| Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | End Season 1 - Epilogue |
| Begin Season 2 - Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16. | Ch. 17 | Ch. 18 | Ch. 19 | Ch. 20 | Season 2 - Epilogue |
| Ch. 21 | Ch. 22 | Ch. 23 | Ch. 24 | Ch. 25 | Ch. 26 | Ch. 27 | Ch. 28 | Ch. 29 | Ch. 30 | Season 3 - Epilogue |
| Toilet Demons Project |
| Ch. 31 | Ch. 32 | Ch. 33 | Ch. 34 |

TITLE: It Starts With Faith
CHAPTER: Eighteen
AUTHOR: Dreiser
EMAIL: dreiser0@earthlink.net
ICQ #: 37674780
WEBSITE: http://www.lvdi.net/~reddeath/dreiser.htm
CONTENT: F/F romance. Don't like it, don't read it.
SUMMARY: An alternate reality series that places Faith as the one true slayer aka the chosen one for her generation.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing but my bartending tips.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Return of the humor! This chapter doesn't really advance the plot much, but hey, sit back and have a good giggle with me, huh? Oh, if you want to be like Amy (and I know that you do) check out this site to find out what your way nifty Bond girl name would be. Heh.
SITE: http://www.dvd.com/stories/play/bondgirls/

It Starts With Faith
By: Dreiser

-Eighteen-

Boring, boring, boring. That's what life was in Sunnydale and it was making Iris bored, bored, bored.

So bored that she was contemplating... naughty things. Mischievous things... humorous trickster things. It was the kind of thing that she did back in New York to the local demon gangs that tended to annoy her.

Recalling those tricks, she giggled to herself in delight. Ohhh... what about the time she made the local Fire demons think that everyone they saw was their worst enemy on the planet and they ended up killing each other.

That was quite funny indeed. And convenient since their latest job was to eliminate all of the Fire demons from the general Manhattan area for their client.

But right now they didn't have a job nearly that exciting. Right now they were supposed to be destroying the Slayers and then retrieving Nerine for Kakistos.

There was just one slight problem.

The job was taking too long to get into swing as the Slayers were taking their sweet time before attacking the false headquarters they'd given them. Iris was starting to think that maybe they knew it was all a big set up it was taking so long. But there was another tiny problem...

Iris was getting bored with the waiting.

She was getting bored and today was Halloween. And her very favorite thing to do on Halloween was to stir up some much needed mischief with some of her tricks.

Tricks which usually amused her lover Trick. Because, after all, consider his name, won't you? Iris most certainly did since she was the one to give him that very unusual nickname since he enjoyed helping her with her now infamous tricks around the New York area.

So she was almost positive he'd endorse her little need for some mischief right now.

And how right she was.

"All right," said Trick in a low drawl, an amused smile crossing his features as he heard her cute plea for a chance to cause some tiny chaos with her usual tricks. "I just have one teeny weeny request, baby doll."

"What's that?" asked Iris, her blue eyes wide.

"Don't let your fun interfere with our plans," Trick replied, his eyes glittering dangerously. "And if you've got plans for doing a spell, take it away from here since they can be tracked back to the source if you're smart."

"Poo," Iris said, making a disappointed face. Turning on her heel, she heaved a giant sigh as she walked away and said, "I guess that I'll just have to cast it from our apartment then."

"Yup," said Trick with a nod, not really hearing what the other vampire said. "You'll just have to--" His eyes widened on realizing her words. "What?!" Rushing to his feet now, Trick went barreling after his paramour and shouted, "Not our apartment, baby! Please! I just got the carpet cleaned!"

And as Trick ran after her, the other vampires couldn't but help smirk on hearing Iris' lilting laugh echo in the air. Because it was a laugh that meant chaos, fun, and mischief all rolled into one.

Something absolutely perfect for Halloween.

---

"Spectacular!" Willow cried happily, clapping her hands. "You look exactly like him, Vince. It's great!"

"Thank you, thank you, I am a master of disguise, morphing into whatever character whose costume I have on at the time," said Vince giving a low bow.

"I guess I should call you Fred then?" asked Willow, straightening the orange scarf he had tied around his neck and standing back to look at him again.

"You call me Fred, I call you Daphne," replied Vince, his chocolate brown eyes twinkling fondly.

Giggling at this, Willow did a twirl, causing the purple mini dress she had on to spin around. Putting one hand on her hip, she formed a rather sexy pose before she said in teasing tones, "Don't my go go boots turn you on?"

"Oh yeah, they're totally groovy," Vince said, waggling his eyebrows in an overly lascivious movement.

"You guys want the costumes then?" asked the weary shopkeeper who'd been more than a bit busy with the day being Halloween and all.

"Yeah, we'll take them," said Vince, walking to the shopkeeper and smiling. "How much?"

"Forty altogether," replied the shopkeeper. "And make sure you bring them back tomorrow. I'll need you to fill out these forms first, because of the rental."

"No problem," Vince replied, leaning down to fill them out as Willow walked over to his side and leaned a bit on his shoulder watching him as he wrote. Glancing at her, he smiled and asked a bit hesitantly, "Are you sure it's cool with your friends that I'll be hanging out too? You guys seem pretty exclusive, y'know?"

"Yeah, I know," murmured Willow, reaching out to play with some strands of Vince's dyed blonde hair that was pushed out his eyes for once and styled to look like Fred's hair from Scooby Doo. "But us being exclusive doesn't mean I can't bring a new friend into the group." She gave a sweet smile then said, "You're special to me, Vince. You listen to me when no one seems to and you understand my love for music and what it means to me better than anyone else I know. You... you're my huggy bear."

"Huggy bear?" Vince echoed, chuckling as he finished filling out the forms and handing the shopkeeper the money they owed him. "Is being called the name of a TV snitch a compliment in your Willow world?"

"Definitely," Willow answered with a smile.

"Well, then I'll take it as one," said Vince, taking his change from the shopkeeper. Pausing to study Willow with careful eyes, he offered her his arm and said, "Wanna take a ride in my Mystery Machine, little lady?"

Taking his offered arm and laughing as they made their way out of the costume shop, Willow said, "You do know that sounds reaaaally dirty, don't you?"

"Why do you think I said it?" Vince asked teasingly, opening the door for Willow as she walked past him.

"Aren't you a bad boy?" said Willow with a slight purr as she ran her fingers across his arm that was holding the door open for her.

Swallowing the lump in his throat while he watched Willow walk towards Susie the Bus, Vince had the funniest feeling that tonight would change his life.

He just wasn't sure how or why it would.

---

Faith tried once again to scratch at her itch only to have her hand immediately batted away by Giles.

"Stop that," Giles admonished. "Or we'll never get this horrid thing on your forehead."

"But it itches," Faith whined, scrunching up her nose. "What can me giving a little scratch hurt things?"

"I'm trying to apply glue," reminded Giles, looking down at Faith. "Did you forget that or do you really want your fingers to get permanently stuck to your forehead?"

"You're making fun of me," grumbled Faith as she folded her arms across her chest. "I just know it."

"It's not that hard to tell," Cordelia commented dryly, emerging from Faith's bedroom and into the living room where Giles was trying to help Faith. Giving a little turn she asked them, "How do I look?"

There was no immediate response as both Faith and Giles were far too busy staring at Cordelia in awe. The dark blue catsuit she had on was exactly like the one from the show and showed off the tall girl's every curve. That included the luscious swell of her breasts to the sensuous lines of her hips being accented from wearing the outfit which seemed to be specifically made to make her look as sexy as possible as she posed for them.

Cordelia smirked at their reaction and tipped her head to one side, chuckled and said, "That good, huh?"

"Sweets," said Faith, standing up and walking away from where she sat next to Giles on the couch. "You look amazing. Almost just like her with that wig on and eyepiece on. It's sorta scary actually."

"I bet," said Cordelia teasingly, giving Faith's nose a light tap. "But don't get too fond of it because this is a one time thing. After tonight I'm taking the blonde off of my head and it's never returning, you got it?"

"Aww," Faith formed a slight pout. "But y'know, I'm really liking you as a blonde, sweets. You just look so damn sexy like that, y'know?"

"Mmm, I bet," Cordelia said in low tones, pulling Faith towards her and kissing her softly. She then moved her head to look at Giles who was busy blushing and looking at the ceiling. "Wasn't her makeup supposed to be done by now?" Cordelia formed a sly smile and shook her finger at him then said in scolding tones, "We're going to be late, Mister. Aren't you feeling so very ashamed of yourself?"

"Very funny," said Giles in droll tones, trying to stop himself from blushing and failing. Heaving a sigh, he looked at Faith and said, "Well? Do you want to look like that horrendously bad tempered woman or not?"

"Hey!" Faith exclaimed, sounding offended while she took her former place sitting next to him on the couch. "I happen to like that horrendously bad tempered woman. She's one of my favorite Trek women of all time."

"Why is beyond me," Giles murmured, going back to work as he tried to get the monstrosity glued back onto Faith's forehead. "Janeway is far better suited for courting Seven in my humble opinion. There's a fondness there. Your favorite woman just fights with her constantly."

"Pent up sexual tension," replied Faith smugly. "That's what is going on there, G-man. Trust me on that."

"Yes, well, if you say so," Giles said, blushing again.

"I do say so," Faith murmured, still sounding smug as she reached up her hand to scratch her forehead.

Batting Faith's hand away, Giles heaved a sigh then rose to his feet as he said, "This simply isn't working but I think that I have an idea that might help us."

Watching Giles exit with a slight smile, Faith looked to Cordelia who had an odd expression on her face. Standing up, she crossed to her girlfriend and in a smooth movement, Faith gently caught Cordelia's hand in her own then said softly, "Hey, what's the matter?"

"Huh?" Cordelia asked, turning Faith's way. Blinking now, she offered a quick smile then said, "It's nothing, Faith. I was just thinking about something."

"About what?" asked Faith earnestly, her dark brown eyes serious as she studied the other girl.

"I was thinking that maybe you really do prefer blondes and don't know it," murmured Cordelia, averting her eyes from Faith's to look out the living room window.

"What?" Faith asked a bit incredulously. "What do you mean by saying that, sweets?"

"Nothing," said Cordelia with a sigh. "It's nothing."

"I dunno what this is about but I do know that's a damn lie," said Faith strongly, walking towards Cordelia as she reached out to grab the taller girl's wrists. Turning her girlfriend around Faith ducked her head so she could look up into Cordelia's hazel eyes. "Hey," Faith repeated in soft and gentle tones. "Please tell me what's the matter."

"Faith..." began Cordelia quietly, her eyes swimming with tears and her voice choked with emotion. In a sudden movement, she swept the dark Slayer up in her arms, clinging to her with a sort of desperation. "I just love you so much... more than anyone else I know."

"I love you too, sweets," said Faith, her voice muffled as she looked up from where her face was pressed against Cordelia's shoulder. "But that's not what's making you sad right now, is it? I sure hope that's not it."

"No, that's not it," Cordelia sniffled, still clinging to Faith as if her very life depended on it.

"Then what is it?" Faith asked, pulling away a bit.

"Faith... what... what do you think about Buffy?" asked Cordelia her eyes and expression now pleading.

"About Buff?" repeated Faith with a frown. "She's a cool person and a good friend. Sorta into the trendy look when it comes to dressing but not snotty like she'd seem. I bet she would've been part of your old crowd back in the old days but now she knows that isn't cool anymore." She paused to tilt her head to one side and regard Cordelia in a very puzzled manner. "Why you ask, sweets?"

Relief evident in her gaze, Cordelia smiled then pulling Faith towards her, she proceeded to give the dark Slayer the most passionate of kisses. It was a kiss that was so passionate that it left Faith's mind blank when it came to remembering her need to know just why Cordelia wanted to know her opinion on Buffy.

Cordelia in the meantime was just grateful that it seemed Faith truly didn't prefer blondes. And she was still in the middle of showing her gratitude when Giles burst back into the room, announcing that he found a brilliant solution to their problem with gluing things to Faith's forehead.

Of course, Faith wasn't very cooperative with his new plan as she was with his old one.

Why that was Giles simply didn't know.

I mean, doesn't everyone love duct tape?

---

Looking at her boyfriend, Amy couldn't stop that song that had the lyrics 'nothing like a sharp dressed man' from running through her head. Because, after all, nothing was more sharp than Xander Harris in a tuxedo.

"You just look so cute, honey!" Amy exclaimed, hanging on his arm and giving him a tiny tickle.

Giving a slightly unmanly giggle, Xander pushed Amy's hands away from his abdomen and coughed before he said strongly, "Yes, I'm the epitome of cuteness, I am." He paused to study Amy with serious eyes the leaned in to whisper in her ear, "But you're the epitome of a sexy lady in that dress, hon."

"You think?" asked Amy, blushing dark as she looked down at her body which was covered in a sleek blue cocktail dress that clung to her body like a second skin, making her look altogether elegant.

"Of course," Xander replied with a firm nod. "You're the perfect Bond girl for my James Bond." He gave a rakish smile then ran his fingers through his hair as he said, "Pierce Brosnan style Bond, naturally."

"Naturally," said Buffy dryly, folding her arms across her chest and announcing her presence to her two friends who had apparently forgotten she was with them inside of the small costume shop they found. "I'm glad you guys found your costumes already but what about me? I thought the reason you dragged me along was to help me find a costume of my own for tonight."

On hearing this, Amy and Xander immediately exchanged a sneaky look that caused a sinking feeling to overtake Buffy's stomach as she looked at them.

"Uh... that's if you have any ideas, that is," Buffy continued rather nervously. "You don't have ideas, do you?"

"Oh, we have ideas," said Xander, now approaching Buffy with an almost evil look on his features. "We have one very specific idea right, Amy my dear?"

"Oh yeah," Amy nodded. "Very specific."

"How specific?" asked Buffy with a gulp.

Neither of them replied and seconds later, Buffy found herself dressed head to toe in their specific choice and idea of a costume for herself.

Staring at the tight khaki shorts, the even tighter white tanktop, matching high white socks, brown hiking boots, and hair now braided down her back, Buffy said in very puzzled tones, "Who am I supposed to be again?"

"Croft," said Xander, a wide smile spreading across his face as he got into his James Bond role for the night. "Lara Croft."

Buffy's only response was a blink of her eyes because she had absolutely no idea just who she was now supposed to be and it was too late to change her costume since they were supposed to be at the Bronze in fifteen minutes to meet the rest of the gang.

She supposed going as this Lara Croft wasn't so bad anyway. It was a cute enough outfit and soon as she stepped outside of the costume shop at least six guys knew who she was dressed up as even if she didn't.

So like Amy remarked earlier, when she was first putting the costume on, she was Tombraider Buffy.

For the night, at least.

---

The Bronze was especially crowded with it being Halloween, that was the first thing Buffy noticed. That and how many bad costumes people were wearing. She was infinitely glad that no one she knew was dressing up like a ghost with a lame sheet over their head.

At least, she that's what she hoped. Because she hadn't seen Faith and the others. The only costumes from her friends that she knew of were Xander and Amy's odd choice of James Bond and a random Bond girl.

Random because Amy's costume wasn't really based off of any Bond girl, rather just an unknown girl that the British secret agent supposedly bedded at some time.

Which could be just about any girl with a ridiculously suggestive name when it came to the James Bond universe.

Buffy shook her head on recalling the name Xander had given Amy. Sometimes, well, a lot of times actually, she wondered about the couple's sanity.

But Buffy couldn't wonder too much about it tonight because just as she started to wonder, she felt a powerful force fixating on her. A strength in the gaze of someone focusing on her right now. It was something that she'd only felt when one person looked at her.

So with a smile on her face, Buffy turned around and came face to face with Faith whose brown eyes were wide as she stared at Buffy with something akin to awe. It surprised the blonde Slayer to note that Faith had Giles at her side instead of Cordelia. Before she could question the other girl about this, Faith interrupted her.

"Wow, Buff, I mean... wow," said Faith almost in a daze, her eyes inspecting Buffy's body as if just that minute she'd noticed the other Slayer was really a girl. "You look just like Lara except for the hair color and normal boob size. It's sorta freaky. Almost better than sweets costume, in fact."

"Thanks," Buffy replied with a smile, but thinking inwardly to herself, 'normal boob size'? Tilting her head to one side, Buffy said, "Where's Cordelia anyway?"

"Bathroom," Faith said, giving an easy smile. "Fixing her makeup and all that. She's got almost as much as me glued onto her head tonight."

"Which is entirely your fault, of course," Giles sniffed. "And remember, don't touch your forehead."

"I won't, I won't," grumbled Faith.

Inspecting Faith in the black and yellow uniform she had on, which wasn't the best thing fashion wise, and the strange ridges on her forehead now, Buffy was once again at a total loss as to what someone's costume was. At least this time it wasn't her own, though. But then her eyes locked on the symbol on Faith's uniform.

"Star Trek," said Buffy, beaming now. "I didn't think you were a Trekkie, Faith."

"I am and always will be one," Faith said with a smirk. "It's a good show and it throws people off kilter to find out I like it. That's a good thing to me, y'know?"

"Figures that'd be part of your reason," Buffy said humorously. Looking a bit sheepish, she asked, "Who are you dressed up as? I don't watch Star Trek."

"B'Elanna Torres," said Faith, giving a rakish smile. "Klingon engineer extraordinare and just one all around sexy chick flying around in outer space."

Chuckling now and her hazel eyes twinkling with fondness, Buffy said, "I bet she is." Looking at her own costume again, Buffy asked, "Do I really look like this Lara Croft person? I've never even heard of her."

"What?!" Faith cried incredulously. "You've never played Tombraider? Buff, where have you been?"

"Outside Hollywood," Buffy answered smartly.

"Funny," drawled Faith. "Seriously, Buff, you gotta play that game. It's the best. And yeah," Faith then paused to give Buffy an appraising look before she leaned in close to whisper in Buffy's ear, "You look just like Lara. Really damn sexy."

Blushing from head to toe, Buffy almost didn't notice another powerful gaze burning into her. But unlike Faith's this one didn't echo of admiration, instead it echoed of anger, jealousy, and pain. And it belonged to Cordelia.

"Hey," said Buffy a bit weakly as Cordelia approached. Looking at the taller girl who looked utterly stupendous in her tight blue catsuit, Buffy said, "You've got a nice costume, Cordelia. It's very... tight."

"Faith picked it out," Cordelia ground out, her eyes narrowing decisively at Buffy who shrunk back at this.

Hearing the sharp tones in her girlfriend's voice, Faith turned around to look at Cordelia with confusion as she stepped away from Buffy. Reaching out to take the other girl's hand in her own she said, "You okay?"

Cordelia moved her gaze from Buffy to Faith and paused, seeming to consider her answer as Faith continued to stare at her with concern. Just as she opened her mouth to reply, she suddenly burst out into laughter.

Blinking at this reaction, Faith tilted her head to move her eyes towards where Cordelia was looking and soon found herself laughing along with her girlfriend. The only one who didn't follow suit was Giles who had a small frown on his features as he considered what could have occurred if Cordelia hadn't been distracted by Willow.

Distracted by Willow who was dressed up like Daphne from Scooby Doo, hanging on Vince's arm, who was in turn dressed like Fred.

Distracted by Willow who was laughing just as hard at Cordelia who was dressed up like Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager, hanging on Faith's arm, who was in turn dressed like B'Elanna Torres.

But what really got all four of them laughing the hardest was when Xander showed up looking almost exactly like James Bond with Amy hanging on his arm with a puzzled expression on her Bond girl face.

Then, of course, there was Buffy. Who was laughing without quite knowing just why she doing this and this just made the others laugh at her more.

Observing this, Giles merely sighed and wondered yet again why he agreed to come with Faith for the night.

---

"Quit whining, I promise not to mess up the carpet," said Iris almost harshly to Trick who kept hovering behind her while he lamented over the cost of getting their carpet cleaned again.

"You say that now but I know how messy you can be," Trick complained, his voice sounding indignant.

"Yeah, yeah," Iris rolled her eyes in a dismissive gesture as she focused on the spellbook she held in her hands and scanned its lines. "What to do? It has to be something appropriate... something unexpected..."

Eyeing Iris carefully, Trick flopped down on a nearby chair and said, "Halloween is the day mortals like to pretend to be what they most desire or most fear. Think about that and maybe you'll get an idea of what to do, baby doll."

"Maybe," murmured Iris thoughtfully, moving to sit in Trick's lap as she kept reading the spell book.

"It should be something fun though," Trick continued. "Something that would change how they see things. Perhaps show them that sometimes wishing to be something can be just as dangerous as being something."

"It's perfect," Iris whispered. Looking up at the other vampire, Iris dropped the spell book into her lap and cupped Trick's face in her hands before kissing him with devastating passion. Pulling away, she purred, "It's going to be oh so much fun and you gave me the idea. You'll be rewarded greatly for this," she finished sensuously.

"For what?" asked Trick a bit dimly.

"The spell," said Iris in husky tones, running her fingers lightly down his cheek. "I've found the perfect spell to cast on our resident Slayers and company. And it holds the promise of being my most enjoyable trick yet."

"More enjoyable than me?" drawled Trick, smirking now and getting into the naughty mood of the evening.

"Hardly," murmured Iris, moving to capture Trick's lips with hers. "Because you're a living trick of my own."

Unfortunately for the residents of Sunnydale, especially Faith and her friends, both of Iris' tricks were about to cause infinite problems for everyone.

---

Heaving yet another sigh, Giles restrained the urge to roll his eyes and said, "Why exactly should I be wearing a costume in the first place?"

After they finished their laughing fit at one another's costumes, the gang settled down in their usual booth to immediately focus on the costumeless Giles. Of course, some of them couldn't accept that he wasn't wearing a costume and instead thought he was simply picked one out that was horribly obscure.

"It's Halloween," replied Xander, slinging an arm around Amy's shoulders. "Everyone has a costume on so of course you're wearing one too. It's just that we can't figure out what you're dressed up as."

"I'm telling you I'm not wearing a costume," Giles repeated, sounding exasperated. "Why won't you believe me?"

"Faith," said Xander as he turned to look at the dark Slayer. "What's Giles dressed up as? Spill it."

Studying Giles carefully for a moment from where she was snuggled against Cordelia who held with a rather possessive look on her features, Faith said, "He's the guy from those weird Tasters Choice commercials."

A long moment passed then everyone said, "Who?"

"The Tasters Choice guy," Faith repeated. On seeing everyone's puzzled expressions remain, she sighed then explained, "The coffee commercials with that strange couple who keep meeting again over Tasters Choice and we get to see their relationship develop? Y'know... the guy in them looks exactly like G-man and is British too."

"Faith," said Cordelia with obvious affection while she leaned down to nuzzle the other girl's neck. "Just what in the world are you talking about?"

"The Taster's Choice commercials!" exclaimed Faith a bit huffily. "C'mon, you guys must've seen them."

For a response, they stared at her blankly.

"I think I kind of remember them," offered Buffy hesitantly from where she sat next to Amy and Willow. "It was made to be like a mini-soap opera, right?"

"Yeah, yeah," Faith enforced. "Like that!"

"Figures you'd pick something like that, Giles," said Xander with a snicker.

"But I'm not wearing a... oh, forget it," said Giles as he heaved a heavy sigh and rolled his eyes.

Chuckling at this, Faith leaned into Cordelia and entwining their fingers, she kissed the taller girl's hand then said, "I still think that sweets has the best costume though."

"You think?" asked Cordelia, quirking an eyebrow and smiling fondly at Faith. Leaning down for a gentle kiss with Faith, she murmured against her lips, "I think that you only think that because you picked out this costume."

"Maybe," Faith replied in husky tones, wrapping her hand behind the nape of Cordelia's neck to play with stray strands of hair. "But you still look the best to me."

"Never!" declared Xander. "Amy has the superior costume, for she is the Bond girl supreme!"

"Yeah," said Amy with a nod. "Or something."

"What Bond girl are you anyway, Amy?" asked Vince curiously, offering a small smile. "I don't recognize your outfit from any of the movies."

"That's because I'm a new Bond girl," Amy replied rather mischievously. "Especially created for my honey."

"I'm so lucky," Xander drawled and waggled his eyebrows in a comedic manner as everyone laughed.

"So what's your name?" asked Willow, smirking while she rested her chin in the palm of her hand. "I bet it's something goofy like Anita Mannow or Fawn Allovermy."

"Jugs O'Plenty," added Vince, smirking also.

"Hope Shilldumi," suggested Faith, snickering.

"Queen Foranhour," put in Cordelia, batting Faith lightly on the arm for her name suggestion.

Everyone paused to look at Giles who smiled quietly before he murmured, "Juva Nile."

On hearing this, the group groaned together.

"Bad, G-man, that was so bad," said Faith with a chuckle as she poked him lightly in the side.

"I thought it was clever myself," said Giles, who looked extremely proud of himself.

"Cleverly insulting," Buffy said, laughing a bit.

"What's your name then?" asked Cordelia, turning to look at Amy who smiled at her.

Taking a dramatic pause, Amy gave her best seductive smile, which was seductive enough to make a few peoples pulses race, then purred, "Dr. X. Plormy."

Before anyone could respond to this, Xander formed a rakish smile, pulled Amy closer to him, then said in a smooth and charming British accent, "Thank you, I will."

While the couple kissed, everyone else burst into laughter at their antics and their choice in Bond girl name.

"Dr. X. Plormy?" echoed Faith, smirking. "You two had something on your minds with that one, huh?"

"You're lucky, you weren't there to have them test out their other name choices on you," Buffy said wryly.

"I can only imagine," Faith replied with a chuckle.

Watching the interaction between the friends, Vince smiled softly and looked to Willow, who sensing his gaze turned to him and returned the smile.

"Hey," said Willow softly, reaching out to caress his hand lightly with her own. "How're you doing?"

"Just fine," replied Vince quietly, leaning in so their conversation could be more private. "I like your friends."

"And they like you," Willow said. Her green eyes softened and she added tenderly, "And so do I. A lot."

"Good," Vince murmured, his eyes crinkling around the edges in a fond gesture as he met Willow's gaze. "Because I feel the same way."

Leaning into Vince slightly, Willow rested her head on his shoulder but even as a feeling of contentment arose in her she felt it being disturbed by another feeling. And it was a feeling of danger. Like something was just around the corner waiting to cause trouble for them.

Willow didn't know just how right her feeling was.

---

Yawning slightly, Trick leaned back in the chair he sat in and watched as his girlfriend began the spell.

It was the usual type, babbling off in a language he barely recognized, and Trick wondered why spells couldn't be written in English for once. Sometimes he wished they could be set to music, maybe with a nice band with a back beat behind them, to make it all more interesting.

Unlike Iris and Kakistos, he had no interest in spells or magic of any kind. In fact, Trick didn't even hold much worth in soothsayers who could tell the future. That was why Kakistos' quest to regain the reborn Oracle of Nerine seemed so boring to him. It was his job, yes, but he honestly saw no reason for acquiring Nerine.

Oracles told you what the future could be, yes, but they didn't make the future themselves. The future is what you make of it. Trick truly believed that and because that was what he believed he held no worth in Oracles.

Or in the girl called Willow Rosenburg.

Which was probably why he was allowing Iris to cast this spell of hers to cause some trouble for both of the Slayers, Willow, and the rest of their friends.

Because he did hold worth in mischief and tricks. After all, what would neverending life be without some fun?

Damn boring, that's what.

---

Giles was vaguely aware of a sparkling light surrounding their group and then, suddenly, he felt a deep overwhelming urge to talk about Tasters Choice coffee.

"Classic blend, of course," he murmured as he rose to his feet and wandered away from the booth.

Everyone else was having slightly different reactions, he noticed. Faith and Cordelia had jumped away from one another and gazing at each other and the general surroundings as if they were on some alien planet. Xander looked completely calm and at ease, his arm still around Amy's shoulders who looked almost... well, brainless as she hung onto him. Buffy in the meanwhile, had her eyes narrowed and was studying her surroundings decisively.

Then there was Vince and Willow who were fairly quiet before Willow shouted out, "My go go boots! Who stepped on them?!" in an entirely too feminine voice.

"It wasn't me, I'm sure," replied Xander, giving Willow a suave smile as he spoke with a British accent. "I would rather kill a thousand enemies than harm a lovely lady's foot wearing apparel, you realize."

"Oh, James," said Amy with a lovelorn sigh.

"James?" repeated Vince who was tugging on his orange scarf. Staring down at it, he murmured, "This just looks all wrong. It should be tied at a different angle."

"Let me fix it," said Willow, seeming to forget about her boots as she fawned over Vince's scarf.

"Where are we?" Faith almost snarled, looking around the club with sharp glances. "The Holodeck?"

"It appears that way," replied Cordelia coolly. "However, this could be the action of an alien enemy."

"Figures," said Faith with a derisive snort. "You got any idea who it is in that superbrain of yours?"

"Perhaps," Cordelia said more coolly now, her hazel eyes boring into Faith who seemed to wince a bit.

"Aw, c'mon, help me out here? We're both stuck here and you know we have to get out," reasoned Faith.

"Mmm," murmured Cordelia, her eyes drifting to inspect the Bronze with an analytical gaze. "The question that raises most in my mind, Lieutenant, is why are we here?" Focusing on Xander who was making a good show of flirting with Willow while keeping Amy satisfied with a charming compliment here and there, Cordelia added, "And who are these individuals we are with."

"Excuse me, but if you're plannin' on finding a way out of here then you better bleeding well take me too."

Turning together, Cordelia and Faith focused on Buffy whose hazel eyes were narrowed as she said, "This isn't where I'm supposed to be either, mates. I'm betting the rest of these blokes are having the same problem."

"Do you?" asked Cordelia carefully, eyes cool.

"Yeah, I do," Buffy replied smartly, smirking. "If they're not from out of town too my name's not Lara Croft."

"A spell," Giles murmured, returning to the booth holding a cup of steaming coffee. Taking a sip, he said to himself, "It's not Tasters Choice, but it will do for now."

"A spell?" asked Vince, taking a pause in adjusting his orange scarf around his neck. "What do you mean?"

"What I mean to say is that someone has obviously placed a powerful spell on all of you," remarked Giles, sipping his coffee slowly. "You're not behaving normally." He then paused and looking at the coffee, he said, "This is the taste of the heavens placed into tiny beans."

"And you are coffee man?" retorted Faith, scowling. Looking to Cordelia, she said, "He's worse than Janeway when it comes to that junk."

"So it appears," Cordelia murmured thoughtfully. "When you say that we are under a spell what does this entail?"

"A spell? Bleedin' hell," Buffy muttered under her breath. "This isn't like a curse on those Egyptian tombs is it? Because I'm not about to deal with that again."

"Spells are like ghosts aren't they? Creepy old men are always behind them," said Willow in serious tones, her green eyes going wide in sickeningly cute manner. Turning to Giles, she asked, "Where are all of the old people?"

His face turning red, Giles said stiffly, "I'm sure I don't know." Taking another long sip of coffee he relaxed visibly before he said, "And this isn't like the ghosts that you supposedly encounter in that ridiculous cartoon of yours. This has probably been done by someone who knows us well and all we stand for. They want to disturb our lives."

"But my life has already been disturbed by the sheer amount of loveliness that's surrounding me," drawled Xander as he offered a rakishly handsome smile. Looking at Amy who was cuddled under his arm, he said, "Perhaps you should check my pulse, good doctor, and see if I'm still in perfect health after receiving such a beautiful shock."

"Oh, James," said Amy with a sigh.

"Oh, somebody phaser me," Faith growled. "We have to find a way back to Voyager and I mean right now because if I have to hear anymore from this guy I'm gonna go more nuts than when Tom hits on alien women."

"Who are inferior to you," Cordelia added softly.

"What'd you say, Seven?" asked Faith, looking at Cordelia with eyes that had gotten a bit rounded.

"I am... unsure..." said Cordelia, sounding flustered.

Faith merely studied Cordelia closely for another moment before looking to Giles. "All right, coffee man, I guess you're our only hope for getting home. If we're able to find whoever cast this 'spell' on us we'll all get back to where we belong? That includes me and Seven getting our butts back on Voyager, right?"

"And we'll be back at the old haunted McMuffin place!" exclaimed Willow happily, clapping her hands then hanging onto Vince's arm. "Trying to find out which old man is pretending to be a ghost to get more money!" She turned to look at Vince and batting her eyelashes prettily she said, "Right, Freddie poo?"

"Ehh... right," said Vince unconvincingly while he turned his orange scarf at yet another angle. "So how can we find out who's casting this spell anyway?"

"Yes, can they be traced?" asked Cordelia, locking her calm and decisive gaze on Giles with deadly precision.

"Traced?" asked Xander, looking interested. "Q gave me some rather interesting tracers disguised to look like condoms. Would you all like to give them a looksee?"

"Q?! I just knew it! All right, spill it pretty boy," Faith growled, grabbing Xander and hauling him across the table. "Tell me what the continuum is up to now!"

"I'm quite sure I don't know what you're talking about," Xander coughed. "Q is my weapons maker."

"Your what?" asked Faith slowly.

"Lieutenant," said Cordelia calmly. "He does not appear to be one of the continuum."

"Oh yeah? How do you know?" Faith asked, her eyes still locked on Xander with anger.

"He appears ignorant," Cordelia replied. "And his knowledge seems limited. I would release him."

"All right," Faith muttered lowly, about to let go of Xander but found he was already out of her grasp. "How?"

"It's a secret," replied Xander, smiling charmingly at Faith despite her attack on him. "Now... would you like to take a look at my tracer, my dear?"

"Kahless, get me outta here," Faith muttered. Her brown eyes glinting dangerously, she growled, "It's never happening in your twentieth century life, British boy."

"Hmph, very well then." Xander dismissed Faith with a look then said quietly, "An enemy agent, obviously."

"Lord, lets just find the bloke behind this," Buffy interrupted, fixing her gaze on Giles. "C'mon! Quit sucking up that coffee of yours and tell us how to get home!"

"Yes, well," said Giles nervously, who took a break from drinking his coffee to look around. "I'm not sure who is doing this. Perhaps we can--"

Before Giles could finish the rest of his sentence, a gang of vampires crashed into the Bronze. And unlike the rest of the patrons, they weren't wearing costumes. They were the real thing.

And unfortunately for them, Faith who thought she was B'Elanna Torres of the Starship Voyager wasn't in the best of moods right now.

So she took it all out on them.

But on the bright side, by beating them half to death, she did get them to tell the group just who cast the spell on them and where they were currently located.

It's amazing what a little Klingon instinct can do.

---

The night was dark, as night tends to be, but for some reason it was extra dark. Maybe because all of the street lamps were out for some reason.

Observing this, Buffy reached down into one of the large side pockets of her shorts and pulled out a road flare and a lighter, lit the road flare then began walking down the street acting as if what just she did was perfectly normal.

Everyone else merely blinked at her action.

"Strange girl," Xander murmured to himself. "But still lovely. Do you think that some enemy agent could've poisoned her mind, Dr. Plormy?"

"Perhaps, James," answered Amy, who was still clinging onto his arm. "The enemy can be vicious."

"Yes, how true," Xander said, fixing his gaze on Faith.

"Quit looking at me, monkey suit boy, or I'm gonna get angry," Faith growled rather threateningly.

"You're already angry, my dear," replied Xander suavely. "And it makes you look even more beautiful."

Snorting at this, Faith turned her head forward then muttered, "What a bunch of crap. He's worse than Tom with the empty compliments."

"It is not empty when it is accurate," said Cordelia softly. "You are a lovely woman, Lieutenant Torres."

"Seven?" asked Faith, her eyes going wide.

"I... I apologize," Cordelia stammered, her face turning red. "I did not mean to say anything inappropriate."

"You mean you--" Faith began in wonder only to promptly be interrupted by Willow who squealed, "You two are just soooo cute! I have to introduce you to Velma, she's into that scene too, isn't she Freddie poo?"

"Ehh... right," said Vince unconvincingly as he turned his orange scarf at a strange upside down angle.

"We're here!"

Everyone turned to face Giles who had made that rather dramatic declaration. Of course, it would have been all that more dramatic if when they turned to look at him he wouldn't have been drinking coffee and pondering it.

"Ahh, mocha rich flavor," Giles sighed.

"They said the fourth floor, right mate?" asked Buffy, her eyes narrowing as she inspected the building.

"Yes, that's what they said," agreed Giles. "At least, I think that's what they said. It was hard to tell with them being beaten so severely at the time."

"They were annoying," said Faith with a shrug.

"Fourth floor," Buffy repeated. "Right then, no problem." She paused to reach into the backpack that appeared out of nowhere then produced sharp metal claw with a rope tied to it. "Here we go!" she cried out as she swung it around over her head and sent it flying towards the top of the four story building. "Heh," she chuckled to herself. "That's a bloody good throw, that is."

"Goodness," Amy remarked, looking at the rope descending from the top of the building. "What was that for?"

"To climb, of course," said Buffy simply. "You know when you gotta get to the top of something the best way to do it is climb. That's all I'm ever doing."

"We could simply use the front door," reminded Xander gently. He then unhooked his arm from Amy's to open the apartment's front door that was apparently run on a key system as it was locked. "Well then," Xander's eyes narrowed. "It's to be a challenge then, is it?" He turned around and then in a swift movement, sent the door flying in as he gave it a strong kick. Once it collapsed, he gave a glittering smile and a low bow then said, "Ladies first."

"Oh, James!" exclaimed Amy, hanging onto Xander's arm again as she caressed his chest lovingly.

"It was nothing, I'm sure," Xander said charmingly.

"Whatever," muttered Faith, rolling her eyes at him. "Lets go find this person who cast the spell and get out of here." She looked to Buffy whose face was morose from not being able to climb up the side of the building like she'd planned. "C'mon, the stairs make more sense. They got those in tombs, right?"

"Well, sort of, mate," Buffy admitted, following after Faith as she walked inside the apartment building. "In the ancient Roman tombs I've explored they've had them..."

"There are no tombs in ancient Rome," said Cordelia with a small frown, trailing along behind them.

"These people," began Willow with a dramatic sigh as she hung onto Vince's arm. "Are worse than creepy old men."

"Yup," Vince agreed for once, adjusting his scarf.

"Lord help me," Giles murmured before he took a sip of his coffee and followed after the group.

---

Trick didn't know what hit him or their poor apartment as the front door crashed in and a group of people invaded it with fairly angry faces on.

Looking at the look of intense anger on Faith's face, he simply pointed in Iris' general direction and then said, "Smash that ugly statue. That'll fix it."

"Trick!" shouted Iris in obvious anger.

"What?" Trick shrugged. "They're pissed and I'm just not in the mood to fight anyone tonight. Are you?"

"No... but... ohhh..." Iris seethed, turning red.

"Calm down," drawled Trick. "If what happens is what I think what happens we'll be fine."

"And what's supposed to happen?" asked Iris.

"You'll see," Trick smirked.

And Iris did as mere seconds later, the statue went smashing into little pieces and the spell was broken. Then a few seconds after that, everyone that was under the spell collapsed to the floor, completely unconscious.

Observing this, Iris blinked then said, "I wasn't expecting that to happen."

"The spell took a toll on their minds, warping them into what it wanted them to be," said Trick, smiling. "That tends to wear a person out, don't you think?"

"I suppose," Iris murmured. Looking up at him, she smiled wickedly then said, "Should we kill them?"

"No," Trick answered easily. "Killing helpless people isn't any fun at all. Besides, you know that Kakistos would only get angry at us for something like that. He isn't one to enjoy an easy victory, after all."

"True," said Iris with disappointment. "Well, lets get out of here before they wake up then."

"Good idea," said Trick as he headed out the door.

As Iris went after him, the air was silent except for her commenting, "Of course, we'll have to find a new apartment now."

And Trick's groan that immediately accompanied this.

---

It was wet in Britain. Wet and cold. And she didn't like either. In fact, she quite hated them. Which is why she was so happy she'd be leaving this place soon. Returning to her homeland of the United States.

Even if it was for work.

Of course, this kind of work she was looking forward to. Because it sounded so much more interesting and influential than working with stuffy books.

With her new job she could change the way that the Council did things. The way things were run and how they would continue to run things in the future.

She could bring them into the light. Into current times and the technology found there. Show them all the error of their ways and how they needed to fix them.

And she was going to do all this with the Slayer.

Her Slayer.

Buffy Summers. The one who despised her job, the Council, and all other responsibilities.

Oh yes, she couldn't wait to be home.

Be home and be with Buffy Summers. Be once again in interesting times, interesting surroundings, making a difference in peoples lives instead of studying books.

She was a Watcher, yes, that was true but she wanted nothing to do with the old ways. Their old and often useless traditions that they existed on.

No, she was a Watcher of the future. She was as sure of that as she was sure her name was Jennifer Calendar. 

Continue to Chapter Nineteen

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