AN: Many thanks to Starfleet8659 for kindly being a Beta on this chapter.
Marcia’s latest mode of transportation had been in the back of a furniture moving truck. Xander nearly lost her when the truck blew a tire on the Brooklyn Bridge, only by flinging himself on top of her and clapping his hand around her mouth, stoically ignoring her biting him anew, had they managed to finally make it into New York City undiscovered.
He could see her green eyes darting around wildly for a chance to bolt as they made their way past Times Square.
“The nightmare’s almost ended, Marcia.” Xander dragged her down a side street. Thank Jehovah for famous New Yorker indifference; no one gave a crap at how roughly he was handling her. The general public clearly thought they were just another pimp and working girl.
Times Square was filled with men - drug pushers, johns and porn shoppers. The only females were soliciting junkies, teen runaways and incredibly stupid tourists.
“You’ll never get away with this, you psychopath.” Marcia’s fresh tears overflowed down her grimy cheeks. White slavery was to be her awful fate it seemed. And to think she’d been saving herself for the right person. “My dad always says.”
“Give me a vacation from ‘Father knows best’.” Xander hauled her into a dive of an apartment building and pushed her up the stairs. “I am not taking you to The Best Little Whorehouse in Manhattan. I’m taking you somewhere you can be safe.”
“And who are these people that you spoke to in that callbox in Brooklyn, a lady that kills ‘vampires’ and her ‘watcher’? You’re gonna make me do a snuff movie!” Marcia sobbed with increasing hysteria she kicked him in the shin.
“Stop doing that for the love of god!” Xander’s shins were lumpy zones of pain due to her fighting him constantly when she grabbed the chance, and he hadn’t struck her once, surely she could tell he was here to save her by now?
Who wouldn’t think he was crazy? But finally he could prove to her everything he’d told her was true, sort of.
Xander rapped five times on a door in a passageway.
A magnified eye peered through the door's spy hole and Marcia could hear the sounds of numerous door chains being unbolted.
The door opened and a white man in his early thirties wearing a corduroy suit stood in the doorway.
“Mr. Harris, I presume?” the man inquired in an English accent.
“Yeah, Crowley, right?” Xander was so close to crying like a six year old at the moment with sheer relief. His solo burden could be eased at long last and Marcia would understand everything and start to cooperate instead of fighting him every inch of the way. “Is Nikki Wood here?”
“She’s putting Robin down to sleep.” Crowley beckoned them in. “She took the lad to visit his grandmother today and he’s tired out poor wee mite.”
Marcia entered a very funky and groovy pad; the walls were painted pale green, decorated with numerous spider plants hanging from macramé pot holders and framed posters of black jazz musicians.
“Would you care for some java?” Crowley offered putting a kettle on the gas ring. “Only instant I’m afraid.”
“You still complainin’ about my coffee, English-cat?” An afro-haired black woman dressed in a brown leather pants suit walked into the living room.
“Well yes, dear, because it’s bloody awful.” Crowley waved for Marcia to sit down on one of the vinyl brown bean bags in the living room. “It’s alright, lass, we don’t bite.”
Marcia’s searched suspiciously around the room for the hidden cameras ready to record her being tortured to death.
“I’m still not convinced.” Marcia folded her arms indignantly. Thank dear God, this Nikki and Crowley duo did not seem to be the kind of people that worked in the porno industry - but Nikki killed vampires? Far out, Marcia wasn’t dumb for Pete’s sake. So they had medieval weapons in Nikki’s apartment and ‘magic books’ written in Latin and Greek. Just because bearded men dressed in red and white at Christmas time didn’t mean Santa Claus existed.
“Yeah, I’m with honky chick on this one. The future? Sounds B.S. to me.” Nikki unexpectedly came down on Marcia’s side with that particular issue.
“It does sound a load of cobblers but Harris’s weapon and uniform are futuristic.” Crowley grudgingly conceded. Harris knew watcher code words he had no right to. “And he does know a surprising amount about the Watchers Council, young Rupert Giles temporary fall from grace, and predicting future sporting event outcomes.”
“Any sports fan couch potato could make that crap up.” Nikki scoffed, passing over to Marcia a peanut butter sandwich. “There you are, sugar, eat up.”
“Thank you,” Marcia tucked into it with ravenous hunger.
“Thanks,” Xander gratefully received his lunch too. He spoke urgently through a mouth full of food. “Look, it’s all true, okay? And whether you believe I’m from the future or not, Marcia’s got an exterminator demon after her and it’s not going to stop searching for her, not going to stop killing people, until it’s found her and ripped her frigging heart out!”
Marcia and Xander found to their mutual surprise Marcia no longer burst into tears when Xander made this statement, she had heard it too often by now. They both carried on eating.
“Quite, there obviously is an exterminator demon after all the female Bradys that lived in Santa Monica.” Crowley observed reasonably. “The killings have been in the news in New York, and naturally Nikki will help you protect Marcia, Harris. But if you are from the future and I will be investigating your claims with the Watchers Council, do you wish to change it?”
“Hell no, I think the way things worked out in 2003, with my friends, family and half the human race dying rocked, not.” Xander swallowed down his last mouthful of bread. “But the rub is - if I change anything in the past, Jessie Brady might not exist in the future and then who’s gonna bail the human race out?”
“And this is why ‘Captain Harris’s’ insane theory is so big time dumb.” Marcia spat, “There is no way, Jose, am I the kind of chick who would be an unmarried mother. I’m not being mean to you, Nikki, but it must be really hard to be a single mom, right?”
“Yeah, Amen, sister,” Nikki nodded with no offense taken, hell; she never thought she’d be an unmarried mom but then she never thought she’d be a slayer either. “Go on the pill.”
“No hold on,” Xander began to look really worried. “Marcia’s meant to get knocked up this summer.”
“I don’t need to go on the pill, it puts on pounds and I’m going to wear white on my wedding day and be entitled to it.” Marcia announced primly.
“Accidents happen, baby.” Nikki smirked.
Xander stood on a tall building’s rooftop with Marcia that night. Crowley showing her the diary he kept on Nikki’s life since she became a slayer had mollified Marcia enough to agree to come out and see Nikki kill a vampire. This would convince Marcia that Xander was telling the truth about demons at least.
“Humoring us, until you can make your escape, huh?” Xander smiled down at Marcia benignly from where they hid behind a billboard sign.
“Get off my case,” Marcia juggled the gurgling baby Robin. She didn’t know what to think right now about Xander, or Nikki and Crowley. Just what the heck was she about to witness?
Running footsteps down the street drew their attention.
A man with deformed facial features pursued Crowley.
“So you persuaded another weirdo from your cult to wear a Halloween Mask, big deal.” Marcia needed more proof than this.
The fanged man grabbed Crowley and slammed him against the wall.
“Hurry up, Nikki, for Christ’s sake!” Crowley yelled out to the night.
Nikki swooped down from the dumpster on which she’d been perched, blending in with the shadows.
“Don’t raise your motor, baby, it ain’t leaving the garage.” Nikki tapped the fanged man on the shoulder and punched him in the face when he turned around.
“Oh,” Marcia shut her eyes. Violence was very uncool.
“Open your eyes, damnit, this is the proof you wanted!” Xander nudged her annoyed.
Marcia reluctantly looked at the scene below. Oh jeepers how terrible. The man kicked Nikki in the stomach.
Nikki went flying across the street and slammed into a wall. She leapt back unscathed.
“Intense the way she kicks vamp ass,” Xander breathed admiringly beside Marcia as Nikki began to fight back furiously against her foe. “She has her own technique, different again from Buffy and Faith’s.”
“Who were slayers too,” Marcia had heard all about them, especially the mythical Buffy.
“Uh-huh.” Xander nodded, pleased Marcia had finally picked up the terminology of the world she would now be moving in.
“You’re completely nuts.” Marcia cuddled Robin and hoped when the police arrested everyone when she escaped, this poor baby would be rescued by Social Services and given to normal foster parents.
Nikki knocked the vampire to the ground and landed astride him. She withdrew a stake from her blouse.
“Now watch this bit closely!” Xander ordered Marcia frantically.
Marcia screamed in horror as Nikki impaled the man she was fighting in the heart with a piece of sharpened wood.
The man exploded into a shower of dust.
“Far out!” Marcia had never seen anything like that before in Santa Monica. She almost dropped Robin in her shock. Her mind began racing. “So describe to me in detail what an exterminator demon looks like again?”
***Fall 2003, Los Angeles during the reign of the First Evil.
“Virginia knew the risks.” Wesley sharpened a knife resolutely in the musty underground garage Jessie Brady’s base was temporarily located in.
“You’re a cold blooded prick.” Dawn hugged the shaking Xander and glared at Wesley.
“Wes used to date Virginia, shut up, Dawn.” Gunn checked the ammunition on his clip.
“I’m fine, Dawnie, I just wanna be by myself, okay?” Xander detached himself and stared around the crowded base for a temporary solitary haven. He spotted an empty alcove and squatted down in it.
“Who the hell do you think you’re telling to shut up, mister?” Dawn launched into Gunn.
Xander had mysteriously been given a photo of Jessie Brady's mother when he asked what her parents had been like. Xander pulled it out of his pocket. Jessie’s mom looked so god-damn cheerful and normal, kind of sexy too in a seventies type way. She wore a low cut dress and danced in some smoky night club in a goofy style.
He studied the photo and wished he could be in that night club getting his groove thing on with a pretty girl. Xander wasn’t fine at all. He had never felt less fine in his whole life. He’d just killed someone he cared about.
Two German Shepherds Brady’s army kept as guard dogs began barking frantically as a party of ten refugees entered the garage.
Three of the refugees wore sunglasses. They pulled out guns and began firing with accurate aim at the humans.
“Exterminators!” Fred screamed out in redundant warning.
“Duh, girl!” Gunn grabbed his automatic and fired back at the attackers, pushing Dawn down on the floor for safety.
Shit, Xander needed to protect Dawn. He crawled over to her beneath the hail of bullets and hurled himself on top of her. Fred had possession of a gun. Dawn was in equal danger of dying from friendly fire right now as from a bullet from an exterminator weapon. Fred was a lousy aim.
Wesley and Connor were wrestling with a disarmed exterminator demon; only beheading the bastards worked in stopping them, the human looking demons apart from their red eyes, weren’t felled or slowed down by silver bullets, holy water or arrows.
***New York 1975
Xander settled down to sleep on the floor of Nikki and Crowley’s apartment a happy man, Marcia believed him about demons now, Crowley promised not to tell the Watcher’s Council about Xander on the basis it was too risky to Marcia’s safety.
Crowley was quite free spirited for a watcher, he had conspired against the Council during Nikki’s Cruciamentum because Nikki had been pregnant with Robin at the time.
“Gosh, Xander, I’m truly sorry for being so mean to you when you were only trying to help me.” Marcia whispered across to him from where she curled up onto three bean bags.
“That’s okay, Marsh, I’m real sorry about your family.” Crap, wrong thing to say, Xander had just made Marcia start crying again.
Weeks passed and Xander and Marcia made new lives for themselves in New York. In what both thought was a retrograde career move they got jobs in a local ice-cream parlor. Marcia knew her parents would freak out at her having Xander as a male room mate if they were still alive but they weren’t.
There wasn’t a single female Brady of childbearing age left alive in Santa Monica. Marcia had been reported missing presumed dead. The Brady murders were a nine day wonder in the papers and on television.
Marcia dyed her hair brown to disguise her appearance and adjusted to sharing her two bedroom apartment with Xander in the same apartment block as Crowley and Nikki.
Crowley trained Marcia in self defense. Marcia hadn’t much enjoyed judo classes in her first year at high school but could see the need for her to learn combat techniques now. A physically coordinated girl (she had been head cheerleader at Westdale High) she was very competent at following Crowley’s teaching.
***August, New York, 1975
Greg Brady was a young man whom life had dealt a very bad hand to. He had been in his college dorm studying for a final exam, when the cops had arrived to break the news his family had all been murdered by a madman.
And Greg didn’t understand why that happened, why his family? His step sister Marcia had disappeared too, presumed murdered also, but Greg didn’t buy it. He cherished the hope Marcia had gone into hiding and he would find her again one day.
Greg spent the summer after his family died drifting around America in a Chrysler. He intended to go back to college in the fall he wasn’t going to be a drop out, Dad wouldn’t have wanted that, but Greg needed a change of scene. Early August found him in New York lining up outside a nightclub.
Inside the nightclub, Marcia was once more refusing the offer of drugs from a polyester shirted Crowley.
“Look, just Vitamin Q. It’ll relax you.” Crowley beseeched Marcia, shaking a plastic bottle full of tablets under her nose.
“Put the ‘ludes away!” Marcia waved her hands in front of her face crossly. Marcia’s knowledge about drugs and the supernatural had increased tenfold during her time in New York. “I’m not going to get high and then get laid by some loser in a stairwell to give birth to a love child in nine months time. Drugs are for people who can’t handle reality.”
“Well, I find your lack of public spiritedness disappointing quite frankly, Marcia.” Crowley frowned, popping down a Quaalude himself to demonstrate their harmlessness.
“Don’t guilt trip me, you despicable creep.” Marcia flounced off onto the dance floor to shake her booty with Nikki. She was not having sex with just anyone for Pete’s sake.
“Have you got your leg over with her yet?” Crowley groaned to Xander as the two men sat at a table, drinking beer.
“Lay off, she’s not interested and neither am I.” Xander leaned his head on his hand and stared entranced at Marcia doing the hustle with Nikki. Marcia was very hip for 1975 he now realized.
“Good God, man, you’re crazy about her.” Crowley sighed in exasperation.
“There’s nothing so hot as the unobtainable. But I think my screaming nightmares are a slight turn off for her, combined with the fact I’ve only got one eye and work as a waiter in an ice cream parlor. I think an architect like her step-pop is more her ideal of a life partner.” Xander self mocked, how could he fail to jones for someone as spunky and cute as Marcia? On the other hand he thought Nikki was pretty hot too.
And when he saw Nikki come back from a flea market last month, all excited about a bargain leather duster she picked up for a dollar, he felt like being sick upon recognizing the duster as Spike’s coat.
Spike wore a woman’s coat, which was actually kind of gay as well as being disgusting once he got his soul.
Xander racked his brains working out if Spike was really needed at all to help save the world ever. Xander guessed Spike had saved the world in a roundabout way and kept quiet. God, Xander’s life was the pits, a constant moral dilemma.
Fred had always said, screw destiny.
If only he could write a letter to Fred’s parents in Texas and tell them to never let their offspring go to California.
Xander became aware of Crowley waiting for a reply from him.
“I’m just not ready to be a Dad, sorry. Besides, I don’t know if I’m meant to be Jessie’s father, I could be I guess, Jessie had brown eyes and dark hair. But my mission was to protect Marcia not knock her up.”