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Without Mercy Or Remorse

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Summary: Xander's Soldier Memories are more than just memories - they're from a still-living person.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Action > Author: Tom ClancyAnimeRoninFR18640,552154940,23516 Aug 0416 Aug 04Yes
CoA Winner

Chapter 6

Chapter 5B

AN: Alright, up to this point I have tried to keep it somewhat in canon (as far as events in progression – say goodbye to that now.)

{A week later, post arrival of Mr. Trick’s arrival by 2 days}

“Angel’s back.”

At first he wasn’t sure if the stress of the job was finally getting to him, but with the way that she had said it, he knew that Deadboy was back, “Well, whoop-de-fucking-do.”

Buffy glared at him, “He has his soul!”

He yawned, as did Kendra, Faith and Jenny, “And that makes a difference, how? Look, Buffy, I don’t like the son of a bitch, let alone trust him. As a matter of fact, I don’t trust him around you or visa versa. Get his ass out of Sunnydale before I feel the need to shoot it out from under him.”

Buffy looked ready to bite rock and spit sand, but Giles interrupted, looking most distressed, “Be that as it may, are we sure that he is sane and in possession of his soul?”

“Of course he is,” Buffy said in an exasperated voice. “Why wouldn’t he be?”

“Because you slept wid him?” Kendra, for her part, kept most of the venom out of her voice, but the shot was dead-on “I don’ trust him, Buffy.”

“Why not?”

She shrugged her shoulders, “He be a vampire, an’ I am a Slayer – natural enemies, regardless of souls.” She also yawned, but then frowned, “But we have o’ter business – Kakistos and Mister Trick.”

He felt Faith flinch next to him and he covered her hand and squeezed, which she returned, “Giles?”

“Stakes do not harm him, and he is sadistic as they come.” He looked over at Faith, who looked ready to flee, “Can you handle this, Faith?”

“If she can’t I will.” Buffy looked at Faith in a superior way, “He’s just one vampire.”

Faith snarled, “And what about your fucktoy Angelus? He was just ONE VAMPIRE!” Xander found that he had to restrain Faith physically but was sorely tempted to let her go, “Look, B, don’t throw stones if you don’t want them thrown back at ya, cool? ‘Cause my aim is wicked good.”

“Any reason we can’t take him out like we did The Judge? Sniper round from a ways out should disable him long enough to pour down fire on him, real or literally.”

Jenny ‘hmm’-ed for a second, “Possible, but you’d need a source of fire on top of a way to get rid of Kakistos’ minions.”

They were quiet for a moment before Kendra began to giggle, “I t’ink dat we should get de priest to bless de fire sprinkler system. Den we trip it an’…” she left it in the air as Faith began to smile and Jenny did as well, but Giles frowned.

“Instant wide-spread holy water sprinklers.” Xander looked over at Kendra, who was beaming, “Monty Python?”

She shook her head, “Read it in a story on de Internet.”

Faith looked at Giles, who wore an amazed expression on his face, “See, G? The ‘infernal machine’ does have some redeeming qualities after all.”

Giles chose not to dignify that with a response.

+*+*+

Preparations for Kakistos were fairly brief – Giles found a priest who was willing to bless the water pipes leading into the warehouse that the vampire and his minions has holed up in, while Jenny, Willow, Kendra and Buffy all manned … er … person-ed several crates of Molotov cocktails that had proven to be effective, while he set up shop across the street with his M4-A1 that was armed with the ACOG scope and suppressor, but also with something that he had been working on for a while. Tracer rounds were great for general vamp killing, but when he needed to take out something more substantial that ran with vampires, he’d gone to blessed 5.56mm, but those tended to blow right through the target, so he was summarily screwed … until John came through in the clutch. Through tax-payer’s money, he had come up with a bullet that would enter the subject from up to 300 meters away, but as soon as it happened, splinter like a hollow point bullet did and lose most of it’s velocity – combine that with being blessed, and it might work. Unfortunately, though, with time constraints, he hadn’t had time to test the bullets yet, and this would be their virgin trial.

“First time for everything,” he muttered, settling down into place while the rest of the team got ready to storm the warehouse at sunset, which he had thought was a very stupid idea himself, but Buffy had somehow gotten Giles to go along with it while ignoring everybody else. He worked the action mechanism and chambered a round before putting the telescoping buttstock into his shoulder and leaning down to peer into the scope, searching left and right in the darkened confines of the warehouse. What he saw worried him.

Kakistos was an ugly motherfucker – goat legs, horns, with skin like leather, the whole package; at his side was a black vampire dressed in a hideous red suit that oozed money and vampire ‘cool’, but also seemed to hide a yellow streak as said vampire jumped nearly a foot when the Slayers entered the warehouse.

(Hey, Kakistos. Remember me?) He had planted listening devices of Faith and Giles so he could get the general idea of what was going down in the warehouse, but was worried what would happen if they got wet.

(Yes, I remember you, Faith. I remember your tears as I killed your Watcher, Lynda, was is?) The being laughed harshly while both Kendra and Buffy fought to keep her in place, (Tell me, Slayer, who are your friends? And more importantly, who is the young meal across the street who is watching us?)

Before Faith could say anything, he squeezed the trigger and sent one of the new bullets down range through an open window; with the suppressor attached, it sounded like a regular .22 round had been fired, but in actuality the round only lost a little power and hit the black vampire like a linebacker hitting the second-string quarterback. The vampire clutched his right shoulder and began to scream as wisps of smoke curled out of his expensive suit and he fell to the ground, writhing in pain.

(Call him what you want – how about Death On A Pale Horse?) Anything else she said was drowned out by a second shot sent at the writhing vampire, hitting him high in the forehead, but it was enough to get him to stop moving, (He’s a good shot, too.)

(Impressive.) Kakistos looked down at the motionless vampire, (Pity.) He raised a cloven foot and slammed it down into the chest of the motionless vampire, who promptly turned into dust, (He was my lieutenant, but also fairly weak.)

(NOW!) Without a second thought, he zeroed in on the Master Vampire and opened up with shot after shot, as all hell broke loose inside.

+*+*+

(Inside the warehouse)

“NOW!” Giles’ shout brought down Molotov cocktail after cocktail from the upper rafters of the warehouse, which hit the pavement and ignited into a wall of flame that consumed some of the minions, but mostly kept them in place, which was their job, while bullet after bullet slammed into Kakistos’ hide, having pitifully little effect other than being a rather annoying nuisance as he burned his fingers to get them out of his skin and clothing.

Buffy brought up her crossbow and fired a heavy bolt at Kakistos, but the vampire caught it and tossed it aside as another round from Xander’s position took off one of his horns, “Not so horny now, are ya?”

Kendra grumbled as she fired off her own crossbow, “Leave de jokes to de professionals, Summers.” Once again, the bolt was caught, but doing so caused a bullet to strike Kakistos in the throat, which brought up a scream of pure rage, as while it didn’t penetrate, it must have hurt.

Faith, for her part, was getting into the fight and forwent the crossbow she held, instead going for hand to hand against Kakistos, but found that she didn’t fly very well as she was thrown back into both Kendra and Buffy, an action which allowed another shot to land, this time in the abdomen area and it seemed to have real effect as it staggered the Master Vampire.

“COWARD! CEASE THIS INFERNAL TOYING AND FIGHT ME LIKE A MAN!” Apparently Xander’s ability to annoy people didn’t just include the British – he also was able to annoy legendary Master Vampires as well.

“Fall back!” Giles grabbed both Buffy and Kendra as Faith scrambled to her feet, the quartet of them getting out of the way as the final phase of the plan started, as the Molotov cocktails petered out, “JENNY! NOW!”

It started with a ‘clank’ and then a hiss, but soon a shower of water rained down upon Kakistos and his minion army, which had been reduced to only a handful in actuality, and for a split second, nothing happened … and then the screams started. Minion vampires fell to the ground in agony while smoking and screaming, the impromptu holy water eating away at their flesh, while Kakistos himself was smoking and grunting in pain, but still on his cloven feet.

It then came with a loud ‘CRACK’ and Kakistos stumbled back as something hit his chest, and a second later there was another ‘CRACK’ that took out one leg from under him, putting him on to the ground and under a heavy stream of holy water as he began to scream with gusto, “FIGHT ME LIKE A MAN, YOU DOG! I SHALL HAVE YOUR INTESTINES FOR GARTER BELTS!” Whatever else he was going to say was shut up by a final ‘CRACK’ and an impact in his throat.

“Faith, now!” The raven-haired Slayer dashed into the torrent of water and skidded to a stop in front of Kakistos.

“For Lynda,” he heard her say as she slammed her stake into the Master Vampire’s chest. Just as quickly as she was in, she rolled out of the way from his flailing claws and the Master Vampire known as Kakistos began to slowly crumble into dust.

The falling water slowly petered out and both Buffy and Kendra took care of the few surviving minions, but Faith sit in a puddle of water, holding her knees to her chest and was sobbing even as the door was kicked open and Xander came running in, weapon at the ready almost a minute later. He ran directly at her, allowing the carbine to fall to the sling that he had on it, and skid to a stop on his knees at Faith’s sobbing form – with the greatest of care, Giles saw Xander gather the crying Slayer into his arms and hold her even as Jenny came over to join him in the embracing of Faith, her sobs redoubling as they rocked her and helped her through her pain. All in all, it brought a lump to his throat and he could only mutter, “Well done, Faith. Well done.”

Of course he was not allowed to have the parting shot as Kendra walked up and looked at him oddly, “As opposed to medium rare, Mister Giles?” (AN: Sorry, but April, my muse, was just screaming at me to use that one)

+*+*+

The figure was huddled into the darkest corner of the room that it could find, shivering and dong it’s best not to show it, but the chattering of the teeth gave him away; Angel, also known as Angelus, Master Vampire, Scourge of Europe, was shaking like a leaf while Buffy did her best to coax him out of his hiding hole to speak.

“Buff,” he interrupted her, his voice flat and cold, “do yourself a favor and leave the room. Deadboy and I need to have a talk.”

“Don’t hurt him.”

He gave her a chilly smile, “No promises, Buff. I need to make sure he understands how close to getting staked he is right now, and what he needs to do to keep that from happening.” She didn’t look happy at that, but apparently believed him and left the room.

There was no speaking for several minutes before he finally had enough of it, “Get on your fucking feet, vampire. Don’t make me go over there and get you.”

“W-why should I believe you?” The voice was weak, barely able to be heard, but it was there.

“Because you know I will do it, now get out here NOW!” He could hear the vampire jump a little but then slowly begin to inch his way out, “Hurry the fuck up, Angelus – I don’t have all fucking day.”

“Don’t call me that.” The figure walked out of the shadows more quickly now, but it was obvious that he still lacked that edge to get back into the game.

“I don’t care what you want to be called, Angelus. If I want to call you that, I will until you grow a fucking spine and make me stop.” He walked over and grabbed the vampire by the hair and then proceeded to drag him into the center of the bulb-lit room, throwing him to the ground as he did, “GET ON YOUR FEET, ANGELUS! THIS ISN’T SUNDAY SCHOOL, SO HURRY UP!”

“Don’t call me that!” The vampire stood up a little quicker, a bit of a fire lit into his eyes, “He and I aren’t the same.”

“Not from where I am standing, bloodsucker. But then again, at least he had class and a big pair of brass ones that drug the ground. You? Pfbbt, You lack class, brains and balls all together.” He got into the vampire’s face, “At least he did what he wanted and got the job done – you pulled that chicken shit routine of ‘cryptic guy’ and helped only when destiny had you by the short hairs.”

“I did what I thought was right!”

“By not keeping it in your pants around Buffy?” He slugged the vampire in the stomach suddenly, sending him to the ground, “The whole necrophilia thing aside, you are nearly 235 years OLDER than she is, shit for brains!” He gave the vampire a kick in the teeth, “GET ON YOUR FEET, ANGELUS!”

“DO NOT CALL ME THAT, BOY!” The vampire surged to his feet, looking very angry and in game face.

“Well, well, well, you DO have a pair. Imagine that.” The temperature of the room dropped at his words, the icy tone caking the entire place in ice, “Listen, Deadboy, I don’t like you and I know for a fucking fact you don’t like me – deal with it and move on. Now, I’m letting you exist because I’ve had rank pulled on me and while I don’t like the fact, I do accept it.” He got into the vampire’s face, “Don’t make me regret it – you slip and I will dust your sorry ass with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart and there isn’t a fucking person in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory that will be able to stop me. Understand?”

“Why did you shoot me? I was defenseless.”

Alexander grinned, “I know – I wanted you to remember that as dangerous as you think you are and the others are, I am more so and MUCH more ruthless. You slip and you’ll never see me, hear me or know I am there. You’ll open a door, sit on a chair, even turn on a light and that’ll be all she wrote for you, shit for brains, and you KNOW I am capable of it, whether you want to admit it or not.”

Angel then took that chance to grin, “I should have turned you when I had the chance as Angelus – you would have made one hell of a vampire.”

“I would have dusted you and you know it.” He started to walk away but stopped as he got to the door, “Be advised, Angelus – Buffy may stand up for you, but you’ll have to earn the trust of everyone else again. Also, you check out the necks of Faith, Kendra, Jenny, Joyce, Dawn, Willow or Giles and it will be the last thing you ever do.” He walked out of the room and was greeted by the sight of both Kendra and Faith sitting on a struggling Buffy, who glared at him murderously, “Hey, I said he’d not be dust – I never said I wouldn’t kick the shit out of him.” Her struggles increased as he walked towards the exit of the Crawford Street Mansion, “Tell Giles I had to go talk to my boss.”

It was a quick trip back to his condo and it took several minutes for the call to go through, but then he heard John’s voice come through, (Kid?)

“You rang, Boss?”

(Word through the grapevine is that something big is headed your way – Jack wants you here tomorrow morning for a sit-down.)

“Boss, normally I would jump at the chance to get over there, but school comes first and you said so yourself.”

(Consider yourself off of the Inactive list, kid – the lines are saying that something huge is waiting in the wings in your neck of the woods and we need you on the ball.) There was a tone in John’s voice that was rarely there when they spoke, the tone of command, the tone of ‘that wasn’t a request, that was an order’, (Standard drill – 1900 tonight at LAX.) The phone went dead and he hung up his end.

“Well, shit.”

+*+*+

{0700 Next Day Washington D.C., The Pentagon}

“You’re … younger than I thought you would be.” Sir John Patrick Ryan, Jack Ryan, Director of the CIA, stood before him with a look of surprise while John looked to be doing his best to not start laughing.

“I get that a great deal, Sir.”

Jack grimaced, “What has Mr. Clark told you?”

“Not much – grapevine says that shit’s about to hit the fan, sir. Pardon my language, ma’am.” He nodded to the secretary who was taking notes about the meeting, knowing that she probably had higher clearance than everyone else in the room combined.

Jack nodded, “Good, then you might want to know that we suspect that your Mayor Richard Wilkins the Third is planning something big that will get a lot of people killed.”

Alexander shrugged, “He’s let a lot of people get killed already, sir. Why is this any different?”

Jack reached into a file folder and slid over a sheaf of papers, “Because we were contacted by The Watcher’s Council in order to give these to you, Mr. Alexander.” He grimaced at the name, “Please tell me you’re over eighteen.”

“No can do, sir.” It looked to be a copy of a prophecy and a rough translation, “Shit.”

“You know what that means?”

He looked over at John, “Yeah, that I need to get this to Giles, PDFQ, so that we can start working on this.”

Jack grimaced, “Is it really that bad?”

“Four words, sir – END OF THE WORLD.” At Jack’s incredulous look he sighed, “Do you know the score about what really happens in Sunnydale after dark, sir?” Jack nodded, “Then know that we don’t use those four words unless we have to, sir. This could be big and it will probably be very messy unless we get to work on it right now.”

Jack nodded slowly at this, “I have two meetings set up to discuss this – you’re not cleared for the first, but I want you in the second one at 3 this afternoon at The Pentagon. Be there.” Jack got up and left the room, the secretary leaving but not before looking at Alexander and giving him a wink, which got a snicker out of John.

“Joy is going to be pissed.” Xander looked at John and he elaborated, “Bet was made that you’d get out of this first meet with nothing more than a smile, and she bet on it.”

“Boss, does the CIA have nothing else better to do than to bet on whether or not I get a phone number?”

“Apparently not. Come on, we’ve got a few places to be before that meeting.”

The first place they stopped was a Starbucks for a coffee and a muffin for breakfast (neither had been able to get breakfast before the meeting) and they were then on to the DOD for some odd reason. John would only tell him that he had some people to meet and they wanted to meet ‘the kid’, as he was apparently called.

“Alexander Harris,” John started, which was odd, seeing as he wasn’t supposed to be called that on the job, “I would like you to meet Brigadier Generals Maxwell Davis, USMC, Donivan McQueen, US Army, and Admiral A.J. Chedwiggen, JAG. Gentlemen, I would like you to meet Mr. Harris.” General Davis was a short, fireplug of a man, but he held an air of power around him and was particularly unremarkable, which made him stick out even more, while General Donivan McQueen had a Special Forces badge, Rangers badge and a chest full of medals, and Admiral Chedwiggen had a SEALs emblem over his own medals, his bald head unmarked.

Xander stood at attention and almost had to physically force himself not to salute the men, “General, General, Admiral.”

They all nodded at him, the first, General Maxwell Davis, speaking first, “So, you’re the kid that The Agency has working for them.”

“Sir, I have no idea what you speak of, sir.” The response had been drilled into him at The Farm on Day One.

General Davis smiled, “Of course you don’t, son.” He looked Xander up and down and frowned, “A little thin, but Force Recon should put some meat on him.”

General McQueen snorted, “Force Recon my ass, Max. I’ve seen the kid work on tape and he has Ranger and Operator stamped all over him.”

Admiral Chedwiggen frowned, “SEAL training would bulk him up just as much, but then again, he’s more of a loaner and SEALs work in teams.”

Xander held his face in a stoic mask, “Admiral, all due respect, sir, but there are no SEALs for me to work with in Sunnydale – add to the fact that it would take too long to train the others properly and I do well enough.”

Chedwiggen nodded, “True enough, Mr. Harris. Tell me, what is your plan for after your graduation from high school?”

“Depending on if I get accepted into any colleges, sir? If so, I will seriously consider college, and if not, the military.”

Admiral Chedwiggen nodded, “Fair enough, but where would you go? The Air Force is out – your scores and abilities are not exactly what they would be looking for. So, Marines, Army or Navy?”

“Sir, don’t you mean Force Recon, Green Berets or SEALs, sir?” This got a laugh out of the brass and a chuckle out of John, “Honestly, sir, I am not sure.”

The Admiral nodded and looked at the Generals, who were also nodding, “I say we let him choose on his own – if he goes to college, we enroll him in ROTC and let the chips fall where they may.”

“No persuading, AJ, Don. Let him make his own decisions,” General Davis growled. The two nodded in agreement and he looked over at Xander, “Son, do not die.”

“Not exactly high on my priority list, sir.” The three senior officers nodded and left to do whatever it was that they did, which allowed Xander to look over at John, “What the hell was that, boss?”

“Remember that package I had you deliver to Wolfram and Hart? It was basically a warning to leave you alone, that you were ours after you graduated.” This got a raised eyebrow and John went on, “Apparently your gut feeling about the place was dead on target – something isn’t kosher there, even for a law firm.”

From the DOD offices, they went by the Vietnam War Memorial, where John visited a few friends’ names and Xander just stood and let it all hit him as it came – men who had served their country and never returned were remembered here, even as people died and forgot about them. He recognized more than a few names from John’s memories, but had none of the emotional attachment to them, so he went on looking until a voice stopped him.

“Impressive, isn’t it.” It was Joy, dressed in her normal attire, but wearing a sad smile on her face, “Hey, Xand.”

He hugged her, “What are you doing here, Joy?”

“Dad came by to see his brother,” she pointed to a Hispanic man who was openly crying in front of a name that had been recently added to the wall. “The DOD finally confirmed that he wasn’t AWOL and a deserter and gave him the respect he deserved, so I brought them out here to pay respects.”

“There’s always justice, Joy, even if it is a little late.” He watched the man get hugged by his wife even as Joy grabbed his hand and squeezed, “How’s Jessie?”

“We broke up.” He looked at her, shocked, and was surprised to see her with tears in her eyes, “She told me that she couldn’t compete with someone else in my life, so she broke up with me.”

He frowned, trying to think of just who she might have been with that made Jessie think that, but was brought up short when Joy looked in his eyes and confirmed his worst fears, “Me?”

She nodded, “Yeah, she didn’t buy that we were just friends, especially after when Agent Gibbs showed up and wanted answers that he felt I could give him about that murder.”

He sighed, “And people wonder why the CIA and NCIS don’t get along very well.”

“Joy?” The woman who had been hugging Joy’s father walked over, and it was like looking at an aged version of Joy herself, “Who is this?”

“This is Xander, mama,” Joy said with love in her voice.

He decided to turn on the charm a little, “Joy, I thought that you were an only child?”

She smiled at him, “She’s my mother, Xand. Donatella Suarez, meet Alexander Harris, my friend and partner in crime at work.”

He shot her a look, “I’ll have you know that they don’t know that I was involved in that heist of the vending machine, just you.”

Joy stuck out her toung at him, “You were still in on it, even if they don’t know.”

Donatella merely smiled at the friendly banter being tossed back and forth, “Such a handsome young man.” She ran her hands up and down his arms, holding him by the shoulders to get a good look, “And so young-looking too. Tell me, Alejandro, what do you do at Joy’s … place of employment?”

“Until recently I was on the Inactive list, ma’am, which means a whole lot of nothing, but I was reactivated this morning.”

“And you do what, precisely?”

John walked up on the group, “I am sorry, ma’am, but that is classified information.” He looked at Joy and nodded, “Agent Suarez.”

She nodded back, “Mr. Clark.”

“Come on, kid, more places to go and people to see and annoy.”

He hugged Joy farewell and kissed the top of Donatella’s hand even as her husband showed up, “Ladies, I bid you farewell.”

Even as he and John walked off he could hear Donatella begin to ask Joy how long she had known him and why there wasn’t a ring on her finger from him, to which Joy could be plaintively heard whining, “MOM! He’s my friend! Besides, I was kind of hitting for the other team at the time?”

+*+*+

It ended up that by the time that John had finished taking him around DC, he had been to the FBI building to speak with several ‘experts’ in human psychology about people who thought they were vampires, saw where they were filming an episode of The X-Files, and even met with ‘Scully’ and ‘Mulder’ for a few minutes, but eventually they had to get to the Pentagon for their meeting – he was beat from a day full of walking and climbing stairs but John looked to be in his element and not slowing down.

Security there was tight, as he had expected it, and he even got a badge that had his picture on it with ‘H. ALEXANDER’ typed in for his name, probably to make it all nice and legal, but regardless it was a bad picture (they had gotten ahold of his DMV shot and it wasn’t pretty). They went through a series of halls and elevators until they came to a room that was lined with wood panels, plush carpeting, furnished with a projector and a large table surrounded by filled chairs – there were numerous Generals and Admirals there, Jack Ryan as well, but it was the man at the end of the table that caught his attention, The President Of The United States.

“Good for you to join us on time, Mr. Clark … for once.” Jack teased John as they came into the room and John gave him a scowl while some of the brass chuckled at the jab, “Welcome, Mr. Alexander.”

“Sir, Sirs.” He nodded briefly at the assembled brass and then looked at the CIC, “Mr. President.” (AN: I can’t remember who he is at this point, so I’ll leave it up to you to read the books and put in his own name and physical descriptions)

The President smiled, “Mr. Alexander, it’s good to meet you. I have been told that you have first-hand knowledge of these … things … and are going to brief us on them.”

“Yes sir, I do, and I am only going to go over them in broad strokes because my own knowledge is incomplete, at best. I can, however, put you in contact with people who know more than I, and I am going to leave with a warning that Mr. Clark knows about.” At the President’s nod, he took a breath and launched into a speech that he never figured he would ever give, “Mr. President, Generals, Admirals, the world is older than you know it to be; in contrast to popular belief, it did not start off as a paradise of humanity, but rather a den of evil and demonic entities …” He went through his speech as well as he could remember from Giles, amending some things about demons and completely omitting parts about The Slayer, but rather telling them that there were people who knew the truth and fought so that others did not need to. For the most part, the assembled brass accepted what he had to say and didn’t question too much until he got to the end of the speech, when he delivered his warning, “No disrespect intended to anyone here, but don’t do anything stupid like trying to capture these beasts and use them for some convoluted experiment to make shock troops or super soldiers. It is a bad idea, perhaps the worst idea in the long, sad history of bad ideas, and if I ever find out that someone is doing it, be they foreign or domestic, I will find them and we will have a chat … and trust me, I will not be in a good mood when I get there, sirs.”

It was quiet for a moment and then General Davis snorted and reached for a cigar that he had lain down at the beginning of the meeting, “Trust me, kid, if anyone here hears of that happening, you’d better get to them first or there will be nothing left.” There was a general ascent to the remark and General Davis went on, “Methods of termination?”

“Variable depending on the species of demon, sir, but most of the stuff in the movies works – wood, fire, holy water, sunlight and religious artifacts for vampires, silver for werewolves and various other demons, gold for several more, but I have come across several types that must be hit in specific places and also have come across equipment and ammunition that is readily available or easily modified to work.” He gave them rough descriptions of the ammunition he used, also the weaponry he used, but also simple tactics that had worked in the past and many present nodded at the novelty of it all, but also at the simplicity, “Sirs, a lot of this may seem like common sense, but there are other ways to do things and like in many wars, information is key – recon any situation before you jump in and remember that variety is key.”

One general near the President, a four-star Army man, leaned back in his seat, “Okay, for a second let’s say that we do this – why in the hell are we going at this alone? I mean, civilians aside, who else fights these things?”

Xander could only shrug, “’What can more valuable than that which is freely given?’ General, I think you need to realize that if you do this all on your own, you will fail – the civilians who live and fight these things know what they are doing for the most part, and if you need intel, go to them first, but quietly. If they tell you to sod off, do so but keep an eye out in case they ever do need help.” He let that sink in and went on, “And besides normal people, there are other groups out there at present that fight these things, most of them, however, are not in the US, and many of them do not like each other – allying them will be difficult, so if you use them, don’t mix them for fear of friction and possible in-cohesion within the troops.”

“Duly noted, Mr. Alexander,” The President said with a slightly tired sigh. “Now, I want the truth and no CIA bullshit – how long have you been fighting these things and how old are you?”

He looked over at Jack and John, both of whom nodded, and he answered, “I was fifteen when I found out about the real world, sir, and I’ll celebrate my 18th birthday in a few weeks.”

There was a general murmur among the brass, one of which was, “Christ on a crutch – a KID is telling us how to fight these things.” Several more murmurs were heard and The President cleared his throat.

“Is ‘Harrison Alexander’ your real name, son?”

Another look passed to his bosses and he answered, “No, sir, it is not – for legal purposes, I do not believe my real name should be revealed.” This got a few growls from some generals sent in the direction of his bosses and he went on, “And even if it were, sir, even if I wasn’t an employee of Mr. Ryan’s, I would still be doing what I am doing with the equipment that I am using.”

“Equipment that you stole from my base, you mean,” a General growled from near him. “I recognize you now, kid – you’re that nutcase that let that little girl fire off the AT-4 in the Sunnydale Mall a while back.”

“One of my friends were down, sir, and I had the choice of terminating the tango or saving her life – aside from that, the AT-4 is fairly idiot-proof in it’s use.” There was a general nod in his direction about the reasoning and he went on, “That point aside, your base isn’t exactly Fort Knox, sir – for shits and grins I’ve broken in half a dozen times in as many different ways just to see how bad your security is.” This got a laugh out of many of the brass and a look of chagrin from the General in charge.

One of the Admirals, who wore the emblem of a SEAL, looked at John, “Any chance we can get him into the Navy after his hits 18, Clark? He’d make on hell of a SEAL.”

“AJ over at JAG said the same thing, but we have to let him graduate high school first.” This shut up anything that was going to be said in inter-military arguing, which allowed Clark to continue, “Now, is there anything else that anyone want to ask? We have a flight to catch.”

+*+*+

{1600 One Week Later, Sunnydale}

“So, G-man, how bad is it?”

From the look on Giles’ face, he knew that whatever he had been provided from Jack and John, it was apparently very bad, “It appears that someone is going to use the upcoming daylight eclipse of the sun to ascend into a demon of great power.”

Buffy was the first to speak up, “Can we stop it?”

Giles shook his head, “Apparently whoever this is has been at this for a very long time, for over a century at least, and has placed several key elements into place for the occasion, such as this school.”

“The Hellmouth.” Jenny rubbed her temples, “When a person ascends into the form of a demon, he or she must feed immediately, and the eclipse coincides with graduation day, so …” She left the obvious hanging – whoever it was intended to use the graduating class as demon chow after doing his or her voodoo to ascend.

“SNAFU.” It summed up the entire idea perfectly.

“Huh?” Buffy looked over at him, “What’s that mean?”

“S.N.A.F.U. – Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.” Faith to his right and Kendra to his left both began to snicker at the acronym’s meaning and even Giles cracked a smile, but he did not, “Do we know who, Giles?”

He shook his head, “No, only that the person in question is a wizard of some power and has been in Sunnydale for over a century.” He frowned then and looked over some papers that he had in front of him, “Willow, Xander, this may sound like an odd question, but who was the mayor before our current one, Richard Wilkins the Third?”

He looked over at Willow, “Wasn’t that his dad, Richard Wilkins the Second?”

She nodded, “And then his grandfather … Richard Wilkins the First.” Her face blanched, “He had the school set up, and most of the sewer systems designed, too!”

“Hmm, dis give credence to de thought dat all politicians are evil, right?” Kendra was quickly becoming his star pupil as far as quips and one-liners went, with Dawn and Faith in a dead heat right behind her, and he gave her a grin to tell her so while Buffy grumbled and Jenny shot the café au late Slayer a bright smile as well.

Giles coughed, “Be that as it may, we may have our culprit, but now we need proof.”

“So we shake down a few vamps when we patrol tonight, right?” Faith had not let him out of her sight since he had returned to Sunnydale the previous night, going so far as to sleep on the couch with him with her arms around his torso and him on the bottom, as if to make sure he was not going anywhere. She had told him that morning that she had a bad feeling about what was coming and didn’t want anything to happen, to which he had told her that whatever would happen, would happen and aside from trying there was little that anyone could do until the threat was identified.

“That is right, Faith – you, Buffy and Xander will patrol tonight while Jenny, myself, Willow, Oz research and Kendra watches Dawn tonight.” The dark-skinned Slayer beamed at this, as she and Dawn were most alike as far as temperament and likes went.

+*+*+

The attack came suddenly and in the chaos, he almost missed the nearly-fatal mistake – Buffy and Faith had been tearing into the vampires left, right and center when the man in a bad suit came rushing into the fight, calling for the Slayers. Buffy herself knocked him out of the way, calling for Faith to field the ‘vamp’, but even as he flew at her, Xander had his suppressed .22 already in motion.

The ‘vampire’ went down to a single shot through the meat of his left thigh just before he got to Faith, who had her stake at the ready, which, if he had gone on with his then-current trajectory, would have been impaled in his chest. Faith looked sickened as what would have happened had the supposed vampire not been shot in the leg, but then snapped back into business mode as a vampire tried to sneak up on her, staking him as she went.

Xander scurried forwards to the screaming man, smacking him on the back of the head to distract him form the pain, “Shut up, asshole, it’s just a flesh wound, through and through.” He did, however, wrap a pressure bandage around the wound and drag him off to the side of the fight while the Slayers finished off the last of the vampires, “Who the hell are you?”

The man was somewhat dumpy-looking in his disheveled suit, but had at least stopped screaming, “You shot me! Why did you shoot me?”

“You shot him?” Buffy looked enraged, “Why did you shoot him?”

“Why’d you toss him over to Faith? She was about to stake him, so I shot him instead … or didn’t you realize that he was a human and not a vampire?” Buffy, much to his morbid satisfaction, looked sick at what would have happened, but he needed to get back on track, “Who the hell are you, mister?” Absently, though, he wrapped an arm around a shaking Faith, who turned into him and hugged him for most of what she was worth.

“Alan Finch, Deputy Mayor of Sunnydale. They are the Slayers, aren’t they? I have information that they may want.” Buffy helped the man to his feet, well, foot, as he wasn’t working on both of them, “You didn’t have to shoot me, you know.”

Xander sighed and put his pistol away, “Back to the Giles Cave, people – Mister Finch has a story to tell us.”

Once back at the Library, though, it became apparent that Finch had more than a story to tell, he had the answers they were looking for, only they were answers to questions that had not been thought of yet. Richard Wilkins I/II/III happened to be all the same person and was going to ascend into demon-hood, but Finch had been preparing for such an eventuality and had compiled a bunch of papers that proved some of the crimes and things that the Mayor’s office had looked past and forced/advised the police department to look past. It was with a grin that Xander found himself dialing his boss, damning the time differences, “Boss? How’d you like to help the FBI get a murdering asshole and keep the world spinning at the same time?”

John Clark, legend in the CIA, former SEAL, made the extremely intelligent reply of, (Huh? Kid, is that you?)

+*+*+

{2 Days Later}

The day had started out so well – the Box of Gavrok would be flown in that night, the Books of Ascension were on their way to Sunnydale and all was in place for his promotion to near-godhood. Everything could not have been better.

“Sirs, you can’t go in there.” The doors to his office swung open to admit several men in suits, each of them wearing a badge of some type and all of them looking deadly serious, “Richard Wilkins the Third?”

“Why, yes, I am. How may I help you?” While he looked happy on the outside, inside he was starting to rage – who were these people?

“Special Agent Michael Wells, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and you are being served with this search warrant for your private files and the files of the entirety of Sunnydale’s City Government.” He placed a folded sheaf of papers into his hand and men began to open filing cabinets in various ways, regardless of how they had been locked, and were sacking all of the files within.

After reading the search warrant, Richard Wilkins lost the smile from his face and scowled, “You have no right to do this, Special Agent Wells – I will have your head for this.”

“Threatening a Federal employee isn’t the smartest thing to do, Mr. Mayor,” another voice, a younger voice, said as another person entered the room. He instantly recognized the young man as Alexander ‘Xander’ Harris, a student at Sunnydale High School and a local vampire hunter, but he too wore a badge of an Agency, but it was another Agency, “By order of the President of the United States of America, Richard Wilkins I/II/III, you are under arrest, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Treason, Unlawful Use of Government Funds and Facilities, Tax Fraud and Evasion, and Conspiracy to Commit Genocide.” Harris got close enough for him to read the bad and he paled at the words ‘Central Intelligence Agency’.

Special Agent Wells then took that point to handcuff his hand behind his back, “You have the right to remain silent, Mr. Wilkins. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of Law.” Anything else that might have been said was drowned out by the sound of crashing – the sound was coming from the accumulated dreams and hopes of destiny and greatness that he had been building over the past century, and he knew that the dreams were lost as the handcuffs were tightened around his wrists, “Do understand these rights as I have read them to you, Mr. Wilkins?”

“What? Oh, yes, I do.”

“Good, now know that we know who and what you are, so if you even wiggle your fingers, we will put bullets into your back, head and crotch – silver bullets, at that.” Agent Wells grinned, “Our friends at the CIA have known about your ‘infestation’ problem within Sunnydale for a while now and are most inventive when it comes to ways to exterminate said infestations.” That said, Richard Wilkins found himself being lead out of the City Hall in handcuffs and into a van under heavy guard and with weapons drawn.

+*+*+

{That Evening}

“I find this to be the most anti-climactic thing we have ever done concerning a possible apocalypse,” Giles told them as they shared a few pizzas that evening, watching the news in Buffy’s living room while the reporters in the news room went on and on about the ‘vast conspiracy of the Wilkins Legacy’ that had been ‘leaked’ to the press via the Agency. Frankly, he was surprised that the Feebies weren’t taking all of the credit for it, but then again, there was more than enough evidence to say that they couldn’t do so.

“And you’re complaining why?” Buffy mumbled around a mouthful of pizza, much to her mother’s look of shock and horror.

“Because I will not be getting hazard pay from the Council on this matter.” They all looked at him and he began to grin, “Gotcha.”

Buffy looked over at Jenny and then at Xander, “Is he possessed? Do we slay him?”

Jenny only smiled, though, “No, he’s not possessed. You see, we colonials have finally begun to rub off on you, Rupert.” She hugged Dawn, who had taken up residency between her and his own body, Faith on his right, and grinned a little more, “In a few more months we shall have him wearing jersey shirts, baseball caps and using slang in his natural vernacular.”

Giles merely sniffed in distain, “Hell shall freeze over before that happens, I assure you.”

There was a general chuckle at that and then all became silent as the news droned on, a silence that he broke, “So, what else happened while I was in D.C.? Those Sisterhood of Jhe things, Jack O’Toole and his zombie gang, and what else?”

Willow, from her spot next to Oz, giggled, “Principal Snyder got fired! He got a LITTLE too friendly with a bottle one day and the School Superintendent canned him – apparently they were waiting for him to make a mistake like drinking on school premises and, plop, into the unemployment line he went.”

Oz summed it up in a few words and his stoic expression, “It was a good day.”

“Sorry I missed it.” Xander chuckled to himself even as the news switched over to a commercial, “Almost makes me wish that I hadn’t been taking those tests.”

“Tests?” Buffy looked at him oddly, “You went to Washington DC to take tests?”

He shrugged, “Hey, I wasn’t here for the SAT’s, so they gave me some in the Department of Education Building and a few others while I was there.” He reached around and pulled the letter he had gotten earlier that day out of his back pocket, “Kind of scared to look, actually.”

Faith, however, wasn’t too scared to look as she plucked the letter out of his hands and tore it open, “Chicken.” Dawn, Jenny, Kendra and Willow all clucked at him and Giles, who sat next to Joyce, who was still kind of shocked about the entire thing, chuckled at him. “Let’s see – 698 Verbal, 557 Mathematics, Total of … 1255.” She looked at him, her face pale (all of their faces were pale, actually) and then she grinned hugely, “A 1255? How in the hell did you pull that off?”

“He probably cheated.” Buffy got glared at and she backed up her claims, “Hey, he’s got the brain of a 50-something year old guy in his head, so that has to account for something.”

He took the joke as it was meant, “You’re just mad because I did better than you did.”

Buffy stuck her toung out at him, “Willow did better than you.”

“Willow has always done better than everybody, Buff – it’s a fact of life.” He stuck his toung out at her and she sniffed.

“Where are you going to apply for college, Xander?” Joyce looked at him oddly even as he folded up his SAT mail, “Have you given it any consideration?”

“Yes, I have, but I also have something else to think about – my boss wants me to join up and then after a few years I’d be sent to OCS and from there, well, you do the math. If I don’t enlist, then I go to a college that the Company picks for me for a degree that is basically a cover so that I can work in the government legitimately.” He sat back into the couch and Dawn snuggled into his side, “So, to enlist, or not to enlist – that, my dear ladies and sir, is the question.”

Giles grinned, “Does Sir Covington’s offer still hold any sway to you, Xander?”

“Nah, he and John worked it out that I work for the US for a while and then I get transferred TDY to England and work for them for a while, and if I enlist I’d end up as either a Royal Marine or Sport And Social.” He had been grinning the entire time, but then that grin disappeared, “I’m really not sure what I’m going to do, guys.”

“Well, you can sleep on it, Xander.” Joyce yawned, “It’s getting late and you all need your sleep – you have final exams in a few weeks and I expect all of you to pass with flying colors.” She shooed them all out of her house and they went their respective ways, Faith never leaving his side until they were inside their shared condo.

“Alright, Faith, spill. What’s up?” He sat her on the couch and looked at her, “What’s wrong?”

Faith sighed and tucked her hair back behind an ear, “Just thinking what it’s gonna be like without ya here, Xand. I mean, you work for Clark and all, so that means that after you graduate you either enlist or you go to college – either way, you’re not here.” A single tear began to work it’s way down her cheek, “You’re the closest thing I’ve got to a friend, here, Xand. Don’t go!”

He held her close as she began to dissolve into tears, rocking her back and forth until she was in a better frame of mind to actually listen to what he had to say, “Faith, you have lots of friends here – Dawnie loves ya like another sister, Kendra sees you as her equal, Jenny sees you like at least another part of the group and Giles thinks you’re an okay person.”

“What about B and Red? Neither of them exactly go out of their way to be friendly, ya know?”

He shrugged, “I can’t explain their stupidity, Faith – you are a very likeable person and trust me, I know that.”

“Then why are you really leaving?”

He was silent for a moment, then spoke, “What I am about to say never leaves the room – you never so much as think of this conversation again.” She nods her head quickly and he sighs, “One of the meetings that I was privy to was about forming Demon Hunting Teams from members of the US military, teams that I would one day either be Top Kick in or the CO of. I gave them the limitations of the weapons we use the some ideas that have been floating around up here,” he tapped his skull. “There was an almost-brawl between several generals and an Admiral about which branch of the military I’d be going into and I still haven’t decided on that one yet, and then there’s the whole working with other governments who know about demons and all.”

“The Council, you mean.”

“Among others – Japan knows, so does Russia, Italy, Greece, even Germany and France; each have teams that deal with the supernatural and now I’m going to be in the thick of it again.”

She gave him a weak smile, “Never an easy op, right?”

He snorted, “Damned right. Now, is there anything else you want to tell me?”

She shook her head, “Nah, except that if you fall for some chick in a uniform when you have all of this right here,” she ran her hands up and down her torso, “I’ll find ya and kick your ass so hard your grandkids’ll feel it.” She squeezed him again into a hug and then let go, “’Night, Xand – see ya tomorrow morning.” She sauntered into he room / his room and left the door open while he sat back into the couch and sighed.

“Screw the ‘op’, never an easy choice.”

+*+*+

Finals came and went – there wasn’t much in the way of activity in Sunnydale with The Mayor out of the way, save the miscellaneous vampires and demons and even they seemed to be in an early summer lull. About the only action that was seen before graduation was the small war that erupted between Kendra and Faith as to whom would be escorting him to the prom – he’d had several offers already from the ‘cool’ crowd, and even one from some girl named Anya who wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, but being the magnificently lucky bastard that he was, he was able to propose that they all three go together and not get torn apart in the process. Willow went with Oz, Buffy with a somewhat reluctant Angel, who had been skulking around again, and while Jenny went stag, Giles had shown up with Joyce, much to everyone’s shock, and Buffy had been given the ‘Class Protector’ Award, and life, as it often did, went on.

It was two days before graduation, though, when the bomb was dropped – Angel was leaving Sunnydale; Buffy did her best to persuade him to stay, but nothing she said could make him change his mind. He left not with a bang, but rather with a whimper, and for the life of him, Xander couldn’t figure out why he almost felt sad that Deadboy was leaving.

Finally, though, it was Graduation day and everything went off without a hitch – no storms, no vamps, only the eclipse, but nothing could have surprised him more than what Jenny had waiting for him after he had gotten his diploma.

“Xander?” The Gypsy woman smiled and stepped away from the bank of shadows she had been blocking, “Someone wants to have a word with you.”

The person who stepped out had been responsible than more than a few of the beatings that he had taken as a child, but had also been as much of a victim as he had been of his father, “Mom?”

“Hello, honey,” Jessica Caprichine-Harris stood there before him, dressed in a simple dress of blue and her dark hair done up rather elaborately. She was sober, he could tell from her eyes, but also wasn’t the shell of a woman that she had been nearly 18 months before – her dark brown eyes were sparkling with love, her skin was no longer pallid, and she was smiling, something he couldn’t remember her doing without a bottle of alcohol in her hand.

He slowly approached her, as if he were to move too fast, the person in front of him would disappear as if it had been a cruel hoax, but when his hand came in contact with her cheek, he rushed forwards and caught her into a hug that she heartily returned, doing his best not to turn into a blubbering idiot. Jessica, however, had no such compunction and cried her eyes out, telling him how sorry she was and that she would never hurt him ever again.

They stayed like that for almost twenty minutes, Jenny and the others just watching, but it was Jessica who eventually pulled away, “I am so proud of you, my son. I know I’ve never really said it, but now I can.” Her voice was tinged with her natural Sicilian accent, an accent that had him named Alessandro instead of Alexander before his father had changed it, but it was still full of love, “My baby isn’t a baby anymore.”

He gaped for a few minutes before he looked over at Jenny, “How? What?”

She smiled at his loss of words, “The rehab center she was in was one run by a cousin of mine over in Italy – I had some detoxifying herbs and brews given to her to speed up the process so she’d be here in time.”

“Jenny … I …” he walked over to her and pulled her into a hug that she returned, “How can I thank you?”

She whispered into his ear, “Be yourself and that will be thanks enough.” She pecked him on the cheek, which got a growl out of Dawn, but then pulled away, “We’ve also told her what happens in Sunnydale after dark and while she had a little trouble believing us at first, I think she’s come around to our way of thinking.”

He nodded and pulled away from Jenny, only to be grabbed by his mother again and hugged nearly in half, something that he actually enjoyed until it was time for him to make a decision.

“Guys, I think that it’s time I told you what I’m going to do – John and Jack have gotten me into Georgetown on a Company scholarship for International Relations, or I’m going to be going into the Army. I guess the only way to tell you what’s going to happen is to tell you that I’m….”


THE END

AN: Yes, Jwolf, I know I am a Rat Bastitch, I’m Evil, I’m Satan incarnate, but hey, this is where everyone else comes in – where should he go? Army or College?

AN2: Thanks for putting up with me for as long as you have with this fic and some of my others – it’s been a rough semester and now that I’m in summer school, I have a little more time to work on my fics. Thanks, AR.

The End

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