Saints Preserve Them
Author: Anime Ronin
Rating: R (for body groping and crude male descriptions of the female body, sorry ladies)
Summary: YAHF – Xander’s life is about to take an unexpected twist as his parent’s split and his mother gives him a gift.
AN: The timelines of the movie and Buffy don’t match, so I’m making them (the subject of the movie) urban legends out of South Boston, during the 1960’s.
AN2: One-shot only – not sure I have the guts to turn this into a series of stories, so if you want to continue this, just give me credit and a link.
AN3: Firstly, I’m slightly altering the Soul Curse spell – nothing too major, just a few things to stir the pot a little. Oh, and the whole ‘demon essence caused the Slayer line’ thing? (Waves goodbye to it) Just threw it out the closest window I could find – I like my version better.
(Monday, October 25th, 1997 – Sunnydale High School)
Xander blinked in surprise as the doors opened and his mother, of all people, walked through – first of all, she was sober, he could tell by her gait and her expression, but it was her expression that worried him, as he could see the tear marks on her face as she walked towards him with a large yellow envelope in her hands, “Mom?”
“Alex,” she said faintly, a touch of her Irish accent in her voice, muddled only slightly by her tears. She looked away as Giles quickly and firmly drew both Willow and a protesting Buffy out of the Library, into the halls, but when she looked back, he could see that this wasn’t going to be fun, “Your father left this morning, for good.”
Xander blinked once, and then twice, before frowning, “What?”
“He said he’d had enough of Sunnydale, of me, and … of you, son,” Jessica said as her eyes began to well up with tears again. After a few seconds of sniffling, though, she drew herself up and looked at him, clutching the envelope in her hands, “Alex … your father wasn’t a kind man, ever, and you know that …”
“I should – I took his beatings for six years,” Xander said somewhat harshly, his anger rising like a volcano as a darker part of his mind began to piece together exactly what he was going to do to Tony once he got his hands on him. By no means was Xander an overly vengeful person (at least, where demons were not involved), but in Tony’s instance, he was more than willing to make an exception after all of the beatings he’d taken and been subjected to.
She nodded, “I know, son, but it is not as if I was not at fault as well – I … I antagonized him more often than not, and you bore the brunt of it, and I’m sorry for that, truly I am.”
He nodded only slightly, looking at the package, “What’s that?”
His mother smiled slightly, turning the envelope in her hands over several times, “When you were born, son, my grandfather gave these things to give you at the time of your first communion, despite the fact that your father was Baptist, and now … I give them to you.”
Xander took the package but didn’t open them, “Mom … you know I haven’t been to church in the better part of seven years, right? I mean, I had serious issues with the Catholic Church to begin with before I started high school … and now I see the world as it really is.”
She pressed the package into his hands even as he tried to give it back, “Son … keep it, in memory of your great-grandfather.” Before he could open his mouth to protest, she stepped back, her eyes lighting up slightly, “Alex … tonight, when you get home, we are going to have a talk about the past few years … and to see if there is a way to get past them, okay?”
He nodded as his mind raced to catch up while she pinched his cheek and walked out of the Library, softly humming an old Irish tune that he could remember her singing to him while Tony wasn’t around – it wasn’t every day that your father left your family, let alone that you get a gift from your great grandfather once you complete an old, and in Xander’s mind, outdated form of faith that he wasn’t sure he ever believed in before he knew about demons.
“Xand? You alright?” He started slightly as Buffy’s voice knocked him out of his own little world and he turned around to see her, Willow and Giles standing there, all of them mystified.
“Yeah, Buff, I am, just a little spooked, that’s all.” His friendship with Buffy had been strained since not only the ‘sexy dance’, but also her pig-headedness that had gotten both Giles and Willow captured (and he made sure, in front of both Giles and Willow, that she understood that his threat to kill her wasn’t an idle one), but slowly it was starting to mend itself. Of course, Captain Forehead didn’t like it at all that Buffy had taken his stance on the whole human/vampire non-relationship thing, and while the souled vampire was more than a little upset at him, he wasn’t going to press the issue at it might alienate Buffy even more – for once, Xander was happy that males were so easily predicable.
“I … I take it that whatever she had to say … may not be good?”
He nodded, “Yeah, Wills – dad bailed this morning, for good. It’s a shame, really,” he went on as both girls gasped and Giles let out an ‘oh, Lord’, “because now I have to hunt him down and beat some answers out of him.”
Buffy caught up with him as he turned to go sit down, “What do you mean, ‘beat some answers out of him’? Xander … he’s human.”
He looked at her and rolled his eyes, “Barely, Buffy, just as he’s barely a man – no man ever puts his hands on his wife or child in a violent manner, and Tony did it regularly for a long time.” He flopped down into a seat and ripped the envelope open as she stopped in her tracks, “Trust me, if it came down to it, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it at all.” With that said, he tipped the envelope upside down and emptied the contents.
First thing that fell out was a rosary carved out of what appeared to be stone, a full rosary at that, with a large cross that had a circle at the intersection, and from the looks of things, it was well-used; his fingers traced over it as he picked it up and looked it over – the stone was grey, and heavy, but worn smooth as the beads clacked together slightly. He could almost feel the people who had once held the same beads before, so he flipped it over his head and let it come to rest around his neck, outside of his shirt as he looked at the second thing that had come out of the package, a letter.
Ten minutes later, he was still staring at the letter.
Buffy growled even as she, Willow and Xander stalked through the streets of Sunnydale on their way to get costumes, “I can’t BELIEVE that Snyder is forcing us to do this!” She, Willow and Xander had been on their way out of school after Xander finally read his letter (though he didn’t tell her what it said, a fact that irritated her until he told her ‘it’s family stuff – drop it’) when Snyder had dropped in on them and volunteered them to watch and lead around kids on Halloween night, six nights from then, and if they said no, he was going to put them in detention until doomsday. All was lost until Xander said he couldn’t do that, that he didn’t have the power and he could prove it, so Snyder quickly went back on his word and said that he’d get the school board to do it, which sealed the deal.
“Buffy, just let it go,” Willow asked gently even as they approached the store. “All of this anger is going to give you wrinkles.”
Buffy jerked her head over Willow as her hands flew to her face, “Really? Am I starting to show?”
Willow made the motions to peering forward and nodded, “Just a little around the eyes.”
Xander smirked at this as Buffy bemoaned quietly, though playfully, at Willow’s light teasing even as they entered the store – his mind was on other things even as he began to browse the racks for a suitable costume. Great-Grandfather Angus had been quite specific about things in the family past, and more importantly about things that no member of the family would ever turn their backs on – it’s shocked Xander to not end that he wasn’t the first member of his mother’s family to hunt demons and vampires, either in Ireland or here in the US, and there was something in the blood that would not allow them to not hunt the demons. All of this stayed in his mind as he found a dark blue Navy overcoat, thick and heavy, and an idea began to form in his mind from old stories his mother once told him about when she was a kid as he took out his rosary and grinned.
“May I help you, young man?” He turned and saw an oily-looking Englishman standing there, a smile splitting his older, pale face, and Xander had to resist the urge to slam his fist into the man’s face on an odd instinct.
“Yeah, I’m looking for some stuff to make up an old urban legend, or at least, part of one. I have most of it at the house, but I need some guns and some of the fake tattoo inks your sign,” Xander pointed at said sign, “says that you have behind the counter, sir.”
The man looked at him, and then the coat and finally the rosary before smiling, “Ah, yes, THAT particular urban legend – why, I sold a woman much the same thing not an hour ago, as she said that she was going for esoteric this year, rather than the mundane.”
Xander blinked at that, “Could you describe her? And what’s your name?”
“Ethan, Ethan Rayne, and …” Ethan sighed a dreamy sigh, “she could make a Cardinal knock out the stained glass at the Vatican, my boy.”
Xander grinned, “I can think of a few who fit that bill, but you called her a woman, not a girl, so that narrows the field a lot.”
Ethan looked at him in surprise, but then grinned, “I suppose it would – maybe most of a head shorter than you, dark brown hair to her neck, dark eyes, legs like you wouldn’t believe,” Ethan then looked around, obviously looking for anything female, and then leaned in, “and between you, me and the pub, my boy, a pair of knackers like nobody’s business.”
Xander chuckled at this, nodding, “Yeah, I think I know who you’re talking about, Mr. Rayne, though I’m more of a leg man myself, and I hate to say it, but I think she’s taken.”
Ethan sighed, walking towards the register, “It would be my luck. Now, let’s see if we can get you your guns.” He put the tattoo ink on the counter, “I would think something … less exotic?”
Xander grinned, “How about we start with a silenced pistol set and work from there?”
Ethan grinned slightly, nodding, “Good, because I see a young woman over there with the perfect figure for a pet project of mine, the Hidden Princess.”
(October 31, 1997, SHS, 5:45 PM)
She blinked as she watched him ghost through several groups of kids, taking in the dark coat, pants and form-fitting shirt, but also the way Xander walked … and the tattoo she saw on the side of his hand, as she had something like it on her other hand. Jenny Calendar was many things, but one of those was a bit of a fangirl when it came to urban legends, and when she had been roped into babysitting kids on Halloween, she had gone to one of the more violence-prone legends that she knew she could pull off … the Saints of South Boston, also known as the Boondock Saints. She’d chosen one, reported to have been named Conner (though in her case now, Conner had become Connie), and was dressed as such, with the fake blue tattoo of ‘Veritas’ upon the top of her left hand, along her pointer finger line, and from her position she could see that Xander had much the same idea, only it was on his right hand and the word there was ‘Aequitas’, signifying that he was Murphy McManus. “Aye, Murph.”
“Aye … Connie,” Xander grinned right back at her as he slid to a stop next to her, having been assigned to her by ‘Quark’, as she had heard several people call their ‘beloved’ principal.
She grinned at him, knowing that one Alexander Harris was much smarter than he put on to be, especially after he had started showing his true stripes in the past week – she wasn’t sure what had started it, but during the school week the garish shirts, the flip attitude, and the idiot guise had all vanished slowly, but surely, leaving just Xander behind … and Jenny knew she wasn’t the only one who had noticed. From what she had overheard while in the restrooms, several of the once-elite girls had begun to notice Xander’s frame, the muscle on it, and the fact that he was ‘climbing the hotness meter’ – by no means was he doing it on purpose, but Jenny figured that now without the attitude and such, many of the students were starting to see him for what he really was. “Nice costume, Xander – who is your tailor?”
“The same as yours, I would wager, Miss Calendar,” he said right back as he reached inside of his jacket and shifted something. She saw the plastic muzzle of a sawed-off shotgun, which she arched an eyebrow at, causing him to smile, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
She smirked at him, “You’re not man enough to handle … those, Xander, but if you insist…” Jenny opened her jacket to reveal a shoulder harness with two silenced pistols in them, several odds and ends stuck into the inside of her jacket, and rope, lots of rope.
Xander looked at her and opened his own jacket, showing her the same pistols, the shotgun, and what looked to be a large Rambo-like knife, “Rope? What’re ya gonna need th’ stupid, frackin’ rope, for, Connie?”
She put her hands on her hips and mock-glared at him, “Aye, rope, they always be needing the rope in those Charlie Bronson movies, ye dingus! Crawlin’ through the vent works, they end up using it someway or another,” she fired back at him in a passable Irish accent, a barely passable one while his had been more realistic. Off to her side, she heard several kids start to giggle at their exchange and she turned, smiling, “Aye, the kiddies, they all understand the need for rope!”
‘Murphy’ just rolled his eyes at her, “Bloody movies, bad television is more like it! Ye need firepower, lots and lots of firepower! Not rope, because what’s rope going to get you when that guy jumps behind the couch?”
“The guy you have to shoot at for ten frackin’ minutes before ye get him? It gets ye an empty gun!” The kids giggled harder at this, and more of them joined in as Xander grinned at her, turning to them as she did, “Okay, kids, who wants to go get some candy?”
All hands were instantly in the air, then Xander spoke, “Alright, listen up on the tips to sleazing extra candy, kiddos – in the time-honored tradition, tears are key…”
(Later – Spell Ends)
Xander shook his head to clear it even as his fingers pulled the triggers on the two guns he had in his hands, both weapons barking out muted war cries and said bullets blowing out the necks of the vamps that had been holding a bleeding, severely-wounded Buffy. He wasn’t sure just how he had gotten there, but that didn’t matter now as he dropped the locked-open guns and reached inside of his jacket for a stake, a gun, anything as his ears picked up the muted shots of someone else behind him.
“Xander?” He remembered Jenny Calendar, babe of the school teachers, hottest of the hot according to nine out of ten breathing males in Sunnydale High (namely because the tenth had been clubbed unconscious), had dressed much like him as he reached into his jacket and found the pistol grip of a weapon and pulled it out, revealing the snub nose of the shotgun he’d ‘modified’ with a bread knife, as it had been plastic but wasn’t anymore.
“Kinda busy here, Miss C,” he growled even as the weapon came up and he pulled the trigger, blasting the 12-gauge round in the chamber at the charging last vampire, hitting him in the chest and blowing out the back as he crumbled into dust with a screech. Xander didn’t question why or how as he racked the pump-slide and turned, checking the area for vamps and finding none but him, Jenny and a now-unconscious Buffy. “Where the fook are we?”
Jenny rushed over to where he was, looking over Buffy with a wince, “Nae sure, but we need to get her to the hospital, now!”
He looked up at her with an annoyed look, “And how are we supposed ta do that, Connie? We aren’t sure where we are, we have Buffy here bleeding out and …” He stopped as his mind finally registered what he had called her, “Did I just…?”
“Aye, ye did, but that’s neither here nor there,” Jenny said to him with a passable accent as she put her guns away carefully before she started patching up Buffy’s more minor wounds, as the Slayer healing was already taking over and had sealed the major arterial wound. “Let’s get her to the hospital now and we’ll figure this out later.”
The next hour was a long one, by anyone’s terms – they got Buffy out to the main street of Sunnydale and Jenny broke into a van, hotwired it and they took Buffy to Sunnydale Memorial, but by that time she had slipped into a coma, according to the doctors, due to massive blunt force trauma to her internal organs, all of them, and that there was compression on her spine due to swelling. He had called Giles at the Library, as the older Briton had said that is where he was going to be, but there was no answer, nor was there an answer when Jenny called Buffy’s house, so they both sat alone in the ER waiting room while the doctors did their best to stabilize Buffy and make her comfortable.
Xander’s mind was whirling, trying to piece together the two hours that he seemed to have lost in the process, coming up with very little except for memories that were not his – memories of Ireland, of a mother, father and brother that he didn’t know, of a trip to Boston in the late 1950’s, to growing up poor until he and his brother were old enough to get jobs. When the 1960’s came around, though, he remembered very little until about ’65, when he and his older brother Conner … (he mentally snickered at this) now Connie … had both been at church earlier one day and, that night, they heard a voice that told them to wipe clean the filth that was invading South Boston. Murders, sting operations, even flat-out assassinations had occurred for the next few years and, though their methods were morally questionable and most certainly illegal, the Saints of South Boston felt that they were doing as God commanded them. The memories, though, ended about 1972, and even now Xander felt as if he were being pulled in several different directions in what to do – one part of him told him to stay where he was, another said to go out and seek justice, another to go to the bathroom and puke his guts up and another said to find the nearest Catholic priest and beg God’s forgiveness.
His train of thoughts were interrupted when Jenny sat down next to him lightly, “I got rid of the van and wiped it clean Mur … Xander.” He arched an eyebrow at her and she sighed, “Xander … something is wrong, I know it – I have … these memories…”
“Me too – Murphy McManus, born March 15, 1942, died circa March 15, 1972, younger brother of Connie … Conner McManus, son of Duke and Ellen McManus, of Ireland.”
Jenny nodded, “Aye, but … I’m confused! I mean, one second I’m Janna Kalder …” he gave her a look and she sighed again, “Kalderash of the clan Kalderash and the next I’m Conner … no, Connie McManus, a man in a woman’s body!” She quietly exclaimed and then grabbed her chest and shook them slightly, “THESE aren’t supposed to be here in my mind!” Xander desperately tried to clear his mind as she let go and he tried to look away, thinking as unsexy of thoughts as he possibly could, but was coming up empty, so he continued to stare slightly until Jenny smacked him on the side of the head, hissing at him in Russian, “(Stop staring at my fucking tits and help me!)”
That snapped him out of it and he shook his head, rubbing his temple before snarling back, “(Sorry, CONNIE, but it was very riveting sight!)” She sat back at those words, blushing lightly but said nothing as the pain in his temple ceased, allowing him to switch back to English, “Look, I don’t know what’s going on, but we’ll talk to Giles about this later on, okay?”
She nodded, “Okay. So, what do we do about Buffy?”
“Make sure she at least lives, and then we find out what happened to us tonight – after that … we deal with whoever hurt her and did this to us, and not necessary in that order.” They sat there silent for a moment and it then hit him as something odd had happened, “Con … Jenny, since when do I know Russian?”
“I’m guessing the same way I know it, Mur … Xander.” She sighed and leaned into his side, “We’re really fooked, aren’t we?”
He leaned his head over, resting it on top of her as he nodded slightly, “Aye.”
(Saturday, November 1, 1997 – SHS Library)
Giles watched as both Jenny Calendar and Xander Harris walked into the room, dressed much as they had been the night before in dark clothes with heavy jackets over them, and both of them wearing dark sunglasses, but while Xander had a half-smoked cigarette in his lips, puffing off of it slightly, Jenny had a silver flask in her left hand and was taking a hit off of it, and it made him wonder just how much they had changed since the previous night. An old … acquaintance of his, Ethan Rayne, had cast a Chaos spell on many of his costumes and many of the students in town had gotten caught in them, Willow and Buffy included – Willow had been turned into a ghost, and it had been she who had come to him for answers, but Buffy had been transformed into the stereotypical princess noblewoman, completely useless in all ways and that had negated her Slayer essence in a way that had gotten her injured gravely.
He winced as he remembered finding both teacher and student at the hospital, asleep and exhausted, not to mention more than a little upset over having lost a few hours of their memories, and understandably so, but they faired better than Buffy – his Slayer was in a coma, though there were signs that she was coming out of it, soon, it didn’t make things any easier for him to deal with, “Good morning, Jenny, and put out that disgusting thing, Xander.”
Jenny shot him a look even as Xander flipped him ‘the bird’ and snarled at him in Gaelic to ‘mind his own damned business, English’, something that shocked him more than a little as Xander’s own skills with language, especially English, were … limited, at best. They each took a seat either side of Willow, who had gone back to sleep after showing up earlier, and both put their boots up on the table as Xander extinguished his cigarette with one hand and stroked the back of Willow’s neck with the other’s fingers and using feather-light touches.
Willow squirmed a little in her sleep, murmuring about frogs and such, but then jerked awake with a squeal as Xander, using only his throat, made the sound of said amphibian and she looked around hastily, “Frogs! Run!”
Jenny giggled and Giles found himself repressing a snort as Xander grinned his lopsided grin at Willow, who had calmed down and settled for glaring at him, “Lass, dinnae be mad, we just needed ye awake.”
“Where were you?! Buffy needed your help and you weren’t there! Where were you?!”
Willow’s furious question hung in the air as Giles winced, Jenny frowned and Xander slowly put his feet on the ground, never taking his eyes off of her, “Where was _I_? Tell you the truth, Willow, I don’t remember, but think about this – if you hadn’t gone as a ghost, or Buffy had used her brain and not gone as a useless princess to impress that fraking CORPSE, MAYBE she wouldn’t be in a coma, so don’t you DARE try and pin this one me.” Never had he heard the young man’s tone so angry as he spoke, though when he told Willow and himself his threat against Buffy because of her attitude came in a close second, but the effects were apparent as Willow paled and sat down, shrinking away from the furious young man who reached into his jacket and removed another cigarette, not lighting it this time, and then sighed disgustedly before speaking again, “Needless to say, we have issues to work out.”
“You are quite right, Mur … Xander,” Jenny chipped in slightly, her eyes coolly regarding Willow, “on several counts, but mostly about our issues. Mister Giles, what the fook happened last night?”
He blinked a few times at her rather coarse language but got the gist of it, “Well, it was a Chaos spell, Miss Calendar, and as you may know, you were turned into your costumes, as you bought them from Ethan Rayne’s shop, the prat!”
“And where is this Ethan Rayne, G-Man?” The cold note in Xander’s voice didn’t go past him as the boy slowly removed what appeared to be a plastic pistol and screwed a very real-looking suppressor on it, “I’d like to have a few words with him, if at all possible.”
“Xander, be careful with that,” he warned the boy, who shot him a glare that said for him to answer the question, so he did. “Ethan … has left town – I am not sure where to, but with a spell like last night’s it will most likely be a few weeks before he is able to do anything magical.”
“Should make him easy to find, then,” Jenny chipped in, her voice dark with anger and her eyes flashing with wanton violence as she caught the ungodly knife that Xander slid over to her, and then proceeded to clean her nails with it. “So, tell me, Rupert, what will happen with Buffy? I understand she is the Slayer, but how long will this coma affect her?”
“Honestly, I am not sure, but as her mother has been apprised of Buffy’s condition … hopefully not long. Mrs. Summers, as you can well imagine, is quite upset,” and that was an understatement of massive proportions. She had threatened his ability to one day reproduce, let alone urinate naturally as a male, if he did not tell her some answers very quickly, so Ripper’s own anger had taken a backseat to an angry mother’s wrath.
Silence reigned for several minutes before Jenny spoke, “Xander, we’re going to speak to your mother while Mister Giles does a spell to find Mister Rayne – Willow, go stay with Buffy and keep her mother from eviscerating someone, please?” Giles blinked as Jenny stood with Xander, but more so at the look on her face, “I intend to get a few answers out of Rayne if I have to skin him alive, Rupert – do not make me wait for his location.” With that, Jenny and Xander swept out of the room.
Jessica blinked as her son and an older woman, who was dressed much the same as her son, swept into the house, neither one of them looking as if they had slept much, “Alex? Where have you been?”
“The hospital, mom – friend of mine got hurt last night and she’s in a coma, and the guy responsible for it’s on the run.” She blinked, several times, as her little boy began to strip off his outer coat and then his shirt, throwing it into a pile of dirty clothes that she had been sorting and revealing a body that had been made for combat … or sin, as her mother had once said, but also something else.
“Son, where and when did you get that bloody tattoo?” She looked over at the other woman, who was eyeing her son appreciably, and then scowled, “And who in the hell are ye, lass? Stop eyein’ me son like he’s a piece of meat!”
The dark-haired woman turned and pinned her with a look that clearly said ‘make me’, “My name is Jenny, I’m an acquaintance of your son’s … and there is absolutely nothing wrong with admiring a work of art, Ms. Harris.”
Jessica scowled, “Please, don’t use that name – me maiden name is Lawrence.” She turned back to her son, who was pulling a clean shirt on and grabbing several sets of his clothes from the couch, where she had sorted them, “Where are ye going, son?”
“Back to school, for one, mom, and then we’re going to see from there – Mr. Giles should have that asshole’s location by the time we get back.” With that, Alex disappeared up the stairs to his room and she could hear him moving things around upstairs several moments later.
Jessica looked over at the woman, “And what is yuir name?”
“Jenny, if you must know,” the woman coolly said back to her.
“And what are yuir intentions with me son?” This caught the woman off guard slightly and Jessica pressed it, “He’s a fine young man, yes, but I will nae had some hussy breaking his heart.”
The dark haired and eyed woman drew herself up as her eyes flashed dangerously, “Hussy? I’ll have you know that no man has ever taken me to bed, Ms. Lawrence, without my specific intent, and I can count the number of men on one hand who have done that and still be able to say peace!” Jessica sniffed at the woman, Jenny, but apparently Jenny wasn’t through, “And if ye think that your son can do better than me, let me assure you that while one day he could, there are none in that school who have a better mind, a better body and no inclination towards sleeping with the dead than me.”
“Good to know, Jenny,” Alex said as he walked down the stairs, a bag slung over his arm and with him putting something into an interior pocket of his jacket. Even as the woman looked away, Jessica could see the light blush on her cheeks as Alex hit the ground and smirked lightly, “I’ll call you when we have something, ma.”
“Alex! Let the police handle this!”
He just snorted, “The Sunnydale PD? Mom, the same people who ignored six years of drunken spousal battery and child abuse, you want to catch this guy?” She winced at those memories and how she was told by the police dispatchers and detectives, to ‘deal with it’, especially after one time Tony had broken Alex’s arm, but Alex went on, “No, this is personal, hence why we are going.”
“Don’t worry, Ms. Lawrence,” Jenny said in a slightly truthful, yet mocking, tone as she pulled Alex into a side-armed hug, “Alexander’s virtue, such as it is, is perfectly safe with me.”
Jessica arched an eyebrow at her son, who was smirking at Jenny as he spoke, “Now, where’d be the fun in that, Jenny? I _LIKE_ my virtue to be in danger around you – it makes life … interesting.”
Jessica growled as Jenny laughed, “Son, be careful, if nothing else – I have a bad feeling about all of this.”
Alex nodded at her and the pair went out the door, allowing Jessica to sigh and sink down into a nearby chair – Jenny would be good for her son, when he was legal in a few years, but there was something else there, a fondness in Jenny’s voice that … unnerved Jessica slightly.
(LA – 1 day later, sundown)
Their first day had not been anything useful, other than getting the general layout of the run-down area that Giles’ locator spell had pointed them to, and neither he nor Jenny had expected it to be quick thing – even as they lay together in the dank hotel room that they had been able to rent out for the week, neither of them were disillusioned about what was going to happen when they found Ethan; Ethan Rayne would suffer greatly for the suffering he had wrought in Sunnydale, and would be sent to God for Judgment by their hands, sooner or later (preferably sooner, in Xander’s mind).
“So, what do we do now, Xander?” Jenny, herself, hadn’t slept all that well in the previous night, waking up every few hours from memories of what the Saints had done, and while the numbers weren’t exactly earth-shaking, the manner that the men, and that one time, the woman, had been executed were enough to turn her stomach to the point she could not sleep. She knew Xander hadn’t been much better with the way he jerked awake every few hours next to her, but at least he seemed to be taking things better than she.
“We try to get some kind of sleep, Jenny, and then we figure out just what we do with each other.” She looked at him, knowing what he meant – in their minds, the other was their sibling, but there was no blood bond there, hell, no chance of a blood bond given that his family was Irish and she was Romany. She felt oddly protective of him at times and yet, at others, she had to remind herself that he was only 16 and, therefore, a minor – she sincerely hoped he was having the same problems.
“And what we do after this one time, right?” She felt him nod next to her and she sighed, turning on her right side to look at him, “Xander … whatever happens, happens, but can you really justify in your mind what we are about to do?” He arched an eyebrow at her and she went on, “We are about to stalk a man, corner him, and the commit pre-meditated murder in a way that figments of our imagination used to – it’s … it’s not right.”
He nodded slowly, “Jenny, it’s at times like this that I like to remember one of the few things that Tony ever said that made any kind of sense to me – ‘good’ and ‘right’ are often mutually inclusive terms, but in rare instances, one must do what is right, instead of what is good.” She arched her eyebrow at him and he smirked, “I think he got that off of several fortune cookies myself, but I get what he was trying to say – in this case, there is no good, or right, there simply … IS. If we do this, yes, we’ve committed murder, but we’ve also kept him from doing this ever again to some other poor souls.”
Jenny was silent for a few moments and then she smiled, slightly, “Xander?”
“That was very poetic bullshit – thank you.”
He looked over at her from his place on the bed, then shifting to where he was on his side as well, “Thank you – question: is your tattoo also fading?” She looked down first at his tattoo, the words starting to wear away, and then back at her own hand, the tattoo also fading, so she nodded, “Good – then can you explain to me why I seem to now be growing a new tattoo on another part of my anatomy?”
She looked at him oddly, “What?”
He looked at her and then raised his t-shirt, exposing his abdomen and his navel, showing that, indeed, there was a faint outline of a tattoo starting to show up, an intricate on from the looks of it, “I noticed it this morning and, quite frankly, I’m getting a little freaked.”
She peered closer at his navel and saw that it looked a great deal like a cross, a rather elaborate one at that, and then pulled her own t-shirt up to reveal her navel – sure enough, there was a mark over her own navel, but not a cross. “What do you make of that?”
“An outie.” She looked up at him and shot him a glare as he smirked at her – there was absolutely nothing wrong with an ‘outie’, but he went on, “And from what I can see, it appears to be … I don’t know.” He looked up at her and gave her a quirky grin, “Mind if I continue to stare at it and try and figure it out?”
She pulled her shirt back down with a smile of her own, “Only if you ask me very nicely, Alexander, and sleep on the floor – after all, I told your mother that your virtue was safe with me.”
He gave her a pout that she felt the insane urge to hug him for, “But I said I liked my virtue to be in danger.” He sat up and crossed his arms petulantly, “Is it too bloody much to ask to be ravished by a beautiful woman on occasion?”
She stopped fighting the giggles that she felt building a let them out full force, seeing him turn and grin at her, “You … you set me up you … you bastard!”
“Aye, I did – just because I’m the ‘little brother’ here, Jenny, don’t think that I’m not capable of getting ye.”
She smirked at him, her unease disappearing, “So, now what?”
He grabbed the remote and hit the power button, “We try and get some sleep.”
She looked at the television and smirked as a very low-grade porno came on, “Well, I’m not sure that do it, Xander.”
He looked over at her as the woman on the scream obviously faked it, “Probably not.” He switched channels and came to the History Channel, “This, though, may.”
Jenny yawned immediately as the droning voice of Ben Stein talked about the embalming process of mummies, “Night, Xander.”
(Early Next Morning)
Xander jerked awake at the same time he felt Jenny jerk awake, both of them soaked as rain dribbled in from several cracks in the ceiling of the room they had gotten – both of them gasped in time as the sudden chill hit them and, in the backs of their minds, they heard the old priest speaking, “Evil shall triumph when the good men and women do nothing.”
Xander sat up and shook his head, water shedding from him as Jenny did the same, but another voice stopped them from speaking, “You DO realize that this complicates things, right?” Xander hauled his left hand over, with it being filled with a gun that pointed to a man in a casual-looking set of dark clothes, topped by a black jacket, who looked at him even as Jenny hauled her off hand over his body, it also filled with a pistol – the man, for his part, looked very unimpressed, “Oh, please, DO try and be a little original.”
In response to this, Xander pulled the trigger of his suppressed pistol at the same time that Jenny did, both bullets leaving their guns and slamming into a shimmering force field that appeared out of nowhere – this time, the man smirked, “Oh, now THAT was truly original, you two. If I had a golden horn for every time I was shot at, I would have enough to supply the entire Higher Choir with them, instead of just Gabriel.”
Jenny snarled from her position, pressed against his back, “Who are ye?”
The man smiled, “I … am Le Metatron, Herald of the Almighty and the Voice of the One True God.”
Xander looked back at Jenny, who looked at him with wide eyes, and both of them rolled off to the side of the bed, guns forgotten and upon one knee, “Sir.”
The man grinned happily, “Finally! Somebody bloody well recognizes me – I MUST remember to thank my PR agent…”
Jenny deflated his ego greatly with a small smirk, “This is nae the first time we’ve met, sir.”
The effects were quick and pronounced - the man sunk into himself slightly and began to sulk, “Yes, you have – bloody Chaos Mages and their plans for havoc!” He sighed and drew himself back up again, “So, I take it that you have both retained your memories?” They both nodded and the man went on, “As you well know, we do not like to use mortals in this way, as it often blurs the line between what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’ but given your families and their chosen professions … we can stop worrying about it.”
He went on, putting his hands behind his back and pacing in front of them, “You see, we do have a bit of a problem here – the two spirits you now have were never supposed to leave Heaven again, given how much trouble we went through to get them up there last time, but now that they are within you, sadly, they must be proven worthy to gain such a reward.
“Invariably you have noticed that, around your naval you have a kind of pattern, both of them different as you are both different – as they grow darker and more pronounced, you are that much closer to assuring their return to the Heavens and then your jobs will be complete.”
Jenny looked over at Xander, who looked over at her, and then up at the angel, “One second, mate – how does getting jerked around by you and yours mean anything different than that Slayer getting jerked around by those jokers who run the joint?”
Xander nodded, “Aye – I’m not running errands for some bloody stuffed shirt and …” He stopped as another figure walked out of the shadows, dressed in the traditional Hippie clothing and began to dance around. “Aw … fracking hell, is that who I think it is?” She was somewhat plain looking with brown hair that reached Her back, a slightly pale face that was split by a smile and an aura of both loving warmth and chilling solitude about her.
Metatron smirked at him, “You would know, boy – in your past self, She kissed you on the cheek.”
Jenny snickered next to him, “Aww, poor little Xander, still attracting all the insanely powerful women around him.”
He shot her a look, “Jenny, that. Is. God. Ye wanna make any other comments about Her?” Jenny paled and mumbled a hasty apology to the woman, who smiled back and resumed dancing as Xander looked at a snickering Metatron, “What is it?”
“Nothing, just your luck with the women, demonic or otherwise, isn’t all that different from Murphy’s – he attracted the … odd ones in the human community, almost all of them female, save this one rather effeminate male back in Boston …” The Mouthpiece of God saw the black glare that the boy was sending him and decided to not test the limits of just how much punishment he could absorb and negate before it started to hurt, “Never mind.”
“Good call, lad,” Xander ground out, groping for a gun that was sitting a few feet behind him on the bed.
Several minutes of watching the Woman dance later, She stopped and looked at Metatron, who nodded and looked at them, “As you are both here for Ethan Rayne, we shall tell you his location, but before you go, we do need a problem to be … taken care of.” He looked decidedly unsettled as She continued to look at him, “Believe me when I tell you, though, that this will not be an easy task.”
Jenny looked at Xander, who looked back at her, and both looked up at him, “What is it?”
(Later - LA County morgue)
An orderly rolled the body that once had been Benjamin Douglas, a medical intern on his way to a new job in Sunnydale, into the cooler and then turned back as the Doc and a Detective met over a body – it was going to be a long, long night.
Detective Kate Lockley winced as the ME pulled the sheet off of the face of the man they had found earlier that shift, in his small apartment, shot execution style and with pennies where his eyes had been, “What can you tell me, Doc?”
The doctor, a woman of nearly 48 years of age, had a kindly face and didn’t bother to hide her graying brown hair, looked at the man without a hint of revulsion, having seen worse in her long career, “Prints came back Ethan Rayne, citizen of England, wanted on about a dozen major crimes as a major player in the execution or setup of them, and if whoever did this had waited a few months, nature would have saved them the trouble.” She held up a pan and Kate jerked back at the mass of black, brown, green and … was that yellow? “This, Detective, was his liver – cancer of the liver, to use a term you may know, isn’t the best way to go.”
Kate held back her gag reflex slightly as she turned away and the ME put the pan down, “Anything else?”
“Nine mil, through and through, they crisscrossed through his brain and exited his eyes,” the Doc said, as if intrigued. “Odd thing is that, from the angles of entry, one of the shooters is taller than the other by about six inches or so, and when the rounds exited, they hit the floor, deforming too badly for identification.”
Kate arched her dark eyebrow, “Deformed? Polymetal round?”
“Sent them to ballistics, but they probably are – either way, whoever did this, they were pros.”
“Consistent with the angles of entry and the footprint patterns the CSI’s found,” the doctor said as she went back to poking through the body. “The pennies that were found, though, remind me of an old urban legend out of Boston I heard as a kid – pair of guys took out local crime bosses and left pennies in their eyes. Supposedly it was to pay the boatman when they crossed the river of the dead so that they could receive final judgment – whoever this is they know their legends, Detective, and they are very good at what they do.” The ME went over to the side trey and removed a few other things as well, “We took these off his person, Detective, thought that you may need them as much as the CSI do.”
Kate looked at the wallet and pulled on a pair of gloves, opening it up and seeing that it was empty, doing the same thing to the money pouches and finding that they too were empty, “Robbery?”
“Secondary motive, at best,” the ME said with a shake of her head. “They killed him first and then picked him clean, isn’t that right, honey?” Kate shook her head as the ME spoke to the corpse of the man, “What’d you do to deserve something like this?”
(Hotel room – later)
Jenny walked out of the shower, clad in a pair of her running shorts and a tank top, Xander much the same, and vigorously dried her hair on a coarse towel even as Xander counted through a pile of money with a practiced ease, “How much?”
“Nine grand and small change, Jenny,” he said, not looking up as he began to quickly rifle through it again. Several minutes later, he looked up and grinned, handing her a bundle of notes, “Your cut, beautiful one.”
She just smiled at him, taking the notes, “You’re just saying that because I’m already mostly undressed.”
He shook his head, “No, Jenny, I am not – you are beautiful.”
She smiled at him again, this time without the teasing she normally used with him, and sat on the bed next to him, “This … will be awkward.”
“Yeah, it will,” he conceded in a slightly wise air.
“Does it bother you at all that we just murdered a man, Xander?” He looked over at her and she let it rush out, “Do you feel bad about it at all?”
“No,” he said a second later, “because like I said before, we can justify it all we want, but we can’t change what is going to happen. Add to that, we are now basically occasional hitters for the HBUS …” he said before getting an odd look from here, at which point he clarified, “Head Being Up Stairs, and I’m learning to repress.”
She looked at him seriously, “You weren’t listening, were ye – we are not their hitters, Xander, they just have us take care of problems on occasion.” She turned to him and took his chin in her hand, turning him to face her, “Xander … I have the memories, too, and in them Murphy … he got too much into it; he made assumptions that weren’t his to make … and he and Conner BOTH paid the price – please, don’t make that same mistake.”
He looked at the woman who held his jaw and could see the emotion there even as the memories welled up in his own mind, “All I can do is tell you I’ll try, Jenny – promise?”
She nodded, “Promise. Now, put your money away, Xander – it’s time for bed and I … I don’t want to be alone tonight.”
He couldn’t help but grin as he got up and killed the lights, “Is my virtue safe with you tonight, Jenny? I mean, we ARE wearing so very little…”
She shot him a glare as he walked towards their shared bed, “Not tonight, Xander – I have a headache.”
AN: Short chapter and probably very cheesy at the very end of it – if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recognize the scene, though it is slightly modified.
(Sunnydale Library – the following Monday)
“Good Lord, Xander, what happened to your eye?”
He winced at the sound even as he felt Jenny, who felt as bad as he did that morning, chuckle as they almost staggered into the Library, “Never tell a woman who has a headache that the endorphins released by an orgasm will cure her of said headache, G-man – trust me, it gets ugly.”
As if to prove this fact, Jenny elbowed him in the gut even as she saw Willow blush a heavy red, Buffy not far behind, and both of them cry out, “Xander!”
She took pity on the young man as they sat down at the table, both of the younger females glaring at him, “I didn’t do this, girls – we had a … slight disagreement … with a few patrons at a somewhat seedy demon bar in LA, about exactly who I was going home with last night. In the end, Xander won,” she went on even as she saw Rupert get up in arms slightly, which raised all sorts of odd feelings inside of her mind, “and he and I went home together.”
Willow growled slightly at the older woman, “A demon bar? Why were you two there?”
“Info, Wills,” Xander said, slightly annoyed at her possessive nature of him. He knew she had this whole convoluted plan for them to get married, have 2.7 kids, a dog and a white picket fence, not to mention to get him to convert to Judaism in the process, but he knew, sadly, that it would never work – they knew too much about the other, which would kill the spontaneity and lead to massive fights, and that, after years of frustration, she may very well kill him on their wedding night.
She returned his slightly annoyed tone, “And you let those demons think you two are … you know…”
Jenny rolled her eyes at the young and very insecure woman, “Willow, I was going to be turned into a sex slave, if Xander had not done what he had done – trust me, I will NEVER be approached in such a manner in LA county ever again.” She took Xander’s arm and clutched it close to her body, sighing dreamily and speaking in an overly sweet tone, “My hero!”
Giles shot him an irritated look as well, “Leave it to you to get into trouble of that kind of magnitude, Xander.”
“Oi! I was just looking to go get a pint, G-man,” Xander groused slightly, his voice taking a natural Irish accent even as he fished around inside of his jacket for a second before coming out with a flask that he took a hit off of before passing it to Jenny, who did the same before passing it back. He blatantly ignored the three looks of shock as he began to speak, “Ethan Rayne is no longer a factor, G-man – ever.”
Several seconds passed before the full implications of the short sentence hit him like a ton of rubble, “Xander … you mean that you …”
Jenny nodded, “We did – justice be done … OUR justice be done, Rupert.” She reached down and groped Xander’s free hand, a squeeze that he returned with reassurance, “His little stunt … it’s had repercussions that would allow for nothing less.”
This didn’t calm the Briton, “What could justify murder?”
Xander didn’t miss a beat, “How about ripping two souls out of heaven and, now, they have to EARN their way BACK into heaven?” The three other Scoobies looked at him with varying degrees of disbelief and shock even as he went on, “We had a pair of … visitors, one night, and they explained things to us.”
Jenny, of course, chipped in, “Well, after the Woman was done touching and hitting on Xander, that is.”
He shot her a glare even as Willow scowled slightly and Buffy smirked, even as he started snarling out in Russian, “(No comments from the peanut gallery, Jenny.)”
She smirked right back at him, speaking in German, “(No chance, Alex, dear, because of what you started out with.)”
Giles looked at the both of them as if they were crazy, “As my own grasps on the languages are … slim, at best, since when do the pair of you speak Russian and German as if you were natural speakers?”
Jenny fielded the question, “Conner and Murphy’s mother insisted that they speak several languages, Rupert. German – (just how much do you think we should tell them).”
Xander picked it up, “Gaelic – (only as much as they need to know).”
Jenny went again, “French – (it is going to get us in trouble).” She noticed Buffy perk up at this a bit and went on in another dialect, “And several dialects of it – (Stay away from French, I think Buffy knows it).”
Xander nodded, “Italian – (I’ll keep that in mind. Do we tell them about … Them?)”
Jenny shrugged, “And Russian – (not unless we have to, okay?)” Xander nodded at her, letting her go on, “Though we … they picked up a few things along the way, like Spanish – (Two weeks, tops, and they have us cold.)”
Xander chuckled at the confused looks on the faces of the other Scoobies, “And, my personal favorite, Romany – (A week before Buffy starts getting irritated, another before she starts making accusations.)” Jenny looked at him, floored, and he spoke some more in it, “(What? Didn’t you know that Murphy spoke Romany … Old Romany?)”
Jenny blinked several times before responding, in English, “No, no I didn’t know that.” She looked at Xander for a few more seconds before looking back over at Rupert, who had an odd look on his face, “Needless to say, we’ve picked up a few things and kept them.”
“Yes, quite.” She winced at the tone in Rupert’s voice and squeezed Xander’s hand, a squeeze he returned with a gentle feel that made her feel a little better even as Rupert went on again, “Can you tell me what you will have to do to make these two souls … ‘earn’ their way back to Heaven?”
Xander looked over at Jenny, who looked back, and after a few seconds of silence, he looked at Giles, “We will do jobs for certain people on occasion, G-man – non-Scooby-related stuff, so you don’t need to worry about it.”
He felt his inner Ripper begin to perk up as Buffy growled, slowly leaning forwards, “And what kind of ‘jobs’ are those, Xander?”
“Private, Buff,” Xander told his Slayer with an ease that he knew would irritate Buffy to not end. Xander looked at him and went on, “When did she get out?”
“This morning,” answered another voice, said voice making them all turn to see Joyce Summers standing in the doorway of the Library with a particular unhappy look on her face as she strode forwards, dressed in a smart pantsuit and jacket combo, her normally-curled hair now hanging straight down and looking a touch lighter than Xander remembered. Joyce walked over to where they sat and then directly behind him, placing her hands on his shoulders even as he felt a slight chill run through his entire body, “Now, would somebody like to tell me why I just heard this kind, honorable, HONEST,” she said with a squeeze, emphasizing the word ‘honest’, “young man here implicate that he and Jenny may or may not be doing jobs that could be termed ‘illegal’? And what would be construed as a ‘Scooby-related’ event?”
Jenny looked over at Rupert, who sighed and began to polish his glasses, and she then looked back at Ms. Summers, “Nobody squeezes the Xander but me, Ms. Summers – hands off.”
Joyce gave the computer teacher a look and, as if to defy her, squeezed Xander’s shoulders again.
Jenny growled and stood up even as she heard Willow snicker at something and Buffy groan.
Joyce rubbed her eyes slightly as the information she had been given from Mr. Giles and Miss Calendar began to seep in, pointedly ignoring Xander’s pleas for her to stop using him as a seat, Buffy’s similar protests and Willow’s growling at her. She had, several nights before, suffered what she had hoped was a ‘black out’ period, but from what she had just been told, she had actually become her costume, one which she had gotten with her daughter at Ethan Rayne’s costume store, and for a few hours she had indeed become one Emma Frost. It would certainly explain a few things, especially her actions towards Xander, who was doing his best to curb his teenaged body’s natural reaction to a woman sitting in his lap, and exactly why she felt so good about him having that reaction towards her – with that in mind, she stood up and Xander shot out of his seat, crouching behind Miss Calendar, who growled at her lightly, “I require proof of this, Mister Giles – such things like this aren’t to be taken lightly or believed without them.”
Even as she felt Xander shiver behind her, Jenny stood, “Ye want proof? Be ready for a quick trip to a real dive tonight, Ms. Summers – Xander and I need to deliver a message there anyway.” With that, she turned, plucked Xander off of the ground by his shoulder and marched them out of the Library – she needed to get him back to his house to check in with his mother.
Joyce watched the pair go with an amused air – she could feel that the computer teacher had some kind of feelings towards the boy, deeper feelings that the pure lust she could feel from Willow, or the confused ones she could feel about him from Buffy. She had been feeling things like this all day and, in the back of her mind, she could decode what the feelings were – she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with it, but it was quickly turning out to be a useful skill. “Tell me, Mr. Giles, when you and Buffy were going to tell me about her being the Slayer? When I was called to identify her remains?”
Mr. Giles winced at the tone she used even as he fumbled for an answer, but her daughter put up a brave, if defiant front, though her sudden flood of insecurity and fear was almost overwhelming, “Mom, you didn’t need to know, so we didn’t tell you.”
Her mother leveled a glare at her and, instantly, Buffy felt like she was nothing more than a bug under a microscope, “Oh, really?” A frozen bug, given the tone used, “And why, pray tell, is that, DAUGHTER?”
“I wanted to keep you safe, mom.” To Buffy’s credit, she kept the quaver she felt in her soul out of her voice, but only barely, “I didn’t want you to get caught up in this like Xander, Jenny and Willow all have.”
“And since when do you make my choices for me, Buffy?” Joyce pinned her daughter with a slightly frosty glare, crossing her arms and secretly loving the feeling she was having, “I am the one who does that in this family, at least until you are at least 18 years old, not the other way around.” She then leaned back, pushing the feeling of joy at the idea of cowing her daughter that much away from her mind, “I want to know what’s going on, Buffy, and I expect answers … after tonight’s proof.”
(Later – Willy’s Bar)
Willow watched as Spike, William the Bloody, of the infamous Scourge of Europe, writhed on the ground, his intestines spread out upon his not-so-clean floor while two dark-clad figured and a third white-clad figure had the undivided attention of the demons in his bar. The trio had come into the bar not a minute before as Spike had begun to recount his ‘triumph’ over the Slayer in town, yet again, and the male of the three had unceremoniously hauled Spike off of his chair, produced a wicked-looking knife and, on the spot, gutted the vampire like so much fish.
Willy looked up at the male, whom removed his sunglasses to reveal the face of Xander Harris, and then removed a pair of very real-looking suppressed pistols, his other black-clad companion doing the same, as the boy covered half of the room and the other armed woman did the same.
“Listen up, you wretched filth, and receive our words as they come from a Higher Power!” Willy sank to the ground, feeling his gut clench as the boy spun slightly, his face flat – this wasn’t going to be fun or good for business.
Jenny covered her half of the room, her eyes shaded behind her pistols, pistols that held silver bullets touched and blessed by a priest in LA, “We do not want your poor or your sick-“
“Nor do we want to shelter your huddled masses.” Xander locked his eyes onto those of a female vampire and watched her shiver before he moved on, “It is your corrupt that we claim.”
Jenny picked up his words, her voice no less vehement than his own, “It is your truly evil that we want – there are varying degrees of evil, so we urge your lesser forms of filth to not cross over into true corruption … into our domain.”
Xander stopped his turn and pinned his glare upon a Frelnar demon, who’s favored snack was the flesh of newborn children, though in this day in age it was more often than not the flesh of young cattle that did it for them, “But know that if you do one day you will turn and see us there, and from that his day forth blood will rain down from the sky, the blood of the wicked and evil, and so it shall be from now until the day we meet our maker.”
“Cross us and know that we will send ye to whatever god or gods that ye wish, and we shall do so in ways that will make ye scream in terror,” Jenny finished, her own pistols training on a male vampire who looked ready to piss himself, before turning and stalking towards the gutted vampire.
“Wankers, let me get myself together and I’ll show ya who the big bad is around here,” Spike growled even as his healing began to stitch his gut back together. He was yanked to his feet and came face to face with one of the Slayer’s lackeys, the boy, but there was something very different about the boy this time – his eyes held a fire there, a fire he had seen so few times in the eyes of a human, and every time he had, he’d come within seconds of his own destruction.
The boy grinned at him, “What makes you think you’re going to exist that long?”
Spike opened his mouth to respond with a scathing retort but felt something slide into his back, into his spine, and felt his legs cut out from under him even as the boy let him go – he was forced up to his knees and held there by an invisible hand even as he felt two cold metal circles press to the back of his head, “What?”
Joyce watched this all in a mix of abject horror and pure curiosity – Jenny and Xander were behind a Billy Idol impersonator, looking as if they were going to execute him, and rightfully so, given that he had put her daughter into her light coma. She wanted to rend his flesh from his bones, she wanted to shatter his mind, but Xander had told her to curb her maternal instincts so they could send a proper message to the things of Sunnydale. Her only questions were how this was going to send a message to the demons of Sunnydale and why both Jenny and Xander had Irish accents – both had agreed to tell her the second one, though, later, as they began to speak again, though this time in unison.
“And Sheppards we shall be, for thee my Lord, for thee. Power hath descended down forth from thy hands that our feet my swiftly carry out Thy commands. And we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be – in nomen Patri, Et Fili, Et Spiritus Sancti.” Joyce and everyone else in the bar jumped at the two muted shots that fired almost simultaneously from the two executioners, the two barks of the pistols lost in the sudden jumping of the patrons and the sound of a person’s head being blown apart.
She watched in fascinated wonder as the man’s body was illuminated by a pair of bright white crosses that appeared from behind him, but then began to dissolve into dust right before her eyes – the skin, hair and clothes went first, leaving only a faceless skeleton for a split second, a skeleton that dissolved into dust in seconds; Joyce wasn’t sure if she was hearing things or not, but as it happened she heard a scream of pure agony as it all happened, a scream that was dragged to the deepest bowels of hell by gravity.
Xander looked down at the pile of dust that Spike had become and then at the patrons in the bar, “God’s justice be done, and know this is the fate all whom oppose us face.”
Jenny spoke only a second behind him, “We won’t hunt you if you stay the fook away from us – that is the deal, break it at your own peril.” With that, she turned in time with Xander and they both escorted Joyce out of the bar, walking to the car even as they both heard Willy shouting inside of his bar.
“Next round’s on the house, people, and spread the word!”
(Later – Summers Home)
Joyce’s hand hadn’t stopped shaking in the ten minutes they had been back at the house, nor had it in the previous fifteen they had been driving back – she had just seen a 16 year old student and a 28 year old computer teacher execute a VAMPIRE in front of her, a vampire who had put her daughter, a Slayer, into a coma from blood loss, and they had done it in a way that was as cold-blooded as most vampires were made out to be. Neither of them had even flinched when the shots had gone off, neither of them had the shakes that threatened to spill the small glass of scotch that Xander had gotten her, and neither of them felt like throwing up like she did at that point even while her daughter screamed at the pair for their ‘stupid stunt’.
“You two could have gotten my MOTHER KILLED!”
Jenny looked over at Xander, who was being glared at by a furious Slayer, a rightfully furious Slayer, and had to admit that he didn’t look at all intimidated as he sat back into the couch, slightly, “Your point, Buffy?”
She watched as Buffy shook with rage, “My point? My POINT?” Buffy reached out and grabbed Xander by his lapels and jerked him to his feet, “My point is that you almost got my mother killed you son of a bitch!”
“And not telling her about your being the Slayer kept her that much safer?” Buffy jerked back at Xander’s question as he went on mercilessly, “I’m not saying we did the right thing, but this way, OUR way, couldn’t be pawned off as some delusional ranting from a former psych patient, or as drugs, or anything else – she saw Spike dust, she saw us execute the guy who put you into a COMA, Buffy.”
“I’m fine, now!”
“And if you weren’t the Slayer you’d be dead.” Jenny winced as Xander’s voice dropped to a glacial temperature, “At best, you’d be dead – at worst you’d be in a coma, and before you say I have that backwards, do you think that your mother would rather have you dead or in a state you’re probably never going to come out of naturally?”
Rupert spoke up at that point, “You could have just captured a vampire, Xander, and shown her that way, instead of putting her in harm’s way by taking her into a demon bar! How bloody stupid are you to take an unarmed, untested person into the lion’s den like a sodding sacrificial lamb?”
“That’s enough!” Jenny looked over at Joyce, who stilled her hand long enough to drain her scotch in one gulp and then stand, “Stop it right now, all of you!”
“Mom, calm down – they pulled a stupid-ass stunt that almost got you killed!”
Joyce glared at her daughter, unconsciously tapping into Emma’s mental powers, “Buffy, SIT.” Buffy, in accordance to her mother’s enforcing will, sat down right where she was standing, a blank look on her face, “Yes, they took me to that bar, yes, they executed a vampire right in front of me, and yes, they probably could have done it better, but the fact remains that it’s over and done with.”
Joyce started pacing slightly even as her daughter stayed in place, her blank look not changing, and the others looked at her as if she was starting to scare them, “Now that I know, though, we can handle this in a more orderly fashion, starting with you two.” She pointed at Jenny and Xander, the latter of whom looked like he wanted to dive over the back of her couch and hide, “Thank you.”
Jenny looked at the fuming blonde in front of her, “What?”
“I want to thank you for what you did tonight, if for nothing else than the thought behind it.” Joyce walked over and sat next to Xander, something that irritated Jenny slightly as the older woman’s hand came to rest on Xander’s thigh, “It shows that you cared enough to risk yourselves to show me this, but in the future I want you to think first and act later, okay?”
Even as Joyce’s hand began to creep up his thigh, Xander heard Giles’ irritated voice, “Is that all you have to say, Joyce?”
Ms. Summers looked at Giles and nodded, “To all of you? For now,” she said, turning back to him, “but I want to have some time alone with Xander – I have a few things I want to say to him … personally.”
Even as he gulped, Xander heard Jenny growling off to the side as Willow burst into the room, looking a little frantic, “What’d I miss? Is there yelling? I want to yell…”
(3 months later – Valentines Day)
Jenny lay back in her bed, feeling her partner’s finger tracing the half-darkened design around her naked stomach even as her eyes followed the patterns of the ceiling of ‘her’ bedroom – she practically lived at the Harris’ house for nearly a month before Jessica had offered her a room for partial rent payment, an offer that Jenny had jumped at with both feet and hands. “Xander?”
She looked down and saw her partner, her other half, her friend, looking intently at her tattoo, his finger never stopping, “Why is it that we are at your house, alone, in my bed while clothed and dateless on Valentines day, and even your mother and Rupert have dates?”
Xander shivered next to her and looked up, his finger stopping, “Please, don’t say that – I have enough problems with my mother dating, but the fact that she’s dating GILES makes it ten times worse.”
She patted his bare shoulder even as his finger went back to work, though now tracing up her abdomen slightly, sending a shiver up her spine, a good shiver, “Aw, poor Xander, do you want me to kiss it away?”
He gave her a grin, “How about I kiss you and … we go from there?”
She flushed at the tone in her young friend’s voice – it had been two months, three weeks and four days since it had happened, and a day that she would never forget, though she could honestly not remember the act itself.
“Are you TRYING to seduce a 17 year old, Joyce?” Jenny’s question was quiet, deadly and all present were glad she didn’t have her guns on her at that point.
From where Joyce was, in Xander’s lap, nibbling on his ear, the answer was apparent.
Xander, for his part, looked very nervous and like he was doing his best to not die of embarrassment right then and there.
Joyce finally looked over at Jenny, an odd smile on her face, “Why, Jenny, don’t tell me you’d deprive me of him if you aren’t using him – after all, raw talent like his needs to shaped, to be molded, and the only way that is going to happen is through experience.”
Jenny finally snapped and stormed over, grabbing the elder Summers woman off of Xander’s lap and pulling her away, “That’s IT! Xander’s relationship with me is on a level you can’t POSSIBLY understand, so it isn’t like we’re hopping into bed together, fooking like rabbits and slowly kissing after that.” She felt her ears flush as the mental image of that came to mind and, while one fading part of her mind shied away from it, thinking of Xander as her ‘brother’, another part, a part she didn’t like to admit existed, liked his touch, their talks and their time alone just sitting on the couch, saying nothing.
Joyce felt all of this come from Jenny in a split second and was of two minds about what to do about it – the Emma Frost part of her mind dictated to her to have Jenny act on her own primal instincts and to join herself and Xander in a hot, sweaty threesome, but the Joyce Summers part of her mind immediately smacked that part of the mind in the back of it’s head and went with another, more subtle, route, “Is that so? The idea of simply kissing him never even entered your mind?”
Jenny flushed, “Not kissing like you’d probably do, no.” She did occasionally give Xander a peck on the cheek, but generally in front of the others to wind Willow up and to start Xander blushing like mad, but that was all in good, clean fun – a deeper part of her mind, though, wanted to take Joyce’s offer and make sure Xander never strayed, ever.
Joyce smiled at this and, carefully, began to prod the deeper part of Jenny’s mind, “Then I’ll make you a deal – claim him with a kiss and I’ll leave him alone.”
Jenny was never really sure what happened next, as her mind went blank, but when she did come back to herself she was straddling Xander, her tongue half-way down his throat, his hands on her ass, pulling her towards him, and the both of them kissing, groping, hugging, all of it. She quickly pulled away as her mind screamed at her to stop – her face was flushed, her heart pounding and she was pretty sure that Xander was ‘greeting’ her as he looked ready to die of embarrassment as well, so she turned to Joyce, her face thunderous, “What was that?”
Joyce gave the fuming Romany woman a slight smile and looked down at her watch, “A four-minute French kiss?” Jenny suddenly blushed furiously and Joyce marked herself up one on her imaginary tally board before going on, “But as you’ve done that, I promise to not flirt or ‘seduce’ Xander … unless he starts it.”
Off to the side, Xander was strangely silent, a thin line of drool coming down one side of his lips.
Xander felt Jenny’s hand on the side of his face as she stroked his cheek and he looked up to see that same smile on her face that always seemed to be there when he was involved – they had an admittedly strange relationship, one that had driven a wedge between them and the rest of the group. At first Buffy had been making comment after comment about the age difference until he asked her how old Angel was, at which point she tried to shift the subject, but the damage to her argument had been done, so Willow took up a new approach. She said something to the effect of him being a student and Jenny being a teacher, at which point Jenny pointed out that Willow was in a relationship with a werewolf, meaning she could not dictate the ‘norm’ of a relationship, which had brought a reluctant Cordelia into the mix. Cordelia had, for her part, not particularly cared about who he was ‘dating’ or what they did, but as she was seen as a part of their group it hurt her image even more to have them as an open couple.
Angel, now known as Angelus, had been another big wedge driven between them all – Buffy had screwed Angel’s soul away, got called on it and refused to do her job, so of course it was all HIS fault that he was jealous of what she’d had with the pulseless wonder; he’d called her a deluded bitch to her face before turning and shooting a vampire whom had thought he was sneaking up on the group, ending his existence with the world and bringing up the whole ‘we don’t use guns’ issue with Buffy. Lots of things got said in that conversation, things that he didn’t regret one whit, but things that Jenny had often told him crossed the line.
Jenny pulled her hand away from his cheek and stopped blushing as she had been doing for the past minute or so from his last comment, “You’re sweet, Xander, but you’re also not legal – I quite like being out of prison.”
In response, Xander reached down, wrapped his lips around her outie belly button and blew a raspberry on her stomach, which got a strangled laugh out of her.
They continued to lay on her bed for nearly another hour, neither saying much, merely content in the other’s presence, when Jenny broke the silence with a sigh, “Xander, we need to talk about what happened.” She looked down at him as he looked up and, though he put on a confused face, she knew he knew what she was talking about, “We kissed.”
“Joyce forced the issue and has since apologized,” he pointed out.
She nodded, “The familial bond between us is non-existent, even in our own minds.”
“But there is an age difference,” he pointed out as well, to which she nodded.
“True, but … there’s also the attraction we both feel.” She didn’t deny it anymore – she was attracted to an under-aged student of hers and she knew that he was the same way with her.
Xander was silent for a few moments before he nodded and moved to lay next to her, his face inches away from hers, “Okay, so there is an attraction, but to be fair, I’m 17 now and you’re the hottest teacher in school – that’s natural on my part.”
“But not on mine – I know better … but I can’t do anything but agree with it.” She turned to face him, her hand reaching out and taking his, squeezing it, “Xander … I’m not sure what to do.”
He nodded at that, squeezing her hand in his, “I know – our instincts tell us to … take care of it, but our minds say otherwise.”
She nodded and suddenly sat up, pulling him with her slightly, “We need to talk with Joyce – this could be her doing.”
Xander shook his head, “No, it isn’t – she’s learned to control her Emma Frost side and swore to me on Buffy’s life that she’d never do anything like that again, not after what she did to us.”
Jenny continued her trek to hr closet, clad only in a pair of loose running shorts and a white sleeveless t-shirt, reaching in and pulling out a pair of her pants and another shirt, this one tighter and black, “Xander, I’m trying to keep myself from throwing us both on the bed and having sex – humor me.” With that, she pulled off her top and pulled on the t-shirt, hearing Xander’s strangled gasp and his suddenly falling off the bed to the floor.
Xander picked himself off of the floor, keeping his eyes averted from Jenny’s semi-clad form – she was right, he wanted to do the same thing to her, only he’d probably be more violent about it, and it was taking every shred of his willpower to not do it. He went to his own closet and pulled out his matching hunting clothes, feeling the shock and lust melting away as he went through the motions – he wasn’t sure just who was doing this, but he almost wanted to wish for them to stop, given how had it often was while at school to keep his mind on his work and not on Jenny.
Jenny finished pulling on her clothes and grabbed her weapons harness, pulling it on with a professional air as she felt her body come back under her nominal control – what in the hell had she been thinking? Telling Xander that she wanted to throw him on the bed … it was WRONG!
“Is it?” She spun around, dropping into a defensive crouch as her guns were in a locked box at the bottom of her closet, a mistake that she’d never make again, only to see Le Metatron standing in the far corner, dressed much the same as he had been the first time they had net, “Granted, by this day and age’s laws, it’s abhorrent, but is it so wrong to love someone younger than you?”
“If you’re a Romany-cursed vampire, I’d say yes,” she spat, remembering what Buffy had done in releasing Angelus. Said vampire had been conspicuously absent from Sunnydale and both she and Xander were under orders to NOT go after him, “But Xander’s only 17.”
Metatron nodded, “Yes, that he is, but to be perfectly honest, Janna, you’d probably be the only woman he could possibly couple with who would NOT try and kill him.” He walked forwards and clasped his hands behind his back, “Let me tell you a little something about Alexander that you don’t know, though – he’s not 17.”
She blinked, several times, “What?”
He reached inside of his jacket and produced what looked to be Xander’s birth certificate, “You see, Tony’s job would not cover certain things in the medical coverage after certain ages, so he had a friend of his alter Alexander’s birth certificate, slightly – Jessica was none the wiser, though, as she was so deep into what you humans call Post-Parham Depression, she merely has accepted that Alexander is 17, not 18.”
She felt her jaw drop slightly even as she heard Xander yelp in his room at something, “18?”
Le Metatron nodded and moved towards the door, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Someone has … wandering hands and lips.”
Even after he left, Janna could see the birth certificate flutter to the ground as she distantly heard Xander’s muffled call for help.
“Now, now, that isn’t the way to treat Her, Alexander,” came the smooth voice of Le Metatron even as Xander backed away from the hippie-dressed Woman, his pants on but his shirt still where he had dropped it as She had jumped him while he was pulling it on. He could hear the mirth in Metatron’s voice even as he back-rolled over his bed, doing his level best to keep it between himself and Her.
“Why’s She doing this? Aren’t I WAY below Her league?”
Metatron smiled at the boy even as She pulled back and smiled slightly, “You don’t have any idea how far below Her league you are, Alexander, and to answer your subconscious question, no, the Almighty does NOT like to torture you.” He saw the look on the boy’s face that clearly said ‘you could have fooled me’, so Metatron amended his statement, “She doesn’t like to torture you, Alexander, She merely likes having fun.”
“Well, could She not have fun at MY expense? If She wants to have fun at someone’s expense, I can name some boyos over in England that She’d LOVE.” With the way that Alexander spat the word ‘boyos’, Metatron had few doubts about whom the boy was speaking of.
“And just what have the Watchers done to you to warrant this, Alexander?”
Xander snorted, “Tae me? Little, but ‘tis the principle of the matter – they send a little girl and ONE person out to fight the bad things at night and what help do those two get? Not a fooking thing! The Slayers aren’t little soldiers, they aren’t supposed to be like Kendra is, they’re girls who got unlucky enough tae get tapped for this ‘great’ thing – if they get looky enough,” he went on, his accent getting very thick at that point, “they get tae be planted and stay there after a bloody death!”
She looked at the boy sadly even as he nodded, “True enough, Alexander, but it was not the Almighty, nor I, nor even the Fallen One, who instituted the Slayer essence – HUMANS did that, Alexander, humans who were scared, who needed a warrior to fight back against the night.”
Alexander looked at him and hissed, “Then those blighters needed to grow a pair of stones and do the bloody job themselves!”
Metatron narrowed his eyes slightly, “They did … and they paid the ultimate price, Alexander.”
The boy obviously didn’t catch his meaning as he nodded and spat, “Aye, as we all do, eventually.”
Metatron shook his head, “No, Alexander – mortals like yourself merely die, or perhaps get turned. No, the people who first empowered the Slayer … they sacrificed their SOULS to give her their power, to make her strong enough to do her job.” This stopped Alexander’s rant in it’s tracks even as She shed a single tear, “Granted, though, the Council of Watchers COULD do a better job, but barring their assassination or subsequent removal, there is little we can do.”
“Well, then perhaps you can tell us why you’re here?” Jenny walked into the room and, after grabbing Alexander’s shirt, walked to her partner, her touch lingering ever-so-slightly.
She smiled and clapped her hands even as he chuckled, “Well, actually, it’s a trifling little thing that will go a long ways towards returning Conner and Murphy to their rightful places in Heaven…”
(Later - 2358 hours)
The blinding white crosses left behind by their bullets impacting on demonic flesh slowly faded even as the bodies of the demons dissolved into a steaming mass of good – they had been told to go about their business on this particularly nasty breed of demons, but to ensure that one of them, the smallest (one that was still inside of her egg) survived. She would, one day, change the violent nature of her breed, to usher them into a new era, and both Jenny and Xander felt their stomachs tingle as the tattoos there got that much closer to completion.
Once they were out of the old tomb that the demons, known as Vellars, had been using as a base of operations, Jenny pulled her mask off as Xander put away his weapons, “Do ya feel that, Xander?”
He nodded at her, “Aye, I do – that much closer.”
She nodded and put her mask into her pocket, smiling as she did, “Well, not too many other ways to make this night even better, Xander.”
He smiled and put his own mask away, turning away from her slightly, “True.” As he turned back at her, he noticed that she not only had closed the gap, but that her hands had slid around his head and she had pulled him into a feverish kiss, tongue and all.
Several minutes later, under the full moon, Jenny ended her kiss to Xander, “Happy Valentines Day, Xander.”
He worked his mouth once, twice, and finally a third time, but it was not he who spoke – a very enraged Slayer shouted out her death cry, “ALEXANDER HARRIS! WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”
(Next day - Sunnydale Library, after school )
Buffy had worn a path into tile after the first ten minutes of pacing, pacing that would have given an Indy car a run for it’s money, but it was her muttering that was impressing him – she was out Willow-babbling Willow, who was looking at her in amazement.
Xander, himself, had long-since stopped trying to make sense of her mutterings and merely contented himself with rubbing the top of Jenny’s hand with his thumb.
Buffy finally stopped after twenty minutes and slammed her hand down on the table, the smacking sound sounding like a gunshot and causing both of the people she was glaring at to dive out of their seats, rolling to the ground and coming up with their pistols, “Just what in the HELL do you two think you were doing last night?”
Jenny lowered her pistol and took her seat again, “I was kissing Xander a happy Valentines Day, Buffy.”
The faux-blonde Slayer steamed slightly, “He’s 17!”
She grinned at the enraged girl, “No, he isn’t – I have proof he’s 18, Buffy.” She grabbed Xander’s hand as he sat down and kissed the top of his knuckles, “There’s nothing you can do about it anymore.”
Willow took that point to speak up, “He’s still a student!”
She nodded at that point, “Yes, he is.” She then smiled, though, “By the end of the month, though, he won’t be – I’ve arranged from him to take his exit exams soon and I have every confidence he will pass.”
Xander spoke up at that point, “Regardless, Buff, you can’t say anything about us – relationships are off-limits, remember?”
Giles took that moment to speak up, though, having exited his office, where he and Joyce had retreated to earlier, “Possibly for them, Alexander, but not for myself and Joyce.” He took a seat and took off his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose, “Tell me exactly why I shouldn’t have Jenny fired and you expelled for this? As a faculty member, I have the responsibility to ensure the well-being of the students here, and a relationship such as this is not healthy for anyone.”
Jenny gave her former interest a chilled look, “Just as it was your job to ensure that your Slayer did not become emotionally attached to a vampire? A vampire whom she bedded and is now currently missing, killing, and all because one stupid little girl could not control her hormones?”
“Said the pot to the kettle,” Joyce chipped her, her eyes flat. She took a seat and looked at the computer teacher, whose face was flushed slightly with either embarrassment or anger, she could not tell which because she now refused to use Emma’s gifts to spy in on non-clients, let alone people whom she actually cared about, “I could ask you the same question, Jenny, about not being able to control your hormones – I know I’m guilty of the same thing with Alexander, but surely you see the pitfall you have to cross here.”
Jenny nodded at her, the flush lessening even as she heard her daughter ‘yes!’ slightly, “I know, and at first it was not like that – Xander and I had a bond that none of you could possibly understand, one that transcended family, love, all of it, and now … I’m not sure exactly where that has left us, but I DO love him.”
Joyce nodded, “Noble, but in the end it does not explain anything of consequence – he is still a student, you are a teacher, and aside form some trifling legalities, and some not-so-trifling legalities, you still must make a decision. Is Alexander’s love worth the time you will lose finding another job if this should come to common knowledge? The stigma of having had relations with a student?”
Xander waited for Jenny’s answer for two agonizing seconds, seconds that seemed to last for eternity, but when she did it was like a great weight lifted from his shoulders, “Yes, he is.” Her next words, though, put that feeling on pause, “Though I do understand your concern, Joyce – not only is my reputation on the line, but his as well.” She looked over t him and he could see the pain in her eyes, “Xander…”
He nodded, “I know – this sucks.” Anything that was to happen between them was officially on hold for the foreseeable future – that was something he could handle, but what he was about to tell the others was something that he was not sure was something THEY could handle, “We’re leaving.”
Before anyone could say anything a familiar voice spoke up from the book stacks, “Ah, I see you’ve finally gotten around to it then.” Le Metatron came out of the stacks with Her in tow and She made her way directly towards him.
Giles spoke up even as the oddly-dressed woman proceeded to Xander and sat in his lap, snuggling in with a sigh even as Jenny growled at her slightly, “Who the bloody hell are you?”
He drew himself up and spoke in a thunderous voice, “I am Le Metatron, Herald of the Almighty and Voice of the One True God!” He looked around at the group and, aside from his two problem solvers, one of whom looked as if he wanted to go to the nearest monastery and become a monk and the other looking as if she wanted to commit murder upon the Almighty, the group looked blank, so he sighed, “Bloody humans! No respect for the hierarchy anymore…”
From around the Almighty came Alexander’s strained voice, “We respect the hierarchy, if ye remember, boyo!”
Giles looked over at the woman, then at the person who looked oddly enough like Alan Rickman, and saw the feathered wings behind his back before his face went dead white and he stammered out, “b…b… bloody hell…”
Metatron looked at the former Ripper with an oddly amused look and smiled slightly, “Yes, quite. Now, if I may continue?”
Buffy growled at this point, “No, you may not! YOU,” she said in her best ‘Slayer’ voice even as she pointed at the woman in Xander’s lap, “out of his lap!” The woman looked her and Buffy felt an entire glacier take up residency in her stomach as her spine tingled and her Slayer Senses went into overload.
He winced as She began to become slightly irritated with the Slayer and he chose to speak up at that point, “Slayer, telling Her to do something is quite like telling the Sun, or the Son for that matter, to stop shining down upon the Earth. She does what She wants to do, when She wants to do it and how She wants to and nobody can tell Her otherwise.” The Slayer nodded dumbly at him and he went on with a smile, “Now, as I was going to say, what Alexander and Janna are going to be doing are none of your concern – you, Slayer, work for those prats the Powers, Xander and Jenny work for US, directly, so they go where we send them.”
Willow screwed up her courage as she felt her guts also clench at the words, “What are they doing for you?”
“As I said, young one, they are our problem solvers – you caught them last night after they had solved a problem we had, and thus you are all here in a rather piteous attempt to break apart that which you cannot.” He turned and looked at Jenny, who had stopped glaring at the Almighty, “Janna, you and Alexander … are hereby authorized to find and eliminate Angelus.”
Xander stuck his head around Her body and looked at Le Metatron with a suspicious air, “What’s the catch?” The Angel gave him an innocent look and Xander snorted, “First rule about dealing wit’ ye angels is tha’ noothing comes fer free. What Is The Catch?”
Metatron got a look from Her and he nodded with a sigh, “Very well, Alexander – the catch, as you call it, is that aside from the bullets you have, you will be getting no other assistance from us.”
Jenny looked at him worriedly and then at the angel, “Do we have a time frame to do this in?”
The angel shook his head even as She kissed Xander on the cheek and got out of his lap, “No, Janna, you and Alexander do not have a definite time span to do this in, but DO try and stay out of Wisconsin.” They both looked at him and he shrugged, “Nothing to do with you two personally, but there are events in motion there that need to happen.”
Jenny nodded and looked over at Xander, who looked relieved to have Her out of his lap, “Then we’ll start looking around for his trail.”
“Don’t kill him, please!” She looked over at Buffy and could see the horror on the Slayer’s face, “We found a spell and as soon as Willow finishes translating it, we’re going to try and give him his soul back.”
Jenny sighed, “Yes, the original soul curse – I thought it had been destroyed.” The Slayer gave her a look and Jenny returned it, “Don’t look so surprised, Slayer – my clan WERE the ones who cursed him to begin with, so I would know about it. My question to you is just how, exactly, you came to hold it? Last I checked, it was secure in my Uncle’s books.”
Buffy looked down in shame as she confessed, “I stole it.” Giles and Joyce both gave the her a hard look that demanded an explanation and she gave one, the shame still in her face, “I read about it in his file and … I thought that if I could get Willow to do it for me, I could have Angel back.”
Xander growled and sat up from his seat, putting his hands on the table before leaning over it and glaring at her, “A black magic spell … you’re going to get WILLOW, who can BARELY levitate a pencil under the best of conditions, to perform a spell that hasnae been doon in over a century? Are ye daft?! Do ye ken what tis’ needed tae do th’ curse, ye daft girl?”
Buffy jerked back at his venomous tone and surged forwards again, her voice filled with righteousness, “She can perform the spell, Xander!”
He snarled back at her and she, for an instant, thought she saw his eyes flash a terrifyingly-familiar yellow-green color as he spoke slowly, “It is not a spell, Slayer. It IS A CURSE! Do ye ken wha’ tha’ means, Slayer?” She shook her head even as his grip on the table tightened enough to where she thought she heard wood creaking, but so much so that Jenny stood up and backed away slightly, “Tha’ means the person casting th’ curse will be LINKED to th’ bastitch – if she were tae do it wrong, WILLOW would pay th’ price! Do ye want THAT on yuir conscience, Slayer?”
Jenny stepped back forwards and nodded, “That is correct, Buffy – the original text states that the person performing the curse shares the consequences of the spell going wrong. Is your want for Angel to great that you’d potentially sacrifice Willow to get him back?”
Buffy sat back in her chair, her eyes tearing up as the pair shattered the image of a perfect possible world in her mind with logic and questions of her values, “no.”
Metatron nodded as the Almighty clapped her hands slightly, “Good – the issue is settled, then. Alexander, Janna, good luck.” With that, and one last wink from the Almighty to Xander, they were gone.
Silence reigned in the library for several minutes, broken only occasionally by Buffy’s hitched breath, when Willow looked over at Xander and asked, “Xander, why was She doing that stuff to you?”
Jenny snickered as Xander groaned, not wanting to dignify the question with a response.
(Later – Lawrence/Harris/Calendar residence)
She looked at her son as he calmly loaded the last of his clips with bullets that had been pulled out of a large ammunition box, a box that she seemed to feel something out of that she could not place – Jenny had been doing the same thing, but she was now busily sharpening a knife that she had pulled from the top of her boot. While she had been told by Rupert what the pair were preparing to do, she still had trouble believing the part about Metatron and GOD coming down and the former speaking while the latter almost molested her son, “Xander, son, what are ye going tae do to him?”
He looked up at his mother, who was looking better now that he could ever remember her looking due to the fact that she had been clean and sober for over four months by this point, and then back down at his now-full clip, which he put into the receiver of his pistol, “Destroy him.”
“Why? If ye were in his place, what would ye want for the person in yuir place to do?”
Any hope of Jessica’s were smashed when her son looked up at her and, with a fierce look, spat, “To do the same, mom – if I were ever turned, I’d expect to be destroyed, no more, no less.”
She shook her head even as Jenny got up and left the room, “Why? Wit’ yuir soul, you’d be you again?”
“No, I wouldn’t – I’d still be a FUCKING VAMPIRE.” She’d had it out with him about the subject numerous times since she had found out about the real world from both him and Jenny one night, both of them having dragged a vampire into the room and destroying it in front of her after speaking a final chant. Rupert had expanded on what the pair had told her at her request and that had been what had struck up their relationship.
“Do NOT swear to me, young man,” his mother hissed at him even as he stood up and put his pistol away. “I understand what ye are about tae do, but DON’T think that this is a free ride to get away with whatever ye want.”
“It isn’t, Jessica,” Jenny said as she came back into the room, holding two large duffle bags. “He’s just on edge – it happens with men on occasion.” Xander snorted and left the room muttering swear words in Gaelic under his breath as she put her bags down and faced the mother, “Of course, he’s also had many, perhaps too many, reasons to hate the undead since they turned his friend Jessie.”
Jessica winced, “Is that what happened to him? I just thought he … ran away.”
Jenny shook her head, “No, from what Xander says, he was there when someone bumped the vampire that wore Jessie’s face into his stake … and after that he won’t speak about it. He’s said on many occasions he’d find a way to beat back the demon, to hold it off in order to destroy himself, and somehow I think he WOULD do it, though it is known to be quite impossible.” She paused and then smiled slightly, “He’s quite good at that, you know, doing the impossible – if I didn’t know any better, I would say he was Harry Houdini incarnate, or reincarnate.”
Jessica snorted, “Nae, he may just be – I remember this one time that he was locked into a closet by Tony and I’ll be dipped if he didn’t get his way out. Not sure how, but he did.” She sighed and sat down into her chair suddenly, her mind whirling as she began to think of all of the things that had happened over his short life, things that she and Tony had done to him together, things that one or the other had done by themselves, and things life itself had done to her little boy, “He isn’t my little boy anymore, is he?”
Jenny sat across from her and shrugged, “In some respects, no, he isn’t, Jessica – he’s seen and done too much in his short life for you to ever really have your little boy back … but then again, there’s some things that he still is that you can hold on to.” She leaned back and thought for a second, “He still has his irreverent sense of humor and love of Twinkies, he STILL refuses to get up early on Saturdays unless he absolutely must, and even then it’s off to the television to watch cartoons, then there are all of the memories you have of him as a child.”
Jessica shivered slightly, “Don’t remind me, Jenny – I was horrible to him, even when I was sober, and Tony was nae much better.” She sniffed slightly as she felt tears well into her eyes, “Do you think he’ll ever forgive me? After all of the hell I put him through … I should expect he wouldn’t.”
“Give it time, mom,” Xander said as he stepped into the room, having caught Jenny’s last bit and his mother’s statement. No, he didn’t like to ever think of those times, more precisely because he hated the memories of the gnawing hunger he always felt from eating so little, “It may get better, but it depends on you.” He put down the two duffle bags he had down and walked over to sit next to Jenny, “Though I do have one request.”
She gave her son a level look, “No, I am NOT going to stop seeing Rupert, son.”
“But he’s ENGLISH!” She gave him a level look and her son back-peddled a little, “Alright, he’s okay for being English, but still!”
She gave him a slightly withered look, “I’m not getting any younger, Xander, and the things that Rupert does-“
Xander plugged his hands over his ears, standing up and singing loudly, “Nonononoonno, I aaaaaammmmmm noooooot heeeaaaarrrriiinnnggg thiiiiiiiiisssss.”
She shot Jenny a triumphant smirk even as the woman repressed a grin at her son’s antics, “Honestly, ye’d think that I wasn’t allowed to have sex.”
“In his mind, Jessica, you’re only allowed that once, and that was to produce him.” She stood up and walked over to grab her bags, “We’ll call when we get to wherever we’re going, Jessica.”
Jenny joined him outside even as he let the last of the shivers run through his body, “Ready?”
Jenny packed her bags and nodded at him, “Where to?”
“LA – good place to get lost.”
(Four days later – LA)
Jenny groaned as she sank back into the bed next to Xander, “We are officially lost, Xander.”
He joined her on the single bed, muffling his groan, but barely, “It’s only been four days – we’ll find that son of a bitch.”
She looked over at him and glared, slightly, “You’ve been saying that for the past four days, Xander – Angelus could be ANYWHERE, so why stay here in a place we’d come looking for him?”
“He’s arrogant, Jenny, always was even when he had that soul of his – to him, we’re nothing more than things of amusement, of food, and not smart enough to see past where he’s going.” He sat up and reached into his pocket, “But unfortunately for him, he tends to forget that as smart as he thinks he is, humans are also that smart.”
She saw the crystal that Xander pulled out of his pocket and arched a single dark eyebrow at him, waiting for him to explain – he didn’t though, only looking at the piece of quartz slightly until it began to glow and levitate in his hand. Jenny watched in fascination as the crystal slowly began to spin, faster and faster, until finally it stopped and twitched as it pointed unerringly in the direction of the bathroom, causing her to ask, “He’s in the bathroom?”
“No, he’s in the direction following the crystal.”
She looked up at him, “Where did you get this? WHAT is this?”
“Think of it as a less-complicated and more-mobile version of a scrying spell, Jenny, but it only works on vampires.” She gave him a look of pure shock and he grinned at her slightly, “What? Can’t I have some good luck with magic on occasion?”
“How did you get it to work on Angelus?”
Xander grinned, “Well, a while back I took a little something from Buffy that Angel had given to her, used some technical know how to get some dead skin cells from Angel and, voila the spell is done.” He frowned, then, “Only problem is that you get a general direction of where they are, not an exact location – it could be ten feet or ten thousand miles.”
Jenny smiled slightly, “But as it is pointing towards the ocean, this leaves a short list of places it could be that doesn’t involve us taking a cruise off to either Hawaii or Japan.”
He gave her a smile, “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
Jenny shrugged, “I wouldn’t be adverse to taking a ship to either Hawaii or Japan, provided that I got to bring a handsome young man along with me for company and verbal companionship.”
He gave her a somewhat lecherous grin, “Only verbal companionship?”
She blushed lightly, “Only until we get to a country with a lower age of consent.”
He patted her on the stomach, “I’m 18, remember?”
She smiled brightly and rolled over on top of him, “You know, you’re absolutely right, Xander.” She pressed her lips forwards to steal a kiss that was, legally, hers to take whenever she wanted, but a crashing sound of something coming through the window made Xander flip them both off of the bed, onto the floor on the other side while they scrambled for their guns.
They swept the area of the room they had rented, a modest two-bedroom apartment in the skuzzier parts of LA, and after seeing nobody there, they swept the windows up and down the fire escapes while not leaving themselves open for sniper fire – this was a routine they kept for several minutes past the surprise attack until Jenny looked down and saw that there was a scrap of paper tied around a chunk of concrete, which is what had been thrown through the window.
Xander didn’t look at her, his eyes scanning the rooftops and windows of the buildings across from them, “Threat?”
She shook her head, unfolding the paper, “No, it’s a request for a meeting.” She handed him the letter before going to call the apartment manager and telling him about the broken window, but Xander wasn’t concerned about it – the message was scrawled in ink on a torn piece of notebook paper, which meant that the people involved weren’t of the best sorts in his mind, but whomever had done it was good enough to chuck the rock-laden note through their fourth-floor apartment and were able to get away clean. This did not bode well.
“So where are they?”
He sighed at the slightly-mousy question and answered the person for the tenth time in five minutes, “They’ll be here, if their rep means anything, and for the last time, SHUT UP!” Sometimes, he swore, it wasn’t worth being one of the best information gathering demons on the planet – you often had to work with people who REALLY annoyed you.
“Our rep DOES mean something to us, demon,” came a deathly quiet female voice from the surrounding shadows of the large sewer pipe hub, which scared him because he was supposed to be the king of the shadows – add to that he could see body heat and so far he wasn’t seeing anything, so he was genuinely freaked out when the two walked out from the blackness, dressed in black and blue, and with pistols pointed at his head. The woman, quite revolting by his species’ standards, spoke again as she pulled the hammer back on her pistol, “Now, why have you brought us here, demon?”
He gulped and stammered slightly, something he hadn’t done since he met that Capone guy in Chicago nearly 80 years before, but the male of the group slid his hand around the woman’s waist in a familiar gesture, “Now, now, Jenny, he called this meet and we’ve been watching him for the past half-hour – don’t scare him … too much.”
“Angelus,” he managed to get out, getting their attention. “You wanted info on Angelus – you got the green, I have the 411.”
“If your information is good, then we’ll talk about payment, demon,” the woman hissed and, for the first time in decades, Jaleyx, Jay to his friends, felt like soiling himself.
His associate, a newbie by the name of Clamorywy, had the bad sense to speak up at that point, sneering, “Humans no hurt us! We kill if we please.” Jay winced as the male of the two slid his weapon towards Clam and blew the newbie away with a bright flash of light in the shape of a cross, one that blinded him for a second.
“I tell you, it’s hard to find good help these days,” the demon sighed out even as Xander put his pistol back on the demon. It was about four feet tall, including its tail, with bat-like ears, a slim body and green skin, looking just like the thing that sat and laughed next to Jabba the Hutt in the Star Wars movie, only this one didn’t look quite like a Muppet, though it DID sound a bit like character Snuffy the Snuffaluffagus. It looked up at him and went on, “Before I tell you anything, I want a down payment on my info – it ain’t cheap these days, especially with a vamp like Angelus running around.”
Jenny looked over at him and he nodded, so she pulled out a brick of bills and tossed it to the demon, “That’s a thousand – after you tell us, we’ll talk about the rest.” It wasn’t as if it was THEIR money they were giving away – it was actually quite surprising how many of the drug dealers in LA were demonic, really …
He looked down at the cash and nodded, looking back up at the two, “Alright, your vamp is hiding out in Chinatown as of this morning, him and that fruit loop childe of his.”
He shrugged, “Don’t know, my memory is a little- “ a stack of bills smacked him in the head and he nodded, catching the bundle with his tail, “Four newbies, turned within a week, and two older ones, maybe a few months old at most, but all of them are nasty – bangers from the word go.”
The woman looked at him slightly, “Above or below ground?”
He grinned, “Above, surprisingly enough. If you want, I can give you an exact location … for ten grand.” The guy cocking his hammer back instantly made him reconsider his asking price, “Four grand, then.”
“Add in a gun dealer we can get something from on the hop, and you have a deal.” The thing nodded at him and Xander put his gun away, reaching into his pockets and pulling out four bundles of cash, adding a fifth on top of it before tossing it onto the ground at its feet, “And we were never here.”
The thing nodded at him, looking at the stack of cash and then at the remains of his partner, “Stupid Clam, I told him not to stick his head out that grating – no my fault he got hit by a bus.” It told them a place to go check out during the daylight hours before it scuttled off into the darkness, taking the money and disappearing into the blackness, leaving them there.
They walked out of the sewers and slowly made their way back to their apartment, doing their best to avoid people due to their … pungent aroma they’d acquired from the sewers – they’d worked hard to accrue funds to get their clothes magicked to where nothing penetrated the fabric, not smell, not heat, nothing, but their skin and hair were another story. Once they were inside, they stripped down and, without an ounce of shame or modesty, climbed into the single, but massive, shower together, scrubbing the other down and their hair with the four different shampoos and conditioners they had in there, doing their level best to wash the reek off of them.
One hour, three bottles of shampoo, a bottle of conditioner and two bars of soap later, the smell was gone, they were wrinkled like prunes and both sitting on their shared bed in their respective night clothes of shorts and t-shirts. Jenny was combing through her dark hair, which she had allowed to grow out to shoulder length over the past few months, while Xander’s hair had quickly dried as he kept it relatively short at only an inch, “So, what do we do tomorrow?”
He looked at her and twisted his mouth into an evil grin, “We try to take over the world!” The only response he got was her elbow not-so-lightly into his gut, “Ow!”
Jenny shot Xander a withering look, “I meant about Angelus and the weapons.”
He rubbed his stomach, “Haven’t you ever heard of a love tap, Jenny?” The resounding smack to the back of his head answered that question easily enough, “Alright, then we go check the weapons place tomorrow and we watch the hit area for a few days, to learn any patterns they have.”
She smiled at him even as he rubbed the back of his head slightly, muttering about ‘abuse’ and ‘no fairness’, remembering exactly why it was that she loved him as much as she did, “Sounds like a good idea … just no sewers, okay?”
He nodded, “Sure – we may not be able to afford all of the shampoo, soap and conditioner that we’d need to clean ourselves off with.” They chuckled for a second together and he then stopped, frowning – he continued to frown until she gave him a nudge in the ribs that told him to spill, “We took a shower together tonight.”
She nodded, remembering exactly everything that happened in there, “Yes, that’s right.”
He frowned, “I just … I never thought it’d be like that.”
She shrugged, “It isn’t always about sex, Xander.”
It was his turn to give her a withering look, “I never thought it would be, Jenny.” She gave him a slightly apologetic look and he went on, “It’s just going to be odd, you know?”
She nodded, “I know – we’re nearly ten years apart in age, and it will always be seen as either sick or wrong, regardless of when we make it official.” She finished drying her hair and threw her towel away, “Either I’ll be seen as robbing the cradle or you’ll be seen as a gigolo robbing an old woman of her money.” She felt his arm curl around her waist and she smiled as his warmth joined her side, “Stop that, Xander?”
He leaned over and kissed her collar bone, “Stop what?”
She shifted a little more and giggled as he kissed the base of her neck, “That.” She elbowed him slightly in the gut even as his other hand came into play, sliding up under her shirt and massaging her stomach.
“You mean this?” He kissed her fully on the lips and the time for talk was officially over.
Xander glared at the man whom was busily raking Jenny with his eyes, “Keep your eyes off my WIFE, sir.” This got the man’s attention even as Jenny gave him a wan smile before massaging her tender back, something that had very little, if anything, to do with their … activities the previous night.
“Oh, uh, sorry, sir.” The man was about average height and suddenly very pale as he forced himself to look at Xander, “H…how may I help you?”
“Jay sent us.” The three words got an immediate reaction out of the man as he nodded and motioned them to the back of the small shop that was located in a mostly rundown and deserted area of the warehouse district. He led them down a few flights of stairs into the basement and through a heavy blast door … and into what Xander would consider heaven – there, hanging from racks, sitting on tables, even still in their factory cases, were guns, lots of guns, all types, all makes and models, all calibers.
“The green, first – pistols are a Ben, subs are five Bens and up, and bigger is …” His words stopped as both pulled out two fifty-bill bundles, one of fifties and another in hundreds, at which point he accepted them and handed over two sacks, “Five minutes.”
Jenny went over and grabbed a pair of MP5-SD6’s off of the wall, tossed Xander one and then grabbed a bundle of taped-together magazines, tossing him one again as he grabbed a DEA-issue Mossberg with an attached sling and foregrip; they hit the four minute mark and were grabbing things like ammunition and vests, and while she saw Xander grab another ridiculously-sized knife, just as he had shown her back on Halloween, she grabbed rope, lots of rope, knowing that they would both need it and get a chuckle out of it.
At the three minute mark Xander was struck with an idea and he put back one box of slugs and went for flares for the Mossberg – had there been dragon’s breath rounds, he would have gotten them, but as there were not, he did not. Jenny was amusing herself with a pair harnesses for a climbing unit and he walked over to her, “Looks good on you.”
She smiled at him, “Yes, it does, but don’t expect me to pull it out all of the time – I hate hanging upside down.” He gave her a speculative look and then back at the harness, a slow grin forming across his face which prompted her to elbow him slightly, “No, Xander – I’m not into B&D.”
“Pity,” he surmised slightly. With one last look around, they left the area and met the man who ran the place, Xander pinning him in place with a cold look, “Anything else?”
The man handed Jenny, who was closer, their change and nodded, “That’s all – I never saw you, you sure as hell never saw me, and we know nothing.”
Jenny took the money and nodded, “Good, and it would behoove you greatly to remember that we Romany are often a vindictive bunch.” She smiled at the man, who turned deathly pale at that point, and walked out with Xander just behind her. When they were back at the van they had rented, she looked over at him, “Wife? Why Xander, I didn’t even get the ceremony that my mother wanted me to have.”
He gave her a grin, “Well, lass, when we’re done with this, we’ll talk about it.”
She nodded, “Good – I want a big wedding, lots of people, and in the old style from Romania.” She smiled as he looked at her oddly, “I can see it all now…”
Xander groaned – she was taking this WAY too seriously.
(Three days later)
“… WAYYYYY too seriously, Jenny.” She looked up at Xander, who was busily loading the last of his ammunition into his magazines, but then looked back down at her bridal magazine, hiding the smirk that she had worn for the past few days – her plans on driving Xander insane with the idea she had marriage on the brain was working.
“You would think so, Xander, but I’m merely … preparing,” she said to him before closing the bridal magazine and going back to loading her own weapons. Yes, in a few more days, a week at most, she’d tell him it was all a gag…
He shook his head at her even as she went about loading her weapons – he wasn’t 100 percent sure that she wasn’t messing with his head, as he couldn’t read her like he could other people, but he’d consider it his luck if she was. “You ready for tonight?”
Jenny nodded at him and slipped the magazine into the sub-machine gun he’d been teaching her to use over the past few days and night, “Yes, all of the rituals have been done, the cameras are up and they are all there.”
“And now for the main event,” came another voice, a familiar one even as they both drew down on Metatron. He sighed and glared at them, “Honestly, is that really necessary?”
Xander ignored him and loaded another shell into his Mossberg, “What is it? I thought you were hands-off on this one?”
Metatron nodded, “I am, but I have come here to inform you of a few things that have come to pass in the last few days, the first of which is a situation with the Powers That Be.” He smiled at the irritated snorts of both humans, “Ah, I see you both have a rather low opinion of them.”
“Since we learned of who they are, aye,” Jenny said to him even as Xander snarled the same thing in Gaelic.
“Good, because things just got worse.” The pair looked up at him in dread and he went on, “As if to prove a point, they killed one of their chosen champions, the Vampire Slayer Kendra, in order to get our attention.” Janna snarled in French and Alexander in Russian several vile and odious threats to the Powers, things involving their metaphysical bodily orifices and various objects that were going to be forcibly shoved into them, but he went on, “They wanted to use her as a leverage point with us to save their Vampire Champion, Angel and, when we did not comply, they killed her – needless to say, She was not pleased.
“As of this morning, the Powers have been stripped of their official titles and powers, and have been cast down from the heavens from whence they came.” This got the pair to perk up and he went on, “Now, as we cannot do anything Kendra’s demise, we’ve made a few concessions with the new Powers – you are to NOT hunt the old ones, under pains of death and torture.” The pair looked at him and, while he could see acceptance, he could also see their sorrow at the order being given, so he smiled, “Though on the other hand, now that we have people in that position of power we can trust, things should be easier for you two – finish this job and we’ll talk about it.” With that, Metatron was gone and the pair went about their business.
(Chinatown – 20 minutes before sundown)
It wasn’t exactly the Emperor’s Palace, but Xander had to admit that whenever Angelus chose a place to use as his base, he did have taste – it was about four stories tall, covered the same amount of space as the basketball gym, but from the cameras they could see that there was a central courtyard and the top two floors were burned out, rendering them unstable and unusable, even to vamps. The second floor held what appeared to be storage and food, though from what Jenny’s magic-enhanced cameras and rituals could tell, there weren’t any living bodies in there to worry about right them, and the first floor was cluttered with all kinds of things that, apparently, Dru loved because she thought they were pretty.
The muscle were all also located on the first floor, near the entrances and exits, which made entrance in and out a little difficult, given that Jenny had said NO, rather emphatically, to going through the sewers any more than they had to – only way around an all-out assault was to go in through the central courtyard. The only real thing they had working in their favor was that the vamps were new and stupid, not wanting to use or believing in guns anymore.
“I hate heights.” She looked over at her young companion as he strapped himself into a harness for their descent, “There’s nothing fun or especially nice about them.”
She smiled at him and patted his cheek, though her hand was covered in a glove and his cheek in a mask, “Aw, don’t worry, Xander – it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the end.”
He gave her a heated look, “NOT helping, Jen.”
She patted his cheek again and took her place on the building’s ledge, looking to jump down to the vampire’s hideout, “Didn’t mean to be helpful, Xand – now, are ye a man or a boyo?” He gave her a glare even as she stepped off of the edge and her harness immediately caught, slowing her down as she fell.
His manhood having been questioned, he stepped off of the ledge himself, but his free hand gripped the grip of his SMG – he was about ten feet above Jenny as he fell and that’s probably what saved her life as one of the goons appeared out of the shadows. He fell, flipped the safety of his gun and sprayed the vampire with a half-dozen rounds that blew it away even as Jenny hit the ground and covered his own hardish landing.
Jenny winced as she heard Xander land hard behind her even as the light of the crosses left behind by their bullets faded – not exactly the sneaky entrance that she had been hoping for, but she’d take what she could get. They moved off together, though she did notice a slight limp in Xander’s stride as he followed her, and by the time they made it to the relative safety of the columns before they were set upon by three more of the goons. She raised her own weapon and let fly with a few rounds that caught only one while Xander’s were more centered and took out the other two, almost blinding them with the white crosses left behind.
“Bloody wankers,” Jenny hissed even as he covered her back.
“You’ve been around G-man too long, Jen,” he hissed at her even as he heard movement from somewhere above them. It was sudden, though, a moment of pure inspiration on his part, when he turned and nudged her in her vest-covered ribs, “Your English is showing through, though, lass.”
She stopped and turned on him, her dark eyes blazing and her weapon pointed at him, or rather, his crotch, “Say tha’ again, boyo – I DARE ye.”
She watched his eyes widen and then narrow as he brought his gun up and released a quick volley of bullets that slammed into something as she turned back around – she mentally waned to stab herself in the ass several times as she saw the body of another one of the now-dwindling goons turn to dust. Stupid mistakes that that could get them both killed – Xander would pay, later, for that English crack, she vowed, even as she heard something else above them.
He could smell the puny humans beneath him and couldn’t wait to taste their blood – his sire, Angelus, had ordered him out to take them alive, even though his childe, Drusilla, was ranting on and on about ‘Irish kitten’ and ‘Dark kitty’. Sure, the older vampiress was nice to look at, but why his sire kept her around he’d never know.
As the pair crept out of the shadows, Johnny leapt over the railing, bellowing in order to throw them off-guard, but the last thing he ever saw them do was turn and then he saw tiny flashes of light … and then nothing.
Dust rained over them as the bellow of perhaps the stupidest minion vamp they’d ever seen faded into nothing, leaving Jenny to ask, “How many?”
“Six down – one plus two to go,” he told her without as much as a look. It wasn’t the other minion he was personally worried about – it was Angelus and Dru, given their histories, and that scared him shitless. They weren’t your run of the mill vamps, they were better, smarter (or in Dru’s case, crazier), more ruthless and by far they were far more inventive than the normal dumb asses they dealt with.
Another roar caught him slightly by surprise, but Jenny tore the guy in half with a full-auto tear of rounds that signaled her first spent clip, which she changed as he spun around and kept watched until he heard the bolt closing on her weapon, at which time she spoke, “Seven. Now, where are those two?”
Before he could speak, an Irish-accented voice spoke up from the doorway of the building proper, “Is that the fair voice of a bonnie Irish lass I hear?” Angelus, Scourge of Europe, walked out with Drusilla spinning behind him – he was dressed as Angel always had, but for some reason in Xander’s mind, Angelus made it seem more sinister, more … well, less hokey, and it worked. Dru, for her part, looked as if she had gone shopping at the 18th century’s version of Neiman Marcus’ with the gown she was wearing, though she held a small doll in her arms.
“Romany, actually, though I have been told I have an Irish accent on occasion,” Jenny spat at the monster himself even as Xander let his suppressed weapon hang and he pulled his shotgun from the webbing he wore. “It’s time to die, Angelus – long-past time, actually.”
Angelus smirked at her even as Drusilla hissed and scratched at her slightly, “Ahhh, Janna, of the clan Kalderash – how are you, lass? I would have visited in Sunnydale, but I had places to be and relatives of yours to eat. Oddly enough, they didn’t taste any better now than they did over a century ago.” She responded by firing off her entire clip at the monster, but both monsters dove away and were missed, giving her only a little time to grab her only other double-magazine as Xander fired off his first shot at where he thought Angelus was.
Angelus could feel the heat of the slug as it sailed just past the end of his nose, and he was sure just who the other person was, “Harris!”
“Aye, boyo? Do ye have a request ‘fore I send ye tae meet yuir maker?” He hissed at the boy’s dead-on Irish accent, cursing (for not the first time) that the boy was one of his own blood – it had been galling to learn that his father’s brother, though the centuries, had sires a long-distant cousin in Alexander Harris. On top of that, as Angelus had found out, he was CATHOLIC – that alone meant he had to die.
Dru hissed at her even as they heard Angelus and Xander snarling at each other, but Jenny only smiled at the insane vampiress, “Goodbye, Drusilla.”
“He’ll never love you, Dark Kitty,” Dru said back to her. “He’ll love HER that much more, for all days, and you’ll never have him, you shan’t.”
Jenny felt her breath hitch slightly at Dru’s words, knowing just who ‘he’ was, but it was the ‘HER’ that was worried about – would she lose Xander to someone she didn’t even know? She then shook her head – that didn’t matter now, “We’ll see.”
Angelus heard his childe’s screech even as, through their bond, he felt the pulse of pure agony that came with the destruction of his favored childe – his rage, though, was stilled as Harris fired another round at him, but this one was even hotter as it flew behind him and bounced, leaving behind the smell of burnt air, “Ye missed!”
Xander pumped the slide again even as the sounds of distant sirens began to fill the air, “I meant to miss ye, ye arseloch! Flares take time to ignite.” At that, flames began to lick up the side of the building as the flare continued to sizzle against the wooden floor, causing Angelus to shout and start running, only to be stopped by another blast, this time of buckshot that peppered his left side.
Through the pain, not only physical, but mental, Angelus thought of the only plan that could possibly his undead ass even as he heard Harris pump the shotgun again – he turned and ran full-tilt at the kid and slammed into him, knocking the weapons on him away. As they fell to the ground, he wrapped his hands around the kid’s throat and began to squeeze, “I never liked you, kid, and now I’m going to make our blood pure of the Catholic taint.”
Xander groped at his sides for a weapon, ANY weapon, as Angelus’ grip tightened to the point that he began to see spots in front of his eyes, “Bite … me … arse … much.”
Angelus looked down at the kid and smiled, “Why, what a good idea!” With that, he reached down, bent his neck out of the way and bit down even as he heard the Kalderash bitch’s scream to stop.
Several things happened at once as the vampire known as Angelus bit down into the neck of Alexander Harris – the vampire bit down and began to drink the blood of the boy even as said boy gripped the hilt of his knife and slammed it into the side of the vampire with enough force to knock him away. Janna dropped her weapon and immediately grabbed the medic pack she kept on her when they hunted, ignoring the pained screams of Angelus and focused in on the shocked gurgling of her friend, her lover, her other half – she was NOT going to lose him like this.
Angelus’ side and mouth were on fire even as his insides began to burn as if he had consumed a vial of holy water blessed by the Pope – the blood in his mouth tasted vile, rancid, even a touch clotted, but at the same time it was like a surge of pure power flowing through his veins as family blood was tasted for the first time in over two centuries. The knife in his side sizzled more as the fires licked and grew up the sides of the building, bits and pieces falling and burning around him as more sirens filled the air – it was a GLORIOUS night to die, if it were his destiny.
Jenny pressed hard upon Xander’s neck even as a soft glow began to show through the blood and the gauze she was using – he looked up at her and, in an instant, she knew that something else was happening as she pulled away from his to see the wound was gone, yet the skin was scarred. Time seemed to hold still for several seconds even as the fires crackled and Angelus clawed his way away.
“It’s time,” a voice said to them - they looked up and saw Le Metatron, dressed in his white robes and with his wings unfurled. His aura of power of thick in the air even as SHE walked out of the shadows, her face now sad and eyes affixed to Angelus, “Finish it.” As one, the rose from the ground and each grabbed a weapon, Xander his shotgun and Jenny her unsuppressed pistol, and made their way over to Angelus’ crawling corpse.
He was stopped just a few feet away from an open sewer grating, even as he felt his strength slipping away, by two pairs of walking feet – with the last of his strength, Angelus flipped himself over and saw his two executioners, the Romany and the not-bleeding, many-time-removed cousin, take up position in front of him, their eyes flat and guns at ready.
Xander raised his shotgun while Jenny raised her pistol and both began to chant in a strong, resonating voice that seemed to echo from everywhere, “And shepards we shall be, for Thee, my Lord, for Thee. Power hath descended down forth from Thy hands that our feet my swiftly carry out Thy commands. And we shall flow a river forth unto Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be – en nomen Patri, Et Fili, Et Spiritus sancti.”
All time seemed to stop, again, as everything went silent – the sirens stopped, the crackling fire faded, even the slight scraping of Angelus’ body as he tried to drag himself those final few feet. All of it was gone and only they mattered – Angelus, the Scourge of Europe, Janna Kalderash, Alexander Harris, La Metatron and Her. That moment, though, passed as both the child of Kalderash and the blood of Ireland both pulled their triggers and shattered the silence with echoing roars of gunfire.
The door to the courtyard was kicked open by a blonde detective, her gun drawn, screaming at the top of her lungs that she was LAPD, even as a blinding, pure white light filled the place, blinding her, though her ears rung with the sounds of a shotgun and a pistol going off at the same time. When her eyes and ears both cleared, though, there was nothing to be had save for a large, glowing, white cross that was backlit by the burning of the building.
Even months later, Detective Kate Lockley could not reason, even to herself, why it was that she had started going back to church after not having been since she was 7 years old – she just felt … right, there.
“So, what do you think?” He looked at the pair of bewildered humans and the equally-bewildered spirits, feeling real amusement before he went on, “Janna, Alexander, the jobs I have tasked you with are finished – Conner, Murphy … welcome home.”
Conner, after looking over at Jenny, reached down into his pants and his face split into a huge grin as he first withdrew his hand and then put both of them into the air, screaming, “YES! I’M A MAN AGAIN!”
Murphy and Xander both rolled their eyes at the spirit even as She came towards them and hugged them both before going to take Jenny off to one side, smiling as She did. “Bloody loon.”
Conner looked at the pair of them, his eyes narrowing, “Do ye ken what it’s been like fer me fer the past months? I’m a man now!”
Murphy smirked, “Well, that’s a first.” Conner snarled at him and drove him to the ground with a shoulder to the gut, leaving Metatron and Xander alone for a few moments.
“You know, it was almost peaceful up here without them,” the angel said to him even as the pair tussled and She smiled at Jenny, Her hand on the woman’s face. “She’s also taken a shine to your ‘friend’ there, Alexander – I’d be very careful what you do with her in the near future.”
Xander nodded slightly as he winced at a gut-shot that Murphy gave Conner, “So, what now?”
“You and Janna live on your lives, Alexander,” Metatron said to the boy with a slight smile on his lips. “I won’t even attempt to promise you a ‘happily ever after’ with either Jenny or your life, son, but what I can promise you is that you’ll live in interesting times, shortly.”
Xander shot him a look, “Isn’t that a Chinese curse?”
Metatron shrugged even as She and Jenny came back, “Not always.”
“I live and work on the Hellmouth, wings – I’m not taking any chances.” Jenny came to his side and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him for dear life even as both Conner and Murphy continued to fight off to one side, “Anything else?”
She looked at him and he nodded at Her before turning to the mortals, “I’d say for the pair of you to take a short vacation, Alexander – England is very nice this time of year.” The pair looked at him and, as one, nodded even as She smiled and her eyes twinkled.
Jenny looked at Xander, who looked at her, and she smiled at him, “Good – I need a vacation, and mother has always wanted to go to England.”
Xander sputtered, “But … it’s full of English!”
“Aye, but let’s not hold that against them.”
Rupert Giles looked down at the news paper in absolute shock even as Buffy and the others continued to watch that infernal television – he couldn’t believe what had happened over the past few weeks, even after the initial report he had gotten from England Headquarters that, somehow, the majority of the Senior Council had all been assassinated in a way that, before, had been attributed to the much-purported ‘Saints of South Boston’. It had been a few days later that Xander and Jenny had come back to Sunnydale, though Xander with a nasty scar on his neck from, according to Jenny, he had been bitten by Angelus only to be healed by a source they would not tell him about – both seemed to be in good spirits, though Xander was a bit frazzled and muttering about ‘Romany’ and ‘crazy mother-in-law’, and they had both mentioned about having taken a quick trip abroad.
It had taken weeks to get Buffy and Willow to both calm down about the closeness the pair still shared, even after the revelation of Xander being 18, and about the relationship both would be partaking in as soon as Xander had finished his schooling. Willow had been, by far, the most vocal against the relationship, even though she herself was in one with Oz, and Buffy had been most against their being there due to the pair having admitted to her to having destroyed Angelus – Buffy had tried the spell herself but had gotten nothing, so had Willow, but she also had come up with nothing, and when he himself had tried, the Orbs of Thessula had all disappeared, only to be replaced with skeeballs with little crosses carved into them.
Finally, though, all was well as the school term came to a close and the chaos over in England continued to build – the darker secrets of the Council were coming to the forefront and, though he had known about them, Rupert had to admit he was more than a little appalled at the thought of what Quinton Travers had been preparing to have him do to his own Slayer in the Crucitacium, an ancient, barbaric rite of passage that had not been used in hundreds of years. Of course he had his suspicions of just whom had preformed the murders, given what he knew about both Jenny and Xander, but both of them had looked him directly in the eyes and asked him to prove that they had preformed them … and he was unable to.
Jenny, herself, was watching the television from next to her housemate, who was busily arguing with his mother about how, no, he was NOT planning on having a wedding soon despite what a woman who kept calling said to her – Jenny had to admit that, if anything, her mother was persistent.
One thing that did half-way bug her, though was that even without the magic-induced bond she and Xander had shared, she still felt as close to him then as ever – was she in love with him? She was fairly sure she was, but the question that kept bugging her was why she was. Sure, he was cute, though ten years younger than she, but why did she love him – surely there was another answer other than that he had chosen a costume similar to hers and, through a mystical maelstrom of events, they had become linked on an odd level.
Xander, for his part, didn’t care – he had other problems in the forms of Jenny’s mother, his mother, his mother’s boyfriend (and he swore to himself that if she and Giles did get married, he was going to move back to Ireland in order to NOT lose his mind), and HER. He put it all out of his mind, all of the chaos, all of the headaches, all of the sheer amount of torture SHE seemed to take great pleasure in causing him as Willow turned up the television volume.
“There are still no leads in what the public here is calling ‘The Saints Slaughter’, referring to the MO used to execute no less than 25 of England’s most influential family heads in politics, Business, Law and International Commerce – sources from within the British Parliament have been quoted to have said that the 25 were lucky the ‘Saints’ had gotten to them before the law had, while others have openly denounced the executions, calling them tragedies and also calling for the immediate hunt of these self-same ‘Saints’. No word yet on if any breaks have been made in the case, but this reporter believes that however this person or these people are, they will never do this again. This is-“
Willow cut off the television and turned back to glare at him, “Xander, Jenny, why did you two do it?”
Jenny shook her head, “Willow, I swear to you that neither Xander nor I executed a single person over in England – I swear it upon my life, his life, and the souls of the two people we put back into Heaven.” She looked up at Xander, who nodded, and then looked back at Willow, “We’ll allow whatever truth spells you want, but we didn’t do it…”
Xander looked at Willow too, who was looking very uncertain of herself, “Face it, Wills – Jenny and I were good, but that’s some major bad karma racked up in that hit, and we’re not that good.”
Buffy looked over at the pair, still smarting from having lost Angel forever, “So, who do you think did it?”
Xander looked at Jenny, who shrugged, “Don’t know, Buff, but whoever did … they must have been angels to pull it off like that.”
Her giggling was heard throughout the Heavenly plane even as Conner looked over at Murphy, giving him a thumbs up, “Aye, little brother, we still have it.”
“We? I did all the bloody work down there …”
The sounds of a scuffle soon followed and mingled with Her laughter.
AN: Firstly, thanks to Yorath the Wolf for putting up with me as my Beta on this – thanks man. Secondly, if you’re reading this, thanks for putting up with me on this fic – been bugging me for weeks now. SO, what do you think? Angelus is dead, the Powers are toast and … well, everything’ll change – no sequel is planned, thankfully. Read and Review, please, AR.