Bay Towers, January 2376
Xander growled as a persistent chiming sound pervaded his thoughts, Q slowly letting the young man out of the dreamless mini coma and back into the waking world. He COULD just switch him back to waking state, but it was better to do this slowly. Whoever was at the door could just wait a while.
Xander's eyes snapped open as his conscious mind took over and overrode Q's mental programming. His instincts kicking him back into the world of the waking instantly.
Q rolled his mental eyes and sighed slightly.
#What's up?# Xander said, noticing that he felt more rested than he could remember being in some time.
#Nothing, just a stray thought.# Q covered, #You had better answer the door.# he added with a smile to his voice.
#What? Oh hey the door's chiming.#
#Oh dear creator; why did I choose you? # Q repeated for the hundredth time.
#My astounding looks and charm.# Xander quipped back. He was actually feeling damn right chipper at that very moment.
The dark haired savior got off of the couch, wincing slightly at his bunched up muscles and walked to the door. "Come." he said, running a hand through his hair and redoing up his jacket. It was about as tidy as he was going to get right at that moment.
The door slid back and Xander's heart leapt up into his throat. A thousand emotions flowed through his body in a rush. So much so that he was almost overcome with them. He wanted nothing more than to grab the visitor into his arms and not let go for a LONG time.
"Hello; Lieutenant Harris?" Dee asked
Xander forced his feelings to the side again, "Lt. Commander." he said by way of answer.
"I'm Lieutenant Commander Amara. I'm your Fleet liaison"
Xander's eyes sparkled with amusement. What did he have to do to stop Section 31 from bugging him? Not that he disliked their choice of agent. "I don't have a liaison. In fact I AM fleet."
"I was told you'd been informed." Dee said formally, "Perhaps you have missed a message."
"I'll just check." he said with a flash of a smile, then stepped back. Letting the door close in her face, a face splitting grin crossed his face when he imagined the look that was on her face right at that moment.
He wouldn't have been disappointed. Dee Amara was looking like she'd been slapped. She wasn't used to her 'marks' acting like this. The Vulcan had shown more interest than her new 'charge' had. She KNEW he wasn't into the same sex thanks to Lieutenant Andrews and some probing into his background files from Voyager. So what the hell had happened...?
Xander used the LCARS panel by his door to leaf through his messages, and found one in particular that interested him. From Admiral Neychev herself, telling him that he was being assigned Dee as his Liaison Officer.
Covering his amusement to the best of his ability he stepped back so the door opened again, "Sorry Commander. I hadn't realized the door had closed." he said with a big smile, "I've not had my morning coffee yet."
Dee gave him a cold glare, "Perhaps Lieutenant you should try to remember that fleet protocol states that you should rise no later than 7am on non rotating day watch."
Xander's eyebrows hitched up. "Yeah." he said with a half smile, "I'll do that." he told her, thinking that that all protocol thing worked well for her. But then, anything did. He had a feeling that she was getting back at him for the perceived insult. Or not so perceived, but it had been done in fun. Even if she had a long way to go until she realized that. He reminded himself to remember that she was currently an active and highly deadly agent of Section. As he happened to lock gazes with her, he totally forgot why he should care about that.
Dee quailed slightly under the intensity of emotions in the young man's eyes. She didn't get a good read off of him, but the depth of emotion there was easily seen.
"Perhaps Commander, you'd join me for a coffee and you can tell me what... well, you're doing here, no offense."
"None taken, I think that would be a good idea Lieutenant."
Xander smiled, "Please... Call me Xander."
Dee looked at him steadily for a moment, before allowing her facade to melt slightly. "Then please call me Dee."
Xander stood back from the door, "Any particular brand of coffee?" he asked the highly attractive woman as she walked past. He tried not to notice the smell of her as she passed that strange indefinable Dee quality that always made his heart race.
"Anything is fine." Dee replied looking around the still somewhat spartan apartment. Hers was of a very similar affair layout wise, except of course it was filled with many things that made it look lived in. None of which she all that much liked if she were honest with herself. Not that it mattered. This was a somewhat more deep cover mission than she was used to, but the execution shouldn't take all that long. At least she hoped not. She didn't like to hang about on this type of mission. She didn't want to risk making emotional bonds after all. Something like that could ruin her career; take her very life away in fact.
Xander came back from the replicator with two steaming cups of coffee and indicated the large sofas and chairs near the picture window. "So Commander Amara, what is it I can do for you."
Dee smiled, "Actually it's more the other way around." she told him. Sounding formal and inviting all at the same time.
#Damn, she's good at this.#
#That she is, but have you noticed anything else?# Q asked him, a hint of amusement ever present in his voice.
#She looks damn good#
#Yes, perhaps, but not what I meant. Your baser emotions are overriding your thoughts. Why do you think that is?#
#I want her? #
#Yes and no, why do you want her, ignoring what happened before, and in fact ignore that she is a beautiful woman. What ELSE is there?#
#Chemistry? # Xander hazarded.
#Truer than you realize. Pheromones I'd say. Fascinating. Either she naturally has high levels or something has been done to enhance them. # Q informed him.
#No shit, wow... That does kinda explain some stuff I suppose. Doesn't change the way I feel though.# Xander replied thoughtfully.
"Lieutenant?" Dee asked, jarring him from his thoughts.
"Oh sorry, was lost in thought... You were saying?"
Dee didn't LOOK perturbed at his lack of engagement, but that didn't mean she wasn't however. He was thus far, surpassing her estimation of him. That wasn't something she was used to happening at all. She had come to be able to read the male of many species, it was central to her work now. The thought that someone was putting her off base like this was actually almost interesting. If the assignment wasn't so important, if Admiral Cove wouldn't be so damn pissed. It may have been worth investigating more intimately. As it was, she'd just have to put up with the mission parameters in which she was stuck. Not that they were THAT restrictive, but she wasn't really used to working in such deep cover. Her own name not withstanding, the background was extensive for this cover story. In fact the job was as real as any other position.... now.
"You were saying?" Xander asked again as Dee herself seemed to be lost in thought for a moment.
Dee shook herself and focused on the task at hand. "I'm here to make sure that any bumps in the road with you integration to the fleet will be smoothed out." she said in a soft velvety voice.
Xander repressed a delightful shiver at her tone and the implied promise in her words. "I see, however, I've been well trained by Admiral Janeway’s elder. I don't foresee any problems." Xander told her frankly.
Dee raised an elegant brow at the Elder comment. Why would he say that unless he somehow knew that Janeway junior, to follow his naming convention? Would shortly become an admiral. Dee knew this thanks to the background work she'd done. Xander should have no idea though. This was one sign that he DID indeed know some details of the future. It could also easily be put down to deductive reasoning. Janeway Elder was an Admiral, thus Janeway junior must also become one too. What better time than when she was a minor celebrity as she was at the current time...
It was early days yet, but the possibility of Xander having future knowledge WAS there.
Dee was actually quite glad of that. She didn't much like the killing part of the job. It was much more preferable on all sides to get 'close' to her mark. She looked at Xander appraisingly for a flicker of time. She certainly wouldn't mind getting close to him. IF he started to show her a little more interest than he had so far.
Just at that moment the door chime went off, startling them both slightly. As Dee had been apprising Xander he had been doing the same back. He was wondering what she wanted, or rather what section wanted. After all, they didn't know about demons just yet. Though the reports had to be coming in by now...
Xander stood fluidly and with a smile he walked over to the door, "Come" he said as he reached it.
'Well', Xander thought to himself. 'Must be my day for beauty visiting' he decided. "Hey Seven." Xander said with a warm smile and tone.
"Xander" Seven said waiting patiently for him to invite her in. Xander did his usual step away from the door. The only invite she knew him give and she obediently walked into the apartment. "Oh I am sorry you have company."
"No it's alright Seven. I think the Lt. Commander and I were almost finished?" Xander said with a raised eyebrow to indicate the question.
Dee managed not to look as none pulsed as she felt from that comment. She nodded graciously and stood in the same manner, "Of course. I'll call in later. Admiral Neychev wants to talk to you. Perhaps I could escort you to your appointment."
"The admiral wants to talk to me?" Xander asked curious, "Okay then Commander. I'll see you here at..."
"3 o'clock." Dee said with a devastating smile.
It had the desired effect, but Xander didn't allow himself to show the slightest nod to just how much it affected him. "See you then." he said with a polite smile.
Seven watched all this with an amused air. Not once since meeting Xander had she known him to be this cool with someone. Especially a beautiful woman. Normally he was charming and friendly and several other traits she tried, and currently failed, to emulate.
Once Dee had left Xander turned to Seven with a much warmer expression on his face. One that had always made her feel. What she wasn't sure, and she generally didn't want to think about that too much. "What can I do for the most beautiful woman in San Fran?" Xander asked
Seven rose and eyebrow at him, causing him to laugh. Her eyes sparkling in humor at him, or with him. Even he still wasn't completely able to tell the difference.
Once his chuckles had subsided a bit he looked at her expectantly. "I am, I believe it is called. Dropping in on you." Seven said. A hint of embarrassment and openness flickered across her expression and Xander knew he'd never be able to resist her anything when she was vulnerable like that. It was endearing, and strangely it was also sexy as hell. He looked into her crystal blue eyes and tried to think of anything but kissing her crazy. He was a sleaze, he realized. Not two minutes ago he had been thinking similar thoughts about another woman. The trouble was that he loved them both. Each for their special features, for what made them ... them. They were opposing sides of a never ending battle in his heart and sometimes he feared it could rip him apart.
Just before her death in the original time line, Dee had told him that she loved him. He'd been unable to tell her the same thing because of the woman before him. What he had come to realize, with help from his best friend and constant companion. Was that it WAS possible to love two people, totally and utterly? But that one had to choose in some cases for their benefit, and unfortunately it would hurt. Xander just hoped he wouldn't need to make that decision any time soon. Hell, he didn't even know if Seven was interested. He'd changed the time line so much ANYTHING was possible.
He may even do what Q wanted him to and run off with Janeway...
Xander shook off that thought and the gleeful laughter of Q and concentrated back on Seven, "Would you like a drink?" he asked her. "I've got some coffee all brewed up."
"So, how are you 'fitting' in?" Xander asked without preamble. He knew Seven like the back of his hand to a certain degree. He certainly knew when something was bothering her. In fact he was fairly certain he was among the small handful of people who could read her that well.
Seven looked at him with that combined vulnerable/embarrassed look again and Xander's heart went out to her. He had a very small idea of how displaced she must be feeling at that moment, to a lesser degree he had felt that way at first in Track 1.
"It's not easy being with this many 'normal' humans is it?" Xander asked. "Voyager was a closed community a very small one at that. To a certain extent you were in a controlled environment. One that you had some control over as well, especially with your Astrometrics hidey hole." he said with a warm smile. "Earth, sorry Terra, is different. Billions of people, all doing things in random chaos. The fleet doesn't know what to do with you. Other than routing around in that gorgeous head of yours." Xander smiled, "I expect that's literally in some cases. I can understand that you must be somewhat overwhelmed."
Seven would've gaped at him if she’d been the type. It was like he could read her inside out at times. It was both perturbing and reassuring. Somehow she knew that Xander wouldn't use that against her. Anyone else, ANYONE else and she'd be worried, very worried. In fact she was perturbed it didn't worry her more. Sometimes it was like someone was telling her that Xander was a good person and that he was to be trusted. Perhaps this was what a 'gut feeling' was like? She had no frame of reference but it would be something she could look up later on. "I do find it as you say." Seven said after a moment to compose herself. "I feel so... out of place here."
Xander nodded, his eyes turning reflective as his brain started to whir into high gear.
#Oh no.# Q said sarcastically, #I can feel you thinking. That's never good. It always ends in something that makes me scared.#
Xander mentally stuck out his tongue. Then he stood surprising Seven who had expected some wisdom from her oracle of human interaction. With a smile Xander held out his hand, "Come on. I've got to go and annoy someone. I think it's about time you and I got to know each other."
Seven blinked a couple of times at him, "Xander wee have known each other several months now."
Xander smiled, "Do you know what I did before I came here? This time I mean?"
Seven shook her head, "Other than you were military for a while, no I do not."
"It's about time I told you. But first I have to try to trigger an old friend into action." Xander suddenly got an evil smile on his face.
Q started in his mental landscape and started at the insides of Xander’s mind like his companion was insane, #Oh dear creator no! #
#Oh yes! #
In Orbit, Judy.
Ethan swilled back another scotch and looked appraisingly at K'Thall. "So am I to understand that you've KNOWN Xander for a while then?"
K'Thall smiled at him toothily. This wasn’t that hard considering.
Whatever her answer would've been was cut off when Judy suddenly turned up next to the man Ethan had come to know as Gabriel Masters or Captain Blackheart. "Captain." the attractive hologram said with a somewhat surprised whisper, "Xander has returned from the planet."
"Good." Gabriel said and started to get up. He was eager to find out what Xander had planned for them next.
"He has also brought Seven Of Nine with him." Judy put in. Halting Gabriel's exit.
"I'm sorry?" Gabe said with a slight frown, "What did you just say." Seven of nine was of course rather famous, she was also fleet. He may trust Xander, that didn't mean he trusted any other fleeters at all! Seven of Nine was famously linked to Captain Janeway and was apparently tight with it. This was a stolen ship after all, and he WAS a fugitive from Federation Law.
K’Thall stood and strode purposefully towards the exit. It was time for her to resume her duties as they had been set out by a goddess. She wasn't about to allow Xander to go anywhere without her from now on. The reins may have to be long, accordingly to the Lady Q. That didn't mean they had to be as long as they had been.
Gabe jogged to keep up with her. Neither noticing that out of sheer bloody mindedness Ethan had tagged along as well.
They entered the transporter room to find Judy had jumped straight there and Xander with his guest was sat on the transporter pad. A big fat grin on his face. "Seven, meet Gabe, Judy and Ethan."
Seven raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at the new comers. The one Xander had indicated as Judy was apparently photonic, and was a very attractive blonde female. Gabe... was a man not too unlike Xander if somewhat more polished looking and slightly older. Ethan was a handsome older man who radiated good humor. Then there was ...
"And that's K'Thall. Hey miss me."
"X'nder, you know I never miss." K'Thall said with a twinkle in her ageless blue eyes.
"That's true 'Thall. So everybody. This is Seven. Be nice to her, or I'll remove limbs." he said, the last to 'Gabe'.
Gabe glared at him, "Can I have a 'word'?"
"Sure thing." Xander said and waited.
"Okay." Xander said getting to his feet, he glanced at K'thall, "Seven's good people 'Thall treat her as you would me."
The beautiful, Seven noted wryly, Klingon woman nodded gravely. It occurred to seven that what had just been said had a lot more meaning behind it than she had at first realized. She was, however, more curious to know how Xander came to know a pure blood Klingon Warrior. One who was wearing armor that was antique to say the least.
"Hello my dear." Ethan said stepping forward as Gabriel and Xander went into a huddle with heated whispering from Gabriel. "I'm Ethan, Ethan Rayne at your service"
Seven looked at him coolly for a moment. There was something slightly off about this Ethan that she couldn't quite get a 'handle on' as Xander might say.
"Just Trust Me." Xander said in everyone’s hearing range. He stood and smiled at the other man, "Have I ever let you down?"
"I've only known you a few days." Gabriel told him mildly, the battle had been fought and won though. Gabriel REALLY didn't like owing so much to this man. At the same time, he knew that he was embarking on an adventure that would be for the good of mankind, and a rip snorting one at that.
"Rayne step off." Xander said curtly, "She's WAY too good for you. Besides won't Guinan be miffed?" he said slightly snarkily. "Come to think of it Guinan is WAY too good for you too."
Ethan railed in his anger and looked at the younger man coolly for a long moment, "I was merely being pleasant." he said, realizing that his path to redemption would be a long one if Xander had anything to do with it.
Xander flinched at something and looked back at Ethan, "Sorry... I've not had my RDA of coffee." he said, then flinched again, "Please don't say anything to Guinan. I'm told it would be... painful."
Ethan looked slightly shocked at the younger man but nodded, "Very well. All is forgiven."
Xander smiled suddenly, and it was an evil one, "Good because we've got some work to do."
UC San Francisco,
Maria Michaels pottered happily around her office, waiting for her replacement assistant to turn up. No doubt it would be yet another vacuous airhead with no understand of books. She did seem to go through them rather quickly. Not that she minded that in the least. She would much rather do it all herself anyway. At least she was assured that it would be correctly done if she did. It wasn't like they were all that busy after all. There were very few books that weren't in the LCARS system after all. Instant recall was all very well, but it did lack somewhat in the experience. At least that is what Maria thought anyway.
"Good afternoon." a male voice jarred her from her thoughts. She looked up to see a good looking young man with dark hair smiling at her. AT his side was an older man who just screamed the homeland to her and a beautiful woman wearing a purple smock. Just over his shoulder was also an attractive but imposing Klingon female.
"Hello?" Maria said pleasantly, "Can I help you?"
Xander smiled at her, "I believe you can." he said with a humorous tone. "Mrs. Michaels, we're here to ask a few questions if that's okay?"
Maria sighed slightly, people always asking WHY she did what she did. Not that this young man looked like a student. On closer inspection if appeared that he had Lieutenant's pips on his collar. Though his black clothing hardly lent itself to that conclusion. "I'm afraid I have a prior appointment..."
"The young woman with the dark hair... yes I'm afraid she ran away." Xander told her with a humorous tone. "Don't worry though I've got the perfect replacement for you."
Maria looked at him nervously. He was starting to put her on edge more than a little. "Oh?" she asked going for the imperious vector of attack.
"She's a student at the University and you’ll find she's rather good at cataloging to the Council’s exacting standards. Or at least she will be. That's not why I'm here however. I'm sorry about this I really am."
Maria backed away from them, "I'll scream."
Xander smiled, "Who wouldn't. But I won't allow any harm to come to you Maria."
Maria's backbone stiffened, "That's MRS Michael's to you."
Xander looked to his elder companion, "Ethan." he said.
Ethan turned to the woman and smiled charmingly, "I must say Ripper, you've never looked more attractive."
"Get on with it already."
Ethan smiled and held out his hands, palms down. As he began to chant Xander slipped to one side and let K'Thall slip by him.
Suddenly with a flash a wild-eyed vampire appeared before them.
The office luckily was devoid of natural light. Maria had always felt slightly uncomfortable with that fact, and never more so than now.
"Arcum Triggartum." Ethan finished off; a wave of power flashed from him and hit Maria like a ton of bricks.
"It's good to have it back." Xander commented with a smile. "Never realized how much I missed it."
"What is that dear boy?"
"Magic Ethan, Magic."
"I couldn't be without it." Ethan said agreeably as The Vampire went for Maria's throat. It was forcibly stopped by K'Thall yanking it away and dusting it with a wicked looking stake.
"Xander. That was a vampire." Seven said her eyes actually wide and shocked.
Xander smiled warmly at her, "I know that Seven. I take it you know too?"
"The Borg.. They." Seven composed herself with a breath, "The collective knew of such creatures."
"I'd gambled on that." Xander said, "This is what I did. Do. I'm a Demon Hunter."
Seven's twin eyebrows rose in shock as Maria moaned in her enforced sleep.
Xander reached into his pocket and triggered the recall, sweeping them all up in its embrace.