An Old Man’s Tale
Author: Anime Ronin
Rating: PG-13 (R, at the very most)
Summary: On his trip across America, Xander saves the life of an old fisherman, who wants to know the truth. Little does Xander know that he’s about to meet someone who has his own secrets to hide.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Cossover: Several, but most are only mentioned in passing.
AN: Bunny was born while watching the movie in question (book was vastly superior, but that’s the case with most books-turned-movie). Facts taken from movie.
(July 15, 1999 – Virginia Coast)
The skies overhead were grey, ominously so, and he could feel the dampness in the air that wasn’t what one would feel in a town by the sea – he could smell the salt in the air, the diesel fumes, the smell of fish and of garbage as he walked down the street towards his rented room.
Xander couldn’t believe it – he’d actually made it across the entire continental United States (even though it took him two cars – Uncle Rory’s POS had crapped out in Oxnard, but a dusted vamp was more than happy to donate his Ford Impala to the cause) was literally looking at the Atlantic Ocean. God, what a sight … though the smell could have used some work, but beggars couldn’t be choosers; idly, as he turned back to the road and started walking again, he wondered just what Willow or Buffy would say if they knew where he was? Would they believe him?
All thoughts of belief fled from his mind as he heard the sounds of a struggle on the docks below him and the skies rumbled a bit more – he looked down and, with a sigh, saw an older man being dragged off by a much smaller man, but the much smaller man’s face had ridges and fangs, “Just my fucking luck.”
Xander ghosted down the stairs, cursing his luck as he reached into the back of his pants and pulled out the stake he’d habitually kept tucked there, wondering just which god, goddess, demon or whatnot hated him enough to not let him have the summer off? In Las Vegas he’d run across that CSI guy who had a thing for bugs, in Kansas he’d met that blonde reporter girl who didn’t take NO for an answer (let alone a ‘fuck no’, ‘are you fucking insane’ or a ‘leave me alone’ – Chloe turned out to be a bigger pain in the ass than he was!), and he flatly refused to think of the woman in St. Louis who had fought him over that last stuffed penguin in the store – Anita had not taken kindly to his offer to split the penguin down the middle, nor had she believed him when he told her that the stuffed animal was for a young woman named Dawn, and had even gone so far as the threaten to shoot him, telling him that she ‘took her penguins and coffee very seriously’.
Of course the REAL shocker that part of the trip was learning about the whole vampire thing and how they were protected … sorta – the breed of vamps that populated the Hellmouth and a few other spots weren’t, but vamps in general were and it made his head hurt that the Council had never once decided that they needed to know this.
“Good thing I felt like having seafood tonight,” he heard the vampire growl to the old man as he found them towards the end of the wharf. He repressed a groan at the joke as he held the wooden stake, which he’d carved down to look like a knife, low, taking slow, steady steps as the older man struggled.
“Perhaps you’d rather have a stake dinner?” The old man’s joke was even worse as Xander sprung forwards and slammed the stake into the vampire’s back, making him release the older man and explode into dust.
After a moment, the older man, his hair and beard liberally shot with white and grey, nodded in thanks, “I thank you, young comrade.”
Xander nodded, noting that the man’s accent was Russian, “No problem, sir – you might want to be more careful at night, sir. All kinds of… gang members on PCP have been known to roam out at night.” With that, he turned and started to walk away, but the older man’s next words stopped him.
“Truly? And here I had thought that he was a vampire.”
Xander turned partially to the older man as the rains began to fall, “Talking about vampires is a good way to get thrown into an asylum, sir, as they don’t exist.”
The old man nodded, “True. Come inside, it’s rather damp out here.” The man got onto the boat they had been in front of and Xander, after a few seconds of thought, joined him.
The older man handed him a glass filled with a clear liquid poured from a brown bottle, a liquid with no smell and Xander knew that it wasn’t water as the man took a sip of his own drink and spoke, “So, tell me, young one, how did you know that thing was a vampire?”
Xander shrugged slightly and took a small drink of the liquid, his suspicions confirmed with the burn, “In my home town, we hunt them. How did you know it was a vampire?”
The man laughed, a rich, yet slightly weathered laugh that came from so much time in the elements, “When I was nineteen, I watched a woman drag a man into the alley and bite his neck, killing him. From then on I began to suspect that the old wives’ tales I had heard as a boy were more than just tales.” He took another drink and then asked, “I’m sorry, but what is your name?”
Xander chuckled slightly, “Where are my manners? Alexander Harris, but please, call me Xander.”
The man nodded, “Alexander… a strong name. My name is Marcus Ramsey, and it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, young man.” Xander took the offered hand and shook it firmly, “Strong grip. What is your trade?”
Xander grinned, “Not sure yet, Marcus, I just graduated high school two months ago. It was… exciting, to say the least.”
Marcus nodded at him, “Indeed it is. Do you know what you want to do?”
Xander took another drink and shook his head, “Not really, other than live to an old age and spoil my friend’s kids rotten … but given what I hunt, I’m not holding out for the whole retirement thing.”
Marcus nodded at him, taking another sip, “Indeed.”
Several minutes of silence filled the interior of the fishing ship as the sounds of the rains, the winds and the waves echoed through the vessel, but Xander broke that silence, “Nice ship.”
Marcus nodded, “Thank you. It’s a little smaller than my last vessel, but it is compensation from the United States Navy, given that they took her from me.”
Xander grimaced, finishing his drink, “Ouch, that had to be rough.”
Marcus rolled his shoulder slightly, “Not as rough as some of the happenings inside of the vessel, Alexander. Tell me, what do you plan to do now?”
Xander shrugged, looking around the cabin and seeing several old black and white photographs, mostly of men in Naval uniforms and submarines, “I think I’m going to head up to New York for a bit before I head back West to California. Summer moves on and school waits for no slacker.”
Marcus chuckled at this, “Indeed, that is true.”
About twenty minutes later the rains abated and Xander and Marcus were both top-side again, but Xander’s face was marred by a frown, “If you don’t mind me asking, what was the name of your last vessel? The one that was taken?”
Marcus chuckled as Xander got onto the wharf, “Its name was the RED OCTOBER, Alexander.”
Xander nodded almost in approval, “A strong name. Fair well, Captain Ramsey, and thank you for the drink.”
He watched as the man, Alexander, started to walk away and grinned – it had been a long time since anyone had called him ‘Captain’, “Fair well, Alexander.”
(Late Next Afternoon)
“Hello, Marko.” He looked up and saw the smiling face that had greeted him out in the middle of the Atlantic and couldn’t help but grin himself.
“Hello, Commander Ryan.”
Jack Ryan, CIA, chuckled as stood on the wharf, “Permission to come aboard?”
Marko Ramius, now Marcus Ramsey, nodded, “Permission granted.” Jack came aboard and Marko went back to checking his nets, “What brings you down here, Jack? It’s not time for your fishing trip, is it?”
Jack shook his head and reached into the briefcase he had at his side, slowly, “No, that’s not for another few weeks. Captain, I’m here to ask you about this young man, he’s been seen here in town over the past few days.”
Marko looked at the glossy pictures and was surprised to see Alexander’s face, “Yes, Alexander – a nice young man who has a fine appreciation for good Vodka.”
Jack perked up a little, “You met him? Oh, boy.”
Marko frowned and put down his nets, “Is there something wrong, Jack? Has the boy done something wrong?”
Jack looked startled, “Oh, nononono, nothing like that, Captain. Alexander, well, he’s something of a closet myth among some of our groups and I was hoping to get his input on something.” Marko arched an eyebrow and Jack went on, “He and his friends do things and, quite frankly, he’s the only one we actually have any information on – the Brits are blocking any information on the others, even though they are American citizens, so I figure that Alexander’s the best shot we have at this.”
Marko arched an eyebrow, “The CIA wants the input of a boy who has just graduated high school on something? Comrade Ryan, what is this about?”
Jack looked at him for a moment and then sighed, “Marko, what I’m about to ask you is odd, but do you believe in vampires?”
Marko nodded, “Indeed I do.”
Jack blinked a few times and nodded, “Okay, I guess that was to be expected, but what I’m about to tell you is not to be talked about outside of this boat.”
Marko chuckled slightly, “What is it?”
Jack reached into his briefcase again, slowly, and pulled out a sheaf of papers, “It’s a project that certain elements of the CIA and the military want to get his opinion on, a project called ‘Initiative’…”
Marko actually made it through the first paragraph of the write up and then shut the file, “Jack… don’t do this.”
Jack gave him a bewildered look, “Why not? If they are a threat-“
Marko shook his head, “Believe me, they are a threat, but the government does not need to study them, only to destroy them. Approach Alexander carefully and respect what he says – if you try to pull a… ‘Crazy Ivan’ on him, as you’d say, I’m sure he’d be most upset.”
Jack looked at him for a moment and then sighed, “That’s what I thought you’d say, Marko – a few people on Capitol Hill caught wind of this and are raising nine different kinds of hell over it. Apparently someone else scares them, someone called ‘Ripper’, and they don’t want to incur his wrath.”
Marko nodded, “Good, they’re learning to keep Pandora’s Box closed.”
Maggie Walsh looked around at the group of scientists and frowned at the way they were PACKING everything, instead of unpacking, “What is this?”
“We just got orders to vacate the area, Dr. Walsh,” one of her underlings said, looking relieved for some reason. “Apparently it was made apparent to several of our backers just how bad of an idea this project was and we’ve been pulled.”
She shook her head, “Get me Oversight!”
The scientist shook his head, “He was the one who ordered us to close down, ma’am, something about not opening Pandora’s Box.”
Maggie fumed over this but knew, in her heart of hearts, that she wouldn’t survive if she went against the word of Oversight, so she did what she was ordered to do and, by the end of the day, Project: Initiative was no more.
AN: Just popped up after I was watching the dvd last night, wondering just what Ramius might have been doing. Review, if you like.