Disclaimer: Buffy: the Vampire Slayer is the creation of Joss Whedon and all related characters,
concepts, events belong to Mutant Enemy Inc. They are not mine. I am only borrowing them for
the story. They will be returned in tact afterwards. Takes place sometime near the beginning
of the current season. At this point I am not taking into account Xander's relationship with Anya.
This is my first story featuring characters from this particular show, so bear with me.
Note: Mostly from Xander's point of view. EMAIL: karrenia_rune@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: Gargoyles belong to Disney and Buena Vista Television. The version of Banshee and
The Weird Sisters, the concept of the Gathering etc. are from the 2nd season "Hound of Ulster
episode. Takes place during Goliath's world tour" courtesy of Avalon, via the Phoenix Gate.

"Ill Met by Moonlight" by Karen

Xander Harris glanced at his watch for the at least the 21st time then slumped back onto the
stone niche formed by a pair of stone lions fronting the entrance to the Quadrangle lecture hall.
Buffy, Willow, and the new girl in his life, Chloe Webb, had disappeared inside it hours ago
for a presentation on Joseph Campbell's Man and Myth series. Ordinarily he would have
gone along, whether or not the lecture was open to the general public, but he had decided he
had his fill of the paranormal ever since they'd graduated from Sunnydale high school.
Since Buffy and Willow had become co-eds, they seemed to have less and less time to
just hang out.

Xander began peeling at section of plaster that had begun crumbling near the stone lion's mane,
and thought about how everyone's life had become so wrapped up in the arcane and the supernatural.

"There was a time, when all we had to worry about were bad hair days and midterms, then
hanging out at the Bronze. You know? 'Normal' stuff. Then Buffy becomes the
Chosen One, and we were caught up in a maelstrom of mayhem.
Without much let up, either. Of course, since Sunnydale sits squarely onto
of the Hellmouth. Hey, look on the bright side, Xander, you made a difference.
To hell with Cordelia, anyway. I'm glad she's gone. And speaking of getting rid of things and
now that Angel's out of the picture. Never did trust him. Never liked him much, either.
I think everyone has changed in the last several years, and some of it has been for the better.
Maybe I just don't like too much change too soon."

Xander peered upwards, only to see more stone figures protruding from the building's roof.
They clung to the ledge, carved figures in the form of people, animals, or fantastic beasts.
He squinted in the bright afternoon sunlight to gain a better view, he couldn't be certain,
but some of them had wings. It seemed to be poised as if holding onto the building by its claws,
which established a seamless link between building and creature. Picking out more details,
he noted that the creatures had heavy brows, a beaked nose, and bat- like wings.
The expressions on their faces ranged from somewhat ferocious to almost like they were laughing
at some silent joke. A joke which was passed on from one figure to down the row, since they had been arranged in clusters.

"Okay, guys, what's so laugh out loud, funny up there?" Xander whispered to the stone figures.

"Xander, love, the way ye're staring one might think ye were counting each chisel mark and crack."
Chloe's distinctive Irish lilt echoed in his ears and almost made him jump.

"You startled me." Xander fumbled for his sunglasses. "Did I miss anything?
What are those things, the ones with wings?" Xander asked, pointing at the roof.

"They're gargoyles. Long thought to be elaborate waterspouts. They usually took the form of
elongated fantastic animals. These decorated gutters are often architectural necessities
turned into ornaments," Chloe replied absently.

"Did I miss anything?" Xander asked, referring to the presentation.

"Not really," Chloe sighed. "It's not that important. What you need is a good cup of coffee,
and then we'll talk." Chloe brushed a lock of shoulder length red hair away from her
emerald green eyes, and let her gaze wander to the stone figures Xander had pointed out.

"They do tend to follow you about, if you stare at them too long. I know I've been here for just
a wee bit, but from what I've seen and heard around here; ye know what they say?
Stranger things have happened."

"Yeah. I mean this being the like ground zero for weirdness. I guess I was just bored out here.
You said something about coffee?" Xander said, brushing a fair amount of dust that clung to
his long sleeved black polo shirt. He reached up and pulled his red fleece jacket over his head.
Then tied it around his waist.

"Aye, I need something cool to wet my whistle. How about you?" Chloe said as she reached
over to smooth down his mussed hair.

"Let's go," Xander smiled, getting to his feet, and with his arm in Chloe's they headed
for the nearest cafe.


Xander held the door Chloe as they arrived and both were washed over by the slightly
heavy, yet soothing aroma of freshly brewed coffee and freshly baked bread. It gave the building a
heavy, slightly drowsy feeling. Xander checked the place out and finally decided on a
booth in the far-left corner of the cafe and sat down.

"What can I get you folks?" the waitress asked, pad of paper and pen in hand.

"Iced cappuccino, please," Chloe replied.

"I'll have the same, and some cherry pie with vanilla ice cream, " Xander said.

"Regular or Decaf?" she asked.

"Regular," Xander said.

"Got it. I'll be right back with your order," the waitress offered, briskly jotting down the
items requested with a ballpoint pen, then pivoted on her heel to glide over to the counter.
Xander wondered what it was about college students that made coffee drinking into a social event.

"What am I missing? Where it is written that I have to go to college. All it means it just
more books," Xander muttered, arranging the salt and pepper shakers and the vase holding the
plastic pink carnations, and rearranging all the packets of fake sweeteners and dairy creamers.

"Xander, ye're crushing the wee things, stop fidgeting., Chloe gently chided, as she placed the
vase of carnations to one side, out of harm's reach.

"Okay, okay, but I'm worried about the Buffer, you know, well, it's not that I'm paranoid
or anything, but why won't she tell us anything about what's going on with that Initiative thing."

"Maybe it's a co-ed fraternity thing." Chloe muttered, shrugging her slender shoulders
as the motion caused her red hair to come out the braid, and cascaded down her back like
liquid flame. It distracted Xander from his glum thoughts about Buffy.
"Ye've known her for a long time. She's more than capable of taking care of herself. "

"Yeah, yeah, I know," Xander waved his free hand casually in the air, as if he could wave away
his concern. "But...."

"Here's a thought, with the amount of research time ye've put for Mr. Giles, ye could
always inquire if the university would allow you to audit a few classes instead of
enrolling as a full time student," Chloe remarked.

"What?" I was just wondering. Besides I'm happy being a townie," Xander replied.

"Ah, but ye may find yourself out of the loop every once in a while, Chloe trailed off as the
waitress returned with their orders. Chloe looked up and thanked her, who returned the gesture
with an acknowledging nod.

"Ye ever think about getting the hell out of Dodge," Chloe suddenly asked after the woman had gone
to serve other customers.

"Like what? Leaving Sunnydale?" Xander asked. "Maybe we could take a trip to Ireland
sometime, tour, meet your folks," Xander quipped.

"We could go just about anywhere." Chloe muttered dreamily, ignoring the comment about
'meeting the parents'. "Europe, or New York, or...she trailed off.


"Look, don't think I'm running out on you, but I kinda have to check in with Willow and Buffy at
Giles' in an hour. " Xander polished off his cherry pie. He took one last sip of his cappuccino.
Then he took the straw, whipped up the leftover ice cream into it, and ate both together.

"Not to worry, Xander. I understand," Chloe replied as she held the mug of coffee cupped
between her two palms. She had long ago finished drinking and was now was just breathing
in the aroma.

"How about we meet up later at the Bronze, I'll save the last dance for you. Promise?"
Xander whispered conspiratorially, then he leaned over and kissed her on the lips.

"I promise," Chloe whispered then returned the kiss.

"Catch you later, then," Xander said all in one breath, and headed towards the exit.


A skiff with a dragon headed prow bumped its nose up against a wooden pier. The water was tinted silver from the waxing gibbous moon overhead, as its four passengers tried to keep their
balance as waves splashed over the skiff's sides.

Goliath, who'd been rowing all night, leaned his tall frame against the tiller and took a breather.
He glanced over at Elisa, sitting in the middle, whose red leather jacket wasn't enough to keep her
warm; had her arms wrapped around herself. He felt inclined to wrap his wings around her
if it would help. Bronx flopped down in the rear; whined softly then waggled his fan shaped ears.
Angela, who'd been absently stroking the garg-dog, chose that moment to look out over the shoreline.

Beyond the man-made lake, she saw landscaped carpets of green grass and plazas surrounded
by buildings repeating the same basic design. Given the time, she only glimpsed a few people
about, hurrying from one building to the other. One particular building made her recall her home
on Avalon, and some of which brought back memories of the last place the skiff had brought them to:
a place called Flagstaff. She wondered, not for the first time, if her father,
Goliath, truly guided the Phoenix Gate, or if it was the other way around.

Angela gasped then pointed: "Father, " her voice loud in evening stillness,
"Unless I am mistaken, has Avalon's magic brought us about in circles. Some of these
structures look familiar."

"Okay, where are we now?" Elisa asked in tones that whatever answer she expected,
she wasn't going to be happy with it. She stood up, and crossed the small gap between the skiff
and the pier. Bronx leaped after, yipping happily, and almost knocked her off her feet.
"Whoa, boy," she smiled, but the need for sleep showed in her eyes.

"I am uncertain, but it reminds me of Flagstaff, Arizona when we helped your sister, Beth..."
Goliath's deep, resonant voice trailed off. Elisa's sister, Beth attended college, and Elisa's father
had been called upon to recall old tales from Navajo folklore. All because an old
enemy of the Manhattan clan had attempted to subvert a Navajo trickster spirit into
bending to his will. Xanatos had failed, and Coyote had eventually
aided them, but more for sake of his own amusement then from any altruistic motivation.

"A college town. You mean we've bypassed Manhattan again?" Elisa replied, as she ran a
hand through the tangled mass of her black hair.

"My kingdom for a hairbrush and a bath," she sighed.

"I am afraid so," Goliath replied, referring to missing Manhattan again. For a minute he fumbled in
his belt pouch then pulled out the Phoenix Gate. He shook it He tapped with the tip of a claw,
tracing the grooves worn into its golden surface.

"I know, Goliath. It's not your fault. I'm just disappointed is all," Elisa replied.

"I am sorry, Elisa. As you know, Avalon sends the bearer of the Phoenix Gate where we
need to be, not necessarily, where want to go. " Goliath said, as he Angela crossed
over to the pier, she tied the skiff to a wooden pole.

"There, now it won't float away. We still have several hours until dawn, we
should check this place out, then find somewhere out of the way,"

Elisa heard someone shouting in the distance.

"I guess that's our cue, let's go." Elisa smiled and headed off in the direction the shouts
had come from.

Bronx ears pricked up and he bounded off, right on Elisa's heels. Pausing near a park bench,
he sat on his haunches, and let off a howl at the moon, then continued to lope after her.
Angela and Goliath following along in their wake.

That same evening, Xander half ran, half walked along the streets, searching for Chloe.
Ever since she'd failed to show up at the Bronze, he'd become worried. She hadn't left word
with Willow or Buffy, and the messages he'd left on her answering machine at her
dorm, had never been returned.

Have become frantic, and not wait for Buffy to detour from her nightly patrol.,
Xander had decided to conduct his own search.
I suppose I should be grateful, a lot less vamp activity.

"Chloe!" "Chloe!" He kept yelling her name for several minutes at stretch, pausing every
now and again, hoping for a reply. He knew she occasionally went running late in the evening,
since moonlight did wonders for her skin. But even so, this wasn't like her.
He blocked out the noise coming from nearby residences, and cars passing by on the street.

Even for a Thursday evening, not too much activity in town, which, I suppose is a good thing.
He made another circuit of Chloe's known haunts, and then back tracked his own route, only
to arrive back at the campus grounds.

Instead of hearing the echo his own voice, what he heard was a drawn out howling.
"Note to self: less caffeine intake," he absently thought.

"Okay, Oz isn't in cycle yet, so that can't be him. So, what's with the howling?" Xander muttered to himself.

The next thing he knew, he was lying flat on his back on the grass, with a rather large dog like
creature leaning on his chest. Its paws, but only four toes, and claws. In a flash, he connected the
creature with those he'd seen on the roof of the lecture hall. "What are the odds?"

"What have you found, boy?" a woman's voice asked. The first had been a rich tenor, the second
slightly an octave below that. The first: a black woman, looked 'normal' enough. She wore
denim jeans and a faded, much mended red T-shirt, with a black leather coat over it. Oddly enough,
she had a .38 caliber pistol in her hip pocket.

The second woman's skin was almost purple, and she wore her brown hair in a tight braid.

The creature on top of him wagged its fan shaped stubby tail and proceeded to give him a face
washing by slobbering all over it.

"Great, just great," Xander groaned, "I look for Chloe and instead I find some creature that
has a yen for sitting on people, and slowly smothering them to death. What have they been feeding
this guy, anyway?"

"I think it's okay, you can let him up now," the first woman said.

"Elisa, we cannot be certain of that," the male replied.

"Trust me on this one, Goliath. Just call it woman's intuition." the woman they'd called Elisa grinned.

The dog creature whined, but backed off to crouch at Elisa's feet, who reached down and
rubbed his spiny head. "Good boy, Bronx."

"Bronx?" Xander muttered, patting himself down for injuries, the thing had been heavy.
Whose tail wagging achieved new levels in frenzy.

The next thing Xander knew, he was hovering about 5 feet off the ground, in the grip of the large
male creature.

He stood almost eight feet high and looked kinda purple in the moonlight. The cape that draped
from the thing's back did not look detachable, and were probably wings.
What did Chloe call those things again,? Damn, why can't I remember?

The creature pulled him directly into his line of sight, forcing him to make eye contact.
Its eyes blazed white. "Who are you? And what is this place?"

"No way, Mister. I'm not answering any questions till I find out who you are," Xander countered.

"I am Goliath, you've already 'met' Bronx, that is Angela, and Elisa."

"Fair enough. The name's Xander Harris."

"Xander?" Elisa wondered, arching an elegant black eyebrow.

"Great. It's short for Alexander. Welcome to Sunnydale, hope you survive the experience, its pretty
wild here. Could you put me down? While some people might enjoy the sensation, it's hard to talk
and choke at the same time."

"Very well," Goliath replied, letting go of Xander's collar.

Xander rocked back on his heels, to avoid keeling over, and fumbled for bit, trying to regain his balance. Boy, do I look dumb here he absently thought..
"So, what are you guys doing here?" he said aloud.

"That will be revealed in due course," Goliath replied.

"Wonderful. Since you don't seem to have any pressing engagements at the
moment, would you mind helping me find someone. That's what I'm doing out
here, I'm searching for a friend. Her name's Chloe Webb. She's gone missing since late this afternoon."

"We'd be happy too, I'm sort of expert on missing persons," Elisa smiled.
"What does she look like?"

"Red-head, green eyes, about 5"6, last seen wearing a faded denims and a black leather jacket
kinda like yours," Xander replied.

"If you had something of hers, a scarf, a comb, anything. Bronx could then use that to lock
onto her scent. It would make finding her much easier," Angela said.

"Let me see, " Xander fumbled around in his pockets, and came up with one
of Buffy's wooden stakes, no help there, a disc for an e-book that Willow wanted
him to read, and finally, one of Chloe's green and white bandannas she'd given
him on their first date, and book with a dried, and pressed rose.
"Okay, this might work," Xander said, holding out the bandanna to Angela.

Angela took the faded piece of fabric, then bent over and waved it around
in the general vicinity of Bronx's nose. He sniffed at in, then whined. He looked
up at her, scuffed his forepaws into the dirt. Then he lifted himself up on to his haunches and let loose with another piercing howl.

"I think he doesn't know...." Xander began as he was forced to cover his ears.

Bronx then went off to the east, and everyone followed along in his wake.

"What did Chloe say? 'Stranger things have happened,' Yeah, tell me about it,"
Xander griped, forced to alternately walk and then run in order to keep up with the odd group.
"We'd better find her. In a place like this... definitely don't go there, Xander, you may not like
what you find." he thought to himself.


"Isn't this exciting Luna? It begins again," Selene gasped breathlessly.

"We have waited half a millennia, Sister, we can wait a little longer," Luna replied as
she tugged at her coil of wild of silver hair. She leaned over and gave an experimental tug on
the woven length of rope that secured the skiff from Avalon to its mooring.

She sniffed at it, at first, all she could find where the scents of woven hemp material,
wrinkling her nose at the damp smell of where the fibers had rotted through from
exposure to salt water. In addition to that were the distinctive scents of three gargoyles and
one human female. "Avalon's magic has been at work again, Sisters," Luna said, straightening up.

"Indeed, the portents have never been more favorable. However, if may be so bold. I wish to
express a concern. How certain are you, Phoebe, that this is the place where we will find She who
defied the will of the Lord of Avalon?" the third member of the trio asked, her long hair falling
down her back. Its raven sheen glistening in the starlight.

"Calm yourself, Selene," Luna advised.

"She is stubborn, and may prove difficult to persuade. As these mortals are fond of turns of phrase,
perhaps it would be proper to use a method I have found quite effective," the other woman remarked.

"Would you mind enlightening the rest of us, Phoebe"? Luna snorted delicately.

"I believe they call it an intervention," Phoebe smiled, brushing back her blonde hair.

"Excellent. We were assigned this task, yet the methods we would choose to employ
were left up to our discretion," Luna smiled, a vague thinning of her lips. "We shall proceed."


Xander cursed under his breath when he tripped over the exposed root of a massive oak tree.
He had privately thought they'd been running in circles as they followed Bronx who was hot on
the trail of Chloe. But he'd kept it to himself, since Elisa had made several guarantees that
once Bronx had a scent; it wouldn't be long till they found whatever it was he went after.
Recovering his balance, he bumped his head on an over arching limb. Angela turned around
and offered him a hand up without meaning to, she lost her grip and pointed towards the central
fountain in the park he'd already searched. The moon overhead was nothing more than a sliver of a crescent with a ridge of cloud banked against its curving tines.

Goliath dropped to all fours and growled something that to Xander sounded like the
rumbling of distant thunder. This can't be good he absently thought.

Shaking his head to clear the fogginess from lack of sleep and running around in the middle of
the night, he nearly blacked out again, when he saw what had made Angela stand rock still.

"The Weird Sisters," Goliath growled.

Hovering above the jetting sprays of water from the fountain, were three women, they had
their fists clenched on their hips, and their thin lips pursed in identical disapproving frowns.
They wore long white gowns, and they could have been triplets, except for the color of their
hair. As he looked closer, they weren't even aware of the new arrivals, for standing atop.
a slope leading up to the residential areas. Chloe engaged in defiantly squaring off against a trio of women.
silver bolts of energy bursting like roman candle firecrackers from her fingertips, her hair
glistening in the moonlight.

Chloe's green eyes blinked once, then twice in rapid succession. When she lifted her head
again the green had been replaced with a red flicker.

"Sister, if your stubbornness and pride not gotten in the way of your better judgement,
this 'intervention'' would not have been necessary, but we must need resort to desperate
measures," Selene said.

"Sister, you overstep your bounds, know this, consider this, had you been in my place
would you have complied with the Lord of Avalon's and returned thither? Mortals believe
in free will, what matter the Gathering delayed a few more centuries?" Banshee shrugged.

"What the hell is going on here. I finally meet a nice girl, and she's got all the classic signs of being
some kind of vamp or something? Would someone please clue me in here," Xander demanded,
but was ignored. Just then he was forced several paces back as a stray energy bolt ricocheted
off some sort of invisible force field and would have successfully fried him. Goliath spread his
wings and took the brunt of the blast.

"Uh, thanks, big guy," Xander said.

"You are welcome," Goliath replied.

"Xander!," Banshee cried, turning to face him, the red glow replaced by green.

"Ware! They interlopers are not welcome!" Luna shouted. She spun around in midair, and flung
an arm out perpendicular to the ground, ready to unleash some devastating energy blast, but
whatever would have happened was cut short, as Bronx sprung towards her and knocked her
sprawling to the ground.

"Wretched mongrel, " Luna muttered, snapping her fingers and Bronx went hurtling through the air.

"That's what I'd like to know, too." Elisa shrugged out of her leather jacket and tied it around
her waist.

"Banshee, the bean sidhe, woman of the fairies as she was called in the old tongue of Ireland.
I had thought after the defeat you suffered at our hands with the help of the boy..."
Goliath shouted to be heard over the arguing.

"The Banshee? Come on, Goliath, you've gotta be putting me on, I mean, those, uh,
ladies, haveta to have under some kind of spell, right?" Xander protested.

"Goliath, I remember you, I'll thank you, name me not, the boy in whose mortal shell dwells
the soul of Eire's greatest hero," Chloe shouted.

"If not for the great Beast," raising a sharp nailed hand, she gestured towards Bronx,
" the boy would have lived and died a mortal never realizing his true destiny as
Cuchlain, the Hound of Ulster."

"Okay, right about now, I wish Giles was here to give the pertinent mythological play-by-play,"
Xander muttered to Elisa, who stood beside him.

"Who's Giles?" Elisa whispered back, confused, wondering what bizarre impulse guided the
Phoenix Gate. After everything they'd been through, she wished, just once, they could
order the magical artifact to take them directly back to Manhattan without any
detours along the way.

"It is not we whose reach has exceeded our grasp, dear Banshee, it is you. For you have
meddled in affairs that are none of your concern, i.e.: the fortunes of Eire, and sought
to prevent the return of the Ireland's greatest hero, Cuchulain from returning.
You failed. The gargoyles saw to that," Phoebe said.

"Or have you forgotten," Angela countered.

"Nay, I have not. The sting of defeat however bitter, I have long since put behind me.
Was it fate or by design that brought you hither?" Banshee turned to face the gargoyles.

"In our last encounter, I told you the truth when I said that were sent here by Avalon's magic,
but we have no agenda from anyone called Oberon," Goliath replied.

"We never even met the guy," Elisa added.

"What matters that they are here, dear sister, " Luna interrupted. "Consider this, the Greeks had
a word for it, hubris, pride, and you Banshee, dear, are guilty of it, not only in defying the will of
Lord Oberon, but of preventing it; merely to hold onto what little dominion you had left."

"I will not go back, and despite your best attempts, you cannot make me leave!
I like it here," Banshee replied.
"The Gathering only comes around every 500 years, it can wait a little longer."

"Yeah, "Elisa said, glancing around the park, "Just like that old peat bog, who'd
want to leave all this?"

"What means your presence here," Phoebe asked.

"Enough! My voice can seduce or memorize, or bring pain beyond imagining. I will not be
taken by force! For when the Banshee keens, humans die!" With that her mouth opened as
wide as it would go, and a deafening screech issued forth which repeated itself
over and over.

The Weird Sisters fluttered to the ground like swans diving into a lake, and
after staggering for a moment to regain their balance, they whipped their arms up,
the speed of the motion causing their sleeves to roll up to reveal milky white skin,
and delicate shoulders. The fabric of their white dresses white as opal. They began
chanting in what sounded like Latin, and when they finished Chloe/Banshee brought her
hands to her mouth trying to remove a metal wire mesh gag. Banshee frantically tugged
at the gag, but it was made of iron, which caused blood to spurt from her fingers.

"Ready to listen to our proposition now, Sister?" Luna smirked.

Banshee nodded her head, unable to speak with the iron gag over her mouth.

"We have been watching you, biding our time, and as you know, this was originally about
the Gathering. But that is no longer pertinent. What matters, is your fascination with these
mortals," Luna snorted, and gestured to the small crowd of observers.

"As I mentioned, mortals call it an intervention; when someone is a danger to themselves
or others, and for one reason or another refuses to confront it. Thus, our mission. You have a choice, Sister, return with us to Avalon, and remain a Child of Avalon, or...." Selene said.

"Or, rescind your powers, if you truly love 'humans',
Luna wrinkled her nose in distaste, as if at some foul odor, and remain among them."

"Goliath, that isn't much of a choice. What do you think she will do?" Elisa whispered.

"I can not be sure, if Banshee is at all like Puck, she will not go quietly," Goliath replied.

Banshee bowed her head, causing her red hair to fall over her eyes, and crossed her
arms over her chest. Luna snapped her fingers and the iron mesh vanished. "Your answer."

"Okay, they've won, I don't see why they have to be so smug about it," Xander said.

"I accept your proposition," Banshee replied. "I will remain here."

"You have made your choice, sister, and now you must live with it," Selene said,
as she linked arms with the other two women and began chanting in Latin, rattling
off something that rhymed, then using the tips of the fingers of their right hands. A glowing white sphere arced towards that Banshee. She was enveloped in it for
a few heart stopping seconds, and when it cleared, Chloe had taken her place,
dressed in the same ripped denim jeans and silk shirt she had on she'd worn during
their date at the coffee shop. She smiled, then collapsed in heap. Xander glanced
around at the others, seeing that no one else was going to do it; he rushed over
and wrapped her in his red fleece jacket. "Is it over?" he whispered.
Chloe lifted her head and shared with him the same brilliant smile he'd fallen in love with
when he'd first met her "My old life is over, my new one is just beginning.".

"I can handle that," he returned her brilliant smile.

"And now we too, must return to our journey," Goliath added.


Xander lounged comfortably on couch in his basement den, and contemplated his next move
on the game board he and Chloe had set up after she'd crashed for the night. Chloe had left
around 9am for her first class.

It wasn't helping that Buffy, restless after a night spent patrolling, and coming up empty,
peered over his shoulder, and made comments about strategy and maneuvers. Since she
hadn't made any remarks about his choice of women, he wasn't going to ask her about
Riley or the Initiative, since she'd also hadn't managed to get close enough to find any
more about it, than it was some kind of military outfit. She had also managed to drag Giles
and Willow out of bed and brought them over to his place.

"I've heard of legends of the Banshee, but I thought it was just a spirit that keened
when someone was about to die," Willow said, she sat down on the opposite side
of the board, seeing an gambit, she picked up the black castle and moved diagonally
along the marble surface. Xander groaned as she took out his rook. Xander frowned
and moved his white queen a few paces and put the king in check.

"Told you so," Buffy grinned.

"You did not, so there," Xander grinned.

""However, I've managed to dig up some material which indicates that the Banshee once took
upon herself the pain of an entire family, the despair and suffering and condensed them
into a single cry of lament. She forecast deaths but also births. In modern times, the
Banshee is feared but no longer respected," Giles said.

"In other words she lost her reputation as a prophetess and guardian, now she's
more a messenger of death, "Willow replied.

"There's one thing I don't understand," Xander interrupted, "Don't look at me like that,
aware of the raised eyebrows he got from Buffy,

"Why did Chloe come to Sunnydale?" Buffy asked.

"It's gonna sound corny but I think that she really wanted to start over,
atone for her 'wicked' past," Xander replied.

"Kinda like turning over a 'new leaf'," Buffy interrupted, putting thought into action
she overturned the chess board, causing the black and white pieces to go flying
in all different directions. Xander glared at her, and "Why did you have to go and
do that, I was actually winning here."

"And these gargoyles?" Giles asked, rocking too far forward in his chair, and toppled
over. Grinning, he stood up and dusted himself off, his interest in an apparently
heretofore-unmonitored race of humanoids that all his years with the Watchers had
never run across grabbing his attention.

"Chloe wouldn't fill me in on the details, but somehow, they've encountered one
another before, and she got her butt kicked. Which made her realize that it
may harder to be good, as opposed to 'evil', but in order to come full circle,
she just needed an extra push, an incentive." Xander smiled.

" Indeed. What happens now?" Giles asked.

"Don't know. We kinda agreed to take things one day at a time."
"Don't you people have somewhere to be?" Xander said, as Willow helped
him pick up the scattered chess pieces and reset the board.