juniperberry: xander giving buffy a pep-talk (xander being awesome)
[personal profile] juniperberry
I really need to finish the kink-meme fills I've started. Like, really horribly badly need to finish them. Maybe once this semester is over with and I've got a good daily writing session set up.




Giles pulled his glasses off and briskly rubbed them with the hem of his jumper. "Tell me again," he said, "very slowly and very precisely. Xander got lost where?"

"Er," Andrew squeaked. "It totally wasn't my fault! The demon came out of nowhere, and Xander was all He-Man with that ax he carries, and the slayers were too occupied with the vamps and the M'Fashnik demons and I nearly got bit--"

"Andrew," Giles snapped, and he was echoed by Buffy, Willow, and Dawn. Giles pulled in a deep breath.

"Slowly," he said, and pinned Andrew with a glare. The young man 'eeped' very softly and huddled further into the couch. "Give me every detail that concerns Xander falling into a portal, if you please. Once that's done we'll worry about the rest."

Andrew glanced at the girls. Willow must have been giving him a particularly evil look, judging from his flinch.

"And we got you a band-aid for your scratch," Dawn said, exasperation clear in her voice. "Now talk."

***

Oooh. Ooh.

Wow, he stank.

Xander shook his head and blearily fished a banana peel out of the back of his shirt. Just his luck to land in a pile of garbage. Again. At least this time he was fairly sure there was only one of him.

He pulled himself to his feet and, groaning, dug through the garbage around him for his ax. Since it looked like he was in a dumpster, he should probably just leave it to find a phone, but given the thing he'd been following, he really wanted his ax.

When in doubt, reach for the hefty mideavel weaponry.

He found it coated with half-moldering coffee grounds, and he grimaced as he brushed it off.

"Follow a demon through a portal, end up covered in muck without even killing it first," he grumbled. "Only the Xand-man."

He wiped the handle clear of slime with the hem of his shirt, and self-consciously ran a hand through his hair and over his eye patch. A fresh wave of eau d'garbage was stirred up, as well as some stringy slimy bits he really, really didn't want to identify.

"Okay," Xander said, as he carefully climbed out of the dumpster. "Okay, I stink, and the demon isn't anywhere in sight. This is of the good, I guess." He grinned as his feet touched the ground. "It means I get first crack at the shower when I get home. Bliss."

The dumpster was in an alley, and while one end trailed into the dark, the other led to what looked like a bright, busy street. Maybe he wasn't too far from downtown Cleveland, and the girls wouldn't have to do too much driving to get him home. He'd tell them to bring the pick-up.

The street was crowded with cars, and the neon signs lit the pavement brightly. Xander meant to glance around for a phone, something that would take a couple of grimy quarters, or even collect, but he forgot that half a moment after his eye adjusted to the light.

The city...wasn't right. It wasn't just that it wasn't Cleveland--Xander had lived there for the past three years, he'd been all over it, he knew it wasn't Cleveland--but it wasn't just that.

The people walking the streets weren't always people.

Horns, fangs, eyes that held fire and water by turns. A woman passed with the ears of a cat; a knight walked by, swinging a nightstick. And it wasn't just the people.

The cars weren't right. The buildings weren't right, seeping with roiling ugly clouds and vapors, or glowing brightly, warm and loved. A monstrous bat-thing in a three-piece suit approached, its arm slung snugly around a young woman's shoulders.

Xander squeezed his eye shut and sank back against the alley wall.

"Toto, we defintitely aren't in Kansas anymore," he muttered.

***

Part II

"Oooh," Bob said, and I turned, confused. I hadn't been doing anything at all interesting enough to merit that sort of sound and voice.

"What is it, Bob?"

"Dunno," he said, his orage eyelights flickering. "Something big just happened...I don't know what, but it's...ooh." His skull rattled on the shelf. "Um. Shiny."

I could feel my eyebrows climb towards my hairline. "Shiny."

"Yeah." Bob rattled again, as if he were shivering. "I don't know if it's good or bad, yet, but it's definitely shiny. And attracting attention, to boot."

That didn't sound at all good. "What do you mean, attracting attention? What happened, Bob?"

"Um." He did that weird shiver-rattle again. "Um. It's--it's kind of like something came through the Nevernever--"

"Which happens pretty much all the time," I said. Bob being unnerved--or excited, or both, I guess--did not make for a reassured wizard.

"Yeah," Bob said. "But this--whatever came through wasn't--it didn't belong here, boss. It's not an Outsider--whoo, we'd know if it were that bad--but it's not of this dimension, or the Nevernever, either."

I frowned. This was sounding worse and worse. "And it's shiny and attractive?"

If Bob had a body, he would have squirmed. He did a pretty good job of squirming anyway--not bad for a spirit confined to a skull.

"I can't tell from here," he whined. "It's shiny and attractive and you'll probably come across it sooner or later."

"Stars and stones, Bob, that sure doesn't sound ominous," I snapped.

"I could go check on it--" Bob began, but I cut him off.

"No. The Delta Theta Phi Soroity does not need another wild orgy to notch the bedposts."

Bob grumbled and whined, but he didn't argue. "Anyway, you'll come across it, or something looking for it. Like I said, it's attractive."

"Attractive to who? The fae?"

Bob did a remarkable equivalent of a shrug. "Some fae. Other things. Vampires--maybe. Lots of supernatural things. Like I said, it's shiny."

"Is it powerful?" I'd never heard of anything that could be considered 'shiny' and 'attractive' enough to draw numerous supernatural creatures after it.

Bob's skull wobbled a little. "I don't know," he griped, "since someone is a bit of a prude and won't let me out to go check...."

"No, Bob," I said, absently. "If you're right, it's something I'll come across sooner rather than later. All I want to know now is--do I need to go hunting for it now?"

"Nah," Bob said. "I bet it'll be at least a day or two before it's snatched up by somebody."

"Is it dangerous?"

"I don't know, boss. I'm sort of stuck in this little tiny skull--"

"It's a perfectly roomy skull," I said. "If you shut up about it I'll get you a new magazine to go with the others I owe you, okay?"

"Good enough," Bob grumbled, and after that he shut up about going out, or things that were shiny, attractive--and apparently not originally of this dimension.

Oh yeah. A slow week? What's that?

***

Part III

Dawn and Willow had poured over the books, and Giles himself had nearly fallen asleep over a very thick, expesive and rare book that had been written well before Will the Bastard ever invaded England. Hours of bludgeoning research and divination had finally led to a breakthrough, and now Willow was finishing the circle where they would activate their own portal.

Giles strapped a dagger to his side and Buffy helped him stuff a crossbow into a duffel bag. Robin sidled up to him through the chaos of preparation, a sword in his hand.

"Are you sure it's a good idea for you to go?"

Giles took the sword and carefully slotted it into the duffel bag. "Of all the people here, Willow, Dawn, Buffy, and I know Xander the best. We're the most likely to track him if he's lost. Buffy can't come, she's too important, and Dawn can't go if I don't accompany her."

"And while you head off into an unknown dimension, we're left without a Council head," Robin said reproachfully. Giles gave him a wan smile.

"Nonsense," he said. "You'll do fine."

Faith waltzed through and grabbed Robin for a bit of pre-portal travelling business, and Giles left them to it.

Dawn was bouncing on her toes. She rarely got to go out on this sort of mission; Buffy had been getting better at protecting her when she needed it, but the over-protective streak ran deep.

"Ready, Giles?" she asked. He smiled at her, faintly.

"As ready as I'll ever be," he said. She leaned against him.

"We're gonna find him," she said. A promise. "We're gonna find him and bring him home."

Giles nodded, and refused to think to deeply on the--unfortunately likely--other outcomes.

Willow wove her way through the crowd of assembled slayers, and raised her voice.

"Okay, everybody not going through the portal or staying to make sure it's sealed when we're through, get out!"

She had a voice when she wished, and the room slowly cleared of slayers and watchers-to-be until only eight of them were left.

"You'll be careful," Buffy said, for at least the fortieth time. Giles smiled as reassuringly as he could.

"Yes, Buffy, we will," he said.

"I've got Willow and Giles and Faith with me," Dawn said. "I'll be fine. They probably won't let me do anything at all, anyway."

Giles thought of protesting--Dawn wouldn't be on the team if she wasn't competent--but held his tongue. They were about to leave their native dimension for somewhere quite different; he didn't feel like chatting at the moment.

Andrew and Kit assembled the spell. Robin and Faith reappeared, and Giles nodded once at Robin's glance. The other man gave him a somber nod back.

"Okay," Willow said. "We're ready to go."

She and Buffy shared a look, and then Faith hitched her duffel higher on her shoulder.

"Okay," she said. "Let's get this party started."

***



On second thought, I might cut parts II and III and just start over from the end of part one. HMMM.
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