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Trick Or Treat

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Summary: COMPLETE: An escaped Goa'uld, and rather sadistic Powers to Be, bring Xander out of the dubious security of his quaint little demon filled world, and into a not so quaint alien filled star system.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Xander-Centered > Theme: FriendshipKeiFR1547116,45636410491,201,77119 Jun 0431 Oct 06Yes

Hello to You Too

AN: I am Willow! I resurrected my computer from the dead! And it only took
me... err, one and a half months. Whoo?

Anyway, update, yay. Thank you for your patience and reviews. Ya'll are totally awesome.
Oh, and I promise dialogue in the next chapter. Really.



********************* Trick or Treat: Chapter Twenty-Five ***********************



“So you just LET him go? Do I have to remind you COLONEL O’Neill, that Alexander Harris
is a potential security leak and has knowledge of the most top secret facility in the
world? Can I just ask, what in the HELL were you thinking?”

Daniel winced as General Hammond railed. Their Commander was less than thrilled by
Jack’s orders to allow one Willow Rosenberg, apparent witch, pop into Level 27 of
Cheyenne Mountain and kidnap a man, well un-kidnap a man who could hold the key to
the defeat of the Goa’uld. Oh, and knowledge that might re-work the origins and history
of the human race. Whether or not Vampires were actually demons was beside the point.
The fact that they EXISTED was huge in implication alone…

Although Daniel was starting to think that there was still a hell of a lot about the
world that he didn’t know. His head was stilly muzzy from what Jack had offhandedly
called magic, and a woman named Willow Rosenberg had just created a HOLE in thin air
and dragged Xander through.

Xander hadn’t seemed particular fazed. That was probably the most disturbing part of
the whole adventure. Well, that and General Hammond having a coronary over said
adventure. The archaeologist met Sam’s wincing gaze across the room. This lecture was
SO going to beat the one Jack and Teal’c had gotten for setting off bombs when they had
been off-world during the Fourth of July last year.

****************************************************************************

Okay, okay, Jack got the point. He had done a bad thing. He was bad. No more
authority for him. Slap on the wrists, check, and bored already. Especially because
he knew, damn well KNEW, that he had just done the right thing.

Never mind that he wholeheartedly believed that Willow Rosenberg COULD have leveled the
base. That wasn’t the point (though continued survival was always a plus). The point
was that Jack knew he had just passed a very important Xander-Test.

He had let the kid put HIS kids first. Shit, Jack remembered the fierce band of armed
pirates. Xander had been needed back home bad enough that he and his had been willing
to partly blow the careful cover that Jack had just begun to scratch the surface of.
That said something about how serious the situation was.

About how very important it had been not to screw up.

Jack had let Xander go, but they weren’t done, not by any stretch of the imagination.
Although, after Rosenberg he was starting to understand why the kid was so reluctant
to share and share alike. Jack had had to rescue Teal’c from enough angry mobs after
they found out about the Jaffa’s past as First Prime of Apophis that he knew all about
hiding both you and your friends’ secrets.

He wouldn’t be real chatty with the U.S. government either if one of his best friends
could track him down magically from half a continent away, and retrieve him by ripping
some sort of portal in reality. That was some scary shit. Kind of made him wonder if
Rupert Giles and Buffy Summers had similar super powers. If Xander did too. Who knew
at this point.

“Respectfully, sir,” trust him to be polite when the big heads thought he was a screw
up, “we aren’t going to get anything out of Xander unless he trusts us some more.
We’ve been telling him he isn’t a prisoner, today we proved it. Besides, the kid has
a mouth like a steel trap-he won’t talk.”

Jack and George locked gazes, the General’s a glare, as Jack made his own eyes bland
and unreadable. Finally good ol’ Georgie boy exhaled, loudly. “You better hope you’re
right Colonel, because you’ve put all our asses on the line this time.”

As opposed to just his own, he knew, he knew.

Jack saluted sloppily. “Yes sir.”

Hammond rubbed his bare head and sighed before pinching the bridge of his nose. “Start
tracking Mr. Harris down if possible. We may have let him off base, but that doesn’t
mean he gets a two week vacation, not without signing a damn non-disclosure form anyway.”

****************************************************************************

Xander stared at the closed door to room 302 before taking a deep breath and
throwing it open. Even before he was half a step inside the majority of the girls
inside the room were on their feet, weapons drawn. The exact second his presence
registered, the air seemed to be sucked out of the room as the girls, in near unison,
sheathed their knives and stakes and swords and drew back uncertainly. His single eye
raked over them, automatically noticing and examining the bruises, cuts, bandages that
covered his girls. Noticing that Kiley, Paula, Maggie, Rebekkah and of course, Ashley,
were missing.

Xander watched, throat tight, as Morgan glanced at Lindsay and nodded. The older girl
nodded back slightly before stepping forward from the ranks of Slayers to stand in the
middle of the crowded hospital room in front of Xander. He saw Dawn for the first time,
head bandaged, fingers as well, bruised and weary on the hospital bed. She gave him a
wan smile before he turned his attention back to Lindsay.

He’d seen girls grow up quick over the years. It was kinda hard not to when you faced
monsters and demons on a daily basis. It pretty much sucked all the fun out of childhood
when you weren’t sure you were going to live through it after all. He’d thought that
Lindsay was grown- she was definitely the most mature of all the Booty House, himself
included most of the time.

But the young, reserved Slayer who had endured so much, from a hellish family life to an
adolescence that had taken place on the cusp of hell- well one of them anyways- had
changed still more in the last few weeks. Had become more than one of the most competent
fighters on the planet. Lindsay had become a leader in Xander’s absence.

He knew the doubts that haunted his oldest charge because he shared them too. Because
the same what ifs that kept him up at night now would disturb her sleep as well. It
wasn’t a fate he would wish on anyone, especially someone who had meant so much to him
over the years, but Lindsay was strong enough to be more than a warrior and if she had
discovered that strength in herself, then Xander was damn well going to be proud of her
for being good at leading.

Besides, Faith would be thrilled to have an eventual replacement lined up.

“Well,” he said into the silence of the room, “not only did I come home on time, I came
home early.” There was another beat of silence before the girls launched themselves at
Xander, burying him under a pile of bandaged limbs, tremulous smiles, and tears.

Funny how even though he’d come back early, Xander still felt like it was too late.

****************************************************************************

Dawn watched, and tried not to cry, as Xander, dressed in rumpled military clothes, took
the time to greet each of the girls. Watched as he checked over their injuries, and
inquired after their schoolwork, and if they had been doing their chores. Tried not to
cry because she knew that it was killing him not to know what was going on.

But some things were more important and right now, reassuring a horde of emotionally
charged super girls was top on the agenda of making sure the world didn’t end. It was
times like these that Dawn realized how god damn LUCKY they all were to have Xander in
their lives.

He didn’t have to be here after all. Didn’t have to be putting his life in danger on a
daily basis. Didn’t have to give up any sense of normalcy in order to train pre-teen
girls in the arts of warfare, survival, and death. He could have walked away- she did
and hell, Dawn was the mystical Key to the Universe.

It wasn’t just Buffy and Faith who were lucky to have Xander helping them out though,
Dawn acknowledged silently to herself as Xander examined Janey’s left arm and chided
her gently for not watching her weakest side before giving the girl a hug. It was
all of the Slayers who lived fuller, longer lives because Xander had touched theirs.
Because Xander had stayed.

He came to her last, a warm greeting curving his lips, even as his gaze worried.

“I’m okay Xan, really,” she said as her uninjured hand reached out and gripped his
calloused fingers tightly. The man she thought of as a big brother, the only man who
had ever been a real constant in her chaotic life, reached out and touched the bandage
that wrapped around her head as the smile tightened with the beginnings of anger.
Dawn disentangled her fingers and patted his arm hesitatingly. “I’ve had worse.”

And just like that, the building anger was gone, or at least momentarily repressed,
and Xander sighed with sad resignation. “Yes,” he replied with firm and absolute
guilt, “but not while I was gone and unable to get my assed kicked trying to stop it.
Tell me the situation. I want to know what we’re up against. Where are the other
girls?”

Lindsay and Morgan crowded around the bedside. Dawn met the oldest Slayer’s eyes briefly
before beginning. “Well, Maggie, Paula, Rebekkah, and Kiley were patrolling when… it
happened. They’re at the Big House now with Faith. And the attackers,” she said with
a lopsided grin that didn’t come close to reaching her eyes, “they were human, men,
soldiers.”

The anger in Xander’s eye flared to life again, roared, and this time Dawn doubted
that guilt would assuage it.

****************************************************************************

Xander swallowed, and felt very young all of the sudden as he came and stood by Ashley’s
bedside. Funny how he always felt old, too old to be in the business of saving the
world anyway, until one of his girls got hurt. Then he just felt inexperienced- Xander
the bumbling high school geek strikes again. Falls off his skateboard trying to impress
a girl. Almost gets his head bitten off by a preying mantis male eating, literally-
bitch.

And Faith thought she had inadequacy issues.

Ashley looked young too, lying all alone in the big hospital bed. It was easy to miss
how frail she really looked. She was short, sure, but usually she was all energy-
boundless waves of enthusiasm for life and all the sharp objects within it. And Xander
knew how little she ate, it was one of the few things he ever had to fight about with
her, aside from a penchant for destruction that sometimes translated into the breaking
of valuable household items. Well, nothing in the Booty House was really valuable, but
damnit, Buffy got pissed whenever she came to visit and learned about “Xander’s”
carelessness.

He frowned as he brushed fine, shortly cropped blonde hair, away from her brow, his
full mouth tightening as he took in the bruises on pale skin. The wires and tubes
that were trying to give a Slayer life. A Slayer of all people, hooked up to machines
and monitors. It was unnatural, unnatural in a way that had nothing to do with
prepubescent girls fighting against vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness.
That was ordained.

This, this lingering near death, was just wrong. Fundamentally wrong. The fact that
it was men, humans, who had brought her to this was sacrilegious in ways that had
nothing to do with religion. “What have I done?” he whispered in the clicks and beeps
of whirring hospital machines. “What have I lead to our doorstop?”

And underneath the guilt, the overwhelming sense of failure, was the slow, steady
burning rage that came from coming home to find one of his girls shot and on death’s
doorstop.

Because he had no doubt that somehow, through his kidnapping, through his leaking of
the Initiative, some not so nice governmental types had gotten a peep at some way too
detailed government files. And maybe they had done a little digging, perhaps looked
over the surveillance records from the periodic government check ups that Xander had
always chosen to ignore. Perhaps they had decided that an army of Slayers would make
a nice addition to the military.

Or maybe a bill had been passed outlawing research on animals and some bastards had
decided that they needed some new supernatural lab rats.

Who knew how many of Xander’s decisions had lead them down this path. How many of his
failures. “I’m sorry Ash, I’m so sorry.”

She moaned suddenly and he stepped forward, alarmed, only to be gripped by two of her
pale hands as they grasped at his own. “Ash? Ashley!”

The young Slayer moaned again in pain, her face white with it, lashes dark against
alabaster skin, before her eyes snapped open to reveal vivid blue. She gasped out a
single word, voice rough with the effort, before falling back into the bed, curled
into a ball surrounded by tubes and still MORE fucking tubes.

His feet sounded loud in the hallway as he raced towards the nurse’s station, bellowing
for Dorothy all the while. The large woman rounded a corner, took one look at Xander’s
panicked expression, and bolted towards Ashley’s room, Xander hot on her heels.

****************************************************************************

He stood alone in the hallway outside of the ICU, where Ashley had been taken nearly
seven hours before. Four empty plastic chairs were lined against the wall beside him
but Xander ignored them all. He wanted to pace, but the fury building to a steady blaze
wouldn’t let him, so he stood, back rigid, his single eye glued to a white patch near
eye-level on the opposite wall.

A single word echoed in his skull, one single FUCKING word.

Kinsey.

Ashley had screamed out ‘Kinsey’.

‘Do you know anyone by the name of Kinsey?’

Alexander Lavelle Harris was going to skin Colonel Jack O’Neill, U.S. Air Force alive
when he found him. With a spoon.

****************************************************************************

“Come on, Carter, I all but promised the kid a few days break from interrogations and
saving the world before we’d descend on him again.”

Sam sighed and resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “Sir, respectfully, I don’t know
about you, but General Hammond was NOT pleased about your decision to let Xander go free.
Giving him a three day vacation is probably not going to earn you any brownie points.”

“Aww, Carter, he just got a bit touchy about a two week vacation…”

Her commanding officer was a smart ass.

Never mind that finding Xander’s home a crime scene somewhat unsettled them all and
partly explained that Willow’s hurry. Not that Sam condoned someone attempting to
rewrite the laws of Physics, but, still. SG-1 was dressed in civilian clothes but a
few flashes of identification at the crime scene had given them the probable location
of their missing guest- Santa Ruiz hospital.

Even more reason for pause. But there WAS national security at stake…

“Brownie points?” Teal’c asked delicately, incidentally showing the first interest in
food he’d had since some sort of technology, NOT magic, had left SG-1 disoriented and
no little queasy in the briefing room. Sam would REALLY like to spend a few minutes
alone, in a room, with that Willow Rosenberg.

“Not as good as they sound,” Daniel remarked offhandedly as he studied the map of the
hospital displayed prominently in the lobby next to the exorbitantly priced gift shop.
“Have you had brownies yet, Teal’c?”

“Geeze, come one guys…”

“I do not believe so Daniel Jackson. I sampled the chocolate confection called fudge
at Major Carter’s Christmas celebration last year. It was most satisfactory.”

“Thanks, Teal’c.”

“Carter!” Colonel O’Neill barked sharply. “Aren’t we looking for Xander and his merry
band of pirates?”

She hid a smile, worked every time. Sam carefully schooled her expression. “Yes, sir,
of course.”

Daniel rubbed the five o’clock shadow darkening his chin. “It’d probably just be
easiest to ask. Xander is the children’s’ ward- they should be listed under his name.”

Colonel O’Neill stared at Daniel for a moment before sighed. “Well, Daniel, what are
you waiting for? Go ask!”

The archaeologist raised his brows at the brusque tone and held firm in indignation for
all of thirty seconds before his shoulders slumped and he trudged off towards the
reception desk, a hat wearing alien in tow. “Sir,” she chided gently.

Her commanding officer glowered at her for a moment before sighing. “I just wanted to
give the kid more time,” he whined, “and besides, you know how much nurses love Daniel.
He’s out ticket in. If we’re going to do this, we should at least do it right.”

“You know, sir, just because we find Xander doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to
return him to base as soon as possible. After all, our primary objective is to insure
that a security breach does not become an issue. Apart from that I believe, as SG-1, we
such a thorough understanding of delicate issues that we may trust our own judgments,
even if that means keeping Xander Harris in Cleveland for a few more days.”

Jack O’Neill stared at her for a moment before breaking into guffawing laughter. “Geeze,
Carter, I’ve rubbed off on you more than I thought. What would the Air Force Academy
say to that?”

Sam’s lips quirked. “Probably- about damned time.”

“Hey guys,” Daniel called from the elevator, “we’re heading up to the ICU, floor five.
You coming?”

****************************************************************************

Shit, ICU? Jack could feel the frown lines on his face deepening as the elevator
dinged open and his team stepped off onto the fifth floor. “So the pretty little nurse
didn’t slip you anymore information?”

Daniel wrinkled his nose at the older man disapprovingly. “Jack, please. Amy just said
that there’s two patients, one in room 302, the other intensive care.” Amy, of course.
Every freaking time with the nurses. “I figured, even from what little we know of
Xander, that he’ll be at intensive care.”

Jack wouldn’t be willing to bet against that. “All right, all right, but let me do
the talking, okay?”

Daniel snorted skeptically while Carter and Teal’c remained suspiciously silent.
Traitors.

SG-1 rounded the corner into a small, mostly empty waiting room. Empty save for one
man who stood brooding, in borrowed BDUs. Xander looked up as they entered and the raw
fury on his face almost stopped Jack cold. What in the hell?

He rocked back on his heels and studied the younger man for a moment before cautiously
greeting him. “So, Lavelle, how’s that working out for you?”

Xander moved so fast, Jack barely had time to register the right hook that crashed
into his jaw. Just the god awful blinding pain.
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