AN: Somebody here asked if Xander and Spots had done anything … well, yes, it’s implied, but beyond that … well, I have to stick to the rules of the site. Sorry.
(Graduation Day – Outside Sunnydale)
Adam looked at the buildup of forces and then over at the town before looking at his son, “Are you SURE you don’t want to evacuate the town, son? With this much firepower, there WILL be damage to places other than the school and the Mayor.”
Alex only gave him a look that said ‘oh well’ before he went back to looking at the Paladins, all four of them, that were being checked out by their crews – Adam made a note to make sure those things were NEVER unguarded while Alex was around.
The plan, so far, was to let the Mayor start his planned Ascension, as no less than a dozen sniper rounds to the chest and head, ranging from .223 to .50 cal, had yet to put the guy down, but after that for the area to be evacuated of the civilian population as both artillery and ground forces bombed the area back into the stone age. If that didn’t work, though, Adam had a FAE bomb (nasty little bastard that was the most powerful non-nuclear device in his current arsenal) on stand-by – sadly, though, such a weapon caused a great deal of collateral damage and there would not be a great deal of time for his troops to get out of the area, so he wanted to not use that unless the situation was absolutely FUBAR.
Alex, for his part, had simply gone with the ideas that had come up so far, but he had gone so far as to make sure of minimized friendly and non-combatant casualties in that he’d made sure that Lt. Bones and her detachment were as far away from California as possible, and he’d kept that promise by sending them back to Benning as new instructors for the new, and officially the first, group of female Rangers. The ladies, especially both Chen and Maloney, had not taken the news well and had appealed through the chain of command to be kept in the area – when it had gotten to him, though, Adam had also turned them down, but with the message of it being Alex’s wish to keep them safe, which had ended the argument for all, save Maloney.
Adam smirked slightly, remembering the kiss that ‘Spots’ had given his son and the promise of ‘if you die, I’ll find a way to resurrect you and kill you myself’ before storming off. Jessica had gotten her nose a bit out of joint at that, and the revelation that anything that may or may not have happened between Alex, Maloney and Chen was, as Alex had put it, ‘need to know information, and you don’t need to know’.
Xander, for his part, looked at the mobile long-range artillery, wishing he could get his hands on it for a bit, but the odds of that happening were about as low as the Red Sox winning the World Series …
A shiver went down Faith’s spine even as she slept and dreamed of the day that her Red Sox would win the Series …
Xander reached into his pocket and then pulled out a satellite phone, one that was tied to a very special satellite, and for not the first time keyed in a sequence he had memorized in the past weeks – all he had to do was to hit one button and a pair of loose ends would be taken care of.
He closed his eyes, took a breath and slowly let it out before he pushed the send button, “Goodbye, Faith.”
Outside of an old apartment building, people walked around as they always had, but many of them felt and heard a ‘thump’ of some kind, but just as quickly as it had happened, they ignored it.
What they did not know, though, was that the unlife of a former Champion, and that of her Sire, had just been extinguished in a fraction of a second.
Adam watched Alex shut the phone down and sighed – Alex had made it abundantly clear to him that if anyone were going to terminate Helen and Dana Tasker, it was going to be him, so Adam had given him the remote to do so. A dozen times Alex had come close to doing it, but this time he could literally see his son doing all he could to force himself to push that last button.
Alex walked away from where he was standing and towards him, “It’s done.” Adam nodded but Alex went on, “I’m going to grab some more rack time – I’ll see you and mom later.”
“Sir?” He turned and looked at his subordinate, a Marine Major from San Diego named Wilkins (no relation to the Mayor, though – that issue had been checked over a dozen times), “You have a call on the red line.”
Adam sighed, “Thank you, Major.” He hated talking to the President.
(Graduation Day – 0700)
Jessica looked over at her son as he calmly loaded shell after shell into large drums that looked as if they fit into the gun he had spent ten minutes cleaning, a gun that Adam was now attaching something to the underside of it, “Adam? What is that?”
“It’s a cut-down pump-action 40mm grenade launcher, honey,” Adam said to her blandly, screwing in a bolt idly as he did. “I thought that as long as we’re going for the gold, why not go for overkill?”
Alex snorted, “I think that was achieved with the Paladins and the FAE bomb you have at ready, dad.” Alex stopped loading the drums and looked up at her, “Mom? Aren’t you leaving, as in now?”
She narrowed her eyes at him, “Young man, I may take orders from your father, but I don’t take them from you.”
He gave her a mirthless grin, “That wasn’t an order – it was a polite suggestion that can and will be enforced if necessary.”
Adam looked first at his ex-wife and then at his son before quietly, yet quickly, leaving the room – his poor ears did not need this kind of abuse.
Twenty minutes later, Jessica was packing her bags and getting out of Sunnydale, under armed guard, and Alex was back to loading his drum mags.
(Summers Home – 1100 hours)
Buffy Summers had been told by Adam Harris to ensure that her mother got out of Sunnydale – as she and Xander had told him at the time, that was easier said than done, especially now that her mother was giving her a modified version of Willow’s Resolve Face.
“I am NOT leaving, young lady, unless you give me a good reason I should.”
Her mother knew all about the creepy crawlies that lived in Sunnydale, and she had sat in on what would happen at Graduation, but so far, that had yet to deter her from staying in Sunnydale, “Mom, I don’t want you to get hurt! If this doesn’t work, they are going to BOMB the school with something called a fuel explosive air … no, air fuel … ah, fuel air explosive.” Buffy REALLY wished that she either had the charts that had been shown to her about the level of damage one of those things would do, or at least had backup to make her mother understand and leave.
“Buff? You here?” YES! Enter her Xander-shaped cavalry!
Xander saw both Joyce and Buffy standing in the middle of the front room and, for a moment, he wanted to turn around and walk right back out the front door, given the looks on their respective faces – sadly, though, common sense took a back seat this time and he walked in as Joyce glared at him, “Young man, tell me this instant you are NOT going to be part of this … insanity!”
Xander blinked and then looked at Buffy, “I take it you’re having a problem getting her out of town?” Buffy nodded and he shrugged, “Eh, had to use a few guards with guns to get my mom to go, so don’t feel bad.”
Buffy perked up, “Did you bring any with you?”
Xander shook his head, “No, they fear your mom.” He looked back at Joyce and could see WHY the troops generally didn’t harass the Slayer’s mother too often – if looks could kill, Joyce would save the Mayor and life the trouble and do him in right there. “And *I* fear your mother.”
Joyce didn’t cut him any slack, however, “And why do you want me out of the town?”
Xander didn’t even blink, and Buffy was kinda impressed by that, “Because if this goes to shit, we’re going to be using hard-core munitions and ordinance that WILL have area-wide effects, Joyce. In a nutshell Make. Sure. You. Are. Safe.”
Joyce glared at him for a moment, then at her daughter, before sighing, “I’m not going to win, am I?”
Buffy shook her head, “Nope, sorry.”
Joyce then glared again at the both of them, “If either of you two die, I *WILL* find a way to bring you back so I can guilt you to death.”
Twenty minutes later, her mom was on her way out of town and she was looking at Xander, “Do you really think she meant that?”
Xander nodded, “If one or both of us do die, I think the Olvakian Mayor will have a bigger danger on his hands – our mothers.”
There was little she could do except nod at that.
(Graduation – Sunnydale High)
Even as the Mayor began his transformation and the students and their families took the timely advice/order over the PA to evacuate the area, soldiers armed with heavy rifles, grenades, machine guns and such filtered into the stadium all aiming at the growing monster before them. Xander, even as he shucked his gown and shouldered his assault shotgun with under-mounted grenade launcher, had to admit that it was pretty damned impressive to see people get out of the place that quickly and not trample everyone in their way.
The Olvakian demon lurched down and snatched up the only non-military person there, the acting principal, and devoured her in a single gulp even as roars of agony were heard off-site, presumably from the demon reinforcements that they had been warned of by the now-very-deceased Helen Tasker. As it came up, though, there was an almost eerie silence in the entire stadium, the faint light of the eclipse filtering down and glittering off of the weapons that were all raised against the demonic Mayor.
“OPEN FIRE!” The roared order shattered the silence and hell was unleashed in the form of various calibers of solid and explosive projectiles, making a veritable wall of steel and chemicals that all descended on the giant snake-like demon as if it were ordained to destroy him.
The Mayor returned to them a roar of his own as many of the rounds fired just bounced off of his hide while the others made very small, almost bite-like marks, on its skin, skin that healed over rather quickly. It roared again and surged forwards, making a bee-line right for Xander, who shifted his aim up a little even as the shotgun continued to roar it’s defiance at it in automatic.
A sudden explosion from the Mayor’s side flung it off about ten yards as a RPG few out from the other side and slammed into the Mayor’s unharmed side, bringing forth a roar of pain as she watched Xander aim at the Mayor’s mouth and pull the trigger on the thing in the front of his shotgun, making the entire thing buck even as he pumped the slide on it and ejected a big, smoking shell. Buffy didn’t know what he was using, but it worked as it arced up and slammed into the Mayor’s demon body, blowing up and bringing forth another scream as the explosion threw Xander and a bunch of chairs out of the way.
“Get him! Cover fire and get the kid!” Buffy didn’t wait for them to respond as she dashed into the blizzard of flying chairs and grabbed Xander’s rolling body.
“Xander?” She turned him over and instantly wished she had not – he already looked like one giant bruise and she could see blood leaking out of his nose, his eyes were rolled up into the back of his head and he was unconscious, but alive. He looked like what she would think road kill would look like, but even as she hauled him up she could feel the smoking metal that was caught in his vest start to burn a little, but she didn’t care – they had to get out of there.
“Fall back! Artie in-bound!” It was then a mad dash out of the area, with Xander slung over her shoulder, as she remembered just what that meant – those Paladins on the outside of town were firing and big booms were coming.
“They are brave, Father, yet they are foolish.”
“True, but children often are, my child.”
Buffy was outpacing all of his soldiers, even with his son slung over her shoulders, and he had to admit that while it was very humbling to see this, Adam had to admit that it was rather impressive to see.
“Medic!” Buffy’s call came in just over the incoming whines of the Paladin shells, but it was then lost in the sounds of the explosions of said shells in the stadium – great plumes of dirt, grass, concrete and … well, snake meat … filled the air even as the shells continued to rain down like fat raindrops, tearing chunks out of the Earth, Mayor and stadium. Sadly, though, this appeared to do little but to slow the Mayor down … and piss him off.
Adam caught a glimpse of his son’s face and instantly cursed, having a good idea what had happened even as the medics pulled his vest off and checked for chest wounds – he’d been leery to give his son the grenade launcher to begin with, knowing that Alex would be in the thick of things, but he had related when Alex had told him that he’d rather die than be lacking firepower.
Several tense minutes later, the doctor looked at him, “He’s fine, just unconscious – he’s going to wake up with one hell of a headache and be more than a little sore, though.”
Adam sighed, “Thank you, doctor.” He then looked over at Buffy as even more Paladin shells rained overhead, these hitting the Olkavian demon head-on as the troops continued to trickle in, but these were ones who had not gotten far enough away from the blasts and were woozy, “Buffy, thank you.”
She shrugged, “No big.” She looked around and saw the troops packing up, “What’s going on?”
Adam sighed, “It seems that we underestimated what that thing is capable of – our Paladin shells are the only thing slowing it down right now …”
Buffy nodded, “So you’re going to bomb it?” She remembered that part of the planning session and how very apprehensive the Colonel and many of the others were to suggest it. They weren’t going to use the FAE, but instead other bombs that, if they missed, would take a good chunk out of the school and cause hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars of damage (something the military wanted to avoid) – sadly, though, things were starting to look they might go that way.
Adam nodded at her, “ETA is five minutes, which means we have about two minutes to get out of here if those damned fly-boys are always ahead of schedule, so get in. We’re gone.”
Xander felt like someone had taken a large, heavy mallet and had beat him in the head and face with it, repeatedly, just for shits and grins, but then he had done something to piss them off and they had stopped holding back against him and had REALLY given it to him. Still, it was several minutes before he realized that, outside, it was quiet … very quiet … TOO quiet, so he went against what his body was telling him to do and got to his feet, albeit VERY slowly.
He was in a tent, still had on his boots and BDU pants, but not a shirt, which was quickly rectified (sadly, though, there was no armor), along with taking a left-behind side-arm – something was VERY wrong if someone had just LEFT a weapon out like that.
He had the weapon out in front of him as he exited the tent and looked around … at nothing – gone, everything was GONE! The town was nothing but a flaming, smoldering, rubble-filled pit, there were bits and pieces of equipment … and people … everywhere, and the area was eerily quiet, “What the fuck happened?”
“Hell has come to Earth, my boy.” Xander spun and just barely stopped himself from putting two of his very-limited rounds into the forehead of the … person standing across from him, not ten feet away. He was tall, tanned, wearing some kind of a toga top with a leather skirt, the kind you saw in the old Roman era, and … Xander would be damned if those weren’t black-feathered WINGS on his back – he had a non-descript face and matching non-descript hair, but after the past few years, Xander knew that if it looked like a duck, walked like a duck and quacked like a duck, it was a nuclear device just WAITING for you to set it off.
“Who are you?”
The man smiled, “I’ve gone by many names, none of which are important now, young man – what IS important, though … is that this should not have happened.” The man frowned slightly, “What you do not know now is, quite honestly, best for you to not know, but one thing I shall tell you is that the bomb used to destroy the Mayor, the Fuel Air Bomb, should NOT have, and normally could not have, opened the Hellmouth as it did.”
Xander felt all of the blood leave his face, “Oh … fuck.”
“Indeed – somebody made a very precise and very calculated move in weakening the barrier between this world and the next at the PRECISE moment the bomb went off … and I do not like whom the markers are all pointing to.” The nameless man stopped frowning, “There is nothing I can do right now in order to bring your friends back, but what I can do is give you hope that you WILL be having reinforcements coming in within the next six hours.”
“The demons that are collecting in what used to the school will be reaching you within the next hour.” He pointed at the movement now visible in the remains of the town, “Survive, young man, and we’ll talk about getting your friends back from the limbo they are currently in.”
Xander growled at the being and brought his gun back up, “Who are you and how in the fuck am I supposed to stop them?”
“It shall be done in the same way one Flynn Taggart was able to stop the flow of ‘demons’ he fought, young man – though superior firepower, grit, determination and more than a little luck.” The being smiled at him and began to fade away, “As for my name … you may know me best by the name … Lucifer.” With that, the being was gone and Xander was floored.
He shook himself out of it and holstered his side arm – he needed bigger and meaner guns now, LOTS of guns…
(Another Time, Another Place)
“… and that’s how it happened. Demons came in, I killed a bunch of them, they got their pound of flesh out of me, and reinforcements came in knowing the score – end of story.”
She arched an eyebrow at him, as if to say that he was full of shit, but he shot the look right back at her, “What? You don’t believe me? I have the scars to prove it.”
Buffy rolled her eyes but said, “Xander, you’re weird.”
The old man gave her a grin and a chuckle, one that turned into a wracking cough that he eventually came out of, “You are named after one of my best friends, ‘BUFFY’, and you have the audacity to call an old man like me weird?” He snorted, “Kids today, no respect for their elders.”
She chuckled and leaned forwards, kissing the 87 year-old man’s wrinkled forehead, “Now, get some sleep, Grandpa Xander – I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.” She grabbed her bag and left the room, whistling an old tune he had taught her, the tune from Looney Tunes.
Xander leaned back in his hospital bed and sighed, closing his eyes for a moment before snapping them open as he smelled something, “So … you’re back.”
“Indeed I am, Alexander.” Lucifer, still dressed the same as he had been when Xander met him, walked out of the shadows with a sad smile on his face, “How have you been?”
Xander shrugged, “Alone – does that count?”
“I kept my promise, young man – I got you your friends and family back.”
Xander didn’t want to rehash the old argument they’d been having for almost seventy years – yes, Lucifer HAD brought them back, but they were all dead. Sure, Joyce and his mother had survived, as had his other girls, but … it just wasn’t the same, “Why are you here?”
“It’s time, Xander.” Theresa had gone to death before Grace had, not six months after Graduation day, while Grace had lasted another year in the fight to re-take the Earth from the demons – nobody knew just WHO it was that had weakened the barrier, but it had done it’s job and the demons had filled the Earth, almost taking it over, too. Earth, however, had fought back and had shown the demons a thing or ten about fighting dirty, and after ten years they had won back the planet … but at a heavy price. Three billion confirmed dead, another half-billion unknown, and most of North America would be irradiated until the year 13,237 AD, at best estimates.
Xander sighed and looked out over the African plains – the whole Hyena thing aside, he felt at peace there in the wilds of Africa, though they were not so wild anymore with development being what it was, “I think I’m ready to sleep now.”
Lucifer smiled and nodded a little, “Then go into eternity, young one – you’ve done your job.” He reached forwards and touched a single finger to Xander’s forehead, causing the old man’s body to slump and to die.
“You do realize that he will find out just what you did to the Hellmouth, right?”
He didn’t even bother to look at the speaker, knowing they were going to be there, “Oh, I would be very surprised if he didn’t already guess.”
“He’ll wade through both Heaven and Hell to get at you.” It was not an exaggeration in any sense of the word – Lucifer figured that with as hard-headed and determined as the boy had been, he fully expected to see Xander again one day.
Lucifer then turned around and glared at both Metatron and Her, “Don’t you have someone to go tell to build an ark or something? You know WHY I did what I did.”
Metatron nodded, “Yes, we do, but what I am curious is why you chose to let him live as long as you did.”
Lucifer chuckled even as the medical staff rushed into the hospital, “He needed to raise her, didn’t he? This Buffy will be the bridge between the old times and the new.” Alexander had found a young African girl in a remote village during his time of self-imposed exile in the plains, one that had somehow brought him out of his apathy, and he had raised her as his own. She had grown up and married, gave birth to her child, Buffy, and gone into the night, leaving Xander to care for the soon-to-be Slayer and raise her as his own.
She looked over at Metatron, who nodded, “But you could have killed him years ago, not wait until she was nearly twenty.”
Lucifer sighed, “Fine – I felt sorry for him. Is that what you wanted to hear?”
She smiled brightly at him and reached out, touching his face as Metatron spoke, “It shows that you can be redeemed – join us, Lucifer.”
Lucifer shook his head even as he felt the towering fury from Heaven that was the Rage of Alexander LaVelle Harris, who had just learned the truth, “No, not yet – after all, Mr. Harris and I DO have a date now. He’s just sworn to kill me, even if he has to be knee-deep in the dead to dying to do it.” With a laugh, he banished himself back into hell – yes, his plans were coming along nicely. Soon the Earth would be ripe for his own invasion, and the world would tremble at the name of Lucifer.
Well? What do you think? Reviews, please.