I'll Have an Apocalypse and a 2X Armageddon To Go
1. I'll Have an Apocalypse and a 2X Armageddon To Go
Title: I’ll Have an Apocalypse and A Double Armageddon to Go, Part I
Beta by: Theo (More of a Junior Editor/Muse Wrangler)
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners...it will start off with the Joss/ME characters, and any other characters or real-life folks are clearly not mine. NO money is involved.
Summary: The destiny of Xander Harris starts going off in a new direction, at the end of his junior year.
Sunnydale High School, Sunnydale, California. May, 1998
It was the Monday after the so-called Acathla incident, and Xander Harris had been called to the school principal’s office. ‘Great, maybe the end of the world would have been preferable after all...’ the young man thought to himself.
But Snyder wasn’t the only balding man there, when he reached the little troll’s den; another man who Xander remembered from his fun little Halloween experience last year, and from his correspondence about a summer job, was also present.
Flashback: October 31st, 1997
“It's me, Willow!”
“I don't know any Willow.”
“Xander, quit messing around. This is no time for jokes!”
“What the hell's going on here?”
“You don't know me? Who are you, then?”
“I’m Lt. Harry S—” he began, but a scream interrupted him.
“Okay, Lt. Harris, that’s Buffy—we need to help her…”
Xander smiled the moment he walked in through the door.
“Harris!” Snyder snapped. “It’s about time. Mr. Stamper here asked me if we could let you off early for the summer, with regards to this job offer you’ve gotten. And believe you me, I wasn’t going to—until I learned just how much heavy labor you’d be doing, those extra first weeks!”
“What about my final tests, Principal Snyder sir?” Xander asked, bracing for bad news— in spite of managing a straight B- since Halloween.
“Well, your teachers seem to think you won’t deviate from your improved grades, so seeing as Mr. Stamper has asked both the Mayor’s office and school superintendent’s office about this—you have a waiver,” the principal grimaced. Then Snyder sneered, “Which means that with both you and that troublemaker Summers gone, the rest of my year should be fairly quiet! Thank God for the little things. Now, clear out your locker—and get out of my sight!”
Stamper looked at Snyder in surprise. Then the older man shook Xander’s hand, as soon as they left the office.
“So we *finally* meet in person, huh?” Harry Stamper asked the young man walking next to him. “Uh...you remember our first encounter?”
“Oh, yeah. You remember Halloween, too?”
“Yep. I wasn’t sure at first because for me it was over twenty years ago, back in the service. But when I woke up November 1st to hear how I’d saved my little girl from three ugly guys with pointy teeth, yellow eyes and that I’d picked up a stick instead of using my gun? Yeah, I remembered a weird dream and a redhead named Willow from California. Then a few weeks later, you wrote asking for summer work…”
“That why I got the job?” Xander asked, as he dumped the contents of his locker into his bag.
“That, and from your letters you seemed pretty willing and eager to work. Besides, we’re based out of Oxnard, so it’s easy enough to switch you over to repairs and rebuilds next fall—if you have the skill for it. It’s hard to find drillers that don’t drink too much, or chase the ladies too often.”
Xander smirked. “Figure if you get me young enough, you’ll squeeze a few years outta me before I become one of the guys?”
“Something like that. You got everything?”
“Yeah, but I need to head over to the library and say my good-byes all at once. Before I head home and clear out my stuff, before my folks arrive back there...”
They entered the doors to the library, Xander smiling as they entered and as conversation quieted. Cordelia got up and walked over to her boyfriend, as Xander smirked and spoke.
“No need to shut up, guys, Mr. Stamper knows the score,” Xander said simply. “And besides, Will and Cordy met him last Halloween for a couple hours.”
The Scoobies looked confused for a moment, but Cordelia caught on first. “Oh, he’s that Soldier Guy?” she said, cocking her head questioningly and receiving a smile and nod. She shook hands, “Thanks for saving me from Jojo the dog face boy, by the way!”
“Don’t mention it, Miss Chase, I’m glad to have returned the favor,” Harry smiled and then explained how Xander had saved his daughter.
“G-good Lord,” Giles mused, wiping his glasses. “Trans-possession, and across time? Fascinating...”
“Anyway, everybody,” Xander interrupted before a research party could be called, “My new boss here is whisking me away outta town a bit early, so I’m here to say good-bye.” His friends showed surprise, especially Cordelia.
“What?! Now?” the brunette girl asked, holding him close in front of the others.
Xander smiled and looked into his girlfriend’s eyes. “Well, the first few weeks involve moving lots of heavy objects, so that’ll get me in better shape than I was in for the swim team thing…” he smiled, causing Cordelia to blush. “And any chance to bug out on my parents is a must, especially since in the stack of papers I got them to sign I included my emancipation papers. I want to be gone, before they realize it.”
“Oh!” Cordelia beamed, “Well, congratulations. I mean, you know how I was going to go to Mexico with the parents, but…e-mail me?”
Xander looked to Harry, who nodded. “Sure, guys,” he said, giving them the free email account name he’d been using from an advertising-supported service. “Just remember to email me first, so I have all of your addresses.”
Xander’s summer proved to the best time in his life, bar none. The more time he put in, the more of Harry’s memories raced back, and the skills and instincts behind them. The smattering of languages, the drilling equipment, the fighting ability, and more.
The crew were quite impressed that within a month of long 18-hour days, he’d become almost everybody’s second, the jack of all trades. Whether it was night security, diver, driller, repairman or the designated fetcher when they went ashore; Xander seemed to have Harry’s knack for languages, and an almost brotherly protectiveness when it came to Harry’s daughter.
‘Harry Junior’ as they called him in good fun, soon was nursing the equipment along far beyond expectations. From the sound and feel he could tell when to ease off a bit and let it slowly drill with less torque, then when to speed up without overheating.
The roughnecks knew he’d probably saved them two weeks of down time, which meant that they were that far ahead when the summer was drawing to a close, and they hit oil. Xander immediately banked the sizable bonus with the rest of his pay, planning on buying the tax liens on a condo near the university.
And in the end Harris smiled as he got off the plane with Harry at LAX, who was going to meet with creditors and pay them off for the first time…ever.
“Hey, Lex, how 'bout we find a diner and get a bite to eat before you head on home? There are a few things I’d like to talk to you about, before I pay off the human bloodsuckers.”
“Sure, boss, anything in particular?”
“Yeah, continued employment.”
“Got my attention, money’s always a good topic of conversation!”
“Okay. I need you to take one of the cars with you, so I don’t have to pick it up later, alright?”
The place they pulled into was in a rather scuzzy part of town, but was near the parting point for the two. They walked in and sat in the front booth near the door of the diner, Xander facing it, and Harry facing the rest of the place.
Harry then gave Xander something of a sales pitch, wanting to hire him part-time as long as he was able to keep his grades up. The job was as Harry’s lead equipment diagnostician and repair specialist, which meant that he’d be one of three guys working stateside with equipment, and he’d report to a full-timer that fronted the operation and handled the people side of things.
“It means I can spend most of my time in the field making enough money to really get the engineering side going, and *you* will keep us going on that side until you graduate— and then we can really put your skills to good use.”
“Now, hang on. I know I’ve picked up things pretty well, Harry—” Xander began, only to have Harry interrupt him.
“No buts, Lex. You and I, and heck the whole crew know you’re pretty damned near as dead-on as I am at this. No one else really has the…empathy for this that we do. Come this time next year, and if everything works according to plan, I’ll have to cut you in for a good-sized percentage of the business. And hell—if I get hurt or killed, I need someone as good as I am to keep this going, ya know?”
Xander nodded, knowing he’d become as close to being a Stamper clone as possible, the difference being purely the physical ones of youth; and that Harry falsely considered himself prettier.
“Alright, count me in,” Xander said, shaking his future partner’s hand as he heard a waitress finally come up from behind him after taking a pie order from a couple of teens down on their luck.
“Sorry for the wait,” the blonde girl said, writing on her pad, “Can I take your order?”
“Sure...Buffy,” Xander replied in astonishment.
“Xander?” Buffy the vampire Slayer looked at him shocked, horrified, call it what you will.
“That’s me. We’ll have two Helen’s Specials, extra cheese, and the same for the two kids behind me?”
Buffy looked back in cornered disbelief, but wrote down the order anyway as the male teen from the booth behind them turned around. “Thanks, man! Really 'preciate it,” Rickie T said with a smile.
Xander smiled back. “No problem, dude; been there myself too often, but luckily someone was there for me,” he replied, before turning around. “So, uh, ‘Anne’ has a break or gets off shift at what time?”
“In half an hour, actually,” she says, still unsure of the situation. And Stamper was right there with her, in all the confusion that was this conversation. “And I’ll have your orders here right away.”
“Friend of yours?” Harry asked, as soon as Buffy left. “Poor kid seems a bit lost...”
“First love, actually,” Xander sighed with a rather bittersweet smile. “But that was a complete waste of time, given how she chose the ‘good vampire’ instead of me. Still, I think you’re right about her, Harry. She ran away the weekend before you rescued me from Sunnydale, and the few emails I’ve gotten from the gang said she’d completely disappeared. Maybe I can help her home...”
“Hey, if you can handle those ‘native suppliers’...” Harry smiled, using the term he’d used within his daughter’s hearing, “...you can talk her into going home. Besides, you have the company car now, so it’ll be easier than taking the bus...”
The two men subsequently made it through their meals, making sure to keep their eyes out for any possible escape by Buffy, but she didn’t make any such move. And as she was clocking out, Harry got up to leave and left a large tip.
“Lex, I’ll hear from you in a few days. And just wanna say again, glad to have you onboard, son.”
“Thanks, Harry,” Xander replied, handing the cash over to Buffy at the register and waving the change back at her. “Talk to you soon.” Buffy just looked at her white knight a bit uncertainly.
“Your manager here, Anne?” Harris asked loudly, attracting attention and the manager from the back. Xander, wearing a suit and tie, albeit loosened, just stared at the man; making the shop owner a bit nervous.
“You could say that,” Xander coldly told the guy. “Thing is, I’ve been retained by this underage girl’s mother to return her home—town called Sunnydale, up north. And I’m willing to bet that you don’t have even a fraction of the proper paperwork on her; no W-2 form or anything. So, here’s what’s going to happen. You pay her out…completely…on everything what she’s owed. Right now. No excuses.”
The man made as if to complain, before Xander said, “Or I’ll get the police, and then the labor board in here, and that’ll cost you a whole bunch more money! What’s it gonna be?”
“This is frickin’ unbelievable! I’m already down a busboy, now I’m out a waitress too? Just great,” the manager complained as loudly as he dared, glancing at the patrons of the diner as he gave up and counted out the appropriate amount of money to Buffy.
Xander turned around after removing Buffy’s nametag. “Hey, you guys,” he called out to the former Sunnydalers finishing up the meal he’d bought them, tossing the ‘Anne’ nametag to Chanterelle. “Guess what? You two now have jobs, if you want 'em. You start tomorrow, have a nice day...”
Harris then grabbed Buffy by the hand and pulled her out of the restaurant, as the manager gleefully decided to conscript his two new workers.
“Hey! What was all that supposed to be?” Buffy finally complained, but not too abruptly. “You just lost me my job! For God’s sake, Xander—what am I going to do now?”
“Just in case it wasn’t clear before, we’re going wherever you’re staying and you’ll grab your stuff. Then I’m taking you home, Buff. I thought you realized that.”
Buffy Summers suddenly looked angry. “And just why would I want to go back to Sunnydale?”
“Because that’s where you belong, and where all the people who love you live. Although I’m *so* gonna claim your father’s reward for your return.”
Ms. Summers was momentarily stunned. “Reward? Dad?”
“Hey, you two might be way of the separate lives these days, but at least he compensates with money. Twenty grand, in this case...”
Buffy instantly stopped and yanked him back. “Twenty grand?” she gasped in confusion and disbelief, “For me?”
“Yeah, for you,” Xander said, opening the door of the sedan for her. “So let’s get you out of your situation, then see if he’s in town to claim it.”
Four blocks and an uncomfortable silence later from the diner, and Buffy cried out.
“Pull over! Something’s going on over there...” Buffy told her companion, as she pointed to where two men seemed to be forcing a teen into a homeless shelter. She leapt out of the car as he stopped.
The Slayer kicked down the door and watched as the young male struggled with the undercover slaver demon called Ken, scraping off a section of skin to reveal the soulless monster underneath. Seeing that, the female champion raced in and made contact with a flying crescent kick to the head.
Ken went down, and the boy made it to the door as the second ‘man’ made a grab for him. Xander then burst in with a tire iron, smacking the man once, the boy dashing out and into the night.
But the ‘man’, who shouldn’t have been able to move, started to get up. So Xander kicked him hard in the face, then used the crowbar to really carry out cosmetic surgery, three times, each harder until the demon died and fell into the pool of black slime. Xander watched as Buffy punched her demon into the slime and then dove in after him, disappearing.
“Buffy! Wait-!” But it was too late, as she was already gone.
“Great,” Xander said with a grimace, shedding his jacket, tie and shoes. “My dry cleaning bill is gonna suck this month...”
He jumped in after her, only to find the blonde Slayer killing her demon and taking on four more surprised demons grabbing human teenagers on the other side. The unexpected visitors landing atop of them had bought them a moment; but nothing more.
Xander struck hard and fast, going for any face not human. Three sickening squishes were heard, as Harris saw his favorite vampire Slayer fight and destroy two more guards with clubs coming through the doors.
Luckily, Buffy was in the zone even after a summer of letting her Slayage skills slide, and Xander was ready to finish off anything she put down and not out.
Soon, ten demons lay dead on the floor of the portal room and hallway; and by a miracle, Xander admitted ruefully to himself, neither he or Buffy were hurt.
“Well, that was a workout,” Buffy smiled tiredly, as the teen horde just stared around like sheep or air-headed Cordettes. “What is this place?”
“I dunno, Buff, so I’m thinkin’ let’s do a quick recon and if I see any equipment I can damage - we will,” Xander suggested.
An hour later and with 200 refugees of different ages, and twenty dead guards killed as they were discovered, Xander smiled as they started leaping upwards for home.
“What’s with the smile?” Buffy wanted to know, blood dripping from a gash on her head.
“That boiler back there?” Xander gestured.
“When it goes up, the factory should go up with it. Y’know, since all of the fuel is right there next to it!”
“Cool, let’s just hope that damn portal goes with it. Last thing we need is a lot of angry demon mommas come looking for us, about what we did to their spawn...” Buffy muttered, before using her Slayer strength to hoist Xander out of that hell dimension; and then leaping up and out herself.