Originally posted by fangstress
at The Hive, Chapter 2
Fandom: Buffy The Vampire Slayer crossover Angel the Series
Warnings: Violence, Slash, Rating R, Eventual Spander
Xander's life changes forever when he tries to help a deranged Slayer...
To read last week’s installment (Chapter 1), click Here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/10764.html
SCENES FROM LAST WEEK:
Xander Harris lay in the dark, knowing he was bleeding out. And there was nothing at all that he could do to stop it. He couldn’t even move his head out of the way of the leaking pipe that dripped water onto his face, trailing down the side of his nose, landing in the puddle of his own blood spreading all around him.
He had been murdered in the worst heat of LA by a deranged Slayer, and it was all his fault.The Hive
It had only been a couple of days past that Xander had arrived in LA. He had used almost all the money he had left in his account to buy the ticket and get a hotel room.
He'd had just enough time to clean up, and eat, when he'd heard a discreet knock on the door.
When he'd seen who loomed in the doorway, he'd cursed, and then invited the Vampire in.
Xander had always hated Vampires. Well, except for Spike-- maybe. But the bombastic blonde had dusted on the Hellmouth, so it didn't count.
He hadn't been happy to receive an unexpected visit from the vampire he despised above all others.
It had been dark outside, and Xander had been sitting at the table, staring at the hulking Vampire obscuring his view of the tacky papered walls of his cheap hotel room.
His fingers had rustled the discarded paper wrappers from his cheap fast-food dinner; fries, burgers; Coke sweated water all over the cheap wooden table. He'd rubbed at his sightless eye in frustration, refusing to put on the patch, just because he'd known that seeing Xander's war wound made Angel feel so guilty and uncomfortable. And that was always a good time.
Angel, wearing a long leather coat that seemed absurd in the sweltering heat of the night, had regarded Xander with what seemed like genuine concern. Xander mentally adjusted his too-generous mental assessment of Angel’s deportment to categorize it priggishness. It was an art form.
Always see the worst. Then you can't be disappointed.
Xander had swallowed down his annoyance with some of the watered down Coke, and projected an attitude of boredom. "Why are you here? How'd you find me, Deadboy? Thought the Council made it clear we didn't trust you."
Angel's expression hadn't changed. Intense as always; he replied as if it were a reflex. “Don’t call me that. I don't run Wolfram and Hart anymore. Or haven’t you heard?"
"About your little dust-up?"
Xander leaned up a little in his chair. "Impressive. So, that was the end of the Evil Law firm business?" He grabbed the Coke and took a long swig of it, ignoring Angel's pained glance. "And you-- what? Want to help?" He set the Coke back on the table, reached for his patch and fingered it.
"It's a long story," Angel said. "And it didn't end all that well--Look, Harris; I got word that you were here in LA, tracking a problem Slayer--"
Xander sat up, indignantly. "And we're back to the stalking."
"I have a Seer. Liaison to the Powers That Be." Angel looked away.
Angel flinched. He looked down. "Yeah."
"And that's another death I can lay at your feet." Xander spat.
"But I -- I didn't--" Angel looked up, wounded and guilty. “I couldn't stop it. I tried to save her--"
Xander really didn't want to hear about it, so he cut Angel off.
"So, who's the new seer? Wait-- scratch that question, I really don't care." He could see that he was pushing it, but he just couldn't stop.
Angel was obviously getting angry and despite himself, Xander felt a chill. But Angel seemed determined to help, in his overbearing way. "Harris," he said, "the prediction had to do with you. Your possible death. It could get bad." He paced back and forth, coming to a stop before Xander.
Xander kept silent, not trusting himself to speak. This was Claire, that Angel was talking about. He reached for his eye patch, but held onto it laxly with one hand. He tried to focus his thoughts.
It looked like Angel wasn't going to give him any peace, though. The hulking Vampire looked deadly serious. " Xander, we know there's something not right with the Council, with the Slayers."
That was it, the last straw and Xander's temper had snapped. "You know, Seer predictions notwithstanding, I'll think I'll take my chances. They're my people. And you know? I've tracked down a lot of these lost slayers on my own. Like as in, I don't need your help for this one. I know everybody seems to think I'm still the useless, bumbling Zeppo that's been put out to pasture, but I can actually handle this." He slouched in his chair, and roughly pulled the patch back on, giving Angel a defiant glare.
Angel had regarded Xander for a long, tense moment, stood, and turned his back on Xander, and peered out the window as if searching for something. It was misty that night, odd for LA. Xander had tensed as Angel slowly turned and faced Xander cautiously, like he'd been some scared kid. It had rankled.
"Nobody thinks you're useless, Xander, you've proved that; but there's something really wrong, here. I honestly think you could use some back-up."
"From you?” Xander had asked incredulously. He roughly ran a hand through his hair. "She's. A. Slayer; what do you think she's gonna do when a Master Vamp shows up-- I'm not sure she's all that balanced."
"What about Buffy? Willow? I think you're over your head on this one. Angel had pulled his phone from an inside pocket of his coat. “I could call, maybe they could---"
Panic had shot though Xander. He'd known he couldn't trust anyone-- not the Scoobies. Not then. "Wait! Just wait. Look, just... just don't call them-yeah; I know there's been some ...weirdness going on at HQ. Some big, secretey project-thingie or something. They're kinda busy with it."
Angel had raised an eloquent eyebrow and leaned forward. "Secret project... what kind of--"
Xander had curled in on himself, hiding from the truth he didn't want to see. He'd known it, even then. "I don't know. It's not important. I...ah...I just wanna handle this on my own. My way. I know the girl, you don't. " His voice trailed off into a mumble.”Better for me and for her."
Angel had leaned back, arms folded across his chest. "They're keeping you out of the loop. That doesn't bother you? Xander, the Seer said that there was some sort of dark influence that could be affecting the Council!"
"What? No!" Denial. Pure denial. How stupid, how stubborn he had been.
How had it been it possible for Angel to look even more dire? Had it been some weird superpower? Just talent?
"Your friends may be in danger. Buffy, Willow--" Angel looked positively grim.
Xander had been tempted to laugh, except the situation really had been getting into the realm of surreality. "Danger? No, no-- nothing like that. It's just that... it's stuff that's not really any of my business. Not anymore. You know, Important Stuff."
Angel had worriedly pulled a card from his breast pocket, and handed it to Xander. Xander flinched, not tracking Angel's movement on his blind side.
Angel had immediately looked contrite. "Sorry. Look, Xander--- there's been some odd reports-- and some deaths..." He'd continued, ignoring Xander's negating head shake. "I'm not getting very much with my intel, but it looks like it could be a rogue slayer. Not a cake walk."
Xander had sworn under his breath and gracelessly snatched the card from Angel's hand. "Look, I promise I'll call if I need help. But I'd really just like you to just back off. The last thing these girls need is to be treated like ---monsters. I mean, we made them that way. To be an effective army. It's not their fault."
Angel had looked unsure. "There's something...really...wrong here. You get that, don't you? Why won't you let us help?"
That had been the last thing he should have said. Xander had shot up, out of his seat and got in Angel's face, noting with satisfaction that he had now been as tall as the Vampire. "Why?" He'd snarled, "Because I don't trust you."
Angel had stepped back, raising his hands in a peacemaking gesture. Xander hadn't cared. All that anger had just rushed out of him in a storm he'd been holding in for the last year. It hadn't even been Angel he'd been truly angry with. He hadn't wanted to face that, then.
"You're a Vampire, souled or not." He'd snapped. “And you've done enough damage to me and mine that no matter how many times you save the world, that slate will never be wiped clean. Never."
He'd actually been getting even angrier. Angel had looked at him as if he'd been turning into some dangerous, wild beast.
Xander had stopped, wondering where all that rage had really come from. He'd tried to calm his panic, and said, “Angel, I know the girl. Her name is Claire. Something spooked her, bad. She asked for my help." He'd stated at Angel, willing him to understand, to let it be.
No such luck. Angel had seemed to consider Xander's words carefully, but had then replied, "Xander, it could be a trap. If she's gone rogue---"
"Can you give it a rest, Deadboy?” Xander had drawled, watching with satisfaction as Angel had seemed to come to a conclusion, and wisely stopped talking. Never mind that the conclusion Angel reached might have been that Xander was an idiot, but Xander had been used to that, anyway. "Look, I got it covered. Let's wait and see how this plays out before we assume the girl is evil, shall we? I'll call you if I need you."
Angel had sighed and stepped back, conceding the field. He moved hesitantly toward the doorway. He halted rather dramatically, facing the door. "I'll wait to hear from you."
Angel turned back to look at Xander." If you need--"
Angel had left, closing the door softly behind him, leaving Xander alone with his anger and his fear. What was going on? Was this a trap? He just hadn't been able to make himself believe that. He'd decided to find the girl and talk to her-- maybe he could get her to see sense. He had done enough of that before.
That goddamned leak was going to drive him crazy. He really shouldn’t be using that kind of language right now, he reflected, this was probably not the best time to get God all ticked off at him. That almost made him chuckle.
Too little, too late — apparently, he’d already pissed off God royally—along with everybody else he cared for.
How? What had he done that had been so wrong that it led to this?
He closed his eye and drifted some more...
Back, back to the very beginning…
So, that’s all for this week—Chapter 3 will be posted next Monday. :-)