Wicked Ones

Author: Tenhawk <tenhawk[at]gmail.com>

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners... none of which are me. If they knew what they were doing I wouldn't have to write this stuff.

Summary: Willow is feeling down and abused after her sessions with her new Whitelighter... and help comes from a VERY unexpected direction.

Warning : I'm a B/Xer and this will be a B/X Series... Eventually. But this story is not about Xander or Buffy... well, Xander anyway. Buff will undoubtedly have an important role to play in this one people.
Crossovers ahead. (Yes Plural.)

Rating : PG-13 to PG-16; for mild cursing, violence, and demonic horror content... in other words a bit more grown up then the series... but only cause I don't have to suck up to censors.

December 28th, '99
Sunnydale California

Willow slammed the door to her dorm room as she stormed out, her face was red and her eyes were watering in rage, frustration, and pain.

"Willow!" Tara's voice echoed through the door plaintively.

"Leave her be." A much softer voice sounded, barely reaching Willow's ears. "She needs time, Tara."

<Time.> Willow thought angrily. <Time for what? To admit that I can't handle magic? To admit that she's right!?>

She stormed out of the dorm house, an aura of rage clearing the path ahead of her as people unconsciously edged away from her passage. She kept walking until she reached a bench situated by the side of the road, a bus stop. There she collapsed onto the bench heavily, glaring across the road at the Park with eyes that saw nothing but red.

She had sat there fuming for nearly a half hour before her own doubts and inner voice began to assault her convictions. As the rage bled off, her doubts began to eat at her until her eyes were watering again, not with rage this time but with despair.

<I'm never going to make her... them... happy. I can't be what they want. I don't know how...>

Her face was buried in her hands and her mind was reeling from the assault of doubts and fears, she didn't hear the roar of a powerful motor approaching her. She didn't notice the engine power down, or the low purr come to a stop. She did hear the unwelcome voice sound out, crisp and clear in the morning air.

"Damn, Red. You look like someone just ate your cat."

Faith got up in a good mood. The sun was bright and clear, the weather was just comfortable outside. And it was the perfect morning to really give her Christmas gift a spin.

She thumbed the remote to the garage door and winced as the bright rays of sunshine slipped into the dark room. She smiled through the light pain and slipped her black helmet on over her head, looking at the world through the tinted visor.

"Damn. I like my life." She grinned as she straddled the first of the three BMW racing bikes and hit the starter. The engine roared to life and she kicked it into gear, roaring out of the garage even as the big door closed behind her.

Her bike was black and red, a color scheme she had found oddly fitting when Jarod had unveiled his Christmas gift to her and Xander. Xander's was silver with black tones, and Jarod had adopted a Black and gold scheme that matched Miss Parker's classic Harley.

She was racing through the empty post-dawn streets, whooping occasionally as she cut an occasionally sharp corner. She had just slowed for an intersection when she spotted something odd. A flash of red hair caught her eye and she flickered her attention in its direction for a brief instant.

<Red?> She wondered, <What's the Wicked Wiccan doing out this time of day?>

She slowed the bike and took it around the block, approaching Willow from the opposite side as she did. The young witch never noticed her approach, and Faith finally cut the engine and set the bike on its stand.

"Damn, Red." She said, half amused and half concerned, "You look like someone just ate your cat."

Willow glared at the Dark Slayer as she watched Faith smoothly slip off her bike. "Go away, Faith."

Faith smirked, "C'mon, Red. You look like you need some company... and since I'm here..."

Willow's eyes flashed, "I would NOT choose to spend time with you if you were the last person on the planet."

"Watch what you say, Red. Around here that 'last person on the planet' gag could come true."

Willow just glared at her.

"Jeeze, Red... No sense of humor. So, who ate your cat?" Faith asked, grinning.

Willow was silent, but her glare was gone as she was reminded of what she had been thinking about before Faith's interruption.

Faith didn't back off, she just kept grinning. "So who was it?"

"Who was what?"

"Who ate your pussy?"

Willow still wasn't paying much attention, and answered the question as she originally heard it. "Jenny."

"Oooh... does Tara know?"

"What?" Willow snapped up as her mind provided an instant replay. She flushed, first in embarrassment, then in anger. "Get OUT OF MY FACE!"

Faith grinned, and nonchalantly dropped into the space next to Willow on the bench. "Relax, Red. I'm just yankin your chain. Seriously, what's up?"

Willow took a deep breath, "You wouldn't understand."

"Ah... Miss Angelic is riding you about magic again, huh?"

Willow growled, but nodded.

Faith slapped Willow on the back, "C'mon, Red. Buck up! You'll get it together, you always do."

"This is different." Willow mumbled, "It's not about skill or brains... Knowing *when* to use magic is harder then actually using it."

To her surprise Willow could feel Faith nod in agreement beside her. "I hear that."

"What do *you* know about it?" She asked scathingly.

Faith snorted, "Hello? Mystical Warrior here."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

Faith shook her head, "You are so full of yourself, you know that Red? I'm the Slayer... Ya know? Super fast, strong, agile... I could earn a gold medal in the Olympics without breaking a sweat. I could make a small fortune in fight tournaments with my eyes closed. I could do anything I want, but I'm still hunting vampires and living off a friend."


Faith sounded disgusted, "You never think of why B never joined the track team? Why she didn't become a cheerleader? Hell, she could have *run* that school, but instead she hung out with you in the library."

Willow still looked confused, "She did try out for the cheerleading team... she didn't make it."

"Didn't make it?" Faith laughed loudly, attracting the attention of several passers-by. "Please. She's a Slayer, she's hot, and she had experience from her old school. Tell me again that she didn't *make it*."

"But she didn't... she was an alternate..." Willow trailed off as she tried to figure out *why* Buffy hadn't made the cut.

"Let me guess, she was trying to rile someone... or her mom was pushing her to try out?"

Willow nodded, "I think she signed up to annoy Giles."

Faith smirked, "So there you have your reason. She didn't want to be on the team. Otherwise she'd have OWNED the team."

"But... why?"

Faith actually sighed, not sure how to explain herself. "Its like... When you start using magic.. Whether it be spells or magical abilities... to help yourself you're only a couple steps from using magic in an evil way. Evil is selfish... that's the definition. Using your gifts to help yourself. It starts out small... a little boost here, a jab there... but the line gets real blurry real fast... trust me on this one, Red."

Faith trailed off, her face growing a little sad as she had an unguarded moment.

Willow stared at the Dark Slayer in shock. She hadn't considered it that way before.

Faith continued talking. "Even if you don't hurt anyone else by doing it, its still 'evil'... its just a small evil. You cast a spell to give you an edge in school... its an evil spell. Not because it hurts someone, but because the only person it helps is *you*. For me its like... using Slayer speed to win a race, or strength to win a fight that I didn't have to get into... it's 'evil'... because that's not what the gift is for."

Willow leaned back, her eyes wide in shock as she considered the words of the Dark Slayer. <Am I... evil?>

"It's a petty kind of evil... it doesn't hurt anyone but yourself.. And even that is indirect. Cause what it really does is blur the line to the next step... So that pretty soon your casting spells or doing things that you would never have considered before... because you never saw the line when you crossed it."

Willow finally found her voice, "I... I never saw... that before."

Faith nodded, "I know... cause I never saw it until I was so far over the line that I couldn't see any way back. It took someone coming after me and dragging me back to bring me to where I am now."

Willow stared at the Dark Slayer for a long moment, who smiled a little and stared back.

"Wow..." Willow said, "I mean... wow."

Faith shrugged.

"Faith... I..." Willow tried to process what she had just heard. "I... I guess I'm sorry..."

"For what?" Faith seemed genuinely confused.

"I haven't been very nice to you... even before you turned evil and all that."

Faith shrugged, her face uncaring. "I'm used to it."

"No... no. You shouldn't be used to it... its not fair." Willow said.

"That's life, Red."

The two girls sat back for a long time, watching the cars pass along the road. Finally Faith shook off the black mood and grinned across at Willow. "C'mon, Red, lets have some fun."


"You, me," Faith fished out a plastic card from her leather pants, "and Xander's credit card."

Willow stared at her, dumbstruck for a moment. "Where did you get that!?"

Faith grinned, "From his jeans this morning when I got up."

Willow blinked. "Uh... Are you and Xander... dating?"

"Nah." Faith said easily, "After his breakup with Phoebe I don't think he's up to it yet... and I'm not the steady type anyway."

"But.... but... why?"

Faith leered at the Red Witch. "C'mon, Red. What's the first thing you do when you get home after patrol?"

Faith chuckled when Willow turned red. "Yep. And B's the same. Her and the Ken Doll rock the kasba every damned night as soon as they get cleaned up... if they wait that long. You think that Xan-Man and myself are any different? Slaying gets you hyped up... you stare death in the face and kick his ass... gotta burn the juice off somehow."

"Yeah..." Willow said slowly, "but... its not..."

"What? Not right?" Faith asked, grinned again when Willow confirmed it with a nod. "You know, for a Wiccan Lesbian you sure are uptight."

Willow flushed again as she realized that Faith had a point. She wasn't exactly in a position to judge another persons choice in relationships. "So... you and Xander aren't..."

"In love?"


Faith shrugged, "Who knows? We like each other, we enjoy each other... but love? Don't think I'd recognize it if it bit me on the ass. Which it has if love is anything like the X-man."

Willow cringed at the mental image but actually chuckled. "Please... too much information."

"Fair 'nuff." Faith grinned, "C'mon, Red. We'll hit L.A. and burn some of X and J's cash."

"On that thing?" Willow looked at the BWM racing bike with trepidation.

Faith considered for a moment, then pulled a set of keys from her pocket. "Nah."

Willow stared at the keyring in shock. On one side it was clearly marked 'Ford' and on the other she could see and wild horse frozen in a running stance. A Mustang in fact.

"You didn't..."

Faith grinned, "Oh you wanna bet I did."

Xander stumbled out of his room, bleary eyed as he made his way down to the kitchen. He pulled down some Cap'n Crunch and grabbed some milk form the fridge, smiling in anticipation of his morning sugar rush. He still couldn't eat a lot of sweets, but he'd laid down the law with his stomach. He'd eat his morning cereal the way HE wanted, and be damned to what his stomach was trying to demand. Later in the day he'd give in and eat the bland crap he had gotten used too.

He had just sat down when a familiar engine roar caused him to jump up. <Jarod's still upstairs... isn't he?>

He got to the window in time to see the mustang roar down the road, cap down, with two girls in the front seat. Xander blinked back the bleary image in his eyes, a disbelieving look crossing his face. <That was Faith driving... but... no... no... it couldn't be. I must be half asleep. There is no way that was Willow in the passenger seat.>

Faith glanced over at the passenger seat, grinning as she saw the first real smile break through Willow's grim exterior. "The wind in your hair is something ain't it, Red?"

Willow shook her head as she chuckled, "Yeah. Yeah, Faith, it is."

Faith turned her attention back to the road, putting the accelerator down and letting out a little yell as the powerful engine let loose a bit more and the car jumped ahead.

Willow was forced back into her seat, her eyes opened wide as she looked out of the car at the highway railing that raced past. "Faith!" She squealed.

"Relax, Red!" Faith yelled above the engine, "Just going to let this puppy unwind a little."

Willow swallowed as she started wondering what she had been thinking to get in a car with Faith behind the wheel.

Faith, for her part, was grinning wildly as she shook her head to let the wind pull all of her long black hair back into the slipstream. She glanced over at the stricken witch beside her, "C'mon, Red. Relax, enjoy yourself. We're gonna paint L.A. RED!"

Willow just turned her eyes back to the road, swallowing deeply as Faith passed another car.

Rodeo Drive, LA

"Faith!" Willow said in shock, "I really don't think that black leather is what I need right now."

Faith grinned as she hauled the witch into the store, "Not everything is about you, Red."

Willow moaned, but allowed herself to be dragged into the store.

"Waddya think?" Faith held up a form fitting semi-top that looked like it *might* cover most of her chest, but would definitely leave less to the imagination then Willow would tend to prefer.

"I think that I've seen the vampire version of me wear things that were less slutty."

Faith raised an eyebrow, "I'll take that as a thumbs up.... I think. Vampire version of you?"

Willow cringed, "Alternate dimension thing... I got to see what I'd be like if I were turned... I'd be a B&D dominatrix wannabe with your taste in clothes."

Faith looked her over for a moment. "Hmmmm... nice image. Let's try that out."

Willow yelped as Faith dragged her toward a changing room. "No. No! Faith! No way! Let go of my arm!"

Reluctantly Faith let go, but she never lost her grin. "You know, Red. You really need to let it all go some times. C'mon, take a walk on the wild side. Betcha Tara would love ya in a little number like this..."

Willow looked over at the leather top, actually considering for a moment before she shook her head clear. "No! I'm... not ready for that... and I don't think that Tara is either."

Faith shrugged, "Suit yerself, Red. Hang here for a sec... I wanna see how this looks on a real body."

Willow shook her head and slumped against the wall as she watched Faith vanish into the changing room. She flushed a little as people passed by, often staring at her as they did. "Faith? Could you hurry up...?"

At that moment Faith reappeared.

"... Wow." Willow let out before she could think.

Faith was wearing her own leather pants and boots, but from the waist up she was substantially different. Instead of a black sweater and leather jacket she was wearing the leather top she had grabbed from the rack. It left her mid-drift uncovered to just below her breasts, her toned abdominal muscles standing out clearly even in her relaxed state. The leather garment flattened her breasts out, and covered her shoulders from neck to upper arm, hugging the curves of her body like a second skin. The collar was tight, almost like a choker as it wrapped around her throat.

Faith grinned at Willow's reaction. "Coming from you, I'll take that as one helluva compliment, Red."

Willow shook her head and blushed.

"C'mon, Girl." Faith nudged her, "You can't tell me that you wouldn't love to see Tara in this? Or have her see you?"

Willow didn't answer, just turned a couple shades darker in color.

Faith chuckled, tossed her coat over her shoulder, and ambled to the counter. She slapped the plastic down and grinned at the bulging eyes of the shop clerk. "I'll take it."

The two girls were sauntering down the street a few minutes later. Or Faith was sauntering. Willow was sort of walking alongside Faith while trying to keep from seeming to be walking alongside Faith.

She should have saved her energy. No one, male or female, noticed the nervous redhead walking alongside the brunette bombshell who was cutting a wide swath through the crowded sidewalk.

Faith was grinned, throughly enjoying the attention she was getting from the men and even occasional women that passed them. "Geez, Red. Get in the spirit. I tell you I have a card with unlimited credit and you haven't bought a thing yet!

"But... Well... its Xander's money..."

Faith laughed, "C'mon, Girl. You really think he's gonna mind? Hell, if you want I'll call him up and ask him for ya?"

"I... umm... you'd do that?"

Faith shook her head and fished out a cell phone. "Damn Girl. You are way tense."

Willow watched as she dialed a number into the phone.

"Hey, X. Yeah... No, you weren't seeing things, she's here with me. She was feeling down... yeah, deep in the dumps. Look, you mind if I use your card? Do a little shopping? Hey, you know how that cheers up us helpless females..." Faith grinned, "Sure... here she is."

Willow accepted the phone, "X... Xander?"

Willow started when she heard his voice, she hadn't really expected Faith to call.

"Yeah, I'm ok..." She answered his question, "I know... I know, I'm not really sure how it happened either... you sure? Ok... I will... I promise."

Willow handed the phone back to Faith, smiling at nothing.

Faith grinned back as she put the phone to her ear. "Thanks, Lover. Catch ya later."

Faith ended the call before Xander could respond and looked at Willow. "So?"

"He said to have some fun." Willow smiled slightly.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Faith grinned and grabbed Willow's arm, "Let's go!"

Willow yelped in surprise as the Slayer hauled her along the sidewalk toward another store.

Xander shook his head as he hung up the phone. <Willow and Faith... shopping!? Something is just wrong with that image.>

The two girls were moving down the sidewalk, bags weighing down each arm, and grinning like the proverbial cat that ate the canary.

"Damn! That was fun."

Willow couldn't help but grin, "Did you really have to tease those poor salesmen?"

"Hey!" Faith said, laughing. "That's half the fun of shopping."

Willow chuckled under her breath as they made their way back to the parking garage where they had left the Mustang. "I think you gave the older guy a coronary."

"Nah..." Faith drawled, "He was drooling over you."


"Yeah, those old guys love the school girl look."

Willow looked down at her clothes, "Hey!"

She was about to retort when a scream from ahead of them drew her attention. Ahead of them a woman was struggling with a thief, trying to keep her grip on her purse as the young man pulled at the purse until the strap snapped.

"Hey!" Willow yelled as the man started to race away from his victim, purse in hand.

"Red?" Faith said, her voice quiet.


"Remember what I said about when not to use magic?"


"Not one of those times!" Faith took off at a dead run, her bags dropping to the ground around Willow.

Willow's eyes widened, suddenly realized that for the first time in a long time Magic hadn't been her first thought. She watched as the man raced away, her eyes locking onto a small planter that had been set alongside the sidewalk. Her eyes narrowed and her hand stretched out, and the planter began to shake in its place.

As the purse snatcher ran past the planter it jumped out of its concrete emplacement and leapt into the path of the running thief. His feet entangled into the planter and he stumbled, sprawling to the sidewalk. Before he could get back to his feet Faith was on top of him.

As the brunette Slayer hefted the man one handed until his feet were clear of the ground the victim caught up with them. Faith grinned at her and handed her the small purse with her free hand. "This belongs to you I think?"

"Ummm... Yeah..." the woman looked at the man as he dangled above the ground, held up by the slender arm of the young girl in front of her. "Uh... Thanks."

"No prob." Faith smiled, "You want to press charges?"

"Oh... I... ummm..."

Faith grinned and turned her attention back to the man, "You learn a lesson today, little man?"

"Urp... Yeah, lesson... right." the man choked out.

Faith lifted him a little higher, her grin disappearing. "I think you'd better have. Cause I'm not going to be this gentle if I see you again."

"Urk!" the man choked again as her grip tightened.

"So what do you think?" faith asked the woman, "He learn his lesson?"

The woman stared at her. "I... I guess so."

"Your lucky day, little man." Faith sneered.

She then tossed him back several feet where he sprawled on his ass. "Get lost, punk. Or I'll make you wish she had wanted to press charges."

The man scrambled to his feet and ran like the devil himself was after him. Faith smiled and tipped her head to the woman, "See ya, have a nice day."

"Uhhh... Nice day... yeah... thanks?"

Faith grinned and jugged back to where Willow was waiting. After she had picked up her bags they continued on.

"So, Red," Faith smirked, "How'd that feel?"


"Using your magic to help? Tripping that slimeball up so you could help his victim get her stuff back?"

Willow shrugged, "Felt good."

"Yeah." Faith smiled, "Felt really good."

The two girls continued on to the parking garage in silence.

New Years Eve,'99

"What a way to spend new years." Buffy griped as the five girls trudged through the park.

Faith smirked, "Could be worse... we could have drawn the guy's job."

"Yeah." Willow snickered, "I'll never forget the look on Xander's face when Jarod volunteered them for sewer duty."

"I... I think it was nice of them..." Tara offered.

Faith nodded, "It was... on Jarod's part at least."

Miss Parker laughed, "Not likely. I told him exactly what wouldn't be happening for a few weeks if he didn't 'volunteer'."

"Ha!" Faith laughed, "Like you could hold out for more then a couple days. I've heard you two at night, and Jarod had the entire place soundproofed."

Parker shrugged, a smirk on her face. "What Jarod doesn't know won't hurt me. As for the sound... you aren't exactly Miss Dainty yourself."

Faith smirked right back, no sign of apology on her face.

"Eww." Buffy complained about the conversation. "And can I add, 'Too much information.'?"

"Get over yourself, B." Faith snapped a little, "Its not like you never talk about the Ken Doll."

"I wish you wouldn't call him that." Buffy said, a little annoyed.

"Why? Too close to the truth?"

"How would you like it if I started calling Xander that?"

"Trust me on this, B." Faith smirked, "Xander is VERY anatomically correct. Oh wait...you don't need to take my word for it do ya?"

Willow snorted as she took a sip of coffee, coughing and gagging as the liquid entered parts of her body that were definitely not meant for hot caffinated bevereges. Tara immediately turned to her, patting her on the back as she tried to get her breath back.

Buffy's face flushed hot, and she was glad for the darkness that enrobed them. "Shut up."

"Point, Set, and Match to the Slayer in Black." Miss Parker grinned nastily as she laughed internally at the conversation.

"Can we get back to the slaying?" Buffy asked, "I'd like to get toLowell house before midnight... uh... for the party."

"Oh, your calling it a 'party' now are you?" Faith laughed.

"Oh shut up Faith."

Faith snickered and turned toWillow, "hey Red, we still on for next week?"

Under the sudden stares of Buffy and Tara, Willow turned a little red. "Sure, Faith."

"Cool." Faith grinned, "And bring the Tiger this time."

"T... tiger?" Tara ventured quietly.

"I think... she was talking about you." Willow winced.

In the darkness Tara's jaw dropped and her face turned several degrees of red.

Jan 5th, '00

Willow waited for Faith to arrive, a little trepidation filling her. <Why am I hanging out with Faith?>

She asked the same question for the hundredth time, but this time got a different answer back.

<Because she is the only one who isn't judging me right now. Miss Calender, Buffy, Xander, Giles... Even Tara looks at me and wonders if I'm going to snap and cast another screwy spell.>

She sighed as she slumped in her seat a little more. When Faith was the only person who accepted you for who you were you knew that you were in trouble.

The roar of the Mustang's engine woke Willow from her reverie and got her moving. But not fast enough for the driver apparently.

"Come on, Girls!" Faith yelled as she idled the engine of the red sports car.

"Will you hold on!?" Willow snapped back as she physically manhandled (womanhandled? lesbianwiccanhandled? whatever...) Tara into the car.

"I... I'm really not sure about this..." Tara said as she reluctantly allowed herself to be pushed into the backseat of the car.

"It'll be fun," Willow promised as she slid into the passenger seat and slammed the door shut.

"But it's expensive..."

"Relax, Tiger." Faith grinned, "I swiped Xander's card...again."

Willow shot her a sidelong glance, "You'd think he'd have caught on by now..."

Faith looked pensive as she pulled the car away from the University Dorm building. "You know... I'm not really sure about that..."

"What? Why?"

"Well I was with him a couple days ago when he went to the mall..."


"And he used a different card."

Willow was quiet for a moment, then snickered, "So he's leaving this one where you can find it?"

Faith nodded.

"Xander always was a sneaky one." Willow observed between chuckles.

Faith laughed, "Yeah... I never know if I'm putting on over on him or vice-versa..."

"I... Isn't that part of the fun?" Tara said with a very small, and yet surprisingly sly smile from the back seat.

A smile that was completely absent when Willow and faith looked back at her in surprise.

"Why you little minx!" Faith grinned, "So, Spill... what have you put over on Red lately?"


"Come on... just us girls here."


"Fine." Faith snapped, humor in her voice, "Keep your secrets, Tiger. For now."

Willow never said anything, just tossed occasional suspicious glances back at her lover.

Faith caught the glances from the corner of her eye and the road rang with her laughter as the convertible sped with its top down toward L.A.


"Oh no you don't!" Willow protested as Faith dragged her into the same store they had visited first off on their last trip.

Faith laughed, "C'mon, Red. This time it's your turn."

"No... No!" Willow pulled back but the Slayer was too strong. "Tara," She pleaded, "Help."

Tara looked over the clothes in the window and averted her eyes, flushing red.

"See?" Faith grinned, "She like's em."

Willow shook her head, her mouth forming the word no but no sound came out. The glimpse she caught on Tara's face just before the young blond had turned away burned in her minds eye.

As Willow considered the look, Faith took her chance and dragged the suddenly quiet redhead into the store.

"Oh." Tara turned red enough to hide in Willow's hair when she watched her lover step hesitantly out of the booth.

Faith had managed to jam Willow into a black leather vest with no undershirt, or bra as far as the blond witch could tell, and a matching pair of leather pants.

Tara's mouth worked as she tried to speak, or scream, or anything. But nothing more then a squeak would follow that first word she had spoke.

Willow turned away fast, trying to bolt back to the dressing room, until Faith stopped her cold.

"She doesn't like it." Willow said plaintively, trying to get past Faith.

"Damn, Girl." Faith grinned, "You just about shut her mind *down* when you walked out. Trust me, she likes... MUCH."

Willow looked back at the you witch, an almost hopeful expression on her face. "Do you?" She asked, a pleading note in her voice.

Tara nodded very, very, slowly, not trusting her mouth to work if she tried it again.

Willow shifted uncomfortably, "You're sure?"

Again, the slow nod.

Faith grinned and nodded to the salivating salesman. "We'll take it."

Night had fallen a couple hours earlier, and the Femme Fatale Trio found themselves cruising the streets of L.A., watching the nightlife.

"What are we going n... now?" Tara asked in her typically uncertain manner.

Faith shrugged in the front seat, "Cruising. Just touring around and enjoying the road."

Tara nodded, still uncertain, as she watched Willow eye the people on the sidewalk with an almost predatory eye. A few moments later Willow's face energized and she snapped out, "There!"

Faith looked to where she was pointing, "Nice eye, Red."

Tara looked to where they were pointing, not really certain what she was seeing at first. A group of men had surrounded a young couple, who were cowering back in fear. With a start Tara realized that she was witnessing a mugging.

Faith slide the car onto the curb in a smooth motion and hopped clear over the door even as Willow swivelled out of the passenger side.

The Muggers and Mugg-ies didn't notice the approach other two young women until they heard a clear voice call out.

"Well, well." Faith grinned, "Looks like a geek convention... Too bad I don't see and Star Trek actors around."

The Muggers, all five of them, looked up from their intended victims in surprise in surprise. Their expression of surprise and worry were quickly replaced by leering grins. "Well Hello little girls." The leader leered, "Give us a second to finish up here an we'll show you two a *real* good time."

Faith smirked, looking them over in an easy manner, "You think you could handle us? I don't give you much for your chances... We're too hot for you to handle."

Willow shot Faith a strange look, but remained silent.

The leader of the gang grinned, "We'll see about that in a second... but first." He whipped out a knife and turned on the cowering couple.

As the knife approached the two intended victims it suddenly shuddered in the leaders hand, and a shocked look passed over his face. He halted his advance and instead focused on trying to hold the knife tighter, using both hands. Finally the knife shot clear of his grip and flipped through the air until it landed cleanly in Willows outstretched hand.

She smiled at the shocked look on the gang's faces. "You should be more careful with your toys... little boys shouldn't play with sharp objects."

"How?" The leader looked at the slight redhead in shock, "How did you do that!?"

"You think that was something?" Faith grinned, "Try this."

The brunette Slayer took a step forward and launched a spin kick that caught the closest thug in the chest, lifting him clear of the ground and crashing him into the wall beside his victims.

The remaining four men growled and shifted their attention away from the young couple and focused it on the two young women facing them. "Get them!" the leader growled.

The four attacked as one, two on Faith and two on Willow.

Willow squealed a bit in shock as she ducked under the two sets of outstretched arms, but was surprised to realize that dodging them was shockingly easy. The two thugs moved like glaciers compared to the vampires she was used to fighting. Willow grinned as she easily skipped aside and kicked the closest man in the shin.

"Ow!" He yelled out, "That hurt you little bitch!"

"So sorry... I didn't mean to" She said with a tone of false innocence. "Let me make it better..."

While the man was trying to figure out what she meant by that she stepped closer, her face right close to his. The man actually leaned in closer, almost expecting a kiss from this strange girl. Willow smiled sweetly at him and brought her knee up...hard.

The man hit the ground, gagging as he curled into a ball and whimpered.

"Bitch!" The second man grabbed her from the back in a tight bear hug that crushed Willow's ribs and pushed the breath from her lungs.

Faith easily wove through the clumsy attacks, reminding herself to pull her punches. <Don't want to kill these assholes...even if they do deserve it.>

A simple move learned from Phoebe turned the first man's strength against him, twisting his arm around hard against his back as Faith gave him a tiny shove into the closest wall. he struck face first and struck hard, making a solid sound as he bounced off and collapsed to the ground unconscious.

She spun on the second man before he could blind side her, grinning. "Oh come on now... That wasn't even a workout..."

The man paled a little when he looked into her eyes. he didn't see any worry...no concern, fear, or even the slightest doubt was visible in her glistening eyes.

"Come on." Faith taunted, "I'll even keep my hands behind my back."

The man's eyes widened as she tucked her thumbs into her belt at the small of her back. "C'mon, big boy... let me have it."

Willow pulled in a painful breath as she struggled against the ever tightening grip of the man behind her. Finally she relaxed and brought her hand up from under his grip and gently touched the man's muscled arm.


The man yelled in pain as blue lighting climbed his arm, paralyzing him as it passed. Willow easily slipped out of his grip and turned to face her attacker. Looking at the pain on his face she took pity on the thug and reach out a single hand to gently touch his forehead.

"Dormus." She whispered softly.

The big man collapsed in a boneless heap and started snoring a few seconds later.

Faith was enjoying herself, easily dodging blow after blow, while she taunted the man. "That best you got? C'mon big boy, I get rougher treatment in the sack."

The man growled and charged her in a fury. Faith sidestepped and slapped him in the back as he passed. "Ole!"

The man slammed into the same wall his friend had hit and didn't fare any better. A second later his unconscious form joined the others on the ground.

"Damn, Red." Faith complained. "That was too easy!"

"Don't either of you bitches move!" A frightened voice yelled out. "Or I'll put a cap in these two!"

The two girls turned to where the fifth man, the one that Faith had knocked against the wall, was holding a .38 snub nose on the young couple they had been trying to save.

The two girls stared at the man, uncertain what to do as they watched his aim the gun unwaveringly at the young couple. Both started when they heard a soft voice behind them.


The gunman suddenly found that his arm wouldn't respond to his commands, wouldn't even move an inch from its position. His face cracked as he began to panic, "Hey! What did you do!? I... I can't move! Stop it!"

Willow and Faith turned to look behind them and saw Tara standing there with a dark look on her face. A look that vanished when she saw their shocked looks. Instantly the shy and unassuming Tara was back.

"I... I don't like people who threaten others..." She said, almost apologetically.

Faith crowed with laughter. "Girl, I knew I liked you!"

Willow looked at her, beaming, then a thought hit her. "Where did you learn that spell?"

Tara looked abashed, "M... Miss Calender."

Willow's mouth twisted slightly, a look that was half anger and half chagrin crossed her face. Finally she looked back at Tara, "I... I guess I should go back to her lessons..."

Tara's face lit up with hope, "All of them?" She asked, referring to the Whitelighter's lectures and lessons on responsible use of magic.

"All of them." Willow agreed.

The ride back to Sunnydale was a short one, filled with laughter and jokes as the trio sped along the highway.

"Girl," Faith looked over her shoulder at Tara, "You were awesome."

Tara flushed, "thanks..."

Willow was grinning, pulling her lover closer to her as she pressed herself against Tara in the back seat. "No surprises here."

Tara just smiled shyly as she let Willow pull her tight. She heart actually beat faster as she felt Willow's heartbeat through the tight leather vest the redhead was wearing. "S... so this is what you've been doing with your t.. time?"

Willow shrugged a little, "Sometimes... we were just shopping when this purse snatcher tried to steal from this lady ahead of us."

"Yeah," Faith laughed, "Red here popped a planter out in front of him as he was running off... Sap hit the ground and probably still doesn't know what the hell happened."

"Willow..." Tara said, hesitating, "You're using magic like this?"

"Not much..." Willow said defensively. "And only to help people..."

Tara nodded slowly, "Not for personal gain?"

Willow shook her head quickly, "I swear... just some defensive stuff like you saw earlier..."

Tara thought about it, "I... I guess that's ok."

Willow smiled, her face lighting up as it sank in that she had, at least, the approval of her lover. "Thank you."

The two witches cuddled together in the backseat. Faith smiled and stole an occasional glance in the rearview as she blasted Mustang along the highway toward Sunnydale.

Jan 8th

Jenny frowned in puzzlement as she watched her two charges working on their spellcraft. The change in Willow over the past few days was dramatic. She was smiling again, and had lost a lot of her defensive anger.

Jenny shook her head and smiled slightly, she wasn't sure who or what had happened to the girl but she was finally starting to see some headway being made with the young Wiccan.

"Time." She called, causing the duo to look up.

"We're done." Willow said, a little proudly.

Jenny noted the pride and tried to decide whether it was excessive or not. Punctured pride could be dangerous, but an overblown ego could kill. She look over the results and decided that the pride was warranted. She smiled at the two, "Good job. Your results are extremely accurate."

The two witches looked down at the magically drawn map of Sunnydale. It looked almost like an ariel photograph, except that if you looked closer you could see that the small buildings, trees, and other things were three dimensional. Willow grinned at the beautiful image, despite the incredible focus it was taking to maintain it.

"You can drop the spell now." jenny said.

Both witches let out breaths of relief as they dropped their focus and let the image melt away. It had taken a massive amount of concentration to create and maintain an image that detailed.

Jenny smiled, "This time I want you to do the same thing, but we're going to add a twist."

The two witches looked on in anticipation, "What kind?"

"I want you to plot supernatural power by type." Jenny explained, handing them the spell. "Here is the spell. It will identify and classify all supernatural powers in the area by type... Demons, Witches, Enchantments, Empowerments such as the Slayer essence, and so forth...."

Tara paled, "Um... I ah... I can't right now..."

"What?" Jenny looked perplexed, "Why?"

"I forgot..." Tara said apologetically, "I have to go... something to do..."

Jenny looked at her for a moment, "ok... We'll do this next time."

Tara nodded gratefully and practically fled the room.

"Willow," Jenny said slowly, "Can I talk with you?"

"Ummm..." Willow looked around nervously, "Sure... I guess."

Jenny smiled, "It's nothing bad... I just wanted to let you know how happy I am that you're taking this seriously now. Magic can be very dangerous..."

Willow nodded, "I guess I didn't see it before... even after the spell... but I've been talking... and thinking... I'm still not really sure but I'm starting to understand."

Jenny nodded. "I understand. For what it's worth, I think you're going to come out of this just fine, Willow."

Willow smiled gratefully at the Whitelighter. "Thank you, Miss Calender."

Jan 11th

Buffy walked up to her dorm, smiling, when something odd caught her eye. <What's Faith doing here?>

She paused in midstep as she watched the other Slayer grin at Willow as the young Wiccan stepped out of the building. Buffy's eyes widened as Faith tossed Willow a helmet and the redheaded witch slipped onto the back of the BMW bike behind the Slayer.

<What the hell?>

As the bike roared off Buffy just stood there, uncertain what to think for along time. Finally she set her face and made a decision. <Got to get to the bottom of this one.>

"Where to today?" Willow yelled over the roar of the engine as she hung onto Faith.

She could feel faith shrug, "Don't have any big plans. You?"

"Nope." Willow said, "Dark is coming in a few hours... maybe hit the mall until then and we can patrol?"

"Sounds good!"

The wind whipped past as Faith gunned the engine again and wove through traffic toward the nearest mall.

"Buffy?" Miss Parker said as she walked upon the blond Slayer.

Buffy jumped, "Geeez... don't DO that."

Parker just smiled, stealth had been a way of life to her and it was good to see that she could even surprise a mystically enhanced warrior. "So sorry. Can I help you?"

Buffy grimaced, <Sorry my ass.> Then she looked at the older woman, "I'm looking for Faith."

Parker shrugged, "Haven't seen her since earlier, what's up?"

Buffy frowned, "It's kinda weird... You know how we told you about when Faith was here before?"

Andrea nodded, "Yes. You said that she killed a man by accident and lost her way."

Buffy snorted, "Polite way of putting that she tried to kill most of us... But I meant before that... She and Willow... they never got along."


"So, today I saw Willow hop on the back of Faith's bike and they roared off down the road like old friends."

"People change..."

"I guess..." Buffy didn't sound convinced.

Andrea looked at the young blond and could see the worry coming off of her. "You think another spell might be involved?"

"..." Buffy thought about it before shaking her head, "No... I... no, I don't think so..."

Andrea shrugged, "So don't worry about it."

"Maybe you're right." Buffy nodded and turned to leave.

Andrea Parker watched the blond slayer leave, her own face pensive. <I wonder what Faith IS up to?>

Sunnydale Mall

Willow glanced outside, noting that darkness had fallen a few moments earlier. "Come ON, Faith." She tried to drag the Slayer out of the Lingerie store to little avail.

"Jeeze, Red." Faith said exasperated. "You just can't stop a girl cold turkey while she's checking this stuff out... I mean, give me a few minutes in the cotton section of the store to come down or something..."

"Who are you trying to fool, Faith?" Willow snapped, a little humorously. "You and white silk are SO not going to happen."

Faith shrugged, "What? You never hear of Role playing?"

Willow actually stopped for a second, images flashing in her mind. "Ew. Come ON. We can still meet up with Tara and do a run through the graveyards on the South side while Buffy is checking the North with Riley."

"Alright already." Faith grumbled, tossing the sheer teddy back onto the rack and following the redhead out the door.

Behind them they left two men and a woman shooting them lustful glances and swallowing excess saliva. The three looked at each other, two customers and a clerk.

"Wow." Each of them managed to squeak out as the door closed behind the two girls.

Andrea Parker watched as the two girls switched from the BMW R1150 to the Mustang that Jarod and Xander were still keeping on lease.

<What *are* you two up to?>

As the sports car drove off she slid onto her Classic Harley and strapped on her helmet. A few seconds later she roared out into the street in pursuit of the red Mustang.

"Hop in, Tiger."

Tara shook her head, still not comfortable with the nickname Faith had laid on her. "D...do you have to call me that?"

"You'd rather what? Blondy? Church Mouse? Sweater Girl?"

Tara squeezed in behind Willow, "M... my name is Tara."

Faith appeared to consider it for a second, "Nah. I don't do names."

Tara sighed as the Mustang roared off.

Miss Parker raised an eyebrow as she watched the shy blond get into the car with the first two. <Something is definitely up here.>

She revved the Harley's engine and pulled out form behind the van she had used as cover, easily pacing the sports car as it headed across town.

Buffy watched as Tara piled into the car with Willow and Faith. <What the hell?>

She watched the direction the car headed in and tried to guess where they were going. It took a few seconds but she finally decided. <Patrol. Graveyards on that side of town have been quiet lately.>

The Blond Slayer took off at a dead run, sprinting through the streets and hurdling fences and obstructions as she cut through shortcuts.

One of the many graveyards

"Why are we doing this again?" Tara asked as she narrowly avoided a vampire's fist.

Faith easily danced in and jammed a stake into the vamp's back, flashed the blond a grin, and said. "Beats hanging at the bronze with a pack of teeny boppers?"

Willow looked over at Faith oddly for a brief second, "Aren't we technically still 'teeny boppers' ourselves?"

"Nah." faith grinned, smashing a vampire across the face. "We're older inside."

"Oh god." Willow groaned, as she tossed a stake to Tara and rushed over to help her lover deal with another vampire. "That such a bad joke."

"Who's joking?"

"I... I meant why are we patrolling without the others?" tara tried again.

"Girls night out?" Faith asked as she backhanded another vampire.

Tara snickered involuntarily. "S... seriously."

"B and the Ken Doll have their own patrol pals now... they don't need us around."

"W... what about Xander?"

Faith laughed, "Xander doesn't patrol. He hunts."

Willow looked up from her own fight, "What's the difference?" she asked as she drove a stake into the vampires heart.

Faith shook her head, belted another vamp in the gut, and said. "He stalks the poor bastards... kills 'em before they even see him coming. We'd just slow the X-man down right now..."


Faith tried to explain in between spin kicks, "Xan-man went all stealth and Stalker on us, girl... not exactly my specialty... or yours."

"Whoa." Willow said.

"Ummm... Will? Help." The quiet voice sounded, causing Willow to twist around.

Tara tried to stake the vampire that was coming at her but he easily caught her hand and pulled her close to him, his teeth visible as he went for her neck. The Vampire paused, a look of shocked surprise floating across his face as he suddenly turned to dust. Behind him Tara saw Willow standing with a cocky smile and a wooden stake.

"Is that a stake in your hand or are you just happy to see me?" Willow cracked as she pulled Tara to her feet.

Tara looked at her, shocked. "Y... you're starting to sound like... her." She tilted her head toward Faith.

Willow's eyes opened wide, her hand covering her mouth. "Oh god! I am aren't I?"

Parker leaned on the handle bars as she watched the brawl in the graveyard. <They're not bad... Should teach 'em how to use some of the weapons in the armory though... They shouldn't give up any edge in a fight for their lives.>

She watched as the three girls swept though the graveyard, effectively but not professionally, eliminating any vampires stupid enough to get in their crosshairs. As the fight toned down she kicked the Harley's engine over and drove slowly away as the trio made their way back to the Mustang.

"C'mon, gals." Faith grinned as she slid behind the wheel. "Hop in."

"You know, Faith..." Willow looked at the dark slayer oddly, "I never asked... but when did you test for your drivers licence?"

Faith just grinned at her.

Willow blanched, "Y... You... didn't?"

The dark slayer shrugged, "The Mayor gave me one he cut from the licence bureau before... well..."

"He *gave* you one?"

Faith grinned, "Its good to know people in high places."

Willow just shook her head while tara stared at the driver with sudden worry as she watched the road rush past them.

Buffy hurdled the fence that surrounded the graveyard, barely breaking pace for the five foot structure. This was the third one she'd checked in the last few minutes and nothing unusual had shown up. She was starting to think that she had been wrong. <Maybe they weren't patrolling after all?>

She slowly started moving through the graveyard, looking around for signs of the trio she had been chasing. <Nothing... Nothing at... hello? What's this?>

Buffy dropped to one knee and looked at the ground, easily picking out vampire dust from the more normal dirt that composed the ground she was walking upon. As she looked around she spotted several other scatterings of dust around the immediate area.

<Hmmm... footprints here...>

Buffy placed her feet in the footprints, following them as they moved around the graveyard, sometimes backing up, sometimes lunging forward.

"Gotcha." She said aloud, "Definitely a fight went down here. Faith was over here... not sure which of these was Willow and Tara though..."

Buffy stopped her motions and turned away from the graveyard, <So Willow is patrolling with Faith? Damn. Was I that hard on her over the spell?>

The blond Slayer shook her head and broke into a light jog as she left the graveyard, trying to decide if she should talk to her friend about this, or wait and see how it worked out.


Jan 14th

Buffy looked across the table at Willow for a long moment, almost opening her moth to try to talk to the red head about her new patrol pal. But for the hundredth time she thought better of it and closed her mouth again.

<Willow's been... well, she's been happy...> Buffy thought as she watched the Redhead laugh with tara. <Happier then I've seen her since Oz left.>

Buffy shook her head, if patrolling with faith was doing this for her then so be it. <But if Faith hurts her...> Buffy shook her head clear of the dark thoughts and smiled across at her friend.

As she leaned in and joined into the discussion Buffy decided that she'd keep a closer eye on the trio.

That Night

That night Buffy stalked the southern graveyards, trusting Riley and the commando's to handle the north. She was determined to make certain that Willow wasn't in any danger from Faith.

She watched as the unlikely trio entered the graveyard, walking and talking like any group of teenage girls out on a lark. Buffy grinned and shook her head, it was amazing sometimes that this trick still worked in Sunnydale. You'd think that vamps and demons would soon realize that attacking teenage girls in this town was a quick way to commit suicide.

Buffy listened in as the three hunters walked casually through the graveyard.

"C'mon, Red." Faith cajoled the young witch, "Spill already..."

"For the last time, Faith," Willow said, exasperated, "I am NOT telling you one of my sexual fantasies."

"Don't be such a stick in the mud." Faith grinned at her, "I told you mine."

Willow pantomimed a gagging motion, "Yeah, thanks so very much... Another image of Xander I could do without."

Beside them Tara snickered.

"What'r you laughing at, Tiger?" Faith demanded, "It's not like my fantasy involves whips and leather crops..."

Tara looked shocked, her voice gone. Willow stared between the two suspiciously, "Have you two been talking behind my back?"

"N...No!" Tara managed, "Sh... she's lying... I swear!"

Willow grinned, "I know, Tara... It's alright."

Faith had broken up laughing, "Jeez, Tiger, you're just too easy to bait."

Tara blushed.

Faith laughed some more, "You know... I'd almost think from her reaction that she found those 'images' of Xander interesting."

Willow laughed.

Tara's breath caught, as she watched Willow's reaction.

Willow looked over at Tara, eyes widening as she thought she say a look of guilt on the blond's face. "You... You weren't right? I mean... you're a lesbian... you can't be interested in Xander?"

Tara blushed, "Not... i...interested... but I could have been I think."


"I'm into girls, but I'm not stupid Willow." Tara said defensively, "Xander's... Xander's a sweety."

"Sweety?" Faith crowed with laughter, "God, he'd turn so red if he heard that. Big bad vamp hunter a 'sweety'."

"Well he is!" Tara said, flushing a bit, "If I had known some guys like him when I was growing up..." Tara's voice caught as she thought of her brothers and cousins and how they had treated her and the other women around town. "I... I might be into guys now."

Faith looked at the shy blond for a long moment, humor forgotten. She had seen something familiar in Tara's face, and her mind was rushing to identify it. Finally she gave up, but shifted the thought for further consideration.

"C'mon." She said finally, "Let's keep up the patrol."

Buffy shook her head as she followed the group, taking much more time then usual in order to avoid Faith's attention. <I'm surprised Willow puts up with conversations like this...>

She followed the trio at a long distance, trusting her hearing to keep track of them through their unguarded conversations. She almost missed the first vampires that attacked the trio.

She watched the motion with a quiet smile. The blond was tracking the three as well. That would make the game more fun.

"What have we got here?" The lead vamp asked, smiling. He was an old hand at Sunnydale and figured that he knew easy pickings when he saw them. Everyone knew that the Slayer was a blond, and the only blond in this group was far to conservative to be the 'killer cheerleader' that haunted the nightmares of the local undead.

Faith grinned right back, "I'd say we have our first kill of the evening."

The lead vamp faltered. This wasn't supposed to be the way things went. "Huh?"

Faith palmed a Stake and let fly with an underhand motion, burying the wooden implement into the lead vamp at twenty feet. The vampire had time to pale slightly, "Oh shit." He said as he dusted.

"It must suck to be you guys."

The remaining four vampires looked at each other, a little spooked by the innocent tone the redhead had taken. They didn't have much time to react.

Willow focused on her surroundings, taking in everything and imprinting it on her mind's eye. Then she closed her eyes and casually tossed two stakes into the air. They caught at the apex of their flight path and hovered for a moment before suddenly flashing through the air and into two of the vampire's chests.

As the remaining two vamps looked at each other in panic Faith turned to willow, "You know Red, you're getting pretty good at that."

Willow smiled, "Thanks. I've been working really hard on my control..."

"It's been paying off."

The two vampires broke and ran.

"Thanks." Willow said.

"Uh...guys?" Tara said timidly.

"What?" Faith asked

"They're getting away."

Willow and Faith looked after the running vamps in surprise. "They're running? Damn. They sure don't turn vamps like they used to."

Willow grinned at faith's comment, "Let's get 'em."

The trio broke into a run, chasing the fleeing vampires down.

Behind them Buffy gave up stealth for the moment and took after them at a dead run herself, wanting to be close enough to lend a hand.

She smiled slightly, her mid still going over what she had see. <Willow is getting better. that levitation trick is lethal.>

"Damnit." She cursed under her breath. "I hate running."

The woman slung a duffel bag over her shoulder and broke into a run, chasing the blond who was chasing the trio, who were chasing the vampires.

<Why does this suddenly feel like a bad Warner brothers cartoon?>

The two vampires ran in a blind panic, trying to escape the three girls chasing them.

"Marcus said it would be easy!" the first complained as he ran.

"Easy for who!?"

The first vampire shook his head, not bothering to answer.

The two vampires were stopped by a voice ahead of them.

"It was easy. Exactly according to plan."

Both vampires stopped in shock and relief as Marcus, the closest thing to a Master vampire in Sunnydale at the moment, materialized from the shadows with twenty of their brethren behind him.

"According to plan!?" The first one said in shock, "They got Stevie, Mark, and Jackie!"

Marcus shrugged, "So it wasn't exactly according to plan, I had expected them to cull out all the weak links."

The two vampires looked at each other in fear. "W... what?"

Marcus smiled nastily, "Get ready. Prove to me in this fight that you're not weak and perhaps I won't dust you myself when we've killed the second Slayer."

"Second Slayer!?"

The trio broke into the open and stopped dead.

"Uh..." Faith said.

"Oh." Willow finished.

They were face to face with twenty three very angry looking vampires.

"Uh... Hi Guys..." Faith said, looking over the group a little nervously.

"Hello, Faith." Marcus stepped forward.

"Marcus." Faith said flatly.

Willow stared at her, "You know this guy?"

Faith shrugged, "Yeah, he used to work for the mayor."

Marcus smiled slightly. "So did you."

"What can I say?" Faith asked with a twist of her lips, "Everyone fucks up sometimes."

"True." Marcus said with a slight smile. "You should have stayed on our side, Faith."

Faith laughed, "I was never on *your* side, Marcus. I was on the Mayor's side. He was planning on dusting the bunch of you when he was done with ya."

That shook the vampire slightly, but he regained his composure quickly. "Be that as it may, Slayer... We're tired of dealing with two of you in town... so you have to die now."

Faith grinned and looked the group over. "Bring it."

Willow stared between the Vampire and the Dark Slayer, a little shocked by the conversation. When Faith smiled at the vampire and spoke those last two words the red headed Wiccan paled. A few vampires she could handle, but twenty three was pushing what the entire scooby gang to handle safely.

<Is she insane?>

Willow didn't have any more time to think as the vampires charged as a group, their attack oddly coordinated for Sunnydale's undead population.

<Oh shit.>

Buffy broke from cover in time to watch the first wave of vampires attack the trio.

<Crap!> She stopped for a second, taking in the sheer number of vampires in the group. The scene was too chaotic to get a fast count but it looked bad. Buffy broke into a flat out run toward the brawl as the first contact between the combatants was made.

Faith sidestepped the lead vamp, jamming her stake into it's heart with one smooth motion and moving on before the vamp even realized it was dust. The next three posed a greater problem, and Faith was quickly put on the defensive.

The fight was fast and furious as the Slayer met and matched the best that three vampires could send her way, blocking clumsy punches and jockeying for a position to make the best use of her stake. Unfortunately with three vampires at once it was impossible to gain the initiative and she found herself being forced back step by step. Belatedly she realized that another three vampires were circling around to cover her rear.


"Inciendre." Willow said, her voice black as she raised her hand, fingers splayed wide.

At her command two vampires burst into flames and fell, flaming, to the ground. Before she could do more then think about the next target, however, she was tackled by a vampire who had charged through the makeshift bonfires.

"Willow!" Tara screamed as he lover went down in a heap, a vampire clawing for her throat.

The blond witch didn't even think of spells. She charged the two rolling and clawing combatants and leapt onto the back of the vampire as it rolled on top of Willow. Her stake quickly found its mark and the vampire dusted, dropping the blond solidly onto the redhead.

"Ummm... Hi." Willow grinned.

Tara blushed, even as the noise of the fight rushed around her. "Hi yourself." She said as she rolled clear.

The two witches got to their feet in time to meet the next group, stakes in hand and spells on their lips.

Faith ducked low, avoiding a fast punch, and kicked out in a short sweep that took a vamps legs from under him. As she straightened she caught another punch, deflected it to one side, and stepped in close to drive her stake into the offending vampire's heart. Quickly, so as not to lose her stake to the vampire's dusting effect, she pulled back and turned on the next closest.

By this point she was solidly surrounded and things looked grim.

"Incien.." Willow began to say as another vampire charged her, only to be cut off as he connected and drove her to the ground again. "Oof!"

Tara couldn't spare her lover a glance this time, as she was struggling with a problem of her own. A vampire had gotten too close to risk using the flame spell, and now she was struggling to drive her stake into the vamp's chest. Unfortunately, the Vampire apparently considered this to be an unacceptable solution to their disagreement and was fighting back rather effectively.

Buffy dove into the fight at full speed, driving her stake into the back of the vampire that had tackled Willow and tackling the one that was slowly moving it's teeth towards Tara's throat.

Slayer and vampire had barely touched the ground when her Stake found it's chest and itburst into dust, leaving her to roll back to her feet with an exhilarated grin on her face.

"Heya, Will, How come I wasn't invited to the party?"

Faith planted her hand firmly on the closest Vamp's shoulder and jumped up, using him as leverage. Her jump vaulted her over the vampire's head as she did a brief handstand on the vamp's shoulders and landed solidly behind him and clear of the circle of vamps surrounding her.

"Thanks for the assist, babe." She blew in the vamps ear as she drove her stake into his back.

As the vampire dusted she spared a brief glance around and was surprised, and relieved, to see that Buffy had joined the party.

"Hey, B!" Faith grinned at her sister Slayer, "Nice of ya to join us."

Buffy shook her head, suppressing a slight smile at the cheerful greeting of the Dark Slayer. "We need to have a chat when this is over, Faith."

"Anytime, B." Faith called over as she turned to face off against the vamps still pursuing her. "In the meantime, Good luck... and have fun!"

Buffy snorted, but hefted her own stake and eyed the approaching vamps with trepidation.

Slowly the Slayers and Witches were pushed back into a tight group, facing their opponents back to back.

"Damn." Faith said as she dusted another, "This is one rough night."

No one bothered to reply since, other then Buffy, they were breathing to hard to spare the wind for speech.

By this point there were still at least fifteen vampires plus the leader left to deal with and even the Slayer's were beginning to feel the fatigue wear down their systems.

Then the game changed again.

"This a Private party?" A sneering voice came from the shadows, "Or can anyone join?"

She arrived, a little winded, in time to watch the four warrior women dealing death to vampires right and left. But it didn't take long to realize that it wouldn't be enough. For every column of dust that drifted to the ground there was another two vamps ready to move into its place.

She nodded, and hefted her MP5 as she stepped out of the shadows.

"This a Private party?" Miss Parker asked sneering at the group of vampires, "Or can anyone join?"

At the sound of the voice the fight lulled to a brief stop as everyone turned to look at the source of the question.

The four defenders let out a breath of relief that went unnoticed by the vampires.

"Guns don't hurt us, Mortal." One of the braver vampires said, "Leave and you'll live."

Miss Parker sneered, "I'll take my chances."

"Your funeral."

A small group split of from the four girls and charged her.

She opened up with short, controlled, bursts. Aiming for center mass, not worrying about exact placement of her shots. At first the vampires grinned under impacts and kept coming, but a few seconds later the screaming started.

Marcus would have paled if he had any blood to drain from his face. Whatever the bitch was firing, they weren't normal bullets. He did a quick mental count and the numbers refused to come up in his favor.


Marcus backed into the shadows, waiting until he was well clear of the killzone before shouting out an order to his vampires.

"Back off! Get Clear!" he yelled, "We'll get them later!"

With those parting words he faded completely into the darkness.

"Back off! Get Clear! We'll get them later!"

At the command form their leader the vampires fighting the Slayers and Witches broke and ran.

Buffy threw her stake in a hard overhand throw, dusting one through the back as it ran. Willow got another with a flame spell, but Faith was too tired to follow up and Tara lacked the energy to cast another spell.

Miss Parker stepped into the clearing, her MP5 blazing as she emptied her clip into the retreating vampires, frying another four before the clip ran dry. By the time she had dropped int and reloaded the rest were long gone.

Buffy looked up at the approaching woman and nodded, "Thanks."

Miss Parker nodded back.

Faith grinned, "Yeah, Miss P. Thanks for the assist."

Parker looked at Faith, a smirking grin on her face. "If you three are planning on doing this regularly I think it's time we had a long talk about the advantages of the right tools for the job."


Jan 17th

"Thanks Leo," Phoebe said as the Whitelighter nodded and orbed out. The Charmed One looked around Xander's 'safe room' and smiled. <Wonder if he's around?>

As she stepped out of the room her ears were assaulted by a sudden barrage of gunfire. <What the?>

"Hello?" She winced.

No one heard her, but she soon caught sight of who was doing the shooting.

Miss Parker was coaching Willow, Faith, Buffy, and Tara in the 'art' of gunplay. Phoebe shook her head at the odd sight of two witches firing slow methodical shots into the targets at the far side.

She winced again and grabbed a spare pair of ear guards as the four shooters opened up again.

<Damn.> She thought to herself, <Faith and Buffy are damned good...>

Both Slayers were firing in a rapid fire motion, emptying their clips in seconds, and chopping the paper targets into confetti.

The Blond Slayer glanced over at the Brunette, "Like using a really cool crossbow!"

Faith grinned back, "Yeah! But easier to aim!"

Buffy nodded, "Yep!"

Miss Parker, for her part, had given up on giving pointers to the Slayers and was devoting her attention to the two witches. "No! Aim from your body, like this!"

She shifted around, and pointed her weapon down range, emptying the gun into the target.

Willow nodded and tried again, picking up the motions fairly quickly.

Tara was having more trouble, but was also improving noticably by the time Miss parker noticed Phoebe. The dark haired woman looked at the charmed one and grinned, "You want to try!?"

Phoebe shouted back, "I don't know... Never really liked guns!"

Miss Parker sneered slightly, "As long as they aren't pointed at you there's nothing to dislike!"

That brought a smile to the witches face and she nodded, stepping forward. "Ok!"

Miss Parker handed her a cold black weapon, "Use this! It's a Berreta 92F, good starting weapon. Semi-automatic, fifteen rounds, not too heavy. The action is pretty light and the recoil isn't too bad!"

Phoebe nodded and lifted the weapon tentatively. As she sighted down range she didn't notice the gunfire die out around her as the others turned to watch. She fired the first shot tentatively, jumping as the weapon bucked in her hand.


Miss Parker laid a hand on her shoulder, "It's all right, try again."

The next shot was smoother, her arm held firmer against the recoil. Then another, and another, and another. Slowly Phoebe began to relax into the weapons action, her mind slipping back into the calm focus she usually reserved for meditations.

When the weapon locked back on an empty chamber she snapped out of it and looked around, almost surprised.

Miss parker nodded, "Good! You're a natural... Eject the clip... that button right there... good! Now slide that clip in and have another go!"

Phoebe followed her instructions. This time the calm frame of mind came easier, and after the first shot she was firing smoothly. But her aim was off. She frowned and corrected. The second shot went wide too, and she corrected for the third, but somehow missed again. Growling low in her throat she worked her way through the entire clip, disappointed to see that every single shot had gone wide despite her attempts at aiming.

When the slide locked back she ejected the clip without thinking and slammed the empty gun down.

It wasn't until she turned to look at the others that she realized that something was wrong. "What?" She asked, taking the ear guards off.

Miss Parker didn't say a word, she just motioned to the others to put up their guns. They did.

Miss Parker then walked downrange. Everyone followed her.

"What?" Phoebe asked, confused.

As she approached the target she was even more frustrated to see only one bullet hole in the target, sure it was dead center but still... one out of fifteen was bad. "I told you... I'm not a gun person."

Miss Parker lifted the target and reached her hand into the trap behind it. She brought out a closed fist and held it up. When she opened her fist there were fifteen flattened bullets inside.

"Huh?" Phoebe said in confusion.

"I'll second that." Faith added.

"Freaky..." Buffy said, stunned.

Phoebe looked at the target again. <Yeah... only one hole...>

Miss Parker finally found her voice. "H... How did you do that?"


"You put all your shots through the same hole..."

Phoebe shook her head, "No... I couldn't have. I remember seeing them all go wide."

Miss Parker shook her own head violently, "No way. I watched. You didn't miss a single shot."

"But..." Phoebe looked around in confusion, "I remember..."

"What do you remember?"

"When I started shooting I started to calm down... I remember firing... and the shot went wide, so I corrected... The same thing happened for every shot..."

"Phoebe..." Willow said slowly, "Do you remember how it felt?"

"Of course," Phoebe said, "It felt great... I was calm, just like I have to be when I want to control my vision... oh..."

"What!?" Miss Parker asked.

Willow was the first to vocalize what she and Phoebe were both thinking, "She used her powers without knowing it... She saw the future... then changed it."

"Way to go Miss Yoda!" Faith grinned and slapped Phoebe on the back.

Phoebe stared at the target in shock, "I've never been able to use my powers like that before..."

"Y... you must be getting stronger as you grow into your p... powers." tara said slowly.

Phoebe nodded slowly, "Yeah..." Slowly a grin appeared on her face, "Cool."

The Two Slayers just looked at the witch in awe, uncertain what to make of someone who managed to out shoot them the first time she touched a weapon.

"Wow." Buffy said.

Faith grinned and nodded.

As the impromptu shooting exercise wrapped up the girls started toward the Stairs.

"Tara," Miss Parker said, "Could you stick around please?"

Tara looked around for a second, but nodded.

"Tara?" Willow turned back, questioningly.

"Go ahead, You have a class... I'll c... catch up."

Willow nodded, "See you after class."

"You bet."

"So is Xander around?" Phoebe asked as she and Faith walked upstairs.

"Nah," Faith said easily, "He just got the Mustang back from the bodyshop... He'll be out in it for hours."


Faith shot her a sidelong glance, "Why? You looking to hook up again?"

Phoebe shook her head, "I don't know..."

"Damn girl. Make up yer mind. You're the one who cut it off in the first place."

"I know... but... I couldn't stand watching him kill himself like that."

"Kill himself?" Faith looked at her, "He survived."


"B's Ken Doll has a saying for things like that," Faith quoted, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."

"Really funny, Faith."

"Geez girl, dust that sense of humor off once in a while." Faith snapped, "You keep up like that and this job'll kill ya before it kill's ya."

Phoebe didn't answer. She looked at Faith for a moment, "I just don't know..."

Faith took her turn at the silence game. Finally she looked over at the witch, "You do know that me and Xander are..."

Phoebe looked up in surprise, "You're seeing Xander?"

"Not exactly."

"Then what...?"

Phoebe looked at Faith for a long moment, "Oh... my... god."

The young witch turned away, forcing faith to turn to catch up to her. "Hey, you left him remember?"

"So?" Phoebe said, her voice a little bitter, "How long till he shacked up with *you*?"

Faith shrugged, taking the question seriously, even though she suspected it wasn't a serious question. "Couple weeks. He got toasted a few times after you left him, girl. He had it bad for you."

Phoebe turned away. "I... I didn't know..."

"Bullshit!" Faith pulled her back around, "You know Xander. Hell you know him better then anyone, even me. And I'm the only other person who comes close, and you know it."

Phoebe nodded.

Faith calmed down a bit, "Look, Girl. I don't know what your problem is, and I'd normally add that I don't care... but that's not true. You and Xander are my friends... The first friends I've had in a damned long time, so you're gonna listen to me real careful right now."

Phoebe didn't look back, but she didn't turn away again either.

Faith shook her head. <Damn. I'm no good at this crap.> "Look... Talk to him, girl. Figure out what you want, and try to work it out with him."

"What about you two?"

Faith shrugged, "Xan and I are friends, Phoebe. That's about it. You've never had a friend like that?"

Phoebe shrugged, "I guess..."

"Then you know that I'm not going to fight you for him."

Phoebe was silent.

"Talk to him." Faith urged.

Phoebe nodded, "I will."

"Good." Faith suddenly grinned and slapped her on the back, "Now come on, girl, let's burn some daylight."


Faith grinned, "Shopping."

A slow smile spread across Phoebe's face, "Cool."

Buffy walked along with Willow toward the university campus.


Willow looked over at her, a little nervous. "So... we going to keep dancing around this?"

Buffy took a deep breath. "No... I think four days is enough... you?"

"Way enough."


Willow looked at the blond again and chuckled.

Buffy grinned herself, and took a breath. "I'm sorry."

Willow's laughter stopped, her eyes widened. "What?"

"I'm sorry... I was way hard on you... I shouldn't..."

"No!" Willow said, "No... I screwed up, Buff... and... I'm sorry."

Buffy looked over at the red head, "you already apologized..."

"No I didn't." Willow said, "Not really... Not like I should have. I'm sorry for the spell, I'm sorry for what happened... and I'm sorry for being mad at you for the past few weeks."

Buffy nodded, "I... I accept."

Willow smiled over at the blond, "Thank you."

"Now..." Buffy started, "Can we be friends again?"

"We never stopped."

"I know." Buffy said, "But It felt like the thing to say."

The two girls laughed slightly and Buffy wrapped an arm around the redhead as they continued toward the university.

"M... Miss Parker?" Tara looked at the older woman with trepidation.

"It's all right, Tara." Parker smiled, warmly for a change. "I just wanted to say that I'm impressed with your shooting."

"B... but I'm not as good as the others..."

"Not yet." Parker said, "But except for Willow the others all have some major advantages. I think you could be quite the marksman."

"I... You think?"

Parker nodded, "I do. You have the right approach. Willow takes the gun too lightly, the same way she takes magic... I think we can train that out of her, but it's something we'll need to watch. The Slayers, well they take to weapons like a five year old takes to toys... same problem, same solution. Phoebe I'm not sure about, but I think that she'll be ok... But you, you respect the weapon. You treat it like a dangerous, lethal, tool... and that is something I respect."

Tara looked surprised, "I... I didn't do anything different from the others..."

"It wasn't what you did... if was the way you moved, the way you thought." Parker said, "I want you to come back for extra lessons... stuff I'm not going to show the others yet."

"W... why?"

"Because you're ready to handle it. They aren't."


Xander pulled into the driveway, and hopped out of the convertible. <Damn glad to get this back.>

He headed up the lane and went inside, looking around. "Hello?"

No one answered. He shrugged, and headed downstairs. As he hit the halfway mark he stopped and sniffed the air. <What the?>

He stepped down a little slower, smelling the gunpowder in the air. "Someone's been playing around..." he whispered.

He checked out the range, walking down to look at the traps behind the targets. Inside he saw dozens and dozens of rounds in each trap.

"Damn." He looked around in confusion, "Jarod is gone... Miss Parker wouldn't have done all this... what the hell is going on here?"

Jan 25th, '00

"Buffy, you go left with Willow and Tara. Faith, Phoebe, and I will head right." Miss Parker ordered quietly, "Remember what I told you..."

The five girls nodded and said in chorus, "Don't screw up."

Miss parker smiled in that nasty way she always did, "And don't any of you forget it."

Low chuckled sounded as the group split and moved toward the nest. These vampires had apparently opted to ignore the vamp guidebook and had skipped the obligatory abandoned warehouse for a nice suburban home that had been on the local Realtor's sales list for over three months with no serious bids.

Small wonder.

The home had come to Willow's attention when she was perusing the local database's for anything that seemed out of place. The local Realtor's had a semi-private board on the net for their agents to share information. The address in question had several message threads devoted to it. The overall tone of the messages was simple. Don't go near the place, day or night.

Three Realtors and eighteen clients had been injured visiting the home in the past two and a half months. Three more clients and the realtor who had originally been given this particular home to move had vanished. Police *assumed* that all four people had simply packed up their belongings and left town.

Miss parker shook her head, <which means that these vamps are fairly smart. They know that the local PD will take any chance it can to cover up a supernatural event, so they steal their victims belongings from their homes and make it look like they moved out. Wouldn't fool a kindergarten child, but when the cops are already looking for a reason to drop the case...>

She shook her head clear as she allowed the Dark Slayer to take point, leading the move into the suburban home.

Faith grinned, enjoying the feelings running through her as she approached the back door. Mentally she counted down, knowing that on the other side Buffy was doing the same. When her mental count hit zero, she checked the door.


She grinned and glanced back at Parker, who nodded.

One step back, three steps forward.

And the Slayer was standing on the other side of the, shattered, door. He swept into the room, her pistol still riding on her hip. Guns were last resort on this run. The ammunition would fry the house, and maybe a good chunk of the neighborhood if the fire department didn't arrive on time.

A quick glance around the room told her that the vamps weren't in sight, the kitchen was empty. "Nada."

Phoebe and Miss Parker slipped in behind her, stakes on their belt, pistols in their hands.

Buffy checked the door and smiled.


A few seconds later that wasn't a problem anymore, and wouldn't be until the Realtor's got up the courage to send a repairman.

The blond slayer moved in fast, her eyes scanning the hall as the pre-dawn light glimmered through the windows and broken door.

"Nothing here."

Behind her Willow and Tara slipped in, spells on their lips, guns on their hips.

The two teams met up in the living room.

"Nothing?" Miss Parker asked, looking at Buffy.

Buffy shook her head.

"Well, they know we're here now. Attic or Basement?"

The Blond looked up, then down. "Basement."

"Right." Miss Parker said, "Careful."


Faith looked up at the hatch in the ceiling. "I hate Attics."

"Bitch later. Slay now."

Faith chuckled, looking at Phoebe. "You are a real wiseass, you know that girl?"

Phoebe arced an eyebrow, "Someone must be a bad influence on me."

Parker looked at them, "Could you two do the buddy buddy crap later?"

"Right," Faith jumped up and grabbed the hook in the ceiling, pulling the recessed stairwell down easily. As it opened up Phoebe and Parker covered the hatch with their pistols. Nothing.

"Damn." Faith said, "I hate Attics."

The Slayer shrugged and started up the stairs, a stake in each hand. Halfway up she winced and glanced back. "Vamps." she mouthed silently.

Parker and Phoebe nodded, moving to follow her up the stairs.

Buffy checked the door to the basement. Locked. She shook her head, "Gonna have to knock it down."

Willow and Tara nodded, "They already know we're here anyway... want to go for overkill?"

Buffy smiled, "Talking my language."

The two witches smiled and glanced at each other. Buffy watched a flash of silent communication echo between them and moved quickly out of their path when the focused on the door.

"Obliteratus." The combined voice echoed eerily through the room as the power of the spell charged through the air between them and the door.

As the energy impacted the door it wavered, bending and distorting for a few seconds, then it shattered into splinters that flew down the stairwell.

As the sound of the spell's affect died away, Buffy stepped around and glanced down the stairwell. "Nice."

The two witches nodded and smiled. "Thanks." They said in unison.

Faith stepped cautiously up the stairs, looking around slowly. The barest whisper of air behind her triggered her Slayer enhanced reflexes. She ducked.

A muffled curse was followed by a chunk of something biting into wood.

Faith's eyes opened wide as she recognized the blade of a sword embedded in the attic floorboards ahead of her. "Shit!"

The Slayer spun around and came face to face with a very angry Vampire. "You almost cut me, you bastard."

"That was the idea, bitch."

Faith grabbed the vamp by the collar and pulled hard. With a yelp the vamp came crashing down from his perch, and tumbled down the stairs. As he came to a stop at the bottom he groaned and looked up from the floor into the cold eyes of a dark haired woman.


"See ya, dusty." Miss Parker said as she drove a stake into his heart. As he dusted she straightened from her kneeling position and nodded up at Faith. "Careful."

Faith rubbed her throat and nodded.

Buffy stepped over the three piles of dust and smiled. The shards of the door had handled the first part of the job for her. <I'll have to thank Will for that.>

Behind her she could hear the two witches moving slowly. Ahead of her she could feel the presence of at least one more vampire. She flashed a hand sign to Willow and Tara, and pointed ahead into the darkness of the blacked out basement.

Willow nodded, and lifted her hands. "Lumos."

As she spoke the word the three girls clenched their eyes shut, avoiding the blinding glare that swept through the room. A second later they opened their eyes, and blinked as they looked around the fully lit basement.

The girls smiled as they locked onto two more vampires, who were covering their eyes and stumbling about. "Damn! Can't see a damned thing!"

Buffy smiled, "Too bad."

"Who said that?"

The two stakes flashed through the air and buried themselves in the chests of both vamps. As their dust drifted toward the ground Buffy looked around, her face a mask of concentration. A moment later her features cleared.

"No more." She said as she turned back to the Wiccans.

Finally in the attic Faith looked around, guarding the stairwell as the other two stepped up.

"Anymore?" Parker asked in a hushed tone.

Faith just nodded.

The trio moved into the cramped space slowly, stepping cautiously over the random debris. As they came abreast of an old armoire A vampire screamed and leapt out, smashing into Miss Parker and driving the woman to the ground before she could react.

As the struggling duo hit the floor of the attic Faith tried to find room to step in but they rolled clear, both combatants clawing and gouging at the other in a no holds barred fight.

From the middle of the fight they heard Parker growl out, "I could use a hand here."

Phoebe darted forward, stake in hand, and managed to get a hand on the back of the vamps coat. Pulling at it she drove the stake down in a smooth motion.

The vampire screamed, but didn't dust.

"You missed the heart, girl." Faith yelled from where she was hopping over an old box to get at the fight.


"Don't say that!" Parker growled, "No 'Oops' ever again, just stake the bastard."

Phoebe pulled back and tried again. This time she was rewarded by the sound of the vamp dusting.

Miss Parker sat up slowly, and rubbed her neck. "Thanks."

"No prob."

Faith grinned at them both. "Attic's clear."

Buffy smiled as she saw Faith walk down the stairs with a wide grin on her face. <Everything went ok, then.>

"We kicked ass. Two of em dusted."

Buffy smiled, "We win. Five piles in the basement."

Faith smirked, "Well duh. It was the basement after all."

"Could you two argue later?" Miss Parker turned to the three witches. "You guys got what you need?"

"Oh yeah." Phoebe smiled, "Custom made."


Phoebe handed out a slip of paper to the other two witches, who looked at it and smiled.

"Cool." Willow said.

The three witches smiled at each other and began to chant in unison.

"Bar this home to intruders foul, protect these walls from evil all. By Wiccan three we do decree, by our word make it so."

A shimmer of light glowed through the house for a second, then was gone.

Miss Parker looked around, "that it?"

The Witches nodded, "Nothing demonic is coming in here for a few days at least, well... nothing short of one of the big boys I mean."

Willow nodded in agreement with Phoebe and added, "I'll leave an anonymous tip that they'd better move this place fast... we'll keep an eye on it, and come back if we have to."

Faith grinned, "You guys are wicked."

Willow grinned back, "We're all wicked."

Faith suddenly crowed with laughter.

"What?" Willow asked, perplexed.

"That's us..." Faith grinned, "The Wicked Ones."

Two Weeks Later

Miss Parker shucked her coat, tossing it haphazardly against the far wall as she closed the door to her room. Slowly she stretched out her muscles, groaning in a cat-like purr as she felt the tension under the surface of her skin. She shifted her neck, and winced at the slight pain in the muscles, then smiled.

She peeled off her silk blouse and tossed it onto the bed, her eyes absently watching its trajectory. When it landed on a metal case she looked sharply at the bed. <What the?>

She lifted her blouse off the aircraft aluminum casing and looked at it closely. On top was a card that said, simply, 'A Gift.'

She smiled, and opened the case.

Her breath hitched as she looked over the contents. Inside was a custom built Smith, she presumed from Konzaki's bench. The weapon had been completely retooled, and she could feel the difference when she balanced it in her hand.


It was a nickel and chrome plated 9mm, same model as she carried normally. But the similarities ended there. The action was smoother, the trigger had the feel of an electric typewriter key instead of the long pull she was used to, and the sights had been redone with a tritium 'three-dot' system. Inset into the grip was an unobtrusive 'Crimson Trace' laser system that activated as soon as her hand closed around the weapon.

<Very nice.>

After examining the weapon she looked inside the case and pulled out the remaining contents. Six clips, each marked with a band of paint along the base. She looked at a card that had been nestled in with the clips.

"Explosives are Red, AP is blue, Hollow-points you'll know... To Miss P, Thank you."

She frowned/smiled as she read the card and looked over the boxes of ammunition settled in beside the clips. Rereading the note she smiled, <Jarod, you do know a way to a girl's heart.>

Hey Faith, "Xander smiled as the Dark Slayer slipped into the room. "Feeling a little up tonight?"

Faith grinned at him, "Oh, I'm feelin fine, lover. How 'up' are you?"

Xander chuckled shook his head, and pulled her onto the bed beside him. "You really are wicked you know that?"

"What?" Faith pulled away for a sec, looking at him curiously.

Xander looked surprised by her sudden motion, "Wicked... you know, nasty? Evil, in a good way..." He grinned and played his eyebrows at her.

Faith relaxed and grinned, "Come on Lover, you don't know the half of it... but I'll show ya."

The two quickly got closer and were shortly rolling around the bed.

"I'm home!" Phoebe called out, looking around. "Hello?"

No one answered her so she turned back to where Jenny stood behind her, "Thanks for the... lift. I guess, you call it..."

Jenny grinned, "No problem. Glad you asked me, Leo had some plans with your Sister this weekend that I don't think he wanted interrupted."

Phoebe grinned, "I know. Who do you think helped him set them up?"

The Whitelighter laughed softly, "A girl after my own heart. I hope your visit was ok?"

Phoebe nodded, "Yeah. Wish we could have done more for that Coven though..."

Jenny nodded, "We did what we could. And at least we've prevented a recurrence."

Phoebe tilted her head in an affirmative manner. "Yeah. Hard to believe that sort of thing could happen today you... you know?"

"Fear and panic lead people to do frightening things." Jenny said somberly, then she abruptly shook her head and tried to clear the thoughts. "Anyway, did you have that talk with Xander?"

Phoebe nodded.

"That bad huh?"

"Not really..." Phoebe said, "But I don't think we'll be getting back together..."

Jenny nodded, "Why?"

"Something he said..." She trailed off, "It sort of hit me."


"He told me that he couldn't give me what I wanted... what he thought I deserved. He said he could probably give me what I needed... but sometimes that wasn't enough."

Jenny smiled sadly, "That boy has moments of actual wisdom. Problem is, I can never tell them apart from when he's being a complete ass."

Phoebe snorted, bubbling laughter forcing its way out of her lungs. "I know exactly what you mean."

"You giving up on him?"

Phoebe looked her in the eyes, "Never. But that doesn't mean that I think we should be together either."

Jenny shrugged, "Do as you will. That's the biggest blessing and most horrible curse I can offer."

"Thanks. I think."

The Whitelighter smiled and vanished in column of light, and a peal of laughter.

Willow and Tara let out twin breaths of relief as the collapsed onto their bed. "That was horrible."

Tara just nodded in agreement.

"I never knew it could be so bad..."

Tara nodded, "I kn... know. It was like... being... *there*."

Willow shuddered and Tara felt the shiver run through the bed. She turned to her lover and pulled her into an embrace, "That's why we have to be careful... you see that now right?"

Willow nodded, burying her head in Tara's shoulder. Her voice was muffled when she spoke, "I know..."

"Good." tara whispered, as she lifted Willow's chin with one hand.

Willow looked at her and smiled hesitantly, "Thank you..."

Tara smiled back and bent her head in, capturing Willow's lips in a deep kiss. Moments later the two Wiccans were entwined in each others arms.

"Wicked." Willow whispered between kisses.



Valid XHTML 1.1! Valid CSS!