Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy or the Pitch Black series

A/N: Just letting you know, this is going to be all over the place, very choppy. That's the way it's supposed to be. Hopefully it will make sense.

She hid in the shadows, the non-existent wind ruffling the long transparent strands of her hair, and the ephemeral drapes of her clothing. She was waiting for Angelus to arrive. She knew he was in the building, the odds of that were very good, as were the odds that he was using his insane Childe to wring the necessary details out of Giles. She'd already told him of that, warned him that this path was very hard, but her calculations had insisted this was the best way. Once Angelus had acquired the petrified demon, this had become the optimal path success, as terribly painful as it might be. However, Angelus' calculations had nothing on hers, neither had his family and court anything on the heart and determination of their group. And, besides, he kept underestimating the value of her allies.

"Oh, come on, Will. Please," Xander whined. "Something other than a ghost, this year. Please?" he begged, and he brought out is ultimate weapon: puppy dog eyes. While she had her resolve face, he had the eyes.


"You're all covered up – see?" he asked as he held up the costume.

Sure enough, there was a floor-length gown with glittery net overdress, but it was the robe, stole, and wig that interested her. Sure her face would be uncovered, but her striking (yes, she could admit that her red hair was striking) hair would be hidden, and the rest of her would be covered with the robe and stole. "Um... Yeah," she smiled brilliantly up at her friend. "Who is she, anyway?"

By her calculations, the others should be arriving any moment… There! The slight brunette Slayer matching pace with the bulky, silver-eyed brother of her heart as they tore through the assorted minions littering the place. And... There! The triumphant ex-pat Irish vampire striding through the mansion towards Acathla. She slid through the mansion unseen, pausing once to solidify within the girl's line of sight, reminding her of the required timing.

She arrived at her destination without any further stops, and knelt at the older man's feet. She reached up and stroked his face, and he smiled wearily at her. "You did so very well, Rupert," she murmured. "Now it's time to go home."

"I held on," he murmured. "They showed me her face, tried to get me to tell her. But I remembered," he smiled. "I remembered."

"You remembered how very calculating I've become," she said with a wry smile.

Aereon looked around herself, but couldn't understand what was happening. Data. She needed data to make calculations. Her first point of data was the little … monster heading towards her. She shimmered into transparency as the hip-high being leaped towards, and … through her. She looked around, and frowned. She was on no planet in the known universe, and, while some of the beings were human, some, like the little monster, were most definitely not. Data. It was night time, with many people … beings moving about. Early evening, cool but pleasant. She shimmered out of solidity as another being charged at her, then spun around. She smirked and moved forward.

"And I'll be wearing a costume from the same movie," Xander grinned. He lifted up his bag. "See?"

"And just how can you afford this?" Willow demanded worriedly. "I know you're … on a tightened budget."

"Ah, now, there's the thing," Xander admitted guiltily. "If I get my two bestest friends to chose related costumes, I get these bits for ten dollars. So … um … please?"

Willow rolled her eyes.

He raised his head and looked around before raising his hand up to push his goggles onto the top of his head. Which was covered with hair. What the fuck? He looked down at his body, and realised something very different was going on. This sure as fuck wasn't his body. He hadn't been this scrawny in decades.

He looked up at the chaos around him, and snarled. The various things milling around suddenly found other prey to chase, realising this man was no longer someone to tackle. He stalked forward intent on finding out what was going on, and fixing it. He wasn't going to stay in this body if he had anything to say about it.

He stopped and shook his head, chuckling mirthlessly. "Aereon," he growled.

She cut the ropes, and helped the older man to his feet. They made their halting way outside where the werewolf's van waited. She assisted him into the passenger's seat, and belted him in. She looked up at her boyfriend (just because she was an Elemental didn't mean she couldn't love: she just calculated the odds of the relationship lasting, and adjusted her expectations accordingly) and smiled before closing the door and sending them on their way and returning to the house.

When she returned, she could see the Slayer and the Furyan tag-teaming the dark-haired vampire, playing with him, keeping up a flow of jeering conversation. By her calculations it should be finishing within the next five minutes. The others just needed to keep Angelus occupied until… She looked up and smiled as she saw the white light enter the room, homing in on the preoccupied killer. The light, the soul, slammed into Angelus, sending him to his knees. The three teenagers watched as the the large man seemed to collapse in on himself while the stone demon remained dormant.

"It worked," Xander growled, silver eyes gleaming in the low light.

"Don't think I'll ever truly get used to your calculations, Will," Buffy shook her head.

The white-haired girl smiled. "You'll get used to it. Kyra has made you somewhat more flexible than you previously were. I give you … another eight months before you truly accept our changes."

Xander chuckled. "Or you could just give up and go with it," he offered. "Make life easy for all of us."

Buffy snorted. "The Slayer makes that difficult. But if you calculate I'll get used to it, then," she shrugged, "I'll leave it at that." She looked at her friends. "I'm glad, though. Glad you're here, with me. Glad you were able to prepare us for this."

"So what do we do now?" Xander asked, eyeing … Angel, he decided.

"His soul is tied to him, now," Willow advised. "But he has another path to follow. He will stay with us for another year, but then he must make his own way."

Buffy nodded. "Okay, then. Let's clean this mess up, and go home." She walked over and squatted down in front of her former lover. "You okay?" she asked.

"Buffy?" Angel whimpered. "What... What have I done?"

"It'll come to you," Xander shrugged. "And then you'll get back on the redemption bicycle, and start peddling again. And you've got a long way to ride," he added as he walked out of the room.

Buffy dropped a sympathetic hand on the vampire's shoulder. "He did a lot in your body. And I think I'm just as much to blame. Willow told me it was a bad idea, and Xander kept telling me to ghost you, but I wouldn't do it. Kyra would have, but I let myself be a So-Cal princess, and people died. So we're both to blame, and we'll both pay for it. We can't be together, Angel. It's not right. We'll help you get back on your feet again, but then you need to find your own way."

Angel dropped his head. "Yeah," he whispered. "I understand."

Buffy flicked her dark curls back over her shoulder and joined her white-haired friend. Together the exited the building to find their not-so-Xander-shaped-any-longer friend as he waited by his car.

"So," Buffy grinned. "You shaving your head?"

"Soon as school's out. I can't stand having to have hair any longer. You think Ethan realised what he was doing?"

"I am virtually certain he didn't," Willow decided. "Otherwise, he wouldn't have brought down on himself two people who like to play 'Who's the better killer,'" she snorted.

Buffy smirked. "You know, I think we even managed to teach Giles a thing or two."

"So," the blonde temporised as she eyed the costume. "Kyra, huh?"

Xander smirked. "Kyra."