AN: (mini-rant) You know, for the past four days I’ve been trying to get this chapter done and got no further than the first two paragraphs, but tonight, as I was exhausted and opened this up by accident, I finished the chapter in the past two hours – that sucks simply because I’ve wasted three and a half days just sitting here! It was GORGEOUS outside all weekend and I didn’t enjoy it. (huff) Do the writing gods do this to us on occasion, or is it just me? NM, here’s the next part of Suiting Up.
(Sunnydale High School, Night, months later)
Jenny ran frantically, gasping for breath even as her attacker and worst nightmare come true laughed at her and followed her at an almost leisurely jog as she found herself to be quickly running out of room to run. That room to run ran dry even as she ran into a pair of doors that, for the first time in months, were locked, which made her pursuer laugh at her in a cold tone.
“Ah, Janna, I see you’ve finally run out of room to run – good, that will make killing you that much sweeter.” Angelus, Scourge of Europe, had been terrorizing them for weeks now, Buffy not doing her job because she could not see past her love for the man who wore a demon’s face, and now Jenny knew that she was going to die, painfully, just because Buffy could not listen to ANYONE and not have the good sense to not fall in love and grant a moment of pure happiness to a vampire. “Fear makes the blood taste so much sweeter, you know. I’m going to gorge myself on your blood for days!”
It was at that point, that one absolutely terrifying point that Janna Kalderash, of the clan Kalderash, knew that Angelus was going to kill her even as he walked forwards, that a third voice made itself known, a male voice that she was never so glad to hear even though it was level, glacial and slightly distorted, “Go on a diet, overbite.” From a bank of shadows a trio of bright orange balls of light erupted and slammed into Angelus’ back, pitching him forwards and slamming him into the ground, hard, even as from that bank of shadows came the sounds of heavy boots hitting the tile in a slow, steady rhythm. From the darkness came, first, the barrel of a smoking cannon, black as night and gleaming slightly in the pale moonlight that was filtering in from a near-by window, a cannon that grew in length to include first an extended arm and then a gray and black suit of armor that made her shiver slightly with the aura of mystery and death that surrounded it even as the cannon continued to train on Angelus’ now-limp form, firing twice more before lowering to the armored side. The figure in the armor looked at her through a blood red visor and she was sure he was smiling even as he spoke, “Now, Miss Calendar, what did you mother tell you about letting strange men follow you around the jobsite?”
“To make sure they weren’t married or your boss,” she answered somewhat absently even as her mind raced to place the voice. Buffy, Rupert and even Willow had not been able to tell her the identity of this hunter, though she figured they did know only they did not trust her enough to tell her his name, but she had guessed a few things and pieced together a few more to put a possible face to the armor, “Is that you, Xander?”
“Harris,” Angelus snarled even as he took off from the floor with fantastic speed, dodging the veritable wall of energy blasts that the armored ‘knight’ let loose at the back of said fleeing vampire, but only one or two actually hit and with that, Angelus was gone, leaving Jenny and whom she thought was Xander.
“You know, if I ever figure out a way to power this damned Power Beam up even more, I'm going to make it to where a single shot will blow a vampire apart, no questions asked and no mercy for anyone who gets caught in the crossfire.” Jenny could hear the fury in the voice of the man as the helmet cracked open, allowing a hiss of escaping gas to be heard before his face came into view, showing that it was indeed her student, Xander Harris, inside of the suit.
“Xander, not that I am not thankful for your rather fortuitous intervention, but what are you doing here, where did you get that armor and why am I only learning about it now?”
He looked at her oddly, “In reverse order, I asked them not to tell you until I was sure I could trust you with this kind of secret, the armor, at best guess, was made real when the explosion of the bust of Janus, the focus of the Halloween Chaos spell, let out a massive burst of energy that possibly transmogrified it into reality, and I figured you would be the one Angelus came after, as you were the only one with access to the spell that could give him back his soul, so I’ve been following you around after school for the past few days … and nights.” Before she had a chance to answer, he closed his helmet and … faded from view completely, causing her to gape and tentatively pass a hand where he had been.
“Xander? Where are you?”
“Behind you, Jenny. Now, let’s get to G-man’s house – we need to have a talk with him about this. If nothing else, we might get a chance to get it through Buffy’s head that Angel and Angelus are two separate people.”
Jenny turned, confident that Xander would stay where he was, and walked down the hall and back to her computer lab, wincing at the sight of her thrashed computer terminal, “Well, so much for the soul spell.”
“Not necessarily – I hacked the original scanned copy out of there hours ago, Jenny, just seconds after you put it in there, actually so it’s safe, in my armor’s computer banks.” Jenny stumbled a second and blinked in shock at the claim, unable to fathom that Xander had done such a thing, given his less-than-stellar grade in her class, “Let me guess, you’re wondering about my grades? I’m used to more advanced technology now, Jenny – compared to the stuff I can use, hell, build, the computers on Earth are … archaic.”
“Are you able to read minds, Xander?”
“I hope not – seeing you hitting on G-man last night was enough to give me nightmares. I don’t want to know what’s going on in your mind when you’re around him.” Jenny smiled at the semi-serious tone the disembodied voice had even as she grabbed her bag and made for the door, intent on seeing Rupert and his cadre.
Giles sat back in his seat as Jenny delivered the news of what had happened at the school that night and Buffy, for her part, felt her stomach clench and forced herself to not become physically ill even as Willow snarled a vile oath about Angelus and stormed off, Oz and Cordelia both looked more than a little lost and Xander … well, she wasn’t sure what Xander was doing inside of his armor, but whatever it was, it probably included gloating about him being right and her being wrong.
“So, now that we have definitive proof that Angelus needs to be eliminated,” Willow said as she came back into the room, her pale skin flushed with anger even as Oz’s eyebrow went up in both appreciation and attention, “how do we go about it?”
Buffy reacted on instinct, “We can’t, Willow! He’s … he’s still Angel in there, somewhere. Besides, Xander said he had the spell in his computer, so now he can give it to Jenny and, and we can have Angel back.”
“No, so YOU can have Angel back, Buffy.” Buffy looked over at the disembodied voice in a look of both pure betrayal and shocked anger even as Xander went on, “The rest of us aren’t living in a dream world and can see the reality of the fact that Angelus needs to be destroyed, or at least otherwise removed from the field of play.” She heard him sigh again, this time in disgust, “And I need to seriously consider amping up the power on my cannon – I hit the bastard four times, center-mass, and it only knocked him loopy for a few seconds.”
“Be that as it may, Xander, I want you to give Jenny a copy of the spell in hopes that she can translate it – if necessary, we can give Angelus his soul back.” Buffy looked over at Giles, grateful that he had at least shown some reason in the matter, but the look he shot back at her made her pause, “And no, I am not siding with you on this, Buffy – he destroyed Eghyon, and I owed him, so you can consider this his last free ride. If the spell does turn out to possibly work and it doesn’t, I am going to authorize Xander to find Angelus and destroy him, once and for all, by any means necessary.”
Jenny smirked at that, “As opposed to the way he tried to tickle him tonight, Rupert? He put out enough of those energy blasts of his to light up Sunnydale for a few hours, I am sure.”
“Ten minutes, Jenny, and the son of a bitch got lucky I only hit him as few times as I did.” Xander faded into view now and removed his helmet, a look of disgust on his features as he removed something from his belt and handed it to Jenny, “Just put that next to your PC and the information will download to a secure file.”
“Thank you, Xander – where are you off to now?”
“Recon – they’ve been too quiet for the past few nights and I want to make sure this was all of it.” Without waiting for another word to be said, Xander vanished and Buffy strained for the sounds of him leaving, finding that he was indeed getting better at vanishing without a trace even as the window from upstairs clicked shut.
After a few more seconds of quiet, she looked at Jenny, “How soon can you get on that, Miss Calendar? We … we need to get Angel back.”
“No, as he said, only you appear to need him back, and I will get to work on it as soon as I get a replacement computer, Buffy – these things take time, if one wants to do them correctly.”
Buffy looked over at Willow, who was cleaning under her nails with a small knife, something she took to doing these days, “Willow, can you help her?”
“Can I? Yes. Will I? No – Buffy, stop thinking with your heart for about ten seconds and realize that tonight, Miss Calendar almost died because of this.” Blood Rayne had altered Willow’s actions and thoughts a lot, as now the formerly mousy redhead was more upfront with her emotions and thoughts, more often than not choosing to tell people exactly what she thought of them after Xander, two days after Halloween, had put her down as gently as he could once she professed her love for him. Willow had, since then, started to date Oz and, more than once, had told Buffy exactly where to get off and to put her ‘ideas’, which shocked Buffy more than anything, but there wasn’t a thing she cold do about it, so she lived with it – she couldn’t get Xander back the way he was any more than she could get Willow back or the French lessons that Lady Useless, as Xander and Willow had been adamant in calling her, had given her.
Sometimes, Buffy felt as if the entire universe was against her even as Giles went on about patrol and a delivery from Kendra, the Slayer called after she ‘died’ at the end of last school year, in a few days, something she instantly tuned out.
(Days Later – Sunnydale Hospital)
Xander stood in the hallways, sans armor, as it was recharging after a good bout with no sun for the past few days, as he needed the sun to hit the solar panels he had slaved together to recharge his armor’s fuel tanks, and glared down at the smirking visage of Angelus as he approached, holding a bouquet of flowers, “Angelus.”
“Harris. Where’s your prescous armor?”
Xander smirked at the vampire in a look of pure contempt, though in his mind he was silently cursing whoever was responsible for the continued sunshine in southern California, and the lack of it as of late, “Oh, would it make your ego feel better to get your ass handed to you, again, by me in my armor instead of me doing that without it?”
Angelus sneered at him, “Yeah, like you could take me without it – we all know how useless you are without your Slayer to protect you … and yet, here you are, protecting her, supposedly. How … pathetic. Do you really think you could stop me if I wanted to see her?”
“Only during the day, when I need to sleep. Why don’t you come back then … oh, that’s right, you can’t because of that pesky sun? Silly me.”
“It must kill you that I got to her first, Harris.”
Xander smirked, “Please, you can keep her for all I care. I mean, if she had such low standards to sleep with a vampire, why would I bother with her? That point aside, she only saw me as her friend, all she will ever see me as, actually, so I don’t have to worry about getting whatever demonic VD you gave her.”
“If she has such low standards, Harris, then how low do you think you rank if I am above you?”
“Like I said, Angelus, I was never on her radar – are you deaf, or just proving again that you’re stupid?”
Angelus smiled and walked forwards, “Well, enough chit chat – I’m here to see her, as she and I are so close, we’re practically family, so visiting hours should let me in.”
Xander didn’t say a word, he only turned his body and produced a pistol that was bulky, teeming with power and, to any true science fiction geek, would have been instantly recognizable as he trained on Angelus’ chest, “Freeze, Overbite – you’re not welcomed here, so go home.”
“Do you think that piece of crap will stop me, Harris?”
“Maybe, maybe not – maybe I’ll need all the help those orderlies, rent-a-cops and nurses can give me. Step forwards and we’ll find out.”
“You dust me and she’ll never forgive you, you know that, right?”
“I’ll find a way to live with it, Angelus.” The total lack of emotion in his voice apparently had an effect on Angelus as the Master Vampire stopped, frowned and then dropped the bouquet of flowers, smirking as he did and backing up, hands in the air.
“You wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man, would you, kid?”
“I’ve done worse, vampire.” To prove the point, Xander fired a single shot at Angelus, who yelped in an extremely unmanly way and ran for all his unlife was worth, at which point Xander put his blaster pistol away and smirked for a second, before calling out in a voice that carried only about ten feet, “You guys can stop trying to hide behind the corner – you suck at it.”
Like children who had been caught with their hands not only in the cookie jar, but with cookies in their pockets and mouths, Giles, Willow and Jenny all walked out from around the corner, looking quite embarrassed that they had been caught snooping around, the eldest of the trio (physically – Willow had him outclassed in memories by several decades) polishing his glasses slightly before coughing, “Um, Xander, what was that?”
Xander schooled his features into a look of innocence, “What was what, Giles?”
“The pistol, Xander,” Willow growled at him.
He smiled, “Oh, that thing? It was a … gift, from a new friend of mine.” That much was the truth, at least as far as it went.
Willow growled and Xander, on instinct, stepped back, “Who?”
“Um, her name? Oh, it’s, uh, Washu. Little Washu, as she likes to be called.”
Jenny blinked, “Little Washu? As in the character of the same name from the anime?”
Xander nodded, “Yeah, she’s trying to come up with a way to sue for royalties, but so far can’t find a legal leg to stand on.”
“What can this … blaster thing … do, Xander?”
“Well, normally it blows shit up quite nicely, but this one has been modified to destabilize the atomic bonds that hare held together expressly by necro-energy, energy that is only found in demonic entities here on the Hellmouth, or rather, in this dimension.”
Giles blinked, “What?”
Jenny, however, only smiled, “A disruptor?”
“Yep. Anything else, well, it just blows up, like that mop bucket I hit down there.”
Willow stepped forwards again, not growling this time, “And you never told us? Can I try it?”
“I just got it today and no, you can’t because it is keyed expressly to my DNA, which is odd, considering I don’t remember ever giving Washu any samples.” He rubbed the back of his head and winced at the knot there before rubbing where he had a slight bruise on his stomach, “Did anyone else get stomach problems from that Thai we had last night?” Everyone gave him an odd look and she just shrugged, “Never mind – tell Buff what’s the what, I’ve got a meeting to get to.”
(Later – abandoned lab)
“So, Little Washu, what is it you wanted to talk about?” Across from him sat, if one could believe the anime, a 20,000 year old scientist (mad or otherwise, one must judge for themselves) that was currently in a pair of khaki shorts, a red tank top and was sitting behind a floating, see-through computer that she was happily clacking away on. Her shocking red hair, nasally voice and impish humor, not to mention her massive ego, were magnified by the fact that she looked like she was twelve – no, this was not the weirdest thing that Xander had ever seen, but it definitely took the podium for either second or third place, that much was for damned sure.
“Well, Xander, I have a deal for you that you may find very interesting,” she half-whined out in her voice, which grated on his nerves ever-so-slightly, much like the voice of that lady from The Nanny. “You see, in the past few hours, I’ve been analyzing your world as a whole and, I am sorry to say, your people are just lazy! I mean, aside from the whole Internet thing, what else have they done?”
“I’m not sure I follow, Washu.”
“Well, cutie, that is where you come in – now, I won’t help you directly, but I understand what you’re doing here and I want to help.” He arched an eyebrow at her and she shrugged, “Hey, if this world ends, how am I going to get the royalties out of those guys? Any-who, just as the Hellmouth, as you described it, allowed you to connect me during the spell, I want to make sure you and the others have a way to contact me, just in case, so I’ve created a dimensional doorway between this lab and my own. Pretty snazzy, if you ask me.” She pointed over to a smallish door in the wall, across from where anything could possible hide it, “Now, before I get to the deal, I want to tell you the fundamental differences between our worlds. First of all,” she started out, changing into a pair of robes in a flash and donning a pair of tiny glasses and a scholar’s hat, the kind you got when you graduated, before standing behind a podium as Xander found himself behind a desk, “as I stated before, our worlds are not the same. Your world and mine are not only separated by dimension, but also by time – in this world, it’s 1998, but also in my world, it’s 1994. Now, the good news is that the day and night thing are all square – it’s daylight here, it’s daylight there, and not only that, but the days of the week and month are also the same. Are we clear on this?”
“Yes, Professor.” It sounded stupid, but if the anime was anything to go by, ticking her off wasn’t the smartest thing to do.
“Alrighty, difference two is that in our world, there are no demons, despite Princess Ayeka’s claim that my daughter, Ryoko, is one; I’m not sure why, just yet, but it appears that the energies that are put forth by your Hellmouth are directly opposite in polarity from those of my universe in the respect that, under normal circumstances our worlds would never have met, ever. Are we clear on that?” Xander just nodded dumbly as his brain whirred to catch up and process everything that Washu was dropping on him at once, “Good, now the last thing – in your universe, your humans are correct in the respect that you are quite alone out in the depths of space. There are no aliens.”
“Damnit! Now I owe Willow fifty bucks!” Washu gave him a glare and he shut up, “Sorry, Professor. Might I ask some questions?”
“Is that all as far as the dimensional things are concerned?” Washu nodded and he went on, “Now, you said I would get no direct help from you – what did you mean by that?”
“Well, I won’t build anything for you, or program anything for you. I will, however, help you in the respect that your armor will need occasional upkeep and upgrading, so I’ll save you the trouble of both developing the tools, which will develop the tools, ad nausium, to fix the armor, but also lend you a hand by supply your raw materials, which you must refine yourself.”
Xander narrowed his eyes slightly, “And what’s in it for you?”
She gave him a secretive smile, “Only that you agree to help me with a few science experiments of my own on occasion.”
Even as a thrill of pure terror swept through his system, Xander nodded, “Anything else?”
“No, not right now. Any other questions?”
“Um, yeah, who is she?” The dimensional door had cracked open to reveal the face of an angel, Xander was sure, as she poked her head through and looked around – her skin was flawless in it’s tanned nature, her hair as blonde as blonde could be as it was piled up in a messy fashion on top of her head, her eyes, he could see were as blue as the oceans in paradise and though her ears were slightly large, her face … was perfection even as she oozed innocence and curiosity.
“Damn it, Mihoshi!” Washu’s barked cry of pure disgust made the goddess of a woman screech in fear and fall forwards through the door, landing and rolling through said door until she came to a stop some ten feet away form him, on her bottom, her lower lip quivering as tears gathered in her eyes, “I thought I told you to stay out of my lab!?”
“You don’t have to yell at me, Washu.” She was dressed in simple tan pants with a blue blouse that held in a sizable bust, and though she was seated, Xander could tell she was tall and slim, but not skinny. Quite frankly, if there was such a thing as love at first sight, as opposed to lust, which he was sure he had fallen into with Buffy at first sight, he had just found it as he got out of his desk seat and walked over to her as a single tear fell from her eye and traced down her cheek.
“Are you alright, ma’am?” She looked up at him and, for an instant, Xander found himself drowning in her eyes as a small smile appeared on her lips and a shot of pure joy shot through his heart – it was as if in a second she had claimed him without a word and only a smile, and he knew that it was over even as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a tissue, handing it to her.
Now, had Xander actually been paying attention, or had anyone been paying attention at that point, to the stainless steel surface of the rolling tool box that Washu had in her lab, they would have seen the face of a blue-haired, red-eyed woman with flawless peach skin and a pair of golden dots on her forehead smiling at the trio of people, her eyes twinkling with both mirth and affection even as Xander helped Mihoshi off of the ground, at which time she tripped and fell into his protective embrace and Washu, with steam pouring from her ears, began to yell at the blonde, who was busy looking into Xander’s own eyes. The source of said reflection was that of a young girl, maybe twelve or so, with blue hair split into twin ponytails, her pink eyes and freckled cheeks glowing as her bisected, inverted triangles on her forehead glowed slightly at the sight of Mihoshi, Washu and Xander, and she was sure that she had just seen the birth of something magical in nature even as she pulled forwards to announce to Washu that tea was ready.
AN: Alright, a little sappy in these last few paragraphs, but this lays the groundwork for some future ‘ships – what do you guys think? Next part will take place after Angelus is being dealt with (some flashbacks will occur), and will mostly occur in the hiatus between Seasons 2 and 3, and it will be a longer chapter, too. R&R, AR.