Time Meant Nothing
Author’s note: A lovely shout-out to MsSunshine who’s story ‘The Captain’s Loose in Sunnydale’ inspired this story. I still don’t have a beta for my buffy stuff. Also, two-pages not double-spaced seems to be my norm chapter length for prologues.
Disclaimer: Don’t own Torchwood or Buffy. One butchered snippet of dialogue from the episode Kiss Kiss Bang Bang used. I THINK that's all bases covered.
“Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An' if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know” – The Clash, Should I Stay or Should I go?
There was some commotion at the front doors of the bar and Xander prayed it was not the girls. He so was not ready to deal with any of the slayers, watchers, or witches (Oh My!) of the fairer sex at the moment. The main reason he was as far away from HQ as reasonable was to get away from his female co-workers for a while. The other reason was something strange was going in Cardiff that the Parliament and Queen were not willing to talk about so Xander was there for a looks-see.
Xander was willing to admit he volunteered for the Africa circuit to get away from everyone and privately grieve. The last two years in Sunnydale were more hellish than usual and the one-eyed carpenter just needed some time to process. Willow, Dawn, and Buffy would not let him do that. They needed to know how he was doing, what his feelings were, they needed him as a shoulder to cry on. Normally Xander did not mind but, if he wanted to stay as sane as his version of reality permitted he needed time away to deal. Giles, thankfully, understood and sent him off with his blessing and prayers for a safe journey.
After almost a year in Africa, Xander wished Giles prayed harder. He knew the Dark Continent was a rough place dealing with all kinds of nasty issues even before you threw the supernatural into the mix. War, famine, disease; for once Xander admitted Tony Harris was right and he never knew how well he had it in America. At least Africa gave him the space and time he needed to deal with Sunnydale. Now he just had the PTSD from there to deal with and once again the girls were trying to be too helpful.
Thankfully the commotion was just some ass that killed the music and was now trying to take over the bar. He had yet to catch a glimpse of the guy due to the crowd but the bouncers were on their way to handle it so as long as it was not a demo-
“Spike?” Xander questioned aloud barely above a whisper as he finally spotted the disruption causing ass. For a moment, a brief shocking moment he thought his former evil undead roommate was no longer dust. Then the man’s features and ridiculous dress sense filtered into Xander’s brain and he relaxed. Just a doppelganger. No vampires or possible visit from the first.
“-mention I’m armed?” Xander heard the Spike look-a-like comment too innocently but people screamed and fled anyways. The doppelganger looked very proud of himself and did not notice Xander right away. The hunter blamed his years spent fighting things with supernatural senses and his desperate struggle to survive Africa. Willow would be shocked once she realized how still and quiet he could be.
“Oi, what are you still doing here?” So much for supernaturally trained stealth.
“Enjoying my drink?” Xander answered, pointing to his cup and pitcher of beer.
Not-Spike scowled unhappily at him. “Well go get wasted somewhere else Nick Fury.”
“Oh ha-ha. Like I haven’t heard that
one before. Sorry to disappoint but, I’m not moving. I drove three hours on the wrong side of the road to get here and going home is not an option. Plus on the danger scale you’re like a one, maybe a one point five with the way you look like someone I use to know,” Xander argued, rolling his eyes and pouring himself more beer.
“Yeah?” French-coater asked with genuine curiosity.
“Yeah but he wasn’t you. For starters, he was British. For Enders, he was prettier,” Xander reassured and smiled at the indignant yell.
“I should kill you for that,” the bizarrely dressed man growled, looking between him and his weapons.
Xander took the man’s moment of indecision to study him. Red French Napoleon era jacket, formerly white shirt, expensive guns, a katana, at least 7 more hidden weapons, and cowboy boots created an unforgettable figure. The outfit was just so mismatched and odd that once you saw the man you were unlikely to forget him. It did not help Xander he was almost a dead ringer for Spike; short cropped hair, damning blue eyes, cheekbones of envy, the aura of a ‘Big Bad’, and compact body. The stranger was older than Spike, well, physically anyways. He also had a tan and freckles. It made him wonder if Liam’s Sandshrew prophecy applied for more than one vampire.
“Then why aren’t you?” Xander asked bored, alcohol working to make him more snarky to anyone threatening him. “Honestly, people have tried to kill me for less and certainly for more. Your little threat is so pathetic it’s not worth a rating.”
The man tilted his head to the side in a fashion reminiscent of Spike as he studied Xander. Eventually, gave a smile that was more predatory than friendly. “That so? I think I like you. Feel free to stay Plissken, bar's on me,” the man offered with a laugh.
Deciding this night was surprisingly tame considering it was a Wednesday; Xander raised his glass in thanks. Hopefully nothing too ‘Hellmouth-y’ would happen but Xander would not be surprised if it did.