Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise. Joss Whedon does. I do not own F.E.A.R. It’s the property of Monolith Productions. I own only this fic.
“Life is hell.” That was the latest most reoccurring thought Buffy Summers, the Slayer Prime, Killer of the Master, Moloch the Corrupter, the ascended Mayor of Sunnydale, Adam, and so on and so on, had for the last few months. The demon activity was high. The loses among other Slayers and watchers in the NIWC were big. They had internal arguments because of Kennedy. But worst of all, one of her best friends, Xander Harris, was dead. Dead as if killed, shot, stabbed and left on the road somewhere on African continent. All what was left was barely recognizable. The body had no fingers, hair or teeth. Only direct DNA test was able to show uncover the individual. The face was badly scarred as if it was hacked with some blade repeatedly. And by all sings it was made by humans, because neither Buffy, Faith nor Willow could find any trace of magical or demonic energy.
Xander’s death had an effect of a blown up atomic bomb. Faith, her sister and comrade in slaying, became obsessed with said slaying. Rupert Giles, the leader of their organization and their father-figure, shut himself from the others in Scotland headquarters, heavily drinking. Dawn, her little sister, quite an essence of energy (both figuratively and literally), had never been quiet and always spoke what was on her mind, became silent and distant. Willow, who knew Xander since kinder garden, was getting dangerously close to become addicted to magic. Again.
The Scoobies were troubled. Screw that, they were practically destroyed by his death. The only time Buffy could remember the gang’s morale so low was the time when they were fighting the First Evil 4 years before. Nobody could even fathom what kind of effect Xander had on the group because everybody took him for granted. He was the heart of their band of misfits. And this heart was ripped of the chest. Truly you don’t know what you have until you lose it.
Buffy sighed and tried to calm down. At that moment she was in her room in the Cleveland NIWC headquarters. It was nighttime. Suddenly everything started to lose colors. Buffy’s head started to spin. She couldn’t concentrate to shake of dizziness. Before she lost consciousness, Buffy saw a blurry child figure in red attire above her.
If you lived in Sunnydale, knew about the nighttime activities, dangers and survived-you knew there were at least three rules that had to be drilled. First-don’t invite any people in your house at night. Second-don’t die. Third-don’t ever, ever say the word “wish” out loud. Willow once estimated that following these rules would increase an average person’s chance to survive on Hellmouth by about 43. 23%. But that was then. Now Xander, F.E.A.R. operative\demon hunter\universal butt-monkey was wondering what he’d done to get into the mess he was now. First rule wasn’t the case. Xander was sure of that. He was still breathing so second was a no. If the third rule was involved our hero didn’t remember that. Though knowing his luck Xander was ready to bet that it was a combination of his karma, PTB’s influence, demon lords’ meddling and some other supernatural shit.
The city around him was utterly destroyed by Alma’s release from project “Origin” facility. Nine months ago it was full of happy, working for ARMAHAM Technology Corporation, people. Now Fairport looked more like an active Hellmouth. As Xander was walking with his baby sister in his hands he heard a snort behind him. Acting faster than it was naturally possible Xander pulled out his handgun from the holster on his leg, turned around and pointed the weapon in the direction of the source of the voice. Which belonged to his long-time friend/enemy.
“Well, dweeb, I’d say it’s good to see you, if you would put that thing away.”A voice said.
“Cordy…” Pointman whispered. He could only whisper. Talking was out of option. He just restored his ability to speak after a year of being mute. Besides why Cordelia Chase, his one-time girlfriend came here? Last time he heard about her she was dead. Wait, maybe… “PTBs…?”He asked.
“Correct, Xan. I’m here to say that you did great. And that we will talk again after you rest. Your F.E.A.R. friends will take you away from here soon, so you are safe. Oh, and by the way, Scooby gang is still grieving about you; don’t make them wait too long.”With these words and some light effects she disappeared.
“Typical… Higher… Power… bullshit” He hissed. Then Xander started walking again.
Two hours later Xander was still walking with a sleeping newborn child in his hands, when he heard a helicopter in the distance.
“Hey, Pointman, took you long enough.” A male voice sounded in his earpiece.
Xander smirked. He knew that voice. He trusted that voice. It was F.E.A.R.
It’s all started long before Buffy Summers arrived in Sunnydale. It started even before she was born. Started by a scientist whose name was Harland Wade.
Harland was a genius scientist. He excelled in everything he tried. Computers and psychology, laws and biology-he was a master of all. Thanks to him the company he worked for, ARMACHAM Tech., was using a cutting edge tech, far ahead of the time. No wonder military was interested in them from the start.
ARMACHAM had its interests in every part of society. Politics, healthcare, education, factories, labs, army… It was easier to say where they didn’t have any interests.
The beginning of the end of this ideal corporal world was the birth of Harlan Wade’s daughter-Alma. When the girl turned 3 years old, people around her started to act weird. Sudden headaches, mood swings, violent urges… The list was big. That was a start of catastrophe.
Armacham Technology Corporation inducted Alma into Project Paragon, where they tested her for every known psychic ability. Alma passed all tests, and, should she appear not to have any power, her father would work tirelessly with her until she was able to focus her powers and complete the objective. Among the measures Harland used were: electroshock, starvation, severe beatings… Doctor Mengele would be proud.
In her seventh year, she was recruited into Armacham Technology Corporation's Project Origin with the aim of creating psychics from a psychic fore-bearer, and to keep Alma from using her psychic powers against Armacham's scientists. Two days before her eighth birthday, she was put into an induced coma and locked in the Vault, a spherical structure located deep inside the secret Origin Facility, blocking her psychic abilities.
Or so they thought. While ATC was testing other children who showed potential for being a psychic, Alma was gathering her strength. She didn’t stop saving her strength even when she was artificially impregnated with the First Prototype, and then with Paxton Fettel. But soon she made an attempt to escape.
Now, before we go into this topic, let’s talk about her children. The elder one, who would later be known as Xander Harris, was a disappointment. Though he showed higher speed, strength, healing, intuition and smarts, the First didn’t demonstrate any psychic aptitude ARMACHAM needed. He couldn’t read minds, he couldn’t cause hallucinations. He could only strengthen himself to an inhuman level, becoming faster, stronger. But that wasn’t what Harlan was looking for.
Paxton, on the other hand, was a total success. An experiment, gone horribly right, as it would be later said. At first he was exactly what ATC wanted. Fettel showed potential. His powers were second only to Alma.
Both children lived, trained, studied and played together. They were both anchoring each other, gave each other strength. Everything was shot to hell when they were separated.
The First Prototype, because he was considered a failure, at the age of 11 was exposed to a genetic experiment, which resulted in him being de-aged. Harlan Wade, in his rare touch of conscience, not willing to kill him, place him in an orphanage in a small town in California, under the name Alexander. Later the boy was adopted in the Harris family.
Fettel wasn’t told about the experiment. He didn’t know anything about his brother’s fate. He grew paranoid, started to show many negative emotions. That was the moment Alma decided to show her teeth.
One day Fettel synchronized with Alma in a Synchronicity Event, by merging with her consciousness. As a result of this, Fettel turned violent. Seven Origin staffers were killed by Fettel due to his enhanced strength and mental acumen. This was ended when Armacham contained Fettel and killed Alma by removing her life support, leaving her to die, trapped in the Origin Facility. The death of Alma caused Fettel to revert to a more normal personality, and he claimed to not remember his actions during the Synchronicity Event.
Now we skip to the future, to the times of the Sunnydale collapse. After the battle with the First Evil the Scooby group moved to the other Hellmouth in Cleveland. There, in order to restore the Watcher council faster, they separated. Rupert Giles, along with Willow Rosenberg, went first to London, to recover funds, stored in several bank account, then to Scotland, to set up headquarters there. Faith, one of the main slayers, stayed in Cleveland. Dawn Summers, sister Buffy Summers, went to college in New-York. Buffy Summers, along with Andrew Wells, reluctantly, went to Rome, to hunt down an Immortal (Later she switched with a decoy, but nobody knew that at the time). And Xander Harris went to Africa.
His choice was simple. First, African continent held a lot of mystic energy within its borders. Lots of mystical meant lots of potentials, artifacts and demonic creatures to hunt. And lots of work to do.
Work was exactly what Xander needed. Anya’s death really took a toll on Xander. Guilt became his closest companion. Remorse was his sister. Despair was his lover. Work was salvation.
During his several years of working in Africa Xander established one of the most effective NIWC (New International Watcher Council) cells. The watchers trained by him always found the information in record time, knew how to fight, provide first aid and support Slayers. The Slayers themselves were drilled in every aspect of combat, including firearms, which was essential for survival in Africa. Bandits and mercenaries were just as a big threat as demons.
Harris himself was no slouch in combat. He was a Sunnydale survivor after all. But in Africa he reached new levels. Despite missing one eye, Xander was considered one of the most dangerous, deadliest men in Africa. That was saying something. He trained his mind and body to a point he could beat a newbie Slayer one on one in Close-Quarters-Combat. That is saying something about his dedication. With time the pain of losing Anya was starting to fade.
But, alas, Fate (Powers That Be; Wolf, Ram and Hart, D’Hoffryn-underline the choice you like) was cruel and wanted our hero to suffer. ATC remembered about the First Prototype.
Genevieve Aristide, a new president of the Armacham Technologies Corporation, while reviewing old documents, decided to restart some cancelled projects. The file about the First Prototype particularly caught her attention. In the past 20 or so years he became somewhat reusable again, so the president gave an order to find and capture him.
This task was accomplished by a group of mercenaries called Night crawlers, under the leadership of a mysterious man named Conrad Krieg. (How that happened is a chapter in itself) Conrad was an enigma. Nobody knew his age, his nationality, his likes or dislikes. He didn’t grow old. He never changed. He was always detached and unemotional. The only part of his character which was known for sure was ruthlessness. He never took prisoners unless specifically ordered.
So, Xander was brought back to Armacham unconscious in a record time. After being placed in an artificially induced coma he was experimented upon. First, Armacham restored his lost eye. The scientists, using Xander’s DNA, created a fully grown clone. Then they replaced Harris’s lost eye with the one, which was taken from the clone.
Then came the brainwashing. Our hero’s memories of Sunnydale were locked away and replaced with artificial ones. In order to make Xander more effective and give less chances of getting any semblance of personality they locked his ability to speak. (Armacham was unable to completely erase them thanks to Xander’s previous possessions, as well as some mystical protection, courtesy of Willow, though the scientists thought that he had a really strong mind, which was true, to an extent. ) The freed brain capacity was used to boost analyzing skills, as well as coordination. They also gave Xander knowledge, lots of knowledge. In his new memories he was a part of black ops military units since he was 18. Delta Force, Green Berets, CIA cleaners… The list was big. Xander now knew how to handle virtually any weapon existed. He could operate any vehicle, may it be on land, sea or water. Xander also received a great amount of knowledge, like anatomy, chemistry, law and culture. A good agent (they thought they could turn Xander in a loyal lap dog) had to know a lot, after all.
But the biggest success ATC was able to achieve consisted of reactivation of Xander’s “Slow-Mo” powers. Now the First Prototype was able to dodge bullets, survive situations which would be deadly even for a Slayer. Though he didn’t have the strength of one, it was still higher than an average heavyweight athlete’s.
After all procedures were complete, the First was placed in a military unit for testing. This event started a series of other events, coincidences and forgotten memories and facts that would result in the destruction of Fairport city, a secret war between the Government and Armacham Technology Corporation, lots of angst, drama, creepiness and hilarity on a rare occasion.
But at this point of story all these wouldn’t matter for Xander. All what matters for him right now is rest, making sense of all the information Alma had left in his head, figuring out what to do with his life and trying to tell Scoobies he was alive, relatively well and not evil.
“Hey, Douglas, I need to know.”
“What’s the day of the week today?”
“Figures… Thanks, Doug.”
Xander didn’t know that at that very moment, while he was watching memories of Alma Wade and Michael Becket left by Alma herself, one of his friends, namely Buffy Summers was receiving her own visions.
Buffy Anne Summers was not a happy camper. No, sir, not happy at all. To say, that the times were hectic, would be a gross understatement. First, there was Xander’s death. There were only three instances that dealt her a blow just as hard-sending Angel to Hell, death of her mother and her own death with a following resurrection after the whole Glorificus mess. Second, a lot of rules had to be rethought. They had to teach other Slayers and their Watchers how to use guns now. Surprisingly, the rule was brought up by Buffy and Faith after they went to Africa to check on a Slayers’ cell which was leaderless after Xander’s demise. Third, last nine months were particularly hard. A lot of demons, sensing some kind of impending doom, started to gather materials for protection wards. The most powerful and effective wards required Slayer’s body parts, so the hunts became really vicious. Death toll was really high. So when Buffy suddenly collapsed while being wide awake and then waking up in a totally colorless environment in a presence of an 8 year old girl with bloodied feet she wasn’t exactly assured. Watching “The Ring” before didn’t help at all. Then the girl whispered “Help them”. Then the visions started.
She was looking through the eyes of a man, a soldier. She was feeling his every move, every wound, every feeling. And what she witnessed was horrible. Almost impossible carnage, rivers of blood, brutal deaths-she saw everything. Buffy saw from the soldier’s perspective how he fought artificial soldiers, trying to accomplish his mission and find answers about himself. She witnessed all his desperate struggles, all his loses and victories. Then was imprisonment, beatings were constant during 9 months. Escape. Uneasy alliance. Fighting through the dead city was the most gruesome thing Buffy ever saw. She wanted to scream “Stop”, to vomit. Thankfully, she was able to hold herself together.
Last rush. Fight with the past. Painful memories she watched through the eyes of Pointman. The Creep. God, it was ugly! Destination.
“"Under no circumstances can Alma be allowed to give birth. And if she does - destroy it - kill it immediately. ” His teammate said.
“KILL THE MAGGOT WITHIN HER!!!” Screamed the unfortunate crazed father.
“We can become unstoppable! We’ve but to consume the body! Join me!”-preached his brother.
Pointman followed none of these orders. He killed his Ax-crazy brother again. He saved the child, his little sister, while letting his mother Alma to leave to the Afterlife in peace. Or so he thought.
Buffy was on her knees, holding her head which was overblown with information. Alma was now standing in front of her in her child form.
“Why did you show that to me?”-Buffy sobbed. Alma didn’t answer. Instead there was another vision. She was once again in the body of the other. In front of her was … Angel? Then the Slayer heard that familiar voice.
“Buffy, she's gone to fight the Master.”
“He'll kill her.”
“Rumor has it. Only we're not gonna let it happen.”
“Well, what do you propose we do about it?”
“Look, I know you can find this Master guy. He's underground, right? Take me to him.”
“You're way outta your league, kid. The Master'll kill you before you can even breathe. If you're lucky.”
“How can I say this clearly?” He held up a cross. Angel growled. The soldier… No, still a teenager advanced toward him, as Angel backed off until he fell onto the couch.
“I don't like you. At the end of the day, I pretty much think you're a vampire.” Xander (as Buffy realized it was him) lowered the cross. “But Buffy's got this big old yen for you. She thinks you're a real person. And right now I need you to prove her right.”
“You're in love with her.”
The scene shifted. And it was one of Buffy’s old horrors-the Master’s lair.
“No. She's not dead.”
“She's not breathing.”
“But if she drowned, uh, there's a shot! CPR!”
“You have to do it. I have no breath.”
Xander tool off his jacket and laid it over her. He kneeled down by her face and looked at her for a moment, then put his mouth on hers and blew into her lungs. He let go and began to pump her chest.
“C'mon. C'mon! C'mon! Breathe! Breathe!”
After another moment Xander stoped pumping. A second later Buffy opened her eyes wide and drew a breath. She lied still for a moment as she looked around with her eyes.
Again the scene shifted. And again Buffy stood in front of Alma. Only this time there was no question. There was exclamation.
“Xander!!! He’s alive! That’s what you wanted to tell me?” Buffy asked hopefully. He was alive! Thank God he was alive!
Alma only nodded.
“Save them.” She whispered and then dissolved in ashes.
With a gasp Buffy woke up. For a few minutes she tried to decide whether the whole vision was reality or just a delusion slash nightmare. Her mind and her heart said it was reality slash nightmare.
Buffy looked at the clock, then at the calendar. It was 6 A.M., Tuesday. She winced.
“Well, at least I’m sure now that he’s alive.”
“We have arrived, man” Douglas Holiday brought the helicopter down.
“I didn’t know you could fly this thing, sergeant. You’ve learned a few tricks while I was away, eh?” Xander asked in a hoarse voice. “Since when you are a F.E.A.R. operative?”
“Well, what do you think? After our crash I asked for redeployment. And since Fairport cluster fuck we all had to learn fast. Jin became rather good with a sniper rifle.” Douglas said. Then he added thoughtfully. “Though, she tends to forget her skills when the firefight starts.” They sat in silence for a minute. Xander was holding a sleeping newborn in his hands, while Holiday was sitting, trying to figure out what to say. Then he finally asked. “You know you’re heading into a shit storm, right? After what Alma did? ”
“Yes.” It was a simple reply.
“They’ll want answers, you know.”
“They’ll get what they want.”
“And if they’ll want to kill the girl?” That was a low blow.
“Not gonna happen.”
“But if they’ll order you?”
“Currently I’m not operating under our bureau’s orders, so they’ll have to stuff their orders in a place where sun doesn’t shine. I don’t care Douglas; they’ll have to live with it- both Betters and Jin. I’m not changing my mind.” There was silence again. Then Xander said. “The sooner I’ll meet them, the better. Let’s face F.E.A.R.”
Author’s notes: I hope you liked the first chapter. The time line is different from canon of both franchises. It is set in our time. So Buffy storyline happened later then in the TV show. And the game events happened earlier than in canon. Xander’s body is around 24-25, while Paxton Fettel is 33.
Should I continue the story? Please, review. (Without flames if possible.)