Same Old, Same Old
Even when he is visiting the Kildar in Georgia (the country, not the state), Xander can not escape his role in life. Buffy
X Paladin of Shadows
series by John Ringo
Standard disclaimers: All things Buffy belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and various corporate entities who are not me. The Kildar and the Keldara belong to John Ringo and Baen Books, who also are not me. No money exchanged hands.
Rated R for language and sexual innuendo (if you've read the Kildar series, you know I'm taming it down a bit)---------
Mike Jenkins, formally known as Mike Harmon of the U.S. Navy SEALS, and now the Kildar of the Keldara valley in the Caucasus mountains, was in a good mood. New gear had come in, and the training was going well. But then, training the Keldara on military gear was almost as easy as teaching ducks to swim. He walked into the entrance of the fortress called the caravanserai and immediately noticed that everyone seemed to be smirking. Well, almost everyone - some of the members of his harem were pouting.
"So, Adams, what's up?" he asked one of his chief trainers.
"The President's young friend is in hiding," said Adams jovially. When no further response was forthcoming, Mike was forced to ask why.
"Our little Katya is looking for him."
Mike's good mood evaporated in a flash. Katya, sold to a brothel at a young age, and brutalized beyond belief, was one of Mike's top operatives. She was also one scary bitch who hated the world and everyone in it, but she hated men most of all. After every mission, Mike wondered if he should give her a bonus, or a bullet in the brain. And now she was after the young man who somehow merited the personal consideration of the President of the United States.
"Fuck," he said. "Do you know where he's hiding? I'm going to get him out of here pronto. Have someone bring up one of the trucks - I'll drive him to Tbilisi myself."
"Don't sweat it, Kildar," laughed Tanner, the Keldara's communications trainer. "The kid's in no immediate danger." Others in the room nodded their agreement.
"OK, if this is someone's idea of a joke, I'm not getting it. And the kid is unoffensive as they come. What the hell did he do to set off Katya?"
There were some snickers in the crowd. "He was nice to her," said Adams. Mike scowled at him. Adams jerked his head toward the stairs leading to the next level. "I think he's up there, somewhere."
Mike considered his mystery guest as he headed up the stairs to his private quarters. The President had contacted Mike and requested that Mike and his Keldara give the young man all possible aid until a pickup could be arranged. "You'll like him," said the President. "He'll walk into Hell to save a friend. You might say he's in your line of work. He once saved the entire world."
"He told a girl he loved her," replied the President.
"I understand, sir, need to know," began Mike.
"No, I'm being quite literal. He's done some other things that were insanely brave, or bravely insane, but I think that one took the blue ribbon." There was a pause. "Come to think about it, the walking into Hell thing was literal, too. And Mike," said the President.
"Be prepared for very strange things to happen, and don't question your sanity when those things happen."
Mike reached his private quarters. Anastasia, his harem manager and frequent bed-buddy was there, as was Katya and the young man. Anastasia looked relieved. The young man looked trapped. Katya looked very, very determined.
Katya pointed at the young man. "You said after the Florida job that I earned special bonus, Kildar. I want Xander."
Mike just stared at her. Xander buried his head in his hands and moaned, "Why me? Why is it always me?"
"Katya," Mike said slowly, "I can't give you someone. Certainly not the President's friend."
"I know, not forever. Just for now." There was a glint in her eyes.
They might have continued in this vein for some time when there was a flash of light in the room. When his eyes cleared, he saw that another woman had joined them in the room. She was young, blonde, and good looking, and he had never seen her before in his life.
Mike's sidearm was in his hand in a flash. He pointed it at the strange woman.
"Who the fuck are you?" he demanded.
She didn't get a chance to answer. Xander whispered, "Anya?" Mike glanced at him. He saw the look of sorrow and wonder on Xander's face; and saw the young man's expression change to something hard and remote.
"Another trick, First?" he asked coldly. "Didn't get enough of a ass-kicking last time?"
The woman looked surprised, and then affronted.
"Don't be silly, Xander," she said. "The First is still licking it's wounds in some sub-dimension." She saw his look of disbelief.
"Oh, here, let me prove it," she said. She approached Xander.
"Not another step," snapped out Mike..
The woman glanced at the gun in his hand. "Oh, please, like that's going to work." She took another step, and Mike fired the gun. From Mike's point of view, nothing happened. The woman stared at him for a moment. She then held up her hand, and opened it. The bullets were there.
"Are you done with your male posturing?" she asked. She dropped the bullets on a table, and walked up to Xander. She reached out one hand and gently touched his face.
"Touching," he said in wonder. "A trick the First never could pull off." He pulled the woman into a bear hug. "Oh god, Anya, I've missed you so much."
"Well, of course you did," she said in a matter-of-fact voice.
"I'm so sorry. I was such an idiot."
"You're a man, of course you were," she said fondly.
"But how?" he said. He pulled away a bit, but kept his hands on her shoulders.
"I'm here with a message for you, and them," she said. She jerked her chin at Mike, Anastasia, and others in the doorway, who had come running when they heard the gunshots.
"Oh, crap," exclaimed Xander. "Messages from the Powers are never like, 'hey, good job saving the world last week, here's a free trip to Hawaii.'"
"Who the hell is she?" asked Mike.
"Oh, sorry," said Xander. "Anastasia, Katya, Mike, this is Anya Jenkins, my ex-fiancee. Anya, I guess since you're here on an errand from the Powers, you already know all these folks."
"Ah, excuse, me," said a voice from the doorway. It was Vanner. "I thought you told me your fiancee died in the Sunnydale collapse." That was true. One evening after sampling too much Keldara beer (though beer purists would say there could never be too much Keldara beer), Xander had given Vanner a heavily censored account of Sunnydale's last day.
"I did," said Anya. "Died heroically helping to save the world. It was very noble of me. Of course, if Andrew had been a better fighter, I wouldn't have had to been so noble."
At this strange juncture, Mother Savina, one of the elder women of the Keldara and Mike's housekeeper, pushed her way through the crowd at the door. "Anastasia, do you know when the Kildar wants din..." she stopped as she took in the scene. She screamed, "Anayanka!"
Anya preened. "Oh, you remember me! 1967, low-down waste of air compromised your sister, you wished a terrible fate on him..."
"And the wish was granted, beyond my imagination," said Mother Savina.
"Of course, I'm not in the biz anymore. I'm on this whole redemption kick, so no more granting of vengeance for me." She seemed a bit sad
"Ah, Ayn, I think you're having a hard time with the whole remorse thing," said Xander.
"Yeah, I know. It's like, like," she thought a moment, and continued, "like running a business and trying to not make a profit. Anyway, the whole brooding look is bad for me, and it doesn't get business done."
"Practical as always," said Xander. He gave his head a shake, and continued.
"Ayn, it's been great seeing you, but I know the Powers-That-Be-Useless aren't big on family leave time. Why are you here, why now - and appearing before folks who don't know about the night life?" asked a puzzled Xander.
Anya shrugged. The Head Office predicts a 77 percent chance that the next terrorist attack these guys run into," she nodded towards Mike and his people, "will have a strong mystical component." Mike and his American-born trainers blinked. The Keldara who understood enough English to follow the exchange just nodded their heads.
Xander blinked. "Stats? From the Powers? Don't you mean there's some obscure prophecy?"
"No, the Head Office. The Powers got the axe. All prophecies are off line til further notice."
"Well, Xander, it's all your fault. First, you gave Buffy CPR after the Master dumped her in that puddle to drown. Then you used your Uncle Rory's convertible to run over that Jhe demon that was supposed to kill Faith. And then you helped bring Buffy back from the dead." At this point, the Kildar and his people exchanged glances. "Brought Buffy back from the dead?" mouthed Adams. "Who the hell names their kid Buffy?" whispered Vanner.
Anya ignored the by-play. "And then you kept Willow from destroying the world. And then Willow activated all the Potentials, and the whole prophecy machine crashed."
Xander smiled. "That's our Willow - hacking and crashing the mystical Internet."
"Well, she was the final shove, but you started it."
"I didn't know I was busting a thousands-year-old prophecy machine," he started. He thought about it a moment and grinned. "And I wouldn't have given a rat's ass if I had."
"That's the attitude that gets things done, Xander. Oh, I can't give a vacation in Hawaii, but I can give you this,' Anya said. She reached her hand out touched Xander's face over his eye patch. He gave a yelp and yanked off the eye patch. A perfectly good brown eye looked out at the room.
"Holy shit!" exclaimed Vanner. He had seen Xander without the eye patch, and knew damned good and well there had been an empty socket there last night.
The President's voice echoed in Mike's mind. "Don't question your sanity." Hah.
Anya looked satisfied. "Given what you do, we really can't afford to have one our better agents blind sided."
"Better agent?" asked Xander. "He reached up to the newly restored eye. So this is less of an present, and more of a..."
"Employee incentive. I swear, when I got there, it was obvious they knew nothing about personnel management." She was very indignant.
"You're going to end up running the place, aren't you?" teased Xander.
"You didn't hear it from me," said Anya.
"I know nothing," responded Xander in a bad German accent.
"Anyway, that's the message I was sent to give. You need to fill them in on the night life. They're going to need proof - there's a nest three blocks west of the police station in Tbilisi. I have to get going; so many things to fix." Anya looked at Katya. "You show superior taste. Xander can give you many orgasms. I don't have much use for men, but he's special." There was a flash of light, and Anya was gone.
Xander's ears turned bright red as the other people in the room goggled at him. Katya smiled. Mike looked at Katya closely. Was it possible that was a real, honest smile on Katya's face? Nah. He'd believe that when someone proved that vampires existed. Couldn't happen in a million years.--------
Sometime ago, the Jim Baen's memory challenge was posted- combine Buffy with any of the titles published by Baen Books. I didn't do anything with it at the time. And then I read Choosers of the Slain
and considered Katya, and Xander's tendency to attract scary women, and this idea popped into my sleep-deprived brain.
Cross-posted on Fanfiction.net