Meetings. There had to be a special place in Hell reserved for the person who invented the formal meeting. Certainly there had to be a special part of Hell that was an endless meeting. There was nothing like putting a bunch of active people in a room and making them go over and over minor details of the same events endlessly until even the most patient person wanted to scream. Sure, it was supposed to be important, a way to make certain that no important detail was left out, but if the events were really that important, couldn't they just wear little video cameras and watch things over again, instead of relying on memory, which was always flawed?
Of course, the monotony was most likely a more subtle form of torture, a bloodless way of softening up the person being 'interviewed,' so that they might accidentally give up more than they intended. It definitely felt like torture to Xander, who had never been fond of meetings of any type. At least the ones back home were informal, though; here, they didn't even have donuts. They'd already been at it for several hours and he was hungry. He was also tired of having to answer the same questions over and over again.
"So, you're from an alternate universe? And you got here by magic?" Col. O'Neill was obviously not happy with him, "Yeah, right. Y'know, it kind of sounds like the whole setup that the Goa'ould have, playing at being gods. Their 'magic' is nothing but parlor tricks and technology."
"I have to agree with Col. O'Neill. There is nothing that you have done that could not have been replicated by technology." Major Carter was quick to add.
"The healing?" Xander asked.
"Goa'ould healing devices."
"Weird mix up caused by problems with the Stargate. Heck, solar flares sent us to the past once."
Carter piped up, "We also have a Quantum Mirror that can transport people to other realities."
"Hmm. Ok, how about the sword?"
"Oh, I know! How about Kendra? She's supernaturally strong and fast!"
"So are all the Goa'ould we deal with on a daily basis. Face it, kid, magic's just such a far fetched idea. Who could believe it?"
Xander thought for a minute. Then he raised his hand. "Ok, I've got it." His hand began to glow, and his eyes changed to that of a cat. Suddenly, all the water in the glasses and pitchers arched into the air, and began forming the words 'magic is real.' "How about this?" he asked. "Could technology do this? Manipulate water? You've seen that I don't have any devices on me. So how am I doing it?"
SG-1 looked at each other. Carter shrugged. "He's got me there. Could be telekinesis, or something like that." She turned to Xander. "Maybe you have some kind of mental abilities, and you just THINK that they are supernatural."
"Indeed," came Teal'c's input into the discussion.
"Yes, historically there have been reports and stories of spoon-benders, mystics and others with unusual mental abilities who, due to superstition and a lack of scientific investigation, were considered to be witches or warlocks. That doesn't mean there isn't a foundation in science, however." Doctor Jackson was just as wordy as ever, saying with twenty words what could have been said in five.
Xander sighed. "I guess we just agree to disagree. All I want is to get Kendra and get home to the Hellmouth, where I'm sure you would discount all the vampires and werewolves as sun-sensitive hemophiliacs and people with glandular problems who are in dire need of a manicure. You guys should really meet the people who write the news in Sunnydale; you could give them a few pointers in diplomatic, evasive language. The best they can come up with is 'gangs on PCP,' 'exsanguination by barbecue fork,' and 'criminals in Halloween masks.' Oh, and by the way, for a place with 'mythical' vampires, the most common cause of death for any age group is death by barbecue fork. Amazing how dangerous those things can be, even when people aren' t barbecuing."
"Son," General Hammond entered the conversation, "I have to report back to my superiors on every...unique situation that we have here, and I'm afraid telling them about magic-wielding alternate-reality demon hunters would not go over well. It would be a bit too much to swallow, even coming from this facility."
Shrugging, Xander replied. "Then make something up. As long as it doesn't get us dissected, call us aliens, or alternate-reality telekinetics. I mean, after all, I'm kind of part demon, that's kind of like an alien, especially since the demons I'm related to are from another dimension. With any luck, we'll be gone before anyone comes out to check."
Me and my big mouth, Xander thought to himself. As a resident of good old Sunnyhell, he should have known better than to jinx himself like that. Now he had to deal with evil incarnate in the form of some high-seated self-important bigwig, who had nothing better to do with his time than to bother the resident dimension hopper. As if he really cared about this guy's position and authority; he'd never even heard of him before, some guy named Kinney, or Kinsey, or something.
After an hour, he was bored. After two, the only thing keeping him awake was the burning anger and hatred festering inside him towards the idiot with a one-track mind, and a narrow one at that. He kept coming back to the same questions over and over again, as if by repeating them he could somehow make the answers come out the way he wanted.
"What kind of advanced technology are you using?"
"I already told you, I'm not using any. It's magic. And no, I didn't make it, it was given to me."
"Well, if you were just TOLD that it was magic, and you believed the person, you must be a superstitious fool. What Goa'ould do you serve?" Kinsey sneered at the naive young man.
"I don't serve any Goa'ould! I'm from an ALTERNATE world, you idiot! I don't know how you managed to get into political office with such a closed mind, much less get connected with the program here. I bet you bribed or blackmailed your way into position; God knows you couldn't have gotten it based on your personality or abilities, both of which are practically nonexistent."
Listening to this speech, Kinsey's face became redder and redder. If Xander had possessed any compassion for the man by this point, he would have worried about the man's health and possible impending heart attack. Clenching his fists repetitively, Kinsey swung his hand at Xander's face, changing at the last second to an open-handed slap.
Xander's head rocked back, and he sat there for a minute, stunned. Then, to the surprise of everyone in the room, he chuckled. "Do you really mean that?" he asked with a leer.
"Of course I did," Kinsey snarled. "I've had enough of your prevarication and your lies. If I have to slap you silly to get the truth out of you, I will."
If anything, Xander's grin grew wider, recalling a bit of the Mazoku culture. "Ah, the standard response of the 'civilized' man to the so-called 'savage.' Believing himself so superior, he doesn't bother to try and understand the other culture before judging and condemning. I'm glad that Doctor Jackson has a lot more tact than you; you'd never last a day dealing with different cultures and customs. He, at least, understands that gestures don't always cross cultural boundaries. Fortunately for you, I decline your offer."
Kinsey gaped like a smothering fish. "Offer? What the hell do you mean, offer? I didn't offer you anything!"
"Oh, but you did. You see, I'm part of a non-human culture, and in this case, different culture equals VERY different rules. By slapping me in the face, you just proposed marriage to me. Then, you confirmed your intentions when I asked if you meant it. The Mazoku people have a VERY accepting approach to relationships; gender doesn't matter." Xander grinned at a suddenly white-faced Kinsey. "Don't worry, I won't hold you to it. You're not my type. But if you had been...it would be a great insult to the royal house if you suddenly took back your offer." He smirked in glee at the strangled, inarticulate sounds coming from Kinsey. “Unless of course you want me?”
Author's note: I'm probably going to be mixing things around, time line-wise. There are just so many great characters and storylines to work with, it may start going AU pretty soon.
Thanks for all the great reviews!