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Editor's Choice Award

Based on characters and situations created by Joss Whedon, Robert Tappert, and Sami Raimi.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are the sole property of Warner Brothers. No copyright infringement is intended through the writing of this fan fiction.

Xena: Warrior Princess and all related characters are the sole property of Universal. Again, no copyright infringement is intended.

Copyright 1997 by John Dorsey.

I want to acknowledge that the main idea of this story is based on the Xena: Warrior Princess television episode "Been There, Done That." However, since that episode is based on the movie "Groundhog Day", I donít feel so bad about borrowing the idea.


Been There, Done That, Too

A Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Xena: Warrior Princess crossover story.

By John Dorsey

 

"Youíre kidding," Buffy said, her mouth hung wide open. "Weíre facing the end of the world again?"

"Iím afraid it may be true," Giles answered. "As much as I hate to say it."

It was late at night in the library of Sunnydale High School. Buffy and Giles, the school librarian, were alone.

"It figures," Buffy said, "I was just getting used to handling the lesser cosmic proportion type of problems. You know... crazed, disfigured former football heroes, life-sucking 500-year-old-mummies, psycho fraternity monster worshippers, but now this."

She was the Slayer. This one girl in all the world bestowed with the power to fight the vampires, the demons, and the forces of evil. Buffy Summers had been through a lot since she moved to the supposedly boring town of Sunnydale, California. In less than a year, the sixteen-year-old blonde and her friends had fought vampires, giant bugs, internet demons, soul-possessing hyenas, insane invisible stalkers, and a whole lot more. The last time the world was on the line was a few months ago, last spring, when the Master, the leader of the vampires, had risen to the surface and attempted to open the Hellmouth, a portal to the underworld existing below Sunnydale. The Master had succeeded in killing Buffy, but her friends had revived her. She caught up with the Master on the roof of the library and killed him. Now he was gone... hopefully forever.

"I think you should take this a little more seriously, Buffy."

"I know, Giles."

This was how Buffy usually reacted to these type of situations. Her nonchalant wisecracks were really just a front, hiding the incredible fear she felt inside whenever such danger existed. Although Buffy had already saved the world a few times in the past, it would certainly never be something she could get used to. She often wondered if Giles, Xander, Willow, and even Cordelia really knew how scared she became in each life and death scenario they faced. Buffy had to be strong, or at least appear to be strong, especially when everyone was counting on her.

Rupert Giles looked at her. He was the Watcher. Giles was the school librarian to everyone else, but for Buffy he was her mentor and trainer. He knew much of the mystics and the occult, and that knowledge had proven vital to their cause time and time again. Giles was in his late forties. The Englishman was always serious-looking and his glasses made him appear to be the ultimate book nerd. Buffy never told anyone, but he had become something of a father-figure to her. The Slayer lived with her mom ever since her parents had divorced. Her father rarely was able to visit her. Her mom had no idea that Buffy was the Slayer. Therefore, Giles was the only adult she could confide in and find the support she desperately needed to go on.

"Now," Giles continued, "Iím going to explain this as best as I can. It appears that some type of spell is being cast. Someone in Sunnydale is using magic. After doing my research, I believe the spell that is being cast is the Rite of Fantiago."

"How do you know?" Buffy asked.

"The sun has been setting an hour-and-a-half later than it should both yesterday and today. The Rite of Fantiago is the only spell I know of that will cause that these exact after-effects."

"What exactly is the Rite of Fantiago?"

"The rite is a spell which may have been developed by a witch in the seventeenth century somewhere in New England, but no one knows for sure. The purpose of the spell was to destroy all the evil in the world. Unfortunately, thatís not what it does."

Buffy begin to feel scared. She pushed it deep inside. "What exactly does it do?"

Giles wiped the sweat off his forehead and continued. "If the rite is performed in full, it will open the Hellmouth that exists below Sunnydale, which would end all life on this planet."

Buffy gasped. "Oh, my god..."

"The rite cannot be performed all at once. It has three parts, each of which must be performed on three consecutive days. The rite has never been cast completely. Apparently, the witch that created it eventually realized the danger, but several copies of the rite escaped destruction. Someone must have found them."

"So whatís the plan?" Buffy asked, hoping Giles had some solid ideas.

"Weíve got to stop whoeverís behind this before they complete the spell. The first two parts of the spell have already been cast. If the third is cast tomorrow..."

"Itís the end of the world. So how do we stop this?"

"Buffy, Iím going to keep looking through my books to see if thereís some counter spell. Just go home for now. When I come up with a plan, Iíll call you."

Buffy felt incredibly scared now. "Thatís it? Thereís nothing I can do?"

"At the moment... no."


Buffy walked quickly through one of the alleys of Sunnydale. It was around ten oíclock at night. She couldnít believe Giles didnít have something more to go on. How was she going to sleep tonight? There was so little time.

It was dark. It would be dangerous for anyone else to be walking around alone this time of night, but Buffy wasnít exactly an ordinary person. Still, she had to be careful. There was no telling when a vampire might appear.

"Buffy."

Buffy whirled around, ready for a fight. She saw a man standing before her. It was a vampire.

"Angel."

He moved closer.

"Can we talk?"

Just as Buffy was no ordinary girl, Angel was no ordinary vampire. A hundred or so years earlier, a gypsy curse had given him a conscience. He hadnít fed on another human since. Buffy stood in awe of the tall, dark, handsome, brown-haired companion who had helped save her life time and time again. They had deep feelings for each other, but hadnít been able to stay together for any lengthy period of time. Their destinies had divided them, and yet their love had bound them closer than they would ever admit.

"Sure," she replied.

"Funny..." Angel said. "I look at you and, all of a sudden, I donít know what to say."

"We never know what to say, do we?"

Angel looked away for a moment. He would give anything to just once see her lovely face in the sunlight.

"Maybe Iím kidding myself. The two of us... we can never..."

"...never be anything," Buffy finished, suddenly regretting she had run into him. "I know. Weíve been there, done that, remember?"

"Yeah."

"So unless you know something about the Rite of Fantiago, I think Iíll be on my way."

"Rite of Fantiago?" Angel asked puzzledly. "Whatís that?"

"Itís a spell that may just open the Hellmouth tomorrow unless Giles and I can find a way to stop it. So if you donít mind, Iíll be going." She started to walk off.

"Buffy, wait..."

Let her go.

Angel stopped in his tracks. That voice... It was the voice of a woman. And it was coming from inside his head.

Whatís going on? he thought.

Youíve got to trust me. I know about the danger she was talking about, and I need your help to stop it.

Who are you?

Iím a friend. You can bet your last dinar on it.

Dinar? Whatís a dinar?

Iíll tell you on the way. Letís go...

Angel walked off in the opposite direction, listening intently to the stranger that had entered his mind.

Buffy hadnít looked back. There was too much at stake for her to get hung up over Angel all over again.

"I hope we can figure something out soon," she mumbled to herself. Perhaps she was walking too fast, and that was why she suddenly tripped over a brick. Caught offguard, she fell forward, and her head hit a large rock in front of her. As she faded into unconsciousness, it was apparent that sleep wouldnít be such a problem after all.

 


"Buffy, are you all right?"

Buffy raised her head and was slowly pulled to her feet. Her head throbbed a little. That voice... it was Xanderís.

"Buffy, we thought for a second you were dead. Have you been here all night?" Willow asked.

Buffy looked at her two best friends, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg. Xanderís hair was black, his eyes were brown. He was always joking, although he was a bit awkward at times. Undoubtedly, he was a true friend. When Buffy lost her life at the hands of the Master several months earlier, Xander used CPR to bring her back. Xander often wondered if Buffy would ever realize just how much he was in love with her.

Willow was the computer nerd. With her long brown hair and brown eyes, she was attractive but kept mostly to herself. Xander didnít know that Willow had a major crush on him. Buffy could only guess as to when, or if, Willow would ever tell him.

Buffy put her hand on her head. "I fell and hit my head. I spent the whole night in an alley. Great."

Xander looked at her closely. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, Iím fine."

"Willow and I were on our way to school when we saw you. Good thing we happened to look in this alley as we were passing by."

"Letís get out of here," Buffy said. The three of them walked to the street.

"Help! My cat! Sheís stuck in a tree."

Buffy turned and looked. She saw a young girl with brunette hair standing underneath a tree. She couldnít have been more than five-years old. Buffy walked slowly towards her. All of a sudden, a black cat fell from the tree and hit the ground. The girl cried as she bent over the cat. It was dead.

"Oh, no..." Willow winced. "Thatís so sad. I wish we could have gotten here sooner. We might have been able to save it."

"We probably could have, if we wouldíve had a little more time..." Xander added.

Buffy started to feel depressed. Then it struck her. "Oh, my god. Iíve got to call my mom and let her know where Iíve been." She turned to Xander and Willow. "You two go ahead without me."

"All right," Xander said. "See you at school."

"Bye, Buffy," Willow said. The two walked off. Buffy went to a phone booth and started to dial a phone number. She had just finished dialing when she heard a high-pitched scream which she recognized.

"Willow..." she gasped. She dropped the receiver and ran in the direction she heard it. Only a block away in front of an alley, she found Willow. In front of Willow was Xander, lying on the ground. There were also three other people in the alley. Two young boys who had been mugged and the mugger, a man in his thirties in a black jacket, was running away. Buffy knelt beside Xander. There was a stab wound in his chest. He was bleeding. He had tried to help the kids. "Buffy..." Xander whispered.

And then he died.

"No... no..." Buffy cried, tears rolling down her face. Willow just stood there in complete shock. Xander was gone.


Buffy and Willow sat in the library with Giles. It was quiet for a long time.

"I canít believe heís gone," Willow said. She buried her face in her hands. "I loved him."

"Me, too," Buffy answered.

They had spent a quite a bit of time in mourning. Giles himself was in tears. He had grown very attached to Buffy, Willow, and Xander. He cared for them as if they were his own children. Eventually, the Watcher stood up. "Buffy, as painful as it is for me to say this, we still have a serious problem to deal with. The Rite of Fantiago will be completed today, if it hasnít been completed already."

"What if itís already been done?" Buffy said.

"Then tomorrow, the Hellmouth will open and it will be..."

"The end of the world." Buffy completed. She knew she had to focus, but it seemed impossible. All she could think about was Xander. He had once asked her out, and she rejected him. She had hurt him so badly, yet he stood by her through everything. He had even saved her life. But the all-mighty Slayer had failed to save his.

"Iíve been listening to the police radio band this morning. There was another mugging besides the one that Xander was involved in, a bank robbery in which six people were killed, and a huge fire that is out of control in the downtown area. Apparently, a car crashed into a gas station, which then exploded. The fire spread from there. It may destroy half of Sunnydale."

Buffy and Willow knew about the fire. They had been close enough to hear the gas station explode. The horrible day just kept getting worse.

"What is all this supposed to mean?" Buffy asked half-heartedly. Willow didnít appear to be paying any attention at all.

"These are all apparent after-affects of the Rite of Fantiago. After the first two portions are cast, evil spreads on the morning of the third day. All of this must be the result."

"So what do we do?"

"Iíll have to keep searching through my books for some type of spell to reverse this, or anything that can help us. The problem is that I have so many volumes. I should be able to go through these by tomorrow." He pointed to several books on his table. "There just isnít enough time to go through all my volumes, plus every other source of information, before tomorrow."

"Funny... how it all comes down to time," Buffy mumbled.


It was late. Buffy was at home in her room. She and Willow had spent the evening working with Giles at the library, trying to find any information possible. They had tried a lot of different sources, including the internet, but to no avail. It all seemed so hopeless, and Buffy felt even worse when she thought about Xander.

She lay down on her bed, hoping to fall asleep. As her tears continued to fall, Buffy found herself wishing more than anything in the world that this horrible day had never happened. Eventually, she drifted off to sleep.


"Buffy, are you all right?"

Buffy raised her head and was slowly pulled to her feet. Her head throbbed a little. That voice... it sounded like...

"Buffy, we thought for a second you were dead. Have you been here all night?" Willow asked.

Buffy turned her head to look at the boy standing beside her. It was Xander!

"Xander!" she yelled. She hugged him as tight as she could. Tears fell from her eyes. Willow had never seen Buffy show so much affection for Xander before. She couldnít admit to herself that it bothered her.

"Xander, youíre alive!" Buffy smiled.

"Yes, I am," Xander said, confused. Still, he was always thrilled when Buffy showed any deep affection for him. After all, he was in love with her. "For a moment there, we thought you were the one who was dead. But Iím very happy that youíre so very happy to see me."

"I had the weirdest dream," Buffy said. "I woke up in an alley and..." She then recognized the alley they were in. "It was this alley." Now she was really confused

Buffy put her hand on her head. She could feel the throbbing... "I fell and hit my head. I spent the whole night here."

Xander looked at her closely. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, Iím fine."

"Willow and I were on our way to school when we saw you. Good thing we happened to look in this alley as we were passing by."

"I think Iíd like to get out of here," Buffy said. The three of them walked to the street.

"Help! My cat! Sheís stuck in a tree."

Buffy turned and looked. She saw a young girl with brunette hair standing underneath a tree. She couldnít have been more than five-years old. Buffy walked slowly towards her. All of a sudden, a black cat fell from the tree and hit the ground. The girl cried as she bent over the cat. It was dead.

Buffy felt shock hit her. "Oh, my god... It wasnít a dream. It wasnít a dream at all."

"Oh, no..." Willow winced. "Thatís so sad. I wish we could have gotten here sooner. We might have been able to save it."

"We probably could have, if we wouldíve had a little more time..." Xander added.

"Time.." Buffy whispered.

"Buffy, is something wrong?" Xander asked.

"Yes," Buffy answered. "Something is wrong. And this time, I know exactly what it is." She began to run.

"Buffy!" Willow yelled.

A block away, Buffy turned into an alley. There were two young boys being held at knifepoint by a man in a black jacket. A quick thrust kick sent him crashing to the ground.

"I did it," Buffy said as Xander and Willow caught up to her. "I stopped the mugging and saved Xanderís life." She turned to the two of them. "Okay, guys. Iíve got to explain something to you. Itís going to sound strange, and itís going to be very confusing, so bear with me."


Xander shook his head out. "Okay, so youíre saying that today for us was yesterday for you."

"No," Buffy answered. "Yesterday for you was yesterday for me, but today has happened to me twice."

"Itís all clear to me now..." Xander shook his head again.

"This was the second time you two found me in the alley. This is what happened the first time: We left the alley, the cat fell out of the tree, I went to make a phone call to my mom, you two left. Then I heard a scream, I ran to the alley, Xander was stabbed by the mugger, and he died."

"I... died?," Xander said uneasily.

"Yes. And when I went to sleep at home that night, I woke up in the morning in the alley again, with a throbbing in my head, as you and Willow helped me up. Only this time, I knew about the mugging, so I didnít let you and Willow walk off, and I was able to stop the mugger before he hurt those kids or Xander or anyone else. Make sense?"

"Oh, yeah," Willow said. "I still canít believe it. But, then again, you did know about the mugging. But how come Xander and I canít remember any of this?"

"Because it didnít happen to you. It only happened to me."

"Well, Iím confused again." Xander smiled.

"The mugging happened in the same place as it did before. Thereís also the exploding Texaco station."

"When does it explode?" Willow asked.

Suddenly, they heard a large explosion. They ran to the street and looked at the flames several blocks away.

"Right now."

They watched it for a long time. The flames looked to be out of control. "Look, letís go see Giles," Buffy said. "Maybe he can shed some light on this. But first, I think I better call my mom... again."


"Say that again." Giles replied.

"I just told you everything."

"You must realize... this is a bit much for me to believe."

"Giles, I can hardly believe it myself, but itís true," Buffy said. "As I said before, I knew about the mugging in the alley and the gas station exploding, causing a fire that goes out of control... not to mention the bank robbery. Yesterday... I mean, today, when Willow and I come to the library, you eventually tell us more about the Rite of Fantiago. You tell us about the other mugging, the bank robbery, the gas station exploding, and how these are all after-affects of the rite."

Giles turned on the TV and flipped on the news. "This just in..." the anchorman announced. "Besides the fire that is now raging out of control in downtown Sunnydale, there were two muggings early in the morning. One of these was foiled by an unidentified teenage girl, but the other has resulted in two deaths..."

After the report ended, another began about a bank robbery in which five people were killed. When it was over, Giles turned the TV off and looked at Buffy. "I think we better start believing you. Iíd like to think thereís a spell in my books that could be used to counter the Rite of Fantiago, but thereís not enough time to go through them all."

"I can save you some time. Tonight you call me and say that you havenít found anything in your seventeenth century texts. So we can rule those out."

"Yes," Giles said, raising his eyebrows. "I guess so. If I find anything, Iíll let you know."

"So the day repeated itself," said Willow, "This reminds me of something."

"What?" Giles asked.

"It reminds me of a story I had read somewhere. Wait! Now I remember! The story is in the Scrolls."

"Scrolls?" Xander frowned.

"The Xena Scrolls."

"Xena? Like as in the TV show?" asked Buffy.

"The show is based after the Scrolls. They tell of a number of adventures of a warrior princess named Xena sometime in the first or second century B.C., actually no oneís sure when. Or if Xena really existed at all. One of those stories of her involves the day repeating itself over and over again until she finds a way to stop all the evils that occur from taking place. I wonder if Buffy could be facing the same situation."

"Well," Buffy said, "the other mugging happened real close to the one that I foiled. So if today happens again tomorrow, I guess I can practice stopping it." She smiled at them.

Xander, Willow, and Giles simply stared at her, having no idea what to say.


"Buffy, are you all right?"

Buffy raised her head and was slowly pulled to her feet. Her head throbbed a little.

"Buffy, we thought for a second you were dead. Have you been here all night?" Willow asked.

Buffy put her hand on her head. "Itís happening again. Everything is repeating."

Xander looked at her closely. "Are you okay?"

"Iím fine."

"Willow and I were on our way to school when we saw you. Good thing we happened to look in this alley as we were passing by."

"I fell and hit my head. I..." Buffy said. Her eyes widened and she ran to the street.

"Help! My cat! Sheís stuck in a tree."

Buffy turned and looked. She saw a young girl with brunette hair standing underneath a tree. Buffy quickly ran towards her. All of a sudden, a black cat fell from the tree. Buffy dove and barely managed to catch it before it hit the ground. She had scraped her elbows on the sidewalk, but it had been worth it.

Xander and Willow caught up with her. "Buffy, that was awesome." Willow said. "Itís like you knew it was going to happen."

"I did know," Buffy smiled as she handed the cat to the happy little girl.

"Say that again," Xander replied.

"I also know something else," Buffy added, then started to run. Xander and Willow ran after her.

A block away, Buffy turned into an alley. There were two young boys being held at knifepoint by a man in a black jacket. A quick thrust kick sent him crashing to the ground.

"I did it," Buffy said as Xander and Willow caught up to her. "One mugging foiled," she said to them, "one more to go." She quickly ran down the street.

"Are you as confused as I am?" Xander asked Willow.

"More."

"Letís head after her."

Buffy ran down two blocks to St. Peters Street. She turned into the alley and saw a man hiding in the shadows.

"I guess Iím here a little early," she said, "but time management is very important to me." A right hook sent the man crashing to the ground. A man and woman walked by the alley. Buffy recognized them as the two people who had been killed. As they passed, she also noticed a seven-year-old boy on a skateboard going in the opposite direction.

Xander and Willow caught up with her. "Who is that guy?" Xander asked, looking at the person out cold on the ground.

"A mugger." Buffy answered.

Suddenly, a gunshot rang out.

Buffy turned around to see another man jump out of the shadows and run down the alley. There had been two muggers, not one. Buffy was about to chase him, but then she saw Willow fall to her knees. She then collapsed into Xanderís arms.

"No..." Xander cried. His face was shaking with grief. "Oh, my god. Sheís dead, Buffy. Sheís dead."

"Itíll be okay, Xander," Buffy said, kneeling beside him. "I promise itíll be okay." It better be, she kept telling herself. It better be...

Buffy suddenly couldnít wait for tomorrow.


"Buffy, are you all right?"

Buffy raised her head and was slowly pulled to her feet. Her head throbbed a little.

"Buffy, we thought for a second you were dead. Have you been here all night?" Willow asked.

Buffy turned her head towards Willow. "Willow!" She put her arms around her and hugged her as tight as she could. "Thank god! Willow!"

Xander raised his eyebrows. "Sure, give her all the thanks. I was the one who spotted you. Are you okay?"

"Iím fine."

"Willow and I were on our way to school when we saw you. Good thing we happened to look in this alley as we were passing by."

"Come on, letís go," Buffy said. She ran to the street.

"Help! My cat! Sheís stuck in a tree."

Buffy turned and looked. She saw a young girl with brunette hair standing underneath a tree. Buffy pointed at the tree and said casually. "Okay, the cat in that tree is going to fall out and die." All of a sudden, a black cat fell from the tree and hit the ground. The girl cried as she bent over the cat. It was dead.

"Oh, no..." Willow winced. "How did you know that? Why didnít you try to save it?"

"Letís just say... been there, done that. Now, a block away two young kids are about to get mugged." She ran off in that direction. Willow and Xander followed.

"Has she lost her mind?" Willow asked.

"I think so."

Buffy stopped in front of the alley where a man in a black jacket was holding a knife in front of two young kids. "Thereís the first mugging," she pointed for Willow and Xander to see. "Been there, done that, too. I need to figure out the best way to stop the next mugging... which is this way." She ran off again.

When she came towards the alley on St. Peters Street, she stopped and let Willow and Xander catch up to her. "Buffy, what is going on?" Xander asked. "Why didnít you help the cat and those two kids?"

"Iíve been there, done that. I told you. Now... there are two muggers in that alley. Iíve got a score to settle. Stay here." She smiled at them quickly before turning into the alley. Buffy ran down two blocks to St. Peters Street. She turned in the alley and saw a man hiding in the shadows. He drew a knife.

"I guess Iím here a little early," she smiled, "but time management is very important to me." Suddenly, Xander ran towards her. "Buffy!" He suddenly tripped and crashed right into her. Dazed, she looked up as the other man stepped of the shadows. They both drew guns and took aim.

"Oops," Xander whispered and gave Buffy a small smile.

A gunshot was the last thing she heard.


"Buffy, are you all right?"

Buffy raised her head and was slowly pulled to her feet. Her head throbbed a little.

"Buffy, we thought for a second you were dead. Have you been here all night?" Willow asked.

Buffy put her hand on her head. She glared at Xander, remembering the very painful death she had suffered.

Xander looked at her closely. "Are you okay?"

Buffy reared her fist back and clobbered Xander with all the strength her slayer abilities provided. He plummeted on his back. Willow ran over to Xander. Her voice was shaking. "You... you broke his neck. Heís dead... Oh, my god, heís dead!" Tears were streaming down her face.

Buffy sat down on the alley floor. "Oops..." she smiled. She had never realized she could hit someone that hard. Buffy looked at her hand. "Darn. I broke a nail."

It was going to be a very long today.


"Buffy, are you all right?"

Buffy raised her head and was slowly pulled to her feet. Her head throbbed a little.

"Iím fine!" she yelled. "Iím fine! Iím fine! Iím fine! Just leave me alone so I can think!"

Xander and Willow let go of her and took a step back. Buffy leaned back against the alley wall, then began to pace, her hands grasping her forehead in frustration.

"Okay, itís clear what I have to do. I have to save the cat, stop one mugging, stop another mugging, stop the bank robbery, stop the Texaco station from blowing up, and then stop the last part of the Rite of Fantiago from being cast so I can save the world! But until Giles figures out who this person is whoís performing the rite and where this person is located, thereís no point in trying to save anybody because the day is just going to keep repeating anyway!"

Buffy turned and looked at the two of them.

"All right, letís go see Giles... after I call my mom... again."

Buffy walked off, and Xander and Willow quietly followed her, neither saying a word.


At the library, Xander, Willow, and Giles stared at Buffy dumbfoundedly as she explained her story.

"Okay," Xander said. "So weíve lived through today how many times?"

"A lot!" Buffy exclaimed. "First you get killed, then Willow gets killed, then you get both me and you killed, then I get pissed off and... and now here we are! I think itís obvious. Something out there, some spell or something, must be repeating everything until I manage to stop all these terrible things from taking place. But before I can do this, I need to know who and where this person is whoís performing the Rite of Fantiago."

"Iím sure thereís something in my books that can help us, Buffy," Giles replied. "But the problem is that I have so many and thereís not enough time to go through all of them by tomorrow when the final phase of the rite will be completed."

"Giles," Buffy answered. "We have all the time in the world. Youíve already gone through your seventeenth and eighteenth century texts."

"I have?"

"Yes, you told me. Trust me, you did. Look through any books but those."

"All right," Giles replied. "If you say so."

"Now, according to the news," Buffy continued, "the muggings, the bank robbery, and the gas station exploding all happen within minutes of each other. I donít see how I can foil the muggings, and then get to both the bank and the gas station in time. Thereís just not enough time."

Suddenly, a boy walked in through the door with a skateboard in his hand.

"Would anyone here happen to know where the skateboard club is meeting this afternoon?"

Buffy stared at him blankly. "Skateboard?"

"Yeah," he smiled. "Do you know?"

"I think theyíre in Room 201," Willow answered.

"Great. Thanks." And then he left.

"Skateboard..." Buffy pondered.

Xander walked up to her. "Yes, a skateboard. Itís a little board with four wheels on the bottom. You use it for an activity called skateboarding..."

"Thatís it," Buffy smiled. "Come on. Weíre skipping school today."

"Buffy," Willow intervened. "Weíve got that big history test today. The test thatís so big that if you miss it, you automatically fail the entire course."

"It doesnít matter, Willow," Buffy answered. "Remember, as long as today keeps repeating itself, we can take the test tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. Besides, this is more important."

"Wait a minute," Xander said. "Iím beginning to like the sound of this. In fact, if this is all really true, why should we even bother to try and stop everything?" Buffy and Willow stared at him. "Think about it. We could relive the same day for all eternity... skipping school, partying, and who knows what else." He smiled devilishly at Buffy. "You know what I mean?"

Buffy gave him a small smile in return. "Well, Iím the only one who can remember what happens each time we live through today. And if I were to have to keep explaining this scenario to the three of you every day for all eternity, I think I would go completely insane. Letís get out of here."

"It was just a thought," Xander sulked as he and Willow followed her.

As the three of them walked out of the school, they heard a voice behind them.

"Where do you think youíre going?"

Buffy, Xander, and Willow turned around to see Principal Schneider. This short, bald man hated all kids. He saw them as ruthless, soulless, hormonic timebombs that needed to be contained at all costs. Most people could not understand why he had chosen the profession that he did. Schneider saw Buffy as a troublemaker, missing class as much as she did (although that was due to her Slayer activities). It seemed he was dedicated to making all their lives miserable.

"Skipping school again? You three are in big trouble."

Buffy walked up to him, a smirk on her face.

Schneider was slightly taken aback. "Youíre pretty cocky, arenít you? Well, guess what? You are nothing. I dare you to do something, anything, to piss me off, Buffy. I dare you."

Buffy clubbed Schneider with a right hook and he collapsed to the ground. She turned and smiled at Xander and Willow, who were both agasp. "Iíve always dreamed of doing that. He wonít remember anything. Letís go."

Less than an hour later, the three walked out of a sporting goods store on the far side of Sunnydale, far away from the fire that was raging out of control.

"Well, you were right, Buffy," Xander said. "The fire started at the Texaco station and is definitely out of control."

"I canít believe you spent $150 on that skateboard," Willow said. "Can you even use it?"

"No, but Iím going to learn," Buffy said. "My abilities as the Slayer should help me learn quicker than most. And if I canít learn today, well, thereís always tomorrow, and the next day."

"So when today starts all over again, youíre going to get to all the crime and disaster scenes in time by using a skateboard," Xander added.

"You got it," Buffy said.

"But thereís just one problem Iím seeing with this plan," said Xander. "When today starts all over again, you wonít have the skateboard anymore. It will be back in the store, right?"

"Right," Buffy answered. "Donít worry. Iíve got it all figured out."

"Sure," Xander said. "Gosh, I love being a sidekick. You never know what in the world is going on."

For the next several hours, Buffy practiced learning the skateboard. Her skill and strength from being the Slayer helped her to learn in what was probably record time. After that, they headed back to the school. Inside the library, Giles had big news.

"Iíve finally found it. Iíve found more information on the Rite of Fantiago. It says right here that the sorcerer who created the spell was aware of its potential for disaster from the start. As a result, he put in a safeguard, if you will, in case the rite doesnít do what it was originally intended. Performing the second part of the rite casts a spell which will cause the third day to repeat itself until a hero, a chosen one, can stop all the evils of the day from happening and prevent the third part of the rite from ever being performed, thus saving the world. Now we know why the day has been repeating."

"But how do I stop whoever it is from performing the third part of the rite?" Buffy asked.

"It also says here that the Rite of Fantiago must be performed in the center of the town in an open area on the eighth hour of the day."

"That would be eight oíclock in the morning," said Buffy. "And an open area in the center of town would have to be..."

"The town square." Willow finished.

"We found Buffy only a few minutes before eight," added Xander.

"Iím afraid that doesnít give you much time to stop everything from happening and then get back to the square before itís too late," said Giles.

"Iíll do it," Buffy said with confidence. She headed for the door. "Iíve got to keep practicing with the skateboard. I guess Iíll see you all tomorrow... or earlier on today.. or whenever."

Xander, Willow, and Giles stared after her blankly, having no idea what to say.


"Buffy, are you all right?"

Buffy raised her head and was slowly pulled to her feet. Her head throbbed a little. That voice... it was Xanderís.

"Buffy, we thought for a second you were dea-" Willow began. She stopped abruptly when Buffy shoved them both backwards. Having been caught offguard, they both fell to the ground.

"Sorry guys," Buffy exclaimed, "but Iím a little short on time at the moment." She ran out of the alley and turned to find the tree. Buffy recognized the young girl with brunette hair standing underneath it. Buffy ran to where she remembered catching the cat before.

"Let me guess," she said to the girl. "Youíre cat is stuck up there."

The girl stared at her bewildered. "How did you-" And then a black cat fell from the tree. Buffy caught it easily. She handed it to the girl. "There you go." Then Buffy ran back in the direction she had come, leaving the girl standing there with her jaw hanging open.

Xander and Willow were coming out of the alley just as Buffy was running by. "Hey-" was all Xander got out. She crashed into Xander, and he fell into Willow, both hitting the ground again. Buffy kept going. "Sorry again, guys! Timeís short!"

Xander and Willow sat on the ground, staring after her. "Is it me," Xander began, "or has Buffy gone completely insane?"

"Iím not so sure itís you," Willow answered. They both continued to stare after Buffy, a little afraid to follow her.

Buffy quickly turned into the next alley where the mugger had just grabbed the two young boys. He was surprised. "What the-" A karate kick sent him sprawling to the ground, his knife falling through a metal grate into a sewer.

Buffy stared at the unconscious form for a moment. "Thatís for Xander." Buffy then glanced at her watch. 8:56. Time is running out, she thought. She quickly ran out of the alley and headed toward her next destination.

Two blocks further she found St. Peters Street. Buffy turned into the alley and saw a man hiding in the shadows.

"I guess Iím here a little early," she smiled, "but time management is very important to me." She jabbed the man in the throat with two of her fingers and he collapsed to the ground struggling for breath. Buffy looked at her hand. "Pressure points... How did I do that?" Then, remembering the other danger, she leaped forward and knocked over the second gunman who thought he was hidden from her.

She looked at him. "Thatís for Willow... and Xander... and me!" Buffy walked over to the first mugger whose face was contorted as he writhed in pain. She jabbed her two fingers into his throat again and he suddenly started breathing again. A right hook sent him straight into unconsciousness. Buffy stared at her hand again. "Why am I doing this?" She felt strange, as if there was something in her mind, something alien. She turned and saw a seven-year-old boy on a skateboard going by. "Right on time," she whispered under her breath.

The Slayer grabbed the kid and lifted him off of the skateboard. "Hey!" he yelled.

"Sorry, but I need to borrow this." Buffy got on the skateboard and rode off.

"Thatís my skateboard! Come back!"

Buffy ignored him as she pulled out onto the street and grabbed the back bumper of a car that was cruising in the direction of the bank. She went by Xander and Willow, who stared after her open-mouthed.

"Willow..." Xander started.

"What?"

"Have you ever seen Buffy skateboard before?"

"No."

"And I thought we knew all her deepest, darkest secrets."

Buffy saw the bank quickly coming up. She veered off the road and onto the sidewalk. A man in a black mask was backing out of the bank doors. He had a large white satchel in one hand and a pistol in another. "Hereís a little something to remember me by!" he shouted. He took aim with his gun, but then heard something coming towards him. He turned and what he saw bewildered him. It was a teenage girl on a skateboard holding a... He wasnít sure what she was holding. The man wasnít going to take any chances, though. There was too much at risk. He whirled his gun around. She was a goner.

Suddenly, the girl threw the object she was holding. It struck him in the hand, penetrating his skin. "Aaaagh!" he yelled, dropping his gun. It was a stake. She had hit him with a stake. He quickly pulled it out. Before he could do anything else, the girl did a flip into the air into the air and came down on him with a kick. He slumped to the pavement unconscious.

"Wow," Buffy said. That flip was like nothing she had ever done before. People were looking at her, staring in amazement. She smiled at them and shrugged. "I have many skills..."

Another robber came out of the bank. He stopped in shock when he saw his partner lying on the ground. Buffy grabbed the skateboard and threw it at the man, putting a fast spin on the object. The robber raised his gun, but it was too late as the skateboard hit him square in the face, knocking him over. The skateboard, still spinning, then bounced off a telephone pole, and came back at Buffy. She caught it easily. Bewildered, she stared at it for a moment.

"Guess I have more skills than I thought."

Then she remembered. The gas station! Looking up at the huge grandfather clock on the bank, Buffy saw it was 7:58. Time was running out. She jumped on the skateboard and headed toward the station, grabbing the back fender of another moving car.

Several blocks down, she was approaching the Texaco station. Then she started to lose her balance. "Oh, no..." she started to panic, which caused her to go flying off to the side. She landed on her back. Hitting the pavement was painful. She struggled to her feet. The skateboard had been run over by another car and was ruined.

"Buffy, are you all right?"

Xander and Willow ran to her. "Iím fine, Xander," she answered.

Willow was also concerned. "Buffy, whatís going on? When did you learn how to skateboard? And what-"

"Wait," Buffy whispered under her breath.

A car was swerving out of control at 60 miles per hour and heading towards the Texaco station. It was the drunk driver. Buffy grabbed Xanderís book bag and pulled out a thin, gray rubber frisbee with a large hole in the center. She threw it.

The frisbee bounced off of a telephone pole and went straight towards the approaching car. It hit the drunken man in the face and bounced back out the window. Dazed, the man slammed on his brakes. The frisbee came straight back at Buffy, and she caught it with ease. She handed it to Xander.

"Something weird is going on here," she said, shaking her head.

"Gee, you think?" Xander asked.

"Iím not sure how I did that."

"Iím not sure why you did that." Xander retorted. "It was a nice angle shot, though. You should try pool..."

"The town square!" Buffy shrieked. "Weíve got to hurry! Come one!"

The three ran three blocks down to the square. Buffy ignored every question Xander and Willow threw at her.

"Trust me. Itís a matter of life or death," Buffy stated.

The Sunnydale Town Square was a huge square with a large fountain on each corner. A circular platform was in the center. It was built for town gatherings, but rarely ever used. There was a person in a brown hooded cloak standing on it.

"That must be him." Buffy kept running.

The personís back was facing them, their hands raising in the air.

"Afda kab dilo ga nee-"

"Hey!"

The figure turned around, the hood covering the face.

Buffy walked forward, Xander and Willow right behind her. "Who are you? Donít you know you need a license to cast spells? This is a serious violation. Youíre sentenced to spend 6 months to a year suffering in the Hellmouth." She raised her fist, ready to attack.

"Wait!" said the cloaked figure. The person raised the hood, revealing a face.

Buffy, Xander, and Willowís jaws dropped open.

"CORDELIA?!" they simultaneously exclaimed.

It was Cordelia Chase. As the undisputed number-one snob of Sunnydale High, her long brown hair and vivacious good looks had made her very popular with many of the other students. The ultimate valley girl with a valley girl vocabulary, she was usually looking down on just about everyone. Cordelia had put down Buffy and her friends more times than any of them would care to count. And yet, she eventually claimed a subtle place within their group, becoming a silent friend whom they could count on when needed. Cordelia had saved Willowís life during Buffyís final battle with the Master, and she had never revealed to anyone that Buffy was the Slayer. Still, she had a habit of doing things that drove them all crazy, and this was no exception.

Cordelia looked embarrassed. "Look, I know this all seems weird. You all must be thinking Iím a witch."

"Weíve always thought you were a witch," Xander answered.

"Shut up, dork-brain!" Cordelia retorted.

"Cordelia," Buffy began. "Why were you reciting that spell? And how did you get it?"

"It all came to me in a dream."

"A dream?" Buffy was hopelessly puzzled.

"Three nights ago I had a dream. Someone, I donít know who it was, told me that if I recited a certain spell at the town square at 8:00 in the morning three days in a row, I could repeat the day over and over again until I had stopped all the evils that had occurred... from three days ago."

Buffyís mouth was still wide open. "What evils occurred three days ago?"

"Well, first off, my hair was so frayed I just looked a total loser in front of Tom Monlin, who is only the cutest guy in all of Sunnydale High. Then my car engine was ruined while I was driving. Like Iím supposed to know that that liquid gushing out of the bottom of the car was a serious oil leak. And because of that I missed getting tickets to the U2 concert which sold out, and then I missed Christian Slaterís scheduled appearance that night at the Sunnydale Convention Center. Of course, one look is all it would take for him to fall in love with me, and if I could marry him, just think of all evil I could stop with all my money."

Xander was shaking his head. "With friends like her, what ever is the point of enemies?"

Buffy stared at her in disbelief. "Cordelia, do you have any idea the grief and agony youíve put me through? Iíve been repeating this day only about a zillion times trying to stop the third part of the spell from being completed. You didnít finish it, did you?"

"No," Cordelia answered, a bit timidly, which was a rare emotion from her. "But youíve got to understand, Buffy. I had to recite the spell."

"What do you mean?" asked Willow.

"I just felt like I had to do it. As if I didnít have any choice. As if something was pushing me to do it."

"Thereís something here Iím missing," Buffy pondered.

"Iím missing just about everything," Willow said. "Buffy, what is going on?"

"Look, guys," Buffy began, "Iím really not in the mood to explain right now. But at least the danger seems to be over."

"Buffy!" came from out of nowhere.

Giles was running towards them, almost out of breath.

"Giles?" Buffy was confused. How could he have known she would be at the town square? He was supposed to be going through his books at this moment trying to find the Rite of Fantiago. Something was very wrong.

"Buffy, Iím scared. I havenít found anything about the Rite of Fantiago in my books yet, but thereís something about it we donít know. Something even more dangerous..."

"What do you mean?"

Xander walked over. "Uh, could someone fill me and Willow in here, because we got lost about ten million years ago..."

"Look," Giles continued, "I canít explain it. But something brought me to this place. I just knew youíd be here. And I knew it had something to do with the Rite of Fantiago. But I... I... I donít know what."

A voice echoed through all their heads.

No, but I do...

There was a flash of light and suddenly they all found themselves in another place. Buffy looked around, and then became wide-eyed with fear.

"No..."

Part of the ceiling was collapsed. Water was dripping through. Candles were lit all around them. An old stone chair lie before them. There was no mistaking this place. The underground church.

It was the Masterís lair.

Buffy was in unbelievable shock. It was here where the Master of the Vampires had been imprisoned. Several months ago, she had heard the prophecy that he was going to open the Hellmouth and destroy the world. She came down through the sewers to this place to fight him... and lost. He killed her and left for the surface. Fortunately, Xander had found his way the lair and used CPR to bring Buffy back to life. She found the Master on the roof of the school library and killed him, defeating him once and for all. Or did she?

"Whatís going on?" Cordelia said softly.

"Iíve been here before," said Xander. "This place is bad. Very bad."

"Where are we?" Willow asked.

"Itís the Master." Buffyís voice was shaking. "Itís the Master. The Master is back..."

"Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha..."

A figure materialized on the stone chair. Buffy eyed him. He wore a black outfit which looked very ancient. He was handsome with a large build, black hair, and a very short beard. And he was smiling.

"No, no, no, little girl," he spoke. "I assure you... the Master is most certainly dead." He stood up. "But WAIT íTIL YOU GET A LOAD OF ME!!!"

"That voice," Cordelia whispered. "That was the voice from my dream."

Willow backed up. "Okay, Iím thoroughly scared now. Can we go?"

"Who are you?" Giles asked.

"I am the one... the one who will bring death and destruction to this world and all who live in it. I was defeated before. But this time... nothing will stop me."

The dark man started to pace.

"You see, for the longest time I was trapped in a tomb in Macedonia. In 1940, I had my first chance to escape. Two lucky little scientists and someone else I wonít bother to mention managed to thwart me. But now, with the Hellmouth resting on Sunnydale, Iíve got another chance at freedom."

He started to move toward Buffy.

"Although trapped, Iíve been able to tap into the power of the Hellmouth... in a limited capacity. I created the Rite of Fantiago and placed it in numerous books of sorcery around the world. I knew the lure of destroying all evil would be too good to pass up. Sooner or later, someone would activate the spell. But... I got tired of waiting. So I decided to find a clueless excuse for a human being to trick into performing the rite." He looked at Cordelia. "Thank you, my dear."

Xander glared at her. "Way to go, Ms. ĎI think Iíll recite a spell so I can meet Christian Slater.í"

"Geek!" Cordelia retorted.

"Moron!" Xander answered.

"People!" Giles interrupted. "I donít think this is the time to be squabbling amongst ourselves."

Buffy had felt some relief when she saw that this being was clearly not the Master. But she now had a feeling that he was something far, far worse. The Slayer was afraid, but she tried not to show it. "But the third part of the rite was never completed."

The dark man smiled. "Yes, it was. When you and all your friends arrived at the town square, it was completed. The whole purpose of the Rite of Fantiago was to bring the Chosen One here... to bring you here... so I could... "slay" you. As for the day repeating itself, that was mostly for fun. It was inspired from an adventure that an old nemesis of mine had. Youíve probably heard of her. Her name was Xena. I thought Iíd give you one last run of glory, allow you to think that youíd won, and then take it all away from you at the last moment. You see, the price for my escape from imprisonment is that I must destroy the Slayer. Once you are dead, the God of War is free."

Buffy started to back away. "Who are you?"

"My name is Ares... the God of War."

Gilesí swallowed hard. "Ares... Youíre going to open the Hellmouth... and destroy the world."

"Open the Hellmouth? Destroy the world? Now why would I want to do that? If the world was destroyed, then there would be no war. And thus there would be no point for my existence. No, it wonít be the end of the world. Itíll just feel like it. Trust me... when I get out of here, youíre going to see some real fireworks. Well, actually, you wonít. Youíll all be dead."

"Ares," Buffy spoke. "Why are they here?" She indicated her friends. "Why not just me?"

"Simple. Your friends seem to have the annoying habit of saving your skin, bringing you back to life. When I kill all of you at once, there wonít be anyone left to stop me. Any more questions? No? Good."

Ares raised his hand and a dozen or so vines came out of the walls wrapping themselves around the Slayer and her companions. Giles gasped. Willow and Cordelia screamed. Xander dived to the right, avoiding them. Then a vine managed to wrap itself around his left foot. He grabbed a stone edifice and held on for dear life as the vine tried to pull him away.

"Xander!" Willow yelled.

Giles struggled, but to no avail. "I canít move! Buffy!"

Buffy couldnít move either. But, summoning all her strength, she suddenly broke the vines around her. She stepped towards Ares.

"Youíre strong," he smiled. "Iím stronger. Youíre a Vampire Slayer. But Iím not a vampire. I make your Master look like a joke. And the one person who could save you isnít here. Sorry, Buffy, but youíre way out of your league with me."

"Do all Gods talk too much?" Buffy asked.

Ares smile faded and he lunged forward. He took a wild swing and Buffy ducked under it and threw him backwards. He landed on his feet and turned around.

"By the way," Ares said. "The day wonít be repeating itself anymore. When you die, youíre gonna stay dead."

"So will you."

Ares charged again, throwing punches, but the Slayer dodged them all. She was trying to feel him out, to see how strong he was. He was looking rather strong.

After ducking under another wild swing, Buffy took to the attack. She smashed Ares in the face with a left jab, then a right, and then a headbutt. Buffy gave him a kick to the chin which sent him back sprawling.

Ares quickly stood up. "That hurt." He unsheathed his sword.

Oh, my god, Buffy thought. Heís too strong. How can I possibly beat him?

Ares moved forward, twirling his sword in a playful motion. "I can see the fear in your eyes, Buffy. You canít win."

Meanwhile, Xander spotted a small sword close by. Reaching out, he grabbed it and sliced the vine that had been pulling at him. "Willow, hang on!" He started cutting the vines around her.

"Buffy!" Giles shouted. He felt desperate and helpless and was hating it.

Ares attacked. It took all Buffyís concentration to dodge his blows. It was getting hard for her to think, as if something was inside her head. Buffy kept backing up. She was almost against the wall. As Ares closed in, Buffy pulled an object out of her jacket. She thrust it deep into Ares chest. It was a stake. The God of War winced in pain. He stared at her.

"You stabbed me in the heart." He pulled the stake out, glanced at it, then tossed it away. "Too bad Iím not a vampire." He then whacked her across the face with his right hand, catching her offguard. Buffy stumbled back against the stone wall.

Ares brought his sword up in an arc.

"And now... it ends."

His sword came down. Buffy jumped into the air, flipping.

"Alalalalalalalalalalala!"

The Slayer flew clear over Ares and his weapon. She landed on her feet behind him. They turned to face each other.

"Oh, no..." Ares let out in an exasperated voice. "Not you. Not again."

Giles, Xander, and Willow all looked on in disbelief. Buffy felt the same way. She looked at her hands.

"How did I do that?"

Buffy had never done a flip like that before. It was even better than the one she had done when stopping the bank robbery. And she certainly never meant to say those weird words, whatever gibberish they were.

Suddenly, there was a voice inside her head. Donít panic. Iím here to help. Let me guide you.

Who are you? Buffy answered in thought.

Iím the one who defeated Ares before. With your help, I can do it again. But youíve got to trust me.

"Xena!" Ares called out.

"Xena?" asked Giles.

"Xena?" repeated Xander.

"Xena?" repeated Willow.

"Christian Slater, please rescue me..." Cordelia cried.

Ares looked angry. "I know youíre in there! You were lucky last time... in that tomb in Macedonia. But this time, the God of War will not be denied."

Buffy stared at him for a moment. She smiled. "Think again, Ares."

Buffy realized those words had come from Xena, not her. Youíve got to work with me, Buffy, the voice said. I will guide you.

Buffy could hardly believe this was happening. Then again, when she thought about it, this wasnít much weirder than all the other weird stuff she had seen in the small, dark town of Sunnydale.

All right, she finally answered. Letís give it a shot.

Ares felt a rage come on, and he gave into it. He always fought best with his hatred was in full force. The God of War had once offered Xena the world, yet she eventually turned on him. She was responsible for his imprisonment, and he now wanted revenge. Ares lunged forward with his sword, determined to strike the killing blow.

Buffy somersaulted away from Ares toward the lairís altar. To the left of the altar, she spotted a sword. Buffy grabbed it and turned to face Ares. The God of War came before her. He brought his sword down, and they clashed. Ares swung with all his strength. Buffy, even with Xenaís guidance, was barely holding her own.

"You canít kill me, Xena," Ares shouted as he took another swing. "But I can kill her." His sword came towards Buffyís legs. She somersaulted backwards, just missing the blow.

Ares smiled. "You canít hold out forever." He leaped forward. They clashed swords again.

How do we beat him? Buffy asked the visitor in her mind.

We can do it. Weíve just got to hold out a little bit longer.

For what?

Youíll see.

Ares swung again. Buffy blocked it with her sword, but Ares, with his free hand, struck her with a blow that sent her reeling backwards into the air. Her sword flew out of her hands as she hit the ground. Ares came forward. Buffy struggled to get up. She only needed a few seconds. A few seconds that she didnít have.

"Good-bye, Xena... forever."

Ares raised his sword. Suddenly, Xander tackled him from behind. They both fell to the ground.

"No, you donít, dogface."

"I donít believe this," Ares exclaimed. A well-placed kick sent Xander backwards. He hit the ground, in a lot of pain.

"Now... where was I?" Ares continued. Buffy had just gotten to her feet. Ares pushed her against the wall, and raised his sword again.

"Arrgh!" he suddenly yelled. Turning his head, he saw Willow biting his hand. She grabbed the sword and backed away. Ares looked at her momentarily, a stare of ice. Then he raised his right hand to the level of his face, and slowly started to curl his fingers into a fist. As he did this, Willow suddenly found herself gasping for air. She dropped the sword and put her hands to her throat, struggling to breathe.

"Die..." Ares whispered, and then he turned to Buffy and smiled. Looking back to Willow, he saw a huge wooden board smash him squarely in the face, knocking him over. It was held by Cordelia.

"Thatís for promising me Christian Slater!!!"

Suddenly, Willow could breathe again. She started to scramble away. Ares quickly stood up and grabbed Cordelia by the throat, forcing her to drop the board.

"I guess blondes arenít the only ones who can be irritating."

"NO!" came from behind. Buffy kicked Ares in the back, and he threw Cordelia several feet across the room, knocking the wind out of her. Ares hit Buffy again, sending her down. He picked up his sword.

"Buffy!" came from out of nowhere.

Ares turned his head. A figure had just emerged from the tunnel leading into the lair. It was Angel. His face that of a vampire, he ran towards the God of War.

"Stay away from her, Ares!"

"Iím getting tired of these distractions. I see I should have killed you all first." He swung his sword several times at Angel, who was forced to back up as he dodged each blow. He pulled a plastic bag filled with liquid out of his jacket and threw it over Ares head. It landed near Buffy.

Ares looked at it. "What is that?" Angel grabbed him from behind.

Buffy looked at the bag. It had a red liquid in it. It looked like... blood.

Not just any blood, said the voice.

Hindís blood. The blood that can kill a god.

Buffy suddenly knew what she had to do. She stood up, raised her sword and plunged it into the bag. Looking at the sword, she could see the end of it was dripping red.

Take him, Buffy.

Ares continued to struggle with the vampire that held him. He soon landed an elbow to Angelís face, causing him to break his grip. Ares then smashed him on the forehead with the butt of his sword, knocking him down. The God of War looked at Buffy, who stood before him.

"Thereís no one left to save you now, Buffy."

The devilish smile and look in her eyes were all too familiar. They belonged to Xena.

"Iíve got all the help I need, Ares." She lifted her sword, showing him the blood. "Remember hindís blood?"

Aresí face now displayed a new emotion... fear. "No..." he whispered.

"Yes."

"NOOO!" he lunged forward. They clashed again, this time with nothing but rage. Ares swung with all his strength, and Buffy was pushed backwards. Suddenly, he knocked the sword out of her hand. It went flying to the ground, out of reach. He grabbed Buffy by the throat, raising his sword.

"Now you will die."

"Sorry," Buffy answered. She pulled out of stake and plunged it into Aresí chest.

"Been there... done that."

She yanked the stake out and Ares stared at it. Itís tip was covered with blood. Hindís blood. Ares dropped his sword and stumbled backwards.

"No..." he gasped. "No... NOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Then the God of War exploded in a blinding flash of light. A few moments later, there was no trace of him.

Buffy stood still, taking in her surroundings. Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Angel slowly got to their feet.

"Is it over?" Willow asked.

Is it over? Buffy asked Xena.

Hopefully. If Ares does somehow return, it wonít be anytime soon.

"I think so," was Buffyís reply.

"Would anyone care to help me?" asked Giles. He was still tangled up in the vines. Xander and Willow walked over to him and started to pull them off.

Angel slowly moved to Buffy. They embraced. Buffy looked into his face. "How did you... Where did you get the hindís blood?"

"Well, I received a little visit from your friend last night after I ran into you. She told me all about what was going to happen. She said we needed hindís blood to kill Ares and it turns out that there was some on exhibit at the Sunnydale History Museum. I broke in and stole it. She told me to come here, but the way I knew was blocked off. I had to wander through a lot of tunnels, but Iím glad I made it in time. Xenaís inside your head right now, isnít she?"

"Yeah."

Buffy heard the voice of the warrior princess again.

I guess itís time for me to get going. You did real good, kid. You remind me of someone, a very close friend of mine. You and her are alike in a lot of ways. Her name was Gabrielle.

Gabrielle... your sidekick. You know, Iíve seen the TV show based on the scrolls. Tell me... is it anything like what really happened?

You could say it bears a... certain resemblance. Youíre quite a hero, Buffy. Having saved the world myself a few times, I think I know the type. You and your friends have quite a journey ahead of you. But I think youíll be okay. I guarantee youíll never make half the mistakes that I did.

Iím grateful for your help, Buffy replied. Without you, we wouldnít have made it.

I helped guide you. But youíre the one who really beat Ares. I couldnít put anything in your heart that wasnít already there. And thatís the truth.

One last thing. Ates said you had a similar adventure with the day repeating itself. How was it?

It was a nightmare. I almost lost my mind. But I made it... and so did you.

Good-bye, Buffy... the Vampire Slayer.

Good-bye, Xena. And thank you...

Buffy could feel her head clear a little, and she knew that Xenaís presence was gone. She took notice of Xander, Willow, Angel, Cordelia, and Giles standing before her.

"Hey, Buff," Xander smiled. "You get a little lost in thought?"

"Something like that," Buffy smiled in return.

Angel moved closer. "Is Xena gone?"

"Yeah, sheís gone."

"Yíknow, Buffy, Iíve been thinking," Angel said. "Maybe the two of us could..."

"...get together sometime?" Buffy finished. She smiled. "Sure. Why not?"

Giles put his hand on her shoulder. "Youíve achieved an incredible victory here today, Buffy."

"Yeah, I guess so. But saving the world gets to be so... blah. After you do it once, it kinda loses its luster."

"Sure," Xander answered. "And weíve only saved the world like... three times?"

"Four," Willow said.

"Five," Angel corrected.

"Well," Giles interceded, looking eerily around at the Masterís lair. "I donít know about the rest of you, but I think I would like to get out of this horrid place."

"Me, too. Letís go," said Buffy. They started walking towards the sewer tunnel.

"So, Buffy," Xander began. "How exactly did you know about the muggings and all that other stuff?"

Buffy glanced at him, then smiled again. "Letís just say I had a lot of time on my hands."

And, with that, the six of them headed to the surface for a brand new beginning and a brand new day.

The End

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Well, Iím glad this story is finally finished. I hope you enjoyed it (Iím assuming you must have if you stuck with it long enough to be reading this). About half of this story poured out after I saw the Xena episode "Been There, Done That." I loved it so much that I figured it would be great to give Buffy a similar adventure. So I started typing, not realizing what I was getting myself into (namely, writing a comedy, which is the hardest kind of story for me to write).

It wasnít long before I became a bit disappointed with what was coming out. This final version is quite a bit different from the original draft. Originally, it wasnít a crossover story (Xena and Ares werenít in it). Neither were Cordelia or Angel. The story ended with Buffy stopping a strange man from finishing the spell at the town square. Unhappy with what I felt was a rather bland ending, I figured Iíd make it a crossover (so more people would read it, of course!). Adding Xena (inside Buffyís head) and Ares hopefully made this more enjoyable (and at least a little more funnier). This story was also inspired from the Xena episode "The Xena Scrolls," but I didnít want to mention it at the beginning because I figured it would give a little too much of the plot away for Xena fans.

Well, I can say now that I am very pleased with the way the story turned out. I always thought it would be great to have Buffy to take on Ares (the most awesome villain in the Xenaverse). Someday, I may write another crossover where Buffy gets transported back to Xenaís time (That will be a long wait, however).

More than anything, I hope that with this story I might get some Xena fans interested in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and vice versa since these are my two favorite shows. Xena IS the best, by the way, but Buffy is still an incredibly awesome show, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasnít seen it.

I love to hear comments. Itís always nice to know that my story has been read. I also love getting in touch with other Buffy and Xena fans. Please contact me at hart@blast.net.

Thanks again, and keep on reading!

John Dorsey