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Suiting Up

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Summary: YAHF: Metroid meets the Hellmouth.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered > Pairing: Other HetAnimeRoninFR181779,547123677,6359 Dec 0426 Jul 06Yes

Suiting Up

Suiting Up

Author: Anime Ronin

Rating: R

Summary: YAHF – Metroid meets the Hellmouth, but with a twist.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

AN: The armor and character used in this fic is not canon nor is it probably possible – I’m doing this off of an old Nintendo Power comic I found when cleaning out some old junk in my old room and it has that not only Samus Aran has Power Armor. Also, if anyone gets the chance, pick up the magazine Play Magazine Presents: Girls Of Gaming Vol. 2 – page has a pic of Samus that is … (drool), and also, two pages later, there is a pic of Sonja Belmont.

And Now On With The Fic …



Xander pulled back from the table he had set up in his garage to perform this rather delicate operation and, with a tired smile that was hidden by welding mask, he pulled off said mask and took in his masterpiece and homage to both a great game and the memory of a fallen brother. He and Jessie, after playing the game for what seemed like entire summers, had come up with the idea of going as counterparts of the main character and, as such, had begun to both develop, design and build their Halloween costumes – Jessie would be the focal point, as he generally was the more personable of the two of them, while Xander himself would stand back in the shadows, playing the part of the one you never saw until it was far too late, and at the end of the fight the two of them would be the only two people still standing … only now that was only another dream, with Jessie having been destroyed by his own stake after being turned over a year before.

Xander put the cans of paint down and pulled off his gloves, the fans in the area keeping the air circulating and fumes from overtaking him, and smiled as he stepped back – it was made of plastic, rubber and some metal bits, painted black as a predominate color and a gunmetal gray color as a secondary color, but the visor he had installed was blood red; at the shoulder it was nearly as tall as a man, just he right height as him, the power cannon arm was working perfectly with the pieces that hinged out to let the ‘missiles’ fly, and under the right wrist, a piece he had been modifying since he had seen one of the new games with the new equipment, hence his having to re-paint the costume slightly in places. It was fortuitous, to say the least, that Snyder had wrangled himself, Buffy and Willow into taking a bunch of kids out that evening, despite the fact that he had outwardly groaned about it – this gave him the perfect reason to pull this costume out of the mothballs as he dredged through his memory to remember his character even as he went to get the rest of his stuff ready.

Even as he walked up the stairs, he cackled – Power Armor on the Hellmouth was stretching out his luck, but as it was supposed to be dead (opposed to being undead) on Halloween, Xander felt it was going to be okay to go as Samus Aran’s old partner, Marcus Knight.

(Summers Residence)

Buffy gaped at her best guy friend, whom she had once called ‘one of the girls’ and from her side she could feel the blush of Willow from under her sheet – dressed in a futuristic-looking armor of black and gray, with a blood-red visor and an authentic-looking gun on his arm, Xander was dressed like the character from the Metroid games and … and he looked good in it, too! “Wow, Xander – when did you come up with this?”

Before Xander could answer, though, Willow squealed and rocketed forwards, so fast so that she left her sheet behind and revealed her slightly medieval leather catsuit and, much to Buffy’s confusion, two sharp plastic knives tucked in the back of her belt, and slammed into Xander’s armored chest, wrapping her arms around him and … crying? Buffy blinked and, indeed, Willow was crying as Xander struggled with something for a second before the armor split open at the sides and top, revealing that he was wearing a tank top … and little else besides a pair of gym shorts as he enfolded Willow into a hug, one that made his arms and the muscle there ripple nice, almost yummy, way. Buffy stood there, dressed as a noblewoman, more than a little uncomfortable with her mother looking on pitifully as Xander held a crying Willow, mumbling soothing things to her through her hair and stroking her back as Willow said something about ‘Jessie’, which brought it all back to Buffy – Xander had told her the whole story behind his first vamp kill, his best friend for as long as he could remember, and initially Buffy had felt very little in the way of remorse (‘a vamp, is a vamp, is a vamp,’ as she had once put it) the fact she was standing in a rather ridiculous dress FOR a vampire … well, it made her feel a touch more than sorrow as Willow stopped crying and Xander pulled the armor on back where it was supposed to be, sealing it back up as her mother handed Willow a tissue and took her away to fix her makeup … and had the sheet with her.

“So, Buffster, I take it Willow hasn’t talked you out of going in that … thing there?” She jerked her head over to Xander, who was eyeing her somewhat distastefully as his voice was slightly echoing from inside of his helmet, something easily rectified when he pushed said helmet off on it’s back hinge, “You ready to go?”

“As soon as you tell me what that was all about, and this is art!” She ran her hands up and down the dress, which she had been forced to squeeze into despite the fact that she was short and skinny, “And then you can tell me just where you got the idea for that costume!”

“I got the idea for the costume a long time back, but I had to modify it with some stuff I got at Ethan’s today, but as for what that was all about … Jessie and I were going to go as twins in suits like this, but, well, you know what happened.” He shrugged in his armor and looked decidedly uncomfortable talking about it, “So, what did you blackmail Willow with to get her into that costume?”

Buffy looked affronted, “What, can I not do something like that without resorting to blackmailing people?”

Xander arched an eyebrow, “When you wanted a night off to go moon over Deadboy last week, you used some pictures taken with Willow’s camera that had Giles using a computer and threatened to send them to that hot computer teacher, Miss Calendar.”

Buffy stepped back and crossed her arms, sniffing somewhat disdainfully, “Can’t prove it.” Xander gave her a steady look that surpassed, not, blew away Willow’s ‘Resolve Face’ and she caved like a pile of tribbles, whatever they were, “Fine – I told her that if she dressed up like this, she might get a look in with you.”

Xander blinked and then shook his head, smiling sadly, “She’s STILL trying to get me? Buffy, I really don’t want to break her heart, but she’s like a sister to me, the both of you are – incest isn’t my thing … unless it was Pam Anderson and she was my sister.”

“Ewww!” He grinned unrepentedly at her and she sighed, “How long have you noticed her … attraction?”

“Consciously? About a year or so now, but I guess I’ve always known on some level.” Buffy could see the pain in his eyes even as she heard her mother and Willow coming towards them, “She’s going to make someone very happy one day, and if they ever hurt her let God or the Devil get them before I do.”

“Before WE do, you mean, right?” Buffy smiled, thinking that he was doing his ‘big brother protector’ thing, but the flat mask he wore and the look in his eyes told her that, if Willow was ever hurt, he’d kill the person responsible, “Right?”

“Ready, Buffy?” Her mom came out and Willow looked presentable even as Xander shut his helmet back into place – Buffy nodded and the three of them went off towards the school, but the look in Xander’s eyes stuck in her mind and made her wonder just what her Xander-shaped friend was really capable of.

(Later – Streets of Sunnydale)

Marcus groaned, his head pounding and his body feeling like someone had let a ship land on him several times before they realized he was there. He opened his eyes and saw his visor screen was not only fully operational, but also showing that he wasn’t where he was supposed to be – he had just gotten back from a survey mission on a remote outpost near XL-143, a rocky and unforgiving country, but had taken along his pet project in the PA-SU mark 1, a powered armor stealth suit that had a lot of the bells and whistles of Aran’s hyped-up armor, but in the compact form of a standard suit. Sitting up, he saw that he was not on the space station he’d docked at for refueling, but rather … somewhere he didn’t remember – the suit’s reading showed a nitrogen oxygen atmosphere compatible with human life, pollutants in concentrations of post-industrial, pre-mass-space flight worlds, and tons of life forms around that didn’t register outside of the odd human.

“Well, this isn’t good.” He raised his arm cannon, after sending up an automated radio transmission that said ‘hey, I’m here’, and then tapped in the code to unlock it and was pleasantly surprised when it worked – he’d been having problems with his armor unlocking the numerous functions he’d built into it, but now that he was in a possibly hostile situation, it decided to work for him, but only to the extent that he was able to bring the Power Beam and Charge Beam, not to mention the Grapple Beam, on-line, the Ice, and Wave functions staying stubbornly non-operational, “When this is over, I’m going to reprogram you with a Power Bomb, I swear it.”

There was a screech of anger behind him and, without hesitation, he spun and put four point-blank rounds into a … thing that knocked it on it’s ass and out cold, but not dead, which suited him just fine with the energy readings he was getting on his scanners now – wild, undulation, chaotic readings that were warping the readings of other things and altering everything, “What the hell is going on here?”

As per normal, his suit and computer didn’t respond, but he heard a scream of pure anger and turned to see a rather pale redhead in tight black leather, whirling around with a pair of knives, slicing and dicing the things that were ganging up on her with a fury that, were it not such a dangerous proposition, would be a serious turn on, in his own opinion – she was put together very nicely, the leather straining to keep her chest from being exposed and her backside from putting a full moon over the town, but even as she came to a stop he noticed that her green eyes were flashing, there was red blood on her lips … and fangs in her mouth, which brought his cannon up to bear even as she took a step back and asked, well, demanded, “Who are you?”

“Marcus, Marcus Knight. Who, might I ask, are you?”

Her eyes narrowed slightly and, as if in a sign of peace, she lowered he knives from their ‘at ready’ position in front of her down to her sides, “Rayne, Blood Rayne. Where are we?”

He shrugged, which his armor didn’t allow much of, “Your guess is as good as mine, sweets, but I’m getting some seriously strange readings on my scanners.”

She looked him up and down, a thrill of both caution and pleasure running through his spine as she did, but then she frowned, “You’re not from around here, are you.”

“Nope, wherever ‘here’ is, it isn’t the space station I was at about twenty minutes ago.” Anything else he was going to say was cut off by a shrill scream that made Rayne wince in pain and himself jerk at, the audio receptors of his suit picking them up quite clearly; as one they turned and saw a woman, dressed in a frilly monstrosity of a dress, running away, or at least trying to but only succeeding in tripping over the front hem of said dress, from some more little ‘demons’, as his mind had taken to calling them, screaming for help, which made him sigh, “Should we help her?”

Rayne’s face scrunched up in an overly cute yet amazingly beautiful way, “Well, I’d normally say no, but for some reason my gut is telling me we have to help her.”

“Yeah, mine too.” He turned to her and held out his hand, “Shall we?”

A small smile graced her lips as she reached out and took his hand, “Lets.” They both turned and, dropping their held hands in some reluctance, started running after the stumbling woman, at which point Marcus decided to try out another function of his experimental armor, the stealth shield.

The idea had come after seeing a small cloaking device bend the waves of light that make things visible around a small apple, making it vanish from sight but not from feel or sensors, and that had gotten his mind to turning as he was still in the development of his armor – if he could incorporate that technology into his armor, it would become a perfect reconnaissance or covert operations tool, netting him thousands and millions of credits in the process, but the idea and the reality were two separate things. Once the technology had been developed for suit use, he had spent months of slaving together an interface unit that was linked to the suit’s power supply, which was the only way it was going to work, and after much tinkering, re-wiring and going through every curse word he could think of (which happened to be enough to fill a small book) twice, he had gotten it work, but not without cost – with the cloaking device activated, the suit lost the Energy that it used to keep the internal shields and life support mechanisms activated at the rate of nearly quadruple that of a normal suit, meaning that a power cell that would last nearly six hours in a normal suit would only a little over an hour and a quarter, but after some more tinkering and technology development, he was able to double the amount of time that could be used for the cloak, cutting the cell drain in half to a total of three hours. His direct superiors were very aware of how he could get when he was tinkering, which explained why his suit had so many other features, like double the normal jumping ability, a larger supply of missiles, the other beams and the full compliment of visor technology, but they also knew he knew when enough was enough, which is why he only put this into a normal suit of armor, knowing that anyone who upgraded it to a Varia or Gravity Armor setting would be either unstoppable or never get it to work. With that in mind, he triggered the activation sequence in the armor and smiled as his readouts showed complete cloaking was engaged, that he had enough Energy in his tanks to last him another ten hours of cloaking before it would automatically shut off, and that Blood Rayne had ‘eeped’ quietly off to one side as he faded from view.

Without any thought he raised his cannon and triggered it to fire off several shots, something he had never actually tried to do in the past, but he was both unpleasantly shocked and very annoyed when his computer gave him the electronic raspberry, bringing up a small note in the bottom corner of his display that the energy drain of firing energy blasts while cloaked would fry four of the seven key components that made up a working Power Blaster. This caused Marcus to sigh in a frustrated tone of voice and slam his cannon over the head of one of the things as Rayne went off on another one, slashing it’s throat and sucking the spurts of red blood that came out before spitting in disbelief.

“They’re human! I don’t know how, but I know human blood and this is it!”

“Well, shit!” He backhanded another one that was looking right through him and knocked it out, “You know, with as much good as is coming out from this test run of my armor, this blows!”

“I … I feel nothing, and who is this unseemly shade that speaks without being seen.” Marcus turned to see the brunette lady in the frilly dress was looking around, a confused expression on her face as she waved her hand around until he took pity on her and deactivated his cloak, which caused both her and Rayne to squeak and jump, “Sir, how unchivalrous of thee! When a lady asks for you to present thineself, do so!”

“That … was so NEAT!” Marcus felt himself spun around and looked down to see Rayne smiling, her fangs apparent now as she looked him over in his armor and seemed to giggle, “And I’d bet this thing does great when you want to kill someone.”

“Um, this is the first time I’ve gotten it to work properly, actually.” He stepped back and, without even thinking about it, popped his helmet off, letting it hang back on it’s hinge, letting him take in a breath of air that, while slightly thick and rank, was better than the recycled stuff he normally breathed. After a slight coughing fit, he looked around, “Well, now what?”

Neither woman said anything, their jaws having dropped in both shock and, unless he was mistake, more than a touch of lust; Rayne reached forwards and ran her index finger from his right temple down his jawline to the point of his chin, then up to his lips, a smile growing on her face as the other lady put a hand over hear sternum and blushed lightly, “Oh, my Lord.”

Marcus just sighed and mentally bitched, “Why does this always happen to me?”

(Later)

“Are you in control of yourself now, Rayne?” It had been a rather hectic past hour in that the three of them had run into someone who had insisted on calling him ‘Xander’, Rayne ‘Willow’ and Lady Useless, as he and Rayne had taken to calling her after she screeched and called an old-school automobile a ‘demon’, ‘Buffy’, but doing so in a manner that said that he was in love with her – frankly, Marcus was happy to get her off of his case with how he was acting like a crude lout and an uncultured ruffian, something that had Rayne snickering and, were she there, would have had Samus rolling on the ground, laughing her ass off as he considered himself highly cultured and debonair.

Rayne blushed lightly and nodded, looking down at her hands once again before shaking her head, “I can’t believe that I didn’t notice this wasn’t my body.”

He snorted, “Yeah, I’ll agree with you on that – I haven’t felt this good since I was a teenager and, guess what? I AM a teenager, at least physically, I am.”

Rayne pouted and Marcus found himself wanting to go over to her and hug the stuffing out of her, for some odd reason which he attributed to whoever’s body he was in, but then snarled, “I’m going to rip the entrails out of the person or people who are responsible for this, and then I’m going to feast on their blood.”

Marcus blinked and spoke before he thought, “You know, Rayne, if it weren’t for the hair trigger on your temper, I’d be forced to ask you out after saying something like that.”

She blinked in response and then smiled slightly, “Play your cards right and we’ll see just how much I can curb my homicidal tendencies.”

He looked at her oddly and saw a slight twinkle of mirth in her eyes, which caused him to groan, “A killer body, encased in leather, a natural redhead and a sense of humor – my God, woman, you might just be perfect.” She said nothing as they started running towards where the readings off of his scanning visor were pointing them, a run that had them crossing the paths of several rather unsavory types as they did, and it led them to the central part of the small town to a store that had ‘Ethan’s Costume Store’ proudly displayed on a banner out front, and ‘Grand Opening’ also under it.

“Anyone inside?”

Marcus looked in through his thermal visor and saw that, indeed, there was someone there, but something else, something that was room temperature, “Yeah, there’s two of them. Stand back – I’ve got a really neat door-knocker I’ve been dying to use all night.” Switching back to his normal visor, he raised his cannon arm and triggered his missile activation mode, which caused the cannon to split into four sections and expand out, exposing a launcher and more goodies as he targeted the front door.

In his peripheral vision he saw Rayne smile and cock an eyebrow, “Ohhh, such a BIG gun you have on you, Marcus. Do you know how to use it?”

“Just ask my last girlfriend, if you ever get the chance – I left her with a smile on her face whenever I was in port.” With that, he fired off a single missile that was about four inches long and maybe half as wide, but packed more than enough punch to not only take out the door, but most of the front wall with it. Once the smoke cleared, he motioned to Rayne, who stood dumbfounded, “Shall we?”

She blinked once, then twice, and then a large smile grew on her lips, “Are you sure I can’t borrow that armor? I promise I’ll bring it back in good shape … and I’ll make it worth your while.”

Marcus took a deep breath at the sound of verbal sexual promise and sighed, “How about we do this first and then we’ll negotiate, alright?”

She smiled happily and pulled her blades, “Alright, let’s go gut someone.”

(Moments Earlier - Inside)

Ethan’s night had gone swimmingly up to that point, not to mention his plan – he had sold to the masses of mentally inferior Americans, both young and old, costumes that he had imbued with magic that, when hit by the magic of a larger spell, would turn them into the characters they had dressed up as. A stroke of genius, to be sure, one that would put him into the good graces of the Roman god Janus, but fortune had decided to smile down upon him in the form of three brats who were friends, or at least acquaintances of, his old chum Ripper and the best part was that one of them, the Slayer, had gotten one of the costumes he had been afraid he would not unload, one that would turn her into a noblewoman of the past who would jump at her own shadow! Another he sold to, a quiet, unassuming young girl with red hair, was one imbued with the spirit of an old legend from when he was a child, one of a damphyr who went by Blood ‘Bloody’ Rayne – if the old legends were true, the girl would become an unstoppable machine of death and destruction, but truth to tell, it was their male friend who had concerned him the most; he had a costume already, one of a video game superhero’s friend, but he needed to modify it slightly, so Ethan sold him the pieces he had to do so, but was not exactly sure who he was going as or what effect, if any, his spell would have.

Regardless, the spell had gone off without a hitch and Chaos reigned in Sunnydale for nearly two hours before the proverbial shit had hit the fan – he had been taking the trash out, of all things, when he was approached by a man who appeared to worship Billy Idol more so than others, and when the man asked to come in and use the phone, Ethan had stupidly invited him in like the sodding prat he was currently kicking himself for being. The man turned out to be a vampire, named Spike, also known as William The Bloody (awful poet, if one believed the rumors of said vampire) and said vampire wanted to know not only what had been done that night, but how to reverse the effects as his undead paramour, one Drusilla The Mad, had been inadvertently maimed by a character from a Japanese anime show named Sailor Moon, and Spike wanted to both end the spell and end the life of the caster or said spell, which lead to Ethan’s current predicament, which was being held by his throat and looking into the demonic visage of Spike.

“Now, ducks, I am giving you one last chance to tell me how to end this spell before I start to remove your bloody internal organs in alphabetical order!””

Ethan, set in his ways, only grinned a bloody smile from the beating he had already taken, and offered up his soul to the god Janus, “Sod off, wanker.” He was sure he was going to die, but Janus, or someone else higher up the ladder, had a sense of humor as it was at that particular point that the front of his shop literally exploded into hellfire, brimstone and splinters of glass and wood, making Spike drop him to the ground, which he hit painfully.

Once the debris stopped falling and his ears cleared, Ethan could very clearly hear two sets of footsteps making their way through the debris that had been most of his shop … and one of them sounded to be both heavy and armored.

“You see, Rayne, if you want people to notice you, you have to get their attention.” Bloody Hell.

“Why do you think I wear THIS? Because it’s comfortable? No, I like jeans and over-sized t-shirt and fluffy bunny slippers, thankyouverymuch.” Bloody, sodding, frelling HELL!

(And now, back to Xander)

Marcus smiled at Rayne’s reply even as he walked into the room, missile launcher still active and training on the warmer target, “That’s good to know, Rayne. Now, gentlemen, may I have your attention please? I’d like to speak to the proprietor of this shop in hopes of stopping whatever the fuck is going on out there.”

“Sod off, mate – I got here first, so he’s mine,” a rather emaciated man with shockingly bleached blonde hair snarled as he stood up, but he was also the same body temperature as the surrounding air, which caused Marcus to train his cannon on the man’s chest. “Point that somewhere else, wanker, or I’ll feed it to ya.”

From his side, Rayne yawned, “Boys, put them away for measuring later – we have the same question that we want answered.” She walked forwards, her knives drawn, and smiled, “Now, what is your name?”

“Ethan … Ethan Rayne.”

She arched an eyebrow, “Rayne, huh? Funny that, that’s my name too, only you can call me Blood Rayne. How do we stop this chaos?”

The man grinned crookedly and bloodily, “Sweets, you have to work harder than that to get me to talk. I’m sure we can work something out, however,” he said with a lewd look, raking his eyes over Rayne’s body.

“Marcus, do be a dear and make him talk – I don’t think he needs his left foot anymore.”

Marcus stared at her, the bleached man gaping at her and muttering a ‘Bloody Hell’, but he shook himself out of it and aimed his cannon at the man, which made him jump and shriek, “The Bust! Break the bust!”

Marcus saw the opening and couldn’t help himself for some reason, “The Bust? You want me to remove her third and fourth best features?” Blood Rayne looked at him somewhat archly, but he could see the twinkle of humor in her eyes as the other two men groaned at the joke.

“The Bust of Janus, you sodding prat! Destroy it and the spell is finished.”

Without further provocation, he turned and fired a single missile into the small stone figurine, blowing the thing to smithereens, but that also triggered an energy wave that hit him, Blood Rayne, the other man even as he dove away and the man on the floor, blowing them all back and possibly out of the store even as he lost consciousness. Hopefully, he thought as his world went dark, thing would get back to normal when he woke up again.

(Next Morning – Sunnydale High Library)

“… and French class is going to be SO easy now!” Willow looked over at Buffy somewhat tiredly, as said Slayer had been going on, and on, and ON about exactly what ‘Lady Useless’ had left her the previous night, and Willow found herself wondering, idly, if she could reach over and tip the girl’s throat out before she could react and save herself, but eventually decided against it as she took in a breath and winced again as she read the headline of the new paper, “Mass Chaos leaves 0 dead, numerous injured’.

“I see. Willow, did this ‘Blood Rayne’ leave you anything as well?”

“Yeah, a few things, Giles – I remember everything she knew and did, I seem a little faster and stronger, not to mention my senses are a little better, but I guess the only other thing I can say is that I … grew, a little.” She fought the urge to both blush and pooch out her now-more-impressive bust, as if to prove herself right, “It’s not all that bad, but I’m a little worried, actually – she was a damphyr, Giles, half human, half vampire, and aside from my eye teeth being a little longer and sharper … I have this craving now. For meat – rare, red, bloody meat.”

Giles and Buffy both blanched at this a little, Buffy’s hands going to her own chest for a second as if to check for any growth but finding none from the frown on her face, and the former cleaned and then replaced his glasses before stuttering out, “My word. I … I mean, I had heard of the legend of Bloody Rayne, but, well, that is all I had thought it could be, a legend, that is. I … I will research, immediately, as soon as we find out where Xander is, of course.”

Willow brightened slightly at the thought of Xander – something else Rayne had left with her was a touch more confidence and, after last night, Willow was sure that she could tell Xander exactly what she felt for him and not die of mortification in the process, “Well, when I woke up, I was at my house, and I don’t remember getting there, Giles. Do you think he took me home?”

“Quite possibly, Willow. As it is Saturday, and as to Xander’s own admissions of not knowing Saturday had a morning, I suggest we go and check his home, first.” They all nodded and piled into what Xander had called the ‘Old Foggie Machine’, Buffy called ‘El Rust Bucket-o’ and Willow, on that day, found herself calling ‘Proof Of American Auto Superiority’, all three of which had gotten glares of impending death from Giles at one point or another.

It took only ten minutes to get to Xander’s house, which Buffy joked that they had a good following wind and were going down hill most of the time, to which Giles growled she would pay for that with extra training, and when they got there Willow was more than a little surprised to see the Sunnydale PD pulling Xander’s father, Tony Harris, the town drunk, supposedly, out of the house hogtied and unconscious, while another officer was talking to Jessica Harris, who was crying her eyes out and spilling the proverbial beans about the years of abuse she and ‘Alex’ had taken at the hands of ‘that bastard of a drunk’. Giles growled out several vile oaths while Buffy gripped the door panel of the Citroen, causing the metal and frame to dent slightly, and Willow … felt absolutely nothing outside of panic for where Xander was until her ears picked up that ‘Alex’ had left earlier to ‘work off some steam so I don’t kill the bastard’.

When they got out of there, Buffy turned to Willow, “So, where would he go if he wanted to blow off some steam?”

Willow wracked her memory and, after coming up dry, shrugged, “Well, we can try the park, but I’m sure he’d go somewhere he could go hit something, hard, and not be noticed.”

(3 hours later)

Buffy watched in shock, Giles watched in mute fascination, Willow, however, merely yawned and sat against the car, smiling after that as Xander, dressed in his Power Armor, jumped around the junk yard and shot up piece after piece of junk and scrap metal with his beam cannon and the occasional missile. He seemed to … happy, just blowing stuff up, and while before Willow would have attributed it to the Y chromosome coming out to play, now that she had Rayne’s memories, she found it to be the inner child growing up slightly and going through a destructive faze, “Well, at least he’s having fun.”

“And he’s warming up my new toy to slay with!” Buffy’s delighted tone of voice sent a shiver of both fear and dread down Willow’s spine and made Giles perform a full-body shiver even as Xander stopped jumping and ran over, his helmet hinging up to reveal his smiling face.

“Hey, guys! Guess what?”

Willow smirked, “Your armor is real now?”

He gave her a look and deadpanned, “That too, oh pictorially enhanced on. Tony is going to prison! Something about old warrants for past crimes across the country.” He walked over and picked her up, dancing around in an impromptu jig of joy, which she laughed at as he spun them around for several second and then put her down, “It is a good day.”

“Yes, it is, now get out of my new armor and tell me how to work it!” Willow winced at the demand in Buffy’s voice but Xander didn’t even flinch – he just turned, arched an eyebrow and stared Buffy down even as she proceeded to stop forward, “Come on, Xander, open that thing up and let me drive it!”

“No, Buffy. Even if you could FIT into it, it’s not made for you.” This stopped Buffy, not only the crack about her rather diminutive standing, something that Willow found she had slightly exceeded after the previous night, but also the tone behind it, the steel in the voice as he spoke again, “As I understand, each suit is initially programmed to the neurological input of one person, in this case, me, and if anyone else tried to wear it they’d get nothing at all to happen … and that’s if they were lucky. The bio-feedback has been known to kill a lesser person, so it may just fry all of your nerves and leave you as a vegetable, Buff.” Willow felt her jaw drop and her heart race – Xander had not only put Buffy down for the count, but had even done so with a tone that said, ‘I know what I’m talking about, so just save yourself the trouble and accept it’.

“But … can’t I even try on the cannon?”

Willow yelped, Giles coughed and Xander sighed, “No!”

“Besides,” Xander went on, “now that I have this prototype, well, Marcus’ prototype, it needs to be refined and for that to happen, I need a lab.”

(Elsewhere, Elsewhen)

A screen popped up and began to show a message that it had received, decrypted, translated and processed to her in the fraction of a second that it took to show up, “Hmm, interesting. Who on this planet has the ability to send THIS level of encryption? Eh, doesn’t matter, for I am Washu, the Greatest Scientific Genius in the Universe, and nothing can stop me from finding your source.”

“Washu? Dinner’s ready!”

“… Except that. I’m coming, Sasami!”

AN: Alright, part 1 is done, part 2 is in the works. R&R, AR.
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