Chapter One: The Accident
Defenders of the Night
Chapter One: The Accident
Disclaimer: I don’t own Buffy or Gargoyles.
2007 – New IWC Headquarters – Scotland
Xander heaved a relieved sigh when he found that even though it was close to noon there was no one waiting with bated breath for him to wake up. Good, Giles must not have told them he was back from Africa. Stretching his lean form he padded into the hot shower gratefully and spent another hour enjoying the luxury of peace quiet and hot water. He pulled his eye patch on and considered the week’s worth of facial hair sprouting from his face and trying to decide whether or not to bother shaving. Eventually he decided on not shaving, that plus his long hair would help disguise him from his fan club and let him get back into the swing of things before he was bombarded with questions.
Xander dressed casually in a beaten up pair of jeans and a clean grey t-shirt stomping his feet into sturdy boots and tucking a few knives here and there. Satisfied he looked as respectable as he was likely to get without sharp implements involved he headed to the library where Giles was predictably cross-referencing over the phone in both English and Spanish, something for Kennedy or Caridad them most likely.
Xander cleared his throat to catch the older man’s attention smirking when Giles started slightly.
“Oh, Xander, I hope you don’t mind but I held of telling everyone of your arrival because they’re in the beginning of an apocalypse in Cleveland and I don’t want them to be distracted…”
“Not a problem G-man, we’ll hang out eat doughnuts do research, it’ll be just like old times, only better since I don’t have to go to class,”
Xander said grinning.
It came back so easily.
“Not that you ever went to class anyway,” Giles said dryly.
“In any case I rather am glad of your help, I just got a new batch of ancient and potentially mystical artifacts in from the magical salvage the coven is doing on the old Watcher’s Headquarters and I could use a hand carrying boxes and doing inventory,”
“Sounds like more fun than hiking across the desert in search of an illegal demon egg peddler,” Xander shrugged.
“Er…yes…quite,” Giles responded.
They made their way down to the levels where the IWC stored mystical and ancient artifacts, mystical and ancient texts having their own libraries were kept. There was quite a large pile of boxes piled up in the front of the not inconsiderable industrial strength shelving units with their neatly labeled boxes that held all manner of difficult and dangerous items. Everything was of course under incredibly magical security and constantly monitored by cameras and motion sensors.
“Alright-y then, where do we start?”
“Well let’s have a look at what’s in here, shall we?”
Xander made a flicking motion and a knife appeared in his hand. He slit open the tape and opened the box.
“Whoa!” he exclaimed jerking back.
“Ah…demonic fertility statues and charms, don’t touch those Xander, set them aside and start a volatile pile,”
The afternoon progressed in a similar fashion, Xander and Giles rooted through the contents of the boxes packing up some and saving others for their nulls to handle and package so as not to set off any potential damaging or dangerous devices. They took a break for lunch, tea, and doughnuts every now and again, and they continued in this vein until well after supper had come and gone.
“Is this the last case?” asked Giles hopefully.
Xander was a bit concerned, Giles must be feeling his age to start letting a little thing like fatigue keep him from organizing and ooing and awing over old doodads.
“Yeah, it’s pretty light too,” Xander said trying to be reassuring.
Giles pulled the cardboard lid off the top of the box and peered inside squinting slightly.
“What do we got?”
“Um…amulets, yes these all look to be amulets of some nature,” Giles nodded decisively to the mass of glittering metal, bone, and rock
“Cool, where do you want them?”
“They have to be sorted by function,”
“Ugh, and here I was thinking we were almost done,” grimaced Xander eying the mass of amulets with a fresh sense of distaste.
“Yes…well…describe the amulet to me and I’ll put it in its proper place,” Giles instructed.
“Okay, first item up for bid is a deerskin pouch with two feathers and some fancy beading, caution may cause syphilis,” Xander said in his fake announcer voice.
“A Cherokee medicine bag,” Giles amended not quite snatching it from Xander’s irreverent grasp.
While Giles was busy storing the medicine bag Xander disentangled another cord from the masses and began examining the medallion attached to it. It was roughly beaten silver gone black in the cracks with age and done up in a crude twisting arrangement of what Xander thought might have been Celtic knots.
“Wonder what you’re good for,” Xander muttered running the pad of one calloused thumb over the rough surface.
He realized he’d done something to activate the damn thing when the tingling started.
“Giles!” he shouted panicked as he lost feeling in his hands and feet.
Giles came rocketing out of the stacks just in time to gape in horror as Xander’s good eye, wide and dark with fear, faded away. There was a slight hissing sound and the smell of molten metal and singed hair. On the floor was a twisted unrecognizable lump and a burning piece of half-way rotted hemp.
“Oh dear lord…Xander,” he whispered to the empty storage room.
The young man was well and truly gone for without the amulet to work with Giles couldn’t even find out if the boy was dead, alive, or trapped in some horrific limbo. How was he going to tell Buffy and Willow that their last and best friend had disappeared without a trace and they had no way of getting him back? Willow would try of course to yank him through the dimensions with an emotional tether and if she had some idea of where to look she could probably manage it but as it stood she would be spread too thin and the call wouldn’t have the power she needed.
Xander, wherever or perhaps whenever he was now, was alone.
Author’s Note: Like it, hate it? Please Review, this idea has been bouncing around my brain half-formed forever so I decided to make a crack at getting it onto paper.