Author’s Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.
"Hey, Mike! You didn't tell us you brought in a couple of new whores!"
"XANDER! Why did you hit that idiot before I could?!" Buffy Summers could not help yelling at her one-eyed friend.
"'Cause I figured that Sam's brother would probably get upset if you broke one of his toy soldiers into itty-bitty, little pieces, Buff," was the calm response Sam heard Xander offer by way of explanation as she followed her brother, Mike Harmon (a.k.a. Mike Jenkins a.k.a. Ghost a.k.a. Ass-Boy) into the enormous rec room next door at a near dead run.
Peering over Mike's shoulder as he paused in the doorway to evaluate the situation, the Widow Finn saw the one-eyed former carpenter calmly looking down at the furious, blazing-eyed, blonde Summers sister.
Both of Xander's hands were lightly clasped on Buffy's shoulders, appearing to those unfamiliar with the petite blonde Slayer as though he was preventing her from going after the burly, bald-headed former SEAL, who was currently lying on the plush carpeted floor a dozen feet behind them, groaning and holding his jaw while the rest of Mike's command staff stood around, looking puzzled while watching quietly and waiting to see what developed next.
Entertainment was where you found it, after all.
"Oh shit," Sam murmured to herself with a sigh as she shook her head in resignation while trying to figure just how much of the proverbial excrement was going to hit the rotating impeller blades in the next few seconds.
Some things were plainly inevitable, and she knew better than to even try and derail the freight train of mortification and discomfort that was bearing down on Adams right now.
Grabbing her brother's shoulder before he could enter the rec room, she shook her head as he glanced back at her questioningly and advised, "Just let Xander handle things in there for the moment, okay, Mike?
"Take my word for it. It'll work out better for everyone in the long run, if you just let Buffy and Xander handle this *their* way for now," she promised. "Well, more Xander's than Buffy, really."
Seeing the confidence Sam clearly had in her friends evident in her eyes, Mike smiled at his sister, shrugged offhandedly and said, "Okay, if you say so. We’ll do things your way, baby sis – for now."
"Well, fuck me sideways – who the hell just hit me?" the massive former Master Chief demanded angrily as he pushed himself to his feet with one hand as the other rubbed the rapidly purpling bruise on the left side of his jaw.
"I did, old man," Adams heard a dark-haired guy, who was a little bit smaller than him and who was wearing a worn black leather eyepatch covering his left eye – and whom he'd assumed was the two new girls' pimp, when he'd first seen him – nonchalantly answer as he carefully pushed the hot-looking blonde whore the Chief had noticed when he first walked in the rec room into the arms of the equally hot-looking brunette whore standing next to her.
"Because none of my girls are whores, and just because you can't recognize ladies when you see them doesn't excuse you from acting like some ignorant asshole in front of them. I don't care who you are, buddy, but I don't let anyone talk about *any* of my girls like that," the guy then went on, as he looked at Adams with a mixture of disdain and disinterest, "let alone some broken-down, fat-ass squid lifer who obviously spent his career making the NUG look over-qualified."
"You loudmouthed motherfucker!" Adams snarled furiously at the various insults he'd just heard, while ignoring the brunette whore's cavalier, "Try not to hurt him *too* much, okay, Xand?", as she pulled the furious-looking blonde back next to her. The former Master Chief simply charged the mouthy sonofabitch who'd just insulted him, after first sucker-punching him, with every intention of seeing to it that the guy’s teeth went flying out the back off his neck.
Which was clearly what the one-eyed bastard had been hoping he'd do, as the guy shifted slightly to duck the right cross Adams had thrown at his face – and did so a lot faster than anyone watching could reasonably have expected him to be able to do, Adams could not help noticing – before he slipped aside from the follow-up left hook just as easily, as though to show he could, before then simply standing still and letting the Chief hit him with another right to the jaw that he seemed to simply shrug off as utterly inconsequential.
"Huh," the arrogant cyclopean son-of-a-bitch said, as he gave his head a little shake while casually ducking yet two more of the Chief's follow-up punches, "I thought that even an old guy like you'd be able to hit harder than that."
Smirking at the now-enraged ex-SEAL as he began to throw a haymaker at him, the visitor launched his own attack and caught Adams with a short jab dead center to his solar plexus that set him up for the equally short follow-up strike that tagged him on the chin and dropped him to the floor again – this time, clearly out for the count.
"Are all of your brother's friends this charming, Sam?" Eyepatch Guy then asked with a wry grin as he turned to look towards the kitchen doorway, where Sam and Mike were both standing and where they had obviously been watching the entire incident – all thirty seconds of it – with Sam looking at him with amusement while her brother, the Kildar, i.e., the Lord of pretty much everything around here, was clearly giving him a second, more meticulous, evaluation.
"Adams has his own inimitable charm, Xand," Sam informed him with her own grin as she slipped past Mike to rejoin the three former Sunnydalers.
"Sorry about that, Buffy, Dawn," the Widow Finn apologized to the two sisters as she crossed the room to join them. "The Master Chief is the kind of guy who usually does his thinking with his little head. If he does any at all."
"Well, if that idiot ever talks to either of us like that again, then he's not going to have *any* head left to think with, afterwards," Buffy declared with a glare and a level of conviction in her voice that left everyone listening without any doubt as to both the intent of her words, or the certainty of her following them up.
"Oh, and just so everyone here knows, and so that you can tell your buddy here after he wakes up," Xander announced as he glanced around at the variously now-grinning and/or attentively watching group of ex-military and home-grown guerrilla personnel present, "the Buffster, here, can kick *my* ass without even trying!" he said with a smirk, indicating the petite blonde who was currently giving the entire male contingent of the room a narrow-eyed glare that had more than one guy feel a nervous shiver run down their spine.
"I only stepped in to take care of Commander Diplomacy, down there, because I didn't want Buffy putting anyone in a body cast on our first day here," he added with yet another smirk.
The petite blonde's clearly heard irate grumble, in response to Eyepatch Guy's comment, "You and Dawn never let me have any fun, Xander," made more than a few people present give the young woman a second, more careful evaluation, while Samantha's cheerful, "I'm sure we can find some big, bad soldiers for you to beat up, tomorrow, if you really want, Buffy," made those who hadn't done so already, look over at the blonde with a curious, and much more measuring – and respectful –expression.
"All right, then," the dark-haired man whom Sam had earlier introduced as her brother then announced in the subsequent silence, "if everyone is done with the pissing contest, now, would you mind introducing us to your friends, Sam?"