Disclaimer: I do not own Anita Blake or the alternate St. Louis the majority of the series takes place in. I do not own Xander Harris or the Buffyverse he came from. Anita was created by Laurell K. Hamilton and Xander Harris belongs to Joss Whedon. This is a piece of fan fiction and is not intended to be published for profit.
“You want me to do what exactly?” Xander asked Rafael as the man sipped some of his sister's private coffee stash in their office.
“I want you to talk some sense into him.” Rafael sighed. “He's strong enough to rule the pack but he hasn't stepped up to the plate.”
Xander raised his eyebrows. “What the hell is wrong with this guy? Even I know Marcus needs killing.”
“He's... very much in denial.” Rafael said after closing his eyes. “He's a school teacher and does his best to keep his lycanthropy a secret.”
“I can see why.” Xander sighed. “This has to do with the wolves throwing in with the latest Master of the City doesn't it?”
“That's not all that's happening. Some company is starting to buy up a section of the city. They started with the fair grounds and are spreading outwards. It'll be strictly vampire territory within a few months if we can't stop it.” Rafael sighed. “I've bid for some of the buildings but my resources are only so much. Even with me outbidding them, the realtors are still selling to the vampires.”
“I can see how that could be a problem.” Xander agreed. “It would provide a whole new section of tourism for the city though. See the vampires... instead of having a Red Light District we'd have something like a Blood District.”
Rafael snorted. “ At some point, it's probably going to be called that. Have you heard about the new church that's forming?”
“The Church of Eternal Life?” Xander shrugged. “Considering the documented corruption being a vampire is, I think it will have very few converts.”
“At first.” Rafael agreed. “The ill and the dying may consider an eternity of nights better than the next life.”
“Free will.” Xander shrugged. “We can't stop people from making informed decisions, all you can do is give them all the pertinent information and hope for the best.”
“What if I offered you a job for taking care of it?” Rafael asked.
“I don't do Martyrs.” Xander said with a shrug. “Not if I can help it. Still accidents can happen.”
Rafael nodded. “Will you at least talk to Zeeman?”
“Sure. You got a cabin or something?” Xander asked him.
Rafael grinned. “That I do.”
“Well, I think we can start from there.” Xander smirked.
That afternoon....after school gets out....
“Oops dart in your neck.” A man heard before everything went dark on him.
Anita stared at her brother. “Where did you get that?” She asked him.
“Rafael knows a guy that has stuff fall off the back of his truck.” Xander said as he stashed his hand-held tranq gun under his jacket. “Are you going to help me load him into his car or not?”
“I thought I was the lookout.” Anita pouted.
“Fine.” Xander sighed as he tossed the larger man over his shoulder.
A Cabin two counties out from St. Louis....
“What...” Richard Zeeman said as he opened his eyes and sat up. He looked around. “Where?”
“Where doesn't matter right now.” He heard a male voice say from the next room. He watched the source walk into the room.
“Oh shit.” Richard said as he recognized one of the Blake twins he'd been warned about.
“We need to talk.” Xander said as he sat in the room.
“About what?” Richard asked. He wasn't getting any threatening vibes from this guy, but he still raised his hackles a little bit.
“You're a powerful Alpha. Hell I can tell you're stronger than Marcus by a fair bit. Why aren't you the pack leader? Your group needs someone better than Marcus.”
“I don't like killing.” Richard stated as he glared at Xander.
“I get that, I do. I also know you became a werewolf because of a bad vaccine. Do you know how rare that is?” Xander asked him. “I did some research, the odds of become infected by an inactive virus are astronomical.”
“It happened.” Richard growled.
“Yeah, I'll be honest with you.... I think it was meant to.” Xander told him.
“What?” Richard yelled.
“No, no think about it. The vaccine is an attenuated one. The chance for it mutating and becoming active is really rare. It wouldn't become active unless you were either immunocompromised or had something in you that the virus needed.”
“What are you getting at?” Richard asked him.
“You're a powerful Alpha aren't you?” Xander grinned. “That potential had to come from somewhere. Maybe you're distantly descended from other wolves.”
Richard raised an eyebrow. “I hadn't thought of that.”
“Most people don't. Attenuated vaccines can generate an immune response in people who already have antibodies to it. Swollen lymph nodes and all that. With wolf lycanthrope, we get you. An Alpha werewolf right out the box.” Xander told him.
“What exactly are you? You don't smell like anything I've encountered before.” Richard asked him.
“That's easy.” Xander grinned. “I'm Batman.”
A week later....
“I'm Batman.” Anita laughed as she pushed the shopping cart down the aisle.
The two Blakes were currently shopping in a Wal-Mart. They were looking for laundry detergent and underwear among other things.
“Hey, it got him to laugh.” Xander shrugged. “You could be Catwoman all things considered.”
She shrugged. “I don't think I'm tall enough.”
“That and your butt would look big in the outfit.” Xander grinned. “Ow.” He said after Anita punched him in the arm.
“So why did you want to shop here?” Anita asked him.
“Because Wal-Mart is awesome. They're big now, and they'll only get bigger.” Xander grinned. “There's already a Supercenter with a built in grocery store in it over in Washington.”
“You and your futurespeak.” Anita sighed. “How can you know?”
“Nothing stops the Wal-Mart.” Xander said softly. “They just keep growing.”
Anita believed him.
“So exactly where did you learn.....this?” Anita asked her brother as he drew an intricate design inside of a chalk circle on the floor.
“Dawn and I found some odd journals at an estate sale outside of Kent.” Xander explained. “It was the journals of two brothers who claimed to be from an alternate version of Earth. They also said they were alchemists and they had a very unique understanding of chemistry and the compositions of various materials. They were either insane or telling the truth. We were really surprised after we managed to decrypt their journals.”
“And this relates to the circle how?” Anita asked him.
“Alchemy to them was channeling the energy of one's soul into converting matter from one form to another.” Xander explained. “The seal they had for fire works here, so maybe, just maybe, some of the more rudimentary techniques can work as well. This...” Xander said as he pointed at the circle “Is an earth manipulation transmutation circle. There is a matching one in the basement of the house we bought across the street. This, if executed properly, should form a solid and stable tunnel between them.”
“And if it doesn't work?” Anita asked him.
“I'll look like an idiot. It wouldn't be the first time.” Xander told his sister.
“True enough. I still can't believe you wear those leisure suits to work.” Anita said as she rolled her eyes.
“Hey, nothing wrong with them.” Xander defended. “It's not like I wear the plaid ones.”
Anita shuddered. “Just do whatever it is you need to do.” She told her brother.
Xander nodded and slowly built up his power before placing his hands on the circle.
The basement was lit up by a golden glow as the the circle began to become charged with energy.
“I'm impressed.” Anita said as she walked the length of the tunnel that connected the two houses. The tunnel was dry and the walls were smooth and firm. “What else can this alchemy do?”
“Well, the journals talked about a few different techniques, some involving plants, others involving fire. There was one guy who was capable of turning human beings into walking bombs.” Xander said with a shudder. “It wasn't a pretty world. Still... the flame techniques seem to work here. It could be a shortcut to the problems I've been having with fire spells.”
“You mean them backfiring on you.” Anita teased.
“Yeah, that.” Xander muttered. “Still.... the plant techniques could help me grow the apple trees I've been wanting.”
“The strawberry patch and the watermelon vines not enough?” Anita asked him.
“They're good, but sometimes I just want an apple.” Xander grinned.
Anita sighed. “Still... speaking of cravings, I need you to run by the butcher again. We're out of steaks.”
“Peggy is good at what she does.” Xander nodded. “Still... now that we have this place... we can have company.”
“So.... a housewarming?” Anita asked. “I don't like big parties.”
“Just one... I'm thinking a luau theme.” Xander grinned. “Still.... it could be a bitch to organize by ourselves. Rafael could help out.”
“Why are you so chummy with the wererats of this city?” Anita asked him.
“Rafael is a practical man.” Xander shrugged. “I respect that about him. He also has a sense of honor that I understand. Marcus is a vain bastard who's grown accustomed to his extravagant lifestyle. I'd rather trust a man who stayed among his peers as he ruled them than someone on a golden throne.”
“A man of the people?” Anita asked.
“Exactly.” Xander nodded. “Come on, it'll be fun.”
“What about those trees you were talking about? Do you think you could grow them before the housewarming?” Anita asked him.
“We'd need to do it during a heavy rain.” Xander told her. “The water has to come from somewhere.”
“Can't have something from nothing?” Anita asked.
“Not when the law of equivalent exchange comes in.” Xander said. “The same is true here, blood is power and nothing can be achieved without sacrifice.”
“It still seems disproportional.” Anita said.
“A chicken's life for a partial revivification of a dead body? Seems fair to me.” Xander shrugged. “That and the power we throw in. I constantly power Ed, but the drain is minimal due to his spirit being bound to it. True resurrection, while immoral and wrong also has phenomenal costs for the ritual and the caster.”
“You seem to know a lot about resurrection.” Anita said. “You know that's forbidden.”
“Not just in this reality. There are consequences for it just about everywhere.” Xander said. “We did it once. It was a horrible mistake that led to a lot of issues down the way.”
“Bad?” Anita asked.
“Phenomenally.” Xander said. “That was the start of what led me to being here.”
“Huh.” Anita said. “So.... about this housewarming.”
“It'll be nice.” Xander told her.
“So you say.” Anita said.
“You see the trick is to use propane.” Rafael said as he bit into his burger. “Charcoal destroys the flavor of the meat.”
“So you're a big fan of propane and propane accessories?” Xander asked with a grin.
Rafael paused his chewing and stared at Xander. “I suppose you could say that.”
Xander nodded. “It doesn't matter right now, but that line is going to be funny in a couple of years.”
“I fail to see how, but I'll take your word on it.” Rafael said with a shrug.
“You'll have to forgive my brother, he's more than a little odd.” Anita said.
“That we can agree on.” Rafael said. “Still... I say propane is the far superior grilling heat source.”
“I'm going to have to agree with you.” Anita said. “Why don't we have this in the house?”
“Gas lines can be explosive.” Xander reminded her.
“Right.” Anita nodded. “Never mind then.”
“So.... Why can't we go to the main house exactly?” Rafael asked.
“It's warded up the wazoo.” Xander told him. “This is the other house. The one meant for company.”
“So... you don't have a safe room?” Rafael asked.
The Blake twins shared a look before Xander slapped his hand to his head and went “D'oh!”
“Well I know what the next home improvement project is going to be.” Anita said as she glared at her brother.
“Fine.” Alex agreed. “That's going to be a lot of steel plating though.”
“I'm sure you'll be able to do the job in a timely manner without interrupting my beauty sleep.” Anita said to her brother.
“Really? Where can I even get the welding tools I'm going to need?” Xander asked.
Rafael coughed into his hand.
“Oh. Right.” Xander said. “What's it going to cost us?”
“Well...” Rafael trailed off. “There's a new initiate who's feeling a little self conscious about being a wererat.”
“What's his name?” Anita asked.
“Her name is Claudia.” Rafael said. “She's having problems adapting to well... everything.”
“Well... I'll see what I can do.” Xander told him. “No promises though.”
“That's all I ask.” Rafael said with a nod. “So... where did these apple trees come from?”
Xander grinned. “Now that... is a secret.”
“No really, how did you do it?” Rafael asked.
“Magic.” Xander said.
“You don't have to tell me if you don't want to.” Rafael said.
“No really, we did it with magic.” Xander said. “Grew them during that last flash flood.”
“How?” Rafael asked. “Can you repeat it?”
“Maybe.” Xander shrugged. “What do you need?”
“Pumpkins. Lots of pumpkins for Halloween. Big ones.” Rafael said.
“Ah, omnivores.” Xander said with a nod. “You'll have to book an appointment with the company.”
Rafael nodded. “So... This home seems smaller on the inside than the outside.”
“Well the bookcases aren't always bookcases.” Anita told him.
“Nice.” Rafael said. “Your own work?” He asked Xander.
“Yeah.” Xander said. “So... I recognize the folks from work but who are the others?”
“My people.” Rafael said. “We're all very grateful for your freeing us from the yoke of the former Master of the City.”
“Well... you did pay us to do that.” Xander said quietly. “Still... You're welcome. Say, do I smell roasted pineapple?”
“That you do.” Rafael said. “Go on.”
“I will.” Xander said as he headed outside to mingle some more.
“So what's really up with this Claudia girl?” Anita asked Rafael.
“She's taller than your brother is.” Rafael explained. “She's really not adapting to the strength increase among other things.”
“Hormones have her engines running hot?” Anita asked knowingly.
“Some of my men are a little scared of her.” Rafael said. “I'm taken so that avenue is closed.”
“She hurt anybody in bed yet?” Anita asked.
“Five of my strongest.” Rafael said. “Can he handle her?”
“He doesn't discriminate.” Anita said. “He's also good at what he does.”
Rafael raised an eyebrow.
“I'm his sister. Trust me, he knows what he's doing. I've heard his efforts secondhand.” Anita said. “So... propane is the way to go when grilling meat?”
“It is in my book, humans don't realize just what they cover up when they use charcoal or wood.” Rafael said.
"Have you gotten any more information on the new Master of the City yet?" Anita asked Rafael.
“He's from France originally. I haven't met him yet, so I can't gauge his age or strength levels. On that note, what the hell did your brother say to Zeeman? He's been hitting the gym kind of hard lately.”
“He just pointed out a few things.” Anita shrugged. “Has he challenged Marcus yet?”
“No, but one of my lieutenants tells me he is close to doing so.” Rafael said.
“Good. Hopefully he'll do the smart thing and keep his wolves away from the vampires. The more isolated they are, the better we can manage them.” Anita said as she watched her brother mingle in the crowd of shifters, animators and a few police officers that had bothered to show.
“Do you think we can keep them contained?” Rafael asked Anita.
“Not without breaking some of those shiny new laws.” Anita said. “The new Master is careful but we'll deal. It doesn't matter what the law says or what he looks like. He's still a leech.”
Rafael nodded. “I admire your convictions. I had to make many compromises under the last one. Let's hope it doesn't come to that under this one.”
“Kind of hard to compromise with a bullet.” Anita said with a shrug. “Though I'd love to see him try.” She grinned.
Rafael's grin matched her own as he agreed with her.