The Best Medicine
AN: At last, Jack talking. Xander talking. Jack and Xander talking
to each other even. Rejoice. (And please let me know if it sucks...
expectations freak me out...)
A quick note on the timeline: in Angel-verse Angel took over Wolfram
and Hart but Season Five, didn't happen (no Spike- as much as I ADORE
him, etc...). Take the ending of Season Four/ beginning of Season Five
and tack a few years on. Just clarifying. :)
**************** Trick-Or-Treat: Chapter Six ******************
Jack watched as Xander's hysterical laughter quieted and the boy, man,
boy man, whatever, wiped away the tears streaming down his cheeks
through desperate wheezes for air. "Man," he finally hiccupped, "I
seriously wasn't expecting that."
"What?" Daniel asked earnestly as he leaned forward, all ready to try
to figure out his newest cultural puzzle- someone who actually GOT
Colonel O'Neill's humor.
Xander swallowed a pretty obvious smile. "A joke. Usually military
guys are more with the 'grr-boom' not the 'ha-ha'."
It was Jack's turn to blink. Grr-boom?
Carter stifled snickering laughter and whispered, "California," to
him loudly, from halfway across the room. Thank you Major Obvious.
Xander shrugged and winced at the movement, one hand going to touch
what was probably one throbbing head. "S'okay, it's a generational
thing. Most older people never know what I'm talking about because
first I start with the rambling, then followed by the stammering,
and closing with an embarrassed silence." Which, finishing that
doozy of a sentence, Xander lapsed into.
Doozy? Geeze, Jack really was getting old. Hey! "Old?!"
Carter snickered out loud this time as Xander looked slightly
panicked. "Not... not old, emphasis on the 'er' not the 'old'. Not
old, 'er'... and this would be the stammering. Anyone, feel free to
break in because..."
"You have no reason to fear us Xander Harris."
Jack and Xander both shot Teal'c a grateful look and the alien,
looking passively pleased, inclined his head ever so slightly.
This time it was Janet who snorted with barely contained laughter
and Jack scowled darkly in both women's direction.
"So... umm... I'm in a... hospital?" Xander asked finally, bringing
Jack's attention back to where it probably should have been the
entire time- on their unexpected guest.
"You're in an Air Force base that has a hospital," Jack replied
carefully and watched as the young man's face tightened slightly at
"In... in Ohio?"
Jack shifted uncomfortably. Questions were bad for the whole secret
identity thing. "In Colorado." Watched as Xander withdrew into
himself even more.
Shit, shit, shit in a GOLD plated bucket. He should just take a job
shoveling manure- he spent enough time mucking around in it- he might
as well get PAID for it. Colorado? They freaking kidnapped him and
brought him to COLORADO? He had been expecting the whole top-secret
military base thing because hey, been there, SO done that but
couldn't they have least decided to dissect him in-state?
He was working himself up to 'Snowball in Hell' pretty damn quickly
on the 'How Screwed Are You' scale of dangerous things. Considering
that ranked right below 'Resurrection of the Master', that was no
light thing in and of itself. So basically, panic mode was setting
in, which made him cranky and somewhat babbly.
Willow had rubbed off over the years though, not literally, because,
And he could SO tell that they were waiting for him to start asking
some classified related things and if Xander was a better actor he
would but honestly, he just didn't want to know. Didn't give one
flying flip about arm patches or snakes crawling down his throat,
or the fact that something was seriously up with Hat Dude.
Who talked like that anymore? Even demons were usually better at the
whole syntax thing. Not that Xander cared. As long as Hat Dude
wasn't trying to actively kill anything Xander-shaped, power to him.
It was good to be different nowadays. Unless the whole different
thing caught the eye of the Air Force then, then individuality was
more of the bad.
Xander wanted Willow and Buffy. He wanted a Willow Buffy sandwich
hug and he REALLY wanted the power of potent Willow Buffy threats.
It just never made the same impact when he told someone that he was
planning on ripping out their ribcage and wearing it as a hat.
He was desperate so be began to twiddle his thumbs as he slowly said,
"Okay, Colorado. Good skiing, or so I've heard. Never really been
because of the whole growing up in California thing." And afterward
in Cleveland, wasn't much time for vacations since he was usually
trying to raise and train about a dozen mini-Slayers.
"Yes, Sunnydale, right?" Earnest Glasses Man asked and Xander
flinched. They had looked up his record. Of COURSE they had looked
up his record. He really shouldn't have expected anything different
and its not like they could know too much. Even if they were some
top-secret program thing the Initiative fiasco had been very bad for
the wackos who had authorized it.
Willow had done some serious hacking a few years back so she could
check out just what was in all those reports. She couldn't erase
them without metaphorically kicking an angry beehive but she had
managed to find out that those files weren't just classified- they
were buried, like under six feet of paper work buried. Which suited
the Scooby Gang just fine.
Although it had been kinda nifty to read about himself in the
reports. Riley had had some good things to say about him.
Blinking, he realized he still hadn't answered Glasses and so he
nodded mutely. One of the women, Blondie, seemed to take pity on
him and moved to stand by his bedside and pat his hand. She was
tall, very tall, and pretty. Xander wasn't exactly caring at this
point but some things, some things a man just noticed. Apparently
even gay guys noticed.
Or so Andrew claimed. Of course, considering the fact that Andrew
wasn't gay until Dillan has gotten him hooked on Queer Eye for the
Straight Guy a few months ago and that he had never been out on a
date with a man, or a date period for that matter, Xander had his
doubts. Willow was probably the better choice for asking about
"Xander, I know this seems overwhelming but we really just brought
you here for you own good." Oh, Blondie was using a soothing voice
but Xander wasn't a dummy. He saw through her womanly charms!
"Do... do you remember what happened before?"
He considered playing dumb, or dumber, but wasn't sure he could pull
it off. Especially with Leader Man watching him so closely.
Something told Xander that Mr. I'm In Charge would see through any
more of a convoluted act in a second. "If you mean, do I remember
some guy dressed up like an Egyptian running into me, going all Glow
Worm Eyed, dieing, and spitting some snake thing up that then crawled
down my throat? Then yes, I'd have to say I remember."
Blondie smiled tightly at him. "That's great Xander. But do you
remember after, how you...?" she trailed off, clearly waiting for
him to take over again.
He raised his brows. "How I spit it back up?"
The tight smile turned into a beaming one and she pat his hand again.
"Exactly! Do you remember how you spit it back up?"
Xander stared up at her with his one good eye and in all innocence
said, "Good gag reflex?"
This time it was Jack snorting back laughter. The kid was a riot,
especially because he could tell that Xander was scared shitless and
lying through his teeth. Lying with every ounce of bravado he could
muster- lying Colonel Jack O'Neill style. Jack, despite himself, was
more than mildly impressed. Although Jack wasn't entirely sure what
the hell Xander was so scared about, OR what he was lying about.
Yeah, waking up in a military hospital had to be kind of freaky but
the kid was seriously coming unhinged.
In a very controlled Jack O'Neill fashion.
"Umm, can I ask a quick question?"
Jack and his team tensed despite themselves but Carter, damn her,
smiled brightly and nodded encouragingly, again. Like Xander SO
didn't see through her mothering. Jack could read people well enough
to see that it had taken their patient all of about five seconds to
recognize and catalogue Carter's actions for what they were- a kind
form of interrogation.
Xander's nervous hands stopped their twitching for a moment as his
one good eye locked with Jack's. "So, my head hurts like a bitch
and well, it's getting really confusing to keep you all straight in
my very unhappy head. I don't suppose I could get your names along
with an introduction or something, could I?"
Jack felt like a heel. No wonder the kid was freaked. They had
come pouring into the infirmary knowing his name and having read his
file, ready to start firing off questions all without introducing
themselves. Daniel sniggered suddenly and Jack kicked his favorite
archeologist no so subtly on the shin.
Daniel not so subtly scooted his chair further away from his
commander as he sent Jack a dark look.
Xander felt a smile twitching at the corners of his lips as he
watched Glasses inch away from his superior, looking very
disgruntled. Not that Xander blamed him. Old or not, Leader Dude
was probably Special Ops trained and most likely knew how to kick
some serious ass, even in joking. Had to be Special Ops trained-
he held himself like it, moved like it. Like Buffy did. Like
Xander remembered doing.
"Sorry Xander, is it all right if we call you Xander instead of Mr.
Harris?" Oh sure, why the hell not? Xander nodded in agreement
warily and Leader Dude grinned slightly. "I'm Colonel Jack O'Neill,
USAF. My 2IC would be Blondie standing at your bedside, Major
Samantha Carter. Your doctor is the ever lovely Dr. Janet Frasier
and," Jack O'Neill stuck a thumb out in Glasses' direction, "this is
Dr. Daniel Jackson. Dr. of Archeology, not medicine. Sometimes
there's a bit of confusion over that."
Samantha Carter stifled a little giggle over that last bit for some
unknown reason and Xander found himself relaxing with these people
despite himself. They were too good natured for him to keep his
guard up. Only person who had ever laughed when being truly evil had
been Mayor Wilkins and well, he had always given Xander the wiggins.
Though maybe the whole sunshine and daisies thing had been part of
the reason why Faith had been drawn to him so strongly. Of course
Faith had been pretty wig worthy a lot of the time back then too.
Not that Xander hadn't had his asshole moments himself, most of which
involved Angel or the fiasco that was the First.
He wasn't dense enough, or in enough denial, to not admit that both
had a lot to do with Buffy. Buffy and Angel, Buffy and Spike... A
large part of Xander would always hate Angel. The en-souled vampire
wouldn't find his redemption through Xander or Giles's blessings but
facing some hard truths in the past ten or so years, growing up, had
shown Xander that he had more than his fair share of hypocritical
And Spike, a larger part of him would always regret the pain they,
her family, caused Buffy with the First, most of which revolved in
some way around Spike. Xander would never take back fighting with
the blonde vampire, Spike had enjoyed it as much as he had, but
Spike had redeemed himself in Xander's eyes while Angel never could.
Xander and Buffy has talked some, not nearly enough, but they had
talked enough over the years to work things out, say the things that
had to be said.
Apologize for the things that should have never been said.
Xander shook himself out of his musings and sternly reminded himself
that, joking aside, military was still a big no, no. He was not to
feel anything but blind terror and anger when in their care because
laughter led the way to relaxation and vital secrets being spilled.
BIG no, no.
"Last," Jack continued, "though certainly not least, is Murray."
Murray? Hat Dude's name was Murray? And Xander just could NOT stop
himself from quipping, "So, Murray, that has got to suck." And that,
combined with the blank looks of the five people around him, set him
off laughing once again.
So much for taking his own advice. Bad Xander.