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Brush with Death

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Summary: Xander makes a new friend. He’s human, he kills demons, and he’s got enough firepower on him to outfit a small squad. FFA non-romantic Xander/Edward (AB) pairing

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Xander-Centered(Past Donor)akatFR1537,06931914,55326 Jun 0918 Sep 09Yes

Fireside Chats

Summary: Xander makes a new friend. He’s human, he kills demons, and he’s got enough firepower to outfit a small squad.
Rating: FR15
Pairing: FFA non-romantic Xander/Edward (AB) pairing
Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and Laurell K. Hamilton owns all things Anita Blake.
Timeline: Takes place right after the Halloween episode in Season 2 and then skips around until the end of Season 3. Set before the AB series and definitely before Addison v. Clarke.
Spoilers: Eventually Buffy through Season 7.



Xander slowly walked back to his house, replaying the night’s events in his mind. He knew that he should be happy. Ecstatic even. Ethan’s spell had been broken with relatively little mayhem, at least by Sunnydale’s freaky standards. And while he wasn’t enthused about the body hijacking, he was totally digging the shiny new military skills. He wasn’t going to look a gift horse, er, sorcerer, in the mouth. Besides, he was just grateful he wasn’t a hyena again.

All I got out of that was pig hair stuck in my teeth and a serious need for therapy, he thought with a shudder.

Yep, life was of the good. If only he could burn away the image of Buffy and Angel looking at each other in warehouse. Or not think about the fact that they both went back to Buffy’s house, probably sharing smoochies at that very moment.

“Stupid vampire mojo,” he grumbled, taking his frustration out on any hapless rock that crossed his path. “I go all GI Joe on Pirate Larry, and somehow it’s still all about Tall, Dead, and Broody.”

Xander knew that his chances with Buffy were about as good as Snyder getting a case of the warm fuzzies - which was to say not very likely, even on a place of mystical convergence. That was okay, though. He could deal. Mostly anyway.

But Angel? It was just so… wrong.

Xander was shaken out of his thoughts when he saw two demons slipping quietly into a darkened alley. He immediately frowned. Tonight was supposed to be quiet on the demon front. Sure, Spike had already broken that unspoken agreement, but didn’t anyone have standards anymore?

For the briefest second, he hesitated. Buffy wasn’t there, and he couldn’t take out two demons on his own. Still, if they hurt anyone and he didn’t try to help…

He decided that he would follow them. Maybe they were just going home to their evil lair. If that were the case, then he could just point Buffy in the right direction the next day. He didn’t let himself think of what he would do if they were up to any mischief.

He crept behind them quietly, moving in and out of shadows as silently as possible. They soon stopped abruptly, as if they were waiting for someone, or something.

His mind raced; what should he do?

His decision was quickly made for him; he heard a muffled *pop* followed by another, and suddenly the demons were lying motionless on the ground.

Xander was in a state of shock. What had just happened? Without thinking, he began moving toward the demons to find out.

That’s when he saw him; a figure emerging from the shadows, striding purposefully over to the fallen demons. The man gave him a fleeting glance but then continued on as if Xander wasn’t standing there with his mouth hanging open in astonishment.

Average. That’s the first thought that ran through Xander’s mind. The man was completely average-looking. He was blonde, slightly shorter than Xander, though clearly a little older, with nondescript features. Except for his eyes. As Xander watched the man gaze dispassionately down at his prey, he saw that there was absolutely no emotion there; no fear, no happiness, no anger, nothing in those bright blue eyes.

This sent shivers down Xander’s spine. He had never seen someone with such cold, dead eyes before. There was also something vaguely familiar about the man, but Xander couldn’t quite place it.

He continued to look on in stunned silence as the man drew out a handgun and oh so nonchalantly unloaded a few bullets into the demons’ heads, presumably to ensure that they were dead.

This shook Xander out of his stupor.

“Hey, that’s cheating,” he blurted out, before biting his tongue. The man did have a gun, after all.

The man looked at him with raised eyebrows. “I didn’t realize there were rules to killing monsters,” he said mildly, although there was a slight hint of amusement in his voice.

“Well, it’s not so much a rule as a time-honored tradition,” Xander reasoned. “You know, mano-a-mano, sees who’s best, fight to the finish kind of thing.”

“How very noble,” the man said dryly.

Xander stood up as straight as he could, his indignation overriding his fear.

“And again with the mocking. I get it, I am it. But I’m not some naïve kid. My friends and I have fought baddies for over a year now, and we defeated them without a firearm,” he said with a proud lift to his chin, looking pointedly at the man’s weapon.

The man didn’t respond to this; he just looked at Xander with a small smirk. It may have just been wishful thinking, but Xander thought he detected the faintest bit of respect, or at least a little less condescension.

The blonde stranger holstered his gun and took a flask out of his inner jacket pocket. He opened it and quickly began dousing the demons with its contents.

Gasoline, Xander surmised as the smell wafted over to him. He watched as the man put the flask back.

In that brief moment as the stranger’s jacket flap was pulled back, Xander saw exactly how much firepower the man had on him. And that was only what he could see. He suddenly felt very foolish standing there with his plastic toy gun. And a little vulnerable. Still, he stubbornly kept his head up, fervently hoping that his courage wasn’t just the residual commando high talking.

Commando! It finally hit Xander what about this man was familiar. The way the man moved, the way he kept a careful eye on the perimeter, even his weapon; it all screamed ‘military training’.

“You’re in the military!” he exclaimed with a grin, pleased that he figured it out. At the man’s sudden intense gaze, however, Xander became extremely nervous. “I mean, you must be a military buff… with the guns… an M-9, right? Good choice, very reliable… and it looks like you made some modifications…”

He trailed off, wondering if his newfound skills were going to get him killed on the very first night. It hardly seemed fair.

Shrewd eyes studied him as he shifted uneasily back and forth. The man still said nothing, however; he turned back to the dead demons on the ground, quickly lighting a match and flicking it at them. The two of them stood in silence for a few moments, just watching the flames as they shot up into the night air.

Xander had encountered many surreal experiences since he met Buffy. This wasn’t the freakiest - a certain praying mantis came to mind - but it definitely wasn’t normal. How could it be? He was chatting with a mysterious, though obviously deadly, stranger while they warmed themselves by a demon bonfire.

He knew he should probably leave. This guy obviously had things under control. But he was curious. The stranger was human, and he could take down demons efficiently, clearly without compunction and even more interestingly, without superpowers. Before Xander could scrape up the courage to ask the man about this, the blonde stranger broke the silence first.

“What the hell kind of place is this anyway?” the man finally asked. There was no fear in his voice, just simple curiosity.

This question surprised Xander. He figured that anyone who could kill demons as casually as this guy just did would know.

“It’s the Hellmouth,” he explained carefully, not wanting to give away too much. If this guy didn’t know about Sunnydale, he probably didn’t know about the Slayer, either. “Official home of all things evil.”

“Hmm,” the man said thoughtfully. “That explains a lot. I’ve never seen so many demons running around at night.”

Xander suddenly felt sick to his stomach.

“You didn’t kill any of them, did you? Tonight?” he asked faintly.

The man grinned slightly. “Why bother? It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Besides, I only got paid to kill these two,” he replied lightly, as if discussing the pros and cons of fabric softener.

Xander sighed in relief, which felt odd considering that this guy just admitted that he was a hit man. Still, the knowledge that no innocent kids were gunned down tonight outweighed the creepiness factor, barely.

The stranger picked up on his relief immediately.

“Why do you care?” he asked, obviously both curious and mildly disdainful. “I thought you fought ‘baddies’. A demon’s a demon, kid. Nothing’s going to change that. The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.”

“Amen to that,” Xander replied automatically, thinking of Buffy and Angel.

This got the man’s interest, and he studied Xander as if he was reevaluating his opinion of him yet again.

“I like you, kid,” he finally said. “If you ever want to get serious about hunting demons, look me up.”

The fire had finally died down, leaving nothing but a crispy pile of charred demon.

Seeing as the job was now finished, the man turned and began walking away.

Xander was stunned. It seemed to be a common theme of the night. Before the man was too far away, he called out to him.

“Wait! What’s your name? How can I find you?” he asked.

The man paused and looked over his shoulder. “Edward, and I’m around.” Then he continued to walk away.

Edward? And ‘around’?

If Angel was the King of Cryptic, then all hail the Crown Prince.

“By the way, I’m Xander! Xander Harris!”

If the man heard him, he never gave any indication. After a few moments, he was completely out of sight.

Xander stared down the now empty alley; then he looked back down at the dead demons. He would never take the assassin up on his offer. He was needed here. And he never, ever wanted to get that cold, dead look in his eyes.

But it was nice to have options.



A/N: An M-9 is a common handgun in the military. Therefore, I thought that it was reasonable for Xander to know what kind of gun it was with his army knowledge, and for Edward to be actually carrying one, since he was in the military at some point. And according to Wikipedia, it’s known for its reliability.
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