AN: Hi. *waves* Ya'll are cool. Will get the next chapter out as soon as
possible. Oh, and reply to reviews eventually. Probably tomorrow. Sleepy
******************* Trick Or Treat: Chapter Twenty Two ********************
Okay, well, looks like he wasn’t the only one with a secret identity. Although,
considering how often the world had almost ended because aliens were trying to
blow it up, it was a wonder that the Stargate program hadn’t contacted the Council
A dozen or so mini Slayers would form a pretty damn strong fighting force.
Not that Jack and company knew about Buffy, obviously, but some of their higher
ups had to. Initiative files were buried, but they were still THERE. Not that
the Scoobies didn’t have to field their fair share of apocalypses. But you got
used to it after a while. Work nine to five, cook dinner for the girls, save
Xander led a very simply life.
But even if the government HAD been smart enough to contact the Council
legitimately, they probably wouldn't have helped out. At least, not with Slayers.
The potential for misuse was too great.
The Scoobies had trust issues.
“So, you have one of these baby Goa’uld things inside you?”
Teal’c nodded solemnly as Jack and Dr. Jackson exchanged amused glances from
the privacy of the briefing room. Hey- no more cell- Xander was moving up in
the kidnapping world! Whoo.
Xander studied the general vicinity of the alien- Jaffa’s- stomach curiously.
“Would it be a major no-no to ask to see it?”
Jack made a disgusted face. “Oh no, that’s really not necessary…” He trailed
off helplessly as Teal’c inclined his head and raised the hem of his t-shirt to
reveal a stomach sliced through like an X.
Xander’s eye widened slightly but he leaned closer, not at all intimidated.
He’d seen ickier. Besides, it was kinda cool to see the big guy relax
fractionally when Xander didn’t run away screaming into the night. The Jaffa
probably got that a lot. Though it’d be kinda funny to see Cecily respond.
She was the only girl Xander had ever taught who swooned at the sight of blood-
after she finished shedding it. “So, how do you get it to come out? Does it
have a name?”
Teal’c tilted his head slightly, the faint trace of a smile playing along the
edge of his lips. “Jack O’Neill refers to my symbiote as Junior.”
Xander snorted and shot an amused glance towards the good Colonel. “Cute,
The older man glared. “Shut up, Xander.”
The pouch flaps of Teal’c stomach suddenly moved slightly, then opened to
reveal a hissing snake creature. “Whoa…” Xander said as he rocked back on his
heels, not a retreat but definitely not getting any closer. He wasn’t
frightened- he just didn’t want ‘Junior’ to get any ideas about hopping hosts,
One migraine was quite enough, thank you.
“So these little dudes are responsible for the subjugation of the universe?”
Dr. Jackson coughed delicately. “Yes, if you wish to phrase it that glibly,
but I’m not sure that you really understand the true scope of the Goa’uld’s
Xander waved a distracted hand in the archaeologist’s general direction as he
tilted his head and studied ‘Junior’ a little more. “Nah, I got it.
Enslavement of millions, pain and suffering and death. I just, dunno, even
after seeing one, expected them to be bigger. Do they get bigger?”
Xander was quite aware when Jack O’Neill hid his laughter in a cough as Dr.
Jackson spluttered indignantly. He’d certainly done similar things. Xander
loved Giles but even as brilliant as the former librarian was, sometimes he
just said and did the FUNNIEST things.
“My symbiote is not yet fully mature but it has reached its full physical
Xander nodded and watched with morbid fascination as the snake, with a final
hiss, slid back into Teal’c stomach. “That was pretty freaky deaky.” He
reached out and gripped the larger man’s shoulder, humor melting away as one
eye met the alien’s grave gaze. “Your people have really gotten shafted by
these Hercules wanna-be’s. I hope you kick their collective asses back to
whatever primordial ooze they crawled out of.”
The words were crude, but the intention, the feeling behind them, was larger
than Xander could verbalize comfortably- respect for a fellow warrior, empathy
for suffered anguish, hope for a brighter future. The Scoobies never did
inspirational speeches well. Buffy tried her darndest but she usually just
came off as bitchy or emotional. But hey, crayons had helped to avoid an
apocalypse. Sometimes simple worked.
Xander was living proof of that.
The briefing room door opened and a tired looking Major Carter came in.
“Heard we were saving the world,” she said by way of greeting, wry amusement
tilting her mouth up with the words.
Daniel nodded as Jack grinned. “Is She-Man back on another planet yet?”
Major Carter’s lips twitched ever so slightly. “Back terrorizing the rest of
her people, yes.”
Jack hooted with amusement. “Go Carter! Like the catty attitude…”
The blonde woman looked momentarily apologetic, then merely pained, as her
eyes drifted over to Dr. Jackson. “Daniel’s little ‘slip’ got her going.
We almost had to use a crowbar to get her through the gate. But Anise is
gone- for now- so let’s make use of our unmolested time…”
Daniel snickered as Jack glared with that particular phrase. “The molestation
was only that one time!”
Xander smiled behind one hand.
“Okay, speaking of that Anise chick, what was up with her blood curdling
screams of pain? I may not be the best looking guy on the block, but I usually
don’t inspire physical pain…”
The question startled Sam out of her swirling thoughts when she realized that
the rest of her team was waiting for her to answer. She was still having a
bit of trouble with the whole Vampires thing. It just didn’t make SENSE.
They were myths, not REAL.
Sam could understand how stories could be exaggerated into legends over time,
but Xander was proposing, no TELLING them that Vampires- suck your blood
walking undead Vampires- walked around in broad daylight all the time. Only,
not daylight because then they’d turn to ash.
Just like Sergeant Mailer had.
Damnit! Aliens were one thing. Sam understood aliens. But demons, DEMONS,
were beyond her. If demons, REAL demons, existed what did that say about
religion and the structure of society so that…
Sam blinked and looked around the table at the expectant faces, feeling faint.
Xander waved a relaxed hand in front of her face, not looking the least bit
perturbed to be telling them that Horaka had to have been populated by Vampires
that Ra had accidentally brought through the Stargate. Never mind the mind
boggling fact that Daniel had already formulated that hypothesis before Xander
commented on the validity of it.
Why was DANIEL of all people cheerfully accepting the existence of VAMPIRES?
He was supposed to form the semi-logical half of the team with her. He was
the one who kept her sane when Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill decided to examine
the finer aspects of armpit operas. He was NOT supposed to be giving credence
to fairytales. Legends. Myths. Lies. Xander started spouting off stuff about
Vampires being demons and the brilliant archaeologist just swallowed it!
But Sam was scientist enough, even though she was bothered by the idea, not
to dismiss Xander’s bland announcements offhand. She’d seen Janet puzzling
over Mailer’s apparent DEADNESS. Had seen the Marine loose his reflection,
drink her friend’s blood, and disappear in a cloud of ash when Xander shoved
a makeshift STAKE through its heart.
“I think I broke her.”
She blinked again and started. “No, no, I’m fine. Was just thinking.”
Colonel O’Neill frowned slightly, but she could see the worry in his eyes.
“Thinking awful hard there, Carter.”
She shrugged ruefully. “It’s an awful lot to think about, sir.”
It was Xander’s turn to shrug. “I dunno, I mean Dr. Jackson was already
thinking about Vampires being on Horaka. It makes sense that they’re this
Scourge of the Goa’uld thing. We just need to put our collective brains
together and figure out what that MEANS. Do the Goa’uld react to Vampires or
just hate their host stealing guts?”
Sam sighed in frustration, willing to put aside her disbelief and doubts for
the moment in the face of the puzzle she had been presented. “Well, of course
the most relevant information is exactly what we don’t know. Since Ra chose to
let Horaka stand instead of exterminating it speaks of how strongly he hated
Vampires. But as to how Vampires gained the name Scourge of the Goa’uld…”
Sam’s gaze turned speculative as it wandered over to settle on Xander.
“Actually, if I’d have to make an educated guess, Daniel’s little fishing with
Anise would be about right. I could see a similar reaction happening between
two totally incompatible species. It would make sense that Anise's reaction
was stronger than Teal'c because Teal'c, despite appearances, is not a potential
long term host since he's Jaffa. But Anise wasn’t touching a Vampire- she was
Xander paled and flushed before their eyes as he stilled suddenly with her words.
“Repeat that last bit,” he asked, DEMANDED, hoarsely.
Sam frowned as she caught Colonel O’Neill’s intent stare. “Anise wasn’t
responding to a Vampire, she was responding to you.”
Daniel could tell that Sam was a little stressed out by the apparent appearance
of demons on earth. It seemed a bit much. He wished they could take a break
soon so that he could manage a quick, whispered, reassuring conversation.
Just because Xander believed that Vampires were demons didn’t mean that they were.
Half the universe still worshipped the Goa’uld in some way, shape, or form,
sometimes a combination of all three. Daniel wasn’t sold hook, line, and sinker
But that didn’t mean that Vampires didn’t exist, and that Xander didn’t know a
hell lot more about them than they did.
“Responding to me?!” Xander squawked suddenly in response to Sam’s parroted answer,
drawing the archeologist from his musings. Daniel frowned as he raised his head
and studied the young man in their midst.
The calm, collected, COLD warrior had been replaced by the almost boy they had
been shown when Xander was first picked up. The shaggy haired young man stood
suddenly, his chair protesting loudly as it was shoved back. He began to pace
the room, muttering to himself, and Daniel met Jack’s perplexed gaze.
Looks like they were out of the loop yet again.
“Fucking hell!” Xander swore roundly as he paused in the pacing of the briefing
room to kick the wall viciously, WAY past caring what some stupid uniformed heroes
thought about him. He had other things to worry about.
Like his moment of clarity.
He growled suddenly and glared up at the tiled ceiling of the room before roaring,
“I am NOT a BUTT-MONKEY!”
“You’re taking this rougher than I expected, kid.”
Xander whirled, and his growl became more pronounced as he took in Bruce leaning
casually against a wall, arms crossed. The man was dressed in a cacophony of
color- orange pants, blue button-down shirt with red wool vest. The human glanced
around the room and noted the frozen positions of SG-1. “I am NOT amused,” Xander
Bruce smiled sadly, a twitch of thin lips. “Really? Never would have guessed
Xander took a menacing step forward. “Don’t push me right now, Bruce. Just
don’t! And tell the Powers to go screw themselves while you’re showing yourself
out of this hellhole.”
The Balance Demon sighed and scratched at his temple. “Kid, I know this isn’t
what you wanted, and that’s tough breaks, but its how this works. Ya think
Blondie wanted to stick her Boy Toy or take the big dive?”
Xander felt a lurch of panic as he remembered those awful running steps, Dawn’s
tears, and that perfect leap off of the tower and into Heaven, a swirling vortex
of inter-dimensional energy. And Buffy’s death was the thread that sewed the
universe back together. Seeing her broken body lie with terrible finality on
the ground was one of the most horrible moments of his life.
Only Anya’s passing had affected him more.
Bruce blinked as Xander’s fist hovered a hair’s breadth away from his already
crooked nose. The demon swallowed nosily as he slowly met the younger man’s
enraged eyes, held in check by a frightening frigidness of barely restrained
control. “Never, EVER speak about Buffy to me.”
Bruce held out his hands, palms out, in a placating gesture. “Hey, hey, no
harm, no foul. Didn’t know it was such a touchy subject.”
“Never.” Not about the important things. Not about the things that mattered-
not about life and Buffy’s too many deaths. The next one would be truly final.
He had promised her that peace years ago.
Bruce swallowed again. “All right, all right. But you’re just as embroiled
now. You’re never going to get out of this mess.” The demon waved to the
sterile room surrounding them and Xander conceded defeat to that much.
“Perhaps. But I know how to take one for the team.” He smiled with wry
amusement as his fisted hand reached up and brushed his eye patch. “But not
even the Powers’ scheming will get me to betray the girls to the government, if
that’s what They want. It might seem nifty to have all the pretty lovely
warriors playing nice together but if I’m doomed to play second fiddle as a
demonology expert and scientific experiment to a bunch of alien killers, whatever.
I’ll do it on my own though.”
The Balance Demon reached into his vest with shaking fingers and slowly lit a
cigarette as Xander watched, disgusted. He took a deep drag before meeting the
human’s single eye. “You may be a butt-monkey Alexander Harris, but you’re a
first rate fiddle.” Another long drag before Bruce slowly, deliberately, looked
away. “And who says you have to be the one to betray your girls?”
Xander froze with those words as his heart stopped and blood roared in his ears,
a thundering rush that almost made him dizzy with their implication. With their
This time his fist connected solidly with the Balance Demon’s nose. Bone
crunched satisfactorily beneath the force of the blow as cartilage gave way with
familiar, sickening ease. It was satisfying in a terrifying empty kind of way
to stand there panting, as he watched Bruce splutter and bleed as the demon’s
words echoed, mocking, in Xander’s mind.
‘The Air Force is going to be in your future some way or another. Don’t fight
it, Harris. The hard way isn’t pretty for you.’
What else did the Powers have to hurt him with? To trap him in this path of
his own forging? Xander wasn’t a moron. He got the free will thing. But
sometimes the options you were given were the ones you couldn’t take. Wouldn’t
Not when you loved others.
“What have They done with them?”
Bruce looked up from his rapidly swelling face and wiped a mixture of blood and
snot away with the back of one sleeve. “You decided to cooperate with the
military too little, too late, kid. Things were set in motion to make sure you
stayed here and were willing to give it your all. The Powers are perfectly
content to leave the Slayers where they are. All of this, all that happens, is
about you, not them.”
Xander considered hitting the demon again. It was damn tempting. But instead
he responded with a quiet, deadly voice- the one he reserved for the truly
great evils in the world. “What have They done with them?!”
Bruce stubbed out his bloody cigarette and met Xander’s gaze through bruising
eyes. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
Faith cursed and started to run as she heard the sirens coming from the
vicinity of the Booty House. Thanks to superhuman strength, she was quick.
Morgan, Angelique and Lana were faster.
Xander’s girls took off like shots into the night, their legs blurs, as the
older Slayer and her own small retinue of mini Slayers followed as fast as they
could. She cursed again as her little merry band skidded to an abrupt stop
at the curb of the Booty House.
Ambulances, police cars- both marked and unmarked- and a fire truck, a FIRE
TRUCK, were blocking the street directly in front of the house. Faith’s eyes
took in the busted back door, the smashed windows, and the bullet holes that
riddled the wood siding before cursing some more.
Damn it all to hell. The X-man was gone for what, two weeks, and people
tried to start a freaking GUN FIGHT in the living room. He was SO going to
kick her ass when he got home and found out all the work he'd have to do.
The three Booty girls headed straight towards the ambulances. Faith sighed and
turned to the tight lipped Cecily. “Check out the perimeter.” The red head
nodded abruptly, thin shoulders set in a tense, angry line.
Faith almost pitied any baddies who crossed the diminutive Slayer’s path.
The girl might have a weak stomach, but she didn’t throw up until she finished
hacking her enemies into little, bloody bits. Throw in potentially injured Slayers,
and Cecily was a walking death machine.
Stress on the almost pity.
Emily and Maria flanked the brunette Slayer as she strode through the throngs of
emergency workers and curious onlookers, face grim, eyes flashing with promised
vengeance. No one tried to pull any shit on the Slayers. NO ONE messed with
Lindsay tucked a dirty strand of hair behind one ear with shaking hands. She wet
dry lips and looked up as Faith, Emily, and Maria, joined Morgan, Angelique, and
Lana. Her eyes strayed to Emily.
She and Emily had been some of Xander’s first girls. Had been there when the
Council was still a dream. When Buffy mourned a dead Vampire with desperate
determination and the older Slayers had yet to be assigned positions around the
world. Emily looked tired, with dark circles beneath amber colored eyes.
The joy, the light that Xander had given his troubled charge was subdued by his
absence, and this new catastrophe.
Lindsay shared a meaningful look with Emily before they exchanged wan, bitter
smiles that no one else save Meghan, who was newly placed in Portugal with her
Watcher, could truly understand.
“What’s the situation?” Faith demanded abruptly.
Lindsay straightened and met the older Slayer’s blazing stare before making her
lips move mechanically, to say the words that screamed through her brain.
“Soldiers. Men came. Broke into the house with guns.” She paused before
continuing, softer. “They didn’t go down easily.”
Grim girls, fighting shadows with bullets, danced in her mind and she shuddered.
“The soldiers?” Faith asked gently, but firmly.
Lindsay swallowed and pulled herself together. “Neutralized. Still alive. In
custody.” Not through anything but luck though. She would have strangled them
with her bare hands, humans or not. Especially after the girls had found Ashley…
Faith picked up the slight current of hysteria in her voice. Bravo her.
“Injuries?” the leader of the Big House demanded roughly.
Lindsay looked away as she lifted her chin higher and willed the tears away.
“Most of the girls are banged up. Kiley, Paula, Maggie, and Rebekkah are still
out doing sweeps of the quieter cemeteries. They… they don’t know. Dawn is
still unconscious, probably with a concussion. Heidi took a bullet through her
shoulder and it chipped the collar bone.” The words, which had been come haltingly
at best, died away.
Faith stepped closer and placed one strong hand on Lindsay’s own shoulder. “And
Lindsay sucked in a deep breath before voicing her whispered reply. “Ashley got
shot in the chest, almost point blank. It did damage. Lots of damage. Punctured
a lung they think.”
“When will she be out of the hospital?”
Lindsay’s bleak gaze was the older Slayer’s only answer.