Chapter I - Lost Gambles
Disclaimer(s): I don't own any of the franchises the ideas for this fanfic come from (cause if I did, I'd be rich and would never have to work again!) Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes from Joss 'Is-Boss' Whedon and the rest at Mutant Enemy Productions, Robotech from Carl Macek, Steve Kramer, and Harmony Gold USA, while Stargate SG-1 comes from Brad Wright, Jonathon Glassner and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
There are also probably ideas from other great fics I've read and thought would be neat in this story. I can only really think of Joehundredaire and his brilliant idea of the bet between Xander and the Cordettes from his story 'Pyrrhic Victory', which I can't recommend enough! (Seriously, read it...you'll crack up!) If you see anything in this story which you recognise as yours (I don't think there's anything else off the top of my head) then I apologise in advance and thank you for the inspiration!
Ship of the Line: The Sunnydale Saga
Chapter I - Lost Gambles
SDF-1, High Orbit, Abydos, 0700 (UTC), 31st October 2005 (Earth Calendar).
Commander Alexander R. Harris sighs contentedly, as he watches the Combat Air Patrol, or CAP, take off from the flight deck of the Prometheus. *Yep, another fine day out here...or, it would be, if we HAD days out here.* He settles back in his chair as he watches the veritechs disappear into the blackness of space, until even their thrusters can't be seen any more.
He smiles, as his gaze continues to search the darkness all around the ship. *It's hard to believe it's only been 4 years since that night, feels like a lifetime ago. Then again, I suppose it has been...after all, Xander Lavelle Harris, class clown died, and Alex Richard Harris, VT pilot was born that night.*
He closes his eyes as his mind wanders back. *Course, I do have Cordy to thank for that...after all, if she hadn't lost that bet, then things would have been very different indeed...*
Sunnydale, California, 1230 (PST), 30th October 2001 (Earth Calendar).
Xander Harris leans back against the wall, watching as the cheerleaders troop out of the gym after their lunchtime training. Normally, he would have been in there, enjoying the ever enchanting view of hot babes in tight tops and short skirts, but he is a man on a mission this day. His eyes roam the pack, searching out his prey...*Woah! May wanna cut back the predatory imagery there...getting a little too close to alpha for comfort.*...before he spots her. He gets up off the wall, and follows her down to her locker.
"So, your ever so royal majesty, how's life in the land of Cordy today?" He smirks, as he leans against the locker beside Cordelia Chase.
Cordelia looks over at him, annoyance radiating off her in waves. "It WAS a good day, until there was a sudden invasion of dorkness. So, what do you want...as if I couldn't guess." She suddenly smiles. "You finally got your result back on the english exam, didn't you! And now you're here to humble yourself before me, as I prove just how great I am, and how much of a loser you are!"
She reaches into her locker, obviously looking for something. "Now, you remember the terms of the bet right. I don't want you trying to weasel out of it by saying you don't remember or something. As the loser, not only will you let me choose your Halloween outfit, but you'll be my personal servant all Halloween...meaning you'll have to obey my every order!"
She pulls out a piece of paper from her locker, unfolding it before shoving it in Xander's face. "Well, read it and weep loser...an 89! That's a B+, since I know you've never seen one." She sighes happily as she puts the paper back in her locker. "So, what score did you get...just so I know by how much I beat you. A 50? Or didn't you even manage to pass this one?"
Xander sighes slightly as he pulls a similar piece of paper from his pocket. "As a matter of fact, I did manage to pass...but I'm not sure. Maybe you could read this for me and tell me if I'm right or not." He smiles as he hands Cordelia the paper, silently counting down. *5...4...3...2...1...*
"WHAT!?!?!?!" Cordelia's scream can be heard half way across the school (at least by a certain slayer, who clutches her ears in agony.) "A 98!?!? How in the name of Gucci did a moron like you get a 98? I got Levinson to tutor me, and he's, like, the biggest brain in the school, and I only got an 89!" She looks at Xander with utter disbelief.
Xander just smiles. "Uh, I think you're forgetting something there Cor. Jonathan -is- out there smart, but he isn't the biggest brain in the school. That particular honour belongs to my bestest bud, who, as founder of the We Hate Cordelia club, was more then happy to tutor me so that I would beat you."
Cordelia's eyes narrow. "Rosenberg!" The sheer fury in her voice at that name makes Xander mortally afraid for his bestest bud, until Cordelia just seems to slump, the fury draining from her eyes. When she finally speaks again, it sounds like she has just lost WW2 for America. "Fine, you win. You get to choose my Halloween costume. There, happy?"
Xander looks hard at her. "Uh uh...aren't you forgetting something? The second part, which I only got cause YOU wanted to get me as your personal man-Friday? It's not only your costume I'm choosing...it's also those of your Cordettes!"
Cordelia's face falls even further (if that were at all possible.) "Ugh, I had forgotten...crap. Ok, ok, the girls too. So, what's it gonna be? Playboy bunnies? French maids? Which of the no-doubt thousands of fantasies of yours that I star in are we gonna let you see tomorrow?"
Xander's smirk dims a little. "Actually...I'm not entirely sure!" He holds his hands up in a placating manner as Cordelia starts getting angry again. "Hey, be grateful that you hadn't made this bet earlier...otherwise it would have been Star Wars for sure...something really geeky and alien to boot!" Cordelia blinks, and calms down after hearing that.
Xander smiles again, once he's sure Mount Cordy won't blow her top. "Since it's so close, I can't give you anything too complex...so I figured I'd head over to the costume shops after school today and see what they have on offer. Actually, since I know what they have on offer at Partytown, and most of it sucks, I'll just check out that new place...I think it's called Ethan's or something. Care to tag along? That way you won't have to wait to see what it is?"
Cordelia shrugs. "Sure, why not. Like you said, better to know what my doom is then worry over it."
Xander laughs slightly, as he starts to head away. "Great, I'll see you there about 4ish. Now, if you'll excuse me, I really have to find Buffy."
Cordelia snorts. "Like that's news...and here's another headline, rain is wet!"
Xander keeps walking, looking over his shoulder at Cordelia. "Oh, it's not scooby business...let's just say you're not the only one I have to break some bad betting news to."
Xander walks into the familiar sanctuary of the library, a spring in his step and a smile on his face. "Hail the camp!"
With an almost exhausted sigh, Rupert Giles, Sunnydale Highs librarian (and Watcher to the slayer) turns to face his young ally. "Xander, this is a library, not a bloody tent in the forest or something."
"Ah, but G-man, with the amount of paper in here, it's probably about the same as a forest, hmm? I mean, doesn't it come from trees?" Xander returns with a mischievous grin.
Giles groans, as he starts to polish his glasses. "And how many times must I ask you not to use that infernal nickname?"
Xander shrugs. "Don't know...once I have an answer, I'll think about letting you know." Feeling he'd got the better part of the exchange, Xander turns towards his reason for being here today. "And how are you today, my fair-haired hero?"
Buffy Summers smiles at Xander, feeling just a little more light-hearted now that her favourite Xander-shaped friend has arrived. "Pretty good...although my ears are still ringing after that shriek I heard earlier. Any idea what that was about? It sounded more like outrage then the usual stark-raving terror."
Xander's smile turns into an outright smirk. "Ah, that. Well Buff, I'm afraid that was the sound of your approaching doom."
Now Buffy just looks suspicious. "What do you mean by that?"
Xander sits beside her. "Do you remember that bet we made last week?"
Buffy thinks a bit. "You mean the one where you said you'd get Cordelia to let you choose her costume? Yeah I...remember...you...you don't mean...?" A look of dawning horror crosses Buffy's face.
Xander smiles really big. "That shriek was one Cordelia Chase realising that I had won our bet, meaning I'm now choosing her costume...ergo, I'm choosing yours too!"
Buffy's shoulders droop a little at hearing this. "Dammit! And I was gonna dress up in something really pretty for Angel, too." She turns a pair of uber-cute puppy dog eyes on Xander. "Xander, can't you let this one slide, pretty please?"
Xander leans back, as if thinking about it. *Yeah right, let you off so you can try and impress a corpse? I sooo don't think so.* He looks at Buffy again. "Sorry Buff, no can do, it's a matter of honour now. Besides..." His voice trails off as he spots Willow Rosenberg walk in, before he leans in to whisper. "I do have an ulterior motive...aside from getting you to dress how I want, that is!"
With that mischievous grin firmly back in place, Xander turns in his chair to look more directly at his red-haired friend. "And good afternoon to you, my bestest bud."
Willow smiles at her best friend (and not-so-secret crush). "Hey Xander. What's up?"
Xander's grin seems to grow. "Funny you should ask that. I was just telling Buffy that I had won our little bet."
Willow pales. "What do you mean?"
Xander looks towards Buffy. "I mean, Buffy just agreed to let me choose her costume...which means I get to choose yours as well."
Buffy's eyes light up with understanding, as Willow lets out a little whimper. "But, but..."
Xander wags his finger at Willow. "Oh no, you're not getting out of this one Missy! Year after year, it's always the same thing...well, this is one year that the Ghostly Willow won't be making an appearance! Besides, I know you're a young woman of your word, and there's no way you'd try and break a bet, right?"
Willow sighs, as she slowly shakes her head. "No, I wouldn't...so, what are we going as then?" Buffy looks over at this, curiosity written all over her face.
"So, this is Slayer central in sunny California, huh?" The sudden, unfamiliar voice pulls the attention of the Scoobies to the front door, where stands a stunning young brunette, decked out in tight leather pants, a red wife beater, and leather jacket. She turns back to look at the middle-aged woman following her in. "I dunno Dr. D, I thought there'd be more sun and less books."
The older woman just sighs resignedly, and with a very British tone, replies. "And thus are first impressions founded." She walks ahead of her companion, towards Giles. "Hello Rupert, it's been awhile."
Giles smiles, as he quickly shakes the woman’s hand. "It has indeed Diane. What brings you out to the land of the heathens?"
Diane Dormer smiles at the slight noises of outrage from the assembled teens around them. "Well Rupert, I thought I'd bring the young lady I've been tasked with 'civilising' to meet the Slayer."
Said young lady grumbles slightly. "Civilising, she says...more like borifying!"
Diane sends an exasperated, but fond, look over at her. "Rupert, I'd like you to meet Faith Lehane, my potential. Faith, this is Rupert Giles, an old friend of mine, and the watcher of the Slayer."
Faith waves at Giles. "Yo." Her gaze turns to the other teens in the room. "So, who's this?"
Giles winces slightly. "Ah yes, where are my manners." He walks over, placing a hand on Buffy's shoulder. "This is Buffy Summers, the Slayer."
Buffy gives a cheery wave. "Hiya"
Giles then gestures towards the others. "And these are her friends and allies in the good fight...Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris."
Willow smiles shyly and waves, while Xander leans forward, holding his hand out to Faith, who grabs it and gives it a quick shake. "Welcome to Sunnyhell High Faith. Hopefully, the 'civilising' will be kept to a minimum while you're here."
Faith just grins. "Thanks X, 'preciate it. So, what were you peeps talkin bout? Vamps, ghouls, zombies...?"
Xander shakes his head, grinning as the girls both grimace. "Nah, nothing that boring...we're just talkin about Halloween, and why you shouldn't make a bet you don't think you will like."
Faith smiles, leaning back as she listens to Xander's funny story. "That doesn't sound too bad, actually. I mean, there's no nudity or nuthin, right?"
Willow eeps, turning bright red as Buffy glares at Xander, the slightest blush crossing her cheeks. "Right...assuming Xander likes having the use of his arms..."
Xander holds his hands up as if warding off a deadly threat. *Oh wait, Buffy's death glare...guess that counts.* "Don't worry Buffster, there will be actual costumes...sides, I don't want to think about your Mom's punishment if I try to make you do that..."
Faith just grins. *Hmm, this group could be fun...* She turns towards her watcher. "Yo, Dr. D, any chance I could do the whole Halloween thing? Ya know, costumes and shit."
Diane turns a disapproving glare on Faith, who gulps slightly. "What have I said about your language, young lady? As for your question...I don't see why not. Halloween is usually a 'dead' time for the undead, so to speak, so go out and have some fun."
"Wicked!" Faith turns back to the others. "So, where can I snag a costume round here?"
Xander pipes up. "Well, if you wanna meet up here at 3:30, I was gonna head down to a new place to check out the costumes, and decide what exactly these lovely ladies, and all the others, are going to wear..."