Disclaimer: For simplicity's sake, I own none of the characters, not even the demon. Blood Ties belongs to Tanya Huff and whoever bought the TV rights. Willow and Xander belong to...I don't know, Joss Whedon presumably.
Henry Fitzroy stuck to the shadows as he snuck into the hospital room. Visiting hours were long over but that had never stopped the vampire before. Seeing Vicky, alive if not well, allowed him to relax. He’d woken up at sunset as usual and had come back from feeding to a message on his machine that his partner, Vicky Nelson, was unconscious in the hospital courtesy of a mugger in a downtown park. She’d gone out alone, after dark, again, probably to talk to a suspect even though she knew better with her eyes the way they were.
Henry tensed as he realized that there was another person in the room with his partner. A youngish man wearing an eye patch over his left eye was sitting in a chair next to the bed working on a laptop. The stranger looked up as Henry entered the room.
“Who are you?”
“Who are you?” Henry asked. He noticed that one of the man’s hands had dropped down out of sight and the vampire tensed.
“I asked you first,” the stranger said. “And I was here first. That puts me two up on you.”
“I’m Vicky’s partner,” Henry ground out. “Your turn.”
“I’m the guy that had to rescue her because her partner wasn’t there,” the other man responded, standing. “Xander Harris. You are?”
“Henry Fitzroy.” His eyes fell on Vicky. “What happened to her?”
“Mugger,” Harris said. “I hit him and he ran away. Then I brought her here.”
“I don’t believe you. I’d lay odds on Vicky over a mugger any day of the week. No way one would put her in the hospital.”
Harris smiled. “Well, I say mugger,” he shrugged. “He wasn’t after money. And the lady wasn’t about to give him what he did want.”
“And you just happened to be there,” Henry said sarcastically.
“No,” Harris admitted. “We had a meeting. I was a little late. ”
“A little late?”
“Not as late as you. Shouldn’t you have been watching her back?” It was asked with an obviously faked naivete.
“I would have if she’d told me about it. Why were you meeting her?”
“I…think that if she didn’t tell you, I’m…not going to either.” A phone started ringing and the other man held up a hand as he fished in his bag for it. “Yeah? Willow! Did you get them? Good. Any ideas? Wait, wait, let me get a pencil.” He dug around in his bag and came up with a pen and a crumpled sheet of paper which he flattened on the side of the bed.
“Go ahead. How do you spell that? A-S-T-O-R-O-T-H. Right. Where do I look that up? Minor Deities of Early Sumeria, right. Wait. Dieties? Wills! Fine. I’m holding you to that. Which volume? What do you mean, which one? There are, like, fifty of them and I am not going through all of them. Volume 4. Thank you. All right.” His eye softened. “I miss you, too. Of course I’ll be there. Cross my heart. Sweetie, it’s at my house. Right. See you then.”
“What was that about?” Henry asked.
“Your partner asked for my help. I’m helping. If she didn’t tell you, I’m not going to.”
“You’re researching the marks on her wrists,” Henry told him. “Who do you work for?”
“You won’t have heard of us,” Harris said. “We keep a low profile. What can you tell me about how she got those?”
“The better question is: if I tell you the truth, will you believe it?”
“I’d believe a lot of things most people wouldn’t,” Harris responded with a little smile. “Tell me anything, the weirder the better, as long as it’s the truth.”
Henry looked the other man over and the eye patch, the jeans and flannel shirt, the slightly too long hair, and even more importantly the conversation with a woman named Willow all clicked. “You’re that Xander Harris!”
“Is there more than one?” Harris asked. “Wait, you’re not gonna try to kill me now are you? ‘Cause that’s such a pain in the ass. How do you know me?”
“I’ve heard of you,” Henry hedged. “There’s a price on your head in the supernatural community. These things get around.”
“If you’ve heard of me, then you know I’m only here to help. It’s in everyone’s best interests for the world not to end, you know.”
“You think this is that serious?” Henry asked, concerned.
“Uh, you heard the reference I’m supposed to look up. Deities? Never good.”
“Astoroth is a demon, not a deity,” Henry answered.
“Yeah, that's what Wills said. What the Sumerians called gods weren't necessarily actually gods. I'm interested how you'd know that?”
“I was there,” Henry admitted. “When she got those marks. And I've come up against him before. I stopped the sacrifice, but not before she was marked. Astoroth will be coming for her. It’s just a question of when.”
Harris regarded him for a moment. “No kidding. She’s wearing his marks, means she’s bound to him, and not in the fun way. Tell me what happened. Tell me everything you know. Let us help you help her.”
“First tell me how you knew. Did she actually call you?"
"Not personally. It was someone named Coreen," Xander said. "She said she was Ms Nelson's assistant and set up the meeting. I assumed she'd told Coreen to set it up. Was that stupid?"
"No," Henry answered with a half-smile. "It's exactly the kind of thing Coreen would do. She knows Vicky wouldn't ask for help from strangers, even if they had more resources than she does. She's stubborn that way."
"Look, this is gonna sound dumb and macho but...if this is about what I think it's about, we're not gonna step back whether she wants our help or not. Whether you want our help or not."
Henry held the other man's gaze for a moment, trying to judge his intentions and the vampire's senses said that this guy was for real. Not mention everything Henry knew about the so-called Scoobies told that they could and would help.
"Then I guess we'll have to work together," Henry said, holding out his hand.
Harris shook it and then two men got down to business.
A/N: Not that kind of business! Or is it just my mind that's in the gutter? I also feel that I should note, this is a one shot because I couldn't resist. I can't believe no one stole this pairing out from under me.