"So, how is your mom handling things?" Willow asked as she, Cordelia, Buffy, and Xander walked toward the museum.

"Better than anticipated." Buffy said, "I'm a bit concerned with her throwing herself into this exchange program thing, but other than that…"

"You don't like the exchange program?" Xander asked, shocked. "The exhibit, the dance, the whole magilla. It's a perfect melding of cultures."

"I have the perfect costume for the dance." Willow squealed.

"On the other hand," Buffy said, "It's a complete stranger, in my house, for two weeks. This means Lobo, in cloaked form, for two weeks. He'll be insane in three days. If he didn't get to cut loose when we hunt he'd be impossible."

"That's true… How is she handling the hound of hell?" Cordelia asked.

"It helps that he's more intelligent than normal dogs. He can understand when I talk to him, not just commands, but conversations. And Cordy, he's not a hell hound. He's a cerberi." Buffy smiled at her friend, "So, what about you, what's your foreign exchange destiny?"

"Sven, big, Swedish, and yummy." Cordelia said.

"Xander? Ever do the exchange thing?" Buffy turned to the male member of their quartet.

"My dad tried to send me off with some Armenians once. That count?" Xander quipped.

"Not sure." Buffy seemed to consider it as they made their way toward the guide, "Willow, I thought you said it was an Incan exhibit?"

Buffy looked toward the main hall which was labeled in Greek and English. Huge columns were set at both sides of the doorway holding the banner up and Buffy could distinguish some Greek weaponry among the few things she saw. She also noticed a large amount of statues.

"Was supposed to be, but there was a last minute change of plans. It got switched with relics from a tomb in Greece; statues, armor, weapons, pottery. The crowning jewel though, is thought to be the Burial Urn of an ancient Greek prince from the line of Perseus." Willow said.

"Well, maybe this'll be more interesting than I thought." Buffy smiled, "Always good to learn about relevant history."

"What about your exchange student." Xander asked.

"He comes in tomorrow, Pallas. Mom was thinking South American, but decided since my patron is Greek, and I now speak Greek, to go with Pallas. I didn't have the heart to tell her I can speak any language I want." Buffy sighed.

"Wait a minute, he? You're going to have a GUY, living in your house for two weeks? With guy parts?" Xander asked, his voice bordering on hysterics. "This is a terrible idea!"

"What about the perfect melding of two cultures?" Willow asked, not noticing the smirk arising on Cordelia and Buffy's faces.

"No! There will be no melding of any kind, what so ever…" Xander said vehemently, "He better keep his parts to himself."

"Xander, relax." Buffy said, "There is no chance of he having any contact with me beyond that of hello, how are you, shaking hands, and me showing him around a bit. Him, or any other male on the planet actually."

"Say what now?" Xander looked at her.

"Come on dweeb, haven't you listened to anything they've been telling you lately." Cordelia stared at him, "Buffy, is the champion of Artemis."

"Yea, and?" Xander still looked confused.

"Willow, list Artemis' Domains." Cordelia said.

"Artemis is the Goddess of the hunt, the moon, the forest/hills, and chastity." Willow said, then her eyes went wide as another piece of information came to light, "She held all of her followers to a vow of chastity."

Buffy watched as the piece of the puzzle clicked into Xander's mind, "Wait a minute… that means…"

"Yep. No hunky male smoochies for Buffy." Buffy said.

"Whoa…" Xander said.

"Buffy, I'm so sorry…" Willow went to comfort her friend.

"Hey, relax guys. I'm ok with it. I chose this remember? I chose to be a champion. I may not have known everything I was getting into when I made the choice, but it is still MY choice. And it's not as bad as you guys think, believe me." Buffy smiled at them.

"Ok, that explains why you haven't been mooning over Angel anymore." Xander sounded elated and depressed all at once.

"Hey, who's that?" Buffy pointed towards a gruff looking kid picking at a scabbard of one of the hanging blades.

Everyone turned to look, watching as he growled as a student came up to him. The offending student then ran away and Rodney continued to scratch at the scabbard.

"That would be Rodney Munson, god's gift to the Bell Curve." Xander said, in a mock narrator's voice. "What he lacks in smarts, he makes up for in lack of smarts."

"You just don't like him because of that time he beat you up everyday for five year." Willow pointed out to Buffy and Cordelia's amusement.

"I'm irrational that way." Xander pointed out sagely.

"I better stop him before he gets in trouble." Buffy sighed.

"I'll do it," Willow put her hand on the champions shoulder, "This probably requires a non-violent approach."

"Hey, I can be non-violent." Buffy said as Willow walked past her.

"The important thing is that you believe that." Xander said.

"In Buffy's defense, since becoming Artemis' champion, instead of the Slayer, she is much calmer." Cordelia pointed out.

"True, but whenever she confronts someone, their response is to react to her reputation, which is…" Xander said.

"Violence." Buffy sighed, as she turned to watch Willow talk with Rodney, just in case.

Willow stepped up to the boy tapping him on the shoulder, "Yea! Whadda'ya…" The boy stopped mid turn, "Oh, Willow."

"That's probably not something you're supposed to be doing, you could get in trouble." Willow pointed out, gesturing to the sword.

"Oh no, then they might kick me outta school." Rodney shrugged.

"Are we still on for our Chem. Tutorial tomorrow?" Willow smiled at him.

"Yea, I think I've almost memorized all fourteen natural elements." Rodney looked proud.

"There're a hundred and three." Willow pointed out.

"Oh." Rodney's face turns a bit worried, "Uh, maybe I could use a little more study time."

"See ya there Rodney." Willow walked back to her friends just as the guide started to talk.

"This." The guide gestured to a large golden urn, both the sides and cap were jewel encrusted and there was a large Medusa's head set on the facing side "Is the Sthenos Urn. We believe, based on the amount of statuary, paraphernalia, and the battle regalia, as well as the standard of the Aegis on the urn, that these are the remains of a member of the royal line of Perseus. While we cannot verify that fact, we can verify that it is a royal burial urn. The cap as you can see is sealed to the sides. It is in perfect condition, which means that is has not been opened since it was interred."

"The translation is wrong." Buffy said.

"Pardon me?" The guide looked at her, causing her to blush, not realizing she'd spoken out loud.

"Uh, it says that the name, Sthenos Urn, was a translation from the Greek writing along the neck of the Urn. It's probably a mix up in the paperwork along the line rather than a mistranslation though. The words say, 'Urn of Stheno'. Someone probably translated it to Stheno's Urn, on the paperwork, and then someone left the apostrophe off the 's'." Buffy said.

"And you can read ancient Greek?" The Guide said, looking disbelieving.

"Read it, and speak it, so don't get your pants in a bunch." Buffy said in perfect Greek.

The curator blinked at her, then turned back to the urn, "Uhm… Yes, well, there you have it. Now over here we have…" The guide turned to something else as Buffy and the others went back to talking.

"So, Buffy, when's Exchange-o boy making an appearance?" Xander asked.

"Xand, didn't we go over this already? Relax. His name is Pallas and he'll be at the Sunnydale bus stop tomorrow night." Buffy said to her irrationally jealous friend.

"Oh… Sunnydale Bus Depot, so classy. What better way to introduce someone to our country than the smell of stale urine." Cordelia wrinkled her nose.

"Hey! I was gonna say that." Xander looked at her.
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Realm of The Powers:

"Is everything in place?" The leader of the Powers spoke.

"Yes. The Incan Mummy has been redirected; the Urn is upon the Hellmouth. If things go to plan, the sacrifice will awaken the vessel." A female Power spoke.

"What are the chances of the vessel against the champion?" Another spoke.

"It can not be determined." The female Oracle said.

"The strands of fate are too frayed where she is concerned. Only the ripples can be seen." The male Oracle continued.

"I foresee much tragedy" The female said.

"A death is to come." The male said.

"Whose." The Powers all spoke at once.

"Uncertain." The Oracles also spoke together.

"As are its repercussions." The female said.

"But the dye is cast… All we may do… Is watch." The male said.
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Museum, later that night:

Rodney snuck through the exhibit, carefully making his way toward the urn at its center. He smiled as he looked at the jewels set into the sides and cap of the urn. He pulled his knife from his pocket; carefully trying to pry the ruby from it's setting at the top. He tried to force the blade into the small space between the ruby and the golden urn. He winced once with the knife slipped, cutting his hand, blood dripping onto the ruby.
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Sunnydale High School Library:

Buffy ducked as Kendra launched a kick at her head, spinning into a block as Xander tried to slam his kneed into her while she was low. She used the momentum of his attack to roll backwards before coming up in a relaxed posture, smiling at her two opponents. Then she rushed forward, launching a series of open palm strikes that Kendra blocked while Xander stepped into her to try and bring his elbow into her stomach. Buffy twisted at the last second, his elbow missing as she back peddled again.

"Good! You're learning to work with each other; playing to the other's strengths." Buffy called.

"Yea, but we still can't touch you." Xander panted heavily.

"Dat is so." Kendra agreed with the American boy.

"Not yet, but remember, that's what training is for. I have several advantages over the both of you. I'm faster, stronger, and can master years worth of martial arts in hours because of my mental faculties. I don't get tired as easily either." Buffy said.

"Still, I wish we could see some form of progress." Xander said.

"Quite the contrary Xander, I find your progress quite remarkable for such short time training." Giles said, looking at them.

"And," Sam Zabuto said, though his voice was tight, "I must admit that Kendra has learned more in the short time training with you, than I was able to teach her in all our years together."

"So, you'll let her come to the dance with us." Buffy said.

"No. Her place is to patrol, especially since you will not be. A fact I am startled by Miss Summers." Sam said, his voice disapproving.

Giles just chuckled as he walked away, deciding to let the poor man dig his own grave. He turned his attention back towards the texts he was searching for some reference to the Hind.

"Let me get this straight, Mr. Zabuto." Buffy looked at him, one platinum eyebrow raised "You're disappointed, in the chosen champion of a goddess."

As if suddenly realizing what he'd just said, Zabuto paled. "Ah, Mrs. Summers, that is to say… I mean…"

"I'm waiting, Watcher," Buffy said, picking up a pair of quarter staffs, "Perhaps you'd like a demonstration of my abilities to prove that I am not, shirking my responsibility to my goddess."

"Mr. Giles…" He turned to look for the British librarian only to find him carefully retreating into the stacks

"Here," Buffy said, tossing the man one of the staffs, "I believe quarter staffs were Giles' favorite."

The loud bark of laughter from the stacks had Sam believing he'd just stepped too far into a lion's den, and now he was staring down its jaws, "Perhaps my words were a bit… Uhm… hasty Miss Summers."

"Nonsense, Mr. Zabuto," Buffy said, moving towards the watcher like a jungle cat nearing its prey "You were quite clear, you believe I should be adhering to the foolish and insane traditions of a council trained watcher. That I should have forsaken my friends and family, the very people I'm fighting for, to better do my duty. That I might not know what my goddess expects of me, even though she speaks to me regularly. Tell me Mr. Zabuto, how often do the Powers That Sit on their Be-hinds, speak to you directly?"

"Uhm… well… that is…" Zabuto stammered "Perhaps, Kendra could use… a night of rest…"

"Really?" Buffy smiled, stopping her slow stalk, "Then you'll have no problem with her accompanying us to the dance. Thank you Mr. Zabuto."

The watcher nodded as he beat a hasty retreat to the stacks to find Giles.

"So, we're party bound." Xander said.

"Dat was…" Kendra stared at the girl before her.

"Me getting you some time to relax. I'm telling you Kendra, you're good, but if you don't have a REASON to fight, it's not worth it. What are you fighting for?" Buffy stared at her.

"My duty." Kendra said.

"I don't give a damn about duty. I'm fighting for my friends, my family, the people I love, and I'm fighting for Artemis. I'm fighting for her because I chose to be her champion, and because she's given me a reason to fight for her. She doesn't force me to accept a duty that I inherited by some luck of the draw, and she tells me when I've done well. You know in all the time I was the slayer, all the demons and vampires I killed, how many times I heard, 'good job Buffy' of 'we're proud of you' from the Pricks That Be? Not once. Artemis aids me, teaches me, gives me advice, and tells me that she's proud of her champion. She speaks on my behalf to the gods, and speaks through me to those here on earth. Duty is fine, but that can't be all you have."

"I tink I understand," Kendra said, her face in heavy thought.

"Quite well put Buffy," Giles smiled at her as he led Zabuto out of the stacks, "What do you think, Mr. Zabuto."

"Yes, well." Sam Zabuto turned his attention back to the books he carried.

"Well, since you're both party girls, I guess that makes me Wheelman." Xander said.

"I thought you were taking Willow?" Buffy looked at the oblivious man.

"I am, but I'm not… taking her, in the sense of… 'take me.' See, with you guys, we're four, we're friends… everybody's safe. Without you guys, we're two."

"And it enters the territory of dateville." Buffy said, catching his drift. "Romance, flowers…"

"Lips." Xander said.

Buffy watches as Willow and Cordelia come into the library, giving the brunette a subtle signal to keep Willow quiet, "Oh come on, in all the years you've known Willow, you've never thought about her lips?"

"Buffy, I love Willow." Xander said, not noticing his friend, or the way she became elated at his statement, "And she's my best friend, which makes her not the kinda girl where I think about her lips so much."

Buffy's eyes catch the subtle shift in Willow's mood and another gesture has Cordy covering her mouth, "Not once, at all…"

"She's… the kind of girl I'm best friends with." Xander says.

Buffy sighs to herself as Willow finally slips Cordy's grip, "Hi guys."

"Willow!" He goes to her, throwing an arm around the girl, "We were just talking about happy things. Like the four of us going to the dance together." He gestured at Buffy and Kendra, and Buffy smirks.

"Yea, we'll make it a double date. You and Xander, me and Kendra." Buffy says.

The silence in the room is deafening as Buffy takes in the damage. Xander looks like a dear in the headlights. Willow is somewhere between happy at the status of date being re-invoked, and shocked at how it's happened. Kendra is staring at Buffy like she grew a second head. Giles is polishing his glasses. Sam Zabuto is gripping the book he holds so hard his knuckles are white. Cordy, is the only one relaxed, merely smiling to herself as she buffs her nails.

"Uhm…" Xander tries to get something out as he stares at his blonde friend. "Double… double… DATE?"

"Yea, sure, now that that's settled, Willow, what are you up to?" Buffy turns her attention to the red head.

"Uh… oh! Rodney's missing." Willow said.

"Trouble with Mr. Munson again?" Giles settled his glasses back on his face.

"His parents say he never came home last night." Willow looked at everyone.

"Hmm… Come to think of it, he wasn't on the bus home from the museum yesterday." Buffy said.

"I didn't see him either; I hope he didn't get into trouble at the museum." Willow said.

"It was just a bunch of statues and Greek artifacts. It isn't like he could have woken a mummy up." Xander pointed out.

"True…" Buffy said, as she let her mind play back over the day before, "Oh crap."

"Buffy?" Giles and Sam both looked at her, as did Kendra.

"I just realized something… Those probably weren't statues." Buffy said.

"Say what?" Xander looked at her.

"Just because that was a gorgon's head on the urn, doesn't mean it was an Aegis. There were three primary gorgons; Medusa is just the one everybody knows." Buffy looked at Giles.

"The others are Euryale, the middle sister, and Stheno, the oldest." Giles said.

"Stheno, as in, the Urn…" Willow said.

"Damnit." Buffy said, "Kendra, you take Cordelia, and Giles, and check out the museum. Willow, Xander, you come with me. Sam, call Jenny, tell her what is going on and you two start researching gorgons, just in case."

"And what will you three be doing?" Sam said, looking at the girl.

"We will be going to get Pallas from the bus station, and back to my house, and then I will be taking them home and Lobo out on Patrol. Kendra, after you check the Museum, take the west half of town. We'll meet up at Restfield. Take the gauntlets and sword with you; you may need them." Buffy said.

"What about the ability of a Gorgon to turn people to stone?" Cordelia asked.

"That's why you're going with them." Buffy pointed out, "Got your compact?"
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The Museum:

Cordelia held her compact out for what felt the hundredth time that night, looking around a corner. She checked the full range of view carefully before closing it and proceeding into the main exhibit. Her eyes settled on the urn instantly.

"It's fine. Same place it was when we came in before." Cordelia said, "Maybe Rodney just got caught messing with things."

"Well, we'll see about that once we've ruled out immortal gorgon assassins." Giles said.

"I see no 'ting." Kendra looked around the abandoned exhibit.

"Well I do… blood on the cap of the urn." Cordelia said, "It's seeped in and revealed some writing I can't read."

"These engravings are miniscule, invisible without the contrast of the blood to reveal them. I have no idea what they say however." Giles confessed. "They seem to be Greek, but there are strange curves and calligraphy within the writing."

"DOWN!" Kendra yelled as she drew her sword, blocking a blow from a masked man in Greek armor.

Giles blinked up at the two blades where his head had been only moments before, before looking at the man Kendra fought. He was moving with speed and strength equal to her own, and his sword was almost identical to hers. He suddenly rushed past the slayer, avoiding her blade to look at the Urn.

None of them understood the curse he released as he finally came to the urn, before rushing away.

"Well, that was interesting." Cordelia said.

"Indeed." Giles said, "Thank you, Kendra, for the warning."

"It was no problem sir," Kendra said, "Buffy has taught me to be more aware of my surroundings."

"Yes, well, I'm grateful for that. I need to make a rubbing of this… since we obviously can't take it with us." Giles sighed, "I'll have Sam see about the Council acquiring it and bringing it to the library later."

"Yes sir. I shall, watch our rear while you do de rubbing, den will go to meet de Champion." Kendra said.
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The Sunnydale Bus Depot:

"I can't believe it," Buffy said as she, Willow, Xander and Lobo rushed to the bus stops, "We're still running late."

"Only by about ten minutes." Willow said as they stopped, panting as they looked around.

"Pallas!" Buffy called out.

"I don't see him anywhere…" Willow said, looking around.

"Pallas, are you here?" Buffy switched to Greek, attempting to gain his attention.

"Here I am. You speak Greek?" A voice called.

The friends turned there heads taking in the sight before them. First, it was a girl. Second, it was a beautiful girl. Buffy's eyes raked over her, starting at her feet. She was wearing old fashion sandals over plain white pants. A gold ring belt was wrapped around the white tunic style shirt she wore cinching it at her waist. She had olive skin, honey colored eyes behind elegantly framed glasses, and long dark hair.

"You're a girl." Xander said.

"The last time I checked." Pallas grinned at him.

"You have to forgive Xander, he's a bit…" Buffy thought.

"Male?" Pallas asked in Greek.

"Exactly." Buffy said as Willow giggled.

"Huh? What'd I miss." Xander shook his head, trying to catch up.

"What I think he meant was, we were expecting a guy." Willow prompted.

"Oh, that happens all the time." She shrugged it off.


All eyes turned to Lobo, "A dog… who doesn't seem to like me."

"Lobo! Heel!" Buffy commanded sharply, kneeling down to the dog, she patted his side as she ruffled his neck fur, "Sorry about that. He's usually… not so hostile to people."

"It's ok." She kneeled, patting the wolf like dog's white fur, "I'm nice boy, see." She laughed as he finally started to lick her. "That's a good boy."

"Well ok then, shall we get you home?" Buffy said.

"Lead the way." Pallas grinned at her.
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Buffy's Home:

Pallas looked at the small room Buffy had shown her to. "It's beautiful."

"Really, sure it's not too small?" Buffy asked, looking at the guest room.

"No, it's perfect." She looked at the furniture, "Simple, but… comfortable."

"Well, I've got to go. But Willow and Xander agreed to stay and keep you company while Lobo and I go run my errands." Buffy smiled at the girl, leading her down to the kitchen.

"Buffy, Pallas, welcome back. Settled in ok?" Xander never took his eyes off the olive skinned girl.

Willow winced, watching the boy's obvious attraction to the exotic girl. Her eyes raked over the brunette then back over her own reflection in the kitchen window before sighing to herself.

"Yea, just fine. Thanks for being nice enough to stay with Pallas while I go out. I'll be back as soon as I can." The champion smiled at the three, "Now, if you'll excuse me. Lobo! Come!" She trotted out the door followed by the white wolf.

"Where did Buffy ever find such a gorgeous dog?" Pallas turned to Xander.

"Lobo? He was a gift… from her uncle." Xander smiled.

"Yea, she really hasn't had him that long, but they bonded instantly." Willow said.

"I think he's beautiful." Pallas said.

"You like dogs?" Xander asked.

"I don't know, never really had much contact with them." She said, "My sisters and I, never had any pets."

"Sisters?" Willow asked her.

"Yea, two younger sisters." She smiled, her face obviously lost in fond memory.

"Miss them?" Willow guessed.

"Yes, but I'll be back to them eventually. For now… I want to see Sunnydale. Get to know people." Pallas grinned at Xander, "If someone wants to show me around."

"It would be my pleasure, M'lady." Xander did a mock gentlemen's bow.
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Restfield Cemetery:

Buffy laughed as Lobo leapt over the Mausoleum and onto the back of the vampire, tearing his head off. She leapt down from the cerberi's back, patting his center head, as she looked around for Kendra. She smirked as one Lobo's left head snapped around, growling at the shadows.

"Kendra, getting better." Buffy looked under the cerberi at her friend.

"Buffy, Lobo," The slayer smiled as she stepped from the shadows.

"What happened at the museum?" Buffy asked.

"We were attacked by a man in armor, and de urn's cap was covered in blood. De watcher, Mr. Giles, sent dis." She passed the rubbing Giles had made to Buffy.

"Hmm… strange. I can't read the symbols." Buffy said, "I've been able to read, everything in the Library since I became Artemis' Champion."

"So do we think Stheno is loose?" Buffy asked.

"We are not sure." Kendra shook her head, "We had hoped dat you could translate de symbols. Wid'out knowing what dey mean…"

"Right. How's the hunting been tonight? Anything out of the ordinary?" Buffy asked.

"No, a few fresh turned in de first graveyard. Dat was all." Kendra said.

"Alright. Let's get to work then. I need to get home, Xander and Willow are keeping Pallas company." Buffy leapt back onto Lobo's back, "Wanna ride?"

"Uhm…" Kendra looked warily at the huge beast.

Laughing, Buffy pulled her up onto Lobo's back, then leaned down, "Ok boy, sniff out some chew toys."

"Buffy…" Kendra said as Lobo started to move through the cemetery and surrounding forest, looking for vampires.

"You're wondering about the date comment earlier." Buffy said.


"Willow likes Xander, Xander has no chance with me, I was trying to push them into a date so Xander will start seeing her as more than a friend. This way, I get to have a little fun too." Buffy said over her shoulder as Lobo leapt into the air.

"What?" Kendra yelled as the cerberi cleared a mausoleum in a single bound.
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Sunnydale High School, Next day:

Xander laughed as he led the Greek native up into the bleachers by the football field, "I'm telling you, the only thing worse than our football team, is the food in the lunchroom."

"You are so funny Xander." Pallas settles onto a bleacher.

"So few people get my unique brand of humor." Xander sighed, "I really like you Pallas."

"I like you Xander, you are funny, sweet, and very cute." Pallas grinned at him from behind her glasses, "Still, I did not expect to spend the day all alone with you. Where are all your friends?"

"Oh, they're big into this archeology club thing, and they trying to decipher some ancient carvings on that big urn from the Greek exhibit at the museum. Buffy can't read them, so they aren't Greek, but she doesn't know what they are." Xander waved it off as he started to dig through his bag.

"Oh," Pallas said, looking around a moment before she turned back to Xander, "Why are we here? Do you not want to help them?"

"I like to spend time with you," He pulled something from his bag, "Ah ha!"

"What?" Pallas giggled at his exploits.

"This," He held up a twinkie, "Is the single greatest creation of man. It is a soft, sugary cake, filled with sweet creamy whiteness. This is how you eat it." Xander shoved the entire cake into his mouth chewing on it.

Pallas burst into laughter, "But now I can't try it."

"That," Xander slurred, his mouth still full, "Is why you bring two." He reached into his bag handing her the second twinkie.

She laughed, but unwrapped the twinkie. She gave Xander a last mischievous look, then shoved the cake into her mouth. She giggled at the taste as she tried to chew the cake. "Delicious!"

"And the best part is that they have no ingredient pronounceable by humans, so you don't get that heavy food feeling in your stomach." Xander chuckled, mouth still full of cake.

"Great!" Pallas forcefully swallowed the cake.

Xander laughed as he got his own cake down, the two staring at each other. Slowly Xander leaned forward, his hand coming up to cup her cheek. A soft smile played over both their lips as they got closer and closer.


On instinct Xander pushed Pallas back as he rolled away from the attack, smirking as the blade sparked off the metal of the bleachers. Xander came to his feet eyeing the man before him as his adversary withdrew his sword from the seat it stuck in.

"Whoa buddy, don't know what your problem is, but that was totally not cool!" Xander said, slipping into the relaxed stance Buffy had taught him.

"You will die!" The man yelled as he rushed toward the two.

"Not today!" Xander dropped between the bleachers and drove his shoulder into the man's sternum, knocking him back. His hand lashed out next, slamming into the man's knee, "Pallas! Run!" Xander yelled, jumping up and following the girl away from their attacker.
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"I don't understand it." Buffy said, "I can read any mortal language."

"Then obviously," Jenny pointed out, "This is not a mortal language."

"That is probably the case," Sam Zabuto said as they looked carefully through the texts before them.

"Any luck with Gorgon abilities?" Buffy said, setting back.

"While their gaze does have the ability to turn men to stone, it is not the simple matter that the myths proclaim. Merely looking upon them will not cause you to become petrified. However, they do unleash the power from their eyes, which is how the myth came to be. They have brass claws, and wings that shine like gold. Whether this is actuality, or mythology, is unsure. It could be coloration, or they could actually be brass and gold like The Golden Hind with their horns and hooves. What all the writings agree upon is that they have hair of living, venomous serpents. Some say that the venom is acidic; some say poisonous, some say it paralyzes you so that they may better use their gaze. All three are possible." Giles said.

"What about your patrols? Have you come across anything out of the ordinary?" Sam asked.

"No' ting." Kendra said, "De vampires, dey are no more active dan normal. We have not seen any ting of Spike, or de gorgon."

"If Stheno is free of the Urn, which we still can't be sure of, what are her possible courses of action?" Buffy asked.

"Unknown." Jenny said, "Unfortunately, history, mythology, it's all written by the victors. There are too many conflicting reports on the Gorgons. Some show them as protectors, others as monsters. The few reports we have of those who have actually faced a gorgon in combat are the ones who hunted them; Perseus as a trophy, Spartans as a rite of passage. What all the texts agree upon, is that Stheno was the oldest, strongest, and most vicious of the sisters. She killed more men than Medusa and Euryale combined." Jenny looked up at the champion.

"What about Perseus' mirror trick? Using the reflective shield to send the Gorgon's gaze back upon her?" Buffy asked.

"It has merit, but you'd need something stronger than a mirror to reflect the magic." Giles said.

"Well, that's a possibility at least." Buffy thought for a moment, "Anything else?"

All eyes turned as the library doors burst open, Xander leading Pallas into the middle of things, "Guys! Some nut with a sword just attacked us."

"He wore the armor of a Spartan! He was insane; he said he would kill us!" Pallas fired off rapidly in Greek.

"Whoa, guys, calm down." Buffy said, helping them to a seat, "She said he wore Spartan armor, is it possible?"

"The man who attacked us at the museum last night." Giles said, "Yes."

"Giles, we'll go see if we can find him." Buffy said, turning to the watcher.

"What?" Pallas looked at them all as if they were crazy, "You're going looking for him?"

"He could hurt someone." Buffy reasoned.

"I see… you're right… I should… I'm just…" She got up and walked out of the room, followed by Xander, then Willow."

"Giles, Kendra, come on, let's go." Buffy said, "Looks like we'll be hunting Spartans and Gorgons tonight instead of dancing."
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The Hallway, a few minutes later:

Xander and Willow watch Pallas as she tries to calm down, drinking from a water fountain. Willow's eyes move to Xander, the obvious worry in them melt the girl's heart. She sighs to herself before walking up to her friend.

"You should ask her." Willow said.

"Huh?" Xander looks at his red headed best friend.

"To the dance, she likes you, you should ask her to go to the dance with you." Willow said.

"But, we're all supposed to go together." Xander said.

"Xander, ask her!" Willow said.

"Willow, you're the best." Xander hugged his friend, then left her, walking toward Pallas.

"Xander?" Pallas said, as she watched Willow walk off.

The boy smiled at her, oblivious to his friend's departure, "Hey, I kinda have something I wanted to ask you."

"What is it." Pallas smiled at the boy.

"Well, I was wondering, if maybe, you'd like to go to the dance with me." Xander closed his eyes.

"Why are you closing your eyes?" Pallas asked.

"This is usually the part where the girl slaps me and yells no." Xander said, eyes still shut.

"Ah, then you are to be disappointed. I would be honored to accompany you to the dance." Pallas grinned.

Xander creaked an eye open, "You would?"

"Yes." Pallas grinned, "But first, I must go where you cannot follow."

"Huh?" Xander asked, then laughed as Pallas walked up to the ladies room door.
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Ladies Room:

Pallas stood at the sink, washing her hands. She sighed as she heard the door to a stall open, turning to see the Spartan.

"You will die, monster." The Spartan spun his blade.

"Why couldn't your kind let us be? My sisters and I were content to live our lives away from the sons of man, but you sent warrior after warrior hunting us until you made us into the monsters you sought. I have a chance at a life here, and a chance at love!" Pallas said, her eyes glowing red. "Your kind killed Medusa, banished Euryale, and trapped me within that urn. All I want is to return my sisters to life, and live in peace!"

"Your lies will not sway me monster… my ancestor defeated you, trapped you within that urn. I will finish the job." The Spartan rushed forward, only to be stopped in a blinding flash of red light.

"No, Spartan, you will not." She stared at the statue before her.
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Buffy's Home, Before the Dance:

"Are you sure you won't come to the dance Buffy?" Pallas looked at her from the mirror as she applied some of Buffy's lipstick.

"Can't, wanted to, but some things have to take priority." Buffy sighed.

"You're a very responsible person Buffy." Pallas smiled at her, then turned around, showing off her costume, "How do I look?"

She wore a shortened toga, showing off her long olive skinned legs. Her sandals were strapped up her calves, the tight chords accenting the toned muscles there. A braided golden chord was tied around her waist as a belt, and she wore golden cuffs on her wrists, and snake like bands on her biceps. If not for the glasses, Buffy would have believed her right out of the ancient world.

"Wow." Buffy said, then shook her head, "Oh, before I forget, the rest of your trunks came." Want me to unpack them for you while you're at the dance?"

"No!" Pallas turned quick, "I mean, it would be rude to make my host unpack for me. I shall do it when I return tonight."

"If that's what you want." Buffy shrugged.

"Thank you," Pallas grinned, then looked toward the hallway as the doorbell sounded.

"Buffy! Pallas! Xander is here!" The call came from her mother.

"Come on," Buffy got up, leading the girl down stairs.

"Buffy!" Xander said as soon as she came down, "Sure I can't talk you into coming to the dance?"

"No way Xand, too much I have to do." Buffy said, "What are you wearing?"

Xander turned, showing off his Clint Eastwood style costume of western clothing and poncho, "I'm from Leone; it's in Italy, pretending to be Montana."

"Where's Willow?" Buffy asked.

"She isn't coming with us." Xander said.

"Ah, A date." Buffy nodded, then stepped aside to reveal Pallas.

"Xander." Pallas blushed a bit.

"Hnuma, vam dadaba," Xander stared.

"Allow me, that was salivating teenage male for, 'you look beautiful.'" Buffy giggled.

"Han woo" Xander said to her.

"You're welcome." Buffy said, then stepped beside her mom to watch them walk to the car.

"Those two certainly look good together." Joyce said.

"Yea," Buffy sighed.
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At the dance:

Willow stood at the side of the dance floor, her Eskimo costume concealing most of her body as she watched Xander and Pallas dance. She sighed, never noticing the looks she received from the stage. Her eyes firmly locked on her best friend and his date as they slowly left the dance floor.

"Xander, you are a very good dancer." Pallas said, holding her dates hand as they made their way to the back.

"You are a wonderful partner." Xander confessed.

"Thank you," She smiled at him shyly.

They slowly turned to each other, holding one another close, foreheads touching. "I really like you, Pallas."

"I really like you to, Xander." Pallas grinned up at him.

Xander looked around, seeing they were alone, "I kind of want to kiss you now."

"I have never been kissed…" Pallas admitted, a moment before their lips touched.

"How sweet." A voice came from the shadows. It was followed by several vampires.

"Damnit." Xander said pulling a stake as he pushed Pallas behind him, "Stay behind me."

"Xander, what's going on?" Pallas asked.

"Just stay back." Xander said.
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Buffy's Home, earlier:

"Giles? Kendra?" Buffy opened the door staring at the two, "We were supposed to meet at the museum.

"The Spartan, he was found in the ladies room at the school. He was a statue." Giles said.

"So the Gorgon is loose, and it's a safe bet that the Spartan was hunting her." Buffy said, closing her eyes.

"Yes, dat is what Mr. Zabuto and de teacher believe." Kendra said.

"Then why attack us at the museum? Or Xander and… Pallas!" Buffy's eyes flew open.

"The exchange student?" Giles said.

"Was supposed to be male, and the Spartan attacked Xander and Pallas, he'd never seen Xander before, not at the museum, that was you guys. So why Xander, unless it was who Xander was with!" Buffy said, running upstairs.

She got to her room followed by the other two and ripped open the trunks, "Men's clothes." Buffy said.

"Pallas is the Gorgon?" Giles said.

"And Xander's on a date with her." Buffy said.
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The fight:

Pallas watched as Xander defended her, ducking and punching attempting to defeat the overwhelming odds. She smiled as she saw him stab one through the heart. The creature burst into a cloud of dust and ash as Xander turned his back to her, taking on another foe. She watched as one of the creatures attack from his blind side.

Without thinking she pulled her glasses off, channeling her power into her eyes. Two crimson beams of energy lanced from her and toward the monster as it occupied the space between Xander and herself. Suddenly, the creature was gone in the same cloud of dust as the first.
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Buffy, Giles and Kendra arrive outside, Lobo in his disguised form beside them just as people come running out of the bronze. Buffy looks around, grabbing Willow as she runs out.

"What happened?" Buffy asks.

"The Gorgon, she's attacked the dance!" Willow yelled.

"What! Where's Xander?" Buffy stared at her.

"I don't know, he and Pallas went into the back before she attacked." Willow said.

"Willow! Pallas is Stheno!" Buffy said as she and Kendra ran in, Lobo at their heels.

"She's the gorgon? Good." Willow smiled to herself, "Wait, XANDER!"

Buffy and Kendra bursts into the bronze, their eyes immediately falling on the form of the Gorgon. She had a red scaled body, and her legs had been replaced by a long muscled tale. Two large golden feathered wings erupted from her back and her clawed hands were raised to the ceiling as she roared. Her once raven black hair was now hundreds of living cobras. Suddenly she stopped roaring and looked at the three before her, watching as Lobo became the Cerberi he truly was.

"A champion! Even here I can not escape the gods! I just wanted to be left in peace! To be left alone! Why can't the gods leave me be!" Stheno roared as she launched her body forward clawed hands flashing toward Buffy.

Buffy dodged out of the way, calling on her swords as she rolled. She came up into a stance and had to leap again to avoid the beams that erupted from Stheno's eyes. As one of the beams came close she used her blade to reflect it, glad for the silver's mirror polish.

"I have an idea!" Buffy called, "Don't let her stone gaze trap you!"

Lobo leapt onto the Gorgon's back, the jaws of two heads biting into the flesh of the Stheno's wings as the third snapped at the striking snakes that tried to reach him, his claws digging into her back. Kendra launched forward, stabbing her blade into the gorgon's belly and slicing as Buffy drew her bow and fired at the snakes that made her hair.

"Come on! Here I am!" Buffy called at the gorgon, firing again and again at her hair.

Kendra ran back as she watched the wound she'd inflicted heal in an instant, her eyes moving to Lobo as he leapt away and seeing even the wounds of the Cerberi heal. Her eyes moved to Buffy as she saw the Gorgon unleash the blinding flash of her stone gaze again. This time though, Buffy didn't move.

"Bingo!" Buffy ducked low, raising her bracer covered arms like a shield. The beams reflected off the polished bracers, striking the gorgon in the chest.

Kendra watched shocked as the creature was petrified by her own powerful gaze. She walked up to Buffy, "Did you know dat would work?"

"No." Buffy said, breathing heavily.

"BUFFY!" Willow screamed.

The Champion ran back to where her friend's voice came from, stopping dead as she got there. Standing there in front of Willow and Giles, was a statue of Xander. His arm was raised, as if he'd just plunged the stake he held into a vampire, and he was in the familiar stance that Buffy had taught him.

"Oh no…"