AN: HELP WANTED- Okay, now that we're getting to the plot, which
means I have to write one, I really need a person, or even two or
three people, who know Stargate really well to volunteer to answer
all the dumb questions I have as I write. Qualifications for this
very difficult job: working knowledge of the show, and motivation
to check your email once a day or so. I'm not planning on this
being a big deal but, still, I do need the help. Thanks!
Oh, and I'd LOVE to get some fanfic recs... especially Xander ones
or just some great SG-1/ Buffy crossovers (I'm out of reading
************** Trick-Or-Treat: Chapter Eleven **************
Xander was kicking the wall angrily, muttering darkly under his
breath. "Stupid Balance Demon. 'It's my job to right the wrongs of
the Universe but I'm not going to actually DO anything. Oh no... and
ruin my immortal manicure? Heaven forbid! I'm just going to get
some stupid little mortal to do all the dirty work. What does it
matter, they're going to DIE anyway'..."
He kicked the wall harder, not caring what the U.S. government
thought as he angrily ignored the surveillance cameras tracking his
every move. "Fucking Powers with their self-righteous bullshit. Not
good enough that Buffy died for them twice and that they'll have
Willow doing penance for the rest of her freaking life but now they
want to suck me in? I don't think so. I said so, after Dracula, no
more butt-monkey. Xander is a big boy, a big normal boy who isn't a
He winced as one particularly hard kick bruised the toes inside his
boot before continuing to vent right along. "And who the hell ever
heard of a one-eyed Champion, huh? I have to tilt my head to climb
stairs properly and they want me to clamber aboard their little bitch
wagon and do whatever the hell they tell me? And why? Just because
I've survived longer than Jesse and haven't walked away yet?
Bitch... I'll show them bitches the bastards..."
Xander briefly considered switching to hitting but decided that
concrete walls weren't going to be as easy on his knuckles as a dorm
wall and kept to kicking. "My future is the U.S. Air Force... oh
la la and frickin' whoopdie do! My future is whatever the hell I
make it you control freaks. I'm not going to be some kind of human
guinea pig, well not yours, maybe the military's but... my choice.
MINE. If I want to let Major Carter cut me up I will, don't you
doubt it. I'll spoil your little plan and to hell with you all..."
"I wouldn't be wishing myself to hell, mate, unless I'd gotten a
proper look see and decided I like the place. Brimstone décor leaves
something to be desired with most gents."
Xander paused in his kicking to glare mutinously at the blonde Vampire
who leaned against the other wall nonchalantly. The effect and shock
would have been much more spectacular if you couldn't see through to
the furniture behind the ghost. Besides, after seven years in
Sunnydale spirits were SO been there, done that.
In Buffy's case, literally.
"What are you," Xander snarled, "my Fucking Fairy Godmother?"
"That, you daft prat, would be Fairy Godmother. I haven't had a
good shag since I saved the world."
Xander stomped over to Spike and tried to kick him. His foot,
predictably enough, passed straight through and hit the wall behind.
It was turning out to be a splendidly BAD day indeed.
"Kiley, sweetie, how's the research coming?"
Kiley looked up from her laptop, rubbed red rimmed eyes, shrugged
with a down turned mouth, and went back to the screen as Dawn sighed.
Finding out information on a military operation they all knew next
to nothing about was turning out to be an impossibly large pain in
U.S. Air Force wasn't much to go on.
Add in the stress of sixteen prepubescent Slayers missing Xander and
this was not turning out to be one of Dawn's more relaxing visits to
the Booty House. Though, with Faith's girls covering some of their
more usually dangerous patrol areas, none of the younger girls had
gotten hurt yet, well not badly. Angelique had tripped over a
trashcan chasing a Vamp and had given herself a lovely black eye and
She jumped as the phone rang and there was an estrogen stampede.
Dawn snatched the receiver before any of the girls got to it first
and answered it, heart in her throat. Please, PLEASE it had to be
Xander. It had been two days since they had heard from him last...
Silence and then, hesitantly, "Dawn?"
Oh shit. No, no, no, no, NO! She reached blindly for the nearest
chair, an overstuffed sofa Xander had scavenged from a yard sale, and
sank into it, numb. "You had better be calling to wish me Happy
"Umm... Dawn, your birthday isn't until..."
"Shut up Riley. Why are you calling?" But she knew. Oh yes, Dawn
knew why. The sixteen girls gathered trembling around her knew why.
Oh god... Dawn felt the phone start to slip through her fingers and
took a deep breath, steadying herself. "Where is he?"
"I don't know."
"Damnit Riley, we're talking about Xander here!
There was anger suddenly, from across the line. "I know that Dawn, I
know that! I don't... I don't know where he is. The files don't
She counted to ten, in her head, before trying to continue in a
semi-reasonable voice. "Is this line secure?"
Riley sighed and sounded tired. "I can't make any guarantees."
She nodded, though he couldn't see it. "All right, start from the
beginning, why are you calling? How did you know?"
"I still don't really know what's going on. All I know is that two
days ago I got a call from a Colonel Jack O'Neill wanting to know
why he couldn't read Xander's blackened files."
"Those are classified... I've seen them..."
"And he has the highest classification approval in the U.S.
Government," Riley responded softly. "Higher than we ever had.
Higher than we have now." The 'we' was his unspoken team- of which
Dawn knew, and wanted to know, so little. Only that Graham and
Riley's wife, Sam, were on it.
"You can't tell him," she whispered.
Riley swallowed. "Dawn, I've read this O'Neill's files. He doesn't
seem like a bad guy- actually he's been cited numerous times for
"And that's a good thing?" she snapped acidly.
"Dawnie, this guy, he's probably near the top if not the top of
whatever program has Xander. People get to places like that two
ways- playing it straight by doing what they're told and asking no
questions, or by being a good person and taking the hits they have
to do what's right. I haven't met this Colonel O'Neill but I'd bet
money that he's of the second category. I've met, and served under,
too many assholes who fall under the first not to be able to tell the
Maggie Walsh was a bitter memory for them all.
"Would you bet Xander's life on your hunch, Riley?"
He exhaled, frustrated, before finally replying shortly, "No. And
it's not my decision to make. It's your guys'... it's Buffy's and
Dawn closed her eyes. "They don't- can't know. Not yet."
"Why not, Dawn? Why haven't you told them that their best friend has
"Oh, I don't know Riley. Why haven't I told the strongest Sl... the
two strongest women I know that their best friend has been kidnapped
by the U.S. military and see how they react?!"
"Shit, I, I'm sorry Dawn. I didn't even think about what they..."
Dawn curled deeper into the sofa, trying to ignore the pale faces
huddled around her, and rested her forehead on the couch's arm.
"Xander told us he'd be home in three weeks. He was promised this.
Can we trust this O'Neill enough to take that on faith?"
Dawn wished she was as certain as Riley sounded. "O'Neill's files, I
take it they're edited?"
"Highly. But the fact that he bothered to send them when I demanded
them said a lot. If, if Buffy and Willow are out, I have to know how
much I can tell him when he calls me back. It's going to have to be
your call. These... these aren't my secrets to tell."
Her aqua colored eyes were drawn despite themselves to the sixteen girls,
the sixteen worried Slayers, gathered in a semicircle in the living
room. She felt old suddenly, and tired of having to shoulder the
responsibility she thought she had walked away from when she chose
not to stay for college. "They're not my secrets to tell either."
Dawn wiped angry tears away from her eyes and made her decision.
"No specifics. No mention of your former unit's actual function or
Xander's particular role in the whole mess." She stopped, before
haltingly adding, "Nothing out of this world."
"I understand," Riley said softly, gently, and Dawn knew that only
HE truly understood what she was risking. By forbidding the military
access to Xander's past Dawn was making him a curiosity, a target.
In doing so she might be condemning the man she loved like a brother
to a painful end, three week promise or not.
In doing so she kept the Slayers safe.
"Keep... keep me updated."
"I will, Dawn, I will. I'm just sorry I can't do more."
She laughed bitterly. "You're our smokescreen. That's damn well
important enough. Besides," her eyes traveled to the youngest of
the girls, Francine, before continuing, "you have a family to protect
now. I understand. Say hello to Sam and Haley for me."
Riley sighed. "I will Dawn. And, keep me updated too, either way."
The unspoken possibilities hung heavy between them.
"Goodbye Riley." Dawn hung up, and started to cry.
They sat at the table and chairs in the middle of the room and
glared at each other. Actually, Xander was glaring and Spike was
looking smug, the asshole. He'd look a lot less smug if he stopping
paying attention and drifted through the chair he was 'perched' on.
Xander could see his form start to slide through the solid matter
from time to time.
"Well, brings back old times, doesn't it?" Xander asked with falsetto
sweetness as he gestured around the basement looking room.
Spike's eyes chilled and narrowed. "Oh sod off, Whelp."
Xander crossed his arms over his chest mulishly. "I'm guessing you
Bewitched the cameras?"
"Give the nancy boy a cookie, he got something right for once."
Xander's eyes flashed. "Bite me!"
The Vampire simmered in non-corporeal response.
"So, what, are you the Powers weak attempt to convince me to give up
my free will and blindly follow whatever lame plan they've thrown
together to help me end toward and even messier demise? And aren't
you supposed to be redeemed and, ya know, GONE?"
Spike looked vaguely embarrassed and ran a hand through slicked back
hair. "Well, I didn't feel quite right bounding off to Heaven without
knowing what was going to happen, with the world I had JUST saved you
know. Decided I'd stick around, just for a few decades, help out a
A tired smile quirked at Xander's lips. "Powers Bitch."
Spike's lips echoed the smile. "Pillock. And yeah, they sent me
down to convince you to see reason."
"Why?" Xander asked softly, voice growing heated, "Why me? Why now?
This doesn't make any sense..."
"In the sense that it does," Spike replied softly. "You've seen them
mess with Buffy and the Great Poof, seen that even though the Powers
try to manipulate them they still shape their own destinies. The
Powers don't control the future, Whelp, they just see it. If the
Powers see someone's future clearly enough they use' em for the
Greater Good by trying to give them little violent nudges. People
like Buffy got Fate and Destiny gunning for them. The Powers bloody
well love prophesies 'cause they give 'em an excuse to muck around in
"Humans, normal humans, are fickle things. Hard to predict, or
control. But you've gotten complacent, Whelp, always helping to
save the world and all. You're connected to powerful people and the
Powers started noticing you. Started seeing that they could guess
what you'd do. And they watched and they saw..."
"And here I am. Its my fault I'm here, isn't it?"
Spike grinned suddenly and barked with laughter. "Damn straight!
Don't you go letting those pounces take credit for you backing
yourself in a corner. The Powers saw this coming a mile away but
you bloody well skipped down to this prison all on your own.
Xander glared sullenly. "So what happens next? Bruce seemed awful
excited about my narrowing lack of options..."
The Vampire sighed. "I don't know."
"Don't know or won't tell me?"
Spike snorted. "Oh get off your high horse, Whelp. I don't bloody
know what's in store for you. Trust me, if I did, I'd happily be
taunting you with your demise." The Vampire's voice turned into a
whine, "They won't tell me!"
Xander couldn't stop the laughter that spilled past his lips.
"Why... why not?"
Spike kicked the floor without much effect and sighed. "I gave
Peaches nightmares for a couple of months right after my glorious
exit before the Powers caught on, got all pissy for distracting
their favorite Champion toy."
Xander snickered triumphantly. "You're on spiritual probation!"
"Oh, bugger off."
He leaned forward across the table. "So... these nightmares, care to
Spike's eyes gleamed and he leaned forward as well, pale eyes darting
as if looking for spies for the uptight Powers. "Well there was this
one where I made him the Princess in the Nutcracker..."
Xander wiped tears of laughter away from his eyes as Spike leaned
back, smug once more. "That one... with the elephants... that was
genius!" he wheezed.
The Vampire looked pleased with the praise. "Yes, well," he said
modestly, "it was the least I could do for dear ol' Dad."
"Pops!" Xander crowed before dissolving into laughter once again.
Spike's smile faded though. "Harris?"
Xander looked up, caught off guard by the Vampire's pensive
"I..." Spike swallowed convulsively, "is... Buffy?" he looked away,
unable to finish the thought, let along make it into a question.
"They won't let you see us, will they?"
Spike shook his head 'no' as his hands tightened into fists. "Not
since I got the equivalent of my knuckles slapped."
Xander sighed. "She's happy. Not, 'hey I'm in Heaven happy' but
happier than I think I've ever seen her. She and Giles travel the
world, training and placing Slayers." He didn't want to add what
followed, but couldn't quite stop himself from saying, "She misses
you." A shuddering breath left the Vampire's body as Xander
continued haltingly. "She never says much, you know she doesn't, not
about things like that. But every once in awhile she'll laugh at
something, or look annoyed, and I know she's thinking of you."
"I didn't do it, do this," a pale hand gestured around and at
himself, "for her you know. Because I loved her. I did it because
it had... because it had to be done."
"I know," Xander whispered.
A humorless smile curled Spike's lips as he bowed his head. "And the
This one Xander had less qualms about answering. "She got away from
it all, thank god. She's in college in Washington State- comes home
from holidays talking about boys and clothes and all the clubs she's
gone dancing at. She's grown up."
Spike raised his head and met Xander's eyes fiercely, ice blue gaze
Xander chuckled. "She cut out a picture of you from one of Giles's
most precious volumes. Keeps it in a rhinestone frame by her bed at
Spike scowled, "Oh, bloody hell!"
"The rhinestones are pink and purple. Very pretty."
"Harris, if I was corporeal so help me I'd..."
Xander batted his eyelashes and snorted with laughter as the Vampire
simmered. Neither one would admit how much they were enjoying
themselves. That would ruin the game.
"Well on that disgustingly cheerful note, I'm off to bleedin' report
that you're as stubbornly dense as ever and that the Powers can take
whatever hope they had of makin' you dance to their tune and bury it
six feet in the ground." Spike cocked his head. "Sound about
Xander shrugged sagely. "Pretty much." Spike rolled his eyes and
started to fade but Xander's voice stopped him. "Hey William? Don't
stick around too long. One, you suck as a Fairy Godmother and two,
the redemption- you've earned it."
The blonde Vampire looked at the human and nodded once, in
acknowledgement, before disappearing from view.
AN2: And brief thanks to allygator whose review helped to spark the
idea for the Spike visit. Also, Malaskor, I'm informed you keep
people updated on my frantic updates. My thanks and commendations
for keeping up!