AN: I've learned that I actually write more when I don't have anything I like currently to read. Call it a certain level of narcissism, but I'm trying to craft something I'd enjoy to read. Constructive criticism always welcome. I'm also crossing over more things I don't own.
Three weeks later
Giles, Buffy and Willow had managed to gather three dragon balls fairly easily with no small amount of help from Joyce Summers and her Jeep Liberty.
Giles had managed to find the first ball after nursing his hangover and taking a drive to the desert just out of city limits, under the guidance of the ever obnoxiously beeping dragon radar. After some brief searching, Giles acquired the six star ball without managing to suffer any snake bites or scorpion stings.
The following weekend, after informing, and by informing we do mean telling the whitest of all lies, Joyce and much more kindly, Dawn, that Xander had been banished to another - surprisingly benevolent - dimension, and they needed to travel to gather spell components to summon him back.
They had driven out of town the last two Sundays. The first retrieval, just across the Mexican border, did not grant much excitement more than Buffy jumping over a fence to walk into some kind of plantation to get the dragon ball, obtaining the two star ball.
This past weekend trip was actually a ten hour drive deep into the heart of Mexico, it's culture and drug cartels. And a fried chicken restaurant chain called Los Pollos Hermanos.
And Dawn just - had- pick the road music.
But she did learn a valuable lesson. She can't sing. And Backstreet Boys being sung by a 14 year old girl at the top of her lungs really annoys the Mexican criminal element. And an annoyed Mexican criminal element is a cranky Mexican criminal element.
And you really don't want them cranky with you.
Meanwhile, in Other World
Huffing and puffing, Xander ran around the arena track, kicking up a dust storm behind him. He finds the training brutal, every part of him ached, again, and again and again, but the rewards were amazing.
He was sprinting for longer and far faster than he could have ever hoped to before. He could jump surprising distances, with time for tricks and flips. His coordination was phenomenal- to the point where he wanted to see what he could do on his old skate board.
He could throw a punch! And dent rock! It hurt his hand in a way he hasn't felt since his wrist was snapped by a vampire in junior year, but he could do it and it was amazing.
Most importantly, he can feel his ki. Manipulating it so far has been out of his grasp, but he could feel it, and when he felt it he was sure he was operating at a level surpassing anything he had ever seen from Buffy.
Who knew dying would have been so good for him? It's the most obtuse thought he'd ever thunk. He would never dare saying it out loud if only to not taunt Murphy, but the sentiment worked it's way to his head.
Suddenly Krillin dashed in and delivered a chop to Xander's side, sending him flying ass over teakettle for twenty yards.
Letting his student stand, dust ridden and some minor scratches bleeding, Krillin applied verbal salt to the wounded ego.
"Constant vigilance, Xander! You got lost in thought again! You can't do that! Ever! You need to be ready for sneak attacks."
Massaging his body to check if everything was intact, Xander, breathing hard and coughing on occasion wearily nodded his acknowledgement to his trainer.
"Yes, master." Xander moved to put his training shell back on to restart.
"Ah ah ah! What do you think you're doing? You weren't paying attention! You get the pain shell." Krillin taunted as he threw a nearby giant turtle shell to Xander, with many obtuse, uncomfortable edges which would jab into his back with alarming frequency and gusto.
Xander put it on, not having the breath to complain about his treatment. He has come to hate his midget instructor, as was predicted in the early times. Before training, pain, psychological damage, backflips and killer abs.
Krillin was tough to please, forcing Xander to grovel on hands and knees, bowing to his superior.
"Good. If you finish the track in less than two minutes I'll show you a new trick." Krillin bribed.
"Yes, master! "
Xander moved to the starting line and bolted when signalled.
Then, shit got real.
Krillin decided to fly overhead and build on their earlier training. He readied ten low powered ki balls for launch. He countered down the seconds until Xander crested the first quarter of the track.
Xander ran powerfully, arms on the straps of the pain shell, trying to keep it as still as possible as he ran. He noticed an unusual burst of light, looked up, only to find explosive spheres of death descending on his path.
He did the one thing that Krillin, Piccolo and Goku could never teach Gohan to do.
Xander dashed ahead, around and away from the ki blasts as they detonated regularly behind him. All of them uncomfortably close, but no shrapnel pierced his skin.
He ran, dashed, dodged and flipped out of the way of explosions as he sensed them coming at him in a way he didn't have time to process just yet.
Krillin kept up the fire and made a mess out of the track. He'd fire ahead of Xander, beside him and behind him, trying to rattle him, and smack him into the ground. Xander managed to dodge all the way to the finish line, with exactly four seconds to spare. Krillin ceased fire and lowered himself down to the ground next to his pupil.
"Great job kid! You'll need a change of clothes, but you did it. Guess what you're going to learn?"
"How to win friends and influence people?" said captain smart-ass.
"Close! You're going to learn how to return fire!"
Meanwhile, at the Los Pollos Hermanos parking lot.
It's not every day Buffy can say she's attended an authentic Mexican standoff. It's even less often she can say that her little sister Dawn can cause one. Only on Thursdays did Dawn ever cause anything close to this much trouble.
The crew of five Mexicans flanked the Jeep just as Joyce rolled into her parking space at the chicken joint. Buffy, Giles, Willow and Dawn exited rapidly to stretch tensed muscles, and in Giles' case, expel the most British of farts. Drinking cola on a drive always gives him gas.
Dawn was still singing "space cowboy" when she was grabbed by the Mexican gangsters and felt cold steel press into her neck.
"AHHHHHHHH! BUFFY!!!" Dawn cried before a hand could muzzle her.
Buffy spun around to see the five punks arrayed before her, one holding a knife to Dawn's throat and the rest all holding guns sideways.
"Hey hombres, we got us some fine putas here. Except for this bratty kid." leader thug motioned at Dawn and shouted. "Would you shut the fuck up?! Don't you see me with a gun and that knife touching your throat?"
Dawn, a diagnosed sufferer of foot in mouth disease, kindly shut up, terrified.
Regaining composure, the leader continued. "Better, better. Now, you putas are in my turf, that means you work for me. If you know what's good for you, you'll work hard. And it'll be very, very good for you. If you listen." he gestures to his crotch and those of his confederates, letting Willow notice a table turning piece of tactical info.
They were all wearing baggy jeans way too low, showing off their various boxer shorts.
Buffy looked to Willow, who gave the wink of readiness. Giles gave the nod of British preparedness, and they moved as a team.
Willow learned this move as a prank on Xander, after some exuberant rough housing one Friday night that left her with both a wet white tshirt and frazzled hair, and proceeded to telekinetically atomic wedgie the gang of punks before her. The strain of doing so much in a blink of an eye gave her a nose bleed and dropped her to her knees.
This still gave Buffy and Giles enough time to burst into close quarters, disarm and beat down the thugs to shameful unconsciousness.
Dawn made a point to kick the one that held her square in the testes. Joyce, showing her mamma bear side, very spitefully walked over, picked up the dropped knife, and stabbed the leader in the leg, and snarled "No one hurts my daughter."
Leaving the gang disabled for the time being. The scoobies collected the weapons, used the dragon radar to find the one star ball on top of the restaurant itself, and cheesed it back north before more gang bangers. Dawn remained delightfully silent the entire time while Willow nursed a near migraine.
And they never went to Mexico again. Much to the delight of the crystal meth trafficking ring they nearly stumbled upon.