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Flashpoint

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Summary: Xander sacrifices himself for Buffy, but ends up far from where he expected. Xander/Seven.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Star Trek > Voyager(Past Donor)gleefulmusingsFR1527,56334311,06819 Aug 104 Sep 10No

Prologue

Title: Flashpoint
Author: xanzpet
Fandoms: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Star Trek Voyager, Seasons Five and Four respectively, AU.
Pairing(s): Xander/Seven of Nine, eventually.
Rating: FRT-15
Warning(s): Language; character death.
Distribution: Please ask first. Please do not screencap this story, save it to hard drives, exchange with others, or translate into other languages without written consent.
Feedback: Con-crit is always welcome; flames are ridiculed and put on display.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, lyrics, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Snippets of dialogue may be incorporated from the original canonical episode(s) and belong to their respective authors/creators. The original characters and plot are the property of the author(s). The author(s) is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended, nor should any be inferred. No profit is being made.

Summary: Xander sacrifices himself for Buffy, but ends up far from where he expected.

Author's Notes: This story occurs at the close of 'The Gift' in Season Five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, overlapping with the episode 'There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb' of Angel; for Voyager, this picks up somewhere between 'The Omega Directive' and 'One', ignoring the events of 'Living Witness' and 'Demon' during Season Four.

* Though the Buffy portion of the story occurs at the end of Season Five, this is a canon marker only. The story is being written as if it were occurring in present day, simply because I can and so that I might make use of any pop culture references. We're talking about Xander, after all. ;)

* I'm not well-versed in Star Trek lore, save for Voyager, so this story might very well end up omitting and/or violating key points in the entirety of Star Trek canon. If this bothers you in any way, apologies and please refrain from reading the story.

* I'm not a physicist, so it's quite possible that 1) Trek science will be horribly abused; 2) I will create and bluff my way through my own science; 3) I will ignore science as much as possible in favor of other explanations; 4) a combination of the three previous statements.




* * * * *



flash point, also flash·point (flăsh′point): n. 1. The lowest temperature at which the vapor of a combustible liquid can be made to ignite momentarily in air. 2. The point at which eruption into significant action, creation, or violence occurs.



* * * * *



As he watched Anya die, Xander Harris had a revelation.

It no long mattered who won or lost; he didn’t care. He was done and grateful for it, but before he went, he would put an end to this. He owed Anya and Buffy that much. If the portal wanted blood, he would feed it, and he would stop Buffy from doing something colossally stupid.

He turned and watched Giles smother Ben, and he felt nothing. And then suddenly Willow was crashing into him, burying her face in his chest, bleating Anya’s name, weeping more for him than his dead fiancée, and his resolve deepened. He felt Tara lay her head on his shoulder, and everything he wanted to tell her – that he loved her, that he loved what she had done for their Willow, that he was sorry he hadn’t gotten to know her better, that he was so happy she had been restored – became irrelevant.

“Get me up there.”

She craned her neck toward his line of vision, her eyes widening with recognition and sorrow, and she nodded.

“Willow.” He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her from him. “Willow, it’s time.”

She pulled a face and blinked. “Huh?”

Rather than answer, he dipped his head and pressed a ferocious kiss to her mouth, fueling it with every emotion and impulse she inspired within him, with every moment of their twenty years of shared history – both its triumphs and its losses – and thanked whatever god was listening for bringing her into his life. And as her arms reflexively went around his neck, he reached down and took Tara’s hand. She squeezed gently her goodbye and he extricated himself from Willow’s embrace.

“I love you, Will. Always.”

“Xan…”

He was already gone.



* * * * *



He materialized on the rickety ledge, the backs of his legs pressed against the parapet, just in time to see Buffy arguing with Dawn. He repressed a sigh and supposed some things would never change.

“Don’t you two ever get tired?,” he whined.

Startled, they both turned toward him, though neither had the presence of mind to ask why he was there or as to the method of his arrival.

“Ben is dead.”

Buffy breathed a sigh of both relief and regret, and nodded. Dawn cocked her head and stared at him.

“Anya’s dead.”

Buffy’s eyes widened with horror as her mouth opened in a silent scream; she shook her head in denial. Dawn continued to stare.

“It’s time for me to go now.”

Buffy looked at him, then glanced over her shoulder at the scaffolding which led down to the ground.

“No.”

And she knew, and there was no way in hell she was going to allow it to happen.

He watched her shoulders stiffen and anticipated every argument and condemnation she was about to deliver, but there was no time. The portal was widening, and the walls between the worlds continued to descend as they stood there dithering.

“Did you think I didn’t know? Did you think I’d let you?”

She flushed angrily and curled a lip. “It won’t work. It has to be my blood.”

“Dawn is made from you, but she’s not you. Who’s to say what will work and what won’t?” He shook his head. “These decisions aren’t yours.” He swallowed. “I’ve watched too many people die. Anya. Jesse, Jenny, Kendra, Joyce.” He dropped his eyes. “You.” He inhaled sharply and raised his gaze. “Not again. Now it’s my turn. I’ve earned this, and I won’t let you take it from me.”

“Don’t you dare,” she seethed, her eyes wide and wet.

“Two things,” he said, ignoring her. “First, I want you go to Los Angeles to tell Cordy in person; no phone calls. Tell her that I’m sorry. Tell her that I loved her, that I never stopped. Don’t take Willow with you.”

“I won’t let you do this.”

“The other. Anya…her,” he set his jaw and blinked furiously, “her engagement ring is in the first drawer of her bureau at our apartment.”

Buffy’s face crumpled. She pressed her lips together so as not to cry out, bile rising in her throat and salt stinging her eyes.

“Make sure it’s buried with her. I bought the plot next to Jesse. I want them together.” He said this not to Buffy, but her sister.

Dawn nodded robotically, tears coursing from her eyes.

He flashed a pained grin. “Even though Will never liked her, Jess would’ve. He would’ve seen all of her crazy brilliance and wondered why it had taken me so long to ask her.” He looked once more, finally, at Buffy. “I can’t do this anymore. I won’t. I’ve given everything, and it’s never going to stop.”

“Xander, please,” she sobbed. More than anything, it was the quiet defeat in his voice which so terrified her, even more than him dangling on the precipice.

“You’re so much stronger than me. You’re still my hero. I love you, Buff. Always did, always will.”

“Xander!”

He raised his arms and tilted his head, shooting her a quick smile and a wink. “What would Buffy do?”

He fell backward.



* * * * *



The next fifteen minutes passed in a blur as it fell on Dawn to lead a numb Buffy from the tower. Once again on solid ground, a confused Spike rushed to their side, checking Dawn for injuries and Buffy for psychotic breaks. The Summers sisters then found an enraged and hysterical Willow berating a placid Tara, and a disoriented Giles cradling Anya’s body.

“They were going to be married,” Buffy whispered.

Willow paused in the middle of her rant to spin on her heel and stare at the Slayer. “What?”

“Her engagement ring is in her bureau. He wanted her buried with it.”

The witch abruptly shut her mouth in favor of sitting atop the nearest retaining wall and staring blankly ahead. Giles responded by burying his face in Anya’s hair and quietly sobbing apologies.

“I have to go to Los Angeles,” Buffy continued, nodding to herself. “I have to tell Cordy.” Xander had asked her to do things for him, and she had to try very hard to remember what those things were, because she wasn’t going to let him down. He had never really asked her for anything.

“I’ll go with you,” Spike said.

“No. This is about Cordelia, not you or Angel.” She said it more sharply than she had intended, but the effect it produced was desirous, so she didn’t bother with a half-hearted apology. She sensed Willow was about to interrupt, and cut her off at the pass. “No way.”

Willow nodded miserably and resumed her staring.

“Spike, take care of Dawn. Giles, take care of,” she paused as a fresh wave of tears overtook her, “take care of Anya.” She angrily swatted at her eyes. “Xander said he bought the plot next to…to Jesse. He wants – he wanted – her next to him.” If the man heard her words, he gave no indication. She looked around. “His body?”

“Gone,” Spike whispered. “It disappeared with the portal.”

She nodded. “I have to go.”

“You shouldn’t drive,” Dawn murmured.

Wild laughter escaped her mouth. “What does it matter now?” She took off in a run before anyone could answer.



* * * * *



Less than two hours later, Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, Lorne, and Fred cheerfully stumbled into the lobby of the Hyperion. Buffy stood, taking a moment to note Cordelia’s ensemble and wonder errantly if the I Dream of Jeannie look was making a comeback.

Angel paused mid-step and blinked. “Buffy?”

She stared at his mouth, unable to meet his eyes, and heard the roar of waves rushing her ears. His mouth was moving. Was he talking to her? She slowly turned her head to face Cordelia, who took an involuntary step back, her eyes enormous and terrified.

“No.”

“Cordy,” she choked, a fresh onslaught of tears wetting her eyes.



* * * * *



Ten minutes later saw Wesley carrying an unconscious Cordelia into Angel’s private office, Lorne trailing behind. Fred was huddled in a corner, her hands clapped over her ears, as an anxious Gunn attempted in vain to calm her. Angel was left to tend to the injuries of a disinterested Buffy.

The lobby had been destroyed and the Slayer beaten nearly senseless after Cordelia’s fury had been unleashed. Buffy had made no move to stop the assault, preferring physical pain over an ache so consuming she thought she might never recover.

Cordelia had never stopped screaming, but had managed to give voice to every vicious thought and feeling she ever had of Buffy, blaming her for Xander’s death. Buffy welcomed it; she needed to hear the words from someone other than herself, and knew neither Dawn nor Willow, though they might have felt as Cordelia did, would ever utter them.

It was only when Cordelia was told that Anya too was dead and that she and Xander had been engaged that she had halted her attack, preferring darkness to the muted gray reality had become.

“I can see now why he didn’t want me to bring Willow,” Buffy whispered.

“You should have let me stop her,” Angel said.

“It wouldn’t have made any difference. She would have leveled you, too.”

He said nothing for a moment, pondering that very real probability. “What happened?”

“Glory opened the rift. Xander closed it.”

“How?”

“He threw himself into it.”

“Fuck,” he hissed.

“Somehow…he knew I was going to do it, to save Dawn. So he decided to save me. Again.” She drew her knees beneath her chin and dropped her head.

He watched her from the corner of his eye as he continued attending her wounds, sure that had the portal opened before them right then, Buffy would have gladly fallen into it.

“How am I supposed to do this without him?”

He knew she wasn’t expecting an answer, which was fortunate, as he had none. No, he had never liked Xander, but he respected what the boy had meant to Buffy, what he would always mean, and while Angel would mourn for him in his own way, he was relieved that she had survived, even if it was at the expense of her best friend.

“Imagine if Cordelia had died to save you.”

He closed his eyes and looked away. No, he wouldn’t imagine it; he couldn’t, even though he knew Cordelia, as had Xander for Buffy, would ensure his life at the cost of her own. But now he better understood. In the end, Xander had proved himself to be the only one worthy to walk at Buffy’s side, and Angel wouldn’t make less of the boy’s sacrifice by claiming otherwise.

She stared past him. “I just want to die.”



* * * * *



“Oh-six-hundred hours. Regeneration cycle complete.”

The alcove whirred, signaling the unit shutdown, the tinny voice of the computer welcoming her to the start of a new day. She stepped down into the cargo bay, quickly surveyed her surroundings to ensure there were no intruders or unauthorized persons, and thumbed her communication badge.

“Daily log, Seven of Nine, stardate 51874.3. Today I am scheduled with Lieutenant Torres to perform a detailed diagnostic of the deflector array. I have allocated approximately four hours, thirty minutes for the task, and an additional twenty-one minutes for the lieutenant’s usual belligerence.

"At thirteen hundred hours, I am scheduled for a debriefing with Captain Janeway on the events surrounding the Omega Directive, followed by my weekly medical maintenance session with the Doctor.

"I shall then take a nutritional supplement at fifteen hundred hours and engage in one hour of cardiovascular activity, followed by my shift in Astrometrics, where I will conduct long-range sensor telemetry. End log.”

She nodded to herself, pleased that her day promised to herald an efficient use of her abilities, and exited the cargo bay.



* * * * *



After discussing the Omega Directive and reiterating that its contents were to remain privy only to senior staff, Captain Kathryn Janeway sighed, suppressing the urge to roll her eyes.

This ridiculous rivalry between Seven and B’Elanna had been going on for far too long, and she had been remiss in not addressing it sooner. It was all the more asinine because Seven was completely disinterested in the entire affair and didn’t understand what part, if any, she played in perpetuating it. Janeway would speak later with B’Elanna, who had indeed started the argument, far away from Seven of Nine.

“Captain, I…apologize…if the scene between Lieutenant Torres and myself in any way compromised the efficiency of the Engineering crew.”

Kathryn blinked. “Did you just apologize for something?”

Seven pursed her lips. “It has been explained to me by several persons on various occasions that it is customary to apologize in the wake of a social incident which has rendered others uncomfortable.”

“Do you even comprehend why you’re apologizing?”

She thought of Lieutenant Torres. “Comprehension is irrelevant.”

Kathryn sighed once more. It was going to be a long day.



* * * * *



“I’m pleased to report that all of your implants are in fine working order,” assured the musical voice of the Doctor.

“As I suspected,” Seven announced. “The frequency of these examinations has become redundant. I am perfectly capable of monitoring my own systems.”

The Doctor placated her with a nod. “Of course you are, but the captain’s peace of mind as well as the integrity of my holomatrix demands we keep to this schedule.” He smiled slightly and began humming as he returned his instruments to the tray. “After all, an apple a day keeps both me and misfiring nanoprobes at bay.”

“Mister Neelix maintains several different species of apples in the Aeroponics bay. I shall procure some.”

The Doctor kept smiling, though he found it didn’t come quite so easy as before.



* * * * *



“If you’d like, I have several tasty spices which could liven up that supplement,” a cheerful Neelix announced.

“This supplement is sufficient for my nutritional needs,” Seven replied.

He nodded. “Of course, Seven, but you really should broaden your palate. Variety is the spice of life!”

“Variety is irrelevant.”

He shook his head slightly in bemusement. “Well of course it is.”



* * * * *



After a day of banal personal encounters, ranging in scope from confrontational to annoying, Seven was glad for the sanctuary which Astrometrics afforded. Crossing into the lab, she paused to note that her respiration and pulse slowed and a sense of calm enveloped her. At last, she was free from the demands of interaction, of the suspicious glares of several of her fellow crewman, and the sense that she was a disappointment to her greatest champions.

Her time aboard this vessel so far had been marked by frustration and confusion. She was used to life in the collective, which provided continuous companionship under the auspices of one mind, in which imperfection and disorder were not tolerated and quickly removed; everyone knew what was expected of them and performed their tasks with minimal supervision and no complaints.

By contrast, the people of Voyager were inferior in that they were inefficient and opinionated, constantly questioning their decisions and choices even over the most trifling of matters, so desperate for approval and acknowledgment. She found it remarkable that anything was ever accomplished.

Still, she admitted, if only to herself, that the collective of Voyager was remarkable in several aspects, not the least of which was that they had fended off both the Borg and Species 8472 in one fell swoop. Captain Janeway was a confident and capable leader, even if she did often let emotion and sentiment cloud her judgment. However, the captain put the welfare of her crew above most things, and her dedication to preserving life in all its forms whenever possible was both awesome and humbling, even if Seven herself often did not agree with the captain’s judgment.

She understood so little, had so much to learn, and was already so confounded; but most of her resentment had faded, as had her desire to return to the Borg. Humanity was challenging and so far yielded little satisfaction, but she was determined to master it, and she believed Voyager was the best place to accomplish this goal.

She stopped in the middle of the room and wondered when it was that she had begun analyzing the psychology of Voyager to such an extent, particularly during a duty shift, which was a waste of time and resources and an impediment to maximum efficiency, upon which she could normally always pride herself.

Perhaps the habits of her fellow crewman were affecting her more than she had realized, certainly more than she would have planned or allowed. It was irritating and she was aggravated by how easily she was distracted of late. She shook her head and stalked toward the main terminal and began inputting a series of algorithms and adjusting the sensors to a more precise standard; that of Ensign Kim was rather sloppy, she had found.

As the first in a series of long-range scans was initiated, Seven turned in quick succession to each adjoining terminal, downloading the stored data into several empty nodes for later analysis. She tightened her mouth when she sensed some inflammation in her biradial clamp but set about ignoring it; it would most likely be corrected during the course of that night’s regeneration. It was odd that the Doctor had not discovered it, she thought.

She frowned when the first telemetries of the scans echoed back with puzzling results. She quickly poured over the data, confused by the findings. The readings simply didn’t make sense, but that did not mitigate the fact that something of indeterminate nature lay directly in the path of their course.

“Computer, analyze new sensor readings.”

“Sensor readings analyzed.”

“Extrapolate data and project the course of the anomaly.”

Seconds later, a small blip appeared on the viewscreen, but she could make no more sense of it than she could the scans.

“Computer, is that a vessel?”

“Negative.”

She curled a lip. “Explain the anomaly.”

“Unable to comply.”

“Clarify.”

“Insufficient data.”

Seven paused a moment in contemplation before thumbing her badge.



* * * * *



“How did your talk go with Seven?,” Chakotay asked.

Kathryn gave a mild shrug. “About as well as all the others.”

He gave an amused nod and said nothing further, though he contemplated rising to the defense of B’Elanna. He knew, however, that she had instigated the argument with Seven of Nine and that the captain would not tolerate nepotism. As much as he liked B’Elanna personally, he had to admit that her temper was legendary. Seven was not the first to raise her ire, nor would she be the last.

He was also all too cognizant of Kathryn’s affection for Seven, regardless of how bizarre he found their relationship. While she would never allow their bond to influence how she dealt with the crew, he didn’t want to back her into a corner.

“Perhaps I should ensure that they are no longer placed on the same duty shift,” he suggested.

Tom Paris looked up from helm control and over his shoulder. “It’s like putting two cats in a box,” he chirped, grinning when Harry Kim snickered.

Kathryn indulged him with a smile before turning back to Chakotay. “As rational as that sounds, it would only be a short-term solution. They need to learn how to get along.”

The others, Tuvok included, wondered just how that was to happen, when they were jolted from their thoughts.

“Astrometrics to the Bridge.”

Kathryn straightened in her chair. “Go ahead, Seven.”

“Captain, I have detected an anomaly approximately six million kilometers ahead.”

She raised a brow. “And the nature of this anomaly?”

“Unknown. Sensors have been unable to make sense of the data.”

Kathryn turned to Chakotay and frowned. “Acknowledged. We’ll keep on present course for now. Apprise us of any further developments.”

She waited, but only silence answered her.

“Seven?”

“I am receiving new telemetry and attempting to analyze the data.”

Harry shared a look of concern with Tom, who was unimpressed. He wouldn’t worry until he was positive there was something about which to be worried. Chakotay restlessly drummed his fingers on his console, while Tuvok glanced at the ceiling and kept his ears tuned: he knew Seven wouldn’t have bothered to report the anomaly had she not found it potentially dangerous.

“Seven?,” Kathryn prompted. Another moment of silence answered her. Just as she was about to ask again, Seven responded.

“Captain, it appears to be an interdimensional rift.”

Her eyes widened as she jumped to her feet. “Red Alert!"

She turned around to face Tuvok. “Commander, assemble your security team.”

He nodded and ordered his men via the comm link to gather their arms.

She noted that Harry was poised for action and that Tom had steeled himself for the worst. “Seven, are there any signs of bioships?”

“Negative. There are no indications that Species 8472 is responsible for the rift.”

The captain debated only a moment. She couldn’t take the chance that a portal into fluidic space had been opened. “Janeway to Torres.”

“Torres here.”

“Lieutenant, prepare the deflector array to emit an anti-tachyon pulse on my mark.” She knew B’Elanna would understand the disaster potentially awaiting them.

There was a pause. “Acknowledged.”

Kathryn took a moment to collect herself, swallowing heavily and throwing up a quick prayer to whomever might be listening.

“Attention all hands, this is the captain. Battle stations.”
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