The sun rose again as it inevitably does. The Lagoon put out to sea with The Grey Foxes aboard. They were being delivered to a safe place from which they would secretly return home to America. The trip was part of the deal Rock brokered to make sure the Foxes kept the details of the war they had fought to themselves .Meanwhile Chang was seeing to the Lovelace trio's departure. Roberta offered to leave by a separate route assuming she was no longer welcome in Garcia's home anymore Garcia surprised everyone once more by snickering loudly at her offer.
"You are a maid in the Lovelace household Roberta and you will be until I say otherwise." The young man said with an impressive level of confidence. "However it is obvious to me now that the duties of Head-maid leave you with too much time on your hands I think It is time for a change Fabiola can take your duties now I hope you can learn from her that your place is at my side not gallivanting around the world forcing me to come and find you."
The Young Master then turned on his heel and boarded the plane with not a backward glance. Fabiola looked as surprised as anyone else and looked at Roberta
"Is he serious head-maid?"
"I think that title now belongs to you Fabiola. Now as head of household you should attend to the young master while I gather our things for departure.
Fabiola nodded, “...and when we get back I'll have a new division of responsibility drawn up. ...if that's OK?" She added this last in a small voice.
Roberta smiled at the young girl "You’re in charge now dear....we can work on it on the way. For now, shoulders back -- chest high -- you are Head maid under Garcia Fernando Lovelace that should be reflected in your walk and deportment."
"...Roberta, the bags if you please." Fabiola said with a little more strength in her voice.
"Yes Mistress Head maid." Roberta said with a smile. She seemed happy. Happier by far then Xander had ever seen her since they had met days ago.
Buffy, Willow and the squad of Slayers they had brought with them were taking a plane out as well. This was to spare Willow who drained herself in the fight and was likely going to need a lot of rest when they got home. Rather than press her abilities anymore Willow and Buffy arranged for a plane ride out for the Slayers. While they had not lost many, the few that had died were a keen loss that was made all the more sharper as many of the girls had come along on the mission to rescue Xander from Roanapur and now he was staying behind. Indeed Faith was staying as well though no one questioned her oddly pale appearance. Everyone assumed she had a late night but she was adamant about not discussing who or what had kept her up late.
Giles was leaving a long and detailed list of things he was hoping Xander would keep an eye on if he was taking up field duties again. Topping the list was Giles determination to understand the nature of the Slayers ability to act as a group and pour their power into a single individual.
After the Slayers and Watchers had left, the city went through a kind of collective unclench of its sphincter. The party was subdued mostly because the Yellow flag was still shot up but the bar was open and you could drink there as long as you didn't mind the fact one whole wall was gone leaving the place more like an open air cafe then a bar. Bao the bartender was price gouging, marking up the hooch since the place now had atmosphere.
Xander stayed long enough to be social-able but retired early since he was rebuilding the city block by block. Xander and Eda had found one of the few hotels still in one piece finding an unoccupied and cheap hotel room in the city had been a challenge with several of them shot to hell or gutted by fire. Several of Eda's favourite hideaways had been lost in the battle and she was going to have to find new places. This one had the unique quality of being directly over a hotspot making it perfect for using the net book she had in the next room. She was typing at the thing now.
"You’re lucky, I'm so even tempered;" Eda reminded Xander, "another girl might be pissed that she was being forced to set up a whole new series of safe houses thanks to you."
"Trust me Eda; I’m starting to realize how much damage was caused. Between Roberta’s war and the Zombie attack the place is a mess." Xander whined. "What were you and Buffy talking about anyway you seemed to be having quite the intense discussion at one point."
Eda smiled "Buffy was marking her territory you know how it is Mess-with-Xander-and-die."
"Somehow I would have thought that would have been Willow...Guess having Kennedy has calmed her down a little. Between having my friends threaten you and blowing up your place of business I’m really making one hell of an impression."
Eda waved him off. "I knew Yolanda was going to pull that trigger one day. I’m glad it was sooner rather than later." she disappeared back into the other room and Xander could hear soft typing.
"What are you working on?" he asked tiredly.
Eda lied smoothly "I’m just letting the powers that be know that Ingrid is no longer among the living and that she wasn’t working for the Company and maybe never was."
Xander sensed her untruth, "IF you are writing me a Dear John Letter you could just deliver me the news in person. I’m a big boy I could handle it."
"Why would I Dear John You? Just because you are a crusading Do-Gooder with no sense of self preservation doesn't make you any less fun to be around. "
Xander was about to protest but Eda appeared again and this time she removed her shades. Xander waited as the woman sat down beside him and looked him in the eyes.
"Xander ninety percent of what screws up relationships can be traced directly to unfulfilled expectations and desires people wanting things they can’t have or expecting things that will never happen. You and I, we beat those odds right away. I told you I back grounded you. I already know who and what you are. You are fairly sharp enough to know who I work for and what I do for them. Sure I'm going to want to know what you and the Watchers are up to and some of it you will want to keep from me but some of your operations will be a lot easier if you have access to the kind of information I can get for you."
"Sounds like great fun for you what are I getting out of this?"
"My promise that when and if I die, it won’t be your fault. I'm going to die, Revy, Rock, Buffy, Willow, even you. That’s just the way it is. It's like that old song says -- Sooner or later God will cut us down."
Xander nodded in pained recognition, "Go and tell that long tongued liar, go and tell the midnight rider, tell the gambler the rambler, the backbiter; tell them God’s gonna cut ‘em down... -- a list of practically every person who lives in this town."
"That, my friend is a list of practically everyone who’s ever lived -- period. We’re all sinners but if I’ve earned my place by the fire I’m at least not minding the company."
"So how do we do this?"
"One day at a time one crisis at a time that's the way it always works down here.”
"I feel like I have heard the name Millennium before but I may need access to the Watcher records."
"You mean the records you gave up control of when you demoted yourself."
"Crap, well I know all the girls in Records and Research I guess I'm going to have to start cashing in favours."
"Maybe you could get Rock to ask. He's the new guy in the block; they might be more inclined to cut him slack then you."
"Rock will have his hands full. Revy was on a tear at the bar tonight if I'm any judge I’d say her near death experience has left her a little freaked. She was binge drinking like crazy."
That's Revy, Xand, she fights hard, plays hard, and crashes hard after she does either of the two."
"No, don't hold back Eda." Xander said sarcastically "tell us what you really think."
"Xander I like Revy she’s the closest thing I have to a girlfriend in this shit hole. She’s a great as a drinking buddy and even better to have at your back during a gun fight even if she’s a relentless cunt shunt."
"Excuse me? Cunt shunt --"
"Think female version of Cock Blocking. My point is that Revy is all those things but she is also a violent hot tempered sociopath. Not exactly the safest bet in the Long term planning department."
"Revy can be a handful but one bad toss of the coin, you could have been in the same spot you know?"
"No I don't know that at all."
"Well I do. Dad lived out on the east coast for a while. Sometime he talked about moving back there since he knows guys out in New York."
"Really what happened?"
"He was living out there for a few months before I was hatched I guess he and Mom were on the outs cause he had himself a bit of strange while he was out there. Every so often when mom was really pissed shed go off on him about going back to his ....Asian Girlfriend ...except she would use a really rude term for Asian....and girlfriend."
"Did you ever find out the truth of what happened?"
"Once some guy delivered lawyer papers to the house but dad made some phone calls and nothing ever came of it I’d of forgotten about it but that was one of those Special Harris Family Christmas moments so ..."
"Don't you love a little knock down drag out family squabble under the mistletoe?"
"My point Eda is that things can get screwed up in people’s lives Sometime you have to pull together as friends cause that’s all that we got. That’s what we crusading do-gooders do. We look out for our friends even if they are violent sociopaths or even manipulative spies"
"Touché, ok sport you want to save Revy, or the slightly less difficult task of saving the world don't let my cynicism stop you."
"Hey look at it this way if I’m willing to go through hell itself for my friends what do you think I'm willing to do when I’m seriously involved."
"I shudder even just to think about it." Eda sighed because if Xander Harris had one annoying personality trait that Eda could have done without, it was his relentless need to protect people who didn't need or deserve protection.
Eda had access to a fair amount of information and that included information about her boyfriend.
She could have told Xander exactly who Tony' Harris's Asian Girlfriend was. She could even tell him where the woman lived in New York City. Or at least where she had been living until a number of agencies including Child Services come down on her with all kinds of heat.
The only other interesting thing about that New York address, it showed up a few more times in the NYPD's database. During Revy's earliest brushes with the law, that address had been listed as her home. At least it was before she was sucked into the snake pit that was the New York City family services system.
Taken individually it was just weird co-incidence. There were a thousand possible reasons for Revy to have been living in the same apartment that Tony Harris had been living in for part of the year prior to her birth. That was part of the reason why she had laughed at Xander's panic when she had messed with him Part of the reason but not the entire reason.
Xander Harris could not resist a damsel in distress. and while that made him a better man by far than his Father it also made him dangerous occasionally to people around him but most times just to himself.
If he knew or suspected that he might have a familial connection to Revy he would make "saving" her a priority and in Eda's experience, people like Revy couldn't be saved. They were marked and screwed by powers beyond most people’s control. It would take some kind of miracle to arrest Revy's downward spiral but that was as likely as hell freezing.
For his own good, Xander was better off not knowing the truth. Some people showed love with honesty but in Eda's hands Honesty was just one more thing to be molded and shaped to suit the needs of the moment and truth, a commodity like all other information. Best managed carefully until the moment came when it would do her the most good to reveal it...and as crazy as life with Xander was, a day like that might be just around a corner.
Revy was sleeping peacefully at last Rock on the other hand was wide awake.
Rock had left her at the Yellowflag she was obviously in a binging mood and it was never a good idea to get between Revy and glass when she was in such moods.
He had found his way to the dingy place outside the hotel district. It wasn’t quite a hotel as much as it was a glorified opium den. Rock discovered long ago that drugged out opium addicts made for peaceful neighbors. They didn’t usually cause him problems and never bothered him once they realized he didn't have drugs and didn't want to take theirs away.
He had opened a window though to let in some fresh air. The windows were barred. A move the management had made in order to forestall a tweaking junkie jumping to the pavement. Suicides, even those of drunks or druggies might have to be explained to police the following morning. He had also locked the door so that no opium zombie wandered in by accident.
Thus he had been surprised an hour or so later when Revy had jumped on top of him. She was drunk and reeking of booze. She was murmuring about following his scent trail across the rooftops and alleyways of the city.
Rock looked again at the metal bars lying on the floor. Revy had not explained how she got past them but they had been snapped clean off the wall. While Revy was no lightweight in the strength department, where she had found the strength to do something like that, Rock would never know.
She was upset and ranting about a whispering voice. Apparently her drinking binge had done more to unsettle her than anything else. She had consumed bottle after bottle almost a dozen when Rock had stopped counting.
Then she had taken him. He and Revy had been playing around for a while now but this was something different. Revy was wild and uncontrollable He had let her do whatever she wanted and his submission had seemingly inflamed her more. Now she was quiet and Rock was aching she had actually bit him at certain points.
Revy rolled over and looked at him, "Something’s happened," Revy said quietly," Something’s changed."
"Look Revy it's been a weird couple of days and you almost died at the Church. When people have near death experiences its normal to have a little..."
"Fuck that," Revy cut him off, "I ain't getting religion and I ain't going to some hospital. Ya want me to end up like that fucked up leprechaun that used to hang out with Chinglish. He probably doesn’t even know his own fuckin name and you can't tell me that’s all because of the dope he was using. Fuck that. I came close but I beat the reaper that's all it fucking is. That's all that happened." The gun woman insisted.
"So what's the problem?" Rock sighed, once Revy's mind was made up the argument was over or things got nasty.
"I drink cause it makes me feel better I do everything I do cause it made me feel better makes me not think about the shit in my head, in my past. Tonight I couldn't make it go away. Not till I hunted.
"Wandered out in the street somehow I picked up your trail and followed it and here you are and you know what the whole time, it felt good to feel the air and smell the breeze and know everything about this place. It felt good. I know how many people are in this shit hole I can tell you which ones are going to be dead by tomorrow morning and I found you."
Rock relaxed for a few moments until he felt a crushing painful pressure. Revy had latched onto him and was holding him in a painfully tight grip.
"Don't know what’s going on with me but I'll figure it out I always do. In the meantime..."
"Revy what are you doing?" he gasped quietly
"Law of the pack baby," Revy hissed in his ear. The best hunter always gets the best meat. Life should always be that simple and as fucked as everything else is THIS" here she squeezed him again, "this still feels like it should."
Revy rolled on top of him and straddled him again.
"You know why the bitches in this town keep sniffing after your white collar ass? Cause you don't smell like me. Its time I marked my territory. Make sure they know who’s top dog from now on. You got a problem with that plan Rocky-boy." she was looking at him again with that feral smile of hers and Rock found himself wondering of it was some trick of the light or had Revy's normally brown eyes really turned yellow.
Then he stopped thinking about anything at all. What happened next wasn't about thought it was about basic instinct, survival and pleasure; sometimes all three at the same time.