The four snuck out onto the catwalk overlooking the stage. In the center of the stage was a complex pentagram, at least ten feet wide, that glowed a soft yellow as a red robed vampire gestured and read an incantation from a scroll, A terrified Snyder bound to a chair with a bronze bowl filled with a bubbly black liquid at his feet, while at least three dozen vampires in black robes stood in front of the stage chanting something in an unknown tongue.

"Crap, they've already started," Buffy hissed out.

"We can't attack this many vampires, it's suicide!" Willow exclaimed, before slapping her hands over her mouth.

"Hit and run," Xander said, "we don't need to fight them, we just need to spoil the ritual and escape."

"I can grab Snyder and run, none of you need to expose yourselves," Angel said quietly. "You can sneak out while they're chasing me."

"Noble prick," Xander told him with a grin, confusing the vampire. "It's not a bad idea, but it'll work better if we all drop in at once and then scatter; split up their forces. Angel runs for the car with Snyder, Willow retreats to the rooftop until sunrise, me and Buffy will make noise and run like hell drawing them in. There is a church just a couple of blocks away that should be able to shelter us till morning."

"Risky," Buffy said as the chanting began to gain in volume and the light from the pentagram increased, "but we don't have a choice, let's do this."

"I have to hide?" Willow asked.

"We're better runners," Xander told her, "and our legs are strong enough to take the drop to the stage without a problem."

"Yeah," she admitted with a sigh. "Stay safe," she ordered, before giving the two a kiss and patting Angel on the shoulder awkwardly.

Buffy slunk across the catwalk to the other end of the stage while Angel followed her and stopped in the center above Snyder, Xander staying at where he was and waiting for the signal.

"Now!" Buffy yelled and the three dropped onto the stage, causing it to shake and let out a loud boom as they hit, cracking the boards beneath them.

Angel leapt past the red robed vamp to snatch up Snyder, chair and all, but a gesture from the vamp sent the two flying into the heavy black curtain which ripped loose and buried them in its folds.

"No!" the red robed vamp screamed as the pentagram exploded with light, causing all the vamps to scream and blinding Xander and Buffy who fell into fighting stances while cursing loudly and waiting to be attacked.

After a few tense seconds Willow's voice rang out, "I don't know what happened, but all the vampires are gone."

"That's a relief, because I can't see shit," Xander cursed as he blinked and looked around blindly, straightening up and letting his arms fall to his sides.

"Same here," Buffy agreed. "All I see if a large purple spot in front of my eyes."

"Where's Angel and what happened?" Willow called down while searching for a ladder down.

"The mage guy tossed him and Snyder backstage with a gesture and then the pentagram… exploded," Xander said. "I can see a little now."

"Same," Buffy said, "my sight seems to be coming back. Can you check on Angel and Snyder, please?"

"Hold on, I'm almost there," Willow said as she climbed down.

"We're fine," Angel called out, his voice muffled by the curtain he was trying to untangle himself from, "just buried in fabric."

"Lucky break, I think the light dusted all the other vamps," Xander said. "Hey, I can see my hand in front of my face now."

"So… we won?" Willow asked hopefully.

"I think we did," Buffy said, rubbing at her eyes.

"We got lucky," Angel called out, still struggling under the mountain of heavy fabric.

"I am all in favor of getting lucky," Xander said with a grin and he blinked and looked around. "My sight is coming back."

"Same," Buffy agreed, as the two walked towards the center of the stage. "I don't recall a black pomegranate being part of the list," she said as she looked in the heavy bronze bowl.

Xander reached in and picked it up before Buffy could stop him and it crumbled to ash, leaving one glowing yellow seed in his hand. "I'm guessing the vamp who eats this doesn't have to worry about getting terminal sunburn anymore."

"The spell still worked?" Buffy asked in surprise.

"It was probably designed to make an entire bowl full of seeds," Willow pointed out, "hence the name."

"So, it just kinda worked," Buffy said.

"Kinda, sorta," Xander agreed. "Of course this one seed cost an entire kiss their lives, which is a cost I think we can all live with."

"Are you ok?" Willow asked the mountain of cloth at the back of the stage.

"No," Angel reluctantly admitted, "I can't get out and my arms are wrapped too tight to get any leverage."

Xander covered his mouth with both hands, but they could tell he was laughing from the way his chest shook.

Buffy rolled her eyes and went over to help Willow try and un-mummify Angel. Even with both of them working it took several minutes to get him and Snyder out.

Buffy untied Snyder, who rubbed his wrists and frowned, clearly looking torn about what to say. "We were never here, this never happened," Buffy suggested, causing the principal to nod slowly. "Giles is waiting in a car in the alley across from here to give you a ride home."

Snyder took a breath and opened his mouth to say something but then sighed and left.

"That went better than I thought it would," Xander said cheerfully.

"No one was injured and all the vamps were wiped out, I count that as a win," Willow agreed.

"You've got something on your face," Xander told Angel.

Angel pulled a handkerchief our of his pocket and rubbed his face with it. "Did I get it?"

"I don't see anything," Willow said.

"Go like this," Xander said opening his mouth widely and folding his lips over his teeth.

Angel copied him and Xander flicked the golden seed into his mouth, making him cough and swallow it. "What was that?!"

"Sun block 5000," Xander replied. "We needed to dispose of it safely before some vampire came after it."

Buffy stared at Xander for a second before grinning. "Yes, definitely too dangerous to keep around."

"Between Harmony and this I think I want to take a weeks' vacation," Willow said.

"An excellent idea," Xander agreed. "I say we retire to the mountains for a week and stare at the snow."

"Thirded," Buffy said.

Angel tilted his head, unsure what the joke was, but shrugged it off as unimportant. He wasn't sure he wanted to know anyway. He caught Xander's eye. "Noble prick," he said with a smirk before vanishing backstage.

"Was that a moment?" Willow asked. "Did you two just share a moment?"

"No," Xander said sounding offended, "that was not a moment!"

"I don't know, that sounded like a moment to me," Buffy teased.

"Let's just loot the place and go home," he said with a groan.

"Loot?" the girls chorused.

"Clean up all traces," Xander told them, "it's just more fun when I call it looting."

"Good idea," Buffy agreed, "your stolen panty collection won't refill itself."

"And there were quite a few female vamps here," Willow agreed with a grin.

"Why do I love you two again?" Xander asked, pouting.

Buffy grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him down to her level, kissing him passionately, Willow copying her the moment she released him.

"Oh yeah," he said, a glazed look in his eyes.

"Are we sure the vamps stayed here?" Willow asked, as she looked around and tried not to think of how many convenient flat surfaces there were available.

"Vamps are lazy and don't like to commute," Buffy said, "they probably have everything in the basement or dressing rooms."

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

"It was nice of the vamps to have everything conveniently packed in steamer trunks for us," Willow said as her lovers finished stacking the last of the trunks in the backroom.

"I think it was more for their convenience than ours, but Giles certainly loved the portable library whats-his-name had," Buffy said.

"Why did we have to take so much clothes when we could have passed them off as costumes and left them backstage?" Xander asked.

"Some of them had good taste," Buffy told him, "and those shoes were way too nice for vampires to own."

"I'm surprised they had so many books and notes on vampire hunting tactics," Willow said.

"Vampires fight among themselves often enough, but I think most of it was to prepare them for vampire hunters," Buffy offered, while lighting the fireplace.

"Old Siggy was really on the ball," Xander said, "and I'm really glad he's dead."

"I agree," Buffy said, "I prefer vampires to be really stupid and easy to stake. I also wouldn't mind if they suddenly decided to take up tanning."

"Now that would be nice," Willow said with a grin, "we could put up fliers encouraging them, but I don't think they'd buy it."

"I don't know, I've run across some really stupid vampires," Buffy said.

"Maybe some magic sun block that fails after half an hour," Xander said with a grin.

"Enough Sunnydale talk," Buffy said, "we've been here five minutes and we're all still dressed, let's fix that."

"Now that-" Xander began only to be interrupted by a knock at the door. "Let me just go see who that is."

Xander opened the door and looked down. "You again?!"

"Wait!" the short furry creature shouted. "Please, hear me out!"

"You've got one minute," Xander said, glaring at Mr. Beaver.

"The Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve have been found," he blurted out, "we're gathering the people to fight The White Witch!"

"Santa Claus told us that he and Aslan would like us to stay out of it," Xander told him.

"What? But you're a fearsome warrior!"

Xander nodded. "Yes, but I trust Aslan and if he says stay out of it, then I'm going to follow his orders."

"Of course," Mr. Beaver quickly agreed. "Aslan's word is law. Thank you for your time."

Xander nodded. "Make spears with crossbars for when your larger enemies throw themselves on it to get to you, make their own strength work against them."

Mr. Beaver walked off talking to himself. "That would make things safer and do more damage…"

Xander closed the door. "Looks like it may be spring soon."

"Events are happening quicker than I expected," Willow said. "I was sure we'd have years before everything came to a head."

"I guess the queen only came to us once she'd seen the writing on the wall and things were almost there," Buffy offered.

"Yeah, but thankfully the war is going to be short and we know who will win," Xander said, frowning in thought.

"I know that look," Willow said, "what are you plotting?"

"Well… we aren't supposed to join the battle, but nothing says we can't provide some weapons," Xander said. "I mean, we know who the good guys are and making them a little bit better armed isn't really interfering… since Mr. Beaver did knock on our door."

"We did assist the White Witch… so it's only fair," Willow said with a smile, happy to be able to help.

"We'll have to forgo our vacation, but I think we can get them some solid weapons. What ones are you thinking of? Because it's probably going to cost a bit, but I can totally dip into my shoe fund to make it happen," Buffy said.

"I've got some money I have tucked away that I would gladly put towards it," Willow offered excitedly.

"Actually, it shouldn't cost that much at all," Xander said with a smirk.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Peter examined the box of bottles with rags sticking out of the top of them. "Who brought these?"

Mr. Beaver stepped forward. "The warrior of the woods. He said Aslan bade him not join us, so he made us a dozen crates of these instead. He also included some wondrous fire starters so we may light them easily."

Peter grinned.

Beta by: Abyssal Angel and Mist of Shadows.