Xander has a run in with the Initiative that could break up the gang.
Note - thoughts
That soft voice tugged endlessly at Giles' consciousness, shining a glaring light into the soothing darkness that surrounded him.
"Wake up Rupert."
Wake up? Giles slowly did as the voice pleaded. Harsh light greeted him when his eyes first opened. Blinking, Giles found himself propped up against a wall. At his side was a distraught Joyce. Laid out before him on the floor were three young women; Willow, Tara, and Anya. Each girl was holding one of the other's hands, creating a circle.
Giles straightened his glasses. Images of what occurred earlier, slowly drifted to the surface. He took a deep breath, looking once more at the girls' clasped hands. He wondered silently at the implication of that sight. "How are they?"
Joyce looked at the three girls, "They look like they're simply asleep but... I don't know for sure." Joyce exhaled forcefully then turned back to Giles.
"What is going on?"
Giles continued to stare at the girls' joined hands. He had a suspicion what that could mean but without solid information to go on, he would only be guessing. "Joyce, I need for you to tell me exactly," Giles squinted as the start of a headache bloomed behind his eyes. "Exactly what took place after I lost consciousness."
"Okay, umm.. After Willow knocked you out, Tara confronted her and..." Joyce went on to describe how Tara had managed to stopped her. She then told him about how arcs of colored light started jumping between the two of them and then, when Anya took each of their hands, the lights flared brightly only to disappear completely. When her vision cleared, she found the girls lying exactly where they are now.
"I see," Giles said after Joyce had finished.
"Well?" Exasperation filled her voice. "Are they alright? When will they wake up?"
Before Giles could answer her questions, the front door burst inward.
Both adults were stunned at the sight of Riley staggering into the room with a bloody Buffy in his arms. Joyce was the first to shake off her shock and went to Riley's side immediately, helping him to carry her daughter in. As they did this, Giles cleared an area off the couch for Buffy.
"What happened?" Giles asked.
"Who did this to my daughter!" Joyce demanded.
Riley first threw Giles a flat look before giving Joyce a more compassionate one. It was to her question that he answered, "Xander."
Shock and disbelief were shared by Giles and Joyce as they stared at the soldier. Still cradled in Riley's arms, Buffy squirmed slightly, her eyes began moving erratically under her eyelids as if in a dream.
Or a nightmare.
"Xander?" Buffy called out as she wandered through the graveyard. "Xander!"
"Where are you Xander," she grumbled.
Buffy felt like she had spent eternity in that cemetery, searching for her friend. She would catching tantalizing glimpses of Xander just before he would disappear again.
Buffy turned around to find.. "Faith!"
"You looking for something B?" Faith asked, casting a look around the cemetery.
Buffy was surprised to see the dark-haired Slayer. Faith somehow looked different to Buffy. The dark makeup that Faith normally wore, was noticeably absent. Faith was also wearing dark blue jeans and a loose, white t-shirt under a small jean jacket.
"Yeah, umm.. Have you seen Xander?"
"Boytoy?" her face changed briefly took on a concerned look before shifting back to an indifferent one. "Yeah, he passed by me a little ways back," Faith pointed behind her. "He definitely looked pissed."
"He did?" Buffy asked, feeling uncomfortable for some reason unknown to her.
"Boy did he ever," Faith stated Then looked at Buffy speculatively. "Did you two have a fight?"
At that question, Buffy experienced brief flashes of images of her and Xander in a heated argument. She suddenly felt burning sensation on her upper arm.
Buffy struggled with the flashes and the emotions that they stirred up. "What?"
Faith's eyes narrowed. "I asked if you and the Xandman had a fight."
"I don't know," Buffy whispered, rubbing the area of her arm that felt like it was on fire. "I might have.." Her eyes narrowed in concentration as she tried to understand what she was experiencing.
Faith snorted. "Either you did or you didn't but I gotta ask ya," Faith paused and moved closer to whisper in Buffy's ear. "Are you gonna stick him like a pig too?"
"What?!" Buffy exclaimed, turning around to confront the dark Slayer but was taken back at the sight before her. Faith was standing the with a dagger lodged in her gut.
The same dagger that Buffy had stabbed her with when she was trying to save Angel.
Buffy noticed that the front of Faith's white t-shirt and jeans were completely soaked in blood. With a soft groan, Faith slowly pulled the dagger out of her, releasing a fresh flow of blood in the process, and held it out to Buffy.
"If you're going to, you might want this back."
Buffy backed away, shaking.
"C'mon B, take the knife. It's yours as much as it is mine." Faith took a single step forward.
"No!" Buffy backed away from Faith, shaking her head vigorously. When she had put a couple of feet between them, she turned and ran away from Faith.
Buffy heard Faith call out to her several times but she kept on running, trying to escape from the nightmare that she was currently living.
Xander could hear people talking around him as floated in and out of consciousness. He could bare make out two different voices but couldn't understand what was being said. One sounded sad while another was angry.
He was also aware of the pain his body was in. It was the hot, stabbing pains in his sides that had nearly woken him up at times.
Times like this time.
A hot, burning sensation in his side suddenly pierced through his comfortable darkness. This intense feeling of pain tried to force Xander to wake up but before he could, a soothing, numbing coolness blanketed his mind, sending him back into unconsciousness.
A small group of entered the underground facility of the Initiative. They were met by a several people from the base's medical staff almost immediately, who then relieved them of two injured persons that they had brought in. They were about to head off to cleaned up when a voice called out sharply.
The Initiative soldiers stood at attention as Maggie Walsh strode towards them. "Ma'am," the team leader spoke. "I regret to report that four of Agent Stevens' team, including Stevens himself, are dead. The two survivors of his team are currently being checked out by the medical staff."
"What about Hostile 17 or Civilian 36, Harris."
The soldier shook his head. "Neither one was on site when we arrived."
"And Agent Tyler?"
"He was also absent."
Walsh became silent for a moment as she considered the situation.
"Doctor Walsh!" An excited, young man walked up to Maggie and handed her a piece of paper. She calmly read the contents and then turned to the group of commandos. "That will be all."
The group stood at attention and saluted before moving off. Walsh waited until they were gone before heading off to the infirmary. Once there, she made her way to a side office and entered. Inside, she found two people; a woman stretched out on a small couch while a man sat next to her.
"What happened John?" Walsh asked as inspected Jane.
John slammed his fist into the wall, startling Walsh. The anger in John's voice was almost palpable as he heatedly described the series of events, starting with following Riley as he received a phone call after which he took off running in the direction of the closest cemetery. Then observing Riley's argument with C-36 and the Slayer, C-36's escape, Riley leaving Agent Tyler alone to bring Buffy here for medical attention, and finally to the sibling's own fight with Harris and a new person called Chance.
Listening intently, a part of her was surprised because in all the time that she had worked with the young man, this was the first time that John had shown this much emotion. Maggie had always been amazed over the amount of control John usually had over his emotions whereas Jane was the wild one.
"And what about Agent Tyler?" Maggie continued to carefully inspect Jane as John spoke. She didn't bother to correct John about his thoughts of Riley bringing Buffy back here for medical treatment, since neither one has yet to make an appearance.
"He was regaining consciousness when we left to go after Harris."
After John finished, and her checkup of Jane was complete, Maggie swore to herself that this would be the last time that she would underestimate Xander Harris.
"I want Harris, Mother," John spoke quietly. "He has to pay for what he did to my sister."
"And he will," Maggie replied. "But right now I want you to get some sleep. You'll be of no use to me, or your sister, if you become too tired to stand up straight."
"Do I have to make that an order?"
John stared at the doctor, almost challengingly before looking away with a muttered promised that he would get some sleep. Maggie nodded and left the room. As soon as she closed the office door, Doctor Angleman approached.
"Yes Doctor?" Maggie asked.
"We located a part of the specimen you wanted for Project 314," Angleman said. "Agent Gates has left already to secure the specimen and have it ready to be picked up. If everything goes smoothly, we should have it within the next couple of days."
"Well, some good news at least," Maggie commented scathingly. At least I can count on Forrest to do his job.
"I take it that the search for C-36 and H-17 is not going well?"
"No, in fact the twins came back injured from a confrontation with Harris." Maggie paused. "There is also a new man, by the name of Chance, in town that went toe to toe with John and came out on top."
Angleman's eyebrows shot up in shock over the news. The thought that this 'Chance' could beat their most successful attempt at a genetically enhanced human floored the doctor. "Anyone who could defeat John is worth studying, assuming he's human. When do you expect to capture him."
"Capture and study of the HST that Agent Gates is bringing in for Project 314 has priority. This Chance fellow will, unfortunately, have to wait." Maggie walked over to one of the many workstations and brought up a series of security images. "Has the containment area been set up for the specimen being brought in? All security measures are in place?"
"Good," Maggie said. "Oh, when Agent Finn reports in, contact me immediately."
Angleman nodded and left, leaving Maggie to watch the security cameras. Now that she was alone, Maggie wondered where her prized soldier was. "Where are you Riley?"
Buffy continued to run through graveyard after graveyard. Her only concern was to escape from Faith and that dagger. She stopped briefly next to a large crypt in order to catch her breath.
Buffy whipped around to find a young girl standing behind her. The girl was slightly shorter than her, with long brown hair. Something in the girl's features looked familiar.
"Where's Xander?" The girl looked around.
"Who are you?" Buffy asked.
The small girl ignored her. "He is still gonna come by tonight, right?"
"Answer me!" Buffy demanded.
The girl's large eyes narrowed as she studied Buffy. "You two didn't fight again, did ya?"
"You guessed it in one, little sis," a different voice spoke up.
Buffy whirled back around and came face to face with a smirking Faith, who grabbed her and slammed her against the crypt wall. Buffy tried to pushed her away but froze in place when she felt a sharp, stinging sensation in her stomach. Looking down she found Faith's dagger sticking out of her gut.
"There, right where it belongs," Faith let go of the handle and stepped back. "Now doesn't that make you feel better?"
Buffy raised her face up to look at Faith. The self-satisfied look on the dark Slayer's face was the last thing she saw before darkness claimed her.
"How is he doing?"
The soft, feminine voice tugged at Xander's memory. In the darkness of his consciousness, he felt that he should know the person who owned that voice.
"Don't you shrug your shoulders at me, Mister"
Who is that? Xander struggled to wake up. To him, it was like trying to climb out of quicksand. Every time he thought he was about to wake up, he would slide back into the darkness.
"Please calm down," a male voice said gently. "Getting upset won't help him."
That's it! I'm waking up now! Xander threw himself against the unknown barrier that kept him asleep. He focused all the energy he could muster and tried once more to wake up.
"Stop him before he hurts himself!"
Xander could feel himself finally starting to wake up when that numbing, cool feeling came back with a vengeance and sent him cursing back into the realm of unconsciousness.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
Kristi Campler woke up from a dead sleep at the sound of pounding on her dorm door. Looking at her clock, she realized that it was still early, not even six o'clock yet. Her roommate moaned in her sleep for Kristi to answer the door.
Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Kristi ambled over to the door and cracked it open. When she saw her boyfriend standing there, she pulled door completely open. "Hey," she greeted him with a kiss. "what are you doing up this early, Mr. Tyler?" She thought for a moment that, with today being her birthday, she was going to get her present early. The worried look on his face told her otherwise.
"A woman was attacked outside. Can we come in and use your phone?"
"We?" Kristi asked, looking into the hallway. Behind him was a woman cringing against the wall.
"Yeah, she's really scared and I thought that you could help her while we wait for campus security."
Kristi's heart softened. "Of course Marcus."
She turned and smiled encouragingly at the woman. "Please come inside..." she held her hand out to the woman. "everything will be okay."
The woman clasped Kristi's hand and slowly approached the door. When she set one foot into the room, she quickly pushed Kristi up against the wall. The young woman grunted from the impact and then screamed when she got a good look at her attacker.
The formerly timid woman's face was twisted up in a snarl revealing very sharp teeth. The woman's eyes were yellow and flashed in the dim light of the room.
The woman covered Kristi's mouth, smothering her screams. "Shhh. You don't want to wake up the dead, do you?" she asked, then chanted insanely. "Wake the dead. Wake the dead."
A VAMPIRE! Marcus had told her a little about what went on in the night in Sunnydale but had never actually seen one. Now one was in her room and was holding her against the wall. She didn't exactly panic because Marcus was there. He would save her. "Marcus?" Kristi cried out weakly from under the strange woman's hand, looking to her boyfriend for help.
What she received in return, horrified her. Marcus just looked at her emotionlessly for a second before turning away from her and cast a loving look at her attacker. She felt a dead weight settle in stomach, knowing somehow that she would get no help from him. Then she threw a look the sleeping form in the bed on the other side of the room, mentally screaming a desperate plea. PAM! Wake up!
Kristi's muffled screams, in addition to the pounding earlier, had indeed woken up her sleeping room mate. Pamela Sorenson had sat up in her bed to find her room mate's boyfriend, Marcus, in their room along with a strange looking woman that was holding Kristi against the wall. Getting out of bed, Pamela moved to pull the woman from her friend.
"What the hell do... you... think..." Pamela trailed off as the woman locked yellow eyes with her blue ones. She suddenly felt all her will drain away, leaving only the need to obey.
"Sit down my pretty doll," the vampire gently caressed Pamela's face with one hand as she held Kristi in the other. "If you behave, Mommy will let you play too."
Pamela then turned around and bounced, gleefully, back to her bed like a young child. There she sat with a huge smile, staring adoringly at the woman.
Kristi's spirit finally crumbled under the weight of what was happening. Half hearted whimpers escaped her throat, causing the vampire holding her to smile evilly in return. Then she turned to Marcus. "Be a dear boy and close the door."
Marcus woodenly did as he was instructed, then he watched as his Mistress first drained his girlfriend and then her room mate.
The world of Alexander Harris started to, once again, slowly come into focus. The unrelenting darkness gave way to a soft light as reality intruded on his consciousness. The first thing that Xander noticed were the smells around him. There was a strong smell of perfume or cologne that was giving him a headache. Underneath that was a mixture of softer scents; candles, leather, and wood with an undertone of cleaning chemicals.
Even though he had not opened his eyes yet, Xander knew there were at least two people in the room with him. One was close by from the sound of their breathing while the other, further off in the distance, was making a whisking noise which sounded to Xander like pages in a book being turned.
Xander moaned when he tried to open his eyes. The room was brightly lit and Xander felt as if his eyes were burning.
"He's waking up," a male voice said.
Turning his head in the direction of that soft voice, Xander squinted his eyes in the effort to discover the voice's owner. A blurred form of a petite woman was gradually coming into focus. "Hi?"
"Hey," The woman lightly ruffled his hair. "How are you feeling?"
"Here, drink this." She brought a glass of water to his lips.
Xander took a sip and laid back down. Not even a second later, Xander shot up from where he was and looked around wildly. Ignoring the fresh bout of pain that erupted behind his eyes, he realized where he was. Father Michael's office. He found himself on the small couch which sat against the wall. In a wooden chair next to the couch, sat... "Kayla!"
"Wow, so he does remember me," Kayla spoke in a light tone.
"What are you doing here?"
Kayla's cheerful expression became fixed as she stared at Xander. "What am I doing here?" Kayla stood up and crossed her arms under her breasts. "Let's see, could it be because I got a call from Michael saying that he was worried about you. That you might be in TROUBLE."
Xander hid the wince that he felt when Kayla said the word 'trouble' in a loud voice. "Kayla I-"
"So I get here as fast as I can," Kayla continued, overriding Xander. "Only to find out that you're wanted for questioning by the cops. Something about an explosion that happened near the college here."
"Now that I can ex-"
"And then," Kayla cut him off once more. "I find out that you're chasing after vampires on your own. You yourself told me, several times I might add, to NEVER take on a vamp by myself, and then I find out that you don't even heed your own advise."
Xander cradled his head with his hands. Despite the pain expanding behind his eyes, he let Kayla vent her anger. Having gotten to know her well enough over the past year, he understood that when Kayla was worried, she tended to get very verbal. She was not shy about expressing her feelings. That's when it hit him.
She was worried about me. That thought warmed Xander's heart even though he wanted to pound his head against the wall worrying her at all. That thought led him to his friends. He wondered what Willow and Giles were thinking at that moment. Were they worried about him or did they join Buffy's crusade about bringing him in.
And what about Joyce, whom he thought of as a second mother. What did she think about him fighting with her daughter. Would she understand or would she... Xander couldn't bring himself to finish that thought even though, deep down, he had steeled himself against the possibility that everyone in the group was against him.
"If Chance hadn't been there-"
"Wait a minute," Xander interrupted, breaking free from his dark thoughts long enough to recognize that name. "Chance?"
"Yes Chance," Kayla rolled her eyes. "You know, the friend I've been trying for the past month to get you to come to San Fran to meet," Kayla pointed at the desk. Sitting behind it, Chance looked up from the paper he was reading and nodded to him.
Xander had to turn his upper body halfway around to see the man and that's when it hit him. His ribs didn't hurt. Aside from a massive headache, Xander felt okay. Face screwed up in concentration. He tentatively stretched his body in more directions, searching for the signs of the injuries he was sure that he had. When he was done, he looked at Kayla. "How come I don't hurt?"
Kayla's eyes softened briefly, "You can thank Chance for that too. He healed you."
Chance snapped his fingers, getting Xander's attention and pulled a large, golden medallion from inside his shirt.
Xander tried to get up for a closer look but was pushed back down onto the couch. "No. No more questions from you, buster!" Kayla crossed her arms in front of her, giving Xander her best glare. "Not until you tell me why you were chasing after that vampire, all by yourself."
Xander leaned back against the couch. "Look, I was out for a walk when I came across him," he started, giving her a half-truth. "He had just hurt, or killed, several people. Somebody had to stop him," he finished with a shrug.
"And you decided to take it upon yourself to do that," Kayla stated. "Without your friends."
"My friends," Xander snorted and soon became lost in his thoughts.
"Uhh.. Hello," Kayla waved her hand in Xander's face.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Was there something you wanted?" he asked blandly.
"How about an answer. Like, why weren't you with you friends or that girlfriend you told me about."
Xander's face darkened. "I'm no longer seeing Anya. As for my friends, I've only seen one of them in the last couple of days and that meeting didn't end well." He paused in thought for a second before adding in a dead voice. "At least not for her."
"Xander-" Kayla started, wanting to know what had happened to change the normally jovial Xander she knew into this grim version sitting in front of her.
"Forget about it," Xander stopped her. He was tired from his dealings with Anya, Buffy, and Spike. What he needed was a morale boost, and if there was one thing that Kayla was very good at, it was her ability to make him laugh. With a fake smile, he pointed at Chance. "Why don't you formally introduce me to your friend."
Kayla studied her friend. Xander was starting to look more like himself so she decided to let Xander off the hook for now. She walked around the large desk and stopped at Chance's side.
"Chance, this is Xander who I consider to be my favorite, if adoptive, little brother." She stifled the urge to laugh at the look of outrage on Xander's face at the mention of him being her 'little brother'. She remembered how bent out of shape Xander got when she first called him that. She even heard him mumble something about always being one of the girls. Shaking herself from her thoughts, Kayla continued. "Xander, this is Chance, my boyfriend."
Xander's eyebrows shot up. "He's your boyfriend?" he asked and then focused on Chance. "You're her boyfriend?"
Chance looked up at the young woman standing beside him and smiled. He looked back at Xander and nodded.
"Please tell me that you lost some kind of bet cause I can't honestly believe that any man would willing go out with the She-devil here." Xander pointed at Kayla with a grin.
"What?!" Kayla shrieked.
Father Michael was among the pews of his church, talking to a woman and her child when a loud scream erupted from within his office. Not a second later, the door burst open and Xander sprinted from the room, followed closely by Kayla.
Both were running around like a pair of children. They weaved in and out of people that were standing around. Most of them just stayed where they were and watched the two of them. Several of the younger children that were there with their parents, tried to join in the chaos created by Xander and Kayla but were firmly held back.
Michael shook his head in exasperation as he heard Xander taunting Kayla as they ran. A pair of children is right.
The priest watched as Xander made the mistake of looking over his shoulder at Kayla at the worst possible moment. Without Xander realizing it, Chance was able to step directly in his path, causing Michael to wince in sympathy as Xander collided with the silent, young man.
Chance didn't budge.
Xander though, had bounced off of Chance and fell to the floor, landing hard on his butt. Kayla wasted no time in pushing Xander onto his stomach. She then straddled his waist and pulled both of his arms behind him. "Take it back!"
"Take back what you said, or else."
"Or else what?"
"Ohhh Chaaaance," Kayla sang out in a high voice, an evil grin plastered on her face. "Please be a dear and hold his arms up so I can remind him just who the Tickle Champion is."
"NO!" Xander tried his best to dislodge the girl from her position on his back but was too late and soon start squirming when Kayla ran her fingertip along his lower ribs. "STOP THAT!"
Kayla paused, "Do you give up?"
"Get off me," was Xander's reply.
This continued for more than five minutes as everyone watched and laughed. Soon Kayla had Xander pleading for her to stop the torture. Claiming that if she stopped that he would do anything for her and that is exactly what she wanted to hear.
Kayla sat up, resting comfortably on Xander's torso. She placed her hands on her hips and stared down at her helpless victim. "Then tell Chance what you obviously meant to say."
"Fine." Xander pouted. Then he turned his attention to the man standing above him. "Congratulations Chance. Kayla is a great catch."
"Thank you," Kayla chirped as Chance nodded to Xander. Then she got off Xander, letting Chance pull him to his feet.
"If your fishing in a toxic waste dump," Xander muttered under his breath.
"Nothing." Xander said, smiling innocently.
Kayla's frosty stare sent shivers running through Xander. When her upper lip twitched into the beginnings of a snarl, Xander knew he was desperately in need of help. "Michael!"
The older man in question chuckled lightly.
"I'm so glad to see that you're feeling better, Xander."
Xander quickly maneuvered around Michael so that the priest was directly between him and Kayla. Then He playfully stuck his tongue out in Kayla's direction before turning his attention back to Michael. "You know me Father, takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'."
Michael simply watched him with twinkling eyes. He wanted to laugh out loud and roll on the ground at their antics but then he would never get any answers from Xander. "Now my boy, what is this about the police wanting to question you about an explosion on the college campus?"
Xander studied the older man for a couple of seconds before sighing. "It's not something for you to worry about, besides, I seriously doubt that the police will do anything about it."
"Why not?" Kayla wanted to know.
Before Xander could answer her, a voice called out from the church entrance. "I might be able to help you with that, Mr. Harris."
All four turned and watched as a man, looking to be in his mid twenties, strode up to Xander. He was dressed in a business suit and exuded a sense of confidence.
Kayla stepped, protectively, in front of Xander. "Who are you?"
The man smirked at Kayla, then turned his attention back to Xander.
"My name is Lindsey McDonald," the man said, holding his hand out for Xander to shake. "I work for Wolfram and Hart."
Spike was quickly becoming irate. He had been following this little man for the better part of an hour, going from one place to another until finally, they materialize in a long hallway, littered with young people. He recognized the place as being one of the dormitories on the college campus.
"Why did you bring me here?"
"Because She is here," the small replied, motioning to the door next to them.
She? With a confused expression, Spike took a step closer and pushed it open. Inside, he saw a man that looked familiar, standing in one corner. Before he could take a closer look at the man, his attention was drawn to the bed closest to the door. On it lay two young women. Both of them sporting single bite marks on their necks that were still leaking blood.
Spike licked his lips at the sight and smell of the exposed blood. Human blood.
"Awwww. Is my little boy hungry?"
Spike spun around and beheld his Dark Goddess, "Dru?!"
The vampiress in question giggled and waved at Spike from where she was reclining on the second bed in the room.
"Miss Edith was telling me that you missed me," Drusilla adopted a look of pure innocence while dragging a finger down the front of her low cut dress. "Did you?"
Spike growled and launched himself at her.
Outside the room, in the hallway, all the people that were moving around in the early morning hours stopped and stared at that door as squeals and high pitched laughter could be heard from with.