WARNING: m/m sexual activity. Adult language. Story is generally
SUMMARY: 10 Years after the fall of Sunnydale, Xander has
distanced himself from his past life until a demon forces him to look
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing including the characters and products
named in this story. I do, however own an unused treadmill. If you
want to sue for that, help yourself.
Thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the excellent banner.
Using his key, Xander entered the back steel door of the Fabulous
( no longer, Ladies) Club. He picked up the mail off the floor
where the postman had dropped it into the slot and flipped
through it as he walked towards his office.
Bill, bill, bill, credit card offer, notification that his TV Guide
subscription was about to run out, National Enquirer, and a
catalog from Wedgies, the premier thong maker in the business.
This was his routine. It was the same thing he had done every morning
for the past eight years since buying the place. It was funny the way it
Xander never thought of himself as a business man. He had been
bar tending here for a couple years when the owners posted a notice
that they were selling.
The idea had come to him like a bolt from the blue. He had a sizable
savings account in the bank and just knew he could make the changes
needed to build this into a thriving business.
He had been right. Starting with the basics of higher class dancers,
expensive drinks and a cleaner establishment aimed more for gay men
than cheap, giggly housewives, and the bottom line had shot through
Xander Harris was a success.
Xander breezed into his office, dropped the mail on his desk, and
punched the button on his coffee maker. He grabbed up the remote
and aimed it at the flat screen that hung on the wall.
Judge Judy was on and he hated to miss her.
Instantly, the local news popped up. Xander hated the news and
never watched it or read a paper. It was depressing. It was
hopeless. It gave him a feeling of edgy anxiousness so, like everything
else that stirred uncomfortable feelings, he avoided it.
His world was right here and the only thing that concerned him was
what occurred in his own life.
'Besides,' He thought. 'why worry about something I can't change?
Leave world issues to world leaders.'
Dropping down into his soft, swivel chair he aimed the remote, then,
just before he could pull the trigger, something caught his eye. Instantly,
he sat up straight and turned up the volume.
".............has been reported missing. Jack Hampton is the sixth man
to go missing in the last 100 days. Police are not releasing specific facts
that lead them to believe there is a connection between all these victims
but authorities are asking anyone with information to please contact
When the pictures of the six men appeared on the television, Xander
shot up out of his chair. He recognized them immediately. Of course
he could be more certain if the reporter showed the victims from the
back of the head, but, no. Xander was positive.
Except for the boy he had fucked last night, those were the last six
men he had picked up and taken home over the course of the past
Xander took a step back. He could feel the anxiety begin to build.
It was a condition he had wrestled with for years. He would wake
from nightmares he couldn't remember, his body soaked in sweat, his
heart pounding, nearly exploding from his chest, his lungs gasping
from lack of oxygen.
Quickly, he began frantically riffling through his desk drawer.
'Pills, where the fuck are those damn pills?'
Xander hadn't needed them in years, yet he always kept a fresh bottle
on hand. When he finally found them he took two, without water, and
he began pacing.
"What the fuck? I mean seriously, what the fuck? Should I call the cops?
No, no, not yet. Not till I find out what the fuck. They were fine. When
they left me, they were fine. Oh, my God. It's my fault. If I hadn't
tossed them out they wouldn't be dead. Who said dead? Not dead,
just missing. Maybe together. Maybe there's a gay man convention
somewhere and they all went together. Shit. No one invited me. I
should be pissed off. O.k., wait, I'm losing focus."
Xander's stomach twisted up like a sailor's knot. It was an old feeling.
A familiar feeling that had plauged him for years. It was what originally
drove him to the Hard Man gym on the corner where he had built his
body up into a rock hard, self defense, machine.
It was one of the things that had helped him conquor "the fear".
The nameless, faceless, thing that ate him up and owned his old
life. But he had put all that behind him. He was a new man. He had
sucessfully blocked out anything before ten years ago and he was free.
Or so he thought.
But now it was back. It slammed into him and terrified him with whispers
of unknown horrors. Things that go bump in the night and gobble up
small children in their beds. Xander grabbed his head as a migrain
threatened to start and he whimpered.
Suddenly a poem his Grandma had read him as a very small boy ran
through his head.
Little orphan Annie came to our house to stay.
To wash the cups and saucers and brush the crumbs away.
To shoo the chickens off the porch, to brush the hearth and sweep
To make the fire and bake the bread and earn her board and keep.
And all us little children, when the supper things is done,
we sit round the kitchen fire and has the mostest fun.
A listenin' to the witches tales that Annie tells about
and the goblins'll getcha if ya don't watch out.
Xander was shook. Where the hell had that memory come from?
He hadn't thought of that in 20 years.
Looking back at the television, he saw that they had moved on to a
story about the flooding in the midwest and he turned the set off.
He briefly considered calling the police, even going so far as to pick up
the reciever and quickly dropping it back down. Deep inside him, he
knew that could be a grave mistake.
How would it look? He was the last one with each of these
men and now they were missing. The cops would label him the next
Hannable Lector and lock him up faster than one of his dancers could
drop a G-string.
No, the best thing to do was wait. If the authorities tracked him down,
he would lawyer up and refuse to talk. After all, he was innocent.
"Fuck! He muttered. "The fucking prisons are full of innocent men."
Xander paced back and forth in the small office. He knew, even at 30
years old, he was to pretty to go to prison. If he couldn't make a relationship
last more than 30 minutes how the hell could he be married to Bubba for
20 to life?
Xander wiped his sweaty palms on his freshly ironed tan Dockers and
rolled the sleeves of his white shirt up to his elbows.
Something about this whole situation felt sickeningly familiar. Like a
bullet he had know was coming and had so far been able to dodge.
But that didn't make any sense. How could he possible expect a
situation of this magnatude.
Xander screwed the palms of his hands into his eyes. The headache
was growing, getting worse, right along with the nausating feeling of
doom in his bowels.
It was starting. That thing that lived in the back room of his brain was
rattling the door and trying to get out. He had over the years developed
several ways of controlling the thing that lived there, or at least thought
he had. Now it felt stronger, stronger than any of his chains could hold.
It was the creature called memory. It was from the time before and
he had, up till now, kept it under lock and key. He fucked a therapist
once who told him memory repression was a dangerous thing that had
a way of biting you in the ass and that he should try to work through it.
Xander had tossed the man out before his 30 minute allotment.
He resented the invasion of his privacy. No one could understand
but Xander's refusal to remember was his self preservation.
He knew if he looked too closely at the past, it could kill him.
So he didn't.
He used alcohol, marajuana, sex, any distraction he could and had
sucessfully reduced it to a vauge memory. He had it in check.
He had it conquored.
But now, he knew by instinct, that it was still there. He may have closed
it off, but it was still there, waiting to burst out and when it did, it may just
scare him to death.
The poem is titled Little Orphan Annie by James Whitcomb Riley
and was one my Mother read to me as a young child.