Authors Notes:I own nothing, most of this is owned by FOX or SciFi Channel. I am rusty on the last year or so of SG:1 and so if I made a mistake let me know. I know that in the series, they found a replacement for what Junior does, but this story is more interesting if he still has Junior, so that did not happen. I am working off of the current season mostly as I have seen all of the episodes so far and I LOVE Vala. Please let me know if I screwed up canon badly anywhere, other than what is stated. This is all post Season 7 in Buffy. This started off as a small 300 or so word drabble and took on a life of its own, but I figure this is a good place to end it for now, maybe later I will pick it back up and do a sequel.
PS. If you review and want me to respond, include your email address in the review, and I do write back.
Teal’c was bored. No, that was not quite the right word, he thought for a moment and finally came up with one that seemed close, discontented. Yes that was the correct word, discontented. O’Neill had been promoted, SamCarter was busy with her studies, DanielJackson was very distracted by the woman Vala, and Teal’c was discontented.
Wandering the halls of SG1 he wondered why he was so discontented, the Jaffa were doing well, ignoring the political issues that currently existed. He watched people curiously, as he was surprisingly invisible for a huge Jaffa. Watching interactions, he went down to the training room and watched the people there, and finally it dawned on him what he was missing. He missed having a fellow warrior to share things with, someone who understood the point of fighting was to make sure your friends survived to walk away regardless of what you might suffer.
Trying to dispel the feeling of a hole in his life he went to see his son Rya’c and his wife for a while. But there everyone was taken up with the day-to-day activities just to survive. Life at SG1 had made him soft as he had so much time to himself, with all of his daily needs met through no effort of his own.
Back at Stargate Command, he wandered through the halls wondering what he should do about this lack in his life. As Teal’c turned a corner he almost ran into a young servicewoman he had never seen before. “I apologize for my lack of awareness.” He paused slightly confused at to her concentrated look at him. “Is there something with which I can assist you?”
A bright smile crossed her face as she looked at him. “No, actually I am here to assist you. You have been… discontented lately?”
Teal’c blinked as the word he had searched so long for came out of her mouth applied to him. But he answered “Yes, that is an appropriate definition of my state of being lately. How could you assist with that?” Curious as to how this woman could help him.
“Really easy, do you know what you need to no longer be so out of sorts?” Still she had that strangely bright smile.
He nodded his head slowly “I have come to realize I lack the company of another warrior, someone who understands what being a warrior is, to the core of their being.”
She smiled and spoke softly “Then I can help you… all you have to say is what you want with the words ‘I wish’ in front of that statement.”
“How exactly would those words help me find another warrior to talk and work with?” Teal’c was confused, usually those words were stuff he associated with Taur’i children or that Disney movie company, they did not apply to him.
“I work really well with those words, after all, what is the worst that can happen from simply saying something.” A bright smile tilting her head as she watched him.
Teal’c who had never seen the Mummyä nodded and looking at her replied in a deadpan voice, “I wish I had a fellow warrior to share experiences with and work with.”
Her face changed, no longer sweet and young, but strange and some how repelling. “Granted.” Grinning at him widely she commented, “Tell him Hallie has paid back Anya.” And then she disappeared, standing in her place was a young man, with shaggy dark brown hair, an eye-patch and a wooden object in one hand.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!?!” yelled Xander, looking around him frantically, seeing only dark grey walls and military uniforms, his deep shit alarm was going off frantically while at the same time one of the passing air force personnel who had seen the woman disappear and the man appear had hit the alarm and over the loud speaker a voice blared “Intruder Alert, Intruder Alert!”
Teal’c obediently repeated what the woman had said “Hallie has paid back Anya.”
The man whirled looked at him and went pale, “You used the W word, didn’t you? Oh shit.”
In minutes he was surrounded by men with guns who took his stake and everything else on him, and he was escorted to Medical.
Three hours later Xander was still sitting on the med table fidgeting nervously, watching the MP’s point guns at him. ~Military, great last place I wanted to be, all because Halfrek decides to pay Anya back, and I STILL can’t figure out if it is suppose to be a punishment or reward, or if this is an alternate universe or not. People need to be more careful about what they say, Hell at least I didn’t have my wallet on me so it will be harder to figure out who I am, but still.~ he fumed silently. All around him medical personnel had poked and prodded, taking blood, EKG’s, ECG’s, and a lot of other tests he really just wanted to forget about.
Finally the door opened and the huge black man he had appeared in front of, along with a General and a Colonel walked into the room. ~something is off about that black guy, besides the funny tattoo, he is just… wrong, argh what is it?~ Resisting the still latent urge to salute he sat there with a mutinous look on his face, still dressed in the bloody hospital gown that showed off his ass, scars, and way too much else.
The doctor standing next to him spoke “He is clean General, no bugs, signs of any naquadah, or anything else. The only odd thing is his ECG’s, it is almost like we were scanning two minds occasionally, but then the results would change back to only his. Very odd.”
The General looked at Xander with a long careful look. “Has he said anything else yet?” Since his last sentence of “You used the W word, didn’t you? Oh shit.” Had been heard by Teal’c, he had not said a thing.
“Well son, ready to talk and tell us who you are, how you got here, and why you are here?” Everyone up to and including the President wanted to know who he was, how he got there, and the answers to a lot of other questions. The red phone had been burning for the last two hours.
Xander looked at all of them carefully, ~Well the big black guy seems nice, maybe a bit sheepish, and is kinda odd. The colonel seems damn young for his rank, and the General.. well he is a bloody General, what do I expect??~ A soft frustrated sigh. “Depends, do I get out of this damn drafty gown and do I get something to eat, preferably with sugar?”
They all blinked looking at him, he had been awfully calm during the examination, nodding once to the armed guards who kept weapons trained on him at all times.
The General cleared his throat, “I think that can be arranged. Can we please get him a set of BDU’s, and escort him to one of the small briefing rooms.” The General turned and walked out, followed by the Captain, but the large black man stayed behind.
Xander sighed as they handed him a set of BDU’s, he pulled them on with everyone watching closely. ~great, the prime entertainment is me stripping and un-stripping AGAIN~ Then followed them to a small windowless room that had food on the table. “DONUTS!” Xander was there and had a jelly filled donut in his hand and then his mouth damn near before the guards realized he had moved. But since he was sitting eating the donuts with a speed they could only blink at, they quickly relaxed a little and took their place by the door.
Xander was not as oblivious as everyone thought, he saw the General and Colonel on the other end of the table knew the big guy had followed him in, and everyone was watching him torn between amusement and horror. He shrugged mentally ~I was bloody hungry, long night of slaying, and then this, they can bite me. Not like I plan on telling them much of anything anywho.~
“Now young man what is your name and who sent you?” The General demanded, though it was obvious he was trying to be somewhat nice about the whole situation.
Xander slowly licked his fingers off and looked at the military officers and shrugged, answering them literally. “Xander, Halfrek.”
They all blinked not really sure of how to respond to that short of an answer. But suddenly Teal’c spoke up. “The woman who was here mentioned Hallie, is that short for Halfrek?”
A long slow considering look and Xander nodded picking up a cheese Danish this time.
“Then General, I believe he is here because of me. I met a woman in the corridor, I had believed she was new personnel with SG1, she then asked me to make a wi…”
“DON’T SAY THAT WORD!” Xander shouted interrupting Teal’c startling the guards and surprising the officers. Teal’c merely looked at him eyes narrowing.
“What word would that be?” Asked the General and Colonel totally confused now.
“W – I – S – H. Never say the word. EVER!” Xander really didn’t care at this point if they locked him up, he was pretty damn certain Willow would find him if he stayed gone too long, but the ramifications of the wish were worrying the hell out of him.
“I see.” Replied Teal’c. “I made a statement for the woman using that word in regards to a fellow warrior, she said ‘granted’, disappeared, and this young man appeared.” His words calm but his eyes never left Xanders’.
“Okay let me get this straight, you made a w..” The Colonel stopped at the glare from Xander and changed his phrasing “a fond desire statement and this man appeared?” Teal’c nodded. “Oh give me a break. This is not Disneyland things like that don’t happen. Next you will tell me vampires and werewolves are real.”
At that statement Xander almost choked on the donut he was eating, powdered sugar came out his nose he was laughing so hard. “You have no fucking idea.”
The General took a deep breath to get a hold of his temper, really it was the weekend, he was suppose to be out of this hole in the ground and enjoying fresh air, but no some weirdo has to break into the base and then be cryptic about it.
“Okay son we are going to ask some questions and considering the sensitive nature of this base I really need some answers. You mentioned your name is Xander what is the rest of it?”
~yeah right like I want you guys running my name through your database, don’t think so~ Xander snorted to himself softly and just smiled saying “Xander.”
The General sighed, “What was the object you were holding when you got here?”
You could see the General trying to hold onto his temper, “And what is it used for?”
“Dusting.” Teal’c mouth twitched slightly, it had been a long time since he had seen someone respond so flatly to interrogation as a method to drive the interrogators to distraction. He was beginning to like this man.
“Fine, who is the Anya person, the name Hallie mentioned?” The General demanded, sensing he was rapidly loosing any control over the situation.
“Ex-fiancée” came the simple statement from Xander as he picked up another donut. ~black guy, what is it about him that is niggling at my brain, he is not a demon, but there is something about him.~ Watching Teal’c as he turned his head to take in the room.
Desperate the General picked up the medical report. “The doctors state here you are in good health but covered with scars and the damage to your orbital bone is severe, what caused the loss of the eye?” Hoping maybe interest in the man would make him relax a little.
The General was about strangle him but the Colonel interrupted “You mean thumb, as in opposable.” As he held up his hand and waggled his thumb.
“ouch..” All of the men in the room shuddered at the thought of an eye being gouged out with a thumb. Teal’c looked at him a little more seriously. Scars, eye loss, maybe his ‘wish’ had been accurate and this was a warrior.
“Are you going to answer anything I ask with more than an one word answer?”
“Look here young man, you are in a high security base, you shouldn’t be able to be here, why do you refuse to answer our questions?! What are you so leery of?” Frustrated and getting more so by the minute.
A long considering look as he licked the last bits of sugar from his hands. “NID” More to see the reactions than anything else. He did not expect the blank look on the colonel’s face, but the severe concern on the black man’s and the General’s face had him a little more worried, and a touch relieved.
“I see, you have had negative run ins with NID previously?” Now the general was really concerned, who the hell was this man?
“Yep.” Was all Xander said, finally giving up and focusing on the black man. ~what the hell is it about him that has me so bloody focused?~
There was suddenly a knock on the door, and a guard stuck his head through “Sir Lt. Colonel Carter and Jacob/Selmac are here and wanted to say something before they left.”
The General looked at the very unprepossessing young man and all the military in the room and sighed shrugging. “Sure send him in.”
Xander looked up at the woman who walked in ~hmm.. odd she had a bit of what the big guy has~ and then he looked at the man and he freaked “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?” Faster than any of them could react he was on the far side of the wall, looking at Jacob/Selmac with undisguised confusion and fear.
“Huh?” Was the first thing that came out of Colonel Mitchell’s mouth. “What are you talking about?”
“That thing, what the fuck is that thing?!?” Trying very hard not to panic.
Jacob went white, this man saw the Tok’ra inside him. This was not good, suddenly Selmac took over and spoke in his weird vibrating voice. “You have a Perceiver, where did you find a Perceiver?”
Everyone was looking at Xander who was wide eyed, attention locked on to the figure of Jacob/Selmac as someone slowly asked “What is a Perceiver?”
Selmac replied as Jacob was still confused “One who sees what others can not.”
“oh fuck” came the whisper from Xander.
It had taken a while but finally everyone was calmed down, the marines had quit pointing weapons at Xander, Jacob/Selmac and Sam were sitting at the table. Xander had asked to be left in the corner where he felt a little more secure, and they had given him a chair to sit on.
The General now even more confused looked at Xander and in an almost begging tone “Will you answer our questions now?”
Xander sighed “I need you to answer a few of mine first, swear nothing classified I just need to know some things.”
The General shrugged “If it doesn’t reveal any sensitive information I will see if I can.”
“Okay then first question, do you have shrimp here?”
Most of the people at the table blinked and the Colonel responded, “You mean little pink things that come from the sea that you eat with cocktail sauce?”
“I will take that as a yes then.” Xander nodded a bit oddly relieved. “What day is it?”
This time the General responded “April 23, 2005.” Not really sure where this was going.
~well same time flow, they have shrimp so probably not an alternate dimension, now to check on the same reality~ “What does the phrase 9-11 mean to you.”
This time everyone was a lot worried but the General answered, “The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centers, was on September 11th.”
“Damn…. “ Xander sank into the chair a little and looked at them with a rather despondent look on his face. “Okay, ask your questions, I will try to answer them.” The entire time his eyes rarely left the figure of Selmac/Jacob.
“Finally!” said a very exasperated General, ignoring the flash of humor on Sam’s’ face, Teal’c he didn’t know well enough yet to recognize the twist of humor in his eyes. “What were all those questions about?”
A soft shrug “I identified that I was probably in the same dimension, reality, and time period.”
Everyone in the room froze; this unprepossessing young man obviously had some experience in dimension and reality traveling to speak so calmly about them. “So why are you here?”
A snort of laughter “You won’t believe me, but magic is real, he” pointing to Teal’c “Made a request in front of a vengeance demon named Halfrek, and boom, here I am.”
There was a mixture of reactions in the room from outright disbelief to laughter at the statement, “What you think this is a fairy tale?” came from the Colonel Mitchell.
”Hello no, fairy tales never have happy endings for everyone, at least not the real fairy tales. My life sucks too much to be in a Disney fairy tale.” Various people chuckled at that, but Xander just sat there, unmoved and uncaring about what they thought, finally when the laughter died down a little he spoke “Now tell me what that thing is inside that man.” It was barely a request and more of a command.
“Wait what thing?” Asked a confused and worried Sam as everyone else had frozen looking at Xander then at Selmac. They had seen him react to Jacob/Selmac, but not actually registered what he had said.
“The snake like thingy wrapped around inside him, wrapped around his soul. He has it too, but like on a ratio of 1 to 20 comparatively.” Pointing to Teal’c. “you have an echo in you as if you once did or something.” Sam paled.
The face of every person with rank in the room lit up and focused on Xander “You mean you can tell there is a Tok’ra in him? By LOOKING?” The Colonels’ voice actually went up an octave.
“Hell if I know, I just know there is some thingy that’s kinda gray and shiny wrapped around in side him and it is making me damn queasy.” Xander was slowly beginning to relax then an awful thought struck him ~how do I know this is the real military? Nah.. no one here has lied about anything yet, so lets wait and see.~
“General do you know what this means? He would be able to see any Goa’uld that was trying any sort of infiltration, and from what he said about Teal’c he would be able to see Jaffa also.” Sam and the Colonel were chattering excitedly at the General, while Jacob/Selmac watching him warily.
~oh shit I have a bad feeling that I just got turned into a thingy sniffer, and I really don’t like leashes.~ Xander was getting more and more worried as he listened to them discuss the ramifications of his ‘abilities.’ So wrapped up that he did not notice Teal’c had wandered over closer to him. “Damn I just want to go home.”
Teal’c heard him say that and said softly. “I am sorry Xander, I would send you home if I could.” With those words Xander disappeared, and everyone in the room freaked out. Teal’c stood there and looked for a long time ignoring the absolute bedlam around him, Selmac demanding they return the Perceiver, the General wanting to know what Teal’c had done with Xander, the Colonel and Sam both trying to figure out if the Asgard had taken him. Teal’c made a decision to research what exactly a wish was, because Perceiver or not, he rather enjoyed Xander being around, it made things interesting.
*back in Cleveland*
“Xander why were you so late getting back from patrol?” had been the main question asked by everyone in regards to his disappearance. Brushing everyone off with a story of getting lost in the dark, most people eventually bought it. The exceptions being Willow and Faith, they looked at him not believing at all, but did not push the issue.
Buffy had just shrugged and made a comment about lack of direction sense and went off on to her other stuff. She had taken to finding fault in everything Xander did lately, putting him down at every chance, and no one really knew why. She had relaxed a lot since they had gotten there and was warming up to everyone and becoming the Buffy they knew, except towards Xander. It was starting to worry and concern more than a few people.
A few days went by and everyone relaxed and mostly forgot about his absence and Xander finally had a chance to pull Willow to one side.
“Hey Wills, I need um… a bit of mumbo jumbo from you.” He asked trying to not show how uneasy this made him.
“You are asking for magic… dang don’t know whether to be impressed or worried. What do you need?” Teasing him a bit, she had been very good about using only white magic.
Xander impulsively hugged her “Yeah sorry just something that occurred to me. Can you mojo me up a necklace that I can contact you with or you can find me if you need to? Getting lost the other night made me realize that having a communicator might be a really good idea, but give me some key words to turn it off and on, please?” Asked Xander, batting his eye at her, and looking really ridiculous with only one eye to bat. “If I am getting lucky I would like to NOT be disturbed.” Winking at his best friend.
“OOoh… is there something you should be telling me?” Teasing him back, her and Kennedy were about the only couple in the place as Faith and Robin had drifted apart.
“Nope, but a guy has to hope doesn’t he?” Xander grin and sauntered away, quickly focusing on the trouble he could feel coming his way.
Teal’c had spent the past week doing research. When asked DanielJackson was very helpful in providing him with ‘fairy tales’ and information on magic, along with a stern lecture that there was no such thing as magic. Teal’c had simply nodded and taken the books to read. Many of them were indeed children’s stories, but he now fully understood the concept of a wish and even why a wish might be a bad thing, the story The Midas Touch had under scored the need to be careful what you ask for.
Selmac had been most vocal as to how precious a Perceiver was, and the fact they could NOT be lied to and would see things, even hidden things with ease. The Tok’ra as a whole wanted Xander back to help in the fight against the remaining Goa’uld. They were running his fingerprints and DNA through every database they had, hoping to get a hit, but it would take close to a week before they got the results. Right now the young one-eyed man was the subject of discussion for almost everyone.
Two days later he had a simple necklace with a silver chaos symbol on it, after all he attracted chaos didn’t he? Along with a note that the activation word was abracadabra and the deactivation was bibbipty-bobbity-boo. Xander didn’t know whether to beat his head on the floor or laugh at her command words, but they were obviously not stuff that would come up in normal everyday communication. Her note also said she was working on making some for the others, but his was unique in that he could control it, the others would just be 911 devices.
Finally taking a deep breath he started to relax, no military guys around, no vengeance demons, and no strange occurrences, maybe he could breath again. ~though would be nice to have figured out what the hell a Tok’ra and Goa’uld are, and why I can see them. But the lying thing is accurate, noticed that the slayers can’t even fib about doing chores to me, makes my life easier~ he thought. It had been a week since the strange trip and he was more than ready to move on.
It had been a long hard day repairing stuff around the house and basically being treated like a hired hand, but he ignored all of that because there was a free shower with his name on it. ~shower, shower, all mine, girls on patrol, so I get a HOT shower~ he caroled to himself, and soon that is where Xander was enjoying a nice hot LONG shower with no one pounding on the door demanding to be let in.
Teal’c sat in his room and thought about everything, they still had not figured out exactly who the man was, but it was only a matter of time. Everything here was still hectic and part of Teal’c realized that he missed the strange chaos Xander had caused. That and he was still discontented and lonely. Sitting alone in his room just the candle glow flicking he spoke out loud. “I would have liked to gotten to know this Xander, the Perceiver better.”
There was a small crack and Teal’c opened his eyes to see a naked, soap covered Xander standing in the middle of his room frozen.
Xander slowly opened his eye, the lack of water telling him stuff he did not want to know and looked at Teal’c, his shoulders sank. “You have got to be freaking kidding me. Again???” Water dripped off him onto the floor. A long slow sigh from Xander “Towel please?”
Teal’c took a look at the body in front of him, scarred and worn, not at the peak of shape, but good muscle structure, and reactions. He nodded and started digging through his closet.
It had taken about 20 minutes for Teal’c to get Xander some BDU’s that he could wear, get him dried off, and for Xander to curl up on the floor looking at him with an expectant look on his face.
“Please tell me you did not make another request? Especially not from a woman?” Xander asked softly, still half expecting guards to burst into the room and drag him off to be fitted with his own little collar and leash.
Teal’c shook his head “No, I was sitting here… meditating and I made the statement that I would have liked to gotten to know you better, and then you appeared in my room.”
Xander leaned his head back and slowly thudded it against the wall over and over. Teal’c arched an eyebrow simply watching this human, finally Xander stopped and looked at him then closed his eye again.
“I guess that the military knows what you are, and since I have never seen them put a demon in any sort of position of responsibility, I would guess you are an alien, as is the other man I saw?” Not even looking at him as he talked, exhaustion and worry seeping from his posture.
Teal’c arched a brow, he was not sure how to answer that, revealing what he was, was restricted, yet this man could apparently see him. Making his choice he answered “Correct and incorrect, I am a human, but I have within me a symbiotic alien.” Teal’c decided to leave it at that.
“I see, and your alien is different from the other guys?” Still eye closed, the eyelid sunken over where his eye was missing, the shadows causing him to look older than he was.
“Mine is.. dormant, the other alien is an active personality that shares awareness with Jacob’s personality.” Teal’c tried to explain and part of him was wondering if this was an incorrect course of action.
“I see, so I was not wrong when I thought they might want to make me an alien sniffer. How…. Important is this.. what I can do?” Voice so quiet almost depressed.
“It is rather important Xander, the Goa’uld have tried to destroy this world and enslave all who reside here as well as other planets. They are mostly defeated now, but they have become more subtle and are infiltrating us, both here and on other planets. We also have problems with a new race called the Ori.”
His eye cracked open “there are more than just two planets with intelligent life on it?”
“Yes Xander. I have personally been on over 50 planets with intelligent life and many more that have not yet developed to that point.”
“Cool.. okay a few points on the pro column.” Xander reached up and played with the necklace, he had put it on immediately after Willow got it to him, and was very glad. ~okay I know Wills can get me out of here, but the question becomes do I want to go, am I needed here, can I deal with the military. Joy joy joy… ~
There was a knock on the door and it swung open with Xander frozen looking at it, and Teal’c was up and moving quickly as Daniel Jackson walked in looking at the book in his hands.
“Teal’c I wanted you to look at this and le…” he trailed off, surprised as Teal’c pulled him in and swiftly shut the door behind him. Daniel blinked looking at Teal’c then the man sitting on the floor staring at him with intensity. “Oops.. sorry didn’t realize you had a visitor, I can leave.” He turned then paused and looked back at Xander mind racing ~young, one-eye, black hair~ “Wait you are the guy everyone has been in an uproar about all week aren’t you. Teal’c WHAT is he doing here?”
Teal’c shrugged leaning against his door “Talking with me.”
Xander snorted “Hey don’t look at me I am just the victim of a nasty demon with an even nastier sense of humor.”
“Demons aren’t real.” Was the automatic retort from Daniel as he warily looked at Xander.
Xander smiled a very not nice smile “Neither are aliens, but you have one standing behind you.”
“Teal’c!! You told him, how could you tell him? You know aliens are suppose to be classified.” Daniel stared at Teal’c in horror, ignoring the amused snort coming from Xander still sitting on the ground.
“He didn’t tell me, it was kind of obvious once you think about it, and since I knew they weren’t demons…” Xander shrugged.
Daniel spluttered a little but had a hard time arguing that point, from what he had heard about the meeting, this young man had freaked out hard core upon seeing Selmac, and Selmac had been freaking a little at the existence of what he called a Perceiver. “Umm.. so I know I shouldn’t ask this, but why is he here, and why aren’t there any MP’s or brass like people around.” Looking back at Teal’c warily, finally noticing he was leaning against the door blocking any exit or entrance.
“He is not a threat DanielJackson. And he did not come here of his own choosing, I dislike the idea of him becoming a prisoner because he is different.” Daniel blinked at that and ignored the slight hysterical giggles coming from Xander.
Xander muttered to himself, “Not a prisoner? I am linked to a bloody alien through a request granted by Halfrek, and I am starting to sound like Giles. Good Lord.” Xander almost flinched as he heard himself say that last bit. “I need a drink.”
Daniel still focused on Teal’c though he heard the name Giles and filed it, continued with his thoughts “And how do you know he is not a threat, he shows up out of no where, claims a demon sent him, and you trust that??”
“Hey I did not say a Demon sent me, I said he” pointing to Teal’c “had a stupid choice in words and brought me here. BIG difference.”
They both ignored him for a moment and Teal’c replied “He is a warrior, like I am. He is trustworthy.” Things were occasionally that simple for Teal’c.
At that Xander slowly stood up, normally he was not exactly intimidating, but without the patch the loss of an eye made him more sinister and threatening, he then ruined it by talking “Hey.. no warrior here, zeppo, donut boy, carpenter, that is all, I am not a warrior.”
Daniel was confused, this man was arguing that he was not a warrior? Then Daniel snickered a little bit, how often had he argued that he was not military, but who would believe that looking at him.
Teal’c arched a brow and looked at him “You lost your eye by someone gouging it out with a thumb.” Ignoring the muttered ‘not someone, something’ from Xander. “You have scars all over your body from various fights, and you are aware of the entrance and exit of every room you enter. You are a warrior.” Stating it as a fact.
Daniel spoke up hesitatingly “Do I want to know how you know he has scars all over his body?” Asking Teal’c.
“No.” Replied Xander and Teal’c at the same time. Xander sighed shaking his head. “I just fight and do what is needed to help, I am not the warrior, Buf... others are.” Changing what he said mid word.
Taking a deep breath Xander looked at both of them. “How important is it for me to be this Perceiver type guy, and why should I?” Xander wanted nothing more than to go home and hide in his bed; but he had never been able to ignore the fact that there was darkness out there so he had to ask, to know before he could decide.
Teal’c looked at Daniel who looked him, then sighed and sat down on Teal’c’s bed. “Important, the Goa’uld and the Ori are both aliens that seem to bent on destroying us. We have defeated a large number of Goa’uld, but the ones that are left are getting sneakier and more likely to infiltrate places including Earth. The Jaffa council, treats us like children. And the Ori are like bible thumping preachers on speed, and either you believe or die seems to be their message.” He paused as Xander went deathly white.
“Preachers, preaching the word of their god? Oh lord, what did I do to deserve this?” Shaky Xander sat back down, flashing back to Caleb and losing his eye. His had reached up and rubbed the orbital bone around where it had been. “shit…” There was a long deep silence. Then finally he spoke up. “Tell you what, talk to your guys, tell them I am willing to listen to them. But I will NOT be a dog on the leash for them, they need to justify what they would need me to do, and how I would work out here. Please stress I can and will leave if I do not agree to the situation.”
Teal’c and Daniel blinked, looking at him, the young foolish man hand just disappeared and instead there was a hard warrior stating what he expected to have done. Teal’c nodded “I will let them know.”
“Good. Teal’c tell me I can go home now.” Xander ordered standing slowly and looking at him.
Teal’c blinked “You may go home Xander.” Xander disappeared leaving a slightly amused Teal’c and a confused and stunned Daniel.
“What the HELL was that?! How did he do that, where did he go?” Daniel demanded searching the room.
”I assume he went home.” Stated Teal’c opening the door, “Shall we go talk to people now?”
Xander reappeared exactly where he was when he disappeared, in the shower, however at this time the shower was occupied with a wet naked Faith.
“Xander, I know you are hot for me, but we really need to talk about your timing and sudden teleportation ability.” She stated sarcastically as he tried very hard to not look at the wet naked body in front of him.
Closing his eye “Okay, okay, you and Willow and I will talk. Please get a towel so I can get out of here, and get out of my now wet clothes?” He begged softly.
A fully clothed soaking wet Xander walked out of the bathroom into the hallway, followed by a wet towel clad Faith; walking right into Buffy.
She looked them both up and down and sneered “Yesh Xander, and here I thought you had some taste, lord only knows where she has been.” Giving Faith a disdainful look.
Faith bristled, she had not even done anything. She opened her mouth to say something, but was cut off by Xander placing his hand on her arm.
“What’s the matter Buffy, jealous because I would rather shower with Faith than worship at your feet. Sorry I have never been good at being a pet dog.” And he walked away to his room, feet squelching on the carpet as he walked, fuming a lot at Buffy’s arrogance and her way of treating Faith. ~damn her why has she been such a bitch to me lately. As far as I can see the guy Faith killed and I are the only two who should be that mad at her, and I forgave her a long time ago.~ Xander froze and turned as Faith was about to go into her room. Buffy had stomped down the stairs in a snit. “Hey Faith?”
She looked up “Yeah former boytoy?” Trying for nonchalance, but inside hurting from Buffy’s comments.
“You know I forgave you a long time ago, right?”
She blinked looking at him and part of her relaxed, she had regretted that night almost more than killing the guy. “No I hadn’t but thanks.” She ducked her head a bit and slipped into her room.
Xander sighed ~I have been too lax lately, we more than any of us should know there is not always a tomorrow to say things, and I have a feeling my time is shorter than most.~ Quickly he changed into dry clothes, grabbed his patch feeling a little less the monster as it was slipped back on.
He stood out side his room for a moment waiting for Faith, who quickly walked out, he had to resist the drool reaction, Faith still looked damn good and knowing what she looked like naked with water and soap sliding down her body. Xander shook his head, ~okay libido now is NOT the time for that, later tonight, when we are in bed with the door locked.. but now remember military and off the wall W’s.~
“Ready? I figure I need Willow, not Buffy, she would freak over this hard core, and there is something else going on with this.”
Faith arched a brow “Something more interesting that your ability to teleport into women’s showers? I am impressed I would have thought that was every man’s dream.”
A soft snort “Well you would be in my top ten definitely. But yeah, more weirdo stuff attached to the zeppo.”
Faith snickered as they walked “And who would be number one pray tell?” Just idly curious ~what the hell is a zeppo?~ she wondered.
“Lynda Carter of course, my wonder woman, oh yum.” Xander unfocused for a moment then snapped back “Bad Xander, bad Xander, not fantasy time.” Shaking his head as he walked with Faith following behind him trying to not giggle.
They found Willow in the kitchen “Wills, we need to talk, now.. lets go for a walk.” Xander had on his serious look, and Willow flinched, that look was never followed by good news. Quickly putting her coffee in a travel mug, she slipped on shoes and followed them out, they quietly walked to a nearby park. It was early morning and no one was around. Willow turned to look at them and teased a little needing to break the tension and worry she felt.
“What do you need me to whip up an contraceptive potion?” Winking at Faith.
They both sighed and rolled there eyes “Does NO ONE believe that I would not sleep with another man’s girl?” Xander sighed.
Faith blinked “Um… Robin and I aren’t dating, we were just fucking for a while, but soon after we got here, he told me it was ‘bad for his image’ so I ain’t dating or having sex with him.”
“Oh…” Xander sidetracked a moment with that information. “Okay…well that is not what we need to talk about.”
Faith laughed “Yeah what we need to talk about is Xander’s ability to teleport into showers while people are there. Wet naked people, I might add.” Laughing a little.
Willows eyes got big “You can teleport, oh cool, when did it start, can you control it or is it automatic with out you thinking about where… “
“Willow HALT.” Willow broke off realizing she had gone into Willow babble again and shrugged, making herself comfortable.
“Basically Halfrek granted some military guy a W, and he can basically call me to him where ever he is. A big military base “ he waved aside Willow’s and Faiths startled remarks and kept going “The bigger problem is, aliens are real, called the Goa’uld and Ori, and apparently I can see them easily, they said I was a Perceiver, which is way too close to Caleb and the ‘One Who Sees’ crap for my comfort. What is worse is they are going to figure out who I am, and I can’t stop myself from going. Luckily the guy the W was given to, Teal’c, is pretty cool, but they say they need me to help with this war, it is all scary and I am not happy about it, but they are telling the truth and I need to NOT become a dog on the leash. So I need help.” Xander took a breath, he knew that had come out kind of rushed and jumbled, but dang it he was worried.
Both Faith and Willow sat there and looked at him before looking at each other and damn near replying as one ‘Aliens are real? Cool.”
Xander rolled his eyes at Willow and Faith. “Yes aliens are real, and apparently I can see them or something. Not really sure yet, but I don’t think the military is going to leave me alone. So… I come begging for help, from both of you.”
Faith blinked, help from her? “You need help from me?”
Willow responded for both of them. “Sure Xan, what do you need? Military is bad news, unless of course you are Riley?” She grinned. Faith just nodded, curious now more than ever.
Xander sighed “Okay this is what I was thinking, and Faith, I included you more now since you aren’t dating Robin. Willow this communication thingy, can you put a locator spell on it also, so that when I say some phrase you can find me anywhere? Well.. maybe just in the US. I know it was US military so that kind of limits it. I hope. Faith… um… “ Xander looked sheepish looking down on the ground “You can say no if you want, but you wanna come with me?”
Faith blinked looking at him a little confused. “Come with you where?”
H shuffled his feet a little “I hate to ask, but I suspect that I am going to be doing stuff where it would be really nice to have someone at my back I can trust to get me out of there alive, or… kill me if needed.” He looked up at her honesty in his eye.
She felt stunned, Xander trusted her, after all she had done. “Why do you trust me?”
“Simple, you are more realistic than Buffy, you will kill me if you have to, she would spend too much time endangering others. That and lately she seems to hate the very sight of me. Besides if I read this right, this is a … team that goes in and goes out to other planets. They have one fighter…warrior there already. He is a huge guy named Teal’c, he’s an alien. So would be nice to have a friend with me, and maybe someone to convince them that I am not going to be their pet dog. You wouldn’t be fighting vampires, but you might be fighting things that are more interesting. I might be all wrong, but it is all I can think of to NOT end-up being a lab rat or alien sniffing Xander-dog.”
Faith looked at him and a slow smile spread over her face “So I go with you and act as your bodyguard. Oh I like that idea; I am more than willing to cover your body.” Winking at Xander and smiling at him.
Xander swallowed a bit ~libido DOWN~ “umm.. okay thanks.. I think. Willow what I was thinking is next time I go, I activate the locator and you bring Faith with you to where ever I am, as a show of power. And maybe they will treat me or us as allies and not tools. And it will also give me a way to get out of there if they go back on their words. Oh… since I am thinking about it, can you make it so none can pull off this necklace, unless I do? Might help keep us alive.”
Willow thought about this for a little bit, then nodded slowly. “how about I make the necklace untouchable, no one else but you can touch it, that is easier than un-removable, too many risk factors there. As for showing up with Faith on the locator…. Yeah, will take me an hour or so to get the spell ready, but once I know it for sure and lock it on your necklace I should be able to use it at any time. But remember to call us in a space where we can fit, elevator bad, room good.” Nodding lots. “But I do have a price for all this.” A wicked grin on her face. “I want to meet an alien!”
A soft bit of laughter from Xander, “Somehow I don’t think that will be an issue.”
“Oh goody, I get to meet Aliens; Andrew is going to be so jealous!” Willow giggled practically dancing with joy.
“ACK! NO telling Andrew anything, oh god, no he would be the worst, no this is not warm fuzzy aliens this is serious bad deadly stuff.” Xander panicked just imagining Andrew with this knowledge.
“Oh I know that, just going to make smiling at him smugly for a while, very very fun.” Willow grinned. “But the rest, you got it. Should be a different challenge and some other ideas I should implement. Faith I will do the same thing for you with a necklace, untouchable, locator, and help call built in.”
“Cool, thanks Wils, I will be the super-Slayer.” Faith grinned getting more and more excited about the idea. But she had never run into the Initiative so she was not as wary as Willow and Xander were.
Xander sighed in relief ~good, I was worried she would not be able to pull that off, okay, that puts a few safety plans in place~ Speaking out loud. “Well that gets us to the next part, I don’t want either of you to say anything to Giles or Buffy or anyone until we know exactly what is going to happen and when. I don’t want them upset or worrying about what might not come. So I guess we do some simple packing and then wait. But Willow, I suspect we have only a day or two before I end up there again.
*Cheyenne Mountain 3 days later*
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the information requested on one Alexander Lavelle Harris, and it is not good.” The general sighed looking at the assembled group. Anise had demanded to be included much to everyone’s frustration. Sam was there, Jacob/Selmac, Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell, Teal’c, Daniel, and this time even Vala, though she came mainly because she was bored, and this Xander character had definitely been making people jumpy around here. And that was highly amusing to her.
“This is his file.” The general dropped a thin folder on the desk. “It tells me where he was born, where he went to high school, and parents’ name, everything else was under a classification code I could not ACCESS!” His voice had been rising at the last five words, until he yelled the last few words. “Who or what the hell is this kid that at 22 his file is classified so much that I can’t even ready anything other than his bio?”
A few people grabbed for the file and looked at what was in there, two sheets of paper, one labeled bio that had the basic facts of whom Alexander Harris was, the other under activities was one word, CLASSIFIED.
Teal’c arched a brow and hid a smile, ~a warrior indeed one with powerful friends, or given his experience with NID, powerful enemies~ He listened to the uproar for a while and looked at the clock, approximately 3 pm, hopefully that would prevent a repeat of Xander’s last appearance. Teal’c was very nervous, he had not had time to talk to Xander in private, but he recognized impending explosion between the officers and the Tok’ra. Anises’ screech made him wince as she demanded they find the Perceiver at once and bring him here to be used to fight the Goa’uld and Ori.
A soft sigh and Teal’c spoke so quietly no one could hear him, testing his theory for the first time. “I would like to see Xander.”
There was a soft crack and Xander, who had been sitting in a chair at the time reading, materialized falling directly on his ass. The entire room went still looking at him as he stood up, rubbing his ass. He looked around at the gathered group, “Well I feel honored, three aliens, a general, two lieutenant colonels, one unranked human, and one…” he paused for a moment looking at Vala frowning slightly “one who use to be infested with an alien.” He turned to Sam again and looked “Ah and you had one too. Much longer ago though.”
The whole room was stunned until the general yelled “GUARDS!” about at the same time people were scrambling back away from him, Xander touched the necklace saying softly “abracadabra Willow, show time.”
Guards raced into the room, looking at the chaos, though Vala was sitting on her chair both stunned and amused, with a smile on her face. ~oh I like this man, so much chaos with a few comments, he could be fun~ watching the show and Teal’c standing up trying to decide whether to protect Xander or get out of the way. The guards after a moments hesitation pointed their guns at Xander who was standing peaceably against the wall hands by his side, waiting.
“FREEZE!” Came their shout, and Xander rolled his eye.
“I am standing against the wall with my hands by my sides what more do you want?” He asked sarcastically.
The MP’s didn’t move keeping him in their sights while the rest of the room recovered from his surprising appearance. The general spoke “We know who you are Alexander Lavelle Harris and I want answers this time.”
Xander winced “Please just Xander, ick. Not a problem I would like some answers too.”
Just then there was a very sharp crack and a cute red head and a sultry brunette appeared in the room in front of Xander.
Willow looked around her eyes flooded grey, “Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado? Not what I was expecting. Naughty, naughty, pointing weapons at people.” She waved her hands and the weapons disappeared and the door shut and locked with the guards having been neatly pushed out the door.
Mitchell rushed at them, only to have Faith neatly flip him and put him in a headlock before he knew what hit him. “Really you invite people here and this is how you act, has anyone told you, you are a very bad host?” An amused Faith asked.
Xander sighed and looked at everyone, resisting the urge to wink at Teal’c. “My bodyguards, a Witch and a Slayer. Now are we ready to talk like adults? Or are you going to keep yelling for the people with guns?”
Shock froze everyone again as they looked at the three unprepossessing young people. In thirty seconds they had isolated the room, immobilized one officer, and revealed information that no one should know.
Xander, emulating a confidence he really didn’t feel, pulled up a chair while Willow and Faith took up positions behind him. “I believe you wanted to talk about me working with you in my role as…” he looked at Selmac/Jacob “I believe you called it a Perceiver?”
Anise infuriated at these two Taur’i coming in and controlling the meeting stood up, and began demanding, “This man must come with us and help in the fight. Why are we giving him a choice, you order him to come and aid us as we see fit. The Tok’ra are fighting for our existence and we are not going to listen to young children with delusions of their place in this outfit.”
She started to go on when Willow rolled her eyes and said in a clear voice, “Please let Xander talk.”
Anise glared at her, her lip curling up in a sneer. “I will not let children tell me what to do, you have no idea what we face or understand the concept of fighting to protect lives.” Her voice was spiteful and mean. Xander paled and leaned away from her.
“oh that was stupid” came out as a soft mutter. Teal’c started to get worried, Xander did not seem like someone who over reacted to most things.
Willow just smiled at her, eyes focusing on Anise. “I said, BE QUIET!” The sound coming out of Anise mouth was gone, her mouth was still moving but nothing came out. “We are here with your one and only chance to convince Xander to work with you, if not we will leave and you will never see us again.” Willows voice icy, her eyes grey pools, and even Jacob/Selmac flinched a little.
Everyone in the room turned looked at Anise, whose face was turning red as she tried to make noise come out of her mouth. Jacob started it with a low chuckle that he tried to hide, then Sam and Daniel started to laughing, and Teal’c finally grinned a big wide grin as Anise got redder and redder.
Daniel spoke up “Thank you. You do not know how long I wanted to do that, she does NOT speak for all of us.”
Willow nodded her head regally, internally trying very hard to not fall on the floor laughing.
Xander smiled a little as the mood in the room changed from one of wary antagonism to shared amusement, at least everyone but Anise. She was still fuming but had at least given up trying to talk. Xander cleared his throat a little and everyone looked at him, he frantically reminded himself, that he really didn’t want the military knocking on their doors, so it was an impress them now situation. “Gentleman, ladies, aliens... I have been fighting things wanting to destroy us, in one form or another since I was 15. I am more than willing to listen to what you have to say and take it under consideration, but be aware I will only work WITH you. I will not be a tool for you to use, nor will be a resource you can pimp out where you want. My friends behind me came to make sure you take this seriously. I have people who will not like the fact I am even talking to you, but I take what I have previously found out very seriously which is why I am here. So talk.”
Xander sat back and tried to hide the fact this his hands were shaking, he was soaked with sweat and nervous as all hell. Faith reached forward touching his shoulder lightly. Xander reached up and touched her hand in thanks, but never took his eyes off the assembled group.
As much as Teal’c wanted to speak it was not his place, glancing at Daniel he saw the typical concern and interest in others in his eyes, as well as an intense desire to find out how the red head had done that.
The General looked at the silent fuming Anise, the stoic Jacob who looked suspiciously like he was trying to not smile, Mitchell was red faced as he slipped back to his chair, having been taking down by a slip of a girl. The General took a deep breath and sighed “Look, I know our reaction hasn’t been the best, but you appeared in the middle of a very secure military basis in a way that should not be possible, so you have to understand our concern about this matter.”
Xander nodded “I do, I understand how upset this might make you, which is one of the reasons I am here, instead of telling you all to fuc.. take a flying leap. There are forces in this universe you don’t understand and not everything can be explained by science. I was brought here by magic, and not out of any desire to be here. But I have fought for this world for a long time, so I am willing to listen to what you have to say, but ONLY if I am an equal partner in this.” His voice was hard and flat, and Xander was very glad he and Faith had done a lot of practicing the last few days over everything they might say about his presence.
The General nodded slowly “I still don’t accept or understand how you came here, as I don’t believe in magic. But you are here and if the Tok’ra are correct we need your help here.”
Willow spoke up, her eyes back to their normal green. “What would it take to make you believe in magic?” Tilting her head a bit curious.
Daniel answered this as the General paused “I don’t think there is anything you can do, that I haven’t seen done by technology, so I can’t think of anything.”
Willow nodded “So just say I have an advanced form of technology that can only be learned through extensive study, and I call the technology magic. It might make you feel better. Just… don’t argue with most people who say they have magic, some of them get rather … persnickety when you say it isn’t possible. They might prove it to you in a very fatal way.” She shrugged and went back to watching everyone, though she was very tempted to do some not so nice pranks.
The group at the table thought about that, technology that was just called magic, most of them could live with that, as lots of them could not use ancient technology or the Goa’uld technology.
“Fine I can live with that, I think. Depends on how much the higher ups find out about this.”
“Oh don’t worry about that” Willow piped up again, “Nothing in this room is currently being recorded, we really don’t like the way we look on film, it adds ten pounds I swear.” She just smiled benignly, but with steel underlying the voice and smile.
At that point Faith giggled, she could not help it, Willow was doing her “I am the uber witch routine” to the hilt, and it was hard to compare that with Willow in fuzzy slippers and a yellow bathrobe. Xander just shook his head for a moment hiding a smile.
“I see… “ said the General slowly and shrugged, not having the brass know about this was NOT going to upset him too much, he really preferred sanitizing things first. “Well then, what do you want to know?”
Xander took a deep breath and started talking. “What do you need from me and how do you expect me to fit in? And I am going to add Faith here, “pointing to her on the wall “is part of the deal, she comes with and works with me.”
“Now wait a second!” Mitchell spoke up still wincing from the smack down Faith had laid on him. “We are highly skilled and trained before we go out in the field, I don’t really feel comfortable taking two untrained civilians out with us.”
The General nodded “I have to agree, we may need you to look at people and help identify their motives, but we can’t place in the field you are untrained.”
Xander couldn’t hide a smirk and neither could Faith. “Not a problem, you put us through all your training, and if we don’t pass with high enough marks we will leave. I told you it was a partnership or nothing. I think both of us might surprise you.” The solider memories were still rumbling around his head and prompting him with info every so often, and Faith while uneducated was not stupid, and she could probably take any of them in a fight.
“But you still haven’t said exactly what a Perceiver is, or how you would use my…. abilities.” Prompted Xander.
Selmac spoke up, the trio looking at him as the strange echoy voice came out of a human. “Traditionally Perceivers can sense lies and see where the real truth is, they can see the source of any generated effect, they see the true form of anything. In lore illusion magic would not work on them, and they were used as judges for all disputes. We have not had one in many lifetimes, nor have I talked to any other Tok’ra who even remembers knowing one, but they are scattered through our history and lore. The only earth one I know of was called Wodin.”
Daniel tilted his head “You mean the Father of the Norse gods? Odin? But we know the Asgard were the Norse gods. But that just covers Thor and Loki, I don’t think we ever went through the entire Pantheon to find out who was whom.”
Jacob shrugged “I don’t know that is just the name that is in our lore. As for what else they can do I can only guess.”
He fell silent and glanced at Anise and had to bite his tongue, she was fuming so loudly that her face was red and you could see all the stuff she wanted to say. But he turned his head to face the others.
The General nodded “We can check with the Asgard and see what they have to say, but Mr. Harris I have some more questions for you and your…friends.”
Trying to not snicker, Xander nodded, there was really only one question he was worried about. “Ask I will try to answer.”
“How did you get here? And how do you keep leaving and coming? What is a Slayer?”
The General was getting a touch plaintive, but then O’Neill had warned him there were going to be days like this.
A deep breath “Demons are real, and some of them have the abilities to make certain things happen. Halfrek an old acquaintance of ours apparently decided Teal’c needed a … friend.” Looking at Teal’c warily hoping he would not blow this. “So she decided to bring me here. The rest is her sense of humor I suppose, but now that I am here, I just can’t pretend to not know. “ Holding up his hand as Sam and Daniel started to explode with the whole ‘demons aren’t real’ arguments he added. “If you have a problem with the idea of a demon, simply regard them as residents of different dimensions that have the ability to interact with ours and have strange abilities to change our perception of reality.” He sighed with relief as he got that out with a straight face. Technically correct, but phrased in such a way maybe the scientists would accept it, and god help them if they ever met a real demon. Xander looked and Teal’c and heaved a sigh of relief. He knew Teal’c had figured out the connection between them, but that was NOT information he wanted anyone else to have, way to risky to both of them.
Teal’c nodded slightly. ~Xander is correct to keep this from them, if anyone knew I could affect his comings and goings, they would attempt to control both of us, especially Anise.~
Xander continued “Slayers are women created to fight specific variations of these demons, lore and myth call them vampires.” Again the room exploded, though Vala was trying hard not to get up and kiss this wonderful agent of mayhem. This was fun.
Selmac “Spoke, you mean she is a Vampire Slayer?” almost choking. “We thought there was only one ever, and she died a long time ago.”
Faith snorted “Not likely old man, one every generation, if one dies, another appears. Talk about a sucky retirement plan. But… we got things covered right now so I can come on this gig with boytoy. After all, not every day I get to meet aliens.”
Everyone blinked as they processed what Faith said and Vala spoke up “Boytoy? Oh I like the way you think girl.” The two of them compared each other slowly and then started to grin. Mitchell and Xander looked at each other and mouthed soft ‘oh shits.’
After that there was a general discussion after his statement and even Daniel and Sam could not argue too much about his presentation of demons, with some questions and clarifications being asked. Apparently the Tok’ra held a lot of the old stories from earth, they had come with the original hosts. Finally people started nodding in agreement, this might just work. At least everyone but Anise who looked ready to spit nails at the room as a whole.
“Well then Mr. Harris, I guess I need to say welcome to SG1 to you and Faith? You do realize we will need to do full background checks and physicals on both of you? And find out your skills.”
Chewing his lip softly Xander nodded “Okay but there are a few assurances I would like. I can refer you to someone in the military you can ask for details about me. Any medical records or blood that is drawn from Faith and myself must be kept on a need to know basis, no trying to figure out how we are what we are. We will not be guinea pigs or lab rats. As for skills, Faith is a fighter like you have never seen. I am a carpenter, and I can read basic Sumerian, Latin, Hebrew, and a few other odd languages you have probably never seen. And Klingon.” A quick flashing grin on the end statement, and you saw Daniel’s eyes light up a bit.
“Well then when can you start? We have a lot of work to get you ready to see or do anything and a ton of paperwork.” Stated the general.
“Um… a week. We have some loose ends to tie up at home. You want to look up Captain Riley Finn and talk to him about Sunnydale. Here is a piece of paper with an email address so you can contract me if needed, as well as his information.”
Xander stood up slowly and Willow bounced her eyes bleeding gray “Well it was nice meeting you all, Xander I will take Faith and myself home, you follow. The rest of you… lighten up, not everyone who finds out your little secret is a bad guy. You need to loosen up and ask questions first.” With a wicked grin that caused Xander to start to try and say something that might stop her, she held out her hand to Faith, who took it, waved her hand saying “Toodles” and disappeared, along with all the clothes of everyone in the room except Xander.
A sigh as Xander looked around at the naked bodies and the shocked faces, “She did say, telling people magic was not real made them persnickety.”
Anise started to scream, as her voice had come back as her clothes left. “THAT WITCH!!!”
“Um.. yeah… told you she was a witch.” Xander shook his head and softly thudded his head on the table as the guards rushed in again, more of them this time with weapons drawn but they all blinked at the naked bodies surrounding them, Sam and Vala getting many double glances. Sam started looking around desperately for something to cover up with, while Vala just kicked back and enjoyed the stares.
“Enjoy the freebie boys, next time it will cost you.” A wicked grin on her face.
Most of the military guys looked embarrassed, thought Teal’c just shrugged nudity was not a huge issue, and in a quick comparison to the people in the, he had nothing to be ashamed of.
Anise was ranting and raving and more than a few men noticed she had a rather nice body, now if the silence spell were permanent she would be pretty.
Wryly thinking ~Faith would have loved this, wonder if Wils is taping?~ Xander just sat and tried to look as non-dangerous as possible, men with guns tended to shoot first and check with officers later.
The chaos ruled for a few more minutes, until blankets were brought and various people scattered to their rooms where they found all their missing clothes neatly folded on their beds. Vala’s had a note laying on top of hers that stated, “Nice threads”. Xander walked with Teal’c back to his room, the large man not worrying about his nudity and purposely ignoring the double takes and a few drooling remarks from passing service women.
They entered Teal’c quarters, and Teal’c went to pull on his clothes that we laid on the bed waiting for him. “Your Witch friend seems to have a short patience with Anise. It took many hours before most of us were ready to do harm to her. Your Witch silenced her within minutes. It was most impressive.”
A soft snort as Xander flopped on the floor “Thanks for not mentioning that you can probably summon me as needed, I just don’t really trust anyone with that knowledge, and am still worried about the fact that you can do it at all.”
Teal’c looked at him and nodded “I understand and approve of your reasoning, there are few I would trust with that power over me. I shall endeavor to prove worthy of that trust.”
A slow considering look “I think you shall. I figure we will be back here in a week, the NORMAL way, expect us topside. And then we shall see what is going to happen. Here is my private email address. The one I gave the uniforms is filtered and protected five ways to Sunday they aren’t never gonna find where I am from that, but this is actually me… so.. use it carefully?”
Teal’c nodded honored by his trust “I will Xander. I look forward to seeing you here again, under your own power.”
A quick grin from Xander as he bounced up, “Me too. Send me home now. Please?”
A dignified nod from Teal’c “Go home Xander.”
A soft pop and Xander disappeared from the room.
~back to Cleveland~
A few minutes earlier Faith and Willow had appeared in the living room, and Willow collapsed with laughter, giggling uncontrollably. Faith looked at her, then the piles of clothing around them. “Red… um… what did you do?”
“Took … their… clothes” she gasped out between peals of laughter. Faith blinked, took a closer look at the clothes laying around and realized they were mostly military and started laughing, quickly ending up on the floor with Willow. Their fit took a few minutes, but finally wiping the tears from streaming eyes. Willow sat up.
“Here help me fold them, I need to send them back…. To their rooms.” She snickered again but quickly folded the clothing piles, focusing on the essence of each one, zapped them back to the respective bed.
Faith recognized the leather get up, and ran and got a note pad, and jotted something on it “Here is the woman’s, the one with a bit of fashion sense.” Willow read the note nodded and it disappeared with the rest.
Sitting on the floor they were still bursting into spontaneous giggles every so often, when they heard a soft “Whompf” from the living room. “Ouch!!! Bloody hell that hurts.”
They both rushed into the living room to find Xander trying to crawl out of the chair that he had apparently landed in feet first. He looked up at them who still both had tear tracks on their faces and shook his head “Really Willow, you took all their clothes?”
The two girls looked at each other and promptly went back into hysterical laughter, this time Xander joining them as he told them the reactions of each of the people involved. The reactions of Anise and Vala, by far, being the two most amusing.
Finally when they were able to speak again, they slipped upstairs to Xanders room, Willow soundproofed the room, and locked the door so they could talk without being eavesdropped on.
“Well ladies, what do you think? I know none of them purposefully lied to me in the meeting, but the military is often overruled by higher ups with more power. I suspect the situation might be worse than what we were lead to believe, there is too much fire power at that place for minor problems. But…..” Xander paused for a long moment. “Would it sound funny if I said it feels right? Feels like I might be needed there and not treated as a Zeppo?”
Willow flinched and came over and hugged him tightly “I can never forgive myself for that, only know that I will always be there if you need me. You always have been the brightest of all the Scoobies, your heart shines like none I have ever seen.” Xander hugged her back hard.
Faith looked slightly bewildered at the Zeppo aspect again, but decided this was not something to bring up now. So instead she changed the subject. “Well I am ready to go, and frankly looking forward to the training, been a while since I could go full out and impress people, every one here is a bit too jaded. So…. When are we going to tell the others?”
Everyone went silent then Xander spoke “Tomorrow night, let’s do a small dinner, and invite Buffy, Giles, Robin, Dawn, you two, and ….. Kennedy. You trust her right Willow?” Giving Willow a hard look as he asked that question.
Rather than jumping to answer Willow thought for a moment, “Yeah I do, if I stress to her, how important this is I think we will be just fine. Worst case I could put a geas on people.” She offered hesitantly, this was pushing the borders a little more than she was comfortable.
A frowning Xander looked at her “What is a geas?” Worried about her and magic use for his benefit.
Slowly thinking it out Willow explained. “A geas is something that would prevent them from talking about this to anyone that was not at the table with us. They would have to willingly agree to it before, but it means that only the 8, well 6 of us, would not be able to talk about the Aliens or Cheyenne Mountain to anyone no matter what we wanted to do.” She shrugged wryly “Would be a lot stupid to make you two unable to talk to people about it, since you are going to be working there.”
Xander thought about it for a long moment, then looked at Faith “Well partner in crime, what do you think”
A blink of surprise as she realized he was actually asking her opinion. “I think we should.. either they take it or all they get to know is we left for a job somewhere, I am sure we will get email addresses and they will never know. Sounds fair to me.”
“Good, Andrew is the one I was worried about, there is no way we could ever trust him to not go ballistic about this.”
All three of them sniggered a moment. Willow spoke up “You realize he ever finds out, he will never forgive us.”
Xander laughed “Yeah, but I will take that risk to NOT have to deal with questions ‘bout transporters, and Babylon 5 technology. So… we work on dinner, pass to the word to the other slayers, this is a general where are we going meeting, maybe spring for pizza and movies for them, and we tell the others.”
The other two nodded and headed out to get this done. Each of them was bouncy in their own way.
~life on other planets is real, we aren’t alone!~ Willow wanted to crow and dance, but she settled for kissing Kennedy enthusiastically as she made plans for dinner the next night.
Faith was a bit different ~other worlds, I get to go to other worlds, and be the only Slayer there. Maybe I get to make a difference this time.~ and she hummed a bit as she packed her clothes and necessary stuff.
The last thoughts were Xanders. ~why me? How does this pay back Anya? Do they really need me or am I just another tool to be used and thrown away. Am I right to leave everyone and go there.. but… other planets… life… a chance to be someone… and chance to see what I can do…. Maybe…maybe…~ He slowly started to smile and then started to pack what he needed to start his new life.
The dinner plans had been met with a mixture of confusion and excitement from the others. Confused as to why they were having an actual sit down meal, and excitement because they were having an actual sit down meal.
Andrew and the younger Slayers were pawned off with pizza, ice cream, and videos. Xander winced at what that did to his bank account, but it was necessary to get the others alone with out prying ears.
Dinner was steaks on the grill, another hit to the money Xander had left, and he found himself hoping wryly this gig at least paid, because he was down to about a thousand dollars left. But the grilling gave them the excuse to be outside which made it much harder to eavesdrop, at least common type.
Finally when everyone was eating, Xander stood up, his empty eye socket aching with the stress, but he force a smile and looked at the table. “If I could have everyone’s attention, I have some news that needs I would like to discuss with you.”
He could almost see Buffy and Giles wince, and the first words out of Buffy’s mouth was “Xander, what did you do now? Is this dinner an attempt to butter us up?”
Willow and Faith both blinked and looked at Buffy surprised. Even Giles looked at her with a frown, but did not say anything. Robin, Dawn, and Kennedy simply looked puzzled.
Her comment locked in Xanders’ resolve and his need to get away from here, trying very hard to keep calm he replied. “No… this dinner is to inform you that Faith and I will be leaving, we have been offered jobs and we are going to take them.”
The table froze, but Buffy, angry that she had not been involved, responded spitefully “What did you get her pregnant and you have to go away now?” Stabbing viscously at her steak.
There was a gasp heard around the table, and she looked up realizing she had gone to far with that comment, but before she could respond Faith replied. “No…. but at least if we were having sex, he could get me pregnant, unlike some of your lovers.” Her voice was icy with anger. Xander did not deserve that sort of attitude.
Buffy flinched and paled, opening her mouth to respond, but Giles touched her arm, face hard and shook his head, she subsided realizing her anger had taken a hold again.
“No Faith and I are not having sex, the reason we are leaving is this job, but we will not tell you about it unless you are willing to place yourself under a geas to never speak of this to anyone not at this table. It is your choice. The magic is white as it is purely voluntary, if you choose not to take the geas you will never know for sure where we went just that we are someplace else. This is YOUR choice. There are no consequences, you simply will not be able to write about it, speak about it, or anything else, and if anyone is in hearing range you will not be able to talk about it, even to yourself.” Xander stressed this as he held up a small onyx crystal. “If you choose to take this geas, hold the crystal and say the words Willow has written. It will never be broken until Willow releases it, but note that it applies to her as well, and she can not release it unless I give it back to her. Yes I will be taking this with us, it is your choice.”
He sat down and let the uproar start. The words Willow passed around were specific and simple. ‘I will never communicate any information about the job Xander and Faith are taking outside of people at this table on August 21, 2005.’ The discussion was long, but Dawn just shrugged looking at Xander a bit sadly and smiled.
“Not a problem Xander. Just promise to email regularly?” she asked as she worked on her salad.
“I promise, emails and letters and phone calls if there is stuff I can tell you.” He promised all of them.
Everyone argued with them, Buffy and Giles bringing up lots of what-if scenario’s, but Xander always replied “Willow has a way of reaching us, almost no matter where we are.” They still didn’t know if she could get a hold of them if they were off planet yet or not.
“Well I am not going to do it, I refuse to make some silly promise just to convince you two that I won’t tell anyone your big secret.” Buffy stated, arms crossed across her chest.
Xander shrugged, “Then leave.” No cajoling, no pleading, just the consequence. Everyone froze, Xander usually placated Buffy but he wasn’t doing that this time.
Buffy blinked startled “What you aren’t going to tell me if I don’t take the vow?”
“No… I told you take it or never know, there are no exceptions to this. It is your choice.”
Buffy pouted and looked stern, but Xander was implacable. What people did not realize was this was more for their protection than his. He understood that this military base was high security, and this way even if someone investigated his friends they could not tell them anything about it.
Reluctantly she took the ball and said the words, biting out every one of them. Buffy then passed the ball to Giles.
The ball was passed around the table, and everyone except Xander and Faith stated the vow, when it was done, Willow handed the ball to Xander and he dropped it in his pocket.
“Okay… now for the rest. We are joining a military operation…” at those words the table erupted, anger, disbelief, and worry coating all the various remarks. Xander waited them out. He did not react to any of the comments, not even Buffy’s snide remark of, “What the Initiative wasn’t enough for you the first time around?”
“If you are all quite finished?” He remarked still waiting ~god I sound like Giles more and more, I have got to get away from here.~
Finally they settled down, some of them realizing that neither Willow nor Faith seemed to have a problem with it.
“This operation deals with Aliens, they are real, I have met them. The main reason I am joining is they found out about me because of a W word.” Buffy and Giles both flinched at that, then glared at him. Xander sighed “No, not one I made, one a staff member on this project made, and Halfrek granted, dropping me in their laps. Apparently what ever was done to me on the Hellmouth has enabled me to see the aliens in whatever form they take. They had my fingerprints, my DNA, so I knew it was only a matter of time before they found me, and by extension, the rest of you. After some… negotiations, they will not come looking for me, and Faith and I will join their project. Me, because they want what I can see, and Faith because I need someone with me I can trust at my back.”
Buffy couldn’t stand it anymore “you trust her? And you would not even tell me this with out a stupid vow? You trust Faith more than me, or any of the other slayers? Why would you do that? She tried to kill you.” Anger, spite, and something else were in her voice.
A long pause as everyone froze and looked at Xander, he replied, his voice perfectly calm. “Yes, I trust her to make sure no one tries to kill me, because she has already promised that if the situation arises she will kill me herself. I trust her to watch out for me because it is her best interest as I am the one they really want. So yes, I trust her more than you to put my interests first.”
Just as previously Faith had touched Xanders shoulder, this time he touched her shoulder to reassure her. She relaxed a little at his touch, she knew they still needed to work out their issues, but for now, it was enough.
Giles took off his glasses and rubbed them. “I suppose there is nothing we can say to dissuade you of this choice?”
Shaking his head Xander replied, “I am going because this is a chance to become something that is me, not based off of anyone else. Faith may still change her mind as they primarily want me. But I have already made my decision, this is just to let you know what it is.”
Faith snorted, “Hell, no way am I not going, I get to see aliens and go to other worlds, oh fuck yeah I am doing this.”
Robin, Kennedy, and Dawn all laughed at this, and the mood lightened, leaving only Buffy sulking in anger. Giles smiled a bit, then raised his glass “Well then I propose a toast to Xander and Faith – May the planets they visit never bring them grief.” Everyone except Buffy toasted. Her refusal was noted, but for now it was left un-remarked.
Dinner finished up much lighter, with only Buffy angry and sulking, Xander sighed knowing they had left too much unsaid between them, and as much as he wanted to run away, he couldn’t, he had to deal with it.
“Buffy, would you stay and clean up with me, I would like to talk to you.” He requested quietly, not looking at her, as he started stacking the dishes.
She started to argue, but paused and nodded, and the others quickly drifted away giving them space to talk.
“I know you have been angry a lot lately, and I don’t know why. I have been too full of my own anger and loss to really care, and dealing with the younger slayers has kept me distracted to a certain part. But why are you so mad at me now?”
She paused thinking, Xander had taken the brunt of her anger, she had been working hard to regain a relationship with Dawn, and Willow and she were growing close again, but Xander she had refused to deal with more and more.
Slowly thinking as she talked, doing the mindless cleaning up she answered. “Anger and guilt I think. You lost an eye, the others either are dead and so we forget, or they are fine and so we don’t think of what they suffered. You remind me of what happened to you every time I see you. So I get angry and lash out at you. Then there is Anya. You were the only one who really lost someone at the end, the rest were either barely known strangers or already dead, so all we lost were their markers. But you lost someone you loved. Or once loved. And I can’t do anything about that either. Then now… you are leaving, you are getting away from here and this madness…. And.. “ she paused and looked up at him, frustration and sorrow, mixed with wry understanding that her moods were not fair, but it was still how she felt. “And.. I am left here.”
Xander paused and thought about this for a long moment. “The eye, don’t worry about it, it is a scar, a reminder of why I fight and that I lived when others didn’t. Anya made her choice, I still miss her, but she walked into this with more knowledge than any of us. She was a 1000 years old, she KNEW what could happen and she chose to be there. You don’t have the right to discount her sacrifice. She may not have been heroine material, but she chose to fight, as I have chosen every day. You did not get to chose… but Buffy?” Xander stopped and looked at her, made sure she was paying attention. “Don’t punish others for what you didn’t have…. And now you can choose. You have more options than you think.”
A bitter laugh escaped her “What choice? I am still defined by being a Slayer, I can’t be anything else.” Shoving things into the trash can.
“Do you really think that? I envy you your choices. I am leaving because otherwise they WILL come get me, and I don’t think I will then have a choice. You get to stay, watch Dawn grow into a young lady. Help Willow because the strong stable witch she should be. You can now choose to be the leader of a whole generation of woman who are stronger and more capable than they even realize. Or you can go back to school and become anything you want. Do you really think Giles would stop you? There are more than enough Slayers now to pick up any slack you leaving might create. Or you could become the head of the Council and permanently change everything about how Slayers are treated. You have the world ahead of you. I have to go to a place where I might die on a planet where no one will ever mark my burial spot. I have to go or risk all of you with people I don’t know yet. Buffy the only restrictions on your life now, are the ones you place on it.”
With that Xander picked up the last of the condiments and headed into the house, leaving a very stunned Buffy standing there, looking at what she had thought was a life sentence and suddenly seeing all the possibilities that previously she had been unable to see because of her own blinders.
~Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado~
The General, Colonel Mitchell, Sam, and Daniel were in one of the conference rooms talking about Alexander Harris, and this Faith girl that was coming with him. Teal’c was noticeably absent from the small discussion.
“So people what do you think about this idea of having this Harris and Faith person on the teams.” The General inquired.
“I think it is a bad idea sir. They are not trained in combat, and we could not count on their reactions in a dangerous situation.” Replied Samantha also immediately. She was still steamed from the little disappearing clothes act that had happened last time.
Cameron sat for a moment “Okay, they are unknowns, but they agreed to help, probably more than what they could have done given the display of power they presented. So why not send them through the modified SEAL training, if nothing else, it will send the woman running and make Xander more than willing to stay coddled and protected. That way we can bring him in when we need him and not before. But if they pass, and open up a little bit, we might have two strong additions to the Stargate program.”
The General nodded “What about Teal’c and his reaction to this man. Is this something we need to worry about?” Looking at everyone.
Daniel shrugged “I don’t really think so. I suspect part of it is understanding what it is like to be the outsider here, and Teal’c has not really had anyone to talk to since Jack left, so I suspect he is just trying to balance both needs. Teal’c would never put us at risk and as strange as this sounds I suspect we just had a gift horse dropped in our laps, and maybe we are looking it its mouth a little much.”
Everyone blinked and then snickered a little at that analogy, but they did relax a bit.
“Actually what I am worried about is Faith and Vala. Faith comes across as hell on wheels, and if she really is, and her and Vala become friends. Well… lets just say I don’t think we have seen anything yet.”
The General shrugged “How bad can she be, she is from earth, has never been to other planets, what is the worst she could have seen or done? Though we still need to run a back ground check on her as soon as she gets here. Speaking of that, has anyone contacted Captain Riley Finn yet?”
“Yes Sir, he is due here in a week. The delay was that currently he is in South America, and I had to invoke our own security level just to get anyone to admit he exists. He has not been told anything about why we want to see him.” Colonel Mitchell responded.
“Just to admit that Riley Finn exists? Dang, what were both of these kids up to?” The General picked up the very slim file again. “Says Harris grew up and graduated in Sunnydale, California. Why does that ring a bell somewhere for me.”
Sam tilted her head a moment “Wasn’t that the name of that town in Southern Cal, that was swallowed by a freak earthquake or sinkhole or something like that?”
Everyone else looked blank, and finally the General frowned “Who knows maybe that had something to do with his nonsense about demons and what not. Lets just deal with it when he gets here, because if he is not here in a week I am going after Harris, regardless of who thinks what.” A snarl at the end of that, frustrated with this kid from California.
~3 days later~
~well it is done, everything is packed up and put away, I have all the things I can’t live without. I gave Andrew my Babylon 5 plates, and I wish he wouldn’t kiss me. Everything else is boxed up, so I can send for it, if I get a place to stay, have my favorite weapons with me, so… guess it is time.~ One last look around the room, barren now of any hint of his personality.
Xander picked up the duffle bag and backpack and took a deep breath, then stepped out of the room and went down the stairs. Most everyone was waiting down stairs, Faith was there, looking her normal sultry and deadly self. Xander dropped his stuff in the trunk and turned and looked at everyone. The last few days had been pretty good. Buffy had disappeared into her room for about two hours after their talk, then begged Willow into showing her the catalogs of classes available at the local colleges. Then she and Giles had been locked in a room for about 3 hours. Arguing and talking had been heard, but when both of them came out, Buffy had looked a lot happier, Giles sad and proud at the same time, but over all the way Buffy treated people had improved immensely. She and Xander and Willow spent a few hours at a Starbucks, just talking and remembering and rebuilding the basic friendship that had once been there. It would take a while, but she had promised to email regularly once he had an email and there was hope that they would grow back together were before there had not been any.
“Well looks like Faith is ready to go, and so am I, so I guess this is…. Until we come back for holidays to crash on your couch?” Xander grinned, trying to lighten the moment.
A soft snort from Willow “You had better, and one email a week or I come check up on you.” Grabbing him in a tight hug.
~okay make sure to mention to the General I need to send at least on email a week or my Witch comes looking for me.~ “Noted, just remember to give me to two weeks to get there and get settled in, okay?”
Willow nodded hard, tears welling up in her eyes, as she hugged him one last time. Next was Dawn a flying mass of hair, legs, and arms that ended up in his arms.
“I am going to miss you, who else is going to save me from Andrew and his non-stop sci-fi stuff and take me to get ice cream when everyone else is on a diet??” came her plaintive whine.
Xander hugged her tight “You will find lots of new friends here, school starts soon, and we both know you can handle anything. I expect to be kept up to date on your life via email, okay?”
“Deal, and you tell me…. What you can.. okay?” hopeful look, one last hug. Then Dawn turned and headed into the house, she did not want to see him leave.
“G-man… try to not have too much fun without me around to bug you, okay?” Trying to keep the wistfulness out of his voice.
Giles pulled himself up straight and walked over to Xander “Rest assured young man I shall miss you every moment you are gone, and I shall even miss your infernal monikers you feel obligated to attach to people. Be well, and call if you need anything, even people to simply avenge you, we will be there.” Giles pulled Xander into a rough, brief hug, then turned to Faith. “Good luck, I hope you find a place that will value your skills and talents, for we did not. For that I apologize.” Giles touched her shoulder gently then walked to Willow.
Faith was touched “Thanks, I will try.”
That left Buffy. They both smiled at each other softly. “We getting better Buff?” Xander asked softly as she walked towards him.
“Yeah… and eventually, my best Xander shaped friend will be my friend again. Write often okay?”
“Will do, you keep up on your class work, and don’t scare Dawn’s boyfriends too much.” They hugged, tightly then she stepped back and looked at Faith.
“Take care of him… and yourself Faith, I expect to see both of you back for most holidays.”
Faith smiled a bit surprised by this warmth but she nodded. “I will B. Rather like having him around myself.”
“So we ready Faith?” Xander asked. The good-byes had been said, now he just wanted to move before it became to hard.
“You bet boytoy, lets go.” Faith slid into the car, Xander turned to wave to everyone, then got in the car, started it up. He took a deep breath and started driving. Waving once out the window but not allowing himself to look back.
“Well Faith, you sure about this, very last chance. In two days we will be at Cheyenne Mountain Colorado, giving ourselves up to the military, who are not my favorite people.” Xander asked, not looking at her just driving.
A soft snort “You trying to get rid of me already? Nah.. thanks though. But… I want to do this, I want to prove to myself.. and you that well that I have changed, and this way maybe with a new group of people I can start fresh. I don’t think they will find that I did time, Angel and Kate wiped me pretty clean I think so other than that I don’t think I exist. My last name is not my real one, or at least not the one the in system, and my fingerprints don’t exist anymore… I don’t think. If they do.. oh well. Not much I can do about it. So.. lets see what happens, and we go from there.. k?” She flashed a grin at him hping for a chance to become friends.
“K… so lets go blow some minds in Colorado.” Xander laughed, turned the music up high, and they headed towards their future.
Major Riley Finn looked at the orders in his hands. It had been a long time since he saw anyone more that fast. The orders had been delivered to him in South America and less than 12 hours later he was on a jeep to the nearest airbase, and from there on a flight back to the US. Then he was called into his commanding officers office, the door was shut and he had one of the stranger conversations of his career.
His command unit was small and almost autonomous in their methods to deal with HST’s that they encountered, and generally if they said to leave one alone, it was harmless, it was left alone. So Riley had been very curious what could drag him out of his current hot spot back to the US and not include his team. He found out immediately after he shut the door to his commanders office.
“Major, what do you know about an Alexander Harris?” barked Colonel Ridge.
Riley blinked, “Also known as Xander Harris?” he questioned, just to make sure they were talking about the same person.
“Yes, apparently you met him in Sunnydale while you were stationed there, what do you know about him?”
Riley shifted into parade rest smoothly as he thought “Sir Xander Harris was an associate of Buffy Summers, who you know about. He supported her activities in fighting the HST’s.” He ignored the scoff, and his superior’s muttered ‘vampires, call them vampires’ and continued. “He did not have any powers or abilities that I was aware of, in fact came across as the goof of the group. I personally did not really like him, and I know he could barely tolerate me, at first, but eventually we became…” he paused trying to figure out the right word. “We were two soliders fighting in the same battle. Never really friends, but in the end I did respect him, even if I never really grew close to him.”
The commander tilted his head looking at him “Why did you respect him if you never really liked him?”
“Sir, he was not the Slayer, he was not a witch, or vampire or anything. He was just a human, without even the drugs we were given as advantages. He had no special training or weapons, but he still showed up and fought, he never once walked away and left anyone needing him. I can respect that.”
“Hmmm… “ His superior nodded, and handed him some papers. “Here is your papers to get to Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. Ask to speak to General Hank Landry or Lt. Colonel Mitchell. You are to respond to all of their questions regarding Alexander Harris, including the existence of things that go bump in the night. They have clearance to hear this.”
Riley nodded and saluted “Sir, yes sir.” He picked up his papers and turned and exited the office, his mind racing furiously ~what the fuck has Xander Harris gotten himself into now?~
His superior leaned back a little, and picked up a cigarette and lit it. “How interesting.”
Riley spent the ride to Colorado, wondering what this meant for the rest of the group. He would always admire Buffy, but was more than happy being married to Sam. She was strong enough not to need him, but needed him anyhow. And he needed her. Finally he shrugged ~I will deal with it when I get there, stressing it before hand is a waste of effort~ And with that Riley did what any good solider did, he fell asleep.
He woke up when they landed at a nearby airbase, and loaded his bag into the jeep, then they headed to the facility. Riley reviewed in his head what he knew about this place. ~NORAD headquarters… and that is about it. So probably twice as big as most people think, all underground. He took in the scenery as they drove, then the mountain as they got close. ~hmm.. one obvious entry, probably mined and has lots of other nasty tricks built all around it. Would not want to try and storm this place~ Riley grabbed his stuff hopped out of the jeep, waved to the driver and then walked up to the security guard.
“Major Riley Finn, reporting as ordered, I am to report to General Landry and Lt. Colonel Mitchell.” He stated and then watched the guard check his name against a list, check his id, check the name again, then get on the radio and call down letting people know he was there. Then guards came up and escorted him to an elevator and they went down. ~long fucking way down, and I thought the initiative was bad.. shit~ Riley kept his mouth shut and just paid attention to the uniforms, and saw patches he had never seen before, and a few people looked at him closely as he was escorted to a conference room. Inside was a General and a Lt. Colonel. Riley snapped to attention, “Major Riley Finn reporting as ordered sir.”
“At ease Major, please take a seat.” The general replied pointing to one of the empty chairs around the table. Riley obeyed, sitting at attention looking at them trying to keep his face blank.
“We were told you could give us some information. So we would like to know everything you can tell us about Alexander Harris of Sunnydale, and a woman named Faith.”
Riley paled “Faith, she’s free? Oh shit.”
The General and Colonel looked at each other and then smiled a little “Oh we definitely want to know everything, who is this woman, why is she with Harris, and why is he classified.”
Riley took a deep breath, “Well first you have to understand and accept that vampires are real, as are demons.” He let the explosion of disbelief was over him, and stood. “Permission to disrobe sir?”
The General blinked then nodded. Riley removed his uniform shirt, and then his undershirt, and started pointing. “This scar was from vampires, this one a Fr’anli demon, this one from a Listhar demon.” He kept going, most of his torso was covered with various scars, some still not fully healed. “I have been doing this for about 3-4 years. Xander has been doing this since he was 15.” His words and quiet assurance rang true with the General and Mitchell.
“oh shit, what have we stumbled into?” Mitchell asked quietly as Riley re-dressed.
The General looked at him confused “So what this Harris person told us was correct, he was sent here by a demon?”
Riley looked confused “Anya sent him here?”
Now the General and the Colonel looked confused “No, a Halfrek did, I thought Anya was his ex-fiancée.”
Riley nodded in understanding “Yeah Anya was a vengeance demon but got engaged to Xander, I think Halfrek was a friend of hers. So Halfrek sent him here? Damn wonder what he did to deserve this type of punishment, military is not his favorite.”
Mitchell commented wryly “We noticed. So demons are real, and can transport people into secure bases, at the use of the term wish?”
Riley flinched a little, he may not have had direct interactions with that word, but the stories Buffy and the rest of the gang had told him, had created a healthy respect.
“Well weirder things have happened, trust me. I would advise, take most of what he says with a grain of salt, but never doubt where his heart is, he would give his life for his friends and never even stop to ask why me.” Riley shrugged and sat down, not really sure what else he could say.
“So tell us about Harris’s ability to see the truth.” Ordered the General looking down at his notes.
“Huh?” Was Riley’s comment, blinking at the General absolutely confused about what he was asking.
The General looked up at Riley and saw the blank look on his face. “you don’t know about his Perceiver abilities?”
“General, I have no idea what you are talking about. The Xander I knew was a barely high school graduate, helped blow up said high school, and worked in construction. Everyone in the group was stronger, faster, or more powerful that he was. The only thing he had the rest of us didn’t was the ability to care enough to move mountains. And in the end I think even that was dying slowly. So I don’t really understand the question, but remember I last saw him about 2 years ago. So given their lives anything and everything could have happened.” Riley shrugged, but quietly chewed on the inside of his cheek, ~what is going on here, Xander… I would have thought they would have asked about Faith, she is the scary one~
There was a knock at the door, and a sergeant stuck her head in. “Sir, Harris and Faith are upstairs at the gate.”
The General looked surprised “They made good time I did not expect them here so soon. Why don’t we go up and meet them Major Finn?” The General said as he stood up and compiled his files again.
Taking a deep breath Riley stood, seeing Xander was not much of a big deal, but seeing Faith, that was much harder. ~last time I actually saw her body, Buffy was in it, and she was in Buffy’s all in all that was not a good, and she was not all there. Maybe… maybe things have changed, especially if Xander is traveling with her. Oh god I hope she doesn’t touch me.~ He shuddered a bit, still feeling a mix of emotions, the incident with Buffy/Faith had been like a reverse rape and still made him queasy to think about it. He straightened his uniform almost compulsively and then followed the General and Colonel Mitchell out the door to the elevator.
~2 days after they left Cleveland~
“Okay if I NEVER see another Big Gulp again, it will be to soon.” Xander remarked as he looked at the back seat of the car, littered with empty remnants of convenience stores everywhere.
“Hell yes, I am even starting to crave a salad and maybe some ice tea. Oh, god I am craving healthy food. I must be sick. Are we almost there? I have got to go pee in the worst way.” Muttered Faith.
They had been driving non-stop for two days, just wanting to get there and get it over with. Faith doing most of the driving at night, since Xander still did not trust his night driving without his other eye.
“Well I think we are about 30 minutes from the place, at least according to Mapquest, so can you hold it that long or do you want me to pull over to the side of the road?” Honestly asking, both of them had gotten to know each other quite well over the last two days, and Xander was beginning to suspect the bad-girl attitude, was a show. But he was still working on getting to know her, but as they had traveled he realized his gut reaction of Faith as a good person to be at his back was right on the money.
A long suffering sigh came from Faith, “Okay.. I can live that long, but I swear ANYONE tries to stop me from hitting the head when I get there, they are going to have their head stuffed up their ass.” Snarling slightly as she looked back out the window.
Xander wisely refrained from snickering but did push down a bit heavier on the gas trying to get a few more miles an hour out of it.
Soon enough they had pulled up to the gate and a solider waved them to the parking area, Xander obediently parked the car and got out. He looked at Faith and they both shrugged, grabbed their backpack and bags out of the car and pulling on the backpack, they walked to the guard.
“May I help you?” The guard inquired looking over them carefully.
“Harris and Faith to see General Landry and Colonel Mitchell.” Responded Xander, trying to not smirk as Faith clamped her jaw shut trying to wait another moment.
“Let me check sir.” The guard went to his shack, picked up the phone and talked for a moment. He set the phone down and walked back over to them “They will be here in a few minutes, if you would please wait over there.” The guard pointed to a fenced in area with two benches in it.
Faith spoke up. “I need to go to the bathroom now. Where is it?” The tension in her voice was unmistakable, and guard took an involuntary step back.
“I am sorry ma’am but we have no facilities up here, you will need to wait until the General shows up.”
At this Faith lost the control she had been holding onto by her fingernails. Dropping the bag in her hand she stalked toward the guard. “I have been holding it for over an hour, I need to go NOW!” Death was imminent in her voice, and the guard, put his hand on his pistol as he backed up.
“Ma’am sorry ma’am, but I don’t even have a port-a-potty out here, and the first facility is down 2 stories.” Paling as she stalked towards him.
Faith snarled, the need to go making her cramp. “Do you have any tissues or napkins?” The question was a snarl and a death threat all at once.
“Ma’am yes ma’am.” The solider responded and whipped around to the shack grabbing a box of Kleenex and thrusting them at her almost panicked.
Faith grabbed them, shucked off her backpack, throwing it at Xander. “Wait here.” Was snarled at both of them and she stalked back to where the car was parked and a small stand of high grass.
“Umm.. she really isn’t suppose to leave the waiting area sir.” Ventured the guard.
“Are you going to tell her that?” Asked Xander turning and looking at him with a dark eye.
“Hell no sir, she is about the scariest thing I have ever seen, I don’t ever want her mad at me.” The soliders’ voice was fervent as they both turned to see Faith squat next to the car, only her head visible.
As they waited trying to not look like they were watching her, a group of three men approached. The General, Colonel, and Riley.
“Where is Faith? I was told she was here also.” Asked the General looking around.
His voice startled Xander who had been busy trying to NOT pay attention to the vicinity Faith was at, and he whirled seeing the three men. “Riley! So they dragged you up here too?” Riley just stared at Xander.
“Xander, what the hell happened to your eye?” A concerned Riley asked.
Xander started to reply but both of their attention was dragged away by the General’s conversation.
“Sir she is over there by the car, sir.” Replied the guard pointing.
The General frowned, “No one is suppose to leave the area once they check in you know that.” The guard started to stammer a reply, but Xander broke in.
“She had to go pee, and she had to go now, be nice to the poor kid, a tired, cranky slayer who has been holding it for the last hour and half is enough to scare anyone or anything.”
The General started to growl, but this time Riley broke in. “Sir, take my word for it, when a slayer is cranky you simply hand them chocolate and get the hell out of the way.”
About this time a much relieved Faith walked up and looked at the gathered group “Boy you guys in suits must be desperate if you are gathering to watch someone take a leak.” Ignoring the stammered denials and protestations she tossed the box of Kleenex back to the guard. “Thanks, I needed that.” She turned to grin at the men, then saw Riley and her smile faded, then she took a deep breath and walked towards him.
Riley took a half step back as Faith approached him, but he waited to see what she would do. “Riley… I never apologized for what I did, and I am sorry. I had reasons as twisted as they were, but I am trying hard to start over, and that includes apologizing. So… I am sorry.” The words rushed out in one breath, but once she said them Faith felt better. Even if he did not forgive her, she was at least asking and that was more than she had done before.
Riley blinked and looked at her, really looked. This Faith did not have as much anger bottled up inside, she looked healthy and relaxed, and she even seemed like she knew how to laugh in humor not cruelty. Riley nodded “Okay…. Let me think about it… this is a bit of a surprise and I have been stewing on that for a while, but… thanks for the apology.” The Colonel and General simply looked confused by that exchange, but Xander smiled in pride.
Faith beamed at Riley then headed back to Xander and grabbed her two bags. Xander shook his head and tossed off a perfect salute to the General. “Harris and Faith reporting for duty sir!”
Riley just shook his head and snickered softly “The end of the world has arrived.” Watching the General and Colonel try to figure out what to do with these two was going to be amusing and scary. All in all he was damn glad he was headed back to South America, the repercussions might not reach that far, if he was lucky.