10

She had him. But she didn't know what to do with him. Faith wrapped her arm around Dracula's throat and decided to choke him for a while til she figured it out.

The vampire launched himself backwards and she felt the wind blow out of her as the two of them crashed into the ground. Didn't let go though. "Been doing this for a while," she gritted, grabbing his head with her other arm and planning to decapitate the bastard. Enough. Kill him.

Wait. Make sure he dies and not you. Focus on the fight. Lose yourself in it.

Xander jabbed his elbow into the cab window and cursed as it didn't break and actually, more to the point, felt like it might have just broken his arm. "Shit shit shit." Where the hell was that spell?

The phone rang.

"Take a deep breath," said Willow, "And listen."

"No time." The cab shook as Faith landed on it and then slide heavily off. Dracula rose, stood up as if the relentless assault on him had made no impact whatsoever, and grabbed the girl from the floor and proceeded to ram her head first into the bonnet. "She's dying."

"I need to be there. That's why we've never been able to-"

"You can't get here in time." He paused. Made a decision. "But I am. Do it."

"You sure?" Her voice was worried.

"Yes," he said, hoping his voice was confident and didn't betray the massive panic he had going on right now.

There was a very cool, quiet moment that made Xander feel as if all the air had left the cab. Then, there was a soft glow of white light in his palm. He closed his fingers and felt his best friend inside of him. I love you. He didn't know which one of them was talking. Didn't matter. Felt like he could take the world on.

So he unfurled his palm and rested it on the door which promptly opened.

Faith opened her eyes and saw Xander. Glowing. Concussion was cool.

Dracula dropped her and turned to Xander. "So. You give your body to another. I am your Master."

"No," said Xander and he smiled. "And you'll never be again." Because he suddenly saw the guy for what he was. Just a vampire. All he had was a name that made him different. That's all it was. A name. Just a word. And Xander was the master of words.

Do it he told Willow.

He started speaking Latin. "Inclusa coarctant eum prohibere relicta re et tene debet haec"

And yes, somebody else was in his body, but this was different. He was still there. The two of them were together and they were beating back the bloody night. It was right. It was on his terms.

Light flooded the courtyard. Pure brilliant bright light. It grabbed Dracula, pulled him away from the two of them and slammed him against the front door of the house. Bands of light errupted and circled the rest of the hous.e

Faith pulled herself up and stumbled towards Xander. "Hey Harry Potter," she said blearily. Blood smeared her face, "How'd ya do that."

Willow smiled inside him. You got it on. At last. Took your time.

He grinned back at her. Shut up. Anything you can do to help her out?

Of course.

He turned to Faith, "Sana eam"

The blood went and she gazed at him with interest as her body came back to normality and the pain stopped screaming inside of her. "Red?"

Xander nodded and walked towards Dracula. The vampire stared wildly at him. "You cannot kill me! I am Immortal!"

"Correct," said Xander and he felt Willow slip away from inside him. Her work was done. "But what we can do is bind you. To that house and to that form. You're not going anywhere. Ever." He smiled. "And that also applies to your magic. No more magic casting outside of those four walls. Ever."

Faith grinned with approval. "Oh good show."

"You have been hanging with Giles to long."

"I really want to have sex with you right now."

"I really want to take you up on that offer."

He felt at peace. For the first time in a long time, he felt whole and at peace.

Faith took his hand and the two of them walked past the broken and bashed up cab, back down the avenue of trees and towards humanity.

"So. How you doing? After all,you've just been through the fires of hell."

"That's a Meatloaf song."

"There's a lot of sense in Meat Loaf."

"I might have to reconsider this whole relationship plan."

"Yeah?" She raised a wicked eyebrow as they slammed the gate of Carfax closed beside them. "Nothing I can do to persuade you otherwise?"

"Well, I do think we've got some free time," said Xander, considering the point, "I don't think the gang will miss us for a while yet."

"Red?"

"Oh I got secrets on her that I can spill. She'll hold her tongue."

"So, Mr Harris," replied Faith, as the sun finally started to come up and the watery light of dawn illuminated the road ahead of them. "Any suggestions for what we can do?"

He looked left. Right. And then saw the small coppice of woods at the side of the road. The secluded really kinda romantic woods. "A few," he said, "Might take a few minutes. You okay with that?"

"Oh yeah," she said, and the two of them began to run towards the privacy of the coppice. He was hungry for her. To feel her skin on his skin. To be one.

"A few minutes though? Is that all?"

"For starters," said Xander and the world suddenly seemed to open up in front of him, "Only for starters."