons arrayed against the walls and several tables located in the center of the large room.

"Xander, where did Steven get all of these weapons from?" Natasha asks in disbelief.

"He made a phone call and they were delivered by four guys in a truck." Xander replies. "When he got this stuff in, we all thought he was nuts, but since then, we've learned that he was pretty much on the money about everything."

"And the special ammunition?"

"The silver stuff came with the guns. Steve, Giles and I sorta created the wooden bullets by experimenting with different types until we came up with the right formula that worked. Steve sent the samples to some guys who made up a whole lot of the stuff for us and some friends of his."

"And these friends are?"

"We don't know. And Steve ain't saying. But if they're fighting vamps, we have no problems with them having the stuff. The more they take out, the less we have to deal with."

"That is a very adult attitude, Xander." Natasha replies as she watches Xander load up a large duffel bag with ammunition and eight pistol belts. Giles grabs up a bunch of already packed duffel bags and Natasha picks up six silencer equipped Uzis from a table that Xander points to. Xander grabs up two MP5s, two Ithaca shorty shotguns and the duffel bag of ammunition. All three head back upstairs and put the weapons down as Casey walks in with a cart filled with food.

"What's this?" Natasha asks with a smile as she smells what's on the cart.

"Dinner for the kids." Casey replies. "Steve and I made extra for them."

Natasha shakes her head in disbelief, but quickly takes another plate of the same food that she had earlier. She looks around for the wine, but Casey points out. "Sorry, no alcohol this close to a mission." Natasha nods her head in agreement and accepts the bottled water that Casey hands her. Each of the kids quickly grab up a plate of their own and begin to eat with gusto.

"Oh my! This is most delicious. You must give me this recipe, Mr. Ryback." Giles replies as he takes a bite.

Xander takes a bite and stares at Casey. "You and Steve made this?"

"Yeah. Is there a problem?"

"Can you teach me to cook like this?" Xander asks. Casey grins.

"Only if you feel like taking a year off and learning how to cook at one of the world's best cooking schools in Paris."

Xander sighs. "Sorry, got too much to do here and I can't afford the lost time."

"Why not?" Casey asks. "I'm sure that Steve would let you go for a year to follow a dream."

Xander shakes his head. "I'd always wonder if someone had died while I was gone and couldn't be here to save them."

Natasha sighs as she hears Xander's reply. "Xander," She begins. "We are not Gods. You may all know some Gods on a personal level, but you are not them. We are not perfect and we never will be. We will make mistakes, we will not always be on time and yes, people will die."

"Then why do we do it?" Willow asks.

"Because we will save some if not most of the lives that depend on us. That is why. God knows that we will sometimes fail, but the proof of our strength is that we will get back up and continue the good fight."

"Well said, Ms. Romanov." Giles replies as he watches his young charge's eyes gleam in understanding.

"The truth is easily spoken, Mr. Giles." Natasha replies warmly. "Especially when it is such a basic truth."

"Eat up kids." Casey tells them. "We're leaving here in an hour so get your gear in order and stowed away."

"Why are we leaving?" Cordelia asks as everyone stares at the living room door. "Oh yeah. Buffy and Steve's date. They want to be alone. Where are we going?"

"To our apartment." Giles replies as Jenny nods her head in agreement. "We have the weapons, ammunition and armor so we don't need to stay here."

"Oh good." Willow replies with a predatory smile. "Jenny, Amy and I can cook up a few nasty surprises for tonight."

"Like what?" Natasha asks, noticing the look in Willow's eyes. < This young woman is dangerous. If she's not controlled properly, a lot of people will be very dead, very quickly. >

"Some vamp booby traps." Willow replies with an evil grin. "Holy water booby traps that will spray a mist of holy water, enchanted blessed chains that will wrap around a vampire's neck and destroy it, caltrops blessed by a priest. The usual."

"Oh Shit!" Casey mutters under his breathe. < These kids shouldn't be classified as Squires. They'll make Knights by the time they hit eighteen. >

Natasha stares in shock at the group in front of her and shakes her head in disbelief. < Nick should never find out about these child warriors. He would recruit them in seconds. >

"Ms. Romanov will you need any armor for tonight?" Giles asks.

"What sort of armor, Mr. Giles?" Natasha asks.

Giles reaches behind him, opens a large duffel bag and pulls out a flat black breast plate. Casey stares in shock as he doesn't see the Grail symbol for the Order on the breast plate. < Steve must have ordered the armor for them. How he got it without the symbol I don't want to know. >

Natasha picks up the breast plate from Giles' hand and feels the light weight. "This is incredibly light, Mr. Giles. I don't think it'll help if we get into a shoot out with the police or vampires."

Giles and the rest smile. "Ms. Romanov, this armor will stop a fifty caliber armor piercing round." Natasha stares at the breast plate and gulps.

"You're not joking, are you, Mr. Giles?" Giles shakes his head. "Where did you get this from?"

"Some more of Steve's 'friends'." Jenny replies with a sour look. "He doesn't talk much about them, but they have the most amazing weapons and equipment."

"What kind of equipment? Do I want to know?"

"They gave him the computer, most of the books that we use for research and spell casting. They will even come to help if there is something that we can't handle by ourselves." Giles replies.

"You don't sound too angry, not knowing who these people are." Natasha comments.

"To paraphrase Xander, Gods help me." Giles replies with a grin as Xander goes.

"Hey!"

"If they're fighting vampires, demons and other monsters, we have no difficulty with these people being this well equipped. The more that they kill, the less we will have to deal with."

Natasha nods in agreement. "All are friends who fight the good fight."

"Very true." Jenny replies with a smile. "Are you ready to go?"

"Yes, I am. But I want to know why you're not taking my daughter out tonight, Casey?"

"Because I'm not letting you or these kids go without me. That's why." Casey replies.

"Does Tanya know?"

"Not yet. But I'm sure she'll understand."

"You keep on having those fantasies, Casey." Cordelia replies with a smile. "No woman likes being dumped on their first dates. I suggest a lot of flowers and a damn fine restaurant. Diamonds will also help." Casey glares at her as the rest of the women laugh and give Cordelia high fives.

"Don't worry, Casey." Natasha replies with a smile. "I'm sure that dinner and two dozen white roses will be enough." Casey grins in thanks.

"Why will that be enough, Mother?" Tanya asks as she and Joyce walk into the workout room.

"Because Casey has just volunteered himself to help tonight." Natasha replies with a smile as Casey squirms under Tanya's glare.

She turn to Casey demanding. "You are dumping me, *ON OUR FIRST DATE*, to go on a mission with my Mother!?"

Although he squirmed under her intense scrutiny, Casey says, "I'm sorry, but I am. These kids are going with her and I'm not going to sit around and worry about them."

Tanya smiles and kisses Casey on his lips. "Good answer, Casey. My Mother would think a lot less of you if you didn't go with them tonight. And if Dad ever found out? Forget about ever dating me."

"You're not angry?" Natasha asks.

"No, I'm not. I got a chance to read the newspaper this afternoon. That animal should die for what he did to that poor kid." Tanya angrily replies.

Natasha grimaces. "You even agree with the punishment that Artemis is going to give him?"

Tanya nods her head. "No Judge is going to be more just than her, Mother. She can do things that no human being can and I think she'll make the punishment fit the crime."

"So do I." Natasha agrees as she finishes her meal. Tanya looks around and sees everyone finishing a plate and she glares at Casey. "Where's mine and Joyce's?" Casey smiles as he takes the last two plates from the cart and hands it to them. Both women quickly dig in.

"This is delicious." Joyce replies. "Is Steve serving this to Buffy?"

"Yeah, he is." Casey replies as he checks his watch. "It's almost five, thirty. Finish eating and we'll leave."

"Are you sure you want to do that, Joyce?" Natasha replies with a smile.

Joyce grins. "I trust my daughter, Natasha."

"That's good. Nothing ruins a great date faster than a nosy Mother." Tanya replies between bites as Natasha glares at her.

"You will never let me forget that will you?" Natasha sadly replies.

"Nope." Tanya replies with a grin.

"What happened?" Casey asks as Natasha glares at Tanya.

"Mother chaperoned my first date." Tanya replies with a grin. "Poor Matt never forgave me for that."

"How old were you?" Joyce asks with a smile.

"Sixteen." Tanya replies with a face. "Mother and Father were very protective of me while I was growing up."

< Being the Black Widow's and Wolverine's adopted daughter? Every enemy that they ever had would try to hurt them through you. > Casey thinks to himself as he gathers up the finished plates and plastic utensils in a trash bag. "They had good reasons I'm sure."

Tanya sighs as she remembers the KGB agents who tried to kidnap her several times. "They did. They love me, but their lives are so complicated."

"Anyone else try anything?" Casey asks as he ties up the trash bag.

"Not lately. Dad got pissed when some idiots from the FSB tried to grab me two years ago. Let's just say that he wasn't very forgiving to anyone, especially the superiors of the men who tried to kidnap me."

"How far up the ladder did he go?" Casey asks with a gulp.

"He killed everyone up to and including the head of the section involved in the attempt. He made it very clear how angry he would have been if I had been hurt." Casey and the rest gulp in amazement.

"Uh, Tanya? Who's your Dad?" Willow asks. "And how was he able to do all that by himself?"

"My Dad's name is Logan. But most people call him the Wolverine."

"Isn't that a WWF wrestler?" Xander asks in shock.

"No." Natasha replies with a smile. "That one calls himself the 'Rabid Wolverine'. And he is not my Logan, though Logan has thought to make him quit using the name."

"And this Logan guy is how good?" Cordelia asks.

"Imagine Steven if he was almost a thousand years old. With that much experience, training and learning behind him."

"Goddess. I can see why Casey is so scared of him." Jenny mutters, but then adds with an evil grin. "Imagine what he'll do to him if he hurts Tanya." The rest of the women in the room laugh at Casey's suddenly scared face.

"I wouldn't worry about Logan, Casey." Natasha purrs. "Worry what I'll do to you if you hurt my daughter."

"Natasha." Jenny begins. "I think that I'm speaking for all of the Amazons present when I ask, would you like to join our sisterhood?"

"Not at this time, Jenny. Artemis has already asked and I told her no."

"Why did you do that?" Cordelia asks in disbelief. "Artemis cares for humanity and wants to help it. That's why she gave us her blessing, so we can fight more effectively and help Steve and Buffy protect Sunnydale."

Natasha sighs. "Because I don't trust as easily as you do. I've seen too many 'trust worthy' people turn on me and betray me. If I wasn't an Immortal, I would be dead nearly a dozen times already."

"Then why did you come when Steve called?" Joyce asks.

Natasha smiles. "He's the same type of man, my Logan is. He'll stand by his friends, no matter what. When we worked together, he reported to his superior that I was helping him. His superior demanded that Steven incapacitate me and detain me for his agents. Steven told his superior that I had just helped him save Paris and that he wouldn't betray me. As far as he was concerned, I was free to go. I thought that The Headsman would kill him for that."

"Who is this Headsman?" Giles asks.

"Jacques DeClare, the head of the French Secret Service." Casey replies with a grimace. "He's rumored to be one of the most ruthless killers on the planet."

"It's no rumor." Natasha replies. "If you are a threat to his France, then you die. Many terrorists know this and don't operate in France because of him. The only ones crazy enough to try are the Basque separatists and even they are not insane enough to go near Paris. One of my sources told me that Steven and Jacques had a very bad argument over me and Steven told Jacques that if he didn't like the way he did things, then he shouldn't bother to call him to help the next time."

"What happened?"

"Jacques' wife, Ann, finally stepped in and told Jacques that Steven was right in letting me go because I had helped him recover the nuclear warheads that were threatening Paris. Jacques finally agreed that Steven was right in letting me go, but he didn't like the fact that Steven refused to give him my description."

"And Steve still works for this man?" Joyce asks.

"Only when Jacques needs him." Natasha replies. "And Jacques only calls when the situation is desperate."

Joyce smiles. "It's nice to know that Steve has so many friends."

Natasha sadly shakes her head. "Steven is well liked and respected, Joyce, but his real friends could be counted on one hand before he came here. Frank Iverson is as close to him as a brother, his former teacher Duncan McLeod is another close friend. And Duncan's lady, Tessa Noble, before she died, was very close to him. There was also someone that Steven constantly refers to as 'the old fart', but sadly, that was all of them and that was about five years ago."

The silence in the room could be cut with a knife as everyone looks over to their neighbor. "How could someone like Steve only have four close friends?" Willow asks quietly.

"Very easily." Casey replies. "He didn't want anyone to get close to him because he didn't think that he'd live a long time."

"But he's an Immortal." Xander asks. "How could he not live a long time?"

"Have you ever wondered what sort of life he's led?" Casey replies. "He's been through a lot of things that he shouldn't have come back from. Some of the risks he's taken would have killed a lesser man, even an Immortal. Frank is the one of the few men, mortal or Immortal, who even comes close to Steve and you've seen that Steve takes most of the risks for him."

"Why is he like that?" Jenny asks.

"It's one part death wish, three parts survivor's guilt and one part a sense of failure that he wasn't there when his wife was kidnaped, raped and murdered. He still blames himself for her dying like she did."

"But why?" Amy asks.

"Because he never failed at anything in his life before then." Casey replies. "He always succeeded in every mission. Brought all of his men back, alive, wounded and dead."

"But if his men died, why didn't he feel guilty about that?" Xander asks.

"Because they knew the risks going in." Casey replies. "These men were soldiers and were willing to go on these missions. Steve's job was to plan the mission to succeed with the least amount of casualties for his men and he often came back with only a few men wounded. But warfare is just that, warfare, men will die and Steve knew that and his men knew that as well. But Catherine dying like she did wasn't something that Steve could take easily."

"He really loved her?" Joyce asks quietly.

"He did." Casey replies. "I knew him when he was Carson Jamieson and worked with him twice. He should have been an officer. God knows that he was a damn fine leader, but he wasn't interested in the Army, only going home and being with Catherine."

"And then she died only eight months later." Willow replies softly, feeling sorry for her friend.

"What really hurt him was when those six bastards walked out of court, free."

"How did they go free?" Tanya asks.

"They bribed an evidence clerk to screw up the evidence. The judge had to let them go. Steve found them a week later and killed them."

"How did he kill them?" Joyce asks.

"Double shots to the head. Quick and clean."

Natasha nods her head. "That is what I expected of him. He didn't lower himself to their level."

"But he murdered six men." Joyce asks quietly, wondering how Steve would treat her daughter. "I know that Jenny told me this two months ago, but hearing it from Casey makes me wonder about Steve."

"Joyce, Steven did what he felt was right and I have no difficulty with what he did. Steven had more restraint than either Logan or I would have had. If that happened to Tanya, we wouldn't have let them go to trial. We would have killed them as soon as we were able to find them." Natasha replies softly. "Joyce, believe me when I say this. Steven is a good man and he will treat her with the love and respect she deserves."

"I know that. And I'm happy for the both of them." Joyce replies with a smile as she looks over Buffy's friends. "Now I have to figure out when the wedding will be." All of the women begin to giggle and look at their respective mates. "And how many bridesmaids we'll need." All of the women quickly smile as the men groan, realizing that Joyce was already making plans for her daughter's future.

"I suddenly feel really sorry for Steve." Xander mutters as Cordelia promptly smacks him. "Oww! What was that for?" He asks her.

Cordelia smiles. "I hope you don't feel sorry for yourself when we get married." Xander begins to cough as a grinning Giles slaps his back. Cordelia notices this and asks. "Why are you grinning, Giles?"

"Because he already asked me to marry him." Jenny replies with a smile as the woman go 'Ahh'. "And since we've been living together, he can't really complain. You should have seen Snyder's face when I changed my home address to Rupert's."

"Oh that would have been fun to see." Willow replies with a giggle. "Why didn't you invite us to watch?"

"Sorry, but students are not allowed in the Teacher's lounge." Giles replies with a smile as the entire group laughs.

"You told Snyder in front of all of the teachers?" Xander replies with a laugh. "Oh Gods, but that must have been fun."

"It was." Jenny replies with a light laugh.

"When's the wedding?" Joyce asks.

"Not for a while." Giles replies softly. "There are certain family matters that have to be cleared up before I can marry Jenny."

Everyone nods their heads in understanding as Natasha smiles. < These people care for each other deeply. > "Give me a call when you decide on a date, Logan and I will attend."

"That's great!" Willow gushes. "I wonder how big the wedding party will be when Steve and Buffy get married?" Willow looks over to Casey who begins to cough, trying to hide his laughter.

"Casey?" Tanya asks. "What do you know?"

"Let's just say that I think we'll need a very big place for that wedding and the party afterwards." Casey replies with a grin as he looks at his watch and sees that it read almost six o'clock. "Time to go."

"Hold it right there, Mr. Ryback!" Joyce demands. "What the hell do you mean by that?"

Casey sighs as he explains. "I can't give you any specifics, but you should expect at least three, maybe five thousand guests when Steve and Buffy get married."

"Five thousand?" Joyce asks in surprise. "Why so many?"

"Besides the fact that the betting is going hot and heavy when they do marry?" Joyce nods her head. "Steve may not admit it, but he does have a lot of people who think of themselves as his friends. They may not be as close as Duncan, Frank and the old fart are, or Tessa was, but they will come."

"But how am I going to pay for all of that? I know Steve will help, but the cost will be incredible." Joyce mutters.

"Don't worry about paying, Joyce. The old fart will pay for it." Casey replies with a snicker.

"Who is this 'old fart'?" Natasha asks.

"Just someone that's been like a Father to Steve. He and his wife will pay for the wedding as a gift to Steve and Buffy." Casey replies as he picks up a duffle bag and checks his watch again. "It's after six, we should be out of here."

"Quite right, Mr. Ryback." Giles replies as he picks up a duffle bag himself. "We'll meet at mine and Jenny's apartment for our final planning session."

Everyone gets up, picks up an equipment bag and exits through the side door near the kitchen. Everyone looks over to where Steve was nervously waiting with a bouquet of flowers in his hands. Joyce smiles as she exits with Tanya in tow. "We'll go to my house." Joyce tells her as everyone else climbs into their respective cars. Tanya nods her head in agreement as she climbs into the Jeep Cherokee with Joyce.

"Think Buffy will make it over here without any trouble?" Tanya asks.

"Of course she will." Joyce replies as she watches Cordelia speed off with Xander hanging on for dear life in the front seat. "I think her ride just left."

*****

Cordelia and Xander prepare to leave as Cordelia's phone rings. She picks it up, demanding. "This better be important."

"Hey Cordy." Buffy replies on the phone. "Could you come and pick me up?"

"Sure, Buffy." Cordelia replies as she quickly makes a screaming U-turn and Xander looks at her.

"What did Buffy want?"

"A ride to Steve's house." Cordelia replies with a dazzling smile.

"Honey, you usually bitch and moan about being someone's taxi driver, why is it different this time?"

"Because I want to see how Buffy's dressed before she goes over to Steve's place."

Xander looks at the sky and laughs. "Clothes?! She cares about what clothes Buffy's wearing? Oh Gods!" Xander screams out as Cordelia narrowly misses a bus.

Cordelia grins as she pulls in front of Buffy's house and see's Buffy standing outside in a trench coat and high heels. Xander looks her up and down and whispers, "I don't think she's wearing anything under that coat."

"Smart Girl. That'll save some time." Cordelia mutters. "Gets right down to business. Get in the back, Xander."

"Yes, Ma'am!" Xander replies as he scampers into the back seat. Buffy smiles as Xander leaves her the front seat. She quickly gets in and Cordelia grins as her upper thighs show.

"I hope Steve appreciates how much trouble you went to to get ready for him." Cordelia replies with a smirk.

"I'm sure he will." Buffy replies with conviction. "I just hope that Mom isn't there when I get there."

"Don't worry about her." Cordelia replies as they pass Joyce's green Cherokee. "She's headed back home."

"Oh Goddess! I hope she understands." Buffy mutters.

Cordelia grins. "She understands, Buffy. More than you can realize."

Buffy shakes her head in disbelief. "Oh Goddess! Mom!?"

Cordelia laughs. "Have a good time, Buffy. And your Mom understands that you care for Steve and he cares for you."

"And the food he made for you is great." Xander adds in.

"What are you talking about?" Buffy asks.

"Steve and Casey made extra and they fed us before we left Steve's house." Cordelia replies with a smile. "And my advice to you, Buffy. Eat dinner before you do anything else, because Steve and Casey cooked up something very delicious for you."

"Yeah, you two should enjoy your night off, Buff." Xander adds in. "You two have been taking things so seriously, we're worried about you two."

"Why? We're doing our jobs." Buffy replies.

"That's just it, Buff. That's all you two do. Your jobs. You go to school during the day, do your homework, practice and go on patrol. Steve does the same thing, except he works at the antique shop. We're all afraid that you'll burn yourselves out." Xander replies. "When we saw Steve preparing for your three month anniversary, we all breathed a sigh of relief."

"We are not like that!" Buffy utters angrily. "We do things together."

"Besides patrolling, when was the last time that he took you out?"

"We've been out to dinner before." Buffy replies.

"When have you been out for dinner that didn't include patrolling?" Xander asks. Buffy doesn't say a word as Xander nods his head. "Thought so."

"But why are you all making so much about a simple dinner date?" Buffy asks.

"Because it's the first time that the two of you are acting like normal people and not fighting machines. So, enjoy your night off and don't wear him out too much." Cordelia replies with a grin.

Buffy grins mischievously and laughs. "Oh yeah, right. I'm going to seduce the boy scout."

"Well, boy scouts are trustworthy, thrifty and wise." Xander replies with a grin. "I'm sure that he'll rise to the occasion." Cordelia quickly reaches back and smacks him. "Oww! What was that for Cordy?"

"For stealing my line, Dweeb Boy." Cordelia replies with a laugh.

Buffy looks up at the heavens. "Oh Goddess, please let this ride end."

"The rides over." Cordelia replies with a grin as she pulls up to Steve's house. Buffy gets out and straightens her coat and nervously bites her lower lip.

"Am I ready for this?" Buffy asks herself. She feels a warm pair of hands on her shoulders as Cordelia whispers to her.

"He's waiting for you, Buffy. You don't have to have sex tonight, but you need to be with him. Do whatever you feel comfortable with, talk, play games, kiss, but be there for him."

"Since when do you give such good advice?" Buffy asks.

Cordelia grins. "Since I learned that I have real friends and a guy that really loves me."

"Thanks." Buffy replies as she walks up the sidewalk to Steve's front door.

*****

Part 11 - Dinner Time
(Ever Wonder What A Demon Hunter Can Be Scared Of?
Well, You're About To Find Out,)

May 8th, 1998 - 18:35 PST
St. Wolf Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Steve checks his watch for the twelfth time in five minutes and nervously walks back and forth by the front door of his house. He looks back and sees that the table hasn't moved and the wine was breathing. < Oh Gods! What the hell am I doing? She doesn't want this. > He shakes his head in disbelief. < She should have someone closer to her age than me. Someone like Xander. Not an old man like me. > Before Steve can convince himself to call the date off, the front doorbell rings.

He sighs in resignation and walks forward and opens the door to a very nervous and beautiful young woman. He breathes deeply, drinking in her beauty and sighs as he loses whatever doubts he had. "Please come in." Steve asks her and Buffy smiles as she walks in. Steve reaches for her coat as Buffy lets it slip from her shoulders. As the coat falls, Steve sees only bare shoulders and gulps as he touches her getting her coat off. Buffy's arms slip from the coat and she turns around, showing a very shocked Steve, her black sheath dress. Steve continues to stare, drinking in her beauty and Buffy smiles at his reaction to her. She walks towards the dining room and gives Steve an eyeful of her legs and upper thighs as the dress just barely covers her ass.

Buffy looks over the dinner spread on the table and smiles. She looks over the crystal, china and silverware and grins in appreciation. < Mom was right. Steve is certainly outdoing himself on this dinner. Goddess, but it'll feel good just being a normal couple. > Buffy sniffs the air and salivates as she feels Steve's hand on her back as he walks her to her chair and pulls it out for her. She quietly sits down and watches as Steve pours her a glass of red wine. < He's giving me wine? What will Mom say? > Buffy thinks to herself as Steve uncovers her plate and Buffy gets the full aroma of the beef braised in red wine and oil. She smiles as she sees the french whipped potatoes with parsley also on the plate. < Oh yes. Now this looks a lot better than Mickey D's. > She smiles as Steve sits down across from her and also uncovers his plate. Buffy takes a taste and stares back at Steve. "Please tell me that this isn't going to be our only dinner like this."

"You like it?" Steve asks with a smile.

"Oh yeah. You had better make this for me again." Buffy utters as she stares at the glass of wine.

"Go ahead and have a drink. A 1976 Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux shouldn't go to waste."

"Why?"

"Besides the fact that it's one of the best wines ever made?" Buffy nods her head for Steve to continue. "I've been saving it for a special occasion."

"And why is this occasion so special?" Buffy asks with a smile.

"Because we're here, together, enjoying a night alone." Steve replies as Buffy looks at the label in French.

"How much does this wine cost?"

"Not much." Steve replies as Buffy gives him a frown and he relents. "Two hundred, fifty dollars."

"You are kidding me." Buffy mutters as she stares at the glass of wine near her. "That's more than this dress cost me."

"Well, I wanted our three month anniversary to be special." Steve replies with a smile as he takes a sip of the wine. < And that dress is worth more than any bottle of wine. >

"Are you sure you're not trying to seduce me?" Buffy asks with a smile as she also sips from her wine. She tastes the deep fruity flavor and enjoys how it compliments the meal. "This is nice."

Steve watches Buffy's lips touch the rim of her goblet and desperately wishes he could trade places with that glass. Then he shakes himself out of his reverie and quietly stammers, "How was school today?"

"Mom made Principal Snyder apologize to me over the P.A. system. The entire school couldn't believe that she did it. When I walked into the cafeteria, everyone gave me a cheer." Buffy replies, slightly embarrassed as she takes another sip of her wine. "How was your day today?"

"Nice and normal." Steve replies with a smile as he cuts up his beef. "Just did a little shopping and learned how to cook this meal." < Buffy doesn't need to know about Casey's and my visits last night and this morning. >

"That's good." Buffy replies with a smile and then sighs. "Steve, I don't know about you, but I can't talk like this the rest of the night."

Steve also smiles. "I know. I can't either."

"Do you think Natasha will need any help?" Buffy asks.

"No, she pretty much planned everything out and our friends are giving her cover and protection. Casey's also going with them as well."

Buffy breathes a sigh of relief. "That's good. But what about Tanya? Casey was supposed to take her out tonight."

"She doesn't mind. She'll be with your Mother, waiting for them to get back." Steve replies.

"How do you know all this?" Buffy asks.

"Duke was in the training room as they were planning everything out." Steve replies with a grin. "He has a very big mouth."

// Watch it smartass, or I'm going to spoil your dinner! // Duke replies from the workout room.

< Do that and I'll send you over to Amy's and let her little sisters have some fun with you. > Steve replies with an evil grin.

// I'm shutting up now. // Duke replies in dread as he closes off his contact with Steve and lets out a small whine.

"What did you just say to Duke?" Buffy asks as she notices Steve's grin and hears Duke's whine.

"Just promised him that I'd send him over to Amy's to play with her little sisters."

"That is so mean!" Buffy replies with a laugh. Steve watches her and smiles.

"I like it when you laugh." Steve tells her.

Buffy smiles at Steve and gets up from her dinner and quietly walks around the table. Steve pushes himself out, to get up, but Buffy sits down on his lap and begins to kiss him. After a short while, they break apart and Steve asks. "What about dessert?"

"Depends. What do you have?" Buffy asks.

"Chocolate Mousse with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings."

Buffy immediately leaves Steve's lap and goes back to her chair. She glares at him. "Well? What are you waiting for?"

Steve grins and mutters as he gets up. "Chocoholic."

"And damn proud of it." Buffy replies with a grin as Steve heads back to the refrigerator and pulls out two large cups of chocolate mousse. Buffy grins as she watches Steve add the whipped cream from a bowl. "Is that whip cream homemade?" Buffy asks in awe as she watches Steve adding a large amount of chocolate shavings to the top of the whipped cream mountain. < Goddess, but I'm going to be fat after this dinner. >

"Yep. I made it less than two hours ago. It's been chilling in the refrigerator."

Buffy grins as she tastes the whipped cream and chocolate dessert. "Steve, you are definitely a keeper. If you keep on cooking like this, I may just want to marry you."

"Joyce is already looking for the hall." Steve replies with a grin.

"What are you talking about?" Buffy demands in disbelief as her spoon falls into the Mousse.

"Duke overheard Joyce wondering how she was going to pay for the wedding if we had over five thousand guests." Steve replies with a grin.

Buffy stares in shock at Steve. She shakes her head and mutters as she looks heavenward in supplication. "Why me, Goddess! Why me!!"

"Don't worry about it, Buffy." Steve replies with a laugh. "She hasn't set a date yet."

Buffy shakes her head. "I don't suppose you suggested one to her?"

"Nope. Never came up in any of our conversations."

"You talk with my Mother? And you never told me!?" Buffy asks in shock.

Steve shrugs his shoulders. "She often comes by for lunch with Carol and Robert. And we talk sometimes."

"About what?"

"You." Steve replies with a grin as Buffy begins to moan.

"Goddess, please kill me now." Buffy utters in despair.

"I'm sorry, but you have too much to do for me to do that." Artemis replies from the couch.

Buffy and Steve turn and look at her. "Uh, Lady Artemis? Why are you here?" Buffy asks.

"You just called to me to kill you, didn't you?" Artemis replies with a grin as Aphrodite appears next to her sister.

"She's got it bad, doesn't she?" Aphrodite replies as Buffy begins to turn a bright shade of red.

"That she does, sister mine." Artemis replies with a laugh as they both disappear from the couch and leave behind some video tapes. Steve walks over to the tapes and picks them up.

"Talk about stacking the deck." Steve mutters as Buffy walks up behind him.

Buffy takes the tapes and begins to read the titles. "Titanic, Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Shakespeare in Love." She looks up and grins at Steve. "I guess they want us together."

"Nah, you think?" Steve sarcastically replies. When Buffy pouts Steve smiles at her and leans down, kissing her. Buffy melts into his arms. Steve's hands reach around her waist as he gently picks her up and moves to the couch.

"Why Mr. St. Wolf. I do believe you want to make out."

"Talk later, make out now." Steve mutters as he lowers his lips.

"Ohhh, Cavema. . . mphfh." Buffy begins as Steve covers her lips.

When they breakup a short while later, Buffy looks into Steve's eyes and quietly mutters. "Do you want to watch any of the movies?"

"Later." Steve replies as his hands reach down to the hem of her dress.

"What about the mousse? It'll all melt." Buffy asks.

"I made extra. We can have it later." Steve replies as his hand caresses her upper thigh. Buffy jumps a little but quickly responds by driving her tongue into Steve's mouth. They kiss and grope for a while longer until Buffy feels Steve's hand on the strap of her thong. Buffy backs away for a second and looks into Steve's eyes, finding they hold the same desire for her that she feels for him. They both nod their heads as they break apart. Buffy stands up and turns around, allowing him to carefully, reverantly unzip her dress. Then Buffy turns to face him and gently caresses his face while Steve tenderly begins to remove her dress from her exquisite body.

*****

Krtog looks over the house that he's about to attack and turns to his fellow demons. He nods his head as the three seventh circle, one fifth circle and two sixth circle demons cluster around him. The twenty vampires sent by Mayor Wilkins hang back, waiting for their orders.

"We will attack the house on three sides. I want you, Trelleck (The fifth circle demon, standing eight and a half feet tall and covered in reptilian scales. ) to attack the house one the south side. That is supposedly a workout room and should be empty now." Trelleck nods his head and looks over his entry point. "I want you three." Krtog looks over at the three seventh circle demons. "To attack the north side." The three apelike demons nod their heads in understanding.

Krtog turns to the two sixth circle Demons. Both of them are Japanese mist Demons called Gaki. The two smile as they ask, "If there is anyone with the Wanderer, may we consume them?"

"You may. If you can beat your companions to them." Krtog replies with a chuckle, but then turns serious. "But be warned, the Wanderer dies first!"

"That is understood," Trelleck replies in a hissing voice. "I will enjoy eating his heart."

"Not if I beat you to it. Krtog replies with a snarl as he moves forward. "You, Trelleck and the Marleks will attack now, we will follow one minute later." < Hopefully the Wanderer will be too busy killing you to see me until it's too late. >

"More for us," Trelleck replies with a happy hissing noise as he and the Marleks quickly lope off.

Krtog turns to the vampires. "Stop anyone from exiting or entering the house. Is that understood?"

"It is, Lord Krtog," the head vampire replies. "May we have any one who pass by?"

"No!" Krtog orders. "Only if they head towards the Wanderer's house. Only then. If they're just walking by, do NOT go after them! Am I understood!?"

"Yes, Lord Krtog," the vampires utter in fear.

"Pathetic things! No wonder the Wanderer and the Slayer have been killing your kind wholesale," Krtog spits out as he begins to move towards the house.

*****

Part 12 - Round Two
(And You Thought That Only The WWF Had Grudge Matches?)

May 8th, 1998 - 19:30 PST
St. Wolf Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Trelleck flattens himself and slithers through a cracked window in the workout room. Trelleck looks around the room and sees the weapons arrayed against the wall and the various pieces of exercise equipment and he nods his head. < This is a place where warriors are trained. He is training more warriors for the Army of the Light here. Krtog is right to kill him now before he can complete their training. >

Trelleck quickly scans the room, and finds Artemis' shrine, and he shudders in fear. < Oh Dark Gods! It is a shrine to one of the old Gods. I must warn Krtog! > Trelleck makes to exit out of the house, but a growling noise draws his attention and he sees a dark haired German Shepard pup glaring at him in hatred. < Fool dog! I will take him as a snack. > Trelleck thinks to himself as he quickly moves to catch him.

The dog leaps to the side just as fast and turns to face Trelleck. Trelleck stares at the 'normal' dog and his jaw drops as the dog grows to an incredible size and mass. < Oh Dark Gods, no! A Guardian Spirit? How? We killed them all a thousand years ago! > Trelleck hisses out a challenge as the dog growls back in response as an ancient hatred is renewed.

// Steve!! We're under attack!! Get ready!! // Duke mentally screams out as he rushes forward, attacking a foe that made his blood scream.

*****

Steve reaches behind Buffy and is about to unlatch her black lace bra when he stiffens. He quickly zips her dress back up and quietly tells her. "We're under attack." As Steve turns around and pulls out Demon Slayer, Buffy kicks off her high heels and looks on in wonder as Steve gives her Demon Slayer. Buffy looks at the glowing sword in her hands.

"What will you use to protect yourself?" Buffy asks as she hears a crash from the kitchen. They both turn and see three large apelike creatures break through the large window. Buffy shrinks back as she hears Steve's Glock 21 begin firing. All three creatures quickly fall and scream in pain as the enchanted silver bullets do their work. Buffy glances over and sees a very pissed off Steve St. Wolf turn toward the sound at his front door crashing in and an eight and a half foot tall demon with a pock marked face and skull walks in carrying a glowing battle ax.

"So you killed them all?" Krtog rumbles as he walks forward with two oriental humans by his side. "You are truly dangerous, Wanderer." As a large series of growls and hisses is heard from the workout room, Krtog curses, "What in the name of the nine Hells?"

"That would be Duke, killing whatever you sent to that side of the house."

"What is this 'Duke'?" Krtog asks in shock as Trelleck's screams were becoming louder.

"My dog." Steve replies as he pulls out both Fangs of Tyr and they begin to glow with an eerie mystical light. "Now I'm going to kill your sorry ass, Krtog. You SO picked the wrong night to fuck with me!"

Krtog and the two Gaki stare in disbelief at the twin glowing blades. "We are doomed!" One of them screams and glares accusingly at Krtog. "You never told us he had the Fangs of Tyr."

"I knew that he only had one of them. Not both." Krtog

"You fool!!" The other Gaki cries out in fear. "If one of them survived, then both did. They are tied together. You can not destroy one without destroying the other!"

"We will destroy both tonight and the sword called Demon Slayer!" Krtog calls out as he rushes forward and swings his axe in an overhead chop, trying to power through the Fangs of Tyr. Steve stalks forward as an angry Buffy moves to his side and deals with the two Gaki. Both demons quickly move to either side of her as she circles, preparing to kill the both of them.

Steve jumps back from the swing of the battle axe and quickly rushes in and tries to stab forward, but Krtog reverses the battle axe in mid swing and Steve has to jump over the return swing. As he jumps, Steve lashes out with side kick and connects with Krtog's head. Krtog shakes his head in confusion for a second and quickly backs away to the door. He swings the axe into the door and chants a spell in Latin. \\ Portal Open! // There's a flash and he calls out to the vampires. "Too me!! The Wanderer must be destroyed!!" The vampires rush into the house through the mini portal and begin to attack Steve and Buffy as Krtog hangs back and watches the action.

Steve slips one of the Fangs into his belt, pulls out his Glock 21, and begins to shoot down the vampires as they attempt to overwhelm him and Buffy. Several of the vampires move to aid the Gaki with Buffy and Steve quickly loses sight of her as he begins to attack the nine surviving vampires who surround him.

He sees a female vampire dart forward, attempting to blind side him while several of them fake a frontal assault. The Wanderer drops his spent gun, takes up the other Fang, and begins a dance taught to him by a fellow Knight. Instead of attacking the rushing female, he side steps her, elbows her in her back, and forces her forward out of control into the three vampires trying to attack him from behind. Steve's hands flash out and two vampires vanish as the Fangs penetrate their undead hearts. He spins a crescent kick into the vampire on his left and connects with her throat. As he completes the spin, he reverses the Fang in his left hand and stabs a vampire through it's eye. The vampire jerks once and vanishes.

The remaining six vampires stare in dumbfoundly as three of their kind vanish in less than five seconds. Steve takes the opportunity to rush forward and kill two more with straight arm stabs. The remaining four see that the mortal could kill all of them all if they took him on one on one. So all four attack him at once. Steve grins and does what they don't expect. He side steps their rush and kills two of the vampires by stabbing them in their backs.

The last two vampires turn and rush back toward the Wanderer. Steve turns back to the last two and begins to move forward. The two vampires gulp, but stand their ground. < What the Hell? > Steve mutters to himself as he watches the two vampires tense. < Oh Fuck! Krtog! > Steve remembers just in time as he jumps out of the way and he feels the draft from Krtog's axe pass near his neck. He turns to see the large demon moving in for the kill.

"You are dead, Bearer!" Krtog cries out in glee as he attacks. "You have lost your sword and your life!"

Steve glares at the Demon and softly tells him. "Let's dance, Asshole. I'm going to cut you apart slowly for ruining tonight."

Krtog squints his eyes and watches in disbelief as Steve's armbands begin to glow with a mystical light and he feels his four stomachs lurch in nausea. "Oh Dark Gods! What are those!?"

"The armbands of Hercules." Steve replies with an evil grin. "Care to guess who made them?"

"Not the ones that Hephaestus made for him?" Krtog chokes out as Steve nods his head. "Damn you to Hell, you bastard!! You've set the prophecy in motion! Now you really die!!"

*****

Duke rushes the Lizard Demon, grabs his arm, and tears a large chunk out of it. Duke spits out the chunk of Demon meat and glares at Trelleck, who's staring at the piece of him that is now lying on the floor. He hisses in anger and attacks Duke directly. Duke growls loudly and moves to attack Trelleck with claws and teeth. They meet in the middle of the workout room and Duke bowls over the Demon.

As Trelleck is lying on the ground, Duke's jaws rip out his stomach and Trelleck screams a piercing scream as his lower stomach and genitals are savagely ripped away. Duke doesn't stop at the stomach and goes for Trelleck's throat. The Demon gurgles as it's life blood freely flows from it's body and stains the floor.

Duke looks down and grimaces mentally. // Steve's gonna kill me for this mess. // He quickly bites off the Demon's head the rest of the way and gags. // Man, he tastes horrible! I hope Steve's got something to clean my mouth out. // Duke wonders as he rushes to the living room to help his friend and Buffy. // But first, there's more Demons to kill. //

*****

Buffy watches as the two orientals, a man and a woman, stalk her and turn into smoke. < Ewww! What kind of Demons are these? > She experimentally slashes at the smoke with Demon Slayer and the sword flashes brightly and the smoke backs away from the mystical blade. Buffy grins. < Looks like the legends are true. Demons are scared shitless of this blade. > She quickly sweeps around and slashes at the other Demon trying to sneak up on her.

She smiles as the Demon howls in pain and turns back to it's human form. The oriental man hisses at Buffy as she slashes down, cutting off his head. She doesn't even watch the body fall as she turns to face the second Demon. The Demon falls back and changes into it's human form, that of an oriental woman. Buffy examines her and likes the way she's dressed. "Nice outfit. Where'd you get the jeans and blouse from?" Buffy asks as she stalks forward.

The Demon stares at the young woman holding Demon Slayer in disbelief and hisses out. "What are you!?"

"I'm his girlfriend, Bitch!!" Buffy barks out as she readies for a stab. "And you ruined the first quiet night that we've had together in the last three months." The Demon stares frightfully as Demon Slayer glows again.

"The Sword has chosen you!? But that's impossible! Only the Bearer can wield Demon Slayer. And you're not the Bearer!"

Buffy grins. "I'm worse. I'm the Slayer!" The Demon's face goes slack jawed as the implications hit her.

"I will kill Krtog for this!" She yells as five vampires surround Buffy ready to kill her. The Demon sees the vampires and orders. "Attack!! Kill her!!"

The vampires quickly move in and attack. Buffy ducks below a swing and she stabs out with Demon Slayer. The vampire screams as it disappears. The other four move around her. Buffy grins and snaps out a kick at the nearest one. The female screams out as her knee is shattered. Buffy reverses her sword and guts a male that moved in behind her. As she turns around, she beheads the wounded vampire. She turns back to her remaining foes. The two remaining vampires and the Demon stare at the scantily clad young woman in fear.

"What are you?" A vampire asks in fear.

Buffy grins as the Demon replies. "The Slayer. That bitch is the Slayer."

"I didn't sign on to fight the Slayer!" A male vampire screams out. "That bastard, yes. But not this Bitch!" The male quickly moves to the door and finds it blocked by a large dog. The vampire stares in shock as it growls lowly and literally bites his head off. The Gaki and the other vampire stare at the huge dog in disbelief.

"A Guardian Spirit!?" The female Demon replies in disbelief. "They were destroyed a thousand years ago!" She turns to Buffy. "Where in the Nine Hells did you get a Guardian Spirit from!?"

Buffy grins evilly. "Ask my honey. He knows."

The Gaki decides to attack Duke and escape to fight another day. She moves forward and attempts to change into smoke, but she suddenly feels a pain in her back and turns to see the Slayer, stabbing her with Demon Slayer. She hisses in surprise as she turns to face Buffy and watches her quickly destroy the last vampire with a clean reverse stab to his chest as the vampire rushes forward to attack her from behind. The Demon gulps and looks between the Guardian Spirit and the Slayer Sword wielding Slayer. She quickly decides that the Guardian is the lesser of the threats and moves forward to attack. She tries to kick Duke in his throat, but feels a pain in her back as Demon Slayer rises out of her chest. She screams one final time as she dies.

Buffy watches as the Demon dies and looks at Duke with a weak grin. "Damn! She didn't tell me where she got those jeans and that blouse." Duke cocks his head in wonder, and stares at the Slayer, and gives her a short bark.

"Shut up, Duke!" Buffy orders as she turns back to watch as Steve fights against Krtog and sees the two remaining vampires moving in to help the Demon. "Oh Shit!" Buffy mutters as she races forward with Duke closely following her. They reach the vampires at the same time. Buffy slashes forward and cuts off the nearest vampire's head. Duke barrels the other one out of Steve's way and quickly closes his jaws around the prone vampire's neck and bites down. Duke looks up, spitting out dust and growls as he watches Steve and Krtog fight.

*****

Steve moves forward and tries to stab Krtog with one of the Fangs and Krtog backs away as the blade nears him. He glances around and sees only the Slayer and Duke standing nearby, watching the fight. < This bastard is too dangerous. I have to get out of here! > Krtog quickly calculates and reaches for his amulet. As his hand closes around the amulet, he feels a blinding pain in his shoulder as one of the Fangs appears there. He stares in horror as the Fang's magic begins to affect him. "You bastard! You will die for this!!" Krtog mutters as he swings his axe with his right hand. Steve ducks back as Buffy shouts.

"Catch!!" Steve turns and catches Demon Slayer by it's hilt and he swings the sword forward into an attack position. Steve and Krtog stare at each other over their respective weapons.

"Ready to die, asshole?" Steve hisses out as he begins to move the sword in a figure eight pattern.

"Not this time, Bearer!" Krtog hisses out as swings his axe and catches the Fang in his shoulder with the blade and knocks it out. He swings the axe again, forcing Steve back and he grasps his amulet and disappears.

Steve stares at the spot that Krtog stood in and screams out. "Fucking Bastard!!!"

"Who was that guy?" Buffy asks as she looks around the mess that was in the living room. Duke turns back into his normal form and looks around at the mess.

// I hope you're not pissed that I killed a Demon in the workout room and made a mess. //

< No, I'm not. Thanks for the warning. > Steve mentally replies as he tells Buffy. "Get your coat and shoes. You have to go home to your Mother. If I was attacked at home, your place might be next."

"Oh Goddess! Why can't we have a nice night together?" Buffy replies in despair. Steve takes her up in his arms and hugs her.

"You have to get to your house, Buffy. Duke and I will be all right by ourselves."

"But what if they attack?" Buffy asks.

"Take Demon Slayer with you." Steve replies as he pulls open one of the hidden gun lockers and hands her a Glock 21, six magazines of silver ammo and his car keys. "Take my car and go."

"Are you sure you'll be all right?" Buffy asks as she puts on her shoes and picks up her coat from the coat rack.

"Yeah, I will. Call me when you get home." Steve replies as he kisses her deeply. Buffy melts into his embrace, but Steve quickly breaks it off. "Go now, before I really regret letting you go." Buffy nods her head and slips on her coat and rushes out to Steve's Blazer and burns rubber, leaving the driveway. Steve watches her leave and he turns back into the house, and looks at Duke. < I hope Joyce and Tanya are all right. >

// I just checked with Sara and Sherlock, Joyce and Tanya are sitting together, watching the television. //

< Did they tell Joyce what happened? >

// Not yet. Do you want them to? //

< Have Sherlock warn Joyce and tell her that Buffy's on her way home. >

// All right. I gave Sherlock and Sara a run down on what happened. Sherlock just told Joyce and she's very scared. //

< Did Sherlock tell her that Buffy's on her way home? >

// He just did. Joyce is breathing a little better now. //

< Good. > Steve replies as he walks forward and picks up his phone. He tries the handset, but it doesn't work. He looks over to the receiver and sees that it's destroyed. He sighs in disgust and gets his cell phone >from his coat and hits the speed dial. A French accented voice picks up the phone.

"What happened?" Marc asks sadly.

"We were attacked by seven demons and twenty vampires."

"Are you both all right?" Marc asks.

"Yeah, we're fine. I sent Buffy home to be with her Mother. One of the Demons escaped. What's worse is that he's the same bastard that attacked me last night. He knows where I live, Marc. I need something to protect the house or I'll have to leave to keep Buffy and the rest safe."

"You don't want to do that, Mon Ami." Marc replies softly. "This girl is very special to you and you would wither away again if you left. Give me a few minutes and I'll have someone solve this problem for you."

"All right, Marc, I'll wait a few minutes, but if we can't solve this problem, then I'm leaving. These kids' safety means more to me than my own happiness."

"Draw a circle and I'll have a team teleport in and cleanup the mess."

"All right, Marc." Steve replies as he walks into the workout room and sees the Lizard Demon and whistles lowly. < You really made a mess in here, old son. >

// Didn't want him attacking you and Buffy from the rear. // Duke replies as Steve steps around the body and draws a circle near Artemis' shrine. A few minutes later, a dozen Knights and two Wizards teleport in and they stare at the Demon's body and all of them gulp when they see Steve's hard glare.

"There's five more in the living room." Steve stiffly replies as he walks away from them. He sits down on an empty weight bench and stares at the wall, deep in thought. Duke lays down next to him and waits for his friend to talk to him.

The Knights and Wizards stare at Steve and shake their heads. Each of them had heard how Merlin's Champion had found a home at last and wondered what would happen now. Knight Lieutenant Roman Kranowitz walks up to Steve and asks. "What do you want done with the Demons, Lord Champion?"

"Get rid of them, please." Steve replies as he stares at the ground between his feet. "We were able to also destroy twenty vampires. Have the Wizards get rid of their dust as well."

"Six Demons and twenty vampires?" Roman replies in awe as he stares at Steve. "What the hell did you have with you? A company of Knights?"

"Just Duke and my girlfriend." Steve softly replies as the Knights and Wizards stare at him in shock.

"Who's Duke?" Roman asks, but really doesn't want to. Steve glares at the Knight and looks down at Duke.

"That's Duke."

Roman stares at the large German Shepard pup and shakes his head in disbelief. < Trust the Wanderer to have a pet almost as dangerous as he is. > "And your girlfriend? Where is she?"

"I sent her home to make sure that her Mother was all right." Steve replies stiffly. "Are there any more questions, Knight Lieutenant? Or should I just have you demoted back to Squire?"

Roman gulps in fear as he stares at the cold, dead eyes that glare at him. "No, my Lord Champion, there isn't." Roman turns to leave, but he turns back. "Nothing personal, Lord Champion, but I wanted to make sure that your Lady was all right before I started the cleanup." Steve watches him leave with a stiff posture.

// He's right, Steve. He's only doing his job. // Duke tells Steve.

Steve sighs and nods his head in agreement. "Knight Lieutenant?" Steve calls out. Roman turns back at the door. "I'm very angry tonight. It was the first night that my girlfriend and I had alone in the last three months and we were. . ." Steve doesn't finish the sentence as he hangs his head in despair.

Roman nods his head in understanding and quietly leaves the room. As he walks into the living room he sees the bodies of five more demons and shudders. < Oh God! > He walks up to one of the Wizards and asks. "What the hell happened here?"

Jeremy White stares around him and shakes his head in disbelief. "The lizard in the weight room is a fifth circle Demon. Whatever killed him did it with claws and teeth. The head was literally bit off." Jeremy replies with a shudder. "The three seventh circle Demons, were killed with double shots of Demon Killer rounds."

"How accurate was the grouping?" Roman asks.

"All three were shot between the eyes and in their hearts from what I estimate is about fifteen feet away." Jeremy replies in awe. "Who is this guy?"

"That's Steve St. Wolf." Roman replies. "He's Merlin and Niume's personal Champion. What about the last two?"

"Sixth circle Gaki Demons. One was a flesh eater, the other a soul eater. Both very nasty and damned hard to kill. What happened here?"

"Sir Steven and his girlfriend were trying to have a quiet dinner together when the Demons and twenty vampires attacked them." Jeremy blanches.

"I know I haven't been doing this for long." Jeremy admits. "But what the hell is this guy?"

"He's the Wanderer, Jeremy. He's one of the deadliest warriors that the Order has." Roman replies softly. "And he's been fighting continuously for the last thirteen years."

"He's been fighting for the last thirteen years?" Jeremy asks in shock. "Doesn't he believe in taking a break?"

"Tonight was supposed to be a break for him and his Lady. A quiet night at home." Roman replies as he looks at the table. "A romantic dinner for two." He turns his gaze to the remains of the video tapes spread across the floor and quickly reads the titles. "Just some quiet time for the two of them before they went back to the fighting."

"Ahh Fuck!" Jeremy mutters. "No wonder he's so angry. I'd be pissed off too if my date was interrupted by these bastards." Roman nods his head in agreement as Jeremy continues to study the battle scene. "But I have one question? Where's his girlfriend?"

"She went home to make sure that her Mother was safe."

"He sent her alone?"

"She can handle herself if the stories are true." Roman replies with a grin.

"What is she? A Knight?"

"The Slayer." Roman replies with a smile as Jeremy blanches.

"No fucking wonder they kicked ass." Jeremy stares in disbelief as he reviews the living room and realizes. "She must have taken out all of the vampires by herself while Sir Steven fought off the Demons."

"She killed the two Gaki and about half of the vampires." Steve replies as he walks out of the weight room and watches the Knights and Wizards cleanup the mess. "Then she moved in to help me fight a second circle Demon named Krtog."

"Where's Krtog's body?" Roman asks in awe. < A second circle Demon? And he's still walking? >

"He ran when he realized that he was the one that was going to die. That bastard has more lives than an Immortal cat."

"Do you need anything else, Lord Champion?" Roman asks as the Wizards make the bodies and blood disappear and the vampire dust is rolled into a large ball of dust that also disappears.

"No, that'll be all. Thank you for coming and helping." Steve replies as he surveys the damage done to his living room and the remains of his dinner with Buffy. Roman and Jeremy follow his gaze and both nod in understanding and leave quietly with the rest of their team. Steve watches the Knights and Wizards as they disappear and he sighs in resignation. < What am I going to do, Duke? >

// For now, you'll wait and see what Mark has to tell you. // Duke replies as a figure appears in the living room and both Steve and Duke get up. "I heard that you asked for some help." The being asks as Duke and Steve stare at him.

// Is that who I think it is? // Duke asks in awe

< Yeah, it's HIM all right. > Steve replies as he bows to the man shaped figure.

*****

Knights of the Order of the Grail Headquarters Location Unknown

Marc walks over to the shrine near his office and quietly stares at the plain cross hung over the altar. He walks up to the cross and crosses himself and quietly asks. "God, who art in Heaven, please send someone to aid your servant who has done so much good for humanity. He never asked for anything for himself but a night of peace to enjoy with the young woman that he is falling in love with. Was it too much for him to ask for?"

"No, it wasn't." A familiar voice replies from behind Marc. Marc turns around and greets an old friend.

"Hello, Michael. Why are you here? I expected one of your lesser Angels or at least Katherine Sinclair."

Michael smiles. "Steven St. Wolf deserves to have his peace of mind and I've been sent to help him."

Marc smiles as Michael disappears. "I'm sure that he'll appreciate your interest in his well being."

*****

Palace of Artemis, Mount Olympus

Artemis waves off her servants as she feels a strong presence near her shrine on Earth. She quickly looks down, through her reflecting pool, and sees the empty workout room. She passes her hand over the pool and time rolls back.

She watches as the Knights and Wizards appear and disperse through the house. She watches as Duke fights a fifth circle Demon and defeats him. She changes her perspective and observes as Steve and Buffy begin to kiss. Her heart goes out to them as she watches the Demons and vampires attack them at what would have been a very special moment for them. < Damn, but I hate that bastard. > Artemis thinks as she watches Krtog orchestrate the attack.

She shakes her head in disgust as the Demon disappears when it realizes that it would lose the battle with St. Wolf. Artemis fast fowards and sees Michael appear and she makes her decision. She passes her hand again over the pool and it changes back to water. She turns to her chief servant and tells her. "Tell Aphrodite, Hercules and Samantha that I'll be a little late for our talk." Artemis changes her formal clothes back to her normal brown leathers and disappears from her home.

*****

"I wasn't expecting you." Steve replies as the Archangel Michael sits down in the chair opposite Steve.

"I know. But it was felt best that I appear here to help you." Michael replies with a smile.

"So that's why you're here in my shrine?" Artemis asks with a glare as she appears nearby.

*****

Bureau 13 Headquarters, Location Unknown.

Special Agent Cindy Trainer looks down at her Kirilian detector as it sweeps the State of California and gulps in awe. < A freaking Level Eighteen? Who the hell could that be? > She turns and presses her alarm button and watches as a Level Thirteen appears next to the Level Eighteen and she screams out. "Dimitri!!!" The Centaur rushes over and demands a report.

"Report!"

"A house in the town of Sunnydale, California has a Level Eighteen and a Level Thirteen in it. I don't know who the hell owns that house, but he's got one hell of a guest list." Cindy replies as she checks out the address against the database. "Multiple visitations from Level Thirteen on down. Now he's got a freaking Level Eighteen visiting. Who the hell owns that place? The Database rates him as a Level Eight and all personal information is locked out by the Chief's personal security code."

"Someone you don't want to know. Keep an eye on things and report back to me if there are any changes." Dimitri replies as he rushes away.

Dimitri rushes into Horace's office at a gallop and takes a deep gulp as he begins. "Michael's come down from Heaven and he's got an old God with him."

"Where!?" Barks out Horace Gordon as he looks up from his paperwork.

"317 Bryant Terrace, Sunnydale California." Dimitri replies. "Do you want me to send in Team Angel?"

< What the hell? That's Steve's home address. > "No. I'll take care of it. You go back to the communications room." Horace replies as he picks up the phone and dials Marc's number as he shoos Dimitri out. "What's going on with Steve that requires Michael's presence?"

"Steve was attacked by seven Demons and twenty vampires in his home, Horace. Michael is there to help him."

"Why is one of the old gods there as well?"

"That's probably Artemis. Steve has a shrine to her in his home."

"Why does he have a shrine to Artemis in his house?" Horace asks, dreading the answer.

"Because he has four Amazons working with him. They keep a shrine in his house because they train with him."

"Are they all Immortals?"

"No, none of them are."

"May I ask who these women are?" Horace asks, quickly calculating the benefits of having several Amazons on his teams.

"You may not!" Marc replies evenly. "Your Father has ordered that they be given time to adjust to their new status."

"How new are they?"

"Less than three months and three of them are only seventeen years old. Steve is training them and told me that they were not going to be ready for field work for at least a year."

"What the hell is he doing training teenagers!?" Horace barks out in anger.

"They're Amazons, empowered by Artemis herself." Marc replies. "Would you let them learn about their abilities by themselves?"

Horace thinks about it for a full minute and slowly nods his head. "I can see your point. No reason to let them be killed by inexperience or lack of training. Is there anything else you want to tell me now?"

"No. But more will be told to you later on by your Father."

"All right. I'll stay out of it for now. But I want a full report when this matter is done."

"I'll talk to Merlin." Marc replies as he hangs up.

*****

Steve looks at his two house guests and shakes his head. He gets up and bows to Artemis and asks. "I hope that the two of you are not going to battle each other in my home. It's seen enough damage tonight."

Artemis looks around and nods her head in agreement. "I'm not here to fight with Michael. I saw what happened and I'm here to prevent it from happening again."

"And what are you going to do?" Steve asks as Michael and Artemis look at each other and silently agree on a course of action.

"You're a major target for the Dark Forces, Steven." Michael replies. "Artemis and I will each place a ward around your house that will protect you from any further attacks like this. But we can't do the same for your charges."

"Why not?" Steve demands.

"Because you are the main target and they are not. But don't worry." Artemis replies as a set of scrolls appears in her hands. "These spells will create wards around their homes which will be sufficient to stop most Demons and vampires."

Steve takes the scrolls and nods his head in thanks. "Thank you Artemis. What are you going to do with my home?"

"You need a fortress, Steven." Michael replies softly. "We will lay the first of the stones in the building of it." He turns and glows briefly. He nods his head to Artemis and she raises her hands and twin energy beams shoot out of her hands and out the house. Steve watches as they circle the house in separate directions and create a sphere around the house.

"Just how powerful are the wards?" Steve asks.

"Nothing short of an Olympian or Norse Demi-God can breach them." Michael answers as he disappears.

Steve looks over to Artemis, who smiles a secret smile. "What else is there, Artemis?"

"Just that the ward spells in those scrolls will reinforce mine and Michael's wards and make them, as a group, powerful enough to stop anything short of me from entering."

Steve grins and shakes his head in disbelief. "You do realize that you've outdone Michael?"

"I'm sure that he has no problems with that fact." Artemis replies as she disappears.

"I am definitely going to be doing something nice for her." Steve replies as his cell phone rings. He picks it up and asks. "Is everything all right, Buffy?"

"How'd you know it was me?" Buffy asks in shock.

"Caller ID." Steve replies with a soft laugh as Buffy giggles.

"Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. Artemis and Michael stopped by and put up some wards around the house."

"Uh, who's Michael?" Buffy asks, suddenly dreading the answer.

"The Archangel Michael." Steve replies. "I met him once before, about ten years ago."

"And these 'wards', what are they?" Buffy asks.

"Magical barriers to keep the bad guys out." Steve replies with a sigh. "Ask Willow, Amy or Jenny about them. Artemis also gave me a bunch of ward spell scrolls for them to use on everyone's houses."

"I think that I'll send her a quick 'Thank You' prayer next time I'm at your house, Steve." Buffy replies in relief. "Have you heard from Natasha and the rest?"

"No. They're running silent for now." Steve replies. "Don't worry, Buffy, I have a full battalion ready to help if we need it to bail them out."

Buffy giggles in disbelief. "A full battalion? What's that?"

"About six hundred heavily armed fighters." Steve replies and hears only silence on the phone line as Buffy begins to breathe deeply. "Buffy? Sweet Heart? Are you all right?"

"Uhhh, Steve, honey. Where the hell did you get six hundred fighters from?"

"From some old friends." Steve replies with a chuckle as he tells Buffy. "I'll keep this line clear for you in case you need me for anything."

"All right, honey. Just stay safe." Buffy returns as she hangs up the phone.

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 19:55 PST
Summers Residence, Sunnydale, CA.

Buffy enters the house and scans the room. Joyce gets up from the couch and asks, "What happened, Buffy? Sherlock said that you and Steve were attacked."

Buffy finishes checking the house, turns to her Mother and begins to cry into her shoulder. "I can't believe it, Mom. Steve and I were about to. . ." The rest of Buffy's words are muffled by her crying into Joyce's shoulder.

Joyce pats her daughter's bare shoulder and hugs her. "Everything will be all right, honey. Just give it a little time."

Buffy continues to cry as Joyce comforts her only daughter. She begins to feel a deep anger at the Hell beast that ruined her daughter's special evening.

*****

Tanya watches as Buffy and Joyce comfort each other and thinks back to the times that her Mother comforted her after a bad date. < But those dates were nothing compared to what happened to Buffy and Steve tonight. Oh God! Why can't these two be left alone for one night? >

*****

Buffy moves towards the phone and her Mother asks. "What is it Buffy?"

"I forgot to check in with Steve that I made it safely home." Buffy replies as Joyce nods her head in agreement with her.

Joyce watches as Buffy talks with Steve for a few minutes and sighs in relief as she puts the phone down. "What did Steve tell you?" Joyce asks after Buffy hangs up the phone.

"That he and Duke were all right. He said that Artemis and Michael came by to put up some protection around the house."

"Buffy?" Tanya asks. "Who's Michael?"

"The Archangel Michael." Buffy replies with a trace of pride. "Steve's known him for about ten years."

Joyce freezes for a second and stares down at Buffy's smiling face. "Uh, why is Michael there? I can understand Artemis, but why would the Archangel Michael show up?"

"Steve said that Michael felt that Steve should have a safe place that he can call home." Buffy replies with a smile as Jocye grins openly. Tanya sees the shared smiles and giggles.

"You have him!" Tanya comments between giggles.

"Yep." Buffy replies with a grin of her own. "Now he has to stay because I don't think that Michael hands out things like that every day. Now we have to wait and hear from our friends."

"Actually, I think that God is giving him a message." Tanya replies.

"What message?" Buffy asks.

"That God wants him to stay here."

Buffy and Joyce look at each other and both begin to giggle. "Oh Goddess. I have him!"

"Not yet, Buffy." Joyce replies. "You'll have to take it easy with him. I don't think he wants to be rushed after what happened tonight."

"I know." Buffy angrily replies. "We were so close! But that bastard ruined it!"

Joyce sighs and quickly changes the subject. "What about Jenny, Giles and the rest? What if something goes wrong with them? Are you and Steve capable of helping them?" Joyce asks.

"Steve's got a battalion ready to move in if they need help." Buffy replies with a grin as her Mother asks.

"What's a battalion?"

"It's five Companies of soldiers, Joyce." Tanya replies in shock. < Just who the hell does Steve work for? >

"What's a Company?" Joyce asks.

"About one hundred ten to one hundred twenty soldiers." Tanya replies. "Where, in the name of God, will Steve get them from?"

"I don't know, but I believe him when he says that he can get them here in time to help." Buffy replies with a grin. "But now I'm going to find out who the hell his friends are."

"Are you sure you want to do that?" Joyce asks.

"I am, Mom." Buffy seriously replies. "Steve's got a lot of firepower behind him and I wonder who they are and why they're always ready to help him."

"Are you afraid for your friends with Steve?"

"No, Mom. It's not that. But I want to know everything about the guy that I'm dating."

"Do you want me to ask my Dad about Steve?" Tanya asks.

"I don't know, Tanya. Will it get back to Steve?"

"No. It won't." Tanya replies as she pulls out her cell phone and dials a number in San Francisco. The phone rings three times and a gravely voice answers.

"Who is this?"

"Hi, Dad." Tanya replies.

"Tani? Where are you?"

"I'm with some friends, Dad. But I need to know something about someone. Can you help?"

"Are you dating him?" Logan asks with a low growl.

"No. I'm not, but one of my friends is."

Logan sighs. "All right who is he?"

"How do you know it's a he?"

"I can hear two heartbeats next to you and from they way they're beating, both are probably women." Logan explains. "So I'm figuring one of them is dating someone that I might know or you wouldn't be calling me."

Tanya grins. "Been reading the Sherlock Holmes novels again?"

"Yep. Doyle was a great writer. I especially like the Hound of the Baskervilles." Tanya begins to giggle as she remembers Sherlock's other form. "What's so funny, Tani?"

"Let's just say that I met the dog that was the basis for the Hound of the Baskervilles and his name is actually Sherlock."

"Tanya? What are you talking about?"

"I'm visiting a friend of your's and Mother's." Tanya replies. "What can you tell me about Steve St. Wolf?"

The silence on the phone lasts for a full minute until Logan hisses out. "Get the hell out of there, Tanya. That guy is pure poison. People die around him."

"Is it because he's a Demon Hunter?"

"You know about that?" Logan asks in shock.

"Yeah, he was having a quiet dinner with my friend and they were attacked by seven Demons and twenty vampires."

"Is your friend all right?" Logan quietly asks. < If Tanya gets hurt, I'm taking St. Wolf's head. >

"She's fine. After they destroyed the Demons, he sent her home. And she's here crying her eyes out because Steve won't tell her who he works with."

"Does he love her?" Logan asks.

"Yeah, he does. But he won't tell her everything."

"He will. Just give it some time. I know who he works for and the old fart has a good heart." Logan replies with a chuckle. "I also agree with his attitude when it comes to the bad guys."

"What is this guy's attitude?" Tanya asks.

"Kill them all quickly and help the innocent." Logan replies with a chuckle.

"You would like that type of attitude." Tanya replies in disgust. "I'm surprised that you're not working with this 'old fart'."

"Who says that I'm not?" Logan replies with a laugh. "By the way, where's your Mother? Anastasia told me that she left early today."

"She's here with me. Steve asked her to do him a favor and she agreed." Tanya replies with a giggle.

"I'm changing her phone number this weekend." Logan growls out. "You know he'll never stop calling now. Every time he has a mission, he'll be calling her."

"Mother already mentioned that." Tanya replies with a giggle. "But she's not planning on changing her phone number."

"Oh Damn! She's hooked. I'm going to definitely kill St. Wolf, now."

"No, you won't and you know it. I know you, Dad, you'll probably join in on the fun."

"Watch it, kiddo. You're not that old that I can't take you over my knee and spank you." Logan growls out with a chuckle.

"That should give Casey some nice dreams, Dad." Tanya replies with a chuckle of her own.

"Who's Casey?"

"My new boyfriend."

"How did you meet this guy?"

"Steve introduced us."

"Man is going to die very soon. He's pushing all of my buttons." Logan rasps out.

Tanya laughs out loud. "Oh please, Dad. You will not do anything. You try to hurt Steve and you'll piss off a lot of very powerful people."

"I'm not afraid of the 'old fart'." Logan replies.

"The 'old fart' is the least of your worries. Mom and I met Artemis at his house. And he just told Buffy that the Archangel Michael was at his house."

"Oh fuck!" Logan mutters in disbelief. "What the hell is going on there?" Tanya quickly explains Steve and Buffy's plans for that night and what happened. "What about your Mother? What's she doing?" Tanya explains about the serial killer and Artemis' request to help capture him. Logan sighs. "Does Steve have any backup available?"

"Steve said that he had a battalion ready to move in, if there's any problems."

"Good! Boy knows his business well. Give me a yell if you or your Mother need anything."

"Are you going to tell me anything about Steve's friends?" Tanya asks.

"No." Logan replies with a chuckle. "That's for Steve to tell your friend, not me."

"Thanks Dad." Tanya sarcastically replies.

"One more thing. Have this Casey stop by the house in San Francisco. I want to meet him." Logan replies as he hangs up.

"What did your Dad say?" Buffy asks as Tanya hangs up her phone.

"He won't tell me who Steve's friends are, but he knows them and likes them." Tanya replies with a grin. "But now he wants to meet Casey."

"Poor Casey." Buffy replies with a grin. "Did your Dad mention any names?"

"Nope. But he's going to kill Steve for setting me up with Casey."

"I don't think he will, Tanya." Joyce replies with a smile. "Casey appears to be a good man who wants a relationship with you. He'll respect that."

Tanya breathes a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Joyce. I'm glad that both you and Mom see that. I hope that Dad does as well."

"He will, Tanya. He will." Joyce confirms with a giggle. "Or Natasha will pound it into his head."

"Probably use a ten pound sledge hammer." Tanya replies with a grin. Buffy stares at her, Tanya shrugs. "Hey, sometimes it's the only way to get something into that thick skull."

"And I thought Cordy smacking Xander was too much." Buffy mutters as Joyce laughs loudly.

*****

Part 13 - Burglar In The Night
(Detective Stein Gets Screwed)

May 8th, 1998 - 18:45 PST
Giles Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Natasha watches as her young charges prepare for their night out and wonders about the sad state of affairs that had these children defending this town from the forces of Darkness. She grins as she observes Willow cast several spells on several lengths of chain. The chains glow for a full minute and return to their normal silverily appearance. Willow promptly wraps each chain into a piece of cloth and puts them away in her fanny pack. "What will those do?" Natasha asks.

"I'll drop them in various locations in the sewers as we pass. Any vampires that come within ten feet of them activates the spell and the chains will whip out and snap their necks."

"What if there's more than one vampire?"

"Then the chain attacks the next vampire, and the next, and so on." Willow replies with a sweet smile. "The spell will deactivate one hour from activation by the first vampire."

"That is . . ." Natasha pauses looking for the right words. "A very dangerous weapon, Willow. What happens if a normal human being passes near by?"

"Nothing. The chains are attracted to the Demons contained by a vampire's body. They won't harm a normal human being."

"Are you certain of that?"

"Yep." Willow confirms with a nod of her head. "I planted a bunch of these chains around the playground where the small children play. They never went off during the day. They only went off during the night and attacked vampires. Several kids were able to get away because the vampires' necks were broken before they could grab them."

"You planted those things around small children?" Natasha asks in disbelief. "What if one of the children was between the vampires and the chain? What happens next?"

Willow's face grimaces in thought for a moment before a look of anguish marred her pixie-like features. "Oh My God! The chain would carry the child to the vampire. Oh Goddess! The child could be seriously hurt if that happened!"

Natasha nods her head in agreement. "That is why no weapon should ever be allowed activate without someone's conscious control. That's why many people are against land mines. Because an innocent will be hurt, sooner or later."

"I see that . . . now," Willow replies sheepishly. "I'll remove all the chains that I've planted around Sunnydale tomorrow."

"Now, now, my dear," Natasha purrs, "don't be too hasty. Only remove the ones located in areas where people frequent. The ones in areas that only vampires frequent should remain in place."

"That's good. I didn't want to go into those abandoned warehouses without a very good reason." Willow replies with a smile.

"How does the spell work?"

"The spell only works when a vampire Demon is around. If a person is normal, they aren't attacked. But if a vampire turned a small kid into a vampire, then the chains would attack."

"You mean that these 'THINGS' turn children into vampires?" Everyone nods their heads. "But why?"

"Bait. Pure and simple." Giles replies to a shocked Natasha. "It's not done often, but some vampires turn a child to use them as bait to trap unsuspecting adults. Often the child vampire would pretend to be hurt, causing the adult target to let them into their home. Then child would call in the adult vampires and the people would be killed."

"That is beyond redemption." Natasha snarls in anger. "How often do they do this?"

"Often enough that we know about it." Giles replies softly. "And those vampires are often the hardest to kill."

Natasha nods her head in agreement. "And that is where you have the hardest choice to make in your life."

"Yes." Giles replies softly as he checks his Uzi's load and begins to disassemble it for the second time that night.

"How many have you killed?" Natasha asks.

"Two." Giles replies as he removes the restraining nut of the barrel. Natasha watches as Giles, the sorrow clearly showing in his eyes, begins to take apart the upper receiver. She gulps and turns back to Xander who's been silent while Natasha had been talking to Giles. She also sees the sorrow in his brown eyes and understands that he also shared Giles' grief. She sighs and looks over her lock picking equipment and various other items in her Black Widow's arsenal.

She looks back at Xander and sees the sorrow still with him. She quietly turns and asks him. "Xander, are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Natasha. I'm just remembering a guy that I grew up with. He was my best friend until he got turned and I had to stake him."

Natasha nods her head in sadness as Willow softly replies. "We'll all remember Jesse, Xander. He'll always be in our hearts."

"I know, Willow. I just wish he could be with us now." Xander replies sadly, remembering his best friend. "It just seems like such a waste . . . him dying like that."

"Xander?" Natasha calls out. Xander looks at her. "We can't save everyone, Xander. Your friend died, but you must carry on. Remember the good times and go on."

"Yeah, I will." Xander replies with a sigh. Natasha smiles and watches as his face turns grim. "But that won't stop me from taking out as many vamps as I safely can."

Natasha sees the determination in Xander's eyes and nods her head in agreement. "No cowboy antics."

"Pardon?" Giles asks. "But what are cowboy antics?"

Xander grins. "Cowboy antics means that I go off and try and kill all of the vamps that I can, by myself."

"You had better not!" Cordelia calls out from where she's cleaning her Uzi. "If you do that, you'll never share my bed again!" Xander blanches and gulps as Cordelia glares at him. "You had better believe it, Xander! Because I want you alive a long time and doing something like that will definitely kill the both of us."

"The both of you?" Natasha asks in surprise.

"You think I'm going to let Dweeb Boy go out without a fight?" Cordelia replies softly as she drinks in Xander's eyes.

Natasha watches the byplay between the two and smiles. < Ah, true love. These two are truly blessed. >

"If you two wish to see the Motor Lodge again any time soon, you'll both follow orders." Giles replies with a smile.

"You got it, G-man." Both reply with easy grins as Giles glares at the both of them.

"I walked right into that, didn't I?" Giles replies with a mock frown.

"You did, Rupert." Jenny replies with a smile as she taps her MP5's magazine on the floor. "When do we leave?" Jenny asks Natasha.

"Shift change is eight o'clock." Natasha replies. "We'll head out to the sewer opening at seven-thirty. Is half an hour enough time to get there?"

"Should be," Willow replies. "All of us can do six minute miles and still be pretty fresh when we get there."

"All of you do six minute miles?" Casey asks in surprise. "I would have thought that Steve would have made you do five minute miles."

"He does. Our best time, as a group, is five minutes, fifty seconds." Jenny replies with a grin as she pats Giles' behind. "But being a librarian doesn't allow for much running."

Natasha grins as everyone laughs lightly at Giles' shocked expression. Giles grins in return and orders. "Final weapons check. Everyone please count off."

"One is ready." Cordelia replies with a grin.

"Two is ready." Amy replies.

"Three is ready." Xander replies.

"Four is ready." Willow replies.

"Five is ready." Oz replies.

"Six is ready." Jenny replies.

"Seven is ready." Giles replies.

"Eight is ready." Casey replies as he loads a round into his H&K USP.

"Nine is ready." Natasha replies as she slips on her right hand Widow's Sting. < God, but these people are more professional than some twenty year veterans I've worked with. >

"How are we getting to the sewer entrance?" Casey asks.

"We drive to the spot in three separate cars. We all park in separate locations one to two blocks away. When we hit the extraction point, we'll all take Oz's van and head back here." Xander replies as he packs a small duffle bag. "We'll pick up the other cars in the morning."

Natasha nods her head in agreement. < This young man is good. I can see why Steven is teaching him. But will he last with the Wanderer for a commander? > "Very good, Xander. What else?"

"I think we should leave now. The shift change may be at eight, but I think that the cops leave a little early on the night shift."

"Why is that?" Natasha asks.

"To get home before the vampires really start to roam the streets." Xander replies. "The cops may be stupid, but they're not dumb."

"I wonder what Steven's plans for them are." Natasha replies.

"When we can bust open whoever is running everything, they'll be taken care of," Willow replies. "Until then, we treat them as non-friendlies. We won't hunt them, but we won't help them."

Natasha nods her head and looks down at her watch. It read seven o'clock. "Time to go."

Everyone nods their heads and they all head out to their respective cars. Natasha joins Cordelia and Xander. Casey joins Jenny and Giles. Willow and Oz join Amy in her car. They all quickly make it to their respective spots, then meet at the sewer entrance. Natasha looks around and quietly mutters, "This place is eerie."

"Yes . . . quite." Giles replies as Xander squats by the sewer entrance and tosses in a round object. Natasha hears a loud 'Pssshhtt' noise and looks at Jenny.

"Mist bomb loaded with holy water," Jenny replies with a smile. "Steve got us some compressed gas grenades and we loaded them with holy water. They can fill up an area of roughly five thousand cubic feet."

"Makes the vampires burn." Willow replies with a wicked smile that unsettles even Natasha.

< Dear God in Heaven, this little red witch is frightening. However, these people do know their business; they're well armed for this work. > "Did you have equipment like this before Steven came here?"

"No, we didn't." Giles replies as he readies his Uzi by screwing on an Eagle Industries Silencer onto the barrel. "We barely had stakes and crossbow bolts." He grins with an easy smile. "Steve equipped us and trained us in small unit tactics. Now the vampires dread running into us, not we of them."

Natasha nods her head and checks her watch. It read seven-ten. She looks over at Xander who ducks down and enters the sewer. Cordelia and Willow lay down on their stomachs and give him cover. As Xander walks into the sewer proper he tosses out several of Willow's vamp chains. None of them react and Oz quickly joins him. They both point their guns down the sewer and wait for the rest of their team to come down. Natasha watches as Giles and Jenny take rear guard and she follows Cordelia and Willow into the sewer. Natasha is next and Amy and Casey follow her in. Natasha turns as Giles and Jenny enter the sewer, their weapons pointing back out.

Xander says. "Cordelia and I are on point. Willow and Oz next. Then Natasha, Amy and Casey. Giles and Jenny are drag."

Natasha watches as the group shakes itself out and they begin a careful walk down the tunnel. Natasha notices how the first four give each other overlapping protection as they walk past each branch tunnel or sewer opening. First Xander and Cordelia would cover the tunnel, Willow and Oz would cross over and would kneel down and cover the tunnels. Xander and Cordelia would get up and move forward again and cover the next set of branch tunnels or sewer openings. Natasha smiles to herself as she carefully walks down the sewer with Casey and Amy both guarding her. < These 'children' will be pure terrors when they grow-up. > After about a half hour of careful travel, a vampire rushes out of a hiding hole and stares at the guns pointing at it. The vampire, a five foot, eight inch female, grins as she boldly approaches the heavily armed people.

"Guns can't kill me, mortal." She snidely tells Xander, thinking he's the commander of the unit.

"You may be right about that, Bitch." Xander sarcastically replies as he fires and sends the vampire to her final death. "Bullets will do the job, though." Cordelia grins at his humor and nods her head in agreement. Natasha smiles at the quip, then gets serious.

"Enough joking. How long before we reach the police station?"

Xander checks the street names on the sewer tunnels against his map. "Two blocks."

Natasha checks her watch and sees that it reads seven-forty. "We're making good time."

"Okay. We'll hurry up." Xander replies as he and Cordelia move out.

*****

Five minutes later, Natasha is looking over a door set right into the sewer wall. She glances over to Giles and he nods his head in confirmation. "This is the entrance to City Hall."

"Why is there a doorway here? I expected a sewer grating or a manhole."

"Isn't it obvious?" Jenny replies to a confused Natasha and Casey. "Whoever is running things is running them from City Hall. They need an entrance for their vampire and Demon cronies to visit during the day. No wonder the sewers are built like a highway."

"Check the area for any cameras." Casey orders and the group splits up and searches the area, but doesn't find any cameras.

"No cameras, Casey." Xander replies.

"So we can assume that the door is wired and all of the security is on the inside?" Natasha replies.

"You bet!" Amy replies as her eyes glow. "They've got a set of wards on the door."

"What are these wards?" Natasha replies.

"Magical burglar alarms." Jenny replies as she walks forward and casts a spell and the doorway begins to glow. She reads the runes and darkly mutters. "Those bastards! I want their heads, England!"

Giles also reads the runes and angrily adds, "Not if I get to them first."

"What do you see?" Natasha asks.

"The spell was sealed with the life force of a six year old girl," A shaken Jenny replies. "Her soul is kept locked up and used as the source of energy for the wards."

"My God!" Natasha utters in disbelief, realizing that the two adults were very serious about what they had just said. "I want these bastards! No one has the right to do that to a child!"

"Get in line, Natasha." Casey replies as he watches the kids. < These kids are ready to kill whoever did this, and I can't blame them. > Casey turns around and checks out his surroundings and notices that Xander, Cordelia and Oz were covering all of the approaches to the door. < Damn, but these kids are good. I wonder if Steve's going to make them Knights when they hit twenty one? >

"It is a line that I feel proud to stand in." Natasha replies softly. "Can you get around these wards?"

"Yes, we can." Jenny replies. "I'll get you through the doorway, but I'm going to free the child's spirit after you return. So be ready for a battle as we leave."

"Are you sure about this?" Natasha asks as she studies the grim faces around her.

"We are." Willow replies as everyone nods their heads in agreement.

Natasha looks at Casey. "What about you, Casey."

Casey looks at Natasha with hard eyes. He also nods his head in agreement. Natasha smiles as she thinks of her daughter. < Tanya is a very lucky young woman. > "Then it's decided, I'll retrieve the materials and then we'll free this child's spirit."

"That is the plan." Giles replies as he takes out various grenades from his pack and begins to arrange them in his assault rig. Jenny nods her head and prepares a spell with Willow and Amy's help.

A few minutes later, Jenny turns to Natasha. "We're ready for you. Are you ready?" Natasha nods and Jenny points to the door with her staff and a beam shoots out. When the beam forms a doorway in the door, Natasha rushes through. On the other side, Natasha turns back and watches as her doorway disappears. She quickly orients herself and quickly enters a nearby air duct.

*****

Jenny watches as the doorway disappears and she turns to Giles. "Get ready, because when I release the girl's life force, all hell's going to break loose."

"Very good." Giles mutters as he and the rest prepare for an assault against their position. Willow and Amy begin to draw a semi-circle in a double line, quickly adding a long line of spells to it as they complete each section. Xander pulls out several more chains and spreads them outside the circle. Oz pulls out several extra magazines and puts them into his waist. Cordelia and Casey quickly scout the area and note several exit points. They come back and inform the rest of each exit point. Giles sighs as everyone gathers around him and Jenny. "Now comes the hardest part, the wait."

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 19:52 PST
Sunnydale Police Department, Sunnydale, CA

Natasha crawls through the air duct and makes her way to the evidence room. As she's passing by a room, she hears a detective calling someone. "Hello, Agent Clark. This is Detective Stein of the Sunnydale Police Department. I need some help with a suspected drug dealer. The man's name is Steve St. Wolf and he resides at 317 Bryant Terrace in the town of Sunnydale." Natasha watches the bald headed Detective pointed out to her by Joyce earlier in the day tries to set up Steve for a major fall.

*****

Stein grins to himself as he dials the phone number to his contact at the Los Angeles office of the Drug Enforcement Agency. < This will get rid of St. Wolf. Those DEA jerks will arrest him and take his house from him in a heart beat. > The phone is picked up and a deep voice asks. "This is Clark."

"Hello, Agent Clark. This is Detective Stein of the Sunnydale Police Department. I need some help with a suspected drug dealer. The man's name is Steve St. Wolf and he resides at 317 Bryant Terrace in the town of Sunnydale."

"Give me a couple of minutes and I'll call you back." Clark replies as he hangs up on Stein.

*****

In Los Angeles, David Clark looks at the report on the man that Detective has told him is a suspected drug dealer. He reads through the long report and wonders. < This guy is no fucking drug dealer. What the hell is this cop trying to set him up for? > Clark looks across the room and calls out to his boss. "Hey Trevor!" Trevor Kowalski looks up from his reports and walks over to Clark's desk and asks.

"What's up Dave?"

"A Detective from Sunnydale is asking us to bust a guy he calls a drug dealer."

"And why don't you think he's a drug dealer?"

"His record's completely clean." Clark replies. "Not even a parking ticket."

"Let me take a look at his record, Dave." < Sometimes having a completely clean record is the giveaway. >

"Sure, go ahead." Clark replies as he turns his monitor around for Trevor to see. Trevor takes one look at the photo, and checks the name and he growls out, "Get me this cop on the phone, right now."

Clark looks at his boss, but does as he's told. "This is David Clark of the DEA, I need to speak with Detective Stein."

Clark is put right through and Stein happily asks. "When are you going to arrest him?"

"Hold on a moment, Detective Stein, my supervisor wants to talk to you." Clark replies and hands over the phone to Trevor.

"Detective Stein?" Trevor asks.

"Yes, that's me. When are you going to arrest St. Wolf?" Stein eagerly asks.

"When Hell freezes over, you little pissant!" Trevor angrily replies. "Try to fuck with St. Wolf again or, do anything to him yourself and I will personally come down on your sorry ass like a ton of bricks!"

"What the fuck are you talking about?!" Stein demands. "I'm a Police Detective and I'm giving you a guy who's a drug dealer. What the hell is your problem!?"

"How about the fact that you're a dick headed moron trying to set someone up without it coming back at him?" Trevor angrily replies. "And before you begin to wonder, I know who this guy is and as far as the DEA is concerned, he's one of ours. So fuck with him and we *WILL* fuck you over!" Trevor replies as he slams the phone down. He looks up and sees everyone in the office staring at him.

"Who is this guy, Trevor?" Clark asks as the office looks on.

"Remember when the Cortez Cartel kidnaped Richards, Thompson and Sanchez and their families?" Everyone nods their heads. "Well, this cop is trying to set up the Spook who rescued them and their families."

"Oh fuck!" Clark mutters remembering the body count. "Who in their right mind wants to screw with that guy?"

"This cop sounds stupid enough to try it." Trevor replies with a sigh. "I want you to tag St. Wolf's files and tell me if anyone is accessing them."

"What do you think that St. Wolf did to piss him off?" Clark asks.

"Nothing serious if he's trying to pull this shit. But give me a yell if he tries something like this on St. Wolf with the State, County or any other Federal Agency."

Clark looks down at the computer and swears. "Damn, Trevor, he's already got several flags on his file."

"Who?"

"FBI, X-Files Division, CIA, and one that looks like it's a hack job." Clark replies in awe. "I can understand the CIA, but the X-Files?"

"What are the X-Files?"

"I once worked with those two nutbars. They investigate all of the FBI's weird cases."

"How weird?"

"Very weird." Clark replies as he shuts off his computer. "Are you going to call St. Wolf about this?"

"No." Trevor replies. "He'll find out by himself." As he starts to walk away. Clark's phone rings. Trevor turns back with a smile. "Pick it up, Dave." Clark gulps and picks up the phone.

"This is Clark."

"My name is John Patrick Ryan. I'm the Assistant Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I want to know why you just pulled up the file on one of my operatives?" The voice demands on the phone.

< Oh Shit! It didn't take them long. I wonder how long the Febbies are going to take? > "Mr. Ryan, I received a request from a Detective Stein of the Sunnydale Police Department to investigate a man whom he thinks is a drug dealer."

"What was your reply?"

"My superior told him to go to hell, Sir." Clark replied while Trevor gave him a thumb's up.

"After what he did for your fellow Agents during the Cortez affair? I should hope so." Ryan replies as he hangs up.

Clark sits back in his chair. "Detective Stein is going to have a new asshole tomorrow."

"Let's hope that it's very painfully done." Trevor replies as Clark's phone rings again. Trevor laughs as he walks away. Clark shakes his head in awe and picks up the phone.

"This is Clark."

"This is FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder. I want to know why you pulled up Steve St. Wolf's file."

< Damn! That's fast for the Febbies! > "Detective Stein of the Sunnydale Police Department reported him to me as a suspected drug dealer. My superior recognized the name and told Stein to go to hell."

Mulder chuckles wickedly. "I think that Detective Stein will be getting a visit from us in the near future." Clark sighs in relief as the phone goes 'click'.

Clark glares at his boss who just grins back. "I take it that the good Detective's life is about to go to shit?"

"If those Febbies and Spooks have anything to say about it, yeah, it will."

"Better him than us, Dave." Trevor replies as he walks away.

*****

Stein stares at the wall in disbelief as the phone goes 'click' in his ear. He breathes loudly through his nose for about ten seconds and throws the phone into the wall. "Those fucking, chicken shit, bastards!! Who the fucking Hell is this guy!?"

*****

In the air duct, a grinning Natasha watches Stein rage against Steve. < I think Casey is right. Steve has many friends who watch out for him. > Natasha prepares to leave as Stein starts pacing the office and muttering to himself. Natasha strains to hear Stein say. "I will find some way to get him. I swear I will!"

Natasha watches Stein storm out of the office and promises herself. < I will hurt him before I leave this town. >

*****

Natasha scans the evidence room and, seeing no one around, lowers herself into the locked evidence room. She checks the log and finds the evidence bags in the refrigerated room. She takes the items that Jenny, Willow and Amy will need and quickly exits through the duct system.

*****

Natasha quickly makes her way to the sewer door and knocks on it three times. A few seconds later, she passes through the same portal and sees the group had already set up for their coming battle. She notices the placement of each person and nods her head silent agreement as Casey hands her an Uzi and a dozen magazines. "How long?" She asks Jenny.

"About five minutes," Jenny replies as she pulls out several items and prepares them for her casting.

*****

Part 14 - The Alamo - Sunnydale Style
(The Slayerettes Meet The Knights And St. Wolf Gets Into Serious Trouble)

May 8th, 1998 - 20:20 PST
Sewers, Sunnydale, CA

Casey looks around himself and quietly reaches for his personal communicator, and turns it on. "This is Sir Casey. I want an assault team ready to help me if I need it." He quickly sub-vocalizes.

"Sir Casey? This is Knight 0-0-1. What's the situation?"

"Sir Steve's people are about to release a trapped soul and it might bring down all sorts of hurt down on them."

"Damn it! What the hell is that group's problem?"

"They hang out with the world's biggest pain in the ass boy scout?"

"Now I know why he requested a battalion of Knights to be available for him tonight." Marc sighs in frustration. "He knows his people well."

"I think they'll need some back up on this." Casey mutters. "Can you send in a squad to my coordinates?"

"Of course. We have you tracked and will transport them about twenty feet away from you."

Before Casey can reply, a voice asks. "Mister Ryback? May I ask with whom you are talking with?"

Casey turns around and finds Giles, Jenny and Natasha starring at him. Casey grins and mentally swears. < Shit! I didn't hear them walk up! > "Just inviting some friends." Casey replies with a smile.

"May I ask who these 'friends' are?" Natasha asks darkly.

"Just us, Ma'am." A Southern voice replies from behind Natasha. Everyone turns and sees eight men and women standing in the sewer armed to the teeth. Natasha turns and stares daggers at Casey.

"What is the meaning of this, Casey!?" Natasha demands.

"I think we need some extra firepower for this mission."

"Who are these people?" Giles demands.

Casey grimaces. "Knights of the Order of the Grail." Casey tells a shocked Giles and Jenny. Natasha, noticing their blank looks asks.

"Who the Hell are the Knights of the Order of the Grail?"

"They're supposed to be the good guys," Willow replies in shock as the eight men and women walk forward and begin to setup some serious firepower.

Xander gulps when he sees the three MG-34's that were being setup. He watches as a woman places several strangely colored Claymore mines down the sewer tunnels.

Natasha turns to Giles and Jenny, who have both overcome their shock. "Well? Are we going to accept their help?"

Giles also stares as the eight Knights prepare to fight with him. "Oh God! Steve told me they existed, but I didn't believe him."

"They're friends of Steven's?" Natasha asks Casey as he passes his hand across his breast plate and a gold cup symbol appears there. "Or should I ask if they're your's, Casey?"

"I requested their help, not Steve." Casey replies. < Steve already had a battalion ready to help. >

"So, you are more than a simple cook?" Natasha replies with a smile. < Logan will just love this. >

"I'm a full Knight of the Order." Casey replies with a weak smile.

"And what does Steve have to do with the Order?" Giles asks.

"He's a friend and an ally." Casey replies. "He's helped us and we'll help him."

"Steven has some very powerful friends." Natasha replies with a grin.

"That he does." Casey replies with a grin. "Allow me to introduce you to Sirs, Kevin (a five foot ten inch, dark haired man), Michael (a six foot, five inch, lanky man with a wild shoot of red hair), Heather (a five foot, ten inch tall blonde with a short page boy cut), Alice (a five foot, six inch tall, brunette), Joe (a six foot, two inch man with dark skin and a shaved head), Joshua (a six foot, three inch Native American), Hieto (a six foot, dark haired man of Japanese descent), and Nancy (a five foot, eleven inch dark blonde with a dazzling smile)

Giles nods his head towards the eight Knights. "It's an honor to meet you all. Thank you for coming."

"Not a prob." Kevin replies with Southern drawl. "St. Wolf has saved a lot of lives and anytime we can help him, we will."

"May I ask what status Steven has with your 'Order'." Natasha asks.

"A friend and an ally." Kevin replies with a smile. "Just like Casey told you a few minutes ago."

"So, we're not going to find out anymore than that, are we?" Giles replies with a grimace.

"Steve will tell you everything when he's ready." Casey tells Giles. "Until then, just wait."

"Why is that everyone who works with Steve knows how to keep their mouths shut?" Jenny replies with a grin. "And I thought England here was close mouthed."

"Well, when you work for an organization that isn't supposed to exist, you'll learn the value of keeping a secret." Casey replies with a grin.

*****

Xander, Cordelia, Amy, Willow and Oz watch as the Knights prepare to fight besides them. Xander stares at the competent way that they were laying out overlapping fields of fire. "Oh Shit! I pity the poor bastard that walks down any of these tunnels."

"Oh fuck." Cordelia mutters as she notices the design of the stranger's armor. Xander, Willow, Amy and Oz stare at her. "The armor. It's like ours."

"So that's where Steve got our armor from." Giles mutters in disbelief as he turns to Casey. "He got the armor from the Order?"

"Yeah." Casey replies as he orders his squad. "Set up a firing line behind the semi circle."

"What about the doorway?" Nancy asks as she reads the flashing runes. "Oh shit! Please tell me that doesn't read what I think it does?"

"I'm afraid that it does," Jenny angrily replies. "But don't worry about the doorway. When I finish with it, anything that tries to attack us through it won't survive long enough to scream."

"Are you a Mage?" The Knight asks.

"No, I'm an Amazon witch." Jenny replies with a wicked grin as she unrolls a scroll. "This spell is courtesy of some of Steve's other friends."

"And that spell is?" Casey asks.

"It creates a one way gate into the nearest blackhole. Let's see anything that tries to enter through the doorway get past that."

Casey stares at the young woman and gulps. "What about us?"

"The portal will be pointed where the door way is and will only suck in people from the other side. And with a filtering spell attached to it, the portal will only react to Demons and the undead."

"That's a very selective gate trap." Nancy replies with a wicked smile. "Can I ask where you learned it from?"

"A book titled 'Circe's Spells and Charms'."

Nancy gulps when she hears that title. "But the only copies are in New Salem and the Lady's Library. How did you get a copy of it?"

"You've been to New Salem?" Giles asks with a smile.

"I was born there," Nancy replies. "I decided to become a Knight when I turned twenty one. "Miss Harness' rules have always forbid anyone from taking one of the Great Texts out of town. Only our Patron's wife has been allowed to take any of them for her library."

"Trust Steve to break a lot of rules," Giles mutters as he checks his Uzi. "What now?"

"We get ready for some very unwelcome visitors." Casey replies as his team stands with the Slayerettes. Casey checks the placement of his team and the Slayerettes once more and nods his head in satisfaction. "Whenever you're ready, Jenny."

Jenny nods her head and casts the spell of release.

"I command that all ties be broken."
"I command that the soul be set free."
"I command that all ties be broken."
"I command that the soul be sent to it's afterlife."

"I command it!!" Jenny shouts the final line and the door glows a bright red as the runes try to keep the soul in place. The glow lasts for a full minute as the magics battle. But Jenny's spell wins in the end and a small girl appears before her. Her blond hair was cut short and haloed around an angelic face. She was dressed in blue jeans, sneakers and a white blouse.

"Thank you." The spirit whispers as she glows briefly and disappears. Jenny openly sheds tears as the spirit leaves, but her gaze turns dark as she casts her second spell.

"I call up the Gods and Goddesses of Time and Space."
"Cast a dark portal upon this door."
"What came from, shall return."
"What returns, shall never come forth again."

The door glows briefly and the previous runes disappear and new ones appear. Jenny smiles grimly as she begins her third spell.

"Dead and undead. Anti-life and Demon Spawn."
"Let them be drawn to their final deaths. I say this once!"
"Let them be drawn to their final deaths. I order this twice!"
"Let them be drawn to their final deaths. I command this thrice."

The door glows brighter and Jenny turns to face the enemies she knew were coming at them from down the sewer. < Now Goddess, let them come. > She turns and picks up her H&K MP5 and loads a silver bullet into the receiver as she commands. "Amazons Assemble!! For Artemis!"

In response, Cordelia, Amy and Willow shout to their patron Goddess, "For Artemis!"

Casey glances at Jenny and the rest of the Amazons and sees their grim visages. His blood sings with admiration and awe to their courage as he nods his head and says, "Let's get ready to rock and roll."

*****

Artemis' Palace on Mount Olympus

Artemis, Aphrodite, Hercules and his mortal wife, Samantha are having a family meeting and dinner as a Artemis tells them about what happened in Sunnydale. Hercules angrily smacks his hands together promising, "That Demon is so dead! Steve and Buffy should have had a nice quiet night together."

"Well, you may get your chance, bro." Aphrodite replies with a grin. "I did some checking and that guy can be even more pigheaded than Ares."

"Good." Hercules rumbles as Artemis switches the conversation to lighter topics.

"When are you going to have children? I want to be an Aunt again."

Hercules coughs into his coffee and glares at his sister. "When we're ready." He replies after his throat clears.

"Zeus and Hera want grandchildren to spoil." Aphrodite replies wistfully. "There hasn't been any new children born to any of us in centuries."

"That's because the ambrosia has become so limited in supply." Hercules replies as Artemis jerks in reaction to something. "Artemis? Is everything all right?"

"My Amazons are calling to me," Artemis replies, the dinner forgotten as she walks over to a pool and waves her hand over it. The scene shifts to the Sunnydale sewers and all four watch as a group of men and women make a stand.

"That's Steve's group. Where the hell is Steve!?" Hercules demands as Artemis shifts the view to the forces coming towards her Amazons. "Oh Damn! Are they going to be able to handle all of that?"

"We shall see, brother. We shall see." Artemis replies as she looks at a huge Demon approaching her devotees. "And may the Dark Gods help any of the survivors if they harm a hair on any of Amazons' head!"

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 19:45 PST
Mayor Wilkins' House, Sunnydale, CA

Mayor Wilkins smiles as he slices off the skin of a small boy. The child cries out as the razor cuts more off. "Hush now," The Mayor tells the small boy as he strains against the ropes. "This won't hurt much longer." He turns back to his spell book and chants a quick phrase. The small boy stops moving. "That's much better." Wilkins mutters to himself and turns back to his spell. He softly hums to himself as a large bulk appears near him and collapses on the ground. Wilkins stares at the second circle demon and asks. "People usually knock when they enter a room."

Krtog looks up from the floor and croaks out, "I'm in pain. I need food."

"The Wanderer defeated you and all of those Demons and Vampires?"

"He wasn't alone." Krtog croaks as he approaches the still boy and picks him up. Wilkins waits patiently, the spell forgotten, for Krtog to finish eating.

Krtog quickly breaks the boy's neck and begins to eat his stomach. As the boy's stomach and intestines are exposed, Krtog reaches in and pulls out the heart which quickly gets eaten in two bites. The liver is next as he slurps it up. Both Kidneys are slashed into pieces as the Demon gobbles them up. As Krtog puts down the exposed spine of the boy, he burps and Wilkins tosses him a towel. Krtog wipes his mouth and glares at the Mayor. "You didn't tell me that he had a Slayer, a Guardian Spirit and *BOTH* Fangs of Tyr with him."

"A Guardian Spirit?" Wilkins mutters in disbelief. "But the Higher Demons destroyed them a thousand years ago."

"He has one." Krtog replies as he tears of a leg and begins to suck the blood out of it. Wilkins waits for Krtog to finish before he asks.

"Were there any other survivors besides you?"

"No. All of your vampires are dead." Krtog replies around a mouth full of leg.

"Let me get this straight. You lost all twenty vampires and six Demons?" Wilkins demands.

"And I almost lost my arm to that bastard and the Fangs. If he could have stabbed me with both, I would also be dead." Krtog barks out.

Wilkins begins to pace the floor, deep in thought. After several minutes, he looks up and asks. "Can you take him out if you had more help?"

Krtog gives a short barking laugh. "I sincerely doubt that. He's warned now. This Bearer is well equipped, heavily armed and knows how to kill us."

"What would you recommend?"

"Keep low and wait for the Accession. Then kill him." Krtog offers as he breaks open the boy's thigh bone and sucks out the marrow. "I'm going back to the second circle and report to our Masters and to heal." Krtog tells Wilkins as he gets up and rubs his stomach. "Sorry about ruining your spell, old friend, but I needed the nourishment."

"It's not a problem, Krtog." Wilkins replies as he walks over and hands Krtog a glass of wine to clean his palette. Krtog chugs down the large glass and smiles.

"1994 Napa Valley Burgundy mixed equally with human blood?" Wilkins smiles demurely. "A truly well balanced drink, old friend." Krtog replies with a smile. "I will be back, but not for a while. Keep me informed on what this Bearer does."

"It will be done." Wilkins replies as a bell goes off. Krtog turns and stares as Wilkins begins to curse in ancient Sumerian.

"What is it?"

"My private entrance to City Hall." Wilkins replies as he reaches for the phone and dials a number. He speaks for a full minute and hangs up the phone. He turns back to Krtog and sighs. "When it rains it pours. Someone has released the spirit guarding my private entrance."

"What will happen now?"

"My private security is on it's way to get them."

"Do you think it's St. Wolf?"

"Doubtful." Mayor Wilkins replies. "There is no way that St. Wolf could move this fast."

"Who did you send down there?" Krtog asks.

"Lurconis and forty vampires. That should be enough." Wilkins replies with a smile. "Maybe I won't have to give him his yearly due if he eats enough of the interlopers."

Krtog chuckles. "I sincerely doubt that. Lurconis is a pig."

"Good luck my friend." Wilkins replies as Krtog disappears from Wilkins' work room. Wilkins looks at the body of the small boy and notices the blank eyes. He sighs in frustration at his lost spell. "Well looks like I'll have to wait to cast that spell."

*****

Everyone turns as they hear the loud hissing coming in from the western tunnel. Casey Order, "Xander! Cordelia! Willow! Kevin! Joe! Nancy! Keep an eye on the north tunnel. Amy! Oz! Natasha! Michael! Heather! Keep watch the south tunnel. Giles! Jenny! Alice! Joshua! Hieto! Keep an eye on the west tunnel!" Everyone settles in and watches their particular tunnel, waiting for the assault they knew was coming.

*****

Terry, a female vampire that served the Mayor, growls lowly under her breathe. "What the fuck is happening now? First, that bitch Slayer and her lover are killing us every night. Now the Mayor's private entrance has been opened." Terry looks back at the forty vampires following her. "I hope there's enough of them to share."

"Not if Lurconis beats us to them." A male replies from off to one side.

Terry grins. "I don't mind if he gets there first."

"Why?"

"Because he'll break them up and we'll pick them off as they run from Lurconis."

"Which tunnel will Lurconis use?" A vampire asks from the back of the pack.

"The East/West tunnel that ends by city hall." A vampire replies from the side.

"We'll take the north and south tunnels and wait for our dinners," Terry replies with an evil grin as she turns to her Lieutenant. "Henry, you take half to the south tunnel, I'll take the rest to the north tunnel."

*****

Lurconis sniffs the air and it's stomach rumbles. < Food! Food! > He senses the vampires running parallel to him and speeds up. < I will not share with those lower beings! > Lurconis' mouth begins to salivate as it senses the magic that had been used to warp the doorway. < Ahh, a Gypsy. I haven't had one of those in a long time. > He gains even more speed as he rushes to eat the person with Gypsy magic. His body fills up the tunnel as Lurconis slithers forward in anticipation of a good meal.

*****

Casey's head turns to the mouth of the west bound tunnel and he orders. "Alice! Joshua! Get ready to fire into the tunnel." He turns to the other fire teams. "Michael! Kevin! Keep your fire zones covered. We'll handle what's coming down the west tunnel. I don't want us outflanked by any surprise attacks from the north or south."

"Got it, Casey." Michael replies with an easy grin as he charges his Heavy Machine Gun.

"On it boss." Kevin replies as he aims his own HMG 34 to the north. The eight millimeter silver ammunition glowing slightly in the dark. < Where do I know these kids from? >

*****

Xander looks at the silver ammunition that all three machine guns had in belts and whistles lowly. "I think I know where Steve got our guns from."

"From the Order," Willow replies with a grin. "I think that Giles and Jenny are going to have a LONG talk with him about the Order."

"I can't wait for Mrs. Summers to ask him about the Order as well." Cordelia replies with a grin. "That's going to be the most scary for him."

"Yep." Xander replies with a grin. "Mrs. Summers can be really scary."

"Can I ask a question?" Nancy asks.

"Sure." Cordelia replies with a grin.

"Who's this woman that St. Wolf is so scared of?"

"His girlfriend's Mother." Willow replies with a winsome smile as Nancy's face goes slack in shock.

"Why is he frightened of her?" Joe N'Gato asks.

"Because she set them up in the first place." Xander replies with a quirky smile, twisting the screws. "And she can make their dating life a living hell, if she wants to."

"So the rumors are true?" Nancy asks in shock.

"What rumors?" Willow asks.

"That St. Wolf has found himself a girlfriend and he's fallen in love with her."

"Why is it that everyone that knows Steve says that?" Xander wonders.

"Because he's had a reputation for putting women off. A lot of women in the Order have tried to date him, but he blew them all off," Nancy replies with a smile. "Several male Knights also attempted to set him up, several times."

"Like that Silas guy who tried to set him up with his sister, the nun?" Xander asks with a grin.

"Yep. Silas got a lot of laughs out of that one, but rumor has it that St. Wolf got even." Nancy replies with a grin. Everyone turned their heads as they heard a loud hissing noise comes from the westward tunnel.

"It's show time," Cordelia replies as she raises her Uzi to her ear and prepares to fire down the north tunnel.

*****

Casey grimaces as the huge head erupts from the west tunnel and hurtles straight towards Jenny. "Fire! Give that ugly fuck everything we've got!" Everyone in Casey's team open's up with everything they have. The tunnel lights up from flashes of the gun muzzles and the tracers sent down it. The loud 'THUMPS' of the strangely colored claymores adds to the noise as everyone sees the flashing image of a huge snake coming at them. "Oh Fuck! It's Lurconis!" Hieto mutters under his breath.

"Lurconis?" Jenny asks.

"Fourth circle demon." Hieto replies with a grim smile. "He's been around a long time and killed a lot of people, especially children."

"Then he dies!" Giles vows as he drops his now empty Uzi to hang by his assault rig and levels his Ithaca shorty. He quickly lets loose a Dragon's Breathe shell down the tunnel. The fire ball lights up Lurconis and it writhes in agony as more enchanted silver bullets strike it. Lurconis lurches forward towards the mortals that were giving it so much pain.

*****

Terry watches as the group fights Lurconis and stares in wonder as the head of Lurconis lands just short of the group and fails to raise to the attack. < I don't believe this! They've just destroyed a fourth circle Demon! > "Who the hell are these people?"

"Someone we don't want to fuck with?" A vampire next to her says in shock as he stares at the guns pointed down the north tunnel.

Terry turns to him and quietly asks, "And what would we tell the Mayor?" The vampire gulps, remembering the last vampire to give the Mayor bad news.

"So what do we do?"

"While they're distracted by Lurconis' body, we attack." Terry replies as she moves forward in the northbound tunnel. Her twenty vampires follow her. Terry looks down the south tunnel and nods her head, giving Henry his due, when she sees that he's also moving to attack. < If we survive this, I'm fucking Henry's brains out. >

*****

"Fuck!" Willow quietly mutters as she sees the vampires approaching. Everyone turns to her as she reports. "I count twenty vampires moving in from the north tunnel."

"Good!" Kevin replies as his hands move to the trigger of his MG34. "I can't wait to crank this baby up!"

"Keep line discipline!" Xander orders. "Wait for all of them to come into the tunnel. Then we open fire."

Kevin glares at the young man giving him orders, but realizes that he was right. He leans over to Nancy and mutters, "Damn, but that kid knows his shit. If he joins the Order, I'll bet you that he'll make Knight Lieutenant in record time." < Oh Shit! That premonition I had a month ago! Now I know where I know these kids from. >

"No bets, Kevin," Nancy replies with a grin. As she watches Cordelia extend the folding stock on her Uzi. "These kids are more than what they seem."

"Where the Hell did St. Wolf find them?" Kevin mutters as he begins to fire into the vampire hoard.

"Steve didn't find us. We found each other," Willow replies with a mysterious smile.

*****

Natasha hears Xander's order as she watches the vampires begin to fill the southern tunnel. She also orders, "Let them come to us. I want them all dead!"

"Lady, I'll fire when I'm good and ready!" Michael informs her.

"You'll fire when told!" Oz quietly tells Michael as he glares at the Knight.

"Or what?" Michael snidely replies.

"We'll let Steve decide that," Amy replies with an evil smirk. "And I hope he lets me turn you into a rat for a while."

Michael gulps as Natasha gives him an easy smile as Michael blanches. "What is it with St. Wolf and women? Every time I've worked with him, he's got some Amazon wannabes with him!"

"Steven has good taste in women. And if I were you, I'd avoid making any cracks about Amazons while you're here," Natasha counsels him as the vampires move forward. "Time to open fire." Natasha says as she hears Xander's gun go off. She smiles. < Boy has good timing. Too bad he's not single or I'd introduce him to Anastasia. They would make a good couple. >

*****

Henry watches as he draws closer and sees the guns pointed at him and his twenty vampires. < Oh hell, this is going to hurt. > He thinks as he looks at Lurconis' head lying in the sewer water. < Bastard wasn't immune to normal bullets and fire. We're going to have to do this quickly and pull that group apart. > Turning back to his group, he yells. "Attack!! Destroy them all!!"

*****

Both groups facing the south and north tunnels wait for the vampires to move into the tunnels proper. As they enter the chamber where the three tunnels meet, Xander orders. "Vamps in the tubes. Blast 'em!!" Before the last word leaves his mouth, everyone begins to fire on the vampires.

*****

Terry races towards the fighters and grins as the bullets miss her. She turns back around to give her pack members attack orders, then watches in amazement as most of her group disappears in clouds of dust. "What the fucking hell!?" Terry screams as she feels a burning sensation in her stomach. She looks down and sees her skin smoking as another bullet strikes her in back and penetrates her chest. "Oh Fuc. . ." Terry mutters as she disintegrates.

*****

Henry watches as Terry's group disappears in seconds as the mysterious group fires on them. < They have bullets that kill vampires? How!? > He feels a shock to his chest and begins to disintegrate. < Oh Sh. . >

*****

Natasha watches as the vampires begin to disappear and she shudders. < Oh God. What the hell have I walked into? > She turns and watches as Steve's young friends fire controlled three round bursts and single rounds into the vampires rushing them. < Steven's been training them well. > Natasha wonders as she watches Casey and his group continue to cover the huge snake lying in front of them and grins. < Never trust these things. >

*****

Cordelia witnesses as the last vampire disappears and grins at Jenny as she turns to cover the large Demon lying on the tunnel floor. "What are we going to do with that thing?"

"We're going to put a full belt of ammo from each of the MG 34s into it's fucking brain," Casey orders as the three big guns swivel and begin to fire at the same point on the Demon's head. All three Knights grin as they shoot off a one hundred round belt into Lucronis' head.

*****

< These mortals were ready for us. I must escape and kill that bastard Wilkins. He shall pay heavily for my pain. > Lucronis thinks as it watches the vampires get completely slaughtered. It tries to begin gathering its energies as three of the strange weapons that hurt it so much are pointed at it. < Dark Gods! I must leave! > Lucronis seethes as it prepares to escape. It gathers it's remaining strength and tenses it's rear body muscles. Its muscles begin to contract as it's body tenses, but a sudden blinding pain forces it to give itself away. As Lucronis dies a very painful death, it's last thoughts are, < The Pain! The Pain! >

*****

Casey watches the Demon for any signs of movement as the three MG 34s fire into it. When he sees the eyes open up with a light in them, Casey orders. "Everyone fire into that damn thing!! I want it dead!!" He turns to Xander and Cordelia. "Keep the north tunnel covered!" Xander and Cordelia nod their heads and turn back to the north tunnel. He turns to Amy and Oz and orders. "Keep the south tunnel covered!" They both nod their heads and turn back to the southern tunnel, ignoring the rest of their team, blasting the Demon.

*****

Palace of Artemis, Mount Olympus.

Artemis watches as the Demon called Lucronis dies its final death on the mortal plane and she smiles, her heart overflowing both with love for and pride in her Amazons. Aphrodite also giggles as the Demon dies and gives her sister a high five. "Way to go, sis! Your girls kicked some serious ass!"

Artemis turns to her brother and his wife a serene smile on her face. "Well, Hercules. What do you and Sam think about my new Amazons?"

Hercules continues to stare as the group quickly picks up it's equipment and walks out the north tunnel. He looks at Sam's shocked expression. < I'm probably as stunned as Sam is. > He turns to Artemis. "What did you do to them three months ago?"

Artemis grins. "The usual. Enhanced strength, agility, and acrobatic ability. But the training and skill with the weapons is Steve's work."

Hercules shakes his head. "He's stolen their childhood!" He spits out. "I should go and kick his ass."

"Hercules, he's done no such thing. If he hadn't shown up, several, if not all of them would be dead by now."

"But they've just beaten back an assault by forty vampires and a fourth circle Demon! You can't just walk away from doing that and remain a teenager!"

"They stopped being teenagers two years before Steven came there," Aphrodite murmurs. "Besides, he's making sure they live to see an old age and have kids of their own."

"They're right, Kevin." Samantha replies. "Those kids kicked ass down there. Who are we to judge how they're living?"

Hercules sighs, realizing that his sisters and wife were right. "They're a great bunch, Artemis, but I don't see Steve allowing them to do this alone. I'm surprised that he didn't blow off dinner with Buffy to lead the assault."

"I ordered him to stay out of it." Artemis replies. "But he made sure that they had a responsible leader and enough backup available to help them, if they needed it."

"What sort of backup does he have in place?" Hercules asks.

"A full battalion of Knights." Artemis replies with a smile.

Hercules just stares in shock as Sam asks. "Who are these Knights?"

"The Knights of the Order of the Grail." Hercules replies in awe. "They're the descendants of the original Knights of the Round Table. They've been fighting monsters and Demons, holding back the Darkness for the last fifteen hundred years."

"Oh Gods!" Sam wonders. "And he's got how many of them waiting to help?"

"Between five to six hundred." Hercules replies with a small smile. "You gotta love a guy who cares so much for his friends."

"When are you going to introduce me to him?" Sam asks with a pout.

"Whenever you want, honey." Hercules replies with a grin.

"What about this week? We can attend that Hercules/Xena convention in Los Angles."

"Oh Gods!" Hercules groans as Artemis and Aphrodite both begin to laugh.

"But your fans want to see you!" Sam replies with a grin.

"Oh Gods! Not them!" Hercules complains. "Better to take on the Hydra again. Him I can at least kill."

All three women begin to laugh loudly at Hercules and he realizes that they were having fun with him. At least until Sam tells him. "That way I can do some shopping while you're at the convention."

Hercules shakes his head in defeat as Aphrodite chimes in, "Let's make it a girls' day out, Sam. Ari and I will also come and help you spend Hercules' money."

"Now that's a plan," Sam replies with a grin.

"I'm going to regret today, I just know it." Hercules grumbles as the three women laugh.

*****

Sunnydale Sewers, Sunnydale, CA

Xander cautiously walks up to the next set of crossroads and points his gun down the right side. Cordelia joins him and points her gun down the left side tunnel. Everyone passes them by and they become drag. As the last person passes them, they point their weapons down the tunnel and follow, running backwards.

Casey watches them as the two groups mesh and grins. < Looks like these kids will do well in the Order. I wonder why Giles and Jenny aren't already in? > "Keep it moving, people."

"You got it, Casey." Xander replies as he and Cordelia run past him, to take point again. Casey shakes his head as the two of them again guard another crossing. < Damn, but maybe Steve has the right idea about these kids. >

*****

Kevin watches as the 'kids' do drag and point duty and shakes his head in wonder. He looks over to Joe and asks. "Hey N'gato."

"What is it, Sir Kevin?" Joe replies politely to the senior Knight.

"Want to bet that these kids will make full Knight by the time they hit twenty one?"

Joe gives Kevin a grimace. "I do not wager on sure things, Sir Kevin."

Kevin smiles. "Joe, you should learn to relax a little. Get that stick out of your butt. These kids are good and they'll be an asset to the Order, if they decide to join."

"They are sarcastic, smart mouthed children." Joe replies. "Other than their abilities, why the Order would want them is beyond me."

"Joe, Joe," Kevin replies with a grin. "Those children are going to be some of the best. So get used to seeing them."

Joe stares at Kevin and mutters, "Please tell me that you didn't have a vision of the future."

"Of course I did. It just didn't put it all together until I saw these kids." Kevin replies with a smile. "They were all at your wedding."

"Oh God, no!" Joe mutters as Kevin laughs softly, enjoying his former Squire's pain.

*****

Nancy walks past Giles as he and Jenny scan the side tunnels near the end of the sewer. "Can you tell me something?"

"What?" Jenny asks.

"The books that you use. Who gave them to you?"

"Agatha Harkness gave them to us," Jenny replies with a smile. "When we opened the boxes, we also found some supplies sent to us by her present student, Mara."

"Mara sent you supplies? Why?"

"Because she and the other witches felt that we needed them. They were some of the rarest ingredients that I've ever seen. Some of them, I didn't believe still existed."

Nancy smiles. "They probably got them from my Mother's shop. She never could refuse to help."

"Is that why you became a Knight?" Jenny asks.

"Yes. I don't have any powers to speak of, and I didn't like gardening, so I decided to become a Knight." Nancy replies with a small smile.

"How did you become a Knight?" Giles asks.

"I asked Lady Harkness and she made all of the arrangements for me to start my training and become a Squire." Nancy replies as they stop.

*****

Xander and Cordelia walk up to the sewer exit and wait for everyone to catch up to them. As Casey walks up, Xander reports. "Cordy, Oz Willow and I will head topside. Cordy and I will check out the area, while Oz and Willow go get his van."

"Kevin, Nancy and Joe will give you four cover," Casey orders as the three Knights step forward. Xander nods his head as he and Cordelia are out first. Willow, Oz and the Knights quickly follow.

Oz and Willow quickly bring up the van and everyone exits the sewers. Everyone watches as the Knights form a bunch and quickly disappear. Giles turns to Casey and asks, "Why did they leave?"

"Their mission was completed, Giles," Casey explains. "They're going home to rest and recover."

"Do they transport like that everywhere?" Jenny asks.

"No, only to and from emergency mission sites." Casey replies as he gets into the back of the van and sits down next to Xander and Cordelia. Natasha and Amy join him. Giles and Jenny are the last to get in.

*****

Part 15 - Spells, Spells, Who's Got The Spells?
(Natasha Sees The 21st Century Version Of A Divining Rod)

May 8th, 1998 - 20:55 PST
Giles Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Everyone takes a seat as the three witches pull out the physical evidence from the murder. Willow and Amy grimace as the fresh blood drips on the floor. "Oh Goddess!" Willow mutters in shock, not realizing that the blood was still wet. "I'm sorry, Giles."

"It's all right, Willow." Giles replies softly. "Please place the dress in the bowl and we'll proceed."

Willow nods her head and places the dress in a bowl as he asks while Jenny and Amy prepare various spell components. As the small brazier begins to smoke, some of the blood is placed onto the coals and the three witches begin to chant.

"Spirit that has passed on, speak to us."

"Spirit that has been murdered, we call you forth."

Jenny tosses more herbs onto the fire and a shape forms from the smoke. Everyone present hears a soft voice asks. "I am Mirna Kranowitz, who calls me from the presence of God?"

"We do, Mirna." Willow calls out. Mirna looks at her and smiles.

"Willow Rosenberg? You are certainly more than your Father believes you to be. Why have you and your friends called me?"

"We seek the man who murdered you. Can you tell us what he looks like?"

"I cannot." Mirna sadly replies. "He kept me hooded all the time. But you can find some of his essence on my panties. When he raped me, he left some of himself on them."

"Oh yuck!" Cordelia mutters as Mirna looks at her.

"Cordelia Chase?" Cordelia nods her head. "Why are you here?"

"To help take down the bastard who hurt you."

Mirna laughs. "And what is the May Queen going to do?"

"I'll be more than happy to show you when we find him." Cordelia replies with a predatory grin.

Mirna looks around herself and sees the heavily armed group and wonders. "What are you people?"

"God didn't tell you?" Xander asks with a grin. Mirna shakes her head. "We're the group that's been taking out the vampires that run around town." Mirna gulps, visibly shaken by the news.

"You're only children. Why are you fighting when the police are here?" Mirna asks.

Giles sighs. "You haven't been dead long enough to acquire self awareness, yet." Mirna looks at him in shock. "But you could ask one of the older souls, they'll tell you about us." Mirna nods her head and disappears.

Jenny turns to Giles. "What was that all about?"

"Some of the texts say that a newly dead soul will not achieve self awareness for a few months after death. This is so that the soul won't be overwhelmed by all of the information. Mirna obviously doesn't know of our work in Sunnydale, so I asked her to go and talk to an older soul. They'll tell her what she needs to know."

*****

Heaven, Time & Place Unknown

Mirna rushes over to the soul of her Grandfather and stands before him and asks. "I've been summoned back to Earth."

"I know," Jacob Kranowitz replies with a gentle smile. "Members of the Army of Light have called you back to help them find your murderer."

"The Army of Light?" Mirna asks in shock. "But they were only stories of them on Earth. But isn't that just a fairy tale? How could that group be part of it? They're only teenagers and two teachers from the school that I went to."

"Appearances can be deceiving." Jacob replies with a smile. "They are lead by two of the Chosen of God."

"That strange man and woman?" Mirna asks.

"No, not them. The Chosen were elsewhere this night," Jacob replies as he waves his hand and shows her the battle that raged at Steve St. Wolf's home less than an hour before. Mirna watches in awe as the Demons and vampires fall to the man, woman and massive dog.

"My God! That's Buffy Summers!" A shocked Mirna exclaims. "Her dress doesn't leave much to the imagination. Why is she wearing it to fight those monsters?"

"She and the young man are dating. This was to be a quiet night for them. A chance to talk and make plans for their future. But these Demons and vampires made the mistake of attacking them."

Mirna smiles as she notices Steve St. Wolf's chest through his torn shirt. "I can see why Buffy is wearing that dress. If I was dating a guy like that, I would be too." Jacob frowns at his Granddaughter. Mirna grins back. "It's no sin to wear nice clothes, Grandfather. Just what you do with them."

"That is true, but your Mother would never let you wear anything like that dress." Jacob replies with a smirk. "Sometimes she's too proper."

"I know. But she was right to tell me to stay in, but I wouldn't listen." Mirna sighs as she thinks back to the night that she was taken. "I should have stayed home."

"You should have," Jacob agrees. "But who are we to know God's plans for us?" He then sighs. "Want to see these friends of yours in action?"

Mirna nods her head as her Grandfather shows the battle in the sewers. "Miss Calendar? What did she do to that little girl?"

"She released her soul from a foul prison that would have destroyed it over time." Jacob replies as they both watch as the battle raged on and the vampires and Demon fall.

Mirna stares in wonder at her Grandfather and quietly murmurs. "Oh God!? That's Xander Harris and Cordelia Chase!? They're fighting like warriors from a fantasy movie. Why are they fighting? Can't the police do that work?"

"The police won't do that work," Jacob sadly replies. "They don't believe in the Darkness. But these young warriors do."

"Who are those strangers in the armor?"

Jacob smiles. "Old friends to our people. They have been our friends and protectors many times while our people wandered." Jacob tells Mirna softly. "There are few here who would not recognize the Knights of the Order of the Grail."

"Who are they, Grandfather?" Mirna replies as Jacob's waves his hand and Mirna learns the history of the Knights. She begins to cry as she watches them and their allies, time and again, sacrifice themselves to protect an unknowing humanity. "Oh God! How could so many caring people exist?"

"They exist and humanity exists because of them," Jacob answers as he watches his Granddaughter's eyes. "It is time for you to go back and aid them."

"But how? I never saw the man who murdered me." Mirna asks.

"But you can tell them where he found you and what the place looked like that you were kept in."

"I can do that!" Mirna replies in joy as she quickly leaves. Jacob smiles as he watches her go.

*****

The Slayerettes watch as Mirna returns and tells them, "I can tell you where he took me from."

"That's a good start," Giles replies. "We can use the locator spell from there."

"What's a locator spell?" Mirna asks.

"It's a spell version of a blood hound," Jenny explains. "Once we set it to track a 'scent', it'll find that scent no matter where it hides."

"You can do that?" Mirna asks in surprise.

"Yes we can. Once you tell us where he took you from, we'll take it from there."

"Okay." Mirna replies softly. "I was walking away from home after I had a fight with my Mother. I was walking on West Bard Road towards Saviers Road when he grabbed me."

"Did you see where he took you?" Giles asks.

"No. He covered my head with a hood and refused to remove it from me."

"Did he talk to you?" Natasha asks.

"He did. But the things he said. . ." Mirna hesitates, but continues. "They were bad things about being Jewish. He told me that he was an Aryan superman and that the only thing that I was good for was to be his sex slave for a few days." Mirna begins to cry. "H. . . he ra. . raped me for th. . three da. . . . days. . . An. . and whe. . . when he was thro-o-o through with me, he did thin. . thin. . . things to me. Horri . . .horrible things."

The Amazons are visibly shaken by her account. Willow's face is ashen. Then, Jenny gets up and tries to hug the smoke image and Mirna feels her presence. She looks into Jenny's caring eyes and nods her head silently. She quietly mouths. 'I'll be strong'. Jenny nods her head and returns to her seat.

Mirna whimpers a little bit as the memories flood her mind. "He. . . he he. . . held me in a bas. . . basement. I thin. . . think."

"And he never removed the hood?" Giles asks quietly.

Mirna nods her head. "Once. I threw up and almost choked to death. I saw concrete walls and a water heater. But he had his face covered and I only saw his eyes. They were brown."

"The Bloody Bastard is careful, but not that careful," Giles replies as he uses a pair of forceps to lift the blood stained panties. "How long until the locator spell is ready?"

"Two hours." Jenny replies as she picks up some notes.

"I'll access this guy's psych profile from the FBI." Willow mutters as she begins to set up her laptop computer.

"Good!" Amy replies as she helps Jenny with the ingredients. "That'll help us figure out what his movements are."

Mirna watches as the group gets ready to go out again, to find her murderer. She looks at the side of the room and sees other girls her age, watching the group. She leaves the smoke and turns invisible as she walks up to the group. "Who are you?" She asks one of the girls.

"We're his other victims." The girl, a beautiful blonde with a peaches and creme complexion says. "We heard that someone was hunting the man who murdered us. We wanted to see if they could find him."

Mirna turns back and watches the people that she had thought were the strangest group in school lays out it's plans for capturing the murderer. "Yes, I think they will, God willing." She turns to the group and asks, "Did any of you see his face?"

"No, none of us did." A pert red head replies from next to the blonde. "What you described happened to all of us."

Mirna nods her head and walks back to brazier.

*****

Willow, Amy and Jenny quickly and carefully gather their ingredients and begin to assemble the spell that they'd found in 'Wiccan Wards and Charms'. "This spell is very precise, Jenny. Can we get it right?" Willow nervously asks.

"We will, Willow. We have to." Jenny replies softly as she stares at the smoke where Mirna's soul was. "Did Mirna leave?"

"Yeah, a few seconds ago." Amy replies as Mirna re-appears.

"What is it, Mirna?" Willow asks.

"The other murdered girls are here." Mirna replies.

"Oh?" Willow replies as she looks at Jenny and Amy. Jenny nods her head and Willow ask, "Did, any of them see this guy?"

Mirna shakes her head. "None of them did."

"Don't worry, Mirna, we'll find him," Willow promises. Mirna smiles as she boots up her laptop computer and quickly hacks into the Violent Crimes Task Force files in Atlanta, Georgia. She quickly bypasses the security codes and finds the files on the man that the FBI had nicknamed 'The Jewish Ripper'.

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 21:15 PST - 24:15
Local Violent Crimes Task Force Offices, Atlanta, GA

George Fraley stares at his monitor and whistles lowly. "You're not THAT good, you little minx." He quickly starts to backtrack the hacker's signal. George begins to curse under his breath as he encounters various traps and blocks. "Damn it! Who the hell is this guy!?" George yells out as Bailey walks in from his office.

"What's going on, George?" Bailey asks.

"Someone's just accessed the Jewish Ripper file!" George replies as he quickly clicks keys and moves his mouse. "Whoever is doing it, knows what they're doing."

"Could it be Jack?" Sam asks.

George shakes his head. "This isn't Jack's style. He's more brutal. Jack WANTS us to know that he's there. Whoever this is, really knows how to do a hack."

"Have they accessed anything sensitive?"

"Just the Jewish Ripper files. They've taken pictures, police reports and the psych profile that Sam put together."

"Do you know how they hacked in?"

"Yeah, I found the door. I'm surprised that I didn't catch that door when I did the last security sweep."

"Block it and try to find the hacker." Bailey orders.

George stares at Bailey's back and grimaces. < Easy for you to say, Bailey. This guy's good. Whoever he is. >

*****

Willow smiles to herself as the files down load and lets out a small laugh as the system manager tries to track her down. Jenny looks up from the spell components with a raised eyebrow. Willow grins and explains, "The System Admin tried to track me."

"How close did he get?" Jenny asks with a grin.

"I lost him in Thule, Greenland." Willow replies with a giggle. "I hope he doesn't try to visit where I lost him."

"Where did you lose him, Willow?" Cordelia asks.

"Greenland's only brothel." Willow replies as she giggles her head off. "Oh Goddess! But I hope they wear their long underwear."

Everyone has a good laugh as they relax just before going after the serial killer.

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 21:45 PST - 24:45 Local
Violent Crimes Task Force Offices, Atlanta, GA

George stares at his screen and calls out, "Bailey!!"

Bailey comes out of his office, his dark suit slightly rumpled and the vest undone. "What happened, George?"

"I might have found the hacker."

"Where is he?"

"Madame Rumpa's Bed and Breakfast, Thule, Greenland." George seriously replies as Bailey begins to laugh his head off. George looks up from his monitor and stares. Bailey quickly gains control of himself and turns to George.

"I'm sorry, George." Bailey replies with a deep chuckle. "But I've been to Madame Rumpa's when I was taking Arctic warfare training in the Special Forces. It's the only brothel on the entire island."

"Could someone be using it as a base?" George asks.

Bailey shakes his head. "No way. Madame Rumpa hates computers and won't allow them on the premises."

George shakes his head in disbelief. "Then I've lost him. Whoever this guy is, he's damn good."

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 21:50 PST - 24:50 Local
Somewhere Else in Atlanta, GA.

A man with wild blonde hair sits back in his chair, and stares at his computer screen, and chuckles evilly. "My, but you are good, my dear. But I'm better." He leans forward and studies the files that Willow had 'borrowed' from the VCTF and chuckles again. "Are you a hunter, little one? If you are, then Jack may come to play."

*****

Willow begins to scan the files and her pretty face loses it's color. "Oh Goddess, please tell me I'm imagining this. It can't be real."

Cordelia looks over her shoulder and the Ball Buster's face loses all of its pallor. Then the Amazon warrior races for the bathroom. The sounds of her retching could be heard in the living room. Xander also looks over Willow's shoulder and he begins to cry. He looks over to Mirna and gives her a slow nod. Mirna looks into Xander's smoldering eyes and shivers.

< Oh God! He looks like he's ready to kill the man who murdered me. But that's Xander Harris? Isn't it? He's the school clown, not some warrior out of a fantasy novel. > She shakes her head in sympathy as Xander reaches over, switches off the monitor, and gently takes Willow in his arms. He cradles her, while gently rocking her while she cries softly. Cordelia comes out of the bathroom and watches as Xander gently rocks Willow back and forth, softly talking to her. She squats down on Willow's opposite side and also hugs her. Willow stops crying and quietly murmurs her thanks to the both of them.

Xander looks into her eyes and sees that she's angry now. He lets her go and watches as she turns back to the computer and calls up the psych profile. She quickly scans it again and then shuts down her computer. Willow takes several deep breathes and angrily tells everyone, "This guy's going to grab another girl, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. He looks for them around synagogues and grabs them quickly. He rapes them for several days, then cuts Nazi symbols and anti-Jewish slogans into them when he tires of them."

"So how do we catch him?" Natasha asks.

"We use a Jewish girl as bait." Willow replies with conviction.

"Willow?" Giles asks. "Are you sure about this?"

"You didn't see what he did to them, Giles. I did." Willow replies as she gives him her computer. "If you want to see, just hit the space bar."

Giles grimaces at touching the computer, but he presses the space bar and blanches when he sees the words 'Hitler', 'Nazi', 'Aryan' and 'Jews Must Die!' carved into the body of a girl who couldn't be more than sixteen years old. His eyes harden and takes off his glasses as he softly says. "I want this buggerer! I want him dead!"

"We can't kill him, Giles," Jenny reminds him. "Artemis has claimed him. She'll see that true Justice is done to him."

"I know. But I want the wanker!" Giles replies as his voice slips into a deep cockney accent.

"The Ripper's come out to play." Xander mutters under his breathe. "Now that bastard pays."

*****

May 8th, 1998 - 23:15 PST
Masada Synagogue, Sunnydale, CA

Jason Grieves stares at the synagogue and feels an erection grow in the crotch of his trousers. < That little Jewish bitch was fun, let's see if I can get my hands on another one before I have to leave this town. > He grins evilly as he sees a petite red head walking down the street from the synagogue. < Oh yeah! My luck's holding out! That little bitch will do just fine. >

*****

Giles watches Willow as she walks down the street towards the car that the locator spell had pointed to. He grimaces as Willow goes into her school girl mode and she walks towards the rapist/murderer like she was completely unaware of him. "Are you sure that Willow is ready for this?" Giles asks Jenny.

"She is. I just hope that he'll still be alive when we get to him." Jenny replies with a predatory grin.

*****

Willow calmly watches her surroundings as she walks down the street. She watches the car that Jenny's spell had located and seethes inside. < Mirna's body isn't even cold yet and the bastard is out hunting for another victim. Well, it stops now! >

*****

Grieves watches as Willow walks towards him and grins evilly. < Now that little bitch looks like she's still a virgin! It's going to be fun to 'break' her in. > He quickly removes the bulb from his overhead light and prepares to take the red head. As she passes him, Grieves quietly opens the door and exits the car. He walks up behind the girl with a hood in his hands. As he raises the hood, the girl looks back and coos in a taunting, sing-songy voice, "my Mommy always told me to watch out for strangers." Grieves is taken aback by her reaction for a moment and wonders why there was no fear in her eyes.

*****

Willow hears a car door open behind her and she prepares for the attack. When she senses a large man's presence behind her, she quickly whirls on him and coos, "My Mommy always told me to watch out for strangers." Then as he just stands there watching her, she snaps a kick into the man's stomach. He goes 'Oomph!' as he falls back and Willow bounces back on her heels. She sees the hood and shouts. "You fucking bastard!!"

Grieves quickly rolls back to his feet and grins evilly as he sees Willow stand in a basic martial arts stance. "Think you're tough, little bitch? Let me show you what an Aryan Superman can do!"

Willow looks at Grieves' stance and a slow smile spreads across her face as she coos again, using her taunting little girl voice. "Willow wants to play."

Grieves looks into her eyes and shivers. "What the fucking hell are you!?" Grieves demands as Willow begins a slow and steady shuffle towards him.

"Oh, just a woman who knows what you are, Murderer!" Willow replies softly, her voice just barely above a whisper.

"What are you!?" Grieves demands again.

"A hunter," Willow softly replies as her right foot lashes out and connects with Grieves' right knee. Grieves collapses to the ground as his knee is shattered. "That's so you don't try to runaway from me and spoil my fun." Willow tells him with a tiny smile as she kicks out, shattering his other knee. "That's just a taste of what I'm going to do to you for what you did to those girls."

"But they were only stinking Jews!" Grieves cries out. "We Aryans have to stick together." Grieves calls out to Willow as her foot sweeps back for another kick.

Willow's mouth curls as she growls lowly, "You bastard!" She kicks into Grieves' ribs several times, each kick added stress to each syllable. "I! Am! A! Jew!"

"You can't be!" Grieves hoarsely replies through the pain. "No stinking Jew would have the balls to treat me like this."

Willow squats down and grabs Grieves' throat. "Guess what, Asshole!? I do!"

"Bullshit!" Grieves cries back. "Jews are weak! They are WEAK!!" Willow's expression becomes chilling as she smiles at him like an innocent little girl. Grieves quickly realizes that he was in deep shit when he stares into her eyes and doesn't see anything remotely resembling mercy in them. "What the fuck are you!?" He hoarsely whispers.

"I'm the little Jewish girl that's going to kill you," Willow promises as she raises her hands and begins chant the spell for a fireball.

As the fiery projectile forms in her palm, Jenny cries out.

"Willow!! Stop it!" Willow glares at Jenny for a second and then back at Grieves. She smiles wickedly as she lets the fireball fly at Grieves.

*****

Jenny and Giles watch as Willow walks past the car and the man sitting in the car gets out and follows her with a black bag in his hands. "Gods, it's him!" Giles hoarsely whispers as Jenny's eyes harden. Giles moves to stop him, but Jenny's hand on his shoulder restrains him. He turns back to Jenny. "Why are you stopping me from helping Willow?"

"Because Willow has to do this alone." Jenny quietly replies as she watches Willow methodically take the serial killer apart.

"Are you certain about this?" Giles asks as he watches as Amy, Cordelia, Xander, Oz, Casey and Natasha walk out of their hiding spots and watch Willow in action.

"Yes, very." Jenny confirms as she walks out of her hiding spot, closely followed by Giles. They stride over to Willow, who's holding a small fireball in her hand, ready to throw it. Grieves cries out in fear as he sees the fireball form in Willow's hand. "Willow!! Stop it!!"

Willow looks up for a second and gives Jenny a chillingly innocent smile as she whines. "Willow wants to play." She flings the fireball into the ground next to the serial murderer and giggles as he rolls away, screaming in pain. Willow kneels down and pleasantly tells Grieves, "Just be happy that She has already claimed you."

"Wha. . . what would happen if she didn't?" Grieves breathlessly asks. Willow's smile becomes serene as she looks at Grieves like a cat plyaing with a mouse.

"You've been such a bad puppy. Willow would have to really punish you so you'd learn how to play nice." Grieves gulps as he realizes that the girl was serious. Deadly serious.

"Oh Shit!" He barks out as he spots Giles and Jenny. "Please. Please, I beg you for the love of God! Take me to the cops! I'll tell them everything! I'll show them where every body is! Just don't let that girl have me!"

An extremely worried and nearly terrified Giles continues to watch Willow as Jenny efficiently breaks both of Grieves' arms. Giles looks down at his lover and sees a dark look in her eyes. When he raises his eyebrows, Jenny calmly replies. "Artemis said alive, not whole." Giles nods grimly and steps away as Cordelia and Amy walk over to Grieves and kick him in his ribs. The sounds of cracking ribs could be clearly heard in the quiet night air. All of the men gulp as Jenny roughly gags Grieves. The gag effectively chokes off his screams as the women pick him up by his injured arms and legs. Giles, Natasha and the rest wince when they see Grieves' bulging eyes.

"Remind me never to piss off Cordy this badly," Xander whispers to Oz.

"Ditto," Oz replies as they follow the women to Oz's van.

Willow opens the back door and the women throw Grieves into the van. They all him in and arrange his broken and bruised body so that he was curled up in a corner. Grieves openly cries as the women stare at him with hard eyes. He looks from one hard face to another and whimpers as he wets himself. All of the women's sniff in disdain as Willow states. "He'll be licking that mess up before he leaves my boyfriend's van."

*****

Xander stares at his best friend and shudders. < What the hell happened to Willow? She's never been like this. > Xander looks at Oz and sees him also staring at his lover.

*****

< Willow's letting out her 'wolf'. > He nods his head in understanding and turns back to turn on the van. He quickly puts it into drive and grins as the bastard in the back screams for a second as his left side is bumped against the steel frame of the van.

*****

Giles watches his lover and the young women whom he thought of as daughters treat a human being as if he was one of the lowest denizens of Hell. < I've never seen them like this. It's very frightening. > Giles thinks as Jenny looks at him with hooded, dark eyes. < My word! She's enraged. > He continues to stare as his woman looks to each of her sisters in battle, and smiles inwardly. < And she looks incredibly sexy! > Then he shudders. < Now, now Ripper old boy; don't go there tonight. Wouldn't want to frighten the children more by letting Ripper out to play along with Willow's dark side, now would we? >

*****

Casey quietly sits next to Giles and wonders. < That Willow girl is really, really scary? I wonder how Steve keeps her under control? >

*****

Natasha looks around her and notices the frightened looks on the men's faces and the hard gleams in the women's eyes. < Logan, I really think that these women would scare even you. > She watches the two young men as they look straight ahead, not even sparing the broken man a glance. < I think even the hard men of the KGB would know fear with these four, especially Willow. > Natasha thinks as the van pulls to a stop.

"We're here." Oz announces

Jenny glares at the men. "You four stay with the van. Natasha, you come with us." Natasha nods her head as she gets out and stretches her legs. She waits for the women to exit and cocks her eyebrow when Willow doesn't immediately show up with the murderer.

"What's keeping Willow?" Natasha asks.

"She's making him lick up his mess," Cordelia replies with an evil grin.

"Oh. My. God." Natasha whispers as Willow exits the van, dragging the murderer behind her.

Willow turns to her assembled sisters and smiles. "Let's get rid of this sack of shit." Jenny grins as she grabs an arm while Cordelia and Amy grab his legs. They carry Grieves into the forest to a clearing about a hundred yards away. They toss Grieves into the center of the clearing, near a large stone that all four use as an altar to Artemis. Grieves screams out in pain as his broken body is abused again. As they walk forward, they all call out. "Artemis! We, your daughters, call to you to see Justice done for our fallen sisters."

Grieves stares at the four women as they call on something in the woods. < Oh God! I'm a dead man! > He stares as another woman appears from nowhere, this one dressed in clothes that looked like they were some kind of animal hide. < Oh Fuck! What the Hell is she! >

Artemis stares down at Grieves and tells him. "I'm the Bitch Goddess that holds your pitiful life in her hands, Grieves."

"H. . how do you know my name?" Grieves croaks out as Jenny removes his gag.

Artemis grins humorlessly. "I can read minds, mortal." She turns to her Amazons. "You have done your duty well, my daughters. I am very proud of you all. I thank you." Then Artemis' eyes glow and Grieves disappears from the forest floor.

"What happened to him, Lady Goddess?" Willow asks.

"True Justice." Artemis replies as she walks over to a pool of water on the flat surface of the altar rock. She waves her hand and they all watch as Grieves falls to the ground in front of a fenced in area.

*****

Jason Grieves groans as he wakes up and looks around. < Oh God! It was all a dream! > He grins as he gets up to dust himself off. As he straightens up, a large shadow looms over him and he feels sudden pain as a harsh voice calls out.

"Lazy Jewish Pig!" Grieves feels the pain of a solid blow on his back as he again falls to the ground. He looks up and sees a man in a black uniform holding a baton in his hand. Grieves stares in disbelief as he spots the legendary Totenkopf 'Deaths Head' on his uniform cap. Grieves tries to speak, but finds that he can't. The SS trooper glares at him and starts to hit him some more. Grieves tries to get up, but the single trooper is quickly joined by other guards with their batons and rifle butts. As he begins to lose consciousness, he looks up and sees the sign above the camp gate. It reads 'Auschwitz'.

*****

Grieves wakes up again and stares around him and chokes back a sob as he realizes that he was back, but in a different body and the same German was standing over him. He tries to speak, but only a croaking sound is heard from his throat as the man hits him with his baton. Grieves staggers under the blow and falls to the ground, again. Only this time, he's picked up by several strong hands and his eyes widen when he sees the face of the man that's torturing him. < Oh God! It's my Grandfather! > Grieves' mind is suddenly ablaze as a rifle butt hits him on the side of his head. He tries to shake his head clear, but the rest of the men also begin to hit him. Grieves' last sight is of his Grandfather's blood splattered boots.

*****

Jenny looks at her Goddess and smiles. "A truly just punishment."

Artemis smiles. "He'll learn about the truth of his actions where he is now."

"Will he survive?" Willow asks.

"No." Artemis replies as she clears the pool of water. "I'll return him to his car, minus any evidence leading to you, my daughters."

"What about the evidence that will tie him to the murders?" Jenny asks.

"He has it all in his car. Don't worry, he will be blamed for everything."

"I just hope that Stein doesn't get the credit for solving this case," Cordelia says. "That bastard doesn't deserve shit!"

Artemis smiles as she looks at Natasha. "Never fear Cordelia. I've made a few arrangements for him." < Too bad she doesn't trust me, yet. She would make an excellent Amazon. >

"May we ask what those arrangements are?" Jenny asks.

Artemis grins. "Your friends, Mulder and Scully, deserve an easy case." The girls also grin as Jenny giggles.

"Should we tell them?" Willow asks.

"No," Artemis replies. "They will learn in time, but now is not the right time. I will arrange an anonymous phone call telling them where to find his body. They will get the credit for finding him."

"Good for them!" Willow says, sounding like her old self. "I like Dana. Can she become an Amazon?"

"We'll see," Artemis promises as she disappears.

Willow turns to the other four women and grins. "We're done here. Let's go home."

"I think I'd rather go and see Steven." Natasha replies with an innocent smile. "I have a lot of questions about Casey."

"You can't do that!" Cordelia barks out. "It's their night off and I want them left alone!"

Natasha sighs as she remembers the dinner that Steve was having with Buffy. "My apologies. I forgot." Cordelia nods her head in understanding. "But I think that Casey will be joining me at the Summers house."

"Oh, that's a given." Willow replies as they walk up to their men. She takes Oz's arm and gives him a quick kiss. "Thanks for being there, Oz." Oz simply grins in response.

Cordelia grabs Xander's butt and pulls him in for a quick french kiss. When they break apart, Cordelia tells him. "Not bad, Dweeb Boy. You do more things like this and you may just wind up in bed with me again."

Jenny gives Giles a quick kiss and pat on his rump. "Good job, England. We definitely have to do more things like that." Giles just grins as he walks with Jenny to the van. As Oz prepares to get in, Willow stops him.

"Let Casey drive us to Buffy's house." Willow asks him. "Amy can give him directions. I need you to hold me." Oz nods his head, tosses Casey the keys, and climbs in the back of the van with Willow. Xander and Cordelia also climb in and sit down next to them. Giles and Jenny sit across from their young charges. Natasha picks a spot near the sliding door and closes it. Casey climbs in with Amy and they leave, driving toward 1630 Revello Drive and Buffy's Mother.

*****

Aftermaths 1 - The Third Degree
(Casey Learns That A Mother Wondering About Her
Daughter's Suitor Is Worse Than Any Cop)

May 9th, 1998 - 00:35 PST
Summers' Residence, Sunnydale, CA

Casey parks Oz's van over in front of Buffy's house. He gets out and tries to walk away, but a strong hand grabs him by his shoulder and pulls him back. "Casey, I know Tanya likes you, but that won't prevent me from asking you some very serious questions." Natasha softly tells him.

"And if I refuse to answer them?" Casey asks.

"Then you will never see my daughter again. I will forbid her from seeing you. Tanya is many things, but she's a good daughter and will listen to her Mother."

"But Natasha. . ." Casey tries to explain as Giles and Jenny join her. He quickly shuts up as he's surrounded.

"Casey, we all like you. But finding out that you're a Knight of the Grail in the middle of a firefight is not a good thing." Xander explains. "So why don't you tell us why your group is so willing to help Steve?"

"Because he's such a nice guy?" Casey replies with a grin.

"Sorry, Casey, that isn't a very good explanation." Cordelia replies with a smile as she takes his arm. "Let's go inside and ask Mrs. Summers if she'd want to hear more."

"C'mon!" Casey barks out. "Why are you asking me all of these questions? Didn't the Order help you a short while ago? Doesn't that count for anything?"

"Of course it does, Casey." Jenny replies with a smile as he's lead to the side door. "But you have to realize that Steve is also important to us and we want to know everything about him."

Casey snorts. "You all deserve each other. Steve's been the biggest pain in the ass since Lancelot!! He's constantly dragging our butts into fights that are none of our business. And you want to know why we help him?"

"It would be nice to know." Giles replies as he opens the side door to the Summers house.

"You can't handle the truth." Casey replies in his best Jack Nicholson voice.

"I'm sure we can," Willow replies through her giggles. "And Casey? That's the worst Jack Nicholson I've ever heard."

"Hey!" Casey replies with a grin on his face. "I'm a fighter and a damn good chef. What more do you want?"

"How about some answers?" Giles asks from behind Casey.

"Get Alex Trebeck." Casey replies with a grin as he enters the Summers home. He scans the room and sees Buffy sitting with Joyce and Tanya and swears. "Fuck! What the hell happened!?" Everyone else is silent, the shock clearly showing on their faces.

Buffy sighs and looks at her friends. "We got attacked by some Demons and vampires."

"How many?" Giles asks in shock.

"Seven Demons, twenty vampires." Buffy replies as she begins to eat her ice cream again. Cordelia, Willow and Amy quickly gather around Buffy, take her off to the side, and begin to softly talk with her.

Casey watches the four move off and he shakes his head. < Steve's infamous bad luck strikes again. What the hell do the Gods have against him having some happiness? > He moves off to use the phone, but Natasha stops him.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm calling Steve to make sure he's all right." Casey replies as he walks to the phone.

Natasha watches him go and nods her head. < He does care for Steven as a friend. Tanya is very lucky. >

She watches Casey talk on the phone for a full minute and then he slams the phone down. "Awww Damn it!!"

"What is it, Casey?" Giles replies.

"That same damn Demon from last night. He was after Steve."

"What Demon from last night?" Jenny asks.

Casey grimaces. "After you left, Steve and I went hunting. We killed fifteen vampires and chased that asshole away. Steve thought that it was an assassination attempt on him. Looks like he was right. Damn it!"

Giles, Jenny, Xander and Oz stare at Casey and gulp. Giles just shakes his head in awe and grimaces. "Trust Steve to go hunting with a Grail Knight and take out more vampires than anyone else."

"Well, Steve did have some anger management issues to work out," Casey replies with a grin as he watches Buffy. "Is she going to be all right with what happened?"

"She will." Joyce confirms. "She was worried about Steve leaving because of this, but Artemis and Michael stopped by and put some wards around his house."

"Who's Michael?" Jenny asks.

"St. Michael, the Avenger." Joyce replies with a smile as everyone within hearing goes white.

"My Word!" Giles gasps out. "Why did HE show up?"

"God felt that Steve should know that he wants him to stay here. Buffy was very happy to hear that."

"I bet she was." Xander grins as he glances at Buffy and the rest of the girls talking quietly among themselves. "And I'll bet that she's already making plans for their next date."

"Rather obvious, aren't they?" Giles replies with a smile.

"Yep." Oz replies as he watches Willow begin to genuinely smile for the first time that night.

"I'll be leaving now," Casey replies with a smile as he begins to back up. He's stopped by Jenny and Natasha.

"Casey, Darling. We still have to talk." Natasha replies with a smile.

"Mother? What's going on?" Tanya asks.

"Casey belongs to a very secret group that I want to know more about, Tanya. Before I let him date you, I want to learn some things. As will Joyce about Steven."

"Natasha? What are you talking about?" Joyce asks in surprise.

"Casey has some secrets of his own, Joyce. Among them that he is a Knight of the Order of the Grail." Natasha replies. "And I wish to know what his status in the Order is."

"The Order? The Knights of the Grail? Who are they?" Joyce asks.

"The Knights of the Order of the Grail are the descendants of the Knights of the Round Table." Giles explains to a shocked Joyce. "They've been fighting the Darkness since the fall of Camelot."

"That's been how long?" Tanya asks.

"Fifteen hundred years." Giles replies.

"And how old are you?" Tanya demands.

"I'm thirty seven." Casey replies. "But I'll live to about three, maybe four hundred years. That is, if I don't die in the fighting."

"How?" Tanya asks in wonder.

"I drank from the Grail. It gives me an extended life span." Casey replies. "And, if we get married, you'll also drink from the Grail. As will all of our children."

"Why would I have to drink from the Grail?" Tanya demands.

"Because it prevents you from being possessed by any demonic forces. It will also increase your life span to three, maybe four hundred years."

"Oh God!" Tanya mutters at the implications. "And what about our children?"

"They'll also drink from the Grail and have extended life spans." Casey replies.

"Will they have to join the Order?" Natasha asks.

"No, they won't." Casey replies. "But I will make sure that they can defend themselves. The Order doesn't draft people. And our rules are very strict about the age someone can join and become a Squire or Knight."

"How old do you have to be?" Xander asks in wonder.

"Twenty one is the minimal age for anyone joining the Order. There are no exceptions to this rule, so don't even think about it, Xander."

Xander looks over to Cordelia and sighs. "Oh well, maybe in about five years we'll both join."

"I'll be happy to sponsor you for membership. If Steve doesn't kill me first." Casey mutters.

"Yeah, there is that," Xander says.

"And how did you get involved with the Order?" Natasha asks.

"Frank Iverson is a Knight Lieutenant and he conned me into joining after I retired from the Navy."

"Who is this Iverson?" Natasha asks.

"Steve's best friend." Xander replies. "He helped us out in the beginning."

"Where is he now?" Tanya asks.

"He lives in New York State." Giles replies.

"He was the one who told us that Randolph guy, who dropped off the weapons, was all right. Were those guys Knights?" Xander asks.

"Probably were. I heard the Knight General screaming at the Armorer when he found out how much silver ammunition Steve got from him."

"And how much did he get?" Jenny asks.

"Roughly ten percent." Casey replies with a grin. "The Armorer's were working double overtime to get the stocks back up."

"That's Steve. He'll get his hands on anything that he wants," Jenny notes with a grin. "Nancy told us that the books we received from New Salem were never given to anyone but the Lady. Who is this 'Lady'?"

"I don't know who she's talking about." Casey calmly replies. Too calmly for Natasha, Jenny and Giles.

Natasha sighs in exasperation. "Casey. Just tell us this. Can you talk about her?"

"I can't."

"Is she a good person?" Jenny asks.

"Would the people of New Salem give her those books if she wasn't?"

"Good point." Xander replies. "Can you tell us what Steve does with the Order?"

"He helps us, we help him. Quid pro quo."

"That's all?" Natasha replies in shock.

"Natasha, Steve carries Demon Slayer. He's one of the Nine Chosen champions of humanity. We are honor bound to aid him and he, us. It's that simple."

"Nothing can be that simple." Giles replies in shock.

"Giles, Steve's killed, in the last thirteen years, over four hundred Demons. Some of them so powerful that even WE couldn't fight them. He's done this because he understands that he's been chosen to fight them. The Order also understand this and we will help as much as we can. If that means that we have to supply him weapons to help a bunch of kids fight the monsters that are roaming their home town, we will. If he asks us to have a plane ready to take him to fight a monster, we will. If he needs our help to kill off several thousand pedophiles and white slavers, we will."

"And him learning to cook from you?" Tanya asks with a smile.

"That's personal for me," Casey replies. "When he told me that he wanted to make a special meal for the young woman that he's beginning to fall in love with, of course I wanted to help him."

"And how do you know him personally?" Joyce asks.

"My SEAL team and his Green Beret A-Team teamed up for two missions in 1980." Casey grins. "He was the one running the team, not the two officers. My team was shocked when a baby faced senior Sergeant was laying out the plans for our combined ops."

"What happened?" Xander asks.

"Steve's plans were so outrageous that none of us believed that they would work, but they did."

"What happened after the missions were over?" Natasha asks with a knowing smile.

"My C.O. contacted our Admiral and told him about Steve. The Admiral offered him a commission, if he'd switch services. Steve wasn't interested."

"That's Steve," Oz says with a thin smile.

"Since you won't talk about Steven, Casey, we'll talk about you." Natasha replies with a smile. "I want to know how dangerous your life is."

"My personal life is pretty simple. I own and operate a four star restaurant in Seattle, Washington. End of story."

"And your life as a Knight?" Giles asks.

"That's not so simple. No one knows that I'm a Knight. I often leave without notice and my friends are beginning to wonder about me."

"What sort of missions do you have?" Jenny asks.

"My last missions were to take out some white slavers in Africa. I got to work with another friend of Steve's there, the Ghost Who Walks."

"He's a legend. A myth." Giles mutters in disbelief.

"He exists and Steve has his number in his phone book." Casey replies with a grin. "He also has Steve's number as well."

"Quid pro quo." Natasha mutters in disgust. "And how many other myths does Steven have the phone numbers to?"

Casey grins. "Hercules you know about." Giles, Jenny and the Slayerettes nod their heads. "The Shadow is also a friend, the Ghostbusters in New York, the Golden Dragon and Silver Tiger Ninja Clans owe him a few favors, the list is rather long," Casey says to a very shocked group of listeners.

"Did you say the Golden Dragon and Silver Tiger Ninja Clans?" Natasha asks in awe. Casey nods his head. "Oh damn! He would know them!"

"You've heard of these guys, Natasha?" Xander asks.

"Yes, I have. They're two of the most secretive and dangerous ninja clans in the world. Only the Lin Kieu surpass them in skill and abilities."

"And how do you know about these groups?" Giles asks.

"I ran into the Gold Dragons when I was rescuing a kidnaped six year old girl. They were rescuing the boy who was being held with her." Natasha replies softly. "The Silver Tigers I met when I was investigating a group of Japanese terrorists for the Canadian Government. I was talking pictures of their compound when the Tigers attacked. They didn't leave a single terrorist alive. The Tigers found me as I was taking pictures of the attack."

"What did they do?" Joyce asks.

"They took the film and left me behind. They didn't have a reason to kill me." Natasha explains. "I didn't argue, just reported back to my contact that the terrorists were dead."

"He didn't ask how they died?" Xander asks.

"He didn't care. They were no longer a problem and the way that they were removed didn't concern him."

"That's cold," Oz observes.

"That's the spy game, Oz."

*****

Buffy is herded away from her Mother and she doesn't resist. She leans her head on Willow's shoulder as she's lead by her friends to the couch by the window. Willow quietly asks, "Are you okay, Buffy?"

"Yeah, I am. I can't believe our luck." Buffy snorts in disgust. "That Demon really pissed off Steve."

"Did you get a name?" Willow asks.

"Krtog." Buffy sighs. "Steve said that Krtog tried to kill him last night. Looks like the bad guys are coming after him now."

"Now we know why they call him the Wanderer," Cordelia says. "Because he never stayed in one place long enough for the bad guys to catch up with him." Willow, Amy and Buffy glare at her. "What!? I'm only telling the truth. Is he leaving?"

"No. Artemis and Michael put up some wards on his house. Demons can't attack it anymore." Buffy replies.

Willow and Amy gulp. "You mean that the Lady herself put a ward on Steve's house?" Cordelia asks in shock. "Why would she do that?"

"Because Steve is there for us," Willow replies. "Artemis sees that Steve cares for us as his friends and companions."

"Companions? Get real, Netgirl! He treats us like Buffy's sisters. And the Lady sees that we all love him like an older brother. Not many men left who are decent and caring and we have four of them."

"Yeah, well," Amy mutters in despair, "You guys got the four best guys in town. Leaving me with the rest to pick from."

Sensing her sister's feelings, Willow turns to her. "Amy? Don't give up hope. You'll find someone soon. I just know it." < And if he's not in this town, then I'm sure that Steve will help us find someone for you. >

"Yeah, right." Amy mutters as she glares at a grinning Cordelia and a smiling Willow. "Just don't set me up with some dweeb who dresses like Xander."

"Hey!" Cordelia cries out as Amy grins. "Xander is my dweeb!"

"And you can keep him." Amy replies with a laugh. "But seriously, Cordy, I wouldn't mind a guy like Xander. Strong, caring, has a great sense of humor. But he's gotta dress better."

"I agree." Cordelia replies. "Xander definitely has to learn to dress better." < And I'm going to set you up, sister. Whether you like it or not. Too bad Jesse's not here anymore, he'd be perfect for you. >

"So what are your plans for Steve?" Willow asks with a smile.

"We'll keep on taking it one day at a time." Buffy replies bitterly. "We were so close tonight. That bastard ruined what would have been a great night for us."

"We know, Buffy," Cordelia replies with a hug. "You were ready, Steve was ready, everything was perfect. And this bastard ruins it all in less than a minute."

"Yeah," Buffy sighs. "The dinner was great. The dessert was chocolate mousse with real whipped cream and chocolate shavings. After dessert, we were kissing on the couch when a demon tried to sneak in through the training area and Duke warned us."

"I'll bet that Steve was pissed." Willow replies.

"Pissed doesn't cover it." Buffy replies. "Steve's always taught us never to take the fight personally." All of the girls nod their heads. "Well, Steve took the invasion of his home very personally. I hope that I never see him that angry again." All of the girls nod their heads in agreement. "How did the mission go? Did you get the guy?"

"We got him. But we have a problem with Casey." Willow glances over to where Natasha was mercilessly interrogating Casey.

Buffy grins. "He looks very uncomfortable."

"He should be," Cordelia says. "When we hit City Hall, Casey called in some backup."

"Backup? What kind of backup?"

"Eight Knights of the Grail," Willow replies with a dreamy smile.

"How did Casey get them?" A very shocked Buffy asks.

"Casey's also a Knight of the Grail." Cordelia replies with a grin. "Now Natasha, Giles, Jenny and your Mom are asking him about the Order."

"I think that I have a question for him." Buffy replies with a grin as she gets up and walks over to Casey. Casey breaks off his talk with Natasha.

"Yes, Buffy?"

"Steve said that he had a battalion of fighters ready to help you if you got into trouble. I want to know if they were Knights of the Grail."

Casey sighs. "Yes, he had a full battalion of Knights and White Mages ready to help us if we got into trouble."

"And how does Steve rate all of this help?" Buffy asks.

"Like I told your Mother and friends a few minutes ago. Steve's helped us and we help him. Quid pro quo," Casey replies.

"But a full battalion of Knights?" Giles asks in shock. "Who could authorize such a force?"

"The Knight General authorized it. He and Steve are old friends. That's all I know."

Buffy glares at Casey for a second, but quickly gives him a hug. "Thanks for being there for my friends."

"Not a problem, Buffy." Casey replies with a grin. "I'm always ready to help some friends."

"I hope that's not going to be your excuse every time we have a date." Tanya mutters.

"I will always tell you the truth." Casey promises as he looks into her eyes.

"Good. Now what happens?"

"I go over to Steve's house for the night. You and Natasha can come over as well." Casey replies. "But I don't think that Steve's going to be in a mood to talk."

"I don't think so either." Natasha replies. "I'll live with what you told us today, Casey. But if you ever hurt Tanya, the entire Order will feel my wrath."

Casey grins. "Of that I have no doubt."

*****

Aftermath 2 - Mayor, Mayor, Burning Bright
(The Mayor Learns Real Fear)

May 9th, 1998 - 01:45 PST
Sewers Under City Hall, Sunnydale, CA

Mayor Wilkins stares at the door that lead to his City Hall and shivers. < A Dark Gate? I've heard of them, but seeing one? Who the hell was here last night? > He turns to one of the vampires and orders. "Walk towards that wall." The vampire complies without argument and walks towards the gate and disappears with a howl. The Mayor thinks, < Every vampire and lesser Demon that I sent to look at the door disappeared. None of the normal humans disappeared. > Then he hits his head with his hand. < A filtering spell!? But how? None of the texts has that kind of spell in them. Only Merlin could do something like that. > He sighs again and looks at his assistant. "Jeff, please get my case out of the car." The vampire silently nods his head and quickly leaves.

Twenty minutes later, Jeff returns, hands Wilkins his spell case and steps back. Wilkins takes out an ancient Grimoire and quickly goes to a page and silently reads the spell. Wilkins concentrates on the text and the flow of the words as they're laid out in the spell. He kneels down when he's ready and begins to chant:

"Dark Gods of Time and Space, hear my plea."
"Time and space, warped by spell and craft, I set thee right."
"Portal to the final obviation, I close thee."
"Doorway to the Ultimate Darkness, I close thee."

The runes on the door glow brightly and Wilkins breathes a sigh of relief and turns to Jeff. "Please have this mess cleaned up."

Jeff looks at the body of Lurconis and grimaces. "As you will, Master," Jeff says with a bow. "Have you determined who did this?"

"No, not yet. But I will wager that Mr. St. Wolf had something to do with it." Jeff blanches and silently nods his head in agreement.

*****

Aftermath 3 - Natasha Hurts Stein
(What'd You Want? My A-List Material?)

May 9th, 1998 - 18:35 PST
The Badge, Ventura, CA

Stein watches as the waitress walks past his table and he grins as he watches her mini skirted backside. He turns to Eugene Carter from the Ventura Sheriff's Department and mutters, "I can't believe that the DEA told me to go screw myself. This bastard is so well connected that it's fucking scary."

Eugene just shakes his head in disgust. "Leave it alone, Dave. This St. Wolf guy sounds like he could kill you and just walk away."

"That's what's bothering me the most. Guys like that don't just set up house in a town and don't do anything. I know he's dating that Summers girl and she's constantly at his house."

"Maybe she's getting laid by the guy?" Eugene replies with a snicker. "Wouldn't be the first girl who likes the bad guys."

"Her Mother set them up to date," Stein replies as he takes a drink from his beer. "And the strangest thing that I could find out about him is that he's friends with all of the girl's friends. Even the teachers."

"Probably setting them all up for a major fall." Eugene replies as he orders two more beers. "Any of them have money?"

"Yeah, the Chase, Madison and Rosenberg girls and the Green boy. All of their families have money. The two teachers I don't know very well, but the Harris kid is dirt poor. I've put his Dad into the drunk tank, numerous times."

"Maybe the Harris boy is St. Wolf's partner?"

"Maybe, but he grew up with all three girls, and Rosenberg's his closest friend." Stein replies as he takes his beer from the waitress. "And he's now dating the Chase girl."

"Maybe St. Wolf has conned the kid to work for him? Promised him Chase if he got his way with the others."

"Still doesn't make sense. He's been teaching them martial arts. I heard that the Harris kid took out six members of the football team without breaking a sweat. The girls are becoming just as bad. He and the Summers girl took out Wazuki Churchill in less than ten seconds. If he's setting them up for something, then why teach them all of those moves?"

"Maybe he's training them to be spooks like him?" Eugene prompts.

"I hope that isn't true," Stein mutters in disbelief. "Having a half dozen like St. Wolf walking around my town? God help us all."

*****

Natasha walks into the bar where all of the off duty Sunnydale police officers hang out. < Cowards! They won't even drink in the town that they're supposed to protect. I will enjoy this. > All of the men and most of the women stop speaking as they notice her. Natasha smiles inwardly as they look at her nearly six feet of height, long legs, dark red hair and classical beauty. The bar patrons part before her as she purposefully walks to Stein's table. Stein and Carter stare as the gorgeous red head walks to their table.

"Oh Fuck!" Carter whispers in shock as Natasha stands in front of their table. Stein looks over his shoulder and grins. That grin is quickly wiped off his face as a back hand lifts him from his chair and knocks him back. The entire room watches as Stein gets up and moves to his gun.

"Continue reaching for that weapon and you'll be dead before your remove it from it's holster!" Natasha tells Stein. Stein snarls and continues to reach for his gun. As his hands close on the butt of his service Smith and Wesson 5609, he feels the cold steel of a handgun at the back of his neck. Stein looks back and sees a dark headed man with hard eyes glaring back at him.

"Just give me a reason." Casey angrily says. Stein gulps and looks back at Natasha.

"The rules are simple, we fight bare handed. Winner walks out of here, loser gets beaten to the ground," Natasha announces to the room.

"Why?" Stein barks out.

Natasha smiles a cruel smile. "You attempted to cause harm to a friend of ours. We're here to deliver a message from all of his friends."

"Who?" Stein replies, but realizes who they were talking about.

"Steven St. Wolf." Natasha replies calmly. "You attempted to have him arrested on a fraudulent drug charge!"

"How the hell!?" Stein stutters out. He looks around and sees that every officer in the bar was listening. He turns back to Natasha and glares at her. "Bitch! I don't know how you found out about that, but I'll enjoy kicking your ass."

Natasha smiles and enters her stance. "From some other mutual friends, Stein."

"I'm going to kick that DEA Agent's ass for this!" Stein promises.

"I suggest you worry about your ass, now," Casey advises from the side.

Stein nods grimly and steps forward, throwing a punch at Natasha's stomach. Natasha blocks the punch with her fist and counters with a crescent kick to Stein's jaw. Stein goes down like a bag of bricks. Stein jerkily gets back up and attempts to tackle Natasha. Natasha side steps him and Stein goes crashing into a table. He rises again as the police watch Natasha calmly wait for him to attack again. Stein moves in and attempts a kick. Natasha grabs his leg and kicks him four times. Twice in the groin, and twice to the head. Stein drops to the ground and curls up in a ball. Natasha glares at him, but Stein refuses to get up. Natasha shakes her head and turns to go, but Eugene Carter stands in her way.

"I want to know why you did that to him."

"Because he needed to learn a lesson." Natasha replies.

"And that lesson is?"

"Don't fuck with St. Wolf or his friends." Natasha replies as she and Casey walk out of the bar without another word.

Every cop in the bar shakes their heads as they watch the pair leave. Eugene looks down at his friend and quietly mutters. "Dave, you're going to get yourself killed if you fuck with this guy." Stein doesn't answer because he's still lying on the ground in a fetal ball, barely conscious.

*****

Epilogue 1 - Finder's Keepers
(Even The Lone Gunmen Couldn't Trace This Call)

May 11th, 1998 - 09:15 PST - 12:15 Local
Fredericksburg, VA

Dana looks at her husband and says. "Can you tell me *AGAIN* why I'm out here in these woods with you, Mulder?"

"We got an anonymous tip that someone dead was out here."

"And why didn't we give it to the locals to handle?" Dana asks.

Mulder looks up from the tree that he's examining and grins. "Because it was a beautiful day and I wanted to get out of the office and enjoy it with the love of my life. Besides, I tried to have the call traced and the boys and girls in communications told me we didn't receive any calls this morning."

Dana glares at him and sighs in exasperation as she looks heavenward. "Why me, God? Why did I fall in love with a nutcase?" Dana mutters as Mulder calls out.

"Dana! I've found it!"

Dana quickly rushes over and stares at the car's lone occupant. "Oh God, Mulder. What the hell hit this guy? And how did he get out here?"

Mulder grimaces. "I don't know, Dana. There aren't any tire tracks leading here and I don't think he drove himself."

"That's obvious. Do you think he's got a single whole bone in his body?" Dana mutters in disbelief.

"Not from the way his body's lying there." Mulder returns as he pulls out his cell phone and dials 9-1-1. "This is Special Agent Fox Mulder of the FBI, my badge number is N447322."

Mulder is quickly put through to the highest officer on duty. "Special Agent Mulder? This is Lieutenant Michael Osborne, may I help you?"

"Yes, Lieutenant Osborne. My partner and I received an anonymous tip this morning and acted on it. We've found what appears to be a male, Caucasian, beaten to death and placed in a vehicle. We'll need some officers to cordon off the crime scene and you crime scene unit to gather evidence."

"Anything else, Special Agent?" Osborne angrily replies. < Good for nothing Feds, they're going to make us do the grunt work, while they get all of the credit. >

"No, that will be all. I'm at the following coordinates." Mulder replies as he looks down at his electric compass/locator. "North thirty eight degress, seventeen minutes, sixteen seconds. West seventy seven degrees, thirty minutes, four seconds."

"Got them." Osborne replies. "We'll be there in about fifteen minutes." < I'll bet that the news media will beat us there. >

*****

May 11th, 1998 - 09:35 PST - 12:35 Local
Fredericksburg, VA

Mike Osborne watches his Global Positioning System as his Ford Explorer pulls up to the crime scene. < Damn, almost to the second. > He looks around and sees a man and a woman waiting for him. He looks the pair over and wonders as he takes in the leather jackets, jeans and hiking boots both were wearing. < These two aren't normal Feds. Those idiots in the local office would be out here in their suits and spit shined shoes. > Mike walks over and introduces himself. "Special Agent Mulder?" The man nods his head and introduces his partner.

"Lieutenant Osborne?" Mike nods his head. "This is my partner, Special Agent Dana Scully." Dana nods her head to Osborne.

"What do you have here?" Osborne asks as three more cars pull up behind his Explorer.

"A body, male, beaten to death. Looks like every bone in his body has been broken at least once." Dana replies.

Osborne takes a look and quickly walks away. Everyone hears the sounds of gagging coming from the tree that Osborne had walked behind. Several minutes later, he walks out and orders, "I want this area taped off. Tony, get me any tire treads you can find and make sure that they're not from the Fed's car. Pete, Alice, start on the car and call Murphy at the coroner's office. He's going to need a damn trough to get that guy out of there."

"What happened to him, Mike?" Alice asks as she pulls on her surgical gloves.

"Don't know, ask the Feds." Osborne replies as he looks over to where Mulder and Dana were standing. He walks up to them and asks. "Care to tell me how you found this?"

"Anonymous phone tip." Mulder replies. "We tried to trace it, but we couldn't."

Osborne grimaces. "So we don't know who this guy is?"

"We do, if the person who gave us the tip is right," Dana replies.

"Who is it?"

"The Jewish Ripper," Mulder replies with disgust. "I just hope it is." Osborne also nods his head in agreement.

"When is the media going to show up?"

"We haven't called them," Mulder replies with a grimace as he mutters. "Never liked those vultures."

< They didn't call the media? What is it with these two? > "What are your orders?"

"According to the tipster, all of the evidence of his murders are in the trunk. I want a video setup taping everything from a full minute before the trunk is popped to every piece of evidence as it's bagged and tagged," Dana replies.

"What are we to tell the media?"

"That your department and the FBI located the body of the man suspected of being the Jewish Ripper," Mulder replies. "You'll be doing most of the work, so you should get most of the credit."

Osborne, and everyone of his officers in earshot, just stare at Mulder and Scully in disbelief. "Okay, who are you two? No normal Feds would give up a bust like this."

Mulder and Dana both grimace. "Let's just say that you've just met the FBI's two most unwanted Agents."

"Come again?"

"Mulder and I run what's called the X-Files Division. And we're not very popular with our co-workers because of the types of cases that we investigate."

"And those types of cases are?" Osborne asks.

"We investigate the para-normal," Mulder replies with a grin. "Or as the rest of the Bureau tells it, little green men and were wolves."

Mike just shakes his head in disbelief. "And you don't really give a fuck about making brownie points with your bosses?"

"That too," Dana confirms with a laugh.

"Oh shit!" Mike mutters as the coroner pulls up. A short, red haired man walks out of the Suburban and asks.

"Where's the stiff, Mike?"

"In the car, Murphy." Mike replies as he introduces Mulder and Scully. "Murphy, meet, Special Agents Mulder and Scully. They found the stiff."

Murphy looks around. "If they're Feds, then where's the media?"

"They don't care about making brownie points," Osborne replies with a grin.

"And they're Feds?" Murphy asks in surprise, looks closely at them and the way they were dressed. "You sure they're real Feds, Mike?"

"Yeah, pretty much so." Osborne replies with a grin. < I think I'll call little sister and get the 4-1-1 on these two. >

Murphy shakes his head, but quickly gets started pulling out the corpse. Mulder and Dana watch as several video cameras are setup and the police begin to film every action. As the trunk is popped open, a bag falls out and the officer picks it up and bags it. He reads the label and calls over to Osborne. "Hey Mike! Got something weird here."

"What is it Joe?" Mike asks as he rushes over.

"A bag of donuts from a Crispy Creme located in Sunnydale California. They're still fresh." Joe replies softly, not believing what he just said.

Mike stares at the bag and shakes his head in wonder. He looks over to Mulder and Scully and nods his head. < They handle all of the weird cases? > He takes the bag from Joe and walks over to them and asks. "Care to explain this?"

Mulder and Scully look up from their discussion and see the bag held by Osborne. "Oh Damn! It would be them!" Mulder softly curses.

"Steve probably took this bastard out," Dana mutters.

"Doesn't match his M.O." Mulder replies. "Steve's always been the one shot, one kill kind. Not this shit."

"Care to explain to me who this Steve guy is?" Osborne asks as he holds the bag of donuts.

"Someone you don't want pissed off at you." Osborne cocks his eyebrow and Mulder continues. "He's a spook. Works out of that town and has a major hard on for child molesters and murderers."

"Who does he work for?"

"CIA, NSA, British Intelligence, French Secret Service, and a few other alphabet groups." Mulder replies. "You won't be able to arrest him, Lieutenant. He already has four death warrants on his head from Iran, Iraq and Libya. The Columbian Cartels have a five million dollar bounty on his head and no one's been dumb enough to try and collect it."

"And he's prevented the world from going 'BOOM' on at least five occasions," Dana adds in.

"That we know of," Mulder finishes.

"And you two know him, how?" Osborne asks in shock. < If what they say is true, then I'm going nowhere near this guy. >

Mulder grimaces "We helped him stop some terrorists from destroying a town."

"How many terrorists?"

"Two hundred," Mulder replies. "Guy makes four phone calls and he has an assault force in less than twelve hours, armed to the teeth."

"Fucking Hell!" Osborne mutters in shock. "What about the local cops?"

Mulder grimaces. "Worse than useless. Those guys have their heads stuck so deep in the sand that their ankles barely show. They have an army of nutbars in their town and they didn't even notice."

"Waste of oxygen if you ask me," Osborne mutters. "Cops like that give us all bad names."

"Case in point." Mulder sighs as several Bureau cars pulls up next to Osborne's Explorer. A man dressed in a dark blue FBI clone suit gets out and orders.

"I want everyone of you people to stop what you're doing. This is a now an FBI crime scene!"

"Special Agent Caruthers." Osborne replies in distaste. "He's the head of the Bureau office in Fredricksburg."

"Don't worry." Mulder replies with a grin as he walks up to Caruthers and demands, "What right do you have to be here, Agent Caruthers?"

Caruthers glares at the man dressed in the leather jacket and angrily replies, "I don't know who you are, flatfoot, but you and the rest of your local yokel buddies better get off my crime scene!"

"Don't think so," Mulder replies with a lop sided grin.

Osborne also grins as he listens to Mulder rattle the local FBI man. < Now this kind of Fed I could get to like! >

"Who the Hell are *YOU* to tell me that a crime scene isn't mine to take over!?"

Mulder pulls out his badge. "FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, X-Files Division. I requested the help of the local police because it's their Briar Patch."

"Are you *FUCKING* NUTS!!" Caruthers screams. "This is the Jewish Ripper! We'll have our pictures on the front page of every paper in the country. We'd all get promotions out of this. Why did you give the case to the local yokels!?"

"Because Lieutenant Osborne asked me how I liked my coffee," Mulder replies with a snicker as he leaves a shocked FBI Agent behind him. The Fredericksburg Police Officers give him a standing ovation as he walks away. Mulder turns back to them. "Finish the job people. We only have six hours of daylight left." < And I don't want to be out here if we have any 'Visitors' tonight. > The crime scene unit goes back to their work.

Special Agent Caruthers watches as the local police go back to work. He seethes as he dials out on his cell phone and calls Assistant Director Blevins of the Violent Crimes Task Force. "Assistant Director Blevins?"

"This is Blevins. It had better be important!"

"This is Special Agent Caruthers of the Fredericksburg Office. A Special Agent Mulder found the remains of the Jewish Ripper and he called in the local police rather than the Bureau."

"Did you say Mulder?" Blevins asks.

"Yes, sir!" Caruthers confirms.

"Is there a red headed woman with him?"

"Yes there is, Sir," Caruthers replies as he spots Scully standing next to Osborne.

"Take my advice and walk away, Caruthers. Those two have complete autonomy on their cases. And anyone who associates with them gets painted with the same brush." Caruthers licks his lips and nods his head.

"Yes, sir. I'll be leaving then."

"Good move," Blevins replies as he hangs up.

"I'm leaving!" Caruthers barks out as he gets back into his car.

"Just don't screw up any evidence!" Mulder calls out as Caruthers speeds away. Mulder turns to Osborne, a warped grin plastered on his face. "Well, I guess that our reputation has scared off another one."

"Oh, the horror of it all." Scully mock groans as she begins to chuckle.

Osborne stares at the pair and mutters to Murphy. "Those two are the craziest Feds that I've ever met."

"My type of Feds," Murphy replies with a grin as he asks Dana. "How did you know that every bone in his body was broken?"

"Seen it before," Dana replies candidly. Murphy gulps and walks away shaking his head.

Mulder and Dana walk away and privately talk. "Do you think Steve had anything to do with this guy?"

"The last murder was in Sunnydale," Mulder replies. "But I think that Steve would have called us and told us if he had anything to do with this."

"Could it have been one of Steve's friends?"

"Probably was. And the bag of donuts was their way of telling us that Steve probably knows about it."

"So do we ask Steve about it?" Dana asks.

"Yeah, we do. But I don't want him involved in this," Mulder replies as Osborne walks up to them. "What is it, Lieutenant?"

Osborne grimaces in distaste. "We found a lot of photos. What they have on them is sick. How many girls did this guy murder?"

"Twenty, the last one was in Sunnydale, California," Dana replies.

"The same place as that bag of donuts?"

"Yeah, that place. Some advice?" Osborne nods his head. "Lose the bag of donuts. It's not part of the case."

"It's already lost," Osborne replies as he gives Mulder the bag. "Thanks for the bust, Agent Mulder. What do you want me to tell the press?"

"Just that your department, with the help of the FBI, tracked down and killed the Jewish Ripper. End of story."

Osborne nods his head in agreement. "Bastard refused to surrender, so we ran him off the road. When he tried to run, he fell down a cliff and broke all of his bones. Nice and neat."

"If that's all, Lieutenant, we'll be leaving you to your work." Mulder says as he and Dana begin to walk away.

"Agent Mulder!?" Osborne calls out. "Can I have your full name and your partner's? For my report?"

"Sure, Fox William Mulder."

"Dana Katherine Scully."

"Thanks." Osborne replies as he writes them down. Murphy walks up to him and asks.

"Why did you ask for their full names?"

"Have to get their names right for the letter of commendation that I'm going to write." Murphy has a good laugh as Osborne also has a light laugh.

"Oh God! I can't wait to see Caruthers' face when you send that letter to his office."

"Neither can I, Murphy, neither can I."

*****

May 11th, 1998 - 15:45 PST - 18:45 Local
Fredericksburg Police Department, Fredericksburg, VA

Mike dials his little sister's cell phone and she answers it. "Got a few minutes?"

"For you big brother? Of course. What's up?"

"I want to know about a pair of Special Agents named Mulder and Scully. They work for something called the X-Files." Mike hears Sherri choke and grins. < So, little sister HAS heard of them. >

"Why do you want to know about them?"

"They gave me the biggest bust of my career. And I'm just wondering why."

"Yeah, that's their style. They don't care about their careers, only solving their cases and catching the bad guys."

"And I take it that this attitude doesn't make them very popular with the rest of the Bureau."

"No, it doesn't and them having the highest clearance rate in the Bureau doesn't help either. In fact, they scare most of the other Agents."

"Why do they scare the other Agents?" Mike asks with a grin plastered on his face. < I am definitely going to be writing a very nice letter for them. >

"Just getting near any of their cases has been known to kill an Agent's career. Most of the Newark office still hasn't recovered after they killed that flukeman thing."

"Fluke man?"

"Yeah, some kind of mutant thing that came off a ship that came from Russia. They killed it by cutting it in half."

"Damn." Osborne mutters. "Thanks Sherri. Are you coming over for dinner on Friday?"

"Sure am Mike. Tell Mom to set a place for me."

"Sure will, Sis. But now I have to talk to the reporters."

"Reporters, Big Bro?"

"Yeah, the Chief has me telling the vultures that we got the Jewish Ripper."

"Oh Damn! The VCTF is going to be pissed," Sherri says with a laugh.

"I'll live with it." Mike replies as he hangs up.

*****

Epilogue 2 - Bailey Gets Pissed And Jack Wants To Play
(And Jack's Going To Pay)

May 11th, 1998 - 16:30 PST - 19:30 Local
Violent Crimes Task Force Offices, Atlanta, GA

"Bailey!!" George Farley shouts as he reads the latest news on Reuters.

Bailey, Sam and John walk up to him. "What's wrong, George?"

"Turn on CNN!" George replies as he quickly begins to access the files of the Fredericksburg Police Department. "The Fredericksburg PD just took out the Jewish Ripper!"

"Shit!" Bailey mutters as he turns the big screen to show the latest news reports from CNN. The entire office stands quietly and watches as a Fredericksburg Police Lieutenant gets up to the podium and begins to speak.

*****

"My name is Mike Osborne." The officer is then interrupted.

"Is the Jewish Ripper dead!?" A reporter calls out. And with that opening salvo, the entire pack begins to shout for attention.

The officer waits for the reporters to quiet down before he resumes speaking. "I'm here to inform you that the Fredericksburg Police Department with the aid of Special Agents Mulder and Scully of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's X-Files Division, attempted to capture the man known as the Jewish Ripper."

"What do mean by that?" A puffed up blonde asks from the front of the pack.

< Idiots, all of them. > "Several of our cars and Agents Mulder and Scully's car attempted to pull him over, but the car that the Jewish Ripper was driving went over a cliff on Mott's Run Road. His car fell two hundred feet into Mott's Run Reservoir. The body was thrown from the car and he died on impact."

"What proof do you have that this man is the Jewish Ripper?" A Ken doll lookalike asks from the second row.

"Pieces of clothing from all of his victims were found in the car as well as photos and video tapes of the girls being raped and murdered," Osborne replies.

"Will any of the photos or videos be released to the press?" A vacant blonde asks from the side.

"Only when Hell freezes over, you dumb bitch!" Mike angrily replies. "None of these tapes or pictures will ever see the light of day, except in a closed courtroom!"

"The public needs to know!" A Geraldo clone demands. "We demand to have access to the tapes and pictures!"

Mike angrily grips the podium as his boss barks out. "Get that bastard out of here!" Several police officers grab the man and his crew and quickly throw him out. The entire scene is filmed and televised by the other reporters. Mike calms down and continues his report as the reporters turn back to him.

"The suspect has been positively identified as Jason Grieves of Los Angeles, a known White Supremist and Nazi. According to his journal, he targeted girls that were walking home from various synagogues because he felt that he was doing God's work in helping rid the world of the murderers of Jesus Christ." Mike takes a deep breath as he continues. "Are there any questions?"

"What is the X-Files Division?" An older reporter asks as he looks over his notes.

"They're a specialized division within the FBI. That is all I know." Mike replies confidently. "The Agents received an anonymous tip and investigated. When they realized that the tip was solid, they called us in as backup. Grieves saw them and started to run. Agents Mulder and Scully chased him and radioed their position to us as the chase was progressing. We were able to mount a road block and Grieves tried to drive around it. His car couldn't make it and fell over the side of a two hundred foot embankment. Grieves was ejected as his car rolled, but he fell on some boulders, breaking nearly every bone in his body."

"Where are Agents Mulder and Scully now?" A pretty brunette asks.

"They left. They were on another case and left us to handle the crime scene and evidence. They promised us copies of their reports by the end of the week."

"That's all?" The vacant blonde wonders. "Why didn't they stay?"

"Because they had another case to solve," Mike replies. "They are very dedicated Agents. More law enforcement officers should follow their example." < And not give a damn about the publicity. >

*****

Bailey stares in shock as the press conference is concluded. He turns to John and orders, "I want a helicopter ready to take us to Fredericksburg in the morning." He then turns to Sam. "Sam, do you want to go?"

"I do, Bailey," Sam replies as she steadies her notebook. "Grieves' journals should be studied and a psychological report made."

"What are you going to do about Mulder and Scully?" Doug Spender asks.

"Nothing. They did the right thing as far as I'm concerned," Bailey replies. "I'm just glad that bastard is off the streets."

"The Brass won't be happy with them." Spender says. "They may want to get even for them giving the bust to the locals."

"That's their cross to bear." Bailey replies as he leaves.

*****

May 11th, 1998 - 16:30 PST - 19:30 Local
Somewhere else, Atlanta, GA

Jack watches the press conference and muses in wonder. "I wonder how those two found him? Their phone logs show no activity for the last two days and they get an anonymous tip? I wonder who's helping them? It may be fun to see how well they play with me."

*****

Epilogue 3 - Visitations
(You Can't Keep A Good Goddess Down)

May 11th 1998 - 22:30 PST
Whitehall Farm, Portland Oregon

Heather Whitehall kneels in front of the shrine to Artemis and prays. "My Lady, I pray to you on this eighth day for justice for my daughter, Tracy. When will I know that Justice has been done?"

"She'll never answer you." Her oldest daughter, Mindi angrily replies.

Heather glares back at her and quietly orders, "If you don't want to be here or listen to me pray to Artemis, then leave!"

Mindi glares back at her Mother. "Tracy died believing in that stupid statue. I won't!"

"That is a real shame. You do have the fire that I want in my Amazons." A voice replies from the side near the altar.

Heather and Mindi both turn around and stare as a tall woman in leather hunting clothes stands next to the shrine. Both women do double takes as they stare at the woman and the statue. "Oh Shit!" Mindi mutters as she realizes that Artemis was standing in front of her. Heather falls to her knees, head bowed.

"Lady Goddess? Why are you here?"

"I'm just here to tell you that the man who murdered your daughter is dead."

"How?" Mindi mutters in disbelief.

"True Justice." Artemis replies as she waves her hand over the wall and they watch a man being beaten to death, numerous times.

Heather and Mindi both gulp as the image fades. "Who did that to him?" Mindi asks in shock.

"I transported him back to Auschwitz in 1943. He was dressed as a Jew."

"Oh God!" Mindi mutters in disbelief.

Heather smiles and nods her head. "Thank you, Lady Goddess. Is Tracy with you?"

"She is. But I need her to do something for me, so she'll be away from my palace on Olympus for a short while," Artemis replies with a smile.

Heather looks up and watches as Artemis disappears and Tracy stands in her place. "Lady Artemis told me that I could spend two hours with you and Mindi, Mother. Then I'll have to go back."

Heather turns to Mindi, who's staring at her little sister in shock. "Still think that the Lady doesn't care? Or that She doesn't exist?"

Mindi shakes her head as Tracy hugs her. "I missed you, big sis." Tracy warmly whispers.

Mindi looks into Tracy's eyes and begins to cry as holds onto her, fearing that she'd fade away. "I missed you too, squirt. How is Artemis treating you?"

"Lady Artemis has been nice to me. I've met some of the greatest Amazons in history at her Palace. Hippolyta, Medea, Amarice, Yakut, just to name the ones that you know."

"Are Xena and Gabrielle there as well?" Heather asks her daughter.

"Neither one is there, Mother. Artemis won't talk about them or what happened to them." Tracy replies.

"Are you happy?" Mindi asks as she stares at the altar.

"I am." Tracy replies with a smile. "Artemis is gathering us for the final battle between good and evil. We're to help the new Amazon Nation that will be born soon in defending humanity from the Darkness."

"A NEW Amazon Nation?" Heather asks in shock.

"Yes, the new Queen is chosen and Artemis has chosen four mortal champions to represent her on Earth. They were the ones who captured the man who murdered me."

"Artemis has chosen mortal champions?" Heather asks in shock. "Are they descendants of other Amazons?"

"I don't know. But Amarice and Hippolyta are impressed with them. They said that the four also impressed Hercules with their bravery."

"I'll bet they all hate men," Mindi replies with a frown.

"Actually three of them have boyfriends who fight beside them." Tracy replies.

"They have men?" Mindi replies in shock. "What kind of men would knowingly love an Amazon?"

"A man who has the skills of a Green Beret, a Scholar who is a Mage and a guitar playing werewolf." Tracy replies with a grin.

"A guitar playing werewolf? Mindi asks in shock. Tracy nods her head. "That's too much!!" Mindi screams out. "How can I believe anything you say?"

"Take my word for it, big sis," Tracy replies. "Because you'll be meeting them soon."

"What are you talking about, Tracy?" Heather asks as Mindi stares in shock at her little sister.

"Artemis wants the Amazons to be ready to fight." Tracy tells her Mother. "The time is coming for the Army of the Light to form and fight openly. And the Amazons have to be ready to fight beside the other chosen champions of humanity."

Heather breathes deeply and quietly asks, "What weapons should I begin to teach your sisters?"

"All of the traditional as well as modern weapons, Mother. But you also have to train our brothers as well." Tracy replies.

"Tom and Henry? Why?" Heather asks.

"Because the Amazon Nation will no longer be just a nation of women. Yes, our Queen and her council will rule, but the men will also have an equal voice. And that means that they have to be ready to help defend it."

Heather nods her head. "I'll contact the other Mothers and make all of the arrangements. Can you tell me something? The Queen? Who is she?"

"I don't know, Mother, but she is a direct descendant of the last Queen," Tracy replies with a smile. "In fact, she looks exactly like her."

"That's nice, Tracy," Heather replies with a smile. "Now, dish the dirt. What's Artemis' palace like? Are you on Olympus with the Gods?"

"It's very beautiful, Mother." Tracy replies with a smile. "And yes, we're on Olympus with the Gods. In fact I saw Ares the other day complaining about Lady Artemis' mortal champions."

"What was Ares complaining about?" Mindi asks in shock.

"That they and their leader ruined several of his plans," Tracy says with a grin. "Lady Artemis just laughed and told him off."

"Who leads the Amazons? The Queen?" Heather asks.

"No. A man leads them." Tracy tells a shocked Heather and Mindi.

"Is he the Green Beret that you mentioned earlier?" Mindi asks.

"No. This one is one of the Nine."

"The Nine? What's that?" Heather asks.

"The Nine are the chosen Generals for the Army of Light. They will lead, the Army will follow. Their weapons are the Nine Swords of Destiny."

Heather stares in shock as she quietly asks. "And what does the Lady say about this 'man' leading her chosen champions?"

"Why do you think they were chosen, Mother? Because they were already fighting the Darkness beside this man and his lady for the last two years."

"And this man's 'lady'? What is she if she is not an Amazon?" Heather asks.

"A Slayer." Her Mother stares at her in shock and nearly faints from the news. Mindi looks blankly at her Mother and asks.

"What's a Slayer?"

Heather turns to her and tells her. "Another of the Chosen. A girl given the gifts of enhanced strength, speed and stamina. She hunts vampires and Demons, protecting humanity from their depravation's."

"Is she an Amazon?"

"No, she's not an Amazon. She's something else." Heather replies as she looks at Mindi. "Mindi?" Mindi turns to her Mother. "Will you begin training? Now that you know that we'll be fighting?"

"Yeah, I'll be here in the morning. But I want to bring Terry with me."

"You love him, don't you?" Heather asks with a smile.

"I do, Mother. When Tracy leaves, I'm going to go to him and have a long talk. I hope that I can convince him to join us."

"I think you'll have more than a talk." Heather replies with a knowing smile. "When your Father was alive, I had many talks with him like that."

"Is that why I have two sisters and two brothers? Because of 'your' talks?" Mindi asks with a smile.

"Your Father could talk a snake from a tree. And the things he could do with his tongue. . . ." Heather remembers fondly.

"That's Gross!" Both Tracy and Mindi cry out. The look at each other and cry out. "JINX!" and begin to laugh.

Heather smiles and quietly tells Mindi. "I'll schedule the training for twelve then. I hope that Terry is understanding."

"He will be. If he wants to continue to share my bed." Mindi replies with conviction. "Besides, he's a black belt in karate and you never were too good with that stuff."

"He'll help train the others then." Heather replies as she looks at Tracy. "Was this what Artemis wanted you to do? To get us to ready the Amazons for the coming fighting?"

"Yes, it was. But I was also to spend time with you, so that you could let me go and continue with your lives, Mother."

Heather looks at her watch. "We still have over an hour left. Let's be a family again."

"I'd like that." Tracy replies with a smile as they head upstairs to be a family again.

*****

Epilogue 4 - Heeerrrrreee's Lucy
(He Hates It When I Call Him That)

Location: You DON'T want to know

Jason Grieves wakes up, looks around him and sees his hotel room. < Oh God! It was all a dream! > He moves to get up but finds himself tied down. "Oh Shit! What the hell is going on here!"

"Ahh, you're awake." A pleasant voice replies from the side. Grieves turns his head and sees a tall, thin man with a very angular face looking back at him. Grieves notices the black clothes and shoulder length dark brown hair.

"Who the hell are you!?" Grieves demands.

The man smiles easily as he leans down. "Funny that you should mention Hell. Because you're in my little corner of it."

Grieves stares at the man, not realizing where he was. "What the fucking Hell are you talking about!?"

The man's smile broadens. "A fucking Hell? My friend I do believe I can give you just that." Grieves stares at the man as his body is flipped up and he's put into position with his rear end raised and he was facing an image of him taken from the top. He watches as a naked dark skinned man walks forward and strokes his massive manhood. The black man looks at the tall, angular faced man. The angular faced man nods with an evil grin and the black man's face splits into a grin as his white teeth show. Grieves watches as the black man's penis becomes fully hard and it splits his ass in one savage stroke. Grieves screams. "Oh God!! Please help me!!"

The angular man begins to laugh his head off. Grieves stares at him through the pain. The man leans in and harshly tells Grieves. "God sent you here, you little moron. For what you did to those poor girls, I get to do to you whatever I want."

"Wh. . . who are youuuuu?" Grieves bites out as the massive black reams him again.

"You don't know who I am?" The man asks in shock. "Why I would think that a fool like you would recognize me." Grieves shakes his head and the man relents with a sigh. "I just hate it when they don't know me." He waves his hand and Grieves feels the pressure on his butt re-intensify and he screams again. The man again leans in. "I just doubled the size of Jubala's cock." Grieves stares in shock as the black man almost falls over from the weight of his organ. Grieves screams out again as the cock rams into his split bleeding bung hole like a piston. After an hour, Jubala 's cock erupts and Grieves screams again in pain. Grieve looks over to the tall man and begs.

"Please let me go. I haven't done anything to you."

The man smiles and waves his hand and Grieves sees everyone of his victims, staring at him. He screams in pain as the black man again rapes him. He stares at the tall man who just laughs.

"Oh, I'm so sorry. I forget to tell you that after every use, your ass will repair itself." Grieves stares in horror as the large black man laughs wickedly.

"I've always loved the virgin assholes, Master Lucifer. Especially when they're the so-called Aryan Supermen, like this one thinks he is."

Grieves stares and croaks out. "You're Lucifer!?"

"Well, well. Looks like the child molester and murderer has finally found out where he's been sent."

"But they were only Jews that I killed. Nothing more than roaches." Grieves cries out. "I was doing God's work in ridding humanity of those animals!"

Lucifer laughs long and hard and glares at Grieves. "All are God's children. You have committed crimes against twenty of those children and I have no pity for you. But Jubala will have a lot of fun, won't you."

The large black man grins. "I do love these Aryan Assholes. They're soooooo tight."

Lucifer also grins evilly. "Enjoy the larger cock, Jubala . I hope you use it a lot."

"I will, Master Lucifer. May I have him again?" Jubala asks as his cock rises again.

"Please feel free to fuck him as much as you want." Lucifer tells his servant. "And please remember that his ass will become tight again after an hour's rest."

Jubala laughs loudly. "Why this is the best present you ever got me, Master Lucifer. Better than that little house painter who killed himself and his wife. They're fun, but this one is a real screamer."

As Lucifer gets up to leave, he smiles at his servant. "I'm sure that Eva will love your new equipment, as will her husband."

"I'm sure they will. But one favor, Master?"

"What is it Jubala ?"

"Can you make them also grow tight again? They've been getting a little loose over the last few years and they haven't been screaming as much."

Lucifer grins. "My apologies, old friend." He stares at a point in the wall for a second. "It's done. Both of them are now virgins, again. And they will be every hour after you finish with them."

Jubala laughs lightly. "I hope you have ear plugs, Master, because I'm going to make them all scream!"

"You're a good assistant, Jubala ." Lucifer replies with a smile as he disappears from the room while a quivering Grieves watches in horror as the black man grows hard again. A minute later, his screams could be heard all over hell. Lucifer looks back and grins evilly. < Casca, you sent me a great present when you killed him in the Circus Maximus. >

*****

Jubala stares at the spot where Lucifer stood. He grunts as he pulls out and angrily punches Grieves in his torn anus. The fist sinks in up to the forearm and Grieves screams again. When Jubala opens his fist and grabs a length of Grieves' large intestine and yanks. Grieves' screams rise to a new pitch as Jambala pulls out a two foot length out. Grieves screams rise to a higher crescendo as Jubala ties it into a knot and pulls, hard. Jubala moves back and stares at his handy work . Grieves sobs on the bed as the mysterious force lets him fall to the bed in a pile. He looks up from the bed in excruciating pain as Jubala giggles evilly.

"Wha. . . why are you doing thi. . . thiss to me?" Grieves gasps out through the pain.

Jubala smiles as he leans down. "I hate you white bastards. I hate the Romans who enslaved me and made me fight in the Arena. I especially hate the white bastard that I have to serve now. But the white man that I hate most is the bastard that sent me down here. Someday, I'll rip his arms out and then gut him like a fish. But until then, I'll content myself with you, white meat."

"The. . . then why do you talk like tha at?"

"Because of what you bastards did to my people for the last two hundred years. Since the early 1800s, subservient blacks have been coming here, you fool." Jubala replies in distaste. "Those pieces of shit are what you white bastards have made of a proud people! Seeing them beg and snivel in fear to that white bastard turns my stomach! For THAT I hate you white bastards the most!!"

Before Grieves could answer, Lucifer appears in the room and Jubala quickly bows and snivels. "Master Lucifer? Why are you back so soon?"

Lucifer smiles evilly. "Jubala, what have I told you about talking about me behind my back?"

"I wasn't speaking out of turn, Master!" Jubala replies, his dark skin beginning to sweat.

"I especially hate the white bastard that I have to serve now." Lucifer replies in a perfect imitation of Jubala's voice. Jubala stares in fear as Lucifer looks down at his cock. "Since being with me turns your stomach, I'll just have to be nice and help you get rid of all of that acid." Lucifer chuckles evilly. "But since we don't have any Maalox here, you'll get rid of your stomach acid by releasing it through your urinary tract." Jubala stares at Lucifer, not understanding the terms. Lucifer grins. "What that means is that you'll be pissing and cumming acid for the next two decades. And the only way you'll be able to get relief is by pumping it into Grieves and your other charges. I'm sorry, Jubala, but that stuff will mar the finish on my floors, so it has to go somewhere. And what better place than the truly damned? After all, the lower souls who clean the floors with their tongues shouldn't be mistreated."

Jubala gulps as he winces. "Feel the pain already?" Jubala silently nods his head. "The longer you wait, the worse it gets." Lucifer replies with a snicker as he watches Jubala pull the hanging intestine from Grieves' anus and begins to fuck him with vigor. Lucifer watches for a few more seconds and then disappears.

*****

Lucifer watches Jubala as he continues to fuck Grieves and laughs as Grieves' screams could be heard all over Hell as Jubala cums inside of him. "I wonder if I should tell Jubala that the more that he fucks, the faster the acid will form?" He watches as Jubala's face registers surprise at the slight pain already forming and the former Nubian Prince hurries to take care of one of his other charges. Lucifer laughs softly as he watches Jubala run down the hall, his cock hanging down below his knees. "No, I don't think that I'll need to tell him." Lucifer laughs again as he lengthens the tunnel that Jubala has to travel to reach his next victim.

The End

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