A Chance Meeting
Disclaimer: I do not own either set of non-original characters and I do not make any money off of this endeavor.
Time period: After Season seven of Buffy. And Alias, season 3.
Weiss glanced up from the report, to where Sydney was frowning at the computer screen, and said “This thing reads like casualty statistics from a war zone.”
“Yeah,” she murmured, distractedly, as her eyes skimmed the articles she was paging through on the screen.
Weiss continued to page through the collection of papers Sydney had been hoarding on her desk. “Jesus,” he said. “Half this guy's high school class is either dead, missing, insane, or-” He paused and his eyebrows shot up. “Recombinant gene therapy? Fish DNA? What the hell is that about?”
“Don't know,” Sydney said, still distracted. “Intend to find out.”
Weiss looked at her for a moment then looked back to the papers and after a moments pause said, “Why do we even have these records? Shouldn't they have been in the High School when the town got deep-sixed?”
Sydney finally looked away from the screen and at him and said, “Blown up.”
“The original High School was blown up. The one that sunk with the town was rebuilt.”
“Blown up.” Wiess stated, then asked, “What happened?”
“I'm not sure. The official story says there was a gas leak .”
“From your tone, I'm thinking your not buying it?”
“No,” she said. “Too many discrepancies. The photos of the area show that the explosion pattern was not what would have occurred with a gas leak. Somebody set off a bomb.”
“Somebody blow up the High School? Jeez, talk about every student's dream.” He shook his head. “But why?”
She briefly glanced back at the screen and said, “Here is where it starts getting weird. Various news agencies have eyewitnesses report seeing a giant snake.
Weiss eyebrows hitched a little. “Snake. Like a python or Boa?”
“No, like a hundred plus foot snake chowing down on the attendees of the graduation.”
He stared at her in silence.
She shrugged. “I know how it sounds.”
“Mass hallucination?” He suggested.
She gave a little negative shake of her head. “ If that's the case then the entire town has a history of mass hallucination. And, frankly, after so many uses, with no explanation or further investigation, it is stretched way beyond its credibility.”
She reached into the sheaf of papers he was holding and pulled one out. “The official report was lacking the snake or any of the other oddities. In fact any official report that came from the town of Sunnydale was completely lacking in any mention of odd or suspicious happenings. It looks like someone in the town government was sanitizing the reports.”
“Someone was covering something up?”
“That's what it looks like,” she said. “The government apparently investigated at some point. Which, in reference to you original question,” she gestured to the papers he was holding. “Is where those come from.”
“The government was keeping files on a high school in southern California.”
It wasn't really a question, but Sydney said, anyway, “Yes, and certain of its students.”
He looked at her sharply, catching her meaning. “Xander.”
“Yeah. I've tried to get access to them, but I don't have clearance. Dad was barely able to shake anything loose.”
He hesitated for a moment and asked, “Good or bad?”
Not everyone on her past had been who they appeared to be, and she appreciated his attempt at delicacy. She hastened to reassure him, “Good, at least as far as Dad could tell.”
Weiss wasn't about to question Jack Bristow's analysis.
“So,” he said. “To sum up: we think that something was going on in Sunnydale. We have no idea what, but the government was aware of it ,investigated, and then buried it so deep even your dad couldn't dig it up.”
She nodded. “That says it.” Glancing at the screen again she said, “Xander gave me a rather oblique warning about something, and I haven't quite figured it out, yet.”
She frowned, staring at the screen, and muttered, “But I might be starting to.”
She glanced back at him and shook her head. “I'll tell you when I know I'm not crazy.”
“Syd,” he said in a dry tone. “You've always been crazy. But we love you anyway. Whatever it is won't make a difference.”
“I don-” Her watch bleeped at her.
He head jerked around to look at the clock. “Damn. I'm going to be late.” She stood, saying, “I've got to pick up Xander at the Hospital and take him to the airport.”
Thirty-two minutes later Sydney pulled into the hospital parking lot. On time, she noted, as she glanced at her watch. Why the couldn't the stoplights be that cooperative when she was chasing, or running from, someone?
Making her way to Xander's floor she gave a small nod to the plainclothes police officer on duty. When the news agencies had latched onto Xander as the one who had stopped the “terrorist act” law enforcement had thought it best to have someone keeping a eye on Xander. Just in case.
Sydney stopped at the nurses station and, giving a smile to the familiar face of the nurse, said, “I'm here to pick up Alexander.”
“I think he's just getting ready Miss. We were a little surprised to have him leave so quickly. He could use a couple more days of bed rest.”
Sydney gave a little shrug and said, “Trying to avoid the news hounds. The date of his release was leaked to the press as a few days from now.”
“Ah,” the nurse made an understanding sound. “Keeping him away from the vultures.” The woman paused, gazing at Sydney in a speculative manner. “He is such a nice young man, we've been a little surprised that you're the only real visitor he's had. Are you his girlfriend?”
“No. Just a friend. He hasn't had other visitors because he doesn't live around here.”
The nurse hesitated for a moment, seeming to internally debate something. “Have you known him long?”
The nurses hesitancy was setting off warnings in Sydney's head. She answered, “Not a long time. But I think I've been getting to know him pretty well. Is there something wrong?”
“I don't know for certain. Just keep an eye on him.” At Sydney's questioning look the nurse elaborated. “Apart from all the recent injuries, there is evidence of a great many older injuries. A lot of them. Far more then anyone his age should accumulate. Some were relatively recent, others seemed to date to his childhood.”
A flash of anger made Sydney's lips tighten. The news wasn't unexpected, but it was unpleasant to hear it confirmed. She calmed herself and said, “I'd guessed as much, and I'm looking into it. Thanks for being concerned.”
The nurse gave a sad smile and said, “What else am I suppose to be?”
Some noises from the direction of Xander's room drew their attention.
“Well,” the nurse said. “Sounds like he's almost ready. Make sure to give him our best, dear.” she made a gesture obviously meant to include the nursing staff. “We've grown rather fond of him.”
Sydney caught sight of Xander stepping out of his room and as his face lit up in a smile, she answered with one of her own. He moved, a little stiffly, down the hall toward them.
He turned to the nurse and said, “Ah, fair lady. My chauffeur is here. I must take my leave.”
Sydney allowed one eyebrow to rise at the word “chauffeur”. She watched as the nurse gave him a hug.
“Take care of yourself, Xander.”
“Always do, it's the rest of the world that doesn't.”
Sydney noticed the orderly, pushing a wheel chair moments before Xander did.
“A wheel chair, cool!”
He settled into it and, taking hold of the wheels for a moment rocked it back and forth. Looking up at Sydney he said, “Think you can get hold of a second one? I'll race ya!”
Sydney laughed, even as the nurse said, “No you won't. You'll undo all the healing that you manged to accomplish and put yourself right back into that bed.”
Xander sighed in apparent remorse. Though whether for worrying the nurse or loosing the chance at a race, Sydney couldn't tell.
“Time to go,” Sydney said. “You've got a plane to catch.”
“Right. Bye, guys.” He waved to the staff as Sydney took hold of the handles on the chair. “Thanks for everything.”
A chorus of goodbyes followed them as the made for the elevator.
“Sydney,” Xander's voice was low. “That guy is following us.”
She glanced at the other man and said, “That's you police guard, Xander. One of them has been on duty round the clock since you got here.”
“A Cop? I had a cop?”
She leaned down and said into his ear, putting a little menace into her voice and not allowing him to see her smile. “Yes, and, apparently, a chauffeur, too.”
His hands tightened on the chair as she suddenly sped up.
“Uh, Sydney? That was a joke. You know that. Right?”