In My Bathroom

In My Bathroom



******

Chapter 19:

The house was quiet. There were no signs of sound anywhere. It was eerily quiet for a Slayers home. No signs of forced entry anywhere which was eerie by itself. It meant they had a key or something. The house wasn't trashed like it should have been.

It wasn't like you see in those movies where everything is thrown everywhere. Things were neatly placed to the side and nothing was broken. It was almost as if things were merely pushed to the side in search for ones keys. No, that wasn't why things were disturbed and out of their place. There was a bigger reason.

"Where are they?" Dawn, being the bravest one to break the eerie uncomfortable silence that fell over the group upon stepping inside the house, said.

"They could have escaped. I mean it's a definite possibility. It could happen." Xander said with false optimism.

"Either that or Spike, Angel and that nice green demon are being dissected by the government." Anya said.

The group turned to give her death glares.

"What I'm merely stating that it could happen. We should be prepared for the worst." Anya said defensively.

"Anya, however untactful and bluntly said, may have a point." Giles said.

"So we go to wherever the Initiative guys are and attack. Guns blazing. Whatever it takes." Faith said.

"It's not that simple. We don't even know where the Initiative has set up camp. And what if we go there and they don't even have Spike, Angel and Lorne captive. We'd be playing right into there hands." Wesley said.

"Wesley's right. We don't have any idea what these government guys have in store." Fred said.

"Right now would be a good time for you to have one of those ever so helpful visions, Cordy." Gunn said.

"I can't just turn them off and on. They don't work that way." Cordy said.

"Well we're running out of ideas here. I could probably track dad's scent, but its guesswork. Especially if they took the sewers." Connor said.

"Buff, what are we going to do?" Xander asked watching Buffy stare transfixed at one of Spike's shirts.

She seemed lost which was understandable. To have Spike back and then to lose him in mere hours had to be devastating. Suddenly Buffy turned around, walked purposefully over to Maddy and grabbed her by the neck.

"Where are they?" Buffy asked with a menacing glare and anger clear in her voice.

"I don't know." Maddy chocked out.

"Don't lie to me."

"Hey you think I would lie to someone who's chocking the life out of me." Maddy said and Buffy let go of her.

Maddy's hands went to her neck and she rubbed the tender flesh softly.

"I seriously don't know where they are. I can't tell where they went. Simple locator spell could figure it out. Didn't need to go chocking me." Maddy said.

"Why were you talking to the enemy? That looks suspicious." Buffy said.

"Brian maybe our enemy, but he's still..." Maddy wasn't sure what to say.

Technically he was still her husband and on some level he was still a friend, but what was he actually.

"He's still what." Buffy asked.

"He's still somewhat of a friend." Maddy said.

"Buffy's right. You're friends with the enemy. That does look suspicious." Xander said.

"I'm sure Maddy's got a good reason." Connor said feeling a weird surge to stick up for the only real friend he had. Maddy smiled slightly at him.

"It's okay Connor. Story of my life's a bit tangled and long. You sure you want to get into it right now or do you want to find Spike, Angel and Lorne." Maddy asked.

"How about just the cliff notes version. Just so we know we can trust you." Dawn asked.

"Dawn I hardly think the coven would send us Maddy if she wasn't trustworthy." Giles said.

"Yeah but do they know that for sure. Buffy said she was talking with the guy who knocked Spike out in the first place. Doesn't sound exactly right." Xander said.

"Okay you want to know. Fine I'll tell you. Brian used to be part of my coven and we were friends. He just...he was telling me goodbye." Maddy said.

Buffy looked at her for a few minutes before saying, "Okay if you say so. So you should do the locator spell. It's been awhile and the Initiative could still be after them." Buffy said.

"Got any supplies."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Nice place you got here. I thought you guys said we were going to a crypt." Lorne said after sitting down on one of the many couches in the mansion.

It still looked and smelled the same. The exact same it was almost weird.

"We lied. The house could have been bugged." Angel said.

"Oh well at least you were thinking ahead of time. You know just in case. Why did we have to take the sewers again?" Lorne asked.

"Won't see us if we take those. Peaches car is a lil' less then inconspicuous." Spike said glancing outside every once in awhile.

"Spike will you sit down. You're making me nauseous. I don't think they followed us." Angel said sitting down on the couch himself.

"You don't know the bloody Initiative like I do. They got those lil' do-hickeys that can sense a vampire's near. 'S been over a year since I seen 'em last and they still had the gadgets." Spike said sounding a little too paranoid.

"They didn't get Buffy or anyone else. They wouldn't harm humans." Angel said.

"Not everyone in that group was human." Spike said.

"Well besides the thrilling fact that everyone might be dead, how long are we going to stay here, because I don't know about you but I could use a Sea Breeze." Lorne said.

"Gettin' pissed sounds like a bloody great idea, but we might be 'ere for awhile." Spike said.

"They'll find us." Angel said.

"How? Sorry Angelcakes, but even with Connor's nose we took the sewers. I doubt he'll be able to track us." Lorne said.

"Even so it probably's best that they can't find us. Might put everyone in danger." Spike said.

"You really think Buffy's going to back off when she knows you might be in trouble. Doesn't seem like Buffy." Angel said.

"Well the best thing we can do is wait and see what happens. She'll probably get the littl' witch to do some sort of spell." Spike said.

"Yeah so there's nothing to fear. They'll find us soon enough and things will be great. I mean what's the worst that can happen." Lorne said.

Angel and Spike groaned loudly and Angel lightly tapped Lorne on the arm.

"Ow, what was that for." Lorne asked.

"Rule numero uno for life on the Hellmouth: never ever say 'what's the worst that can happen'. It's the biggest jinx ever." Spike said.

"You do realize you just sounded like Xander Harris, right." Angel asked.

"Yeah and it's a good thing I can't throw up." Spike said.

"Oh come on that can't be as bad as you say it is." Lorne said.

"Ever live on the Hellmouth, mate. Bad things always happen when you think it can't get any worse. Murphy's Law or some bloody bullshit like that." Spike said.

"It's a pretty bad thing to say Lorne." Angel said.

"So if anything bad happens we'll jus' blame you." Spike said with a big grin plastered on his face.

"Oh lucky me."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"You got everything set up." Buffy asked leaning over Maddy's shoulder and dubiously watching her every move.

"I would if you allowed me a little more room to move." Maddy said.

"Sorry for the overcautious attitude, but it's a must." Buffy said.

"Yeah I bet it is. Sure I got everything set up. Going to need something of Spike's, Angel's and Lorne's." Maddy said.

"I don't remember locator spells entailing some much detail." Wesley said watching from a corner of the kitchen.

Everyone was a bit hostile towards Maddy.

"It's not your basic locator spell. Something with a little more oomph." Maddy said pouring a green powder into the bubbling pot.

"As long as it gets the guys back I'm cool with it. Who knows where they are." Cordy said.

"In a few minutes, I will. Stuff." Maddy said.

"Right well I found something of Spike's and something of Lorne's although I don't think he's going to be to happy about us ruining one of his shirts. Angel doesn't seem to have that much clothes." Fred said holding up to shirts that contrasted greatly.

"Angel has to have clothes. I mean he knew he was going to be here awhile." Xander said.

"You'd be surprised how often he can wear the same thing for days." Cordy said.

"I didn't want to ruin what little clothes he had." Fred said.

"Just give my Spike's shirt. Spell won't work on Lorne 'cause... ... ... it won't. Still need somethin of Angel's." Maddy said. Fred handed her Spike's shirt.

"Well can it work with just the one things. I mean you don't have to do the oomph. Just a regular spell would be nice for once." Dawn said.

"Connor come here for a sec." Maddy said.

"Huh, why?" Connor said a little confused by Maddy's sudden change of the subject.

"Just do it."

Connor, grudgingly, made his way over to the stove.

"Okay so what?" He asked.

Maddy lifted her hand and pulled out a few strands of his hair.

"Ow that hurt more then it should have." Connor said.

"Sorry, need something of Angel's." Maddy said throwing the hairs into the pot along with the shirt.

"Oh I know what you're doing. Question is why are you doing it?" Anya asked.

"I like to be overcautious." Maddy said.

"For those of us who have to use magic for dummies what is she doing?" Xander asked.

"Simple spell really. It's more of a potion. God it's been awhile since I've seen a potion. It's really rare too. Simple but rare. Only upper level witches or powerful demons can manage to pull it off right." Anya babbled.

"Okay we got it. It's beaucoup de'mojo. What the hell does it do." Faith said.

"I was getting to that part. It's a spell that was made up by some demons as a counter-counter spell. See it's for the counter spell to the 'Essence of the demon'." Anya said.

"Sounds like a really bad cologne." Gunn said.

"Essence of the demon. I remember that. I got to read minds. The counter spell involved the no-mouth demon's heart. There's a counter spell to counter spells?" Buffy asked.

"There's a rumor that such spells and potions exist, but I've never seen one actually performed." Giles said taking off his glasses and beginning to clean them.

"So how does this thing, potion, spell whatever work. I mean this cologne thing sounds a little weird." Gunn said.

"It's not a cologne. You gain something from the demon if you come in contact with its blood." Wesley said.

�Ew like horns." Fred said.

"No you get the ability to read minds. Or at least that's what it was last time." Cordy said.

"Wait if this little potion needs demon hearts or whatever where are we going to get that. I mean they don't show up in magic stores do they." Xander asked.

"No it won't need the heart. Little blood from the spell caster maybe, but no hearts. See the demons use this potion to communicate with those that are lost. Their telekinesis can only go so far." Anya said.

"So what they drink the potion and they can read the person's thoughts. That's slightly intrusive." Fred said.

"It works both ways actually. It's like that thing Willow used to do with us when we were fighting demons while Buffy was dead." Anya said.

"Oh, well, so why use it now." Xander asked.

"That's what I was trying to figure out." Anya said.

Everyone turned his or her attention to Maddy who was currently making a deep cut in her palm and squeezing the blood into the pot.

"This place has a magic force around it. They can hear us." Maddy said.

"Oh now you tell us." Dawn said.

"Sorry, but I was trying to concentrate on how to make this potion. It's been awhile." Maddy said.

"So you don't know if it's going to work." Buffy asked.

"Should work just right. Just been awhile." Maddy said.

"Okay so there's a magic force around us. Still doesn't explain the over use of magic. I mean why can't we just do the locator spell. It would be faster." Dawn said.

"Because the magic field around us can tap into the magic used..."

"Being able to tell that we did a locator spell and follow us or tap into the spells core using it to find the guys themselves." Anya said.

"Potion's really the only way to go. Can't tap into the magic. And what makes you think that if they didn't magic this place they also didn't use the magic of science to bug it or put up little video cameras." Maddy said.

"Okay so we're basically sitting ducks. Why go after Spike, Angel and Lorne. We've got some pretty powerful people here." Gunn said.

"They're the Initiative. They go after demons." Xander said.

"No, that can't be it. There has to be a reason. It doesn't fit." Buffy said.

"Okay, B, don't bite my head off for suggesting it, but maybe they went after them to get to you. I mean they could use Spike as leverage to get you to agree to let them help." Faith said.

"Faith may be right." Wesley said.

Faith flashed a proud smile.

"Then why go after Angel and Lorne at the same time." Xander asked.

"Because they were here." Cordy said.

"No, that would be too messy." Buffy said.

"Messy, but practical if need be. I mean it would be hard to get Spike separated from the group. Three people are easier to take on then a whole group." Anya said.

"But why wait until Spike was alone with someone as strong as Angel. Angel wouldn't have any problems taking on humans." Gunn said.

"Maybe they have some super enhanced vampire formula that could disable them quickly so they were confident that they would be able to take Angel out." Fred said.

"Could be although I've never heard of anything like that." Wesley said.

"They knew Buffy would stop them so they waited until Spike was alone with just two others. Makes sense. So they might have them." Dawn said.

"Goes along with the it might be a trap theory." Xander said.

"We don't know what the situation is. I suggest that we just do the spell and figure out the rest later." Giles said.

"But it's still possible they want to use Lorne, Spike and dad as some sort of science project. We don't know why they went after them so let's just stop making all these crazed stories and just find them already." Connor said in an aggravated voice.

"How's the potion coming along?" Buffy asked.

"It's done. Just a few sips and we see if it worked." Maddy said.

"You going to drink it?"

"No I can't. My blood was poured into it so there's like a consequence if I drink it. It's got to be someone else." Maddy said.

"Someone else was to drink the maybe fatal potion. I don't think that's a job I want to sign on for." Gunn said.

"I'll do it." Buffy said.

"Yeah see I'm confident but not so confident. Maybe someone who's not super chick should drink it. You know, just to be sure." Maddy said.

"I'm not going to let someone else die if it's fatal." Buffy said.

"Not so much fatal as paralyzing. Quick fix, but the potion takes a week or so to make. Seriously someone else should do it." Maddy said.

"We could draw straws." Dawn said.

"No straws for you Dawnie. Too dangerous. Besides you have to go to school." Xander said.

"Okay the adults can draw straws." Dawn said.

"I'll do it." Connor said.

"I'm not sure I want to incur Angel's wrath by poisoning his son." Maddy said.

"So straws it is. Dawn and Connor won't do it though." Cordy said.

"Okay I'll get the straws." Dawn said walking over to the drawers.

"Well, good luck to everyone. I hope that one of you draws the straw that might lead to devastating paralysis." Anya said.

"Way to rally the troops." Faith said.

"I try."

"Okay so here are the straws. Everyone draw." Dawn said holding the straws out to the group of people who could drink the potion.

"Woo okay I didn't get the short one." Gunn said after the group had already grabbed all the straws.

"Yeah me neither." Fred said.

"Safe to say I didn't." Wesley said.

"Nope not here either." Cordy said.

"No short straw here." Faith said.

"Good neither did I." Anya said.

"That leaves�"

"Me." Xander said holding up the short straw and looking at it as if it were a bomb.

"Oh that... well that sucks." Faith said.

"Tell me about it. Okay so I guess I get to drink the potion of devastating paralysis." Xander said taking a gulp.

"Xander you don't have to do that. I could still..."

"No Buff, it's okay. I can be a man about it." Xander said.

"If you're sure." Buffy said.

"Definitely. Hand me this potion Maddy." Xander said with false bravado.

Maddy handed him a cup of greenish bluish liquid.

"Here goes nothing." Xander said pressing the cup to his lips and gulping down the liquid.

The instant the potion hit his throat Xander felt a weird warming sensation. Not burning like when he drank his first shot of tequila. This was a nice warm tingling feeling that went through his head. It didn't hurt one bit. In fact he felt a little glowy, but not in the radioactive sort of way.

He couldn't even taste the potion, which he had thought would have a really foul taste according to its color. It was as if air was passing through his lips and the only way he could tell he was drinking something was the wet feeling it left. Xander drank until the whole thing was gone and then carefully placed the empty cup on the kitchen counter.

"So did it work." Xander asked.

"I think so. You were giving off a little light." Maddy said.

"I felt glowy. Is that a good thing or not?"

"Well, considering you're not paralyzed I'd say it was a good thing." Anya said.

"So what now?" Xander asked.

"You concentrate on hearing either Spike or Angel's thoughts. Shouldn't be too hard. It should be as loud as if they were in the same room with you and they were talking." Maddy said.

"Okay I think I can handle that. I mean it should be no problem. So here I go." Xander said shutting his eyes and trying his hardest to concentrate on anything that sounded like Angel or Spike.

It only took a few seconds before he heard something. Maddy was right. It was as if they were in the same room and they were yelling.

God if Spike doesn't stop pacing right now, Sire bond be damned, I'm going to stake him. How many times have I told him to stop it? How am I supposed to think when he's pacing around like that. It's distracting.

Peaches looks right pissed. Maybe I should stop pacing. I can't though. Why 'aven't the Scoobies sent off a warning signal yet? Are they okay? 'S only common courtesy to send some sort of message. Great I'm gonna go bloody insane.

Geez he's like the energizer bunny. He just keeps going and going and going...

And then what if Buffy's hurt and they're captured by Red and the whole world ends...

And going and going and going and going and going and going and going...

Or what if the Initiative wankers 'ave 'em held hostage and I'm not there to kill them.

"Okay how do I turn them off." Xander said.

"You have to get into their minds. Think something and they should here it." Maddy said.

"Yeah something like this is Xander Harris and I'm just wandering where you guys are. If you get this message think back the answer." Anya said.

"Helpful very helpful." Xander said sarcastically.

"Just think something they wouldn't normally think. That way they don't think they're crazy or that it's their thought." Cordy said.

"Okay here goes nothing."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Spike I'm really serious about the pacing. Cut. It. Out." Angel said.

"'M nervous. Don't blow up on me."

"Then stop pacing."

"Guys let's chill a little. No time to get testy." Lorne said.

"Yeah right. Lorne's right." Angel said.

Spike nodded his head and went back to his pacing.

"Oh for the love of Pete. Stop pacing."

"I can't 'elp it. I pace when 'm nervous."

God I'd kill for a mocha judge sundae the thought appeared in both of the vampire's heads.

What the fuck? both vampires thought at the same time.

Good I've gotten your attention. Now there are no scenarios of death and no talk about energizer bunnies. This is Xander Harris. Now the both of you're probably wondering why Xander Harris is in your brains, well let's just say I drew the short straw and get stuck with the messy work. Just think about where you are and we'll come get you.

"Spike do you hear that too." Angel asked.

"Yeah, but I'm not sure I understand it." Spike said.

"What are you two crazy vampires talking about?" Lorne asked.

"Apparently Xander Harris is in our heads because of something to do with straws." Angel said.

"Well that's not unheard of." Lorne said.

Hello, guys we don't have forever. Now where are you?

"Okay this is totally weird." Spike said.

"Just go with it Spike." Angel said.

"You do it. We both don't need to go exploring the mojo at work here." Spike said.

"Okay I can do it if you're afraid." Angel said.

He closed his eyes and thought about what he'd say.

Xander we're at the mansion. The Initiative guys were after us so we took off. Should we just stay where we are or come back?

"That wasn't so hard. He should reply back in any moment." Angel said.

"Explain to me how the whelp being inside our heads is a good thing." Spike said.

"Drawing a blank right now, but I'm sure it's better then sitting here watching you pace all night." Angel said.

"Yeah and then I won't have to listen to you two bicker. So did Xander say anything yet?" Lorne asked.

"No they're probably arguing over what to do." Angel said.

Okay here's what's going to go down. Wes and Buffy are going to drive over there to pick you guys up. In fact they already left with Buffy dragging Wesley by the arm. Looked a little harsh. They should be there any moment. Then we'll have a chance to regroup.

Okay, one question. And this is Spike by the way

Hey Deadboy Junior.

Don't push your luck Harris. No chip anymore remember.

You wouldn't hurt me. Buffy would hate you and then you wouldn't be getting any. Ever again. So ask away

When does this neat little parlor trick end?

After about five minutes or so of not answering Spike and Angel started to get worried.

"Okay he's taking a while to answer. That can't be good. This is all you're fault." Spike said pointing to Lorne.

"Me, what did I do." Lorne asked.

"You kind of jinxed us." Angel said.

Hey guys don't get mad at Lorne. Everyone was putting in their input on the subject and it got a little overwhelming. Well it seems that the potion goes until the spell plays out.

And when is that exactly? both vampires thought at the same time.

I have no idea

~~~~~~

Chapter 20

Buffy and Wesley rolled down the streets of Sunnydale to the mansion on Crawford Street. It had been awhile since Buffy had been back to the mansion she had spent a good deal of her teenage years in. That was all behind her now and she had moved on with her life. It still made her slightly antsy.

Wesley seemed a little jittery about going to back to the mansion as well. For him it had been the place of his first huge failure and his second huge failure. There he had taken Faith away incidentally pushing her farther away and that’s where he had been fired from the council. The place was filled with bad memories for the ex-watcher.

“Well here we are.” Wesley said turning off the car.

“Well don’t just sit there let’s go.” Buffy said throwing her door open and running to the mansion.

“Yeah, let’s go.” Wesley said as he climbed out of his door and jogged to catch up with Buffy.

When he got inside the mansion he heard Buffy yelling for Spike. Wesley followed her into the living room area and saw Angel and Spike sitting on the floor growling and Lorne looking utterly confused.

“What the hell’s going on here?” Buffy asked to no one in particular.

“I have no idea, Sweetcakes. They were taking about Xander being inside their brains, then they got quite and just a little while ago they started growling at each other. It’s very weird.” Lorne said.

“Yeah it is. Spike! Hello what’s the matter!” Buffy screamed.

Spike’s head shot up at Buffy’s voice. “Oh hello luv.” He said to her with a smile on his face.

“Okay that was just weird.” Wesley said.

“Why were you growling at Angel?” Buffy asked.

“He wasn’t. He was growling at something Xander said. He thinks he’s really funny.” Angel said.

“Right the spell.” Buffy said.

“No you’re not.” Spike said out loud. The group turned to look at Spike strangely.

“Sorry, but the little bugger said that he and this is a direct quote ‘am too funny’.” Spike said.

“Right well that remains to be seen.” Angel muttered under his breath.

“Okay are you to going to be like that all the time. You know hearing each other’s thoughts and stuff like that.” Buffy said.

“Well supposedly the spell wears off when it wants to. No counter spell or anything like that.” Angel said.

“Yeah well that would make sense considering it is already a counter to a counter.” Wesley said.

“Was that English?” Lorne asked.

“Unbelievably, yes it was.” Wesley replied.

“Okay well let’s get the growl-y twins back to the house.” Buffy said.

“Good let’s get closer to Xander, that outta make thins’ a whole lot better.” Spike said.

“Oh just be quite. Yes, I was talking to you.” Angel said.

“This spell better work itself out fast because I don’t think I could deal with a day of Touretes.”

“Well if you would just listen... ... ... oh right like you ever listen... ... ... that’s not even right.” Xander said as he paced across the living room.

“Okay this can’t be good. He sounds like a raving loony.” Anya said watching in fascination like the rest of the group.

“Keeps things interesting if you ask me.” Faith said.

“Yeah better then watching TV.” Gunn said.

“And a bit funnier.” Fred said.

“Yeah but he sounds like a schizophrenic. That can’t be good. I mean what if we go out in public.” Cordy said.

“Cordelia may have a point. Are you sure there’s not some other spell you can do to fix this.” Giles said.

“No, I’m positive. Don’t worry it should wear off once Spike and Angel get here.” Maddy said.

“And what if it doesn’t.” Dawn said.

“I’d say things could get pretty interesting.” Anya said.

“I wonder what the other half of the conversation is. Weird to only here one part of the conversation.” Connor said.

“Well Spike’s probably spouting off ‘bloody hell’s and ‘sod off’s while Angel is probably sitting there listening and brooding.” Cordy said.

“This could be bad. Spike and Xander already fight like cats and dogs.” Dawn said.

“Yes and now they can fuel there conversation even more.” Anya said.

“Gah, I don’t even no why I... ... ... right this is all my fault... ... ... you know I believe that’s the first time you said it was someone else’s... ... ... oh didn’t you tell him that’s a jinx... ... ... well be reasonable, Angel, he’s never... ... ... no, I do, but... ... ... can I get a sentence in edgewise.” Xander said.

“Okay Xander. Xander!” Maddy said. Xander turned to face her immediately.

“You have to calm down. Learn how to block things out a bit. You can argue in person in a few minutes so just try to cool it till then.” Maddy said.

“I can’t. Even as we’re talking right now I can hear Spike saying ‘Just wait until I get there Harris’ and Angel saying ‘Well maybe if your sentences made any sense I would’.” Xander said.

“Just sit and relax. Everything will be just fine.” Maddy said.

Xander complied and took a seat next to Anya on the couch.

“This is so not going to work. It’s going to be total hell.” Xander said.

“Oh, Xander, don’t be so melodramatic. It won’t be that bad. Sure you’ll be able to hear Spike and Angel’s every thought, but how bad could that be.” Fred said.

Dawn, Xander, Cordelia, Anya, and even Giles flinched at Fred’s choice of words.

“What?” Fred asked truly confused.

“That was a poor choice of words, Fred. Not good at all.” Cordy mumbled.

“What?” Fred asked again looking to Dawn for some help.

“Well, you see to say what you just said is like the worst jinx ever. When you live on the Hellmouth you shouldn’t say things like that. It ends up in more bad stuff that you thought couldn’t possibly have happened.” Anya explained.

“Yeah I learned the hard way with big warrior dudes on horses out for blood.” Dawn said.

“What is it with you out of towners. First the big green guy Lorne. Now Fred. This is a sign. This is a sign that Spike is going to have sex thoughts and Angel is going to do nothing but brood just to piss me off.” Xander said burying his head in his hands.

“Again stop being so melodramatic. I’m sure that everything will turn out just fine.” Fred said slightly miffed at Xander’s comments.

“Fred, I’d listen to them. They may be a little overcautious, but when it comes to the myths and sayings of the Hellmouth, these guys know what they’re talking about.” Faith said.

“It’s just a saying.” Fred said still trying to defend herself although she saw the logic in Faith’s statement.

“Yeah, but a very, very bad one when dealing with the Hellmouth. It isn’t your fault though. You didn’t know any better.” Cordy said.

“Yeah isn’t that right, Xander.” Anya said giving Xander a nudge.

Xander lifted his head, looked around and said, “Yeah sure.”

“Hey guys.” Everyone turned to the hallway to see Angel, Spike, Lorne, Buffy and Wesley standing there looking exhausted. “Hey dad, you okay?” Connor asked.

“Just fine son. Didn’t get hurt, just a little tired from running around. Spike insisted that we run around in the sewers just in case the Initiative had those and I quote ‘nifty vampire catchin’ gadgets they had the last time they were in town’.” Angel said doing a bad imitation of Spike’s accent.

“’S possible that they did. You never know. They prolly did.” Spike said.

“That’s not the point Spike. The point is that you said nifty. I have Lorne as my witness.” Angel said a real smile gracing his face.

Everyone in the room stifled their laughter remembering that Spike was not chipped and not looking pretty scary.

/hehe Spike said nifty. If I could laugh I would but he looks ready to rip out someone’s throat and I like my throat where it is./ Xander thought.

“I heard that whelp.” Spike muttered.

“Oh right the whole we can hear each other’s thoughts. Damn it I can’t even think things without people interfering in that.” Xander grumbled.

“As great as this conversation is I think that everyone here is more then just a little tired. I vote we go to bed.” Cordy said.

“But it’s not even passed midnight.” Dawn complained.

“How about we watch a video.” Fred said.

“Yeah and eat some food.” Faith said.

“Is that all you ever think about, Faith.” Gunn asked. “Well, food is essential to the Slayer process, although I haven’t kicked any butt yet.” Faith replied.

“If it’s not problem, I think I’m just going to go sit down on that couch and maybe pass out for a little while. Seems appropriate.” Lorne said shuffling over to the couch and plopping down on the seat Xander no longer occupied.

“Yes, a movie sounds great, but I really think that we should research some more.” Giles said. “Well you guys can do the research thing, I want to just snuggle with Spike and watch a movie.” Buffy said pulling Spike over to the chair next to the couch and seating him in it.

“So it’s agreed. The Watchers do the research while everyone else relax and watches a nice action packed movie.” Xander said.

“Action. Xander I was thinking something along the lines of comedy.” Dawn said.

“Yeah a comedy. Lighten the mood a little.” Buffy said from her place on Spike’s lap.

“I’m with Buffy and Dawn. A comedy sounds good.” Anya said.

“What about a drama. Drama’s are good.” Cordy said.

“Yeah something sad a tear-jerking.” Fred said.

“I’m going to have to go with Xander on the action. Something with things that explode.” Gunn said.

“Yeah and maybe a car chase.” Connor said.

“And lots of fake blood.” Spike said.

“You don’t want to watch a comedy?” Buffy said pouting slightly.

“Oh balls. Fine a comedy sounds good.” Spike said.

“Whipped.” Gunn and Xander muttered.

Spike growled at them.

“Yeah Connor don’t you wanna watch a comedy. I mean our lives are action packed enough as it is.” Dawn said batting her eyelashes at Connor.

“Sure why not.” Connor said smiling slightly at Dawn.

“Great sit here with me on the floor.” Dawn said taking Connor’s arm and sitting him on the floor.

“That’s pathetic man. Mere hours and the boy’s already whipped.” Gunn said.

“Yes, sometimes I wish there were more guys in the group.” Xander said.

“Angel, man, come on say you want action.” Gunn begged. “I really don’t care. Whatever Cordy wants.” Angel said waving his hand at them as he sat next to Lorne.

“Lorne, come on you want action.” Xander said.

“What about a musical?” Lorne said. The group groaned.

“Well, Moulin Rogue is a musical and a drama. How about that?” Cordy said.

“Yeah that sounds good.” Dawn said.

“Okay I’m puttin’ my foot down. I don’t care how bloody cute that pout is. I am not watchin’ Moulin Rogue. I change mine back to an action movie.” Spike said.

“Welcome back, man.” Gunn said.

“What’s everyone talking about?” Faith asked as she came back to the living room with food in her arms.

“What movie to watch.” Dawn said.

“Action.” Faith said.

“Well let’s vote.” Buffy said.

“That’s not fair. There’s more girls then guys.” Xander whined.

Arguing began over which movie to watch and the group was almost screaming at the top of their lungs. Giles shook his head in dismay.

“No wonder I feel so old. Wesley let’s go do research.” Giles said.

“Um, can it be a dark comedy.” Wesley said purposefully not looking Giles in the eye.

“Sure, but it’s between Moulin Rogue and Lethal Weapon.” Dawn said.

“Oh well Lethal Weapon then.” Wesley said in that fake low baritone voice. Wesley walked into the living room and thus into the pit of arguing.

“Jesus, I don’t even know why I bother.” Giles said throwing his hands up in frustration.

“I’ll help you research.” Giles turned around to see Maddy standing there in a somewhat shy manner.

“Wouldn’t you rather watch a video?” Giles asked.

“I’m not exactly wanted there. Besides someone’s gonna have to help you with languages.” Maddy said.

“You know different ones?” Giles asked.

“No, well one or two here and there.” Maddy said.

“Well then let’s get started.”

“Where were you at all night, Brian.” Willow asked the young man standing in front of here.

“I was just out scouting for information. Nothing new.” Brian said lying as if it was the truth.

A year or so being on the dark side can teach you how to lie very well. Brian absently thought about how well he’d be able to lie in a few years.

“Really so you didn’t talk to that little witch friend of the do gooders.” Willow said.

“Of course not. Why would I talk to her.” Brian said not at all fidgeting at the mention of Maddy.

“Because I had you checked out. Have to do that with all me people. I mean you just waltz in here and expect not to get a past check. Anyway it turns out you and she were in the same coven. Very interesting coincidence.” Willow said looking at him with black eyes.

Brian noticed they’d been like that ever since they sent the rock demon after the LA vampire. They had never gone back to their normal green. It was going to happen soon.

“Yeah, I knew her. So what?” Brian asked with all the false bravado he could muster.

“Oh not just knew, Brian. Turns out you knew her really well. Well, enough to oh say marry her.” Willow said pushing the desk forward and knocking Brian out of his seat.

“You think she’ll come and rescue your sorry ass if I torture you so you scream loud enough all of Sunnydale would hear.” Willow said turning her back to Brian.

“I’m not very excepting of those that betray me Brian. In fact, it makes me cranky.” Willow said turning around. Brian saw the magical energy surrounding her in green light.

“Now, wait. I know her. Yeah it’s been awhile though. Divorce isn’t final, but it should be in a little while.” Brian said.

“So you don’t deny knowing her. I thought at least you might deny it for a little while. No fun in torturing someone when I already have the information I want.” Willow said the energy dying a little.

“I went to her tonight. Tried to figure out what they knew about this prophecy.”

“Through your wife.”

“Yeah, she didn’t tell me much of anything just that they were getting close to figuring out what it was about and that they need a few more days before they find all the missing pieces.” Brian said.

“So you didn’t tell them anything?” Willow said.

“You can brain suck me if you want to find out. I didn’t tell them anything about the prophecy. Hell, I don’t even know anything about the stupid prophecy. All I told her were my good-byes. Figured I owed her that much considering how I just left her. She wouldn’t follow me to the dark side. That was all I swear.” Brian said.

“Surprisingly enough, I believe you. Just wanted to give you the chance to tell me yourself. Now, I have a slight problem. It seems that the Initiative is back in town. They want to take me down. I need you to make sure that that doesn’t happen. Assemble the troops. Make sure they know exactly what to do. I planned to attack the Initiative at full force in a few nights. Go!” Willow said dismissing Brian.

Brian stood up and walked briskly out of the door. So it was really beginning. Willow’s downfall and whoever’s accession to the top. It was all just a matter of who got there first. Whoever it was who was supposed to rise would rise. Whether it was Brian or another one of Willow’s little flunkies, it was beginning.

“Sir, there is important news about the prophecy.” Brian looked over to see Amy standing behind him.

“Go on in and tell the Dark Mistress yourself, Amy. I’m too tired to deal with anything at this point.” Brian said.

“Okay whatever you say.” Amy said an evil smile gracing her face.

At this point it didn’t matter whom it was. All that matter was that it was starting. And lord, someone should stop it.

Almost everyone was asleep. Spike and Angel were up quietly discussing the third movie of the night, something to do with a dog, while everyone was sleeping soundly curled up next to someone else. Buffy had fallen asleep curled in Spike’s lap and her head resting on his shoulder. Cordelia was snuggled against Angel’s side with her head resting peacefully on his shoulder.

Dawn and Connor lay on the curled close to each other. Fred was leaning against Gunn’s chest as Gunn slept in an awkward sitting position that Lorne was also sitting in on the couch. Anya and Xander were leaning against each other. Even Faith who was sharing a chair with Wesley was sleeping against him.

“We’re missing something. I know we’re missing something, but we’re so close.” Giles said slamming his fist as quietly as he could on the dinning room table.

“Well, we’ll just have to keep looking.” Maddy replied as she flipped the pages to the book that she was reading.

“Does this look like this symbol?” Giles asked handing Maddy the book he was using to translate the prophecy and the prophecy itself. They had found the scroll that was needed for the prophecy from the coven.

“Yeah, what does it mean?” Maddy asked.

“It means, roughly translated, the relative. More like the closest person to whomever it is the prophecy is mentioning.” Giles said.

“And in the context of the prophecy that would be helpful because?” Maddy asked.

“Well, it means that the savior is the closest person to Willow.” Giles said.

“Okay so the savior is the closest person to Willow. Does that translation help any?” Maddy asked.

“Well, yes if we use this language it makes more sense then what we’ve come up with.” Giles said.

“What did you come up with?”

“Well, the language we were using said that the savior was the brother of the tree. Then it went on to talk about some ritual used to invoke the spirit of the dead using the blood of the something or other. We weren’t able to translate that part.” Giles said.

“Maybe it’s in an encrypted language like Dru’s cure was.” Spike said loud enough so the two humans and the table could hear, but it wouldn’t walk up all the sleeping people.

“That’s quite possible, Spike. We’d need a decoder though and there isn’t any mention of one. No, I think this language makes sense. It says the savior is the closest person to the tree and that... ... ... cheese is good.” Giles said in a defeated voice.

“Well, at least those ancient guys knew what they were talking about.” Maddy said jokingly.

“Well, I don’t understand why that other translation couldn’t work. If you’ve gotten so far wif’ it, was wrong.” Spike asked.

“Yeah, I don’t get why you are trying to find another translation if you think that that one would work.” Angel said.

“Because, you morons, Willow doesn’t have a brother.” Giles said.

“But she does have a Xander Harris. Couldn’t there be someway that maybe Willow and Xander are tied to each other some other way, but it’s like a brother sister bond. Perhaps soul or blood wise.” Angel said.

“By, Joe, Peaches actually had a thought that made sense.” Spike said.

“So that would mean that Xander is the savior. And the weight of the world rests on him.” Maddy said.

“The earth is definitely doomed.” Giles said.

/Xander Harris is gonna save the world. I’d like to see that. The whelp can’t even manage to tie his shoes wif’out tripping. Watcher’s definitely right the earth is doomed./

/I have to protect Xander Harris from the wrath of Willow. Because he’s the savior and the only one that can save the world. I should have never come to the Hellmouth./

“I’m the WHAT!”

Chapter 21:

"That's impossible. You guys must be reading that damn prophecy wrong. And how come I heard the thoughts in Spike and Angel's head. I thought the potion would have worn off already. I mean they're found so why hasn't it worn off. And there is no way that I'm this savior guy." Xander said loudly enough to stir some of the sleeping people as he paced and ran his finger through his hair.

"Xander do calm down. Nothing is certain, but if we go by what the text says then it would only conclude that you are in fact the savior the prophecy talks about." Giles said.

"But, Xander Harris. I mean we're talking about... Xander Harris." Angel said.

"Um... standing right exactly here people. Don't talk about me like I'm in another country." Xander said.

"How come he could still hear our thoughts?" Spike asked.

"Really not the important issue here Spike." Maddy said.

"But what if it is. I mean what if it's directly tied into the prophecy so's we could take care 'f the whelp better." Spike said.

"He's right! Deadboy Jr. is actually right. This is all your fault." Xander said pointing his finger at Maddy.

"Me, what did I do?" Maddy said with slight confusion in her voice.

"I don't know yet, but you did the spell and well I don't really have a point here, but it's your fault." Xander said waving his finger a little more at the last sentence.

"I hardly think that finger pointing is in order. We have to figure out what the rest of the prophecy says." Giles said once again being the voice of reason.

"Okay so what do we got here so far. I mean you said something about a brother sister bond thing and ritual to restore the dead with the blood of something." Maddy said.

"Could that be Buffy. I mean she was restored from the dead by the blood of something or another. Willow didn't really go into the details. She just said black market stuff." Xander said.

"No, it's not a ritual to restore the dead. It's a ritual to invoke the dead. Into something, but then I don't understand how that ties in with the savior." Giles said.

"Then there is somethin' you're missin'. Somethin' prolly in that parts that you can't translate. It's probably the key to all of this." Spike said.

"Okay so we try and figure out a way to translate that part of the prophecy. A translator or perhaps like Spike said some sort of decoder." Angel said.

"Am I going to die." Giles, Spike, Angel, and Maddy turned to see Xander sitting on an empty spot on the ground looking slightly withdrawn.

"Most likely not." Giles said not really sure what to say to reassure the young man. There wasn't a way to tell for sure if this ritual would harm Xander or not.

"You're not going to die, Xander. We are supposed to protect you." Angel said.

"Even if we don't like you that much." Spike said.

"But what if you're only supposed to protect me until it's time for me to die? This is a lot to handle right now. I mean I'm supposed to save the world. I'm just Xander Harris. Glorified brick-layer remember." Xander said.

"Yeah, but you must be somethin' special if you're bein' prophesized about, right. Gotta be somethin' that sets you apart from all the other lil' boys and girls that could've been the savior." Spike said feeling not the least bit odd about comforting someone he considered an enemy for more then four years. Well, maybe a little bit weirded out, but that was to be expected.

"What if that something special is a die real well." Xander said. "I got nothin' left. Someone else's turn." Spike said.

"Xander maybe you should rest for a little while and we'll figure everything out in the morning. Personally I'm tired and need sleep especially if we're going to be battling evil later." Maddy said.

"I think Maddy's right. Rest would be in everyone's best interest at this point in time. There's nothing more we can do with the prophecy tonight." Giles said.

"Okay I think I can sleep." Xander said. He grabbed a pillow and curled up into a tight ball.

"You don't really think the boy is in an immediate danger do you?" Spike asked Giles. Giles fidgeted slightly under Angel and Spike's gaze.

"Well, if he is the savior, I don't think Willow would be too pleased with his living." Giles said.

"But he's obviously a part of her. Connected with her. Do you really think she'd kill him?" Angel asked.

"If the prophecy states that champions should be watching after him then I would say everything we thought before could just be thrown out of the window."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"So it's Xander. How did you figure this out? Willow said turning to Amy with bottomless black eyes.

"The seers you have saw Xander standing up against you and almost winning. Their visions were cut off before anything conclusive could be obtained, but they said something about feeling another presence around him." Amy said.

"They could be close to figuring out what's going on. Do we still have a trail on them?" Willow asked.

"The last trail we had on them has mysteriously disappeared." Amy said.

"It could be the Initiative sticking their noses where they don't belong. It's quite possible that they interfered with the tracker." Willow said.

"What would like to do with them. They must be put down." Amy said.

"Yes, they must be put down, but we don't know their motives yet. It's obvious that they went to fix the vampires chip, but why remain here. No, I don't think now is the time to get rid of them. We must see how they interact with the little Scooby gang. There must be something we're missing." Willow said.

"Of course if you say so, Willow." Amy said.

"Tell me what was down with the rock demon that was sent to LA to get rid of Angel." Willow said.

"Brian took care of it. Said he sent the demon back to his home dimension." Amy said.

"Good I don't want another demon running loose in this world. It's mine. Now, go. Leave me." Willow said dismissing Amy with the wave of her hand. Amy left the room and ran into one of the followers.

"So, what did the Dark Mistress say. There are combats ready to be discharged." The frightened young woman said. She was one of the one's from the coven that Willow over took and had no interest in being part of Willow's plan.

"Tell the combats to go ahead. Discharge them." Amy said a grin spreading on her face.

"As you wish."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Okay so if I understand this correctly Xander is supposed to save the world." Faith said after moments of silence.

Everyone woke up pretty late in that afternoon and Giles wasted no time in telling them the details of what the prophecy entailed. Xander sat in a chair fidgeting at the stares everyone was giving him when Giles went through the details of the prophecy and what was to come.

"In a nutshell." Spike said.

"But, I mean no offense Xan, but Xander doesn't have any special abilities." Cordy said.

"That's what I've been saying. How can I save the world? The Zeppo remember. Doughnut boy all around Butt-Monkey." Xander said still protesting vehemently.

"You don't need power. You just need to do this dead ritual thing and then maybe you gain some power. We don't know anything for sure without the last part of the prophecy being translated." Giles said.

"So what does that take. A few more books." Gunn said.

"Quite possibly some muscle, Charles. If we don't have the scrolls then they must be somewhere else. Cordelia did you try all the demon sites we know." Wesley said.

"And then some. Nothing matches up to that text." Cordy said.

"And the vengeance demon files, although were helpful in locating the text, don't hold anything of value. We've checked and re-checked them." Fred said.

"I could go to my list of demon contacts. Talk to D'Hoffran. I'm sure ever since the wedding will it be spell Willow did he's been keeping a running tab on her." Anya said.

"How could that help." Dawn asked.

"He'd have checked into every prophecy he thought had something to do with her. I'm sure he has a running history." Anya said.

"Why didn't you say something before now." Buffy asked.

"Because D'Hoffran was off into some other dimension recruiting more girls. Although I am his favorite he would never have answered my call if he thought that he had some real talent. Hallie said he just go back yesterday." Anya said.

"Good. You should go check in with him. Like right now." Buffy said.

"Okay." Anya said snapping her fingers and disappearing in a swirl of wind.

"Now besides Anya's hunch what else do we have." Buffy said noting the curious looks on the LA gang's faces, but not caring at that point.

"Um... did she just... disappear." Connor asked bravely.

"Yes, she's a vengeance demon. 'S one 'f the many vengeance demon powers. Now back to business." Spike said. Buffy looked at him and gave him a grateful smile.

"Well we could contact the coven again." Giles said.

"I thought you said they were tapped out of ideas." Maddy said.

"They were, but they have seers that could possibly try again." Giles said.

"Too risky and I don't like the maybes." Buffy said.

"Hey I got an idea. It's pretty crazy and out there, but if we've run out of ideas then might as well try this one." Cordy said.

"What is it." Buffy said voicing what everyone else was thinking.

"We can have Lorne read Xander. Have him tell Xander's future. He's done it plenty of times for Angel and most of the time he's been dead on." Cordy said.

"That's not such a bad idea sweetness." Lorne said.

"What do I have to do?" Xander asked hesitantly. "Just sing a little." Angel said.

"Oh no. No, no, no. I swore no more singing after the musical incident." Xander said.

"Xander if it helps then why not. I mean it's not like there are any spontaneously combustible demons around that want to make you his bride." Dawn said.

"Dawnie that was you and no I can't sing. Singing's really bad. It leads to... bad things." Xander said.

"Not really." Spike said remembering that kiss he and Buffy shared in the alley behind the Bronze.

"Yeah not really." Buffy said smiling shyly at Spike.

"But..."

"Your protests aren't going to work Xander. Might as well do it." Cordy said.

"But I don't even know any songs. I mean I do, but there'll all country." Xander said.

"Anythin's better then Manilow." Spike said.

Angel growled at him and said, "It couldn't hurt Xander. I had reservations about doing it at first, but I got over it." Angel said.

"Besides it's not like you sing horribly." Cordy said.

"I do sing horribly." Xander said.

"Anything has to be better then Angel's singing, man." Gunn said.

Angel stopped glaring at Spike long enough to glare at Gunn until the young man wasn't looking at him anymore.

"Come on Xander. Do you want to save Willow or not." Dawn said.

"Good guilt trip, Dawnster. Okay I'll do it. Just give me a second to think up a song." Everyone waited patiently as Xander thought of a song to sing.

His choices were limited considering he didn't listen to much music and he didn't know the words to most of the songs he did listen to.

"We're all waiting patiently." Buffy said.

"Okay I've got one. Here we go." Xander cleared his throat and began to sing.

Did I drive you away? I know what you'll say, You say, "Oh, sing one we know," But I promise you this, I'll always look out for you, That's what I'll do. I say "oh,", I say "oh." My heart is yours It's you that I hold on to That's what I do, And I know I was wrong, But I won't let you down, (Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah I will, yes I will...) I say "oh," I cry "oh." Yeah I saw sparks, Yeah I saw sparks, And I saw sparks Yeah I saw sparks, Sing it out. La, la, la, la, oh...La, la, la, la, oh...La, la, la, la, oh...

Xander finished his song and looked up to see everyone staring at him.

"I told you I was a bad singer." He said scuffing his foot on the carpet.

"No you were okay. Not the next American Idol, but okay. We were staring because of the song you chose." Lorne said.

"Oh, well it was the only song I could think of at the time and... yeah." Xander finished mentally smacking himself for how stupid he sounded.

"You still miss her." Dawn said.

"Yeah." Xander said. the Scoobies were quite for a second before Angel cleared his throat.

"What did you get Lorne."

"Well, it's not pretty. Not in the beginning anyway. Everything seems to turn out fine for you." Lorne said noticing Xander had blanched a little more at his first statement.

"But you saw what was going to happen right. With the scroll and the inpending apcalypse." Buffy said.

"Well there's not doubt this kid is the savior, but the task that needs to be performed... I didn't get the details, but it involves him and the champions going on a quest of some sort to find the mystical decoder." Lorne said.

"A long quest?" Fred asked.

"No more of a mission really. Go, get the thing and then come back. only thing is I can't really figure out where it is." Lorne said.

"How 'bout a spell. Some sort of locator spell. Done outside of the house." Spike said.

"It's probably our best bet." Giles said. So okay now that we know that much I guess it's time to suit up." Gunn said. "Lorne said it was only the champions." Dawn said.

"Yeah well do you think we're just going to let Angel, Spike and Xander go off on their own. Who cares about what hard quest they have to go on. They might end up killing each other." Buffy said.

"Buffy's right. I'm sure they can act civil towards each other, but let's not take that chance." Wesley said.

"'M shocked that you don't have more confidence in me." Spike said.

"It's not that it's just why leave it to three people when bigger numbers are better." Buffy said.

"So we perpare to fight. Shouldn't be to..." Angel was interrupted by a loud knock on the door. The group made their way to the front door and opened it to see Riley Finn and the three agents he introduced during the prior meeting stood there bloodied and battered.

"Hard."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Riley wasn't sure what he and Agents 1, 2, and 3 were doing on Buffy's doorstep. They had run from the attack after half the people the Initiative had sent over were either wounded or killed. The smell of blood would never be one that Riley got used to. It wasn't like he ran right away though.

He had stayed and fought his hardest before he and others were forced to retreat. Being the commanding officer he made the handful of people stay in the safe house while he and Agents 1, 2, and 3 went to do some re-con. They stopped at every sintch in town only to find that most of them were either dead or had skipped town.

So he went to the only place that he knew would have some answers. Sure he knew that Buffy would be slightly pissed off at him for undermining her authority, but surely she would take him in.

"What the hell are you doing here, Riley." Buffy said partically spating Riley's name.

Or maybe not. Riley thought as he searched his brain for some sort of appropriate answer.

"Look, Buffy, we were attacked. We think it was Willow's men." Riley said noting by the way Xander and Dawn glared at him that maybe that wasn't the appropriate thing to say.

"That still doesn't explain why you're here." Buffy said.

"I'm coming to you for help. If we just help each other..."

"We don't need your help, Whitebread, but thanks for not askin'." Spike interjected.

"Look we have orders..."

"Screw your orders. Did your orders say to attack Spike or Angel or Lorne. I think you owe Lorne an apology. Not only did you shoot him you made him listen to Spike and Angel aruging all night." Cordy said.

"I already had Barker apologize for that. I'm sorry for going after them, but we were just making sure everything was fine." Riley said.

"You may be able to fool your troops, but you can't fool me. I saw what you were plannin' on doing'. Gonna try and disect us you were, Finn." Spike said.

"Yeah okay so maybe those were the orders, but you got away." Riley said.

"That really isn't the issue. What if they hadn't got away. You were just going to disect them anyway." Dawn said.

"I don't really take well to people trying to disect me." Angel said a menacing tone in his voice.

"No we were just going to take them in. Make you understand that working with us is the best option. Those were the orders. There wasn't supposed to be any harm done." Riley said.

"That's not what I saw. look, I'm not sure you know how my kind of demon works, but we read people. There destinies and such. And when Angel started singing yet another horrible rendition of Barry Manilow's 'Mandy' I saw you and your little solider guys grabbing us when we're weak and taking us back to your little lab of evil. Facts like that don't lie." Lorne said.

"And it isn't like you aren't known for being gun happy." Xander said.

"So why should we believe that get Spike, Angel and Lorne and disecting them wasn't the plan. Or at least that you couldn't keep a tight enough leash on your men so that they didn't go disecting them." Buffy said.

"Look, Buffy we have no place else to go. we have to have a civil conversation." Riley pleaded.

"I think your done pleading your case, don't you think." Giles said. Buffy was about to shut the door when Patrick stepped up.

"Wait! They went about this the wrong way. I don't want to die, but the witch seems to want us dead. Now I'm not just going to stand around and let that happen. I have information you might find useful. Please just let us in and I'll share everything I know." Patrick said.

"Agent One this is unauthorized." Riley said harshly.

"Who cares. I'm not cut out for this life. my dad's the one that made me join this stupid branch. Just because I'm good at languages and intelligence and stuff like that. I don't even want to be here. If they can keep us safe then I'll do whatever they say. Even if that means dancing around in a tutu. I'm too young to die." Patrick said.

"Maybe Pat's right. I mean this is bigger then anything I've ever faced and I've been doing this for a year." Greg said.

"You guys are just traitors. I don't even know why we're here with all these demons." Jack said.

"Because we have nowhere else to go. Okay I'll tell you everything if you let us come in." Riley said.

"And you'll take down the spell around the house. We've tried everything we know to break it, but it's damn near inpentrable." Wes said.

"Yes, we'll do anything. Just please let us in to clean up." Patrick said.

"Okay, but no funny business. One foot out of line and you get up close and personal with William the Bloody and Angelus. Trust me, that's not something you want to do." Buffy said.

"Right no, funny business. Just us coming in, washing off and telling you everything we know." Patrick said.

"Alright come in, but don't get blood on anything."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"What the hell happened! Where is the Initiative? I thought you said we had a running track on them?" Willow yelled at Amy in a furious rage. Green light partically enevolped her.

"I don't know. Someone must have given the order to attack them." Amy said wondering if maybe she should have looked up a career in acting.

"What do you mean someone must have given the order to attack them? Who would have the audacity to defy me?" Willow asked.

"I don't know. Who have you been having the most problems with." Amy said.

"Brian! He did this. Bring him to me. He will know the consquences of crossing me."

"As you wish Mistress."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"So that's everything you know?" Buffy asked again.

"That was ever last thing. We found one of the followers that had been trailing you guys and we made him talk. Didn't take much pushing. He seemed to be all to willing to spill all the dirty little secrets. He said that they didn't know much, but told us what they did know. He was rather happt that we were going to try and take down the threat." Patrick said.

"But you went an' got yourselves attacked. Very cunning." Spike said in a mocking voice.

"We were doing the best we could. Better then trying to save the witch." Jack said.

*whack*

Xander slapped Jack as hard as he could.

"Okay ow." Xander said. Jack used his left hand to hold his burning cheek.

"Xander we don't need to resort to violence." Riley tried to reason although he was in no position to.

He was sitting on the Summers couch with two vampires, two slayers and a very pissed off Watcher standing in front of him perventing him from leaving or even moving his legs much. The rest of the gang stood quietly in the background waiting for the four men on the couch to somehow get lucky and over through the blockade that was in front of them. Xander turned a steely glare that Riley had never seen on the man before to Jack.

"You talk about here like that again and slap will be the least of your troubles." Xander said in a menacing voice that didn't fit the man but made Jack scrunch back in his seat.

"Way to go whelp. Didn't think you had the stones to pull off something that menacing." Spike said.

"Thanks Spike, I think." Xander replied.

"Okay so we know that Willow knows just aobut everything we know and we know that she's always somehow been two steps ahead of us. That still lives us in nowhere's land." Buffy said.

"Are you sure you're telling us everything?" Angel asked glaring his own special glare. The Initiative members on the couch flinched visibly.

"Yes, that's everything we know. Everything I swear." Patrick said.

"Well, that's not entirely true." Greg said.

"Greg we aren't aloud to disclose that information." Jack said.

"Damn it, Jack people are dying. Half of our people died today. If I have to I'll tell them everything." Greg said.

"What is it you know?" Giles asked in Ripper mode.

"The commanding officers. They know Riley's been weak for some time now since that whole Glen incident and they never really liked Patrick. They told me and Jack that this was a mission to 'Rid the Initiative of all it's expendables'. Riley and Patrick weren't supposed to know the details of what was going on. It was just supposed to be those two that... died, but then we found out about the situation here." Greg said looking anywhere but the shocked look on Riley's faced and the blanched one on Patrick's.

"Jack and I contacted the commanding officers and they said that they had captured a rock type demon. He told them everything. Layouts to the lair, plans of attack, everyone that was there that didn't want to be and everyone that was there because they wanted to be. Everything." Greg said.

"Do you have the layouts with you." Buffy asked.

"No they were most likely destoryed along with the rest of our place. But they did say something about the Kremlock cave. It's somewhere in the forest around here. Anyway it was a storage unit that the Initiative placed everything that wasn't of important value. Scrolls and text and magicks stuff like that. Apparently they've been keeping a small group of seers there. That's why they let Riley and the rest of us come here. Not only were they going to kill Riley and Patrick, they were going to use the ties Riley had with you to try and get you out of the picture." Greg said turning toward Buffy as he said the last sentence.

"So they sent you here to try and gain dominence." Xander said.

"Basically. The seers in the Kremlock Cave contact the Initiative yesterday to say that there was some sort of shift in energy near there in one of the other caves." Greg said.

"What does that have to do with anything?" Buffy asked.

"A new oracle was set up there. Apparently the oracles in LA were killed by something and they just sent new ones down to Earth." Everyone turned around to see Anya standing in the doorway.

"Meeting with D'Hoffran go well." Xander asked.

"Extremely well. Found out a lot of new information. No eye necessary. Apparently we need to talk to those oracles. They hold some sort of key. They can tell us where we can find what we need." Anya said.

"I remember the oracles. Didn't they get killed by that thing that blew up or first office?" Cordy asked.

"Yeah they did. They failed to mention that they could come back." Angel said.

"It's the same people, but in different bodies. They'll know who you are. All you have to do is go to them." Anya said.

"Sounds easy enough." Spike said.

"We'll need something to take to them. They're big on gifts." Angel said.

"Like what?" Dawn asked.

"Anything really. Something shiny and worth something. They like watches." Angel said.

"Here how's this." Maddy said giving them a strange looking necklace. It had a bright blue stone in the middle and was on a sliver chain.

"Should do." Angel said.

"So we go and talk to these oracle guys. Then we fight." Gunn said.

"Only two people are allowed to go. one that's going to talk to the oracles and the person that can perform the ritual. I never really bothered to learn after... I'll need someone to go with me." Angel said.

"Well what makes you think you were voted the person to do this." Spike said.

"Spike it's only logical. Angel has a history with the oracles. They'll be more accepting to him if he goes." Wesley said.

"Who's going to perform the ritual?" Fred asked. everyone looked over at Maddy.

"I don't know everything. I've never heard of these oracle guys before." Maddy said.

"Could they ritual be in one of the books?" Connor asked.

"It can be, but it's better if it's performed by someone who's connected to the Powers." Angel said.

"Oh that'd be me, huh. But I don't even know how to perform this ritual." Cordy said.

"You don't have to. It's something that you just know." Angel said.

"How did you get in after... after Doyle died?" Cordy asked.

"I yelled and screamed and kicked till they let me in. Then Wesley learned it." Angel said.

"Okay good you guys go do that. Find out whatever you can and then hurry back." Buffy said. Cordy and Angel grabbed their coats and walked out of the house.

"Okay so can you let us go now." Jack asked.

"What you thought we were jus' gonna let you leave after that story." Spike said.

"Do we get to tie them up?" Faith asked.

"Yeah I'll even let you make the ropes too tight."

A/N: First I'd like to say the song in this chapter is Coldplay's Sparks. it is no way mine because I could never write something that beautiful. Next I want to say I know this chapter was boring, but all chapters serve their purpose and this one serves it's. I'm not exactly sure what that is right now, but just know that it does. Lastly, I want to say PLEASE review. If you have time. Hope you thought this chapter was okay.

Chapters 22, 23, and 24

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