Bridled Fury or how Xander got his groove back.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
AN this is a continuation of Dragonhulk's chapter Howling Fury from his Xander as Marvel Style series. I had the idea and linked it up with some stuff I've read in other fics about the other character. Hope you like it.
Time had passed and the world had changed. He had too, mostly. Close to forty years in the service not counting his retirements and he only appeared to be in his early thirties at best. His two distinguishing characteristics besides his ever present five o'clock shadow were his eye patch and the gray hair that graced his temples. The eye patch was real, the gray hair had been induced. He was old and deserved to at least look it in part instead of just in his eye. It wasn't his fault that he was like this. He never wanted to be a 'test subject' let alone the only survivor of both the project and the subsequent destruction of the lab it was in.
Nicholas Fury, head of SHIELD was a straightforward man, always had been. He'd retired from the fight twice because he felt he needed the rest. That and so did all of the trained psychologists who'd read his file, well the edited file. He'd tried to stay retired but something that needed his expertise cropped up, both times. He'd tried peace and it never seemed to work out too well.
The world had indeed changed since he'd left Sunnydale and those he no longer called friend behind. Three years after he left something swallowed the whole town. On that same day every single girl that could have become the Slayer did. It effectively ended the Slayer line since no Slayer could give birth to a Potential. They didn't figure that out till about thirteen years later when they realized no new girls had been called. Once all of the Potentials had reached Menarche, they became Slayers and sterile. He'd learned it all secondhand but that was long ago. Everyone he'd known then was dead, some long dead. Others just a few years had gone by since their passing. He'd never visited them. There was no need to. He'd been dead to them much longer than any of them had been stuck in the ground.
The Slayers had managed to almost completely curb the vampire population of earth and gotten the more peaceful types to step in as their own police force. The destruction in the 'mass riot' in LA a year and a half after Sunnydale had also helped in that. All he'd learned from that was that everyone had died, some before the final battle and two afterwards when the sun had come back out. He'd almost danced when he'd heard those two were dead. Almost.
But there were no more Slayers. The New Watcher's Council was now nothing more than a bunch of glorified librarians, again. Rupert Giles, a man he'd once considered a father had died over thirty years ago. Killed by a drunk driver. A rather normal death considering everything.
Instead of Slayers and Demons, the world had new problems. There was a rapidly growing population of what people called Mutants. Some with unbelievable power and others with little to nothing save for an inhuman looking appearance. All were hated by humanity, those who rejected what was not like them. He almost laughed at the unifying factor the X-gene had given the planet. Humans against mutants instead of whites versus blacks, Americans versus the Russians. One could grow sentimental and say they missed the Cold War, but those who would were either dead, too young to have actually been there or hadn't met the survivors of it's horrors, Omega Red was just one example of what 'Mother' Russia had buried when Communism fell. It was just easier to blame the Russians back then, at least that was what the men who'd trained him said. Nowadays there were super groups everywhere, there were white hats, black hats and some who are decidedly gray.
That was part of the reason he was here. He'd always had a knack for finding the weaknesses in the amped up humans. If a man's skin couldn't be pierced you took him down with either inhalants or sedatives that could be absorbed through the skin. A telekinetic? Sonics worked great to make them lose focus. He'd always been one to see things others didn't. The only thing he really didn't like about his current job other than the freakishly large amount of power he could have at a word was the paperwork. No matter how advanced things have gotten there was always paperwork.
He sighed as he put out his Cuban cigar, the trade embargo a thing of the past. It was a habit he'd picked up from his old running buddy Logan some thirty years back. Logan himself had popped back up on the radar with little memory of who he used to be. Fury let it be for now while he ran his own investigation on what the hell had been done to the man. He was currently trying to find out what on earth the Canadian and US governments had been thinking. The Initiative had been a bad idea and now they had branched out to Mutants since demons were less of a threat now. He looked up when he heard the chime to his cabin.
“Enter.” He said gruffly. His voice had always been harsh since the one HYDRA agent almost crushed his trachea. He looked up and saw one of his lieutenants and a man dressed in a lab coat. It took him a moment to place a name with the face. “What brings you to my office Dr. Spencer?” he asked.
Spencer trembled and pushed up his glasses. “Well sir, my cousin works for a blood bank in New York and he came across an odd sample.” The doctor paused, gathering his thoughts and not looking directly at him. “I told him to put a lid on it and tested it myself with my home equipment. There was something odd about it, it was still more active than it should have been. I cross referenced the data and found only one thing remotely similar but it ties into the rumors since the file was blacked out.”
“Get to the point Doctor.” He growled.
“The only file it matched was yours sir, I think the donor is the source of the Infinity Formula.” Dr. Spencer summed up as best he could
Fury's eye widened and he looked at his lieutenant. “Get an EDD team with a retrieval unit attached. This is Omega classified and we need the blood and the donor on board immediately.” He stated quickly
The lieutenant saluted. “Sir! Yes Sir!” and took the scientist out of the room with him. The blood and it's donor would be on board within four hours.
Fury took a deep breath and calmed himself before continuing with his paperwork. Now he really needed to get this done.
The blood, any and all notes as well as the donor had been collected. Non-disclosure agreements had been signed as a matter of national and international security for Dr. Spencer's Cousin. Said cousin was now under low level surveillance. Being an international law agency did have its perks. As it stood Fury was reading over the initial data that had been sent over while the Donor was being sent up to the carrier.
Fury read the main statistics before stumbling across the name of the Donor. One Rose Giles. He looked at the photo and swore, rather thoroughly. He backtracked her lineage to the her mother. No known photo on record, something rare in this day and age. Mother's name was Anne Giles, adopted daughter of one Rupert Giles. Adopted after the 'riot' in LA that had destroyed most of the city in 2004. Mother had no previous background or record and only education listed was placement tests followed by seven years at the Calendar school for Girls out of Cleveland. Died during child birth, father of the baby unknown.
The mother was fake and so was the daughter. He'd recognized those eyes. He quickly pulled up another file and did an image match. It was an exact match save for the hair length. Sloppy. He read her file to further confirm his suspicions.
She had few records, due to Sunnydale then LA both going either belly up or burnt down. But after those she moved to Cleveland and finished her senior year at the Calendar School for Girls. After that she went to Oxford and went on to get not only a doctorate in ancient languages but had managed to snag a husband as well.
He checked out what was known of her husband and her own health files. Seven miscarriages over a period of ten years of marriage. Divorce soon after that. Irreconcilable differences. Given what he knew of his own physiology he wasn't too surprised by the miscarriages. Saddened at her loss but only momentarily. It had happened close to forty years ago now and like himself she looked remarkably fit for her age. It's a shame her first file stated she died in a house fire, and identified posthumously by dental records.
Using his own authority he compiled all the data and added a time line to it postulating what he gathered had happened and the reasons for why she was posing as Rupert Giles' granddaughter. A man who had died thirty five years back. He also linked her file with his own medical one making all of it and most of what it tied into level Omega classified. While some was common information among the mystics and other groups some of had to be kept quiet. Apparently the Donor was the only first generation survivor of Sunnydale and the Watcher's council. Those who had fled before the collapse tended to meet their end early, usually by their own hand.
He activated his intercom, paging his aide. “Johnson, go to the Commissary and get me a package of Twinkies!”
“Sir?” Came the questioning reply.
“Dammit Johnson, I'm not joking you get down there and get me a god damned package of Twinkies! Don't make me repeat myself again!” He yelled.
“Right away sir!” Johnson stuttered.
Fury chuckled. Johnson wouldn't last another year as his aide. He made a mental note to start the betting pool again.
His phone rang. “Sir, we've come aboard. The Donor is with us.”
“Good, bring her to Interview, the blue room.” He answered. The Blue room was generally for dignitaries and those with larger than average egos. It also had it's own bathroom, something she might want to use during their upcoming 'discussion'.
“Yes sir.” was the reply followed by silence. He'd trained these people a little too well it seemed. He hung up the phone only to have the intercom buzz. It was Johnson. “Sir I've got the Twinkie's.” He panted.
Fury's eye widened. The commissary was a good thirty decks down and the elevators were a bit of a walk from his office. Maybe Johnson would last...longer. “Good work Johnson. I'm on my way out, I'm sending a file for you to print, Omega class. Have it for me with the Twinkies in five minutes.”
“Yes sir!” Johnson replied, both relieved and worried at the same time. Omega class was rare.
Fury spent the next few minutes collecting himself, gathering his thoughts and rebuilding mental walls he hadn't needed for several years. One of them was still alive and perhaps the most innocent of them all. Well innocent once. Time makes monsters out of us all and some stains can never truly be washed away.
He clipped and lit a cigar and puffed it a bit before he left his office. The entire building had no smoking regs but he'd earned his position and his right to smoke. Johnson handed him the report first and then the Twinkies. Fury tucked the snack cakes into one of the pockets of his uniform. Best to not give himself away needlessly. That was if she realized who he was.
He entered the lift and rode down to the right deck, once there he walked at a brisk pace to the Blue Room. She was already there waiting, looking more than a little mad.
Rose Giles was angry. She'd been ready for an evening out with some friends and fellow researchers when she'd gotten a knock on her apartment door. Men dressed in black uniforms immediately identified themselves as SHIELD agents and ordered her to come with them. They gave some legal mumbo jumbo about necessary acts and international security. He evening was ruined and odds are for some reason this international agency had decided to dig and possibly blow her back history. That would open up a whole new can of worms in the brave new world she now lived in.
Now she was in a nice looking interrogation room with blue walls. It was large and blue but it was still an interrogation room. At least it smelled nice. She stopped pacing when an authoritative looking man came in. He was over six feet in height with dark hair that had gray on the temples. His face looked like it had permanent five o'clock shadow and a lit cigar was in his mouth. The most distinguishing feature though was the eye patch, one that looked decidedly well used. She'd almost bet he had tan lines from it.
The man removed the cigar from his mouth and spoke. “Take a seat Miss Giles, we've a lot to talk about.”
Grudgingly she did as she was told.
“Now then, you may be wondering exactly why you are here. I'll tell you. You donated blood about six weeks ago. There was an anomaly in your blood that got our attention. You should be very glad that we found out about it though, and yes I will tell you why. Your blood raised some red flags we had set in our database. It correlated to a dead project of HYDRA's that took place a little over forty years ago. We don't have all the specifics since both the project and the lab it was in were destroyed. Your blood however was almost an exact match to what we have listed as the only survivor of that project.
The woman's eyes widened. She had absolutely no idea where this was going.
“The project and it's end result was called the 'Infinity Formula.' It was a retrovirus engineered from a unique blood sample that wasn't Mutant but still not what would be defined as normal by human standards. There was only one successful case where they tested the virus on a human, only that one survived the destruction of the lab where the whole project had been lost. That project was HYDRA's attempt at immortality. Technically the survivor, barring serious injury and other unforeseen circumstances would live forever. His body heals at a rate of about ten to fifteen times as fast as a normal human. He is highly resistant to both bacterial and viral infection and his body goes through a unique cycling process. His body ages for a period of seventy two days, three months. After that has happened, it cycles back down regressing that same amount of time over a period of two weeks effectively trapping him at the same age he was at the time of treatment.”
The woman's eyes widened. The implications of this meant worlds to her. She fought the urge to cry and won, barely.
The man noticed this and nodded sadly. “As I said your blood raised some questions, especially how it is so closely related to a project almost forty years dead. So we also hacked your identity. I have to say either they have gotten very lax in their efforts after the Slayers started dying or SHIELD has gotten much better at what we do Miss Summers.”
“What all do you know?” She asked.
“A great deal of things, such as the the ending of the Slayer line weakened a barrier around this plane of existence one that had been cast by higher beings to keep a few select groups and individuals from gaining access to this plain. The one you knew as the First Evil has later been identified by Dr. Strange as Dormammu. A Great evil to be certain but the destruction of the Slayer line was more of a game to him than anything else. As it stands the Slayers are all dead and you yourself are the last known living person to have attended the Calendar school for girls. As for why you don't age like you should I can only guess but I suppose those monks were in a bit of a hurry when they made you.”
“How do you know about that?” she asked, her voice was cracking now from fear and sadness of times past.
“I know a lot of things Ms. Summers. I know you were once an entity known only as the Key. I know you were made flesh and sent to one Elizabeth 'Buffy' Anne Summers as her sister for protection. I know that Glorificus failed in her attempt of going home, but barely. It is my job to know these things, stopping things like that among others is what I do.”
“Who are you?”
He snorted. “Sorry. I suppose I've been rather lax in my introductions. The Blue room is generally used for those who already know me. I am Colonel Nicholas Fury, head of SHIELD. I'm God here.”
“That doesn't tell me how you know about where I came from. Not even the New Council knew I was the Key and all that did are dead.”
“Are they?” He asked.
“Yes. Willow was the last, her own magics killed her five years ago.” She answered.
Fury snorted “Figures it be like that for her.”
“Who are you?” She asked again. The familiarity she felt about him was still there.
“Before I tell you who I am you're going to get a list of options considering what you are and what people will want to do with your blood. Option A is you work for us. We could always use a good cryptologist and your exposure to the supernatural gives you a great deal of credit with the troops.”
He ignored her glare and continued. “Option B is we set you up at a place for you to 'retire' where you'll eventually either break your cover or something else that will get other agencies and super powered groups and individuals after you. Hell I know of a particularly sinister mutant that will keep you alive just to harvest your blood to toy with for at least a century.
He ignored the widening of her eyes and gave her the third option. “There's also option C which is two parts, you live your life then you die, except this time we make sure it's permanent. Chances though are HYDRA is already aware that you've been removed from your apartment if not why. Telecommunications among other things are more monitored than people could possibly believe. Now pick one.”
He waited and gazed at her. His eye judging her seeing the things she'd hidden behind her own timeless eyes.
She finally answered him. “I'll take option A provided I'm allowed at least some access to the remnants of the Council.”
He nodded. “Wouldn't have it any other way. You wouldn't be a Giles without being a part of the Council. Now then do you truly want to know who I once was?”
she nodded feebly.
He sighed. “Once I was just a man doing his best to fight demons. I fought alongside my best friend and a new friend. The new friend was a Girl who had been Chosen. She alone was destined to fight the vampires, the demons and other agents of darkness.”
“No.... you can't be. They said you died” she half whispered.
“But soon my friends weren't normal anymore. My only remaining friend from childhood had become a Witch of great power while my friend who had been Chosen was slowly cutting herself off from others and thinking everything was solely about her and her purpose. I was shut out from the fighting. My choice taken away from me. Repeatedly. The last straw was when they shut me out when they had to take a fight against a subverted black ops project. The others thought I'd be of little help, even if I'd saved their asses time and time again previously.. That's how it happened before you popped into existence. It happened a little differently when you'd been inserted. I remember both due to being acquaintances with a Sorcerer Supreme”
“But...” She trailed off.
He pulled out a the pack of Twinkies and tossed it on the table. The woman stared at them, then at him again, looking back and forth. The look of horror on her face was growing. There was proof now.
“My so called friends treated me worse than they would a wounded animal. At least they would put that out of it's misery. My friends lied to my face, hid secrets from me and treated me like I was far beneath them. Eventually even my girlfriend cheated on me, with a fungus demon no less. It got to the point that I was more than ready to snap and kill as many of them as I could, but then I heard something. My so called friends told a Vampire, chipped or not that I had left the fight and joined the Army. They did this to try and keep me from doing what I felt needed to be done. It seemed right though so I did join the army under a different name. Who I used to be just became another Sunnydale Statistic.”
“Xander....” She whispered, her hand reaching out slowly to touch him.
Fury glared at her. “Xander Harris ceased to exist before he ever set foot outside of Sunnydale for the final time. He'd given almost everything to the fight and to his friends. I'm all that was left at the end of his life. All he had was his Righteous Fury. Thus Nicholas Fury was born. The rest is heavily classified History.”
“But.... no.” True tears started to pour out of her eyes.
“Yes. I'm still here. I never wanted to be a test subject but those megalomaniacs at HYDRA didn't care. It's a fitting irony though that I'll live long enough to see them all die. I don't know whether to thank you or damn you for what's been done to me. But then again you probably didn't know your blood would do this. The damn infinity formula has made me a rather long lived tool for the safety of this planet. Like back then I've done a lot of it in the shadows. Hell myself along with my teams and fellow warriors have done it I don't know how many times now. The fact of the matter is that it gets done, not who does it in the end. Buffy never seemed to realize that. At least when I was around.”
“She changed after a while. Married a normal human after Spike died in Sunnydale. She had a fling with the Immortal in Italy but it didn't last. They never had any kids either. She died when I was twenty five.” the woman said softly
Fury shrugged. “People change over time. Doesn't make what happened any less hurtful. Did you know about Spike and Angel? How they died in the sunlight after surviving what Wolfram and Hart threw at them?” He chuckled. “From what we've learned it was almost like they were waiting to see if they'd survive the light or something. That or both were horribly crippled and couldn't make it to safety in time.”
“What do you mean?” She knew Spike had died closing the Hellmouth.
“They didn't tell you?” He chuckled. “Always with the secrets they were. Spike lived past Sunnydale and spent about eight months at Wolfram and Hart before they went belly up as well. He and Angel were the last survivors before the Government got there to clean things up. I wasn't there myself, but that incident raised some questions for the regular government. They found me out and recruited me. Not many Soldiers knew exactly what to do when going against a dragon after all.”
Dawn stared at him dumbly.
“Right, you never learned about my summer road trip after graduation. That one almost made the press.”
she stared at him again. “It seems we have a lot to catch up on since you left Xander.”
“It's Nick or Colonel Fury now, and we do need to catch up Dawn-Patrol. It seems neither of us is the last anymore.” He answered before unwrapping the snack cakes. “Twinkie?” he offered.
THE END? OR A NEW BEGINNING?
TILL NEXT TIME TRUE BELIEVERS!