Old Man Harris
Title: Old Man Harris
Beta By: Starway Man
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel the Series, along with the characters from their respective shows, are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
Description: In 2062, Alexander Harris is an old man. That doesn't stop him from doing what's right, whether the head slayer likes it or not.
A/N: This story will be entirely from Xander's POV.=====
I didn’t get to be eighty-two friggin’ years old by being dumb, no matter what some people around here might think.
Sometimes, I hear the Potentials wondering amongst themselves how ‘Old Man Harris’ had managed to make it this far. Late at night when I’m alone in bed, I wonder too. The answer is actually pretty simple – by playing to my strengths. Doing what I did best – survive
If that meant standing around in the background as none of the heroes noticed me, slowly working my way up the ladder as Buffy, Faith, and all the other Slayers I’d known as a young man went out in a blaze of glory, becoming the number two man of the Council thanks to Giles’ recommendation before he passed away of old age? Well, then, so be it.
Kinda ironic, though. Back when Sunnydale still existed, those people who thought for sure I was gonna die if I took part in the slayage? They’re the one who are all dead now, while I’m still here.
And apparently nowadays I’m also the last one of a different kind, it happened just the other day: of the roughly thirty-two thousand people who had called the Hellmouth ‘home’ back in 2003, there is only one former resident left alive today. Me
Old Man Harris. The last survivor of Sunnydale.=====
I sat down behind my desk, and laid the now-antique M1911 down in front of me. I rubbed my aching left knee, a casualty of a demon attack some years ago. For sure, my body wasn't as spry as it used to be; but it wasn’t the body of some old has-been couch potato, either.
Across the room lay the bodies of a couple of Slayers, two girls I’d personally killed just now: they’d been cut down with my own pistol. It'd be one thing if I'd gone senile and done it by accident, but the real explanation was even worse. It was self-defense.
The timing was no surprise, though, Willow had been killed in a so-called ‘car accident’ barely two days ago. I hadn’t even attended her funeral yet. With the most powerful witch in the world dead, there was no reason for my…adversary, to hide any longer.
I pulled a small, wooden box from a drawer. Carefully taking the latch off, I put the rectangular device down on the desk. On it was a single, red button, one that years ago I'd hoped I'd never have to press.
The day had finally come, though, and press it I did. Yanking open the bottom drawer on my desk, I angrily threw the device inside, before pulling out a bottle of bourbon and a shot glass.
I poured one off and drank it down, enjoying the burn. After that I poured another, but I quickly decided to leave it alone. Even after all these years, the word ‘alcoholic’ left a bad taste in my mouth – let alone the phrase, ‘son of the town drunk’.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember my dad’s been dead for decades – Christ, it’ll be sixty years next year, the anniversary of Sunnyhell completely sinking into the earth. Still, his legacy can never be forgotten.
What was it Angel once said? Who we were often determines who we are, or something like that. Something which Darla had told him, back when he was Angelus and still had dirt behind his ears.
Grumbling, I turned on the holo-phone at my desk, and typed in a number from memory. I knew she was behind it: I just wanted to let her know how miserably her minions had failed.¦Is it done yet?¦
a heavily accented voice asked off-screen.
I snorted: she hadn't even bothered to see who had called her, she was that
confident. "I’m afraid this it
is something we need to discuss, Rafaela."=====
Rafaela Penzo was an Italian national, and current head of the Council. At seventy-three years old, she looked more like forty. That's what you get when you had money to burn, and an excellent plastic surgeon.
Backed by a huge inheritance, Rafaela could have bought and sold Cordelia and Kennedy's parents’ holdings without a second thought. Post-World War II, her family had gotten mega-rich through an import-export company her grandfather had founded.
When Buffy had finally settled down in Rome, and had gotten her back-pay from the Council coffers for eight years of slaying, fifteen-year-old Rafaela had latched onto her as a 'consultant'. She'd shown Buffy all the finest restaurants and stores Rome had to offer, ingratiating herself with my co-best friend – and the girl did a damn fine job of it, too, I have to admit.
With the rest of the old Scooby Gang spread throughout the world, Buffy had needed someone to spend time with – well, besides her little sister and her pet nerd. But after Dawn had moved to England with a scholarship to Oxford, and that chowder-head Andrew had been killed by an incubus, things with Rafaela had ramped up quickly.
She'd wormed her way in so deeply, that when Buffy had taken early retirement at the age of forty, no one had been surprised that Rafaela had been named her successor. I didn't blame the Buffster for it, though, no one could have known what she’d been intending to do once she took full control of the organization.
Namely, turn it into the Slayer version of the Mafia. It was amazing she didn’t end up calling herself ‘Donna Rafaela’, I kid you not.
Rafaela rushed into view on screen, almost knocking her chair over in haste. ¦Signore Harris!¦
Her guppy impression upon seeing me, left little doubt of her involvement. ¦How may I be of assistance to you today?¦
"You can start by arranging to have all the blood on my floor cleaned up."¦I- I do not understand...¦
I grinned at her. "Of course you don't. You can't understand why two of your best Slayers are the ones who are lying dead on the floor right now, instead of me. Did you really think I wouldn’t take steps to safeguard something very important to me – namely, my own life?"=====¦Signore Harris, I can assure you, I have no idea what you speak of.¦
She laid her innocent act on real thick, as if I was going to buy that.
I sighed, feeling every single one of my eighty-two years walking this sorry world. Part of the reason we were at this crossroads, was because I knew exactly what Penzo was capable of.
I'd been against her involvement in the higher echelons of the Council from the moment I'd met her, back in 2004. Since then, we'd hated each other even worse than Angel had hated Spike for sleeping with Buffy.
"I see. So, then, Rafaela, the fact that two of your Slayers just tried to kill me, only two days after Willow died in a car accident, is just an astonishing coincidence? I think not."¦Are you sure they-¦
"Their assassination attempt was recorded, yeah, despite a mysterious power outage on the surveillance cams. Now tell me something. How many Slayers are there in the world nowadays, Rafaela?"
She gave me a look of disdain, before rattling off the number. ¦Nineteen hundred and eighty. Why do you ask?¦
"Well, think about it, shouldn't that be seventy-eight now?"¦You seem to revel in the deaths of my sister Slayers. I do not think you are well.¦
I sighed. "Let’s cut the bullshit once and for all. We both know you've wanted me out of the way for a long time. Sixty years, almost." I took no pleasure in causing the deaths of those Slayers, but I damn well wanted my point to be made clear.¦You are obviously delusional-¦
I gave her a big smile, before cutting her off. "Here's the sixty-four million dollar question, though, just how many of those Slayers are loyal to you?"
She sneered openly at me, all pretense of civility was gone now. ¦I am the head of the Council, you geriatric finocchio! They do what I tell them or will suffer the consequences!¦
The very thought
that she wasn't in complete control of the Chosen crowd drove her nuts, I could tell. Rafaela continued making threats about this or that, but I pretty much tuned her out. I was more interested with what was happening behind her.
In the background of the screen, I could see three figures coming at her. Rafaela was so focused on her ranting, that even with her Slayer senses, she didn't notice their approach.
I used to have a soft spot for all things Slayer – Faith was my first, and seven years later she became my wife, not to mention the mother of my daughter – so I gave Penzo one last chance.
"Let me ask you something, Rafaela: if you were given the chance to step down from your position and walk away from the Council, would you do it?"
The three figures stopped a few feet away from her, awaiting her reply. How she answered, was the very definition of 'life or death'.¦How dare you, you- you one-eyed son of a prostitute!¦
Spittle flew into the screen, as Rafaela raged at my suggestion.¦Harris, the next time there are going to be ten Slayers coming through your door, so you had better say your prayers right now-¦
She was cut off however, when a wire looped around her throat. As she reached for it, her arms were grabbed, and pulled out to the sides. Rafaela looked straight ahead at me, her earlier attempts to see her attackers had made the wire cut deep into her neck and blood started to pour out in a thick fountain.
"I gave you an out, and you wouldn't take it..." I explained, as I watched her eyes bulge out in realization. “Now you're going to suffer the consequences.”¦Yeah,¦
The Slayer holding the now-former Council head's left arm, ducked down so that Rafaela could get a good look at her face. ¦It's a revolution.¦
Penzo’s former top lieutenant, my daughter Allison, informed her.
Francesca and Sana made their identities known as well, letting Penzo know exactly
who was behind this.
Sana looked up to the screen at me, her hands firmly holding the wire in place, as Rafaela finally stopped struggling. ¦Boss? She's gone. Do we proceed with the rest of the plan?¦
The plan? Oh, yeah, the plan
. The plan I’d come up with a long time ago. Hand-picking three Slayers (volunteers, admittedly) to be hypnotized, brainwashed into thinking they were Rafaela’s loyal servants and taking their place at her side.
Spying on her, their unconscious minds were always ready for the trigger to be received after I pressed the red button. The trigger to restore their true identities, and their true purpose: to kill their so-called master.
Thank God Faith had never lived to see this, even if she was the one who had given me the idea way back when.
As I looked at the corpse on the screen, I truly wished it hadn't come to this. But Raffaella's misuse of Council power and the Slayers below her had forced my hand. As far as I knew, this had been her first attempt at outright murder – apart from Willow’s death, of course – and that was crossing a line she couldn’t come back from.
It wasn’t like it had been back in the twentieth century, when Faith had gone to jail for killing people: Rafaela was never going to change, and she wasn’t the least bit sorry for everything she’d done over the last sixty years, either.
With a sigh, I finally answered Sana and the others, "Do it
, round up all the Slayers that are - sorry, that were - loyal to her. Try not to kill any of them, but if they resist, and it’s damn well certain that some of them will, you and the rest of my girls know what to do."
I used my desk to help me get to my feet, my damn knee was still acting up. "Allison, meet me at the command center; I'll be there in a few minutes."
As the wire completely sliced through Raffaella's neck to make sure no one would be able to resurrect her afterwards, I switched off the holo-phone and drank down the second shot of bourbon.
It was time to clean up the Council's mess for a second time, put someone worthy in charge...and then give serious consideration to a long-overdue vacation.=====THE END