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The Champion By mjimeyg

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*Chapter 1*: Chapter 1
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Will crossover with Roosterteeth RvB and the Halo universe, Dogma, Jack Ryan 'verse and Stargate.

Spoilers for BtVS Halloween Ep onwards and Stargate Season 2 onwards.

Also includes spoilers for most of RvB.

Warning: Timelines are altered so that episodes line up with each other. Don't expect the year episode 2x12 of SG to be the same. There is enough vagueness in both shows that years are not mentioned merely alluded to. So I am shuffling them to fit in MY timeline... which is why we call it FANFICTION.

Although this story was originally posted on and ttfh this is an edited, rewritten and added to version.

Xander Harris, friend and best bud of two totally hot babes and bane of existence to another hot babe. Xander considered himself pretty damned lucky to have such an existence.

Then he was attacked by a vampire.

Xander reconsidered his definition of 'lucky'.

Ok, so the vampire attack was 'unlucky', but he managed a decent dusting.

The lucky part was the wad of cash the vamp had dropped, about a grand all said and done. Not an unusual occurrence. Vampires stripped their victims of items of value and sometimes in a fight those things would fall out, God bless gravity.

Then came school.

Snyder had drafted the Scoobies as trick or treat chaperones.

Xander again reconsidered his definition of 'lucky'.

But he now had money for a decent costume… and he saw the one in that new shop, 'Ethan's'. He WAS going to have that one.

Larry decided to make some less than polite comments about Buffy and Snyder decided that Xander deserved detention for it. Apparently jocks don't do detention.

Xander considered he might need a new dictionary to establish the true definition of 'lucky'.

He knew he wouldn't have time to get to Ethan's and get his costume, so he turned to Buffy and Willow who he knew were going.

"The one that says 'Halo', its HUGE and green, you can't miss it. Here's the money."

"Were did you get this money?" Willow demanded, she knew his parents barely fed him, his costumes were usually homemade.

"Vamp decided I looked tasty, I dusted him, he dropped the cash." Xander shrugged.

"I thought we agreed you weren't to go hunting alone!" Buffy admonished.

"Who was hunting?" Xander said defensively. "I was walking home and he came after me. Do you really think that all those vamp victims got that way 'cause they were hunting 'em?"

"I suppose, just be careful." Buffy allowed.

"I go to school on a Hellmouth… 'careful' in this town is an oxymoron."

"When did you get with the big words!" Buffy teased.

"Heard Giles use it the other day and looked it up." Xander admitted sheepishly. "Look, can you just pick up the costume and bring it back here to the library before the kiddie herding?"

"Sure, go have fun in detention." Buffy told him as they headed off.

"It's grey." Xander noted.

"Yeah, what's your point?" Buffy asked confused.

"It's not green."

"Xander, I think that was covered by the 'It's grey' comment you made." Willow smirked.

"Yes Willow, but I said the 'huge and green one'… not the 'huge and grey one'." Xander slumped in the chair at the library table and stared dejectedly at the 'not green' costume lying on the table.

"This was the only one with 'Halo' by it." Buffy defended.

Xander sighed.

"I suppose I can't blame you for that then… at least its still a quality costume."

"Looks pretty cool to me, bet even Larry will be jealous." Buffy said trying to cheer him up.

It was chaos, pure chaos.

He seemed to be on Earth, North American continent.

No one answered his command radio frequencies, and the local authorities kept telling him to clear the channel.

And then there were the monsters running around.

Ugly little critters the size of Grunts and bigger ones the size of Elites.

Fortunately he hadn't come across anything of Brute size.

"Ok, is this Hell?" Came a voice from inside his helmet.

"Church? Is that you?" He asked the disembodied voice.

"Yeah Wash, it's me." Was the response as an ethereal white image of a soldier in similar armour to his own appeared next to him.

"I thought you were in the Meta." Wash said.

"I was, he was so nuts that it wasn't really him in there, pretty much all the AI's were holding him up." Church explained. "We heard you hit the emp button and hightailed back to you."

"It's E – M – P!" Wash said in exasperation. "And what do you mean 'we'?"

Church laughed nervously. "Well, when the rest of the AI's thought I was the Alpha, did you really think they were gonna let me leave without them?"

"Church," Wash growled suspiciously, "just how many AI's did you drag into my head?"

"I dunno, haven't had time for a head count." Church shrugged. "I know Delta, Gary and O'Mally are in there."

"Gamma and Omega?" Wash asked shocked. "Those two are practically evil!"

"Yeah, tell me about it… I had to spend 1000 years listening to Gary's knock jokes."

"Knock, Knock Church." Said a synthetic voice.

"Shut up Gary!" Church groaned.

"Alright, enough!" Wash shouted. "We'll deal with this later. Right now we have to figure out our situation. Have you been paying attention to what I've done so far?"

"Yeah, O'Mally and Gary said they'll watch the comm. lines, Delta says he is picking up a weird set of energy readings from nearby and another set from further away." Church informed him.

"Fine, we'll head to the smaller reading first and then to the larger one. It might be an outpost of some kind." Wash decided as he checked his HUD map. "And why do I have a map of this place in my helmet?"

"Some guy named Sigma hacked the Internet and satellites, says he has all the information on this place and free access to some really hot porn sites."

"Sigma? That sex crazed lunatic! Tell him to focus on finding out more about this town… and I don't mean the location of the nearest strip joints." Wash complained.

"It's a costume shop." Church stated disbelievingly.

"That doesn't matter. At the moment all I care about is the energy readings coming from inside the costume shop." Wash declared.

"Fine, what's the plan? Go in and kill everything that moves? Use your megaphone thing and demand their surrender? Lob a couple of grenades through the window?" Church asked.

"Oh, go for the first one, I like that one!" Came the diabolical tones of O'Mally.

"Shut up Omega." Wash snapped at the tyrannical AI. "I was thinking we might try the doorbell."

Church sighed. "Fine, lets do things your way."

30 seconds later…

"So, you wanna try knocking or…" Church asked as Wash walked through the glass door. "Ok, this is good too."

"Hello?" Wash called out. "Anybody here?"

"Yes, can I help you?" Ethan asked as he came out from the back room, still dressed in ceremonial robes. "Or maybe you can help me as you seem to have destroyed my store front."

"Yeah, we did ring the bell but there was no answer." Wash responded. "I'm kinda lost and can't get in contact with my command, my readings indicate an energy source from this building. Do you know anything about that?"

"Yes, the source of my spell is out back, it's probably what has brought you here. Figured I'd have some fun, it being Halloween and all." Ethan didn't bother lying, the spell was soon to finish and sometimes truth was the best way to bring about chaos.

"Spell? As in magic?" Wash asked incredulously. "There's no such thing."

"Oh, I assure you there is… in this world, magic, demons, ghosts –"

"AHA!" Cried Church as he formed next to Wash. "I told you I was a ghost!"

"Oh my, aren't you an unlucky one, haunted by a personal ghost." Ethan chuckled.

"He is NOT a ghost! He's an AI, just like the rest of his friends stuck in my head." Wash argued. "If I don't get them back to command and out of my head soon they'll drive me nuts."

"No problem Wash, the guys already said they'd stay dormant till their needed. No reason for you to go postal." Church assured him.

"Trust me, that's not the only way you lot drive me nuts." Wash said pointedly.

Church just grumbled quietly about ungrateful Freelancers.

"Look, sir," Wash said turning back to Ethan, "do you know how I can get back in contact with the UNSC Command HQ?"

"Well – " Ethan began but stopped as Wash suddenly bought his weapon to bear on the shop door.

"There is an incoming entity, moving slowly." Wash said quietly.

Giles carefully stepped over the threshold and remains of the broken door. Willow had frantically run through his library wall babbling about everything. He eventually got the story out of her, which led him here, to a shop with his old friends name and a broken storefront door.

"Xander? Is that you?" He asked the armoured figure as he recognised the costume from the library.

"Sorry sir, names Agent Washington, UNSC Freelancer." He informed him.

"Ethan, I knew it was you, this madness has your style and fingerprints all over it." Giles snarled ignoring the Spartan as he spotted the culprit.

"Really? What gave me away? Was it my name over the shop?" He asked flippantly.

"Sirs please, I really need to get in contact with my superiors." Wash pleaded.

"Ethan, end the spell or I'll make you end it." Giles threatened.

"Fine, bust is in the back, just go and break it. I had my fun after all." Ethan sighed.

As Giles marched out back Ethan quietly began casting an enchantment on the oblivious armoured figure. 'That ought to keep dear Ripper busy.' He thought to himself as he quietly exited the building as a blinding light flashed from the back room and Wash staggered.

"There, now Ethan-" Giles began as he exited the back room.

"Giles? That you?" Xander asked.

"Xander? Thank goodness your back." Giles exclaimed. "It would appear that slimy weasel has run off. Never mind, lets get back to the library where the girls are."

"Erm, Giles… I think I have a problem." Xander said worriedly. "I can't figure out how to get my helmet off and I can still see the HUD on this thing."

"HUD?"

"Heads Up Display, basically means lots of information like a computer screen. This wasn't here when I put the suit on at the library." Xander explained.

"I have released the locking mechanism on the helmet and you should now be able to remove it." Came a calm disembodied voice.

"Giles…?"

"I heard it too lad… hello? Who's there?"

"I am Delta, one of the AI's currently contained in the implants of this armour's bearer."

"Huh?" Was Xander's eloquent reply.

"He said we're the ones stuck inside you head." Church said as he appeared before them.

"Oh My Lord." Giles exclaimed as Xander pulled the helmet off and the vacuum seals released with a hiss.

Giles and Xander made their way back to the Library. They were largely unnoticed due to the chaos left over from the night's activities.

As they made their way down the school corridors Giles noticed that despite the obvious size, weight and composition of Xander's new armour, it was surprisingly stealthy as the only footfalls heard were his.

They entered the library to find Willow, Angel, Cordelia and Buffy sitting around the table.

Buffy appeared disgusted at something and was staring at the wig that came with her costume as if it was going to attack her.

Willow kept checking her pulse and tapping the table.

Cordelia was ranting away about the injustices of being associated with the group.

And Angel was looking rather lost as he glanced between the three.

"Xander!" Came the squeal of relief as Willow rushed to hug her best friend. "OW!" Came the cry as she smacked into Xander's armoured chest.

"Ah, careful Wills this thing is pretty tough." He warned.

"Xander where were you?" Buffy asked worriedly. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah Buff, my 'possessor' got caught up in an argument with… someone. Wound up meeting Giles at the costume shop."

"Erm, Xander, that's not the costume we got at the shop." Willow noticed.

"What, no one else's costumes stayed real?"

There was a general shaking of heads.

"I saw a couple of Stormtroopers, gladiators and a Gandalf and their costumes and props had reverted to normal." Angel informed them. "Yours is the only one not to revert."

"I wonder what happened." Willow murmured.

"I believe I have a theory as to what happened." Delta said as he projected himself onto the table.

"GHOST!" Screamed Cordelia as she backed away, Buffy began searching for weapons.

"STOP!" Shouted Giles freezing everyone. "It's just Delta, part of Xander's… armour.

"Actually I am an AI, an Artificial Intelligence Unit." Delta commented.

"That is sooo cool!" Willow exclaimed. "Like Cortana!"

"Delta, what is the theory you had?" Giles asked.

"Prior to the ending of the 'spell', whilst Agent Washington was in control of Xander, the armours recording sensors noticed that the costume shop proprietor was making various hand gestures and speaking quietly whilst Mr. Giles was destroying the bust." He reported.

"Giles was destroying breasts?" Buffy asked in confusion.

"A bust Buffy," Giles sighed in exasperation, "a statue of a head and shoulders." He said gesturing on himself.

"Ohhhh… oh." She gave an embarrassed and sheepish grin.

Giles pinched the bridge of his nose; it had been a long night.

"Delta, can you display or replay the events? Without sound though… we don't need inadvertent spells being cast." He asked.

"Of course, if Xander would place his helmet on the table I will begin replay."

The group crowded round the table. There was a gasp as the 3D holographic images were displayed showing clearly what Ethan was up to. There was also a very quiet remark by Buffy at one point of "Ohhhh… a bust." At which point she turned beet red.

"Well, that explains it, Ethan altered the spell on you specifically, probably just as a way to get at me." Giles looked at Xander apologetically. "I'm sorry Xander, I never would have wished this on you. I'm afraid I can't reverse the spell, the magic is far too powerful. We will try and help you adjust."

"Thanks Giles." Xander said. "There is one VERY important thing though." He said seriously.

They all leaned forward expectantly.

"Can we please get this armour off, I really need to pee!"

Twenty minutes later with some heavy lifting assistance from Angel and Buffy and directions from Delta, Xander was hot-footing it to the toilets.

Thirty seconds later sounds of ecstasy were heard echoing down the hall.

Xander returned to the library to the sound of snickering and several smirks.

"I make no apologies… that was a very… relieving experience." Xander punned as the rest groaned.

"You are aware that the Moljinar armour has a built in sanitation system?" Delta queried from the centre of the table where he was projected.

"Huh?" Xander eloquently asked.

"I believe he's saying that you could have relieved yourself in your suit." Giles supplied.

"Huh?" Buffy responded.

"He said I can poop in ma' suit." Xander grinned as Buffy's face twisted in disgust.

"Moving swiftly on from this disturbing topic…" Giles interrupted. "We were discussing the best place to hide your armour and for you to use it." He told Xander. "Delta has informed us that it is genetically encoded to you, so only you can use it."

"Well that sucks, Buff could use the extra protection when out at night." Xander pouted.

Buffy blushed at Xander's concern for her well-being. But over the past year she had realised that Xander always put Willow, Giles and her safety first. He always had a spare stake for her in his back pocket with a packet of aspirin and a bandage. He carried anything he could in his pockets to help so long as he had room for a Twinkie or two.

"Thanks Xander, but I know you were just to kind to point out I'd never fit." She said with a grin.

"Damn!" Xander said theatrically. "How could I miss that opening!"

Buffy responded by throwing her wig at him.

"Anyway, I believe we should store it at my house for now." Giles said. "It is advanced technology and I don't trust the security here at the school."

"If that is the case I suggest that you remove the storage slate from the back of the armour's helmet as it will enable us to aid you without the armour." Delta suggested.

After a minute or so of checking Xander and Willow were able to locate and detach the AI storage slate.

"I believe it would be best if we went out into the desert for you to train in your armour Xander. If anyone were to see you in it, it could cause complications and questions." Giles said. "I believe we should consider you and your armour a weapon of last resort for when a slayer and stake may not be enough."

There was a general consensus of agreement around the room.

"How are we gonna hide the fact that Xander is… buff?" Willow asked.

"He's me?" Buffy asked rather dumbly.

"I believe she means that he his rather muscular now, compared to his usual sleight frame." Giles said.

"Oh, yeah. You are built pretty well now… huh, never noticed that you're a whole lot taller!" Buffy said in horror. "I am gonna have such a sore neck!" She wailed.

"I am?" Xander asked looking at himself.

"Spartan recruits are required to undergo various enhancements to their bodies in order to use the MJOLNIR armour." Delta explained. "Xander is now stronger than the average human, his bone density is vastly increased and he has various implants to allow him to connect to the armour… or transport an AI in his head."

Xander started frantically checking his limbs and legs.

"The implants are sub-cu – under the skin, they work via non-wired technologies this prevents damage and the need for cleaning." Delta assured him, dumbing it down as it was obvious that he wouldn't understand the science or words with more than three syllables.

"But I've still got a computer in my brain?" Xander asked fearfully.

"Yes."

"Nobody is to scan books into the computers!" Xander said fearing another Moloch incident.

"He's gonna need new clothes." Cordelia commented.

Everyone turned to stare at Xander again.

At over 6ft tall and standing in a set of gym shorts and t-shirt he had nicked when he hit the head, it was obvious that whilst not necessarily the tallest in the school, he would stand out.

Cordelia sighed and rolled her eyes. "Meet me here tomorrow and we'll sort out a new wardrobe. I refuse to let you damage my eyes with those things you call clothes. Hopefully we can pick things that will make your height less noticeable."

"Erm, thanks?"

"Very well, it has been a very long night, so if Buffy and Xander could help me get the armour secured at my home, and Angel if you could see Willow and Miss Chase safely home, I believe we should all get some rest and meet tomorrow afternoon after Xander and Cordelia's shopping trip." Giles declared as he rose.

And with that the meeting ended, Willow and Buffy giving Cordelia's new dress up doll pitying looks.

*Chapter 2*: Chapter 2
Xander awoke from a sleep filled with memories of the Covenant Wars and the role Wash had played.

The horrors he had seen as his fellow soldiers were cut down as the Covenant attempted to wipe humanity from the face of the universe.

Wash had joined the war towards the end as the Elite's had joined forces with the humans and realised the lies the Prophets had told them.

He dreamt of Wash's time in the Freelancer program.

Of Epsilon, Wash's AI who held the memories of the torture that had been inflicted on The Alpha, which Wash shared, and now Xander did too. Epsilon had essentially committed suicide in Wash's head as it succumbed to the inevitable madness. The human mind could only take so much and The Alpha was based on just that, the human mind.

He dreamt of Wash's recovery and subsequent mission to track down the Meta, recruiting Caboose and Church, and finally confronting the Director, the Counsellor and the Meta.

As he dreamt of the flash as the EMP device was activated he awoke and the memories of Wash's adventures in Sunnydale the previous night returned.

He could remember Wash's life vividly, everything good. Everything bad. It might have well as been his life.

"Church? You there?" He called out gently.

"Yeah, I'm here." He replied as he faded into view.

"Guess you got left behind too, huh?" Xander noted unnecessarily as he got ready for his morning rituals.

"Yeah, I suppose I won't be able to find out what happened to Tex." He muttered sadly.

"I'm sorry." Xander consoled. "But hey, if memory serves, Sigma found free porn." He said hoping to lift his spirits.

"Yeah, gotta love that." Church admitted with a grudging sigh.

"Just don't tell the girls, no telling what they'll do to us." Xander warned.

Xander and Cordelia left the school grounds for the mall in Cordelia's red convertible.

"So… why are you doing this?" Xander asked hesitantly.

"Because I emcan/em do this." She said. "I may not be a fighter, or a crack researcher, but I can shop and I know fashion. So whilst I will smash things over a vampire and stare at mouldy old books to try and help, it's not what I am good at, this is what I can do to help save the world… in my own way."

Xander thought about that for a few seconds.

"I like it." He said finally. "I did the same thing with snack food runs and jokes. Guess my contribution to the fight is gonna be a bit more direct now though."

Eventually they pulled up to the mall and Cordelia turned to face Xander.

"I know your poor, so I'll pay for everything. Just make sure you don't tell anyone… I do have a reputation to maintain." She said showing she still didn't care or know about tact.

Xander just stared as the Queen of Sunnydale swiftly got out of the car.

"Huh, who'd of thought? Cordelia Chase has a heart." He muttered.

The Scoobies assembled at Giles' apartment later that afternoon. Xander was sporting a stylish yet casual outfit that Cordelia had purchased.

Willow brought her laptop to see if Delta could use it.

A brief introduction was made of Church and then they began to discuss the previous nights activities and what was left over.

It turned out that Delta could use the laptop as a direct portal into the Internet. Something that brought back bad flashes of Malcolm.

"We are unable to disobey direct orders from the Alpha or Xander, who is a ranking officer in the UNSC, as far as we are concerned. When Wash was sent back to where ever we came from, all authorisation and security codes were passed on to the bearer of the MJOLNIR armour: Xander." Delta assured them. "All the AI's stored in the helmet could exist solely on the Internet. Unlike Church who can exist outside of a suit."

"O'Mally can do that too." Church pointed out.

"No, O'Mally can take over a person via the helmets interface and Spartan brain interface. He still needs a suit or computer to operate." Delta corrected.

"I still don't like the idea of all you guys being out there in the Internet. What if we can't get to you?" Xander said.

"I recommend you keep one of us on the storage slate, we are all capable of finding each other, it is also better to have one of us on hand when you use the armour." Delta recommended.

"Yeah, Wash thought that was better too. Didn't have an AI but still thought they were useful." Xander recalled.

"Very well, but we will need to get Xander a computer as he needs to have access to the Internet to control them." Giles said. "We will also arrange some time this week to go out to the desert and get you some training." He told Xander. "Now, let's talk about the rest of you, anyone else experiencing lingering effects from last night."

It was a week or so later that Giles' received four packages.

He was quite perturbed as to who had sent him four brand new laptops. Being the weekend he called Buffy and had her bring Xander and Willow over whilst he checked with his credit card company, bank and the laptop company to make sure he wasn't a victim of some ridiculous fraud scheme.

The truth was something else.

"Xander, how did you manage to afford these laptops, and why were they sent to me?" He pointedly asked the young man who was happily ensconced between the two girls.

"Wasn't me G-Man, I can barely afford lunch." Xander scoffed.

"Actually it was us." Delta said as he appeared on the coffee table at a foot high and glowing green.

"How exactly did you achieve this?" Giles asked. "I thought you needed the laptops to get on the Internet in the first place."

"No, we can access the Internet and any directly or indirectly wirelessly connected system via the armour's helmet. The laptop was in order for Xander to communicate with us without needing to continuously wear the helmet." Delta explained. "We accessed Xander's account and invested his money on the stock exchange."

"My road trip fund!" Xander cried distraught. Delta ignored him.

"By successfully predicting the stock movements we managed to increase the amount to four million dollars."

There was a shocked silence.

"Screw the road trip… world cruise anyone?" Xander grinned. Which earned him to excited looks from Willow and Buffy and a glare from Giles.

"That is where we got the funds from." Delta pointedly ignored the human's reactions. "We had them delivered here as the first set was never passed into Xander's care, despite a signature being received on delivery."

"You were robbed?" Buffy cried in outrage.

Willow and Xander just blushed slightly and said nothing. Seemingly very ashamed.

"I take it your parents might have intercepted the delivery?" Giles asked as carefully as he could.

"No. They stole them and sold them." Xander scowled. "Sorry Delta." He said feeling guilty for his parent's actions.

"It does not bother me a great deal, the money is yours in the first place. I am concerned, they should be reported for their criminal activities." Delta said.

"NO!" Xander cried shooting from the couch.

"Easy Xander, its ok." Willow soothed the distraught teenager as she guided him back down to the couch. "If you report them, Xander might wind up in foster care. Away from us. We're everything to him." Willow explained as she hugged her longest friend.

Neither Giles nor Buffy liked this. Giles specifically did not like the implications he was getting from what was emnot/em being said. He resolved to investigate but not act. For now.

"We will ignore it for now, let's deal with these packages and then we can head out to the desert as planned." Giles decided.

The laptops were dealt with by Willow.

Willow used Giles' as a demonstration and dumbed it down a bit so he didn't have to worry about messing it up.

She also agreed to come over and set up Buffy's later. Which was really an excuse to have a girly night talking about boys.

Delta informed Willow that he would handle Xander's laptop, as he would also be using it to create new programs.

Church had asked Delta if he could download some free movies for him. Delta had told him he could do it himself by downloading himself into the Internet.

"I AM NOT AN AI!" He screamed. "I AM A FRIKKIN' GHOST!"

Before Delta could argue back, Willow intervened.

"We had a demon once that got downloaded onto the Net. It was called Moloch. Maybe you could… you know… haunt the Internet. They always talk about the ghost in the machines anyway." She said.

Church seemed to think about that for a moment.

"Might work, I can get in people's heads, how hard would a computer be?" He considered.

Xander breathed a sigh of relief. He knew from Wash's memories how upset Church got over being told he was the Alpha. Church had a heavy case of denial.

Shortly after this they headed out to the desert with Xander's armour loaded in back.

Once suited up, they started by performing the simplest of tests. They had Xander run, jump, lift things and threw things at him.

Just to make sure it was strong armour.

Well, that was Buffy's story and she was sticking to it.

After checking the ammunition supplies they found that Xander had a full compliment for his Battle Rifle and side arm.

He also had 3 frag grenades, 3 spike grenades, 3 plasma grenades and 3 incendiary grenades.

Delta informed them that he would begin investigating recreating the ammunition and grenades.

The next tests involved investigating the equipment the AI's had purloined from the Meta when they had followed Church back into Wash's armour.

The invisibility cloak was great, as long as you didn't try and do anything like fire a weapon. It automatically deactivated. Delta promised to have O'Mally look into that.

The invincibility overshield worked as advertised. For all of 30 seconds.

The bubble shield was wonderful. Right up to the point that someone walked through and punched you on the nose. It did however keep out bullets and crossbows. Unfortunately, it also kept them in.

Gary's teleportation device seemed to have some flaws in it.

It didn't work.

Gary then went on to assure Church that it would emnot/em take a 1000 years to build this time.

Giles refused point blank to allow them to test the time travel device. He did not want to have to deal with fixing that mess. Xander told him it could also freeze time for him, Giles was still against using it.

Giles declared it a true weapon of last resort. And closed the matter.

This brought them to the end of the day. They loaded the armour into the boot of Giles' beat up Citroën and began the journey home.

The car broke down a mile out of town.

The axels snapped and the engine fell out.

Rather than wait for roadside services and a tow truck… and the inevitable verbal bashing of his beloved classic car by whatever grease monkey came out, they helped Xander suit up and sent him into to town with the invisibility on in order to avoid detection. They told Xander to wait at Giles' as he now had the only key.

Buffy and Giles pushed the car off the road and cleared out Giles' belongings before heading down the road with Willow.

The next day they went car shopping with Giles. The three teenagers stating there was no way they were going to let him get another 'classic'.

Giles was horrified when Xander dragged him over to the SUV's, but as Xander pointed out, he needed something that could withstand the weight of his armour and various weapons.

Nonetheless, Giles spent the entire day accusing them of trying to Americanize him.

The following day was a Monday, and Buffy received the wonderful surprise of a fellow Hemry High Alumni.

Xander took great pleasure in little jabs and jibes at Ford about what he knew and didn't know about Buffy. As well as the weird confrontation between Ford and Angel.

It all came to a halt when Delta pointed out that William Ford was not registered anywhere in Sunnydale, but was listed as on sick leave from Hemry.

"Why are you checking him out?" Buffy asked. "Xander, did you set them up to this?" She demanded suspiciously.

Xander looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He was saved by Delta.

"Actually its standard operating procedure. Whenever a new person or entity is encountered they are checked out to ensure the integrity of the base or mission. There are anomalies in your own past I need to discuss with you. Xander asked me not to tell him unless you give permission for me to."

"So… you know something about my past… you think it affects the mission?" Buffy checked.

"That is correct. If you take me into the office we could discuss this privately and you could decide if you wish me to divulge it." Delta offered.

"We'll do it later today. Did anyone else appear to pose a threat, or is not who they seem?"

"Mr. Giles has an interesting history. Ms. Calendar is not who she claims to be and Principal Snyder is paid a monthly sum by the Mayor… why, we could not tell." Delta said.

"Fess up Giles!" Xander said grinning. "Your actually a double-o agent."

"Xander do try and be serious at times… or come up with better jokes." Giles said cleaning his glasses. "Suffice to say I was somewhat rebellious in my youth. I have a bit of a history with Scotland Yard."

"'A bit' is quite an understatement." Delta noted.

"A discussion for another time as I don't really see how it affects us at the moment." Giles argued.

"It will need to be dealt with it can be used against you to deport you." Delta objected.

Giles just nodded resignedly. "Later, as with Buffy's issues."

"What's the deal with Ms. Calendar?" Willow asked.

"Her real name is Janna Kalderash. She is Romany and of the same tribe that is said to have cursed Angelus."

"You think she's here for Angel?" Giles asked.

"Unknown. The Kalderash are said to have performed the curse as an act of vengeance, in retaliation for killing one of their tribe."

"Maybe we should just ask her." Willow said, drawing incredulous stares. "Look, either she is a threat to us and the Hellmouth and we need to deal with her, or she's a potential ally. Either way we need to find out which she is and prepare accordingly."

"She already knows about the Hellmouth, the Slayer and the supernatural, its not like we would be revealing anything other than the fact that we know who she really is." Giles considered. "Delta, how did you find out about Angel and the curse?" Giles asked suspiciously.

"Various individuals have uploaded reports and books on to the Internet. It is merely a matter of finding this information. I recommend we do the same to speed up research."

"Another topic to discuss later." Giles said quickly as the three teenagers paled.

"Ok, so we'll confront her after we deal with Ford." Xander said. "Delta, you said he was on sick leave, what's he sick with?"

"Terminal brain cancer."

Buffy gasped in shock. Her friend was dying. An insidious mass of tumours were destroying his brain. And there was nothing she could do about it. She couldn't stake it, behead it. Her much vaunted physical strength was useless against it. It had no fear of the slayer.

"I don't suppose you have any spells of healing that might work?" Xander asked Giles, seeing the pain on Buffy's face as Willow hugged her firmly.

"I'm afraid not." Giles stated firmly. "Healing spells do not exist for humans. It merely takes the life force of one person for another. The most we could do is offer a spell that will relieve the symptoms. Make his last days less painful."

"Up to you Buff." Xander said as Buffy dried her eyes.

"If I might suggest that you wait until we can be sure of the reasons for his being here and his obvious deceptions." Delta said.

"I agree. We have time, so we will see what else we can learn." Giles decided. "Take the night off from patrolling and spend it with your friend."

Unfortunately Ford proved himself to be set on becoming a vampire. Willing to sacrifice an innocent friend, an exchange of someone else's life for his eternal life.

Despite knowing it was a trap, Buffy went to the Sunset Club and offered Ford the magical help that Giles had mentioned. He wanted nothing less than eternal life, and he refused to listen to Buffy as she tried to explain how being a vampire would not give it to him.

Fortunately Xander and Giles had tailed her to the club and were able open the door for Buffy to escape before Spike and his rabble arrived.

Ford got his wish regardless. Buffy and Giles waited the night for Ford to rise, staking him as he rose from his grave.

A few days later and Delta brought up the issue of certain individual's pasts.

Buffy, having checked with Delta gave the short statement of:

"I burnt down the gym, told my mom and dad about vampires and they stuck me in an insane asylum for a while."

Everyone knew that she didn't want to talk about it, but Giles assured her that it wouldn't have happened if Merrick had been alive and Buffy hadn't slipped through the cracks. He promised to set up a fall back system in the event that something should happen to him.

Buffy refused to comment, but seemed to take some solace in Giles' efforts.

Giles himself refused to go into too much detail about his past, but did explain that he rebelled against his father's wishes to be a watcher and dabbled in the black arts.

The Scoobies had a hard time believing that.

They also confronted Jenny Calendar. Who had little choice but to admit that she was there to keep an eye on Angel and make sure he still had the curse.

Buffy was very annoyed about being spied on. But Jenny pointed out that she was spying on Angel, it wasn't her fault if Buffy spent time with him.

Jenny also took the opportunity to berate the young slayer for being involved with an undead demon that was about 230 odd years older than her.

Willow had posed the question, about why they needed to check he still had the curse. Did this mean he could lose his soul?

Jenny admitted she didn't know and hadn't thought about it. She promised to contact the clan and find out.

Giles warned Buffy to avoid too much contact with Angel until Jenny had an answer.

Which Xander privately doubted she would listen too.

For now Ms Calendar would not be privy to Xander's new upgrades. Not until she had proven herself. The information on Angel's curse would be a good start.

Xander had spent most of the week thinking about Buffy having to stake Ford. Not the emotional side but the practical side.

If you know a vampire is in the grave, why wait for it to rise? What about before they rise, or setting traps.

Xander discussed this with Delta, who brought Omega and Gamma in to consult.

What they came up with was a design for a ground penetrating spike that could be fired from rifle like weapon. Built in radar would allow for precise positioning.

The plan was for Xander to assemble the weapon with instruction from Omega who would take control of Xander when necessary. Church promised to keep an eye on him to make sure he behaved.

Right now, Xander was waiting across the street from the coffee shop for his target to arrive. Church and the other AI's had tracked the target and made note of its habits.

Every morning before work Jeff Brown would sit down with a coffee and paper before heading in. This was also one of the busier times for the shop, which made it easier for Xander to stroll across, order his coffee and approach the target.

"Mind if I sit here?" Xander asked. "Not much space."

"Sure thing." Jeff responded amiably.

Xander settled down, nursing his coffee. "So, do they pay you to ignore the vampire victims, or do you just not know what to do about them?"

Xander was going for honesty. Or absolute bluntness.

Jeff Brown was the chief coroner for Sunnydale. All those barbeque victims passed through his table. To have this kid come and confront him openly about it was a shock.

"Let me guess, you work for a school newspaper and you are looking for your big break?" He asked avoiding the question.

"Hell no! I want this kept as quiet as possible." Xander defended. "No, I am someone who works at night to try and eliminate this problem. To try and cut down on the number of bodies that land on your table."

"Hmm, I heard tales that there were hunters in the town." Jeff mused. "Little young aren't you?"

"I wound up staking the closest thing I had to a brother. I intend to make sure no one has to go through that." Xander said stonily. "Besides, I don't see anyone else doing anything about it."

"True." Jeff conceded. "The fact is, the authorities are aware of the problem. It's just that no one has told us what to do about it, and I wouldn't know where to start. I have had several come back to life on my table or in the storage draws. I have to keep a stake on hand and call security to help."

"If I could give you a solution, would you be interested?" Xander asked.

"Sure, provided I don't have to go out and hunt them. I'm not a hunter. But I would definitely like to see less innocent victims on my tables." Jeff agreed.

Xander placed a small tin cylinder on the table.

Jeff looked at the tin, then reached for it. He unscrewed the top and looked inside.

"Toothpicks?" He asked incredulously.

"I know someone who used a number 2 pencil. I figure that if you slide one in before you send them off for burial, when they rise they'll dust." Xander explained. "Do it when they come in and you won't have to worry about being attacked."

"This is…" Jeff was stunned.

"Ridiculous?"

"Ingenious!" Jeff exclaimed. "It's so simple but so effective, makes me wonder why no one thought of it before."

"Yeah, me too, which is why I suggest you do it covertly." Xander suggested. "Just in case someone higher up the food chain is involved in keeping the vamp population up."

"Good point." He frowned realising the validity of the statement. "Who are you anyway?"

"Xander Harris." He said as he stood. "If you need to find me I am usually in the Sunnydale High Library. Or a grave yard."

Jeff nodded as the kid walked away in the direction of the school. This could very well save his life.

"Church, make sure the other AI's keep an eye on him, make sure he actually uses them and make sure no one makes trouble for him." Xander requested as he knew the former soldier was invisible beside him.

"Sure thing. I'll tell a couple of them to keep a permanent watch on the authorities, there's more than enough of them. Are you sure it was smart to tell him who you are?"

"It's not too hard to find out. He already knew I was in school. This way he has less reason to be suspicious about the 'mysterious stranger'. Which was what pissed me off about Angel."

"Yeah, I hate cryptic. I mean, 'Memory is the key'? What kind of crap is that?" Church groused.

Xander approached the funeral home after school. Using the pretext of paying respects to Jesse as his cover.

He found a similar situation. This time he also managed to convince them to offer discounts on cremations. It wasn't a hard sell considering the rapidly dwindling available gravesites.

Xander did this without telling Giles or the others. Generally he wasn't known for making ingenious suggestions, and more often than not they merely humoured him. He didn't blame them. He always used to be the joker and it would take time before they began to realise he had serious ideas.

Xander's ability to focus seemed to have improved since Halloween. His test marks were always quite reasonable, but his school work was poor. Willow suggested once that he had Attention Deficit Disorder. His parents laughed and went back to drinking.

Now though, Xander's grades were sky-rocketing from dismal D's to respectable B's. Willow was thrilled.

Within a week Buffy was bored. It seemed Jeff had been working away and none of the vamps that were due to rise did.

Giles could only assume that the victims were drained and not turned. They only had the news reports in the papers to go by so they had no proof that they were turned.

Although Xander's school grades improved, his computer grades did not. Xander had Wash's knowledge of computing. It was 500 years ahead of its time. He was improving but found it slow as he insisted on building a computer capable of running UNSC software.

To Xander, 20th century computers where about advanced as a slab of rock. Giles agreed to let the young teenager use his spare room to build the computer. Especially as Delta and the AI's were now paying for his flat.

He was a bit peeved that Church spent most of his time at his apartment. The reluctant AI was quite profane, but otherwise un-intrusive. He seemed to have found the RoosterTeeth website and was constantly watching the Red Vs Blue series.

He couldn't see what was so funny about it. He remembered it was really annoying living in Blood Gultch with Tucker and Caboose. He did find the red team hilarious though. As the series went on and he kept watching he realised more and more that maybe Wash was right. Maybe he was The Alpha.

He was pissed to find out that Tucker seemed to already know.

He kept waiting for the next episode to arrive so he could see if he would learn more.

*Chapter 3*: Chapter 3
Xander's troubles with modern day computers meant that he was forced to attend Ms Calendar's Saturday classes. This was pretty much sacrilegious as far as he was concerned. Saturday's were for sleeping in, watching cartoons and eating snacks.

Plus Xander was planning on testing his new anti-vamp weapon. The Coffin Staker, as he called it.

He'd spent the previous night being lead on a wild goose chase by Delta and the AI's for the second energy signature Wash had found. He was pretty pissed when he realised they were talking about the Hellmouth. Needless to say he stomped off to bed promising he'd explain it all later… or have Giles do it.

The class failed to begin as Buffy came in worried about Giles and his very anti-Giles behaviour. He had missed a blood delivery at the hospital leaving Buffy to fend for herself.

Cordelia then decided to mention in passing that the police had made a visit to Giles in the library the previous day.

"Maybe I should, erm, go consult my friends, see if they know anything?" Xander suggested.

"You only have two friends dweeb, and they are both here and clearly know nothing." Cordelia sniped.

"Good idea Xander, why don't you go and contact them?" Willow said quickly, heading off the on coming snark-fest.

Xander jogged down to the library for some privacy.

"Delta, you got any idea what's going on with Giles and the cops?" He asked as he walked through the doors. He tended to keep the AI in his head these days as his input was invaluable.

"Coroner and police records show that a man named Philip Henry was found dead two nights ago and Rupert Giles' name was found in his possession. He was questioned as a person of interest and asked to identify the body. The file has been closed, marked as another victim of gang members on PCP." Delta informed him.

"Guess I better call Jeff and make sure it was our beloved PCP freaks and not something else." Xander mused.

"I would suggest you deal with the intruder hiding in the stacks by the rear entrance first." Delta suggested.

Xander went on alert immediately. He drew his combat knife which he had decided to carry whenever possible, it was daylight so he figured it wasn't a vamp.

Creeping through the stacks Xander picked up a random book and threw it at the opposite side of the room and quickly snuck up behind the interloper placing his knife at their throat.

"Hello Ethan. Thought you weren't supposed to be back here. Ever!" Xander growled tightening his grip.

"What can I say…" Ethan began to wise comment but stopped as Xander pushed the knife harder.

"I really don't have time for your witty banter, so why don't you just come and take a seat whilst we call Buffy and Giles." Xander said pushing him to the library table.

"Church? You here?" Xander called out.

"Church is currently at Mr Giles' apartment." Delta informed him.

"Ok, get a message to him, to get Giles here, give him a sit-rep. Then go get Buffy and the others." Xander ordered.

"This will compromise our covert cover." Delta pointed out.

"I know, but I'm not taking my eyes off this monster." Xander agreed. "Just get them, we can deal with the fallout later."

"Ah yes, the young man who had all those little friends with his costume that would drive him mad." Ethan smirked. "How's that working out for you?"

"Ethan, your little stunt has made me strong enough to rip you in half. You also turned me into a soldier… so I have no problem ripping you in half if I think you're a big enough threat. And finally…" Xander said getting in the English mans face "You gave me the memories of a man who had a being commit suicide in his head. So I am very eager to rip you in half… do you really think you should be taunting me?"

Ethan saw that the boy was not bluffing.

He decided silence was a good virtue to exhibit at the moment.

"G-Man's on his way." Church said as he appeared in the library. "Hey! This is the guy who trapped me here!" Church said as he recognised Ethan.

"Yeah, once Giles gets here we can have some fun getting him to talk." Xander grinned evilly.

"Why don't we just lock him in a room with Gary and O'Mally?" Church suggested having been frequently annoyed by Gamma's frequent knock jokes and Omega's maniacal rantings.

"Don't really think it would be fair to them to inflict this guy on them." Xander considered.

"Xander, what's the big idea sending Delta out in public?" Buffy asked as the computer group ran in.

"Didn't want to take my eyes off this loser." Xander said. "Now that you're here I need to make a phone call. Oh and Giles is on the way."

"Who are you calling?" Willow asked.

"Just a friend, still need to find out if that Philip Henry guy was turned." Xander said as he went into the office.

It didn't take long for Jeff to answer his phone.

"Should I even ask how you got my personal cell number?" Jeff asked.

"Probably not." Xander admitted. "Look, there was a guy brought in yesterday, Philip Henry, Mr Rupert Giles a British guy identified the body. Was he turned?"

"No, there were no teeth marks, just a weird tattoo on his inner arm. But kid, the body is gone, it attacked one of my workers." Jeff told him.

"Damn, look, I'll do some research and try and find out what's going on. I'll let you know what I find." Xander said hanging up without letting him respond.

"Xander I am detecting something approaching down the corridor, based on its speed I would say it is not Mr. Giles, I would imagine Mr. Giles to be in a rush not moving slowly." Delta informed him as he exited the office.

"Ok, you and Church hide, we'll stash Ethan in the office." Xander said.

"I'll get the rope." Buffy said heading for the book cage.

"Really? Are you sure I can't just-" Ethan began only to be cut off by a forceful shove by Xander.

"Shut up or I'll shut you up." He growled.

Buffy returned and began tying up Ethan, she was just finishing when Willow called out.

"Eh, Buffy? I think you need to deal with this guy!" She called out uncertainly.

With a quick look to Xander she rushed off. Xander finished tying up Ethan.

"Aren't you going to help her?" Ethan asked smugly.

"Yes." Xander answered curtly and delivered a sharp strike to the back of the head rendering him unconscious. "Church, keep an eye on him." He called out knowing the Alpha would be near by.

"Sure thing Xan." Came the disembodied response.

Xander rushed into the library to see Miss Calendar on the floor unconscious and a creepy dead zombie like guy fall to the floor.

Who then turned into a puddle of blue goo.

Xander watched and suddenly realised that it was going to reach Miss Calendar. He dove forward sliding on the ground and managed to knock Miss Calendar's out stretched hand away.

Only he miss-judged his leap and slid into the book cage head first. Knocking him soundly out and sliding into the goo himself.

"Ouch." Remarked Willow as they all winced.

"What was he trying to do? Attack the puddle of slime?" Cordelia asked someone disbelievingly.

"I think he was trying to get Miss Calendar away from it." Willow suggested.

"What's going on? Where's Ethan?" Giles demanded as he burst into the library.

Then he noticed Jenny on the floor.

And then Xander behind them.

"What happened?" Giles asked the three girls as he knelt down next to Jenny.

"Xander caught Ethan. Weird zombie guy turns up. Knocks out Miss Calendar. Turns to blue goo. Xander dives at Miss Calendar and knocks himself out and lands in the goo." Buffy summarized.

"Why would Xander –"

"We think he was trying to get Miss Calendar away from the goo before it touched her." Willow answered the obvious question.

"Quick thinking on Xander's part then." Giles mused. "And Ethan?"

"We tied him up in your office." Buffy said.

"Oh god, he's good at escaping!" Giles cried as he rushed for the office. Stumbling as he reached the door. "You knocked him out?"

"Huh? No, just tied him up. Well Xander was with him last, maybe he did it." Buffy mused.

"I'll have to talk to him about that. Its dangerous to do without training." Giles noted with a frown.

"You mean like military training?" Willow asked pointedly.

"Indeed." Giles nodded tersely. "Ah, yes I see, you mean his Spartan training." He smiled sheepishly.

At this point Xander began to shudder and shake. Willow quickly grabbed Jenny by the arms and began dragging her away as Buffy and Giles jumped on Xander to restrain him lest he hurt himself.

"What's happening?" Willow cried as her best friend convulsed.

"I don-" Giles stopped as Xander's face began to morph, a growl emitted from his throat.

Suddenly he was roaring.

Then he was laughing. Somewhat manically. It was hauntingly familiar. It made Buffy release him and jump back in shock.

"The hyena!" She whispered in fear.

"But we exorcised it!" Willow argued.

"Don't worry." Said a clear female voice behind them. "It's not really the hyena, but it is primal."

Buffy spun round to see a young woman, probably of college age, standing behind them. She had tanned skin, brown eyes, long thick black hair and wore a simple white blouse and long brown skirt. She was slightly taller than Buffy, but still shorter than Cordelia.

"Who are you and what's wrong with Xander?" Buffy demanded.

"Xander is currently fighting off Eyghon, the demon trying to possess him." The woman explained. "He should be finished soon. As for who I am, well, I'll explain when Xander wakes up. Lets just say I'm a friend for now."

This reminded Buffy of her first encounter with Angel, but she still wasn't very trusting of new people.

"Well maybe we don't want a friend." She said somewhat lamely, realising that it didn't have quite the same punch as when she'd said it to Angel.

"Which means you're not my friend, but I'll still be yours." The woman said with a smile.

Xander suddenly slumped still.

"Oh good, he won. You can wake him now." She said as she sat at the library table.

They looked at her incredulously. Giles eventually shook Xander gently, calling his name to rouse him.

Xander blearily opened his eyes and then shot up in fear.

"Please tell me that was just a concussion induced nightmare!" He begged Giles.

"Nope, you have the primal in you and you defeated a very powerful possession." The newcomer stated with a grin.

"Damn." Xander muttered as he backed into the book cage and started to close the door.

"Xander, what are you doing?" Buffy asked.

"If the Primal's in me then after what happened last time, its probably safer for everyone if I stay in here."

"Silly man." The woman said as she strode over to the book cage and dragged Xander to the table, she waved a hand clearing the goop off him. "The Primal is in you, not controlling you. It's just a houseguest." She assured them. "Come on, sit down. You have questions and I have a request to make of Xander."

She waited for them to sit down. Jenny having been roused by an impatient Cordelia was still looking somewhat bewildered.

"Who's the new girl?" She asked.

"See, told you there'd be questions!" She whispered theatrically to Xander, who couldn't help but snort in amusement.

"I am Gaia." She declared imperiously.

They all just stared at her.

"Come on, you know, Gaia!" She said impatiently. "Goddess of the earth? Ring any bells?" She asked.

Giles cleared his throat. "We know about Gaia, are you claiming to be her?"

Gaia rolled her eyes. "Yes Giles, I am claiming to be her… why? Because I am her!" She nearly screeched in exasperation.

"You know our names?" Willow asked in shock.

Gaia gave her a look that could be best described as 'My god I thought you were smart.'

"I'm a god, I know a lot of things."

"Can you prove it?" Buffy asked.

"What could I possibly do to prove I am Gaia, a goddess?" She asked disbelievingly.

This caused them to stop and think for a bit.

"Oh! I know, make a plant grow!" Willow squeaked excitedly.

"Any user of earth magic can do that." She said as she made a potted plant in the corner start to flourish. "And you had better take better care of your plants mister! That ficus was thirsty." She admonished Giles.

"How about making it rain?" Buffy asked.

"Again, not something limited to deities." She said causing a small rain cloud to appear over Buffy's head with a smirk. "Still want me to make it rain?" She asked with a saccharine sweet smile.

"Please don't!" Buffy squeaked. And the cloud vanished.

"Is there a way you know of that you can prove you are who you say you are?" Jenny asked.

"Yes, but I'm not going to. You are just going to have to trust me." She said seriously.

"You haven't given us a reason to trust you." Buffy said suspiciously.

"You're not wet." She pointed out with a smirk. "Ok, look trusting me is the same as the trust you put in all these books. You don't know the people who wrote them, most of them you don't even know who wrote them! But you trust them. The fact of the matter is that I am Gaia, known as the goddess of the Earth, and I am here to ask Xander something."

"Me?" Xander asked.

"Yes, you. I have been watching you ever since the Almighty pointed you out to me as a possible candidate." She said very seriously.

"Erm, by 'The Almighty' you mean…?" Willow asked leadingly.

"God, The Creator, The Great I Am, Jehovah… and a host of other names." She said, still seriously.

"You know God?" Cordelia asked, she clearly didn't believe that.

"She is my boss!" Gaia declared snarkily.

"She?" Jenny asked with a smirk.

"It's her favourite form, how do you explain me." She grinned cheekily.

"Aren't there any male gods?" Willow asked.

"Oh yes, Hade's for instance takes care of the afterlife and those who enter it. He's a guy."

"Not to sound self-centred, but can we get back to this candidate business… before I develop a stress aneurysm?" Xander asked.

"Oh yes, sorry Xander. I would like you to be my Champion." She stated simply.

"When you say Champion… are we talking knights in armour and jousting? Cause I have armour but I don't think the horse could carry it." Xander asked confused.

"No, you would be you… with some upgrades, but you would be my Champion, a defender for nature and humanity, everything under my domain." She explained. "Buffy is the Champion of the Powers That Be, she is the defender of their domain and ideals."

"I am?" Buffy asked in awe.

"That is a commonly held belief." Giles confirmed. He still wasn't sure about this 'Gaia', he knew about the legends of Gaia throughout the various cultures, but the gods, or Powers, rarely interfered with the mortal realm so directly. "Perhaps a little background as to the reasoning to your request."

"Aw, you want a story?" She asked as if he was a two year old.

"Yes, and some bloody milk and cookies whilst you're at." He mumbled belligerently, he wasn't a fan of being mocked, Xander was bad enough.

"Ok." She said as a glass of milk and cookies appeared before them all. Xander looked and just started digging in.

"Why is my milk red?" Giles asked.

"You did request 'bloody milk'." She reminded him.

"Never tick off a goddess Giles." Xander admonished.

"You believe me then?" She asked with a small smile.

"Actually I was talking about your beauty, but yeah, I believe you." He grinned shamelessly.

"I can't believe you turned this down Buffy!" She said gesturing to Xander. "Thank you." She said and kissed his cheek making him blush.

"Ok, Xander has improved my mood, so you can have a hot chocolate as I know you like them Giles." She said as the milk changed colour.

"On with the story." She declared. "The story Giles told you is true, about the world being older than you know. But so is the basic creation story of seven days. Only, they were seven heavenly days, and time travels differently between Heaven and Earth.

"By the end of the fifth day the world was a paradise. And I was happily having fun with my new domain. But Lucifer had begun his campaign against God to take over heaven.

"By the sixth day God created man, and Lucifer was thrown to the earth. God and I placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, to protect them. Lucifer was waging war in my domain!" Gaia said angrily.

"God created various mythical creatures… and the dinosaurs. They fought Lucifer's armies. But they did so over millions of years, Eden's time ran differently and Adam and Eve knew nothing of what happened outside the garden.

"Eventually the war ended and Lucifer's armies were sent back to hell. But Lucifer himself snuck into the garden and… well, you know that story.

"Eve gets a lot of flak still for that screw up. I mean, only two other people ever spoke to her, Adam and God… and she listens to a freaking lizard!" Gaia ranted.

"I thought it was a snake?" Cordelia asked.

"No, God made him into a snake because of the deception. Now Lucifer is bound in Hell, but that hasn't stopped him from sending his armies to my domain." She explained.

"Anyway, bottom line, some of the fallen angels who followed Lucifer repented, but as punishment they were stripped of their status and made to fight and defend my domain and hold back the demonic forces. They became the Powers that Be. I have no idea who came up with that name!

"I have never had a Champion before, but things are changing, and Xander here comes with exceptional recommendations, I wouldn't even consider having a Champion if She hadn't suggested it."

"Ok, couple of questions." Xander said.

"Shoot!"

"Why me specifically, I haven't done much, I try and watch Buffy's back, and the armour will come in useful sure, but I'm not much good for anything other than bait… and even then the vamps prefer girls, even the female vamps!" Xander stated.

"It's not your physical prowess that makes you stand out, which incidentally has drastically improved since Halloween. It's your actions despite your physical abilities, your unwillingness to lay down and die… or more to the point, let other's die." She said with a pointed look at Buffy.

"Have to agree on that one, if you hadn't agreed to go with Angel into the Master's lair, I'd be one dead duck." Buffy agreed firmly.

Gaia on the other hand just snorted in a manner that was far from feminine.

"Xander didn't agree to anything, he practically had to drag Angel kicking and screaming down there!"

"What!" Buffy cried disbelievingly. "That's rubbish, Angel said that he grabbed Xander in case he needed a human to help. Which he did as he couldn't give me CPR." Buffy defended her boyfriend.

Then she saw the look on Xander's face.

"It's true right?" Buffy asked begging him to say so with her eyes.

"Weeeell… " Xander began slowly. "I would say kicking and screaming was an exaggeration-"

"You had to threaten him with a stake and a cross!" Gaia argued.

"Ok, yeah. But… aw hell, leave me out of this. I don't mind you thinking I was just the help, but it really worries me that he told so many blatant lies instead of just leaving you to wonder." Xander said as he slumped in his chair.

"Xander, what did Angel say when you suggested CPR?" Gaia asked.

"Something about he couldn't do it because he had no breath." Xander groused unhappily, there was far too much attention on him and he had no jokes to deflect it with.

"Buffy, what nasty human habit does Spike have?" She prodded the Slayer.

"He's British?" She asked in confusion, causing Giles to splutter in indignation.

"I was talking about the little thing he sticks in his mouth and sets on fire."

"Oh, he smokes." She said in realisation.

"And in order to smoke, you have to be able to do what?"

"Breathe." Willow said quietly. "He lied, but why?"

"Lied about what?" Buffy asked.

"Buffy, if a vampire can breathe to smoke, or even talk for that matter, then why not blow out a candle? Or breathe life into someone." Willow explained in earnest. "Breathing is an instinctual action, we can stop breathing by holding our breath, not like a heartbeat which we have no control over."

"Angel is not what you think he is Buffy." Gaia warned her. "He is a demon, he has a soul yes, but he is still a demon. The soul lets him know the difference between right and wrong and more control over not doing evil. But he still has free will and a choice to actually be evil."

Gaia allowed them a few moments to digest her words.

"That's not the only reason I chose Xander." Gaia said quietly. "He is one of the few people to actively fight the vampires."

"I fight them!" Buffy declared indignantly.

"Yes, after they have been turned and crawled out of their graves."

"Oh god." Xander groaned. "Can't we just leave that one out of it?" He whispered to Gaia.

"No." She replied simply. "Xander has developed a method and strategy for preventing vampires from even rising. Show them." She prodded Xander in the side.

Xander reached into his pocket and pulled out a small plastic cylinder. He sullenly rolled them across the table to Buffy.

Buffy looked at the pot and peered inside.

"Mini stakes?" She asked dumbly.

Gaia and Xander stared her in open-mouthed disbelief as Cordelia and Willow peered over her shoulder.

"God you need a life Buffy if the first thing you think of when you see toothpicks is 'mini-stakes'." Cordelia lamented.

Giles began to clean his glasses, thinking along the similar lines.

"How does a toothpick constitute an active approach to fighting vampires?" Miss Calendar asked. "Death by dentistry?"

This brought a collective shudder from the group.

"Xander approached the local coroner and suggested that inserting these into the hearts of vampire victims would decrease the number of bodies he has to deal with." Gaia explained. "I know you've noticed a decrease in vampire activity."

"I thought they were just avoiding the Hellmouth as I was here." Buffy shrugged.

"Wow, egotistical much?" Cordelia remarked.

Buffy shrank uncomfortably back into her seat.

"I must say, it was very irresponsible of you to approach an outsider like that. There is no telling what they could do with that information." Giles said sternly.

Xander looked somewhat resigned. "Now you know why I didn't want to tell them." He muttered quietly to Gaia.

Unfortunately Slayer hearing picked it up.

"If you knew it was a bad idea we wouldn't agree with why do it?" Buffy asked disappointedly.

"You seem to think he hadn't thought this through. That he doesn't have the memories of a soldier who went on to become a highly trained operative." Gaia said disgustedly. "That he doesn't have a host of military and espionage orientated Artificial Intelligence units at his beck and call that can advise him.

"Most importantly you think that he is too dumb to realise to do something like this and know the correct way to do it." Gaia paused as they looked somewhat shamefaced.

"How about the fact that he is developing a weapon that can fire a stake into a coffin for any missed graves?"

"Why not wait for them to climb out of the ground?" Buffy asked.

"You mean spend all night sitting on some poor souls head stone waiting for a vampire who may or may not climb his way out of his grave? Whilst with Xander's weapon you could stake the vamp and go off and patrol and possibly save someone's life instead?"

Once again Buffy shrank back into her seat.

She was wishing it was slightly more cushioned.

"Now, tell them about your next idea and we'll get back to you being my Champion." Gaia instructed.

Xander scowled at Gaia, who merely arched a feminine eyebrow at him.

"Fine, I was going to find a decent and hopefully morally good ER doctor who could come work for us and patch us up and any victims we come across. We've all had our share of scrapes and breaks so having some medical help seemed like a good plan. Always thought it was pretty dumb that Slayers don't have a personal Watcher and a doctor at all times."

"Yes, Mr. Giles, one day you might want to explain that one too." Gaia said sadly. But quickly continued to forestall any comments and questions. "So Xander, anymore questions?"

"What would my duties be?" Xander asked, he wanted to know if he would be taken away from the Hellmouth.

"Pretty much, do what you have been doing. Every now and again I will have a specific mission for you, you might need to deal with a purely human matter, or even an animal or other nature related incident.

"But ideally you are to ensure that Lucifer doesn't manage to get his armies through that gate!" She said pointing at the Hellmouth.

They all turned and looked at the Hellmouth… and unconsciously backed away slightly.

"The devil is on the other side of that thing?" Buffy asked.

"It is the mouth of Hell." Gaia pointed out.

"Yeah, but I thought it was to some random hell." She argued.

"Why would people worry about opening a portal to 'some random hell'? Honestly we wouldn't have to worry about it so much if this town wasn't here. The town makes it easy for the vamps to get around and blend in, the other demons can also hide and access the Hellmouth.

"Thanks to you and the Master every vampire and demon knows about the Hellmouth and that it is possible to try and open it."

"ME?" Buffy squealed indignantly.

"Yes, you!" Gaia reposted. "You being here has just sent out a beacon to the demonic world like advertising free access to Disney World."

"Why don't I just leave then?" Buffy said indignantly.

"Like hell you will!" Gaia declared. "You started this mess, you can make sure to clean it up! Luckily for you Xander will still be here to keep things in check."

"I will?" Xander asked as Buffy fumed.

"Even if you don't accept my offer as Champion are you really going to leave the Hellmouth?" She asked.

Xander thought about this and then shrugged in acceptance of the fact.

"What makes the dweeb so perfect then?" Cordelia asked with her usual tact and grace.

"Oh he's far from perfect. He is just as stubborn as Buffy, but still willing to admit he is wrong, he also tends to be a bit reckless at times and tends to lead with his heart too often. Not bad things, but not good without some tempering. He is also committed to vengeance for Jesse, nothing wrong with that on the whole. But it can be unhealthy." Gaia said with a pointed look at Jenny. "But he is young, and has time to learn."

"Hey! I'm young, I have time to learn." Buffy defended.

"Yes, but your dating a corpse. That makes young and stupid. Not to mention creepy!" Gaia returned.

"It's not his body I care about it's him." She declared righteously.

"I really doubt that, but, lets just remind ourselves about him. He's a demon living in a corpse who can't decide which side of the line he's on and he's a coward and liar to boot."

Buffy opened her mouth a few times and then decided silence was a new virtue.

Gaia noted this and turned back to Xander.

"So, anymore questions?"

"Yeah, one last one. What will this mean to me – personally? Will I still be human? Will enemies mark me as a target? That sort of thing."

"You will be human. But you will begin a journey of ascendance. Technically you can be killed, but I intend to make sure you are very hard to kill.

"Enemies will come after you, but unless Lucifer gets through that gate, there won't be anything you can't eventually handle.

"You will start off with a set amount of abilities and if you use them well enough then you will find most enemies relatively easy to deal with. But you will need to work on mastering them.

"As new types of enemies and situations arise I will unlock more abilities." Gaia finished.

"Sounds like you are saying I won't die of old age?" He queried.

"Nope, you will outlive most people. But I will always be around and will help you make sure you're never alone. And no, this offer is only available to you." She answered knowing how his mind worked.

"The dufus gets eternal youth and life and the rest of us get old and wrinkly?" Cordelia asked in disbelief. "Talk about there being no justice in the world!"

"Well, maybe just for that I won't let him teach you how to ascend!" Gaia said snobbishly.

"I take it back!" Cordelia cried in horror. "Xander is the perfect choice!"

Gaia just snickered whilst Giles tried not to laugh.

"Ok, I accept your offer to become your Champion." Xander said quietly. "Like you said I won't leave the Hellmouth, so anything that makes me an asset to keep my friends alive is a big plus in my book."

"Xander I believe the goddess has already pointed out that you have already proven yourself an asset many times in the past." Giles reminded him quietly. Jenny nodded enthusiastically in agreement.

"Glad to see some of you have been paying attention." Gaia smiled softly.

"What about you Willow?" Gaia asked. "You've been pretty quiet, what's your opinion?"

Willow looked up with a sad smile on her face.

"You were right about him being stubborn. He would never give up the fight, he would just go off and do it alone.

"He has a distinct habit of avenging people if he can't defend them, something that Jesse and I both knew about him.

"They were like a couple of TV heroes, one was the ladies man, Jesse, and the other was the… the… knight in shining armour, Xander." She said quietly.

"This way he gets to keep doing what he does best, and I don't have to worry about him getting hurt so much.

"So, I don't say that I think he should accept. I say that if he doesn't I will kick his butt!" She finished firmly. Despite the blush that appeared at the use of the word 'butt'.

"But why the sad look Wills?" Xander asked.

"Sad that you'll have to stay on earth for a long time, and that you might never reach heaven to be with the rest of us.

"Something you forgot to mention, right Gaia." Willow said with a pointed look.

Gaia smiled sheepishly. "Sort of, he might not attain the eternal rest that the rest of you can one day, but he will eventually, learn to travel between the realms.

"I just don't tend to think of it as a bad thing as I've been around since time began, and I'm not sad. Gets a little lonely sometimes, but then I just go find my friends.

"Xander will be able to do the same." She said with a smile for Willow.

"So, how do we do this? Is there some ritual? Candles, chanting, the whole nine yards?" Xander asked as he shifted nervously.

"Actually I just did it, if you want you can do the chanting, how about a ritual dance?" Gaia said with a straight face.

"You did it already?" Xander asked in disbelief.

"As soon as you said you'd do it, I did it." She smiled. "I'm a goddess Xander, only demons want those mindless rituals. In fact, if something involves a ritual and chanting it's probably demon related. They don't need them, they want them."

"So what do I do now?" He asked somewhat dazed, he was now the Champion of a goddess.

"Same as you've been doing, just practice. The Primal Spirit is not gone, it has been infused with you, you are now the Alpha Primal. You need to get used to your new strength and speed, oh and this." Gaia suddenly turned into a huge female lion and roared in Xander's ear.

Who promptly turned into a yapping Yorkshire terrier who backed away yapping and growling but refusing to turn tail and run in the face of a predator.

"What did you do to him!" Buffy demanded reaching for her stake as Gaia returned to her human form.

"Me? I just scared him." She said as she picked the dog up and placed it on the table. "This is one of your new abilities Xander, you can change into any animal, be it fish, mammal, reptile, bird, insect or even extinct animals." She said as she stroked the dog calming it. "Now you just have to want to turn back."

Xander just looked at her and whined with big soulful puppy eyes.

"Don't sell yourself short!" She admonished. "We've been over this, you are quite smart and very capable. Now, will yourself back to your regular human form."

Dog-Xander suddenly had a look of great concentration and stress on its puppy face, this caused the others to back off slightly… just in case. The forces of darkness were one thing, this was… something else.

Suddenly Xander was sitting on the table.

No flash, no noise, no morphing of parts. One minute he's a dog, next a human.

"Huh, cool." Xander muttered. "But how will I use this as your Champion?"

"Xander, if you can figure out how to quell vampire numbers with toothpicks, you can figure this one out." Gaia said with a roll of her eyes. "Just practice different forms a lot. And learn about all the animals you can. You never know when a tracking dog will come in useful, how about sensing body heat like a snake?"

"I can use animal abilities in my human form?" Xander asked.

"Eventually, once you've mastered changing and figured it out for yourself." She told him.

"Ok, I am going to head off now. If you need me just call out. I won't be able to help physically, but I can advise. Especially my Champion. Its part of the rules set down by Her." She said of their confused looks. "I love her dearly, and would do anything for her… but She's not real big on the explanations… tends to just give you a sweet smile and pat on the head." Gaia said in fond exasperation.

"See you later!" She said before simply vanishing. Again, no lights, no fanfare, just gone.

There was a quiet shuffling as an awkward silence settled over the group.

Xander broke it first. "I realise we all have questions and such, but maybe we should deal with Ethan first?" He suggested.

Buffy and Giles suddenly bolted for the office. They stepped out pretty quickly as they saw Ethan was still out of it.

"He should be out for a while, I'll just put in a call to the Council, have them send a retrieval team." Giles said as he reached for the phone on the counter.

Xander suddenly found himself in a crushing hug, so tight he couldn't move to see who it was.

He was quite shocked to find it was Miss Calendar.

"Sorry Xander." She said sheepishly. "Just wanted to thank you for keeping me away from the blue slime. I hate to think what it was like for you, and I don't even have a mental guard dog."

"Ah, no problem, just wish I hadn't over judged and slid into the disgusting goop." Xander said with a grin.

"What was it like when it attacked you?" Willow asked.

"Like watching a dog attack a demon. Eyghon was ugly, but the Hyena was clearly stronger. I took the liberty of kicking Eyghon up the butt now and then. The Hyena laughed. So not that bad an experience." Xander mused.

"And you got a superhero gig out of it too!" Willow chirped happily.

"Yep, no tights though… unless Buff agrees too." He said with a teasing leer.

"Dream on Animal." Buffy said with a playful shove.

"Please tell me that's not going to be your superhero name?" Jenny asked.

"What, 'Animal'?" Cordelia asked. "Sounds about right to me. We can use it to refer to anything, unlike 'Slayer' which is totally suspicious."

"What, so I can't use 'Tarzan'?" He asked in disappointment.

"No." The four ladies stated firmly.

"Buffy, you ok with me being a super powered fighter too?" Xander asked the blond slayer cautiously.

"Xander, according to Willow and Gaia, you have a tendency to try and save people. Maybe with you around and powered up, I can make it to 20." She said giving him a hug.

Xander growled, a very animalistic one too.

"As far as I am concerned, the only thing you're gonna die of is old age." Xander stated.

"If you hurry up and learn you can teach us this ascension thing, then she won't have to die at all!" Cordelia reminded him.

Ethan was picked up by the Watcher's Council Retrieval Team, which turned out to be a bunch of shifty looking men with guns.

Using a teleportation spell they were in and out of the country within an hour.

50 of those minutes were spent with Buffy as the men were quite awed to meet the Slayer. Buffy and the gang even posed with them for photos to show their families.

Whilst confused at first, Giles explained that the Slayer was the original reason for the Council to exist. Very few from the Council actually got to meet a Slayer but the Watcher's Journal's were required reading.

Despite being used to being stared at as a cheerleader, this was still something she was not used to.

The whole experience was just… weird.

But not in a bad way as the guys were really nice, if a little rough around the edges.

They were in her good books just for getting rid of Ethan.

*Chapter 4*: Chapter 4
The following Monday morning Buffy entered the library to an unusual sight. A small black cat was bouncing around the library like it had overdosed on catnip. It was jumping from the table to the bookcases, to another bookcase… eventually landing on the counter.

It saw Buffy and tilted its head and gave a curious little squeak.

Buffy couldn't resist the cute little face.

She picked up the cat holding it tightly.

The cat purred contentedly, rubbing its head against her chest.

"Aren't you the cutest little kitty!" She exclaimed in the common baby-voice that most humans employ when dealing with living things they consider cute.

This declaration brought Giles out of his office.

"Giles, when did you get a cat?" She asked still hugging and stroking the purring little motorboat.

Giles just looked at the cat and gave a somewhat exasperated sigh. He looked at Buffy pointedly.

"I didn't."

"Then whose cat is…" And there it was. "XANDER!" She squealed dropping the cat as she realised she was hugging her best male friend against her breasts… and he was definitely making the most of it.

Xander suddenly changed to his natural form and grinned sheepishly.

"Sorry Buff, couldn't resist. You were too easy to fool." He confessed.

"Xander asked if he could practice his form changes in here. I am curious as to why you chose a cat?" Giles asked the still sheepish teenager.

"I wanted to see what my agility was like, you know jumping around. Tonight I might try the same thing as a larger cat. Also flying, like an owl, that way I can help Buffy from the air." Xander explained.

"A good idea, but how will you communicate?" Giles asked.

Xander opened his mouth to answer, then realised that he didn't have an answer.

"I'll put Delta and the guys on it." He said.

Delta and the guys couldn't devise a way for them to properly communicate, but they did manage to develop a tracking system were Xander could hover over a target area and Buffy could track him.

It worked pretty well, a simple pressure system allowed Xander to alert Buffy if he spotted a target or if she was being stalked just by how hard he squeezed it with his talons, it in turn had a light that flashed a different colour allowing him to determine if he was squeezing it properly.

He also finished his coffin-gun. Most of the night was spent with Buffy shooting corpses through the ground whilst Xander kept an eye out.

He tended to beat a hasty retreat whenever Angel turned up. It seemed that Gaia's advice and revelations about Angel had been totally forgotten by Buffy. She was just as smitten. Xander decided to just leave them to it.

It was a week or so later that Buffy and Angel discovered the Order of Taraka was targeting Buffy.

The reactions of Giles and Angel both caused her to freak somewhat.

"Ok, so now you and Angel have both told me to run and hide. What's the big deal?" She asked confused. It wasn't like the other stuff she encountered was trying to buy her flowers and chocolates. Everything tried to kill her.

"Buff, can you stop a gun?" Xander asked interrupting Giles.

Buffy just looked at him in bewilderment.

"Assassins only care about the kill, they don't care how they get the kill. They could shoot you in the back, poison your lunch or blow up a building. They don't know the meaning of overkill." Xander explained.

"That is true, Xander. But how do you know this?" Giles asked somewhat worried.

"Wash was a Freelancer, a specially trained soldier. Assassinations were part of that training. Sometimes the only way to save others and stop a tyrant, is to kill them." Xander explained as he remembered some of Wash's missions, not all of them had been particulary savoury in hindsight.

"So what should we do?" Willow asked.

"Your mums out of town right?" Xander asked the Slayer.

Buffy nodded. "For the next few days."

"Ok, I recommend all of us, Giles included relocate to Buffy's house. The AI's can keep surveillance, Church and I can check the rest of the houses and that way, if they approach the house you have plenty of backup, and Giles and Willow can let us know if it's a tricky kill."

"That does seem like a smart idea, but why not stay at my place instead of risking Buffy's house?" Giles asked.

"We need to end this, and that means confronting the assassins, not hiding from them." Xander explained.

"Xander, can I assume you are capable of dealing with any human assassins?" Giles asked.

Xander nodded seriously.

"Why can't I deal with human assassins and what human would work with demons anyway?" Buffy asked indignantly.

"Catherine Madison, Chris and Eric." Xander offered.

"Fritz and Dave. Ethan Rayne." Willow added.

"Billy Fordham and Rupert Giles."

These last two were a shock to Buffy and Willow, especially as Giles was the speaker.

"Humans are capable of both incredible amounts of evil, and equal amounts of stupidity." Giles explained. "Some of us learn the error of our ways like Chris, Dave and myself." Others know the pain and damage they will cause, and like vampires, they revel in it.

"You are a Slayer, you are forbidden to kill humans. Watchers and retrieval teams like the gentlemen from last week handle human threats. Xander is a soldier, something I have come to accept understand from discussions with Church and Delta.

"Delta has been keeping an eye on Xander's psychological state, as per his standard protocols. Although he is still Xander, much of his previous ways of thinking have been reinforced.

"You might remember that Xander was all for beheading Catherine Madison, now he could do it himself and still sleep at night as he would know for a fact that he did the right thing and felt justified.

"It will still pain him to take a life, but an enemy combatant would eventually become another statistic that occurred to save others and complete the mission." Giles explained as Xander sat quietly staring at the table.

He could tell Giles had much respect for him, despite his sometimes childish ways. He knew Giles wouldn't hate him or dislike him.

But he couldn't bring himself to look at Buffy and Willow's faces in case he saw that they couldn't accept it.

Suddenly he felt a pair of soft arms wrap around him, he looked over to see Gaia seated to his left. She kissed his cheek and gave him a sad smile.

"It's also a reason I accepted him as a my Champion. There will come a time when I need him to handle a purely mundane human incident that has nothing to do with the supernatural. Xander will do it, with a heavy heart, but he will do it. And I will be waiting for him to comfort him." Gaia said softly.

"Now enough of this, the three of you go and prepare to stay at Buffy's house, I'm taking Xander away for a talk." She declared.

And promptly vanished with Xander.

Giles smiled softly, glad that someone was looking out for the young champion. It also made him sad that the Powers That Be never showed that kind of care for their champions.

Xander found himself lying by a stream on a grass verge on the edge of a woods. Gaia lying next to him. Both staring up at the over hanging branches.

"I take it your not handling the fact that you have memories of someone who killed as well as Giles thinks?" She asked softy as she rolled on her side to face Xander.

"More like I'm not handling the fact that I emam/em handling the fact that I have those memories." Xander said.

"You're worried it's changed you from who you were?" She asked.

Xander nodded.

Gaia propped herself up on her arm to look down at Xander.

"Xander, every experience we have changes us, its how we grow as people. Even I, in all the millions of years I have existed, have learnt much, I have made mistakes, had great successes and have changed as a result."

"You made mistakes?" Xander asked in confusion.

"I'm not infallible, not like The Creator. I was very naive at the beginning, at the time of the heavenly rebellion I became very sullen. The dinosaurs were my mistake, and I had to destroy them as a result.

"That was the punishment I was set by God; to clean up my own mistake. But I also succeeded in driving out the demons.

"You are my reward."

Xander looked confused.

"God's reward to me was to point you out as my ideal Champion. So I wouldn't have to sit back and watch my domain be torn apart from inside… or out. You are my Hand in dealing with the world, affecting where I can't. I will still be able to help you specifically though."

"Are you seriously saying that after saving the world from demons and making it a safer place for humans… all you got was me?" Xander asked in disbelief.

"You have to realise that since the demons were driven out I have had to watch my domain and subjects suffer. Imagine if you were made to watch as your girls were tortured. You were helpless to save them. How would that make you feel?" She asked sadly.

It was here that Xander realised that Gaia had been in a lot of pain. The pain of having experienced all this and being helpless to prevent it.

He understood perfectly that he was essentially a tool. But considering what he was to be used for he could live with it happily.

Xander pulled the sad goddess into a hug and pulled her down next to him. Sometimes it was so easy to forget that she was a god. She spoke with un-flowery words, sometimes she used their own slang. But he realised that she wouldn't be much of a god if she didn't know how to relate to her people.

She also dressed in modern clothes, long skirts or knee high dresses and simple blouses. Very 'earthy'.

Sometimes she seemed like just another one of his girls.

And he took care of his girls.

They lay there for a while, just enjoying each other's company and the sound of the stream rolling by.

"This is nice." Gaia said eventually.

"Yeah, it's nice to just lay back and relax with friends sometimes." Xander agreed. "Why don't you come and spend more time with us? You might not be able to help us directly, but something tells me your knowledge, experience and wisdom are free to give."

"You mean it might make me feel better if I was able to take control of the situation even if it was just through you?" She asked with a small smile as she rolled to face him.

"Technically I'm a soldier. I know how to take orders." Xander grinned. "Besides, it would take some of the pressure off me if I knew what I could and could not do at the time. I worry about when the next issue crops up… will I handle it the correct way."

"Xander that is why I picked you, because I trust your judgement. Do what you think you should because that is your job as my Champion. But, I will take you up on your offer. You and your friends are fun to be around." She conceded snuggling into Xander's side.

Xander found himself somewhat amused and confused. A real goddess, who was incredibly hot, was lying next to him alone in fairly romantic environment. Xander wondered what he had done to deserve this fantasy.

He was also hoping he wouldn't wake up anytime soon.

Deciding not to question a goddess he simply pulled her more firmly into his side. This caused Gaia to emit a contented sigh.

Buffy was not coping.

Willow was walking her to her locker so they could leave immediately and setup camp back at Buffy's house. Willow could see that the Slayer was getting very paranoid – and rightfully so.

Unfortunately Buffy suddenly snapped and rounded on a male student barely taller than her and slammed him against the lockers.

Willow was able to calm the agitated Slayer down and the young man watched them wander off down the hall.

They eventually met up with Giles, Gaia and Xander back at Buffy's house a few hours later.

"Did you encounter any problems?" Giles asked Buffy as they settled in the lounge.

Buffy looked a little embarrassed.

"Buffy got a little jumpy, accidentally jumped a guy, slammed him against the lockers." Willow said with a wince that was matched by everyone else. "He seemed ok with it though." She tried to reassure them.

This statement caused them to all look at her weirdly.

"By which I mean he didn't hold a grudge, not that he seemed to enjoy it and was looking for a repeat with handcuffs, whips and I'm gonna shut up now!" She babbled.

"Who knew! Willow knows about the kinky stuff." Xander smirked. "I may have to ask you for tips at some point."

Willow just turned red.

Giles decided to save her from passing out.

"Well, at least you made it home safely and without incident. Delta has informed me that one of the assassins is in the house across the street." Giles said with out preamble.

"WHAT!" Buffy exclaimed. "Shouldn't we be doing something? Like running and hiding?" She cried.

"Hmm, I'm thinking Buffy and I need to go pay this assassin a visit." Xander said looking at the panicking slayer.

"ARE YOU NUTS!" Buffy screamed.

"Buffy, you need to face this fear and see that, as dangerous as they can be, they can be killed and dealt with just like everything else." Giles said, having the same worries.

"Look, I'll go sneak in and get in place, then you knock down the door and take him out." Xander said.

"Sneak in?" Buffy asked. "Oh right." She realised he could crawl under the door as an ant. "Won't the owner of the house be upset about her door?"

"Unfortunately she's dead, that is how the AI's knew the assassin was there." Giles said.

"Fine, get going Xander, I'll be there in five." Buffy grouched as she went to retrieve her weapons.

Five minutes later and the sound of a door being kicked in across the street was heard.

"I don't suppose you know what type of demon they are facing?" Giles asked Gaia.

"Not a very powerful one. Buffy probably won't do much more than get a swing in. This one will be Xander's show." Gaia said somewhat cryptically. "This is going to be more of a test for Xander and a lesson for Buffy."

Giles and Willow looked at with a lot of curiosity and a little worry.

"Don't worry, they really aren't in any danger. They will be-" Gaia paused and tilted her head as if listening. "Damn, I have to go. I'll be back as soon as I can. Tell Xander for me?"

Willow nodded as Gaia vanished.

"That was…"

"Weird?" Willow offered.

"Indeed."

"I'm just saying we could have killed a few of them!" Buffy complained as the duo returned to the house.

"They didn't know any better. Now they do and they won't harm anyone." Xander argued.

"Everything go ok?" Willow asked.

"Yeah, creepy stalker assassin was watching the house. Turned into a bunch of bugs when I attacked." Buffy groused.

"Really, incredible. How did you defeat it?" Giles asked with burning curiosity.

"Xander?" Buffy said holding her hand out for him to explain.

"They were real bugs, not demonic. I had a little talk with them. They themselves aren't a demon. A demon spirit simply controls them. I told them they were doing wrong and said they should separate and travel as far away from each other as possible."

"Seeing a bunch of bugs running at you… very, very creepy!" Buffy shuddered.

"Where's Gaia?" Xander asked.

"Little goddesses room?" Buffy quipped.

"Something came up, she said she'd be back as soon as possible." Giles said.

"Ok, cool." Xander shrugged.

Gaia returned later in the evening complaining about big headed, egotistical morons.

She wouldn't go into further details but apparently there were some morons who were treating others like they were children. Gaia had to give them a talking to about equality and such.

She wasn't sure they paid too much attention.

"They argued with a goddess?" Buffy asked in disbelief.

"Well, they don't actually know I'm a goddess. Not many people do, its easier to just let them think I'm a higher being of some sort." She explained.

"Is this something I'll need to deal with?" Xander asked.

"Not yet, eventually you'll get involved. First you need to get a better grip on your current powers, nice job with the bug guy by the way. I think for now I'll just tell the morons who I really am and who they are pissing off!" She said determinedly.

"And if that doesn't work?" Willow asked warily.

"I'll just have to introduce them to Xander." She said with a small smile.

"I have no idea if I've just been insulted." Xander said in bewilderment.

Gaia leaned over and kissed his cheek. "Then my work is done." She said cheekily.

Xander decided that someone should probably patrol that night, so he left Buffy in the comforting hands of Giles and Willow. Gaia agreed to stay put too so she could get Xander in an emergency.

"You are aware we are being followed?" Delta asked as they made their way through a graveyard, his glowing green image lighting the area.

"Yeah, they're pretty good too. I wouldn't know they were there if it wasn't for Wash's instincts." Xander admitted.

"And the motion tracker we built into your watch?" Delta asked.

"Ok, that too." Xander grinned sheepishly.

"What do you intend to-"

"Hey, you gonna come out or you just gonna stalk me all night?" Xander called out.

"-do". Delta finished weakly. "That was because I mentioned the motion tracker, wasn't it." Delta asked a little peeved.

Xander just smiled innocently.

There was some movement from the headstones and a young black girl about his age emerged in a very defensive manner, definitely a fighter.

"Hi, I'm Xander, this is Delta. I'm really hoping you aren't a vampire." Xander said cheerfully.

"I am no vampire!" She spat, her accent thick and definitely not local. "I am de Vampire Slayer."

"Huh, it's about time you got here." Xander said. "Anyway you can prove it… any chance you have an actual name?"

"I am Kendra, and I will prove myself when I kill you!" She declared.

"Why would you want to kill me? I'm just a guy!" He asked bewildered.

"I saw you consorting with vampires and even now you control ghosts." She said pointing at Delta's ethereal form.

"Ok, first of all, I don't consort with vampires. I kill them. Second, he's not a ghost. Delta here is an AI." Xander said a little heatedly. "He's technology, a computer." He said off her confused look.

"Actually I am far more-"

"Can it, Delta. So not the time." Xander muttered.

Kendra seemed to accept the explanation of Delta.

"That does not explain you with de vampires." But not so much on the rest.

"Yeah? When did you see me with a vampire and not kill it?" He sighed.

"Earlier dis evening I saw you and a blond vampire enter a house and I found de victim inside."

"Ok, the victim was killed by a Tarakan Assassin who me and the blond dealt with in the house. The blond is not a vampire. Why would you think that?"

"I saw her consorting and kissing another vampire." She said firmly.

"Right, of course you did." Xander said exasperatedly, clearly Buffy and Angel were still going strong.

"Look lets go see my friends and sort this out. You can meet Giles." Xander suggested.

"Rupert Giles de Watcher?" She asked in awe.

"Yep, really great guy. Little stuffy, but still a good man." Xander said fondly.

"I still cannot trust you, you could be a vampire." She said.

"You should be able to tell I'm not a vampire, the same way I can tell you're not a vampire." Xander said.

Kendra looked at him in confusion.

Xander just tapped the crucifix on his neck.

Kendra just blushed and looked sheepish.

The introductions back at Buffy's were met with a muddle of emotions.

Giles was astounded.

Willow was in pure investigator mode.

Buffy… Buffy was putting up a belligerent front, but it was clear that this was freaking her out.

Kendra eventually let slip that she might have done something to Angel.

"Where is HE!" Buffy demanded.

"I cannot tell you." Kendra said. "You are clearly under his thrall!"

"No, he has a soul now." Giles said somewhat lamely.

"I am sorry sir but until I get orders from my Watcher I must assume he has you all under his spell." She said apologetically.

"WHY YOU-" Buffy screamed pouncing at Kendra, only to find herself being held back by Xander.

"Let me at her Xander, I'll beat it out of her." Buffy demanded.

"Stand down Buff. She's right, she is uninformed and should wait till she has her orders from a trusted source." Xander said.

"But what about Angel?" She cried pitifully.

Xander just rolled his eyes. "I'll go get him and take him to the library."

"You know where he is?" Willow asked.

"I have him being tracked, the guys can tell me." Xander explained. "I'll be back after I drop him off at the library."

"Bring him back here." Buffy said.

"What! No!" Xander exclaimed as if it was the worst idea ever. "For starters your mother lives here and I don't want him anywhere near her, not to mention if she finds out about him she'll likely have an aneurysm!" Xander argued.

Buffy was about to argue back but Xander just went on.

"Secondly, do you really want him around someone that will try and kill him on sight just on principle?" He asked smugly pointing at Kendra.

Buffy visibly deflated. "Well tell me where he is and I'll get him."

"No, you stay here and make sure Kendra doesn't try and come after me or hurt Willow or Giles. Or Gaia." He added as an after thought, not like Kendra could hurt the goddess, but she didn't know what Gaia was and that was the way he wanted it.

Xander quickly left before Buffy could rally another attack.

Finding Angel was relatively easy.

Xander had him bugged. He had been tempted to use real bugs, but figured it would be easier to create an implant that he had shot into Angel's ear.

Once again Xander praised mans greatest invention.

Television.

Futurama had given him the idea. He had created a small ship, being Xander he had modelled it on the Planet Express Ship. The ship was actually controlled by O'Mally who was supposed to be documenting the workings of a vampire's body.

Xander frequently found the maniacal AI flying the small craft into Angel's brain.

O'Mally had destroyed 3 before Xander managed to make something a little more sturdy.

It never occurred to him to simply tell the AI not to do it.

Xander found the ensouled vampire at Willy's, locked in a cage out back. He hadn't even bothered to talk to the weasily proprietor; he simply shoved him out the way and ordered Angel to follow him.

"Why aren't we going to Buffy's house?" Angel asked as they walked towards the school.

"Because Joyce wouldn't approve. As long as you actually watch your back this time, you should be safe at the library." Xander said calmly.

"And who's going to protect Buffy if the Assassins come?" He asked. "You?" Angel scoffed not having much faith in Xander despite his Spartan armour and not having been told about his new Champion status or Gaia. Fortunately Buffy had respected his wishes in this respect.

Xander smirked slightly. "Two slayers and a former warlock. I think we'll manage." Xander replied snidely.

Xander returned to find out that Kendra had contacted her Watcher and confirmed that Mr Giles was on the level and should be considered in charge whilst she stayed in Sunnydale.

Having appeased Buffy with the knowledge that Angel had been freed from captivity, they all turned in for the night with the girls in Buffy's room, the guys in the living room and Church and the available AI's standing watch.

The night passed peacefully and in the morning Gaia headed off for parts unknown and the rest headed for school.

Angel left a note to say he had headed home as the sun was rising.

Xander assured Buffy that as far as he knew the tanless wonder was safe at home.

Buffy was a little surprised when she and Willow were approached by the guy she accosted yesterday in the hallway.

"Hey Willow."

"Hi Oz, oh, you remember Buffy." She chirped happily.

"Kinda difficult to forget." Oz said with a small smile at Buffy.

Buffy just blushed and stared at her feet.

"If its any consolation, you had me pinned pretty good." Oz joked trying to lighten the mood.

"Sorry about that." Buffy said uncomfortably. "I have to go, polyester and handguns await." Buffy bemoaned as she waved goodbye.

As she moved off she heard Oz ask Willow something about computers, Buffy quickly tuned out. Buffy suddenly realised she had as much love for computers as Giles did.

Now that creeped her out.

Buffy stood in line as the officer gave instructions and raised her hand as she heard her name called.

She saw the gun being drawn and reacted instantly. The gun went off firing a shot skyward. Buffy struggled with the officer, but she seemed evenly matched. Buffy needed to back off and regroup. With a knee to the gut Buffy downed the officer and ran off to cover.

The officer pulled a backup gun and drew down on the fleeing girl, she was suddenly blindsided from behind, the gun flying away.

Willow peeked from cover in time to see Xander barrel into the officer and leap through a window.

And vanish.

"Is it me or did that guy just disappear into thin air with a police officer?" Oz asked calmly.

*Chapter 5*: Chapter 5
Xander had heard the shot and come running. He saw Buffy knock down the officer and make tracks. He had to get the threat away from the school before innocent bystanders got hurt.

He charged in, grabbed the cop and leapt for the nearest window, his whole intent to get her away from the school.

It seemed he had achieved his goal.

Xander found himself sprawled out on a sandy desert. The wind was wafting creating swirls and tiny dust devils.

This was definitely not Sunnydale.

He then remembered the cop and rose to a defensive position.

The cop also seemed to be slightly dazed and shocked at the abrupt change in scenery.

"I don't suppose we could settle this with a friendly game of tic-tac-toe?" Xander asked hopefully.

The cop just growled and leapt at him.

It was obvious that she had no idea of what Xander was capable. He stepped to the side slightly letting her stumble past; he then pulled her back, and snapped her neck.

Xander let her dead body fall to the ground.

The entire fight was over in 3 seconds and 2 moves.

Xander was not surprised when the body started to melt. He was relieved that he still had yet to take a human life.

When it was finished he turned his back on the body and headed for the highest sand dune. Climbing a sand dune is hard work. Like crawling up a mountain of jello.

Without the tasty goodness.

Reaching the top he discovered to his dismay that he was surrounded by more sand… and nothing else.

"Time to call for help." Xander muttered. "GAIA!" He screamed into the air.

"Xander?" The goddess asked in confusion as she appeared. "What are you doing here?"

"Beats me, one minute I was jumping through a window with one of the assassins, next I'm in the desert." Xander shrugged. "Any idea which desert I'm in?"

"Not one that you know unfortunately." Gaia muttered. "This is not good Xander. It sounds like you tapped into one of your powers a bit early. You basically transported yourself to another planet."

"Ok, how do I transport myself back?" He asked cutting to the chase.

"After a lot of practice." Gaia said. "You don't even know the basics yet, there is no way you can do it yet. We were going to start tapping your other powers in preparation soon, but you are still at least a year away from looking at teleportation." She said agitatedly.

"I take it this means you can't just whisk me back?" He asked.

"Nope, I can take you away to our little river for short periods, but I still need to bring you back to where you started to stay within the rules." Gaia paused for a moment. "Ok, you pick a bird and fly off that way." She said pointing away from the sun. "You will come to a city. They might be able to get you off this planet and back home. I can't give you anymore info, I am going to go upstairs and see what I can find out."

And again Gaia vanished.

Xander leapt into the air changing into an eagle, he figured he should probably glide as much as possible as he didn't know when his next drink would be.

Fortunately for Xander the city was only a few miles away. This however did make Xander suspicious about it being him that teleported. Especially so close to civilisation. He'd have to mention it to Gaia in case something nefarious was going on.

Xander landed a couple of hundred meters from the city, changing back to a human. He didn't want to freak out the natives. No telling if they had ray guns or something.

The city looked to be made of sand walls, there were drapes everywhere acting as shelters. A cross between a tent city and something out of the bible.

The people wore robes like in the middle east.

As he approached the city gates he was challenged by two guards. Who unfortunately did not speak English.

"Er, look guys, I was told to come here by a good friend. I'm from Earth if it helps?" He offered.

Obviously 'Earth' meant something to them as they jabbered about it for a few seconds before one of them ran off into the city. Whilst the other seemed to point at him with his staff and jabbered at him.

"Right, I stay here and he'll be right back." Xander nodded pointing to himself and then the ground.

The guard nodded back.

Eventually a man shuffled quickly out. His robes were slightly more colourful; he had the look of an elder about him. Someone you would defer to, kinda like how he saw Giles.

"You speak… English?" The man asked hesitantly.

"I do. My name is Xander, and I am a bit lost." Xander said with a slight bow. When in doubt… bow.

"Then you will be welcomed here Xander." The man said returning the bow. "I am Kasuf, the village elder."

Kasuf gestured Xander to walk with him.

"You have come at a good time. You come from Earth yes?"

Xander nodded.

"Good, my son-in-law is due to return from Earth in seven days, he can help you get home." Kasuf said brightly.

"Really, I didn't know we could travel between planets. Will they be coming in ships?" Xander asked in surprise.

"Ships? No, only the false gods come in ships." Kasuf said with some venom. "No, Daniel will come through the Chapa'ai."

"The what now?" Xander asked.

"Oh, the Stargate." Kasuf amended.

"Hmm, ok, I'll take your word for it." Xander shrugged. "So a week? Does he often travel back and forth between here and earth?"

"No, he left when my daughter, his wife, was abducted by a false god. He went to rescue her."

"I'm sorry. Is he still searching?" Xander asked sadly.

"He is, but when he returns he will not need to search anymore. My daughter has been returned." Kasuf said as he drew back the cloth door to one of the houses.

Xander saw a young woman, probably early twenties. She was weaving a basket.

She was heavily pregnant.

"How long as Daniel been gone?" Xander asked worriedly.

"In seven days it will be a year." Kasuf said solemnly.

"Oh dear." Xander said not needing to do the math.

"You know my Daniel?" The young lady asked excitedly.

"Daughter, this is Xander, a lost traveller from Earth." Kasuf said helping his daughter rise. "Xander, this is my daughter, Sha're."

"Pleased to meet you ma'am." Xander said with a smile and another bow.

Sha're returned the bow. "Do you know my Daniel?" She asked again.

"I'm sorry, I don't think I do. But I am looking forward to meeting him, hopefully he can get me home." Xander said. "So, baby coming soon?"

"Yes, any day now." Sha're said sadly.

"I understand." Xander said sadly.

"Some times she drives me completely crazy!" Came an aggravated cry as Gaia appeared in the room startling Kasuf and Sha're.

"Eh, Gaia? You're scaring the natives." Xander muttered to her.

"What? Oh right, so sorry. Kasuf and Sha're right?" Gaia said realising that now was not the time to cause a scene.

"Kasuf, Sha're, this is Gaia. She's my… erm… boss?" Xander looked questioningly at the much calmer goddess.

"Don't worry Xander, only on specific planets do you have to keep who I am a secret." She smiled at him. "I am Gaia, the Goddess of the Universe."

"Huh? I thought you were the Goddess of Earth?" Xander commented.

"Please, I hardly need to give a single planet much thought. It would be a complete waste for me to focus on Earth alone. Each planet is capable of taking care of itself. Micro managing is a bad thing sometimes." She scoffed.

"Oh, does that mean you have more Champions I can meet and learn with?" He asked eagerly.

"Ah. No, you're it, you're my Champion, the Champion of the Universe." She said sheepishly.

"Right, no pressure then." Xander muttered.

"Across all realities?" Gaia suggested with a wince.

Xander just looked at her.

"Please don't tell me I have to be responsible for hell dimensions?" Xander begged.

"Oh no, hell dimensions are under the domain of Lucifer, and other dimensions are under the domain of… other gods that The Creator made… like me!" She said with a bright smile.

"Riiight… thank God for small mercies then." He quipped.

"You are a Goa'uld?" Kasuf asked fearfully.

Xander looked confused but noticed that Gaia did not.

"No, I am not a slimy worm demon." Gaia said with disgust. "No, I am a real goddess, the way to tell, is if I am here to enslave you… which I'm not. Technically everything in the universe already belongs to me and I like things the way they are. Mostly." She added as an after thought.

"Slimy worm demon?" Xander asked.

"A parasitical snake that takes humans as hosts. They suppress the host consciousness. They are pure evil, want to rule the universe types. They are a remnant of demons left over from other planets, literally the scum off other demons feet as they left this dimension." She explained.

"Right, so see snake kill snake?" Xander asked.

"No, not for you, if you can help it." Xander looked confused so she explained.

"Apparently The Creator in her infinite wisdom," Gaia rolled her eyes, "has determined that you will be needed sooner in the wider universe. So a lot of your powers are going to be unlocked and you are going to have a crash course on learning."

"You're getting angry at God?" Xander said somewhat amused.

"Everyone gets angry with her, we still love her, she just loves living up to that whole 'mysterious ways' persona. It tends to rub everyone the wrong way at times." Gaia groused.

"Right, so how long do I have to learn?" Xander asked.

"About a week." She said apologetically.

"I have a week to learn to teleport?" He asked.

"Among other things."

"And what happens if I wind up back here? Or some where less hospitable that doesn't have regular Earth visits… speaking of which I assume God was the one who pushed me to this planet… seeing as someone from Earth will be along in a week?" Xander asked.

"Yeah, she figured you also needed an introduction to the problems of the wider universe. This will also give you an introduction to Earth's Stargate program."

"Yeah, ok, but what about the assassins, or the Hellmouth?" Xander asked.

"The assassins are finished, they only send three, and you'll be home within a week at the most. I'll introduce you to the Nox, they can help with your training, they're very much in tune with nature."

"I assume you'll be able to take me between there and the Hellmouth till I can do it myself?" Xander asked.

"No problem with that, you'll be teleporting by then, none of it is hard just… new. But for now we will start with your first lesson. How to deal with Goa'ulds." She said.

"And I can't kill them?" He asked.

"Only in battle, you have to remember that the host is usually an innocent, so you should try and free them, by killing the parasite." Gaia lectured.

"Right, and I do this how?" Xander asked.

"First of all we need to activate some of your senses, I kept your demon detecting senses off as the Hellmouth would just confuse you. But here we can work on turning them on and off." She said.

"HOLY CRAP WHAT IS THAT?" Xander shouted backing away from Sha're.

Xander could see an inky blackness snaking around Sha're's spine, it was not a pretty sight.

"That is the Goa'uld that is in Sha're. Normally she would be a bitchy person demanding you kneel to her and such, but as Sha're is pregnant the demon is asleep." Gaia said. She then noticed that Xander was still trying to back his way out of the stone house through the wall.

"Xander, you're scaring the natives!" Gaia admonished in mock severity.

This caused Xander to stop and stare at Gaia, and then sheepishly make his way back to the rather pale and perturbed Kasuf and Sha're.

"Ok, so can I turn this off?" Xander asked.

"Yep, you better keep it off on the Hellmouth, don't want you overwhelmed all the time." Gaia recommended.

"Ok, how?"

"Oh, just will it off, think of it like focusing your eyes, or lifting a finger. It's just another part of you, like shifting between animal forms."

Xander was about to concentrate very hard… and he realised that he didn't really want to frighten the two others with his fierce look of constipation, he also remembered that Gaia didn't make actions or sounds when she did things, so why would he need to. So he thought about turning it off.

And the inky blackness vanished.

"You're learning young grasshopper." She said sagely.

Xander just grinned smugly. "Ok, so how do we get this slimy thing out of the lovely Mrs Daniel… erm…"

"Jackson?" Gaia offered.

"Right, how do we do this? I'm guessing sooner the better?" He asked Sha're.

"If you can free me from the demon I would be most grateful." Sha're said pleadingly.

"Ok, it all comes down to a simple little fact that I haven't told you about." Gaia said with a small smile.

"Let me guess, other than the entire universe throughout all realities I'm also the champion throughout all times?" Xander asked burying his hands in his face.

"Well, yes but that's not what I was talking about." Gaia said.

Xander peaked over his fingers and raised an eyebrow.

"You're also my priest." Gaia said plainly.

"Okaaaay,." Xander drawled. "I can see that, you're a goddess an' all."

"Yes, but that makes you a holy man." Xander had a distinct look of horror on his face. "But you can still have sex and twinkies." She assured him.

Xander was a bit disturbed that he was more relieved about the twinkies.

Gaia rolled her eyes knowing exactly what he was thinking.

"Anyway, as a holy man you have… a certain commanding presence over demons – well, minor demons anyway. This means you can order weak vampires around, not so much with the masters. But, as the Goa'uld are the literal scum of hell, you can actually order them out of their hosts."

"Cool, I take it this is something you just activated?" Xander asked.

"Yep, no need to complicate things sooner than necessary." Gaia said giving the evil eye heavenward.

"Is there a ritual for any of this?" Xander asked.

"No, like the demon sense you just need to will it."

"Can I make holy water?" Xander asked looking for another tactical advantage.

"Any water you willingly give or claim is considered holy water." Gaia said.

"Cool, remind me to claim the school water system, not to mention those in our houses." Xander grinned.

Gaia just rolled her eyes and turned to Kasuf and Sha're who were completely lost and honestly not really looking for an explanation, Daniel would arrive soon and he could explain it.

"Kasuf, call the midwife, when we are finished Sha're will go into labour."

Surprisingly Kasuf just nodded and ran. "I gave him a bit of a mental nudge." Gaia told him with a sheepish grin.

"Sha're, when the baby is born, what do you want to do with it?" Xander asked, he wasn't going to force an unwilling woman to accept the child.

"Thank you for your concern Xander, but the baby is of my flesh and blood, even if it is not of my husband and will. I will keep the baby and raise it properly." She said with a smile as she kissed Xander's cheek in appreciation.

Xander smiled and blushed slightly, all these beautiful women kept kissing him.

Gaia gave him a knowing smile before turning to Sha're.

"Sha're, we will have to wake the demon, but it will only be briefly. Xander will then command the demon to leave you, it will escape from your mouth and you will be free." She assured her.

Sha're nodded nervously, then steeled herself. "I am ready."

"The floors all yours Xander." She told her young champion.

Xander looked at Sha're. "Try and relax, don't fight this or you might hurt yourself."

Sha're nodded.

"Demon! Wake up." Xander commanded softly.

The effect was instantaneous. Sha're went from a timid young woman to an arrogant bitch with glowing eyes.

"You will bow before your god." Sha're commanded. Her voice was deep, as if two people were talking.

"Shut up demon." Xander said. And the demon went to rant but found it couldn't.

"You have stolen this young woman's body. You have used her and abused her. You are beyond despicable. If I had my choice I would see you suffer for many years at my hands, but I won't put Sha're through that." Xander said angrily. There were many things Xander hated. Demons and vampires were near the top. But rape was something he would gladly kill perpetrators for and he would never give it a second thought.

"I command you to leave Sha're." Xander said his face hard and set.

The demon didn't put up a fight, it just exploded out of Sha're's mouth and onto the floor with a spray of blood.

Xander looked at the slimy snake with contempt.

He crushed it beneath his heel.

Gaia helped Sha're to the floor, as her water broke.

"You ok, Sha're?" Xander asked as he knelt beside Gaia and wiped at her mouth to remove the blood.

"I am free." She said with a tearful smile. "Thank you for saving me."

"I was emvery/em happy to help." Xander said.

Fortunately Kasuf arrived with the midwife, so Xander and Gaia stepped outside.

"She gonna be ok?" Xander asked.

"Physically she'll be fine. Talk to her husband about counselling though." Gaia suggested.

"Yeah." Xander sighed running a hand through his hair. "So I guess I am stuck on this planet for the next seven days then?"

"Unfortunately. We will be working on your powers and abilities until then, and by the time you get home you should be able to teleport reasonably well." Gaia assured him.