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Tales from the barman... Part II

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Tales from the barman...". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Simple premise for anyone to join... Xander has opened his own bar, club by the name of 'Nights', anyway he's the barman there and 'collects' stories off his customers, multiple crossings allowed. Dig in people.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered
Multiple Crossings > Faith-Centered
(Past Donor)Methos + 59 othersFR1596129,42327423403,6989 Aug 0914 Dec 14No

Taking a Break by TheKnightofFaerie

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Devil May Cry. Pretty sure no one can lay claim on the Devil himself either. Specific versions of him, aye, but not the base persona. I will claim ownership over Mister E though (read notes at the end). I make no money from this, nor do I plan on trying to. This is purely for fun.

Taking a Break

By Faerie Knight

It was a slow day that Thursday. Likely this was due to the foul weather. You know it's bad out when even the demons decide to stay home. It was just one of those days when even the devil would rather nurse a nice warm mug of hot chocolate. Which might have explained why he was sitting in a corner of the bar doing just that. Or maybe that was just a devil instead of the devil. It was hard to tell sometimes. In another corner was a white haired devil/human hybrid wearing plenty of red and black enjoying a strawberry sundae.

Who ever heard of a devil who ate strawberry sundaes? Even this was rather prosaic considering the usual clientele. So when the wards lite up like the fourth of July the bartender looked over towards the broom closet. Whoever was on the other side of the door was human. Powerful enough somehow to be mistaken for a minor god, but still human. It was an unusual combination. Especially since the wards were confused about if it was mystical empowerment, supernatural influence, or just superhuman ability.

Finally the door to the broom closet opened. From within a disheveled man emerged. He looked to be in his mid forties. Dark brown hair was uncombed and in clear need of a trim. He had a scraggly looking six day old beard as well. The man stood around five foot six and was broad of shoulders. Beneath the tattered faded blue bath robe he had on tan draw string pajama bottoms, and not much else. This allowed his six pack abs and very well defined chest muscles to be clearly seen.

Just looking at the man, the bartender could already tell there wouldn't be any money made from this customer. For all that the stranger looked to be in fantastic shape, he appeared to be a broken man. One worn down by time and loss, yet forced to soldier on no matter how hard it was. He was a man who by all appearances had given in to his despair. And from the distinct aroma wafting from the unknown man, he'd climbed into a bottle with no intentions of ever leaving it.

The barman finally spoke. “Welcome to Nights. I'm Xander, the owner and chief bottle washer. What can I get you?”

The man blinked in confusion a few times. Slowly he looked around and took in the environment. “Not my kitchen?”

“No, this is my bar. We're in Cleveland Ohio, but probably not you're Cleveland.” Xander said wryly. “What do you want?”

The man staggered over and collapsed onto a bar stool. “A reason to hope, but I'll take the strongest you've got.”

Xander sighed as he gave the man a measuring look. Instead of opening the specialty cabinet he grabbed a mug and filled it from the Tab tap. It wasn't the strongest drink in the bar. The strongest one was enough to kill almost any patron due to it's potency. It was however likely to be exactly what this man needed. The bartender wasn't sure why he felt that. It was just a gut feeling. Yet it was a feeling he trusted. The fact the skeeball on the wall behind him seemed to approve the choice cemented the decision.

The unknown man sipped his drink, clearly not aware yet it wasn't alcoholic. “All I ever wanted was to help people.”

Xander nodded at the admission. “Care to share a story? I collect them. And maybe telling someone will help.”

“Was a scientist once. Not anymore, but I was good. Maybe great even. Worked on a new energy source back in the thirties. Was trying to find a way to use water to power a city. Almost had it working too. Never knew what happened, but it went wrong. Real wrong. People could have died wrong. By gosh, people should have died.”

Listening to the man was like listening to the one time mayor of Sunnydale. A shattered and alcoholic former mayor of Sunnydale at that. Over the course of the evening the man consumed vast quantities of the divine Tab. And he talked. He told stories of the dawning of the age of heroes in his world. Tales of a scientist who's knowledge of science was stripped were shared. Of brave men and women who faced the darkness alone and together.

The man spoke of friends made and lost. Of decisions made which had lasting consequences, and mistakes which cost thousands their lives. But most of all he spoke of hope. The man spoke of hope, and the slow loss of it. He told a tale of seven decades spent saving the world and holding a thin line. And finally he spoke of his adventure. Of the friends who died and a line nearly crossed. Of a curse which weighed heavily on a tired old man more now then it had in decades.

“I was a scientist once. A hero too I suppose, although I never felt like one. But now? Now I'm just tired. I want, no need it to end. I can't do this anymore. How can I be Mister E when I can't even remember who Kevin Smith is?”

Xander smiled sadly at the world weary man and said “I know how you feel. I was a demon hunter for seven years. But it got too hard. I was losing myself. That's why I opened Nights. I needed a break. Maybe someday I'll go back to it. But for now I'm happy. Maybe you just need to retire for awhile too.”

Notes from the Faerie Knight:

Mister E comes from my own original superhero world setting. It began back in 1990 with a gaming group. Six of us sitting around a table playing Heroes Unlimited Revised edition. We had a few super abilities pulled from fan sites on the internet, the core book, and the desire to run a four color comic style adventure. Mister E was my first character ever made for the system. The campaign was initially set in the year 1947, shortly after the second world war.

That gaming group lasted ten years, as did the Heroes Unlimited campaign. Members came and left, but the world stayed the same. The campaign spanned from 1947 to the year 2000, which is also when the group finally disbanded. Many former members of the group reunited for one last adventure of the Freedom Society, that was the name of the superhero team our campaign chronicled. Thirty players and six Game Masters spent a week on one last final adventure.

It culminated with the Freedom Society having to face the dark god Apsu in battle for the fate of all creation. A battle which only five members of the Freedom Society survived. Ironically the heroes who survived the battle were all characters I had created and played over the ten years. Everyone had brought out their favorite characters from the Society campaign. But many of the former members had characters who would have been too old or would have died of old age. So they borrowed more recent characters from others.

After that final adventure I talked to the members of the group, past and present. I didn't want to just let the world of the Freedom Society end. And I got permission from them to continue using that world as my own personal campaign world. Out of respect for them I don't use their old characters in the original fiction I write. Although they do show up when I run adventures in that setting for older time periods.

The world of the Freedom Society has a rich history which I'm proud to continue expanding upon. It was created with love by myself and many friends over the years. And someday I hope to get the non-crossover original fiction for the Freedom Society published. Until then I'm proud to bring them to life via fanfiction such as this one and my Wild Horses series at Fanfiction Dot Net. I hope you enjoyed this.
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