Title: Black knight 3
Author: Robert Jackson
Permission to archive: yes, just let me know where.
Rating: Pg 13-r
Summary: The powers have Xander meet and help out someone who needs it.
Warnings: Adult stuff happing here. Almost rape, drugs ect.
Notes: Thanks to Greywizard for the beta read. Also Very Big thanks to Danashort, this wouldn’t have been half as good with out his help.
The Harvest had been only a few weeks ago, and Xander had been avoiding his old friends as much as he could. He just couldn't stand to look at their faces and remember what it was like to play with them.
It was different now, they had each other. He just had memories. But he did help. Stop a demon there, tell a secret there. Usually just setting up someone to run across Buffy at the right time.
The only person that he saw and talked to was Whistler. They would talk about monsters and what was needed to be done. He had started to work at a sideline job. It was nothing special, but it paid for his blood. He wasn't like a lot of the vampires out there - he wasn't wealthy, or killing people for there blood.
And as far as finding out he had to take it from human sources - most women wouldn't look at him twice. He was just some punk kid, so he got his food from the girls that he could find out late at night: the dropouts and the runaways. He would cruise the youth center across town, since it always had some kids in from LA and hiding out there.
Most were good kids that just had some bad breaks, and he could lend an ear to them. Then he'd take some blood in payment. He had found out that now that he was a vampire, most girls would want to be around him, making them easy prey.
He'd taken it upon himself to keep the other vamps and demons away from the center. The dark part of his mind would scream at him every time he let one of them go, but he NEVER killed anyone and with his power, they enjoyed it. A lot.
Then he would give them some money he'd earned from work and use it to send them back home, or to somewhere else, if the home they ran away from wasn't really safe.
He'd just gotten home after seeing another girl off on her way home when he walked in his door and came to stop. There at his table sat Whistler.
“Hi ya, kid.” Whistler said, looking at the boy. He now dressed in dark clothes; gone were the bright clashing colors and baggy pants. It was really a shame; he'd liked the way the kid dressed.
“What do you want?” Xander knew it couldn't be good, since the only times the demon had shown in the past was when there was something that needed killing.
“Kid, you wound me,” Whistler said placing a hand over where his heart should have been, if he was human.
“No, I know you. You only come here when you need me to do something,” Xander said as he moved across his small room. It wasn't much but it was his. He still didn't have cable yet, but he had just picked up an old TV the other day. Soon he would have his Sci-fi again.
“Well,” Whistler replied, “it just so happened, the boys upstairs have something for you to do. And I just thought I would drop in on my old friend here and see if you wanted to do it.”
“Tell them I said 'no.' I'm needed here. I have to make sure my friends stay ok.”
“No, you don’t. They can do things without you. But there is someone that needs your help right now. Why do you think the Powers got you a job at the youth center?”
“I got that job all by myself.” Xander was pissed; it was a good thing and he did it without help.
“A vampire working in a youth center? Come on, you know that won't work. That's why you got the late night shifts, got put on the chat line - To help people there. But you're also working for the Powers, whatever you do is because they let you, or arrange for you to do it.”
“Arrange for me?” Xander questioned the demon.
“Yep,” Whistler said, “Now I got a place for you to go. And someone to help. You going to turn it down?”
“No.” Xander knew he was caught; he couldn't turn them down. Not and keep on the right path. But he really didn't want to go, he needed to watch out for his friends.
“Ok Kid, come here.” Whistler said holding out a hand. Once Xander was close enough, Whistler placed his hand on Xander's shoulder and said, “Now hold on. This is always bumpy the first time.”
With that, Whistler and Xander seemed to shimmer and fade. Then, an instant later across the county, they shimmered and came back into focus in a dark alley.
Xander fell to his knees and if he'd had anything on his stomach, he would had thrown it up.
“Always rough the first time,” Whistler said with a smile as he watched the kid on the ground.
“So where are we?” Xander asked once he got his stomach under control.
“Boston. Got someone for you help and talk to,” Whistler said.
“Couldn't you do that?” Xander asked with a smartass tone, but he honestly wanted to know.
“Its all about paths. You picked one, and now she needs to pick one. And this decision will affect her whole life. Who she'll be and what she will be. Just talk to her and take her to this address.” Whistler handed Xander a business card: Linda’s Book’s - Unusual books for the discriminating reader.
“Watcher?” Xander asked with upturned eyebrow.
“Watcher. She's a good egg. This girl needs all the help she can get.”
“What's so special about this girl?” Xander asked. He knew she wasn't a Slayer. Buffy was the Slayer. “She's not a Slayer.”
“No, but she could be. She's in a hard place though.”
“Ok,” Xander said with a sigh. He knew he wasn't getting out of this. “Where is she?”
Whistler pointed down the street. There on a stoop stood a girl a few years younger than he was, looking lost and alone. As they watched, she opened the door and disappeared into the building.
“Her name is Faith,” Whistler said. “Her mom’s boyfriend decided he wanted a younger model a few nights ago. Told her he wanted something fresh and tight. Faith kicked him in the nuts and ran to her mom. "Only to have that worthless bitch get mad at her daughter for not putting out, then knock her around a bit, before the boyfriend got his turn with her.
"As soon as she got a chance, Faith hit the bricks. No one missed her. Now a pimp by the name of Joey has her all lined up. He's been promising her a place to stay, for a good night of ‘work’. He just left his favorite dealer with a 'pick me up' for Faith. Once it hits her system, she'll be his. He’ll set up a party with some of his friends to break her in.
"If that happens, at the best, she'll be scarred for life and most likely will start walking down a path of self destruction that no one would be able to get her off of. And remember, she's slated to become a Slayer. Just imagine a Slayer who can't allow herself to trust anyone, not even her Watcher. And top it off with an attitude that might makes right, which that pimp will drive into her head. She'll be damaged goods from the start.”
Xander just stood there. “So what? I’m supposed to just walk up and say come with me?”
“How you do it is up to you. You just need to get her away from the pimp and to Linda Forsham. She's been looking for Faith. At the rate she's been going, she won't find her for a few months and by then it'll be too late. If you don’t help, Faith will be on the street doing whatever it takes to live,” Whistler explained.
“So what? I talk to the girl and take her to the book girl, and then leave her?” Xander asked the demon.
"Yep. Now get moving. She's getting cold over there in that building. Third floor, first room on the right," Whistler said pushing Xander towards the front of the alley.
Xander gave the demon a look, then started toward the building. As he got closer to the building, his senses started to ping off the building. Dark things had happened there and were still happening. He could hear the sounds from the rooms.
And the smells - the sewers of Sunnydale actually smelled better than this place.
Pushing open the door, he could tell that at one time this was a hotel. Now it was a crack house, if the smells and looks were anything to go by. Not that he had lots of experience with crack houses - just stories he had been told over the years.
The only person in what was once a lobby was a large fireplug of a man. He was sleeping in a chair behind the abandoned desk. He was most likely a guard for the place, or at least a bouncer to get rid of the people that couldn't pay for their stay.
He used the grace that he was never born with to move past the guard, his footfalls not making a sound even as he moved up the old stairs.
Keeping to the edges of the steps, and instinctively bypassing some steps altogether, he went up three flights without making a sound. Opening the doorway on the third floor, he moved out into the unlighted hallway. Lining the hall were doors that had long since lost the numbers that were once on them, but because of the amount of dirt and filth, he could still make out the outlines of the numbers that used to be there.
As he moved toward the room that Faith was supposed to be in, his enhanced hearing could make out a male voice slurred with drugs or drink.
“...time to hold up your end. Nothing's free, bitch.” Then the same voice laughed. “Please, fight more. I like my pussy with a little wiggle in it.”
Xander looked around the hallway. He could see through open doors several people with deadened eyes looking out. They were not going to help. Here was his next big step. He knew he would help his friends, but a stranger? He then heard a small scream. From the tone, he knew she thought no one was coming but she didn't want to go down with out a fight.
That was what made up his mind. She needed someone.
There was someone that needed him.
Xander drew in an unneeded breath and then slammed into the door, causing it to fly off the hinges. The frame all but disengaged upon the impact with his body. The smell of fear was ripe in the room, along with the smell of old blood and sex. Other smells )he didn't want to even know what they were) also hung strongly in the air. A large man was standing over a young girl with what was left of her shirt in his hands. The girl was covering what she could of her chest with her arms and hands. The fear was coming off her in waves. And a look of relief that was gone as soon as it came. The rage was clear in Xander's face and it was taking all of his will power not to let his game face out.
“Hey, Dickweed, the girl said, no,” Xander all but growled out at the pimp.
“What the fuck do you want, bitch?” Joey yelled looking around. Joey wasn't much of a fighter. Slapping a girl around was one thing, but this guy just looked dangerous and pissed off.
“Huh? I'm a bitch? The only bitch I see in here is you,” Xander said, moving up on the pimp, who drew back from the intense look from Xander.
“You best watch your mouth,” Joey almost yelled as sweat rolled down his face. He couldn't just cut and run, he would loose to much cred. And in his business, cred was all you had. If he lost that, the next thing he knew he’d be the one in one of these rooms taking on any and all comers.
Then Joey did something that he regretted for a long time. He pulled a switch blade. Faith drew farther back, into a corner away from the fight. Xander saw the knife and heard the click as the blade locked in the open position.
That was it. Xander stepped up to the pimp, and punched him. The guy went out like a light. Xander looked down at the man, thinking that at one time in his life he would have been doing jumping jacks over knocking out someone like this guy. Now, it was kind of sad. He'd pulled his punch, since full one would have killed the guy.
In the corner, Faith let out little whimper. She didn't know if she was saved, or if this was just another man here to hurt her.
“Hello, Faith,” Xander said as Faith gasped. He knew her! How did he know her?
Faith wanted to run but there was nowhere for her to go, so she just sat in her bra and jeans and shivered.
Xander walked over to her and stuck out his hand as she pulled farther away from him. He looked at the scared girl. She made no move and just looked back at him, terror coming off her in waves.
Trying to break the ice, Xander continued, holding out a hand, "Come with me if you want to live."
"Wh-who are you?" the terrified girl asked.
"I'm de Terminator." Xander replied in a cold, flat voice, before breaking into a lopsided grin and laughing softly. "Actually I just always wanted to say that. My name's Xander, and I'm here to lead you to someone who can help you."
“Help me?” Faith said, distrust lacing her voice. No one wanted to help her. Not even Mr. Evans at school, when she went to him – he just tried to cop a feel. Now there was this guy with a nice smile saying he wanted to help. Then she looked at where Joey lay on the floor; this guy had taken him out with any trouble so she knew he could hurt her easily. Joey had offered to help her only to try to rape her. What kind of payment would this guy want? Faith wasn't sure she could or even should trust the guy before her.
"Why should I trust you?" she asked.
A look of confusion flashed across his face, as though he'd never considered that she might not trust him. He thought about it for a minute then with a shrug replied, "Uh, because I kicked the pimp's ass, and I promise I won't hurt you or ask you to do anything you don't want to?"
Faith shook her head, "That's not a reason to trust you. Shit, that's a reason to be afraid. And I only have your word you won't try to hurt me or do stuff to me."
Xander frowned as he though about it. But before he could reply, the guard from down in the lobby suddenly rushed into the room, a revolver held unsteadily in his hand as he yelled at Xander, "Who the fuck are you, and what the hell is going on here?"
Whirling around, Xander faced the gunman, moving himself to place Faith behind him so any bullets sent her way would hit him first. "Name's Xander. I'm here to take my friend out of here.”
The gunman scowled, taking in the crumpled form of his employer before leveling the gun on him. "The bitch's not going anywhere, and neither are you, you asshole."
The gun fired twice, the bullets tearing into Xander's body before the young vampire could cross the distance between himself and his attacker, feeling the darker side of himself growing as he moved. Grasping the gun and tearing it out of the guard's hand, breaking several bones, tearing off the man's index finger, and bending the hot barrel in the process. T he smell of the blood drove him to new heights.
Then the bloody gun was hurdled across the room, hitting the floor with a bouncing slide to stop before Faith. Xander could feel his face tighten up and knew his game face was out, but just didn't care at the moment. And he let himself express that fact with several superhumanly fast and powerful punches into the man's body, lifting him off the ground to fly into the far wall with several broken ribs.
As the guard slumped to the ground, unconscious, Xander regained control of his features, his human mask slipping back into place as he turned around to look at the terrified and shivering girl.
"You ok, Faith?" he asked.
"He, he shot you." she said, staring at the bent and bloody gun, the finger still in the trigger guard, where it laid on the dirty floor in before her.
"Yeah, but that wasn't my question. Are you alright?" Xander asked, reaching out to the girl, who flinched away from his hand.
Lowering his hand and stepping back from her, Xander just stood there, waiting. Like Whistler had told him, it was always about choices; she had to choose to trust him, he couldn't make her or rush her.
Finally, the girl looked away from the gun, and scanned his body starting at his feet, working her way up his torso, stopping a bit by the two holes in his coat, before continuing up to rest on his face for a moment. "Yeah, uh, five by five. Um, you said you wanted to take me somewhere?"
"Yeah, across town. There's a woman who's been looking for you. She'll help take care of you," Xander replied, gesturing towards the door, though Xander thought she might be bored out of her mind if this Linda was anything like Giles. He'd watched the Watcher to come to that conclusion, having never really met him in person, but finding himself interested in the man supposedly in charge of the Slayer.
With a shuddering breath, Faith reached out and pulled the denim jacket off a nearby dresser, forgoing putting on a shirt so she could be covered as fast as she could. She waited until Xander looked out the door, and then she snatched up the pistol up and stuffed into her jacket pocket, but not before she knocked the finger out of the trigger guard. Then she walked out the door.
Xander smiled sadly as he followed her out the door. Deciding that it was now or never, he asked her, "So Faith, you want to hear a story?"
As she made her way down the stairs, Xander following along, she asked, "What kind of story?"
"A sad story, a true story, and a very important story for your future, I think," Xander explained.
They had made it to the empty lobby before Faith asked, "What's it about?"
"A girl, a very special girl, literally one girl in all the world, a girl who's destined to fight monsters, to protect humanity from demons and vampires and all the things people refuse to believe in. The things that go bump in the night," Xander replied as Faith led the way out the door, only to pause on the sidewalk and look back at him.
"What would you do if I wanted to just walk away?" she asked with a serious face.
Xander shrugged, "I guess I'd head back across the street and tell the guy who sent me to help you that you didn't want my help."
"And if I do want your help?" she asked.
Xander shrugged again, "Head across the street anyhow, to get the address for the Linda chick who's supposed to be your future Watcher."
Scowling, Faith asked, "What the fuck is a Watcher? Sounds like someone perv-ing or something."
Xander shook his head. "No, a Watcher is like a guide and a teacher. See, it comes back to this story I need to tell you, the one about the Vampires and Demons, and the one girl chosen to fight them."
Faith scowled and shook her head, "I don't go in for that cult shit," not really believing anything Xander had told her.
Xander shook his head. "This isn't cult shit, Faith. It's real. I can prove it."
Frowning, Faith demanded, "Prove it."
Xander slowly opened his coat, showing the bullet holes in the shirt beneath them, and the pale but unmarked skin where the bullets should have entered his body. "Remember when I got shot a bit ago?"
Faith's eyes widened and she took a step forward, then suddenly started backing up. "What the fuck is this shit? What are you trying to pull? This is all some kind of a setup. What the fuck do you want from me?"
Xander sighed needlessly and let the coat fall again. "It's not a setup, and it's not a game. It's real. The problem is, most folks, they choose to ignore reality. Me, I can't do that anymore. It sort of came up and bit me in the ass. Well, the neck anyway, but still, it bit me, and now I have to bite it back."
Faith was more confused than scared at this point as she said, "What the fuck are you yammering about now?"
Closing his eyes, Xander said, "Faith, I need you to trust me so you're going to get the truth. You always will get the truth from me. I'm going to do something, something which if you ever see again, you should be very scared of. I'm going to show you what a Vampire really looks like."
Faith looked around, glancing up and down the empty street before looking skeptically back at Xander. "Vampire? Right. Back to that cult shit. Look, dick, I told you I don't go for that crap," she said placing her hands on her hips.
Suddenly, Xander let his mask fall, revealing his game face to Faith in the streetlights. Faith screamed and turned to run.
Moving as fast as he could, Xander swiftly outpaced the terrified girl, moving around to intercept her.
Seeing him suddenly appear in front of her, Faith turned and bolted the other way, heading for the middle of the empty street, letting out a second, even louder screech of fear.
Again, Xander moved around her in almost the blink of an eye, stepping in front of the panicked girl, his hands raised non-threateningly before him.
With a third scream, Faith turned away again and bolted into the alley, running into it and knocking down Whistler who was standing before the brick wall at the alley's dead end. Xander just shook his head and let his game face fade away as he let out a needless sigh and followed the girl once again.
Climbing back to her feet from where she'd landed on top of Whistler, Faith looked behind herself and saw Xander had slowly entered the alley as well, cutting off any hope she had of escape. Backing up against the wall, her eyes scanned the debris scattered around her. Her eyes found a pipe to her right, and a jagged piece of a broken packing crate to her left. Choosing the pipe, she dove for the ground, scraping her hands as she grasped the pipe before rolling back to her feet and facing the now human faced monster closing in on her.
Xander lowered his hands and stopped a few feet away from her before speaking softly. "Faith, I'm not going hurt you. As hard as it is to believe, I'm here to help. Also,” Xander said with a half smile trying for the harmless look, “if you have to face a vampire, go for the wood, not the metal next time," as he pointed at the almost ready-made stake laying on the ground beside his feet.
Reaching into his coat, he slowly withdrew a slim box holding the silver cross he'd gotten the other day, intending to give it to Buffy, but thinking that this girl needed it more, especially at the moment. "Also, always wear one of these."
Opening the box, he withdrew the cross and held it out to her by its choker, the scant light from the one overhead lamp reflecting off its surface, and his lack of reflection allowing him to see Whistler rising back to his feet behind him.
Faith looked at the vampire (she was willing to believe that was what he was one after that creepy face shit), then at the other man who was getting to his feet behind him. Hoping the stranger might save her from the monster in front of her, which was holding a wicked looking cross out towards her, she asked, "Why the fuck would I wear a cross? I ain't a catholic or nothing."
"Crosses, actually any holy symbol, repel vampires." Xander explained.
"You ain't reacting to it, so that's bullshit," Faith replied, getting ready to hit him with the pipe, and then, considering his advice when combined with all the movies and shit she'd seen, try for the wood by his foot to stab him with it.
"Actually, Faith, Xander here isn't a normal vampire. He doesn't have a demon in him. No demon, no fear of holy items." the stranger said, bending down and picking up the piece of wood she'd been eyeing.
*Shit, they were together!* Faith thought, watching as the new guy grabbed the piece of wood she'd been planning to try if her pipe didn't take the monster out. Hoping to play for time, she asked, "So, who the fuck are you?"
The other guy frowned, "Damn it, I wasn't even supposed to get involved, other than getting my boy here and pointing him in the right direction to help you. Crap, I'm gonna catch hell from the Powers That Be for this. M y name's Whistler. I'm a Balance Demon."
Just as Faith opened her mouth to tell the Demon off, a dark figure dropped from a nearby rooftop and landed in the alley close to the group then stood from the crouch that the fall forced his body into. Looking around at them he called out, “We’ve got ourselves a poacher, boys.” Then the figure looked at the alley entrance where other figures had gathered. “But he’s cornered us some sweet meat for a late night snack.”
Faith drew back from the figure as she saw the same deformed face that Xander had just displayed a few minutes before. She let out a small scream and threw the pipe at the newcomer's head. Where it bounced harmlessly off and clanged to the ground.
The vamp just smiled at her and with a sarcastic voice said, “Ouch.” Then he reached out and grabbed her arm.
Xander was already moving when the vamp grabbed Faith. Using the cross in his hand, he slammed it down on the top of the vamp's hand where he was holding Faith's arm. Upon contact with the cross, smoke arose from the hand along the smell of roasted flesh. The vampire pulled his hand away from Faith and jumped back as Xander followed up the cross with a punch.
"Here, keep this," Xander said, tossing the cross to Faith before turning to put his back to her, placing himself between her and the three new shapes which moved in from the alley entrance.
"Kid, here," Whistler said, tossing the piece of wood to Xander, who caught it, then spun around and slammed it into the chest of the vamp that had just grabbed her a few seconds ago.
Faith screamed again as the vampire burst into dust. Xander whirled around to face off with the other vamps, as the Whistler guy just moved over to the side of the alley, looking at Faith as he did. He seemed to put forth an aura of 'not my fight' as he moved, an aura which the vamps seemed notice and move away from. Faith looked again at Xander as he faced off, then she looked back to the Whistler guy, and he was gone.
*What the fuck?* Faith thought he couldn’t have moved that fast, *Some friend he is,* she added darkly as Xander once again moved against the vampires as they moved in closer.
Within seconds, there were two more piles of dust mixing with the trash on the alley floor, and a single vampire facing Xander.
Faith was scared shitless after watching them move. The speed and the strength was like something out some action movie. She could almost feel the impact of the blows as the combatants fought. The last vampire still didn't last long. One kick he directed at Xander was extended just a little too far, and with that mistake, Xander took him. Grabbing his leg and pulling the vamp off balance, Xander drove his stake into the creature's chest. One more pile of dust.
As Faith watched ,she came to the conclusion, with the total lack of damage she had given the vampire when she hit it with the pipe and the moves Xander had been doing, that there was no way she could get away from him if he wanted to take her somewhere or even if he wanted to do other things to her. She wouldn't stand a chance against him.
But still Faith was a fighter. She looked down at her feet and noticed another piece of wood there. She grabbed it up as fast as she could, holding it out in front of her.
“S…s…stay back.” She was terrified beyond belief but she was done running, she was done screaming. She would stand, here and now, win or lose, she would not be used by someone. Not after her mother, her step dad and even Joey. This creature could kill her but it wouldn't use her. Or do anything else to her without a fight.
“Faith,” Xander said calmly as he could. He knew he could take her at anytime, but that would destroy anything he could make out of this. “I will NOT hurt you. I want to be your friend. I want to help you.”
“Yeah, heard that before. First from Mom, then all the others. What make you different?” The terror in her eyes was plain for him to see.
“Trust?” Xander said hopefully.
“Trust? Dude. I don’t trust you. You're just the lesser of the evils out here now. And soon enough, you'll turn on me like everyone else. It’s a dog eat dog world, you know.”
“Faith, I won't do that. How many times do I have to tell you?”
Xander ran his hand through his hair, frustrated. There was no way to get her trust; people had already hurt her too bad. She never had the power to fight back, never was the one in charge. Just moving from one person that hurt her to the next. Then a thought hit him.
“Faith, come here,” Xander ordered.
“Like hell I will,” Faith said. If the alley way had a back exit, she would have long been gone. But as it was, to leave she would have to first get around the vampire in front of her.
“This is about trust, Faith. I will not hurt you. Just come here, with the stake,” Xander said calmly. After a second, Faith slowly moved toward him, still holding the stake up. Xander could think of a dozen ways to take it away for the Slayer in waiting, but he still didn't move.
“Now what?” Faith asked. He could smell the fear in her again. The human parts that were left in him were saddened that she was so scared of him. But to the vamp parts of him, it was a fine wine to be savored and enjoyed. Faster than Faith could react, Xander grabbed Faith's hand over the stake and pulled it to his heart. Once there, he let go of her hand.
“Now this,” Xander said looking at the surprised girl in the face. “One push and I am dead. No coming back. I’ll be judged on the things I have done, both before and after becoming a vampire. And with my luck, it won't be the nice place I go to. Now, it's simple. As I said before, I will NOT hurt you. I am your friend, if you want me to be, that is. And if not, I can leave. Your watcher should find you in a few days, no matter what. I was sent here to make sure what was going on in the hotel didn't happen. And I stopped it.
"But now, it's up to you. You can walk away from me and never see me again. Or I can take you to your Watcher, then go away and never be seen again. Or I can be your friend and help you how ever you want me to. But no matter what you choose, I will not hurt you. Ever. And if you don't believe that, then go ahead and give that stake a good shove. It's your choice. You are the one in charge, the one with the power. Do I live, do I die? Do you trust me, or don't you? Your call.”
Faith stood there, looking at the creature. No, not creature. Friend, maybe? He was honest with her, as far as she could tell. But she still thought about pushing the stake, at least for a little while.
Then it hit her. This guy wanted to be her friend, and really didn't want anything from her. He just wanted to make her life better if he was to be believed.
Dropping the stake, Faith stood back away from the vampire. She had made her choice. Xander smiled. “I am really, really glad you did that," he said letting out a breath. “Now let's get you to your new Watcher.”
Above them standing on the roof, Whistler looked down as the to moved off out of the alley.
“Good job kid.” Whistler said then shimmered off. He'd be back later to find Xander and take him home, but right now he needed to report what was happening to the powers.
Just as the duo walked onto the street that held the Bookstore where the Watcher set up shop, the sun started to peek over the horizon.
“Crap. Crap and double crap,” Xander said and sped up his movements. He knew he needed to get inside somewhere soon, or he would be filling a vacuum cleaner bag.
“What?” Faith asked looking around for more trouble as her...friend moved off at fast pace, almost a run.
“Sun,” Was the only thing Xander said. And then he reached for the bookstore's door.
Only to find it locked.
He put his strength into pushing in the door, only to have it not move but also push him back a little almost out into the sun. Spelled! The door had to be spelled, either that or it wouldn't let nonhumans open it. This was a Watcher's place of business, after all. And the sunlight was still creeping up the road. The only shade he had was the little bit provided from the awning over the door and it was rapidly disappearing. With a sigh. Xander thought, *Well, it's been good and at least Faith made it to the Watcher.*
“Move aside, fang.” Faith said, pushing Xander away from the door. She bent down and pulled out a small pack from her back pocket and started to stick long pieces of metal wire in the lock. Soon it clicked open, and they pushed their way into the store.
“What? How?” Xander said looking as the sunlight filled up the shadowed spot he'd just been standing in.
“Last boyfriend taught me a lot more than just how to kiss,” Faith said, smiling at the vampire caught flat footed with a blank look on his face. Faith started to laugh - here's this bad ass vampire and he was saved by girl.
“So, I owe you few more. Don’t make it a habit. I like to keep my...friends around a while,” Faith said that last softly, unaware that to Xander's vampire hearing it was clear as if she had shouted it out.
“Let’s get out of the front room,” Xander said, heading back in to the back room. “So what movies you seen lately?”
“Movies?” Faith asked following him. “Man, I haven't had a working TV in over a year.”
“That truly sucks, no Star Trek and worst of all, no Babylon Five,” Xander said.
“Are you for real?” Faith asked. “That's geek shit.”
“You wound me. Come you don’t watch any Sci-fi?”
“Fang, for some big bad ass vampire, you sure are a nerd.”
“Why is it if you like Star Trek you a nerd?” Xander asked, quirking up an eyebrow in much the same way Spock had, back in the original series.
“Fact of life,” Faith said with a grin. “So this slayer stuff, how does it work?”
After that, they sat back into a deep conversation, only to stop when Linda had shown up, and after a LONG conversation with her (after the crosses and holy water anyway), did Xander finally convince her he wasn't evil. And for the first time, he felt welcome. Linda was like a Mom, instantly there for Faith, and to an extent even for him.
After a while, both of the females started to treat him normally, acting like they liked him. Not for being a bad ass vampire killer as Faith had said, but for himself - Xander, the guy that'd had a bad break. But soon as the night fell again, he knew it was time to go; he was needed back home. And no matter how much he would have like to stay with someone that treated him normally, it was time to go. He made sure to tell them how they could get a hold of him through Willie's back in Sunnydale if they ever needed him, and then he slipped out the door into the gathering darkness.
As soon as he left the bookstore, he came across Whistler sitting on a bench waiting.
“It's time,” the demon said.
“Did I do good?” Xander asked.
“Yeah, but it’s time to head home. She's going to have to stand on her own for a while.”
“What's going to happen?” Xander asked coming to a stop.
“Some good, some bad. She needs what’s going to happen, to happen, so she can do what's needed later. But she has a better chance, now that she knows that at least one person out there will be by her side.”
“Then I need to stay here,” Xander said. “Her life was bad enough I could make it better.”
“Not your choice,” the Demon said as he reach out and grabbed Xander. “Hold on, here we go.”
Then the world shimmered around them, only to solidify as the Sunnydale High School appeared near them. Up ahead, he could hear something going on.
As he moved down the hall, he heard animal sounds.
*Hyena?* he thought, and looking around, he noticed Whistler was once again gone. *That bastard.* Already, Xander was thinking of ways to get back to Boston. Then there was that sound again.
He turned and headed toward the noise. Turning the corner, he was not prepared for what he saw. There were four students holding down Willow, her red hair trailing out behind her.
Xander was moving before he could think.
The fight was short, because the others broke and ran, once it became obvious that they would lose. But not before he caught a look at the leader of this pack of kids, a look which caused his unbeating heart to clench painfully in his chest.
It was a face he knew well, the face of his other lifelong friend, his brother in all but blood.