Spike was in the unusual position of running away from something. He wasn't sure what, he'd not seen anything, but when one of his vampires just disappeared, dust gently floating to ground a few seconds later, he knew there was something else in the area. Another second later another minion exploded, this time a blue bolt appearing from somewhere near the top of the warehouse. The sound of metal striking concrete echoed for a moment, no vampire daring to do anything. He didn't know how long they waited, whatever it was must have left. Spike moved forward, something picking him up the throat, a very faint shimmer all he could see. He heard a growl, before being thrown into the warehouse wall, leaving a dent in the thin metal.

'You sodding bastard,' Spike spat out, charging at the being, this time he was clothes lined, a large foot over his chest. He felt the pressure for a moment, then like before was ignored. He wondered what it was, his followers not sure of what to do. They looked at where he was, deciding that retreating to the sewer was a good idea he followed them, trying to think of the best one to stake once the almost bone crushing pressure disappeared.

Elsewhere in Sunnydale Giles looked at Ethan Rayne, Willow having disappeared when the spell was broken. He wondered why she looked so pale when she found out everyone who bought their costumes at the store had changed into it.

'Where's Xander?' Buffy asked, a week since anyone had seen him. 'Come on Wills, I bet he called you.'

'He's not at home, and he's not phoned me, or anything,' Willow replied quickly. 'I told you what he went as... I hope's he's still...'

Willow didn't need to finish her sentence, a very human, if taller and bulkier Xander walked into the library, dreadlocks resting on the top of his shoulders. Xander sat at the table, the chair breaking under him, but he remained in the position he was in, standing slowly he looked at the remains of the chair, a flicker of annoyance crossing his features.

'May I ask what happened?' Giles asked, watching Xander collect what was left of the chair and carry it to the bin, a large splinter cutting his hand. Everyone watched the fluorescent blood drop to the floor. In each of their minds, it was red, but a red that did not belong to human blood.

'Xander?' Buffy asked, Xander looking to study the cut. The blood continued to flow for a moment, the wound out of sight. Xander wiped the blood off, no sign he'd ever had been cut.

'Buffy?' Xander asked in reply, every pair of eyes looking at him worriedly.

Angelus was not impressed with the state of Sunnydale. It seemed like every single vampire that his minions sired was dusted within three days. So of course, he did his research, and found a demon that was like no other. No mortal human could touch the Judge, and it took nearly one hundred knights, their entire order defeated, just to hack him apart. He couldn't be happier with the crowd of stunned onlookers as the Judge made his presence known, having fed on a few homeless people so his powers weren't entirely useless.

Only there was now a problem. Something out there, somehow, had managed to turn the Judge into a spineless corpse hanging for the ceiling of his lair. There was no sign anyone had been inside, except for himself, yet the Judge was spineless, as attested by the massive tear in the back.

Also there was no sign of the head, bits of skin and flesh seemed to sit in one corner of the warehouse, but nothing else. The armour also had a large hole in the torso, as if it was burnt from a massive burst of energy, a weapon like no other he'd seen except in the cinema.

He kicked a broken pallet, the wood flying away into the depths of the warehouse. The creature would pay, his thoughts turning to the zeppo of the group, and where he'd disappeared to. That would show the Slayer who was in charge.

Principle Snyder was not a fan of school yard violence, especially when it was against one of the best things Sunnydale High had, it's football teams. He pushed past the students, Rosenberg and her peroxide blonde friend constantly calling the name of their friend. Harris was looking bored, one footballer in each hand, their feet off the ground. Another footballer charged at Xander, knocked to the ground when Xander used the quarterback like an oversized punching glove. He let the quarterback fall to the ground, everyone watching Xander intently.

'What did she say?' Xander asked slowly, a figure behind crying softly, one strap looking like it had been torn. Snyder thought she was one of the cheerleaders, but he couldn't be sure.

'Harris, I'll have you expelled for this!' Snyder shouted, Xander's expression the only reply he needed. 'Out! Expect the police when you get home!'

Xander walked past Snyder, deliberately shouldering past the principle, driving the smaller man to the ground. The crying girl was held by Summers, Willow talking to Giles, her stutter obvious.

Giles remained silent, though the look was obvious. This was the moment that could end his career, if only the Mayor could step in.

The Mayor wondered how much people really knew what was going on in Sunnydale, apparently there was a group of hunters here. Not only where they effective, but they were brutal as well. Kakistos, one of the few vampires that he respected, was dusted as if he was freshly sired. Accounts differ on how he died, there were only two accounts he could find. The currently unavailable Mr Trick, busy negotiating with a demon clan, said that he was quite simply ripped apart, picked up and spun through walls as if he was a child in weight, and the walls made of paper. The other account, that vampire dust on the younger Slayer's shirt four nights ago said that a pair of blades appeared from nowhere, cutting through the elder vampire like a hot knife through butter. Somehow Kakistos had turned that one of the blades lodged in his body, his attempts to kill his attacker leading to the brawl that destroyed that warehouse.

He thought about the rumours from the last year, the Judge, perhaps the toughest demon Richard Wilkins had ever heard of, was spineless, literally, the being that killed it using demonic weapons, as none forged by man would harm him. This left very little options for him to consider, and none of his attempts to find facts left him any good answers.

He wondered what happened to Mr Finch, as it was hard to find good assistants, especially ones that could deal with the supernatural. A rumour had reached him, of him with the two Slayers and Harris on the edge of Sunnydale, but he couldn't confirm anything, even that rumour was at least third hand. He looked up, a demon made of shadow and bone storming into his office.

'You die, trick us!' it growled, the broken English clear in tone. 'You send other to attack!'

'Gosh,' Richard started, wondering how he would be able to talk himself out of this one. He needed to think for a second. 'I only have your clan working me.'

The demon seemed to pause for a moment, the face was known to his clan, and there was no way his species forgot a face. 'If you lie...'

'Yes, yes, torment, torture and the like,' Richard said, with a slight smile at the end. 'Perhaps we can hunt this other together?'

The demon smiled, many rows of teeth appearing for a second. 'Eat his flesh?'

'Of course,' Richard replied, the strangest feeling of being watched for a moment, a shimmer on the edge of a building on the other side road all he saw, but there was no way he could tell if it was his imagination, or something really was there. Perhaps he'd have the police check that rooftop tomorrow.


Adam was not one to waste flesh, yet he found countless demons in the cave that was attached to his section of the facility full of bodies, hung by their feet from the ceiling. He walked through the bodies, each one looking as if its spine had been ripped out of its back, nothing left of any of the heads. He wondered if he could use the body parts, Mother's plan still going to go ahead, though she would not appreciate what he would do. He would bring a new order to the world, driving the unnatural from it.

He continued down the cave, holes in the cave wall looked blasted out, yet the skulls within entirely untouched, all traces of flesh blasted from them. Another moment later he could sense two people at the entrance to the cave, a presence suddenly in front of him. He couldn't see anything but the gentlest hint of a shimmer, a single blade appearing. He studied it, not recognising it in his database of weapons, the chain gun out, the bullets having no effect. Adam guessed the being smiled.

A moment later the two halves of Adam fell in opposite directions, the uranium core neatly cut in two, as with the rest of the body. The being, now visible, studied the creature, pulling one piece with each arm deeper into the cave.

'The spell said Adam was here,' Willow said, her voice echoing in the cave.

'Alright, if only Giles was here,' Buffy complained, her voice echoing just like Willows.

'What about Xander? You never give him a chance?' Willow asked.

'He's got no powers, sure he's strong, but that doesn't mean...' Buffy said, her words trailing off. She looked at the demon bodies, throwing up after a few seconds. She studied the wounds on them once she'd emptied her stomach, a being of great strength, far beyond her own, had ripped these apart. The smell of gore permeated the room, Willow pale, but still keeping her lunch.

'We should call Giles,' Willow said, pulling out her mobile phone. She walked back outside, her stomach struggling with the smell. Buffy joined her quickly, hoping this had nothing to do with the other demon that seemed to live in Sunnydale. She'd seen the reaction to her, sighs of relief that it was only a Slayer, not the Hunter, as they dubbed the other being.

Faith followed Xander, and she had almost been discovered again. She wondered how he'd able to even sense her, many of the demons entirely blind when it came to her and Buffy's status. She'd been in Sunnydale nearly three years now, and she still hadn't worked out Xander. At first, she'd jumped him, and never had a better night with a man. He had stamina, strength and the memory of their night still left her sore. They shared a bed a few other times, but it didn't seem to be a regular thing. She'd also spied on him working, lifting loads that other men shuddered at, one construction site Xander lifting what looked to be nearly two hundred pounds without breaking a sweat. He carried it like he carried her, no sign it was causing him any difficulty.

She stopped suddenly, Xander looking as if he was going to sneeze, then he touched his wrist and was gone. Faith thought she heard something hum for a moment, her feet swept from under her, the unmistakeable smell of Xander in front of her, but no sign he was there.

He appeared from nothing, a wave of something passing over his body, Faith looking scared at his expression, eyes so lethal she didn't dare to move under their gaze.

'I know the question, and it's yes,' Xander said.

Faith remained silent, thinking of the times she'd seen Xander fight, taking hits that would have left her reeling, especially from Glory, or the Troll Hammer, in one case, both.

'What are you?' Faith asked after a minute.

'A predator, just like you,' Xander said, his grin sending both excitement and terror through Faith. She sat up, wondering what Xander was walking towards.

The First liked this body, and it liked how evil the soul was. It had an energy like no other. It moved through Sunnydale, the Turok-Han around it feeling edgy for some reason. With the Slayer's activated, and well trained, even they fell in numbers that were far from pleasing. As much as it could do to stop the Slayers, the other occupants of Sunnydale fleeing a few weeks ago, still the Slayer's stayed. One of the group, Xander, seemed to be the strongest being the First ever knew of, or about. He seemed to hunt like no other demon or human it knew.

Nothing else seemed to have the same reasons to hunt that he did. For him it was always a test of some type. To describe it as a game would be wrong, but then to say it was a duty also felt wrong. Whatever was controlling the mortal delighted in finding tough opponents, and slaying them rather brutally. It was a shame that he and one slayer seemed to be together. There was no way he would be convinced to serve its desires.

The First stopped, three of the Turok-Han dissolving in front of it, more blue bolts reaching their targets, the Turok-Han exploding into dust, before there was only the First standing there. A moment past, the school now in sight, a vehicle racing away from it. The ground started to shake, brilliant blue flames appearing from the cracks in the ground, everything swept away by the blast, Sunnydale now nothing but smoking ruins at the bottom of a large dry lake bed, even the sign on the very outskirts lost to the blast.

Xander climbed into the battered Charger, Faith far better behind the wheel than the first thought. She'd gunned the engine again, dropping a gear, little did Xander know the first stop would be a motel for the night, before they regrouped.