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The Beat Goes On

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This story is No. 2 in the series "A Butterfly Beats It's Wings". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Xander and Cordy's life in LA.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Horror > Author: Stephen KingNommaFR1812,6381111,85926 Mar 0926 Mar 09No
Disclaimer: BTVS Belongs To Joss. Dead Zone, To Stephen King.



Chapter 1

Date: April 3rd, 1999
Time: 5:00 AM
Place: Sunnydale

“Come on, X! You can do better than that! Come on, ten more push-ups! You ain’t leavin’ here till they’re done!”

Xander was positioned over three chairs in the library. One supported his feet. The other two supported his hands. He was wearing a backpack full of dumbbell weights. It weighed exactly 300 pounds.

Sweat was pouring off him in buckets. He’d done 140 push-ups in this position thus far. The goal was 150. Xander let himself go down, never taking his chin past the seats of the chairs. He pushed himself back up.

Down… Up. Down… Up.

“Don’t you dare quit now! If you do, I’m takin’ your Twinkies, understand?!”

As if he needed extra motivation. Down… Up. Down… Up.

His arms were getting tired. He’d been at this for nearly half an hour already.

Down… Up. Down… Up.

His back wanted to give out. It was screaming at him.

Down… Up. Down… Up. Down… Further down… NO! I’m not letting this pack beat me! … UP!

He fell off the chairs, landing on his side.

Faith beamed at him. “Great! Now we can go on our run!”

Moaning, he moved to take the pack off.

“Oh, no. You leave that on.”

The groans increased, but he managed to stand up. “How… How far is this run?” He asked.

“Only ten miles.”

***

Date: May 2nd, 2000
Time: 3:45 AM
Place: Los Angeles

Charles Gunn was bored. Very, very bored. He’d taken his crew out on patrol, just like they did every night, but there were no vamps. No bug-ugly things either. He was more than willing to kill another demon, so long as it attacked first.

Next to him, his sister, Alonna, sighed. “What do you think, Charles? Pack it in? Not much action tonight.”

He nodded. “Might as well.” He was about to shout the order, when he spotted something. Something he’d never seen on a patrol before.

There was a man, about 6ft even, wearing a long black trench coat, walking with a cane. Gunn swore under his breath. No wonder there were so few vamps. They were all trailing this idiot!

“Who the hell is that?” Alonna asked.

“Don’t know.” Gunn checked his pockets, making sure he had plenty of stakes. “You guys go on home. I’ll go find out.”

Alonna grabbed his arm. “I’m not sure about this. It could be a trap.”

He shook his head. “Nah. I’ll be fine. Trust me.” He winked.

Frowning, Alonna nodded. “Alright, let’s pack it up! Gunn’s gonna escort that idiot home! We’re headin’ for ours!” The scouts piled into Gunn’s truck, and they drove off.

Gunn crept toward the guy with the cane. The stupid bastard wasn’t even walking quickly. He looked like he was taking a leisurely stroll.

Sooner than he’d expected, Gunn heard the growl of a vampire. Then another, and another. ~Shit! Can’t get to him in time. Three animals vs. me ain’t what I’d call good odds.~ He kept moving. Gunn hoped he’d be able to save the guy before he bled to death.

The three vamps surrounded the other guy. “You were told to stay away from here.”

This brought Gunn up short. This guy lived long enough to make a vamp warn him? Maybe he wasn’t human.

“Well, you know, I just have this problem with authority. Bloodsuckers don’t have any.” The guy flippantly replied.

Gunn snorted softly. Whoever, or whatever this guy was, he definitely shared Gunn’s opinion of vamps.

“You were warned, human. You were only given leeway because you know the Slayer. Now you die.”

The guy just sighed. “Always the same lines. Never anything fresh. You guys watch too much television, I swear. Can’t I, just once, hear something original, like…” He snorted. “Actually, you guys are just a big, walking cliché! It’s impossible for you to be original.”

The trio of vamps roared, attacking him all at once.

The guy picked his cane up, twisted it, and pulled it apart. The top half looked normal. The bottom had… A stake?! ~Damn. This guy knows what he’s doing.~

The guy kicked one of the vampires, spinning on his right leg, and swinging his left around like a wrecking ball. The vamp flew back several feet.

The guy kept the spin going, sweeping down, and catching another vamp’s legs. The vamp went down, and got staked.

The third vampire tried to grab the guy in a nelson hold, but the guy used the top half of his cane to pull the vamp by the neck. He swung the vampire around, released him, and staked him.

By this time, the first vampire had gotten up. He ran, full tilt, at the guy. The guy didn’t move… Until the last second. He spun around, and buried his stake in the vamp’s chest.

The guy took a deep breath. “Well, that was bracing.” He reassembled his cane, and continued on his way.

Gunn burst out of the shadows. “Hey, wait up!”

The guy turned around. He seemed to sag on the spot. “Aw, crap. Not another one.”

Gunn stopped several feet away. “No, I’m not a vamp. I’m a hunter. This is my neighborhood.”

“Oh. Didn’t realize I was trespassing. I’ll get out of here, then.”

“What? Oh, nah, nah. That’s not what I’m talkin’ about. I was just wonderin’… How the hell did you do that?”

“Do what? Walk with a cane?”

“No, take out three vamps with one.”

“Ah. Well… The only real answer I can give is: Time, patience, and practice. Along with a buttload of luck.” He grinned. “Sorry. Where are my manners? Xander Harris.”

Gunn stepped forward, offering his hand. “Charles Gunn. I go by Gunn, though.”

“Xander then. And don’t take offense, but I’m not going to shake your hand.”

Gunn wasn’t sure what to make of that. “Why not?”

“I don’t shake anyone’s hand, if I can avoid it.” Xander replied. “I do that, things happen. I prefer not to have them happen until I can control them a bit more.”

“Things like what?” Gunn demanded.

“Like I see your entire life from beginning to end. Sorry, but I’d rather not. It gets old after a while. Especially with hunters.” Xander shuddered. “Short, and violent. Nothing else, without fail.”

“Yours too?” Gunn asked.

Xander shrugged. “No idea. Can’t read myself.” He looked at his watch. “Look, I’ve got to get home. My girlfriend is already gonna pitch a fit.”

“Girlfriend? She hot?”

Xander smirked. “Yeah. Her name’s Cordelia.”

“Like the actress, huh? Bet she wishes she was in the spotlight.”

Xander had to keep himself from laughing. “Yeah. She’s wished for it since she was a little girl. So, you’ve seen Cordelia Chase on the big screen, huh?”

Gunn nodded. “Yeah. My sister likes to catch a flick once in a while. We caught her debut a month ago.” Gunn snickered. “I don’t know where they got that name. ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.’”

The inside of Xander’s cheek was beginning to draw blood. “Really? I saw that. A bit unrealistic, if you ask me.”

Gunn shrugged. “I don’t know. They got the methods for killin’ vamps right. Probably couldn’t figure out how to make ‘em dust on screen.”

Xander couldn’t hold it back. He grinned. “I suppose.” He would have said more, but his stomach began to growl. “Ah… Perhaps you’d like to continue this at my apartment? Vampire hunting is hungry work. I can offer you a decent meal.”

Gunn thought about it. The guy seemed trustworthy. And food did sound good right now… “Sure. Why not?”

***

Xander opened the door to his apartment. He turned back to Gunn. “If you can’t get in without an invite, you’re not getting one.” He stepped inside.

Gunn followed him. When he saw the inside of the apartment, he let out a low whistle. “Damn, man. What do you do for a living?”

Xander chuckled. “Well, recently, I’ve taken to writing screenplays. I sold one, not too long ago. Did pretty well.”

“Oh, yeah? What was it called?”

“Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.”

Gunn did a double take on that. “What?”

Before Xander could answer, a furious voice came from the direction of the kitchen. “Xander! What the hell have you been doing?!” Cordelia stormed into the living room. “You’re half an hour past the dead line! You know, the line where I think you’re dead?!”

Xander winced. “Sorry, honey. I got caught up in a fight with a few extra vamps on the way home.”

She sighed, but softened her expression. “Fine…” She noticed Gunn. “Who are you?”

Gunn, for his part, had to scrape his jaw up off the floor. “You… You…”

Cordy turned back to Xander. “What’s his deal?”

“Vampire hunter. It so happens that he took his sister to see The Movie.”

“Ohhhhhh.” She nodded. “Okay.” She walked over to Gunn, smiling and holding out her hand. “Hi. Cordelia Chase.”

Gunn shook the hand. “Ch-Charles Gunn.” He cleared his throat. “Man, you didn’t tell me you were dating Cordelia Chase!” He hissed at Xander.

“You didn’t ask. And I did say she was ‘like the actress.’”

Cordy rolled her eyes. “Weren’t you supposed to get over your childish tendencies when you got smarter?”

Her boyfriend just smiled smugly. “Apparently not.”

“Uh… Got smarter?” Gunn asked.

“Oh, it was a whole coma thing.” Cordy waved the question off. “No big deal.”

Xander snorted. “This from the girl who was crying ‘You’re alive, you’re alive!’ When I woke up.”

She glared at him.

He seemed to shrink on the spot. “I’ll be good.”

If this had been a cartoon, a lightbulb would have gone off over Gunn’s head. “Xander. Short for Alexander. You’re ‘Alex’ from the movie!”

Cordy rolled her eyes. “Please. ‘Alex’ was a loser.”

“So was I, once upon a time.” Xander reminded her. “Still am, depending on who you ask.”

Cordy looked like she was about to respond, but her face scrunched up in pain. Xander was at her side in a flash, catching her as she fell.

“What is it? What do you see?”

Cordy groaned. “A girl… Being attacked… 12th street!”

“That’s near Angel’s office. I’ll call him.” He helped her to a chair, then limped over to the phone.

Gunn knelt next to Cordy. “You okay?”

“I’m fine.” She replied, holding the side of her head. “The pain goes away quickly.” She took a deep breath. “Thanks, though.”

“What was that? You a psychic, or somethin’?”

She laughed. “No. I’m a seer. Big difference. The Powers send me visions when someone important is in trouble, or if someone’s going to be attacked by a Big Bad. I tell Xander, or Angel, and they save whoever it is.”

“And it hurts like that every time?” Gunn shook his head. “I wouldn’t want that gig.”

She laughed again. “I’m only human.”

Xander came back into the room. “Angel and Wes are on it.”

“What about Doyle and Harri?”

Xander smirked. “They’re probably at home, doing what they do so well.”

“Oh, for crying out loud… Don’t they have to eat, or something? They’ve already proven they don’t need sleep in between.”

Gunn was looking increasingly uncomfortable.

Xander laughed. “Not like that. They’re practicing magic. We don’t have any magic on our side right now, so they volunteered.”

“Oh.” Gunn nodded. He hadn’t heard of people doing magic, but he fought vampires every night. He had an open mind. “It sounded like they live together.”

“They do. They’re married.”

***

Date: November 16th, 1999
Time: 7:15 AM
Place: Los Angeles, Angel Investigations

“Xander!” Doyle poked his head into Xander’s office. “Can you come out here for a moment?”

Xander looked up from the tome he was reading. He was brushing up on rare demonic species. “What do you need, Doyle?”

“I’ve got someone out here. I wanna introduce him to ya, alright?”

Xander sighed, and closed the book. “Fine.” He stood up, grabbing his cane. ‘Introduce’ was code for ‘I’m suspicious, and I want you to read someone.’

He limped into the main office. There was a man and a woman. The woman was blonde, and reminded Xander vaguely of Mariah Carrey. The man, on the other hand, was fairly tall, well built, and had an open face. Why was Doyle suspicious of these people?

Xander got his answer. “Alright. Xander, this is my ex, Harri. And this is her fiancée. Sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”

“Richard.” He extended his hand.

Xander shot Doyle a look, but shook Richard’s hand.

*FLASH*

Richard. His face is twisted, with large ridges over his eyes. Not a vampire, but not human. He’s at a bachelor party. Doyle is there. Richard wants to…

*FLASH*

Xander’s eyes opened slowly. He released Richard’s hand, brought his cane up quickly, and struck Richard across the jaw. “Deadboy, hold him!”

Angel grabbed Richard in a Nelson hold. “Care to explain, Xander?”

Harri looked extremely confused. “Francis, what’s going on?”

“Good question.” Doyle looked at Xander. “What’d you see?”

Xander looked at Richard with cold eyes. “You’re sick, you know that?”

“It’s a tradition!” Richard said defensively.

“You wanted to eat his brain! How is that not sick?!” Xander shot back.

Harri rounded on her fiancée. “You wanted to what?!

“My family won’t accept the marriage otherwise.” He replied softly.

“I told you, that tradition is archaic! I thought you were past it!”

Doyle bristled slightly. “Hey! He was gonna eat me, and you’re only worried because he’s old fashioned?”

Harri turned to him. “I didn’t mean it like that.” She said apologetically. “It’s just… an old argument.”

Xander unscrewed his cane. “Doyle. Why don’t you and Harri go out for a drink. I’m sure you can use one by now, considering it’s almost 7:30.”

Harri moved in front of him. “No. Don’t kill him.” She took the diamond ring off her finger, and threw it at Richard. “He’s not a danger anymore.”

Xander looked at Angel with a questioning look. Angel nodded. “Fine.” Xander turned back to Harri. “But if I see him again, all bets are off.”

She nodded.

Angel released Richard. Richard looked at Harri with a pleading expression. “Hon Bun… Please, don’t do this.”

She glared at him. “Richard, just go.”

Sighing, he did so.

Doyle put his hand on Harri’s shoulder. “You alright?”

She turned to face him. “Actually, I could use a drink.”

***

Xander laughed at the memory. A month later, they’d decided it was a good thing the divorce was never finalized.

Gunn stood up. “So, you said somethin’ about food?”

Xander nodded. “Yeah. In here.” He limped into the kitchen. It had become the routine for Cordy to order out while he was on patrol. Tonight, it seemed, was for Chinese. “Allllright. We’ve got Moo goo whatever, spicy chicken…” The phone rang. “Ah. Help yourself.” He grabbed the phone. “Yeah?”

*We got her. Any ideas as to what we do with her?*

“Not particularly. What was after her?”

*Wes is checking. I think he said something about ‘plants.’*

“A plant demon?” Xander groaned. “What next?”

He heard Angel chuckle. *Who knows? You’ll be in tomorrow?*

“I will. Cordy’s got a screen test to go to.”

*Right. Tomorrow, then.*

“Tomorrow.” He hung up.

“Your boss?” Gunn asked, holding a box of noodles.

Xander shook his head. “Nah. Business partner. I know better than to work for someone like that. He’s big on brooding, and if he thinks his ‘employees’ are in danger, he’ll fire them. We all get equal shares.”

Gunn nodded. “Smart.” He started eating. “Hey, I was wonderin’. You’re a good fighter, right?”

Xander shrugged. “So I’ve been told.”

“You think you could train my crew? We’re good, but after watchin’ you, I think we could be a lot better.”

Again, Xander shrugged. “Why not?"

The End?

You have reached the end of "The Beat Goes On" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 26 Mar 09.

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