A/N: Okay, I admit it. I was going to leave this story at that first ficlet. Like I said, it was just a plot bunny I wanted to get out of my head. But then I got inspired, and now I’m not sure what it is...
And thank you so, so much for the reviews! I didn't think this story would get that kind of response, and it was awesome! Totally made my day and gave my muse a much needed shove. :D And thank you, athenethegoddess for the rec! +++
Xander obviously wasn’t going to hold evil to any moral standard, but there was such a thing as tradition
, dammit, and the lull after an attempted apocalypse was about as time honored as it got.
Seriously, it didn’t matter who – or what – was behind the most recent threat of world endage. For five years running now, there was an unspoken cease fire over the summer, one that almost everyone and everything
observed, from the soul-devouring Big Bad right on down to the blink-and-it’s-slayed flunky. It gave them all some much needed rest, and Xander looked forward to it every year.
So yeah, it annoyed the heck out of him that he got ambushed at LAX airport in broad daylight one measly day after the most recent apocalypse-that-almost-was.
It happened in the parking garage. He had just seen Willow and Giles off on their trip to Merry Old England for some witchy rehab, and, having essentially glued himself to Willow’s side for the past day and a half in constant vigil, he was ready to crash.
When he spotted his car, he almost broke out into the Snoopy dance right then and there as visions of his bed filled his mind – which was probably why he dropped his keys as he yanked them out of his pocket.
They hit the ground with a loud clang. The sound echoed through the silent garage, jolting Xander back to reality. Chagrined, he came to an abrupt halt to look for them.
That’s when he heard it – the faint scuffle of feet, coming from somewhere behind him.
It only lasted a split second before it stopped. In fact, if he hadn’t had so much practice listening for the undead – with a moderate but respectable success rate, he might add – he would’ve missed it completely, which meant that whoever was out there was good with the stealth. And because normal people didn’t sneak around parking lots like ninjas, he pretty much knew he was in trouble right then and there.
Xander pretended like nothing was wrong to try to buy himself some time, but apparently his attacker didn’t want to take any chances; suddenly he could hear footsteps again, and this time they weren’t bothering to mask the sound.
With no time to think, Xander sprang into action.
He didn’t waste time turning to face his attackers. Nope, he knew his best option was to go for his keys. Not only would they make for some impromptu weapons, but they also would unlock the trunk, where he had some real
Moving as quickly as he could, he dove for his key ring, dodging a little to the side at the same time, hoping that this would make himself a harder target to hit.
It almost worked, too. As it was, the blow most likely aimed for the back of his head caught him on the side close to his ear instead. And okay, it still sent him to the ground, dazed, but he got some small satisfaction that he wasn’t caught completely
And right now? He was all about focusing on the positive, because he was pretty sure the bright side was going to be far and few between from this point on.
Then everything went black. +++ “Call Max. He’s coming around.”
The words echoed around in Xander’s head as he slowly swam back into consciousness. It took a second to register that someone was talking about him
. When it did, though, he forced himself to open his eyes, disorientation be damned.
The sooner he figured out what was going on, the better – preferably before
this ‘Max’ showed up.
No sooner had he opened his eyes, however, than he found himself assaulted by a burst of light – sunlight.
Xander instinctively threw a hand up over his eyes. Or at least he tried to.
That was when he realized that he was tied to a chair.
He couldn’t say that he was surprised, per se, but it was still a little bit of shock to actually see it. Besides, ropes really weren’t a good look for him, no matter what Anya said.
“It’s about time. I was beginning to think you hit him too hard.”
Xander whipped his head up toward the voice. Unfortunately, his vision was still a little wonky and the light hadn’t gotten any less bright. He refused to look away, though. He simply squinted, willing his eyes to adjust as he tried to see something, anything
Oh so slowly, things started to come into focus.
There was a door about 30 feet away from him, and someone had just come through it – Max, presumably – and now he was heading straight for Xander. Because of the angle of the sun, his face was completely in shadows, obscuring any telling features, demonic or otherwise. His silhouette, however, almost seemed to glow.
Of course, that might have been because of the white suit he was wearing.
“Did I die and go to a Miami Vice episode?” Xander blurted out, the words tumbling out before he could stop them.
He was only partly surprised by the blow to the gut he received half a second later.
Wheezing in pain, Xander glanced up at the ominous shadow that seemed to have materialized out of nowhere – and immediately swallowed a gasp of surprise.
The guy screamed ‘military’. Non-demonic, Uncle Sam loving, military
. Heck, Xander had the faint urge to salute the guy.
More confused than ever, Xander finally took a good look around.
Sure enough, aside from Max, whom Xander could now see also appeared to be very human, there were about a handful of military types in the room with him, all big and brawny and armed to the teeth.
Then there was the room itself, which was pretty much as nondescript as it could get, with nothing but gray concrete all around. There were no windows, so the only light came from a few light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Sure, it was painfully cliché, but it got the message across.
Xander blinked, completely stunned.
What could the military possibly want with him? They couldn’t be leftover pieces of the Initiative looking for a little revenge, could they? Or maybe the Initiative wasn’t as shutdown as they thought—
With a stifled yelp, he sat up straight, determinedly ignoring the sudden throbbing in his head as he gave himself a thorough look over. Only when he saw no obvious demon parts attached to him did he slump back in his chair, a mixture of pain and relief rushing through him.
Apparently, the mountain next to him didn’t like this; he was practically towering over Xander now, looking like he wanted nothing more than to bring on some more pain.
Because he could never pass up the opportunity to poke a bear with a stick, Xander grinned up at him. “Okay, got it. No insulting the wardrobe choices,” he noted. “I, of the occasional Hawaiian shirt, totally understand.”
The Sonny Crockett wannabe was now about ten feet in front of him, an amused look on his face.
“But I suppose you come by it honestly,” he continued. “Your father’s quite the comedian, too, isn’t he?”
Xander frowned. How the heck did this guy know his father? Because they didn’t exactly look like they ran in the same circles.
“Uh, yeah, Dad’s a laugh a minute,” he said slowly. “Followed by some screaming and crying.”
This only seemed to amuse the guy even more.
Xander’s frown deepened. He obviously didn’t want to give away too much, but he had to figure out what this was all about. There was a reason why he was taken, and he was pretty sure it wasn’t to chat about his dad.
“You know, as much fun as this is, I know some people who won’t be too happy about this,” he offered cautiously.
The guy gave him a patronizing look. “Yes, that’s the point. How else do you think I’m going to get your father here?”
Xander snorted, again the words coming out before he could stop them. “You’re joking, right? Because if that’s the case, boy, are you waiting for a train that’s never gonna come. My father’s more ‘drunk and disorderly’ than ‘search and rescue’,” he said dryly.
Max didn’t like this. Not too surprisingly, the goon squad next to him moved toward him menacingly, and Xander braced himself for the pain. Thankfully, though, he was waved off.
“Well, this is less dramatic. I wonder if he even knows,” Max snipped as he held his hand out to no one in particular. “Phone.”
Xander watched as another flunky quickly strode forward and placed a phone in the outstretched hand.
As Mr. Big Pimpin’ waited for the person on the other side to answer, he raised a questioning eyebrow at Xander.
“By the way, I hope you weren’t counting on the Slayer. I’ve read her file, and while she’s impressive, she just an army of one, something easily taken care of,” he said dismissively.
“That’s what every other Big Bad has said,” Xander retorted. “And yet she’s still alive and kicking your asses.”
The guy actually smiled at this. “For now,” he replied before turning his attention to his phone.
Xander felt his heart drop at the guy’s implication, though he refused to show it.
But seriously, this wasn’t good. In fact, he was going to go out on a limb and say this was very, very bad. Sure, it wasn’t demons, but this wasn’t much better.
Buffy had a serious lack of fire power, and Duke Nukem and his buddies looked like they were ready to take over a small nation – and that was just what they had on them. And they were human, which created a boatload of complications, for both
Buffy and Willow, but especially Willow.
Honestly, Xander wasn’t sure if he wanted her there at all
. It was just too soon, and this involved him and guns and humans – the perfect combination to send her right back into that walk on the dark side. He wasn’t sure he’s be able to stop her this time, either, because he was pretty sure the yellow crayon story was a one trick pony.
And then, of course, there was an even bigger problem; namely that they might not even know
he was missing, not for awhile, anyway. Buffy and Dawn were planning on doing the sister bonding thing for the next few days, and Giles and Willow were halfway across the Atlantic. No one would be looking for him, and by then, the trail might be cold. Or he might be dead.
Xander glanced around him and grimaced.
Yep, contingency plans were of the good. So what if the chances of him outmaneuvering trained professionals were slim to delusional? He had to try – especially when Don Johnson’s evil twin looked about one thunderbolt away from a major god complex. +++
A/N: Okay, so I know not a lot happened here, but I wanted to put in Xander’s POV as well as explain some things regarding Max. I hope this wasn’t boring!