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Americana: Oxnard, California

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Summary: While in Oxnard CA, Xander meets a teenage Immortal named Richard Ryan. A new partnership is born.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Xander-Centered > Pairing: Richie RyanScorpioFR13411,75013410,30228 Dec 108 Jun 11Yes

...SO IT BEGINS...

TITLE: Americana
AUTHOR: Scorpio
FANDOMS: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Highlander + various cameos
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Xander or Richie or any of the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Highlander. Nor do I own any of the characters from any other fandoms that might make their way into this story. I am making no money from this.
A/N: Bold Face Type = email, Italics Face Type = flashbacks
SERIES SUMMARY: Xander first meets and then falls for Richie Ryan and then ends up exploring his sexuality while they journey together across the country.
STORY SUMMARY: While in Oxnard CA, Xander meets a teenage Immortal named Richard Ryan. A new partnership is born.




Americana
OXNARD, CALIFORNIA


…SO IT BEGINS…

People often confuse Destiny and Fate. While similar in some ways, they are vastly different in others.

Destiny is that which will be, no matter how we fight against it and try to avoid it. Still, it comes to pass, for it is destiny.

Fate is that which will be because of the choices one makes. A person’s fate is in their own hands, for good or bad.

It was Xander Harris’ destiny to meet the Slayer Buffy Summers and become aware of the evil that lurks in the dark and preys on humans. It became his fate to fight said evil when he chose to actively oppose it.

That was not the only time Fate laid a choice before him. Tonight, unbeknownst to him, Xander Harris was facing another such crossroads in his life. He could go left, in which case his fate will lead him home in a few short months and into the arms of an ex-demon woman he would nearly marry. Or, he could go right, in which case his fate will lead him on the adventure of a lifetime.

Tick. Tock.

Time moves on, the choice is made and a man’s fate is sealed.

***

To: Red_Tree@Sunnydale.net
From: Xand@Sunnydale.net
Re: Weird magnet strikes again

Hey Wils,

I gotta ask. Did you curse me before I left for my road trip? If you did, fess up. Otherwise, I’m gonna go with my first thought – I’m a weird magnet.

First there’s my car. I still can’t believe that the engine just fell out of it. I mean, that’s not something that just randomly happens to people. Flat tires? Sure, all the time. Bad battery? Probably more common than you think. But engines falling out of the car in pieces scattered along the highway? Nope. Never heard of it happening to anyone.

Till me.

Sorry. I know that I already ranted about that on the phone last week. You’ve heard the whole mess. It still bothers me though, so… Good news. I got a job at a club type place busing tables and washing dishes, so hopefully I’ll be able to pay for repairs soon.

Great right?

I thought so too. At least until my new boss asked me to take out the trash last night. Did you know there were vamps in Oxnard? I mean, I could see Sunnydale since it has the Hellmouth and all. But Oxnard? Really?

There were four of them. I most likely would have just run off since there was so many, but they had some girl and I wasn’t about to let her get eaten. I was able to sneak up behind them. I staked one in the back. His buddy swung around surprised and I somehow managed to dust him too. The other two ran off in different directions, though.


***

Xander stumbled through the cloud of billowing dust, coughing. He had his stake in one hand and a cross in the other. One of the remaining vamps lunged at him and somehow he was able to lift the hand with the cross in time to burn the thing on the cheek.

It flinched back, screaming. The last one must have been newly risen, because it panicked.

“Shit!” He shoved the girl at Xander before turning and running off. “Run!”

The burned vamp hissed as the girl slammed into Xander. He was only barely able to keep them both from tumbling to the ground. He glared at the vamp and raised the cross again. It turned and bolted.

Xander pushed the girl towards the back door of the Fabulous Ladies Nightclub. “Get inside!”

Then he turned and dashed down the alley after the two vamps. At the edge of the parking lot, he saw that they had split up. One was heading to the left and a small strip mall. The other was heading right towards the gas station.


***

Stupid me, I ran after one of them by myself. I know I shouldn’t have, but I did.

Then something strange happened. There was a guy there minding his own business. He freaked when he saw the vamp in full gameface running right at him, but then he pulled out a real live sword and beheaded it. I swear!


***

For a brief moment, he almost followed the vamp heading towards the strip mall, but then he realized it was closed and no one would be around. However, the vamp heading to the gas station would have victims because it was open 24 hours. Bracing himself for danger, Xander dashed across the parking lot and then jumped through the leafy hedge that separated the two properties.

He saw the vamp running straight for the pumps and a customer with luck just as shitty as Xander’s own.

The guy looked about Xander’s own age. He had short reddish blonde hair and wore a leather bomber jacket. He was standing by the pumps and filling the tank of a sweet looking racing bike. The guy was looking right at the vamp with an expression on his face that was half confusion and half horror.

“What the hell is that thing?!” the guy yelled.

Xander grimaced even as he kept running. “Vampire!”

“Fuck!” The guy reached for something on his bike and then danced back away quickly.

Xander blinked in shock. It was a sword. A real sword. Rapier, by the looks of it.

The vampire jumped at the guy and pushed him down, most likely trying to steal the guys’ weapon. Xander tackled the vamp and they both went sprawling. The guy scrambled to his feet even as Xander and the vamp rolled across the ground.

“Cut its fuckin’ head off!” he managed to snarl.

The guy kicked the vamp in the ribs and knocked him off of Xander. Even as he struggled back to his feet, Xander could see the guy take two steps forward and swing the sword with a skill any Slayer would be proud of. The vamp’s head flew through the air for about five feet before it exploded into ash, its’ body following a second after.

The guy turned towards Xander, his blue eyes wide with shock. He pointed at the space where the vampire had just been standing.

“HOLY SHIT!”

“Yeah,” Xander nodded in agreement. “I hear ya, pal.”


***

I tried to play it off and give him some lame excuse, but the guy didn’t buy it at all. So, I gave him a quick 411. All down and dirty with nothing but bare facts. He wants to meet up later for more details.

I don’t know, though. His name is Richie and he seems cool, but I just keep thinking, how fair is it to drag him into this weirdness we call life. He could have a totally normal life without all the craziness if he just forgets what happened. Then I think, how fair is it to refuse to answer questions if he really wants to know.

I guess this is sorta how Buffy felt when we first met her and found out about the vamps and demons and stuff.

Well, I’ll keep you up to date on the whole Richie situation as well as the car situation. Hopefully both will end well.

Give my love to Buffy and save some of it for yourself,
Xander


***

Xander stuffed his hands into the pockets of his cargo pants and shuffled along down the street, his eyes taking in everything even as his mind whirled from thought to thought. He was trying not to think too hard about his upcoming meeting with Richie. As it was, he was tied in knots over whether he’d rather the guy think he was insane, or whether he’d rather be believed and end up responsible for dragging another person into a lifestyle that was as terrifying as it was deadly.

Instead, he studied the town of Oxnard as he slowly made his way to the coffee house.

It was a suburb, like Sunnydale. And yet it was vastly different in subtle ways.

Oxnard was an industrial town, filled with factories, auto shops, bars, and dingy strip malls. Fifty years ago, Sunnydale was much the same with its factories, warehouses and docks. But Hizzoner the Mayor slowly changed the Hellmouth in an attempt to attract humans there. Little by little, the factories and shipyards gave way to shopping malls, the hospital and the new University. The only big manufacturer left was CDR and even they left after awhile.

Sunnydale was a wealthy suburb, with big homes and highly educated people flocking there. Oxnard was a blue collar town.

Of course, that’s not to say that Sunnydale wasn’t quickly becoming a less sparkly place to live. Once the Master was dead, the vampire population quickly got out of control. He’d kept his minions on an extremely short leash, but now they ran free.

Hizzoner had, apparently, spent years keeping a tight hold on the demon community, but as the time of his ascension got closer, the less he focused on anything but that. Xander’s pretty sure that he used Buffy to take care of things that he just didn’t have time to deal with, in fact. He’d be willing to bet that if good ‘ole Dick hadn’t been so concerned with getting his hands on the Books of Ascension that the Sisterhood of Jhe would never have made it into town at all.

Still, it was strange to him to walk down a street and not be brushing elbows with doctors, and university professors, and fashionistas. Instead he was passing mechanics, factory workers, and the type of people that got dirty for a living.

And now he had to take some young man’s world and shake it upside down.

With a sigh, Xander crossed the street and ducked into the little coffee shop. He saw Richie sitting over at a table off to the side and nodded at him. He stepped up to the counter and ordered a coffee with extra sugar and a blueberry muffin. Then, taking his breakfast, he walked over to the table. He stood there for a moment and fidgeted. Finally, Richie gestured for him to sit, so he did.

“Hey.”

Richie blinked at him with those absurdly blue eyes and then quirked a lopsided smile.

“Hey.” He gestured with his coffee. “Wild night, huh?”

Xander nodded and gulped before taking a sip of his own coffee. It burned his tongue.

“Yeah, uh…” He shrugged. “Look, um, I…”

Richie raised up one eyebrow pointedly and tapped one finger against the tabletop. Xander sighed and shook his head.

“Okay. I’m gonna be blunt, here. I’ll answer any questions you have and try to explain what I know.” He tipped his head forward and offered up his most serious expression. “But only if you really want to hear it. And honestly, you’ll sleep better at night if you just tell yourself last night never happened, that it was all just some strange nightmare.”

Richie gave a rueful chuckle that was filled with self depreciation. “I believe you.”

Then he lifted his coffee and peered into it for a moment before looking back up at Xander.

“However, I’ve got my own bit of weirdness and it includes an eidetic memory. Perfect 100% recall of events. In fifty years, I’ll be able to pull up the memory of last night and it’ll be as crisp and new as it is today.”

Xander blinked at the guy for a moment and considered that. It’d be great to remember the good times, but what about trauma? Does that stay fresh and new forever? It probably does. He winced at that thought.

“Damn…that sucks.”

Richie nodded his head in agreement even as he murmured, “It’s not so bad.”

Xander just looked at him for a moment. He took in the short reddish blonde hair that was curling at the ends, the sincere and tired seeming blue eyes. He saw the way Richie constantly scanned the coffee house even as he focused on the conversation. He noticed the odd calluses on his hands and realized they were most likely from working with his sword.

Then he sighed.

“Okay…there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know or only know a bit about. We covered vampires last night. At least a bit. Blood demon that can possess a corpse if the victim was fed blood from another vamp before the person actually died. They can be killed with sunlight, fire, decapitation, or a wooden stake through the heart. Stronger and faster than a human, it has no soul and so that means no compassion or mercy. It feeds off the blood of the living.”

Richie nodded and grimaced.

“Yeah, I remember you saying. But…I don’t get it. How many are there out in the world? I mean, you never see news report of vampire attacks or anything. How come people don’t know about this?”

Xander reached up and rubbed his hand over his head and sighed.

“There are those who know…and they usually fight back. Most people don’t know because they don’t want to know. They want their monsters to be on the big screen, not hiding in the shadows of the local bar’s parking lot. So…if they survive an encounter with the supernatural, they explain it away and shrug it off as something else.”

He picked at his muffin and popped a bit of blueberry into his mouth. Then his lips twisted into a sardonic grin.

“And you have heard news reports about vamp attacks. They just call them gangs on PCP or wild dogs or wild mountain lions or something.”

Xander shrugged and took another sip of his coffee before continuing.

“As for where they are. I think most places, small towns and such, are vamp free. They prefer big cities with lots of people. They only go to the smaller places if there’s something there they want or if there’s lots of dark magic around.”

Richie nodded seriously and stared into space for a moment as if trying to process the weirdness that he was hearing. Finally, he looked back at Xander with a frown.

“So…why were they here last night?”

Xander shook his head.

“Not sure, but my guess is that they were just passing through on their way to Sunnydale. That place has so much dark magic in the air that it’s literally vamp central.”

“Okay,” Richie’s expression was now one of pure curiosity. “So…how do you know all this, anyway?”

Xander rolled his eyes and offered up a mocking smile. “I’m from Sunnydale.”

***

To: Red_Tree@Sunnydale.net
From: Xand@Sunnydale.net
Re: Weird magnet strikes again

Hey Wils,

I have updates on the Richie situation. Plus, a request for research. *big puppy eyes*

So, I met with Richie to do the whole vampires are real thing. Actually, I started off with the whole you’d sleep better if you forgot this thing. Only, Richie told me that he has his own weirdness that includes perfect memory. He’d never forget what happened. So, I told him about vamps and stuff.

No. I didn’t name any names. :p

He took it pretty good. A little wigged, but mostly calm. Then he told me all about his weirdness. That’s where the whole research favor comes in. What he told me is completely wacky in a Hellmouthy sort of way, so I figure that G-man might be able to confirm or deny it all.

Richie claims to be an Immortal.

According to him, there’s this whole sub-species of humans running around that are Immortal. They’ve got something inside called a Quick or something like that. Anyway, they seem like normal people until they die, then the Quick activates and they come back to life. Only now they don’t age or get sick.

It gets better. These Immortals have this death-match bloodsport thing going on called The Game. They hunt each other down and cut off each others heads in order to steal the other guy’s Quick. That’s why Richie had that sword handy last night.

Freaky, huh?

So. Do you think you and Giles can hit the books and find out what’s the what with the Immortal thing? I mean, Richie seems like a nice guy and all. Still, I’d feel better if I knew if he was crazy, or if he’s some type of demon that’s gonna chop off my head.

Get back to me as soon as,
Love ya, Xander


***
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