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The Recruiter

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Summary: When the Council of Watchers puts out a hit on a Scooby, a certain organisation takes interest in the lad in question, for better or worse. First in To Sow Discord and Kill the Unwary.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Princess Bride, TheBarefootXOFR1311,2315273,11628 Apr 1128 Apr 11Yes
I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Princess Bride. They belong to Joss Whedon and William Goldman (I think) respectively...

~~

The Recruiter

Pleasant Meadows Cemetery
June 28th, 1998


Xander Harris was on a solo patrol. Buffy had been missing for a week, Willow and Giles were still in the hospital and Oz and Cordy had other plans. And so Xander patrolled alone.

“You fascinate me, Alexander.”

Xander spun about, his stake held in one hand as the other grasped for the knife at his belt. He found himself confronted by a man swathed in black. “Who are you?”

The man in black offered a smile, just barely visible beneath his mask. “The Watchers’ Council wants you dead.” The man then displayed his right hand; a frighteningly familiar ring was adorning it.

Xander worked very hard to curb his flight instincts. If the assassin had wanted to kill him right away then he wouldn’t have bothered to announce himself that way. Xander had some time to possibly plan an out, but he had to avoid panic. Panic would merely get him killed faster. “Why?”

The assassin’s brow came up faintly. “I am of the Order of Taraka. I tell you someone wishes you dead and all you ask is why.”

Xander didn’t allow any nervousness to show on his face. He’d known he was living on borrowed time as it was. “You haven’t killed me yet. I figure you want to talk first. I’m inclined to humour you if that extends my life some…”

The man in black offered him a faint smile. “Anything else?”

Another thought came to Xander. “Yes, actually. You claimed that the Watchers’ Council wants me dead. That doesn’t mean that they’ve actually done anything about it. And even if they have, that doesn’t mean they’ve contracted the Order.”

A nod of respect was Xander’s only reward. “I am called Roberts, Xander, and I have been asked to approach you by the Order. We would like to grant you asylum, after a fashion.”

Xander’s frowned deeply in response. “Asylum from what? Why does the Watchers’ Council want me dead?”

Roberts allowed the topic shift. “They want you to cease your interference with the slayer bloodline. Apparently your reviving Miss Summers was a source of great irritation. Many are further convinced that if you had let the Judge be then Miss Summers would have been soundly slaughtered and the line would be back to normal.”

Xander snorted at the absurdity of that idea. “And most of Sunnydale would have been slaughtered, along with any number of others.”

Roberts shrugged as if if it were no consequence. “Yes, well I’ve never claimed that the Council of Watchers was a particularly rational bunch. If anything they are pack of idiots, but that doesn’t stop them from wanting you dead, you know?”

Xander shook his head in exasperation. “All too well. My dad constantly harangues me for being useless and then works his hardest to stifle anything remotely useful I do…” Xander stopped talking abruptly as he realised he was sharing personal anecdotes with an assassin. He decided to shift tracks again. “You claimed the Order wanted to offer me asylum, after a fashion. What did you mean?”

Roberts smirked cockily. “I mean that we are willing to fake your death and take you in to train you as one of our own.”

Xander’s jaw clenched in repressed anger. “I don’t side with evil.”

The man in black snorted at the absurd statement. “I am well aware of that, Alexander. What you need to consider is that the Order of Taraka is not actually evil. On the contrary, we are quite neutral. We sell our services to the highest bidder.”

Xander’s eyes narrowed into a glare. “I don’t work for evil, either.”

Roberts sighed. “It may have escaped your notice, young man, but no assassin has to take every contract that comes his way. The Order is quite willing to allow each assassin to take only those contracts that their respective consciences can live with.”

Xander thought about it for a long moment. “What about my friends?”

The assassin waved Xander off. “What about them? You don’t have to accept contracts against them, do you. Think about the alternative. If you aren’t believed dead, then the Council may kill others to get to you, or even simply by accident whilst trying to get you. I understand Patrice nearly shot young Miss Rosenberg whilst attempting to kill Miss Summers. That was a complete accident, I assure you. Miss Summers was the target. Still, accidents do happen.”

A cold well opened in Xander’s belly at the thought of Willow being killed because of him. “All right. I’m in, I suppose. But why me? I can’t imagine that the Order extends this offer to just anybody.”

Roberts laughed heartily at that. “Good heavens no. We were most impressed with your dispatching of Norman. Quite unusual for someone with no special training, magic or enhancements. And Norman was the best of the three apprentices sent.”

“Apprentices?”

“Certainly. You didn’t honestly believe that a master assassin would be stupid enough to try to wrestle a slayer, did you? For heaven’s sake, I don’t know what Octarus was thinking. If he had actually succeeded I would have sent him for retraining. Success is no excuse for such damned foolish conduct.”

“Err… Yeah, I suppose.”

Roberts smiled. “Fear not, lad. You’ve got a fair bit of training to accomplish before I’d send you against a live target, and I’d bet you’ll do better than those three did. I certainly hope so, anyway. I’d like to think my successor will be a cut above the competition.”

“Your successor?”

“Yes. I’m getting on in years, lad. I’ve been Roberts for a long time. We Robertses harken back through a long line of assassins, and before that we were pirates. The name Roberts has been handed down for centuries now. Roberts to Cummerbund, Cummerbund to Ryan, Ryan to Westley, Westley to Inigo and so on and so on…”

Xander was utterly confused. “Why?”

Roberts shrugged. “It’s the name Roberts that makes us such feared assassins, just as it once made us feared pirates. Combine that with the mystique and you’ve got half your battle won.”

Xander set that aside. “Why me and no one else?”

“I already told you why the Order…”

“Not the Order. You. You chose me to succeed you. Why?”

Roberts smiled broadly. “Because, in so many ways, you are me. I see within you the potential to become so much more then a sidekick who has occasional moments of glory. All you need to do is reach out and take it.”

Xander nodded, a faint feeling of pride entering him. “Who do I have the honour of addressing?”

Roberts smirked in response. “If you have what it takes to be Roberts, then maybe I’ll tell you my real name. Until then I am Roberts”

Xander smiled faintly, having half expected that response. “Well then. When will I be dying?”

Roberts tilted his head to a body that Xander had not noticed, which lay in the middle of the cemetery. It looked like him. “Xander’s already dead. Come along. You seem a decent fellow. I’d hate to have to kill you again.”

The former Scooby sighed. “Not half as much as I’d hate to die again, I imagine.”

The End

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