Not my characters. I'm just borrowing them for a bit, and apologies if they get roughed up a bit along the way. In the Buffyverse, this goes AU after the end of season 4. No Dawn or Key, but Joyce, Tara, and Anya are still very much alive, at least at the start of the tale.
Prologue- Sunnydale, CA
Vikkii. His court-appointed attorney was named Vikkii. She had frizzy long hair, glasses on a cord around her neck, and wore a sweater with teddy bears on it, for all the world looking like she should be the children's librarian at the Sunnydale public library. Not a person who should be defending dangerous criminals like him. As she turned around to fuss with something at floor level amid an office overrun with piled papers and binders, Xander found himself thinking he was so screwed it wasn't even worth asking if it would take a regular or phillips head to get him back out of this mess.
"Care for some tea, Mr. Harris?"
"Um, yeah, sure. One sugar, I guess." The G-man rubbed off on you in mysterious ways.
"Illegal electric kettle," Vikkii said as she placed two mugs on her desk. "But then this place, this town, tends to be in such a state of insanity, one takes one's pleasures in life where one can find them. Though for your case, I suspect popcorn might be more appropriate." She took a sip from her mug, which had a cartoon Cathy on it.
"Because we're going to watch the security tape from the bank now, and it would be nice to know if there's anything you would like to tell me about why it caught you hitting Mr. Castelios in the arm with an axe."
"Would you believe self defense?"
"Unfortunately, not from what the camera shows." She turned the power on the television, hit a few buttons, and the grainy black and white scene started to play. He saw himself swinging at the Xylyffa demon with the axe, the backside of the demon as it howled in pain, and then both Xander and the demon stumbling out of camera range. If only the demon's face, which had been decidedly unhuman-looking at the time, had been visible on camera, the whole case would have probably been swept under the rug like the rest of Sunnydale's supernatural crimes. And fortunately, no Buffy on camera either. At least the Slayer wasn't caught up in his legal mess even though she had been the one doing most of the fighting with the pancreas-eating Xylyffa.
"Too bad because he really is one of the bad guys."
"Unfortunately for you, during normal business hours, Castelios is the man promising to bring three hundred desperately needed new telemarketing jobs to vacant space in the Sunnydale Industrial Park. The new mayor loves the guy, talks about a new era for Sunnydale starting with those jobs, and it's one huge lovefest. It was all I could do to keep the charges down to felony assault, and not have you facing attempted murder."
"Great. So I know what happens next. I mean I've seen a bunch of Oz episodes, and I'm freaking a little because that's a pretty ugly future there. I do not need a boyfriend named Christopher," Xander said as he slumped in his chair, face in his hands, and tried not to cry.
"There is one other option. I've talked with the DA, and it would get charges dropped, and Castelios doesn't care where you are as long as you aren't still in Sunnydale to bother him." He relaxed just a little bit. Maybe Vikkii was better at her job than appearance gave her credit for.
"So I leave town or something like that?"
"Something like that. How do you feel about serving your country in the armed forces?"
"Serious? No way. You are serious. A friend of mine dated one of those ROTC dudes, and talk about some seriously messed up stuff going on there. I can't do that." He was not going to turn into a drugged-up knock-off of Riley Finn.
"The offer is on the table for the next two weeks." She raised one hand. "I heard the rumors about what went on with UCS ROTC. And believe it or not, I do have a fairly good idea of what goes on in the town. You aren't the first human to get tangled up in that sort of mess with the Sunnydale weird and then end up in my office when all you were trying to do is stay alive.
So I want you to walk out the door here and lock yourself into your house tonight, and think about it. There are other branches of the military that aren't the Army. Go, pick one of them and serve for four years. That time you're in a less dangerous place than here, and maybe you decide you like the world outside the madness. If you do want to come back to Sunnydale when your time's up, you might have picked up a skill or two that will help you survive here. And you won't have a felony conviction on your record that can keep you from owning the sorts of firepower you really want on your side when you're chasing Xylyffa demons.
Now, finish your tea, and shoo! I've got my next client coming in at three."
Three years later
Peterson Complex Temporary Enlisted Quarters- Colorado Springs, CO
Airman First Class Xander Harris balanced himself on the chair in his studio apartment. With one hand, he pulled back the curtain valance, the other hand tucking a small satchel between the valance and the wall. The packet didn't have much in it: a bit of griffin feather, some powdered alzurian, and a pinch of mixed herbs he called Willow's original double secret recipe. But housekeeping here was a bit too enthusiastic at times, and he didn't want them to accidentally toss the satchel while he was at post. He was running low on feathers and he would not be able to make it to the magic shop in Manitou Springs for more on Thursday, which was also the day he was supposed to be using to find an apartment in town.
Funny how you could take a person out of Sunnydale, slap a uniform on him, and try to tell him he had a whole other life to live, but the 'dale kept clinging onto you like a used dryer sheet you found stuck inside your shirt two weeks after you did laundry. So even though he was now living in a place that was supposed to be all science and space and processed cheese foods of the future, he was still putting up wards that were supposed to keep the non-bloodsucking type of demons out of his home, and reporting to work every day with Lucille strapped in a decidedly non-regulation sheath on his back. He sighed as he stepped down off the chair. Maybe as soon as he settled in here, he needed to take leave and go back to the 'dale for a while and do a little bit of vampire staking with friends for old times sakes.
"Harris, time to roll." The knock at his door interrupted his thoughts. "Mountain's messing around with the threatcom levels again, and it's going to take until the day after the end of the world to get through the oh so pearly gates."
"I'm coming Williams. Just gotta grab my keys, and I'm ready to rock," Xander said, pocketing his wallet, and heading out the door. "Or I guess I mean go under the rock." He locked the door behind him, and followed Williams out to his truck.
He had met Airman First Class Jonah Williams the week before at a briefing for new transfers to Cheyenne Mountain. The other man had grown up in East St. Louis, which was kind of like the Midwestern version of Sunnydale but with a few more drug dealers and a few less demonspawn. He coped with the problems of life in the same way Xander did, and the two had been paired for guard duty because they could tolerate and laugh at the other guy's jokes when no one else could stand them.
The drive to Cheyenne went quickly, even with the gate delays. Williams parked, and the two made their way to their post inside the complex between two different project areas.
"And what's out job for the day?"
"Make sure that the people working on the top secret project on the left side of the hall don't get lost on the way back from the bathroom and end up seeing what's going on with the top secret project on the right side of the hall."
"Try to find a better route to the bathroom than the one that takes fifteen different right turns and twenty minutes."
"Try to convince that pretty redheaded civilian worker that I do have honorable intentions."
"Gotta be pretty good with a poker face for that one Harris."
"Not that I have a chance. She's probably got a boyfriend already. Hello there, sir. Can I check your identification, please?" Xander said as a captain walked past their post, badge already in hand.
"Thank you, Captain Wurtzel. Have a good day." The morning trickle of people turned into a rush as a mix of military and civilian workers streamed through Xander and Jonah's checkpoint. The two men settled into an efficient rhythm of checking badges to faces, running the badges through a scanner, then waving the groups through to their respective little dungeons. Finally, the rush ended, and Jonah excused himself to go take a leak. Xander entertained himself by trying to come up with least likely projects that were going on in his hall. He may not have been cleared to know what was behind the doors to the left, but he was going to have fun guessing. He had just mentally filed the cloning of Heidi Klum in the appealing but unlikely box when the first siren went off and the speakers kicked on.
"We have a security breach in progress. A base wide lock down is now in effect. Security doors are sealed."
"What the fuck?" Xander drew his sidearm. "Williams, you hear me there? Get yourself locked in the bathroom, and you'll miss all the fun."
"All civilian and non-essential workers will remain in their designated areas. Lock down is in effect. This is not a drill." He barely heard the thunk of boots against hallway underneath the shrill siren, but the acoustics of his hallway post made it hard to tell from which direction.
"Second right turn from you. I'm almost back to you. " The normal yellow white hall lights turned off, and were replaced with glowing red bulbs. After all, the Air Force didn't want you to be able to actually see what was going on in a crisis.
"Holy shit." Xander heard Williams' yell from what he thought was around the corner. "What the hell is that?"
Xander charged ahead, sidearm in hand as Williams retreated back towards the guard post.
"It's right behind me, and it looks meaner than Shaft and really pissed."
"What is it?"
The monster rounded the corner, and yowled, the low pitched sound actually making the sirens seem quiet in comparison. Xander couldn't get a good look at it in the dim light, but it seemed like a bit of Polgara, a bit of Queller, and something he couldn't quite recognize. First, see if he could get it calmed down.
"Easy puppy dog. No need to go chasing after people here. Does puppy want to sit and stay?"
"Ugliest dog I've ever seen, Harris." Williams had his sidearm drawn as well.
"Yes. Are we a good demon? Can we be nice and calm and go back to our cells? You aren't getting out of here, so let's make it easy for everyone."
The monster yowled and charged. Williams fired, hitting the monster square in the chest and face. The monster wasn't fazed, and kept up the charge.
"Shit!" Guns weren't going to work then. Xander dropped his sidearm and fumbled down the collar of his shirt with one hand, pulling Lucille from her hidden sheath. The other hand grabbed a pencil. If not steel, then silver or wood. He took a couple more steps toward the monster just as it jumped, landing atop Williams. Williams went to the floor, the monster easily twisting his neck until it snapped. Xander tried to run then. He got a handful of steps before he heard the monster charge up behind him. One chance to get it right. He spun around, bringing his knife and the pencil up to where the monster's vital organs would be.
The monster jumped at him, he stabbed, and the monster crushed into him, forcing him to the ground. The pencil went sideways from his hand, but Lucille slid into the monster true. The monster screamed again, its arms reaching for Xander's neck. Then it went limp. On top of him. Xander gasped for air. He had long ago gotten used to the idea of dying young, but smothered under what must have been a three hundred pound demon that definitely had a body odor problem and was still oozing gooey blue blood all over him didn't exactly seem like a grand old blaze of sad cowboy glory.
Get out from under it. He tried to squirm away, but the blue ooze was making it difficult for him to get traction to move. Roll then. One, two, three, push. Almost made it. One, two, three, push again. He planted a boot on the monster's leg, and kicked. This time, it worked, and worked well, sending him skidding in a slick of blue ooze out from under the body, which crashed back down onto the floor. He was starting to hurt all over now, but the worst of it seemed to be his chest and ankle. Radio back at the checkpoint. He was going to get up and crawl over there.
He tried to sit up, and a wave of pain and nausea washed over him. Or maybe he wasn't going to get up just yet. Deep breaths, or as deep as he could make them without his chest hurting even more. Very not good. He just wished the sirens would shut up so he could get a little rest and then he could go to the radio.
"We've got it. Level Three, section Blue Charlie. Or I should say one of the guards got it." Xander looked toward his toes, and saw a group of heavily armed men charged down the corridor.
"How the heck did it get so far so fast?" They came closer and closer to the mess.
"Don't know, but heads are rolling on this. Two men down here." One man went to check on Williams, three others kept rifles pointed at the monster, and the last bent over him to check his pulse and pupils, bobbling a bit on the slippery floor.
"How you doing?"
"How about your neck and back. Don't want you sitting up then. Don't want to move you if it's spinal area."
"Head, chest, ankle, pride. So they just up and moved the Initiative to Colorado?" Xander asked. The soldier looked confused at his question.
"Never heard of the Initiative. What I have heard of is a doctor here who is going to look you over and fix you up better than new." Xander heard one of the other men calling for medical assistance.
"How about just good as new. I like me how I am, Zeppo and all." It was getting harder to breathe.
"Then that's what it will be. We've got Dr. Frasier on her way."