Giles glanced at the two men sitting on his couch. He’d been very patient. When Xander had asked him to trust him concerning Riddick, he’d decided to do just that. It didn’t mean he wasn’t curious, or just the slightest bit worried. The man was a convict after all. However, Riddick had proved instrumental during the Ascension. And even before that in dealing with Faith. Reluctant, though he was to admit the man had become a part of their strange little family. Eventually though, even In-laws had to be explained. It looked like Xander was finally ready to. Xander had a look in his eye, very similar to the one just after the Hyena incident. Like he knew something that was just bound to upset everyone. Him in particular.
Giles couldn’t help but note that Xander had waited until after Buffy had left to spend the summer with her father; Willow had left for computer camp just the night before. He glanced down at the shot of whiskey then set it aside. He’d probably need it afterwards. “All right. Out with it.”
Xander tried a puzzled yet innocent look. “Out with what?”
Problem was he just couldn’t pull it off anymore. He sighed. “If I were to put forward the purely hypothetical theory of alien life actually existing, what would your response be?”
Faith sat silently pondering Xander’s words. She went over them in various permutations and no matter how she changed them it still came out the same. Xander had never lied to her. She had no reason to doubt him. So that meant….
“Alien,” she squeaked. Her eyes widening as she struggled to maintain her cool.
Giles took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. Aliens. Was the boy actually suggesting that this being was an alien? Granted he wasn’t like any demon Giles had ever seen or read about. But alien? Wasn’t some type of half-breed demonic more likely? There was something oddly familiar about the man. Though not enough to actually be a demon. Of any sort, currently with access to this plain. Still, alien? However it was extremely presumptuous to assume Earth held the only intelligent form of life in this universe. It was already a given that other dimensions held varied forms of intelligent life why not other planets? He peered over the rims of his glasses, taking in the slightly sheepish look on Xander’s face. The smug assuredness on Riddick’s. Alien. Good lord. His boy was involved with an extra-terrestrial life form. Okay. “You didn’t think you needed to mention this sooner?”
Xander tipped his head to the side before giving a careless shrug. “After the first Klingon joke I was quite content to keep my alien to myself.”
It was Giles turn to look slightly sheepish at the reminder of Xander’s past exclusion.
Faith gave up and her barely restrained excited wiggling, quickly turned to bouncing. There was a real live E.T. sitting in Jeeves living room. Oh, man being a slayer was just the shit. “Can I get an autograph?”
Xander blinked. “Uh, Faith. It’s not like you can tell anyone.”
“Who cares? When the truth finally comes out I’ll have the only bra signed by an alien,” she grinned.
Giles rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to the…. alien. That was actually going to take some getting used to. “And just what is your business here?”
“Originally, he asked to be taken to our leader,” said Xander. “But when I told him I was his people decided we weren’t worth taking over.”
“I guess he decided to stay and conquer you anyway. Huh, Boy-toy?” laughed Faith.
“You know what they say ‘Conquer the leader. Conquer the world,” Xander said smugly, leaning back against the couch. Arms crossed smugly over is chest. An owner-of-all-he-surveyed grin on his face.
Faith whapped him with a couch pillow. Riddick eyed Xander, an amused smile curving the corners of his mouth.
Giles sighed. “Children, please. Now, Mr. Riddick.”
Riddick lifted a brow. “I’m on a mission to save the universe. What else?”
Giles bit back the automatic sarcastic comment. He didn’t need Ripper stirring up any kind of trouble. He’d grown past the need to be the alpha male in the room. Ripper snorted, yeah right. “That entails what exactly?”
Riddick leaned back, gesturing at Xander as he did. “That’s his department. I’m just here for the violence.”
“And the sex,” giggled Faith. Riddick gave a teeth baring grin and as his gaze drifted over his lover.
Xander glared at her but then winked. It wasn’t like she was wrong. He leaned down and grabbed his book bag, pulling out several books and his own notes. Feeling justifiably proud of the research he’d done. Granted, there wasn’t exactly a dearth of information available but he’d discovered who or actually what Samiel was. “From what I’ve been able to discover Riddick has been sent here to stop what I believe is an Old one. One of the First One’s.” He briefly considered mentioning the time travel bit but quickly discarded the idea. No need to send Giles to an early grave.
Giles decided now was the time to have that drink. It was never simple with Xander. He tossed it back then quickly poured another one. “And you know this how? Do you know for a fact it’s going to happen here?” He couldn’t believe he was saying this but, “Was there an alien prophecy?”
“It wasn’t alien to me,” muttered Riddick. “Look, some old biddy spouted some crap about this being coming from the Underverse. What was once thought of as the mouth of Hell. I was told ‘Stop it’s rising. Save the universe.’ There was some mystics chanting and boom I’m here.”
“Mystics?” asked Giles. “No ship,” pouted Faith.
“I don’t go in for all that mystic, holy man shit. It’s not my thing,” growled Riddick.
“So you just volunteered. No questions asked,” drawled Giles, incredulously. Having never forgotten Xander’s parental figure’s ranting about the convict.
“You could say that,” Riddick shrugged. “Wasn’t a lot of other options at the time.”
Giles took a moment to finish off the last bit of liquor in the shot glass. It was apparent beating around the bush wasn’t going to get the job done. Best to just come straight out with it. “Were you conscripted?”
“You could--” Amusement clear in his tone as he stared down the older man.
Xander elbowed his lover. He knew what Giles was hinting at. Obviously, the man had never lost his worry over that bit of information gleaned from his father. “Riddick was… is the leader of his people. He was chosen to save them.”
Faith rolled her eyes at all the tip-toeing around the subject. Sheesh. “Were you a convict?” she asked, head tipping to the side.
Xander groaned and dropped his head into his hands.
“You could say that,” Riddick growled out. “Been a lot of things. Some would say convict. Other’s dissident. All means the same in the end. History’s written by the winners.”
An alien convict. Giles opened his mouth then shut it. At least he wasn’t undead.
Faith held up a finger. “Why send a badass like you? On one hand,” she held up her right. “There’s no doubt you kick ass. Yet on the other,” she said holding up her left. “It’s obvious you follow no one’s rules but your own. Wouldn‘t it have made more sense to send someone more… oh say biddable.”
Riddick shrugged. “When I say there weren’t a lot of other options. I mean there weren’t any
“Hey, can I get back to my report here? I did good work. If I do say so myself,” Xander said.
“Of course. Continue,” Giles said, waving a hand at Xander.
“At some point in time the Old one, Samiel, is to be released from the Deeper Well,” explained Xander. He was willing to go with Giles assumption that this was a prophecy instead of foreknowledge. “Once that occurs he, it, whatever will spread across the worlds like a plague. Riddick’s old biddy wasn’t too clear on the time frame though. We’ve got a vague time estimate of sometime between now and the next decade. Which is more warning than we usually have.”
“Do we know if there are any current worshippers,” asked Giles reaching for one of the books Xander had laid on the table.
“I’ve found three or four sects but most of them are defunct. There aren’t even any high priests in this dimension at the moment,” Xander frowned. “As far as I’ve been able to discover the Well’s guardian is still well… guarding. You’d think he’d have raised an alarm if someone was messing around.”
“Unfortunately, physical proximity is not always needed in spell casting,” Giles pointed out. “We’ll just have to stay alert. Now, that I’m aware of the situation I’ll be sure to keep an ear out for any stirrings in the community. Re-connect with some of it’s shadier aspects. They usually get a head ups first.”
“Okay. Okay. What’dya need me to do,” cried Faith, fairly buzzing with the urge to do something
“Actually, umm aside from keeping our eyes open there’s not a lot we can do,” Xander muttered. “We do have sorta of an ace in the hole. A crystal to let us know when Samiel has been released.”
“And why wasn’t this mentioned earlier,” asked Giles with a pointed look.
“ ‘Cause it only alerts us to his rising nothing more. Heck, we don’t even know what kinda time frame the stupid crystal has. Whether it’s an hour or a week,” Xander bit out. “It might be a proximity alert as far as I know.”
Giles turned his gaze to Riddick.
“What did I say,” grumbled Riddick. “Far as I’m concerned when it lights up then it’s time to bring on the violence. Till then I’m concentrating on the sex.”
Xander preened like a cat being stroked at the lascivious look directed his way. “To that end, we’re taking a road trip.”
Giles refused to gape like an idiot. “A road trip? An impending apocalyptic event and you‘re taking a road trip?”
“Cool,” yelped Faith. “Can I come?”
“No,” snapped Giles before Xander could even respond. “Summer school for you, young lady.”
Faith slumped back against her chair with a pout.
“Hey, I was planning this thing long before possible imminent doom reared it’s predictable head. Seeing as my life span might be regrettably short with the life I live, I intend to enjoy it while I can.” Xander dropped back onto the couch, curling without shame into Riddick’s side.
“I see,” mumbled Giles, wiping at his glasses. He couldn’t fault Xander’s logic. The boy had a point. “Of course, I expect regular contact while you’re away.”
“A postcard from every state,” promised Xander.
“And phone calls,” added Faith, sadly resigned to becoming a school-going member of society again.
“And phone calls,” agreed Xander.
“When do you leave,” asked Giles. “I can jot do a few places that you might find interesting.” Thinking of a list of various sites he could write up for Xander to go see. Things any child of his should at least have experience once in his own country.
Xander shot Giles a wary look. He could see educational things in his future if he gave the librarian too much time to think. “Tomorrow. First thing. Before you wake up even.”
Faith snickered at Giles disgruntled look.
Giles gaze turned sly. “I’ll walk it over. I’m sure I can come up with something tonight.”
Riddick ignored the on-going banter. He really didn’t intend to let Xander out of the motel rooms for the majority of the trip anyway. He wrapped an arm around his mate and settled back into the couch. Content to let him spend this last night with them before they left.