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Slayer 2.0

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Summary: Dawn’s summer job has unexpected side benefits.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Jake 2.0GreywizardFR1516,4811123,5975 May 075 May 07Yes
Disclaimer: Anyone recognizable belongs to either Crack-Head Joss and Mutant Enemy or Silvio Horta. Deal with it. I have.

Category: Alternate universe fic. Crossover noted at the end of the fic, if you haven’t guessed it before then.

Time Frame: Approximately three years after ‘Chosen.’

Spoilers: None

Character Bashing: Nah. Not this time.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: If you want to archive this, just let me know where, please.

Author’s Notes 1: Many thanks to Lori Bush, Tim Joy, Bill Haden and Drake the Archr for beta-ing this story.

{ word } is thoughts

~~~

Joyce Summers School for Exceptional Women
Residence dorm
Cleveland, OH


"So, if my ears did not deceive me, I believe I heard that the Dawnstar has finally joined the ranks of the gainfully employed," Xander announced as he knocked on the partially ajar door and stuck his head inside Dawn's room.

"Could this farfetched rumor possibly be true?" he grinned as he looked at the statuesque brunette who was staring into her closet with a distracted expression as she sorted through her clothing, tossing items onto different piles with no discernible plan as she muttered to herself.

"Xander!" Dawn squealed with delight as she turned and saw him. "You're back! When you'd get in? How are you? Are you going to be staying here long?" she demanded as she leaped forward and threw her arms around his neck to hug him.

Immediately after that last question, though, her face fell, and she then continued, morosely, her face downcast, "But I'm leaving in two days for my summer job, so I won't be able to see you."

"Not to worry, Dawn, I'm pretty sure I'll be hanging around for a while, " he reassured her as he returned the hug. "I came across some fairly important mumbo-jumbo stuff while I was searching for Slayers in Kahndaq that I need to discuss with Giles," he said, a serious expression momentarily crossing his face before being replaced by a smile. “Plus, most of the governments in Africa breathe easier when I’m not on the continent,” he added, apparently only semi-jokingly.

"So, where's this new job you mentioned?" he asked, adroitly shifting the topic of conversation back to the svelte brunette.

"In Washington, D.C.," she told him, brightening up as she began explaining. "I'm going to be providing tech support for a research and development company there. My IT professor recommended me for the position," she practically gushed, drawing a smile from the other Scooby. "She told me that if things work out, she thinks I might even be able to get a partial scholarship if I promise to work for the company after I graduate, which will make things a whole lot easier, tuition and job security-wise, too!"

"That's great, Dawnie," Xander congratulated her. "In fact, I think it calls for a celebration. How 'bout I take you out for dinner? You choose the place, okay?"

"Sure thing, Xand," Dawn smiled back, only reluctantly letting go of his neck and taking a step back from her previous spot snuggled against his very muscular frame. "You want me to call the guys and see what time they can all get together?"

"Nah," he shook his head as he turned and headed back into the hallway. "We've got lots of things to catch up on, let's just make it the two of us tonight, if that’s okay with you."

"That’s fine with me, Xand," she nodded, her smile widening to totally encompass her face.

“All right, then. I'll be back to pick you up in an hour, okay?”

“An hour’s good,” she called after him. “See you then.

"Things couldn't be going better if I had planned them that way," she murmured to herself as she turned back to her closet.

"Now where did I put those leather pants?"

~~~

Several days later

Bio-Netics
Research Laboratory AP-118
Washington, D.C.


"You know, not a lot of people have been within these walls, so you two should consider yourselves extremely lucky to be among that number," the balding, white coated, middle-aged man said pompously as he slid his badge through a wall mounted scanner and waited for the door to unlock before then leading Dawn and one of the other techs into a steel, chrome and glass lab that looked like something designed by a Hollywood film writer.

"Ah, okay. Thanks,” Dawn nodded her head vaguely as she looked over at the lab rats in the glass cages lining the shelves. “A maze for the rats, a maze for the people, too; gotta love it,” she said mostly to herself but it got a grin from her fellow tech.

"Here, these are the terminals that have been giving us trouble," the pretentious little man said, as he headed over and indicated two particular cubicles. Dawn continued to stare in fascination at the various tanks holding a variety of lab animals for a moment longer, then tore her attention away and sat down at the nearest cubicle's desk and focused on the terminal before her, while Jake Foley, her fellow tech support geek, as she’d heard some of the security guards snidely refer to them as they went by, took the other.

"According to your boss, nobody reads programming code faster than you two, and we need to get these things back on line as quickly as possible. So, what are we looking at here?" the guy asked as Dawn began scanning through the various programs filling the monitor's screen.

Off to one side, a lab mouse in a tank was running on the wheel. The mouse suddenly produced an incredible burst of speed, the noise from the wheel it was on drawing the brunette's attention for a second. She noticed a cup holder near the cage held a flask with some silver-gray liquid inside that was producing a white cloudy gas at the top.

A dark-haired man of indeterminate age, also wearing a white lab coat, appeared suddenly from behind one of the doors lining the far wall, and a frown instantly appeared when he spotted them.

"Who are you people? What are you doing in here?" he demanded as he began approaching the terminals at which the two of them were seated.

"Oh, Dr. Gage," the balding man smiled when he saw the other. "I'm Johansson, from the IT group. We've been trying to update the various system servers, and two of your terminals weren't responding, so we dropped by to see what the problem was," he explained as he stood up and held out his hand.

Dawn ignored the conversation, as did Jake, as she began running a systems diagnostic on the server, and an active message box popped up that read:

file transfer active
65% complete
transfer all
biological research database

"Man, this is weird," she commented upon seeing that message. "All of these machines are supposed to be isolated from any outside access, but it says here that this terminal is uploading all the lab's research into, uh ..."

Dawn's comments were interrupted by a loud popping sound, and she jumped in surprise and alarm as the supervisor who'd led them in suddenly fell forward across the desk, blood from the hole in his forehead splattering across the terminal screen and her.

"Ohmigod! What's going on?" she said as she turned and saw Dr. Gage holding a gun with a silencer at pointing at her.

"Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Ohmigod!" she repeated herself as her eyes locked on what looked like the *very* large bore of the pistol alternately pointing between her and Jake.

After a brief glance at her ID badge, Gage said, "Since it would appear you two are the smarter ones in your group, I need you both to disengage the diagnostics systems on all of these terminals so that tech services doesn't send anyone else up here. Now, do it!"

"Okay. All right. Not a problem. We can do that," Jake agreed readily enough as Dawn nodded her own assent as she turned back towards the computer. Behind her, she could hear Dr. Gage taking out his cell phone and dialing.

"We have a bit of a problem, here. Jake Foley and Dawn Summers, tech support," she heard him saying, as the computer screen showed that the file transfer was now 100% complete.

A moment later, a red message box appeared on screen:

security alert
security alert
code black

"I'm done," Jake announced and Dawn chimed in, “Me, too,” as she turned around to face Gage.

"Nothing personal," Gage said as he pointed the pistol at her head.

A moment later, a strange voice loudly commanded, "Drop it!"

Glancing over towards the door, Dawn saw several security guards appear inside the lab. Gage immediately ignored her and Jake and spun around to fire at the guards, providing Dawn with the opportunity she'd been hoping for.

Stepping forward, Dawn kicked her would-be killer in the back of his right knee as Jake stared at her in amazement. She immediately followed the attack up with a short but powerful punch into his left kidney, dropping the overconfident idiot to the floor like a sack of potatoes.

Unfortunately for her, however, the security guards had continued to return Gage’s fire, half-emptying their sidearms before realizing that he was incapacitated. The majority of their shots riddled Gage’s falling body, but several others missed and whizzed by her and Jake. One bullet caught Dawn with a grazing hit across the top of her left shoulder, while three more barely missed both of them and tore through the equipment behind the two of them.

Several of the bottles on the counters around them were smashed, one of the glass cases holding the mice Dawn had noticed was shattered and the silver tank of bubbling liquid pretty much exploded, sending glass and liquid all over the lab.

Despite being merely a graze, the force of the bullet had knocked Dawn off-balance, and she toppled backwards against the broken shelving, then fell to the floor, where she lay quietly, trying to catch her breath as she let the adrenalin surge that had rushed through her a moment before dissipate, leaving her feeling somewhat weak and her stomach quivering.

“You okay, Dawn?” she heard Jake asking as he knelt down and checked her for any other injuries aside from the clearly visible, bleeding furrow in her shoulder while one of the security guards checked Gage’s body

Breathing hard, Dawn glanced over herself, checking for any other damage. Aside for the relatively minor would on her left shoulder and what looked like a long, but shallow cut on the back of her right hand, she seemed to be fine.

Although she was rather liberally splattered with whatever that silver liquid from the glass tank was, she noticed, as was Jake.

“Uh, I’m, uh, I think I’m, uh, mostly okay. I think I got sort of grazed by a bullet,” she told him, indicating the blood seeping from her shoulder and down the front of her blouse. “And I’ve got a lot of scratches, but other than that, I seem to be okay.”

“Okay, then,” he smiled at her, obviously relieved at her reassurance of her lack of serious injuries.

“Here, let me do that,” he said, as one of the guards brought a first-aid kit over. As the guard opened it and began pulling out gauze and disinfectant, Jake looked over the shallow, bleeding gash and apologized as he tore the fabric further apart. “Sorry about your blouse, but it’s already ruined.

“Fortunately, this doesn’t look too bad,” he observed as he carefully wiped the blood away with a disinfectant cloth from the kit. “So, you must have learned self-defense in a pretty tough school, judging by the way you handled that guy,” he commented as he carefully applied a field bandage to her injury.

“Yeah, well, the town I grew up in had a real bad problem with gangs,” she replied, reflexively reverting to the standard cover story the Scooby Gang had adopted to explain some of their more noteworthy habits as the doors to the lab burst open to permit a paramedic team to enter, “so you had to learn how to defend yourself pretty fast as you grew up.”

The gorgeous brunette was so distracted by her co-worker's conversation and the paramedic’s questions and so keyed-up from the emotional upset of almost being murdered that she didn’t notice that all of the silver liquid seemed to be quickly absorbed into the scratches on her skin.

***

Two days later
The parking lot of Dawn’s apartment complex


”Thanks for coming down, guys,” Dawn hesitantly smiled at the founding members of the Scooby Gang as they all piled out of Xander’s Council-owned H3 Hummer and gathered around her, all of their faces clearly expressing their concern and worry about her unusual request for their presence here today.

“What’s the problem, Dawn?” Buffy asked as she stepped back after hugging her sister in order to allow Xander and Willow room to duplicate her action.

“And I’m pretty sure that there’s got to be a problem here," she went on, a moment later, "because I distinctly remember hearing you tell me that you didn’t want to see anyone ‘accidentally’ dropping by to check on you while you were down here working, on pain of us all waking up with all of our hair shaved off and finding rude tattoos in inappropriate places.” The petite blonde had a weak and very hesitant smile on her face as she asked the question, the tone of her voice making it evident that she was clearly worried about the younger brunette but trying not to make too big a fuss about it.

Holding up her hand to forestall additional questions from any of the other Scoobies, Dawn said, “It’s probably easier if I show you guys something first, before I give you the whole story, so just hold on a minute, okay?”

With that minimal bit of warning, she then turned, hooked her left hand under the front bumper of the Hummer and straightened up, casually lifting the front end a foot and a half off the asphalt as she turned to look at her family.

“When I left for work yesterday morning,” she began…

~~~

“So, what you’re telling us is that you’re not only pretty much as strong and as fast as a Slayer, now, but that you can also control computers and other electronic stuff without even having to touch them, Dawnie?” Buffy summed up the essential points of her sister’s recent experiences with a minimum of words. A rather uncommon feat for her sister, when you thought about it, Dawn decided as she sat back in her chair and merely nodded her head in confirmation.

“How can you be completely certain that whatever is responsible for giving you these new abilities isn’t also having adverse effect your health or your metabolism, like you just said, Dawnie?” Willow asked, a frown on concern on her face.

“ ‘Cause I went to one of the private health groups over in Alexandria yesterday, after I called in sick at work, and had a complete physical done,” the younger woman told her. “I told them I wanted it done because I thought I might have been exposed to something toxic at the place where I worked, and I didn’t trust the management there to tell me the truth about any tests they’d do.”

“Good thinking there, Dawnstar,” Xander immediately chimed in with a grin. “A bracing blend of practicality and paranoia. I’m sure the doctors see a *lot* of that in this town.”

“So, I’m guessing that there wasn’t anything that showed up on any the lab tests that made the doctors want to hospitalize or quarantine you immediately, huh?” Buffy continued her incessant questioning, her concerned eyes never leaving her sister for even a moment.

“Nope, sorry, Buffy,” Dawn smiled reassuringly. “The doctors said that everything looked on the really healthy side of perfectly normal, but that they would call me immediately if there were any indications that something was wrong with any of the tests.”

“And then I called and asked you guys to come down here so you can help me figure out exactly what’s responsible for me getting these abilities,” she added, a somewhat uneasy expression on her face.

“Okay, why don't we start with the standard comic book origins as possible explanations, guys?” Xander suggested from his position in the extremely comfortable rocking chair that occupied the far corner of the rec room, only to have all the girls direct what might be most charitably be described as scathing looks at him that seemed to question his IQ.

“Hey, back off and relax, ladies,” he said, holding up his hands as if to placate them. “It’s just as valid as any other way to start considering the source of her new powers.”

Ignoring the dubious expressions the three girls wore, he continued speaking.

“Well, we can definitely eliminate your arriving her in a rocket ship from a distant planet or your having developed a suit of armor that provides you with your new powers, Dawn,” he joked, his attempt at humor garnering him only another set of sour looks from his companions, “so that leaves us with the possibilities of you being chosen to receive your powers by one or more superhumanly powerful beings – something that has a very distinct chance of having happened, given the things that usually go on around us,” he noted with a somewhat sour expression “– or your having gained your abilities either through acquiring some long-lost mystical artifact or having been in some sort of explosion or lab accident in the past few days.

“Do you remember having done either one of those last two things lately, Dawnstar?” he finished up his mini-soliloquy with his normal trademarked lopsided grin.

“Nope, sorry, Xand,” Dawn shook her head in disagreement with his suggestion. “No lab explosions or anything like that. That thing in the lab the other day was just –“

She abruptly broke off her sentence as she suddenly recalled the memory of the tank of silver liquid stored on one of the shelves in the lab being explosively shattered by the hail of bullets fired by the security guards during the incident two days previously. The liquid, which she had assumed to be merely mercury when she’d noticed it, had splattered across all of the surrounding area, including her. She hadn’t paid very much attention at the time, being distracted by the bleeding resulting from the fortunately minor graze one of the bullets had inflicted, and had forgotten entirely about being sprayed by the time she’d been released from the emergency room at the hospital.

“Xand, you’re a genius!” she exclaimed, rushing over to grab him and bestow a hard kiss on him, before turning to address the two other distaff Scoobies who were staring at her with dumbfounded expressions on her face.

“I think I know, now, what might have happened,” she began explaining. “But first, Will, can you do some sort of scan on me and tell if there’s anything in me that doesn’t belong there?”

Seeing the uncomprehending expression on the faces of her companions, Dawn began explaining, a semi-embarrassed expression on her own as she began explaining .

“Well, first off, I might have maybe kinda forgotten to mention that there was a sort of break-in and attack the other day at this company I’m working for,” she said, giving the three of them a weak smile, “and I sort of got caught in the middle of it.

“You see, I got called in to fix one of the terminals in one of the high-security labs, and this guy…”

~~~

The swimming pool in
Dawn’s apartment complex
Several hours later that day


“So, Dawn, how’s it feel to be part of the superhero crowd now?” Xander smiled at her as the two of them lounged by the complex’s pool, while Buffy flirted with one of the yuppie guys who’d been giving her an appreciative once-over a little earlier and Willow was deep in conversation with a full-figured bikini-ed brunette who’d walked over to her chaise lounge, smiled at her and asked her name.

“Very funny, Xand,” Dawn scowled at him, equally annoyed at both the comment he’d made and the fact that he hadn’t even seemed to have noticed the bikini she was wearing, and which had been the target of several rather snide comments by Buffy once she’d finally exited her bedroom (after some last minute primping) just a short while earlier.

“You know that whatever it is that’s happened isn’t going to make any difference at all, as far as Buffy’s concerned – to her, I'm still her helpless baby sister, and she’s still not gonna let me get involved in anything related to the Slaying,” she pointed out, taking the time to throw an equally dirty look at her sister’s back before turning her wrathful expression back on him.

“Maybe you should just point out to her that you’re a legal adult now, and with these new powers you’ve got, you might as well be using them working for the Council as for anyone else,” he pointed out. “That way, you would be protected from anyone who might want you to use them on their behalf.”

“Who are you talking about, Xand?” Dawn frowned again, although this time because of puzzlement at his comment. “Who else would know I even have these new powers?”

“Well, I think that as far as those things that Willow’s spell found – those things she called the nanobots – are concerned,” he noted, referring to the infestation that the witch had detected which had apparently spread throughout the younger woman’s entire body, “if your new powers are a result of your getting splashed with that stuff back in the lab the other day – remember, the one you said had all the laboratory test animals in it? – then the people responsible for these nanobot things being developed in the first place are probably going to want to see what kind of results it might have when an actual person’s exposed to it, don’t you think?” he asked rhetorically.

“Since we really don’t know who’s responsible for getting those things made, it’s probably safest for everyone if you were working for people who were familiar with strange things happening and wouldn’t get all freaked out if and when they do happen again,” he went on.

“People who could make sure that you got the necessary training in how to best adapt to your new strength and speed, and the best training available in how to use that new strength and speed to protect yourself, and who are in the habit of noticing anything weird going on, and who would definitely notice if you suddenly stopped keeping in touch with your family and friends, and who would most certainly do something about it, if anything like that happened.

"Sound like anybody we might know?” he asked as he favored Dawn with a grin as big as the one she was now wearing while the two of them stared at the back of the petite blonde Slayer who was standing a dozen yards away, and who they both knew was almost certainly eavesdropping on their conversation.

They watched as Buffy laughed insincerely and bestowed a vacuous smile on the hopeful would-be Lothario before turning and heading back to join them, Xander noting the little extra *oomph* she added to her wiggle as she left, along with the disappointed, near-drooling expression on his face as he watched her leave.

“Torturing some poor guy again, Buff?” he asked with a grin as she joined them, his eyes widening slightly with surprise as she dropped into his lap and leaned up against him as she curled her arm around his neck as she snuggled up against him.

“He was beginning to piss me off,” the diminutive blonde purred in his ear, grinning to herself as she noted, via her peripheral vision, the frown Dawn was giving her for her rather possessive behavior.

“He obviously thought I would be all impressed that he’s supposedly some big-shot, up and coming junior partner in some law firm here and he was hinting around that I should go up to his apartment so we could ‘get to know each other better’,” she said, clearly quoting her former admirer.

“So you decide to make him jealous by lap-dancing me?” Xander asked, his voice rising a couple notes as Buffy deliberately wiggled her ass against him while looking up at him with a smile perfect for accentuating the image of an empty-headed bimbo.

Dawn, meanwhile, virtually growled and jumped to her feet as she watched Buffy’s actions, then stomped away back to her apartment, the glower she bestowed on her sister as she passed nearly hot enough to melt lead.

“Well, that was part of it,” Buffy nodded her agreement, maintaining the brain-dead smile as she rested her head on his shoulder.

“And I also figured that if you guys were going to try and yank my chain about Dawnie working for the Council and getting her some training,” she continued, referring to the two’s earlier conversation, “then I should take the opportunity to yank back.

“Hence, me with the plopping down in your lap bit, Xand,” she finished brightly with a devilish grin.

“If Little Sis is going to start dishing it out, she better be able to take it,” she added as she gave a final grind of her derriere against his lap, grinning widely as Xander let out a muffled groan.

“And another thing to consider, Xand, is that if Dawnie’s going to be getting Slayer training, she’s going to be needing a Watcher, too,” Buffy commented as she got up from her spot on Xander’s lap.

“All things considered, Buff, I don’t think I’d make a very good Watcher for Dawn,” Xander noted as he squirmed around, trying to find a more comfortable position in the lounge chair.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Buffy gave him another wicked grin. "I noticed you’ve been watching her an awful lot whenever the two of you are together. Especially her ass.

“Oh, and don’t bother to get up, Xand,” Buffy called back over her shoulder as she headed back to Dawn’s apartment. “I think maybe you should just relax and sit back.

“At least, until things settle down a bit.”

Xander gave a mortified groan upon hearing Buffy’s parting comment, then followed it with a second as he heard her laughter echoing softly across the grounds.

“Okay, that’s two strikes. If she ever blue-balls me again, I’m gonna just bludgeon her with the closest heavy object.

“Or at least, try.”

~~~

Dawn's apartment
Several days later


"So, looks like the NSA's decided they might not need you quite as much as they originally thought, huh, Dawnie?" Xander teased the youngest Scooby as they followed her into her apartment and he tiredly dropped his full length onto the couch, edging Buffy out by a fraction of a second in their undeclared race to sack out and making the petite blonde pout and throw an exceedingly pitiful puppy-dog-eye'd expression at him, apparently in the forlorn hope that he'd feel guilty and offer his place by way of apology.

Unfortunately for her, however, he merely grinned and shook his head in silent denial of her attempt to manipulate him before continuing on with his teasing as Buffy grumpily took possession of the uncushioned rocking chair, Willow having managed to grab the overstuffed chair while her two friends competed for the couch.

"I do think that you might have made a better impression on the Director, though, if you had been dressed a bit more appropriately," he joked, as they watched the somewhat bedraggled-looking brunette as she stomped through her living room and directly into the bathroom, where the sound of a shower immediately could be heard right after the door slammed shut.

"You're a real riot, Xand," the muffled reply came back, accompanied by the sounds of various cabinet doors being opened and closed. "You try tackling an assassin, crashing through a window and then falling three stories into a garbage bin, and see how good you look afterwards!"

"Actually, I think President Bartlett calling the Director and telling him to lay off the recruitment attempts had a lot more to do with things other than Dawn’s appearance, Xand," Willow commented quietly a moment later with a small grin at her friend as the semi-muted sounds of running water filled the otherwise quiet air.

"I know that, Wills," he acknowledged with a nod and a grin, "but how often is an opportunity to comment on how well the marina sauce on her blouse goes with her outfit gonna come along, huh?"

"If you had told me that I looked better wearing the Crab Imperial than the marinara sauce, Xand, I would probably have ripped your tongue out and strangled you with it," Buffy dryly interjected her comment into their conversation.

"Yeah, but you see, you've got an entirely different color scheme going for you than Dawn does, Buffy," he smirked at the tiny blonde. "It contrasted much more vividly with her darker hair than it would have with you, since you're a blonde.

"Well, you are at the moment, at least," he added casually as an afterthought, making Willow blink and wonder briefly if her childhood friend had some deep-seated death wish upon seeing Buffy's reaction to his comment.

"Not that you don't always look terrific, no matter what color your hair might be, Buff," the sole male Scooby then quickly added, after apparently realizing how his observation might possibly be interpreted.

"Trying to fit your other size twelve in your mouth, too, Xand?" Willow asked with a smile in the ensuing silence.

"I think that Buffy could help make that happen with no problem, at all, Wills," he immediately answered with a glance over at the petite Slayer, who silently nodded her agreement with him with quiet solemnity. "But I'm really thinking now that, in the interests of my surviving the night, I should just shut up and not talk any more.

" 'Cause, you know, if I continue talking, then I would probably ha–, bah, ah –"

The sole male present had apparently been struck dumb when the bathroom door swung open and his eyes reflexively swung over to see Dawn nonchalantly exit and head to her bedroom, one towel wrapped, turban-fashion, around her head, while a second, most definitely undersized, towel was wrapped around her clearly curvaceous figure.

As Xander merely sat there with a blank, open-mouthed expression while Willow and Buffy merely rolled their eyes as his stereotypical male reaction, no one saw the pleased smile on Dawn's face as she swung her bedroom door closed, having caught Xander's reaction to her glistening and scantily clad form.

{ I'll bet you think I look a lot better now, *not* wearing the marina sauce, huh, Xand? } she grinned to herself smugly.

~~~

An unobtrusive office complex
Gaithersburg, MD
Eight weeks later


“Okay, I can understand Giles assigning me to act as part of this inter-organization liaison team that the Council’s agreed to test out with the DIA since I’m the one who got infected with the nano-mites, as you call them, and you guys probably want to keep track of me to see how things develop with them and compare how they might or might not differ from how Jake’s develop,” Dawn said as she sat across the table from Deputy Director Louise Beckett, her former fellow IT support tech, Jake Foley, a Dr. Diane Hughes, and another apparent DIA agent who’d been introduced as Kyle Duarte.

“And I know that Andrew’s here because he was assigned to handle the scientific side of things for the Council’s geek squad,” she noted as she indicated with a nod the blonde techno-wizard who was sitting on the couch next to her, almost visibly trembling with his eager enthusiasm and pride at having been personally selected by Buffy to keep track of any and all effects the experimental nanotechnology might have on her sister.

“What I don’t understand, though, is exactly what’s holding things up here, now,” she complained with more than a trace of exasperation. “If this incident we’re supposed to be investigating really is demonically-oriented the way your sources have indicated, we need to get started checking things out as soon as possible.”

“I understand your concerns, Ms. Summers,” Beckett replied in an unruffled voice that reminded Dawn of a career politician. “All I can say is I was notified earlier this morning that your Council has apparently decided that they wish to add another representative to the liaison team, and that your sister indicated that she would *strongly* prefer that we await their arrival before proceeding with the investigation.

“In the interests of maintaining cordial relations with the Council and the British government, some of our upper management has decided that we will comply with her wishes,” she elaborated.

Dawn was just opening her mouth to make a less-than-flattering comment about her older sister's overprotective streak when the door to the room opened and Beckett’s secretary stuck her head in.

“Excuse me, ma’am, but the Council representative has arrived,” she announced, a moment before a tall, dark-haired man easily slipped past her and into the room.

“Good morning, Ms. Beckett. I'm Alexander Harris, the Council rep you've been waiting on,” he smiled at the Director as he looked around, taking in the room in a glance. “Sorry to keep you waiting, but morning traffic around here is really tough. Especially when compared to most places in Africa.

"Hey, Dawn. How’s it going, Andy?” he smiled his greetings to his fellow Sunnydale survivors.

“Xander?” Dawn’s voice revealed her surprise at seeing him again so soon again. “What are you doing here?”

“Giles and some of the guys decided that you could probably use some additional support who had a bit more field experience than Andy here has,” he grinned at the now-frowning brunette as she quickly deduced who the ‘guys’ behind her friend’s unexpected appearance was.

"Nothing against you, Andy," he smilingly reassured the worried-looking younger man. "It's just that you've spent the majority of your Council time in a lab building stuff, when you're not actually out in the field testing out the new equipment.

“I think they figured it couldn't hurt if you had your own Scooby Gang, version 2.0, backing you up," he said as he turned to address Dawn again. "Will was saying she's confident that Andy can handle any of the usual mojo we might need and she also said he’s almost as good as she or Giles used to be with the research." Hearing those last remarks, Andrew's face lit up with a mixture of pride and surprise.

“And after she heard how that little problem in Djibouti worked out, Buffy decided that she wanted me here to watch your six,” Xander then added with a minor shrug.

“Uh, excuse me, Mr. Harris,” Director Beckett interrupted, a look of polite disbelief on her face as she looked at him, “but are you saying that *you* were involved in the incident in Djibouti last month?

“Several relatively reliable sources indicated that it was a British ‘double 0’ who was responsible for eliminating one of the more radical Islamic Jihad offshoot groups there and their funding,” she stated as she looked at him.

“Nope, I’m not saying I was involved in that incident at all, Ms. Beckett,” Xander shaking his head and giving her a look of such complete innocence as he stared at her across the small distance separating them that Dawn had to repress an impulse to laugh.

“I’m just repeating what people who were in the area around that time said, that’s all. From everything I heard, it seems like some idiots persuaded their buddies that trying to summon a Third-Order demon that they could set loose on their enemies was a great idea,” he added as he poured himself a cup of coffee from the pot on the small coffee table situated in front of the couch.

“And it also seems that other people in the area who might have thought that their idea of summoning a demon like that was a *really* bad idea might have bugged their headquarters and then kicked in some doors and tossed a couple grenades inside the room at a particularly crucial moment in the summoning so that the ceremony was interrupted and the demon managed to pull all of the previously mentioned idiots involved through the portal before it closed,” he said as he sat down next to Dawn on the couch.

“All things considered, though, it seems to me that things worked out fairly well for everyone involved. Well, except for the idiots trying to summon that demon, I guess you'd say. We even were able to ID the bagman for the Brits. Some people might think that Jimbo was a little too public with what happened in the embassy but I hear the whole network got rolled up,” he smiled at the Director as he took a sip of his coffee. “All in all, definitely a win for the good guys, wouldn’t you agree?”

The Director stared at the newcomer with a thoughtful expression for a moment before finally smiling at him and extending her hand.

“Yes, I would have to agree with you there. And I'm beginning to think that working with you and your friends is going to be an extremely interesting and, hopefully, equally beneficial experience for everyone involved, Mr. Harris,” she said as they shook hands.

"After all, when one considers the potential synergy that will result from combining our people's extensive undercover experience with your group's unquestioned expertise in dealing with the – unusual," she noted in the cautious and diplomatic manner of a career politician, "I think I can say, without any false confidence, what can possibly go wrong?"

Beckett and her people were all surprised when all three of their new associates immediately glanced at each other with surprise before groaning loudly at the Director's words.

They were even more surprised when they heard Dawn then announce as she threw herself back against the couch in a resigned manner and with unshakable certainty in her voice, "Okay, that does it.

"We are now *officially* screwed."


FIN

~~~

The crossover is with "Jake 2.0," if you haven’t guessed that already. For more information about this show, go to the website: http://www.twiztv.com/scripts/jake20/. That's also where a fair amount of the dialogue in the lab came from. Jake 2.0 belongs to Silvio Horta, I believe.

Xander’s adventures in Africa are in honor of “Casino Royale,” owned by the late great Ian Fleming.

The End

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