Going Dutch Finale (For Now Anyway)
Going Dutch (7/7) Finished for Now.
Author: Tohonomike firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners...it will start off with the Joss/ME characters, and any other characters or real-life folks are clearly not mine. NO money is involved. Buffy? Nope. None are mine.
December 14th, 1997 – SHS Library
Exams and the semester were over for Alexander, and it felt pretty good. Two solid months of training, adjusting to life in Sunnydale again, and learning the basics of the library trade from Giles had given him a full schedule. But he really enjoyed how the Taskers came together again, and how they’d included Lara Croft in their group.
Spence Trilby had flown in himself to talk to Alexander, who’d been seen publicly drinking tea and coffee with her, and had given him a new assignment: stick with Lara Croft like glue; she seemed to attract big-time trouble, and Omega seemed to often find itself dealing with issues stirred up in her wake. Xander had asked for more info, and what he was supposed to look for, intel wise, and Trilby just said ‘if something big goes down, I just want the locations and such. I want a heads-up to move my people into place *before* things get too far out of hand.’
And Xander’s budget would be his share of incurred expenses, and his salary.
The Slayer stuff had turned into one big training program, Amy Madison brought into the group to join Ms. Calendar and Willow to form a witch’s triad. The Slayers, Angel and Harry trained similarly in spite of Buffy’s initial aversion to guns, but when Helen talked to Joyce about keeping the girls safe by keeping the vampires dusty at a distance, Buffy had been mom-directed to master firearms. Just don’t keep them loaded in the house.
Giles, Lara and, to Xander’s pleasant surprise, himself, reorganized and secured the research materials and finally input them for quick keyword searches on the computer to narrow down initial research venues. And with Harry’s years of Ops service, he was able to draw in Helen, Oz and Joyce as the logistical support component.
There were a few loose ends developing in the group; Angel had been contacted by an agent of the Powers that LA was his next assignment, and he should be heading there soon.
As for the other two, he was with Lady Croft.
“So Alex, any plans for the holiday?”
“I thought I’d admire you for as long as you’re willing to put up with me.”
“You really are a cheeky devil aren’t you?”
“Hmm, let me think…yeah.”
“So if I decided to run off to Nepal or Botswana now that Dana’s doing fine, you plan to follow me?”
“I can’t think of anything better, unless you have an equally-beautiful cousin you want to share me with in naughty ways.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively and mockingly.
She laughed and shook her head again.
“And if I stay away longer than winter break?”
“Would you like me to stay with you?”
Xander exhaled sharply. He looked over at her, and after a moment she directly met his stare but gave nothing away.
“You’re beautiful, smart and amazing, Lara—and I have the ability to follow you everywhere. If you’re just joking…please stop.”
“Why, Alex? Are you getting too close to our job? Bit of a crush?”
“I think I’m way past crush, Lara.”
“You’re only eighteen.”
“Eighteen, with the extra forty-seven years of experience in my head that’s mine, remember? I may not have given you the details, but right now I don’t know if I’m the most mature kid my age pining after the unattainable, or the older man falling for the ultimate partner and trophy wife rolled into one…a man that has the experience WITH the stamina and recovery of the younger man.”
Lara laughed, but not harshly.
“What are your employers going to think if they find out?”
“Why should they care?”
“Your job is to keep tabs on me, isn’t it?”
Xander smiled, “Getting paid to be with you? That IS the dream job.”
“What about Dana?”
“I remember putting together her first swing set. And I remember meeting her in the alley with you. And while we’ve become good friends…I don’t know if it can progress beyond that.”
“I think she likes you, though.”
“I know, but it’s just too weird for me. And after all the grief I gave Dead Boy and Buffy about age difference…I can’t move on it.”
“What if she does?”
“I don’t know. But I think we're talking about me following you to the ends of the earth.”
“We were also discussing more than that.”
“I don’t’ know how much we can tell each other right now.”
“How about … admitting you’re ordered to keep tabs on me and get close to me. Why?”
“Hmm…Let me answer the last part first. Because the group I’m with cleans up a lot of the problems that seem to blow up in your wake. They haven’t actually asked me to root out any secrets…tough I think they’d like a travel itinerary for efficiency’s sake.”
“Can you tell me who?”
“No, but to answer the first part, I’m to stick to you like glue in order to keep them informed of where they might need to mobilize.”
“I have no orders to that effect.”
“Would you take them?”
“I don’t know. If we were in a relationship, letting them know where I am and when would be a matter of course. But beyond that…probably not. Just don’t operate illegally within American territoriality. At least not breaking Federal laws. Speed all you want.”
The British woman smiled, and placed her hand over his on the table.
“This is all so weird, Alex.”
“Tell me about it…”
“What will people say when they hear I might be seeing an eighteen-year-old?”
Xander reached into his jacket pocket and tossed three billfolds on the table. He missed the warmth when she moved her hand from atop his to look at them.
“Alexander Tasker, age 25, of Sunnydale Import and Export; Harry Lavelle LeHane of Ojai, California, aged 22, grad student; Captain John Alexander Deutsch, age 27. Impressive, Alex. And I’m gathering from the high school chums, Alex is your real name?”
“Yeah, but you were worried about age, Lara. That can be papered over. The question is?”
“Are you coming with me when I leave? If you tell your bosses I know what you’ve told me, I don’t have a problem with it.”
“Wow,” the young man smiled widely, showing his younger side and delighting the woman, “I can now ask you out without feeling the whole guilt thing.”
“But not until you make the call.”
“I know, but I’m happy already.”
“No, but soon you might be.”
‘Brain. Come on, brain. Ah man…brain broken…bad brain. Make the call, brain, or it won’t happen.’ Xander’s hand started to pocket the billfolds so that he could make an important cell phone call.