Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Genre: BtVS/LXG Crossover.
Disclaimer: All copyrights remain firmly in the hands of their individual copyright holders. This, however, is not me.
Distribution: The normal people. If you’re not one of the ‘normal’ people, the answer would be ‘no’.
Author’s Notes: This will contain spoilers for the movie “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. This is your warning. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to be spoiled in any way, just wait and read this fic later.
Xander glanced up as the door of the small English pub opened and shut, spilling rain and wind into the rickety shelter. He snorted. As if something this frail and seemingly riddled with holes could be called ‘shelter’. Giles needed to be shot for putting off finding a hotel for them all until the last moment.
For that matter, shooting him for dragging them all on this so-called cultural experience could be a valid point, too. He really didn’t care what the motivation for hurting Giles was at this point, so long as the Englishman found himself in pain and fast. Buffy was out, patrolling through wind and hail. Or was it just rain? He really wasn’t sure what was going on out there exactly, only that it was something that he, personally, didn’t want to be running around in. And what exactly was there to patrol for here anyway? Some sort of demon that terrorizes sheep? He snorted. That could be any of the local farmers he had seen come through the door to get a drink at the bar.
Willow was upstairs, with Dawn, most likely both asleep by now. The trip through the countryside, in a rickety station wagon-esque thing that Giles had rented at the start of the trip, had been hard on the two girls. They were motion sick, to put it lightly. Giles, for all he knew, had been hit by lightning and cursed to Hell. Okay, pretty to think it; but that wasn’t the case at all. The older man was upstairs, also resting. Tomorrow they’d be getting an ‘early start’ to ‘see the sights’.
“Oh joy,” Xander drawled quietly, lifting the disgustingly bitter beer he had ordered to his lips. He cringed when it first touched his tongue, glancing towards the glass of water he had also asked for. But. . . no. . .he wouldn’t wash away the taste with the clear, crisp water. This was what he wanted, after all. To drink and be semi-merry. He deserved this after a long day in the car with Giles and, as such, also deserved the nauseating taste of the foul liquid.
He felt a brush of cloth as someone joined him at his small table near the bar. This wasn’t an uncommon practice, it seemed; for people to just join strangers for a drink and then meander back off the way they came. In fact, this would make the third such person to do so with him tonight, though most had left quickly when they realized how bad of company he was that evening.
“Tell me, boy. . . how is it that upon you I smell the taint of one who died long before you were ever born?”
Xander raised his eyes slowly to glance at the person that had sat down beside him, his mouth hanging open ever so much. He swallowed. Hard. She was beautiful. Strikingly lovely, in fact. With a hint of something dangerous lurking behind that veil. He could see through it. Living in Sunnydale for so long had given him, if nothing else, the powers of observation.
“I’m sorry,” he smiled widely. “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”
And. . . he didn’t. To be honest there were many things that she could be referring to. He was certain that, along with that keen sense of observation, he had also picked up some otherworldly supernatural stench living near the Hellmouth. Or from one of the many demons that they had fought along the way. There was no way to know for sure what she meant unless she told him herself.
He almost wished she wouldn’t, though. Whatever it was that she was sensing had her vaguely riled up. Her nostrils were flaring, and her eyes had an edge to them that was. . .feral.
“Do not play games with me, child.”
He sighed, putting his glass down. “Hold on there, lady. That’s the second time you’ve talked to me like I’m five years old. Where I come from I’m a man.”
She snorted, her hand flying up to her mouth in shocked surprise. He hadn’t meant it to be funny, and his cheeks began to burn with embarrassment.
“A man?” She murmured. “A babe in the woods is what you are. I ask you again – how did you get his taint upon you? You are human, not even twenty-five years of age, I would guess. And he has been dead and gone for many times that long.”
“I swear to you.” Xander frowned, leaning across the table so that they were even closer together. He could smell her perfume, something light and altogether feminine. It suited the older-styled clothes she wore, though the clothes themselves did not suit someone so young and seemingly full of life. “I have no idea what you mean.”
She opened her mouth and then closed it, looking at him darkly. “You honestly don’t know?”
He shook his head. “But if you’ll tell me who you’re talking about I can try to maybe figure it out.”
The woman sighed sharply, shaking her head. “You will think I am odd.”
He laughed. “Don’t take this the wrong way or anything – but I sort of already do. So you might as well just say it.”
She cast a glare his way and then nodded. “Fine, then. You carry the tainted scent of one who has had dealings with Dracula.”
Xander sat up, inhaling so quickly that it turned into a cough, choking him for a moment as he sought to regain his breath. He felt flushed, almost dizzy.
“That’s funny,” he laughed weakly. “I could’ve sworn you said. . .”
“Dracula,” she repeated. “You carry –“
“I know, I know,” he cut her off angrily. “I heard you the first time. So what? The great lord of the darkness got his filthy undead hands on me. I’m sure he’s done it all over the world. Why don’t you go find one of those other poor saps and interrogate them about it?”
No longer did she seem pretty and interesting. Now she was just a woman that he wanted to go away. Far, far away. It seemed like only yesterday when he had been nothing more than a Renfield for Dracula – a puppet and servant. It was enough that still he found himself having nightmares about it, forever trying to break free from compulsions in them that he had no way of being rid of.
“Dracula has been dead for a very long time,” she insisted, frantically. “How did you come about him? Are you not mortal?”
“I’m very much mortal, thanks,” Xander smirked. “And as to Drac being dead, I wouldn’t count your bodies before they’re ash, lady. Buffy kicked his ass good a couple years ago – but that doesn’t mean anything. She swears that he’s still out there, somewhere. The guy’s a lot harder to kill than he looks.”
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than her lower lip began to tremble. Great. Just what he wanted and needed tonight – a crying woman.
“Look – I’m sure you’re safe if that’s what you’re worried about. . . He’ll probably be holed up for a few centuries just healing whatever the hell Buffy did to him.”
She glanced up at him sharply, her eyes rimmed in tears. “I am not afraid that he shall come for me. It appears that I was but a momentary distraction in a lifetime full of distractions.”
Xander frowned. “Who are you? How do you know Drac?”
She pulled a handkerchief from her purse, dabbing at her eyes. “Mina Harker. Though most would know me by my maiden name of Mina Murray.”
He felt his eyes go wide. He knew who she was, of course. It was a matter of afterthought that had prompted him to buy a copy of Dracula and devour it eagerly within only a month of the vampire’s departure from Sunnydale; so that he could be prepared if he ever met him again. Oh, yes, he recognized her now. “You’re that chick from the book!”
Mina raised an eyebrow at him and he felt a chill go through his body. “I am that *woman* from the novel, certainly.”
“But. . .” Xander frowned. “Drac didn’t turn you. You got away from him. . .and that book is old. . .how. . .?”
She shrugged. “We did not find out until years later that the lasting effects of his curse would not be so easily forgotten. I am half-vampire, as it were. All the perks and none of the disadvantages.”
“Wow.” He laughed. “And to think. . .all I got out of my meeting with the dead one was a lasting urge to never meet him again.”
She smiled. “Be thankful that that is all that you ended up with. I would not wish my existence on any soul.”
Xander shook his head. “And believe me when I say I wouldn’t want it.” He shivered. “Being dead doesn’t appeal to me. I have this ingrained dislike of them.”
Mina smiled sadly. “Am I that unpleasant to be around?”
“N-no. . . I didn’t mean. . .That is. . .” He stammered, feeling that all too familiar blush of embarrassment spread over him. She was beautiful, very difficult to keep in mind that she had just admitted she was a half-vampire herself. Not of the living, nor the dead as the old ritual went. “You’re very. . .pretty.”
It was far from smooth. Definitely not cool. But, if she had known him better, she would have seen it for what it was – Xander-esque suaveness. Or what passed for Xander-suave within his circle of friends.
“And you are too easy to embarrass. Take heart, you did not offend me. After so long. . .it would take more than some casually misspoken words to rend my heart into shreds.”
“Well. . .good then,” Xander grabbed for his drink, swallowing more than one mouthful in his eagerness to have something to do other than embarrass himself further.
“It has been pleasant speaking with you. . .”
“Xander.” He offered quickly, hardly managing to keep from spilling the drink in his mouth onto his shirt.
“Xander, then.” She stood smoothly. “I wish that we could have more time to converse. . . however I am tired. Good night.”
He tried not to let his disappointment show as he wished her a good night as well and watched her move in the direction of the back stairs that led up into the rooms. Sure, she had been a vampire – well, half-vampire – but she was still a pretty woman for all that she was dangerous. And it had been nice to have someone to talk to, even if only for a few minutes.
Xander glanced up from the spot on the table he had lost himself in, locking eyes questioningly with the pub waitress standing at his elbow.
“The lady asked me to give this to you.”
He took the piece of paper with a nod of thanks, waiting until she was gone to open it. His eyes darted over the words, reading aloud as he went.
“If you like – we can continue our talk in private. I would enjoy learning more of your experience with D. Room 15.”
The paper fluttered to the floor, half-empty drink forgotten.
And he took the stairs two at a time.