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Author's Note: This is a rewrite of the original episode, with necessary changes to fit into my cannon, including changing the opening scene. Enjoy.

Triangle.

"So, how many more after this?" Buffy as she lifted the latest box to carry into the mansion at 1902 Crawford Street.

Giles glanced in the dark expanse of the rental van he had hired. "Only five or six more," he assured her.

"Does that mean I can go soon?" Spike asked, coming to take one of the boxes. "Some of us have a business to run. And a former vengeance chick to yell at," he uttered darkly.

"I'm sorry, I just wanted to get a move on this before I went away," Giles replied as he lifted a box out.

"So you're worried about Ellis looking in the weapons cabinet but not the books on the occult and magic?" Spike queried.

"Well he might be able to crawl, but he certainly can't read yet," Giles replied.

"So you really think they might be able to help us?" Angel asked as he lifted another box out of the truck.

"Uh, if you mean are they gonna help us find out something about Glory, the resources that the Watchers Council has at their disposal," Giles paused in his musing as his tone of voice changed to wistful, "I mean the Central Library alone is just..."

"Don't talk about the books again," Buffy mildly admonished. "You get all ..." she trailed off, failing to find the appropriate description, "and sometimes there's drool."

"I'm sorry," Giles apologised, "but we've really exhausted the materials I have here, and we're coming up empty."

"So, Glory's all you're gonna talk to them about, right?" Buffy asked. "Answer me." She prompted as Giles suddenly refused to meet her gaze.

"I'm not gonna mention Elita's name," her former watcher eventually answered. "I wouldn't do that, I promise."

"But you're gonna tell them about the key?" Angel asked. "That Glory's looking for something called the key?"

"Well, knowing her goal is crucial. I mean, if anything helps them uncover her origins, her plans."

Buffy sighed. "I know," she admitted. "It's just I trust these Watchers about as far as ... you could throw them," she added.

"Thank you very much," Giles remarked, though he wasn't that offended.

"You know what I mean," Buffy replied. "Ever since they refused to help Angel, we quit from them."

"They were right," Angel couldn't help but add, causing his girlfriend to glare at him. "No they weren't," she remarked. "But we won't get into that. I quit them, and you followed. And I'm grateful for that, so I just hate having to turn to them now." She sighed and sat on the ledge of the open rental van. "I'm just freaked about the idea of giving them any information that could possibly lead them to Elita. I know we've only known her for a few weeks, but I feel........."

"Protective of her," Angel helpfully added. "It's only natural, beloved, as a slayer."

"Not just as a slayer," Buffy continued. "She may not say a lot, she may just sit with us silently all the time, like Tara does, but she's here, and there's something about her that calls on me to protect her, almost as a friend, no, a sister would." She paused. "When the spell Jonathan did ended, I was so relieved that Glory hadn't found her in all that confusion. And now we need to go the Council. The last time one of them visited, I had to undergo the Cruciamentum. What if their help comes with a price? And what if it's price we can't pay?"

Giles joined her, placing a comforting arm about her shoulder. "Truly, Buffy, if I saw an alternative, I would take it," he assured her. "But there's nothing. And if you don't want me to go, I won't."

"If it helps us find out something about Glory," Buffy paused. "Then it's worth it." She rose from the van and headed inside.

Giles, Angel and Spike watched her enter the mansion before any of them uttered a word amongst themselves.

"How is she?" Giles asked his fellow professor.

Angel shrugged. "As you see her. Freaked and worried. But she knows you're right. We have to ask them for help."

"Well, I better take this back to the rental lot," Giles remarked. "And then break the news of my departure to the rest of them."

 



"You're going away for a week? That's great!" Anya cried.

"Yes, yes, everybody seems delighted about it," Giles uttered sarcastically.

"I'm envious, Mr. Giles," Tara remarked. "A trip to England sounds so exciting and exotic."

"Unless you're English," Spike remarked gently, wrapping an arm round her waist. "Mind you, it's changed a lot since I last spent any time there."

Angel nodded. "Was at least a couple of centuries ago."

"Well, don't worry about us, we'll be fine while you're away," Cordelia remarked.

"I'm not," Giles replied. "I know I can expect you all to be responsible adults."

"Don't know about that," Anya muttered.

"I am going to miss you all," Giles continued. "Particularly you," he added as he lifted Ellis into his arms. "And you," he added, kissing his wife.

"Get a room," Anya remarked.

"You lot do it infront of me all the time," Giles returned. "Why can't we?"

"It's icky," Anya answered before returning to the cash register.

"Maybe we can start meetings at the mansion," Spike remarked, leaving Tara's side to move Anya away from the source of her monetary obsession. "Perhaps I would have more customers then," he added.

"We help you out, don't we?" Willow asked.

"If by help you mean steal supplies, then yeah," Spike returned with a glare.

"I don't steal," Willow said, slightly insulted. "And you never complain anyway," she added. "Why now?"

"It's been pointed out to me that it's a waste of profits," Spike remarked, with a look to Anya.

"You don't care about money," Willow cried. "That's Anya talking!"

"In this case, she's right, luv," Spike remarked.

Anya beamed. "I knew I was."

"That still doesn't mean about everything," Spike added.

"Xander, tell him," Anya appealed to her boyfriend.

The owner of the Bronze turned to his best friend. "So, how goes the slaying?"

"I killed something in a convent last night," Buffy replied.

"In any other room, a frightening declaration. Here, a welcome distraction," Xander remarked gratefully while his girlfriend glared at him. "Tell us all about the killing, Buff."

"Pretty standard vampire staking," Buffy replied.

"Ahh, convents," Spike remarked. "Angel used to have a thing about them and churches, didn't ya?"

"My demon did," Angel corrected.

"Okay, now we're back to frightening," Xander remarked.

Giles sighed turning to Jenny. "They won't even notice I'm gone," he said softly to her.

"They might," Jenny remarked, "once the latest demon attack arrives."

 


"What about henbane?" Tara asked.

"Good," Willow agreed. "And hellebore. It's up and to the right."

Tara took down the vial to her. "Hellebore, one of my favourites."

"It's powerful stuff," Willow added as they walked over to the counter. "I tried to use it to de-rat Amy, and it didn't work. But I think it might have made her really smart. She keeps giving me these looks like she's planning something. Rubbing her paws together."

"Hey. What are you two doing?" Anya asked them.

"Oh, we're gonna try out a few spells," Willow replied.

"There's this thing you can do where you create light, and we thought, what if you could make, like, simulated sunlight?" Tara added.

"Yeah, so then, you know, there Buffy is, middle of the night, and she finds this whole nest of vamps, a-and then she just goes, 'Presto!'"

"Only it won't be 'presto' exactly," Tara remarked.

"And, and voom!" Willow cried. "There's a floating ball of sunlight. Vamps get dusty."

"You don't wanna look right at it, though," Tara pointed out.

"That's swell, but you can't use this stuff," Anya remarked. "Spike agreed with me that you've gotta pay. Giles has only been gone two days and you're already causing trouble. You shouldn't do things while he's gone."

"You're the fish!" Willow cried.

Anya looked at her puzzled. "What?"

"The, the fish in the bowl, in The Cat in the Hat. He was always saying that the cat shouldn't be there while the mother was out," Willow explained.

"What are you talking about?" Anya asked, still none the wiser.

"It's a book," Tara revealed. "This cat does all this mischief."

"It's so cute," Willow continued. "He balances a bunch of stuff, including that fish in the bowl! And, but don't try it for real when you're six, because then you're not allowed to have fish for five years."

"You're referencing literature I have no way to be familiar with," Anya remarked, annoyed. "You're trying to make me feel left out, and you're stealing!"

"I'm not stealing," Willow protested. "I'm just taking things without paying for them. In what twisted dictionary is that stealing?"

"Willow, maybe you should just pay," Tara uttered. "Spike may be my boyfriend, but he is right about us taking liberties with the supplies."

"Come on, it'll be fun," Willow argued. "We could show you how to do some stuff! You could be floating pencils by the end of the day."

Anya sighed. "Sometimes I miss having powers," she admitted, until she saw Willow's grin. "Oh! I know what this is! This is peer pressure! Any second now you're gonna make me smoke tobacco and, and have drugs."

"Look how easy it is," Willow uttered, before focusing on two of her still unpaid for purchases. Suddenly they rose from the counter.

"Hey! Don't float the merchandise!" Anya grabbed the items out of the air.

Willow turned and motioned a few more pieces.

"Stop that!" Anya cried.

"Hey, look at this, my two favourite girls!" Xander remarked as he entered the shop. "Three favourite girls," he corrected, seeing Tara.

"Xander, Willow's stealing. She's a burglar," Anya revealed.

"Right, the cunning, broad daylight in front of everyone burglar," Willow remarked. "Xander, I'm just doing a spell to help Buffy."

Xander nodded, not really sure what to say.

"Xander, you know what Spike said. Tell her," Anya added.

"Hey, hey, Judge Xander requesting a recess here," Xander remarked, glancing at the two of them uneasily.

"You really shouldn't pull him into this," Tara commented.

"Yeah, see? Tara's with me," Xander moved to stand beside her. "Protect me, Tara."

"Xander, what I'm doing, it's a good thing," Willow argued. "And if it doesn't work, Spike never even needs to know about it."

As she spoke, Willow took a pinch of powder from the pestle and mortar on the counter and sprinkled it on the cash register.

Which promptly disappeared in a puff of smoke.

"Oops," Willow uttered.

"The cash register!" Anya cried, panicked. "What did you do with the cash register? Dear god!"

"I'll fix it, I'll fix it!" Willow uttered. "Er, Recursat."

Fortunately for all concerned, the cash register reappeared, with a paper receipt trailing out of it, possibly charging for loss of profits in its temporary absence.

Willow breathed a sigh of relief. "There, all back. Good as new."

"Money. Did you hurt the money?" Anya asked as she pressed for the release of the tray to check. "Money good?" She took out some notes and shook them in the direction her boyfriend. "She endangered the money!"

"Of course, that's what she cares about," Willow muttered. "'I like money better than people. People can so rarely be exchanged for goods and or services.'"

"Xander, she's pretending to be me!" Anya cried.

"Well, can you even believe how she's acting?" Willow countered.

"Okay, you know what? I'm tired of being the one in the middle," Xander remarked. "I'm not gonna let you pull me into this."

"I'm not," Willow protested, but he cut her off.

"Whatever the issue is between you two, just figure it out without me," Xander finished, before walking out of the shop.

"Xander, don't go!" Anya cried.

In vain as it turned out, for the door slammed behind his departing figure.

"You made him mad," Willow said.

The former vengeance demon glared at her. "Me?!"

"Tara, who do you think he was more mad at?" Willow asked.

"Um, you know? I think, uh, maybe, maybe you guys have some stuff you need to work out, you know, just really ... talk," Tara remarked. "Plus, anymore and I'd be obligated to tell Spike," she added before walking out.

 


The nightly hour passed, leaving the witch and former vengeance demon staring at each other, until one decided to ignore the other, and the advice they had been given, by mixing up a potion.

"Fleabane," Willow remarked, sprinkling the stuff into the mortar.

"Fifteen cents," Anya remarked, tapping the amount into the cash register.

"Salamander eyes," Willow added the ingredient.

"Ten bucks for twelve," Anya added, tapping away. "Bargain."

"Bindweed," Willow uttered.

"Ugh, ooh, that's a pricey one," Anya murmured.

"Would you stop that?" Willow asked her. "It's very distracting."

Anya huffed. "Fine. Make your little ball of sunshine. I'll be quiet."

Willow missed the sarcasm in Anya's tone. "Good, because this spell is very sensitive. Once I begin, any non-ritual word can disrupt it."

"Fine," Anya forced the word out.

"Okay, here we go," Willow announced, pouring the mixed into a cauldron. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply.

"Did you start yet?" Anya asked.

"Shh, no! This is it," Willow cried. "Spirits of light, I invoke thee. Let the gloom of darkness part before you."

A small ring of sunlight rose from the cauldron and began to spin.

"Let the moonlight be made pale by your presence," Willow continued. "Spirits-"

"Is it done?" Anya asked.

"Shh!!!" Willow commanded, as the ring grew larger. "Spirits of light, grant my wishes."

"Sorry, I thought you were done," Anya apologised.

"Do you wanna screw this up?" Willow yelled at her.

The ring of sunlight grew larger and spun a little unevenly.

"No. No.," Anya remarked. "I'm sure you can do that all on your own."

"Hey Anya, whatever really has you mad, why don't you just say it, like you do every other thought that stomps through your brain?" Willow countered.

"I believe I have said it," Anya protested.

"No. You haven't. Come on. Let it out!" Willow yelled.

The circle of sunlight, currently forgotten, suddenly dropped through the glass counter top, touching a large crystal within. The resulting combination produced a big flash of light, and a large demon appearing before them.

Forgetting their fight in favour of their fright, Willow and Anya shrieked and clutched at each other.

The large demon really resembled more of a troll or giant. He stumbled around, using the large hammer in his hand to regain his balance. He glanced at himself, then at the two girls before him, whereupon he roared loudly.

Anya and Willow shrieked again.

Roaring finished, the troll turned and raised his hammer, smashing the glass counter, sending merchandise flying.

"He's not a ball of sunshine," Willow uttered, before she and Anya silently agreed upon heading for the streets outside, running like hell.

 


"New semester, new classes," Buffy remarked to Tara in the more civilised setting of the Sunnydale university campus lecture halls. "Whole new vistas of knowledge to be confused and intimidated by."

"I think this one's gonna be kind of fun," Tara commented. "Classics is gonna touch on so many things; mythology, history, philosophy..."

"The professor spit too much when he talked," Buffy whispered to her. "It was like being at Sea World. 'The first five rows will get wet.'"

Tara laughed. "That was just, you know, um, enthusiasm."

"It seemed very much like saliva," Buffy replied.

"We'll sit farther back next time," Tara proposed.

"Good plan," Buffy agreed. "I need to keep this course. The only other thing that fits into my schedule is Central American Geopolitics."

"Hmm," Tara grimaced in feeling.

"But not for me the furrowed brow," Buffy added, smiling. "What do you say we go pick up Willow and indulge ourselves in a little after-school hamburger?"

Tara nodded. "I guess we could. She might still be at the Magic Box. I was there earlier, and she and Anya kinda got in this little squabble ... Xander and I sort of cleared out, he was pretty upset."

"I don't blame him, those two are putting him in the middle far too much lately," Buffy remarked. "Not to mention you with the using of supplies at the shop."

"Spike doesn't mind," Tara added, "but I know sometimes, we take the fact that he owns it for granted."

"And by we, you mean Willow," Buffy asserted. "It's alright, you know. It is the truth after all. Willow has been too free with the ingredients recently."

"You're concerned, aren't you?" Tara sought to confirm.

"I am," Buffy confessed. "When you and Jenny are with her, monitoring, everything's fine. But when she's alone, the spells tend to get out of hand. And I'm the one clearing up the mess."

"Perhaps we ought to seek out Spike and Angel instead?" Tara offered.

"No, we should check up on them," Buffy replied. "The mood Anya's in, she might decide to use Willow as an audition back into the vengeance gig."

 


Meanwhile, across town, Giles' car,- which the girls had managed to appropriate from his and Jenny's apartment, raced along the roads after the trail of chaos which the giant troll had left in his wake, when he exited the Magic Box, having tired of trashing the store for the moment.

"There, that parked car!" Anya cried. "We're still on his trail."

Willow continued to peer at the spell books before her while Anya drove. "I don't even get how we made that guy, because, wow, advanced!"

"No one made him," Anya corrected. "He must have been trapped in that crystal, and you released him."

"I released him?" Willow echoed. "No, this was definitely a we thing. Or, or a you thing! It definitely feels like a you thing."

"Look, just find the reversal spell," Anya cried. "And hurry! Look what he did to that lamppost!"

"I'm trying," Willow uttered. "Put the top up, the pages are all blowy!"

"Well, I don't know how to put the top up, I only just figured out what the left pedal does." Anya smiled at her. "It makes us stop!" She slammed on the brakes, making the tires screech on the asphalt, causing Willow to grab the side door handle for balance.

Anya resumed driving.

"You don't know how to drive?" Willow asked her in horror. "Why didn't you say you don't know how to drive?"

"Well, I couldn't know if I could until I tried, could I?" Anya countered.

"This is very, very bad," Willow murmured. "There, there's an ogre on the loose."

"Troll," Anya corrected.

"What?" Willow asked.

"Troll on the loose. Now hold on, I'm gonna press the right pedal harder. I expect us to accelerate."

"There's a troll on the loose, and you're gonna crash Giles' car!" Willow yelled over the increasing engine noise.

Anya nodded complacently. "It's likely. We're going very fast. You should have listened to me and not done the spell. Xander agreed."

"Oh, right. Xander doesn't step out of line," Willow murmured.

Anya looked at her. "Well, what do you mean by that?"

"Nothing," Willow turned her gaze to the road.

"Just find that spell quickly!" Anya yelled as she increased the speed once more.

 


"Hey, watch it," Spike growled as someone brushed past him. "Oh, it's you," he uttered, catching sight of the proprietor.

"Spike, don't let me stop you from not being here," Xander commented. "I have a right to refuse service to anyone."

"You wouldn't dare," Spike taunted.

"Uh-huh. Go away," Xander placed his hands on the counter of the bar.

"Now why would I do that, when it's bugging you so much having me here?" Spike countered. "You have beer, and those chicken wings too. Also a sort of a flower-shaped thing they make from an onion. It's brilliant."

"Are you talking to me hoping that I'll get so depressed that I'll impale myself on a fork right in front of you?" Xander asked.

"Lovely thought," Spike remarked with a grin. "If I don't hurt you myself, the chip wouldn't zap me. I could eat you that way. Beat the onion thing all to hell."

He reached out and grabbed a handful of peanuts.

Xander slapped his hand away. "I just barred you!"

"My, my. Someone's in a temper," Spike commented. "I can always fire your girl you know."

"If it saves me having to be in the middle of her and Willow, then go ahead," Xander replied, surprising the chipped vampire.

"In between two girls," Spike remarked. "That sounds interesting. Do tell."

 


"This is very bad." Buffy remarked as she and Tara cautiously entered the domain of the Magic Box store, dodging the debris of the counter. "Willow? Anya?"

Tara went to the back room, but soon returned empty handed. "They're not back there either, they're gone. Buffy, something's been here."

"Don't worry," Buffy replied. "Come on, this thing's probably leaving a huge trail." She took her hand and they ran out of the shop.

 


"Puny receptacle!" Troll cried as he sent a dumpster flying. He hit another inanimate object with his hammer, the mailbox, which flew towards the dumpster.

The good and scared citizens of Sunnydale began to back away from him in rising fear and terror.

Troll roared. "You do well to flee, townspeople! I will pillage your lands and dwellings! I will burn your crops and make merry sport with your more attractive daughters! Ha ha ha! Mark my words!" He paused to sniff the air. "Ooh, Ale! I smell delicious ale!!"

He headed to the darkness of the Bronze.

 


"And they get in these fights, and they're both looking at me like I'm the referee," Xander continued to pour his trouble out to Spike over a game of pool. "Also, sometimes I'll say something about Anya, and Willow will get this look, this, um, 'what the hell do you see in her,' look."

Spike nodding in feeling. "I know that look. Lot of people never really got Dru, you know."

"Well, she was insane," Xander remarked, causing Spike to look momentarily insulted, before slightly nodding in agreement. "Then it's like, well, I get all torn. Because, Willow's my best friend and I really value her opinion, but, uh, Anya's my girlfriend, you know?"

"Hmm," Spike remarked. "Difficult sit, mate." He stumbled as someone brushed past him. "Hey, watch it, mate." Suddenly he caught sight of the troll. "On second thought, do what you like."

"Ale! Yes!" Troll cried and walked over to one of Xander's workers carrying kegs in the direction of the store room.

"Ah, fragrant ale!" Troll cried before lifting up a keg to drink.

"So, uh ... think I should run and get Buffy?" Xander asked Spike.

"Barmaid! Bring me stronger ale, and some plump, succulent babies to eat," Troll demanded of a nearby waitress.

"I'm gonna run and get Buffy," Xander decided. "Or maybe you could fight him."

"Yeah, I could do that, but I'm paralysed with not caring very much," Spike replied.

"You there!" Troll caught sight of them and strode towards them. "Do you know where there are babies?"

Spike turned to Xander. "What do you think, the hospital?"

"What? Shut up!" Xander turned to the Troll. "Um ... listen.."

"I find myself very hungry," Troll said. "And when I'm hungry I grow short of patience."

"Well, we can take care of the hungry, so how's about you just sit down in one of the ... sturdier chairs, and we can ... have a calm talk and something to eat," Xander suggested.

"Can it be babies?" Troll asked.

"Well, not so much," Xander added. "But maybe ... some roast pigs, and ... stags, and ... much hearty grog."

"He's got this onion thing..." Spike began.

"You cannot appease me! Do not try!" Troll cried. "More ale!"

Spike and Xander took good use of the Troll's turning to the bar and darted to the door. Opening it, they were confronted with Anya and Willow.

"Xander! You shouldn't be here. There's a troll," Anya warned, putting her arms around him.

"Uh, a big guy? Hammer?" Xander asked her. She nodded. "I think I noticed him," he added, pointing to where the Troll was draining another keg of beer.

"I wish Buffy was here," murmured Willow.

The door opened and Buffy ran in, followed by Tara. "I'm here," Buffy uttered.

"I wish I had a million dollars," Willow uttered, making everyone glance at her. "Just checking."

"What's going on? Where did he come from?" Buffy asked. "And who trashed the Magic shop?"

"Someone trashed the Magic shop?" Spike growled, looking at Anya.

"Willow stole ingredients and released him from a purple crystal. He's a troll," Anya explained.

"You did this?" Buffy asked her friend.

"Me? No, we. I mean, us," Willow argued, gesturing to Anya. "Uh, her. It's very complex."

"You trashed the Magic shop?" Spike growled at them.

"Er, technically, he did," Anya replied, pointing at the Troll. "We can stop him. Willow, do the spell."

"Uh, let the conjuring be..."

"Stop!" Troll cried.

"Nobody lets me finish!" Willow protested annoyed.

"You ... told the witch to do that, Anyanka," Troll said, looking at the former vengeance demon. "You seem determined to put an end to all my fun. Just like you always did when we were dating!"

All at once Buffy, Tara, Willow, Spike and Xander stared at Anya.

"Uh, um.." Anya began nervously.

"You dated him?" Xander sought to confirm.

"You dated a troll?" Buffy asked.

"And we're what, surprised by this?" Willow added.

"Well, Olaf wasn't a troll then!" Anya protested. "You know, he was just a big dumb guy, and ... well, you know, he cheated on me and I made him into a troll, which by the way is how I got the job as a vengeance demon."

Troll roared and the hit the counter with his hammer. "I did not cheat! Not in my heart. It was only one wench! I, I had had a great deal of mead! Next thing I know, I'm a troll! Ohh ... ohh ... you did this, Anyanka. You will die for this."

"But, but, you seem to enjoy the, the being a troll," Xander pointed out.

Troll shrugged. "I adjusted. And then what happened? Witches. Filthy, dirty, disgusting witches. They trapped me. I was imprisoned in that crystal for centuries. Ohh, a curse on all witches! All must die!"

"Willow, again," Buffy requested.

"Let the conjuring be undone. Return the beast to native form," Willow enchanted.

"Witch, you must stop!" Olaf roared.

"Keep it far from us and ours as long as my voice shall sound," Willow uttered.

Nothing happened, causing Olaf to laugh. "It did not work!"

Willow hurriedly began flicking through the book. "Okay, wait! Uh, Let the conjuring...."

Olaf lunged forward, only for Buffy to kick him in the chest. She drove him backwards, kicking and punching, Spike following her, offering support where he could.

Seizing Olaf, Buffy shoved him on to the pool table, grappling for the hammer.

"Er, Buff, could you mind that, it cost a lot of money," Xander called out.

Olaf pushed the slayer away, causing her to fall back into Spike and on to the floor. They got up in time to witness him smashing his hammer into the pillars which supported the mezzanine floor of the nightclub. The resulting shake caused people to run and Xander to clutch his head in his hands, groaning at the cost of probable repairs.

Olaf smashed another pillar, sending the mezzanine crashing to the floor.

 


"Buffy!" Angel cried as he rushed to help lift away the large piece of wood which was crushing her. He had arrived along with the others of the Slayerettes after Xander managed to reach the telephone to alert them to the situation.

"Where is he?" Buffy asked as her beloved helped her up.

"Gone," Willow informed her.

"Xander, follow him," Buffy ordered. "Anya, Willow, head back to the magic shop, find a spell that will actually stop him. The rest of you, help these lot until the paramedics arrive."

Orders received the slayerettes nodded and began shifting debris out of the way and dressing what wounds they could with the first aid kit behind the bar.

Some time later the noise of the sirens alerted them to the arrival of more trained help then them.

"Come on," Buffy uttered. "Xander's gonna need backup."

 


"Hurry up!" Willow cried to Anya. "I'm taking everything on relocation spells, suspension spells, and, what the heck, spells to make him really sleepy, 'cause, slightly better."

"In case we need 'em, I'm getting more of all the things you stole," Anya remarked, arming herself with potion supplies.

"I didn't - why do you do that?" Willow asked.

"What?" Anya asked.

"You're so rude! I mean, sure, at first, ex-demon, doesn't know the rules. Well, you been here forever. Learn the rules."

"Rules are stupid," Anya remarked.

"Great, whatever. I just thought you might be interested in learning to act more human. Some of us enjoy it. Oh, look for, uh, spells with dimensional portals too."

"I am a human. And there are ... many humans who are stranger than me," Anya protested.

"Uh-huh, but, unless I'm really wrong about crazy Larry down at the bus stop, he's probably not gonna turn Xander into a troll."

"Well, now, that's a very complicated proced...." Anya stopped in sudden realisation. "Oh. You think I'm gonna hurt Xander? I would never hurt Xander! You really think I would do that!"

"Anya, it's what you do. You spent what, a thousand years hurting men?"

"I was a demon then, and, and I don't even have any powers now!" Anya offered up a entry from one of the books around them. "Is this the spell?"

"Only if you want him to double in size, and grow extra arms, which ... let's not. And by the way, you weren't a demon when you turned Olaf into Lord of the Hammers. You managed that. Also, there's other ways to hurt Xander."

"I don't do magic now," Anya pointed out. "You're the one with that kind of power. Infact, you're closer to being a vengeance demon than I am, maybe Xander should be afraid of you."

"Xander's my best friend!" Willow cried. "And how, I've never had a boyfriend cheat on me."

"Oh, and you don't want anyone else to have him. You're always doing everything you can to, to point out how much I'm an outsider. You've known him since you were squalling infants together. You'll always know him better than I do. You could sweep in and, and poison his mind against me."

"You're insane! I am not gonna take him away and I am not gonna hurt him," Willow yelled at her.

"Well, I'm not either!" Anya yelled back.

The sound of the door being smashed in brought them back to the situation at hand.

"Aha!" Olaf cried as he walked up to them. "I knew it. You two, performing more spells. I could be out pillaging, devouring babies, making merry with the local virgins, but instead, I had to come all the way back here to kill you."

"Run!" Willow cried, but Olaf grabbed them around their waists and threw them over the counter.

"No, get away from them!" Xander cried as he ran inside.

"I will get away from them, after I kill them," Olaf replied.

"You are not touching these women," Xander said, running at him.

Olaf held out his hammer, and Xander impacted upon it, wincing as he fell down. The troll picked him up by the shirt. Xander attempted a swipe at his face. Olaf aimed the hammer at his, sending him across the room.

Xander rose from the floor.

"Ah, you wish for more? Admirable!" Olaf cried.

Xander ran forward and punched him once more. He raised his arm to punch again, but the troll grabbed the arm with one hand, using the other which held his hammer to hit the boy again.

Xander fell to the floor. Olaf grabbed him and slid him into another display cabinet, smashing the glass.

Undeterred, Xander rose and mounted the stairs which led to the books at the back of the shop. Midway he launched himself at the troll.

Olaf caught him easily and sent him back to the floor. "You fight well, although you are a tiny man," he laughed. "I shall reward you. Only one of your women shall die, and you shall be the one to choose."

Willow turned to Anya. "Did he just say-"

Olaf laughed, cutting off whatever she was about to say. "Ha ha. Choose! Anyanka or the witch. One of your women must die."

"No," Xander replied. "You are one crazy troll, I ... I'm not choosing between my girlfriend and my best friend. That's insane troll logic."

"Go, Xander," Anya cheered. "I love you."

Olaf laughed again. "Good for you. You are a loyal man." He grabbed Xander's wrist and snapped the bone inside the skin.

"Xander!" Willow and Anya cried.

"Now. Choose!" Olaf roared.

"Olaf, no!" Anya cried at the troll.

"I'm not choosing," Xander protested.

"Then you shall be the one who dies," Olaf decided, raising his hammer.

"No!" Anya cried. "Choose me! Just don't take him! Don't take Xander!" She pleaded.

Willow grabbed some powder and threw it at the troll. "E conspectu abeat monstrum," she enchanted.

The cash register decided to disappear again.

"Damn," Willow uttered.

"Buffy!" Anya cried as she ran in. "Buffy, the hammer! The strength's in the hammer!" She warned.

Olaf swung the hammer at the slayer, who ducked and him again.

"How can I help?" Anya asked as Willow began fixing more ingredients.

"Distract him from Buffy," Willow suggested. "uh, piss him off."

"I don't know how," Anya murmured.

"Anya, I have faith in you. There is no one you cannot piss off," Willow assured her, causing the former vengeance demon to smile with pride.

She rushed to where the slayer and the troll were fighting over possession of the hammer. "Hey Olaf! You're as inadequate a troll as you were a boyfriend! Uh, you're hairy, and unattractive, and even women trolls are put off by your various odours."

"Instrumentum ultionis, telum fabuloso, surge, surge, terram pro voca," Willow enchanted at the hammer, which glowed green for a moment, as its master lifted the slayer by the throat.

"Your menacing stance is merely alarming!" Anya cried. "And your roar is less than full-throated!"

"Desist!" Olaf cried, tossing the slayer to the floor and turning on his former girlfriend. "My god, woman, it's been a thousand years, and yet you are as aggravating and emasculating as ever you were." He swung the hammer.

"Vola cum viribus, dominum tuum nega. Vola!" Willow cried.

The hammer glowed green once more and flew out of Olaf's hand mid swing.

"Hey, good job," Anya praised.

"You too, very irritating," Willow uttered in kind.

"So. Your power's in your hammer?" Buffy asked before rushing towards him.

Olaf swiped her back towards the floor once more.

"Oh, yeah! I forgot he still has all that troll strength," Anya apologised.

"You shall all die! I will dispense no mercy now!" Olaf roared.

Buffy rose and punched him in the face continuously.

"What are you fighting for, minuscule blonde one?" Olaf asked her as he tossed her back to the floor. "Your friends? These two? They will never last. Anyanka is very difficult to live with, and he's ludicrous and far too breakable. Their love will never last."

Determined, Buffy rose to her feet and flipped herself over Olaf's head. He bent over, and she spun round to kick him in the chest, this time driving across the room.

"She's got him now," Willow uttered as Angel and the cavalry, otherwise known as the rest of the slayerettes, entered.

"Poor baby," Anya mourned at her boyfriend's wrist.

"You really dated him?" Xander asked her.

Anya grimaced. "Yes."

"But you like me better, right?" Xander sought.

"Yes! And Willow's not gonna try to break us up, so, you know, it's all okay."

Buffy smashed Olaf to the floor.

"Let the transposition be complete," Willow uttered.

Olaf dissolved into nothingness.

"Where did you send him?" Buffy asked.

"The land of the trolls," Anya replied. "He'll like it there. Full of trolls."

"It's hard to be precise, though," Willow added. "Alternate universes don't stay put. Trying to send him to a specific place is sort of like ... like ... trying to hit a ... puppy, by throwing a live bee at it. Which is a weird image, and you should all just forget it."

"It's possible that he's in the land of perpetual Wednesday ... or the crazy melty land ... or, you know, the world without shrimp," Anya added.

"There's a world without shrimp?" Tara asked. "I'm allergic," she added to Spike.

"He's probably in troll land," Willow uttered.

"I only care that he's not here, and I got this nifty souvenir," Buffy replied, putting the hammer on the counter top.

Which promptly collapsed under the weight.

"Oops," Buffy looked apologetically at Spike.

The chipped vampire shrugged. "The place is trashed enough anyway. And you lot are going to clean it up right now," he added with a growl.

Slayerettes glanced at one another, then at him, and obeyed.

 


"I cringe to think what would have happened if I'd been away for longer than three days," Giles murmured as he leaned back into the comfortable confines of the sofa at the Mansion on Crawford Street some hours later.

"Well, maybe we would have had time to clean it up," Buffy remarked. "You know, if Willow used some magic to help."

"Yes, 'cause nothing could possibly go wrong with that," Giles returned.

"Rupert, I still don't understand why the other Watchers made you go all the way to England when they don't know anything," Jenny remarked.

"Well, they don't know it ... yet," Giles replied. "I mean, they have no record of, Glory or anyone like her, but, based on the information that I've given them, they're gonna look into it. They might have something soon."

"What about the key? Were they all over it?" Buffy asked nervously.

"Yes," Giles replied. "You, you know all of this?" He asked Joyce.

"I got some of it myself, Buffy told me the rest," Joyce replied.

"Well, they're interested, certainly, and full of theories," Giles sipped his tea. "Most of them nonsensical."

"They don't know that it's Elita," Angel asked.

"No," Giles assured them.

"I still can't begin to grasp this," Joyce murmured. "She's just a little girl. Barely the same as Buffy when she was called."

"It is disorienting," Giles agreed.

"Giles, what happens if they figure it out? What would they do?" Buffy asked.

"I don't know," Giles confessed.

At the rails of the grand staircase which overlooked the mansion's double height living room, Elita frowned as she listened to the conversation.

Wondering what she do about all they had learned.

The End
To Be Continued In

Checkpoint.