: Disclaimer: I do NOT own Buffy the Vampire Slayer
or La Femme Nikita
. Neither am I in any way associated with those companies or people who do.Notes
: This is a story that was actually written several years ago. I was gonna wait until I finished the crossover (Anita/Buffy) that I'm currently working on, but I decided that might take several weeks. So, I open with an oldie, but goodie.Can't Escape Destiny
by Emma LoveStory contains slash of the m/m flavor! I don't consider it graphic, but you might.
Nikita had thought she was beyond being surprised by anything these days, but as Operations briefed them on their new mission; she was realizing that life, as well as Section, still had a few surprises left for even her.
After all, here was Operations giving intel on a place called Sunnydale, which was apparently a hot spot for vampiric activity. Section generally did not get involved in these matters, he was saying, but in this case it was going to be necessary for Section One to send an operative in who would be able to get friendly with the Slayer and her friends in order to stop a band of vampires associated with Red Cell.
"The current Slayer is a bit unconventional, according to our intel, while she is respected and feared by the supernatural, the people who watch over her are less than impressed. One of the reasons for this, she involves friends in her duties," Madeline supplied. "However, this will work to our advantage."
"Birkoff has been enrolled in Sunnydale high..."
"Birkoff?" Nikita asked, earning her some dirty looks, but she was used to it. She supposed she could see the reasoning behind sending Birkoff in, he was close enough to their age to fit in, but as an operative, he wasn't trained for field work. And she knew they had young operatives who were better trained for missions of this nature than he was.
"Yes," Operations continued dryly. "One of the Slayers friends, Willow Rosenberg, is very proficient with computers. Intel confirms she is the best person to have someone approach."
Then Operations dismissed them, leaving them to go over the mission profile on their PDA's. ~ * ~ * ~
Willow could see the new guy watching out of the corner of her eye, while it was flattering, she wished he'd stop. She really needed to hack into the cities computers to get the information Giles and Buffy needed. But she couldn't very well do that with him watching her so intently.
"Hey Wills," Xander said, coming up behind her. "Any progress?"
Birkoff watched and hid a smile as the boy blocked his view of the computer screen. Then he felt a pang as he watched them laugh and talk, wondering if this was the kind of life and friends he could have had. Aside from the fact that they helped the Slayer battle the forces of darkness, or maybe in spite of it, they seemed close, happy, and very normal.
"So what's the what?" Buffy asked as Willow and Xander returned from the computer lab.
"Cute guy," Willow replied smiling. "Spent alot of time watching me."
"Yes, well, prehaps you could tell Buffy about that later and tell us what you found," Giles said, taking his glasses off.
"Oh... Sure," Willow replied. "Nothing. I found a big nothing."
"Well, that was certainly helpful," Giles replied sounding as tired as he felt.
"The new guy?" Buffy asked.
"Sorry," Willow replied to Giles. "I can't find any clue anywhere; as to who, or why, the vamps are hanging out and not killing humans."
"Yeah," she continued, turning to Buffy. "He seems really interested."
As the girls talked, Xander had an idea.
"Hey, maybe they just suddenly turned good... No, that would be too easy and this being Sunnydale...," Xander let his voice trail off.
"Well, I'm off to patrol," Buffy said sliding off the desk. "If I run into Angel, I'll ask him if he knows anything about it."
Instead of running into Angel, Buffy ran into Birkoff, who was being attacked by several vamps. Buffy's Slayer sense kicked in and she ran over... But just as she was getting ready to attack the vamps ran.
"That was certainly refreshing and new," she replied, admitting to herself she was a bit disappointed.
"You alright?" She asked Birkoff as she offered her hand to help him stand.
"I'm not sure," Birkoff answered, clearly having trouble getting up. "Who - What were those guys?"
"Nevermind that," Buffy replied, not having a believable answer to the
question. "Come on, I'll take you to Giles and let you get your bearings."
Buffy didn't make it a habit of taking vamp victims to Giles, but in this case she thought it was necessary. Those vampires had plenty of time to kill him before she'd come along, they hadn't. Buffy wanted to know why.
As discreetly as they could, Giles and Buffy began to question Birkoff. It wasn't going well, he seemed to be clueless as to what he was attacked by, let alone what they would have wanted with him.
It was Willow, who after spending a few minutes alone with him, thought she might have an answer. An answer that didn't make a lot of sense, but an answer none the less.
"Okay," Xander said, and it was then that Willow realized he'd been quieter than usual tonight. She allowed herself a moment to believe that he was jealous over Birkoff's attentions to her.
"That begs the question... What would vamps want with someone who knows how to use a computer?"
Giles sighed, there were times when Xander proved to be smarter than he appeared. However, this was not one of those times.
"Vamps?" Birkoff quietly asked and the gang realized that Xander had let the V-word slip.
Xander cringed and cursed his big mouth. Giles made a few noises, as if thinking of something, then discarding it.
"Um, well, we get alot of *gang* activity around here," Buffy said slowly. "And we just sometimes refer to random attacks as vamp attacks."
Xander watched Birkoff closely. It was a bad answer, but it was the only one they had. Birkoff seemed to buy it, which made Xander even more suspicious. There was something about this Birkoff guy Xander didn't trust.
Finally, Giles decided they had all the information they were going to get from Birkoff.
Xander was quick to suggest walking Birkoff home, which only Willow noticed. She frowned, she wasn't sure she wanted Xander walking Birkoff home, especially if he was jealous.
But despite her offers to walk with them, Xander told her to stay with Giles, saying that she'd be better at helping Giles and Buffy come up with answers than he would be.
And with that, Willow couldn't argue. She wanted to argue, as she hated it when Xander bashed his own intelligence, but he was already walking out the door with Birkoff.
Birkoff sighed unhappily as he entered the house where he lived with his 'aunt' and 'uncle'. Things hadn't went according to profile at all. Xander had noticed several things, most of which could easily be explained, except one. The wire-headphone attached descreetly to Birkoff's ear.
Nikita smiled gently at Birkoff, he'd done his best to throw Xander off. But they all knew what would happen next. Xander was too close, Section would order him cancelled.
When Michael came out of the bedroom, his face grim, she figured he'd just gotten the order to cancel Xander.
"What'd they say?" Birkoff asked, despite himself he liked Xander and would hate to see him cancelled.
"When the mission is completed, which should be soon, now that you can tell Xander why we're here," those words deeply saddened Birkoff and Nikita. "We have orders to bring Xander with us back to Section."
Birkoff gave a sigh of relief. Xander wouldn't be cancelled, he would just be brought into Section. He noticed this news didn't seem to make Nikita feel better. No, he supposed it wouldn't. She hated Section. But Birkoff knew being in Section was better than being dead.
Two years later, a new Xander had finished his training and was excited over his first mission. Sure, he would never again lead a 'normal' life, but Section had trained and given him a purpose. He would still be fighting the good fight, he'd just be doing it in a different way now and with the proper training.
Surprisingly, his only major problem had been his newfound gayness, he knew it hadn't come up overnight. And if he were honest with himself, he'd admit that there was more to his dislike... hate of Angel than jealously over Buffy. Still, he'd have probably never come out, even to himself, without someone like Birkoff.
Even with Birkoff, a part of Xander still rebelled at calling himself gay, he wasn't unhappy... In fact, he was very happy with Birkoff. There was just a part of himself that refused to throw away his straightness. Plus, he didn't want to disappoint Section, whom he had learned frowned strongly on relationships between operatives.
"Hey, kid!" Walter called out, as Xander walked by.
"Hey, old man," Xander replied, turning toward him.
"Where you headed?"
"Mission briefing," Xander replied, barely managing to keep the excitement out of his voice.
Walter couldn't help but grin, he didn't think he'd ever seen a new operative so eager, at least not one who'd made it through training without the threat of cancellation hanging over their head.
"You'd better hurry," Walter advised. "They don't like being kept waiting."
"Good point. Catch you later," Xander replied and despite his excitement, managed to calmly walk away.
Walter smiled again, as he caught sight of Birkoff intently watching Xanders retreating backside. That had suprised Walter a bit, but he supposed it shouldn't have. Nikita had been the only female that Birkoff had ever truly noticed.
It seemed once again love was blooming in the hallowed halls of Section One.
Hours later, a watchful Operations and Madeline stand on their usual platform as Birkoff stayed in touch with the team while they carry out their mission.
"Incidental," Madeline replied. "Since Birkoff is not a field op, it's unlikely the relationship will severely compromise either of them. Recommend allowing it, but not encouraging it."
"I'm not sure I agree, we have enough problems with the Michael and Nikita situation."
"Michael and Nikita are a different problem. Xander is simply enjoying his newfound 'freedom' and exploring the options now available to him. Birkoff's curious about his own sexuality, not in love. Their relationship won't be a problem and will likely end quickly."
Operations took her at her word, for now. After all, this was her speciality.
As Xander finished his debriefing, he was still wound up from successfully returning from his first real mission. He wanted to share it with someone, so he descreetly made his way to Birkoff's quarters hoping to find the young man still awake.
"Come in," Birkoff's voice responded to Xanders knock.
"Ah, good, you're still awake," Xander said entering.
"Yeah," Birkoff replied, trying very hard not to blush. He'd purposely waited up for Xander to return. Not just for some action, but he was concerned how Xander would be holding up after his first mission. That first mission tended to take the bright shiny edge off the most eager operative.
But it looked like he'd been worried for nothing, Xander still seemed as happy and excited as he had when they'd left.
Xander watched Birkoff rise, and was once again amazed by the fact that he was slightly bigger than Birkoff. Xander wasn't used to being bigger than other men. He'd always been the small one, the runt. But since he'd bulked up during his training; he found that he wasn't always the smallest one around, anymore.
Xander began telling Birkoff about how the mission went, and Birkoff didn't have the heart to inform him that he knew exactly how the mission went, after all he'd been monitoring it.
Finally, Xander seemed to realize that he was sharing information that Birkoff already knew and trailed off.
Now came the always uncomfortable part, a kiss, a hug... After one of them made the first move, the rest was very comfortable, but for that first move, it was awkward. Neither man was sure why.
However, Xander was too wound up to let the feeling get in his way. So, he closed the small distance between them and began kissing Birkoff with a passion that surprised the other man.
As Xander went down on Birkoff, he decided that if all missions affected Xander this way, he should beg Operations to send Xander out all the time.
Later, as both men lay contented and satisfied, Birkoff mentioned his earlier thoughts. Xander laughed and it began all over again.
Back in Sunnydale, Xander found himself having a drink in one of the seediest places in Sunnydale. He sighed as he watched the hookers make their rounds. This was the type of place his father had loved. Get drunk on cheap beer and have sex with even cheaper women.
This was the type of assignment Xander least liked. Having been a full operative for little over a year now, he knew that he hadn't been on every kind of mission known to Section ops, but out of those he had been on, this was the kind he liked least. Something about dealing with the down trodden and depressed just unsettled him.
He wasn't one to question the wisdom of Section, but he did wonder (this time) at the wisdom of sending him back to Sunnydale so soon. Granted the people of Sunnydale were masters of forgetting and ignoring things, but he grew up here, had close friends here... Friends that it was likely he would come across. That would be bad on two counts. One, he'd 'died' in a vampire attack nearly three years ago, which brought him to the second badness, if his friends did see him they would likely assume he was of the undead. And while he could kick ass with the best of them now, he was still nowhere near Buffy's league.
Just as he was about to give up on meeting his contact he came face to face with the female that he'd just been thinking about. He could only stare, there was little doubt why she was here. She looked cheaper than Cordelia ever had.
"Xander!" She gasped, looking as shocked as he felt.
"What..." they both started to speak.
"You first," Xander said.
"What are you doing in a place like this? And alive? You are alive, right?"
Xander sighed for the second time that night, now it was time for some fast talking on his part and he hoped he'd do better with Buffy than Burkoff had with him.
Leaning in close, he whispered. "I'm on an undercover mission. I work for the CIA now Buff."
"Really?" Buffy replied sounding anything but convinced. Although she did take in his basic black outfit and the look in his eyes. She could admit that he did look secret agentish.
"Yeah. And, yes, I am alive. The vamps drug me back to their lair, but got themselves attacked by some CIA agents before they could finish me off. That's how I came to be here. You?"
It looked like live Xander, it talked like live Xander, but there was one thing she had to do before she'd believe this wasn't some cruel trick. She reached out touching his bare arms then his face. She knew that sometimes after feeding vamps could be warm, except for their lips. Angel's lips had always been cool, no matter what... 'Angel...'
She roughly pushed aside those thoughts and kissed Xander, not with passion or warmth. His lips were warm, he was alive. She pulled back, suddenly very tired, she needed a fresh shot of coke.
As she'd kissed him, he'd felt several things; shock, the old stirring of lust, but mostly he'd felt pain as he tasted tar and liquor on her. She was drinking and smoking now and looking into her eyes he could tell she was doing more than hard liquor, but underneath it all was pain. A pain so deep and wide it seemed to be all she was capable of feeling.
"I work here," she finally answered his question.
"That's right, good little Buffy's a hooker now!" She replied off of his look. "I just... couldn't go on... the way I was, the way things were. After you died... errr, left, things went to hell and took me with them."
Xander patiently waited for her to continue, but after several moments she looked up at him with a wicked gleam in her eyes.
"Wanna fulfill you fantasies?"
Xander was stunned speechless, not since joining Section had anything stunned him this badly.
"I can't, I'm working," he finally managed to get out. After all the time spent wondering what it would be like to see Buffy again, this was so far removed from anything he'd remotely considered, while she was partly right, being with her was one of his fantasies, being with her like this was not.
"What's the matter? You think you're too good for me now?"
Before he could form a reply, she was speaking again.
"Nevermind! Besides you're on a mission, right?" He noted the sarcasm. "And I'm not the whore you're looking for. Screw it. Screw you! I need to find a paying customer. Goodbye, Xander," she tossed out as she sauntered away.
Xander finally met his contact and finished tonights part of the mission in record time, even for him. He needed to see some friends about a Slayer. He knew Section wouldn't be pleased with him going around seeking out his old friends, but he had to know what the hell happened.
Hours later, he found himself wandering the streets of Sunnydale aimlessly, he'd been to Willow's only to find her family had moved away about a year ago.
As he walked, pondering his next move, it found him in the form of his old schoolmate, Cordelia Chase.
"Cordelia!" He called out to her as she came out of a run down looking building. He wasn't entirely sure she'd be happy about him talking to her in public.
As she turned, he took in her outfit. And wondered if some mystical force had transposed Cordelia and Buffy. Buffy was now the slutty tramp and Cordelia actually looked like Buffy used to. For a man used to having to think on his feet, the changes were still coming to rapidly for him.
Then he noticed the stake in her hand and his mind reeled again. Cordelia the vampire slayer?
"Xander," she spoke carefully.
"Yeah, it's really me. No, I'm not a vampire, you can put that away. I'm just a lone secret agent with questions needing answers," he offered calmly, hoping she would put that stake away, he didn't want to be accidently staked.
Slowly she approached him, then touched him in the same mannor that Buffy had, which amused him. Just as he was wondering if she'd kiss him, as well, he felt her fingers trail across his lips. Maybe there was just something new and intriguing about his lips.
"You're really alive. Wow."
Xander laughed, then spoke. "Is there somewhere we can go and talk privately?"
"Sure," she replied, still looking a bit shocked; happy, but shocked. Which shocked Xander that she would honestly be happy to see him alive. "We can go back to my place, it's only a block from here."
Xander reflected to himself as he watched Cordelia make some coffee and ask questions about him. He gave some whole truths, some half-truths, and many bald faced lies. But while he talked, he thought about his new life.
Unlike the operatives around him, he was neither bitter or unhappy about being a part of Section One. Oh, sure at first he'd rebelled at the idea of killing real live humans. But as he become more and more aware of what humans were capable of... No, he hadn't balked long at the idea of killing humans. Those the Section went after were evil as any vampire he'd ever faced. And now, thanks to Section, he was actually skilled at fighting and
dealing with people. He no longer blubbered around like the clueless child he had been. And he knew that he could fight as well as Buffy now, even if he wasn't as strong.
Finally, Cordelia began the long sad tale of what had happened in the past three years.
Buffy had slept with her true love, Angel, which because of the gypsy curse turned him into the vampire he'd originally been. But that hadn't been enough to break her, because she still had Giles and especially Willow.
Xander learned that soon after Angel became Angelus, Buffy and Willow had become lovers. He managed not to get a hard-on at that bit of news, but could admit arousal.
Apparently, Xander hadn't been the only one aroused by the idea, Angelus had too. He kidnapped both Buffy and Willow.
His plan had been to rape, torture, then vamp Willow, while forcing Buffy to watch. Then when Buffy was at her lowest point, he would turn his brutal attentions on Buffy herself.
But Giles, and some new Scooby, Cordelia called, Oz, got there in time to stop Angelus from killing Buffy; however they'd been too late to stop Willow's death, or Buffy's torture.
When Buffy had been forced to stake her best friend and lover, that was when Cordelia believed she lost it, though Buffy had managed to keep up appearances until Angelus succeeded in killing Giles. When Giles died, Buffy was a beaten Slayer.
Xander felt the tears sliding down his face. He could only imagine how much it had cost Buffy to lose so much, in so little time. Not just losing one, but two lovers, and her father figure. He knew the worst for her had probably been the fact that her first lover had committed these acts. But his tears wasn't just for Buffy, they were for his life-long friend, Willow, and the man he'd also looked up to as a father. Giles had been a better father to him than his own.
He allowed himself a moment to truly believe that his leaving had made the difference, it was a moment of pure arrogance for him, and it left him feeling guilty. Because he knew he wouldn't have made a difference, not then. And if he'd stayed he'd probably be dead now like Willow, like Giles... Or worse, dead inside, like Buffy.
He even felt sorry for Cordelia, who's life had been drastically altered by these events. Gone was the snobbish bitch who'd tormented him through school, in her place was a strong resilient woman who did what she could to fight the evil. He was proud of her, she'd met the challenges and handled them in a mature way.
She currently worked with the new Slayer, who'd apparently been called when Buffy had died briefly, Kendra, and Kendra's Watcher, Wesley. So the balance of power in Sunnydale was maintained. People were older, sadder, and perhaps a bit wiser.
As she finished the tale, she screamed. Xander was about to jump up, expecting an attack, then she fell to the floor having a seizure of some kind.
Then as quickly as it begun, it ended. She pulled herself off the floor, with an assist from Xander, and walked over to the phone, to call Kendra or Wesley, he assumed.
After she finished the call, she explained to Xander that before her lover, Doyle, passed away averting another Sunndydale apocalypse, he'd given her his gift. The ability to see deadly events before they happened, giving her a chance to stop them.
Xander couldn't believe this was the same Cordelia Chase he'd known, the Cordelia he'd known would have never willingly accepted something as annoying and painful as these visions. But the proof was standing right there in front of him. Suddenly he wanted a stiff drink or to be in Birkoff's arms. And seeing how Birkoff was back at Section it looked like he'd have to settle for a stiff drink.
If only Buffy had faired so well, he thought helplessly. If she'd held up as well as Cordelia he knew Sunnydale would have been vampire free. But it wasn't, and she hadn't. He knew that was life. Where Cordelia had grew into this strong brave woman before him, Buffy had turned into a drug addicted, broken hooker. Surprisingly, Cordelia had been tactful about even that.
"So where's Angelus now?"
"Who knows?" She replied. "After he saw what Buffy had become, he apparently decided his work here was done. He left town shortly after that with Spike and Dru for parts unknown. Wesley thinks he'll be back one day to turn, or kill, Buffy."
Xander had the information he'd come for, so he thanked Cordelia and made his exit.
"You could stay here," she offered. "It's a big house... Doyle bought it before... We were going to get married."
"Thanks, but I've already paid for my hotel room," he replied, then he became serious.
She smiled gently. "Nothing that's happened is your fault Xander. You couldn't have changed it."
"It's not that," he replied, and it wasn't.
She patted his arm gently. "You feel guilty for letting us face this without you."
"Yes," he replied simply. "I should have been here."
"Maybe, maybe not. Life, the PTB, fate, whatever you call it has a way of making sure you're where you are supposed to be."
She chuckled. "Powers that be."
He laughed and it felt good. And maybe she was right. Who was this wise woman that looked like Cordelia Chase?
As he left, he thought about her parting shot. Maybe he really was where he was supposed to be and all was as it was meant to be.
After he phoned in his report to Section, something niggled at the back of his mind. Section wouldn't have made the mistake in sending him to the bar, where Buffy worked, with their intel they would have known she worked there. It begged the question why.
His faith in Section wasn't shaken, he was just curious as to his true mission here. He realized most of what he was doing could have been handled from Section itself. But his faith wasn't shaken partly because of what Cordelia said and partly because he knew he was still doing what he wanted - helping people. Helping make the planet a little bit safer for everyone. ~Epilogue~
"So what do you think?" Operations asked Madeline as they watched the operatives coming and going from below them.
"I think she will be a bit like Nikita at first, perhaps not as naive. But her sense of right and wrong is still firmly in place. And later she and Xander may become a problem of Michael and Nikita proportions."
At Operations look, she smiled.
"Yes, I am aware Xander and Birkoff are still involved. However, according to intel it's likely that with Buffy around Xander will fall for her all over again, once she gets herself together."
"No, if they will end up working together as well as Michael and Nikita, it could be to our advantage. I see no reason to discourage it. Xander's already among the best operatives and if Buffy reacts like him... I don't forsee any problems."
"Good," Operations replied. Madeline was the best in this area and if she didn't forsee any problems it was unlikely there would be any problems. But he ordered them watched closely, when and if things started heating up between them.
"The vampire, Angelus, on the other hand will need to be dealt with," Madeline said. "Once he learns that she is no longer a hooker in Sunnydale; he will come looking for her."
"Yes, that has already been considered," Operations informed her. "When he becomes a problem, he will be dealt with quickly."~ * ~ * ~
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