Authors Notes at end, but I will say here 'some Kennedy bashing'
To say Giles was unamused and perhaps a little scared would be too understate the matter, it had been relatively quiet since the closing of the Sunnydale Hellmouth. After all, with the demons waking up one morning to find themselves surrounded by slayers and the largest source of their power destroyed the bulk of the non-human population had been doing the collective demonic equivalent of finding themselves clean pants.
There was even a rumour of a new self-help group called Darksiders anonymous apparently formed by the demons to help those who suddenly found themselves with the urge to go white, or at least neutral and take themselves off the target list. That rumour had kept him smiling for days, despite the sheer volume of paper-pushing involved with seizing control of the watchers council and its assets.
The revelation that their was an alien threat to earth in the form of the Goa’uld was taken in its stride, the sudden almost scary cooperativeness of the demonic creatures meant that the Slayers were largely reduced to mere Police Duties not warfare and as such, it was little matter to assist Earth’s defences in that area as well.
It meant he was doing a lot of organising, but in general the Earth was safe, so he had time to relax, to spend with his family, dysfunctional as it was and even to sow the seeds of a family of his own.
And now this…
“Please tell me how you acquired this sword again,” Giles asked exasperated, his expression screaming his annoyance and disbelief with the situation he found himself presented with.
“Well, it began with inventory…”
“Right,” Xander commented abruptly as he walked up to the third inventory room of the day, his eye flicking as he read the icons hammered into the surface of the door, “Room Delta-Omega-5-5-9-Alpha, check the list Kennedy.”
Grumbling, the slayer turned to the clipboard in her hand, “what was that again?”
Impatiently, Xander repeated himself, his blank expression hiding his annoyance and contempt for the bratty warrior in front of him.
“No listing,” Kennedy grumbled, flapping the clipboard about, “another room we have to inventorise, great. Tell me again why I have to do this?”
“You broke Mr Gordo,” the look Xander shot Kennedy could loosely have been described as ‘glacial’, “it took me a week of searching in the ruins and you used it for target practise.”
“Yeah,” Kennedy grumbled, “how was I to know Buffy was really so childish as to still want a teddy bear?”
The look dropped beyond glacial, heading rapidly towards absolute zero with an interesting visit to the nuclear fire of Xander utterly pissed off. In her first sensible move of the day, Kennedy shut her mouth. Unfortunately, she ruined it by forcing the door to the vault open.
Carefully opening his eye to find the world still in existence, Xander somehow managed to calmly ask the Slayer, “how did you know it was safe to open that door?”
“Well,” she replied, “we’re still here aren’t we.”
Xander didn’t bother to dignify that with a response.
“Besides,” she continued, "so far all the light grey to white stuff has had Delta on the door.”
“Yes,” the Scooby replied, “and that’s true. However, I don’t remember seeing the Omega on anything rated below ‘Hurt’s True Gods’”
Kennedy’s jaw slammed shut as she shivered, gazing around the newly revealed vault with new, less brazen eyes.
“Seeing as how the world still appears to exist and that Willow hasn’t had to ‘port in again,” Xander continued, “I’m assuming you didn’t trigger anything dangerous off this time, such as another booby-trap. That being true, I am going to inventories the room and you are going to sit quietly by here doing nothing except writing exactly what I say, understood?”
Kennedy opened her mouth to protest;
“Else I tell Buffy what really happened to her pig,”
Defeated, the Slayer sat down, gazing at Xander with aggrieved, petulant eyes.
Turning his back on his new favourite enemy, the only person to have ever successfully replaced ‘Angelus’ on that lowest of pedestals, Xander walked into the room and slowly carefully, began writing down descriptions and taking photos of every item.
The Sword, according to the numbers on his inventory sheet was the twenty-ninth item he had catalogued.
“Item, One sword, looks factory new, steel or perhaps iron blade, handle leather, some decoration including gold inlay but not a display item, this looks more like a sword designed to be used. Writing down the length of the blade, looks vaguely English, think it’s human. I need a Twinkie…” Xander shook his head, sitting down abruptly as he reached into his pockets, pulling one of the treats from his pocket as he surveyed the room with a groan, “this has to be the most boring job ever,”
“Yeah,” Kennedy shouted from the corner, “how did the Slayer’s blue eyed boy get shafted with this job? Didn’t run fast enough at her call like a good doggy?”
“First, she dragged me out shopping, and then she actually asked ‘does my bum look big in this?’” Xander grimaced, “I was distracted, didn’t censor my mouth fast enough.”
“You didn’t?” came the amused, malicious and simultaneously sympathetic reply.
“I did,” he replied, slipping the sweet wrapper into his pocket, “I don’t think she appreciated the honesty.”
“No shit Sherlock,”
Groaning, he rose back to his feet, turning once more to the sword.
“Sword in embedded in stone, looks like granite, worked granite at that,” he continued, glad that he didn’t have the laborious task of identifying every single item, “very smooth surface, base is near perfectly round, somebody definitely put a lot of effort into this. Sword is…”
Xander reached carefully forward, pulling at the sword, “loose in the stone, comes free easily revealing more of the writing.
He paused, his eyes narrowing, “believe I recognise the writing now, it’s Old English, Saxon period, thank you to all those research sessions… letters, E, X, C, A…”
Glancing up, Xander saw Kennedy discard her clipboard, throwing herself towards him;
“Put it back, now!”
Giving her a look that bluntly told her she had best know what she was doing; Xander carefully dropped the sword back into its slot, then watched bemused as Kennedy attempted to pull the sword back out, putting the entire force of her Slayer enhanced body into the effort. Defeated, she stood back from the stone, her eyes wide, her chest rather distractingly heaving.
“Excalibur,” she said awed.
Xander blinked, reached across and carefully but with no resistance, a fact his mind very carefully noted, he pulled the sword from the stone, his eyes resting firmly on the lettering as it was revealed.
“Oh hellmouth,” he noted, before slumping to the ground in a dead faint.
Giles groaned; his hands worrying in a familiar motion at his glasses, “Couldn’t you have just quietly put it back, left the room, very firmly locking the door behind you, never to mention it again?”
“Giles,” he replied, slightly aghast, “sword, stone, Excalibur pulled!”
“Yoda speak like must you?” Giles snapped back, “for that matter, Excalibur! That sword is not supposed to return to Britain until her hour of greatest need, if that is truly Excalibur, then Apocalypse season has come early this year.”
Xander grimaced, but Giles wasn’t finished, a smirk crossing his face, his voice fading into pure British aristocrat, a tone that had Xander gazing at the Watcher with more then a little wariness, “You do realise of course that this makes you a champion of Great Britain?”
Xander blinked, “Oh bugger,”
“Quite,” Giles replied, snickering as he gazed upon the young man he looked upon as his only son.
------Inspired by the ‘Thing’s Xanders No Longer Allowed To Do’ List
176) I am not to sneak into the Council's secure storage basement and try to pull any swords out of any stones I should 'happen to find just sitting there.'
176a) If I actually succeed in pulling a hypothetical sword out of a theoretical stone, just for the sake of argument, I am to quietly put it back, leave, lock the door behind me, and never mention it to anybody ever again.
176b) Especially Giles. It will just give him a headache.
I do not own nor do I claim ownership of characters and/or concepts from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Arthurian Legand is, as far as I am aware, public domain.