Author's Note: This is something that's been sitting on my computer for over a year now. It's not much (it's actually the shortest segment of this series), I know, and I kind of gave up on it, but I've decided to post it now to tide you all over until I can get the next chapter of 'Surge' out.
At this point in time, my twenty-five year old form was trying to do something I never thought I would. I was trying to drink myself to death. Y’see, I had just been told that I would be dead before the year was out.
Now, ordinarily, if you’d told me that I’d be dead within the year, I would laugh cheerfully in your face and then proceed to pull a Slayer or two out of my ass to stake your ass and subsequently live on happily. This time, however, there was only alcohol. This time it wasn’t fate, or a threat delivered by a demon with bad breathe. This was cancer.
Slamming another shot of straight vodka, I noticed a new presence in the dark, dingy bar that I had chosen to surrender to the demons of alcoholism. One that I was familiar with.
“What do you want, Riley?” I asked bluntly.
“I’ve got a proposition for you, Xander,” the soldier returned, taking an uninvited seat at my table. “An offer you can’t say no to.”
“Well, time is short, buddy,” I said with false cheer, “So make it quick and don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”
“The U.S. government is putting a team together,” Riley told me seriously, “Made up of ‘enhanced’ individuals. Half-breeds, non-hostiles... rumor is they’ve even got a Slayer on the payroll.”
“And why would I care what your superiors are up to?” I asked bluntly, “As I am none of the things you claim they’re gathering.”
“Before Dr. Walsh’s death, back in Sunnydale, she was working on something, something besides A.D.A.M.,” Riley began to explain, much too slowly for my tastes. “It was what she was being paid to work on, actually, examining the H.S.T.’s for any benefit potential in humans. Well, she found one.”
“She got a couple of demonic breeds together, managed to isolate the genes that make them so god damned hard to kill, what makes them heal so quickly after injuries that would kill a man,” he continued. “When she died, the project went under, but it resurfaced recently, and the eggheads are nearly ready for human trials. I’ve recommended you as the first human test subject.”
I looked at him blankly, “You’re gonna need to explain that again, without the Walsh stuff, and just get straight to the point.”
“We’ve made a serum that might be able to give you the ability to heal from any injury or sickness, potentially including both your cancer and your eye.”
I was silent for a minute, a rare thing indeed, as I contemplated the situation.
“I can’t promise you a cure,” Riley told him honestly, “I can’t promise that this thing will even work like it’s supposed to. As a matter of fact, just about the only thing I can promise you is that the procedure will hurt more than anything you could possibly imagine.”
“But?” I asked, curious despite myself.
“But I can also promise you a chance, and, if it works, I can promise that you’ll be damn near unstoppable.”
Taking the time to take one more vodka shot for courage, I gave an answer.
Looking back, many years later, I would lament over the fact that the fanfic author who wrote my origin story, with barely even a hint as to the levels of kickassery and badassery that I was soon to achieve, had been so lazy as to leave it at that. Then I got bored and went out for chimichangas.
I like chimichangas.