Chapter 24: A New Hero
Chapter 24: A New Hero
Warning: I don’t know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
A/N: Thanks to my betas for their help... zigpal, Hawkehunt, Chrislover and CindyB.
A/N2: I need to remind everyone that Seasons 6 & 7 didn’t happen like they did in canon. There was no Spuffy sex happening, ‘k?
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. NCIS characters belong to Donald Bellisario, Don McGill and CBS Paramount Television. Jack Ryan and his friends belongs to Tom Clancy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.Posted In Honor of making it to the top 25 most reviewed stories on TtH!
Air Force Two
Once they got settled on the plane, Graham introduced Buffy to their escorts. “So, you two are the guys Graham told me about?” Buffy inquired, remembering her friend’s comment at NCIS.
“Yes. Jack said he mentioned me to you. Something about glaring?” Clark answered with a bit of a question at the end. He read the file on Buffy Summers and was impressed at how much this young lady had done for the world in the past decade. A large part of him cringed at how young she was for most of that time. But he, more than anyone, knew how fast people sometimes had to grow up – even without the supernatural world to deal with.
Setting aside her pain over Xander for the moment, Buffy giggled at the older man’s expression. “He said that you have one of the scariest glares out there. I wanted to see how it measured against the ones I’ve seen.”
Chavez cut in, “Speaking on behalf of those that have seen it, let me tell you, it is fearsome.” He ignored the grunt from his partner and just smiled charmingly at the small blonde sitting across from them. The younger CIA agent had to admit, if he weren’t so completely in love with Mr. C’s daughter, Patti, he could easily see himself falling for the hazel-eyed beauty.
“Can’t wait. But first there’s the matter of Xander. How do you plan to do this?” she asked, referring to Graham’s announcement. She was so grateful to Jack for understanding. She chalked it up to his own experiences of helping the country and the world.
Instead of answering her, Graham turned the question back to the blonde Slayer. “What do you think is the best way? How would Xander want this done?”
Once they finished discussing the ceremony, Clark and Chavez seemed to understand that Buffy needed to keep her mind off Xander for the next few hours, so they regaled the blonde Slayer with tales of their exploits as CIA agents. She was duly impressed with the human disasters they had averted in their years together and would even argue that they had at least one world save to their credit when they got the info which stopped that nuclear attack a number of years ago.
“Hey there, my Xander-shaped friend!” Buffy tried for levity when she greeted her dying comrade, but it was useless as she broke down in tears at the sight of him lying there. “I’m so sorry this happened to you. You were supposed to be safe,” she blubbered.
Realizing that he needed to get her away from her current line of thinking before she started to blame herself, Xander opted for his usual humorous response, dark as it was in this case. “At least I get to have the satisfaction of knowing they’re all dead – not to mention anyone else stupid enough to get in the girls’ way. I heard they wiped out a small army of Fyarl demons somebody was gathering for a completely unrelated thing – just because they were that
Buffy brushed away her tears and Xander saw the glint of The Slayer peeking out through her hazel eyes. “Yeah. Well, those idiot evil guys didn’t realize we aren’t like the old Council; they go after one of us, they will pay…especially if it’s one of the Council heads. Or one of the Scoobies,” she pointed out, reaffirming his importance to them – even if he’d left the front-lines of the fighting.
Xander really didn’t feel like spending his last days discussing the bad guys that killed him. “Enough of that talk. Tell me about your dad. Is he okay with your Slayer-ness? I mean, he already sounds better than my folks or Hank, but I’m hoping he’ll be cool like your mom. Faith and Giles seemed to be impressed.”
“You’re kinda forgetting my mom wasn’t so cool at first,” Buffy reminded him. “Anyway, he doesn’t know all the details
of everything, but he actually already knew about vamps and Slayers. He was rescued by one before he met Mom. And so far in normal father/daughter stuff he’s pretty cool. He’s really overprotective – especially about guys.”
“Sure he doesn’t know about your past love life?” Xander teased. He saw the happiness in Buffy’s eyes, despite the current situation. “But you love it, don’t you? I would have thought it would bother you.”
Buffy shrugged, not really understanding it completely herself. “Not the way he does it. He knows I can kick anybody’s ass – and that was before
he knew I was a Slayer – but he still runs interference so I don’t have to. And his glare is right up there with Giles’ when they’re truly pissed off.”
Impressed with anyone who could match Giles’ Ripper glare, Xander still had to wonder, “What about guys you like? I don’t like the idea of you being alone. You aren’t still hung up on Spike or Angel, are you? I get that they would kill or die for you, but you deserve so much better.”
“Well, for one thing, I was never romantically interested in Spike. That was all him. The most I ever saw him as was a friend-slash-brother,” Buffy reminded Xander.
“Know that feeling,” Xander interjected, but without any bitterness.
Buffy smiled at him. “And that worked out best for us. You have a loving wife and darling boy. Not to mention baby number two coming soon.” She sighed. “It hurt that Spike didn’t tell me he was back, but only because he thought I was shallow enough to care that his sacrifice wasn’t permanent. Hello! Mine wasn’t either!”
She took a deep breath, then went on, “As for Angel… he was my Romeo. It’s a nice, tragic romance, except I stopped being Juliet a long time ago. Probably before I even realized it. When he came back from hell, I tried to re-create the feelings. The only time it wasn’t a struggle was the day he was human. And the fact that he asked the Powers to change it back made me realize he wanted to be Romeo. That was when I knew
I wasn’t Juliet anymore.”
Xander wasn’t about to let go of his hope to see her happy with a guy before he died. “So there isn’t anyone who strikes your fancy?”
“‘Strikes your fancy’? You have been spending way too much time with Giles,” she teased. “Seriously though, I’ve just been more interested in getting to know my dad right now. Well, that and learning about the NCIS. You would love it there. They’re like gun-toting Scoobies.”
Just then Anya joined them. Xander scooted over so she could sit next to him on the bed. “We have a favor to ask you, Buffy. You know that Anya feels more comfortable with you than the other Slayers--”
With her usual bluntness, Anya blurted out, “Can JR and I live with you in DC?”
“Okay. Remember we were going to ease into it, Ahn?” Xander lightly chastised his wife.
Shaking her head at the pair, Buffy assured them, “That’s alright, Xan. I understand. Of course you can. Do you want to go right away? That way you can meet the team too, Xander,” she invited, hoping he would take her up on the offer.
“As much as I would love to, I need to stay close to the coven. They’re keeping the pain manageable for me. But thank you for agreeing to Anya and JR. I know the other girls would protect them like any innocent, but you’d protect them like family,” Xander explained, knowing she would understand the difference.
Which of course she did. “That’s ‘cause we are
family. We all are. I’m just sorry I couldn’t protect you,” Buffy muttered softly, refusing to meet his eyes.
Xander looked at Anya, who grabbed Buffy’s hand so she’d look up. “You know that’s not your fault, Buffy. There’s one other thing we wanted to talk to you about.”
After he and Anya explained their request, Anya perked up a tiny bit. “Now that that’s settled, tell me all about what’s happening with you. Have you found a good orgasm friend yet? If so, I hope your bedroom is sound-proofed. Xander says that JR is getting to the age now where he can--”
Buffy cut her off quickly. “No orgasm friend, but we’ll make sure the sound-proofing is adequate if I ever do get one. Alright?”
A few minutes later…
A knock at the door interrupted their conversation and Graham stuck his head in. Getting the nonverbal okay from Buffy, he ushered in the small group.
Seeing the questions in everyone’s eyes, Buffy gave a minor explanation, “Hey, these guys are here on behalf of the President, guys. They have something to give you, and I thought you’d prefer it to be done privately…just us Scoobies.”
“Okay,” Xander drawled, looking at the assembled group crowded in his room. There were some government guys, then the Watcher, the Chosen Two, the Witch, the Seer, his wife and his son. Aside from the strangers, this was his family – one that he was proud to be a part of.
Clark spoke in his most official voice, ignoring the glare on the young man’s face at the use of his full given name, “On behalf of John Patrick Ryan, President of the United States of America, I hereby award Alexander Lavelle Harris the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his aid in keeping the country and the world safe from untold threats. The official wording of this award is: ‘An especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.’
This is presented on the 4th day of February, 2004. Thank you for all your hard work, Xander,” he finished on a more personal note.
Taking the award from the older man, Xander found himself speechless. He couldn’t even think of a snarky joke to make. “Wow. Umm, I don’t know what to say.”
“You deserve it,” Buffy assured him before looking at the others in the room. “Jack told me that when or if we wanted, he’d give the rest of the Sunnydale fighters their own medals – even those who died before the final battle. It’ll be done quietly for obvious reasons, but at least we’ll know that somebody in a position of power cares about us.”
“Tell him thanks for me, will ya, Buff?” Xander managed to choke out. He grabbed Anya’s hand and pulled her and their son in closer to him, the memories of friends and loved ones lost over the years threatening to overwhelm him.
Buffy nodded in understanding, “Of course. Now I think we should get out of your hair so you can rest. You look pretty wiped. Love you, Xander.” She leaned over to give him a kiss on the cheek.
“Right back at you, Buffy,” he replied quietly.
As it turned out, that was the last time Buffy spoke to Xander. That night, Xander died quietly in his sleep with his wife and child at his side.
The funeral was a somber affair – in direct contrast with the young man they were saying goodbye to. It was mostly just the Council people, but there were a couple exceptions; one being the British Prime Minister and the other a small band of village elders from a North African desert tribe.
Xander had gone there on his one and only recruiting mission to talk to the Chief about his daughter becoming a Slayer. When he returned home a couple months later, they found out Anya was four months pregnant with their second child, and soon after he accepted the offer of the NCIS job so they could settle down. That was when everything had fallen apart.
Although Buffy would have liked to stay and mourn with the remaining members of their core group, Anya broke down shortly after they scattered Xander’s ashes. It was decided that the best thing to do was to get her and JR away from the place their husband and father died.
So a mere 48 hours after arriving in England, Buffy was already heading back home to DC with two new family members. She looked after JR while Anya cried herself to sleep. Staring at the young boy in her arms, Buffy couldn’t help but wonder how her dad and new friends would react. She gave a small smile at the image in her mind of Mama Mallard’s expression when she found out she had a ‘great-grandchild’ to spoil.
A/N: Next…Getting Anya’d.