I didn't know if I would ever get this chapter done. My computer destroyed it twice while I was working on it. Anyways as usual I own de nada of the characters.

Following after the hunk led to the docks, and a bored Buffy found a safe place to park her bike and then found a place to watch what the guy was doing. She watched as the guy was currently duking it out with some guys. There was four of them, two of them were already on the ground, one was leaning against a wall and the last one was in the middle of receiving a foot to his face courtesy of a spin kick. Whatever else he was he was a good fighter. The Slayer noted, as she watched the guy send several punches to his much larger opponent's chest.

As the last member of the group fell there was a shout. "Draven!" The long haired man turned and saw a dark skinned man in a rumpled suit coming toward him. He had a well-trimmed beard and most of his hair was cut neatly.

"Albrecht," Eric said with a smirk as he tossed the group of thugs into a pile. He then faced one of the few people that he would still actually claim as a friend. The two men had a strained friendship at times, since Draven answered to the laws of a higher power while Albrecht answered to the laws of man. It sometimes put a strain on their friendship, leaving them sometimes on opposite sides and sometimes working together in their attempts to keep their part of the world safe. "What's up?" The man possessed by the power of the Crow questioned.

"Just wondering if this has anything to do with you?" Albrecht returned, as he shoved a newspaper into the chest of his supernatural vigilante friend.

"Glad to see you to Albrecht, I'm fine thanks for asking." Eric said sarcastically, as he took the paper off of his chest opened it and looked at the headline article. The headline picture was split, on one side there was a flaming skeleton on the other was a map with a trail starting in Texas and working its way up to California, it was a line that was making its way upward though. "What's this then?" He questioned his friend and sometimes information source in confusion.

"This thing, this Rider as they're calling it has done all sorts of damage in Austin, L.A, and San Francisco Draven." Albrecht explained to the man before him in annoyance. "What's more, this thing is doing things that shouldn't be humanly possible: throwing fireballs, is bullet proof, riding on the water, riding up the sides of buildings, the only thing it hasn't been shown to be able to do yet is fly. To make things worse, every time it's seen, it's just a little bit closer to here." He said as he nodded to the path that the Rider was taking. "At this rate, it could be here in a few months."

Eric let the surprise cross his face as he finally understood why the detective was so upset. "You think this thing is after me, and is merely trying to find me?" He asked as he took another look at the image of the flaming figure.

"Either you, or those like you." Albrecht returned to the former rocker. "We know that you're not the only one of your kind, what if this whatever it is, is hunting for you guys?"

"It's possible, though I thought our enemies were the Snakes this could be something else entirely though." Eric said as he tried to figure out just what it was that they might be possibly facing. "You know that I didn't invite this thing though right." He said not really wanting to hear his friend's accusations on that front. "This thing, whatever it is. It was last seen in California, and we both know I haven't left town long enough to get there and back. So how can you blame this one on me?"

"Simple, whenever we hear about some crazy forgotten legend or something weird starts happening, it always leads back to you somehow." Albrecht returned to Eric with a look. The young man didn't have an answer to that one as he was right in the fact that things usually did lead back to the Crow in some way or other. "I just want us to be prepared for whatever thing it is that you or someone like you has probably pissed off this time around. It would be a nice change of pace opposed to how we are usually forced to deal with these sorts of crazy things."

"You think that I ever plan on dealing with half of the things that we have to deal with?" Eric questioned in disbelief and some slight anger. "I didn't exactly ask for all of this you know." He spat at the cop.

"Well if you would just stop attracting all of the weird mumbo jumbo freaks who are always coming after you for some idiotic reason or other, then we wouldn't be having this problem." Albrecht returned to him not about to back down from the man.

"Hey, if you have an idea on how to get me out of this part of reality and onto the afterlife with Shelly or whatever you want to call it I'm all for it." Eric returned to the man. "Heck, I'd almost be happy to hear any ideas you have on how to avoid some of the creatures that we run across from time to time. You have any real thoughts on that then I'm all ears."

"Sorry." Albrecht finally said, he knew exactly how much Draven wanted to move on from his duties as a Crow so that he could save Shelly from being stuck in limbo and they could move on. The two men backed off a bit. "Fine, but I want it on record that I'm not crazy about having something like this coming after us. I've already warned HQ that I think that the creature or whatever it is will strike our town soon. Then you can meet your ugly cousin or whatever the hell it is."

Eric looked at his friend incredulously. "You really think that is going to help? If this thing is after me, I really doubt that the police here are going to be able to help. It's ripped through the cops in those other three cities and they have a lot more manpower than you do."

"Yeah I know." Albrecht admitted bitterly. "That's why I brought you this." He added as he handed a large file over to his friend. "This file is a compilation from Detective Wagner and Inspector Morris. It has everything that's been recorded on from Austin, L.A, and San Francisco, including all of the known tricks and abilities this thing is supposed to have. Maybe if we're prepared enough we can stop this thing."

Eric nodded as he took the file from the detective and began to examine it. "Controls some sort of fire ability? What am I supposed to do against fire powers?"

"Hey, you're the one with all the freaky powers, I'm sure that you'll think of something." Albrecht assured the younger man.

The two men then quickly went about gathering the fallen thugs and tossed them into Albrecht's car. As the last one was locked in Eric froze as he got a vision from his Crow. The bird's eye view he had was of a figure that was watching them from on top of a building. "I think it's time for you to go Albrecht." He told his friend. "I do believe that I'm about to have some company."

"You sure about that, I mean you might want some help?" Albrecht asked as he scanned the area for their mystery guest.

"Well, whoever they are, they don't appear to be on fire and I don't see any dancing skeletons around either." Eric joked I should be okay foe this one he assured. He then turned his head to look towards the figure that was spying on them.

The two men were interrupted as a figure leapt from the roof and caught a chain that was hanging in the air and swing on it before releasing it and landing before them in a crouch. Eric moved in between the newcomer and his friend. Leather pants, biker jacket, boots, gloves, and a tight shirt clothed the figure. A blonde head of hair hung down hiding parts of her face. Eric and the blonde stared at each other as she slowly rose to her feet. Dark eyes met hazel as each one took the other in.

"What are you?" The blonde questioned curiously, as she finished breaking the silence between the pair.

"Excuse me?" Eric asked in surprise, as he tries to show confusion to hide any worry that he might actually be feeling over being called out like that.

"You're not completely evil, but there's something off about you. There's some kind of wig-some feeling about you. So I'm wondering just what you are." The blonde returned to him.

Eric frowned at that, this blonde woman could somehow sense the Crow. He had no idea what he was facing other Crows couldn't even sense each other so what was he facing off against? Such a power could be extremely dangerous if she were sent out to hunt him or something similar.

"I could ask the same as you." The former rocker finally returned as his eyes glanced upward where the woman had been earlier. "You're obviously more than you seem as well. I know we're different though."

"Your right, we're different." The blonde said with a smirk. "I've been many things over the years though. Protector, Champion, Fighter, Warrior, Guardian, Slayer, Dead, lately I've been a Wanderer though.

"I've been Dead, Musician, Lover, Traveler, Messenger, Teacher, Soldier, and a Nightmare." Eric returned to her.

"We sound like a bad country song or the chorus to something." The blonde said with a smirk.

"That we do." Eric said as he eyed the woman, wondering what her next move would be.

"So, where do we go from here?" The blonde said curiously. "Do I leave you here and hope you're not a danger to the people, or do I deal with you in a more permanent way? Cause I have to say, Nightmare really not much in reassuring list."

"I'll show you where you can go!" A voice said, as a young girl barely into her teens shouted as she exploded from where she had been hiding. The young girl aimed a high kick then followed those up with several devastating swings and punches. "You're not hurting Eric." The girl shouted at the young woman.

"Sarah no." The two men said trying to get the girl to back away from the older woman. The pair watched as the pair seemed to blur across the dock.

The blonde laughed a bit as she dodged the attacks in an almost casual manner. Her casual sidesteps seem to mock the younger girl who tried all the harder to make one of her blows connect with the unknown blonde.

"Sarah, stand down. We don't attack unless we know what we're going up against." Eric scolded the girl.

The girl ignored him as she sent a heavy fist toward her target. The blonde's hand shot out though and caught the incoming limb. "You're one of mine." The woman said knowingly, as she easily held the fist. She then twisted the arm around behind the girl and held the struggling girl there. "You got the power kid, but you don't know anything about using it." She then spun Sarah away from her and while the girl was regaining her feet she kicked her in the gut sending the girl flying where she landed in a heap.

"Sarah," Eric said as he got in between the blonde and the young girl that was his only remaining link to his past self. The girl had forced him to accept life, to move on and to try and exist for as long as possible while he tried to understand what had happened to him and to help those that he could. The little girl that had once been his and Shelly's neighbor was now lying in a crumpled mess. The two men knelt down and checked the girl over.

"Looks like she'll be alright." Albrecht said with relief

"Good," Eric said slowly rising to his feet. The former musician fumed for a moment while his back was turned to the blonde before slowly turning angry eyes towards her. "You shouldn't have done that." He said as he angrily stalked toward the woman and stopped right before her. Rather than the uncertainty that he was used to seeing in his opponents, he saw the young woman was merely waiting for him to make the first move. In fact the casual way that she held herself made him think that she wasn't even that scared. Considering what he had just seen her doing though he could hardly blame her for her lack of concern. Then again she probably thought he was just some guy despite everything that they had both said and what she had felt from him. "I'm warning you that I've got a lot more experience than the kid does." He told her angrily.

"Something tells me that you're not really the kind to accept an oops, or point out that she started it." The woman noted, as she calmly looked him over waiting for him to make the first move. "Thought not." She said as she noticed the stance that he had taken.

Eric glared back in return he figured he might as well take advantage of it, as he doubted that she would be this open again. He swung an angry fist at the woman at nearly full speed and strength and watched in surprise as she casually ducked the blow. Only Crows and Snakes were usually able to keep up with him at this speed. This young woman had actually dodged it though. There was no knife so it meant that it was doubtful that she was a Snake, and she didn't act like a Crow either. This left a lot of questions, and not very many answers though.

"You're almost as fast as me." The girl said idly, as the follow up punch came in at her ribs and she knocked the arm back. "You still got a long way to go before you're ready to take on a Slayer though." She informed him.

Eric was more than a little surprised that she was able to so deftly push his blow away. The girl was at the very least as strong as he was, maybe even stronger. Just what was she that she could meet him in a one on one fight? "I'll take my chances." He told her with a calmness that he did not feel, as he faced off with the woman.

"You're funeral." The woman said with a shrug and suddenly the two were going at it and trading blows as they moved up and down the dock neither of them appearing to have a better chance than the other. "So," the blonde said after a couple of minutes of this and neither of them had actually managed to get anything more than minor strikes at each other. "You never did tell me what you are."

"I don't see how that's any of your business." Eric said as he performed two jabs at her before back flipping away from her leg sweep.

"Oh come on, I already told you that I was a Slayer, I'm just curious what it is that I'm fighting." She chirped at him mockingly, as she tried to kick him in the stomach only for him to catch her leg. "Fair is fair." She said, she then performed a twist and used the leverage from his hold to try and swing her other leg into his face. He released her leg and ducked letting the foot fly over his head.

"Life is rarely fair." Eric returned calmly as he came back up swinging, only for the woman's to catch his attack leaving the two straining against each other. Eric grimaced as he realized that he was slowly being forced back as the much stronger opponent began to dominate him. That was a new experience since the only thing he had ever met that could match him in power were other Crows or the one supernatural being that hunted Crows. Snakes. Beings that had been murdered by Crows, and became the sworn enemies of Crows because of the crimes committed against them. They were the one thing that he knew of that could easily kill a Crow. He knew she wasn't a Snake though, because she had no idea what he was and Snakes could detect Crows no matter where they went and only stopped once they or the Crow they were currently hunting was dead. She was different though, and with his friends at stake he did the only thing that he could think of that would let him win this fight.

Buffy stared at the guy as his long hair covered his face for a moment, and when he looked back up the guy looked like he was trying to imitate one of the members of Kiss. His face now being white, with black eyeliner around his eyes and lips. She really hoped that he hadn't gotten the tongue as well because could she say gross much. "Okay, I'm kind of impressed." She admitted as she looked the guy over. "I mean you kind of already had the bad boy rocker vibe going before, but this is something entirely different. Now you got the dangerous and psycho one as well."

"Let me show you the dark side of the moon little one." Crow said as he began swing a lot faster and stronger and the fight that the Slayer had been on the verge of winning suddenly reversed as the Crow began beating on her. A kick to the face stunned her and then another to the gut slammed her through the wall of a building.

The Crow began stalking toward the building when a ball of fire erupted out of the hole and slammed into the Crow. The creature hissed out angrily as it was tossed back. It patted the flames out where it had been hit as if the flames were hurting it. The wait wasn't long as everyone turned to see the figure that was walking through the hole. It appeared as if the girl had another form as well, as they saw it finally step out of the building.

"Oh crap," Albrecht muttered, "I just knew something like this was going to happen sooner or later." He complained as he raised his gun at the thing and began firing at it. Thing was the best way that he could describe it. Since Eric Draven had come back from the dead as the Crow he had seen a lot of weird things. However, seeing a blonde woman turn into a flaming skeleton was enough to worry even him. He watched in frustration, as his bullets hit the creature but didn't seem to have effect on the thing.. Bullet proof just like all the reports said what's more it seemed like it was a lot tougher by its reaction as well. With a Crow, the force of the shots would at least knock them back. This thing didn't even seem to notice getting hit though. This wasn't good, there was no way that he could do anything against this Rider thing. He would have to wait until Eric got up to do something. The flaming skeleton stomped over to where the Crow had fallen. As it neared though the Crow flipped itself up to its feet and began an assault of lighting fast strikes that struck all over the fiery figure.

"Zarathos." The Crow said with a wide grin. "I always wondered if we would meet again."

"Crow." Rider merely snarled, as it swung its skeletal hand at the Crow who ducked beneath the blow. Albrecht could only watch as flames, black leather, and ivory bones clashed against each other in a flurry of violence that was the equivalent of some sort of action movie. He watched in disbelief as the Crow kicked the Rider in the chest by flipping off it and then landed on his feet. The Rider was tossed back, but its feet merely skidded against the ground leaving a trail of flame. It returned with a charging run and punch, which sent the Crow flying.

"Oh crap, this is not good." A voice from behind said. Albrecht turned to see who was there, and cocked its head as it saw two figures standing alongside of him. He quickly raised his gun to cover them in case they were a threat of some sort. Of course if they shared the other two fighters disregard for being shot then it was a pretty useless gesture.

One was dark skinned, wore sunglasses and wore a lot of western themed clothing adorned with skulls and carried a cane. All in all, the figure reminded him somewhat of a pimp. The man merely smirked at the detective and his weapon as if he was unconcerned over the threat that they represented.

"Who are you?" Albrecht questioned as he looked at the figures that seemed to have just appeared out of nowhere.

"You can call him the Skull Cowboy, and you can call me Whistler." The somewhat nasally voice of the other figure said. The detective turned to look at the figure that had identified itself as Whistler. He was dressed like he was the extra from an old gangster movie complete with bad fitting clothes. "Now then, we need the two of them to stop doing what they're doing before they tear this entire town apart." Whistler informed the detective.

"He's right, as agents of the Powers those two aren't supposed to be fighting." Skull Cowboy noted as he eyed the two champions with a smirk as if it all amused him. "The two of them are supposed to fight the darkness not each other."

"What's going on here?" Albrecht demanded angrily. "Who or what is that girl or whatever?"

"Been a while since anyone referred to her as 'that girl' she might actually thank you for that description." Whistler said with a chuckle, as he looked at the figure that had replaced the blonde. "Then again she's just as likely to feed you that gun of yours for calling her a whatever. Got to say she's really started letting herself go if she's doing that sort of thing though." He said somewhat disappointedly as he watched the Rider leap through a building and at the Crow. "Does partly explain why she's been hard to find though.

"And the two of you are who exactly?" Albrecht demanded of the pair, his gun still hovering between the pair.

"Would you put that toy of yours away already?" Skull Cowboy requested in annoyance as he looked at the man. When the detective didn't show any signs of complying his slammed his pimp cane into Albrecht's gun sending the weapon skittering away. "Thank you, I really hate getting shot. It's almost as bad as getting stabbed, not something that I really enjoy. Not all of us can be blessed to have bullets bounce off of us like Skip used to be able to do." He added in.

"Not like he's doing much of anything anymore after Angel and his bunch dealt with Jasmine's follower. A blade through the brain does kill just about everything." Whistler said getting an agreeing nod from his companion.

"So who are you two?" Albrecht repeated, while rubbing his hand where he had been struck.

"Consider us as the Messengers." Skull Cowboy returned to the man as he tipped his hat. "It's our job to inform our charges when they need to do something or if they need help we're supposed to nudge them in the right direction so that the world continues on as it has. The two idiots that are currently trying to burn your docks down and kill each other are our charges. Doesn't it make your heart all a flutter to see what the champions of the world do when they're not trying to save the world." "So, any ideas on how to stop them?" Albrecht questioned while ignoring the sarcasm that the being was spouting off about the pair of Champions.

"See that's where it gets kind of interesting." Whistler said nervously while staring at his feet with interest. "Slayer or Slayer Rider as she goes by these days over there doesn't exactly have the warm fuzzies when it comes to me." He admitted to the detective. "As for Skull Cowboy here, well he's only ever talked to his boy once so they don't exactly have the closest of relationships."

"At least mines better than yours is." Skull Cowboy said confidently. "My Champion isn't as likely to kill me."

"So in other words, what you're saying is that the two of you could just as easily cause them to go even more berserk than they are now." Albrecht questioned in disbelief as he listened to the pair wincing as he saw a speed boat blow up.

"That about covers it." The Skull Cowboy agreed with a smirk, as he watched the two fighters continue to beat away at each other neither of them willing to give up against each other. "The two of them are going to keep going at it until something or someone makes them stop. Considering that it would require someone of considerable power to stop them I guess that you'll have to wait until they wear each other out." He said with an uncaring shrug.

"That's not an option." Albrecht spat at the Balance Demon. "By the time those two are finally tired they'll have destroyed the entire dock and warehouse district at the very least. While you may not care about that I do. Now how do we stop them?"

"You don't." A new voice said as an old man leaning on a cane appeared. "You won't be able to stop them, not with those two at your side." The old man said indicating the pair of Balance Demons that were looking decidedly uncomfortable. "They may be good at giving evasive answers and disappearing after giving the answers that their boss wants them to give but other than that they're pretty useless. Messenger pigeons are more useful than these two are."

"Would you people stop doing that!" Albrecht said as he glared at the newest arrival to the fiasco that this was turning into. "If it weren't bad enough that we have got a small war going on here." He said waving at the pair of fighters as they crashed through another wall. "I've got you crazies popping up all over the place."

"Yes, not exactly proper manners." The old man said in amusement.

Albrecht's shoulders sagged a bit before he turned to look at the newest addition to their group. "What are you doing here anyways? If this guy is an agent for the Crow and this guy is for the Slayer then who do you represent?"

The old man chuckled at that. "You may have heard of me young man, I am Mephistopheles."

"Wait like from the books?" Albrecht questioned worriedly as he tried to remember his classes on what had been said on that figure.

"Yes that's me." The old man said with a knowing grin as he saw the worry cross the face of the man before him. "I am the Deal Maker. Every deal in the supernatural goes through me somehow or other. There are of course those that try and go around me, but eventually I have some part in it. Despite all the great efforts to shove me out of the business." Mephistopheles explained.

"Great, so why are you here? If these two jokers are here for them then I can't see much reason for you to be here." The detective returned to Mephistopheles.

"Ah yes, well Whistler might have forgotten to mention that the Slayer went and made a deal with me since I actually made an effort to save someone important to the girl. Not much of one mind you," he added in with a knowing smile, "but enough of one to get what I wanted from her. Which I might add, is quite a bit more than your bosses did Whistler." He said as he looked at the badly dressed demon.

"Yeah, well look at what you're playing around with a Slayer is doing to the world." Whistler exclaimed, as he gestured to all the fire and destruction that was surrounding them. "Even you can't say that this is alright. How can you think that even you can benefit from all of this?"

"I didn't tell her to come here." Mephistopheles returned to the Balance Demon in a sharp clipped tone. "She came here of her own free will and choice. This is a result of her decisions, not something I did. There is also the fact that she did not start this fight, but she is more than willing to end it since the Crow can't behave itself. If you want to blame someone for her being unprepared then maybe you should blame yourselves or the Watcher for never telling her of the various other heroes that also cohabitate and protect the world with her."

"It was never her concern, and when it finally mattered that needed to be told she was your servant." Whistler shot back defiantly.

"If the ones that you represent have the power to manipulate fate and destiny to the point that they can create the vampire with a souls miracle child then couldn't they have helped the Slayer?" Mephistopheles returned to him with a mocking sneer. "I just made the best of a situation that you allowed to happen. Your bosses made their choice just as she made her choice. The fact that they are not choices that coincide is in no way my fault. You keep taking away from someone sooner or later they're going to take something back. Whether you like it or not. As for this little thing, I'd hardly say it's the problem that you're making it out to be."

"Not a problem, are you seeing what they're doing out there?" Albrecht asked in disbelief as the he looked at the line of fire and destruction that the pair's running battle had created. He could distantly see the pair a ways away. A punch that they could hear from where they were standing sent the Crow tumbling in their direction. "And what do you mean that you don't have any part of her? You wouldn't be here if you didn't"

"I have nothing to do with the Slayer side," Mephistopheles returned, "as for the Rider side well that's all my work. When it comes to her doing the skeleton and hellfire thing it's my business."

"So who do you work for?" the detective asked as he tried to figure a way to break the fighters apart.

"I am the boss in this matter Detective." Mephistopheles informed the man, looking insulted that he had been considered as nothing more than the hired help.

"Wait, so you mean you're the one responsible for her being like this?" Albrecht questioned. "Then that means that you can stop it." He reasoned with relief. "Once she's back to human I'm pretty sure that I can get Draven back in control." He said confidently, as he tried to figure the best way to pull this off.

"It is rather impressive and I really wish I could let the two continue as they have, however I have a new job for the Rider." Mephistopheles noted with regret. "Who knows when the two of them will get a chance to reconnect like this."

"What do you mean reconnect?" Albrecht questioned curiously.

"The Spirit of Vengeance is something of a father or an older sibling to the Crow. They are usually on the opposite side of conflicts; I'm sure that they saw each other and just presumed that they were supposed to be fighting each other. They appear to be having fun while they're going about it though don't they?" He asked with what could almost be considered a fond smile. "Still, I do need to get my other business done." Mephistopheles said as he took a step forward. "Come along, we might as well get this over with." He commanded as he ushered the other two figures forward. The two Balance Demons nodded as they all disappeared and reappeared alongside the pair. "Alright you two, that's enough." He commanded as he reached out to stop the pair. The Rider had the Crow in a one armed choke hold while it was using its other arm to beat on its victim. The Crow on the other hand was taking advantage of being so close by sending several kicks towards the head of the flaming figure. The minute the figure spoke the two figures stopped in their tracks though the way that their bodies were shaking it was obvious that they were fighting whatever hold that the Demon Lord had over them and were still attempting to get at each other.

"Yeah Slayer, it's time to take a break from all the senseless violence." Whistler said hesitantly.

"Whistler." The Rider snarled, as it dropped the Crow and spun around and faced the Balance Demon. The flames that surrounded it seemed to flare even brighter and hotter before.

"Hey kid, long time no see." Whistler said nervously as he eyed the fiery possessed Slayer.

"Not long enough." The Rider said as it suddenly had some weird flaming ax like weapon with a sharpened tip in its hand.

"Now remember Kid, its bad procedure to kill the messenger." Whistler said as he eyed the weapon over.

Not even hesitating, the Slayer Rider drove the sharped stake end of the weapon into the shoulder of the Balance Demon. Whistler screamed as he fell to the ground even as the Rider twisted its weapon around forcing the Demon to try and pull himself off of the weapon. The flames made it impossible for him to grab it though. The Slayer Rider let it sit there for a moment watching with interest as the flames began cooking Whistler from the inside out.

"Mephisto." The Crow spat, as it climbed to its feet while the others watched the Rider attack the Balance Demon.

"Scratch." The Rider hissed out in greeting as if only now noticing the presence of the Demon Lord.

"As amusing as it is to watch you do your work, I do have more important things for you to do than hellfire broil him from the inside out." Mephisto said with a grin. "Tell your playmate goodbye, you have other things to do now. I have a mission for you."

The Slayer Rider nodded its head as the weapon seemed to disappear, leaving a moaning Whistler curled up on the ground. The Rider stared down at the Balance Demon and even without any flesh it seemed to be able to convey all the contempt it felt for Whistler.

Whistler looked up from the ground where he was clutching his sides. "You've changed Kid. You're a hell of a lot more ruthless than you ever were before." Whistler wheezed out, as he stared at the Slayer Rider with a new found fear. "Only time you ever tried that kind of thing was when someone messed with your family. Don't know if it's what you've been, or if it's that thing inside of you Kid but you better be careful just what it is that you decide to do and how far it is that you're really willing to go." He declared to the Slayer Rider ominously.

The Slayer Rider snorted at him in contempt as it began striding away. A flaming motorcycle rolled up beside it. It stood still for a moment before muscle skin hair and organs regrew themselves over the body and the blonde girl reappeared.

Buffy looked at Eric with a grin. "A Crow huh? Kind of cool trick you got there." She complimented him. She then turned her eyes to the still unconscious form of Sarah. "She should be alright, I just hit her harder than I meant to. That's the problem with having two sources of power, sometimes you go way beyond what you meant to do. Be sure that she knows just how lucky she is to have you guys to teach her how to live with the power. It can be overwhelming at times." She said with a sad yet knowing smile as she looked the girl over.

"We will." Albrecht said warily, unsure what the young woman was going to do next.

"Good to know. Here's the number to some witches if you ever need help and they have ways of contacting me as needed." She said as she scribbled the number of the sisters down. She really hoped that they didn't mind her handing out their number. "If things get bad they'll be there to help." She assured the two guys. "Even if you just have questions they might be willing to help."

"Thanks, that could come in handy." Albrecht said as he took the number gratefully.

"Yeah have them tell you the basics of the Slayer they'll explain her power and where it comes from." Buffy informed him. "If you have questions after that I'll get the answers to you."

"Well Slayer, come on maybe we can figure a way to beat that thing that's inside of you." Whistler said as he slowly climbed to his feet. "If we can get you out of your deal then maybe we can get you back to being with your friends so that you can put the Council back together and save the world like you're supposed to be doing."

"Whistler, we're not friends and we're not allies." Buffy said refusing to even look at the Balance demon. "We fight the war from two different fronts. That is if you actually fight the war at all. I'm not completely sure if you do anything other than tell people where to go as needed. The desperate move when time is running out and the Powers can't chance riddles and prophecies to motivate people. Despite your job though Whistler, you don't serve the light I can feel the darkness within you. No, you and the Powers don't want either side to win you guys want to keep the status quo."

"True enough." Whistler admitted to her unrepentantly, "Which is a sight better than serving some demon like him though. He shot back while jerking a thumb toward Mephistopheles.

"At least he's honest about who and what he is." Buffy returned to him. "I made the deal, so I'll deal with it. Better to be his servant than to be the Slave of the Powers anyways."

"Oh come on Kid you were never a slave." Whistler said looking insulted and wounded at the description of her service.

"Whistler I was expected to fight, bleed, and die for your balance." She returned heatedly. "I actually died for your bosses twice." Buffy reminded him. "What benefit did I ever get from that?" Buffy had now turned to face the demon and everyone could see a trace of flames around her as she struggled to keep her emotions in check. "Becoming the Slayer was the worst thing to ever happen to me. Your bosses just flipped a coin and shoved the power into one girl after the other. I at least have a say in my life. I'm not bound to one place just because you say so, or because the evil of the Hellmouth is in one place."

"Come on Kid, they gave you things as you needed them." Whistler said in defense of the Powers. The girl's successes made him look good to a certain extent if she continued to bad mouth the Powers and work against them though the good will he had gathered as her messenger was going to evaporate. That was really not an option that he wanted to consider.

"Really and what is it that you gave me?" Buffy questioned him. "And don't say Angel, we both know that's a lie. I was supposed to be Angel's teacher and show him how to be a hero, maybe even so he could become the next guardian of the Hellmouth even." Her eyes narrowed as she saw Whistler flinch. "That was it wasn't it? She demanded of him. "You had it all planned out, that I was going to die at the hands of the master and then Angel was supposed to fight for my memory or some other crap like that. Because Xander and Angel decided to ignore your plans though I lived and you decided to take Angel away because it didn't work into your plans. And don't try and tell me you had nothing to do with it either it has the marks of the Powers all over them."

"What about the rug rat then?" Whistler said hopefully.

"Are you sure you want to take the credit for that?" Buffy asked stonily. "You know precisely what that spell cost me. I lost some very important things because of that spell. So think real hard about whether or not you want to take the credit for that mess since it's partly the reason that we're here today."

"Uh, yeah probably not." Whistler said in agreement.

Buffy reached out and grabbed the Balance Demon and slammed him into a wall. He yelled as the superheated metal scorched his skin. "If you and your bosses know what's good for them they'll stay away Whistler." The Slayer hissed into the ear of the demon. "I'm free of them and as soon as I pay my debt to Memphis I'm going to stay that way. If you try and force me back well just have to see just how powerful I really am." She then released the demon and let him fall to the ground in a heap.

Mephistopheles smirked at the downed and beaten Whistler before he turned to look at Draven who had reverted back to his human form and was listening to what the blonde was saying with interest. It made him think of his own situation with Shelly and made him wonder how long he would be chasing after her. "Whenever you're ready for real power, or for when you think that your tired of working for some unknown goal for the promise of reconnecting with someone in the afterlife call for me. There may be ways that I can make a deal with you." He offered the young Champion knowingly.

"Hey, you've already got one of our Champions, there's no reason to go and try and steal another." Skull Cowboy said reminding them all that he was indeed there.

Eric nodded at the Demon Lord uncertainly unsure exactly what to think of the old man before him as the one that had some control over the Rider.

Get going, I'll see you on my road." Mephisto ordered, while ignoring the Balance Demons as the blonde nodded her head in agreement.

Albrecht cocked his ears as he heard the distant wail of sirens. "You can either get out of this town now or Draven and all of law enforcement will be seeing just how tough you really are." He warned the blonde.

Buffy chuckled at him as she leaped on her bike. "Trust me, they won't be able to keep up where I'm going, and if I were to decide and deal with them there's not a thing that you, they, or the Bird Boy could do to stop me." She promised him, she then turned to look at Draven. "By the way, Buffy Summers." She said offering her hand.

Eric grinned at her. "Eric Draven." He said and the two shook hands.

The blonde blew a kiss toward Albrecht then she gunned her engine.

Flames erupted all over her as the Rider retook control. "Later! The Slayer Rider called, and began riding straight into the incoming mass of emergency vehicles.

"Oh shit!" The detective said as he rushed at his car. "Come on Draven we've got to figure some way to keep all of those people safe."

The long haired former rocker nodded his head as he placed the still unconscious Sarah into the front seat of the car. He then picked his bike up and roared after the crazy demon thing that could expose him to the whole world. They had learned a lot today.

Skull Cowboy knelt down beside the bleeding Whistler. "I really don't look forward to explaining all of this to the people in charge."

"Tell me about it." Whistler rasped, as he slowly pushed himself back up. "Knowing the Slayer like I do though, things are going to get a lot crazier before they get better." The pair watched as the Slayer Rider headed off on the next mission that Scratch had for her heedless of the various cars chasing her or of the damage that she was causing. They turned to look at the Demon Lord, but saw that he had already left.

Yes things were different. The missing Slayer had been found briefly, but she was nearly untrackable and was no longer following the commands of the Powers. There was no telling what the reaction to this would be. The girl was also becoming more willing to dish out injuries if her fights with the Crow and assault on Whistler were any clue. Things were about to get even more interesting. Only time would tell if it was for good or ill.