Title: Are You On The ... (00?)
Author: Prospero Hibiki
Date Started: 5/26/05 Date Finished: 5/31/05
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, UPN, Fox and WB Network. In no way are these aforementioned characters being used for my own personal profit, and this is not meant as an infringement of the copyright owned by any of the above entitys. Also I don’t own the others either. But you’ll find out about them later.
Rating: M (16+)
Timeline: After Graduation Part 2 and before the Freshman. To start with.
Spoilers: Most everything.
Classification: Alternate Universe...Yeah. AU.
Summary: Everyone’s always thought there was more to the great trip across America than Xander ever said. But how much more could there be?
Author's Comments: I was sitting there browsing torrents and there it was. I’ve been reading tons of his stuff so I said what the hell and got it. And it just hit me. “Self: This would make a really good fanfic.” “I do believe you’re right.” So here it is. Oh and I guess I’ve made assumptions about the timeline that I know aren’t supported in my secondary source. But screw it.
July 3rd, 1999
My lungs are screaming as they don’t have as much oxygen getting into them as they’ve been used to during my eighteen years of life. But, hey, that might have something to do with the fact that the zombie has his hands wrapped around my throat and is squeezing the life out of me. I’ve probably said it before, but I really hate zombies. And yet they always seem to pop up around me. Maybe it’s my cologne? That would so just figure since it was a gift from Cordy. She’s trying to kill me off.
So I’m lying on the ground of an alley being choked to death by a zombie after stopping to check up on my car, and all I can think about is my cologne might be attracting zombies? Priorities Xander, priorities. My hands flail about to search for something and after a few seconds they brush against something round and wooden. Grabbing onto it firmly I take a swing and hit the zombie over the head with it. Who knows why but it seems to have done the job as it gets knocked away enough for me to take a gasping breath of sweet, sweet air. I look at my weapon and blink. It’s a baseball bat. With huge friggin nails though the top! What the hell? Shrugging I stand up and hit the zombie again and again in the head with the spiked bat. Hey, you have to hit zombies in the head. It’s kind of like vampires and the whole stake through the heart thing.
Once it’s stopped moving I look around the alley and spot the bodies of several gang members. Well body parts at least. And I assume there’s more than one. Though I don’t see enough flesh to account for the four left feet I can see. God, I’m think I’m going to be sick. Oh, there’s some of the extra parts behind the dumpster where I was going to throw up. Yay.
A few minutes pass before I’m able to pull myself together enough to search for some more weapons. Because I’m seriously doubting that only one zombie did all this. I don’t find much though I do find a really cool machete which I use to cut off the zombie’s head. You can never be too careful with zombies.
Carrying my new bat in one hand and with the machete slid into my belt at the small of my back I walk out into the street. I’m only slightly reassured that I don’t see hundreds of zombies running around randomly killing people. Instead I see a group of five zombies loping down the street ahead of this guy dressed up in a really big bathrobe. Oh, and he’s carrying a large glowing staff thing. The truly scary thing about that is that it’s not the weirdest thing I’ve seen since coming to Oxnard. No, that distinction goes to the ninety year old transvestite midget hooker that ran into two days ago. Now THAT was weird.
So apparently bathrobe guy is responsible for the zombies, which instantly pops him into the black hat category. Taking a moment to figure out which way the group is going; I duck back into the alley and run flat out in an attempt to get ahead of them. Five minutes later I’m mostly out of breath but, if I’m right about where they were going, ahead of them. I poke my head around the corner of the brick building in front of me. But I don’t see anything. With the slowness of a cheesy B-grade horror movie I turn my head in the other direction and see that the pack of zombies is both larger and moving much faster now. They are, it seems, barely under the control of the robe dude. Yay. Not only am I chasing after zombies, I’m chasing after soon to be out of control zombies. It’s a good thing I get paid for this...oh yeah, I don’t!
What to do, what to do. This time I just follow the zombies to wherever they’re trying to go. This is surprisingly enough a motel room. Rolling my eyes at the stupidity of the bad guys I walk around the motel and tap on the window of the room the zombies are about to start attacking. I blink when a rather large pistol is pushed against my head from beside me. Well the gun is probably normal sized but then again it feels huge being as it’s pointed at my brain.
“Who are you?” Oh, this just figures. I swear that one of these days a woman’s going to be the death of me.
“My name is Xander. I came to tell you that there is a pack of zombies at your front door, but it appears you already know.” I’m actually somewhat proud that I manage to say all of that with both a straight face and without stuttering.
“I don’t believe you.” Well shit. That just ruins my, already really shitty, day. “You have twenty seconds to convince me not to shoot you.”
“Well, I guess the fastest way for you to believe me would be opening your door. But I don’t think you want to do that. Look lady, I don’t know you and I don’t really care why these things are after you, but right now I’m the only person that knows just what it is that you’re up against and more importantly how to kill them. So if you’re going to shoot me, do it in the head so that there’s no chance I’ll be alive when the zombies start eating me.”
Okay, that was probably over the top but it’s not like I had a lot of options. I open my right eye, only now realizing I’d had it closed, to find that she’s lowered the gun. “Let me just say that I think you made a really good decision. And I’m not just saying that because you didn’t shoot me. Well, maybe I am.”
“Talk to me.” Short and to the point. I’ll give her points for originality at least. I also get my first good look at her and what I see isn’t what I expected at all. Though to be honest I had no expectations to begin with. She’s about my height with straight black hair that falls to her shoulders and oddly enough dressed in a tailored black suit with a black tie.
“There are zombies at your front door. Probably wouldn’t be too great an idea to talk here since they’re being controlled by some guy in a robe carrying a glowing stick thing. So how about we head someplace that’s a bit further away so that I can fill you in on what you need to know. Besides the obvious that is,” at her arched eyebrow I continue. “You know, shoot them in the head. Doesn’t anyone watch horror movies anymore?”
At her somewhat doubting expression I lead the way back around corner of the building, only to come face to rotting face with a zombie. Reacting somewhat less than instantly but fast enough for government work, I whack the zombie in the head with the bat. Unfortunately as the zombie falls its last reaction is to grab onto the bat and take it with it as it falls at the feet of three others.
I grab for the machete and make a swing at the next zombie’s neck. It’s gruesome but it takes several good whacks to chop it off. The other two haven’t been idle though and one grabs at my neck while the other tries to pull my left arm out of its socket. And he’s doing a rather remarkable job at it too. A bad Wookie joke crosses my brain before two gunshots ring out in quick succession. And just like that the zombies drop like, well, dead bodies.
“Different. We’re leaving, and you’re going to tell me everything you know about zombies.”
I never expected to be having a conversation about zombies in the dining room of a Dunkin Donuts. But here I am eating a jelly while my still nameless companion half eats a cruller. “Well, maybe I slightly overstated the case when I said I knew what was going on. But I do have a pretty good idea. This’ll be my third run in with zombies in the past year so I guess that kind of makes me an expert of sorts. The first ones were brought back from the dead by some African mask thing and they were all trying to get a hold of it to turn into Ovu Mobani or some such guy. When one did she got this weird eye flash thing that knocked people out. Other than that they seemed pretty mindless. Then there was the zombie street gang that wanted to blow up the school. Ends up the school punk had gotten killed by a drive by and his grandfather raised him from the dead...and nobody noticed. He raised his buddies and fun was had by all. They seemed a little more on the level of people. What we’re facing here seems more like first set if you ignore the fact that this guy is somehow controlling them somehow with his staff. The good news is that we can probably kill off the zombies by destroying the staff thing. Bad news: it might not work because from what it looked like the guy was starting to lose control anyway.”
“So what you’re saying is that we either take down the zombies or we take down this man?”
She gives me a stare that seems to weigh my soul. “And just who are you?”
I run my hand through my hair. “I’m Xander Harris, a guy that just graduated from high school after spending the last three years fighting against vampires, demons, and homework.” I sigh. “Look I know you don’t believe me or trust me, but everything I’ve told you has been the truth. So it’s going to come down to this. Either you take my help here and now, or I walk away and spend the rest of my life wondering if I could have done anything to save yours.” Standing up I point to the rest room. “I’ve got to go. If you don’t believe me just leave before I get back.”
I walk into the men’s room and stare long and hard into the mirror. I learned the hard way during my senior year that you have to let people make their own decisions. I just hope she makes the right one. Of course that would probably put her on a bus going as far away from here as fast as it could. I head back out and my head drops when I see that she’s gone. Sinking back into my seat and lay my head on the table. “Shit.”
There’s a small thud on the table a few inches away. “Drink up while it’s hot, kid. You’ll need the caffeine. There’s a man in this town I want to have a rather blunt conversation with.”
Without even raising my head I grin.
It didn’t take all that long to track down the guy with the zombies, and he’s seemingly regained control of them somehow. But that’s where our good luck ended. So here we are tied with our hands in front of us and surrounded by zombies in the rather clichéd abandoned warehouse. And the reason he was after her? Money. He was told that he’d be paid a million dollars if he killed the woman staying in that motel room that night. Doesn’t even know who it was that hired him, or who his target is. And instead of doing the smart thing like using a gun, the putz goes to a graveyard and raises a dozen zombies from the grave. How do I know all this? He’s freaking telling us!
I lean over to, I just realized I still don’t know her name, whoever and whisper. “Make him really, really mad. Think of every corny line you can think of and both feed his ego and piss him off.”
“I want to see if his head will get so red it’ll explode.”
I don’t need to turn to face her to know she’s rolling her eyes at me. It’s something I’ve managed to pick up from being around Buffy and the gang for the past three years. Oddly enough though she does start to alternately feed and demolish his ego which gives me a chance to tense up my body enough for one desperate dive into his legs. I manage to knock him down and she’s right there with me hitting him with her hands while I grab the staff and prop it up on his hip. And then I jump on it hearing it break even as the first zombie starts choking me. “Enough with the choking already!”
And with that all the zombies just collapse like puppets with their strings cut. Oh, and the guy in the robe screams as his soul is sucked out and into hell as the price for raising the dead. I find that I can live with that.
“You know, I still have no idea what your name is.” We’re both sitting against the side of the building cutting out way out of the ropes using pieces of glass. And by the way it really isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies.
“Alright. My name is Miranda Zero.”
I snort. “That is so not your real name.”
“It’s the only one you’re getting. And I have a proposition for you Xander Harris. How would you like to be a part of my organization?”