Title: Watered Wine
Author: Gaeriel Mallory
Disclaimer: Buffy and all related characters are the property of Josh Whedon and Mutant Enemy. X-men is the property of Marvel Comics.
Summary: In the future, the United States finds itself fighting against demonic forces.
Continuity: Buffy - Up to season 6. This story takes place in the year 2005. X-men - Comics. It's pretty vague since I don't really remember much of it, so forgive any inconsistencies.
Note: Pay attention to when each section takes place. This story isn't one continuous narrative but snapshots of various points during the war. It's a little different from everything else I've written but I'm experimenting.
* * * * * * * * * *
"To succeed you must add water to your wine, until there is no more wine." --Jules Renard, Journal
* * * * *
The landscape passed in a blur. Buffy Summers stood up in her seat and squinted against the sunlight. Dust clogged the air oppressively and obscured her vision.
"Anything?" her companion asked her.
She sat back down in the jeep and shook her head. "Not a thing," she answered. "I can't see ten feet in front of me with this blasted dust in the way." She tucked a few loose strands of hair back under her bandana and turned towards the person driving the jeep. "How much longer?"
"The man said it's a good two hour drive to the base. We've been on the road for at least an hour." Xander Harris looked over at his friend and grinned. "What's the matter, Buff? Antsy?"
"I don't like doing nothing. I should be out in the front lines, directing my troops. Not traveling to this base in the middle of nowhere."
"Yeah, well," Xander shrugged. "What do you do when the higher ups tell you to do something?"
"You know I don't handle authority well." Buffy stared out the windshield. "None of us did."
Her thoughts turned back to the past three years, when the United States government first acknowledged the mutant problem. They had declared war on mutants and it had taken over a year for the people in charge to realize that not all mutants were bad. But by that time, only a handful of mutants trusted the government. Most went into hiding or fled to other countries. That left the rest into two camps, the ones that sided with Magneto and fought against humanity. And then there were the X-men, headed by Charles Xavier, who worked with the humans to end the war.
Tensions ran high on both sides and Buffy and the rest friends had stayed out of it until Magneto made an alliance with the demon world. She still remembered that event. "Both of us are oppressed by humanity!" Magneto's voice had claimed from the radio. "It is time for us to join forces and forge a new world order."
The mutant had not counted on being double crossed by his new allies. The demons took over control of the resistance and Magneto had been lucky to escape with his life. He had fled to the only safe haven he knew from the demons, to the only person that the demons feared -- the Slayer.
* * *
Buffy was washing the dishes when the doorbell rang. It was followed by a rapid pounding and she scowled as she dried her hands. "Coming!" she called out.
When she opened the door, a tall gray haired man dressed in red armor fell through the doorway and landed in a heap on the ground. He looked up, his eyes wide. "Are you the Slayer?" he whispered.
"Depends who's asking."
He gripped her legs. "You must help me!" he implored her. "They're after me."
"Who's after you?"
"Torlin. The demon tricked me. Ousted me from my place of power. He's looking to destroy all of humanity, mutants and humans alike." The man struggled to stand. "Please, you have to help."
"Okay, okay." Buffy closed the door and helped him to the sofa in the living room. "But who are you?"
He looked at her with old and sad eyes. "I'm the mutant they call Magneto."
* * *
Buffy was lost in her memories when Xander stopped the vehicle. "We're here," he announced jovially.
She tore herself out of the past and grabbed her duffel bag before sliding out of her seat and onto the ground. Dust swirled around her ankles. Figures approached them. "Buffy Summers?" the one in the lead asked.
She nodded and flipped open her military ID. "Who's in charge here?"
"Follow me and I'll take you to the general." Buffy and Xander followed the private into the military base. The soldier pointed out various aspects of the base to them as they walked. They finally stopped in front of a door. The soldier knocked and opened the door. He saluted. "Buffy Summers and Alexander Harris, sir."
"Thank you. That'll be all."
The soldier saluted again and left.
Buffy studied the man sitting behind the desk. "You the general?"
The uniform man stood up and walked around the desk to his two visitors. "General Thompkins, at your service." His eyes raked over the two and he frowned. "Forgive me, but I was expecting someone a little ... older."
"Yeah, well." Buffy shrugged. "Listen, I don't want to be here. You don't want me here. So why don't we just get down to business so I can head back to the front lines."
"Fair enough." He waved Buffy and Xander to sit down while he himself remained standing. "The president has asked me to have you look over our newest recruits and train them in the basics."
Xander jumped out of his seat. "You're kidding me! You dragged us away from where we're needed to train some *recruits*? You're crazy."
Buffy glared at the general. "I'm afraid I have to agree with him," she told Thompkins levelly. "I don't care what the presidents wants, but when I signed on for this, it was stated that I would be allowed to do what I please in order to get the job done. Demons are my area of expertise and I'll be of better use fighting. Anyone can train recruits in the basics."
Thompkins held up his hand. "Normally, I'd agree with you, but these recruits are mutants, with special powers. You would be the best person to figure out how each one will be put to the best use."
"You could have gone to the Watcher's Council in England and asked for help from them," Buffy pointed out.
"The United States and Great Britain are not on the best of terms at the moment," the general said.
Buffy and Xander gave each other a disgusted look. "Politics," Xander muttered.
Buffy sighed. "Fine, we'll train your mutant recruits. But as soon as possible, I'm heading back into the warzone."
* * *
Jubilation Lee, known to friends as Jubilee, exited the plane looking at her surroundings. "So this is a military base?" she asked. "Doesn't look too different from the hanger for the Blackbird back at the mansion.
A man dressed in a blue and yellow costume exited after the girl. "What did you expect?" he teased gently. Red tinted goggles covered his eyes.
She shrugged and tugged at the yellow gloves she wore. "So we're really going to meet the Slayer, Scott?" she asked, changing the subject.
He grinned. "Yeah. She's in charge of training you guys in how to fight the demons." The two of them walked down the ramp of the Blackbird. Others, Jubilee's age, followed them.
"What I don't understand is why can't the Professor teach us how to fight demons? Or you guys? You've been fighting since the beginning of the war."
"And we'll fight to the end of it. And I *will* be helping, Jubilee. That's why I'm here. But the X-men can't spare too much time to train you guys. And you'll be better off with the Slayer anyway. Right from the horse's mouth."
A uniformed man met them at the bottom of the ramp. "Welcome. I'm General Thompkins. I run this base."
Scott held out his hand. "Cyclops," he said. He gestured to the teenagers behind him. "These are the newest graduates of the Academy."
The general nodded. "If you'll follow me, I'll show you the living quarters. We'll begin later today."
* * *
Buffy tried to hide her shock at seeing the age of the so-called recruits filing into the gym. "Good God, they're teenagers! Things can't be *that* desperate, can they?"
Even Xander looked grim. "I can't believe them. They're sending kids to fight a war." He sighed.
As the newest recruits settled down, Buffy stepped forward. "Okay, for those of you who don't know, I'm the Slayer, but my real name is Buffy Summers. Call me Buffy. This is Xander Harris," she pointed at her friend, "my lovely assistant. Our job is to whip you into shape so that you can take on the enemy demons with each of your respective powers. Any questions before we begin?"
An Asian girl dressed in a yellow trench coat raised her hand. "Are you related to a Scott Summers?" she asked.
Buffy was surprised. "I have a cousin by that name. I haven't heard from him in years though. Why?"
The girl looked embarrassed. "Um, someone I know back home."
Buffy nodded and pushed the issue out of her mind. Later, she'd have a talk with the girl to see if it was really her cousin that she knew. "Any other questions?"
"You said 'enemy demons,'" one boy pointed out. "Does that mean that we have demons on our side too?"
Buffy smiled. "That's exactly right. Demons, just like humans, can be good, bad, and in-between. In fact, the person in charge of the Los Angeles zone is a vampire."
"But how can demons be good?"
Xander cleared his throat. "Listen, kiddies. Don't fall into the mindset that all demons are evil. It's just as wrong as assuming all mutants are dangerous." He looked each of the recruits in the eye. "Get my drift?"
Buffy let them contemplate that in silence for a few seconds before clapping her hands. "Okay. We're going to split you into two groups. Half of you will go to Xander, half with me. We're going to catalogue your powers and then figure out the best way for you to use them."
* * *
Jubilee knocked on Scott's door. "Come in!" she heard him call out.
Gently opening the door, she saw her old leader and friend dressed in civilian clothes and reading a book. He smiled at her and shut the book and sat up in his bed. "Jubilee, what can I do for you."
"I have a question."
"Shoot." He looked at her behind his ruby-quartz glasses.
"Do you have a cousin named Buffy?" Jubilee bit her lip. She had deliberated with herself about telling Scott about his possible relative before deciding that he had a right to know.
He frowned. "I haven't heard that name in years. Where did you hear it?"
"But she is your cousin?" Jubilee asked.
He nodded. "I had two cousins. Dawn and Buffy. But I lost touch with them right after their mother died. That was before the war started." He looked at the girl sharply. "Why? Did you hear something about her? Is she okay?"
Jubilee cleared her throat. "Uh, you really should have come to the first session with us, Scott. Because, you see, the Slayer...uh, the Slayer's name is Buffy Summers."
* * *
Scott grabbed the first soldier he saw. "Do you know where the Slayer is?"
"I think she's in the mess with her friend--" the soldier answered but Scott had already run off before he finished the sentence.
He ran through the halls of the base, memories filtering up from his subconscious. After arriving at Xavier's, the Professor had searched for Scott's family. He had been unable to locate his brother Alex, but had found an uncle, living in Los Angeles. Hank Summers, married to Joyce and father to Buffy and Dawn.
He arrived at the door to the mess hall and stopped, searching the entire room for a familiar face. He finally spotted her sitting with a man her age with curly dark hair. The two of them were laughing. Scott walked across the room, weaving around tables until he stood beside the one they were at. "Buffy?" he asked uncertainly.
She looked up and her face froze. She let out a quick breath before she whispered, "Scott?" A grin spread across her features and she leapt up and enveloped him into a hug. "Scott!"
Scott hugged her back and had to blink back tears.