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The Crucible

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Summary: Two Scoobies fall through a dimensional portal to an alternate Earth and are recruited by Section one. Story continues.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-CenteredTarenFR151145,21174620,8113 Sep 0314 Jun 05No

The Crucible

Rating: PG-13/R.

Disclaimers: Not mine.

Summary: Two Scoobies fall through a dimensional portal to an alternate Earth and are recruited by Section one. Story continues.

Pairing: X/D

Distribution: Xanderzone, TTH, anyone else ask.

A/N: Takes place in Season 2 of La Femme Nikita and Mid Season 7 of Buffy. I have always believed Spike was evil so I’m not character bashing, just trying to be true to his character. Expect additional crossovers.

The Crucible

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Xander, was sitting in a hotel room idly watching the street outside his window. Although truthfully it had been years since he had been called Xander these days he went by Alex. Close enough to his old name to remind him who he was, but different enough that most days he could forget the past. Today was not most days, and Alex was again raging against the past.

Five years. For five years we’ve been stuck in the twisted dimension. I’m going to kill Spike if I ever see him again. Spike, the bastard who pushed us into the portal. The sick son of a bitch smiled as he did it. Oh yah Spike was going to die, all we need is a way home.

Not much hope of that though, we've been stuck here five years and if Willow was going to rescue us she would have done it by now. Can't even rescue ourselves, I haven’t seen a whisper of the supernatural here, no spell casters, no demons. Sure there is that beheading cult running around the world, but no mystical mumbo jumbo there just a bunch of crazy bastards cutting each others heads off.

Stupid portal couldn’t even drop us in a decent place. A sunny beach, a tropical resort, even a vampire-infested warehouse would have been fine. No we get dropped into a Red Cell training facility, and let me tell you our arrival did not go over well. It could have been much worse though. No one saw how we got in and the ‘investigator’ choose to use drugs and some hypnotherapy crap to try and get information out of us. We were only there two days and they hadn’t yet resorted to physical torture before Section liberated the facility and us along with it.

I remember thinking “Yay we’ve been saved.” I wasn’t expecting the reception we got. Strapped down in rather uncomfortable metal chair in a very bright room, some sick psycho asking questions. Madeline would get a kick out of that thought I’m sure. Anyways I’m in this lovely white room and all I can think about is her, where is she, I saw her in the van. God what are they doing to her and all the while the sick bitch is asking questions I have no answers for.

Seems they were curious why we didn’t exist in their databases. Anywhere. There were no records of anyone with our DNA profile, or anyone even close. Birkoff later told me that he should have been able to at least obtain a maternal link somewhere.

I think it was only the fact that we were being tortured by Red Cell that saved us from being canceled. Section really hates mysteries. They still couldn’t allow us to walk free, and the fact that we didn’t exist gave them the perfect opportunity to recruit us. Not that things were simple or easy after that. We went through two years of ‘training’ that put my soldier memories of boot camp to shame.

If she wasn’t there with me every step of the way I wouldn’t have made it. It was her strength that pulled us through. I still remember Michael’s first visit. Comes in all cocky quoting gravesite rows and plot numbers, half a second later she has him laid out on the floor. I guess fighting creatures five times faster than you pays off.

I think they figured we would try and escape at that point because he looked surprised when she sat back down and waited for him to get up. But really, where would we escape to. We knew no one here, had no money and new nothing of the world. Plus we knew nothing about the people we would have been running from. Escape wasn’t realistic.

I don’t think Michael liked us much. Sure he never said anything and you could never tell what he was thinking behind that mask of his. He seemed to make a point of sparring with us even though we weren’t his assignment.

I have to say that we were pretty good at the hand to hand even before training. She took out the instructor in two moves on the first day. Said it was like the guy was moving in slow motion. Don’t get me wrong we still took our share of beatings in training. We may have been fast but our technique was pretty sloppy.

“Team lead your target is approaching from the east.” A voice interrupts my thoughts. Well back to work.

~~~~**~~~~

Madeline climbed the stairwell to the perch to attend another meeting with Operations regarding the two mystery guests. Even after five years their past was still a mystery. They had no records, and never discussed their past. The only clues she had managed to pick up on were the sub vocal death threats against ‘Spike’, and cries for Buffy and Willow during the night. None of which lead her investigations anywhere. Medical showed that the boy had had many injuries, which would have necessitated hospital visits, but again there were no records. If Oversight hadn’t cleared them she would have been positive they were Red Cell plants.

Their performance during training was another mystery. Both performed well above average in combat training. Their training ended up being two years of polishing, and rounding off rough edges, mostly etiquette, language and high tech skills. By the time their two years was up their skills ranked them among the best of the field operatives and could fit in any social circles. The following three years only improved that ranking and refined their skills. Alone they were an asset to any team, but together… they were the team Michael and Nikita could have been if it wasn’t for Nikita’s discipline problems.

She punched in her access code and submitted to the retinal scan before the door opened. “You wanted to see me?”

“Yes.” responded operations not turning away from the glass, “Oversight has expressed an interest in Alex and his partner. George has requested them for a two week operation.”

“I see… and you don’t want to let them go.” Madeline observed reading Operations slightly tensed shoulders. “What is the problem with the request?”

“I don’t want to loose two trusted operatives.” Operations paused “While we have many good operatives, and a few excellent operatives, you and I know we can count the trusted people around here on one hand. The intel George provided for the mission is sketchy at best, and I’m not sure I want to trust our assets in this.”

Madeline tried not to wince at Operations using of the word trusted in relating to those two. She trusted only one person, and him only so far. She didn’t like that Paul ‘trusted’ Alex and Dawn, but they had that argument before and now was not the time. “We could have Birkoff look over that intel, work out escape scenarios for them if things go poorly. We can satisfy George’s request and still have confidence in both of them returning.”

Operations turned to look at Madeline a small smile on his face, “Excellent.” He walked over to a data port and punched a few keys. “Birkoff”

“Yes, Sir”

“I’m transmitting some data to your terminal, I want you to set up four complete escape scenarios. Passports, travel plans, safe house, everything.”

Through the glass Madeline watched Birkoff focus on his terminal.

“Sir this data is incomplete, is there more or do you want me to increase the profile?”

“No. Work with what you have, an increase in profile will notify the target.”

“Yes sir. I’ll have the scenarios to you in… four hours.”

“Very good”

Operations turned back to Madeline. “Call Alex and Dawn in for a briefing in five hours. I’ll let George know that he can pick them up in six.”

Operations mentally dismissed Madeline picking up a PAD off his desk and began reviewing the logs from the operation in the Sudan.

~~~~**~~~~

Five hours later found Alex, Dawn, Birkoff and Operations staring at the holographic projector.

Operations punched up the mission profile.

“Wade Wells, British businessman, self made millionaire, recently entered the political arena. He appears legitimate, however recently several suspicious transfers have been made from his accounts. He is also associating with people of questionable loyalties. His profile, associations, and general paranoia make him a difficult person to gather detailed information on.”

“What we have are a lot of suspicions, we need confirmation of his loyalties and associations. If the associates prove to be hostile you will eliminate them and bring the target in for questioning. Birkoff.”

“Alex you are Alex Davenport, English Industrialist. Inherited your money and company. Dawn you are his wife Rebecca.”

Dawn looked over at Alex with a smirk. This was her kind of mission nothing fancy and she got to be married to Alex again. If section wouldn’t permit their operatives to marry she intended to take full advantage of missions like this.

Alex caught her smirk and grinned back.

“I have developed four scenarios for your extraction should you break cover. Details are on your pads, and Walter will have additional equipment for you.”

Both frowned slightly at that looking towards operations. Having four extraction scenarios was a little unusual for a mission of this type. After a second both mentally shrugged and returned to reviewing the profile. They knew they weren’t in abeyance and trusted Paul to give them the information they needed, if he didn’t say anything it didn’t need to be said.

“Any questions?” asked operations as he shut down the projector. “Good, see Walter about the additional equipment.”

Operations watched as Alex and Dawn started to assume their characters. Awaiting the usual banter as they tested out the details on each other. He had to admit that whenever Alex and Dawn were operating with a cover it tended to run smoother than those where the operatives strictly memorized the details.

Alex and Dawn rose and headed towards Walter’s little fiefdom. Dawn nudged Alex, “Cradle robber.” She snickered.

Alex glanced at his PAD, “Hey. I’m only four years older than you and we waited till your eighteenth birthday before we got married.”

Dawn laughed “Birthday and Anniversary on the same day. I expect lots of presents husband mine.”

Alex winced. “I’m not sure if I want to know how you got Birkoff to fix it so the date falls within the next two weeks.”

With a twinkle in her eye Dawn just smiled and turned to Walter. “What have you got for us this time?”

With a genuine smile Walter pulled an envelope out of an equipment drawer. “First off your rings. Stop in at medical before you leave to get the tan lines fixed.”

Alex grabbed the envelope, and emptied it into his hand. Plucking out the engagement ring he turned to Dawn. “Rebecca will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

Dawn looked over to Walter, “But you haven’t asked my fathers permission, how can I accept without his approval.”

Alex flashed a dark look at Walter, who raised his hands and stepped back. “Whooo. How can I get between you two lovebirds? You have my approval, but if you hurt her I’ll break both your knees.”

Alex nodded, “How could I ever hurt my darling Rebecca.”

Dawn solemnly offered her had to Alex who slowly placed both the engagement ring and wedding band on her finger.

As Alex slid his own wedding band on he turned back to Walter. “So I doubt that’s it, what else have you got for us?”

Walter reached into the equipment drawer pulling out a pair of cell phones. “Usual Section cell phones, but Birkoff and I played with them a bit. Not only do they work on any cell network, they use the GPS network to track each other. Communication between the two phones is encrypted, when in use it jams electronic snooping devices, and I upped the battery life 50%.”

Alex and Dawn nodded suitably impressed as they pocketed their phones.

Pulling out a Sig Sauer P220 and a Glock 31 he handed them over. “Your usual weapons, MP5’s will be on site in the usual location.”

Dawn reached over and picked up the Glock, and tested its action before placing it her shoulder holster. “Birkoff mentioned extra equipment?”

Walter shrugged, “Not so much equipment but a backup plans. Here I have two money belts each carrying fifteen thousand Euros. As well I have extra sets of passports, one from the UK, one from Canada, and the third from France.”

Alex nodded instantly recognizing the color schemes of the passports. “Any other cool toys?”

“Well I have a prototype of some night vision glasses, but there is only one pair. Who gets them?”

Alex and Dawn looked at each other before she grinned “That would be me, he owes me for taking the last of the captain crunch this morning.”

Alex shrugged, “I thought you had already eaten, how was I to know you decided to get in your range work before breakfast?”

She winked at him, “You’re just supposed to know these thing. Anyways what’s special about these glasses?”

Walter reached under the table pulling out a set of sunglasses. “These have an infrared and UV sensitive film over the lenses that gives you damn near perfect night vision. Power is supplied by a watch battery and they are activated by opening the arms. Battery life is roughly 6 hours. Don’t expose them to sunlight or you will ruin the UV film. That’s all I’ve got for you today boys and girls everything else is on site.”

As Dawn and Alex walked off Dawn turned “Walter they didn’t tell us what kind of car we get this time, you wouldn’t happen to know would you?”

“A 1959 Corvette Roadster. Dream car, your going to love it. Now shoo.” Walter waved them off.

~~~~**~~~~

The first few days of the mission went smoothly, Dawn and Alex integrated themselves into the necessary social circles smoothly. While they were the center of gossip amongst the ladies Dawn managed to pick out quite a bit of information on Wade Wells and his associates. Mr. Wells’ money gave him some latitude in the social niceties, but the ladies picked his mistakes, and those of his associates apart for amusement. As a newly minted millionaire he just didn’t fit in, and his hangers on just weren’t the right sort of people.

Alex inevitably ended up playing several rounds of golf in his effort to fit in. It was Alex’s invitation to Mr. Wells to join them for a round that finally permitted a meeting between the two and a chance to obtain real intel.

“Mr. Wells, we are just heading out for a round of golf and are in need of a fourth. I was hoping you would be interested in joining us.”

“I would.” He turned to his associates, “If you will excuse me we can continue our discussions later.”

The taller of the two associates spoke up. “That will not be a problem, I have some things that need to be taken care of. Perhaps we can meet again this evening.”

“Excellent, I’ll see you tonight then.”

Alex turned to the associates. “Sorry for taking him away, no hard feelings” and offered his hand.

Taking the proffered hand in a firm grasp, “No. No hard feelings we could use a break and as I said I have things to take care of.”

Alex glanced down at his hand as he released, and for the first time caught a good look at the ring he was wearing. One word echoed through his mind as he turned back to Mr. Wells and headed off for the golf game. “Terakan”

~~~~**~~~~

That evening

“Rebecca remember those guys that blond hired to kill your sister?”

Dawn nodded, trying to remember which guys Alex was talking about. It took a half second before it clicked the assassins that Spike hired to kill Buffy. “What about them, that happened a long time ago and you said we wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore.”

Alex frowned “That’s what I thought to, but Mr. Wells’ associates were wearing the same ring as those guys were. It’s a different situation here, so I’d like check this out before we do anything drastic.”

Dawn walked over to Alex and pulled him into a hug. “That’s what I love about you, always so observant. One of the women was wearing a ring on a chain around her neck, and I didn’t even think twice about it. Lets get this checked out. If they are who you think they are we could have a problem, and I don’t want to worry about this any longer than we have to.”

Alex returned the hug, then pulled out his cell and dialed a number from memory “Birkoff, got some information for you to check out for me. Yep, a stylized signet ring. Rebecca is sending the information to you as we speak.”

Dawn picked up one of the laptops and prepared a sketch of the ring and description and sent it off to a dummy PI firm.

“No not too many of them, there are two that accompany him almost constantly, I’ve counted two others and Rebecca has spotted one of the ladies wearing one on a chain. We were just wondering if they are some kind of secret society, and you know how we get along with secret societies.”

Alex paused listening to Birkoff work for a minute. Looking over Dawn’s shoulder he checked out the info packet she had created. ‘How on earth did she get a photo of the ring? They hadn’t made it easy to even see the rings.’

“OK Birkoff you’ve got the information get back to us as soon as you can, we’re going for a drive, so contact us on our cells.” Alex finished as flipped his cell closed.

Dawn closed the laptop and got up. “A drive, anywhere particular?”

“Nope, just getting some air. I know how much you like to drive, and we haven’t had a chance to enjoy the car in a while.”

Dawn grabbed the keys and headed for the door. “Hurry up slowpoke or I’m leaving you behind.”

“You know one of these days I’m actually going to get to drive.”

“Not if I have anything to say about it.”

Twenty minutes later they were pulled off to the side of the road a set of lights flashing incessantly behind them.

Alex was trying his best not to laugh, but it wasn’t working all that well. Every time he looked towards Dawn he’d snort and turn away. Dawn for her part was looking frustrated and angry.

“Trust you to get pulled over for speeding yet again, and by a lady cop no less. Birkoff is going to have a field day with this, and Walter owes me twenty.”

“You bet on me getting pulled over?” Dawn tried for a hurt expression, quite realistic, but Alex knew her better.

“It wasn’t so much getting pulled over as to when.”

Dawn was about to reply when Alex’s cell went off. “Hello Birkoff, could I call you back in about five minutes. Rebecca got pulled over for speeding again and the lady cop is just finishing up the paperwork”

Dawn could hear Birkoff’s laugh on her side of the car.

Alex waited for the laughter to die down, “What, oh about twenty minutes. Tell Walter he owes me, see if you can get a photo of his face when you tell him. Bye”

Alex turned to Dawn and flashed her a big grin. She in turn stuck her tongue out at him, just as the cop thrust the paperwork in the window.

Five minutes later found them further down the road, traveling only slightly above the posted limit.

“Birkoff, what have you got for me?”

“Terakan, professional assassins, bad guys got that. Any further instructions?”

Dawn looked over and saw Alex was smiling at whatever Birkoff was telling him.

Alex flipped the phone closed, “Guess what dear, they’re bad guys, not the same breed as the ones that went after your sister, but bad guys all the same and we get to remove them from the equation. Mr. Wells will be watched and if contact persists will be dealt with, but he’s no longer our concern. We get the Terakans.”

Dawn’s mouth quirked into an evil grin as she spun the car 180 degrees tires smoking she sped off back towards their home. “I say we take them tonight, we know were they are, let’s get the work out of the way so we can take the rest of the two weeks as vacation.”

“Sure” replied Alex knowing full well they would be back in Section as soon as the mission was over.

“Any details your forgetting to tell me about Alex?”

“Hmmm. Lets see 5 or so Terakans armed with small caliber pistols, personal security force of five in a roving patrol. No cameras to speak of alarm system exclusively on the house. But Birkoff has already killed that. The security force will be a joke, the Terakans are really good for assassins over a hundred confirmed kills each, but are nothing special, you know how you’re your average assassin performs in a standup knock down fight.”

“Yep they stand up we knock them down.” Quipped Dawn

“Should be a cakewalk, so we are obviously missing something”

“Well that’s to be expected, the intel we had was sketchy and our contributions haven’t fleshed it out all that much. But with what I have seen we have it covered.”

Alex agreed there was little they couldn’t take on in this world, and with ordinary human assassins this was going to be easy. Still it would be nice if that itch on the back of his neck would go away.

~~~~**~~~~

Alex and Dawn were parked a half mile away from the Wells’ estate getting kitted out for a strike. Both had donned their equivalent of Second Chance vests and were strapping on assorted knives and backup weaponry. Pistols in shoulder holster, spare clips, and a backup piece were clipped to the money belt. MP5 SD6 on shoulder strap, hanging loose and finally passports tucked into pockets on the inside of the vest. Finally slipping their ace in the hole into the sheath on their backs. With a nod they silently headed off towards the mansion.

Three minutes later they ghosted up to the wall around the estate, a quick check verified no security sensors in the area. Alex frowned, for a guy as paranoid as Wade Wells his home security was pathetic.

Alex rolled himself over the brick wall followed seconds later by Dawn. He could see two of the guards patrolling the grounds. The idiots were using flashlights, how were they supposed to see anything. With a silent shudder Alex looked away searching the rooftop for any signs of activity. There. With a nudge he pointed out the sniper to Dawn.

A quick inspection of the sniper with the field glasses showed he was scanning the grounds with a night vision scope a spotter beside him with night vision binoculars. So there are a few teeth he thought. Dawn tapped him lightly on the arm motioning that she would take the spotter leaving him with the sniper. He looked down at his gun, and shaking his head slightly, he silently wished mission spec’s had allowed for a sniper rifle. Shouldering the weapon he took a breath, gave himself a slow three count and let a three round burst take out the sniper. At the same instant he fired Dawn let loose with a burst that dropped the spotter.

Dropping to the ground beside Dawn he looked for signs that someone had seen the muzzle flashes. Dawn had night vision glasses on and was currently studying the sniper nest looking for any sign of movement. After a full five minutes with no signs they started towards the main building. He was starting to miss that little voice in his ear that told him where the hostiles were.

Once they reached the patio door Dawn covered Alex’s back as he entered and swept the room. Receiving an all clear she followed him into the darkened ballroom. The place was a standard Victorian Mansion and the layout was almost identical to the many others they had assaulted. Once leaving the ballroom they continued a room-by-room sweep heading towards the study. Alex always felt strange sneaking around in a fully lit house but silent and deadly were the watchwords of the day.

After clearing two rooms they opened the door to the third and observed a sleeping female in a large four-poster bed. Motioning to Dawn to join him they slipped over to the bedside. Keeping his attention on the woman he allowed Dawn to examine the room. When she held up a Terakan ring on a chain Alex popped a single round into her forehead. Exiting carefully they continued the room-by-room search.

They grabbed a two man roving patrol knocking them unconscious and pulling them into an empty room. No need to kill the security, all they were after was the Assassins. Finally they reached the Study and were pleased to hear Mr. Wells and at least two of his associates. Save us the time and effort of hunting them down Alex gave Dawn a small grin and a nod. They stepped through the door together, Alex firing a burst into the Assassin on the right Dawn into the one on the left, and that left… the one with a knife to Wade Wells throat. Interesting.

Stepping away from the open doorway Alex grinned “Bringing a knife to a gun fight how very twentieth century of you.”

“Lower your weapons or I’ll kill him.”

Dawn snickered, “There you go assuming we want him alive. Honey can I cap the bastard?”

Alex smirked, “Not yet, I’ve never had the opportunity to interrogate a Terakan, imagine the stories he could tell.”

Dawn fired a single round destroying the assassin’s elbow. “Then at least I can liberate the hostage. I can say that can’t I liberate?”

Alex responded by firing a round into the assassin’s knee as he tried to flee, “Sure you can say liberate. We are the good guys.”

Dawn walked over to the downed assassin and cheerfully stripped him of weapons before applying tourniquets to his wounded arm and leg. Alex moved a catatonic Mr. Wells to a chair before giving him a sharp rap on the head knocking him out. Looking around Alex turned to Dawn “Your turn to call it in or mine?”

“I’ll do it, they seem to hate you for some reason.” Flipping open her cell she dialed a number from memory and spoke a single word “Housekeeping”.

“You know this was way to easy don’t you.” Claimed Dawn

Alex removed his half spent clip and replaced it with a full one. “Yah I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“Ok by the numbers, one female assassin check. Two lackeys, that’s the snipers on the roof check, two associates check, one extra guy … whose body we seem to have misplaced. Damn and things were going so well to.”

Dawn nodded to a blood trail on the floor, “Well at least he left us some breadcrumbs. I don’t think the one armed one legged man will be getting far do you?”

She watched Alex draw in a deep breath, “Don’t answer that lets just find the bastard and get out of here, we still have to tie up the rest of the security force before housekeeping shows up.”

Alex let out the breath “After you milady”

Stepping out into the hall she walked square into the second roving security patrol. Dawn reacted immediately letting her MP5 swing free she hit with a knife hand strike to the first security guard’s throat disabling him. Spotting the second guard with his pistol already drawn she spun left as he opened fire. The first round smashed into the plaster wall to her right showering her with dust. The second ripped past her shoulder and the third narrowly missed ripping her ear off. Wincing from the loud report of the pistol in such an enclosed space she dropped to the ground in front of him. Hitting him with a brutal yet effective groin punch, she then removed the pistol from his unresisting hands as he keeled over.

As Alex joined her they tied up the two guards before re-locating the blood trail.

Following the trail was exceedingly easy and despite his lead it was a matter of moments before they had caught up with their two armed, two legged assassin. “What the hell…”

The Assassin turned throwing a knife straight at Dawn. She spun to her left to try and avoid the projectile, but it caught here square in the chest. Alex flipped out and opened fire on the Terakan. The first burst tracked up the assassin’s chest, the low velocity rounds mangling his internal organs. The next bust was to the neck and head. Finally Alex stood over him and emptied the remainder of the magazine into the mangled body of the Terakan. Changing clips he turned to Dawn. “Dawn are you OK, how bad are you hit?”

Dawn stood rubbing a spot directly over her heart. “I’m fine, the knife cut through the Kevlar but was stopped by the ceramic plate. I love these vests, I’m never going anywhere without one ever again.”

Alex smiled in relief “Good, now that the assassin over there is dead …” He motioned to where the Terakan was feebly trying to crawl away. “Damn it why won’t you just die.” Letting his MP5 hang loose on his sling he pulled out his ‘ace in the hole’ looking at Dawn he grimaced “When all else fails….”

A quick swipe of the sword and the Terakans battered head rolled free.

Slowly a mist started to accumulate and a static charge began to build. Alex and Dawn were backing away but didn’t get far before the lightning struck. A majority of it seemed to be hitting Dawn with only a few random strikes hitting Alex. As Dawn collapsed with the final strike a portal opened. One in which Alex could clearly see Buffy and Willow. Not wasting a second he scooped up Dawn and stepped through.
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