Chapter 7 - Grey Hair and Jobs
AN: Well here's the next chapter for you all. Thank you everyone for your wonderful reveiws on this story, I very much appreciate it. Enjoy ^^!
AN: FYI this chapter is a bit rushed editing wise if for no other reason than my time for this sort of thing is up for the day and I kind of want to get this out there for you all.
It had been a couple weeks since Faith had woken up from her coma and Xander couldn’t help but think that he was starting to sprout grey hair from the stress. The night he had brought her home so she could use his spare room had also been movie night (As well as Giles’ unofficial weekly night off. Well, unless some crap was going down that was.) and Buffy and Willow had not responded well when they had walked in that evening and there stood Faith with a sandwich in her mouth/wearing one of Xander’s over-sized work shirts, and nothing else.
That had actually been brought up in the initial explosion and his response had been a simple question. Was he the type of guy to just keep women’s clothing just lying around? The fact that they had pause before answering ‘No’ had disappointed him greatly. What did they think he was some kind of man slut or something? Worse did they think he liked to ‘experiment’ as it were? At that thought he had had to stop in the middle of the side walk for a second… After shaking that image, which he couldn’t help laughing at, out of his mind he merely reminded himself that such things looked far better on the fairer sex than it ever would on him.
‘At least I can still make myself chuckle.’ Xander thought as he continued walking back to his apartment from where he had just gotten off of work.
It had taken the better part of an hour to get his two oldest friends to stop lunging at Faith/yelling at him. After that he had the completely honest approach and explained why he was helping her after all she had done and if they didn’t like it then they could leave until they got their heads screwed on straight... He knew they were only trying to look out for the group and him specifically but he had to at least give her the option of as fresh a start as he could give her.
Admittedly when Faith had first come along he had been fascinated/lusted after her (Come on he was a teenager and she was hot as all, well yeah…) but it hadn’t taken him long to start emulating his two best friends into expecting Faith to become a Buffy clone. Something she could never be, as is how can anyone be someone but themselves. This had had the effect of essentially isolating her on top of the stress of have Kakistos chasing her across the country and the terror of having witnessed what had been done to her first Watcher. Granted her going to the ‘Darkside’ as it were wasn’t entirely their fault but they sure hadn’t helped the situation.
While Shenhua and Sawyer had looked pissed for some reason when they had walked in half way through the screaming match, take out from their restaurant in hand, they had quickly calmed down when Xander had been able to explain what had gone down all those months ago. Those two had then proceeded to rush Faith to their apartment, Lotton letting the young woman borrow his trench coat to better cover herself, to see if they had any spare clothes that might fit the Dark Slayer. The three women had all come back an hour later with Faith wearing some of Sawyer’s more ‘subdued’ clothing. Xander couldn’t help thinking Faith made a cute, yeah cute that’s a good way to put it, Goth. Buffy and Willow had decided they wanted time to think about all that had gone on that day and hadn’t stayed for Movie Night.
Thanks to all this he had quickly started looking forward to being ‘busy’ whenever either Buffy or Willow came calling. While they said they accepted the situation and were willing to give Faith a clean slate as it were the tension when any two of them were in the same room together was unbearable. Hence the stress and therefore the possible grey hair he may be sprouting. He could tell they were slowly working through there distrust of Faith and Faith likewise was trying to turn over a new leaf as it were, which was going better than he expected but slower than he had hoped. She still looked like she might bolt every once in a while but it was better than nothing.
As Xander was walking down the sidewalk deep in thought he suddenly had to stop again as he noticed a sleek black car pulling up beside him, the window to the back seat rolling down revealing Balalaika. Seeing as she didn’t ever just stop to just chat and he hadn’t seen her since his initial Southern California debut he knew she had something for him to do.
“Alexander so good to see you again, mind joining me?” the stately woman ‘asked’ motioning the young man to the other side of the car. Walking around the back end of the car he got to the door and (First nodding to Boris who was behind the wheel.) let himself in. As soon as he had sat down and closed the door the car started moving again and he looked to the passenger in the seat next to him. She just handed him a photo which only had a name, an address, and some other pertinent info (Like what the man was guilty of and how he’d gotten away with it so far.) on the back. After making sure he had memorized every detail Xander then proceeded to pull out a lighter, making sure only the tip of the now burning photo remained (and was still burning) than toss it out the window.
“Any specific way you want it done?” Xander asked looking straight ahead.
“Keep it subtle so the police don’t bother with it too much but make sure his allies know it was a hit.” The Mob Boss responded.
“That all Boss Lady?” Xander asked as politely as he could while still looking straight ahead, he was already busy trying to get his head in the game.
“No, I also have another task for you to get to before you head off that little problem.” Balalaika said as she gave him a slight smirk. Oh great more surprises… “I need you at the Sunnydale docks for a delivery of sorts in two days. You know the area far better than the men I’ve stationed here and considering who’s making the delivery having someone there who can compromise a bit better than they can would be a good idea… Don’t worry it’s nothing I know you’ll object to out right.” Balalaika added when she saw the look on Alexander’s face when he heard ‘of sorts’. Hearing that Xander let himself relax a bit because, crime boss or not, Balalaika was nothing if not straight forward, when she could afford to be anyway. At hear the compromise comment from the woman Xander couldn’t help agreeing that while Balalaika’s men were generally honorable in their own way they had little patience for the trivial.
“Alright. So how goes your ‘conquest’ of LA?” Xander asked with as much sarcasm as he dared.
“It goes well Alexander, thank you for asking.” Balalaika replied with a smirk. She didn’t give any details and Xander didn’t expect any. He didn’t really want to know and was only asking to be polite. They both knew this, this sort of thing had become a bit of a tradition between himself and his employers. “I’ll be heading back to Roanapur in a week Alexander. When your task is finished come see me in LA about your payment. With that the car pull over in front of what looked like his apartment complex and he got out. After he had given his goodbyes and gotten around the car he was stopped again by Balalaika’s window rolling back down. “Remember Alexander, don’t forget to at least try and be subtle…”
With that the window rolled back up and the car pulled away from the curb. ‘What was that about?’ Xander thought, ‘When have I been anything but subtle? Ok there was that one time when I was first starting out when the target was getting away and all he had left was an RPG (The guy had somehow known he was coming and had brought everyone he could in to try and keep himself alive.). Then there was that one time with the C4. That and the time with the fuel depot, but he wasn’t that bad was he???’
“Excuse my saying so Captain,” Boris intoned in Russian from the front seat, “but Xander wouldn’t know subtle if it walked up and hit him in the head.”
“Indeed old friend.” The blonde woman replied. She couldn’t help but think about the one time the young man had decided to make an example out of a man who had been selling the body parts of young girls on the black market. She hadn’t know that he had such a talent for impaling, the man hadn’t stayed alive for more than a handful of seconds but it had succeeded in scaring of the vultures that had been circling the operation. The sight of the man with an improvised spear shoved all the way through his body, the tip of it visible from his mouth, had done it’s work of frightening people with such ideas off for some time. The young man’s reputation for being particularly ruthless with certain types of people has skyrocketed after that one and Balalaika had found herself using that reputation to her advantage, further cementing her hold on her territories and even obtaining some new ones.
She knew Chang had also done the same and some of the more minor Bosses in the city had tried but Alexander wasn’t like a good chunk of Roanapur’s freelance community in that there were some people he would just not work with or for based solely on his instincts, which usually turned out to be very good. He had turned down countless offers of work for the handful of months he was in Roanapur and it had often fallen to her to keep those of them who didn’t want to take no for an answer off the young man’s back. She had actually found herself glad to do it though considering all she had been able to gain profit from with the young man around.
“If only we could get him to stay on full time right Captain?” Boris said with a hint of a smile.
“If only Boris, if only…” But that had been enough to get her thinking. She knew if she truly wanted him under her command (and only hers) that it was a matter of winning his loyalty. But how to go about getting it? Alexander was nothing if not a White Knight, even if his armor was a bit tarnished, so the usual approaches wouldn’t work. In fact she knew such things were alienate the young man from her and that would destroy any practical use she may have for him. None the less he had too much potential to just let him sit on the metaphorical shelf collecting dust, only being brushed off every once in a while for whatever jobs that cropped up for him. But she couldn’t stay away from Roanapur for too much longer and she knew it. So what to do?
Two days later found Xander, Shenhua, and Lotton at the docks awaiting the arrival of Balalaika’s delivery crew. When they had found out Xander had work late last night during patrol his two companions had volunteered after hearing that he was going relatively alone. Sawyer said she would have come but she had plans with Faith that day. Oddly enough the two women had become buddies over the last couple of weeks and Xander thought it was a good thing for those two having an everyday sort of friend. He knew it would be good for the two of them so he just kept his nose, and certain other noses *cough* Buffy! *cough*, out of it.
The three of them had been there for about an hour with some of the men from Hotel Moscow when they saw a small craft become visible over the horizon. As it came closer Xander began to think on how familiar it looked. About a mile out it was finally close enough to get a good look and everything fell into place. It was the ‘Goon… And the ‘Goon meant Revy… Oh no, this wasn’t going to end well, not at all.
‘Well,’ Xander thought, ‘when this is over I’ve gotta go get some hair dye to cover up the grey I just KNOW is there now… Damn it.’
AN: So there you have it. Whatcha think? Like/Dislike it? Let me know! And as always Constructive Criticism is welcomed and encouraged along with any suggestions anyone may have concerning the story itself. I may not use said suggestions but you never know, besides I like hearing them anyway ^^!