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Joining The Workforce

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Sunnydale Sinanju". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Xander's gotten a job offer – the kind you really can't refuse.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered > Theme: Road TripGreywizardFR1812,8190257,55613 Jul 1113 Jul 11No
Disclaimer: The Buffy characters all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME. Remo, Chiun, Smith and CURE and anything else belonging to the ‘Destroyer’ mythos all belong to Warren Murphy, Richard Sapir and Harlequin Books, I believe. Aaron Kurtzman and anything involving the Stony Man Operations team belong to American Gold Eagle Publishers, the last I knew. In any case, the only thing I’m really sure of is that none of them are mine. Yeah, I know it sucks, but it's true.

Category: Action/adventure. Other than that, you’ll have to wait and see. Mostly various friendships.

Time Frame: This is a story #2 in the 'Sunnydale Sinanju' series, and follows story #1, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation," which follows canon up to the end of Season Three, episode 22, ‘Graduation, Part 2.’ After that it’s my very own AU, where things have proceeded quite a bit differently from the way they did in the Joss-verse after Graduation. Any and all major differences will be explained in the course of the story.

Spoilers: None

Character Bashing: Is Joss a character? 'Cause if he is, I'd like to bash him with Mjolnir. (Assuming, of course, that Thor would let me borrow it.)

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: If you want to archive this, just let me know where, please.

Author’s Notes 1: In case you’re wondering, in this AU Anya hasn’t shown up yet, and she’s not going to do so. She was last heard from working on the U.N. Oil for Food program. Hey, it *is* Anya we’re talking about.

Author’s Note 2: As usual, "word" indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication, { word } indicates a character's thoughts, and // word // indicates translations to English from other languages.

Author's Note 3: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.


Previously, in "What I Did On My Summer Vacation":

Moving off to the side of the gym away from the street, so as to avoid any chance of their meeting being witnessed by passers-by, Xander patiently waited for Remo and Chiun to join him.

Turning to face the elderly, but still manifestly deadly, Korean, Xander bowed politely as he addressed him.

"Greetings, Little Grandfather. To what do I owe the honor of this meeting?"

Turning to face Remo, he repeated the bow.

"And greetings to you, too, Not So Little Father," he smirked at the man’s barely visible reaction to his salutation. "Come to see what I’ve been doing with my legacy?"

"Actually, kid," Remo replied, hesitating a barely perceptible fraction of a second, "we stopped by to see if you’re interested in a job."


And now, 'Joining the Workforce' begins:

"Sorry, but I've already got one," Xander reflexively shook his head in a negative response to Remo's offer.

Accepting any offer made without knowing all the details and exactly who it was you were dealing with was pretty much a sure-fire way to get into serious trouble around here, and while he might not be anywhere near as smart as Willow, he most certainly wasn't any sort of idiot, regardless of what the parental units might say – when they were sober enough to be coherent, that is.

"I think you might be interested in this one," Remo told Xander with a hint of grin. "Seriously.

"What would you think about getting paid to do exactly the same thing that you've been doing the past three years for nothing?"

"I'd think that someone is yanking my chain," Xander instantly replied, trying to keep an eye on both of his visitors without being too obvious about it.

{ Not that I could really do much about it, even if I did notice them starting to do something, } the young man mentally snorted to himself. { That would be like a junior high welterweight trying to stop Muhammad Ali from hitting him any time he wanted. }

{ But, at least the junior high kid might have a chance of actually hitting Ali, once, before becoming a jellied puddle on the mat. }

"Although, since you went to the effort to come all the way out here to visit, I suppose I should at least listen to what you have to say. It'd only be polite," Xander allowed.

"So, what exactly does this paying job involve?"

"Well, in addition to doing exactly what you've been doing the past three years, we'd like to know where you got your training."

"Oh, that's easy," Xander grinned.

"I got it from you."


Giles' apartment
Later that same evening

"So, Xand, what's the big news you've got that you couldn’t tell us about last night and that you had to get us all together again, to tell us?"

Willow's smiling, breathless question served to immediately focus everyone's attention on him and Xander surreptitiously took a deep breath to steady himself before attempting to answer. The brunet turned to the British man in the room and hit him with his most serious gaze.

"Well, first off, Giles, I appreciate your agreeing to let us get together here, instead of the Bronze or some other place," he smiled at their mentor.

"Especially since I'd really like to make sure that only the people involved hear what I'm about to tell you," Xander added, his current nervousness about this meeting making him somewhat inclined to babble – something he definitely couldn’t afford to do.

"What's the problem, Xand? Are you gonna tell us you’re actually some kind of secret government agent or something?" Buffy joked.

The smile on her face that had originated with the Slayer's good-natured gibe dimmed slightly when she saw the look of surprise on her friend's face at her words.

"Uh, well, actually, that's… sort of part of what I need to talk to you guys about," Xander admitted a moment later.

"You see, while I was on my road trip this past summer, I, uh, kinda got involved with some undercover government operation that was going on," he began explaining, "and I ended up getting some training that I think will come in real handy, considering all the stuff that usually goes on around, here."

"Xander, exactly what kind of training are you talking about, Xander?" Giles asked, his forehead wrinkling in thought as he considered the youth's statement.

"Yeah...about'd probably be easier to show you guys some of what I can do, rather than try to explain everything from scratch," Xander replied, as he began shifting the couch off to one side of the room.

Ordinarily, that would have called for a lot more questions from Buffy and Willow. But the way he spoke and the intent look on Xander's face seemed to reinforce just how serious he was, and both the girls and Giles helped him clear a space in the center of the room for whatever he intended to show them.

"Okay, Buff, try to hit me," the founding Scooby instructed as he pulled the Slayer towards the center of the room and then took up a position in front of her.

“Xander, if I do that I’ll break your face in half!” Buffy said defensively.

Waving off her reflexive protest, he added, "You don't have to hit me very hard, but you do have to really try to hit me, okay?"

With a sigh and a reluctant nod of her head, the diminutive blonde threw a short, quick jab at him, which Xander avoided by barely moving his head to the side, and he couldn’t help but notice the frown that crossed Buffy's face when he shook his head at her miss and said, "No, Buffy, seriously. I meant *really* try to hit me."

The next punch Buffy threw at her erstwhile opponent was much faster – at nearly at full Slayer speed and clearly much faster than any normal person could feasibly expect to avoid – and the Chosen One, along with Giles and Willow, was taken completely by surprise when Xander not only managed to dodge her attack by simply turning his body slightly to the side, but also looked to lightly grab her arm between his thumb and index finger and send her flying in an equally eye-blurring martial arts throw of some kind that defied accurate description.

Buffy had barely hit the carpet before she had rolled back up to her feet, and she had turned and was staring at Xander in absolute astonishment over his accomplishment.

"How the *hell* did you do that?" Buffy demanded, stunned at the apparently effortless way Xander had managed to throw her, and, however much she tried to suppress it, her ego bristling at being so easily bested by the ‘normal guy’ of the group.

"Um...that's just part of what I learned how to do over the summer, Buff," Xander nervously grinned at her as he sidestepped actually answering her question. "I can't really say anything about how or where I learned it, or who I learned it from, so please don’t ask - but I can tell you that I've been given permission to show you some of what I learned. The rest is classified so deep that anyone learning about the program would have to shoot themselves before *and* after reading the files –”

“Oh, come on, Xander! That’s ridiculous,” Buffy exclaimed immediately, it all sounded like comic book cloak-and-dagger nonsense to her.

Xander stared at her sadly as he said, “No it’s not. And any of you guys talking about it could get us *all* into *deep* trouble! Seriously, Buff, not all law enforcement departments are like the Sunnydale PD – there are people in Washington DC who are damn good at what they do, and we’re all legal adults now, remember? And maybe a normal prison couldn’t hold a Slayer-type person like the rest of us, but how’d you like to live as a fugitive? Always on the run, always looking over your shoulder, never being able to get a moment’s rest...”

“Alright, already,” Buffy rolled her eyes, clearly not convinced of the threat potential but not wanting to hear this anymore either. “Consider the warning duly noted.”

"So what, uh, what exactly can you tell us about what you learned, Xander?" Willow managed to ask, after taking a moment to fully accept the hitherto unbelievable capabilities she'd just seen her childhood friend demonstrate.

She definitely wanted to hear everything he could tell them about this newly-revealed training he'd received while he was on his cross-country trip, because the demonstration they'd just witnessed certainly seemed like something out of a movie or a TV show.

Willow definitely wanted to know who had provided the training to him, where he'd been trained, how long had the training taken – she wanted to hear about all of that, and more; anything he could tell them about it, in fact, was what she wanted to know, because she wanted to make sure that it wasn't anything that could cause her bestest friend from childhood any sort of problems.

After all, once she'd heard everything Xander could tell them, Willow knew she'd have a much better idea of what databases she'd need to hack in order to get the full story on whatever agency it was that he had been involved in, she decided as she looked at the dark-haired youth about whom she thought she'd known everything there was to know.

Almost as though he knew what she'd been thinking, Xander looked over at her and gave her a sad and somewhat solemn shake of his head. “Willow...did I, or did I not, just now say that I couldn’t tell you anything more than what I already have, so please don’t ask?”

Willow blinked, not expecting that sort of response. It honestly hadn’t penetrated her mind that Xander might actually refuse to answer her request. “Well, yeah, but I thought –"

“You thought what? That all you had to do was ask nicely, and all the rules would magically just go flying out the window?” Xander challenged her.

“No! I, I just thought...” Willow floundered, feeling like she was being unnecessarily attacked. “I mean, c'mon, Xander, you have to admit – you had to know that I’d be curious about this! You had to know –”

"Will, there’s something *you* need to know. Before you go home and start hacking into government databases to try to figure out which group it is I'm talking about, you should know that I received an email message to be passed on to you. Ornery Grizzly said for me to say that Red Tree should stay out of his forest, or she'll find out what happens to bad bear cubs when they’re disobedient and bother the bees’ nest," Xander repeated the warning he'd been told to offer the redhead by Aaron Kurtzman, the computer guru who was apparently overseeing CURE's information retrieval systems as well as those of the Stony Man anti-terrorist operation, going by what Remo had told him earlier that afternoon. Apparently, Aaron was a fan of Willow's work, so to speak.

"I’m also supposed to tell you that Yogi and Boo-Boo can be taught the best way to find the honey they want, as long as they don’t stray outside Jellystone Park," Xander then relayed the postscript to the email message, carefully watching the redhead's face for her reaction.

"What?!" Willow half-whispered as she blanched, wide-eyed, the shock which the warning had conveyed clearly etched on her face. "Where – how did you – my private user name – Xander, what the *hell*-?"

"That's the message I was told to give you, Will. I don’t know what it means, even though I suspect you do, and I’m pretty sure I don’t *want* to know," Xander shrugged as he watched the color slowly begin returning to her face. “So, don’t do anything illegal, alright?

"And is there anything you wanna tell us about what the message might mean?" he asked casually, as Buffy and Giles both looked over at the redhead with expressions of concern.

"No! Uh, no, not really," Willow said feebly, waving her hand and shaking her head unconvincingly. “I, um, I have no idea who, who Ornery Grizzly is, or, or what the Jellystone Park thing means, or anything. Really. But you can relax, I promise not to do anything stupid in cyberspace. Cross my heart and hope to be covered in frogs!! Everything’s gonna be fine.

"Everything's gonna be fine," Willow repeated herself, before looking back at him and asking, "Uh, was there anything else you wanted to tell us, Xand? 'Cause I'm feeling a little tired, a-a-and I think I’d like to go and lie down for a while."

"Uh, yeah, actually, Will, there is," Xander nodded, an uneasy look momentarily fleeing across his face before being replaced by one of determination.

"Uhm, you know how you called me this morning, Buff, and said that Faith had woken up and left the hospital, and you were worried about her maybe stalking us?" Xander said, as he turned to look at the now faintly frowning blonde.

“Yeah?” Buffy replied.

"Well, you don't have to worry about running all around Sunnydale trying to track her down, 'cause I can tell you exactly where she's staying," Xander summarily informed the group, watching carefully for their reactions.

“How did you know where-? No, never mind. I don’t think I want to know,” Willow then muttered to herself, too low except for Slayer hearing to make out. That thing with Ornery Grizzly had obviously shaken her up a lot.

"That's great, Xand," Buffy nodded approvingly, even as a grim and determined expression slid across her face as she considered the news she'd just heard.

Like Willow, Buffy was kinda worried about this latest intelligence – her Xander-shaped friend was now able to do things and knew things that the ‘normal guy’ of the group should not be able to do and know, according to her world-view. After dealing with Faith, she’d have to get him to open up to her, and to hell with all that cloak-and-dagger crap – but right now, the priority had to be the evil skank Slayer holed up somewhere in town.

"So, where's she staying? With one of the Mayor's old flunkies?" Buffy demanded, before she suddenly had an idea.

"Giles, you know how you wanted to mend fences with the Council in case of apocalypse? Well, call them up and let them know we've found her, so that they can come and pick her up as soon as possible," Buffy began barking out orders as she began planning how best to capture the renegade Slayer.

“Whoa, Buffy, hang on – you’re kinda counting your chickens before they’re hatched, aren’t you? I mean, we haven’t gotten Faith all locked up in chains yet! Maybe we should call Angel or something, to help you put her down for the count...?” Willow offered hesitantly.

"Willow, I don't think I'll need any help catching her, since Faith's probably still pretty weak from the coma. But good point about the chains – you should magically reinforce some rope or chains or handcuffs or whatever we end up using to hold her, so she can't get away again," Buffy nodded. “That just leaves us with where to keep her on ice – I’m thinking maybe my mom’s basement...”

"Guys!" Xander interrupted, making the other three Scoobies look over at him with surprise. "Enough already, you don't need to do any of that. No chains, no basement, and no Watchers Council."

"Why not, Xander?" Buffy immediately demanded, a suspicious frown marring her lovely features as she glared at him for interrupting her planning.

"Because Faith's staying with me, at my place, and no one is gonna be turning her over to those drug-dealing bastards from England."

The neighbors all turned up the volume on the TV in annoyance, as the sound of yelling and screaming suddenly erupted from the interior of Apartment 5B.


The End?

You have reached the end of "Joining The Workforce" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 13 Jul 11.

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