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Sunnydale Sentinels

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Summary: The Sentinels take up residence in Sunnydale.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > GeneralstrangerwithmyfaceFR13111,179052,4066 Jan 076 Jan 07Yes
Disclaimer: Obviously I don’t own any of these characters or I would be a lot richer than I am, and not have time to write silly fanfic. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related entities are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox and the WB Network. The image above of Buffy is from the Dark Horse comics. The X-Men belong to Marvel Enterprises. The lyrics to “Knock Three Times” are Tony Orlando and Dawn’s.
Notes: Here
Notes2: This was written in 2001, before Season Five began so obviously you're going to have to forget all those later seasons. Thanks to everyone who had positive reactions to this story which have convinced me not to hide it under something heavy. - SWMF, 1/07

 
Day break was always a relief for Buffy Summers. For most girls her age it meant it was time to wake up from their dreams and go into the real world. But for Buffy the morning was a welcome change from the horrors of the night. Buffy wasn’t like other girls, and even her dreams were mixed with demons, her entire life colored by violence and death. Buffy was the vampire slayer. Lucky her.

At the present, Buffy was trudging home from battling a particularly nasty vampire. What she had thought would be a routine kill had turned into a night-long war with yet another unbeatable foe and his minions. Luckily, unbeatable foes never seemed so unbeatable when she was around. Not that she hadn’t suffered. Her brand new pants were now unwearable and two of her nails were broken. Oh the humanity. All she wanted now was to go home and sleep for hours, possibly days.

Buffy rarely got what she wanted.

Her journey home was interrupted by the appearance of a ragged looking demon. He seemed to have popped out of nowhere. He looked like she did: tired. His eyes glowed only dimly enough for Buffy to tell that they were yellow. And his blue skin was pale. Immediately, her Slayer’s instincts kicked in. The trials of the night were forgotten with the appearance demon who had the audacity to roam around the streets of Sunnydale in broad daylight.

In full battle mode, Buffy sprang on the rude demon. She hadn’t formed an exact plan, but knew it would include ass kicking. The demon didn’t seem to like that plan. She hadn’t even hit him when he fell to the ground, seemingly exhausted.
Suddenly, he realized he was not alone. Fear darted across his face and he threw his arms up to protect himself although she was already on top of him.

Buffy froze in mid attack exhibiting her Slayer reflexes. She knew enough demons to understand that not everyone who was creepy-looking was evil. The demon’s fright probably meant he wasn’t looking for a fight. Only then did she notice that he was badly hurt. Something that just didn’t happen to big, scary demons, unless of course, she had done the hurting.

She got off him, but retained a defensive stance. “Who are you?” She demanded.

The demon coughed. His bleary eyes focused on the Slayer as he whispered something incomprehensible. Buffy thought it was another language, but she wasn’t sure what. He was bleeding a lot now. From his injuries it was clear that he had been fighting with a much larger opponent and had barely escaped with his life.

Moved with a spurt of compassion, Buffy rushed to his side and cradled his head. He was struggling to keep his eyes open now but he still managed a small smile at Buffy. He wasn’t so ugly for a demon. Sure, he was blue and had a tail, but other than that... “Who did this?” She asked.

“Sentinels,” he croaked and then passed out.

“Sentinels?” She repeated confused. She didn’t know any sentinels but she was sure that if anyone did it would be her Watcher, Giles. Buffy prepared to carry her new friend to Giles, at his store, the Magic Box, when she sensed approaching danger. Weird metallic sounds were coming from the left of her. That was odd, this area was mostly deserted because of the demons. Whoever was coming wasn’t out for a stroll. Chances were it was whoever or whatever had hurt the guy in her arms.

Well, one good fight deserves another, Buffy thought as she prepared for battle for the third time in the last few hours. She wasn’t at all prepared for what emerged from behind the trees. It was horrible. It was huge. The thirty foot tall robot stood in front of the Slayer. It seemed to be thrown off by her presence. Mercifully, it seemed to be alone.

The robot looked from Buffy to the demon. “Mutant target identified,” it reported in a soulless voice. “All others expendable.” Before Buffy could react it reached out with it’s enormous hand and scooped her up. She struggled to free herself to no avail. Its grip was too strong. She’d have to think of another way out of this, and fast.

Come on Buffy: think! She scolded herself as the robot examined her with curious yet lifeless eyes. She waited until he brought her up closer to his face. This was going to be an embarrassingly girly escape route, but it was all she had. He brought her level with his nose. With speedy movements she kicked her legs wildly, causing her big shoes to come loose and hit the monster right in the eye. Brilliant explosions of red and yellow erupted before the light died out. Buffy watched as the robot shifted his attention to the broken eye. She timed it perfectly. Just as the strength in his hand ebbed, she kicked off and twisted free, falling to the ground with catlike agility.

The robot turned to the tiny girl. Now he was just as emotionless as before but if he could’ve been mad, he would’ve. Buffy rushed to the aid of the blue demon and hoisted him up over her shoulder. If this was going to work, the robot had to follow her and its blue target was the perfect bait.

“Come on Winky!” She called over her shoulder as she ran in the direction she had come but a few minutes ago. As planned, the robot followed her. “I‘ve never fought a giant robot before, let‘s give it a whirl!”

Buffy reached the cave she was looking for. She knew it was the home of a particularly ugly demon hadn’t gotten around to killing yet. It was on her list of things to do though. Hearing the racket of a gigantic killer robot bounding towards its home, the demon emerged considerably angry. Buffy ducked and rolled herself and her friend to safety. The robot was not so lucky. The demon shot a beam from its horn that caused it to explode in millions of little pieces.

Buffy’s work wasn’t done yet though. They were still in danger. She grabbed her trusted stake, Mr. Pointy and charged at the demon. The wooden dagger went through it like a hot knife through butter. Light gushed from inside of it as it sunk to the ground. Dead. Buffy breathed deeply. She turned to her unconscious companion.

“OK. We’re going to Giles‘. And this time I mean it.”

******
“He’s not a demon,” Rupert Giles declared as he slammed closed the final book. Defeated, he ripped his glasses off his face and started to clean them while he paced.

“Why the tail-ness then?” Xander Harris asked through a mouthful of chocolate bar.

“I don’t know.” Giles hated not knowing things. Buffy had to bite her lip to keep from laughing at his tone.

“I’m sure he’ll be able to tell us his whole life story once he wakes up,” Willow Rosenberg pointed out sensibly. While Giles had been doing his research, she had spent the time doing healing spells on the patient. The witch was glad to take care of someone who couldn’t freak at the idea of her doing a spell on them.

The four original Scooby Gangers had convened when Buffy had called with news of what happened. Their other friends were busy, which was fine because these four worked efficiently together.

Willow stood up and pronounced their visitor healed.

“I dunno Will,” Xander peered at the unconscious figure. “He still looks a little blue to me.” She gave him a look and walked away annoyed.

“I did everything I could. It’s not my fault he’s unconscious,” she protested.

“Which brings us back to Rosie the Robot,” Buffy interjected. “Anything on that one, Watcher?” Giles shook his head. Buffy slumped in her chair dejectedly. “We got nothing.”

“That was a nice segue though. Two thumbs up,” Xander grinned trying to make her laugh.

“I wish he’d wake up and spill his guts,” Buffy pouted.

“See, but now that you’ve said that you jinxed it,” Xander pointed out. “This isn’t like ‘Gilligan’s Island’ where you say “Gee, I wonder what the score of the Yale/Harvard game was’ and the little seashell radio says “And the score of the Yale/Harvard game was...”

Just then a loud groan came from the cot that Willow had laid their visitor on. The four Scooby Gangers perked up.

Buffy flashed a triumphant smile Xander’s way. “Guess we found another handy dandy Slayer power.”

“When do I get a handy dandy power...?” He grumbled as he followed his friends over to the now not-so-unconscious victim.

The room was swimming and the pain in his head was almost unbearable. He tried to shut his eyes to block it all out but that did no good. He blinked rapidly trying to bring the world into focus. There was a pretty blonde girl bent over him and a serious older man, a goofy boy with tousled black hair and a red head who smiled kindly at him. “You’re awake,” she said. He looked around the room again. It appeared to be some kind of store. A magic store. He’d never seen it before. He’d never seen these people before. Where was he? That last thing he remembered was being attacked by a Sentinel...

“Um...hi,” the blonde began hesitantly. “I’m Buffy Summers. This is Rupert Giles,” the older man nodded. “Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg.” The other two waved. “Do you remember what happened?”

Do they know? How much did they see? What should he tell them? “Uh. A little bit.“ Oh, he’d never been a good liar!

“Do you know what day it is?” The girl called Willow asked. “How many fingers am I holding up?” She raised 3 fingers in front of him.

“Three...” Suddenly he remembered. He glanced at his own hands. Three fingers. Three blue fingers! His image inducer! He looked as he normally did! As that realization sunk in he began to wonder why these people weren’t afraid of him?

Buffy noticed him looking at his own hands and felt moved to turn his attention away from that. He looked alarmed and confused. “Do you have a name?” She asked tentatively.

“Kurt.” He whispered. “I am Kurt Wagner.” His name and his accent were unmistakably German.

“If you don’t mind me asking Mr. Wagner,” Giles removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. “How did you come to be, um, this way.” He indicated to Kurt’s appearance.

“I’m a mutant,” he replied simply. Part of him worried that they’d throw him out once they knew he was a ‘mutie’ but the other half reasoned it was safe to come clean, considering they helped him in spite of his appearance.

Kurt was a bit surprised to find his statement met with blank stares. “A mutant..?”

He couldn’t believe these people! Didn’t they watch the news? “A mutant,” he explained. “I have mutated genes which give me strange powers and this appearance.” The Slayer and her friends still looked confused. “You have never heard of mutants?” They shook their heads. “Do you live under a rock?” He asked half in jest, half completely baffled.

“Oooh.” Xander suddenly made the connection. “No. Not under a rock; above the Hellmouth. But same difference.” He grinned and went to take a seat at a table covered with books across the room.

“Hellmouth?” Kurt asked confused.

“Look! He’s doing an impression of us!” Xander cheered and pointed. Indeed, Kurt was just as confused as they had been a moment ago.

Buffy grinned at Xander then at Kurt. “You’re in Sunnydale, California. It’s sort of the portal from this world to the next. It’s like Mecca for demons, vampires and other uglies. And what with all the killing them, we pretty much have no time to turn on CNN.” She shrugged and sat down next to Xander.

“So you do not mind?” He asked.

“Nah, a little mutation is nothing!” Xander winked. “We let souly vampires, werewolves, vengeance demons and Cordelia Chase into the gang. And believe me you’ll fit right in.” Kurt smiled.

“So, um, tell me more about this mutation,” Giles sat down in front of Kurt. “It’s fascinating.”

“It is genetic, although some mutants have parents who do not show any powers. Our unique abilities usually manifest themselves around puberty...”

“What kind of abilities?” Buffy asked curiously. Special abilities were her forte.

“It depends on the mutant. Everyone is different. Super strength, flight, power bursts, psychic powers... there are all sorts of things.”

“Nifty.”

“What kind of power do you have?” Willow asked. She looked sheepish when she realized she had said it out loud.

“It is ok. Being blue is not it.” He grinned. “I can teleport places.”

“That’s how you appeared out of no where before.” Buffy observed.

“When?” Kurt asked. He was suddenly curious as to how much she had seen.

“Right before that big, tin man came to kill you,” she answered, as if it was the world’s most normal occurrence.

“A Sentinel,” Kurt muttered.

“What’s that?” Buffy perked up. “Besides a big, roboty thing.”

“Sentinels were designed to find mutants at long ranges.” The others looked quizzical. “So they can exterminate the race.”

“What were you doing to tip it off?” Buffy asked. She was afraid she already knew what the answer was.

“Nothing.” Yep, that was the answer she expected. “Well, I was praying. See I came here on a retreat. There’s an awful lot of religious places around here...”

“Hellmouth!” The three friends said in unison.

“So, you were doing your Holy Man routine, minding your own business when that thing came to kill, crush, destroy?” Buffy said, growing increasingly angry.

“Yes.”

Buffy turned to Giles, who was looking through some books. “Can we kill them?”

“Robots. They’re not alive,” he pointed out without looking up.

“Curses. Foiled again.” She sulked.

Kurt watched the scene with interest. Rarely did he meet a human who was so willing to help him. “Can I ask why you’re so anxious to help me?”

Buffy glowered. “It’s not fair! You never asked for these special powers. Some high and mighty power just decided that you’d have them then expected you to do good deeds and help others and save the day. Now these things are coming around hunting you down just because your different, well that’s stupid because they don’t even know you. They make these decisions so quickly ‘Oh, she’s a freak let’s kill her.’ Don’t they realize you just want what everyone else wants? That deep down you’re just like them? And that you‘re tired of fighting for your life!” She stood up and banged her fists against the table cracking it in two. The pieces crashed loudly to the floor.

The entire room was silent. Kurt stared wide eyed at what she had done. That table was solid mahogany. Now all it was fire wood.

“Third one this week,” Giles sighed.

“Buffy’s the Slayer. She’s superpower gal.” Xander explained.

Buffy looked embarrassed. “I stop the things that go bump in the night from bumping,” she muttered.

Kurt chuckled. “So you fought off the Sentinel.”

She grinned. “It’s scrap metal now. I think it’ll make a brave, little toaster.”

“There’ll be more.” Kurt warned. “They’ll find me.”

“We’ll kill them too,” Buffy assured him.

“They’ll keep coming. They always do.”

“Well that’s an annoying habit,” Xander huffed. “No means no damnit!”

Giles closed his book suddenly startling the rest of the gang. “They didn’t find you until you came here, so they weren’t looking for you specifically. But when you came into their range they sprung into action. There must be a plant nearby.”

“Well they’d need a large area where they could do questionable things without arousing the suspicions of the public.” Willow pointed out.

“I’ll take the Initiative for 500, Alex.” Buffy quipped.

“Those government guys said they filled it with cement.” Xander admonished. Then he realized, “Oh right, we don’t trust them.”

“What’s the Initiative?” Kurt hadn’t really followed the conversation.

“It was a top secret part of the US Marine Corps. They did fun experiments on demons but it all backfired when their own private Frankenstein tried to kill them all and we had to save their camouflaged asses,” Buffy explained.

“We should call Riley.” Giles suggested.

“Yeah I‘ll call Jungle information.” Buffy shot that one down. Her ex had high tailed it out of Sunnydale a few weeks ago to go hunt things in the forest. She was too busy to be worried about it now though, and if she focused on that thought long enough she might really believe it. Buffy turned back to Kurt. “How many could they have made since May?”

“Hundreds. Thousands.” Buffy paled.

“This is going to be a big job huh?” she sighed. “We might need help.” She began to mentally asses the situation. Maybe they could call Angel? Or she could debase herself enough to ask Spike for help...

“Don’t worry about that,” Kurt grinned. “I have all the help you need.”

*****

Night fell hard in Sunnydale. Kurt moved stealthily through the dark field. Today had been a very strange day, he thought. And he had been conscious for most of it! Coming from him, that meant something, especially considering he was a mutant priest who had once joined a circus and who was now an X-Man.

That’s probably why Professor Xavier had been so quick to spring into action when Kurt had telephoned. The Blackbird was to land out here any minute now carrying reinforcements that would help him and the self-proclaimed “Scooby Gang” fight the Sentinels. Kurt would be glad to see his old friends again.

Buffy and Giles hadn’t wanted Kurt to go off at night on his own, especially with the Sentinels looking for him. But he promised them that he could take care of himself and that in a few minutes he’d have back up. To just to ease Buffy’s mind he had agreed to bring a sword with him. If a blue man carrying a sword wasn’t strange enough, he was carrying it with his tail. Yet the people of Sunnydale didn’t seem to care.

Buffy hadn’t stayed with the others to look through their stolen Initiative files. With a huge battle in front of her she was a tad antsy. * Meeting a * bunch of new people with cool powers wasn’t helping either. It hadn’t taken much to convince Giles to let her go patrolling. He was just shocked that she actually wanted to go... So far it had been a disappointment; she had hit all the cemeteries and found no action. Granted, she hadn’t stayed long at any of them. Bored, she decided to go see how Kurt was doing. It wasn’t spying, really!

Kurt looked to the sky. Nothing. Where were they? Surely they should be here by now. The wind was picking up now giving the abandoned field an eerie feel. He wondered what kind of horrible demons had stood in the same spot he had. After all this was the, what had they called it? Yes, the hellmouth. Suddenly he got the impression that he was being watched.

He turned around to see something rushing at him. It looked human, but had a horrible demonic face and glowing eyes rushing at him. From Buffy’s descriptions, he knew it was a vampire. The unsuspecting vamp was almost upon Kurt when BAMF! Kurt was gone. It turned around to find Kurt standing behind him, shaking his head.

“You’re going to have a hard time catching me, mein fruend...” he began only to be cut off by the fist of another vampire who had sneaked up behind him. The world swam and blackness swirled around Kurt for the second time that day. He had just enough time to mutter “Oh, this is getting embarrassing,” before hitting the ground.

Buffy heard the tell-tale snarl of a vampire off in the distance and broke into a run. She was right: it wasn’t spying, it was now officially saving. She reached the clearing at a break-neck pace, all of her huntress on senses of alert. Kurt was lying on the ground with two vampires crouched over him, teeth bared. A few more vampires were advancing from the trees.

“How come you guys didn’t invite me to the party?” Buffy launched herself into the air and knocked the first vampire over with a flying kick. She landed in fighting stance ready to take on the other one. He charged, she punched, he fell. Buffy feel to her knees and shook Kurt. “Hey, get up!”

“Uhhh...” He groaned as he tried to shake it off.

“We have to stop meeting like this,” she cried. The other vampires reached them and she began to fight them off.

Kurt stood shakily to his feet. “You’re telling me,” he moaned. “What are they all doing here?“ He asked, referring to the plethora of vampires.

“Probably doing some kind of ritual. You know, kill the innocent, destroy the world, bring hell to Earth, the usual.” She flipped a vampire onto it’s back.

Another vampire came running at Kurt. He was just barely able to get his sword up and cut it’s head off as Buffy had instructed earlier. This was bad, he was still woozy and he knew he wouldn‘t be on his feet much longer. The fight from this morning had taken more out of him than he had thought.

Buffy noticed his weakened state. “We shouldn’t have let you leave the store!” She kicked a vampire in the head. “Can you get yourself to someplace safe?” She stabbed a vampire with a stake. “I can take care of them!”

“Are you sure?” He asked. He was a superhero himself, and a little pain in his head wouldn’t stop him from helping her if she needed it.

“Sure. You may call being attacked by a throng of vampires something scary. But it’s just ’Monday’ for me.” She staked another vampire.

“I’ll be here if you need me,” he told her just before BAMF! he was gone.

The vampires stared at the spot where Kurt had been standing. One of them was stupid enough to go over and start swinging at the air he left behind. Buffy sighed in disgust. For god’s sake! They should be paying attention to her! “Haven’t you guys ever seen a mutant before?” They stared at her dumbly. “Me neither,” she flashed them a brilliant smile then took off in the other direction. She hoped to lead them away from whatever it was they had been doing and from Kurt.

The vampires, of course, followed her yelling things like “Kill the Slayer!” and growling. It was all very cliche. She ran fast into the woods on the other side of the clearing. She was out of stakes and needed some fresh wood. But they were close on her heels, and she didn’t have time to stop. She’d have to make time. Buffy reached a small tree and swung herself around it landing a hard kick in the chest of the lead vampire. He fell, causing the others behind him to fall. Vampires were so stupid.

Buffy began picking up the pointy sticks she found. The vampires lumbered to their feet, but by then she was ready for them. “Wanna play pick-up sticks?” One vampire turned to dust. Another. Two more. The others got scared and tried to run. She ran after them. “Not so much fun when you’re the hunted is it?” She asked as she took another one down. She blocked another punch, twirled the offending vampire around and impaled him on a fallen tree limb. The last two had taken off while she had been busy.

The Slayer stood still and listened. She could hear them tramping off back toward the clearing. Then she heard something else: a whoosh and the roar of an engine. She didn’t have time to think that Kurt’s friends had arrived; only that she should get those last two vampires. Once again she took off after them. She was fast, they were not. She tripped one and brought her stake down swiftly and expertly. The other was a good ways off now. Instead of wasting the energy on running, she tossed the stake in his direction. It landed perfectly between his shoulder blades. The wind took care of the rest.

Buffy rushed back to where she had left Kurt. She was afraid he might have passed out and been attacked by more vampires. There were more vampires in the field, but there were also more people. The field looked much different than it did when she had left. For one thing, there was a plane in the middle of it. A swarm of angry vampires were fighting with people Buffy assumed, were Kurt’s friends. A beautiful woman with a white stripe in her auburn hair was flying around over head; red beams fired from the eyes of a brown-haired man sent the vamps flying backwards; a redhead stood behind him; Buffy watched as rocks laying near her suddenly moved untouched toward the vampires; another man who seemed to be made entirely out of ice was making fun of the vampires after giving up trying to kill them; finally and a short, grumpy guy with razors coming out of his hands seemed very annoyed because the vampires kept coming even though he cut their arms off. Buffy could tell that they had no idea how to kill the vampires. In fact, she was pretty sure they didn’t know that they were vampires. Why hadn’t Kurt told them?

Buffy looked around again. For the first time, she noticed a large, blue creature standing over Kurt attending to his wounds. Kurt was out again. Buffy sighed and turned her attention back to the battle. Seeing as these were vampires and she was the vampire Slayer, Buffy thought it might be time to lend a hand. A large, disfigured vampire was coming up behind the man with the claws. Buffy came up behind him and just as the mutant turned around to slash the vampire, she staked him.

The two locked eyes. The mutant grunted at her. For a second, she was sure he was going to attack her. She looked at his claws and he looked at her stake. “Try cutting their heads off,” she suggested. He was most happy to oblige.

Buffy made short work of the vampires. She was staking them left and right. The mutants stopped and stared at her when they weren’t fighting off the vampires themselves. The Ice man stopped completely and stared at her.
“Bobby!” The brown-haired man shouted as he shot another optic blast at the vampires.

When all the vamps had fallen, Buffy rushed over to Kurt’s side. Something had hit him again and he was bleeding. “I shouldn’t have left him,” she reprimanded herself.

“Don’t worry Miss, Nightcrawler will be as good as new.” Buffy looked up to meet the eyes of the hairy, blue gorilla that was attending to Kurt. He winked behind the pair of spectacles he wore.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he extended his fuzzy hand. “I am Henry McCoy, the Beast.”

She took his hand. “I am Buffy Summers, the Slayer.” She smiled at him; he seemed nice. “I like your ‘the’.”

The other mutants came up to check on their unconscious friend. Buffy looked around. She was feeling a mite uncomfortable. She didn’t know any of these people and she got the feeling that they blamed her for what happened to Kurt, especially the short one with the claws.

“Is there someplace we can take him?” Asked the redheaded woman in a gentle, protective tone.

“Yeah,” Buffy easily picked up the man. “We should get back to the store.” The other mutants exchanged puzzled looks, shrugged their shoulders, and followed the strange girl.

If the denizens of Sunnydale thought the parade of superheroes through town was at all out of place, they didn’t show it. The group walked right down main street to the Magic Box. When people did stare, they muttered something about a costume party or other rationalizations for the strange people. Sunnydale residents were world champions when it came to coming up with reasonable explanations for strange occurrences.

“Giles! Break out the good silverware! We have company!” Buffy yelled as she kicked the door open and placed Kurt back on the cot.

The Scooby Gangers stood up from their reading and research to watch the people file into the store. The two teams stood in silence and stared, neither sure what to make of the other.

The hush was broken when Kurt groaned and mumbled something in German.
“His head hurts,” Giles and Beast translated in unison. Their eyes met, each sizing the other one up.

“Giles can speak five different languages,” Willow piped up proudly.

“Beast can speak fifty seven.” The man who was once made completely of ice shot back.

“Oooh,” Xander groaned as if Willow had just lost a sporting event. “He sunk your battleship!” He laughed. Willow pouted.

Kurt groaned again and rolled over. The world slowly came into focus again, although there was two of everything. He shook his head and looked around. “I’m here again.” He looked around again at all the faces peering at him. “You’re here!” He cheered. “These are my friends,” he explained to the Scooby Gang.

“We got that,” Buffy winked.

“This is Henry McCoy, the Beast.” Hank nodded his head. “Over there is Bobby Drake, Iceman.” Bobby waved. “Jean Grey,” the redhead smiled. “That’s Rogue.”

“Hi ya’ll,” Rogue drawled.

“That’s Logan or Wolverine,” Kurt motioned to the scowling man who scowled some more. “And this,” he said, referring to the optic blast guy, “Is Cyclops, or Scott Summers.”

“Hey, Buff! Summers!” Xander smirked. “Maybe you two are related. You could go on Family Feud together.”

“Oh, dear God,” sighed Giles as he got up to get more books, although no one heard him. “She has enough relatives we didn’t know existed appearing out of nowhere.” They still didn’t know much about Buffy’s supposed “sister,” Dawn, and this wasn’t the time to take on newer, stranger family trees.

“We’re the X-Men,” Kurt said proudly. The Scooby Gang stared at them blankly, relatively unimpressed.

“OK,” Buffy chirped. “I’m Buffy. That’s Xander, Willow and Giles.”

“We don‘t have a letter that represents us,” Xander added. “But we have doughnuts.”

More silence ensued. Kurt looked around and noticed all the books piled up. “What are you researching?”

“Oh, nothing in particular. We just like to.” Xander announced and he resumed looking through the books. “Who would guess that The History of Chaos Demons in Mongolia is such a page turner?” He sat back and folded the book in front of him. “That is why you shouldn’t be a book-cover-judger.”

Giles shot him a disapproving look. “Xander, speak less.”

The Slayerettes giggled at Xander’s defeated look. The X-Men stared at them with confusion, and even mistrust. The laughter subsided into tense silence. They didn’t seem to be getting off on the right foot.

“So,” Buffy sighed taking a business like tone. “You guys want to kill the Sentinels.”

No answer. It seemed to be a given that they did.

“Um, Buffy is it?” Buffy nodded at Cyclops who took charge of the situation. “We’d like to get this done as fast as possible. The less time they have, the less Sentinels can be built. Just give us the coordinates of this Initiative so we can get to work.”

Buffy looked to her friends who only shrugged in reply. They all knew that no matter how over the government said it was, the Initiative would be locked up tight. And they knew that Lowell House, the former home of the agents and the main entrance to the Initiative, had been demolished. They had checked after their fight with Adam and had assumed that meant that everything had been destroyed. They were wrong.

There was another way in, but it was a considerably more difficult path to follow.

*****
“Do you really think we can do this?” Willow asked nervously. The Scooby Gang had assembled in the back training area of the Magic Box for a conference.

“Sure,” Buffy replied flippantly. “Giant, killer robots we can do. The hardest part will be debasing ourselves and asking Spike for help, again.”

“Do we have to?” Xander whined childishly. Asking Spike for help was one of his least favorite activities.

“He got us in there once,” Buffy sighed thinking of the time they busted their werewolf friend, Oz, out of the Initiative.

“Don’t you remember the way?” Xander asked hopefully.

“Sorry, no. And I was all out of breadcrumbs that night so Spike is it.” She sighed. “I’m not exactly looking forward to this myself.”

“What about them?” Giles asked motioning to the mutants.

“They seem to have a plan,” Buffy watched them, engaged in a similar pow-wow in the other room.

“And spandex,” Xander noted their colorful uniforms. He shook his head in disgust. “It’s gotta itch.”

Willow giggled. “And nifty code names.” She winked at Buffy.

“Nightcrawler is like Nighthawk but not as ridiculous, don’t you think Xander?” She quipped. He scowled and turned away. Sheesh, he makes up a codename one time and they never let him live it down. The girls laughed. Giles shook his head.

Their laughter drifted into the other room and tickled Logan’s sensitive ears. “What are they laughin’ at now?” He turned to Kurt. “They’re not taking this very seriously. Are you sure we can trust ‘em, Elf?”

“They saved my life and they’re willing to help us. I do not think there is any reason to be suspicious.”

“About that, Nightcrawler, do you really think it’s a good idea to bring a bunch of non-mutants into a battle with the Sentinels?” Cyclops asked incredulously. “They could get hurt.”

“They may not be mutants but they do have powers.” The rest of the X-Men stared at Kurt not understanding. “Buffy is the Vampire Slayer. She’s strong, fast, agile...”

“Fascinating,” Beast interrupted. He was thinking out loud and did not mean to be rude. “And there is no medical explanation for her skill?” Oh a scientific mystery! What fun!

“Her powers are magical as far as I can tell,” Nightcrawler turned and looked at the petite blonde. She certainly wasn’t getting that strength from eating her Wheaties. Buffy smiled at him as the Slay Team finished their meeting and approached the Mutants.

“So? Everybody ready?”

Kurt looked from Cyclops to Wolverine whose protests had been the strongest. “We’re ready if they are,” Scott replied in his leader voice. Logan grunted his agreement but not necessarily his approval.

“Let’s go.”

“Actually, we have to make a stop first.” Buffy bit her lip. The other Scoobies ignored the annoyed looks from the X-Men.

*****

Spike’s crypt was empty. Xander couldn’t blame the vampire for not wanting to be at the dirty dwelling but, damnit, why was it that whenever Spike was unwelcome he was around and when they needed him he was nowhere to be found? When he had returned to the Magic Box with the news, Buffy had thrown her hands up in disgust. Sometimes she though adhering to that ‘not killing helpless creatures’ rule was more trouble than it was worth. The Slayerettes had to split up to look for him. Giles stayed behind, insisting he needed to make sure the X-Men didn’t break anything in his store then not pay for it.

Willow and Xander combed the cemeteries. Spike had taken to beating up on his own kind since he couldn’t hurt humans anymore. Buffy went to all the seedy places around town where vampires and demons usually hung out.

Buffy grimaced. The whole area reeked of garbage and urine. She had checked everywhere she could think of. But now as she walked down the darkened street she knew she had found him. Spike had been acting strangely about something lately; he was depressed. And there was only once place to go in Sunnydale when you’ve hit absolute, rock bottom: Willy’s.

Willy’s bar was the place that demons, vampires, and very nasty humans hung out. Willy himself knew more about what was going on in the demon underground than anyone else. And if you hit him just right, he’d tell you. The place didn’t bring up any happy memories for Buffy. It certainly wouldn’t for Spike, either. He occasionally got the tar kicked out of him by creatures of the night who were angry at him for what he did. Maybe that’s why he was there. Maybe he was looking for a fight.

And what a fight Spike had got. Several chairs and tables lay broken on the floor. The bar itself had a nice, big hole it in. The kind someone’s head could have made. But the odd part was that the demons had fled. Even they didn’t want a piece of this action. All Buffy could see was the back of Spike’s shockingly white head. He was dusting himself off. It was one hell of a fight and Spike seemed quite proud of himself. That was before he was brought to the ground with a sickening thud as his opponent slammed all his weight into Spike’s stomach. The two wrestled on the ground for a bit until Spike abruptly leaped off the man clutching his head in anguish. It seemed Spikey had picked the wrong fight. He couldn’t fight back against living creatures. If Buffy didn’t step in, Spike would be killed. She weighed her options for a piece and finally decided she couldn’t just let him die, again.

Spike’s opponent lunged at the weakened vampire one more time but was intercepted by one pissed off Slayer. He fell onto his back. Buffy turned to Spike and glared.

“Come to save my day, Slayer?” he asked amused. “Don’t tell me you’re taking a liking to me?”

She just continued to glare in response. “You should get out of here,” she began to instruct the man. “I can take care of...” But her voice trailed off when her eyes finally fell upon the combatant. It was one of Kurt’s friends! The one he had called ‘Wolverine.’

“You got some strange friends girl.” Logan growled and pulled himself up off the ground.

“Him?” Buffy snorted. “Spike’s not my friend. He’s like,” she searched for the right phrase, “a disease you can’t get rid of.”

Logan cocked an eyebrow as if to ask her why she had saved Spike’s life just then.

“He’s the only one who can get us inside the Initiative.”

Spike perked up. “Excuse me!” he scoffed. “First you insult me and now you’re looking for favors?”

Buffy grinned innocently. “Don’t think of it as a favor. It’s more like the only way you won’t get your ass kicked.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “You wouldn’t. You’ve gone soft on me.”

“I would,” Logan growled.

Buffy smiled slyly. “So are you gonna help us or not?”

“I’m not helping him,” Spike challenged. Buffy sighed. Spike could be such a child sometimes. “Man up and attacked me with those bloody claws of his. Thought he was a demon.” “I’m a mutant.”

“Human. Mutant. You’re just a headache to me.” He stalked off, calling to Buffy. “Come on, Slayer!”

She turned to Logan. “He’s helping. I thought I’d let you know because it’s hard to tell with him.” Logan nodded his agreement as they followed the vampire out of the bar.

*****

“When we get in there,” Giles instructed the Scoobies as they approached the Initiative. “Each one of us will put one of these explosive devices in a corner. The X-Men will handle the Sentinels. There‘s no point in endangering our lives.”

“Hey we’ve dealt with robots and assassins, we could do robotic assassins.” Xander protested huffily.

“Don’t you mean the Slayer handled?” Spike jibbed. Xander pouted.

“I’m fine letting someone else do the slaying for once. It‘ll be like a not fun or relaxing vacation,” Buffy agreed with Giles. “I’m just wondering why you had cartoon amounts of TNT just lying around...”

Giles flushed nervously. “Well I had it left over from our altercation with the Mayor. I thought it wise to have a redundancy system in case we weren‘t able to kill him.”

“That boom could’ve been bigger?” Willow asked incredulously. The explosion that had killed the Mayor took the entire high school with it. It was quite a sight, like the Fourth of July with vampires and demons.

“So basically what you’re saying,” Buffy huffed, “is that you didn’t think my plan would work and thought you should come up with your own?” Giles stammered and tried to pacify her with no avail.

“England means to say that you’re not exactly Plan-Gal, Buff. You’re more of Hit-it-’til-it-dies Gal. But we love ya just the same.” Xander grinned at her. “Now he,” Xander pointed ahead to the X-Men, where Cyclops was giving orders. “Is Plan-Guy.” Buffy giggled. Scott did seem to have all the bases covered. Every X-Man would know exactly what to do when they got in there if they were listening. And Buffy could name at least two that hadn’t heard a word.

The remains of what was once Lowell House appeared over the horizon. The building which had been home to several nicely built military men was now a charred shadow of its old self. It had been burned down after the Initiative had gone belly-up. All of the Initiative was supposed to have been burned, but judging from the Sentinels making their home there, it didn’t appear that was the case. Lowell House had been the best way into the underground Initiative lab, by an elevator hidden behind a downstairs mirror, but now it was just charred rubble so the troop of superheroes walked right by the structure. They were headed to the woods behind it, and the only other entrance they knew of.

 

“Here.” Spike announced pointing to the mysterious bulge in the ground. Two metal doors led into it.

Buffy pulled on the doors, but even under her super strength they didn’t budge. “Last time they just opened.” She glared at Spike.

“Last time,” Spike glared right back, “I had a demon cyborg helping me out.” Spike had worked with Adam back in the day, but had switched sides.

The X-Men sighed. “Rookies,” Wolverine grumbled as he popped his claws out and cut a nice hole in the door. “Ladies first,” he offered to let the Slayerettes, Spike in particular, go first. Iceman sniggered but everyone else found the gesture distasteful. After all, they were trying to work together here and it already wasn’t going so well.

“Logan...” Jean groaned.

The Slayerettes slowly filed in. They were all a bit put off. “Why do they have to make fun of everything?” Xander grumbled causing the tense mood to be dropped in a fit of giggles.

“You must look inward to find the answers you seek, young one,” Buffy answered in an overdone impression of a sage.

“Hey! I don’t...” Xander sighed. “Nevermind. I’m not even going to finish that sentence...” His voice trailed off as he realized that the X-Men had followed them in and that no one, not one soul, was listening to him. They were all looking in the direction he had his back turned. Xander peered over his shoulder quizzically, then groaned in disgust. It seemed the tight lipped, government agency wasn’t planning on letting them just waltz in: a huge concrete wall had been erected since their last visit. “Well this is new.” Xander had a mastery of the obvious.

“We could-” Willow quietly began to explain her way through the wall when she was interrupted by Cyclops.

“This won’t be a problem,” he assured the Scooby Gang. “We can just blast through it.” The other X-Men nodded in unison. Rogue lifted herself into the air and prepared to ram the wall with full force while Scott readied his optic blasts and Wolverine popped out his claws.

“You guys might want to stand back,” Iceman suggested.

“This is gonna be cool,” Xander breathed.

But after a few minutes of scraping, blasting and punching, the wall was still very much there except for a very, tiny chunk. It seemed the government was packing something a little tougher than cement and the wall was a lot bigger than it looked. To their credit, the X-Men didn’t give up and kept on making the dent bigger.

“Uck,” Spike groaned. “This is going to take days. I may not be getting any older but I’m not getting any younger!”

“You can go you know,” Buffy hissed.

“What? And miss all the quality violence. I don’t think so, missy.” She growled and turned away, giving him a nice chance to check out her backside.

“Um, hi,” Willow interjected causing everyone to turn toward the witch. “You guys are doing a great job and all, I’m sure you’ll get through soon,” Willow assured them in her motivational speaker voice. She was never one to offend anyone and tried to soothe the mutants. “But as I was going to say before, there’s also this little spell that I could do...” She walked over to the wall and began to paint stuff on it.

“What’s she doing?” Cyclops turned to Buffy.

“Uh...witch stuff...” Buffy shifted uncomfortably. Truth was, she had no idea what Willow was doing.

Willow drew a rectangle in black paint, starting from the floor up, and began to chant in a language Buffy didn’t recognize. Her spell culminated with the black becoming illuminated from behind it then disappearing completely. Willow knocked three times on the center of the wall, and where there once had been paint, a door swung open. She turned around and smiled broadly at her friends.

“I did it,” she exclaimed! Her spells didn’t usually turn out so well.

“My stars and garters,” Beast whispered in awe.

They crept down the dimly light, narrow passageway. There was an eerie air from being deserted for months. The fact that the last time any living being had been where they were standing, demons and men alike were massacred by the dozens didn’t help either. The Initiative reeked of death.

To fill in the offending silence, Xander, inspired by Willow’s spell, began to sing to himself. “Oh my darling, knock three times on the ceiling if you want me, twice on the pipe if the answer is no...”

“Oh my sweetness, means you’ll meet me in the hallway, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show,” Bobby chimed in.

Xander grinned at him. “We should start a boy band and dance in sync with a bunch of other guys.”

The rest of the group glowered at them. “Would you two be quiet,” Giles demanded for the sake of everyone. Being a librarian, he was good at telling people to be quiet. The others muttered their thanks as they passed Giles and continued down the silent hallway.

“They’re just jealous,” Xander assured Bobby and followed after the rest of the gang.

It was hard to believe a laboratory this large existed underneath the now charred tiny Lowell House, but there it was. But there it was, plain as day. The glaring, sterile lighting had been replaced by a dim, ominous one just bright enough to reveal hundreds of killer robots lining the walls and filling the pit in the middle of the room that had once been used for demon experiments. Demon and human parts alike decorated the blood speckled floor. No one had bothered to clean up.

“They’re the old Sentinels,” Jean observed, “These kind aren’t built anymore.”

“They don’t know they’ve been replaced.” Nightcrawler looked out towards the machines. He had forgotten to mention that to the X-Men. Now Sentinels could be easily disguised as humans, but these monsters couldn’t.

“Yeah well we don’t like any of that new fangled stuff in Sunnydale,” Xander smirked, “Right Giles?” In return, Giles gave him a look that quickly shut him up.

Buffy noticed that the cabinets that held all of Professor Walsh’s stuff had been ripped out of the walls. The government wouldn’t just leave that kind of thing lying around. It seemed that even though the Initiative was much bigger than the main lab area, the Sentinels were only using that space. The hallway which had once been prison to many creatures of the night was now darkened and empty. The robots took no prisoners. The door that lead to room 314, where Adam had been “born,” was quiet as well and a new padlock had been added. It looked as though the only thing still being used was the computer system, its lights blinking like a Christmas tree.

“Perhaps the androids’ own computer can be used to achieve an even greater detonation,” Beast mused.

Wolverine growled low in his throat. He didn’t like this place. It reminded him of another government lab that he had used him like a guinea pig. He had a sudden urge to massacre a whole lot of Sentinels, not that he had planned on serving them tea before. Unconsciously, his claws slid out of his hands with a familiar snikt sound. As if a starting bell had gone off in a boxing match, the other X-Men assumed fighting stances and prepared for battle.

It was the good guys’ move. The Sentinels knew that they were there. They could sense them approaching. In the hopes of surprising the trespassers, they had remained dormant until now. Cyke released a blast of red light from his visor, cutting an unlucky Sentinel’s head clean off. Then the rest of them sprung to life, their eyes red and suddenly the room was filled with unfeeling voices demanding they surrender.

Willow snorted. “Yeah right.”

In a flash, the fight was on. Everyone went in their separate directions. Rogue flew to the ceiling to block any exit there might be up there. Iceman froze the robots in place. It wouldn’t hold them forever but hopefully long enough for the plan. It was important that all the Sentinels were in the room when the explosion occurred. Wolverine cracked them open like lobsters and Jean used their parts as weapons against the others. Cyclops continued to happily blast them. Beast sat at the computer, trying to find a way to use it against the Sentinels.

The Scooby Gang had their orders to place the explosives around the lab. Each went off in opposite directions with Buffy going the farthest into the fray. Willow noticed Hank sitting down at the terminal. Some adjustments had to be made.

She quickly handed off her bomb to Spike, who hadn’t been given one. He wasn’t exactly trusted by the Scooby Gang. She pointed to the far corner adjacent to Buffy. “There. Go. I’m going to help Beast.”

“Hi,” she said as she sat down next to the blue furred mutant, “I’ve worked on this machine once before. It‘ll be faster if we do it together.” He smiled appreciatively at her.

“Agreed.”

Spike dashed for the other side of the room, careful to avoid the falling Sentinels. He jumped to the side, narrowly avoiding an optic blast from Cyclops which sliced a robot off at the knees. “Watch it!” Spike yelled angrily.

The dying Sentinel made a grab for the vampire. Another blast from Cyke took him down permanently. “You’re welcome,” Scott replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Spike growled but continued on his way.

Though Rupert Giles was in fairly good shape for a man his age, all this running, jumping and climbing over massive, robotic body parts was getting to him. Another substantial pile of ice-covered, Sentinel parts lay in front of him. Giles’ legs seemed to think that climbing over it would be analogous to climbing Mount Everest.

As if the gods above had seen his toil, and decided he was too good a man to die buried under huge arms, the pile slowly began to lift from the ground out of his way. In that moment, Jean Grey was an angel sent from Heaven to the Englishman. His path suddenly clear of obstacles, Giles swiftly made his way to the corner. He nodded his thank you to the redhead.

“You’re very welcome,” she replied and returned to the fight.

Giles crouched down away from the battle. The X-Men seemed to be having good luck defeating the robots but they were still vastly out numbered. He was the first one to have reached his designated area so arming the explosive now would do no good, he’d have to wait for the others. Buffy was fighting her way through the Sentinels. She was much smaller, and in theory had no power to stop them, but she was smart. When she was pursued, she would line herself up with another robot then quickly move out of the way so the Sentinels would end up killing each other. Spike was quickly reaching his target area and would be there soon. Giles didn’t know much about computers, but judging by Willow’s face, she and Beast were making good time as well.

Xander was having a lot of the same troubles Giles had. He kept having to go out of his way to avoid direct conflict with the Sentinels. The X-Men had warned the Scooby Gang that the Sentinels, although not programmed for it, would not have any trouble harming regular humans. In fact, they kept coming after Xander in large numbers, as if they knew he had no power and couldn’t stop them. Xander couldn’t help himself but feel increasingly annoyed and helpless.

“Why don’t you go pick on someone your own size? It’s about time for Godzilla to make another movie right?” Xander grumbled as he jumped out of the way of another Sentinel’s laser.

Suddenly he watched his feet lift off the ground as his entire body was taken into the air by someone very strong. “Hey! Lemme go!” Xander yelped trying to get loose.

“Easy, sugah,” Rogue drawled alerting him to the fact that she wasn’t the enemy. She flew them up over the battle so they could see everything going on.

“Ooh. I can see my house from here,” Xander breathed. Rogue giggled.

“Where do ya get off?” She asked. Xander pointed to the corner opposite Giles, closest to the exit. “Ok, hang on.” Rogue eased them down toward the spot with a perfect landing. “Get going on that thing,” she instructed him and flew off again. Xander gave Giles the thumbs up and did exactly that.

Another Sentinel was chasing Buffy. She grimaced. This was getting ridiculous. Still another robot came up behind her, walking right into the trap she was continuously setting. This time, however, before she could run off to the side, another Sentinel blocked her escape route.

“Surrender, human,” it demanded.

Buffy rolled her eyes. She turned to simply run the other way but, found that exit blocked too. So, they’d wised up. Damn them. Buffy quickly tried to think up another daring, and amazing escape but all of her options ended in her being fried by a Sentinel laser or being stepped on. She really didn’t like those choices.

Simultaneously, three of the four robots raised their hands to fire at Buffy. The other, who had lost his hand in a freak Wolverine accident, just prepared to shoot out of its eyes. Sentinels were very versatile. They could kill you in so many ways.

Buffy’s mind was racing. What could she do? Just as they were about to shoot, a large puff of smoke appeared next to her. Strong, blue hands grabbed her just before inevitable death. “Your carriage, m’lady,” the puff of smoke joked as Buffy disappeared. She reappeared in the spot she was supposed to set her explosive. Nightcrawler was standing next to her.

A loud explosion caused Buffy to jump. Wolverine was really getting into the slashing of the Sentinels. “My fuzzy hero,” she swooned in an exaggerated manner.

Kurt smiled dashingly. “It was my pleasure, fair Buffy, but now I must depart. Mein small, Canadian freund is in need of my assistance.” In a poof, he was gone again.

Giles waved to Buffy. Everyone was in place now. Willow met Buffy’s eyes and let her know that they now had even more fire power. She began typing rapidly on the keyboard and whispered something to Beast. Giles gave them the signal. After the devices were set they wouldn’t have long to get out. Isn’t that always the way, Buffy thought to herself. Why couldn’t they ever make a nice remote control bomb?

They had agreed to meet behind the huge wall Willow had opened a door in. Presumably, if it could take all the blasting the X-Men gave it, it could shield them from the explosion. Luckily, the Sentinels were a tad to big to fit through Willow’s door and apparently they couldn’t break it down either, judging by the fact that they hadn’t broken it down. So once they were on the other side, they were safe.

The Scooby Gang worked swiftly and in perfect unison. Then, all the superheroes were off. Nightcrawler and Rogue could get out the fastest so they took the time to pick up Giles and Xander respectively. Beast sprung swiftly across the floor with Willow, who was magically floating things out of their way, on his back.

“Most efficient,” Beast commented on the good time they made.

Spike moved like a jungle animal, and even though they had been the same distance from the door, he was well ahead of Buffy. When Buffy saw Cyclops fall while trying to protect Jean from a Sentinel, she yelled for Spike to get him. Normally, Spike wouldn’t but for Buffy, he did.

Cyclops was covered in oil and a huge foot with no body had him pinned to the ground. The vampire easily moved it. “Come on, mate, the party’s over.” Spike carried Scott over his shoulder until he reached Jean who smiled gratefully. She ‘carried’ Cyke the rest of the way telekinetically.

Before she reached the door, Buffy’s eyes darted left and right looking for anyone else who was still inside. She was relieved to see all her friends were out. Wolverine’s exit, however, had been blocked by and an unlucky Sentinel, who was now literally cut off at the knees. The angry robot wasn’t giving up despite his lack of legs. It still cut off Logan’s escape and was keeping him busy by firing various weapons at him.

Buffy sighed. Here goes nothing, she thought. Running at top speed back into the fight, she let out an almighty grunt and launched herself into the air. She landed on the machine’s shoulders. It began to flail its arms trying to get her off.

“Hold on!” Wolverine yelled. Buffy snorted. She had figured that part out already.

Clinging to its head with one arm, Buffy plunged her fist into the robot’s neck with all her strength. It only made a dent. She did it again and the metal gave in. Sparks flew everywhere, almost causing Buffy to fall backwards. She reached up and began to pull at every wire and gear she could find. Eventually, its eyes dimmed and the head itself tumbled to the ground with a thud. Wolverine jumped out of the way of the falling head.

The computer panels around the room began to ignite. They were going to go up soon and after that, the real explosion would take place.

“Jump!” Logan yelled to Buffy as she began to climb down from the robot. They just didn’t have time for that.

Buffy took a deep breath and dropped to the ground with catlike grace. Before she had even recovered her equilibrium, Wolverine grabbed her hand and began to run toward the exit. Lasers from the remaining Sentinels whizzed by the pair so close they could feel the heat. The robots were regrouping and yelling at them to stop, but they weren’t stupid enough to listen. They leapt over the pieces that littered their path.

Logan was just yards from the door when he heard the first sounds that would lead to the explosion. The smell of smoke burned at his sensitive nose. They only had milliseconds before all holy hell broke loose, and they simply weren’t going to make it in time. He grabbed Buffy and pushed her harshly into a corner, his body shielding her from the explosion. It came before she even had time to ask Logan what the heck he was doing. The sound ripped through the air first, like hundreds of cars back-firing. Then came the fire. Even through Logan, Buffy felt the heat against her skin. She tried in vain to press herself tighter against the wall, through it if she could. It was all over as quickly as it began leaving the Initiative scorched beyond recognition and the sounds of dying robots in the air.

Wolverine’s entire back was covered in horrible burns. His skin was starting to bubble up and blister. He had saved her life in the first explosion, but judging by the amount of boom Giles had packed into the explosives, the second one would be worse. They wouldn’t make it. Buffy hauled the mutant to his feet. He seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness. She would have to carry him. She swayed under his weight, not wasn’t feeling so good herself, but she would get them out if she had to crawl there! Running on nothing but sheer pride and determination, she limped through the door and feel down on the other side.

The others screamed and made various noises in an attempt to help them. Buffy could barely think straight enough to hear Willow undo the spell that kept the door open, to hear the remaining Sentinels pounding on the walls trying to get out. But she heard the next sound. It was one of pure destruction. The second blast tore through the air around them. Its sheer force caused the Earth itself to shake underneath their feet. Everyone fell to the ground, except for Rogue who was hovering just above the floor. Buffy was glad she was already lying down.

When the tremors stopped, everyone staggered to their feet holding their heads and rubbing their bottoms. Buffy blinked rapidly trying to clear her vision. It was over. Everyone was all right. She turned around quickly, which hurt quite a lot but she paid it no mind. She looked at Logan who was still out on the floor. Beast was crouched over him, checking out his injuries.

“Is he going to be ok?” She asked tentatively.

Surprisingly, the answer came not from Beast but from Wolverine himself. “Darlin’, I’m always ok.” He snorted. “This is nothin’.”

*****

The battle was over. Daybreak was rapidly approaching. A few faint streaks of light had already cut into the darkness of the clearing. The Blackbird stood just as it had a few hours earlier. Except now, two teams stood below it reluctantly saying their goodbyes. It had been kind of fun, except for almost dying part.

Willow and Beast stood off to the side talking about something that Xander assumed was computers because he didn’t understand a word of it. He cocked his head to one side trying to concentrate so he could properly eavesdrop to no avail.

“They’re speaking Geek aren’t they?” He asked Bobby as he came up beside Xander.

“Sounds like it.”

“We should walk away quickly before we catch it,” Xander reasoned.

“Good thinking.”

Buffy walked over to Wolverine. He was leaning against the enormous wheel of the Blackbird wearing a pained grimace. “I thought you said you were ok,” she said putting her hands on her hips and trying to look stern.

“I will be,” he assured her.

Xander and Bobby were clumsily making their way in Buffy’s direction. Bobby pushed Xander after he said something particularly stupid that Bobby didn’t agree with. Xander, of course, fell into Buffy. Buffy, of course, fell right into Logan’s waiting arms. Glaring, she turned around prepared to rip him a new one for pushing her.

Xander looked sheepish. “What? It’s not like it’d be far for either of you to fall.” Bobby chuckled. It was true, neither of them was very tall.

Their laughter was cut off by a menacing scowl from Wolverine and Buffy’s biting reply. “It wouldn’t be far for us to come over there and rip your heads off either.”

“We should walk away quickly before they kill us,” Xander reasoned.

“Good thinking.”

The two groups came together. Each standing on opposite sides, facing each other. This time, they all smiled at each other.

“If you ever come across any vampires, give Buffy a call. She‘ll help you,” Xander assured them

“This is from an expert on calling Buffy for help,” Spike sneered.

“I’ll even give you discounts from the store,” Giles added.

Willow looked at the Watcher disbelieving. “Giles, they helped us fight killer robots. Shouldn’t they get stuff for free?” Giles shot her a look that said. “What? Free? Are you mad?”

“If ya’ll are ever up in our neck of the woods, give us a holler.” Rogue grinned at the Scoobies and flew toward the waiting jet. One by one, the rest of the X-Men followed each offering their goodbyes before they went.

“Call me about the band,” Iceman told Xander before he followed the rest of his teammates inside.

Finally, only Nightcrawler was left. He smiled at his new friends. “Thanks for helping. And thanks for saving my life.”

“Thanks for saving my life,” Buffy reminded him.

“Good luck in your future battles.” He looked at their faces. “All of you.”

“You too,” they all mumbled.

“Oh and good luck with the praying.” Buffy looked at her feet. Her shoes were very interesting. “Tell God I say hi.”

Kurt chuckled. He leaned forward and kissed her cheek goodbye then disappeared. When he reappeared he was waving at them from the cockpit of the Blackbird. They all waved back as the jet lifted off the ground with a mighty roar and sped off into the night, back to Westchester, to their own world.

The gang was briefly silent, thinking about all that had happened since this time yesterday. Their reverie did not last long, however.

Xander turned to Giles. “How come we don’t have a jet?”

The End

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