The television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters and materials belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox Television. Witchblade and all characters related are properties of Top Cow Comics and TNT Productions.

To my readers: I'll be trying to crank out some stories soon. Enjoy and review.

Illyria. One of the Ancient Ones. God-king of Primordium and feared ruler of a kingdom long since passed. At one time she made all those who stood against cower in fear. At one time she traversed realms and dimensions few could ever dream of, including a world completely inhabited by shrimp which she quickly grew tired of. At one time the Wolf, the Ram, & the Hart, a powerful force in this changed world, stood barely above the vampire when she was at the peak of her reign. If someone would have told her at that time that far into the future she would be battling for her very existence against them alongside two-half breeds and a dying human, she would have killed them for such an insult to her abilities. And if someone would have told her that afterward she would be engaged in a 'strategic retreat' to the domicile of a group of human girls with barely the minutia of the power she once wielded, she would have eviscerated anyone within earshot for even hearing such a thing. Unfortunately for her, what once would have been considered an impossibility was now a grim reality, a reality that made her wish her sarcophagus had never been pulled from The Deeper Well.

She had spent the last month or so with the Slayers. Though the Witchblade had initially hated the Slayers and the girls always felt the underlying 'buzz' of the anger toward their presence (Giles and Willow called it some sort of emotional bio-feedback), it had gotten to the point where it at least tolerated them. That made everyone more at ease. With Illyria, there was nothing in existence that would make them feel easier around her. The icy blue stare she gave was enough to make them uncomfortable... as well as the fact that they were sure she was planning on using them to strike back at Wolfram & Hart as soon as she got the chance. At least with Sara, they got a 'predictable unpredictability', a box within which they could work; Illyria was the template for an 'X-Factor', an enigma wrapped in a petite body and they didn't like it one bit.

In the last few days, Illyria occupied her time wandering the place. She never left the base, lest she be the prize of any Wolfram & Hart stooge or hired gun. A Wolfram & Hart lawyer had approached Buffy soon after Illyria's appearance in New York and, as expected, demanded that she be turned over to them. A twenty-four hour deadline had been given and everyone was on edge that day, with Sara in favor of tossing Illyria to the wolves.

But it was Buffy who saw through the ruse; she knew that Wolfram & Hart could have taken Illyria at any time. All they had to do was storm the place. It made her wonder why they offered a deadline at all. She reasoned it was either because they didn't have the manpower, a notion she sincerely doubted, or that they didn't feel like paying the price for a war with the Slayers. Buffy knew she and the other Slayers around the world would lose a prolonged confrontation with the firm in their infant state. But she also knew that Wolfram & Hart would have a Pyhrric victory on their hands if they tried. Aside from rivals, Wolfram & Hart had more than its fair share of do-gooding groups waiting to take them down. Angel's plan had brought their schemes to a grinding halt, which meant a dramatic restructuring and re-analyzing of their strategies, which in turn meant heavy resource use. The question wasn't whether or not Wolfram & Hart would win; the question was whether or not they were willing to spend those resources in a war with the Slayers to achieve that win and Buffy hoped they weren't. She called their bluff and told where they could do with their offer. They hadn't been back since.

Whatever gratefulness Illyria had toward the Scoobies, save Sara, for sticking up for her she didn't show it. Making demands and snide comments, Buffy was at times half-way ready to do Wolfram & Hart's job for them. It was getting to the point that she could barely tolerate being around the blue ex-monarch. Her new Qwa'Ha'Xahn, Giles, was also irritated at her behavior and hadn't spoken to her in three days, something which annoyed her. There was a time when no one would have neglected her like that, particularly the Qwa'Ha'Xahn. To her, the Qwa'Ha'Xahn should have always been ready to see to her demands and this was the day she planned to make that abundantly clear. Seeing him talking with Buffy she approached him in her usual manner.

"Qwa'Ha'Xahn Giles..." the demanding voice called out, interrupting the Watcher and Buffy.

"Yes, Illyria?" Giles responded, no oxygen tank accompanying him. It had been two days since he used it and his lungs never felt better. The deep breath he took in at the exasperation of yet another pointless episode with Illyria made him wish he could make the excuse that he needed to rest. It wouldn't matter, he thought. I doubt she would care anyway.

"You have not spoken to me in the past three days," she said.

"Yes, well, I've been a tad busy. I haven't been able..."

"You will speak with me now."

"Excuse me," Buffy said, perturbed, "but we were in the middle of something."

"And now you are finished with it."

"Now hold on..." the Slayer replied.

"Buffy..." Giles said, trying to diffuse the situation

"No, Giles, I'm getting this out right now." She looked at Illyria and said, "Illyria, you've been here for the past few weeks and all you've done is boss everyone around like you own the place. Need I remind you that you're here because we're sticking our necks out for you? And do I also have to remind you that you agreed to help us out for getting to stay here? So far, I haven't seen you do anything except run your big blue gums."

"I did agree to help you..." Illyria began to say.

"Yeah, you did," Buffy replied.

"... but I did not specify when," Illyria continued. "I will aid you when I see fit."

The look on Buffy's face was indescribable. She was just about to explode when Giles interrupted and said, "I think I have some time for you, Illyria. Let's, um... let's talk over in the kitchen, shall we?" He quickly shuffled Illyria off with him, sparing a look at a furious Buffy who silently mouthed, "Handle her".

A few moments later, Giles emerged from the kitchen with a worn-out look on his face.

"What'd she want to talk about?" Buffy asked.

"Um... well... she wanted to know what the crock pot was for," Giles muttered.

"That's what was so pressing?" an angered Buffy replied. "Giles, you have to get a hold on her. She's really starting to get on my nerves and she hasn't been of any use since she's been here."

"I know, I know, I'm working on it. She wasn't really interested in the crock pot; she's trying to throw her weight around, Buffy, to have some measure of control in what she sees as chaos. Demanding our time and attention is one of the ways she thinks she can achieve that."

"So basically she's acting like a whiny kid," Buffy replied glibly.

"Understand, Buffy, Illyria is used to being needed. I believe our approach has been off from the start. We've expected her to come in and fills in the gaps we have by trying to prod her into doing so. What someone like her needs is a challenge and a belief that the challenge can only be met by her. Feeding the ego, if you will."

"Fine, a challenge," Buffy replied quickly, trying to brush off the subject before she got really upset. "When one pops in my head I'll let you know. Moving on, how's our new recruit doing?"

"As well as can be expected," Giles replied.

"That bad, huh?"

"She barely listens to me and she can't tolerate most of the girls, especially the ones in charge. Particularly a certain police officer."

"What'd she do?"

"A few choice words were exchanged..." he said, "and I believe Sara mentioned something about wanting to shoot her in the leg."

"Stacy's attitude problem is gonna get her or somebody else killed," Buffy warned. "We have to find a way to curb that or..." A sudden thought ran through her head, an intriguing one to be sure. Her sudden pause made Giles look at her with anxious expectation, wondering if something was amiss.

"Buffy, are you alright?

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just had an idea that might kill two birds with one stone. It just might be crazy enough to work... or quite possibly blow up in my face."

"Care to let me in on this plan of yours?" Giles asked.

"Not yet. Don't worry about it, I've got it covered."

"That's doesn't reassure me."

"Look, if all goes well, we'll have two less problems on our hands," Buffy replied as she walked away. "I hope," she muttered under her breath.

Stacy Keller. That was the name her parents gave her. Though she answered to it, she preferred the name she picked up at one time or another: Stiletto. No one knew how she picked it up and, to be honest, no one really wanted to know. What the Slayers did know was that their newest member had a huge attitude problem. Huge. Everyone figured it was no doubt the stint she spent in juvenile hall had an impact on that. Moreover, she had a problem with authority, specifically female authority. Giles surmised, from the file he read on her, that it stemmed from her abusive mother who was granted custody after a messy divorce. Only years later did her father finally gain custody of her. Though a strict man, he was fair and loving. Things had finally started to pick up for Stacy... until an accident claimed his life two years later. It devastated her, to the point where no foster family could ever connect with her. Though many made a valiant effort, she became more and more distant as time went by. It also happened that she got into more trouble at the same time. Days out of the house, phone calls from the police, letters from school, and various guys with colorful nicknames all came with the package of Stacy Keller.

She had been out one night partying when she acquired her Slayer powers. From then on, she started to feel invincible... that is, until the cops began to get more serious about her. Prior to the incident of assault that brought her to this point, she had been involved in misdemeanors, something that was more of a nuisance to the police rather than a crisis. But she had become increasingly violent since her Slayer powers kicked in and, after the assault, the cops felt no need to take chances. Stacy wasn't worried about being over-powered by the police; she knew she could handle them. What did worry her was that cops carried guns and responded to violent actions using them more frequently than they did petty theft. It was something that ran through her mind and convinced her not to put up a struggle when they came to arrest her, juvenile hall being her new destination.

It was thought that some time in 'juvie' would straighten her up. It didn't work. When Giles had found out about her, he called in some favors to get her released into their custody and hoped the influence of other Slayers would help. From his viewpoint that seemed to make things worse. Though smart-mouthed and extremely troublesome she always seemed more willing to listen to him than anyone else which, he admitted, was just a bit north of never. He reasoned that it was because he represented the father-figure. It was Buffy and Sara that she didn't care for. He was beginning to think she and everyone else was better off having Stacy in juvenile hall, though the thought of her not having any guidance with such a dangerous power was his only reason for not sending her back. Whatever Buffy had planned, he only hoped it would defuse the problem.

It was hours before the next Field Training class and Buffy was unhappy. Two days had passed since she came up with her plan and she had to solicit an unwitting Illyria to see it through. That meant talking to her, which she already did. Buffy told her she needed her help and asked very politely if she would meet with her. She was inspecting some of the training equipment when Illyria had shown up, as haughty as ever. Mentally preparing herself for another session of engaging Illyria, Buffy stood up as Illyria approached her.



"You told me you needed my help," Illyria said.

"Yeah, I do," Buffy replied, forcing the unpleasant statement out as best she could.

"Unsurprising. I hope I did not come to hear you whine about my supposed obligations."

"Because I'm so nice, I'm gonna let that one slide for now," Buffy replied, forcing a smile.

"A wise choice."

"Don't push it," Buffy warned. "Look, I'm not exactly comfortable doing this, but I'm learning that maybe I should trust people more, even if I'm not that fond of them."

Taking in a deep breath, she said, "Illyria... I want you to do combat training and tactics with the girls. Kennedy's good, very good, but you've probably had more experience in fighting than all of us put together. I'm thinking of eventually having you take over. Kennedy was pretty mad about it, but I think she understands. She'll be on-hand as your assistant."

"I do not need anyone to assist me," Illyria protested.

"She could probably learn a thing a two from you; that's one reason I want her there. The other reason is that I want to make sure you're not turning this group into your own personal hit squad, in case you're getting any funny ideas."

"You expect me to train these immature bags of sticks into an army to be feared? It would miraculous itself were they able to attain even a portion of the skill and power my armies had at their prime."

"These 'bags of sticks' are capable of a lot more than you give them credit for," Buffy shot back, her tone defensive about the Slayers. "But I understand if you're not up to the task. I mean, I thought you'd be a great resource since you ran your own kingdom and all, but maybe I was wrong. I guess everyone's got to know their own limitations."

Illyria stared at Buffy, offended by the idea that she was incapable of teaching such a raw band of young humans. It then dawned on her what Buffy's intentions were. Though she was naïve to this new world, she new a decent strategy when she saw it.

"You are attempting to appeal to my vanity," Illyria said matter-of-factly.

Buffy was flummoxed for a moment. "Um... well... yeah," she stammered out, embarrassed at being caught in so blatant a maneuver. In an uncertain and sheepish voice, she asked, "Is it working?"

Staring at Buffy for a moment with her icy blue eyes Illyria replied, "Yes."

"Good. Just observe for right now, but feel free to offer any help with this class. Oh, and try not to piss anyone off."

Training had already begun, the cool air of the hall bathing the girls who had just finished running laps. The room started to fill with the musty smell of sweat as a light fog crept on the edges of the windows. Not taking a moment to rest, Kennedy ordered the girls into pairs.

It so happened that Tina got paired with Stacy, something she was hoping wouldn't occur. As the newest of the bunch that graduated into the Field Training class, she was intimidated by her. From the day the Slayers learned that Sara had taken Tina on a patrol and were told she would be doing Field Training with them, Stacy had singled her out to pick on. Stacy would hit her in the back of the head in full view of the others or brandish her knife point it at Tina from across the room as she picked her fingernails with it. Tina reasoned that maybe it was because she was the youngest of the bunch. Or maybe it was because she looked up to someone that Stacy had already despised as soon as she got there. Whatever the reason was, she didn't want to be near the older girl.

The girls were separated into two lines, one facing the other. They were to go through the combination drills they had been working on in a previous class, with Illyria acting as an observer. Fitted with padded gloves, they began the drills when Stacy started up conversation with Tina.

"So... how ya doing, kid?"

"Fine, I guess."

"How's your pal?"

"Pez?" Tina asked.

"Yeah, 'Pez'. I find it easier to call her 'The Pig'."

"She's not a pig."

"She's a cop and cops are pigs. So... she's a pig."

"She's not a pig," Tina said a little louder.

"Hey, hey, calm down now. Just making a little conversation. I'm just trying to figure out why do you like her so much? Way I heard it, she held that stupid Witchblade to your throat."

"It's not stupid. And she apologized for that."

"She apologized for holding a blade to your throat and you accepted it? Idiot."

"I'm not an idiot."

"I beg to differ," Stacy replied. "Fine, maybe you're not an idiot. But I know you're a joke."


"Sara said you took out two vamps on your own, but I think she was trying to be nice. Everyone else around here thinks you didn't even get one."

"I did get two," Tina protested.

"I have a hard time believing that since you're such a joke."

"I'm not a joke."

"To everyone else you are. A short, skinny joke. Makes you wonder why you're even in..."

"Hey!" Kennedy yelled out as she was assessing each pairs' execution of the drill. She went over to Tina and Stacy and said, "How about a little less talk from you two, huh?"

"No problem, boss," Stacy replied with a mock salute. "Just giving the kid here a few pointers."

"Riiight," Kennedy replied skeptically. "Everyone get your gear on for sparring."

The group had assembled their gear and quickly put it on. "Tina and Stacy, you guys are up first," Kennedy said. The two walked up to the middle of the floor, facing each other, the taller Stacy smirking at the shorter Tina like a predator reading to pounce on her prey. Kennedy noticed the smirk and slightly narrowed her gaze disapprovingly at Stacy.

"Fighting stances," Kennedy said, both girls complying. She put her hand between them. "Remember: good, clean hits. And keep it controlled." She was looking directly at Stacy. "Begin!"

Tina began to circle Stacy, wary of the older and taller girl's skill. She hadn't sparred her before and tried to feel her out. Stacy moved in closer, hoping to close the distance. Doing so, she swung with a right cross that Tina ducked under, shifting behind Stacy. They began to circle each other, and suddenly Stacy threw two quick left jabs, a right cross, then a left hook. Tina deflected the jabs, slipped underneath the left hook, and kicked Stacy in the gut with her left leg. She then followed up with two punches to her stomach and, as Stacy staggered back, a jump front heel thrust kick to the chest.

Stacy was stunned and looked at Tina, who had slight smile on her face from the sense of accomplishment. That made Stacy even madder. Putting her guard up she approached Tina, who proceeded to throw two lead jabs and right cross. Stacy caught the right cross mid-swing and hit Tina with a vicious backfist. Keeping a tight grip on Tina's right arm, she then repeatedly and angrily punched the younger girl, who began to bleed. Upon seeing it happen, Kennedy yelled for Stacy to stop. Disregarding her order, Stacy threw a left cross to Tina's face that sent the girl sprawling onto the floor. She began to storm over to her when Rona and some of the other Slayers intervened and held her back. Kennedy went over to look at Tina, as did the rest of the training Slayers, then stormed angrily toward Stacy.

"Get her to the infirmary!" Kennedy ordered before directing her attention to Stacy. "What is the matter with you!" she yelled.

"Kid shoulda ducked."

"That is a fellow Slayer! You could've seriously hurt her!"

"Hey, if the kid can't hack it maybe she needs to go back to pre-school instead of trying to hang with the grown-ups."

"For someone with so little to offer in the ways of combat, you brag much," a cold voice said.

Stacy turned to toward the voice. "Wow... it talks. What a shock," she replied sardonically.

"Yes..." Illyria replied, "and I can do much more."

"Really? That's funny since all I've ever seen you do since I got here is walk around and flap your mouth. Where the hell do you get off telling me I suck?"

"Your technique is sloppy, your form deplorable, and your skill is like that of the clumsiest of beasts."

"I'll show you sloppy. Put your money where your mouth is, Smurfette. I mean, we're all dying to know what exactly it is you can do besides talk. Why don't you show us?" Stacy, a few inches in height above her, now stood face-to-face with Illyria.

"Very well," Illyria said calmly.

"Whoa, hold on. I don't think so," said Kennedy.

"No," Buffy interrupted. "It might do some good. We should see what Illyria's got to offer. Let 'em."

Kennedy's eyes slightly widened at that. She knew Buffy wasn't the type who allowed that sort of thing within the ranks. She shot Buffy a confused look, to which the head Slayer only raised her eyebrows. It then dawned on her what Buffy was trying to do and Kennedy slightly nodded her head in acknowledgment. "Fine then," she said. "Gear up."

"No gear," Illyria said.

"What?" Stacy replied, a little shocked.

"I will not use so insulting a thing."

"Okay... Stacy?" Kennedy asked. Stacy felt Illyria's eyes burrow into her. She knew she would have to call her bluff or risk losing face in front of the Slayers. She especially didn't want it getting to Tina, the one who's life she was starting to love to make miserable, that she chickened out. The prospect of that was more than unacceptable. "I'm game," she replied.

"One thing," Illyria said. "To give you a fair challenge, you will have one of your minutes to land a blow. I will not attack."

"You're kidding, right?" Stacy said in disbelief, chuckling at the idea. "Fine. Have it your way. You're making a big mistake."

"I doubt that."

The two squared off, Kennedy off to the side to call the match and observe. She looked at the clock, the minute hand coming near the '12'. "Get ready," she said, to which Stacy shuffled into a fighting stance in response. Illyria merely stood, something that made Stacy a little uneasy. The minute hand reached the top and Kennedy yelled out. "Go!"

In a flash Stacy went after Illyria with a flurry of punches and kicks... none of which had landed yet. Illyria merely slipped ducked, dodged and evaded each one. While the first fifteen seconds had been somewhat surprising, as the time went by the onlooking group became increasingly amazed at how Illyria evaded Stacy's blows. Many were just barely missing. Frustration echoed from Stacy's throat and in her anger she threw a sloppy kick that only met air.

"Minute's up," Kennedy said as she looked at the clock. She then looked toward Stacy, who was starting to sweat. The Slayer had failed to land a blow to Illyria, something which dazzled the rest of the onlookers. While she wasn't tired, her breathing had hastened. Her fists in front of her face she moved toward Illyria and said, "Fine then. Take your best shot, Blue."

Illyria cocked her head to the side.

"As you wish."

Thirty-seven seconds. That's how long it took for Stacy to be laid flat on the floor of the training room. It would have been less had Illyria not been toying with her for her own amusement, like a child playing with her food. Finally, when Illyria kept hitting a punch-drunk Stacy, Buffy had told her that it was enough. True to form, Illyria merely punched her once more, laying Stacy down, and said to Buffy, "Now it is enough." The rest of the group present merely stood in shock at how brutal a beating it had been. They almost felt sorry for the girl... almost. They looked at Illyria in a new light, one that was more cautious, the thought of staining the training room floor with their own blood disdainful.

Stacy was taken to infirmary wing of the base, where she rested for hours. Buffy had shown up only moments after being told she was awake. She approached Stacy's bed and sat in chair beside her, surprised at how much damage Illyria had done to the girl. The younger Slayer's cheeks were swollen and purple and numerous cuts and bruises adorned her visage. Despite Stacy's condition, Buffy felt it was a prime opportunity to say what she wanted to say without interruption and began to talk.

"How are you feeling?" Buffy asked.

"Like I got hit by a truck," Stacy replied through her swollen jaw.

"I figured that," Buffy said. "Had I known Illyria was capable of that... I would have let her do exactly the same thing in exactly the same way."

"What? She could have killed me!"

"Yes, she could have," Buffy replied. "And had that been a real patrol fight she would have. Lucky for you, Illyria's on our side... more or less. But that's only part of what I wanted to talk to you about. Now that I have your undivided attention, I want you to listen and listen good: I don't care where you come from. I don't care what you've been through and I don't care what your issue is. I don't have the time or the patience to deal with your attitude and neither does anyone else. There are much bigger battles to fight than your ego. We've got enough problems as it is without you adding to them. I will not tolerate anyone who can't listen and follow orders. Make no mistake, Stacy... I have absolutely no problem having you tossed you back into juvenile hall if it helps protect these girls' lives. So the way I see it, you've got two choices: you can either shape up, can the attitude, and start working with us or... you can go back to 'juvie'. And by the time you get out, I guarantee it'll be about a month before we find you dead in an alley or driving a stake through your heart." Buffy moved in close to Stacy, who bore a look of trepidation on her bruised face. She whispered menacingly to the recuperating Slayer. "And I know some of the girls, including me, wouldn't mind doing the second. You think about that while you're on the mend." Buffy then stood up and walked out, leaving Stacy to ponder her future.

Two days had passed since the incident with Stacy. Illyria had been offered to teach the next class that had gathered in the room and quickly delved into it, though, to hear her say it she was nothing but a reluctant participant. "Tactics," she began to lecture. "Tactics are the foundation of combat. De-constructing the enemy, assessing their capabilities, and exploiting their weaknesses are all part of tactics. Without tactics, the most skilled warrior is reduced to nothing but prey for the predator. I will attempt to teach these principles to you, as much as your minds can comprehend. If you learn them well you will become formidable opponents, inspiring fear in those who stand against you. For now, we will begin with the basics..." Interrupted from her lesson by an approaching figure, Illyria turned her attention to the person standing before her. She stared at the figure with such an intensity that the air immediately became uncomfortable.

"And what do you want?" Illyria asked bluntly.

"I... I want to join class," Stacy meekly replied, her eyes not meeting Illyria's. She looked around at the others staring at her, Tina included, who glared angrily at her. The younger Slayer still wore a few fading bruises from their last meeting.

"So you can regale us with tales of your pitiful accomplishments and pollute the air with your hot, putrid wind?" Illyria sneered. "I do not wish to hear it."

Stacy had to admit that stung. A lot. In the past she would have been hotheaded enough at the time to go to blows with anyone who said something like that. But she considered the fact that Illyria was not only more skilled, but had given her the worst beating of her life just two days prior. She had slain a vampire or two before ending up in 'juvie'. Those ones were easy. It was only after facing off against Illyria did she realize that she was unprepared for anything worse than those two and that scared her. It was enough to make her at least admit that she had a lot to learn. And she wanted to prove she could.

"No!" she exclaimed. "No, I... I want to learn. From you. Please."

Illyria stared at her again, the Slayer feeling uncomfortable under her gaze. Stacy was just about to relent and walk away in defeat when the petite former ruler replied, "Very well, then. Fall in." Stacy merely nodded in affirmation and joined the class.

Class had ended and the group of Slayers dispersed, except Stacy. She merely sat on the bench, sweat pouring down her brow and a contemplative look on her face. Illyria walked over to Giles, who had been observing the class, and began to speak with him.

"These girls are not as crude as I once thought," she remarked.

"Yes, they do surprise you every so often," Giles replied. "Take Stacy, for instance. Two days ago she had a hard time listening to just about anyone. And now... well, I've barely heard a peep from her."

"Her skills are raw and unrefined. But she has potential, as do they all."

"I know. But, unfortunately, Stacy will require a little more attention. She may be more docile now, but she has a past that isn't so easy to placate. The funny thing about the past is that it has a tendency to come back when you least expect so. Stacy has always drifted back into her past wherever she's gone and there's always the danger that she'll do it again. What she needs is a guide, more than just a Watcher. A Qwa'Ha'Xahn, if I may borrow the term."

"Do you plan on acting as such toward her?" Illyria asked in a somewhat offended voice. Giles was her Qwa'Ha'Xahn and no one else's.

"Actually," Giles replied, "I was hoping that particular duty would fall to you."

"What?" Illyria said in a surprised voice.

"Illyria, we're already stretched thin as it is in terms of resources. We don't know how close Amy is to achieving her goal and we need to focus more so on discovering her plans. Having you act as guide to Stacy will help us focus on that. I'll still be on hand to help you, but in my experience I've learned sometimes that the best way to learn... is to teach. Of course, if you're not up to the task I completely understand. We all have to know our own limitations."

Illyria looked at Giles, her expression unreadable, and said, "Like Buffy you are attempting to appeal to my vanity."

Caught off-guard, he began to stammer. "Um... w-w-well, uh... yes. Is it working?"

Staring at Giles for a moment with her icy blue eyes Illyria replied, "Yes."

"Good. Then it's all settled."

Illyria's gaze drifted toward Stacy resting on the bench. "This will be a difficult challenge," she remarked.

"Of that, Illyria, I have no doubt," Giles replied before leaving her presence. He walked over to Buffy, who was standing near the entrance to the training room. "A bold move," he remarked. "Risky... but bold."

"Yeah, well, I figured I'd help you with Illyria since you helped me and Sara at least act civil toward each other."

"I know Sara will be grateful." He spared a look at Illyria and Stacy. "You think she can help her?" he asked.

"Which one?"

Taking a moment to think about it, Giles answered back, "Both."

"Anything's possible, Giles. Anything's possible."

Just a side piece I had been working on. I wanted to include Illyria in some of the work, but not as a central character like Buffy, Sara, Giles, or Willow. I also wanted to give some of the Slayer characters more depth, rather than have them be filler. Hope you enjoyed it.