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Taking the Initiative

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This story is No. 4 in the series "What If?". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The Initiative shows up in Season 2. (Response to a challenge from an author in a BtVS Yahoo Group)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > DramacmdruhuraFR182940,554211871,1389 Feb 0818 Dec 13No

Welcome to the Initiative

Rating: R
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Beta: None.
Summary: The Initiative makes an appearance in Season 2.

This is based on the following challenge from an author in one of the Yahoo groups I belong to: Mr. Mysterious.

His challenge was as follows:

The only real requirement I have for this is that Xander is taken by
the Initiative in season three or before (that way none of the
Scoobies know about the Initiative yet).

I also have a minor request, and that is that Xander doesn't come
out of his time as Walsh's test subject as just a 'normal human who
endured some experiments that had no effects on him.' I can see this
leading to a Punisher kind of story, where Xander suffers tests that
don't do anything but make him bitter and angry.

But as I said, that isn't a requirement... just a request. :)

-Mr. Mysterious


My take on when this fic starts a couple of days after ‘Bad Eggs’ in Season 2. The events that followed on from this point quickly diverge from the way the show went.

The lead-in that was provided by Mr. Mysterious and is denoted by the following at the top and bottom of his set up: *****



Walking home from patrolling with Buffy had always been a worrisome
experience for any of the Scooby gang. They had to deal with so many
things that one of them dying on the way home would be both ironic
and the way their luck ran. So it was that Xander was somewhat
worried when men in commando gear came out of nowhere.

"What the --?!"

That was as far as he got before he was hit with enough
electricity to take down an elephant.

When he woke up to find himself in a plain, white cell with an
electrified thermoplastic barrier he was less than enthusiastic. The
fact that a *blood* pack was dropped into his room left him even
more confused. Groggily sitting up, he stared at the pack of
blood. "What the hell?"

"It's drugged," a voice said, apparently from the next cell. "They
drop those in for us, then come and get us once they're sure we're
out." A few minutes later, as if in verification of what he'd been
told, a woman in a white lab coat came up with several men. She then
just stared at the young man staring out of the cell at her.

Grabbing the bag of red liquid, the brunet hurled it at the window
where it exploded all over the thermoplastic barrier. "I'm not a
vampire, you schmucks! I don't even like my meat medium rare, so
drinking blood is out. How about some chicken?"

"You'd think if someone was going to kidnap you, thinking you're a
vampire," he raged angrily, "they'd at least make sure your heart
wasn't *beating* first... did the fact that I'm *warm* not tip you

The woman frowned, tapping a keypad outside the cell. When gas
filtered into the room, he groaned. A few minutes later he was

When he came to six hours later, with a nasty headache no less, it
was to find an older woman staring at him like a bug under a
microscope. "Hello, Mr. Harris. I am Maggie Walsh, and I must
apologize for the inconvenience. My boys are still new, and were
under the impression that no one normal would be insane enough to go
out *hunting* the HSTs."

"HSTs?" Xander asked, not sure he liked being called insane. But he
was conscious, and that was a step up from the last two run-ins he'd
had with whoever these people were.

"Hostile Sub-Terrestrials. This is the Initiative. It is a top
secret government installation chartered for the purpose of
studying, experimenting on, and creating preventative measures for
dealing with HSTs... among other things."

She smiled, and yet Xander wasn't reassured. It was an expression
that belonged on a shark, not a human. "Captain Jackson saw you take
several hits that a human shouldn't have been able to withstand
without more serious injury, and so assumed you were an HST. Most of
the human-looking HSTs that we have dealt with in the past have been

"It was an honest mistake..."

"Um... if you're going to let me go, shouldn't you be... um, you
know... *not* telling me these things?"

That shark's smile appeared again, and the words that followed set
off alarm bells in his head. Then again, he'd been called Captain
Obvious before for good reason.

"Who ever said we were letting you go, Mr. Harris?" she asked, the
smile on her face not diminishing when he pointed out he was an
American citizen. "Oh? You are? Since when is a non-human entity
considered American?"

The dumbfounded expression on his face allowed
her to continue uninterrupted. "The instant you were brought into
this installation your freedom was forfeit, Mr. Harris."

"As of six o'clock this morning a retrovirus was introduced into
your bloodstream, facilitating the production of a harmless non-
human protein within your body."

"As far as your country is concerned, you are no longer human, young
man. I suggest you deal with that. You are now my newest test
subject, to do with as I please."

With that, Xander's stint in hell began.


Xander knew he was in too deep to get himself out of the box Walsh had put him in but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t try and make sure the rest of the gang was safe from her. He just had to do it in a manner that didn’t clue her in on Buffy’s special nature.

“So, you planning on opening a new wing for all those normal people that know about the night life and have learned how to defend themselves?” asked Xander as snidely as he could.

“What do you mean?” asked Walsh, her shark smile slipping a bit.

“Come on now,” said Xander. “I may not be good at math but just what do you think the odds are that I, a teenager, am the only one in Sunnydale that has figured out what goes on at night here? Or that I’m the only one who has developed techniques for surviving in this town? With the amount of weirdness going on here that would be a ridiculous assumption. For the one in charge, you’re not all that smart are you? Someone or something that starts taking out the ones in the know and the others are going to hear about it even without any formal organization to fall back on. That means your boys are going to end up being the hunted if they don’t steer clear of ones like me.”

Maggie’s smile disappeared completely at the crack about her level of intelligence and was replaced by a cloudy image that promised payback big-time. However, she had to admit, if only to herself, that Xander did make a good point. The odds of him being the only person in the town to know about HSTs and how to survive an encounter with them were miniscule. Especially given the shear number of HSTs that seemed drawn to the area. She still hadn’t found out why that was, but it would make sense that some of the locals would know what was what and how to cope with it. She would have to limit operations to areas away from the town proper unless there was a compelling reason otherwise. Xander Harris she could explain away to her staff as a human looking demon who had tried to fool them into believing that he was fully human, but if it happened again, her staff might begin to question things and that would raise too many problems for her to cover up. She just needed to convince any friends or acquaintances of Xander Harris that he definitely didn’t survive an encounter with some HSTs rather than just disappeared which might get investigated by the other individuals or groups that knew about his extracurricular activities.

She raised a pistol and shot Xander in the chest. Depending on ones point of view, he was either lucky or unlucky that it was a tranquilizer dart. Xander, himself, was confused on the issue as well, though he would lean heavily towards unlucky on most days to come.

When he awoke again, he was back in his cage and could no longer speak. Many other changes would happen over the following months.

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