Chapter Nineteen


<No. It wasn't true. It can't be. Xander was dead. Killed. Murdered. Stabbed. He died in my arms. The threw him into the bonfire. He was gone.>

But her heart told her otherwise.

She walked silently over to Xander, her friends following her. Each was as shocked as she was.

"Xander?" Buffy asked in disbelief.

"Sorry I'm late," Xander said with a grin.

"Who are you?" Angel questioned next to her, obviously protective of her.

"What are you talking about?" Xander asked, clearly confused.

"We saw you... Die. Stabbed and thrown into the bonfire," Willow replied behind her.

Xander cocked his head to the side. It was as if he was listening to something far away.

"Falen," Xander said. "He must have changed one of the vampires here. Made him look like me."

"What are you talking about?" Cordelia demanded.

"Long story," Xander responded. "Go ahead. Ask me anything."

After a long pause, Buffy looked up at Xander. The man her heart screamed was Xander, and said, "There was an incident. Involving a certain bug..."

Xander shuddered from the memory and said, "Ms. French. Big virgin thing. Verrrrrry embarrassing. Preying Mantis. Very creepy."

Buffy smiled. Her heart leaping for joy. She looked at her friends, each of them was obviously thinking the same thing. It was him. He's alive. Alive!

"Awwwwwwww, isn't this touching?"

The group turned and saw Falen staring at him.

"Reunions are so beautiful," Falen uttered in a mocking tone.

Buffy watched Falen hold out his hand, and form a ball of flame. It was writhing with energy. At that moment, Buffy gave a very audible gulp.

~ * ~ * ~

Xander pushed himself in front of his friends within a second. He won't let them get hurt.

"Xander?!" Buffy asked behind him with concern in her voice.

"Trust me. Stay behind me," Xander replied.

<Nicholas?>
<I'm ready.>
<Let's do this.>

Falen let forth the ball of fire. It headed towards them in an incredible speed... With Xander in the direct path. Xander felt the blistering heat get closer. When it was about a foot away, Xander snapped his hand out and caught it.

Around him he heard gasps of surprise. From his friends and the vampires. Xander used his newfound powers to dissipate the ball of fire into a puff of smoke.

"Well, this is new," Giles admitted behind him.

Falen's hands thrusted out, shooting dozens of balls of energy. At that exact moment, Xander did the same, intercepting each one of Falen's deadly spheres.

"Take cover!" Xander screamed.

He shot off one large ball of energy and ran after his friends, who had ducked behind a grouping of large boulders. He jumped behind the boulders and landed next to Angel.

"Care to explain?" Cordelia asked immediately.

"Okay, quickly put," Xander said, "I merged with a good vampire who is a descendent of Falen. His name is Nicholas. Nicholas is powerful with white magic. Our bodies are merged and we are one. Better?"

"Oh," Buffy mumbled, "I guess that explains that."

The rock behind them shattered as a bolt of energy blew it into a dozen pieces. Xander jumped up and leaped over the boulder. He shot out a bolt of energy that connected with Falen's body. Falen's minions were standing still near the bonfire, not moving, advancing, attacking, nothing. Just standing there. Xander ran and slammed his body into Falen's. He caused his hand to be surrounded with a ball of energy. He then swung his energized fist into Falen's jaw and sent him reeling away. Falen jumped up and shifted from his male to female form. Falen jumped at Xander, connecting her foot sharply with his jaw. He reeled back, falling to the ground. Xander tasted blood in his mouth, but ignored it. He swung his leg out, catching Falen's legs, dropping her like a rock. He jumped on her and stretched his fist back.

"You wouldn't hit a lady?" Falen asked in a soft voice.

Xander hesitated and said, "I wouldn't..."

Xander suddenly brought his fist down onto her face.

"If you were a lady," he finished. He jumped back and looked at his friends, all of them grinning. He turned to Falen who was staggering up. Xander shot out a bolt of energy and watched with satisfaction as Falen's body was ripped by the power of white magic. Falen cried out in pain and glared at Xander.

"I'll kill you."

Xander grinned and said, "You don't scare me."

Falen stretched her arms out, and softly chanted. Around her the wind picked up and heated the cave faster than ever.. He skin stretched and contorted. Her lovely ivory skin dried out and cracked. Suddenly her body exploded in a wave of fire, throwing everyone back. From the smoke and flames Xander heard a shout.

"Dark ones, come to me!"

Xander blinked away the tears from the smoke and saw each of the vampires glow. Suddenly from each vampire, a ball of blue energy ripped out. The vampires shuddered for a second and exploded into a shower of ash. Xander whirled around and looked for Angel and Willow.

<Please let them be okay.>

She saw Angel and Willow through the smoke, staring back at him. He felt a tug within him, where Nicholas' demon was wrestling to get out. Xander surpressed it and looked towards where Falen stood. Her skin was crackling with energy. It split in some places, oozing a dark red blood out. She crouched down for a second the roared as she stood up. Her body grew. Her skin shredded apart and fell to the ground.

Falen now stood over 8 feet tall, a few feet below the cavern top. Her body was massive and muscular. He skin had changed from a pale pink to a deep red. Her eyes had changed from brown to a pale yellow. Two points on her skull stretched till two curved horns ripped out. Tattered pieces of Falen's clothing hung on Falen's body. Falen roared loudly, echoing throughout the cavern.

"Um. Okay. Now I'm scared," Xander muttered.

<Xander?>
<Um, Nicholas. Help!>
<Okay, first info. The form that Falen is in now is the same form that Kalen used. He must of used the little mystical power that the minions of his clan had and used it to change to that form.>
<Okay, so the body of an emissary of the devil has come back. And we have to stop it.>
<Um, yeah.>
<Oh, this is nice. I like this.>

Xander jumped up and shot his hand out. From his hand came a ball of concentrated white energy that streamed out of his body and slammed into Falen. Falen roared in pain, staggering back against the cave wall.

<Xander, tell your friends to get out of here.>
<How?>
<See that tunnel? It goes down a way, then your friends have to take a right. They'll come up to two steel doors. They lead to the forest.>

Xander whirled around and screamed, "Get out! Take that tunnel. It'll split. Take the right tunnel that goes to two steel doors. Go!"

His friends ran towards the tunnel, except for Buffy who screamed over the roaring, "What about you?"

Xander smiled and yelled back, "Don't worry. Go! I'll catch up later."

Buffy hesitated, then ran out, following her friends. Xander whirled around to Falen, who shot her hand out. A stream of dark green energy streamed out, connecting with Xander's shoulder. Xander went flying into the wall. His shoulder felt so cold. The feeling spread throughout his body, paralyzing him.

<N-N-Nicholas?>
<Yeah?>
<Y-You think you can help?>
<I'm trying... Done.>

Xander staggered up, but was grabbed by Falen. Falen picked him up over his head, and threw him towards the bonfire. Xander flew through the air, sure that he was going to die, when suddenly something happened.

"Stop."

Xander stopped in mid-air and landed on the ground. It took him a second to realize that it was he that had said stop. He didn't know where it had come from, but it did. Xander spun around and rammed his body into Falen. Falen was only slightly jarred, but Xander wouldn't let up. He used the energy as an extension of his own body, and punched Falen into the wall. Falen shot out it's hand, shooting a beam of energy at Xander. Xander twirled around and jumped out of the way.

"I will destroy you!" Falen screamed in rage. "If it weren't for you, the slayer would be dead. She would be feeding the way for the dark lord. The one almighty!"

"Oh, shut the hell up," Xander yelled back.

Xander shot a bolt of energy at Falen, causing it to stagger back. Falen shook it's head and ran towards him at an incredible speed. It's body slammed into Xander, causing him to fly into the wall with an audible crack.

<A rib. Probably broke one.> A sharp fiery pain writhed through his body as he tried to stand up. He didn't get the chance. Falen backhanded him, causing him to reel away. He landed in the dirt, tasting blood in his mouth.

<Nicholas?>
<Yeah?>
<Help...>