The Start Of A New Journey
After a good nights sleep, one which didn’t have any dreams or nightmares accompanying it, Xander got up and did his usual business at the bathroom. Today they would discuss their plans for getting to New York so they could talk to this Chandra Suresh guy. Willow had done them the favor of trying to get in touch with him, but she had gotten nothing but a voicemail message. They had decided that getting to New York would be their first priority, which in truth, was more of a way for Xander and the Winchester brothers to have a little time off to relax.
As he made his way out of his room towards the meeting room, he gave his good mornings to all of the new Slayers who happened to be up at 10, which, for mostly teenage girls, wasn’t that many of them. Seeing as how it was the weekend, most of them were sleeping in. On weekdays though, there was a mandatory 5 mile run they had to participate in at the early hours of 6, which had taken some longer to get accustomed to.
It was Faith who led that morning run. A few years back, Xander would have never been able to see Faith as the Mother Slayer sort of role she had adopted recently, but as surprises go, she seemed to be made for it. He could only guess it was partly because of her stint in prison that she had learned more about discipline, and largely due to her take no shit attitude that all the new Slayers admired, and somewhat feared.
Shaking his head, Xander found it funny where life could take some people. Giles, Willow, Robin, Faith and himself had formed something of a new Scooby group. Buffy and Dawn were always there at heart, and to an extent, some of the other Slayer’s that were there in Sunnydale, but it was usually the five of them that were dealing with most of the problems as of late. As far as he was concerned, that was cool. If anyone deserved her rest, it was Buffy, and Dawn, though she might hate it, was still seen as the little sister to all of them. Them having a chance to live somewhat normal lives for a change was something they all understood, and were glad for.
As he saw the door to the office, Xander cleared his thoughts on reminiscing. There was a new problem now, so it was back to business thinking, as he liked to call it. Walking into Giles office, aka, the meeting room, he saw everyone was there and seated already. Though he could see that Dean didn’t like the idea of such early mornings, as he was still wiping his eyes and kept hitting Sam, who would nudge him whenever the younger brother thought he was trying to fall back asleep in his chair.
“Sorry if I kept you guys waiting. Didn’t think you would all be here already.”
“Well, if we knew you were coming so damn late, I wouldn’t have had to of gotten up so goddamned early” said Dean, whose voice sounded a little slurred from being tired.
“Don’t mind him Xander, we all arrived a only a few minutes ago ourselves.”
“Thanks Giles” said Xander as he went to take a seat. As he sat down, he heard Faith whisper something into Dean’s ear, which caused him to sit up and look as though he’d been shocked by a taser. Hearing him say something about unfair play, and with Faith laughing, he couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the two. ‘That’s a scary match if I ever saw one’.
“So, seeing as how Xander and the Winchester brother’s agreed to take a trip to New York to meet this Chandra Suresh, we’re all here to discuss the arrangements and who will be accompanying them on their journey.”
Okay. This was news. He didn’t know anyone else was coming with him. Not that he minded, but it would have been nice to know that they all felt like he still needed looking after. Looking at Sam and Dean, he could see their reactions matched his, though for slightly different reasons. About to speak up about it, Willow cut him off.
“Don’t be a fuddy-duddy Xander. It’s not like that. But you guys are going to New York, and we have no idea about any of the other people out there who may have abilities too. We know you can take care of yourself, but we’re still worried. Would you honestly let me go by myself if the situation were reversed?”
“I guess not Wills, but I’m not going by myself.”
“Yea, are you saying we can’t be trusted?”
“Not at all Dean. But, think of this Gentleman. Aside from all of your experience in dealing with the Supernatural, how many of us here have had to deal with a human possessing abilities that, according to Dr. Suresh’s book, may outclass some of the more powerful demons any of us have encountered? How many of these individuals are using their gifts for the benefit of mankind? How many of them have heard of Chandra Suresh, and want answers? Do you think, for instance, that a city with such a high population as New York, would only be home to the individuals who are upstanding citizens? Despite what you might think, we should all know about unforeseen events that happen in our line of work.”
‘Wow. When Giles puts it that way, I guess I feel a little stupid for not giving that some thought. Especially with some of the things I’ve seen in my dreams.’ Looking over at Sam and Dean, he could tell they felt as if they had just been scolded, which, was kind of the case.
“Uh, yea, sorry about that. Guess that does make sense. But who’s gonna come with? We’ve been pretty busy with the school, and no offense to the new Slayers, but being with a teenage girl in New York doesn’t sound all that appealing.”
“You got that right. We’re not doing any baby-sitting while we’re there. We appreciate all your help, but we don’t plan to make a habit of you guys doing our job for us” said Dean, with a look towards Sam, who nodded, showing them that he did agree on that one.
“We talked about it last night. As you all may know, Kennedy, Vi, and Rona will be returning from Europe in a few days. So, we will be having a few new visitors until these newly activated Slayers decide what they want to do. With them back, Faith has volunteered to go with the three of you. It will also provide us with a chance to see how the girls act without Faith’s presence around.”
“Um…wow. You sure we can afford that though? I mean, regardless of the fact that she’s the Head Slayer, but Faith is also the best Slayer here.”
“Relax Cyke. And besides, Buffy is technically the Head Slayer. The girls may not think so, but when Buffy gets back, if they don’t show her the same respect they show me, they’ll be in for a rude awakening when they find out she can be a bigger bitch then I am. And Kennedy, Rona, and Vi know the deal. They can hold things down here while I get a little vacation time. And thanks for the compliment by the way. It’s hard being the best sometimes.”
Thinking it over, Xander and the others couldn’t help but laugh. Faith was certainly right about one thing. Despite her General Buffy attitude back in Sunnydale, Buffy still was often misjudged by her appearance and usual demeanor. But, if she felt any of the Slayers were slacking off, the girls would be in for a surprise when sweet little Buffy turned into Drill Sergeant Buffy. If there was one thing Buffy could take with the utmost seriousness, it was Slaying, and making sure you stayed alive.
Sam and Dean, he could tell, were a little lost. It was understandable, seeing as how they just heard a bunch of names of people they had never met. Regardless, Dean was noticeably excited at the idea of Faith coming along with them.
“Okay. Sounds good. But what about the rest of you? Will you guys be okay here without the Xand-man to brighten up the day.”
Getting the desired effect of a few laughs, Willow assured him they would be fine, and they would be working on finding out a bit more of the situation on their end.
“Alright, so when do we leave?”
“Well, I looked into it, and there are flights departing from Cleveland to La Guardia pretty frequently, so you can leave as soon as tomorrow. That will put you in Queens, New York, which isn’t too far from the city. We got you rooms booked at the Waldorf Astoria in Mid-town Manhattan, which you will have for 4 nights, giving you a chance to relax a little. Also, if something comes up, you have the option of extending that stay to two weeks. After that, if anymore time is needed, we’ll have more than enough time in advance to decide what to do afterwards. Are any of you familiar with New York” asked Robin. He could tell from the blank stares of Faith and Xander that they weren’t. Thankfully, Dean and Sam nodded, mentioning that they had a few cases that took them there a couple of times. Enough to get around.
“Okay. But if you need any help or directions, I’m just a phone-call away.”
“Man, the Waldorf Astoria? Hear that Sammy? These guys must have some good money to send us there for a few nights. Hell, if this is the usual, we might have to apply for some jobs here.”
“Well, think of this as a thanks for all the…independent work you two have done thus far. And while I’m sure you were only joking, we have been looking for new Watchers. With the experience between you two, future employment is certainly not out of the question.”
Catching the look between them, Xander could see they were hiding something. It was after Giles mentioned the idea of them becoming Watchers. He filed that away for later.
“Well, thanks for the offer, and we’ll keep that in mind. But concerning getting to New York, don’t worry about us. Me and Sammy will be driving there.”
“Are you guys sure? It’s kind of a far drive.”
“Yep, don’t worry about us. We got some things that wouldn’t exactly be airport friendly.”
“Well, that’s not a problem. I have special amulets I created that let’s you get things through the security at airports. Since we’ve had to recruit new Slayers around the world, we decided it was best to have a way for them to take their weapons with them, instead of having to rely on getting them while they were in some unknown part of the world, or a place they knew relatively little about. It’s easy too. All you have to do is wear one amulet if you’re carrying anything on you, or put them in the bad your weapons are in.”
Even though Willow was probably using more computers than magic lately, she still got excited when talking about it. She was, after all, one of the most powerful magic-practitioners in the world. Though Xander did remember her mentioning something about a Charmed one or something. He would never tell her, but sometimes he found her talks about magic boring, and zoned out a lot of the times. Though, if the bruises he got whenever he did were any indication, she already knew. Beside’s, magic always went kablooey around him.
Shaking his head with a chuckle, Sam answered for Dean this time. “No, we appreciate it, but Dean here is a big chicken when it comes to flying.” Despite Dean’s silent protests, Sam continued with a grin. “We’ve had a bad experience before, and tough guy over here is still traumatized by it.”
“Haha. Nah, it’s just, you know. I like my car, and not that I don’t trust you guys, but I’d…you know, rather stick by it, you know” said Dean, shooting a death glare at Sam, who only laughed in return.
“Sorry to hear that stud. I was actually hoping you’d be man enough to….measure up to any needs a little lady like me could have.” Getting up and walking out the room, Faith threw her best shit eating grin at Dean. “Guess I’ll just have to find a real man while I’m in New York.”
As she left a laughing room, and one ego-pained male, she told them to get everything ready for her. She was going to do a surprise morning drill with the Slayers, to keep them on their toes while she was gone.
“Very funny. Just laugh at my pain here people.”
“Don’t worry Dean. Faith has a way of getting to most guys” said Willow, trying to comfort the hurt male. Growing up with Xander, she knew how fragile their ego’s could be.
As they made their preparations, Sam had been able to convince Dean to take a plane with Xander and Faith, if only to show he could take the challenge. Sam himself was curious about the amulets Willow had, who assured them they would work.
They figured they would leave tomorrow morning, allowing them to get into New York by noon, and enough time to get their bearings once they were in the big city. A part of him had to admit, he was a little excited by all of this. Sure, there was the scared shitless feel of discovering more than he wanted about his nightmare man, but aside from that, it was turning into something of a mission/vacation. Something he didn’t think ever happened in their line of work. Getting up once things were settled, he went with Sam and Dean back to their car, who wanted to get everything they might need for their trip tomorrow.
Whistling as he saw the weapons the brothers carried in their trunk, Xander couldn’t help but admire the collection the two had. As they sorted through the guns, Xander noticed they had quite an impressive arsenal. Asking if he could check some of them out, they told him to go for it.
“Just don’t shoot your eye out, kid.” Laughing at his own joke, Dean went back to choosing what he would bring with him.
“Oh my God. A Christmas Story joke using my missing eye as a pun. Why, I never heard that one before. Are you getting the sarcasm here? Is it too obvious?” Rolling his eyes as the brothers laughed, Xander went back to looking at the guns, knives, and other assorted weapons they had laid out in the trunk.
“Hmm…a chromed Colt 1191 semiautomatic pistol with pearl grips. The old standard issue side-arm for armed forces. Nice. Looks like you take good care of this baby.”
Reaching and grabbing the gun from him, Dean checked the chamber and put it in a duffel bag. “Yea, that baby is my companion.” Putting a sawed-off double barrel shotgun in his bag also, Dean then went about looking at the numerous knives, trying to decide what he might need.
Sam on the other hand, was still looking at which firearms to throw in, until he settled on his usual pistol that he used most often.
“Good choice. A Beretta 92FS semi-automatic. Chromed. You guys seem to know your guns.”
“Yea, I guess. Never leave home without it, right? But you seem to know a lot too. No offense, but you don’t seem to be the fighting type” said Sam, trying not to come off as offending.
“No, you’re right about that. It doesn’t help my pride to admit this, but the girls in there are much better fighters than I could possibly hope to be. But then again, they’re technically designed for that very purpose. Not to say I can’t hold my own. I mean, I did live on a Hellmouth my whole life, and one missing eye really isn’t that bad considering the alternative, but, I’m not afraid to admit I’m probably better off on the side-lines.”
“Hmmm…that makes sense. You live in a house with teenage girls that are stronger then grown men. I guess you’d get used to it after awhile. But how do you know so much about guns. Do you train the Slayers?”
“Actually, none of the girls use guns. Back in Sunnydale, we didn’t even think about it. After we started the school, it came into consideration, but after a few test practices with some of the older Slayers, we realized that super-aim wasn’t one of their abilities. Which is kind of strange, seeing as they have all the attributes to make a virtually perfect marksmen. I guess they did better than most beginners, but since we all work in groups, it wouldn’t a wise idea to have bullets flying around.”
“Smart move. It’s like chicks and driving. They just don’t mix” said Dean, which got Sam and Xander laughing.
“Yea. Thank God you never been in a car with Buffy. Possibly the most terrifying experience in my life. But you never heard that from me. But, as to why I know about guns, well, there was an incident back when I was a Junior in high school. On Halloween, the owner of a shop we all got our costume’s from decided to have a little fun, and turned us into said costumes. I went as a soldier that night. When the spell ended, I remembered everything. Guns, procedures, and pretty much all the knowledge a private would have in the army. Came in handy a few times.”
“That’s….convenient. But, why were you trick-or-treating in high school? Sunnydale couldn’t have been that weird.”
“Guess that does sound odd. No, our principle was a troll who signed Buffy, Willow, and me to take out kids from elementary school that night. A supposed volunteer program we didn’t volunteer for.”
“That makes more sense. So, you’re really handy with these? Would you want to borrow one for the trip” asked Sam, who couldn’t believe Dean and him had met people who lived stranger lives then theirs.
“Nah, thanks for the offer, but I’m good. I’ve gotten used to not using guns either. Besides, with Faith there, we probably won’t need any. I’m actually hoping we get through this trip with the least amount of problems, but Giles made a good point about the unexpectedness that usually occurs in our line of work.”
“Tell me about it man. Speaking of which, is Faith, you know, single?”
Shaking his head, Xander didn’t want to think of what would happen if Dean and Faith ever got together. Their personalities would either cancel each other out, our just multiply into something far worse. Still, Dean did seem like an okay enough guy, and Faith was his friend. They might actually find each other a match in attitude.
“I think so. Her and Robin, who you met earlier, seem to be on and off again, though I don’t think it’s anything serious at this point. He’s not the jealous type either, so if you and Faith winded up doing anything, I don’t think he would mind. But just so we’re clear, Faith is a good friend of mine. You seem like a good guy, so don’t think about just using her or anything, or we will have words. We clear?”
Dean had to admit. For a guy who came off as the comic relief of a group, this guy could be pretty scary if he wanted to. With a dead seriousness in his eye, he was pretty much telling Dean, if you hurt her, you get hurt. Honestly, Dean didn’t even think Faith was the type of girl that could be hurt in the first place, but he figured that was besides the point. Looking at Xander, he realized this guy was fiercely loyal of his friends, and if Dean knew any better, which he did, he was the type of guy that followed through on unsaid threats. Nodding, he saw Xander lose the edge and relax. Dean had to admit, it was something that gave him a little more respect for the guy. He was real protective of his brother, and he’d do anything to keep him safe. Laughing to himself, the irony of that thought wasn’t lost on him. Shit, he sold his soul to keep Sammy safe.
Looking at the exchange between the two, Sam was just a little confused. Dean wasn’t one to take threats nicely, even if they were well-intentioned. But, he could see there was some hidden understanding between the two.
“Well, I guess I should go get packed myself. Looks like we’re going to have a interesting few days on our hands. I’ll talk to you guys later on. Make sure you see Willow about those amulets too.”
The rest of the day was uneventful. They all got packed, and Willow gave them the amulets for anything they needed to get through airport security. Afterwards, they all just hung around doing nothing really, waiting for the day to end. Willow had tried to get in touch with Dr. Suresh a few more times, but to no avail. Robin assured them that they would be fine with their rooms for the Astoria, and they could take however long it was needed to get in touch with the doctor.
Giles had added that considering the seriousness of the situation, this were to be considered more of a mission than a vacation. Of course, Xander had been able to read the lines between that. All it meant was that talking to Suresh was their first, and only, priority concerning their trip to New York. They were free to do as they pleased once that was out of the way. Handing them pre-paid credit cards, with a surprising limit of five thousand each, Giles winked at him and just told him to have fun.
Sam and Dean had taken awhile to accept the cards. Xander had to admit, five thousand dollars per person, even in New York City, was extremely excessive. The brothers finally took the cards, but told them they would give the cards back once they returned, with whatever amount was left. Giles had told them not to worry about it, and only that they give some thought to the idea of being Watchers, something they agreed they would do.
Faith, of course, had taken the card, commenting that the bars of New York wouldn’t be safe once she got there. Xander promised Giles he would look after her, not that someone like Faith would need someone looking after her.
Once everything concerning preparations was out of the way, they all went back to their rooms for the night.
Looking around, Xander could see he was on a train, but everyone around him wasn’t moving, as if frozen in time.
“How are you doing this? Who are you” he could hear himself say. The Asian man in front of him, with a sword strapped to his back, spoke again.
“My name is Hiro Nakamura. Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.”
“Save the Cheerleader?”
“You’ve told me many times how lost you felt before it all started. This is what you’ve been waiting for. Be the one we need.”
Looking around him again, everything suddenly went back to normal. Looking for the cryptic speaker, he was nowhere to be found. As walked around the people, looking for Hiro, there was nothing to indicate he had been there in the first place, aside from a message. ‘Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.’
Again, he heard his name called, but from a different person. Looking around, he saw a man, of Indian descent, looking at him as if he’d gone crazy.
Waking up, more calm than usual from these sorts of dreams, Xander wondered what the hell just happened. ‘And how could saving a cheerleader save the world?’
Looking around his room, he saw it was close enough to the time he had to be up anyways, so he decided to take a shower to think over everything.
‘Was that another one of those dreams?’
For some reason, Xander knew that dream in particular was important. Something about the man, Hiro, was giving off the impression that he was praying this Peter guy listened to what he said. That he really believed this cheerleader could save the world. Peter Petrelli and Hiro Nakamura. Two names he knew would be important to remember. They were on a train, which could have been New York, but he wasn’t to sure. Either way, Xander knew he couldn’t forget those names, or the message.
Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.