* Author's Note for Stand For Something: Patricia Craig is an original character created by Marcus Rowland (archived at Twisting the Hellmouth and at fanfiction.net http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=334816 ) for a BtVS/CSI crossover series, and is used with his permission. I hold no legal rights to her.

The motel room really didn't look any better for the time away. The floor was still covered in ugly carpet with stains, the bed was still lumpy with a faded comforter, and the walls were still a sort of dirty looking off white. He started gathering up his things, putting them into a duffel bag. After he'd found them, he picked up the phone, calling Rebecca's number.

:Hello?: She sounded almost tired, but it was unmistakably Rebecca's voice.

Xander sat on the bed, smiling just a little bit. "Hey Rebecca. This is Xander, calling with a change in plans. There's apparently someone causing… big trouble, and I need to go deal with that. I'll try to stay in touch, and you can call Giles if you need anyone… I was never good with the books anyhow. If I run into any more newbies on the road, I'll try to send them your way, alright? At least, try to pass on your number."

:That should be fine. Willow's been helping me straighten out some of the finances, and I think I've found a place that will work for a training center.: Now it sounded like Rebecca was smiling. :Everything's shaping up nicely.:

"Sounds pretty good, actually. But… umm… I don't know how things are going to unfold with this problem. Just… I have to go deal with her, with this... Patricia." Xander sighed, feeling a complicated mix of unhappy about the whole situation. "But on the bright side, I think things here are in pretty good hands."

:Ah, well… you deal with your duties, and I'll deal with mine. Don't worry, I'll make certain that Cheryl and any other new Slayers behave themselves.: Rebecca sounded amused. :And I've found a couple more new Watchers. Children and the spouses of some Watchers who died… Steve's shaping up fairly decent as well.:

"So there won't be any problems caused by me leaving." Xander smiled, feeling slightly better, but not entirely.

Chuckling, she offered her opinion. :Things here will be fine. Now, you go deal with this problem, and don't forget to stay in touch. And be careful.:

"Yes, mom." Xander smiled, teasing just a little as he hung up the phone. At least things here were in good hands.

Shaking his head, Xander lifted the duffel that had his spare clothing, and looked around the room. "So, Willow, any idea where this psycho Slayer is heading? Maybe a why?"

:She's headed for Las Vegas. That is where she was finally arrested and taken into custody.: Willow's mental voice sounded unhappy. :It's sort of complicated, and ugly, and I think… I'm pretty sure that she's planning specific revenge on the officers who did it.:

"Las Vegas, huh? I always wanted to go there." Xander grinned as he left the room, flipping off the lights as the door shut. "I wonder if I get to go gambling, or to catch a couple shows…"

:Xander…: Willow's mental giggles bubbled in his head like fizzing soda. :I don't think you'll need to gamble, but there might be a chance for a couple shows. What we'll need to do is keep track of a couple officers and make sure that Patricia doesn't find them while we try to find her first.:

"Maybe that's enough of a gamble." The whole situation seemed a bit less amusing now, less like a vacation. "This isn't about me having an excuse to enjoy Las Vegas, is it? If we mess this up, if I'm not fast enough, people will die. That's quite enough of a gamble for me."

:Well, yeah. In some ways, that's been the story of the last seven years. If we aren't fast enough, if we can't defeat the danger in time… It doesn't end.: Willow's mental voice had become more serious, loosing the bubbling giggles. :For us, I don't think it will ever end as long as there's a Slayer on this world.:

"Damn, and to think I used to worry about job security." Xander shook his head and made his way to the bus station. "That really puts a new spin on things. Does this mean I eventually will have the white hair like Cable?"

:Still not a comics expert, that was always you and Jesse.: Willow's voice didn't sound quite as serious, but there was still a moody quality to it. :But if I had to guess, which I sort of do, seeing as this didn't come with a manual, I'd assume that when your body was remade by that energy, this is the new you, forever. You probably won't get sick, you don't seem to need the sleep so much as a bit of time to think over stuff, and you don't appear to need to eat.:

"What? But I've… ummm…" Xander felt as if things were getting stranger as he tried to remember the last time he'd eaten anything. "I've eaten something since this happened, haven't I?"

:Celebration pizza just outside of Sunnydale, and coffee a couple times with Rebecca. It looks like you can eat, but you just don't need to.:

"Hey, at least I can still eat Twinkies then." He smiled as he walked towards the window. "Um, can I get a ticket to Las Vegas?"

Xander made his way to the single hard bench, sitting down with a sigh. As long as there was a Slayer… that would be a very long time. And it was up to him, well, him and Willow, to make certain that the Slayers behaved. Granted, once Giles had a new Watcher's Council up, there should be a bit of help, but hey, look how well they'd done before. He definitely wouldn't count on random Watchers to keep things going right.

Glancing at his ticket, Xander sighed. There was still forty minutes until the scheduled departure time, so the bus wouldn't even be here for probably another half hour. "Okay, I've got time now. Why don't you tell me a bit more about Patricia?"

:I suppose that I can start on that. Just keep in mind that what I know about her is from an encounter in Vegas and a little bit of record scanning.: Willow's voice was solemn, and she sounded almost regretful. :We're pretty sure that it was the Watchers who got her so messed up.:

"Yay. Let's hear it." Xander sighed as he leaned back on the bench.

:They apparently got to her a bit late, and sent someone to start teaching her when she was about eleven or twelve. Whoever they sent started in on the whole sacred destiny and divine calling thing, and had her convinced that she was going to be the Slayer, that she wasn't answerable to the same laws and behavioral guidelines as the rest of the world. When she was fourteen, she ran away from her parent's home, which was burned down a year later. They were both killed.: Willow paused, and it sounded like she was on the verge of tears. :She's got a long list of police charges. Assault, theft, grand theft auto, concealed weapons, illegal weapons, assault with the weapons, murder…:

"Whoa, what d' you mean, murder?" Xander sat up, his stomach cold. "Don't tell me there's someone out there who's all 'protect the vampires', please? I mean, they aren't our friends."

:It wasn't for killing vampires. She's… her strategy is more the scorched earth shoot the hostage and then everyone else sort of method. She's killed humans. Just for being in her way. We're almost certain that she was the one who torched her parent's house.: Willow's voice was very soft.

"Who's 'we' in this?" Xander couldn't help but wonder.

:Me and Faith.: There was a tiny giggle. :Don't tell me that you seriously thought that I could go somewhere, pick up a Slayer and come back with nothing interesting happening at all? You should know better than that. She talked me into detouring through Vegas, and then we caught a bit of gambling, a couple shows, and a demented rampaging potential Slayer…:

Willow's voice continued, softly, filled with dismay. :That's probably what happened. They sent her to prison, and when the spell hit and all the potentials became Slayers… it was her 'get out of jail free' card. Damn.:

"So, this isn't going to be an after school special sort of thing, is it?" Xander knew that it wouldn't, but he had to ask. He had to see if there was some alternative to what he feared he'd have to do. "Are we going to have to…?"

:I'm not sure. I do know this falls under your end, part of protecting the Way. I think… well, you'll be able to stand up to her, but beyond that I don't really know.:

Xander leaned back, trying to wrap his mind around this. He had to deal with a killer, a killer who had perverted and corrupted her Calling. Patricia would most likely have to die for this, and something whispered that he might have to do it. It wasn't a welcome idea.

He boarded the bus stiffly, barely noticing the stale smell of plastic and something grungy and moldering that came from somewhere near the back. Numbly, he dropped into a seat, staring out the window as he wrestled with his thoughts. Could he do it? Could he… could he actually kill someone? Not a vampire, but a living, breathing person? Part of him wanted to scream no, that he wasn't a killer, that he couldn't do such a thing. But another part didn't quite agree. He couldn't just walk up to someone and kill them. But if it was a matter of defending someone else? Something inside was certain that he would have killed to keep Anya safe, or a handful of other people. He'd certainly been willing to kill vampires and demons to protect strangers. Maybe he could kill in defense.

The thought seemed to fit, making him fairly confident that it was the truth, but it still wasn't comforting. His mind kept turning back to it, like rubbing over a healing bruise to see if it still hurt, or pushing your tongue at the empty socket left by a tooth being pulled. It wasn't even something that he could blame on this mystical transformation, but rather a purely Xander protective instinct.

"Why didn't I ever realize this about myself?" He whispered into the bus, not really expecting an answer.

:You didn't want to, didn't really have to. Any time that you fought someone, there was always the whole 'they're a demon' thing to make you feel okay about everything. Or you were possessed by something, which didn't exactly leave you thinking the clearest.: It felt like a bit of sunlight shining on him for a moment. :I can't even give you a hug to try to make everything better.:

Xander smiled weakly, nodding towards the direction that the warmth had come from. "I know. Sooner or later I'll get used to this, but I guess that time isn't here yet. I was just hoping that all the big nasty tests of responsibility would wait a while."

:Being a grown up can be hard sometimes.: Willow's voice was soft, as if she was getting farther away. :Why don't you do a bit of thinking… I've got the feeling that Giles has some major trouble just about now…:

Xander snickered as he wondered what the trouble might be. Fights over the shower? Too much estrogen? Or was Kennedy still blaming Buffy for Willow's death? Had they accepted that Faith was a Slayer, and no longer evil? Did they run out of hair spray? Some of the thoughts were quite unlikely, but it was far better than thinking about the chance that he'd have to kill someone.

End part 4.