DISCLAIMER: Everything belongs to Joss. I'm not making money off this.
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Firefly
PAIRING: Xander/Spike implied
CATEGORY: AU, XO, action
SPOILERS: anything in Buffy is possible up to and including ‘Chosen,' vague ones for Firefly
SERIES: not planned
SUMMARY: Xander finds more than Slayers and demons in Africa.
*Dialogoue taken from Firefly episode 'Serenity,' not mine.
Sown with Salt
They settled at a conference table, Sam slipping in and sliding into place, the door clicking shut behind her. Riley, Graham, and Sam at one end of the table, Xander, Willow, and Eshe at the other. Reynolds and his crew in the middle, neither fish nor fowl.
Xander did quick and dirty introductions, not in the mood for formality. “Ri and Graham were part of the first Initiative. It went off the reservation. They helped us stop the results. Now, they’re black ops, government funded hunters.
“Reynolds and his team pulled one of the girls out. They’ve been ~in~ the facility.” He raised an eyebrow. “We going to have a problem, Ri?”
The blond studied him. “The Council is footing their bill?”
“Then it’s none of my business who the Council contracts with.”
Xander turned to Reynolds. “If you could describe the interior, Mr Reynolds.”
The merc shrugged. “Sure. And make it Mal.” He started to describe the approaches, only the skin around his eyes tightening giving away his surprise when what he described took form in grey mist in the middle of the table.
Willow’s eyes were half-shut, her hands pressed flat to the table, manipulating her spell.
Reynolds had only seen about a third of the facility, but it was enough for Ri and Graham to agree with Xander that it seemed to be following the pattern of the Sunnydale base.
“What do you need from us, Xander?” Riley asked, leaning back in his chair.
“Back up would be nice. Munitions are a must. I want that place leveled by dawn.”
Hazel eyes widened. “Xander – those people are just following orders.”
The original Scooby stared cold-eyed down the table at the soldier. “And would that excuse mean jack-shit to you if it was your daughter they were using for a lab rat? How old is Lizzy now, Ri, four?”
Eshe spoke for the first time. “Hunter, do you truly wish to defy the Knight in the protection of his own?”
“What knight?” Jayne asked, confused.
The dark Slayer shrugged one shoulder. “Mwalimu is the White Knight. He protects the Slayer line. He would die for us. He has killed for us. He has guarded the Chosen since his fifteenth summer.”
Xander twisted to look at Willow. “What have you been telling my Slayer?”
The redhead rolled her eyes. “Xan. How many times were you the one to save us – the one throwing yourself between the big bad and us – the one who knew the right thing to say to lead us to the answers? Just the truth.”
The dark haired man frowned. “No one hurts mine. The Slayers are my girls – no one touches them without paying in blood.”
Willow nodded. “What I said.”
Xander turned back to the rest of the table. Ri was staring at him, clearly reassessing what he thought he knew about the easy-going Scooby. And there was respect in Reynolds’ eyes. Xan had the feeling no one touched one of his without paying, either. Not even Jayne, the same as Xander would do his damnedest for Kennedy even though he detested her.
“Well, Ri? Time’s wasting. You in or out?”
The soldier polled his second and his wife with his eyes. “We’re in. Sam’s sitting this one out.” She looked about to protest but the blond shook his head. “This is the Initiative. My responsibility. One of us has to survive for Lizzy.”
“Good. She can keep Eshe company.”
“Mwalimu,” the Slayer started.
“NO.” Xander stared her down. “Slayers do not hunt humans, no matter how dark they are. No. End of discussion.” His gaze softened. “You have battles enough to fight, Eshe. Leave a few for your teacher.”
“Kaylee’s staying out of it,” Mal said firmly. The girl accepted that with a badly-concealed relieved look. She was no soldier and she knew it.
Sam nodded. “She’ll be safe here,” she promised.
Mal’s gun jammed and Xander stepped between the merc and the enemy soldier, clawed hand splitting him open from crotch to collarbone, guts spilling out onto the floor.
He checked that Mal had switched guns and answered the merc’s nod of thanks with a sharp toothed grin. He spun on one heel as Willow’s voice reached him, calling for him. Fear. It took a lot to rattle her. A lot to rattle him. Sunnydale had seen to that.
He left Mal and his team to keep this last corridor closed. Ri and his group should be setting the last explosives. Willow had been sending the girls to Eshe as they found them, having done a variation of a tracking spell so that they knew they had all the Slayers out safe.
The hyena was growling in the back of his mind, furious at the pups that had been hurt, hunger stirred by all the blood. He sprinted to where Wills stood frozen, staring into one of the cells. He blanched at what he saw.
“How is he still alive?” he grated out, staring at the emaciated form strapped to a bed, dozens of tubes sticking out of him.
“I don’t know,” Willow said in her little girl voice.
“Giles thought he’d escape within days, if not hours. And he’s been in their keeping for years. He’s going to dive back into the bottle.” Xander shook himself. “Get the damned door open.” He twisted, tracking scent and caught Riley’s eyes. He jerked his head in a summons.
Ri froze when he saw. “Christ. I .. he was shipped out almost immediately and buried in the system. Not that I bothered to check after a few months.”
Xander didn’t relpy, sliding his gun back into its holster and stepping into the cell. He started carefully sliding those needles out of Ethan Rayne’s pale skin, saying nothing when Ri and Mal started helping, black eyed Willow keeping an eye out for trouble.